Category Archives: activism

The AFA Blackmails Pepsi

The mob has a lovely little setup they call “protection.” The federal government calls it “racketeering,” and has laws against it.  The American Family Association, headed up by Donald Wildmon learned a lot from La Cosa Nostra; specifically racketeering and strong arm tactics.

Their most recent “project” is an attempt to boycott PepsiCo because Pepsi had the audacity to dare to donate $1M to the Human Rights Campaign and PFLAG. It’s very obvious from the AFA’s Boycott Pepsi website they were truly loath to do this. They “asked Pepsi to remain neutral in the culture war, but the company refused — choosing to support the homosexual activists.” The BASTARDS! Of course, when AFA said neutral, what they really meant was “side with us,” but that’s just semantics.

Even worse, according to AFA: “Pepsi has made no effort to hide their support for the homosexual agenda!” Can you imagine the nerve? Instead of being ashamed of treating those in the LGBT community like people, Pepsi is actually PROUD of their actions! Well. Obviously, AFA took immediate action, setting up a website  to boycott Pepsi products. They’ve even got links to contact Pepsi distributorships and letters to and from Pepsi, which essentially read like a bad gangster movie.

Recently we noticed that PepsiCo gave a $500,000 donation to Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.  We were indeed surprised by PepsiCo’s support of the homosexual group.  It would appear to us that PepsiCo would not involve itself in a political and culture war, especially supporting an organization seeking to redefine marriage and family.

We ask PepsiCo to remain neutral in this culture war, neither supporting nor opposing the homosexual agenda.

We would like to discuss this matter with PepsiCo.  Would you have a representative of PepsiCo contact us?

In other words: “Gee, Pepsi. This is a nice little place you got here. Be a real shame if someone were to torch it.”

Pepsi’s response was intelligent, honest and, IMO, brilliant:

’m responding to your letter to our Chairman. In 2008, the PepsiCo Foundation awarded a grant to Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays to support a national program specifically designed for workplace environments.

The initiative seeks to promote further understanding and equality in the places where people spend much of their time at work.

Among the values promoted by the PepsiCo Foundation is ensuring a work environment that is respectful and where associates are valued for their contributions.  I hope this helps  clarify this grant by the PepsiCo Foundation.

Honestly? Aside from Cherry Pepsi (for which I am an absolute fiend), I’m not much for junk food. But today? I’m tempted to go to the store and buy as many Pepsi products as I can fit in my budget.

Oklahoma State Legislature Jumps the Shark, Film at 11

Recently, the University of Oklahoma to speak at their celebration of Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday. Dawkins’ talk focused on “seeing purpose all around by looking at the differences between the appearance of purpose, as seen in evolutionary development, and true purpose, being the product of the mind.” All went well, and Dawkins was greeted like a rock star.

Sadly, Rep. Todd Thompson was so threatened by the very thought of the brilliant biologist speaking and discussing evolution at a public university, he went and wrote up two resolutions, one of which stated:

THAT the Oklahoma House of Representative strongly opposes the invitation to speak on the campus of the University of Oklahoma to Richard Dawkins of Oxford University, whose published statements on the theory of evolution and opinion about those who do not believe in the theory are contrary and offensive to the views and opinions of most citizens of Oklahoma.

Rep. Thompson, how dare you? How dare you attempt to enforce what can only be called censorship and hide behind the people of Oklahoma? And how dare you use something as transparent as argumentum ad populum to hide your repugnant and ignorant views? Once the “views and opinions of most citizens of Oklahoma” have a say in what can and cannot be taught at the UO, then that university will quickly top the list of “schools not to attend.”

The University of Oklahoma is not a religious university.  It is a state institution, and as such is subject to the laws not only of the State of Oklahoma but also the United States. Censorship is a crime, and your resolution is censorship, Mr. Thompson. It is to be hoped that the rest of the state legislature will recognize the harm that would be done not only to the university, but to the state should these resolutions pass. The university will slide further behind the national average and lose students, tax dollars and prestige. The state in turn will become that much less competitive and functional and more deeply entrenched in economic stagnation.

This is precisely why religion should never be allowed control of the state. In every instance, ignorance triumphs over learning.

Dick Armey Is A Sexist Ass

This evening on Chris Matthews’ show Hard Ball, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey sunk to online ad hominem tactics by telling salon.com’s Editor in Chief Joan Walsh:

“Oh, Joan, give it a rest…”


At 5 min. 45 sec. into this video, and

“I’m so glad you could never be my wife, because I surely wouldn’t have to listen to that prattle coming out of your mouth every day. (laughs) You’re talking like a political hack, here…”

at 9min. 45sec.

Mr. Armey, I am truly relieved you are no longer a representative of my state or a member of the United States government. Your performance tonight was absolutely shameful. Your sexist remarks aside (and that’s a BIG aside), your attitude was hardly one of a professional politician willing to discuss policy, but more one of a threatened frat boy who could only respond with a “so’s your mother” joke because he simply couldn’t find an intelligent answer to your opponent’s charges.

It is this blogger’s considered opinion that Dick Armey should be uninvited from Hard Ball and other political round table discussions until such time as he is able to interact with others with the same amount of gravitas and respect due our current political situation as any other elected official. Mr. Armey was dismissive of relevant issues, waved away serious intelligent questions, and generally acted like a pompous self important ass whose word was above reproach and didn’t require actual facts.

Mr. Armey, you owe Joan Walsh an immediate, public apology. Your behavior was reprehensible, and you insulted 51% of the voting public by insinuating that any woman’s opinion that differs with yours is, by gender definition, inferior. You, sir, are a gas bag unworthy of the camera time you garnered.

Curious George Says Goodbye

Did you watch President Bush’s speech last night? I couldn’t stop myself. I wanted to, desperately, but I reminded myself that history was being made. I was watching the end of the worst presidency in the history of our country. If for no other reason than to tell my children and grand children that I was there and was witness…I watched.

As I watched, something amazing happened. My outrage which has been worn down with many abuses lo, these past eight years, re-ignited. The man actually thinks he did a good job! Against all evidence to the contrary and mounting proof of misapplied policy and economic and societal disaster… the man still thinks he was right. My jaw hung open. The darling man shook his head and said he couldn’t believe we were actually sitting still for 15 minutes of such unmitigated tripe.

“Tonight I am filled with gratitude — to Vice President Cheney and members of my administration;…”

(“For buying the election for me and covering up all my mistakes…” “You’re incredibly sexy when you’re cynical, y’know?”)

“to Laura, who brought joy to this house and love to my life;..”

(“And never says a word in public that we don’t write for her…”)

“to our wonderful daughters, Barbara and Jenna;…”

(“For carrying on the proud family tradition of boozing their way through college and never actually using their brains…”)

“to my parents, whose examples have provided strength for a lifetime.”

(“Like how to be an uninvolved father and a petty, superstitious obnoxious self involved jerk, just like mom.” “Hey. Barbara’s not superstitious.” “OK, my mistake.”)

“You may not agree with some tough decisions I have made, but I hope you can agree that I was willing to make tough decisions.”

“WHAT?!” I screamed at the television. “What in hell are you TALKING about?! Of COURSE you were willing to make them; that’s the job! That doesn’t change the fact that they were WRONG decisions!” At this point I had to hold the remote over my head and wave it about to keep the darling man from changing the channel. “He’s on all the other channels too,” I said, pushing him away with the other hand. He finally backed off and let me get back to gaping at the monkey in a $5,000 suit pretending to be sincere.

“This evening, my thoughts return to the first night I addressed you from this house — September the 11th, 2001. That morning, terrorists took nearly 3,000 lives in the worst attack on America since Pearl Harbor.”

(“See!” the SO smirked, “Less than three minutes in and we’re already invoking 9/11. I should’ve run that farewell address bingo game, I woulda cleaned up!” “shut UP, I can’t hear…”)

“The battles waged by our troops are part of a broader struggle between two dramatically different systems. Under one, a small band of fanatics demands total obedience to an oppressive ideology, condemns women to subservience, and marks unbelievers for murder. The other system is based on the conviction that freedom is the universal gift of Almighty God, and that liberty and justice light the path to peace…..”

(“Which are we again?” “The freedom lovers, of course.” “But, they believe God’s on their side, too, I mean, jus…” “SHUTUP! This is history, dammit!”)

“This is the belief that gave birth to our nation. And in the long run, advancing this belief is the only practical way to protect our citizens. When people live in freedom, they do not willingly choose leaders who pursue campaigns of terror.”

(“I thought Hamas was elected democratically.” “Well, obviously, those people were tricked into doing that. What they should’ve done is had the ballot say ‘people the US and Israel approve of, and this other candidate here who’ll get your ass blown up.’ “)

“President Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” As I leave the house he occupied two centuries ago, I share that optimism. America is a young country, full of vitality, constantly growing and renewing itself. And even in the toughest times, we lift our eyes to the broad horizon ahead.”

(“Honey? Yer gonna smack your head on the ceiling fan. Stop standing on the bed. And stop screaming, he can’t hear you.” “I DON’T CARE! How DARE he quote Thomas Jefferson?” “Well, if it’s any consolation, he did it completely out of context.”)

“OMG! Honey! Check out BOB DOLE! Even HE doesn’t buy the shit Bush is shovelling!”

Bob Dole is aghast

Bob Dole is aghast

“Yeah, he looks like he’s about to burst out laughing…but he can always blame it on dementia.” “God, you’re such a bitch sometimes…” “Thanks. Now hush, I wanna hear the rest…”

“It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve as your President. There have been good days and tough days. But every day I have been inspired by the greatness of our country, and uplifted by the goodness of our people. I have been blessed to represent this nation we love. And I will always be honored to carry a title that means more to me than any other – citizen of the United States of America. And so, my fellow Americans, for the final time: Good night. May God bless this house and our next President. And may God bless you and our wonderful country. Thank you.”

“Wow. He even got through it without stuttering.” “Yes, well, there had to be at least ONCE in his presidency that he managed to get all the way through a speech.” “NOW can we have sex?”

In reading* the address that moved me to spew half of my cherry Pepsi across the bedspread last night, I’m still amazed. He did everything but physically pat himself on the back. Not that I actually expected him to say anything, y’know, RELEVANT to anyone but himself…but it would have been good if he’d actually acknowledged the things this nation is facing as a direct result of his “leadership.”

At this point, I suppose all we can do is be grateful that it’s over and start rebuilding. Like New Orleans after Katrina, it will take our nation many, many years to rebound from Hurricane Curious George.

*You can find the transcript here.

Closing Gitmo: A Return to Ethics in the U.S.

As many of you are probably aware, one of Barack Obama’s campaign promises was to close the detainment camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Apparently, that promise is about to come to fruition. According to one of the president-elect’s advisors, he may issue the order as soon as he takes office. The biggest stumbling block remains what to do with the detainees.

This is one of the most hopeful statements I’ve seen in quite some time.  Of the many things I grew up believing about our country, one in which I always took pride was “The United States does not torture. The United States  abides by the Geneva Convention.” I took that belief with me into the military, and what happened at Guantanamo made me feel that the uniform I wore was disgraced because of it. Hopefully that disgrace is coming to an end.

The last eight years have been, if not enjoyable, very instructive. I’ve seen a side to my countrymen that I would have previously denied. While I believed that we were a little tarnished, I never thought we would stand by and not only watch, but cheer, while our government perpetrated horrible offenses against our Constitution.  As with most problems, it’s going to take far longer to correct it than it took to let it go wrong. We have so many problems we don’t even know where to start. Our economy is in ruins, civil rights have been slashed, our health care is a joke, and we are seen as arrogant bullies with big mouths on the world stage. I can only take comfort in the fact that with President-elect Obama’s inauguration, the world finally sees that we DO want to change for the better.

Guantanamo Bay detainment camp is a dark spot on our country’s history. Let us not forget how far we can go down the road of fascism. At the same time, let us celebrate the beginning of our walk back toward reason and ethics. Let us once again become the beacon of democracy and protectors of the weak that we believe ourselves to be.

First: Do No Harm. Unless You Disagree With Their Morals.

On December 19th, the Bush administration very quietly approved provisions to put the final nail in the coffin of American healthcare. Effective Jan 19th (one day, you will note, before President-elect Obama takes office), all entities tied to healthcare…including insurance companies…will be able to deny care or coverage for any service they feel disagrees with their moral code.

As a woman, I am furious. How dare you, Mr. Bush, tell any insurance company or doctor that I may not obtain reproductive health without risking my life? As a bisexual woman, I am seething. How dare you open the door to anyone to question me on my sexuality and deny me care because they don’t approve? As a nurse, I am so livid I am nearly speechless. We do not question the morality of our patients. It is not for us to judge. If someone comes to me because they are injured, in pain, or just have questions, I am here to do my best to help them. Their personal life is not for ME to judge. How dare ANYONE decide such a thing?

So now I can deny care based on my moral outrage? Fine. How would it be, then, if I, as an atheist, were to refuse care to fundamentalist Christians because I morally disagree with their warped perceptions of reality? How would it be if I were to refuse care to some redneck idiot who had broken his neck on his motorcycle because I’m morally opposed to treating morons who refuse to wear a helmet? How would it be were I to refuse to assist in delivering a baby because I think the world is overpopulated enough and it’s against my ethics?

Mr. Bush, you do not know the damage you have done. You think you are merely putting down rights for gays and women. I assure you, sir, you have no idea the death blow you have dealt my profession. I am saddened. But more, I am enraged that anyone would dare do such a thing as risk the lives of the people of this country all so that a few backward, self righteous, judgmental overbearing jerks can look down their noses and deny care to people they consider inferior to themselves.

I am sickened by the very thought of what this will do to a profession of which I have always been proud to be a part. There are simply no words for how disgusted I am by this ruling.

What I Want For Christmas: A Very Palin Wish

If I were suddenly confronted with the ghost of Christmas Present (always loved the implicit pun) and granted three wishes….wait, is that just for genies?… as soon as I convinced myself that I was not hallucinating, I’d tell him that I have only one wish: MAKE SARAH PALIN GO AWAY!!!

The only thing more distressing than putting up with Caribou Barbie is putting up with her frothing racist homophobe fundie fans. The Huff has a story up today about the new website erected in her honor. It isn’t just worrisome, it’s downright disgusting. This is the new face of conservativism? Some choice quotes from posters include:

When a blogger named James asks if anybody has bought the new Obama coins, SavantNoir responds: “[Y]es James, and i melted it down to see the look of agnoy on his face, made it a BB pellet and shot it into a pile of shit.”On one blog Heather describes Election Day as the “most terrible” in history and asks “how long until obama is shot??????” Josie responds: “There are plenty of people that would like to see Obama end that way.”

And about our new first lady?

Ava M: I have never actually HATED anyone in politics before now….She is stupid, mean, power hungry, manipulative, corrupt, essentially ignorant–a poster girl for Institutionalized Black Racism and Agression, a take-no-prisoners warrior for Political Correctnes aka Socialist Realism and a racially driven Communist fellow traveller. Let her go run an African country. She doesn’t fit in here with the American People.

I’m speechless. These are Christians, then? Christian sentiments? Michelle Obama IS American. She was born and raised here. She worked hard to get where she is. What is WRONG with you people? If anything, Michelle Obama has exhibited every trait Republicans insist Americans SHOULD exhibit: Hard work, dedication to her family and support of her husband. But because there’s a D after that husband’s name, she must be a “racially driven Communist”?

Conservatives, moderates, Fiscal Republicans, I have said it before, and I will say it again: It is time you took your party back. The nation needs the conservative party like a car needs a good set of brakes, to rein in the excesses of Dems. If you do not do this and do it soon, your party is doomed to be no longer the Grand Old Party, but God’s Own Party, fueled by hate and ignorance and directed by extremists like Sarah Palin. For the sake of all you hold dear… drop her and drop her now.

There’s “Reaching Across,” and Then There’s Pandering.

Alright, I realize I’m late getting here and we’ve likely blogged it to death, but I was hoping to discuss this rationally now that we’ve had a couple days to catch our breath and look at this objectively. By this, I am of course referring to Barack Obama’s recent decision to invite Rick Warren to perform the invocation at his inauguration. Let’s take a gander and see what we can see.

First off, as an atheist, I see no need for an invocation of god’s blessing at a state function. To me, it’s another glaring case of just how religion has imposed itself on our political system. But that’s just me personally. Objectively I can see that it’s part of the ceremony and expected, blah blah blah. Fine. I’m willing to make that concession for the time being. On to the meat.

Rick Warren. Mr. Obama is attempting to be reasonable in the face of the lashback but quite honestly, I think he’s over reaching on this one. He could have played it so much differently. He’s made it clear from his cabinet positions that he intends to listen to those who are best equipped to help the nation, regardless of the letter after their name. It was totally unnecessary to extend that invitation to Rick Warren. Forget for a moment what he stands for (because we WILL be coming back to it), and let us remember all those who supported Mr. O when he needed us. That, effectively, is the most glaring and obvious mistake in this whole issue. Not who he has chosen to include… but in so doing, who he has forgotten. The GLBT community is currently undergoing, collectively, its toughest challenge in the history of our country. It is the civil rights issue of our generation. This was an opportunity…a HUGE opportunity…to reach out and say “thank you” and “I recognize you.” Neither of which happened. For Rahm Emanuel, whom I admire, to come out and say “We’re going to have someone else friendly to the GLBT community do the benediction” felt like a placating gesture. A pat on the head. And in favor of what?

Rick Warren (I told you I’d get back to him). The man who has compared being gay to being a pedophile. Who has compared gay sex to bestiality. Called it a sickness. Campaigned and campaigned hard against women’s rights. This man has no place giving a “blessing.” I don’t care if he invited Obama to the christening of his first child. There is simply no excuse for him giving the invocation when there were so many other GLBT-friendly pastors who could have done as good a job.

Yuh, so this has turned out to be less than the rational, reasoned post I had hoped it to be. And yes, I thoroughly understand the choice. I just disagree with it. Because civil rights are not earned by being reasonable. Civil rights are not earned by rational discussion. Sadly, history shows us that the only way civil rights are earned in this country is by taking them and refusing to let go.

Joe Scarborough’s Domestic Terrorist Glass House

 

Joe Scarborough, for those of you who do not know, is the anchor of MSNBC’s morning television show “Morning Joe.” He is a former US Congressman, having represented the 1st district of the state of Florida in the House of Representatives, a fact he makes sure to insert into his program at least once a day (usually along the lines of “well, y’know, ‘Mika [MSNBC’s answer to Alan Colmes], when I was in office back in 1998, here’s how we did it…”).

Mr. Scarborough has gone a long way to furthering the concept that not only are Barack Obama and William Ayers any more than casual acquaintances who served together on a committee, but that William Ayers is STILL a terrorist (even though he performed one act, has paid his debt to society, and now tries to right that wrong by serving his community) and that Obama’s campaign “started in his living room.” And implying that Barack Obama, by that association, must be okay with terrorists. Mr. Scarborough, of all people, should know precisely why such misrepresentations are damaging to a career, and why members of the press should be called on those misrepresentations.

Just for fun, let’s use actual events from Mr. Scarborough’s life using the same spin he placed on the relationship between Sen. Obama and William Ayers.  Unlike Joe, I’ll actually follow up the sensationalism with facts and try to show why objectivity is necessary in reporting. Ready? Here we go:

I’ve recently received information that Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” has ties to domestic terrorists and religious extremists. Apparently, Mr. Scarborough helped Michael Griffin, a man who shot and killed a doctor at his clinic in full view of many innocent patients, to obtain an expensive attorney, then shielded Mr. Griffin’s family and downplayed the issue to the press. Of course, we don’t have all the details, so we probably shouldn’t be discussing this in depth, but doesn’t it speak to Mr. Scarborough’s character that he’s willing to protect a homicidal maniac who believes God told him to shoot doctors? Mr. Griffin is unrepentant about his crime.

While we’re on the subject of Mr. Scarborough’s character; what does it say that he left office just a few short months after being elected? That he essentially abandoned his constituency, pursued a divorce, divested himself of all the responsible positions he held, and then, amidst rumors of infidelity, one of his interns was found dead in his office?

28 year old Lori Klausutis, an intern in the congressman’s Florida office was found dead of a massive blow to the head by visitors to the congressman’s deserted office. Apparently, she’d been dead for some time, and Mr. Scarborough himself was in Washington at the time she was found.

Isn’t that salacious? Are you sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for the next juicy detail? Let’s compare that tell-all, celeb gossip style story to the actual facts.

Mr. Scarborough was a young civil law attorney when he was approached by Mr. Griffin’s family. He was unable to represent Michael Griffin, who was charged with (and eventually convicted of) shooting and killing a physician who performed abortions. The story can be found here (scroll down for story). Mr. Scarborough had a reputation for pro-life causes, and helped the family find an attorney for Michael and spoke with the press on their behalf pro bono (Most lawyers are required to do a certain number of pro bono hours).

Mr. Scarborough was elected to four terms in the House of Representatives. However, some months after his third re-election, he divorced his wife and retired from his seat, saying he wanted to spend more time with his children. The timing was considered dubious, as a clerk in his Florida Office, Lori Klausutis, 28, was found dead, and there had been rumors of infidelity. The matter was not considered sufficiently resolved by many, as there were questions about the head trauma Lori suffered which was (according to the coroner) caused by a coronary event, ending in her accidental death. Mr. Scarborough’s attitude toward the incident when speaking of it on Don Imus’ radio program sparked further internet furor.

There you have it. Two stories. The first (were it about any Democrat you’d care to name) would have Mr. Scarborough and any Republican howling for blood. The second was at least an attempt at objective reporting; something far too many at Fox News and Mr. Scarborough himself scoff off as “liberal media.”

Here’s what Mr. Scarborough, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and their slavish followers just don’t get: a story reported without bias (or with as little as possible) is necessary in journalism. The entire premise is to report the FACTS and allow people to make up their own minds. But for some reason, people want to be led. Joe Scarborough and reporters like him with their constant stream of innuendo and misinformation have killed journalistic integrity. Journalism is not about opinion. It’s about reporting the facts of the day’s events. And if Mr. Scarborough expects to consistently report his biased views as facts, perhaps he should be reminded of just what the press can do with a little skewed information.

Joe McCarthy Is Alive and Well and Reincarnated As A Representative From Minnesota

Representative Michele Bachmann allowed her mouth to run away with her good sense this last weekend. On Chris Matthews’ MSNBC show Hardball this past Friday, Rep. Bachmann called on the fourth estate to investigate members of Congress for “anti-American views.”

Let that sink in for a minute. Now wiki Joe McCarthy or McCarthy era if you’re not already familiar. Go ahead, we’ll wait for you.

…… lalalallalalalalaaaaaalalalaaaaa…oh! Hi! Back? Scared? Yeah, me, too.

This is the reason it is so very dangerous for Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin to NOT correct their supporters… hell, why it’s dangerous for Sen. McCain to not correct his RUNNING MATE!…. when shouts of “Terrorist!” and “Kill him!” and “Who is he really? are heard at his rallies. When the anonymous members of crowds feel safe to say such things in public without reprisal, it escalates. People feel comfortable asserting such things, even when they’re either not true or wildly dangerous.

A United States Representative actually endorsing a return to a time in which people were jailed, ruined publicly, forced to move their entire lives…not by a burden of proof, but rumor, innuendo and guilt by association.

Rep. Bachmann’s irresponsible comments both terrified and angered me more than I can say. How DARE this woman define what is and is not American with such a narrow scope? How dare she imply that anyone supporting Sen. Obama is un-American? I am embarrassed. I am saddened. I am shamed that anyone with such ignorance of one of the darkest chapters of our political history has been elected to represent a constituency in our national government. And I am deeply worried for my country; a place I love so much that I dedicated four years of my life to defending it so that we can all exercise our rights.

There is no place… no city, no town, no burg… “less American” than any other place. We ALL love our country. We are all proud of our country. We all want a better place for our children. To imply otherwise is no more than reinforcing the trench that was dug 8 years ago and has not been healed since.

I strongly encourage everyone reading to sign the petition to censure Rep. Bachmann.