Open thread

The Blend is rated NC-17 — really now? According to The Blog Rater, the humble coffeehouse is full of potty-mouth conversation.

At least we don’t have to feel alone; Queerty also made the illicit grade.

Actually, a whole lot of LGBT blogs fell into this category; Matt Hill Comer (of IQN and InterstateQ.com) fed the URLs of well-known LGBT and anti-LGBT blogs into the hopper and found it spit out NC-17s because the words “gay” or “lesbian” were used in great frequency — that earned major demerits at Blog Rater. A sampling:

Pam’s House Blend – www.pamshouseblend.com
LGBT blog, news, commentary
Rating: NC-17
For: gay (17x) lesbian (9x) gays (6x) drugs (2x) abortion (1x)

InterstateQ.com – www.interstateq.com
LGBT youth-oriented political & activism news & commentary
Rating: NC-17
For: gay (68x) lesbian (29x) gays (6x) queer (3x) pain (2x) hurt (1x)

Towleroad – www.towleroad.com
LGBT blog, news, commentary
Rating: NC-17
For: gay (43x) sex (7x) lesbian (5x) dick (2x) suicide (1x)

American Family Association – www.afa.net
Anti-LGBT advocacy organization
Rating: G
For: gay (1x)

Exodus International – www.exodus-international.org/
So-called “ex-gay” organization “freeing” people “from homosexuality”
Rating: G
For: gays (1x)

Family Research Council – www.frc.org
Anti-LGBT research organization/advocacy group/think-tank
Rating: PG
For: abortion (2x) pain (1x)

Blender Scott also noted that The Peter’s little effort, Americans for Truth Against Homosexuality managed an NC-17 [gay (34x, lesbian (5x), gays (4x), drugs (2x)]. It deserves that rating alone for frequent mentions of “anal” and “fisting” and goodness knows all the other things (in the name of “educating” his readership).

What do some of your blogs (or blogs you read) rate?

***

More fun — while I was at InterstateQ, Matt had up his results of a Blog Addiction level test (scoring a 92%).

I took it:

72%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

If I blogged any more than I do now I would have no life!

***

Some inside baseball party politics kind of news:
In May it was learned that the former director of the Democratic National Committee’s Gay and Lesbian Leadership Council, Donald Hitchcock, filed a lawsuit against the party, Howard Dean and others for discrimination.

Hitchcock’s lawsuit cites termination of employment by the DNC based on his partner Paul Yandura’s public criticism of the party in a letter regarding a lack of action to stem the tide of anti-gay marriage amendments (the letter went to big Democratic donors and called for them to shut their wallets). Howard Dean responded that it was poor job performance that was responsible for Hitchcock’s dismissal.

The Advocate has an exclusive interview with Donald Hitchcock that you should check out. (more…)

Massachusetts Bar Applicant Suing State for “Unlawful” Question about Same-Sex Marriage

From Law.com:

A Massachusetts bar examination applicant who claims he failed the test because he didn’t answer a question about homosexual marriage and parenting is suing the test administration agency, the state Supreme Judicial Court and four individual justices for constitutional violations. . . .

Dunne claims his score of 268.866 on the November 2006 bar exam just missed the passing score of 270 points because he didn’t follow the proscribed format for an unlawful question about gay marriage. Dunne said the question required applicants to “affirmatively accept, support and promote homosexual marriage and homosexual parenting.” Dunne claims the defendants violated his First Amendment right to exercise his religion and violated the due process and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution. He also claims their actions impose illegal state regulations on interstate commerce.

Newsflash: Same-sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts. How on earth is it illegal to have a question on the bar exam about it? Looks like all the people and agencies involved are locked down in “no comment” mode. I will note, however, that it’s rather depressing the National Law Journal (original source of the news) still says “homosexual marriage.” (more…)

Late Nite FDL: Chief Justice Charlie Daniels

Daniels, Roberts. John, Charlie. Shoot, they all sound like first names to me. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the pre-1865 mindset:

If I were a high school teacher and young Johnny Roberts wrote this on an exam on civil rights history, I would give him an “F.” The idea that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court could cough up such a ludicrous hairball is evidence of a nation gone mad with amnesia. Or, if you prefer, a conservative intellectual class that knows the history full well, and has simply let itself lie.

Do educated people really need this explained to them? It wasn’t merely “before Brown” that “schoolchildren were told where they could and could not go to school based on their color of their skin.” It was long, long after the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka – for the next seventeen years at least.

Be proud you a rebel, white boy. And when ya know ya gotta, jes’ make shit up or ignore reality:

Two years after that, fourteen years after Brown, the vast, vast majority of Southern school districts still told schoolchildren where they could and could not go to school based on the color of their skin. How did we know? The federal government counted.

[snip]

How did the South respond? In the same manner as a criminal, told to halt by police, but simply ran as fast as he could in the other direction. How did we know they weren’t following the law? The federal government counted.

Numbers, eh? Sounds like that newfangled math (emphasis added, below).

And thus – pay attention, Justice Roberts – seventeen years after the Supreme Court made it the law of the land , for the first time it became difficult, as a practical matter, to tell schoolchildren where they could and could not go to school based on the color of their skin. Civil rights attorneys, and the federal government, devised mechanisms to try to assure it couldn’t happen again These required – obviously – counting how many blacks and how many whites attended various schools.

Which is what Justice Roberts just outlawed. We can’t count any more. “The school districts in these cases have not carried the heavy burden of demonstrating that we should allow this once again–even for very different reasons.”

Because counting is racist. Note the assumption, as false as the claim that the sun rises in the west, that Americans only counted how many children of each race attended certain schools before the 1954 decision, and only then to make sure no blacks attended white schools. And that, after that, the counting stopped.

Alrighty, then. SCOTUS says counting isn’t allowed anymore. I’m sure that’s comforting to these folks. Strange fruit, eh? But I know some numbers we should be counting. Let’s start with. . . some names: (more…)

Taliban Taking Over Pakistan

Well, that’s probably hyperbole. But it does seem like things in Pakistan are getting pretty dire. So says a Pakistani report put together by its Interior Ministry, providing ominous warnings about the increasing power of the Taliban in the country.

The Pakistani president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, was warned this month that Islamic militants and Talibanfighters were rapidly spreading beyond the country’s lawless tribalareas and that without “swift and decisive action,” the growingmilitancy could engulf the rest of the country. [my emphasis]

The report provides details–including some that pose significant risk to American troops in Afghanistan.

The mention of lesser-known but potent Taliban figures by nameshows that the Pakistani government is aware of the far-reachingtentacles of the Taliban and other extremists but cannot do anythingabout them or chooses not to do anything, the Western diplomat said.

Among the particulars, the document says the Taliban have recentlybegun bombing oil tank trucks that pass through the Khyber area nearthe border on their way to Afghanistan for United States and NATO forces.

I’m particularly curious about the politics behind the report. The Interior Ministry, after all, is led by a guy who almost got killed by militants several months ago.

Mitt humped the Iowa fundies today

Multiple Choice Desperate Mitt, with campaign cash flow slowing down so much that he’s filled the kitty from his bank account, is trying again to cuddle up to the fundies in Iowa at a candidate forum today. It is sponsored by the Iowa Christian Alliance (read the live blog of the event at Iowa Independent now).

The Iowa Christian Alliance is looking for someone to carry the homohating torch and defend traditional marriage; he noted that the social fringe conservatives are pissed at Bush for not doing folllow through on his promise to strongly support traditional marriage a federal amendment.

“Bush makes a nice little speech once a year talking about the need for a federal amendment,” Scheffler told ABC News, “but he doesn’t expend any political energy for it.”

Mitt and fellow riders in the GOP clown car — Sam Brownback, Tommy Thompson, Mike Huckabee,  Tom Tancredo and and Duncan Hunter will spout off about marriage at the event. [McCain and Giuliani are taking a pass at this particular debate.]

Read Iowa Independent’s Ben Weyl live blog on Romney’s appearance after the jump. (more…)

Make the Repubicans Own Their Quagmire

lott.jpgRobert Borosage from Campaign for America’s Future wonders at how successful the Senate Republican minority is at being obstructionist:

Conservatives boast about the “success” of their strategy in discrediting the new majority. As Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott, R-Miss., put it, “the strategy of being obstructionist can work or fail. So far it’s working for us.”

How is it working? It’s dragging the reputation of the Congress down to the level of the failed president. Conservatives lie in the road of progress and then complain that nothing is moving.

This values partisan posturing over reforms vital to the country. It must be challenged.

It’s time to take the gloves off.

The first step is to expose the obstruction to the American people. Let’s urge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to force a real filibuster. Keep the bills on the floor and force vote after vote, exposing the obstructionists. We’ll organize in states across the country to insure that their constituents know exactly who is standing in the way of progress.

Campaign for America’s Future is creating a petition to Reid, urging him to expose the obstructionists. Please join the petition. Let’s insure that Americans are clear on who is pushing for change and who is standing (more…)

The Silence Surrounding Novak’s Testimony

This post follows on my wildarsed guess that one of the things that appears in the two-page gap is discussion of Libby’s and Novak’s super-secret July 9 meeting. I’d like to point out–and speculate on–several weird bits in Novak’s trial testimony. Full credit: Jeff Lomonaco identified several of these in a conversation with me, but I happen to know he’s at an undisclosed location with crappy Toobz access, so I’m going to run with it and he’ll just have to call in any comments!! Jeff and I have discussed some of these at some length, but I think they make more sense if, indeed, the Libby-Novak meeting is mentioned in the two-page gap.

To make it up to Jeff, here’s a link to his book, from which I’m transcribing these bits.

Fitzgerald Objects

The first weird bit is a successful objection Fitzgerald makes when Wells tries to get Novak to say he testified–before the grand jury–that Libby hadn’t told Libby anything about Plame. Ted Wells is trying to establish that Novak testified willingly at alltimes, including about his conversation with Libby. Novak has just laidout how he agreed to discuss Armitage, Rove, and Harlow in an interviewafter the prosecutors brought waivers from those three people. ThenWells moves to Rove’s grand jury testimony:

Wells: I’ll show you a copy of your Grand Jury testimony, dated February 25–

Fitzgerald: We’ll stipulate to the date, February 25, 2004.

Walton: Very well.

Now, reading this with some distance, it appears that Fitzgerald istrying to prevent Wells from handing Novak his grand jury testimony. Iseem to recall, though, that this exchange was a response to Novak’searlier (in his discussion of the interviews with Fitzgerald) claim tohave forgotten dates, so it may be entirely innocuous.

A Wish For America

Statue of LibertyI’m not American. I’m Canadian.

So it’s odd then that I write so much about America and I care so much about what happens in America. Part of it is practicality – Canada is a US client state and American politics affect Canadians. When you throw away your freedoms, ours will soon follow (our government just launched its own “no-fly list”, for example and after you put out the Patriot Act we put out our own version.)

But part of it is just that I care about America and the American experiment.

Those of us who didn’t grow up in America, but under the sway of America’s media, imbibed a very pure form of the American mythos and civic religion. The American Civil Religion, with it’s secular saints such as Jefferson, Hamilton and Washington and it’s written Constitutional scripture is also a source of wonderment. Canada has no equivalent, no deep sense of history, no touchstone that is written back to to justify the present. Those words of your founders, those words that resound through history are words that inspire men and women who have never seen America and never will.

The Declaration of Independence spoke to all humans, with its assertion that all men are created equal and have unalienable rights. The US system of government, with its checks and balances, seemed unique and able to take shocks that might topple other democratic forms of government.

(more…)

Kontogiannis’ Seal

Laura asks why the government (and Kontogiannis, in a filing submitted yesterday) would fight to continue to seal the transcripts from his four hearings before Judge Larry Burns.

In an unusual step, Kontogiannis’ guilty plea was done in a secret,closed hearing. The plea agreement was unsealed earlier this month, andlast week Burns ordered that transcripts of four hearings related tothe plea also be made public.

Federal prosecutors objected in motions filed under seal lastweek. Yesterday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal ordered thedocuments to remain secret and scheduled a hearing for the week of Aug.6.

Now the government is making an argument that these transcripts include classified information–an argument they apparently haven’t made before.

At a hearing in federal court in San Diego yesterday, Burnssaid that the government invoked federal laws dealing with classifiedinformation in their papers filed last week.

He said that when the secret hearings took place four monthsago, prosecutors knew that the information would become openeventually, and did not object then.

The judge appeared irked that the government was now objecting to theinformation becoming public and was raising the issue of classifiedinformation “for the first time ever.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Forge said government lawyersdecided after the hearings that they wanted more information keptsecret than they first believed was necessary.

Without going into details, Forge told Burns “the scope of theinformation the government viewed as non-disclosable turned out to bebroader” than they originally thought.

Meanwhile, John Michael’s lawyer suggests this is something more than an effort to keep classified information sealed.