Associated Press censors itself

Apparently, right-wing pressure has caused the Associated Press to remove a picture from its library. Read Conservative values: opportunism and cowardice. Because we mustn’t offend anyone! The picture is a work of art exploring the edges of sacrilege. Sorry, people, this is the real world. You do not have a right to remain comfortably unchallenged at all times.

So in case you’re wondering what it looks like, the golden image of Immersion (Piss Christ) is here.

A crucifix with Christ on the cross in a golden glow from the urine he's submerged in

Piss Christ by Andres Serrano (1987)

The image is from Wikipedia, which has a discussion of the picture and its provocative title.

Lesbian families are better for children

I should have mentioned this research before, but Rick “Frothy Feces” Santorum has motivated me by claiming the lie that a gay father is worse for children than a father in prison. Hasn’t he seen the studies? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that same-sex marriage be legalized for the good of the children. He should read the long-term research study showing that children of lesbian households are better adjusted (possible confounding factors: planned pregnancies, lots of joint custody) than of mixed-sex households, with superior marks, self-esteem, and behaviour. Then he should read the study that reported ZERO INCIDENCE of child abuse in lesbian households—if he does read, that is.

Furthermore, same-sex marriages are no worse for children than mixed-sex marriages. From the paper by the American Academy of Pediatrics comes a virtual roll call of America’s psychiatric associations endorsing gay adoption, gay civil unions, and gay marriage:

  • A growing body of scientific literature demonstrates that children who grow up with 1 or 2 gay and/or lesbian parents fare as well in emotional, cognitive, social, and sexual functioning as do children whose parents are heterosexual. —American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, 2002
  • Children who are born to or adopted by 1 member of a same-sex couple deserve the security of 2 legally recognized parents. —American Academy of Pediatrics, 2002
  • The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) “encourages the adoption of laws that recognize inheritance, insurance, same-sex marriage, child custody, property, and other relationship rights for lesbians, gay, and bisexual people. NASW supports the adoption of local, state, federal and international policies/legislation that protect the rights and well-being of the children of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people.” (2005)
  • The American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates overwhelmingly endorsed a policy that calls on the AMA to “support legislation and other efforts to allow adoption of a child by the same-sex partner or an opposite-sex non-married partner who functions as a second parent or co-parent to that child.” (2005)
  • The American Psychological Association (APA) adopted resolutions stating that “the APA believes that it is unfair and discriminatory to deny same-sex couples legal access to civil marriage and to all its attendant benefits, rights, and privileges … and shall take a leadership role in opposing all discrimination in legal benefits, rights, and privileges against same-sex couples.” (2005)
  • The American Academy of Family Physicians’ Congress of Delegates agreed to “establish policy and be supportive of legislation which promotes a safe and nurturing environment, including psychological and legal security, for all children, including those of adoptive parents, regardless of the parents’ sexual orientation.” (2006)
  • The American Psychoanalytic Association position states, “Accumulated evidence suggests the best interest of the child requires attachment to committed, nurturing and competent parents. Evaluation of an individual or couple for these parental qualities should be determined without prejudice regarding sexual orientation. Gay and lesbian individuals and couples are capable of meeting the best interest of the child and should be afforded the same rights and should accept the same responsibilities as heterosexual parents.” (2006)
  • There is no evidence to suggest or support that parents with a gay, lesbian, or bisexual orientation are per se different from or deficient in parenting skills, child-centered concerns and parent-child attachments, when compared with parents with a heterosexual orientation. It has long been established that a homosexual orientation is not related to psychopathology, and there is no basis on which to assume that a parental homosexual orientation will increase likelihood of or induce a homosexual orientation in the child. Outcome studies of children raised by parents with a homosexual or bisexual orientation, when compared with heterosexual parents, show no greater degree of instability in the parental relationship or developmental dysfunction in children. The AACAP opposes any discrimination based on sexual orientation against individuals in regard to their rights as custodial or adoptive parents.” —American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP)

Downtown Denver Aquarium


I had the opportunity to visit the Downtown Denver Aquarium, which was a lovely experience. It has about ten different ‘ecology’ areas, which gives it a lot of variety. Walking through the aquarium may give you an appetite for the seafood restaurant at the exit.

The illusion of balance

Mike Lofgren, from “Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative who left the cult

Ever since the bifurcation of electronic media into a more or less respectable “hard news” segment and a rabidly ideological talk radio and cable TV political propaganda arm, the “respectable” media have been terrified of any criticism for perceived bias. Hence, they hew to the practice of false evenhandedness. Paul Krugman has skewered this tactic as being the “centrist cop-out.” “I joked long ago,” he says, “that if one party declared that the earth was flat, the headlines would read ‘Views Differ on Shape of Planet.'”

This constant drizzle of “there the two parties go again!” stories out of the news bureaus, combined with the hazy confusion of low-information voters, means that the long-term Republican strategy of undermining confidence in our democratic institutions has reaped electoral dividends. The United States has nearly the lowest voter participation among Western democracies; this, again, is a consequence of the decline of trust in government institutions – if government is a racket and both parties are the same, why vote? And if the uninvolved middle declines to vote, it increases the electoral clout of a minority that is constantly being whipped into a lather by three hours daily of Rush Limbaugh or Fox News. There were only 44 million Republican voters in the 2010 mid-term elections, but they effectively canceled the political results of the election of President Obama by 69 million voters.

Rogue party

John P. Judis sums up the modern GOP this way:

“Over the last four decades, the Republican Party has transformed from a loyal opposition into an insurrectionary party that flouts the law when it is in the majority and threatens disorder when it is the minority. It is the party of Watergate and Iran-Contra, but also of the government shutdown in 1995 and the impeachment trial of 1999. If there is an earlier American precedent for today’s Republican Party, it is the antebellum Southern Democrats of John Calhoun who threatened to nullify, or disregard, federal legislation they objected to and who later led the fight to secede from the union over slavery.”

See “Goodbye to all that: reflections of a GOP operative who left the cult.”

Ronald Reagan

Christopher Hitchens on Ronald Reagan:

He should certainly have been impeached and removed from office over the Iran-Contra racket, in which he was exposed as the president of a secret and illegal government, financed with an anti-constitutional hostage-trading and arms-dealing budget, as well as of the ostensibly legitimate one. … Even now I can easily remember the things that outraged me: his easy manner when lying and his sometimes breathtakingly reactionary views. These extended from the whitewashing of the SS graves at Bitburg to his opinion that Americans fighting for the Spanish Republic had been on the “wrong” side, to his discovery that apartheid South Africa had always been an ally of the United States. Then there was the abject scuttle from Lebanon and the underhanded way in which Reagan tried to blame it on the Democrats. Perhaps worst of all was an apparent fusion of two things: his indulgence of fundamentalist and millennial priestly crooks like Jerry Falwell and his seeming flippancy about nuclear war. He once maintained that intercontinental missiles could be recalled after being launched, made on-air jokes about blasting the Soviet Union, and fatuously intoned “May the Force be with you” after announcing his plan for a Strategic Defense Initiative, or “Star Wars.” The coincidence between his superstitious interest in “End Times” theology and his insouciance about nuclear matters seemed dire in the extreme. And then there was Alexander Haig as secretary of state, and Oliver North as confidant.…

The trouble with theocracies

It’s a convenience for governments to be conflated with their deity’s representatives on earth, as it lends authority to their every pronouncement. However, it’s a darned inconvenience to the Loyal Opposition: Iranian Conservative representatives call for death of opposition leaders.

Some 50 conservative MPs marched through parliament’s main hall on Tuesday, chanting “Death to Mousavi, death to Karroubi”, shown on state TV.

Mr. Mousabi, Mr. Karroubi

The article lead says

Members of Iran’s parliament have called for opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi to be tried and executed.

Further down,

n a statement carried by the official IRNA news agency, conservative parliamentarians said: “Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi are corrupts on earth and should be tried.” The charge “corrupt on earth” has been levelled at political dissidents in the past and carries the death penalty in Iran.

Guys? This is not how democracy is done.

What’s up with Egypt?

The Sri Lanka Guardian has a summary of recent statements:” Egyptians want rule of law in Islamic democracy.”

The following extracts from two statements issued by Dr.Mohamed Badie, Chairman of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (MB), on the protest demonstrations since January 25,2011 and from some commentaries on the developments carried by the web site of the MB give an indication of how it views the mass protests and what would be its role in a post-Hosni-Mubarak era. The MB projects the mass uprising as a people’s revolution and not an Islamic revolution. It describes the objective of the people’s revolution as a rule of law in an Islamic democracy and not a rule by clerics in a theocracy. It seeks to assure the American people that they have nothing to fear from the success of the revolution. While expressing its readiness to participate in talks to bring about the end of the Mubarak regime, it says it has no desire for political power for itself. It does not want to contest in the elections for a new President. Nor is it interested in joining any interim political set-up. The only demand of a religious nature it makes is that the clerics should have a role in vetting all laws to be passed by the Parliament. It says that what Egypt needs is democracy moulded by historic and sacred values. It points out that the religious faith of the people always plays a role in popular movements even in the US and says one should not worry about any role of the religious faith of the people in the Egyptian revolution.

Read more.

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