Thursday, July 09, 2009
The federal Defense of Marriage Act interferes with the right of Massachusetts to define and regulate marriage as it sees fit, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said. The 1996 law denies federal recognition of gay marriage and gives states the right to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Boston, argues the act "constitutes an overreaching and discriminatory federal law." It says the approximately 16,000 same-sex couples who have married in Massachusetts since the state began performing gay marriages in 2004 are being unfairly denied federal benefits given to heterosexual couples.
Besides Massachusetts, five other states _ Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Iowa _ have legalized gay marriage. Gay marriage opponents in Maine said Wednesday that they had collected enough signatures to put the state's new law on the November ballot for a possible override.
The Massachusetts lawsuit challenges the section of the federal law that creates a federal definition of marriage as "a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife."
Before the law was passed, Coakley said, the federal government recognized that defining marital status was the "exclusive prerogative of the states." Now, because of the U.S. law's definition of marriage, same-sex couples are denied access to benefits given to heterosexual married couples, including federal income tax credits, employment benefits, retirement benefits, health insurance coverage and Social Security payments, the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit also argues that the federal law requires the state to violate the constitutional rights of its citizens by treating married heterosexual couples and married same-sex couples differently when determining eligibility for Medicaid benefits and when determining whether the spouse of a veteran can be buried in a Massachusetts veterans' cemetery.
"In enacting DOMA, Congress overstepped its authority, undermined states' efforts to recognize marriages between same-sex couples, and codified an animus towards gay and lesbian people," the lawsuit states.
Crusader for Moral Values, Former DC Mayor Marion "Crack" Barry Stalking Girlfriend For Not Giving Him Oral Sex (With Voicemails!!)
Sweet sassy molassey! Mike DeBonis of the Washington City Paper has WON THE AFTERNOON with this epic slice of awesomeness, in which he reveals many lengthy voicemails that former D.C. Mayor/current D.C. Councilmember Marion Barry left for his paramour-slash-Independence Day stalking victim, and they are a magical delight in these troubled times.
If you missed this story, over the holiday weekend, Barry was picked up by the U.S. Park Police, who are tasked with protecting residents and guests of the District of Columbia from Barry at all times. Barry was cited for misdemeanor stalking, after the police were called to the scene by his stalkee, political consultant and Barry ex-girlfriend Donna Watts-Brighthaupt. According to reports, Barry had hoped to "cross the sex line" with Watts-Brighthaupt on a trip to Rehoboth Beach, which is Washington, DC's version of Argentina.
DeBonis has fantastic details of the Barry/Watts-Brighthaupt relationship, and the ebbs and flows of their zany passions for one another:Throughout, the telenovela dynamic was constant, with the two regularly fighting, only to make up within days or hours, sometimes minutes. The tussles happened in private and in public -- in an incident recounted to LL by an independent source, a verbal scuffle between the two in Vegas erupted into blows, right in the lobby of the Paris hotel. "She told me she put a shellacking on him," [ex-husband Delonta] Brighthaupt says.
Go here, with all deliberate haste, to enjoy these vocal samples that will all hopefully find their way onto Wale's next mixtape. DeBonis thoughtfully provides transcripts, which, I'm sure you will agree, force all of us to revisit the soulful and poetic love-notes of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, who clearly should be respected for the relative restraint he showed while deploying his stimulus package. While they are all sublime, this clip is going to be everyone's personal favorite:Recorded argument between Watts-Brighthaupt and Barry: Watts-Brighthaupt: Why you saying he fuck me like you did?...Why you sayin' he has my credit fucked up, and you know. I think you telling your friends, sayin' I want a man who fucked me up, fucked my credit up, got me to lose my house and she keep goin' back to that man...You want me to think I'm crazy...All I'm trying to saying is I forgive. You put me out in Denver cause I wouldn't suck your dick. You put me out in Denver! You made me have to fuck your ass up in the middle of a [unintelligible]. We were like fuckin' Tina and Ike Turner. And I forgive. Alright you just wastin my damn time?...I can't believe this....you always... you don't think about other people's time. You're inconsiderate...
Another disappointing week at the organic farm. Remember that we are paying an average of $23/week for this.
According to the Cape Cod Organic Farm's web site:
A $500 summer membership provides a family of four with a weekly box of vegetables picked as they ripen throughout the season. Box pick-up is every Thursday from 10-5 at the farm stand and each box is topped with a pretty bouquet of freshly cut flowers. As of September, each box will include a dozen farm fresh eggs! The summer CSA season runs from June 18th -November 19th
This week: 1 small head bok choy, 10 leaves of swiss chard, 1 softball-sized head of cauliflower, a bag of salad greens, and a small bunch of flowers.
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
"Our Bess" has decided to send a letter of support to a group calling itself "The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (She is, after all the Supreme "Governor" (used to be Head) of the Church of England) meeting in "Old Blighty" this week. According to The Times:
She told the heads of the traditionalist group, formed in response to the liberal direction of some parts of the Anglican Communion, that she “understood their concerns” about the future of the 80 million-strong global church.
The Queen, who is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, has also wished them well with today’s launch in London of a new alliance of evangelical and Anglo-Catholic parishes in Britain and Ireland.
One leading evangelical said: “We found the letters very supportive.”
Her intervention will surprise many because the group, called the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, is feared by some to be a divisive force and one of its senior figures was this weekend accused of being homophobic.
As The Sunday Telegraph disclosed, the Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, called on homosexuals to repent. He said the Church of England must stick to the Biblical teaching that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.
“We want to hold on to the traditional teaching of the Church. We don’t want to be rolled over by culture and trends in the Church,” said the bishop, one of the most senior religious figures in England.
In response, Peter Tatchell, the veteran gay rights campaigner, said last night: “Homophobia is a social and moral evil, just like racism. Bigotry, even in the guise of religion, has no place in a compassionate, caring society.
“I call on the Bishop to repent his homophobia. His prejudice goes against Christ’s gospel of love and compassion.”
I think the old girl has finally lost her marbles like her mother did as she sailed way past retirement age. Or perhaps she has taken to hitting the bottle like her "Mum" did. At any rate I think she's making a big mistake.
The first two times Jason brought his truck in to his local Toyota dealership for service, he noticed that someone had taken quarters from his change compartment. He complained both times, but was ignored. So the third time he brought his truck in, he placed a video camera on the passenger side. The dealership didn't ignore him this time.
Jason was originally only concerned about the missing quarters, but his camera also captured Hampton Toyota employees sifting through his medication, using racial slurs, and watching porn in Jason's truck. Jason emailed us a copy of the letter he sent the owner of Hampton Toyota.
Dear Mark Hampton:
I am writing to you as an unsatisfied customer. I think the DVD enclosed will speak for itself. First, a little history about my experience with your dealership.
I purchased my truck, brand new from your dealership, in June 2007. I brought my truck in for the first 5,000-mile service/oil change. Upon picking up my truck I noticed over $10 worth of quarters were stolen from the driver's side door compartment. I complained and even mailed a personal letter to the dealership, addressed to the general manager. I never received a reply, or an apology.
The second time I brought my truck in was in December 2007, for my 10,000-mile service. I took note of the amount of quarters in that same compartment. Upon picking up my truck, I noticed that half of them were stolen. I immediately complained to the service department. I was told the manager was in a meeting and would contact me. He did not return my call, and I was able to speak with him after calling several times.
I also informed my salesman, by letter, after he sent a follow-up letter asking how I was enjoying my truck. I explained both of these situations, yet never heard back from anyone.
In June 2008, I decided to use Hampton Toyota to get my truck serviced again. I previously used dealerships out of Lafayette, but I was tired of the drive and inconvenience of driving to Opelousas or New Iberia. After all, I was not in the wrong. This time I decided to take action to prove the theft. I placed a small digital video camera, clearly visible, in the passenger side inside door handle compartment. Upon me arriving I hit record to see what would happen. I also inventoried everything in my truck, specifically the amount of money inside. The result is on the DVD enclosed. On this DVD you will find the following:
1. The first person to touch my truck was the service manager, Mike (see DVD video #1 "Mike the Service Manager"). He opens my door, puts my keys in the ignition, writes down my mileage, and then removes the keys. Next, he takes a notice in my keys. I keep a red pill vial, used for hikers, on my key chain. I keep personal medication in it for emergencies. He then unscrews the vial, looks inside and smells the vial. Next, he pours them into his hand and inspects them. He then puts them back in the vial and then licks the pill dust from his hand. He then screws the vial back together, replaces the keys, and then writes down the VIN number from the door sticker. Before closing the door, he checks the door compartment where my previous thefts occurred. He closes it without taking anything. He then returns to the vehicle, opens then compartment and proceeds to remove quarters (3 of the 6, totaling $0.75). He then inspects the other contents of the compartment, closes it, and then inspects the bottom door compartment before closing my door.
2. The second person to appear is the unnamed service male (see DVD video #2 "Oil Change Guy"). Upon entering my truck, he places it in reverse and says "ole stupid nigger, back the fuck up." Apparently someone was behind him and he could not back up. He then proceeds to drive my truck around the dealership and into the service garage. Immediately after placing the truck in park, he opens the astray, which contains pennies, nickels and dimes, and visually inspects the contents. Next, he lowers the center seat console, which was raised, and inspects the first compartment. He then opens the second compartment, takes out my CDs and inspects the compartment. He returns the center seat console to the upright position. Next, he inspects the contents of the glove compartment and the compartment above it. He is seen pulling out a personal bag from the compartment to inspect it. He then rolls down the window and inspects the door compartment, which Mike the Service Manager previously stole money from. He drops a small flashlight, which was in the compartment and picks it up off the floor. He then inspects the bottom compartment located in the door.
3. The third guy is the computer technician. He connects the laptop to my truck, located under the steering wheel, and begins working on the laptop. At approximately 3:27 into the video, a male and female voice, is heard coming from the laptop. The audio from the laptop plays the following:
MALE: "I'm sitting here with Violet. How are you today Violet?"
FEMALE: "Pretty good."
MALE: "You doing pretty good?"
MALE: "So you're gonna do some modeling for us today, huh?"
MALE: "Yeah, nice. So I see you're wearing a little see-through top. Not bad, nice. A little skirt."
This audio, which is coming from the laptop, is obviously some type of pornographic video due to the language and context in which it was spoken, which is being accessed using the company's laptop.
I have been deciding what to do with this video footage. I would hate for it to go to waste; therefore I have decided to make it available to you. This is not the first time my encounters of theft has been reported. I have complained in person and in writing, yet nothing has been done.
My next course of action is to make it available to the media outlets in Acadiana. Both the local newspapers and TV stations will receive the same DVD and letter I am providing to you. I have already reported this to Toyota, Inc. and am waiting for the southern region representative to contact me regarding this.
Everyone always wonders if the workers dig through personal belongings. I think this DVD not only answers that question, but proves it happens multiple times. Could it be a coincidence that this happened only to me three times?
In closing, I hope you and your management staff find some way to address this with your employees. Customer satisfaction is crucial, especially in slow times like these. I know other customers feel the same, as your Better Business Bureau rating is an F, as verified using the bbb.org website. However, I feel my video will speak more than their report could ever do.
Soon after Jason sent the letter, the owner fired all three employees and the service manager who had ignored Jason's complaint, personally apologized to Jason, and extended the warranty on Jason's truck.Jason has taken the videos off of YouTube after the dealership resolved his situation, but he said we can post a couple clips he sent us. Here's the repairman snooping through Jason's pill container:
In a column in Seattle's "The Stranger", Domenic Holden gives us a thumbnail sketch of the four men who are leading the Referendum 71 fight. Let's see what Domenic has to say:
They've introduced bigoted legislation, filed referendums, held rallies, and raised money—but they've never gotten around to explaining how gay couples actually hurt their marriages. They've also allegedly done things like failed to pay taxes, raised rents on the elderly, and beaten their wives. They say their battle is a righteous one, but these four crusaders are short on righteousness and long on catacombs in the closet.
GARY RANDALL, a former televangelist, is a cofounder and board member of Protect Marriage Washington, the group trying to repeal Washington's new domestic-partnership bill by putting it up to a public vote with Referendum 71. He's also the president of Faith and Freedom—technically three groups: Faith and Freedom Foundation, Faith and Freedom PAC, and Faith and Freedom Network—which campaigned in 2006 against Washington's antidiscrimination bill to protect gay people from hate crimes. Randall owns a house in Oregon and is registered to vote there, so he doesn't really have a stake in Washington laws.
IN HIS CLOSET: In the week between May 21 and May 28, Randall asked his blog readers to donate to the referendum four times. But he didn't ask them to donate to the organization running the referendum, Protect Marriage Washington; he asked his flock to donate to his own personal organization, the Faith and Freedom PAC. The Faith and Freedom umbrella has been a successful fundraising machine for Randall and has paid him handsomely—$53,877 in 2006 for an average of only 15 hours of work a week, for example—but public records indicate he hasn't been keeping up with income taxes. He owes at least $38,491.63, which includes a $2,479.04 Oregon tax debt from 1991, according to the Clackamas County Clerk's Office, as well as two federal tax liens the IRS filed against him in 1990 and another in 2008. Asked by The Stranger to explain the glut of unpaid taxes, Randall hung up the phone.
JOE FUITEN used to be tight with Gary Randall, but he opted out of Randall's campaign for Referendum 71, predicting that voters would uphold the domestic-partnership bill. "When Israel decided to enter the Promised Land without God's blessing, they were soundly defeated," Fuiten, the pastor of Cedar Park Church in Bothell, wrote to supporters. "If I felt that God was telling us to go ahead, I would do it in a heartbeat." Instead, Fuiten proposes running an initiative in 2010 to repeal partnership rights for gay couples. He described same-sex marriage as "anarchy" to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 2004. "In the biblical law, homosexuality is always condemned," he said.
IN HIS CLOSET: But how does biblical law apply to housing the elderly and poor? For decades, Cedar Springs Camp in Lake Stevens provided low-cost housing, renting houses for no more than $150 per month to retired missionaries and church folk—until Fuiten's church bought the Bible camp and jacked rents by 83 percent. Horsesass.org, which broke the story, put it in 2006: "Fuiten... took control of its board by assuming $150,000 of debt, promising to run the camp without major changes... But avarice knows no bounds, and Fuiten has methodically set out to evict the camp's small residential community...") The church denied the allegations. "They thought they could embarrass me into giving them everything they wanted just by suing me," Fuiten told The Stranger. The dispute was settled out of court this February. Fuiten thinks coverage of the dispute has been "biased."
LARRY STICKNEY grasps the value of marriage. He has been married three times (and divorced twice) since the 1980s. He cofounded Protect Marriage Washington with Randall, and he's the one who filed the referendum.
IN HIS CLOSET: Kitsap County Superior Court records show that, in 1994, it was Stickney's wife who needed protecting. His then-wife Cheryl alleged that he "badly injured" her twice, breaking her eardrum and injuring her jaw so seriously she thought it was broken. She also alleged that after they separated, "He's come over several times when I wasn't home and stolen and destroyed things belonging to my son and myself." A superior court judge issued a restraining order against him. Stickney didn't return calls from The Stranger asking about these records, but on his website he contends that preventing gay people from marrying is necessary because "the happiness and well-being of both the parents and the children are best served by the family unit."
MATT SHEA, a 34-year-old Republican state representative from Spokane, who is a board member of Protect Marriage Washington, wasted no time introducing legislation in his first term early this winter: He sponsored a bill to ban Washington from recognizing same-sex marriages. "Like you, I am concerned that Washington could become a destination state for those who cohabitate without the benefit of marriage," Shea wrote in a letter to his constituents. His bill died without a hearing. Nonetheless, he plodded on. "I will oppose efforts in the legislature to dilute traditional marriage," he wrote.
IN HIS CLOSET: Wasn't it Shea's own traditional marriage that was, uh, diluted when he and his wife divorced 13 months earlier? Shea has hardly been a good steward of the institution. The Spokane County Clerk's Office identified 44 pleadings related to that divorce—among them, two temporary restraining orders and a protection order filed against him by ex-wife Lisa. Shea did not return calls from The Stranger, but the Spokesman-Review detailed some of the scandal last summer: "Matt T. Shea's wife, Lisa, was granted a divorce in January after complaining that he treated her 'as a possession,' and was physically and emotionally abusive. She said Shea insisted she walk on his left side because his sword, if he had one, would be on his right side. He said he knows nothing about that, but as a courtesy would walk between her and traffic. Lisa Shea's brother-in-law, Tino P. Vargas, swore in court documents that he saw Matt Shea yell at his wife, grab her arm 'very hard and violently,' and push her into a vehicle."
Fine examples of good old-fashioned moral values family men.
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Monday, July 06, 2009
Last week I mentioned that the Cape Cod Times suggested crushed eggshells in the planter so I put those in there last week. One of our readers also suggested that his dad put a fish head in the ground before he put in the tomato plants. Since I didn't have fish heads on hand I went with the egg shells.With the rains behind us (I hope) we should have a lot more growth to report next week. Stay tuned!
Over the last seven days...
Uruguay: Bishop Francisco Domingo Barbosa Da Silveira resigns after being blackmailed for hiring male prostitutes. The Vatican has accepted his resignation.
Louisiana: Pastor Keith Bertrand Cowart charged with bank fraud for charging $74K to credit cards he had opened in the name of his church.
Indiana: Pastor Vaughn Reeves and his sons arrested for stealing $6M from congregants in church construction Ponzi scheme.
Texas: Pastor Steve Richardson sentenced to 17 years in prison for trafficking kiddie porn from his church's computers.
Florida: Youth Pastor Jacob Allen Morris arrested for molesting 8 year-old girl.
Tennessee: Youth Pastor Randall Thomas Hollifield arrested for child rape.
Kentucky: Pastor John Edward Smith arrested for texting 13 year-old girl to lure her for sex.
Indiana: Pastor Curtis White III arrested for cocaine trafficking. Charges include selling crack to members of his congregation.
Louisiana: Pastor Barry Weldon Thomas arrested for shooting two men with a semi-automatic weapon.
New Jersey: Christian "faith-based" military youth camp superintendent Steven Baryla arrested for distributing child pornography.
This week's winner:
Georgia: Televangelist Creflo Dollar is being sued for fraud and misappropriation of trade secrets. He is accused of stealing an idea to sell daily scriptural messages sent via text message to subscribers who pay $4.99/month. The service currently grosses $50M annually. Dollar is known for his prosperity gospel, a "religious teaching that God desires material prosperity for those he favors." The U.S. Senate Committee On Finance is currently investigating Dollar and other televangelists for enriching themselves on donations from their followers. Dollar is refusing to comply with requests to submit financial disclosure forms.
Yet more examples of scumbag charlatans in the religion business using the ignorance and blind faith of their flocks (see: fleecing) to enrich themselves or to satisfy their vulgar debaucheries. I can't say I'm shocked. I can say that these stories as well as the Conservative churches' stance on same-sex marriage has had more to do with my being an atheist than just about anything else. I gave Christianity another try when I moved to the Cape being baptized into the Episcopal Church in 1990. I gave it the old college try but I couldn't get past the hypocrisy all around me.
It is fine for other people who need magic in their lives, but I have all of the magic in my life that I need; my wonderful husband Scott.