Saturday, October 20, 2007

Vallerie Plame's Job - Prevent Iran From Obtaining Nukes

Pentagon Pushing for High Profile Convictions to Boost 2008 Election

The folks at the Pentagon are planning some election year surprises. Seems a few of the politicized members of the civilian staff are pushing for some high profile convictions before the 2008 elections.

According to a Washington Post article former lead prosecutor at Guantanamo, Air Force Col. Morris Davis, said senior defense officials discussed in a September 2006 meeting the "strategic political value" of putting some prominent detainees on trial. According to Davis there is the same kind of pressure on for 2008. In part it is why he resigned.

Look for lots of tricks in the next year to boost Bush and the GOPs sagging ratings.

Rep. Stark Speaks Out & Gets Scolded - When Will Democrats Start Fighting the White House?

Representative Pete Stark tells it like it is and gets a slap on the wrist from Pelosi. Now that makes me angry. In a debate on children’s health care in the house, Stark stated the obvious.

"You don't have money to fund the war or children," Stark accused Republicans. "But you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president's amusement."

Both Democrats and Republicans have called on him for an apology and I for one don’t see why. Stark is telling the truth and those who can’t see it are blinded by either their political ambitions or simple stupidity. Drop Nancy Pelosi a line and let her know how you feel. I just did and told her it’s about time a Democrat stood up and spoke the truth in the House.

Friday, October 19, 2007

SM Death Inspired Exley Foundation - BDSM Safety Through Education

By now everyone has heard of the tragic death of Adrian Exley. He was a young man who enjoyed bondage and SM and met an untimely end in an accident. It was an accident that didn’t have to happen, but unfortunately a lack of proper precautions and simple common sense ended not only Adrian’s life but the life of the man he was playing with. Gary LeBlanc the man who invited Exley to visit for a weekend of bondage and SM committed suicide after finding Exley dead and trying to hide the body.

Some people could dismiss this whole incident as another example of how dangerous SM people are. They would seek any excuse to condemn a whole group of people because of the actions of just two men. It would be as illogical to condemn all white men because some of them cause car accidents. In that context it sounds silly, and it is. So let’s get beyond the blanket condemnations and look at what can be learned from this tragedy.

First, if you are going to engage in any kind of BDSM play, you should know the risks and be prepared to take precautions to avoid complications. For example, Exley sought a long term bondage scene in what we in the SM world might call mummification. It involves being wrapped in a constraining material, like plastic wrap and then covered in duct tape or other material to restrict almost all movement. Is that dangerous? It can be if the wrap is too tight, which might restrict breathing, or insufficient space is allowed for a clear airway, both nose and mouth.
Second, someone in bondage as extreme as mummification, cannot communicate as easily as someone just in restraints like handcuffs or shackles. People in extreme bondage need constant monitoring. Their breathing should be watched and they should be checked for overheating and dehydration. Many people give the person in bondage occasional sips of water from a straw and some even take their temperature just to make sure they do not succumb to any heat related problems.

Third, at the first signs of trouble, the person should be removed from bondage and if needed medical help sought.

All three of these precautions were mission in Adrian’s case. He was mummified or bound, hooded and given a straw to breathe through. Then he was left in a closet, unattended while Gary went to bed. The problem, a straw is not enough air to survive for long and not only do they collapse, but a closet fills with bad air in a short time.

Almost any experienced SM player will shiver at that set up, it is a recipe for disaster. The problem, a straw is not enough air to survive for long and not only do they collapse, but a closet fills with bad air in a short time. A person left unattended in bondage cannot signal if they are in trouble.

Education and personal responsibility are the lessons that can be learned from Adrian and Gary’s deaths. Taking more precautions and knowing the warning signs of a problem could have kept the scene from becoming fatal. In fact, it might have been a really fun weekend for both men had they just known and used the basic principals of safe, sane and consensual BDSM.
Adrian’s brother has set up a MySpace page in memory of his sibling. It is a small start, but it is my hope it will grow to spread the message of education and safety for BDSM enthusiasts. As the Education Chair of the National Leather Association International, I sincerely hope the Adrian Exley Foundation succeeds in its mission. I am lending my support and wish Adrian’s brother and family the best in their endeavor. Visit the page and see the progress they are making.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Brownback Pulls Out of GOP Race

The rabidly anti-gay candidate Sam Brownback has pulled out of the GOP race for presidential nominee. The Senator from Kansas is expected to run for governor of Kansas in 2010 after his term in the senate is up. His main problem in this campaign has been raising money. His far right-wing views have not played well with the contributors and his support for a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants hurt him in Iowa.

Personally I breathe a sigh of relief. Brownback added just one more shrill voice to the GOP rant. Without him it, it will be more civil but still a losing cause I my opinion.

China Spins Safety Of Toys - Mattel Profits Suffer

So China has learned how to work the spin machine as well as the best corrupt politician here in the US. Their latest push is “Chinese Toys Are Safe”, to paraphrase the numerous stories that popped up when I Googled “Mattel” in the news. Not surprisingly the articles which were released by the Chinese news agencies all tout the tight government regulation of manufactured goods from China.

Speaking at the Communist Party Congress, Li Changjiang, the Director of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said that “Children around the world love 'Made in China' toys, especially at Christmas. And China's toy manufacturers will do their best to make safe and reliable toys for children around the world before the Christmas season."

That assertion rings pretty hollow in light of the myriad of recalls because of toys containing lead paint and other toxic materials. Unfortunately, the US media is just quoting these pronouncements wholesale and not doing any research into how well the alleged regulations are actually being enforced. Mattel can testify as to the “safe and reliable” toys made in China, and so can their bottom line. The supplier found cheaper paint and in an effort to maximize profits went ahead and used toxic paint from a non-approved supplier.

The Communist Party in China is very good at passing regulations, but they have a dismal record of enforcing them, especially where profits are concerned. Sounds a lot like our Government doesn’t it? All we need now is a dictator…oh wait, guess we already have one?

Richard Roberts on "Leave of Absence" from ORU

President of Oral Roberts University in Tulsa is taking a leave of absence. That is what the board of the university is calling it. In reality he can return only if the board approves and then only after an audit is completed. To quote Roberts, “I pray and believe that in God’s timing, and when the board feels that it is appropriate, I will be back at my post as president.”

He will continue to receive his salary as well as continue his role as CEO of Oral Roberts Ministries and appear on his television program. The move by Roberts and the board is the latest chapter in the scandal that has enveloped the university. A lawsuit is still pending as well as charges of sexual impropriety by Roberts wife with underage students.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Colbert Declares He WIll Run For President - Only In SC

Larry Craig Lying Again!

Larry Craig (R-ID) is really making lying into an art. In an interview with Matt Lauer on NBC last night, he stated categorically that he doesn’t use the internet.

“Matt, you won’t believe this. But I don’t use the Internet. I don’t have a computer at my desk. I’ve never used the Internet. It’s just not what I do. I e-mail with my BlackBerry. No, I did not know that. I had no reason to know that.”

Funny, the Washington Examiner notes that Craig not only has extensive internet experience, but he even won the Silver Mouse award for his web site, and he endorsed Mitt Romney for president on YouTube. Add to that his quote that he “Googled the term Mission Creep” and you got a big fat Republican Liar!

Come on Larry, fess up!

UPDATE: For those who want more, Huffington Post has a video clip from the interview. Amazing stuff, to watch this guy blatantly lying!

More Oral Roberts University Scandal - Video Clip

I couldn't resist posting this. Looks like things in Tulsa are getting ugly. Hope all the students there don't get burned in the mess.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Iraqi LGBT Group Needs Your Help Now

While we are fighting in Iraq, a group of Iraqis is losing ground every day. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Iraqis are targeted daily by Iraqi Police, Badr and Sadr Militia. Sometimes their only salvation is a safe house run by a non-governmental organization. Iraqi LGBT is a human rights group that supports and runs these safe houses as well as advocates for LGBT Iraqis.

Right now that group is stretched to the limit and desperately needs funds. Please check out their blog and donate if you can.

SCHIP Works, Ask Bethany.

US Military Deaths Hit 3828

3828. That is the number of US Military that have been killed in Iraq since the war began. One of the latest was from Krum, Texas, a sleepy little farm town that is fast becoming a suburb of the DFW Metroplex. Army Sgt. 1st Class Justin S. Monschke, 28, Krum, Texas; died Sunday in Arab Jabour when an explosive detonated near his unit. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C.

This number is moving steadily closer to the 4000 mark, and still the President and Congress refuse to pull out of what has become a fierce civil war. Surge or no surge, Iraq is a mess and without serious diplomatic work and a functioning government the country will have no hope. The continued deaths of Iraqi civilians and US and coalition military is having little effect beyond areas that have become secure locked-down camps.

Meanwhile people who live and work in Iraq continue to suffer. For an inside glimpse of what life there is like I suggest visiting It’s a sobering experience. I will continue to pray for the safety of our troops and the Iraqi people.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Another GOP Official Caught In Sex Scandal

Well lately it seems you can’t turn over a member of the GOP without finding a sex scandal! The latest in the string of juicy tidbits comes from the Wisconsin GOP. There a party Chair has resigned after being accused of enticement and fondling of an underage boy. The Green Bay Press-Gazette reports that Donald Fleischman, Brown County GOP Chair posted a $20,000 bond and was released from jail. Fleischman faces two counts of child enticement, two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a child, and one count of exposing himself to a child.

More as it develops!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Major Scandal Hits Oral Roberts University - Another Sex Mess for the Religious Right!

Scandals and televangelism seem to go hand in hand. Now, Richard Roberts, Oral Robert’s son and President of Oral Roberts University in Tulsa is deep in the middle of a swirling scandal that involves tales of lavish spending, lawsuits from fired faculty and the Big Kahoona, sex!

Roberts is accused on illegal involvement in a local political campaign for starters but now a lawsuit by former professors makes the following charges as reported by the Associated Press:

- A longtime maintenance employee was fired so that an underage male friend of Mrs. Roberts could have his position.

- Mrs. Roberts - who is a member of the board of regents and is referred to as ORU's "first lady" on the university's Web site - frequently had cell-phone bills of more than $800 per month, with hundreds of text messages sent between 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. to "underage males who had been provided phones at university expense."

- The university jet was used to take one daughter and several friends on a senior trip to Orlando, Fla., and the Bahamas. The $29,411 trip was billed to the ministry as an "evangelistic function of the president."

- Mrs. Roberts spent more than $39,000 at one Chico's clothing store alone in less than a year, and had other accounts in Texas and California. She also repeatedly said, "As long as I wear it once on TV, we can charge it off." The document cites inconsistencies in clothing purchases and actual usage on TV.

- Mrs. Roberts was given a white Lexus SUV and a red Mercedes convertible by ministry donors.

- University and ministry employees are regularly summoned to the Roberts' home to do the daughters' homework.

- The university and ministry maintain a stable of horses for exclusive use by the Roberts' children.

- The Roberts' home has been remodeled 11 times in the past 14 years.
Not bad for starters, but Friday another suit was filed and this one included charges that Mrs. Roberts spent the night in the university's guest house with an underage male on 9 separate occasions. It further states there are numerous photos of Mrs. Roberts and the underage male alone in her sports car after city-wide curfew.

I will refrain from dancing the Schadenfreude Polka until the dust settles.

UPDATE: The scandal from a student's perspective, sounds like everyone on campus saw this coming.

Who Will Fix Our Nation's Health Care System?

It’s about time I added my voice to those calling for a plan to fix our system of health care in this country. Let me tell you my story. I am a reasonably healthy 57 year old man. I am overweight like many people my age. I had asthma as a child and take a medication for a seizure disorder but have had no seizures since my mid 30’s. Other than that, not much else.

I don’t work for a major corporation, but eek our a living doing freelance film production and writing. As a self employed American I have tried to get health insurance many times. I always get send back the letter telling me I can get insurance under the Texas High Risk pool for health insurance. OK, so for some reason, one that my doctor has yet to be able to tell me, I am considered high-risk.

Here’s the problem, the “high-risk” pool is a scam. It got written into the state law as a concession to coverage for people without employer sponsored health plans. According to the law, which I can only assume was written by insurance lobbyists states that persons applying for insurance in the pool can be charged 3 times the normal rate for their coverage. Sound high? You betcha!

For me, I got a quote of $1500 a month and that was with a $5000 deductable. Now unless you are rich, or crazy, that’s a hell of a lot of money for health insurance, and that is the idea. They don’t want to insure anyone who may ever have a problem with their health. It’s all about maximizing profits and not health. $1500 a month is $18,000 a year, and ad the $5000 deductible and you come to a whopping $23,000 a year in out of pocket costs if you get the insurance and get sick.

Unless I made six figures a year, that’s impossible for me to justify and there is the problem. Why should people have to pay sometimes half their yearly income for health insurance? I invite any reader to give me a valid reason.

So here is the deal, just about every other industrialized country in the world has a health insurance program for its citizens. It means higher taxes in some cases, but in the end it would mean higher profits for American companies (with the exception of the insurance scam industry). No more strikes or negotiations over health care plans with unions. No more costly insurance plans cutting into profits. Most importantly, no more people dying because they can’t afford health care.

My advice to you? Well unless you work for a big company and expect to for the rest of your life, don’t get sick. Your sickness will be used against you as a reason for denying your insurance in the future.

That part about dying because you are poor? Well it has happened and is happening now with people I know. They have no insurance, so they must rely on the minimal public health system in our county. It is not well funded and has little room for more people, yet the number of patients they see grows daily.

Our country is sick. It is sick in a very deep and disturbing way. Our country has businesses that are profiting, big time, from the treatment of sick people. I have no problem with private health care, but I think it should be a rich person’s option and not the rule. Call me a socialist or whatever, I just know from experience that our health care system is badly broken and no one is trying to fix it.