WATCH: Bystanders lift vehicle, pull motorcyclist from beneath it after fiery wreck in Logan, Utah

I have no reason for posting this here other than it happened in a city where I once worked at the daily newspaper — Logan, Utah — and the victim is apparently the nephew of one of my former colleagues. Also, it’s a pretty amazing rescue. According to my old paper, The Herald Journal, the motorcyclist remains in intensive care but is expected to recover. Watch the rescue below.

—  John Wright

Texas: A not-so-great state

As Perry eyes the presidency and Dewhurst makes a bid for the Senate, let’s look at the story the numbers really tell

Phyllis Guest | Taking NoteGuest.Phyllis.2

It seems that while David Dewhurst is running for the U.S. Senate, Rick Perry — otherwise known as Gov. Goodhair — is planning to run for president. I wonder what numbers they will use to show how well they have run Texas.

Could they cite $16 million? That’s the sum Perry distributed from our state’s Emerging Technology Fund to his campaign contributors.

Or maybe it is $4.1 billion. That’s the best estimate of the fees and taxes our state collects for dedicated purposes — but diverts to other uses.

Then again, it could be $28 billion. That’s the last published number for the state’s budget deficit, although Perry denied any deficit during his last campaign.

But let’s not get bogged down with dollar amounts. Let’s consider some of the state’s other numbers.

There’s the fact that Texas ranks worst in at least three key measures:

We are the most illiterate, with more than 10 percent of our state’s population unable to read a word. LIFT — Literacy Instruction for Texas — recently reported that half of Dallas residents cannot read a newspaper.

We also have the lowest percentage of persons covered by health insurance and the highest number of teenage repeat pregnancies.

Not to mention that 12,000 children have spent at least three years in the state welfare system, waiting for a foster parent. That’s the number reported in the Texas-loving Dallas Morning News.

Meanwhile, the Legislature has agreed to put several amendments to the Texas Constitution before the voters. HJR 63, HJR 109 plus SJR 4, SJR 16, and SJR 50 all appear to either authorize the shifting of discretionary funds or the issuance of bonds to cover expenses.

Duh. As if we did not know that bonds represent debt, and that we will be paying interest on those bonds long after Dewhurst and Perry leave office.

Further, this spring, the Lege decided that all voters — except, I believe, the elderly — must show proof of citizenship to obtain a state ID or to get or renew a driver’s license. As they did not provide any funds for the issuance of those ID cards or for updating computer systems to accommodate the new requirement, it seems those IDs will be far from free.

Also far from free is Perry’s travel. The Lege decided that the governor does not have to report what he and his entourage spend on travel, which is convenient for him because we taxpayers foot the bill for his security — even when he is making obviously political trips. Or taking along his wife and his golf clubs.

And surely neither Rick Perry nor David Dewhurst will mention the fact that a big portion of our state’s money comes from the federal government. One report I saw stated that our state received $17 billion in stimulus money, although the gov and his lieutenant berated the Democratic president for providing the stimulus.

And the gov turned down $6 billion in education funds, then accepted the funds but did not use them to educate Texans.

The whole thing — Dewhurst’s campaign and Perry’s possible campaign, the 2012-2013 budget, the recent biannual session of the Texas Legislature — seems like something Mark Twain might have written at his tongue-in-cheek best.

We have huge problems in public school education, higher education, health care, air pollution and water resources, to mention just a few of our more notable failures.

Yet our elected officials are defunding public education and thus punishing children, parents, and teachers. They are limiting women’s health care so drastically that our own Parkland Hospital will be unable to provide appropriate care to 30,000 women.

They are seeking a Medicaid “pilot program” that will pave the way for privatized medical services, which will erode health care for all but the wealthiest among us. They are fighting tooth and nail to keep the EPA from dealing with our polluted environment. They are doing absolutely nothing to ensure that Texas continues to have plenty of safe drinking water.

They are most certainly not creating good jobs.

So David Dewhurst and his wife Tricia prayed together and apparently learned that he should run for Kay Bailey Hutchison’s Senate seat. Now Rick Perry is planning a huge prayer rally Saturday, Aug. 6, at Houston’s Reliant Stadium.

God help us.

Phyllis Guest is a longtime activist on political and LGBT issues and a member of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 9, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

U.K. Plans to Lift Ban on Gay Church Ceremonies

Interesting news from the United Kingdom.

Lawmakers in the United Kingdom plan to lift the ban on same-sex civil partnership ceremonies in churches.

The Sunday Times reports Liberal Democrat Equality Minister Lynne Featherstone will present a timetable to allow the unions in religious buildings and a proposal to end the ban on same-sex marriages.

Religious groups will not be forced to perform the ceremonies. The Church of England is one organization that opposes the law.

Of course, I’m all for the separation of church and state and England doesn’t have it. There are several ways of looking at this decision and plenty of room for personal opinion. Most of us in the United States simply want the same rights afforded to straight couples without experiencing discrimination and second class status. Maybe this would be a good article to forward to all those who scream and argue in favor of removing that wall of separation?


—  David Taffet

Pro-equality wind to lift both East and West Wings

Cool appointment for a pro-equality voice:

This morning, the White House announced the appointment of the American Foundation for Equal Rights co-founder and board member Schake KristinaKristina Schake as Special Assistant to the President and Communications Director to First Lady Michelle Obama.

“Kristina was instrumental in the conception of the American Foundation for Equal Rights and she’s played a key role in every strategic success we’ve had as an organization. She’s one of the most intelligent and valuable resources the equality movement has ever seen. We’re sad to see her go but, are extremely proud of where she’s headed.”

-Chad H. Griffin,

Board President of the American Foundation for Equal Rights

AFER Co-Founder named as Special Assistant to the President and Communications Director to First Lady Michelle Obama [AFER]

Excellent. On marriage equality, the President could certainly use a special assist and the First Lady could certainly have more direct communication.

Good As You

—  admin

NARTH “Lift My Luggage” protest

NARTH “Lift My Luggage” protest

Jeremy Hooper

Remarks as prepared

So I’ll be honest: I didn’t know what I wanted to say here. But as I sat down to put together some thoughts, something so oddly, freakishly coincidental happened that I simply couldn’t ignore it. Literally, as I was writing Photo-25down words to say to you today, a comment came into my site, left on a post dated almost a year ago to the date. The subject of the old post was last year’s NARTH convention. I had written a little post regarding NARTH’s claims that the American Psychological Association has a bias again them. A claim to which I, at the time, basically responded, “No NARTH: scientific fact and biological reality are what have a bias against you, not the APA.” Then I think I made some sort of a joke, put in a period, then moved on to something else. Probably something silly that Maggie Gallagher was saying on that particular day.

Now, it’s very rare that someone takes the time to leave a comment on a year-old post, and usually when they do, it’s because they have a negative bone to pick with whatever was written, not a positive one. And that was certainly true with this comment. It was from a NARTH supporter and it read:

This article is simply a strawman attack on NARTH. In our culture, those who are dissatisfied with their unwanted homosexual attractions and choose to pursue change are often treated with disrespect, mockery and ridicule, as are the therapists who try to help them. It is ironic that some of the people who defend the freedom to embrace homosexuality are the same ones who mock those who want something different for their lives. Tolerance and diversity mean very little if differing worldviews are excluded.”

Okay, right. So nothing particularly interesting or newsworthy about the comment itself. But why I mention it today, beyond the coincidental element, is because this is exactly the reaction I tend to get from pro-“ex-gay” critics. It doesn’t matter how measured my words or how organizationally-directed my rejections, the “ex-gay” supporters almost always see our push back as some sort of personal attack. Like we’re out to get the human being for the choices they’ve made in their life. Like we are picking on them just for the sake of bullying.

The truth, of course, is that the vast majority of us who oppose NARTH and the ex-gay movement in general are 100% supportive of people’s right to get intimate inside of whatever adult relationship they choose for themselves. We are not threatened by their choice of partner — even though that partner is oftentimes celibacy. We are not offended by their right to make their own determinations for their lives — even if that determination means rejecting certain realities. We may feel sorry. I personally feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t live his or her truth, whatever reason. But I have no desire to hurt or offend or unnecessarily pile on. The goal is not to make anyone’s journey any harder.

At least, I should say, that’s not *OUR* goal. That is, however, what the organized Ex-gay movement — led by NARTH — does to LGBT people’s lives and loves. They prey on vulnerabilities, telling the most susceptible among us that most any bit of pain that an LGBT person experiences in life stemmed from their sexuality or gender identity. They target parents who are desperate to come to a better understanding with the movement leaders instead providing obfuscation. They also target us on a political level, working hand in hand with the so-called “pro-family” groups to provide cover in debating legislation like the Employment Discrimination Act or Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal. After all, if they can quote/unquote prove that homosexuality is not innate, then groups like Focus on the Family can tell their socially conservative supporter that it’s okay to not support LGBT people in civil government, since we are supposedly nothing more than broken heterosexuals who are choosing our behavior.

And of course there’s also the element of fact. Pure, raw data. It’s become a political cliché to quote the late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s words saying that ‘Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.’ But this quote’s a cliché because it’s so true. We can all disagree. Matt Barber can come out from this hotel and tell me that my marriage is wrong or sinful or whatever. I can then look him back in the eye and tell him it’s truly bizarre that a grown heterosexual man dedicates his life to gay people’s bedrooms. Because it is. Truly. Bizarre.

But neither of us, me nor Matt, should create or promote junk science groups that are purposely designed to muddy the waters of credible research. Oh, but guess what? ONE OF US — TOTALLY — DOES — DO — THAT!!! And spoiler alert: It aint me.

So going back to that aforementioned commenter, I would just say: You are absolutely right — nobody should ridicule, mock, or disrespect you. But pointing out simple facts is not mockery, ridicule or disrespect! Ridicule is telling a legally married man like myself that my family is wrong or broken or unfit for federal rights. Mockery is telling educated scientists that they have a quote/unquote “liberal agenda” anytime they put forth research that jibes with the realities of our known world. Disrespect is taking vulnerable people’s money and telling them that something you know is unsupported by independent, peer reviewed fact is actually some sort of magical cure for a non-affliction that never needed a cure to begin with!

Inside this hotel, NARTH is trafficking in all three. Outside this hotel, I am telling them that I will work with every fiber in my being to drain. their. snake. oil. for. good!!



*And now, video:

Good As You

—  admin

Convicted felon speaker at The Peter’s confab: gays lift weights because they don’t feel masculine

I sh*t you not. And Arthur Abba Goldberg told the teeming crowd of 20-30 people at Peter LaBarbera’s Truth Academy that consensual same-sex relations leads to bestiality, and unintentionally confirms the fact that ex-gay “therapists” are nothing more than pervs, scam artists, and people of need of mental health services themselves. Wayne Besen:

Convicted felon Arthur Abba Goldberg spoke at Peter LaBarbera’s poorly attended Truth Academy on Thursday. His speech is exactly what one would expect from an individual of low moral character and a penchant for extreme dishonest behavior.

He began his talk answering whether “gays can change”, in which he flippantly replied “the simple answer is yes”, to the delight of the small crowd of under 30 people. Then he rhetorically asked, “is gay parenting good for kids?” Abba Goldberg bluntly replied “no”.

In one of the more outrageous parts of his speech, Abba Goldberg made the bizarre claim that allowing consensual sex for LGBT people will lead to a “slippery slope” that will descend into bestiality.

What do you do when you want to french kiss a dog?” asks Abba Goldberg. “Bark once if ‘yes’, and bark twice if ‘no’? Hello…where do we get this idea of consent from?”

The fact that Abba Goldberg even had these wacky ideas as part of his presentation shows that he has more issues than a New York magazine stand. What kind of psychologically healthy person even dreams up these scenarios? Perhaps, this speech explains why Abba Goldberg sees nothing perverse about referring clients to therapists who get clients naked and have them touch their genitals in front of a mirror.

Wayne, I have no idea how anyone takes a wackjob like Goldberg seriously. Blenders, this is the tip of the iceberg; surf over for more unhinged blather. Here’s audio of Goldberg’s wisdom.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright