Oct 262008

An article at the Florida Bilerico project points out the lengths to which the American Taliban will go in order to scare people. John Stemberger, lead proponent of Florida’s Amendment 2, is claiming that if Amendment 2 fails, the schools will have to indoctrinate children to gay marriage.

John Stemberger

John Stemberger

Failing to ban gay marriage in the state constitution could result in the indoctrination of schoolchildren into a gay lifestyle. Florida schools might have to teach that gay weddings are the same as traditional unions if the proposal fails at the polls.

In the first place, there remain four (one wasn’t good enough for the American Taliban) Florida statutes on the books which prohibit gay marriage, and they will still be on the books after this election. They have been challenged in court, and have, so far, stood a state constitutional examination.

In the second place, when the hell did any teaching of “marriage” enter the school curriculum anyway…straight or gay? I admit to forgetting a lot, and it’s been a long time since I was in school, but I just don’t remember ever being taught “marriage.” But hey, if you’re crazy and desperate, anything goes, right?

And on top of all that, despite being an attorney (or maybe because of it), Stemberger and Florida4Marriage.com are being accused of violations of campaign finance laws. It seems that political organizations must disclose from whence comes their funding. Well Stemberger, who incorporated Florida4Marriage, also incorporated Florida Family Action as a not-for-profit. As such Florida Family Action would not have to disclose their donors. Now it turns out that Ads being run in favor of Amendment 2 say they are paid for by Florida4Marriage, but it turns out they actually paid for by Florida Family Action.

In fact, Florida Red and Blue, who filed the complaints, has a memo written by Stemberger encouraging people to donate to Florida Family Action rather than Florida4Marriage. When he was asked about it, The Florida Times Union reported the following:

Stemberger said having donors contribute to the lobbying group is proper and understandable – especially considering past backlash against donors like Amway Corp. founder Richard DeVos, a major donor.

“Some people want to remain anonymous. It’s because of the intimidation of our opponents.”

This to me sounds like an admission of guilt. The law says you can’t hide contributions for this kind of activity, regardless of the reason. The GOP has often been a primary benefactor of these kinds of initiatives, and have been in Florida up to recently. People don’t take actions like this unless they have a good reason to hide something. So let’s make Mr. Stemberger disclose who contributes to both organizations.

Florida Amendment 2-The Great Debate Part 1

 Culture, Featured, Gay Issues, Legislature, Places, Politics, Society  Comments Off on Florida Amendment 2-The Great Debate Part 1
Apr 182008
This entry is part 4 of 35 in the series Gay Marriage

At the end of March, Nadine Smith, Co-Chair of Fairness for All Families, took on John Stemberger of Florida Family Council at the Orlando Tiger Bay Club for debate on the Amendment 2, the Florida Marriage Protection Amendment. Basically, he got his ass handed to him by Ms. Smith, but I don’t think she was aggressive enough.

The event was videotaped, and posted on Youtube in four parts. There are other versions of the debate as well, including one between Mr. Stemberger and the other heterosexual Co-Chair of Fairness for All Families at the Tallahassee Tiger Bay Club. The two sets are essentially the same. I’m going to use the Orlando recording and provide a separate commentary on each of four videos.  Continue reading »

First Amendment Poised for Repeal

 Congress, Constitution, Politics  Comments Off on First Amendment Poised for Repeal
Jun 152006

In even numbered years, Republicans attack the Constitution. Having failed to write homophobia into the Bill of Rights, Republicans are reduced to making their biennial appeal for a partial repeal of the First Amendment. When Democrats are dared to support the rights of (relatively rare) flag burners, they need to make clear that it is the Constitution they support.

Once again, we round up the commentaries that denounce this nonsense:

Bob Kerrey in the Washington Post. If our First Amendment is altered to permit laws to be passed prohibiting flag desecration, would we like to see our police powers used to arrest an angry mother who burns a flag? Or a brother in arms whose disillusionment leads him to defile this symbol of the nation? I hope the answer is no. I hope we are strong enough to tolerate such rare and wrenching moments. I hope our desire for calm and quiet does not make it a crime for any to demonstrate in such a fashion. In truth, if I know anything about the spirit of our compatriots, some Americans might even choose to burn their flag in protest of such a law.

Center for American Progress. In a statement sent to Congress, the former assistant secretary of defense and retired naval officer [Lawrence J. Korb] says that if the purpose of the so called flag burning amendment to the Constitution is to honor those in uniform, then Congress would do better to address the failings of the Bush administration to support current and future veterans.

The Detroit Free Press. The best tribute that Old Glory could be afforded on this Flag Day would be for Congress to leave intact the freedoms for which it stands.

Terre Haute Tribune Star. In a column on the subject by Nat Hentoff published last month, the nationally renowned defender of personal liberties wrote: “The only countries I know that punish the desecration of their flags are China, Iran and Cuba.” Then Hentoff asks, “Do we want to join those dictatorships?” The answer should be clear. We do not. And we should not.

Charlotte Observer. The Senate should reject the amendment and stop the political grandstanding. A constitutional amendment is neither needed nor warranted. Two centuries ago, when the Continental Congress adopted the first national flag, the founders knew what apparently many now have forgotten: The value of the flag is not in the cloth it’s made of, but in what it represents at home and abroad.

Worcester Telegram & Gazette News. But if unpopular ideas or modes of expression are proscribed — whether by statute or constitutional amendment — the guarantee of free speech rings hollow.

Pocono Record.
Besides, what desecrates the flag? While flag-burning offends some, how about the grossly oversized flags that roadside businesses often use as little more than a waving billboard? What about the depiction of of the flag on paper placemats and napkins? T-shirts, bathing suits or beach towels? … Who gets to decide which uses respect the flag and which “desecrate” it?

Saginaw News. Patriotism, Samuel Johnson said, is the last refuge of a scoundrel. It’s also a sturdy shelter for members of Congress facing re-election.

Mark Lane. Having an almost-successful vote against flag burning is a dandy way to celebrate Flag Day.

In a statement sent to Congress, the former assistant secretary of defense and retired naval officer [Lawrence J. Korb] says that if the purpose of the so called flag burning amendment to the Constitution is to honor those in uniform, then Congress would do better to address the failings of the Bush administration to support current and future veterans.

Important Events in the World Yesterday … Nero Fiddles

 Congress, Constitution, Gay Issues, Politics, Presidency, Religion, Right Wingnuts, Society  Comments Off on Important Events in the World Yesterday … Nero Fiddles
Jun 062006

Here are a few of the major events that happened in our world yesterday.

Mass kidnappings in Iraq:

Gunmen in police uniforms staged a brazen daylight raid on bus stations in central Baghdad on Monday, kidnapping at least 50 people, including travelers, merchants and vendors selling tea and sandwiches.

The operation was a direct challenge to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s efforts to restore security in the capital, which has been hard hit by suicide attacks, roadside bombs and sectarian death squads.

The usual mayhem in Iraq:

At least 17 killings were reported across the country Monday, including a Shiite school guard and two Sunni brothers who were shot to death as they were driving to college in the capital. Iraqi police found the blindfolded and bound body of a man who had been shot in the head and chest and another body that had been shot in the head in separate locations in Baghdad.

The Dow dropped almost 200 points on inflation fears:

On Wall Street, Bernanke’s fresh inflation warning sent the Dow Jones industrials sliding 199.15 points to close at 11,048.72. It had dropped even more, 214 points, two weeks ago on May 17.

Islamic militants prevail against our allies in Somalia:

After months of fierce fighting, Islamic militias declared Monday that they had taken control of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, defeating the warlords widely believed to be backed by the United States and raising questions about whether the country would head down an extremist path.

Katrina residents still can’t come home:

Hundreds of displaced residents of public housing have for several days been returning here for the first time since Hurricane Katrina.

Displaced residents in the tents are trying to force the city to reopen their storm-damaged apartments. They are armed with little more than cleaning supplies and frustration, in an effort to force the city to reopen their storm-damaged apartments.

The city, saying the projects are not ready, has refused.

As Chris posted yesterday morning, oil prices rose again: $73.23.

And oh, let’s don’t forget the President and Congress spent yesterday talking about inserting themselves into the private lives of citizens, by working to enshrine discrimination into the Constitution. That’s what our leaders were focused on yesterday.

…while Rome burns.