The Poor Persecuted Ruth Sheldon

 Gay Issues, Religion, Right Wingnuts, Society  Comments Off on The Poor Persecuted Ruth Sheldon
Oct 122011
This entry is part 30 of 35 in the series Gay Marriage

Today’s featured guest is Ruth Sheldon, but before we get to Ruth’s story, don’t you just love the intense music NOM uses at the beginning of their videos? Ruth was the Town Clerk for Granby for nearly 16 years. She wants us to be sure we know that she loved the job, but was forced to give it up because of those icky gay people expecting to be treated fairly. She wrote in her resignation letter that “New York State passed the same-sex marriage law, a law which violates my conscience and my faith.”

We get a ways in here before we find out that Ruth went to the town attorney, who actually gave her a way to accommodate her beliefs. He said the town could quit giving out marriage licenses altogether. I suppose the people in Granby would then just go to the Clerk of Court or the County Clerk’s office. But despite having an “out,” Ruth decided she just had to quit and make a video about it for NOM. Because if she hadn’t quit and just started not providing the service to anyone (which would be fair), then she couldn’t claim to have been persecuted for her religious beliefs.

Ruth quotes some scripture near the end of the video about standing for what you believe, but I’d quote another scripture, Micah 6:8: “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

The Poor Persecuted Laura Fotusky

 Gay Issues, Religion, Right Wingnuts, Society  Comments Off on The Poor Persecuted Laura Fotusky
Oct 112011

Laura Fotusky is another of the town clerks being trotted out by NOM with the claim that she was somehow being persecuted because, God forbid, she might have been expected to carry out her ministerial duties as prescribed by New York State law, and actually treat everyone equally under those laws. Well, we can’t go around having government employees doing that now, can we? Back in July, Laura resigned her position as the Town Clerk of Barker, NY rather than sign marriage licenses for everyone qualified to be married under civil law.

Laura starts claiming her daughter thought her life was in danger because she had to make a choice between her work and God because signing a marriage license for someone other than the type of couples she agrees with goes against God. Let’s get that out of the way right up front…first off, Laura we’re not in a theocracy, but are a nation of civil laws that are supposed to apply equally to everyone.

But most important Laura, once again…that cotton/poly blend blouse gives you away. You’re not that strict in your religious views, you just like to decide which of the Levitical laws you want to follow.

Laura claims, “my religious freedoms were violated by the Marriage Equality Act.” Sorry Laura, that’s just not true, and you know it. Just like Rose in a previous story Laura is an agent of the state (she is, in effect) the State for this purpose. She is not being asked to affirm any marriages nor offer a religious blessing nor perform a religious rite in respect to anyone’s marriage. Just like with Rose, she is expected to perform a ministerial duty, and issue a marriage license to any couple who are legally qualified to be married in the State of New York.

I contend there is no religious argument which can be made here. I suspect Laura has issued marriage licenses to mixed race couples and couples who have been perviously married and divorced. All these classes are prohibited from being married under biblical laws…so that just removes the whole religious argument. With religion, you’re either in all the way, or you’re not. But for the sake or argument, I’ll allow Laura some leeway here on that reason. The problem then arises that there are churches and religious groups which do not object to same-sex couples being married, and celebrate those just as they do heterosexual marriage. So Laura is violating their religious freedoms when she refused to perform a civil duty that is part of her job. Sorry Laura, but no one asked you to worship a specific God, nor bless a same-sex union, nor even send a wedding gift.

Laura falls back on the old standby of talking about how the Lord knows what’s in her heart, that she has love and compassion for people, and that she really cares about people. Well Laura, great. I hope you do, and I’m sure the people who know and love you believe that about you, but that’s not what is in question here. The question here is, will you carry your civil duties (not impose your religious beliefs) on the people in Barker. But NO, you state that you wanted to stay in your “government” job, and practice your religious convictions. In this country, at least for now Laura, thank God we separate those two things.

Laura, you get to keep your religious beliefs, and you get worship you want to where you want to, but as Oliver Wendall Holmes wrote, “your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins.” When acting as an agent of the state, you don’t get to deny to me rights and privileges to which I am otherwise entitled under the laws of that state.

But Laura, you resigned. So you don’t get to play the martyr card and claim persecution. You quit. Lots of people quit their jobs for lots of reason, and I don’t hear them getting on the Youtube channel for a hate group and crying foul.

Oct 102011
This entry is part 32 of 35 in the series Gay Marriage

It appears that folks at the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), Maggie Gallagher’s personal hate group, is collecting stories of town/county clerks from around New York State who feel put-upon for having to follow the state’s law that all couples are equal under the State’s Marriage laws. As they collect their videos of the horrible (horrible I say) persecution caused these people by being expected to do their civil duties under state law as Agents of The State, we’ll look at them under the light of a Constitutional Republic which is ruled by law, not religion.

We’ll start with Rose Marie Belforti. According to Rose, “this may be the first time in her life she’s had to receive persecution.”

Let’s start with the her statement of “may be.” Apparently she’s not sure, but she certainly wants to make it sound that way, and then there’s the thing about “receiving” persecution. I didn’t know it was sent along in a package via UPS, but, maybe that’s the way the new form of the marriage licenses got to her.

Rose used to have an idyllic life after moving to the rural Ledyard, NY where she builds barns and is the part time town clerk. It’s a town of 2,000 where the record number of marriage license in any given year was seven. Rose assures us that she really does love helping people, and she goes out of her way to make sure everybody gets what they need…but gay people, not so much. They are not welcome in the Clerk’s Office in Ledyard.

Also, despite her strong Christian morals, that whole “thou shalt not bare false witness” thing is apparently just a quaint old saying that doesn’t mean much, because Rose’s video here has some whoppers in it.

Let’s start with the part about how the Legislature just “so quickly…no debate,” suddenly gave gay and lesbian people equal treatment under the law. Sorry Rose, this bill had come to the legislature of New York State several times in previous sessions, and it certainly didn’t pass quickly this time, and there sure as hell was lots of debate and protest marches, and plenty of anti-gay vitriol to go around. I guess things move so slow in the bucolic Ledyard (we know it’s bucolic because NOM takes pains to show us chickens and lots of grain fields) the many months seem like a day.

According to Rose, she has a problem administering the new applications because she’s a Christian, and the Bible tells her that marriage is between a man and a woman. Funny thing about that whole biblical marriage thing though, many biblical characters had multiple (and is some cases many) wives. The woman was considered the property of the man, and then there’s the whole thing of a woman having to marry the brother of her husband if her husband dies before fathering a child. So, them’s the rules, I guess, that the N.Y. Legislature took away. So, it’s no longer biblical marriage there in Leyard.

But I guess Rose is OK with all the other stuff about biblical marriage. What has her knickers in a wad is the idea of gay people getting married. She can’t endorse that, and believes the law is wrong…so, even though she is an agent of the State, she thinks she has a right, based on her religious beliefs, to pick and choose the laws she ignores.

To combat this, the Town apparently attempted to accommodate her by appointing a Deputy Clerk. Here’s the problem with that. City Hall is apparently open only during certain hours, and the Deputy Clerk isn’t there during those hours, so, a gay couple who recently attempted to get a marriage license was told they would have to call to make an appointment with the Deputy Clerk, and come back at a different time. Sort of sounds like a little “separate but equal” to me.

Well Rose, I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t cut it in a Republic which is based on laws. You are claiming that your religious beliefs should be accommodated in respect to your actions as an agent of the government, but it is not a reasonable accommodation when you just flatly refuse to provide the services to a certain class of people who are otherwise legally qualified to receive that government service. The State may make a reasonable accommodation for your religious practices, but are under no obligation to make accommodation for your religious beliefs. There is a difference.

But that whole religious objection thing is just a red herring. That shirt she’s wearing is a cotton/poly blend, and we now also know that she has issued marriage licenses to previously married people…something forbidden in her Bible (except that whole marrying your brother-in-law exception), so good ole persecuted Rose isn’t really being persecuted for her Biblical beliefs, she’s having a problem because she has a problem with treating gay and lesbian people equal under the law.

So Rose, get over yourself, and if you can’t fulfill your obligations as an agent of the government, then you have to go…but it’s not unfair, it’s not persecution, and it’s not you being denied your religious freedom…it’s you wanting to be a martyr. There are indeed a few theocracies left in the world Rose, perhaps you should move to one of them.

Apr 122010

If you’ve ever played any of the old school video games, Tetris, Pacman, Donkey Kong and others, you’ll love this video. The effects are amazing. It’s what would happen if the Pixels took over New York City.

Look for characters from Space Invaders, Pacman, Tetris, Arkanoid, Donkey Kong, and Frogger.

Uploaded by onemoreprod. – Arts and animation videos.

New York Gay Marriage: Diane Savino's excellent testimony

 Gay Issues, Legislature, Politics, Society  Comments Off on New York Gay Marriage: Diane Savino's excellent testimony
Dec 042009

Although defeated because of eight regressive Democrats in the New York State Senate, straight Senator Diane Savino gives one of the finest floor speeches I’ve ever heard, and does an outstanding job of making the case for the importance of  equality for all. This is a must watch.


New York Gay Marriage: Diane Savino’s excellent testimony

 Gay Issues, Society  Comments Off on New York Gay Marriage: Diane Savino’s excellent testimony
Dec 042009
This entry is part 23 of 35 in the series Gay Marriage

Although defeated because of eight regressive Democrats in the New York State Senate, straight Senator Diane Savino gives one of the finest floor speeches I’ve ever heard, and does an outstanding job of making the case for the importance of  equality for all. This is a must watch.


Because Sometimes You Never Know What Someone Can Do

 Culture, Entertainment  Comments Off on Because Sometimes You Never Know What Someone Can Do
Oct 122009

I saw this story of New York High School student, Jason McElwain, when it first aired and was touched by the story. After serving many seasons as the team manager, Jason, a person with autism, was allowed to play the last four minutes of the last game, and wound up scoring 21 points, most from outside the three point line. It’s kind of old news, but someone posted it on Facebook, which brought it back to mind, so I thought I’d link to it here. So this is your chance for a nice feel good story for the day.


Wackness, The – A Movie Review

 Culture, Movies  Comments Off on Wackness, The – A Movie Review
Jan 202009

New York, summer 1994, the greatest year in hip-hop, a troubled teenage drug dealer trades pot for therapy sessions with a drug-addled psychiatrist intent on living his life to the fullest. The two form an unlikely friendship, but things get complicated when the kid falls for the doctor’s daughter.

Genres: Comedy, Drama and Teen; Running Time: 95 min.; Release Date: July 3rd, 2008 (limited); MPAA Rating: R for pervasive drug use, language and some sexuality.

Starring: Josh Peck, Ben Kingsley, Famke Janssen, Mary-Kate Olsen, Olivia Thirlby

Directed by: Jonathan Levine

Lay wanted to watch this movie. I wasn’t sure what to expect, as I didn’t remember seeing any previews, but I enjoyed the acting by Josh Peck and Ben Kingsley and Olivia Thirlby…each character has so many quirks that their interactions are fascinating. Each person played their character in a decisive way, but they were low key.

The story is typical coming-of-age, but in a time and atmosphere that sets it apart. The music was a perfect accompaniment to the story, and the cinematography was stunning. The colors in this film are sometimes dull and flat, and sometimes brilliant depending on the tone for that part of the story.

All-in-all, it was not a bad story.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

The Elliot Spitzer Affair

 Crime, Politics, Society  Comments Off on The Elliot Spitzer Affair
Mar 112008

Good grief, could any more be made of this? New York Governor Elliot Spitzer had apparently been paying for a little something on the side, so now the Republicans demand that he resign. Senator David Vitter (R. Louisiana) was implicated in a prostitution case, but never resigned…why the double standard?

Spitzer is like Bill Clinton. He is a very smart guy who has done a lot of good. This makes lots of bad people really mad at you (read Republicans). He revealed schemes that were costing ordinary people to pay more for their insurance. He slapped down people who were a half-step from blatant self-dealing. He exposed such stuff as bid rigging. Got of Dick and George’s friends into some serious trouble.

Then he goes and does a really really dumb thing. Also like Clinton, he obviously couldn’t control some stupid urges for just a few years. It was a dumb thing to do, and it’s idiotic to be in such a highly visible public office, and think you can get away with it. It’s also wrong. He’s a married man with a family, and his family will deal with him appropriately.

However, let’s look at this situation. First, how did this all get started. The story is that a bank sent a suspicious activity report to the IRS, so federal agents started investigating. Duhh. Spitzer is a wealthy man. I’m guessing he moves around large sums fairly regularly. That’s what rich people do. So now we have our FBI taking resources from that all consuming, all import war on terror protecting the homeland bullshit to investigate a high class hooker operation. I love how my tax dollars get spent.

So then what happens. Spitzer calls an “escort service” in Washington to arrange for an “escort.” OK, as noted above, it is the wrong thing to do…no question, but now we have the Republicans and the media coming out with talking points and headlines about Spitzer being “involved in a prostitution ring.” Listen to me…the guy hired a hooker. Saying he’s involved in a prostitution ring is like me saying I’m involved in the fast food franchise business just because I ate at McDonald’s one day last week. Get a grip people.

In an MSNBC report, you have law enforcement officials disclosing the gory details to make it look as bad as possible, but then demand anonymity because of “the sensitivity of the case.” Give me a break. If the case is so sensitive, what difference does it make if they disclose this information officially or anonymously? I’m sure it has nothing to do with Spitzer taking down a few of Dick Cheney’s Wall Street buddies.

And here’s a word to you Republican Assembly Leader Tedisco. Until you demand that Vitter resign from the U.S. Senate, you need to shut up about Spitzer.

A Day in New York City

 Business, General, Places, Technology  Comments Off on A Day in New York City
Mar 222006

Well, once again blogging has been lite due a very heavy workload. Lots of stuff due, and all of it due this week. That’s combined with a trip to New York City today on business.

I’m back at La Guardia Airport now waiting on 7pm flight home. I flew up early this morning leaving Tampa at 7am. That makes for a very long day.

Normally I can sleep well on planes, and I had a whole row to myself coming up, but I had some work I wanted to get done, and the lack of distraction on the airplane was a good place to get my head into this and work on it. I was building a pricing model for something and doing some embedded conditional calculations.

I don’t want to sleep going home, as it will make it hard for me to get to sleep once home, but the eyelids are drooping here in the Delta Club room. Of course, there’s not much chance of nodding off here, as there is some guy sitting on the other side of the room annoying everyone in the room with his cell phone conversation. I’m not sure why he thinks everyone in here is interested in hearing his side of the conversation (and this conversation is mostly his side), but he’s certainly making sure we do. Everyone in here has been cutting him eyes, but he’s been at it non-stop for most of an hour now…and to the same poor person.

I truly hope they never start permitting cell phone use on airplanes. I foresee serious problems with air-rage. I would be a raving lunatic if I were stuck next to this guy for two and one-half hours on a flight with him on his phone…and he would be. Also, it’s the one time I can disconnect and concentrate on something other than email and the telephone. I just don’t think it kills us to shut down for a little while every now and again.

Sitting at the table over from me is a your girl wearing enough perfume for about four people. This is not something that normally bothers me, but this lady has on so much it does make breathing a bit difficult. Why do some women (and men too for that matter), think they have to bathe in perfume. When it is that strong, it’s not that pleasant. It’s when one just gets a hint, a whiff, that it becomes interesting.

(Oh thank heavens….Mr. Cell phone is finally leaving…of course, it’s about time for me to head to the gate as well.)

Well, I guess I’d better go find my gate. It’s about time for them to start boarding.