July 2008 Archives

A Chris Crocker Redux - Leave Barack Alone! genre: Polispeak & Tongue-In-Cheek

If you spend most of your time under a rock, you may have missed Chris Crocker's tearful YouTube video defending Britney Spears from her detractors. If you've seen the video, you might have a grin on your face just thinking about it.

With the McCain campaigns recent release of an ad attempting to connect Senator Obama with the likes of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, Slate had the clever idea to dub over the Crocker video and offer its own impassioned defense of Barack Obama. Kudos to Slate...this is good stuff.

You can view the original Chris Crocker video at the above link. The Slate video and the McCain ad appear below.

Slate - Leave Barack Alone!

McCain Attack Ad

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Chris Crocker, Humor, John McCain, Slate

Daniel DiRito | July 31, 2008 | 2:48 PM | link | Comments (0)
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1913 Law Repealed: Mass Marriage Means Mass Hysteria? genre: Gaylingual & Uncivil Unions

The Massachusetts House has voted to repeal an antiquated law that prohibited the marriage of out of state gays. The measure, already approved by the Senate, is on its way to Governor Deval Patrick, who has indicated his intention to sign off on the repeal. Once removed, the state will allow for the marriage of gay couples who reside outside of Massachusetts.

From The Boston Globe:

In a major victory for advocates of same-sex marriage rights, the House voted by a wide margin yesterday to repeal a 95-year-old law that prevents gay and lesbian couples from most other states from marrying here, setting the stage for Massachusetts to join just one other state, California, in allowing same-sex couples to marry regardless of residence.

The 1913 law specifically bars out-of-state residents from marrying here if the marriage would be considered void in their home state. Its repeal opens the borders for potentially thousands of nonresident same-sex couples to marry in Massachusetts. A flood of couples is expected from New York, where Governor David Paterson has instructed state agencies to recognize and grant benefits to gay couples who marry elsewhere, even though New York does not authorize same-sex marriages.

Neither House nor Senate votes on the issue drew protesters to the State House. Advocates cited the absence of demonstrations as a sign that same-sex marriage has become an accepted fact of life in Massachusetts, after lawmakers in a joint session last year rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to limit marriage to heterosexual couples.

What, no protesters? Can it be? Are we to conclude that there aren't any defenders of traditional marriage in the state of Massachusetts? Could it be that heterosexual marriages weren't harmed as a result of the many same-sex marriages performed in the state?

Mitt Romney, where were you and your five sons when the religious right needed someone to stand up and defend family values?

Tagged as: Gay Marriage, LGBT, Massachusetts, Religious Right, Same-Sex Marriage

Daniel DiRito | July 30, 2008 | 8:49 AM | link | Comments (3)
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The Daily Show: Teaching Elaine Donnelly The Meaning Of "DADT" genre: Gaylingual & Tongue-In-Cheek

In the following video, The Daily Show's Jon Stewart has some fun at the expense of wingnut warrior Elaine Donnelly. Donnelly, rabidly anti-gay, recently testified before a congressional committee reviewing the merits of the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy on gay service members.

Needless to say, Donnelly's brash banter is garden variety bigotry...or in this case one might call her a cockeyed crackpot. I'm always amazed by the virtual obsession that is displayed by religious ideologues with regard to all things sexual. Perhaps if we offered them free counseling, they might eventually realize that they suffer from an inordinate focus on the naughty parts.

Unfortunately, the fact that many of these Christian crusaders view sex as sin undoubtedly exacerbates the problem. In the end, me thinks the lady doth protest too much. I fear Donnelly is unaware of the alternate meaning of DADT...the one that explains her pitiful performance..."Dumb Ass...Do Tell?!"

Tagged as: Comedy, DADT, Elaine Donnelly, Gay, Humor, Jon Stewart, LGBT, Military, The Daily Show

Daniel DiRito | July 29, 2008 | 7:37 PM | link | Comments (2)
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The Onion: Mind Games - Half Alive Or Half Way Dead? genre: Tongue-In-Cheek

In the following videos, The Onion delivers reports on two "mind-boggling" studies. The first suggests that young employees are oblivious to office politics and the second suggests that Alzheimer's patients are unaware of their illness.

You get to decide if it's better to be able to tune out one's environment voluntarily or if it's better when it happens with a total lack of awareness.

In my opinion, there are situations when each could be positive or negative. The former works well if the environment will allow it (not likely in an office full of crazed busy bodies). The latter works like a charm if your goal is to literally check out for a while (in this case you get to be the busy body driving everyone else crazy).

Now if someone is researching the means to switch back and forth between the two...while still maintaining one's sanity...I just might sign up to participate in that study.

Study Finds Young Employees Are Tuned Out

Study Finds Alzheimer's Patients Think They're Tuned In

Tagged as: Alzheimer, Comedy, Employment, Humor, Office Politics, The Onion

Daniel DiRito | July 29, 2008 | 4:43 PM | link | Comments (0)
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Monica "No-Goodling" - Bush Tool & Theocratic Tyrant? genre: Hip-Gnosis & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

MonicaGoodling.jpg

What is it with these holier than thou theocrats and breaking the rules...and the law? Does an education at Pat Robertson's Regent University include a course called "Crime and the Christian - The Ten Commandments of Theocracy Building"?

Not only did the Bush administration fast track the barely thirty year old Monica Goodling to one of the most powerful positions in the Justice Department, it gave a total of 150 appointments to graduates from the same Regent University. Then again, if one seeks to remake government into a God and GOP lovin' theocracy, the more the merrier, eh?

From The Washington Post:

Former Justice Department counselor Monica M. Goodling and former chief of staff D. Kyle Sampson routinely broke the law by conducting political litmus tests on candidates for jobs as immigration judges and line prosecutors, according to an inspector general's report released today.

Goodling passed over hundreds of qualified applicants and squashed the promotions of others after deeming candidates insufficiently loyal to the Republican party, said investigators, who interviewed 85 people and received information from 300 other job seekers at Justice. Sampson developed a system to screen immigration judge candidates based on improper political considerations and routinely took recommendations from the White House Office of Political Affairs and Presidential Personnel, the report said.

Goodling regularly asked candidates for career jobs: "What is it about George W. Bush that makes you want to serve him?" the report said. One former Justice Department official told investigators she had complained that Goodling was asking interviewees for their views on abortion, according to the report.

Taking political or personal factors into account in employment decisions for career positions violates civil service laws and can run afoul of ethics rules. Investigators said today that both Goodling and Sampson had engaged in "misconduct."

The Justice Department IG's report, released this morning, cites several other workers who may have engaged in misconduct by using political or sexual orientation to screen candidates for immigration judgeships.

OK, it's time to rant. Frankly, this is exactly the kind of behavior I would expect from those who are awash in religious ideology and absolutist dogma. Cloaked in their inviolable righteousness, there is little these individuals see as off-limits in the pursuit of their messianic mission.

These zealots are the product of incessant indoctrination who have been encouraged to operate mindlessly, absent a modicum of restraint or reservation. They are taught to be soldiers of God in the likes of Jesus Camps...convinced that they should stop at nothing less than a full-scale institutional transformation to the tenets of Christian teachings.

In my opinion, those groups that are promoting this blind allegiance are the virtual equivalent of cults. They have been able to avoid that characterization because of the prevalence of so many like-minded individuals...but that does nothing to abate the countless similarities. It is extremism no matter the permutations employed to describe or defend it.

Like Pat Robertson, some of these individuals have no hesitation to apply Biblically inspired judgments to the random events of daily life...indicting those they disagree with and glorifying those who share in their shamanic superstitions. This fanciful obsession with their own self-centered ideations has become the prototype for a political pathology that must be excised and extinguished if we are to maintain any semblance of separation of church and state.

If these people want a Christian kingdom, they will need to construct it outside the gates of government. Further, if they continue to usurp established law in order to achieve their divine domain here on earth, I suspect that they will eventually find that the gates of heaven they gleefully glorify have been locked...with a sign attached that states..."Christianists need not apply, admission is reserved for those who lived a Christian life; not those who appointed themselves as Christ's earthly executioners."

Tagged as: Bible, Christianity, D. Kyle Sampson, Discrimination, George W. Bush, GOP, Justice Department, Monica Goodling, Pat Robertson, Regent University, Religion, Theocracy

Daniel DiRito | July 28, 2008 | 12:33 PM | link | Comments (0)
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John McCain - The Straight-Talking Maverick Can Sure Ride A Fence genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Polispeak & Uncivil Unions

FenceRiding.jpg

John McCain, a former critic of Christian extremists, has suddenly become a seemingly born-again evangelical in conjunction with his 2008 presidential bid. Sadly, his run to the right is hardly evidence of a man who has made a career of portraying himself as a straight-talking maverick.

Those who contend that a McCain presidency won't be a third term of the policies of George Bush need look no further than the fence upon which slick John is perilously perched. If it isn't embracing the Bush administration's simplistic cowboy diplomacy, it will undoubtedly be the sleight of hand that comes with a carefully crafted claim of compassionate conservatism...couched, of course, as a commitment to the constitutional construct of states rights.

Truth be told, with regard to gay adoption, John McCain continues to sound like a man who has yet to realize that the fence he's riding has a limited number of sides. Perhaps the Senator believes he can finesse the fence...but from my vantage point, it looks more like he's a trick rider whose too clever by half. In fact, I don't think McCain has the political dexterity to simultaneously succeed at being both a pole jumper and a pole sitter. In the end, he's apt to find himself painfully impaled by the inconsistency his campaign continues to impart.

The Arizona Senator's latest attempt took place during today's appearance on This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

From ABC News:

STEPHANOPOULOS: What is your position on gay adoption? You told the "New York Times" you were against it, even in cases where the children couldn't find another home. But then your staff backtracked a bit.

What is your position?

MCCAIN: My position is, it's not the reason why I'm running for president of the United States. And I think that two parent families are best for America.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, what do you mean by that, it's not the reason you're running for president of the United States?

MCCAIN: Because I think -- well, I think that it's -- it is important for us to emphasize family values. But I think it's very important that we understand that we have other challenges, too.

I'm running for president of the United States, because I want to help with family values. And I think that family values are important, when we have two parent -- families that are of parents that are the traditional family.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But there are several hundred thousand children in the country who don't have a home. And if a gay couple wants to adopt them, what's wrong with that?

MCCAIN: I am for the values that two parent families, the traditional family represents.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, you're against gay adoption.

MCCAIN: I am for the values and principles that two parent families represent. And I also do point out that many of these decisions are made by the states, as we all know.

And I will do everything I can to encourage adoption, to encourage all of the things that keeps families together, including educational opportunities, including a better economy, job creation.

And I'm running for president, because I want to help families in America. And one of my positions is that I believe that family values and family traditions are preserved.

UPDATE: The following is the video of the above transcript:

Huh!? So he's for the values that traditional two parent families represent? Well, I'm for the commitment to excellence the Oakland Raiders espouse...but I've also seen how the Raiders play football these days. In other words, just where does McCain think these orphans come from...the anti-family values stork?

Shouldn't our political leaders be focused upon finding stable and loving homes for these children regardless of the sexuality of the adoptive parents? Just what does the Senator know about the experiences of children reared in families consisting of two same-sex parents? Has he bothered to explore the number of children that are orphaned from same-sex couples? I suspect he'd have to reconsider his definition of family values if he took the time to step beyond his efforts to insure the votes of his biased and bigoted base.

So McCain's position on gay adoption is "to encourage all of the things that keep families together, including educational opportunities, including a better economy, job growth. Yep, that will undoubtedly encourage family values and convince straight couples to stay married, to stop cheating, to stop getting divorced, and to stop viewing children as possessions and parenthood as little more than a rite of passage.

Then again, the goal of many on the religious right has little to do with insuring happy children. They view anything that prevents the substantiation of homosexuality to be worthwhile...even if that means a few hundred thousand children have to remain the wards of the state. Shifting orphaned children from one foster home to another like chattel is beneficial if it supports the anti-gay agenda. How compassionate and how Christian is that?

The only claim John McCain can make to straight talk is that he's learned the talk needed to win the votes of those who favor a world that is exclusively straight. John McCain may see himself as a maverick...but I suspect his maverick status is more like the role James Garner played in the television series with the same name...an unintentional hero presented with fanciful aplomb that is little more than the guise for a man who, when push came to shove, elected to avoid any of the risks associated with actually being a straight talking maverick and a political hero.

In the meantime, I hope the good senator is enjoying his ascendency to the pinnacle of political expediency. Come to think of it, he's simply mastered the metaphorical equivalent of riding a horse side-saddle...he knows that if you're going to ride the fence, you need to be a skilled side-stepper. Senator McBush, you're ability to parse words is an inspiration to orphans everywhere.

Tagged as: Divorce, Evangelical, Foster Care, Gay, Gay Adoption, George Stephanopoulos, John McCain, LGBT, Marriage, Orphan, Parenting, Religion, Religious Right, This Week

Daniel DiRito | July 27, 2008 | 1:30 PM | link | Comments (0)
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Is This Race All About The Race? genre: Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

There is a perception that Barack Obama exudes a degree of hubris that may be viewed negatively by a number of voters. The unasked question is whether this impression has its origin in the fact that Barack Obama is actually an over confident candidate or simply a candidate who exceeds the standing or status many voters feel comfortable attaching to a black man. In other words, isn't it possible that a number of white voters have a problem with accepting an intelligent and competent black man as their equal...let alone as their next president?

Part of the problem with America's struggle with race centers on the fact that the issue may have become an unspoken prejudice long before it ceased to exist. Specifically, I think it's plausible to argue that the success of the civil rights era may have inadvertently been to stifle overt displays of racism rather than extinguish the underlying prejudices that motivate acts of intolerance and discrimination.

Take a look at what is happening with the polling on the 2008 election.

From The Chicago Daily Observer:

Obama continues to run substantially worse than the hypothetical generic Democrat, meaning the public has not yet fully made up its mind about him.

Which is to say that if the candidate were, say, John Edwards or any such substantial white guy it would, for all practical purposes, be over right now.

I warned earlier that all polling to date must be taken with large doses of salt, but one pattern has been fairly consistent: Obama's lead has ranged from roughly 4 to 8 points while the generic Democratic vote this time around ranges from 10 to 12.

There are other readily explainable reasons why Obama runs behind the generic Democrat: His exotic background--African father, Indonesian schooling, oddball middle-name and so forth also come into play.

Which gets us down to the real, still largely unspoken question of race.

There are still loads and loads of Democrats and independents who are unlikely to vote for him because of what still remains what Gunnar Myrdal called the American dilemma.

That is the real referendum on Obama.

More importantly, it's a referendum on us.

As such, I'm suggesting that the nature of racism has merely evolved and the 2008 election is our first foray into unearthing the essence of its transformation. I would equate it with the construct of passive aggressive behavior. It's akin to the teenager who is jealous of the academic success of a rival student. Rather than address the issue (animosity) head on, one student attacks the physical appearance of the rival student or promotes the perception that the other student's success comes from being a brown nosing goody two shoes. I suspect many Americans are predisposed to expressing their racial animosities accordingly.

Let me offer another example to make my point. As a gay man, I'm keenly aware of those individuals who describe the visibility of gays as an "in your face" effort to force society to acknowledge or accept homosexuality. Simply stated, the message imparted by this rhetoric is meant to remind gays of their status and their position as lesser members of society who should be grateful that they are allowed to exist...so long as they continue to refrain from outward displays of pride (hubris).

In fact, the evolution of gay rights and the assimilation of homosexuals into society mirrors the process whereby outward demonstrations of racism became unacceptable and the laws that institutionalized it were removed. Regardless, the deep seated sources of racism have yet to be extinguished...just as will be the case with homophobia as gays achieve equal status. In the end, while legislative equality may prohibit certain acts of racism or homophobia, it can rarely remove the ingrained bias that can still be expressed without recourse.

In the following videos, The Daily Show uses humor to uncover and expose elements of this very phenomenon. Though the state often acts appropriately to correct institutional injustice, elections remind us that the state is woefully unable to halt the long standing bias that is frequently exhibited in the ballot box. While our judicial structure makes it increasingly difficult to legislate bias once it's been identified and purged, democracy, by its nature, can do little to extinguish it in the individual.

The 2008 election will have a winner and a loser based upon the votes of the people...and history will undoubtedly record it as a valid democratic election. As is often the case, history will also note the validity found in the commentary and cultural observations of the time...which will include satirical programs like The Daily Show that sought to highlight the bias that democracy is unable to expunge from the individual.

In the end, the objective of an enlightened society ought be to endeavor to mitigate the lingering bias of the individual at the same time that it prohibits its legislative imposition by the state. Only then will our elections actually be about the issues and not about the skin color, the sexual orientation, or the gender of the candidate.

Wyatt Cenac Visits With Jewish Seniors In Florida

Larry Wilmore: Bad Timing For A Black President?

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Democracy, Florida, Hillary Clinton, Homophobia, Jewish Vote, Jon Stewart, Larry Wilmore, LGBT, Race, Racism, The Daily Show, Wyatt Cenac

Daniel DiRito | July 27, 2008 | 10:14 AM | link | Comments (0)
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Hector Avalos: How Archaeology Killed Biblical History genre: Hip-Gnosis

I have a suspicion that the culture wars are merely the means religious leaders use to distract the faithful from the slow but steady onslaught of science in undermining the historical basis of the Bible. You see, if science continues to progress, the practice of taking scripture literally will no longer be sustainable...which would allow the faithful to break the bonds of religious dogma and diminish the power it imparts to religious institutions and their leaders.

In the following videos, Hector Avalos, a former child evangelist and Biblical scholar from Iowa State University, offers a detailed presentation on some of the research that has been unearthed to undermine the assumption that the Bible is a valid and verifiable historical document. As a Biblical minimalist, Avalos and his associates have spent their careers attempting to substantiate or refute the history contained in the Bible...and they've been quite successful.

It is that success that serves as a threat to those who promote the Bible as the irrefutable word of God and the inviolable template for the mores and values of society. Avalos points out that the notion of a text serving as the ultimate authority for our behaviors is a relatively new construct in human behavior and a testament to the success of those who have sought to promote and preserve the power it provides.

The beauty of listening to a man like Avalos is found in his willingness to adhere to facts rather than engage in the hyperbole of histrionics that so often accompanies the Biblical pronouncements made from the pulpit. In other words, Avalos isn't an ideologue intent upon making the facts fit his preferred beliefs. Conversely, many people espouse their faith as fact and challenge science to disprove it. Truth be told, science is succeeding in doing just that, which is why it is viewed as such a threat by those who prefer that we view the world through a theological template.

One particular observation caught my attention and made me think of the criticism that has been leveled at the Da Vinci Code by the religious establishment. Avalos is asked about the evidence for Nazareth and he quickly acknowledges its existence. However, he proceeds to point to the accounts of King Arthur as evidence for the prevalent intermingling of fact and fiction. In other words, while King Arthur archaeology contains accounts of many things that existed at the time, that evidence does nothing to substantiate King Arthur.

Returning to the uproar against The Da Vinci Code, one can argue that those religious leaders who criticized Dan Brown's self-admitted intermingling of fact and fiction in the book are guilty of supporting a book that does the very same thing. In other words, as to historical accuracy, The DaVinci Code may be no more inaccurate than the Bible...with the primary difference being that Dan Brown admits that he has melded verifiable history with story telling, while religious ideologues refuse to acknowledge that the Bible is also filled with stories that lack the necessary verifications.

There is little reason to believe that religious institutions will voluntarily acquiesce to science. In fact, I suspect that the closer science comes to disproving the fundamental foundations of faith, the louder the protestations will become. There is a growing body of evidence that religious leaders believe their best defense against the advances of science is to characterize themselves and their followers as victims of intolerance and state sponsored discrimination.

While having faith is an acceptable endeavor that should never be prohibited, at some point we're going to be forced to confront the fact that it is no more scientific than a belief is astrology. I contend the resistance to that moment has more to do with an affinity for worldly riches than the promise of an eternal existence.

Hector Avalos - Part One

Hector Avalos - Part Two

Tagged as: Archaeology, Bible, Biblical History, Christianity, Eternity, Faith, Heaven, Hector Avalos, History, Ideology, Religion

Daniel DiRito | July 25, 2008 | 12:05 PM | link | Comments (5)
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From The Minds Of Skeptics - 80 Notable Quotations genre: Hip-Gnosis

The following video contains many of the elements that inspire me. It is a compilation of thought provoking quotations...from a who's who list of skeptics...set to trance music. Need I say more?

Tagged as: Atheism, Faith, God, Religion

Daniel DiRito | July 24, 2008 | 9:09 PM | link | Comments (2)
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Riz Khan Discusses Darwin's Legacy With D'Souza & Dawkins genre: Hip-Gnosis

In the first of the following videos, Riz Khan discusses Darwin's legacy with Dinesh D'Souza and Richard Dawkins. I'm not usually a fan of D'Souza, but I can at least appreciate his willingness to accept evolutionary theory...especially given his history as a religious apologist. Beyond that, D'Souza quickly moves into a lengthy diatribe on the things evolutionary theory can't explain...which is the means by which D'Souza attempts to reinsert God into the equation.

When Khan speaks with Dawkins (second video), the discussion focuses upon the misconceptions about the theory of evolution, the point at which children should be introduced to the concept, and the attempts by creationists to posit a designer without offering any plausible explanation for the origin of the creator...or the complexity he or she would have to possess to have set the universe and our existence into motion. In other words, the assertion of a creator does nothing to refute the evolutionary process nor is it a testable hypothesis.

Generally speaking, I'm of the opinion that the bickering over the theories of evolution, creationism, and intelligent design is merely a symptom of the larger issue confronting us fully flawed humans. The bottom line - our capacity to contemplate our mortality leads us to seek the meaning of our existence.

While I understand man's discomfort with the unknown, I am equally fascinated by man's need to explain it outside the realm of what can be tested and proven from the scientific method. There is a level of arrogance attached to the presumption that we, in our virtual ignorance of the origin of things, can postulate that there must have been a supreme being. Ironically, though evolutionary theory is well-substantiated, even those who work in the field refrain from speaking in absolutes. Yes, they defend the theory and the evidence which supports it, but they also realize we have a limited capacity to offer all encompassing explanations.

In other words, the body of evidence we have doesn't rule out the possibility of a creator, so long as our belief in a creator doesn't negate the scientific evidence we possess. At the same time, nothing in the existing scientific evidence can be construed as evidence in support of a creator. Those who leap to that conclusion are free to do so as a matter of faith...but their assertions have no basis in fact.

Unfortunately, the scientific community is put in the precarious position of defending against those who would prefer to ignore the evidence or the lack thereof. All too often this defensive stance is viewed as an affront to the beliefs of the faithful, when in fact it is merely an insistence upon drawing the proper distinctions between fact and faith...all the while refusing to allow religious ideology to dictate the means and the interpretations of scientific discovery.

In the end, there is little reason to believe that anyone living today will be alive when we're able to fully explain the universe and its origin. What this means is that people are left with limited choices. One, they can accept that their lives will come and go without any real answers and the process of advancing awareness will likely cease upon death (the most logical conclusion given what we know). Two, they can draw their own "big picture" conclusion from the available data (a best guess if you will) and take comfort in it...despite an awareness of its persistent uncertainty. Lastly, they can embrace any belief they choose, absent any real evidence, or exploration thereof, and insist that it is the absolute truth regardless of their inability to substantiate it (faith in a higher power and an afterlife).

In identifying these choices, one also sees how science and religion approach our lack of knowledge from completely different ends of the spectrum. To a degree, this divergence is a predictable source of conflict. As each of us seeks an understanding of our existence, we rarely want to accept the existential angst that accompanies uncertainty. The means by which we each seek to resolve that angst is certain to pit some of us against each other...and that may actually be the only thing we can know with certainty at this point in time. As such, I believe it's safe to state that everything else is white noise designed to mask the terror of our pending mortality.

Riz Khan: Darwin's Legacy - Part One

Riz Khan: Darwin's Legacy - Part Two

Tagged as: Creationism, Creator, Darwin, Death, Dinesh D'Souza, Evolution, Faith, God, Intelligent Design, Richard Dawkins, Riz Khan

Daniel DiRito | July 23, 2008 | 11:51 AM | link | Comments (0)
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Time To Stuff My Snickers Bar In Nike's Face? genre: Gaylingual & Video-Philes

While I think it's fair to frown upon scapegoating and stereotyping in commercial advertising campaigns, I'm not all that incensed by such depictions. However, when they are apt to promote already existent anger and animosity...and/or endorse or encourage more inappropriate outbursts and behavior, I think it warrants commentary.

To that end, Snickers and Nike have released new campaigns that may do just that. Snickers' first foray into this practice took place during the Super Bowl when two men inadvertently found themselves locked lip to lip...which was followed by outward signs of repulsion...including the wielding of a tire iron in one version of the ad. In the new Snickers ad (see video below), Mr. T., perched in the back of a muscle truck with a Gatling gun, is annoyed by a man "wogging" down the sidewalk (insinuating he's a sissy), and he commences to pummel him with Snickers shells.

The problem with the ad is that it is a tacit endorsement of violence against gays. Yes, I acknowledge that it's virtually impossible to craft an ad that doesn't serve as a trigger for some sort of bad behavior in a certain segment of society. At the same time, I would venture to say that very few people are unaware of gay bashing...which means that the ad agency can't feign surprise when it is accused of fostering that mind set.

As to Nike, the image found in its latest offering (see below), of two men playing basketball, suggests when one man's face inadvertently ends up in another man's crotch, it is wrong and humiliating. Again, the problem with this ad rests in the already evident homophobia that has been demonstrated by numerous sports figures. Hence the ad is seemingly an endorsement of these hateful outbursts and a stealth message to children that sports and homosexuality are mutually exclusive. Frankly, many of these abrasive sports figures already believe they are beyond reproach. I simply don't see any merit in Nike's reinforcement of that notion. Here's the take from one of ESPN's senior writers.

And when it comes to using basketball to humilate your opponent, there is a certain scale. Shooting a jumper over someone is maybe a one. Beating someone to the hoop for a layup might be a two. Dribbling through your legs as you do so could make that worth three, dribbling through their legs as you do might get you up to six. Sevens are garden variety dunks and blocks, while there is a special carve out somewhere around eight or nine for using your crossover to make the defender actually fall over.

But up at the top of the humiliation hierarchy, right there with doing many of the above things with the game on the line, is an explosively humiliating move whose handy shorthand might not belong on this family-friendly website.

We can call it the I'm-jumping-so-high-as-I-dunk-over-you-that-my-crotch-is-in-your-face move.

Man, I have a whole jumble of thoughts. For instance:

Homophobia is real, it is common, and it is damaging. All that is true in general in society, but especially around sports. There's a reason no current NBA player has ever come out of the closet. People should be aware of that and act accordingly. It's not funny.

These are kick-ass ads, that have meaning and make basketball sense without injecting any homophobia into the conversation. Getting humiliated like that is "just wrong," in a basketball sense, without the male on male interpretation. Pretend the genders were scrambled in that ad -- a woman defender, or a woman dunker, or both. The same headline can work without the implication that the man on man contact is the gross part.

Knowing that there is a lot of homophobia out there, is advertising that might stoke those fires in poor taste?

I can't wait to live in a world where this ad would not be commonly interpreted as homophobic, but I'm not sure I do live there now. And in that setting, I guess this counts as ethically sloppy in my book. Or maybe intended to stoke some fires to draw some attention to itself. If I ran Wieden + Kennedy, or Nike, I wouldn't have green-lighted that headline with that image. But I'm not at all surprised that others did, and maybe the conversation that ensues makes us all a little more aware.

Generally speaking, I appreciate ESPN's treatment of the issue...with one glaring exception. The writer, Henry Abbott, fails to see that the implied humiliation, while meaningful to those who play the game and those who watch it, is simply a manifestation of a society that attaches the very same meaning to it. They're inseparable, which is the fundamental problem. It also makes Abbott's wish an absurdity. Were we in a world where this ad "would not be commonly interpreted as homophobic", the ad would have never been made.

You see, the reason no one is making an ad where a man's face inadvertently ends up in a woman's crotch...designed to appeal to the gay community...and its judgmental heterophobia...is because we don't feel humiliated by it...due to the fact that we don't judge it negatively and we willingly acknowledge that it's acceptable behavior (ergo, societally supported heterophobia doesn't exist to enable the humiliation or the ad).

With that said, my primary beef with this type of advertising has more to do with the absence of advertising that is either neutral towards gays or provides a favorable depiction. In fact, when such ads are released, the uproar from religious ideologues often results in the cancellation of the campaign. That's simply an unacceptable double standard and it does little more than foster prejudice. The most recent instance involved an ad in the UK for Heinz Deli Mayo, in which two men share a harmless peck on the lips. In short order, the loons were up in arms and the ad was immediately canned.

I find myself wanting to stuff my Snickers bar in Nikes face. Unfortunately, they'd likely take a bite without giving a second thought to the double entendre. Perhaps that sheds some light on the problem, eh?

Snickers Advertisement


Snickers TV Commercial - Get Some Nuts - The best bloopers are here

Nike Advertisement

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Tagged as: Advertising, Basketball, Hate Crimes, Heinz Deli Mayo, Homophobia, LGBT, Mr. T., NBA, Nike, Snickers

Daniel DiRito | July 22, 2008 | 6:26 PM | link | Comments (0)
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PBS, Politics, Patriotism, & The Primordial Patriarch genre: Hip-Gnosis & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

PBSUSAGOD.jpg

Heaven help us! PBS is going to air a documentary, The Bible's Buried Secrets, which explores the factuality of the Bible...and Donald "Wingnut" Wildmon's American Family Association has already launched an action alert. The AFA is asking its supporters to sign a petition urging congress to halt all government funding of PBS. You can view the alert here.

From The Orlando Sentinel:

The Bible's Buried Secrets, a new PBS documentary, is likely to cause a furor.

"It challenges the Bible's stories if you want to read them literally, and that will disturb many people," says archaeologist William Dever, who specializes in Israel's history. "But it explains how and why these stories ever came to be told in the first place, and how and why they were written down."

The Nova program will premiere Nov. 18. PBS presented a clip and a panel discussion at the summer tour of the Television Critics Association.

The program says the Bible was written in the sixth century BC and that hundreds of authors contributed.

"At least the first five books of the Bible come together during the Babylonian exile," says producer Gary Glassman.

The program challenges long-held beliefs. Abraham, Sarah and their offspring probably didn't exist, says Carol Meyers, a religion professor at Duke University.

"These stories are unlikely to represent real historical events, but rather there's some kernel of ancient experience in there which has survived and which helps give identity to the people at the time the Bible finally took shape centuries and centuries later," Meyers says.

OK, so I understand that some believers won't like what the PBS program has to say and I can even understand that they would rather not be presented with any evidence that might shake their faith. However, I've always understood that true faith should be able to withstand challenge. Hence, is the effort to shut down funding to PBS a demonstration of faith or evidence of its precarious hold upon those who embrace it?

Frankly, the effort to punish PBS is another in a long string of attempts to purge rational and reasoned dialogue while granting deference to ideological intransigence. These are the same people who insist that creationism be taught in science classes because the theory of evolution lacks the certainty they demand. In other words, they believe intelligent design warrants a place in science, but any single attempt to put the Bible into historical and sociological context elicits an instantaneous effort to end to all government sponsorship of PBS.

Mind you, in the case of the former, we operate under the edict of separation of church and state...while in the case of the latter, there are no such restrictions. On the one hand, the religious right wants the government to accommodate untestable speculation (in a science course, no less), and on the other, they want the government to cease funding any researched examination of Biblical history...the very basis of their demand for the former.

Of course, the spin that will come from the right is that the government is funding the ongoing assault upon people of faith (they are being victimized). It's a clever strategy for a group that routinely seeks to vilify those it opposes. Then again, it fits perfectly with the self-righteous certainty that they've adopted. SImply stated, if one believes one can never be wrong, one is therefore never wrong. Consequently, only when all others adopt one's beliefs, adhere to them accordingly, and are prohibited from dissenting, will the world be acceptable and will one's mission have been accomplished. Science, history, and facts be damned.

Such is the nature of fanaticism and religious intransigence. There will be no good order until the only order that is good is the one they dictate. When democracy furthers their agenda, democracy is idyllic; when democracy conflicts with their agenda, it is an insidious interloper between man and the laws set forth by God.

Take a look at how Wildmon actually views the culture war.

From Religion Dispatches:

The "culture wars" will be irrevocably lost, said Wildmon, if Proposition 8 (the "California Marriage Protection Act" which states that "Only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California") loses on November 4.

"If we lose California, if they defeat the marriage amendment, I'm afraid that the culture war is over and Christians have lost," said Wildmon, "I've never said that publicly until now--but that's just the reality of the fact."

Wildmon pointed out that If the "homosexuals" were "able to defeat the marriage amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman, then the culture war is over and we've lost--and gradually, secularism will replace Christianity as the foundation of our society."

There's a perception that American patriotism, democracy, and religiosity are innately linked. I suspect that if the American electorate comes down on the side of cultural secularism (e.g. gay marriage), the patriotism of many religious ideologues will be shown to have been conditional.

If one were to project the trajectory of men like AFA's Donald Wildmon and the dogma they espouse, it will likely be he and his followers who abandon their paradoxical patriotism, in favor of their inviolable ideology, should democracy fail to install and impose it. In the end, I believe it will be those they sought to subjugate who will continue to fight to uphold the constitutional integrity upon which this nation was built. When push comes to shove, the true patriots have always been those citizens who cherished the ideals of this nation...even when the will of the people precluded them from partaking in them.

Should there be any doubt as to the tenuous loyalty to country I'm suggesting may exist, one need look no further than the recent assault upon the judiciary. I contend that those who have embraced the meme of "judicial activism" are the same individuals who benefited from the past inaction of the judiciary and simultaneously used it as the righteous means to restrict and restrain others. American history is littered with persecution and injustice...but very little of it has ever been directed at men of Donald Wildmon's ilk.

What we're beginning to witness is the unraveling of the status quo and the fruits of a revolution born of a commitment to rational and reasoned thought...a movement that maintained its respect for the system while quietly working to transform it. I don't expect my Christian counterparts will be willing to demonstrate the same discipline that my gay brethren have exhibited in the face of having their expressions of love characterized as criminal and their identities classified as mental illness. To call Christians victims is to denigrate the ongoing commitment to a civil society of those who would have been arguably justified to rebel against it.

I wouldn't count on the Donald Wildmon's of the world acting accordingly. As a matter of fact, I fear that history has shown us, time and again, that an allegiance to an almighty is, ironically, the very antithesis of both rationality and reason. As such, it can easily become the quintessential mechanism for mayhem. Heaven help us!

Tagged as: AFA, American Family Association, Bible, Donald Wildmon, Evangelicals, History, LGBT, Literalism, PBS, Religion, Religious Right, Science

Daniel DiRito | July 22, 2008 | 1:36 PM | link | Comments (0)
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James Dobson Speaks - "Look At Me, Look At Me!" genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Polispeak

Having to jump up and down for attention must be pure torture for James Dobson. Faced with the prospect of being irrelevant in the 2008 election has led the leader of Focus on the Family to announce that he may rescind his prior refusal to vote for John McCain.

In the following video, a few of the faithful explain the dilemma confronting their dear leader. They want us to know that their leader is a man of principle...and that supporting John McCain would only happen out of his concern for the unborn and the protection of the family. [Shed tears now]

What the folks at FOF don't want us to conclude is that Dobson's ginormous ego has emerged and that his need to be the center of attention has led him to reconsider. In other words, when no one followed him over the political cliff, he climbed back up, dusted himself off, and crafted a new message...one that says he'd have to do whatever it takes to save the children and defeat the homos.

I guess the man that felt it was important to teach the GOP a lesson (translated as I demand to be more important and I'm happy to throw the election to do so) for failing to follow through on the issues that are important to evangelicals has decided his stint on the sidelines could spell the end of the Dobson dynasty. Hence, he's rolled up his sleeves and he's ready to lead. [Send checks now]

Alas, the curtain is removed! What Dobson really fears is that his irrelevance could also mean an end to the cash FOF has been able to generate by portraying itself as one of the most influential organizations on the religious right. That brings us back to principles...and there's no doubt that Dobson knows it takes a lot of "principal" (cash) to garner significant "interest" (income). Welcome back James Dobson...we missed you!

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Abortion, Barack Obama, Family Values, Focus on the Family, James Dobson, John McCain, LGBT, Religion, Same-Sex Marriage

Daniel DiRito | July 22, 2008 | 11:07 AM | link | Comments (0)
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Christian Goals, Super Bowls, Swimming Holes, & Switching Roles genre: Hip-Gnosis & Polispeak & Tongue-In-Cheek

Janet-Jackson-Superbowl.jpg

Hold onto your hats...I sense a boycott's a brewin'! Yes, the American Family Association better step up and call upon outraged Americans to stand up support family values. Why, you ask? Well, because an appeals court has just overturned the $550,000 fine levied against CBS for forcing America's unsuspecting families to witness a traumatizing frame or two of Janet Jackson's almost fully exposed breast.

In a decision that clears CBS of any wrongdoing for airing the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show that featured Janet Jackson's infamous "wardrobe malfunction," a federal appeals court overturned the $550,000 fine that the Federal Communications Commission levied against the station, calling the fine arbitrary and capricious.

The decision was handed down Monday by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which found that the fine was unfair because the commission, in imposing it, deliberately strayed from its practice of exempting fleeting indecency in broadcast programming from punishment.

The controversy surrounding the incident yielded a record-breaking 540,000 complaints to the commission in the weeks following the show.

I don't know about anyone else, but I find myself longing for the good old days...the one's when evangelicals could shout jump and George Bush would get on a plane and rush to Washington to save a woman, in a vegetative state, from the evildoers. I miss the days when a half million family values voters could cause a knee-jerk reaction by a "Christian friendly" government agency.

Sadly, ever since our dear leader sat idle for four days while New Orleans became a toxic public swimming pool, we seem to have lost our zeal for all things pompous and pious...and that really troubles me. Why should a little old flood (not "The Flood", mind you) be allowed to spell the end of a conservative Christian crusade against all things secular?

What's the world coming to? It won't be long and scientists are going to succeed in shutting creationism out of our children's public school curriculum. No doubt Ford will soon announce the production of a rainbow colored car. How long will it be before McDonald's starts putting Tinky Winky dolls in their Happy Meals? When will Heinz start selling Kweer Ketchup? Who will battle the likes of Marriott - insuring that they don't sell pornographic movies to ministers having affairs with hookers and doing lines of coke in their hotel rooms?

Yes, the times they are a changin'! Where will it end? We've gone from leveling a huge fine against CBS for "allowing" a black woman to expose her breast, all the way to having a black man being celebrated for leading his pasty white patriot opponent in the race for the presidency. I fear it's just a matter of time before white folk are pickin' cotton. Oh, the humanity!

Tagged as: AFA, American Family Association, Boycott, CBS, Evangelical, Family Values, FCC, Ford, George W. Bush, Janet Jackson, Katrina, Marriott, McDonald's, New Orleans, Pornography, Race, Religion, Super Bowl, Terri Schiavo, Tinky Winky

Daniel DiRito | July 21, 2008 | 5:32 PM | link | Comments (0)
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For Christians...It's All About The Pickle? genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis

Christians are notorious for crafting simplified representations of their faith as well as the less than scientific doctrines they embrace (think creationism and peanut butter).

In the first of the following videos, Grandpa John uses an ordinary pickle to demonstrate the power of Christianity. To do this, grandpa zaps the pickle with a dose of electricity and suggests that the infusion of this external power source is the same as having God in one's life.

Unfortunately, things take a turn for the worst near the end of the video. When Grandpa John turns the lights back on, we get to see what the electricity is actually doing to the pickle. In the light of day, when the darkness of mysticism is removed, we realize that the electricity is boiling the pickle in its own juices...with steam pouring out of both ends. Now I don't know about you, but based upon what I saw, I'm gonna have to say no to Grandpa John.

In the second video, Lewis & Lewis, a Christian gospel music duo, offer us another little diddy about the pickle...metaphorically speaking, that is. Simply stated, the song is intended to tell the listener that being gay isn't ok...because the plumbing just doesn't work. Lewis & Lewis use a farm setting to tell us that farm animals aren't gay. Last time I checked the literature, science may not agree with Lewis & Lewis.

Anyway, the bottom line seems to be that Christians are obsessed with pickles. If they're not puttin' the juice to their own, they're worried about where the neighbor and the farm animals might be puttin' theirs.

I'm thinking one of these folks needs to see what can be learned from puttin' one's pickle in a jar of peanut butter. Then again, given the lessons we've already learned, and the level of interest in both, I have no way to confirm that they haven't already done so.

If you don't understand that last comment, you'll need to take a look at the video found in the first link.

Grandpa John Fires Up His Pickle

Lewis & Lewis - Come On Down To The Farm

Tagged as: Christianity, Faith, Gay, God, Homosexuality, Humor, Jesus, LGBT, Religion

Daniel DiRito | July 21, 2008 | 4:24 PM | link | Comments (1)
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Peter J. Gomes Discusses Jesus & The Gospel Of Jesus genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis

It's always refreshing to witness a scholarly and informed discussion of religion...one that is able to step away from rigid dogma in order to provide some context and insight beyond the Bible. In the following Fora.tv video, Peter Gomes,...

Tagged as: Bible, Faith, Fora.tv, Gay Marriage, Gospel, Jeremiah Wright, Jesus, Peter J. Gomes, Race, Racism, Religion, Same-Sex Marriage

Daniel DiRito | July 21, 2008 | 1:04 PM | link | Comments (0)
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The "Order" Of Things: Let Them Kill...Yes - Let Them Marry...No genre: Gaylingual & Just Jihad & Nouveau Thoughts & Uncivil Unions

I'm always amazed at public opinion...especially when it provides some insights into human nature in 21st century America. Over the years, I've always marveled at the prudish obsession with all things prurient. I could be wrong, but I suspect...

Tagged as: DADT, Discrimination, Don't Ask Don't Tell, Gay Marriage, LGBT, Military, Misogyny, Polling, Relationships, Same-Sex Marriage, Sexuality, Society, Violence, War

Daniel DiRito | July 20, 2008 | 2:27 PM | link | Comments (5)
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Bush Administration To Define Contraception As Abortion? genre: Hip-Gnosis & Little Red Ribbon-Hood & Polispeak

As if it isn't bad enough that we've had to endure nearly eight years of George W. Bush, he has chosen his final months to enact one of his most intrusive policy initiatives. It seems that the president has decided...

Tagged as: Abortion, Contraception, Department of Health and Human Services, Discrimination, Evangelicals, George W. Bush, Hate Crimes Legislation, Hillary Clinton, Joe Sweeney, Planned Parenthood, Procreation, Religion, Same-Sex Marriage, Sexuality

Daniel DiRito | July 19, 2008 | 8:45 AM | link | Comments (2)
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FRC: Traditional Marriage Is Faceless, Shapeless, & Androgynous? genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Tongue-In-Cheek

The Family Research Council is a never ending source of amusement. Unfortunately they are also rabidly anti-gay and a constant supporter of measures to deny homosexuals equal rights. To that end, FRC is a major player in the battle to...

Tagged as: California, Family Research Council, FRC, Gay, Humor, LGBT, Proposition 8, Same-Sex Marriage, Supreme Court, Tony Perkins

Daniel DiRito | July 18, 2008 | 5:30 PM | link | Comments (1)
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Poll Shows California Voters Oppose Prop. 8 Same-Sex Marriage Ban genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Uncivil Unions

While it's far too early to celebrate, a new poll suggests that Proposition 8, an amendment to the California constitution designed to define marriage as the union of only one man and one woman, would not have sufficient support...

Tagged as: California, Catholicism, Civil Rights, Constitutional Amendment, Equality, Evangelical, Field Poll, Gay, LGBT, Marriage, Polling, Proposition 8, Religion, Same-Sex Marriage

Daniel DiRito | July 18, 2008 | 11:08 AM | link | Comments (1)
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Friday Funny: Rapture Worries genre: Hip-Gnosis & Tongue-In-Cheek

While many Christians believe in the Rapture...that moment at which all Christians will simultaneously rise into heaven...I fear that the logistical preparations are woefully lacking. The following video provides a basic primer on the many safety concerns that Christians...

Tagged as: End of Days, Faith, Humor, Rapture, Religion

Daniel DiRito | July 18, 2008 | 9:50 AM | link | Comments (0)
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HIV's Achilles Heel Discovered? genre: Do Not Resuscitate & Little Red Ribbon-Hood

Over the years, I've grown accustomed to regularly reading about the latest findings in HIV research. Early on, it was the only glimmer of hope in the environment of certain death that surrounded the disease. In recent years, the...

Tagged as: Abzymes, AIDS, Disease, Gay, Health, HIV, LGBT, Research, Science, Science Daily, Virus

Daniel DiRito | July 17, 2008 | 1:32 PM | link | Comments (0)
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The Colbert Report: Solving America's Problems With A Placebo genre: Econ-Recon & Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

Stephen Colbert expands upon the twenty percent of Americans who think everything is going well and suggests that we need a placebo to change the negative psychology of the other eighty percent who just can't see the pot of...

Tagged as: Gas Prices, George W. Bush, Home Foreclosures, John McCain, Placebo, Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report

Daniel DiRito | July 17, 2008 | 12:43 PM | link | Comments (0)
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The Daily Show: Who Rides The Short Bus? genre: Gaylingual & Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

Have you ever wondered who makes up that small segment of American society that believes everything is hunky dory? According to the latest surveys, less than 20 percent of Americans believe the nation is headed in the right direction....

Tagged as: Deepak Chopra, J.P. "Gus" Godsey, Jason Jones, Jon Stewart, LGBT, The Daily Show

Daniel DiRito | July 17, 2008 | 11:56 AM | link | Comments (13)
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Dan Dennett: On The Prevalence & Power Of Ideas (Memes) genre: Nouveau Thoughts & Six Degrees of Speculation

In the following video, Dan Dennett discusses the power of ideas (memes) to hijack evolutionary rules and therefore the individual. When this happens, depending upon the idea, society and the individual can become the virtual victim of a parasite...

Tagged as: Dan Dennett, Evolution, Genetics, Human Nature, Intransigence, Islam, Memes, Religion, Science, Scientific Method

Daniel DiRito | July 17, 2008 | 9:10 AM | link | Comments (0)
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A "Dole" Drubbing - A Resounding NO To "Senator No" genre: Gaylingual & Little Red Ribbon-Hood

For years, Jesse Helms blocked measures intended to provide care and assistance to homosexuals suffering from the ravages of HIV. In true Helms backasswards bravado, he often insinuated that the only way such legislation would pass would be over...

Tagged as: Abstinence, Africa, AIDS, Bigotry, Death, Elizabeth Dole, Gay, HIV, Jesse Helms, LGBT, PEPFAR

Daniel DiRito | July 16, 2008 | 7:15 PM | link | Comments (0)
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Sam Harris & Hugh Hewitt Debate The Pros & Cons Of Religion genre: Hip-Gnosis & Just Jihad

Sam Harris, the author of The End Of Faith, has argued that religion is, by its nature, a mechanism for conflict in the world. Harris contends that the belief in, and adherence to the words contained within the various...

Tagged as: Christianity, Factionalism, Faith, God, Hugh Hewitt, Rationality, Religion, Sam Harris, Sectarian Violence, Secularism, War

Daniel DiRito | July 16, 2008 | 6:00 PM | link | Comments (2)
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JibJab: Election 2008 - Time For Some Campaignin' genre: Polispeak & Tongue-In-Cheek

No doubt about it, this is an election year...and that means that the folks at JibJab have released their latest offering of political parody. With an all star cast of those leaving the White House, those seeking it, those...

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Comedy, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, Humor, JibJab, John McCain

Daniel DiRito | July 16, 2008 | 7:34 AM | link | Comments (0)
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Penn On The Pope & Doing Catholic Right genre: Hip-Gnosis

In the following video, Penn of Penn & Teller talks about the prevalence of Catholics who pick and choose which edicts they follow. Penn is troubled by this updated, practical view of religion and seems to think that this modern...

Tagged as: Catholicism, Comedy, Exorcism, Humor, Penn, Penn & Teller, Pope, Religion

Daniel DiRito | July 15, 2008 | 3:38 PM | link | Comments (2)
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The Daily Show On Iran's Emerging Photoshop Threat genre: Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

The Daily Show's John Oliver provides an in-depth expose on Iran's devastating ability to increase the number of missiles it launched in a recent test through the use of photoshop. As such, it would appear that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad now has...

Tagged as: Axis of Evil, Comedy, George Bush, Humor, Iran, John Oliver, Jon Stewart, Photoshop, The Daily Show

Daniel DiRito | July 15, 2008 | 2:54 PM | link | Comments (0)
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The Onion: "No-Values Voters" Are Dissatisfied With Candidates genre: Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

In the following video, The Onion suggests that there is a constituency group, "No-Values Voters", who seek a candidate with absolutely no soul. Their objective is to elect a candidate who has the total lack of moral fiber they...

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Election, Humor, Satire, The Onion, Values

Daniel DiRito | July 15, 2008 | 10:06 AM | link | Comments (0)
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Lay Your Hands, Lay Your Hands On Me - Faith Healing? genre: Hip-Gnosis & Little Red Ribbon-Hood

As you watch Todd Bentley shout bam, bam bam while laying his hands on his followers, you can't help but think of Emeril Lagasse tossing in a few extra garlic cloves into his latest culinary creation to transform it...

Tagged as: ABC, Exploitation, Faith Healers, Illness, Religion, Scam, Todd Bentley

Daniel DiRito | July 12, 2008 | 9:58 AM | link | Comments (0)
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Jim Gaffigan's Musings On Religion genre: Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

I first saw Jim Gaffigan on Letterman and thought he was a funny guy. When I read the title of this video clip, indicating it was about religion, I suspected I was in for a treat. His take on...

Tagged as: Catholicism, Comedy, Humor, Jesus, Jim Gaffigan, Pope, Religion

Daniel DiRito | July 12, 2008 | 9:34 AM | link | Comments (0)
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Putting The Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac Situation In Context genre: Econ-Recon

Today, the stock market reacted negatively to speculation that the U.S. government could be forced to bail out the nations two largest sources of mortgage funding, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Of the 12 trillion in mortgage debt, the...

Tagged as: Economy, Fannie Mae, FDIC, Foreclosures, Freddie Mac, Mortgage Lending, Resolution Trust Corporation, RTC, S & L Scandal

Daniel DiRito | July 11, 2008 | 4:25 PM | link | Comments (2)
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Friday Funny: Dashboard Jesus genre: Hip-Gnosis & Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

How about a Friday afternoon chuckle? I especially like the good sister's Aussie accent....

Tagged as: Comedy, Faith, Humor, Jesus, Nun, Religion

Daniel DiRito | July 11, 2008 | 2:47 PM | link | Comments (0)
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Teen Pregnancies Rise: How About Those Abstinence Programs? genre: Hip-Gnosis & Little Red Ribbon-Hood & Uncivil Unions

I'm not sure what it will take for our government to admit that abstinence education isn't working. Fortunately, George Bush will soon leave office and we can hope that the next president will restore science to its proper place...

Tagged as: Abortion, Abstinence, Contraception, Fox News, George Bush, Religion, Religious Right, Sex Education, Sexuality, Teen Pregnancy, Violence

Daniel DiRito | July 11, 2008 | 12:24 PM | link | Comments (0)
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Fundy Watch: FOF & FRC All Atwitter Over Gay Marriage genre: Econ-Recon & Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Polispeak

As we approach the November election, the effort to utilize the wedge issue of same-sex marriage to sway voters is in full bloom. It's also an opportunity for fundy groups to implore their followers to cut loose some of their...

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Economy, Family Research Council, Fannie Mae, Focus On The Family, FOF, FRC, Freddie Mac, John McCain, LGBT, Marriage Amendments, Massachusetts, Religion, Same-Sex Marriage, Unemployment, Values Voters

Daniel DiRito | July 11, 2008 | 9:58 AM | link | Comments (0)
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FISA: Four, Three, Two, One...Is What Counts Gone? genre: Nouveau Thoughts & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

When in the course of human events is truth self-evident? Or is truth a declaration independent of our capacity to recognize it? Is there a point at which the collective truth of yesterday is no longer sufficient to hold together...

Tagged as: 9/11, Death, Declaration of Independence, Dying, End of Days, FISA, Freedom, Major Tom, Peter Schilling, Politics, Rapture, Religion

Daniel DiRito | July 10, 2008 | 1:43 PM | link | Comments (0)
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Sam Harris On The Ramifications Of Rapture Rhetoric genre: Do Not Resuscitate & Hip-Gnosis

In the following video, an excerpt from the movie, The God Who Wasn't There, Sam Harris comments on the prevalence of those who believe in the rapture and the impact it can have on politics and global conflict. A...

Tagged as: Bible, Conflict, Death, End of Days, Faith, Politics, Random, Rapture, Religion, Sam Harris, War

Daniel DiRito | July 9, 2008 | 8:36 PM | link | Comments (1)
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Serving Masters, Serving Notice, & Serving Ourselves genre: Econ-Recon & Hip-Gnosis & Polispeak

Have you ever wondered what a modern day slave would look like and how he or she might behave? Ever consider who might be the owners of plantations, staffed by these slaves, if they were "permitted" to exist today?...

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Economic Opportunity, Economics, Fox News, Heaven, Jerry Falwell, Lord of the Flies, Michelle Malkin, Michelle Obama, Poverty, Race, Religion, Slavery, Wealth

Daniel DiRito | July 9, 2008 | 2:35 PM | link | Comments (0)
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Evidence For The Big Bang Theory In 10 Minutes genre: Hip-Gnosis & Video-Philes

Since so many creationist, intelligent design, strengths and weaknesses, academic freedoms advocates are working to deny evolution and all the science that contradicts their Biblical notion of the origin of the universe, I thought the following video offered a...

Tagged as: Big Bang Theory, Creationism, Faith, Intelligent Design, Religion, Science, Scientific Method

Daniel DiRito | July 9, 2008 | 2:13 PM | link | Comments (0)
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Do It In The Name Of Heaven, We Can Justify It In The End? genre: Hip-Gnosis & Just Jihad & Polispeak

When we hear the terms Fatwa or Jihad, we often think about radical Middle Eastern extremists whose intention is to impose their religious beliefs upon those they define as infidels. As Americans, we find the declarations of those leaders...

Tagged as: Army Spc. Jeremy Hall, Atheism, Commander In Chief, Crusades, George W. Bush, God, Iraq, Jerry Falwell, Liberty University, Middle East, Pentagon, Religious Intolerance, Terrorism, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Military, War on Terror

Daniel DiRito | July 9, 2008 | 8:47 AM | link | Comments (0)
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Mo Rocca: Hedda Lettuce's Tips On Becoming Cindy McCain genre: Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

First it was Peppermint teaching us how to become Michelle Obama. Now Mo enlists renowned drag queen Hedda Lettuce in helping him transform a wanna-be into Cindy McCain. If forced to decide which "switch" came the closest to exemplifying...

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Cindy McCain, Comedy, Drag Names, Drag Queens, First Lady, Hedda Lettuce, Humor, Michelle Obama, Mo Rocca, Peppermint

Daniel DiRito | July 8, 2008 | 7:11 PM | link | Comments (0)
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Bruno Gets Pinned In Arkansas? genre: Gaylingual & Tongue-In-Cheek

Sacha Baron Cohen, aka Ali G, Borat, and Bruno, is apparently in full flim-flam mode...this time as a cage match wrestler in Arkansas. Cohen's next movie will feature Bruno, the flamboyant Austrian homosexual. Bruno has been known to travel...

Tagged as: Ali G, Arkansas, Blue Collar Brawlin', Borat, Bruno, Comedy, Fort Smith, Gay, Humor, LGBT, Sacha Baron Cohen

Daniel DiRito | July 8, 2008 | 5:39 PM | link | Comments (0)
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Changing The Lives Of Others Requires That We Change Ours First genre: Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

When it's all said and done, very little in life changes...and the changes that are made are often painfully slow. All too often we get lost in our efforts to change (direct) others when what we really need to...

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Abortion, Barack Obama, Berlin Wall, Change, Christian Defense Coalition, Germany, Religion, The Lives Of Others

Daniel DiRito | July 7, 2008 | 12:01 PM | link | Comments (1)
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Eddie Izzard: On Creation, Jesus, & Noah's Arc genre: Hip-Gnosis & Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

I like Eddie Izzard. There is something very down to earth about his comedy. It has what I would call that "duh" practicality factor...a very simple view of the world if you will. In the following videos, he offers...

Tagged as: Comedy, Creationism, Dinosaurs, Eddie Izzard, God, Humor, Noah's Arc, Religion

Daniel DiRito | July 6, 2008 | 3:51 PM | link | Comments (0)
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The Onion: Bush Tours America - Surveys Damage Caused By His Presidency genre: Polispeak & Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

The following video is destined to be an Onion classic. While it is offered as satire to make us laugh, it will certainly hit home for millions of Americans. I suspect that the Bush presidency will be scrutinized for...

Tagged as: Bush Administration, Bush Presidency, George W. Bush, Humor, Satire, The Onion

Daniel DiRito | July 6, 2008 | 9:31 AM | link | Comments (0)
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Totally Gay...For America genre: Gaylingual & Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

Since the 4th. of July is a day for celebrating all things American, it only seems appropriate to post the following video. After all, expressing one's patriotism, like expressing one's love for a spouse, shouldn't be restricted on the basis...

Tagged as: America, Gay, Humor, July 4th, LGBT, Music, Satire, USA

Daniel DiRito | July 4, 2008 | 3:15 PM | link | Comments (0)
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Jesse Helms: A Legacy To Die For? genre: Do Not Resuscitate

Controversial former North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms has died at the age of 86. The following two quotes from Jesse Helms are not, on their surface, offensive...which is why they are so important. I believe they provide insight into...

Tagged as: Bigotry, Homophobia, Jesse Helms, Racism, Religion

Daniel DiRito | July 4, 2008 | 10:35 AM | link | Comments (2)
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Happy Fourth Of July genre: He Said, She Said & Hip-Gnosis & Polispeak

"Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear." -Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787 "I concur...

Daniel DiRito | July 4, 2008 | 12:05 AM | link | Comments (1)
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Obama To Accept Nomination At Invesco Field? genre: Polispeak

There is a surge of speculation in Denver that Barack Obama is considering the possibility of accepting the Democratic Party's nomination at Invesco Field at Mile High, the 76,000 seat home of the Denver Broncos rather than at the...

Tagged as: Acceptance Speech, Barack Obama, Convention, Democratic Party, Denver, DNCC, Invesco Field, Mile High

Daniel DiRito | July 3, 2008 | 10:12 PM | link | Comments (0)
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Academic Freedom Legislation: The Creationists Back Door? genre: Hip-Gnosis

While I despise the efforts of fundies to push their ideology, I have to give them credit for being so persistent. When the Bible speaks of a great pestilence, who new it could have its origin in the pews of...

Tagged as: Church & State, Creationism, Education, Evangelicals, Evolution, Intelligent Design, Religion

Daniel DiRito | July 3, 2008 | 1:31 PM | link | Comments (0)
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Mo Rocca: Peppermint's Tips On Becoming Michelle Obama genre: Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

OK, Mo's gone off the deep end...which means he's moving into election mode. In the following video, Mo begins by pointing out that the wives of both presidential candidates are beautiful women. From there, he posits that millions of...

Tagged as: Divine, Drag, Drag Queens, Humor, John Waters, Michelle Obama, Mo Rocca, Peppermint

Daniel DiRito | July 2, 2008 | 11:00 PM | link | Comments (0)
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A Tale Of Big Hats, Big Spats, And Big Macs genre: Tongue-In-Cheek

Remember Devo? Well they're back in the news...but not as a result of a musical renaissance. It seems that McDonald's recently introduced an American Idol happy meal figure that has some of the characteristics that made the band so...

Tagged as: 80's, American Idol, Devo, Humor, Jocko Homo, McDonald's, Ryan Seacrest

Daniel DiRito | July 2, 2008 | 2:39 PM | link | Comments (0)
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Economic "Stimulus" Checks Effective? genre: Econ-Recon & Hip-Gnosis & Tongue-In-Cheek

Some stories are too good to be true. It appears that the tax rebate checks which were part of the Bush administration's economic stimulus package have been effective...in stimulating the porn industry. An industry research firm reports an increase...

Tagged as: AFA, American Family Association, Economy, Humor, Pornography, Stimulus Package

Daniel DiRito | July 2, 2008 | 10:04 AM | link | Comments (0)
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McCain Gives America The Song & Dance Routine? genre: Polispeak & Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

Oh that Johnny Mac! First he showcased his singing talents with Bomb Iran (video below), an updated rendition of the Beach Boys hit, Barbara Ann. As if that weren't enough, he recently took the big leap from the 60's to...

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Beach Boys, Beastie Boys, Bobby Darin, David Gray, Elton John, GOP, Humor, Iran, John McCain, Kiki Dee, Madonna, Ronald Reagan, Satire, Shiite, Somalia, Sudan, Sunni

Daniel DiRito | July 1, 2008 | 1:52 PM | link | Comments (0)
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McCainometrics: McVoters Think McBush Would Be McSame genre: Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

If one can believe the latest Gallup poll, the ideological distance between John McCain and George W. Bush is way too small for a large number of voters. In fact, nearly fifty percent of voters are very concerned that John...

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Change, Democrat, Gallup Poll, George W. Bush, GOP, Independent, John McCain, Polling

Daniel DiRito | July 1, 2008 | 11:13 AM | link | Comments (0)
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The Onion: Miley Cyrus Is A "Limited" Resource? genre: Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

She's two, two stars in one...but there simply isn't enough of her to go around. Yep, we're talking about Miley Cyrus, the Disney darling turned Vanity Fair vixen. In the following video, The Onion has some fun with Hannah...

Tagged as: Britney Spears, Entertainment, Humor, Lindsay Lohan, Miley Cyrus, Paris Hilton, Satire, Teen Idol, The Onion, Vanity Fair

Daniel DiRito | July 1, 2008 | 9:11 AM | link | Comments (0)
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