Please send as far and wide as possible.
Editor, The Konformist
It's purity season!!
Experience the evangelical phenomenon sweeping the country!!
Father Daughter Purity Balls
What is a father/daughter purity ball?
It's an evangelical dress-up prom/wedding hybrid attending by young
girls and their dates: their Dads! The girls pledge their
virginity to their fathers and the fathers pledge to watch over the
virginity until it transfers to the girl's future husband!
Now, finally Hollywood Goes Pure!
The Hollywood Father/Daughter Purity Ball
An elegant night of food, dancing, entertainment, celebration of
virginity, and father/daughter intimacy.
September 8th and 15th
7:30 cocktails - 8pm show
The Bulgarian Cultural Center 1530 Vermont north of sunset, free
for tickets go to www.plays411.com or call 323-960-5771
limited tix so please call now
Everyone who comes in "prom-wear" will receive a free t-shirt that
says "Once you Pop You can't Stop!"
Please note: this is a parody. For info on real purity balls,
produced by Laura Summer and Maggie Rowe
written by Maggie Rowe and JIm Vallely
Embattled Gonzales quits at last
By: Mike Allen
August 27, 2007
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resigned this morning, long after
he had become a persistent embarrassment to President Bush.
The acting attorney general will be Solicitor General Paul Clement,
who can stay in the job for months, administration officials said.
The president praised and defended Gonzales during brief remarks in
Waco, Texas. "After months of unfair treatment, that has created a
harmful distraction at the Justice Department, Judge Gonzales
decided to resign his position and I accept his decision," Bush
said. "It's sad that we live in a time when a talented and honorable
person like Alberto Gonzales is impeding from doing important work
because his good name was dragged through the mud for political
In a brief statement before cameras at the Justice Department,
Gonzales said he had met with Bush on Sunday and informed him of his
decision to resign, effective Sept. 17. He made no references to the
controversies that hounded him from office.
"Let me say that it's been one of my greatest privileges to lead the
Department of Justice," Gonzales said. "I have great admiration and
respect for the men and women who work here. I have made a point as
attorney general to personally meet as many of them as possible, and
today I want to again thank them for their service to our
nation. ... I am profoundly grateful to President Bush for his
friendship and for the many opportunities he has given me to serve
the American people."
Possible successors include Homeland Security Secretary Michael
Chertoff and Frances Fragos Townsend, the assistant to the president
for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. One oft-discussed
scenario would have Townsend succeeding Chertoff. But a Chertoff
confirmation rehearing would mean an exploration of the
administration's handling of Hurricane Katrina.
Several Republicans said Towsend might be a promising choice. She
was a federal prosecutor in New York City, handling mob and white-
collar cases. Towsend worked at the Justice Department under
President Clinton's attorney general, Janet Reno. She has become
close to Bush and is one of the White House's most compeling
personalities for television appearances.
Another possibility would be Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), former
Judiciary Committee chairman. But it's not clear that he would want
to give up his Senate seat for a job that will last for a little
more than a year.
Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was prepared to call the
chamber to order occasionally during August to prevent Bush from
using his recess appointment powers to install officials while
Congress is gone. But the White House agreed not to do that.
The administration is now planning for a nominee who will be
confirmed by the Senate and serve until the end of the
administration. An individual may serve in an acting capacity for
210 days. However, if there is a pending nominee, the 210-
day "clock" is reset at Day One when the nominee is announced. The
clock is reset again if the nomination is withdrawn or fails.
Clement was an editor of the Harvard Law Review before clerking for
Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
D.C. Circuit, and for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S.
Supreme Court. He later served as chief counsel of the Senate
subcommittee on the Constitution, Federalism and Property Rights and
was a partner in the Washington office of King & Spalding.
Gonzales had become the most visible and frequent administration
target for the Democratic majority in Congress, which complained
that his testimony about the quiet firing of several U.S. attorneys
was misleading at best.
Bush stood by his longtime friend from Texas even as White House
loyalists despaired about the damage he was doing to the image of
the Justice Department.
Gonzales, the first Hispanic attorney general, was counsel to Bush
in the Texas governor's office, was appointed by him to the Texas
Supreme Court and was this president's first White House counsel.
Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards issued a four-word
reaction: "Better late than never."
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on Fox: "Thank God."
The Gonzales decision was first reported on the website of The New
Florida Dems could lose say in 2008 race
By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer
Democrats decided Saturday to strip Florida of all its presidential
convention delegates unless the state holds its primary later in the
2008 election calendar. The punishment would leave the fourth
largest state without a vote for the nominee.
The state party has 30 days to comply by moving its contest back at
least seven days from the current Jan. 29 plan or lose its 210
delegates to the nominating convention in Denver next summer.
The state party chairwoman, Karen Thurman, said she would confer
with officials about the ultimatum. Elected officials in Florida
have said they would consider legal action and a protest at the
convention if the national party barred the state's delegates.
Florida party officials said they originally opposed the early
primary date, which covers both the Democratic and Republican
primaries. The Republican-controlled Legislature passed the change
and the GOP governor signed it into law in an effort to give the
state a more prominent voice in national politics.
But Florida Democratic leaders now are committed to the state-run
election because voter participation would drop drastically if
Democrats held an alternative contest after Jan. 29.
Members of the Democratic National Committee's rules panel expressed
skepticism that Florida Democrats did enough to stop the change and
they approved the harshest penalty. Every member voted against
Florida except for the state's representative on the panel, Allan
Refusing to seat the delegates would set a "terrible situation for
Florida and a very bad situation for the Democratic Party," Katz
Party rules say states cannot hold their 2008 primary contests
before Feb. 5, except for Iowa on Jan. 14, Nevada on Jan. 19, New
Hampshire on Jan. 22 and South Carolina on Jan. 29.
The calendar was designed to preserve the traditional role that Iowa
and New Hampshire have played in selecting the nominee, while adding
two states with more racial and geographic diversity to influential
Several DNC officials said before the vote that they wanted to take
the strong action against Florida to discourage Michigan, New
Hampshire and other states that were considering advancing their
contests in violation of party rules.
Garry Shay, a rules committee member from California, said allowing
Florida to move forward "would open the door to chaos."
DNC committee member Donna Brazile also argued for a strong penalty,
saying, "I hesitate to see what happens if we show somehow some
wiggle room in our process."
The shifting dates have added uncertainty to the presidential
candidates' campaign plans with the first votes to be cast in less
than five months.
Advisers to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has a wide lead in
Florida polls, said she will go wherever elections are held. Other
candidates are waiting to see how the dispute shakes out.
Sen. Barack Obama's schedule had him raising money in Florida on
Saturday and returning at month's end. But his campaign said the
Illinois senator might not come back often during the primary season.
Florida's congressional delegation has raised the possibility of a
voting rights investigation in response to the punishment.
National Democratic officials insist there is no legal basis to
force the party to seat delegates in violation of its rules. Florida
officials could not say what law the DNC would have violated or
where the case could be pursued.
Jon Ausman, a DNC member from Florida, pleaded for a role in what
could turn out to be a historic election, with the potential of the
first woman, black or Hispanic nominee, even if the state were
the "black sheep" of the primary season.
"We're asking you for mercy, not judgment," he told the rules
committee meeting in a hotel conference room.
The party's action comes seven years after Florida was at the center
of an unprecedented dispute over presidential vote counting. In
2000, the election between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al
Gore was held up for a recount in Florida. The Supreme Court stopped
the recount, and Bush won the state by 537 votes.
Terrie Brady, a DNC member who helped present Florida's case, said
the party's denial of delegates disenfranchises Florida voters.
Rules committee members objected to the term, saying Florida's votes
would be counted if they followed the rules.
"I find your use of the word disenfranchisement to be an
overstatement," said committee member David McDonald, who is from
Michigan's Legislature has taken up a bill that would move its
contest to Jan. 15, but the state party submitted a proposal that
for now describes a caucus on Feb. 9. New Hampshire's secretary of
state says he may move up the state's primary, but for now the party
has submitted a plan for Jan. 22, with the notation that the date is
subject to change.
On the Net:
Democratic National Committee: http://www.dnc.org
Dissidents freed as Raúl Castro signals change of tack in Cuba
· Dozens released as talk grows of Fidel's bad health
· Overtures to US as small reforms bid to improve life
Rory Carroll, Latin America correspondent
Saturday August 25, 2007
Raúl Castro has started to make cautious changes in Cuba which could
signal plans for political and economic reform.
Since he took over from his brother Fidel, dozens of dissidents have
been released, an olive branch has been extended to Washington and
there is talk of easing communist controls on property and
Three political prisoners have been freed in the past fortnight, the
latest being Armando Betancourt Reina, a journalist jailed for 15
months after reporting on the eviction of a family in Camagüey.
Analysts said Raúl, 76, who has been acting president since illness
forced his brother to step down last year, was experimenting with
stealth reforms to improve living conditions and morale without
eroding government control.
The defence minister has a reputation for hard-nosed pragmatism, in
contrast to the more ideological Fidel, who at 81 embodies the 1959
revolution but no longer manages policy.
The changes could easily be reversed, but they signal a desire to
ease the poverty and sense of claustrophobia which afflicts many
Cubans, said a senior western diplomat. "There is a real effort to
look at what doesn't work and to change it. Raúl wants to make life
more bearable. The hope is that by addressing some specific
complaints the system can continue."
The Venezuela president, Hugo Chávez, has shipped in 90,000
subsidised barrels of oil daily, easing an energy crisis and giving
the government resources it has not seen since the height of Soviet
The dissidents who have been freed have slipped back to their homes
with little or no official comment. Mr Betancourt, who worked for
Miami-based website Nueva Prensa Cuba, was freed on Monday, said the
Committee to Protect Journalists, based in New York.
Francisco Chaviano, a human rights activist, and Lázaro González
Adán, a labour union activist, were also released this month. The
Havana-based Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National
Reconciliation said more than a fifth of the island's 316 political
prisoners had been freed in the past year.
Restrictions on free speech and opposition politics have not been
lifted and the tiny group of dissidents has not become more
outspoken. "Still in force is a police state whose nature is
reflected in almost every aspect of national life," the human rights
commission said in June.
However, some analysts say the acting president and his ministers
are warily exploring new policies with a view to emulating Vietnam,
where communists preside over market-driven prosperity, and avoiding
the Soviet Union's unsuccessful perestroika.
Cuba's education and health systems, the pillars of the regime's
legitimacy, remain intact, but severe shortages of food, transport
and housing cause deep resentment which has reportedly shaken Raúl
and other officials. In addition to pursuing better relations with
the US, which were rebuffed by the Bush administration, Raúl has
called for a national dialogue on corruption and inefficiency.
Controls on agricultural production have been loosened to give
farmers more incentive to produce, and there is speculation that it
will become legal to buy a car without government permission.
Officials have publicly fretted that young Cubans will be seduced by
consumerism unless conditions improve.
Hundreds of buses are being imported from China to ease the queues
and overcrowding which dog public transport, and a big overhaul of
resorts is under way to try to win back tourists from Caribbean
Fidel, who has not been seen in public since surgery for an
intestinal illness in July last year, is suspected of acting as a
brake on some of the proposed changes.
There is speculation that his health has deteriorated. There were no
photographs to mark his birthday on August 13, and his opinion
columns have become fewer.
On a visit to Brazil this week, the foreign minister, Felipe Pérez
Roque, sought to dispel the rumours about Fidel's health. "Fidel is
fine and is very disciplined about his recovery," he said.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Dunkin' Donuts going free of trans fat
The change is to take place at 5,400 U.S. restaurants by Oct. 15.
By MARK JEWELL
The Associated Press
BOSTON Dunkin' Donuts, the food-on-the-go chain whose name
celebrates a treat that's symbolic of unhealthy eating, is trying to
refresh its image by largely eliminating trans fat across its menu,
Homer Simpson be damned.
Dunkin' planned to announce Monday that it has developed an
alternative cooking oil and reformulated more than 50 menu items
doughnuts included. The Canton, Mass.-based chain says its menu will
be "zero grams trans fat" by Oct. 15 across its 5,400 U.S.
restaurants in 34 states.
About 400 locations nationwide that took part in a four-month test
already have made the switch to a new blend of palm, soybean and
cottonseed oils. That includes all restaurants in New York City and
Philadelphia, which are forcing restaurants to phase out their use
of artery-clogging trans fat.
The ice cream chain Baskin-Robbins, another unit of Dunkin' Brands
Inc., plans to be zero grams trans fat by Jan. 1.
Dunkin' isn't claiming it will become "trans fat free," but does say
any trans fat in foods including doughnuts, croissants, muffins and
cookies will fall below half a gram per serving. Federal regulations
allow food labels to say they've got zero grams of trans fat,
provided levels fall below the half-gram threshold.
A nutrition advocacy group welcomed Dunkin's addition to the list of
restaurant chains that have recently shifted away from trans fat.
"It's good news that they're dropping most, if not quite all, trans
fat," said Jeff Cronin, spokesman for the Center for Science in the
Public Interest, a Washington-based nonprofit. "If Dunkin' Donuts
can do that, anyone can."
But Cronin cautioned that when it comes to Dunkin's
doughnuts, "we're still talking about a food that's mostly white
flour, sugar, and fat."
Dunkin' isn't positioning its namesake product as health food a
shift that would involve more disbelief suspension than might be
possible for a treat synonymous with portly, doughnut-gobbling Homer
from television's "The Simpsons."
"The goal was not to make a healthy doughnut, it was really to
create a doughnut that was better," said Joe Scafido, Dunkin's chief
creative and innovation officer. "Certainly, we did not create a
Although its coffees are by far a bigger seller, the New England-
bred, 57-year-old chain was founded on the reputation of its
doughnuts. Now, Dunkin' claims to be the first major chain to
introduce a zero grams trans fat doughnut, although smaller doughnut
makers have already done so. Mainstream doughnut makers' products
can have around 5 grams of trans fat apiece.
The main source of trans fats is partially hydrogenated oils, formed
when hydrogen is added to liquid vegetable oils to harden them.
Evidence suggests that artificial trans fats boost "bad" cholesterol
and lower "good" cholesterol, increasing the risk of heart disease
Dunkin' is ahead of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc., which has yet to
roll out a zero gram trans fat doughnut but hopes to do so. Brian
Little, a spokesman for the North Carolina-based chain, said, "We
continue to work aggressively with outside supply partners, and our
goal is to get to zero trans fatty acids while maintaining great
Krispy Kreme taste."
A call seeking comment from another chain, California-based
Winchell's Donut House, wasn't immediately returned.
Starbucks Corp., Dunkin's Seattle-based rival in the coffee shop
niche, said in May that it would cut artificial trans fats out of
its food and drink by year's end in stores in the continental U.S.,
Alaska and Canada.
Dunkin's announcement follows about four years of research of more
than 28 alternative cooking oils and proprietary blends.
This past spring, hundreds of restaurants began taking part in a
test to gauge customer reaction to the blend that Dunkin' ultimately
selected. Managers at participating stores were split into two
groups, with one receiving conventional cooking oil, the other
receiving the experimental oil, and neither group knowing which type
they received. Dunkin' closely watched sales and customer response
at restaurants with the experimental oil.
"We got no negative consumer feedback, and we sold 50 million
doughnuts in that time," Scafido said.
Dunkin's 1,900 locations outside the U.S. are expected to begin
using the new oil over the next couple years, he said.
Gay Unions Sanctioned in Medieval Europe Jeanna Bryner
LiveScience Staff Writer
Mon Aug 27, 2007
Civil unions between male couples existed around 600 years ago in
medieval Europe, a historian now says.
Historical evidence, including legal documents and gravesites, can
be interpreted as supporting the prevalence of homosexual
relationships hundreds of years ago, said Allan Tulchin of
Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania.
If accurate, the results indicate socially sanctioned same-sex
unions are nothing new, nor were they taboo in the past.
"Western family structures have been much more varied than many
people today seem to realize," Tulchin writes in the September issue
of the Journal of Modern History. "And Western legal systems have in
the past made provisions for a variety of household structures."
For example, he found legal contracts from late medieval France that
referred to the term "affrèrement," roughly translated as
brotherment. Similar contracts existed elsewhere in Mediterranean
Europe, Tulchin said.
In the contract, the "brothers" pledged to live together sharing "un
pain, un vin, et une bourse," (that's French for one bread, one wine
and one purse). The "one purse" referred to the idea that all of the
couple's goods became joint property. Like marriage contracts,
the "brotherments" had to be sworn before a notary and witnesses,
The same type of legal contract of the time also could provide the
foundation for a variety of non-nuclear households, including
arrangements in which two or more biological brothers inherited the
family home from their parents and would continue to live together,
But non-relatives also used the contracts. In cases that involved
single, unrelated men, Tulchin argues, these contracts
provide "considerable evidence that the affrèrés were using
affrèrements to formalize same-sex loving relationships."
The ins-and-outs of the medieval relationships are tricky at best to
"I suspect that some of these relationships were sexual, while
others may not have been," Tulchin said. "It is impossible to prove
either way and probably also somewhat irrelevant to understanding
their way of thinking. They loved each other, and the community