NEWS -- 2006.10.01.Sunday
- 1) My letter to the Meridian Star gets posted -- with editing.
2) Closet Case Rep. Foley -- what a total jerk he has been -- I'm glad to see him exposed -- he deserves it
3) If Foley had been a Democrat, the Republican would be going ballistic
4) Gay history month sparks Philadelphia school district debate
5) Southern Baptists on Philly schools G&L History Month
6) Gay students often bullied in Pennsylvania schools
7) Danforth Warns of Christian Right but Says Tide Will Turn
My letter to the Meridian Star gets posted -- with editing. Jerks.
The letter as appears on their website leaves out the strategic point of history in paragraph two. The third sentence.
Southern Baptists have a very short memory of their vicious history, from fighting to save their sacred right to own Black slaves, preventing women from voting, denial of civil rights for Blacks in the 1960's, to the current crusade against persons born -- gifted by God -- with homosexual orientation.
The Meridian Star still does not have the original column by Andy Anderson on line. But they have Marilyn M. Scott's letter -- unedited.
Closet Case Rep. Foley resigns House seat
Rep. Foley resigns House seat
By John Whitesides, Political Correspondent
Friday, September 29, 2006; 7:33 PM
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Six-term Republican Rep. Mark Foley of Florida resigned from the U.S. Congress on Friday following reports he sent sexually inappropriate e-mails to underage male congressional interns.
Foley, chairman of the House caucus on missing and exploited children, said he would resign after ABC News reported he sent messages to current and former congressional pages with references to sexual organs and acts.
"Today I have delivered a letter to the Speaker of the House informing him of my decision to resign from the U.S. House of Representatives, effective today," said Foley, who is single, in a statement.
"I am deeply sorry and I apologize for letting down my family and the people of Florida I have had the privilege to represent."
Foley's decision to resign just five weeks before the November 7 congressional election complicated Republican efforts to retain control of the U.S. House of Representatives and offered a new target for Democrats, who must gain 15 seats to reclaim a majority.
Foley won re-election in 2004 with 68 percent of the vote and was favored in November over Democrat Tim Mahoney, a local business owner.
Foley's name will remain on the ballot, which has already been certified, said Susan Smith, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of State. But Republicans have seven days to notify election officials of a replacement nominee who would take Foley's spot if he wins, she said.
President George W. Bush carried the district with 54 percent of the vote in 2004. Democrats said Foley had been polling at under 50 percent and they would contest the seat, but Republicans said they remained confident.
"It makes it more difficult, but we can still win," said Carl Forti, spokesman for the House Republican campaign committee. "It is a Republican district."
House Speaker Dennis Hastert said Foley had "done the right thing" by resigning. He said he had asked officials to look into the incident and make sure all congressional pages were safe. "None of us are very happy about it," he said of the Foley situation.
Foley was the author of the key sexual predator provisions of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, which Bush signed in July.
Foley, who represents a district in southern Florida, was also a member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees tax and trade policy.
How Fox Would Have Reported Mark Foley's Resignation if ...
How Fox Would Have Reported Mark Foley's Resignation if He Were a Democrat
Reported by Melanie
September 29, 2006
Dennis Hastert (R-IL) appeared on Your World w/Neil Cavuto today (September 29, 2006) ostensibly to talk about the supposed stock market "rally" Fox keeps shouting about. In the middle of the segment with substitute host David Asman, Asman paused and said,
By the way, ah, we should report something that's been, just crossed the wires recently, that Congressman Mark Foley has resigned. He of course was involved in a particular dust-up -- we're not sure of the details yet. It involves emails between him and a teenaged boy. Did you encourage him to resign?
Well, I haven't talked to Congressman Foley but he did the right thing. He did resign. He sent a letter to the Governor which is the process to do that and he's laid it down before the House so he has resigned before the House.
All right. And, again, we don't know the details. We don't pretend to know the details but he has resigned and you didn't try to discourage him from resigning?
And that was it.
Notice that Asman did not refer to Foley as Republican Congressman Mark Foley.
Thanks to loyal and long time reader -R, here are the emails
[ http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2006/09/exclusive_the_s.html -- links to explicit language].
Comment: If Foley was a Democrat, Asman would have done something more like this:
THIS IS A FOX NEWS ALERT! Again, we have a FOX NEWS ALERT! We have just learned that Florida DEMOCRAT, Congressman Limp Wrist, has been forced to resign his House seat, effective immediately. Again, this is BREAKING NEWS, it just happened a little while ago and we're working on getting all the details for you as soon as possible but since it's BREAKING NEWS we have to go with what we know so far. What we know is that, again, BREAKING NEWS HERE, several days ago, as we've been telling you all along, it came to light that DEMOCRAT Wrist has been corresponding via email, in some very suggestive, sexual ways, with a teenage BOY page at the Capitol. Not knowing how to handle the situation, since, after all, Wrist is a POWERFUL, INFLUENTIAL and PROMINENT DEMOCRAT, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and DEMOCRAT Chair of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus, the BOY wrote to another congressman, saying he was totally and completely "freaked out" and that what Wrist wrote made him downright "sick." Poor kid.
Our own Greta Van Sustren is on her way to the Capitol building right now and we hope to have a live feed from her in a few minutes. I'm also hearing in my ear that we are trying to get the BOY in for a live interview in the next few minutes -- again, we're working under BREAKING NEWS conditions here -- and we hope to have that LIVE INTERVIEW regarding this crisis for the House DEMOCRATS - for you in this hour. Stay with us. We'll get back to House DEMOCRAT leader Nancy Pelosi, we'll see what she knows about what appears to be developing into a sex scandal involving a House DEMOCRAT, later.
Meanwhile, we'll have lots more -- more live guests and more details as they come in -- we're going to stay with this story affecting House DEMOCRATS for as long as it takes -- more on this BREAKING NEWS after this. Stay with us. This has been a FOX NEWS ALERT. Back in a minute.
There's more today -- Sunday.
The Republican leadership is nothing but a bunch of liars.
Gay history month sparks Philadelphia school district debate
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Gay history month sparks district debate
By Susan Snyder
Inquirer Staff Writer
The Philadelphia School District has received about 120 complaints - including one from a parent who said she would keep her child out of school for the entire month of October - because the district recognized Gay and Lesbian History Month on its school calendars.
Gay and Lesbian History Month was added for the first time this year in an effort to be more inclusive and follow a long-standing district policy requiring equity for all races and minority groups, said Cecilia Cummings, the district's senior vice president for communications and community relations. It is one of four special history months noted, along with Hispanic Heritage in September, African American in February, and Asian Pacific American in May.
Cummings said the district was not planning to roll out any districtwide curriculum or hold celebrations to coincide with the month, although individual schools with gay-straight alliances may have observances. The uproar in response to the calendar addition was not unexpected.
"We knew that this would be controversial," Cummings said. "When you deal with diversity, there are some hot-button issues that emerge."
An irate Senita Watson went to school district headquarters yesterday to find out how she could homeschool her daughter for the month of October. She won't let her 7-year-old second grader attend Emlen School during that period, she said.
"How can you celebrate gay and lesbian month? What are you going to teach my daughter?" asked Watson, who said she was calling on other parents to boycott the district in October. "They need to have a nonviolence month, not a gay and lesbian month... . Our children have enough to worry about with drugs."
Cummings said that about 200,000 calendars had been sent to parents, agencies affiliated with the district, and other district partners, and that there had been some calls of support for recognizing gay history month. The publication is paid for by the district. The calendar controversy was the talk of the Mary Mason show on WHAT-AM (1340) Tuesday.
Greg Wade, president of the district's Home and School Council, the parents group, said he supports the decision to include gay history month.
"I understand that there are many people out there who have their problems with the gay community, but they're part of our community, and we, as a council, have to support every parent and every student in our school district," he said.
Kevin Jennings, executive director of GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) in New York, said mayors, including Rudy Giuliani, and governors have recognized gay history month.
"It's not exactly a fringe concept," said Jennings, a former high school history teacher and one of the founders of gay history month, first recognized in 1995.
He praised the district for adding the month to the calendar and said it also should do more to teach the history of gays and lesbians. A study released by the group this week showed that gay and lesbian students continue to be victims of bullying and harassment in Pennsylvania schools.
In schools where the history is raised in the curriculum, only 17 percent of gay and lesbian students reported feeling unsafe, as opposed to 32 percent in schools where it is not taught, he said.
Cummings said there had been some reports of the district's gay and lesbian students being harassed.
The district has received complaints about its calendars in the past, but never as many as the gay history month notation has generated, she said.
Some people complain about African American history month each year, she said.
" 'Why isn't there a white male history month?' we'll hear," she said.
One person this year complained about the Muslim holy month of Ramadan being mentioned, because that person had a relative die in the 9/11 attacks, she said.
"They said they couldn't bring the calendar in their home because of Ramadan being noted," Cummings said.
The calendar also notes special Jewish holidays, the International Day of Disabled Persons on Dec. 3, and the National Day of Silence Against Anti-Gay Bullying on April 18.
"We have our policy that says the district is committed to foster knowledge and respect for all," she said.
Cummings said a decision on whether to include gay history month on next year's calendars would be made later.
"Our calendar this year is a celebration of diversity. Whether it will continue to be the theme in years to come, we're not sure," she said.
Contact staff writer Susan Snyder at 215-854-4693 or ssnyder@...
Southern Baptists on Philly schools G&L History Month
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Philadelphia School District slates 'Gay & Lesbian History Month' for Oct.
By Michael Foust
PHILADELPHIA (BP)--The Philadelphia School District has declared October "Gay and Lesbian History Month" on its 2006-07 school calendar, touching off a wave of protest from parents who say homosexuality conflicts with their religious beliefs.
The firestorm over the calendar was reported Sept. 28 by the Philadelphia Inquirer, which said the school district had received about 120 complaints, including one from a parent who said she was pulling her child out of school for the entire month of October.
Approximately 200,000 calendars were printed and sent to parents and others who have ties to the district. All of the calendars have October as being "Gay and Lesbian History Month."
"We knew that this would be controversial," Cecilia Cummings, a spokeswoman for the school district, told the newspaper. "When you deal with diversity, there are some hot-button issues that emerge."
But conservative leaders and many parents say the school district went too far.
"This shows the whole problem with gay activism and so-called gay rights," Peter LaBarbera, president of the conservative group Americans for Truth, told Baptist Press. "If you promote so-called homosexual rights, by definition you have to undermine people's religious rights and religious beliefs.
"If you have a gay history month, you're basically saying, 'This is a wonderful part of American history -- homosexual history -- let's celebrate it and let's teach the kids that this is like civil rights. Are they going to teach the role that homosexual behavior had in the onset of HIV and AIDS? Is that going to be part of the history?"
One parent, Senita Watson, said she plans on homeschooling her second-grade daughter during October. She visited the school district offices Sept. 27 and has called on other parents to boycott as well.
"How can you celebrate gay and lesbian month? What are you going to teach my daughter?" Watson asked, according to The Inquirer. "They need to have a nonviolence month, not a gay and lesbian month.... Our children have enough to worry about with drugs."
The school district is not preparing any district-wide curriculum or holding any special events for October, Cummings said, although presumably individual teachers and schools can plan their own agenda.
"This is the first step," said LaBarbera, who added he has no doubt that district-wide curriculum eventually will follow. "The whole homosexual agenda is implemented incrementally.... First you have the legislation about hate crimes, and then you have sexual orientation laws, and then you have teaching it in schools -- and that's where they are now."
Cummings told The Inquirer three other special celebrations also are on the school calendar: Hispanic Heritage (September), African American (February) and Asian Pacific American (May). Some people complain about African American month, she said.
"'Why isn't there a white male history month?' we'll hear," she told The Inquirer.
LaBarbera, though, said there is no comparison between homosexuality and race.
"The schools are equating homosexuality with racial tolerance," LaBarbera said. "Obviously, racial tolerance is accepted by 99.99 percent of Americans. But there's a huge cultural divide on the issue of homosexuality, and the school district here is mimicking gay activists' platitudes in response to this. There's no respect for people who oppose homosexual behavior....
"They're promoting one side of the issue to vulnerable and impressionable children. This is all about celebrating homosexuality, and there's no consideration given for people from traditional faith households."
Gay students often bullied in Pennsylvania schools
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Gay students often bullied in Pa. schools
By Tim Grant,
Gay and lesbian students are often bullied and harassed by their classmates in Pennsylvania schools, but less than half of them have reported the problem to school officials.
Those findings are in a report released yesterday by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, or GLSEN, which conducted a national survey of secondary school students and teachers.
"The main impact of bullying and harassment is that more students do less well at school," said Eliza Byard, deputy director of GLSEN in New York. "It means students aren't free to learn."
More than 80 percent of the Pennsylvania students involved in the study reported that they had heard various homophobic remarks. And 93 percent said they had heard the expressions "that's so gay" or "you're so gay" from other students at school.
Students in the survey said many teachers and other school staffers rarely or never intervened when homophobic, racist or sexist remarks were made in their presence.
A key finding in the national study shows that far fewer schools in Pennsylvania had student clubs to address gay and straight issues than in other parts of the country. Only 12 percent of Pennsylvania students reported that their schools had a gay-straight alliance versus 22 percent of students nationally who said their schools had one.
"We think this is notable because gay-straight alliances and other such student clubs have a demonstrable impact on student safety and sense of belonging at school," Ms. Byard said.
"Another important point is that half of the students we surveyed who experienced harassment or assaults never reported it," she said. "This underscores how important it is that teachers and other staff make it clear to students that they are there to help."
A total of 3,450 public and private school students nationwide and 218 from Pennsylvania were interviewed for the study last year between Jan. 13 and Jan. 31. The students interviewed were between the ages of 13 and 18.
According to the study, the top three reasons students were bullied or harassed at school was because of their physical appearance, whether they were perceived to be gay or lesbian, or whether they were masculine or feminine enough.
"We wanted to get a sense of how students perceive the issue of bullying and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity," Ms. Byard said. "We found that students see these issues as a central problem in schools."
Tom Wyse, co-chairman of GLSEN's Pittsburgh chapter, said the local organization conducts workshops and training for students and teachers throughout the greater Pittsburgh area.
"We have a standing agreement with the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Education where all future educators participate in workshops led by GLSEN trainers," Mr. Wyse said.
He said the organization's youth committee will host a workshop Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center on Forward Avenue in Squirrel Hill for any students or teachers interested in starting a gay-straight alliance at their schools.
(Tim Grant can be reached at tgrant@... or 412-263-1591. )
Danforth Warns of Christian Right
The Washington Post
Danforth Warns of Christian Right but Says Tide Will Turn
By Peter Slevin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 28, 2006; A04
CHICAGO. Sept. 27 -- The potency of the Christian right in the Republican Party is limited, former senator John C. Danforth of Missouri is telling audiences this month. A lifelong Republican moderate disturbed by his party's direction, he contends that the political center has a future.
Describing himself as "a Republican for the old reasons," Danforth, 70, is promoting a new book that describes religion as a divisive force in the United States today and accuses the religious right and its political supporters of creating a sectarian party.
The GOP leadership habitually strives to please its base at the expense of meaningful compromise, he maintains, proving to be neither humble Christians nor effective politicians. His reasoning holds that social conservatives cannot prevail because a majority of Americans do not share their views or appreciate their style.
"I'm trying to shed light on it," Danforth told a gathering of more than 100 people at Chicago's Union League Club on Tuesday, ". . . but I'm really encouraging people to get mad, to speak out on this and express themselves. That's when politics will change."
Danforth is an ordained Episcopal priest and onetime Bush administration ambassador to the United Nations. He is probably best known for ushering Clarence Thomas through the grueling nomination process to become a Supreme Court justice. Danforth served in the Senate when Republicans were outnumbered and outmaneuvered by Democrats, a point noted dismissively by opponents who dispute his argument.
Richard Land, a prominent conservative at the Southern Baptist Convention, said in an interview earlier this year that Danforth is "what was wrong with the Republican Party and why they were a minority party."
Danforth is getting some radio and television airtime since the Sept. 19 release of "Faith and Politics: How the 'Moral Values' Debate Divides America and How to Move Forward Together." He has spoken to audiences in Texas and New York and gave a lecture Wednesday night at the Washington National Cathedral, where he had presided over the funerals of former president Ronald Reagan in 2004 and longtime Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham three years earlier.
His book emerged by design in a political season in which the organizing strength of conservative Christians is expected to be tested by motivated Democrats and moderates dismayed by the country's direction.
This year, there have also been revealing speeches about personal faith and politics by Democratic politicians, notably Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Robert P. Casey Jr., who is seeking to unseat religious conservative Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.).
"The problem with many conservative Christians is that they claim that God's truth is knowable, that they know it, and that they are able to reduce it to legislative form," Danforth writes. "The popular question, 'What would Jesus do?' can be difficult enough to contemplate with respect to everyday interpersonal relations. It is mind boggling when applied to the complex world of politics."
Although an opponent of abortion, Danforth has become an activist for a Missouri ballot initiative that would explicitly legalize embryonic stem cell research, an issue adopted increasingly by Democrats and some Republicans to show their differences with the Christian right.
He also favors government recognition of "committed same-sex partnerships." He believes the proposed constitutional amendment to outlaw same-sex marriage amounts to gay-bashing.
Criticizing Republicans and Democrats at extreme ends of the political spectrum, Danforth told his Chicago audience that "most people don't want it to be this way." In allowing it to happen, he said, "the rest of us have been too silent."
Thomas has a place in Danforth's book. A questioner asked if he has changed his view of one of the court's staunchest conservatives.
Danforth, who has said he never questioned Thomas about serious allegations of sexual harassment, replied: "I have exactly the same view of Clarence Thomas that I have had for 30-some years. . . . I know him, and I love him as a human being. I stood by him, and I am proud of that."
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