Monday, August 9, 2010

Via JMG: Christianists Call For Shatner Boycott

The Parents Television Council is calling for a boycott of William Shatner's new show, $#*! My Dad Says, because the title implies a naughty word. Last week the group sent letters to hundreds of advertisers demanding that they not support the show.
"Parents really do care about profanity when their kids are watching TV," said PTC President Tim Winter. "All parents? No, but something like 80 or 90 percent of parents. Putting an expletive in the title of a show is crossing new territory, and we can't allow that to happen on our watch." Winter's letter to companies asks bluntly: "When you advertise on television, do you want your customers to associate your product with (bleep)?" His letter uses the expletive, not the word "bleep." Winter uses the real word 10 times in two pages. But how much do parents care? Parental concern about profane language on TV is clearly waning, according to the Rasmussen Reports pollsters. Rasmussen's survey of 1,000 American adults taken July 27-28 found that 57 percent said there was too much inappropriate content on television and radio. Sex and violence is the main concern; only 9 percent of those polled pointed to profanity as the biggest problem area.
The title of the show, of course, derives from the best-selling book Shit My Dad Says. If the show is a fraction as funny as the book is, we've got a winner.

reposted from Joe

Last night was another cornerstone in my ongoing saga for personal reawakening

Last nite I sat at the Sacramento Buddhist Mediation Group (SBMG), it meets in the Congregation B'nai Israel Synagogue. Last night they had a 20 minute (normally 40) but cut it short to have a sharing circle. The sitting had about 45 people, the circle had 30… I didn’t have to, nor did I want to share, this being my first time, I just needed to listen, to be quiet. I was deeply moved by the consultation, love and tolerance – age, gender, race. The way the group shared their ideas on the theme – detachment, was deeply moving to me. They are very, very simple, 3 hits on a bell, and silence…

Since coming out, and doing work with GLBT issues in the Baha’i community, I have hidden under a rock, under a mistaken belief that I could act as a isolated believer in a very hostile country. When they came after me anyway… it gave me great pause.  I dearly love Baha’u’llah, but his community is a mess, and well “by the fruits”.  

Since 1976 I have been told things like don’t judge the revelation by the community, now I wonder what is keeping things from moving, maybe it’s just a nice idea, but it doesn’t work. There really isn’t, after all these years, much at all to show for the effort, (ok some marginally nice gardens here and there) other than a lot of disillusioned former Baha’is and a some very arrogant “much a about do nothings”.  It remains a rather insignificant mean-spirited cult, at least as far as I have experienced it, and if it disappeared (as it has here in Sacramento) wouldn’t be noticed or missed at all.

I thought that by being open and out about my loss of rights something could happen.  Initially I received a lot of encouragement… but it has been counter balanced by the silence, the indifference, arrogance, bigotry and homophobia of the Baha’is themselves. There is so much dysfunction both in the straight Baha’i response, and within the GLBT Baha’is that it has become a real spiritual burden.  I can no longer deal with my anger, pain, the bigotry and the homophobia others have thrown at me.  I am just not strong enough.

I cannot do this alone like this any longer, and on a day to day community level, it’s just not enough to recharge my batteries.  The Baha’i Faith despite asking for a lot, have offered nothing for a very, very long time. It appears that I have been attached to some hope, some pie in the sky dream… and suddenly woke up.  I feel a little silly for having held on to it for so long.

Last nite showed me that I no longer need to do this any longer. I am in need of some community and nurturing, yet not a lot of odd rules or structure.  SBMG has been around for a couple of decades, and does not seem nutty or fanatical, or all “new agey”, or wrapped up in the “how to do it” which is also kind of nice as well. They seem like a diverse bunch of solid, nice people, who enjoy sitting in silence once a week in community.  They rather operate like a feast (but it works!) some news, someone takes a turn at leading the meditation / watching the clock, etc. there is no clergy. They  told the new folks and visitors about themselves briefly – that the tradition is not to approach people unless you invited them to (I did) that they do not want to get bogged down by bowing and stuff… and that they do invite people to come from a number of Buddhist traditions and communities to share technique and ideas.

After it was all over, and we were putting the pillows and chairs back, I approached the man who welcomed us and introduced the timekeeper, and we talked. He asked me if it was my first time with them “yes!” He asked me how I found out about Buddhism, and told him about being attracted to it for many years, and then when I was in Kathmandu living near Boudhanath Stupa I really was able to become quiet… he shared about his wife and his trips there… and we talked a bit about what we both saw and learned. It was very nice. For some odd reason I also added that I had been thrown out of the Baha’i community, and was searching for a quiet place to rid myself of my anger and hurt… He almost started to cry, put his hand on my arm, looked up at me and said, “You will find that you are most welcome here”.

I cried all the way home.

Not sure why I am sharing this, other than I feel I made a major break thru last nite, in so far as healing. And to say, that the Baha’is seem more and more irrelevant to me, and how sad I am about having to let go of it. 

I am going to return to this sangha. I recognize that I am really very damaged and reluctant to be around any organized religious expression.  But for me, and I can only say this works for me, there is something helpful about sitting in silence with 45 other people. I don’t know where this is taking me, but I need to rid myself of the toxic anger that is threatening to consume me re: Baha’i, my family, my work, and the general condition of the country before I move abroad… so who knows, for now I will focus on quieting the voices, and simplifying things a bit.


Maitreya Buddha protect us all!

via JMG: Anne Rice Explains

reposted from Joe

Via JMG: Where Do Things Stand On Prop 8?

After Friday's late afternoon filings by Gov. Schwarzenegger and California Attorney General Jerry Brown, many are unsure of what could happen next. Karen Ocamb asks Jon Davidson, legal director for Lambda Legal:
While many legal analysts thought that Judge Walker was likely to grant the stay pending appeal, Friday’s filings have dramatically changed the likelihood of that. The standards for when a stay or a trial court’s order pending appeal are well-settled. In order to be entitled to such a stay, the party seeking the stay has to make a “strong showing” that the party is likely to succeed on the merits of the appeal and also has to show that that party will be irreparably injured if there is no stay. In addition, courts consider whether the issuance of a stay will substantially injure other parties and where the public interest lies. Normally, it is the party ordered to do or not do something that seeks a stay. This is an unusual situation, however, because the parties whom Judge Walker ordered not to enforce Proposition 8 have asked him not to stay his order while the appeal proceeds. [snip]

Even if he denies the proponents’ stay pending appeal, Judge Walker might extend his temporary stay for a brief period of time (a week or so) in order to give the proponents time to ask for a stay from the Ninth Circuit while there’s a temporary stay in place. If he does not do that, the proponents are likely to file a request for an emergency stay from the appellate court. The Ninth Circuit would then apply the same test as Judge Walker did in deciding whether or not to issue a stay of Judge Walker’s order pending the appeal. If they deny a stay as well, the proponents could ask Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy (who reviews such matters arising out of the Ninth Circuit) to issue a stay pending the appeal. If he also denies a stay, the proponents could seek a stay from the full Supreme Court.
The Ninth Circuit Court has tentatively scheduled to hear Protect Marriage's opening appeal brief on November 12th, but that date could be delayed upon request. Davidson questions whether Protect Marriage actually has the legal right to file an appeal at all.
So far, the government-defendants in the case have not appealed. Given what they have said in their oppositions to the stay request, it seems likely that they will not. If that happens, there will be a legal question of whether, when those who are ordered to do something don’t appeal, someone not ordered to do anything has any right to appeal. To understand this, one has to appreciate a few things about federal courts.

Federal courts can only hear cases where there is what’s called a “case or controversy.” They can’t issue advisory opinions about issues just because parties may have an abstract dispute with one another. Rather, in order to be able to pursue an appeal, a party has the burden of showing that it has “a direct stake in the outcome” and has been injured by the ruling in a concrete manner that is particularized to that party and different from citizens at large who may not like the judge’s ruling. In a previous case, the U.S. Supreme Court said it had “grave doubts” about whether proponents of a ballot initiative limiting government action who had been allowed to intervene in a case can pursue an appeal when the initiative has been found unconstitutional and the government does not appeal.

reposted from Joe

Via JMG: Cartoon Of The Day

reposted from Joe

Via HRC:

Human Rights Campaign
Dear Daniel,
The right-wing is taking hypocrisy to new heights – and their sights are set on this do-or-die election.
We need to raise $100,000 by Wednesday to fight for marriage equality – time is running out.
Just when you thought they couldn't stoop any lower...
At one of 20 rallies on their anti-equality summer tour, the president of the far-right National Organization for Marriage (NOM) had the gall to compare their bigoted cause to that of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"What if Martin Luther King, Jr. would have listened to those who tried to silence him and tell him that his faith has no place in the public square?" he asked. He then told the crowd they were "part of a new civil rights group."
It's revolting. But last week's ruling that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional has them angrier than ever, and they'll only ratchet up their hypocrisy as the 2010 election approaches. The next big fight for marriage is on, and they know it.
So do we. That's why we're well on our way to raising $100,000 by Wednesday for a campaign to beat back the right-wing challenge by voting out NOM's cronies. Can we count on you at this pivotal moment?
Groups like NOM have a new strategy: to cloak their bigotry in the guise of a "civil rights" movement – to claim that they're being persecuted for their views, and saying they're for "fairness" and "equality." Just look at the photo below from the same NOM rally in New Jersey where they invoked Dr. King's legacy:
Equality = 1 man + 1 womanUnless we're there to answer every charge and expose every shred of propaganda, we give them the upper hand. And then everything we've fought for is in jeopardy.
Here's just one example of how HRC's rapid-response team and our huge grassroots force can make a difference. When Target and Best Buy (despite their solid records as leaders in workplace equality) donated to support a rabidly anti-equality candidate, we ran a full-page ad and mobilized almost 100,000 people asking them to make it right.
This campaign is one of the most urgent we’ve undertaken. The 2010 election will have a major impact on every single issue we work on – not just marriage and relationships, but our efforts in the workplace, schools, hospitals, houses of worship... Your donation today could make the difference.
We're well underway, with staff already placed in key states and volunteers trained and mobilized. And throughout the lead-up to the election, we’ll be firing on all cylinders, funding full-time grassroots organizers, supporting door-to-door programs and phone banks, turning out volunteers, running ads, and striking back against right-wing lies.
The outcome in November will be with us for years, perhaps decades: Equality or discrimination. Dignity or denigration. Which will it be?
The weight of history is on our shoulders. Thank you for doing your part.
Joe Solmonese
Joe Solmonese

P.S. If you've recently donated through the mail or by any other means, please disregard this message and accept our sincere thanks. If not, I hope you'll donate now and support this fight.
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