Monday, February 24, 2014

Taking a Break

I don't know if it is the fact that I've been stuck indoors a lot this cold, snowy winter, or if I just have too much time on my hands, but I feel like too much of my world is once again revolving around the blogosphere and the net: reading all the news that's wrong with the world, reading commentary from "professionals" and "amateurs" alike, and putting in my two-cents here and there, mistakenly thinking I'm giving a sermon on the mount when I'm merely whispering in a hurricane.

In addition, I find myself too often checking the blogs for stuff I've missed, for updates, for new comments, new stories, new videos, to the point of, dare I say, an obsession.

So, it seems to me that it is time to take another break. The house needs some serious spring cleaning (ok, it's not spring yet, but I'm definitely ready for spring), there are some projects to do, and I would like to work on some writing that's been stalled for a while.

These little breaks usually don't last too long and spring cleaning gets boring too, so I may be back sooner than later.

Thanks for stopping by. See you all soon.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Our Own Ice Olympics

We're having our own winter olympics here in the Northeast. Again. This event is not for the faint of heart or wimps. This past Wednesday it was a 6 hour event for a 2-man team. Friday and Saturday we held lesser events. There were no spectators except for Benni.

An inch of ice has been provided
The proper equipment is needed
And the right shoes
These grippers mean business
The ice course is on a steep hill
- here about 1/10th the way  through the course
Chop, shovel, sand, salt.
Unfortunately we didn't win any medals

Friday, February 21, 2014

Un Peu De Philosophie - Try a Little Tenderness

A little something to think about this Friday morning. I viewed and listened through "gay" filters of course and can see how this can apply to the gay culture of youth and beauty and masculinity. So try a little tenderness. And speak French to me...s'il vous plait...

 NOTE: Click on "CC" - Captions for English translation.

(The TED version is cut short)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Gay Popcorn Movie 6 - And Netflix Binge Picks

2/20/2014 Update: Just watched Cloudburst on Netflix. With Olivia Dukakis, Brenda Fricker, Ryan Doucette (eye candy). This is a cool lesbian film. Dottie and Stella have been together for 31 years and due to family interference in their lives as Dottie's health fails, the two decide to go to Canada to get married. This all takes place in our neck of the woods - well close enough - Maine and Nova Scotia, with some great filming locales. Olivia is brilliant as usual. And there are some priceless lines and a little male frontal nudity for good measure. Don't expect a great artistic film - it is very outrageous, the character of Stella is over the top and there are some stupid scenes, but it is certainly entertaining on a cold winter day.
Satellite Reception on a Stormy Day
We pulled the plug on our our Satellite TV in December and cut that bill by 100%. (which was about to go up to over $120/mo for 5 thousand channels of mostly crap).

Now we have no Cable, no Dish, no Direct, no Uverse, no PAY.

We get 30 or more channels over the air and that includes the major networks, PBS, and a few sub-channels like COZI, Create (love Lydia Bastianich) and others that offer mindless entertainment and old TV shows like Maverick, McMillan and Wife, etc.

The only thing we really miss is HGTV (Homo and Garden) and USA (White Collar and a few others)

Leon purchased a TiVo for $49 special offer which does require a modest monthly subscription ($15) for your local guide and is configured for Netflix, YouTube, and a bunch of other streaming sources. This allows you to record several programs at once IN HD (unlike AT&T Uverse) while watching TV or streaming Netflix. Obviously you cannot record a Netflix show.

We have had Netflix streaming (currently $7.95/mo) for several years and while they do not offer a great selection of movies, they do have a number of award winning TV shows.

What makes watching TV shows on Netflix nice is the ability to "binge" - that is watch back to back episodes until you can't take it anymore. Doing this during the long, long, brutally cold winter makes the practice somewhat forgivable.

This winter we have been hooked on three shows in particular that we binged on: Breaking Bad, Orange is the New Black, House of Cards. Leon has a couple of others, mostly UK shows that I often find I can't follow because of the language barrier.

The three I mentioned have something in common that disturbs me. We watched them, like we did OZ and Dexter, and Damages, thinking we must be sick and depraved to be watching, to be wanting to see more.

It is very disturbing to find one's self routing for the serial killer (Dexter) or the sexier prisoners (OZ) or the less bad bad guys vs the more bad and the most bad bad guys (Breaking Bad). There is something disturbing about one's fascination with ugly power and corruption (House of Cards, Damages) or the power of corruption to break someone (Orange is the New Black).

What does our addiction say about us? What do these dramas say about our world? How much more cynical can we become? Yes, these stories are fiction (mostly), but there is some truth running through them all. And it is scary. They are the New Horror Shows.

I'd hope these TV shows would have a chilling effect - one that helps us put a brake on those whose money and power has got us by the balls, but I don't think that beyond "entertainment" these shows really have an impact. That is sad, if true. I'm not really sure how I feel about watching these Hollywood depictions of the world, but disturbing is the best I can come up with.

For a little less serious tone or when you need a break from the intensity of power mongering and criminality, we've binged on The Glades (eye candy), The Finder (eye candy, but if you make it to the last episode, you will be pleasantly surprised I think), Emily Owens, MD, Bomb Girls, Land Girls, (kind of chick flicks) Orphan Black (sci-fi) and a few others that we watched in previous seasons, United States of Tara, Drop Dead Diva, among others.

OMG we watch a lot of TV. Can't wait till all this snow melts and we can get outdoors a bit more in the evening. We just looked out the window and the 2 feet of snow is now covered with a nice sheet of ice, as is the driveway and the cars.

Back to the TV, I guess.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What is Happening in Nigeria and Uganda?

Photo from Instinct Website
In perusing news stories on the net I came across a comment on the Instinct News Magazine by someone called Aderopo who said he grew up in Nigeria. I find his comments enlightening not only because he asks some pertinent questions, but also because he is a person who has some legitimacy in the conversation in terms of understanding the the cultural and historical background against which the current atrocities are occurring.

Aderopo contrasts the current anti-gay violence with a status-quo where LGBT persons were tolerated as a part of the larger community,  but did not draw attention to themselves - did not have an identity apart from the larger community.

While I do not agree that LGBT activism should be blamed for anti-gay backlash, (and I'm not sure Aderopo is saying this) he seems to think that the status quo of several years ago was at least more tolerable than the current anti-gay violence, which, in his opinion is due to the more visible fight for LGBT rights in these African nations; and that the concept of LGBT rights is viewed with mistrust because it is a "western" concept and therefore "foreign" agenda.

Aderopo seems to think that the very deliberate anti-LGBT stance on the part of the government is directed primarily at the west, at the ideas coming out of the US and western Europe because they represent an attack on African nations' sovereignty and culture.

He does mention the Christian/Muslim religious and cultural opposition to LGBT rights but does not make the connection with the "western" and therefore "foreign" (US) Christianist interference in the political machinations of Uganda and Nigeria - the fact that so-called Christian churches and organizations from the US have provided support to the government and propaganda to the citizens to further anti-LGBT laws, prosecutions and ultimately, vigilanteism and violence.

No matter how you view this in terms of "cause and effect" the violence and atrocities being directed at the LGBT communities of Nigeria and Uganda must be unequivocally condemned. What Aderopo seems not to understand is that the fight for LGBT rights is indeed a cultural revolution and that even though no one was prosecuted under the old anti-gay laws and that LGBT persons were "tolerated" the status quo was oppression, no matter.

The fact that African LGBT persons are owning their identity in a horribly oppressive society is just the beginning of the fight for their human rights there. And while it may have its inspiration in western or foreign cultures, human rights and LGBT rights have no national boundaries. The tragedy is that so many innocent lives are destroyed and that violence against LGBT persons is not only allowed to continue unchecked, but is actually encouraged.

Aderopo says we (westerners) need to change our tactics in advocating for LGBT rights in Africa. That leaves the conversation open to suggestions.

The following is a copy of the comment by Aderopo:

In my view, the West push for more advocacies on LGBT rights is responsible for the danger the LGBT community are facing in Africa due to lack of  understanding or deliberate ignoring the sensitivity of the cultural and social structure dimension of the communities in Africa. Instead of condemning the leaders, I think it is important to start asking questions Why this Laws now?, especially in Nigeria and Uganda, why not 20 years or even 10 years ago?. This will go a long way to understand how to fight for the LGBT rights without creating more problems for the already vulnerable community. Or what is the essence of advocacy that create more problems than solutions
Growing up in Nigeria, I often would hear the word, “dan daudu” this term is attributed to a person who has the characteristics and demeanor of both male and female; however, with more pronounced male features. From my understanding dan daudu sometimes dresses like a woman and has sexual intercourse with both male and female. Dan daudu at times would marry a male and or a female for reproduction. I don’t recall hearing a revolt against this special gender amongst us. They were accepted in a community that are Predominantly Christians in the Middle-belt and in some cases in the North where Islam is consider as the religion. No one castigated them for anything, despite the fact that the 1979 constitution stated 2 years jail term for sodomy, none was arrested or persecuted. One could say, dan daudu would have his “cake and eat it is too”. But I can say to you that today, the same people that were accepted by the same communities are being hunted down like dogs, the big question is WHY?. Also when I was in Primary school, I often hear my aunts discussing about their friends in school that are lesbians, my aunts did not discriminate against them and yet they live together in Harmony, But now the story has changed.
However, the trend of tolerance changed about 5 to 7 years ago when the advocacy for LGBT rights started growing in Nigeria. I will argue that the hatred for LGBT is as a result of the counter discourse against LGBT right by religious leaders, painting the picture of those that advocate for LGBT rights are Atheists (which for me is untrue, I have Christian friends that are activist) or looking to make money. It is rather unfortunate that a good cause has now been politicized, and I don’t see how this will benefit the cause of the LGBT community. The discourse is  so strong that a street trader now knows what is LGBT but in a wrong way because the other side is winning based on the highly religious structure of the society (Identity). African leader wants to show to the world that I don’t take shit from the west, this is unafrican, and it is against our culture and our God. For them, it is a way to get what they wanted from the west, at least North Korea Young Leader threatened to start a nuclear War last year to get more food aids. In many ways, one will not blame them because of the selective intervention of the WEST on abuse of human right. I wonder why such intervention were not done in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Brunei among other western allies known for highest level of disregard to Human rights. Yet Obama visited Senegal to call for respect for LGBT, Women, Rule of Law and democracy. I am eager to see him visit any of the countries I mentioned above and issue same statement, fund advocacy groups to sensitize the communities of LGBT rights n Saudi Arabia.
I think it is high time to discuss why the hostilities against LGBT is so strong in Africa, I have a clear evidence of the Dan daudu in Nigeria, once lived in peace within the community now hunted for what was initially accepted by the community  

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Does Money Make You Mean?

I'm sure this isn't popular with most Republicans and others who are leaving the rest of us behind. The lecture is a little dry, but the example of the Monopoly Game and the drivers of luxury cars are illustrative.

I've blogged about wealth and disparity before. If you're interested:

When Saying "I Love You" Was (Just Recently) A Crime

LINK here to an ex-Navy SEAL's story.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Sign of Things to Come? or Do These Backward States Really Enjoy Making Themselves A Laughing Stock?

Kansas is poised to codify discrimination against gays based on "religious freedom". 

and here

and here

Proposed Kansas legislation would allow ANYONE to discriminate against LGBT persons based on their RELIGIOUS BELIEFS by denying goods, services or public accommodation if “related to, or related to the celebration of, any marriage, domestic partnership, civil union or similar arrangement.” (emphasis mine). And it provides for complete immunity from lawsuits or recourse.

Going to the movies to celebrate your partner's birthday? Out to dinner on Valentine's Day? Buying a new outfit for your best friend's wedding? If the theater or restaurant or clothing store is run by bible bangers in Kansas, go elsewhere Dorothy. Call 911 for an emergency at the home you and your spouse share - the first responder doesn't have to help you if he doesn't believe in "your lifestyle".

While I'm certain it has no chance in hell of surviving constitutional muster, the fact that those Kansan legislators have the audacity to put forward such a bill is both scary and laughable. It defies logic, reason and common sense. The consequences would be dangerous and costly.

Do these people have no BRAINS? no COURAGE? no HEART?

The short answer is "Yes" to all of the above. I imagine that in today's Kansas, the Scarecrow, the Lion the Tin Man and Dorothy herself would all be shunned if they were going to a same-sex wedding.

The only bright spot in this is I can't wait to see how the LGBT community responds. Someone will come up with a witty retort, a highly visible demonstration, a creative response that will put the bigots to shame.

The Kansas legislature, the governor and the Republican party will again be a laughing stock.

Never Surrender, Dorothy!

*As usual, reading the comments of readers on some of these news articles is eye-opening, irritating, sad, tedious or occasionally funny.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Panti Bliss on Homophobia (Video & Text) - This Has Been Going Around and Should Keep Going Around

Other blogs have posted this video and a few have given some background. I posted it on Feb 5th and I think it is important enough to re-post it, in case one of my few readers hasn't seen it. It concerns a controversial commentary by Rory O'Neill, aka drag queen Panti Bliss on an Irish Saturday night TV show in which the performer referred to certain individuals as homophobic. The TV network immediately caved to those individual who threatened law suits and paid out 85,000 Euros to settle out of court. READ MORE HERE

I have said before, and I will say it again: We LGBT folks should no longer stand silently by while allowing straights to define the conversation about our sexuality, our lived experience, our rights. They should not be the ones to define what it means to be gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgender. They should not be the arbiters of our morality, our choices, or whether or not we conform to the unrealistic and oppressive standards of some mis-interpreted scriptures.

What was the controversy in Ireland about? It was about the appropriation of the word Homophobia by straights who were allegedly libeled when referred to by Panti as "homophobic". In Panti's words:

So now Irish gay people find ourselves in a ludicrous situation where not only are we not allowed to say publicly what we feel oppressed by, we are not even allowed to think it because our definition has been disallowed by our betters.
And for the last three weeks I have been denounced from the floor of parliament to newspaper columns to the seething morass of internet commentary for “hate speech” because I dared to use the word “homophobia”. And a jumped-up queer like me should know that the word “homophobia” is no longer available to gay people. Which is a spectacular and neat Orwellian trick because now it turns out that gay people are not the victims of homophobia – homophobes are. (emphasis mine)

Panti says it well and better than I do.

And as someone else much wiser than I once said, (and I paraphrase): "let those who have ears hear" but sadly many with ears will stick their fingers in them and make babbling noises with their voices to block out hearing the truth: (full text below)

I personally think this is the essence of our current struggle: that non-LGBT are still defining the conversation about us. 

This has to STOP.

No longer can bigoted, homophobic, self-appointed experts, or those who consider themselves morally superior, or those who have some religious or political agenda be allowed to dominate the conversation about US, about our lives, about our rights, about or future. Let alone the ignorant, rigid, homophobic, religious literalists who insist on spreading their hateful opinions and illogic in comment sections of internet blogs and news journals.

Am I being too repetitious? Let me repeat in other words.

Further, there shouldn't even be a debate about us in the halls of congress, in the blogosphere, in the churches.

As far as I'm concerned, this phase of conversationwith non-LGBT folks is OVER:

- whether or not we "choose" to be gay or lesbian or bi or trans,
- whether or not we are "intrinsically disordered",
- whether or not we "deserve" rights,
- whether or not we "recruit" young people, or are pedophiles
- whether or not we should marry, or adopt children
- whether or not we should be able to order a wedding cake,
- whether or not we should be allowed to visit a partner in the hospital,
- whether or not we should be fired by the Catholic school,
- whether or not we should be allowed to march in the St. Patrick's Day Parade,
- whether or not we should play NFL football,
- whether or not we should be made "unmentionable" in our schools,
- whether or not we should be imprisoned or tortured or put to death for who we are.

The only conversation now, the only conversations we should engage in, are those in which we participate as full citizens with the dignity of full equal rights.

Full transcript of Panti Bliss' speech:

Hello. My name is Panti and for the benefit of the visually impaired or the incredibly naïve, I am a drag queen, a performer, and an accidental and occasional gay rights activist.
And as you may have already gathered, I am also painfully middle-class. My father was a country vet, I went to a nice school, and afterwards to that most middle-class of institutions – art college. And although this may surprise some of you, I have always managed to find gainful employment in my chosen field – gender discombobulation.

So the grinding, abject poverty so powerfully displayed in tonight’s performance is something I can thankfully say I have no experience of.
But oppression is something I can relate to. Oh, I’m not comparing my experience to Dublin workers of 1913, but I do know what it feels like to be put in your place.

Have you ever been standing at a pedestrian crossing when a car drives by and in it are a bunch of lads, and they lean out the window and they shout “Fag!” and throw a milk carton at you?

Now it doesn’t really hurt. It’s just a wet carton and anyway they’re right – I am a fag. But it feels oppressive.

When it really does hurt, is afterwards. Afterwards I wonder and worry and obsess over what was it about me, what was it they saw in me? What was it that gave me away? And I hate myself for wondering that. It feels oppressive and the next time I’m at a pedestrian crossing I check myself to see what is it about me that “gives the gay away” and I check myself to make sure I’m not doing it this time.

Have any of you ever come home in the evening and turned on the television and there is a panel of people – nice people, respectable people, smart people, the kind of people who make good neighbourly neighbours and write for newspapers. And they are having a reasoned debate about you. About what kind of a person you are, about whether you are capable of being a good parent, about whether you want to destroy marriage, about whether you are safe around children, about whether God herself thinks you are an abomination, about whether in fact you are “intrinsically disordered”. And even the nice TV presenter lady who you feel like you know thinks it’s perfectly ok that they are all having this reasonable debate about who you are and what rights you “deserve”.
And that feels oppressive.

Have you ever been on a crowded train with your gay friend and a small part of you is cringing because he is being SO gay and you find yourself trying to compensate by butching up or nudging the conversation onto “straighter” territory? This is you who have spent 35 years trying to be the best gay possible and yet still a small part of you is embarrassed by his gayness.

And I hate myself for that. And that feels oppressive. And when I’m standing at the pedestrian lights I am checking myself.

Have you ever gone into your favourite neighbourhood café with the paper that you buy every day, and you open it up and inside is a 500-word opinion written by a nice middle-class woman, the kind of woman who probably gives to charity, the kind of woman that you would be happy to leave your children with. And she is arguing so reasonably about whether you should be treated less than everybody else, arguing that you should be given fewer rights than everybody else. And when the woman at the next table gets up and excuses herself to squeeze by you with a smile you wonder, “Does she think that about me too?”

And that feels oppressive. And you go outside and you stand at the pedestrian crossing and you check yourself and I hate myself for that.

Have you ever turned on the computer and seen videos of people just like you in far away countries, and countries not far away at all, being beaten and imprisoned and tortured and murdered because they are just like you?

And that feels oppressive.

Three weeks ago I was on the television and I said that I believed that people who actively campaign for gay people to be treated less or differently are, in my gay opinion, homophobic. Some people, people who actively campaign for gay people to be treated less under the law took great exception at this characterisation and threatened legal action against me and RTÉ. RTÉ, in its wisdom, decided incredibly quickly to hand over a huge sum of money to make it go away. I haven’t been so lucky.

And for the last three weeks I have been lectured by heterosexual people about what homophobia is and who should be allowed identify it. Straight people – ministers, senators, lawyers, journalists – have lined up to tell me what homophobia is and what I am allowed to feel oppressed by. People who have never experienced homophobia in their lives, people who have never checked themselves at a pedestrian crossing, have told me that unless I am being thrown in prison or herded onto a cattle train, then it is not homophobia.

And that feels oppressive.

So now Irish gay people find ourselves in a ludicrous situation where not only are we not allowed to say publicly what we feel oppressed by, we are not even allowed to think it because our definition has been disallowed by our betters.

And for the last three weeks I have been denounced from the floor of parliament to newspaper columns to the seething morass of internet commentary for “hate speech” because I dared to use the word “homophobia”. And a jumped-up queer like me should know that the word “homophobia” is no longer available to gay people. Which is a spectacular and neat Orwellian trick because now it turns out that gay people are not the victims of homophobia – homophobes are.

But I want to say that it is not true. I don’t hate you.

I do, it is true, believe that almost all of you are probably homophobes. But I’m a homophobe. It would be incredible if we weren’t. To grow up in a society that is overwhelmingly homophobic and to escape unscathed would be miraculous. So I don’t hate you because you are homophobic. I actually admire you. I admire you because most of you are only a bit homophobic. Which all things considered is pretty good going.
But I do sometimes hate myself. I hate myself because I f*cking check myself while standing at pedestrian crossings. And sometimes I hate you for doing that to me.

But not right now. Right now, I like you all very much for giving me a few moments of your time. And I thank you for it.

Get Wow!ed over this:

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Please forgive Me, I Have To Laugh

Just finished watching the evening news. Saw some wimpy Southerners on TV and heard from friends/relatives in the south - complaining about a little snow and ice. I have to laugh. You guys don't know winter.

"We lost our satellite service." (Clean the snow off the DISH).

"We're going stir crazy after two days indoors." (Take  hike)

"The electricity went out and we have to burn wood in the fireplace." (Consider yourself lucky)

They showed pictures of grocery stores with bare empty shelves - I mean everything gone. (Like you all will be snowed in for two months with three inches of snow or can't survive a couple of days without ten bags of chips, eight jars of salsa and three cases of Mountain Dew)

We, up here in Connecticut, are having a more severe winter than usual, and we too are bitchin' and complainin' but, well we're almost used to it. We've been cooped up since Thanksgiving it seems. Putting on six layers of clothing to get the mail or walk the dog gets pretty depressing after a while. Talk about stir crazy.

To make it a bit worse, we're having a Vermont winter, which is to say it snows every other day or so and never gets above freezing. The snow just piles up.  This makes for squeaky snow, no slush or ice and easy, or relatively easy hiking but if you don't shovel or snow-blow and keep up with the stuff, it gets harder the next time to clean up. We cleaned up after the last storm too soon; we missed the tail end of the storm which left another inch and a half of snow and did a half-assed job cleaning that, so part of our driveway and walkways still have a good layer of snow on them. Oh, well. Like I said, just like a Vermont winter.
The meadow before the wooded trails
The dogs love it in the woods
I'm still doing my daily two-and-a-half-mile hike with my dog Benni and with my friend Dottie and her dog Katija and usually with Leon when he is not working (his business is very seasonal and winter is the off season). He shoveled the roof today and we are ready for tomorrow's big storm.

I'll admit, I did stop for milk and eggs and asparagus on the way home this afternoon. But we don't do chips or sugar-drinks at all. I'm thinking, "Sleep late, have asparagus and eggs (sans Benedict - too much butter), maybe some fruit and yogurt for breakfast."

So, all you Southerners, fear not. Enjoy a nice healthy breakfast. You will thaw out LONG before we do.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Bill Moyers with David Simon

What I find discouraging is that even journalists like Bill Moyers and a TV producer likeDavid Simon who have the connections, the microphone and the attention of millions of people cannot seem to make a dent in the intransigence of Congress or fully expose corporate greed in all it's ugliness.

Thanks to Truthspew for the link.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

United Nations' Committee on Rights of the Child Scathing Report on the Vatican and Catholic Church

I will not comment here; the excerpts speak for themselves, I think.

Here are some excerpts (which means they are taken out of the document and are not entirely "in context" -  follow the link to read the entire document):

While also noting as positive the progressive statement delivered in July 2013 by Pope Francis, the Committee is concerned about the Holy See’s past statements and declarations on homosexuality which contribute to the social stigmatization of and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adolescents and children raised by same sex couples.

The Committee also urges the Holy See to make full use of its moral authority to condemn all forms of harassment, discrimination or violence against children based on their sexual orientation or the sexual orientation of their parents and to support efforts at international level for the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

The Committee urges the Holy See to adopt a rights-based approach to address discrimination between girls and boys and refrain from using terminology that could challenge equality between girls and boys. The Committee also urges the Holy See to take active measures to remove from Catholic schools textbooks all gender stereotyping which may limit the development of the talents and abilities of boys and girls and undermine their educational and life opportunities.

The Committee is particularly concerned that in dealing with allegations of child sexual abuse, the Holy See has consistently placed the preservation of the reputation of the Church and the protection of the perpetrators above children’s best interests, as observed by several national commissions of inquiry.

The Committee nevertheless expresses its deepest concern about child sexual abuse committed by members of the Catholic churches who operate under the authority of the Holy See, with clerics having been involved in the sexual abuse of tens of thousands of children worldwide. The Committee is gravely concerned that the Holy See has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, has not taken the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and to protect children, and has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by and the impunity of the perpetrators.

Child sexual abuse, when addressed, has been dealt with as grave delicts against the moral through confidential proceedings providing for disciplinary measures which have allowed the vast majority of abusers and almost all those who concealed child sexual abuse to escape judicial proceedings in States where abuses were committed;

Immediately remove all known and suspected child sexual abusers from assignment and refer the matter to the relevant law enforcement authorities for investigation and prosecution purposes;

Amend Canon Law in order for child sexual abuse to be considered as crimes and not as “delicts against the moral” and repeal all provisions which may impose an obligation of silence on the victims and on all those that become aware of such crimes;

The Committee welcomes the indication that the Holy See pays particular attention to promoting the dignity of women and girls. However, given the extent and the devastating impact of domestic violence on children and the fact that domestic violence often has a gender component, the Committee is seriously concerned that during the 2013 Commission on the Status of Women, the Holy See objected to a draft final text proposing that religion, custom or tradition should not serve as an excuse for States to evade their obligations to protect women and girls from violence.

The Committee recommends that the Holy See ensure that Canon Law provisions recognise the diversity of family settings and do not discriminate children based on the type of family they live in.

The Committee urges the Holy See to properly investigate all allegations of children and adolescents being separated from their families by means of psychological manipulation and ensure that those responsible for manipulating adolescents be held accountable and cease their activities.

Homophobia and Oppression

Thanks to Wicked Gay Blog for this.

And an interesting additional story about America's No Promo Homo Laws - kinda like Russia.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

I Need Some New Exercise Equipment

My old exercise equipment is getting a bit shabby.

Addendum, as noted in comments below:
The old snowblower crapped out yesterday so we had to shovel the entire 260 foot driveway plus the turnaround and the walkways, deck and stairs, with the yellow and green manually operated snow removal devices.


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