Bill Donohue Angry Over Presbyterian Church’s Move, Others Praise Ordination Of Gay Clergy

From Lezgetreal: http://lezgetreal.com/2011/05/bill-donohue-angry-over-presbyterian-churchs-move-others-praise-ordination-of-gay-clergy/

by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
05/11/11

“Why should the sexual practices of the clergy matter?”

Oh, I know that this quote is taken out of context, but the question is a valid one. After all, Bill Donohue is all for ignoring all of the horrible things that the Roman Catholic Clergy are doing in order to stay on the Pope’s good side while, at the same time, attacking other Christians for, well, determining what their faith believes for themselves. It is actually rather ironic that some five hundred yeas after Henry VIII told Pope Clement VII and his representatives in Rome where to go and how to get there in some rather frank terms that a Roman Catholic is trying to tell a Church that was founded in 1541 under the leadership of John Calvin as a breakaway denomination from Roman Catholicism.

This week, the Presbyterian Church USA became the latest Protestant Church to allow the ordination of non-celibate lesbians and gays. This was the fourth time that they voted on this issue. One elder and deacon explained her vote saying “I finally decided at the age of 63 that it is inevitable. I think it’s like letting black people come to white churches, or letting women become ministers. It’s inevitable.” She also said “For the Presbyterian Church, which is a mainline church, a graying church, it’s something.”

However, Bill Donohue, who leads the Catholic League, was not happy and stated:

We knew that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) was in trouble when it had to pass an amendment to its Constitution in 1997 affirming its teachings on ordination: married couples were expected to practice “fidelity” and single clergy were supposed to practice “chastity.” The fact that such a staple of Christianity was a matter of debate suggested that it was just a matter of time before it was jettisoned. After all, if the biblical injunction proscribing homosexuality can be ignored, why should the sexual practices of the clergy matter?

Of course, this is a man who believes that priests should be buggering young men in dark rooms in the churches instead of loving men in the open. This is a man who has supported the Roman Catholic priests in all that they have done while also doing and apologizing for anything that they happen to do wrong.

Continue reading at:   http://lezgetreal.com/2011/05/bill-donohue-angry-over-presbyterian-churchs-move-others-praise-ordination-of-gay-clergy/

Koch Brother Buys Professors At Public University to Spread Free Market Propaganda — Is Public Education the Kochs’ Next Front?

From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/story/150892/koch_brother_buys_professors_at_public_university_to_spread_free_market_propaganda_–_is_public_education_the_kochs%27_next_front/

The latest Koch brother affront is an “unheard of” breach of academic freedom–a donation to FSU only on the condition they can oversee the faculty appointees.

By Sarah Seltzer
May 10, 2011

Usually, when billionaires or millionaires give a large sum of money to a university, even a private one, they can specify where that gift will go — which department or function, facilities, new hires, dorms, or what have you. And it’s no secret that some of those big donations may lead to a little bit of wink-and-nudge affirmative action when it comes time for the little billionaires Jr. to apply to college.

But what these monied donors cannot do, what remains taboo in the academic world, is leverage that kind of gift to influence who gets hired and fired by the faculty and what they teach–until now, thanks to Charles G. Koch.

A recent op-ed in a Florida newspaper brought to light a shady deal by billionaire Koch, one of the Koch brothers, who donated a hefty million-dollar plus pledge to Florida State University, with some very big and ethically compromised strings attached.

According to the St. Petersburg Times’ Kris Hundley‘s thorough report:

A foundation bankrolled by Libertarian businessman Charles G. Koch has pledged $1.5 million for positions in Florida State University’s economics department. In return, his representatives get to screen and sign off on any hires for a new program promoting “political economy and free enterprise.”Traditionally, university donors have little official input into choosing the person who fills a chair they’ve funded. The power of university faculty and officials to choose professors without outside interference is considered a hallmark of academic freedom.

Under the agreement with the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, however, faculty only retain the illusion of control. The contract specifies that an advisory committee appointed by Koch decides which candidates should be considered. The foundation can also withdraw its funding if it’s not happy with the faculty’s choice or if the hires don’t meet “objectives” set by Koch during annual evaluations.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/story/150892/koch_brother_buys_professors_at_public_university_to_spread_free_market_propaganda_–_is_public_education_the_kochs%27_next_front/

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Making Asthma Cool: Not Coal Industry Priority After All

From The Yes Men: http://theyesmen.org/coalcares

May 10, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tackling Childhood Asthma Not Coal Industry Priority After All
No more My Little Pony inhalers in stock

Contact: asthma@coalcares.org, (314) 472-5539

A charitable initiative by the world’s largest coal company to provide free “novelty-themed” inhalers to asthmatic children may have seemed for a moment like a (somewhat misguided) breath of fresh air, coming as it did from an industry whose emissions are directly linked to childhood asthma, and which is fighting to gut clean air legislation that would save children’s lives.

Coal Cares™ (www.coalcares.org) purported to “make asthma cool” with decorative and pop-culture inspired inhalers (“The Bieber,” “Harry Potter,” “My Little Pony,” and “My First Inhaler” were particular favorites). The site also announced that Peabody would offer $10 coupons towards asthma medication (about 5%-20% of the cost) for families living within 200 miles of a coal-fired plant. It featured a “Kidz Koal Korner” with asthma-related games for tots, an extensive asthma trivia section and FAQ (Peter the Great was asthmatic, who knew!), and a thorough condemnation of solar and wind alternatives.

It was, of course, a hoax, and it was aimed at Peabody Coal, which is lobbying ferociously against new pollution standards for power plants proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), standards the agency says will prevent 120,000 cases of childhood asthma each year in the United States. Peabody spent over $6 million lobbying Congress last year, and the industry has created a dizzying array of fake “grassroots” front groups to distort the public debate and fight legislation.

(Meanwhile, a new study by the American Lung Association notes that coal-fired power plants produce more hazardous air pollution in the United States than any other source, with the pollution killing 13,000 people a year. Coal-ash disposal alone increases risk of cancer, learning disabilities, birth defects and other illnesses due to exposure from heavy metals such as arsenic, lead and mercury.)

The Coal Cares™ hoax was devised by a group called Coal is Killing Kids (CKK), a small environmental and public health group that aims to challenge Big Coal’s expensive lobbying against sensible updates to the Clean Air Act. “We don’t have their millions, but we do have a knack for incredibly tasteless jokes,” said Veronica Tomlinson, a pediatrician and member of CKK. CKK worked with the Yes Lab, which is a project of The Yes Men to help activist groups carry out media-savvy creative actions on their own.

“Sure, it’s kind of tasteless to say that ‘Bieber’ inhalers are a solution to childhood asthma,” said Janet Bellamy, a spokesperson for CKK. “But it’s a great deal more tasteless to cause that asthma in the first place, as coal-fired power plants have been proven to do.” Added Justin V. Bond, another spokesperson for CKK: “It’s even more tasteless to disproportionately kill poor people.” Coal-fired power plants are very often built in areas populated by low-income citizens, who then bear the brunt of the health effects.

“People may laugh at our sick jokes,” said Bellamy, “but they also understand the real health impacts of burning coal. That’s exactly what the coal industry doesn’t want people to think about, because if enough of us were aware of it, we would shut these plants down once and for all.”

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After 60 Years, an Unfaded Desire to Make It ‘Legal’

From The New York Times: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/11/after-60-years-an-unfaded-desire-to-make-it-legal/?partner=rss&emc=rss

By COREY KILGANNON
May 11, 2011

Richard Adrian Dorr first sang for John Mace at the Juilliard School of Music in 1948: a rendition of the show tune “All the Things You Are,” in which the singer elegantly explains all the wonderful things his lover is to him.

Mr. Mace knew the song intimately and he accompanied Mr. Dorr on piano, with no sheet music.

The song ends with the hope that, “someday I’ll know this moment divine, when all the things you are, are mine.”

For Mr. Mace, who is 91, and Mr. Dorr, 83, that moment divine would come with a marriage in New York City where the couple has lived together for more than 60 years.

“Our friends have told us, ‘You two guys should get married in Massachusetts or Connecticut,’ but we’ve always been New Yorkers, and after 61 years of togetherness, we feel we have a right to be married in New York,” Mr. Mace said recently inside the sprawling apartment on West End Avenue and 96th Street in Manhattan where the couple, both of whom are voice teachers, live and work.

Continue reading at:  http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/11/after-60-years-an-unfaded-desire-to-make-it-legal/?partner=rss&emc=rss

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The New Sputnik

From Truthdig: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_new_sputnik_20110510/

By Juan Cole
Posted on May 10, 2011

In 1957, a United States shocked by the Soviet launch of the Sputnik 1 satellite bounced into action to compete on the world stage. More than 50 years later, in May of 2011, the U.S. is facing a new challenge. The Chinese Communist Party has decided to launch a crash program to produce green energy, a field where it already has a commanding lead over the U.S. The difference between 1957 and 2011 is that American politics in the meantime have been captured by parasitic or corrupt industries such as high finance and big oil and gas. The Green Gap produced by China’s increasing lead in the technologies of the future is not even headlined in America’s corporate mass media, much less galvanizing a nation of gas guzzlers and coal junkies.

The disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has caused the Chinese Communist Party to reconsider its plans to vastly expand its own nuclear power industry. The government of President Hu Jintao is thinking instead of vastly expanding the green energy sector, aiming to produce 50 gigawatts from solar energy by 2020, up from a previous goal of 20 gigawatts. If the new goal can be met, it will be an impressive accomplishment in its own right. The six reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, among the largest such plants in the world, produced 4.7 gigawatts, so the Chinese solar plants would be the solar equivalent of more than four such complexes.

The real promise, however, is that if the Chinese government really does throw a trillion and a half dollars at solar and other renewables over the next decade and a half, the cost of producing energy in that way is likely to plummet. The Middle Kingdom already produces half of the world’s solar panels. The bad news for the United States is that China could dominate the rapidly growing and crucial world market for green technology in coming decades, leaving literally in the dust a Rust Belt America wedded to dirty coal, oil and water-slurping shale extraction.

China’s production of green technology has been growing 77 percent a year, and solar panels, wind turbines and other green manufactures account for 1.4 percent of its gross domestic product. Only tiny Denmark outdoes China on this score, deriving 3.1 percent of its GDP from renewable energy technology. But of course in absolute terms China’s production in this sector, at $64 billion annually, leads the world. The U.S. derives only 0.3 percent of its GDP from green tech and substantially trails China in absolute terms. Last year Beijing installed three times as much new wind turbine capacity as the United States. It added 18.9 gigawatts of new wind power-generating capacity in 2010, or about half of all the new wind installations in the world.

Continue reading at:  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_new_sputnik_20110510/

US Chamber Freaks Out Over Modest Obama Proposal That Would Require Gov’t Contractors To Disclose Campaign Spending

From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/news/150887/us_chamber_freaks_out_over_modest_obama_proposal_that_would_require_gov%27t_contractors_to_disclose_campaign_spending/

It’s a good rule of thumb: If the Chamber is whipped up about something, there’s probably good reason for the public to back whatever has sent them into fits.

By Robert Weissman
May 9, 2011

It’s a good rule of thumb: If the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — the trade association for large corporations — is whipped up about something, there’s probably good reason for the public to strongly back whatever has sent the Chamber into fits.

Well, the Chamber is apoplectic over a modest Obama administration proposed executive order that would require government contractors to reveal all of their campaign-related spending.

This is a case where the rule of thumb works. The proposed executive order would provide important information about campaign spending by large corporations, and work to reduce the likelihood that contracts are provided as payback for campaign expenditures. You can urge the administration to stand up to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce by signing the petition here.

The U.S. Chamber is of course no stranger to using exaggerated rhetoric to advance its positions. But its opposition to the Executive Order is astounding even by the standards of the Chamber.

A driving purpose of the Executive Order is to prevent corruption; the phenomenon of campaign contributors being given preferential access for contracting is so widely acknowledged that it has a slang name: “pay-to-play.” In a spell-binding bit of Alice-in-Wonderland logic, the Chamber is arguing that the Executive Order will actually enable pay-to-play abuses!

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/news/150887/us_chamber_freaks_out_over_modest_obama_proposal_that_would_require_gov%27t_contractors_to_disclose_campaign_spending/

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Huckabee Adviser: Obama is a Soviet Spy

Gee, perhaps someone should tell this fucking moron that there hasn’t been a Soviet Union for 20 years now.

From Mother Jones: http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/05/mike-huckabee-janet-porter-soviet-spy

Obama’s a mole, gays caused Noah’s flood, and other hits from one of two Janets that Huck says he “answers to” (the other’s his wife).

By Tim Murphy
Tue May. 10, 2011

Mike Huckabee’s close ties to far-right activists helped propel him to a second-place finish in the race for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008. But as the former Arkansas governor mulls another White House run, the incendiary remarks and outright paranoia of one of his close advisers serve as a reminder that Huckabee’s greatest asset—his relationship with the religious right—may also be one of his greatest vulnerabilities.

Huckabee has joked that he “answers” to “two Janets.” One is his wife, Janet Huckabee. The other is Janet Porter, the onetime co-chair of Huckabee’s Faith and Values Coalition. And Porter, the former governor has said, is his “prophetic voice.” But that voice has said some weird things over the years: Porter has maintained that Obama represents an “inhumane, sick, and sinister evil,” and she has warned that Democrats want to throw Christians in jail merely for practicing their faith. She’s attributed Haiti’s high poverty rate to the fact that the country is “dedicated to Satan,” and she suggested that gay marriage caused Noah’s Flood. And there’s this: In a 2009 column for conservative news site WorldNetDaily, Porter asserted that President Barack Obama is a Soviet secret agent, groomed since birth to destroy the United States from within.

 Porter’s long history in the Christian right made her a natural ally for Huckabee, a former Baptist preacher, as he laid the foundations for his  presidential run in 2007. An acolyte of the late televangelist D. James Kennedy, Porter rose quickly through the ranks of the Christian right, first as director of the Ohio Right to Life chapter in the 1990s. Later, she founded and served as president of Faith2Action, a right-wing group that promotes a theory known as Christian Dominionism—in which Christians are duty-bound to control the instruments of government in advance of the second coming of Christ.

Porter, in turn, seemed enamored with the candidate. In WorldNetDaily, she lavished praise on Huckabee. At one point, she composed a medieval ballad in which Huckabee, referred to as “Sir Mike-A-Lot who we all Like a lot,” slayed Hillary Clinton (represented by the “the evil queen and her dragon of slaughter”). Huckabee eventually signed Porter up as co-chair of his Faith and Family Values Coalition, a prestigious group of evangelical who’s-who’s tasked with reaching out to religious voters.

Continue reading at:  http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/05/mike-huckabee-janet-porter-soviet-spy

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