Family values

From Bwtm

The use of family values by the CBR has perverted the real meaning of integrity.




Sodomy in Isle 24

Rallies called off as Wal-Mart shifts gay support

Family group had planned signs, picketing on busy shopping days

November 23, 2006 Conservative Christians and gay rights advocates alike say that a canceled plan to hold organized prayers at Wal-Marts on Friday is far from the end of the issue for America's largest retailer.

Midstate shoppers were originally in for prayers, pickets and leaflets describing Wal-Mart's financial support for groups such as the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

Prayers were planned for stores in Crossville, Cookeville and around the country during the busy post-Thanksgiving Day sales. But on Tuesday, Wal-Mart issued a statement saying it would no longer make such contributions. The American Family Association, a Christian group, called off the prayer rallies.

Elmwood, Tenn., resident Bill Hewitt said he would be putting away the homemade signs readied to catch the attention of shoppers at a Carthage, Tenn., Wal-Mart that said "Wal-Mart Supports Sodomy" and "Wal-Mart Hates God's Word" — but only for now. "I'm glad they did what they did," Hewitt said. "But only time will tell if they're on the right track. We're going to continue to keep a close eye on Wal-Mart and their actions."

Gay rights groups praised Wal-Mart for its "progress" in supporting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered employees but likewise noted they would be keeping tabs on Wal-Mart's future actions.

"This is not the last word on the issue," said Chris Sanders, president of the Tennessee Equality Project, which advocates protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people in Tennessee.

"It's a struggle that is playing itself out in the politics of Wal-Mart," he said. "How can Wal-Mart work effectively with both (the conservative Christian and the gay and lesbian) markets — that's the struggle they're having now."

Wal-Mart did not respond to a request for comment. The company's statement said, "Wal-Mart will not make corporate contributions to support or oppose highly controversial issues," and "Wal-Mart does not have a position on same-sex marriage and we do not give preference to gay or lesbian suppliers."

Wal-Mart paid $25,000 to join the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce last summer, agreeing to sponsor some of its 2006 events and appointing a Sam's Club executive to the group's corporate advisory council, according to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Web site.

A corporate spokeswoman told The Associated Press this week that the company would continue working with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and other gay rights groups on issues such as workplace equality but would no longer give unrestricted donations that could be used for causes that Wal-Mart does not support.

"Going forward, we would partner with them on specific initiatives … as opposed to just giving blanket support to their general operating budget," spokeswoman Mona Williams said.

Sanders noted that the policy "leaves the door open for all kinds of support like sponsorship of events."

That's what still concerns Hewitt, 68, a former Federal Express employee, who says he has not shopped at Wal-Mart for some time. "I think Wal-Mart has betrayed the American Christian family. They've relied on us for many, many years. I hope they realize it would be foolish to turn their backs on us."


A pregnant pause in right wing

Social conservatives remain silent or temper their criticism about news that Cheney's gay daughter is expecting.

Mary Cheney, left, daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, sits with her partner, Heather Poe, in Madison Square Garden during the Republican National Convention in New York

December 07, 2006 WASHINGTON — No Republican in Washington is more beloved by social conservatives than Vice President Dick Cheney, who with his wife, Lynne, has backed and breathed every issue dear to them for six tumultuous years.

News that Cheney's lesbian daughter, Mary, is pregnant has therefore touched a nerve, as advocates for conservative values struggle to reconcile their loyalty to the Cheneys with their visceral opposition to same-sex relationships — and particularly to raising a child without a father.

"Not only is she doing a disservice to her child, she's voiding all the effort her father put into the Bush administration," said Janice Shaw Crouse, senior fellow at the Beverly LaHaye Institute, the think tank of Concerned Women for America. Asked why the administration downplayed the news, she added, "This is Cheney's daughter; anything they say will make the situation worse."

The vice president's office confirmed Wednesday that Mary Cheney, 37, an executive at AOL, was expecting her first child with her partner of 15 years, Heather Poe. The vice president and his wife issued a statement saying they are "looking forward with eager anticipation to the arrival of their sixth grandchild."

Cheney's older daughter, Elizabeth, and her husband, Philip Perry, had their fifth child in July. White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said that when Cheney told President Bush of Mary Cheney's pregnancy, "the president congratulated them and said he is very happy for them."

Some groups that oppose same-sex marriage and gay adoptions — such as the Family Research Council and the Eagle Forum — declined to comment. But others were critical, albeit with a delicate touch not always seen in the political wars over gay issues.

"Children deserve the very best we can offer, and gay adoption — by definition — intentionally denies children either a mother or a father," said Carrie Gordon Earll, an analyst for Focus on the Family, the Colorado-based family advocacy ministry. "Adoption laws should put the needs of children first, above the desires of adults."

The Family Pride Coalition, a Washington-based organization that supports gay parenthood and organized gay families to join the Easter egg roll on the White House lawn this year, argued that Cheney's pregnancy will focus attention on the injustice of parents without equal rights. She and Poe live in Virginia, which has a state law and a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage or civil unions, and where the legal status of adoption by gays is unclear.

"Unless they move to a handful of less restrictive states, Heather will never be able to have a legal relationship with her child," said Jennifer Chrisler, the group's executive director. "Grandpa Cheney has been part of an administration that has leveled unprecedented attacks [on gays]…. If this doesn't make it real for him, I don't know what will."

Social conservatives countered that the case highlights the tragedy of children raised without fathers. "The best thing we can do for a child is to provide a father and a mother," Crouse said.

Others disagreed. "All of the peer-reviewed social science studies show that gay people can be and are good parents," said consultant Chris Barron, ex-political director for the Log Cabin Republicans, the largest organization for gays in the GOP. "Research shows that the difficulty is for single parents, who are in more difficult economic situations and are forced to spend less time with the children.",1,6139729.story

George W. Bush

First President Bush Sobs While Talking of Son

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Dec. 5) - Former President George H.W. Bush came here Monday to talk about leadership and opened his remarks with advice on working with rivals, being patient and building personal relationships.

Sins of the Father

How Bush's family life opposes his rhetoric.

Barbara and Jenna Bush

December 04, 2006 It is not the fault of Jenna or Barbara Bush that their father, the president, has gotten us into a war that he doesn't know how to get us out of. And, although you can blame parents for almost anything, George W. and Laura Bush are no longer responsible for the behavior of their twin daughters, who by now are in their mid-20s. Presidents, like the rest of us, don't get to choose their relatives. Remember Billy Carter?

Anyway, Jenna and Barbara are far from George W. Bush's biggest familial problem. The law of averages has given him at least one ne'er-do-well brother—Neil. The biggest familial thorn in the president's side is probably his father, always ready (or so it seems) to send out a Brent Scowcroft or a James Baker with some patronizing and excruciatingly public advice for the young pup. As for the twins, we actually know next to nothing about them. George and Laura Bush made the wise decision to keep them out of the limelight and—with surprisingly little slippage—they have managed to enforce this policy on the press, on the Republican propaganda machine, and on the girls themselves. Good for them. From what little has leaked out, it seems that Jenna and Barbara are party girls, who like to drink and dance until the wee hours with aristocrats and frat boys. Jenna is interning for UNICEF in Latin America (not actually teaching kids, as originally reported, but involved somehow in education). The twins recently took a trip to Argentina. Their first night there, partying in Buenos Aires, Barbara lost her purse to a thief.

So, it would appear that George W. Bush's daughters are not Amy Carter or Chelsea Clinton or Karenna Gore. So what? Are you surprised? Nevertheless, there is a war on. It's a war that has killed 3,000 Americans, most of them around Jenna and Barbara's age or younger. It has killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis of all ages. And even more Americans and Iraqis have been injured, lost limbs, suffered excrutiating pain. President Bush can be quite eloquent in talking about the sacrifices of American soldiers and—he always adds—their families. In the Reagan style that has become almost mandatory, he uses anecdotes. He talks of Marine 2nd Lt. Frederick Pokorney Jr.: "His wife, Carolyn, received a folded flag. His two-year old daughter, Taylor, knelt beside her mother at the casket to say a final goodbye." And of Staff Sgt. Lincoln Hollin, who "in his last letter home from the Middle East … said how much he appreciated getting mail from his family. He added, 'I wish my truck and boat knew how to write.' "

Bush says truly, about the American dead, "They did not yearn to be heroes. They yearned to see mom and dad again and to hold their sweethearts and to watch their sons and daughters grow. They wanted the daily miracle of freedom in America, yet they gave all that up and gave life itself for the sake of others."

Living your life according to your own values is a challenge for everyone, and must be a special challenge if you happen to be the president. No one thinks that the president should have to give up a child to prove that his family is as serious about freedom as these other families he praises. But it would be reassuring to see a little struggle here—some sign that the Bush family truly believes that American soldiers are dying for our freedom, and it's worth it. Who knows? Maybe they have had huge arguments about this. Maybe George and Laura wanted the girls to join the Red Cross, or the Peace Corps, or do something that would at least take them off the party circuit for a couple of years. And perhaps the girls said no. But I doubt this scenario, don't you?

The opposite approach to this question is taken by Jim Webb, the incoming senator from Virginia. Webb seems to believe that because he served in Vietnam, anyone who could have but didn't should shut up. That includes people who opposed that war—that is, who got it right—as well as those who supported it. Webb's son is serving in Iraq now, and—in a gesture that would throw Dr. Freud for a loop—Webb wears the son's combat boots. At a White House reception for new members of Congress, Webb avoided the receiving line, and then, when Bush came up and asked him how his son was doing, he basically told the president to flake off. Webb's self-righteousness can be obnoxious. But at least he is being morally serious.

At first it seemed like a brilliant strategy—repellent, but brilliant—to isolate most Americans from the cost of the war in Iraq. It's starting to seem a lot less so. As the deaths and injuries mount, more and more people are touched by the war—and become understandably resentful of those who are not. Bush, in his speeches, is eloquent about what no one doubts—the sacrifice—but banal about what most people have come to doubt: the purpose.

But no amount of eloquence can overcome the bald contrast between that rhetoric and how his own family lives. His daughters are over 21, and he can't control them, but that doesn't let them off the hook. They are now independent moral actors, and their situation requires that they either publicly oppose their father's war or do something to support it. Is it unfair to expect Jenna and Barbara to shape their lives around their father's folly? Of course it's unfair. If this is war, then unfairness comes with the territory.

Ignorance and Arrogance

An Ugly, Stupid Mind


Barbara Bush

I watch none. He sits and listens and I read books, because I know perfectly well that, don't take offense, that 90 percent of what I hear on television is supposition, when we're talking about the news. And he's not, not as understanding of my pettiness about that. But why should we hear about body bags, and deaths, and how many, what day it's gonna happen, and how many this or what do you suppose? Or, I mean, it's, it's not relevant. So, why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that.


The Neo-Cons and Republicans are fundamentally racists. Racism comes from fear anger hate and weakness. When the leaders are weak and racist the country suffers from division and spreading malaise.

What would your Mother say?


Meanwhile, former Presidents Bush and Clinton got smiles, hugs and requests for autographs when they met with refugees from Hurricane Katrina - but it was Bush's wife who got attention for some of her comments.

Barbara Bush, who accompanied the former presidents on a tour of the Astrodome complex Monday, said the relocation to Houston is "working very well" for some of the poor people forced out of New Orleans.

"What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality," she said during a radio interview with the American Public Media program "Marketplace." "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them."

Racism is just beneath our modern surface

November 23, 2006 EUGENE ROBINSON, THE WASHINGTON POST. Anyone who thinks that racism in this country is history really ought to watch the video of Kramer going postal.

I'm not saying that everyone is like Michael Richards, the “Seinfeld” alumnus whose hideous meltdown at a Los Angeles comedy club last Friday was captured by a digital camera and soon posted on the Internet for all to witness in slack-jawed amazement. I'm not saying that evil lurks in the hearts of all men and women. But I am saying that as a society, we still haven't purged ourselves of racial prejudices and animosities. We've buried them under layers of sincere enlightenment and insincere political correctness, but they're still down there, eating at our souls.

For those who missed it, Richards – who will always be known as Cosmo Kramer, Jerry Seinfeld's indescribably weird neighbor – was performing at the Laugh Factory, a club in Hollywood, when a heckler in the audience began to intervene. There isn't a comic alive, I would wager, who has never been heckled. Surely, a performer of Richards' experience has faced rowdier interlopers than the one Friday night.

Who happened to be black.

Out of nowhere, Richards explodes. He screams at the man, and I mean screams, “Fifty years ago we'd have you upside down with a (expletive) fork up your a--.” Audience members don't initially react, perhaps unsure if they've really just heard a nostalgic reference to lynching.

But Richards continues, at the top of his lungs, using the expletive for which the term “N-word” is far too cute. “He's a (expletive)! He's a (expletive)! He's a (expletive)! A (expletive), look, there's a (expletive)!”

In the background, a female member of the audience is heard to say, “Oh my God.”

The rant doesn't end there, but that's the gist of it. The whole thing was captured on a pocket-size digital camera that has the ability to record snippets of video, and the recording surfaced on the Web site

“Usually, when you see the tape you've been waiting to get your hands on, the reality isn't as big as you think,” said managing editor Harvey Levin. “This was bigger.”

This is the second big scoop by, a year-old partnership between AOL and Telepictures (a division of Warner Bros.). The Web site also was the first news outlet to report on Mel Gibson's drunken, anti-Semitic rant. “What I'm hoping is that we're the go-to place for breaking entertainment stories,” Levin said, “not that we're the site that specializes in racist celebrities.”

Richards went on the David Letterman show Monday night to apologize. Appearing via satellite feed from Los Angeles, Richards gave a rambling mea culpa that provided few answers. He made no excuses for his inexcusable words, but he did tell viewers, “I'm not a racist.”

He could have fooled me. Just as Gibson, who in his own ritual abject apology said he's not an anti-Semite, sure had done a pretty good impersonation of one.

Look at the two celebrity blowups together, and maybe throw in Sen. George Allen's “macaca” moment, too. One thing they teach us is that there are no unguarded moments anymore. Richards' outburst was filmed by someone with a tiny digital camera; Allen's, by a young man with a video camera. Footage of their indiscretions – and facsimiles of Gibson's drunk-driving police report – was disseminated to the world within hours via the Internet. You can't even run anymore, much less hide.

The other lesson is that in each case, something ugly erupted from somewhere so deep inside that I'm not sure Richards, Gibson or Allen even knew the ugliness was there.

Richards' heckler just happened to be black. As far as we know – the video clip begins with the comedian losing it – there was no racial content in the heckling. But something inside Richards was triggered, some hidden fail-safe switch, and he went immediately to race as if that were the reason the man was annoying him, and thus an appropriate way to strike back. He didn't see the heckler as a man, he saw him as a black man – one who needed to be reminded that once upon a time he might have been lynched for his impertinence, and who needed to be put in his place with the most explosive word in the language.

Gibson's rant about Jews was a similar thing. Allen's fumble was less unforgivable, but then again he's a United States senator, not an actor or a comedian.

Out of nowhere, for no apparent reason, come explosions of vitriol, suspicion and disdain, all aimed at minorities. Don't tell me that racism is dead. It just shuns the light of day.