Scotties Toy Box

May 24, 2012

So true, shape has no meaning compared to inner beauty

Filed under: Cartoons — Scottie @ 19:08

I think when we can see everyone as beautiful just as they are, we may come closer to being truly human.  Hugs

Preacher Breaks Down While Discussing ‘Ex-Gay’ Guide: VIDEO| News | Towleroad

Filed under: News, opinion — Scottie @ 18:09

Preacher Breaks Down While Discussing ‘Ex-Gay’ Guide: VIDEO| News | Towleroad.

Preacher Breaks Down While Discussing ‘Ex-Gay’ Guide: VIDEO

JesseConnorsConservative ideologues are currently gathered in Washington DC for Family Research Council’s Watchmen on the Wall Pastors Briefing, where a man named Jesse Connors was given an opportunity to tout his website, TrueLife.org.

In addition to providing Biblical analysis and local church listings, Right Wing Watch reports the site also has a number of “instructional” videos that Connors claims were “built to convert a homosexual.”

Connors must have felt the spirit, because he became overwhelmed by emotion and began to weep, especially when discussing one of the star’s of his “ex-gay” video, a man who died of HIV/AIDS-related causes.

There’s a lot that could be said about this little scene, and I’ll let you do the talking in the comment. But first, watch the video, AFTER THE JUMP

 

Read more: http://www.towleroad.com/2012/05/preacher-breaks-down-while-discussing-ex-gay-guide-video.html#ixzz1vpNEjExa

Kid Told Westboro Protesters ‘God Hates No One’ Because, ‘That Is True’ : The Two-Way : NPR

Filed under: News, opinion — Scottie @ 17:48

Kid Told Westboro Protesters ‘God Hates No One’ Because, ‘That Is True’ : The Two-Way : NPR.

Josef Miles, making his own statement.

EnlargePatty Akrouche/Facebook.com/FeverDreams

Josef Miles, making his own statement.

“I just don’t like seeing those signs and I kind of wanted to put a stop to that.”

That’s 9-year-old Josef Miles’ simple explanation for why he held up a notepad that said “GOD HATES NO ONE” as supporters of the tiny Westboro Baptist Church staged another small demonstration featuring their signs that say God hates homosexuals.

His Mother’s Day Weekend action in Topeka, Kan., which we we reported about last week, won Josef fans across the Web after photos of him started to spread. Today, he and his mom spoke with Tell Me More host Michel Martin.

Josef’s mother, Patty Akrouche, told Michel that she and her son have often seen the Westboro Baptist protesters in Topeka, where the church is based. As we’ve said before, Westboro Baptist has gained notice in recent years for protesting against homosexuality, abortion and other issues outside the funerals of military veterans and celebrities.

 

Josef had in the past asked her about the signs, which feature an objectionable F-word when referring to homosexuals. Akrouche had told her son that the signs were using “a hate word” to refer to men who love men and women who love women.

As he reflected on that, Josef said, he decided that “I didn’t want everybody to think that Topeka has a bad image.” So on the day earlier this month when they came upon the protesters again, “I thought about it for a minute” and concluded that “God hates no one” would be the right thing to say.

Why?

Because “that is true,” Josef said.

Akrouche told Michel that “it’s a privilege and honor” to be Josef’s mom. She has better conversations with him, she said, than with many adults: “I learn something new from him every day.”

As for Josef, he felt “really brave and confident” that day (the Westboro protesters “were respectful,” by the way, according to Akrouche). And now he’s a little surprised by the attention he’s gotten. “I thought it would be just, like, ‘oh, that’s really great, good for you,’ ” he said, not something that would go viral.

From ‘Tell Me More': Josef Miles and his mom

Justices Uphold Retrials Even After Juries Reject Charges – NYTimes.com

Filed under: News — Scottie @ 17:38

Justices Uphold Retrials Even After Juries Reject Charges – NYTimes.com.

Charges Jury Rejected Can Be Retried, Justices Say

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that a criminal defendant may be retried even though the jury in his first trial had unanimously rejected the most serious charges against him. The vote was 6 to 3, with the justices split over whether the constitutional protection against double jeopardy barred such reprosecutions.

The case arose from the death in 2007 of a 1-year-old Arkansas boy, Matthew McFadden Jr., from a head injury while he was at home with his mother’s boyfriend, Alex Blueford. The prosecution said Mr. Blueford had slammed Matthew into a mattress; Mr. Blueford said he had accidentally knocked the boy to the floor.

Mr. Blueford was charged under four theories, in decreasing order of seriousness: capital murder (though the state did not seek the death penalty), first-degree murder, manslaughter and negligent homicide.

The jurors were instructed to consider the most serious charge first and move to the next only if they agreed unanimously that Mr. Blueford was not guilty. In this way, they were to work their way down to the appropriate conviction, or to an acquittal.

After a few hours of deliberation, the jurors announced that they were deadlocked. The forewoman told the judge that the jury had unanimously agreed that Mr. Blueford was not guilty of capital or first-degree murder but was divided, 9 to 3, in favor of guilt on the manslaughter charge.

The jury deliberated for another half-hour but could not reach a verdict. The court declared a mistrial.

Prosecutors sought to retry Mr. Blueford on all four charges. His lawyers agreed that he could be retried on the less serious ones but said double jeopardy principles should preclude his retrial for capital murder and first-degree murder.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority, said Mr. Blueford could be retried on all of the charges because “the foreperson’s report was not a final resolution of anything.” When the jurors returned to their deliberations after the forewoman spoke, he said, they could have changed their minds about the two more serious charges.

“The fact that deliberations continued after the report deprives that report of the finality necessary to constitute an acquittal on the murder offenses,” the chief justice wrote. Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Stephen G. Breyer and Samuel A. Alito Jr. joined the majority opinion.

Mr. Blueford’s lawyers also argued that the trial judge should not have declared a mistrial without first asking the jury whether, in the end, the defendant had been found not guilty of some charges. Chief Justice Roberts said the judge had acted appropriately, as “the jury’s options in this case were limited to two: eitiher convict on one of the offenses, or aqcuit on all.”

In dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that the majority had improperly given prosecutors “the proverbial second bite at the apple.”

“The forewoman’s announcement in open court that the jury was ‘unanimous against’ conviction on capital and first-degree murder,” she wrote, “was an acquittal for double jeopardy purposes.”

Justice Sotomayor said the trial judge should have asked for a partial verdict from the jury before declaring a mistrial. She added that the protections of the Constitution’s double jeopardy clause were needed in light of “the threat to individual freedom from reprosecutions that favor states and unfairly rescue them from weak cases.”

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan joined the dissent in the case, Blueford v. Arkansas, No. 10-1320
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A Way Out of the Same-Sex Marriage Mess – NYTimes.com

Filed under: opinion — Scottie @ 17:21

A Way Out of the Same-Sex Marriage Mess – NYTimes.com.

A Way Out of the Same-Sex Marriage Mess

East Lansing, Mich.

Opinion Twitter Logo.

THE debate over same-sex marriage in the United States has become a battle between two totally opposing visions. Proponents of gay equality want the Supreme Court to proclaim same-sex marriage a fundamental right of citizens, which the court, given its conservative bent, seems unlikely to do. Opponents dream of a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions, which also seems improbable, given rapidly evolving attitudes toward homosexuality.

President Obama has stepped into the breach, but the nuance of his recent announcement — affirming the ideal of equality while also expressing deference to state prerogative over marriage law — has not simplified matters. The contradiction in his remarks seems impossible to reconcile.

But there is a way. The Supreme Court, which will almost certainly have to take up the issue, should hold that while states may refuse to authorize same-sex marriages, they may not void — that is, refuse to recognize — gay marriages lawfully conducted in other states.

Yes, such a ruling would effectively make same-sex marriage legal throughout the country, because it would require Texas to recognize same-sex unions performed in Massachusetts. It would no doubt infuriate opponents.

But it would also be the best judicial solution. It would recognize the Supreme Court’s limited authority over marriage laws and leave it to state courts to resolve differences across states in areas like divorce, child custody and inheritance, as they have traditionally done.

It would allow the Supreme Court to manage, rather than impede, an inexorable process of social change. It would acknowledge that the unequal patchwork of state marriage laws cannot be sustained long-term. (Six states and the District of Columbia permit same-sex marriage; 30 states have constitutional amendments prohibiting it.)

Sooner or later, the Supreme Court will have to confront the problem; challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 statute that forbade federal recognition of same-sex marriage, and Proposition 8, the 2008 ban on same-sex marriage in California, are already making their way through the federal courts.

Some observers expect the court to dodge the issue. They assume that the best that can be hoped for is a long period of legal skirmishes that will gradually chip away at states’ denial of the rights and privileges of gay couples who marry where it is legal to do so. But a protracted and agonizing battle would not be good for anyone.

I happen to believe that same-sex marriage is a fundamental right under the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause. But I also believe that the court isn’t ready to go that far. Directly mandating that states rewrite their laws to allow same-sex marriages (and that county clerks issue marriage licenses to gay couples) would risk the kind of backlash that followed court-ordered school desegregation in the 1950s.

In contrast, a more limited ruling that forbade states from voiding other states’ marriages would recognize equality as a fundamental norm of citizenship while also speaking to values, like fairness and neighborliness, that are often obscured by anti-marriage ballot initiatives. An example of this can be found in Wyoming, where Republican legislators defeated a bill last year that would have prohibited recognition of out-of-state marriages. (Wyoming is one of 10 states that do not issue same-sex marriage licenses but also do not have constitutional bans on same-sex marriage.)

Even dire opponents of same-sex marriage can appreciate the injustice of stripping away liberties granted by other states. Voiding some marriages, but not others, is so powerful an expression of inequality and disrespect for interstate reciprocity that it requires a stronger justification than anti-gay animus.

Currently, many states use principles that originated in international law to argue that they do not have to respect same-sex marriages performed in their sister states. The idea is that sovereign countries can withhold comity, or legal reciprocity, if there is a basis in policy for doing so; the United States need not recognize polygamous marriages or unions involving a child bride, for example, because those unions are widely seen as harmful to vulnerable parties.

But this analogy does not carry over to the states. Florida might argue that New York’s recognition of same-sex marriages is antithetical to Floridian culture and values, but that is out of sync with constitutional norms of federalism and equality, at a time when same-sex marriages, civil unions and domestic partnerships have become common.

(I even believe that states should have to recognize so-called evasive marriages — in which couples travel out of state to marry, and then return home — though the legal scholar Steve Sanders, who has advanced an argument similar to mine, does not go that far.)

Mr. Obama was right both to embrace equality as a principle and to respect the process by which the understanding of marriage gradually evolves to include same-sex couples, within the premises of federalism.  What is needed now is a similarly coherent and sound ruling by the Supreme Court.

The Constitution allows for creative solutions to seemingly intractable conflicts. The justices should neither mandate state marriage law nor tolerate the arbitrary use of state power to void a critical legal status awarded to more and more American couples.

Mae Kuykendall is a professor of law at Michigan State University and the director of theLegal E-Marriage Project
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The Book I Am Reading.

Filed under: My Life and Rants — Scottie @ 11:35

 

I have been interested in sex since before puberty…way before in some cases.   Now I don’t buy into the hype and hysteria centered around sex in the U.S.A.  I have been in other countries, seen the way they deal with sex and the body, nudity and morality.  I am a Gay man, ( shocked, nah me neither,  ) and I know that a lot of what is said about gay’s by people who would try to force them to change is flat out wrong.  I often tell people not to tell me how I feel, I know that.  You can tell me how you feel, but sorry, only I know what is going on in me.

But back to sex.  So some years ago I started reading a few books from the library dealing with sex, to try to understand a few things.   Like the hysteria some people have over the fact that young people have sexual feelings and needs.

I got a new IPad, and one feature I love is the Ibook.  I read a 64 page sample of the book I just posted on…Sex and Punishment.  I loved the history so I bought the whole book and it did not cost much…only 12 dollars and change.

I learned a few things so far…Like until the time of the Jewish people, there was almost no prohibition  about same sex activities.   Also sex laws were designed from the start to protect a Males property….the woman and her …part.   Also sex could be used as a punishment…a man rapes some one and you could rape him or his wife type thing.   Anyway it is funny that all the early sex laws almost never punished the male…it was always the female who paid the price and her body belonged to the male.

There is a lot of other grand information here, like why somethings were made into laws and some reasons for other things.  I found it fascinating that what many profess is the highest morality came about for reasons totally devoid of morality or that what we are told were rules from the very beginning in time is not so, they are regional and recent rules.

I love the book so far…hugs.

Sex & Punishment by Eric Berkowitz – review | Books | The Guardian

Filed under: News — Scottie @ 11:02

Sex & Punishment by Eric Berkowitz – review | Books | The Guardian.

Sex & Punishment by Eric Berkowitz – review

Jaw-dropping data on sex and sin

Amsterdam's red light district

Custom and practice … Amsterdam’s red light district. Photograph: Brendan Bell/Alamy

I remember once, when on a visit to Amsterdam, I noticed in one of its narrower streets a church and a brothel so closely opposed to each other that I could just about have stood with one foot in the knocking-shop’s doorway and the other in the church’s. I wondered how the ecclesiastical authorities, even in such a liberal-minded country, could have accommodated such proximity.

  1. Sex & Punishment: 4,000 Years of Judging Desire
  2. by Eric Berkowitz

Well, now I know: because there have been links between the church and prostitution since well before Christian times. And in Christian times, even the church’s famously anti-sex attitude led, paradoxically, to some strange and striking compromises; for example, there were prostitutes in 15th-century Strasbourg, known as “swallows”, who worked in the cathedral’s bell tower; in 1608, the Dominicans of Perpignan “collected alms from their congregations for the refurbishment of the order’s bordello”. These are, though, by no means the weirdest parts of Berkowitz’s extraordinary book. We begin, as all histories of human civilisation must, in ancient Mesopotamia, where we learn that, pace Lévi-Strauss, incest is not the universal taboo we hold it to be. In Egypt, the practice was so encouraged that you could actually get into trouble if you didn’t marry your sister. It took the Romans three centuries to eradicate the custom.

When something as irrational as sex comes up against something as self-proclaimedly “rational” (ha!) as the law, then the law is going to be made to look pretty silly: that is the underlying message of this book. Not that this would be any comfort to you if, say, you were about to be severely punished for the crime of having been raped, as was not only common across much of the world for millennia, but persists today in those parts still governed by bigotry and religious mania. It is funny, but quietly instructive, how those most exercised about the sexual incontinence of others go to such great lengths to seek it out or incite it, as a quick look at the methods of the 19th-century Society for the Suppression of Vice would quickly confirm.

Berkowitz, a lawyer-cum-journalist, has used both his skills to extremely good effect. This is a book that could so easily have been either too smirkingly knowing or too dry. Early on, when comparing Mosaic law with that of the earlier Middle Assyrians, and noting almost identical concern about what should happen if a woman attacks a man’s balls when fighting, Berkowitz observes that Deuteronomy was not necessarily dictated by God, but that “it appears that this Hebrew law was a reflection of a regional testicle fixation”. On almost every page, Berkowitz is prompted to make some similar droll comment, and here’s the clever part: it is never done inappropriately or facetiously. Somehow he always gets the tone right. “The only weapon against genital demands was moral will,” he writes of Augustine’s teachings regarding sex, “but the smart money was always on the gonads.” Even when one has all the information at one’s disposal, laughter is an excellent way of getting the information to sink in.

And there is much to laugh at; otherwise we’d be weeping at the injustice of it all. Berkowitz’s legal background would appear to have helped him churn through millennia of documents, from the days of cuneiform to the 20th century (where he stops: the noise of the present would drown out the past, he says; and there are plenty of examples which shed light on the idiocies and inconsistencies of today). I don’t think I’ve ever read such an entertaining historical work. It has the wisdom granted by perspective, without the condescension of someone who thinks we’re wiser than our ancestors. Whether you want to fuel your indignation, or simply furnish yourself with enough jaw-dropping data to galvanise a hundred party conversations (“Did you know that the single event that precipitated the fall of the Roman empire more than any other was the imprisonment of a popular homosexual charioteer in Thessalonica in 390AD?”), you really must shell out for this book. It’s worth every penny..

U.S. News – Underground gay group emerges, shaking evangelical Christian college

Filed under: News — Scottie @ 10:59

U.S. News – Underground gay group emerges, shaking evangelical Christian college.

Underground gay group emerges, shaking evangelical Christian college

Michael Musser / Biola University

The emergence of an underground gay group at Biola University has led to a wide-ranging debate about Christianity and homosexuality.

LA MIRADA, Calif. — On the same day President Obama became the first U.S. president to come out in support of same-sex marriage, a group of students announced the presence of the “Biola Queer Underground” at this small evangelical university, touching off a highly-charged debate about Christianity and homosexuality.

The group launched a website and posted flyers around the Biola University campus May 9 with the following message: “We want to bring to light the presence of the LGBTQ community at Biola. Despite what some may assume, there are Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender, and Queers at Biola. We are Biola’s students, alumni, employees, and fellow followers of Christ. We want to be treated with equality and respected as another facet of Biola’s diversity.”

The emergence of the group, whose members remain anonymous, has shaken this 104-year-old Christian college in Southern California. Like many schools rooted in evangelical Christianity, Biola has a code of standards that includes prohibitions on sex outside of marriage and same-sex relationships: Sex is “designed by God to be expressed solely within a marriage between a husband and wife,” according to Biola’s student handbook, which goes on to say that “sexual misconduct, depending on the facts and circumstances of each case will result in disciplinary action.”

With debate raging over the group and its aims, Biola President Barry Corey told students that the school has no intention of changing its policy to “fit increasingly accepted ethical or moral norms. In particular, we don’t need to modernize or bend our biblically based position on sexual ethics.”

The school also issued a new statement on “human sexuality” which calls same-sex relationships “illegitimate moral options for the confessing Christian.” The statement was in the works before the gay group announced itself, but BQU said it showed the “one-sided” nature of the conversation, with no room for those who believe homosexuality isn’t sinful.

Chris Grace, vice president for student development at Biola, said the school would like to engage in conversation with the underground group but has been stymied by the members’ anonymity. “We really are at a disadvantage here because we don’t know who these people are,” Grace said, adding that the university would “love and welcome a conversation with them and that’s what we are hoping for.”

But members of BQU, who would only comment for this story anonymously, fear that by “coming out” they would be punished and possibly expelled. They said they consider themselves Christians “first and foremost” and love Biola, and are not looking to create “a war” on campus, but they are looking to have an open discussion about what it means to be Christian and gay.

Eventually, Members of the group would like to “come out” and be open about their sexuality. “It’s important to our integrity to not have parts of us be hidden even among the Christian community,” a member said.

One of the members said there is a lot of guilt in the Christian community over homosexuality, but wonders if that guilt is coming from “God, the Holy Spirit or is that guilt coming from sections of the Christian society?”

Visit “Biola Queer Underground” to read members’ stories

“Biola is probably not going to change their doctrinal stance for a while; they are going to have their theological stance being against homosexuality for quite some time, that doesn’t mean the culture, doesn’t mean they have to discipline openly gay students,” said one of the group’s leaders.

Grace dismissed the notion that students who are “struggling with homosexuality” would face expulsion. “I guess you’d almost call that a myth that students would get expelled for that,” Grace said. Instead, Biola offers students an “open-door policy” to talk about their struggles and receive spiritual counseling. But he makes it clear that for a student who identifies as gay and is engaging in “gay behavior and unwilling to uphold our community standards we would initiate the dismissal process.”

Debate about the group has raged among students and in the campus newspaper.

Samuel Smith, a cinema and media arts major, objected to the fact the members won’t come forward. “If you want an honest and true discussion about what they’re going through, I feel they shouldn’t be anonymous.”

Alexis Hughes, a biblical studies major, said the gay group’s anonymity is telling. “Obviously, if it’s underground, they know it’s wrong and on some level they know they shouldn’t be doing it”

Gabriela Cacanindin, a business major, was hopeful the wider campus would be open to hearing what the group has to say. “I hope that we are open to the dialogue that needs to happen… .”

But a female underground member says a true conversation is difficult. “I have sat in so many classes where we would a conversation about homosexuality and I can’t tell my story because I am too afraid of getting in trouble, so how is that a conversation at all?”

The group said they have received hate mail and they call some of the comments expressed in the school newspaper so painful that they had to quit reading it. One of them read, “If you embrace the lifestyle, you are at odds with God and scripture, and it is extremely doubtful that you are a Christian.”

“We get questions, ‘Why are you even in school, Why are you causing a ruckus, Why don’t you just leave?’” one of the members told us.

Not discouraged, the members of the gay group say they are here to stay. And, they added, they have received plenty of support in the community and around the country.

“In some ways I’m shocked at how horrible people can be, but I’m also shocked at how wonderful people are too,” said one.

They draw comfort in the fact that more Americans now support than oppose same-sex marriage,according to a recent Gallup poll, and are convinced that Biola will eventually “come around.”

School officials already are looking ahead to next year, when Biola celebrates its 105th anniversary, and they said plans are in the works to facilitate an “ongoing conversation” with students about homosexuality.

99% lose

Filed under: Cartoons — Scottie @ 06:20

Deep Cover

Change of Plans today …good news

Filed under: My Life and Rants — Scottie @ 06:03

Well after we got got up, I was showered , dressed, and waiting.  Ron was showering, when the call came in.  Normally we get up at 0430 and if work calls they call about 0500.  Today they called at about 0530.  They were going to put Ron on call.  I explained that Ron  had no P.T.O. time and I did , so they agreed to switch us.   Ron will go in and take my unit, I will be on call.   That means I get two dollars an hour until they call me and tell me I am off call and econed.  Once econed, I can’t be called in at all.   So I have a day to rest and relax, unless they call me in, which I really doubt.  In two years I have only been called in once.

Hugs

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