Sunday, April 30, 2006

Adoption Hand-Off by Catholic Charities

Good for the kids. The board of Catholic Charities managed to rise above the cruel and destructive politics of our Cardinal and the Pope.

Under orders from the Church hierarchy, they had to stop all adoptions rather than risk placing one or two needy kids a year with assiduously screened same-sex couples. They found an agency that will pick up the load. God bless everyone involved, exception the sniveling politicians in cassocks.

Child & Family Services Inc.
in New Bedford will get the the Charities' adoption caseload at the end of June. That is not a terrific strain. Numerous agencies in the commonwealth act on adoptions. While Charities is one of the top five, it does not place thousands or hundreds a year; in 2005, it placed 41 children.

Charities already works with Child & Family services. So the transfer was easy.

After two decades of adoption services, Charities had to quit under order of Archbishop Sean O'Malley. It reports that in total it had placed 720 children, 13 of those with gay couples. That is 1.8% of its adoptions, almost all of those very hard-to-place kids.

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Healey Straddles the Dead Horse

Our Afghan hound clone of a Republican Party gubernatorial nominee had no surprises at her convention. She intends to flog a horse so dead that its bones crumble under Kerry Healey's cudgel.

In Lowell, to faint huzzahs, she echoed our occasional governor, Willard Mitt Romney, with, "To every voter who wants to keep two-party democracy alive in this state and hold your government accountable, I ask you to stand with us in this election."

Willard kicked that poor equine corpse up and down Beacon Street to victory. Like Healey will do, he predicted that something just terrible would happen if there was also a Democratic governor. Clearly having an indecisive, visionless, do-nothing Republican would be vastly superior.

Well, has it been?

There's probably no reasonable way for Democrats to show what an incredible deceit Healey's main point is. They would first have to admit publicly that there are a frightening number of DINOs in office here. A few urban legislators, and many suburban and exurban ones, speak and vote as Republicans -- on aid to the poor, on crime and punishment, on taxes, or mass transit, on abortion and on gay rights.

To my Southern relatives, it is plain from that distance that we live in Pinko-Land, home to communists and others Godless liberals. That's all too plainly not reality on the streets or under the golden dome.

We look forward to blogger takes on Healey, particularly Kerry Healey -- Out of Touch. Meanwhile, we can imagine and hope for a Massachusetts that she pretends looms. If only we had enough Democrats with conviction, passion and plans to fill 200 General Court seats, plus two chairs upstairs.

Unfortunately, we never have and don't now.

Let her beat hollow noises on the skeleton of that dead horse, a kind of one-party scare-horse. The rest of us have work to do on a commonwealth that needs a lot of repair from the damage of Republicans and DINOs.

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Friday, April 28, 2006

Galluccio and Paper Cuts

As tempting as it is to think political privilege in the absurd dismissal of the charges against Anthony Galluccio, we suspect the real basis is constabulary indolence. If the Boston Police who responded to the wreck on December 18th, 2005, were not so damned lazy, this clown would not be smirking today.

In case you didn't follow this, a would-be Massachusetts Senator and former Cambridge mayor, Anthony Galluccio, got a free ride on DUI charges from a December wreck he admitted causing. He plowed into multiple cars on a warm, dry night, and claimed "black ice." The victims and other witnesses, including EMTs said it was plain he was drunk.

The Boston cops couldn't be bothered to test him for alcohol. They would have done nothing criminally except for an initial and a follow-up piece by Channel 5. That made the police consider the many witnesses (but not their own incompetence). This week a clerk magistrate dismissed the case for lack of evidence.

Well, duh. The magistrate may or may not have had political motivation in dismissing this. Understandably much has been and will be made of the smarmy candidate getting off.

We see a different issue, on that affects far more people, far more frequently. The city cops have active and lazy members. Far too many are of the no-blood-no-ticket, and let-the-insurance-companies-handle-it variety. If they don't have to fill in investigative reports or go to court for a trial, their lives are easier, they don't risk unpaid duties, and then there are those nasty paper cuts.

Personal Relation

I just finished with my own version of police inertia. I'll have to blog the whole thing, but meanwhile:
  • A little over three years ago, I was headed to work in Burlington from JP just before 5 a.m. in the rain.
  • I was on Boylston Street by the hospitals headed for Storrow Drive.
  • About half a block from Jimmy Fund Way at Children's Hospital, I saw the light turn green. The truck in the left lane raced ahead and I was going about 20 mile an hour.
  • As I got to the intersection, a large delivery truck came down the hill, skidded around the corner and pulled directly in front of me, straddling the two lanes.
  • I braked, but could not avoid hitting the left wheel well with my car's right front bumper.
  • The driver got out. He looked high, like on speed. He laughed a few times, apologized and said that he just went on through the red light.
  • I called the police, who arrived in under 10 minutes.
  • My car was not drivable. The bumper cover was dangling and the quarter panel would have cut into the tire. It was clearly several thousand dollars damage -- above the requirement for investigation, although there wasn't even a visible scratch on the truck.
  • He altered his story slightly for the cops, saying that he had slowed and made sure the way was clear.
  • The cops were already saying it was an insurance matter, an accident only.
  • I pointed out that he had run a red light, appeared high, and admitted that he had caused the wreck.
  • A man the driver knew came out of the hospital for a cigarette, saw him and called him over. When the driver returned, his story was suddenly that he had stopped for the red light and only proceeded when the way was clear. I suppose that meant that my car materialized by magic.
  • One cop said that since I had run into the back of the truck...blah, blah. Then he looked at the damage to my car and where it had to hit the truck, and then admitted it would only have happened that way if the truck has pulled out in front of me.
  • The short of it is that the cops hopped back in their car, told us to fill out accident reports and drove off, leaving me in the rain to arrange my own towing.
  • Then we have the Galluccio moment, a few days short of three years after the wreck, I got a summons for a law suit. The driver was claiming that I had run a red light and slammed so hard into his vehicle that he was permanently disabled.
  • After months of filling out responses and wasting everyone's time and money, I found that the insurance company lawyer had responded well. A judge dismissed the case with prejudice.
There is the scat left when lazy cops, who care little for public safety, are on duty. If they can't be bothered to fill in the paperwork and be willing to go to a trial for negligent drivers, we all can suffer from insurance fraud, and the additional drain transferred to the innocent.

Don't tell me that two BPD officers at 5 a.m. are too busy chasing gun-toting thugs. They were not. Don't tell me that it not their duty to take bad drivers off the road. It is.

Back to Tony

I don't believe those cops that night were giving a politician a pass. I think they couldn't be bothered to risk paper cuts or having to think. They couldn't be bothered to do their jobs. They taint good cops.

Oddly enough, I live on a block with that other kind of cop. He does his duty. He and his wife also run the kid's athletic programs here. He was the first city bicycle cop. On and on, and believe it or not, he even signals turns when he drives a cruiser.

I have no question that if he had arrived in the rain at 5 a.m., my outcome would have been quite different, as would Galluccio's.

The cops union and their management, particular Commissioner Kathleen O'Toole, can change this attitude. It won't happen in a flash or even a few months. But if the police know that pretending that they are all Dick Tracy after murderers is not enough, we'd be safer. If they'd do a little investigation and paperwork, they'd save the public thousands of hours, great anguish and millions of dollars.

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The Belch Heard 'round Lexington

A year on, the Lexington looneys are still at it. Yesterday, the Mad Dad and his uxorial unit, plus a new brace of allegedly outraged primary-school-student's parents, filed a federal suit against the local school system.

The local media have sensibly chosen not to make much of it, having been burned by coverage a year ago. However, you can find out more than you want or need to know from the Lexington Minuteman article.

Also, the drama queens over at Article 8/MassResistance promise:
Check back FRIDAY at NOON (EST). We'll be posting:
  • Coverage (including photos) from Thursday's press conference
  • Entire text of lawsuit filed Thursday morning!
  • And more.
They are always hours and sometimes days late with these things, but they eventually come through. Their coverage is always more entertaining than truth or reason too.

The short of it that the suit wants the federal courts to give the foursome the power to control the curriculum and library of the local elementary school. They are outraged, outraged I tell you, that picture books in the schools would show the reality of the existence of gay families.

Feel free to scratch you head. And yes, these same court-hating people suddenly want an activist judge to rule in their favor on this.

You also know that they are sooner or later going to hear that if they want this level of control that they need to pick and pay for a private school that will provide it, for that fee.


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Law Pub Chides SSM Losers

Some people don't know when to quit. Fortunately for the same-sex-marriage opponents, the message is plain in the lead editorial in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

Even they should be able to understand "Gay-marriage opponents: Time to hang it up, guys," which says it clearly and from the legal viewpoint of Publisher/Editor-in-Chief David L. Yas, Esquire.

He very graciously let us run the whole column. We recommend reading it all — among the analysis and wisdom, he scatters sharp wit.

He comes in on horses we often ride, specifically:
  • The anti-SSM forces had their shots, many of them, before the highest court in the commonwealth. It was close (4-3), but they lost.
  • The ballot initiative process is trying to lead to us to letting the majority vote on rights for a minority -- legally and morally wrong. The editorial notes "...well-traveled precepts of constitutional law say that this is precisely the type of issue where you don't want to let voters decide."
  • Not only is using selective Biblical arguments inappropriate, as but Yas puts it, " can't cite the Bible as precedent in a court of law. You never could. You can't do it now."
From headline to legal notice, this piece is spot on (and it's funny).

Voters are tired of retread ex-mayors and gay bashers diverting our legislative and judicial time, money and energy to fighting settled law. It's great to see the call from an influential lawyer.

Big Up: We first became aware of this editorial from Bud at MassResistanceWatch. A twirl of the beret to him.

Gay-marriage opponents: Time to hang it up, guys

By David Yas
I have a message for the people who continue to fight against same-sex marriage in Massachusetts: Please go away. Now.

You lost, guys. The highest court in the state decided this matter three years ago. You had a case to make back then. You stated your case. It fell short. But the case is over now.

Yet there you were again last week, continuing to kick and scream that Massachusetts needs an amendment to its Constitution — one that would make marriage an exclusive right of heterosexual people.

You warned us, I guess. In 2003, you predicted that gay marriage would bring "chaos" to Massachusetts.

Webster's defines "chaos" as "a condition or place of great disorder or confusion."

There's great confusion here, all right. Yours.

Your amendment's chief sponsor, Boston's former Mayor Ray Flynn, testified last week that during his days of public service "decisions were made by elected officials, not appointed judges. ... I think that's the central point today."

Uh, Ray? That's your central point? My memory is that state courts made a few decisions during your run as mayor. Important, tough decisions on discrimination, health care, housing, education. Thousands of decisions. What were judges doing during your tenure, Ray? Exclusively hearing parking-ticket appeals?

In addition to Flynn, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, your supporters included Rev. Jeff Marks, who said last week: "Our Constitution comes out of a Biblical mindset. I'm anxious that be preserved and not destroyed."

I don't dare question the genuine nature of Marks' (nor Flynn's) deep religious convictions. And I understand that this in many ways is a battle over values. And that many people draw their values from religion.

But guys, you can't cite the Bible as precedent in a court of law. You never could. You can't do it now.

So you're using a classic argument, and I don't blame you. For something this important, we have to let the voters decide. Not seven unelected judges.

That's an enticing argument. Sounds good on the surface.

It's also incorrect. In fact, well-traveled precepts of constitutional law say that this is precisely the type of issue where you don't want to let voters decide.

I can still hear my constitutional-law prof imploring us that any issue that allows citizens to "vote with their dark urges" does not belong on a ballot. Why? Because we don't want to allow bigots to be bigots.

Don't get me wrong. If this goes to a vote, many people may search their feelings and vote against gay marriage for genuine, good-faith reasons. But many other people will vote against gay marriage because they simply don't like the idea of gay people. This should not be surprising nor shocking. A friend once told me: "I admit it. If I see a gay couple, it makes me uncomfortable. I wish it were otherwise, but that is the feeling in my gut."

Well, guys, we can't let people vote with guts like these.

Should we let voters decide on whether to lower taxes every year? How do you think that will turn out? Did voters decide slavery? Voting rights? Integration?

And by the way, have you not heard the silence of the last few years?

Gay marriage has not been a disaster. The sky did not turn blood-red and the sea did not boil.

Gov. Mitt Romney feared that Massachusetts would become the "Las Vegas of gay marriage."

Well Viva Las Vegas, baby. I certainly don't feel that my heterosexual marriage has been cheapened by the fact that same-sex couples, the vast majority of which I don't know nor will ever meet, tied the knot at some point.

Much of the passion over this issue has simply faded, guys.

The conservative-minded Boston Herald ran the news of your testimony last week deep on page 23. Only gave it eight paragraphs. It ran a full eight pages after the latest on Britney Spears' baby.

The story also merited just eight meager paragraphs in The Boston Globe. At the bottom of page B4.

Page B4. As in, B4 the Supreme Judicial Court's Goodridge decision, this was a constitutional argument worth making.

But the justices of the SJC interpreted the Constitution (quick civics lesson: that's what they get paid to do).

Now, guys, you are clinging to claims based on ancient scriptures. And, you should know that people who call themselves your brothers-in-arms are flying planes over the City of Boston with banners calling for the impeachment of SJC Justice Margaret H. Marshall.

The Wicked Witch of the West lives. Surrender, Margaret.

Can we all agree that anyone who is persuaded by a few words on an airplane banner is not the type of person we want voting on important societal issues?

Goodridge was an historic case. A very close call. Four-to-three doesn't get any closer. But it was not a travesty of justice and it was not a court hijacked by liberal nut-jobs. We saw as much last month when the same SJC ruled that out-of-state gay couples were barred by state law from taking advantage of our provisions.

So please, guys, give it a rest.

How would I describe someone who relentlessly fights societal battles through Bible-pounding and airplane banners? I'd say: "Deviating from the expected or normal; strange. Odd or unconventional."

Ironically, Webster's has a word for that, too. Queer.

© 2006 Lawyers Weekly Inc., All Rights Reserved.

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Grannies "Go do it!"

The self-described Granny Peace Brigade, those gray and blue-haired rascals, will not be led to 15 days each in jail. Civil Court Judge Neil E. Ross surely is as happy as any of the 18 women arrested and tried for protesting the Iraq War last October.

Note: Some of the following links to the New York Times may require a subscription to view.

Initial coverage is here. The first court article is here. The verdict report is here. You can check out their organizations here.

Arriving slowly, some with walkers and others with canes, they stood or sat at the entrance to the Times Square military recruiting center. They tried to enlist, to keep young people from being cannon fodder. The armed forces were not interested in their services, but the women stayed to make their point. They range from 59 to 91.

The prosecutors and judge seemed particularly uneasy with the whole case. There was a little, just a little, huffing and puffing by one prosecutor, Artie McConnell. He said this was not First Amendment but simply law breaking. "These defendants do not get a pass for who they are, no matter how noble their cause may be."

In the end, Civil Court Judge Neil E. Ross found a decent way out. Keeping with the tradition of judging protestors by whether they were actually disruptive, he found they had acted within their rights. He did not criticize the NYPD for arresting them, nor did he say their age and infirmities protected them.

However, he ruled that they had left room for people to pass to enter and leave the center. "The defendants are all discharged," he said. Then as the Times put it, "The women, sitting in the jury box at the invitation of the judge, to make it easier for them to see and hear, let out a collective 'Oh!' and burst into applause, rushing forward, as quickly as women their age could rush, to hug and kiss their lawyers..."

Defense lead Norman Siegel told them, "The decision today says the First Amendment protects you to protest peacefully. So -- go do it!"

Let there be cookies and rabble-rousing speeches all around!

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Mad Dad: A Sequel

Perhaps Lexington needs its own Dinosaur Park. They could display the David Parker family and now the Rob(in) Wirthlin one. In this one though, the atavisms could talk and explain why the modern world needs to join them behind the fence.

We honestly hoped that we had read and written the last on SSM Tales of Irate Suburbanites. Well, the self-righteous with the agenda to hobble their school systems won't shut up. They are determined to lose again.

The play's the same -- only the actors and the book in question differ. A second-grade teacher had to know what she was doing. She read Tricycle Press' King & King to the class.

The authors of the book for three to eight-year-olds are from the Netherlands, somewhere else SSM is legal. Their story is of a prince who does not want to marry any of the princesses his mother parades before him. He falls in love with a prince. Ta da! Happiness! The book ends as so many early reader ones do, with a stylized kiss and the promise of a bright, loving future.

If you know anything about the Mad Dad from Lexington, you also know where this is headed. The Wirthlin's are suing, claiming that this is sex education and required a parental opt-out. The teacher and the principal are firm. This is not sex, rather it is the reality in this commonwealth and Lexington. There are numerous two-dad and two-mom families. Ignoring them is not reasonable, not educational, not anything good.

As a parent of three, I must say that there many things taught in both public school and Sunday school that are not my way of thinking and not what I want my kids to believe or internalize. For example, shooting Bambi for sport is right out for me. Yet, books and lessons depict many acts and ideas that are objectionable. In my family, we discuss these and explain our view on them. If they are legal and others do them, that's worthy of discussion, but I am ready with why I disapprove or act differently.

Instead, both of these families want to tailor the public schools to their philosophies. Give it up. Explain things to your children or put them in cloistered environments where everyone pretends that such people as homosexuals do not exist.

Rants here will stop. You can see the hysterical accusations ("highly charged social issue," "coercive indoctrination," "times of crisis," "homosexual programs targeting public schools," "absolutely outrageous," and "assault on children") on the MassResistance site. The detailed news is in Lexington Minuteman article. Of course, Bay Windows has analysis as well, including background on the key players here.

By the bye, the law in question about notification is Chapter 71, Section 32A. As the teacher and principal note, this is specifically for "curriculum which primarily involves human sexual education or human sexuality." King & King just isn't it.

Amusingly enough, the ever risible and irrational Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby fired up his Inapt Analogy Maker. Last weekend, he wrote, "But homosexuality and gay marriage are not like subtraction or geography; they cannot be separated from questions of morality, justice, and decency. "

More accurate comparisons would be to history and for older students, economics. Those are far more intertwined with morality, justice and decency. They are also much more laden with schools' and teachers' personal biases.

Jacoby Joke: By the bye, the Globe glib guy referred to the above image as "exchanging a passionate kiss." You may chuckle.

Fact is, in Massachusetts, homosexuals can and do partner. They can and do marry. They can and do raise children.

It is not against the law for such parents as these dinosaurs to leave their children unprepared for the world around them. It's not fair to the kids. It's intellectually lazy and dishonest. It's emotionally based irrationality. It's an attempt to control and contort public education to a lower standard. Yet, it is not illegal.

Now, as the Mad Dad found out and this couple will, it is also not illegal to say or imply that there are married gay couples.

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Hanging Flesh on SSM Skeleton

The data are in! Well, sort of, a bit, nearly enough to comment on.

Homosexual couples are legally marrying in scattered countries and in Massachusetts. What it all means depends on your frame of reference. However, you can train your jaundiced eye on some collected data now.

Oddly enough, the report released yesterday is from the virulently anti-SSM Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, authored by its two main naysayers, Maggie Gallagher and Joshua K. Baker. An irony is that the phenomenon is only five year old, so that even this attempt to gather data does not permit trend analysis.

The numbers are what you want them to be. As an AP article puts it, "both sides in the gay marriage debate may take heart from the findings."

Report in PDF: You can download the slim, 12-page report, Demand for Same-Sex Marriage: Evidence from the United States, Canada, and Europe. It is eight pages, plus extensive footnotes. The last four pages have some worthwhile links for statistics freaks.

Not surprisingly, the data show that when SSM becomes legal, homosexual couples rush to wed. Then the number of SSMs drops off.

That must fall in the duh! class. Pent demand would predict this accurately. Other conclusions are slim and conjectural. The study itself merely ends with noting that Massachusetts had the highest percentage of gay couples wedded in its initial rush (16.7%). Elsewhere in the world, it seems to be 1% to 6% of the gay population marries when it legally can.

To the IMAPP anti couple, the extrapolation is that this is a fad that will go away. As they conclude:
Of course our experience with same-sex marriage is in its infancy. The small fraction of gays and lesbians who have currently married may change as cultural mores and expectations in the gay community shift, as some commentators have predicted. Or as others have suggested, once the novelty wears off, same-sex marriage may prove a decreasingly popular personal choice in the gay and lesbian community.
That's a coulda-shoulda-woulda that shows their viewpoint. It's as likely that as homosexual couples adapt to the idea in their country or state(s) that they have the option, the long-term trend could well be toward substantially more marriages per capita. Here also, if the Federal government would recognize Massachusetts marriages and provide the tax benefits that come with that, the number of self-interested gay couple marrying would surely climb.

One noted scholar in the field thinks that the figures point to gay acceptance. Gary J. Gates concentrated on the Massachusetts figures. He is a Williams Fellow at UCLA School of Law and a widely published researcher on this and other gay-rights issues.

Your Own Research: Many articles from a variety of sources on SSM are available here.

He said that in the 20 months covered in the Bay State data a higher percentage of homosexual couples wed than heterosexual ones. He told the AP, "Numerically, same-sex couples will never comprise a major portion of the married population, but gay people do seem to be really interested in getting married - it's kind of a compliment to the institution of marriage."

Yet, we should stay aware that straights aren't the only ones skeptical of marriage. A strongly diminishing percentage of heterosexuals here and elsewhere marry. That trend is decades old and long predates the first legal SSM.

Perhaps no one says it better -- and certainly not more often -- than author and professor Michael Bronski. He's been a gay activist since the late 1960s and thinks marriage sucks for straights as well. He has tirades against the Barbie-ized, commercialized wedding industry that so many women seem to worship.

As he not too subtly put it three years ago in the Boston Phoenix:
As an old-time gay liberationist, I find the frenzy around marriage organizing exciting but depressing. I would never have imagined that a movement that started out in the bars, the streets, and in public cruising places could have come this far. The gay-liberation movement had a vision of radical change and making the world a better place. Securing the right to marry will make the world a better place, but it will not change the world. Heck, it doesn'’t even change marriage. In the end, it is such a small gain for such a big fight.

In 1969, we didn't just want –— as we said then –— a piece of the pie we had been denied for so long. We wanted to take over the bakery and produce a huge array of tasty, extravagant, nutritious, luscious, and inviting foodstuffs for queers and everyone else. I don't think we ever imagined that our movement would one day be happy to settle for such small crumbs, no matter how sweet.
Other gay activists and feminist also have their issues with SSM and marriage in general. As in the general population, there seems to be a bifurcation on marriage.

Next, whether homosexuals wedding begin to compensate for the long-term decline in percentage of Americans marrying is not yet knowable. Clearly over 7,000 couples here thought it was a good idea.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Does Sal Hold SSM Cards?

Next month's constitutional convention (con con) hosts yet another sore-loser schadenfreude display. Come May 10th, does the civil-rights oriented Speaker of the House Salvatore F. DiMasi have the pull to quash the anti-same-sex-marriage amendment?

Sal's a good guy, a man of unusual principle among politicians, and a big protector of citizens. The good news is that he is insightful and highly regarded, and the House has the lion's share of con con votes (160). The bad news is that his Senate counterpart, don't-call-me-Bobby-anymore Robert E. Travaglini, is legislatively constipated, and that the bar for advancing the yet latest version of stripping rights from the gay community only requires 50 of 200 legislators to advance.

In case you are new to the Massachusetts political theater, be aware:
  • Massachusetts was one of the first states to allow ballot initiatives, enshrining them in the constitution.
  • While originally designed to provide a check against legislative abuses, they are used here as in many states as a ruse for narrowly focused interest groups to try to strip rights from citizens they do not like or public services they don't want to fund (only ones that directly benefit them).
  • The process for the current amendment takes only a quarter of the combined legislature to vote in two consecutive years for an approved amendment petition with identical wording to put it on the ballot and change the constitution if the voters approve.
  • The losing side in the judicial and court decisions has continued to push every effort to strip existing marriage rights from the gay community.
  • Our attorney general (and gubernatorial candidate) has allowed the current drive to continue, despite its clear failure to conform to the process.
  • We face yet another attempt to narrow, rather than expand, our citizens' rights, with all the financial, intellectual and emotional baggage and costs.
The background snarl from the anti-gay, anti-SSM forces is "Let the people decide!" Unfortunately for them, the voters here have consistently caught up to the legislature. They have seen SSM and favor it now. Homosexual couples (7,000-plus) married and the commonwealth is better off, with no ill effects.

They are almost sure to lose in a vote. Meanwhile the rancor, expense and distraction from meaningful legislative business are staggering.

Yet, like a dog worrying a sock, they do not care for reason or humanity. They want what they want, regardless of the consequences for their fellow citizens. They are willing to make us all pay for their obsession.

Imagine a comparable attitude toward national politics. Let the people vote on:
  • (1962) War with Russia
  • (1948) School integration
  • (1955) Equal pay for women
We know what the direct votes would have been. It's not so much the huge shame for the United States. Other nations have carried on discrimination and irrational, emotional responses to seminal issues as well.

We have representative government for a very good set of reasons. Town meeting and similar direct plebiscites have a place in a Lao Tsu style world -- small, self-contained communities. Big, complex issues require leaders up top, both in the executive and legislative branches of the state and federal governments. Leaders take us beyond our comfort zone. Otherwise, we would still be hunter-gatherers.

So, we return to the May con con. Travaglini has been consistently short on hormones. He portrays himself as a moderate, as a modulating, compromising force. In short, when leadership is needed, he gropes around in his empty sack and grins insipidly.

In contrast, DiMasi has courage and vision. He also represents the chamber with the largest vote.

Yet, the Dark Side needs only 50 votes this year, and 50 again next year's con con to put this nasty, rights-removing amendment on the 2008 ballot. Does Sal have the Lyndon-Johnston-style personality to quash this despicable drive now?

We have our doubts. It seems as though a quarter of any legislative body could be persuaded to vote that the sun revolves around the earth. On the sunny side of the street, Bay Windows is hopeful.

In an excellent analysis, it admits that don't-call-me-Bobby is the default leader. "As the presiding officer at the ConCon, Travaglini controls the entire process, from scheduling sessions, to setting the agenda, to deciding whom to recognize once he gavels a constitutional convention to a start."

He could show some gumption, but that has not been his style. Indecision is his M.O.

Unfortunately, Travaglini is such a milquetoast that he doesn't snort or scream at the let-the-people-vote ploy. In this case, it is clearly an abuse of the constitution and an insult to our tradition of rights, as well as our established SSM process.

BW quotes an anonymous Golden Dome staffer, who said that that Travaglini " is a guy who likes to find common ground. 'Unfortunately, there is no common ground on the issue.'"

This is a time for leadership. If that is coming, it's from Dimasi. He is a strong civil-rights supporter, including of SSM.

We are on the edge of straight (if you pardon the expression) losses for the Dark Side. If Dimasi steps in and sways a few House members, we can put this disgraceful pseudo-democratic ploy behind us. If the low bar of 50 votes isn't there in May, we can move beyond this shameful effort. By the time the three-year limit on similar amendments passes, the commonwealth will have past this, and several states, including Washington, New Jersey and New York, will have joined the SSM club.

If this con con's vote is very close in favor of the amendment proceeding, it is unlikely that it will also pass next year. Several of the Dark Side's leaders leave the legislature this year, and the polls creeep up in favor of SSM.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Vote on SSM -- Quoi...ici?

From Toronto to Ottawa to Vancouver, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has blown his windy promises to revisit same-sex marriage. Yet, this weekend in Québec, we were surprised to see that the main paper's review of his first 90 days had nothing -- rien, nada, nil, zip -- on the subject.

Instead, Le Soleil's analysis spoke of his speaking, his straight talk. In fact, the headline in the print edition was "Étrange mais, un succèss communicationion!"

Note: The article is in French only and becomes pay after April 29th.

The rest of the lead article was on how he might manage to hold onto his tenuous minority government with the help of Le Bloc Québécois. His ability to say what he is about seems as rare and welcome there as with politicians here.

He decidedly campaigned on the pledge for a free vote of members of Parliament -- no orders from their party leaders -- on whether to revisit SSM. Virtually no one expects success on this. Yet, he gained enough support from Tories and others to oust the long-term Liberal government partially based on this pledge.

This is a feel-good effort, the stomach-clearing belch. Both are generally disturbing to others, but may be necessary for one reason or another.

In Le Soleil, the larger review of his 90 days in office (not online) concentrated not on this quixotic gesture. Rather, it wrote of his obstacles to staying on the good side of Le Bloc and Québec in general. He truly needs to retain his slim support here and it appears that he must juice up the economy to do so.

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Charlie in Limbo

Pardon me for fetishizing the Forest Hills Station Charlie-ticket conversion. Yet, it is too amusing not to enjoy. It's like the box with the tweeting mechanical birds; lift it and there they are doing their birdy things.

After being three days away, I had another chance to open the box this morning. The rain this morning was steady, so I decided to take the T instead of bike. Perhaps, I fantasized, the conversion elves visited since last week and spun their magic.

Well, it was incrementally different from last week. Now:
  • The narrow entry is much narrower, causing a shoulder rubbing squeeze by the fair box.
  • The translucent sheets hiding the, if you pardon the exaggeration, construction are in a new area.
  • It appears as though a two-thirds of the space has ticket scanners where turnstiles used to be.
However, both the ticket vending machines and the entry gates are still in their crates. The elves will not be done this week either.

A discrete, small poster at Downtown Crossing has vague promises of station conversion dates, by month only. You'd have to look hard. This is behind a Plexiglas bulletin board in the shadows at the Chauncy Street exit. Look closely. It's the little maroon poster underground right before the stairs.

It promises a May conversion for Forest Hills.

As long as the crews are taking, I hope that they are naming each gate and vending machine, at least generically. "Hello, Slug. Hi there, Sloth. Yo, Snail!"

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Lefties Lump Looeys

Well, Lynne did the work -- or we should say, as usual Lynne did the work, while we were off playing in Québec. BlogLeft is driving a debate of the Massachusettts lieutenant governor candidates. Click the image to see the details.

Otherwise, we'll steal Lynne's intro:
BlogLeft, an unchained association of us Massachusetts liberal bloggers, is cosponsoring a Lt Governor’s forum with the Lowell Democratic City Committee and Greater Lowell Area Democrats on May 21, 2pm, at the Senior Center in Lowell (276 Broadway Street, Lowell, MA). You can see the LDCC page on the forum here, and get directions here.

Download the poster [PDF] and hang it up anywhere you can, and here are some postcards [PDF] to print and hand out.

This is a really good opportunity to come and meet the Lt. Governor candidates, and listen to their ideas. Soon, participating bloggers will be soliciting questions for the candidates from readers, so keep an eye out!

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Ned Lamont Teaser

I have yet to meet Ned Lamont, the nutmegger who intends to unseat DINO Joe Lieberman. He was literally out my backyard, but I got called away to accompany a visiting 89-year-old minister friend visiting from Mexico. I'm always delighted to see him, but, but, but...politics.

However, a rush review from Jimbob Kinnikin appears at BlueMassGroup. He found him to be "a real Democrat" with education as central to his campaign. He writes "I am happy to report that throughout his five minute talk, and the few questions he was able to answer before he was whisked off to the next event, my b.s. detector wasn't triggered even once."

There's more. Read it.

I'm trying to get an interview with Lamont. Connecticut or not, dumping Lieberman for a real Democrat should worthwhile to me too.

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Gabrieli Gets the Glad Mouth

So, a half hour with Chris Gabrieli leaves a question about this gubernatorial candidate. Is he just a private guy or is he simply not introspective?

Today's Boston Globe has the transcript of his NECN a-little-close-and-a-bit-personal, with a link to the soporific video. This is in a series of happy-face interviews, allegedly without politics. Deval Patrick is here, Tom Reilly is here, and Kerry Healey is here.

The effect of the softball interview was definitely evasive, unnecessarily so. We end up knowing that he enjoys his kids. He also has a great throwaway line about the legislature, a promising sign given our long list of humorless governors. Yet, he remains a file cabinet that shows the labels but not the content.

Most voters assume Gabrieli is of Italian extraction, particularly when they hear that his parents where immigrants. They also hear that he started his venture-capital career and fortune rescuing his father's failed business. That makes dad sound like quite the bumbler, which is not a fair assessment.

First, the dad. Elemér Gabrieli was Hungarian, with some undefined portion of Italian way back. Before his death in 2000, he had an illustriouss career as physician with three specialties in as many languages. His obits show that Chris far shortchanged him in the NECN interview. Elemér was the pioneer in computers for medicine, with an emphasis on information privacy. The company that Chris did such a good job organizing and making profitable was a sideline for this famous professor, a company he founded in 1991 in his early 70s.

Dad and his wife Lilla also pampered and put out for their two sons, one of whom is an MIT professor. Chris did mention in passing that they mortgaged their house a couple of times to get a Ph.D. and almost an M.D. sons educated.

All of that background makes Chris' comments stranger. The implication in both the interview and on his campaign site is that Chris saved his family from destitution. As his site puts it:
As a young man, Chris left medical school to help his father's struggling business –– GMIS, Inc., a software company focused on helping healthcare systems run more efficiently. Chris eventually took over and turned the business around. The result: GMIS became a leader in the industry, and created over 100 jobs.
Ego is necessary for a venture capitalist, as it is for a politician, but cut me a very thin slice here, please. It looks likely that dad probably had 20 IQ points on the little one, but at retirement age didn't have an obvious winner with a final company.

So, why was Chris so secretive about family, which he claims is very important to him? Does it not fit his primary PR of self-made millionaire? We don't know and he's not saying.

What we learn from smiley guys on TV includes:
  • He lives on Louisburg Square, the Boston address since Colonial times, and is a neighbor of John Kerry.
  • He and his kids love the greasy-plate Paramount on Charles Street for Sunday breakfast.
  • His former nanny won $197 million in the lottery seven years ago.
  • His kids go to toney, every-child-is-above-average private schools.
  • He admires Mark Warner, Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy for different political reasons.
Reader's Reward: If you have gotten this far, you deserve to see what he said after commenting that his kids would squabble about what to have for breakfast. To the question about whether that was good practice for being governor, he said, "I figure if you handle five kids yelling at you, you can handle the legislative leadership." This is likely the best quip by any candidate so far.

Chris rides the sad, gray horse of being forced, forced I say, by circumstances to leave medical school and become a multi-millionaire. How terribly sad.

That clearly was the right choice for him and we have to wonder if he was in the original field of study simply to be like his brilliant and accomplished father.

We'll likely never know much of substance if his future interviews are as spongy as this one. Thirty minutes later we have only glimpsed the faintest surface of the candidate and man. He exposed nothing about what motivates or excites him.

We can speculate that there must be more there than he shows. Maybe or maybe not.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

John Kerry: Laggard

Upon forced examination, John Kerry is a lot less progressive that we had assumed. We were surprised and disappointed.

A post on John Kerry's lame view of prison rehab brought two negative comments, one from Aaron and one from DynamicDems. [See edit below-4/20.] Regardless, he remains way off base on the issue at hand. However, DD did point out that his background as a prosecutor explains much of his attitude.

He still needs a serious attitude adjustment here...if we are to reverse the spiral of more incarcerated Americans, who generally emerge from jails more damaged and criminally inclined than they entered. He needs to join progressives who push for real rehab, not vengeance.

Regardless, the comments strongly supporting our junior senator sent me rechecking his overall scores. The short of it is that he is hit and miss, and much farther down the list than I recalled. He talks better than he votes.

There are several good sites that tally and analyze votes on liberal and progressive issues. We found the most comprehensive scores at ProgressivePunch, which covered votes from 1991. It ranks legislators in both U.S. houses on a broad range of votes. You can pick a topic or one legislator and tunnel down for big pictures or to specific votes.

For Massachusetts, Kerry falls far short of Ted Kennedy in the rankings. He is 24 to Kennedy's 3 in the Senate for progressive issues. That's still in good company, between Christopher Dodd and Joe Biden, but does not fit the image he holds up for himself.

A telling page compares the Massachusetts delegation. No wonder the conservatives rail against Kennedy more than Kerry.

You find that Kerry is great on housing, pretty good on environment, taxation and checking corporate power, but weak on such issues as corporate subsidies, family planning, health care and labor. Interestingly enough, with its 17 subcategories, he was weakest on his progressive votes on war and peace issues. He ranked 44 of 99 senators there with a 40.82% progressive score.

We were quite surprised and did tunnel down throughout his record. Why hadn't we heard that he supported the regressive, conservative side on so many issues?

In reality, he supported the Dark Side by his absence. It is shocking how many votes, particularly close votes, he missed. The single largest factor in his low scoring areas resulted from his not weighing in at all on progressive issues, time after time, year after year.

Perhaps his defenders can find excuses for hundreds of missed close votes. He wasn't campaigning for all of them. Kennedy managed to find his seat and either push his button or raise his voice vote. Kerry was MIA far too often.

We've all heard patronizing senators say, "You don't understand how laws are made." It could be that he cut a deal with a rightwinger and had the issue covered when they cancelled each other out. That is not a good way to run a government.

After looking at his missed votes, we have to conclude that he needs to put his skinny butt in his chair in the chamber more often. His presence alone should carry some influence.

It reminds me of what U.S. Senator Wayne Morse (D-Oregon) told me many years ago. He was staunchly anti-Vietnam War in a state whose voters had the opposite view. When I asked him about compromises and importance of being counted, he said, "Don't believe a thing a politician tells you if it doesn't square with his voting record."

Edit to 2nd graph: Sorry for the slur on the two commenters. I allow anonymous postin and originally wrote that they posted anonymously. This was my blunder by interpreting the Blogger moderated post emails no-response addresses in the commenters FROM. They were, in fact, posting logged in. If I had waited until these were fully moderated comments, I could have been able to click on the profile and verify that no one was using that domain name who was not entitled to do so. Live and learn, eh, or at least you hope so.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

John Kerry Plays God

Vengeance is mine, sayeth John Kerry. He spoke to the Boston Herald on a singularly odious child molester.

His throw-away-the-key attitude is understandable in this case, but wrong and a path to all manner of arch-conservative self-righteous abuse of convicted criminals. You can almost hear Kerry's grandparents speaking, or George Bush's.

In the case of Matthew Mancuso, Kerry wants any counseling and rehabilitation to stop immediately. It is almost certain that this monster will spend the rest of his life in prison -- he has a 35 to 70-year child-rape sentence waiting after his federal child-pornography one ends in 2017.

Kerry does not think it enough that "he should never see the light of day." He has demanded in a series of letters to the Federal Bureau of Prisons that he be removed from an inmate sex-offender program.

That is the image from Dante's inferno or an evangelical Christian's hell. There is eternal torture, replete with demons piling it on the suffering.

I doubt that anyone short of a NAMBLA member could find anything nice to say about a man who basically bought a five-year-old girl from a Russian orphanage to groom her as his child bride. Yet, Kerry's petulant fit publicizes a right-wing emotional spasm unbefitting a U.S. senator, particularly one who pretends to represent progressive goals.

A lot of years ago when South Carolina brought in William D. Leeke to reform its penal system, he set me straight on the attitude to the convicted. "People are sent to prison as punishment, not for punishment."

Kerry is not alone among nominal liberals who don't get that. They would pile it on perverts, pimps and perpetrators of all sorts. It is neither a deterrent nor does it spit out productive members of society on the other end. It only makes the self-righteous feel more so.

More prisons, more prisoners, longer sentences, mandatory minimum jail time...none of it works alone or together. As our crime rates remain high, as of 2002, we stand with the worst despotic regimes and third-world nations in prisoners, with over 2 million Americans in jail.

Our judicial and penal systems are not doing the job. Locking away the asocial and antisocial to fraternize is inefficient, counterproductive, and illogical to the point of stupidity.

Prisons are very expensive, at the level of the priciest universities in the nation. The reform we need on the inside is vast and complex. Real rehabilitation with extensive counseling and modeling works where Kerry's vengeance does not. It would also require an extra-prison economy that provides jobs for those who have been punished already. More important, it would mean that the public needs to stop the crap about demons stabbing the incarcerated, as though they deserve perpetual anguish.

Mancuso is a lost cause in many ways. However, Kerry's fixation on his case is one indication of how deeply so many of us feel the need to keep finding new ways to punish those already caught, convicted, sentenced and serving time.

Kerry and many of us need to transcend this understandable but base and wrongheaded emotion. What do we treasure more, vengeance or a safe society?

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That Big Hole at Forest Hills

There are no demon spawn guarding the entrance, but there remains something amiss at the Forest Hills T station, one of Boston's busiest. The hole goes not to hell (not really), but to the Orange LIne. It is where Charlie gates and ticket dispensers should be.

I have been biking to work, but not only is today likely rainy, I have a post-work dinner and would probably have to shower and clean my bike if I took it. Also, my front rim is out of true again, indicating that the wreck warped it. I'll be wise to squeeze out for a new wheel.

So, I took the T today, fully expecting that after months of decorating the station lobby as crates, the new Charlie gear would be operational.

But, nooooooooooooooooo.

A very pleasant bouncer sort of T employee stood inside the yawning chasm at the entrance again. He could only glance at what were probably passes and at what were likely tokens or accurate change tossed into God's cuspidor, as chorus lines of commuters strode through.

I asked him when they'd install the gear. He chuckled as only a jaded government worker can. "Well, they have been saying by May. Then they told us today. Maybe it'll be here when you come home."

Well, I won't wager on it. None of the ticket dispensers and none of the gate systems are in place. What's the likelihood that over a dozen pieces of electro/mechanical equipment will be mounted, electrified and tested in a single workday?

I think it's been two months since the crates appeared. They are still in plywood and cardboard.

I could get used cruising through an open entryway. There's not turnstile arm to hit the crotch and no chance of a token not registering -- producing the pelvic punch. I may have to amuse myself by stopping by every few days (walking my bike through the station) to see how long this farce runs.

P.S. You'd think as large as this conversion is that it would have been part of the contract to get guaranteed installation on a schedule to coincide with the component delivery.

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Careless Kerry Cramps Kids

There is a rumor that this blog criticized our lieutenant governor, Kerry Healey. How harsh, but you can judge for yourself.

Now a (caution, granny word) pip of an analysis of her views on education appears at Kerry Healey - Out of Touch. As a bonus, he gets a boost from gubernatorial candidate Tom Reilly, using the magic phrase "She's completely out of touch..."

So, our North Shore princess thinks her kids couldn't talk about what's important if they went to (ugh) public schools. KH-OoT explains her code words.

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St. Evacuation, the Patriot, Day

If it's spring, it must be time for silly Boston holidays. Visitors are alternately surprised and amused by our Evacuation Day and Patriot's Day official goof-off occasions.

Parents have to dicker or argue over who has to take the kid to work or stay home. The summer break becomes that much farther away for kids. The three-month summers that Boomer school kids knew have become two here with quirky and very inconvenient prolonged winter and spring real and imagined holidays. Families "choose" to take their vacations to coincide with 11-day spring breaks where one or no school days are really justified. Teachers lose that amount of income that would otherwise be part of their summer jobs.

Evacuation Day here has nothing to do with dietary fiber. Each March 17th, Boston and its Suffolk County shutter schools and businesses for the day. Historically versed intellectual locals revel in the day in 1776 that the British forces left Beantown. They didn't get around to remembering this until 1941. It surely is merely coincidence that the holiday came during the rise of Irish Americans here in politics and likewise, it must be an accident that this coincides with St. Patrick's Day.

Bars and liquor stores do not observe the holiday other than with the ritual ringing of cash registers.

Patriot's Day is another Revolutionary allusion, with a bit more justification. It commemorates the Battles of Lexington and Concord (or rather the Battle of Lexington and the summary surrender of Concord). For those who show up on Lexington green -- mostly middle-school history teachers and their coerced students -- it's fun and educational. There'll be a loud-mouth on horseback recalling the Revere/Dawes warning ride, and of course, musket-carrying folk in itchy uniforms reenacting the battles.

Hundreds of thousands flock to help celebrate this state holiday (since 1969). Although oddly enough, if you'd ask them, they hide their love of history and patriotism by saying they are there to watch or run in the Boston Marathon. Such humility...

On April 19th, 1776, although the militia heavily outnumbered the British regulars, the colonists lost more to wounds and death. The locals surrendered Concord without a fight, but eventually the Brits realized they were too few and chickened out.

Pretty or ugly, a win is a win, right?

We also have such oddments as Bunker Hill Day, which celebrates Revolutionary heroics of locals as neighboring Breed's Hill. Huh?

The colonists lost, but it demoralized the Brits, many of whose officers died.

For the real war, the vast majority of action took place elsewhere. Just as Boston was never considered important enough to be the national capital -- that would be New York, Philadelphia and Washington -- the decisive battles in the Revolutionary War were in colonies like New Jersey and Virginia and South Carolina. We celebrate what we have -- a lot of rabble rousers like the Adams boys, the Boston Tea Party, and the first real battle.

Boston's love of commemoration does not stop with such holidays. You'd think that every dead soldier from WWI has his own square. We need to insert a different rant here. Bostonians are wont to call every intersection a square. Now Savannah knows what a square is -- a rectangular park with majestic oaks, a hero statue, a fountain and benches interrupts traffic, which drives around it to continue. That's a square!

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False Prophets

Before there was the Mass Family Institute, Sean O'Malley, or even Chicken Little, there was Henny Penny and Jataka. The paranoid and irrational character who screams, "The sky is falling!" or the like is both a legend and an insult to all of us.

Today, it is about same-sex marriage specifically and homosexuality more generally. We can look to some legislators, to the professional anti-gay groups, and unfortunately to a few clerics who bwak-bwak their Chicken Little-style dramas, exciting the other feeble minded around them.

One would think that the doomsday cults would have overplayed their hands far too many times to have any credibility. Yet, as surely as cold sores and hemorrhoids, they remain part of the human condition. Their threats of imminent demise, ruination and end times come and pass. The emotionally needy do not learn, rather they believe the next one or even (pity them) make excuses for the failure of these false prophets.

For example, consider the dire warnings of the anti-same-sex-marriage folk here. If we expanded marriage to include same-sex couples:
  • Marriage was to be "redefined out of existence."
  • God would bring a terrible vengeance on Massachusetts.
  • We as a species would no longer reproduce.
  • Heterosexual marriages would be meaningless, and those in them would no longer feel bound to their oaths.
That was all rhetorical horseshit, of course. Yet, the simple-minded and emotionally driven folk who believed and believe those were tools to the politicians and priests, our current false prophets. Even now, the Mass Family Institute, our local RC archbishop and others have fallen back on the song of the coward -- Just You Wait...My Predictions Will Happen...Eventually."

Consider a few samplings of Nellyism and hysteria. Last week, for example, the Rev. Joseph Johnson, assistant chancellor of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul, testified before the Minnesota legislature in favor of a DoMA amendment to the state constitution.

He bwaked his Henny Penny bawk, ""The right order of our society is in grave danger. Humanity would cease to exist without this order."

That's right. End of the world. So there.

In contrast, Ann DeGroot, executive director of OutFront Minnesota, testified, "If this constitutional amendment passes, it will do absolutely nothing to help any family in this state. It does a great deal of harm to some of Minnesota's families."

The legislature believed her side and trashed the amendment.

Locally, the not-yet-Cardinal Sean O'Malley spoke many times against SSM here. He often cited totally wrong, dishonest and misleading stats. "Between 1960 and 1990, the number of children who experienced the divorce of their parents increased from less than 1% to more than 50%, and 1/3 of the children born today are born out of wedlock."

Not only is that nothing like real, but the actual stats from the U.S. Census show instead that all the problems attributed to the two-year old Massachusetts institution of same-sex marriage began in World War II, six decades before SSM.

Note: This blog will run a dry piece on divorce stats within a week. We waded through hundreds of pages of them. We'll damned well put the electrons out for all.

O'Malley then did his doomsday jive with, "Any redefinition of marriage must be seen as an attack on the common good. The weakening of the institution of marriage has already had too high a social cost. Our concern must be to strengthen marriage and create a climate that will be supportive and indeed promote the traditional paradigm of marriage."

Bwak. Bwak. Bwak. There we have it, in Henny Penny speak.

In his case, you see the quicksand in which he continues to sink. A Catholic-raised chum warned me that Franciscans who don the red hat and stole lose yielded their minds and souls. Maybe, but certainly, we see that they are surrounded by toadies who will not contradict them.

O'Malley's veneer of statistics is an odd distraction to his barnyard panic. You'd think that some lackey would correct him to give him a kind of Jesuit legitimacy. But nooooo. Be it Pope or Cardinal or Archbishop, they are in a deferential world, in which the military style rank-has-its-privilege holds sway.

Remember that Papal infallibility is a new concept in RC terms, only dating from a political/theological construct formalized in 1870. The priest-as-man idea has muddled with jive ever since.

It would take a most remarkable Pope or Cardinal to surround himself with honest and honorable priests to advise him. How much easier to listen to agreement from lickspittles.

On an even baser level, we can look to the doomsday prediction of the straight haters. Consider the Christian Civics League of Maine:
Many words have been expended to warn our citizens about so-called “Gay Rights” laws. To add anything now would be superfluous. The best commentary on this law will be the harm that it causes. In the coming months and years, as the apostles of unreason and disorder uphold pleasure as man’s highest good, society will continue to unravel at an alarming rate, and the havoc they have wreaked will rise up as a witness against them.

We fully expect the push for sodomistic “marriage” to begin at once. Indeed the call for “full equality,” a code word for sodomistic marriage, is already being heard among gay rights organizations in Maine. Such a development does not represent social progress; rather, it is a giant step backwards, for it heralds the imminent demise of the family, the institution on which all other institutions rest.

Today, as in all times past, the debauched and maniacal call for gay rights and homosexual “marriage” is not to be celebrated, rather it is to be mourned as the harbinger of the death of a civilization.
Bwak. Bwak. Maine finally joined the American family of civil rights for gays and...and...and...and...we are still waiting for civilization to crumble. We'd best move from watches to calendars to geologic indicators.

And in New Hampshire, the Cornerstone Policy Research Group sent legislators thousands of letters supporting a DoMA amendment:
Marriage is under fire! We are on the slippery slope toward court ordered redefinition of marriage. There are couples who already live in NH who are part of the Freedom to Marry organization who very much desire to redefine the oldest institution known to man. There are couples who were married under the court ordered redesigned laws of Massachusetts who are moving to NH to reside. Make no mistake. There should be no question in your mind. These people are getting poised to file a law suit to challenge the current NH marriage laws..
If you have the stomach, read the whole absurd thing here.

It is far too easy to find such ninny examples of looming disaster. Support gay rights and you point us hellbound to SSM, which in turn means the end of procreation, diddling of little children by perverts and the end of civilization.

To those of us not careering to nowhere squawking our panicked squawks, the question immediately arises, who can believe any of this crap? Given that one doomsday prediction after another 1) was made with nothing other than dull-witted emotion behind it and 2) did not come happen, when will the Henny Penny characters stop squawking?

The bad news is that they'll never stop, whether they are archbishops or fundy retirees or Peter-Principled legislators. The good news is that many of us, most of us in fact, eventually see through it, get tired of being jerked around and say, "The sky did not fall. It is not falling. It will not fall."

There are fewer Henny Penny characters every day, but the remaining ones are damned annoying.

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Saturday, April 15, 2006

Massachusetts (or Canada?) SSM

Who says adults are too old for games? Same-sex marriage offers variations for many. To wit:
  • Couples can say or sign a statement that they intend to live in Massachusetts.
  • Clerks can take them at their word or grill them to the extent of the clerks' sadism.
  • Attorney General Tom Reilly can play at enforcing the law when the Republican toady singling gay couples for discimination.
  • Officials here and in the other United States can play act that the 7,000-plus SS couples married here will dutifully live their remaining years here, unlike the rest of the mobile citizens.
  • Gov. Cap'n Brylcreem Romney can thump his concave chest and pretend that he has prevented the spread of love and devotion by enforcing statutes promising one-sided comity.
Two years on, a dangling question remains about what an out-of-state SS couple should do. Granted many homosexuals aren't interested in marriage, just like many het couples. For the many thousands, maybe millions, who are, they see our commonwealth as the flashing neon by the bay. MARRY HERE (blink) MARRIAGE EQUALITY (blink).

So what do you do back in the folded-arms/evil-eye world of, say Texas. Some years, probably decades later, they will slap their collective DoMA foreheads, and say, "Y'all, just what were we thinking when we passed that amendment?"

Meanwhile, you can marry in places like Canada, Spain and the Netherlands, and even Massachusetts. What happens when you two, married and all, come to your bungalow and daily commute later? And is there a legal cost for telling the little clerk lady that you had every intention to reside in Massachusetts?

Short-term, the squeamish are hearing from GLAD that they should go to our Northern neighbor for a quicky marriage. "The best bet is to either move here (to Massachusetts) or get married in Canada," said GLAD Director of Public Affairs and Education Carisa Cunningham.

Her opinions and heap many warnings are in a Southern Voice article.

On the other hand, the charade of comity that Reilly and Romney perform daily for us and their political campaigns is light indeed. We don't have a single legally wedded SS couple; there are THOUSANDS. The normal changes of living, such as employment, family deaths, inheritance, illnesses and other major events will lead many of these to move elsewhere, almost entirely to other states, states that do not recognize those marriages.

The baby has left the womb.

We Quake at the Penalty

Feigning that we'll prevent any single couple from dishonestly claiming that they'll remain here forever and ever -- unlike straight couples -- is an insult to our collective intelligence and experience. Yet, feign we do.

The law is plain enough.

Chapter 207: Section 12. Legal ability of non-residents to marry; duty of licensing officer to ascertain
Before issuing a license to marry a person who resides and intends to continue to reside in another state, the officer having authority to issue the license shall satisfy himself, by requiring affidavits or otherwise, that such person is not prohibited from intermarrying by the laws of the jurisdiction where he or she reside.

In practice, this varies by the personality of the clerk. They are not Matt Dillon nor Colombo. They ask and basically take people at their words.

So, let's assume that the couple really intends of live here. What if their circumstances change. What is an acceptable time before the go for more maritally conservative climes -- a month, six months, two years?

More to the point for those who get a license here, promise to reside and leave shortly after? Well, it's more than the $1 Boston jaywalking fine.

Chapter 207: Section 52. Violation of law concerning making notice of intention; false statements

Whoever violates any provision of section twenty, and whoever falsely swears or affirms in making any statement required under section twenty, shall be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars.

Read 'em and weep, ye scofflaws. That's right a big $100. That's right, tremble in your false witnessing selves. If you lie about this, it's a Ben Franklin you'll be forfeiting, if they prosecute and if they convict you.

So cut the crap. You can't get the infant back in the uterus. The pretense of comity for making nice to atavistic states that will not recognize our marriages is just that, a sham.

One Open-Eyed Justice

Supreme Judicial Court Justice Roderick L. Ireland dissented from the recent decision to enforce that dreadful 1913 law on out-of-state marriages. He can see with Superman's X-Ray eyes through the political fluff to the issues.

In his dissent, he placed the sight before us all:
We know how our marriage statute should be interpreted, and this should be the guidepost to our decision. As the court established in the Aves case, no matter how difficult or politically divisive the issue, comity cannot provide a rational basis to offend the equality and liberty principles of the Massachusetts Constitution.

...I do not believe that a discussion of comity is necessary in this case, where it is our marriage law that we are interpreting. Furthermore, even if comity applied to this case, our settled law prevents its application in the way now suggested.
So there it is. It's our laws, our marriages, our equality, our party. Everyone should feel welcome to join.

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Friday, April 14, 2006

Nasty Mouth, North and South

In Canada and Georgia alike, a few locals are demanding the right to bad mouth homosexuals and same-sex marriage. In unrelated, geographically distant efforts, a government official up North and two Georgia Tech students want the right to rant.

In Canada, Department of Indian Affairs employee Susan Comstock is solo. She is a local vice president of the union Public Service Alliance of Canada. She is outspoken in her anti-gay, anti-SSM views. She wants:
  • Any of her union dues used to campaign for SSM diverted to a charity.
  • The union to drop its zero-tolerance of heterosexism.
At Georgia Tech, a junior and a senior are hand puppets in an Alliance Defense Fund action against the university. It is similar to the Canadian instance in that the students want the right to rail against homosexuals and same-sex marriage. They call it freedom of speech.

The twist in the Georgia version is that the ADF suit (here in PDF) also alleges that the university's optional Safe Space program is not what it claims, an effort to "increase the visible presence of student and adult allies who can help to shape a school culture that is accepting of all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or any other difference."

Instead, they aim to prove that the program violates the university policy forbidding student funds going for religious or political activities. They say Safe Space acts to "engage in religious counseling, instruct community members in what they believe is the correct interpretation of holy texts on issues of homosexuality, promote the beliefs of religions that favor homosexual behavior, and denigrate religions that oppose this behavior."

The Canadian woman similarly plays the money card. Like a childless suburbanite who doesn't want taxes going to subways or schools, Comstock said, "To me this was an instance where they had made a choice that gay rights were going to trump religious rights, and what's more, they were doing it with my money."

Much of the world is inching toward tolerance. These scoundrels refuse to accept that it will require a modicum of respect for others. At private gatherings, they can still rant and slur, insult and stereotype. In some public squares, those are not acceptable.

How amusing is it that they would claim victimhood. After all, all they want is the right to harangue, harass and insult others. Isn't that the American -- and Canadian -- way?

Well, no.

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Soporific SSM Session

For news and views on this week's anti-same-sex-marriage amendment hearing, Bay Windows did not disappoint. Laura Kiritsy must have loaded up on caffeine for the six and one-half hour session.

As we thought, the arguments against and for the amendment have found air so often for so long, the Judiciary Committee hearing was pretty much pro forma. That's why the coverage was so light in the mass media.

The 17 committee members did alternating cameos, apparently just to say they showed up. "The majority of the testimony was heard only by committee co-chairs Sen. Robert Creedon (D-Brockton) and Rep. Eugene O’Flaherty (D-Charlestown), both of whom stayed for the duration and did a commendable job of appearing to listen intently throughout, which, in reality, just isn’t humanly possible."

This was the fifth such hearing in the past seven years. The only new angle was that SS couples could present themselves, showing that they were regularly folk, that they deserved the right to marry, and that they had stable families. Oh, yeah, and several business groups said it would be disruptive, bad PR and expensive -- give it a rest.

Attorney General Tom Reilly's decision to let this amendment drive proceed dispite its clear legal flaws also came up in the hearing. Citing the two constitutional conventions in which the previous, very similar version got hearings over two years, Mitchell Adams said, "We have discussed this ad nauseum." He was Gov. Weld's Department of Revenue Commissioner and is executive director of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. He is openly gay and married.

He added, "It's time to move on, so that we can address other issues people really care about."

Otherwise, it was same-old/same-old for the most part. SS couples gain in public favor slowly but steadily. It's hard for the anti forces to portray them as some nefarious other when people at this hearing as well in their regular lives can see and know them.

You can catch the hard-core anti-lingo at the drive's lead, VoteOnMarriage.Org. There you get three speeches, all with great emotional pull and all based on personal assertions. Together though, they offer a clear view of what's driving the drive.

BW did provide a nice vignette from the hearing that brightened the dull day:
A serene-looking middle-aged woman took a seat at the table in front of Creedon and O’Flaherty and confidently stated “You have heard several versions of Christianity today. I would like to give you the correct version.” She then proceeded to read, without comment, Biblical passages from the Book of Genesis, the Gospel of Matthew and 1 Corinthians, Chapter 6, readings that dealt with the creation of man and woman, marriage between a man and a woman and the evils of fornication, respectively. When she had finished, she solemnly intoned, “Ladies and gentleman, the word of the Lord.”

O’Flaherty then jokingly asked her if he’d now be excused from Mass on Thursday. The woman responded that since it was Holy Thursday, “it would be nice” if he attended.

The Committee's burden to vote ought to pass or ought not to pass. They have until April 27th to announce.

As one predictor, Co-Chair O'Flaherty is anti-SSM, but he has said he opposes this amendment because it also would outlaw civil unions. He says that as House chair of the Committee, he will listen and discuss it.

If the Committee says ought not to pass and the constitutional convention doesn't get 50 votes out of 200 legislators for the amendment, it dies well deservedly. The anti-SSM folk would have to wait three years before putting this or a similar amendment up for a petition drive.

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