Friday, October 28, 2005

Blade Readers Are Paying Attention

Hey, I just posted a thing saying that the GLBT groups are certainly keeping an eye on the Montgomery County sex-ed battle. Right now the new citizens committee is chartered to evaluate curricula on the topic of "sexual variation" (the state's term for it). Some people want to put some crazy stuff in about reparative therapy and "ex-gays" and negative stereotypes of gays, and others -- that would be us -- want to see the subject treated objectively, factually, and accurately. Gay folks should have an intense interest in how this comes out.

As soon as I posted that last thing, somebody pointed out to me that the Washington Blade, the local gay paper, has a little article that gets to the point of how this is looking to them. Here's the whole thing:
The Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg has been appointed to Montgomery County’s Citizens Advisory Committee, which will advise the school system on revisions to the county’s sex education curriculum. Sprigg was nominated by the group Parents & Friends of Gays & Ex-Gays. The Board of Education accepted PFOX’s only nominee despite a request that each organization with a seat on the committee nominate three people. The board of education rejected the sole nominee from Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum, Henrietta Brown, who had served on the committee before. CRC joined PFOX in opposing the previous sex ed plan because it included gay topics and a condom demonstration. In rejecting Brown, the board said that nominees are not allowed to have served on the committee before. CRC is now considering legal action to force the board to accept Brown, officials said. They claim that the board of education has violated a legal settlement reached in June. “We already have the suit prepared,” said Mat Staver, president of Liberty Counsel, which is representing CRC. “CRC is considering what to do.” The agreement signed by the board of education, CRC and PFOX allows the board to maintain control over who is selected for the committee. It states nominees from CRC and PFOX are “to be selected by the Board … provided such representatives are Montgomery County residents and are otherwise qualified.” Teach the Facts, NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland and Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays will also be represented on the committee. Anti-gay conservative wins seat on Mont. Co. curriculum committee

A rational person would look at Peter Sprigg and ask, why in the world does any community put somebody like that on a panel to evaluate anything? The readers of The Blade should be very wary of this appointment, which signals that the school board is willing to listen to one of the most extreme gay-haters in the country.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some celebrities talk about their mental problems this week:

1. Mike Wallace says he takes Zoloft to relieve depression

2. Sulu from Star Trek says he's gay

3. Jim Kennedy thinks everyone's spying on his e-mail

October 28, 2005 10:55 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

I decided not to delete this comment, because it borders on being humorous.


October 28, 2005 11:07 AM  
Blogger JimK said...

And also because I think it's cool being a celebrity.


October 28, 2005 11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad you took it that way, Jim, because that's how it was meant.

October 28, 2005 11:29 AM  
Blogger Kay2898 said...

....with anonymous off and running to start that groupie club just for you Jim. Next you will be asked for your autograph.

Get some sharpies and do you have photos available? Better watch out they may take scissors to your hair to get a souvenir or start going through your trash.

Yep Jim is a celebrity...and will now appear in the new remake of Brad Paisley's "Celebrity" song video.

October 28, 2005 11:39 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Here's to Captain Sulu, the first out Federation starship captain!

October 28, 2005 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


We've been going through Jim's trash for some time. We're keeping a file.

October 28, 2005 1:21 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

Liberty Counsel says the suit is prepared. I don't keep as close track of CRC as I should but wasn't Michelle or crew just quoted as saying(for the 20th time)- we are just a group of LOCAL parents. Liberty Counsel again- CRCers- please don't bother to tell us you have no connections to those outside groups- besides one of the ANONS thinks being connected to these radical right groups is an honor for CRC.

October 28, 2005 1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see what your gripe is, Andrea. Every issue is local. Liberty Counsel is there to help unempowered parents fight the power of wealthy school boards. The board's lawyers will be paid by funds conficated from me through excessive tax by a non-responsive and bloated local govt; Liberty Counsel gets their money from private donations. I'm sure they've raised more in Montgomery County over the years than they'll give back.

If our tax dollars aren't enough for you, go talk to GLSEN or People for the American Way or a similar "great" organization.

October 28, 2005 1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the power of wealthy school boards"????

Now that's a good one! Thanks for the laugh, Anon.

Aunt Bea

October 28, 2005 1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Now that's a good one! Thanks for the laugh, Anon.

Aunt Bea"

Mayberry Mutant

Do you have any idea how much money this county wastes? It's time to come back to reality.

October 28, 2005 2:08 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

Oh, my gosh, anon, your touching words about "unempowered parents" has so moved me. I weep for Retta Brown and am just going to write a big check to Liberty Counsel for her defense.

I hear they looking toget rid of Rachel Dratch on SNL- your dry wit might be what they are looking for in her palce.

October 28, 2005 2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, that SNL is a riot! I could never be that funny. Maybe now that Jim's a celeb, he can host. The Grateful Dead could reunite as the musical guest. Toby Keith could fill in for Jerry Garcia. I'll write the material. Yeah, this is all coming together.

October 28, 2005 2:50 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Actually, it IS all coming together. Pat Fitzgerald's press conference was an example of American professionalism at its best. The Jesuits did a fine job teaching him, and learning how to do it from us Jews.

Now as the Republican machine continues its oh so agonally slow crash to earth, Liberty Counsel and its kind will be left out alone on the edge of the rotting branch.

Today I was proud to be an American.

October 28, 2005 4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Less than a year ago, Bush was roundly re-elected. Who knows where we'll be next year.

Scandals happen in every administration. What's unusual in this administration is that the top guy's integrity is never in question. We won't hear about him trying to steal the White House furniture on the way out, like Clinton.

This country has had many shocks in this millenium and has been resilient under this President. You might not be happy with the U.S. invasion, but non-Baathist Iraqis would never change a thing if they had it to do over again. Someday, in a democratic Mid-east, Bush will be a legendary hero.

Stop thinking short-term.

October 28, 2005 4:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everybody have a nice weekend. We'll take up this sarcastic bickering again on Monday.

Don't worry- the Skins will win on Sunday. I mean the Giants really suck.

October 28, 2005 4:56 PM  
Blogger Kay2898 said...

Anonymous said...


Less than a year ago, Bush was roundly re-elected. Who knows where we'll be next year.


In this week’s FOX News poll, 41 percent of Americans approve and 51 percent disapprove of Bush’s job performance. Moreover, when given the opportunity for a 2004 presidential vote “do over,” Bush receives less support now than he did on Election Day.

October 28, 2005 4:56 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

I've gotta admit something, and this is for real. When I first saw where Anon said We won't hear about him trying to steal the White House furniture on the way out, like Clinton, I didn't realize who was writing.

And I thought it was somebody saying we wouldn't hear about Bush stealing stuff because the next admnistration won't be a bunch of flamin' liars.

Do you remember, the stuff about Clinton's staff stealing the w's off the typewriters and trashing the White House offices before they left? None of that turned out to be true.

That was how they came into office, on a bunch of big, fat lies -- and not even lies to cover up something, or to avoid a problem, not useful lies, just lies made up to slander somebody they didn't like. That moment so perfectly typified the next five years of their regime.

That's what I thought Anon was saying.


October 28, 2005 6:07 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

This is the problem we have here, and many other places -- people who refuse to get their facts straight. Again, it's one thing to say one day Bush will be considered a hero in the Mideast, which is an opinion. It's another to completely ignore facts.

Bush was not "roundly re-elected." First, he was not elected in the first place. Bu even assuming he was, he was re-elected by the smallest margin of any president. That's a fact.

Now that fact has consequences. You're not the only one who misread it -- he did, too. As a result, a man who thought he had all this "capital" to spend has destroyed himself and his insular little team. Now, I don't mind that at all, personally. But it's quite clear that had someone made it clear to him he was lucky to win (I'm assuming, for argument's sake, that it was a fair election), he would not have been overwhelmed by hubris and completely crippled as he is right now.

As for his integrity not being in question, again, you limit your vision to such a narrow circle that you see nothing, facts included. Today the majority of Americans believe Iraq was a mistake, and by the next election a solid majority will believe that it was instigated under false pretenses (that's an opinion, not a fact). And, as an aside, I wonder just how proud you are that your president sold you on a war by making a connection between Saddam and 9/11 that never existed. And which he continues to make, as late as yesterday.

Now, the major difference between you Citizens for a Religious Curriculum and us at the Facts Place is that we consider lying about national security and causing the deaths of tens of thousands a far, far worse crime than lying about sex or even having sex, in the WH or anywhere else. That couldn't be clearer.

So while you all rant about the decline of western civilization because the LGBT community is finally able to lead decent lives and be respected by an ever increasing number of Americans, we are concerned about the moral failures of those who are obsessed with sex and have actually sold our country out.

October 29, 2005 8:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Some celebrities talk about their mental problems this week:

1. Mike Wallace says he takes Zoloft to relieve depression

2. Sulu from Star Trek says he's gay

3. Jim Kennedy"

"Yep Jim is a celebrity"

Hey Kay, did you notice this? A psychologist friend of mine who I told about this blog read a few posts and told me that I could say anything I want on here without refutation if I just make a comment leading Jim to believe he's important. I told him, nah, these guys are too devoted to the cause. We made a bet.

Looks like I lost. Over twenty-four hours later, no one has disputed my contention that George Takei's homosexuality is a mental problem. Wonder why.

October 29, 2005 2:47 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

I assumed he may have had a mental problem with living all those years pretending he was something he wasn't... It is known to be despressing.


October 29, 2005 2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous said

Over twenty-four hours later, no one has disputed my contention that George Takei's homosexuality is a mental problem. Wonder why.


Because they all considered "the source" of the statement you made. It was worth ignoring.

Must have bothered you that they ignored you so they win the bet they made that you could not stand being ignored on that and would go back to highlight it.

"anon free" and now the winner of some $$$$$$$$

October 29, 2005 3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We were all at a secret meeting so we couldn't respond for 24 hours.

We were *not* ignoring you.


October 29, 2005 6:36 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

This is why I'm disheartened. I wrote to ask that all raise the level of discourse back to what it was a few weeks ago. Instead we get this chiidish "I made a bet" nonsense. Anon, you have a psychologist friend who visited the blog? Good. Why doesn't he participate for himself? It would be nice to discuss science for a change, since NO ONE from your side seems able to do it. No, not quite true, I have had some reasonable discussions with Dr. Throckmorton, but that's about it. Pretty sad state of affairs.

There are certain things you just need to get over. The medical professions in this country do not believe the state of having a homosexual orientation is a disease. End of story. If some fundamentalist doctors believe that, I don't care, and I doubt others do either. Same way I seriously doubt there are any biologists in Montgomery County investigating the corruption of the human genome due to "Adam's sin." You can create all the Discovery Institutes you want, and the media will cover them for a while because they're news and they're quite amusing (like that creationist museum somewhere in the Confederacy), but eventually they'll get tired of it. It certainly doesn't reopen the issue up for discussion. So I won't respond when you write something that is nothing more than bait.

Btw, I also don't believe depression is a "mental" disease, either. I believe it's a neurologic condition, similar to bipolar disease and epilepsy and . . . oh, even transsexualism. Yes, those conditions all manifest in behavior and cognition, so they have atributes that place them under such a rubric. But so do cardiac and renal and hepatic disease, diabetes, arthritides, etc. I infer when you state "mental problem" that you're implying some sort of perversion or "mental sickness" in a lay sense that brings with it a value judgment.

Sort of like when we called learning disabled children "stupid." I know; I was as guilty as the rest forty years ago. But now we already have discovered three genes associated with dyslexia, so it seems a bit cruel to call these kids "stupid." But once we pin down the biological mechanisms for sexual orientation, both straight, gay and in-between, I'm sure there will still be a cohort of you all who will keep shouting "pervert" and "fag." Oh, and then the Discovery Institute will begin the "scientific" search for the "ex-gay" gene.

October 29, 2005 7:24 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

A little something to chew on:

From "Edge":


(MARCELO GLEISER:) The declaration by President Bush that ''intelligent design" should be discussed in the classroom as a counterpoint to the theory of evolution has pushed the issue to the forefront of the unfortunately named ''war" between science and religion.

Not that the proponents of ID accept, at least openly, a religious label. They claim that ID is science and should be treated as such. After all, they don't state that the designer is God. It can be any kind of intelligence, just bright and powerful enough to create the amazing complexity of life: We (or our bacterial ancestors) are the lab rats in an ongoing experiment. According to some ''IDists," the possibility that the designer is an extraterrestrial intelligence should not be neglected. I will try to convince you that it should.

Some of my colleagues think that what I am doing right now is wrong; that for a scientist to discuss the issue is to give it a credibility it doesn't deserve. They refuse to participate in roundtable discussions with IDists, claiming that the effort amounts to a huge waste of time, that those who support intelligent design do so for reasons that are not scientific and that no 60-minute or lifelong discussion would change their minds.

I disagree. It's true that arguing rationally with those who blindly believe in ID or anything else is impossible. Extremists of any sort are deaf to reason. But this is not the audience scientists should have in mind. They should be targeting the millions of others who sit on the fence, confused and curious, wondering why the heck scientists, who are so sure of their theories, don't appear publicly to demolish the IDists for once and for all. But while scientists remain mostly silent, creationists and IDists proclaim their ''truths" for all who want to hear them. Scientists need to speak up.

A hypothesis is scientific if it can be empirically validated. One must ''see to believe" — exactly the opposite of the ''believe to see" which forms the premise of many religious systems. It's much easier to see miracles everywhere if you believe in them. The scientific ''see to believe" is supported by data acquired in the lab or through observations. If the hypothesis is vindicated, the scientific community, after much debate, accepts it. This doesn't mean it will remain part of the established ''truth." New theories sprout through the cracks of old ones. Science needs crisis to evolve. It needs mysteries. It is always incomplete. Behind our ignorance there is just the science we haven't yet developed.

Here is an example. Late in the 19th century, it was known that Mercury's orbit shifted very slowly, like a wobbling top. The orbit's behavior was a mystery, and Newton's theory of gravity couldn't describe it. Astronomers even invented an imaginary planet between Mercury and the Sun to explain the anomaly.

In 1916, Einstein proposed a new way to think about gravity, his general theory of relativity. Instead of Newton's mysterious action-at-a-distance, Einstein suggested that space was plastic, that matter could bend and stretch it like a rubber sheet. Einstein's theory explained Mercury's wobbling as a consequence of the bending of space near the Sun. New science resolved an old mystery. Does this mean that Einstein's theory is the last word in gravity? No. Eventually, it will be modified by a more powerful theory capable of explaining things it cannot.

The ID hypothesis, that we, or a few key steps in the evolution of life, are products of purposeful design is not scientific. There is no way to test it. It cannot be confirmed experimentally. The statement that life is too complex to have happened by chance and that we are somehow fundamentally incapable to understand how reflects a deeply unscientific attitude, a put-down of human reason. The uncertainties of today are tomorrow's new science.

If I had the opportunity to meet the assumed designer, I'd ask what, to me, is the most important question of them all: ''Mr. Designer, who designed you?"

If the designer answers that it doesn't know, that perhaps it was also designed, we fall into an endless regression, straight back to the problem of the first cause, the one that needs no cause. At this point the mask tumbles and we finally discover the true identity of the IDists' Designer. We should capitalize the word, as this is how we are taught to refer to God.

[Editor's Note: First published in The Boston Globe, on August 29th]

October 29, 2005 7:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Do you have any idea how much money this county wastes? It's time to come back to reality."

I couldn't agree more with you Anon. Let's use reality to analyze the costs around this curriculum issue lately, shall we?

CRC and PFOX members sat on the now disbanded advisory committee that voted to approve the now rescinded curriculum. Henrietta Brown representing the Daughters of the American Revolution and Jackie Rice representing PFOX made tapes of the CAC meetings. Let's see some transcripts or links to the audio files of those tapes because while the CRC repeatedly says it ain't so, the fact is they presented their proposals for items to include in the curriculum to the committee. The committee reviewed, researched, and discussed their proposals and when it came to the vote, the majority decided not to add this quackery to the curriculum. They had access to and used the proper avenue to attempt to persuade other county representatives on the committee to support their views. This is representative democracy at its most basic level.

As we all know, they were outvoted in their attempts to muck up the curriculum with their biases. They were offered an opportunity to present a dissenting members' report but chose not to. Instead, they went to the press, decided to get political, tried to go over the heads of the committee to meet directly with BOE members, and when that failed, sued to stop the pilot testing of the unanimously approved curriculum. The costs to Montgomery County taxpayers for their actions have been enormous.

The obvious cost is the $36,000.00 they walked away with at the settlement table. The county rightly decided to settle because it was cheaper to do so than to litigate, not because they felt the suit had merit. And obviously the plaintiffs legal council felt there was no merit either because they didn't press forward with their lawsuit even though CRC leadership felt, "Lawsuits tend to get peoples attention - merit or no merit..." The less obvious cost to Montgomery County taxpayers is the cost over the years to write and review the curriculum in the first place, and now again in the second place. And the new curriculum will be no doubt nearly identical to the rescinded curriculum because that is what is required by Maryland state law under COMAR.

All that for what? For a "little obstacle" as Gabe Romero said on 6-27-05 after Public Comments. An EXPENSIVE little obstacle, all thanks to the CRC leadership's decisions.

And you can scream all you want that the committee leaned to the left but the reality is that the old committee was and the new committee is reflective of the residents who reside here in Montgomery County. Do we have to cite the Bush-Kerry election results here in the county again? It was 2-1 in favor of Kerry. On social and educational issues I can assure you Montgomery County citizens are even more progressive because residents here value education, particularly health education, very highly for their children. They want them to have more information about different ways to protect themselves, not less. And they want them to have medically accurate and sound information, not some risky business that is banned by all mainstream American doctors. Ex-gay quacks like Richard Cohen and their supporters like Regina Griggs (two non-county residents who have tried to sell our BOE on including their garbage in our curriculum), push these dangers because that's how they make their living, profiting off of gay teens with guilt-ridden parents and more money than sense.

Aunt Bea

October 29, 2005 9:39 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

So ,Anon, because MCPS wastes money- are you suggesting that the $36,000 payoff that CRC/Liberty OCunsel got is okay?

October 30, 2005 12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are free to say that anything you want is a mental problem, but most of us rely on our doctors for medical diagnoses. Your and your psychologist friend's theory relates only to Jim. What about the rest of us?

It seems rather juvenile of you to believe that if your comment remains unchallenged for 24 hours that makes some difference somehow. No, it doesn't. Your statement still isn't true. All the mainstream medical and mental health organizations agree that homosexuality is not a disease and that gays and lesbians can lead healthy and happy lives.

The question is, why does that fact bother you so much?


October 30, 2005 12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"So ,Anon, because MCPS wastes money- are you suggesting that the $36,000 payoff that CRC/Liberty OCunsel got is okay?"

No, it's not OK. It was another waste of taxpayer money that was necessary because of the malfeasance of the board. I hope the voters hold them accountable in the next election.

October 31, 2005 10:59 AM  

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