Monday, March 01, 2010

The Post: Why Blue Maryland Lags

You would think Maryland would lead the nation in progressive issues, for instance ensuring rights for minorities, but that is rarely the case. The Washington Post had a thoughtful article this morning discussing this apparent anomaly in light of state Attorney General Doug Gansler's recent opinion (read it HERE) that Maryland law does recognize marriages -- even same-sex marriages -- that have been granted in other states.

It doesn't seem like a big deal, say some people are married in a state where the age of consent is younger than ours, what are we supposed to do, make the husband sleep on the couch until they both meet the Maryland standard? Same thing, a couple gets married in a more progressive state, one of them gets a job transfer to Maryland, what are we supposed to do, un-marry them because they're both men or both women? Somebody has to decide, and Gansler made what appears to be a fair and kind of obvious decision.

But Gansler has gone against Maryland tradition, even Maryland Democratic Party tradition.
On paper, the declaration last week by Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) that the state would begin recognizing same-sex marriages from other places might have seemed right in line with a state ranked as having the nation's largest percentage of left-leaning voters.

In reality, it violated the way Maryland politics works.

Even though Democrats hold a 2 to 1 advantage among voters and dominate both houses of the General Assembly, lawmakers in Annapolis are a more conservative lot than their counterparts in other deep-blue states. Powerful Democrats in the legislature hold onto their jobs for decades by moving slowly, not setting trends.

The state's brand of liberalism is explained in part by geography and in part by culture. Democrats are hesitant to embrace many progressive social policies, lest they upset the state's many Catholics, evangelicals and others with deep religious convictions.

And although parts of Montgomery County are every bit as left-leaning as Boulder, Colo., and Berkeley, Calif., African Americans in Baltimore and Prince George's County -- the state's other Democratic strongholds -- tend to be more socially conservative. Rural Democrats, particularly in the southern and western parts of the state, identify more culturally with Virginia than with Takoma Park. Same-sex marriage opinion was politics unusual in Maryland

It is sometimes easy to forget, and helpful to recall, that the Mason-Dixon line is north of us.

And here The Post is referring to Takoma Park as if it were an enclave of old hippies. Which is, well, pretty accurate. Mellow place, Takoma.

Skipping slots and corporate taxes ...
"We are more comfortable, seemingly, waiting for other states to tiptoe into territory that is trendsetting to see what the reaction is before we step up and do the same thing," said Del. Heather R. Mizeur, a Montgomery County Democrat and one of the state's few openly gay lawmakers.

"We are a Democratic state, but in the big-tent sense, we have a lot of conservative Democrats, and we do things in a very measured sense."

Against such inertia, Gansler's decision to press ahead on gay rights not only got ahead of the curve but jumped the cautious political track on which Maryland lawmakers remain most comfortable.

Gansler used a request from Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr., another openly gay Montgomery Democrat, to reverse an opinion and direct state agencies to begin offering same-sex married couples the same rights afforded heterosexual ones.

Gansler insisted that his decision was not playing politics and was right, given that the state has respected less-scrupulous contracts than out-of-state same-sex marriage licenses. Gansler's critics, however, insist that he intended to circumvent the legislature.

That's a kind of weak criticism, it's the Attorney General's job to specify how laws should be prosecuted. This is definitely ambiguous and needed interpretation (thanks Rich!), and once asked, you knew he was going to go one way or the other with it.

Gansler's gambit:
The decision sets up a likely showdown in the state's highest court, and Gansler said he thinks his opinion has provided a successful road map for same-sex couples to win such cases.

If voters become more comfortable with same-sex marriage over the next four years, the move could prove a shrewd one for an attorney general already positioning himself to run for governor in 2014. If not, he could be cast as too liberal even in his party's own primary.

Too liberal for the monkey-monks in charge of the party, maybe, I doubt this would make him appear too liberal for the people who live in this state.

Here's the part that has been bothering me for a long time.
The other Democrats who hold statewide office and who are likely to seek the nomination haven't supported same-sex marriage.

I think if you sat down and had a beer with any of these so-called Democrats you would find that they are perfectly comfortable with the concept, but don't feel that their constituents are ready for it.

To which I would say one thing: lead. Don't drag along behind the curve, get ahead of it, affect history, set an example for your constituents. Don't let the Family Blah Blah groups run the rhetoric into the sewer, seize the opportunity and make a name for yourself by doing the right thing proactively.
More immediately: In an election year with the seats of not only O'Malley but all 188 state legislators up for grabs, Gansler's decision exerts new pressure on Democrats with tenuous holds on the state's more conservative districts. The state's Republican Party has made clear that a primary focus in November will be to pick off five seats to break the Senate's filibuster-proof majority. At least some of those Democrats are likely to face committee votes on same-sex bills in coming weeks.

"We have a long history of pragmatic politics," said Del. John L. Bohanan Jr., a powerful Democrat who represents Southern Maryland and who often votes against bills introduced by his more-liberal colleagues. "You've got the rural areas that offset some of the more progressive areas, and because of that . . . there are some issues that you'd think we'd be a lot further ahead on than we are, which I think is appropriate."

Bohanan then described an exchange that often typifies some of the tension within the state's Democratic majority: "Somebody said in [the] Appropriations [Committee] the other day that, 'Well, you know California has passed this bill already,' and I said, 'Some of us believe that if they've done it, then we run in the opposite direction.'"

Because what -- you don't want to be like California?
A recent Gallup poll found that 57.7 percent of Maryland voters are Democratic or left-leaning, the highest percentage in the country aside from the District.

The party's power is centered in the middle of the state, in Baltimore and the heavily populated Washington suburbs of Montgomery and Prince George's counties. Democrats win in rural areas, too, but often by toeing conservative lines on immigration and crime issues.

Religion also plays a moderate role. A strong arc of Catholic voters resides throughout Howard and Anne Arundel counties, boosting the legislature's ranks of Catholics to 53, or almost a third of lawmakers. Catholics are only outnumbered by the half of Maryland lawmakers who identify themselves as Protestant.

"Maryland's electorate, and therefore its lawmakers, are different than in other blue states," said Del. Emmett C. Burns Jr., a pastor and Baltimore County Democrat who authored a House bill that failed last month to ban recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages.

Although Burns's bill failed, a similar measure against recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages remains active in the Senate.


That bill has 10 co-sponsors: five Republicans and five Democrats. Three -- including Sen. Norman R. Stone Jr. (D-Baltimore County), the lead sponsor -- represent fairly conservative districts. The other two -- Sens. Anthony C. Muse (D) and Douglas J.J. Peters (D) -- hail from Prince George's.

The Democratic co-sponsors underscore the diversity of views within the party in the all-important Senate. Liberal legislation can pass the House but often dies there. Democrats dominate the chamber, holding 33 of 47 seats, but there is little consensus on social issues.

In recent years, conservative Democrats have sided with Republicans on several other divisive issues, including stem-cell research.

Maryland was one of the first states to approve funding for stem-cell research, but it remains one of the last sticking points each year in the budget.

Stem cell research seems to me to be a sound-bite issue. There is no rational argument against the use of stem cells, which have amazing potential for curing intractable diseases. There is a vague and easily overstated religious objection, which is that cells may come from aborted embryos. And that's it.
Maryland was one of the first states to approve funding for stem-cell research, but it remains one of the last sticking points each year in the budget.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) said he wasn't sure how much debate Stone's measure would get, saying he considered the House as having already dealt with it. Miller said bills to pass same-sex marriage also haven't gone anywhere in the Senate because "it would be very difficult to get past a filibuster."

Still, Miller, who on many occasions has tried to curtail debate on social issues since he began presiding over the Senate in 1987, said his members' views on the latest hot-button social issue, same-sex marriage, are just one slice of being a Maryland Democrat.

"We're not going to tolerate a litmus test for people who belong to the Democratic Party," he said.

Excuse me, but it appears that he is saying "being a Democrat means nothing."

Finally, the article makes it personal.
Jennifer Kali, 31, recently gave birth to a daughter and plans to travel with her partner, Karen, from their Silver Spring home to get married in the District next week. Maryland already gives same-sex couples many rights, "but this could be huge," Kali said, referring to Maryland potentially recognizing her marriage.

"The fact that we're even talking about it," Kali said, "is a big deal."

And the fact that we're only talking about it is a big deal, too.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


life is like tattoos

Ink on a pin

Underneath the skin

An empty space to fill in


Everybody's saying too

that hell's the hippest way to go

Well I don't think so

But we're gonna take a look around it though


March 01, 2010 3:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The American Psychological Association (APA) will highlight its policy in support of same-sex 'marriage' at its annual meeting in August.

The APA also claims it has science that supports that position.

Julie Hamilton, president of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality, said the APA cannot have enough evidence on the issue, because there have not been enough reliable studies to make a scientific argument for or against gay marriage.

"The APA is taking sides in a political debate without an adequate scientific basis for their stance," she said. "This is another example of a scientific organization acting politically rather than scientifically."

Caleb Price, research analyst with Focus on the Family, said the vast majority of Americans have "no clue that the mental health profession is heavily involved in activism."

who knew?

March 01, 2010 7:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Warren Buffet, the oracle of Omaha, suggested President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats go back to the drawing board on health-care overhaul legislation and work with Republicans to come up with new legislation that deals with the "cost, cost, cost," that he calls a "tapeworm eating at American competitiveness."

In comments made during a lengthy CNBC appearance Monday where he talked about the economy and financial markets, he criticized the Democratic legislation as not doing enough to slow the cost increases that are making health care an ever larger share of the U.S. economy and making American companies less competitive globally.

Buffet's comments are likely to draw wide notice since Obama was fond of dropping the mega-billionaire's name as one of his informal advisers earlier in his presidency. Buffet's position certainly doesn't help the president as he tries to push his plan through Congress in coming weeks.

Here's the transcript:

WARREN BUFFETT: We have a health system that, in terms of cost, is really out of control, and if you take this line and you project what has been happening into the future, we will get less and less competitive. So, we need something else. Unfortunately, we came up with a bill that really doesn't attack the cost situation that much and we have to have a fundamental change. We have to have something that will end the constant increase in medical cost as a percentage of GDP.
BECKY QUICK: Then, are you in favor of scrapping this and going back to start over?
BUFFETT: I would be -- if I were President Obama, I would just show this chart of what's been happening and say this is the tape worm that's eating at American competitiveness, and I would say that one way or another, we're going to attack cost, cost, cost, just like they talk about jobs, jobs, jobs in the economy. It's cost, cost, cost in this side. That's a tough job. We're spending maybe $2.3 trillion on health care in the United States, and every one of those dollars is going to somebody and they're going to yell if that dollar becomes 90 cents or 80 cents. So, it takes -- but I would try to get a unified effort saying this is a national emergency to do something about this. We need the Republicans, we need the Democrats. We're going to cut off all the kinds of things like the 800,000 special people in Florida or the Cornhusker Kickback, as they called it, or the Louisiana Purchase and we're going to get rid of the nonsense. We're just going to focus on cost and we're not going to dream up 2,000 pages of other things. And I would say as President, I'm going to come back to you with something that's going to do something about this, because we have to do it.
QUICK: Just focus on cost or focus on cost while insuring more people?
BUFFETT: Well, yeah --
QUICK: Is there two different problems?
BUFFETT: Universality -- yeah, I believe in insuring more people, but I don't believe in insuring more people until you attack the cost aspect of this.

March 01, 2010 8:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

here's one Dem I'd vote for:

"(CNN) – California Attorney General Jerry Brown plans to announce Tuesday that he's entering the race to be his state's next governor, three sources confirm to CNN.

If elected, this would be the second time around for Brown, who served two terms as California Governor from 1975-1983. Already Brown has amassed at least a $12 million dollar war chest and he has attracted the support of big Hollywood kingmakers; David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg are among those who have publicly endorsed him. So far no other big name Democrats are in the race; San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, once presumed to be Brown's fiercest primary opponent, dropped out of the contest last October.

The most recent surveys of California voters, conducted in mid-January by the Public Policy Institute and the Field Poll, indicate Brown leading the top Republican candidates – besting Meg Whitman by 5 to 10 points; and topping State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner by 15 to 17 points."

March 01, 2010 8:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this must be caused by global warming:

"(March 1) -- Apart from claiming the lives of hundreds of people and wreaking enormous property damage, Chile's massive earthquake has altered the distribution of the Earth's overall mass, scientists from NASA say.

As a result, the length of a day is now a little shorter than it was before Saturday's magnitude 8.8 earthquake.

"The length of the day has gotten shorter," Richard Gross, a geophysicist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told Bloomberg. "The axis about which the Earth's mass is balanced has moved."

March 01, 2010 10:47 PM  
Blogger David S. Fishback said...

Two points:

First, in the Post article, Delegate Burns is quoted as saying, "We have a bumping of the heads of the legal and the moral. And even though it's mostly run by the legal minds, the morality of this -- in the minds of many in the legislature -- supersedes."

Sadly, he does not understand the difference between theology and morality. Some theologies oppose gay people being anything other than celebate; others do not. But the basis of all morality is the Golden Rule; application of the Golden Rule compels equal marriage rights for gay couples.

Second, an inside-baseball observation. It is not so much the supposed odd culture of Maryland that has kept the legislature from expanding marriage rights. Rather, it is the make-up of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, which includes Democrats Norman Stone and Anthony Muse -- two of the co-sponsors of Delegate Burns' bill which could not get out of the House committee. While there is a majority in the Senate for at least civil unions, if not full marriage, the presence of Stone and Muse on the Judicial Proceedings Committee has meant that a marriage equality bill cannot get out of that Committee and, hence, cannot get onto the Senate floor. No bill has been sent to the House floor because it was be futile, given the obstruction in the Senate. It is only the happenstance of the make-up of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee that has stymied legislative action.

March 02, 2010 6:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon claimed:

"this must be caused by global warming"

Umm, no. As it explained in the article, the shotening of the day was caused by shifting of the earth's mass. In order for the day to get shorter it would have moved such that it is closer to the center of rotation -- Just like an ice-skater speeds up when she's in a twirl and pulls her arms and legs in toward her body.

It's called the "conservation of angular momentum." You can read more about it here:

It had nothing to do with global warming. A little physics knowledge goes a long way.



March 02, 2010 10:12 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

NARTH has advocated reparative therapy for decades despite the fact that no scientific studies support it. In fact NARTH quacks have continued to tout reparative therapy as beneficial even though scientific studies have found harm is often caused by it.

FRC, a political advocacy group that routinely misinterprets scientific studies (that's what they pay Peter Sprigg to do) is complaining about the APA's findings. So what else is new? On what scientific findings do they base their complaint that marriage is not beneficial to committed couples?

And no Bozo, plate techtonics do not have anything to do with global warming, but the recent storms in LA where ""In my 20 years of fire service, this is the first time I've seen this much devastation caused by a weather system," Los Angeles County Fire Battalion Chief Mike Brown said while walking past suburban homes with thigh-deep mud in their yards.", Portugal where "At least 42 people died after torrential rains began on Saturday and dumped an average month's rainfall in just eight hours." and western Europe where "A violent late winter storm with fierce rain and hurricane-strength winds ripped across western Europe on Sunday... Winds reached about 130 mph on the summits of the Pyrenees and up to nearly 100 mph along the Atlantic Coast. The storm hit the Vendee and Charente-Maritime regions in southwestern France hardest, flooding coastal islands and tossing boats around in ports." are right in line with global warming predictions.

Slowly but surely the old guard in Maryland politics is being replaced by the new guard leaders who support things like open government. Delegate Heather Mizeur announced her open government bill on Jan. 28, 2010, and already "Committee Votes are now available on the individual Bill pages" so now citizens can see which politicians speak one way but vote another. Thank you Heather, for your leadership!

March 02, 2010 10:49 AM  
Anonymous really? said...

people like the infamous inane-B of TTF have been claiming the storms in the U.S. are the result of global warming

the infamous Nobel Prize fraudster Al Gore, who apparently uses TTF as a scientific source, is now making the same claim:

"Al Gore's defense of global-warming hysteria has many flaws, but let's focus on just one whopper -- where the "Inconvenient Truth" man states the opposite of scientific fact.

Gore says, "The heavy snowfalls this month have been used as fodder for ridicule by those who argue that global warming is a myth, yet scientists have long pointed out that warmer global temperatures have been increasing the rate of evaporation from the oceans, putting significantly more moisture into the atmosphere -- thus causing heavier downfalls of both rain and snow in particular regions, including the Northeastern United States."

According to "State of the Climate" from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, "Global precipitation in 2009 was near the 1961-1990 average." And there was certainly no pattern of increasing rain and snow on America's East Coast during the post-1976 years, when NOAA says the globe began to heat up.

So what was it, exactly, that Gore's nameless scientists "have long pointed out"? A 2008 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, "Climate Change and Water," says climate models "project precipitation increases in high latitudes and part of the tropics." In other areas, the IPCC reports only "substantial uncertainty in precipitation forecasts."

In other words, the IPCC said that its models predicted some increases in rain or snow -- not observed them. And only in high latitudes or the tropics, which hardly describes New York or Washington, DC.

In fact, recent research actually contra dicts Gore's claims about "significantly more water moisture in the atmosphere."

In late January, Scientific American reported: "A mysterious drop in water vapor in the lower stratosphere might be slowing climate change," and noted that "an apparent increase in water vapor in this region in the 1980s and 1990s exacerbated global warming."

The new study came from a group of scientists, mainly from the NOAA lab in Boulder. The scientists found: "Stratospheric water-vapor concentrations decreased by about 10 percent after the year 2000 . . . This acted to slow the rate of increase in global surface temperature over 2000 to 2009 by about 25 percent."

Specifically, the study found that water vapor rising from the tropics has been reduced, because it has gotten cooler there (another inconvenient truth). A Wall Street Journal headline summed it up: "Slowdown in Warming Linked to Water Vapor."

Moisture in the lower stratosphere (about 8 miles above the earth's surface) has been going down, not up.

Aside from clouds, water vapor accounts for as much as two-thirds of the earth's greenhouse-gas effect. Water vapor traps heat from escaping the atmosphere -- but clouds have the opposite effect (called "albedo") by reflecting the sun's energy back into space. And snow on the ground from the IPCC's predicted precipitation in high latitudes would have the same cooling effect as clouds.

What the new research suggests is that changes in water vapor may well trump the effect of carbon dioxide (only a fraction of which is man-made) and methane (which has mysteriously slowed since about 1990).

This raises an intriguing question: Since the Environmental Protection Agency declared that it has the authority to regulation carbon emissions because of their presumed effect on the global climate, why hasn't the EPA also attempted to regulate mist and fog?"

March 02, 2010 12:57 PM  
Anonymous really? said...

"NARTH has advocated reparative therapy for decades despite the fact that no scientific studies support it."

Well, let's not argue with that dubious statement for a moment and say you're right.

If you're offended by that, you must be equally disturbed by the APA advocating same gender "marriage" without scientific proof.

"In fact NARTH quacks have continued to tout reparative therapy as beneficial even though scientific studies have found harm is often caused by it."

No study has found any harm.

"FRC is complaining about the APA's findings. On what scientific findings do they base their complaint that marriage is not beneficial to committed couples?"

Actually, the APA is claiming they have scientific basis so the burden of providing it is on them.

"And no Bozo, plate techtonics do not have anything to do with global warming,"

Obviously. I was referring to the idiotic tendency of alarmist groups to blame everything on global warming.

Give 'em time. They'll find a link.

"but the recent storms in LA where"

This is a baseless lie. See previous post.

"right in line with global warming predictions"

Which predictions?

About five years ago, after a series of hurricanes, the global warmer alarmers said more and intenser storms were coming.

After it became apparent it wouldn't happen, they started saying the lower than average precipitation was actually a sign of global warming.

And now, we're back to increased precipitatin being a sign again.

"Slowly but surely the old guard in Maryland politics is being replaced by the new guard leaders who support things like open government."

New guard? The Dem moment has passed and Maryland, which is usually a couple of years behind, never had a chance to adjust to it.

C'est la vie!

March 02, 2010 1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard a rumor that MSNBC is thinking about creating a news channel

should be an interesting change of pace for them

"ABBEVILLE, GA—In an effort to devise a plausible reason to excuse himself from an office-wide blood donation drive this Friday, systems specialist Brett Karns, 32, reporterdly engaged in unprotected sex with another man last weekend.

"When the nurse asks me if I've participated in any high-risk sexual activity recently, I don't want to have to lie," said Karns, who describes himself as squeamish about needles. "Maybe she wouldn't question my story, but better safe than sorry, right?"

Karns told reporters he intends to have sex with another man next week to get out of his office's canned food drive.

Squashing any fears that they might have lost it, a 3 percent increase in teen pregnancy rates positively confirmed Tuesday that America's teenagers still have it and, in some cases, are rocking it harder than ever.

According to a report by the National Center for Health Statistics, the increase reverses nearly two decades of plummeting teen pregnancy rates, which had caused many to fear that teens had lost what it takes to get the job done.

But a sharp increase in birthrates among the under-20 population proves that teens across the nation still got the goods.

"Teens are back," said Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, noting that 26 states experienced a significant increase in teen pregnancies for the first time since 2004. "Any questions about whether or not our teens were past their prime or could no longer bring the heat have been answered. We never should have doubted them."

"What can I say?" Sebelius added. "When you got it, you got it.""

March 02, 2010 1:45 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

The NY Post and the Onion are about comparable as far as veracity goes.

This acted to slow the rate of increase in global surface temperature over 2000 to 2009 by about 25 percent.

And in spite of that 25% slowing in the rate of increase in global surface temperature NOAA reports:

NCDC scientists also noted the average temperature for the decade (2000-09), 57.9 degrees F, was the warmest on record surpassing the 1990-99 average of 57.7 degrees F. value.

March 02, 2010 3:32 PM  
Anonymous really? said...

this country has spent zillions trying to educate gays on how to engage in their, uh, quirks safely

it's all for naught

gays, who are generally fairly intelligent, have simply made a choice to engage in risky behavior

they aren't without knowledge of what they're doing:

"(March 1) -- Despite advances in prevention and treatment, rates of HIV/AIDS in some parts of the U.S. are higher than those in sub-Saharan Africa, say the authors of a recent study in The New England Journal of Medicine.

AIDS advocacy efforts in the U.S. have waned in recent years, after medical innovations helped sufferers live longer, minimized obvious symptoms and alleviated the widespread social panic that characterized the early spread of the disease.

Globally, though, the spread of AIDS has yet to be curtailed: 33 million people are afflicted.

But what might come as a real surprise is news that rates across some parts of the U.S. have yet to decrease. In fact, they're right up there with the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in global hot spots, where the health scourge continues largely unabated.

Rates of HIV among adults in Washington, D.C., for example, now exceed 1 in 30 -- higher than reported rates in Ethiopia, Nigeria or Rwanda.

In urban areas across the country, 30 percent of men engaging in "sex with other men" are contracting HIV -- compared with overall population rates of 7.8 percent in Kenya and 16.9 percent in South Africa.

Groups at a high risk of HIV infection have remained largely unchanged since the 1980s. So what happened to ongoing efforts at prevention and education, which were largely concentrated on those same demographics?

According to the essay's authors, it's a question of insular sexual networks rather than individual behaviors.

"Understanding the context and settings in which risk is increased may lead to more robust and effective preventive interventions," the authors note. The idea hits on some touchy subjects, like the vulnerable demographics, who are more likely to have multiple partners within their social circles.

And AIDS remains an epidemic in the U.S. Low prevalence in most areas is outweighed by the startlingly high occurrence in others, where homosexuality is more readily accepted.

Potential solutions are nuanced and require out-of-the-box thinking, the essay notes. For example, the authors urge public health officials to shed ideological biases, like an unwillingness to consider safe sex in bathhouses.

Then there's the question of how to help groups who have yet to respond to previous efforts. "Research is also needed to identify interventions that will persuade men who have sex with men to undergo HIV testing, facilitate their disclosure of their HIV status to sexual partners and promote negotiations for safer sexual practices," the essay notes.

Of paramount importance, though, is to acknowledge that AIDS has not gone away. "The time has come," the authors write, "to confront this largely forgotten and hidden epidemic."

At the very least, health officials will have more money to take their prevention efforts out of the past and move them into the 21st century. Citing plans to develop "a national HIV/AIDS strategy," the White House recently announced the first boost in HIV/AIDS investment in nearly a decade."

great, throw more money down the drain


how stimulatin'

March 02, 2010 3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"NCDC scientists also noted the average temperature for the decade (2000-09), 57.9 degrees F, was the warmest on record surpassing the 1990-99 average of 57.7 degrees"


two-tenths of a percent

and no effect

March 02, 2010 3:36 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

Anonymous egregiously and deceptively cherrypicks HIV/AIDS infection rates, drops a few innuendoes, and extrapolates this to some sort of bizarre theory by which to bash gay people.

My dear friend, people like you make it more difficult for people who really care about mitigating the epidemic to have coherent public discussions on the topic.

Clearly you couldn't care less about people living with HIV/AIDS, or others who may become infected.

Do you care about anyone, other than biblical-literalist Christians?

Would Jesus care?

March 02, 2010 4:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You know as well as I do that a good deal of the persistence of the AIDS infection rates in the homosexual communities in the western world can be explained by the fact that homosexuals don't want to change their behaviors.

They have the information they need and they make a choice about weighing safety and desire.

It theirs to make and we don't need to throw money away trying to persuade perfectly intelligent people to change their practices.

Respect people's right to make their own choices.

March 02, 2010 5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In urban areas across the country, 30 percent of men engaging in "sex with other men" are contracting HIV"

this alone is a scary fact that should be taught to kids in the MCPS sex ed curriculum

this is not "cherry-picked", it's from the New England Journal of Medicine

after the MCPS course teaches the kids that homosexuality is fine and they are "supported" by the school gay-straight club, they may go pursue partners and 3 out of 10 will get a life-ending disease

unbelieveably irresponsible

March 02, 2010 5:35 PM  
Anonymous Merle said...

Anon, two things. 1. Are you saying that people will become gay because of the sex-ed curriculum? 2. And are you really willing to say that people choose to be gay ("people's right to make their own choices")?

I want to hear you say it.

March 02, 2010 6:09 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...


Court refuses to stop DC's gay marriage law

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to block the District of Columbia's gay marriage law, freeing the city to issue its first marriage licenses to same-sex couples the following day.

Opponents of gay marriage in the nation's capital had asked Chief Justice John Roberts to stop the city from issuing the licenses on Wednesday while they appealed. They argued that D.C. voters should have been allowed to vote on the issue. Local courts have rejected the opponents' arguments.

"It has been the practice of the court to defer to the decisions of the courts of the District of Columbia on matters of exclusively local concern," said Roberts, writing for the court.

He also pointed out that Congress could have voted to stop the city government from putting the law into effect and didn't.

Opponents have also asked city courts to allow a voter referendum on gay marriage, and they "will have the right to challenge any adverse decision ... in this court at the appropriate time," Roberts said.

The city has said Wednesday probably will be the first day same-sex couples can apply for marriage licenses. Couples still will have to wait three full business days for their licenses before exchanging vows.

Same-sex marriages are also legal in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut and Vermont.

March 02, 2010 6:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Same-sex marriages are also legal in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut and Vermont."

they're not illegal anywhere

they are just not recognized as "marriage" in any place that has had a vote on it

this is another negative for D.C.'s reputation along with the fact that have a higher AIDS infection rate than many African countries

what's next?

casinos and prostitution?

"Are you saying that people will become gay because of the sex-ed curriculum?"

I didn't address that issue. I was implying that they might be more likely to engage in homosexual behavior after going to the sex ed class and attending a gay-straight club meeting

if they do, there is a 30% chance they will contract an invariably fatal disease

"And are you really willing to say that people choose to be gay ("people's right to make their own choices")?"

when I wrote that, I wasn't addressing what contribution will makes to one's sexual preferences

what I meant was that homosexuals can choose whether to engage in risky behaviors or not

polls have shown, for example, that young gays overwhelmingly have sex "bareback" because they like it better than having sex with a condom?

Are you denying any of this?

I want to hear you say it, you idiot.

March 02, 2010 6:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Charges are likely to be filed against the Maryland attorney general, after he decided the state will recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages. Delegate Don Dwyer said the charges could be filed within a month.

Attorney General Douglas Gansler said on Feb. 24 the state will recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

However, Maryland law holds that the state will not recognize the unions. And Maryland's high court ruled on the issue in 2007, saying only the General Assembly could redefine marriage.

"What the attorney general has done is end-run around the court and around the legislative process," Dwyer said. "I plan on holding him accountable. I do plan to bring charges of impeachment against him on the Maryland House floor."

March 02, 2010 7:09 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Don Dwyer, CRC keynote speaker, March 19, 2005

"...If you don’t know about it, I’ve been accused of spreading hate and fear among the churches throughout the State of Maryland. Guilty as charged. I am spreading hate and fear. I am spreading the hate of the homosexual activist and I’m spreading my fear of what’s going to happen to this great state and our great nation if people of this world do not take a stand..."

March 02, 2010 7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I am spreading the hate of the homosexual activist"

a lot of people hate those lunatic fringe homosexual advocates, including I would imagine many homosexuals

you're making too much of rhetoric

March 02, 2010 7:39 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

Anonymous, my friend, your take on the HIV/AIDS epidemic is always twisted to attack queer people, and this instance the MCPS curriculum and Gay-Straight Alliances.

I would interested in discussing the epidemic with people here at Vigilance, but with you in the room distorting information, a discussion is simply impossible.

Do you understand what I am saying? You only care about HIV infection and the people it affects to the degree that it advances your anti-lgbt agenda. I wish you would just hush for once.

Would Jesus care?

March 03, 2010 4:14 AM  
Anonymous appalled by the rig said...

"Rates of HIV among adults in Washington, D.C., for example, now exceed 1 in 30 -- higher than reported rates in Ethiopia, Nigeria or Rwanda.

In urban areas across the country, 30 percent of men engaging in "sex with other men" are contracting HIV -- compared with overall population rates of 7.8 percent in Kenya and 16.9 percent in South Africa."

You'd be interested in discussing the epidemic?

How big of you.

It is appalling that in an area that matches the above quotes from the NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE that we have sick gay advocates are pushing the idea on vulnerable young people that the gay lifestyle is a simple choice without consequences.

And one of these sick gay advocates has now graciously agreed to discuss it.

But only if we start out by ignoring the facts.

And you try to implicate Jesus into sympathy with your position?

Try changing "would Jesus care" to "does Jesus care".

March 03, 2010 7:10 AM  
Anonymous don't get rigged said...

"Anonymous, my friend, your take on the HIV/AIDS epidemic is always twisted to attack queer people,"

First of all, people can be "queer" and/or "gay" without being homosexual.

We'd like our words back and for the sick advocates to resume using the precise term "homosexual" that sufficed for years.

"and this instance the MCPS curriculum"

That "MCPS curriculum" tells kids with perverted feelings that they can't change and is, thus, comparable to the evil Borg on the old Star Trek shows.

Resistance is futile.

It's a strategy of cults.

"and Gay-Straight Alliances."

These sex clubs that are inexplicably permitted in local high schools reinforce this message by saying to kids with these feelings:

"come with me,

I know the way,

it's down, down, down

the dark ladder

would you like to contact somebody first?

what does it matter

if you don't come now

you know you're coming later"

it's creepy

March 03, 2010 8:45 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Wow Anone, sounds like you know the ex-gay drill pretty well -- "come with me, I know the way, it's down, down, down the dark ladder," hate yourself as I hate you and blame your parents for making you what you are and you too can pretend to be something you are not, maybe even forever.

We'd like our words back and for the sick advocates to resume using the precise term "homosexual" that sufficed for years.

What? You want precise scientific language used? Does that mean you are giving back the words "gaiety, sickness, and deviant?" Awesome! Because you are right, the precise term is "homosexual." Of course we realize you love that word because of the bonus of its Subtle Wording Effect in public opinion polls Jim blogged about earlier this month. The terms "gay and lesbian" garner much friendlier results than the term "homosexual" when it comes to public opinion polls.

While you're focused on cleaning up your vocabulary to make it more "precise," practice what you preach and give back the word "straight" too, because we all know some heterosexuals are as crooked as can be. Stick to the "precise term ... that sufficed for years": "heterosexual."

March 03, 2010 9:14 AM  
Anonymous there you go again, Jimmy said...

"Of course we realize you love that word because of the bonus of its Subtle Wording Effect in public opinion polls Jim blogged about earlier this month"

the word wizard strikes again

rather than "subtle", the more accurate term would be "truthful"

March 03, 2010 9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bea's right about the term "straight." It's awful.

And I don't know any "straight" people who refer to themselves as straight, except if someone gay is in the room.

March 03, 2010 9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's true

you really shouldn't have any term for the default position

I think homosexuals are the ones that coined the term "straight" to give themselves legitimacy

March 03, 2010 10:19 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

I don't know any "straight" people who refer to themselves as straight, except if someone gay is in the room.

Do you know any white people who refer to themselves as white when there isn't a black person in the room?

March 03, 2010 11:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whites and blacks don't need to declare themselves as such, regardless of who is or isn't in the room. They also don't try indoctrinate children into thinking that they're white even if they're black, or vice versa.

Funny thing.

March 03, 2010 3:32 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

MCPS and MCPL put on special programs for all students during black history month. The purpose of the programs is not indoctrination. Wikipedia reports the purpose of black history month as follows:

When the tradition of Black History Month had started in the US, many in mainstream academia had barely begun to explore black history. At that point, most representation of blacks in history books was only in reference to the low social position they held as slaves and their descendants, with infrequent exceptions such is that of George Washington Carver. In the US, Black History Month is also referred to as African-American History Month. W.E.B. DuBois' 1935 work "Black Reconstruction" was an early work in history that pointed to black contributions.

Teaching about the accomplishments of African Americans helps all Americans overcome racist views instilled by decades of only learning about "the low social position they held as slaves and their descendants." Teaching about their accomplishments can correct misconceptions some people hold about African Americans.

Likewise, MCPS sex education classes do not indoctrinate students, but can correct misconceptions some people hold about LGBT people. These classes teach students to have respect for differences in human sexuality, just like black history month programs teach our students to have respect for members of different human races.

March 03, 2010 4:02 PM  
Anonymous really, inane-B? said...

sexuality and race are not equivalent

"teach students to have respect for differences in human sexuality"

students shouldn't be indoctrinated into the idea that sexual deviance is just another fun difference in a wild and wacky world of hedonism

teach that to your own kids if you want

it's wrong

March 03, 2010 6:03 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

There Anone goes again, using the word "deviance." "Homosexuality" is the term Anone said is more "accurate" and "truthful," yet Anone doesn't use it. Anone's actions show accuracy and truthfulness mean nothing to him/her.

BTW, Anone, homosexuality is about as "deviant" as left-handedness.

sexuality and race are not equivalent

I never said they were equivalent. What I did say is:

These classes teach students to have respect for differences in human sexuality, just like black history month programs teach our students to have respect for members of different human races.

And I'll add these thoughts too. Anone comes here day after day to express disrespect for LGBT people. You reap what you sow.

March 04, 2010 8:46 AM  
Anonymous b, a bird, a looney bird said...

deviance is as accurate as homosexuality

respect for differences in human sexuality, which is a euphemistic phrase, is not the equivalent of respect for members of different human races because sexuality and race are not equivalent

for that matter, inane-B thinkin' is not the equivalent of logic

sometimes, ya gotta state the obvious

March 04, 2010 4:48 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

"I'd like our words back and for the sick advocates to resume using the precise term "homosexual" that sufficed for years."
"Anonymous" March 03, 2010 8:45 AM

"deviance is as accurate as homosexuality"
"Anonymous" March 04, 2010 4:48 PM

"sometimes, ya gotta state the obvious"

March 04, 2010 6:34 PM  
Anonymous is bea a wino? said...

I know you have trouble with complicated topics, looney-B, but homosexual is a subset of deviant

March 04, 2010 9:53 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Anone is the one with the well documented yen for self-medication. I don't need to imbibe in order to sleep at night.

Here's an interesting account from Open Salon by a Texan about the GOP primary ballots in Red Texas this week:

God gets the vote: Republican primary in TX

...Apparently, there were non-binding resolutions on the Republican ballot. (There were none on ours.)

The impact of these resolutions on our daily life? Zip. Nada. The impact on me when I saw them and realized once again that these people who live beside me - whom I work with, play with, worship with and worry with - are so, so different from me in outlook on almost everything? Huge.

I could not believe the items being voted on. They were like a tea party manifesto in summary form. You can read them here: five non-binding resolutions.

The question about the photo ID for voting could be considered a legitimate question and it is one that has plagued TX politics since LBJ's creative vote-gathering in the sixties. I strongly don't agree that two forms of ID should be required to vote, but I can see where that's a topic for legitimate discussion.

That one didn't bother me, except that I can't imagine 92.86% of Democrats agreeing on ANYTHING. We could have a ballot asking if kittens are sweet or chocolate is good and not get that level of agreement.

Question 2 was about whether or not we should control government growth. Good grief. Next time I hear one of them advocating for expanded military action, I will remind them (again) that the military is part of...government. 91.91% in favor.

A whopping 93.09% want to cut taxes. I noticed that there was not a corresponding vote on what government services they'd like to get rid of once taxes were cut. The post office? Social Security? Federal highway funding perhaps? Or maybe they just want to get rid of the National Endowment for the Arts. That giant budget item should save each of them at least $0.15 per year in taxes.

The fourth proposal was the one that really freaked me out. It shouldn't have - I live in West TX after all - but it did. It was a ballot proposal to allow God's name to be invoked in public settings, to allow prayer in school and to allow the Ten Commandments to be posted up in public places. Here it is, in case you haven't checked out the link yet:

Ballot Proposition No. 4: “The use of the word ‘God,’ prayers, and the Ten Commandments should be allowed at public gatherings and public educational institutions, as well as be permitted on government buildings and property.”

Now, as it happens, I am NOT an atheist. I believe in God. I'm even a Christian. But voting that you believe the separation of church and state should be formally breached in this way is simply foolhardy.

The very thing that allows us all to worship freely according to our own traditions is separation of church and state. The fact that 95.14% of my Republican fellow citizens do not see the separation of church and state as something dear to be protected but rather as an obstacle to be whittled away at astounds and terrifies me.

I sort of knew that was probably how a lot of them felt. The fact remains that inside the sanctity of their ballot booths, where Betty and Bob from church could not possibly know what they did, they voted that way. That's scary. 95.14%.

The fifth question involved forcing women to view a sonogram of their baby prior to undergoing an abortion. Oddly enough, this is one area where the monolith had a few tiny cracks. I guess when a proposal might actually affect someone you know or love in a concrete way, ideology gets watered down after all. Only 68.85% of Republicans favored that proposal.

March 05, 2010 9:37 AM  

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