Over at ThinkProgress, Zack Ford quotes and verifies a letter from a father disowning his son for being gay. Here?s an excerpt:
Don?t expect any further conversations with me. No communications at all. I will not come to visit, nor do I want you in my house.
You?ve made your choice though wrong it may be. God did not intend for this unnatural lifestyle.
If you choose not to attend my funeral, my friends and family will understand.
Read it in full. It?s heartbreaking.
Yes, I often celebrate here how much LGBT rights are winning. But here?s what we haven?t won: safety for children growing up in families that have been taught to consider their own offspring an abomination if they were gay.
About ten years ago, when I was doing public speaking on marriage equality, I found myself talking to LGBT college kids across the country. The best part was getting to spend time with the kids who volunteered to pick me up from the airport and ferry me to and from my hotel. But I was stunned by how often I heard the same story: This girl or boy's parents had kicked him or her out, cutting all ties, after discovering he or she was gay. Maybe it had happened in high school. Maybe she'd lived in her car for four months, too proud to tell her friends. Maybe he was living on a friend?s couch, attending college every other semester since it took that long to save up UC Riverside's tuition while working as a 7-11 night clerk. Those stories persuaded me that there is indeed something to the hard-to-verify estimates that roughly 20 percent of homeless young people are gay or transgender?far, far more than our roughly 3 percent of the population. It made me grateful to The Point Foundation, which helps fund and mentor these thrown-away kids, giving them hope and connections again.
As Ford notes, the devastation that happens to these kids is why the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer and his ilk are so dangerous. (Jane Mayer profiled Fischer in The New Yorker recently; the excellent article is behind a paywall.) Fischer recently praised the idea of an ?underground railroad? that would kidnap children born to same-sex couples; he also came out in support of the ministers who helped the ?born again? Lisa Miller kidnap her daughter and take her to Nicaragua so that the child would never see her other mother, Janet Jenkins. (Do read the NYT article investigating that case; it's also heartbreaking.) Fischer and others counsel Americans to sever ties with their children and kidnap the children of LGBT parents.
Rhetoric like that has consequences. It puts teenagers on the street and in harm's way. It tears families apart. Hatred sounds like this:
Have a good birthday and good life.
No present exchanges will be accepted.
Romney?s task for this summer was to reintroduce himself to the public as a competent moderate?someone who could get the economy back into shape by sheer dint of his business experience. But since Team Obama began its savage attacks on Bain Capital, the Romney campaign has been on the defensive. Revelations about Bain-led outsourcing, his ?shadow years? at the company, and his opaque tax returns have wreaked havoc with his favorability ratings. Romney?s unfavorability is higher now than it?s been since the GOP primaries. Romney?s 40 percent favorability is the lowest mid-summer rating for a presidential nominee since 1948.
This, to put it lightly, is a big problem for Team Romney. Contrary to what the campaign seems to think, the economy isn?t bad enough to guarantee a defeat for President Obama. As Nate Cohn points out at The New Republic, Obama?s disapproval rating has hovered at 47 percent?the same as his approval rating. Americans are divided on the president?s tenure, but aren?t eager to throw him out of office. They also still like him, and see him as someone who looks out for their interests.
To solidify doubts about Obama and bring voters to his side, Romney needs to do more than just breathe?he has to offer a meaningful alternative. And to sell that alternative, he needs to paint a more positive picture of himself. But his campaign hasn?t done that; instead, it has focused on attacking Obama, which?because voters are firm in their opinions of the president?is a waste of money for everyone but the campaign?s consultants.
As for the attacks themselves? If, like a normal person, you haven?t been paying attention, it suffices to say that they have an unusual tone, given Romney?s position as the presumptive Republican nominee. Here are the most recent hits from Team Romney:
Romney?s message should be simple. ?The economy is broken. Obama didn?t work. I can fix it.? But with the exception of ?You didn?t build that,? none of these attacks are centered on the economy, or aimed at swing voters. Even the welfare attack, meant for working-class whites, is most likely to affect people who already lean to the GOP. If anything, these ads look like ones you would see in a party primary, and in particular, from a candidate who has to convince the base of his loyalty.
To wit, Romney's most recent ad hits Obama for the contraception mandate?which requires employers to drop extra charges for birth control?and presents it as an assault on religious freedom, because it doesn?t exempt state-supported Catholic hospitals. This appeals to conservatives, but I have my doubts about swing voters:
Two facts to keep in mind. First, women make up the bulk of undecided voters. Second, Obama is winning white women with four-year college degrees, who are a crucial bloc in swing states like Virginia, Florida, and Colorado. To win this election, Romney needs to run up the score among white voters?i.e., he has to win white women by a larger margin than previous Republicans. To do this, he needs to downplay the extent to which he?s opposed to expanding access to reproductive health care, including contraception.
(He also needs to downplay his characteristic hypocrisy?as governor of Massachusetts, he supported similar policies, and Romneycare subsidized birth control for low-income families.)
Women independents are already hostile to the GOP?in a survey released this summer, Emily?s List found that they scored Republicans low on ?respecting women,? and remember the GOP?s attempt to defund Planned Parenthood. ?The independent women we spoke to saw it as a priorities problem,? says Jess McIntosh, deputy communications director for the group, ?Republicans are more focused on birth control and social issues than they are on creating jobs.?
An ad that focuses on contraception is not going to help Romney with women. It only appeals to the Republican base, and if Romney is still working on that, he has a problem. A presidential candidate who doesn?t have a unified base is a presidential candidate who can?t win?ask Jimmy Carter.
I expect to see more of this. Yesterday, a Romney spokesperson pushed back against an Obama ally by citing Romney?s health care law, which served as a template for the Affordable Care Act. This inspired howls from the conservative movement, which distrusts Romney and doubts his commitment to the cause. To fix this, Romney will have to keep pandering to conservatives?and turn further away from the center.
As has been the case since he stepped on the national stage, the former Massachusetts governor is stuck. If he tries to put on his moderate persona, he?s attacked by conservatives. And if he tries to assauge them, he looks less appealing to everyone else. Something will have to give, and he?s too risk-averse to challenge his base. Unfortunately for his campaign, Romney will not likely have a Sistah Souljah moment. But he needs one.Mitt RomneyThe Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day SaintsLatter Day Saint movementPolitics of the United StatesPoliticsSocial Issues
Only weeks, if not days, away from Mitt Romney announcing his pick for the running mate, several prominent conservatives are pushing very hard for Rep. Paul Ryan. Just today the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Rick Lowry of the National Review[...]
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College Republicans are just like regular Republicans.
Only with ink and gay friends.This is cuter than a baby panda cam:
Matt Hoagland, the county leader of a group of young North Carolina Republicans, is busy trying to ramp up enthusiasm for Mitt Romney at the grass-roots level. So there are a few things he avoids mentioning to prospective young voters he wants to woo, including the hot-button topics like abortion and same-sex marriage, which have dominated campaigns past. [...]Isn't that sweet? Young Republicans trying to get their fellow kids these days to get excited about Mitt Romney by carefully avoiding those "hot-button topics" that completely define the Republican Party. It's so sweet and innocent, isn't it, these junior schmucks-in-training trying to find a way to be schmucks, but, you know, with tats and gay sex. Like this kid:
?When it comes to what you do in your bedroom, or where you go to church, or where you want to put a tattoo, we just couldn?t care less,? Mr. Hoagland said at a meeting last month of young Republicans in Charlotte.
Zoey Kotzambasis, vice president of the College Republicans at the University of Arizona, considers herself a conservative. But she supports both same-sex marriage and abortion rights. Those are not just her opinions.So what exactly do those liberal-to-moderate Republicans thinks is so swell about the Republican Party? The threat to repeal Obamacare to kick those kids off their parents' health insurance? The defunding of student loans that help those kids put the "College" in "College Republican"? If it's not the awesome hatin' gays and chicks and brown people and black people and poor people and people with accents and people who worship a different God or none at all or ... Wait, what the hell else does the Republican Party have to offer again? And why is it that little Zoey Kotzambasis is trying to get other kids excited about Mitt Romney?
?A lot of the College Republicans I know share the same liberal-to-moderate social views,? she added. ?And I think that?s changing the face of the party.?
?I would prefer that Mitt Romney leave social issues sort of alone, because I do disagree with him on those things,? said Ms. Kotzambasis [...] ?He keeps saying that the first things he?ll tackle are health care and the economy, and I hope he tackles the economy. I?m graduating in a couple years, and it?s pretty dismal where I am.?Yeah, okay, Zoey. In that case, it makes perfect sense that you'd be supporting the guy who thinks the answer for you and your dismal-looking future is to "take a risk, get the education, borrow money if you have to from your parents, start a business." About 20 grand should do it, says Mitt, unless you happen to be a Son of Mitt, in which case, you cool with $10 million?
Otherwise, Zoey, if jobs and reproductive rights and your gay friends and "different lifestyles" and your dismal-looking future are what matter to you, as you say, the good news is that there's already a party out there for you. It just isn't the Republican one.
Hopefully back to the blogging thing for better or worse tonight ? in the meantime, I give you the following dose of reality on Willard Mitt Romney (here)?
?and after enduring a recent family loss of the four-legged variety, I feel like putting up this video.
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The phone hacking scandal engulfing Rupert Murdoch's media empire overseas cost News Corporation $224 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30, the company announced on Wednesday. In the last quarter alone, News Corp. spent $57 million related to the investigation.
Overall, the media conglomerate posted a quarterly net loss of $1.6 billion. The loss reflected a $2.9 billion "restructuring charge" related to its publishing business. The company intends to split its entertainment and broadcast assets from its publishing businesses, which include newspapers and book publishing. The company's publishing income continued to fall last quarter.
Even with the corporate split, the hacking scandal shows no signs of relenting. Late last month, British police announced charges against prominent former News of the World employees, including Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson.
Brooks, the former News of the World editor and former News International chief executive, faces phone-hacking charges in addition to allegedly perverting the court of justice. Coulson, who was the tabloid's editor during the alleged hacking, faces hacking charges as well as perjury charges. Coulson most recently served as UK Prime Minister David Cameron's communications chief.
In a statement released with the company's earnings, Murdoch said News Corp. continues to "innovate, grow and consistently adapt to the changing media industry landscape." The company will "only be enhanced" by the planned corporate split, he added.
Is Romney flip-floppery just impossible to square with the GOP brand? TPM Reader CL says yes ...I think JR is right that the essence of the attack on Kerry was that he was inconsistent, flip-flopper, whatever. But I disagree that this is unimportant[...]
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THE GERMAN diver Stephan Feck lost his footing on the board and landed with a splat. Judges awarded him zeros.
Feck had company, but it’s been a tough Olympics for Germany.
China’s Qin Kai, who was leading at the time, completely mis-timed one of his last dives, drawing a dismal score of 3.5. Britain also fell foul of the disastrous night, with Jack Laugher, ranked seventh in the world, suffering a “knee buckle” on his final dive as his legs gave way. The visibly nervous 17-year-old, who was the youngest competitor in the field, crashed into the pool with a perplexed expression and also ended with scores of zero. [Express.co.uk]
City officials pulled the plug on a vibrator giveaway by the Trojan condom company yesterday, disappointing potentially thousands of pleasure-seeking women who hoped to get their hands on some no-cost sex toys. ?I?m 57 years old. I should be able to get a vibrator!? declared Linda Postell, who was among hundreds of women (and men!) waiting in the heat on Pearl Street only to be left unsatisfied. ?I have a problem with the smoking ban, and the soda ban ? and now this!? Trojan sent tingles of excitement across the city when it announced the giveaway of some 10,000 vibrating sex toys from hot-dog-style pushcarts. [New York Post]
WAY TO DISAPPOINT the ladies, and all over a lousy permit.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his office have finally jumped the pleasure cart.
It’s sure not the New York City I remember so very fondly.
From CNN:A Delaware doctor and his wife were arrested this week after their daughter told authorities that she was punished by "waterboading," police said.The 11-year-old girl told police that her father, pediatrician Melvin Morse, would hold her face under a running faucet causing the water to shoot up her nose, the Delaware State Police said. The punishments happened at least four times...