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Archive for July, 2010

July 28th, 2010

Another Reason To Keep Processed Foods Out Of Your Kitchen

I’m beginning to regret my decision to buy a small chest freezer for Casa del Garrett last year. First it was my nephew, who went from a small, husky kind of kid into a lean and really handsome young man, simply by relentlessly cutting out all the processed food products from his diet.

He didn’t go vegetarian, but every bit of meat he eats nowadays he buys as cuts from the meat department, not as a frozen ready-made entree, and he cooks it up himself.  Same with all his veggies…no frozen entrees, no canned or packaged this or that.   Nothing ready-made in his diet.  Nothing.  Everything he eats starts with the basic ingredients and he cleans, cuts and cooks it all himself.  And it made a big, no, an Amazing difference in his body mass and energy levels.

I’ve tried to learn from his example, but old habits die hard.  I still, for instance, feed from the bags of ready made french fries I keep in my chest freezer.  But since I went to visit my brother last year, and saw with my own eyes what my nephew’s no-processed-foods diet has done for him, I’ve stopped buying TV dinners and other frozen entrees.  That’s huge for me.  I am old enough to remember when TV dinners came in aluminum trays, and they’ve been an absolute staple of my diet for decades.  No more.

Just last night I discovered another reason to keep crap like that out of the kitchen: you never know who’s making what you’re eating…

Gay battle heats up in Holland

HOLLAND, Mich. – A community group that is trying to make Holland more accepting of gay people planned to meet Wednesday, July 28, to decide how to respond to a full-page advertisement in the local daily newspaper that one of its leaders said included “blatant untruths” about gay people.

See the ad in its entirety here.

The ad, which was sponsored by the Family Research Council and Request Foods and published July 23 in The Holland Sentinel, made reference to efforts toward broadening the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance to include sexual orientation and gender identity. The Holland City Council has referred the measure to its Human Resources Commission for review.

The ad stated that “pro-homosexual activists” were trying to give Holland gays and lesbians “special protections” under employment discrimination laws and called homosexuality a choice that is “harmful to individuals and to society.”

The ad contained the usual FRC lies about gay people.  Alex McEwen over at Huffington Post details some of it

To recap, The Top Ten Myths About Homosexuality is a fraudulent piece of work with many problems in regards to veracity including:

1. Ten Myths repeats the lie that the Robert Spitzer study proves that homosexuality is changeable, excluding the fact that Spitzer has said on more than one occasion that his research was being distorted.

2. Ten Myths utilizes the work of  the organization National Association for  Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). The website Truth Wins Out calls NARTH  a discredited “ex-gay” fringe organization that peddles fraudulent “cures” for homosexuality.

3. Most importantly, Ten Myths intentionally distorts information to make it seem that negative behaviors, i.e. drug and alcohol abuse, are indicative of the LGBT orientation. The pamphlet accomplishes this by citing data in regards to the LGBT community and such negative behaviors while omitting the fact that much of the data places the blame on homophobia for these negative behaviors.

I’ll only note in passing the FRC ad says on the one hand “homosexuals experience considerably higher levels of mental illness and substance abuse then heterosexuals.  A detailed review of the research has shown that “no other group of comparable size in society experiences such intense and widespread pathology.”  And yet…  “Research shows that homosexuals actually have significantly higher levels of educational attainment then the general public, while the findings on homosexual income are mixed.”  You have no idea how hard it is to be a pathological drug addicted substance abusing ivy leaguer and still manage all that hedge fund money.  I just don’t know how I do it.

But note their sponsor.  Request Foods is one of those zillions of faceless little sub-contractors to the big food companies, whose products could be anywhere in the food chain and you, the consumer won’t necessarily know it because they keep their client lists a Very Big secret.

What is known so far, is that Campbells Soup is one of their biggest customers.  But if you’re thinking that Request’s CEO Jack DeWitt is just a wee bit misinformed about his gay neighbors, some basically decent fellow who just happened to witlessly buy into FRC’s steaming anti-gay crock-o-bigot-shit, let me show you the product Jack is proud to call his very own: Mary Ellen’s Blessings at Home Frozen Entrees…

The frozen entree that comes with a little family blessing “table talk” card that families “can use to start discussions during mealtime.” Sweet!

The Mary Ellen’s brand and family of products are the brainchild of Request Foods President, Jack DeWitt and his wife Mary (Mary Ellen DeWitt). “Mary always wanted our family to be together at dinner time. It’s where many of life’s lessons are learned. We would share our feelings and make time for one another, even on the busiest days. People are so busy today, taking kids to soccer practice and band concerts. Dinner ought to be a time when everyone can sit and talk and enjoy a healthy meal together,” explains Mr. DeWitt.

The “table talk” cards were developed by Dan Seaborn’s ministry Winning at Home, whose primary focus is to provide every family the joy of “winning at home.” Seaborn is an international speaker, author, radio commentator and pastor. “With all the studies affirming the importance of family development, Request Foods, with its introduction and expansion of Mary Ellen’s Blessings at Home, is in the forefront of a rising new strategy to assist and strengthen families,” Seaborn said.

It’s not just the food that’s processed, sterilized, pre-packaged and frozen, it’s the piety.  Pity the poor kids whose parents buy this…food product.

The response to Mary Ellen’s Blessings at Home has been incredible! John from Illinois says: “As a single father of two teens, many times I don’t find time to prepare a good meal. I serve frozen meals at times to help with meal planning and time management. We found the product similar to a recipe we enjoy. I will continue to buy your product, as it is a food item we would buy anyway, but now we have the thoughts on the cards to look forward to. I’m off to check out your website, imagining how many families will be blessed by your message and how many will turn to God because of your witness.”

Joe from Georgia writes: “My wife and I were doing some grocery shopping in Wal-Mart and picked up one of your entrees. We got home and opened the box and out popped this card with Scripture on it. I was amazed I read it to my wife and began looking closer at the box. It had one of my favorite Scriptures on it (Proverbs 3:5-6). We enjoyed the meal, and we will be going back for more of Mary Ellen’s entrees because we were so impressed that you and your company have the courage to be open about your relationship with Christ. You’re a witness to others who desperately need to hear about Him today. It was good to be reminded that I need to order my day so my family and I can have some quality time together at the dinner table.”

Well if I was a kid in those households I know I could hardly wait for dinner time…

…to End.  But Request Food’s motto is We make your brand…Better...  So I guess even Jesus’s own words can be improved through the latest techniques in processed food manufacture.

Request Foods is one of the nation’s largest custom-prepared frozen food companies. Their mission is to honor God in all they do, to help people develop, and to pursue excellence. “It is our hope and prayer that Mary Ellen’s Blessings at Home entrees will bring busy families back together to share the blessings of a home-cooked meal and the fellowship of each other’s company,” said Mr. DeWitt.

I have a suggestion.  If you want to bring families together Mr. DeWitt, you can start by healing the wounds you’ve been gouging with your bare hands into families with gay family members.  Then start healing the wounds you’ve slashed into your community.  We are your neighbors Mr. DeWitt.  Stop spitting in our faces.  At least stop expecting us to thank you for saving our immortal souls while you’re teaching our families to hate us.

And…if your goal is “to encourage confident, creative team members by demonstrating respect for every individual”, and that “maintaining a supportive working environment enables everyone to work to their utmost potential”, you can start by assuring you gay employees they won’t be tossed out of a job simply because they are gay, and further, that you don’t actually think they’re the human garbage that FRC ad and its supporting pamphlet says they are.

And…if you want your “…team members to think of their positions as gratifying and enjoyable.” you can at the very least tell your “team members”, your gay employees, and their co-workers, that they’re not working for you just to earn you money to give to the FRC so they can spit in their faces.

And finally…how does someone turn the bible into a collection of frozen entree dinner time fortune cookies and lecture their neighbors about the quality of their private lives with a straight face?  You got lucky numbers on the backs of those cards too?  I strongly suggest you pay a little less attention to the care of your neighbor’s souls Mr. DeWitt and start looking hard at your own.  It’s clearly been neglected for a long, long time.  In fact it’s looking a tad…frozen.

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

July 26th, 2010

Did You Say “Hate Is Not A Family Value” Maggie…?

(Cross Posted over at Truth Wins Out…)

Via Box Turtle Bulletin, via Bilerico… Here’s a cheerful supporter’s sign at the National Organization for Marriage’s “One Man, One Woman” bus stop in Indianapolis today…


Timothy Kincaid adds, “That’s Larry Adams. When the Trial Trackers interviewed Mr. Adams, a NOM staffer advised him not to say “anything inflammatory” but seemed to have no objection to Mr. Adams’ signage.”

Nice. Let’s wave signs calling for gay Americans to be put to death, and whenever some counter-protester gets uppity about it, lecture them that hate is not a family value.

Not that millions of dollars spent to warn people that the homosexuals want to defile the institution of marriage in order to destroy families and invade the schools so they can turn everyone’s kids gay has any tangible impact on the lives of gay Americans…

Hate Crime: Indiana Man Paul Michalik Murdered for being Gay?

A man identified as 36-year old Paul Michalik was found murdered early Sunday morning in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Michalik, who was last seen attending a party at the home of Brian Paul Brothers, was beaten to death by Brothers, in front of his partner of 17-years, allegedly because he was gay. reports that deputies with the Allen County Sheriff’s Department were called around 4:00 a.m. to investigate a disturbance. When they arrived, they found Michalik dead.

“According to court documents filed in Allen Superior Court Monday, Michalik and Jerry Lee Chambers, were at a party at Brian Paul Brothers’ House Sunday morning when the two were beaten up by Brothers,” reports Wane. Com.

News reports stated that Brothers kicked and punched both Michalik and his partner Chambers repeatedly with his hands and feet.

The Journal Gazette also reported that court documents also showed “a witness told police he [Chambers] and Michalik were beaten up by Brothers because of their sexual orientation.”

To Sylvia Tyszler, a friend of Michalik, the incident was clearly a hate crime.

“He was my best friend,” Tyszler told The News- Sentinel

Just another entry in the roll call of the culture war dead. Don’t say anything inflammatory. Just let that drawing of a noose speak for itself.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Did You Say “Hate Is Not A Family Value” Maggie…?

When You Told Me Change Was Possible I Didn’t Think You Meant In Wads Of Three Dollar Bills

(Cross Posted over at Truth Wins Out)

Jim Burroway over at Box Turtle Bulletin catches a little bird tweeting

“You know a counterfeit is a counterfeit when the happiness and freedom it initially promised ends up leading to deeper bondage…”
– Tweet from Exodus International president Alan Chambers

As Jim says, those of us who have watched the ex-gay movement know the language and what Alan is calling “counterfeit” there is what anyone capable of seeing the people for the homosexuals would call love…except of course homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex. Our relationships, the lives same-sex couples make together, the ups and downs, the joys and sorrows that are the stories of lives lived together in love and contentment…it’s really just fakery on our parts. And not very good fakery at that. We’re just, as Orson Scott Card once put it, “playing at house”. A second-rate counterfeit of the real thing only heterosexuals are capable of. That rush of delight when the one you love smiles into your eyes…the way your heart beats a little faster when they take your hand in theirs…it isn’t love. Perhaps it was the meatloaf.

Nice. So let me see if I understand… He can just flat-out deny the authenticity of our intimate relationships and that’s his godly prerogative. But when we deny the authenticity of his unctuous “love” for us homosexual reprobates…when we question whether gay people entering into opposite sex relationships is a healthy thing, let alone an honest thing, let alone a decent thing, let alone “change”… well then We’re being hateful.

But I suspect a lot of gay people who’ve spent some time in Alan’s little corner of the Anti-Gay Industrial Complex, and came out of it more heart-wounded then they went in, a tad lighter in the wallet and just as gay as when they signed on the dotted line, can say they know a few things now that they didn’t know before about what a deeper bondage feels like. And…counterfeit change, counterfeit heterosexuality, counterfeit psychoanalysis, counterfeit piety, counterfeit sympathy, counterfeit support…and especially counterfeit “love”.

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

How The Game Is Played…(continued)

(Cross posted from Truth Wins Out…)

The Washington Post dug itself a little deeper into the gutter the other day (I guess that’s still possible), when it allowed Bill Donohue, of the One Man Catholic Defense League, to repeat in its pages one of the older and more enduring lies in the kook pew’s arsenal…

Alfred Kinsey was the first to identify a correlation between homosexuality and the sexual abuse of minors. In 1948, he found that 37 percent of all male homosexuals admitted to having sex with children under 17 years old.

This is why I own a copy of Kinsey’s Sexual Behavior In The Human Male. Nobody but other sex researchers, and those of us with an interest in fact checking the bigots, actually takes the trouble to go through its page after page after page after page of dry, meticulously documented tables. Which makes it an easy book for the bigots to to lie through their teeth about. In fact, Kinsey said no such thing as, happily, some of the comments to that Washington Post column are pointing out. What Kinsey discovered, was that 37 percent of all males had some overt homosexual experience to the point of orgasm, sometime between adolescence and old age.

Notice the difference? It’s not even 37 percent actually had sex when they were teenagers. But never mind that for a moment. If having had gay sex with a teenager, when you yourself were also a teenager makes you a pedophile (and yes, remarkably, some of them will insist even that is so), then tell me what percentage of the heterosexual population are also pedophiles? Is everyone who ever took a roll in the hay with their high school sweetheart a pedophile now? The line to register as a sex offender is going to be a tad long then. Maybe we can all just check a box off during the next census.

This kind of mendacity doesn’t happen accidentally and this one is actually quite old now. I saw them dispensing this back in the 80s, when all the kook pews had to vent on was the letters to the editor page and Usenet. I don’t know if Paul Cameron floated this one first but it has his touch written all over it. Call it an early example of how to employ real scientific research for a bit of deft hate mongering by omitting one small bit of information…like in this case, that Kinsey was talking about sexual experience over a lifetime (and wouldn’t you know, teenagers tend to have sex with other teenagers when their parents aren’t looking…). It’s been debunked so often that the instant Bill puts it out there people start filling the comments with its rebuttal. But you can see here, and it’s almost sad to look at, how the anti-gay industrial complex doggedly keeps all the old lies in their tool kit. Because ultimately, even when they don’t fool anyone at all anymore, repeating them still gives the faithful something to scream at the world, whenever it looks like the world isn’t listening to them anymore.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on How The Game Is Played…(continued)

July 20th, 2010

Anxiety In The Hills Of Zion

The preacher stopped at least, and there arose out the darkness a woman with her hair pulled back into a little tight knot. She began so quickly we couldn’t hear what she said, but soon her voice rose resonantly and we could follow her. She was denouncing the reading of books. Some wandering book agent, it appeared, had come to her cabin and tried to sell her a specimen of his wares. She refused to touch it. Why, indeed, read a book? If what was in it was true, then everything in it was already in the Bible. If it was false, then reading it would imperil the soul.

H.L. Mencken, The Hills of Zion

Some days I marvel at how lucky I was, to enter grade school when I did, just when the Soviet Union was scaring the hell out of the United States.  Looking back, it’s astonishing to me now, how utterly taken for granted it was, that all American kids needed, and by god were going to get if the feds had anything to do with it, a good education in the sciences.  The Soviets had launched Sputnik, which meant their missiles could hit any city in the U.S.  They were going to own a good chunk of planet Earth and outer space too if we didn’t get up to speed.  Suddenly having science in the classroom Mattered.   Things are a tad different now.

As soon as I saw it in my morning Google news page, I knew it would be spreading through the kook pews like wildfire by days end…

The Roots of White Anxiety

In March of 2000, Pat Buchanan came to speak at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. Harvard being Harvard, the audience hissed and sneered and made wisecracks. Buchanan being Buchanan, he gave as good as he got. While the assembled Ivy Leaguers accused him of homophobia and racism and anti-Semitism, he accused Harvard — and by extension, the entire American elite — of discriminating against white Christians.

A decade later, the note of white grievance that Buchanan struck that night is part of the conservative melody. You can hear it when Glenn Beck accuses Barack Obama of racism, or when Rush Limbaugh casts liberal policies as an exercise in “reparations.” It was sounded last year during the backlash against Sonia Sotomayor’s suggestion that a “wise Latina” jurist might have advantages over a white male judge, and again last week when conservatives attacked the Justice Department for supposedly going easy on members of the New Black Panther Party accused of voter intimidation.

To liberals, these grievances seem at once noxious and ridiculous. (Is there any group with less to complain about, they often wonder, than white Christian Americans?) But to understand the country’s present polarization, it’s worth recognizing what Pat Buchanan got right…

That the Nazis couldn’t have killed all those Jews?  That if Britain had not waged war on Germany there wouldn’t have been a Holocaust? Oh…wait…

Last year, two Princeton sociologists, Thomas Espenshade and Alexandria Walton Radford, published a book-length study of admissions and affirmative action at eight highly selective colleges and universities. Unsurprisingly, they found that the admissions process seemed to favor black and Hispanic applicants, while whites and Asians needed higher grades and SAT scores to get in. But what was striking, as Russell K. Nieli pointed out last week on the conservative Web site Minding the Campus, was which whites were most disadvantaged by the process: the downscale, the rural and the working-class.

[Emphasis mine…]  Never mind that we’re actually not talking about White Anxiety here but Rural White Anxiety.  Never mind that not all American Christians are white, let alone rural.  Never mind that this…analysis…comes from Minding the Campus, which is a Manhattan Institute front group (Especially never mind that one of their published authors is Bell Curve author Charles Murray, who explains that black people have lower IQs not because poverty and racism limit their educational opportunities, but because they’re just…well…genetically inferior.  Please do never mind that!)

Here’s the problem:

…and this…

And this…



And.  This.

If all you’re seeing there is a religious verses science struggle you are missing it.  This isn’t about religion verses science, this is about two utterly different and incomparable views of what constitutes knowledge.  In the Christianist, fundamentalist view, knowledge is something that is received.  In science, knowledge is something that is discovered.

The difference is profound.  One group of kids gets taught how to think, how to ask questions, how to evaluate, how to make independent judgments…and the other gets taught to be afraid of questioning authority and to always defend the tribe against outsiders.  And the worst kind of outsider is the one who stops blindly accepting everything they’ve been told by their tribe.  Edjucatin’ will do that to a kid.  What you aren’t getting, is the entire grade school life of rural white kids these days is now being carefully, meticulously geared toward preventing a higher education from ever taking root.

But cultural biases seem to be at work as well. Nieli highlights one of the study’s more remarkable findings: while most extracurricular activities increase your odds of admission to an elite school, holding a leadership role or winning awards in organizations like high school R.O.T.C., 4-H clubs and Future Farmers of America actually works against your chances. Consciously or unconsciously, the gatekeepers of elite education seem to incline against candidates who seem too stereotypically rural or right-wing or “Red America.”

It is not the “gatekeepers of elite education” keeping rural white kids from getting into their schools Douthat you drooling moron, it’s their fear and loathing of anything that doesn’t righteously affirm their fundamentalist, tribal culture.  It’s the knee jerk reflexive hostility to that very education that their world view is drilling, drilling, drilling into them, that’s keeping them out of America’s big universities.

And it’s nothing new.  It has been going on, and getting worse and worse, since Scopes.  I was lucky…so incredibly lucky…that I entered grade school for one brief shining moment when nobody was paying any attention to the howls from the kook pews.  (Thank you Khrushchev!)  A kid today from the rural bible belt part of America who wants, really wants, that higher education has had the cards stacked against them by their grade school experience.  They haven’t been taught how to think critically, because that might lead them to question the story of Noah’s Ark.  They haven’t been taught how to sift through a set of facts to find an answer, because the culture they grow up in not only instills in them a knee jerk hostility to any fact that contradicts eternal tribal truths, it also teaches them to hold onto ideas that are palpably, laughingly false against even the most staringly obvious facts, in defense of those truths.

And it’s getting worse.  Now their schools are on a roll to dumb down their curriculums even more.

Texas Board of Education cuts Thomas Jefferson out of its textbooks.

The Texas Board of Education has been meeting this week to revise its social studies curriculum. During the past three days, “the board’s far-right faction wielded their power to shape lessons on the civil rights movement, the U.S. free enterprise system and hundreds of other topics”:

– To avoid exposing students to “transvestites, transsexuals and who knows what else,” the Board struck the curriculum’s reference to “sex and gender as social constructs.”

– The Board removed Thomas Jefferson from the Texas curriculum, “replacing him with religious right icon John Calvin.”

– The Board refused to require that “students learn that the Constitution prevents the U.S. government from promoting one religion over all others.”

– The Board struck the word “democratic” from the description of the U.S. government, instead terming it a “constitutional republic.”

Tell me how a university is supposed to try and teach those kids…anything.  Those school boards are grimly determined to keep their kids from crossing over to the other side in the culture war…the side where the pursuit of knowledge isn’t just a good thing, but a great adventure…and in the process they’re locking them behind their own down home version of the iron curtain.  A university admissions officer is going to look at their school system and know right away that kid will never make it past their first year, possibly not even their first semester, and they simply won’t bother with them.  That’s not the university’s fault.  It’s one thing to make room for an urban minority kid whose disadvantage is money, and another to give that seat to a rural kid whose disadvantage is money and Intelligent Design.

And yes, it is very, very bad for this country to have it divided into well educated urban citizens verses people who have had any genuine desire to Learn pummeled out of them by a culture scared to death of anything resembling independence of thought.  I would argue that the “gatekeepers of elite education” really do need to do some serious educational outreach to the white rural population.  But do you understand the explosion of bitter hate and resentment that reaching out to those communities, trying, really trying hard, and with energy, to bring them science, world literature, logic and semantics, and all the humanities that they’ve been mocking for generations as “effete”…do you understand the nuclear explosion that would follow?  The howls of “elitist cultural aggression” would be defining.  And their republican enablers would take to the talk radio airwaves and cable TV junkyards with proof…proof mind you, that the elites were trying to brain wash their children…possibly to make them gay…ban the bible, impose a socialist new world order and sell their white women to the negros as reparations.

Try…just try…to bring the rural white population into higher education in greater numbers and they’ll just dig themselves even deeper, deeper into the gutter, to prevent their children from ever learning anything that might make them question that bedrock of bigotry, paranoia and resentment their culture sits and sulks on.  I can appreciate that urban minorities have their own host of problems preventing them from getting into the better Universities… poverty… crime… violence… a general breakdown of family and community.   But the problem isn’t that “the gatekeepers of elite education” are prejudiced against low income white people.  The problem is that a kid in a drug gang infested urban slum whose school is falling apart because their city has no money actually has a better chance of leaving grade school being able to think for themselves then a kid from bible belt America does.

He argued that the gift of tongues was real and that education was a snare. Once his children could read the Bible, he said, they had enough. Beyond lay only infidelity and damnation. Sin stalked the cities. Dayton itself was a Sodom. Even Morgantown had begun to forget God…

[Edited and expanded a tad for clarity…]

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

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