Another Reason I’m Ashamed to Be a Christian But Glad I’m Not Catholic

Why is it all religions have their bonko looney branch? The next Pope will have his hands full, trying to keep one church in place. With idiots like Father Frank Pavone, I can see deep division ahead. The L.A. Times ran a story about a new movement this fruitcake – fresh from the Terri Schiavo fight – is founding with full church backing.

The Roman Catholic Church plans to establish its first religious society devoted exclusively to fighting euthanasia and abortion, church leaders said this week.

The male-only Missionaries of the Gospel of Life — founded by Father Frank A. Pavone, an outspoken opponent of abortion rights — will be housed in a vacant Catholic high school and dormitory on the grounds of the Diocese of Amarillo.

The order will have a decidedly political bent, and will be active rather than contemplative, Pavone said.

Is it me, or is it just wrong for men to be in charge of whether women have abortions? There, I said it.

Its priests will be trained to conduct voter-registration drives, use the media to get out their antiabortion message and lobby lawmakers to restrict abortion rights.

They also will learn to lead demonstrations outside offices where abortions and family-planning services are provided.

More harassment of family planning clinics is not what this world needs.

Healthcare professionals and women’s right advocates often criticize such tactics as acts of intimidation intended to shame women who already are facing difficult decisions

If there is increased activity of that sort, Planned Parenthood said, money likely will be diverted from healthcare to security. And if women are afraid to go to area clinics, the number of unintended pregnancies could rise, the group’s statement said.

That’s O.K. Just send the babies to the Catholic orphanage.

So Tell Us A.P., What Do You REALLY Think?

What’s up with the Associated Press? In a particularly egregious show of slanted reporting, A.P. writer Vickie Chachere makes it clear which side she’s on in the Schiavo affair. In the article, printed in today’s South Florida Sun-Sentinel and other papers, her lede throws the first punch:

Terri Schiavo’s body was cremated Saturday as disagreements continued between her husband and her parents, who were unable to have their own independent expert observe her autopsy.

“Their own independent expert?” If he or she is independent, how can they be “their own?” Six paragraphs on where Terri’s grave will be later, comes this tidbit:

The Schindlers had sought to have independent medical experts observe their daughter’s autopsy at the Pinellas County Medical Examiner’s office, but the agency refused their request, family attorneys David Gibbs III and Barbara Weller said Saturday…

Gibbs said the medical examiner’s videotape, pictures and tissue samples from the autopsy could be reviewed by other experts if the family asks.

Oh, so it wasn’t Michael Schiavo that kept their “independent” experts out, it was the county M.E. Sounds like the medical examiner is pretty damn independent too.

A few more paragraphs and then, just for background, mind you, Chachere takes some more shots.

Over the years, the couple have sought independent investigation of their daughter’s condition and what caused it. Abuse complaints to state social workers were ruled unfounded – although one investigation remains open – and the Pinellas state attorney’s office did not turn up evidence of abuse in one brief probe of the case.

Nice parenthetical phrase there: “although one investigation remains open.” And maybe if the state attorney’s office had just taken longer with their “brief probe,” they could have gotten the goods on Michael Schiavo.

Sheesh. This woman needs to find a home at FOX News.

And We Both Have Oranges

One of the two people who run this blog lives in California and the other in Florida. Today’s New York Times had an interesting article that, along with psychoanalyzing Florida, contrasts the two states and wonders if Florida is the new California.

California used to be the capital of cultural, political and environmental crises, the place that baffled and mesmerized with its vivid goings-on. But while Florida still has a smaller population – not only than California but New York and Texas, too – its rapidly changing demographics and politics, combined with the fact that it is still so young, make for a potent mix.

“California looks like a staid old New England state at this point,” said James Kane, chief pollster for Florida Voter, a nonpartisan polling group. “In some respects people here get embarrassed, but there is a certain amount of pride that we are not like any other state.”

The fact that most of us just moved here yesterday (the saying is, “Everybody wants to be the last one to move to Florida”) and hate everybody that moved here today explains a lot of the weirdness.

After all, most Floridians are not from Florida. If you moved from Boston, Cleveland or New York, Havana or Caracas or San Juan, watching high drama in your backyard feels not so different from watching from a relaxed distance, Mr. Kane said…

“When people have lived here for a while and have roots and multiple generations, some other state will become the next Florida,” he said. “Some other place where it’s warm and there’s a lot of land and opportunity for people to make their fortune.”

Maybe Arizona, he said.

Thanks to Florida Politics for discovering this article.

Pay Backs are Hell

Poor Katerine Harris. The GOP is treating her just like the scum-sucking sell-out she is. The Tampa Tribune noticed when Ken Mehlman failed to give Katherine two big thumbs up.

Asked last week whether Republican Rep. Katherine Harris can unseat U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, national Republican Party Chairman Ken Mehlman praised Harris effusively – but didn’t say yes.

Mehlman’s response, when asked the question in an interview with the Tribune:

“I don’t know. I think it’s very early in the process. I think Katherine Harris is a great public servant. I think she’s somebody who’s got star quality, she’s smart, she has been a very effective legislator, she’s got a great ability to raise resources, and I like her a lot personally.”

You like her a lot personally? Well gee, Ken, don’t get all misty-eyed on us. Sounds like the GOP was happy to use Harris for all she was worth in 2000 and now they don’t want to pay her back. Yet she keeps cropping up, like Rumplestilskin, demanding tribute.

Mr. Pasty Face Karl Rove seems to have decided that Harris is too much of a reminder of stolen elections. As long as he is in charge, it’s likely that Harris will stay in the background. Whether she wants to or not.

It was widely reported last year that White House political operatives worked to dissuade Harris from running for the U.S. Senate in 2004. There have been reports that Karl Rove has asked Harris to stay out again in 2006.

Asked about a recent news story that said Rove was trying to keep Harris out, Mehlman didn’t deny it. “I don’t have any comment on that,” he said.

Gov’t Site Serves Fundie Propaganda to ‘Embarrassed’ Parents

As if more proof were needed that fundamentalist Christianists have taken over our government, there comes the launch of a new government-funded website that discourages young people from using condoms, thereby endangering the health and even the lives of millions of kids whose parents are “embarrassed” to talk with them about sex.

Critics say the Web site,, stresses the promotion of abstinence while branding LGBT youth as pursuing “alternative lifestyles.”

In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, 145 advocacy groups charged “ presents biased and inaccurate information as fact and does not address the needs of many youth, including sexually active youth, youth who have been or are being sexually abused, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.”

The letter also criticized the way LGBT youth were described. “For example, in the section of the Web site where sexual orientation is mentioned, it repeatedly uses the terms ‘alternative lifestyle’ and ‘homosexuality.’ This language assumes that being lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) is a choice and also reduces LGB people to the mere equivalent of their sexual activity.”

The site also offers inaccurate information about condoms – focusing on their failure rates without providing how-to information on using them. “This is like discussing how seatbelts can kill when used improperly, without also discussing how to properly use seatbelts,” said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a leading national gay rights organization.

The site advises parents: “If you believe your adolescent may be gay, or is experiencing difficulties with gender identity or sexual orientation issues, consider seeing a family therapist who shares your values to clarify and work through these issues.”

“That’s really a loaded statement,” said Beth Beck, director of health programs for National Youth Advocacy Coalition. “There’s no discussion for parents to express love if their children come out to them. LGBT youth are being stigmatized. I think the Web site is presenting a very ideological way for parents to talk to their kids about sex and sexual health.”

Three guess who’s really behind this disinformation. Yup, the Neanderthal wing of the Taliban party, in the guise of the National Physicians Center for Family Resources, which has close ties to Focus on the Family.

But here’s the best part: “Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt defended the site to USA Today, saying it was designed to help parents who are ’embarrassed.'”

Pope-a-Thon, Day XXXVVVIIII

We went from the Terri Schiavo death watch – was it really only 15 years? – right into the Pope’s death watch. Now we’re on Day 1 of wall-to-wall coverage his funeral, which I hear continues for the next eight days. Maybe after the Pope’s funeral, the cable news will go right into death watch for Prince Ranier of Monaco.

Meanwhile, with the cameras trained on the corpse of the Pope, what are the Gops up to in DC? We probably won’t know until it’s too late.