Hillary Clinton keynotes National Prayer Breakfast; Clinton and Obama condemn Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill

The headline says it all. There can be little doubt that the Fellowship Foundation condemns the bill. They provided one of the most powerful platforms possible to offer specific condemnations of the bill.

In Clinton’s keynote address and Obama’s prepared remarks, they both condemned the bill.

Health care reform: Deja vu all over again

Eleven years ago, I wrote a brief history of health insurance for the Journal of Psychology and Christianity (“Managed care: It’s like deja vu all over again,” 1998, vol. 17, 131-141) as a part of special issue on managed behavioral health care.

I thought of that article this past week while reading various news reports about President Obama’s push to enact some version of health care/health insurance reform. I argued in that paper that managed care was one on many private sector arrangements designed in part to avoid government run national health insurance (NHI).

managed care

Obama says health care reform will lower costs, however, the Congressional Budget Office says reform as envisioned will spike the deficit by over 200 billion during the next decade.

For some reason, Democrats want us to believe this:

Democrats insisted the budget analysis ignores savings and Obama’s pledge not to add red ink to the federal ledger.

For about 100 years, the debate has come and gone. When a politician or anyone really says, buy now or else you lose your change, I worry. We needed the bailout now, we needed to bail out GM now, and now health reform now

President Obama urged Congress yesterday to push past their growing doubts and pass a comprehensive health-care reform package this year, saying that a better opportunity to remake the nation’s health-care system may not arise for generations.

Here is more on the CBO estimates. If you can read this and believe the current plans will be cost neutral, then you have more faith than I do.

The concern I have at this point in history, is that the private sector seems to have rolled over and may expect that NHI is truly inevitable this go around. The hope to offset more federalization of health care probably rests with conservative Democrats and resistance to two main policy points: one, the increases to budget deficit as noted and two, the proposed inclusion of abortion in any federal plan.

Obama says health care costs, sun to rise

Obama says health care costs, sun to rise

At a political rally today, President Barack Obama touted his new health care reform proposal to a sun-baked crowd in New Jersey. Stunning the crowd, he said, ”Mark it down, people, healthcare costs are going to go up.”

Obama added, “And if we wait long enough, the sun is going to come up in the morning too.”

Harmon Morris of Boonton, NJ, clearly overcome by the President’s predictions, said, “The President really convinced me. “

A few anti-health reform activists carried protest signs that read “God did not make little green apples.” Susan Sharp from Dover, Delaware said, “The Administration wants us to believe costs will go up and a lot of other stuff. But we don’t believe his rhetoric.”

Undeterred, the President stayed on message saying, “As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti, it will snow in Minneapolis in the winter time.”

Elsewhere, wrapping up her confirmation hearing, Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor, revealed that she once fronted a band known as the Wise Latinas, but assured Senators that it would not affect her judgment on the High Court.

For more on this story, go here and here.

Kevin Jennings appointed to Department of Education post

Big surprise, you elect a liberal president, you get liberal cabinet secretaries who in turn appoint liberal people to their departments. I can’t say I was surprised that Education Secretary Arne Duncan appointed Kevin Jennings, founder of GLSEN and co-chair of LGB fundraising for Barack Obama to be the assistant deputy secretary of the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools inside the Department of Education.

That said, I am concerned about this appointment. While in recent years I have warmed to the reasonable objectives of GLSEN which include violence prevention, I am not convinced that Mr. Jennings is the guy for this position. As a backdrop for my concerns about his views, readers should read the 2005 paper, Remembering Brewster.

In this paper, I note that Jennings told two different stories about an encounter with a student, Brewster, at Concord Academy in Massachusetts. In 2004, Mr. Jennings was accused by then chair of the NEA Republican Educators Caucus, Diane Lenning, of failing to report a potential abuse situation involving Brewster. At the time, Mr. Jennings denied the allegation and demanded via detailed letter from his lawyer that Mrs. Lenning retract the accusations. On point, the letter read:

Nowhere in the book does Mr. Jennings state he understood that the student was being abused or victimized, or that he suffered injury from any abuse, or indeed that the student was even having sex.

She never retracted and he never sued.

Later, I was given a tape of a 2000 lecture by Mr. Jennings discussing Brewster. He was speaking to a GLSEN rally in Iowa. In that lecture, he indicated that Brewster was involved in sexual behavior of some kind. After being informed that Brewster was not in class, Jennings went to find him in his room. Here is the relevant part of the talk (click link for the mp3 – you might have to turn up the volume):

And I said, “Brewster, what are you doing in there asleep?” And he said, “Well, I’m tired.” And I said, “Well we all are tired and we all got to school today.” And he said, “Well I was out late last night.” And I said, “What were you doing out late on a school night.” And he said, “Well, I was in Boston…” Boston was about 45 minutes from Concord. So I said, “What were you doing in Boston on a school night Brewster?” He got very quiet, and he finally looked at me and said, “Well I met someone in the bus station bathroom and I went home with him.” High school sophomore, 15 years old. That was the only way he knew how to meet gay people. I was a closeted gay teacher, 24 years old, didn’t know what to say. Knew I should say something quickly so I finally said, “My best friend had just died of AIDS the week before.” I looked at Brewster and said, “You know, I hope you knew to use a condom.” He said to me something I will never forget, He said “Why should I, my life isn’t worth saving anyway.”

If Jennings did not believe he was sexually active, then why advise him to use a condom? His handling of this incident, subsequence defense and alternate stories about it concern me. I have posted this story twice before on this blog and most commenters gay, straight, conservative or liberal agree that such an incident should be reported. I watched him refuse to answer reporter George Archibald’s question about the incident on the floor of the NEA exhibit hall. I do not think he has ever addressed the discrepancies in the accounts. I emailed GLSEN to ask for a comment in 2005 with no reply.

I may be misunderstood with this post. Let me be clear: the sexual orientation of the teacher and/or the student are not relevant to the need to get the parents, school and possibly the authorities involved in helping a troubled student in the situation Jennings described. Also, I am not disputing that GLSEN has appropriately raised awareness about bullying of GLB students; a problem which needs ongoing attention. However, I do wish the point person for school safety was someone with an unambiguous record on school-parent communication. If Mr. Jennings had said something like – ‘hey, that was a rookie mistake, I should have alerted someone about a depressed 15 year old boy being 45 minutes away from his boarding school without permission having sex, perhaps with an adult,’ then I would not have quite the same reaction. Instead, he denied what he earlier acknowledged and threatened to sue.

UPDATE: Some have asked me to verify Jennings position as fund raiser for Obama. Here is a video with Jennings and co-chair Joan Garry introducing Bill Clinton at an Obama fundraiser.

UPDATED POST:

Jennings refers to Brewster as Robertson in his 2006 memoir. In it he acknowledges the young man was in need of safe sex advice.

Digest: Moon, Obama, Cohen, Povia, Weinland

I have been looking into several things of late, some of which may develop into a post. For now, I’ll just a few spots (not sure if they are high or low, maybe just strange).
-According to Unificationist websites, Barack Obama has been friendly with Sun Myung Moon front groups, the American Clergy Leadership Conference and True Family Values since before Obama became a Senator. One highly placed Moon follower and official related that Obama’s wife may be involved in Unificationism in some way. See this page for more on that topic.
-Speaking of Unificationism, Richard Cohen’s interview on Universal Peace Television (MoonTV) appears on the Unificationist YouTube account of Kevin Pickard (UPDATE: Scrubbed within 30 minutes of the post, see below). Also, Cohen has been active on YouTube of late with account IHF2008. Looks like he is putting the archives up for view with past appearances on O’Reilly Factor, Paula Zahn, Larry King and local news. I wonder if we will see his appearances on Jimmie Kimmel, the Daily Show and the 2006 Paula Zahn Show?
-We had an English translation of Luca Era Gay here, if not first, pretty close to it. Now, You can listen to it on YouTube. It is kind of catchy…
-Did you know that nuclear explosions might rock the US by March? If you are a follower of Ronald Weinland, you are getting ready for the end times. He claims to be one of two end time prophets with the Kingdom coming in by 2012. If you are interested in how religiously-based mind control groups operate, you can read a bit on this discussion blog for those who are believers in Weinland and those who are on the fence.
That is an odd lineup…
UPDATE: In what is the quickest scrub job I can recall, the Cohen video has already been taken down from Kevin Pickard’s YouTube page. Here is a screen capture of the page and the video from a couple of days ago. I suspect next will be the same interview on Universal Peace Television.

Imagine the potential – Obama's life an anti-abortion tribute

When I saw this ad, I thought of the statements of Hillary Clinton’s former OB-GYN, William Harrison when he told me that a physician conducting an abortion does God’s work because the abortion “cancels a luckless human soul.” Here is his statement:

“Do you ever regret that part of the decision? How do you come to terms with that, or do you not see the fetus as a life or a person? I don’t want to see either one die, and would do my best to save both. But your work on the other hand, seeks the end of one of these lives. How do you justify that decision?”
Here is my answer: Anyone who has delivered as many babies as I have, and has seen hundreds of living and dead embryos and fetuses being spontaneously aborted as have I, knows exactly what we are doing when we provide an elective abortion for our patient. We are ending the life of an embryo or a fetus. Not the life of a person, but certainly a creature that might have become a person under other circumstances. When I am asked this question, I always go back to two of the most insightful and beautiful verses of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khyyam.
Oh, if the world were but to recreate
That we might catch ere closed the Book of Fate
And make the Writer on a fairer leaf
Inscribe our names, or quite obliterate.
Better, oh, better cancel from the Scroll
Of universe one luckless Human Soul,
Than drop by drop enlarge the Flood that roars
Hoarser with Anguish as the ages roll.
When Omar wrote his beautiful and treasured poem over a thousand years ago, mankind had no way of safely canceling “from the scroll of universe one luckless human soul” whose numbers make up that flood of howling anguish; at least, no way of canceling it without risking also the life of the woman carrying it. In this day of medical marvels and, hopefully, ever increasing social justice, we possess such a way.
Embryos and fetuses spontaneously aborted – most, but not all of those “canceled” by “God” – are just such luckless human souls. But a few spontaneous abortions occur in desired pregnancies with no discernable abnormalities. For those girls and women and their families whose circumstances would make their babies “luckless human souls,” I “cancel” them before they become babies.
Physicians who save wanted babies from being spontaneously aborted (and we can save a few now that God once seemed determined to abort), and we who cancel “luckless human souls” are doing God’s work.

This video invokes President Obama’s difficult life as a backdrop for the message, “imagine the potential.”

Year in review: Top ten stories of 2008

As in year’s past, I have enjoyed reviewing the posts from the year and coming up with the top ten stories.
1. Cancelation of the American Psychiatric Association symposium – Amidst threat of protests, the APA pressed to halt a scheduled symposium dedicated to sexual identity therapy and religious affiliation. Whipped up by a factually inaccurate article in the Gay City News, gay activists persuaded the APA leadership to pressure symposium organizers to pull the program. Gay City News later ran a correction.
2. The other APA, the American Psychological Association, released a task force report on abortion and mental health consequences. Basing their conclusions on only one study, the APA surprised no one by claiming abortion had no more adverse impact on mental health than carrying a child to delivery. I revealed here that the APA had secretly formed this task force after a series of research reports in late 2005 found links between abortion and adverse mental health consequences for some women. New research confirms that concern is warranted.
3. Golden Rule Pledge – In the wake of Sally Kern saying homosexuality was a greater threat to the nation than terrorism, I initiated the Golden Rule Pledge which took place surrounding the Day of Silence and the Day of Truth. Many conservative groups were calling for Christian students to stay home. This did not strike me as an effective faith-centered response. The Golden Rule Pledge generated some controversy as well as approval by a small group of evangelicals (e.g., Bob Stith) and gay leaders (e.g., Eliza Byard). Some students taking part in the various events were positively impacted by their experience.
4. Exodus considers new direction for ministry – At a leadership training workshop early in 2008, Wendy Gritter proposed a new paradigm for sexual identity ministry. Her presentation was provocative in the sense that it generated much discussion and consideration, especially among readers here. It remains to be seen if Exodus will continue to move away from a change/reparative therapy focus to a fidelity/congruence ministry focus.
5. New research clarifies sexual orienatation causal factors – A twin study and a study of brain symmetry, both from Sweden and a large U.S. study shed some light on causal factors in sexual orientation.
6. Letter to the American Counseling Association requesting clarification of its policies concerning counseling same-sex attracted evangelicals. Co-signed by over 600 counselors (many of whom were referred by the American Association of Christian Counselors), I wrote a letter to the ACA requesting clarification regarding how counselors should work with evangelicals who do not wish to affirm homosexual behavior. The current policy is confusing and gives no guidance in such cases. Then President Brian Canfield replied affirming the clients self-determination in such cases. He referred the matter back to the ACA ethics committee. To date, that committee has not responded.
7. Paul Cameron’s work resurfaces and then is refuted – Insure.com resurrected Paul Cameron’s work in an article on their website about gay lifespans. The article was later altered to reflect more on HIV/AIDS than on homosexual orientation. Later this year, Morten Frisch produced a study which directly addressed Cameron’s methods.
8. Mankind Project unravels – This year I posted often regarding the Mankind Project and New Warriors Training Adventure. Recently, I reported that MKP is in some financial and organizational disarray.
9. Debunking of false claims about Sarah Palin’s record on support for social programs – I had lots of fun tracking down several false claims made about Sarah Palin during the election. Her opponents willfully distorted her real record to paint her as a hypocrite. I learned much more about Alaska’s state budget than I ever wanted to know but found that most claims of program cuts were actually raises in funding which not quite as much as the agencies requested. However, overall funding for such programs increased.
10. During the stretch run of the election, I became quite interested in various aspects of the race. As noted above, I spent some time examining claims surround Sarah Palin’s record. I also did a series on President-elect Obama’s record on housing, including an interview with one of Barack Obama’s former constituents.
I know, I know, number 10 is an understatement. (Exhibit A)
Happy New Year!

Blagojevich to name former IL Atty General Burris to Senate

Long time Illinois pol, Roland Burris, will be the next Senator from Illinois according to Chicago Breaking News.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich is expected today to name former Illinois Atty. Gen. Roland Burris to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate.
The action comes despite warnings by Democratic Senate leaders that they would not seat anyone appointed by the disgraced governor who faces criminal charges of trying to sell the post, sources familiar with the decision said.
Shortly after Obama’s Nov. 4 victory, Burris made known his interest in an appointment to the Senate but was never seriously considered, according to Blagojevich insiders. But in the days following Blagojevich’s arrest, and despite questions over the taint of a Senate appointment, Burris stepped up his efforts to win the governor’s support.

Crazy like a fox or just crazy? Anyway, let’s see what Harry Reid does. Reid said he wouldn’t seat anyone named by Blago, but will Reid turn down an Illinois icon?
More: Burris has a history with Blago – Hey it’s a Chicago thing.

Top ten posts by number of comments and page views – 2008

Time to wrap up 2008 with a review of the stories told and topics covered. I also will give the top ten posts based on page views.
By far the election was the broad topic which generated the most page views. Aside from the Berg vs. Obama thread, readers prefer to comment on the sexual identity related posts. As in past years, I will pick out my top ten themes in a later post.
Top ten by number of comments (fluctuation should be minimal since most of these threads are quiet now)
1. Berg vs Obama: Response to Supreme Court due December 1 (796)
2. New study casts doubt on older brother hypothesis and reparative drive theory (460)
3. Gay City News prints letter clarifying sexual identity therapy (282)
4. New Direction for Exodus? (277)
5. Day of the Golden Rule? (264)
6. Sally Kern: What should she do? (248)
7. Study examines brain differences related to sexual orientation (239)
8. Multiple factors involved in sexual orientation, part 2 (221)
9. Sexual orientation theorizing: Is change possible? (219)
10. 60 Minutes Science of Sexual Orientation: An update from the mother of twins (217)
Top ten by page views are:
1. Berg vs Obama: Response to Supreme Court due December 1
2. Hey Florida, is this ok with you?
3. Ohio plumber Joe Wurzelbacher talks about his dialogue with Obama and spreading the wealth
4. Berg vs. Obama: Update and current status
5. Michelle Obama likes upscale clothes too
6. Donofrio vs. Wells: NJ Obama citizenship case slated for SCOTUS conference
7. What Might Have Been – The Man Who Could Have Reversed Roe v. Wade, Part two
8. Some light on Sarah Palin’s church affiliation
9. Did Barack Obama vote to withhold treatment to infants surviving abortion?
10. Day of Silence and Golden Rule Pledge on Appalachian State University
The top post has been viewed over 15,000 times with the other posts gradually decreasing from there. These numbers are constantly changing.