Connecticut state website removes links to churches allowing gays

I waited a few days before posting this to see if the state of Connecticut grew a backbone. No such luck.

Links to churches that welcome gay members have been removed from a Connecticut state government Web site.

A spokesman for the Department of Children and Families said Wednesday officials decided “questions of separation of church and state did come into play” with the links to “open and affirming churches,”

The links were challenged by the Family Institute of Connecticut…and other bigots.

“We said all along that if same-sex marriage was imposed in Connecticut, the next thing that would happen would be an effort to re-educate Connecticut children,” institute’s Executive Director Peter Wolfgang said. “That’s what today’s victory was all about: making sure they don’t try and re-indoctrinate children into accepting lifestyles and beliefs that their parents are utterly opposed to.”

There was a time when Connecticut was proudly hailed as the Constitution State. After all, the state’s original constitution served as the model for the U.S. Constitution.

It took clean-living Democrats caving in to Cold Warriors – hack Democrats like Chris Dodd’s daddy, Tom – to remove the essential bits that made the document too dangerous to tolerate. Stuff like people having the right – and duty – to rise up and throw out tyrants.

Online system lets public seek to identify the missing

A new U.S. database is seeking to identify the remains of thousands of dead people, some of whom have remained mysteries for decades, officials say.

The online system, called NamUs, is operated by the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. Officials hope to attach names to the many John and Jane Does whose remains are housed in morgues and police forensic labs across the country, reported The Washington Post.

The newspaper said the system is open for use by police, medical examiners and coroners, as well as family members.

“Instead of having this fragmented system where people go to coroners, to medical examiners, to law enforcement, we have everything in a central repository,” Kristina Rose, acting director of the National Institute of Justice, told the Post. “People can participate in identifying their loved ones…”

A 2007 federal report indicated that 4,400 sets of unidentified human remains surface each year, though most cases are eventually solved. The estimated total number of unidentified remains varies from 13,500 to 40,000, the Post reported.

There’s always someone out there, missing and presumed – dead or alive. At least this new system might allow for some of those questions to be answered.

2-D love in a pillowcase

Nisan didn’t mean to fall in love with Nemutan. Their first encounter — at a comic-book convention that Nisan’s gaming friends dragged him to in Tokyo — was serendipitous. Nisan was wandering aimlessly around the crowded exhibition hall when he suddenly found himself staring into Nemutan’s bright blue eyes.

In the beginning, they were just friends. Then, when Nisan got his driver’s license a few months later, he invited Nemutan for a ride around town in his beat-up Toyota. They went to a beach, not far from the home he shares with his parents in a suburb of Tokyo. It was the first of many road trips they would take together. As they got to know each other, they traveled hundreds of miles west — to Kyoto, Osaka and Nara, sleeping in his car or crashing on friends’ couches to save money. They took touristy pictures under cherry trees, frolicked like children on merry-go-rounds and slurped noodles on street corners.

Now, after three years together, they are virtually inseparable. “I’ve experienced so many amazing things because of her,” Nisan told me, rubbing Nemutan’s leg warmly. “She has really changed my life.”

Nemutan doesn’t really have a leg. She’s a stuffed pillowcase — a 2-D depiction of a character, Nemu, from an X-rated version of a PC video game called Da Capo, printed on synthetic fabric.

In the game, which is less a game than an interactive visual novel about a schoolyard romance, Nemu is the loudmouthed little sister of the main character, whom she calls nisan, or “big brother,” a nickname Nisan adopted as his own when he met Nemu. When I joined the couple for lunch at their favorite all-you-can-eat salad bar in the Tokyo suburb of Hachioji, he insisted on being called only by this new nickname, addressing his body-pillow girlfriend using the suffix “tan” to show how much he adored her. Nemutan is 10, maybe 12 years old and wears a little blue bikini and gold ribbons in her hair. Nisan knows she’s not real, but that hasn’t stopped him from loving her just the same. “Of course she’s my girlfriend,” he said, widening his eyes as if shocked by the question. “I have real feelings for her.”

RTFA. Every culture has its own hangups, and solutions for those hangups, too.

Apparently this is just another tweak in a corner of Japanese otaku culture. Which means there’s a fan base in the West, as well.

Hey, whatever trips your trigger – as long as you ain’t bothering someone else’s space.

Of course, in some states, maybe under federal law, he’d be arrested. Perhaps the NY TIMES is breaking the law. Maybe I’m breaking some law by posting this article and commenting on it?

Florida town fires manager married to porn star

A South Florida town manager who married a porn star last year was fired at an emergency meeting after the mayor and council members learned about it.

Fort Myers Beach town council voted 5-0 to fire Scott Janke “without cause” after Mayor Larry Kiker called the Tuesday night meeting.

Kiker told the News-Press of Fort Myers he learned that afternoon that Janke’s wife is an adult film star, and the elected officials took the action a few hours later.

“We did everything we could not to judge,” Kiker told the paper. “It’s not about him and her. It’s about the town.”

Adult Industry News recently reported that Janke’s wife, Anabela Mota Janke, goes by the stage name Jazella Moore.

Kiker said a clause in Janke’s contract permitted the council to fire him with a majority vote….

Kiker acknowledged that Janke had violated no rules or laws and added that he had done a good job for the island town….

Councilman Tom Babcock, responding to residents’ questions, said at a council meeting Wednesday that Janke was fired because his wife’s profession brought an inaccurate image to Fort Myers Beach, according to the News-Press.

Just what we need, government based on what-will-the-neighbors-think.

Bigotry and intolerance take many forms. Being from the south, I am well familiar with the Christian practice of “not judging people.” According to the article, it took only a few hours for them not to judge. Believe me, I’ve met these people over and over again in my life. They don’t see the hypocrisy. They see themselves as nice people. Amazing, but true.

NJ politicians, rabbis arrested for money laundering, corruption


Raw footage of perps brought in for booking in Newark

The FBI this morning made dozens of arrests in a money laundering and corruption probe. Those arrested include 9th District Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt, R-Ocean, and some unidentified rabbis from Brooklyn, Deal and the Elberon section of Long Branch, sources said.

Van Pelt, 45, was elected to the state Assembly in November 2007 and started serving in January 2008. He also was mayor of Waretown from 1998 until last year…

Also arrested were Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano, Secaucus Mayor Denis Elwell, Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Baldini, Jersey City Council President Mario Vega and other officials from Hudson County, sources said.

The probe also involves international trafficking in body parts, sources said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says approximately 30 arrests have occurred in the two-track investigation.

FBI spokeswoman Myrna Williams tells The Associated Press the arrests will go on until noon. A news conference is scheduled for noon at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.

I’ll update this story after the news conference. Some of this is almost too outlandish to comprehend. The powerful and politically-connected always think they’re above the law, don’t they?

Christian nutballs aim to change history for Texas schoolchildren

The Christian right is making a fresh push to force religion onto the school curriculum in Texas with the state’s education board about to consider recommendations that children be taught that there would be no United States if it had not been for God.

Members of a panel of experts appointed by the board to revise the state’s history curriculum, who include a Christian fundamentalist preacher who says he is fighting a war for America’s moral soul, want lessons to emphasise the part played by Christianity in the founding of the US and that religion is a civic virtue.

Opponents have decried the move as an attempt to insert religious teachings in to the classroom by stealth, similar to the Christian right’s partially successful attempt to limit the teaching of evolution in biology lessons in Texas.

One of the panel, David Barton, founder of a Christian heritage group called WallBuilders, argues that the curriculum should reflect the fact that the US Constitution was written with God in mind including that “there is a fixed moral law derived from God and nature”, that “there is a creator” and “government exists primarily to protect God-given rights to every individual”…

Another of the experts is Reverend Peter Marshall, who heads his own Christian ministry and preaches that Hurricane Katrina and defeat in the Vietnam war were God’s punishment for sexual promiscuity and tolerance of homosexuals. Marshall recommended that children be taught about the “motivational role” of the Bible and Christianity in establishing the original colonies that later became the US…

Dan Quinn of the Texas Freedom Network, which describes itself as a “counter to the religious right”, called the recommendations “troubling”. “I don’t think anyone disputes that faith played a role in our history. But it’s a stretch to say that it played the role described by David Barton and Peter Marshall. They’re absurdly unqualified to be considered experts. It’s a very deceptive and devious way to distort the curriculum in our public schools,” he said.

Not that being biased and unqualified means much to American politicians – Texas flavor or otherwise.

Votes count. If your electorate is ignorant, Christian and foolish, what better situation for opportunist, Christian politicians?

Wonder if my Native American friends realize it was God’s will they should be slaughtered and herded into reservations? Or if Mexicans understand it was pre-ordained that Texans would lead an army of God to steal the Promised Land from them?

More and more Americans taking the wireless road to the Web

More Americans are accessing the Internet using wireless mobile devices such as smartphones and laptops, according to a study released by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

“Use of the Internet on mobile devices has grown sharply from the end of 2007 to the beginning of 2009,” with 56 percent of Americans saying that have “at some point used wireless means for online access,” the Pew Center said…

More Americans in 2009 were turning to their handheld for non-voice data activities,” the Pew Center said in its report…

“I think smartphones certainly have a good deal to do with the growth in use of mobile access,” said John B. Horrigan, Pew Internet Project associate director of research. “The devices have more capabilities, networks are more readily available, and this means people are drawn to taking advantage of mobile resources.”

Another key finding, Pew said, is that blacks are “the most active users of the mobile Internet,” with 48 percent saying they have “at one time used the Internet on a mobile device.” On an “average day, 29 percent go online with a handheld — both figures are half again the national average,” Pew said…

For most Americans, Horrigan said, “mobile access is mainly another option for access; among all Americans who have used the mobile Internet, 83 percent have broadband at home. For African-Americans, the story is a bit different; among African-Americans who have used the Internet on a mobile device, 64 percent have broadband at home…

Mistique Cano, vice president of communications for the national Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, said smartphones “aren’t an equalizer as much as they’re a stop-gap. Many African-Americans still don’t have access to affordable broadband. Even though mobile technology gets better every day, there are still many things you can’t yet do on a phone.”

Pew said laptops were cited as the main way most Americans get online wirelessly, with 39 percent saying it is their “most prevalent means of wireless access,” and 32 percent saying they have used a cell phone “or other hand-held device to check e-mail, access the Internet for information, or send instant messages.”

I hadn’t realized the hardware demographic was changing this dynamically in the U.S.. I’ve read similar studies about China and India – and I’ll bet the same is happening in Japan and Korea even though broadband access to easier and cheaper in the latter two nations.