Warning Will Robinson: Gay Monstrosties at Disney World!!!

The Walt Disney Company recently announced that they would allow gay wedding ceremonies at its parks (as opposed to hidden away in resort conference rooms). It didn’t take long for the right wingers to go ballistic:

Christian families could be exposed to more than they bargained for if they take a vacation to Walt Disney World or Disneyland, according to the president of the American Family Association.

The Walt Disney Company recently announced it was making wedding ceremonies at its parks and on its cruise lines available to homosexual couples. For years, The Walt Disney Company had limited its “Fairy Tale Wedding” program to couples with valid marriage licenses. But a Disney spokesman says that policy was changed after a homosexual couple contacted the company, wanting to use its wedding service.

One pro-homosexual website quotes a Disney representative as saying the company’s decision to update its program guidelines to include “commitment ceremonies” is consistent with Disney’s overall policy of “creating a welcoming, respectful, and inclusive environment” for its guests. “We are not in the business of making judgments about the lifestyles of our guests,” said the Disney spokesman. “We are in the hospitality business and our parks and resorts are open to everyone.”

Such inclusiveness, says AFA president Tim Wildmon, is why families must be warned. “You could be innocently taking your family to Disney World or Disneyland, and you’re walking down the middle of the park and here’s comes this parade of wedding attendees [that includes] two men who’ve just gotten ‘married’ at Disney World,” he says. “That’s something to take into consideration before you go and patronize the Walt Disney Company this summer.”

Wildmon believes a ten-year boycott of The Walt Disney Company by pro-family organizations made a lasting impact and impression. But the family advocate contends Disney’s recent move is another example of the influence homosexual activists have with secular businesses.

“Secular corporations continue to have pressure applied to them by secular forces. The homosexual agenda — those who promote that movement — want to use Disney as much as they possibly can to legitimize their particular lifestyle, and the Disney Corporation in this case has gone along with them.”

The wedding service offers ceremonies at Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California (homosexual “marriage” is legal in neither state) and on Disney’s cruise ships. According to Reuters, the packages can cost upwards of $8,000.

The story linked above even has a typical tourist picture with Mickey with the ominous caption: Unsuspecting Family With Mickey. There, you’ve all been warned that you might run into gay people at Disney World. The good news is that this might scare away some of the kooks, reducing the need to issue a warning about running into homophobes at Walt Disney World.

Update: More Subversive Ideas At Disney: Bill Nye the Evolution Huckster

Gingrich Admits Liberals Right and Republicans Wrong on Global Warming

Newt Gingrich debated John Kerry on global warming, realizing that the flat-earth views of the right wing could not hold up in a real debate. When confronted with the views of the right, Gingrich admitted that Senator Inhofe and others who have been obstructing solutions on global warming are wrong, and that this is an urgent problem (with video clip at Think Progress):

KERRY: I’m excited to hear you talk about the urgency — I really am. And given that — albeit you still sort of have a different approach — what would you say to Sen. Inhofe and to others in the Senate who are resisting even the science? What’s your message to them here today?

GINGRICH: My message I think is that the evidence is sufficient that we should move towards the most effective possible steps to reduce carbon-loading of the atmosphere.

KERRY: And to it urgently — and now…

GINGRICH: And do it urgently. Yes.

Not surprisingly they had different views on how to solve the problem, but getting Republicans to admit there is a problem is the real battle. As John Kerry noted later in the debate, if he and Gingrich spent some time together they’d be able to work out a solution.

There is further discussion at BlueClimate and at JohnKerry.com. Excerpts from Kerry’s opening statement are below the fold. The debate will be rebroadcast tonight on CSPAN at 9:54 p.m. EDT. (more…)

Mark Halperin’s Standards of Accuracy and Objectivity

Anna Marie Cox writes about a talk Mark Halperin gave about problems in political journalism:

Shockingly, “absurdly kowtowing to whoever happens to be in power” was not on the list. He did lay into bloggers, who apparently sometimes “taint” their analysis by “engaging in ad hominem attacks.” Also, the blogs of “mainstream” publications are not up to Halperin-approved journalistic grade. Did you know, for instance, that the “New York Times regularly puts stories on its website that don’t make it into the next day’s paper”? Halperin suggested that this disparity stems from the online stories not living up to the printed edition’s rigorous standards…

As for those bloggers, the ones “tainted” by having ideological motives — unlike our patriotic politicians, mind you — Halperin generously allowed that “I don’t mind if people blog — but they should apply high standards of journalism,” and “they should focus on news organizations when they fail to meet the standards of the profession,” i.e., accuracy and objectivity. In fact, he said, “the best solution is for serious consumers of news to write letters to the editor.”

His comes from the guy who wrote that Matt Drudge is “the Walter Cronkite of his era.”  As political director of ABC News, Halperin would regularly pass on the latest rumors from Drudge, despite acknowledging that Drudge regularly posts unsubstantiated material. Halperin also regularly repeated Republican talking points as fact  when he was responsible for writing The Note. Halperin is in a poor position to accuse anyone of failing to meet standards of accuracy and objectivity when he regularly failed at both.

Bush Wins 2007 Jefferson Muzzle Award, First Place For Second Year

Who says George Bush is a total loser? For the second year in a row, Bush came in first place in the Muzzle Awards from the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression. This year’s award:

For its unprecedented efforts of discouraging, changing, and sometimes censoring the reports and studies of government scientists in order to make them more supportive of political policies, a 2007 Jefferson Muzzle goes to… the Bush Administration.

Tension between government policy and scientific research is nothing new. Perhaps the most famous example is the conviction of John Scopes in 1925 for violating a Tennessee law prohibiting the teaching of evolution in public schools. Many political debates have been fueled by the existence of scientific research supporting different sides of an argument. Yet, scientific research itself is predicated on dispassionate analysis of verifiable and replicable results. When scientific findings are altered for any reason other than empirical accuracy, suspicion is raised. Unfortunately, under the Bush administration examples of political interference in science no longer appear to be to isolated incidents but “a system-wide epidemic,” says Dr. Francesca Grifo, director of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Scientific Integrity Program.

  • In testimony before the House Government Reform Committee in March 2007, James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and one of the first scientists to raise concerns about climate change in the early 1980’s, stated “interference with communications of science to the public has been greater during the current administration than at any time during my career.” Hansen recounted a 2005 incident in which a 24-year-old NASA public affairs official told him he could not take part in a National Public Radio interview on global warming. The press officer, who also testified at the hearing, stated he was “relaying” the orders of senior NASA public affairs officials in not allowing Hansen to participate in the interview.
  • The House Government Reform Committee also heard testimony from Phillip Cooney, former chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Cooney’s appearance was the first time he publicly answered questions about some 181 changes he made to three government climate reports. Cooney acknowledged that some of the changes were made “to align these communications with the administration’s stated policy” on climate change, but he defended many of the changes claiming they were made to reflect the uncertainties of climate change science. Cooney’s defense is questionable, however, given his lack of qualifications to make judgments regarding the conclusions of scientific research. Before working at the White House, Cooney was an oil industry lobbyist. He left the White House in 2005 to work for Exxon Mobil.
  • In September 2006, the science journal Nature reported on the comments of scientists for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (“NOAA”) who claimed political appointees suppressed a NOAA fact sheet suggesting global warming was contributing to increased hurricane activity.
  • A 2006 report by the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Government Accountability project included a survey of hundreds of federal scientists at seven federal agencies and dozens of in-depth interviews that revealed 73 percent of respondents perceived inappropriate interference with climate science research over the past five years.

Although interference in communicating global warming/climate change research has been the most widely reported, the speech and research outcomes of government scientists in other fields have also been threatened. According to Political Science: A Report on Science & Censorship (pdf), produced by The Knowledge Project of the National Coalition Against Censorship, such incidents have also occurred at numerous other federal departments and agencies, including the Department of the Interior (endangered species/ conservation) and the Food and Drug Administration (contraceptive drugs). Also cited is an EPA inspector general report of February 2005 that concluded agency scientists had been pressured to change their scientific findings about risks from mercury. The former director of EPA’s Air Enforcement division reportedly complained “The new mercury rules were hatched at the White House; the Environmental Protection Agency’s experts were simply not consulted at all.”

These are but a few of the reported incidents of political interference in the communication of scientific research. Indeed, scores of reported incidents have been complied by the Union of Concerned Scientists in its A to Z Guide to Political Interference in Science.

The awarding of this Muzzle should not be interpreted as supporting one side or the other in any scientific debate. Nor should it be seen to question the Bush Administration’s right to insist that government employed scientists acknowledge when their public statements do not represent the official positions of the government. Yet, as aptly stated by the National Coalition Against Censorship in Political Science, “Government need not embrace the available science, but it may not silence it.” Over the course of the past five years, government scientists have felt an unprecedented degree of political interference in communicating their research to the public thereby making the Bush Administration a deserving recipient of a 2007 Jefferson Muzzle.

Last year George Bush won “for unilaterally authorizing warrantless NSA wiretapping of the conversations of presumably innocent U.S. citizens.”

Jeane Kirkpatrick Troubled by Bush’s Decision to Go to War

David Corn has reviewed Jeane Kirkpatrick’s upcoming book, Making War to Keep Peace. Kirpatrick, who died in December, was Ambassador to the United Nations under Ronald Reagan. With this background, and a title like this, many might be surprised to read that Kirkpatrick had grave reservations about the Iraq war:

On a personal note, I have dedicated much of my professional life to reconciling what I consider the twin goals of American foreign policy, and that is why President George W. Bush’s decision to go to war has troubled me deeply.

These twin goals of our foreign policy are, first, ensuring our security and, second, promoting democracy and human rights. An appropriate balance between the two must exist, and that balance must be determined within the unique circumstances of any situation. Yet, for democracy to take hold in a given region, it must be preceded by institutions that are receptive and willing to support democracy–because democracy requires security as a prerequisite. That is why, throughout history, if the single force of political stability in a region is removed without critical institutions in place to fill the resulting vacuum of power, the security of societies and their budding institutions will be precarious at best.

Unfortunately, what we face in Iraq today is a vacuum of power, a lack of stable institutions needed to govern, and the problem that the promise of democracy for which our nation stands may be lost in the essential scramble for safety and stability in the streets. This is one of the reasons I am uneasy about the war we have made here–for we have helped to create the chaos that has overtaken the country, and we may have reduced rather than promoted the pace of democratic reform.

In public, Kirpatrick backed Bush’s policies. Bush had even appointed her head of the US delegation to the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva, where she acted to keep the commission from passing a resolution condemning the Iraq invasion as illegal.  It is good to at least read that in private Kirpatrick is yet another Republican leader who had had reservations about Bush’s policies.