Haggard’s Sexuality is “Complex”, He Says Amidst New Scandal

Ted Haggard, infamous for being caught doing meth and a gay prostitute while preaching his raving diatribes about his god’s hatred of homosexuality, turns out to be polyandrous to boot.

While cashing in on his super-infamy by having HBO shoot a documentary of his life, he told an Associated Press reporter that his sexuality was “complex”. Yeah, I’d say so.

While it’s unlikely that anyone not brainwashed by his mega-money machine was shocked to find out Haggard is gay, or that his incessant attacks on other gay people was anything more than a manifestation of deep-seated self loathing, it may be a minor surprise to find out he is also non-monogamously gay. Ok, probably no surprise there, either.

Turns out he’s also a predator, using his megachurch pulpit as a means of access to at least one young man in the pews.

DENVER – Disgraced evangelical leader Ted Haggard‘s former church disclosed Friday that the gay sex scandal that caused his downfall extends to a young male church volunteer who reported having a sexual relationship with Haggard — a revelation that comes as Haggard tries to repair his public image.

Brady Boyd, who succeeded Haggard as senior pastor of the 10,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs, told The Associated Press that the man came forward to church officials in late 2006 shortly after a Denver male prostitute claimed to have had a three-year cash-for-sex relationship with Haggard.

Boyd said an “overwhelming pool of evidence” pointed to an “inappropriate, consensual sexual relationship” that “went on for a long period of time … it wasn’t a one-time act.” Boyd said the man was in his early 20s at the time. He said he was certain the man was of legal age when it began.

And of course Haggard’s integrity is above question, right?

Just for a little icing on the cake, the church paid the young man’s college tuition, and got him ‘counseling’, probably of the ‘fixthehomo’ flavor. Of course, the church claims the money wasn’t hush money.

“It wasn’t at all a settlement to make him be quiet or not tell his story,” [current pastor of Haggard’s old church, Brady] Boyd said. “Our desire was to help him. Here was a young man who wanted to get on with his life. We considered it more compassionate assistance — certainly not hush money. I know what’s what everyone will want to say because that’s the most salacious thing to say, but that’s not at all what it was.”

One has to wonder then why there was a stipulation that he not talk about it.

Boyd said the church reached a legal settlement to pay the man for counseling and college tuition, with one condition being that none of the parties involved discuss the matter publicly.

Oh, well then, move along, nothing to see here.

h/t: MoJoey

Buh Bye, Fluff Fluff

Mark Dybul, the man the Bush administration has relied on to spread its fundamentalist sectarian dogma of disinformation and ignorance, has been unceremoniously dismissed.

Sworn in as Secretary of State just yesterday, Hillary Clinton wasted no time cleaning house at the vast department she runs. Today, we have heard, Mark Dybul was asked to submit his resignation as US Global AIDS Coordinator, head of the office in charge of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

This is a huge first step to ensuring the health and rights of all people at risk of HIV and AIDS: Dybul oversaw the last several years of abstinence-only programs funded by PEPFAR, hob-knobbed a bit too closely with the far right, and never saw a law or policy restriction he could not make even more restrictive. Curious for a self-identified Democrat? Not so curious, I guess, if your career is dependent on pleasing the far right, and if your desire to be Global AIDS Coordinator outweighs your desire to stand up for what is right.

Given the fact that this kind of propaganda is known to have led to the deaths of untold numbers of people, I only wonder why there were no handcuffs involved.

h/t Elizabeth Wood

The Evolution of Classification

File this under, “Just Cool Science”.

From Not Exactly Rocket Science:

Whalefishes, bignoses and tapetails – these three groups of deep-sea fishes couldn’t look more different. The whalefishes (Cetomimidae) have whale-shaped bodies with disproportionately large mouths, tiny eyes, no scales and furrowed lateral lines – narrow organs on a fish’s flanks that allow it to sense water pressure.

The tapetails (Mirapinnidae) are very different – they also lack scales but they have no lateral lines. They have sharply angled mouths that give them a comical overbite and long tail streamers that extend to nine times the length of their bodies.

The bignoses (Megalommycteridae) are very different still – unlike the other two groups, they have scales, their mouths are small and their noses (as their name suggests) are very large.

Based on these distinct bodies, scientists have classified these fishes into three distinct families. Now, it seems they are wrong. Amazingly enough, the three groups are all just one single family – the tapetails are the larvae, the bignoses are the males and the whalefishes are the females. The entire classification scheme for these fishes needs to be reworked, as many distinct “species” are actually different sexes or life-stages of the same animal.

Biology rocks.

I’ve mentioned before that we live on a planet that is 70% water by area. Doc pointed out that it’s about 99% of the biosphere by volume and we’ve explored about 5% of that. That’s a lot of planet we humans have never even visited. I expect there’s plenty more weirdness to be discovered at the bottom of the ocean.

It is an amazing, wonderful, and surprising world we live in, and Ed’s got the pictures to prove it.

h/t Greg Laden

Forced-Birth Lemmings

This video is profoundly enlightening. This is what happens when people just mindlessly repeat what their preacher/priest/witchdoctor/shaman tells them, without thought. The glaring underlying theme of the video, “I’ve never really thought about it”, is horrifying and appalling. The protesters in the video admit to having spent years in the forced-birth movement, and then seem (only) momentarily struck by their own lack of cogitation on the consequences of their goal.

Religion depends on the masses shutting down thought and the woman who refers the interviewer to the guy down the street is a perfect illustration of the abdication of both thought and responsibility that is inherent to blind obedience to authority.

Not one of them has given a moment’s thought to what they are doing or what should happen if they achieve success. It is readily apparent that they are doing what they are told and that whoever told them to do it should be obeyed without question.

These people are nothing more than victims and shock troops, charging the hill in the name of Preacher Joe. I pity them in a way.

h/t PZ Myers

NC Rep Foxx Lives in Bizzarro Land

NC Rep. Virginia Foxx

NC Rep. Virginia Foxx

…otherwise known as Republicanville.

Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-5th, said she thought that Obama was “too negative” in his assessment of the economy in his inaugural address.

Foxx said she is sympathetic with those who have lost their jobs in the current downturn, but said she thinks that the current problem is “not the worst situation we’ve faced in this country economically since the Great Depression,” citing the stagflation of the 1970s.

“I think it’s possible to talk down about the economy to the point that it hampers the economy,” Foxx said in an interview. “Yes, we have problems, and I’m quite familiar with them, but we don’t solve our problems by being negative.”

Foxx said that she is also concerned that the estimated $800 billion stimulus package that Obama and congressional leaders are preparing to pass could expand the deficit, which is expected to grow to $1.2 trillion this year.

source: Winston Salem Journal

I always find it fascinating to hear Republicans talk about things like “fiscal responsibility”, “smaller, less intrusive government”, and “the rule of law”. I’m adding “negativity” to that list.

h/t Thomas Brock

From whence came the art:

That is the official photo for Representative Virginia Foxx, NC-05.

Teaching College Science: Blogs and Beyond

Brian Switek, of Laelaps

Brian Switek, of Laelaps

One the sessions I attended at this weekend’s Science Online ’09 conference was Teaching College Science: Blogs and Beyond. Being an aspiring high school Biology teacher, I figured this would be both interesting and relevant. It was hard to choose sometimes between the simultaneous sessions, but this one was a ‘can’t miss’. I was not disappointed.

The session was hosted by Brian Switek of Laelaps and Andrea Novicki of the Center for Instructional Technology at Duke University.  “Official” group notes for the session can be found here. (Thanks to Andrea and Brian for the shout out.)

The session was productive, with the room split into several groups for discussion before we shared our thoughts with each other to produce the notes found there at the wiki. The actual discussion prompt was “How can you use blogs in teaching and learning science?”

I had the distinct pleasure of being in a group of four consisting of Cathy the Chemistry Teacher, Daniel the Biology Instructor, and the larger than life Blake Stacey. It was a bit difficult keeping JanieBelle seated (not on Blake’s lap) and properly focused (not on Blake) of course, but we all managed. (Ok, a gag and handcuffs may have been involved.)

One of the ideas that came up was motivating students to keep blogs, and I want to focus a bit on that. Though we all agreed that this would be helpful to students (it was for me, certainly), there are several hurdles that need to be lept. I encountered some of these myself as a student last semester, trying to Blog my Biology Class. The re-writing of notes when not under the gun of trying to keep up was extremely helpful to me to grasp concepts I didn’t quite get a handle on during the lecture. It was also helpful even when I fell behind on the blog a bit, to rehash mistakes I made on exams and quizzes and see why I missed particular questions.

(Continue reading, below the fold)

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Yes, we did.

Inauguration of Barack Obama by manueb @ Flickr

Inauguration of Barack Obama by manueb @ Flickr

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often, the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

(continue reading below the fold)

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GLBT Community Gets Double Snub

This may at first seem like a rather odd reaction for an atheist to take, but I am personally livid about the snubbing of Bishop Gene Robinson by HBO during Sunday’s inaugural pre-game warm-up. I was already offended by the decision to have Rick Warren brought to the inaugural dinner table, but now I am flat out incensed.

Now, a secular country should not have a state-sponsored prayer to begin with. The First Amendment is pretty clear on the point that the government has no business promoting religion, and most definitely has no business promoting one religion over another. But there is a new administration coming in, an administration that has trumpeted its message of inclusiveness. The new President has bent over backwards to tap the shoulders of people across a wide spectrum of political philosophies, bent over to the point that he has left many of us scratching our heads.

But if the new administration is going to claim it is inclusive, claim to be a government of all people, then why is Rick Warren invited? Warren is inherently antithetical to the notion of inclusion.

Warren is a divisive, mean-spirited fomenter of hate and intolerance. The fact that he wears a nice suit and is very popular does not in any way alter the fact that his message is intrinsically the same message promoted by the likes of Fred Phelps. Warren has no business on the inaugural platform of a President who takes on the mantle of inclusion.

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Yes We Can

Reaching Across the Aisle

The Constitution in Peril by Renegade98 on Flickr

The Constitution in Peril by Renegade98 on Flickr

I appreciate the sentiment of trying to bridge divides. I appreciate what the incoming President is trying to do, in some ways. I understand he is trying to heal deep, open, infected wounds, and ordinarily I find that admirable.

When a reasonable person reaches out like that, a reasonable person will reach back, and a reasonable compromise will ensue. The real problem here is that when liberals reach out, conservatives just back up further into unreasonableness. Then liberals step forward and reach again. And conservatives back up further into unreasonableness.

I’m done with reaching and stepping. We have reached and we have stepped too far. This far, and no farther. The only thing liberal, reasonable people should be reaching for is huge fistfuls of hair to drag the conservatives back toward sanity. You simply cannot reason a person out of a position they did not reason themselves into.

I have no desire to see further compromise. I do not want my elected officials reaching across the aisle to Republicans except to grab them by the balls and yank them to our current position. Then we should take 50 great big steps to the left, and hold out our hands and wait for them to come to us.

If they don’t, well then fuck ’em.

(Taken from a comment I made on my FaceBook page.)

From whence came the art:

That image is titled The Constitution in Peril, by Renegade98, and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 license.

Miracle on the Hudson

Science Online Notes

So the conference has been great, a lot of fun and informative stuff. I have a ton of notes from the talks I’ve attended, and there are some really neat conversations I want to tell you all (all both of you) about. Right now though, we’re hanging out, some of us are blogging, lots of chit chat, and waiting for dinner.

I’ve set in on talks and discussions about Science Fiction in Science, Teaching Science in College: Blogs and Beyond, Race in Science, Anonymity and Pseudonymity, and Getting Published as a Science Writer. Good stuff.

I’ve met and chatted with Steph and Ben Zvan, Blake Stacey, Greg Laden, Bob O’Hara, PalMD, GrrlScientist (who’s sitting right next to me blogging and chatting as we speak), Kevin Zelnio, and a bunch of other really cool people. I’ve listened to a bunch more, a lot of whom are Sciblings. Mucho coolio.

Science Online 09

So the connection here is a little spotty (which is rather odd, considering we’re in the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society center.

I was a little late getting here, but made the second half of Steph’s talk. Steph rocks.

Just now we’re just hanging, and talking with Bob O’H and Eva from Nature Blogs. I’ve said hello to Dr. Peter Lipson of White Coat Underground.

Disturbed

I’m awake and disturbed. I just awoke in a pool of sweat.

I was having a nightmare, a particularly nasty one.

It began when I was a judge presiding over a case involving a suit brought by some nutters claiming some very interesting rock formations (the rock was inherently green) were actually “greenmen”, supernatural but sleeping creatures.

I was poopooing their ridiculous claims when another of the greenmen materialized from nothing in front of the rock formation, crying out, “What are you doing with my brothers and sisters?”

I was shocked.

The greenmen slowly began to awaken, and transform into more human-like people. They were vampires, and they were pissed.

The next thing I remember, I was trapped in a guillotine having my fingers removed with a cigar cutter. Marching past the guillotine was an army of vampires, thousands of them, armed with pikes and shields, advancing on the dirt road toward Petersburg, Russia. I was kind of sadly focusing on wiggling the stumps of my fingers and wishing the vampire would just drop the blade and be done with me. He did, but it got stuck half-way down. He was mocking me while he worked on it.

I woke up as the voices of millions of people in Petersburg began to scream in pain and terror.

WTF is that all about? I mean seriously, why Petersberg, Russia?

Calling Dr. Freud, Dr. Freud please pick up the red courtesy phone.

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