Monday, June 26, 2006

Boycotts and Bogus Email Campaigns—a new kind of hate crime?

(Regardless of how busy you may be, some things just need to be dealt with.)

Two emails in one day--from two different people--all about the same organization's tactics to push its anti-homosexuality agenda onto two different groups, the National Education Association (NEA) and Ford company owners and prospective customers. How weird is that?

The first email from Virginia Education Association President Princess Moss says that the American Family Association (AFA) believes that the NEA is about to endorse homosexual marriage. Part of the AFA email says:

...The National Education Association is set to endorse homosexual marriage at their convention coming up in Orlando June 29 through July 6.

The new NEA proposal essentially says schools should support and actively promote homosexual marriage and other forms of marriage (two men and one woman, three women, two women and three men, etc.) in their local schools. The new proposal, expected to pass overwhelmingly, is found under the B-8 Diversity paragraph:

The Association... believes in the importance of observances, programs and curricula that accurately portray and recognize the roles, contributions, cultures, and history of these diverse groups and individuals. The Association believes that legal rights and responsibilities with regard to medical decisions, taxes, inheritance, adoption, legal immigration, domestic partnerships, and civil unions and/or marriage belong to all these diverse groups and individuals.

Translated, that means the NEA will promote homosexual marriage in every avenue they have available, including textbooks, to all children at all age levels and without the permission or knowledge of parents. Their plans will include every public school in America....”

According to Princess:

First of all, know that the NEA and the VEA have no position on same-sex marriages, and we are not seeking to establish a position. … Furthermore, NEA does not direct public schools or school districts on what is contained in their curriculum or in how they should proceed in any activity.

Meeting earlier this year, the NEA Resolutions Committee adopted a proposed change to Resolution B-8 that calls for the protection of legal rights and responsibilities of all diverse groups and individuals, regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, marital status or other considerations. The Resolutions Committee's proposed language reads as follows:

The Association believes that legal rights and responsibilities with regard to medical decisions, taxes, inheritance, adoption, legal immigration, domestic partnerships, and civil unions and/or marriage belong to all of these diverse groups and individuals.

As a result of questions asked by some leaders, a change was recommended to the Resolutions Committee Chair. The recommended language below will be considered at the June 29 Resolutions Committee meeting. If adopted, this language is proposed for movement to Resolution B-10-Racism, Sexism, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identification Discrimination and would clarify the meaning of the original proposed amendment, reaffirming the Association's long-standing opposition to discrimination in any form.

The Association also believes that these factors should not affect the legal rights and obligations of the partners in a legally-recognized* domestic partnership, civil union, or marriage in regard to matters involving the other partner, such as medical decisions, taxes, inheritance, adoption, and immigration.

* As of June 2006 in the United States, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts recognizes same-sex marriage, while California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey and Vermont grant persons in same-sex unions a similar legal status to those in a civil marriage by domestic partnership, civil union or reciprocal beneficiary laws.

The second email came from my dad, who has somehow gotten on the mailing list for this same organization. His email (a forward from AFA) says that:

The boycott of Ford Motor Company is working! Sales of automobiles made by Ford dropped 2% in May. This follows drops of 5% in March and 7% in April. When AFA began the boycott of Ford on March 13th, their stock was selling for $7.86 a share. As of Tuesday the stock had fallen to $6.68, a drop of $1.18 or 13%.

The success of the boycott prompted Chairman Bill Ford to have an email sent to all Ford dealers pleading with the dealers to "ask customers to support Ford." The email said customers "should stand by our company because of our innovative products, because for generations we've been a positive force in American society, and because our successful Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealers have made their communities stronger."

It is clear that Chairman Bill Ford is willing to take Ford into bankruptcy to appease a small group of homosexual leaders. … Did you know that Ford Motor Company forces their employees to undergo "Diversity Training"? At Ford, "Diversity Training" means forced attendance at company sponsored meetings which are used to promote the homosexual lifestyle. Attendance is required. Employees cannot opt out. In their "Diversity Training" homosexual leaders present the homosexual lifestyle and teach employees to accept that lifestyle.

No other view of homosexuality is allowed to be presented. No one is allowed to speak against the homosexual lifestyle or present the serious health problems associated with it. At Ford, "diversity" means there is only one view of homosexuality--that presented by the homosexuals--and that is the only view Ford will allow.

I went to the AFA website and found this:

When Ford responds to those who write concerning their promotion of homosexual marriage, the response they get from Ford's Customer Relationship Center says their support "is a strong commitment we intend to carry forward with no exception." For Ford, that support also includes homosexual polygamy.

To show those supporting traditional marriage they mean business, Ford sponsored the June 6 issue of the homosexual publication The Advocate. The cover (article) … promotes homosexual polygamy.

Ford sponsored the publication with a full page back cover advertising Ford Motor company product Volvo and a full page ad for all Ford brands with the line: Ford Motor Company. Standing strong with America's families and communities.

Ford's support for the magazine's promotion of homosexual polygamy leaves no doubt that Ford means to continue pushing the homosexual agenda, even including homosexual polygamy.

Ford’s policy (from their website):

Valuing Diversity
Diversity embodies all the differences that make us unique individuals. Not limited to physical aspects of race, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, and sexual orientation, it includes culture, religion, education, experience, opinions, beliefs, language, nationality and more.

At Ford Motor Company we recognize that diversity is not only a reality of our global nature, it’s a distinct advantage, and one that we value and embrace. We also know that we can only leverage the benefits of diversity by understanding and respecting the differences among all employees.

Just as our customer base is infinitely diverse, so is our workforce.

Reflected in our products, diversity is a competitive advantage in a global economy. It broadens our range of talents and stimulates our creativity, adding to the appeal of our products especially in new and emerging markets. Our understanding of diversity helps us serve our customers better.

Diversity Proves Its Value
We find that well-managed, diverse work teams can outperform homogeneous teams in quantity, creativity and quality; that complex problems can best be solved by cross-functional teams typical of matrix organizations; and that people who work, live and learn in integrated settings develop stronger interpersonal communications and negotiating skills.

Diversity enhances confidence and improves the contributions made by people in such environments. Valuing and respecting each individual simply makes good sense. Success and productivity are natural extensions of a corporate culture that truly values all people, putting diversity among our top corporate priorities.

Equal Opportunity
Ford Motor Company is an equal opportunity employer committed to a culturally diverse workforce. Here is a brief statement of our commitment:

Opportunities for employment and advancement will be available on a non-discriminatory basis--without regard to race, color, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, handicap, or veteran status. We take affirmative action in accordance with law to have minorities and women represented appropriately throughout the workforce and to provide qualified handicapped persons, disabled veterans and veterans of the Vietnam era opportunity for employment and advancement.

Ford has set up several resource groups to “provide support and fellowship, identify barriers, contribute to employees' professional development, and provide organized activities for employees of diverse backgrounds.” One does focus on gay, lesbian or bisexual employees, but there are others for women, Hispanics and other cultural and ethnic groups, families, individuals with disabilities, and even one for people of faith.

Founded in 2000, the Ford Interfaith Network (FIN) aims to assist the company in becoming a worldwide corporate leader in promoting religious tolerance, corporate integrity, and human dignity. We strive to act in accordance with our beliefs and out of love for human beings and all of creation, promoting understanding and respect for the various faiths.

I support an individual’s rights to his/her own privacy—including from government monitoring of phones, internet usage and even library checkout habits. Of course, I personally wonder about the AFA for two reasons.

  • Despite the Bible's teachings on not judging harshly, unfairly or in selfish ways, I'm starting to think that "religious tolerance" is an oxymoron.
  • And the second reason? It’s based in Mississippi—the same state where citizens fought against civil rights by killing activists and promoting segregation. Racism still exists in the South, as I know from my own area of the world.

I saw on Waldo’s sideblog that homosexuality has been documented in over 450 vertebrate species. If it’s that common among God’s creatures, it just can’t be a human “problem.” I think the AFA needs a little diversity education or at least a little religious tolerance.

Running Behind

I am still working on my take/views/opinions on the second day of the blog summit in Charlottesville. Life has intruded as usual.
  • The garden beckoned--especially since I will be in class at Longwood this week for a "Highly Qualified" session in order to keep teaching high school English to special education students and then off to the beach (Nags Head) for a much needed vacation with my family. I've got to have everything under control before this all starts. (Yes, I do have some control issues. It's on my list of things I need to work on.)
  • My interview and acceptance into ODU's doctoral program for Occupational and Technical Studies took place last week. I officially start in August as a part-time student. I'm excited, but nervous about all the changes this will bring to the household.
  • I've been really tired between working in the garden and the house, the heat and the health issues the doctors are working on finally diagnosing. They believe it's fibromyalgia and I'm just glad that:
    • it's not in my head, especially since it's other places that hurt.
    • it's not just old age, which my "friends" kept telling me to get used to. :)
    • there are some things that you can do to help yourself feel better. (Plenty of rest is one--I'll have to add that to my list as well.)
I hope to have my summary done sometime this week. Maybe I'll work on it during the writing portions of this upcoming class. Hmmmm? More multi-tasking. The story of my life.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Blogging from the Summit

Waldo has a great post about the first day of the summit here, but I had a few thoughts of my own. (Of course, it helps if you have all of your notes when you start to write. Mine were in the truck when I wrote the initial draft of this, so it is being posted at the end of the second day. Musings about day two will be posted later today.)

Virginia's Attorney General Bob McDonnell was the opening speaker for the summit. While I really enjoyed the information about laws that affect blogging, I have to smile at the joke that really bombed during his talk. After claiming to know very little about technology, he then told us he had two blogs--one of which was entitled "Not Creigh Deeds." No one in the room laughed. Yes, Mr. McDonnell, it has always been readily apparent that you are NOT Creigh Deeds. (The real Creigh Deeds did come to Al Weed's social hour at the Biltmore Grill. I enjoyed listening to the conversation surrounding him--much of it very passionate at times. Having worked the recount in December, I wish we had all worked a little harder to bring a few more Democratic voters to the precincts in each locality last November.)

Following Mr. McDonnell was Dr. Robert Holsworth from VCU. He talked on three main points: the budget problems surrounding transportation, the 2006 midterms involving Webb and Allen, and the 2008 races with Warner and Allen. During the discussion, he gave a four-point list of why George Allen would probably win the 2006 general election this November. The reasons are: a) he's popular, b) he beat Robb, c) he hasn't aggravated anyone , and d) he enjoys campaigning.

I found the list interesting, but would like to ask "Dr. Bob" about the third item: Has he really EXCITED anyone either? Has he introduced or promoted any legislation in Congress that will benefit Virginia and encourage voters across the state to turn out for him? Will his comments in Iowa about wishing he was from that state hurt him in the long run? Will his stated boredom in Congress affect the attitudes of the voters? I guess only time will tell.

I attended the session by Jon Henke and Waldo Jaquith on "Enhancing and Promoting Your Blog." There were several useful ideas that I obtained from their presentation, as well as information on other blogging applications and plug-ins that can be used to streamline the blogging and commenting process. Great job, guys!

Jerome Armstrong was a great speaker in my opinion. Having already read Crashing the Gate, I found his comments very interesting. I also appreciated the fact that he invited questions and comments from the group. Bloggers do have opinions and the ones here at the summit are expressing theirs whenever there is an opportunity. I enjoy the discourse that arises from the expression of their opinions and the questions asked of the speakers and panelists.

I have also met several people at the summit that I know only from reading the Virginia Political Blogs aggregator. (What a great forum it is! Thanks, Waldo.) While it's not always possible to read every post that appears on it, I have come to know and appreciate the writings of several people. I am also amazed at how young some of them are. These young bloggers' posts are very insightful and well-written. I'm glad to know that they are the future of our country.

Well, off for the second day of the summit! (Although I'll be going to Bodo's this morning for breakfast with the Charlottesville bloggers, I can't wait to see what Amber and the Sorenson Institute crew have lined up for lunch. Dinner last night was awesome.)

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Letter to the editor about stolen campaign signs

The following letter is being sent to the editors of The Farmville Herald and The Cumberland Bulletin:


In the last few weeks, eighteen political signs for two different Democratic candidates have been taken down from one piece of private property on Route 60 in Cumberland. I replaced signs for the fifth time on Thursday, June 8. In addition, I called the Cumberland Sheriff’s Department from the site to report the stolen signs. Around midnight on Friday night (June 9), the signs were missing again and I called the Sheriff’s office once more (on Saturday morning). This is the third time that a report has been made to the department.

The person(s) stealing the signs obviously don’t know that the removal of political signs is considered petty larceny. The property owner could also charge the thief/thieves with trespassing or allow the Sheriff to do so, since permission was given to locate the signs there. Hopefully this letter will let the thief/thieves know so whoever is involved can discontinue their illegal activity.

Lisa Blanton, member
Cumberland County Democratic Committee

This situation is fast becoming ridiculous.

UPDATE--Saturday at 1 P.M.: The signs that were put up last night (Friday) around midnight have disappeared again--for a total of 24 Jim Webb/Al Weed signs that have been taken down. So, I've made another call to the Sheriff--and we'll be putting up more signs in a little while.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

I can't wait...

I can't wait until the Senatorial election is over on Tuesday, June 13. I'm really tired of the negative Harris Miller flyers and robo-calls I've been getting regularly. I was even targeted with the Democratic Women flyer at the end of last week. So, opening the mailbox today and finding another one just makes me want to get...I don't know, violent or something. I'm already grouchy. It's the last week of school for students and I desperately need my summer break.

But what did I get instead of a nice quiet evening tonight? I get a new Miller flyer asking me how I can "trust Webb to support Democratic values when he supports Republican candidates." You know, it's funny--I could swear I heard something about Harris Miller making donations to GOP candidates.

The remark about Webb praising Ronald Reagan was also amusing, since Ronald Reagan is the President that won last month's poll about the most popular president in recent history. I'm sure that Democrats as well as Republicans were among the group that voted him into the leading position--with Bill Clinton as the runner-up.

I laughed at the Webb remark about Clinton's presidency being the "most corrupt administration in modern memory." Many other people consider Clinton's presidency to be corrupt too. Although I'm almost as old as dirt (just ask my children), I can barely remember Richard Nixon's presidency, which is probably the most scandal-ridden one to which I can think way way back. [The main thing I remember about President Nixon is seeing his picture in a Scholastic Weekly magazine I got at school in first or second grade.] Iran-Contra and the elder Bush administration also rank close in there for problems. However, I don't think any of those (Nixon, Bush I or Clinton) are as morally AND legally corrupt as the current Bush administration. The entire inner circle is responsible for a lot of the problems that the United States is currently facing both at home and abroad. So, give me a break on the Clinton corruption too.

Why don't we talk instead about what Harris Miller was doing while Webb was making all of the comments that are being broadcast by the Miller campaign. Harris was representing IT companies in Congress to send jobs overseas--including jobs that are negatively affecting Southside Virginia at this very moment. Harris was making money as a corporate lobbyist--personal money he is now using to fund this negative garbage that I keep finding in my mailbox or hearing on my phone. And Harris was making donations to various Republicans running for office--and not just those in Virginia.

So, when it comes to voting next Tuesday, for whom will I cast my ballot? The one with the least negative campaigning and advertising. The one with the military background and know-how to help bring our troops home. The one that doesn't deny what he has done, but uses it as an example of why he made a change back to the Democratic Party. The fact that he is back in the Democratic Party is a reason to celebrate. I see it as a blessing, not a curse. Of course, I'm not trying to beat him in the primary. And with all this negative campaigning, Harris Miller probably won't beat him either.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Book Recommendation

I just finished Nathaniel Philbrick's Mayflower and enjoyed reading about the first 50-60 years of the Pilgrims' settlement. As is found true of most historical events, the reality is not always the same as the legends/myths/stories that have been passed down through time. I highly recommend this book for those of you interested in history and what really happened almost 400 years ago in New England.