aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Saturday, April 29, 2006
Ninja to ATF: Say you’re sorry!
As is somewhat fitting for a modern-day ninja, Jeremiah Ransom is not seeking revenge against his enemies with Katana blades or throwing stars. Instead he had his lawyer mail them a letter demanding a formal apology.
It’s the latest step in the increasingly strange story surrounding Ransom, a sophomore at the University of Georgia, who gained national headlines two weeks ago when he was roughed up by agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms after going to the dining hall in a ninja costume (see ”University Ninja Ambushed By Feds On Way To Dining Hall”).
At the time of the incident, in which ATF agents pinned him to the ground and searched him for weapons in broad daylight, Ransom said he was considering legal action. But while a lawsuit remains an option, his attorney said the whole thing can be rectified if the ATF will just say it’s sorry.
Praying to lower gas prices
WASHINGTON, April 26 (UPI)—A U.S. Christian group has grown tired of escalating gasoline prices and is set to stage a national prayer rally to lower the numbers at the pumps.
Various Christian clergy from around the country will convene around a Washington, D.C., gas station Thursday at noon to pray. For those who can’t attend, a live Internet site and toll-free prayer line have been established.
In a release, the Pray Live group said many people are “overlooking the power of prayer when it comes to resolving this energy crisis.”
They usually pray and worship inside the confines of their own church, asking God for his wisdom and intervention. But today they took their prayers across the street from a gas station in the nation’s capital and asked God to lower the rising gasoline prices that have hit the wallets of Americans all across the country. [...]
The prayer service was organized by PrayLive, a group that bills itself as a 24-hour prayer line and e-church. The group brought together ministers from the Washington, D.C., area as well as concerned citizens. They say they’re sick of the rising gas prices and believe it’s time to ask God to step in.
Destabilizing the Episcopal Church
Gays News Blog points to former Washington Post and New York Times reporter James Naughton writing in the newsletter of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, DC:
When the General Convention of the Episcopal Church meets next month in Columbus, Ohio, a small network of theologically conservative organizations will be on hand to warn deputies that they must repent of their liberal attitudes on homosexuality or face serious consequences. The groups represent a small minority of church members, but relationships with wealthy American donors and powerful African bishops have made them key players in the fight for the future of the Anglican Communion.
Millions of dollars contributed by a handful of donors have allowed a small network of theologically conservative individuals and organizations to mount a global campaign that has destabilized the Episcopal Church and may break up the Anglican Communion.
The donors include five secular foundations that have contributed heavily to politically conservative advocacy groups, publications and think tanks, and one individual, savings and loan heir Howard F. Ahmanson, Jr., who has given millions of dollars to conservative causes and candidates.
Contributions from Ahmanson and the Bradley, Coors, Olin, Scaife and Smith-Richardson family foundations have frequently accounted for more than half of the operating budgets of the American Anglican Council and the Institute on Religion and Democracy, according to an examination of forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service and an analysis of statements made by both donors and recipients.
The AAC and the IRD have worked together in opposing the Episcopal Church’s consecration of a gay bishop with a male partner, its practice of ordaining non-celibate homosexuals to the priesthood, and its willingness to permit the blessing of same-sex relationships. Their campaign has entailed extensive international travel, heavily subsidized conferences and the employment of a professional staff and consultants to coordinate and publicize their efforts.
Most recently the groups have organized several of their international allies to pressure the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to remove the Episcopal Church from the Communion, and to replace it with a significantly smaller and more conservative Church that would be headed by bishops with longstanding ties to the AAC. READ ON
Paey v Limbaugh
Paey, a wheelchair-bound car-crash victim, was prosecuted in the same state, Florida, for the same use of prescription painkillers, as Limbaugh but with starkly different outcomes. Paey’s serving a mandatory 25 year sentence. Limbaugh gets off scot-free.
Why didn’t Paey take a plea deal? I quote from one of the three columns John Tierney has written on his imprisonment:
Scott Andringa, the prosecutor in the case, acknowledged that the 25-year mandatory penalty was harsh, but he said Mr. Paey was to blame for refusing a plea bargain that would have kept him out of jail.
Mr. Paey said he had refused the deal partly out of principle—‘’I didn’t want to plead guilty to something that I didn’t do’’—and partly because he feared he’d be in pain the rest of his life because doctors would be afraid to write prescriptions for anyone with a drug conviction.
If you think that sounds paranoid, you haven’t talked to other chronic-pain patients who’ve become victims of the government campaigns against prescription drugs. Whether these efforts have done any good is debatable (and a topic for another column), but the harm is clear to the millions of patients who aren’t getting enough medicine for their pain.
Paey now gets from the prison the same quantity and quality of pain medication he was arrested for. Here’s a roundup of news reports on Richard Paey and the War on Pain Patients.
Can we expect Limbaugh to speak out against the victimization of patients and doctors by a law enforcement apparatus that refuses to see pain killers as medicinal relief from suffering, preferring instead to arrest sufferers as criminal narcotics traffickers? Don’t hold your breath.