Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell is dead!

I'm not even joking.

This from the Associated Press

LYNCHBURG, Va. -- The Rev. Jerry Falwell, who founded the Moral Majority and built the religious right into a political force, died today shortly after being found unconscious in his office at Liberty University, a school executive said. He was 73.

Ron Godwin, the university's executive vice president, said Falwell, 73, was found unresponsive around 10:45 a.m. and taken to Lynchburg General Hospital. "CPR efforts were unsuccessful," he said.

I guess now he'll find out if God really is a Republican, as he suggested.

I hate to bash a dead man, but Falwell was the epitome of evangelical Christianity. For a religion based largely on tolerance Falwell was an agent of intolerance. In 1965 Reverend Falwell gave a sermon at his Thomas Road Baptist Church criticizing Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement, which he sometimes referred to as the Civil Wrongs Movement. He often spoke out in favor of the racist position in those days. His views eventually shifted and was against segregation in his later years.

In the 1980s Jerry Falwell was an outspoken supporter of the Apartheid regime in South Africa. When president PW Botha was elected President by the White South African minority, Reverend Falwell went to South Africa and made statements supporting the government there and urging American Christians to buy Krugerrands, a coin issued by the South African Government.

In 1984, he was ordered to pay gay activist Jerry Sloan $5,000 after losing a court battle. During a TV debate in Sacramento, California, Falwell denied calling the gay-oriented Metropolitan Community Churches "brute beasts" and "a vile and Satanic system" that will "one day be utterly annihilated and there will be a celebration in heaven."

When Sloan insisted he had a tape, Falwell promised $5,000 if he could produce it. Sloan did, Falwell refused to pay, and Sloan successfully sued. Falwell appealed, with his attorney charging that the judge in the case was prejudiced. He lost again and was made to pay an additional $2,875 in sanctions and court fees.

He also used his position of power to further his political agenda. In 1994, Falwell released the straight-to-video documentary "The Clinton Chronicles: An Investigation into the Alleged Criminal Activities of Bill Clinton." The video connected Bill Clinton to a conspiracy theory involving Vincent Foster, James McDougall, Ron Brown, and an alleged cocaine-smuggling operation. Despite the theories being discredited by all major investigations, the video's sophisticated production techniques served as effective exposure, and sold over 150,000 copies.

Funding for the film was paid for by the Citizens for Honest Government, to which Jerry Falwell paid $200,000 in 1994 and 1995. In 1995 Citizens for Honest Government paid two Arkansas state troopers to make allegations supporting the conspiracy about Vincent Foster. These two troopers were Roger Perry and Larry Patterson who also were paid for their allegations in the Paula Jones case.

Falwell's infomercial for the 80-minute tape included footage of Falwell interviewing a silhouetted journalist who was afraid for his life. The journalist accused Clinton of orchestrating the deaths of several reporters and personal confidants who had gotten too close to his illegalities. However, it was subsequently revealed that the silhouetted journalist was, in fact, Patrick Matrisciana, the producer of the video and president of Citizens for Honest Government ."Obviously, I'm not an investigative reporter," Matrisciana admitted (to investigative journalist Murray Waas), "and I doubt our lives were actually ever in any real danger. That was Jerry's idea to do that ... He thought that would be dramatic."

In an interview for the 2005 documentary The Hunting of the President Falwell admitted, "To this day I do not know the accuracy of the claims made in The Clinton Chronicles," but failed to condemn the poor research.

I'm never happy when somebody dies, Falwell wasn't a monster and there are far worse people in the world, but I hope the intolerance he preached will fade as he slips further into the history pages.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Perv's On Myspace

This is a press release from the NC Attorney General, more people ought to know about this stuff.

AG Cooper seeks info about possible thousands of sex offenders on MySpace
AGs demand that MySpace turn over the names of convicted sex offenders the company knows are on its site

Raleigh: MySpace needs to turn over the names of potentially thousands of registered sex offenders the company has identified on its website, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said today.

Cooper and a group of other state attorneys general believe that data from Sentinel Tech Holdings, a company working with MySpace, indicate that thousands of known sex offenders may have been confirmed as MySpace members. In a letter sent today to MySpace, six state attorney generals asked the company to provide the names and states of all registered sex offenders with profiles on its social networking site.

“MySpace is a treasure trove of potential victims for child predators,” said North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper. “Sex offenders have no business being on this site, and we believe MySpace has a responsibility to get them off the site.”

Today’s letter requests that MySpace tell the attorneys general by May 29 how many registered sex offenders have been found on its site and what steps the company has taken to remove them from the site. In addition the letter asks MySpace to provide details on what it has done to alert other MySpace users who have communicated with these offenders, and also to alert law enforcement about these offenders.

Cooper and Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal are leading a group of attorneys general from 50 states and territories who have been pushing MySpace to do a better job protecting children from dangers on its site such as sexual predators and inappropriate content.

Across the country, law enforcement agencies have identified more than 200 cases where children were lured out of their home by predators they met on MySpace. In North Carolina, a former sheriff’s deputy was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2006 for molesting a 15-year-old Cary boy he met on MySpace. In 2006, the NC State Bureau of Investigation arrested a Boiling Spring Lakes police officer for raping a 14-year-old girl he lured through MySpace.

Both North Carolina and Connecticut and a handful of other states are currently pushing legislation that would require social networking sites including MySpace to get parents’ permission before letting children join. Cooper is also pushing a measure that would make it a felony for convicted sex offenders to join social networking sites where children are members.

Today’s letter was signed by attorneys general from Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania. A copy of the letter is attached.


A Communication From the Chief Legal Officers Of the Following States:
Connecticut – Georgia – Idaho – Mississippi – New Hampshire – North Carolina – Ohio – Pennsylvania
May 14, 2007
Mary Ellen Callahan
Hogan and Hartson, LLP
Columbia Square
555 Thirteenth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004

Dear Ms. Callahan:
As our states' chief legal officers, we are gravely concerned that sexual predators are using MySpace to lure children into face-to-face encounters and other dangerous activities. We write to you regarding MySpace’s December 2006 announcement with Sentinel Tech Holding regarding the identification of registered sex offenders on MySpace.
It is our understanding that the data from Sentinel reveals that thousands of known registered sexual offenders have been confirmed as MySpace members. If true, this dramatically exceeds the report from Wired magazine, which found 744 registered sex offenders with MySpace profiles. Perhaps thousands more sexual predators -- not registered or using fictitious names -- are lurking on your web site. We remain concerned about the design of your site, the failure to require parental permission, and the lack of safeguards necessary to protect our
We therefore request the following information: First, how many registered sex offenders in the Sentinel database have been cross-referenced against MySpace’s membership?
Second, what is the exact number of known registered sex offenders who have been identified as members of MySpace to date? Please forward a list of the names of the registered sex offenders that you have identified with profiles on MySpace and the states in which they reside. Third, what steps has MySpace taken to alert law enforcement officials as well as MySpace users of such sex offenders? Finally, what steps has MySpace taken to remove sex offender profiles and how many have been removed?
We request a response by Tuesday, May 29, 2007. We look forward to hearing from you.


Roy Cooper Attorney General North Carolina
Richard Blumenthal Attorney General Connecticut
Thurbert Baker Attorney General Georgia
Lawrence Wasden Attorney General Idaho
Jim Hood Attorney General Mississippi
Kelly A. Ayotte Attorney General New Hampshire
Marc Dann Attorney General Ohio
Tom Corbett Attorney General Pennsylvania