Sunday, December 28, 2008
My best wishes to all of you. I hope 2008 gave you many things to celebrate and 2009 offers hope of better things to come.
My thanks to all of you who stop in here and read or share your thoughts. You have helped enrich my life.
This photo is a stand of sycamore trees near my parent's home in Southern Illinois, which I took on Christmas Day
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Brothers and sisters the choice is ours now. We have the world's attention.
We have the capability to create change, awesome change in this world, but
before we change minds we must change hearts. Sure, there are plenty of hateful
people who will always hold on to their bigotry like a child to a blanket. But
there are also good people out there, Christian and otherwise that are beginning
to listen. They don't hate us, they fear change. Maybe in our anger, as we
consider marches and boycotts, perhaps we can consider stretching out our hands.
Maybe instead of marching on his church, we can show up en mass and volunteer
for one of the many organizations affiliated with his church that work for
HIV/AIDS causes all around the world.
Maybe if they get to know us, they wont fear us.
I know, call me a dreamer, but I feel a new era is upon us.
Yes, we can.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Most likely the preachers who spoke at inaugurals in 50s or 60s DID think interracial marriage was sinful. They surely must have thought and preached that premarital sex was sinful, so Obama's parents were likely doubly condemned.
Warren's religious beliefs lead him to declare homosexuality and gay marriage sinful. That's his right. And Obama has declared he does not share this view. I don't think we gays win anything by demanding someone be excluded from the inaugural because of what he or she believes. We can and should oppose them on the policy front. But prevent him from saying a prayer?
These blessings don't have the import you give to them. Who gave the invocation at Clinton's inaugural? What did he or she say? How did it shape the outcome of the Clinton Administration?
There is a double standard here and it seems to me to be this one: We supported Obama and were willing to overlook the fact that his pastor claimed white people invented AIDS to kill black people. We believed Obama that Rev. Wright didn't inform his views on that topic. Why are we so unwilling to accept Obama's denunciation of Warren's view of sinful homosexuality? His relationship with Warren is far less substantial than his one with Wright. And on the subject of gay marriage Warren and Obama do agree: one man, one woman. We knew Obama's position on this (sadly) before the election. His reaching out to Warren doesn't surprise me, especially given Warren's work in other areas (aid to Africa, which is important to the President-elect)and that fact that Warren's views on homosexuality are (also sadly)part of the Christian mainstream.
It also doesn't surprise me as I re-read Obama's speech on race.
"I chose to run for president at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together."
That's Obama's overriding goal. To achieve it he cannot afford to be governed by what he, we or anyone might consider moral purity. Common ground must be found even between fierce foes. This point becomes clearer as Obama talks about black rage -- which he thinks is justified. Nevertheless:
"The anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems...and prevents the African-American community from forging alliances it needs to bring about real change."
Another part of Obama's race speech also offers insight into how he might see Warren. Referring to the most divisive and and outrageous comments of Wright, Obama reflects:
"But the truth is, that isn't all I know of the man. The man I met more than 20 years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another..."
You get the point. Obama is not the type of person who rejects someone completely if he finds one thing he is vehemently opposed to in a person. Human beings are complex animals and Obama recognizes this. That's a welcome relief from the us vs. them mentality that has been disastrous for our country.
Again, I do agree that we can't give the Obama Administration the benefit of the doubt on following through on policy. I'm more alarmed by Rahm Emanuel's lowering expectations on DADT. That's directly relating to policy, and its far more important than whatever prayer Rick Warren will say on Jan. 20.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Remember that? Wasn't that type of rigid "thinking" part of what we wanted to change from? The whole didactic "us vs. them" mentality that has made our politics poisonous and our government ineffective?
One of the comments I read was from a fellow traveller who whined, "After working so hard to get Obama elected, this is how he repays us?"
Actually, I would hope we wouldn't settle for a pro-gay preacher to say a prayer as "repayment." That's an awfully small reward. I'd hope instead for pro-gay policies, which Obama says he is in favor of and which I think we need to follow through with him to give him support and pressure to make it happen. If I thought all I was going to get from an Obama administration was symbolic gestures to make our community feel good, why, I would have voted for Hillary.
Obama said throughout the election (and I heard him say it several times throughout Nevada, personally) that he wasn't always going to tell us what we want to hear. Guess what? He's delivering on that promise. He's telling us that he is going to deal with all Americans, and that includes the mainstream who are opposed to gay marriage, many of whom, like my own family, believes it is a sin.
It also means he's going to deal with -- and work with -- us. If Obama were playing ideological identity politics, banishing from his administration or state events those who didn't meet a checklist of ideological purity that fit the politics of the moment, we might feel better. Today.
But while we might fit on the list today, politics can change and we might not fit tomorrow.
This is what the big tent feels like. It's full of things that we admire, things that fascinate us and things we fear. And if you're going to have a big tent, there's bound to be a few clowns.
Rick Warren is a clown and this controversy is a circus. Let it go -- there are serious things we need to focus on, like repealing DOMA and DADT.
Policies are what is important, not prayers.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Seriously, why am I not just writing checks or giving gift cards?
Friday, December 19, 2008
My Democratic Friends:
“Please accept (with no obligation, implied or implicit) best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. We also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2009, with due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great (This is not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country, nor that America is the only country in the Western Hemisphere), and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee. By accepting these greetings, you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for himself, herself, or others. This greeting is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.”
For My Republican Friends:
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
And he's giving the benediction at Obama's inauguration.
And Lowerey's inclusion doesn't mean Obama's changed his position on gay marriage, any more than Rick Warren's inclusion means Obama's backed away from civil unions and the repeal of DOMA.
Policies matter more than prayers.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Do you remember the preacher who gave the invocation at the Clinton inaugural? And the influence exerted by that individual over the ensuing eight years? I don't either. In fact, that person wasn't even mentioned in the WaPo story of the Clinton swearing in.
I've seen no evidence that Obama is changing his mind about any of his pro-gay positions. And although I don't care for Rick Warren's positions on gay people, he probably doesn't care for my positions on gay people.
Frankly, I don't care which witch doctor casts his spells over the inauguration (why is a religious element a part of a matter of state, anyway?). I care about the policy positions of the guy being sworn in. And although I think we need to be taking nothing for granted and hold Obama's feet to the fire, this whole controversy is a sideshow. Not the main event.
Yet Sarah Palin turned out to be a disaster.
Caroline Kennedy is being considered for the New York Senate City left by Hillary because....she brings glamour, history and excitement, can whip up the base and fundraise like nobody's businesss.
Okay, I've no doubt Caroline is a sharper cookie than Palin. But the reasons for picking her are the same...aren't they? And Palin at least had run a campaign and gone before voters of her city and state. Caroline wants to skip that part and get one the juicest offices in the land because...of who her family is?
Should we just apologize to Queen Elizabeth and tell her it was all a mistake?
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
"Just this once" is the operative expression, justifying my straying from the plan that's helped me lose and keep 50 pounds off my "big boned" frame ("You're not "fat," my mom would say to me, just "big boned.") Well, if I ate every piece of cake, cookie or pie every time someone said "just this once" I'd be swelling past "big boned" and right into the "husky" category.
It's not that I don't occasionally go "off diet." I ate homemade pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, along with oyster stuffing (yum!). I'll eat my mom's Christmas cookies next week. I split a dessert at one of our favorite restaurants with the LTR last weekend...which is why I need to skip the stale chocolate that's in the kitchen at my office that everyone keeps telling me to eat.
Why is it other people feel they need to tell me what I need to put in my mouth (don't go there...)? Is it not enough that I'm obviously well-nourished and healthy, needing neither emergency lipo or an anorexic intervention anytime soon? I don't feel compelled to walk around telling friends and family what they shouldn't eat; why must they tell me what I should?
Love me, love my diet. It's that simple.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Well, setting aside for a second that HRC is an ineffective civil rights organization (it is) that doesn't deserve your donations (it doesn't), attending won't do us any good. Oh, the pictures will look fabulous in the Washington Blade and Metro Weekly (we clean up well). But if we stick to business as usual (love those Dems, let's all get together and give them our money and votes!!) we get what we've gotten, which is the shaft. What good will it do to ghetto-ize our participation at the Obama inaugural?
Instead, yes -- go celebrate Obama. But go to other inaugural balls and events. Wear your "No on H8" button. Take your partner or boy or girlfriend. Hold hands. Kiss and dance. Talk to people. Let them know you expect Obama to deliver on his promises to our community. Getting a Democrat into the White House wasn't the goal...repealing DOMA and DADT is. Let people know we are watching.
And to be fair, there are other organizations participating in the HRC Ball, ones that are worthy of your contributions. So contribute to them directly and skip the wasteful masturbatory HRC extravaganza.
Here's a list of inaugural events you can chose from. Why isolate ourselves when we don't have to?
Monday, December 15, 2008
One of those criticisms is that they kept the gay out of the campaign. I tend to buy into that criticism, but Dale Carpenter makes the opposite point:
"This may have been the only strategy that had any chance of winning under the circumstances. If the campaign had frankly presented the case for gay families and marriage we might have lost by a much larger margin. No on 8 leaders were trying to dislodge in five months what people have been taught for a lifetime about homosexuals and marriage. Given the size of the task, it’s amazing we nearly succeeded."
I'd like to think he's wrong. But although I've been out to my family for a good many years now, and out to all my friends, I have family and friends who would have voted "yes" on 8. They accept me and the LTR in every other way. But they can't bring themselves to go for the "m" word. So giving our relationships and even just gayness a "face" may not in this case have worked (Sean Bugg makes the simple and elegant point that the mainstream press viewpoint is that gay people have sex, straight people have relationships. I think that viewpoint is sadly universal).
I'd like to think that being "out" is key to knocking down bigotry and fear. But at least as regard to acceptance to gay marriage in my own family, it has not.
Marriage may be the true glass ceiling.
The driver, enraged, gets out of his car and starts running toward the cyclist. Crap, I thought, he's going to attack her. Except he forgot one thing: to put his car in "park."
So he steps for the cyclist and his car keeps going down 24th street without him, edging over into the left lane (maybe it thought the cyclist was going to hit it again). In doing so, it nearly pinned the cyclist and the driver against another car. Fortunately the hothead driver was able to get back in and put the thing in park (not before howling in pain).
Luckily no one was really hurt, though I expect the car driver to have some nasty bruises.
I called 911 and filed a statement with the police once they got there and sorted things out. As I was leaving the car driver came to me and introduced himself (one wouldn't think that after you've almost crushed a cyclist under the wheels of your car that you'd turn it into a networking opportunity, but this is Washington). I politely told him to share the road...to which he began explaining to me it was the cyclists' fault.
Sensing that my work there was finished, I remounted my bike and made it (safely) to work.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Don't think the church has quite got the ceasing oppression in His name part down. Maybe sometime in the next couple thousand years.
As Gilbert Chesterson said, Christianity hasn't failed...it just hasn't been tried.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
If we let the Bible define "traditional marriage" then these changes should be made (4.00 / 5)
If we are to let the Bible define what "traditional marriage" should look like, then our marriage laws should be amended as such: ~snark~
A. Marriage in the United States shall consist of a union between one man and one or more women. (Gen 29:17-28; II Sam 3:2-5)
B. Marriage shall not impede a man's right to take concubines in addition to his wife or wives. (II Sam 5:13; I Kings 11:3; II Chron 11:21)
C. A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be executed. (Deut 22:13-21)
D. Marriage of a believer and a non-believer shall be forbidden. (Gen 24:3; Num 25:1-9; Ezra 9:12; Neh 10:30)
E. Since marriage is for life, neither this Constitution nor the constitution of any State, nor any state or federal law, shall be construed to permit divorce. (Deut 22:19; Mark 10:9)
F. If a married man dies without children, his brother shall marry the widow. If he refuses to marry his brother's widow or deliberately does not give her children, he shall pay a fine of one shoe and be otherwise punished in a manner to be determined by law. (Gen 38:6-10; Deut 25:5-10)
G. In lieu of marriage, if there are no acceptable men in your town, it is required that you get your dad drunk and have sex with him (even if he had previously offered you up as a sex toy to men young and old), tag-teaming with any sisters you may have. Of course, this rule applies only if you are female. (Gen 19:31-36)
Many Bible passages don't make sense in todays society, but they are ignored by those who seek to keep all Gay people oppressed.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
DC Metro (our "subway" for the uninitiated -- and by the way, stand to the right on the escalators. If you actually encounter one in service, that is ) has announced it will be closing its bathrooms for security reasons (not that they were readily accessible to begin with).
Instead they will be setting up port-a-potties, about 1 for every 6,849 people according to one estimate.
So, although Obama is going to turn the page, I guess a lot of us will probably still be looking for a bush come Jan. 20.
Maybe that's what Obama meant by the "fierce urgency of now."
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
And what I'm really dreading most of all is the shopping. Basically my family just does each other's shopping at Christmas time. We trade lists and go to town, ticking off each item. It's just not fun. I tried suggesting last year to my mother that we just buy for the kids or, at most, the kids plus each buy for one adult whose name we pick out of a hat. She looked as if she had seen a Grinch. I feel like Charlie Brown at the beginning of his Christmas special...I just don't get it anymore. Thus ends the longest parenthetical in the history of Scott's Take).
But it doesn't matter. We must all bow down before the power of Santa.
UPDATE: Looks like the word is out. Go LGBA!
The Lesbian and Gay Band Association (LGBA) has announced that a marching contingent comprised of people from its members bands has officially been accepted to march in Obama's Inaugural Parade.
This is the first time in history an openly gay group will be in the parade (Clinton okayed gays taking part on the side lines in his two inaugurations).
I hope my friends at LGBA will make sure to get the word out, as the fact that our community actually has LGBT bands is a well kept secret. And some folks are already getting antsy about gay visibility in the festivities.
9. White House hopes: Being governor of Illinois, possibly appointing himself to the Senate or taking on a posh private-sector gig wasn’t enough for Blagojevich, who expressed “a desire to remake his image in consideration of a possible run for president in 2016.”
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Is it hubris or stupidity? Or all of the above?
If you can't remember recent political history maybe you can remember the cliche about glass houses?
And the people should remember their Lord Acton.
Monday, December 08, 2008
Friday, December 05, 2008
We keep giving Dems the benefit of the doubt because...?
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Today we ate at the National zoo's "Mane Restaurant (get it, cute...)". He had a hot dog and a juice. I had a grilled chicken Caesar and a large soft drink. We stood in line to get our food and the workers behind the counter were surly. I paid $21. And to say the food sucked would be doing the word "suck" a disservice (after all, the word can be applied in pleasing ways). Eli only ate a third of his hot dog. And I could only eat my salad because I was hungry and was pretty sure the lettuce hadn't been scraped out of the bottom of an old garbage can, although that was a matter of faith on my part and not a matter of taste. I think the Museum of Natural History must have sent over a mummified hen from their "ancient peoples" exhibit for the chicken in the salad. There was no way the flimsy plastic knife was going to hack its way through that wannabe football.
I've known tourist places like to price gouge families...but since I only infrequently take a child to dine in them it's a shock to the system to see it in action. During Eli's last visit we went to the Museum of Natural History (Eli wanted to see the Mummified Fowls of Ancient Egypt exhibit) and we ended up in the cafeteria there (keep in mind, when one thinks of the word "cafeteria" one expects modest food AND modest prices). Eli wanted a slice of pizza. They had single slices of pizza, in one size: huge (one could assume that all that grease wouldn't fit something smaller).
To be charitable, I thought, well, if we were a family with multiple kids we would split it up. Still, I wasn't the only single parent with one kid in tow. And as I predicted, he ate a small third of it (before his arteries clogged and he turned into a pillar of salt). I forget the cost of the "slice" but I do remember it wasn't cheap. I suppose I could have taken it home for leftovers, but if the Department of Homeland security didn't get me for transporting a bio hazard through the nation's capital then Child Protective Services would have taken me in for child abuse.
For all those politicians who talked about helping "working families" or protecting "family values" I'd say a good place to start would be in the national capital's government and quasi-government run tourist attractions. Guys: you're feeding trash to the families who visit them (and we're not talking Disney here, we're talking Smithsonian Institution and the National Zoo) and charging them an arm and a leg for it.
Hell, it'd be healthier just to close the junk joints down and let us gnaw off our own arms and legs if we get hungry. At least it would be fresh.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
"My fucking hand still hurts. And that fucking doctor didn't do a fucking thing about it."
And she said it in a normal, conversational tone, in front of Eli, her kids and everyone. Now, I can let loose with an occasional "fucking" (though "goddamn it!" is my curse of choice) but never in public (unless I'm really losing it) and never in front of kids and DEFINITELY never in front of mother.
So I said, "Would you please watch your language in front of my child?"
Which got me cussed out. As I expected, but one shouldn't take rudeness lying the fuck down, right?
I don't have a problem with swear words but do think it's rude to spout them in public with strangers present. I usually save all my swearing for the LTR. And kids don't know when it's appropriate to use them...as in the case of a coworker who's husband said "Jesus Fucking Christ" in front of their three year old, who then proceeded to use that expression in front of his devout grandmother over the holidays.
That, I would have like to have seen.
Monday, December 01, 2008
Think again. Our desire to celebrate the birth of Christ by going all pagan at by killing a pine tree and propping it up in our living rooms to watch them drop needles on our floors is helping to save the planet.
Christmas trees aren't wild. They are grown as a crop, with an estimated 446 million growing in the US today. For every tree cut, one to three are planted. A single tree on average absorbs 48 pounds of CO2 (greenhouse gas) a year. That's 21,408,000,000 pounds of global warming getting soaked up a year. That makes up for the CO2 emitted by 1,070,400,000 families and their cars per year. And if we weren't buying these trees, who would plant them?
Yes, yes, we use more electricity to light these trees...but if you're using a fake tree you're using the same extra electricity without the benefit of funding the CO2-absorbing tree farms. And don't those fake trees come in a cardboard box?
The other thing to know about fake trees is that 85 percent of them are made in China...a nation not known for its eco-friendly manufacturing practices. The real trees I'm talking about are grown right here in Sarah Palin's America, gosh darnnit.
So go head. Kill a tree and put it in your house. The planet will thank you.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Eli out of the blue the other day said, "I'm sad."
"Why are you sad?" I asked.
"I miss Ranger."
Ranger, in case you haven't been paying attention, was our dog who lived with us for nearly 16 years who died in August.
The topic came up again on the drive to Akron for Thanksgiving. He was talking again about Ranger. The LTR said she was in Heaven with God.
"Daddy, who's God?" he said.
"A woman named 'Oprah,'" I almost said. I quickly thought better of that and took the courageous option. "Pappa will tell you," I said.
Look, I could do the heaven and God bit as tools to explain death in a way that's at least somewhat palatable. The idea of living after death in paradise makes death seem, almost, well, bearable.
I'd like to believe in a heaven where we meet our lost loved ones and enjoy paradise forever. Oblivion scares me. Not being scares the shit out of me. And I guess I project that fear unto my son. Maybe he could deal with the idea that this life is it. After all, he is all about living in the moment. Instead we sugar coat it.
I couldn't give him the standard Christrian spin, though I'd once drank that Kool-aid. And although I'm not able to proclaim the existance of God I'm not ready to deny His existance. I just don't know. And uncertainty just doesn't seem, well, fatherly. It's not comforting.
But it's comforting to hear the LTR use the usual religious crutches in explaining God and Heaven to him.
But one thing I notice...there is no difference between the version of God and life after death explained to a four year old and the version understood by a 40-year-old.
I guess when it comes to death we are all children afraid of the dark.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Clerk: Oh, I need to read this one.
Me: Actually, I'm going to read this one, but you can read one of the others back on the shelf.
Clerk: stares at me.
Well, I mean, really...
But with all the recent examples of people voting their religious prejudices into state constitutions and laws, I thought it a good time to post this particular song. If you're religious and your faith isn't strong enough to withstand riddicule, stop reading. No, I take that back. Especially if you can't withstand riddicule of the myths you cling to, please keep reading. Here's one of my favorite parts to the song, speaking of mythology:
zeus was afraid of his girlfriend
so he swallowed her in bed
then he bore forth athena
when they cracked open his head
her brother tried to rape her
athena got away
and when his seed hit the ground
the grass gave birth that day
now we all freely admit
this story's clearly bullshit
no one would lay down their life
or start a war for it
so throw your stones and pray
you'll be rewarded someday
i hope it all goes your way
but something tells me
no one's coming to save you
no one's coming to save you
no one's coming to save you
from turning earth into hell
Here's the vid:
The most abused holiday tune for this purpose? Hark are the Bells. Coming to a Garmin commercial near you, Ad nauseum.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
See? He really wasn't in the pew during the "God damn America sermon." He was on the StairMaster.
Does it bother anyone else that he has to be defensive about not going to church? The most connected to God I ever felt was alone, high in the Peruvian Andes. No church, no preacher, no steeple. Just God. And me. And great cardio. Perhaps StairMaster is the true stairway to Heaven.
And I like songwriter Jay Brannan's take:
Why don't the Gideon's put condoms in the drawers?
Bibles don't save many people anymore.
Friday, November 21, 2008
I think differently. I haven't seen anything (yet) that makes me think Obama is backing off his conviction that DADT is unjust and should be repealed. And I do think people are more accepting of gays in the military now than when (Bill) Clinton was first elected.
But. The comparisons he would invite between the start of his administration and the (Bill) Clinton one would be inevitable if he tackles this out of the starting gate. That's a comparison that I wouldn't want made of my administration. It has nothing to do with fears of an anti-gay backlash...and has more to do with not wanting to be seen as Clinton Part III
Yes, yes...lots there are lots of Clintonites popping up in the new Obama administration, including Bill's wife. But Cheney and Rumsfeld were Ford administration retreads and the George W. Bush tenure was just so much like the Ford years, no?
The top guy and what he does is what matters, and so far Obama has been careful not to replicate (Bill) Clinton's mistakes during his transition. That would include not jumping on DADT. Not because of substance or a fear of a backlash or a changing of heart...but because he doesn't want to provide an easy narrative that compares his actions to the former president...who got off to a rocky start. Obama is about smooth. He will do this, I think...but find the smooth path, if possible.
Obama can appoint Clinton people...he just can't act like (Bill) Clinton.
And if the smooth path is not possible, ole Barack better be willing to take a few rocks for the gays who want to serve. Because he said he would and it's the right thing to do.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
The first casualty of the current war with Iraq, Marine Sgt. Eric Alva, tells his story and why DADT should be repealed.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
But this quote from Joe Solmonese, leader of the Human Rights Campaign, is just insane:
“I think this is a milestone moment in American history and a milestone moment for the GLBT community,” Solmonese said.What? The election of a Democrat is automatically a "milestone" moment for the GLBT community?
Shouldn't we wait until Obama has actually delivered something for the gay community before declaring victory for our community?
The WashBlade article that quoted Solmonese is rife with swooning statements from other gay rights leaders. Feeling the euphoria, you'd have thought voters defeated the anti-gay initiatives in three states instead of the depressing opposite.
Hey guys -- by declaring victory for gay rights and your love for Obama before he's actually done anything, aren't you taking the pressure off of him to actually do anything? You've not so subtly telegraphed that a democratic victory in and of itself = gay victory. And it ain't necessarily so. Remember Bill Clinton and Don't Ask Don't Tell not to mention DOMA?
We gays have our noses so far up the Dems asses they don't need to stick their neck out for us to retain our votes and our money. After all, where else will we go, right?
Can you name me one Democratic office holder of national prominence who has taken a risky stand for gay marriage when it would matter? If Obama is so eager to help gays, he could have taken a vocal stand against Prop 8, which he was said to be against. It could have made a difference.
So, I'm skeptical. And I would think it'd be smart politics if our so called gay "leaders" would be too, and not wet themselves just because we elected more Democrats to office.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
Friday, November 07, 2008
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Conservatives were ascendant in the 1980s and 1990s because they offered
powerful prescriptions for the problems of the 1970s--stagflation and social
unrest at home, and Soviet expansionism abroad. Arguing for less government,
traditional values and a tough response to Moscow worked. But though the world
changed, conservatives have trotted out the same ideas to every successive
crisis. Consider John McCain's response when asked how he would handle the Wall
Street meltdown. McCain vowed to end earmark spending, which has absolutely
nothing to do with restoring confidence and credit to the markets.
I felt the same way about McCain's saber-rattling over Russia's invasion of Georgia -- he was treating Russia like the Soviet Union and casting West vs. East as if the Cold War was still on.
Obama recognizes the change and you could hear explicit expressions of it in some of his rhetoric. I recall hearing him say something like this:
"The question today isn't whether Americans want big or small
government. That's the old question. Today, Americans want
Who after Katrina couldn't agree more with that?
The Republican Party has some serious soul searching to do and it needs to find itself. My Republican friends (the few still talking to me) all agree the party needs to return to "real conservatism." Then agreement stops when I ask them to define what "true conservatism" is.
Meantime, Obama stands astride history. Conservatism, as I knew (and supported) in the 80s and 90s may not be dead but it is obsolete. We'll see what Obama can achieve in this new era and if the Republicans can find their footing.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
My own marriage exists and is real without the approval of others. One day soon, it will be accepted by a majority. And this initiative in California can and will be reversed, as California's initiatives are much more fluid than those in other states; and the younger generation is overwhelmingly - 2 to 1 - in our favor. The tide of history is behind us; but we will have to work harder to educate people about our lives and loves and humanity.
It cannot be denied that this feels like a punch in the gut. It is. I'm not going to pretend that the wound isn't deep and personal, like an attack on my own family. It was meant to be. Many Obama supporters voted against our rights, and Obama himself opposes our full civil equality. The religious folk who believe that Jesus stood for the marginalization of minorities, and who believe that my equality somehow threatens their children, will, I pray, see how misguided they have become. And make no mistake: they won this by playing on very deep fears of gay people around kids. They knew the levers to pull.
Dan Savage finds a new culture war:
African American voters in California voted overwhelmingly for Prop 8, writing anti-gay discrimination into California’s constitution and banning same-sex marriage in that state. Seventy percent of African American voters approved Prop 8, according to exit polls, compared to 53% of Latino voters, 49% of white voters, 49% of Asian voters.
I’m not sure what to do with this. I’m thrilled that we’ve just elected our first African-American president. I wept last night. I wept reading the papers this morning. But I can’t help but feeling hurt that the love and support aren’t mutual.
I do know this, though: I’m done pretending that the handful of racist gay white men out there—and they’re out there, and I think they’re scum—are a bigger problem for African Americans, gay and straight, than the huge numbers of homophobic African Americans are for gay Americans, whatever their color.
Ar Pam's House Blend, Autumn is upset that voters approved animal rights but denied gay rights:
Whether or not Proposition 8 ends up being defeated or being approved by California voters, one way to look at the Prop 8 vote is in light of the Proposition 2 vote. And that is that a larger percentage of Californians are against mistreating farm animals in hoow these animals are caged than are against mistreating gay and lesbian human beings by eliminating their fundamental marriage rights. Put simply, If one evaluates by the votes cast and the percentages of the votes cast, the rights of farm animals appear to be more important to Californians than the rights of gay and lesbian human beings.Dale Carpenter notes we gays are still the detested "other:"
Over the past few days I’ve volunteered at various sites in the Bay Area trying to get people to come out and vote against Prop 8. This included speaking at a rally, distributing literature, and holding up signs to passing motorists. While I got an overwhelmingly favorable reception, not surprising for the Bay Area, I saw firsthand an angry and ugly underbelly of the opposition to gay marriage. I was called a “sicko,” had the Bible cited to me more than once, was asked whether I’d want my "own child to be one,” and was told that “they” molest lots of children, among other things.
And Eugene Volokh offers the depressing analysis that those who got married while it was legal will lose their designation:
According to the text of the amendment, as soon as the amendment takes effect, only male-female marriages are valid or recognized. (Nor is there any language in the initiative summary, or the supporters' arguments, that purports to interpret this text as not applying to existing marriages.)
That's the short version.
That a majority can vote to stip rights from a minority is fucked up. That some people get to vote to invalidate the relationships of others is fucked up. That people who overwhelmingly voted for change by supporting Barack Obama also voted their homophobia is fucking infuriating.
I'm also mad at myself. I was so obsessed with the Obama campaign I didn't pay much attention until the end. So I made some donations, posted a few blog comments and sent a few emails. Looking at it rationally, there was nothing I could have done to change the outcome. The blacks and Latinos who flooded the polls also voted for discrimination. But I still feel like I could have done more, should have done more.
As goes California, so goes DC. We may have hope in the White House, but I can give up my hope that DC will follow California and pass marriage equality.
Perhaps gay rights hit its high water mark in my lifetime with the California State Supreme Court ruling. Our charge for full equality was soundly defeated yesterday. And I fear it's an electoral loss that will take a generation to overcome.
I am bitter. I want to declare I will never again attend another wedding. I will never perform in another wedding, as I have twice in the last year and a half. Until gays can legally wed in this country, let's stop attending their weddings, stop giving them gifts, stop making floral arrangements, planning their ceremonies and serving as their bridesmaids and groomsmen.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
I bought my first Kenny Chesney CD in Las Vegas and have been adding to it ever since.
So, thanks, Kenny, for helping me keep sane (and awake driving to all those campaign events).
And I'm totally ready to belt "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy" at a karaoke near you...
Not just a change in who lives in the White House. Not a change in policy. I voted for a change in the guiding vision for this country. I voted for the hope that Americans can overcome our differences and be one people in a time of great challenge. I voted for the hope that we can debate the great issues before us without demonizing our opponents or relying on appeals to our basest instincts. I voted for the optimism of "yes we can" that proclaims - despite the dark clouds before us -- that better days are on the horizon. I voted for an America where people aren't defined by their race or religion. An America where the son of a broken home and of mixed racial heritage and of modest means can be the President of the United States.
The line to vote was the longest I've seen in the 11 years I've voted in the District, which was no surprise. It was like attending church service -- quiet thought, interrupted by moments of great joy, as when a DC Metrobus went by and the kids on board held up handmade Obama signs for those in line to vote to see.
And now, we wait.
Monday, November 03, 2008
One can disagree with him on an issue and not be demonized as anti-American or unpatriotic. Or labeled a "terrorist."
He is literate and articulate and can explain his thoughts rationally.
He will not condone torture.
After misleading the country into an uneccessary war, the Republicans have shown they cannot be trusted with executive power.
He made a responsible pick for vice president.
He has the best chance of inspiring the country to unity in a time of great financial crisis and two wars.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
But for now...two weeks at home. My own bed. My own shower of my design. My books. My dog. Pictures of my family. The LTR. The usual routine.
Saturday, November 01, 2008
The primary reason is that he will be an unabashed supporter of marriage equality in the District. His opponent, Carol Schwartz, a long time Council member and otherwise supportive of the gay community here, has until recently opposed it. I remember the HRC marriage rights rally where she proclaimed her support for civil unions but said marriage is between a man and a woman; so I wonder now how solid her support for the issue really is. When she states her support for gay marriage now it's with much hemming and hawing. I doubt we'd get much bold action from her should the DC Council take it up, which it is expected to in 09.
No such wishy-washyness from Republican Patrick Mara. He unequivocally states his support for gay marriage in the District. Further, he has stated his support for the Mayor's education plan. Although I don't have any children in the DC public school system, my tax dollars pay for it and any adult in the District should be ashamed of it. We're letting the kids down. Mayor Fenty's Administration has made progress in turning it around. Mara is behind the Mayor. I'm not sure Shwartz is.
In fact, after perusing her Web site, I'm not sure about anything about her. Yes, she posts past legislation she has supported. But in a change election year running on your record isn't the best tactic. I want to know what you want to do. I want to know your vision for DC.
It's not clear Schwartz has one. I believe Mara does. For those reasons I'll be voting for him this Tuesday.
(yes, I know there are other candidates running for this seat, but in my mind the only real choice was between Mara and Schwartz).
Friday, October 31, 2008
This morning's Field Poll carries news that Prop 8 is narrowly losing, 44 to 49%.
This initiative battle is razor thin. We know that 7 to 10% of voters are still up for grabs.
And Tim Gill and Scott Miller will match your donation up to $100,000 if you respond NOW.
We knew we needed something more. Something big. Something to remind California voters that there were times in our history when we did not stand up against discrimination, and these are times we now regret.
So our new ad -- which we call "History" -- focuses on the central fact of this campaign: it is wrong to discriminate and wrong to treat people differently under the law.
This new ad, narrated by renowned actor Samuel L. Jackson, drives home the message that discrimination is always wrong. Watch the ad and make a donation to keep it on the air.
Now it's our turn. It’s our turn to make sure we do everything we can do so the next generation grows up in a more decent society -- a society where discrimination against LGBT Americans remains part of that sorry past rather than enshrined in our Constitution.
We must keep this ad on television statewide through Election Day. To make that happen we must raise at least $1.5 million today. Please donate NOW
After my workout I go back to the front desk and say to Mark a.k.a. Elvis:
"I've lost an item...I wondered if maybe someone turned it in."
Mark/Elvis cocks an eyebrow at me as if to say, "Tell me what it is, thankyouverymuch."
"It was a pair of blue suede shoes."
They just love me at my gym....
You may not live in California and think this doesn't affect you, but you're wrong. I have four friends who just returned from California. They were married there. You may have friends who have married in California or would like to. And other jurisdictions are watching -- the DC City Council will likely introduce a bill to enact marriage equality in the District of Columbia IF it is not voted unconstitutional in California (if Prop 8 passes).
If you know people who live in California, email or call them. If you live in California vote NO. And write Gov. Schwartzenegger (who opposes prop 8) and ask him to speak out publicly.
Go here to find out what you can do. Polls say that it is very close.
And if you want to know what the other side is saying, listen to this. You won't be surprised.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Yes, there do appear to be some older white voters in Appalachia and other
pockets of the country who simply will not vote for a black man.But unless we
are all drastically shocked on November 5, the broader truth is that vast
numbers of white Americans are prepared to vote for a black candidate.
Not so fast. It's not just the older generation of white voters who will not vote for a black man. From the St. Louis Post Dispatch:
...Johnson, a lanky 20-year-old white man who works as a meatcutter at a
grocery store, starts to talk about an issue that has persisted throughout the
campaign: race.It is not just that Obama is black, Johnson says. He has heard
that Obama is Muslim. (Obama is Christian.) He also has heard rumors that Obama
refuses to salute the American flag, and that Obama has promised that black men
will have more rights than white men. (Independent fact-checking groups say
these rumors are false.)
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Today was Redskins @ Detroit.
And how did I spend my Redskins Sunday?
Well, today I had brunch with my two bestest gal pals*, followed by a full body massage**.
I just love Redskin Sundays.
*when a gay guy says "girl friend" he could be referring to either gender. Gal pals connotates friends of the female gender.
**by my massage therapist, not by my gal pals. We're close, but not that close.
***I totally stole this asterisk thing from Lacochran's bloggery
Saturday, October 25, 2008
The other day a straight colleague who is a staunch McCain supporter said to me, "I'm sorry about your father-in-law."
Father. in. law.
Although I think of the LTR's dad in those terms I was kind of startled to hear him acknowledged as such by someone who supports the political party that would use the highest law in the land to ensure that he would never get that designation. That even now the candidate he supports is in favor of Prop 8 in California which would take the right for gay people to have father-in-laws away.
It brought to mind all the straight friends and co-workers who individually have no problem with my relationship and have said to me that it's "silly" we can't marry, but who then give money to and vote for the party and its candidates who support constitutional amendments that would prevent this from ever happening.
I understand that its not a pressing issue to them. They have the right to marry, after all.
But if the shoe were on the other foot...if I were supporting candidates who wanted to take the right to marry away from them, would they be civil to me? Would my support for such a candidate be a matter of passing lightheartedness the way I currently deal with my Republican friends and co-workers?
Doubtful. After all, Romeo and Juliet died for their love; the Greeks went to war with Troy so Theseus could marry Helen. Love and marriage would seem to be a deadly serious business.
So, I appreciate the fact you recognize my relationship with my life partner's father as equivalent to that of a "father-in-law."
And the fact that you vote contrary to that sentiment I'll try not to take personally and ignore it -- even though I doubt the opposite would be true.
We need a president who respects the rule of law and won't bend the Constitution into a pretzel to expand presidential power.
Friday, October 24, 2008
There are men who made more money than he did; who were more successful in their careers; but there damned sure weren't any men who laughed harder or loved their families more.
In short, he was a very rich man.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I'm surprised she didn't say "terrorist." Maybe that's just implied.
I believe there is a moderate and a socialist in this election. I agree with a
two-party system, but Obama isn't a messiah or a democrat.
He's a Muslim socialist.
Palin's fashion budget for several weeks was more than four times the median
salary of an American plumber ($37,514). To put it another way: Palin received
more valuable clothes in one month than the average American household spends on
clothes in 80 years. A Democrat put it in even blunter terms: her clothes were
the cost of health care for 15 or so people.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
What a great family snapshot. But is that a young Todd Palin in the background? (just kidding, just kidding).
A commenter wonders why:
McCain has somehow made these fanatics from the far right think that it is
acceptable for them to act this way at his rallies. Why?
I'll take that one. Because his campaign questions Obama's patriotism at every opportunity and accuse him of "Pallin' around with terrorists."
Good for the McCain supporters who stood up to this nutjob. If only they could get the top of their ticket to see the light, too.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Ohio wasn't supposed to be on the list.
Where is it written that unexpected trips are always for bad reasons? Perhaps in college I took off for someplace with no warning just to do it without the impetus of a bad reason. I can't think of any. Certainly can't think of one since being an adult I've taken many weekend road trips and traveled in this country, Europe and Central and South America. All were planned, expected trips.
I took an unexpected trip to Ohio with the LTR to be with our family after his father suffered a massive stroke from which he will not recover.
I'm trying to decide if death is an expected trip or an unexpected one? We all know it's a trip we will take someday, but the moment when that final journey occurs is random, beyond control. Unexpected.
Or maybe, death -- like birth -- is a trip that is both unexpected and expected. We know it's going to happen, it's only the exact moment that is unexpected.
And maybe, death -- like birth -- is just a traumatic journey from one world to the next.
I hope so.
And if that is so, when my father-in-law finally makes that ultimate expected and unexpected trip, I do know this much: he's going to bring the next world a helluva lot more laughter.
Bon voyage, Dad.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
They really do say "quite right." I heard it.
I didn't know it was a chorus...I just knew the hotel was overrun by the English, until tonight the women were all in evening gowns and the men in tuxes and they all carried a black folder: clear choral clues. They were in town to do the Verdi Requiem
As the elevator disgourged them and me I wished them to have a good Dies Irae. They laughed. The English get my sense of humor. Maybe I'll be famous and appreciated there someday, the way Jerry Lewis is in France.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The roommate of one of your SWDCBloggers was intentionally struck by a car
early Saturday morning just north of the National Mall. He was riding south on
14th St., NW approaching Constitution around 1:15 a.m. when a driver began
cursing and yelling at him to "get off the road." The driver then gunned his
engine and rammed into the bike.The intersection where the crash occurred is
located inside the Central Business District, within which, under DC law,
cyclists must ride on the roads and may not ride on the sidewalks.The cyclist,
who was wearing a helmet, was treated at The GWU Hospital and released with
non-life threatening injuries. Witnesses identified the license number of the
car, which is registered in Virginia. If anyone has any more information or saw
the crash, please send us an email.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
"Such contradictions have become a defining characteristic of the McCain campaign over the last month as his strategists try to find something--anything--that will stop his slide in the polls. He suspended his campaign and threatened to skip the first presidential debate unless there was agreement on a bailout plan. There was no agreement, and he debated anyway. He said big government caused the current financial mess and then called for more of it. He called for a federal spending freeze and then proposed having the Treasury buy individual home mortgages at a potential cost of $300 billion.
Monday, October 13, 2008
I called someone to tell them that and to say "kuntry."
Then I realized what I was doing. "Does this make me an elitist?"
I tried to compensate by playing some John Denver tunes on my guitar when I got to my hotel (yes, I'm travelling with my guitar these days. It makes me feel so, oh, I don't know, Julie Andrews walking into the Von Trapp family mansion for the first time whenever I get to my new hotel).
But my dad is a bellwether. Conservative, Fox news-loving and hawkishly nationalist and pro-military, even he can see that McCain is "acting crazy" (his words).
"He's not the same candidate he was three months ago," Dad says. And if he can get that, well.
Monday, October 06, 2008
Sunday, October 05, 2008
The WaPo has a feature on them -- they were scarce commodities around here until the government decided at the turn of the last century to re-introduce them and protect them from hunters. Strange for the government to help a species known to hide their nuts while the government puts their nuts in plain view, but, I digress.
However, one fact surprised me. Do you know the average lifetime for a squirrel? 11-12 months. A year. And the average squirrel has 4-8 babies before she dies.
So what I don't understand is -- who's hiding the dead squirrels? Sure you see them dead on the road occasionally, but as many squirrels as there are and as clumped together as they seem to be in city parks you'd think we'd be awash in squirrel cadavers. You'd think someone would raise a stink about it.
Perhaps, like elephants, they wonder off to a dying field, a place yet to be discovered in Rock Creek Park. If the park can hide the remains of a high profile murder victim from a DC police dragnet (Chandra Levy) surely it's adequate to hide the hollow where squirrels go to die.
Or, maybe the rats eat them. Perhaps the politicians, in a rare act of public service, clean them from the streets on the way home from their fundraisers or trysts with young interns. But then...I repeat myself.
All I know is, when it comes to squirrel deaths in DC...there's something fishy going on.