Thursday, May 28, 2009

"Keep Your Promise"

Obama made lots of promises to the GLBT community when he wanted our support to get elected. But since then, he's done virtually nothing for us. And last night at a big fundraiser in Beverly Hills he joked to the crowd that he saw a protester holding a sign saying "Obama, keep your promise," and he thought, "I don't know which one he's talking about."

I'm not laughing. Let's start with ending the HIV travel ban and Don't Ask, Don't Tell and move on from there.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Quick Thoughts on the Prop 8 Decision

Although yesterday's decision by the California Supreme Court to uphold Proposition 8 was, on one level, a major disappointment (a simple majority being allowed to vote away the rights of a minority seems un-American to me), I accept the results and generally agree with them.

First, whether I like it or not, the California Constitution allows the citizenry to amend it by a simple majority. Perhaps we need a new Constitution (our budgeting process is massively whacked, as well), but until then, we need to work with the one we have. And that one says only man-woman relationships can be called "marriage."

Second, the decision was very narrowly written, clearly stating that the only effect of Proposition 8 is to withhold that title of "marriage" from same-sex couples. We are allowed to be in relationships which have full legal equivalency, but (for now) they can't be called "marriages." Several activitists believe the decision was actually a win for marriage equality.

In addition, a judicial overturn of the "will of the people" (and as long as we're in the mood to eliminate rights, can we vote to outlaw toupees next, please?) would have resulted in a huge backlash against the courts and, by extension, to the gay community. No, it seems this is a freedom Californians will need to win at the ballot box.

But not in 2010, please. Although the community is already girding its loins for another electoral battle, wanting to capitalize on the marriage equality momentum from Iowa, Main, Connecticut and New Hampshire, I strongly believe 2010 is too soon. Last night I saw Gavin Newsom say something like, "We have to reconnect with the voters who weren't convinced last time and find ways of better persuading them."

I don't think the problem was persuasion - even though our campaign made some major errors. The problem is demographics. There are simply too many old people who see homosexuality as a scourge or a curse or a sin or some combination thereof. For many, no amount of logic or reason is going to change their minds.

On the other side of the coin, a solid majority of those under 40 have grown up in an era when many closet doors were blown wide open. They've watched "Will & Grace" and had friends in high school and college who were out. They've worked with openly gay people. For them, it's not really a big deal. It's even less of a deal to those under 30.

What we need to do is be patient and wait for a few hundred thousand old folks to die and a few hundred thousand teenagers to reach voting age.

2010 is too soon. Let's try 2012.

I'll Get Packing

I loved this house! (You may remember it from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off.") Only problem is that it's in Chicago, which is suitable for human habitation for only about seven weeks May and June and another six weeks in September and October.

5300 square feet. $2.3 million.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fresh Cookies and Kink

Dan Savage addresses the seeming dichotomy presented by the gay community -- that though we generally seem to be less uptight about sexual matters (as he says: "Once you've told your momma that you wanna kiss boys giving yourself or your partner permission to indulge in this, that, or the other kink isn't anywhere near as scary."), we can still be rather ordinary in so many other respects:

"...there's nothing mutually exclusive about conspicuous displays of wholesome family values—like baking peanut butter cookies for your kids—and attending IML and indulging in the kinds of (preferably safe) sex acts that so shock and repel and redden the likes of Sally Kern."

Is It Really a Loss?

According to Seneca Doane at Daily Kos, today's decision on the validity of Proposition 8 may not be as big a defeat as initially thought: "It's hard to be outraged when a unanimous California Supreme Court just reiterated that California law gives every couple regardless of gender the fundamental right to be married in fact, even if voters have messed with the labels. Our opponents lost more today than we did."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Moments of Mayhem

A Chinese artist using acrobatics (backed up by the occasional wire, high jump pit, etc.) and tricky camera angles to fool us into thinking something dangerous is going on.

This Is Getting Ridiculous

We spent $25 million training him. He's served with honor for 18 years, winning nine medals. He has hundreds of hours of combat experience as an F-15 pilot. Now he is being discharged. Can you guess why? Of course you can.

We can't go on like this. DADT is an idiotic policy based on ignorance and prejudice. It has no place in America. It makes us less safe. It must be ended. Now.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Professional wrestling may be fake...

...but Jesse Ventura is as genuine as they come. Watch him put Elizabeth Hasselbeck into a sleeper hold on the torture issue.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Quick Note to Barack Obama

Earlier today, Barack Obama (or at least the administration) reneged on an earlier commitment to release more photos of prisoner abuse, one assumes similar in tone to the famed snaps of Lynndie England posing with piles of naked prisoners. His reason? "The most direct consequence of releasing (the photos), I believe, would further flame anti-American opinion and to put our troops in greater danger. ... I fear the publication of these photos may only have a chilling effect on future investigations of detainee abuse."

If I could slip him a note, here's what I'd write:

Mr. President -- it frightens me that I have to tell you this, but nonetheless you seem to have missed something very important. That is, that releasing those torture photos will make our troops safer than if you keep them classified. Letting the world see them sends the signal that America plans to deal - in an open, honest way -- with the fact that we tortured prisoners.

Of course, as you obviously realize, if we do this facing-up with anything approaching honesty your predecessor might be standing trial for war crimes. And since you (or rather AG Holder) seem to have no intention of bringing anyone to justice for these crimes, my guess is that you've decided not to take even a step down the path toward that rather substantial bit of terra incognita. Best not even think about it. Here be dragons. Releasing photos says you plan to do something. But since it looks like you plan on doing nothing, maybe you're right. Maybe releasing the photos would only tease the global community that America might be willing to own up to our bad behavior.

If you really want to make our troops safer, release the photos. Let the world know America is taking responsibility for our actions. Send clear signals that we will not let it happen again. Punish those who made this horrific error.

By keeping those photos classified, the world realizes we have no intention of giving up "enhanced interrogation." That we'd waterboard anyone we liked anytime we liked if we thought it furthered our interests. The message we send is that nothing, really, has changed.

And that, Mr. President, is how you recruit martyrs and make Americans everywhere less safe.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Getting the Vapors

Although it's nothing I've ever considered doing -- or even considered possible -- but a club in London has found a new way to knock back a couple of stiff ones.

"The concoction was top-shelf--Hendrick's gin and Fever Tree tonic--and when shot through a humidifier the gin's cucumber and juniper aromas came through to full effect. It was a pleasant scent, and I could imagine the boozy facial being a hit at a girl's spa weekend. But in a small subterranean room, lit by a single, bare bulb and filled with strangers in baggy white jumpsuits, it made for a decidedly strange, Willy Wonka Saturday night bar scene."

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Lose the Shame

Writing on The Huffington Post, blogger Lane Hudson notes how quiet the White House has been regarding the progress of marriage equality.

Money quote: "Here's the problem: Everybody knows the Democrats are for equality for the gays. The Republicans have spent a gazillion dollars telling everybody that for the past 18 years or so. So when a Democrat back tracks and falls all over himself to answer a 'gay' question, it shows fear. It shows dishonesty. And nobody's buying it."

So Washington should get over it, do the right thing and embrace equality. Is that so wrong?

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Maine House Votes for Marriage Equality

Just a while ago, the Maine House voted to approve marriage equality in the Pine Tree State. The governor, who has in the past expressed opposition to same-sex marriage still has to sign the bill in order for it to become law. However, his position has softened in recent months. Recently he said “I was opposed to this for a long time, but people evolve, people change as time goes by.” So there's hope.

In addition, the Washington D.C. Council voted 12-1 (with only crackhead Marion Berry voting no -- always good to have him on the other side of your issue!) to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

Equality is rolling, and it will be VERY interesting to see what happens when the California Supreme Court rules on whether Proposition 8 is a constitutional amendment or a revision. Whichever way it goes, it's going to make a big impact in the battle.