Thursday, December 25, 2008

...So That It's Forever Broke

I caught the debate over Rick Warren on a clip on Towleroad with Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart (here). What really caught my ear was the point about activist judges. I am so tired of conservatives screaming about activist judges. This refrain dates back to the Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954. The uproar that followed that decision was incredible. White people, particularly in the South, lost their minds. A group of nine Justices changed laws that reflected a long held tradition on the subordination of African Americans, a tradition that attempted to enshrine the inferiority of African Americans. The way of life in white America was attacked. People should have been given an opportunity to vote whether or not blacks should be allowed to go to school with whites, according to their (and the modern day conservative's) philosophy. I have no question as to how that popular vote would have gone during that time period.

So called activist judges have been the saviors of minority groups suffering from the tyranny of the majority, something black folks should recognize with no problem (though when it comes to gay rights, religion seems to cloud the memory quite effectively). The Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia is another example of "judicial activism." Interestingly, District of Columbia v. Heller is an example of judicial activism. However, because that type of activism was welcomed by conservatives, the decision has not been couched with similar language (U.S. Fourth Circuit judge J. Harvie Wilkinson, in a recent article for the Virginia Law Review, likened the Heller decision to Roe v. Wade in terms of judicial activism, albeit from the conservative perspective, concluding that the results were equally damaging to the interpretation of the U.S. Constitution). Essentially, judicial activism cuts both ways. Conservatives, however, crow the loudest when that activism goes against their particular perspectives. Moreover, the broader media allows them to set the terms of the debate (damned "liberal" media).

I simply want conservatives to be honest with regard to the history of their disdain of "judicial activism." And in order to do so, they will have to be brave enough to stand by the position that the SCOTUS took inappropriate steps in advancing the Civil Rights Movement's aims. Furthermore, and I have heard this before, black folk should have continued to work with state legislatures to advance their aims (for supporters of gay rights, that should sound awfully familiar). The Brown decision is the root of that term, and the derision that supports it. Own it conservatives. Embrace the past as it really was. Don't attempt to make it up as you go along, or mysteriously forget the historical record when it reflects less favorably on your positions. I am sure that Bill Buckley was as horrified by the action taken by the SCOTUS in 1954 as any white Southern contemporary.

I have attempted to break this down so that it's forever broke. I want conservatives to be honest in their positions, and in the history of those positions. The past can be ugly. There are certainly things in the American past that I wish were different, but they aren't. Conservatives need to come to grips with that reality. Good luck, and please stop crowing about "judicial activists." There are too many decisions rendered by judges that fall into that category for that term to be useful any longer. Finally, remember that if a day comes and conservatives are in the minority and pushing for recognition of their rights, they will be praising the court that had the temerity to act on their behalf, thus saving them from a tyrannous majority. Good luck to you, if that day ever comes.

Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!

To you and your's, I wish you all Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


A buddy of mine suggested that I visit the website It's a website that is essentially a warehouse of old and current television programs and movies. As I was searching through it today, I thought that maybe, just maybe, one of my favorite shows might be on there. And there it was!

I cannot tell you how much I love "Highlander." The geek/historian in me loved the whole play on immortals, legend and history. I lived for the flashbacks to the past (Colonial America, the French Revolution, etc.), and the historical drama. The gay man in me was in love with Adrian Paul, one of the most beautiful men on the planet, and the romantic nature of his character "Duncan MacLeod."

If you haven't had the pleasure, I highly suggest in indulging in an episode or two.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Torture, American Style

How many of you remember the theme song for the classic 1970s television show "Love American Style?" What if we changed the lyrics a little to reflect our new reality (the tune is still the same)?

Torture, tor--ture
Torture American style
truer than the red, white and blue
Torture American style for me and you

And on a star spangled night my vic (my vic caught by me)
you can rest your head on my waterboard
out by the dawn's early light, my vic
I will break you by and by

Torture American style
for me and you

(modified from the lyrics of the song "Love American Style" by Charles Fox and Arnold Margolin)

So it turns out that the United States sanctions torture. My country tortures people, and it makes rationalizations for doing so. We have ceded the moral high ground that we've held for years. We are now following the lead of terrorists. People like Michael Smerconish argue that we have to fight fire with fire, no matter where that fire comes from. I think that we are reducing ourselves to the worst of our instincts. We are lowering our moral bar. We are showing that we no longer see ourselves as distinct and different from the worst elements on this planet. And I am offended by that.

I don't want people tortured in my name as an American. I care more about who we say we are, than diminishing who we are actually. We have tried to repesent an ideal to the world. We have said that we will give, even those who have fought against us, the benefits of our system of justice. That is something that made us stand apart from the rest of the world. It is something that gave all Americans a sense of pride.

I will never condone American torture. There is no excuse for subverting our values. There is no reason to cheapen this country's decades long position on this issue. It is a sad time for this country. And though I will never be ashamed of being an American, I am quite ashamed of the "leadership" of the last eight years. It makes no damn sense. We are better than this.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

That's Better

It looks like Jesse Jackson, Jr. was participating in a previous investigation against Blagojevich. It would be interesting if it turned out that the assistance he was giving to the U.S. Attorney's office helped to nail the Illinois governor.

Monday, December 15, 2008


It's official. I've crossed the line between being in the know about relatively new artists and being a str8 up NPR listener. I was feeling down not too long ago (just contemplating all sorts of things, personal and global), and a friend suggested I check out the song "Alright" by Ledisi. So if I'm late, forgive me. I get it. Ole gurl is a real deal, and represents another reminder of my love for neo-soul singers.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Shut Up and Bail

I think that the American public deserves to know why it is that Wall Street can receive, without questions or requirements (merely suggestions), billions of taxpayer dollars, and the U.S. auto industry is having to go through hoops like a broke person trying to get credit. I also think that each of the GOP Senators who supported the Wall Street bailout need to explain their lack of support for the auto industry.

Most folks from the South know that "unions" are supposed to be seen as bad things, and many (primarily white) Southern politicians pride themselves on being against them. Sometimes I wonder if just the name "Union" conjures up memories of the "Lost Cause." But for a region that is allegedly more proud of being "American" than any other, I find it rather interesting that its representatives in Washington are arguing for the reduction of American wages, as well as stronger support for FOREIGN car companies (see here and here).

I have nothing against foreign car companies, and I do think that they have had better products to offer Americans in the recent past. However, that does not mean that we need to watch the destruction of an industry that is 100% ours. The car was the American product. The auto industry was essentially one of the reasons that people were able to earn a middle class living without having a college degree. Do we really want to let the GOP kill the industry on our watch, especially when it doesn't have to die. This is the time for the American auto industry to re-assert its authority and develop products that are environmentally friendly, aesthetically appealing, and reasonably affordable. The very creators of the industry, at the very least, deserve that chance. The southern wing of the GOP be damned.

UPDATE: Here is a really interesting article regarding the perspective of president of the United Auto Workers, Ron Gettelfinger from "The Raw Story."

Hmm, Buenos Aires?

I was just roaming around the web, and I came to a story about the potential of Buenos Aires becoming a real haven for the gays (Rio watch out). I have to admit that I've always wanted to visit Argentina, including Buenos Aires. I loved the images of the Argentinian countryside in "The Motorcycle Diaries." Yet, I really would love to see the area called Tierra del Fuego down at the southernmost tip of the Americas. I'll put Argentina in my list of considered places for a honeymoon, if I ever get married.

UPDATE: Speaking of "The Motorcycle Diaries," please take a listen to "Al otro lado del rio" by Jorge Drexler. It's stunningly beautiful.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Why Jesse Why?

Look, I understand that ambition can drive us to do some strange things, but there are limits. Clearly, in his desire to become the next U.S. Senator from Illinois, Jesse Jackson, Jr. just couldn't keep that desire in sufficient check. Now he is wrapped up in the madness that is soap opera of Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich.

Infreakincredible! Ta-Nehisi Coates captured my thoughts on this here (and the link includes comments from his reader). If this all turns out to be true, then the brotha deserves what's coming to him. And it won't be a seat on the other side of the Capitol Building.

And naturally, Sean Hannity would do his best to look for links to BHO in this scandal. Yet, it does quite work. I'm sure the viewers of Fox News are gutted.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Past as Prologue

Though it is a tad early for New Year's related thoughts, I have to admit that I am more than ready for 2008 to come to an end. Yes, I am trying to rush it through. This has been one of the most stressful years that I can remember, primarily because of the various ups and downs I've experienced in the last twelve months.

I began the year feeling concerned about the changes that i felt (instinctively) were coming. I was excited to turn 40. I left a job that was brilliant on paper, but I needed to leave. I felt the light leaving my personality, and nothing is ever worth that. I decided that I wanted to put myself out into the dating world more aggressively, and it led to some interesting encounters (each of which has taught me more about myself). I've been able to connect with a number of old friends and cronies through Facebook, and it's been a blast. I was a witness, with the planet, to the election of Barack Obama.

Conversely, I lost my uncle Joe in March, and that was a huge blow to my family. I was dismayed by the passage of Proposition 8 (as well as the other anti-gay measures in AZ, AR and FL), and the concomitant ire that event raised between the African American and GLBT communities. I was (and remain) saddened by the collapse of the economy, which has adversely affected my own job prospects (particularly with the Smithsonian). And one would never know by the coverage that we are still in the midst of two wars.

I've learned so much about myself this year, some good lessons and others not so good. I've also been tested in terms of my work, my finances and relationships. Yet, I've never felt more free. I feel like I've taken the wheel again. It's a bit frightening, but it really feels good.

So, I am confident that 2009 will be a year of awakenings. I hope each of those awakenings moves me toward becoming the person I want to be. Lord just get me through these remaining weeks of 2008. I am in desperate need of a new beginning.