Thursday, December 31, 2009

Strike That Political Pose GOP

I am not surprised in the least that the GOP is seeking to capitalize on the attempted terror attack on Christmas. There is nothing like striking political poses in the name of national security (both the Senate and the House campaign committees of the GOP have sent out fundraising letters). Well, if that's the plan, might I suggest getting some proper lessons in truly striking poses?

Now, if you get that practice in, then perhaps the American people will continue to be duped into supporting the GOP's fallacious contentions on Democratic "failures" regarding national security issues. Best of luck (not really)!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How Badly Does the Man Want to Say "I Told You So?"

I think former VPOTUS Cheney wants nothing more than to say "I told you so" to the POTUS. In moves that are still shocking politically, and that I've posted about in the past, Cheney seems determined to convince Americans that Obama is not up to scratch on protecting the U.S., and he will find some Fox News person or right wing radio person happy to let him express that opinion.

Oh, for the days when Cheney hid in his secret bunker and dreamed dreams of torture and the dismantling of American ideals. Now he cannot seem to shut up, and continue his march toward the land of the loud and wrong.

UPDATE 12/30/09: Now this is the type of posturing that should be coming from the White House on all fronts. Ain't nothing like the truth when wielded properly.

DeMint(ed) Actions and Conservative Amnesia

For anyone who has stopped by this blog, I've made it no secret that I totally love and appreciate the work of Rachel Maddow and the staff of her show. Last night's segment on the Nigerian kid who tried to blow up the flight bound for Detroit was yet another reason why I love the work that those folks do.

There are two things about the coverage of this terror attempt that make me mad, and Maddow tapped into both last night. First, WTF is Sen. DeMint talking about, and why is no one beating him with a common sense stick over blocking the nomination of the possible TSA head (imagine if this were during the last administration and a Democrat was pulling a DeMint(ed) stunt like this). Second, how did the conservatives conveniently forget how the Bush administration handled the "shoe bomber?"

The fact that both of these issues were covered last night in two segments was just golden.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Maddow Helping McCain with his Memory, and the Beauty of C-Span

Just watch the clip, and you will totally understand.

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Will Being Gay in Uganda Lead to Execution or Imprisonment? IV

Once again, I was over at Rod 2.0 reading his latest information on what's happening in Uganda. I have also begun checking out the BBC's Africa coverage (here is a great article and video clip). But the comments from that post at Rod 2.0 caught my attention. A couple of the comment writers compared the small community of openly gay Ugandans and black folks in this country on the DL. For all of the excuses that I've heard from black folks afraid to be who they know they are, all I can say is that there are brothers and sisters in Uganda who are out and proud in the face of possible execution or imprisonment by their government. In that world, I can understand being in the closet. Over here, not so much.

UPDATE 12/23/09: Check this out from last night's Rachel Maddow Show, and here is the link to the DC Agenda article she referenced.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Ain't Nothin' But Snow in Washington, and All I Can Think About is "Skating"

Washington has begun is slow descent into shut down mode. I can hear the guys clearing the courtyard of my building, as well as the snow plows doing their thing on my street (which happens to be an "Emergency Snow Route"). It was a little comical seeing folks scramble to get their vehicles out of the path of the lurking tow truck (here is the series of fines you will be expected to pay if your vehicle is towed), like the signs weren't as plain as the snow in the sky.

The Smithsonian museums are closed today and tomorrow, and the above ground Metro stations closed (and the buses stopped running) about an hour ago. I am glad that I got all of my provisions yesterday. So, I think I might put in a movie. "Gosford Park?" "The Motorcycle Diaries?" All of the LOTR movies? I'll sort it out.

And even though I am no fan of snow, I cannot deny its beauty. This Washington weather calls for appropriate music. I think that "Skating" by the Vince Guaraldi Trio (from the "Charlie Brown Christmas" special) is pretty near perfect:

Friday, December 18, 2009

Civil Marriage Equality in DC: The Signing of the Legislation

Though I know it isn't over, it is still amazing to watch Mayor Fenty sign the legislation that can bring civil marriage equality to Washington, DC. And even though people will continue to say that the black community is more homophobic than any other in this country, it made me feel good to see that racially diverse group of representatives from official Washington, DC stand proudly as the legislation was signed.

UPDATE 12/20/09: There is a great op-ed in today's Washington Post from the Reverands Wiley explaining why they, as black pastors support same-sex marriage. Their historical contexualization is spot on, and I like the term the Rev. Peter Gomes of Harvard University coined, "bibliolatry," the practice of worshipping the Bible (as opposed to worshipping God).

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Will Being Gay in Uganda Lead to Execution or Imprisonment? III

I am glad that the issue of the "Kill the Gays" bill in Uganda has moved more prominently into the public square here in the United States. Rachel Maddow, and a number of GLBT related blogs continue to make sure that this issue remains in the headlines.

Since my last post, the White House has issued a statement against this legislation. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton denounced this move in Uganda at a recent speech on foreign policy at Georgetown. More conservative members of Congress are coming out against the legislation (with chagrin perhaps for many). Over at Towleroad, it was noted that the Archbishop of Canterbury found time to lament the election of a lesbian bishop in the U.S., but seemed rather silent on the activities in Uganda.

In light of some of the rhetoric coming out of some corners in Washington, I would not be surprised if the very people invoking the idea of bringing about "God's war" against the GLBT community in DC were quite comfortable with what is happening in Uganda, particularly since this is a bill that has been inspired by "faith." Thankfully, the Washington Post didn't fall into the trap that the BBC found itself in the other day. The BBC asked its readers if they thought the execution of gays was alright.

Meanwhile, the sponsor of the bill reminded the world that execution is not off the table. So, just to make this clear. If this bill passes in Uganda, those who practice homosexuality and those GLBT folks with HIV who are sexually active will face execution. Those who do not report a practicing homosexual run the risk of being put in prison for not speaking up. Only now, that the situation is being broadcast steadily, and the ties to the American evangelical movement are solidifying, are American conservatives and Christianists speaking out against the bill. I suppose their worlds would have been just fine if the pressure hadn't been applied.

Any wonder what their vision of the United States would be, if they had the power to make it so?

Civil Marriage Equality in DC: Quibbles and Threats

Apparently, there are some upset folks in and around DC.

A Rev. Anthony Evans was even bold enough to say that he would "use the full power of the black church" to derail civil marriage equality in the city. First, Evans is crazy to think that he can actually speak for the whole of the black church. Even in my past posts about the church, I was never silly enough to criticize the whole of the institution. Second, Evans might want to do a quick assessment of his membership just to make sure he can even speak definitively about his own congregants; there may be some of his member praying that this bill will move along just fine. Third, I am so through with this notion that a battle over a secular issue is couched as "God's war." This is, has been, and will remain a civil and secular issue. Churches can marry whom they see fit, and discriminate as they please. It really isn't that difficult a concept to understand.

The Archdiocese of Washington is trying to sort out its position in the wake of the passing of civil marriage equality in the city, and the City Council was quite right not to be bullied by the Church on this issue. The Church has a clear way forward, if it wants to avoid any issue with the city: work with Catholics solely. It shouldn't need government funding, and by not taking the funding, the Church actually is better able to maintain its autonomy and its constitutionally protected freedoms. Works for me.

Then there is the random Congressman, Jason Chaffetz, from Utah vowing to stop marriage here in the Washington. Might I suggest that the Congressman focus on the needs of his actual district, and leave the District alone. We are more than capable of making our own decisions for our city.

I am still amazed that the people in this city, particularly some of the black folks in this city, want to put a civil rights issue (and in DC, gay rights is a civil rights issue) up to a popular vote. I am confident that these same folks would be calling for Armageddon if something similar were proposed that affected black people directly. Their unwillingness even to consider the humanity of the DC GLBT community, regardless of color, is astounding. And the assumption that black folks in DC will rise up en masse to hold at bay "the gay menace" is equally delusional.

I remain hopeful that civil marriage equality will come to my city in 2010, and Washington will be an even more welcoming place for all. See, there really is nothing to be upset about.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wanda Sykes Should Be 'Shamed for This (Okay, Not So Much)

And she was so wrong for that last part. Oh my heavens.

The WSNS Take on Droopy...I Mean Sen. Lieberman

Check out the clip below, and just imagine the health insurance lobby as a woman who just told Lieberman that his campaign dollars for the next election are assured, and gave him a kiss, now that he has come out against any meaningful cost saving apparatus to health insurance reform.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Civil Marriage Equality in DC: Second Hurdle Cleared

I am very proud to be a resident of Washington, DC right now, and I am quite happy with this move by the City Council. I was glad to hear Council member Phil Mendelson remind the City Council that there are a number of religious institutions within the District that support civil marriage equality. Furthermore, Mendelson also reminded the Catholic Church and others that in those places where civil marriage equality has come, little seems to have changed (though I think the Catholic charities in MA elected to stop doing adoptions).

Council member David Catania was magnanimous in his words to Council members Marion Barry and Yvette Alexander, the two members who are against marriage equality. Catania is correct in noting that Barry and Alexander have supported the DC GLBT community in the past, and their votes show that. But they are both on the wrong side of history on this one, and it is that plain.

I really appreciated the words of Council members Harry Thomas, Jr., Kwame Brown, Muriel Bowser and Michael Brown. It is great to hear straight black folks explain with clarity their support for civil marriage equality.

We still have to wait for the 30 day review period in Congress before the law becomes official. And I think that we will get this measure through.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Death Unexpected

There is never a good time to pass along the news of a death in the family, but I think it's worse when the death was wholly unexpected. I lost a cousin of mine last night. He was hit by a car while he was walking in Chicago. He survived the hit, but died at the hospital as a result of his injuries. Was he walking to or from home? Had he been with friends? Was his wife with him? I still don't know the answers to these questions, though I am sure the details will be filled in over time.

Even though my cousin was 16 years older than me, and I didn't know him as well as I would have liked (it's amazing what an age difference and distance can render in familial relationships), he was always armed with a smile and a funny story related to his life. I worry about my great aunt who was just settling from the loss of her husband two years ago, because no child should die before its parents.

As the news of my cousin's death settled on me, both an awareness of the tenuousness of life and the realization not to waste time hit me like a two-by-four to the face. Though most of us ignore it, it is true that there is no guarantee of tomorrow. What were my cousin's holiday plans? Was he going to come back to Virginia to be with the rest of the family, or was it going to be another Christmas in Chicago? What was going to happen at the next meeting at work he may have been preparing for?

I am both profoundly sad about this loss in my family and painfully aware that I do not say "I love you" enough. I hope that for the people who stop by this blog that they will take the time as soon as possible and give love to their loved ones, family, friends, whomever. Life really is too short, though living life can be a wondrous thing.

May my cousin rest in peace.

Friday, December 11, 2009

In Praise of Solid Reporting: U.S. Coverage of the Proposed Anti-Gay Legislation in Uganda

Though the outcome of the "Kill the Gays" legislation proposed in Uganda is still to be determined, I think that it is important to offer thanks and praise to "The Rachel Maddow Show." By bringing this issue directly into the homes of her viewers, Maddow has been able to put pressure on some of the more prominent American actors in this sad state of affairs, particularly the Christianist pastor Rick Warren, U.S. Senators Inhofe, Coburn and Grassley, and "ex-gay" "therapist" Richard Cohen.

It is also important to offer praise to all of the various GLBT blogs for highlighting this issue. I've really come to rely on the information I've read on Rod 2.0 and Towleroad, and I would totally encourage anyone who has read this blog to visit those brilliant blogs.

Unless I am mistaken, I sense changes happening as this issue continues to garner more attention. And my thoughts remain with the GLBT community in Uganda. I can only imagine how frightening it would be to know that my country was literally deciding my fate based solely on who I am and who I love.

I will continue to post about this issue until the Uganda legislature makes its decision on this legislation. In the meantime, here is the relevant segment from Maddow's show last night. Enjoy!

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UPDATE 12/11/09: I watched The Rachel Maddow Show tonight, and saw her latest segment on the Uganda issue. I have to give her show further credit for putting this information out there. Now, the Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni has been contacted directly by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI). Check it out.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sade Is Back

2010 is going to be my year now. I just finished listening to "Soldier of Love," the latest from my girl Sade. Helen Folasade Adu has come back to me, right when I need her. The album, also titled "Soldier of Love" comes out 8 February 2010, and I am ready to hear each and every single.

"Curing" the Gay Back in the Day, "The Daily Show" Style

So, I was checking out the latest over at Ta-Nehisi Coates' blog, and noticed that he'd done a post on Rachel Maddow's guest from yesterday, Richard Cohen. One of the folks who left a comment on that post offered an old Daily Show link from '07. It is friggin' HI-larious, and I am posting both parts.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Diagnosis: Mystery Pt. 1
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Diagnosis: Mystery Pt. 2
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

This whole business about "curing" homosexuality is both dangerous and crazy, and the people who perpetuate that lie need to be exposed for the frauds that they are. That this philosophy of "curing" homosexuality is a part of the force behind the effort to pass horrific legislation against GLBT Ugandans is even more distressing.

Jason Jones ("GRR") started back in '07 what Rachel Maddow was able to finish last night, and it was a total pleasure to watch.

Will Being Gay in Uganda Lead to Execution or Imprisonment? II

I am glad that Rachel Maddow is working diligently to keep her viewers informed about the pending Ugandan legislation that would seek the execution of sexually active gays. The information is as helpful as it is shocking. I wonder if people in our government is doing any negotiating with Uganda to derail this potential law.

Here are two segments from Rachel Maddow's show last night (the second clip was just a joy to watch; I was shouting my support for Maddow's questions and statements).

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I also decided to check to see what some of the commentary my be over at the BBC, and I came across this opinion piece by William Crawley. Crawley even includes a link to the proposed legislation (which I hope is not some fake). I also found a debate that was conducted by The Monitor newspaper in Uganda last month regarding the proposed legislation. It really does make for an interesting read, and the sponsor of the legislation, David Bahati, seems like a hot Christianist mess. And this op-ed in The Monitor last Sunday by Amos Kasibante, a chaplain at Leicester University in the UK, was interesting.

I just hope that this whole legislative push will be stopped.

UPDATE: The latest post over at Rod 2.0 is reporting a story from Bloomberg that the legislative discussion on the "Kill the Gays" bill in Uganda can now be called the "Imprison the Gays for Life" bill.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Preserving GLBT Historic Sites II: The Closing of Lambda Rising

I was sad to hear about the closing of Lambda Rising (LR), and so soon after the demise of the Washington Blade. I think that the owner Deacon Maccubbin is right to feel that he can say "mission accomplished." LR was the first gay bookstore I visited as I was coming out. I also bought my first E. Lynn Harris novel, The Invisible Life, there, and I always went back to buy books (my first book about bears and bear culture), magazines or birthday cards (some of the best I've ever read).

But LR was more than a bookstore. It was in many ways a community center, and it was definitely a safe space. The Rainbow History Project has an excellent historical account of LR's coming to be. Yet with the rise of big box bookstores recognizing that the GLBT community read, and the world of online shopping providing virtually anything, niche stores like LR have been hit quite hard. Towleroad recently posted on the closing of a gay bookstore in Indianapolis, Out Word Bound. And I found an interesting posting about the Common Language Bookstore in Ann Arbor, MI. That bookstore, in an effort to survive did a "Book-a-Palooza" fundraising effort over the weekend (I hope that went well).

There is already talk of trying to get an historic landmark designation for one of the spaces tied to LR, and I think that it would be a wonderful way to honor the historic impact that both Deacon Maccubbin and LR had on the GLBT community of Washington, DC and the nation.

It's important to remember that hundreds of thousands of us sought out gay bookstores to help us on our journies to ourselves. Though some may feel that there is no longer a need to go to a gay bookstore anymore, those stores and the people responsible for them still deserve respect and honor for what they have contributed the GLBT community.

And of course, I will be heading down to LR to pick up some Christmas gifts.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

How Should We Sacrifice to Support Our Troops and Our Wars (Those of us Who Aren't Military)?

It's early Sunday morning, and it's finally cold in Washington. I just finished reading Frank Rich's op-ed, which is he take on Obama's speech on Afghanistan. It makes for an interesting read, but a point Rich raised that really struck me was something I've wondered since the first calls of war started: general American sacrifice in a time of war.

Rich linked to the text of a speech from Bush trying to urge Americans to get back on airplanes to show the world that things are alright. "Take your families and enjoy life, the way we want it to be enjoyed..." is what Bush said then, and I don't begrudge him that. We needed, at that time, to re-establish some semblance of normalcy. My problem came from the fact that what was asked of the majority of us stopped there.

It is no secret that our military families are the ones who have sacrificed in ways that the rest of us cannot imagine. But what have we been asked to do as a people? At the height of the bubble, when things seemed to look good, I think it would have been a good thing to consider a temporary war tax, so that we could have paid more directly for the war in Afghanistan. Why didn't we consider either raising the gasoline tax, or ration the amount of gas available to non-military consumers, because our troops needed the gas that we didn't need to use?

Think of all of the sacrifices that were made during WWII. The country as a whole sought ways to do its part to meet the needs of the mission, and there was little questioning about whether or not to sacrifice in that manner. In the end, most Americans, who were not actually in service, were doing their part to help. Right now, if it weren't for occasional news reports, and/or cynical reminders whenever politically expedient, one would not really think that the United States was engaged in one war, let alone two.

Hell, I feel guilty for not having done more for my part. We all should, and we need to do more than simply say "thanks" to our service members. And we damn sure need to move beyond the empty platitudes like "support our troops." I need to think about how I can help in some substantive fashion. I know that something like a war tax in these economic circumstances are not helpful at this time, but since it seems that we will be at war in some shape or form for a long time to come, then we need to consider better ways to sacrifice for our troops and for ourselves.

Will Being Gay in Uganda Lead to Execution or Imprisonment?

The developing situation in Uganda is horrific. It's bad enough that homosexuality is already criminalized there, and that remains the case in other parts of the world. But to introduce legislation that would execute sexually active gays, imprison non-sexually active gays generally, and imprison people who harbor gays is bat shit crazy. Sadly, there are people in this country who probably think this is a proper means for dealing with homosexuality.

The folks at Towleroad have put together what they call the "Uganda Hub," and there is also a good gathering of information under "Uganda" over at Rod 2.0. Definitely take a look at the compilation of information from both sites. It will make you angry, sad, or both.

Rachel Maddow, meanwhile, has presented excellent segments on what is happening in Uganda, and she has been pointing out the links to members of Congress and Christianists here in the U.S.

November 30, 2009

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December 2, 2009

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December 3, 2009

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December 4, 2009

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In that last segment, Melissa Harris-Lacewell really hit the nail on the head regarding our country's lack of moral standing on the issue of GLBT rights. It will be interesting to see how the Obama administration and/or the Congress will handle this tragic turn of events in Uganda.

The Legitimate Meaning of Teabagging for the Fools Who Didn't Know Before They Started Using It

Rachel Maddow broke it down with the help of the fabulous John Waters, and her righteous indignation is totally justified. And yes, it is funny as hell each time one of these "teabagging" individuals talks about "teabagging." This is what happens when one is sexually repressed and/or uninformed.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Autumn in New York Without Gay Marriage

I followed the sad news that came out of New York this afternoon, and it is disappointing that civil marriage equality did not move the majority of New York State Senators to follow the lead of the Assembly. It's a reminder of how proud I am of the DC Council for its vote for marriage equality yesterday (as well as the second vote coming soon).

Over at the blog Good As You, there is a post showing the photos of all of the State Senators grouped by their vote on marriage. What is heartening to see is that the supporters of marriage equality was a really diverse group of people. Yet when you look at the roster of folks on the side of marriage inequality, it looks like the make-up of the Republican National Convention of 2008.

I raise this, just like the folks over at Good As You, to remind the GLBT community that the line that black folks are more homophobic that other communities is a red herring. The motivating factor for most of the people who are against GLBT rights of any sort is religion, not race. My guess is that each and every one of the people who voted against marriage equality in New York would invoke religion in the explanations of their votes.

It's that simple.

Now over at Pam's House Blend, I saw the statement from the Log Cabin Republicans of New York. Considering that not a single Republican voted for marriage equality, it took balls/breasts of steel to put a statement out blaming the Democrats for this outcome. They might want to revisit the votes of their side of the aisle one more time, and put the cocktail down this time.

Finally, I thought that the statement issued by Governor David Paterson was spot on. That dude is a fierce advocate for the GLBT community.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Conservadem Strategy: Make the Liberal Democrats Kill Health Insurance Reform By Making the Debate About Abortion

Now it makes sense. Conservative Democrats who don't want any form of health insurance reform have devised a plan, so it seems, to make reform unpalatable to liberal/progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Sen. Nelson (D-Nebraska) will introduce an amendment to the current bill that will mirror the amendment introduced by Rep. Stupak (D-Michigan).

By taking this action, conservative Democrats seem to want to force the hand of liberal Democrats by creating a bill that they would be unwilling to support. The public option component seems too up for grabs in terms of support from the general public. But to put into the legislation stronger restrictions on federal financial support for abortion procedures effectively turns the health insurance reform issue into an abortion rights issue, thus blurring the lines regarding overall issue.

Civil Marriage Equality in DC: First Hurdle Cleared

I just found out that the DC City Council passed the legislation for civil marriage equality this afternoon by a vote of 11-2 (Council members Marion Barry (ward 8) and Yvette Alexander (ward 7) were the dissenting votes). There is another vote later this month, Mayor Fenty has promised to sign the legislation, and then there is the Congressional review period (30 days).

I am sad to see that the two Council members who represent both wards east of the Anacostia River voted against the legislation, but I am also not surprised. Alexander in particular has been getting pressure from ministers (most likely Marylanders) to oppose this legislation.