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Archive for January, 2006

January 31st, 2006

Here’s To The New Face…Same As The Old Face…

Chris Crain, Executive Editor of The Washington Blade writes about the new face of the democratic party

The Democratic Party announced on Friday that Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine will deliver the party’s official response to President Bush’s "State of the Union" address later this month. Party leaders tapped Kaine because they wanted to reach outside the beltway and pick a fresh face who has proven succes with "red state" voters.

A statement issued by the party praised Kaine, just one week on the job, for being "a champion for working families, putting their priorities above the needs of the special interests."

That description will surprise the "working families" of Virginia headed up by gay and lesbian couples. Because the same day Kaine was picked to be "the new face" of the Democratic Party, the Washington Blade reported that he supports and will sign into law an amendment to the Virginia constitution that not only bans gay marriage and civil unions, but domestic partnerships as well, and may even deprive us the protection of domestic violence laws.

…If Howard Dean and other party leaders truly believe Kaine is a "champion for working families who puts their priorities above the needs of the special interests," then we can only conclude that the Democratic Party now views the civil rights of our working families as "special interests" to be sacrificed on Election Day.

Tim Kaine may be the new face for Democrats, but he certainly isn’t their spine.

Actually…he probably is. And that’s the problem.

A lot of people, when they heard last week that Kaine was going to give the Democratic response to the state of the union, went ballistic. To many people Kaine is an appalling choice to speak for the Democratic party. Pam’s House Blend has been all over it:

For gays living under Kaine and his endorsement of a marriage amendment, it’s a clear message that your life partner relationship has no legal footing or recognition in the state — and it will NEVER be recognized. Oh, and keep paying taxes for that luxury.

Yet that’s fine and dandy with the Democratic Party establishment, which tacitly endorses Kaine’s position with this pick. Defenders will say: "just ignore that and look at ‘the whole package’ or ‘the long view’.

Well, I’m looking at the long view, and so far all I see are states falling, one by one, passing marriage amendments because Dems are silent. I take that as either an endorsement of the bigotry, or complete impotence and incompetence on how to counter the message coming out of the right wing.

That’s when you know that civil equality is not a core value in this party.

To me, a true fresh face from Virginia is Delegate David Englin. He is a Fighting Dem that had the balls to publicly slap back at bigotry in his statehouse with a speech that should be read by Howard Dean and the rest of the shiftless, bleating Dem talking heads. The party leadership had plenty of choices to tap for this speech — and they chose Republican lite.

But that’s just fine with some democrats, who seem perfectly willing to throw their gay and lesbian neighbors to the wolves if they think it’ll win them back the Archie Bunker vote:

For liberal bloggers who want to get exercised about something really important: Where are the Democrats or liberals talking about Ford laying off some 30,000 workers, the end of middle class benefits for working Americans, IBM’s gutting of pension security, and the collapse of American manufacturing?

If you want to know why Dems don’t win elections, it won’t be because Kaine is talking this Tuesday night. It’s because the mainstream leadership of the Democratic party doesn’t think, feel, viscerally respond to the increasing insecurities of working americans.

Fine. Let’s talk about pension security:

When a dying Laurel Hester appealed to the Ocean County freeholders a month ago, she sat in front of them in Toms River, spoke in a soft voice and asked the five- member board to allow her pension benefits to be extended to her life partner.

Yesterday, Hester was in front of the freeholders again — but this time she was in a videotaped message played on a laptop computer at the freeholders meeting — making what could be her last plea to them before her cancer kills her. Although the freeholders appeared moved by the three-minute video, they were not budging from their decision to not extend Hester’s pension benefits to her life partner, Stacie Andree. At least one freeholder said the board would not change its mind before Hester’s death.

"The board has said so far it is a legitimate and reasonable position we’ve taken," Freeholder John Bartlett Jr. said after the meeting. "In my opinion, I don’t see any need to change it."

Laurel Hestor, a New Jersey policewoman who put her life on the line every day for the security of her community, was begging that community to do for her life partner, what it would routinely do for a married heterosexual couple. Without this, her partner would have had to sell the house they lived in together for many years after Laurel’s death. The freeholders, under pressure from state republicans reversed themselves last week and granted the extension of Laurel’s pension benefits to her partner. Pension security.

Kaine would have it taken away from Hestor and her partner. And there are plenty of democrats, like Katrina vanden Heuvel who I quoted above (via Steve Gilliard, who has a thing or two to say about democrats like her), who wouldn’t give ratshit about it either, so long as the pensions of real people aren’t touched. The insecurities of working Americans is it Katrina? My ass. Just say "prejudices" Katrina. It’s what you meant after all. Democrats have to pander to the lowest prejudices of working class americans once more, like the party used to back in the 1950s, if it wants to start winning elections again. That about sum it up?

But we’re suppose to keep supporting the party anyway, with our dollars, and our energy, and our votes. Last week I got into a brief argument with one of these democrats in a comment thread on AmericaBlog, who told us straight up that we should be willing to sacrifice our right to marriage, and with it any hope for the security of our households and our unions, to "save America" from the republicans. But America is the land of liberty and justice for all. America is the land of equal justice under law. America is the land where we’re all endowed by our creator with rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. When you’ve allowed all that to be destroyed, what is it exactly that you’re saving? I’ll hazard a guess: Democrats like Katrina don’t want to save America, they just want to save themselves. And we’re supposed to help them save themselves, by grandly offering to sacrfice our homes, our families, and all our hopes and all our dreams, so that they can keep selling America out piecemeal to the republicans. I’ve got a middle finger right here Katrina that has my answer to you written all over it.

As Franklin once said, we’ll all hang together or for sure we’ll all hang separately. Throwing your gay and lesbian neighbors overboard isn’t going to help keep your ship afloat. It’ll sink it. You won’t get the bigot vote. If each and every democrat running for office personally put a knife in the heart of the first gay person they came across, they Still wouldn’t get the bigot vote. The only way Democrats are going to start winning elections again is to fight like hell for America, for the American dream of liberty and justice for all. As Truman once said, if you give people a choice between a republican and a republican, they’ll elect the republican every time.

But…I guess you have to actually believe in the American dream, to want to fight for it. If you think that the rights of your gay and lesbian neighbors are negotiable, then you don’t believe in it. It really is as simple as that. You can’t say that some Americans are more equal then others and then out of the other side of your mouth claim you still believe in an America where we’re all equal. You’re just looking out for yourself. But nobody buys their own rights, at the expense of their neighbor’s.

First they came for the jews…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Here’s To The New Face…Same As The Old Face…


The Vote For Alito

Here is a list of democrats who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade. They voted to reverse Lawrence v. Texas, and re-establish the sodomy laws. They voted to reverse Romer v. Evans, and allow states to constitutionally place gay and lesbian Americans in second class citizenship status. Remember their names. They are the democrats, who sold out America, who, by voting against the filibuster of Alito, gave the American dream to the haters of democracy on a silver platter:

Arkansas:

Lincoln
Pryor

Colorado:

Salazar

Connecticut:

Lieberman

Delaware:

Carper

Florida:

Nelson

Hawaii:

Akaka
Inouye

Iowa:

Harkin

Louisiana:

Landrieu

Montana:

Baucus

Nebraska:

Nelson

New Mexico:

Bingaman

North Dakota:

Conrad
Dorgan

South Dakota:

Johnson

Washington:

Cantwell

West Virginia:

Byrd
Rockefeller

Wisconsin:

Kohl

Later on this week, some of these will vote against confirmation, and then try to claim that it was a vote against Alito. No. The only vote that mattered, was the vote for or against the filibuster. That was their only way to prevent Altio from sitting on the court and they knew it. By voting ‘yes’ to close debate, they voted to seat Alito, knowing that he will be the vote to finally overturn Roe, and once again reestablish sodomy laws, and make gay Americans, women and other minorities second class citizens…if even that. That is what these democrats voted for.

Over at Kos, diarist Maryscott OConnor has this to say:

Frankly, right now I’d like nothing better than to torpedo the entire lot of them. Just dump them like so much worthless, leaden, VICHY MOTHERFUCKING BALLAST.

I got nothin’, folks. Don’t look over here if you want comfort or a nice, uplifting LIVE TO FIGHT ANOTHER DAY speech.

I’M DONE WITH THEM. They are DEAD to me.

Yeah. CANTWELL and BYRD and LANDRIEU and BINGAMAN and every last motherfucking one of them, I’m DONE with them.

I’m registering Independent tomorrow. You’re welcome to join me.

If it weren’t for the fact that both my democratic senators voted for the filibuster I’d probably do the same. But I reckon for now I’ll remain a democrat, if for no other reason then I get to vent at all the party telemarketers who call asking for money and support.

In Washington state, some yahoo is organizing a petition drive to establish a Cincinnati article 12 style law to forbid the enactment of laws that protect gay and lesbian people from discrimination. An Alito court could, and probably will at some point, reverse Romer v. Evans, and allow such a thing to become part of the state constitution. For gay and lesbian Americans, and for other minorities as well, it’ll be the 1950s all over again. But the Bush republicans want to push America back even further, back into the 1800s, to a time when the only people who had rights were the rich and the powerful.

This is what I was most afraid of, in a Bush second term. And it’s not over. He’ll likely get another one on the court. And who knows, maybe even one after that. And now they know the democrats will lay down and just let it happen. People are saying the answer to all this is to get more democrats elected. But…why? They had the power to stop this and they wouldn’t use it. And point of fact, when they were in the majority they allowed Scalia and Thomas to sit on the court. Who can really say with a straight face that if they were in the majority in the senate, that Altio wouldn’t be placed on the supreme court anyway, and Bush given essentially free reign to put a knife in the American dream?

Elect a democratic president, you say? They may not nominate batshit crazy right wingers to the court, but anyone they do nominate will be blocked by the republicans unless they are. And capital hill democrats won’t fight for their president’s nominees like the republicans fight for theirs…they just won’t. We’re in a loose-loose situation until the democrats either grow a spine, or new blood comes into the party that is willing to get in the republican’s faces and fight like hell for America. Republicans fight and democrats won’t and until that changes the worst is still yet to come.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Vote For Alito


Why We Fight…

Via the BBC

A man beaten in a suspected homophobic attack in Londonderry has been told he may lose the sight of one eye.

The 20-year-old, from County Donegal, was attacked by two men as he walked along Clarendon Street on Sunday.

He was punched on the face and knocked to the ground. He is now recovering in hospital. There have been a series of attacks on gay men in the city.

David McCartney from the Rainbow Project, a support group for the gay community, knows the victim well.

“He is a student in his early 20s,” he said.

“He is a very quiet fella and is a decent bloke – he is well-liked.

“The fact is that this isn’t the first time this has happened to him.

“This is the second major homophobic incident that he has experienced in the last couple of years.

“It is absolutely traumatising for him – I’m not even entirely sure that the shock has set in yet, that he has in fact lost the sight in one of his eyes.”

SDLP leader Mark Durkan, the MP for the area, said it “was a savage assault on a completely innocent young man”.

Two men attacked a twenty year old student, a quiet and decent guy, and beat him so badly he’s lost the sight in one eye. And you can bet the thugs who did this are having themselves a good old laugh over it. And why not? Politicians tell them that homosexuals represent a threat to their families and their country. Clergymen, mullahs and popes thunder from the pulpits that homosexuals represent an intrinsic evil, a satanic force against Christianity. The two men who did this may be just a couple of gutter crawling thugs, but they were given permission to do this by their ersatz betters. The problem isn’t that there are violent gay bashers out there, but that more and more these days our communities, our churches, and our countries, are led by people with utterly no conscience, who inflame violent passions toward homosexual people because it brings them votes, and fills the collection plates. And so the blood of gay people transubstantiates into money and power.

[Update…] In comments Willie Hewes reminds me that England isn’t the United States and homophobia isn’t the major part of the political message over there that it is here.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Why We Fight…

January 29th, 2006

Next Thing You Know They’ll Be Telling Us To Be Nice To Jews Too

Via FreeZ… Steve Crampton, chief counsel for the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy, is having himself a little conniption

EU Approves Ban on 'Homophobia'; Christians Remain Silent

(AgapePress) - The European Union has unanimously approved a resolution banning "homophobia." A Christian attorney in Mississippi explains why that should concern the citizens of the United States.

The resolution, called "Homophobia in Europe," defines homophobia as "an irrational fear and aversion of homosexuality and of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people based on prejudice, similar to racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, sexism." It calls for action against member states that do not implement programs directed at fair treatment of homosexuals in employment and occupation. It also seeks to "ensure that same-sex partners enjoy the same respect, dignity and protection as the rest of society."

Steve Crampton, chief counsel for the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy, says although the resolution is not law, it could eventually affect the United States.

...

For that reason, the attorney advises that family advocates in the U.S. "absolutely ... should be concerned about this -- and we should be rising up right now before it's too late," he adds.

...

The "Homophobia in Europe" resolution was passed by a vote of 468-149; there were 41 abstentions. Christians and conservatives did not protest the resolution...

Of course, to be either Christian or conservative over in Europe, doesn’t mean that you’re batshit crazy like it does here in America.

Okay…now let me get this straight. The European resolution calls for action against member states that won’t treat their homosexuals citizens fairly in employment and occupation, and also seeks to ensure that same-sex partners enjoy the same respect, dignity and protection as the rest of society. And the problem with this is…what? Sin?

No. That’s not the problem. I was raised in that environment. There are lots of sins besides homosexuality. I was raised to believe that gambling is a sin. I don’t hear any calls from the religious right to deny gamblers the right to hold down a job, or have the same protection of law as the rest of us. Gamblers can marry. Hell…gamblers can be spokesdroids for the religious right. Hello William Bennett? I was raised to believe that drinking is a sin. And smoking. Where are the big religious right political action committees dedicated to taking equal opportunity and equal protection away from drinkers and smokers? They say having sex outside of marriage is a sin. They say divorce is a sin. Why aren’t they fighting against the rights of fornicators and the divorced to hold down jobs, and be treated fairly, like they are gay and lesbian people?

I’ll hazard a guess. They’re not homosexuals. It’s easy to condemn other people for a sin that doesn’t tempt you. It’s more then easy. It’s sanctifying. While you’re at it, you can kick them around for all the sins that do tempt you. It’s not as painful as having to confront yourself over them. Why, it’s positively refreshing. For some people having a scapegoat is better then having a savior. A savior might ask you to stop sinning. A scapegoat is a get out of hell free pass.

The problem with this new European resolution isn’t that it’s telling them to tolerate sin; they already do that. They tolerate it oodles when it’s their own. The problem is that the resolution is telling people they have to treat gays and lesbians fairly. It’s taking their scapegoats away from them. And what the hell are they going to do when they can’t blame someone else for all the evil in the world today?

by Jonah | Link | Comments Off on Next Thing You Know They’ll Be Telling Us To Be Nice To Jews Too


Adventures In Home Ownership… (continued)

When I bought the new furnace I decided on the deluxe model from Carrier; the Infinity 80. It has many nice bells and whistles, all of which as far as I can tell are actually useful. It’s a well thought out product. It wasn’t the most energy efficient model (which was the Infinity 96), but that one would have cost me thousands more all told, for all the other modifications to the house I’d have had to make and I couldn’t justify it. But the one I bought was supposed to be able to monitor both the inside and outside temperature over a period of time, and set its burn rate and fan speed to the most efficient (and hopefully less costly) way to heat and cool the house. So I bought the furnace that burned a bit more efficiently then the one I had, with extra features that hopefully make it even more efficient in use. BGE Home installed it Tuesday after New Year. Hopefully the technician they sent over yesterday finally got it working.

Swear to God, every time I catch myself thinking Things are different then when I was a kid I just want to smack myself. I’m Not That Old! But I traded a simple Honeywell round thermostat for a device that looks a bit like an iPod attached to my wall, only with a bigger LCD display and lots more buttons. It tells me what the temperature is inside. It tells me what the temperature is outside. It tells me what temperature I’ve set the heat to. I can program it to different heat settings for various times of the day, for each individual day of the week, or for every day during the weekday and every day during the weekend. I can keep the heat low when I’m asleep, or at work. I can create a completely separate set of heating points for vacation. It’s actually quite simple to program. It tells me when the furnace is on. It tells me if the fan is going, and at what speed. It tells me what the humidity is. It’ll tell me when the media in my electronic air filter needs cleaning. And ever since they installed it, it’s been telling me to call for a service technician to fix it.

System malfunction - Call for service.

I can press a combination of buttons and get a more precise diagnosis, or I can go into the basement and read the error code directly off the furnace. And no…I don’t have all this memorized. Lately I’ve had to keep the instruction manual near my…uh, thermostat device thing. What’s it called again? Ah…right…it’s the Carrier Infinity Control So I have a control unit now, instead of just a plain old thermostat. And it not only came with an instruction booklet…inside the instruction booklet is a quick start guide. Dig it. My new furnace has a quick start guide.

The error code it was throwing, 33, meant that at the low heat/low fan setting the heat exchanger was going over temperature. That threw the furnace into a mode where it would only operate at high heat and high fan speed…exactly like the old furnace did. Efficiency was out the window, but at least I had heat. The probable causes were maddeningly all over the map. Something could be impeding air flow into the furnace, or air flow out of it. Something could be impeding the draw up the chimney. The dual setting burner valve could be malfunctioning. Gas pressure could be set just a tad wrong. Over the past couple weeks the technicians from BGE Home have tried everything. Making matters worse was that the problem could take hours to develop. A technician would leave my house thinking they’d finally fixed it, only to have the error code pop out again four or five hours later.

Finally, yesterday, BGE Home brought out a big gun…a high ranking technician who knew this particular model. He spent about four hours with it yesterday afternoon carefully monitoring the temperature rise in the heat exchanger and tweaking this and that, until finally deciding that it was a combination of improper settings on the PC board, and too much bypass air going through the humidifier. As I watched him turning on and off the furnace to reset the PC board in it so he could test it some more, a thought occurred to me and I had to go sit down.

He’s rebooting my furnace. I have a furnace that boots. I don’t just switch on the furnace, I boot it up… And sure enough, as the furnace was switched on my Control Unit displayed various messages while polling the…uhm…peripherals, of entire system…the compressor, the humidifier, the air filter. You could watch it booting up. My mom used to tell me stories about how she and her brothers shoveled coal into their parent’s coal fired furnace, and cleaned out the ash trap. In point of fact, many of the old row houses over in Hampden, just a short walk from my neighborhood, still have their coal door. I have a furnace with a computer in it that’s probably more powerful then the one that calculated the descent of two astronauts to the surface of the moon back in 1969. And all it does is figure out how to maintain temperature inside my little rowhouse.

My humidifier, a Honeywell Enviracaire (somebody please smack the marketer who invented that word…), uses a fibrous pad that is fed water when the furnace comes on. Air is blown through the pad and into the return air duct, just above where it goes into the furnace. It’s a good system in that it uses no water reservoir where mold and germs can get growing, and there is no water spray from it that can cause corrosion in the furnace itself. But the air going through the media has to come from somewhere and it needs to be somewhat forceful. You can use a fan to push air through it and into the return flow, but it would have to be a big one. A better way is to tap the some of the air coming out of the furnace and route it back through the humidifier. But that air is hot. So you’re basically adding heat to the return air. You can tweak the system to account for that, but it’s a rather fine adjustment of a valve on the humidifier air intake, and switches that control how the furnace ramps itself up to running temperature. Apparently this was all off by just enough to make the heat exchanger run too hot at the low burner/low fan setting. At least, that’s the current theory.

A furnace, even one of the old ones, needs to be recognized as a part of a system that includes your duct work and how big the house is and how it gains or looses heat. You can’t just throw something in and expect it to be as efficient as possible, and if things are grossly mismatched it might not even work at all. And the more efficiency you want to wring out of the system, the more deftly you have to tweak the various parts of it. And that means the whole thing becomes a bit touchy. One of the reasons I’m not blowing a fuse over how long it’s taken to get everything to work is that I kinda saw this coming. I figured there would be a period of adjustment, I was just hoping it wouldn’t be as long as this. This new furnace is a lot more touchy then I’d reckoned on.

My old habits of opening and closing various vents throughout the house will make this furnace throw that same error code. I just can’t disturb the air flow. I have to keep everything open now, and let the furnace do its work if I want it to run at that super efficient low burner/low fan setting. Which is fine, it’s just a habit I need to change. It actually makes the house nice and comfortable when it can run in that mode most of the time. You can’t even hear it running it’s so low. Yet the house is nice and cozy now. And with the humidifier running, I can keep the temperature setting down about five degrees and still feel very warm and snug. And I’m not shooting sparks off whenever I touch something that’s metal now. Thanks to the humidifier the static electricity I usually get when the furnace is on is gone completely. When I switch from AC to heat again next winter, I’ll have to remember to set the humidifier airflow valve correctly (it needs to be turned off completely in the summer). Mom would tell me it beats cleaning out an ash trap.

by Jonah | Link | Comments Off on Adventures In Home Ownership… (continued)


Of Course It’s Dark And Sinister…It’s About A Gay Kid’s First Love After All…

So I’m watching Logo and the perky Logo/CBS news droid comes on and one of the stories he tells me about is that there are a gosh awful lot of gay themed short films coming out of Sundance this year. The spot goes on to show a few clips from one of them, Bug Crush which the film maker cheerfully describes as the story of a young gay boy’s first high school crush that turns dark and sinister…

Swell. Just swell. Can’t have enough sinister darkness when it comes to stories about gay kids and their first high school romances can you? Is Exodus sponsoring Sundance this year?

I’m at the point now where I think you should have to have a license to make a film with gay characters in it. You apply for the license and you pay a fee and you fill out a form with these three questions on it:

  1. Love is:

    a) A vital human need
    b) A childish illusion
    c) Useful as a marketing tool

  2. Movies that exalt love:

    a) Acknowledge and explore a fundamental part of our humanity
    b) Are hopelessly derivative
    c) Are hilarious in a campy sort of way

  3. True or False: Homosexuals don't love, they just have sex.

You flunk the test and you get your license stamped NO GAY MATERIAL, because you really shouldn’t be bothering gay and lesbian people with your crap. Seriously. Go bother heterosexuals. No…strike that…heterosexuals don’t deserve you either. Go bother republicans.

by Jonah | Link | Comments Off on Of Course It’s Dark And Sinister…It’s About A Gay Kid’s First Love After All…

January 27th, 2006

Ethics

Remember how the first thing Canadian winger Stephen Harper said at the beginning of his campaign for Prime Minister was how he was going to make same sex marriage illegal in Canada again? Remember how he stopped talking about same sex marriage throughout the rest of his campaign, to make himself look moderate?

Guess what?

New Canadian PM To Move Quickly On Gay Marriage Repeal

(Ottawa) Stephen Harper says he wants to move quickly as leader of a fractious new Parliament to reopen the same-sex marriage debate.

The makeup of the new House of Commons suggests the prime minister-designate knows there's a good chance such a motion will be rejected.

It would not be a total loss, however. In fact, an honorable defeat on equal marriage would satisfy obligations to Harper's most right-wing supporters while defusing a politically explosive issue.

...

Still, Harper has promises to keep to the most traditional members of his team.

He has said he'll put a free-vote motion before Parliament on whether the heterosexual definition of matrimony should be restored...The Conservatives would then craft legislation to that effect should the motion pass in a sharply divided House of Commons. ...

But at least one Conservative insider who spoke on condition of anonymity said social moderates in the party would welcome the issue's demise.

"There would be a quiet hurrah."

It’d be a relief would it?

Notice what is missing here from this article from the Canadian Press: Any shred of concern for the welfare of gay and lesbian Canadians. And notice that Harper is openly pictured as a man who is merely using the issue to hold onto support from the extreme right. Kinda like our guy in the White House down here, who as I recall also ran as the man to restore ethics to government. But what is ethical about using your fellow citizens as political punching bags for votes, as though their lives, their hopes, their dreams are merely pieces on a political game board? What is ethical about gaming a vote to loose that you’re telling your supporters represents something you stand for. If this is the man some Canadians voted for to restore ethics to government, they’re in for a bitter awakening. Or not. Actually, we’re still waiting for that awakening to happen here in the United States, aren’t we? A moderate more often then not, is someone who doesn’t want to be held responsible for cheap prejudices they know full well ought to be beneath a civilized person.

If anyone in Canada is thinking the gay haters will just go away if they loose this vote they are sadly mistaken. They may not represent the majority of Canadians, or even the majority of Tories, but an American extremist, Ralph Reed, taught their kind some years ago, that they don’t have to be, to make government dance to their tune. They just have to be enough to bring everything down whenever they want. They want the hearts of gay and lesbian Canadians served up to them on a platter, and sooner or later the Tories will have to deliver or loose power. The only question is, will the so called social moderates go from wishing the issue would just go away, to wishing gay people would just go away, as they have here in the United States. This is when you find out who really has a conscience, and who just talks like they know what one is.

I walked away from friends I’d known since college after they voted for Bush in the last election. I had one simple thing to say to them: I am not the “some”, in “some of my best friends are…” I am a human being, with the same need, the same hopes and dreams for love and joy and fulfillment the rest of you have. I need arms to hold me. I need a heart to share with mine. If you vote to take that dream, that hope from me, I don’t give a good goddamn if you dance in its ashes afterward along with the haters or not. I don’t care what your motives were. It’s not the thing you cared about but the thing you didn’t: me. If you could do that to me, you are simply not a friend of mine, and you never were. I don’t know you.

It’s bitter sadness, but there are gay Canadians today, reading the headlines, looking at family and friends, and realizing now that very same thing: I…don’t know you.

by Jonah | Link | Comments Off on Ethics

January 25th, 2006

I’ve Got Your Republican Family Values Right Here

Via Pam’s House Blend

The night Cincinnati City Councilman Sam Malone is accused of beating his son with a belt, he told the 14-year-old boy: "I'm not finished with you," according to Hamilton County court documents.

Malone, who has pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence, was upset that his son was late to a checkpoint while on a school field trip at Paramount's Kings Island on May 13, according to the boy's statement to police.

...

The hospital records detail bruising to his chest, arms, back and buttocks.

The boy told police he fell at one point and Malone continued to hit him.

"I pay for your school, and you bring home poor grades," Malone told his son during the beating, according to the boy's statement. "You're not paying attention."

When his father stopped hitting him, the boy told police Malone told him he wasn't finished with him, adding: "I'm going to whip the black off you."

Shortly after, Malone left his Walnut Hills home, and a boy who also lives with Malone and his son called 911.

...

The domestic-violence charge was not the first for the councilman.

In 1991, he was charged with choking and pushing his mother. That charge was dismissed after he completed a counseling program.

Malone by the way, is black. You gotta wonder about a black man who tells is son he’ll “whip the black off you”. So now the trial begins…

After opening statements, Malone's 14-year-old son testified.

As the former councilman looked on, the teenager recounted what happened in their Walnut Hills home.

In the year before Malone's arrest, the teen said he and his father had had a rocky relationship because he was failing eighth grade. Then the boy missed the checkpoint, prompting his teacher to call Malone.

Malone's son testified that Malone was angry and told him to go upstairs and take his clothes off.

"He started whipping me with a belt, he had it wrapped double on his hand," the teenager said. "He kept on hitting me, and I fell over, and he kept on hitting me."

Asked by Murray to demonstrate how he tried to defend against the blows, the teen crossed his arms against his chest and tucked his head down.

"I was in pain, crying," the teenager said. "He hit me all over, on my back, arms, side, stomach, chest and my legs."

Malone, 35, was arrested after another boy living in his house in Walnut Hills called 911 and said the 14-year-old didn't feel safe there. Malone's son then got on the phone, crying and repeatedly asking the police dispatcher if he'd have to return to the house.

I don’t know what is the more obscene here…a grown man beating the crap out of a fourteen year old boy for missing a goddamn field trip checkpoint or the fact that beating a defenseless half naked child so badly they have to be taken to the hospital is only a misdemeanor in Ohio. That what it means to have red state family values is it?

As you might expect, Malone has a track record of political gay bashing, vehemently opposing the repeal of Cincinnati’s ban on gay rights laws. I wonder how many times he’s babbled that same sex marriage is harmful to children?

Life just isn’t sweet for these people unless they can beat the crap out somebody smaller and weaker then they are.

[Edited a tad…]

by Jonah | Link | Comments Off on I’ve Got Your Republican Family Values Right Here

January 24th, 2006

Mainstream Guardians Of Our Civil Discourse… (continued)

Via Atrios, More fun with Tweety…(you have to scroll down the article a bit…)

Gay-rights activists are blasting Don Imus and sidekick Bernard McGuirk as gay-bashers, Last week, when fellow MSNBC talker Chris Matthews asked Imus if he'd seen the cowboy love story "Brokeback Mountain," Imus sneered, "Why would I want to see that?" He added that McGuirk had his own name for the movie - a crude candy reference we'll skip. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation called the "slurs" a "juvenile display of homophobia." MSNBC has apologized for the banter....

Let’s review, again via Atrios:

MATTHEWS (1/18/06): Have you gone to see it yet? I've seen everything else but that. I just...

IMUS: No, I haven't seen it. Why would I want to see that?

MATTHEWS: I don't know. No opinion on that. I haven't seen it either, so...

IMUS: So they were...it was out when I was in New Mexico and...it doesn't resonate with real cowboys who I know.

MATTHEWS: Yeah...

IMUS: But then, maybe there's stuff going on on the ranch that I don't know about. Not on my ranch, but you know...

MATTHEWS: Well, the wonderful Michael Savage, who's on 570 in DC, who shares a station with you at least, he calls it [laughter]...what's he call it?...he calls it Bare-back Mount-ing. That's his name for the movie.

IMUS: Of course, Bernard calls it Fudgepack Mountain...

That wonderful Michael Savage. Heh. Wonderful. Yes. Even more Tweety wonderfulness here and here. I used to think he was just a TV talking head idiot. But no…he’s a thug, just like the rest of them. A Bush base thug. And scratch a Bush base thug and you’ll find a bar stool bigot every fucking time. I guarantee it. When CNN started the first 24 hour cable news network it was hailed as a revolution in journalism. But what you have to realize about revolutions is that most of them end up becoming a tyranny of despots. CNN and MSNBC have been racing each other to the bottom of the gutter ever since Monica, and there is no bottom.

by Jonah | Link | Comments Off on Mainstream Guardians Of Our Civil Discourse… (continued)

January 23rd, 2006

How Dare You Offer Them A Place At The Table While I’m Trying To Feed Them Scraps!

This week’s cartoon…

More on the cartoon page

by Jonah | Link | Comments Off on How Dare You Offer Them A Place At The Table While I’m Trying To Feed Them Scraps!

January 22nd, 2006

Baltimore Gas And Electric Company… We Charge even More For What You Don’t Use…

I don’t normally look at the utility bill until I’m ready to pay it. But after last month’s 200 plus dollar tab, mostly due to the stratospheric rise in natural gas prices recently, I was wondering how much less I spent during the last period, after having that trouble with my furnace. So I just took an advance peek at this month’s bill.

$320.

WTF!!! I was without heat for a week and a half last period, and the new furnace has been down intermittently ever since they installed it because it still isn’t working right (oh…more on that later I suppose…). And my bill goes up by a hundred dollars? It didn’t make sense. Then I noticed that the last period’s gas usage was Estimated. Not the electric mind you. The electric usage was marked Actual. Only the gas usage was Estimated.

They have never estimated me before. Never. I pay attention to these things. And I have every BGE bill stub from the day I moved into Casa del Garrett back in 2001. Yet the one month when my usage should have been off because of furnace trouble, they suddenly decide to estimate my usage. I’ve no idea what the algorithm is they use to estimate usage…I suspect it’s based on some sort of weighing against past usage verses temperatures for the period. But hell…who knows…? It’s just damn…fishy…that they decided now, of all billing cycles, to estimate my usage. And just the gas usage.

So I reckon I’ll be having a chat with them come Monday morning. I’ve never challenged a utility company bill before. Should be a totally delightful experience.

For the record, my Actual electric usage for the period amounted to about $80 worth. That was up from $43 last period and that makes sense because I was leaning on my electric space heaters for a non-trivial part of it. So the difference was about $37. My electric bill for December of 2004 was about $32. I reckon my space heaters cost me about $35 to $40 to heat the house with them for the 11 days I was without heat, plus the three days I had to take the new furnace out of service. Lets say $40 dollars worth of electricity for two weeks. That would make the space heaters cost about $80 to run for a month. Gas cost me $133 total last period, and about $166 total this one. I don’t think my clothes dryer and my gas range are a big part of that.

This is not a large house! It’s just a little fifteen-hundred square foot rowhouse for chrissakes. 300 plus dollar utility bills just don’t make sense for this little thing. Natural gas must suddenly be more precious per cubic foot then gold nowadays. So I’m going to try heating Casa del Garrett with the space heaters for a while, and see what that buys me. You don’t want to be running space heaters when you’re not home, but I can turn the heat down low so at least my water pipes don’t freeze, and then run the space heaters while I’m home. I’m going to do that for a whole billing period and see what the bill looks like then. 300 plus dollars a month to heat a fifteen hundred square foot house is too goddamn much.

If the space heaters work out cheaper, I might have an electrician come in next summer and put baseboard heaters in, as an alternative to the furnace. Then I could switch between them depending on which is more expensive. But I never thought I’d live to see the day electric heat was cheaper then natural gas.

by Jonah | Link | Comments Off on Baltimore Gas And Electric Company… We Charge even More For What You Don’t Use…

January 20th, 2006

Mainstream Guardians Of Civil Discourse… And Other Myths…

Just so you know… The Washington Post is a tad annoyed with all of you

Comments Turned Off

As of 4:15 p.m. ET today, we have shut off comments on this blog indefinitely.

At its inception, the purpose of this blog was to open a dialogue about this site, the events of the day, the journalism of The Washington Post Company and other related issues. Among the things that we knew would be part of that discussion would be the news and opinion coming from the pages of The Washington Post and washingtonpost.com. We knew a lot of that discussion would be critical in nature. And we were fine with that. Great journalism companies need feedback from readers to stay sharp.

But there are things that we said we would not allow, including personal attacks, the use of profanity and hate speech. Because a significant number of folks who have posted in this blog have refused to follow any of those relatively simple rules, we've decided not to allow comments for the time being. It's a shame that it's come to this. Transparency and reasoned debate are crucial parts of the Web culture, and it's a disappointment to us that we have not been able to maintain a civil conversation, especially about issues that people feel strongly (and differently) about.

Blah…blah…blah… It seems the new Ombudsman at the Post is a tad miffed too…

Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell has reportedly posted a comment on the Post's internal message board announcing that she has learned the following "lesson" from exchanges with Media Matters for America: "From now on, I don't reply." Howell's language did not make clear whether she meant that she would no longer reply to any criticism, or only to that registered by Media Matters.

...

The "attack" to which Howell is apparently referring is a Media Matters item in which we quoted Howell's January 10 email to us, at her request. Howell claimed in that email that she had previously said that Post reporter Dafna Linzer "was giving the administration's point of view" in her January 4 article. In fact, Howell had previously said that Linzer "was simply giving the administration's point of view as well as others." But with regard to the claim in question, Linzer had not provided the point of view of "others" in her article -- an omission that constitutes the original basis of the entire dispute...

How…uncivil…for Media Matters to tell the Post’s Ombudsman that making lame excuses for slipshod reporting isn’t her job. Meanwhile, over at CNN, they’ve hired yet another right wing talk radio gutter crawler to host a show on their flagship Headline New Service

On the January 10 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Glenn Beck called anti-war protester Cindy Sheehan "a pretty big prostitute," later amending, at the behest of his executive producer, Steve "Stu" Burguiere, that "tragedy pimp" would be "the most accurate description."

Beck referenced Sheehan during what he called a "search for the biggest prostitute," which, he said, sought to answer the question, "Who'll do anything for power or money?" The game initially pitted former Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss against Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), and suspended Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens.

Beck, who claims that his radio show is "ranked as the 3rd most listened to talk show in America among Adults 25-54," was recently hired to host his own program on CNN Headline News.

Take a look at the photo of this guy on the Media Matters site and tell me he doesn’t look like the stereotypical schoolyard bully…the kind that is always threatening the smaller weaker kids for their lunch money, or shoving their faces into their locker doors and laughing.

And just the other day, MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews (aka “Tweety” as he is affectionately known in the blog world), had himself a Brokeback Mountain moment with that prince of the talk radio gutter, Don Imus:

MATTHEWS (1/18/06): Have you gone to see it yet? I’ve seen everything else but that. I just...

IMUS: No, I haven’t seen it. Why would I want to see that?

MATTHEWS: I don’t know. No opinion on that. I haven't seen it either, so...

IMUS: So they were...it was out when I was in New Mexico and...it doesn't resonate with real cowboys who I know.

MATTHEWS: Yeah...

IMUS: But then, maybe there's stuff going on on the ranch that I don't know about. Not on my ranch, but you know...

MATTHEWS: Well, the wonderful Michael Savage, who's on 570 in DC, who shares a station with you at least, he calls it [laughter]...what's he call it?...he calls it Bare-back Mount-ing. That's his name for the movie.

IMUS: Of course, Bernard calls it Fudgepack Mountain...

Just in case all you kids out there have forgotten…here’s a wee refresher on The Wonderful Michael Savage

NEW YORK (AP) - MSNBC on Monday fired Michael Savage for anti-gay comments.

The popular radio talk show host who did a weekend TV show for the cable channel referred to an unidentified caller to his show Saturday as a "sodomite" and said he should "get AIDS and die."

"His comments were extremely inappropriate and the decision was an easy one," MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines said.

But it was eminently typical of Savage, who well before MSNBC waved that fat juicy talk show slot in front of him, had bought himself a reputation as a screaming bigot who said gays are perverts, immigrants are from “Turd World Nations” and Asians are “little soy eaters”. A year after being fired, Savage was heard to say that “radical homosexuals” and “radical Islamists” are “one and the same, they’re all terrorists.” How…wonderful.

Fudge packers. Tragedy pimps. Civil discourse. Without the commercial news media, where would it be? We bloggers should be ashamed of ourselves. Just…ashamed…

by Jonah | Link | Comments Off on Mainstream Guardians Of Civil Discourse… And Other Myths…

January 17th, 2006

Marvin’s Blogs

When Peterson Toscano came to Baltimore some months ago, he not only gave us his performance of Doin’ Time In The Homo No Mo Halfway House, and Queer 101, but also gave us some glimpses of a work in progress which he was calling then, The Re-Education Of George Bush. In the latter, a character named Marvin, an ex-gay man, leads Bush though a series of topics such as the economy, privilege, environmentalism, the Bible and humanity. What made it work for me was Peterson’s deft capture of the little nuances of character in a person like Marvin, who is from Brooklyn and a strong working class Bush supporter. I’ve met very few committed ex-gays in my life, and at any rate non that I can say for certain are still in that life. For a few moments in an old Baltimore church late last year, Peterson brought one to life for me. Seeing the excerpts from this work in progress made me hungry to watch the finished piece when it finally arrives.

Well…as it turns out… Marvin has a blog. An audio blog specifically, which is good because you really can’t get to know Marvin without hearing him. You can hear Marvin speak on various topics, and minister to those of us who have been blinded by the god of this world, here, and here, and here, and here. Marvin is a tad opinionated, but unlike some Bush bloggers, he welcomes your comments.

And I’m thinking…it would be nice if some of the other folks in Peterson’s shows would step forward with their own blogs. Chad should have his own audioblog too. Definitely. Oh…and the Minister from Doin’ Time…. Yes. And Tex. Oh foo…just give them all a blog.

And by the way…Peterson has a new schedule of performances up here, so check it out and see if he’s coming to your neighborhood. I’ve promised to write more about what I saw when he came to Baltimore, and I find that some of what I saw moved me so much I’m Still chewing on it. So many shows you go to just leave you the moment you walk out of the theater. Not Peterson’s, I guarantee it.

by Jonah | Link | Comments Off on Marvin’s Blogs


Pissing On The Grave Of Edward R. Murrow… (continued)

Via Brad DeLong:

We don't remember too much from four years of high school Latin, but we do recall this phrase: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes -- Who will guard the guards themselves? Is there a way to say in Latin, "Who will be an ombudsman for the ombudsman?" Seriously -- to whom does one complain at the Washington Post when the person who is there to receive reader complaints defiantly gets it wrong?

We're referring, of course, to Sunday's piece by the Post's new ombudswoman, Deborah Howell, which ... ended up on a note that read like it was straight from the offices of the Republican National Committee. Here's what she wrote: "The second complaint is from Republicans, who say The Post purposely hasn't nailed any Democrats [in the Abramoff scandal]. Several stories, including one on June 3 by Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, a Post business reporter, have mentioned that a number of Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) and Sen. Byron Dorgan (N.D.), have gotten Abramoff campaign money. "So far, Schmidt and Grimaldi say their reporting on the investigations hasn't put Democrats in the first tier of people being investigated. But stay tuned. This story is nowhere near over."

The first assertion is flat-out wrong. Dorgan and Reid could not have received "Abramoff campaign money," because as numerous articles and investigations have shown, Abramoff never donated a dime to any Democrat. Not one. That's not surprising, since Abramoff... is a Republican.

John Aravosis over at AmericaBlog posted a complete list of all the people Abramoff gave money too. There is not a single democrat among them. Not one. Not. One. Yet the Mainstream News Media persists in repeating the republican lie that democrats as well as republicans got money from Abramoff. What is so goddamn hard about telling the truth here?

In other news, via Atrios….

The country was never behind Clinton's impeachment but the media begged for it. The country is much more behind Bush impeachment, but the media is silent.

The Zogby poll referenced by Atrios shows that Americans want Congress to consider impeaching President Bush if he wiretapped American citizens, by a margin of 52% to 43%. Yet the mainstream news media still regards impeachment as a partisan fringe issue.

Noticing a pattern here yet?

by Jonah | Link | Comments Off on Pissing On The Grave Of Edward R. Murrow… (continued)

January 16th, 2006

I Glow

I just do. Some days. Like today. Like right now.

(smile)

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

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