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Archive for July, 2006

July 30th, 2006

Pictures Worth A Thousand Words

Dan Savage got a chance to give Washington state supreme court Justice Gerry Alexander a little grief over his role in that court’s grotesque decision against the rights of same sex couples.  The occasion was a previously scheduled interview with reporters from The Stranger for the upcoming election (supreme court judges in Washington state have to answer to the voters).  The Stranger website has audio excerpts of the confrontation.  There is a moment in these recordings that has to rank among the most telling of the gay civil rights struggle, and it isn’t even anything anyone actually says.  It is a sound.

Posted by Unpaid Intern at 02:59 PM

Weeks ago, we—meaning I—scheduled interviews with the state’s Supreme Court candidates in preparation for our annual endorsement issue. Then, one day before the interview, the justices announced they were upholding the gay marriage ban. Coincidence? Entirely. Fortuitous? Very.

Imagine a justice who voted to uphold DOMA trapped in a room with Dan Savage (wielding a framed picture of his son, DJ) and the rest of the Stranger Election Control Board, for an entire hour Well, you don’t have to just imagine the showdown! Here is Justice Gerry Alexander starring in “An Inquisition”:

The first half of the interview.

It’s nine minutes long, so here are some highlights: use of the phrase “child-rearing” (0:34), the sound of Dan placing a picture of his son on the table (0:50), discussion of “suspect class” (5:19), eight-second pause as Alexander ponders response to “Is homosexuality an immutable characteristic?”(5:55-6:03)

…the sound of Dan placing a picture of his son on the table… This would be in front of a justice who signed on to a decision writing same sex couples into second class citizenship because they cannot make babies when they fuck. By that logic every heterosexual couple who use contraception, or whose children were adopted, or who have no children of their own, or cannot have children of their own, shouldn’t be legally married either.  But of course, we make exceptions for our fellow heterosexuals… 

This has been a month in which the courts have simply walked away from their responsibility to uphold justice and protect the rights of minorities.  One court after another has just thrown up its hands and announced that the basic civil rights of homosexual Americans exist only at the pleasure of the heterosexual majority.  Justice is a concept that only applies to heterosexuals.  What homosexuals get is forbearance. 

But we are human beings too.  We fall in love.  We take our mates.  We make our households, grow families, build lives together.  Just like real people.  And the silence of the courts to the injustices inflicted upon us, upon our homes, is shattered by the sound of a picture frame being placed on a table, before a man whose job it was to protect that family too.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Pictures Worth A Thousand Words

July 27th, 2006

Bravo For Life’s Little Ironies

Just over three years after the U.S. Invasion of Iraq, and the middle east is a horrific mess.  Say…weren’t the Iraqis supposed to welcome us with roses?  Wasn’t democracy supposed to spread like wildfire across the middle east?  We’ll be cleaning up after president codpiece’s excellent adventure for generations.  But that’s not to say all the news from the middle east is grim.  Sometimes it’s funny-grim.

Take the case of Danish imam Ahmed Akkari, of Lebanese birth, who single-handedly instigated months of raging anger in the Muslim world over twelve cartoons of the prophet Mohamed published in a Danish newspaper.  The twelve cartoons not being offensive enough, the good imam traveled throughout the Muslim world showing people pictures of things he claimed were images of the prophet produced by the Danes, that actually weren’t.  There was a picture of a man wearing a pig mask, that Akkari claimed was a Danish man mocking Mohamed.  It turned out to have been a newspaper photo taken at a pig calling contest.  Akkari claimed another photo showing a cartoon of Mohamed as a pedophile was also printed in Jyllands-Posten.  It wasn’t.  Lying through your teeth to incite mob violence is standard operating procedure for all religious zealots, regardless of the specifics of the faith.  For his trouble, Akkari got the Danish embassy in Lebanon burned down.

Well…Lebanon itself is burning now…and guess what Mr. Akkari is up to These days

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Denmark and Sweden were front-runners in the race to rescue foreigners fleeing the violence in Lebanon, nearly completing the evacuations of more than 10,000 citizens Friday while many other countries struggled to get their nationals out.

The Scandinavians credited new crisis response plans streamlined after bitter lessons learned during the tsunami disaster in 2004.

"It would be fair to say that what we’re able to do now is something we learned from the tsunami," said Lars Thuesen, coordinator of the Lebanon evacuations for the Danish Foreign Ministry.

By Friday morning, Sweden had already evacuated 6,400 citizens while Denmark had shipped out 5,000 nationals from Lebanon — more than any other countries. Both governments said only a few hundred of their citizens remained.

By contrast, the U.S. evacuation efforts were just entering high gear Friday…

The Danes got a test run in crisis management earlier this year when newspaper cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad triggered violent protests against Danish embassies in Muslim countries.

One of the Danish Muslims who spearheaded the rallies against the prophet drawings, Lebanese-born Ahmad Akkari, was among those evacuated from Beirut on Thursday.

"My impression is that the transportation has been safe and that no one has been suffering," Akkari told Denmark’s TV2 channel as he boarded a Greek ferry chartered by Denmark.

How nice that no one is suffering Akkari.  No thanks to you and your kind.  And while you’re riding your boat to safety, say thank you to the nice Danes, who despite your inciting mob violence all over the world and getting their embassy burned to the ground, were willing to give a gutter crawling murderous lout like you a ride out of harm’s way. 

Say hello to the cartoonists whose lives you put in jeopardy when you get back to the safety of Denmark fella.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Bravo For Life’s Little Ironies

July 25th, 2006

At The Portland OSCON Open Source Conference

As it was last year, there are far, far too many cute longhaired computer geeks here for my own good. And as it was last year, the foreign guys are just a tad sexier.  I think that’s because they just feel more comfortable inside their own bodies.  One of those little ways that American sex-negative religiosity shows though, is in the way American guys dress below the waist.

Portland’s having a bit of a heat wave, and some of the guys here are in shorts or cutoffs, and you can reliably tell who are the American guys and who are the foreigners, by the length of their shorts.  The American guys (generally) won’t wear shorts that are cut well above the knee.  Can’t be showing a little thigh or people might think you’re gay.

I was watching some guys swimming in the hotel pool late yesterday, and swear their swim trunks reached down past their knees, halfway to their ankles.  Except for one cute blond who was wearing a speedo style trunk.  I ran into him at the hotel restaurant and he turned out to be from Spain.  It’s like American guys are wearing below the waist burkas these days. 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on At The Portland OSCON Open Source Conference

July 22nd, 2006

For A Friend…

Postcards from Catalina Island…

This is how you get to Catalina.  They have regular jet-catamaran boats to and from the island, and they are comfortable and fast.  Even on a fairly rough sea you don’t feel much.   But the sea was very calm on the trip out and back.

 

At the entrance to Avalon harbor.  At the very top of the hill is, I’m told, the Wrigley Mansion.  That’s Wrigley as in the chewing gum.  The family owns most of the island I’m told.

 

One of the streets of Avalon looking west.  Most of the island is a wilderness preserve.  Avalon is the largest town on the island and it ain’t big.  Everything the people who live on the island need has to be trucked in by boat.  But there is a nice tourest zone right at the beach with good food, a few clubs, shopping, and stuff to do.  I’m told there is surfing on the western side of the island.  Avalon is on the eastern side, and doesn’t get much wave action at all.  The main activites around Avalon seem to be boating, fishing and scuba diving.  My brother and my nephew did the scuba park by the casino while I was wandering around taking pictures.

 

Looking from the end of the Avalon Pier, back to Avalon, as the sun sets.

 

Boats docked in Avalon harbor.  Some of those moorings, I’m told, sell for over a million dollars.  Yes…that’s a million bucks just to park your boat..

 

Avalon harbor from the Casino.  It’s not a gambling casino, it’s an old, grand movie theater.

 

This is the way most folks get around on the island.  They don’t like having cars over there, although you’ll see some.  Mostly people use these golf carts and small lawnmower engine powered light trucks (and I mean light).  Instead of car garages, most houses that have them, have golf cart garages or parking spots.

 

Many of the nice houses here are built on quite steep hillsides. 

 

 

Finally…the catamaran trip over and back takes you past the Queen Mary, which is now doing duty as a beautiful art deco hotel.  If you like anything art deco, you Have to go see the Queen Mary sometime, it is just amazingly beautiful inside (and out…it’s a lovely ship from the days of the grand trans-Atlantic ocean liners).  On the trip back one of those new cruse line ship things was parked nearby, so I snapped this shot of the two of them together.  A contrast in Ocean going eras.

More postcards later.  I’m on my way now to Portland Oregon for a software developer’s conference.  I’ll post more photos of my trip when I get settled in up there.

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on For A Friend…

July 19th, 2006

Why It Must Be Marriage

Andrew Sullivan take note…this happened in your beloved Provencetown

Our friend Eric Rofes died two weeks ago, and his memorial was held here in San Francisco on Saturday. He died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 52, completely unexpectedly. He was a leading gay activist and scholar and his memorial was shattering- terribly, terribly sad, with a palpable sense of bereavement felt not only by his friends, but by an entire community. It was most heartbreaking to see and hear the agonized grief and bravery of his partner of 16 years, Crispin Hollins.

Eric and Crispin were of course at the forefront of the Gay Marriage movement. They had long held Californian domestic partnership, and also married when (briefly) we believed that San Francisco law permitted us to do so. They had made for one another all the necessary legal arrangements: powers of attorney, mutual wills, etc etc. All their bases were covered, so they thought. As soon as he heard the news, Crispin had flown straight out to Provincetown, where Eric died, to make funeral arrangements. A friend who accompanied them said that when Crispin began to detail the requirements for the cremation and commitment at the funeral home in Provincetown, the funeral director drew himself up and demanded to know what the basis of their relationship was. He told Crispin: "I don’t believe you will be making the funeral arrangements". It required the intervention of NGLTF lawyers and lawyer friends on both coasts to convince the funeral home that he was indeed authorized as a legal partner to make the arrangements. Crispin requested an autopsy, which was contested by the Medical Examiner on the same grounds, and the cremation was subsequently questioned as well (they called during the funeral to argue the case with Crispin).

This stands as a lesson to all of us. We are continually told that as Queers, we do not need to be allowed to marry because all legal avenues of partnership are open to us as domestic partners. For Christ sake- this happened in Massachussetts! They had the gall to question a 16 year old relationship, legally bound as far as two gay men can go. At a time when Crispin was utterly bereft and distraught they had the temerity to impugn his and Eric’s relationship, which was as closely legally covered as they could make it. (Eric’s family, by the way, have too much respect for Crispin to intervene- they would not, I think, dream of subverting his moral authority to decide the arrangements).

It makes me so fucking angry. Give us our bloody civil rights! Enough of this fucking heterosexual gobbledygook denying that our relationships are as worthy as a man and a woman’s- we are sick of arguing- just do it: not some paltry second-best, lesser citizen crumb from the hetrosexual table: give us what we deserve- marriage.

Right. Fucking. Now..

The republicans have there way and we won’t have Any legal recourse when people start fucking with us while we’re in grief.  Hell…that’s the bet time to put the knife in and twist it and they know it.  That’s why they are so vehemently against giving us the right to marry.  It isn’t about protecting the sanctity of marriage or any of that crap.  It isn’t about how marriage is a god ordained sacrament between and man and a woman.  It isn’t about how children are better off being raised by heterosexual parents.  It isn’t about any of that.  It’s about freedom to twist the knife in the heart of a homosexual, because you just can’t stand homosexuals.  It’s about the freedom to twist the knife.  Nothing else.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Why It Must Be Marriage

July 18th, 2006

That Smile

I haven’t fallen off the edge of the earth…just hanging out with my brother in Oceano California and de-stressing.  Which is why I’m not posting a whole heck of a lot lately.  It’s very easy to forget the world when you’re walking the sands and looking out at the beautiful California coastline around Pismo Beach.  And the even more beautiful California surfer boys. 

In the meantime I’ve managed to finish the next episode of A Coming Out Story.  Yes, I brought my drafting supplies and a scanner along with me.

 

…in which our hero discovers that libidos aren’t easily dissuaded.  Click on the image to go directly to the new episode, or Here, to go to the main page. 

 

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

July 11th, 2006

Beware The Homosexual

Beware…beware…

Via Ex-Gay Watch…a 1950s educational film made to warn boys about the danger of lurking homosexuals. This is the sort of thing I was taught about homosexuals almost all through grade school.

This is the kind of thing I was taught about homosexuals nearly all through grade school.  They taught me that homosexuals usually kill the people they have sex with.  They taught me that homosexuals prey on young boys, but will sometimes lure an unsuspecting heterosexual man into the woods too.  They told me that homosexuals almost never have sex with another homosexual because they know how dangerous it is. This was in the 1960s, in the school system of a well do do suburb of Washington D.C.

That film brings back memories all right. That is what I grew up knowing about homosexuals. I suppose a lot of people from my generation were taught those things. I suppose a lot of people from my generation still believe them.  The only thing that saved me from a lifetime of fear of my sexual nature and self loathing was that it was so extreme I just knew it was not me, and the conclusion I drew throughout most of my school years, even while I was severely stressing out over a certain male classmate, was that I was not a homosexual. I just couldn’t be. I wasn’t anything like what they were telling me homosexuals were. Therefore I was not a homosexual.

They’re not teaching boys to be careful around strangers in that film. They’re teaching them to fear and loath homosexuals. They’re teaching the gay boys to fear and loath themselves. And they are taking from the gay boys, all the awe and wonder and joy of that first high school romance, and for many of us of my generation, the possibility of love altogether. What they took from us is incalculable, and unforgivable.

by Bruce | Link | React! (4)

July 10th, 2006

Cartoon Anger

For the time being, the political cartoons are going on an irregular schedule.  I know…I know…as if they haven’t been already.  But I’m making it official now, so as to reduce expectations for the time being.  I’ll still be producing gay rights themed political cartoons and posting them here…just not on a regular basis for a while, until I can get some more work done on A Coming Out Story…and until I can get some balance back in my perspective.  I haven’t had any community newspapers running my cartoons since January, so this decision isn’t affecting anyone’s publication schedule that I know of.

I’m too angry these days for my own good.  There was a time when doing the cartoon helped vent a lot of that.  Now when I sit down to draw what’s on my mind I just get even more angry and that’s not good personally or artistically.  I need to get some balance back in my perspective, perhaps do more artwork about life and love to balance out the artwork about the struggle against hate and prejudice.  That’s another good reason to focus more on A Coming Out Story, and also do some work like I was doing back in the 80s, on the topic of first love.

I had been finishing up the political cartoon late Sunday evening, listening to Pat Marino’s Sunset Cruise.  Hearing all those heartfelt love song dedications while I was working on these cartoons about our struggle for freedom and justice made me work all the harder at what I was doing, and for a time gave me some necessary perspective on it.  As long as there is love in the world, there is hope.  But now I just get too angry.  I need to go take a long walk in a happier place and get some balance back.  It’s no good being angry all the time.

I’m not abandoning the political cartoon.  It will just be a catch as catch can kinda thing for a while.  I’m going to be working most of the time for the rest of this summer on A Coming Out Story, and some other artwork down in my art room that is about love, not anger.  But as I need to vent a little from time to time, I’ll post something in the political cartoon page.  When I have something new up there I’ll notify all of you here.

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)


Okay…This Is Hilarious…

Fair warning…Geek Humor ahead. Via a co-worker…from Peter Harkin… 

Programming Is Like Sex Because…

    * One mistake and you have to support it for the rest of your life. (Michael Sinz)
    * Once you get started, you’ll only stop because you’re exhausted.
    * It takes another experienced person to really appreciate what you’re doing.
    * Conversely, there’s some odd people who pride themselves on their lack of experience.
    * You can do it for money or for fun.
    * If you spend more time doing it than watching TV, people think you’re some kind of freak.
    * It’s not really an appropriate topic for dinner conversation.
    * There’s not enough taught about it in public school.
    * It doesn’t make any sense at all if you try to explain it in strictly clinical terms.
    * Some people are just naturally good.
    * But some people will never realize how bad they are, and you’re wasting your time trying to tell them.
    * There are a few weirdos with bizarre practices nobody really is comfortable with.
    * One little thing going wrong can ruin everything.
    * It’s a great way to spend a lunch break.
    * Everyone acts like they’re the first person to come up with a new technique.
    * Everyone who’s done it pokes fun at those who haven’t.
    * Beginners do a lot of clumsy fumbling about.
    * You’ll miss it if it’s been a while.
    * There’s always someone willing to write about the only right way to do things.
    * It doesn’t go so well when you’re drunk, but you’re more likely to do it.
    * Sometimes it’s fun to use expensive toys.
    * Other people just get in the way.

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

July 9th, 2006

Escaping The Gravity Of Home

I’m back on the road again, heading out to California for a visit with my brother, and then up to Portland for the OSCON open source software developer’s conference.  I’m in Memphis at the moment, hoping to touch bases with Morgan Jon Fox, who is working on a documentary of the Love In Action protests.  Then it’s a straight shot off to California, and soaking up some California mellow while watching the cute surfer guys by the beach.  I don’t see myself spending much time in the four corner’s area this trip, although I’ll probably stop at a few of my regular trading posts along the way.

The trip home should be interesting.  I’ll be driving mostly across the northern half of the country, which I haven’t seen much of.

I’ll post of photos along the way.  Right now I’m just trying to get as far west as I can. 

Oh…and cartoons.  I’ve brought some drawing boards and supplies with me, and my small Epson scanner, so I can keep working on A Coming Out Story.   I have the next episode half penciled.  The political cartoons however, are probably going to go on a much more catch-as-catch-can schedule, so I can concentrate on A Coming Out Story.  More on that in another post. 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Escaping The Gravity Of Home

July 8th, 2006

From Our Department Of Dumb Analysis…

Andrew Sullivan outlines dumb for us…

I have to say that this "news analysis" in the NYT of the court decisions in New York and Georgia is one of the dumbest pieces of journalism I have read in a very long time. "For Gay Rights Movement, A Key Setback"? In some ways, I think the New York Court of Appeals decision will help, rather than hurt, the cause of marriage equality in the long run. Why? Because it will force the issue into legislatures, where it is best tackled, and where we will eventually win, and in one case, California, have already won.

If Sullivan thinks that this country could have overcome race segregation at the polls in the 1950s and 60s, had the Warren court reaffirmed the constitutionality of race segregation instead of striking it down, he’s smoking crack.  Some states Still have those laws on the books, and voters have doggedly refused to remove them, even though they are no longer enforceable

Alabama Vote Opens Old Racial Wounds

School Segregation Remains a State Law as Amendment Is Defeated

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — On that long-ago day of Alabama’s great shame, Gov. George C. Wallace (D) stood in a schoolhouse door and declared that his state’s constitution forbade black students to enroll at the University of Alabama.

He was correct.

If Wallace could be brought back to life today to reprise his 1963 moment of infamy outside Foster Auditorium, he would still be correct. Alabama voters made sure of that Nov. 2, refusing to approve a constitutional amendment to erase segregation-era wording requiring separate schools for "white and colored children" and to eliminate references to the poll taxes once imposed to disenfranchise blacks.

The vote was so close — a margin of 1,850 votes out of 1.38 million — that an automatic recount will take place Monday. But, with few expecting the results to change, the amendment’s saga has dragged Alabama into a confrontation with its segregationist past that illuminates the sometimes uneasy race relations of its present.

The outcome resonates achingly here in this college town, where the silver-haired men and women who close their eyes and lift their arms when the organ wails at Bethel Baptist Church — a short drive from Wallace’s schoolhouse door — don’t have to strain to remember riding buses past the shiny all-white school on their way to the all-black school.

"There are people here who are still fighting the Civil War," said Tommy Woods, 63, a deacon at Bethel and a retired school administrator. "They’re holding on to things that are long since past. It’s almost like a religion."

If the supreme court suddenly reversed itself on race segregation, you would, never doubt it, see some states rushing to put the Whites Only signs back up.  Perhaps not a majority of American states would do that.  And yes, those that did would suffer economic consequences, as people and corporations began to boycott them.  But you have to have seen racism in America, seen how endemic it is, seen how even poor white people will reliably vote against their economic interests to maintain their status over blacks, to appreciate its intractable power.  I’ve witnessed it first hand.  Without the courts again and again overruling the popular will of the voters, without a doubt we would still have legal race segregation in America today.

The roll of the courts is to protect the rights of the individual against the power of the other branches of government. The other branches of government speak for the people.  The courts speak for the constitution. They abdicate that responsibility, and all we are left with is mob rule, and that is what Sullivan is arguing for here.  The argument that Sullivan is making can also be made for letting the states decide on sodomy laws, which puts us right back where we were before Lawrence, criminals literally in some states, and second class citizens everywhere else.  Sodomy laws were used to justify discrimination against gay Americans in everything from custody battles to employment to equal housing laws.  Those laws reached across the borders of their states, and into the lives of gay Americans no matter where we lived.  These state laws and amendments banning same sex marriage will do the same.  Note how, even though same sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts, out of state gay couples cannot marry there if their home states do not allow it.  This is the situation mixed race couples faced, before Loving v. Virginia, another court decision that overruled the clear will of the majority of Americans.  The Lovings’ case came to the courts after the couple married where it was legal, and were arrested for doing so when they returned to Virginia.  The day is coming, when a same sex couple will find themselves under arrest, for exactly the same crime, and Sullivan is arguing that this is a good thing, and the courts should stay out of it.

Perhaps eventually gay citizens could find themselves one day in an America that was, for them, nearly half free and half not.  But we will never be completely free as Americans, until we are as a class equal to our heterosexual neighbors, in every state.  That will only happen, when the courts decide to do their fucking jobs, and defend the promise of liberty and justice for all in our constitution, against the tyranny of the mob.

In another post, Sullivan says we just need to "chill".   But as William Lloyd Garrison once said, tell a man whose house is on fire, to give a moderate alarm. 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on From Our Department Of Dumb Analysis…


All That Is Old Becomes New Again…

Reading this article from Gay.Com, about a raid on a New Mexican gay gym, was like reading a history book about gay life before Stonewall…except that only one person was arrested…

New Mexico state police and the Albuquerque fire marshal’s office entered and secured the men-only gym about 10 p.m. Saturday and arrested club manager Ron Cordova on suspicion of selling and dispensing alcohol without a liquor license, said New Mexico Department of Public Safety spokesman Peter Olson.

But gym patrons — who were forced to lie on the floor, handcuffed, with semi-automatic rifles pointed at them — say that if the raid was about an alcohol infraction, it was, at least, overkill.

Ronald, a 57-year-old gay man from Miami Beach who requested that his last name not be used, said he was visiting New Mexico looking for real estate opportunities when he heard about a "social event" at Pride Gym on Saturday evening.

"There were about 35 of us there, and most were older men, some in their 70s, eating tacos and chatting," Ronald said. "Most of us were fully dressed, because it’s a legitimate gym with a sauna, but not a bathhouse."

"Suddenly, a SWAT team carrying semi-automatic weapons, plastic shields and late gloves burst through the door and told us to get on the ground. They kept saying, ‘We’re not here for you,’ but still they handcuffed us and kept us on the ground until they could run background checks on all of us. This took about an hour."

At least one elderly man suffered a panic attack and was taken away by paramedics, Ronald said. A few of the patrons were in the sauna when the raid occurred, and, when their towels fell, they were forced to lie on the floor naked, he said.

Ronald claimed that police officers led one man into a separate room and took pictures of him.

"The guy was wearing a leather harness and a jockstrap. A female officer with a digital camera took him into a room; we saw about 15 or 20 flashes coming from there and heard lots of laughter. They (the officers) were having a good old time. It was like the gay Abu Ghraib."

The ACLU is looking into it, but this is George Bush’s America, and I honestly can’t see any court case against police treatment of citizens like this, let alone homosexuals, going anywhere.  The Bush supreme court gives the police pretty much carte blanche these days, and it seems sometimes reading the news accounts of police behavior that made it past the courts, that they can cuff you and strip search you and do a cavity search of you during a routine traffic stop, so long as in their "judgment" they needed to do that.

"The officers were serving a search warrant and the fire marshal was there to inspect the building," Olson said. "Any time there is a situation with a large number of people, officers will employ whatever tactics they need to maintain control of the situation."

The warrant, he said, arose from tips from locals that alcohol was being served at Pride Gym. "Any time agents find someone serving alcohol without a license, it causes concern because those proprietors are operating outside of the law." He said it’s inaccurate to characterize Saturday night’s event as a ‘raid,’ and maintained that officers were not out of bounds.

"We were committing no crimes, and not one of us treated the police with any disrespect," Ronald said. "If they (the police) were trying to prevent drunk driving, why didn’t they target the art gallery where I went earlier that night? They were serving wine."

Olson said art galleries serving alcohol had been the focus of similar enforcement in the past, and now employ professional bartenders to serve wine.

However, he said he was not aware of incidents where gallery patrons were forced to lie on the ground at gunpoint.

Does anyone really need to explain why art gallery patrons are treated more like human beings by the police then the patrons of a gym that caters to the gay community?  The only difference here from the way cops treated gay people pre Stonewall is that everyone inside wasn’t led in handcuffs to police vans stationed outside, but that’s only because sodomy isn’t a crime anymore.  One more Bush appointee to the supreme court, and that will change, and the vans will be back.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on All That Is Old Becomes New Again…

July 6th, 2006

Loving The Sinner…(continued)

The usual suspects have filed suit in Michigan , to stop Michigan State University from offering health insurance to the partners of gay people.

LANSING — A conservative group sued Wednesday to stop Michigan State University from offering health insurance to the partners of gay workers and said the school is violating a 2004 amendment to the state constitution.

The American Family Association of Michigan filed the lawsuit in Ingham County Circuit Court and hopes to get a ruling setting a precedent that would block domestic-partner benefits at other state universities.

The purpose of the suit is to ensure that courts rule on the constitutionality of domestic-partner benefits at public universities, said Patrick Gillen, an attorney for the Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor, which is representing the association.

By providing same-sex benefits, MSU is "recognizing same-sex marriage in substance, if not by label," Gillen said.

Not to mention providing access to health care for a class of people the American Family Association would just as soon see dead.  The bible says their blood will be upon them after all…

by Bruce | Link | React! (2)


E Pluribus Unum…Except For The Gays Of Course…

I’m going on another of my cross-country road trips this weekend, and the news today gives me reason to reflect once more on a simple, devastating fact: I can freely travel all over America, only because I am single.

Had I a spouse, a same-sex spouse because I am a gay man, we would have to take care not to set so much as a toe in states like Virginia, and Nebraska, and any of the other states in the Union (maybe we should start referring to it as a Dis-union now…), that have not only passed constitutional amendments banning same sex marriage, but also any legal recognition whatsoever of any possible legal right a same sex couple may need to have, in order to defend their union. Because if anything should happen to either one of us, it would be a nightmare for the other. A nightmare like this…

When Sharon Kowalski was injured in an automobile accident in November 1983, her partner, Karen Thompson had to fight a nightmarish legal battle with Kowalski’s parents lasting ten years. During that time, Kowalski’s parents placed her in a nursing home where they could insure that Thompson would be kept away. The nursing home was unequipped to give Kowalski the physical therapy she needed, and which might have made a difference in the extent of her recovery had it been given to her early on. When Kowalski was given a typewriter to communicate, she instantly began typing out calls for Karen. The typewriter was taken from her.

…or this…

When Juan Navarrete came home in 1989 and found his partner LeRoy Tranton lying bloody on the concrete driveway to their house, it marked the beginning of a bitter fight with Tranton’s brother who prevented Navarrete from seeing his beloved in the hospital. Despite Tranton’s persistent calling for his lover Juan, he was kept away. When Tranton later died, Navarrete was unable even to visit the grave.

…or this…

In 1993, a Virginia judge ruled that Sharon Bottoms was an unfit mother because she was a lesbian, and awarded custody of her 20-month-old son, to her mother, who had sought custody of the boy when she learned her daughter was a lesbian, and in love with another woman.

…or this…

In 2000, a court in Tacoma Washington ruled that Frank Vasques could be denied his lover of 28 years’ estate because the two where in a homosexual relationship. They had shared a house, business and financial assets for 28 years.

…or this…

After NBC news cameraman Rob Pierce died in a helicopter crash, his family visited his partner Frank Gagliano, in the Miami condominium the two had shared. After mourning together, they told Gagliano he should take a walk on the beach. Then Pierce’s family changed the locks on the condo, and when Gagliano returned, told him he was no longer welcome there. Gagliano had to go to court just to get his belongings.

…or this…

In Massachusetts, after Ken Kirkey’s partner Mark died of cancer, Mark’s family removed his ashes from the home the two shared. Kirkey discovered he had no legal right to Mark’s ashes, though they were among the first to take advantage of Vermont’s new Civil Unions law.

…or this…I

n 2001 Sharon Smith was told she had no legal standing to file a wrongful death suit against Robert Noel and Marjorie Knoller, after two of their dogs mauled her partner Diane Whipple to death in the hallway of her apartment.

…or this…

In 2002 Officials at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center barred William Robert Flanigan Jr. from his dying partner’s bedside, saying he was not "family", and that ‘partners’ did not qualify. Though Flanigan had legal power of attorney for his partner, Robert Lee Daniel, officials at the Shock Trauma Center insisted he would not be allowed his partner’s bedside. Only when Daniel’s mother arrived from New Mexico, was Flanigan allowed into Daniel’s room. By that time, Daniel had lost consciousness. He would die two days later. Because Flanigan was not present during Daniel’s final four hours of consciousness, Flanigan was unable to tell Shock Trauma that Daniel did not want breathing tubes or a respirator. When Daniel tried to rip the tubes out of his throat, staff members put his arms in restraints

…or this…

In 1999 Earl Meadows 56, passed away a year after suffering a stroke which left him unable to take care of himself. He was cared for by his lover and partner, Sam Beaumont, 61, on the Oklahoma ranch they had both worked together for a quarter century. Meadows cousins, filed suit and Beaumont lost everything he and Meadows had worked together for, the ranch, the cattle, everything, because even though he had a will, it lacked a second witness signature, and a judge ruled it was invalid, and in a state that has a constitutional amendment banning not only same sex marriage but any legal recognition of same sex couples, as far as the law was concerned, Beaumont and Meadows were legally strangers.

After Meadows’ cousins won his worldly goods in court, they went back to court and sued Beaumont for back rent for every year he lived on the ranch.

This is the future that jackasses like Andrew Sullivan, and the Deep Thinkers at the Independent (sic) Gay Forum, who preach the virtues of "federalism"and letting each state go their own way on same sex marriage, are condemning gay couples to: a patchwork of states they can safely travel in, embedded in a dangerous no-homo-land where the law doesn’t merely fail to acknowledge your rights as a couple, but actively seeks to destroy your union, and throw the two of you into a living nightmare, when given any opportunity whatever to do so. For all the same reasons that a nation half free and half slave would not work, for all the same reasons that a nation where rights are allocated on the basis of race, ethnicity or religion different in every state would not work, a nation where some couples are allowed to live in peace in some states and in a state of fear in others will not work. You cannot build a democracy out of "some animals are more equal then others, depending on their sexual orientation and their physical location at any given moment".

In Georgia, where the question was about how many different subjects a constitutional amendment ballot could embrace, the court unanimously decided that the subject in question was not, after all, a combination of same sex marriage plus civil unions, but one simple all embracing expression of animus by the heterosexual majority of Georgia toward same sex couples as a class. On that basis, the heterosexual majority of Georgia could have thrown every knife at gay people they could have gotten their hands on in that ballot question, the right to hold property, the right to vote, the right to walk down any street in Georgia without getting your head bashed in, and the subject of the ballot question would still have been only the hate, not the particulars of how that hate is expressed. On the other hand, let’s face it, that is pretty much a correct view of what the subject of the ballot question was: Resolved – same sex couples have no rights the heterosexual majority is bound to respect…

But for this week’s laughing mockery of justice, the court in New York has to take top honors. This is their rational, I am not kidding, for keeping marriage in New York a heterosexual prerogative:

First, the Legislature could rationally decide that, for the welfare of children, it is more important to promote stability, and to avoid instability, in opposite-sex than in same-sex relationships. Heterosexual intercourse has a natural tendency to lead to the birth of children; homosexual intercourse does not. Despite the advances of science, it remains true that the vast majority of children are born as a result of a sexual relationship between a man and a woman, and the Legislature could find that this will continue to be true. The Legislature could also find that such relationships are all too often casual or – temporary. It could find that an important function of marriage is to create more stability and permanence in the relationships that cause children to be born. It thus could choose to offer an inducement — in the form of marriage and its attendant benefits — to opposite-sex couples who make a solemn, long-term commitment to each other.

The Legislature could find that this rationale for marriage does not apply with comparable force to same-sex couples. These couples can become parents by adoption, or by artificial insemination or other technological marvels, but they do not become parents as a result of accident or impulse. The Legislature could find that unstable relationships between people of the opposite sex present a greater danger that children will be born into or grow up in unstable homes than is the case with same-sex couples, and thus that promoting stability in opposite sex relationships will help children more. This is one reason why the Legislature could rationally offer the benefits of marriage to opposite-sex couples only.

What they’re saying there, is that a "rational" reason for limiting marriage to heterosexuals only, "could be" because heterosexual couples are less likely to provide stable homes for children, because heterosexuals can have children just by randomly fucking around, and probably will, whilst homosexual couples are more likely to provide stable homes for children because they have to work harder to bring children into their homes.

Never mind that this is, once again, arguing that the purpose of marriage is to provide an environment for the raising of children, which is patently is not since having children, or even being physically able to have children, is not a requirement for marriage.  Never mind that.  This argument is pathetic on its face.  I guess you have to have grown up during the Stonewall years to appreciate the irony of it all. Once upon a time it was your gay and lesbian neighbors who were begging for some meager measure of rights, or at least a shred or two of human dignity, on the grounds that it wasn’t our fault that we were mentally unstable, and it would be cruel to punish us for something we cannot help. Today, at least in New York, it is heterosexuals who are saying they need rights because they cannot help being unstable. But if heterosexuals relationships are too unstable to exist without marriage, then heterosexuals are in no position to pass judgment on the fitness of their gay and lesbian neighbors for marriage either.

Except that they are the majority, so they can anyway. That is the rational here, nothing else. We outnumber you, so we can. The rights of heterosexual couples are enshrined in the fabric of our democracy, our constitution. The rights of gay couples exist, or not, a the discretion of heterosexuals. We can beg for rights, but we cannot assert a right of equality because we are manifestly unequal to heterosexuals in the only way that matters in George Bush’s America: we are fewer. What two state supreme courts have said today, is that this means the majority can do whatever it damn well pleases with our households, and any hopes and dreams we might have ever had or ever dared to want for happiness and peace and a life together with the ones we love, simply because they outnumber us. My Country ‘Tis Of Thee…

And here I am, slowly packing my things for another cross country trip, looking at my path through Virginia, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, and so on…and wondering how the hell I could possibly make such a trip if I had a spouse. I couldn’t. I simply couldn’t. It would be too dangerous for both of us. The minute either of us became sick or ill or incapacitated in some way, everything we made of our lives together, and every hope and dream we ever had for the future, could be annihilated by laws designed specifically to be relentlessly hostile toward same sex couples. 

And never mind vacations.  My employer is sending me to the OSCON Open Source conference in Portland Oregon at the end of the month.  Do I tell them I can’t go because Oregon passed a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage and if I get sick or injured out there my spouse could be legally barred from taking any sort of care of me, let alone visiting me in the hospital, or seeing to it that my medical wishes are respected.  Robert Flanigan Jr.  Karen Thompson.  Juan Navarrete. 

And then there is the matter of families being torn apart.   I have family in Virginia, and my mother’s grave, that I could never see again, if I had a spouse.  They say Virginia’s anti same sex laws are so draconian, they may even disallow joint checking accounts between same sex couples.  How the hell do I even go lay flowers on my mother’s grave, when every moment I am in Virginia, I am putting my spouse at risk for a legal nightmare?  It is impossible.  No family of mine has the right to demand I risk flushing our marriage down the toilet, simply to come down for a visit.  If the people busy passing these laws really believe that homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex, then there are a lot of families in those states, in for some bitter awakenings in the years to come.  Of course a lot of these people just discard their gay and lesbian children anyway, like so much human garbage.  But not all of them do.  I guess the message to those families is, if you love your gay children, there’s probably something wrong with you people anyway.

Anyone who thinks this state’s rights approach is fine for solving the issue of same sex marriage in America is smoking crack.  It is a recipe for tearing this nation apart, one family at a time.  And friends from friends.  I used to have straight friends who would have told me today, to count my blessings, and be glad that I am still single. That is why they are now ex-friends.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on E Pluribus Unum…Except For The Gays Of Course…

July 3rd, 2006

Our Lady Of Manifest Destiny

I’ve shown you this one before…right…?

 

It’s the flagpole at one of those churches that look nothing like churches, just down the road from Love In Action in Memphis.  The church it’s in front of has no steeple, nothing at all in it’s style or structure to suggest that it’s even a church at all.  It looks from the road, like your basic office building.  Seems the god of the white upper class, at least in the bible belt these days, likes its sanctuaries to look like either office buildings, or shopping malls.  A look perhaps befitting fundamentalism’s new emphasis on worldly things. 

I can’t say much about the rest of the bible belt because I haven’t wandered there much, but Memphis seems to have more megachurches that look like shopping malls per capita then the rest of America has shopping malls. There’s Germantown Baptist, which I visited the last time I was down there.  Nestled in the midst of a very well-to-do suburb of Memphis, it has it’s own tennis courts, day care, and big screen TV’s inside the sanctuary, so the folks in the back rows can see what’s happening on the stage.  Then there is the place the locals call Six Flags Over Jesus…Bellevue Baptist Church.  I’ve not been there yet, but the locals say it not only has the big screen TVs mounted on either side of the stage like Germantown, but TV cameras mounted on cranes that can pan around and capture all the action for the TV audience.  It’s got a bookstore, A GRACE Family Life Center, a JOY Christian Recreation Complex, a Love building, a Praise building, a really nice website where you can find a link to their Live Sermon Webcast, and a User Agreement with this wee notice:

Hypertext Link: You may provide a hypertext link to this web site on another web site only upon the receipt of written consent from Bellevue. To receive such consent, fill out a request form. Upon receipt of written consent, you may provide a link in the following manner: (a) the link points to the URL http://www.bellevue.org and not to the pages within the site; (b) the appearance, position or other aspects of the link do not create a false impression that Bellevue is associated with, or endorses, another web site, church or product; (c) the link does not dilute or damage Bellevue’s trademarks, service marks or goodwill; (d) the link does not display Bellevue’s web site with frames. Bellevue may revoke its consent to the link at any time in its sole discretion.

We all have to protect our brand I guess. 

Okay…so much so obvious.  You’ve all heard me going on about megachurches before.  But last night I was surfing my bookmarks and via The Flypaper Theory I discovered World Overcomers Outreach Ministries Church, and I think they’ve done them all better. World Overcomers Outreach Ministries has a grand Walk Of Nations entranceway, a bookstore, a gym, an Olympic sized swimming pool, a bowling alley, a video arcade, and a pool hall.  I’m a bit surprised they don’t have a bar somewhere in there too.  The next step, is for someone to put a floating megachruch on the river somewhere, with a casino inside.  But to make sure they leave their competition in the dust, World Overcomers Outreach Ministries Church are even building their own Statue Of Liberty. 

Well…kind of…

 

 

Our Lady Of Manifest Destiny, as PeskyFly puts it.  I had to stare at it for about five minutes before I could convince my brain of what my eyes were seeing.  The torch is gone, replaced by a cross.  The tablet that once read July 4th, 1776, has been replaced by the ten commandments.  And yes, they will unveil the thing tomorrow, on the fourth of July, 2006.  According to this article in the Memphis Commerical Appeal, the seven spikes on her crown that represent the seven seas of the world has been changed to signify the seven redemptive names of Christ. The crown itself has been inscribed with the name "Jehovah".   An old colossus, to replace the new one given this nation as a token of esteem once upon a time…

 

The New Colossus
by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
 

The lamp of course, had to go, because the golden door has to go.  Yearning to breath free are you?  Don’t you know that freedom is only possible if you believe what we tell you to believe, live how we tell you to live, and worship how we tell you to worship?  Democracy is a lie straight from Satan, because only the devil would think up a system of government that gives heathens the same rights as the righteous.  Think about it.  True freedom means doing what we tell you to do and thinking what we tell you to think because we’re righteous and  if you’re not one of us then obviously you aren’t.  Give your conscience to us and you’ll be free.  We’ve got a really swell video arcade and pool hall you can while away the hours between sermons in.  And the TV reception inside the church is great.  Have you visited our gift shop yet?

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Our Lady Of Manifest Destiny

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