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Archive for June, 2007

June 30th, 2007

What Digby Said…

Broder seems to have at long last recognized that something is very rotten in Dick Cheney’s office. Huzzah. But it is curious that he mentions Scooter Libby’s name without addressing whether he still thinks it’s such a great idea to shield one of these lying, power-mad zealots from the consequences of his actions. (Maybe Sally Quinn ought to crank up the phone tree and find out.)

With all the Claud Rainsing about Dick Cheney’s power grab, you have to wonder when Broder will finally break to the surface of his beltway wet dream long enough to recognize that a federal prosecutor dealing with one of Dick Cheney’s minions repeatedly lying to his face might have justifiably been suspicious that something more than "just politics" was going on. After all, he was seeing this operation close up, in all its glory, years ago. Cops and prosecutors tend to get curious about why people are lying and covering things up. It’s just the way they think. And when people continue to do it, even when they are caught red handed and everyone knows it, prosecutors have no choice but to charge them. The stench coming from Cheney’s office had to have been extremely pungent.

Broder admits that he was wrong to think that Cheney would be a good second in command and that’s a big admission for him, I’m sure. But he also makes the flat claim that what Cheney has done was constitutional and legal. Again with the knee-jerk defense of the Bushies. Just because they say it doesn’t make it true and there are so many secrets still unrevealed that it’s impossible to properly assess that fact. It’s long past time for these insiders to stop automatically giving the administration the benefit of the doubt.

And it is also long past time they offered an apology to Patrick Fitzgerald who was just doing his job, quietly and deliberately, while Cheney and Scooter’s compatriots both in and out of the administration shrieked like wounded harpies at the prospect of any of the Vice President’s good and honest men being held to account for anything. These courtiers were so caught up in defending one of their own that they didn’t even realize that the bastard in all this was the guy who sent Scooter out to lie and cover up — their great pal, Dick Cheney, the man who learned everything he ever needed to learn about politics by watching Dick Nixon and then doing it better. These people look more and more foolish every day.

This has been another edition of What Digby Said… 

Meanwhile, Atrios quotes Ken Silverstein thusly…

The decline of undercover reporting — and of investigative reporting in general — also reflects, in part, the increasing conservatism and cautiousness of the media, especially the smug, high-end Washington press corps. As reporters have grown more socially prominent during the last several decades, they’ve become part of the very power structure that they’re supposed to be tracking and scrutinizing.

Chuck Lewis, a former "60 Minutes" producer and founder of the Center for Public Integrity, once told me: "The values of the news media are the same as those of the elite, and they badly want to be viewed by the elites as acceptable."

Ever wonder why mainstream news has had that rancid aroma ever since Bush was elected?  For a good alternative you might try the McClatchy Bureau home page.  It’s motto is the heartening Truth To Power.  Also, you should give Raw Story and HinesSight a look.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on What Digby Said…

Another Reason To Hate The MPAA

Good thing my poor little blog isn’t trying to get into theaters nationwide…

Online Dating

According to The Blog Rater, this little blog merited this rating because of…

  • gay (26x)
  • hell (5x)
  • dead (2x)
  • crack (1x)

What the hell…???  Crack?  I double checked and it was my post about the right wing monopoly on talk radio

The Bush Administration crack down a couple years ago on broadcast indecency was usually taken to be a bone tossed at it’s fundamentalist base.

That’s not a reference to crack cocaine you drooling morons!  You’ll never see me advocating the use of that poison here.  And why the hell (whoops…I said it again…dang…) is the word "gay" something impressionable kids shouldn’t be exposed to?  I’m a gay man.  Right?  Okay…fine.  Gay.  Gay.  Gay.  Gay.  Now I have 32 instances of the word to count against my poor blog.  Oh…and five for crack.  Uh…six.  Aw…fuck it .  Whoops. 

But you know what…this is exactly the kind of jackass way the MPAA rates movies anyway.  So I guess you won’t be seeing ads for The Story So Far in your local newspaper’s movieguide anytime soon…


by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Another Reason To Hate The MPAA


It would help if you actually sent the email. 

Seriously.  I could use some conversation…with someone who knows me from the old days.  You…especially.

I still have some things in my treasure box I could share with you.  Things I’ve gathered over the course of a life.  The light from desert vistas.  The night sky over the open plains.  The stillness of the old forests.  Places only a few have seen.  Things only people who have been there know.  The Fire.  The Light.  The Silence.  I’d like to share them with you.  But you have to ask.

-That Kid With The Camera

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Well…?

Message In A Bottle

Are you out there…somewhere…?

Even through the darkest phase
Be it thick or thin
Always someone marches brave
Here beneath my skin

Constant craving
Has always been

Maybe a great magnet pulls
All souls towards truth
Or maybe it is life itself
That feeds wisdom
To its youth

Constant craving
Has always been

Ah ha
Constant craving
Has always been

Is this all there is?
Is there nothing more?
They say there’s a lid for every pot…
But…where’s mine?
Are you there?  Somewhere?
Please…knock on my door…
Say hello.
Please.  I need you.  So badly.
There must be more.  Please tell me there is more.

There is so much more I could be.   But I need you there…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Message In A Bottle

Pencils And Inks Done…

Okay…I’ve finished the pencils and the inks on episode ten of A Coming Out Story and scanned all the pages in.  There are five pages comprising twenty-four panels in this next episode.  All that’s left now is the Photoshopping, which I’ve already started on.  That amounts to just some touching up, adding some shadows and the crosshatching (yes…I cheat on the cross hatching now.  But it saves me weeks of work per episode…) and adding text and word balloons and panel frames.  I should be done and have it posted by tomorrow evening, barring some major problem.

I’ve been giggling the whole time I’ve been drawing this one.  I hope its contagious. 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Pencils And Inks Done…

The Survivors

I have this really bad habit sometimes of assuming that the people who read my blog read the other stuff I do online and as a consequence I’ve been horribly remiss in blogging about the Ex-Gay Survivor’s Conference now going on in Irvine California.  You should go visit their page and witness the amazing, heartbreaking, heartlifting, incredibly powerful stories of the people there. 

For way too long now the ex-gay movement has had its own little monopoly on telling the personal stories of people who have been subjected to ex-gay therapy, and surprise, surprise, their stories have all reflected positively on the experience.  To this day, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, various ex-gay leaders still claim treatment successes in the tens of thousands.  But ever since the story of a gay teenager who was forced into ex-gay therapy against his will became national, and then international news, organizations like Exodus have had to deal with a much heightened degree of scrutiny of their claims.  Nowadays even Exodus will admit to no more then a 30 percent or so success rate. So now the other 70 percent are having their say about it and this has been long, long overdue.

I’ve never been though ex-gay therapy myself, never had a need to even consider it.  Ever since I came out to myself as a gay teenager I’ve been fine with my sexual orientation.  And for years I regarded the ex-gay movement as little more then the silliness of right wing bigots.  I once dated a guy who gave the ex-gay life it a brief go, breaking off a relationship with me that left me sad and lonely, but fully determined to let him find out for himself that the human identity isn’t a blackboard you can just scribble anything you want on.  It pained me to watch him throw the possibility of an honest and rewarding intimate life way for the sake of the approval of his family and his church.  But you can’t take anyone else’s falls for them, and especially not your lovers’.  So I let him go.  Seven years later he came back…but that’s another long story.

But when I saw the cry for help from one scared, desperate gay teenager something deep inside of me got very, very angry, and to this day is still very, very angry.  That incident radicalized me in a way I thought I’d never be radicalized.  Time was I’d soft peddle my sexuality around people who I knew, or felt were uncomfortable.  Time was I’d tell myself to give them space, let them get comfortable dealing with it on their own terms.  I just wanted us all to get along.  No more.  Getting along should not cost me my dignity, and for goddamned sure it shouldn’t cost gay teens that wonderful time of life when you discover what it is to be in love.  My silence I discovered that summer, was giving gay hating thugs license to put a knife into the hearts of gay teens, and tell the world with a straight face that they were only trying to heal them.

In becoming active against the ex-gay movement, I began to meet wonderful, good hearted, decent people who had put themselves through hell because they thought it was the only way to make themselves right with God.  People like Peterson Toscano.  I’ve heard stories that would make stones cry.  I’ve met other gay teens, like Lance Carroll, who had been forced into the grotesquely misnamed Love In Action against their will, and came out of it even more alienated from their parents.  To walk among the survivors of ex-gay therapy is to know the essential cruelty of it.  But it had to be.  What started out in the early 1970s as a few fellowships of believers supporting each other against urges they could not reconcile with their faith, was cynically co-opted by the religious right into a propaganda tool against gay rights.  The people undergoing therapy in these ministries don’t matter anymore.  They haven’t mattered for decades now.

I really, almost desperately wanted to go out to that conference, and hear the stories, and show my support.  But work pressures prevented it…and that may be the other reason I haven’t blogged about it all that much, even when they were kind enough to link to one of my recent posts.  It’s been depressing.  So I’ve had to watch from afar.  I hope they’re having a good time sharing their stories.  I hope they’re finding the support, and the healing now that they need.

It hasn’t been without it’s amusing moments already.  Via Box Turtle Bulletin, I see that Focus On The Family claimed to know in advance how many people would be at the Survivor’s Conference

Focus on the Family Predicts the Future

Jim Burroway
June 29th, 2007

CitizenLink is just making things up. It’s like they’re not even trying to be credible anymore. I got a laugh out of this one, about the two competing ex-gay and ex-ex-gay conferences:

The [Exodus Freedom Conference], which began Tuesday and wraps up Sunday, has drawn close to 1,000 people — and no protesters so far. Across town, a counter-conference drew about 100 people. [Emphasis mine]

Drew? Past tense?

The Ex-gay Survivor’s conference doesn’t begin until this evening. The main events don’t start until tomorrow. Conference organizers haven’t released pre-registration figures, and of course we don’t know how many walk-ups will show.

But thanks, Focus, for the prediction. We’ll see how good it turns out to be.

Well of course, James Dobson is a profit…er…prophet…

And let’s bring a little perspective into this little bragging war. This is Exodus’s 32nd conference, but only the first Ex-Gay Survivor’s conference. When Exodus held their first conference in Anaheim in 1976, sixty-two people attended. They broke a hundred in 1977 at their second conference in Oakland.

You should go visit the Conference web page.  I’ve been saying for years now that the real stories of our lives are like rust to bigotry.  You’ll never see a better example of that then the stories being told there this weekend.

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

When Common Sense Looses Its Residency Permit

It must be hell being a policeman with nothing better to do then arrest people for not properly taking care of their lawns…

White Cloud yard police put man in jail

WHITE CLOUD — A Newaygo County man could spend another weekend behind bars if he doesn’t take care of his yard.

David Burch says he tried to seed the yard last fall but it wouldn’t take root. This all stems from a contractor who failed to sod the yard in the first place. Now a judge is saying, do the yard or do the time.

"The people who work at the court, at the jail, thought it was funny," Burch said. "They said there had to be more. I said, ‘No, it’s just because I don’t have grass growing.’ They said, ‘You’re in here for that?’"

He claims he is not skirting the law. Burch said the contractor for his new house is responsible for the lawn. But a White Cloud city ordinance states otherwise.

"This has been in the courts for over a year," said White Cloud Police Chief Roger Ungrey. "I believe Mr. Burch has made an attempt. He did bring me in some receipts for grass seed."

But when it didn’t grow, a county judge ordered the yard planted. It never happened. Again this April – no sprouts. Then, in jail, an inspiration. Burch is sodding his yard with donated turf.

They’ve been having a drought in White Cloud by the way.  Say…you think that might have something to do with why his grass isn’t growing…?  Just curious.  They must see things differently up there.  Maybe they’ve never experienced a drought before and they’re not sure if that means you have to conserve the water you still have or not.  I mean…here in Baltimore when we had our drought you pretty much had to let your lawn go brown or else you got fined.  Having a green lawn was considered evidence that you were watering it illegally. 

So I’m picturing this poor man finally getting his lawn taken care of so he can stay out of jail, only to then be fined for watering it.  But at least it’s a city ordinance and not a Home Owner’s Association he’s at the mercy of.  If it was an HOA they’d be suing him for not using the right kind of grass seed too probably.  He’d have had to submit seed samples to the Architectural Review Committee before planting for DNA analysis, and maybe provide them with architectural renderings of what his new lawn would look like so that the Board Of Directors could pass on it first.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on When Common Sense Looses Its Residency Permit

June 29th, 2007

Oh Cheer Up

Via Fark.Com…  Some heterosexual guy bellyaches about the passing of the sweetness of life

The martini is an honest drink, tasting exactly like what it is and nothing else. There are no fruit juices or chocolate in a martini, and it’s not served in a pineapple shell. The martini is a clear, clean, cold, pure and honest drink – especially for people with established values and a liking for purity, even in their vices.

I regret the passing of this friend from our culture, just as I regret knowing that I’ll never again see a pretty woman in nylons, garter belt and spiked heels. Now I read they want to do away with high heels and swimsuits in the Miss America Pageant. I suppose next it will be brown paper bags over heads and every contestant clothed in XXL potato sacks.

Martinis, garter belts, bathing suits and high heels – why do good things pass away? Tonight I’m going to pour myself a martini, light up my pipe, sit in my backyard and give this matter a lot more thought.

Oh cheer up.  I know the feeling…sort of.  I’ve been morning the pasing of cutoffs and slight bathing suits on guys since the1980s.  The beach just isn’t fun anymore.  At least not the American ones.  Never did like martinis though.  Ugh.  Some of my gay happy hour pals just love them though.  I’m more a Kahlua on the rocks kinda guy.  But…what the hell happened to cutoffs?



[Update…]   It’s kinda fun, in a perverse way I suppose, to watch the reactions among the heterosexual guys on Fark to that guy’s letter to the editor.  Some of them are completely in agreement, and some think he’s a dinosaur who needs to just get over it…

Awesome article.

He sounds like my dad. Who is also from the midwest. (perhaps I should say mid-VEST this guy is a cheesehead) Eh time marches on. I’ve no sympathy because HE’S sad that Miss America isn’t putting on her high heels for him. 

I may be a youngster, but I raise my glass for this man. Awesome letter.

That guy is my farking hero!

Yeah, keep biatching gramps. You didn’t have blowjob parties and chicks with whale-tails when you were in high school. You didn’t have internet porn. You didn’t have access to 80 beers on tap at the bar down the street from your house. Times change, and you’re stuck in the past. 

There is nothing stupider than high heels on a woman in a bathing suit, and who the hell wears shoes to bed?

*Dims the lights in this thread and cues up Henry Mancini’s "Lujon"*


And stay off my lawn!!!

Eh, keep your fetish gear to yourself, dinosaur

And a lady writes…

I own a garter belt. Its a pain in the ass to wear, but its so hot and sexy, I want to do myself when I wear it.

And now you know why the the Southern Baptist Convention thinks the Internet is the tool of Satan…

[Update 2…]  Oh…now they’re arguing about whether a martini should be made with gin or vodka…

And the ladies are telling the guys that they look sexy in fedoras.  I’ll agree with that.  Some of them.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Oh Cheer Up

Why Artists Probably Drive Businessmen Crazy

I’d really wanted to get the pencils for episode ten of A Coming Out Story finished by Wednesday.  But it was impossible somehow.  I swear I worked on one solitary panel all night Wednesday and that was all I could get done.  I would put down a line and it wasn’t right, erase, redraw, erase, redraw…over and over and fucking over again and it was so frustrating.  Finally I got that panel done and by the time I just had to go to bed for the night I was certain that I wouldn’t finish by Sunday like I wanted to.

Thursday wasn’t much better.  Then…tonight…somehow…I got another head of steam up and I finished the pencils, and then blasted through the inking nearly halfway.  And now I’m actually further along then I’d originally wanted to be.  Go figure.

So…barring some catastrophe, I’ll have episode ten up sometime Sunday after all.  I have no idea how professionals manage to keep to their deadlines.  I just don’t.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Why Artists Probably Drive Businessmen Crazy

June 28th, 2007

When Street Lights Attack

Nothing to get a good adrenaline rush going on the routine drive home (I drove today…too hot to walk these past two days…) like suddenly seeing a street light fall over onto the cars in front of you. 

I was stopped at a light along 40th street near the Rotunda, a large old brick Baltimore office building that’s been converted to stores and offices.  I was listening to Signorile on Sirius OutQ and waiting for traffic in front of me to start moving.  Then I see this big city streetlight on my side of the road, tip over in a long slow arc across the road several cars ahead of me.  It crashed down with a loud bang on the roof of a car in the oncoming traffic.  Because of the cars in front of me I couldn’t tell whether it had hit any of the cars ahead of me or not.

Imagine…you’re driving home from work and just…out of the fucking blue…a street light comes crashing down on top of your car.  The driver of the car that got hit probably didn’t even see it coming.  He’s looking ahead of him and just all of a sudden there’s this loud bang on the roof and the roof is buckling on on him and his windows are being smashed.

Before traffic had a chance to snarl I swung my car out of the line and down a side street and parked.  Then I walked back to the scene.   People were already taking care of the driver of the car that got hit and calling for an ambulance.  He looked cut on his arm but otherwise not badly hurt.  Just…stunned.  The windows on the driver’s side of his car were all smashed out and the roof of the car was badly, I mean really badly, dented in.  I was thinking as I looked at it that it was a good thing the light hadn’t fallen on a pedestrian.  There are two old folks homes near that scene and you see old people slowly walking up and down that sidewalk all the time.  On the other side of that street is a Giant Food grocery store and all the other Rotunda stores and that sidewalk usually has pedestrians on it, even very late at night.  It seemed unduly lucky that right at that moment there hadn’t been anyone walking nearby.

There was another car on the other side of the street further up that didn’t look to my eye like it was damaged, but it’s driver was carefully looking over the side of the car I couldn’t see so there might have been something.  Broken glass from the car that got hit and the street light was all over the street. 

There was a Baltimore Gas and Electric utility truck parked on the sidewalk where the street light had been.  It looked like they’d been trying to maneuver the truck into position to do some utility work and had knocked over a bus stop and the street light in the process.  But I didn’t actually see it happen so that’s just a guess based on what I saw.  The bus stop was right next to where the street light was and it was bent over under the front bumper of the truck.  How the driver didn’t see it or the street light I haven’t a clue.

A few seconds later and that street light might have hit me.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on When Street Lights Attack

Beware The Hidden Assumptions

That’s something I was taught to consider in a structured analysis and design class I attended once and it’s the kind of thinking that we should all practice.  You really need sometimes to look critically at the obvious, the taken-for-granted, those "everyone knows such-and-such is true" truths.  They can be delicate, nearly invisible curtains hiding from your eyes the reality that’s staring you back in the face.

Via aTypical Joe, comes this story of 81 words that were once in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), and how they were there in the first place, simply because everyone just assumed they were true.  And this particular assumption got its first really critical looking at, when Evelyn Hooker, a psychologist at UCLA, met Sam From, a student…

Evelyn was a psychologist at UCLA and Sam was her student. He was also a homosexual. They started spending time together in the mid 1940s and Sam introduced Evelyn to his group of friends most of whom, like Sam, were gay.

Now, as I said, everyone in this group was homosexual but curiously, none was in therapy. They were all well-adjusted young men who utterly failed to conform to the traditional psychiatric image of the tortured, disturbed homosexual.

This, naturally, got Evelyn thinking.

Now, prior to Evelyn Hooker, all of the research on homosexuality – all of it – was done on people who were already under serious psychiatric treatment. Let me repeat that: In the history of psychiatric research, no one had ever conducted a study on a homosexual population that wasn’t either in therapy, in prison, a mental hospital, or the disciplinary barracks of the armed services.

Evelyn thought about this and decided that this kind of research was distorting psychiatry’s conclusions about homosexual populations. To test her theory, Evelyn came up with an experiment. Through her former student she located 30 homosexuals who had never sought therapy in their lives and matched those homosexuals with a group of heterosexuals of comparable age, IQ and education.

Evelyn then put both groups through a battery of psychological tests including a Rorschach Test, the famous ink-blot test. After disguising her subjects, Evelyn gave the results to three experienced psychiatrists and asked them to identify the homosexuals. She figured that if homosexuals were inherently pathological, the psychiatrists would be able to pick them out easily. But the judges were completely unable to distinguish the homos from the hets.

Equally important was the fact that the judges categorized two thirds of the homosexuals and the heterosexuals as perfectly well-adjusted normally functioning human beings. 

Hooker’s study challenged the idea that homosexuality was a pathology in the first place, and in doing this it not only called into question an entire generation of research on homosexuality, it also challenged psychiatry’s basic concept of disease. If you believed Hooker’s data the only conclusion you could come to was that psychiatry was deciding that certain behaviors were diseases, not out of any sort of scientific proof, but based on their own prejudices.

Beside Evelyn Hooker, psychiatrists who wanted to change the DSM really had only one other scientific study on their side: Alfred Kinsey’s famous 1948 sex survey which found that a whopping 37% of all men had had physical contact to the point of orgasm with other men, a finding which – besides shocking the hell out of 63% of the American public – seemed to suggest that homosexual acts were too common to be considered a disease.

In spite of all this work, psychiatry continued to maintain that the homos were sick and steadfastly refused to reevaluate the DSM. And then luck, or maybe fate, intervened.

This is but a small excerpt from a really good This American Life broadcast, which originally aired in January 2002.  It’s available for listening at the link above.  If you have iTunes it can also be purchased for ninty-five cents.  I highly recommend it.  The broadcast is the story of the DSM change as told by Alix Spiegel, the granddaughter of the man who was the president elect of the APA when the change occurred.  Like many profound historical events, this one is something more, and something less, then the mythologies that have grown up around it.  It involved political theater, and behind the scenes activism.  It involved many diverse people from many diverse backgrounds…most of them heterosexual, some of them gay.  Most of the gays in the APA at that time were in fact, deeply, deeply closeted, and what is probably a striking thing for modern ears to hear is how many of them accepted the prevailing assumptions about the pathology of homosexuality.

But if the internal behind the scenes politics, and the external pressure of gay activists accomplished anything, it was to hasten what the science would eventually compel them to do anyway.  That is not to ether dismiss, nor exaggerate the impact of the activism.  There is a scene near the end of Alix Spiegel’s story that needs to be in any film or TV recreation of these events, and it is that moment when Robert Spitzer is brought by one of the activists who had been protesting the APA’s categorizing of homosexuality as an illness, uninvited, to a gathering of the closeted gay professionals, and he sees how many distinguished and successful people of his profession are homosexual, people he would never have suspected, people whose accomplishments were considerable, people who would, every one of them, have been drummed out of their profession had their sexual orientation become known then.  For Spitzer, it is a profound revelation.  And then…a young man in uniform walks in the door.

You should listen to this episode.  It’s nearly an hour long but well worth it, to get to that scene.  There is a historian toward the end who says that questions of disease and pathology ultimately resolve down to moral questions, not scientific ones.  I disagree.  Science can certainly tell us whether or not something is or is not harmful to us mentally and physically.  And the moral question was answered millenia ago: First Do No Harm…  But there is a profound moral question at the bottom of every scientific one and that is the question of truthfulness and letting the evidence speak for itself.  Even if means you have to discard a cherished assumption you’ve held on to for years.  Even if that assumption has given you the recognition of your peers, fame, and made you a pretty good living. 

Robert Spitzer has taken a lot of justly deserved criticism for his so-called study of clients of ex-gay ministries, but you have to give the man credit for that one dazzling moment near the end of this report, when he let the evidence he could clearly see with his own two eyes, finally, speak for itself.  Charles Socrades comes off by contrast, as a man so blinded by dogma that he’s even willing to regard himself as a parental failure to his own gay son.  But as he says, his business was booming.  He speaks with pride toward the end about some parents who took their 16 year old gay son to one psychiatrist after another, only to be told there was nothing wrong with the boy…until they met him.

And now you know what happens to a soul that stops asking questions.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Beware The Hidden Assumptions

June 27th, 2007

Hello? Hello??

One thing that keeps attracting my attention when I’m looking at my server logs are the number of folks who hit my site after doing a search on my name.  I realize that I’m not the only Bruce Garrett in the world, but it’s frustraiting sometimes just wondering if any of them are old friends who were just randomly searching on my name just for kicks and grins.

Hey…if you knew me once upon a time…drop me a line sometime and say ‘Hi’.  Let me know how you’re doing.  Okay?  I still think of my old friends quite often and I’d love to hear from you.  Well…most of you. 

And…especially you tigapaw.  Yeah…you.  Wave back sometime.  Please.  It would make my day.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Hello? Hello??

It’s Good To Be King. It’s Even Better To Be Vice President…

A politician’s candor always increases in direct proportion to proximity to retirement. That must be why Dick Armey, the departing house majority leader, so openly discussed his party’s version of pork-barrel politics with the A.P. "There is an old adage. To the victor goes the spoils," he said, explaining why Republican districts have received an average of $600 million more annually than Democratic districts since the Republican takeover. (By the way, that is nearly 18 times the partisan disparity that existed — in the opposite direction — when Democrats last ran the House.) It was good of Professor Armey to share his governing philosophy with us now, even if he and his pals Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay forgot to mention their partisan budgetary objectives when they were promoting the Contract With America in 1994. But their libertarian admirers may be disappointed to learn that these great statesmen were more focused on redistributing wealth upward than in reducing the size of government.

Joe Conason, Salon.Com August 2002

To the victor belong the spoils.  Those of you who seriously thought that the republicans were fighting for smaller, less intrusive government, more personal freedom from the nanny state, and for fiscal responsibility, are now feel free to feel like they’ve been had.  What they wanted, simply, were the spoils.  Nothing more.  I’m sure historians will debate for generations how the train wreak that was the Bush presidency happened, and why it seemed that they always governed more like a gang of thugs then like the ideologues they presented themselves as being.  But it’s simple.  They’re governing like a gang of thugs, because that’s what they are.

The following story about our imperial vice president may seem trivial compared to Cheney’s unilaterally engineering the withdrawal of the Unites States of America from the Geneva Convention, but it’s everything that is cheap and squalid about the Bush Administration, and by extension the modern republican party, in a nutshell.  

Leaving No Tracks

Sue Ellen Wooldridge, the 19th-ranking Interior Department official, arrived at her desk in Room 6140 a few months after Inauguration Day 2001. A phone message awaited her.

"This is Dick Cheney," said the man on her voice mail, Wooldridge recalled in an interview. "I understand you are the person handling this Klamath situation. Please call me at — hmm, I guess I don’t know my own number. I’m over at the White House."

Wooldridge wrote off the message as a prank. It was not. Cheney had reached far down the chain of command, on so unexpected a point of vice presidential concern, because he had spotted a political threat arriving on Wooldridge’s desk.

In Oregon, a battleground state that the Bush-Cheney ticket had lost by less than half of 1 percent, drought-stricken farmers and ranchers were about to be cut off from the irrigation water that kept their cropland and pastures green. Federal biologists said the Endangered Species Act left the government no choice: The survival of two imperiled species of fish was at stake.

Law and science seemed to be on the side of the fish. Then the vice president stepped in.

With predictable results… 

First Cheney looked for a way around the law, aides said. Next he set in motion a process to challenge the science protecting the fish, according to a former Oregon congressman who lobbied for the farmers.

Because of Cheney’s intervention, the government reversed itself and let the water flow in time to save the 2002 growing season, declaring that there was no threat to the fish. What followed was the largest fish kill the West had ever seen, with tens of thousands of salmon rotting on the banks of the Klamath River.

Characteristically, Cheney left no tracks.

Other then the wreckage you mean.  Those of you who seriously thought that the republicans were fighting for smaller, less intrusive government, more personal freedom from the nanny state, and for fiscal responsibility, are now feel free to feel like they’ve been had.  Except you were warned.  Over and over again you were warned.  And the warning sign was this: instead of appealing to American’s hopes and dreams, they kept appealing to our fears, to our resentments, to our hatreds…

That should have told you everything.  These thugs, who live in a gutter of fears and resentments and cheap bar stool hatreds, if they know nothing else they know the language of fear, and resentment, and hate.  It’s their point of repose, their magnetic north, their absolute bedrock.  Fear, and resentment, and hate.  And you let them manipulate yours.  And you got what you voted for.  What do tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, liberated now from life itself, hundreds of dead Americans, mostly poor and black, floating in the waters of New Orleans, and the largest fish kill the American west has ever seen have in common? 

Next time, vote your hopes instead of your fears, or it’s your fears you’ll be living with after the election.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on It’s Good To Be King. It’s Even Better To Be Vice President…

Oh Look…Our Own Water Fountains…


Pentagon: Gays encouraged to continue to serve nation after discharge

The Pentagon, in a policy obtained by The Advocate, has indicated that lesbian and gay military personnel who are discharged under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law are qualified to continue to serve the nation. A copy of the Pentagon policy, included in a statement released by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, now states, "These separated members have the opportunity to continue to serve their nation and national security by putting their abilities to use by way of civilian employment with other Federal agencies, the Department of Defense, or in the private sector, such as with a government contractor."

We can do the work, we just can’t have the dignity and the honor of bearing arms in our nation’s defense.  And it’s not because these braying jackasses are uncomfortable working side-by-side with homosexuals.  That’s bullshit.  It’s because they just can’t bear to see the stigma removed from people they personally loath, yet know godammned well their country needs too. 

For sure the Pentagon’s Jack D. Ripper’s are all feeling very evolved now that they’re willing to let us do the work of keeping America secure, so long as we don’t actually get the recognition for it.  Some of them might even think they’re doing us a favor, since life as a highly paid DOD contractor is probably a higher calling in George Bush’s America then being in uniform anyway.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Oh Look…Our Own Water Fountains…

June 26th, 2007

To A Kid Considering Ex-Gay Therapy…

I posted this on a MySpace discussion group just this morning, where a sixteen year old preacher’s son told the others that he was being sent to an ex-gay camp.  He said he doesn’t want to be gay, that it’s a sin, and that he hated the urges he was having.  This is my reply to him.

I’m reposting it here because you have to know that there are many other kids out there just like him, feeling alone and miserable about urges they’re having that they can’t seem to control, and which shame them deeply.  It just breaks your heart sometimes.  If there’s any shame here, it ought to be falling down hard on the shoulders of the adults in their lives who won’t teach them to reach for that higher ground where urges can become the beautiful desires two people in love feel for one another, because if gay kids can stand tall and proud and love wholeheartedly, then those adults just can’t feel righteous…

Yeah, some people say that simply being gay is a sin. Some people say that it’s just acting on it that’s the sin. And then again, some folks say the universe is less then nine-thousand years old too. Here’s what I say: when the bird and the bird book disagree, believe the bird.

I’m sorry you’re being troubled by urges. That’s not unusual at your age. Gay and straight alike, we all go through adolescence. And it can be a difficult time no matter what your sexual orientation is. It’s the walk from childhood into adulthood. And part of being an adult, is learning to deal with sex and sexuality. In your teenage years especially, that part of you can yank you around like a big yapping dog on a leash, always tugging you this way and that toward whatever it finds interesting, the instant it catches sight of it. It can be really hard to deal with, especially when you’re young.

Straight kids usually get to learn at this stage, about dating, and about love, and about what it means to become a worthy lover, and find someone to love and be loved by. The really troubling thing about how gay kids are often treated, even these days, is that their urges aren’t allowed to become anything more then urges, aren’t allow to develop into anything higher and more noble then lusts. They’re not told that they too can reach for that higher ground where two people can find a soulmate in each other, and nurture and share an intimate body and soul romance between them.

That is one of the most perfect joys of this life there is…to find your other half, and to love and be loved by them. But like anything else important in life, you have to learn how, you have to make yourself ready for it, and become worthy of it, and gay kids are taught only that all they have, and all they ever will have, are urges. A kind of acid is slowly poured over their capacity to love and trust and accept love and trust from another, and the possibility of finding that soulmate, that intimate other, is carefully and deliberately taken away from them. If there is such a thing as Sin in this world, capital S, then doing that to someone has to be a big one.

If you’re worried about being gay, you’re worrying about the wrong thing. Worry instead that you are trustworthy, that your word is good, that your friends can trust you, that you do your share of the work, that you never become the kind of person who takes advantage of other people who are weaker then yourself, or more vulnerable, that you care that your community, and your country are better for your having walked in it, and that the people you take into your arms, whether they’re male or female, are better for having been loved by you, and not worse. That’s the important stuff in life. The rest is detail. I tell you that if you take care of the important stuff, the detail will work itself out.

by Bruce | Link | React! (2)

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