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Archive for April, 2011

April 27th, 2011

The Long Form…

The only thing that leaps out at me upon viewing President Obama’s “long form” Hawaiian birth certificate, is it looks structurally a lot like my California one. I’m guessing they all used the same ready-made government forms company back then. Oh…you want our Form 417B rev-c62-1011-A product. We have a special on that this week…purchase a million and you get a handy desk calendar embossed with your initials free of charge…

Well…I for one was expecting a sheet of paper at least five or six feet in length given all the fuss.  Some progressive commentators are alternately wondering why Obama gave in to the kooks and why he would want to put this particular republican clown show to rest.  Hahahaha…you can never shut up the kooks.  This is beautiful actually.  Here’s what’s going to happen: the kooks will, as they always do, simply reinvent their conspiracy theories, come up with new ones that explain why the old ones were right all along, babble even more loudly that Obama isn’t an American, is really a secret Muslim, is bringing atheism and shara law to the U.S., and thereby drag themselves even further into insanityland and the republican party with them since that’s essentially their base now.  What’s the RNC going to do…them them to STFU?  They can’t…they’ll loose a critical part of their base they can’t win elections without: the lunatics.

What Obama just did was poke a stick at the kook nest while acting all presidential and everything and all the democrats have to do now is pass the popcorn and sit back and watch.  Bet he does it again right before the GOP convention too.

[Update…]  On Twitter, Atrios shouts “Huzzah…the kerners are back.”  Yes…they’re questioning the typewriter lettering.  See…I told you…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Long Form…


Bullying Tactics

Ah…the predictable backlash against the backlash against the backlash has begun…

Lawyers question firm’s decision to ditch gay marriage case

Atlanta-based law firm King & Spalding won plaudits Monday from gay activists for backing out of an agreement to argue to uphold the federal ban on gay marriage. But a day later the reviews were a bit more bruising in the legal community.

Top lawyers and law professors, with some notable exceptions, called it an embarrassing blunder by the prestigious firm or a betrayal of a client and legal principles. Others think King & Spalding, whose clients include General Electric and Coca-Cola, may have backed out because the firm fears the fallout from leading an anti-gay legal fight.

You say that like it’s a bad thing…

King & Spalding’s announcement it would not represent congressional House Republicans in their quest to defend court challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the subsequent decision of Paul Clement, the lawyer in the case, to quit the firm and take it elsewhere was the talk Tuesday among Yale University Law School faculty, said Lawrence Fox, a Yale professor and expert in legal ethics. DOMA defines marriage “for federal tax, Social Security and other purposes” as only a union between a man and a woman.

“We really go down a bad road if we say law firms can’t take on (controversial) matters or people will assume you have those views,” said Fox. “I’m going to walk into my class today and I’m going to use this. I’m tearing up my lesson plan … to talk about this case.”

The nice thing about working in an ivory tower is what you do doesn’t have to have any relationship to the world outside.  Tenure.  It’s only those tiresome homosexuals who have to live there, in the world of the commoners, it’s only they who remember the panic that set in back in 1993 when the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples could not constitutionally be denied the right to marry.  It’s only those tiresome homosexuals who remember how the party of Lincoln and Fred Phelps pushed through congress the Defense Of Marriage Act to protect American heterosexuals from the damaging effects of having to live in a world where the sordid, brief and barren sexual assignations of homosexuals had the same legal standing as their noble unions of male and female.  It’s only those tiresome homosexuals who remember how the man who stood in front of them and said “I have a vision for America and you’re part of it” signed that bill into law in the dead of night, somewhat less then three years after he folded on his promise to let gay servicemen serve openly and with dignity.  It’s only those tiresome homosexuals who watched as the new republican majority in congress, elected on campaign pledges of jobs, set about immediately to work reassuring their base that the meager gains gay Americans had made while the democrats were in control would not stand, and that they would be steadfast in opposing president Obama’s plan to impose The Gay Agenda on America.

It’s only those tiresome homosexuals who read the steady stream of news reports of same-sex couples beaten down and destroyed by this nation’s abject capitulation to bigotry, month after month, year after year.

Gay couple’s immigration plight: Ailing New Yorker may be torn from spouse over visa

A gay Long Island couple who have played by the immigration rules for more than a decade are stuck in a Catch-22 that could tear them apart just when they need each other most.

New Yorker Edwin Blesch, 70 and his South African husband, Tim Smulian, 65, have been spending six months on Long Island and six months abroad to comply with Smulian’s tourist visa.

But Blesch, who has HIV, suffered several mini-strokes and other complications and is now unable to travel safely.

Smulian is his primary caregiver – but has no way to stay here permanently.

Immigration Officials To Gay Binational Couples: Just Kidding, No Deportation Holds

It’s unclear what will happen to the couples already profiled by major news sources, like Monica Alcota and Cristina Ojeda. The one thing that is clear is that this is a sad day for binational same-sex couples, and for everyone who values America’s tradition of being a place where people can come from anywhere in the world to make a home. Like so many other things, that seems to be a privilege reserved for straight people.

It’s only those tiresome homosexuals who remember their names…names like Laurel Hester.  Not law professors in ivory towers.

Here is a law firm that proudly touted its support for gay Americans in their struggle for equality.  Suddenly it is, in a very high profile way, part of the republican party’s DOMA circus.  Suddenly every attorney, every clerk, every secretary, every intern working for this law firm is under a gag order…not simply to refrain from speaking about the case, but never to breath so much as a word against DOMA.  Imagine that instead of Teh Gay this case was about defending a congressional ban on Jewish ownership of businesses.  How many eyebrows would be raised when a law firm that touted its opposition to antisemitism, suddenly took on the congressional defense of that law, and gagged its partners and staff from ever speaking a word against the segregation of Jews?  Who would complain when the law firm withdrew and the jackass antisemitic partner who dragged them into that despicable case left to pursue it on his own, that the Jews had gone too far?

But conscience, and a sense of basic human decency wanders in a lot of people, even now, when it comes to the persecution of gay Americans.  Suddenly persecuting minorities becomes some abstract thing, less important, less real, then the right of republicans to conduct a great circus show of defending marriage against the forces of Obama and Satan, and demonize a segment of America for votes.  The constant rain of gay blood on the streets isn’t even on their moral radar…

HRC is right to fight vigorously to overturn DOMA, which deprives gays and lesbians of many of the rights enjoyed by their heterosexual counterparts. But it sullies itself and its cause by resorting to bullying tactics.

So says The Washington Post.  Bullying tactics?

Details Of Brutal Hate Crime Attack On Damian Furtch Emerge

A gay man was attacked outside a West Village McDonalds for doing nothing more than wearing pink shoelaces and bright clothing, according to the victim.

Damian Furtch, 26, was pummeled early Sunday by two suspects shouting anti-gay epithets, police said.

The beating was the third bias attack in the neighborhood since October.

Bullying Tactics?

Gay Bash Benefits Gay Bashing Victim

On February 22, around 11:00 p.m., Shortell was walking home to his apartment on Kent Avenue and North Fourth Street, a walk that never felt unsafe to him before, when he was brutally attacked by a group of four teenagers. The details were fuzzy after that and as a result of the incident, Shortell suffered a fractured chin and nose; eye sockets and cheekbones, requiring ten hours of immediate surgery, several days in the hospital, and a month of recovery since.

Bullying tactics?  Bullying tactics?  Here’s the problem: the scapegoats aren’t taking it anymore.  They’re fighting back.  Where is the outrage in the corporate news media…the comfortable McMansion in the rich white suburbs corporate news media?  Once again, it’s directed at gay Americans.  For standing up for their human dignity.  For defending themselves against hate.  For fighting back.  Republicans inciting hatred for votes is just Business As Usual.  Gays asking businesses to walk the walk not just talk the talk on civil rights is front page news!  How dare they.  Don’t they know their place anymore?  What is this world coming to, when even homosexuals demand to be treated with respect?  Who told the them they had a right not to be bullied?  It certainly wasn’t us.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Bullying Tactics

April 19th, 2011

Blah…Blah…Blah…

After consulting my iPhone’s weather radar app, I take a quick trip over to a nearby deli to grab some diet ice tea drinks.  Figure I can get there and back again before the next wave of drizzle hits.  On the way back inside the Institute building, a young woman with her iPhone ear buds plugged into her head, is chatting loudly with…some disembodied somebody.   She is oblivious to everyone and everything around her, talking very loudly to the person at the other end of the digital network connection.  Did I not know about cell phones I might think her a lost crazy person talking to the voices inside her head.  In the lobby I walk quickly past her and to the stairwell down to my office, where I nearly collide with another co-worker whose eyes on fixed on the LCD display of his iPhone.

The trope is all our little computer devices are making us somehow less human, less able to interact with each other as humans beings.  And it’s a false one.  These devices don’t subtract from our human identity, they are a consequence of it.  We made these things, and then took a sudden passionate fondness for them, because we are what we are.  As a matter of fact, yes, millions of years of adaptive evolution made us into smart phone consumers.  It created us to eventually build the cell phone and text messaging and computer information technologies and online social forums just as surely as it put the color in our eyes.

Robert Ardrey, in his book African Genesis, took note of our species long preoccupation with weapons.  How long, he asked, would the first human have survived on the African plains, were they not born with a weapon in their hand?  Nothing, he said, in our long history has ever stopped the slow steady progression and refinement of the weapon.  We are the species, he said, whose instinct is to kill with a weapon.  But we are something else besides, something probably even older then the weapon in our hands, something that had to have played just as critical if not an even more critical roll in our kind’s success on planet Earth, and to this day I’m surprised that a writer of all people didn’t see it too:  Language.  We are the species that talks.  We are a chattering breed.  And nothing in the long difficult history of the human kind has ever stopped the slow steady progression and refinement of human communication.

It is the nature of tools to change what they touch.  So the plow changed the earth, but also the farmer.  The mistake is thinking the plow made the farmer less human.  It made him more human.  It made him better at being the thing that millions of years of life on Earth created him to be.  And we are the species that talks.  We communicate with one another.  By whatever available means at hand, by whatever way gets it across the best, we will communicate.  It’s what we do.  It’s why there are libraries and opera and art galleries and weather radar apps.  So we refine our tools and so our tools refine us.  That inconsiderate moron in the restaurant babbling loudly into his cell phone hasn’t been dehumanized by the digital revolution.  Look at him.  He is simply obeying a very old and very ancient and powerful urge to communicate it…whatever it is…to someone.  Birds sing.  Humans babble away.  Smile kindly upon him, before you take that cell phone out of his hand and smack him over the head with it.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Blah…Blah…Blah…

April 13th, 2011

Message In A Bottle

“The lover is a monotheist who knows that other people worship different gods
but cannot himself imagine that there could be other gods.”
-Theodor Reik, Of Love and Lust, 1957

I thought loving someone deeply, strongly, absolutely, I’d finally understand how it might feel to be jealous.  Instead I discovered how incomprehensible jealously is.  It makes no sense.  How can everyone not love you?

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

April 12th, 2011

Best Of Gay Maryland!

Baltimore OUTLoud (Hey, I do political cartoons for them!) wins the 2011 aRGies!

Congratulations to my fellow contributors, and especially to my editor, Steve Charing.   Great Job!  We done good!

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Best Of Gay Maryland!


Getting In Touch With Your Inner Jackass

[Posted over at Truth Wins Out]

“Why stop at transgender identity? Why not species identity — someone wants to get in touch with their inner horse.”
-Matt Barber, speaking at The Awakening

Lest you think it was all bile and venom at The Awakening, they also discussed ways of approaching homosexuals from a Christian perspective. “We have to reach out to those trapped in lifestyle that ultimately leads to death,” said Cynthia Dunbar, assistant law professor at Liberty University. Ryan Sorba, chairman of the Young Conservatives of California who threw a fit at gay participation at last year’s CPAC, offered these helpful insights for Christians wishing to reach out to homosexuals:

“‘Gay’ is a left-wing socio-political construct designed to create grounds for fundamental rights [based on] whimsical capricious desires. Gay identity does not exist.”

According to the article he then proposed several alternatives to “gay” including, “same-sex attraction”, “same-sex intercourse”, “unnatural vice” and the ever popular “sodomy”. Later it was proposed that gays also be called “anti-Christian.” But in a reaching out kind of way.

Whatever they were awakening there at Liberty University it wasn’t their conscience. Perhaps they should have held a seance instead.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Getting In Touch With Your Inner Jackass

April 11th, 2011

No, Actually Biology Isn’t Destiny…

Via Sullivan…

The No-Baby Boom

Considering the state of the economy, it should come as no surprise that the ranks of the child-free are exploding. The Department of Agriculture reports that the average cost for a middle-income two-parent family to support a kid through high school is $286,050 (it’s nearly half a million dollars for couples in higher tax brackets). Want him or her to get a college education? The number jumps to nearly $350,000 for a public university, and more than $400,000 for private. Though if your kid’s planning to major in Male Sterilization, it could wind up being a good investment: The vasectomy business seems to be one of the few in America that is booming. In the past year, the Associates in Urology clinic in West Orange, New Jersey, has seen a 50 percent jump in the procedure. So you could stress over starting a college fund, or you could consider that you can get a vasectomy at Planned Parenthood for less than the cost of a Bugaboo Cameleon stroller. Unless you’re among the less than 2 percent of Americans who farm for a living and might conceivably rely on offspring for free labor, children have gone from being an economic asset to an economic liability.

But for the child-free, the benefits go beyond dollars and cents. There’s less guilt, less worry, less responsibility, more sleep, more free time, more disposable income, no awkward conversations about Teen Mom, no forced relationships with people just because your kids like their kids, no chauffeuring other people’s kids in your minivan to soccer games you find less appealing than televised chess.

In his best-seller Stumbling on Happiness, Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert writes, “Couples generally start out quite happy in their marriages and then become progressively less satisfied over the course of their lives together, getting close to their original levels of satisfaction only when their children leave home.” No wonder so many are choosing to spend their entire marriages as empty-nesters. A 2009 University of Denver study found that 90 percent of couples experienced a decrease in marital bliss after the birth of their first child. And in a 2007 Pew survey, just 41 percent of adults stated that children were very important for a successful marriage, down from 65 percent in 1990. Meanwhile, nearly one in five American women now ends her reproductive years without children, up from one in ten in the 1970s.

Growing up I used to get odd looks from people, friends and adults both, whenever I expressed my utter disinterest in raising a family.  It marked me as weird as far back as elementary school, probably long before anyone began to get a clue that Bruce wasn’t the sort you’d ever see holding hands with a girl to begin with.  But it wasn’t that I thought the married life wasn’t for me, or that I harbored some deep seated disgust at the thought of having children around.  I would hate to live in one of those adults only communities where everyone is just old and tired.  As you get older especially, you really appreciate the cheerful anarchy that happens around kids.  It keeps you thinking.  I just never saw any personal need within me to do the parent thing and I reckoned early on that if you were going to raise a kid right, you needed to really want to have kids.  I knew almost right from the start that I didn’t.

To a lot of people apparently, that makes me defective somehow.  I guess the thinking is it doesn’t matter what you do for your community or your country or the good of humanity if you don’t also produce children.  But…that’s bullshit.  And I’m happy to say that finally some heterosexuals are standing up for their life choices here.

For Heather McGhinnis, a married 35-year-old marketing specialist in Elgin, Illinois, motherhood is simply a lifestyle choice that’s not for her. “The job of being a parent doesn’t interest me,” she explains. “Just like I don’t want to be an accountant, I don’t want to be a parent.”

This is the case for nearly all of my straight friends, who were all theoretically lead to believe growing up that being parents was their natural destiny. They didn’t go there for the same reasons I, a gay man who could nevertheless adopt if I really wanted to, didn’t either.  No interest.

That’s not to say I have no interest in the welfare of kids.  I care very much care about their welfare, about the world they must grow up in.  I care they all get a good education.  I care that they grow up safe and sound and healthy and strong.  I care about that very much.  That’s a natural adult thing, whether you have any of your own or not.  If you need to have kids of your own to care about the welfare of kids then there is something wrong with you, not me.

Now at last folks like us are finding our voices.  And for once I am so very, very glad to see heterosexuals taking the lead here because a gay guy like me can’t plausibly be standing up for the virtues of childlessness with any sort of credibility.  Of course you’re childless, you’re a fucking homo and homos don’t reproduce, they recruit… It’s sad but there it is.  Not that childless couples are going to get a break from the culture warriors simply because they’re heterosexual.  Oh no…they’re easily as much the Enemy as we are, if not more so.  If you think the culture wars are only about homosexuality you really need to look more carefully at what right wing lunatics think of contraception.   And no, it’s not about sex being only for having children either.

According to Laura S. Scott, who surveyed 171 subjects for her book Two Is Enough: A Couple’s Guide to Living Childless by Choice, that kind of attitude is linked to a specific personality component. “A lot of introverts, thinkers, judgers—these are people who think before they act,” she says. “They’re planners, and they’re not the kind of people who can be easily led into a conventional life just because everyone else is doing it.”

[Emphasis mine…] How unsurprising that it’s mostly my fellow introverts who are going the childless route.  No doubt the culture warriors will say this is all the fault of Teh Gay.  We’re setting a bad example.

Well…yes.  We are.  And happy to be of service!  We’re showing heterosexual couples that you can have a happy and contented love life without kids if you are not really into the parent thing.  That you can contribute to your community and your country and to the future of humanity in many ways besides childbearing.  That you don’t have to follow orders.

Especially orders from louts who are waiting with bated breath for the end of the world.

Yes, yes…blame Teh Gay.  We showed our heterosexual brothers and sisters what you never wanted them to know:  that you can make the world a better place for everyone…kids included…and that’s fine, you’ve done your part, you’ve left your mark, you’ve borne your share of the burden of civilization more nobly then anyone who ever added souls to a world they didn’t give a good goddamn about.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on No, Actually Biology Isn’t Destiny…

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