"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pretorians

This piece by Andrew Bacevich clarifies some thoughts I'd been having about the condition of the military in the aftermath of the McChrystal debacle.  My take was, "The last thing we need in Afghanistan is another warlord."  From Bacevich's perspective, it's much worse than that, and I think he has a point.  Eric Martin, in this post, brings in a couple of additional points vis-a-vis Bacevich's concerns.

Does anyone else see a connection between the examples Bacevich provides in his article and the reaction of Adm. Mullen and the Joint Chiefs to the push to repeal DADT?  As in, suddenly it's not "how," but "whether."  As I recall, there were too many protestations about preserving "military prerogatives" in that discussion.  As far as I can see, the military's prerogatives are to give the best advice they can, and then obey orders.

And no, you don't have to be in uniform to understand history.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Oxymoron

"Free market health-care reform" -- I translate that as a consumer-funded bailout for (insert favorite insurance giant).

The Last Sunday in June

That's Pride Day in Chicago, which means that today's the parade.  Expect around 400,000 along the parade route.

I don't know if I'll go -- I'm sort of over spending the afternoon with nearly half a million of my closest friends, and the forecast is leaning toward rain, which I don't believe -- as nearly as I can remember, even when the day starts off stormy, it has never rained on our parade.

I've watched, I've marched, I've ridden floats, and one thing that strikes me every year:  Chicago's Pride Parade is a family affair.  Seriously -- people bring their kids.  Seniors bring lawn chairs.  Straight couples stand there applauding wildly.

Which brings to mind what has become the perennial complaint from the "we're dying to be co-oped" crowd.  Y'know what?  The reason these people come is not to see a bunch of accountants marching down the street.  They come for the leather folk, the drag queens, the nearly naked dancers, the Dykes on Bikes.  They come for the color and energy.  (And I suspect that some of them are hoping to catch a glimpse of a couple of guys doing something naughty in the alley.  Don't raise your eyebrows -- I remember one year when kilts were in, the high-school kid sitting on the curb clutching his girlfriend and trying to look up my skirt as I walked by.)

So all I'm going to say is to quote Joe Jervis:

They're trying to make us invisible.

We're not.

Let's dance.

The State of the Press

Karoli has an interesting post over at Crooks and Liars that touches on -- you guessed it -- so-called "journalism" in the corporate media. The post is mostly concerned with setting the record straight on the latest compromise on whaling, but this sort of jumped out at me:

The real story is how we're not told the real story

Here are some sample headlines from conservative and liberal sources:

Change.org: Will Obama Sell Out Whales on Earth Day?
Michelle Malkin: Obama Breaks a Whale of a Campaign Promise
CommonDreams.org Obama vs. Whales
Huffington Post: Pro-Whaling Proposal Fails, But Whales Aren't Safe Yet


About the only truly balanced article I could find from a mainstream source is from Al-Jazeera.

Al Jazeera -- the news source that Americans love to hate, probably only because they've been told to, because Al Jazeera's not on "our side" -- which no outlet should be.

And by the way, I comment on the "corporate media" quite a bit, mostly when they've done something scandalous, but I want to point out that operations such as HuffPo, Change.org and their ilk are just as corporate in their outlook, even if they're not completely focused on the bottom line.

You can't read anything without fact-checking these days.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Read This Sign



Via Andrew Sullivan

The In-Crowd

Excellent post by Jay Rosen on the press reaction to the McChrystal interview in Rolling Stone, focusing on a very interesting little maneuver by Politico:

The Politico was so hopped up about the story that it took the extraordinary step of posting on its site a PDF of Rolling Stone’s article because Rolling Stone had not put it online fast enough. In one of the many articles The Politico ran about the episode the following observation was made by reporters Gordon Lubold and Carol E. Lee:
McChrystal, an expert on counterterrorism and counterinsurgency, has long been thought to be uniquely qualified to lead in Afghanistan. But he is not known for being media savvy. Hastings, who has covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for two years, according to the magazine, is not well-known within the Defense Department. And as a freelance reporter, Hastings would be considered a bigger risk to be given unfettered access, compared with a beat reporter, who would not risk burning bridges by publishing many of McChrystal’s remarks.
Now this seemed to several observers—and I was one—a reveal. Think about what the Politico is saying: an experienced beat reporter is less of a risk for a powerful figure like McChrystal because an experienced beat reporter would probably not want to “burn bridges” with key sources by telling the world what happens when those sources let their guard down.


He goes on to enumerate some of the outlets -- mostly online -- that picked it up. It's a very revealing little episode that sets out baldly what those outside the Beltway have been saying about the corporate press for a while: they are part of a club that doesn't include their audience -- known once upon a time as the "rubes" -- but does include the people they are supposed to be examining. He's right -- it's a tremendously revealing paragraph that soon disappeared, with a certain amount of stonewalling by Politico, followed by a lame excuse.

And be sure to watch the video of Jon Stewart's take-down of the press -- it's devastating:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
McChrystal's Balls - Honorable Discharge
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Maybe the Washington insiders will eventually realize that they have become little more than a source for satire. Not anytime soon, though, I think.

And then, for dessert, try this story by Susie Madrak about Dave Weigel. You know, WaPo seems to be batting a thousand so far -- in terms of getting rid of reporters and commentators who are actually doing their jobs.

Speaking of WaPo, check this out -- four days later, the pro-McChrystal side is calling "foul" and they don't even seem to realize how revealing their comments are:

A U.S. military spokesman in Kabul, Air Force Lt. Col. Edward T. Sholtis, acknowledged that Hastings, like other reporters who have interviewed McChrystal over the past year, was not required to sign written ground rules. "We typically manage ground rules on a verbal basis," Sholtis said. "We trust in the professionalism of the people we're working with."

One man's professionalism is another man's sycophancy, and how typical of those in power: unwritten rules are pretty easy to manipulate, wouldn't you agree?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

He's Out

From ABC News.

Cue the Obama-bashers.

McChrystal (Updated) (And Again)

The big news today is Gen. Stanley McChrystal's interview with Rolling Stone (PDF), which seems to be a total PR screw-up. One wonders what was on McChrystal's mind.

Most commentators are focusing on the General's remarks (and those of his aides) about Obama, Biden, et al.

John Amato notes that the Villagers, in the person of Brit Hume, are appalled that McChrystal agreed to be intervewed by (gasp!) a lefty, hippie rag.

Hume: This is a regular mess. The comments made by General McChrystal himself and by his aides. The astonishing lack of judgement [sic] shown in granting access to Rolling Stone. ROLLING STONE! Of all publications. No one over the age of four would speak on the record to Rolling Stone about delicate military matter and 'above all' about laying yourself with all kinds of back room opinions about your partners in the effort and the commander in chief and the vice president.

The outrage is focused on the remarks about Obama and the possible fallout. Joe Sudbay's comments are here. Digby has a good analysis here:

I can't speak for anyone else, but my belief that he should fire McCrystal or at least accept his resignation (which is as far as he should go to appease the military) has nothing to do with any skepticism of the war. It has to do with respect for the constitutional requirement that the military be subordinate to the civilian executive. The military has been acting more and more as a rogue political faction with its own power base for quite some time. No president of either party should allow that (although it must be said that Bush's fetishizing of "the Generals on the ground" and The Man Called Petraeus has contributed greatly to this problem.)

This isn't something to play with. Obama should accept his resignation.


I think he can't afford not to. He should also fire Gates and Mullen, for the reasons Digby noted.

Timorthy Beauchamp at AmericBlog Gay just says "We told you so."

Karoli, at Crooks and Liars, highlights some interesting information:

According to the Rolling Stone article, the rank and file has lost faith in McChrystal's strategy and believe it places them at a greater risk of injury and death.

But however strategic they may be, McChrystal’s new marching orders have caused an intense backlash among his own troops. Being told to hold their fire, soldiers complain, puts them in greater danger. “Bottom line?” says a former Special Forces operator who has spent years in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I would love to kick McChrystal in the nuts. His rules of engagement put soldiers’ lives in even greater danger. Every real soldier will tell you the same thing.”

This is why McChrystal must resign. The President will survive petty snark about whether he was sufficiently deferential to the general at their first meeting. He will survive the hysterical flappings of the right about how he's unqualified to lead, and how the military doesn't respect him. This is not about President Obama. It's about the troops who are putting their lives on the line every single day in Afghanistan.

Everyone who has a clue about leadership understands what happens when the rank and file loses faith. There can be no question that the troops in Afghanistan do not believe in their ability to successfully carry out the mission McChrystal has defined, nor do they believe in the mission itself. That is a very large red flag that must not be ignored.


You won't hear about this part of it from the right-wing press (which is most of it). That part of the story's going to be buried under their effort to make Obama look like a) a wimp is he doesn't cashier McChrystal, or b) a thug if he does.

Ack! The clock is speaking to me. I might come back to this later, but have to run for now.

Update: Now that I've had a chance to digest all of this, a thought occurs to me. Simply put, one wonders whether it's a calculated move on McChrystal's part to be lectured and/or canned for insubordination/disrespect to his commander rather than cashiered as a failure at strategic planning -- which, after all, is his job. Given the personalities involved, a slap on the wrist would seem a safe bet -- I mean, based on the record, what does it take to make Obama actually stand up to anyone? -- and it's better politics for McChrystal -- he can immediately don the official robes of victimhood and have the right wing (territory in which I'm sure he's very comfortable, although he reportedly voted for Obama -- well, given the choice between a communist/fascist/homo-symp/Muslim non-citizen and Sarah Palin, what would you do?) falling all over themselves to worship. At the very least, I wouldn't doubt he figures that should be good for a senate seat a couple years down the line.

Given the notable lack of success of the current Afghanistan program -- McChrystal's baby -- and the total insanity of the content of that interview, which McChrystal was reportedly allowed to review before it went to press, I can't come up with anything that makes more sense.

Update II:In this vein, note Alex Pareene's comments. And everyone's quoting Marc Ambinder, and I'm not quite sure why. In light of later reports, his comments seem off-center to me. He's also, not surprisingly, much more sympathetic to McChrystal than other commentators have been. (He's also voicing the possibility -- or probability -- of misattributed quotes which, if McChrystal really did see the piece before publication, doesn't hold water.) Barbara O'Brien takes a position much closer to my own:

I’ve been trying to understand precisely what’s wrong with General McChrystal, and my impression is that he’s an asshole.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Do You See a Trend Here?

A couple of days ago I noted this story, reporting on the DOJ's attempt to have a suit against DADT dismissed:

Congress's steps toward repeal of the ban on gays in the military should bring a halt to a federal lawsuit challenging the current policy, the Justice Department said in a legal brief filed Wednesday afternoon.

Though Congress has not yet passed a bill providing for conditional repeal of the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy, government lawyers contend the prospect of such a measure's passage should be sufficient for the courts to stay out of the issue.


I thought it was just us, but this morning I ran across this story concerning a legal immigrant facing deportation:

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), backed by the Department of Justice, tried to argue that even though Jose had neither been charged nor convicted of a federal felony, the fact that he could have been prosecuted for a federal felony, means that he was not eligible for cancellation of removal.

I think we can call it the "well, it might happen" theory of legal argument. (This is actually close to one of the arguments offered by the proponents of Prop 8 in Perry vs. Schwarzenegger -- something terrible might happen. Maybe. But we don't know.)

It also strikes me that this is an inheritance from the Bush administration's treatment of the concept of "enemy combatant" and the majority of the detainees at Guantanamo. We're developing a whole legal philosophy based on wild-eyed maybes.

They can't all be right-wing crazies -- can they?

Monday, June 21, 2010

It's Pride Week

For those of us in the (insert favorite combination of initials) community, that has a lot of different meanings -- no surprise: we're as homogeneous as any other commmunity, which is to say, not.

I may have something to say about this later in the week, but I'm still feeling my way back into writing. To hold you over, I've discovered a couple of posts I think are worth looking at.

First, from Waymon Hudson at Bilerico, some comments on "Putting the Politics Back in Pride".

Over the years, Pride celebrations have shifted from their earlier protest march forms to more celebratory parties as LGBT people have felt safer, come out of the closet, and been more visible in society. Yet even as our parties grew larger, our legal rights and battles for equality have stalled, with major pieces of pro-LGBT legislation languishing in congress. That's why this year is the perfect time to take pride back to it's roots and put the politics and protest back in.

And Joe Jervis has a potent rejoinder to those who want our parades to be like the VFW or something.

But sometimes I think we are the worst people in the entire world when it comes to standing up for each other. The gay people who'd like to soothe their personal image problems by selectively culling some of our children from Pride events? They disgust me. They appall me. They embarrass me. To them I say: The very road that YOU now have the privilege of swaggering upon was paved by those very queens and leather freaks that you complain about as you practice your "masculine" and give us butch face. If you want to live in the house that THEY BUILT, you better act like you fucking know it. United we stand, you snide bitches. America's kulturkampf ain't gonna be solved by making flamboyant people go away.

I'll end this by making one final Jewish reference. Possibly you've heard the Jewish in-joke that sums up the meaning of all Jewish holidays? "They tried to kill us. We won. Let's eat." My Pride version?

They wish we were invisible.

We're not.

Let's dance.


This is the point I've been trying to make for years, but Jervis did it up right. Read it.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

On the Bright Side

Nancy Pelosi is the only Democrat with balls:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi struck a combative tone tonight, rejecting the Medicare "doc fix" passed hastily through the Senate Friday until Senate Republicans allow a vote on jobs measures that have passed through the House.

"I see no reason to pass this inadequate bill until we see jobs legislation coming out of the Senate," said Pelosi in a statement.


I wish we could see this kind of cojones from the White House.

She's also gone after the Republicans in general on their corporate coziness:



Q: Do you think Mr. Barton should step aside as Ranking Member on the Energy and Commerce Committee? And do you think his sudden firestorm that's blown up around his comments represents kind of a turning point for the Republicans, and this attitude you describe of favoring big business?

Speaker Pelosi. A turning point for them supporting Big Business? They've always been on that track.

Q: Is this comment too far?

Speaker Pelosi. Well, let me just say that — that was one comment. I think it's important to note that it was not inconsistent with comments made the chairman of the Republican Study Committee — a part of the Republican leadership, Representative Tom Price. He said: "BP's reported willingness to go along with the White House new fund suggests that the Obama Administration is hard at work exerting its brand of Chicago-style 'shakedown' politics."

So I think that Mr. Barton's comments fit comfortably among the leadership of the Republicans in the House of Representatives. It's up to them to decide who's in the leadership of their committees. But he is not alone in his association with sympathy for the oil companies.

As I said before, people in the Gulf are suffering from BP's negligence and recklessness. Republicans in Congress are apologizing to BP.

Joe Barton and Other Things You Find Under Rocks

Unless you've been hiding under a rock yourself, you'll recognize Rep. Joe Barton (R-British Petroleum) as the one who apologized to BP for the president negotiating with them to establish a $20 billion escrow account to handle claims from the Gulf oil spill. Even Republicans have backed away from that one -- Republican office-holders, anyway. But the Republican media is jumping aboard:

The focus has been on Barton, but he's only the convenient face of a larger Republican meme. Media Matters did a nice round up of how the right wing media has continued to use the "shakedown" rhetoric while keeping everyone focused on Barton.

You see, the "official" Republicans don't have to support Barton.  Their shills in the corporate media are doing it for them.

It sort of gives you a good take on the "conservative" mindset when you realize that the outcry is because a corporation is being forced to take responsibility for its negligence and what may very well be criminal actions.

I've got to stop turning over rocks.  This one's even worse -- Gen. John Sheehan (USMC, ret., thank God), he of "Srebrenica happened because gays were allowed to serve openly in the Dutch military" fame, has put his foot in it again.  He's partnered with Tony Perkins for an OpEd at Politico.

In addition, the medical implications of Obama's proposal are compelling. According to data released last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gay and bisexual men are 50 times more likely to have HIV than heterosexual men.  This would be devastating for military resources already stretched thin, and it has pronounced implications for battlefield blood transfusions.

That's one of the great whoppers of the age.  Anyone who knows anything about enlistment in the U.S. armed forces knows that all candidates are routinely screened for HIV; if you test positive, you're not allowed to enlist.  And if you test positive after enlistment, you won't be deployed overseas.  This has been in place for years, and Sheehan should know it.  It's nothing more than a deliberate lie.  I suppose,  considering his co-author -- whose career is founded on dishonesty -- I shouldn't be surprised.

Sheehan is a disgrace to the Marines and a betrayal of everything they stand for.

And now you have an idea on why I haven't been posting lately -- aside from burn-out, the news has been too much of this.



Reality Check

For all those who adamantly oppose gay adoptions, a rather unsettling article.

Jayden (pictured) turns 18 in August. He’s doing his VCE this year, is into basketball and has lived with Steve and Brendan – his dads – since he was a child. Actually, he says he doesn’t call them ‘dad’ to their faces, but if people ask him about his family, he says, yes, he calls them his dads.

It's a nice story, and from all available evidence seems to be the norm. Jayden's take on his "real" parents is -- or should be -- an eye-opener for, say, the voters in Florida and Arkansas:

It is at this point that the topic of Jayden’s parents comes up for the first time. I ask him if, like Steve and Brendan, his mother and father also give him advice. “I get advice from them,” he replies. “Whether I listen to them or not is another story.” He listens to Steve and Brendan, he says, rather than his parents. I ask why. “I guess my parents don’t really have much to show for their own advice that they’re trying to give out, whereas Steve and Brendan do. The least I can follow in my parents footsteps the better for me. They’re both not working and haven’t done the best by me.”

The bottom line is pretty revealing, on a number of levels:

Does he see his relationship with Steve and Brendan continuing after he grows into independence and no longer needs care in the formal, social-worker sense of that word. Jayden’s response is immediate: “They will be the ones standing next to me at my wedding. They’ll be at my wedding, they’ll be my parents at the wedding.”

That sort of says it all, doesn't it?

Thanks to my pal Nigel from Down Under.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I Know, I Know. . . .

I've been way absent lately. I'm a little burnt, and my brain has decided to take some time off. I have enough left for basic life processes, but that's about it.

I may have some comments later this week about Perry vs. Schwarzenegger -- closing arguments were today, but I haven't had a chance to look at anything substantive on them. First impression, though, is that Prop 8 proponents are really clutching at straws.

Update: Just finished reading the live blogging of closing arguments at Prop 8 TrialTracker. It seems as though proponents have one argument: procreation. Unfortunately for them, that argument doesn't seem to hold together very well. Cooper has been dodging and weaving all through his spiel.

Olson/Boies' rebuttal isn't up yet. Maybe later.

Update II: Found Olson's rebuttal. And rebut Cooper he did. Pointed up the fact that Cooper's argument was essentially meaningless.

So now the judge gets to decide.

Friday, June 11, 2010

And Iceland Makes -- Hmm, How Many Now?

Same-sex marriage is now legal in Iceland.

The nation of Iceland, which is the only country with an openly gay head of state, voted unanimously on Friday to legalize same-sex marriage.

The Althingi parliament voted 49-0 to change the wording of its marriage legislation to include same-sex couples.


It looks like we're getting left in the company of such progressive nations as Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Vatican.

Ya Really Hafta Wonder . . .

what benefit the Obama administration sees in systematically alienating its constituency.

I don't think at this point I have to run down the list of the occasions on which the president and his minions have screwed the GLBT community -- it's getting pretty long by now, and it's not just things they haven't done -- the latest almost beggars description:

Though Congress has not yet passed a bill providing for conditional repeal of the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy, government lawyers contend the prospect of such a measure's passage should be sufficient for the courts to stay out of the issue.

"Defendants urge this Court ... to stay all further proceedings in this case because the political branches have taken concrete steps to facilitate repeal of the DADT statute," the Justice Department wrote in a brief filed in a suit brought in California by the Log Cabin Republicans.M


In other words, because Congress has not yet passed a bill that does not repeal the current policy, the courts should stay out of it. If you're scratching your head over that one, you're not alone.

So, instead of getting the message that their DINO of the week, Blanche Lincoln, is maybe not the best bet to win in November, the White House pulls another stupid stunt:

Shortly after Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) emerged victorious, an anonymous White House aide began spreading word that the President Obama's political team thought that the money unions had spent on Halter's candidacy was a massive waste and damaging to the party.

"Organized labor just flushed $10 million of their members' money down the toilet on a pointless exercise," the unnamed official said to Politico's Ben Smith. "If even half that total had been well-targeted and applied in key House races across this country, that could have made a real difference in November."

Another senior Democrat (who also would not be quoted by name) echoed the point in an exchange with the Huffington Post. "Labor is humiliated," the source said. "$10 million flushed down the toilet at a time when Democrats across the country are fighting for their lives, they look like absolute idiots."


The response from labor was about what you'd expect:

"We are not an arm of the White House or the DNC or a political party," said AFL-CIO spokesman Eddie Vale. "We work on issues. And if we feel like someone is standing up for working families, we support them, and if they don't, we won't support it. In the past, people would have assumed that was talk, but now we have backed that up with action."

"Is the lesson they are taking out of tonight that they can go after labor and anonymously trash us and we will put our tail in between our legs and slink home? That ain't happening," Vale added.

Driving home the point that the White House was cravenly hiding behind the cloak of anonymity in their attacks, the AFL-CIO spokesman signed off the conversation with the following: "My name is Eddie Vale of the AFL-CIO and I'm proud to fight for working families and I don't hide behind anonymous quotes."


(I'd like to see something on that order from GLAAD or HRC, but I ain't holding my breath. Maybe the gay movement needs some good union organizers.)

I can hardly wait to see what Obama and the Democrats come up with on immigration reform to alienate Latino voters.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Pretty Good Overview

of BP's handling of the Gulf disaster:

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

It's Never The Message

That is, if your a rabid right-winger who just lost an election. There's group in California trying to stack the courts, operating under the name "Better Courts Now". Apparently, they didn't do so well.

Four incumbent judges were headed to easy victories over a slate of challengers who were backed by a group of religious and social conservatives. A race for a fifth seat on the bench appeared headed to a runoff in the fall. . . .

The four challengers ran as a slate backed by Better Courts Now, a group formed by pastors and supported by foes of same-sex marriage and abortion rights. It said it wanted to unify the “moral vote” and promote judges who would reflect their values.

Each of the victorious judges got more than 60 percent of the vote in his or her race, and several saw that wide margin as a rejection of the Better Courts Now effort to influence the makeup of the bench.


But, according to one of the candidates, it's all about unseating incumbents:

But Trask said the totals show the difficulty of unseating an incumbent judge, and not a rejection of Better Courts Now.

“I think it has a lot to do with unseating an incumbent,” he said of the vote totals. “It’s always an uphill task.” Despite the across the board defeat he said Better Courts Now will likely not go away.

“I think if anything this is probably only the beginning,” he said.


Isn't it funny how "the will of the people" only counts if you win?

It's even funnier when you factor in the bloodlust to throw the bums out that we keep hearing about from the corporate press.

Who do you suppose is in greatest danger of a hernia from shoveling so much BS?

Speaking of far-right anti-gay nutjobs, it looks as though NOM is having its problems:

A federal appeals court in Boston has ordered the National Organization for Marriage to hand over information about its donors to the state.

The group, known by its initials "NOM" contributed nearly $2 million to last year's successful campaign to overturn Maine's gay marriage law. Opponents say NOM has failed to comply with the state's financial disclosure law, a claim that is nowunder investigation by the state Ethics Commission.


And as far as NOM's ability to get out the vote -- well . . . . not so much:

Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad, D-Des Moines, easily beat Clair Rudison Jr., an ordained minister that campaigned against gay marriage as well as the state’s texting-while-driving ban. Abdul-Samad said it would be contradictory to his life’s work in the civil rights movement to oppose marriage rights for same-sex couples. There is no Republican challenger in that district.

And ditto in California.

Do we see a trend here?

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Friday Gay Blogging


Yes, I know it's Tuesday, but I don't want to write about the Gulf oil spill or Helen Thomas (that last is significant because, with her retirement, there are no journalists left in the Washington Press corps), and I haven't done this in a while.  So here are a few tidbits:

From Daily Kos, a post on a new study that bears out something I ran across some while ago:

Now, new research from UCLA similarly suggests that "when compared to teens of the same age, adolescents raised by lesbian parents are doing just fine socially, psychologically and academically."  CNN described the findings of Dr. Nanette Gartrell, who led the study funded by several lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender advocacy groups, such as the Gill Foundation and the Lesbian Health Fund from the Gay Lesbian Medical Association.

A nearly 25-year study concluded that children raised in lesbian households were psychologically well-adjusted and had fewer behavioral problems than their peers.
The study, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, followed 78 lesbian couples who conceived through sperm donations and assessed their children's well-being through a series of questionnaires and interviews...

Children from lesbian families rated higher in social, academic and total competence. They also showed lower rates in social, rule-breaking, aggressive problem behavior.

Gartrell explained that the mothers' strong motivation and involvement, as well as the fact that all of the pregnancies were planned, could account for the findings.  ""I would have anticipated the kids would be doing as well as the normative sample," she said, adding, "I didn't expect better."


Here's another article with more detail, including as quote from Wendy Wright of the Concerned Women for America:

"You have to be a little suspicious of any study that says children being raised by same-sex couples do better or have superior outcomes to children raised with a mother and father," she said. "It just defies common sense and reality."

Somehow, having someone like Wright talking about common sense and reality just doesn't quite cut it. I mean, this is an organization that cites the "research" of Paul Cameron.

Avenging Angel, the diarist, starts off with the story of poor Bill McCollum, who seems to have shot himself in both feet by hiring George Rekers as an expert witness in the Florida adoption case.  Just as a reminder, here's the judges comment about Rekers' testimony:

"Dr. Rekers' testimony was far from a neutral and unbiased recitation of the relevant scientific evidence. Dr. Rekers' beliefs are motivated by his strong ideological and theological convictions that are not consistent with the science. Based on his testimony and demeanor at trial, the court can not consider his testimony to be credible nor worthy of forming the basis of public policy."

The kicker here is that this wasn't the first time Rekers' testimony had been discounted, and McCollum's own staff recommended against using him.

Can you say "living in a fantasy world"?

This is important, I think:

Although we serve, respectively, as president of a progressive and chairman of a libertarian think tank, we are not joining the foundation's advisory board to present a "bipartisan" front. Rather, we have come together in a nonpartisan fashion because the principle of equality before the law transcends the left-right divide and cuts to the core of our nation's character. This is not about politics; it's about an indispensable right vested in all Americans.

This is from John Podesta and Robert Levy, who will be co-chairing the advisory board of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, the group that is backing Perry vs. Schwarzenegger, a/k/a "the Prop 8 case." This one is getting the support of people from across the political spectrum, which points out to me that it's a very strong case, and the time is right.

Another tidbit from the Obama administration, this time from HUD:

For the first time in its history, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will require grant applicants seeking HUD funding to comply with state and local anti-discrimination laws that protect lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals. Today, HUD published a notice detailing the general requirements that will apply to all of the Department's competitively awarded grant programs for Fiscal Year 2010.

And the IRS has extended some very limited recognition to gay couples -- in California.

The Internal Revenue Service has ruled that same-sex couples must be treated the same as heterosexual couples under a feature of California tax law. Advocates for the change say it is the first time the agency has acknowledged gay couples as a unit for tax purposes.

The change reverses a 2006 IRS ruling and opens a tax benefit to many same-sex couples that wasn't available before. It may affect couples in Nevada and Washington state, as well.

Specifically, the agency said nearly 58,000 couples who are registered as domestic partners in California must combine their income and each report half of it on their separate tax returns. Same-sex couples account for an estimated 95% of the state's domestic partnerships; partnership status is also available to heterosexual couples in which one partner is over age 62.


I'm waiting for the cocktail party.

And the DADT non-repeal is not out of the woods yet:

Republicans are eyeing a provision that would require all service chiefs to certify that repeal — allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly — can be implemented consistent with the military’s standards of readiness, effectiveness, unit cohesion and recruitment and retention.

That's the best way they can think of to kill it. I have to wonder why, aside from Obama hate, they are gearing up to make something so non-controversial into an issue. Last poll shows 78% of Americans in favor of repeal, but the service chiefs and John McCain have been doing everything they can do to screw it up. It would be nice if Obama would show some balls on this one, but it has to do with Teh Gays, so don't hold your breath.

Small progress, but progress, nonetheless.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Add Portugal To The List

As of today.

When I Can't Even Think of a Title. . .

you know it's bad.  This post from Sarah Robinson at Orcinus is a very good analysis of a trend in American politics that I've noticed and that I find deeply disturbing.  I can't do better than she has done on it, so read it.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Change

I haven't written much about the Deepwater Horizon disaster, mostly because it just makes me sick.  The venal carelessness, the pandering to corporate bottom lines, the ineptitude of the efforts to stop the flow, the self-serving PR campaign by BP, the idiocy of the anti-Obama right, and most of all, the sheer devastation of the Gulf Coast, are just beyond my ability to describe.

Rachel Maddow managed, much better than I could:



They key segment is at the end:  if the framework changes, then something's working.  Obama promised change, and the lock-step Republicans, and the corporate shills among the Democrats, have been fighting tooth and nail.

If you want to see how it stacks up against history, check out this graphic at Information is Beautiful.  (Sadly, it's in a format I can't upload here.)

It's not just this, although this is bad enough.  I want to see some changes in DADT -- not a "compromise" that does nothing.  (Joe Sudbay has a scathing post on that one); I want to see some fundamental changes in the way banks to business (read just about anything that Paul Krugman has written recently), and in a lot of other things.

But it seems like no one is listening.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Very Interesting. . . .

This OpEd from NYT on this new report from Gallup:


Last week, while many of us were distracted by the oil belching forth from the gulf floor and the president’s ham-handed attempts to demonstrate that he was sufficiently engaged and enraged, Gallup released a stunning, and little noticed, report on Americans’ evolving views of homosexuality. Allow me to enlighten:
1. For the first time, the percentage of Americans who perceive “gay and lesbian relations” as morally acceptable has crossed the 50 percent mark. (You have to love the fact that they still use the word “relations.” So quaint.) 

2. Also for the first time, the percentage of men who hold that view is greater than the percentage of women who do. 

3. This new alignment is being led by a dramatic change in attitudes among younger men, but older men’s perceptions also have eclipsed older women’s. While women’s views have stayed about the same over the past four years, the percentage of men ages 18 to 49 who perceived these “relations” as morally acceptable rose by 48 percent, and among men over 50, it rose by 26 percent

I have to admit, the breakdown surprised me -- the growth of acceptance among men has pretty much skyrocketed.  Check out the article and the Gallup report.  There's some fascinating insights.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Grace and Humor

Two qualities that are in increasingly short supply. And rest assured, I'm finding it on the left as much as on the right. Two items I ran across recently really bring it home.

Found this at C&L:

After a member station launched an incredibly insensitive radio promotion designed to tweak Mayor Michael Coleman of Columbus, Ohio for joining the national boycott of Arizona over its new anti-immigrant law, Clear Channel found itself in the center of a national controversy and the target of the ire of Latino communities across America.

Here's a transcript of the promo:

It all started when Coleman made the decision to ban city employees from visiting Arizona on official business. He joins other cities and counties in making his decision to protest Arizona’s new law, SB 1070, which essentially sanctions racial profiling.

WTVN-AM’s response? “WTVN would like to send you where Americans are proud and illegals are scared—sunny Phoenix, Arizona! You’ll spend a weekend chasing aliens and spending cash in the desert. Just make sure you have your green card!”

NCLR President and CEO Janet MurguĂ­a was not amused.


I wonder if she's amused by anything. I read the text as a dig at Arizona -- there's a fairly high snark level there.

This is, if anything, even more egregious. It's about that McDonald's commercial from France that I linked to the other day. Here it is again:



The comment:

My initial reaction was: "Huh, doesn't really seem very 'come as you are' what with the dad situation. WTF?". Rather seems like a fail on the whole theme there, McDonald's (which is why I put it in the Assvertising series). I thought it might be really positive but it just...wasn't.

I've left a couple of comments in the thread to the effect that the ad comes up just the opposite of the way a lot of commenters are interpreting it -- there are a couple railing about "reinforcing heteronormativity," which I take as a total misread. Some of them left me speechless.

There may be more on this later -- right now, the clock is demanding that I get up and move.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

I'm Back

Or will be soon. My brain seems to have turned off over the weekend and isn't quite back yet, but we're getting there.

Stay tuned.

And your reward:

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

What Is It About Anti-Gay Bigots?

First the Catholic Church, now The Boy Scouts of America:

Where have we heard this before? An organization known for hierarchy, homophobia, and a self-presumption of moral and religious superiority is revealed to have a long history of protecting sexual predators and covering up their crimes.

Last month, the Boy Scouts of America were found liable in a case of sexual abuse that is being compared to the scandal that is rocking the Catholic Church.


The Scouts have files on child molesters in the organization going back to 1925. Thousands of files. And they did nothing about it.

I Love Stuff Like This

So what does it cost to give people a hand?

Yes, a team that hadn't lost a game in 2½ years, a team that was going to win in a landslide purposely offered to declare defeat. Why? Because Roncalli wanted to spend the two hours teaching the Marshall girls how to get better, not how to get humiliated.

Can you imagine a Wall Street banker doing something like this? Or a Christian moral crusader? Or an insurance company?

Via AmericaBlog.