"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

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Announcing the Tony Perkins Award

No, not the tall, sexy actor, but the head of the recognized hate group with the blow-job ears. Everyone else has awards, so I thought I might as well jump in. The Perkins will be awarded to the most egregious liar to come to my attention whose fact-free diatribes are geared toward smearing the gay community. (This may very well become a weekly feature. Given the fundamental mendacity of the anti-gay right, it could be daily.)

This week's winner is, hands-down, "Pastor" Robert Jeffress, for this screed:

"Amazingly, some gay activists don’t even try to hide the link between homosexuality and pedophilia. There are some who are right now are actively involved in trying to legalize sex between adults and children by lowering the age of consent or removing it altogether. In all fairness, it would be wrong to suggest that all homosexuals to pedophiles, it would be wrong to even suggest that a majority of homosexuals are pedophiles, but the truth nevertheless is there. There are a disproportionate amount of assaults against children by homosexuals than by heterosexuals, you can’t deny that, and the reason is very clear: homosexuality is perverse, it represents a degradation of a person’s mind and if a person will sink that low and there are no restraints from God’s law, then there is no telling to whatever sins he will commit as well."

In point of fact, which "Pastor" Jeffress would know if he bothered to look beyond the "research" of Paul Cameron, gay men are less likely to molest children than straight men. According to all reliable studies done by legitimate researchers, and the figures from the FBI, less than 2% of known child molesters identify as gay. If you figure that gay men number between 3 and 6% of the general population, it's quite obvious that we are under-represented among pedophiles.

If you don't believe me, check out Jim Burroway's very thorough study and analysis at Box Turtle Bulletin, "Testing the Premise: Are Gays a Threat to Our Children?"

Thanks to Joe.My.God.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Disgusting People

Some days, it's hard to limit the category. This is one of those.

First off, this story from AmericaBlog:

There's a viral YouTube video going around about a young gay man and how his parents reportedly mistreated him and his partner after they found out he was gay. Things only got worse when he died at the age of 29. The surviving partner made the video, and it's heartbreaking.

Here's a blog post from a friend of Tom and his partner Shane:

Last year Shane lost Tom in an accident. Tom’s mother, Martha Bridegroom, came to California from Knox, Indiana to retrieve Tom’s body. While Shane was at home resting, she left with Tom for Indiana without allowing Shane to say goodbye. Tom’s father, Norman Bridegroom, then threatened violence against Shane if he were to attend the funeral Indiana. Shane was shut out.

Shane says that Tom's mom promised to stay in touch, let him know about the funeral, etc. She never reached out to him again.

Shane says that Tom's parents did, however, get word to him that if he showed up at the funeral he would be "attacked" by Tom's father and uncle.

The parents are Martha and Norman Bridegroom of Knox, Indiana, and this is for them: Way to let the world know that your son's life counted for nothing in your eyes. (Here's something to make your blood run cold: she's a teacher.)

I don't have names for these disgusting people, but the story speaks for itself. (One wonders how much the Man Who Would Be King -- er, President -- has stashed away offshore.)

This one's sort of half disgusting and half moron.

Tea party-backed Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) says that the right to own high-capacity ammunitions magazines like the 100-round drum that was used to kill at least a dozen people in Colorado last week is a “basic freedom” that is protected by the U.S. Constitution.

Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday asked Johnson why people needed military-grade weapons like the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and large ammunition clips used by the shooter in Aurora, Colorado where at least 12 were killed and 58 were wounded.

“The left always uses the term ‘assault rifle,’ and they’re really talking about semi-automatic weapons that are used in hunting,” Johnson explained. “That’s what happens in Wisconsin. These are rifles that are used in hunting. Just the fact of the matter is this is really not an issue of guns. This is about sick people doing things you simply can’t prevent. It’s really an issue of freedom.”

Anyone who needs an assault rifle for hunting is a pretty shitty hunter. Maybe he (or she) should learn to shoot first. And sorry, Senator, but it really is an issue of guns. And I'd love to know how much the NRA contributed to your campaign. (This guy really gives a whole new meaning to the word "cheesehead.")

And as long as we're on right-wing gun loonies, here's Mr. Show Us Your Papers (Click to embiggen):

See? If you get shot, it's your fault for not being John Wayne, or something.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Seems as though we can't go for any length of time in this country without a massacre of some sort. Here's a summary of the shooting from HuffPo.

The weapons were all purchased legally.

There's a lot of "analysis" going on about this, but I think E. J. Dionne has hit the nail on the head:

For all the dysfunction in our political system, a healthy pattern usually takes hold when a terrible tragedy seizes the nation’s attention.

Normally, we engage in a searching conversation over what rational steps can be taken by individuals, communities and various levels of government to make the recurrence of a comparable tragedy less likely. Sometimes we act, sometimes we don’t, but at least we explore sensible solutions.

Unless the tragedy involves guns. Then our whole public reasoning process goes haywire. Anyone who dares to say that an event such as the massacre at a Colorado movie theater early Friday morning demands that we rethink our approach to the regulation of firearms is accused of “exploiting” the deaths of innocent people.

OK -- you want to see exploitation? I'll show you exploitation -- and it's all coming from the right. Here's Louie Gohmert, Republican of Texas and arguably one of the two or three stupidest members of Congress:

"People say ... where was God in all of this?" Gohmert said. "We've threatened high school graduation participations, if they use God's name, they're going to be jailed ... I mean that kind of stuff. Where was God? What have we done with God? We don't want him around. I kind of like his protective hand being present."

Gohmert also said the tragedy could have been lessened if someone else in the movie theater had been carrying a gun and took down the lone shooter. Istook noted that Colorado laws allow people to carry concealed guns.

"It does make me wonder, with all those people in the theater, was there nobody that was carrying a gun that could have stopped this guy more quickly?" he asked.

The thought of people in a crowded theater full of smoke and gunfire hauling out their own guns to shoot back at -- well, at what? How are they supposed to know what to aim at?

The AFA is not far behind, and they've even managed to tie The Gays into it:

I think the sources of this is [sic] multifaceted but you can put it all I think under the heading of rebellion to God, a rejection of the God of the Bible. I think along with an education system that has produced our lawyers, our politicians, more teachers, more professors, all of that sort of thing, is our churches, mainline churches. We’ve been dealing Teddy and I know the AFA Journal has been dealing with denominations that no longer believe in the God of the Bible, they no longer believe that Jesus is the only way of salvation, they teach that God is OK with homosexuality, this is just increasing more and more. It is mankind shaking its fist at the authority of God.

And Bryan Fischer, also of the AFA, is not far behind. (It's all the fault of the ACLU and the Supreme Court, for some reason, but don't try to figure it out -- this is Bryan Fischer, after all.)

There's a lot more where that came from, and I'm not going to waste space on it. Bottom line is that the exploitation is actually coming from those who are ideologically aligned with the NRA -- the crowd that wants the Second Amendment to be the only part of the Bill of Rights that we have left. And there's a heavy preponderance of recognized hate groups in that mix. You figure it out.

Back to Dionne's comment, however. Here's a summary of the reactions from state and a few national politicians on the shooting. And here's a statement from the President. Note that no one of them says anything about guns and how easy they are to obtain, or how wide-open this country is to violence. The NRA has got them all thoroughly cowed. The only one who seems prepared to do anything substantive is Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who is re-introducing legislation to ban high-capacity magazines. And Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York is at least making the attempt to hold people's feet to the fire:

You know, soothing words are nice, but maybe it’s time that the two people who want to be President of the United States stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it, because this is obviously a problem across the country. . . .

And everybody always says, ‘Isn’t it tragic,’ and you know, we look for was the guy, as you said, maybe trying to recreate Batman. I mean, there are so many murders with guns every day, it’s just got to stop. And instead of the two people – President Obama and Governor Romney – talking in broad things about they want to make the world a better place, okay, tell us how. And this is a real problem. No matter where you stand on the Second Amendment, no matter where you stand on guns, we have a right to hear from both of them concretely, not just in generalities – specifically what are they going to do about guns?

Or, to put it in more realistic terms, what will the NRA allow them to do about guns?

If you want a good take on the scale of this problem, read this post by Darcy Burner. No other so-called "civilized" country can even come close to this. I can only echo Burner's final comment: "The NRA can go to hell."

Footnote: I just ran across this editorial from the New York Daily News that echoes Darcy Burner's sentiments, and my own:

The police chief in Aurora, Colo., said he is confident that massacre gunman James Holmes acted alone. The police chief was dead wrong.

Standing at Holmes’ side as he unleashed an AR-15 assault rifle and a shotgun and a handgun was Wayne LaPierre, political enforcer of the National Rifle Association.

Standing at Holmes’ side as he sprayed bullets and buckshot into a crowded movie theater were Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, a President and a would-be President, who have bowed to the NRA’s dictates and who responded to the slaughter Friday with revolting, useless treacle.

And this, somewhat more restrained, from NYT:

Politicians are far too fearful of the gun lobby to address gun violence, and, as a society, we keep getting stuck on a theoretical debate about the Second Amendment, which keeps us from taking practical measures that just might help avoid the all-too-frequent tragedies like the one in Aurora.

Whether you believe, as many perfectly reasonable people do, that the amendment gives each individual the right to bear arms, or whether you believe, as this editorial page has often argued, that it is society’s right to raising a militia, there is no excuse to ignore the out-of-control gun market.

I think everyone sees the problem, but those in a position to do something about it would prefer to sweep it under the rug.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Damned Socialist Canadians!

They're doing something right:

Over the past five years, the net worth of the average Canadian has crept up, overtaking the average American’s wealth for the first time. These days, Canadian households are about $40,000 richer than American ones.

Interesting article about how Canada has weathered the economic mess better than we have. Aside from Canadians' relative lack of personal debt, there's one key factor that stuck out:

On a national level, assets like the Alberta tar sands certainly help, but, Marche proposes, it was a policy of "hard-headed socialism" that allowed the banks and the housing market to stay stable and weather the global economic crisis.

It may also be that Canadians still believe a middle class has some value in a democratic society.

Monday, July 16, 2012

I wasn't going to write this post

But it seems I should.

It started with this post by Timothy Kincaid at BTB:

In the past four years we have witnessed a number of highly respected and influential black men – politicians, writers, sports legends, musicians, spiritual leaders, and even the President- have expressed their support for gay equality. The most established symbols of masculinity have made it clear that they do not see gay people as weak or inferior or less a part of the authentic black experience.

And it has impacted the community.

In the past, any suggestion that a rap artist might be gay put him outside the mainstream. If not totally ostracized, he was relegated to a niche and ignored (women have fared better, but only if they stayed semi-closeted). But when Frank Ocean released a statement revealing that his first love had been another man, the response has been noticeably different.

That led me to reflect on how acceptance of GLBTs has spread through popular culture -- think about it: ten years ago, do you think a sports figure would have been fined $50,000 for making a homophobic remark? And look at the resounding flop of NOM's "Dump Starbucks" campaign.

My first thought, of course, was comics, specifically superhero comics. Offhand, can you think of anything more heterocentric? Yes, I know there's always been a gay element -- I mean, come on, big muscular guys in tights and skimpy shorts? -- and the first gay characters made their appearance in the late '80s, but there was a certain element of tokenism there. In the past few years it's moved way beyond that. In the current Astonishing X-Men series, in which Northstar and Kyle get married, writer Marjorie Liu has taken the time to work in an up-close examination of their relationship. Here's one of the lighter moments:

It echoes something I noted about the relationship between Hulkling and Wiccan in Young Avengers: it's normal. It's perfectly normal, and it's accepted by their peers. The problems are the problems that any young couple has in learning to deal with each other.

So, while thinking these thoughts, I ran across this article:

The effects of such publishing milestones are palpable at Comic-Con, which is seeing more gay-themed panels, parties, signings and off-site events than ever before, notes Justin Hall, author of the just-released “No Straight Lines,” a retrospective of LGBT comics.

“Queer fandom is absolutely galvanized by seeing more accurate representations of ourselves,” he says. “There’s a snowball effect.”

“It’s always been going on under the surface, but now there’s a real queer presence,” adds Love Ablan, a self-described pop culture nerd who’s bisexual. “Even among non-queer fans. My super-straight guy friend is totally into this comic about queer bears.”

We're seeing the same sequence of events across the spectrum of popular culture, to the extent that it's strange if there's a soap opera that doesn't have a gay character. Sports clubs and leagues are taking active measures to penalize expressions of homophobia and both players and fans. And now we're seeing more musicians, especially in hip hop and rap, supporting the gay community.

It's inevitable, and I can hardly wait for the heads to start exploding on the right. (Yes, I know I'm not being nice, but then, they're not being nice to us.)

(Note: this one's been pretty much off the top of my head. When and if I have time and inclination, I'll go back and hunt up some links to the relevant stories.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Catching Up

It's been kind of sketchy this week, but I haven't been completely idle. Here's a couple of things I think are worth looking at.

First, David Link at IGF has done a very good take-down of Robert Gagnon's latest diatribe.

I am unqualified to criticize the theology in Robert Gagnon’s hefty essay on the biblical errors in Alan Chambers’ leadership of Exodus International.  But what’s at stake here is pretty considerable, and more than just theological.  Chambers is president of Exodus, the group that assists Evangelical Christians with “same-sex attraction.”  Exodus had famously supported the notion that gays could change their sexual orientation, but Chambers – a gay man who is satisfactorily married to a woman, though he does not deny he continues to be sexually attracted to men – says now that he doubts such change in orientation is possible.

His change about change is important, as the sheer length of Gagnon’s critique (35 pages, with appendices) suggests, because it lets us see what Maggie Gallagher and the NOM Choir try so furiously to obscure: all that is left of the debate over homosexuality is the vestigial tail of a religious question about sin.

I seldom agree with Link, so this is sort of important.

And at The Advocate, there's an interview with Barry Sandler, who wrote Making Love, which is a pretty important film in gay history. Remember what it was like in the early '80s?

On the DOMA Wars front, although BLAG (which is the acronym for the House's Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, and somehow the acronym is just right) is defending DOMA in the courts, since no one else in the government wants to be humiliated, House Democrats are taking their own action -- 132 of them have signed on to an amicus brief in Golinski vs. Office of Personnel Management, which is being appealed to the Ninth Circuit after coming a cropper in the district proceedings:

Unlike most Acts of Congress, DOMA cannot be viewed as the rational result of impartial lawmaking and should be treated with judicial skepticism. The brief makes it clear that the House is not united on DOMA’s validity, that the BLAG lawyers do not speak for the entire institution, and that there is no legitimate federal interest in denying married same-sex couples the legal security, rights and responsibilities that federal law provides to couples who are married under state law. …This law affirmatively harms married gay and lesbian couples and their children.

And, sure as god made little fishes, 60 Democrats refused to sign on. There's a list at the link. If your rep is on it, write your Congressman.

So, let's finish off with a picture. I got a little point-and-shoot digital camera, just to try it out, and I hate it -- there's a time delay between when you point and when the image shows up on the display, and for better than thirty years I've been shooting really fast. But you can get some nice stuff. From a visit to Lincoln Park Conservatory.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


I'm still laughing over this one:

Does he think it's a gender-neutral restroom? Does the Bible dictate men's and women's restrooms be at opposite sides of the building. Does he think someone's going to be in the restrooms to "help"?n Does he object because it's spelled correctly?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

I love This One

Quite a few good stories this week -- Iowans losing interest in repealing same-sex marriage, Alan Chambers of Exodus admitting that "reparative therapy" doesn't actually "cure" homosexuality -- and actually being noticed (finally -- and I think it's instructive of the mindset that he's being accused of "heresy" by his one-time fellow travelers), and the Obama administration moving directly into the DOMA fight.

But this is the one that won my heart:

A member of the Louisiana House of Representatives who eagerly supported Gov. Bobby Jindal’s plan to fund private schools has had an epiphany: Muslim schools might start getting taxpayer money!

Rep. Valarie Hodges, a Republican who represents East Baton Rouge and Livingston, now says she wishes she hadn’t voted for the Jindal voucher bill.

“I actually support funding for teaching the fundamentals of America’s Founding Fathers’ religion, which is Christianity, in public schools or private schools,” Hodges told the Livingston Parish News.

“I liked the idea of giving parents the option of sending their children to a public school or a Christian school,” Hodges added.

The newspaper reported that she “mistakenly assumed that ‘religious’ meant ‘Christian.’”

Now, I don't find it so remarkable that there is someone who is not only ignorant, but demonstrably stupid in public office -- I mean, on the national scene we have such luminaries as Louie Gomert of Texas and Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, not to mention two generations of Pauls. (And how can we forget the distinguished Senate career of Rick Santorum?) But the revelation of the mindset is delicious -- I mean, "religious" means "Christian"? The religion of the Founding Fathers was Christianity? Has the woman ever read a history book, aside from the Old Testament? Not to mention the idea that the government can fund Christian schools and not Muslim or Jewish schools -- or Buddhist schools, or Hindu schools, or whatever -- I mean, has the woman ever heard of the First Amendment? Does she understand the Establishment Clause at all?

The frightening part is not that someone as fundamentally ignorant and as blatantly prejudiced as Valarie Hodges is a state representative, but that people actually voted for her.


Thanks to Anel Viz and the Mars Lander.

I'm not so sure about this one -- seems like we may not be entirely welcome.

Maybe if we demonstrate that we can take care of our own world. . . .

Thursday, July 05, 2012

And in Argentina

The Argentine congress passed a new law allowing trans persons to change their sex on their ID cards without having to prove they've undergone sex reassignment surgery. This is huge.

Argentinean president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner celebrated passage of the world's most progressive gender identity law by inviting a number of transgender leaders and personally handing them their new identity cards. The law was adopted by the Argentinean congress in May by a vote of 55-0 and became law last month after getting the president's signature. It allows transgender individuals to change their name and gender on government documents without having to prove that they have undergone gender reassignment surgery or need for court approval as had been the case before. It also grants government health coverage for transgender individuals who want to undergo a gender reassignment surgery.

It seems such a simple thing, to let people be who they are. I honestly don't understand why our government doesn't get it. (Well, I know why, but I don't understand it.)

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

It's the Fourth of July

Reading the news this morning, I'm not sure what I think about that.

But, just to undercut any thoughts you might have about my cynicism/pessimism, here's a nice image for the day:

Given the way things have been going on the civil rights front the past year or so, it seems apt.

"Neutrality," and a Comment on Codes

NOM, in light of the dismal failure of its "Dump Starbucks" campaign (something like 60,000 supporters world-wide, last time I looked), has a new friend: Jitters and Bliss Coffee, which NOM is touting as an alternative to Starbucks. It's coming down around J&B's ears, apparently:

Jitters & Bliss has shown just what a scam NOM is trying to pull under the guise of this “neutrality” through the astounding mismanagement of its Facebook page today. Earlier today, J&B was censoring pro-equality comments, blocking posters who added such comments, and ultimately shut down its page for a period of time. The page rebooted this afternoon with the following message and comment, which have also since been deleted:

In light of Jitters & Bliss Coffee paid advertising on NOM website, our position has not changed. Like many companies we are NEUTRAL on the gay marriage issue. We respect our customers’ diverse views on it as with the many other issues facing our nation today. Yes, we are paying advertising on NOM, and would do so on gay sites too (with a NEUTRAL, inclusive position). Our nation is diverse as is our customer base. “God Bless you, and the USA!”

Please, no posts!

Jeremy Hooper has a couple of comments on this whole thing, here and here. (If you follow Hooper's blog at all, Good-As-You, you know he's about the most inoffensive person alive.)

Timothy Kincaid has a good take on the viability of J&B as an alternative to Starbuck's:

Now when you feel an urge for a caramel macchiato, instead of dropping in to a Starbuck you can instead go online and order a tin of coffee (comparably priced to Starbucks), wait for it to be delivered (shipping free with $50 purchase), brew it up, and enjoy a delicious cup of coffee free from the guilt of supporting the homosexual agenda.

As for Jitters & Bliss' "neutrality" -- get this (click to embiggen):

Via HRC/NOM Exposed.

Most of the coffee purveyors I've checked out emphasizes their "free trade" operations. J&B apparently does work on a free trade basis, but it emphasizes its "Christian" mission. Draw your own conclusions.

So, "neutrality" is code for acquiescence to the status quo -- that is, discrimination. It's instructive that the right feels the need to express itself in codes -- we hear code words and phrases for all those people and ideas that the right doesn't like (which is just about all of them). My own thought on that is, if what you're saying is likely to be acceptable to the public at large, you don't need to use codes.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The Other Shoe

OK, so Anderson Cooper "came out." There's a lot of commentary on the fact that he's been living in a glass closet, but the thing about glass closets is that everyone can see you, but you can't breathe.

He gets kudos for his coming out statement, in an e-mail to Andrew Sullivan. If you surf the Web at all, you've seen the "The fact is, I'm gay. . . ." quote, but this struck me as much more important:

Recently, however, I’ve begun to consider whether the unintended outcomes of maintaining my privacy outweigh personal and professional principle. It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something - something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed or even afraid. This is distressing because it is simply not true.

I’ve also been reminded recently that while as a society we are moving toward greater inclusion and equality for all people, the tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible. There continue to be far too many incidences of bullying of young people, as well as discrimination and violence against people of all ages, based on their sexual orientation, and I believe there is value in making clear where I stand.

Click through on the link and read the whole thing -- it's superb.

And on the other hand, the kind of crap you might expect:

And Peter LaBarbera, leader of a recognized anti-gay hate group, should do the same, since he's proved himself to be an anti-gay activist. (Although frankly, I sort of enjoy having someone that incompetent as an anti-gay icon.)

Monday, July 02, 2012

The Leftist Backlash

I ran across a couple of posts the other morning that brought me back to an issue that, in my humble opinion, is significant for the progress of acceptance of gay people by the larger society. Both reek of the New Left of the 80s.

This one, an opinion piece by someone named Topher Gen at Pink News, I have trouble taking seriously.

And that’s what Pride does; it fuels the flames of hate. Today, Pride is little more than a giant excuse for corporate marketing and a bit of drunken fun. The march claims to ‘celebrate’ its participants’ sexuality, but it’s to its community’s own detriment.

Click through and read the whole thing, if you like -- unfortunately, it doesn't get any more coherent, and Topher Gen seems to be one of those wild-eyed zealots who is going to show us The Way -- his way, which is the only way.

This one is pernicious. This is where the old New Left (your struggle is everyone's struggle, but everyone else comes first) has wound up. The whole cast of this one is negative, marked by a determination to take every aspect of Pride in the worst possible light.

Pride initially represented the cry, “We exist!” shouted from an ignored and stigmatized community to the larger population of the country. It was a celebration of the margins. While this is still the case in some ways, the LGBTQ community has now found itself underwritten by the most oppressive elements of American society—banks, politicians, and corporations, the ultimate ostracizers—and it has largely accepted this. It is a shift almost as dizzying in scope as the shift in mainstream consciousness towards LGBTQ rights. Decades ago, from the margins came a movement, one which has now, years later, unfortunately and almost unblinkingly accepted the subsidy of organizations and individuals that actively enable the perpetual, repressive “othering” of the powerless.

I think we can rather take this funding by major corporations as an indication of how far we've come in gaining acceptance in society at large. To be realistic about it, they're doing it because it's good business. Think about the implications of that for a minute or two. There's also the fact that Pride is not about the 99%. That's not the point. (You're going to see this point made again and again here.)

Speaking of imperialism, even while some supporters cheer Obama for his support of marriage equality in North Carolina—“a day after it could have done some good,” Occupy Chicago organizer James Cox reminded me—I think of the words of Mike Knish: “For every one of us cheering Obama’s entry into the 21st century, there is a pile of dead Afghani kids who don’t give a shit”

WTF? "Speaking of imperialism"? Well, of course he was speaking about imperialism -- why, Gay Pride is all about the fight against imperialism. Just ask any leftist with a high score on the purity index. This reminds me so much of the political speeches after Pride parades in the 80s by the likes of Urvashi Vaid that I'm really wondering if this guy is in a time warp of some sort.

No, Gay Pride is not about Afghanistan.

And what about [Bradley] Manning? The now-famous (increasingly so) whistleblower who allegedly disclosed evidence of US war crimes was honored in the parade with a float from Chicago activist Andy Thayer’s Gay Liberation Network (GLN), which featured a healthy Occupy Chicago contingent among a group of roughly 35. Tunes from a previous anti-war movement—Edwin Starr, John Lennon, and Marvin Gaye—backed the group, which sought to bring political consciousness to an event that seemed, as Cox noted, “more about having fun than trying to achieve any right.” This is to be praised. The problem comes, then, in the GLN’s full and unqualified acceptance of Private Manning as a gay man and not, as is definitely possible, a transgender woman.

OK -- Bradley Manning was honored with a float, but it's a bad thing because it didn't identify Manning as a transgender woman, because he might be.

Do I really have to comment on that?

That's the bulk of it. There are actually comments thanking this idiot for this post, on the order of "the fight for gay rights is the fight for everyone's rights" -- notable because the point is not that everyone should be fighting for our rights, but that we're supposed to be fighting for everyone else's. To be fair, there are also comments pointing out other of the huge flaws in the author's reasoning, and the poster under whose auspices this went up, Kit O'Connell, left a comment that does display the sense of proportion that I find so lacking in the post itself.

The point of this is that these commentaries display the lack of a sense of proportion that I find as endemic on the left as on the right. They are talking about a specific event, and in effect trying to dictate to the rest of us what our celebration is supposed to be, starting with the baseline, which is that all the elements of their agendas must be included. If you follow this blog at all, you know I don't respond well to authority, particularly if that authority is self-bestowed.

Maybe next year I'll write my own post on Gay Pride -- on what it is, not what I think it should be.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Ah, Yes, the Messaging

Paul Ryan (who I begin to suspect has major investments in cat food companies) says this:

But Ryan rejected Kennedy’s assertion and promised to completely undo the law.

“We’re going to repeal the entire law and then we’re going to advance patient-centered reforms that address these kinds of issues,” the Wisconsin Republican said.

But then, Mitch McConnell says this:

WALLACE: I just want to ask, what specifically are you going to do to provide universal coverage to the 30 million people who are uninsured?

MCCONNELL: That is not the issue. The question is, how can you go step by step to improve the American health care system. … We’re not going to turn the American health care system into a Western European system.

Do you somehow get the idea the the "replace" part of "repeal and replace" is not going to happen? And how happy to you think the insurance industry is going to be about losing all those customers who have to buy insurance under the ACA? (Which actually makes me wonder if the "repeal" part will happen.)

Connect the Dots

around the edges of Mark Regenerus' "study" of gay parenting (although it's not really about gay parenting -- just ask him) and you find yourself coming full circle.

A group of eighteen social scientists have published a letter under the auspices of the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion defending the study. However, as Scott Rose points out:

Although the 18 signers rely on their academic credentials to attempt to give authority to their letter, they do not actually address any of the substantive criticisms made of Regnerus’s study. They instead appear to seek further to deceive the public, by repeating points that have already been thoroughly discredited and debunked. Of particular concern is that the signers trumpeted Regnerus’s sampling method as the best available, when in fact, address based sampling would have been superior, though more costly and time consuming. Another concern is that whereas the signers cite Paul Amato’s commentary on the Regnerus study as evidence of the study’s alleged integrity, they do so without disclosing that Amato was a paid adviser for the study.

Equality Matters did some digging on these "social scientists," which they've rendered into a handy table (click for larger view):


And now, 200 social scientists and therapists have written a letter to Social Science Research, the journal in which Regnerus' study was published.

As researchers and scholars, many of whom with extensive experience in quantitative and qualitative research in family structures and child outcomes, we write to raise serious concerns about the most recent issue of Social Science Research and the set of papers focused on parenting by lesbians and gay men. In this regard, we have particular concern about Mark Regnerus’ paper entitled “How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study.”

LGBT parenting is a highly politicized topic. While the presence of a vibrant and controversial public debate should in no way censor scholarship, it should compel the academy to hold scholarship around that topic to our most rigorous standards. We are very concerned that these standards were not upheld in this issue or with this paper, given the apparently expedited process of publication and the decision to publish commentaries on the paper by scholars who were directly involved with the study and have limited experience in LGBT parenting research. We also have serious concerns about the scholarly merit of this paper.

Read it -- it gets better (or worse, I guess, depending on your point of view).

The University of Texas is beginning in inquiry into the circumstances and methods of the study.

Some days, it just doesn't pay to be anti-gay.

Keep Your Government Hands Off My Medicare!

The Tea Party lives: Reactions to the Supreme Court's decision on Obamacare.

How much you want to bet they all watch Fox News?

You Get What You Pay For

Ah, Schadenfreude:

Since 2010, the Republicans have cut the federal firefighting budget by more than $200 million.

The resources for fighting fires in Colorado are so bad that a delegation was formed by U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton (R -3d CD), Rep. Cory Gardner (R-4th CD), and Rep, Mike Coffman (R-6th CD) demanding the federal government provide more funds and equipment to help fight the expanding fires.

It's unfortunate that all three of these U.S. Representatives demanding help for their home state also voted for the Paul Ryan budget cuts which would drastically reduce the funding for the federal firefighting program. Rep. Paul Ryan claims he can meet the country’s needs by cutting back on “imprudent, irresponsible, and downright wasteful spending.” Powerfulstorms.com wonders which category firefighting fall into: Imprudent, Irresponsible or Wasteful?

Why Schadenfreude, you ask? Well, it seems that one of those screaming loudest is Michelle Malkin, who loves all things Right,* who happens to live -- well, right in the path of the fire.

* Actually, on reflection, I'm not sure that I can justifiably say Malkin loves anything. Given her usual commentaries, it's probably more accurate to say that she hates all things Left -- like the National Forest Service.