« November 2010 | Main | January 2011 »

173 posts from December 2010

December 30, 2010

Really, BBC?

This is disgusting. The broadcasters who insist on running this sort of crap in the name of "balance" should be required to get an opposing view every time they say good morning. In fact, Let's get an opposing view every time some talking head is introduced with a citation of his or her accomplishments; dig up a detractor. Equal time for whackjobs!

Savage savages GOProud

This clip is from Dan Savage's appearance Wednesday evening on MSNBC's Countdown. He is pretty brutal in his comments, but is he wrong? If you think so, please tell us how.

Okay, I'll stop praying to my imaginary friend

Another un-self-aware person drooling his expertise and wisdom on Fox News.

Christine O'Donnell is such a victim

This video from TPM might be a good dietary aid, if like me you've been overeating during the holidays. (Can you say projectile vomiting?)

HIV-Positive Cubans Held in Prison-Like Facility, "SIDA" Stamped on National ID Cards

Rod 2.0 reports on information revealed by Wikileaks about the treatment of HIV-postive people under the Castro dictatorship. This only confirms what was already known.

Some American leftists, both gay and straight, have long romanticized Castro's revolution. Their willful avoidance of the brutal truth is contemptible. I wrote about this here.

Bill T. Jones tribute at Kennedy Center Honors

The tribute to choreographer Bill T. Jones at the 2010 Kennedy Center Honors.

White House video from DADT Repeal Act signing

This White House video from the Dec. 22 signing ceremony for the DADT Repeal Act includes interview footage.

December 29, 2010

Rainbow History: 1961: Kameny Supreme Court petition regenerated the gay civil rights movement

Check out the latest item from our friends at Rainbow History Project, titled, 1961: Kameny Supreme Court petition regenerated the gay civil rights movement.

(Hat tip: Mark Meinke)

Reproductive freedom: a voice from the great beyond

The news that Dr. LeRoy Carhart recently began offering abortions in Germantown, Maryland, reminds me of something our late friend John Wilson said twenty years ago during a candidate briefing with GLAA members when he was running for D.C. Council Chair: "I'm not just pro-choice, I'm pro-abortion. I know a lot of people who should have been aborted." I won't be unkind enough to mention the specific examples he cited that day. Johnny, we miss you.

Six new excuses for anti-gay discrimination in the military

Think accessories. Amanda Hess explains.

Holy Toledo

Toledo man sees Christ, Virgin Mary in Christmas candy: foxtoledo.com

The latest miraculous appearance by the Holy Family in reward for people's faith and vigilance: a Madonna and Child on a piece of hard candy in Toledo, Ohio. Of course, if everything looks like Mary or Jesus to you, you'll see a lot of them.

(Hat tip: Towleroad)

Oprah tribute

The Kennedy Center Honors, broadcast last night, included this tribute to one of America's greatest philanthropists, Oprah Winfrey. Incidentally, I like Chris Rock's new look.

The latest in humanitarian sentiments, courtesy Fox News

Tucker Carlson, subbing for Sean Hannity, says that Eagles quarterback Michael Vick "should have been executed" for the dogfighting operation for which he was imprisoned. Personally, I agree with the President about giving people second chances. If we are going to keep punishing criminals after they have done their time, we should change the law and never let any convict out of prison. But if we choose that route, we'd better be prepared to pay for it. As one of Carlson's guests in the above clip says, "At Christmas to talk about redemption is not the worst thing in the world." But this is an easy occasion for Republicans to make another jab at Obama, whom they seem determined to attack for everything he says and does, even abandoning their own policy positions once he embraces them.

Linkins: Gov. Abercrombie should rethink his decision to take on the Birthers

My very thought. Trying to convince Birthers with evidence and reason is like trying to argue with a crazy person who spends all day ranting to no one in particular outside the Metro. They remain just as crazy as ever, but now they're focused on you. In short: no matter what evidence is produced, all the Birthers have to do is say, "It's forged." They very seriously need to be ignored. Neil Abercrombie is a good guy who maintained a strong pro-gay record while in Congress; but in this case all he is accomplishing is giving the Birthers a fresh news hook.

The latest in Obama Derangement Syndrome

Barack-obama-michelle-headdress-cropped-proto-custom_2

He wants to give America back to the Indians! At least that's the cry from right-wing websites like World Net Daily, based upon President Obama's recent announcement of his support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, which was opposed by President Bush when the United Nations General Assembly adopted it in 2007. And Obama's an honorary Crow Indian! TPM reports here.

I wrote in a column this year that voters are not stupid. I was wrong on that. Some of them are stupid. I think the stupidity is willful and the result not of weak-mindedness but of eagerly cultivated bias and groupthink. But there it is. I believe it was P.T. Barnum who said that no one ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of people.

Klepto pastor: "I thought I was helping!"

Well of course she was helping (herself). David Kurtz at TPM comments:

Kudos to the Dallas Morning News staffer who not only got an on-camera interview with the local pastor accused of the Christmas Eve theft of fur coats, designer purses and electronics from the home of a member of her congregation -- but set up the shot with the accused pastor surrounded by fur coats. This is the wackiest video I've seen in a very long time.

Sandy-mcgriff-cropped-proto-custom_2

Manicure emergency!

Woman arrested for calling 911 to complain about manicure: MyFoxORLANDO.com

Here's an example of someone unclear on the proper uses of 911 emergency calls. From Orlando, Florida.

Homophobia worsens in Africa

A planned South African bid to host the 2012 Mr. Gay World pageant provides the news hook for a Guardian story on the rise of homophobia across Africa:

"Homophobia is on the rise,'' said Monica Mbaru, the Cape Town-based Africa co-ordinator for the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. "It has never been harder for gays and lesbians on the continent.'' ...

The prime ministers of Zimbabwe and Kenya, where moves to table new constitutions have dominated the political scene this year, have seen fit to denounce homosexuality as part of their attempts to position themselves favourably with socially conservative groups.

In Senegal, a 95-page report published by Human Rights Watch last month includes interviews with dozens of people who have faced violence and threats at the hands of police and others. HRW decided to carry out the survey after a 2008 "outing'' campaign by gossip magazine Icone. Gay men's graves have been desecrated and in December 2008 nine gay Aids activists were jailed for eight years, though they were later released.

HRW refers to Senegalese homophobia as "institutionalised'', pointing out that the Muslim country's law criminalising consensual same-sex relationships invites abuse against non-heterosexuals and jars with the country's constitution.

South Africa, where the end of apartheid in 1994 led to the creation of a constitution that recognises same-sex partnerships and condemns discrimination, seems to be backtracking on gay rights. A number of homophobic attacks have made headlines, including the township practice of "corrective'' gang rape of lesbians. The evangelical Family Policy Institute is currently running a vociferous campaign against the city of Cape Town for promoting itself as a gay-friendly holiday destination.

(Hat tip: Rod 2.0)

December 28, 2010

Kennedy Center Honors broadcast cut to shreds

I turned away from the Eagles-Vikings game on NBC Tuesday night long enough to watch the Jerry Herman tribute from the Kennedy Center Honors broadcast on CBS. It was a mess. Lots of stars were trotted across the stage, and lots of Jerry Herman songs were sung, but it was so heavily edited that all viewers got for the most part were snippets. The only singer who was allowed enough uncut bars of a song to connect with it was the wonderful Laura Benanti with "Time Heals Everything." Unforgiveably, the microphones on the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington were completely cut for the broadcast, so what GMCW director Jeff Buhrman says was an explosion of sound in the hall was lost on television. And you'd have no idea who the chorus in the back was if you didn't already know it was the Gay Men's Chorus. Whoever is responsible for the butchery of this segment should be banished in the future. If they have to cut it up this much to cram it into the time alloted by a commercial network, they should rethink the whole thing. This was inexcusable.

AFA: 'Fighting back against sodomized military'

Pam's House Blend reports on the latest hysteria from the religious right in reaction to passage of the DADT Repeal Act.

If these guys are so obsessed with gay sex, they should rent some porn.

December 27, 2010

The Bizarre World of the Bisexual

Now you know everything about the Bizarre world of the Bisexual.

Elaine Donnelly on the "new gender order" and other horrors

Elaine_donnelly Elaine Donnelly of the misleadingly sober-sounding Center for Military Readiness continues the "Showers!" hysteria over DADT repeal. I'm with Barney Frank on this one.

We're in for a lot of apocalyptic right-wing ranting. Just remember: During a previous GOP House majority, Tom DeLay was wrong when he boasted, "We don't need the Senate."

Peter King's Muslim hearings could be useful, and other fantasies

Kingx Eboo Patel in WaPo's "On Faith" blog has some advice for Rep. Peter King (R-NY), who has promised to hold hearings on the radicalization of Muslim Americans:

First, King can conduct a public study of the path to radicalization of various high-profile American Muslim extremists over the past few years (Fort Hood, Times Square, Portland Christmas Tree Lighting). Mostly likely, he will find that most were 'self-radicalized' through online engagement - watching the videos of Anwar Al-Awlaki, reading the terrorist magazine Inspire.

This is no doubt a serious problem. It appears that a small number of young Muslim men are sitting in basements watching and reading twisted material online that tells them to kill others. Some take the next step, and try.

Second, Peter King can shine a light on the role that the mainstream Muslim community has played in these attacks. By and large, it has been to help prevent them. Mainstream American Muslims have been vigilant against extremists in their communities - confronting their views, flushing them out and if need be reporting them to law enforcement.

A Muslim Public Affairs Council study found that American Muslim communities had played a central role in helping law enforcement prevent seven of the last ten Al Qaeda related plots.

I agree with Patel about what Rep. King ought to do (well, there are other things I think he ought to do, but nevermind), but it is far likelier that King will treat his Muslim witnesses as if they are all treasonous. A more realistic view of the sort of discourse Rep. King stirs up can be seen in the online comments below Patel's commentary.

When Adrian Fenty was ascendant

With the Fenty Administration in its final days, I was thinking back to Adrian's ascendancy four years ago. Here is how I began my September 21, 2006 commentary in Metro Weekly following his stunning sweep of every precinct in the Democratic primary:

To paraphrase a line from the classic Star Trek episode, "The Trouble with Tribbles," one little robocall is not dangerous! Unfortunately, of course, we were inundated by so many of those charming telephone messages in the run-up to the Sept. 12 D.C. Primary that Washington nearly saw the first-ever phone-generated riots.

Then there was the flood of junk mail. My favorite campaign flyer came from Adrian Fenty. It showed a forlorn looking girl holding a hand-written sign that said, "Fenty for my Future." The little girl looked so pathetic, and the piece struck me as so inadvertently campy, that I was showing it to people and translating it, "Vote for Fenty or the girl dies!" I also enjoyed the TV commercial [see clip above] in which Fenty led his followers in Pied Piper fashion up a hilly street in Anacostia. It reminded me of the von Trapp family climbing the Alps at the end of The Sound of Music.

I sounded pretty skeptical, didn't I? Of course, it's a safe bet to be skeptical about politicians. But if the Gray Administration turns out to be a disappointment four years from now, it'll be the Fenty loyalists saying "I told you so." To give Adrian his due, four years ago then-GLAA President Barrett Brick and I had contributed action items to Mayor-Elect Fenty's LGBT transition committee; this time around, the Gray transition team didn't bother having an LGBT transition committee. That omission is as troubling as Gray's broken promises to consult us before appointing new heads of the police department, fire department, and human rights office, and his promise to seek an Office of Human Rights director with a background in civil rights law. But hope springs eternal, and at present we are in a position of being disappointed with a friend. At GLAA we criticize as we deem appropriate, but we don't burn bridges.

Wuerl: Church takes no position on DADT repeal

Wuerl4 AP reports:

Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl says the Roman Catholic church has no position on whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly in the military.

On Fox News Sunday, Wuerl was asked if he opposed Congress's repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" -- a repeal that President Barack Obama signed into law last week.

He said, "That's a question that has to be worked out politically."

But Wuerl, who is archbishop in the nation's capital, reiterated church teaching that sex should be reserved for marriage between a man and a woman. He added that if the church is forced to accept a redefinition of marriage, its ministry becomes limited.

When Washington, D.C., legalized gay marriage this year, Wuerl's archdiocese ended its 80-year foster care program rather than license same-sex couples.

It was reported last week that Wuerl will deliver the invocation at Vincent Gray's inauguration as D.C. Mayor on January 2. Former GLAA President Craig Howell commented on that news item that if a homophobe could give the prayer at President Obama's inauguration, why not at Vince Gray's?

(Hat tip: Joe.My.God.)

From Sept. 21, 2010 - Franken on DADT

This clip from the Senate floor debate on DADT repeal from September 21, 2010 is included in a TPM annual highlights compilation. Sen. Al Franken gets emotional while describing an encounter with gay soldiers during a USO tour some years ago. I was glad to be able to thank him on December 22 at the DADT repeal bill signing ceremony.

Teena Marie dies at 54

"Ivory Queen of Soul" Teena Marie has died at the age of 54. Here is her duet with the late Rick James in "Fire and Desire."

Update: Lenny Kravitz pays tribute:

December 26, 2010

Miracle on W. 22nd Street

A fascinating story about a gay couple in Chelsea that started getting letters to Santa, and what they did about it.

December 25, 2010

Goddess

Hepburn_lion

I don't know how many times I have watched The Lion in Winter, featuring Katharine Hepburn as Eleanor of Aquitaine and Peter O'Toole as Henry II of England. A college professor of mine back in the 1970s said it was full of anachronisms, and I suppose that's true, but I don't care a bit. The script is bursting with sharp lines and the actors give off sparks throughout. O'Toole and Hepburn are at their best. "Dull as plainsong — la la la forever on one note," a line she just delivered as I watch it yet again, is not an apt description of her performance, notwithstanding Dorothy Parker's similar disparaging remark concerning Hepburn in Stage Door some decades earlier. Aquitaine was the role of a lifetime and she had a blast doing it. She won what I believe was her third Oscar for this role (yes, in a tie). Another treat in the film is a young Anthony Hopkins as Richard the Lionhearted. The setting for the film is a Christmas court in 1183. As in: "Of course he has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives. It's 1183 and we're barbarians." (Speaking of anachronisms.)

I have things to do this evening, but watching Hepburn in this classic is a guilty pleasure I cannot resist. So I've made some hot chocolate and brought out the box of Christmas treats, and she has me until the credits.

Frank Thring, an actor you know by his face

Frank_Thring The name of Frank Thring, Jr. came up today because I was wondering who the actor was who played Pontius Pilate in the 1959 film epic Ben Hur and Herod Antipas in its 1961 successor, King of Kings, both of which were shown today on TCM. You can see him at 2:44 in this Ben Hur trailer. I was sure that this suave and sinister-looking actor must have been gay, which is confirmed by Wikipedia. He was from Australia, and (as you can see from the clip below) had a stint later in life as a television columnist there. He died in 1994. An amusing fellow. Here's to him.

Incrementalism works

BTB refutes claims that a Colorado civil unions law would impede the fight for marriage equality:

Vermont, Washington DC, California, New Hampshire and Connecticut all had some form of civil unions or domestic partnerships before making a move to full marriage equality. Maryland which currently has domestic partnerships appears ready to legislate full marriage in 2011.

And nearly half the states that currently have trans-inclusive nondiscrimination laws achieved them through incrementalism. (i.e. passing sexual orientation protection one year and later adding gender identity) Here’s the data.

D.C. is one of the jurisdictions BTB cites in making its case, and that is correct. We deliberately pursued an incremental strategy that began with domestic partnerships but had marriage equality as the goal. Those who demand all or nothing and get nothing are in no position to criticize those of us who proceeded step by incremental step and won equality before they did. Granted, there have been those in recent years in D.C. who disparaged and discounted GLAA's careful preparatory work and who imagine that their posturing as latecomers to the fight was what played the key role. But if you can see past mere self-promotion to the evidence — for example, if you examine the string of rulings from the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics and various courts that favor our side, and if you notice that GLAA's efforts of three decades ago play a key role — then you know that (to quote the fable) slow and steady won the race.

Incidentally, the point is not that we favor going slow. The point is that, like it or not, we are in a long-term struggle. Success in a marathon requires more than sprinting skills. It is obnoxious and inexcusable that some who are so good at striking dramatic poses to prove their commitment to equality refuse to give due credit to the unglamorous groundwork laid by those who came before. At the signing ceremony for DADT repeal on Dec. 22, many LGBT veterans were present who were fighting the military gay ban before some of the current media favorites were born. Dan Choi acknowledges and honors Frank Kameny's pioneering efforts. That grace note is missing from those who talk as if anything but loud demands for instant equality is useless or a betrayal.

(Hat tip: Barrett Brick)

The women of The View take on Bill Donohue

The women of The View object to the false things said about them by Bill Donohue of the Catholic League. They're not exactly the Oxford Union, but in their touchy-feely way, they make some good points.

Cruz right over here

Wilson_cruz Here's a shot of actor Wilson Cruz at NYC's Splash Bar last week. It's so thoughtful when the presents unwrap themselves.

Mr. Cruz was at President Obama's Stonewall 40 reception in June 2009, which I was lucky enough to attend, and he was quite friendly. He was on his best behavior, however, and did not perform a striptease in the Blue Room.

(Hat tip: dlisted)

"Until then, we'll have to muddle through somehow"

Perhaps it is the Irish in me that makes me appreciate this saddest of all Christmas songs. All I can say is, those who insist on "fixing" its perfect lyric deserve to have all their snow people smashed. Until we pass the Uniting American Families Act, we'll have to muddle through. We sing a song, we light a candle to represent the dream we hold on to even at the darkest time of year. And we know that others have faced far greater hardships than we. At Christmas in 1944, Judy Garland's rendition of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" from Meet Me in St. Louis was a favorite among American troops fighting in World War II. Here's to everyone, soldier or not, who is far from loved ones this day. Some day soon....

December 24, 2010

"I struggle with this"

From President Obama's press conference on Wednesday, December 22. His discussion of gay marriage begins at about 2:26. I confess I am not interested in the President's struggles over whether I should enjoy equal protection of the law. I just want an immigrant visa for my partner. As Scrooge learns from the Ghost of Christmas Present, we don't have much time on earth. I've waited long enough for my chance at happiness. Of course, we do not have the votes for DOMA repeal or a federal civil unions bill, and it's about to get worse. Like it or not, we have much more work ahead of us. But presidential leadership on the issue would be great.

Shine

Fatherhood looks good on Ricky Martin, who here debuts his new single. He makes a fine stocking stuffer.

CNN on "The man who invented gay rights"

T1larg.carter_david "Today, Washington has named a street for Frank Kameny and his 1965 picket signs are in the Smithsonian Institution, but if Congress were to pass basic civil rights protection for America's LGBT citizens, it would be the greatest tribute yet to Kameny's pioneering work."

-- David Carter, the author of "Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution," the basis for the American Experience film "Stonewall Uprising" that will be shown on PBS in April. He is working on a biography of Frank Kameny.

Go to CNN.com to read David Carter's commentary on Frank Kameny's invaluable contributions to the movement for justice and equality.

Biden: marriage equality an "inevitability"

Joe, I hope you don't get in trouble for this one. Merry Christmas.

Krauthammer on Obama's new start

Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer continues his acknowledgment of President Obama's post-election comeback:

The great liberal ascendancy of 2008, destined to last 40 years (predicted James Carville), lasted less than two. Yet, the great Republican ascendancy of 2010 lasted less than two months. Republicans will enter the 112th Congress with larger numbers but no longer with the wind - the overwhelming Nov. 2 repudiation of Obama's social-democratic agenda - at their backs.

"Harry Reid has eaten our lunch," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, lamenting his side's "capitulation" in the lame-duck session. Yes, but it was less Harry than Barry. Obama came back with a vengeance. His string of lame-duck successes is a singular political achievement. Because of it, the epic battles of the 112th Congress begin on what would have seemed impossible just one month ago - a level playing field.

I think this reality will feed even more right-wing rage in the months ahead, as the radical-right's sense of entitlement, so recently encouraged by the recession-fueled midterm victory, collides with the reality that people are less and less cowed by the hysterical, world-is-ending rhetoric. As more and more Republicans confront the poltical destructiveness of the Know-Nothings, Obama should be able to peel more and more of them away on particular issues and votes. No more liberal gloom and doom — the fight is on!

December 23, 2010

No go carts in the living room!

David Letterman does a Christmas safety demonstration. If you're willing to take safety lessons from Letterman, that's your problem.