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149 posts from January 2012

January 22, 2012

White Girls at the Club

Jenna Marbles offers advice, in the form of a rant, to her fellow white girls who go to the club. Someone hold me back — she makes these girls sound so attractive! Of course, the fallacy in this is that if you hang out at clubs, you are going to be spending time with an unrepresentative population sample consisting of other people who hang out at clubs. This brings with it a higher likelihood of drunkenness. Chivalry compels me to note that my own lovely nieces, most of whom are white, do not behave as Ms. Marbles describes. As far as I know.

(Hat tip: Mark Lee)

If you're heading to Creating Change

Don't say you weren't warned.

Rep. Giffords steps down from Congress

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords release this video today. Here's a transcript:

Arizona is my home, always will be. A lot has happened over the past year. We cannot change that. But I know on the issues we fought for we can change things for the better. Jobs, border security, veterans. We can do so much more by working together. I don't remember much from that horrible day, but I will never forget the trust you placed in me to be your voice. Thank you for your prayers and for giving me time to recover. I have more work to do on my recovery so to do what is best for Arizona I will step down this week. I'm getting better. Every day, my spirit is high. I will return and we will work together for Arizona and this great country. Thank you very much.

Gabby's courage and determination in the year since the assassination attempt have been an inspiration to the nation. Alas, the pace of recovery from a brain injury, even in the best of circumstances, does not conform to a biennial election schedule. Today's announcement was one that we knew would likely come but nonetheless dreaded to hear. This is not the way elections are supposed to be decided. I am sure countless others are sharing my emotion right now. Here's wishing Gabby and her family all the best. But this is a sad day for America.

Office of Human Rights releases annual report for FY11

The D.C. Office of Human Rights has released its annual report for Fiscal Year 2012. Here are highlights:

  • In the area of enforcement, OHR completely eliminated its case backlog in 2010 and continued to maintain a significantly reduced case backlog in 2011
  • In FY11, OHR recorded a total of 339 new discrimination complaints
  • In 2010, OHR expanded its enforcement function by using the authority granted to the agency Direc­tor under the Human Rights Act, known as the Director’s Inquiry, and allocated specific resources to investigate allegations or possible patterns of discrimination in the District. A total of 94 Director’s Inquiries were investigated in 2009-20111.
  • In FY11, OHR hosted community forums to address issues facing Limited English and Non-English Proficient community members in accessing government services
  • In FY10, OHR conducted training for 788 DC government employees designated with EEO responsibilities from over 65 agencies
  • More than 7,800 users from District government and the private sector utilized OHR’s E-learning modules for EEO, Diversity and Language Access

The full report is here.

"I am the American dream"


Straightforward and to the point.

Gingrich Wins!


I regret to report that this delightful front page is photoshopped. The real front page of today's WaPo is here.

Matthew Hagee: AIDS is a Choice

Right Wing Watch reports, "Matthew Hagee says the problem with society is that the church 'surrendered' itself to secularism and socialism."

The top comment on that YouTube page is by someone named jackofclubz: "Funny he is preaching an antigay speech with the GAYEST SHIRT IN THE WORLD!!!!"

Okay, jackofclubz, let's butch it up and drop the extra exclamation points. (Pardon me, folks, it's Sunday morning and I just put the coffee on.)

January 21, 2012

Newt family values


Those horrible, nasty, treasonous elites


As I type this, Newt Gingrich is in the midst of his South Carolina victory speech, and just scornfully mentioned "the elites" which means anyone who sees through him.

Talk about class warfare. What makes these bogymen elite? Financial success? Hasn't he raked in enough cash to qualify? Or is it success in academia? He has a PhD, though it wasn't from a posh school. But of course his war against the elites has nothing to do with reality; it's purely about inflaming a mob. That, unfortunately, is an authentic American tradition. God preserve us.

Newt just repeated his challenge to Obama to participate in seven three-hour debates, and repeated his jibe about letter the President use his teleprompter. Of course, he only moments ago praised Ronald Reagan, who would have been all at sea without his cue cards. But a foolish consistency is not a hobgoblin in the mind of Newt.

Now he's given a litany of high holies beginning with American Exceptionalism, which to him means an entitlement to stomp around the world lecturing everyone else while trampling on our own professed values. Another reference to "elites."

What a disgusting human being. But remember, this is only South Carolina. (That's the treasonous part — you know, they fired on Fort Sumter.)

Star Wars: Uncut

I wanted to have a little Star Wars marathon over the holidays.  Sadly my VCR has broken so I can't watch my tapes anymore.  I am sure the movie makers could demand that this be removed from the Internet.  But would that be a wise move?  Seeing this will remind people of what a great movie  series this was and lead to more sales.  But Hollywood can be quite dumb about things.

Finally, the crowd-sourced project has been stitched together and put online for your streaming pleasure. The "Director's Cut" is a feature-length film that contains hand-picked scenes from the entire StarWarsUncut.com collection.

Many thanks to Aaron Valdez (video editor - http://www.aaronvaldez.com) and Bryan Pugh (sound design/mixing - http://www.pughtube.com) for the countless hours they put into this masterpiece.

The Story:

In 2009, Casey Pugh asked thousands of Internet users to remake "Star Wars: A New Hope" into a fan film, 15 seconds at a time. Contributors were allowed to recreate scenes from Star Wars however they wanted. Within just a few months SWU grew into a wild success. The creativity that poured into the project was unimaginable.

SWU has been featured in documentaries, news features and conferences around the world for its unique appeal. In 2010 we won a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Creative Achievement In Interactive Media.

We can't thank everyone enough for making this such a special project.


(via Towleroad)

When in a safari park

...Remember that you are encountering wild animals. Don't tease them with food, and don't turn your back on them. Seriously, this is a good Stupid Tourist cautionary video.

January 20, 2012

Newt's heartfelt outrage

I just want to say how moved I am by Newt Gingrich's heartfelt denunciations of campaign smears and the sorts of unscrupulous tactics that tear down our country and make it impossible to govern. Specifically, I am moved to puke in the toilet. Does he think we don't have a long video record of his exploits?

Bravery at sea


(Photo courtesy John Sweeney Jr.)

LGBT Asylum News roundup


Here are the latest stories from LGBT Asylum News:

Note: Do not trust any Ugandan official. The "Kill the Gays" bill is being pushed by associates of President Yoweri Museveni's wife. Eternal vigilance is especially required in that country.

Metro Weekly interviews Wilson Cruz; Geidner nominated for GLAAD Media Award

Wilson_CruzChris Geidner interviews actor Wilson Cruz for Metro Weekly. Here's an excerpt:

METRO WEEKLY: What will you be sharing with folks at Creating Change?

WILSON CRUZ: I'm actually doing a bit of a cabaret for them. It's called Love Child because, growing up, I had an affinity for the song ''Love Child.'' Just because I think I was a bit of a love child growing up.

My idea of love was a bit skewed. It was always about, if there was no pain involved, then it wasn't really love – really messed up.

I'm going to take people on a journey about love, what I've learned about love in the past 10 years. I think it's a great thing to talk to the Creating Change folks about because I've done a lot of this work. I've been a field organizer for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, I've worked on the Obama campaign, I'm a pretty political person. What I've realized is that, in doing my work as an activist and an organizer and such, we lose sight of what it is that we're actually fighting for.

I'm in the process of picking music that is going to help me tell that story. It's the story of falling in love, and what we do to sabotage that, and how we find ourselves ready to be open to loving again.

Also, congrats to Chris for being nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for his four-part series last year on the history of DOMA.

Activists skeptical about Hunter’s marriage views

The Blade has the latest on the Ward 5 special election, which has been set for May 15.

GLAA's ratings in the 2010 Ward 5 Council race can be found here. (Scroll down.)

Fischer: 'Poppers' and Promiscuity, Not HIV, Cause AIDS

Right Wing Watch shares this latest lunacy from Bryan Fischer of AFA.

Warning: It is not safe to take this man seriously.

Obama Called "Skinny, ghetto crackhead" on Fox

(Hat tip: Ta-Nehisi Coates)

80 mayors join campaign for marriage equality

I am proud to note that D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray is a signatory to this statement. (Of course, he also helped enact marriage equality in the nation's capital.) Thanks and congrats to our friends at Freedom to Marry.

Easy Street, to be exact

Think Progress reports: "Mitt Romney: I Have ‘Lived In The Real Streets Of America’"

Obama spins gold with a few bars of Al Green

President Obama was at New York's famed Apollo Theater yesterday, and paid tribute to Rev. Al Green, who was in the house, by singing a bit of his "Let's Stay Together." The President does have a pleasant singing voice, judging by that brief sample. Definitely several steps up from the Singing Senators.

Update: The President sure is getting a lot of mileage out of a few seconds of soul singing. Here is a performance of the song on "Late Night" from 1989 featuring Al Green with a crew assembled by Paul Shaffer including Toni Childs, Carlos Santana, Tito Puente, David Sanborn, and Melissa Etheridge.

Maynard Institute: How the Media Wrongly Cast Blacks as Villains in the Struggle for Marriage Equality

A perceptive article by the Maynard Institute.

Video: Black & Gay on Martin Luther King Day

Here's an inspiring video from NoMoreDownLow.TV. There's something distracting, though, about reporter Kendell Hogan. I can't quite put my finger on it.

Sully, making the case for Obama

Andrew Sullivan faces off against Bay Buchanan to defend his Newsweek cover story on President Obama's long game and how he is underestimated by his critics on both the left and the right. Sullivan is an old hand at debating. I would love to see a much longer set-to in which more issues can be argued; but the Obama team could learn something from him about defending the President's record.

Newt's racial air raid sirens

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Go to 3:40 in this clip from "Hardball" for evidence that Newt Gingrich's racial air raid sirens (we are long past dog whistles) have had their intended effect. And notice Newt's reaction.

My new racial code consultant, Chauncy DeVega of We Are Respectable Negroes, offers these insights:

A Google search limited to the last seven days yields the following results:

282,000 returns for "Juan Williams" and "put in place."

23,400 returns for "Juan Williams" and "uppity."

It would seem that someone is getting the message about those negro rapscallions.

The video of a Gingrich supporter applauding his reinforcement of the colorline, and the "natural order of things" through a "moment of instruction" for Juan Williams, is priceless. How can you deny the obvious that all this "lazy negro mop carrier uppity negro talk" is precisely about race, when one of your own white racist supporters signals just such a thing, and you, the candidate, smile in acknowledgement of what is a not so inside joke?

Somebody please pinch me. Is this crap really happening? I keep reminding myself that Republican primary debate and rally audiences are not representative of the wider population. But then I remember the 2010 election. This is scary. Ironically enough, part of the problem is the media, but not in the way Newt suggests. The problem is that the media plays into Newt's opportunistic hands, so that he reaps rewards for appealing to the worst in people. Whether he will pull an upset in South Carolina remains to be seen. But watching him in action is about as far as you can get from America's Grant Park moment on election night in 2008.

January 19, 2012

"This is, I believe, the most dangerous president of our lifetime."

That reality-challenged statement is by Newt Gingrich. This election is not primarily about ideological differences, but about a relentless, aggressive, thoroughgoing contempt for the truth on the part of the Republican Party. They won't stop their lying and ridiculously hyperbolic vilification even when the President embraces Republican policies. They are doing everything they can to harm the country for partisan gain. People talk about the President's failure to change the nature of American politics — but he cannot do that unilaterally.

Meanwhile, Newt scored more audience cheers today by slamming CNN's John King for opening the latest GOP debate with a question about the charges by Newt's ex-wife Marianne. Why, why, why did King not ask Newt the difference between questions about his marital infidelity and Bill Clinton's, which Newt pursued so aggressively? Tim Russert, where are you when we need you?

Which is more offensive?


(Hat tip: George Bakan. Photo by Joe Leder)

"What did liberals do that was so offensive to the Republican Party?"


(Hat tip: Mauro Montoya)

Headline of the day

Jezebel publishes a story with the priceless headline: Newt Gingrich Loved America So Much that he Needed an Open Marriage.

(Hat tip: Beth Corbin)

Christie hedges on NJ marriage equality bill

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is noncommittal on whether he would sign or veto a marriage equality bill were it to reach his desk — and for him, this represents an advance.

Newt's 2nd wife says he wanted an open marriage

WaPo reports. The former Speaker's utter cynicism and brazen hypocrisy are once again raised in high relief.

Truth Wins Out comments.

GLSEN Releases Groundbreaking Study of Bias, Bullying and Homophobia in Grades K-6

Here's a portion:

Key Findings on Gender Non-Conforming Students

  • Nearly 1 in 10 of elementary students in 3rd to 6th grade (8%) indicate that they do not always conform to traditional gender norms/roles - either they are boys who others sometimes think, act or look like a girl, or they are girls who others sometimes think, act or look like a boy.
  • Gender nonconforming students are less likely than other students to feel very safe at school (42% vs 61%), and are more likely than others to indicate they sometimes do not want to go to school because they feel unsafe or afraid there (35% vs 15%). Gender nonconforming students are also more likely than others to be called names, made fun of or bullied at least sometimes at school (56% vs 33%).
  • Less than half of teachers believe that a gender nonconforming student would feel comfortable at their school (male student who acts or looks traditionally feminine: 44%, female student who acts or looks traditionally masculine: 49%)
  • Only a third (34%) of teachers report having personally engaged in efforts to create a safe and supportive classroom environment for gender nonconforming students.

Check it out.

Minister at Midnight

Anthony_evansMy column this week addresses anti-gay minister Rev. Anthony Evans, one of the people we defeated in enacting marriage equality in D.C. two years ago. He claims to head a vast network of black churches, and frequently emails me about his plans. I wrote him on January 15. Here's a portion:

You and your cohorts tried to provoke an African American backlash by sowing discord in the name of religion. You sought to render black gay couples and their families and affirming clergy invisible. You failed at every turn, including at the voting booth. The new generation is leaving you far behind.

I have recently been advising several students at a public charter high school, all of them African American, who chose marriage equality as their thesis topic. All took the pro-gay side before I arrived; not all are gay. Most of their peers agree with them. Your name hasn't come up, but your arguments have. Their teacher insists, quite properly, that they examine both sides. They have studied the federal court case Perry v. Brown (formerly Perry v. Schwarzenegger), and have looked at its parallels to Loving v. Virginia, in which the U.S. Supreme Court overturned state laws against interracial marriage in 1967.

These students' views contrast with your image of a monolithic Black Church. They see no difference between Loving and Perry. They can quote your favorite biblical passages, but they can also quote the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment and the Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause of the 14th. I lent them my expertise, but they brought their own gifts of intellectual curiosity and comfort with a diverse society.

I am perplexed by your plan to excommunicate black church members who disagree with you. It reminds me of the parody website LandoverBaptist.org. People don't require permission to pray. Your stunts have no more chance of turning back the tide of history than speaking in tongues has of being mistaken for anything but gibberish. Kindly spare gay people your professions of love for our souls and try to raise your understanding at least to the level of those 17-year-olds.

Read the whole thing here. The title, incidentally, alludes to a quote from Dr. King that I use near the end of the piece.

Marriage News Watch - January 17, 2012


January 18, 2012

Stella monstrat viam

That phrase is Latin for "the star shows the way." In this case it shows that the observer took this series of time-lapse photos from Australia. From my latitude you can never see Alpha Centauri, the Southern Cross, or the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. Toward the end of the video an upside-down Orion appears; to see that here, you could stand on your head. As for the Milky Way, you could view a different stretch of it from these parts, assuming there were a massive regional power outage on a cloudless night.

This piece is called "Ocean Sky" and is by Alex Cherney at Terrastro.com.

Bryan Fischer is not your doctor

Right Wing Watch reports: "Bryan Fischer says God will heal AIDS patients if they just stop having sex with men." This reminds me of the story of the man with a well who refused a drink to a man dying of thirst, admonishing him with the observation that water was dangerous and the man could drown.

Uganda's push back against "Kill the Gays" bill criticism

Check out this story from BTB.

Did Newt provoke a suicide by threatening to out a gay affair?

Marc Caputo blogs at Miami Herald:

[F]ormer Rep. Bill Paxon, was a top leader in the coup to oust Gingrich in 1997. It failed. Some blame Republican leader Dick Armey, now the leader of tea-party organizer FreedomWorks, for selling out his fellow plotters when he learned that Paxon would be speaker and not him.

Paxon mysteriously soon left his post in Congress. It was never clear why.

"There is a concerted effort to take Bill Paxon out before he becomes a bigger threat to Gingrich than he is," Hill reporter Sandy Hume reported at the time, according to this Arianna Huffington. "Paxon and Armey haven't been on speaking terms since the coup."

Soon after, Hume, son of the Fox commentator, committed suicide.

About the same time, rumors surfaced that Hume and Paxon had been involved in a a gay affair. Some (namely MSNBC's Joe Scarborough) blamed Armey for leaking the information to stop Paxon. Some blamed Gingrich, since he benefitted most. Some blamed them both for the rumor.

A commenter at Gawker says:

Having worked on Capitol Hill when Newt was speaker, I can testify that however cold, vile, spiteful and unpleasant you think he is, you are underestimating it.

Who knows? A journalist friend said that Caputo must have something in order to run that item. I guess time will tell.

Update: It appears from this 2009 story that the claim of a gay affair was a lie spread by Dick Armey. Former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough, one of the participants in the 1997 coup attempt against Gingrich who now hosts "Morning Joe" on MSNBC, wrote in a 2004 book that he (Scarborough) was the source for Sandy Hume's story on the putsch that Armey foiled. All of this Hill plotting was going on in the midst of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. No wonder Bill Clinton won that fight. But the reasons for Paxon's abrupt retirement from politics and Hume's suicide remain a mystery. The story and the rumors are not new. Perhaps the Romney campaign is trying to revive them to knock off Gingrich. No one would shed a tear for Newt even if he is innocent in the matter. What a lovely town this is. Stay tuned.

D.C. Council limits medical marijuana cultivation center sites

DCist reports:

The D.C. Council voted today to limit the number of medical marijuana cultivation centers in Ward 5 to six, possibly throwing another wrench in the works of a program that has already been slow to get off the ground.

The vote came at the behest of Councilmember Vincent Orange (D-At Large), who initially proposed that no more than five cultivation centers be allowed in Ward 5. During the debate, though, he agreed to an amendment put forth by Councilmember David Catania (I-At Large) increasing the limit to six per any ward and limiting the number of dispensaries to one for any ward that has five or more cultivation centers.

Orange pushed the new limits after hearing a number of complaints at a community hearing in Ward 5 last week; before he resigned, Harry Thomas, Jr. had said that he was planning on some sort of new limits on cultivation centers and dispensaries in his ward. Since initial applications for cultivation centers were found to have clustered largely in Ward 5, residents have complained loudly that they are again being used as a dumping ground for things that no one else in the city wants.

In a letter to the council, Mayor Vince Gray expressed his opposition to any new limits on cultivation centers and dispensaries, saying that it would "further delay implementation of this important program which is necessary to assist individuals who suffer with chronic debilitating pain." During the council debate, Councilmember Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) similarly expressed concerns that any further restrictions would make the broader medical marijuana program unworkable.

Moving forward, it is unclear how the council's move will affect the status of applications for licenses to run both cultivation centers and dispensaries.

I am not happy. As Mayor Gray and Phil Mendelson mentioned, there are already heavy restrictions in D.C.'s law. This is the basest sort of pandering. I expect that David Catania struck the best compromise that he could. He and the other council members who were defending the law deserve due credit for doing their best to fend off the irrationality surrounding this. But the fact that it might have been worse is cold comfort to the patients who need medical marijuana.

GLAA's position on this from "Agenda: 2012" is here.

Money Flows to G.O.P. Backers of Gay Marriage

NYT reports:

ALBANY — Gay rights advocates from Wall Street to Hollywood poured donations into the coffers of four little-known Republican state senators after the lawmakers provided the decisive votes for same-sex marriage in New York last June, according to new campaign finance filings released on Tuesday.

The support for the four senators, whose votes broke ranks with their party, is seen by gay rights leaders as symbolically important for their movement nationally, because in many states same-sex marriage could become law only with support from Republicans, as well as conservative Democrats. Maryland, New Jersey and Washington State are expected to consider same-sex marriage legislation this year.

The four New York Republicans had been threatened with political retribution by the state’s Conservative Party, and now face possible challenges from both the left and the right, but same-sex marriage supporters had promised to help them politically if they supported the issue.

“It was essential to send a clear signal around the country that we will support those who support equality, irrespective of party,” said Brian Ellner, a senior strategist for the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group. “We were able to win marriage in New York with a bipartisan coalition of fair-minded elected officials. We need to replicate that if we are to keep winning.”


Full disclosure: On June 27, a few days after the marriage bill was signed by Gov. Cuomo, I used links provided by Log Cabin Republicans to donate $50 each (I'm no moneybags) to the four Republican state senators whose support made the difference between victory and defeat for marriage equality in New York: Roy J. McDonald, Stephen M. Saland, Mark Grisanti, and James S. Alesi. That is a roll of honor. I am a Democrat, and I would love to see my party retake control of the New York State Senate, but not at the expense of these four brave men. I also give praise to New York Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos (R), who allowed the bill to come up for a vote. Mitch McConnell, needless to say, would not have acted similarly were he in such a position. (BTW, it ought to be obvious, but I am expressing my personal opinion here. That is what makes this blog different from GLAA's main website. Here we air our personal views. GLAA itself is nonpartisan in its advocacy, and there is extensive evidence to prove it.)

Update: Charlie Watson, in the comments, calls the situation a win-win. If these Republican state senators are defeated in their primaries, it will be by candidates to their right. That will make their seats more winnable in the general election by Democrats, who are likelier to by pro-equality (not a high bar, since these senators are being targeted by NOM and others precisely because they voted for marriage equality).