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106 posts from August 2012

August 31, 2012

A chair is still a chair, even when there's no one sitting there

Our friend Mark Thompson at Sirius/XM Left played this song on his Friday evening broadcast in honor of Clint Eastwood's instantly notorious conversation with an empty chair on the final night of the Republican National Convention. Mark used the studio recording by Luther Vandross, whose solo career was launched in part by his cover of "A House Is Not a Home" in 1981. This video clip is from Luther's live performance at the NAACP Image Awards in 1988. Dionne Warwick considers this "the definitive version" of the great Burt Bacharach & Hal David ballad, which she first recorded in 1964.

Needless to say, Clint Eastwood is no Hal David, and made no poetry with his empty chair.


Jon Stewart looks at Paul Ryan's RNC speech from Wednesday night.



Rev. Anthony Evans gets security

This just in:

National Black Church Initiative
P.O. Box 65177
Washington, DC 20035

Rev. Anthony Evans

August 29, 2012

For Immediate Release

The National Black Church Initiative has Ordered Security for Rev. Anthony Evans in Light of the Shooting at the Family Research Council

NBCI Expresses its Sincere Sorrow to the Victim that was Shot

Washington, D.C.— The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI), a coalition of 34,000 African American churches spanning 15 denominations and representing 15.7 million African Americans and its board of directors have ordered security for NBCI President Rev. Anthony Evans because of the NBCI stance against same-sex marriage. The shooting underscores the violence that has plagued the same-sex marriage debate. The security measures are necessary to protect Rev. Evans and the NBCI stance for Christ and against same-sex marriage.

Ms. Debra Coley-Bagley, chair of NBCI’s Board of Directors says, “Rev. Evans is a brave Christian clergy who stands on the Word of God, and we would hate for him to be harmed by the forces of evil that support same-sex marriage. We do, however, commend leaders of the gay community who have denounced the shooting of the staff member at the Family Research Council.”

All I can say is, what a shameless opportunist. He needs security to protect him against same-sex marriage? What, he needs someone to stop him from getting married to a man? I think the Reverend needs help, but not from a security detail. OTOH, I have no complaints against hunky young men in uniforms.

A perplexing cover story in Metro Weekly


This week's issue of Metro Weekly (where I am a columnist) has a cover story on activist Nick McCoy, who discusses his background and political ambitions. Nick was one of ten marriage equality activists that GLAA honored with Distinguished Service Awards in 2010. Specifically, we honored Nick for his canvassing efforts as co-leader of the ANC Action Team and a Human Rights Campaign field organizer. On August 9 of this year, I took part in the "We Shall Not Be Moved" rally and safety walk through the Bloomingdale and Eckington neighborhoods that he organized with activist Amy Loudermilk. Those efforts are commendable.

I did not know Nick was considering a run for the D.C. Council. I also did not know that he considered me a mentor (along with others including Philip Pannell and Jeffrey Richardson). The interview has a weird feeling of unreality to it. I remember arguing with Nick on several occasions; I do not remember him being seeking mentorship. I do not know what to make of his history of job-hopping, which becomes relevant in someone considering a run for our legislature. He is certainly restless and energetic. I wish him well in his aspirations.

(Photo by Todd Franson for Metro Weekly)

Refuting Ryan's lies and distortions

The Obama campaign released this video with these comments:

Paul Ryan's speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa was full of wrong and misleading statements. If you've seen any coverage of it, you know that the consensus among journalists and independent observers is that it was factually challenged....

He lied about Medicare. He lied about the Recovery Act. He lied about the deficit and debt. He even dishonestly attacked Barack Obama for the closing of a GM plant in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin -- a plant that closed in December 2008 under George W. Bush.

Paul Ryan failed to offer one constructive idea about what he would do to move the country forward.

David Koch supports marriage equality, taxes, defense cuts


Politico reports:

Billionaire industrialist David Koch, who is helping steer millions of dollars to elect Mitt Romney and congressional Republicans, on Thursday told POLITICO he disagrees with the GOP’s stance on gay marriage and believes the U.S. needs to consider raising taxes to balance the budget.

(Photo: AP)

"This seat's taken"


President Obama responds to Clint Eastwood.

August 30, 2012



Jonathan Capehart shares this photo of the balloon drop following Mitt Romney's acceptance speech.

Andrew Sullivan comments here. Daily Caller whinges (as the Brits would say).

The empty chair won

Movie icon Clint Eastwood acted every bit of his 82 years in this bizarre, meandering performance at the Republican National Convention. He talked to an empty chair representing President Obama. The general consensus is that the chair won.

Incidentally, it didn't come up, but Clint supports marriage equality and doesn't like anti-abortion fanaticism. Seriously, why was he there? Apparently the Romney people did not dare try to control what he said, and he extemporized. Expect an insurgent campaign to elect @clintschair.

Wall cloud


This photo from The Cloud Appreciation Society shows a wall cloud from Tropical Storm Isaac heading toward the Florida coast earlier this week. Beautiful, ain't it?

Capehart, off the hook in Tampa


On "The Cycle" this afternoon, conservative co-host S.E. Cupp suggested to MSNBC contributor Jonathan Capehart that all the talk about Republican racial dog-whistles were a lot of b.s. and that Democrats are just as bad. As Jonathan (who was standing outside) started to respond, a ship's horn sounded loudly. He laughed and said, "The Carnival Cruise ship tried to answer for me." Word!

Later, at about 4:30 pm, Jonathan tweeted this:

‏@CapehartJ RT @cpa1974: @CapehartJ @msnbc hispanic is not a race u ignorant fag//Thanks for the correction. You ignorant bigot. #getoffmyfeed

Looks like our mild-mannered friend is getting a little frisky down there in Tampa. Speaking of Clint Eastwood references: I understand that the man who famously said "Get off my lawn" in Grand Torino is speaking at the convention tonight. But didn't John McCain speak last night?

Jesus defends His Spanish portrait restoration

Dazzling, deceiving, distracting

Paul Ryan GOP Convention
(Vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan at the Republican National Convention. AP Photo)

Sally Kohn opines at FoxNews.com:

Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech. On this measure, while it was Romney who ran the Olympics, Ryan earned the gold.

BTW, the GOP captions this video, "Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan delivers the keynote address to the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL." I guess they're eager to forget the vocal warmup exercises (me Me ME Me me) offered the other night by the governor of New Jersey.

Let me be perfectly vague


From The New Yorker.

At RNC: "This is how we feed the animals"

My jaw dropped two days ago when I heard this disgusting story. Reading about it again now, it's just as unbelievable: A Republican National Convention delegate throwing a handful of nuts at a black CNN camerawoman and saying, "This is how we feed the animals." The delegate in question was reportedly removed, and GOP officials have deplored the incident. But this is what the Republican Party and its candidates have done to themselves by stoking and exploiting racial hostility rather than rebuking it. Now they own it, or it might better be said that it owns them. A sad state of affairs. Yet it could still work for them. Do not take this election lightly.

Once again, a hurricane is blamed on Southern Decadence

World Net Daily goes there. Isn't the arrival of a tropical storm right before a big gay celebration more easily explained by the fact that the annual celebration is held in New Orleans at the height of hurricane season? And why is it that the homophobic theocrats never blame themselves when bad storms hit them?

(Hat tip: Joe Jervis)

Friar says priests were seduced by kids

Father Benedict Groeschel of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal makes a bold assertion concerning pedophile priests:

People have this picture in their minds of a person planning to — a psychopath. But that’s not the case. Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him. A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer....

Well, it’s not so hard to see — a kid looking for a father and didn’t have his own — and they won’t be planning to get into heavy-duty sex, but almost romantic, embracing, kissing, perhaps sleeping but not having intercourse or anything like that. It’s an understandable thing, and you know where you find it, among other clergy or important people; you look at teachers, attorneys, judges, social workers. Generally, if they get involved, it’s heterosexually, and if it’s a priest, he leaves and gets married — that’s the usual thing — and gets a dispensation....

Well, you know, until recent years, people did not register in their minds that it was a crime. It was a moral failure, scandalous; but they didn’t think of it in terms of legal things.

Back in 1993 and 1994, when I was involved in the ultimately successful effort to expel NAMBLA and other pedophile groups from the International Lesbian and Gay Association, I encountered the same brazen defense. [Fortunately, that defense failed: ILGA delegates in 1994 voted by an 89 percent majority to expel the groups.] This is not a hard call: we are talking about adults and children. An adult has a responsibility to exercise self-control, and to protect children rather than exploit them. Anyone in a position of authority who cannot understand this should certainly not be permitted to interact with children. This story is just one more example of religious leaders utterly abdicating their moral authority.

(Hat tip: Joe Jervis)

August 29, 2012

GLAA main website restored

GLAA's main website at glaa.org has been restored after our previous hosting service vanished. [Note: it may take a day or so for it to show up for you because the move of our glaa.org domain name to a different host takes a while to propagate across the Internet.] Our GLAA email addresses are not yet operational, nor is the feed of LGBT links. You can contact GLAA by telephone at (202) 667-5139 (our telephone number hasn't changed in the last 40+ years) or by sending an email to webmaster at glaaforum dot org (or to rrosendall at star power dot net) Or send us some snail mail by addressing it to:

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, DC
P.O. Box 75265
Washington, DC 20013

Letterman doesn't believe Ann and Mitt's shopping claims

August 28, 2012

Matthews lashes Priebus on GOP racial dog-whistling

In case you missed it, Chris Matthews laid into RNC Chair Reince Priebus on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Monday for the Republicans' blatant use of racial appeals in this campaign.

Let freedom ring

49 years ago today, the greatest political speech of modern times was delivered by a 34-year-old minister on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to a vast, racially mixed crowd. Above is the speech's most famous passage.

Everyone claims him now, but not all honor him by their deeds. His speech ended, "And when we let freedom ring, we will speed up that day when all of God's children ... will be able to join hands and say in the words of the old Negro spiritual, 'Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we are free at last.'"

Contrary to Thurgood Marshall, who was no fan, Dr. King was not saying that the day of freedom had already arrived; he was looking to the future, summoning us all to the work that still lay ahead. The sad spectacle of today's Republican Party, including its ill-concealed racial code language, makes it all too clear that we have not reached the goal. As another spiritual puts it: Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on.

Condo of uncertainty?


All kidding aside, our thoughts go out to all in the path of what is now Hurricane Isaac, that they get to safety. As to outspoken small-government conservatives in the storm's path who are now demanding federal money (this includes you, Bobby Jindal), just be glad our government and its leader know that this isn't about you.

(Hat tip: Mauro Montoya)

Not to three shalt thou count

BBC reports:

A notary in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo has sparked controversy by accepting a civil union between three people.

The anti-gay right loves to go crazy over this sort of thing. But the fact is that there is no significant movement demanding polygamy. Our opponents essentially argue that making any change requires making every conceivable change, but that is plainly absurd. Legislatures make choices all the time. They adopt one policy and reject various others. They insert particular clauses and delete others. Allowing gay and lesbian couples to legalize their partnerships or unions or marriages does not require making other changes. It makes no more sense to say "We cannot let you marry a man because we don't want you to marry a box turtle" than to say "You cannot eat ice cream because we don't want you eating deadly nightshade." But I don't want to eat deadly nightshade.

Glad I was able to clear that up.

(Hat tip: Blabbeando)

August 27, 2012

Now from Dinesh D'Souza: 2016 Obama's America

Here's the trailer for the Dinesh D'Souza hatchet job on President Obama, which reportedly has done well at the box office in its early showings. For my opinion of Mr. D'Souza, see my review of his 2007 book, The Enemy at Home.

Mark Sanford is back on the trail

As Towleroad puts it, "The anti-marriage equality, anti-gay adoption, anti-civil union, pro-constitutional-amendment-defining-marriage-as-the-union-of-one-man-and-one-woman, Republican former governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford, is getting married again."

Well buena suerte to Mr. Sanford and his betrothed, Maria Belen Chapur. There is something comforting in knowing that he hasn't changed his mind about the love that wrecked his career, like Edward VIII and Mrs. Simpson.

Fischer: DNC is a "Three Day Death Camp"

Bryan Fischer here is talking about Democrats' support for women's right to choose abortion. I myself have been called a genocidaire (as the French elegantly put it) for this very reason. The distinction between one's personal moral beliefs and one's view of what should be the law in a religiously diverse society is entirely lost on these theocrats, of course. But we must keep pointing out their disrespect for that diversity, and calling them out for their bullying, for the sake of our fellow citizens who are paying less attention and are more susceptible to their propaganda. This election will be won at the margins.

Barber: Pray for PFAW, Which Is In 'Rebellion Against God'

Matt Barber shows his Christian compassion for the hell-bound folks at People for the American Way by urging his listeners to pray for them. Enough prayer offerings and we can quell this rebellion against Gawd. This nicely exempliies the fundamental problem here: people like Barber simply cannot accept the unchangeable reality of religious diversity in this country. Whether we're damned or not, most Americans simply do not agree with Mr. Barber. No election result will change that, though it might give disproportionate power to Mr. Barber's political allies. That possibility is what should keep us from being smugly dismissive of the loony preachings of people like Matt Barber.

August 26, 2012

Your political discourse on crack

Tea Party rally sign 24 Aug 2012

On August 24, the fabulous blogger Pam Spaulding shared a photo from someone on Facebook named "Christians for Michele Bachmann" (hereinafter CMB). Pam commented, "The Base of the GOP speaks. Sad." The photo's caption is, "That's my sign at the Tri-Country Tea Party Rally!!!!" The sign says: "Do I 'Look' Like I Want to 'Surve' in Obama's Nazi Yooth Militia? Arrest our Comminist, Racest, Facsist, Lying, President NOW for Treason!!"

CMB's profile picture is a close-up of a big-breasted young woman wearing nothing but a bra. It might qualify as a resume photo if she were applying to "Girls Gone Wild."

Here are some of the reader comments that appeared below the photo:

Winter Colby: Someone please tell me the author of this sign is a brainwashed eleven year old.

Eric Everson: Gee, if yur Christian shouldn't you turn the other check?

Christopher Greenfield: Wow! Did your parents have any children that lived?

Christopher Giotta: If you look at the soil around any large u.s. city with a big underground homogay population - des moines, iowa, perfect example - look at the soil around des moines, you can't build on it, you can't grow anything in it. The government says it's due to poor farming, but I know what's really going on. I know it's the homogays. They're in it with the aliens. They're building landing strips for homogay martians, I swear to god!

Peter Dingli: Let us start from the beginning . A is for Apple. Are you with me Is that too fast for you? Ok B is for BONKERS

CMB: Oh, I got it Peter Dingli. Let me try... C is for Peter Dingli is a stupid Aussis Sissy lib who has sex with kangaroos.

Ken Koch: There is plenty to mock about M. Bachmann than feeding this obvious troll.

CMB: I'm smarter than you Patty Pinkley. I challenge you to a SMARTOFF!!

Jeff Miletich: The only thing you could win is a "Bat-Shit Crazy" - off

CMB: First, I'm not a girl. I'm a boy. And that girl is a genune BachFann™ who I want to sex.

John F. Daniel: Ok, I understand you were homsechooled, but are you also inbred?

CMB: Oh, John is a GRAMMAR NAZI.

CMB: ‎"did you pay attention in 3rd grade english," No. Too many teachers are part of socialist teachers unions.

Mark Simmons: I liked this page because well I saw big tits

Cecily Cedilote: You are a raging ignorant low IQ scum.

Maegan Sanchez: You need to get smacked with a dictionary

Andrew Paul Wright: I hear a banjo playing in the distance.

Yiddish Curses for Republican Jews

I offer this in the name of Tropical Storm Isaac, a nice Jewish boy. (But don't blame me. Blame my meshuggeneh friend Dana Beyer, who posted it on Facebook.)

  • May your state outlaw the morning-after pill the day before your daughter comes home from the NFTY convention.
  • May your child give his Bar Mitzvah speech on the genius of Ayn Rand.
  • May you find yourself insisting to a roomful of skeptics that your great-grandmother was "legitimately" raped by Cossacks.
  • May you be reunited in the world to come with your ancestors, who were all socialist garment workers.
  • May you find yourself lost and stranded in a village of Palestinian Muslims, and may you be treated only with dignity, kindness and respect.
  • May your grandchildren baptize you after you’re dead.
  • May G-d give you a daughter-in-law who is as kind as she is beautiful, as patient as she is rich, as wise as she is devoted, a virtuous woman in every way. And then may a ballot initiative invalidate her marriage to your fat lump Rebecca.

Whoever made this stuff up gets an extra glass of Manischewitz (and I don't mean that as a curse).

August 25, 2012

Neil Armstrong, 1930 - 2012

Neil Armstrong, the first human being to set foot on the moon, has died at age 82. Above is footage of one of the greatest moments in human history.

Update: Our friend Kim Corsaro shares this:

Best Facebook status update on Neil Armstrong today, from Armistead Maupin: "I met this nice man around a campfire last year in Santa Fe. As the moon rose in the sky, he talked, with extraordinary modesty, about landing on it. Later, when I introduced Chris to him as my husband, he smiled as if this were the most ordinary thing in the world. It occurred to me that there's been more than one giant leap for mankind since 1969."

(Neil Armstrong in lunar lander on July 20, 1969. NASA photo)

Web issues

The company that hosts GLAA.ORG has disappeared from the net.  So unfortunately our website has vanished.  Fortunatelyy we have a compete backup, but it will take a while to get a new host configured.  This also means that our email addresses are no longer active, temporarily.  You can still contact GLAA by telephone at (202) 667-5139 (our telephone number hasn't changed in the last 40+ years) or by sending an email to webmaster at glaaforum.org  Or send us some snail mail by addressing it to

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, DC
P.O. Box 75265
Washington, DC 20013

Renegade Raging Grannies respond to Todd Akin

(Hat tip: George Bakan)

August 24, 2012

The Count stops

Sesame Street puppeteer Jerry Nelson, whose Count von Count is seen here with Kevin Clash's Elmo singing "This Old Bat," has died at age 78. One little tear! Two little tears! Three little tears! Oh, the Count would understand.

Patrick Murphy - Time Out

Patrick Murphy is running for Congress against right-wing nutjob Rep. Allen West in Florida's new 18th District. This clever ad hits home.

Recommended reading: "Fear of a Black President"

Please check out this feature article by by Ta-Nehisi Coates in The Atlantic, titled, "Fear of a Black President." It is one of the strongest pieces on racial politics I have ever read — full of history, passion, and insight. Andrew Sullivan calls the piece "deeply thoughtful." It is a fairly lengthy article, but more than repays a careful reading. Here is an excerpt:

Part of Obama’s genius is a remarkable ability to soothe race consciousness among whites. Any black person who’s worked in the professional world is well acquainted with this trick. But never has it been practiced at such a high level, and never have its limits been so obviously exposed. This need to talk in dulcet tones, to never be angry regardless of the offense, bespeaks a strange and compromised integration indeed, revealing a country so infantile that it can countenance white acceptance of blacks only when they meet an Al Roker standard.

From the San Francisco 49ers: It Gets Better

Thanks to the 49ers. They should have more company.

Romney tells Birther joke

What an unprincipled scumbag. Jonathan Capehart comments. As our esteemed friend Ernest Hopkins said on FB, "Unworthy of a potential President of the USA. Period."

(Hat tip: ThinkProgress)

What an honor

I don't mean to appear ungrateful, since I'm one of the nominees for "Most Committed Activist" in the Blade's "Best of Gay DC" contest, but what is the point of a contest in which people can vote once per day? Here is the latest tweet from the Blade:

‏@WashingtonBlade Oh for Pete's sake, have you voted yet today? http://goo.gl/RZV3W

The point, of course, is promotion. Presumably at least one of my fellow nominees has asked his friends to help stuff the ballot box, which the sponsor of the contest apparently encourages; so congrats in advance, for what it's worth. This confirms me in the wisdom of GLAA's approach to our Distinguished Service Award winners: We do not say who was nominated, we simply announce the names of our chosen honorees, once they have confirmed that they will accept. If you want to honor someone, honor them. There is something degrading about the "Have you voted today?" approach.

Grisly scene in midtown Manhattan

(Photo by Sam Gewitz for The New York Times)

Pardon the bloody photo, but I suppose if the Gray Lady considers it fit to publish, this is the new mainstream and we'd better get used to it. I was having my morning coffee at a cafe in Dupont Circle when the news hit everyone's Twitter feed about the latest mass shooting, this one on 33rd between Fifth and Sixth Avenues near the Empire State Building in NYC. It was quickly announced that this was not a terrorist incident, but was a fired employee getting revenge on his former boss. (The statement that it was not terrorist-related prompted jaded comments that the shooter must be white.) Some of the victims may have been caught in the crossfire between suspect Jeffrey Johnson (who is now dead) and police. NYT reports here. Gawker reports here.

Meanwhile, 19 people were shot in overnight shootings in Chicago. As New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg pointed out, there are a lot of guns out there. I wonder how much more of this would have to happen before right-wingers would admit that the proliferation of guns does not make us safer. Nah, they'd probably deny the problem no matter what.