I am writing a serious column about atomic bombs and the first American president to go to Hiroshima, but I needed an ice cream break. Here is a sample of the show I saw in NYC yesterday, to give you an idea of why I am rooting for this lady to win a Tony on June 12. Seconds please!
Seeing the matinee Saturday of She Loves Me starring the fabulous Laura Benanti was like a generous helping of vanilla ice cream on a hot Manhattan day. Score, set, performances and staging add up to a delightful show. Its Tony noms (including hers) are well deserved. Laura is like family to members and veterans of the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington. She is the beloved niece of our late stalwart Bob Wonneberger, and has performed with the chorus. Yesterday she texted me that between shows she threw a baby shower for a friend. She has been a bit under the weather, but is a real trouper. Take care of those pipes!
Please join us at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, June 1 in the Martin Luther King Library for a community discussion on LGBTQ social justice and rights. It is an interesting panel of participants. GLAA President Rick Rosendall will moderate.
A powerful moment in Hiroshima as our president embraces one of the Hibakusha, a survivor of the atomic blast 71 years ago. My heart soars. I am so proud of this man, who with simple grace leaves the haters in the dust and honors the better angels of our nature. He enlarges himself and us.
The haters on the right are going ape. It is a reminder of the despicable alternative we are faced with this year. We can defeat the haters if we simply stop making excuses and vote. 71 years are long enough to cling to the bitterness of the past. If we do not heal, we make a hollow mockery of Yad Vashem's "Never Again, Never Forget."
I was just scrolling through Daily Caller's Twitter feed looking for this item that someone had posted on Facebook. Their feed is pretty hilarious. One item they posted used a picture of Obama at the White House Easter party making monster gestures while reading Where the Wild Things Are to a group of children. Yes, he's a scary black man!
Our friend Mark Fischer wrote on Facebook:
My comment on The Daily Caller website was deleted.
I pointed out the fact that the address was "close to the French Ambassador's residence, Embassy Row, and the homes of other notable people."
I also posted the facts:
"The mosque has been visited by many dignitaries, including several presidents. President George W. Bush visited on September 17, 2001, only days after the attacks of September 11. On national television, Bush quoted from the Qur'an and worked to assure Americans that the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful."
"In 2015 a group of Muslim activists, politicians, and writers issued a Declaration of Reform which announced the founding of the Muslim Reform Movement organization to work against the beliefs of Middle Eastern terror groups. That year Asra Nomani and others placed the Declaration on the door of the mosque."
Maybe it was my suggestion that those points were left out of the story because they didn't appeal to the "deep bias and hate-Obama sentiment of The Daily Caller and its readers." LOL!!
Sondheim's most beloved song, sung by his greatest interpreter. Its rueful tone, rather than fear, seems to fit this absurd election year:
Isn't it rich? Are they a pair?
Hillary's feet on the ground,
Trump in midair?
Where are the clowns?
I was going to agree with this criticism, and it will do me no shred of good not to, but on reflection I think too much is being made of this. I myself (echoed by my GLAA colleagues) called for legalizing sex work eight years ago, which is one of the questions in the 15-page questionnaire; but Hillary is in a race against Trump with grave implications for our country, and must pick her battles. Anyone who doubts her commitment to trans equality should check out the positions page at Trans Equality for Hillary.
Time magazine's rainbow cover sparks outrage https://t.co/Rbu8t99qpF— Washington Blade (@WashBlade) May 25, 2016
This article quotes one objection to the Time cover:
“Dear @time this is a gay pride flag, not a trans pride flag. This is erasure and a failure of basic due diligence,” one person tweeted.
Erasure? Really? The cover of Time Magazine is the opposite of erasure, whether you like the illustration or not. According to Wikipedia, "Unlike within the wider LGBT communities worldwide which have adopted the Rainbow flag, the various transgender individuals, organizations and communities around the world have not coalesced around one single flag design. Instead there are several flags used and endorsed by the varying transgender individuals, organizations and communities." The cover design is a striking graphic inspired by the far better known rainbow flag, which our enemies certainly regard as including the T even if you don't. This is the sort of fake controversy that causes people whose support we need to roll their eyes and turn away.
Vince Gray tangles with the Washington Post ed board over Ward 7 endorsement https://t.co/rz96M7t3PX— Will Sommer (@willsommer) May 23, 2016
The Washington Post has endorsed Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander based on the five-year campaign against Vince Gray by the U.S. Attorney that came up empty. Indeed, the Post concedes, "Mr. Gray is right about Ms. Alexander’s disappointing performance and about his own deep experience." The supposed endorsement of Alexander hardly mentions her.
As usual, I held back from expressing my personal preferences until after GLAA finished its evaluation of candidates. That was done two weeks ago. Here is my personal view: Vince Gray is head and shoulders above the competition. That being said, GLAA gave due credit to Councilmember Alexander for her good work, including her improvement during the past four years, as can be seen in GLAA's news release on our primary ratings.
Former Mayor Gray earned a +10 rating from GLAA (compared to Alexander's +5.5), as well as the endorsement of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club (with 70 percent of the vote on the first ballot). Gray's GLAA questionnaire response sets the standard in this election cycle for thoroughness and understanding stemming from his experience and commitment on LGBT issues.
Here is my 2014 citation for GLAA's special Distinguished Service Award to then-Mayor Gray. The list of accomplishments is a long one.
To be clear, GLAA does not endorse candidates in partisan races. I am just giving you my personal opinion when I encourage Ward 7 voters to support this experienced and effective public servant, Vincent C. Gray. Personally I like Yvette Alexander, and I appreciate her growth in office. But on the range of issues that are my focus, Vince Gray is simply the best candidate in the race.
Top LBJ aide Walter Jenkins was arrested in October 1964 for sex with a man in a YMCA bathroom in Washington. Above is a scene in the movie All the Way referencing it, in which President Johnson makes a dig at FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. Below is a recording of Johnson talking by phone to his wife Lady Bird about the scandal, which occurred a few weeks before the 1964 election. The conversation starts about 45 seconds into the tape. (Hat tip: Mark Thompson)
Cornel West: Trump is a “narcissistic neo-fascist in the making”; Clinton is a hawkish “milquetoast neoliberal” https://t.co/m2iOw6VsMS— Salon.com (@Salon) May 24, 2016
Intellectual huckster Cornel West, who is big on Bernie, with his latest. How can someone be both hawkish and milquetoast? Oh never mind.
Bernie Sanders is insulting voters with this notion https://t.co/AXooZOlKGl— Salon.com (@Salon) May 24, 2016
Yes. It is tiresome and silly when Bernie True Believers reflexively call you either a paid Hillary shill or a dupe for disagreeing with them. This is like Thanksgiving with your crazy uncle only without the comfort food. The last time I remember being called a dupe I was in a Trotskyite bookstore and the culprits I was told had brainwashed me were "the sugar barons." How fitting, then, that Bernie once praised Fidel. At that bookstore, someone called for overthrowing the government. I thought of my security clearance, and I looked up at the light fixture and said, "I don't agree with these people." Then I handed the guy a voter registration form. So I guess you can blame me.
Lawyer who helped take down Prop 8 joins fight against NC's anti-LGBT law https://t.co/HB5gBNJCEq— huffpostqueer (@huffpostqueer) May 18, 2016
The Human Rights Campaign goes the celebrity route again. HRC President Chad Griffin, then leader of American Foundation for Equal Rights, previously brought Olson in, along with Democratic attorney David Boies, for the court fight against California Proposition 8, known as Hollingsworth v. Perry. Olson and Boies ran up more than $6 million in legal fees in that case, despite the fact that other attorneys working in marriage equality cases often worked pro bono. So how much is HRC going to pay Olson?
It should be noted, by the way, that the Perry case did NOT win the nation marriage equality. It was sent back to a lower court by SCOTUS in 2013 for lack of standing. The 2013 SCOTUS overturn of the discriminatory federal definition of marriage in DOMA was in another case, United States v. Windsor, where Edith Windsor's attorney Roberta Kaplan argued before the high court. The ruling that granted civil marriage equality throughout the country came with Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015. The plaintiffs in that case were represented at oral argument by civil rights lawyer Mary Bonauto and Washington, D.C. lawyer Douglas Hallward-Driemeier.
GOP congresswoman stands up for LGBT rights alongside her transgender son https://t.co/f4N1Q3Xz79— huffpostqueer (@huffpostqueer) May 18, 2016
The Lehtinens were at the Trans Equality fundraiser Wednesday evening at The Hamilton, where Rodrigo gave his mother an Ally Award. Another member of Congress honored was Rep. Mike Honda.
Guard Charged with Assault After Confronting Transgender Woman Using Women's Restroom, Source Says | NBC4 Washington https://t.co/yhqNHFd2JY— Jackie Bensen (@jackiebensen) May 19, 2016
This is getting increasingly scary. An epidemic of hatred is spreading in this country. People are going to be assaulted, and some of them killed, because of others' obstinate ignorance. Lord knows what chains of suffering will be set in motion as the summer heats up because of demagogues stoking intolerance. Mind you, this particular story occurred in DC, with as progressive a set of laws as anywhere. Social media are being used as a tool of hatred and provocation by people lacking all restraint and often hiding behind pseudonyms. We must stand together at every level and in every neighborhood and make it clear that violence will not be tolerated.