My latest column in the Washington Blade looks at Britain's #Brexit debacle and its implications for the American presidential election. [Note: since I filed the article just before noon on Monday, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn suffered a no-confidence vote from his party members in Parliament, and #Brexit leader Boris Johnson said he would not be a candidate to replace David Cameron as Prime Minister and Tory Party leader. Also, Trump suffered further in polls, even as he was attacking the Chamber of Commerce.]
This article from The Guardian was posted on Facebook with the blurb, "The hysterical cheerleaders of the e-book failed to account for human experience, and publishers blindly followed suit. But the novelty has worn off." I responded:
I am reading this on my iPad, which contains dozens of e-books. Near me are bookshelves filled with traditional bound books. Buying e-books allows me to have many more books than I would otherwise have room for, and gives me a wealth of portable reading material when I am traveling or just sitting in the park. I see no reason to go all one way or the other. Nor is it hysterical to promote the convenience of e-books. On this same tablet I keep my newspapers and magazines, which reduces clutter. A unique feature of e-books is that it facilitates searches, an invaluable tool for writers and scholars. The marvelous, elegant device I am holding also enables me to read the above-linked article by Simon Jenkins, were I not insulted by the blurb. If that is intended as click bait, it is not working for me.
DC nightlife is being targeted as a handful of people persist in demanding that a thriving urban center be turned into a quiet suburb. Abigail Nichols and Mark Lee face off! (Though, alas, not directly.) WUSA9 reports.
The planned soccer stadium at Buzzard Point will likely displace a gay-related establishment, Ziegfeld's/Secrets at 1824 Half Street SW, which features adult entertainment and faces virtual impossibility in relocating without action by the Council and Mayor. We ruefully recall the club relocation bill of 2007, whose passage occasioned a round of mutual congratulations on the Council dais after it was amended into virtual uselessness. We hope that a suitable cosmopolitanism will overcome NIMBYism in that body, and that a solution may be found to serve the gay market and prevent the extinction of this legitimate class of entertainment.
To be clear, it is not the stadium itself, but related development, that will displace Ziegfeld's/Secrets. When Blade reporter Lou Chibbaro asked me if the District should help the club relocate, I replied, "The District should help. It is ridiculous and sad that a cosmopolitan city like DC should face the loss of its adult entertainment because of hysterical bluenoses who cannot stop minding other people’s business."
D.C. Council member David Grosso said he was reconsidering introducing legislation to decriminalize prostitution in D.C. because he’s unsure it would pass. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)
Lou Chibbaro reports for the Blade on the push to decriminalize sex work, or at least to de-prioritize enforcement of anti-prostitution laws, an effort which many LGBT groups including GLAA have supported because so many already marginalized LGBT youth and trans women end up in the criminal justice system due to their having to rely on survival sex. Here is an excerpt that mentions GLAA and quotes me:
In D.C., the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance has been calling for decriminalization of sex work since 2008. D.C. Council member David Grosso (I-At-Large), a longtime supporter of LGBT rights, said at the time of the Amnesty International declaration last August that he was considering introducing legislation to decriminalize prostitution in D.C.
But Grosso has since said he’s uncertain about whether such a bill would have any chance of passing at this time and he was reconsidering his plans for the legislation.
At a news conference on Monday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and an official with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced plans for a cooperative D.C.-federal government effort to crack down on human trafficking, including trafficking of sex workers. When asked by a Blade reporter what they thought about calls by some LGBT organizations to decriminalize prostitution, Bowser and Maria Odom, the head of a Department of Homeland Security project to combat trafficking stopped short of backing decriminalization.
The president soared last night, a fact that was all the more clear as Republicans, trapped in their refusal to give him credit or respect for anything ever, sat on their hands. He outclassed his detractors by so far it was embarrassing, and showed he was the grownup in the room. Here are excerpts.
"Will we respond to the changes of our time with fear, turning inward as a nation, and turning against each other as a people? Or will we face the future with confidence in who we are, what we stand for, and the incredible things we can do together?"
"Some of the only people in America who are going to work the same job, in the same place, with a health and retirement package, for 30 years, are sitting in this chamber."
"Food Stamp recipients didn’t cause the financial crisis; recklessness on Wall Street did."
"Sixty years ago, when the Russians beat us into space, we didn’t deny Sputnik was up there. We didn’t argue about the science, or shrink our research and development budget. We built a space program almost overnight, and twelve years later, we were walking on the moon."
Now that the Ashley Madison hack has outed as many as 15,000 federal employees and active duty military, government agencies say they’re combing through the e-mail addresses of possible adulterers to see if their extramarital activity on work time amounts to anything punishable.
The question for me is not whether government employees should be logging onto an adultery site on the job. The question is what kind of society we want, and how much further we are going to replace the walls and curtains of privacy with the electronic equivalent of glass and floodlights. It is easy to say "improve security," but there will always be a hacker somewhere with no compunction who can punch through the next layer you build.
It is easy to make light of social standards and boundaries when we are not the ones affected. With Ashley Madison, one boundary buster has its own boundaries busted. So we mock the religious hypocrites who turn up on the list. Then we find out that some people's lives are now in danger, such as gay men from anti-gay countries. And we are starting to hear about suicides. Most of us have done things that it would be mortifying to see splayed across TV screens. If we only respect the privacy of people whose behavior and beliefs and politics meets with our approval, we have already lost.