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August 24, 2014

I'd call that a drive-by fruiting

In addition to being spot-on, this commentary by Aussie comedian Adam Hills is a beautiful tribute to Robin Williams. Helloooooo!

In what may spell the end times for the deranged Phelps family, they have accepted the offer by Hills to pay their first-class fare to Iraq (and pay the carbon offset) to protest anti-Christian persecution by the radical Islamic group ISIS. And just as a sweet reminder, a scene that illustrates why the late actor and comedian reviled by the Phelps loons is so beloved.

Sacking Johnny Football

Michael Sam enhanced his chances of making the Rams roster with two sacks against Johnny Manziel. This guy plays his heart out, and he has a feel for the theater of it.

August 22, 2014

Fischer: God Will Use ISIS To Punish America For Gay Rights

Kyle Mantyla reports at Right Wing Watch on the latest lunacy from Bryan Fischer of AFA.

News outlets misgender Detroit shooting victims

Raw Story reports.

Oh dear lord.

Don't say David Horowitz can't get any crazier

Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch has the latest craziness from David Horowitz. Here's a sample:

Obama is an anti-American radical and I'm actually sure he's a Muslim, he certainly isn't a Christian. He's a pretend Christian in the same way he's a pretend American. It really is disgraceful. He's inviting the terrorists to behead more Americans when he should be attacking them with our military. His whole agenda in office has been to defeat America, he lost the war in Iraq deliberately, he created a vacuum which ISIS has filled.

Click on the link above for audio clips.

Eugene Delgaudio's latest

Anti-gay crackpot Eugene Delgaudio's latest cry against gay people taking away his religious liberty.

Federal Judge Rules Florida Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

TPM reports.

Read the ruling here.

Meanwhile, Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog reads the high court's signals on same-sex marriage.

August 21, 2014

Fayetteville mayor successfully urges passage of non-discrimination ordinance

Fayetteville, Arkansas mayor Lioneld Jordan strongly advocated an anti-discrimination ordinance in the early hours of August 20. It was then passed by the city council. Congrats to the people of Fayetteville and their elected leaders.

Rhee steps down from Students First

Conor P. Williams at TPM writes about the departure of former D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michele Rhee from the group Students First.

Williams notes that education reform is extremely difficult, and that Rhee had her strengths. I grant that. But I confess that I disliked Rhee from the moment she took over DCPS. Her imperious manner, her contempt for large numbers of stakeholders (such as parents in the eastern half of the District), her undemocratic approach, and her demonization of teachers all worked against the cooperation essential to sustaining reforms. The people who cheered her and her tone-deaf boss Fenty should be ashamed of themselves; instead, they dug in and focused on getting revenge on his successor.

Reforming public institutions is hard. But efforts to bypass the hard slog of political give and take in favor of imposing top-down solutions, as demonstrated by the recent experience in Newark, NJ, are bound to have harsh encounters with reality down the road.

Smithsonian adds LGBT history to collection

AP reports some good news on the museum front.

This has been in the works for some time. Eight years ago, for example, the Smithsonian acquired about a dozen picket signs from the first gay rights picket at the White House, which was led by Frank Kameny in 1965. That acquisition was thanks to the Kameny Papers Project and the efforts of Charles Francis and Bob Witeck.

Congrats to our friend, photographer Patsy Lynch, for her contributions to the museum's collection. She commented on Facebook, "I am very honored and humble and excited to know that some of my work is now in a vaulted museum and will soon be available for more people to see."

Grievance mongers find what they're looking for

A curious article appeared in the online version of the Blade on August 15, written by Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez and Heather Cronk and titled, "LGBT success comes from diverse communities." In it they take objection to a quote by Robert Raben of The Raben Group in a previous article. He was remarking on the power of white privilege, but Sousa-Rodriquez and Cronk managed to turn this into a claim "that only white men can secure progress," as they put it. They took great issue with this. The trouble with this is that it is simply not what Raben said.

I posted the following reply:

The authors should re-read the article. They have seriously misconstrued Robert Raben’s remarks. He did not say that only white men can secure progress. He was noting the power of white privilege, not (to say the very least!) endorsing white supremacy. He is known as someone who continually spends his privilege to empower all. During our community’s preparations for passage of marriage equality in DC, which we won five years ago, Robert was as clear as anyone about how crucial it was for our city’s effort and its public voice to reflect the diversity of our community. He must have gasped at being so badly misunderstood by these writers, whose interpretation is approximately the opposite of what he and his firm uphold.

As Barney Frank used to say, some of us are working to create change; but some people just want to complain.

August 19, 2014

Pat Robertson: some people 'enjoy their sickness'

Pam Bondi on gay marriage, pot and doing her job

Florida AG Pam Bondi says y'all can just stay in limbo until SCOTUS rules.

Robert Oscar Lopez: Gay Marriage Is A 'Tidal Wave That Swept Up Children'

Right Wing Watch reports.

Fischer: Gays Are Inherently Disqualified From Serving In Public Office

Right Wing Watch reports.

Shorties

An odd piece that cropped up today. The music is Mozart's Turkish March.

Civil rights veteran marches in solidarity

Rep. John Lewis, renowned civil rights champion and veteran of the Freedom Rides and Bloody Sunday, marches in Atlanta to show solidarity with the peaceful protesters in Ferguson, Missouri.

Meanwhile in Ferguson, the protests are being infiltrated by violent outside agitators.

August 18, 2014

John Oliver on Ferguson, MO and Police Militarization

John Oliver nails it once again.

August 16, 2014

November 20 - Transgender Day of Remembrance

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Save the Date: Transgender Day of Remembrance 2014 takes place Thursday, November 20th.

(Hat tip: David Mariner)

Ferguson residents gather to stop looters

Jerry Markon, Wesley Lowery and DeNeen L. Brown report for The Washington Post.

FBI asks for help

Hands up

Video of Ferguson, Missouri on August 11, taken by Alderman Antonio French.

Man of the Week: Antonio French

"We're better than this." St. Louis Alderman @AntonioFrench (L) urges calm in the streets of Ferguson. Many protesters spent Friday night protecting stores from looters. Below is a message from one of his young supporters urging people to help protect the neighborhood tonight. Here we see an inspiring example of citizen leadership.

Mike Brown eyewitness crime scene video, Ferguson, MO

This chilling video was one of the first taken on the scene after a police officer killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown a week ago in Ferguson, Missouri. Imagine this was your street. Can you? Solving the problem may depend on it.

(Hat tip: Antonio French)

Suspected Looters

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Kinda sorta.

(Hat tip: Lauren Chief Elk - ‏@ChiefElk)

The Imitation Game

Churchill said this alleged security risk should have gotten a peerage. He needed to break an unbreakable Nazi code, so he invented the modern computer. Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing. American release November 21.

August 15, 2014

They'll always have Vegas

FCS-headshot

Rev. Graylan Hagler is a candidate for At-Large Council.

August 14, 2014

'All we say to America is be true to what you said on paper'

Tell it, Martin. Words from 46 years ago that are as apt as when he spoke them, the day before he was taken from us.

August 13, 2014

Sectarian Scavengers

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(Photo by Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons)

My latest column is now up at Metro Weekly. It is subtitled, "Amid war and plague, right-wing Americans export religious intolerance." Here's an excerpt:

In Entebbe on August 9, more than one hundred LGBT Ugandans celebrated the first Pride Uganda since the Constitutional Court overturned the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) for being passed without a quorum. Entebbe is on Lake Victoria, and the paradise suggested by some of the photos would not make you think the revelers risked mob violence, unless you noticed the masks some wore.

A British name for an African lake is a relic of the same colonial legacy that keeps homosexuality illegal despite AHA being tossed out. African leaders are strangely selective in their outrage over Western influences. They embrace foreign laws, religions, and aid while treating sexual minorities who have always lived among them like hostile aliens. American evangelicals like Scott Lively incited the persecution with the slander that gays recruit and sexually abuse children. This pious vulture denies any responsibility for the consequences, including LGBT Ugandans being hunted like animals.

Read the whole thing here.

August 12, 2014

Tony Perkins: Christian Businesses Should Donate Profits From LGBT Customers To Ex-Gay Ministries

Here's a new one. Thanks to Ian Silverstone at Right Wing Watch.

Lauren Bacall, 1924-2014

Another great one passes. In this scene, accompanied by Hoagy Carmichael, Bacall sings to an adoring customer I imagine was her first gay fan.

Years ago, I worked a column around "How Little We Know" and the movie it's from, To Have and Have Not.

It seemed we would have Betty Bacall forever. She was 89.

'Oblivion together does not frighten me, beloved'

I was looking around for something that would make you smile amid all the horrors going on in the world, and here it is in the form of an unorthodox marriage proposal. Be sure to watch to the end.

(Note: the title of this blog entry is a line spoken by Diana Muldaur in an episode of the original Star Trek. Extra points if you guess correctly to whom she said it. And no, I did not look it up, because I've had this silly stuff in my head for the past 46 years.)

International Youth Day

Today is International Youth Day. Here's an excerpt from a joint statement by ORAM and IGLYO on "the perils facing particularly vulnerable young people, including young LGBTQI asylum seekers and refugees":

ORAM and IGLYO call on governments, inter-governmental organizations, NGOs, refugee professionals, LGBTQI activists, youth service providers, and youth leaders to:

1. Reinforce capacity building and LGBTQI training for service providers and refugee professionals, teaching them to utilize safe and non-discriminatory screening methods.

2. Create new networks and platforms of dialogue between youth groups, LGBTQI groups, refugee professionals and young LGBTQI refugees, enhancing experience-sharing and awareness-raising.

3. Create safe spaces for young LGBTQI refugees to express their fears and hopes, helping them embrace their identity and break the silence often accompanying internalized homophobia or transphobia.

4. Encourage states to adopt and enforce international human rights law applicable to sexual orientation and gender identity, such as, Principle 23 of the Yogyakarta Principles[2], to ensure that LGBTQI persons and youths are not extradited, removed, or expelled to any state where they may face persecution, degrading treatment or punishment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Don't shoot

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NYT reports on the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri following the murder of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, by police.

If you think that racial discrimination had nothing to do with it, check this out from the LA Times:

"Blacks make up 65% of Ferguson's population, yet they accounted for 93% of arrests after traffic stops, 92% of searches and 80% of traffic stops in the city last year, according to a racial profiling report by the Missouri attorney general.

"Blacks in Ferguson are twice as likely as whites to be stopped by police even though police find contraband for 34% of whites stopped, versus 22% of blacks, said Scott Decker, a criminologist on a team contracted by the attorney general's office to compile the data."

Robin Williams, R.I.P.

The Motion Picture Academy posted the above tweet yesterday after the death of actor and comedian Robin Williams at age 63. Below is a performance Williams gave in England after Barack Obama's first presidential election victory. May he rest in peace.

August 09, 2014

Pride Uganda 2014

Some tweets from Frank Mugisha in Entebbe, Uganda, where more than 100 brave Ugandans celebrated Pride Uganda 2014.

What an awesome display of courage and grace, to celebrate their lives amid religious persecution and threats of mob violence.

August 07, 2014

Marriage bans take a beating in Sixth Circuit arguments

Chris Johnson reports in the Blade. You can get the flavor from his tweets:

Tenth Circuit marriage ruling appealed to SCOTUS

On the Oklahoma case: AP reports:

The U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to decide whether Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage is constitutional.

The appeal was filed Wednesday by an organization representing Tulsa County Clerk Sally Howe Smith, who was sued after refusing to grant a marriage license to a same-sex couple several years ago.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the couple last month, upholding a federal judge's ruling that found the ban unconstitutional. However, those rulings are on hold as the case moves through the courts, meaning same-sex couples haven't been allowed to marry in Oklahoma.

Huckabee: Obama 'worthy of impeachment'

Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch reports:

Mike Huckabee appeared on Monday’s edition of Iowa-based Steve Deace’s radio talk show, where he said President Obama “absolutely” deserves to be impeached but cautioned that Republicans should not pursue impeachment at this time since the GOP doesn’t have the votes to convict him in the Senate.

Blow: War Against Whites? I Think Not

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In another excellent commentary, NYT columnist Charles M. Blow blows to smithereens the claim by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) that Democrats are waging a "war on whites." Blow notes the Republican Party's extensive history of racially divisive politics and policies, going back to Richard Nixon's Southern Strategy which was based on exploiting white voters' fears of and hostility toward blacks. Here's a portion:

The racial divisiveness ... continues as Republicans trade racial terms for culture-centric euphemisms. Newt Gingrich, in 2011: “Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works,” although most poor people of working age work. Paul Ryan, earlier this year: “We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work.” And Bill O’Reilly said recently in a discussion about legalizing marijuana that the left’s position was that marijuana was harmless and “It’s blacks, you know, you get, you’re trapping the blacks because in certain ghetto neighborhoods it’s part of the culture.” ...

Whites are not under attack by Democrats; Republicans like Brooks are simply stoking racial fears to hide their history of racially regressive policies.

Talking about a "war on whites" is like calling marriage equality a threat to straight people. You might well call it a war on exclusivity, which is to say discrimination; but that is not what is being claimed. Those who practice this wedge politics are manipulating voters into voting against their own interests by exploiting fears. If we let cynical men divide us in this way, or if we become discouraged by partisan gridlock and withdraw from participating in elections, we hand over control to those who pick our pockets and line their own at the expense of the common good.