Friday, December 16, 2005
There are so many fucked-up fundamentalists these days, that it is hard to keep them straight - no pun intended. Fortunately, there is a web-site that organizes these creeps so you don't have to remember them all. Take a gander at AmericanFundamentalists.com
, your one-stop shopping when you come in late and drunk and just can't recall the name of a right winger that's on the tip of your tongue.
The L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center has stopped using an oral HIV test after discovering that 13 people falsely tested positive for thevirus that causes AIDS. The center's announcement yesterday came a month after a major testing center in San Francisco made the same decision because the OraQuick Advance test incorrectly diagnosed 47 people there as HIV-positive.
In November, the center found 13 people who submitted their saliva sample were tested positive for HIV, but follow-up blood tests showed that they were not infected. The center provides about 800 free tests per month. It will use another technique to rapidly test for the virus, which requires a small bloodsample. That method has not been cited as a problem.
All across the country, people are desecrating
or "lynching" Santa to protest the commercialization of Christmas. On one hand, I think it's really funny. But, I do feel bad for the kids who still believe in Santa, only to see him hanging in a tree or weilding a knife.
Bush Knew More on Iraq:
A congressional report
made public yesterday concluded that President Bush and his inner circle had access to more intelligence and reviewed more sensitive material than what was shared with Congress when it gave Bush the authority to wage war against Iraq.
Democrats said the 14-page report contradicts Bush's contention that lawmakers saw all the evidence before U.S. troops invaded in March 2003, stating that the president and a small number of advisers "have access to a far greater volume of intelligence and to more sensitive intelligence information."Lobbbyist Pleads Guilty:
A former business partner of lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty in Miami yesterday to fraud and conspiracy
in the purchase of a fleet of gambling boats and agreed to cooperate in a congressional influence-peddling investigation.Bush Loves DeLay, Dems Mad:
Democratic leaders sternly criticized
President Bush yesterday for saying former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) is innocent of felonious campaign finance abuses, suggesting his comments virtually amounted to jury tampering before DeLay stands trial.
"The president of the United States said a jury does not need to assemble, that Tom DeLay is innocent," said Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.). "To have someone of his stature, the president of the United States, prejudge a case is something I've never seen before."Bush Spys On Americans:
President Bush signed a secret order
in 2002 authorizing the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals in the United States, despite previous legal prohibitions against such domestic spying, sources with knowledge of the program said last night.
I went to see a movie the other night and this guy who was about 6'7" sat in front of me. I couldn't see anything but his damn head. He moved when a better seat became available, but he sat in front of a little old lady and I'm sure she wasted her money on her ticket, as it was a packed house and there was nowhere to move.
Memo to those over 6'5" - WAIT FOR THE DVD!
If you can't hold out, either sit in the back row or go to the movies during the week when there are seats to choose from that do not rudely and inconsiderately obstruct the view for other paying customers.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Last week, Ford announced that it would pull ads from gay publications, succumbing to a pressure campaign by the ultra-right wing American Family Association. This was the worst idea Ford had since the introduction of the Pinto. Like the infamous car, Ford's new policy backfired and exploded. It appears that today they are wisely reversing course.
Ford Motor Company released a statement
today saying it would feature all of its brands in a 2006 ad campaign in gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender-themed publications.
"Ford's action is a positive outcome and win for equality and fairness," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "Ford has sent a powerful signal that corporate America values its gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees and consumers."
Hats off to HRC, NGLTF, PFLAG, GLAAD, Americablog and the other groups that made this happen. We should also applaud the responsible actions of Ford and praise the company's recommitment to the values of inclusion and diversity.
President Bush wrapped up a series of cliches disguised as policy speeches on the war yesterday. He once again offered talking points such as:
** "We will not leave until victory has been achieved."
** "As Iraqis stand up, we will stand down."
How about a real strategy? The American people are waiting.
A reader of this blog, Miles Christian Daniels, published a thoughtful op-ed in the Baltimore Sun
TO READ THE ENTIRE OP-ED CLICK HERE
In case you've been hunkered down on Mount Kenya, Brokeback Mountain opened Last weekend. No hurricanes destroyed Orlando. No meteorites were reported in Los Angeles.
In fact, the film quietly attracted huge crowds in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco and will premiere in other markets this weekend. And so it seems Ang Lee's film about two cowboys in love is - at minimum - surviving.
So when the numbers are tallied and the awards dispersed, my hope is that Brokeback Mountain is seen not only as a monumental moment in cinema history but also as a daring and original attempt to prove that love is not bound by interpretation or stereotype.
10. "Your saddle is Versace"
9. "Instead of 'Home On The Range', you sing 'It's Raining Men'"
8. "You enjoy ridin', ropin', and redecoratin'"
7. "Sold your livestock to buy tickets to 'Mamma Mia'"
6. "After watching reruns of 'Gunsmoke', you have to take a cold shower"
5. "Native Americans refer to you as 'Dances With Men'"
4. "You've been lassoed more times than most steers"
3. "You're wearing chaps, yet your 'ranch' is in Chelsea"
2. "Instead of a saloon you prefer a salon"
1. "You love riding, but you don't have a horse"
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Get a butterfly net and pad the walls because Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is truly insane. In his latest rant
, he called the Nazi Holocaust a "myth" and said Europe, the U.S. and Canada should use their own land for a Jewish state.
The West has "fabricated a myth under the name 'Massacre of the Jews,' and they hold it higher than God himself, religion itself and the prophets themselves," Iran's leader told thousands of supporters in the southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan province, in a speech aired live today on state television.
"If you say and insist it's true that you killed 6 million Jews in crematoria during World War II, then why should the Palestinians pay for that?" Ahmadinejad asked, referring to Europeans. "Our proposal is that you give a piece of your land in Europe, the U.S., Canada or Alaska. If you do that, the Iranian people will no longer protest against you."
What a nutjob! And to think Iran wants nuclear weapons. It seems to me that Ahmadinejad is inviting an Israeli or American air strike.
The sad part about this is that the Iranian people want freedom, peace and democracy. But they are held hostage by religious lunatics.
(Irene and Stephen Bennett)
I have long said that the "ex-gay" ministries are a divorce mill. They create unhappy marriages where the participants are not attracted to each other. While these groups like to show wedding pictures, they rarely show the divorce papers.
In USA Today
, "ex-gay" leader Stephen Bennett talks about how his program is is so feckless and flimsy that merely seeing a movie can casue one of his arranged marriages to shatter.
"I just spoke with a married man on the telephone who is contemplating leaving his wife and children," says host Stephen Bennett. "He says he's gay, and Brokeback Mountain has influenced his decision. We can sadly expect to see a lot more men like former governor Jim McGreevey of New Jersey not only resigning from their jobs but from their wives, children and families."
This is called coming out of the closet and is quite healthy. I would urge people like Bennett to stop promoting divorce by having people pair up who should not be together. Not only is this cruel to the gay person, it betrays the wife/husband and children left behind.
A week after I uncovered
a video sold by the American Family Association
promoting unsafe sex and a failed "ex-gay", the group is still selling
the video, "It's Not Gay."
It is amazing that the AFA is willing to defraud Christians and sell them a product that is false, misleading and even dangerous. This group has no scruples and will do anything to make a buck. However, the primary fault lies with the media. I sent my press release to the New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and The Associated Press. They so far have done nothing to expose the AFA.
My only conclusion is that the news media feels that the lives of gay people are worth less. Believe me, if a group was selling a video of a heterosexual with HIV who had unsafe sex, it would be a massive scandal. It is time the media wakes up and stops kissing the right wing's ass.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Baylor University alumnus Truman Smith gave $65,000 to the Baptist college over a decade, returned to the campus every semester after graduation to lead economic case studies and raised $60,000 to endow a scholarship.The school rewarded the 1983 graduate by kicking him
off of the advisory board to the business school when the dean learned he was gay.
"On one hand it doesn't surprise me, but on the other it disappoints me," said Smith."Because I'm not surprised does not make it right," he continued. "The university condoned slavery in the 1860s. That shouldn't surprise anybody, but it sure doesn't make it right either."
Very well said by Smith. He has done a lot of good for Baylor and the school ought to be ashamed of the way they treated him.
The Supreme Court said it would consider the constitutionality of a Texas congressional map engineered by Rep. Tom DeLay
that helped Republicans gain seats in Congress. The 2003 boundaries helped Republicans win 21 of the state's 32 seats in Congress in the last election - up from 15. They were approved amid a nasty battle between Republican leaders and Democrats and minority groups in Texas. The contentiousness also reached Washington, where the Justice Department approved the plan although staff lawyers concluded that it diluted minority voting rights.
Every so often a really stupid idea infiltrates the gay community and takes on a lethal life of its own. For example, I don't quite understand how crystal methamphetamine, a.k.a. "Tina", became the club drug of choice. When did staying up for a week without sleep and listening to droning music without lyrics become fun?
Another really dumb idea someone ginned up - probably while tweaking on Tina - is "barebacking," which is glamorizing sex without condoms. "Hey, let's make HIV infection sound like a night at the rodeo!"
The latest harebrain notion to toxically slither into the gay vernacular is "condom fatigue." This is the theory that the rules for safer sex have to be reinvented because people are fed up with using prophylactics. Proponents say that a "Just Say No" approach to unprotected sex is impractical. "I think in reality, people don't like using condoms, and we don't talk about this a lot," Atlanta HIV educator Malik Williams told Southern Voice
Well, I don't particularly like stopping for red lights either because it tends to slow me down. Nor, do I like pausing at crosswalks for rumbling trucks. Let's not forget seatbelts - they totally suck. And riding a motorcycle with a helmet keeps the wind from freely blowing through my hair. I'm also over the gym and would prefer that the government declare TV watching an aerobics sport and cheese fries a food group.
Unfortunately, there are laws of nature and common sense that can't be defied no matter how annoying or cumbersome. However, this hasn't stopped some well-intentioned prevention experts from trying.
Williams went on to tell the Blade that if someone has unprotected anal sex five times a week and then chooses to replace one sexual encounter each week with oral sex, "this is a success story."
I'm sure Williams is trying to do the right thing and should be commended for working to find innovative solutions from a place of care and compassion. I'm not convinced, however, that playing Russian roulette with one bullet instead of two will lower the HIV infection rate. This idea that we can run every other red light will weaken the overall prevention message and allow people to justify potentially deadly transgressions.
There are those who would argue that my approach isn't realistic because the HIV rate is not significantly going down, even though we've known how the virus is transmitted for more than two decades. I respond by pointing out that the glass isn't half empty. The condom message has reached tens of millions of people who do practice safe sex.
Instead of promoting irresponsible strategies that will compound the epidemic, here are a few practical steps that will reduce HIV:Repetition:
People need to be constantly reminded that wearing condoms is the norm and the expectation. Advertising should be ubiquitous with the message: "No Bag, No Shag." Positive reinforcement is crucial to limiting new infections.Availability:
It isn't the 70's anymore and most people go to the bar to meet-up with friends, not hook-up with strangers. So, when connections are made they are often spontaneous and neither partner has emergency gear. This is why bars and clubs - gay and straight - should make condoms and lubrication widely available. Easy access helps people make the right decisions and protect themselves.Stop Lying:
Sex does feel better without a condom. One-night stands can be really pleasurable and emotionally satisfying. Drugs can sometimes enhance sexual pleasure. Telling people that they didn't have as much fun as they know they did is remarkably counterproductive. When we lie about these simple truths, we undermine our credibility and become part of the problem. The message should be: Yes, these activities are fun, but they can also be fatal. Is it really worth your life or the aggravation of drug cocktails? If we talk to people like adults, they often act like adults.Have A Plan:
Take a moment to create a safe sex strategy. Think about sexual boundaries. For example, if you can't handle your alcohol, make a rule that you won't go home with someone if boozing. Having such boundaries is key because negotiating them during the heat of passion often leads to bad decisions.Trust:
Don't trust the guy you just met on the Internet. If he lied about his penis size, what makes you think he's telling the truth about his HIV status?
People are human and will make mistakes. None of us are immune to letting our guard down.
Instead of complaining about condom fatigue, we should put on fatigues and declare war on unsafe sex. Where the rubber meets the road, there is still no safer alternative for sexually active people than condoms.
Monday, December 12, 2005
The "ex-gay" ministries launched a a new, misleading ad campaign
today that mocks hate crime victims. It ran in the Orlando Sentinel
, The Indianapolis Star
, The Nevada Appeal
, and Roll Call
to harass Senators concerned about stopping hate violence.
The ad features four "ex-gays" and reads:
"Hate Crime Laws Say We Were More Valuable As Homosexuals ThanWe Are Now As Former Homosexuals."
This abusive ad is disgusting and vomit-worthy - and I must say, I've never used those two adjectives in the same sentence before. But to exploit hate crimes as a sneaky backdoor way to promote an "ex-gay" message is just vile and shows a lack of character.
It is also false advertising. Hate crimes laws are important because they give law enforcement the tools they need to solve such awful crimes. Furthermore, they do not pit one group against another since all Americans are covered. For example, hate crime legislation covers real or perceived "sexual orientation." This means gay, straight or bisexual.
Maybe Thomas is upset because he doesn't have a sexual orientation. Since the Exodus International leader became an "ex-gay," he has never had sex with a woman and presumably not a man.
What I find particularly disturbing is the heavy "ex-gay" involvement in federal politics. When these guys are on television they say they are about "helping" gay people and have no political agenda. Yet, they keep ending up in the middle of Inside-the-Beltway political battles. I've said this time and again - "ex-gay" leaders are consistently some of the biggest pathological liars I've ever seen. Randy Thomas is among the most congenital of them all. Has he ever told the truth?
Please let Randy Thomas know exactly what you think of his misleading ad campaign.Randy Thomas, Exodus Spokesvirginrthomas@exodus-international.org
Statement by Kevin Cathcart, Executive Director of Lambda Legal:
"As a legal organization advocating for LGBT people and people with HIV, we know how important it is that every member of the judiciary be committed to the Constitution and its core principles of liberty, equality and justice for all. In examining Samuel Alito's nomination for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, we bring to bear our more than 30 years of experience advocating in favor of these principles that are the bedrock of our legal system.
Unfortunately, what our analysis reveals is that Judge Alito has a political agenda different from that required of members of the judiciary. It is based on his personal political ideology and stands apart from any principle that can reasonably be located in the Constitution. We do not believe that Judge Alito has the necessary commitment to liberty and equality for all Americans. Judge Alito puts particular political ends above a fair reading of the Constitution, Bill of Rights and the laws passed by Congress.
Put differently, his political agenda leads him to write judicial decisions to make the law conform to his politics. He then applies legal craftsmanship and precedent to justify the law he is making.
The job of a Supreme Court Justice is unique within the judiciary. Among other things, the constraints created by legal precedent are far less binding at the Supreme Court. Putting politics ahead of the Constitution and laws of this country is dangerous at all levels of our judicial system. This practice is dangerous because it jeopardizes the system of checks and balances that the judiciary is meant to safeguard, making the concerns of groups of people lacking political power especially vulnerable.
For these reasons, Lambda Legal is compelled to oppose Samuel Alito's nomination.
With Chief Justice Roberts we waited until after the confirmation hearings to decide our position because we didn't feel that we had enough information about him. But Judge Alito is a different matter altogether. In this case, he has an extensive track record of court decisions and other materials that lend insight to his philosophy."
Former Virgina governor Mark Warner is the new Democratic star
. He is quickly emerging as a rival to Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, for the presidential nomination. According to today's New York Times
"Governor Warner got a bounce for his national aspirations when his political understudy and lieutenant governor, Tim Kaine, won the race for governor in Virginia last month. Political analysts say Mr. Kaine benefited greatly from his association with Governor Warner, who enjoys an 80 percent approval rating in a state that has supported a Republican presidential candidate in every election since 1964."
Warner, an attractive high-tech millionaire, has what it takes to be a serious candidate - assuming he's not secretly sleeping with sheep or kangaroos. What makes him a powerful force is that he does not have all of Clinton's baggage and has proven he can win in a "red state."
Look, I would like to see Hillary Clinton as the first woman president. She is bright, articulate and I think would have a successful administration. However, I have had the opportunity to travel the country and talk to a large swatch of Democrats. There is great fear out there that she can't win and that we need a candidate that is not so polarizing. Most important, the doubts are coming from people who should be her natural base. I'm not sure I buy that line of reasoning - yet - but it worth noting and discussing early on in the selection process.
This all leads me to believe that, while she is the frontrunner, she has a lot of convincing to do before she will win the nomination, no less the presidency. Never underestimate a Clinton, but the nomination is not in the bag by any means. At the slightest hint of trouble, people will look for a fresh face.
In an effort to woo moderates and knee-cap potential rivals, such as Warner, Clinton has moved to the right on the Iraq war
and disturbingly sponsored a bill to ban flag burning. However, if she goes too far to the right and wraps herself too tightly in the flag, she is the one who might get burned.
"Senator Clinton is demonstrating cowardice in the face of the right-wing noise machine," said Tom Mattzie, Washington director of the liberal group MoveOn.org, in today's Washington Post, discussing her lack of leadership on Iraq.
The point is, if she becomes too much like Mark Warner, why not just vote for the real one and have a candidate who doesn't cause visceral disgust in so many normally rational Americans?
So, here's the deal. Hillary gets the nod unless she stumbles. Warner (or John Edwards) are viable candidates in waiting if she tanks. If Hillary does get the nomination she wins if the Republicans nominate an ogre like Newt Gingrich or a right wing bore like Sen. Bill Frist. If Sen. John McCain can get out of the Republican primary - which is doubtful unless he cuts a deal with the extreme right - he will likely win the presidency.
Of course, if 50-Cent or anyone from the cast of Desperate Housewives
runs - all bets are off.
Sunday, December 11, 2005