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Tuesday March 7, 2006
And Speaking Of Oaths...
Via Bill and Kent's Place On The Web, something from Annapolis that I completely missed hearing about...
Last week in Annapolis at a hearing on the proposed Constitutional Amendment to prohibit gay marriage, Jamie Raskin, professor of law at American University, was requested to testify.
He did so. At the end of his testimony, a right-wing senator said: "Mr. Raskin, my Bible says marriage is only between a man & a woman. What do you have to say about that?"
Raskin: "Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You did not place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."
The room erupted into applause.
According to 365Gay.Com, the right wing state senator was Nancy Jacobs, republican (surprise, surprise) from Cecil and Harford Counties. So Dwyer isn't the only nutcase in Annapolis.
Meanwhile, via Pam's House Blend, you can read about two candidates for office, one in Ohio, and one in Texas, who are advocating the death penalty for homosexuals:
Merrill Keiser, Jr., is a trucker by trade, and he's hoping his next journey takes him all the way to Washington. His goal is a seat in the US Senate, but first he has to make it through the primary that will determine which Ohio Democrat will be the November ballot.
The Fremont man is causing some controversy with one of his beliefs. He tells News 11 homosexuality should be a felony, punishable by death. "Just like we have laws against murder, we have laws against stealing, we have laws against taking drugs -- we should have laws against immoral conduct," Keiser says.
Then there is Larry Kilgore, running for Governor of Texas. According to Larry's website, his platform consists of, among other things...
1-40 lashes for crime of maliciousness, like graffiti, porn, strip clubs.
Execution for crime of adultery. (Leviticus 20:10)
Execution for crime of homosexual acts. (Leviticus 20:13)
We have met the Taliban, and they are us. A decade ago I might have said these nutcases stand absolutely no chance of being elected. Now I'd have to say that they both have excellent chances of being elected. And that's not because a majority, or even a significant number of Americans want to live in an old testament theocracy. It's because there is no vigorous political defense of individual liberty in America anymore, and in particular, in defense of religious liberty. Religious liberty in America has come to mean that the most extreme fundamentalists can agitate for stoning to death people for old testiment sex crimes, and burning heretics at the stake, and anyone who speaks out against them is anti-Christian.
Believers in the American Dream, defenders of liberty and justice for all, had better start getting as angry, and as loud, and as in your face as the theocrats, or we're headed for Shira law here in America.by Bruce Garrett | Link |
Monday March 6, 2006
Alito Takes The Oath
You've all heard this one by now...right...?
The Associated Press reported today Dobson received a six-paragraph personal note from Alito. In the letter, Alito thanked Dobson for backing his nomination to the Supreme Court.
Read the note, "This is just a short note to express my heartfelt thanks to you and the entire staff of Focus on the Family for your help and support during the past few challenging months. I would also greatly appreciate it if you would convey my appreciation to the good people from all parts of the country who wrote to tell me that they were praying for me and for my family during this period."
Alito went on to write, "As long as I serve on the Supreme Court I will keep in mind the trust that has been placed in me" and expressed his desire for a personal meeting with Dobson.
States have already begun passing anti-abortion laws so that Roberts and Alito can overturn Roe. And after they've accomplished that, expect them to start passing sodomy laws next so Lawrence can be overturned.
Theocracy. That's what the democrats who wouldn't filibuster Alito voted for. And that's what everyone who voted for Bush last election voted for. Well, it looks like you're going to get it.
Saturday March 4, 2006
In Other News, Kansas Is Still Flat...
If the following cartoon perplexes you a tad, you probably need to click here. And maybe here.
Friday March 3, 2006
See? See? Homos Do Die In Their Forties!
So I'm watching my local NBC affiliate do their nightly news thing, and I notice that the story about the West Virginia police chief who prevented a gay man who was dying of a heart attack from getting CPR had drawn the attention of the mainstream news media. I've been meaning to say something here about that, because the story really shines a cold hard light on the reality of what decades of relentless gay bashing by the religious right and the republicans does to gay people, but I'm still deep in this sleepless funk I've been in for weeks now and my outrage buffer is so maxed out now that I'm like that dog in those David lynch cartoons that just stands rigidly at the end of its leash completely immobilized by anger and I haven't been able to type a word or skritch a line on paper for weeks now. But...I digress...
So...anyway...the news story deliberately obscures key facts of the story because the facts are so completely damning and journalists can't take sides, and especially they can't take sides when there are dead homosexuals involved. So when someone says that police chief Robert K. Bowman prevented Claude Green's friend Billy Snead from giving him CPR, and tried to discourage the paramedics from doing the same because according to Bowman Green had HIV, never mind that they don't bother pointing out that the reason the EMS workers ignored the drooling moron and kept on giving Green CPR was because you can't fucking catch HIV from giving somebody CPR, they basically leave out of the story the part about how Green actually didn't have HIV, and Bowman only assumed he did because he knew that Green was gay. Hey...he's a 43 year old filthy homo, and didn't Paul Cameron say that 43 is about as old as a homo gets? I'm surprised NBC News didn't give Bowman credit for his remarkable restraint in not evacuating the entire town. But there's still time for that I reckon.
Can I mention here how much a hate the news media? This is my blog...right? I can say what I want to here can't I? Good. I fucking hate the news media.by Bruce Garrett | Link |
Monday February 27, 2006
Still Very Out Of It
I haven't been posting much lately because I'm so damn tired all the time. Sorry. I'm still struggling with this sleep problem. It's all I can do to drag myself to the drawing board to do my cartoons and I'm horribly behind on that too. Hopefully I'll have this week's up by the end of the day.
Living in a house I have all to myself is probably not helping my general health out any, a thing I'm finding both ironic and darkly amusing. They say the "Gay Lifestyle" is so bad for your health, yet I am about as far away from the scene as a person can be and my health these days isn't all that great. I don't drink much at all, and my casual drug use (remember, I'm a sixties kid) stopped pretty much back in the early 80s. I am not, and never have been, interested in casual hooking up. I'm a romantic. I want...no...I demand the emotional connection too. So I don't just go trolling the bars like some people do when they feel themselves getting lonely. (No...when I feel myself getting lonely I put it into artwork that, trust me, you don't want to see) So I'm at somewhat less at risk for HIV and other STD's. But being constantly single is stressful on your health too, in ways science is only now beginning to appreciate. And when there is nobody in your life to nag you to take care of yourself, you tend not to.
I could be living the perfect ex-gay lifestyle right now, only not quite as miserable inside, because I'm not afraid of what the sight of a beautiful guy does to me. But that beauty seems so out of reach now, that I'm starting to wonder if maybe I shouldn't just stop looking at guys anyway. It just makes me more miserable sometimes now, and it never used to do that. But then I might as well just crawl in a coffin instead of my bed, and I'm not ready for that. Celibacy is a healthy virtue only if you're wired for it. Otherwise you're just sleep walking through half a life like any party animal who isn't paying attention to what they're putting into, or doing with their body. It's not sex that puts your health at risk, it's alienation.
I'm shy, but I'm not this shy. I'm just too tired anymore to live a life and I wish I could fix that. So I've gained about ten pounds this winter, as my sleeping problems keep me sedentary. My work as a software engineer only complicates the matter: I am seated at a desk in front of a computer monitor most of my day. Then there is the drafting table. But at least I'm sometimes standing up while I'm working there. I don't move about much any more. Except to drag myself to bed...often...during the day. And there's nobody here to get me the hell off the bed and out the door to do something...anything...by Bruce Garrett | Link |
Thursday February 23, 2006
Middle Aged, And Full Of Regrets
Gay Swing Dancing. Dang. Just...dang. If I could have gone to this kind of thing when I was in high school, I might have danced a little when I was a teenager.
Canadians have all the fun...by Bruce Garrett | Link |
Where's The Send Button On This Thing...?
Trying to fit in to a MySpace world...
Wednesday February 22, 2006
A Simple Bullshit Test
There are think tanks, and there are propaganda mills, and it really isn't all that hard to tell between them. Via Brad DeLong, Mark Kleiman has a simple, straightforward bullshit test anyone can apply:
Is there any hope of getting the press to distinguish between (1) the original "think tank" — the RAND Corporation — and comparably respectable universities-without-students (Brookings, the Urban Institute) where real social scientists (and real natural scientists, engineers, mathematicians, historians, and policy analysts) do real research and analysis looking for real answers to real questions and (2) faux "think tanks" (Heritage, Cato, the Institute for Policy Studies, the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse) set up for the purpose of providing "studies" in support of pre-determined ideological points?
The distinction isn't hard to make. If you have to read the report to know the conclusion, it's a real think tank. If you know the conclusion as soon as you know the topic and where it was written, you're dealing with a phony.
He goes on to say this trick works for faux news outlets to like...uhm...Fox... This is such a simple, Obvious thing, that in a way it's a damning indictment of the U.S. news media that it even needs to be pointed out. How much of what you hear on the news comes from these propaganda mills, funded by right wing billionaires, and how much of what you hear amounts to actual fact-finding? Let's face it, very little. And it's not the fault of the propaganda mills, they're just doing their jobs. Its the fault of our news media, that just doesn't give a good goddamn about facts anymore. Sometime in the past few decades, facts stopped being important. And that was also the day America stopped being important to them.
I've been saying for years now that citing Paul Cameron or any of his bogus statistics in a discussion about homosexuality automatically makes that person either a liar or a cheat: someone either way who doesn't care about what is and is not true. You can make the same case about a reporter who cites any of the big propaganda mills for a story. In an opinion piece it's one thing...that's a different playing field. But reportage that contains so much as a single piece of punctuation from one anyplace like Cato or Heritage or the Institute For Policy Studies isn't journalism, it's second hand propaganda, and that reporter is selling out not only their trade, not only the country that wrote freedom of the press into its constitution, but their human identity and yours and mine.
That's what's going on here. When you see fundamentalist zealots attacking science and science education, when you see them insisting that schools teach not the facts but the controversy, when you see them demanding that science place their vein throbbing religious babbling on equal footing with Newton and Gauss and Heisenberg and Einstein and Darwin and Watson and Crick, think of all the major daily newspapers and network news broadcasts nowadays that do that very thing. So newspapers give us words that mean nothing. So schools teach children lessons that mean nothing. And so America becomes nothing. And so we become nothing. As Jacob Bronowski once said, when you discard the test of fact in what a star is, you discard in it also what a human is.by Bruce Garrett | Link |
Tuesday February 21, 2006
Your Usual MySpace Survey...
Monday February 20, 2006
Not Much To Say...
You've probably noticed that I'm a little quiet here lately. That's in large measure because my sleep disorder is taking a big toll on me since I left the sleep clinic. I had a follow-up last Tuesday with a doctor there who went over the results of my sleep-over with me. To make it short it seems as though there may be some sleep apnea after all, but it is not severe. I don't stop breathing, I just have these repeated little moments of difficulty that bring me, not to complete wakefulness most of the time, but seem to pop me right out of a sound sleep nonetheless. So I spend a lot of time at the threshold of wakefulness when I should be sound asleep, not fully awake, but not fully asleep either.
Where it got bad was when he prescribed a new sleep medication for me, Rozerem, which he said was supposed to act on the melatonin receptors in my brain. The problem is it is working as poorly as all the other sleep medications that have ever been prescribed for me, with the exception of Ambian, which proved to be too addictive. It's the typical pattern: one good night's sleep on the new medication, followed by nothing but misery. My third night on Rozerem, I went to bed around 11pm, drowsy, and popped wide awake at one in the morning.
I'm going to stay on it for another week and if there is no improvement I'll try to call this sleep clinic doctor and tell him it isn't working. In the meantime they've scheduled me for another sleep over so they can calibrate a CPAP machine for me. I have not a clue how well I'll be able to sleep with one of those damn things strapped to my face, but at this point I'll try anything.
So for the past week or so I've been a very groggy guy. I'm getting some long overdue household chores done, but I'm not much leaving the house or doing anything I'd planned to do for the week I was on vacation. That's not to say the vacation has been a waste. I needed the break from work. But I didn't go anywhere like I'd wanted, or get nearly as much done around the house as I'd planned. I hate being this tired all the time.by Bruce Garrett | Link |
Friday February 17, 2006
Beauty In Motion
I love watching the Olympic men's figure skating events. It's just about the only thing I care to watch during the winter Olympics. But I have to get myself out of the habit of picking favorites, because mine never seem to get any medals, and I'm starting to feel like I'm cursing them just for wanting them to win.
The other night I watched Johnny Weir skate an achingly beautiful program, and even I could tell he wasn't at full steam. There was a reason for it - as it turned out he missed the bus to the arena and was almost late for his performance. But what he did give to the audience was just stunning. It wasn't enough to put him on the platform though.
The other stunning performance I saw came from Japanese skater Takahashi Daisuke, who fell once, but got back into it right away, and was poetry in motion for the rest of it. Between the two of them I just could not take my eyes off the tube, and I hate television anymore. But neither one of them won anything, and I was not greatly impressed by the winners. Oh, I understand why they won...they had all the really difficult maneuvers down pat...but in my opinion their moves were not nearly as beautiful. You can dance the dance perfectly, and still not be beautiful. On the other hand you can be so beautiful in your moves that little imperfections in timing and difficulty just go right past. A slight gesture of the hands here, a tilt of the head just so, a lovely arc and motion of the body there... Still photography just doesn't do figure skating justice, and I've seen some first rate photography of the events. You have to see them in motion. Weir is just amazing, I've never seen him give a so-so performance, and even when he is off his game like he was last night he is so goddamned beautiful to watch. And Daisuke, never mind the fall he took, just kept my eyes riveted to the tube. But sheer beauty alone does not win medals.
In fact, in men it invites contempt. I was reading a mocking review of Weir's performance on the web this morning and then noticed that it came from Fox News. Now you just know the bar stool grunts at Fox News only bother with the Figure Skating event to mock the pretty boys, and oogle the teenaged girls in their skimpy costumes. But the homophobia in sports coverage of men's figure skating is always there, like a background hum. There's open speculation about Weir's sexual orientation and I have very little doubt that's hurting him not just with the sports writers, but also with some people in the Olympic community. Why wasn't somebody there to make sure he got to the event on time? Why didn't someone make sure he knew the bus schedules had been suddenly changed? And there's Fox News the day after, mocking his costume and his ego, as if athletes didn't have egos, and the homophobic contempt is barely concealed. They did the same thing to Rudi Galindo once upon a time. Weir isn't talking about his sexuality and it's hard to blame him. I doubt the sports community bigotry Patricia Nell Warren described in her book The Front Runner has changed very much since she wrote it. You can be openly gay, and you can win the gold, but you can't do both.
[Update]... Galindo, for his part, was being a royal ass after Weir's performance, and apparently helped fuel the whole media crapfest about Weir's sexual orientation it seems. I admired Galindo for his courage back when he came out. He was never my favorite skater, his style on the ice just never did anything for me, but any gay athlete who takes that risk, and yes even these days it's still a risk, deserves support. But this crap he's stirring up now is unattractive. So...with all due respect...just shut the fuck up Rudi!by Bruce Garrett | Link |
Tuesday February 14, 2006
A Valentine's Day Wish...
God help me I realized last night that I can buy all my old favorite 45rpm singles from my teen years, the ones I can barely listen to anymore because they're too worn out, on iTunes, and I downloaded a bunch of them and then realized as I was playing them today what a love lorn teen I must have been back then, because my favorites were almost all these soulful love songs. Yet I didn't have the slightest interest in the dating and mating game back when I heard these songs for the first time. Something in them, in the music, in the soulful ache and wonder and joy of love, must have touched me even then, because I played these tunes over and over.
So here I am on Valentine's Day playing a bunch of love songs from my past and wondering just what was going on my mind back in those days before I had even the slightest interest in the dating and mating game.
Here's my Valentine's Day iPod playlist. The stereotype for gay guys of a certain age is that they're all Diana Ross and the Supremes fans. But you can pretty much see from this that my weakness back then was The Four Tops. Point of fact, "Bernadette" was the very first 45 I ever bought.
Here's hoping the music in your lives this Valentine's Day was soulful and sweet. And if, like me, you haven't found your other half yet, and it seems to you like it's all you can do some days to keep the aloneness at bay, and you feel detached from a world you can only observe but not enter into, here's wishing you all the luck you need, and hoping that your long walk alone is soon over, and a lover's embrace wakes you gently from your lonely dream, and brings you back into the world.
-Bruceby Bruce Garrett | Link |
Howard Cruse On Pop Image
Howard Cruse has a new cartoon up on Pop Image that you should check out. It'll be in five parts, the first of which was posted yesterday. It's the finale to the Young Bottoms In Love series, which you should also check out, because there are a lot of good stories there. I wish I'd had comics like that to read when I was a teenager.
Howard also has a new blog up and running here. I hope he has fun with it. Looks like Howard's using Movable Type (I'm a computer geek, I look at the source code). At some point hopefully I'll have my own blog moved to WordPress. But I need a few changes still in the template to make that happen and neither I nor my new web host seem to have the time to spare for it right now. So for the moment I'm still a hand rolled operation.by Bruce Garrett | Link |
Monday February 13, 2006
Okay...This Is Interesting...
I'm seeing in my web server logs that people are finding a previous Mark and Josh Valentine's day cartoon, one I did in 2003...this one:
...and so I'm getting another wee traffic spike around here. What's interesting is that they're finding it via Yahoo Image Search for Valentine's Day cartoons. Sure enough, you go to Yahoo and click on images and search on "valentine's day cartoon" and that cartoon is the very first image in the list. But there is no plain text anywhere on the page containing the word "valentine". The caption is part of the image file. There is no clear text in the image binary besides my copyright notice.
So how is the Yahoo search engine indexing that page to the words "Valentine's day?" Is it OCR-ing the caption? Is it indexing it based on the date of publication? The information systems geek in me is curious.
Just for grins I tried the same search string on google images and that cartoon does not show up at all in the results. Yahoo's doing something different.
Anyway...I feel a tad gratified that I could give same sex couples a little Valentine's day presence, if only in a search engine. Not my intent...I basically preach to the choir here...but it's satisfying all the same. Yes, this should be our day too.
[Update...] Josh had somewhat longer hair in that cartoon. But just for that one day. I was drawing their hair mussed up and I must have gotten a little carried away. Swear I didn't even notice it until just now...by Bruce Garrett | Link |
For Me? Uhm...Wait...
Beware of lovers bearing gifts...
Saturday February 11, 2006
Well You Really Asked For This One...
So I was...like...over at the Love In Action site...doing a little online research...and I came across the new staff photo...and my jaw drops a little, and I stare at it for a little while, thinking has Smid gone completely nuts or what..? And then it dawns on me...
Well...the money's got to come from somewhere...by Bruce Garrett | Link |
Friday February 10, 2006
Nobody Is Kept In Our Program Against Their Will. Drugged And In
Handcuffs Maybe...But Not Against Their Will...
Via the Queer Action Coalition, this story in the Memphis Flyer about the teen who escaped Love In Action:
Last October, DJ Butler ran away from home. His father tracked him down and, instead of taking him home to Georgia, deposited him at Love In Action (LIA), a faith-based program for adolescents struggling with promiscuity or homosexuality.
"The people at LIA saw me get out of the car in handcuffs," Butler said at a press conference Friday. "My counselor at LIA said if you leave I'll call the cops, and they'll come pick you up and take you to a juvenile delinquent center."
While in residence at the program, Butler's father obtained Prozac for him, yet he insists he never saw a doctor. "The counselors kept telling me I needed some kind of pick-me-up," said the 17-year-old. On occasion, Butler says, staff from LIA administered the medication.
Go read the whole thing. One disturbing aspect of it is that it looks like the state of Tennessee is going to punt on the charges that LIA was treating mentally ill clients without a license. They're saying that as long as LIA isn't admitting them any more, they regard the case as closed. Alarmingly the judge in the case seems not to buy that. If LIA eventually wins over the state, then it will be anything goes. The chatter I'm hearing on the networks is that Smid is planning a residential care facility for teens now. You can bet it will be fenced in.
So now they're not only bringing kids to their doorstep in handcuffs, they're giving them psychotropic drugs against their will too, illegally obtained perhaps...we don't know how the kid's father got that Prozac...and illegally dispensed, since it is a federal offence to give drugs like that to anyone who they weren't prescribed for. This is what the war against homosexuality has brought them to. Dragging kids in handcuffs into a former church building turned ex-gay cult where they can be drugged into the holy spirit, away from the prying eyes of meddlesome child welfare agencies and heath care regulators.
Love In Action is supported locally, primarily by Germantown Baptist Church near Memphis. This is the church that gave Smid his title of "Reverend". I have been unable to determine if they sell them online as well. Once upon a time Baptists believed that you had to come to God of your own free will. Nowadays in the football stadium churches of the bible belt, Jesus is a drug pusher. If someone won't confess the faith freely, they'll just have to be drugged into it. If fighting the gay agenda means dragging kids in handcuffs to a quiet seculded place where an instant reverend can give them pills that make fucking with their minds an easier task, well then so be it. Jesus would understand. Jesus would tell them "Drug the little children to come unto me." And thus the war against homosexuality, turns churches into drug dens.
Tom Tomorrow has found an utterly charming way of dealing with comment thread bilge:
Also, a comments week rule arising from the Colbert thread: anyone who suggests that the host’s choice of a given topic is too frivilous when there are Serious Issues in the World To Be Solved will have their comment run through a pirate translator and reposted.
Sample comment: How can you waste time writing about your new book when there are children starving in the world?
Sample comment run through pirate translator: Yarrr! How can ye waste time writin’ about your new book when thar be sprogs starvin’ in t’ world?
Yeah. Like that. But more so. I want people to feel free to speak their mind here, but you need to be engaged in what you're talking about, even if I regard it as just a lot of mindless idiotic babble. Morons on the other hand, who just want to flit around from web site to web site posting crap in random comment threads like a bunch of bored street taggers can expect to be treated in my little corner of the world wide web as idle sport for carefree ridicule. It's just the kinda guy I am. Hi Brian. Arr.
Spammers will be shot on sight, deep fried, rolled in sunflower seeds and fed to the birds.
Policy.by Bruce Garrett | Link |
To Sleep...Perchance To...Uh...Sleep...
All in all, I'd rather not have to. Far as I'm concerned the only redeeming thing about having to sleep is that you get to dream. Dreams are very cool things. But having to skip eight hours or so out of every day is something I could live without. Life is short enough as it is to be playing dead for about a third of it.
But our bodies demand it, and you never know that more then when you can't sleep. I've had this chronic insomnia problem now for nearly a decade. It started out with occasional bouts of sleeplessness and now it's at the point where a single good night's sleep is a rare thing. My night consists of alternating periods of restless sleep and wakefulness, followed by a day that consists of many little naps that don't refresh me at all.
It's taking it's toll. For the past year I've felt as if I'm living half a life and as I said, life is too short to be missing a lot of time out of it. I've tried meditation. I've tried diet adjustments. I've been prescribed sleeping pills, but the ones that actually work for me are horribly addictive. Something is wrong here. It's taken me years to convince a doctor of the seriousness of it, but recently I finally managed it, and got referred to the sleep clinic at Johns Hopkins.
I went for the initial interview last month. They took my vitals and medical history, and asked me a battery of questions, not only about my sleep habits but my personal lifestyle. What kind of work do I do? How to I usually spend my evenings? Do I smoke? Do I drink? Do I exercise? How often and how much? Then they scheduled me for a sleepover, where I'll be wired up and monitored as I (try to) sleep.
That happens tonight. Hopefully they'll see it all happening, and then I'll know what the problem is. They asked about snoring and since I'm single I haven't a clue whether I snore or not. But the snoring question is I think, about sleep apnea, and I'm hoping it's that, and not some kind of brain/sleep problem that requires drugs to treat.
See...the thing about my sleeplessness is that my mind is almost hyperactive while it is happening. It's the oddest, most uncomfortable feeling you can imagine: my body is dead tired, almost immobile with tiredness, and yet my mind is quite active. I want to get up and do things but I can't because I'm so dog tired. So my mind just wanders and wanders until I finally get a few moments of sleep and then I'm awake again. A diagnosis of sleep apnea would be a relief actually.
I pack an overnight bag and check in tonight. They said I could bring my laptop and books to read. I'm hoping there's a wireless access point there somewhere I can connect to, but it isn't required. I can live without Internet for one night. My iPod comes along but my white noise maker doesn't because they need to listen to me. I don't think that will make much of a difference since I expect this room to be pretty quiet. They say it'll be like a motel room. I had to buy pajamas (ugh! But I'm modest around strangers...) but I don't think that will make a difference in my being able to sleep or not either. They say the wiring won't bother me. I suppose they have it all down.
I'll post about it when I get back. I'm curious to see how it all works. But then that kind of thing keeps my mind active, and my active mind is what I think is keeping me from getting sleep...by Bruce Garrett | Link |
Thursday February 9, 2006
I Draw Because Sometimes It Keeps Me From Exploding
Wednesday February 8, 2006
Addicted And Paying The Price
[Scene: Late Afternoon, a co-worker's office] I enter, holding a tiny plastic cup of something that looks at first glance like it's chocolate pudding, with a bit of whipped cream on top...
Me (Holding out cup): I just bought this in the cafeteria. If it was a cup of pudding, it would cost me about 75 cents. But being that its mousse, it cost me two bucks fifty. But since it's late, and I need my chocolate fix, I have to pay up.
A Co-Worker: Is that really mousse?
Me (shrugging): I reckon. I don't know. What's mousse?
A Co-Worker: It looks like mousse.
Me: So what is mousse?
A Co-Worker: It has egg white in it, and they whip it up a lot more. Yeah...that looks like mousse all right.
Me: So I'm paying a lot more for less, since most of what's in this is air.
A Co-Worker: Yeah. Pretty much. But mousse is good.
Me: Yes. Yes it is.by Bruce Garrett | Link |
Wednesday February 8, 2006
Oh. Right. It's That Time Of Year Again...
Things no one has bought for me since puberty:
Actually, I've Never been bought flowers.
(sigh) Valentine's Day.
Tuesday February 7, 2006
No... I Do Anger, Not Hate...
So I'm noticing a big bump in my web sit hits suddenly...and I'm thinking to myself that something I wrote, or some cartoon I posted, must be a big hit out there. My ego begins to soar upwards. My public loves me...!
Ha! I dig into my logs and what I see is that one of my cartoons is getting caught up in a sudden interest in searching for cartoons about the Holocaust. Here's the search string that's generating so much traffic around here lately:
That's it. Swear to god that's it. And sure enough, this cartoon of mine is appearing right on the first page of google image results:
It's about right wing nutcase Minnesota State Representative Arlon Lindner, who in 2003 introduced a bill to eliminate penalties for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and to remove offical recognition of homosexuals as victims of the holocaust. In defending his bill said among other things that it would save America from becoming "another African continent." Previously, he'd compared same sex marriage, a'la Pennsylvania wingnut Rick Santorum, to someone wanting to marry their dog.
I think I know what's going on. This is about the Moslem world riots over twelve Danish cartoons satirizing the prophet Mohammed. People are searching for equivalent cartoons satirizing the Holocaust, either to prove that Moslems have done the same in their own newspapers, or for something to wave back in the face of western liberal society. To both parties: welcome to my little gallery. Perhaps you hadn't heard about the pink triangles.by Bruce Garrett | Link |
Heartland Of Despair
There's a real good review of Brokeback Mountain in The New York Review Of Books now. I've read dozens of reviews and articles on Brokeback, and this is the only one I've seen that actually discusses what makes the film different from other "star-crossed lover" tragedies. For all that everyone is calling the tragic love story in Brokeback "universal", it isn't in one very central respect and it is frustrating me no end that no one is talking about this, because it really needs to be talked about. Well, someone has finally talked about it:
Indeed, a month after the movie's release most of the reviews were resisting, indignantly, the popular tendency to refer to it as "the gay cowboy movie." "It is much more than that glib description implies," the critic of the Minneapolis Star Tribune sniffed. "This is a human story."
Because I am as admiring as almost everyone else of the film's many excellences, it seems to me necessary to counter this special emphasis in the way the film is being promoted and received. For to see Brokeback Mountain as a love story, or even as a film about universal human emotions, is to misconstrue it very seriously - and in so doing inevitably to diminish its real achievement.
Both narratively and visually, Brokeback Mountain is a tragedy about the specifically gay phenomenon of the "closet" - about the disastrous emotional and moral consequences of erotic self-repression and of the social intolerance that first causes and then exacerbates it...
It could be that nowadays people, especially young people, don't see the closet as being a realistic option in their lives, and don't experience its corrosive effect on a person's soul firsthand anymore, either in their own lives if they are themselves gay, or in the lives of their gay friends, most of whom nowadays are out, even if not all that comfortably out. But there are more then gay teens being forced into Love In Action to learn to hate themselves. There are grown adults, hating themselves for what they are, who voluntarily check themselves into these places to have their homosexuality cured. Self hatred and it's prison, the closet, is still there, is still very real in people's lives, and it is Still destroying lives as surely as it destroyed the lives of the lovers in Brokeback Mountain.
In another review that decried the use of the term "gay cowboy movie" ("a cruel simplification"), the Chicago Sun-Times's critic, Roger Ebert, wrote with ostensible compassion about the dilemma of Jack and Ennis, declaring that "their tragedy is universal. It could be about two women, or lovers from different religious or ethnic groups - any 'forbidden' love." This is well-meaning but seriously misguided. The tragedy of heterosexual lovers from different religious or ethnic groups is, essentially, a social tragedy; as we watch it unfold, we are meant to be outraged by the irrationality of social strictures that prevent the two from loving each other, strictures that the lovers themselves may legitimately rail against and despise.
But those lovers, however star-crossed, never despise themselves. As Brokeback makes so eloquently clear, the tragedy of gay lovers like Ennis and Jack is only secondarily a social tragedy. Their tragedy, which starts well before the lovers ever meet, is primarily a psychological tragedy, a tragedy of psyches scarred from the very first stirrings of an erotic desire which the world around them - beginning in earliest childhood, in the bosom of their families, as Ennis's grim flashback is meant to remind us - represents as unhealthy, hateful, and deadly. Romeo and Juliet (and we) may hate the outside world, the Capulets and Montagues, may hate Verona; but because they learn to hate homosexuality so early on, young people with homosexual impulses more often than not grow up hating themselves: they believe that there's something wrong with themselves long before they can understand that there's something wrong with society. This is the truth that Heath Ledger, who plays Ennis, clearly understands - "Fear was instilled in him at an early age, and so the way he loved disgusted him," the actor has said - and that is so brilliantly conveyed by his deservedly acclaimed performance. On screen, Ennis's self-repression and self-loathing are given startling physical form: the awkward, almost hobbled quality of his gait, the constricted gestures, the way in which he barely opens his mouth when he talks all speak eloquently of a man who is tormented simply by being in his own body - by being himself.
Some people would disagree that gay teens grow up hating themselves "more often then not", but it is still happening to kids, and it is the horror at the center of LIA's teen program "Refuge". Smid wants to deliver gay teens into the wasteland of despair that Ennis and Jack experienced throughout their lives. This is what Smid, and everyone who is a part of the ex-gay movement, calls righteous. But it is a nightmare no one should have to live. Everyone needs to love, and be loved in return. It is a basic human need.
The real achievement of Brokeback Mountain is not that it tells a universal love story that happens to have gay characters in it, but that it tells a distinctively gay story that happens to be so well told that any feeling person can be moved by it. If you insist, as so many have, that the story of Jack and Ennis is OK to watch and sympathize with because they're not really homosexual - that they're more like the heart of America than like "gay people" - you're pushing them back into the closet whose narrow and suffocating confines Ang Lee and his collaborators have so beautifully and harrowingly exposed.
You should go read the whole thing. It really gets to the central sadness of this story. I've read the short story it was based on and I am old enough to recall some of what it was like for gay people back in the 1960s, when the story opens. I wasn't yet aware of my own sexual orientation back then, that wouldn't come about until the 1970s and my late teens. But I know how it was. The disgust and contempt for homosexuals was nearly universal. You could be fired from any job, have a professional license revoked or not granted, tossed out of your apartment, arrested and thrown in jail simply for being in a gay bar when the cops raided it, or any gathering of gay people. There were laws on the books in many cities, forbidding bars and restaurants from serving known homosexuals. Your name would be put on a sexual offenders list, whether you had actually done anything to anyone or not, simply because of what you were. And every Every news story or article about people like you described you to the rest of the world in the worst possible terms. You were a pervert, a psycho, mentally deranged, a dangerous lurking sexual predator. In my 8th grade sex ed class back in 1968, they taught us that homosexuals typically killed the people they had sex with.
Thankfully it's not nearly as bad nowadays. But what the right wing, what the religious right cannot do to society as a whole, they're still trying to do at the local level, and to individual gay people whenever and wherever they can. They want us to hate ourselves. They want to take any chance for love and happiness away from us, no matter how small. Witness the bitter opposition to even allowing same sex couples the simple right to be with and care for each other in the hospital. And they want to make gay teens who are comfortable with what they are, come to fear and then to loath their sexual nature. That is why places like Love In Action exist. The closet is still a terrible reality in America today, and if the religious right has its way, it will once again be the dominant reality of gay people's lives. What makes Brokeback Mountain different from other star-crossed lover stories, is how it is making accessible to the rest of America that uniquely gay experience of the closet. Now you know what it's like to be in there. Do you understand now why we fight?
This needs to be discussed, because America needs to see, finally, that the monsters, the sexual predators, were never their homosexual neighbors. Some people take sexual pleasure from others against their will. But there is another, more depraved kind of sexual predator, who takes pleasure in destroying in others, that capacity for sexual intimacy, that capacity to love and trust, and receive the love and trust of another. They justify the emptiness in their own hearts by murdering the hopes and dreams of their neighbors. They witness the death of love in others, and are reassured that their own heartless souls are the essential human reality, and the quest for love and intimacy is a pathetic, if not a wicked illusion. There's your monster.by Bruce Garrett | Link |
Monday February 6, 2006
An Unfitting Conclusion
Boston Globe columnist Adrian Walker has some good thoughts about the end of a killer's life...
The end of the short and apparently miserable life of Jacob Robida had a certain inevitability to it, but that fact isn't likely to give anyone much satisfaction or solace.
That's because he died early yesterday with so many questions left unanswered, and because he will never have to face up to the misery he caused others.
My feelings exactly. You should go read the rest of it. There's a brief description of some of the items found at his home that includes a disturbing detail I'd not read elsewhere.by Bruce Garrett | Link |
The Silence You Notice Hanging Over LIA
There is more on D.J. Butler, the teen who escaped Love In Action, on the Queer Action Committee website. I think these are links to the actual Memphis TV news reports that I posted earlier, but I haven't looked at any of them yet because I'm waiting for something a little more detailed then you usually get from TV news. But QAC has posted something Butler said in one of them that is both heartbreaking and chilling...
The people at Love In Action brain wash, that's what they do. They make you believe what they believe. They keep preaching until they make it seem true in your brain. I got so weak, I really was not as strong as I thought I was. They kept pushing and pushing...but thank God I got out of there before it was too late.
If this is love in action, then the mental hospitals where Stalin put his political prisoners were democracy in action. But theocrats like Smid and his religious right enablers don't believe in democracy, any more then they believe in love. They despise both for their promise of spiritual freedom and wholeness. Tyrants know that it isn't enough to imprison the body. You have to imprison the spirit. If you can do that you don't have to put chains on the body. If you don't, then chains will not long hold the body.
John Smid is gutting the heart from innocent teenagers, with no more compunction then slavers castrating their goods before putting them on the market. Many of the children who leave his prison do eventually re-establish their gay identities, but they do so wounded, and with what should have been the most wonderful, magical years of their lives an empty wasteland behind them. It is my hope that someday these kids, grown up, band together and sue the crap out of Smid and his enablers for what they did to them when they were young, and utterly at their mercy. I would contribute money to that lawsuit. I'm sure a lot of others would too.
And here's what else I would do: I would volunteer to build the jail where John Smid can serve his time for child abuse. By hand. All by myself if necessary. Brick by brick.
[Update...] E.J. has more to say about this, in a post that includes some corrections from former LIA client Peterson Toscano.by Bruce Garrett | Link |
Last week's cartoon is still on the drawing board...not a good place for something as topical as a political cartoon. And I had another one for this week beside it (on a different drawing board...yes I really do use drawing boards). Then came the denoument in the case of the Puzzles bar attack and a different cartoon for this week came to mind.
I'll have the others up sometime this week. In the meantime here's this weeks. I trust it needs no further comment, but I have more on the cartoon page if you want to read it.
Saturday February 4, 2006
Teen Wanted In Massachusetts Bar Shooting Has Been Captured
But not, alas, without killing someone, and getting someone else killed...
NORFORK, Ark. - A teenager suspected of a hatchet and gun attack in a Massachusetts gay bar was captured here Saturday after a rural police officer was gunned down and a female passenger of the teen killed in a shootout with police several minutes later, state police said.
Robida was a high school dropout who friends say glorified Naziism but never expressed any specific prejudice against gays.
Sounds like that crowd were all several sandwiches shy of a picnic. Naziism is nothing more then hate glued together with rhetorical duct tape and chicken wire. If he was a Nazi wannabe he didn't have to be specific about who he hated to be dangerous to goddamn nearly everyone.
I am so very sorry that Arkansas policeman, officer Jim Sell, was killed. I know there are a lot of people who may wish it otherwise, but I'm glad they took Robida alive nonetheless. People like that need to be held accountable and I don't think letting them go out in a blaze of gunfire is doing that.
[Update...] Now they're reporting that Robida was shot twice in the head and is in, surprise, surprise, critical condition. Yeah...two to the head will do that usually. There's also one news account out there saying that it was Robida who shot his female passenger, not the cops, and that the cops opened fire on him after he did that. I suppose we'll get a somewhat clearer picture of what happened later.by Bruce Garrett | Link |
"I was told that God loves me but he only loves me when I'm
straight, not Gay."
Yesterday a gay seventeen year old boy whose parent's took him in handcuffs back to Memphis, and John Smid's tender mercies, spoke out about his experience to reporters in Memphis. You can read some of what the teen, D.J. Butler, said to them here, here, and here. These are TV news stories, so they're a tad thin. I'll post more links to news accounts and interviews with this teen as I find them. Hopefully I can find something soon with a little more detail to it.
Butler says he was given prozac during his stay. "They said they don't do that but they did it."
If this is true it's damning evidence that they're simply thumbing their noses at the law. They were ordered flat out to stop doing this some months ago and a stay of that order was denied back then, and again yesterday. A spokesdroid for LIA denies they gave the kid drugs, but you would hardly expect them to admit to it on a day when a judge refused to grant them relief from Tennessee's laws regarding the treatment of mental illness. And my strong hunch is that unless there is someone from the state of Tennessee stationed on site 24/7 keeping a watch on them, they're going to keep right on doing it.
Butler eventually escaped LIA, fled back to Georgia, and got an emancipation order. John Smid claims that Love In Action helps improve communication between teens and their parents. Well it certainly seems to motivate the kids into seeking emancipation. Butler is not the only teen who has been through LIA, or has been threatened with LIA, that has looked into it. I know that for a fact. Years from now, after these teens have grown into adults, years from now when they're still dealing with heart wounds that are Still holding them back from everything their lives could be, years from now when their parents look back on it all, there are going to be a lot of people staring blankly at the path of destruction John Smid tore through the lives of families, like a mindless wandering tornado, and wonder why nobody could stop him.by Bruce Garrett | Link |
Friday February 3, 2006
Conditional Love In Action
More on the situation in Memphis, from someone who has looked it in the face...
Once again, a teenager who was taken into the Love In Action/Refuge program in Raleigh is speaking out against the self-proclaimed "ministry" as teaching a lesson of conditional self-love. The condition is simple: don't be gay and you can love yourself.
E.J. Friedman asks how throwing a child of 15 or 16 into a place where people are discussing, among other things bestiality, is supposed to help them cope with themselves...
Are they supposed to equate their same-sex desires with fucking a dog or turning a trick?
And what is profoundly disturbing here is that E.J. needs to reassure his readers that he is not slandering LIA's methods. Yes...that is Exactly what John Smid does to gay teenagers. He throws them into discussion groups with adults who have engaged in sexually ugly and extreme behaviors...this has been verified again and again. And make no mistake, what he is trying to do is tear down that kid's sense of self esteem, make them come to understand their sexual nature as something horribly and irreconcilably perverse and disgusting, so that they will as adults, be utterly incapable of forming a lasting intimate bond with another person of the same sex. They are not a soul saved, so much as a soul annihilated. In the name of Christ. And for money.
This is child sexual abuse, or the term simply has no meaning. I'll say this again: John Smid belongs behind bars with all the other child molesters. Just because he doesn't physically abuse them, does not make it any less a case of child sexual abuse. He is doing to them emotionally, exactly what child molesters do, and he needs to be held accountable for it.
E.J, and the folks at QAC, say they have no problem with LIA treating gay adults who voluntarily seek their help. This is where I part company with them. If LIA were a simple ministry or prayer group I would agree it's a matter of religious freedom. But they claim to be more then that, at the same time they claim religious freedom as their shield from laws that otherwise protect people from medical quacks. They are doing things to people that science and medicine regard as hazardous to people's emotional well being, serene in the religious zealot's confidence that whatever harm they wreak on people's lives just isn't their fault, because god gave them permission. If people feel they need counseling for issues of sexual orientation they need to go to professional counselors. If they want spiritual guidance they can find a church or church group, where they can work out their own way to God. LIA acts as if they are both, and thereby announce that they are neither. They are taking people's money and fiddling around with their deepest emotional and spiritual selves, with no more understanding of what they are doing, let alone regard for the damage they cause, then if they were chicken pluckers posing as brain surgeons. That place needs to be shut down, and the people in it who dragged helpless gay teenagers into a world of mistrust, fear and self loathing, need to be locked up.
We're sorry, but your place at the table has been removed...
It just gets worse and worse over in donkeyland...
Democrats abolish gay outreach for 'integrated' approach
Gay Dem resigns in protest over Dean's decision
WASHINGTON - Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean has abolished the Democratic Party's constituent outreach desks, including the post of director of lesbian and gay outreach.
A DNC spokesperson said Dean replaced the outreach director positions with a new program called the American Majority Partnership, which integrates efforts to address the concerns of minorities into all of the DNC's departments and offices. The little noticed move took place last year.
"It's an expansion of what we had before," said Damien LaVera, the DNC spokesperson assigned to discuss gay rights issues.
But the former chair of the DNC's Gay & Lesbian Americans Caucus doesn't see it that way. Gay Democratic Party activist and fundraiser Jeff Soref of New York City said he resigned from the DNC and from his position as chair of the gay caucus in August largely because of Dean's decision to eliminate the gay outreach desk.
"It took us many years to win that position, have it funded and make it effective," Soref said.
Soref said he told Dean "it was not credible" to simply assume that combining all constituent groups into one program without a specific gay coordinator or director would be effective because it would likely result in less attention to the specific concerns of gay Democrats.
"I thought this system could lead to us being re-marginalized by the party," Soref said in an e-mail message. "I have seen or heard nothing since that makes me feel that is not happening," he said.
This is in-fucking-credible. I can't believe this. You have to figure they just don't give a good goddamn about gay voters. Maybe putting Tim Kaine's face on TV the other day wasn't just typcial democratic party stupidity. Maybe they really do think that gutter crawling bigot is the face of the party's future. Karl Rove must be dancing a jig over all this.
Maybe I will re-register as an independent...by Bruce Garrett | Link |
A Teen Speaks Out
Mike Airhart at Ex-Gay Watch has a post up about the teen that is speaking out after being forced into Love In Action:
A press release follows from Queer Action Coalition, Memphis, Tennessee.
The unidentified teenager will appear at 3 p.m. today outside a hearing between the unlicensed exgay live-in treatment facility Love In Action and the State of Tennessee.
LOVE IN ACTION, the Memphis-based fundamentalist Christian program which describes homosexuality as "a masterful deception from the enemy", has recently launched a campaign targeted specifically at converting youth to their agenda. Their youth program, Refuge, attempts to convert homosexual youth, a process which leading medical associations warn has disastrous affects, “including depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior."3 The group came under fire over the past year, after a Bartlett teenager revealed via weblog that his parents were forcing him into the program against his will. This cry for help led to international media attention, and daily protests outside the facility, organized by the Queer Action Coalition (QAC).
For the first time since the controversy began, a teenager who was coerced into Refuge will speak out about his experiences in the program. The teenager will be in Memphis on Friday, February 3 at 3 p.m. in front of the Federal Courthouse, as Love In Action awaits a judge's decision in a "Motion to Dismiss/Preliminary Injunction" hearing - Love In Action International, Inc. v. Phil Bredesen, et al.
The teen will tell his story, and answer questions about his traumatic stay at Love In Action, including his eventual escape from Memphis, and the legal battle that awarded him with the promise of never being forced into the program again.
It is QAC's concern that Love In Action is actively targeting youth, and their parents, with an agenda that promotes pervasive myths, and empty, biased stereotypes in an attempt to stimulate a notion of fear and shame. As concerned citizens, we feel the negative views held by the program endanger the well being of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people on a daily basis; people who already face prejudice and hatred which often leads to emotional and physical abuse. Furthermore, we believe that no one should be coerced into any "treatments" for homosexuality, especially with all major mental health associations clearly outlining the danger of such "therapy".
QAC may well be concerned about the targeting of teens, and more specifically, their parents. And that's because the number of gay adults who have been voluntarily checking themselves into LIA has dwindled so severely since the Memphis protests that they've had to sell off one of their residential houses. Smid may now be calculating that parents of gay kids represent a better market for his snake oil then gay adults who can legally make their own decisions. The money's got to come from somewhere.
As I write this, the press release is not up at the QAC site. When it is I'll link directly to it. I'll post more on this, as I learn more...
[Update...] Here's the press release up at QAC, along with a photo of the teen giving interviews. No more details yet. Stay tuned...by Bruce Garrett | Link |
Can You Draw The Pirate?
Something else from my sketchbook...
I saw this guy standing around on the grounds of an abandoned mental hospital in Topeka Kansas. I wouldn't mess around with him if I were you...
Actually this is Bob in Topeka Kansas. He's a real nice guy. But I still wouldn't mess around with him if I were you.by Bruce Garrett | Link |
Thursday February 2, 2006
Love The Sinner, Hack The Sin To Little Pieces With A Machete And
Then Shoot It A Few Times
So a guy walks into a bar, and he asks the bartender (stop me if you've heard this one) if it's a gay bar...
At least three people were injured in an apparent hate crime in a New Bedford bar last night, according to broadcast reports.
WHDH-TV, quoting an employee of Puzzles Lounge on North Front Street, said a man went into the bar around midnight, ordered a drink, then asked if it was a gay bar.
He then pulled out a machete and a hatchet and began attacking some of the 18 people inside. When patrons tried to restrain him, he pulled a gun and fired at least five shots.
Three patrons were shot, two in the face and one at the chest. They were being treated at Boston hospitals this morning.
Police are searching for the shooter.
The usual denials of responsibility for the climate of hate toward gay people will be forthcoming momentarily, from the usual suspects...
[Update...] They have a suspect in the shooting that they're actively looking for:
He is an 18 year old named Jacob D. Robida, of New Bedford, Mass. Police said Robida has dark hair, is about 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs about 200 pounds. He is believed to be driving a 1999 green Pontiac Grand Am with Massachusetts plate number 85EC58.
Consider him armed and dangerous. If you see him, call the police.by Bruce Garrett | Link |
Teenage Victim Of Love In Action Fights Back
Net chatter is that a 17 year old kid who was forced into Love In Action will be speaking out to the media, possibly today. What I'm hearing is that he fled to Georgia and had an emacipation hearing. I don't know any more then this, however it comes from sources close to the Memphis Love In Action protests.
Stay tuned...by Bruce Garrett | Link |
Wednesday February 1, 2006
Yes...this week's cartoon is...uhm...a tad late, isn't it? Sorry...but my paying job took precidence this weekend. It's been a hectic rush to get stuff done before our mid February deadline, but it looks like we'll be fine. I have the cartoon for the week nearly done, it just needs the charcoaling, and a bit of ink wash.
Perhaps in the meantime, can I bribe you with something from my sketchbook...?
The graying out in the lower left hand corner is from the way my sketch book bulged out from the scanner plate. I'm using a thread bound sketch book lately, instead of wire bound and it won't lay flat on the scanner. The smudges are because it's a pencil sketch, and I like to work in a very soft lead. I used a .5mm technical pencil and a wad of kneaded rubber for this one, which is the same as I use for the roughs of my political cartoons.
I wish I could draw more from life. I'm at that point now where I know I can improve vastly if I could do that on a regular basis. But for now I have to make do with photos, and a little imagination. This one came from a photo that I found in some forgotten corner of the internet, that I printed out and tacked to the wall in front of my drafting table as an exercise. I adjusted the body proportions and hair style to taste, and made the guy's jeans resemble something more like I was used to seeing, back in the 1970s, when guys, even straight guys were allowed to be sexy below the waist. I don't think anybody, anybody male that is, wears hip huggers and flared jeans anymore. Or wide belts. That's all strictly 70s stuff. As a nod to the present, I resisted the temptation to make his hair longer. Actually, not every guy wore his hair long back when I was a twenty-something either, and some of them still managed to look sexy.
I need to do this sort of thing more often. Just sketch for the sake of it, instead of to produce anything specific. And I need to practice from life, instead of from pictures, and my anatomy books. But I haven't the nerve to actually ask someone to pose. So I reckon I'll just have to make due with magazine clippings and the random internet photo.by Bruce Garrett | Link |
Pretty Much Says It All Regarding The Democratic Party...
From Pam's House Blend:
The vote was 58 to 42. Enough to have sustained a filibuster even without Chafee if 16 Senators believed in more than empty gestures. And Olympia Snowe voted for Alito. There is no middle in the Republican Party. There is only Democratic capitulation masking as moderation.
Dig it. If every senator who voted against confirmation had voted to sustain the filibuster, Alito would not now be a supreme court justice. But you can count on the fact that they'll try to use their 'no' vote on confirmation as proof they're willing to take a stand for the rights of women and minorities. It's an empty stand though, as befitting an empty party.
So I got an email from Howard Dean this morning. Well...it said it was from Howard Dean. It may well have even been from Howard Dean. But it wasn't to me, it was to the DNC mailing list I happened to be on. And so I logged on to the DNC website and I fired back some feedback, basically telling them how I felt like I'd been slapped in the face after they choose a gutter crawling bigot to give the democratic party response to Bush's state of the union speech.
I got Mr. Dean's email this morning. The subject line was "What we didn't hear tonight". But it isn't what I didn't hear, it's what I did. Specifically, I heard homophobic bigot Tim Kaine give the democratic party's response to Bush's state of the union. I feel like I've been slapped in the face.
I don't know why you think that gay and lesbian Americans should keep giving you money and support if you're going to keep kicking us around to try and peel off a little the bigot vote from the republicans. I'm sick of being treated like radioactive material by democrats. I'm an American. Kaine not only wants to ban same sex marriage, he wants to ban even the second class civil unions. The amendment to Virginia's constitution that he signed off on, is a sweeping attack on our households, on our families, on us. It is breathtaking how broad the attack on us by him is. And there he was last night on my TV screen...speaking for the democratic party.
I can't begin to tell you how angry I am. Just a few weeks ago I watched sickened while a New Jersey policewoman, Laural Hestor, dying of cancer, begged her local government to do for her life partner upon death, what it would have routinely done for any married couple...extend her pension to her, so she could keep their house. Finally, it was republicans who pressured the Ocean County freeholders to reverse themselves and grant the benefit. Tim Kaine would have taken even that small measure of hope away from Hestor and her partner. Why are gay and lesbian Americans still having to beg to be treated fairly and decently by our government? I can't begin to tell you how angry I am.
...and so on and so forth. Yes...I know... As if they care...by Bruce Garrett | Link |
Tuesday January 31, 2006
Why We Fight...
Via the BBC...
A man beaten in a suspected homophobic attack in Londonderry has been told he may lose the sight of one eye.
The 20-year-old, from County Donegal, was attacked by two men as he walked along Clarendon Street on Sunday.
He was punched on the face and knocked to the ground. He is now recovering in hospital. There have been a series of attacks on gay men in the city.
David McCartney from the Rainbow Project, a support group for the gay community, knows the victim well.
"He is a student in his early 20s," he said.
"He is a very quiet fella and is a decent bloke - he is well-liked.
"The fact is that this isn't the first time this has happened to him.
"This is the second major homophobic incident that he has experienced in the last couple of years.
"It is absolutely traumatising for him - I'm not even entirely sure that the shock has set in yet, that he has in fact lost the sight in one of his eyes."
SDLP leader Mark Durkan, the MP for the area, said it "was a savage assault on a completely innocent young man".
Two men attacked a twenty year old student, a quiet and decent guy, and beat him so badly he's lost the sight in one eye. And you can bet the thugs who did this are having themselves a good old laugh over it. And why not? Politicians tell them that homosexuals represent a threat to their families and their country. Clergymen, mullahs and popes thunder from the pulpits that homosexuals represent an intrinsic evil, a satanic force against Christianity. The two men who did this may be just a couple of gutter crawling thugs, but they were given permission to do this by their ersatz betters. The problem isn't that there are violent gay bashers out there, but that more and more these days our communities, our churches, and our countries, are led by people with utterly no conscience, who inflame violent passions toward homosexual people because it brings them votes, and fills the collection plates. And so the blood of gay people transubstantiates into money and power.
[Update...] In comments Willie Hewes reminds me that England isn't the United States and homophobia isn't the major part of the political message over there that it is here.by Bruce Garrett | Link |
The Vote For Alito
Here is a list of democrats who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade. They voted to reverse Lawrence v. Texas, and re-establish the sodomy laws. They voted to reverse Romer v. Evans, and allow states to constitutionally place gay and lesbian Americans in second class citizenship status. Remember their names. They are the democrats, who sold out America, who, by voting against the filibuster of Alito, gave the American dream to the haters of democracy on a silver platter:
Later on this week, some of these will vote against confirmation, and then try to claim that it was a vote against Alito. No. The only vote that mattered, was the vote for or against the filibuster. That was their only way to prevent Altio from sitting on the court and they knew it. By voting 'yes' to close debate, they voted to seat Alito, knowing that he will be the vote to finally overturn Roe, and once again reestablish sodomy laws, and make gay Americans, women and other minorities second class citizens...if even that. That is what these democrats voted for.
Over at Kos, diarist Maryscott OConnor has this to say:
Frankly, right now I'd like nothing better than to torpedo the entire lot of them. Just dump them like so much worthless, leaden, VICHY MOTHERFUCKING BALLAST.
I got nothin', folks. Don't look over here if you want comfort or a nice, uplifting LIVE TO FIGHT ANOTHER DAY speech.
I'M DONE WITH THEM. They are DEAD to me.
Yeah. CANTWELL and BYRD and LANDRIEU and BINGAMAN and every last motherfucking one of them, I'm DONE with them.
I'm registering Independent tomorrow. You're welcome to join me.
If it weren't for the fact that both my democratic senators voted for the filibuster I'd probably do the same. But I reckon for now I'll remain a democrat, if for no other reason then I get to vent at all the party telemarketers who call asking for money and support.
In Washington state, some yahoo is organizing a petition drive to establish a Cincinnati article 12 style law to forbid the enactment of laws that protect gay and lesbian people from discrimination. An Alito court could, and probably will at some point, reverse Romer v. Evans, and allow such a thing to become part of the state constitution. For gay and lesbian Americans, and for other minorities as well, it'll be the 1950s all over again. But the Bush republicans want to push America back even further, back into the 1800s, to a time when the only people who had rights were the rich and the powerful.
This is what I was most afraid of, in a Bush second term. And it's not over. He'll likely get another one on the court. And who knows, maybe even one after that. And now they know the democrats will lay down and just let it happen. People are saying the answer to all this is to get more democrats elected. But...why? They had the power to stop this and they wouldn't use it. And point of fact, when they were in the majority they allowed Scalia and Thomas to sit on the court. Who can really say with a straight face that if they were in the majority in the senate, that Altio wouldn't be placed on the supreme court anyway, and Bush given essentially free reign to put a knife in the American dream?
Elect a democratic president, you say? They may not nominate batshit crazy right wingers to the court, but anyone they do nominate will be blocked by the republicans unless they are. And capital hill democrats won't fight for their president's nominees like the republicans fight for theirs...they just won't. We're in a loose-loose situation until the democrats either grow a spine, or new blood comes into the party that is willing to get in the republican's faces and fight like hell for America. Republicans fight and democrats won't and until that changes the worst is still yet to come.by Bruce Garrett | Link |
Here's To The New Face...Same As The Old Face...
Chris Crain, Executive Editor of The Washington Blade writes about the new face of the democratic party...
The Democratic Party announced on Friday that Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine will deliver the party's official response to President Bush's "State of the Union" address later this month. Party leaders tapped Kaine because they wanted to reach outside the beltway and pick a fresh face who has proven succes with "red state" voters.
A statement issued by the party praised Kaine, just one week on the job, for being "a champion for working families, putting their priorities above the needs of the special interests."
That description will surprise the "working families" of Virginia headed up by gay and lesbian couples. Because the same day Kaine was picked to be "the new face" of the Democratic Party, the Washington Blade reported that he supports and will sign into law an amendment to the Virginia constitution that not only bans gay marriage and civil unions, but domestic partnerships as well, and may even deprive us the protection of domestic violence laws.
...If Howard Dean and other party leaders truly believe Kaine is a "champion for working families who puts their priorities above the needs of the special interests," then we can only conclude that the Democratic Party now views the civil rights of our working families as "special interests" to be sacrificed on Election Day.
Tim Kaine may be the new face for Democrats, but he certainly isn't their spine.
Actually...he probably is. And that's the problem.
A lot of people, when they heard last week that Kaine was going to give the Democratic response to the state of the union, went ballistic. To many people Kaine is an appalling choice to speak for the Democratic party. Pam's House Blend has been all over it:
For gays living under Kaine and his endorsement of a marriage amendment, it's a clear message that your life partner relationship has no legal footing or recognition in the state -- and it will NEVER be recognized. Oh, and keep paying taxes for that luxury.
Yet that's fine and dandy with the Democratic Party establishment, which tacitly endorses Kaine's position with this pick. Defenders will say: "just ignore that and look at 'the whole package' or 'the long view'.
Well, I'm looking at the long view, and so far all I see are states falling, one by one, passing marriage amendments because Dems are silent. I take that as either an endorsement of the bigotry, or complete impotence and incompetence on how to counter the message coming out of the right wing.
That's when you know that civil equality is not a core value in this party.
To me, a true fresh face from Virginia is Delegate David Englin. He is a Fighting Dem that had the balls to publicly slap back at bigotry in his statehouse with a speech that should be read by Howard Dean and the rest of the shiftless, bleating Dem talking heads. The party leadership had plenty of choices to tap for this speech -- and they chose Republican lite.
But that's just fine with some democrats, who seem perfectly willing to throw their gay and lesbian neighbors to the wolves if they think it'll win them back the Archie Bunker vote:
For liberal bloggers who want to get exercised about something really important: Where are the Democrats or liberals talking about Ford laying off some 30,000 workers, the end of middle class benefits for working Americans, IBM's gutting of pension security, and the collapse of American manufacturing?
If you want to know why Dems don't win elections, it won't be because Kaine is talking this Tuesday night. It's because the mainstream leadership of the Democratic party doesn't think, feel, viscerally respond to the increasing insecurities of working americans.
Fine. Let's talk about pension security:
When a dying Laurel Hester appealed to the Ocean County freeholders a month ago, she sat in front of them in Toms River, spoke in a soft voice and asked the five- member board to allow her pension benefits to be extended to her life partner.
Yesterday, Hester was in front of the freeholders again -- but this time she was in a videotaped message played on a laptop computer at the freeholders meeting -- making what could be her last plea to them before her cancer kills her. Although the freeholders appeared moved by the three-minute video, they were not budging from their decision to not extend Hester's pension benefits to her life partner, Stacie Andree. At least one freeholder said the board would not change its mind before Hester's death.
"The board has said so far it is a legitimate and reasonable position we've taken," Freeholder John Bartlett Jr. said after the meeting. "In my opinion, I don't see any need to change it."
Laurel Hestor, a New Jersey policewoman who put her life on the line every day for the security of her community, was begging that community to do for her life partner, what it would routinely do for a married heterosexual couple. Without this, her partner would have had to sell the house they lived in together for many years after Laurel's death. The freeholders, under pressure from state republicans reversed themselves last week and granted the extension of Laurel's pension benefits to her partner. Pension security.
Kaine would have it taken away from Hestor and her partner. And there are plenty of democrats, like Katrina vanden Heuvel who I quoted above (via Steve Gilliard, who has a thing or two to say about democrats like her), who wouldn't give ratshit about it either, so long as the pensions of real people aren't touched. The insecurities of working Americans is it Katrina? My ass. Just say "prejudices" Katrina. It's what you meant after all. Democrats have to pander to the lowest prejudices of working class americans once more, like the party used to back in the 1950s, if it wants to start winning elections again. That about sum it up?
But we're suppose to keep supporting the party anyway, with our dollars, and our energy, and our votes. Last week I got into a brief argument with one of these democrats in a comment thread on AmericaBlog, who told us straight up that we should be willing to sacrifice our right to marriage, and with it any hope for the security of our households and our unions, to "save America" from the republicans. But America is the land of liberty and justice for all. America is the land of equal justice under law. America is the land where we're all endowed by our creator with rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. When you've allowed all that to be destroyed, what is it exactly that you're saving? I'll hazard a guess: Democrats like Katrina don't want to save America, they just want to save themselves. And we're supposed to help them save themselves, by grandly offering to sacrfice our homes, our families, and all our hopes and all our dreams, so that they can keep selling America out piecemeal to the republicans. I've got a middle finger right here Katrina that has my answer to you written all over it.
As Franklin once said, we'll all hang together or for sure we'll all hang separately. Throwing your gay and lesbian neighbors overboard isn't going to help keep your ship afloat. It'll sink it. You won't get the bigot vote. If each and every democrat running for office personally put a knife in the heart of the first gay person they came across, they Still wouldn't get the bigot vote. The only way Democrats are going to start winning elections again is to fight like hell for America, for the American dream of liberty and justice for all. As Truman once said, if you give people a choice between a republican and a republican, they'll elect the republican every time.
But...I guess you have to actually believe in the American dream, to want to fight for it. If you think that the rights of your gay and lesbian neighbors are negotiable, then you don't believe in it. It really is as simple as that. You can't say that some Americans are more equal then others and then out of the other side of your mouth claim you still believe in an America where we're all equal. You're just looking out for yourself. But nobody buys their own rights, at the expense of their neighbor's.
First they came for the jews...