Saturday, March 24, 2007

Blogging From Las Vegas - Bill Richardson & Dennis Kucinich Speak At Stonewall Democrats Luncheon

The day is not yet half over and I am already spinning with new information. I am attending the National Stonewall Democrats Western Training Session in Las Vegas this weekend and it has been very informative.

This morning I had to decide between going to the Health Care form sponsored by the Center for American Progress and the training sessions. I opted for the sessions and it was a good choice. Many members of the DNC are present and very active here. The session I sat in on this morning was on becoming a presidential delegate to the Democratic Convention. There is so much more involved that I would have ever thought. Seems every state is different in the selection process and navigating that maze was most of the session.

For lunch we had the traditional rubber chicken, (except here in Vegas it’s really good, kudos to the Riviera Hotel catering staff on that), and lots of speeches. Notably Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexica, a presidential candidate. Gov. Richardson sat at the table right next to me, so I had a chance to at least see and chat with him. Additionally the mayor of Las Vegas was on hand and left everyone with a favorable expression.

The surprise was Dennis Kucinich who showed up unexpectedly and made an impromptu speech. He unabashedly stated that he supports Gay Marriage and left everyone to a standing ovation. I got a picture with him that I will post once I get home.

This afternoon it is more workshops and maybe a few minutes to rest and schmooze with fellow gay democrats.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Blogging From Las Vegas - National Stonewall Democrats

Well I have been in Las Vegas a day now and it seems like a week already. This is the city that never sleeps!

I am here for the National Stonewall Democrats Training Sessions. These are a series of workshops to help budding queer activists have a real impact on the party and the campaigns, as well as little tips on raising funds, etc. The other big draw here is Vegas is the Health Care Roundtable being hosted at UNLV and attended by most of the Presidential Candidates (all Democrats by the way). Seems Republicans don;t want to talk about the health care crisis almost as much as they loath talking about global warming.

Last night I took time off to attend a show. The Fashionistas. John Stagliano, famed porn director tried his hand at an adult Vegas show and he hit a home run. It's filled with fetish wear, beautiful women and hunky bare chested guys. Needless to say, I loved it. Lots of leather and bondage and all set to a rock beat. It is a dance extravaganza, with amazing performers and even a couple of aerialists thrown in above the audience. Very kinky, but not as much skin as you might expect. Seems since they are not in a major hotel, their venue has restrictions as to the amount of nudity allowed. Still plenty of bare butts and lots of manflesh.

I met John and his wife Karen a couple of years ago at the AVN awards. A couple of films I photographed got nominations for awards and I attended. Though you might not like some of his stuff, all that gonzo video, he has successfully been able to create some truly erotic visions both on the stage and in his film, The Fashionistas. See it if you can in Vegas.

Bye for now, we are off to a party at Le Cage at the Riviera Hotel, drag of course!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

White House Secrecy Wall Is Cracking

The latest scandal involving Alberto Gonzales is just a distraction.. Face it, Gonzo is going to be another fall guy just like Scooter and Kyle Sampson. The recently released emails fron the White House show that the real brains behind this an pretty much every underhanded political scheme at the White House comes from Karl Rove, Bush and Cheney. This axis of deceit lays the blame on their loyal underlings and still manages to get away with their activity.

No surprise that Sidney Blumenthal lays out the "crime family" scenario in his latest piece for The surprise is that more American’s haven’t figured this out sooner. As the White House twists and spins to avoid Karl Rove and Harriet Myers from testifying under oath before Congress, it is painfully obvious that they are hiding something. To turn the line used by the Bush administration around when they began illegal wiretapping, "if you aren’t guilty, then you have nothing to worry about."

The real truth is that they have a lot to hide, and their guilt wreaks like a rotten stew of deception and lies. Bush and his cronies are expert at lying and getting away with it, until now and it’s time they were brought to justice.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Senator Inhofe - A Prick & A Fool?

Senator Inhofe comes from a state that is feeling the direct consequences of Global Warming. Drought, and higher temperatures have hurt crops and cattle in Oklahoma, not to mention the possibility that future warming might even spawn more sever weather which lays waste to the Sooner State each year. It is amazing that he refuses to understand or even listen to testimony given by Al Gore in Washington this week.

Inhofe interrupted, bullied and tried to prevent any answers from the former Vice President to the point that Barbara Boxer had to remind him that the GOP was not making the rules anymore. She enforced the time limits and let Gore speak.

Inhofe tried to bully Gore into signing a vague energy use statement that totally ignores the use of solar or wind and other green energy sources which Gore and my family use. Overall, Inhofe is a prick, and he apparently is in the pocket of Big Oil, since he tried desperately to skew any testimony or just prevent it.

He surely cannot believe that global warming is a myth. If he does, he is not just a prick; he’s a fool.

18 Days Of E-mails Missing From White House Evidence

I woke up this morning and saw the ghost of Rosemary Woods standing in my room. She kept saying the number 18 over and over again. Then I sign onto my computer and see that is reporting that there seem to by 18 days of emails missing from the document dump the White House laid on congress yesterday. Hummm? 18 Days, and Rosemary woods accidentally erased 18 minutes of tape for Nixon?

I wonder if it is an omen?

North Carolina Castrators Get Convicted

I have had a lot of people ask me if I hurt people for fun. I usually reply with a quip, "Only if they ask politely". In reality, SM is something much more difficult to describe. We participate in activities most people would consider as painful, and yet we find enjoyment in them. We do lots of things that would shock most "vanilla" folk, but still we have a code of behavior that keeps us safe. We often speak of "safe, sane and consensual" as our bywords. These were invented years ago as a way to explain what we do, not so much as rules. That being said, they are not bad bywords and in fact make pretty good rules.

The safe part is quantifiable. Any activity which causes life threatening harm or irreversible damage is probably not safe. Consensual is an easy definition as well, but the "sane" thing is a gray area. What would constitute "insane behavior"? We as the judge said about pornography, "I can’t describe it, but I know it when I see it." In other words it’s a little subjective.

Well the news story that came out a while back about the three guys in North Carolina that were doing backyard castrations and calling it SM, really looked insane to me. After reading more about their activities, I believe that it still qualifies as insane. More to the point, it is a case of people with a real pathological problem finding a willing practitioner to harm them. These guys had people flying in from other countries to have their balls cut off. They are not surgeons and the operation is about as irreversible as it gets. For me that is very hard to understand.

I have thought long and hard about this and still come to the same conclusion. They either were just plain crazy bubbas who wanted to cut guys balls off and post them on the internet (which they did). Or they were people dabbling in SM who got caught up in the role-play and just went too far. Either way what they were doing was not safe or sane though it may have been consensual.

They were convicted of felony castration and maiming. That charge carries some jail time but I think they need something more than that. They need a little real education in SM and some serious counseling to find out what the hell they were thinking! People like these guys make it harder on all the rest of us who are sincere about our BDSM and wish to continue to enjoy ourselves and our partners in safe sane and consensual play.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Time To Talk Seriously About Impeachmet

Dennis Kucinich is urging a genuine conversation about impeachment. It is about time!

Dallas Looses Two Famous Rays - Ray Nasher & "Crazy Ray"

Two Rays passed away this weekend in Dallas. I was lucky enough to know them both, at least for a short time.

I had a chance to interview Ray Nasher several years ago as part of an industrial film for a PR group working for The Limited. That retailer was getting ready to open their new Northpark store and Ray was delighted. The interview ranged widely from the original topic and much of it was about Mr. Nasher’s views on not only retail but also civic responsibility and politics.

Nasher was an unapologetic liberal. The liberal part of his politics was seen in the way he ran his business. Anyone who has ever been to Northpark Center in Dallas, knows what I mean. The mall, one of the first and best malls in the country is beautiful. It is not overblown and showy, but built with persistent cream colored brick and an uncluttered design that gives the stores the featured attention, not the mall’s architecture. The other thing that makes Northpark so great is the abundance of public art. Drawn from Nasher’s personal collection walking through the mall, you are exposed to modern sculpture from Alberto Giacometti to Frank Stella. Round one corner and you see a huge steel piece by Mark Di Suvero soaring into the atrium before the food court. Sit and relax by in the courtyard outside and you can see a giant safety pin by Claus Oldenburg. Make a trip to Neiman-Marcus and you pass a giant mechanical sculpture by Jonathan Borofsky.

Nasher believed in sharing his art with everyone. He believed it was a joy to posses a world class collection of modern sculpture, but more of a joy to bring it to the citizens of Dallas to enjoy. The museum that bears his name, The Nasher Sculpture Center is one of the finest museums of it’s kind in the world and will be a lasting legacy to the man for whom it is named.

The other Ray who died was a man known to millions of Dallas Cowboy’s fans as Crazy Ray. Wilford "Crazy Ray" Jones was a local celebrity since my childhood. I first met him at a little shop in downtown Dallas called Magicland. It was the only magic shop in the area, and as a budding amateur magician, it was my favorite hangout.

Ray, though when I first met him he was shining shoes, was a magician, too. He wasn’t the kind of magician who needed expensive props and lots of assistants. Ray did magic with the kind of things you could find in your pockets or even on the street. His favorite trick involved a cheep noisemaker hat he bought by the dozens at Magicland. It was simply a metal crescent with a piece of waxed paper attached. When held in the mouth, it was invisible and with practice, a skilled operator could make it emit the sounds of everything from birds to small dogs. Ray’s favorite trick was to carry a paper bag around and make the sounds of a whining puppy. He would flick the bag with his finger; hidden inside to make it twitch and it was so convincing that once he got on a bus with the bag. A passenger told him he couldn’t ride the bus with a dog in that bag, so he threw the bag out the window to the horror of the passenger.

Ray was an illusionist of the first class. He once taught me a trick where he borrowed a dollar bill. Tearing a corner off, he gave it to me for safekeeping, and then he lit the dollar on fire and proceeded to use it to light a cigarette. As the last of the bill turned to ashes, Ray watched my surprise. He simply sad, " now don’t you worry. Gimme some of that soda you are drinking."

I handed him the bottle of Dr Pepper and he took the cigarette and laid it on his outstretched palm. Pouring the soda over the cigarette to extinguish it, he plopped the soaked cigarette into my hand and told me to roll it between my palms. As I did the wet cigarette began turning green, and soon it was a soaked dollar bill between my hands. Of course there was a corner missing. The one I had saved from the bill in the first place!

David Blaine could learn volumes from Ray.

He later became the unofficial mascot of the Dallas Cowboys and was seen at almost every home game. His antics and magic brought smiles to millions of people and he was a Dallas icon. He selflessly shared his humor and talent with anyone who would stop and watch and like Ray Nasher, he gave a lot to the citizens of Dallas. I will miss them both.

Bush Still Not Explaining His Plan For Iraq

Bush and company are hoping people will forget about the fourth anniversary of the war, but we won’t. Bush’s mother Barbara won’t even watch the TV News about the war, especially any coverage of how many Americans have died. I guess her cold imperiousness has been passed down to her arrogant son?

Today Bush will spend 5 minutes on the war in a press conference with no questions allowed. He will present no new ideas, no success examples and no recipe for success in Iraq. He is out of ideas and imagination and his policies are a disaster. His administration is cracking at the seams and it looks like Alberto Gonzales will not last the week.

What does it all mean? It means that Bush & Co. are teetering like Enron on a tower of lies and deceit and someone needs to push them over. Time for Congress to stand up and make Bush take responsibility for his crimes and mistakes. Impeachment is the solution.