Saturday, January 03, 2009

Man Charged With Assault For Farting At Police

I remember a particularly funny passage in Monty Python and The Holy Grail when the French soldier who stands atop a fortress taunts the Python crusaders by saying "I fart in your general direction!" Well apparently that is a crime in West Virginia.

A man arrested for intoxication while driving was taken into custody. At the police station he lifted his leg and farted, then fanned the odor toward the police officers. He has been charged with assault.

“The gas was very odorous and created contact of an insulting or provoking nature with Patrolman Parsons,” the details of the complaint alleged.

Ann Coulter Still Spewing Venom

The anorexic looking Ms Coulter has written a new missive. This time it slams everything liberal, big surprise! One particularly bitter passage referrs to Michelle Obama and calls her a Jackie O imitator. In the same sentence she refers to the new First Lady as "Mother Teresa".

The substance of her attacks is basicly that Ms. Obama is pretty and she has done good huminitarian work, I guess both of these are sins in the Republican book. Seaking of which, please do not buy this piece of venemous crap!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Surviving the Great Digression

From the day of the Supreme Court ruling that put George W. Bush in office until today, I had the distinct impression that somehow the universe’s time line was interrupted. It seemed as if suddenly we were living in the “Bizarro World” where everything I had taken for granted suddenly changed. That got even stranger after September 11, 2001 and I have lived with that feeling of disorientation until the latest election.

So what does this mean for today and the past year for me and my friends? Well, the past year has brought some interesting asides but little major change. Oh yes, you can get married in Massachusetts and Connecticut and for a short time in California, but other than that, no major strides forward have been made in fundamental LGBT rights. It’s almost as if we were still where we were at the end of the Clinton Presidency in 2000.

The Bush years have been one long digression for LGBT Americans and it’s time that came to an end. Now with the new Obama administration poised to take office I have higher hopes, but I know nothing is set in stone and I suspect nothing will be handed to us on a plate.

LGBT people still lack some of the fundamental rights of being an American citizen, and now that we have exited the Bizarro World, perhaps we can get a few things done. First would be getting rid of the weird double-speak rule of “don’t ask, don’t tell” in the military. It was intended as a compromise for LGBT service people, but instead it has become a Catch-22 that makes it even more difficult to serve the country in the Armed Forces. My hope for the New Year is that DADT will be more closely examined and tossed into the dust bin of history as a “really bad idea” and one that was instituted by a previous Democratic President. (Bush has no lock on Bizarro!)

Next, eliminating the whole “State’s Rights” canard and making our country a more homogeneous place when it comes to having a relationship recognized and having legal rights. The DOMA, Defense of Marriage Act, must go. Ooops! Another Clinton ear hold over!

More fundamentally, we need a Civil Rights act for LGBT people. The struggle for ENDA, the Employment Non-discrimination Act was a start, but ultimately it failed to produce results. It’s time we started getting back to the real “gay agenda”, full citizenship with all the rights and responsibilities that entails. Now that we have a more sympathetic administration coming to Washington, perhaps it’s time for another mass civil action, like the previous Marches on Washington. This time, there will be a Democratically controlled Congress and a Democratic President and just maybe someone will take us seriously.

Whether by design or by accident, LGBT issues have been thrust into the news this year, and the stunning win for Proposition 8 in California might just have finally awakened the spirit that was embodied by the “Girls of Stonewall” and Harvey Milk. I find it inspiring that the wonderful movie about Harvey Milk’s life opened just after the election. Perhaps his life can inspire another generation of LGBT activists to get some changes made.

It’s time we got back to the real time-line and out of the Great Regression of the Bush years. Economically, we have been thrust back to almost the same point we were at when Bush took office. Spiritually, we have been distracted by divisive policies and manipulated by religious bigots using fear and outright lies to divert our journey. Diplomatically, we have squandered the once good name of our country in a profit motivated series of unjust wars. Politically, we have been diverted from our march toward democracy and justice for all that American ideal of “building a more perfect union.”

Perhaps, just perhaps, with continued work and the occasional gentle nudging, LGBT people can realize the full benefits of American Citizenship we were marching closer to prior to the Bush years. I harbor no illusions that the Obama administration will wave a magic wand and magically make everything better. I do believe things will change, but only if we help guide them.

Now, let’s put the Great Digression behind us and get out there and let our voices be heard. It may be time to once again carry the message to our lawmakers in person. Millions of LGBT voices all speaking for the same goal, all insisting on equality and justice. With luck, maybe someone in Washington will take us seriously for a change.

Happy New Year

Looking forward to the new year, I have to believe it can only be better than the past one. At least after January 20 the White House will be home to someone with intelligence and real leadership abilities.

As California moves in to the new year, Proposition 8 will be challenged in the courts and perhaps overturned before it can deny rights to LGBT citizens who have already married legally in that state.

As Texas moves into the new year, we have mixed blessings. On the down side, George Bush is moving to Dallas, or at least Laura is. His "library" will be built at SMU and most likely will become a white elephant, as most of his papers will remained locked away. On the positive side, at least he won't be president.

For me, I look forward to more writing and steady income! I will be lecturing and traveling less, since I only will be attending events that pay for my transportation. I have funded my own travel to these events in the past and it is way too expensive now.

Less travel mean I will be spending more time with my family and friends and sincerely hope they don't get tired of my company.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Leather Event Gets Press From ABC News

Looks like Mid Atlantic Leather has gotten a little unwanted press. No problems, but ABC News makes the story into a comedy piece. I wish the news would take us seriously one of these days.

I guess it's just too easy to make fun of the guys in leather, rather than actually interview any of them.

Y2K9 - Got a Zune? Not Any More!

Well the folks who brought you the "blue screen of death" have done it again. The Zune, Microsoft's poorly thought through answer to the iPod has a small glitch. At 2:00am every 30GB Zune model on the planet crashed at the exact same moment.

No that's what I call a good trick! Apparently when you try to reset them they crash again and again. Apparently the solution is to wipe the hard drive. That is Microsoft's answer to everything!

OK, so now my iPod with the digital rights management looks better and better.

More On The Warren Controversy - Why Invite A Pastor At All?

The kerfuffle over Rick Warren has a new twist. Pundits and observers are postulating whether or not Warren will close his prayer in the traditional Christian way, "in Jesus name". If I had to guess I would say yes, but in reality, who cares? First and foremost having an invocation at a state event seems to go directly against the Constitution, but I understand it is tradition.

As most of you know, I am a Christian, so you might expect I would be OK with Pastor Warren's prayer. Well I am not. I was raised as a Jew, and being Jewish in Dallas, Texas was an interesting experience, especially at my elementary school. Back then, sometime before the dinosaurs died off, we still had each day begin with a prayer. Yup, prayer in public schools, conducted by the principal no less!

I was a nerd, and being skilled in technical things ended up running the school's PA system. Each morning a different student would be selected to give the opening prayer. Most of them closed it with that same phrase, "in Jesus name".

For me it was a slap in my face. I didn't pray "in Jesus name" then and it made me feel like an outcast. The one or two days a year when a Jewish kid would give the prayer were the only times when I felt I could join in and really pray. Kids are pretty literal you know.

I was taught the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag without the words "under God" because that is the way my parents learned it. Those words were added in the mid 1950's to show the world we weren't godless Communists. Thanks Congress! So when I stood up and led the pledge at my Scout meeting I got some really odd stares when I went right past the newly added religious reference.

The point is this. A Pastor, Imam, Rabbi, Priest or Shaman has no place at a governmental event. Whether you know it or not, we are not a Christian nation, we are a secular nation and thank God for that! Otherwise, we would be arguing over the appropriateness of baptism by sprinkling or immersion. And don't get me started on whether you should take communion each week or just once a year!

I sincerely hope someone will actually question the propriety of any religious officials on the dais for the inauguration instead of which one is invited!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

John Bolton Wants To Attack Iran - As A Response To The Crisis In Gaza?

If you ever needed a reason to get John Bolton out of the government, take this one. Yesterday on Hannity and Colmes, he proposed attacking Iran as a rational response to the crisis in Gaza! This guy is our UN Ambassador, no less!

He follows that with the statement that the Arab world would be popping champagne corks if we did it. He is a total moron. First, just to be picky, the Arab world, at least the devout Muslims, don't drink, and second the US is the most hated country in the Middle East. Where does he get this crap?

Let's move the new ambassador to the UN up on the list of things Obama needs to do right away.

Monday, December 29, 2008

More Poison Chinese Stuff - Drywall!

Oh boy! More contaminated crap from China. This time it's drywall! According to a report by WPTV in Florida the drywall was brought in during the building boom in 2004. Apparently US drywall was just not cheap enough?

The contaminated Chinese drywall may be emitting one of several sulfur compounds including sulfur dioxide or hydrogen sulfide. While exposure to fumes from sulfur dioxide can create irritation and breathing disorders, exposure to hydrogen sulfide can be deadly.

Exposure to 50 parts per million of hydrogen sulfide for more than ten minutes can cause extreme irritation. Inhalation of 500 to 1,000 parts per million can cause unconsciousness and death through respiratory paralysis and asphyxiation, according to environmental experts.

Bush Vacations While The Middle East Burns

True to form, President Bush is taking a vacation during a crisis. Actually, several crises. The country's economic system is crashing and in the Middle East, Israel is intent on starting an all out war. And what is our fearless leader, "the decider" doing? Taking a little time off before retirement. Typical and another reason I can't wait until January 20.

Israel Violates Geneva Convention

In an editorial in The Nation magazine today Professor Richard Falk, United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories writes of specific violations of the Geneva Convention perpetrated by Israel on the population of Gaza. These include:

Collective punishment – the entire 1.5 million people who live in the crowded Gaza Strip are being punished for the actions of a few militants.

Targeting civilians – the airstrikes were aimed at civilian areas in one of the most crowded stretches of land in the world, certainly the most densely populated area of the Middle East.

Disproportionate military response – the airstrikes have not only destroyed every police and security office of Gaza's elected government, but have killed and injured hundreds of civilians; at least one strike reportedly hit groups of students attempting to find transportation home from the university.

And the US government says NOTHING? Granted the missiles launched by Hamas acted as the catalyst for the attacks, but the overwhelming disproportionate response is the problem. Read the editorial and if you are not familiar with what is happeining, check this story.

Israel's Defense Minister has promised "war to the bitter end". Does he mean until all the palistinians are wiped from the face of the earth? I believe we call that genocide!

I am sure I will receive lots of flames regarding this, but it's time we really look at our relationship with Israel and how their government is treating this situation.

LGBT Teens More Likely To Commit Suicide

Listening to the radio this morning I was struck by a report on NPR that said a recent study showed that LGBT teenagers are at higher risk of drug abuse and suicide if their parents are unaccepting of their sexuality. I actually uttered the word, "duh"!

We need a study to show that? I can give you example after example of friends who turned to drugs and attempted suicide as teens because their parents and church rejected them. I don't need a stinking study!

The good thing is the study offers more proof that the attitudes toward LGBT teens is a life threatening issue. Clergy who rant against gays and lesbians actually do harm to these kids, and that should be a wake up call.

We already know the whole "ex gay" thing is a fraud and now this report. When will people just learn that LGBT people are a fact of life and should be embraced as another child of God, not someone to be cured?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Video - Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza

Israel and Hamas Intent On Mass Destruction

Watching the escalation in the Israel/Gaza crisis amazes me. I guess as a Western observer I cannot understand the irrational moves by both sides and the intense hatred shown by Israeli's and Palestinians.

Hamas declared the truce over
and began rocket attacks. A few people were injured and some damage from the homemade rockets occurred in Israel according to press reports. As retaliation, Israel started a huge bombing attack on Hamas locations which so far as killed well over 300 people, many of whom are women and children.

Now, Hamas is calling for another intifada and the violence seems to be ratcheting up to another level.

I have to ask the question, how many times has Israel met violence with violence and how well has that worked? From where I stand, I don't see any success in the "eye for an eye" strategy.

I do not excuse Hamas which has caused much death and destruction on their own, and I do not excuse Israel either. Both factions are using no-win tactics and expecting different results. I just don't see how either side can justify the death they are causing.

I guess it is easy for me sitting here in the US to look at this and shake my head in wonder. Of course much of the world has watched us attack Iraq and Afghanistan for actions which were arguably not caused by wither country's government yet we rained down death on them all the same. The result? A shaky puppet government in Iraq and a teetering democracy in Afghanistan with enough death and destruction to go around.

It seems to me that doing anything in the Middle East is doomed to failure. There are irreconcilable differences between the various religious and political groups that is not about to be solved at the end of a gun. So why do we insist on doing it?

I guess before I can call Israel or Hamas crazy I need to get our own country to stop its policy of "preemptive attacks" (the Bush Doctrine) and start going to the negotiating table as a first resort.

As far as Israel and Gaza. I firmly believe we can cajole and barter all we want but we will have on effect until both parties will sit down and talk to each other like adults. Right now they are behaving like dangerous petulant children and worse they are armed.

Perhaps the new year will bring some maturity to our foreign policy and maybe we can set an example on how to settle differences without resorting to bombs and guns.