Howl of the KweerWolf

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Location: Kansas City, Missouri, United States

Doing my part to irritate Republicans, fundamentalists, bigots and other lower life forms.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Nazis on my mind

Earlier this month I attended the opening of an exhibit titled "Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals, 1933-1945." Organized by the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., and sponsored locally by the Kansas City Jewish Museum and the Urban Culture Project, the exhibit features 250 historic photographs and documents. Their topics include the imprisonment of 50,000 homosexuals during the Nazi period and the rationalization behind this and other acts of police terror.

Hitler's reign of terror against German gays is not as well known as other acts of barbarism committed by the Nazis. Perhaps that's because the numbers of gay men who perished in Nazi death camps pale in comparison to the 6 million Jews who died in Auschwitz and other places whose names have become synonymous with 20th century savagery. Perhaps it's also easier to lump gays in under the heading of "other undesirables" when history books recount the victims of Nazi persecution. Or maybe it's because that, while the Jews, Gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, communists, unionists and others who managed to survive Hitler's "final solution" were released when the allied forced liberated the camps, gays were turned over to German authorities for continued imprisonment because Germany's harsh Paragraph 175 under which they were convicted had been on the books prior to the rise of the Nazis - thus homosexuals weren't really political prisoners.

The first time I learned of Nazi persecution of gays was from the play (and later the movie version) "Bent." Gradually, the knowledge that gays were among the groups targeted by Nazis began to enter the world's consciousness. Books such as Heinz Heger's The Men of the Pink Triangle and Richard Plant's The Pink Triangle: The Nazis' War Against Homosexuals began to appear. For a while the pink triangle was even a popular symbol for the struggle for gay rights.

So thoroughly have gays been indoctrinated into the victimology of the Holocaust that when we face persecution from any sector we're apt to start drawing immediate comparisons with Nazis. The president calls for an amendment banning same-sex marriage? He's a Nazi, or, as one acquaintance putting it, "he's worse than Hitler." Jerry Falwell, James Dobson or other members of the religious right refer to gays as "sinners"? It's easy to call them Nazis, too.

"Nazi" is one of those words that gets a lot of attention. It provokes an immediate reaction, too - both in the person being labeled a Nazi and in the person doing the labeling.

But it's a false analogy. And a dangerous one, too.

America in the early days of the 21st century is far different from Germany in the 1930s. In the U.S. most of the anti-gay rhetoric comes from persons affiliated with conservative religious groups and from politicians seeking to curry favor with these groups. In Germany during the 1930s persecuting gays arose not from the religious community but from the secular and political realm. In the U.S., the religious right claims that God is on it's side and point to a few scattered (and often disputed) biblical verses to justify their beliefs. In Germany of 80 years ago, the Nazis justified their treatment of homosexuals at the altar of the modern god: Science.

Nazis used the science of eugenics to "prove" their superiority over Jews. Never mind that the eugenic arguments they used were easily disproved. If it looked good on paper, it provided all the proof the Nazis needed to eradicate Jews or any other group not measuring up to that Aryan perfection.

In the case of gays, the Nazis could produce flow charts demonstrating beyond a doubt - in their minds, anyway - how a single homosexual could corrupt good German men and lead them astray from the path of marrying a good, sturdy German lass and producing more volk to fill up all that new space Hitler was seizing all over Europe.

If the Inquistion was religion's way of enforcing religious conformity, then the death camps were modern society's way of doing the same thing in the secular realm - but carried to even greater extremes. The Inquisition gave us the rack, the "iron maiden," and the auto-de-fe. As horrible as those inventions might be, the Nazis applied science and the idea of mass production to make an assembly line of death. From the cattle cars to the showers to the ovens. Only the 20th century could have produced such a dark version of industry, parodied by smoke-stacks belching the cremated remains of humans and not the byproducts of fossil fuels from long-dead swamps.

Don't get me wrong. Religion has much to answer for. Over the centuries religions have written their histories in the blood of their enemies and justified that blood in the names of their gods. But in the 20th century, a new upstart called nationalism appeared on the battlefield and showed religion a thing or two about writing history in blood.

Does opposition to gay rights make the religious right and fundamentalists the equivalent of Nazis? Not even close. Fundamentalism and similar religious movements are more concerned with turning back the hands of time to make the modern world a little, well, less modern. Do presidents and other politicians who spout anti-gay rhetoric deserve to be tarred with the brush of Nazism? No. For the most part they are using such talk to play to their base of supporters. It's a short-term solution for winning votes. They know that discriminatory laws are a bad idea and that explains why after all the talk and talk and talk there has been no action taken on an amendment banning same-sex marriage. But look for the issue to be trotted out again for the 2006 mid-term elections just in time to stir of their base.

In the U.S., anti-gay sentiments primarily come from the pulpits of conservative religions and from the mouths of those who wish to placate the fundamentalists. Using scripture to justify discrimination against gays is a far cry from misusing science to justify exterminating a group.

If there's any comparison that can be drawn between those who spout anti-gay beliefs, it's more accurate to compare American anti-gay sentiment to a theocracy like the Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and not Nazi Germany.

For more information, see the United States Holocaust Museum's website on Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals.


Saturday, February 26, 2005

Erasing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth

"If a tree falls in the forest and there's no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?" asks the old conundrum. A more recent take on that question might well be: If a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or questioning youth downs a handful of sleeping pills, puts a gun to his head and pulls the trigger, slashes a jagged wound across her wrist with a razor or is found hanging lifeless from a rope attached to a ceiling beam in the garage, does it really matter?

Unlike the question about trees and sound that can be argued and debated and lead to still more debates on the nature of sound, the question about GLBT youth suicide has a definite answer. According to the Bush Administration, the answer is "no, it doesn't matter."

On Feb. 28, a program on suicide prevention is planned in Portland, Ore. The event is organized by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center of Newton, Mass., a contractor with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the agency within the Department of Health and Human Services that is funding the conference. So far, so good. Few could argue that preventing suicide is a bad thing.

But among the programs being offered at the conference is one titled "Suicide Prevention Among Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender Individuals." Ah, there's the rub ... for SAMHSA decreed, according to the Feb. 16 edition of The Washington Post ( that the words "gay," "lesbian," "bisexual," and "transgender" couldn't be used. Instead they insisted that the title of the talk be changed to "Suicide Prevention and Sexual Orientation" in order that the talk be made more "inclusive." Along with the request was an only slightly veiled threat that future federal funding for the group could be in jeopardy if they failed to comply.

Program organizers fumed that this was not the purpose of the talk. We all have a sexual orientation, they explained, but this talk was about young people with a specific sexual orientation and with specific needs when it came to ways of preventing suicide among the group. Studies have shown that young GLBT people take their own lives at a triple the rate of their straight counterparts. They are also seven times more likely to seriously contemplate suicide when faced with society's prejudice, bias and rejection.

Finally a compromise of sorts was reached. The title would be changed to "Suicide Prevent in Vulnerable Populations," thus watering down the subject matter to the point of meaninglessness and protecting the unsuspecting public of coming across words like "gay," "lesbian," "bisexual," and "transgender."

Fortunately, as word leaked out about the dictates of SAMHSA and the Bush Administration, an outcry arose and the agency was besieged with angry phone calls and e-mails. "It is incredible, the venom from these people," said Mark Weber, a spokesman for SAMHSA quoted in the Post's story. "My boss is being called a Nazi," he added, referring to SAMHSA Administrator Charles G. Curie, Bush's appointee to run the $3.2 billion agency.

(I won't even comment on that beyond saying: If the jackboots and swastika armband fit, wear 'em!)

After a couple of days of angry e-mails and phone calls - including several directly to Curie from openly gay Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank - the agency relented and Curie was forced to admit "there is no policy on the use of the words lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender" ( the program title was allowed to use the previous restricted words.

Congressman Frank and all those who held the administration's feet to the fire over the issue should be commended. It's clear the Bush administration is no friend to the GLBT community. It's policies run from the outright homophobic - as when they stir up their base of alleged "Christian" supporters with anti-gay rhetoric - to a policy of benign neglect - as when they try to make GLBT people invisible by erasing any reference to them as they tried to do at the suicide prevention conference.

The next four years under Bush and his minions in the "religious Reich" will not be easy ones for the GLBT community. But they remind us that we must remain vigilant and ready to challenge them at every turn.

As tempting as it may be to bury our heads in the sand and hope America comes to its senses in 2008, it's never been more important that we make our voices heard now.


Thursday, February 17, 2005

Giving 'media whore' a whole new meaning

If you're on the left and hear the phrase 'media whore,' chances are you'll immediately think of megalomaniac Rupert Murdoch's FOX News and it's slavish devotion to all things Republican or the Moonie-owned Washington Times or a host of other right-wing news sources.

Those on the right apply the term 'media whore' to the major networks, The Washington Post, and other media sources they claim owe their allegiance to that pesky "liberal bias."

Regardless of on which side you stand on, there seems to be a whole lot of whoring around these days when it comes to the media, who's making news, who's deciding what news to cover, and who's parading up and down in a metaphorical hot pants and feather boa trying to get their idea of "news" covered.

But now it seems as if the grand pimp daddy with the customized Caddy and all the bling-bling has turned out to be the Bush Administration.

First there was Sterling Williams who received close to a quarter of a million bucks from the Department of Education to shill for Bush's "No Child Left Behind" program. Williams made the circuit of Sunday news talk shows and wrote columns extolling the virtues of the under-funded program. Sure, being a conservative, he'd have likely supported Bush's plan anyway ... but that extra $240,000 didn't hurt.

Since Williams, three other (ahem! ... cough, cough!) "journalists" have been exposed as receiving money from the government for writing and promoting Bush's program. (And according to some insiders, at least two more "journalists" are about to be revealed to have sold their journalistic virtue by writing pro-administration pieces while suckling cash from the government's ample teats.

While prostitution is generally accepted to mean exchanging sexual services for money, these modern day media whores are whores only in the figurative sense.

Until now.

Almost two years ago a well-built, muscular man with a shaved head by the name of "Jeff Gannon" joined the White House press corps. He wrote for Talon News, a right-wing website known primarily for regurgitating Bush Administration press releases as "news." He had credentials that allowed him into the White House for press briefings and those rare Bush press conference. He was called upon by Bush to ask questions ... and his questions were notorious in their "softball" approach. Maybe that explains why Bush liked to call on Joe during press conferences.

The trouble is that "Jeff" really wasn't Jeff. His real name is Jim Gucket. And Jeff/Jim isn't really a journalist in the sense that most people would define the term. As it turns out, Jeff/Jim had a bit of a checkered past. First he was linked to gay pornography sites with salacious names like Then, upon more research, it turned out that Jeff/Jim had nude photos all over the Web advertising his "services" as an escort for $200 an hour.

At last a literal "media whore" had been uncovered.

Of course the Bush Administration scrambled to distance itself from Jeff/Jim/hotmilitarystud4hire. First they claimed "hey, he was from a legitimate news organization." It didn't take long for the blogsphere to dismantle that. By this morning photographic evidence of Jeff/Jim at press briefings show him there in February 2003 - a month before Talon News was founded!

What's even more astounding is that in this era of background checks and security checks that have become part of everyday life in post-9/11 America, no one - not the White House, not the FBI - caught that "Jeff Gannon" was an assumed name.

Let's see now. There are two possible explanations: either all the security checks that are in place to make sure those who will be in the same room as the president are so lax as to be non-existent, or someone in the White House arranged to get Jeff/Jim's press credentials and White House pass approved so that he could lob softball questions to Bush during press conferences and White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan during daily press briefings.

It's no secret that Bush hates the press. It's no secret that he arrogantly believes he should be above being questioned by reporters. What's still a secret - at least for now - is who planted the literal whore among all the figurative ones in the White House press corps?

The best guess so far is that Bush puppet-master Karl Rove's pudgy sticky fingerprints are all over Joe/Jim. One can almost hear Rove giggling about getting Joe/Jim into the White House. The right-wing media won't care who we put on the payroll as long as we can further the cause and the left-wing media won't dare cover the story because they'll be too sensitive to the 'gay' angle (tee-hee-hee) one can almost hear Rove snickering. Meanwhile, with Jeff/Jim now officially resigned from Talon News (though I'm willing to bet the price for his other "services" have now jumped dramatically!) Rove and company will be on to the next "journalist" to woo with big bucks.

Call it Propaganda-Gate, or GannonGate, or ManslutGate, or whatever you will, the challenge for the real media will be to keep following this story to see where it leads.

And it begs the question: Is this what Bush meant when he said he had a "man date"?


Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Tearing families apart the Republican way

At last year's Republican National Convention, perennial presidential candidate and then-U.S. Senate candidate for Illinois Alan Keyes made the rounds of various media with his trademark brand of knuckle-dragging conservatism. When the interviews turned to the issue of same-sex marriage, Keyes was quick to denounce the idea. But he didn't stop there. He included in his pontificating condemnations the openly lesbian daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney and referred to her as a "sinner" and "selfish hedonist." (Ironically, the Cheney's had nothing to say about the attacks on their daughter, Mary. Instead, Lynn Cheney chose to lambaste Democratic nominee for saying positive things about Mary during the presidential debate. ... But that's a whole other story.)

Now, half a year or so later, there's new insight into Keyes' homophobic rants: At the same time he was attacking Mary Cheney, he was aware his own daughter, Maya, was a lesbian. Washington Post columnist Marc Fisher, in his Feb. 13 column (, reported that Keyes' condemnation of Mary Cheney went even farther. Fisher writes: "Then, without having been asked anything about his own family, he volunteered that 'if my daughter were a lesbian, I'd look at her and say, "That is a relationship that is based on selfish hedonism." I would also tell my daughter that it's a sin and she needs to pray to the Lord God to help her deal with that sin.'"

And all that time Keyes knew his daughter was a lesbian.

Now flash forward to the present. On Valentine's Day Maya Keyes officially came out and delivered a speech at an Equality Maryland rally in Annapolis. The 19-year-old fledgling gay activist told how here parents kicked her out of their house and cut off funds for her education. According to Maya, her parents had been aware of her orientation since they found a copy of the Washington, D.C., gay newspaper The Washington Blade in her room while she was still in high school. They also knew their daughter was gay while she worked on her father's fortunately ill-fated Illinois Senate campaign for the seat won by Barak Obama (and tolerated her presence on the campaign while her sexual identity remained a family secret).

Once that little secret began leaking out into the media via Maya's blog, the Keyes knew they had to do something about Maya. And they did. They disowned her. They kicked her out of the house. They refused to pay for her education. They cast her adrift like so much flotsam.

So much for Republican "family values."

It used to be that when conservative parents were faced with a son or daughter that came out it would lead to a lot of soul-searching. I'm reminded of the book Prayers for Bobby: A Mother's Coming to Terms With the Suicide of Her Gay Son in which a conservative Christian mother comes to terms with the suicide of her gay son and questions her dedication to a religious dogma that would drive her own son to take his life. That book, written by Leroy Aarons, was published in 1995 and was a Lambda Literary Award nominee the following year. But what a difference a decade can make.

Ten years later politically and religiously conservative families aren't as likely to allow the coming out (or even the suicide) of a family member to cause them to question their faith. Instead they view such an occurrence as a test of their faith by a vengeful god. These modern-day Jobs and Job-ettes view having a gay or lesbian child as a distraction from being true believers and "real Christians." They find it much easier to cast their children aside as sinners, selfish hedonists and worse. To accept them would mean to question God. Family is weighed against faith on their scales of dogma ... and family comes up the loser. After all, the Ten Commandments include instructions to honor fathers and mothers, but there's no mention about kicking one's offspring to the curb.

The Keyes' predicament is oddly similar to another right-wing iconoclast who had to deal publicly with having a gay child. Last May the gay magazine Out ran an article by Jamiel Terry, adopted son of Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue and currently head of, in which Jamiel came out. His father's response was swift and vitriolic. In a self-serving response, the elder Terry quickly drafted a reply in which he accused Out of fraud and deceit and using his son as a "trophy" to advance that pesky "homosexual agenda." ( He also claimed to love his son, but wasted no time in trashing his son's reputation with charges of drug abuse, financial mismanagement, a driving while intoxicated conviction, and an accusation that Jamiel had "prostituted" his family's name by coming out in such a public forum.

Now there are some of those good ol' "family values" the right wing is always talking about.

Ten years ago a gay child in a conservative family may not have been a cause for celebration, but it often led to a softening of the rhetoric and perhaps even a bit of understanding. Now when prominent conservatives are faced with a gay child their path is clear: Sacrifice your child on the altar of a true believer's dogma, for in the big picture what does it matter if you lose a gay son or daughter as long as you can write it off as martyrdom to your God and your politics?

Besides, you can always wrap yourself in the flag and use the Cross as a cudgel while shouting about all those homosexuals out to destroy families.


Monday, February 14, 2005

The Boy Friend Potential Test

What can I say? It's Valentine's Day, peoples minds are are cards and flowers and expensive boxes of chocolates. It's the time of year when my thoughts turn to ... well, perhaps 'cynicism' is the best word for it.

So with no further ado, I present ...

KweerWolf's Boy Friend Potential Test!

So you think you might have BFP? (That's "Boy Friend Potential.") Take my simple test and see if you qualify!

Score 1 point for each of the following you answer "yes" to:

1. I am an alcoholic/substance abuser who is seeking someone co-dependent whose life I can reduce to shambles.

2. I carry so much emotional "baggage" that people sometimes mistake me for an airport luggage carousel.

3. I like to fall in love with someone after only two dates, move in, and then spend the next two years wondering where the magic went.

4. I like a guy who presents lots of challenges because then I don't have to focus on my own problems.

5. I'm an undiagnosed paranoid personality who will demand to know where you are at every waking moment of the day.

6. I would simply die if I didn't have designer labels in my clothes.

7. I define "relationship" as the ability to attach oneself to another like a barnacle attaches itself to a ship.

8. I insist on using the word "boy" (or its even sillier version "boi") in my on-line chat name and/or profile even though I have passed the age of 30.

9. I vote Republican.

10. Words such as "kewl" and "dude" are an integral part of my vocabulary (unlike words such as "integral").

11. I insist on using the phrase "wasssup" when I enter a chatroom or even meet people in the real world beyond cyber-space ... despite overwhelming evidence that "wasssup" is almost as out-of-date as "groovey."

12. My on-line profile features a picture of my penis, but not my face, because my penis compensates for my complete lack of personality.

13. I proudly use words like 'rebel,' 'redneck,' or 'confederate' in my screen name, despite the fact that the south got it's butt kicked.

14. I'm in the military and can't understand why anyone would think I'm a traitor for defending a fascist country that would deny me my own basic rights.

15. I'm involved with someone and just looking for someone for those times when "my boyfriend/lover/wife/significant other doesn't understand me."

Scoring: If you scored 0, congratulations. You have BFP! If you scored 1 or more, ummmmm ... well ... might I suggest you try running a personal ad?


Sunday, February 13, 2005

KweerWolf's Homo-Tastic Valentine's Day All-Gay Film Fest

OK, so I've been a tad heavy on the politics lately. In honor of Valentine's Day (or as I like to think of it "Make Us Single People Feel Like Crap" Day) here's a list of my favorite gay date movies. (Word to any the guy gays reading this: "Date" refers to a social custom in which two single people arrange to go out to an event such as dinner or a movie and should not under any circumstances be confused with the word "trick.")

10. "Trick" - Speaking of tricks, this 1999 comedy features two guys who meet and begin a frantic search all over Manhattan for a place to (ahem) "consumate." It's not as sleazy as it sounds. Actually, the title aside, it's a rather sweet commedy. And speaking of tricks, it pulls off a neat one by getting me to actually like a film in which Tori ("I Owe My Acting Jobs to My Daddy") Spelling plays a supporting role.

9. "The Broken Hearts Club" - Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. It can't decide between being a schmaltz fest or a gay soap opera and falls kind of flat by achieving neither goal, but that's what date movies are all about. It's also a movie a lot of its stars would probably hope you'd forget. Dean Cain who played Superman on TV and Zach Braff who stars in TV's "Scrubs" probably don't list it prominently on their resumes. Basically the plot is a bunch of gay stereotypes - the sensitive guy, the pretty boy who screws around, the drama queen, etc. - who all play on a gay softball team. Much "Mary"-ment ensues and John Mahoney, best known as Fraiser's dad on "Fraiser" has a few endearing moments in and out of drag.

8. "The Sum of Us" - The straight dad/gay son dynamic was never like this! Russell Crowe (yes, THAT Russell Crowe!) plays the gay son whose father is not only accepting, but downright supportive enough to teach even PFLAG parents a thing or two. This Australian movie was based on a stage play and, to its detriment, keeps some of the stage conventions such as Jeff's dad, played by Jack Thompson, speaking directly to the camera. That worked on the stage, but on film it's jarring. The film could have used some judicious editing since it drags in places ... but date movies need to drag a bit to give datees a chance to make out.

7. "Edge of Seventeen" - Plenty of teen angst to go around here, but it's definitely NOT "Dawson's Creek." Set in the summer of 1984, it's a gay coming-of-age story that will make even the most jaded queen remember the first time his heart was broken. Plus, my favorite butch dyke, Lea DeLaria, plays a small role in the movie!

6. "Green Plaid Shirt" - A small independent film from 1996 that charts the relationship of two men who meet and fall in love under the shadow of the AIDS epidemic. This is perhaps the best version of "boy-meets-boy, boy-loses-boy" I've ever seen ... and the best examination of the forces that tear people apart and keep them together.

5. "Jeffrey" - An AIDS comedy? You bet! This film started as an off-Broadway play (and still retains a bit of the play's clunkiness in places). Basically, the plot revolves around Jeffrey's (Steven Weber) vow to give up sex in the face of the AIDS epidemic. Then he meets and is pursued by handsome (and HIV+) hunk Michael Weiss. The supporting cast runs the gamut from great - Patrick Stewart of TV's "Star Trek: The Next Generation" as a interior decorator tossing a pastel sweater around his shoulder and complaining of looking like "a gay superhero" - to the sadly wasted (Nathan Lane as a gay priest). The movie may be wildly uneven, but when it's hitting on all cylinders, it's hysterical.

4. "Latter Days" - OK. I admit it. This one makes me cry every time I watch it. And to think when I first heard of this movie I thought, "Yuck! I'll pass!" The plot is simple: gay West Hollywood club kid Christian bets his co-workers he can seduce his neighbor, Mormon missionary Aaron, fresh out of Idaho. Steve Sandvoss as Aaron is a real gem! Plus there are strong supporting performances by Jacqueline Bisset as Christian's worldly and sympathetic boss and Mary Kay Place as Aaron's mother. Sure, the schmaltz factor gets a bit heavy at times; but if you watch this movie with a date and he doesn't at least get teary-eyed, dump the loser!

3. "Big Eden" - This is one of those movies gay guys either love or hate. I suspect those who hate it aren't able to see the movie as a (pardon the expression) fairy tale. A neurotic gay New York artist gets called back to Big Eden, Montanna, for a family emergency. While there he learns that the guy he had a crush on during high school is returning fresh from a divorce. Meanwhile the townsfolk watch the happenings and try to steer our hapless New Yorker toward the real Mr. Right. Big butch Montanna men playing cupid for a budding gay romance? Suspend your disbelief and just go with it. If you must, repeat to yourself, "It's only a fairy tale ... It's only a fairy tale."

2. "Drift" - Not many people have heard of this independent film from Asian-Canadian filmmaker Quention Lee. That's a shame. This is a brilliant film that examines the obsessive search so many gay men embark on for that perfect soulmate. The story (or stories, rather, since their are three all wrapped together) is simple: lovers Ryan and Joel met Leo at a party. Ryan feels a connection with Leo that he doesn't feel for his partner. What follows is the same story told with three different outcomes. It's a film where the story's simplicity ultimately becomes its most profound statement.

And the Number 1 all-time favorite gay date movie: "All Over the Guy" - In Hollywood, couples are supposed to meet in cute ways and share misadventures before they realize they were made for each other and settle down to a life of happily ever after. In this movie, Eli and Tom get set up on a blind date by their straight best friends. The date is a disaster (and who among us can't relate to that?) and much hilarity follows. But it doesn't follow the Hollywood formula. Before the final credits role, there's plenty of examination of the gay "dating" scene that's often as pointed as it is funny. As an added bonus, watch for Doris Roberts in a small role as a receptionist at an AIDS clinic.


Shame on you, Kay!

Buried inside Saturday's edition of The Kansas City Star was a seven-paragraph story on the annual Mayor's Prayer Breakfast to benefit the National Conference for Community and Justice bearing the innocuous headline "Leaders focus on values, unity." (

Formerly known as the National Conference of Christians and Jews, the organization's web site ( puts its mission statement right up at the top. It describes itself as "a human relations organization dedicated to fighting bias, bigotry, and racism in America."

So far, so good. They are the kind of words that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside ... like everything is right with the world and we should all join hands and sing, "I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect har-mo-neeeeeee!"

But then you get the the next-to-the-last paragraph and all those pretty words and fuzzy feelings turn to dust. Apparently the events featured speaker had failed to read those inspiring words about fighting bias, bigotry and racism. It reads: "Featured speaker William H. Dunn Sr. bemoaned what he called 'a sharp downward trend' in values since he last spoke at the breakfast meeting in 1979. In a 10-minute speech he denounced pornography, illegitimate births, same-sex marriage, activist judges and the American Civil Liberties Union."

Dunn, by the way, is the patriarch of a local construction company. He's also noted as a local philanthropist and is apparently now out of the closet as a right-wing bigot as well.

What a shame an organization like NCCJ couldn't find a speaker who could actually address the issues the organization claims to be about in it's mission statement. Or at least didn't come out and flatly contradict them.

Even more of a shame is Major Kay Barnes lending her presence and her title to the event.

Barnes has sought the gay community's help in the past with her elections and with her pet projects. She helped pass the city's domestic partnership ordinances over a year ago.

Could it be that after the 2004 election Kay is taking a side-step to the right? Is she, like Hillary Clinton who recently softened her pro-choice rhetoric and spoke about "finding common ground" on the abortion issue, pandering to the fringe of the extremist right?

For now I'll give Barnes the benefit of the doubt and assume Dunn's bigoted comments took her by surprise. But I will be watching her actions and the actions of other politicians who sought the support of the gay community. We will not tolerate politicians who give us lip service during a campaign only to share a platform with right-wing bigots once they are elected.