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.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

No mo' of these 'mo's in 2007 ... please!

The days are dark and dreary now. Sunset comes too early in the day and cold winds begin to sweep down the prairies of Kansas and Nebraska. Flipping up the collar of my jacket as I left work today, I felt the sting of the season's first ice pellets. Two thoughts occurred to me. First, winter is just around the corner; and, second, it's time to trot out that hoary tradition known as the old "end-of-the-year review."

Maybe at some future point I'll post my list of homo highs and lows for the year, but perhaps reflecting my general pissy mood that my usual 10-minute commute home from work took an hour-and-a-half tonight, I think I'll start with a list of celebrity and/or otherwise well known gay folks I sincerely hope don't make the news in 2007. Or, to put it more succinctly: a bunch of big ol' 'mo's who should shut the fuck up.

First up, Sir Elton John. Hey, this guy was my idol in high school. I felt like I was the only one who saw through the coyness to really understand that his "Daniel" was a gay song. Unfortunately, Dame Elton hasn't produced anything worth a crap since Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy hit the charts (and I still want to bitch-slap him and demand my money back for his "Rock of the Westies" album that marked his ignoble decline into irrelevancy). Too bad Elton can't retire and rest on his dusty laurels. Instead he scratches and claws his way back into the spotlight like a demented drag queen on meth. From his public catfigths with Madonna to his recent pronouncement that organized religion should be outlawed, Elton makes clear he'll say anything that will insure he'll get quoted in the media. It's just too bad that all his recent quotes make him sound more bitter than a fourth-rate Bette Davis impersonator at a Joan Crawford film festival. The Bitch is Back? Oh puh-leeeeze, she never left ... but we wish he would.

And speaking of washed up queens, that brings us to George Michael. After all the publicity had died down from his 1998 Los Angeles arrest for "engaging in a lewd act" in an L.A. tearoom with an undercover cop, you'd think 2006 would be the year of sweetness and light for Georgie. After all, he and his boyfriend Kenny Goss planned to register this partnership officially in the U.K. Then in July a British tabloid caught George jumping into the bushes at a notorius gay cruising spot with an unemployed truck driver who was definitely not Mr. Goss. Hey, to each his own, I figure. But then Georgie opened his mouth and claimed cruising parks for anonymous sex at 2 in the morning was part of his "culture" as a gay man. Ummmmm, Georgie, our culture includes such varied things as brunch, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, overly dramatic characters like Blanche DuBois, witty reparte and devastating bon mots ... but I don't think being a park slut qualifies as "culture" in anyone's dictionary. In the coming year may you find all the noteriety as the other half of your duo, Wham ... ummmm, you know? Whats-his-name!

Slutty? Well, that brings to mind the next winner, a guy who puts the 'ho' in homo: Jeff Gannon. Or whatever name he's going by these days. Jeff's the former White House correspondent for the now defunct Talon News Agency who raised eyebrows by always pitching softball questions to Dubya during press conferences. Turns out Talon was a cover for a right-wing web site that took just about any old drivel the White House handed out as a press release and posted it verbatim. Jeff, it seems, wasn't much of a journalist, but he was a former $200-an-hour male prostitute who went by the name of "Bulldog" on the male escort web site liberal bloggers dug up. So just what was Jeff doing on all those visits to the White House on days when there was no press conference? The world may never know. It looked like Jeffie was headed toward obscurity when Chris Crain, the thankfully now former big-wig at Windows Media, hired him to write columns for the company's chain of LGBT publications such as The Washington Blade, The New York Blade, The Southern Voice and others. It's bad enough that Gannon's 15 minutes of fame was extended, but his virulently conservative views - seasoned with more than a dash of Republican self-loathing - saw the light of day in a gay publication, no less, long after he should have followed in the footsteps of other old whores and just (ahem) blow away.

Next up along 2006's walk of shame: former New Jersey Governor James McGreevey. Two years ago he stepped down as governor when his was revealed he tried to land his then-boyfriend a cushy job in state government. (For the record, the "boyfriend" claims he never had sex with the gov, but was sexually harassed by him.) Greevey, who was married to his second wife at the time, announced in a press conference that he was resigning and admitted to being a "gay American." Then he disappeared into the sunset, never to be heard of again. At least until he penned his autobiography, The Confession. Oh, if he had only stayed somewhere off in the sunset. His "confession" (along with his publicity kick-off on Oprah) were things only George Michael could love with his stories of cruising roadside rest areas and fits of woe-is-me self-loathing.

Rounding out the top five: Joe Solmonese, who was selected to lead the allegedly LGBT Human Rights Campaign. My apologies in advance if you're hoping I dug up something sleazy about Joe. I have no idea if he ever went down on George Michael in the bushes or played hide the salami with James McGreevey at a rest area along the New Jersey turnpike. Joe's more of a political whore than a sexual one. As the newly annointed leader of HRC Joe embarked on a cross-country trek to find out what real live gays and lesbians (translation: those who live outside the Washington Beltway) believe are the important issues facing them. Every place he went - and Missouri was among his stops - people told him how important they believe employment issues were. Wow! That was a revelation for Joe! He went back to Washington fresh with the perspective of those real-live homos and dykes his organization is suppose to represent and promptly started talking about the marriage issue. Thanks, Joe. Glad to see our issues and ideas were so important to you that you hightail it back to headquarters and announce your top priority was getting all us homo folks married off so we'd be just like the breeders. We might get fired for being queer, but it's nice to know you want us to come home and share the misery with the same-sex partner of our choosing.

Failing to make the Top 5 list were these two who are at least deserving of a Dishonorable Mention:

Former Congressman Mark ("I did it because I'm an alcoholic ... I mean because I'm gay ... I mean because I was molested by a priest ... I mean because I'm a gay alcoholic who was molested by a priest") Foley; and

The Rev. Ted ("I just got a massage and I threw the meth away") Haggard.

(No doubt we'll see "confessional" autobiographies by them in the bargain bins at Barnes and Noble in the next few years.)


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Subjecting nominees to 'the neighbor test'

Sam Brownback, the right-wing U.S. Senator from Kansas who's considering a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, is playing to the party's fun-D'uh-Mental-ist fringe. Heck, there's nothing new about that. What is new is that he may be setting a new precedent for judicial nominees: the neighbor test.

Brownback has been blocking the nomination of Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Janet T. Neff because she once attended a commitment ceremony for her lesbian neighbors in Massachusetts four years ago.

According to an Associated Press article:

"But what I want to know is, what does it do to her look at the law? What does she consider the law on same-sex marriage, on civil unions, and I'd want to consider that," Brownback said Sunday on ABC's "This Week." ...

Brownback called gay marriage a developing area of the law best not left to the judiciary anyway.

"To me these issues should be decided by the legislative bodies, not by the judicial bodies, and it seems to me this may indicate some view of hers on the legal issue. And that's what I'm concerned about here, is her view of the legal issue involving same-sex marriage," Brownback said.

In a letter to Brownback written back in October, Neff explained: "The ceremony, which was entirely private, took place in Massachusetts, where I had no authority to act in any official capacity and where, in any event, the ceremony had no legal effect."

Apparently Brownback is looking for a new precedent that can be used to disqualify "liberal" judges. (In Brownback's warped view, "liberal" means the nominees might actually have gay friends or believe that women have a right to control their own bodies.)

But Brownback's tactics may backfire. Suppose that, along with judicial philosophy, Senators can begin delving into other aspects of a judicial nominee's life. Imagine the scene in a Senate hearing room:

"Judge Smith, our background report says you once attended a barbecue at the home of one of your neighbor's who visited a white supremicist site on the Internet on three separate occasions. I'm sorry, but we'll have to disqualify you."

Or maybe this:

"Judge Thompson, I'm afraid we're going to have to disqualify you because your neighbor three doors down was once involved in the radical anti-abortion group Operation Rescue."

Far-fetched? Not really if the ever-oily Brownback gets his way. If one's neighbors can cause a judge's nomination can be blocked over living near liberals, it's only fair that the same can apply to judges whose neighbors are conservative.

In the twin interests of playing to the fundies and spreading anti-gay hate, Brownback has opened a Pandora's box. But like most reactionary conservatives, he's not bright enough to realize it ... until it turns around and bites him in the ass.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Penguin 'family values' ruffle fundie feathers

These must be hard times for the "family values" crowd who have taken it upon themselves to try to control what the rest of us see and read. Unbridled sex explodes from the movie screens from sea to shining sea ... and even if you happen to find a PG-rated movie where two actors technically can't make the two-backed beast on camera, there are still all the references to sex, sexual innuendos and crude language. The television industry also has been possessed by sex-obsessed demons who, when they aren't going as far as they can to let viewers know that two characters are schtupping, feature gunfire and bloodshed. And don't even get them started on the type of filth in books and magazines.

Surprisingly, though, it's the field of children's literature that's most likely to get the would-be book-burners frothing at the mouth and itching for matches and a pile of books. It's as though they have given up preaching to the rest of us who can legally get into an R-rated movie, don't use a V-chip parental control feature in our televisions and can walk into the nearest 7-Eleven and buy a copy of Playboy without having to resort to seeking a hidden stash at the back of our parents' closet.

The latest target for the fundies is a book called And Tango Makes Three. It's the true story of two male emperor penguins named Roy and Silo in New York's Central Park Zoo who adopt an egg, hatch it and raise the Tango of the title.

Every year or so it's a new title that piques the wrath of the book-burners. Remember Heather Has Two Mommies, a book that made the point that not all kids come from the same sort of families? And then there was the book King and King about a prince who just wasn't into princesses and married a prince? Now it's Roy and Silo who have stirred up the conspiracy-minded "family values" crowd who see evidence of the dreaded homo-seck-shul agenda at work.

Efforts to remove or at least restrict access to the book are underway in a number of state, including - not surprisingly - here in Missouri.

Having read And Tango Makes Three (What can I say? I was bored during my last trip to Barnes and Noble), I have a hard time finding anything that might be objectionable in it. Not once do Roy and Silo offer to introduce little Tango to penguin sodomy. In the tradition of Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie, Roy and Silo are "just good friends" who take it upon themselves to adopt and abandoned egg.

If those who object to the book had taken the time to watch the penguin family values documentary "March of the Penguins," they'd know that female emperor penguins leave the hatching of the eggs to the males. The females are gone for weeks at a time, leaving the males to care for the eggs.

Frankly, I'm surprised the fundies didn't picket "March of the Penguins" because it pushed a feminist agenda by depicting females having little or nothing to do with their eggs and leaving their obviously emasculated male partners at home playing Mr. Mom. But that's a whole different subject.

Typical of the radical right-wing response to And Tango Makes Three is this gem from an article in Georgia's The Brunswick News: "Whether it is And Tango Makes Three or other books that promote two parents of the same sex, it can easily be said that they are a challenge to Judeo-Christian values," said Debbie Brown, member of the First Baptist Church Social Concerns Committee. "A kindergarten or elementary school classroom or library is truly not the place to introduce such controversial issues."

So let's get this straight (so to speak), Debbie ... we should re-write all our science books to reflect that the animal kingdom follows the traditional Judeo-Christian model of a nuclear family consisting of one daddy who goes out and provides for his family, one mommy who stays at the nest, den or lair and lovingly cares for her offspring, and a whole bunch of little ones?

If Debbie and her ilk are offended by two male penguins raising a chick - and promoting that homo-seck-shul agenda - I sincerely hope that none of them go to movies. What must they think of the 2003 film "Second-Hand Lions"? I don't recall seeing them picketing theaters showing the film because perennial adolescent Haley Joel Osment was being raised by two "bachelor uncles" played by Michale Caine and Robert Duvall. Surely those two old guys must have been back at home humping while Haley Joel was out wondering in the cornfield!

Let's hope the Debbies of this world don't have a TV either. Otherwise they might stumble across a show like "Two and a Half Men" where Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer raise a young, impressionable boy. Why, it's a scandal!

And even if they exercise their parental authority and block that channel, what if their kids happen to find the "family-friendly" Nickelodeon channel and witness such perversions as the classic "My Three Sons" with Fred McMurray sharing parenting responsibilities with (ahem!) Uncle Charlie? And heaven forbid they should catch an episode of that baby-boomer favorite "A Family Affair" with Brian Keith's Uncle Bill and Sebastian Cabot's Mr. French so obviously burning with barely concealed lust for each other while raising Buffy, Jody and Cissy. Talk about an agenda! Do they realize that "french" is a code for oral sex? I won't even mention the obvious play on words with big sister Cissy's name!

To all the Debbie Brown's of the world, here's a thought for you: Lighten up. You make youselves look ridiculous. If you want to spend your time hunting for outlandish conspiracies, by all means go for it. But don't expect the rest of us to jump onto your bandwagon of paranoia.

And don't expect the rest of us to close our eyes to the fact that - whether you like it or not - all sorts of families exist. Not just among humans, but in the animal kingdom, too.


Saturday, November 25, 2006

Resignation of right-wing group's leader reveals much about Christian Coalition's 'agenda'

A little over a month before he could take office, the president-elect of the notoriously right-wing and anti-gay Christian Coalition of America resigned earlier this week. The Rev. Joel Hunter, who was to take over leadership of the group, cited philosophical differences with the group.

So just what were these differences? Hunter wanted to expand the issues the Christian Coalition was involved in to include social issues like poverty and the environment. At a board meeting Wednesday, the group's board of directors delivered an unequivocal veto of Hunter's plan. They wanted the group to remain focused on the Big Two: homosexuality and abortion. "They pretty much said, 'These issues are fine, but they're not our issues, that's not our base,'" Hunter said in an Associated Press article.

As much as I loathe the Christian Coalition, a right-wing group founded in 1989 by religiously insane broadcaster the Rev. Pat Robertson, I have to admire Hunter's stand.

"These are issues that Jesus would want us to care about," Hunter told the AP. "To tell you the truth, I feel like there are literally millions of evangelical Christians that don't have a home right now."

Those comments by Hunter are proving correct on the national stage as some groups within the Christian Coalition are expressing dissatisfaction with the direction the 17-year-old organization is taking. According to the AP, four states - Georgia, Alabama, Iowa and Ohio - have decided to split from the group over concerns it's changing direction on issues like the minimum wage, the environment and Internet law instead of core issues like abortion and same-sex marriage.

So what does this mean to the rest of us - especially the LGBT community? For starters, we can expect no let up in the anti-gay rhetoric from the fundies. That should come as no surprise. Likewise, it's no surprise that the religiously addicted are so focused on homosexuality and abortion. We've always known that, but it's nice to see in print what we've always suspected: groups like the Christian Coalition are so obsessed with LGBT folks that they ignore many of the various issue Jesus spoke about.

What is new in the resignation of Hunter is that the cracks in these groups that like to portray themselves as monolithic are beginning to show.

It's nice to see these so-called Christian groups beginning to focus on issues that reflect concern for the type of social challenges the founder of their religion stood for rather than spreading hatred and prejudice that he would abhor.


Friday, November 24, 2006

Putting Nancy and the Pussy-crats on notice

Less than a week after Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean incurred my wrath for his "move to the back of the bus" attitude toward gay issues expressed in a speech to the Internation Gay and Lesbian Leadership Conference, another Democrat has proposed a similar strategy for the coming Congressional session.

Nancy Pelosi, newly selected Speaker of the House, tacked to the right and announced she'd be steering a centrist course in the coming legislative session. "Centrist," in this case is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it's doubtful we'll have to fight off another attempt to write discrimination into the Constitution in the form of another odius federal marriage "protection" amendment. On the other hand, don't expect any progress to be made on issues that affect millions of LGBT Americans.

According to a recent article in The Boston Globe:

Anxious to chart a centrist course with Democrats' new majority in Congress, incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her top deputies are busily working in private and public to rein in the liberal ambitions of some senior party heavyweights --including proposals to reinstate the military draft and end the Pentagon's ban on gays in uniform.

Pelosi has urged House Democrats, including incoming committee chairmen, to use the first weeks of next year's congressional term to focus exclusively on proposals on which the party is unified and legislative goals that are within reach, according to Pelosi allies and aides. ...

Pelosi has also tempered hopes of reversing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on the service of gays and lesbians in the military, after two key Democrats -- Representatives Martin T. Meehan of Lowell and Barney Frank of Newton -- said last week that they want to repeal the policy.

Though Pelosi believes homosexuals should be able to openly serve, she has made clear that she believes Democrats have more urgent national-security priorities -- including changing course in Iraq and investigating war-related contracting.

Pelosi and Hoyer outlined an agenda yesterday for early next year that Pelosi said will relieve "the middle-class squeeze." It avoids hot-button issues such as tax cuts, gay rights, and abortion for popular issues such as a higher minimum wage, more affordable student loans, and congressional ethics reform.

So there you have it. Another Democrat tells us we should move to the back of the bus because our issues just aren't important enough; that we're a "special interest group" who might scare faint-hearted voters into voting for Republicans again.

Given the pivotal role LGBT voters and their allies played in the 2006 midterm elections, I am more than fed up with the way the Democrats are treating our issues.

Perhaps it's time for the Democratic Party to change its symbol from the donkey - an animal known for its obstinancy - to a cute widdle cuddly kitten. What better symbol for this new Democratic Party than an animal that is weak, defenseless and skittish. Likewise, maybe they should come up with a whole new name to reflect the Party's timidity. I suggest Pussy-crats, a name that not only incorporates the new symbol, but also, in the best tradition of the old schoolyard vulgarity, labels them as weak, ineffectual and cowardly.

The Pussy-crats haven't yet even begun their tenure as majority party in the House and Senate and already I'm sick of them. I am angry at how quickly they can forget one of their most dependable constituencies. I'm ashamed of their gutlessness.

Today I received my usual weekly e-mail from Wayne Besen, author and activist. In his column, Besen addressed this same issue and came up with a more moderate approach. (At least a more moderate one than I would have considered in my anger.) In his column, Time for a smart gay agenda, Besen wrote:

One lesson from the past is that if gay issues are haphazardly introduced they can be radioactive and sidetrack the Democratic Party's broader agenda. If the Democrats are seen as kowtowing to a controversial special interest group the moment they are in the majority it may jeopardize their ability to reach mainstream Americans.

On the other side of the coin, the gay community has been a loyal constituency group and our basic rights should be protected as a matter of morality. The way to reconcile this ostensible conflict is for major gay political organizations to have an early strategic powwow with incoming House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The gay leaders should offer to step back and make no demands for six months to let the Democrats establish a tangible record on bread and butter economic issues. The party must establish itself as one that represents all people and cares most about the concerns of average families.Once party leaders have built a reserve of political capital and are able to boast of bipartisan accomplishments they will have earned credentials with suburban families and can address gay rights without looking like they are pandering.

Democratic leaders should agree that for the GLBT community's six months of silence a major piece of legislation would be introduced in June. The most logical legislation would be the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would prohibit job discrimination based on sexual orientation.

I don't like waiting for rights I should have already, but Besen's suggestion is one that I could live with. I am willing to give the Pussy- ... oops, I mean Democrats ... six months to build coalitions and make bipartisanship efforts on core bread-and-butter issues.

That gives them time to show they can lead. And it gives us time to figure out how we should respond if the Pussy-crats want us to keep moving to the back of the bus "just a little while longer ... maybe until after the next election ... but definitely by 2040 ... probably."

If that happens I hope we have a way to strike back and strike back hard. So Nancy and the Pussy-crats, you're on notice. The clock is ticking on your six-month "honeymoon." In every action the Democratic Congress takes for the six months after taking office, may they always hear a quiet little tick-tock, tick-tock in their ears.


The controversy over 'controversy'

I run hot and cold over Wal-mart. One the one hand, some of their business practices and the ways the corporate giant treats employees are loathsome. On the other hand ... well, I'm cheap and just can't find the 50-pound bags of dog food the three four-legged family members consume cheaper anywhere else. In the end, I compromise, grit my teeth and put some hard-earned cash into the Walton family's fortunes, but draw the line at buying the cheaply made, non-union clothes and other items there.

Then a few months ago I had a reason not to drive 20 miles or so to shop at a Wal-Mart where I was unlikely to run into my fellow liberal friends. This summer Wal-Mart paid $25,000 to become a member of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. It also donated $60,000 to Out and Equal, which promotes gay-rights advances in the workplace. Likewise, it didn't balk at carrying the film "Brokeback Mountain" when it was released.

Of course the fundies went ballistic over Wal-Mart's business decision not to exclude that disposable income the LGBT community is supposed to have, but I was happy to have a reason to be an out-of-the-closet Wal-Mart shopper.

But now I'm about to go back into the Wal-Mart closet so deeply that I won't be doing any Christmas shopping there.

The reason? Wal-Mart caved in to demands from the rabid mouth-breathers at the American Family Association over the companies tenuous ties with the gay community. According to an Associated Press article:

A conservative group that had called on supporters to boycott Wal-Mart's post-Thanksgiving day sales to protest the retailer's support of gay-rights groups withdrew its objections Tuesday, saying the company had agreed to stay away from controversial causes.

The American Family Association, which had been asking supporters to stay away from Wal-Mart on Friday and Saturday — two of the busiest shopping days of the year — said it was pleased by a statement the company issued Tuesday.

While stressing its commitment to diversity and equality, Wal-Mart said in its statement that it "will not make corporate contributions to support or oppose highly controversial issues unless they directly relate to our ability to serve our customers."

So let's see if I've got this right ... marketing to the LGBT community is a "controversial issue," but caving in to organized hate groups like AFA isn't?

Excuse me, Wal-Mart, but what the fuck are you thinking? Are the tattered dollars spent by the extremist religious fringe somehow greener than the dollars spent by gays and lesbians? Is the issue of right-wing groups who want to deny rights to others somehow less controversial than the issue of a group working to overcome its second-class status?

The article goes on to quote a fun-D'uh-Mental-ist (emphasis on the "mental" part) zealot from Operation Save America - a second group that has not yet called off its Wal-Mart boycott:

[S]ome conservative activists depicted Wal-Mart's engagement as endorsement of same-sex marriage and a pledge to give gay-owned businesses preferential treatment — assertions Wal-Mart denied in its statement Tuesday.

Conservative leaders had viewed Wal-Mart's actions as a betrayal of its own traditions, which have included efforts to weed out magazines with racy covers and CDs with explicit lyrics.

"This has been Christian families' favorite store — and now they're giving in, sliding down the slippery slope so many other corporations have gone down," said the Rev. Flip Benham of Operation Save America.

"They're all being extorted by the radical homosexual agenda," Benham said.

Yeah, right, Flipper. And your group's efforts aren't extortion? Take another sip of your Jesus juice, you Bible-thumpin' cretin.

Personally, I've had it with organizations like Wal-Mart who seem to think that the only "values" are those expounded by radical groups like AFA and Operation Save America.

I'm urging everyone I know to take a few minutes and call WalMart and let them know that your values prohibit you from doing business with any company which has its policies controlled by some fringe right-wing "religious" organization. Point out that AFA is now dictating a company policy defining a "controversial" issue for them.

Ask them how a company that claims to be committed to diversity in the workplace would stand there and listen to religious bigot customers and employees degrade another group of customers and employees, and then claim to make a blanket policy from such "concern." Then ask them why they are giving money to the Boy Scouts and the Salvation Army, when both organizations go against the very diversity principles and avoidance of controversy that their "new" policy establishes.

Here is their contact number: 1-800-925-6278. It's time this company heard from someone besides the American Family Association and the knuckle-dragging Neanderthals in the religious reich.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Staying at the front of the bus

Howard Dean, the integrity-challenged chairman of the Democratic National Committee, believes the shift in power in Washington will make it easier for gays and lesbians. At least that's what he told the International Gay and Lesbian Leadership Conference. The group just wrapped up a four-day conference in Houston and Dean was one of the politicos chosen to address the group.

An interesting choice of words, that "easier." One can assume he meant it would be easier for gays and lesbians with the Democrats controling both houses of Congress rather than the Republicans. The latter, it seems, would settle for legislating us out of existence (only because it wouldn't be politically correct to declare open season on us.) By comparison, it will be easier under the Democrats. They only want us to move to the back of the bus instead of throwing ourselves under the wheels.

According to an article in The Houston Chronicle, Dean told the conference:

"My advice to — not just this community, but every community that plays an important role in the Democratic Party, and this one certainly does — is to try not to do everything at once. ...

"We need a careful, narrow, targeted agenda to make it clear what the difference between the Democratic Party and Republican Party is before we go into the next election."

Uh-oh. You can almost hear an unspoken and you ain't part of it right after that bit about needing a careful, narrow, targeted agenda.

Dean, it seems, is squeamish about Repugnantcans and fun-D'uh-Mental-ists poking a finger at the Democratic Party and declaring, "See? They really are the party of homo-seck-shuls! Now vote for us or else they'll be teaching the finer points of anal intercourse to kindergarteners!"

I'm ashamed of Dean. I'm also ashamed that the Democratic Party isn't ashamed of him. This flirtation with gay issues only to run back to the right has got to stop. Sure, Dean signed the nation's first civil partnership law while governor of Vermont, but let's not give him a medal for doing what the courts and legislature told him to do.

His record on gay rights since heading up the DNC has been lackluster at best.

Let's not forget that he did away with the DNC LGBT outreach office and fired a gay staffer whose partner was critical of Dean in print. Even more troublesome was his appearance on senile Bible-thumper Pat Robertson's "The 700 Club" during which he either "mispoke" - or maybe out-and-out lied - about the Democratic platform on gay marriage.

"Think how you felt in the last six years when you were being run over roughshod by an administration who used your community to beat up on folks and scare them to get them to vote Republican," Dean is quoted as telling the group.

I wonder if Dean can imagine how many of us feel now, after being demonized by one party and marginalized by the other? I wonder if he has any idea how offensive his "step to the back of the bus" message sounds to those of us who worked so hard to vote out the bigots and tools of the religious right like Missouri's Jim Talent, Pennsylvania's Rick Santorum, Virginia's George Allen and others? I wonder how long he thinks the Democrats can hold onto their narrow win without acknowledging the LGBT community's role in that victory?

According to some analyses, a coalition of LGBT voters and their allies may have played a major role in handing Democrats a one-vote margin in the Senate. A post-election article in The Falls Church (Va.) News Press puts it this way:

An analysis of the voting pattern Tuesday in Virginia suggests that the so-called “marriage amendment” on the ballot as Question 1 might have cost U.S. Senator George Allen the election. If true, it would mark an ironic twist, the backfiring of an effort Republicans hoped would spur a stronger turnout for their incumbent. ...

The analysis is based on a comparison of votes cast for Question 1 compared to the other two amendments on Tuesday’s ballot, and especially to Question 2. Question 2 involved granting churches in Virginia the right to incorporate. It was strongly pushed by the same religiously-based forces that backed passage of the anti-gay marriage measure.

But Question 2 garnered 133,411 fewer votes than Question 1, meaning that many more voters were moved to vote on the gay marriage measure.

Of those additional votes, more than that entire margin voted “No” on Question 1. With all but three of the state’s 2,443 precincts reporting as of late yesterday, 231,727 voted against Question 1 than voted against Question 2.

It can be credibly argued that a significant portion of those extra 231,727 people who voted against the gay marriage ban also voted against Allen. Many of them, in fact, may have been motivated to come to the polls by the aggressive campaign led by a well-organized collective effort of civic and religious groups known as the Commonwealth Coalition.

With Allen’s margin of defeat in the Senate election being only 7,307 votes, any significant percentage of the 231,727 additional “No” voters on Question 1 would have been decisive. Allen’s opponent, James Webb, stated publicly his opposition to Question 1 during the campaign.

So there you have it. Rather than telling us - even politely - to move to the back of the bus because are issues just aren't important, Dean should be kissing our collective asses. Without us and our supporters, Senate leadership would still be in the hands of the Republicans.

No thanks, Dr. Dean. I believe we'll sit up here by the bus driver. And we won't hesitate to tell him when he starts to take a wrong turn.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Getting in touch with your inner-Old Testament wrath

Since it's been over a month since I set fingers to keyboard and wrote anything on this blog, I'm tempted to start off with "While I was away due my abduction of aliens ..." or "Sorry to have been away so long on my secret mission to reset all the Diebold voting machines ... ." Instead, my excuse is much more prosaic: I had too many commitments and not enough time. Oh sure there were numerous times when I thought about blogging. And there certainly were a lot of topics worth blogging about ... the Mark Foley scandal involving male Congressional pages, the election, Arizona's defeat of a same-sex marriage ban, the ousting of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the shell-shocked look on Dubya's face the day after the election, the downfall of meth-crazed closet-case bottom-boy Ted Haggard, and my usual potshots in the cultural war against fun-D'uh-Mental-ists. Any and all of those topics are certainly blog-worthy, but what brought me out of blog semi-seclusion was pondering this question:

Can Soulforce, a group founded by now openly gay former ghostwriter for Jerry Falwell, have its collective nose any further up the ass of the religious right?

Consider this:

LGBT ecumenical group Soulforce is calling on gays to offer compassion to the Rev. Ted Haggard - the minister who despite a history of bashing gays from the pulpit was ousted by his superchurch when it was disclosed he had a longtime relationship with a hustler.

Soulforce wants gays to write letters of support and concern for Haggard.

"This is obviously a moment of personal, familial, and professional crisis for Rev. Haggard," said Soulforce spokesperson Paige Schilt.

Schlit said that Soulforce acknowledges that many in the gay community feel legitimate anger toward Haggard for his history of religion-based oppression.

At least the timid assimilationists at Soulforce are right on one point: many of us DO feel legitimate anger toward Haggard, a man who harangued his 14,000-member flock in Colorado Springs about the evils of homo-seck-shuls but made monthly trips to Denver to pay a male prostitute to give him a hands-free prostate massage.

It's hard to work up more than half a thimble full of compassion for someone like Haggard who spends his life in the eye of a hurricane of hypocrisy. His wife and kids? Sure, I have no problem summoning up compassion for them. After all, they weren't the ones who put themselves in the situation they find themselves in. But as for Ted, I have a hard time restraining myself from sending a letter as Soulforce suggests ... but one that reads Burn in your own homo hell, hypocrite.

Ironically, Haggard may soon find himself in homo hell. Teddy will be working for "restoration," a code word of the religious right for ex-gay brainwashing. No less of a proponent of "reparative therapy" than Joseph Nicolosi, founder of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, suggests that he could help Haggard if the evangelist was prepared for "deep, emotional work."

So what happens when Teddy goes through the hell on earth of the type of ex-gay therapies that have left behind so much emotional wreckage among gays and lesbians who have been subjected to at the hands of pedatory ex-gay snake-oil salesmen?

I'm betting he'll announce himself cured and be photographed with his wife and kids with that humongus smile on those lips that have found themselves wrapped around gay prostitute Mike Jones' love muscle numerous times. I'm also betting that he'll be a lot more discreet next time he invites a guy to take a ride on his Hershey highway.

If Haggard emerges from his pray-away-the-gay "restoration process" as an honest man, he'll say, "Nope, I still want to chug weinies." Given his history of duplicity and hyprocisy, I'm inclined to doubt that will happen.

Oh, but if it did what a day that would be. Perhaps then it would become clear that these ex-gay programs not only don't work, but are harmful. Then I would have all the compassion in the world for Haggard.

I'm glad there are groups like Soulforce who preach compassion, even to those who have shown no compassion to them. While I've always tried to believe in the biblical admonishment to turn the other cheek, I think it's important to point out that the Bible fails to make clear exactly how we should react when we run out of cheeks to turn. And when it comes to the fun-D'uh-Mental-ists who rake in the dough by stirring up hatred toward gays and lesbians, we ran out of cheeks a long time ago.

Soulforce is too quick to hold out an olive branch to folks like Haggard and Falwell and Dobson. For a religious-based LGBT organization, it would be nice to see them once in a while get in touch with their inner-Old Testament wrath when it comes to dealing with fundies.