Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Memorial Day Hiatus

As I mentioned below, North Dallas Thirty will be going on hiatus for the next week as I take my Memorial Day vacation to Alaska and San Francisco. Please feel free to read and comment on past posts, or visit the other fine blogs listed on my blogroll.

Happy Memorial Day to all.....and be safe.

Everyone Needs a Little Kick in the Pants

Thanks to Michael over at GayOrbit, I happened onto the first personality test I've ever seen that makes certain not to protect your feelings.

Here's how I scored -- which should be a surprise to absolutely no one.....LOL.

You are 0% Rational, 85% Extroverted, 28% Brutal, and 71% Arrogant.

As the Lord as my witness, I swear upon the good book that you are indeed the TELEVANGELIST! Characterized by extreme arrogance, self-assurance, and extroversion, you would make a very charismatic leader (or a very despotic one). On top of that, you are also more intuitive than rational, predisposing you to a more spiritual or emotional outlook on life. Thus, you are thoroughly irrational. You also tend to be rather gentle and considerate of others' feelings. Clearly, you would make the perfect televangelist. Emotional, extroverted, arrogant, and gentle, you annoy the hell out of people who have to listen to the feel-good, intuitive shit spewing from your mouth. Not only that, but people may look down on you as a self-centered asshat. So while you are gentle and genuinely care about others, it is quite clear that you still care about yourself MORE. Why is your personality flawed? Because you are too damned extroverted, emotional, and arrogant. So preach your irrational message, brotha-man! I assure you, no one will be listening!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

A Little Ray of Sanity For An Otherwise-Dull Day

I have been debating how to blog over the lousy and perturbing news received this weekend that the Texas Senate passed the proposed state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Suffice to say I am not pleased, which, to borrow from Erma Bombeck, is the biggest understatement since Noah called the weather bureau and got a recording predicting light showers and drizzle.

Put bluntly, this amendment is going to be a bitch to defeat at the ballot box. While it explicitly bans gay marriage, civil unions, and domestic partner registries at any level, it also explicitly recognizes certain contractual and legal forms as not being precluded, which severely limits one of our better weapons of "imprecise wording" having unintended effects. In short, the best argument we have is that this amendment is unnecessarily duplicative -- which is shot to pieces by the daily news that this gay activist or that gay activist has filed a lawsuit to overturn another state's laws.

There is good reason to hope, though, that there will be enough people who realize that there is a deeper issue with this amendment and what it means to repel it at the ballot box. One of them is Dallas Morning News columnist Jacquielynn Floyd, who penned an excellent column (registration required) -- a few salient points of which I'd like to share here.

If, by chance, all those other real and pressing problems weren't solved, it's hard to imagine why the state Senate would waste precious time wheezing on about the need for an amendment to our state's constitution to protect the so-called "sanctity of marriage."

"I believe we should protect the institution of marriage," intoned Sen. Todd Staples, R-Palestine, the bill's sponsor. "We should hold that up higher than any other relationship."

He refers to the sacrosanct covenant into which the infamous Mary Kay Letourneau entered over the weekend with her schoolboy sweetheart ( Entertainment Tonight had exclusive rights).

He means the institution from which nearly 2 million Americans seek legal exit every year. He means the holy rite that couples celebrate and hold dear until one of them becomes besotted with a friend or a neighbor or somebody at the office. He's talking about that deep and abiding bond that so often peters out amid vicious bickering about who gets the house or the kids or the vacuum cleaner.

If pressed for a position on this issue, I have to say that with a track record like that, I just don't see how straight people have any business telling gay people that, sorry, marriage is just too important and sanctified for you.

How much worse could they screw it up? I say, if two people named Otis and Beauregard want to get hitched, it doesn't have much to do with me, unless I'm invited and have to shop for a gift.

But even if you don't agree that this right should be extended – and I understand that many people have reservations about what they view as a dramatic change to our social tradition – I just don't see why the Legislature saw a need to bring everything else to a screeching halt while they jawboned about it.

They behaved as if an army of scary muscular men in leather thongs was bearing down on the Capitol, as if some peril were ringing the alarm so persistently that the Constitution required immediate adjustment.

In short, they neatly managed to create contention and paranoia over an issue that wasn't posing any particular threat. From here on out, the noisiest and most outrageous gay-rights activists will get all the sound bites, which in turn will frighten and galvanize their most intolerant and alarmist counterparts.

Ordinary chumps (me) who saw no problem with the way things already were will be trampled in the stampede.

There is no possible way to improve on that commentary. She really hits the nail squarely on the head, and in a way that makes sense to everyone, gay, straight, or otherwise.

If you would like, please email Ms. Floyd your support at -- I'm sure she would appreciate it.

Meanwhile, I'll be thinking about those scary muscular men in leather thongs.....

The Maryland Morass

Aside from my aforementioned busy weekend, part of the reason that I haven't commented on the whole issue in Maryland is because I've been interested in seeing how things will shake out first before I go on the tear of calling Governor Robert Ehrlich "Hitler" and suggesting that his family be stalked. It also took a while to find a copy of the text of the Maryland law for review.

After reviewing, even though this may be an unpopular position....the Maryland bill really stinks.

First off, despite the attempts to paint it as merely a "registry", the bill leaves no doubt that its sole goal is to establish the legal status of "life partner". That in and of itself would likely put it into conflict with the existing Maryland statute that defines marriage, since the bill amends several existing statutes that delineate on the basis of priority to say "spouse OR life partner".

Second off, the bill establishes the status of "life partner" for BOTH same-sex and opposite-sex couples, despite the fact that opposite-sex couples are perfectly free to marry in Maryland, and as such, receive all the benefits and privileges of marriage that a "life partnership" would grant. Why on earth, then, is a "life partner" registry necessary for OPPOSITE-sex couples? Perhaps Maryland legislators were thinking of California's far-superior domestic partnership law, which does allow for opposite-sex domestic partnerships; however, what they apparently forgot is that California's law specifically precludes opposite-sex domestic partnerships unless one or more of the participants is over the age of 62. Very sloppy. In addition, taken in combination with the first point, this gives a degree of credulity to the right-wing claim that this bill are an attempt to undermine traditional marriage (since it applies to opposite-sex couples) and give gay marriage in all but name.

Finally, the Maryland law is almost jaw-droppingly careless when it comes to issues around property. It specifically requires that individuals a) share a common residence (although it does not require that they both have claim to ownership) and b) agree to be in a relationship of "mutual interdependence", meaning that each life partner "contributes to the maintenance and support of the other life partner and the relationship" (although it's not required to be equal). Furthermore, this relationship is linked to an even greater degree to property by its association with the bill exempting property transfers between domestic partners. All of these create numerous implicit claims to real property ownership.

So where's the section on how things that were purchased as part of "maintenance and support" are to be managed in the event of a dissolution of the "life partnership"? The law is vague even on who has the right to initiate a dissolution, much less for what reasons, has no apparent method for contesting an attempted dissolution, and says nothing about property dispensation, despite creating all sorts of potential tangles to it. Again, referring to California, the law spells out specifically how these sort of issues are to be handled, logically under the same rules as already exist for heterosexual divorce. The Maryland statute lacks any of this -- presumably because tying it to the Maryland divorce code would make it blatantly obvious that it is not merely related to medical rights.

In summary, this is a half-assed attempt at pandering that would create more legal trouble than it's worth. The rights involved are wonderful and definitely needed by gay couples, but this is NOT the way to manage it. Either push for civil unions and deal with the property rights issues directly, or push for greater legal acceptance of granting and broadening of durable powers of attorney and dispensation to non-blood-relative individuals. The latter is more inconvenient than a central registry, but it doesn't conflict as blatantly with existing marriage laws, doesn't create implicit property rights, and will garner far more straight allies, especially in the post-Schiavo era, than an attempt to covertly impose "gay marriage".

In short, I don't like the fact that Ehrlich vetoed this bill. However, I dislike even more the fact that he was given such a lousy bill to sign. The gay community can and must do better than this, or we're going to find ourselves creating legal quagmires that we will have to sue ourselves out of -- possibly at the risk of invalidating the laws themselves.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Panel Is Looking for Media Bias And Will Find It, Comrade

First, my apologies to all.....the combination of being severely busy at work last week with a record-breaking heat wave over the weekend that resulted in an unprecedented number of pool party invitations put a significant cramp in my blogging. Starting Wednesday, as I go on vacation for Memorial Day with my family and my partner, there will also be a lull -- so take it as extra time to visit with your loved ones. Life is short; seize the days.

Now, returning to semi-irregular programming:

As John Aravosis breathlessly reports today, he will be a member of a panel that Representative John Conyers, Jr. is convening tomorrow, ostensibly to investigate "media bias".

So who are the other panelists?

Al Franken, the Al Franken Show on Air America Radio, author of Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right

David Brock, founder of Media Matters

Randi Rhodes, the Randi Rhodes Show on Air America Radio

Joe Madison, The Black Eagle Radio Show

Justin Webb, Senior Washington Correspondent of BBC News

Eric Alterman, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress

Steve Rendall, media watchdog group FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting)

John Aravosis, America Blog

Mark Lloyd, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress

I hate to ruin what I'm sure will be an auspicious and exciting occasion, but given the list of panelists, I can save Conyers's office the expense and time of holding the meeting and the panelists the flight and lost work time by simply giving you the conclusions they will reach.

General Conclusions

-- Republicans are bad

-- Conservatives are bad

-- Religion is bad

-- Corporate ownership of media is bad

-- No liberal bias exists in the media; the media is biased against liberals

By Specific Individuals

-- Al Franken and Randi Rhodes: "Journalists should be more responsible and check their sources"

subtext: Fortunately, we're entertainers, not journalists, so that doesn't apply to us.

-- David Brock and John Aravosis: "Journalists should do more to expose hypocrisy"

subtext: Except when it comes to Democrats, especially Democrats who support the FMA.

-- Joe Madison: "Corporate ownership of media suppresses the news and twists opinion."

subtext: Unless it's the multibillion-dollar one that pays my salary

I've already linked through on Messrs. Alterman, Lloyd, and Rendall, but to summarize their subtexts....they are indeed watchdogs, but the watchdog is blind in one eye and deaf in one ear. Pass on the right and, no matter your intention, you will be attacked; pass on the left and you can rob the house blind with nary a whimper.

The most interesting one is Mr. Webb, of the BBC. I've read a great deal of his work, and I've been very impressed. A particularly-good piece that I would recommend is his most recent "From Our Own Correspondent" piece about the role of religion in the Deep South. It's an excellent example of digging deep to get to the whole truth -- and something that, I daresay, will be utterly foreign and alien to the other members of the panel.

We shall see.

Monday, May 16, 2005

And the Winner Is.....

Many thanks to all of you who contributed input for my decision on a new car -- I was amazed at the response and the breadth of the information provided. Special thanks to Blog Ally Boi from Troy for his views and call to action -- hopefully he got HIS new set of wheels today.

After much research, agonizing, consultation with the significant other, and reading of tea leaves, we have a winner....tonight at 5:30 PM CDT, I took delivery of my Satin Gray Saab 9-2x Aero with 5-speed manual transmission, Premium Package (leather upholstery and xenon headlights), Sport Package (17-inch wheels, power moonroof), and Cold Weather Package (heated seats, heated exterior mirrors, and heated windshield wipers).

Why the 9-2x? Two reasons:

-- Flexible driving. The Aero's 2.0 liter turbocharged four is an engine of two personalities. Around town, it pulls steadily and sedately, pretending it's an ordinary compact.....but hold down the throttle, count one - two, and the car does an excellent imitation of an Ariane rocket blasting off, the power coming on in a peaky surge as the turbo spools up, the all-wheel-drive applying every last bit of the thrust to the road beneath. Come to a corner and you can throw it around like a slot car, body roll next to nonexistent (one of the advantages of a boxer four-cylinder's lower center of gravity).

Such is NDT's personality. (grin)

-- Practical motoring. Four doors, folding seats, hatchback, and that beautiful Saab front end. Brilliant headlights, buttery two-tone Swedish leather seats, 6 CD stereo.....and, in stealthy Satin Gray, not likely to draw much attention from the local constabulary despite the hood scoop and hatch spoiler and NDT's habits of making maximum use of traffic openings.

Also, if any of you are considering the 9-2x, I'll be happy to tell you more....and the current dealer incentives through the end of May are running VERY high. that you know what I drive, I'd like to know what all y'all drive. Any volunteers?

Who Would Have Thought It?

Worthy Adversary Dunner of Dunner's Stunners recently posted an interesting set of online quizzes concerning your political profile and cities where you'd prefer to live. In the interest of science and comparison, I took the same....and the results may surprise you.

Your Political Profile

Overall: 65% Conservative, 35% Liberal

Social Issues: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

Personal Responsibility: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Fiscal Issues: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal

Ethics: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Defense and Crime: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal


American Cities That Best Fit You:

80% Honolulu

65% Seattle

60% San Francisco

55% Los Angeles

50% Chicago

Any comments? :)

A Survivor Story

In the summer of 2000, NDT was a starving grad student living in an apartment the size of your average shoebox and with no cable or broadcast TV access -- which, since I was going to class all day and training horses most of the evening (a scheduling necessity in Texas, given our summer climate that makes Palm Springs look temperate), meant I wasn't getting a lot of "new show buzz". However, one night, when I went over to meet a very nice gentleman for a date, he met me at the door and said, "Come on in -- we'll catch the last part of Survivor, then we can leave."

My answer: "Oh, so you like the History Channel?"

Fortunately, the date did not end at that point.

Suffice to say, though, that for the following seasons, as Survivor continued to dominate the ratings and spawned hundreds of imitators in various forms, I was left way, way, WAY behind in the Reality Show Rapture. Indeed, my general heathen tack on them can be best summed up in Brad Paisley's wicked take on it, "Celebrity".

Yesterday, though, the venerable Dallas Morning News ran a front-page article on recent contestant Coby Ancha, which I thought was a wonderful synopsis on Coby and what's gone on in his life pre- and post- Survivor. Coby, if you happen to be reading this, I tip my hat to you....and should you ever need a hand, one is freely offered here.

One of the points that came up in the article, though, was this quote, which I found vaguely disturbing to me.

He (Coby) said he knew he was one of several vying for the "gay role," so he pulled out all his drama-queen stops. In one meeting, he dropped his pants and showed the room – including Survivor host Jeff Probst – that he'd written the casting producer's name on his butt with an indelible marker.

What bothers me in that is the idea of a "gay role". I know it seems to be a feature of most reality shows -- the token queer, if you will -- but is it necessarily something that we want? Quite often, I am reminded of the old stereotypes that were often applied to black Americans, like Jim Crow, Stepin Fetchit, and "Miss Scarlet, I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no babies"! The last thing I want is for someone on the street to know that I'm gay and automatically assume that I act like Jack on Will and Grace, or Brian on Queer as Folk -- and there have been times when I've deliberately suppressed my "queeny instincts" out of fear of being regarded in that fashion.

On the other hand, though, these roles, stereotypical as they are, do present to Americans a different image than some of the right wing wish to portray us as being -- pathological pedophiles and rapists, looking to draw their children into our clutches and "convert" them. Given the choice, I'd prefer the image of mincing Will as opposed to some sicko lurking in the bushes outside an elementary school -- and I will also freely admit that, like Coby, there have been times when I've "played the queer" to get along or to get what I needed.

I suppose the ultimate lesson, as Coby's story shows us, is this....ultimately, the responsibility for creating our own identity lies with us and us alone. If you aren't a flaming queen, don't feel like you need to be one to "fit in".....and if you are, don't feel like you need to suppress yourself for the same reason. This world is a big, beautiful, colorful place....and quite frankly, mindless conformity is an insult to humanity, to the universe, and to God. It sounds like a bad after-school special resolution, yourself.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Friday Eclecticism

As a former DJ (club and radio) and a music minor, I have tastes in the sonic arts that some would consider broad, some would consider exotic, and some would consider a sign of some deep-seated psychological disturbance.

Slowly, my friends have gotten used to the idea that, between the house and the car, there are four different stereos, and none of them will be playing the same station OR same type of music. For example, featured in the front room will be Johann Sebastian Bach's "Great" Fugue in G Minor, in the bedroom the dog will be listening to country on 99.5 The Wolf, the bathroom is turned to news radio, and the truck will be blaring the Thunderpuss Hands in the Air Anthem remix of Madonna's "Don't Tell Me". Adding my husband (who is a hard-core classical vocals fanatic) to this will be interesting, to say the least.

However, for Friday, I wanted to turn your attention to a couple of tracks that have really caught my attention of late. When you click through the links, it will take you to the page where the music is stored; just select the song title.

Jo Dee Messina, "My Give a Damn Is Busted"

I swear to God, Jo Dee Messina was a gay man in a previous life! This is a great in-your-face song about the psycho, self-absorbed ex we've all had who dumped us for a number that was barely older than some of our T-shirts, then comes crawling back for forgiveness. If the title doesn't grab you, the lyrics WILL.

Charlie Robison, "El Cerrito Place"

This is an absolutely beautiful and haunting number about love lost, set against the backdrop of Southern California. Every time I hear this, I'm transported back to one of my favorite areas to visit....LA and Palm Springs. For those of you who are worried that listening to country music will get your anti-Bush cards revoked, don't worry....Charlie Robison is married to Emily Robison of the Dixie Chicks, so you're safe. (grin)

And, as for a Friday dog-blogging, I am simply going to be lazy today and refer you back to the blogosphere debut of the NDT Mascot.

A great weekend to all!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Advertising In Action

I noticed a billboard today on the way into work exhorting North Texans to participate in the Great American Meat-out.

To celebrate, I ate lunch at The Feed Bag, a local burger place where the staff wears T-shirts with the slogan, "You didn't come to Texas to be a vegetarian".

I did go heavy on the pickles, though. Progress.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

A Bit of Un-Noted News

Better late than never, I always say.

Whilst I was off cavorting for business purposes in Norfolk, Virginia, things were transpiring elsewhere that I just plain didn't catch -- among them, this heartening news from Kansas about its newly-minted state constitutional amendment barring gay marriage.

TOPEKA - The state constitution's ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions doesn't prevent local or state government agencies from extending benefits to gay employees' partners, Attorney General Phill Kline said Friday.

"It's my belief that they could, and we would defend them in that choice," Kline said.

Kline's statements contrast with a legal opinion issued in March by Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, who said a similar amendment to that state's constitution prevents governmental entities from offering domestic partner benefits.

Critics of the Kansas amendment had argued it is broad enough to prevent government agencies from offering benefits to employees' unmarried partners, gay or straight, and perhaps could prevent even private companies from doing so. Supporters said such fears were unfounded.

As they were. If you look at the text of the two amendments, you notice vast differences in wording -- and that ultimately is the key to why such different results came about in ostensibly-similar situations.


Article 1, Section 25. To secure and preserve the benefits of marriage for our society and for future generations of children, the union of one man and one woman shall be the only arrangement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose.

Kansas (cited from my previous blogpost on it)

(a) The marriage contract is to be considered in law a civil contract. Marriage shall be constituted by one man and one woman only. All other marriages are to be declared to be contrary to the public policy of this state and are void. (b) No relationship, other than a marriage, shall be recognized by the state as entitling the parties to the rights or incidents of marriage.

For instance, if you look at the Kansas amendment, it specifically states that marriage equals one man and one woman only. This doesn't seem like much, but that strict definition is what helps it avoid the major pitfall of the Michigan amendment -- the "marriage or similar union" portion that generalizes the stricture of "one man and one woman" to block any other relationship from receiving benefits.

Furthermore, the Kansas amendment adds a twist -- it states specifically that the union of one man and one woman defined as marriage is the only arrangement entitled to the rights of marriage. Other unions, while they are not automatically granted (entitled to) the rights of marriage by fundamental law, may still have similar benefits granted to them on a statutory or executive basis without violating the amendment.

In short, the Michigan amendment defines what party (man and woman only) can receive benefits at all; the Kansas amendment defines what party can automatically receive benefits, but does not exclude any others.

The Kansas amendment is still antigay. However, its precision is definitely superior to the Michigan one.

And Now, For Something Totally Unrelated To You-Know-Who....

I can honestly say that yesterday was one of the better days I've ever had in my entire life. Nothing exploded or melted down, I had a wonderful one-on-one chat with one of our executives about our corporate social responsibility, and a meeting that I'd been dreading with my boss went off, not only without any issues, but with several doors being opened from both a career and a personal standpoint.

As some of you have guessed from a few oblique statements I've recently inserted into posts and comments, I have a long-distance relationship going with a wonderful, talented, and handsome man in the Bay Area. Suffice to say, this has deepened far beyond our greatest expectations, and both of us believe that the other "is the one". When I aired the possibility of working remotely with my boss yesterday, she not only was supportive of the idea, she stated frankly that it would be one of the best career moves I could make internally. summary..... North Dallas Thirty will be moving to San Francisco.

Because of tax and other issues, this will not be an immediate move. However, there are several things related to this move that will need to take place, and one of them is that North Dallas Thirty's beloved Ford F-150 extended cab pickup has to be put out to pasture (and if any of you have seen San Francisco's parking, you know exactly why). The pre-Memorial Day sales, in which auto manufacturers are trying to make sure they have no selection left for the Fourth of July, Labor Day, and "God, get them off the lot, the new ones are here!" sales, are taking place now -- and with NDT's beau coming to visit this weekend, we can make sure the vehicle "fits".

In the proud tradition of Blog Ally Boi from Troy, I would like to submit to you, loyal readers, the cars that have churned up in my search through auto lots, along with what I perceive as their pros and cons and ask your opinions on which would be most suitable for a Texan moving to the narrow streets, shoebox slots, and hills of SFO. Please feel free to add any to the list that may come to mind.

Saab 9-2x Aero

Pros: All-wheel drive, punchy 227-hp, 210 lb-ft torque turbo engine, massive available discount (try $10k, when all is said and done), basically the world-class Subaru WRX in fine Swedish leather

Cons: Basically the world-class Subaru WRX with a premium of $4k for fine Swedish leather, requires premium fuel

Pontiac Vibe GT

Pros: Versatile, roomy (for a subcompact), very fuel-efficient, 170-hp engine, decent discount, a Toyota Matrix with a Celica engine under a Pontiac skin and built in California

Cons: 170 hp is at redline and nowhere else, requires premium fuel, and my God, did no dealer on earth order one of these with leather AND the sunroof?

Mazda Mazda3 SP3

Pros: Nimble, fast, fuel-efficient, 160-hp engine with matching torque, shares platform DNA with the critically-acclaimed Volvo S40 and European Ford Focus

Cons: Discount? Are you kidding? These things are actually SELLING!

Ford Focus ZX4 ST

Pros: Nimble, fast, fuel-efficient, same torquey engine as the Mazda3, inherited suspension and handling equipment from the late and lamented Focus SVT, discounted

Cons: Does NOT share platform DNA with the critically-acclaimed Volvo S40/European Ford Focus, and am I really going to pay $20k for something that looks like it came off the rental lot at SFO?

Jeep Wrangler

Pros: Convertible top, rides high above the world, goes (and can fit) anywhere, a blast to drive, CHEAP to insure, serious "butch factor"

Cons: Rides like a buckboard, same fuel economy as NDT's current F-150, makes highway driving in crosswinds an adventure, gives two choices -- keep top on, or never park anywhere you can't see it again

Thanks in advance for all of your help!

UPDATE: 11 PM, Tuesday, 10 May: After further consultation, I am adding one more car to the list for consideration.

Chrysler PT Cruiser Touring Convertible

Pros: CONVERTIBLE, reasonably fast and sporty, really seats four people, definite cool car, discount

Cons: Even WITH discount, still the most expensive -- and the vague impression that it screams, "Barbie car"!

Monday, May 09, 2005

It Just Keeps Getting Better

As an update and correction to my post below concerning the sudden screaming fits thrown by so-called "gay rights" groups and activists over John Kerry's recent statements, I should point out that the post I cited previously from Americablog was of John Aravosis's co-blogger "Joe in DC", whose remarks I previously compared with those of John's.

In the interests of accuracy, I now present: "John K. Said, John A. Said.....A Historical Retrospective".

John K. Said (in February 2004):

Presidential candidate John F. Kerry said yesterday that he supports amending the Massachusetts Constitution to ban gay marriage and provide for civil unions for gay couples......

Kerry's position is also contrary to that of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, which last month endorsed gay marriage......

Earlier this year, Kerry was the only member of the state's all-Democrat congressional delegation who chose not to sign a letter urging the state Legislature to reject a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

John A. Said ( here and here):

This woman gets it, guys. The Kerry campaign, in my view, tried very hard with today's speeches at the caucus to win over any gay doubters, and I have to tell you, they won me.

I don't care what anyone says about John Kerry - yeah, he's bad on gay marriage, who isn't?

John K. Said (August 2004):

Sen. John Kerry said in an interview published yesterday that he would have voted for the gay-marriage ban passed overwhelmingly this week by Missouri voters.
The Democratic presidential nominee, who spent parts of two days stumping across the state, told The Kansas City Star the ballot measure was the same as one his home state of Massachusetts passed a few years ago. Kerry supported that measure.

John A. Said:

Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Nichts. If you want, go check the Americablog archives for August.

As a lovely consolation prize while you're there, note John's blasting EMILY'S List for supporting FMA supporter Inez Tenenbaum -- a posting which, during the height of the "outing" campaign, posts the names of two minor PR operatives and inexplicably forgets to mention the fact that the then-CEO of EMILY'S List was a gay male who claimed that gay activists criticizing his organization's support of Tenenbaum were wrong and were missing the "bigger picture".

Of course, it becomes far less inexplicable when one realizes that said gay male was Massachusetts Democratic activist and current HRC President Joe Solmonese, a former staffer of Representative Barney Frank and a close crony of Kerry campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill.

Of course, now it's 2005, and the Kerry campaign, including its officers and its check-writing capability, are long since gone, so.......

John K. Said:

U.S. Sen. John Kerry, visiting Louisiana for a forum on children's health care, criticized the Massachusetts Democratic Party for its expected approval of a statement in the party platform in support of same-sex marriage.

"I think it's a mistake," Kerry said. "I think it's the wrong thing, and I'm not sure it reflects the broad view of the Democratic Party in our state."

Looks pretty much the same as what he said last year.

John A. Said:

I've had it with this jerk. He was a lousy presidential candidate, couldn't find a consistent positio non the Iraq war if his life depended on it, and now the only consistent message he's been able to find post-election is to bash gays.

Note to Kerry: Go away. You were a crappy candidate, a milquetoast Senator (Kennedy always pulled your weight, anyway), and now you have the nerve to weigh in AGAINST gay rights in your own state? Grow a pair, buddy, then come back and we'll talk.

Funny, you'd think Kerry could have bought a pair with the tens of millions activists like Aravosis and groups like HRC gave him -- or at least a navigation system for his "journey of becoming more understanding and supporting". After all, doesn't he know they channeled all that money away from fighting the antigay state constitutional amendments he supported?

But then again.........when you're going to get the money and support regardless of what you do because of the "D" after your name (see Bill Clinton) -- why bother?

Sunday, May 08, 2005

A Short, Pleasant, Commentary Interlude

Come now, you didn't think I could go TOO long without a Mike Rogers post, did you?

Over on GayPatriot, in a conversation with a fellow reader, he had the following to say to me.

I think I can say I respect what I know of you, NDT, from this site and your own, but we flat out disagree on Mike Rogers. I love what he's doing to political types who think they can live under the radar while hurting (or being a part of hurting) those of us who are just like them. As I've mentioned to you before, at 54 and with the same life mate for 34 years this August, I've seen us come from having to slink in the shadows and lie about ourselves, to the point of being able to live with respect among a growing number of people with open minds. That didn't happen because of gay conservatives or gay liberals hanging back watching it happen and criticizing them (I know -- I was one of them and I regret it); it happened because there were people with courage pushing this nation in small steps -- sometimes through apparently outrageous action (like Mike's), sometimes through sustained legal action (e.g., the Task Force). My mate and I wanted really only one thing through all this -- to live as boringly normal as possible, AND with legal protections that would allow us the same rights as everyone else. We're almost there. Because of gay people who took (and take) action.

While I appreciate what this individual has done and gone through, I'm not sure how that relates to what Mike Rogers is "doing", as shown by certain examples that I myself have blogged.

-- Berating Minnesota Log Cabin Republicans as incompetent one week, then praising them the next

-- The whole GayPatriot incident, which included harassing phone calls to Christian Grantham, a DEMOCRATIC activist with a proven record of advancing gay rights

-- Related to the GayPatriot incident, trying to shut down blogs supportive of GayPatriot

-- In a similar vein, making repeated phone calls to attempt to dig up personal information on a reporter who published a story about him that reported his refusal to comment on his own background or activities.

-- Publicly asserting that "gay interment camps" are operating

And, my personal favorite:

-- Protecting from outing the staffers of antigay Democrats while attacking Republicans with better records

To summarize, the commenter is right -- the reason gays have had the success that we have had is because of people of all political stripes taking courageous political and social action. However, none of these qualify as such, and quite honestly, smack of using "gay rights" as an excuse for behavior that is counterproductive to them.

"So-Called" Gay Rights Activists and Groups

One of the more interesting responses I received to my recent post concerning the fact that "gay rights" activists and groups were suddenly getting steamed with John Kerry for publicly making the same antigay statements he was making last year when they were shoveling him millions of dollars in support was this:

That's one way of looking at it. I think I see it as 10 million spent on what they thought was the best shot at defeating Bush.

It's certainly not my fault if you're incapable of seeing it that way.

The problem is....the point of these "gay rights" groups is to advance and defend gay rights, not necessarily to defeat a particular Presidential candidate. An unbiased view of the political situation in 2004 would have shown that the biggest and most immediate threat to gay rights were the state constitutional amendments explicitly designed to strip gays of rights and permanently consign them to second-class citizenship, far more than anything else -- for several reasons.

First, state constitutional amendments that ban gay marriage, even when they ostensibly include the "right" to civil unions, are, as the Massachusetts Supreme Court ably pointed out an attempt to maintain an "unconstitutional, discriminatory, and inferior status" for same-sex couples. As history has shown us, arrangements of "separate but equal" invariably end up penalizing the minority involved -- an unacceptable solution.

Second, state constitutional amendments that deal with situations not specifically related to Federal Constitutional rights have a good track record of survival. The Supreme Court's overturning of Colorado's Amendment 2 is often given as a reason to minimize the effect of antigay state constitutional amendments; however, it should be remembered that Amendment 2 was a brazen denial of ALL potential resolutions of antigay discrimination for gays, including the rights of due process, access to the court system, and use of the political system, something which is blatantly unconstitutional. The case of Loving v. Virginia, which ended state laws banning interracial heterosexual marriage is often cited as another "sign" that gays shouldn't worry about state constitutional amendments because the Supreme Court will strike them down under the Fourteenth Amendment. However, Loving is a decision on whether the states may discriminate based on race, not whether or not states may discriminate in marriage rights; thus, despite its strong reaffirmation that marriage is a "fundamental civil right", it also reinforces the precedent that states may with perfect right abrogate it.

Third, there is strong bipartisan political support for these amendments; indeed, both parties' Presidential candidates and numerous other candidates supported them, and the electoral results bore the fact out.

Finally, and in my mind the key reason for opposing these amendments, the most effective means of keeping the Federal Marriage Amendment from ever seeing the light of day was to make it clear that the states couldn't pass their OWN similar amendments, much less that three-quarters of them could ratify a Federal one, as is required to amend the Constitution. Had eleven states, or even a fraction of that amount, refused to amend their own constitutions to discriminate against gays, the message would have been clearly sent to Washington DC that, while Americans may not be comfortable with gay marriage, they are even less comfortable with changing fundamental law to discriminate against gays.

Given all that, it would seem obvious that the first priority of groups interested in gay rights should have been repelling these obvious threats to gay rights, and certainly not supporting someone who advocated them. However, all the major gay-rights groups with the exception of Log Cabin Republicans specifically channeled millions of dollars in cash, time, and support to candidates who supported antigay state constitutional amendments loudly and publicly.

Perhaps the best example can be shown in Missouri, using the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). HRC's efforts to repel the antigay state constitutional amendment there, as the Washington Blade reports, were classified as "heavily involved" and consisted of the following:

The national organization sent field workers and $100,000 to assist the Constitution Defense League, which was leading opposition to the amendment.

In contrast, HRC, by most estimates, spent tens of millions of dollars during the campaign cycle, including several hundred thousand on celebrations alone during the Democratic National Convention, to support John Kerry, praising his policies and stances, and publicize him as "pro-gay". What was Kerry's take on Missouri?

Sen. John Kerry said in an interview published yesterday that he would have voted for the gay-marriage ban passed overwhelmingly this week by Missouri voters.
The Democratic presidential nominee, who spent parts of two days stumping across the state, told The Kansas City Star the ballot measure was the same as one his home state of Massachusetts passed a few years ago. Kerry supported that measure.

In short, these "gay rights" groups spent tens of thousands on fighting against stripping gays of rights, but tens of millions on supporting and calling "pro-gay-rights" candidates who openly advocated stripping gays of rights. When I pointed out these decisions made it obvious that "pro-gay" to these groups means "Democrat" and referred to them as "'so-called' gay rights groups" for that reason, here was the response:

"So called"? Geeze you really are bitter. Look, ND30, if you don't respect these people, don't be surprised when people like Ridor harangue you.

I expect Ridor to harangue me regardless of what I do, simply by virtue of what I am. (grin) However, "these people" insult me and sell my equality off to homophobic bigots like John Kerry because they want to finance their Dupont Circle lifestyles, build their multimillion-dollar offices, and keep their party invitations.

As far as "bitter"....yes, the truth is sometimes very "bitter" to those who constantly deny it.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Irony Is a Dish Best Served Steaming Hot

Ah, what a difference a year makes.

John Kerry, erstwhile Democratic Party Presidential candidate and part-time US Senator, seems to have annoyed a few "gay rights" groups and activists with his recent statements:

U.S. Sen. John Kerry, visiting Louisiana for a forum on children's health care, criticized the Massachusetts Democratic Party for its expected approval of a statement in the party platform in support of same-sex marriage.

"I think it's a mistake," Kerry said. "I think it's the wrong thing, and I'm not sure it reflects the broad view of the Democratic Party in our state."

Of course, at that point, these activists and groups went into full-bore feather boa shriek mode.

The Human Rights Campaign denounced the statements of Sen. John Kerry yesterday, who called the decision of the Massachusetts Democratic Party adding support to its platform for same-sex marriage equality “a mistake.”

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Calls Senator John Kerry's Remarks on Marriage Equality "Wrong" and "a Mistake"

Today, the National Stonewall Democrats (NSD) strongly disagreed with the position of Senator John Kerry (D-MA) regarding a proposed marriage equality plank in the platform of the Massachusetts Democratic Party.

Masssachusetts already has gay marriage. Hundreds of gay couples have been married. And John Kerry doesn't think the Democratic Party should support their rights?

Quite a contrast from their glowing praise of him last year.

The Human Rights Campaign today endorsed Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., for President of the United States. The decision was made by HRC’s board of directors based on the candidate’s support for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality, demonstrated leadership and his viability to win in November.

"John Kerry and John Edwards make up the most gay-supportive national ticket in American history," said Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman.

"Even before his first year in the Senate almost twenty years ago, Senator Kerry has been a friend to gay and lesbian families," said Dave Noble, NSD executive director. "There has never been a presidential nominee who has held such a strong record of support for our community."

And, two of my particular favorites:

This woman gets it, guys. The Kerry campaign, in my view, tried very hard with today's speeches at the caucus to win over any gay doubters, and I have to tell you, they won me.

I don't care what anyone says about John Kerry - yeah, he's bad on gay marriage, who isn't?

Moreover, all of that praise came while Kerry was making statements like these:

Presidential candidate John F. Kerry said yesterday that he supports amending the Massachusetts Constitution to ban gay marriage and provide for civil unions for gay couples......

Kerry's position is also contrary to that of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, which last month endorsed gay marriage......

Earlier this year, Kerry was the only member of the state's all-Democrat congressional delegation who chose not to sign a letter urging the state Legislature to reject a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Sen. John Kerry said in an interview published yesterday that he would have voted for the gay-marriage ban passed overwhelmingly this week by Missouri voters.
The Democratic presidential nominee, who spent parts of two days stumping across the state, told The Kansas City Star the ballot measure was the same as one his home state of Massachusetts passed a few years ago. Kerry supported that measure.

So I guess the question becomes.... what is the difference between what Kerry is saying this year and what he said last year?

My tongue-in-cheek guess: Last year, Kerry's checks didn't bounce.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Another One of Those "Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other" Issues

As I was flipping through this afternoon, I came upon this interesting tidbit that, aside from making an interesting argument, shows the degree of detachment that can exist between headline and story.

To whit, the headline screams, "FDA to ban sperm from men who had gay sex". However, if you read through the article, you notice several things (all emphasis added is mine):


Although there is disagreement over whether the FDA guideline regarding gay men will have the force of law, most doctors and clinics are expected to observe it.


Many doctors and fertility clinics already have been rejecting gay sperm donors, citing the pending FDA rules or existing regulations of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.


Gay men are a major donor source at Traiman's Rainbow Flag sperm bank, and he said that practice would continue despite the new rules.

"We're going to continue to follow judicious, careful testing procedures for our clients that even experts within the FDA say is safe," said Traiman, referring to the six-month quarantine.


The FDA rules do not prohibit gay men from serving as "directed" sperm donors. If a woman wishing to become pregnant knows a gay man and asks that he provide sperm for artificial insemination, a clinic could provide that service even if the man had engaged in sex with other men within five years.

In short, even when these rules go into effect, the practical implications of them are minimal -- most clinics already do not accept gay men as sperm donors. Furthermore, the word "ban" implies that the FDA is preventing gays from EVER donating sperm, which is clearly not the case. Again, though, the "symbolic" value is what's driving people crazy:

But it is the provision's symbolic aspect that particularly troubles gay-rights groups. Kevin Cathcart, executive director of Lambda Legal, has called it "policy based on bigotry."

"The part I find most offensive -- and a little frightening -- is that it isn't based on good science," Cathcart said. "There's a steadily increasing trend of heterosexual transmission of HIV, and yet the FDA still has this notion that you protect people by putting gay men out of the pool."

Last I looked, Kev, glbts were still one of the populations with the highest rates of HIV infection -- and, more scarily, one of the highest rates of people who didn't KNOW they were infected. Pulling us out of the pool IS a scientific way to protect people, which is one of the reasons that the American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommended it in the first place.

Moreover, Kev, when you trot things like this out, you significantly undermine your case.

However, Traiman said some lesbian couples do not have a gay friend they know and trust well enough to be the biological father of their child, and would thus prefer an anonymous donor.

Fair enough. However, what do they say immediately after?

Dr. Deborah Cohan, an obstetrics and gynecology instructor at the University of California, San Francisco, said some lesbians prefer to receive sperm from a gay donor because they feel such a man would be more receptive to the concept of a family headed by a same-sex couple.

Call me crazy, but why do people care whether or not an anonymous donor is receptive to the concept of a family headed by a same-sex couple? California law (California Family Code Section 7613(b)) specifically states that a semen donor is, under law, NOT the father of a child conceived via artificial insemination if the child's natural mother is not his wife, so even if he objects, there's nothing he can do about it.

Then I went to Rainbow Flag's homepage and figured out why REAL fast:

We are the only sperm bank to tell the mother who the donor is when the child is three months old. We ask that the mother contact the donor by the child's first birthday.

OK -- so here we have Leland Traiman complaining about restrictions on anonymous donors when none of his donors are anonymous. Here we're quoting an obstetrics and gynecology instructor who claims that some lesbians would prefer a anonymous gay donor because the gay donor would be more "receptive" to their family structure, despite the fact that, if the donation were truly anonymous, the donor would never know what their family structure was in the first place.

As long as the FDA doesn't issue an outright ban on gay males donating sperm, I see no reason to get excited about what they're doing.