Saturday, February 26, 2005

Virginia's On a Roll

Having just spent two weeks in Virginia -- and having had to explain to a few prospective local employees that my company's domestic partner benefits are legal in Virginia because we're not based there and we self-insure them -- I am overjoyed to see Ken Sain's latest item in the Washington Blade that the Virginia House voted 49 - 48 to allow private companies to offer domestic partner benefits. Since the bil has already passed the Virginia Senate, it goes to the governor's desk, where there is every indication it will be signed. This caps off a series of events, one of which I already blogged and mentioned elsewhere, that ended up blocking attempts to ban gay adoption and fostering, school gay-straight alliances, and putting "Traditional Marriage" on license plates.

It's amazing how quiet the gay left has been on this particular group of issues. Perhaps they don't like the fact that, since the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate both have Republican supermajorities (60%), that means Republicans in Virginia HAVE voted in favor of gay rights -- which neatly blows their stereotype and victimization complex that all Republicans hate gays out of the water. In addition, as Sain pointedly states, gay activists "hid" while business lobbyists brought this forward -- again, a body blow to the moonbat lefties who try to blame all their problems on "evil corporations".

There are two lessons to be learned here. First, arguing that nondiscrimination makes good business sense is more convincing than even the most rabid wingnut in swaying votes. Second, and perhaps more damning -- when the gay left, its agenda, and its rhetoric stay away, progress is made.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

More Travel-Size News Items

Again, my apologies to all loyal readers -- as I mentioned several days ago, North Dallas Thirty is on the road, working on a major deal for my company, and as a result, blogtime has been at a premium.

And before you ask, the weekend was off-limits -- I had someone special in Chicago in my arms for almost all of it. (grin) Incidentally, if any of you were at Fireball 2005 on Saturday night at Union Station, North Dallas Thirty and his special someone were there, shirts off and dancing our hearts out.

Meanwhile, in the regular world, some interesting points were coming forth which I would like to share:

-- Britain's Royal Navy announces an active program to recruit gays and lesbians. Are you listening, Donald Rumsfeld? Try taking the LEAD on an issue instead of just reacting.

-- Kudos to the Virginia Senate Courts of Justice committee for killing off an antigay bill that would require the consideration of sexual orientation and marital status in adoption screening. Read through the article -- in a Republican state, even the looniest of the right-wing loonies and pseudo-scientists couldn't get this abomination out of committee. I would have liked to see a yes/no recorded vote, but a negative voice vote will suffice for now.

Anyway, hope y'all are doing well.....will be back soon!

Friday, February 18, 2005

Friday Dog Blogging -- February 18th, 2005

In keeping with our weekly practice here at North Dallas Thirty, I'd like to present this week's Dog Blog -- and who better to honor than Carlee, the beautiful German shorthaired pointer who won Best in Show at this week's Westminster Kennel Club Show?

The German Shorthaired Pointer is the result of a selective breeding program carried out by a group of dedicated German noblemen and sportsmen towards the end of the nineteenth century. Previously, the nobles had kept large kennels of dogs who were used for various hunting purposes, something that was impossible for the German of moderate means with an interest in hunting to do. For this reason, the German Shorthaired Pointer was bred to be a utility player, a single dog which could "sense, find, point, mark, and return game in the field and out of the water", while serving as a companion and family dog as well.

German Shorthaired Pointers are a fine, athletic breed, intelligent and resourceful, who thrive on attention and vigorous exercise. Their versatility makes them suitable for almost any form of hunting, while their intelligence and amenable dispositions make them fine pets. However, they are a very exuberant breed, especially when young, and require a great deal of exercise and attention, lest they turn to destructive behavior.

Unfortunately, as often happens with breeds that get a great deal of media exposure at a time, i.e. Dalmatians after "101 Dalmations", there may be a number of German Shorthaired Pointers looking for homes in a few months after their new owners figure out that the dog and their lifestyle are incompatible. German Shorthaired Pointer Rescue is a nationwide resource that can link you to rescue organizations and dogs in your area, if you are looking to welcome a good-looking German into your life. (grin)

Thanks again from the NDT Mascot and me....have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Winning at Culture Wars for Fun and Profit

As part of my travels this week, I've been doing several presentations for clients -- and I was struck in particular with one question asked today...."From what I've seen, your company culture and ours are completely different. How can you possibly merge them and work together?"

As I probed a bit deeper, two things became apparent -- one, this gentleman had not had much of an opportunity to view our company culture and was going off a few strong impressions, and two, he was concerned about what would happen to him and his career in the process of merging. This isn't too terribly unusual in my line of work, and over the years, we have developed a means of dealing with it based on these points:

-- If something is good, say so; if it's bad, same.

-- Change is change. How it affects you is all in how you interpret it.

-- The only stupid questions are those that aren't asked.

-- The road to obsolescence begins with defending positions and practices instead of ideals and principles.

-- Merging and assimilation will never succeed unless we learn as much from you as you do from us.

That went into play; after a half-hour of dialogue, we had an agreement, and the client left much happier and more satisfied, as did I.

However, this evening, when I was in the "epiphany position", as demonstrated by Christian Grantham, I had a thought -- how is merging our client's culture with ours any different than merging our "gay culture" with that of "moral values" America?

This has started my mind a-goin'......if anyone has comments they'd like to share, please do. I will think about this further during my presentation tomorrow and see what insight comes of a good night's sleep.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Sunday Tidbits

North Dallas Thirty is on the road again this week and next (in Virginia, with a short but sure-to-be-pleasant interlude in Chicago over the weekend), so my blogging may be a bit more sporadic than usual. However, on the flight out today, during my perusal of the Sunday Dallas Morning News, I noticed a few interesting tidbits in the Business section definitely worth sharing.

First off was the official announcement of the establishment of the North Texas Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Chamber of Commerce. This is something that several businesses and community activists have been kicking around, myself included, and it's good to see it up and running. We wanted to be certain it was the "North Texas" and not just the "DFW" one, because, as the Metroplex grows, more and more glbts are moving out to the hinterlands (like myself) and putting down roots in the region as a whole. Part of what we want to avoid is the "gays as an urban phenomenon only" syndrome -- a big part of winning the hearts and minds of the voters we need here in Texas and elsewhere will be our involvement in the community and their seeing us in venues other than gay rights rallies.

Anyone who lives in Dallas soon realizes that the city is, as PlanetOut puts it, "Guppie (gay urban professional) culture at its most glitzy, its most starched". It is a city driven by money and success; anyone who has or shows the ability to make either or both will be accepted, regardless of who or what they are. This is why, when we were pushing the nondiscrimination ordinance for the city, the help of locally-headquartered businesses, including American Airlines, was key in convincing the City Council of not only the rightness, but the business necessity of ensuring fair and equal treatment for all of its citizens.

Along interestingly-similar lines, I was struck by one of the comments made by Carol Reed, president of Carol Reed Associates, a marketing and advertising firm here in Dallas, about the ouster of Carly Fiorina as CEO of Hewlett-Packard.
Ms. Reed does a significant amount of investor-relations work. So, I (business columnist Cheryl Hall) asked her, is Wall Street really gender blind?

"Stockholders care about the stock price, company positioning and stability. You can be a transsexual if you achieve improvement in these areas."

And there you have it, can't buy you love, but it CAN buy you acceptance here.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Friday Dog Blogging

As per the ersatz blogging "tradition" that on Friday, one should concentrate on matters greater than politics and put up pictures of beautiful things you care about, Fridays will henceforth be known as Dog Blogging Day on North Dallas Thirty.

For our first, I can think of no better subject than the late companion of Worthy Adversary Pam of Pam's House Blend, a Rhodesian Ridgeback named Red. I blogged a memorial piece for this noble canine earlier this week; here he is, remembered as a wonderful companion and a fine example of his breed. Many thanks to Pam and her partner Kate for sharing these pictures with us here and on her website.
Posted by Hello

Posted by Hello
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is the result of interbreeding among several different breeds of dogs imported to South Africa (then known as Rhodesia) by the Boers, German and Dutch settlers who emigrated to South Africa in the 16th and 17th century, and the half-wild dogs of the Hottentot tribes that also inhabited the veld. The resulting breed is a unique combination of versatility and hardiness, able to hunt even the fleetest of game, defend against lions, and go for as long as 24 hours without water in extreme climates. Bred as hunters and as guard dogs, Ridgebacks tend to develop an extraordinary bond with their owners; while they can be quite stubborn and hardheaded, their native intelligence and excellent response to positive methods of training make them an excellent companion.

If you are interested in having a Rhodesian Ridgeback join your family, why not consider one who needs a good home? Both Ridgeback Rescue of the United States and Rhodesian Ridgeback Rescue will be happy to help you locate one. In addition, you will find that most reputable breeders are very involved with their breed's rescue organizations, so this is also a great way to meet other Ridgeback aficinados and locate your new best friend.

From the NDT Mascot and me....have a great weekend! Check out Pam's other gorgeous furry friends online as well.

And Now, Back to Semi-Irregular Programming

Lost in the blogosphere today was a mention of this particular gem -- a major bit of tort reform that the Bush administration has been pushing forward for years.
The Senate approved a measure Thursday to help shield businesses from major class action lawsuits like the ones that have been brought against tobacco companies, giving President Bush the first legislative victory of his second term.

Under the legislation, long sought by big business, large multistate class action lawsuits could no longer be heard in small state courts. Such courts have handed out multimillion-dollar verdicts.

Instead, the cases would be heard by federal judges, who have not proven as open to those type of lawsuits.

Later on:
Under the compromise legislation, class-action suits would be heard in state court if the primary defendant and more than one-third of the plaintiffs are from the same state. But if less than one-third of the plaintiffs are from the same state as the primary defendant, the case would go to federal court.

At least $5 million would have to be at stake for a federal court to hear a class-action suit.
The bill also would limit lawyers’ fees in so-called coupon settlements — when plaintiffs get discounts on products instead of financial settlements — by linking the fees to the coupon’s redemption rate or the actual hours spent working on a case.

This is almost too sane for tort reform -- Congress asserting its power to regulate issues that affect multiple states and disallowing lawyers to shop for lawsuit havens like Edwardsville, Illinois, and Beaumont, Texas. What's even better is the tally of the Senate vote -- 72 for, 26 against. That means that nearly half the Democrats in the Senate voted FOR the legislation. What gives?

Perhaps even they realize how out-of-touch their leadership is.
“Are there bad lawyers that bring meritless cases? Sure there are, and we should crack down on them,” said Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada, a former trial lawyer. “But this bill is not about punishing bad lawyers. It is about hurting consumers and helping corporations avoid liability for misconduct.”

Sorry, Harry....we missed that last part, we were laughing so hard at your first sentence. If you HAD cracked down on your shameless, pimping brethren who shop around for juries and take millions home while their plaintiffs get pennies on the dollar, we wouldn't be here now, would we? Could your reluctance to deal with the problem be due to the fact that lawyers and law firms are the biggest donors to the Democratic Party and the DNC?

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Les Affaires de "Jeff Gannon"

Lest I be left behind by everyone else in the blogosphere (lol) I shall speak to the point of "Jeff Gannon", aka James Guckert, the erstwhile White House "reporter", who resigned this week amid a firestorm of scrutiny on the farther-left members of our blog ecosystem. Christian Grantham has been doing a great job of tracking the story, should you want to read further.

My take....if "Gannon" was getting paid to shill for the White House, that's what's important.

I do not believe, as some assert, that he was admitted to the White House with "no background check" -- nor do I have a problem with them putting his preferred name on his press pass and referring to him by it. I also do not believe that he actually had access to any "classified" material concerning Valerie Plame's alleged "undercover" status -- it seems more likely that he fabricated that, then was forced to admit under oath to the prosecutor investigating the case that he had.

I am particularly annoyed by the gossipy "he owned gay-themed domain names" and "he put beefcake pictures out on the Web". That is a) irrelevant to the situation, b) introduces unnecessary private information to public discourse, and c) implies that anyone who has a beefcake picture out on the Web or owns gay-themed domain names is themselves gay. As I blogged below, we already have enough trouble with "gay by association" -- there is no need to play to stereotypes in order to make your case more lurid.

To be fair, I have, over on Americablog, given my insight as a Texan with a fair plug into local Republican politics into the GOPUSA group with which "Gannon" was associated. Basically, as I said there, it's a bunch of wannabe pundits with a website, run by a person (Bobby Eberle) who I happen to think is an ass.

So anyway.......

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Moonbat Reversing, Returning to Home Planet

Today's news brings us the announcement that Senator Mark Dayton, erstwhile boy toy of self-proclaimed "speakers for the majority of Americans" Ted Kennedy and Barbara Boxer, will not be seeking re-election in 2006.

Why not?
"I do not believe that I am the best candidate to lead the party to victory next year," Dayton told reporters on a conference call. "I cannot stand to do the constant fund raising necessary to wage a successful campaign, and I cannot be an effective senator while also being a nearly full-time candidate."

What is funny about this whole thing is that Dayton supposedly started focusing on fixing his little fundraising problem -- not surprising that he had one, given that his last campaign was almost completely self-financed with $12 million of his own dollars -- over a year ago. Sheesh, you'd think a Democrat who could drop $12 mil on a campaign, heir to the Dayton Stores/Target fortune built on retail and marketing acumen, could hire some decent fundraisers....what gives?

Of course, there might be other reasons that would seriously impede his peoples' reactions to his fit on Iraq, or his boycott of Iraqi interim Prime Minister Allawi's speech in which Allawi thanked the US .....but I think this was the kicker....a poll showing a massive decline in Dayton's approval rates.
Dayton, a Democrat who's up for reelection next year, took the heaviest blow: His approval rating declined by 15 points in a year, from 58 percent to 43 percent. The approval rating for (Norm)Coleman, who just began his third year in office, fell by 7 points, from 54 to 47 percent.

Dayton's job approval decreased among all categories of Minnesotans, grouped by age, education, income, party and ideology, with the largest drop among men -- down 27 points -- and 18- to 24-year-olds -- down 31 points.

Coleman's biggest declines came among 25- to 34-year-olds -- down by 19 points -- and those living in the seven-county metropolitan region -- down by 13 points.

The biggest hit? The poll was taken January 23-26....DURING the radical shrieking of Dayton and his fellow moonbats over Condoleezza Rice's confirmation. If he wasn't scoring points then, he sure wasn't doing it any other time -- and one wonders if there isn't an even worse poll out there, taken after the Iraqi elections and Boxer/Kennedy's inane remarks on both.

I solicit the insight of our agent in the field in Minnesota, the indomitable Lloydletta, as well.

Well, We're Movin' on Up.......

Blog Ally GayPatriot is proud to announce that he and GayPatriotWest have moved to shiny new digs in the blogosphere. Special thanks should go to alleged architect Christian Grantham, who, despite the strange similarity between his fabulously-beautiful and functional blog and the new PatriotLair, was quick to clarify that the status of "Arch Nemesis" still remained for those Republican heathens. (wink)

To both the GayPatriots and to Christian, I say....thank you. Your tireless devotion and willingness to share space and opinions is what ultimately pushed me into the blogosphere as well. It's great to know that y'all are out there. Special thanks also to Lloydletta and Boi from Troy for their kind and generous comments and hands extended across cyberspace.

Now, in honor of these auspicious events.....a "moving" musical tribute.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Rest In Peace, Woman's Best Friend

I found out today that Worthy Adversary Pam of Pam's House Blend just lost her faithful companion, Red. Pam has created a beautiful tribute and blog post to Red....please keep her and Kate in your thoughts and meditations.

As a confirmed dog person myself, this is particularly wrenching....and in memory of Red, I offer a reprise of George Graham Vest's moving and personal Eulogy on the Dog.

The best friend a man has in this world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name, may become traitors to their faith. The money that a man has, he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it most.

A man's reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its clouds upon our heads. The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog.

A man's dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master's side.

He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer. He will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounters with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.

If fortune drives the master forth an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him to guard against danger, to fight against his enemies, and when the last scene of all comes and death takes the master in its embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by his graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even to death.

Rest in peace, Red.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Next Year in Jerusalem

A glimmer of hope came from the Middle East today, when senior officials of both the Israeli and Palestinian governments said an announcement of a cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinian Authority should be made tomorrow.
(Raanan) Gissin (adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon) said Palestinians will declare an end to "violence, terrorism and incitement" against Israel.

In return, Gissin said, Israel will refrain from military action "to the extent that the Palestinians will fulfill their pledges and their commitments."

"It will be their responsibility to stop terrorists," Gissin said. "To the extent that will be fulfilled, we can move forward."

Palestinian Cabinet minister Saeb Erakat said Israeli and Palestinian officials agreed to revive committees set up to deal with prisoners, the redeployment of troops, Palestinian fugitives and deportees.

And so the saga continues.....the Palestinian intifada, touched off as Yasser Arafat's response to Ariel Sharon's political visit, meant as a campaign counterbalance to that of Ehud Barak.

This is one of those moments where you can only shake your head. Thousands dead, the Palestinian Authority in economic ruin....all because two men decided to make issue of a disputed location. I know the logic for both -- national pride, religious belief, all that -- but all I can do at this point is say.....was it worth it?

United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice states correctly when she says that this is a "new day" for the Palestinian Authority and that the Arab world needs to take more financial responsibility for resolving a crisis that perpetually powers their most militant members. Let's hope that this is truly the end of the violence -- and the beginning of the reconciliation.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

A Local Case -- and a Media Example

The top news story for the past two weeks here in Dallas has been the case concerning local restaranteur Oscar Sanchez -- who was kidnapped from his home in Oak Cliff (the southern side of Dallas) and later murdered when he tried to escape.

This is a horrible crime that has generated the usual -- stunned statements from the former co-workers of one of the accused, a high profile funeral, and recriminations about crime in Oak Cliff. However, what's different? This has a sexual subplot.

As it turns out, Edgar Acevedo and Jose Felix, the suspects, are roommates. In addition, Acevedo has a history of what could be termed
"flamboyant behavior". To cap things off, Felix's lawyer is now insinuating that Sanchez (the victim) and Acevedo had a relationship -- in a "if you know what I mean, hint hint, wink wink" fashion -- which is being vehemently denied by Sanchez's family and acquaintances.

The first thought I get out of this is to give kudos to the Dallas Morning News for accurate and balanced reporting. They have done a very nice job of handling an issue which was more or less public knowledge (Acevedo's behavior) while not allowing it to overwhelm the rest of the story -- or worse, using it to titillate (I was waiting for the headline, "Crazed Drag Queen Kills Local Family Man"). The Dallas Voice also deserves credit for stepping up and confronting the issue -- and a good job of checking its sources to add to the story.

The second thought was that I want John Read to shut the hell up. Read is a local attorney who is famous (or infamous) for taking high-profile cases, such as the Johnny Hernandez case, where a police officer was caught on tape soliciting a hit man to kill Dallas Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin, and the "hatchet murders" of David Martin Long. In addition, he or his son (news reports refer to "John Read" or "John Read II") is currently the defense attorney for Tom Coleman, the lawman infamous for his perjured testimony in the Tulia drug convictions.

My beefs with Read are, in order:

-- Whether Sanchez and Acevedo were romantically involved or not, that is no reason for murder. It's also no reason to paint Acevedo as some kind of crazed maniac with sexual issues to make your client look less guilty.

-- Going to a gay bar, as Sanchez allegedly did, does not make one gay - or I have a lot of straight friends who have suddenly converted.

-- The reason you are doing this is because you know that a case tried against a minority suspect in Dallas County is likely to have a majority-minority jury -- and your hope is that you can swing the jury by appealing to the very significant antigay sentiment among Dallas's black and Hispanic community. In short, you intend to get Felix off by painting this as a jealous lover killing the husband who was cheating on his beautiful family, amplified by the fact that he was cheating with a man -- so Felix is a helpless party in killing someone who deserved it anyway.

The final thought I get out of this is an interesting one. Clearly, Acevedo was engaging in some sort of "trans" behavior -- however, the question is, which one? From a philosophical basis, I am loath to call either of them "gay" in the sense that, if the one was a transgender individual, does that really count as "gay"? Sure, they hung out in gay bars, but could that be because that would be where their behavior was less noticeable?

(editorial comment --The Hidden Door is not where I would go if I were a drag queen -- it's a better hunting ground for bear)

I'll keep all y'all posted on how this plays out. Right now, my activist side is not seeing any major issues popping up out of this, although I will be keeping a close eye on John Read's ongoing statements and monitoring any particular upswings in antigay activity in the Latino community.