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Monday, January 31, 2005

Raging Cat Fight Hits Gay Conservabloggers

Whoa, nellie. I've missed the flying fur and drawn claws over the past few days between BoiFromTroy, GayOrbit and Andrew Sullivan. I could summarize, but reading the posts themselves are more entertaining...

Salvo One: Gay Orbit Takes on BFT -- Friday, Jan. 28

Salvo Two: BFT Shrugs Off Gay Orbit and Goes for Sullivan's Jugular -- Sunday, Jan. 30

Salvo Three: Sullivan Ignores Any Other Gay Blogger But Himself and Instead Goes After The Straight Guy -- All The Time

Stepping Down from DefCon Five: GayOrbit Issues Apology to BFT - Monday, Jan. 31

The moral of the story? Two of them actually:

* One is -- a gay conservablogger cat fight only ends up in all participants receiving more traffic on their sites than normal. (And how come I wasn't invited to bitchslap someone?????)
* Second -- wield the sarcasm sword carefully. The bloggers out there are on a hair-trigger.

Mental note: Remind me not to tick off BFT!! Of course had 9 people switched and voted for me for Best LGBT Blog of 2004 (my personal Ohio), I guess I would have felt the BFT Wrath a few weeks ago. I would have the pretty "Winners Banner" on my site now instead of his. All I got was this lousy T-shirt.

No sour grapes here, right? Heh.

Calling All Gay "Comma-ists"

Absolutely dead-on observation by The Diplomad: Attack of the Comma-ists. Hat tip - Roger L. Simon.

So let me try to pre-empt the Gay Comma-ists.... ahem, "Sure the Iraqis got to vote yesterday and the United States has liberated 50 million people in two repressed Arab nations [COMMA] but I can't marry my partner here in San Francisco and Bush lied about WMD so he is still evil and Halliburton has something to do with it, too, dammit."

Tony Blair vs. Howard Dean

The contrast between the visionary statesman and the angry power seeker couldn't be more striking. One is on the side of freedom and liberty, the other is on the wrong side of history.

Here was Tony Blair last week at the World Economic Forum discussing President Bush's Inaugural Speech (hat tip: AmericanFuture):

President Bush’s inauguration speech last week, marks a consistent evolution of US policy. He spoke of America’s mission to bring freedom in place of tyranny to the world. Leave aside for a moment the odd insistence by some commentators that such a plea is evidence of the “neo-conservative” grip on Washington – I thought progressives were all in favour of freedom rather than tyranny.

The underlying features of the speech seem to me to be these. America accepts that terrorism cannot be defeated by military might alone. The more people live under democracy, with human liberty intact, the less inclined they or their states will be to indulge terrorism or to engage in it. This may be open to debate – though personally I agree with it – but it emphatically puts defeating the causes of terrorism alongside defeating the terrorists.


And then there are the following comments made this weekend by Democratic National Committee Chairman-to-be Howard Dean. (hat tip: Rush Limbaugh, NewsMax):
"I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for," former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean told Democrats gathered at a Manhattan hotel, in quotes picked up by the New York Daily News. "We can talk about our faith, but we cannot change our faith," he said. "We need to be people of conviction."

What exactly do you hate, Chairman Dean? That the Republicans stand for lower taxes, strong offense on terrorism, and spreading freedom and democracy around the world -- to places you deem not worthy or not ready?

And note that he says they "need" to be people of conviction. Here's a newsflash for you Howard, you can't go to Macy's and buy conviction. You have to HAVE it. Just more proof this gang running the Democrat Party only wants power for power's sake.

They had 8 years to do something with the power bestowed on them by the American people. What they gave us was a phony economy which resulted in the internet bubble bursting, scandal in the White House and many of Clinton's appointees, and a blind eye to the growing threat from al-Qaeda. What they gave us was 3,000 dead Americans.

Blair is right. The best way to stop terrorism in the long run, is to remove the seeds of terror that now infest the Arab world. Freedom and democracy are the key to bringing down Islamism just as they were to bring down Communism.

Ah, but Democrats were on the wrong side of history then, too. The early coddlers of Communism in the Democrat Party ignored the seeping spies within our own government; just as Boxer, Kerry, Kennedy and Dean don't want to face the facts that we are at war now with a global fascist movement.

Again, I ask... why is it that a successful election in Iraq made so many on the Left and in the Democratic establishment unhappy yesterday? (hat tip: DirtyHarry). Their own words and actions speaks volumes about where they stand on spreading democracy.

Credit where it's due

I'm no fan of openly gay Massachusetts Democratic Congressman Barney Frank, but when at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, he did something which surprised -- and pleased me. And I've got to give him credit for questioning a ludicrous claim made by a CNN Executive.

According to Friday's Wall Street Journal Political Diary (available by subscription), Eason Jordan, Chief News Executive at CNN, implied that the American military was deliberately killing journalists in Iraq. He even "offered the story of an Al-Jazeera journalist who had been 'tortured for weeks' at Abu Ghraib, made to eat his shoes, and called "Al Jazeera boy" by his American captors."

And then, this liberal Democrat pressed Mr. Jordan to be more specific, putting the CNN Executive on the spot. The newsman rambled on a bit and mumbled some sort of response about how "'There are people who believe there are people in the military who have it out' for journalists." He could provide no evidence to buttress his claims, then "offered another anecdote: A reporter who'd been standing in a long line to get through a checkpoint at Baghdad's Green Zone had been turned back by the GI on duty. Apparently the soldier had been displeased with the reporter's dispatches, and sent him to the back of the line."

Had Mr. Frank not challenged him, the global elites there might have taken Jordan's words at face value, convinced that Americans were indiscriminately targeting journalists. Thanks to Barney Frank, world leaders assembled in Davos learned that there was no substance to such claims.

Good job, Congressman.

Is Steve May A Republican?

For those of you who don't know of Steve May, he is a very successful and openly gay former Arizona state legislator ( and former member of the US Army Reserves. May was at the center of a controversy in 2000-2001 when "don't ask, don't tell" came knocking on his door.

In any case, in the January 15th edition of Log Cabin (Republicans) newsletter "Inclusion Wins", Steve May is quoted:

"I also don't think most Arizonans are mean spirited. Taking away health insurance from domestic partners is something that most Arizonans would not support."—Steve May, Arizona Log Cabin Member responding to a proposed state amendment that would prohibit localities from providing domestic partner benefits.

Huh. Now see that is interesting, because in the Trio documentary "Gay Republicans", Steve May clearly renounces his Republican credentials, calls himself an "independent", endorses John "Don't Overhype the Iraq Elections" Kerry and speaks to a Democrat fundraiser where they cheer the Republican traitor wildly. For pete's sake! And yet he is still a quoted member of Log Cabin (Republicans)??? WHY?

Perhaps it is because, as I've been saying for months, Log Cabin is not a group for gay Republicans at all. Just another funding vehicle for liberal Democrat organizations and those who oppose President Bush at any price.

Gay Democrat Resigns Over Straight Affair

I wish I could make this stuff up...

According to the February 15 issue of The Advocate, Renee Gilinger has resigned as cochair of the Philadelphia Liberty City Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club. It seems that Ms. Gilinger had been having a relationship with the other club cochair, Michael Marsico. Yes, folks... as the Advocate puts it....they were in "a straight relationship."

But I have to admit that I'm confused. The gay community prides itself and lauds itself on its diversity, no? I mean we are supposed to celebrate every transgendered, bisexual, NAMBLA-luvin, lesbian biker that we see, right?

So is the gay community's "big tent" not big enough for straight people? Or confused bisexuals? Or confused Democrats?

I mean, clearly Ms. Gilinger still understands gay and lesbian issues. I don't think a few times in the sack with Mr. Marsico changed that. And I have absolutely no doubt that she is still a Democrat. So why resign?

Perhaps confused lesbians who want to experiment with men are unwelcome in the Rainbow Room of Gay Acceptance?

Or perhaps the gay community truly is defined (and defines itself) about sex.

UPDATE: I found this item that has some background on the new couple. Apparently, US Congressman Bob Brady broke the news at a Christmas party a few weeks ago.

Liberty City Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club co-chairs Renee Gilinger and Michael Marsico continue to break new barriers for their organization.
Last Saturday night at Philadelphia Gay News publisher Mark Segal's Christmas party, U.S. Rep. and Democratic City Chairman Bob Brady remarked that the co-chairs had become a couple. Their relationship evolved over the last few months and Marsico said he expects no adverse reaction from Liberty City.
"Our efforts with the community speak for themselves," said Marsico, who was the lesbian gay bisexual transgender (LGBT) outreach director for the Democratic Party's PA Victory 2004. The couple, who have put the "B" back in LGBT, are off to Venezuela for Christmas.
I guess Marsico was wrong. I could have told him how intolerant the gay community is to those that don't walk the Gay Goosestep.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Bloggers on success of Iraqi elections

I have been attempting to blog on a number of topics today, but cannot contain my joy at the success of the elections in Iraq. Not only does this vindicate the president's steadfast foreign policy, but more importantly, it's a huge victory for Iraq and its people. No wonder people have been dancing, passing our chocolates and crying. Even the New York Times reports a party atmosphere in Iraqi streets.

Iraqi blogger Zeyad writes:

The turnout in Iraq was really like nothing that I had expected. I was glued in front of tv for most of the day. My mother was in tears watching the scenes from all over the country. Iraqis had voted for peace and for a better future, despite the surrounding madness.
Emphasis added. Hat tip:Instapundit.

And our readers have not been immune. Watching a report by Shepard Smith on Fox, Sandi commented
He reported from Abu Grav that the polling place there was shut down and moved to a place 13 miles away. But that there was thousands of people making the trek walking the 13 miles. Just the thought of them being that determined to make their own destiny brought tears to my eyes.
Sandi liveblogged the elections, as did Roger Simon.

Dirty Harry has numerous posts on this topic, including this one with many helpful links. And Powerline, Polipundit and Instapundit also have numerous posts with many helpful links. The Belmont Club's Wretchard takes on an election critic.

So, read them all and savor this great day as our nation helps another nation take is first tentative steps toward democracy, toward self-government, toward freedom.

Elections show Iraq is no Vietnam

Even Reuters reports high turnout in the Iraqi elections despite terrorist attempts to stop them, many liberals, e.g., Robert Fisk (hat tip: Powerline) still compare Iraq to Vietnam. A loyal reader's schweetie (i.e., "significant other"), an expert on Asian history noted that, during the height of U.S. involvement there, the South Vietnamese never once held free elections, open to multiple parties.

According to Reuters, there were lines in the Sunni city of Fallujah, Iraqis passed out chocolates, turnout was high in Mosul (which has seen increased terrorist activity of late), and this:

Samid Hassan, 32, who lost his leg in a car bomb blast in October, was determined to vote. "I would have crawled here if I had to. I don't want terrorists to kill other Iraqis like they tried to kill me. Today I am voting for peace," he said, leaning on his metal crutches, fierce resolve in his reddened eyes.
Mohammed and Omar write:
I walked forward to my station, cast my vote and then headed to the box, where I wanted to stand as long as I could, then I moved to mark my finger with ink, I dipped it deep as if I was poking the eyes of all the world's tyrants.
I put the paper in the box and with it, there were tears that I couldn't hold; I was trembling with joy and I felt like I wanted to hug the box but the supervisor smiled at me and said "brother, would you please move ahead, the people are waiting for their turn".
(Hat tip: Powerline) We didn't see that in Vietnam. Maybe that's why we lost there. And why we -- and the Iraqi people -- are winning in Iraq.

Rick's "Dissenting View" on Gay Priorities

My friend Rick Sincere offers a 'Dissenting' View on Gay/Lesbian 'Priorities'.

Among other things, Rick notes that, in the recently released "Unity Statement" of 22 gay groups,

It's hard not to notice that fighting anti-gay laws is second from the bottom of the list, while expanding the federal government's role in labor-management relations is at the top, followed immediately by expanding the federal government's role in prosecuting crimes that are normally left to state and local authorities.
Since Rick is a fine word smith, I won't paraphrase his thoughts, but instead, encourage you to read the whole thing.

(Full disclosure--in his post, Rick links to a piece which references my Log Cabin swan song.)

ATTENTION! Gay Libertarians

I'm working on a post on the libertarian attitude towards non-discrimination and Hate Crimes laws and would like to reference other gay libertarian bloggers who have views (on these issues) which differ from those of the national gay organizations. Please e-mail me if you're a gay libertarian blogger or have posted a piece on this topic--or you have an article on the web to which I can link. I am interested in hearing from all gay libertarian bloggers--even if they haven't posted on this topic.

(Please note I am addressing small "l" libertarians, so am not limiting this to members of the Libertarian Party--though their views are surely welcome.)

Finally, this is my first post where I am not allowing comments. So, if you want me to consider your thoughts on this topic, you're going to have to e-mail me.

Thanks!

Friday, January 28, 2005

HRC--trying to have it both ways with federal funding

In two successive press releases this week, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) tries to have it both ways with federal funding. It raises a ruckus when Bush Administration pays a political pundit promoting straight marriage, then gets equally as upset when the same Administration pulls funding from a cartoon featuring lesbian couples.

I agree that Education Secretary Margaret Spellings' singling out this one program to de-fund amounts to petty pandering to social conservatives. But, social conservative interest groups might reply that HRC's decision to single out federal funding of Maggie Gallagher amounts to pandering to its own base.

If it's wrong for the government to pay Maggie Gallagher to put forward her opinions, wouldn't it then also be wrong for the government to pay for a TV program which presents relationships which Maggie Gallagher and her allies don't want to see?

From what I have read of the de-funded TV program, the "Sugartime!" episode of "POSTCARDS FROM BUSTER," it seems exactly the type of portrayal of gay relationships I would like to see in the media. In this episode, the TV show's title character visits Vermont and meets "two lesbian couples."

As I (an American citizen) would like to see more portrayals of lesbian and gay couples in TV shows, many social conservatives (also American citizens) would like to see more studies of the type that the federal government paid Ms. Gallagher to write.

It seems, alas, that, like the social conservatives who are eager for government support for programs which promote straight marriage, HRC is eager for government programs which promote understanding of same-sex unions. This, in a nutshell, is the whole notion of government's using to the media to promote social agendae: if it pleases one group, it's bound to offend another.

If HRC favors government support of such PBS programming, then it has to face the reality of the constitutional structure of our federal government. When Congress allocates money for various programs, the executive branch determines how the law mandates such funds should be distributed. That's what Ms. Spellings did in this case, claiming, according to the "BOSTON GLOBE," "the 'Sugartime!' episode does not fulfill the intent Congress had in mind. By law, she said, any funded shows must give top attention to 'research-based educational objectives, content, and materials.'"

Since the American people elected a conservative president, his administration will determine the intent of Congress. If Congress had not allocated money for taxpayer dollars' for educational programming, then the conservative administration could not single this one program out.

Thus, by advocating government funding to promote social policy, HRC favors a situation which puts conservative hands on federal dollars. After all, although this group "poured" their hearts and souls" into defeating President Bush, the American people reelected him by a comfortable margin, thus allowing him to appoint like-minded individuals to administer the funds allocated by Congress.

Thankfully, the president is now on record opposing federal funding of political pundits. Now, we just need to convince Congress to eliminate funding for all public broadcast media, both television and radio.

HRC needs to understand that once the government starts funding the media, it is not the only interest group which is trying to sway the administration. And given its attacks on the president, both during the presidential campaign and as recently as last week, it's highly unlikely that it could effectively lobby this administration.

With or without influence with the Administration, HRC seems to have this standard on federal funding of the media: allocate taxpayer resources to the programs we like, but cut them off from those we don't like. If social conservatives, who have more sway with the current Administration, were to adopt the same attitude, then they would push for de-funding programming HRC supports and increasing funding for programming HRC opposes. And given their support of the president, they are more likely to influence his administration.

Let's limit their influence. Let's not give social conservatives' access to taxpayer dollars. Let's cut off all federal funding for all broadcast and print media. Let's refund that money to taxpayers so that individual Americans can decide which media to support -- and which to ignore.

A few good gay movies -- & a few good straight movies with gay characters

In response to my post on "Monogamy and gay movies," a number of readers commented, pointing out a number of movies which showed monogamous gay couples -- and which I neglected to mention in that post. I guess because I have recently seen too many flicks which featured promiscuous gay men, I had forgotten how much I enjoyed other wonderful flicks which included gay characters leading the kind of life I would like to live. And not only gay movies. At least one reader (Caltechgirl) recommending a movie that wasn't per se gay, but where gay relationship was an important part of the story--"FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL."

In the interest of promoting good gay movies, I list some of the other quality gay movies recommended by our readers -- and which I have seen. Carl recommends two: "MAURICE" and "DOÑA HERLINDA AND HER SON." While forgetting the name, mrsizer recommended "LATTER DAYS" where the Mormon character (studly Steve Sandross) confronts the promiscuous gay lead (Wes Ramsey):

Look at yourself. You're so pretty and colorful on the outside, but on the inside, you're nothing but fluff. You're like a walking, talking marshmallow peep.
Much as I liked the script of that flick, I just couldn't believe the transformation of Ramsey's Christian. While some might find him pretty to look at, I never believed that Sandross's Aaron could fall for him. It seemed the only thing he loved (besides sex) was Ann-Margret.

MadClark recommends several, including one I should have mentioned in my post, "BIG EDEN." I saw that wonderful flick twice in the theaters and bought it on DVD as soon as it was released in that format. Other flicks he recommends which I have enjoyed include: "THE WEDDING BANQUET," "BEAUTIFUL THING," and "FRIED GREEN TOMATOES," as well as "HAPPY, TEXAS."

Dirty Harry who wrote the post which inspired my post wrote a followup to mine, observing:

Unless it's germaine to the plot, I don't want to be constantly reminded by Sidney Poitier he's black. I want to be indifferent to his race. The same with sexuality. One's sexual preference, be it same sex or midgets on trapezes is not something I want to be reminded of every time a character appears on screen. The goal should be indifference. I'll confess that gay or straight, I cannot accept someone who's entire existence revolves around their sexuality. Be it Madonna or Jack on "Will & Grace." But I can accept someone who happens to be gay or has a closet full of midgets on stand-by; as long as there's more there there.
To that end, I join Caltechgirl in recommending "FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL." In that British comedy, Director Mike Newell presents the relationship between Matthew and Gareth as loving (& intimate) one between two individuals who just happen to be gay.

If we get more people to watch movies like the ones in this post, we could go a long way towards creating a better image of gay people in our culture.

Quote of the Day--the "anti" party

"It seems clear that, even so soon after the election, the Kennedy-Dayton Democrats are determined to be the antiwar, or maybe just the anti, party."

OpionionJournal's featured editorial, "Harry Reid's Choice
Will the new
Minority Leader follow Ted Kennedy off a cliff? (link requires registration)

(Kennedy refers to Massachusetts' senior senator and Dayton to Minnesota's.)

A reader critiques gay organizations' strategy

A reader e-mailed me a link to a thoughtful column he wrote in The Cornell Daily Sun. While I don't agree with everything in the column, he raises some valid points, especially his commentary on the "Unity Statement" of national gay groups. And he offers some criticism of and advice for HRC and the gay groups who signed on to that statement:


Unfortunately, too many of the groups are still using their talking points from last October, endlessly bashing Republicans and, most significantly, President Bush. Last year, the most powerful of these groups, the Human Rights Campaign, bet the farm on the slogan "George W. Bush, You're Fired." They made defeating the president -- rather than winning over hearts and minds to support civil rights for gays and lesbians -- their top priority, and the main focus of their $30 million budget. While the HRC fiddled against W, thirteen states (all but two of which voted not to fire Mr. Bush) passed laws denying same-sex couples access to marriage and other public institutions.

You'd think they might have gotten the message that a majority of the country did not want to buy what they were selling. Furthermore, you could hope they might have realized the danger of aligning a civil rights movement with the fortunes of a single political party. On both counts, you'd be wrong.

HRC spent $15,000 on cable TV ads last week, on the day of the inaugural, to attack the president's record of saying one thing and doing another. They do have a point, especially where gay issues are concerned. But why advertise on TV to prove it? Those who already agree with that line of thinking are likely on their side.

Those who don't -- a large portion of the 51 percent of Americans who voted to re-elect President Bush -- are the hearts and minds HRC needs to win over. And if complaining about the president turns off the very people you need to win over, aren't you setting yourself up for defeat?

If these groups could work on their second major problem, they could find the road to moral and political victory. The map can be found in the great speeches and writings of American history. Yet the gay civil rights movement still does not have a leader who can speak the language of American values.
Well said. Now, read the whole thing!

Feds fund another pundit; the president responds

According to USA TODAY, the Department of Health and Human Services has paid another conservative columnist to promote marriage:

Mike McManus, who writes a weekly column syndicated in 30 to 40 newspapers, said he was paid about $4,000 to train marriage mentors in 2003 and 2004. McManus was subcontracted by the Lewin Group, which had a contract to support community-based programs "to form and sustain healthy marriages."
While McManus "defended his dual role as a journalist and a government consultant," Wade Horn, assistant secretary for Children and Families at the department, issued a directive banning the practice of paying commentators to promote federal policies. It's about time.

Churches, synagogues, mosques and other private institutions should be the ones promoting the formation and sustaining of healthy relationships. Not the federal government.

The president has even weighed in. According to another article in USA TODAY, "President Bush on Wednesday ordered his Cabinet secretaries not to hire columnists to promote their agendas." The president had it right when he said,
All our Cabinet secretaries must realize that we will not be paying commentators to advance our agenda. Our agenda ought to be able to stand on its own two feet. . . . [there] needs to be a nice independent relationship between the White House and the press, the administration and the press.
Well said, Mr. President.

We know that this is this is not the first Administration to pay pundits. The USA TODAY article reports that part of $20,000-grant to same-sex marriage foe Maggie Gallagher "was approved while President Clinton was still in office." The Clinton Administration -- and perhaps also that of the first President Bush and their predecessors -- may also have paid pundits.

I'm glad HHS's Horn and the President have called for a halt to this practice. Today, gays are offended because the government has paid pundits to advocate traditional marriage. Just as conservatives would be offended by government support of TV programming which shows same-sex couples in a positive light.

I, for one, favor both promoting traditional marriage and showing same-sex couples in a positive light. I just don't think the federal government should be the institution funding these worthy endeavors.

Full Disclosure

Taking the lead from Ken Sain, I also wanted to make a full disclosure statement.

I am an independent blogger with absolutely no affiliations to the Bush Administration or any other government or political entity. That includes, but is not exclusive to, Log Cabin Republicans (though I was a former chapter board member and donor), the Republican National Committee (to whom I have given money), the Bush White House (to whom I have given two votes in the past five years), and the Human Rights Campaign(for whom I wouldn't sneeze on their behalf even if they gave me a million dollars).

Also, neither the Advocate, Washington Blade, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Andrew Sullivan or the beloved HRC tell me how to think and how to be a "real gay American." I can figure that out on my own.

Finally, Michael Rogers doesn't pay me to make him look vicious and silly or to call him Gollum. He earns those distinctions on his own.

All of the things you read here come from my own mind, and all of the advertisements you see on other blogs come out of my own pocketbook. Unless you wish to donate!

News From Iraq -- Not shown on CBS News

Hey, how come I'm not seeing pictures like these (hattip: BLACKFIVE) on the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather??

Look how darn packed the candidate debate is in the second and third photos!!!! As Dan Rather himself would say.... "Only votes talk — everything else walks."

I mean, it's more crowded than a Sunday confessional booth after free beer night at a Texas whorehouse!

My prediction is that the turnout among voters in Iraq will defy all the naysayers. I can't wait!

Hopefully that will have ole Dan saying again.... "One's reminded of that old saying, 'Don't taunt the alligator until after you've crossed the creek.'" (Translation: Don't predict doom in Iraq before it happens.)

Let Freedom Reign!

Monogamy and gay movies

In his post on the movie, "DE-LOVELY," the Cole Porter biopic starring Kevin Kline, Dirty Harry notes that in a movie "stocked" with gay men, there was "not one monogamous gay man." He's right. When I saw the movie, I noted that while it showed Porter's numerous dalliances with other men, it didn't really show him relating to any single man in a real and spiritually intimate sense.

To be fair to the filmmakers, this may have been the true story of Porter's life, numerous dalliances, a few live-in lovers, no enduring relationship. This just told his story honestly. And while, like Dirty Harry, I enjoy many of Cole Porter's songs, after watching the movie, I really didn't care for him much as a man.

In his piece, Dirty Harry expressed something that I have noticed as well:

Now, I don't seek out gay films or television shows, but the ones I have seen rarely if ever portray the monogamous side of gay life. There seems to be this over-sexualization of homosexuals in the media that doesn't reflect an entire culture.
While I've certainly watched far more gay movies than has Dirty Harry (I do seek them out), I find I can often relate better to the straight characters in mainstream movies than I can to gay characters in gay movies.

And yet, there have been exceptions. Jim Fall's "TRICK by the relationship between two men of different backgrounds in " tells of two men who get to know each other in their unsuccessful quest for a place to "do it." John Keitel's "DEFYING GRAVITY" shows a fraternity brother coming to terms with his sexuality as he deals with the consequences of his boyfriend's injuries in a gay-bashing incident. And I have written about how moved I wasMiles Swain's "THE TRIP." I have yet to find the financing to produce my romance between two men who seek a monogamous relationship, "THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT."

Yet, except for my (as yet unproduced movie), none of these movies (good as they are) deals directly with gay monogamy. If we're gonna to talk about marriage, we need to talk about monogamy. I believe our films, our cultural product, should present an image of a better world and of the relationships we would like to have. For movies to portray gay relationships just as they have long portrayed straight ones. And to help define the meaning of the ideals for which we strive. And to help define the values which help sustain meaningful relationships. One of those values is monogamy. As I have written in a previous post, "a romantic relationship between two individuals can only be truly spiritually nourishing if it is monogamous."

Although straight, Dirty Harry is a film fan like myself and, I believe, he asks exactly the right questions:
Can't people in films just happen to be gay? Just like people in films just happen to be straight? You know, it's an after-thought. Not why they're in the movie. Not what their character's all about. Maybe activists in Hollywood feel we need to accept their sexuality first? Thirty years ago no one just happened to just be black in films. Race was an issue. Now that's changed. We don't think of Denzel as black. We think of him as one helluva movie star. So, maybe that's where we're eventually headed. I hope so. And I wonder if the gay community hopes so as well. Who wants to be identified solely by their sexuality?
if a sympathetic straight guy (who watches a lot of movies) raises these questions, what then are the unsympathetic ones (who may watch fewer movies) thinking?

And yet I know, just as many of our readers know, that the media images of gay men do not always reflect our lives. Many gay men, many lesbians live in healthy monogamous relationships. They have assumed the benefits as well as the burdens of building a life together with individuals they love.

Dirty Harry's post reminded me of questions which we need to ask: how can we promote monogamy, how can we promote gay marriage where so much of our cultural product celebrates sexual license? And his piece served to remind me why I moved to Los Angeles--to make movies which portray the struggles of gay men and lesbians in a universal language. In short, to show the humanity which is at the heart of our difference.

If we want to understand why Colorado Senator Wayne Allard speaks for a healthy chunk of the American populace when he proposes the "Marriage Protection Act," we need to look at the way we present ourselves to our fellow citizens. And more often than not, the images of gay people in the media are not images of a community capable of monogamy or concerned with the commitment and responsibilities of marriage.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Sixty years ago today, Auschwitz was liberated

Sixty years ago today "the Red Army burst into the Auschwitz death camp. By then, only 7,600 inmates were left. Well over one million prisoners, 85% of them Jews, had been murdered there, and 60,000 others were forced on a brutal death march by the retreating Nazis. Auschwitz, a name that will forever epitomize man's inhumanity to man, remains the largest graveyard in human history." (Source: Museum of Tolerance)

As we mark the liberation of Auschwitz, we remember the evil that men inflicted on one another. When President Bush visited the camp on May 31, 2003, he said:

This site is a sobering reminder that when we find antisemitism, whether it be in Europe or anywhere else, mankind must come together to fight such dark impulses. . . . And this site is also a strong reminder that the civilized world must never forget what took place on this site.
The president is right. We must never forget.

Today on behalf of our nation, Vice President Cheney led a delegation to the ceremonies commemorating the liberation of the camp. Including in that delegation is Holocaust survivor, Tom Lantos, the ranking Democrat on the House International Relations Committee and Elie Wiesel, a man who himself survived Auschwitz and whose powerful book, "NIGHT," on his experiences there and in other camps is a must-read for all mankind.

They were joined by more than 40 heads of state, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Jacques Chirac, Israeli President Moshe Katsav and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. The Israeli President said: "The mind refuses to comprehend what had taken place here. Auschwitz-Birkenau is human kind's worst ever crime site. The largest cemetery of the Jewish people."

He's right -- how difficult it is to grasp that human beings would murder millions of innocent civilians, including over one million Jewish children. And, alas, man's inhumanity to man continues. Just last night, I watched "HOTEL RWANDA," the story of a man who helped saved over 1,000 of his fellow countrymen in 1994 while another group of Rwandans massacred nearly one million men, women and children. By and large, the world stood silently by then as it had sixty years ago.

Yesterday, the Vice President spoke to the Survivors of Auschwitz, acknowledging the pain of their suffering and the lessons we must learn from the evil of Nazism:
As prisoners, you saw the face of systematic merciless cruelty, that killed innocent people of many nationalities and religious backgrounds, and murdered Jews only because they were Jews. But you also saw among your fellow captives great courage and acts of kindness. For six decades, you shared horror stories, recalling the horrors that you witnessed, keeping alive the memory of good people, righteous people, who did no wrong and who no man had any right to harm. Today many Holocaust survivors have children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. That, I believe, is the greatest victory of all. Evil did not have the final say. You survived terror. . . .

. . . these great evils of history were perpetuated not in some remote uncivilized part of the world, but in the very heart of the civilized world. Men without conscience are capable of any cruelty the human mind can imagine. Therefore we must teach every generation the values of tolerance and decency and moral courage. And in every generation, free nations must maintain the will, the foresight and the strength to fight tyranny and spread the freedom that leads to peace. Our presence in Krakow today, together with our European and Israeli friends, shows our determination to oppose antisemitism, religious intolerance, bigotry and genocide. We must face down hatred together. We are dedicated to the task at hand, and we will never forget. Let he who makes peace in the heavens grant peace to all of us.
We must never forget.

Vice President Cheney's Remarks at "Let My People Live" Forum

Juliusz Slowacki Theater
Krakow, Poland

It is my privilege to join you today as the representative of the people of the United States. I thank the government of Poland, and all of those who have organized these commemorations of the liberation of Auschwitz.

On this day in 1945, inside a prison for the innocent, liberators arrived and looked into the faces of thousands near death - while, miles beyond the camp, many thousands more were being led on a death march in the winter cold.

Inside barbed wire, and behind high walls, soldiers found "baths" that were not baths ... and hospitals meant not to heal but to kill ... and the belongings of hundreds of thousands who had vanished.

In the death camps of Europe, men committed some of the greatest wrongs that the human mind can conceive. Yet today these are hallowed places. Auschwitz, said one survivor, is the "largest cemetery in the world, one without gravestones. Only the ashes of countless souls were strewn here."

The camps were also the scene of profound humanity and heroism. From survivors we know some of the stories of brave resistance ... of helpless men, women and children giving comfort to one another in their last terrible moments ... of the righteous, being led to their deaths, affirming to the end their faith in Almighty God.

The Holocaust occupies a single period in history, but it is not a single event. It represents millions of individual acts of murder. Each prisoner who arrived had a name, and a home, and dreams for tomorrow. Each, like you and me, was a child of God who wanted to live ... who had every right to live ... who no man had any right to harm.

Gathered in this place we are reminded that such immense cruelty did not happen in a far-away, uncivilized corner of the world, but rather in the very heart of the civilized world. The death camps were created by men with a high opinion of themselves - some of them well educated, and possessed of refined manners - but without conscience. And where there is no conscience, there is no tolerance toward others ... no defense against evil ... and no limit to the crimes that follow.

The story of the camps reminds us that evil is real, and must be called by its name, and must be confronted. We are reminded that anti-Semitism may begin with words, but rarely stops with words ... and the message of intolerance and hatred must be opposed before it turns into acts of horror.

President Bush has said of the Holocaust, "There will come a time when the eyewitnesses are gone. That is why we are bound by conscience to remember what happened, and to whom it happened."

At Auschwitz we bear witness to the cruelty, and the suffering, and tragedy of a time that is still within living memory. On this anniversary of liberation, we give thanks for the liberators, and for all who labored to free this continent from tyranny.

We pray that God's mercies are forever with the souls of the departed. And we look to the future with hope - that He may grant us the wisdom to recognize evil in all its forms ... and give us the courage to prevent it from ever rising again.

"Calling Congress" Project

As I've said before, I'm a big fan of DJ Drummond -- one of the writers over at PoliPundit.com.

His latest endeavor -- "Calling Congress" -- is an example of why I'm such a fan. He's sending the following letter to all Members of Congress. I'm going to reprint his entire letter below, and highlight Question #1. Reason is, I'm taking this issue on.

There is no reason why a photo ID should not be required to vote when it is required to buy liquor, cigarettes, board a plane, and enter a Federal building. I'm going to make this my cause celebre this year because I think with what we've seen in Wisconsin and Washington State... to not do something would further erode the confidence in our election process.


DJ's Letter to Congress...

My name is DJ Drummond, and I write for the political blog Polipundit.com, which collected more than four million visits during 2004. Our nationwide readers have expressed an interest in the opinions and ideals of the 109th Congress, and we accordingly forward this twenty-item questionnaire to your office for your attention.

Every elected official with a valid e-mail address is being sent this questionnaire, including the House of Representatives, the Senate, and President and Vice-President. Those without valid e-mail addresses will also be contacted by whatever method is possible. The responses will be noted (as well as refusals) in our review through the first two weeks of February. The method and timing of this questionnaire (by email, after the election cycle and not in conflict with any pending actions) were planned for your maximum convenience.

We realize that elected officials feel their strongest loyalty to their constituents, but our national audience wants to read the perspectives from all of Congress, and we will also note the level of response received from the Representatives’ and Senator’s offices. as well as which party responded in greater portion, and which Representatives and Senators responded first and in greatest detail . The 20-question format was selected to provide ease of response, and the questions were suggested by our readers, then voted on to select the favorites. Your answers will not only provide an overview of Congressional opinion, but will also address the most pressing questions of politically curious voters.

Thank you in advance for your attention to this poll. The responses will be collected and organized as they come in, and the results will be published on Polipundit.com on Monday, February 7.

The questions are as follows:

1. Should photo ID cards be required in order to vote?
2. What will you do to secure our borders from illegal immigrants and/or terrorists?
3. Is there a better solution to Middle East turmoil, than the establishment or promotion of freely elected democratic republics? Why or why not?
4. What are your intentions regarding Tort Reform?
5. If you could write an Amendment to the Constitution and know it would pass and be ratified, what would that Amendment be?
6. What specific measures would you recommend to protect Social Security for coming generations?
7. Where do you stand on eliminating the income tax and SSI tax and replacing them with a national consumption tax?
8. What will you do to ensure the integrity of the voting system?
9. What are the limits to judicial authority?
10. Given that many states give equal treatment U.S. citizens, legal aliens and illegal aliens, just what does it mean to be a U.S. citizen (besides not being hassled by INS) ?
11. Should undocumented aliens have the ability to get legal drivers licenses?
12. What is your first proposal to balance the Federal Budget?
13. What is your proposal for lowering the National Debt?
14. Confidence in the validity of elections has fallen sharply in some places. What would you recommend to repair and rebuild that confidence?
15. What are the limits to the authority of the Federal Government?
16. Do you believe the continued existence of a central bank (the Federal Reserve) that issues fiat money is in the best interests of the U.S.?
17. What actions do you support for education reform?
18. Should judicial nominees be guaranteed a “yes or no” vote in Committee? Why or why not?
19. What should our short and long term strategies be in Iraq?
20. What should the United States’ relationship be with the United Nations?


The writers at Polipundit, and all our readers, look forward to your responses.

Cordially yours,
DJ Drummond, Staff Writer

http://www.polipundit.com

I will keep readers updated on news from DJ on this effort.

A Belated Happy "Australia Day"

Since our comrades-in-arms on the War on Terror live so far away, it is probably next week already there due to the time difference. So I apologize for the belated post wishing our Aussie brethren a happy "Australia Day" -- January 26th.

Here's some history about the Australian national holiday.

On January 26, 1788 Captain Arthur Phillip took formal possession of the colony of New South Wales and became its first Governor. The fledging colony soon began to celebrate the anniversary of this date. Manning Clarke notes that in 1808 the "anniversary of the foundation of the colony" was observed in the traditional manner with "drinking and merriment".The first official celebrations were held in 1818 to mark the 30th anniversary of white settlement. Governor Macquarie officiated at a thirty-gun salute during the day and a dinner ball at Government House that evening.

I've been monitoring the "gay patriot" in the Land of Oz, RomeoMike... and he has three good posts reflecting on Australia Day, 2005.

Happy Australia Day! - Wednesday, Jan. 26

Another Perfect Day (a photoblog) - Wednesday, Jan. 26

Holiday Memories and Symbols - previous post from Jan. 10. From this posting, I wanted to highlight this section:
I have decided to fly one next to the Aussie flag at home this Australia day. We'd thought hard about the appropriateness of such symbolism on our national day. In the end though, the US is our greatest ally who has always stood by us and with whom we are united, we are greatly indebted, the US is doing so much to help the big picture around the world yet receives ingratitude or hostility from so many quarters; how couldn't we?
Can someone please remind me when we get close to July 4th to go out an buy an Australian flag to return the favor!!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Censorship at the Department of Education? I don't think so

According to today's Boston Globe, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, "denounced PBS yesterday for spending public money on a cartoon with lesbian characters, saying many parents would not want their children exposed to such lifestyles." Christian Grantham,a good friend of this blog, believes that with this act, "the Bush Administration has brought censorship to a national level."

The Bush Administration is doing no such thing. According to dictionary.com, censorship means "deleting parts of publications or correspondence or theatrical performances." The Education Department is not deleting parts of this program, the "Sugartime!" episode of "POSTCARDS FROM BUSTER." It is not even preventing its broadcast. The Boston Globe notes that PBS's Boston affiliate, WGBH, "plans to air the episode on March 23."

All that Secretary Spellings has done is request that PBS return the money (i.e., the taxpayers' money) because the episode in question "does not fulfill the intent Congress had in mind. By law, she said, any funded shows must give top attention to 'research-based educational objectives, content, and materials.'"

If taking government money away were censoring, then HRC Political Director Winnie Stachelberg and I favor censoring Maggie Gallagher since neither she nor I believe that the federal government should be paying her to promote President Bush's initiatives. Well, I don't believe in censoring Maggie Gallagher. Or even Winnie Stachelberg or Andrew Sullivan for that matter. For my part, while I disagree with many of Maggie Gallagher's views on gay people, I agree that she has the right to express them. I just don't want to be the one paying her.

That very Boston Globe article reports that the Education Department "has awarded nearly $100 million to PBS through the program over the past five years in a contract that expires in September." If the federal government is going to be doling out money for education, shouldn't that money be spent to pay teachers' salaries and repair aging infrastructure? Liberals repeat the mantra time and time again that our schools don't have enough money to for essential classroom supplies. And that teachers' salaries are too low. And that school buildings are crumbling. And here we have the government funding TV programs!

No, the Bush Administration has not brought censorship to a new level. If withholding federal funding from a TV program were censorship, then the Bush Administration would be guilty of censoring Sponge Bob since, as far as I know, the federal government does not support that show.

Critics are right to fault Ms. Spellings for singling out this one episode. But, the Education Secretary is right that many parents "would not want their children exposed to such lifestyles." And that's the problem with federal funding because you and I foot the bill of the federal government. When it funds political pundits or television programs, it is bound to be supporting a program or a viewpoint that a large group of citizens finds objectionable.

Gay citizens find objectionable the federal government's support of Maggie Gallagher. Social conservatives would find objectionable the federal government's support of this TV program. Let's make both sides happy and get the government out of the media business and let individual Americans pay for the pundits they want to read and the programs they want to watch.

HRC -- increasingly out of touch with America

It seems that each new press release from the Human Rights' Campaign (HRC) provides more evidence that this organization is "out of touch with the American public." While I join HRC in denouncing the federal government's payments to columnist Maggie Gallagher, I wonder at the overheated rhetoric of its release.

HRC's Political Director Winnie Stachelberg claims that "Gallagher seems deeply out-of-touch with most of the parents for whom she purports to advocate." Ms. Stachelberg seems obsessed with defining Republicans and their advocates in the media as being out of touch with America. Yet, very often the American people in various states and districts have elected these allegedly "out-of-touch" Republicans to office, often by comfortable margins.

Once again, the problem is that, in many cases, opponents of same-sex marriage are not out of touch with the American people. I dare say Ms. Gallagher speaks for millions of American parents who are uncomfortable with the idea of gay marriage. Instead of calling her out of touch, we need to understand why so many Americans share her views.

It is HRC which remains out of touch with the American people. Indeed, its committee to select a new executive director isn't even representative of the gay community. The only Republican on the committee gives money to Democrats while approximately one in four gay and lesbian Americans voted to reelect our Republican president.

Another example of how out of touch HRC has become is the juvenile poll which today appears on their website. About the so-called Marriage Protection Amendment (MPA the proposed constitutional amendment, formerly known as the FMA), HRC asks, "What would be a better name for this amendment?" Voters can choose from the following options: "Misplaced Priorities Amendment", "Hurting American Families Amendment", "Promoting Federalism Amendment", "Right Wing Extremist Fundraising Amendment" and "Stamp out Diversity in America Amendment."

I'm trying to figure out what exactly this accomplishes. While HRC and its allied organizations are busy vilifying the opponents of gay marriage as "out of touch" and renaming the MPA, they should be talking to these opponents so they can better understand why so many people support the amendment. Let me repeat what I have written before though perhaps in different words, we need to figure out why, in every state where referenda defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman have been put on the ballot, they have passed, in some states by substantial margins.

Let's stop calling our opponents names and instead make every effort to understand their motives and to change their minds.

Gone are the gatekeepers--Hugh Hewitt's book on blogs

After reading Hugh Hewitt's book Blog : Understanding the Information Reformation That's Changing Your World, this thought occurred to me:

If the MSM weren't so biased against President Bush, Kerry wouldn't have had a prayer. If it weren't for the blogs, John Kerry would be president today.
Those are my words, not Hugh's, but inspired by his book.

Anyway, like Glenn Reynolds (aka Instapundit), I recommend the book "to anyone who's interested in blogs, new media, or public relations." It's a good easy-to-read book on blogs, describing this new medium and providing a short history. Hugh compares their rise to that of the printing press and bloggers to Martin Luther and his followers. That may sound farfetched, but, I believe that Hugh is right to see the similarity. As the dissemination of Luther's works led to what Hugh calls the "first reformation," so will the dissemination of bloggers' idea lead to a reformation of the media. It's already happening.

Hugh shows how the bloggers helped prevent one man from returning to his post as Senate Majority Leader (Trent Lott), how they helped bring down an editor of the New York Times (Howell Raines) as well as an anchor from one of the three major networks' evening news (Dan Rather). The book is at its strongest in the first two parts and weakest in the third. I felt he was a little simplistic there, so after finding one chapter (in Part III) tiresome, I just skimmed the rest. That said, in just over 200 pages, Hugh gives a good short history of the printing press and the Reformation, offers an engaging chapter on the "Meltdown of Mainstream Media (MSM) and Where its Audience Went" while showing how blogs are changing the flow of information -- and ideas -- in our culture -- and around the world.

Instapundit thinks that the best quote is this "Blogs are built on speed and trust, and the MSM is very slow and very distrusted." I'll share one of mine:
The old information monopoly had an enormous ability to decide where and when news would be "news." That gatekeeping function is gone, and blogs have rushed in to decide for themselves what matters.
And this absence of gatekeepers has a particular meaning for the large proportion of gay people who like GP and myself, like RomeoMike, like many of our readers who have not given (to paraphrase RomeoMike) our permission to the gay activists most often quoted by the MSM to speak on our behalf. Our message is no longer blocked by gatekeepers who sneer at our politics and mock our values.

The blogosphere has thus become a great resource for independent-minded gay men and lesbians--among so many others. Hugh Hewitt's book helps explain why.

Same-sex marriage foe in hot water

According to the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz, the Department of Health and Human Services paid Maggie Gallagher $21,500 to promote the president's proposed "$300 million initiative encouraging marriage as a way of strengthening families." Ms. Gallagher neglected to mention this payment when she promoted this initiative in her columns.

For the record, I met Ms. Gallagher when she spoke at a Federalist Society Symposium that I directed at the nation's finest law school in 1994. I found her pleasant, intelligent and engaging. Nonetheless, as Kurtz notes:

In columns, television appearances and interviews with such newspapers as The Washington Post, Gallagher last year defended Bush's proposal for a constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage.
She has offered some thoughtful criticism of same-sex marriage. And I believe we need to address the points she raises even if she has compromised herself by not disclosing that the administration paid her to advocate its policies. She showed bad judgment in taking the money. And worse judgment in failing to disclose the payment to such outlets as Universal Press Syndicate which distributes her column and National Review which publishes it.

I agree with Michelle Malkin who finds "galling the stupidity of the Bush administration officials who doled out taxpayer funds to conservatives in the media."

Hat tip: Dirty Harry.

UPDATE: Instapundit shares his thoughts on the Gallagher story here, calling it a "tempest in a teapot."

Captain Ed writes "[f]ull disclosure should be the lesson that pundits on all sides should take from this chapter." I agree.

Condi & her critics

Brendan Miniter had an excellent piece on Secretary of State-designate, Condoleezza Rice, in yesterday's OpinionJournal (the Wall Street Journal's online editorial page):

Ms. Rice has been loyal to Mr. Bush, but she is an intellectual power in her own right. She has the president's ear and has been deeply immersed in the movement to halt the spread of tyranny by waging a war of ideas since long before Ronald Reagan consigned the Soviet Union to the ash heap of history. This is the year Ms. Rice steps onto the public stage; a year her influence and her intellect is no longer confined to the quiet rooms of power. Her rise deserves to be celebrated.

That it isn't--and that Senate Democrats instead are delaying her confirmation--says more about the Bush administration's opponents than it does about her.
Emphasis added. Now, read the whole thing!

A PatriotFriendWest's take on the Oscar nominations

My friend Rick Sincere offers an interesting take on the Oscar nominations on his blog. And like Dirty Harry he notes that Mel Gibson's "THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST" garnered three nominations while Michael Moore's "FAHRENHEIT 9/11" was "shut out completely."

Like Rick, I was also disappointed that the touching documentary PAPER CLIPS did not win an Oscar nod for best documentary and neither Kevin Bacon won one for his work in "THE WOODSMAN" nor Liam Neeson for his work in KINSEY. In addition to those whom Rick mentioned, I thought Paul Giametti should have been nominated in the leading actor category for his work in SIDEWAYS and Sharon Warren in the supporting category for her touching portray of Ray Charles' mother in "RAY." And I thought that one of my favorite films of the year, "A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT" deserved nominations for Best Picture, Best Director (Jean-Pierre Jeunet) and Best Actress (Audrey Tautou).

That said, Rick offers an interesting perspective on the Oscar nods, even noting the similarities between Martin Scorsese's The Aviator and Ayn Rand novels. As well as a comment on why conservatives should cheer the multiple nominations for the animated flick, "THE INCREDIBLES."

Read the whole thing!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

My Australian Kindred Spirits

I received an email from Down Under yesterday from a fellow gay conservative, RomeoMike. He best sums up his view on things this way...

My conservative view of gay activism is starting to become one of my main interests on my blog. And yet I don't think it's so much about being conservative, more that it's a commonsense approach to what benefits ourselves and the wider community at the same time. Understanding our situation in the scheme of things instead of foisting a dogma at all costs.

RomeoMike has an excellent posting about a Stacy Farrar, a gay columnist from the Sydney Star Observer who moved from the gay area of Sydney out to the suburbs.

I See Gay People -- SSOnet.com

As RomeoMike puts it, Stacy is shocked to learn that "there are gay people who live just the same as other ordinary people, without the need for a special area, pubs, or mags designated for them; a concept which she's found worthy to devote column inches."

Tolerance and bigotry - RomeoMike (read the whole thing!)

Golly, Stacy. You know what... we also go to church, have pets, work good jobs, pay our taxes, interact with our straight neighbors and their families, participate in our community, and respect those around us. Quite a shock for an inner-city gay, no doubt!

RomeoMike also tipped me off about Dreadnought.
DREADNOUGHT is John Heard. Currently studying for BA (Philosophy Major) and LLB degrees at the University of Melbourne. Sometime banker, former Newmaniac, probable lawyer, perpetual writer, gay, Catholic and conservative. Have a thing for Natural Law Finnis-style. Like Andrew Sullivan, but conservative.
So there you have it... two fellow-thinking guys from across the world! And Dreadnought sounds a lot smarter than me!!

Oh, if you remembered my post about my trip to Australia... these guys would actually be part of the Liberal Party in their country. Kinda funny, eh? Especially since America's liberals are now becoming the defenders of status quo (didn't that used to make you an MSM-defined "conservative") and rejected reform in Congress and democracy abroad.

Check out RomeoMike and Dreadnought -- now official members of the GayPatriot blogroll, and part of the not-so-vast worldwide gay right wing conspiracy.

Bush Inaugural Spurs Hope In Iranians

Huh. How about this....

Iranians cheer massively Mr. Bush's inaugural speech -- Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran (hat tip - Andrew Sullivan)

Now wait just a minute. All the naysayers commenting on this blog, and the talking heads on the Mainstream Media shows have been saying that President Bush's vision of liberty and democracy around the world was naive and unattainable. Too lofty. Too preachy.

Huh. When Ronald Reagan told Gorbachev -- "Tear down this wall" -- many of the same coddlers of communism then, and tyranny today, criticized him in the same terms as they are President Bush. And it was funny how those same people (Subliminal Man says "Ted Kennedy") never celebrated publicly when the Wall fell in 1989. Once a coddler, always a coddler. Just like they are coddling Islamic Fascism today in their vapid desire to bring down President Bush at every turn. (Subliminal Man says "Barbara Boxer")

Huh. I'm wondering which Democrats will issue a positive statement after the elections in IRAQ this weekend? Hold my breath, I shall not.

So You Say You Support The Troops?

While I don't know enough yet about this particular piece of legislation, I wanted to bring it to your attention. Thanks to Russ for emailing this to me.

===============

It is so easy to say you support the troops, regardless of which side you come down on in the issue of the War in Iraq itself. Yeah, you can send care packages and put yellow ribbon magnets on your car to make you feel all warm and fuzzy that you're doing your own small part. You can do as I do and use forums such as this one to expound the viewpoint of the folks we send in harm's way, hoping that someway, somehow, someone who can make a difference may read your rant and actually do that something that makes a difference.

But right now, folks, we have a rare opportunity, a seldom-held power for ordinary citizens, to actually do something for the troops that will bring them more comfort than any supportive letters or boxes of cookies and candy ever possibly could. You see, right now we have the ability to provide them with comfort of mind, to lift a mental and emotional burden that they all carry with them when they enter any theater of combat. We hold in our collective hands the ability to grant them assurance that should the worst befall them, we, their grateful nation, will provide for their loved ones in a manner that will approximate what they would have provided in the normal course of their lives.

Under current law, Uncle Sam is a rather parsimonious patron when it comes to providing for the families of fallen warriors. For example, when an American is killed in combat, the surviving spouse receives a one-time death gratuity of $12,400. Service Member's Group Life Insurance coverage (SGLI) up to $250,000 is available for those service members who can afford to pay the premiums. If the fallen trooper has been in service for an extended period of time, the surviving family may also qualify for the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), which is paid up to age 62 or until the spouse remarries.

This SBP benefit is limited to 55 percent of the soldier's retirement pay, in the pay grade at the time of death. With so many combat deaths occurring among the youngest service members, we must keep in mind that this is frequently a pay grade that actually qualifies the family for food stamps and aid for dependent children.

The annual base pay of a sergeant E-5, with six years of service is less than $30,000. With twenty years service his retirement benefit is half of that. Think for a moment what 55 percent of less than $15,000 amounts to. Think about being a young widow trying to raise small children on less than $700 a month. And for lower pay grades, which constitute the majority of combat deaths, the situation is even grimmer because most of them will not have served long enough for their families to qualify for even this miserly benefit. Even if the service member is insured to the maximum amount, an unlikelihood for younger troops, think about how little $250,000 amounts to over the twenty-plus years required to raise and educate children in today's world.

Now think about the benefits conferred by our government on the survivors of 9/11. Yes, think about it long and hard: millions awarded to families because their loved one happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Millions handed to them not because their loved one had volunteered for the hard service of fighting in combat, but had simply shown up for work. Tell me, America: where's the justice in this situation?

Fortunately, there are some in government who have taken notice of this gross injustice and are preparing to attempt a legislative correction long overdue. Senator Joe Lieberman, D-CT, and Senator Jeff Sessions, R-AL, are scheduled to introduce the Honoring Every Requirement of Exemplary Service (HEROES) Act on January 24th. This legislation will increase the benefit paid to the survivors of military personnel killed in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, and future conflicts, from $12,400 to $100,000, retroactive to October 2001. The benefit for non-combat deaths will remain at $12,400. The Act will raise SGLI Insurance coverage from $250,000 to $400,000, with the government paying the premiums for the first $150,000 for military personnel serving in a combat zone, also retroactive to October 2001.

So you say you support the troops? Then as soon as you finish reading this, start hammering that keyboard and let your two senators and your congressman know that you expect no less than their full support for early passage of the HEROES Act. To a person, they all swear they support the troops, regardless of party affiliation or individual positions on the war. Let them know, their future electoral efforts will, in your mind, be dependent upon their actions on behalf of those troops and those families who have given that last full measure of devotion, to their nation.

Want a place to start? For a list of sites with congressional contacts, click here.

Get off your butts, America and show you really do support the troops.


==========

Blackfive (voted best Military Blog for 2004) has more about this legislation as well. I trust he is more in tune with this issue than I.

The HEROES ACT -- Support the Survivors -- Blackfive, the Paratrooper of Love

So, in the finest traditions of a free press mixed with a bit of stealing from the FOX News Channel.... I report, you can decide what to do next.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Why is Boxer silent on Badger State?

Dirty Harry reports that "five Democrat activists connected to the Kerry campaign were finally charged today in the only voter suppression case I know of that resulted in actual charges being filed." Emphasis added.

Felony charges were filed against five Democrats, including "adult sons of two prominent Milwaukee politicians" for slashing the tires of Republican get-out-the-vote vans in Wisconsin. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes that "People came back [to Kerry campaign headquarters] and bragged about what they did." That's right, these Democratic activists bragged about vandalizing cars.

Dirty Harry wonders:

So, some Kerry campaign officials knew about it and said nothing. Isn't that a crime? And what kind of atmosphere pervaded the Kerry headquarters that such a thing could be so easily confessed and bragged about?
Now given Senator Barbara Boxer's commitment to "focus the light of truth on these terrible problems in the electoral system," with tongue firmly planted in cheek, we wonder why Barbara Boxer is so silent on these efforts to suppress the Republican vote in the Badger State.

"Red State Gays" -- a documentary

Everyone.... I was approached by the producer of this documentary from the LOGO network. If you feel you would be a good representative of a conservative gay or lesbian, PLEASE contact them!

-GP

=============

LOGO, the new LGBT network from MTV Networks and Viacom is developing a documentary project about gay and lesbian Republicans… and we’d like to hear your story


If you are an LGBT Republican and are interested in sharing your story on camera, tell us what’s going on in your life this spring and how it relates to your personal and political life.

We’re interested in documenting a process or following events in your life as they unfold.

FOR EXAMPLE, ARE YOU…
· … a grassroots GOP activist heading to Washington to bang on doors?
· … involved in the fight for your right to bear arms?
· … in a relationship with someone of a different political persuasion?
· … searching for a place house of worship where you feel comfortable?
· … recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq?
· … combating intolerance or prejudice within the LGBT or GOP community?

PLEASE E-MAIL US AT:
logogop@mtvstaff.com

*Be sure to include your name, age, and full contact information in your note (address, phone, e-mail, and best times to reach you). Tell us as much as you can about what your story is and what would happen if our cameras documented your life.

We look forward to hearing from you!

HRC: out of touch with the American public

While I agree with HRC Political Director Winnie Stachelberg when she says in HRC's press release today that, the "American people value freedom, not discrimination," the tone of her release indicates that she still doesn't get it. She doesn't understand why the man she backed for president lost his bid for the White House, why the party she backs lost seats in both houses of Congress and why most Americans don't support much of the legislation that her organization backs.

Yes, she and HRC are right to denounce Senator Wayne Allard's reintroduction of the Federal Marriage Amendment. But, HRC is wrong to claim that those backing the bill are "out-of-touch (sic) . . . with the American public on the issue of writing discrimination into the Constitution." Unfortunately, that's just the problem. These Senators are not out of touch with their constituents. A good portion of the American public does favor amending the constitution to define marriage.

To be sure, the polls have not been entirely consistent on the topic. In a July 2004 survey of the polls on gay marriage, the Pew Research Center Pollwatch noted that despite "extensive public opposition to gay marriage, Americans are conflicted over whether to amend the Constitution to outlaw this practice." (FYI--Pew was (as far as I know) the only national poll to get the '04 election exactly right, forecasting that the President would trump Senator Kerry by a 51-48 margin.) Pew noted the mixed results in the polls:

Recent polls on a possible constitutional amendment to prohibit gay marriage have yielded very different results, with support as low as 36% and as high as 60%. . . . Opinion on this subject varies, depending on how the issue is framed.
Emphasis added. Read the whole survey for a thoughtful analysis of the changes in the polls from survey to survey.

I wish Senator Allard had not reintroduced this bill. HRC was right to denounce him for doing so. And as much as we are upset with the reintroduction of this gratuitous -- and potentially dangerous -- amendment, millions of Americans will cheer its reintroduction. I daresay Senator Allard and his cosponsors have already received tens of thousands of phone calls and e-mails, thanking them for their efforts on behalf of the Marriage Protection Amendment (the MPA, as it has been renamed).

It strikes me as odd that HRC would define these Senators as out of touch with the American public. These Senators were all elected by American people in the states they represent, some as recently as last November. The man HRC poured its "hearts and souls" into defeating became on November 2 the first president in sixteen years to win a majority of the popular vote while the party whose candidates it overwhelmingly supported lost ground in both houses of Congress.

As I have written before, I oppose the FMA, even under its new name, the MPA. I salute HRC for denouncing its reintroduction. But, they need to understand the reality of the situation. A supermajority of gay Americans opposes gay marriage, while referenda banning gay marriage have passed by comfortable margins in every state where they have been put before the people for a vote, including such "blue" states as Michigan and Oregon.

We need to understand why. Why do a majority of Americans favor recognizing civil unions between two individuals of the same-sex while opposing gay marriage? We need to ponder the Pew Survey and get to the meaning of why different surveys give vastly differing results on popular support for (or opposition) to amending the constitution to define marriage.

No, HRC, unfortunately, Senator Allard is not out of touch with the American public on this issue. Certain gay organizations need to do more than to parrot the phrase "anti-family" every time they mention the bill. What is necessary is to understand why this amendment still enjoys strong support across vast regions of our country. Simply put, we opponents of this proposed constitutional amendment need to understand the concerns of those who favor it. And we must do what we can to change their minds.

Inaugural Party....thanks Abner!

You know, it is really troubling that the Angry Bush Hater took up my time in posting pictures from the evening of President Bush's Inauguration last week. Because it distracted me from thanking Abner Mason and Brian Pruitt for allowing PatriotPartner and I to join their Inaugural Party. It was a great evening and aside from the dust-up in front of the JW Marriott, it was a perfect way to celebrate President Bush's re-election.

Abner Mason is the Executive Director of the AIDS Responsibility Project. Abner was also the author of a recent column in The Advocate, which I posted on earlier this year.

First of all, I admit I need to learn much more about the good works of the ARP. And since I would hate to mischaracterize what they do, I'll reprint this directly from their website.

ARP was founded in 2003 by a diverse group of policy experts, activists, political leaders, and former public and corporate officials. Their primary goal was to help meet a tremendous public need for critical information on the complex global challenges presented by the HIV/AIDS epidemic today, and to help build important bridges between underserved populations and the wide array of agencies, officials and organizations taking on bold, new efforts to confront these challenges as billions of dollars would soon be pumped in from the U.S. government.
ARP -- unlike other groups that claim to represent gay Republicans -- actually has the ear of and works with the Bush White House. In fact, Joseph O'Neill who is Deputy Coordinator of the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator in the US State Department, was honored at ARP's Inaugural gala dinner.

From what I can see, ARP has provided a key link between unmet needs of underserved patients, industry, and various government agencies. Finally -- a group of people committed to working together on a common purpose, rather than finding ways to criticize and politicize.

I'd encourage you also to learn more about ARP, and I'll do the same!


Now, here are two fun photos of the night:




A grainy picture of my dessert platter. You can barely make out the Presidential Seal on the round chocolate treat.



This was the big statue greeting partygoers in the lobby of the JW Marriott hotel in Washington, DC on Inauguration Day. Cute.

Philadelphia Eagles Head to Super Bowl

My beloved team has finally done it. The last time the Eagles won the NFC Championship, Jimmy Carter was President, the Soviets were in Afghanistan, the Islamist movement was being born in Iran, and GayPatriot was in grade school.

Now it is onto Jacksonville for Super Bowl XXXIX.

Eiffel Tower is a Portal to Hell

Yeah. Like we didn't know that already!!!

The Eiffel Tower Is A Portal To Hell -- Weekly World News

And there's a great new story about BatBoy!

I love the WWN. My favorite headline was "Titanic Survivor Found -- And She's Still Dripping Wet!"

The good feeling most Americans have about W

In a thoughtful column on the president's second inaugural, the Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby asks:

What accounts for the good feeling most Americans have about Bush as he embarks on his second term? A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that a majority of the public disapproves of Bush's handling of many key issues -- Iraq, Social Security, the economy, the budget, immigration, health care. His overall approval rating is only 52 percent, the lowest of any postwar president except Nixon. And yet six in 10 Americans -- significantly more than the number who voted for him -- say they feel hopeful about the next four years. Why?
Jacoby believes that the "core of the explanation" is "threefold;" (1) Americans trust the president's judgment; (2) we like his "moral bluntness and (3) like the Gipper, our man W is a optimist, exuding "confidence that tomorrow will be better than today."

Read the whole thing and come to your own conclusions.
http://www.townhall.com/columnists/jeffjacoby/jj20050121.shtml

Monday, January 10, 2005

The Proposed Gay Ghetto in Spokane

A number of you have asked me about my thoughts on a news item that popped up over the weekend. My apologies for the delay. Busy week for me.

Here's what I don't get. We say want to be assimilated into society at large (through gay marriage), but we apparently just can't stand to be around straight people, so we have to segregate ourselves into "gay ghettos." Case in point -- Spokane, Washington. (hat tip: Kevin, a GP reader)

The B-Log, who appears to be straight from the sound of his post, has this take on it.

So what message are we sending to America? We want to be a part of you? Or we want to be alone and away from you nasty bigoted straight people with all your Red State cooties?

And wait just a minute....I thought it was the Republicans who wanted to put all the gays in concentration camps. (And here you all thought I was kidding when I said the liberals have been alleging this.....)

Someone help me... I'm all confused about this crazy world I live in. I can't think for myself and I need my beloved gay activists want me to do!!!! Whoa is me.