27 November 2008


Thanksgiving (USA) 2008

I'm cleaning for company—Mack's sister and her long-term companion (aka "husband", see this)—arrive late this afternoon. We visited them several years ago for the Oyster Ridge Music Festival in their town of Kemmerer, Wyoming.

Also cooking. Have already baked a pumpkin pie and cooked green beans to heat up right before serving. In addition to those, we're having turkey breast, those sauteed sweet potatoes that The Minimalist guy from the New York Times has been pushing and that have been featured several places around the web, and some Pillsbury crescent rolls.

So let's get to a quick, incomplete, list of things I'm grateful for this Thanksgiving in the United States in 2008.Thanks to all for reading. May this Thanksgiving Day and the rest of the holidays—So the French get all of August off: Unless you are in the medical, emergency services, or retail fields, we basically get from the fourth Thursday in November until New Years Day with a substantially reduced or non-existent workload—bring you, those you care about, and all of us a chance to appreciate the gifts we were given just by existing, just by breathing.

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22 November 2008


Sunset, Boulder, Colorado, 18 Novebmer 2008

Sunset Photomerge, Boulder, Colorado, 18 November 2008

Click here for the full-size, 6047x2398, image.

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When Snoop Met Martha

Segment 1:

Segment 2:

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21 November 2008


Consequences of Gay Marriage

song chart memes
more music charts

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16 November 2008


JoinTheImpact: Orlando, Saturday, 15 November 2008

We went to the JoinTheImpact demonstration in Orlando yesterday. The Orlando Sentinel said (here) that the crowd was over 1000 people. Some good speakers, particularly Patty Sheehan, out Orlando City Commissioner, and Michael Vance of the Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Community Center of Central Florida.

The full set of my pictures are on Flickr here, but below are a few of my favorites.

I Just Want to Be Equal

The Gay Agenda

Let Joe Sixpack Marry Joe the Plumber

Stop the Hate

The Silence of Our Friends

Please. Speak out against the hate. Engage your friends, regardless of where you are, of who you are. You don't have to be gay to speak out against hate, and you don't have to be out to speak up for equality.

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10 November 2008


Post-Election Blues

Wow. Here we are with my candidate for POTUS having won the election. It think it's a great decision on the part of the electorate. The situation with its challenges makes it an opportune time to approach long-standing issues.

But beyond the moment last Tuesday when the networks called it for Obama, I haven't had much occasion to celebrate. There's more to life than the Presidential election, and some of my time and treasure recently were put into the No on 2 campaign. I wish I had done more.

We got thumped. I don't know any other way to put it. I'm sure there are good signs in the numbers relative to where we were several years ago, but with the amendment approved, we have to swing 20% of the electorate if we are to reverse this at the polls. I was hopeful that the 60% threshold we approved several years ago would serve as an adequate block to this kind of nonsense, but 62% voted for the amendment.

I'm really kind of stymied about this. Friends and family don't seem to appreciate the degree to which having people vote on whether you're a complete citizen or not is repugnant in the first place, and distressing when they vote that, no, you're not. I know friends in California and Arizona understand.

California's getting all the news. The results there were similarly ugly, since their process only required a 50%+1 approval, they got beat by a smaller margin but with the same result.

I'm unsure how to proceed. The thoughtful part of me says we have to engage the opposition at all levels, from right-wing talk-radio personalities to everyday churchgoers who'd call me "an abomination." I'm very skeptical that yelling at them or protesting their churches is useful, but I remain very curious about true civil disobedience in the form of obstructing the ability of people to secure marriage licenses. I have to learn some history of the Civil Rights movement. Maybe it's time to hunker down and plan strategy rather than discussing tactics.

One things folks don't seem to get is that while there are clearly deep and substantive distinctions between the insults imposed on black people and those on LGBT people, when it comes to marriage—mixed-race or same-sex—the language of those opposed is the same. I recall hearing my sweet old uncle, Richard Gaertner of Chicago, say on seeing a mixed-race couple one day in the early 1970s, "See, Timmy. Isn't that disgusting?"

Luckily I had already decided for reasons I may never understand that it wasn't. I can only hope that others have already decided that my love for Mack isn't disgusting. That it's something to be cherished and celebrated, the same as any other two people's love for each other is.

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05 November 2008


Proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the US Constitution, Revised

Proposed changes in italics:
Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
This is the steady-state endgame for which we have to strive.

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Our Rights

Mack and Tim
We start today to look for ways to ensure that our rights are never infringed again as they were by votes in Arizona, California, and Florida last night. It's going to take a combination of activism, education, fund raising, crafty friend-making with the powerful, including legislators and (always hated-by-wrongdoers) judges, and putting ourselves even further out there.

Our rights are not a human creation, and they aren't subject to vote. In Jefferson's language, our rights come from our Creator: Something/somewhere/someone greater and beyond ourselves and our fellow humans, something independent of the details of one's individual beliefs. The larger community and the government can recognize, support, and protect—or deny, discourage, and attack—our rights, but they cannot really take them away. They are inalienable: That's what makes them rights.

We must use appropriate force to ensure that our communities and our governments recognize our rights. That does not include physical violence. From Magna Carta to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, it has always been so. Sit ins come to mind as an example of appropriate force. Sit ins in courthouses where marriage licenses are granted. If we can't get married, maybe no one should be able to.

We have the right to live and love with our same-sex partners of however many years as much as those in different-sex relationships have to do so with theirs. And what we have the right to is "marriage," not some substitute word or arrangement. It may take one, two, five, or ten more generations to achieve recognition of that right by our neighbors and communities, by all the states and by the federal government, but we have to keep pointing in the right direction. As much as they holler "abomination" at us, the shame is on their side: The side of those who deny a basic human right to others, not those whose love is misunderstood, distorted, and slandered.

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04 November 2008


My Map

Did this Saturday night at the LA Times site.

Yeah, I'm an optimist. Sue me.

I know; I know. I'm probably wrong about Georgia and South Carolina. We'll see.

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Poll Working

I worked Precinct 305 in Volusia County (my precinct in Debary—the local Methodist church) for No on 2 this morning. When I got there (late: about 7:30 a.m. when the polls had opened at 7:00) there was a line around the building, something I've never seen before here (but we only moved here in summer of 2005). The local candidates for mayor and council were at the street, with signs and banners, but no one else was working at the solicitation-limit line for anything, so I positioned myself there and proceeded to greet voters with a cheery "Good morning. Hope you'll vote 'No' on Amendment 2."

It went very well. Of course, the Amendment has its supporters, with recent polls showing it gathering more that 50% support, but not the required 60%, but most folks were pleasant enough back. There was one very tight-lipped woman who got out of an SUV with a "McCain-Palin" sticker on it who gave me a hard look, but I just smiled back at her. And there was an older woman who asked me incredulously how I could encourage anyone to vote "No" on Amendment 2, proceeded to tell me that I probably didn't believe in the Bible, and went off muttering "The Bible says it's an abomination." I really wanted to tell her that she was a good example of God having hardened someone's heart, but just asked her to "please reconsider."

There was quite a bit of good feedback, though, from the young straight couple with their toddler daughter who assured me they were against it, to the woman who told me after voting that she was so glad I was there explaining what the amendment really was to voters and asking them to vote "No."

I look at it like this: First, if I don't ask, why should voters vote the way I want them to. Second, if they're on my side and I ask them, it strengthens their desire to vote the way both of us already think they should. Third, if they're not on my side, it shows them that I'm standing up for my position, not theirs, and in a statistical sense, that's got to work to the advantage of my position. Fourth, my being there when there's not someone from the other side ought to demoralize and sow doubt among the measure's proponents; at least, I hope it did.

I couldn't stay all day: Had to get to work. But I'm glad I took the time. I hadn't done poll work like that in years (1978, I think, for the DEM ticket and the local congressional candidate in TN-7).

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Let the GOP Ass Whooping Begin

Let's get real: There's no way the American people will return to power the candidates of the party that has screwed things up so badly over the last eight years. That would be "fool me three times" territory, and "fool me twice" has hurt too badly.

But you have to vote to make that so.

So if you haven't voted already, get out there and vote, and TURN THE RASCALS OUT! And of course vote NO on Amendment 2 (Florida), Proposition 8 (California), or Proposition 102 (Arizona). Just say no to hatefulness.

As for my GOP friends, just think of it as the tough love your party needs to get itself back in line with the nation.

You've let a cadre of extreme right-wing religious folk take over the party. But instead of trending back to the center, you're giving what might as well now be expressed as the Palin wing (previously the GWB wing) way too much credibility and power within your own ranks. Cede total control to them, and your next ass whooping will be far worse than what you're going to experience today, and today's going to be pretty bad for you.

Since the kind of self-righteousness displayed by Palin's and GWB's fans doesn't exactly lead to reflection and self-correction, I expect the GOP may be in for a generation or more of repeated ass whoopings and electoral disappointments, especially with the increased lack of clout for the rich folks resulting from world-wide financial and economic distress. Couldn't happen to a sweeter crowd (either the self-righteous religious or the rich folk who handed them the keys to power) or be better timed to ensure that the party that actually works for the broader swatch of people (that's the big-D Democratic Party, folks) gets a real chance to run things for long enough to make things happen.

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03 November 2008


Olden Times

1992: Andrew (my ex) and I waited an hour and a half in Boston's South End (just across the street from where we lived) to vote for Bill Clinton. It wasn't going to change the outcome in Massachusetts: it was just important.

1980: We were at Rick Champion's, and when Tom Holzemer told Rick that he'd voted for Reagan, I thought Rick was gonna die of disappointment. I understood the impulse, even as I'd argued for and worked for Carter. Many of today's McCain supporters are fixing to understand tomorrow how many of us Carter supporters felt that night.

1972: Sarah Palin, you might know in 2012 just how George McGovern felt. Was it worth having?

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01 November 2008


All You Need Is Love

"Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time." -- Lennon & McCartney (John Lennon wrote it.)

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Yesterday's Pumpkin, Today!


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The Republican Core

I. The Republican core explained, here by James Carville and Stan Greenberg at Democracy Corp:
  • While a sizeable majority of voters say Republicans have lost in 2006 and 2008 because they have been “too conservative,” a sizeable plurality of Republicans say, it is because they have “not been conservative enough.”
  • Over three-quarters of Republicans say Palin was good choice, while a majority of the electorate says the opposite.
  • Two-thirds of Republicans say McCain has not been aggressive enough, but a majority of voters think they have [sic] been too aggressive.
  • Looking to the future, a large majority of Republicans say the party needs to “move more to the right and back to conservative principles,” while an even larger majority of all voters say, it should move to the “center to win over moderate and independent voters.”
  • Finally, almost 60 percent of Republicans say “if Barack Obama is elected, he will lead the country down the wrong path and Republicans should oppose his plans,” while 70 percent of all voters say they “should give him the benefit of the doubt and help him achieve his plans.”
II. The Republican core, explained here by Michael Schaffer at The New Republic's The Plank:
When I was in fifth grade, there was this kid named Matt who was the Kid With the Temper. Three or four times a year, he'd spaz out to comic, theatrical effect--throwing things, kicking desks, roaming the hallways, and, once, locking himself in a closet and emerging with a black eye. With the sort of cruelty unique to 10-year-olds, classmates used to goad the poor kid when it looked like an outburst was near, circling around him in the knowledge that we'd soon glimpse what we all knew was inside. The scene described in Seyward's post from Columbus [here, TAW], and depicted on any number of YouTube clips, seems remarkably similar. Camera-equipped Obama supporters outside McCain and Palin rallies wave signs and ask questions in the certainty that their very presence will unleash the ugliness that appears to be inside all too many of the GOP faithful. Of course, Matt was a little kid in school and these folks are adults out in the world, so I'm not saying I feel any particular sympathy for those who just can't seem to keep themselves from shouting racial or ethnic epithets or just dumb-ass Cold War jingoistic nonsense, at their tormentors. But what amazes me is how little provocation it apparently is to reduce a lot of solid middle American Republicans to a bunch of hysterical fifth-grader [sic].

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