Saturday, August 30, 2008

All About Stuff

I think I wrote earlier in this blog that we have decided to move to a new house. We've been living in a lovely older house on a very large lot for the past 15 years or so. At the time we moved into it, it was a great adventure. Our two previous homes were brand new when we bought them. We eventually felt we wanted a change from suburbia to the city and to an older home and neighborhood with all the charm and character we did not have out in the burbs. We had great fun going through the big old house and updating it. I became an absolutely crazed gardener. It wasn't unusual for me to work all week in my business and then spend 12 hours in the garden over the weekend. It was a showpiece. We certainly did fulfill our part of The Gay Agenda regarding the requirements of taking care of an old house!

At this point in our lives we have decided to downsize. I sold my business last fall. Ed is seriously planning towards retirement. I'm still working out of the house, but my pace is a lot slower than it was running that business.

We started out by looking at condominiums in our neighborhood and also downtown. We quickly found out that condos in our neighborhood are ridiculously expensive compared to most of the city and downtown even more so. But then we found a little garden home community just 3 miles away from the house where we live now and fell in love with a house in there. It's a bit smaller than this one, but not by much, and considerably larger than the downtown condos we looked at with prices 3-4 times higher. And to make it even more appealing, the homeowner's association takes care of all the yards, front and back, including the planting and maintenance of all the flower beds they've installed liberally all around the yards. And if I want to continue as a crazed gardener, I can do as much as I want in addition to what they've already done. And, of course, I don't have to do any it of if I decide not to.

The move is 2 weeks off. For the past few weeks we've been going through this house and taking things to the new one bit by bit and deciding what's not going to come with us. One of the things we have loved about this house is a huge storage area. We have really loved it. Our project this morning was to go through it and decide what goes to the new place and what doesn't.

And right now there are about 25-30 lawn and leaf bags sitting out in the alley full of things we don't need, much of which we had totally forgotten about (including 2 dead laptop computers and a dead desktop system).

As I marvelled at the amount of stuff that was stowed away in that area, much of it totally forgotten, I remembered one of my all time favorite comedy routines, George Carlin talking about Stuff.

All You Need To Know About Sarah Palin

1. How she feels about the duties of the Vice President of the USA.

2. What John McCain likes most about her (watch his eyes).

3. McCain's staff assures us that she can learn on the job and that McCain will still be alive after four years of this on-the-job training.

From the New York Times:

Mr. McCain’s advisers said Friday that Mr. McCain was well aware that Ms. Palin would be criticized for her lack of foreign policy experience, but that he viewed her as exceptionally talented and intelligent and that he felt she would be able to be educated quickly.

“She’s going to learn national security at the foot of the master for the next four years, and most doctors think that he’ll be around at least that long,” said Charlie Black, one of Mr. McCain’s top advisers, making light of concerns about Mr. McCain’s health, which Mr. McCain’s doctors reported as excellent in May.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Del Martin RIP

Icon of the GLBT civil rights movement.

From the San Francisco Chronicle

Del Martin, a pioneering lesbian rights activist who with her lifelong partner became a symbol for the movement to legalize gay marriage, died Wednesday morning. She was 87.

Martin died at a San Francisco hospital two weeks after a broken arm exacerbated her existing health problems, according to Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Her partner of more than 55 years and wife of just over two months, Phyllis Lyon, was with her.

"Ever since I met Del 55 years ago, I could never imagine a day would come when she wouldn't be by my side," Lyon, 83, said in a statement Wednesday.

"I also never imagined there would be a day that we would actually be able to get married," she added. "I am devastated, but I take some solace in knowing we were able to enjoy the ultimate rite of love and commitment before she passed."

Martin and Lyon exchanged vows at San Francisco City Hall on June 16, the first day same-sex couples could legally wed in California, after being together for more than half a century.

Mayor Gavin Newsom, who officiated the wedding, singled them out to be the first gay couple to be declared "spouses for life" in the city in recognition of their long relationship and their status as pioneers of the gay rights movement.

"The greatest way we can honor the life work of Del Martin, is to continue to fight and never give up, until we have achieved equality for all," Newsom said Wednesday.


In Martin's honor, Newsom ordered the American flags at City Hall and the rainbow flag in the Castro District, the heart of the city's gay and lesbian community, to be flown at half-staff until sundown Thursday. Plans for a public memorial are pending.

Full article here

Saturday, August 23, 2008

What Olympic TV Coverage Isn't Telling You

Congratulations to Matthew Mitcham, platform diving gold medalist and one of 11 openly gay athletes at the Beijing Olympics. Matthew scored an amazing 112.10 on his sixth and final dive, clinching the gold and setting a new world record.

I don't recall the televsion commentators telling you about this or about Matthew's partner sitting in the audience like they've told you about other athlete's significant others, so I thought I'd post it here. tells us that statistically speaking, out athletes have been, as a group, disproportionately successful at these Olympic Games. The 11 openly GLBT athletes Outsports has followed over the past two weeks raked in 4 golds, 2 silvers and 1 bronze medal. In other words, 64% of out athletes won a medal; a third of all out athletes won a gold medal.

The medalists are:
Gold: Matthew Mitcham, Australia (Diving, 10m platform); Natasha Kai, USA (Soccer); Gro Hammerseng & Katya Nyberg, Norway (Handball)

Silver: Lauren Lappin and bi athlete Vicky Galindo, USA (Softball)

Bronze: Linda Bresonik, Germany (Soccer)


UPDATE: Video of Matthew with partner Lachlan and mom.

Friday, August 22, 2008

More on the McCain Homes

Oh ... and this from

The McCains increased their budget for household employees from $184,000 in 2006 to $273,000 in 2007, according to John McCain's tax returns.

Majority Would Support Qualified Gay Candidate for Office

The Advocate is reporting the results of a new Zogby poll. And frankly, I find the results puzzling. If Americans would support such a person to be their leader, why do they object so strongly this person marrying the person he or she loves?

Following an Advocate article pondering the electability of an openly gay candidate for president, a new nationwide poll from Zogby International found that 65% of likely voters would support an openly gay person to serve as President of the United States if they believed he or she was the most qualified person for the post.

The results were similar for a vice presidential candidate, with 66% saying they would back a gay VP whom they believed had the right skill set, and 69% said they would support an out candidate for the U.S. Senate. More than 70% of respondents said they would support an openly gay person to serve as a cabinet-level secretary.

“These results prove that most Americans want to be fair to gay people. Our aspiration is to always see each other as individuals first, and though we may not always succeed at that, our underlying fairness and decency means that one day soon we will. This marks tremendous progress for our community and for the voting public,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute (GLLI), a non-partisan leadership development organization.

Concerned Women Crying Wolf

Those whinebots at Concerned Women of America are at it again.

This time they're claiming that Hallmark is destroying families and endangering children with the newest addition of 3 cards with a same-sex marriage theme to their greeting card line. It's really amazing to think about the power contained in these simple pieces of paper.

Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America (CWA), said, "Hallmark is jeopardizing its brand as a family-friendly company. Customers used to be able to trust Hallmark to produce quality products that were safe for all ages. Now parents will need to steer their kids from Hallmark's section of the greeting card aisle and away from its previously heartwarming movies for fear that they too will push homosexual messages."

Janice Crouse, Director and Senior Fellow of CWA's Beverly LaHaye Institute, said, "By latching onto the latest fad generated by the homosexual special interest groups, Hallmark is negating its image as a wholesome company that promotes American values and pro-family principles in its products. American businesses have a corporate responsibility to the public that buys their products. Instead of bolstering campaigns by special interest groups like the homosexual activists, corporations like Hallmark should be protecting American culture from those forces that would destroy the family and create a public environment that is detrimental to general well-being, especially children's well-being."

See the Right Wing Watch article here.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Memory Jogger for John McCain

It must be nice to have so many houses that you can't even remember all of them.

The Heterosexist Agenda

The homophobes often rant about something called The Homosexual Agenda. Some years ago I became curious about it and did some research. As suspected, the thing is basically an invention of right wing homophobes who took a satirical piece, omitted some key information, and then went on their rant rampage, even reading it into the Congressional Record. You can read the summary of that research here.

The name of the author of the original satirical piece is Michael Swift. Amusingly, several years ago I received a rather stressed-sounding e-mail from another young man with the same name. His father had Googled his name and found it associated with The Gay Agenda. Once I sorted it all out for him, he was quite nice and understanding about it. In fact he was quite disgusted with what the right wing nutcases had done.

And now, the good people at Right Wing Watch have informed us that the wingnuts have published another agenda, and this time it is their own.

All of those potential right-wing candidates out there who are searching for a ready-made agenda to run on are in luck, because today the Family Research Council unveiled a report entitled "25 Pro-Family Policy Goals for the Nation."

As FRC explains, the report is designed to serve as a blueprint for candidates, though it'll work for pastors, voters, and plain-old citizens as well:

The document you hold in your hands can serve as a model for the platforms the Republican and Democratic parties will write this summer. It can also serve as a blueprint for how those we elect can promote and protect the family and its values in 2009 and in the years to come.

The 25 goals we put forth here are grouped into eight main subject areas, ranging from Human Life to Marriage and Family to Religious Liberty to Culture and Media. Each page features a brief analysis of the issue, followed by one or more specific policy proposals which can help America meet that individual goal. Some involve action by Congress, some by the president, and some by state legislators or executive officials.

If you are a candidate for office or an elected official, please consider adopting these proposals as your own. If you are a values voter, challenge those running for office as to their position on these issues, and weigh their response as you consider your vote. If you are a pastor or leader of an organization, consider making copies of this booklet available to your members. If you are simply a citizen who cares about the family in America, write to your elected officials and urge them to pursue these goals with vigor.

As one would expect, the FRC then proceeds to lay out its policy priorities on everything from marriage to abortion to judges. If you are looking for a concise collection of the issues that make up the Right's current political agenda, this new FRC report is one-stop shopping.

Monday, August 18, 2008

California Doctors Cannot Deny Gays Treatment

I have always wondered how people can claim that discrimination is either "freedom of speech" or "freedom of religion."

But then, I guess the haters will stretch anything beyond belief while attempting to hang onto their ability to discriminate without repercussion.

Apparently the California Supreme Court also has the same difficulty in making that alleged connection of the dots.

California's highest court Monday barred doctors from invoking their religious beliefs as a reason to deny treatment to gay men and lesbians, ruling that state law prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination extends to the medical profession.

Justice Joyce Kennard wrote that two Christian fertility doctors who
refused to artificially inseminate a lesbian have neither a free speech right nor a religious exemption from the state's law, which "imposes on business establishments certain antidiscrimination obligations."

In the lawsuit that led to the ruling, Guadalupe Benitez, 36, of Oceanside said that the doctors treated her with fertility drugs and instructed her how to inseminate herself at home but told her their beliefs prevented them from inseminating her. One of the doctors referred her to another fertility specialist without moral objections, and Benitez has since given birth to three children.

Nevertheless, Benitez in 2001 sued the Vista-based North Coast Women's Care Medical Group. She and her lawyers successfully argued that a state law prohibiting businesses from discriminating based on sexual orientation applies to doctors.

Full Advocate Article Here

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

In Defense of Liberalism

Wayne Besen sent out a brilliant essay last week. At the time I meant to put it up in here. So here it is ... better late than never.

It is campaign season, once again, which means conservatives, will try to paint Democrats as "liberals," as if it were a dirty word. I, for one, am proud to be a liberal and believe we should stand up against these conservative smears.

One of the great fallacies in modern lore is that liberalism stands for nothing and liberals have no core beliefs. The right wing, from the Pope to the President, has impugned the left by unfairly portraying it as a valueless movement mired in moral relativism.

This could not be further from the truth. Indeed, the left is the backbone of freedom, the defender of personal liberty, the guarantor of free speech and religious worship and the nurturer of democratic movements across the globe. Far from believing in nothing, wherever liberal democratic values prevail, civilizations flourish and free people thrive.

The cornerstone of liberalism is the idea that each person is endowed with the precious gift of liberty and can freely choose his or her own path - for better or worse. We believe this is crucial to greater enlightenment, personal growth and ultimate fulfillment. It also offers the best opportunity for people to realize their dreams and achieve their spiritual promise.

Liberalism encourages exploration and education. It reveres science and celebrates the inquisitive mind. Indeed, liberal values are often superior to those held on the right, because they are tenaciously subjected to rigorous examination. Beliefs that are questioned and still prevail are the ones that stand the test of time.

Like conservatism, liberalism has very strong core principles. But unlike conservatism, liberalism is not afraid to question "the way it is." The fulcrum of this philosophy is that all ideas will be constantly examined, scrutinized, studied and debated. If new information emerges to counter the culture's prevailing values or understanding, it will be rightfully taken into account. Far from moral relativism, liberalism searches for the ultimate value in which to build a moral foundation: Truth.

Right wing movements across the globe often seem uninterested in truth if it contradicts their obdurate belief systems. Reality averse, they are woefully unable to adjust to new understandings, burgeoning ideas and cultural awakenings. For example, despite overwhelming evidence that women are the equals of men, they still can't drive or vote in some Muslim countries. In America, gay people are still treated as second-class citizens, even though mountains of science and empirical evidence suggest that homosexuality is as biologically ingrained as eye color or handedness.

Liberals believe in the power of "reason," while conservatives are often just plain reactionary. This is why the GOP is the party of the "southern strategy" and anti-gay subterfuge. Republican power is directly related to fertilizing fear and fomenting fanaticism.

Indeed, the great appeal of modern conservatism, or other forms of authoritarianism, is that people don't have to think for themselves. They can mentally "check out" of this world and place their worries in the hands of a commanding politician or a higher deity.

Modern conservatives are often discomfited by the complexities of life and demand answers to the world's many unanswerable questions. They arrogantly and disingenuously claim to have absolute truth, while liberalism boldly proclaims that it does not have such ubiquitous powers of understanding. Liberalism is for those who are unafraid to fully embrace the magnificent journey of life and tackle the great mysteries of our time.

If one looks at modern conservatism in the United States, it is easy to see that it is a movement of intellectual and spiritual atrophy. In the political realm, conservatives essentially call for judges who are "strict constructionists," which is shorthand for saying "the Constitution is a dead document."

What a monumentally ridiculous notion to put forth, that American jurisprudence has not evolved in more than two centuries! Do strict constructionists believe that women and African Americans should have their rights restricted because the nation’s founders treated women as second-class citizens and owned slaves?

Likewise, modern conservatives have also rendered the Bible (or Koran) "dead documents." In conservative houses of worship, traditionalists put forth the untenable belief that holy books are literal. They call these books "God's Plan," as if the Creator hasn’t had a new thought in a couple of thousand years.

Modern conservatives will claim that liberals are sacrilegious for holding such beliefs. To the contrary, liberals are often extraordinarily religious or spiritual people. However, they diverge with conservatives in that they believe the strongest faith is one that is subject to healthy skepticism and painstaking examination. In encouraging people to explore all faiths -- free of guilt, shame, coercion or fear - liberalism also offers people the greatest number spiritual options.

Many of my columns deal with gay themes because equality for gay men and women is the civil rights issue of the new Millennium. However, gay rights mean nearly as much to heterosexuals as they do for homosexuals. The very peace and prosperity of nations can be easily predicted by looking at how they relate to their gay citizens.

If a country treats gay people with dignity and respect and offers them equality, it signals that the country bases its decisions on sound education, rationalism and science. This inevitably leads towards success in all spheres of life.

Countries that ostracize and penalize homosexuals tend to be superstitious, authoritarian and anti-intellectual. This almost uniformly leads to poverty, war, oppression and ultimately tyranny.

A cynic might argue that the United States is not as gay friendly as other countries, yet, it is the richest country in the world. True, but nearly all of America's cities and states that are centers of profit and creativity offer acceptance for homosexuals. States most hostile to gay people are relatively backwards, with lower levels of education and income. Places that offer acceptance signal that they are open-minded and looking towards the future. Locales that reject homosexuals indicate that they are stuck in the past -- at their own peril.

In essence, gay rights are the canary in the coal mine for freedom and prosperity. Unfortunately, the bird is hacking, signaling a period of increased oppression and a dangerous erosion of freedom. It is up to us to rescue this nation from the perilous path it is now on. It is time we proudly stand up for what we believe in. If we don't defend our values, our opponents will define them.

Progressive does not mean passive. Our compassion does not mean that we lack passion. Our respect for other beliefs does not signify that we don't hold strong beliefs of our own that we are willing to fight for. Indeed, our power comes from out ability to adjust to reality. We are secure in our values, yet humble enough to adapt if our viewpoints are proven obsolete. Wherever liberal democracy takes root, a strong and proud record of economic, moral, social and political achievement follows.

What I've Been Doing

I just realized I didn't put anything up here about my sporadic attendance lately.

We are in the process of selling our home and buying another. In fact, we closed on the new house yesterday.

Needless to say, we have been terribly busy with everything that comes along with selling a house, namely the paint touchups, grout touchups, etc. and keeping it neat and ready for showing at a moment's notice.

Fortunately for us, the current real estate crunch has had little effect in this area. Prices continue to rise, although at a slower pace than a year ago. Homes are also moving a bit more slowly, but they are moving.

But still, all good thoughts and prayers for a reasonably quick sale will be accepted.

At least we have the luxury of being able to move into the new place slowly over a period of time.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Blogger Meltdown

Google/Blogger seems to be having some problems with an automated spam blocker gone wrong.

Last week we had this from Faux News. The article talks about 7 Democrat Anti-Obama blogs that were all shut down together and Google's explanation of what they think happened.

Anti-Obama Bloggers Question Why Google Froze Their Accounts

Today the authors of 2 blogs I read regularly, Of Course I Could Be Wrong, and Joe.My.God were locked out of their blogs by the spam blocker. As it turns out, they are just 2 of the hundreds if not thousands of blog authors who were locked out last night by the automated spam blocker gone bad.

Good luck, Google, and please get this fixed quickly.

At this time some blogs seem completely inaccessable, including the two mentioned above and another I visit regularly, Wounded Bird.

The following is now posted on the Blogger home page.

Spam Fridays
August 1, 2008 —

While we wish that every post on this blog could be about cool features or other Blogger news, sometimes we have to step in and admit a mistake.We've noticed that a few users have had their blogs mistakenly marked as spam, and wanted to sound off real quick to let you know that, despite it being Friday afternoon, we are working hard to sort this out. So to those folks who have received an email saying that your blog has been classified as spam and can't post right now, we offer our sincere apologies for the trouble.We hope to have this resolved shortly, and appreciate your patience as we work through the kinks.