aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Monday, February 28, 2005
More on ‘Outing’
David Corn is no friend of “Jeff Gannon.” He has, however, written the definitive position piece on the topic, at least so far as two popular conservative bloggers are concerned. (One gay, the other one not.) Thus I feel compelled to return to the topic I had laid to rest a couple weeks back.
Corn tells us that because “Jeff Gannon” was hardly a flame thrower, he’s no hypocrite:
Gannon/Guckert clearly was writing for a conservative audience. But he was hardly a flame-thrower on gay issues. His observation about Kerry was clumsy but not homophobic. Sure, he worked for an organization that supported an administration and party opposed to gay rights, and he was a Bush-backer. But does that automatically qualify him for outing?
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! The hypocrisy here is not in the product he puts out but in the fact that he works for an anti-gay organization and in favor of the anti-gay policies of an anti-gay administration. If he can keep it a secret, fine by me. But if I find out, it’s in my interest for the world to know.
Why? Because I want to normalize gay in every way. The closet never was and is no longer a normal place. Gay people are everywhere and in every walk of life. And I want everyone to know it. The stakes here are rather high. Dare I point out that the volume of anti-gay rhetoric has been heightened by the administration’s courting of its religiously conservative base?
From the New York Times last week, via FreeRepublic.com. Nick Spano, who I knew some from my time working in Westchester County, won his Republican New York State Senate seat by 18 votes.
But he also achieved a more curious distinction: He broke a nationwide dead heat in state legislative seats. Counting Mr. Spano, the 2004 election made the count 3,657 Republicans and 3,656 Democrats; before last November, Republicans led by 64 seats. [my emphasis]
Yes, it’s winner take all, but we are in a tie. Democrats can win and take all without selling their souls (or abandoning gays), locally and nationally. Despite Howard Dean’s early missteps.
Watch how fast the laws change now
Bank of America said Friday the [lost] tapes contained information on 1.2 million federal employees, including some members of the U.S. Senate and about 900,000 Defense Department employees.
Watch how fast the laws change now! There a commenter, a COO of a commercial bank says, “More laws are not needed...all of that ‘confidential information’ you are worried about banks keeping is REQUIRED by both law and regulation!”
I stand by my earlier suggestion. Check your credit.
Sunday, February 27, 2005
Here’s the deal on the bankruptcy bill: loopholes for the wealthy are preserved and corporate abuse can continue unfettered. But you and me, we no longer get a break - if you call a decade of wrecked credit a break. The name of the bill is enough to make me holler - “Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act” - who’s being abused and who protected here? Consumer bankruptcy has declined and bankruptcy is a consumer protection.
Credit card companies insist that most filers are merely credit addicts who have spent beyond their means and want to stiff the industry with the bill. (Given the credit card industry’s marketing strategies--including documented campaigns targeting minors--this complaint is akin to drug dealers whining about their buyers entering rehab. [emphasis mine]) But a recent Harvard study shows that roughly half of all filers for Chapter 7 do so in the wake of major medical expenses. Moreover, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is hardly a get-out-of-jail-free card--it leaves a prolonged stain on one’s credit rating and imposes tough financial sanctions. The credit card companies, by contrast, don’t seem to be hurt by the filings much at all. According to Harvard Law School bankruptcy expert Elizabeth Warren, since 1997, “Bankruptcy filings have increased 17 percent, while credit card profits have increased 163 percent.”
Elizabeth Warren’s a bankruptcy hero; here’s her highly readable fact-filled testimony before the committee. Here’s the Harvard study, Illness and Injury as contributors to bankruptcy. Here’s the Frontline documentary The Secret History of the Credit Card.
Joe Biden and Dianne Feinstein are among those who voted this turkey out of committee. What gives? Caving to 8 years of credit card industry pressure? Credit card companies are allowed to charge usury rates making them far and away the profit leader in the banking industry. This bill is evidence of their unholy greed. It should be stopped.
Boing Boing on the toolbar
I think I should be able to use a proxy that reformats my browsing sessions for viewing on a mobile phone; I think I should be able to use a proxy that finds every ISBN and links it to a comparison-shopping-engine’s best price for that book across ten vendors. I think I should be able to use a proxy that auto-links every proper noun to the corresponding Wikipedia entry.And so on—it’s my screen, and I should be able to control it; companies like Google and individuals should be able to provide tools and services to let me control it.
Saturday, February 26, 2005
Log Cabin integrity
I so respect the Log Cabin Republicans for their stand in the last election. Yesterday Gay Orbit pointed to them for highlighting this about Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney after a speech decrying gay marriage:
What happened to the Mitt Romney who ran for Governor supporting employment non-discrimination, hate crimes legislation, domestic partnerships, and civil union-like benefits for gay couples? We don’t need another flip-flopping politician,” said Sanchez.
Governor Romney’s own staff seemed to contradict the Governor’s comments in South Carolina. According to news reports, Romney Spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said the Governor supports an amendment that includes legal protections for gay couples.
South Carolina? Sure does look like he’s readying for a run.
Gay Republican roundup
To be included, the individual must be:
- A Republican or conservative political activist
- Engaged in anti-gay advocacy or activism
- Gay or bi-sexual
- In the closet
Obviously the non-closeted members of the Log Cabin Republicans would not be included.
Here’s his list:
Name Anti-gay activities Status Dolan, Terry Ran NCPAC to elect far-right Republicans in the 1970’s when they were attacking gay victims of AIDS Died of AIDS Dreier, David Powerful Congressman who votes consistently against gay rights Closeted gay Guckert, James Wrote gay-bashing articles for right-wing Talon News service Gay prostitute Mehlman, Ken Ran George Bush’s 2004 campaign with anti-gay marriage as central issue; now Chairman of the Republican Party Closeted
Hat tip, the man who led me there: Mike Rogers at blogACTIVE.
My boyfriend’s crying
Friday, February 25, 2005
Tonight I’m off to the last in the Georgia Film Series at the college. A screening of Paris Trout, adapted from the novel by Pete Dexter and based on events in this town. Here local children tell the local story.
For my future reference
The Times has a great story on blogging resources. The future is video:
Vlog It, a $100 program from Serious Magic to be released in April, promises to simplify the video editing process; it is a pared-down version of Visual Communicator 2 Web ($190), available now.You’ll also have to find a place to store your video online. One option is to upload video to the Internet Archive, a nonprofit enterprise dedicated to preserving past Web pages as well as being a library for freely available digital content. Creative Commons, a nonprofit property rights management system, offers a free tool for Windows and Macintosh that lets you upload video to the Internet Archive called ccPublisher… Our Media, using storage space donated by the Internet Archive, plans to begin a free service this week that allows posting and viewing video within minutes. If your blog becomes a destination for a growing audience, you may be able to turn your hobby into a business, or at least a hobby that pays for itself, with ad placement from Google AdSense or BlogAds.com. With AdSense, each time a reader clicks on an ad placed on your site, you get a sliver of revenue. BlogAds, on the other hand, generate revenue based on the number of visits to your blog.
For a guy who spent a good part of his career working for all of us to have access to media production rather than just media consumption, this is manna from heaven.
Thursday, February 24, 2005
I say eat him
There’s a schizoid quality to our relationship with animals, in which sentiment and brutality exist side by side. Half the dogs in America will receive Christmas presents this year, yet few of us pause to consider the miserable life of the pig—an animal easily as intelligent as a dog—that becomes the Christmas ham.We tolerate this disconnect because the life of the pig has moved out of view. When’s the last time you saw a pig? (Babe doesn’t count.) Except for our pets, real animals—animals living and dying—no longer figure in our everyday lives. Meat comes from the grocery store, where it is cut and packaged to look as little like parts of animals as possible. The disappearance of animals from our lives has opened a space in which there’s no reality check, either on the sentiment or the brutality. Several years ago, the English critic John Berger wrote an essay, ‘’Why Look at Animals?’’ in which he suggested that the loss of everyday contact between ourselves and animals—and specifically the loss of eye contact—has left us deeply confused about the terms of our relationship to other species. That eye contact, always slightly uncanny, had provided a vivid daily reminder that animals were at once crucially like and unlike us; in their eyes we glimpsed something unmistakably familiar (pain, fear, tenderness) and something irretrievably alien. Upon this paradox people built a relationship in which they felt they could both honor and eat animals without looking away.
I look my dogs in the eye. Read the article. It deserves another look.
The senate has a great deal for which to apologize. Between 1890 and 1952, seven U.S. Presidents petitioned Congress to put an end to lynching. Nearly 200 Anti-lynching Bills were introduced in Congress during the first half of the 20th Century. Three strongly-worded measures even made it through the house. None reached a vote in the senate. Southern filibusters killed them all....Records can be found for about 5,000 lynchings between 1882 and 1968. The actual number is almost certainly much greater. And the dragging death of a black man, James Byrd jr., by a southern white man in 1998 should serve at least to keep an awareness of lynching alive into the lifetime of every American Adult alive today. For whatever reasons, racial sensitivity, National shame, lack of curiosity, lynching has never received the historical attention it deserves.
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Sean at White Peril wrote another gay marriage post. In this one he mentioned mine and pointed to my About page (which I’m not linking to myself because I’ve been meaning to spiff it up). Both Doug and I are flattered that he called us “adorable” and liked my smile. Thank you Sean.
So I went to his site thinking I’d leave a comment but I found that he and Michael from Gay Orbit ("discover your inner homo” - must add him to my blogroll right away) were going back and forth in the comments. Preferring not to engage, I will send Sean an email instead.
I followed the comments over to Gay Orbit in search of a promised post. There I was happy to serendipitously find that gay is back in the federally funded suicide workshop I alluded to the other day. Finally, I read Michael’s post, It’s not gay marriage. I suggest you do too.
I read it for the articles…
Much as we’d like to see them survive, our concerns about the shaky condition of USAir led us to order a bunch of magazines to use up some frequent flyer miles. One of them, Doug’s choice not mine, was Men’s Health. Today the first issue
came arrived. The cover ("New Year, New Body, New Life") made me wonder, did our mailman blush? It looks to me like a gay version of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue only instead of just one a year, they’re all like that. Now really, what did I expect?
The bottom line appears to be that Windows Media Player is a basic player with some baffling shortcomings masquerading as a full-featured media organizer; RealPlayer is a charlatan trying to be all things to all people, but failing to be anything to anybody; and QuickTime Player is a refined and velvet-smooth minimalist entrant with some jaw-droppingly awful defects of user-experience design preventing anyone from appreciating it on the basis of its strengths.
The defect he hates most is the “QuickTime Pro nag screen.” It’s the nag screen choices that bug me; I’m happy to hit “No” every time as the cost of my free player but “No” is not an option. Even after years of clicking I will still sometimes hit “Why Go Pro.” Now that makes me crazy.
Lessig: Why your broadband sucks
I do very much enjoy Larry Lessig. In Wired, after noting that the US ranks 13th in broadband deployment, he asks what almost $1 billion spent on lobbying state lawmakers gets you:
Governor Ed Rendell signed into law a bill prohibiting the Reds in local government from offering free Wi-Fi throughout their municipalities. The action came after Philadelphia, where more than 50 percent of neighborhoods don’t have access to broadband, embarked on a $10 million wireless Internet project. City leaders had stepped in where the free market had failed. Of course, it’s a slippery slope from free Internet access to Karl Marx. So Rendell, the telecom industry’s latest toady, even while exempting the City of Brotherly Love, acted to spare Pennsylvania from this grave threat to its economic freedom.Let’s hope this is just the first step. For if you look closely, you’ll see the communist menace has infiltrated governments everywhere. Ever notice those free photons as you walk the city at night? Ever think about the poor streetlamp companies, run out of business because municipalities deigned to do completely what private industry would do only incompletely? Or think about the scandal of public roads: How many tollbooth workers have lost their jobs because we no longer (since about the 18th century) fund all roads through private enterprise? Municipal buses compete with private taxis. City police departments hamper the growth at Pinkerton’s (now Securitas). It’s a national scandal.
The column is now available, read by Lessig, via podcast.
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Gender identity fun
Basil points to the Gender Genie, created with the help of an ingenious little algorithm (somewhere in this 32 page paper) that takes a writing sample and predicts whether it was authored by a male or a female. It got me right (male!) on all three tries.
Ok, so now I’m on a roll. Last stop, for old times’ sake, The Draginatrix. Enjoy!
Monday, February 21, 2005
Rodriguez & Lincoln
In a stunning piece on The Newshour tonight that really deserves to be widely acknowledged, Richard Rodriguez did a President’s Day essay on the CA Tripp Lincoln biography. In it he looked at the camera and said this:
As a queer man who learned irony because I could not say directly, who learned the uses of a wider imagination, who learned to read between the lines where centuries of gay lives lie. Undetected, I find C.A.Tripp’s portrait of a homosexual Abraham Lincoln convincing.
I am not interested in the political implications of Lincoln’s intimate life. I am interested that Lincoln, along with Walt Whitman, those two most important voices for national unity at a time when Americans were killing one another as gray against blue, Lincoln and Whitman may have both been unable to speak of their love.
He did this in the face of what have been terrible (and I believe homophobic) reviews of the Tripp book.
An anti-gay marriage argument that’s not anti-gay
I don’t agree with the argument (from Sean at The White Peril via Dean’s World) but it is not anti-gay. In fact it’s representative of what not too long ago was the prevailing sentiment in my world. The marriage issue took me and my friends by surprise. And when I was younger I bought into the I see no reason why homosexuals should feel the need to ape heterosexuals argument too.
Now I see a reason.
I’m for gay marriage because I want to normalize gay in every way. I want the same rights and responsibilities, benefits and obligations, trials and tribulations that everyone else has. Gay marriage would be a big step towards normalizing gay. That’s where the political opposition comes from and that’s why I believe it’s anti-gay to be anti-gay marriage. I do choose to see it through that frame.
As to the state, it’s not about state-bolstered self-esteem. I believe the state has an interest in a stable society and that marriage brings positive community pressures which helps keep married couples together and benefits everyone. Gays would benefit from that too (just as straights have benefited from domestic partnership).
So if the alternative is a decision for the state to get out of the business of marriage altogether, I’m all for it. Just don’t try telling me a Civil Union is the same thing.
I’m on hold with TiVo and reading PVRblog. Good stuff: a plasma mounted Mac Mini and now you can browse Flickr from your TiVo. (The latter precipitated my TiVo service call; the feature requires system 7, I’m still at system 4. Why?)
What got me blogging is the discussion of how to save TiVo. Om Malik says give away two million machines, stop marketing and make like Apple. PVRblog says no to the giveaway and no to no marketing but likes the Apple idea:
Apple’s turnaround was launched with the iMac and...the iMac was an attempt to make Apple’s accessible to any home user - i.e. the “3 steps” commercial. I could imagine something similar to this for a Series 3 TiVo with cable card support: “Step 1: plug into TV, Step 2: plug in cable card, Step 3: Jeff Goldblum laughing.”
Note to the uninitiated: TiVo’s are hard to install.
RESULTS OF MY SERVICE CALL: I will go directly from system 4 to system 7.1. To get system 5 I would have had to have a specific Series 2 model. There is no system 6. Go figure. For a “priority upgrade” I went to TiVo.com/priority and entered my service number (which I got through my TiVo.com account). I’ll be updated within 3 days.
UPDATE 2/22/05: Wow! Less than 12 hours. I got the update overnight.
Ian Hogben discovered that his HP laptop stores a whitelist of allowed Mini-PCI cards in its BIOS. If the WiFi card you buy isn’t on the whitelist, your laptop won’t boot. The anticompetitive implications for this are stunning: if you don’t go to HP on bent knee before shipping your cards, they’ll lock them out of their hardware and none of their customers will be able to use your card.
Sunday, February 20, 2005
I got an email addressed “Dear Supporter” from Democracy Radio alerting me to the Newsweek article on the rise of Ed Shultz. I wonder, did they find me and designate me a “supporter” from my last post on Shultz titled ”We’ll take what we can get?” In it I was hardly enthused. Here’s why:
Ideologically, Schultz is all Democrat-he likes universal health care and labor unions, hates Wal-Mart and corporate crooks-but he also delights in hacking away at his party’s more sensitive side. When a gay listener recently called to complain about homophobia, Schultz cut him off. He believes Democrats shouldn’t talk up gay rights, just like they shouldn’t bash God and guns. Schultz says liberals had better get used to his brand of tough love if they want to win in the heartland. “The party thinks there aren’t any Democrats between Texas and North Dakota,” Schultz told NEWSWEEK, “so why bother talking to people out here?”
Huh? Dean’s first trip as the new DNC Chair is to the south and he wouldn’t have won the position without winning over southern delegates!
Saturday, February 19, 2005
Jake turns 6
Seen here sunning on my sister’s boat. The actual date was last week. We forgot; he’ll never know.
Cooper interviews “Gannon”
"Jeff Gannon” news is all over the place now, so I’ll be taking a break from “Gannon” posting for a while. I recommend AMERICAblog and Media Matters for their continuing work. But in this one last post I point to Editor and Publisher:
Asked this afternoon about reports that he was scheduled to appear on the Anderson Cooper’s CNN show tonight, he denied it strongly. One hour later, a CNN spokesman told E&P, “He’s taping it right now.”
He’s a chronic liar! Here’s the Anderson Cooper interview via Media Matters. (It’s long so give it time to download).