aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Former Georgia senator Max Cleland confirmed Thursday he will not seek a 2008 rematch against Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who won Cleland’s seat in a bitter 2002 campaign.
Cleland, a Democrat who lost three limbs in Vietnam and uses a wheelchair, had campaigned aggressively for other Democratic candidates this year, leading some to speculate that he might be preparing for a run of his own. Still angry over 2002 political ads criticizing Cleland’s commitment to national security, many Democrats had hoped he would try to avenge the loss.
But through a spokesman, Cleland told The Associated Press Thursday that he would not challenge Chambliss. [...]
Democrats said to be considering a Senate bid include Rep. Jim Marshall of Macon, DeKalb County Chief Executive Officer Vernon Jones and state office-holders such as Secretary of State Cathy Cox.
Cleland has acknowledged battling depression and said recently he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, possibly prompted by violence in Iraq triggering memories of Vietnam.
Whistle past Schaller!
The more I read about Whistling Past Dixie the angrier I get. And, again, it is not that I disagree with the diagnosis. I disagree with the prescription:
Schaller speaks ill of the South. The very heart of his argument is a taboo notion: that the South votes Republican because the Republicans have perfected their appeal to Southern racism, and that Democrats simply can’t (and shouldn’t) compete.
But, among scholars, this is hardly news. Schaller builds this conclusion on one of the most impressive papers in recent political science, “Old Times There Are Not Forgotten: Race and Partisan Realignment in the Contemporary South,” by Nicholas Valentino and David Sears.
Swell. They prove racism. I stand by my belief that the race problem we’ve got in this country is a national one and that it’s easier to point fingers at the South than it is to honestly address the national problem of our public schools and prison population and urban poverty and all the rest.
What’s more, if Republicans have succeeded by openly baiting a region of the country not really American (the latte-swilling Northeast), Schaller says, “The Democrats need their own ‘them,’ and the social conservatives who are the bedrock of Southern politics provide the most obvious and burdensome stone to hang around the Republicans’ neck.” Democrats should cite “Southern obstructionism as a continuing impediment to the investments and progress the country must make in the coming century.”
The Democratic party played a shameful role in shaping that Southern racism, and how does the Schaller crowd propose to make amends for that historical fact? Well, of course, they don’t. Schaller proposes to use that racism tactically, a tactic that reeks of elitist paternalism and an inflated sense of superiority.
How would his “win in the rest of the country then the South will come around” approach have played out in the Civil Rights era? The Democrats should be on the ground here, not “playing to white voters’ inclinations to see blacks as lazy” but working to buttress and support those who don’t.
I read today of Howard Dean speaking in Texas. The headline was Dems need more gay leaders. But the part of the story that had resonance for me was this:
Flush from big Democratic gains in last week’s elections, Dean emphasized that the “new Democratic Party” reaches out to all citizens, even those less likely to vote for them.
The downfall of the “old Democratic Party,” he said, had been its acceptance to represent half the nation.
Netroots activists balk about DC political consultants acting as beltway operators when what we need, they say, is a means to hear, understand and address the concerns of those of us who live outside the beltway. I hear Schaller sounding like the former, Dean the latter. I’m with Dean.
Comedy Central expires
I was happy to hear of the new Comedy Central embedded player and I agree with Steve who pledges he’ll “embed video directly from the source when the source makes it as easy to share as YouTube.” But now he finds:
The embedded clips from The Daily Show and The Colbert Report expire. That’s right: they only allow them to live online for about two weeks. I was about to embed a clip in this space from The Colbert Report when I noticed fine print that says “This clip expires 12/14/2006.” Why let it expire? ... In order to be a YouTube beater, they’re going to have to renegotiate those licensing agreements. Blog archives go far deeper than two weeks.
Of course, I can imagine the same limits imposed on YouTube videos. Have they never heard of The Long Tail???
I want the Google ad model applied to video. Embed the ads in a border around the player, include click-to-play ads but DO NOT make us sit through an ad to watch the video. And match the ads to the video content. I think that’s advertising magic - or at least as magical as adsense.
REMEMBER: You’ve heard this all before.
Freepers Shaken and stirred by gay Bond scene
Daniel Craig is urging movie bosses to revolutionize the James Bond franchise by including a gay scene involving the superspy in the follow-up to Casino Royale.
The heart-throb actor has also reportedly told studio chiefs he is prepared to film a full frontal nude scene to please both his male and female admirers.
He says, “Why not? I think in this day and age, fans would have accepted it.”
“I mean, look at (British TV series) Doctor Who - that has had gay scenes in it and no one blinks an eye.”
Via Pam, whose gathered a choice collection of Actual Freeper QuotesÃ¢â€žÂ¢
Feed publishing Best Practices
Niall Kennedy’s put together all you need to know about feeds:
Web feed syndication is made up of two base vocabularies: RSS 2.0 and the Atom Syndication Format. These base vocabularies are extended using namespaces to create a common set of expressions for your web feed data. In this post I’ll walk through some best practices for publishers syndicating their data via web feeds. READ ON
Change in Chile
The WaPo reports on those eager shed Chile’s questionable label as the most culturally conservative country in Latin America:
Groups that have historically determined Chile’s cultural norms—including the Supreme Court, the Catholic Church and a traditional class of political elites—are now being tested on multiple fronts.
A new national policy, for example, offers free morning-after pills to anyone 14 or older. Congress is debating proposals to explicitly protect the legal rights of gays and other minorities. Another proposal that would allow “merciful deaths” to terminally ill patients has ignited a debate about euthanasia. And a government-funded AIDS prevention campaign launched this month shows school-age girls and a gay couple, among others, promoting condom use. The campaign has riled Catholic Church leaders.
For a country that legalized divorce just two years ago, the pace of the changes is remarkable.
They have a woman president:
As president, Michelle Bachelet—an agnostic, separated mother of three—stands at the center of many of the cultural disputes. She was inaugurated in March after running a campaign that emphasized social tolerance. Though she is part of the same governing coalition that has held the presidency since Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship was ousted 16 years ago, her style of governance at times has been markedly different from those of her predecessors.
For example, Bachelet, a former health minister and pediatrician, pushed for the distribution of free morning-after pills without extensive consultation with more conservative members of the ruling coalition—lawmakers who for years have successfully put the brakes on culturally divisive proposals. [...]
Though it was a bitter fight in political circles, the morning-after pill issue didn’t affect Bachelet’s approval rating, which increased slightly after the controversy. One poll conducted about three weeks ago placed her approval rating at 59 percent, higher than the 53 percent of the total vote she was elected by in January.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Girls Gone Wild: virgin whores
Any regular Comedy Central viewer is familiar with the Girls Gone Wild commercials. A gay man, I pretty much completely ignored them. Ariel Levy didn’t.
Three years ago she went to South Beach at spring break and wrote about it in Slate. The piece still gets good traffic; because it’s still so insightful:
Crazy Debbie is a 19-year-old personal trainer by day. She wears body glitter, white stilettos that lace up to her knees, and a rhinestone Playboy bunny ring. “I did a scene for them last night,” she says proudly, which is to say she masturbated for the GGW cameras in the back of a bar. “People watch the videos and think the girls in them are real slutty, but I’m a virgin! I just think this is fun. Miami is one of the few places where people aren’t ashamed of their bodies. And yeah, Girls Gone Wild is for guys to get off on, but the women are beautiful and it’s fun!”
Here’s Ariel speaking in yesterday’s Fresh Air interview:
I think there’s still a lot of emphasis on purity and virginity, you know, and some of the early stars of raunch culture, for example, were Jessica Simpson and Britney Spears. And when they first became popular, it was like, you know, they were half-naked, they were our--these national pastimes was just drooling over these girls--but they had to tell us constantly in their music that sex was something they sang about, not something they engaged in. I mean, I still think that there’s this real pressure to be a virgin even while you look like a whore. It’s like we want all our sort of iconic female roles in one.
And I think, you know, not unrelated is the fact that we keep pumping billions of dollars into abstinence-only education, which tells these young people, essentially, `Just say no to sex until you’re married.’ And we do that despite the fact that there’s never been a single study to show that this works, and, of course, the United States has woefully high levels of, you know, teen pregnancy and STDs spread.
So I think it’s like, there’s an actual anxiety about sexuality paired with a sort of endless appetite for hotness.
RELATED: ”Baby give me a kiss” by Claire Hoffman in the LA Times. An absolute must read look at the man behind the ‘Girls Gone Wild’ soft-porn empire.
Ariel Levy on Feminism
Listen to Ariel Levy on Fresh Air. There’s so much there, I choose today her take on the word feminism:
I think that the word itself, of course, has famously fallen out of favor with my generations and the generations younger than I am. I’m 32. I don’t think that’s so surprising or so problematic… nobody’s walking around calling themselves yippies, anymore, either… I just think that the various names for revolutionary movements for social change that were, you know, comfortable and popular in the `60s and `70s, you know, that they’re just not--they just don’t fit necessarily now…
[T]here’s no such thing as a unified woman’s movement right now. I think it’s fragmented, and I think people are doing lots of important things. And I think that, you know, the ongoing struggle for reproductive rights is crucial, and I think that--I mean, people are doing so much important work, I just don’t think it’s got a sort of solid, unified center.
If you’re not familiar with Ariel’s writing, I wasn’t either before picking up Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women And The Rise Of Raunch Culture in The Strand last year at about this time. I highly recommend it.
And money can’t buy happiness
The Chronicle reports (subscription required) on a study that finds Laptops Change How Students Work but Do Not Improve Their Performance:
[A] laptop’s value isn’t so cut and dried, according to a study conducted by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University.
The study, which is described as one of the first systematic efforts to figure out how students use their laptop computers, came up with the uncontroversial finding that the machines give users more flexibility in choosing where and when to study. But the researchers found no evidence that the computers improved students’ work.
In fact, a report on the study says, students with laptops tend to spend “significantly more time” working on assignments than other students do. But that extra time is not reflected in their finished products: Students with laptops get roughly the same grades as those who trek to computer labs. Instead of saving time, the report argues, laptop users are often killing it—firing off e-mail messages, sending instant messages, and surfing the Web.
What’s more, students with laptops may grow overly reliant on them, as instructors in one typography course at a Midwestern university found out. “Students reported spending long periods of time searching the Web for pictures rather than sketching and then scanning what they needed,” says the report. “Instructors had to sometimes tell students to use paper rather than their computers to store ideas.”
If you want to talk about overly reliant, let’s look at staff, faculty and administrators too. But what I read here leaves me reluctant to infer any clear conclusion:
Students with laptops proved much more likely to work at home, and much less likely to use common spaces on campuses, than were students without the machines. And the laptop users were far more inclined to work alone.
On the one hand, that poses a problem for professors: how to build a sense of community among students who increasingly view course work as a solitary pursuit.
On the other hand, laptops presented the typography students with an interesting opportunity. Since they did more of their work in and around their dormitories, the students actually spent more time interacting with peers outside the field of design, a shift toward interdisciplinary thinking that has its own advantages.
Here’s the study.
O come on Emanuel!
Hillary fans are not going to rejoice about this:
Jon Stewart: “So your plan is to find Franklin Delano Roosevelt, exhume him, reanimate him—”
Rahm Emanuel: “Well, Hillary’s already helping us with the Eleanor part—”
Jon Stewart: “Settle down ….”
Ha, get it? Because Eleanor Roosevelt was the lesbian wife of a popular Democrat president. Comedy gold! You did great in the midterms, Rahm, but we won’t be surprised when you come down with a sudden case of Polonium 210 poisoning.
Georgia ranks 5th in the number of deer collisions; State Farm Insurance says “deer whistles” have been proven ineffective. John Berman had a report on GMA yesterday that advised, “If you see the deer, don’t swerve, don’t be afraid, hit it if you have to.”
Swell. And what can we do for the deer? Berman says, “One solution is creating wildlife under passes...surveillance video from a study conducted in Virginia shows that given an option, deer will cross under a busy highway, avoiding the dangers above.”
Huh? That’s it? I’m thinking they picked that solution because they had the video (I don’t) of deer using an underpass rather than because that’s the best idea anyone’s thought up.
None of these stories has bubkiss to say about real solutions to a real problem!
So I went looking and here’s what I found:
Currently, there are approximately eight does for every buck in the wild. Laws restrict the number of does that hunters may kill. Deer do not have monogamous mating relationships, and bucks will often mate with more than one female. As a result, the ratio of does to bucks sets the stage for a population explosion.
Allowing hunters to kill more does, however, does not resolve population problems. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the open hunting of does left fawns without mothers, and removed too many females from the breeding population. Sport hunting decimated deer populations in many states. As a result, states passed laws restricting the hunting of does. These policies have contributed to the overpopulation of deer.
Hunting does remove some animals from the population, but it does not keep deer populations at a continually reduced level. Immediately after a hunt, the remaining animals flourish because less competition for food exists, allowing the remaining animals to live healthier lives, and resulting in a higher reproductive rate.
Left alone by humans, the ratio of does to bucks would be approximately equal.
They want hunting banned. But that’s not all:
Many national, private, and state owned lands are open to logging… Companies demolish large stands of trees, rather than selectively taking trees from different stands of timber. This practice ill effects animals dependent on trees for food and cover. It also creates fields of additional “browse” vegetation for deer, causing a surge in deer population attributable to the introduction of this food source.
Ban sport hunting. Reintroduce natural predators, such as wolves and mountain lions, where possible.
Maintain existing populations of natural predators.
Ban clear-cut logging. Allow fires to burn naturally in wildlife areas. Limit new human habitations in wildlife areas, decreasing the risk of property damage in the event of a fire, and making controlled burns a more acceptable wildlife management tool. Prevent humans in residential areas, state parks, and federal parks from feeding deer. Deer should be reliant on their own habitat for food. Erect high fencing around crops and plants. Electric and sturdy fencing increase the effectiveness of this deterrent. Fences should be at least eight feet high and buried one foot deep. Openings in the fence should be small. Contact a university agricultural extension office or landscape business before purchasing and installing your fencing.
We’ve got a deer problem and, while media stories show empty pictures and laugh at what they think are funny deer stories, that problem’s getting worse. One thing is clear to me, we’d all benefit from more humane education.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Turd two: money talks
The Boston Globe tells us that at the dinner honoring freedom of speech where Newt said we need a “different set of rules” and to “reexamine freedom of speech to meet the threat of terrorism” there’s one speech freedom he said he’d like to see further de-regulated:
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Monday that First Amendment rights need to be expanded and cited the elimination of McCain-Feingold campaign finance reforms as one solution.
Gingrich, a Republican, suggested allowing people to give any amount to any candidate as long as the donation is reported online within 24 hours. [...]
Passed in 2002, the campaign finance law known as McCain-Feingold banned unrestricted donations from labor, corporations and the wealthy to the political parties. Gingrich said the reforms have failed and only led to more negative campaign ads via e-mail, television, direct mail and phone calls.
Via SusanG at Daily Kos, “Got that? Shut your mouth and let the rich and corporate donors open their wallets. It’s the American way. If this isn’t one of the sickest perversions of the original intent of the First Amendment, I don’t know what is.”
LATER: Playing the game Newt’s way, Salon reports, gay millionaires and their allies poured unprecedented sums into the 2006 election—and it worked. Said one, “I honestly think that federal campaigns should be publicly funded with identical dollars for every candidate. But this is the current system.”
The turd speaks
At a First Amendment awards dinner, Newt said we must reexamine freedom of speech:
Gingrich, speaking at a Manchester awards banquet, said a “different set of rules” may be needed to reduce terrorists’ ability to use the Internet and free speech to recruit and get out their message.
“We need to get ahead of the curve before we actually lose a city, which I think could happen in the next decade,” said Gingrich, a Republican who helped engineer the GOP’s takeover of Congress in 1994.
RELATED: A movement or a turd?
RIAA sues elderly hurricane Rita survivor
An elderly survivor of Hurricane Rita, Ms. Rhonda Crain, has been sued by the RIAA in Beaumont, Texas, in SONY v. Crain.
She is fighting back and has asserted a counterclaim against the plaintiffs, saying that the RIAA’s actions “amount to extortion, reciting a litany of other similar cases brought by the RIAA.
Ms. Crain has also asserted the defense, first raised in Arista v. Greubel, that the plaintiffs’ have been fully compensated by the $115 million settlement they received from Kazaa.
Take a stand: Support the NHL
This should probably be in my Stop Looking South! series; it’s from that bastion of Democratic liberalism, not!, San Diego, California.
There James Hartline is “fighting illegal porn stores [and] exposing the corruption within the homosexual agenda, James is being used to confront the powers of darkness” and is read by “over 6,000 concerned citizens everyday.”
So what’s he got to say about Breakfast With Scot, a film about a gay former-pro hockey player married to the hockey team’s lawyer and gaurdian of an effeminate 11-year-old boy?
In one of the most obscene betrayals of children in motion picture history, Miracle Pictures Inc. is now filming the gay-themed tale of two male homosexual lovers who take custody of an eleven year-old boy. The young boy is portrayed as a “budding” drag queen. While Breakfast With Scot is seeking to pervert society’s standardized views on family, the film does more to reveal how intent the radicalized homosexual movement is in creating an epidemic of gender confusion to justify the institutionalization of its beliefs on transsexualism and transvestitism.
As horrible and degrading for children and male role models as Breakfast With Scot is, there is an even darker aspect to this immoral escapade. The movie is also being sanctioned and approved of by the National Hockey League! ... the National Hockey League has now decided to join forces with the radicalized homosexual movement in their declared war on traditional family values and children. By issuing a licence [sic] to the producers of Breakfast With Scot to use the league logo in the movie, the NHL has said that it wants family dollars without family values.
Well not exactly, but it has indeed given the movie its full support. And you can give the NHL your full support for its sound decision. Pam points out that James has helpfully provided the contact info:
National Hockey League Fan’s Association
Jim Boone: email -
telephone: (613) 224-7661
Contact Form for the NHL Officials Association
Contact Form for Affiliate Organization, U.S. Hockey League
Contact Form for the NHL Player’s Association
JHR Action Center
The James Hartline Report
8,000 Daily Readers Strong!
I Am Making My Stand! Are You?
Nissan: Gay-friendly dream car
“We are ecstatic that Nissan North America has rolled out their domestic-partner benefits to all of their U.S. employees,” said Joe LaMuraglia, publisher of Gaywheels.com and former employee of NNA.
“I was fortunate enough to be part of the team that got the ball rolling and began the campaign to push for domestic partner benefits for LGBT employees at Nissan. I commend the employees still there who kept the dream alive and followed this through to completion.”
Nissan will be offering domestic partner benefits to their US-based employees as of January 1, 2007. Employees in the sales and marketing division of the company have enjoyed domestic partnership health insurance and car benefits since January, 2006. The latest addition includes the manufacturing arm of the company, which employs the vast majority of Nissan’s US workers.
I can only assume it’s likely to be a while until such benefits are offered at the Hyundai Alabama plant.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Stop looking South! III
A homeowners association in southwestern Colorado has threatened to fine a resident $25 a day until she removes a Christmas wreath with a peace sign that some say is an anti-Iraq war protest or a symbol of Satan.
Some residents who have complained have children serving in Iraq, said Bob Kearns, president of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association in Pagosa Springs. He said some residents have also believed it was a symbol of Satan. Three or four residents complained, he said.
Via Will Wheaton, “nothing divides people quite like peace, you know.”
LATER: The Times reports on the wreath.
The other day, moments after I posted about the AFA’s effort to sign up 1,000,000 families to boycott Wal-Mart because they automatically donate 5 percent of online sales directly to the Washington, D.C., community center for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people!, they called off the boycott.
The relationship with the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce continued on course according to their joint statement but still the American Family Association started sending out thank yous because Wal-Mart issued a statement saying it has no position on same sex marriage and doesn’t give preference to gay and lesbian suppliers.
Too bad for the AFA. Had they waited until this week they could have gotten the statement and claimed credit for a November sales drop that may well end up being the first month-to-month decline for Wal-Mart in more than a decade.
KAI RYSSDAL: Gas prices are relatively low. Consumer confidence is steady. So it all adds up to a worrying sign for the world’s largest retailer. The company points to poor sales of its trendy new fashion line. Disruptive store remodelings too. But retail analyst Howard Davidowitz says Wal-Mart’s strategy is at stake.
HOWARD DAVIDOWITZ: If you’re selling to the half of Americans who have record debt, sub-prime mortgages, optional adjustable-rate mortgages, 20 percent of Wal-Mart customers have no savings whatsoever. If you’re focused on that customer mix, which are the most vulnerable in our society, I think you have a problem because those folks are under water.
Gosh, tell us what you really think Howard:
DAVIDOWITZ: “If you upgrade merchandise in organic food, you’re OK - which they’re doing. If you do it in electronics and home, you’re OK. I think you have to be real careful with apparel - that’s an image issue, and Wal-Mart doesn’t fit a fashion image.
I have to agree you’re not likely to find Chelsea queens or West Hollywood hunks donning Wal-Mart’s gay apparel. Still, Howard closes on an up note:
The name of the game for them is to sell those customers more. Can they do it? I think they can. Will they do it? I think they will.
The one thing Roll Call added was that “Chambliss’ biggest re-election threat would appear to be Rep. Jim Marshall (D), who has indicated an interest in running against the first-term Senator.”
Via Steve Benen, who chimes in that rumor has it “former Sen. Max Cleland, whom Chambliss defeated in 2002, has been approached about considering a rematch.”
My question is how much support any of them will get from national Dems, the preponderance of whom appear to be in a write off the South mood.
You’re bad for America. Just go away!
Nothing good is coming of this baloney:
Richards appeared on the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s nationally syndicated radio program, “Keep Hope Alive,” as a part of a series of apologies for the incident. He said he knew his comments hurt the black community, and hoped to meet with the two men.
He told Jackson that he had not used the language before.
The two men who were directly insulted by Michael Richards’ racist burst last week have reportedly asked for money as a compensation for the offenses he brought them, according to their lawyer.
Frank McBride and Kyle Doss, the two men who were part of a larger group attending Michael Richards’ stand-up comedy number last week at West Hollywood’s Laugh Factory, insist for a personal apology and even some money, Gloria Allred, their attorney said.
Everyone’s playing out their role in this despicable drama and we sure as hell aren’t moving forward. Comments Joe, a comedic performer who’s no fan of Allred:
I can just see the day when some 2nd grader sues me at a school because my dummy stuck his tongue out at them during my famous “hypnosis” routine. My elephant puppet squirts water into fair audiences. How many millions will a 10 year old with a lawyer beside him seek for that?
Robin Roberts just said on GMA that “there’s no excuse for what [Richards] said but hopefully this can open a way to have a dialog about race.” Diane Sawyer agreed.
This is yet another performance. A far better one than at the Laugh Factory but the guy is sincere only in trying to rehab his career. He’s playing by the new rules of the media game but it’s a game we should all wish the cellphone video camera has brought to an end.
The faux-apology in the three-ring-media-circus is a sham that works for the media industry and works for the celebrity (and for the lawyers and the activists) but, in Jon Stewart’s immortal words from his infamous Crossfire appearance, this game is “hurting America...Stop!” Crossfire was stopped; it was canceled. I’d like to see the ritual media apology stop. I’m not holding my breath.
There’s no question that we need a dialog about race in this country but it’s not going to come from a washed-up comic trying to rehab his career. Richards should have put out a statement of apology then disappeared from public view; and used that time away to listen and learn and work to address the real issues of race in America.
Then, a year or more from now, he could have come back into public view with an apology and maybe had some legitimacy. As it is the man has compounded his crime. He should just go away. And stay away.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Tolls & congestion
For about eight months, drivers in 275 Seattle-area households agreed to pay for something the rest of us get for free: The right to drive on the region’s freeways and streets.
They were guinea pigs in a pioneering study that explored how motorists’ behavior might change if they had to pay tolls - not just on a few bridges or highways, but on almost every road with a yellow center line.
Researchers established virtual tolls ranging from a nickel to 50 cents a mile. They gave participants pre-paid accounts of between $600 and $3,000, and told them they could keep whatever the tolls didn’t eat up.
The experiment ended in February. Preliminary results, released this month, suggest that if such so-called “road pricing” were widespread, it could make a significant dent in traffic.
But don’t expect to start paying to commute down Interstate 5 or Aurora Avenue anytime soon.
Transportation policymakers are intrigued by the study, but they say there still are too many questions and too little experience with tolls in the Seattle area to adopt them across the entire road network. And the public isn’t ready for such a radical plan, they add.
“The politics of that is just too tough,” said Richard Ford, chairman of the state Transportation Commission.
It is striking to me that there is so little discussion of solutions to our congestion problems relative to the scale of what we face. I’m watching and wondering when that will change.
Reading the Bible the gay-friendly way
Trying to rebut this view is a movement led by people who are both gay and Christian who say that the Bible is on their side.
In the battle over gay rights and same-sex marriage, those who oppose both often cite Biblical passages which, they believe, clearly state that homosexuality is wrong.
“Most people think that the attitude of gay Christians is, ‘Who cares what the Bible says?’ when in reality, we care deeply what the Bible says,” said the Rev. Jeff Miner , pastor of the Jesus Metropolitan Community Church , a gay-friendly congregation in Indianapolis. He led a forum on the topic last weekend at Arlington Street Church. “We think there are a lot of powerful, affirming things that are in the Bible that have been ignored.”
Those affirming messages were detailed by Miner and forum co-leader John Tyler Connoley in their 2002 book, “The Children are Free: Reexamining the Biblical Evidence on Same-sex Relationships.” The book served as the text for the forum, sponsored by an array of gay-friendly local church groups, which drew about 200 people.
Most of the forum was devoted to passages that the authors say treat homosexuals and heterosexuals equally. In the Old Testament, claim the authors, Ruth’s covenant with Naomi, which includes the memorable phrase, “Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live,” actually refers to a committed same-sex relationship. They also offered a different interpretation of a story that appears in both Matthew and Luke, in which a centurion asks Jesus to heal a man who is typically identified—misidentified, says Miner—as the centurion’s servant.
“That story’s often preached about in straight churches,” said Miner, but “nobody bothers to mention that the Greek word used to describe the sick man is the word used in the ancient world to describe your same-sex partner.”
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Stop looking South! II
Uh, this is from New Jersey:
Junior Matthew LaClair, 16, said [public school] history teacher David Paszkiewicz, who is also a Baptist preacher in town, spent the first week of class lecturing students more about heaven and hell than the colonies and the Constitution.
LaClair said Paszkiewicz told students that if they didn’t accept Jesus, “you belong in hell.” He also dismissed as unscientific the theories of evolution and the “Big Bang.”
Pop the question. And report the answer.
Early in October I wrote a post that I thought framed Outing in an original way.
In it I explained that to accept that being called ‘gay’ is defamatory necessarily carries with it the assumption that there is some legally definable harm that comes as a consequence of being gay. Either our society has a ”straight-person’s privilege” protected by the courts or you cannot be defamed by being called gay.
Further, I argued, there is a ”straight person assumption” that carries with it that illegitimate “straight-person’s privilege.” That, too, should be eliminated in a just society. And with it the notion that ”outing” is a violation of privacy.
Pleased with my post, I sent it to a couple of my more conservative blogger buddies and waited for their impressed reply. You might guess that I waited in vain. They replied alright but were far less impressed than I might have hoped. The email dialog and posted responses left everyone more or less affirmed in their same previously held position.
Ha! I thought. Look at them! Mired in their unchanged position! Not budged a bit by my brilliant reasoning! Unwilling to consider different points of view! Closed to new ideas! Too smart for my own good, it did finally occur to me that my position had remained every bit as unchanged as theirs. So I sat and simmered; nary a post through what has been a banner season of outing chatter.
Until today. Using as occasion the SoVo piece reporting objections to CNN’s scrubbing (both transcript and video) of Bill Maher’s outing of Ken Mehlman on Larry King, I proclaim the latest iteration of my position on outing: Ask the question; report the answer.
I realize this is no revolution in my thinking; I’ve only budged a bit. But it is genuine ongoing considered and thoughtful evolution. The position is not original to me, it comes from Chris Craine:
Homosexuality has gone from the love that dare not speak its name, to the sex that dare not be asked about. It’s telling that a reporter who wouldn’t hesitate to ask a straight celebrity about who he’s dating would consider asking the same question to a closeted celebrity as prying into his sex life.
In reality, asking a female celeb if she has a girlfriend is no more and no less intruding into her bedroom than asking if she has a boyfriend. And simply asking “the question” and reporting the answer is not the equivalent of “outing,” as many in the mainstream press seem to believe.
Outing involves reporting that someone is gay despite their refusal to answer the question or their insistence that they are straight. It’s understandably controversial, and involves weighing the supposed hypocrisy of the closeted public figure against how private the evidence is of the person’s homosexuality.
It’s not outing to merely ask the question and report the answer. It’s what journalists do every day. And in those answers, the public can draw its own conclusions.
Atlanta is cool
Some cities will do anything they can think of to keep young people from fleeing to a hipper town. [...]
[A] report released this week by the Metropolitan Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, which showed Atlanta leading the pack among big cities, while other metro areas, like Philadelphia, hemorrhaged young people from 1990 to 2000. (In this competition, surveys that make a city look good are a favorite opening salvo.)
In that decade, the Atlanta study said, the number of 25- to-34-year-olds with four-year college degrees in the city increased by 46 percent, placing Atlanta in the top five metropolitan areas in terms of growth rate, and a close second to San Francisco in terms of overall numbers. Charlotte, N.C., also outperformed Atlanta, with a growth rate of 57 percent, the second highest in the country after Las Vegas.
Atlanta a close second to San Francisco? Around here they say that Atlanta’s not part of Georgia. And there they hesitate to venture outside the perimeter:
Atlanta has some strong advantages, of course. There are some 45 colleges and universities in the metro area. The Cartoon Network is based here, as are scores of companies in the technology and entertainment sectors. The music industry is another draw for the creative class. And the city has large international and gay populations, considered strong indicators for popularity with the young and restless.