Archive for February 2008

Oscars Suck and A Phrase I’m Tired Of

February 25, 2008

The most interesting part of the show was the clip from the 1980s of Cher wearing her eyelash dress.  What was it that made this show such a complete snooze?  The safe fashion?   A complete lack of memorable musical scores? The incredibly dark movies?  John Stewart’s horrible stabs at humor?  (Are we sure those writers aren’t still on strike?)  And did the set designers just take the year off?  I know we are a nation at war, but is that any reason for style to hit the road?  

And another thing, while I am happy that we talk openly about pregnancy in public these days (Jessica Alba,  Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman) and am even a little intrigued by the fact that we can manage to make it glamorous, if I hear the phrase “baby bump” one more time, I’m gonna barf the way I did when I found out celeb parents are paid millions of dollars for the first photos of their children.  Eeewwww!  I’m agin’ anything that makes a woman’s body sound as if it is a giant pimple that’s about to pop.  It’s probably just me, but I can’t help it.   

That is all.   

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Some Good News for Gay Families

February 16, 2008

INDIANA

In Indiana a constitutional gay marriage ban dies in the House.

What it means: It will be 2012 before Indiana voters would get the op to vote for a new constitutional amendment, since any constitutional amendment must pass through two consecutive legislative terms. Say what you will about conservative Indiana, being slow to change the constitution makes a lot of sense to me.

What it doesn’t mean: The state still has laws against gay marriage, so nothing really gets better for gay families. Things just don’t get any worse, for now.

OREGON

In Oregon, same-sex couples may now register as domestic partners as of February 4, 2008.

What it means: Oregon’s senate and house passed a domestic partner registry law that allows same-sex couples to register their partnerships, thus granting them state-level matrimonial rights – joint tax filing and inheritance rights, mainly.

What it doesn’t mean: Oregonian and all other American gay families are still not recognized by our federal government, which means that any corporate pension or retirement benefit with federal ties (taxable income) may not be transferred to same-sex spouses without tax penalties. Also, there are over 1,100 federal rights and benefits attached to marriage that will not be available to gay-partnered Oregonians.

NEW YORK

A New York appellate court ruled that valid out-of-state gay marriages must be recognized in New York.

What it means: Until the NY legislature decides to amend the constitution to say otherwise (and it could), out-of-state gay marriages (Canada, Massachusetts, other countries that allow gay marriage like Spain and the Netherlands) must be recognized by the state.

What it doesn’t mean: Gay couples still can’t get married IN New York. The highest court in New York ruled in 2006 that gay couples did not have a current legal right to marriage in that state.All three events are just a continuation of the ever-evolving patchwork quilt of our civil rights, but at least these are relatively good news.

Valentine Day Shots

February 14, 2008

How I knew today was Valentine’s Day: 

 Three times in five minutes the woman waiting on me at the license branch said to the co-worker friend next to her: “I guess he ain’t gonna send me those roses.”  

As I walked up to an open window at the post office I noticed that each of the clerks had been given a little red foil bag with pink crinkly stuffing poking out of the top and filled with candy.   

While at Goose Market buying stinky cheese for John and a cup of hazelnut fig gelato I asked Chris if he and his wife would get a chance to celebrate Valentine’s Day, to which he said, “Everyday with her is Valentine’s Day.”

John crunched his NECCO conversation hearts by the handful.   

Hillary in Manassas

February 11, 2008

Just watched Hillary’s town hall meeting in Manassas, VA. She sounded good- pretty clear, strong, confident. Like the old Al Gore, she has a tendency to over-explain issues. Not that “how will we stop global warming?” doesn’t deserve a detailed answer, but the Town Hall format doesn’t really provide the best forum in which to address it. I guess all of the candidates are working as best they can with the forums they are given.

She looked really energized, too, and appeared to be having a good time. Glad to see it.

Learned over at Americablog that her campaign manager and long-time friend, Patti Solis Doyle just resigned, which means some new blood will be injected into her run. Given that few really thought the primaries after February would matter this much, it might be a good thing to have someone who is well rested come into the mix. And since Obama took the Maine, Washington, Louisiana and Nebraska primaries this weekend, new blood may be needed to lead the campaign home.

And that “town hall” is packed! I never realized that there were more than five Democrats in all of Virginia!

Hi, I’m Jon Elrod

February 8, 2008

Jon Elrod (Not my photo -Looking for credit info.)

Interesting race developing for Julia Carson’s (RIP) now vacant congressional seat. Worth a little trip down memory lane for me.

Back in 2004 I decided I needed to broaden my mind a little and try to understand a scrappy group of voters called the Log Cabin Republicans. For those who don’t know, the LCR are gay Republicans. When I found out that a highly respected friend of mine from church was the group’s president I decided I needed to at least try to understand where they were coming from.

After some assurances that I would not take the opportunity to drop molotov cocktails (they can be a little skittish about having vocal Democrats hanging out with them during one of the rare opportunities they have to be totally themselves), I was invited to pop into a couple of local LRC meetings; kept my mouth shut (mostly) and just listened. It was a positive experience, and for what it is worth, I have since decided that the world is lucky to have the group around. I’ll put it this way; while I have my differences with their party, I know it probably won’t be me that convinces this largely Republican state that we deserve equal treatment.

Anyway, part of my ear and eye opening trek included a stop one night at a political LCR candidate meet and greet downtown. Of course, my friend and city councilman Scott Keller was there. And Carl Brizzi, our then soon to be prosecutor, too. He was my main reason for popping in. I had an inexplicable celebrity crush on him.

While I was there a young guy, late 20s, cute and suit-ish was quietly introducing himself to folks. He approached me and said, “Hi, I’m Jon Elrod. I’m running for state representative.”

My first impulse (ignored) was to say, “Awww…look how cute you are?” as if he were a bunny that had wandered near me in the garden. Then his words registered. State rep? Really?

Turns out he was running against long-timer Ed Mahearn (D) for the south Indy District 97 seat. I asked Elrod what he would do differently if elected. To be honest, I don’t even remember his answer. My mind was wandering to some haunting questions: What am I doing here? What if all of these Republican candidates are just faking interest in equality? Am I in danger? It was a paranoid time.

Elrod won that race, barely, and so far it looks like he wasn’t faking his stance on equality. His defense, more or less: Marriage is a religious issue. He doesn’t want government telling him how to do religion. They should bother with civil unions and their availability should not be determined by gender.

Nice.

Elrod life detes: History major undergrad (theater minor). Now an attorney by trade, but works as a church camp director one week every summer. Has spent some time at Christian Theological Seminary. Methodist. (Am I right? Early 30s and no ring on his finger? God help the yenta in me, but all you single Republicans looking for like-minded dates who aren’t turds, if he’s not otherwise taken, somebody needs to jump on this one. He sounds like a keeper.)

Now freshy is running for Carson’s vacated seat, against Julia’s grandson Andre’ Carson. Both Jon and Andre’ are newbies in their own way, though Elrod has at least his stint as an Indiana Rep to draw on. To be honest, I am a little annoyed that the state Dems didn’t let David Orentlicher, IMO the smartest, nicest and fairest politician in Indiana, run for the seat.

Will the Carson name and Andre’s past jobs and work with his grandmother be strong enough draws to pull the votes on March 11? I don’t get to vote in this special election, but I’m interested to see what happens. Elrod knows how to campaign. We’ll see if Carson does. Elrod’s using a local and fairly young political strategy team. Carson has a DC firm with lots of experience. I don’t know what kind of money is coming to either candidate.

Both candidates make general statements of equal fairness, but I’ve only heard Elrod actually come right out and say our families deserve equal protection, which begs a bigger question:

I realize Democrats in a Republican state have to sit on some prickly fences to survive, but should Democrats be worried when Republicans start to look more inclusive? Keep an eye on the bunny to find out.

Super Tuesday – What’s Next?

February 6, 2008

Okay, here are some early thoughts on possible scenarios for the 2008 election: 

McCain vs. Clinton  – McCain wins.  As far as social conservatives are concerned, they are a lot alike, but Clinton makes their heads explode so they hold their nose and vote for McCain to keep Clinton from winning.  Fiscal conservatives vote McCain.   While Clinton has a strong fan base, I think a lot of democrats are pretty ambiguous about her.  I bet some democrats would vote for McCain because he is moderate enough for them.   I doubt she would inspire young people to vote.  

McCain vs. Obama – Obama wins.  Obama is progressive but he somehow still manages to speak to the typically slow to change church crowd.  So social conservatives turned off by McCain stay home; the others vote Obama. Black people, 28-40 year-olds, and gay people (if he doesn’t start shrinking away from his current inclusive tenor), and Baby Boomers who are reminded of JFK (a narrative the Obama team is starting to nurture) flock to the polls for Obama in unprecedented numbers. 

Romney – Clinton – I could see this one being close, but I would call it for Clinton.  They both come off as cold.  Romney is a Republican Kerry- a little too patrician, aloof.  Clinton may be frumpy, but if it comes across as sensible this will be forgiven.  They are both “say anything” candidates.  Clinton’s narrative is at least more compelling and consistent.  It might come down to a question of who the close-minded people fear most – a Mormon or a woman in power.

Romney vs. Obama:  Obama.   No one will be excited to vote for Romney.  Obama will have a giant fan base by November.  

Three confessions: 

1.  I refuse to entertain the thought of Huckabee getting the Republican nomination.    

2.  You will notice I did not mention policy issues once in the discussion above.  For the most part, I do not believe current elections are really about policy.  They are about message and image communication.  If we are lucky, we get a skilled leader to go along with these.    

3.  I really thought Kerry would win in 2004, so you can take all of the above with a grain of salt. 

Florida Marriage Amendment on ballot in November

February 2, 2008

In addition to voting for a new president this November, Floridians also will vote on whether or not to amend their constitution to make sure that no gay unions are recognized as marriage OR the substantial equivalent thereof (whatever “substantial equivalent” means).

Why do I care? Well, as we’ve seen in the last two presidential elections, in which every vote truly counted, Florida is an important swing state. A past strategy of the Republican party has been to put such amendments on the ballots of states like Arkansas during an election year in an effort to flush fearful folks out of their house and into the polling booth. These are typically the same folks who are most likely to vote Republican, at least Huck-ish Republican.

Needless to say, I’d prefer to see Florida swing the other way, but it will be more difficult for that to happen now that the ballot is junked up with bigoted crap like a marriage amendment. I guess whether or not gay marriage is still a wedge issue remains to be seen.