Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"We Hate The U.S.A.!"

“’Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.” — I’m Proud To Be An American, Lee Greenwood

I figured that title would get your attention. It’s the actual title of the new CD compiled and sent out to all the Republican National Committee (RNC) members by Chip Saltsman – I’m not making this up. The 41 song CD entitled “We Hate The USA!” by conservative satirist Paul Shanklin, a personal friend of Saltsman, was intended as an enticement for voting for Saltsman as chair of the RNC.

Most controversial for the press has been the inclusion of a song called “Barack The Magic Negro.” It drew the expected protests from Democrats, and also some of Republican leadership. Said RNC Chair, Mike Duncan, who is seeking reelection to his post and move the party to attracting more minority voters: “I am shocked and appalled that anyone would think this is appropriate as it clearly does not move us in the right direction.”

Funny thing is, it appears to be helping Saltsman’s campaign. A number of RNC members are standing firm with him on his CD choice.

“When I found out what this was about I had to ask, ‘Boy, what’s the big deal here?’ because there wasn’t any.” said Mark Ellis, the chairman of the Maine Republican Party.

Alabama Republican Committeeman Paul Reynolds said the fact the Saltsman sent him a CD with the song on it “didn’t bother me one bit. Chip probably could have thought it through a bit more, but he was doing everyone a favor by giving us a gift.”

“No big deal” … it was “a gift.” Even if they wanted to disregard the racial implications in the Barack song, they really want to send out to their membership a CD entitled “We Hate The USA”? So this is what it’s come down to for the GOP, now?

Keep in mind these are the same GOP folks that focused intently on the comment “putting lipstick on a pig” by then candidate Obama on the campaign trail. The same GOP who said “words have meaning.” Also the same GOP who, during time of war, were quick to cast doubt on people’s patriotism if there was anything even remotely close to being less than fully supportive of the President or the United States in all its endeavors. Literally, people who made such off-handed comments earlier in the Bush presidency were called in for visits with the Secret Service or had FBI pay a visit to their homes, regardless of how sardonic or unserious the intent was.

Has that all been forgotten?

Now it’s all right for these same folks to make jokes about hating the United States? It’s frivolous to focus attention on a political party who once epitomized hyper-patriotism, and whose candidates now support such insouciant commentary about their homeland?

And that says nothing about the too-blatant-to-be-overlooked dual standards. Can you say “hypocrisy?”

In this time of war (remember guys, we still have two ongoing wars and even a new hotspot on the horizon with Gaza and Israel going at it!), and in this time of dire economic straits the likes of which we haven’t seen since the Great Depression, this CD sent to the RNC members is the message they want to send out to the party and the rest of the nation? I guess these times just aren’t serious enough to merit a serious level of attention from the GOP. They have no problem with their message, supporting the gift of “We Hate The USA!” CD.

Then good for you and Godspeed you Grand Old Party. Party on Garth …

One parting thought: the Patriot Act that was enacted by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney … that’s still in effect. Remember all the stuff in there about taking commentary against our country and our president seriously? All the people who were brought in and questioned to see whether they were benign threats or something more serious? I’m sure many of them just thought they were joking too ….

Party on Wayne ….

“And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.” — I’m Proud To Be An American, Lee Greenwood

Friday, December 26, 2008

It’s Not The Left, Not Transgender or Bisexual, Not POC – It’s Gay & Lesbian, Period.

For the record, it needs to be stated: this brouhaha over Pastor Rick Warren is not a strategic protest from “the left.” To say this is a concerted effort by the whole of the liberal or democratic wing is false.

For the record, this is also not the creation of the entire GLBT. That’s also false. The transgender community is mortified that the candidate we busted butt to get elected is being blasted for the choice of Pastor Warren. We’re worried about staying alive – uh, employment?!? This low-level issue is a tempest in a teapot. And the bisexual and gay / lesbian people of color are also not uniformly lock-stepping into this criticism of President Elect Barack Obama over the invocation selection.

There are so many more important issues to be raising our voices over that this isn’t even remotely funny!

It seems that every gay and lesbian activist leader from every org, former and current, has been parading through every media outlet, taking swipes at President Elect Obama’s choice. Alarmingly, it seems the echo chamber they’ve been working has succeeded in making the convenient perception be that the entire “left” as it were, is actively protesting Obama’s selection of Warren.

On MSNBC’s Hardball, gay activist Mike Rogers describing how “diverse” the gay community is had this to say: “I actually use the gay community as a way to unite and bring everybody together.” That was a shocker. Certainly the trans community’s history has been anything but feeling “included” beyond the “T” slapped onto missions and speeches (something which Rogers, to his credit, didn’t patronize – preferring to use the more accurate descriptor, “gay community”).

“We have seen for centuries, certainly for decades, of how gay people have led the way” on uniting. Centuries, hmm?

But I do think Rogers has a point to be made, as he continued. “For example, it was Barack Obama who brought in Pastor Warren, and it was the gay community that stood up and said this was wrong…. Pastor Warren said “I need to change. Something about the language I’ve been using is not inclusive. It’s divisive. I’m going to recognize that.”” In essence, this garbage about holding our tongue and being “tempered and measured” (gee, where have we heard that before?) is doomed to fail. You make change be doing exactly what HRC, NGLTF, Rogers and all the others plastered on media have done the past couple weeks – point taken.

“So strong, I can't let it pass.
I gotta tell you all about it.
I gotta scream and shout it!” — Uncontrollable Urge, Devo

That said, in typical fashion these parties have gone forth without bothering to ask whether anyone else thought this a worthy expenditure of time, political capital and issue prioritizing. Big GLBT (or “the gay community” as Rogers would put it) owns this issue entirely while the rest of us are being accused by association.

Attention media! This is purely the product of leaders in the gay and lesbian community and their lead organizations. It allows great face time on media. It allows wonderful PR to their own and the rest of the world in showing “Hey! Look at us! We’ve got political muscle!”

It’s also (most importantly) a great leveraging tool to pry out more fundraising from the wealth that support causes du “GLBT” (in quotation because in reality, as everyone knows, it’s GL ………….. b … t)

Yes folks, funding makes the activist world go round. This type of media massaging creates a conveniently useful straw man to then waylay the crap out of – it makes great mainstream media theatre. It then draws a blizzard of greenbacks on same-sex marriage (the money button).

Demonstrating power and collecting money, that’s what’s behind this. NOT the left, not the other subsequent groups within this PC GLBT concoction. Mainstream Gay. Mainstream Lesbian. Mainstream power!

So attention media, please get the story accurate! Gay outrage, strategy, protest – much more accurate. But left (or liberal), or GLBT strategy, outrage, protests? No. We aren’t even in that vehicle. We aren’t going there.

Tough Holidays

“I got up one Christmas morning and we didn't have nothing to eat. We didn't have an apple, we didn't have an orange, we didn't have a cake, we didn't have nothing.” — blues musician, Muddy Waters

“After a while I started getting aware too much of what was going down. It started to bring me down a little bit.” — rock musician, Jimi Hendrix

It started off innocently enough with me mindlessly turning on the TV, and channel switching until I found a channel without something with Christmas music in it (I don’t have cable). Finally, I settled on Ellen DeGeneres Show and listened while she discussed how hard the times are, and how folks needed a pick me up. So she calls out and (I’m presuming) shows photos to the audience to adoring “ahhs” …. “A deer kissing a cat’s nose” … “a dog nursing three tiger cubs” ….

Then, “or a vodka on the rocks with three olives!” And the crowd let out a big cheer.

There went the tears! I quickly walked in and punched the off button on the TV. It infuriated me I’d been stupid enough to leave the TV on like that – my family’s had an inordinate amount of alcoholism up and down the tree. I just can’t get into the blithe, joyous celebrations that happen this time of year. There’s mitigating reasons for it to be taken with a lot more gravity.

My grandmother’s favorite addiction was cheap vodka, straight out of the bottle. Ditto with my middle sister, and my mom had her own taste for it. As the saying goes, “injuns and fire water are a bad mix” – stereotype and true. Even my niece has had her exposure to it already.

My grandmother mentioned above was the only one who unconditionally loved me, and the only one I could’ve turned to in trouble. I was in the early days of my transition when she died, and she was in a nursing home after a series of strokes so I don’t know that it registered to her that I was female looking. She never failed to recognize me (even though she didn’t recognize my siblings) and it never fazed her. When I was twenty, I lived with her for a few months out in California, and I quickly grew to hate vodka, even the smell which oozed from the pores of the skin when someone had enough of it in their system.

It may have been Christmas, but the day followed the patterns of the previous weeks.

“I been in the blues all my life. I'm still delivering 'cause I got a long memory.” — blues musician, Muddy Waters

“Manic depression is capturing my soul
I know what I want but I just don’t know … how to go about getting it.” — Manic Depression, Jimi Hendrix

Holidays are really tough times for a lot of people. It’s something I can relate to well, and this year was a banner one – almost a perfect storm. Some of the folks reading my blogs and posts on places like Facebook have picked up on it. It’s been here since adolescence and before – there’s too many personal things to bother getting into those.

But it’s not something that really has drawn good memories. Mostly it was about alcohol, strife (probably borne of its own latent depression), occasional violence, sleeping out or maybe (if the job called for it) working. The last ones I remember having fond memories of was when I was 12 and 13 – and even those had alcohol-fueled undercurrents of stress to which I was mostly oblivious. Later Christmases had memories, but not the kind that one looks forward to.

Two different Christmas Eves, I got kicked out. Two others, I stayed out because my dad was getting a bit aggressive or violent with his favorite target (me!) – and one of those, me and my brother almost got intently run over by a drunk getting his jollies by scaring us in the biker bar parking lot around the corner. On another Christmas Eve, while walking home from work about time the bars closed, I got jumped by a couple guys, and all three of us got arrested and hauled all the way back to jail (near where I worked) for fighting and spent the night there. They let us all loose and I walked home (no money to call) all over again the next morning.

While living in California, I got to miss the one where my mom had to bail my drunken step-father out of jail for DWI and assaulting a police officer.

A few of them were peaceful, with solitary walks downtown in Corpus Christi and San Diego. A sad undercurrent though: strangely, even though nothing else is open in downtowns on Christmas, there is one thing open: porn shops! I have no idea why, but there are actually a rare individual or two stumbling out of those. In Corpus, I actually went in one (the sign said “25-cent arcade” and being a pinball fanatic, I thought it was something other than what the “arcade” really was, in the dark hallway lined with doors in the back!) The smell turned my stomach.

In San Diego when I was 21, I actually ate at the Salvation Army for Christmas lunch. While I lived in a really bad barrio, I felt bad because I wasn’t homeless – felt like I’d scammed a meal.

But ten years later, after I’d moved to Houston, I began volunteering there on the holidays instead. It turns out it wasn’t really “scamming a meal” anyway – all the volunteers, even Judge Mike Peters, would eat once we were off duty. After that, it became a bit of a tradition for me. I felt a lot better going there and getting my holiday fix than doing the family thing, even though they are relatively more sedate these days.

Another that helps me, at least, is blocking out the holiday music, putting on the headphones and blasting “mood music.” For me, this is a far cry from what other folks might consider more seasonal music: think Guns N’ Roses’ “Locomotive” (not to be confused with the Little Eva song!) Korn, Marilyn Manson, Cop Shoot Cop, Transplants, Husker Du’s New Day Rising LP … that gets my mind out of the pit and back into the now. Kinda like that John Lennon song says, “whatever gets you through the night….”

“Music sweet music … I wish I could caress, caress, caress ….” — Manic Depression, Jimi Hendrix

"Sanity is a cozy lie." — author, Susan Sontag

This time of year, we have many in the transgender community who are on that figurative ledge, staring down. Sometimes in the mind’s eye, the swirling dark below becomes hypnotic and to some ominously alluring. The peripheral contrast to the happiness around them only increases the distinct distance between the seasonal reverie and the vast empty maw from those where hope disappeared.

Just reading on one of the lists I belong to, I noted a few of the posts dealing with the holiday darkness. There was a note about an FTM named Ryan Mikkalson who, after years of battling depression, jumped off the high bridge in St. Paul MN. Then a response from another ten-year post-op transwoman who noted her own lack of employment (living with an elderly couple on a farm to survive) and complete absence of relationship, who wrote “I pray that God takes me each night I go to sleep,” as she’s inured to her “fate” and hadn’t “tried suicide since 2004.” Even the one reaching out to these writers to support is herself still in treatment recovering from manic depression, just beginning to pull out of it.

Another friend, who gamely puts up the brave face, still alludes to me of her own financial disaster, foreclosure, and nearing the end of her own rope, while another in economically hard-hit Michigan notes her own emotional malaise at her recent layoff, and having to rely on her spouse’s income to attempt to survive. Both of these are ever-ripe for Grapes of Wrath styled futures, something which I can relate to as well. Homelessness for trans people means no shelter, so the typical tragic situation is compounded further, as I noted in a previous blog where Austin’s perennial mayoral candidate, Jennifer Gale (a former Marine) died in the near-freezing cold sleeping on her regular bench in front of a Lutheran Church.

The impending hard cold, the dark of winter, this Reaganomics cum Bush/Rovian economic disaster we’re facing down like a fawn in headlights faces down a semi makes this a most tough holiday season. Paraphrasing Frederich Nietzsche, that which doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger.

Our task ahead then is surviving.

“Depression is melancholy minus its charms….” — author, Susan Sontag

“Well, I think I’ll go turn myself off,
And go on down … all the way down.
Really ain’t no use in me hanging around!” — Manic Depression, Jimi Hendrix

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holly Or Jolly, Happy Or Merry, A Lighter Or Darker Xmas Mood

Well, I made a couple people cry with my last blog. So I suck on the “holiday cheer” department. Sue me! Either way, I guess I can try to find something to balance it out a little … something to elicit a little chuckle (even if it has to be dark humor to do so.) Maybe that’s what “holly jolly” is – darkly happy Xmas. Those little bushes aren’t very cuddly with their thorny leaves and poisonous berries. Ah I don’t know, I’m not the expert.

“Ma ma mamacita! ¿Donde esta Santa Cliz,
The vato with the bony knees?
He comin’ down the street with no shoes on his feet ….” Santa Claus And His Old Lady, Cheech & Chong

An eighteen year-old in California was arrested for sitting on Santa’s lap and flashing gang signs while getting his photograph taken! He was apparently on probation, terms of which prohibited him from communicating with his gang (which included flashing gang signs). Police arrested him after seeing his photo with Santa on his keychain! True! There’s so many things wrong with this I can’t even begin! What the hell was an eighteen year old doing sitting on Santa Claus’ lap for a photograph?!? Much less having the photo on his keychain? Was he was driving around with that? He’s a gangbanger, and he’s still alive after that?

“Father Christmas, give us your money!
We got no time for your silly toys!
We’ll beat you up if you don’t hand it over!
Give all the toys to the little rich boys!” — Father Christmas, the Kinks

When I was eleven, my dad and mom took the all four of us to Woolco in Corpus to do the Santa thing (even though I was years beyond that by then.) They made me and my brother go up and stand next to Santa while my sisters sat on his lap for the photo! Why not knock my teeth out with a hammer? I wish my dad would’ve been sober enough to snap to reality! Worse, other kids from school saw it while they were hanging out in front of the store. Next Monday, sure enough, Gilberto and Carlos jumped my butt over it – merry kick ass! It wasn’t even junior high! How does a gangbanger who’s old enough to graduate high school do that? And why? How high do you have to be to do that?

This has been a season of weird, if not necessary mirthful. But in these down times, I suppose you have to look hard and find amusement wherever you can.

“When I want something and I don't want to pay for it,
Well I walk right through the door …
Walk right through the door.
Hey all right! If I get by … it's mine. Mine all mine!” — Been Caught Stealing, Jane’s Addiction

A news blurb said Japan’s Justice Ministry reported that elderly Japanese, beset by economic worries and loneliness, are turning to petty crime in increasing numbers. Thefts such as shoplifting and pick-pocketing were the main offenses.

It’s stark contrast to the stereotype we used to hold of Japan 20 years ago of a very disciplined, economically successful, and unfailingly genteel society free from crime. Now grandma’s picking pockets in Tokyo? Visions of folks dressed in kabuki with those oversized sleeves come to mind – you can stuff a lot up those sleeves! I’d worried about those things happening here in the U.S. with our recent economic collapse – but in Japan? This isn’t funny really, just astonishing.

“I can't believe it's Christmas!
I think I’m finally gettin' something.
I can't believe it's Christmas!
Been dreaming of a sugar-plum thing.” — I Can’t Believe It’s Christmas from the cartoon show 'Veggie Tales'

When Martha Raddatz interviewed George W. Bush recently, it was good for a few more belly laughs! Raddatz asked the Bush-Baby about the Iraqi reporter who threw a shoe: “I don't know what his beef is. But whatever it is I'm sure somebody will hear it.” This guy just does not get it – he’s off in sugar-plum land.

When asked about his decision to enter into the Iraq War, Bush said “This is where al Qaeda said they were going to take their stand. When Raddatz, reminded the President that was not until after the U.S. invaded, Bush responded: “Yeah, that's right. So what?” In essence, Bush didn’t have a reason to go into Iraq before it!

“The point is that al Qaeda said they're going to take a stand. Well, first of all in the post-9/11 environment Saddam Hussein posed a threat. And then upon removal, al Qaeda decides to take a stand.”

“I have never claimed like some said that [Saddam Hussein] – you know, oh, that he was directly involved with the attacks on 9/11, but he did support terrorists.” Ha! He doesn’t even remember what he’s said! This is way beyond even Ronald Reagan’s memory blanks!

“And, uh, Saddam Hussein had the capability making weapons of mass destruction. I did not have the luxury of knowing he did not have them.” Certainly Bush-Baby never knew we had one of our own, Gen. Scott Ritter, as one of the weapons inspectors. The good general, a self-described “hawkish Republican” could’ve told him! Apparently the Bush Admin was unaware! Is that a hoot? “And finally we gave Hussein a peaceful way out.” Omigod he cracks me up! Seriously, Bush has found his niche – stand up comedy!

“And do I wish we had brought Osama bin Laden to justice? Sure. But he's not leading a lot of parades these days.” I can’t make this stuff up, hahaha! Bin Laden’s frequent parades – now that’s reason to go to war!

“Merry Fuckin' Christmas!
God is gonna kick your ass
You infidelic pagan scum –
In case you haven't noticed,
There’s festive things to do.” — Merry Fuckin’ Christmas, Mr. Garrison from ‘South Park’

“Dick Cheney’s going out defending justice at the end.” This was the gem uttered by neo-con pundit Billy Kristol (“Dick Cheney looks mahvelous … simply mahvelous.”) on Dec. 21, FOX Sunday.

The quote alone was enough of a knee slapper … but it was in context to Cheney’s quote to Chris Wallace that he did tell Sen. Patrick Leahy to “go fuck yourself” and that he felt Leahy “merited it at the time.” Kristol literelly gushed that it was “a beautiful statement, really, of sort of justice, you know? You know, people should get what they deserve….” This grinning assface cracks me up! Somehow the neo-cons failed to the get the memo notifying them that we haven’t all been lobotomized nor hypnotized yet – they’re clueless about how clueless they are to the world! But I agree with neocon-man Billy Kristol on one thing, though: people *should* get what they deserve! And we can’t wait!

“'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the street
The markets were shut. The traders asleep.
The chieftains were gone, off to sun or to ski.
Each grateful, this year, that they were still home free.
Some moguls were resting, snug and safe in their beds,
Awaiting, with dread, the next move by the Feds.
And investors just sighed, resigned to their fate.
Once again Wall Street left less on their Christmas plate.” — 'Twas The Night Before Christmas-On Wall Street by Dustin Zahrt

Christmas is bonus time on Wall Street and its international counterparts, where they tote up and compensate for all the deals made over the past year. These can reach 10 or 15 times their generous annual salary. This year, Credit Suisse (CS) announced that it would pay its bankers up to 80 percent of their 2008 year-end bonuses in the form of what The Wall Street Journal called "an illiquid group of junk bonds, mortgage-backed securities and corporate loans" instead of cash or stock, as had been the norm throughout the industry. CS effectively told its bankers that instead of cash or stock, they would get paid in kind – the same kind of over-leveraged, securitized paper that caused much of the crisis in the first place!

It’s a great concept, helping the bank's balance sheet by moving these toxic assets off their books and onto those of its employees, and also a blunt reminder to those whose job it is to create and sell financial products in the markets that this isn't a traveling snake-oil show. Not surprisingly, many bankers at Credit Suisse are reportedly livid. At a time when they are stretched for cash, bankers – especially those in unrelated fields like mergers and acquisitions, equities and research – are saying they had nothing to do with creating this problem, so they shouldn't now have to own them. But for the past five years, the majority of banking revenues and profits came from these structured products, greatly boosting the broad bonus pool for all. When past bonuses increased by millions year over year, there was nary a peep from those same bankers who now cry “foul.”

What’s infuriating is it doesn’t appear to be what our own investments banks in the U.S. are doing. They're still handing out the usual cash and stock bonuses (with bailout money courtesy of the Wall Street Welfare State Act, Busy-baby and the entire pool of America’s taxpayers)! But let’s think merry thoughts – don’t worry, be happy!

“They never let poor Rudolph
Join in any silly reindeer games.
No, no, they never let him play – and do you wanna know why?
Because Rudolph was poor and they were on welfare.
And they had acne, and he had short hair and wore funny clothes
And was part of the blank generation.
So they had to take him in the alley and beat him!
And that’s how he got his bloody shiny nose!” — Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, Cheech & Chong (as Ronnie Runt & the Runt-tones)

Hey … think of it this way: wealthy Republicans are now finding out what it’s like being us! Just over a week ago, they arrested one of Wall Street’s golden boys, Bernie Madoff. Even the name should’ve been a warning … Bernie burned top investors and investment funds for over $50 billion. Madoff made off like a freakin’ bandit, he did! And remember when everyone laughed uncomfortably and moved away from Sen. John McCain who said (for one day during his presidential campaign) that he would’ve demanded the resignation from Securities & Exchange Commission chair Christopher Cox? Well, some dottering fool now! McCain was right – albeit for all the wrong reasons. But, yeah, Cox was just another asleep-at-the-switch GOPer, raking in cush salary and letting the wolves eat their weight in hens from the henhouse.

But the kicker of all this is that now, for once, the wealthy investors are finding out what it’s like getting fried like chicken nuggets! They’re now learning the delicious irony of being Enron-ed out of their investments they way we non-smartest-guys-in-the-room have during the Bush regime. There’s not much really funny about it yet, though misery loves company. But give it some time and we’ll get to hear some of the ridiculous whines about having to sell their second or third home, maybe for a loss! We could see some good comic-relief come out of this once it fully transpires and the entitled examine a Chapter 13 exit.

Here’s an entertaining thought: think of them having to sit down to a meal of macaroni and cheese … the powder kind, not even Velveeta! Good eating! I’m almost smiling just thinking about it ….

“Have yourself a merry, merry Christmas.
Have yourself a good time.
But remember the kids who got nothin’
While you’re drinkin down your wine.” — Father Christmas, the Kinks

Monday, December 22, 2008

Having A Blue Christmas

“My friends are so depressed
I feel the question of your loneliness.” — My Friends, the Red Hot Chili Peppers

Yes, it’s that time of year again. Winter’s never been a real fave for me, especially with my life being spent in places like Southern California and South Texas. Winter is for folks up north, in more storybook settings where it looks more like the postcards, and there’s more of those stereotyped things like snow on the ground with snowmen and horses pulling folks around in sleds out in the country.

For folks in my region, winter in its cold incarnation is just gray, ugly and cold. Maybe it would be that big a thing if I used heat, but that stuff’s a bit cost-prohibitive these days (it was always a bit pricey down here). So when you’re on a budget, and the house becomes an insulated cooler where your fingers are always near numb and feet are icy, you tend to not to find any enchantment with it.

Maybe I’m just not used to it as much since I moved up north to Houston. Back in the day, we’d have Christmas Eves that were downright warm, sometimes 89 degrees and humid. We’d go out to the island as if it were a Spring Break day, the media from places like Chicago and Pittsburgh would come down and photograph us and remark how odd it was that we were out there on such a day. To us, it was hot! Why stay in town?

But every so often we get the cold winters and holidays there as well. Those didn’t ever seem to be the holidays with the best memories, either. Quite the opposite. We were forced to stay closer to home a bit more, which meant family. And heavy drinking. And fights. It’s no wonder that a couple of those Christmas Eves, I slept out as that was safer. One I stayed with a friend, and returned the favor when he had to get out and stay with us on Christmas.

T’was the season.

For my tastes, if this stuff just hurried by and was over in a week or so, it wouldn’t be bad. But when the whole thing drags out as long at it seems to be this year, it really blasts gaping holes in the spirit. Hopefully we’ll move into spring weather shortly after New Years, but that’s a near impossible dream.

“Ogres don’t celebrate Christmas. Ogres don’t celebrate anything.” — Shrek from the Shrek Christmas Special

In a way I do kinda feel like a bit of an ogre on this holiday stuff. It’s not something I do to be an obtrusive killjoy. As a result, I also like to stay at home in order not to spread this, or at the least not to have to force the happy face façade. And I’m not alone as apparently a lot of folks get this same way this time of year.

Christmas songs are depressing reminders of what’s coming up, and compounded when the weather adds a biting backdrop to it. I never was big on Christmas songs, only knew words to three or four of them (one in Spanish), but I will say I liked Cheech & Chong’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Waitresses’ Christmas Wrapping – rock songs, no surprise. Maybe it’s those familiar jingles that trigger it. I get the same thing whenever I hear soap opera theme songs – they remind me of being unemployed and stressed. I’ll never be a soap opera fan nor a Christmas singer!

But hearing those jingles, and especially the barrage of advertisements really wears on you. This year with this ever-so-special Wall Street Christmas, it’s even worse than past years. Commercials for furs, commercials for jewelry and diamonds, commercials for leasing Lexuses (Lexi?) … they’re not only depressing but outrageous.

When only 2% of the country has been doing well these past eight years, why are they advertising this on network TV to all of us? In a sense, I fear these companies are brain-dead, spending scads of money on ad agencies creating spots that cost quite a bit … and I’ll doubt there’s going to be an even return on their money! There’s not enough money to be spent on those things! Most of us are making draconian cutbacks or altogether not participating in Christmas this year.

Christmas displays are another reminder. I admit I love the Christmas lights, but at times when the dark days come home to roost, none of those things work. You drive by them, look, realize they’re there and that you should feel better – and don’t. Then you start getting the “failure” thing gnawing on you (letting people down, etc.)

It’s easier when you live alone, having folks around and having to play the façade thing 24-7 wears you down. If it does show through, then it doubles the black mood, yet another reminder. It’s like the infuriating Cymbalta commercials you see that make you want to grab a hammer and punch out the TV tube. Having the black mood and then having idiots sell you some of their damn drugs by reminding “you’re letting your loved ones down” is just rubbing your nose in the shit. Maybe I should be stronger at it (Lord knows Dad tried to beat it into my head to be) but I don’t need that crap!

Staying home with the TV turned down is better.

“I love all of you
Hurt by the cold.
So hard and lonely too,
When you don’t know yourself.” — My Friends, the Red Hot Chili Peppers

With the holidays coming on, the difficulties of both the season, the economy and even just our own specific conditions tend to magnify with the cold dark days. I have a good friend of mine from a city up north, who’s fallen on hard times herself. Like me, she’s been an activist for quite some time. Yet (like many in America) she’s lost her home. She’s strong, and has been miraculously upbeat and relatively nonchalant about the extreme hardships she’s had to endure. But even in the strongest, the stress fractures show.

Her typically brave Email ended with rather harrowing peek into the emotional reality.

“I can't seem to get a chance to prove myself at even the most menial of jobs (I keep hearing the word ‘overqualified’?), which is extremely discouraging, and this fact just intensifies my typical holiday malaise to unprecedented levels of depression. I've sought out professional help from a couple of community agencies, but due to federal budget cuts, "no dice."

The way our local economy is right now, things aren't lookin' too good for ‘the home team.’ I'm so broke, I can't even ‘pay to play.’

That well-known ‘game over button’ is looking more attractive every day. So many choices, so little hope….”
She’s looking at the fading pin-prick on the horizon that many of us have been looking at. That hope. Sometimes it seems we may be that pinhole of light only in our mind’s eye, but then again, it’s keeping us around.

We had a case of a local Austin transgender activist and perennial political candidate, 48-year-old Jennifer Gale. Gale, a former marine, was well-known to be homeless and had been for years. Austin, like most cities in the U.S., has no shelter with capability to take in a transgender resident. Gale was found Wednesday morning on a day when temperatures dipped to the 30s outside a Lutheran church where she had been known to sleep.

Ben Wear at The Austin American-Statesman's City Beat blog reports that the Austin City Council will officially honor Jennifer Gale, the homeless, gender-bending perennial candidate who lost every office for which she ran, but clearly won the hearts of the hundreds who met her.

Her Myspace page (I was surprised she had one!) had her self-description as such: “I love running for public office. I have sixteen years experience of running for public office. I have yet to win any position I have run for but I still remain optimistic.” Unlike Leslie (another perennial mayoral candidate from Austin) a rather controversial genderfuck (replete with beard, thong-back outfits, etc.), Jennifer was more the traditional trans pre-op and actually tended to have a bit of a grasp of the issues beyond just “Keep Austin Weird.”

Even with this, though, Gale was still considered odd by some of even “weird” Austin’s locals’ blog replies:

[W]ell get over your support of jennifer gale. She's a 15 (17?) time loser. You just look silly when you stand up and speak out for her. … Progressives don't oppose her because she is a transgendered woman - I could care less. We [ALGPC] oppose her because she is not a serious candidate - she's a joke.
http://www.burntorangereport.com/archives/003787.html (5/3/05)

At least she won't be singing on my damn bus anymore. ….
Boy, Dallas city council members are in for a treat when this wacko belts out one of his/her bizarre songs during a meeting. (4/10/07)
Regardless of the superficial perceptions and her unfortunate situation, she was also someone who was not only well known in Austin political circles, but well respected. Ben Wear added a postscript after this week’s Austin City Council meeting.

All seven members of the Austin City Council gave personal tributes to Jennifer Gale today in what was a touching and sometimes funny goodbye to the transgendered homeless woman who was a regular speaker — and singer — at council meetings. She also ran and lost numerous races for the council and other elective offices.

Gale had made her last three-minute appearance at a council subcommittee meeting Tuesday evening, spooling out her typically crowded list of concerns — health care, Iraq, abortion — and singing an on-tune and lilting version of “Silent Night.” A tape of her performance was played at council chambers today, with most of the audience and several council members joining in the singing.

“She’s always been an incredibly sweet person,” said Council Member Brewster McCracken, who recalled sitting with Gale for about 30 minutes not that long ago and asking about her life story. She told him about living in the Carolinas, about serving in the Marines, about working at a Stuckey’s.

The outpouring for such an unusual person, McCracken said, ” is a reminder of the better angels of all of us as Austinites. But the idea that she died alone on a park bench on a cold night is a reminder that we have not lived up to our better angels as a community.”

Council Member Mike Martinez pointed out that Gale had a particular problem finding proper shelter. She couldn’t go to a male shelter because she lived her life as a woman, but couldn’t go to a woman’s shelter because she was “anatomically” a man, Martinez said. He pointed out that the homeless residential facility that the council briefly considered months ago might have provided a place for someone like Gale.

Council Member Laura Morrison recalled that Gale was among the six who ran for the seat Morrison won. Gale came in fourth, Morrison said. Her favorite memory, Morrison said, was a Real Estate Council of Austin election forum when Gale “led about 500 suits and their guests at the Four Season’s ballroom in a rendition of “You’ve lost that lovin’ feeling.”

Mayor Will Wynn said he had the “distinct honor of running twice for mayor with Jennifer. You didn’t run against Jennifer, you ran with her.”

“Jennifer will be sorely missed,” Wynn said. “Semper fi.”

And before we believe this is purely an American creation, this holiday malaise, it’s even occurring across the globe from us. A psychotherapist friend of mine from Kiev, Ukraine recalled a recent note from a 60-ish Russian trans women pondering her transition and the worries about it (as she’s both former military and well known in her small town) as well as how it will affect her family. The translation from Russian to English is rough, but you can generally determine what’s being said:

"Hi, Zhanna!
I sit here sit and I think that the person should be reasonable.…
People who took me as a girl for work, very well know me. The wife about me knows all for a long time already. Very difficultly, and it is impossible to hide it from close people.
The wife says that will be with me (if transition) does not happen. We are together already more than 40 years. We very much understand and we love each other. …
I do not know how to be? …. It is possible to leave in other city. But I think, it will not solve a problem. I asked girls at a forum, they say, that the Theme (suicide) leaves after operation absolutely. It is the truth? ….
You do not think I the person the military man … will manage to make all adequately.
So, though I am native and popular nobody will torment. I understand all and I know, that the Theme all the same will catch up with me sooner or later.
It already 3 times has caught up with me. I now sit also to crying. The god will allow to survive, then all I will make. And is not present, the Destiny means not. Forgive, that has taken away from you time.”
Zhanna posts a rather frantic retelling of her response to her friend:

From the received letter it is clear, that the person is finished to a despair and wishes to die. I have tried to stop this person from a rash act:

You, as well as I grown wise life experience, the person which knows that desperate situations DO NOT HAPPEN! Always it is possible to find the decision.
The destiny tests us for durability and looks, whether we will stand these tests, or not….
Do not think of public opinion? Believe, much all it is indifferent. And others will gossip and will cease. In my area, in a city where I live, at first and was. All quietly discussed me and laughed.
The former friends who live with me in one house, even advised to me to leave there,
Where nobody knows me. On what I have answered them: "And why I should leave?!
Not you spared yourself this life, and not to you to solve, when there should come its ending!
Look back around. After all there are people whom to live much more difficultly and much more hard, than to us. But these people live, struggle, and WIN!
These are not the best of times for any of us. Hard cold, weather is slamming the entire world it seems. The bleakness of that’s only matched by the even bleaker economy and jobs situation. Politically we’re looking forward to the change – a mandate for something completely different from our past eight years. Yet, even with this, the storm clouds of brewing plots of partisan manipulation and obstruction are already rearing their ugly heads. The gay and lesbian community is becoming disillusioned with the lack of attention paid by the Obama Administration, and already gearing up to flex their political muscle.

For trans people, it’s so remote to see anything positive happening that even just the focus on the marriage issue, obliterating anything even commenting on employment for perennially unemployed is maddening. I don’t even have to speak with people to see it. With all the above (including the power outages due to their ice storm), I can see it in the pictures that even Ethan St. Pierre been taking and posting on his Facebook lately. Smiles are becoming rare commodities. Hope is becoming one of those dreamlike memories of quaint years gone by.

I wish I knew the exact answer to solve this, but I don’t. Many folks say to get with others, friends, family, whomever. To me, though, being around people I know and worrying this shows through makes that counterintuitive. Then again, Ethan does the opposite via phone and the radio holiday shows on TransFM (www.transfm.org). That’s been a lifeline and a link to sanity for many around the globe. Though I haven’t asked him privately, it appears to work for him.

Actually I can do the public thing as long as it’s Salvation Army or the City Hall Super Feast type thing. Hopefully there will be another trip scheduled to work in Galveston for Christmas with serving. Short of that, pets help too. And music for me (though I don’t listen while I’m working on my blogs … maybe I need to take a clue.) None of those fill the gap that seems more prevalent during the cold, dark days. But they will tide you over ….

My friends are so distressed.
They’re standing on the brink of emptiness.
No words I know of to express
This emptiness.” — My Friends, the Red Hot Chili Peppers

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Yes On 8 Is A "No" On Common Decency

Ken Starr plays a little pocket pool while preparing for his next partisan fight ....

“I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.” — comedienne, Rita Rudner

Just a day after writing a blog in favor of giving a very conservative, anti-same sex marriage preacher a chance to not be discriminated against simply because of who he is, the very people he was supporting decided to … discriminate even further against GLBT couples in California because of who they are! Well, it's time to give some equal air to the other side.

Ya sure know how to undermine any civility, don’t ya Prop 8 proponents?

"Love is never wrong." — musician, Melissa Etheridge

News reports noted that the Yes on 8 campaign officially filed a brief arguing that because the new law holds that only marriages between a man and a woman are recognized or valid in California, which (per the report)( declares the state can no longer recognize the existing same-sex unions. What the brief reveals for the first time that opponents of same-sex marriage will fight in court to undo those unions that already exist.

"Proposition 8's brevity is matched by its clarity. There are no conditional clauses, exceptions, exemptions or exclusions," reads the brief co-written by Kenneth Starr, dean of Pepperdine University's law school and the former independent counsel who investigated President Bill Clinton.

He has a point: it’s a brief law with no clauses, exceptions and exemptions. That also includes no clauses that retroactively remove those legal marriages that had previously been performed. Typical to conservatives though, they have no problems trying to create law by expansion that isn’t already in the law. When Democrats do that, conservatives scream “judicial activism” and “frivolous lawsuits.” Well, get ready to affix that judicial activist mantle squarely around Ken Starr’s neck while he pursues his frivolous lawsuit. It’s time for democrats to stand up now and demand that Republicans only follow the letter of the law.

The ironic part about all of this is how the big neo-con attempt to define marriage as not a right, but a privilege (as I wrote about in Mike Huckabee’s visit to Jon Stewart’s Daily Show). Of course, privileges are different than rights – they don’t get legislated (so you remove that body out of the equation). Following on this logic, privileges are granted. In California, for most of this past year, that privilege was extended to all couples, hetero- and same-sex couples alike by the California State Supreme Court, and the governor himself said it was the right decision. That privilege was given, period.

Now a group who just passed the above noted, statewide-voted law which their own attorney noted had “no conditional clauses, exceptions, exemptions,” wants to use this to remove privileges from other couples already married! Privileges that were granted to them. Privileges that are not in defiance of the law at that time, and are not superceded by any other subsequent law. What’s wrong with this picture?

How often do we see privileges removed from citizens who have broken no law? Sure, if there’s a compelling public interest (such as severe drought, requiring need for removing the privilege of watering your lawn, for instance), that occurs. But simply removing privileges from other law-abiding citizens for no other reason than it “offends” another group of citizens implies that one group of citizens is granted more consideration (dare I say, rights?) than another.

“Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” — author, Emily Bronte

Further, if we use this precedent, then any group can collect signatures to remove privileges from other groups for the same reason – “it offends our group.” For the religiopolitical types, they’d better watch what they’re stepping into. Let’s say, someone is offended by seeing Christmas displays even on private property. So they collect enough signatures to remove Santa Clauses, and reindeers and Christmas trees from any display public or private – those are privileges, not rights.

Taking it further still, let’s say religious groups similarly collect enough signatures to remove all holiday displays from sight, even if religious. Sure there is the right to freedom of religion – worship. But displays aren’t worshipped. People worship inside churches. Displays aren’t allowed by right, but by privilege. How about removing the privilege of any public or private displays (which aren’t guaranteed by Constitution, but are privileges) simply because enough people of another group are offended.

In schoolyard logic, one shove typically draws back an equal and opposite shove. Elementary physics.

This whole exercise defies both common sense and common decency.

Ken Starr, of course, is the most partisan signal a Republican can send. It automatically conjures up the image of abuse of the court system to clog it up purely of hyper-partisan motivation.

Is this the road we wish to travel down? "Peace on earth, goodwill toward men … Ah, screw all that! I want mine -- just because!"

'Tis the season ....

“Your soul is an apalling dump heap overflowing with the most disgraceful assortment of deplorable rubbish imaginable,
Mangled up in tangled up knots.” — You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch, from Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (TV version)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Gays And Lesbians At War Over Warren … I Don’t Get It

Over the last few years, gay love has been on prominent display in front of America. It’s been a wild rollercoaster of highs, lows, joy, outrage, passion and disgust in this trip leading us from Brokeback to Saddleback. And now that we’re here at Saddleback, where the church’s Pastor Rick Warren has been tapped by President-Elect Barack Obama to deliver the invocation.

Let the outrage, emotion, accusatory tones and harsh comments begin again ….

One question. Why?

Why in this era of an economy falling down all around our ears, here and around the world, with no end in sight and virtually no hope glimmering on the horizon is the selection of Rev. Warren the big issue? Surely the answer will be “strike while the iron is hot, make momentum while the opportunity exists to further the issue, and it’s something [they] most avidly need.”

Yet I can’t help but remember that every time transgenders have brought up the issues, attempting to get anything above the GLBT squelch to straight media that we were similarly outraged, in dire economic straits, have desperately been pushing for access to any jobs for well over a decade. We were met with derisive comments about overreacting (even with less media), had attempts to affix guilt on us over taking “our allies” to task and had the message communicated that we were merely being immature and histrionical.

Well, Barney Freakin’ Frank, Human Right sCampaign (HRC), all you other starry-eyed screeching weasels … welcome to reciprocity. Stick pacifiers in your mouths and shut the hell up before you ruin it for us all! This is all about petty childish grandstanding in front of a TV camera and immature whining! Between the two of us, weren’t you supposed to be the grown ups? What happened – mesmerized by the klieg lights?

“It's not too cool to be ridiculed
But you brought this upon yourself.
The world is tired of pacifiers
We want the truth and nothing else.” — You Haven’t Done Nothin’, Stevie Wonder

I seem to recall Pres. Bush bringing in a local DC clergyman in 2004 for the invocation … Rev. Leon, I believe. He was a bit controversial in that he wasn’t a conservative, but more of an advocate for the poor in his congregation. It sure didn’t appear to affect Bush’s policymaking these past four years, did it? Why would you presume that somehow Rick Warren would be prime counsel to guide the Obama Administration these next four?

Again, why is the pitched rhetoric starting as well. On CNN, Hilary Rosen, former board member of HRC (and spouse to their former Exec. Dir. Elizabeth Birch) “every gay person who paid attention to this today felt like we were kicked in the stomach…. [Inauguration Day] is the day to make everybody feel good about the new president and the new direction of this country ….”

Journalist Roland Martin noted that there were both a pro-marriage and anti-marriage clergy on the Inauguration program, and asked if that meant that supporters of Warren’s church wouldn’t ‘get to feel good’ … to which Rosen shot back that “they could’ve found someone both [sides] could agree” with. That infers Rosen would be fine with another anti-same sex marriage pastor? That’s dubious.

Just today I read comments after the CNN Rosen & Martin interview dressing down journalist Roland Martin over not being supportive enough of the gay community, and later comments piling on about him and his allegedly homophobic minister as well. Didn’t we just get off one of these meteoric emotional juggernauts a month ago? Remember the reckless rhetoric lobbed around? ….

Some of the comments on Facebook and the blogosphere are now focusing anger on Obama, with some making mention of how strong they came out in support of him. I can’t help remembering some of the comments I received while standing in Houston’s Montrose Bar Row campaigning for Obama (comments I know are incendiary, but don’t feel need to repeat here), instead of supporting the “community” by pushing for Hillary in the primary. Even folks like Hilary Rosen and Barney Frank were in the tank for Clinton, and HRC’s board of directors didn’t donate a dime in primary time to Obama. Do they think he wouldn’t remember that? We trans people don’t even attempt that kind of chutzpah, and our folks were heavily in the tank for Obama in primaries (knowing Hillary’s stance on “incremental – ahem – support” on things like ENDA). I guess maybe we’re not “mature” enough?

Even more ridiculous to me are some in the gay community who are now trying to work up support on the fly for an alternative choice to Sen. Caroline Kennedy because – ta dah! – she’s a friend (and presumably the hand-picked choice) of Barack Obama. Uh … she’s also niece to Ted Kennedy, one of the most gay-supportive senators ever! Why this all out mobilization against anything Obama? Are we preparing for war?

This choice of Pastor Rick Warren doesn’t mean Obama will carry the religious right’s water on marriage, Five years ago, we gave both HRC and even Barney Frank a modicum of faith to see where they’d go with it. We had to sit tight, and be patient (even though we weren’t getting good signs). True, our faith then wasn’t rewarded. But for the gay and lesbian leaders (some from those very parties who dashed faith), why are they now incapable of the same patience or the same faith? Maybe it’ll end up like our shot with HRC and Barney … maybe it won’t. But wouldn’t it be fair to at least give him a chance instead of writing him off even before the election?

There are some battles, especially when it’s over legislation that could protect, or if excised create a special class denied protections that are worthy of fighting with fervor. CNN commentator, Ruben Navarrette put it in perspective: “there is an ocean's worth of bigger fish to fry.” He also had this to add:

“It's interesting. Many of those raising a fuss are talking about respect, demanding respect, insisting they're not given respect, etc. Well, that works both ways. If they want respect, they have to give it. They can start by respecting the wishes of the president-elect to plan his inauguration as he sees fit.”

As a girl who knows a life of never seeing respect, from a community virtually devoid of getting respect … I can respect that! I’m going to respect Obama’s decision to choose his speakers and give our new president that modicum of faith. Time will tell if we get respect in return ….

“R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Find out what it means to me
R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Take care of T.C.B.” — Respect, Aretha Franklin

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Barney Hires A Who? 1st Trans Staffer Hired On Capitol Hill

Barney Frank’s really getting a bit too predictable. Some months back, when Mara Keisling began her “I Hate HRC” tour, I began musing about the prospect of how both the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and especially Ol’ Barn’ (“let me lock ‘em up Andy! ...I caught ‘em in the women’s bathroom!”) would attempt to sanitize their PR images. One thing I knew was that they had no intention of doing the right thing. About that time HRC announced their new hire: “activist” (though no one here had ever heard of her) Allyson Robinson.

At the time, I figured Mara was out and would need a way back in. It also seemed Ol’ Barn’ would want something to do to give the impression of (without anything actually being) contrition. It occurred to me that he would want to keep tabs and tweak his rivals HRC, and Mara the Moth wouldn’t stay away from the limelight. So it struck me that Barn’ would bring in Mara as the first congressional staffer. She’d revel in the history of it and Barn’ would have an incented HRC-antagonist that wouldn’t tell the trans community about the sickle about to loop around and slit their throat from behind.

That didn’t happen. Now all the old parties are back playing footsies, with the only isolated adversaries being the other non-NCTE trans orgs again. But it appears Ol’ Barn’ was still wondering how to fix his transphobia problem. It especially hit a new level of urgency when President-Elect Barack Obama announced his job openings with his new executive hiring policy that was trans inclusive (something he’d mentioned before). After trans people hit unprecedented activity levels to break with GLBT orgs and get Barack Obama elected, and it was noted by bloggers such as Pam’s House Blend that Barn’ and HRC were both behind the curve … something had to happen quickly!

Of course, Ol’ Barn’ doesn’t really want to push through the single-bill inclusive ENDA. So how could he proceed with some plausible cover? Hire a tranny!

“We know what you’re up to, pal.
You’re trying to shatter our morale.
You’re trying to stir up discontent...
And seize the reins of government!” — The Wickersham Brothers, from Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who TV version

Enter Diego Sanchez. Barn’ loves Diego. He’s a trans man (enough of those damn harpy trans women!) He’s educated. He has money (a rarity in trans land, and something all gay folks love to have around … there’s always needs for fundraising for something!) He’s articulate and tempered (unlike we intemperate trans folk are destined to be by stereotype). And he’s latino – an added bonus!

There are a lot of trans folks concerned about Diego, primarily because he’s coming straight from HRC’s Business Council. The perception is that he was being used by HRC to market to us rather than to market our issues to them – that, and helping provide convenient cover. And now he’s going from the red hot frying pan of HRC straight into the blue flamed fire of Ol’ Barn’.

Now I know Diego, and while no one’s perfect, I don’t perceive him as someone who’s out on a Gen. Sherman’s march, reaping the spoils for himself alone while leaving a scorched trail behind him. The one thing I can say from observation is he’s not been angling for the singular power-broker, “lone tranny star” position. What I’ve seen of him indicates that he’s of a mind that he can actually make change there, not a career or profit motivation. Only time will tell, but I feel we can take solace in that.

If any issue is relevant, I think it would be the he’s more the naïf, approaching with an ever-optimistic ingenuousness and desire to succeed into a congressional lair that is quite the antithesis to what he’s preparing for. Regardless of what anyone wants to say, Ol’ Barn’ has mastered the art of Washington. He’s a long-toothed, bonafide player, will be driving his vehicle (everyone else’s good intentions-be-damned) and is in it for the same reason all the other gray-haired critters-for-life are in it for: personal ambition and power (which in the end mean money, if parlayed well.)

“A politician is a man who will double cross that bridge when he comes to it.” — composer, Oscar Levant

Even if President Obama goes down to Barney’s dinosaur den himself, Ol’ Barn’ will expend every bit of effort to wiggle and wangle and work his way out of it. On the surface, he’ll tell you whatever empty rhetoric it is that he thinks will get you the hell out of his office. But make no mistake, he’ll go down with a fight rather than give in to anyone, and logic (if it’s not his personal one) can go to hell. He’ll undermine it away from plain sight, then scapegoat some other unsuspecting congress-critter.

Barn’s already been caught blaming Christopher Shays and George Miller for being the “hold up” in keeping trans-inclusive legislation, and many trans folk fell for the bait, hook, line and sinker. But the reality is that those were fables – Barney’s blusterous bullshit.

And sadly, this is what Diego is going to find out shortly after. He’ll be able to be eyes and ears in the office, he’ll be able to interact with other aides on what the official SOB (standard operating bullshit) message is from Barn’. Always be mindful … it is Washington.

In the end, Ol’ Barn’ will leave him to twist in the wind. Then, even if Diego does find out what Barney tells the other offices or what rabbits are pulled out of his butt (e.g. the sudden “poll” indicating that 70% of the gay and lesbian community approved going forward with non-inclusive legislation – remember that one?), what can he do? He’ll communicate our fury in tempered tones. He’ll maybe even feel used and betrayed.

But Barney’s da boss in his office, and he don’ care. And for any of us expecting that Diego will tell him off and slit his own career’s throat there to show solidarity with the trans community … well, that’s a nice thought, and also wholly unrealistic. Take a look at the economy. Think that’ll happen? Honestly?

Diego Sanchez is setting history, and Barney Frank will take his rightful credit for that part in hiring the first out trans person ever in a congressional office on Capitol Hill. (Susan Kimberly was hired by Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN), but in the home state office, never – to my knowledge – up on the Hill). He’ll hopefully de-stigmatize transgenders to the rest of the offices he interacts with, maybe even open other opportunities for other trans-men on the Hill. Beyond that, Barney is not changing, he’s strategizing.

And Diego’s prime duty will be running interference for Ol’ Barn’s selfishness when that occurs. I’m happy for Diego and hopeful for him. However, I’m not hopeful now for our prospects.

“Power has no limits.” — Tiberius

“I like power and I like to use it.” — former U. S. Rep, Sam Rayburn

Huffman, Kaufman, GOP-man, Gimme A Break Man! Hypocrisy!

Last night was rather depressing due to the results of Senate District 17. Republican Joan Huffman, a criminal court judge proud of her death penalty sentences has become the new senator. She’ll be a great representative for religiopolitics, for corporate America and the wealthy. Woe be it for the rest of us – hubris is back in vogue.

Huffman won based upon one point: “my opponent is a registered lobbyist.” Apparently though, Huffman doesn’t pay very close attention to recent happenings. I would think that might be a bit problematic, except that this is Texas, where people revere the King of Clueless, He who never watches news or reads, our own homestate-reared Bush-baby. It seems though that Huffy Huffman overlooked one recent point: the election of a new Republican to replace Democrat Nick Lampson in U.S. Congress District 22 with Republican Pete Olson, a registered federal lobbyist.

Either that, or Republicans are enrapt with double-standards: one judgment on the rest of society’s transgressions, and irreproachability on their own similar bad acts. In short, if you’re a registered lobbyist, Republican = good, Democrat = bad. What a Pavlovian world we live in here in red-meat Texas, where every time you see an R next to the name, you mindlessly click the box next to that candidate’s name. If Osama Bin Laden just cleaned himself up, spewed some intolerance and pro-business rhetoric and lied about being a devout Christian, he could win a GOP nomination and an election with an R next to his name. (Think about it, Big O!)

“God is love. I have loved. Therefore, I will go to heaven.” — Imelda Marcos

In visiting with folks at the Chris Bell post-election party, I happened to eavesdrop on a conversation with Alison Bell (Chris’ wife) about running across our (Harris) County Clerk, Beverly Kaufman at an event. “Why are you being such a pain in the ass?” she blurted to Chris as they crossed paths. The comment was in context of Chris noting there were limited hours and few early voting locations in our county. When Chris explained he was trying to be, our County Clerk gave a drippingly snide response and walked back to hold court with Paul Bettencourt (our recently-resigned, controversial County Taxman).

Mme. County Clerk (aka “Ms. Pain-In-The-Ass”) was no help to the voters though. Being from one of the earliest and largest democratic precincts in far West Houston, I’ve noticed a distinct pattern of moving our voting location to different spots. This time, Ms. Pain-In-The-Ass moved our voting location two miles away to a spot where no one in the precinct would even think of going, to a voting location where the listed street address is to a guard shack! That’s right, it’s a private neighborhood at 12800 Briar Forest called Stonehenge … but the only thing at that address is a guard shack. To get to the actual club house, one had to turn on Wellington Arch Drive, go a block and turn left on Wells Heather Street and the club house was on the right side. Not on Briar Forest!

Gotta hand it to Republicans, they know how to play the sublime manipulation game like a Stradivarius! And yes, we Dems in my precinct got played! The precinct immediately adjacent to us on the east has a voting location right on the bordering road on our east side – prominent, easy to find, plenty of room and parking and also an elementary school that all the parents of young children take their kids to! And since we’re a democratic precinct in a county with a GOP County Clerk, it’s guaranteed our precinct will never be doubled up there! Ms. Pain-In-The-Ass would have it no other way! Too non-partisan!

“It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.” — Theodore Roosevelt

One last note on our now-senator, Huffy Huffman: she apparently hosted, along with one of our County Commisioners, a barbecue luncheon for voters on Dec. 11 inside the Tracey Gee Community Center in far west Houston. Let me repeat for emphasis *inside the Tracey Gee Center on Dec. 11*! The reason for the emphasis is it is an early voting location! The actual voting in her state Senate election was taking place that same day in another room inside the same building.

Under state law, it is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500, to campaign for or against a candidate "within 100 feet of an outside door through which a voter may enter the building in which a polling place is located." This Huffy luncheon was not only within 100 feet of the outside door – it was inside the building! Less than 100 feet from the actual voting machines themselves! Of course, Huffman can’t be expected to know all our state’s laws … as her previous job was as a felony court judge! Part of her election spiel was that she was proud of her conviction record on lawbreakers!

Further more amazing, our precinct’s County Commissioner Steve Radack (you guessed it! a Republican) admitted he attended the luncheon along with Huffman and urged people to vote for her. Inside the voting location premises! And nobody said “boo” about it! Yeah, I get it now … laws are only for Democrats or any other non-Republicans types to adhere to. If you’re part of the GOP, you get a wholly different set of laws (basically, none!) to follow. And make sure to throw the book at all lawbreakers, right? Nudge. Wink.

“In plain Texas talk, it's 'do the right thing'….” — H. Ross Perot

This complete disregard for code of laws should outrage people. This should be scandalous, and prominently displayed on the news (save for their need for advertising from companies always owned by … GOPers!). These over-bred neo-cons should be living under a cloud of constant suspicion based on their disregard for any sense of propriety.

But lo, Texas is red-meat heaven and regular citizens’ hell. Pavlov’s slavering dogs will push that button next to “R” like clockwork, no matter what transgressions these moral GOPers commit. And come election, they’ll chant their zombie mantra and march with vacant eyes in cheesy B-movie style to the polls mumbling “vote Republican … vote Republican … vote Repub….”

Seriously, Big O … you ought to think about a political makeover. Your family’s friends with the Bush family, good family connections there! And the GOP’s desperately looking for a non-white face to play to the TV cameras who’s eager to “say the right thing!” Think of it: O. Ben Laden for Congress. You got spare time … Bush-baby now has spare time … let’s tawk!

“Politics is too partisan, and sometimes patriotism is cast aside. Patriotism is honor and love of your country and your brothers and sisters. With politics I get the impression that it's all about what's good for the party and not necessarily what's good for the country.” — actor, Ricardo Montalban

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Our Revolution Will Not Be Televised

As I’d written about in the last blog, Jon Stewart on the Dec. 10 edition of The Daily Show took much of Mike Huckabee’s philosophies on the gay and lesbian community to task. Interestingly enough, the entire argument pertained to the same-sex marriage fight. To summarize, Stewart noted below:

“I think it’s a shame that they have forced gay people (in California) to have to make their case that they deserve the same rights as someone else.”

Marriage … is the bellwether of whether “gay people … deserve the same rights as someone else.” Not to belabor the point, but it must be made: this is the most recent item to come to the table. Any number of other issues pertinent to GLBT have been on the front burner for some time, and are suddenly (and notably) absent.

“Gay Liberation? I ain't against it. It's just that there's nothing in it for me.” — actress, Bette Davis

That encapsulates much of the media rhetoric that’s occurred recently. We’ve seen it on Ellen DeGeneres’ shows (even interviewing GOP presidential candidate John McCain), Hollywood’s stars coming out with splashy TV ads supporting it, Prop 8 national protest media coverage, and gay and straight print media alike (e.g. The Advocate, New York Times) are drawing heroic struggle comparisons between marriage rights and the Civil Rights movement. In a nutshell today, it’s all about marriage.

Nothing else matters – or at least that’s the message communicated to everyone else still waiting for hate crimes protections, employment opportunities, access to health care, and even domestic partner benefits! Hello? Did our Queer Community leadership forget about this one? That’s a pretty ephemeral memory, I must say ….

All of the other incomplete (and glaringly disparate) issues have been overwritten and completely buried in media lately. Some may say that these other issues have already been attained and are unneeded – if not in codified protection, at least in practice as there’s greater public exposure, reduced levels of hate and plenty of gays and lesbians in employment up to even the highest levels of business and government. Heady days!

But these are still unaddressed issues in gay and bi communities of color! Did any of the GLBT leaders ever bother to ask them? I did. Yeah, folks … it’s not been addressed. Ask! H. Alexander Robinson of the National Coalition for Black Justice (NCBJ) recently noted a study showing that staff in GLBT organizations were only 5-7% on average. They make up 12% of the population nationwide – do the math. Undoubtedly the same numbers are likely to be found in other ethnic categories on GLBT employment as well. On average, when they lead organizations these same ethnic minorities are paid $9000/yr. less.

Further down the food chain are (as many consider us) the lowest of the low: the Transgenders. Gay and Lesbians (per estimates) equal 10% of the overall population, with Transgenders at 2%. Finding one of six employees in GLBT-land being transgendered is a dream we will likely never live to see. For a community separate from gay or lesbian, where everyone states that educating on our distinct issues is paramount, the message that communicates to straight corporate America (that even gay and lesbian organizations can’t bring themselves to consider transgenders equal) speaks volumes.

Yet with all the continuing need and over a decade’s worth of advocacy work, the only thing on popular TV and in print is what the privileged, moneyed leaders of what’s now become of the GLBT movement demand. And these, our well-funded leaders, insist upon that being about marriage. The rest of the movement will take care of itself (or so the mindset appears to be).

“You say you got a real solution, well you know
We don't all love to see the plan.
You ask me for a contribution, well you know
We're all doing what we can.
But if you want money for people with minds that hate,
All I can tell you is brother you have to wait.” — Revolution 1, the Beatles

And what if it doesn’t take care of itself? In essence, it’s going to be “who cares? We got ours!” There’s always Cabinet positions to lobby for or other high-visibility positions or elected offices to aspire. Or if they can’t get that, maybe fabulous vacations somewhere. (Do people still do “vacations” in broke-ass America? How?)

Don’t believe me? Take a look at uber-liberal Massachusetts, home to Rep. Barney Frank and Sen. Ted Kennedy. Marriage is legal, even out-of-staters can marry there. Trans people? There’s not any meaningful effort to do anything there for them, beyond some dry-jacks for PC image purposes. Equality Massachusetts has plans to go around other states in New England to help pass other marriage laws.

If you’re trans and your celebrating that, you’re brain dead. Get a clue, they’re free.

Otherwise, when gay marriage finally pushes forward through every state in the union (however many decades that takes), we can count on … well … all the Hollywood stars and the media and employers and everyone else fixated on what shows up in front of their noses on the TV set will go away. You think someone like Jon Stewart’s gonna come to the transgender community’s rescue? Fat chance! Do you believe Hollywood’s top stars are going to give impassioned pleas to retrace back and begin pushing to employ trannies? Dream on! Do you really entertain any fantasy about media digging around and discovering that trans people were blithely left behind? Hell to the no!

If you’re lulled by the delusion that Washington’s L&G leadership (personified prominently, but not exclusively by HRC) are going to come back, lift you up, treat you as equals or make amends … well, I’ve got two words for you. WAKE UP!

If you want to fall for unctuous ‘promises’ from the likes of Ol’ Barn’ (“let me shoot ‘em Andy!!!”) Frank, or fake reports of contrition from the likes of Teddy-Boy Kennedy, or any of the sugar-bullet promises from DC “professionals” in LGBT-land, then keep the delusions to yourself or work for the other quislings.

Bottom line, once marriage and all other items on their agenda are attained, all the above parties are going on about their daily lives and never even noticing we exist. That is … unless we take a page from Sylvia Rivera.

Sylvia admitted a year before she died that there was a time to negotiate and a time to “take to the streets”. When you negotiate, you can only realistically do so with those of whom you can negotiate in good faith! Negotiating with these folks have gotten us nothing more than burned, discredited, censored and completely shut out, so that’s obviously not going to work.

The time to unleash your voices is upon us. The unemployed, the disenfranchised and disempowered won’t enjoy the televised assistance to attaining equal treatment. It’s up to us all to raise hell and find a way, by whatever means possible, to stealing back our voice and pushing for our own rights.

If you’re simply going to play polite and wait for marriage to pass before you receive your rights, once that victory’s won the lights go out and the equipment gets packed up and rolled away. And your revolution will be standing there empty-handed in the dark … all by its lonesome.

“If you say you want a revolution, baby,
There is nothing like your own….
After you revolution, baby,
There is nothing you can't be.” — We Are The Revolution, World Party

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Next Revolution On TV: Marriage!

........The Same-Sex Marriage Debate is viewed in Black & White
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart was one of my two favorite shows from the days when I had cable and used to watch TV a bit more. Today I pulled it up online and watched his show featuring former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, half of which focused on gay marriage and the difference of opinions Stewart held on Huckabee’s opinions expressed in his most recent book: “Do The Right Thing.”

As an aside, I never previously noticed the delicious double entendre in that statement: Do the right thing a la Spike Lee’s movie, as in doing the correct thing, as opposed to a GOP take on do the right thing (which would obviously be exhorting one to do the devoutly conservative thing). They aren’t always mutually inclusive.

Ever an open and engaging interviewee, Governor Huck admitted he was disenchanted with the way the pro-life movement in America had conducted themselves. In a lot of ways, Huck is a renaissance type of Republican, not really given to the same red-meat, arrogant rhetoric of his party-mates, and even admitting that blind mantras of slashing government a la Grover (the muppet) Norquist. Heck, Huck even supports funding for the the arts! The heresy!

“The party of Lincoln should be reaching out to blacks, Hispanics, gays and so forth and so on.” — former Calif. Senate Candidate, Michael Huffington

“I guess this makes us so forth and so on ….” — National Transgender Advocacy Coalition President, Vanessa Edwards Foster

But it seems one point Huck won’t recant is the dogmatic homosexuals-are-the-unclean automatic myopia. One would have thought he’d be a little more circumspect than the rest of the red-meat crowd, and he is tamer rhetorically. But devout he is, and Stewart took him to task on it.
Some of the points of highlight from the Jon Stewart – Mike Huckabee exchange:

Jon: “you talk about how marriage is the bedrock of our society, why would you not want more couples [to marry] … why would you want that precluded for an entire group of people?”
“in your book, you write that it is corrosive to society to allow them have all the privileges that the rest in society enjoy.”
“Religion is far more of a choice than homosexuality.”
“A loving financially secure gay marriage beats the hell out of Britney Spears and Kevin Federline any day.”
I couldn't have stated it any better. "Check and mate" Mr. Stewart

Mike: “The only way we can create the next generation is through a male-female relationship.”
Actually we know better than that. Remember the Test Tube baby anyone? In-vitro fertilization?

Mike: “Marriage is a privilege, it is not a divine right…. Marriage still means between a male and a female.”
“Words do matter. Definitions matter.”
Indeed, words and definitions do matter. As defined, privilege is a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor; especially such a right or immunity attached specifically to a position or an office. Privilege by its nature is not equal treatment, but special treatment. If marriage is a privilege, then who is the arbiter of this privilege in a non-theocratic (we’re still advertising we’re democratic here – freedom of religion and all) government and society? Marriage per Huckabee is then not a “legal or moral entitlement” decided by law. If marriage is not binding by law, then what is government doing being involved in enacting law against it for anyone, or even deciding who may be recognized as being married and able to claim next of kin, property inheritance, etc. It’s not law.

Mike: “Those who support gay marriage have a lot of work to do to convince the rest of us….”
As marriage is simply a privilege deigned upon us by some shadowy set of individuals, who is it specifically we’re having to work to convince? Keep in mind, not all marriages are church ceremonies. Clearly that means that just going to the church involved to convince them isn’t going to work uniformly. Some churches already support and will marry same-sex couples. That sounds arbitrary and privileged, doesn’t it?

Is this something that only people of certain monetary means should be privileged with? What impact does that have on impoverished individuals who get married every day – how do they manage to get this privilege? If it’s not a right or a law passed down from our elected leaders, who has to be paid or bribed (if that’s the case) in order to be married?

Yeah, everyone hearts Huckabee (except maybe Dustin Hoffman who’s wondering if this was his Ishtar II). But Mike, methinks you stepped in it here. As you said, marriage is a privilege … not a right. That means that if the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut have already passed their laws, it’s their responsibility to privilege their citizens thusly. And it will never be taken away by anything the federal government does because they are a legal body in a federalist nation that passes laws. Rights. Not privileges.

“We've got gays working there. If they can demonstrate long-term relationships, we make same-sex benefits available just as we do with common-law marriages. Gays are productive people. Some fly airplanes, some work in breweries.” — Pete Coors

Neo-cons in America are probably frothing at the mouth right now. They’re both furious and frenzied over this prospect (especially considering there is still a Full Faith and Credit Clause in the Constitution, ensuring that the law of the land passed in one state is recognized as such by the others). Then again, neo-cons are beatific at this revelation as well. Think of the phobia this will generate and the heavy-duty fundraising windfall this will produce!

Yes America, there is still one recession-proof industry that will always have job openings: neo-con, religiopolitical, gay-despising, red-meat political advocacy and lobbying organizations. Line up!

Putting an excellent final-point on this, Jon Stewart opined, “I think it’s a shame that they have forced gay people to have to make their case that they deserve the same rights as someone else.”

Indeed, why should some people in America accept the fact that we will never have the right to deserve equal consideration? Where was it I read that “all men are created equal”? Maybe someone should sue them for false advertisement.

One last observation on this (which will lead to my next blog) … note how the only rights discussed on The Daily Show, the point Jon Stewart used exclusively, was marriage? Why is marriage the only issue on TV which will make the gay community equal? [… to be continued]

“God did not create gays and lesbians so He could have something to hate!” — Rev. Troy Perry

Thursday, December 11, 2008

More Random Thoughts As Winter Gloom Settles In

'A Christmas Carol' scene from central New Orleans as seen from the Omni Hotel

It turns out that I got pretty lucky last night (at least as far as we snow-phobic south Texans go): I ended up getting flurried with a few little snowflakes along with it. A mile north of me on my trip to the 99-cent Store (yes I shop there – or will shop there until later this month when they close the store due to not being profitable enough), I got to see snow falling. Real live flakes and noticeably falling in front of my headlights and in the parking lot. But we stayed one degree above freezing here, and my outdoor plants didn’t die (bonus!)

Canal Street Trolley in New Orleans

As it turns out, points up north had quite a bit of snow but little that stayed on the ground, but east … they got socked! From downtown Houston and further east, everyone got an inch and even inches (plural!) of snow on the ground! Dayton, a small town an hour northeast of downtown, had 4 inches! This sounds funny to folks up north, I’m sure. Keep in mind, we’re not snowbirds! We’re where the snowbirds go to escape the snow up north! This snowfall tied the record for the earliest snow ever in Houston. But in 1944, there was only a trace of snow. East Houston way surpassed that. This is historic.

This morning, the news showed a live shot from New Orleans. It looks like a freaking blizzard hitting town – they’re getting multiple inches! The Big Easy is the Big Freezy today. All this weather makes me long for the days back in the 70’s or 80’s when I lived in Corpus Christi, and we’d go out to the beach even as late as Christmas Eve when it would still be a warm, humid 88 or 89 degrees! What happened to those days?

Scenes from Mid-City New Orleans (above) and its suburb, Metairie LA (below)

The weather isn’t helping my mood. Winter already sucks due to the dark days, and the cold helps shut you in even more. As the mood turns sour, so does your outlook. So being unemployed (as I am) and sitting here in an ice box of a house (no budget for things like heat or A/C), reading about our “Economic Recovery” or “fundamentally strong economy” or whatever the hell Bush-baby wanted to term it all these years, this begins looking like the endless dark tunnel. Maybe it’s a black hole? At least when Bush-daddy left office, as bad as the economy was for most of his term, we were at least on a bit of an upswing.

Things in Houston are feeling like it did in 1986. About the only thing missing are the proliferation of crack dealers hanging out on the street corners. I’m noting the foreclosures nibbling around the edges of my neighborhood, and the spike in random and extreme violence and death here in my part of the world. Wild, wild west Houston indeed ….

Foreclosures apparently have ebbed a little this month, reducing by 7%. Gee, I wonder if the moratorium on them and the $300 billion pumped into the banks to abate this had anything to do with that? Then again, why only 7% for $300 big ones?

Meanwhile the auto industry bailout passed in the House. For the record, I was not a proponent of the Wall Street Welfare State Act (also known as the bank bailout), but now that we’ve officially tanked the nation’s budget and established the precedent, why stop now? The automakers CEO’s should all be canned and replaced with leaders with more vision (instead of buying the gas for those buying their guzzler-SUV-vehicles). But treating them differently than Wall Street folks makes as much sense as exonerating one person for murder, then putting a bullet in the head of the next one.

Oh, but GOP senators want to filibuster and sink the bill. Oddly, the most vocal of these are the senators from southern states … whose own automaking plants are all foreign-owned and healthy carmakers like Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, BMW, Mercedes Benz, etc. Let’s kill off the Big 3 in northern states … and shift more business to the folks in their own. No personal interest in that, eh? Hey, how better to show how patriotic you are than being a senator from a southern (confederate) state making sure that we benefit carmakers who are based in Germany, Japan, Korea and ensure we once-and-for-all kill off those American-based carmakers!

After all, only unpatriotic scum would support American carmakers who actually offer careers for generations of American families, even retirement and health care! Better to shove all those gray-haired former autoworkers onto Social Security … which these same senators also want to privatize and do away with. Entitlements, ya know? Kinda like the entitlements these same senators will look forward to once they retire – oops, shhh! After all … it’s only another 2 million people out of work once it all goes away! We’ve already disemployed 2 million-plus this year … it’s not going to be that big a deal!

Meanwhile, the irascible pundit Bill O’Reilly of FOX (Faux) News promoting his memoir on yesterday’s NPR This Week. He was asked about a passage in which the social and political commentator describes people who think he himself is evil as he "puts themselves on the line." "Some people thought Jesus was evil; they nailed him to a cross," O'Reilly said in the interview.

That led to a question: Was he now comparing himself to Jesus Christ? "No, but I'm giving you an analogy that's vivid," O'Reilly answered. So O’Reilly’s persecution is vividly analogous to Jesus Christ’s, eh? Humble guy. Who wants to bet that the O’Reilly comparison to Jesus does not draw the same “album bonfire” protests by the religiopolitical types that John Lennon’s comments drew? Yeah … as O’Reilly himself said, he sees the world is just “good and evil,” and only self-declared good people can compare themselves to Christ.

Back to the subject of filibusters, it was interesting to note how conservative principle can be shifted in just a few short years. The below was from Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) back in 2005 during the confirmation process for Supreme Court Chief Justice, John Roberts:

"Republicans seek to right a wrong that has undermined 214 years of tradition …. The fact that the Senate rules theoretically allowed the filibuster of judicial nominations but were never used to that end is an important indicator of what is right, and why the precedent of allowing up-or-down votes is so well established. It is that precedent that has been attacked and which we seek to restore….

"My friends argue that Republicans may want to filibuster a future Democratic President's nominees. To that I say, I don't think so, and even if true, I'm willing to give up that tool. It was never a power we thought we had in the past, and it is not one likely to be used in the future. I know some insist that we will someday want to block Democrat judges by filibuster. But I know my colleagues. I have heard them speak passionately, publicly and privately, about the injustice done to filibustered nominees. I think it highly unlikely that they will shift their views simply because the political worm has turned."
So three and a half years later, how does this same senator think of his principled stand stated above?

The Nov. 7 edition of the Triangle Business Journal reported that Jon Kyl, the second-ranking Republican in the U.S. Senate, put president-elect Barack Obama on warning that he would filibuster U.S. Supreme Court appointments if those nominees were too liberal. “He believes in justices that have empathy,” said Kyl, speaking at a Federalist Society meeting in Phoenix.
Earth to Sen. Kyl: remember when George W. Bush was re-elected with what he declared to be a “mandate”? And that mandate was to elect Supreme Court justices that followed his mold, as the electorate instructed? Well, guess what? We’ve recently had another mandate. No less than 57% of those who cast their votes for Obama stated that Supreme Court justices were an important reason why they cast their vote for him. Are you, the ever-so-principled conservative Sen. Kyl willing to openly defy the mandate of the people?

Not only is Kyl an astounding hypocrite, he’s not even a very clever one! How partisan is it when you make such statements mere days after an election, when the new electee hasn’t even been sworn in – much less have any nominees been named! Anyone who had an idea that Republicans were going to be anything but obstructionists out to ensure no bi-partisan common sense can put the last nail in that coffin and lay it to rest!

Let the neo-con obstructionism begin! (And yes, America, nothing will get done, the country will tank, and the red-meat folks will be laughing and wringing their hands while they watch the USA get flushed down the toilet)

This alone would normally nominate Kyl for Tool-Of-The-Day. But no … Joe The Plumber (yes, he’s back in the news) wins that one! Yep, Joe The Plumber’s Tool came out in the news saying he was “appalled” with Sen. John “My Friend” McCain, specifically for his reasons for voting for the Wall Street Welfare State (WSWS) Act (aka: the bank bailout). “I was angry," Wurzelbacher told conservative radio host Glenn Beck on Tuesday. "In fact, I wanted to get off the bus after I talked to him."

Interesting! There’s only one problem with this … why did he even get on the McCain “Straight People Talking” Bus in the first place when this occurred AFTER the WSWS Act passed and was signed by Bush-baby? Yeah, Plumber’s Tool, go ahead and use that as an excuse … when you didn’t even hit the TV airwaves until the night of the second presidential debate! Joe, do you make it a habit to put your name and face all over the media when you can’t stand the policy positions of the guy you’re shilling for? So how are we to ever believe you on anything when you can pull such straight-faced public deceit, you who stated publicly you want to run for political office against Marcy Kaptur (D-OH)! What a credible guy – NOT!

Meanwhile, the Plumber Tool had only praise for McCain’s running-mate, calling Sarah Palin “the real deal.

"It disgusts me on how often [the media] try to bash her just for her sincerity," he said. "She really wants to work for America." Yeah, I hear the paychecks are nice … and the clothing budgets are pretty cushy too!

I said it before, and I’ll say it again: if the neo-con base has their way, the future GOP ticket will be “Pit Bull With Lipstick” Palin and “Joe The Plumber’s Tool” Wurzelbacher. They’ve captured the minds of Republican America …. You betcha!