Saturday, March 7, 2009

For Posterity

The President's Weekly Radio Address
February 28, 2009
Lays out Historic Budget Rationale


Obama Will Reverse Bush’s

Stem-Cell Restrictions

H/T to our friends at From The Left:

With a single executive action by President Obama, American scientific research is set to join the 21st century — already nearly a decade late.

On Monday, President Obama will announce he is reversing the Bush administration limits on Federal financing for embryonic stem cell research as part of a pledge to separate science and politics, White House officials said Friday.

As a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama said he was in favor of stem cell research, so his intention to remove the restrictions put in place by former President George Bush is confirmation of his commitment to evolving 21st century science and the medical applications to treat and even prevent a myriad of diseases and conditions.

Embryonic stem cells are capable of developing into any type of cell in the body and scientists believe that they may one day be able to provide tissues to replace worn-out organs or nonfunctioning cells and, thus, offer powerful new treatments for everything from diabetes, to heart disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV. Some researchers say the stem cells may even be used someday to treat catastrophic injuries like brain and spinal cord injuries.


Today in Gay History

March 7
Feast Day of Saints
Perpetua and Felicitas

The popularity of the story of Saints Perpetua and Felicitas...was largely due to the appeal of love between two women. Five Christians were martyred together at Carthage on March 7, 203, suffering death at the hands of wild animals and the sword, but only Perpetua and Felicitas captured the fancy of the Christian community, apparently because of the tale of the two women comforting each other in jail, suffering martyrdom together as friends, and bestowing upon each other the kiss of peace as they met their end, charmed the tastes of the age.


Friday, March 6, 2009

Who' the Leader of the Band, who plays for You and Me

M- I C, K-E-Y----M-O-U-S-E !!

Who's the leader of the club
That's made for you and me
Hey! there, Hi! there, Ho! there
You're as welcome as can be

Mickey Mouse!

Mickey Mouse!

Forever let us hold our banner
High! High! High! High!

Come along and sing a song
And join the jamboree!


Today in Gay History

Happy Birthday

Michelangelo Buonarrati, March 6,

His marble statue of David and his frescoes on the vault of the Sistine Chapel are among the most widely recognized examples of Italian Renaissance art, and their maker the most famous artist who ever lived.

By sixteenth-century standards Michelangelo lived to the exceptionally old age of almost eighty-nine, and he continued to work until only a few days before his death. From a working career that spanned more than seventy years, he left an enormous legacy in sculpture, painting, drawing, and architecture.

AND POETRY! -- reminds Band of Thebes in following excerpt from today's posting on that blog:

If we lived in a world that valued verse as much as image, we might equally revere his poems. After his sixteen year-old boyfriend Cecchino dei Bracci died, Michelangelo wrote 48 epigrams commemorating their love. During the three decades of his relationship with Tommaso dei Cavalieri, thirty-four years his junior, Michelangelo created more than 300 sonnets to him that were so beautiful and universal they became a popular book after his death, but they were also so obviously sexual that Michelangelo's grand-nephew rewrote all the masculine pronouns as feminine. (For comparison, fifty years later Shakespeare penned 126 sonnets to his younger male lover, and 27 to the Dark Lady.) This degaying of Michelangelo's desire endured more than three centuries until John Addington Symonds translated the sonnets himself for his biography in 1893. Other of Michelangelo's young lovers were Gherardo Perini and Febbo di Poggio. [Free advice: Febbo di Poggio would make an awesomer band name than Franz Ferdinand or Chester French.]

Again, as for the notion that gay sex (or the craziness of starstruck parents) is a 20th century invention, bear in mind that one of Niccolò Quaratesi's workers, trying to convince Michelangelo to accept his boy as an apprentice, suggested his son would also be hot in bed. The often arrogant Michelangelo gave a furious no. Art before everything.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thanks, Again..... , Jindal and His Fellow Freepers Fan Freefall

Political Scientists Boycott
2012 New Orleans Convention

More sad news for Louisiana economy. Part of the Statement by a group of political scholars planning their 2012 convention states:

A 2004 amendment to the Louisiana Constitution denies marriage and “the legal incidents thereof” to same-sex couples. This provision places an affirmative burden on visiting lesbian and gay pairs, who may never have legally recognized relationships in Louisiana, regardless of their marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership in home states or countries. For example, the 2004 amendment may well invalidate, by operation of law, medical-care agreements signed outside of Louisiana between the members of same-sex couples because such documents touch the legal incidents of marriage which the state constitution withholds from those pairs. As a result, the undersigned support the boycott of the American Political Science Association’s 2012 New Orleans conference and will not attend that meeting. We believe that a substantial risk of serious discrimination against visiting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) political scientists and their families exists in the Crescent City.
The boycott's organizers are urging the organization's members to support New Orleans hurricane recovery NOW by making contributions now when needed. Their view is that its not enough to plan a convention there in 2012. The claim is they can legally terminate their contracts with host hotels because their written agreements state that New Orleans was chosen for the convention because of its anti-discrimination ordinances. Since the city is enforcing state rules on marriage inequality, the contracts are voidable.


Today in Gay History

March 5, 2009

California Marriage Equality

The California Supreme Court will today hear oral arguments pertaining to the legality of Proposition 8, the November ballot measure that changed the state’s constitution to ban same-sex marriage on March 5.

The hearing is expected to result in a decision that sets a precedent and makes history. Both supporters and opponents of Prop 8 will be voicing their reasons as to why or why not the amendment should remain in effect. Groups in favor of equality filed a suit shortly after the November election, claiming the marriage ban violated the state Constitution. California’s Attorney General, Jerry Brown at first stated he would defend Proposition 8, but then changed his stance arguing that the measure was in fact unconstitutional.

Supporters of Prop 8 have filed briefs supporting the ban as it was approved by the voters 52% by 48%. According to the court, judges presiding over the case will consider three key issues. Is Prop 8 invalid because it constitutes a revision of, rather than an amendment to, the California Constitution and did not clear the Legislature as required for revisions? Does Prop 8 violate the separation of powers doctrine under the California State Constitution? And, if it is determined that Prop 8 is not unconstitutional, what is its effect, if any, on the marriages of same-sex couples performed before the adoption of Proposition 8?

Stay tuned. A decision is not likely for a couple of months, but today's hearing might give court observers a glimpse of how the Justices are leaning.

Crapaud's prediction: Justices will split the baby à la Solomon: a) Uphold Prop 8's validity, sustaining the mob rule of 52% tyranny, while b) Sustaining the validity of the 18,000+ marriages contracted in California by same sex couples between June and November.

Update: Crapaud viewed and listened to the arguments via internet live stream from a San Francisco TV station. My impression is that it could still go either way. However, its probably still tilted in favor of upholding the validity of outlawing same sex marriage by poplular vote.

This is due to the (likely) swing-back vote of Justice Joyce L. Kennard, about whom this retired lawyer has two immediate impressions: 1) She is an erratic narcissist who adores the sound of her own accented English; and 2) Although she voted last May to declare the denial of marriage rights to same sex couples inherently unconstitutional, she now fears for her chances in a recall and will vote to say: "The state must make equal provisions for gay couples just like we said back in May. But what teh Prop 8 did was just a matter of" nomenclature," i. e. the "people" may revise the constitution to create a new class of "marriage" called something else."

I know, I know, it doesn't make any sense, but that's what this judge is about to join in declaring to save her sorry ass from recall by these same "people."


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Obama's Modest Tax Policy

If Obama's tax plan is approved, a family making $500,000 a year would see its annual tax bill rise to nearly $132,000 from about $120,000, a 10 percent increase, said Clint Stretch, managing principal of tax policy at Deloitte Tax.

Over the past three decades, these families have seen their incomes double and triple while the rest of the country stagnated. Now Obama proposes to increase their tax bill by $12,000 — not even enough to get them back to the rates they were paying when Ronald Reagan left office. This is a very, very modest nod toward fiscal fair play, very much in keeping with Obama's modest optics. You'd have to drink several pitchers of Rush Limbaugh's Kool-Aid to think this counts as soaking the rich.


Today in Gay History

Happy Birthday

Jean O'Leary March 4, 1948-2005

In 1972, frustrated with the sexism of the male-dominated Gay Activists Alliance, she founded Lesbian Feminist Liberation, taking most of the women from GAA with her and establishing one of the first organized lesbian voices within the women’s movement. Two years later, O’Leary and Bruce Voeller, then executive director of the National Gay Task Force (NGTF), negotiated an agreement for co-gender management of the national gay movement and O’Leary joined Voeller as co-executive director of NGTF. I

In her role at NGTF, and through her close friendship with Carter Administration Presidential advisor Midge Costanza, in 1977 O’Leary organized the historic first-ever meeting of gay rights advocates in the White House. She was also the first openly gay person appointed to a Presidential commission, by President Jimmy Carter, who named her to the National Commission on the Observance of International Women’s Year. In that role, she negotiated the inclusion of gay and lesbian rights on the agenda of the International Women’s Year conference held in Houston in 1979. In the 1980s, Jean founded National Gay Rights Advocates (NGRA). As head of NGRA, O’Leary pursued “impact litigation” and won important victories protecting gay people from discrimination in employment, housing and other areas. In 1985 NGRA became one of the first advocacy organizations to focus on the legal and civil liberties ramifications of the AIDS epidemic.

Jean O'Leary died of lung cancer in 2005. Sean Strub, founder of POZ Magazine, said after Jean's death, “Jean’s activism spanned so many movements: the women’s movement, gay and lesbian rights, AIDS activism as well as Democratic party politics. [Jean was a member of the Democratic National Committee for 12 years.]Her early AIDS activism through NGRA, particularly in expediting access to new treatments, saved many lives. Her passing is a loss for all people who are ill, disadvantaged or suffering, and all people who treasure justice.”


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Fairly Un- Balanced Leadership

H/T to Wizard of Whimsy







And now Gov. Bobby Jindal is defending Limbaugh.

On Larry King Live last night, Jindal was asked what he thought of Steele’s apology to Limbaugh. “I’m glad [Steele] apologized,” said Jindal. “I think Rush [Limbaugh] is a leader for many conservatives and says things that people are concerned about.”


Monday, March 2, 2009

H/T to FromtheLeft:

What a concept? An American president who tells the lobbyists they can go to hell while reminding them he works for the American people.

That’s exactly what President Barack Obama said in his weekly radio and video address.

The president challenged the nation’s vested interests to a legislative duel, saying he will fight to change health care, energy and education in dramatic ways that will upset the status quo.

“The system we have now might work for the powerful and well-connected interests that have run Washington for far too long. But I don’t. I work for the American people.”

Obama said his ambitious budget plan, unveiled Thursday, will help millions of Americans, but only if Congress overcomes resistance from deep-pocket lobbies.

“I know these steps won’t sit well with the special interests and lobbyists who are invested in the old way of doing business, and I know they’re gearing up for a fight. My message to them is this: So am I.”


Today in Gay History

Happy Birthday
March 2, 1942
Lou Reed
Musical Innovator Extraordinaire

In the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, rock musician Lou Reed, pencil-thin, craggy, and dressed in tough leather or androgynous glitz, came to symbolize the rebellious outsider. Reed produced a gritty urban rock and roll that made even the protest and acid rock of the 1970s seem tame in comparison.

Beatniks listened to Pete Seeger and the Weavers. Hippies listened to the Doors and Jimi Hendrix. The real freaks listened to Reed's Velvet Underground.

A rebel from an early age, Reed horrified his parents on Long Island with his effeminacy and his violently loud rock music. Hoping to curb his homosexuality, they sent him to a mental hospital for electroshock treatments. Although the treatments were painful and damaging, Reed emerged with his antisocial impulses (and bisexuality) more or less intact.

He moved to New York City, where he met Andy Warhol, the experimental artist who made a cult of both the decadent and the mundane. In 1965, Reed--as part of Warhol's studio, The Factory--joined fellow musicians John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and Maureen Tucker to form the Velvet Underground. Andy Warhol managed the band, which supplied the music for his Exploding Plastic Inevitable art shows in 1966.

Although Velvet Underground sold few albums and disbanded after only five years, the group had an impact that lasted for decades. Taking rock back to its rawest form--a few simple chords played very loudly--Velvet Underground's urban decadence was the opposite of the visionary dreaminess of much of the music of the era.

Their songs were about drugs and junkies, hustlers and drag queens, all sung with a bare-bones intensity that made them appealingly taboo. The 1980s alternative rock scene would honor the music of Velvet Underground as an influential forerunner of punk.

After the breakup of Velvet Underground, Reed continued to violate taboos as a solo artist. Bisexual in his private life, Reed linked up with another allegedly bisexual rocker, David Bowie, who in 1972 produced Reed's first solo album, Transformer.

On Transformer, Reed changed his look from urban tough to glam-rock flash. He also introduced his most famous signature song, "Walk on the Wild Side," the story of a transgenderedhooker's odyssey from Los Angeles to the hard streets of New York, told with an understated, ironic affection and a catchy backbeat.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Republicon Implosion Continues

Paul Jenkins

has a thorough analysis of how inept Rebublicans are seeming this week. Herewith, an excerpt:

With the sweet smell of defeat lingering in Republican Washington, three of the party's biggest losers are back. Tom DeLay, run out of the capital because even by its standards he was woefully corrupt, called Obama's Congressional address "the most irresponsible, hypocritical speech I have ever witnessed." This from the man who blamed the Columbine shootings on "school systems [teaching] our children that they are nothing but glorified apes who have evolutionized [sic] out of some primordial soup of mud." Speaking of irresponsible, hypocritical, primordial and muddy, Newt Gingrich is also back and you will be stunned to hear that he is "disappointed" with Obama's performance so far. Mitt "Who Let The Dogs Out" Romney, who drained $100 million on a creepy presidential campaign, this week decided to come to the financial rescue of embattled Republicans who are "standing up for fiscal responsibility and saying no to spending abuse" (ie, the stimulus package). Yes, that's right, the man who spent $400,000 per delegate in the Republican primary is proudly lecturing others about fiscal responsibility. Any moment now, we expect Rudy Giuliani, who outdid Romney by spending $59 million for just one delegate, to share some of his own financial wisdom, probably spicing it up with his usual light-handed touch of 9/11 doomsday.


Today in Gay History

March 1, 1980
North Texas continues to Pioneer

"Meeting the Needs of Gay and Lesbian Students: A Conference for College Counselors, Chaplains and Administrators,” was held at the First Unitarian Church in Dallas, organized by the Gay Academic Union/North Texas.