Update@ 9:45 AM CDT: Conservative Pat Buchanan on MSNBC this morning, saying he watched the above vid, and COMMENDING the President for his BOLDNESS! Well, wonders never ceasing and more change!
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Update@ 9:45 AM CDT: Conservative Pat Buchanan on MSNBC this morning, saying he watched the above vid, and COMMENDING the President for his BOLDNESS! Well, wonders never ceasing and more change!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY March 21
Zackie Achmat (b. 1962)
AIDS ACTIVIST in South Africa
South African activist Zackie Achmat has been a pivotal figure in his country's response to AIDS. His refusal, from 1999 to 2003, to avail himself of anti-retroviral drugs until they became affordable for the poor brought him recognition from health and human rights advocates worldwide.
Born Abdurrazack Achmat in Johannesburg, on March 21, 1962, "Zackie" was raised in a conservative Muslim household by his mother and aunt in Salt River, an area of Cape Town. In a 1995 autobiographical essay, provocatively entitled "My Childhood as an Adult Molester," he describes the conditions of life for South Africa's "coloureds" during the apartheid era, when he suffered discrimination and poverty. Although of Malaysian extraction, he identified with the country's black population, who were subject to even worse treatment. The essay also offers a rare portrait of gay male life in the colored community.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Does America Face the Risk of a Fascist Backlash?
The lessons of the German experience following World War I may be instructive.
Happy 62nd Birthday
John Boswell (1947-1994)
Renowned Gay History Pioneer
H/T to qlbtq-- the premier online encyclopedia of gay sensibility
John Eastburn Boswell was one of the late twentieth century's most influential historians of homosexuality and author of one of the first book-length histories on the subject.
Born in Boston in 1947 into a military family, Boswell earned his undergraduate degree from William and Mary. A gifted medieval philologist, he received his doctorate from Harvard University in 1975, whereupon he joined the Yale University history faculty; he was made full professor in 1982. In 1987, Boswell helped organize the Lesbian and Gay Studies Center at Yale, which is now the Research Fund for Lesbian and Gay Studies. He was named the A. Whitney Griswold Professor of History in 1990, when he was also appointed to a two-year term as chair of the Yale history department.
Boswell's first book was a well-received revision of his Harvard dissertation entitled The Royal Treasure: Muslim Communities under the Crown of Aragon in the Fourteenth Century, ... [earning his bona fides as a historian].
In 1980 Boswell published his second book, the volume destined to make his reputation: Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality. Its radical argument--that homosexual behavior between men was tolerated, even at times celebrated, by Roman Catholics prior to thirteenth-century church reforms--drew the ire of both gay studies scholars and conservative critics even as it guaranteed Boswell a large and enthusiastic popular readership.
. . .Other critics insisted Boswell, a practicing Catholic, was an apologist for the mistreatment of homosexuals at the hands of the Catholic Church, while some Catholics found his writings nigh heretical.
Yet the response of his gay non-academic readership was overwhelmingly positive. . . .Despite the accusations of "interpretive excess" leveled against it, Boswell's narrative provided gay men, in particular, a history in which they could unambiguously imagine themselves, a powerful tool in advancing the cause of gay liberation. The book was also crowned with the American Book Award for History in 1981.
The attention accorded this work by both gay and mainstream media in the United States catapulted Boswell into the influential position of acting as effective spokesman for gay history, as well as his subsequent position as a book reviewer for The Atlantic and The New Republic.
Following a third book on the history of child abandonment in medieval Europe, Boswell returned to the history of homosexuality with Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe. In this work, published in the final months of his life, he described Christian ceremonies performed by priests that celebrated relationships between two men or two women and mirrored marriage rites in many of their particulars. The book was at once an elaboration on his earlier writings as well as a subtle polemic advocating the solemnization of same-sex unions in our own era.
Like Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality, Boswell's final book also met with both scholarly and popular controversy. Critics on both the left and the right disputed whether the relationships identified by Boswell were specifically sexual or even emotional in nature.
Sadly, Boswell did not survive to respond to these challenges. He died of complications from AIDS on December 24, 1994, at age 47. He was survived by his partner, Jerry Hart, as well as his parents and siblings.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Part 1 in a seriesImage courtesy of the internets somewhere
Leave it to the French to have the balls to respond to the Pope's heartless and idiotic misinformation campaign against condoms!
The Roman Catholic Church says marital fidelity and sexual abstinence are the best way to prevent the spread of HIV.
But France, echoing the reaction of some aid agencies, said it "voices extremely sharp concern over the consequences of [the Pope's comments]".
"While it is not up to us to pass judgment on Church doctrine, we consider that such comments are a threat to public health policies and the duty to protect human life," foreign ministry spokesman Eric Chevallier said.
Thank goodness someone responded!!! How many people have died worldwide, do you think, as a direct result of the Catholic Church's opposition to condom use?
Happy Birthday March 19th
Sir Richard F. Burton (1821-1890)
Although Sir Richard F. Burton was smack dab a scion of the Victorian era in which he lived, in his outlook on sexuality there was little about him that seems "Victorian."
Based on his extensive travels in exotic lands, Burton translated and published works that were shocking for their sexual frankness. Moreover, his accounts of homosexual brothels and other activities severely stigmatized him. Although evidence of his own homosexual leanings is inconclusive, in his lifetime he was regarded with suspicion because of his knowledge and understanding of same-sex sexual activity.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Julain Bond Spoke on Saturday March 14th to a Human Rights Campaign Dinner. He eloquently acknowledged the commonality of LGBT struggles with the Black Civil Rights movement, and decried especially black homophobia.
Some excerpts courtesy Pam's House Blend:
...When someone asks me, "are gay rights civil rights?" my answer is always, "Of course, they are." Civil rights are positive legal prerogatives: the right to equal treatment before the law. These are the rights shared by everyone. There is no one in the United States who does not, or should not, enjoy or share in enjoying these rights. Gay and lesbian rights are not special rights in any way. It isn't "special" to be free from discrimination. It is an ordinary, universal entitlement of citizenship.
...People of color ought to be flattered that our movement has provided so much inspiration for others. That, it has been, that our movement has been so widely imitated. That our tactics, our methods, our heroes, our heroines, and even our songs, have been appropriated or served as models for others.
...Now, no parallel between movements is exact. African-Americans are the only Americans who were enslaved for more than two centuries and people of color carried the badge of who we are on our faces. But we are far from the only people suffering discrimination; sadly, so do many others. And those others deserve the law's protection and civil rights too.
Herebelow: The entire speech, containing some amazingly refreshing declarations. The video is 25 minutes long, but its WELL worth watching!
March 18, 1314
Jacques de Molay
Burned at the Stake
On Friday October 13th, 1307 King Philip the Fair de Valois of France had 140 French Knights Templar and Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Order, arrested.
He likely did this because he owed them money and thought they had become too powerful. What followed was a classic case of power politics between the Catholic Church hierarchy in France, the Papacy itself, and the King.
They were tortured, and confessed to heresy, sodomy, cannibalism and other crimes. More than a hundred of them were then burned to death within a year of their arrest. 51 more were burned in 1311.
de Molay was not put to death until March 18, 1314, but recanted his confessions. The Papacy was complicit, having ordered the disbanding of the Knights Templar in 1308.
During forced interrogation by royal agents on October 24, Jacques confessed that the Templar initiation ritual included "denying Christ and trampling on the Cross". He was also forced to write a letter asking every Templar to admit to these acts. Under pressure from Philip IV, Pope Clement V ordered the arrest of all the Templars throughout Christendom.
The pope still wanted to hear Jacques de Molay's side of the story, and dispatched two cardinals to
Apparently the Pope “absolved” De Molay and other top Templars in 1308 according to“lost documents” found in the
Maybe they were "sodomites" or not, but the Knights Templar, and Jacques de Molay in particular, were certainly scapegoated by power plays between the Church and The State. Shades of modern times. Le plus ça change, etc.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
An Irishman who had a little to much to drink
is driving home from the city one night and,
of course, his car is weaving violently all over
the road. A cop pulls him over.
"So," says the cop to the driver, "where have
"Why, I've been to the pub of course" slurs he.
"Well," says the cop, "it looks like you've
had quite a few to drink this evening".
"I did all right," the drunk says with a smile.
"Did you know," says the cop, standing straight
and folding his arms across his chest, "that a
few intersections back, your wife fell out of your car?"
"Oh, thank heavens," sighs the drunk. "For a minute there, I thought I'd gone deaf."
March 17, 1910
Happy Birthday -
Brother Outsider Bayard Rustin
Bayard Rustin March 17, 1910 –August 24, 1987 was an American civil rights activist, important largely behind the scenes in of the 1960s and earlier, and one of the organizers of the 1963 March on Washington. It was his early mastery of the philosophy of Gandhi that led him to be foremost in counseling the Rev. Martin L. King, Jr. on the techniques of nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience .
For much of his career, Rustin lived in
Solely because of his homosexuality, he agreed to remain largely in the background of the civil rights movement once Dr. King rose to leadership.
A year before his death in 1987, Rustin said: "Twenty-five, thirty years ago, the barometer of human rights in the
H/T to MotherJones
Let's Hear It For Big Government!
We've all got our issues about which we're just plain unreasonable. One of mine is the right wing's vilification of "big government." You might as well try to engage me in a forum on whether the Earth is flat; I will simply get up and walk away from such a pointless conversation. Nothing will convince me that America, or any country, is a group of hearty frontiersmen with no one to blame but themselves if they don't build their own roads, provide their own medical care...oh wait. We're supposed to trust capitalism to do that which we individually can't and religion to take care of the losers. My bad.
As I listen to the latest pathetic jeremiads against the boogeyman of 'socialism,' my eyes just roll and roll. I simply do not trust people who believe we need as little government as possible. Who believe we need just a coupla folks to hand over public resources to corporations gratis, with no pesky bureaucrats whining about not being able to breathe. Who believe that capitalism is always and everywhere rational, so why would corporations contaminate the very resources it needs to exist? And that therefore, there is no global warming. Puh-leeze.
We certainly need better government (a former president comes to mind), but I'm not sure we need less of it. We need government if only to protect us from capitalism; if anyone still believes the profit motive has its limits, I'd like to know what color the sky is in your world. Here's me being unreasonable again: People who want only fifty cents worth of government are people who just don't want to pay taxes. Which makes me sneer because without all this government—roads, cops, telecommunications systems, public schools—we'd all only be able to make fifty cents. Duh. I pay about half my income in taxes (and I don't make even half as much as you think I do). I don't like it, but I'm a patriot, which means thinking now and then about what's best for all of us, not just me. I don't like my money going to people like KBR and Halliburton and AIG; their allegiance is to money and other rich people, and that kind of government we don't need.
"The first responders who put out your fires, that's your government. The ranger who shoos pedophiles out of the park restroom...Recent years have made me much more wary of government...stepping aside and letting unregulated private enterprise run things it is plainly too greedy to trust with."
Take a page from Bill and say it out loud: I'm for big government and I'm proud! Why he lowered himself to 'debate' this ur-knuckle dragger, I don't know, but still...the video of it made me want to stand up and cheer.
Monday, March 16, 2009
March 16, 1952
Babe Didrikson-Zaharias-Pro Golfer
wins LPGA Titleholders Golf Championship
Babe was born Mildred Ella Didrikson
June 26, 1911, in Port Arthur, Texas.
She was a phenomenal female athlete, accomplished in basketball, track, golf, baseball, tennis, swimming, diving, boxing, volleyball, handball, bowling, billiards, skating and cycling.
She was given the nickname "Babe" during sandlot baseball games with the neighborhood boys, who thought she batted like Babe Ruth.
She won gold medals for the javelin and hurdles and was awarded the silver medal in the high jump during the 1932 Olympics,
In 1948, Babe won the U.S. Women's Open, the World Championship and the All-American Open in golf. It wasn't just another golf title she won this day in 1952, but its a slow day in "Gay" history. Babe won this tournament title while battling colon cancer.
She married George Zaharias, a well known professional wrestler and sports promoter, on December 23, 1938. They had no children, and some believe theirs was a marriage of convenience.
Zaharias had her greatest golfing year in 1950 when she completed the Grand Slam, three women's majors of the day--the U.S. Open, the Titleholders Championship, and the Western Open--in addition to leading the money list. That year, she became the fastest LPGA golfer to ever reach 10 wins. She was the leading money-winner again in 1951 and in 1952 took another major with a Titleholders victory, but illness prevented her from playing a full schedule in 1952-53.
After undergoing cancer surgery, she made a comeback in 1954. She took theVare Trophy for lowest scoring average, her only win of that trophy, and her 10th and final major with a U.S. Women's Open championship, one month after the cancer surgery. She served as the president of the LPGA from 1952 to 1955 despite her ongoing cancer battle. She died September 27, 1956.
Zaharias broke the accepted models of femininity in her time, even the accepted models of female athleticism. Although just 5'5" tall, she was physically strong and socially straightforward about her strength. Although a sports hero to many, she was also derided for her "manliness." She died ten years before the the social landscape of the United States made women athletes, such as Billie Jean King, more acceptable.
Despite her marriage to George Zaharias, there is keen historic interest in her from the modern lesbian community.
Questions about Didrikson's sexuality were rampant during the 1932 Olympics; the press wondering if she was neither male nor female but some "third" category, and in the locker room at the Olympics some of the other female athletes accosted her to check for themselves.
Later in her golfing career, in response to a female spectator asking where Didrikson's whiskers were, the Babe famously replied: "I'm sittin' on 'em, sister, same as you."
Unhappy with her marriage and wanting a separation, Didrikson began to travel openly with nineteen year old golfer Betty Dodd to golf tournaments in 1950. Unwilling to grant her wish for a divorce, Zaharias and his wife apparently came to an agreement, and Dodd moved in with the couple, living there until Didrikson's death in 1956. Betty Dodd acted as Babe's caretaker, during her lengthy battle with cancer, and that seemed to mollify the public as to why Dodd was constantly with Didrikson.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
an article in MotherJones
"The Purpose-Driven Wife"
Teaching women to submit to husbands for the love of Christ-
Kathryn Joyce encounters Martha Peace at a church lady's confab at a megachurch in suburban Atlanta.
"...The evening's emcee, Leanne, a peppy blonde with frosty blue eye shadow, says they represent the virtues of the nearly 120 women who came to see Peace speak as part of the church's "Women of Purpose" series. As daughters of the king of kings, Leanne explains, all Christian women wear crowns. But with that honor comes a mandate to apply their faith at home.
Peace is here to help. Over the past two decades, the 62-year-old Georgia native and former nurse has written five books on biblical womanhood, conservative Christianity's answer to the women's movement. Among them are The Excellent Wife, now a classic in this burgeoning niche, and Damsels in Distress, a set of biblical solutions to female problems ranging from pms to depression to "feminist tendencies." It's common for a young Christian wife to rebel against home life as her primary ministry, Peace writes in Becoming a Titus 2 Woman, which lays out the principles of her ministry model. It's the role of older women to help her understand her priorities.
...(Peace asserts that priorities for church ladies) may include rising early to feed the family, being available anytime to satisfy a husband's desires (barring a few "ungodly" or "homosexual" acts), seeking his approval regarding work, appearance, and leisure, and accepting that he has the "burden" of final say in arguments. After a wife has respectfully appealed her spouse's decision—a privilege she should not abuse—she must accept his final answer as "God's will for her at that time," Peace advises. The godly wife must also suppress selfish desires (for romance, a career, an equitable marriage), practice addressing her spouse in soothing tones, and maintain a private log of bitter thoughts to guide her repentance. "If you disobey your husband," Peace admonishes in The Excellent Wife, "you are indirectly shaking your fist at God."
.... she's just one among hundreds of professional Titus 2 mentors, older women who help younger ones—as outlined by Apostle Paul in Titus 2:5—"to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God."
...Sensitive to charges that her busy career might contradict her message, Peace reassures audiences that she ministers only to women, and only under her pastor's supervision....
These church leaders argue that a generation of women has abdicated its sacred responsibility by ignoring biblical directives that used to reign unchallenged. In addition to the "corrupting" influence of feminism on the wider culture, they fear feminization of the church by female-majority congregations, the concept of a soft and womanly Jesus, and the elevation of women to positions of church authority. Their concerns extend to questions—on Christian marriage counseling; on women speaking in church or exercising authority over men as, say, teachers or cops—that are nearly as divisive in conservative churches as gay marriage is in mainline denominations. "A lot comes into this," Peace tells me. "Not just husbands and wives, but women as pastors, women in church. It's not a matter of 'Good Christians can differ on the issue.' This is a slippery slope they're on. It's like wherever the world goes, 30 or 40 years later, the church goes, too."
March 15, 76 CE
Hadrian, Roman Emperor
H/T to The Independent, UK
The bust is classically Roman, the face imperious. But this is no ordinary emperor. As a major new exhibition at the British Museum makes clear, Publius Aelius Traianus Hadrianus was not only a peacemaker who pulled his soldiers out of modern-day Iraq. He was also the first leader of Rome to make it clear that he was gay.
Hadrian: Empire and Conflict will see the bust make pilgrimages to both ends of Hadrian's Wall, the first time it has left the British Museum since being found in the Thames 200 years ago. But it is the singular life-story of the gay emperor that is likely to capture the interest of most visitors.
After being made emperor AD117, he inherited a Roman Empire in its prime, which had thrived on a policy of endless expansion and conquest.
His first move, within hours of coronation, was to withdraw his troops from Mesopotamia, now Iraq, and fortify the empire's boundaries by building his eponymous wall in northern England and others in the Danube and the Rhine valleys, ushering in a new era of peace. The reign that followed can be traced through 200 ancient treasures, many of which have never been display in Britain.
Several of the artefacts relate to his male consort, Antinous, who accompanied him on his travels around the empire. These items include a poem written on papyrus, featuring the two men hunting together, and new finds that include memorials to the dead lover at Hadrian's villa in Tivoli.
Although it was not uncommon for his predecessors to have taken gay lovers alongside a female spouse, Hadrian was unique in making his love "official" in a way that no other emperor had before him.
When Antinous drowned in mysterious circumstances, Hadrian was so distraught that he chose to commemorate the young Greek by naming an Egyptian city in his honour. Thorsten Opper, curator of the exhibition, said what was unusual in Hadrian's attitude towards Antinous was the way in which he publicly deified him.
"He had to marry, and he had a politically arranged marriage to Sabina, who was the great-niece of the former emperor Trajan, which in effect, set up his succession. But clearly, it was a loveless marriage with no children. What was unusual is that he had a lot of flings, and then after his lover drowned in the Nile AD130 he made him a god.