Saturday, April 11, 2009

Today in Gay History

Happy Birthday

Michael Callen b.April 11, 1955

d. December 27, 1993

Singer, songwriter, AIDS activist

Michael Callen was born Michael Lane Callen on Monday, April 11th, 1955, in Indiana.

His career as a singer, songwriter was cut short in the early 1980s when he was first diagnosed with Gay Related Immune Deficiency (GRID) in 1982. He quickly became a leader in the response to the epidemic, and an author. He is recognized as a co-inventor of safe(r) sex promotion and co-founder People With AIDS Self-Empowerment.

In 1983, Callen co-authored the book How to Have Sex in an Epidemic: One Approach, which outlined the tenets of safe sex, developed in collaboration with Richard Berkowitz and Dr. Joseph Sonnabend. In 1990, he wrote Surviving AIDS, which received an Honorable Mention from the American Medical Writers Association. He was frequently seen on television talking about AIDS. Appearances included Nightline, Good Morning America, 20/20, and The Phil Donahue Show. He wrote for several newspapers and magazines, including the Village Voice, The New York Native, and Outweek; some of his articles are collected in Surviving and Thriving with AIDS, published by the People with AIDS Coalition in 1988. Callen publicly denied the HIV as cause theory of AIDS and was especially critical of AZT mono-therapy when it was first introduced: "The HIV paradigm has produced nothing of value for my life and I actually believe that treatments based on the arrogant belief that HIV has proven to be the sole and sufficient cause of AIDS has hastened the deaths of many of my friends." see the video interview @ As an actor, Michael Callen was seen in a small supporting role as an AIDS patient in the movie Philadelphia, released in 1993. He died of AIDS-related complications in California December 27, 1993 at the age of 38. Had he lived another couple of years, he would have undoubtedly been convinced of the HIV cause of AIDS when Dr. David Ho pioneered the use of multiple drugs at the same time, setting the standard that thrives today and has saved the lives of millions of people.

Rest in peace, Michael, rest in peace.


Friday, April 10, 2009


The Other Side of Iowa:-) A Not So Tongue-in-Cheek View From Joe.My.God

Iowa Bishops are Shaking in their dresses With Righteous Anger

A secretive all-male group of dudes in embroidered dresses are angrily stomping their bejeweled slippers about Iowa's approval of same-sex marriage. Via Catholic News Service:
Iowa's Catholic bishops vigorously disagreed with the Iowa Supreme Court's unanimous decision April 3 that strikes down state law defining marriage as a union of one man and one woman. "This decision rejects the wisdom of thousands of years of human history. It implements a novel understanding of marriage, which will grievously harm families and children," the bishops said in a statement prepared by the Iowa Catholic Conference. The bishops vowed to continue to protect and promote marriage as a union between a man and a woman and asked Catholics and other citizens of Iowa to call for a constitutional amendment on marriage.
"Grievously harm families and children." Bold words coming from a group whose name would be the question to the Jeopardy answer "They are often convicted of child molestation."


Thursday, April 9, 2009


Iowa Senate Majority Leader On Marriage Repeal Attempt: "You've Already Lost"

H/T to JoeMyGod

who had this clip a couple of days ago by the Majority Leader of the senate in Iowa very articulately stating his rationale for keeping Marriage Equality in Iowa;


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Grin and Bare It


This Week In Holy Crimes

From Joe.My.God>>>Here's a brief little recap of what's going on out there in church land....

Indiana - Pastor Daniel Moore arrested for sexual misconduct with a minor.
Iowa - Pastor James Wiles and wife arrested for financial exploitation and abuse of elderly.
Rwanda - Pastor Steven Gatema arrested for murdering business rival.
Delaware - Pastor Harry Benson arrested for child molestation.
Phoenix - Pastor Charles Carfrey arrested on four counts of sexual assault.
Texas - Pastor Frank Brown arrested on multiple counts of child molestation.
South Carolina - Pastor Christopher Daniels charged with burning down own church and insurance fraud.
Michigan - Father Johnson Pappusamy arrested for sexual assault.
Georgia - Pastor Thomas Thompson arrested for identity theft and fraud.
Florida - Rev. Francis Guinan and Fr. John Skehan convicted for embezzlement.

This week's winner:
Tennessee - Rev. Henry Lyons went to prison after defrauding the National Baptist Convention of $4M during his reign as their president. He used the money to buy luxury homes, jewelry, and to support his several mistresses. And now that he's done his time, he wants to be president again.


Today in Gay History

Bennett (1943-1987)

h/t to qlbtq

James Kirkwood, co-author of A Chorus Line, lashed out at the show's creator, director, and choreographer: "Michael would do anything--anything--to get a show on. The cruelty was extensive. And not just in his professional life. He was amoral."

The charismatic Bennett was a lover of men and women; his two primary heterosexual relationships were stormy, first with wife Donna McKechnie (wed December 1976, divorced four months later) then with Sabine Cassel, whom he promised to wed but did not.

His relationships with men were less publicized, but they included long relationships with dancers Larry Fuller, Scott Pearson, Richard Christopher, and Gene Pruitt, his last lover.

Bennett made his Broadway debut as a dancer in Subways Are for Sleeping (1961), but he soon realized that he had a greater talent for choreography than for dancing. Bennett's first solo assignments as a choreographer were on A Joyful Noise (1966) and Henry, Sweet Henry (1967).

His first big hit was Promises, Promises (1968), which was followed by Coco (1969). Working with Harold Prince on Stephen Sondheim's Company (1970) and Follies (1971) led him to decide that he wanted to be a director as well as a choreographer.

Bennett's dream was realized when he was called in to save Seesaw (1973). He agreed to take over the show on the condition that he would have creative control of the production. He ultimately received credit (and Tony nominations) as librettist, director and co-choreographer.

Bennett decided to do a show about the lives of dancers, but rather than commission a script he let the story-line evolve from the experiences of real dancers. After conducting hours of interviews with Broadway gypsies, Bennett began an unprecedented year of workshops at Joseph Papp's Public Theatre.

The result was A Chorus Line (1975). A risk all the way around, the show opened without stars and ran two hours and 10 minutes without an intermission. Bennett received credit as director, co-producer, co-author, and co-choreographer.

After a few months at the Public Theatre, A Chorus Line moved to Broadway on July 25, 1975, where it remained at the Schubert Theatre for the next 15 years. The breakthrough musical won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, the Tony Award, and the Pulitzer Prize, among many other honors. When the show closed on April 28, 1990, it had run for 6,137 performances, still a record for a Broadway musical written by Americans.

The winner of eight Tony Awards, Bennett's legacy to musical theater is undoubtedly his fluid, cinematic style of choreography and staging, which reached its ultimate realization in Dreamgirls (1981), where even the computerized towers of the set were choreographed into the action of the play. Like Robbins, he did more than choreograph steps; he put the entire show into motion.

Inadvertently, Bennett's other great benefaction was to provide the New York Shakespeare Festival with the bulk of its income for many years. As one of the producers of A Chorus Line, the Public Theatre earned approximately $37,800,000 from Bennett's landmark production.

In January 1985 Bennett abandoned the almost completed musical Scandal, which he had been evolving through an extended series of workshops. Many observers felt this to be Bennett's strongest work, with few understanding the toll that alcohol, drugs, and a weakened immune system had taken on this genius of the theater.

When Michael Bennett died on July 2, 1987 at the age of 44 of AIDS-related lymphoma, he left a sizable portion of his estate to funding research to fight the AIDS epidemic.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Today in Gay History

Harry Hay

(April 7, 1912 – October 24, 2002)

HARRY HAY was a leading figure in the dawn of gay liberation, and as a Communist Party organizer in America - and like the early gay activist Edward Carpenter before him - he connected homosexual freedom with a possible Utopia; freedom from the rest of the capitalist
hegemony. But one of the more remarkable aspects of this extraordinary proponent of American radicalism is the fact that he was actually born in Worthing in Sussex. --From Hay's Obit in London's The Independent, 2002

from wiki>>Harry Hay (April 7, 1912 – October 24, 2002) was the earliest prominent leader in the gay rights movement in the United States, known for founding the Mattachine Society in 1950 and the Radical Færies in 1979, and partner of inventor John Burnside for 40 years, from 1962 until Hay's death.

Hay is listed in histories of the American gay movement as first in applying the term "minority" to homosexuals. A communist early in his life, and an uncompromising radical for his 90 year life, he easily dismissed "the heteros," and never rested from challenging the status quo, including within the gay community. Due to the pervasive homophobia of his times (it was illegal for more than two homosexuals to congregate in California during the 1950s) Hay and his colleagues took an oath of anonymity that lasted a quarter century until Jonathan Ned Katz interviewed Hay for the ground-breaking book Gay American History. Countless researchers subsequently sought him out; in recent years, Hay became the subject of a biography, a PBS-funded documentary, and an anthology of his own writings.
His most enduring legacy is the Radical Færie movement, which fosters a queer identity based on a blending of rural settings, and spiritual nods to Native American and New Age cultural memes. He and his longest life-partner, John Burnside, truly lived the Radical Færie lifestyle in Arizona for many years, until lung cancer made independent living in the desert environs too difficult for them.

The invitation he sent out to the first Radical Faerie gathering stated its purpose:

"To share new insights about ourselves,
To dance in the moonlight,
To renew oaths against patriarchy,
corporations and racism,
To hold, protect, nurture and
caress one another,
To talk about the politics of gay enspiritment
and the enspiritment of gay politics,
To find healing space inside our hearts,
To become the inspirer and the listener as we share new breakthroughs in how we perceive gay consciousness,
To soar like an eagle,
To rediscover and reinvent our myths,
To talk about gay living and loving alternatives,
To experience the groundedness of the calamus root,
To share our gay visions,
To sing, sing, sing,
To evoke a great fairy circle."

Harry, right in later years

In 1999 Burnside moved Hay, who was suffering from lung cancer, to San Francisco's Castro district, where he was cared for by hospice nurses and care-taking members of the Radical Faeries. At the same period Hay arranged for his personal papers to be donated to the James C. Hormel Gay and Lesbian Center at the San Francisco Public Library.

Harry Hay died on October 24, 2002. At his side were John Burnside, with whom he had registered as domestic partners only weeks before, and his care givers from the Radical Faeries, who laid Hay out and sprinkled rose petals over him.

Biographer Timmons had visited Hay a few weeks before, at which time Hay had given him a message: "Tell my people I want them to be happy and strong. And free. And contributive. And to fly."


Newt Wants to Leave Rush's Party

Our Friends at Crooks & Liars put together this post about the Sir Newt of Gingrich:

"If the Republicans can't break out of being the right wing party of big government, then I think you would see a third party movement in 2012," Newt Gingrich said during a Wednesday speech in Missouri.

Speaking on Fox News Sunday, the former Speaker of the House expanded on why conservatives might turn away from the Republican Party. "Republicans need to understand that there's a country which did not like the big spending of the last administration, didn't like the interventionist policies of the last administration and the country at large would like to see a genuine alternative to the Obama strategy of basically trying to run the entire economy from the white house and basically trying to increase government, I think, by 36% this year, which is the largest single increase outside of war in American history," said Gingrich.

Gingrich indicated that he wouldn't participate in a third party movement. "No, look, I lived through watching Ross Perot run in 1992 and split the conservative movement in two," he said.

John Amato:

Yea, Newt wants nothing to do with a "third party," he's just making the case for one. Nice going Newt. Gingrich started a new party in 1994 with his Contract with America, that began to kick out all moderate Republicans using the Southern Strategy and now the entire Republican party is made up of conservatives just like him. Of course he was booted out of his own party very quickly. Since his ideals have failed so miserably now---he's saying they may need another party for conservatives to express themselves and be heard.

I love the the sweet smell of revisionism in the morning.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Stand Out Story of the Week

President Obama Overseas:
Resurrection to
World Stage

Our president this past week dominated the news of the world by his natural preeminent presence leadership among his peers. From the London G20, to Strasbourg's NATO, the contrast from Bush is strike and startling.

McClatchey News had this to say about the success of the G20 confab:

The leaders of the world's major industrialized nations accomplished something at their G-20 summit here Thursday that rarely happens at such gatherings of heads of state.

They produced large achievements.

They pledged the first-ever global regulation of hedge funds and private-equity firms, big players in global finance that have enjoyed operating under the regulatory radar. They agreed to a require banks to set aside more capital in good times to help them function in bad times. They vowed to crack down on tax haven nations that allow the wealthy to escape taxation. And they pledged $1.1 trillion to the International Monetary Fund and related institutions to help revive the global economy.

In short, the summit marks the end of an era of unbridled global capitalism and a turn toward stronger government oversight of economics, coordinated globally. Leaders of the Group of 20 effectively closed the door on an era of history and opened the door to a new one.

And, herewith some excerpts from Pam's House Blend coverage of this story Sunday addressing the essence of the presence.

Obama overseas: what a relief after Bush

by: Pam Spaulding

With North Korea's Kim Jong-Il acting up again (he seems to erupt like Old Faithful), puffing himself up to impress/scare the rest of the world and test whoever happens to be president. Barack Obama discussed his plan to help move the globe toward nuclear disarmament and said this about the North Korea missile firing in an address to a huge crowd in Hradcany Square, Prague, Czech Republic.

Just this morning, we were reminded again of why we need a new and more rigorous approach to address this threat. North Korea broke the rules once again by testing a rocket that could be used for long range missiles. This provocation underscores the need for action -- not just this afternoon at the U.N. Security Council, but in our determination to prevent the spread of these weapons.

Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something. The world must stand together to prevent the spread of these weapons. Now is the time for a strong international response -- (applause) -- now is the time for a strong international response, and North Korea must know that the path to security and respect will never come through threats and illegal weapons. All nations must come together to build a stronger, global regime. And that's why we must stand shoulder to shoulder to pressure the North Koreans to change course.

...So, finally, we must ensure that terrorists never acquire a nuclear weapon. This is the most immediate and extreme threat to global security. One terrorist with one nuclear weapon could unleash massive destruction. Al Qaeda has said it seeks a bomb and that it would have no problem with using it. And we know that there is unsecured nuclear material across the globe. To protect our people, we must act with a sense of purpose without delay.

So today I am announcing a new international effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years. We will set new standards, expand our cooperation with Russia, pursue new partnerships to lock down these sensitive materials.

I haven't been following all of the stops of the first big trip abroad by the President and First Lady, but there's one thing I do know -- I sleep better at night knowing our country is no longer represented by a president who makes an ass out of himself in front of world leaders in times of crisis or utters insane, ignorant, amoral BS like:

Left: letting his lips flap over an open mic -- he said that quote to Tony Blair while chewing on a buttered roll, adding that special touch of American class.

"This foreign policy stuff is a little frustrating." - as quoted by the New York Daily News, April 23, 2002

"I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe and what I believe - I believe what I believe is right." - Rome, Italy, July 22, 2001

"Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed." - speaking underneath a "Mission Accomplished" banner aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, May 1, 2003

"Can we win? I don't think you can win it." - after being asked whether the war on terror was winnable, "Today" show interview, Aug. 30, 2004

"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator." - Washington, D.C., Dec. 19, 2000

"My answer is bring them on." - on Iraqi insurgents attacking U.S. forces, Washington, D.C., July 3, 2003

It's refreshing not to hear cheap, inflammatory phrases like "Dead Or Alive," "Mission Accomplished," or "I'm the Decider." We all know Barack Obama has an actual functioning brain. Watching Bush was like a form of PTSD - you'd watch him on one of those trips and replay all the horrible embarrassing incidents, afraid he was going to top himself.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Wingnuts Have Answers for All Problems