The Tempest Online™

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Archive for July, 2007

100 BEST THINGS ABOUT BEING A GAY MAN

Posted by Daniel on July 31, 2007

It’s been a year or so since I posted one of these, so enjoy the relapse.

1. You truly don’t care who Paris Hilton is sleeping with.

2. You understand the difference between 43 brands of imported vodka.

3. You can call anyone “honey” including pets.

4. You know someone who definitely was in the emergency room with Richard Gere and the gerbil.

5. You understand the immense importance of good lighting.

6. You can be at a crowded disco the size of two football fields and still spot a toupee.

7. You can tell a woman you love her bathing suit, and mean her bathing suit.

8. You can explain the nuances between steady date, boyfriend and lover.

9. You really have “been there, done that.”

10. Your women friends will tell you everything you want to know about their boyfriends. And that means everything.

11. You’re the only type of male who gets to say “fabulous.”

12. You can have naked pictures of men you don’t know in your home.

13. You can have naked men you don’t know in your home.

14. You know how to handle the telephone like a Stradivarius.

15. You understand why the good Lord invented spandex.

16. You understand why the good Lord didn’t intend everyone to wear it.

17. You know how to get back at just about everyone.

19. You only wear polyester when you mean to.

20. You can smile to let someone know you can’t stand them.

21. You can freeze a troll from 20 feet away.

22. You’re good pals with women other people can’t stand.

23. You’ve always got an opinion.

24. You’ve read the book, seen the movie, done the musical.

25. You know how to dress strategically.

26. Your car has an amusing female name.

27. You’re the only one at your high school reunion who looks a lot better than you did in high school.

28. You’ve got at least one framed picture of a pet.

29. If your mattress could talk, it would be Joan Rivers.

30. You know that sex complicates things. So?

31. You know that being called a “cheap slut” isn’t actually an insult.

32. There’s a married guy somewhere who is terrified of you.

33. Nobody tells you what to do in bed…unless you tell them what to tell you.

34. You have a medicine chest stocked for any occasion.

35. You have at least one movie musical on video.

36. You’re not embarrassed to sing in a piano bar.

37. You’re embarrassed by people who sing in piano bars.

38. You never hold a grudge for longer than a decade or two.

39. You know how to make an entrance.

40. You know when to make an exit.

41. You worry about people you don’t even know – like Liza Minnelli.

42. You choose the most fabulous greeting cards.

43. You know how to program your VCR.

44. You’ve got sunscreen at every conceivable SPF level.

45. You have a cologne display worthy of Bloomingdales

46. You understand, viscerally, Joan Crawford.

47. Some of your best friends are your ex lovers.

48. You know when to play dumb.

49. You know what to do for a hangover.

50. Yes, you do have a condom.

51. You’ve called someone “girlfriend” who is neither a girl nor a friend.

52. One or more of the following apply to you:
a) You adore Judy Garland
b) You hate Judy Garland
c) You hate people who adore Judy Garland.
d) You hate people who hate Judy Garland.
e) You don’t give a damn about Judy Garland.
f) Who is Judy Garland?

53. You can supply the last names to the following list:
a) Bernadette
b) Chita
c) Barbra

54. You made Donna Summer a star.

55. You made Donna Summer a has-been.

56. Tanning salons were invented for you.

57. You’ve made sunbathing a performance art.

58. You know when the party’s over.

59. You know where to go after the party’s over.

60. You’re fearless about fighting the elements, especially gravity.

61. When you hear “a stitch in time saves nine” you think of
a) Your grandma
b) Your face lift
c) John Wayne Bobbit

62. You know that pigs and bears are not necessarily rural wildlife.

63. Your roommate can be your roommate and not your “roommate.”

64. You know that referring to someone as “a real lady” isn’t necessarily a compliment.

65. Your favorite dinner accessory may also be your dinner companion.

66. You know that the most important part of a party’s decor is the catering staff.

67. If your cat is a female, you swear it’s a lesbian.

67. If your cat is a male, you swear it’s a lesbian.

68. You sing along heartily with songs that make most females cringe, like “Stand By Your Man.”

69. You’ve been to a bris, a bar mitzvah, a christening, a first communion, and too many weddings. You have a carefully considered evaluation of the food after each.

70. You’ll never have to hear your mother complain about your wife.

71. A two-seater convertible seems perfectly practical to you.

72. You have a favorite Disney character and it’s usually a nasty one.

73. You’ve left someone totally speechless.

74. You’ve shaved something other than your face.

75. All your friends do not have to “get along”.

76. You have large collection of anniversary pictures. They may be with different guys, however.

77. Your love handles are actually used as such.

78. When someone turns his back on you, you actually consider it an opportunity.

79. You’ve got a large assortment of movie-star biographies.

80. You’ve got the most interesting coffee table books.

81. You know where to find a meat rack and it ain’t in your kitchen drawer.

82. You have a sexual persuasion with its own flag.

83. At some moment in your life you’ve envisioned having back-up girls.

84. You know your enemies.

85. After a workout at the gym, you feel like a new man. And he’s right there in the shower.

86. You’re Barbra Streisand’s biggest fan.

87. You know that Barbra Streisand’s biggest fan is Barbra Streisand.

88. Not only have you added spice to your life – sometimes you’ve added side dishes.

89. You know that “small talk” can be about spirituality or politics, and ‘important issues” can be about hair.

90. You’ve actually lived out some of your fantasies.

91. Unlike most straight women, you have no problem being treated solely as a sex object.

92. You have no doubts about the accuracy of the Kinsey Report.

93. You know, by heart, every line in:
a) All about Eve
b) Steel Magnolias
c) Your face

94. You are ALWAYS ready for your close-up.

95. You have 9412 ways to tell someone to get lost. 8136 are non-verbal.

96. You can lip-sync to at least one Supremes song.

97. You have a carefully selected Yiddish vocabulary.

98. Even if you’re in Kansas, you’re not in Kansas anymore.

99. You know exactly how many martinis it takes.

100. When throwing a party, you know how to put out quite a spread. Sometimes after the party too.

Thanks to my friend, Mr. Heier for reminding me of this.

Posted in GLBT, Just For Fun | 1 Comment »

Harry Potter’s Future Revealed

Posted by Daniel on July 30, 2007

SPOILER ALERT: Those who do not wish to know what happens to the characters after the book ends should stop reading here.  If you haven’t bought, started reading or finished reading the seventh and final Harry Potter book (Deathly Hallows), the information below (provided by J.K. Rowling) will certainly screw up your day.  So don’t look.  If, however, you just HAVE to know what happens, then by all means, scroll down.

Are you sure??

Okay…you asked for it…

After the seventh book and the death of Voldemort…

Harry Potter, who always voiced a desire to become an Auror, or someone who fights dark wizards, was named head of the Auror Department under the new wizarding government headed by his friend and ally, Kingsley Shacklebolt.

His wife, Ginny Weasley, stuck with her athletic career, playing for the Holyhead Harpies, the all-female Quidditch team. Eventually, Ginny left the team to raise their three children — James, Albus and Lily — while writing as the senior Quidditch correspondent for the wizarding newspaper, the Daily Prophet.

Harry’s best friend Ron Weasley joined his brother, George, as a partner at their successful joke shop, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. Hermione Granger, Ron’s wife and the third person of the series’ dark wizard fighting trio, furthered the rights of subjugated creatures, such as house elves, in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures before joining the magical law enforcement squad. The couple had two children — Rose and Hugo.

Luna Lovegood, Harry’s airily distracted friend with a love for imaginary animals who joins the fight against Voldemort in the Order of the Phoenix, becomes a famous wizarding naturalist who eventually marries the grandson of Newt Scamander, author of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”

Posted in Just For Fun | 1 Comment »

What Would Jeebus Do?

Posted by Daniel on July 29, 2007

Remember when psychos use to say the devil made me do it? Well, it looks like that is not good enough these days for the delusional. Their turning to God for their inspiration to kill those whom they consider less worthy. In the following article Terry Mangum claims he was “doing God’s work” when he plunged a six inch knife into the head of Kenneth Cummings and later burned his body on his grandfathers ranch.

Is it just me? Or do we as a Nation that’s fascinated by Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton have a very serious problem? Obviously the media bears a lot of the responsibility for what they consider “news” in the 21st Century. I am personally sick and tired of hearing about these ladies problems. I remember when I was younger and I didn’t watch the news because I thought it was too depressing. As an adult I have found that watching the news is important to me. It just seems that after 9-11 people are afraid to know what is going on in the world. Today was the first time I heard of this horrific crime, and I was stunned by it’s brutality and it’s “source” of convenience.

I consider myself a spiritual man. I have had many different struggles with my sexuality and my belief in something greater than us, and a life after death. I believe in “God” and I pray every night that I can be a better person every day. I live my life by my own moral compass. I know what is right and wrong for me. Am I devoid of sin? NO. I am a human being and I am allowed to make mistakes. I have free will. What I do is my choice. If I killed someone I can only hope that it would be out of self-defense, or by protecting my family. I would have no one to blame but myself, and I would take responsibility for that, even if someone else attacked me. It would still be my choice to defend myself to the death, if I chose.

I believe we all need to take responsibility for our actions, even the circumstances that make us do things we would not normally do. Please, do not get me wrong. I am not saying that this murder was Kenneth’s fault in any way. It was Terry’s decision to go out stalking the Houston gay bars for someone to kill. From what I understand Kenny never saw it coming.

I just don’t buy into the old “devil made me do it” or “God” said it was ok. If Terry heard “God” telling him to kill a gay man, he belongs in the looney bin, and needs to be heavily medicated.

So, here is my dilemma with this situation. I am sick and tired of being labeled “different” in our society. I have always believed the Hate Crimes law should be passed, and I still do. Texas has it in their law, but by doing that their using that as an excuse not to seek the death penalty. By adding 10 years to Terry’s sentence does not change the fact that he took a man’s life. By law, this is called murder in the first degree. He deliberately stalked and killed a human being just to do it. I know there are people that have hate in their veins. Some people hate Blacks, some hate Gays, some hate Women, Jews, Muslims, Catholics, Midgets, I mean the list is endless for what one person can choose to hate. Do I, and these other segments of society deserve to be “different”? The hate crimes law will never stop hate. I guess my point is that if we as a Nation keep putting labels on everyone there will never be unity as human beings. There are probably some that will read this and see some contradictions. If you do, please give me your feedback. I’m sure a lot of my beliefs are not fully explained, the blog is long enough already. I will answer any questions and comment on all comments.

“One World, Under God” is how I say the pledge of allegiance.

Below is the article.

A Texas man charged in the slaying of Southwest Airlines flight attendant Kenneth Cummings Jr. said from jail that he was doing God’s work when he went looking in Houston gay bars for a gay man to kill.

“Sexual perversion” is the “worst sin,” Terry Mark Mangum told reporters July 21 from the Brazonia County jail where he awaits trial, explaining that he believed “with all my heart that I was doing the right thing” when he stabbed Cummings in the head with a six-inch knife.

Mangum is charged with murder with a hate-crime enhancement in the June 4 slaying.

Cummings’ charred body was found days later on Mangum’s grandfather’s ranch near San Antonio.

Hours after Mangum’s jail house gabfest, a Brazonia County judge slapped a gag order on the case.

The James Byrd Jr. Hate Crime Act, passed in 2001, allows for Texas crimes motivated by “sexual preference” to be prosecuted at the next highest level of severity, Paul Scott, executive director of Equality Texas, said.

From Bobby in Dallas

Posted in GLBT, Religion, Today's Rant | 1 Comment »

What’s My Love Got To Do With It???

Posted by Daniel on July 28, 2007

The United States and the European Union have agreed to expand a security program that shares personal data about millions of U.S.-bound airline passengers a year, potentially including information about a person’s race, ethnicity, religion and health, The Washington Post reported Friday.

Under the agreement, airlines flying from Europe to the United States are required to provide data related to these matters to U.S. authorities if it exists in their reservation systems. The deal allows Washington to retain and use it only “where the life of a data subject or of others could be imperiled or seriously impaired,” such as in a counter-terrorism investigation, the report said.

According to the deal, which will take effect in August and continue through July 2014, the information that can be used in such exceptional circumstances includes “racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership” and data about an individual’s health, traveling partners and sexual orientation.

The data now stored includes names, addresses and credit card information as well as telephone and e-mail contacts, itineraries, and hotel and rental car reservations.

U.S. customs officials began collecting Passenger Name Record data in 1992 for inbound international flights and enforced the requirement after the 2001 attacks. The government now stores data on nearly all 87 million passengers who arrive in the country by air each year, most of them from Europe, in a master border security database, Homeland Security officials said.

The government combines such information with terrorist watch lists, other databases and sophisticated computer algorithms to detect high-risk travelers, in ways that watchdog groups say it has not adequately explained.

The agreement announced Thursday extends and expands a 2004 arrangement between the United States and the European Union. That pact was struck down on a technicality in May by Europe’s highest court, which gave both sides until July 31 to negotiate a new deal. The United States had threatened to turn back flights otherwise.

Under the new accord, Europe allowed the United States to extend how long it can store data — to 15 years from 3 1/2 years. Beginning in January 2008, airlines will be required to send, or “push,” data from their reservation systems to the Homeland Security Department 72 hours before a flight departs, expanding an existing “pull” system in which the department retrieves information from carriers.

Although the Homeland Security Department has said it will move passenger information to “dormant” status after seven years and “expects” to erase it after 15 years, it notified the European Union that expiration of data will be subject to “further discussions,” the report said.

The deal provoked alarm from privacy and civil-liberties groups on both sides of the Atlantic, according to the newspaper.

“What Americans should be concerned about is it is now here in black and white: The government will maintain a database of all travelers — including travelers of U.S. citizenship, including people who are believed to be no risk or threat … the government will maintain that and data-mine it,” Jim Dempsey, policy director for the Center for Democracy and Technology, a Washington-based advocacy group, was quoted as saying.

Posted in GLBT, Media Matters, Politics, Religion, Today's Rant | Leave a Comment »

I Know He’s Not A REAL Doctor…But It Sounded Like Good Advice

Posted by Daniel on July 27, 2007

NOT REALLY A DOCTOR!!!I am passing this on to you because it definitely seems to work and we could all use a little more calmness in our lives.

By following some simple advice I heard on the “Dr.” Phil show (and really, there’s no one more simple minded than him), you too can find inner peace. “Dr.” Phil proclaimed “The way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you have started and never finished.”

So, I looked around my house to see all the things I started and hadn’t finished, and before leaving the house this morning, I finished off 23 Bud Lights, a bottle of Absolute, a package of Oreos, the remainder of my old Prozac prescription, the rest of the cheesecake, some Doritos and a biggo bag of chocolate-covered raisins.

You have no idea how freaking good I feel now. I strongly recommend you try this if you might be in need of inner peace.

Posted in Just For Fun | Leave a Comment »

Simple Acts of Kindness

Posted by Daniel on July 26, 2007

Posted by Revel originally on my MySpace blog.

Practice Random Acts of Kindness

A lady I don’t even know by name did me a kindness today, and though I doubt she’s a MySpacer (though you never know!), and will probably not see this, I am going to make a special note of it anyway.

A little background: in September of 2005, in an effort to both economize and “reduce my carbon footprint”, I started taking the bus several days out of the month to work. Of course, this took an adjustment. For many years in the work-a-day world I had grown accustomed to the free-wheeling independence of having my car at my disposal whenever I was ready to hit the road. I had my commute in to myself (well, me and the kazillion other drivers on I-70), if during the day I decided I wanted to take off early, I could.

Rising gas prices and an increased awareness of environmental impacts (yeah, thanks for the guilt trip, Al Gore…(kidding!)) caused me to finally make the leap into mass transit. And the bonus was that my employer gives transit riders an annual subsidy, essentially paying for most or all of their commute. You save on gas, parking, wear and tear on your vehicle…they knew just how to speak the language of money to a practical Capricorn…lol.

My subsidy, however, only covers a little over 9 months of the year. I ride an express to my suburban home, which is a higher fare. So for three months out of the year, I pay my own way. My months are May-July. May and June I bought passes outright, you still save money when you buy the monthly pass. July, since I was having some days off, I was paying daily. And of course, there may be a day or two a week where I still swim along the concrete river with the other little fishies so the ozone layer doesn’t get TOO spoiled.

So, here we are nearing the end of July, me putting my quarters in the slot…plunk plunk plunk…and getting a choice seat in the back this morning, by the way, where I could relax while finding out the latest twist in “The Deathly Hallows”.

Then this nice lady, who works for another company in Kansas City, asked if there was anyone who could use a pass for the remainder of this month. Her sister, it turns out, gave it to her to see if anyone could use it, as she (the sister) was a seasonal worker who was now going into her “off season” and was able to start a few days early. I hesitated, to see if anyone else would speak up (for some reason I have a hard time taking things for free from people…I’ll give them something if I can in a heartbeat…shrug) and when no one did, I said “Well, I am paying my own til the end of the month. Then my subsidy starts up in August.”

She smiled and handed the pass to me, and declined my offer to at least give her a few dollars for it. After all, with paying for this afternoon, and if I ride the remaining three workdays, (if they are not declared “Ozone Days” which give you a discount fare) she had just handed me the equivalent of $17.50 for free. And yes, I realize she was handing me something her sister’s company had paid for, so a begrudging thanks to Corporate America…though I suspect they would like to have their $17.50 returned to them…ha…

The lady then resumed her conversation with what I believe are co-workers of hers, they seem to be discussing some mini drama in their office. I read my book, and when we arrived at my office, I thanked her again and told her to have a good day. She returned the wish, and I got off the bus with that heartwarmed feeling. Sappy, I know. And I don’t care. Daily we are met with bad news this, crapfest that. The latest story of a spoiled celebutante, or a politico taking a giant dookee on poor and middle class America.

So in my small corner of the blogosphere, I am making this lady the lead story. Maybe soon I can be someone else’s simple act of kindness story. I would really like that.

Posted in Our Writings | Leave a Comment »

Too Bush To Pass Up

Posted by Daniel on July 25, 2007

bushstatue.gif

President Bush is sitting at his desk in a meeting inside the Oval Office.

Suddenly, one of his aides bursts into the room and walks up to Bush’s desk and leans down and says…

“Sir. We have just received word of another car bomb. This time Brazilian solders were killed in Iraq.”

President Bush goes white. He slumps over in his chair. A little tear wells up in the corner of one eye. His bottom lip begins to quiver just a bit.

One of the staff members that is there for meeting runs over to the President and asks “Are you okay, Sir?”

President Bush looks up at him and says quietly…”I don’t know if I am or not. How many is a Brazilian?”

Posted in Just For Fun | Leave a Comment »

Mass Debaters…Or Artful Dodgers?

Posted by Daniel on July 24, 2007

Last night, I watched the televised debates between the Democratic Presidential candidates. Hosted by CNN’s resident hottie, Anderson Cooper, it featured questions submitted by YouTube members.

I have to say, this was a great way to pose the questions (in the form of short videos) because the candidates weren’t only getting a question, but they were seeing and hearing the people asking them. Though the videos were first vetted by CNN (to weed out the whackos and their non-question), all legitimate questions were allowed.

In this format, the candidates aren’t getting the usual watered-down scripted and vague questions usually posed to them by the media/format hosts. Real people asking real in-your-face questions about issues that affect them personally.

The candidates saw and heard the question about healthcare asked by a woman who is in the middle of fighting off cancer who has no insurance. This woman, with what I thought was courageous emphasis, also removed her wig during the video. In my opinion, she was daring them to be strong enough to answer her question honestly…as if their very lives depended on it.

I won’t hit on every topic…suffice it to say some questions were answered more honestly than the candidates were used to, and others were dodged with the usual avoiding the question by asking another question.

There was one question I was waiting to hear asked (since I was too late getting my own video onto YouTube), and that was regarding GLBT marriage/civil unions and why religion can still be allowed to be used to continue the status quo on “separate but equal”. As it happens, fellow YouTube’rs were on the ball. Below are the questions/answers (such that the answers were):

COOPER: Our next question is on a topic that got a lot of response from YouTube viewers. Let’s watch.

QUESTION: Hi. My name is Mary.

QUESTION: And my name is Jen.

QUESTION: And we’re from Brooklyn, New York.

If you were elected president of the United States, would you allow us to be married to each other?

COOPER: Congressman Kucinich?

KUCINICH: Mary and Jen, the answer to your question is yes. And let me tell you why.

Because if our Constitution really means what it says, that all are created equal, if it really means what it says, that there should be equality of opportunity before the law, then our brothers and sisters who happen to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender should have the same rights accorded to them as anyone else, and that includes the ability to have a civil marriage ceremony.

Yes, I support you. And welcome to a better and a new America under a President Kucinich administration.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Senator Dodd, you supported the Defense of Marriage Act. What’s your position?

DODD: I’ve made the case, Anderson, that — my wife and I have two young daughters, age 5 and 2.

I’d simply ask the audience to ask themselves the question that Jackie and I have asked: How would I want my two daughters treated if they grew up and had a different sexual orientation than their parents?

Good jobs, equal opportunity, to be able to retire, to visit each other, to be with each other, as other people do.

So I feel very strongly, if you ask yourself the question, “How would you like your children treated if they had a different sexual orientation than their parents?,” the answer is yes. They ought to have that ability in civil unions.

I don’t go so far as to call for marriage. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman.

But my state of Connecticut, the state of New Hampshire, have endorsed civil unions. I strongly support that. But I don’t go so far as marriage.

COOPER: Governor Richardson?

RICHARDSON: Well, I would say to the two young women, I would level with you — I would do what is achievable.

What I think is achievable is full civil unions with full marriage rights. I would also press for you a hate crimes act in the Congress. I would eliminate “don’t ask/don’t tell” in the military.

(APPLAUSE)

If we’re going to have in our military men and women that die for this country, we shouldn’t give them a lecture on their sexual orientation

I would push for domestic partnership laws, nondiscrimination in insurance and housing.

I would also send a very strong message that, in my administration, I will not tolerate any discrimination on the basis of race, gender, or sexual orientation.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: This next question is for Senator Edwards.

QUESTION: I’m Reverend Reggie Longcrier. I’m the pastor of Exodus Mission and Outreach Church in Hickory, North Carolina.

Senator Edwards said his opposition to gay marriage is influenced by his Southern Baptist background. Most Americans agree it was wrong and unconstitutional to use religion to justify slavery, segregation, and denying women the right to vote.

So why is it still acceptable to use religion to deny gay American their full and equal rights?

(APPLAUSE)

EDWARDS: I think Reverend Longcrier asks a very important question, which is whether fundamentally — whether it’s right for any of our faith beliefs to be imposed on the American people when we’re president of the United States. I do not believe that’s right.

I feel enormous personal conflict about this issue. I want to end discrimination. I want to do some of the things that I just heard Bill Richardson talking about — standing up for equal rights, substantive rights, civil unions, the thing that Chris Dodd just talked about. But I think that’s something everybody on this stage will commit themselves to as president of the United States.

But I personally have been on a journey on this issue. I feel enormous conflict about it. As I think a lot of people know, Elizabeth spoke — my wife Elizabeth spoke out a few weeks ago, and she actually supports gay marriage. I do not. But this is a very, very difficult issue for me. And I recognize and have enormous respect for people who have a different view of it.

COOPER: I should also point out that the reverend is actually in the audience tonight. Where is he? Right over here.

Reverend, do you feel he answered your question?

(APPLAUSE)

QUESTION: This question was just a catalyst that promoted some other things that wrapped around that particular question, especially when it comes to fair housing practices. Also…

COOPER: Do you think he answered the question, though?

QUESTION: Not like I would like to have heard it…

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: What did you not hear?

QUESTION: I didn’t quite get — some people were moving around, and I didn’t quite get all of his answer. I just heard…

COOPER: All right, there’s 30 seconds more. Why is it OK to quite religious beliefs when talking about why you don’t support something? That’s essentially what’s his question.

EDWARDS: It’s not. I mean, I’ve been asked a personal question which is, I think, what Reverend Longcrier is raising, and that personal question is, do I believe and do I personally support gay marriage?

The honest answer to that is I don’t. But I think it is absolutely wrong, as president of the United States, for me to have used that faith basis as a basis for denying anybody their rights, and I will not do that when I’m president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Senator Obama, the laws banning interracial marriage in the United States were ruled unconstitutional in 1967. What is the difference between a ban on interracial marriage and a ban on gay marriage?

OBAMA: Well, I think that it is important to pick up on something that was said earlier by both Dennis and by Bill, and that is that we’ve got to make sure that everybody is equal under the law. And the civil unions that I proposed would be equivalent in terms of making sure that all the rights that are conferred by the state are equal for same-sex couples as well as for heterosexual couples.

Now, with respect to marriage, it’s my belief that it’s up to the individual denominations to make a decision as to whether they want to recognize marriage or not. But in terms of, you know, the rights of people to transfer property, to have hospital visitation, all those critical civil rights that are conferred by our government, those should be equal.

I couldn’t help but notice the obvious lack of opinion by Hillary. Granted, she was not asked to respond, however I would have loved to see/hear her jump into the fray with her opinion. But I know that this issue, like Social Security, is the third rail no candidate truly wants to opine…at least not on national TV.

It is encouraging to see more people ask the relevant question about how politicians use their religion to deny gays full civil rights. On the other hand, last night showed me that people like me – who are not religious – are still looked at by all politicians as though we are crazy and on the fringes.

A question was posed (towards the very end of the debates) by a non-religious person:

COOPER: Here’s a question from the other side of the coin.

QUESTION: Good evening. My name is Stephen Marsh of Thousand Oaks, California, proud citizen of the United States of America that does not believe in God. However, the former President Bush said this statement was an oxymoron.

Now, I am worried about the amount of time given to evangelical concerns while secular voters are more or less getting a snubbed — the faith and politics forum.

So my question is this: Am I wrong in fearing a Democratic administration that may be lip service to the extremely religious as much as the current one? And if so, why? Thank you for your time.

COOPER: Senator Edwards?

EDWARDS: As president of the United States, we will embrace and lift up all Americans, whatever their faith beliefs or whether they have no faith beliefs, as Stephen just spoke about. That’s what America is.

Now, my faith is enormously important to me personally. It’s gotten me through some hard times, as I’m sure that’s true of a lot of the candidates who are on this stage.

But it is crucial that the American people know that as president it will not be my job — and I believe it would be wrong — for me to impose my personal faith beliefs on the American people or to decide any kind of decision, policy decision, that will affect America on the basis of my personal faith beliefs.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Senator Obama?

OBAMA: I am proud of my Christian faith. And it informs what I do. And I don’t think that people of any faith background should be prohibited from debating in the public square.

OBAMA: But I am a strong believer in the separation of church and state, and I think that we’ve got to translate…

(APPLAUSE)

By the way, I support it not just for the state but also for the church, because that maintains our religious independence and that’s why we have such a thriving religious life.

But what I also think is that we are under obligation in public life to translate our religious values into moral terms that all people can share, including those who are not believers. And that is how our democracy’s functioning, will continue to function. That’s what the founding fathers intended.

What I found interesting during this exchange was that both Obama and Edwards, while giving their respective responses, kept looking back at the big screen (where the video questions were shown to the audience) with furrowed brows (really, both of them) and pursed lips. As if they were trying their best not to vomit at the very sight of the vile non-believer. Also MIA in this exchange, was Hillary. It became obvious that (in my humble opinion) Anderson Cooper might be secretly behind Hillary, because those video question that were not asked of a specific candidate, Cooper (for some reason) never asked Clinton’s views on.

Either that, or he’s secretly endorsing that nutjob, Gravel.

Posted in GLBT, Media Matters, News, Politics, Religion | Leave a Comment »

Goodbye Tammy Faye

Posted by Daniel on July 22, 2007

Tammy Faye Messner, who as Tammy Faye Bakker helped her husband, Jim, build a multimillion-dollar evangelism empire and then saw it collapse in disgrace, has died. She was 65. Messner, who had battled colon cancer since 1996 that more recently spread to her lungs, died at her home Friday, said her booking agent, Joe Spotts. A family service was held Saturday in a private cemetery, where her ashes were interred, he said.

She had frequently spoken about her medical problems, saying she hoped to be an inspiration to others. “Don’t let fear rule your life,” she said. “Live one day at a time, and never be afraid.” But she told well-wishers in a note on her Web site in May that the doctors had stopped trying to treat the cancer.

In an interview with CNN’s Larry King two months later, an emaciated Messner — still using her trademark makeup — said, “I believe when I leave this earth, because I love the Lord, I’m going straight to heaven.” Asked if she had any regrets, Messner said: “I don’t think about it, Larry, because it’s a waste of good brain space.”

For many, the TV image of then-Mrs. Bakker forgiving husband Jim’s infidelities, tears streaking her cheeks with mascara, became a symbol for the wages of greed and hypocrisy in 1980s America.

She divorced her husband of 30 years in 1992 while he was in prison for defrauding millions from followers of their PTL television ministries. The letters stood for “Praise the Lord” or “People that Love.”

Jim Bakker served time in the Federal Medical Center prison in Rochester, Minn.

Tammy Faye’s second husband also served time in prison. She married Roe Messner, who had been the chief builder of the Bakkers’ Heritage USA Christian theme park near Fort Mill, S.C., in 1993. In 1995, he was convicted of bankruptcy fraud, and he spent about two years in prison.

mascx3.jpgThrough it all, Messner kept plugging her faith and herself. She did concerts, a short-lived secular TV talk show and an inspirational videotape. In 2004, she cooperated in the making of a documentary about her struggle with cancer, called “Tammy Faye: Death Defying.”

“I wanted to help people … maybe show the inside (of the experience) and make it a little less frightening,” she said.

That same year, she appeared on the WB reality show “The Surreal Life,” co-starring with former rapper Vanilla Ice, ex-porn star Ron Jeremy and others. She told King in 2004 that she didn’t know who Jeremy was when they met and they became friends.

Messner was never charged with a crime in connection with the Bakker scandal. She said she counted the costs in other ways.

“I know what it’s like to hit rock bottom,” she said in promotional material for her 1996 video “You Can Make It.”

In the mid-1980s, the Bakkers were on top, ruling over a ministry that claimed 500,000 followers. Their “Jim and Tammy Show,” part TV talk show, part evangelism meeting, was seen across the country. Heritage USA boasted a 500-room hotel, shopping mall, convention center, water-amusement park, TV studio and several real-estate developments. PTL employed about 2,000 people.

Then in March 1987, Bakker resigned, admitting he had a tryst with Jessica Hahn, a 32-year-old former church secretary.

Tammy Faye Bakker stuck with her disgraced husband through five stormy years of tabloid headlines as the ministry unraveled.

Prosecutors said the PTL organization sold more than 150,000 “lifetime partnerships” promising lodging at the theme park but did not build enough hotel space with the $158 million in proceeds. At his fraud trial, Jim Bakker was accused of diverting $3.7 million to personal use even though he knew the ministry was financially shaky. Trial testimony showed PTL paid $265,000 to Hahn to cover up the sexual encounter with the minister.

Jim Bakker was convicted in 1989 of 24 fraud and conspiracy counts and sentenced to 45 years. The sentence was later reduced, and he was freed in 1994. He said that his wife’s decision to leave him had been “like a meat hook deep in my heart. I couldn’t eat for days.”

While not charged, his then-wife shared during the 1980s in the public criticism and ridicule over the couple’s extravagance, including the reportedly gold-plated bathroom fixtures and an air-conditioned doghouse.

I still have this shirt.There was even a popular T-shirt satirizing her image. The shirt read, “I ran into Tammy Faye at the shopping mall,” with the lettering on top of what look like clots of mascara, traces of lipstick and smudges of peach-toned makeup.

In a 1992 letter to her New Covenant Church in Orlando, Fla., she explained why she finally was seeking a divorce.

“For years I have been pretending that everything is all right, when in fact I hurt all the time,” she wrote.

“I cannot pretend anymore.”

In the end, there wasn’t any property to divide, her attorney said. The Bakkers lost their luxury homes in North Carolina, California and Tennessee, their fleet of Cadillacs and Mercedeses, and their vintage Rolls-Royce.

Her autobiography, “I Gotta Be Me,” recounts a childhood as Tammy Faye LaValley, one of eight children of a poor family in International Falls, Minn. Her biological father walked out. She was reticent about her age, but a 2000 profile of her in the Star Tribune of Minneapolis said she was born in March 1942.

Raised by her mother and stepfather, she resented how other ladies at their Assembly of God church looked on her mother as a “fallen woman.”

But she kept her faith.

“I knew I had a Jesus who was able to cover all this,” she wrote.

She recalled trying eye makeup for the first time, then wiping it off for fear it was the devil’s work. Then she thought again.

tammyfayesig0001.jpg“Why can’t I do this?” she asked. “If it makes me look prettier, why can’t I do this?”

She married Bakker in 1961, after they met at North Central Bible College in Minneapolis. Beginning with a children’s puppet act, they created a religious show that brought a fundamentalist Protestant message to millions.

A secular TV talk program, the “Jim J. and Tammy Faye Show” with co-host Jim J. Bullock, lasted just six weeks in early 1996. Shortly after it went off the air, she underwent surgery for colon cancer.

She said afterward that she endured bleeding for a year because she was embarrassed to go to a male doctor. And she wore her makeup even in surgery.

“They didn’t make me take it off,” she said. “I had wonderful doctors and understanding nurses. I went in fully made up and came out fully made up.”

Posted in Media Matters, News, Religion | Leave a Comment »

Harry Potter Revealed

Posted by Daniel on July 21, 2007

Harry Potter #7No, this post will NOT be spoiling the end results of the latest and last volume of the series. So don’t ask.

This post is about how it was spoiled for me.

Suffice it to say that there are far too many assholes out there who just love and live for fucking things up for people.

We haven’t gone and gotten a copy of the final Harry Potter book yet. That puts us probably in a very large minority. We figured we’d wait till the big hoopla ebbed, then get a copy. Till then, however, we decided to avoid situations or conversations where any endings would or could be revealed by those who have read it.

That lasted all of about twelve hours.

I’m online reading my usual favorite blogs (filtering out any posts with the words Harry Potter in them) and online news carriers. As I was reading the last of the stories that caught my eye – about a guy who survived a shark bite in Hawaii – I click the “read more” hyperlink, only to be redirected to one of those spoiler pages.

This page was specifically designed for your eye to instantly see first off all the names of who dies. It was, to give them credit, created perfectly to cause your eyes to snap instantly onto it as sort of a mental picture-type image. It was all downhill for me from there on.

All was revealed…no more mystery or questions.

Poof!!

Below that, was a laundry list of all the graphic and gory details from each chapter of the book. I could have just closed the page upon seeing the death list at the top, but I was so mad and figured I might as well read on. What the hell, right?

I hate these people. What, exactly makes a person so mean and moronic that they feel so compelled to poo-poo things for the public at large? Do people find them so unattractive and disgusting in public, that they spend each day and night with their fat asses parked in front of their computers just thinking up shitty ways to make life suck for the rest of the world?

I know I’d love to add some names to those who met a grisly death in the spoilers…

ALL NAMES OF THE SPOILERS!!!!!

Posted in Our Writings, Today's Rant | 4 Comments »