Saturday, June 25, 2011

It All Started at Stonewall

My guess would be even the most idealistic activists who'd taken part in the Stonewall Inn riot of 1969 would never have thought that gay marriage would one day be a reality in New York within 42 year's time. Of course, the primary impetus for Stonewall was not a demand for gay marriage or even civil unions but one for the simple, abstract right to not be singled out and persecuted (and prosecuted) for their sexual orientation.

When NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the gay marriage bill into law last night, thereby allowing same sex couples in New York to legally marry in 30 days, it was a watershed moment in not only New York but national politics, with the full weight of historical import felt both in Albany and on the streets of the West Village. Passing 33-29 in a deathly quiet chamber, the outcome hanging in the balance and not known until the final votes were tallied, four New York Republicans joined with all but one Democrat to give the New York LGBT community the rights given to their brothers and sisters in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Iowa and, briefly, Maine and California.

It was still a hard line party vote but it bears repeating that four Republicans did vote for it while being threatened by Tea Baggers outside the state house. Said GOP state Senator Grisanti from Buffalo:
I apologize for those who feel offended. I cannot deny a person, a human being, a taxpayer, a worker, the people of my district and across this state, the State of New York, and those people who make this the great state that it is the same rights that I have with my wife.

That's not political grandstanding. That's a courageous statement coming from the heart that gets immediately to the heart of the matter, a heart that's been beating in the chest of every liberal since time immemorial: That if you're a gainfully employed taxpayer, a voter, an American citizen and a human being, you, too, ought to be accorded the same constitutional protections, civil liberties and human rights granted those in the straight community.

Anything less is, at best, cowardice and political expediency, at worst, hateful bigotry.

Last night was indeed a great night to be gay and bisexual in New York state, one of the most momentous acts of legislation in recent New York history.

But there was a summer night like this in Sacramento, California not too long ago, three years ago, to be exact. Within six months, gay marriage was taken from the state in a dirty, overfunded and extra-legal dirty trick called Proposition 8. And to this day, even though retired Judge Vaughn Walker struck down Prop 8's constitutionality, his judgment has been stayed and had been until a week and a half ago challenged by die-hard wingnuts who claim that the openly-gay Walker's ruling was a conflict of interest (Oh, the irony!).

Walker's ruling is expected to be tried before the right wing Supreme Court. So let's not forget California and Maine, which lost legal same sex marriage before it had even become law. As Jefferson famously said, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Top 10 Changes Since Anthony Weiner Decided to Resign

Today it was confirmed that Rep. Anthony Weiner (NY-9) will resign as a US congressman after it was revealed three weeks ago that he'd sent lewd pictures of himself to several women on Twitter. Many Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and even President Barack Obama, had called for Rep. Weiner's resignation. Already, things are changing on Capitol Hill in the wake of WeinerGate. What are some of the biggest changes?

  • 10) Americans can now immediately resume trusting Democratic and Republican politicians again after both parties proved their moral purity and superiority at Weiner's expense.

  • 9) Weiner resignation now allows lawmakers and the POTUS to focus on less important issues such as the imminent immolation of the world's largest economy.

  • 8) Now that Alan Grayson and Weiner are gone, Blue Dog Democrats no longer hamstrung and put on the spot by funny and passionate but embarrassing Jewish liberal congressmen.

  • 7) Faith in pogroms and witch hunts restored by having the will of Weiner's constituency subverted.

  • 6) Andrew Breitbart one step closer to looking like a responsible, crusading journalist and one step removed from looking like a racist, spittle-flecked douchebag.

  • 5) Sen David Vitter reportedly wearing Huggies again because of nonstop paroxysm of laughter.

  • 4) Rep. Weiner's final post on his official congressional page is picture of fully erect penis with the caption, "Suck on this, Democrats."

  • 3) Democrats no longer crippled with paralyzing fear that Letterman, Leno, Conan and Craig Ferguson will take down their party with penis jokes on late night TV.

  • 2) Dozens of Republicans reported buying digital cameras and starting up Twitter, Yahoo Instant Messenger and Facebook accounts.

  • 1) Dozens of Democrats reported selling their digital cameras and deleting Twitter, Yahoo Instant Messenger and Facebook accounts.
  • Sunday, June 12, 2011

    Sunday Cat Blogging

    You'd be amazed how often this furry little fuck just stretches out on my notebook even as I'm trying to write a chapter from one of my novels. I'm convinced he's a sworn passive-aggressive enemy of literacy.

    Of course, he has his charming moments (or perhaps when he's too hot to try to forcibly remove my face without provocation), such as this moment.

    Most of the time, however, he's like this.

    Even though I wait on him hand and foot, including shedding undercoat maintenance...

    ...and letting him hog the fan even during heat waves.

    Saturday, June 11, 2011

    The Scarlet Letters

    (By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.)

    Is anyone else suspicious about the Sarah Palin Chronicles that just happened to be released when media frenzy about her possible run for the presidency is at its height, and when "Rolling Thunder" and her "One Nation" bus tour hit the east coast?

    You know the ones I mean. The 24,000 pages of letters from her state email and private email accounts up until her rather hasty resignation when TrooperGate began rearing its ugly head? The Yahoo emails given the "lamestream media" by Palin herself, the ones that "paint a picture of an image-conscious, driven leader, closely involved with the day-to-day duties of running the state and riding herd on the signature issues of her administration"? The ones that also purport to show "a woman striving to balance work and home, fiercely protective of her family and highly sensitive to media coverage. She expressed a sometimes mothering side with aides but also was quick to demand answers or accountability"?

    You know, those emails.

    The word "paints" is an unintentionally revealing one because "to paint" implies some intelligent design and an attempt to convey some sort of personal vision or to imply, project or even impose some sort of subjective reality. And the timing of this uncharacteristic "disclosure" has about as much spontaneity to it as, well, a presidential photo op.

    One of the greatest ongoing comedies and tragedies of the mainstream media is the self-serving yet ultimately vapid and self-destructive relationship between it and Sarah Palin.

    In true Republican fashion, Palin has never shied away from blasting the mainstream media that, with a middle school child's love for cheap and obvious puns, she never tires of calling the "lamestream media". However, her diplomacy with the MSM always miraculously comes to the fore whenever she appears before some network or another to pimp yet another ghost-written pack of lies and other name-calling or some TV show or another with the Palin brand name on it.

    And the MSM keep going back for more with the viciously comic recidivism of a recovering sex addict going to Amsterdam's Red Light District. As stated earlier, this unhealthy obsession with Palin that afflicts the MSM is a tragedy to those of us who care about the truth and the issues and a farce to those of us who simply no longer give a flying fuck and have long ago written off the MSM as irredeemably imbecilic and corrupt.

    The marvel of this obviously carefully cultivated and choreographed "disclosure" isn't that there are no "Gotcha!" moments but that Palin and the MSM each think we're stupid enough to fall for this and be completely insensible to the dead giveaway of the timing, that we'd all suddenly slap our foreheads and say when this burnished and pretentiously presidential image of a nonexistent Palin came out, "Duh! we were all so wrong about the poor woman!"

    But to those of us in the reality-based community, the whole thing smells as much as the also suspiciously-timed Branchflower report that found Palin innocent of any wrongdoing the day before the Presidential election.

    The press either doesn't know or doesn't care that Palin is political junk food that simply is no damn good for either them or those who consume the pap they trowel out that ludicrously passes for news, that in a country of American, Swiss and cheddar, Palin is Velveeta or Cheese Whiz straight out of the can.

    That would be the Palin who tried to fire an Alaskan State trooper and fired Walt Monegan, the Commissioner of Public Safety who refused to fire Trooper Wooten over him being simply a former brother in law. There's no hint in these letters of the facts that were unearthed by the toothless yet still-entertaining Branchflower Report, nothing to even suggest "a shadow office" manned by Todd Palin that was literally an enclave within Palin's office within her line of sight, a shadow office that was dedicated to one thing and one thing only: Firing Trooper Wooten for having the colossal bad luck of being Sarah Palin's former brother in law.

    There's nary a breath of the elsewhere underdeveloped scandal involving the corruption behind the building of the Wasilla Sports Center or Palin's flipflopping about Don Young's Bridge to Nowhere and her rejecting the nearly quarter billion in earmark money for the bridges after accepting it but then keeping the money for the road that led to those bridges.

    If nothing else, the Branchflower report does something this cherry-picked cache of Palin letters purposefully fails to do: "Paint a picture" of an amateurish administration of grifters and thugs who, instead of running a state, was largely concerned with petty, personal vendettas.

    Instead, what we're getting treated to is a Republican Party platter filled with Velveeta, a cultivated portrait of Palin that looks suspiciously identical to the image we were presented three years ago and again today, that of a "dedicated" and conscientious "leader" who expected "accountability" from all those around her and ran Alaska like a mother hen but one that always meant well.

    Sort of the image we were given of pre-Katrina Bush months after Katrina struck.

    Wednesday, June 8, 2011

    "Dear Chairman Rinsed Penis..."

    (This is an actual response to a mass email sent out today by GOP Chairman and Boston Terrier hybrid Reince Priebus in which he thought mentioning Weiner's wiener was a corking good opportunity to beg voters for money while cleverly tying in Democrat flashers retaining incumbency with the jobs problem.)

    Dear Chairman Rinsed Penis or however you spell your name:

    William Jefferson was caught with $90,000 in his freezer, not $80,000. Please don't make our corruption more picayune than it really is. Of course, we still have a ways to go before we can catch up with the truly Olympic-class corruption and graft of the Republican Party (I'm thinking of admirable examples such as Duke "Whoremeister" Cunningham, and fellow convicted felon Hot Tub Tom DeLay). But I have every faith that our liberal, Communist elected officials will soon be vacuuming up equally large legalized bribes in the form of corporate campaign contributions.

    It's interesting that you would bring up Weiner's wiener as an opportunity to beg for campaign contributions while cleverly segueing into the jobs problem. Indeed, what better reason to vote a Republican into Weiner's seat than because Weiner showed his wiener on Twitter? Indeed, lambasting Democrat congressmen for trying to save their own jobs and the jobs of their own is the closest the Republican Party has come to addressing the jobs problem since they were inexplicably given control of the House last January.

    "Vote for me because Anthony Weiner showed his distended underwear on Twitter" is certainly an election-year catchphrase that's as destined for greatness as "Tippecanoe and Tyler, too" and "I paid for this microphone!"

    Ordinarily, I'd say, "Put me down for $100, Mr. Chairman Prius!" but since I myself haven't worked because your employers on Wall Street and the US Chamber of Commerce outsourced my job two years ago and since I haven't been able to rejoin this glorious economic recovery retroactively effected by "President" Bush, I have to instead send my best wishes through the ethers.


    Tuesday, June 7, 2011

    Balls to the Wall

    Guys, I know you're all sick and tired of me and my constant problems and who the fuck can blame you? Keeping a roof over our heads, our bills paid and food in our stomachs is my job. But since I lost my unemployment last March, even these modest goals are impossible when we have nothing but Barb's $135 in UI benefits to cover even some of our bills.

    But the luck I've had since 2009 is something even Job would envy. I've shelled out $1300 in car repair bills in the last year now I have a $100-150 muffler job to look forward to. I need to renew my auto policy before the end of the month. I need to renew and convert Barb's license a couple of weeks later and AAA will want a renewal the month after that. That's another $250+.

    My Dell shit the bed again last night hours after I got it out of the shop at a cost of $80. The other laptop is in the same shop and will cost us another $100. So we have no computer and we're reduced to spending even more money we don't have to use the local cafe's computer.

    And that's not even the worst of it. My card got declined this morning even though yesterday I had about $100 over what I needed to cover our $650 rent check. So I raced to the nearest computer and discovered that the Massachusetts Department of Revenue grabbed over $728 out of my checking account for money they claim I owe them. Then they helped themselves to another $20 for a "fee" and that's where we stand now: A minus balance of $20.

    The ironic thing is the DOR owes me something like 20 grand for taking money out of my pocket without a valid court order for nearly 8 1/2 years and when I write them to tell them this, they completely ignore me. But that's not going to get resolved until I can somehow hire a lawyer.

    I still don't know if the last rent check cleared but whether or not it did, we're looking at a massive overdraft with no way of covering it. Without a computer and with gas at $4 a gallon, this skein of bad luck puts a severe crimp on our job search.

    All this time I've somehow managed to keep our heads above water but this time we're looking at the very real prospect of eviction sometime this month. My landlord lost his own job and the company folded so he desperately needs all his rent or he'll lose this house along with us. Please, Please, PLEASE help in any way you can. I swear to God, I am not making any of this up. I really am this unlucky.

    Thursday, June 2, 2011

    Top 10 Ways Evangelicals Will Prepare for the Rapture II

    Harry Camping's very believable and credible threat that the world would begin to end and the Rapture would occur on May 21st didn't materialize, to the surprise and even disappointment of millions of evangelicals. Bewildered and eager to save face, the Family Radio Network's Camping and his $18,400,000 in donations last year disappeared and reemerged days later to say that he'd, once again, made a miscalculation. Now Camping is saying that May 21st was the day God completed his list of who's naughty or nice and the world will indeed end on October 21st. So how are evangelicals preparing for the second Rapture of the year?

  • 10) If second Rapture fails, to nervously laugh to ex-bosses, psychiatrists and creditors that they were in on the hoax all along and were satirizing Camping.

  • 9) Giving Camping perhaps only half of life savings and kids' college funds as an initial down payment next time around.

  • 8) Job creators will no longer tell employees they will be on their own so they can have sex orgies in the break room.

  • 7) To maybe not boast next time to their HMO, "Go fuck yourselves. I got a better health care plan!"

  • 6) To keep tending their gardens and yards because dandelions get so out of control so quickly.

  • 5) Vetting Camping by actually reading the Bible this time and noting there's no mention of a fucking Rapture in the Revelations of St. John the Divine.

  • 4) Change the litter box. Seriously. Just trust us on this one.

  • 3) Getting a second opinion from other senile non-ministers or theological amateurs who've already lived 15 years past the average life expectancy.

  • 2) Investing in anti-gravity boots to help speed things along.

  • 1) As a backup plan, donating campaign contributions with last of savings to the Republican Party to finish the job in case Camping's wrong about Armageddon again.
  • Wednesday, June 1, 2011

    "Take Me Out to the Ballgame... in Style"

    "Just another five feet to the limo, Governor." "(Puff, wheeeeeeeze.) I don't think I can (huff) make it, Cory!"

    I've been waiting for Jill Hussein, New Jersey blogger extraordinaire, to mention the latest antics of her noxious blimp of a Governor Chris Christie. But, as she's gotten my back on countless occasions, I guess I'll have to return the favor.

    As is usual with stories of Republican fuckuppery and hypoChristie, it starts out outrageous then by paragraph two it just gets worse.
    New Jersey governor Chris Christie--who has made government reform a major talking point of his administration--is coming under fire for his decision to travel in a state-owned helicopter to his son's high school baseball game Monday.

    Then the money shot:
    According to the Newark Star-Ledger, Christie landed in the state's $12.5 million helicopter just before the game began, buzzing over the trees in left field and distracting spectators. The GOP governor then got into a black sedan with tinted windows, which drove him about 100 yards to the baseball diamond.

    You read that right. The fat fuck couldn't be bothered to waddle the 100 yards between the illicitly-appropriated chopper and the ball field.

    Then, they stayed for just five innings, drove back to the chopper and somehow, the poor machine achieved takeoff and stayed aloft long enough to get Christie's fat ass back to the state house.

    They're making lot of hay over this in the Jersey press but what every one seems to ignore is that there were two vehicles involved because where ever the helicopter went, the sedan had to follow. All told, with gas at $4 a gallon and helicopter fuel (for turbine engines, that translates to "very clean kerosene") going for more than that... Well, let's break it down:

    A five seat turbine helicopter, according to this expert, burns about "25 to 30 gallons an hour."

    According to this website, the price of clean kerosene in New York statewide reached 434.6 per gallon as of April, which is actually $4.34, or more than gasoline. We don't know where Christie came from because his Reichstagg won't reveal that but say he flew the 70 miles from Princeton each way, that's 140 miles. At a modest speed of, say, 70 mph (or about as fast as a military transport helicopter can carry Christie's bulk), that means the state chopper burned 50-60 gallons of kerosene jet fuel. At, say, $4.34 a gallon, that means it cost the New Jersey taxpayer about $217-260.40, not including the cost of a full-size sedan to follow that same helicopter both ways, just to haul Christie's fat ass a grand total of 200 yards.

    I'll leave it you to calculate the cost of gasoline for that limo.

    I guess when Christie was in high school and college, he was dreaming about tap-dancing Twinkies singing, "Eat me, eat me!" during math and economics classes. And only a Republican criminal oligarch would call for sacrifices to be made by working-class people when this corrupt piece of shit is pretending that he's the president taking Marine One chopper rides that cost hundreds in taxpayer funds just to catch a few innings of a high school baseball game.

    Personal security? Please. Show me the last New Jersey governor who ever got assassinated while in office. This was privileged laziness, nothing more.