Happy New Year to all my truckbuddies. Hope this is what's waiting for ya after the party tonight.
Full length view here (NSFW).
Just A Link
1 week ago
|He was 24 when he recorded these verses.|
Click to enlarge.
Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flow'r is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
As Home Secretary from 1965–1967, he sought to build what he described as "a civilised society", with measures such as the effective abolition in Britain of capital punishment and theatre censorship, the decriminalisation of homosexuality, relaxing of divorce law, suspension of birching and the legalisation of abortion.Perhaps all that is well and good - but it did give me pause. More than four decades later, is our Western civilization really a more "civilized society" than it was before the 1960's?
|PRR ad, 1948|
|Ruins of Charleston, S. C., 1865|
One hundred and fifty years ago today South Carolina declared its independence from the United States. The move had been in the offing since early November, when Abraham Lincoln’s election led the state’s leaders to fear that Washington would begin to restrict slavery in the territories and in their own state. That was the proximate cause, at least; there was more to it. Beyond the election, South Carolina was no longer happy in a union with the free states, where northern opponents of slavery were allowed to openly denounce the “peculiar institution” in Congress and in their home states.
Continued after the jump . . .
An interesting comparison exists between the two films chosen for the Christmas episode of STEVE HAYES: Tired Old Queen at the Movies. Douglas Sirks' ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS (1955) follows the love affair between a well-to-do middle-aged widow with grown children, Jane Wyman, and her gardener, Rock Hudson, who is twenty years younger. Todd Haynes' FAR FROM HEAVEN takes the same scenario, but has the woman, Julianne Moore, losing her husband played by Dennis Quaid, to a gay lover. She too finds solace in the arms of her gardener, this time a handsome black man, played by Dennis Haysburt. Each film takes a pot shot at the conservatism of the 1950's with the latter adding a more realistic 90's edge. Both offer fascinating and moving holiday viewing by two iconic filmmakers.
It's been more than three decades since Leonard Matlovich appeared on the cover of Time magazine. It's been more than two decades since this struggle began to reach the realm of political possibility. From the painful non-compromise of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", through the big increase in discharges under president Clinton, via the wars and civil marriage breakthroughs of the first decade of the 21st Century to the calm and reasoned Pentagon report of December 2010, the path has been uneven. We need to remember this. We need to remember constantly that any civil rights movement will be beset with reversals, with dark periods, with moments when the intensity of the despair breaks the hardiest of souls.
But we should also note that what won in the end was facts and testimony and truth. There is no rational basis to keep qualified and dedicated gays from serving in the military. It was confidence in this truth - not assertion of any special identity or special rights - that carried us forward. And the revelation of the actual lives and records of gay servicemembers - all of whom came out of the closet and risked their livelihoods to testify to the truth - has sunk in widely and deeply. These men and women had the courage to serve their country and then the courage to risk their careers, promotions, pensions, salaries and, in some cases, lives to bring this day about. They represent an often silent majority of gay men and women who simply want to belong to the families and country and churches and communities they love, and to contribute to them without having to lie about themselves. This, in the end, was not about the right to be gay, but the right to serve America. Like all great civil rights movements, it is in the end about giving, not taking. . . .
And this points to a deeper truth. What the gay rights movement should, in my view, be about is not the creation of a separate, protected class of victims. It should be about enlarging the circle of human freedom so that there are no excuses left, no classes of pre-ordained victims, just individual citizens living different lives with no group-based discrimination.
This does not deny the uniqueness of different cultures, the value of a distinct minority, the differentness of race and gender and orientation and religion and geography. It merely says that politics should be indifferent to this cacophony of voices and carnival of color. Politics should merely address those core civil inequalities that keep groups separate, alien and mutually suspicious. By removing the bar on military service and the bar on marriage, the gay rights movement is, slowly, increasingly, making America more whole and the gay rights movement obsolete.
I long for that day. But I will always cherish this one.
|Menelaus supporting the body of his fellow warrior Patroclus, |
the lover of Achilles in The Iliad
|Wounded American troops in Afghanistan, 2007.|
Which is the gay one?
Passage of the repeal does not does not immediately revoke the policy. Before "Don't Ask" is officially ended, the president, the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff must sign a letter certifying that the necessary policies and procedures are in place within the military for gays to openly serve. [note from Russ: this means the Pentagon will have to work up all those things first, and in quadruplicate, natch, which will take some time to do; and they may stagger implementation across the services.] Full repeal would take effect 60 days after that certification letter is transmitted to the congressional armed services committees.
Advocacy groups warned that gay service members may still be discharged during that interim period. Aubrey Sarvis, an Army veteran who is executive director for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a group that provides legal advice for service members affected by the ban, said, "Gay, lesbian and bisexual service members posted around the world are standing a little taller today, but they're still very much at risk because repeal is not final."
|About 1:25 p.m., EST: Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., speaking in favor of DADT repeal, held up a large version of this editorial cartoon to illustrate his remarks on the floor of the Senate. Your Head Trucker lost it for a moment.|
Look, I know the Marines consider themselves the bad-ass branch of the armed forces. But the obsession of Gen. James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, with the presumed negative impacts of allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military is getting out of hand. The Post's Craig Whitlock reports that Amos suggested that dropping don't ask don't tell could result in more casualties because their presence on the battlefield would pose "a distraction."And a column by Nathan Cox, infantry captain in the Marine Corps, writing in the Washington Post:
To listen to Amos, you'd think letting gay men and lesbians serve openly would turn his barracks into the set for the third season of RuPaul's Drag Race. Ridiculous, right? Marines who can't handle serving alongside someone who was closeted on Monday and then comes out on Tuesday are the one Amos should be worried about. They are the ones who will lack discipline. They are the ones who will wreck unit cohesion. They are the ones who will harm morale.
Perhaps Amos didn't read Patrick Pexton's excellent Dec. 1 op-ed in The Post on why gay men -- like all men -- join the military.
Straight soldiers and Marines who have a few years under their belts, and have done a combat tour or two, will more readily talk about this. They often say they enlisted in part because they wanted to prove to someone - maybe a father, their family or a sweetheart, but most often to themselves - that they were brave men willing to suffer the consequences of their adult decisions, even if that included death. That is one of the essences of masculinity, they have said in interviews.Or maybe Amos would rather cling to outdated and bigoted views than follow his commander in chief, the defense secretary, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the American people, whose safety and liberty his able Marines are sworn to protect.
But the scores of gay servicemen I have interviewed over the years express an identical desire to prove their strength, courage and masculinity. It isn't about proving sexual prowess, both straight and gay troops say, but about adulthood and, ultimately, male virtue.
I am an active-duty U.S. Marne Corps infantry officer. I have deployed twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan and have commanded infantry Marines in combat. On Tuesday, Gen. James Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, said he believes repealing "don't ask, don't tell" and allowing gay and lesbian Marines to serve openly could "cost Marines' lives" because of the "mistakes and inattention or distractions" that might ensue. I am not homosexual. And in this instance, I must respectfully disagree with my commandant. . . .
The commandant cites the importance of cohesion within small combat units and warns against its disruption by allowing homosexuals to stop concealing their identities. In my experience, the things that separate Marines in civilian life fade into obscurity on the battlefield. There, only one thing matters: Can you do your job? People care much more about whom you voted for or what city you're from while on the huge airbase with five Burger Kings, or back in the States, than they do when they're walking down a dusty road full of improvised explosive devices in Haditha or Sangin.
In the end, Marines in combat will treat sexual orientation the same way they treat race, religion and one's stance on the likelihood of the Patriots winning another Super Bowl. I do not believe the intense desire we all feel as Marines to accomplish the mission and protect each other will be affected in the slightest by knowing the sexual orientation of the man or woman next to us. . . .
I believe the reluctance many Marines feel about repeal is based on the false stereotype, borne out of ignorance, that homosexuals don't do things like pull other Marines from burning vehicles. The truth is, they do it all the time. We simply don't know it because they can't tell us.
It is time for "don't ask, don't tell" to join our other mistakes in the dog-eared chapters of history textbooks. We all bleed red, we all love our country, we are all Marines. In the end, that's all that matters.
Senators voted 63 to 33 go proceed to debate on the bill. Fifty-seven members of the Senate Democratic caucus and six Republicans -- Sens. Scott Brown (Mass.), Susan Collins (Maine), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Olympia Snowe (Maine) and George Voinovich (Ohio) -- voted yes. Four senators -- Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Joe Manchin III (D-W. Va.) -- did not vote. [note from Russ: Minich voted against repeal last week, but stayed home today.]New York Times:
A final vote on the bill is expected Sunday; a simple majority is required for final passage.
“I don’t care who you love,” Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, said as debate opened. “If you love this country enough to risk your life for it, you shouldn’t have to hide who you are.”12:01 - The first vote, for a North Carolina judge, sailed through with a voice vote only. But now the second vote is being done by roll call, so it's another dragged-out process. BTW, McCain keeps talking about maimed soldiers but conveniently overlooks gay vets like Eric Alva, first Marine wounded in Iraq, who lost a leg and was given a medical discharge.
Mr. Wyden showed up for the Senate vote despite saying on Friday that he would be unable to do so because he would be undergoing final tests before his scheduled surgery on Monday for prostate cancer.
Tyrone Power's return from active duty in World War II provided the impetus for filming the most expensive picture Twentieth Century Fox had ever produced: W. Somerset Maugham's THE RAZOR'S EDGE, directed by Edmund Goulding, with Gene Tierney, John Payne, Clifton Webb, and in an Oscar-winning performance, Anne Baxter.
No expense was spared in this tale of a man who returns from the Great War and finds himself disillusioned with the world he is supposed to live in, and his eventual quest for spirituality. Tierney and Power made an exciting love team, and Webb and Baxter were perfectly cast. Gorgeously shot by cinematographer Arthur Miller, beautifully scored by Alfred Newman, and produced by Darryl F. Zanuck himself, it was nominated for multiple Oscars, including Best Picture, and is a prime example of Hollywood at its sumptuous best.
THE RAZOR'S EDGE Trivia:
- Maugham wrote a screenplay for the Razor's Edge, which Zanuck scrapped in favor of a version by Lamarr Trotti.
- George Cukor was supposed to direct, but resigned when Zanuck vetoed Maugham's version.
- Betty Grable was in line to play Sophie, but was too afraid.
- Zanuck didn't think Anne Baxter sexy enough to play Sophie. She conspired w/friend Gregory Ratoff who told Zanuck he'd slept w/ her.
- Anne Baxter lost her Oscar when she moved to Australia in the 60's to live in the Outback.
- Clifton Webb lived with his mother Maybelle throughout his entire life.
- Power only agreed to make THE RAZOR'S EDGE if Zanuck agreed to let him be in NIGHTMARE ALLEY.
- The critics didn't care for Gene Tierney in THE RAZOR'S EDGE. As a result, Zanuck lost interest in her.
- Clifton Webb had known the man that his character Elliott Templeton was based on.
- This was the second time Herbert Marshall had played W. Somerset Maugham on screen.
- Lucile Watson lived in the smallest, complete brownstone in Manhattan.
- Although Gene Tierney & Oleg Cassini were divorcing, she insisted he do her wardrobe. Zanuck hated him.
The "Fratelli Pellegrini," or "Pellegrini Brothers," performed for Pope Benedict XVI during his general audience on Wednesday. The acrobatic team formed a human tower for the pope, a feat that drew applause from the leader of the Roman Catholic Church. The Pellegrinis were were invited as part of a convention on circuses organized by the Vatican's office for migrants.Um, okay. I guess it has something to do with brotherly love, huh? I can go for that.
|From my front porch a few minutes ago|
|From the window of my study|
|Click to enlarge|
Members of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church picketed the funeral of Elizabeth Edwards in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday. But they were vastly outnumbered by a “human buffer” of people who quietly stood in the rain singing Christmas carols and carrying signs reading “God loves Elizabeth Edwards” or simply “Grace” and “Hope.”Boston Herald:
In a 2007 interview, Mrs. Edwards described herself as “completely comfortable with gay marriage,” hence the Westboro protesters at the funeral. But on Saturday just five church members (two of them children) showed up to picket, waving hateful signs about Mrs. Edwards and the United Methodist Church where the service was held. The funeral itself was attended by some 1,200 people.
Here’s something the media should vow today: never to mention the Westboro Baptist Church again. Yesterday five nutty protesters from this nutty church held their nutty signs two blocks from the Methodist Church in Raleigh, N.C, where nearly 2,000 mourners gathered for the funeral of Elizabeth Edwards. It’s safe to say the Westboro protest was a non-event.What I Say: Amen. Your Head Trucker is a great believer in freedom of speech; but there is an exception to every rule, and this is one.
Yet within hours of Edwards’ death Tuesday, news outlets across America were filled with reports that this virulently anti-gay, anti-Semitic and anti-military “church” — made up of 70 members — planned to picket Edwards’ funeral. When you Googled Elizabeth Edwards’ funeral yesterday, before and during it, there were more than 1,000 stories about Westboro’s protest plans but just a few dozen stories about Edwards herself.
What did Elizabeth have to do with the Westboro “church,” based in Topeka, Kan.? Nothing. But the Westboro crowd knew her funeral would get lots of media attention. So they injected themselves into it. This is what they do, brilliantly. They announce plans to “protest” some upcoming, solemn event. Normal people, nauseated, plan counter protests. When the event happens, a handful of Westboro members, sometimes none at all, actually show up. But hundreds show up for the counter protests. And we in the media cover them, playing right into Westboro’s hands.
This is exactly what happened yesterday. We had five nuts on one side of the street with their “Elizabeth in Hell” signs. We had perhaps 200 “Line of Love” counter protestors on the other side of the street with their “Peace” signs. The Westboro crew disbanded 20 minutes before the 1 p.m. funeral even began. No one disrupted anything. . . .
The father of Matthew Synder, a Marine killed in Afghanistan, has sued the Westboro Church for intentional infliction of emotional distress and for violating the privacy of his son’s funeral. The case is now before the U.S. Supreme Court as a First Amendment question. But this is not an argument about the Westboro nuts’ right to protest. It’s an argument against the news media’s seemingly indiscriminate decision to cover nuts like these, over and over, no matter what.