C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.


Monday, December 31, 2012

Looking Back: 2012


Sometimes, in that gray twilight between sleeping and waking, you think of the bad things that happen in the world, and have gone on happening since the first recorded history, and will keep on happening no matter what anybody says or does: the madhouse of human existence.

And you think of all the grief and sorrow that people have had to bear, and the anguish and the unanswered prayers, and the pain and the hurt and the injustice that haunts mankind's existence everywhere, and always has.

And then you think of those who seem to live a charmed life, with all they need and want, and every wish fulfilled. It's not the fat cats and the millionaires you think of, whom you never see except in reports from faraway places. It's the people you pass on the street, or down the block, or distant relations, not one whit smarter or prettier or wiser or more moral than you - in many cases, quite a bit less so - and yet, they ease through life as if they have a genie in their pocket to grant all their desires.

But your lips do not move to form a protest - no one would listen. Nor can you even ask why - because you know there is no answer. Not even prayer helps, because the last answer is that now we darkly know, but then we shall see clearly, in another life where all will be made right.  You hope so.

But it is cold comfort on this gray and drizzly morning, 36 degrees outside. And yet you do find some scant cheer in making yourself remember the happy moments interspersed with all that has gone wrong. You think of carnivals, and roller coasters, and catherine wheels, and understand that all is in perpetual flux, now happy, now sad, now merry, now pained. For no particular reason that you can ever fathom, nor anyone else. Life is what it is, a fun house, a madhouse, a charnel house, by turns. All you can do is enjoy the good times when they come, and not wish for more when they end.

Because the world is going to keep rolling on along in its usual helter-skelter way, no matter what you think about it. So there's no point complaining. It does no good, and nobody wants to hear it.

This past year has been one of good news for the gays, one might even say an annus mirabilis in some ways. It's good to look back now on how far we've come in the last twelve months - and in the forty years or so since I first put together the words "gay" and "me."

First, a review of progress on marriage equality in these United States:



The Washington Blade has compiled a collection of articles on the top national stories of 2012.

And from Towleroad, a list of the fifty most notable "coming-outs" of the year. Most of them, your Head Trucker doesn't recognize, but the more out, the better.

So that's the way it goes, up and down and round and round. And the clock keeps ticking all the time, with a fine indifference.  Hope all you guys have a good New Year. Enjoy what you have while you have it, and savor the sweetness while it lasts. What more can anyone do?

Pieter Claesz, Vanitas with Violin and Glass Ball, ca. 1628





Saturday, December 29, 2012

Married in Maine - At Last

Last night in Portland, Steven Bridges, left, and Michael Snell
became the first gay couple ever married in Maine.
Hooray for the ordinary middle-aged gay guys like me!  And millions of others.

The first same-sex couples to be married in Maine lined up at Portland City Hall tie the knot after midnight last evening, when the state's new voter-approved marriage law took effect.  Couples were serenaded inside the courthouse by a jazz trio playing "What a Difference a Day Makes," while outside they were greeted by a crowd singing "All You Need is Love."

Beautiful.  All good wishes to the happy couples.





Kudos to all the folks who worked hard to reverse the 2009 referendum that torpedoed Maine's marriage equality law. It's worth taking a look back at this video featuring 90-year-old Harlan Gardner and four generations of his family, which is one of several that helped enlighten and educate Maine voters this year, resulting in a 53-47 win for marriage at the ballot box in November:



Friday, December 28, 2012

Waitin' for the Weekend

David Picardy



Steve Kelso



Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Pork Boys Do Christmas, 2012

So with serendipitous planning, as it turned out, I managed to get to my best bud M.P.'s place the night before the winter storm hit this part of Texas, and the roads became impassable. But it made for a lovely Christmas-y setting outdoors, while in the light and warmth of his prettily decorated house we made merry with all sorts of tasty snacks and delicious dishes. This was only the second white Christmas your Head Trucker has ever seen, so that was doubly nice.

A scene in downtown Dallas on Christmas Day

We trimmed the tree on Christmas Eve in between stops at the buffet table, loading ourselves with bites of roasted Cornish hens, ham roll-ups, potato chips and garlic dip, homemade sausage balls and red sauce, Ritz crackers, two kinds of olives, and sliced Cheddar. And listen my children, we discovered something much too good to be shared with grinches and scrooges: you want something that will make all your bells go jingle-jangle, get yourself some of the fabulous new Captain Morgan's BLACK spiced rum and add it to your eggnog. Trust the old man here, you won't regret it. I tell you what.

But hide the car keys before you go sailing with the Captain, because your Christmas will definitely be merry and bright before you finish the first cup.  Other old-timers like me will understand:  it's 95 proof - yet sweet as your first kiss, all tender and vanilla.  Smells good enough to use for after-shave, too.

The best nog for your egg, ev-er.

Is it any wonder, then, that when we finally sat down to Christmas dinner hours later - we planned it for late on the day before because he had to work on Xmas Day - we couldn't finish our plates because we were already too full? But your Head Trucker can report that M.P.'s very tender ham, which he cured and smoked himself, was a delight, covered in fresh pineapple rings and maraschino cherries, just like our mamas used to do. We would have studded it with whole cloves, but alas the only jar of them we could find at the store was $9, which was way too much for country boys to pay, so we did without.

Owing to technical difficulties that two half-drunk old men couldn't surmount,
this is merely an artist's representation of our tender, juicy entree.
Eat your heart out, boys.

And of course there were plenty of good side dishes to complement the ham, like polenta with collard greens, puff pastry with cheese filling, and one I found on the Internet and we improved upon together, which I will share with my truckbuddies:

For the reasons aforementioned, this is an artist's representation
of our cornbread salad - which really would be a great summer dish,
but as you see is festive enough to serve at Christmas too.

The Pork Boys’ Cornbread Salad

Christmas 2012

* 1 pan cornbread (= 1 box of Jiffy mix, prepared according to directions on the box. Tip: let mixture stand 5 minutes before putting it in the oven – makes your cornbread thicker. Let cornbread cool completely before cutting or crumbling into 1-inch chunks.)
* 1 large Vidalia onion, diced
* 1 large bell pepper, diced
* 1 large tomato, quartered, drained, and sliced
* 1 can whole kernel corn, drained
* 1 can Ranch beans, drained
* 1 pound bacon, fried, drained, and crumbled (no, that's not too much bacon, so STFU.)
* 2 cups grated sharp Cheddar
* 1 cup mayonnaise (Hellman's, of course - you have to ask?  Accept no substitutes.)
* 1 cup sour cream
* 1 packet of Ranch dressing mix

Stir the mayo and sour cream together; add the packet of ranch dressing mix, and stir the goo all together till white and creamy. Add a tablespoon of bacon grease and stir some more till all is mixed thoroughly and is slightly runny.

Dump the bacon, beans, onions, corn, and bell peppers in the goo - you will think you have way too much goo, but you don't. 

Add the crumbled cornbread and toss gently so the goo covers everything.  This is highly important, and the key to deliciousness.  Notice that in the picture above, the goo is spread on top but does not penetrate to every part of the salad.  Don't do that - be sure to get every little tidbit nice and gooey.

Pour it all into a large bowl, cover the top with grated cheddar and sliced tomatoes, and chill at least two hours or overnight. Serves 8, maybe 10 if you hide the cutlery, but believe me, you’ll want to keep it all to yourself. And even eat it for breakfast the next day. We did.  For three days running.

Of course, there are a million variations of this on the intertubes, and you could add or subtract any ingredients you wanted. But this here's a real crowd-pleaser, boys. I tell you what.

PS - you fellas living up in the frozen Nawth or in other furrin parts where you can't get no Jiffy mix, and nobody's ever even heard of Ranch beans - I feel for you, buddies, I really do.  I reckon you'll just have to spread your goo over whatever you can get your hands on.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Messages from the President and the Queen

The President and the First Lady filmed their Christmas message last Saturday:



And Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee year culminates with this poignant message from the Queen, whose theme is strikingly similar to that of the Obamas:



Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
--John 1:5


To all my truckbuddies near and far, whether in good company or alone, and whatever your faith or lack of it: I wish you all the joy and peace and love your hearts can hold, this night and always.




Sunday, December 23, 2012

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: Christmas in Connecticut


Steve Hayes serves up a fabulous review of the holiday classic:
Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan spend their wartime holidays together in Peter Godfrey's charming comedy Christmas In Connecticut (1945). With help from two of Warner Brothers' favorite character players - Sydney Greenstreet, in one of his rare comic roles and the adorable Austrian actor S. Z. "Cuddles" Sakal, it's a sweet, funny, romantic and lighthearted way to spend a cozy holiday afternoon by the fire. Happy Holidays!



Catch more great movie reviews at Steve's YouTube channel.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Forty-year Couple Were Called Faggots by the U. S. Government

A little-known gay-marriage pioneer, Richard Adams, died Monday at age 65, leaving his bereaved husband, Tony Sullivan, to carry on a struggle that began when they were married in Boulder, Colo., nearly forty years ago. The Advocate reports:
Adams and his partner, Tony Sullivan, met in 1971 in Los Angeles and were legally wed in Colorado on April 21, 1975, by a Boulder city clerk with five other same-sex couples. Later that year Adams filed a petition with the government to make Sullivan a permanent resident as a spouse of a U.S. citizen. According to reports, the couple received a letter from the Immigration and Naturalization Service on November 24, 1975 that read, "You have failed to establish that a bona fide marital relationship can exist between two faggots."

The couple soon filed a federal lawsuit, Adams v. Howerton. In addition to Adams's years of activism against apartheid, nuclear war, American intervention in Central America, and in favor of gender equity, Adams dedicated several decades of his life to marriage equality, especially for binational couples. The couple is featured in the documentary Limited Partnership, about their life as a binational couple and the fight for equality.

The Limited Partnership trailer:



Read a poignant in-depth profile of the couple here. And you can make a contribution to the filmmakers here.

NASA: Stop the Madness!

Your Head Trucker has not given any thought to the supposed Mayan apocalypse, but in case there was a doubt in your minds, NASA released this video ten days early to reassure the world that the end is not near:





Aren't you glad?

See also, with honk to Grandmere Mimi:


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Gay Proposal in the White House

During a White House tour organized by the Military Partners and Family Coalition, active-duty Marine captain Matthew Phelps made an historic first on Saturday when he dropped to his knees and popped the question to his boyfriend, Ben Schock, on the six-month anniversary of their first date.



Story here. More pictures here.

My stars, I have lived to see this day. All good wishes to the happy couple.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The President's Speech at the Sandy Hook Vigil

Last night in Newtown, Connecticut - one of his finest:



Excerpt:
Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose?

I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is no. We’re not doing enough. And we will have to change.

Since I’ve been President, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by a mass shooting. The fourth time we’ve hugged survivors. The fourth time we’ve consoled the families of victims. And in between, there have been an endless series of deadly shootings across the country, almost daily reports of victims, many of them children, in small towns and big cities all across America -- victims whose -- much of the time, their only fault was being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change. We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law -- no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society.

But that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely, we can do better than this. If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that -- then surely we have an obligation to try.

In the coming weeks, I will use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens -- from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators -- in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this. Because what choice do we have? We can’t accept events like this as routine. Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?

Full text here.


Now the great gun-control debate will begin, and before another year is out, your Head Trucker predicts, some kind of new law will be passed, which will please very few people on either side, but not until a great deal of hooting and hollering and carrying on from both sides has been heard - and in the long run, it will be found not to solve the problem, after all.

But in the midst of all that, your Head Trucker wishes his good truckbuddies would please keep close in mind the following stories, none of which have any connection with guns - and see what that does for your thinking. Don't brush them off as being irrelevant - they are directly relevant to the greater topic here, for those who have eyes to see.

A gruesome case from last year:

Trial underway for suspect in Arlington pastor's murder

Another, unrelated case from this year:

Minister's killer had mental illness, wife says

And from China, the same day as the Sandy Hook shootings:

22 kids slashed in China elementary school knife attack

Of course, if you live in a metropolitan area of any size, you don't have to rely on these stories alone: just read your daily paper.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sixty-seven Years a Couple, Married for Nine

Gustavo Archilla, right, with husband Elmer Lokker

A sweet, poignant obituary in the New York Times:
Mr. Archilla and his partner, Elmer Lokkins, lived together in Manhattan for 58 years before eloping to Canada in 2003 and coming out publicly. . . ,

In a 2003 article in The New York Times, Mr. Archilla said of their decision to marry: “What we did was finally cap it all up — make it seem complete. It was about fulfilling this desire people have to dignify what you have done all your life — to qualify it by going through the ceremony so that it has the same seriousness, the same objective that anybody getting married would be entitled to.”
Read the whole story.

Sunday Drive: In the Bleak Midwinter



Saturday, December 15, 2012

The President Speaks on the Connecticut School Shooting

In the Briefing Room of the White House, President Obama made an emotional address to the nation about the killing of 27 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, yesterday:




My sympathies also go out to all the victims and their loved ones. Despite the President's moving words, however, I just don't believe anything will change as a result of this latest horror.

It's been nearly 14 years since the Columbine massacre; 5 years since the Virginia Tech slaughter; and still things rock along just as they did then, and nobody has done a single thing to stop these tragedies from happening.

Your Head Trucker is not going to discuss here the whys and wherefores and causes and effects; plenty of people are paid to do that, and you're going to be hearing what they think in the days to come. And most of them will be utterly wrong.

And whether anyone is right or wrong, nothing - absolutely nothing - will change. Except that this kind of thing will happen more and more often. You will just get used to it and accept it with a shrug as a normal, if sad, part of this mad modern world we live in.

Won't you?


Further Reading:

List of rampage killers in the Americas

List of rampage killers: School massacres

List of rampage killers: Workplace killings

List of rampage killers: Familicides


From these lists, please note that you can quite easily maim and massacre bunches of people with knives, machetes, spears, swords, clubs, bombs, molotov cocktails, grenades, etc., as you can with guns.  Which is what happens in countries where civilians aren't allowed to own guns. Like China.

Do keep that fact in mind while you are listening to the forthcoming ya-ya debates over gun control, and see what it does for your thinking.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Should the Supreme Court Just Butt Out?

Larry Duncan and Randy Shepherd of Washington state, whose marriage-license pic I posted last Friday, arrived for their wedding on Sunday, nattily attired this time.  The couple were married at Seattle First Baptist Church, along with 24 other same-sex couples.  All good wishes to them.

When the Supreme Court rules on the DOMA and Prop 8 cases, less would be a whole lot more, suggests gay conservative pundit Jonathan Rauch:
Here is a movie plot you have never seen and never will see: a disadvantaged athlete struggles against the odds, makes it to the Olympics by sheer force of grit and talent, and is ahead in the race for gold—when, with the finish line in sight, the referee calls off the competition, hands the hero a medal, and everybody goes home.

Gay Americans are in sight of winning marriage not merely as a gift of five referees but in public competition against the all the arguments and money our opponents can throw at us. A Supreme Court intervention now would deprive us of that victory. Our right to marry would never enjoy the deep legitimacy that only a popular mandate can bring.

I tell my gay friends: imagine if the Supreme Court had ordered gay marriage this past June, at the end of its 2011-2012 term. November’s game-changing electoral victories would never have happened. Gay marriage advocates would be forever stereotyped as political losers who won by running to mommy. Our opponents would mock and denigrate our marriages as court-created, legalistic fictions. The country would never have shown how much it has changed.

If we have come that far in five years, imagine where we might be in five more. Imagine, then, the opportunities to extend and consolidate support that we will lose if the Supreme Court steps in now. Strange but true: a favorable Supreme Court intervention next year would make us weaker, not stronger.

Do you agree?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Candy Bomber

Thought you fellas would get a kick out of this one, via my truckbuddy Tim: a sweet story I first read about many years ago of course, but who knew the old man was still alive?  He's 92 now, according to Wikipedia, and still going strong.



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Mayans Were Right

A Mayan calendar

Maureen Dowd in the New York Times, via Joe.My.God.:
The Mayans were right, as it turns out, when they predicted the world would end in 2012. It was just a select world: the G.O.P. universe of arrogant, uptight, entitled, bossy, retrogressive white guys. Just another vanishing tribe that fought the cultural and demographic tides of history. Someday, it will be the subject of a National Geographic special, or a Mel Gibson movie, where archaeologists piece together who the lost tribe was, where it came from, and what happened to it.

The experts will sift through the ruins of the Reagan Presidential Library, Dick Cheney’s shotgun casings, Orca poll monitoring hieroglyphics, remnants of triumphal rants by Dick Morris on Fox News, faded photos of Clint Eastwood and an empty chair, and scraps of ancient tape in which a tall, stiff man, his name long forgotten, gnashes his teeth about the 47 percent of moochers and the 'gifts' they got. Instead of smallpox, plagues, drought and Conquistadors, the Republican decline will be traced to a stubborn refusal to adapt to a world where poor people and sick people and black people and brown people and female people and gay people count.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Opposition to Gay Marriage is Literally Dying

It's only the first 6 minutes of this video that are relevant. Note the comment by conservative columnist George Will about the opposition. Also note what Mary Matalin has to say about the real threat to American families, which is the epidemic of single mothers - and your Head Trucker agrees.



Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sunday Drive: The Holly and the Ivy

I like to post these videos from King's College, Cambridge, in memory of my late husband, who was both an organist and a choir director, and gave an annual Christmas concert at his church in which he always played these Advent tunes.



Saturday, December 8, 2012

Friday, December 7, 2012

Marriage Equality Updates, 12/7/12

Sometimes it seems like Change is as slow as Christmas; but then other times, it seems like it's bustin' out all over. A few news notes to show you what I mean.

Same-sex couples began getting marriage licenses yesterday in the Evergreen State. A headline in Towleroad says, "These Men Are Officially, Wonderfully, the Face of Marriage Equality in Washington State":

Larry Duncan, 56, and Randy Shepherd, 48, partners for eleven years,
apply for their marriage license in Seattle on Thursday.

Hooray! Finally, some real middle-aged gay guys, not stereotyped twinklets in sequins. Your Head Trucker can totally relate. Especially since my beard is now nearly as white and as long as the older dude's is. Yeah, really.

Of course, lots of other queer couples are flocking to the altar, or at least to the courthouse, in Washington - including Dan Savage and his longtime "husband in Canada, boyfriend in America" Terry Miller. The state requires a three-day waiting period, so weddings won't happen until Sunday.

In Mexico, on Wednesday of this week the Mexican Supreme Court struck down a law against same-sex marriage in the state of Oaxaca, which may lead to marriage equality nationwide soon. Since 2010, Mexican couples have already been able to get married in Mexico City. A more detailed analysis of the meaning of the ruling is here.

At the same link as above, lawmakers in Colombia, Chile, and Uruguay are all set to debate marriage equality next week.

Maryland began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples yesterday, although weddings won't begin until January 1.

And in Virginia, NPR reports that the CIA for the first time is actively looking to recruit gay and lesbian employees.

And in Washington D.C., the Supreme Court may - or may not - announce today which of the same-sex marriage cases it will consider. As I noted last week, if the Court declines to review the Prop 8 case, which has been upheld in our favor by a federal district court and a federal appeals court already, marriages could resume very quickly in California. So stay tuned.


Update, 12/8, 5 a.m.: Okay, so I'm not on the same sleep schedule as the rest of the world. But I've just learned that the Supreme Court has decided to review both the Prop 8 case and the Windsor case. The Washington Blade reports:
Ending months of anticipation, the U.S. Supreme Court signaled on Friday it would take up litigation challenging California’s Proposition 8 and one case challenging the Defense of Marriage Act.

Justices decided to take up the case of Hollingsworth v. Perry, which seeks to overturn the state constitutional amendment California voters passed in 2008 that took away marriage rights for same-sex couples.

They also decided to take up Windsor v. United States, litigation challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. That lawsuit was filed by Edith Windsor, a New York widow who was forced to pay $363,000 in estate taxes in 2009 upon the death of her spouse, Thea Spyer.

The court made the news in an orders list published Friday following a conference the justices held on the same day. Four justices must vote affirmatively to grant a writ of certiorari in any particular case, but that vote isn’t public information.

Windsor, 83, expressed excitement in a statement that her lawsuit would be the one to challenge DOMA at the Supreme Court. Her lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union along with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and other groups.

“When Thea and I met nearly 50 years ago, we never could have dreamed that the story of our life together would be before the Supreme Court as an example of why gay married couples should be treated equally, and not like second-class citizens,” Windsor said. “While Thea is no longer alive, I know how proud she would have been to see this day. The truth is, I never expected any less from my country.”

More analysis and commentary, if you want to read it:

"Today at the Supreme Court - Explained" from Lambda Legal

"Supreme Court to Hear Two Challenges to Gay Marriage" from the New York Times

"Prop 8 Attorneys Confident SCOTUS Will Strike Down Marriage Ban" from the Washington Blade

"Same-sex Marriage in the Courts" from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life

"Supreme Court Will Hear DOMA and Prop 8 Challenges:  An Analysis" at Towleroad


What I say: Your Head Trucker has no crystal ball, but it seems most likely that when the Supremes finally rule on these cases, sometime between now and when the court term ends next June, that

1) it will concur in striking down Prop 8, letting marriages resume in California, but not applying that to any other state;

2) it will say that if a state says you're married under its laws, the feds have to recognize that marriage for all federal rights and benefits, just as with any other married couple across the land; but

3) the Court will not say that other states have to recognize your marriage if they don't want to. The polls may show a slight majority of Americans are now in favor of the idea, but the Supremes rarely jump very far ahead of public opinion. It's just too early, I think, for a nationwide ruling to the right to marry in every state:  I don't expect that it another 15 years, at least.

Of course, I hope I'm wrong about that last bit. We'll find out by the time it's beach weather next year.  My God, and I remember when "homosexual" was practically an unmentionable word in public.  Now the Supreme Court is going to deliberate on our right to marry.  How times have changed.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Listen Up, Dems

Bill Clinton's Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, tells us in two and a half minutes exactly how to proceed from here:



A word to the wise is sufficient. If the wise have any balls.


Honk to Grandmere Mimi at Wounded Bird.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

It Gets Better: NYPD

Not to be outdone by the Mounties, now New York's finest have produced their own It Gets Better video:



A couple of those cops are pretty woofable.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Royal Baby News Caps Queen's Diamond Jubilee Year

First comes love, then comes marriage,
Then comes baby in a baby carriage!

It's official: HRH the Duchess of Cambridge is expecting a baby, who will likely be born next June or July. Britain is rightly agog with the happy news, and felicitations are pouring in from all corners of the world.

Here's the Telegraph's editorial, which appeared under the headline "Delightful News":
Just the right word to describe the reaction of the Royal family and the Duchess of Cambridge’s family to the news that she is expecting a baby is “delighted”. It is a delight the nation can share, as we shared the joy of the wedding of the new Duke and Duchess on an April morning last year. Who would not be delighted at the prospect of a mother’s first child, especially a mother who has won affection with her natural beauty and straightforward character?

It is sad that the Duchess has an extreme form of morning sickness, though she is in good hands. The best medical technology will doubtless be placed at her disposal; indeed, such have been the advances since the birth of the present Queen, and so hardy is our ruling dynasty, that the new heir to the throne could see the Windsors into the 22nd century. The thought itself is comforting – and delightful.
.
It does give one a rather warm, jolly feeling - something our republic has no counterpart of. Not a necessary thing, of course; but a nice one.

More coverage from the Telegraph:





As a side note, it is expected that before the baby is born, Parliament will have passed a bill allowing the couple's firstborn child to become monarch, regardless of sex.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Lost Time: Bounce Me, Brother, with a Solid Four

Wouldn't it have been fun . . .




From the 1941 Abbott and Costello comedy Buck Privates.


Sunday Drive: Once in Royal David's City



Saturday, December 1, 2012

There'll Always Be an England

Straight dudes getting nekkid with school ties on - Andrew Sullivan says its to benefit an anti-gay-bullying organization run by straight rugby player Ben Cohen:



Buy the calendar at their website, if they tickle your fancy.

World Aids Day, 2012


A hopeful report from the Voice of America:



Friday, November 30, 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Same Love

As I'm sure my readers have long since realized, your Head Trucker has grown up to be a boring old geezer from Nowheresville who is far too antique to appreciate this peculiar fad they call rap or hip-hop or whatever.  Nevertheless, I think the following video is a beautiful and moving work of art. Call me crazy. See what you think:



It so happens that a teacher in Michigan has just been suspended for allowing a student to play this song in class. Justified?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The History of the Right to Marry

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights gives the history of Supreme Court jurisprudence on the right to marry.



The Supremes may decide this Friday which of the several cases regarding marriage equality they will consider this term, so stay tuned for big developments. For one thing, If they decline to hear the Prop 8 case, marriage could be legal again in California almost immediately.

Update:   Do go read Brooklyn Law School professor Ari Ezra Waldman's summary of the possible outcomes of tomorrow's Supreme Court conference regarding the DOMA cases and the Prop 8 case. He concludes with this note about timing:
The conference happens tomorrow and though we could know as early as tomorrow afternoon (sometimes, the Court notifies us of its grants immediately), it is more likely that the Court releases its grants on Monday, starting at 9:30 AM. After that, the briefing clock begins. The normal procedure -- 45 days for the party seeking reversal of the lower court decision, 30 days for the respondent to respond, and 30 days for the response to the response -- may be altered, but it will generally look something like that. This puts briefing done by the middle of March. A hearing will be scheduled for shortly thereafter. And, we should expect a decision by the very end of the term.

But, don't forget, if the Court denies a hearing on the Prop 8 case, marriages in California can begin almost immediately.


Update, Friday, November 30:

Veteran Supreme Court reporter Lyle Denniston blogs at 2:16 p.m. Texas time:
The Supreme Court, after taking most of the day to prepare new orders, took no action Friday on the ten same-sex marriage cases now on the docket. . . .

The next opportunity for the Court to issue orders will be at 9:30 a.m. Monday. Nothing has ruled out the possibility that some actions on same-sex marriage could be announced at that time, although there is no indation that that will occur. It may be that the Court needs more time to decide what it wants to do next on any of the cases.

See also this detailed, nuanced summary of possibilities by Denniston, as well as this summary "in plain English" by SCOTUSblog editor Amy Howe.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Election Results by the Numbers

Your Head Trucker is heading out to dine with M.P. tonight for our belated Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings, so I may be too stuffed to write anything afterwards. He had his big dinner with his 4 grown kids, their spouses/others, and the ex last week, to which he contributed a few dishes, but he loves to cook so much that he insisted on doing a full turkey meal for just the two of us this week.

This will perhaps be the last post of mine on the election, but I thought you boys would be very interested to see what the nonpartisan Pew Forum has discovered on the religious factors of this election.

1. Election results by religious affiliation:


2. The electorate, broken down by religious groups. Notice that the fundamentalists/evangelicals are less than a fourth of the total:



Of course, numbers alone don't mean much; it's how you interpret them that counts. And the Republicans are up to their goofy tricks on that, as Hendrik Hertzberg notes in a fine analysis of the election results in the New Yorker this week. Excerpt:
News flash: the President won, handily. With late returns still trickling in, his popular-vote margin now exceeds four million, a million more than George W. Bush amassed when he ran for reĆ«lection. (Obama’s electoral-college majority is also larger: 332 to Mitt Romney’s 206, as against Bush’s 286 to John Kerry’s 251.) When it came to this year’s thirty-three Senate races, Republican prophecies of a Republican takeover, universal some months ago, grew rarer as November approached, except on the farther-out reaches of conservative punditry. Human Events, which describes itself as Ronald Reagan’s favorite newspaper, and CBN, the religious-right TV network, each predicted a net gain of five seats for the G.O.P. Morris, who predicted a six-seat gain, gloated that a Republican Senate would be “Barack Obama’s parting gift to the Democratic Party.” That it was, except for the “parting” part. And except for the “Republican” part: not only did the Democratic caucus grow from fifty-three to fifty-five, Democratic senatorial candidates got a total of ten million more votes than their Republican opponents.

In 2004, the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, conservatism’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, congratulated President Bush for “what by any measure is a decisive mandate for a second term” and exulted, “Mr. Bush has been given the kind of mandate that few politicians are ever fortunate enough to receive.” This year, examining similar numbers with different labels, the Journal came up with a sterner interpretation. “President Obama won one of the narrower re-elections in modern times,” its editorial announced. Also:
Mr. Obama will now have to govern the America he so relentlessly sought to divide—and without a mandate beyond the powers of the Presidency. Democrats will hold the Senate, perhaps with an additional seat or two. But Republicans held the House comfortably, so their agenda was hardly repudiated. . . . Speaker John Boehner can negotiate knowing he has as much of a mandate as the President.

And there's more weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth amongst those cast into outer darkness - but I reckon you guys get the drift.


Also in the New Yorker, cartoonist David Sipress sums things up with an apt drawing:






Monday, November 26, 2012

Gay Guys Will Marry Your Girlfriends

The laughalicious video making the case for marriage equality - or else:



Straight dudes respond "go for it":



And the gay gals get into the mix:






Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday Drive: I Want to Stroll over Heaven with You

Alan Jackson's mama is in the audience here. I wish I could hear my mama sing again.



Saturday, November 24, 2012

Why the Republicans Are Failing

Senator Graham's comment to the Washington Post, August 29, 2012.

Excerpt from an excellent post by Josh Marshall at TPM:
The Republican Party has a problem, but it is not one candidate; it is not packaging or branding; it is not messaging that is sinking the GOP. It is the core beliefs of the vast majority of Republicans.

Their problem is their war on women; war on gays; war on minorities. It is their war on science and math and logic and education and reality. It is listening to nuckle heads like Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Michael Savage, Ann Coulter and Donald Trump. It is allowing entertainers to determine the direction and policy positions of a major political party. It is following the teaching of extremist religions leaders like the US Catholic Bishops.

But most of all, it is the GOP’s utter lack of respect for anyone who is not like them; supporting an idiot obscure congressman who shouts “You lie” at the President of the United States during the State of the Union Address. Not repudiating truly crazy people who cling to the thumbless notion that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. It is supporting an insane governor who waves her finger publicly in the face of the President because he rejects her lunatic positions. When the GOP allows or supports these actions, they are condoning disrespect for the majority of Americans who are not aging white men.

Ultimately the Republicans now show Romney the same disrespect and loathing it has for anyone they don’t believe is part of the “Real America.”

That is why the GOP is failing. Not because Romney ran an unsuccessful campaign.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving, 1945

Just thought I'd share with you guys one of your Head Trucker's favorite Norman Rockwell covers for the Saturday Evening Post. The repatriation of American soldiers from the far-flung battle fronts of the war, mainly by ship, continued all through the autumn of 1945 and well into the following year. My dad had served in England and Belgium with the USAAF, and had accumulated enough discharge points that he was able to get home by October. I'm sure there were many thankful hearts that year in homely kitchens all over the country - and grieving ones too.

But of course, it's that way every year in this bittersweet world, isn't it? I wish a very happy Thanksgiving to you all.

Click to enlarge

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sore Losers

From The New Yorker, 11/16/12

For the record, the hardcore religious and political right is taking the election results like whiny, screaming, tantrum-throwing brats. In case you haven't heard:

Romney Can Still Win! - By persuading at least 17 states not to participate in the Electoral College when it meets next month; without a quorum there, the election would be decided by the House of Representatives, which of course is controlled by the Republicans.

Don't hold your breath on that one. Here's what you should worry about instead: the country having gone completely over to the Dark Side by re-electing President Obama, divine retribution is surely at hand, as many arch-conservative, fundamentalist/evangelical types are wailing right about now. Example:

God Will Judge America for Re-Electing Obama Through a Massive Economic Collapse. So says Rev. Franklin Graham, Billy's son.




Rightwing blogger Joseph Farah of WoldNetDaily says it even plainer:

America is about to be 'Destroyed by God' - because "we are in full apostasy boogie," a bizarre phrase for more reasons than one.


But why do Republicans hate America? Conservative journalist George Will slaps Romney's let-them-eat-cake attitude:




John Aravosis at Americablog nails it, and takes the words right out of your Head Trucker's mouth:
The current Republican leadership hates Americans. They’ve hated our system of government for a long time, which is why it’s always Republicans who are trying to undermine the presidency, and the courts, and the media – any system of checks and balances is a bad thing if you, at your core, think freedom and truth have a liberal bias, and that you can’t win if the fight is fair.

Republicans talk a lot about how much they love America – the same way they talk about how much they love the troops, then send the troops to die in needless wars based on a lie, then ignore those same trips when they come home needing help – but in practice, it’s not terribly clear that the current extremists running the GOP like much of anything or anyone in this country.

So, I’m not going to get too excited about the GOP’s sudden concern about members of their own party who hate the voters. The Republicans have hated a lot of us for a very long time. And now their hate may have made them a permanent minority party.

Heh.

Their religion is not about loving your neighbor, nor their politics about loving your country. What it's all about, really and truly, is control - as in Obey me, bitch.

And what's up with all those secession petitions? Even Butthead Rick Perry won't go along on that joyride, but Ron Paul speaks for millions, apparently, as he fades into a bad memory:



From The New Yorker, 11/15/12

Bonus:  Pat Robertson, who claimed God told him months ago who the winner of the election would be, admits he fucked up big time on the Voice of God thing:



Deuteronomy 18:21-22 - "And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him."

Matthew 7:15-20 - "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."

Matthew 24:24-25 - "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before."

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