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.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year, Y'all

What would New Year's Eve be without a bottle of champagne, a couple of glasses, and all your buttons undone? Here's what I'm wishing for all my Truckbuddies out there in the New Year . . . if not for the whole year, at least for tonight.

Have a really good one, pardners. All my best to you, and thanks for riding along with me here in the Blue Truck. Prospero año. Bonne année.

(A big honk and a bottle of bubbly to artist Joe Phillips)

Goodnight, Ladies: Miriam, Odetta, Eartha

As we leave the old year behind, time for a last goodbye to three great ladies who entertained millions with their songs and also worked for peace, justice, and civil rights in this country and abroad. You should read about them if you aren't already familiar with their careers.

All were part of the civil rights struggle from way back that paved the way for the election of Obama, and greater freedom in places like South Africa. Not every fight is won with a gun; sometimes a song is an even better weapon.

Here are clips of each of them from their heyday, voices that will never die.

Miriam Makeba - "Mama Africa"

Odetta - "The Voice of the Civil Rights Movement"

Eartha Kitt - "Catwoman"

Thanks, ladies, for all you did. We'll miss you.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Art of Joe Phillips

Always makes me smile. Among other reactions. Check out his website here.

Ooops! Very funny. I found a drawing by another artist of the effect of rainbow kryptonite on these two characters, but I don't dare post it here.

Love this. Notice how Joe has not only drawn the characters in a tender embrace, but also included pics in the background showing they've been together in love through the decades since childhood. Joe does that often, if you notice. That's what I was talking about in my post the other day; when I was growing up, there were no images in print or film of any happy, longtime gay couples; no images of gays at all. Real nice to think the younger gays now will always have these visuals in their minds, affirming their worth, and the possibility of real love.

Oh man, to be 16 again with a fast car, a best friend, and a night out in the country, under the stars. And not afraid to say and do what you really feel for each other, instead of pretending otherwise.

I love Joe's take on the classic Life photo "A Sailor's Kiss." Happy thought.

I laughed out loud when I saw Joe's update of Grant Wood's iconic "American Gothic." And the gay son is holding his cock prominently. Maw and Paw don't look too thrilled with the news, but whatcha gonna do? At least nowadays, there's a chance they would accept the boy and love him anyway, gay or not.

Joe's done a representation of each Zodiac sign, all very cool but I'm drawn to the contrasts here in Sagittarius: the blond boy and the dark centaur, the trusting, contented smile on the boy's face, the wary, wondering look on the centaur's, the curves and tapers of the boy's body drawing your eye down to his smooth little buttocks - astride the powerful back and body of the centaur. Certainly provokes some deep thoughts.

One More Look: Jonathan Smith

This time of year, your Head Trucker likes to take a few days off work and get my mind off of serious things. So this week you may see some different kinds of posts from the usual heavy-duty stuff, lighter and funner. What the hell.

I've posted about Texas hunk Jonathan Smith before, but since his appearance on Hunk du Jour the other day, I just can't get the boy out of my mind. Woof. I have a mental blowout everytime I look at his sexy pics, that handsome stubbly face, that slim, short body, and that hairy chest, oh MAN. Call home, Jonathan, your daddy wonders where you are . . . if you ain't got a daddy, call me.

Okay, I'll try to cool it here. But got a question for all my Truckbuddies: I've turned on the thumbnails for the new Russ's Toolbox section at right (you may have to scroll down to see it). Only some of the pics automatically fed in from other blogs aren't exactly G rated. You think I should leave the thumbnails on, or turn them off?

Trying to run a "respectable" blog here. I'm thinking maybe I also need to start another, less respectable one. Call it Russ's Rough Riders or something like that.

And btw, thanks all you new Truckbuddies for signing on with me; I really appreciate that. I've reciprocated the favor too.

(Photo from Man of Austin via Hunk du Jour)

Update. Answered my own question. X-rated thumbnails are turned off now. If I ever start a raunchier blog, you guys will be the first to know.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Lovelight: What a Wonderful World

All you young Truckers reading this blog, I wonder sometimes if you really, really appreciate how good you have it, how good it is to be young and gay and alive and out and free to love here in this day and time.

Forty-odd years ago, when I first got a glimmer of what "homo" and "queer" meant - and that was when "gay" still meant "merry" - there was no public discussion at all of the subject, not in the Deep South where I grew up. People like us were unmentionable in polite society.

Homosexuality - ugly word - was something whispered about, something shameful, ugly, evil. There were no pictures, no movies, no TV shows, no images of happy, loving gay people anywhere to be seen, not ever. In straight people's minds, and to some degree even in our own, we gay men and women simply did not exist - except as a scary, shadowy figment of the popular imagination, lurking in some dark alley ready to molest somebody's kid.

You younger guys and gals have grown up not only hearing about, but seeing lots of gay people, in pictures and in person. No doubt you take that for granted, as a reasonable, natural part of the way things are. But try to imagine for one moment growing up in a world - not very long ago, in my lifetime - where your sexuality was so shocking and shameful you could not tell anyone about it, could not discuss it even with your best friends, your teacher, your preacher - not even Mom and Dad. (Oh God no!)

And where you never once saw a picture of anyone else like you, anywhere. Much less actually knew someone like you. Think about it. No pictures, no models, no examples - just you, alone with your gay self.

I was 22 before I ever knew somebody who was admittedly gay - another employee where I worked, but I was way too closeted and shy - okay, terrified actually - to come out to him. And it was another couple years after that before I found a gay support group in college and came out myself.

So the ten years from age 14, when I finally put the words "homosexual" and "me" together, till age 24, when I came out - those 10 years were lost to me, emotionally, socially, sexually, psychologically. I turned inward, I hated myself, I believed God hated me too; I was chronically depressed, thought about suicide many times, missed out on a lot of normal development as a maturing human being. Like millions of other gays in my generation. But at least we finally did arrive at an era where we could come out and be our true selves.

The laws and the attitudes in this country still need some work, a lot more changes need to happen. But even though we aren't at the end of the struggle yet, it delights me to think of you younger folks, and the kids, and even the babies now being born - growing up free to be yourselves, free to live and free to love.

It's a wonderful world.

So we'll close out the last Sunday of the year with Louis Armstrong's classic song of the same name, and look at some sweet pics of gay lovers in love, and be glad.

(A suggestion: listen to the first one, look at the second one; sound track is awful, but love the pics.)

Sunday Drive: The Good Samaritan

Carol Boltz is the ex-wife of out Christian songwriter/singer Ray Boltz, whom I've posted about before. She's now got a blog going about her experience as the wife of a gay man, called My heart goes out . . . and I think it will reach a lot of people's hearts. What a great thing to do.

Here's an excerpt from her December 12 post, "Who is my neighbor?" She was sitting in church one Sunday, listening to a sermon for the thousandth time on the parable of the Good Samaritan and not expecting to get anything new out of it, when the young preacher suddenly asked . . .
Who among us have been left, by the church, half-dead? Who among our neighbors are the ones we reach out to? The ones who have been left, by us Christians, bleeding, and uncared for?

And it all hit me. Among so many, I see the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender people, left outside the churches. They are outcast by US, the people who call themselves by the name of Jesus. And I knew - I want to be the good neighbor, the good Samaritan.

It takes us all to be Jesus to the hurting, and I want to be, at the least that one person. I don't care if it is only one at a time. I don't care if others think I'm a fag-hag or crazy or whatever. I want people to know that I care and that I'm just like them - loved by Jesus.

It has not been easy to accept what has happened to me. Many times I've been angry at God for the loss of my marriage (and so much more). Often I don't want to go to church, don't know the absolutes of my upbringing and don't feel confident in my faith. But I felt God's healing THAT day when we closed with, "How marvelous, how wonderful is my saviours' love for me..." I felt that I've been loved enough to come through this journey, to be shown things I'd never have considered if not for the difficult road, where I was bleeding and half-dead. I felt that somehow there was a purpose and maybe I can make an impact on someone else that hurts and feels like they are left on the side of the road, forgotten by most everyone.

We're Likable Enough, But . . .

Frank Rich writes this column in the New York Times today, "You're Likable Enough, Gay People":

As we saw during primary season, our president-elect is not free of his own brand of hubris and arrogance, and sometimes it comes before a fall: “You’re likable enough, Hillary” was the prelude to his defeat in New Hampshire. He has hit this same note again by assigning the invocation at his inauguration to the Rev. Rick Warren, the Orange County, Calif., megachurch preacher who has likened committed gay relationships to incest, polygamy and “an older guy marrying a child.” Bestowing this honor on Warren was a conscious — and glib — decision by Obama to spend political capital. It was made with the certitude that a leader with a mandate can do no wrong.

In this case, the capital spent is small change. Most Americans who have an opinion about Warren like him and his best-selling self-help tome, “The Purpose Driven Life.” His good deeds are plentiful on issues like human suffering in Africa, poverty and climate change. He is opposed to same-sex marriage, but so is almost every top-tier national politician, including Obama. Unlike such family-values ayatollahs as James Dobson and Tony Perkins, Warren is not obsessed with homosexuality and abortion. He was vociferously attacked by the Phyllis Schlafly gang when he invited Obama to speak about AIDS at his Saddleback Church two years ago.

There’s no reason why Obama shouldn’t return the favor by inviting him to Washington. But there’s a difference between including Warren among the cacophony of voices weighing in on policy and anointing him as the inaugural’s de facto pope. You can’t blame V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop and an early Obama booster, for feeling as if he’d been slapped in the face. “I’m all for Rick Warren being at the table,” he told The Times, but “we’re talking about putting someone up front and center at what will be the most-watched inauguration in history, and asking his blessing on the nation. And the God that he’s praying to is not the God that I know.” . . .

Warren’s defamation of gay people illustrates why, as does our president-elect’s rationalization of it. When Obama defends Warren’s words by calling them an example of the “wide range of viewpoints” in a “diverse and noisy and opinionated” America, he is being too cute by half. He knows full well that a “viewpoint” defaming any minority group by linking it to sexual crimes like pedophilia is unacceptable.

It is even more toxic in a year when that group has been marginalized and stripped of its rights by ballot initiatives fomenting precisely such fears. “You’ve got to give them hope” was the refrain of the pioneering 1970s gay politician Harvey Milk, so stunningly brought back to life by Sean Penn on screen this winter. Milk reminds us that hope has to mean action, not just words.

By the historical standards of presidential hubris, Obama’s disingenuous defense of his tone-deaf invitation to Warren is nonetheless a relatively tiny infraction. It’s no Bay of Pigs. But it does add an asterisk to the joyous inaugural of our first black president. It’s bizarre that Obama, of all people, would allow himself to be on the wrong side of this history.

Lay off of Warren?

Jamie Kirchick, assistant editor of The New Republic and columnist for the Washington Blade, has this to say about the Warren flap over on Jewcy - get off the rag:

The uproar over Warren has the detriment of confirming one of the worst stereotypes of homosexuals: hysteria. That's because Warren is the lowest common denominator of the socially conservative evangelicals. Up until the Proposition 8 fight, his political involvement extended to such hot-button, "culture war" issues as fighting African AIDS and poverty. Aside from the incest/bestiality slip (which was an effort, however clumsily executed, to make a slippery slope argument rather than a serious attempt at morally equating daughter/dog love to homosexuality) Warren has never really used his high public profile or pulpit to preach hatred of gay people, something that can hardly be said of the long list of Elmer Gantryesque charlatans the GOP has surrounded itself with over the past 30 years.

Asked what was a "greater threat to the American family - divorce or gay marriage," Warren answered, "That's a no brainer. Divorce. There's no doubt about it," which makes him far more honest than most politically involved conservative evangelical preachers. Count me as being a member of the pragmatist gay camp (not to be confused with theater, dance or other camps), encapsulated by my friend Chris Crain, who writes, "It is a stroke of political brilliance to recruit a conservative megapastor in support of a president-elect who is arguably the most pro-gay, pro-choice and progressive in our history." . . .

[G]ays would do well to store their gunpowder for the truly significant legislative battles that will no doubt be fought in the years ahead. Getting rid of the odious and national security-weakening "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" regulation, repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and Matthew Shepard hate crimes law will all be possible over the next four years now that we have a Democratic president and Congress committed - at least on paper - to effecting these positive changes. If gays had given Obama some much-needed slack on Rick Warren, perhaps he'd feel a political debt to us when these truly significant issues come up for debate.

But how sincere - or politically threatening - will gay complaints about administration foot-dragging on issues that actually affect millions of gay and lesbian people sound in light of the unwarranted outrage that's been generated over the guy who's going to deliver a two-minute reading that no one will remember? Attacking the President-Elect who campaigned as the most pro-gay candidate in American history over an issue as irrelevant as this one, I fear, makes us look like we're crying wolf. And we all know how that fable ended.

What do you think, Truckers? Is it time to shut up about Warren? Or should we keep up the criticism?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Afternoon Drive: Resting Up

Time to rest and recuperate after all the holiday madness, right boys? Here's something to cozy up with.

(Honk to The Truck Man and Just Beautiful Men for the photos)

Christmas Past

Ran across these clips from the British Film Institute archives and thought I'd share with my truckbuddies. They're very interesting to watch, on several levels.

First, from two centuries back, an 1898 short (they were all this short in 1898), "Santa Claus":

And OMFG next time you think your job really sucks, think about these scenes from "Making Christmas Crackers," 1910. Of course the motion is speeded up beyond what it really was, but still.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Goodwill to Men? Not Yet

As Mike Signorile puts it, some things never change:
One thing you can always depend on each Christmas: 1) The Pope will attack gays and gay marriage (and this year transexuality) for all the violence in the world -- during his message about peace, joy and unity; 2) some crazed heterosexual will perpetrate a Christmas Eve massacre during the supposed season of comfort and joy, usually inspired by the stresses of his heterosexual marriage and the holiday season itself.
I already posted on the first point. Mike's second point is about the beyond-horrible mass murder of at least 10 people at a family Christmas dinner in Covina, California. The perp, a recently divorced in-law and a faithful usher at his Catholic church, arrived at the house dressed as Santa Claus and rang the doorbell. When an 8-year-old girl ran to open the door, he shot her in the face, then proceeded to kill everyone else he could, then set the house ablaze. After escaping the scene, he drove to his brother's house where he shot himself.

The 8-year-old and one other child are hospitalized in intensive care. Several others of the 27 people at the Christmas dinner were injured as well.

Jeezus, what kind of fucking monster can do such a thing? No matter how badly he got hurt, no matter how bad he got burned in the divorce. Especially one who attends Mass every week? What the hell goes on here? I just don't get it, not at all.

But I don't get a lot of things like that. For instance, all the increasing hate crimes against LGBT people, as the San Jose Mercury News reports. My heart goes out to the young gay woman who was brutally gang-raped and left naked on the street by four creeps in Richmond, California, this week. Police are still looking for the perps, two of whom go by the names "Blue" and "Pato," and a reward is offered for information on them.

Likewise, my sympathies to the families of 15-year-old Larry King; Jose Sucuzhanay, Duanna Johnson, and many others who had an empty chair at the Christmas table this week. All of those deaths caused by straight male homophobia and utter contempt for human life.

And ultimately, all of that is promoted and condoned by the arrogant, filthy lies put out by people like this asshat of a Pope and his Protestant counterparts like Rick Warren. Oh if you asked them, they would deplore the beatings and the killings, yes, very sad, such a pity.

But THEY are the ones who tell their flocks, and by extension the larger society, that we queers are sick, evil, perverted, doomed to eternal damnation and not fit to live; less than full and equal humans, way less, deserving nothing.

Oh and we're also destroying the family, society, the nation, the military, the economy, in fact the whole freaking planet. Why not shoot, stab, or beat us to death? Wouldn't that be doing the world a favor? Oh please. The Church/churches love to talk about Love and Peace on Earth, goodwill to men, yada yada, they love to play the sweet, holy act. Especially at Christmas. But what are they really all about? Now I grew up Christian here in the Deep South, and I'm not yet willing to let go of every part of that. My faith sustained me through some terribly dark nights of the soul, and I do believe there is a God/Higher Power/Whatever, bigger than any box we try to put Him/Her/It in.

But in recent years my eyes have been opened wide to all the hypocrisy and dishonesty and self-righteous, self-serving patriarchy that's made my life, and millions of others, a living hell for so long.

I've had it with the whole straight-white-male Christian church as it has been rocking along all these centuries. Many good people have belonged, and done good things; but the Church in its various branches and manifestations has also condoned for ages (until forced to change) scientific ignorance, slavery, the denial of women's rights and birth control, segregation, interracial marriage, and of course, homophobia. (One day soon I'm going to post here a summary of how the church has persecuted gays down through history; it's not anything new.)

But now I think I see a crack beginning in that last one; the Church (or churches) has changed its attitude on all the others, and it's time to get a new attitude on this one too. Real soon.

If there's anything of God in it. Because God is Love.

For more religious asshattery, here's Signorile's interview with Bill Donohue of the Catholic League about the supposed "campaign of violence" we queers are waging across the country now:

We're All Happy Now?

The very well-spoken Mike Rogers of PageOneQ appeared on Hardball this week with some choice comments on the Warren fiasco that put the other side into a sputtering tizzy:

God, Gays, and Obama

Japhy Grant, the new editor over at Queerty, has a couple of interesting posts that bear on the Warren invocation flap, and the President-elect's apparent cluelessness.

First, regarding "God's Amicus Brief on Prop. 8," filed by a doozy of a rightwing religious nut, Japhy writes:

This brief is hilarious because it's so misguided and angry, but its extreme cluelessness lays bare the basic idiocy at the heart of the more nuanced arguments of folks like Rick Warren and the Mormon Church. They fear for our eternal souls but their words and acts have made life here on Earth a hell for far too many gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders. Too many of us have been the victim of hate crimes by people who have sat in the pews of homophobic churches. Too many teenagers have killed themselves or lived in depression or felt alone because their pastor tells them the way they were born — the way God made them — is a sin. Too many families have been ripped apart in the name of following God's word.

I want to respect the private beliefs of everyone I meet. Diversity of belief is one of the things that make this country great, but increasingly these days, as I examine my own beliefs and the beliefs of those who tell me that the way I love, the most human emotion I can experience, is a sin, the more I see that it is they who are wrong, not me.

I don't need a direct pipeline to God to know it; the answer's in my heart.
And in a post entitled "Mr. Obama, Here Is Our Compromise," Japhy calls on the Prez-elect to just do the right thing for the right reason:

In later life, Booker T. Washington found himself at odds with the newly created NAACP, which was unafraid to speak loudly and forcefully for civil rights. Likewise, the gay community is abandoning the appeasement tactics of old in exchange for a direct, forceful argument that "separate but equal" is wrong, no matter how sweetly it is worded by folks like Rev. Warren. Obama asks us to disagree without being disagreeable. That's hogwash. Discriminating against gays and lesbians is wrong and it's a moral outrage. Obama may be a master politician, but these newbie gay activists aren't idiots, either.

Far from shooting themselves in the foot, the louder and more visibly gays and lesbians make the argument that discrimination is wrong and that find it intolerable, oppressive and insulting, the more we help our fellow citizens examine the issue more closely. Shooting ourselves in the foot? Have you turned on the television this week? Rev. Warren and his beliefs are being discussed on every cable news program, on the nightly local news. Having lost every single time our rights have come up to a vote, gays and lesbians have nothing to lose in making our case vocally and often.

Booker T. Washington offered a compromise in 1895 and we'll offer Obama a compromise in 2008.

Mr. Obama, want us to be less disagreeable? Want to see an end to protests? We'll stop, just as soon as the fundamental humanity of our love is acknowledged, in all 50 states, through marriage equality for all, protection of LGBT people from discrimination and violence and the freedom to defend the country we love without having to hide who we are. Don't do it because it's politically smart, do it because it's the right thing to do.

You know it is.

What I say: Warren is a Southern Baptist preacher, and so were his father, his grandfather, and his great-grandfather before him. Having lived in the Deep South all my life, I'm very familiar with the type. In private life, he might be a great dad, a friendly guy, a good neighbor, kind to animals and children. He'll lend you his lawnmower, his truck, or even the shirt off his back if you need it.

But. He will never, ever admit that his theology is wrong, never ever change his opinion about gays and sin and immorality, all that. He would still be grinning like a teddy bear as he threw you over the cliff into eternal torment, if he had that power. He is certain that he has the one, right, universal truth, and neither jail nor torture nor death would ever break that lock on his mind, much less the appeals of sweet reason.

Unless he were to have some sort of breakdown, as occasionally happens to people in his position, which is an enlightening experience. But otherwise no, he's not ever going to change his opinion. There's no point trying to reason with him. Melissa and Andrew, are you listening to me? It's just not happening.

But I say, let him pray. Sixty seconds of pious mouthing won't hurt us a bit. Hell, as Japhy has said, what have we got to lose at this point anyway? But. It will let Obama save face with the righteous Right; and it will also put Obama very much under the obligation then to live up to all his fine promises he made us during the campaign. And woe betide him if he doesn't.

Let Warren pray, and be a footnote in the history books. We got other, much bigger fish to fry. Turn up the heat.

We've Only Just Begun

Veteran journalist Rex Wockner has this to say about the notion that Stonewall 2.0 is fizzling out:

That's because Stonewall 2.0 already happened. Stonewall itself lasted three nights in 1969, but it set the stage for much that came after it. Stonewall 2.0 lasted, at minimum, 11 days -- and, I suggest, set the stage for much that will come after it.

In David Carter's book Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution, one Michael Fader told Carter: "We all had a collective feeling like we'd had enough of this kind of shit. ... Everyone in the crowd felt that we were never going to go back. It was like the last straw. It was time to reclaim something that had always been taken from us. ... There was something in the air, freedom a long time overdue, and we're going to fight for it. It took different forms, but the bottom line was, we weren't going to go away. And we didn't."

Sound familiar?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas, Y'all

The roommate is spending tomorrow with his family, so we're going to have a little spread of midnight finger food - oh, get your minds out of the gutter - and open our presents tonight.

I've got to go throw a turkey in the oven now and do some other preps, so from away out on the Texas prairie, this is your Head Trucker signing off and saying, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

(Special thanks to Blue Truck follower NG for the snow effect)

And here's a holiday favorite for you:

Finally, here's Bearforce having a ring-ting-tingling time and wishing us all a very hairy Christmas:

Today's Quote: Reboot America

From Thomas L. Friedman's column in the New York Times today:

For all these reasons, our present crisis is not just a financial meltdown crying out for a cash injection. We are in much deeper trouble. In fact, we as a country have become General Motors — as a result of our national drift. Look in the mirror: G.M. is us.

That’s why we don’t just need a bailout. We need a reboot. We need a build out. We need a buildup. We need a national makeover. That is why the next few months are among the most important in U.S. history. Because of the financial crisis, Barack Obama has the bipartisan support to spend $1 trillion in stimulus. But we must make certain that every bailout dollar, which we’re borrowing from our kids’ future, is spent wisely.

It has to go into training teachers, educating scientists and engineers, paying for research and building the most productivity-enhancing infrastructure — without building white elephants. Generally, I’d like to see fewer government dollars shoveled out and more creative tax incentives to stimulate the private sector to catalyze new industries and new markets. If we allow this money to be spent on pork, it will be the end of us.

America still has the right stuff to thrive. We still have the most creative, diverse, innovative culture and open society — in a world where the ability to imagine and generate new ideas with speed and to implement them through global collaboration is the most important competitive advantage. China may have great airports, but last week it went back to censoring The New York Times and other Western news sites. Censorship restricts your people’s imaginations. That’s really, really dumb. And that’s why for all our missteps, the 21st century is still up for grabs.

John Kennedy led us on a journey to discover the moon. Obama needs to lead us on a journey to rediscover, rebuild and reinvent our own backyard.
Your Head Trucker would just add, we need a reboot socially, religiously, and politically too. It's time. Change has come to America.

Mixner Nixes Warren

Longtime civil rights activist David Mixner, advisor to President Clinton on gay issues, has thought it all over carefully, and has this to say about the Warren flap:

What I can't shake is the firm belief that the invitation is just wrong, hurtful and a horrible way to begin the Obama presidency. I am not willing to use this single action as an indicator of what to expect from the entire eight years of the Obama Presidency, yet the symbolism of Warren leading off that special day is so sad for those of us who worked so hard for Obama. In one stroke, he took a moment of celebration for an oppressed minority that has suffered so much the last eight years and returned us to cold reality.

Rick Warren is not a good man. I am sure he does admirable work on global warming and HIV/AIDS but his hateful, divisive and ill-chosen words around Proposition 8 were inexcusable in that the ramifications of those words helped deny millions freedom and respect. "Unrepentant" homosexuals are not even allowed to join his Saddleback Church! This is a man of God? This is an oracle of wisdom? You know, Governor George Wallace was in some ways a populist and advocated programs for the poor. Some of his education programs and food programs were excellent. However, he was a racial bigot. He excluded African-Americans from enjoying the richness of his good work. I can't imagine that any programs he advocated would have justified him being given the leading role in any Presidential event given his views on segregation. It would simply not have happened. And the same can be said of Rick Warren: he is a religious bigot and his views on denying full rights and dignity to millions of LGBT Americans are vile. . . .

Obama has made his first huge misstep. I totally disagree with his inclusive 'big tent' explanation, especially when it makes us feel outside the tent. I am counting on Rev. Joseph Lowery that day to let the world know of our struggle. He has been a valuable friend for years. It is unlikely that anyone can censor him.

As for Obama, I am thrilled that he won over McCain. I look forward to amazing new policies on a number of fronts. I am not willing to toss him out, declare him evil or proclaim him our enemy based on a one-minute prayer. He hasn't even been sworn in yet. But given his actions with the Rev. Warren, we need some expression in appointments and policies that we are indeed part of this great adventure. And we need it pretty damn soon.
Mixner also has a brilliant suggestion: when Warren delivers his invocation, everybody should just quietly turn their backs on him: "Can you imagine the powerful message and indelible image of a thousand in silent protest refusing to look at nor acknowledge this man while he intones his hollow words?"

I love it. In fact, I hope Warren does give the invocation. It would be a powerful witness to the last gasp of bigotry and oppression in this new day that has dawned.

And sure hope this whole controversy will knock some sense into insecure-straight-boy Obama's head. You got my vote, big man; now what are you going to do with it?

Would I Lie to You?

smiling chimp Pictures, Images and Photos

From the New York Times, "A Highly Evolved Propensity for Deceit":
Deceitful behavior has a long and storied history in the evolution of social life, and the more sophisticated the animal, it seems, the more commonplace the con games, the more cunning their contours. . . .

Great apes, for example, make great fakers. Frans B. M. de Waal, a professor at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center and Emory University, said chimpanzees or orangutans in captivity sometimes tried to lure human strangers over to their enclosure by holding out a piece of straw while putting on their friendliest face.

“People think, Oh, he likes me, and they approach,” Dr. de Waal said. “And before you know it, the ape has grabbed their ankle and is closing in for the bite. It’s a very dangerous situation.”

Apes wouldn’t try this on their own kind. “They know each other too well to get away with it,” Dr. de Waal said. “Holding out a straw with a sweet face is such a cheap trick, only a naïve human would fall for it.”
When you think about it, that explains a lot. About politics and religion both.

Rachel Feels Weirded Out

Whew, I am so relieved. I thought it was just me.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rick Warren Loves the Gays

Rev. Warren delivers a barrelful

. . . in fact, he just loves everybody. So he says. He believes everybody in the United States should have equal rights, not a problem for him.

He just has this one little tiny objection to gays using the word marriage for their "adult consenting relationships." That's all.

Because of course, marriage has been between one woman and one man always and everywhere for the last 5,000 years. He doesn't approve, for example, of a man having several wives and calling that a marriage.

And all the heat he's been taking lately? Oh that's coming from two sources: the media love a controversy, it sells. And then there's all those damn bloggers - I guess he means like your Head Trucker here - sitting home with nothing better to do than make shit up.

It's all just a great big misunderstanding. He LOVES the gays. Really. Swear to God.

Melissa Etheridge is cool with him now. So is Andrew Sullivan.

So why the hell aren't you, hmm?

I have an answer to that last question and lots more I could say, but I've got some last-minute presents to wrap and chores to do here. Meantime, why don't you check out for yourself the Boston Globe's report, and the Beliefnet article and Warren's own clarifications on the Beliefnet interview before you answer.

And here's part one of three new video segments from his church website on the gay thing and all that:

Oh by the way, that bit about the "no gay members" on his church website? It wasn't removed, really it wasn't. It's just being "repurposed." Whatever the hell that means.

Fellas, take it from a Texan: when you smell bullshit, you sure better watch where you step.

The Parts DO Fit

Here's some brilliant excerpts from a talk by Dr. John Corvino, Professor of Philosophy at Wayne State University in Detroit, who is smart, funny, and handsome. How come I never had any professors like this in college?

Never heard of him before, but gotta love it. You can order the complete DVD at gaymoralist.com for $25. I'm going to.

Monday, December 22, 2008

WTF: Etheridge Warms to Rick Warren

The old hymn says, "God works in a mysterious way/His wonders to perform." So is that what's behind Melissa's sudden appreciation of Rick Warren's warm, cuddly vibes? As Etheridge tells it on HuffPo, she was scheduled to perform at an ecumenical do for the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Long Beach last Saturday, when . . .

I received a call the day before to inform me of the keynote speaker that night... Pastor Rick Warren. I was stunned. My fight or flight instinct took over, should I cancel? Then a calm voice inside me said, "Are you really about peace or not?"

I told my manager to reach out to Pastor Warren and say "In the spirit of unity I would like to talk to him." They gave him my phone number. On the day of the conference I received a call from Pastor Rick, and before I could say anything, he told me what a fan he was. He had most of my albums from the very first one. What? This didn't sound like a gay hater, much less a preacher. He explained in very thoughtful words that as a Christian he believed in equal rights for everyone. He believed every loving relationship should have equal protection. He struggled with proposition 8 because he didn't want to see marriage redefined as anything other than between a man and a woman. He said he regretted his choice of words in his video message to his congregation about proposition 8 when he mentioned pedophiles and those who commit incest. He said that in no way, is that how he thought about gays. He invited me to his church, I invited him to my home to meet my wife and kids. He told me of his wife's struggle with breast cancer just a year before mine.

When we met later that night, he entered the room with open arms and an open heart. We agreed to build bridges to the future.

Brothers and sisters the choice is ours now. We have the world's attention. We have the capability to create change, awesome change in this world, but before we change minds we must change hearts. Sure, there are plenty of hateful people who will always hold on to their bigotry like a child to a blanket. But there are also good people out there, Christian and otherwise that are beginning to listen. They don't hate us, they fear change. Maybe in our anger, as we consider marches and boycotts, perhaps we can consider stretching out our hands. Maybe instead of marching on his church, we can show up en mass and volunteer for one of the many organizations affiliated with his church that work for HIV/AIDS causes all around the world.

Maybe if they get to know us, they wont fear us.

I know, call me a dreamer, but I feel a new era is upon us.
I admire Etheridge tremendously, and I appreciate the dream and the constructive attitude. But can the leopard change his spots? Is the reverend really such a sweetheart, or just a smooth-talking schmoozer? You'd think Etheridge, being a celebrity herself, could see through the crowd-pleasing charisma, if that's all just a ploy. He sure seems to have charmed her right out of her shoes.

I personally don't trust those glad-hand religious types one bit. It's interesting to note that Warren has just removed the "no gays allowed" warning from his church website. Change of heart, or politically expedient CYA?

I guess time will tell. As my roommate just said, if Warren were to pray a truly inclusive prayer at the Inauguration, that would really set a beacon for religious folk to follow.

But seems to me that's a mighty big IF.

Update: Here's the Rick Warren video I posted last week, referenced above:

The more I think about this, the more I wonder if Melissa isn't being played for a sucker. White man speak with forked tongue.

As the roommate and I have have discussed at length, Warren is telling a bald-faced lie when he says "I have many gay friends who've asked me 'Why can't I have multiple sex partners, it's natural?'"

Lie #1: I really cannot believe Warren - who till just the last day or so had a big damn notice on his website saying gays could NOT be members of his church - has any such "many gay friends." It's amazing how people like him and Palin and Pat Boone and Donny Osmond all claim to have so many gay friends . . . I don't freakin' think so!

Lie #2: Who the hell do you know that would ever even ask such a silly question in the first place? It just beggars belief.

Lies #3 and so on: "Marriage has always and everywhere been the same for the last 5,000 years." WRONG. Amazing that somebody with a degree in theology could so quickly and conveniently ignore the blazing fact that the ancient Hebrews were big-time polygamists: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Solomon, etc., etc., etc. Hardly a model for modern "family values."

And if you ask any creationist to explain how the human race got started, they will tell you quite seriously that before the Flood, men married their sisters to get the population ball rolling. We call it incest now, but that was just fine back then . . . so they say. WTF?

And we haven't even started to talk about all the thousands of other cultures and marriage/sexual practices there have been all over this old world.

Okay, so we have the evidence on tape that Warren is a flat-out liar. Or else just extremely ignorant, if not stupid. I sure hope Etheridge isn't being snookered in to take a ride on the homophobe train here.

Pope Says Save the Trees, Stop the Gays!

The news never changes. The gays are the most nasty, wicked, awful people imaginable, and they are destroying society, the family, the country, the whole damn planet.

Jeezus, what would the straight bigots do without us to blame for all their misdoings? I'm so tired of this.

Britain's Daily Telegraph reports the latest words of wisdom from His Holiness, aka B-16:

In his address to the Curia, the Vatican's central administration, he described behaviour beyond traditional heterosexual relations as "a destruction of God's work" and said that the Roman Catholic Church had a duty to "protect man from the destruction of himself".

It is not "outmoded metaphysics" to urge respect for the "nature of the human being as man and woman," he added.

"The tropical forests do deserve our protection. But man, as a creature, does not deserve any less."

The Catholic Church teaches that while homosexuality is not sinful, homosexual acts are. It opposes gay marriage and, in October, a leading Vatican official described homosexuality as "a deviation, an irregularity, a wound".

The Pope said humanity needed to "listen to the language of creation" to understand the intended roles of man and woman.

He also defended the Church's right to "speak of human nature as man and woman, and ask that this order of creation be respected".
Last week, as the Vancouver Sun reported, the Vatican also refused to support a United Nations declaration, sponsored by France and the Netherlands, calling upon all governments to decriminalize homosexuality:

Archbishop Celestino Migliore said the Vatican opposed the resolution because it would "add new categories of those protected from discrimination" and could lead to reverse discrimination against traditional heterosexual marriage.

"If adopted, they would create new and implacable discriminations," Migliore said. "For example, states which do not recognise same-sex unions as 'matrimony' will be pilloried and made an object of pressure," Migliore said.

A strongly worded editorial in Italy's mainstream La Stampa newspaper said the Vatican's reasoning was "grotesque".

Pointing out that homosexuality was still punishable by death in some Islamic countries, the editorial said what the Vatican really feared was a "chain reaction in favour of legally recognised homosexual unions in countries, like Italy, where there is currently no legislation". . . .

Vatican spokesman Rev Federico Lombardi said "no one wants the death penalty or jail or fines for homosexuals" but defended Migliore's comments, adding that the Vatican was in the majority on the issue.

"It's not for nothing that fewer than 50 member states of the United Nations have adhered to the proposal in question while more than 150 have not adhered. The Holy See is not alone," Lombardi said.

An editorial in Rome's left-leaning La Repubblica newspaper said the Vatican's position "leaves one dumbstruck". Margherita Boniver, a leading member of the Italy's leftist Democratic Party, called it "alarmingly anachronistic". . . .

The Catholic Church teaches that while homosexuality is not sinful, homosexual acts are. But in October, a leading Vatican official called homosexuality "a deviation, an irregularity and a wound".
The United States, land of the free and home of the brave, also refused to sign the declaration, as the Associated Press reports:

Alone among major Western nations, the United States has refused to sign a declaration presented Thursday at the United Nations calling for worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality.

In all, 66 of the U.N.'s 192 member countries signed the nonbinding declaration — which backers called a historic step to push the General Assembly to deal more forthrightly with any-gay discrimination. More than 70 U.N. members outlaw homosexuality, and in several of them homosexual acts can be punished by execution.

Co-sponsored by France and the Netherlands, the declaration was signed by all 27 European Union members, as well as Japan, Australia, Mexico and three dozen other countries. There was broad opposition from Muslim nations, and the United States refused to sign, indicating that some parts of the declaration raised legal questions that needed further review. . . .

According to some of the declaration's backers, U.S. officials expressed concern in private talks that some parts of the declaration might be problematic in committing the federal government on matters that fall under state jurisdiction. In numerous states, landlords and private employers are allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation; on the federal level, gays are not allowed to serve openly in the military.

Carolyn Vadino, a spokeswoman for the U.S. mission to the U.N., stressed that the United States — despite its unwillingness to sign — condemned any human rights violations related to sexual orientation.

Gay rights activists nonetheless were angered by the U.S. position. "It's an appalling stance — to not join with other countries that are standing up and calling for decriminalization of homosexuality," said Paula Ettelbrick, executive director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. She expressed hope that the U.S. position might change after President-elect Barack Obama takes office in January.

Also denouncing the U.S. stance was Richard Grenell, who until two months ago had been the chief spokesman for the U.S. mission to the U.N. "It is ridiculous to suggest that there are legal reasons why we can't support this resolution — common sense says we should be the leader in making sure other governments are granting more freedoms for their people, not less," said Grenell, who described himself as a gay Republican. "The U.S. lack of support on this issue only dims our once bright beacon of hope and freedom for those who are persecuted and oppressed."

More than 50 countries opposed to the declaration, including members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, issued a joint statement Thursday criticizing the initiative as an unwarranted attempt to give special prominence to gays and lesbians. The statement suggested that protecting sexual orientation could lead to "the social normalization and possibly the legalization of deplorable acts" such as pedophilia and incest.
But the bright side of all this is that gay rights is no longer an unmentionable topic at the UN, as Reuters reports:

Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen told reporters it was a "very special day at the U.N."

"For the first time in history a large group of member states speaks out in the General Assembly against discrimination based on sexual orientation," he said. "With today's statement, this is no longer a taboo within the U.N."
Historical note: Half of the nations that criminalize gay sex do so based on laws inherited from the British Empire. Human Rights Watch has produced an extensive report on the legal history of sodomy laws in Britain and its former colonies (PDF, 66 pages), well worth reading if you have a penchant for history.

Update: A big ol' honk to Joe.My.God. for the definitive summary of Der Pope's remarks:
Every time you take it up the ass, we lose another acre of the Amazon.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday Drive: Looks a Lot like Christmas

The roommate and I finally had time today to get some holiday decorations done and put the tree up. We bought a six-foot artificial one a couple of weeks ago, and for various reasons, it's the first time in years either of us has had such a big tree for the holidays. Our theme is "let it snow," complete with blue and white snowflake lights. Didn't turn out too bad; the effect in a dark room is kinda cool.

At this point in life, the holidays don't thrill me much. But my roommate's the creative type - with a full set of power tools - so it's fun helping him. Tonight we're having the big Xmas dinner with his grown kids and their significant others, so the kitchen is a wreck right now. But he's a great cook, so it should be scrumptious as usual.

And for all our Jewish friends out there, Happy Hanukkah! Here's a neat card I came across at Cafe Press. Enjoy.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Rachel Maddow on Rick Warren

Our favorite newshound, Rachel Maddow, reports a lot more on Rick Warren's poop-headedness. This guy needs to be 86'd from the Inaugural, fast. And if Obama has any sense of decency, he'll make that happen. Fast.

Today's Quote: An End to the Voodoo?

From Bob Herbert's column in the New York Times, on the appointment of Hilda Solis to be Obama's Secretary of Labor:

From Ronald Reagan’s voodoo economics to Henry Paulson’s $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, we’ve put the mighty resources of the national government overwhelmingly on the side of those who were already rich and powerful.

Ordinary workers have suffered. It took years to get a lousy little boost in the minimum wage for the working poor. Attempts to expand health insurance coverage were fought almost to a standstill. Guaranteed pensions vanished. And the maniacs who set fire to the economy with their incendiary financial instruments (yet another form of voodoo) were hot to privatize Social Security.

As Andy Stern, president of the huge Service Employees International Union, told me on Friday: “We’ve had a 25-year experience with market-worshipping, deregulating, privatizing, trickle-down policies, and it has ended us up with the greatest economy on earth staggering, and with the greatest amount of inequality since the Great Depression.”

The contempt for workers over this long period has hardly been hidden. Until Mr. Bush was forced by circumstances to tap the TARP program for the auto industry loans (small potatoes compared with the gargantuan Wall Street bailouts), the administration had gone out of its way to keep the program’s hundreds of billions of dollars reserved for the elites of the financial services industry and their associates. . . .

Leo Gerard, president of the steelworkers union, summed up the government’s attitude nicely when he said: “Washington will bail out those who shower before work, but not those who shower afterwards.”

Working people have been treated like enemies, a class to be preyed upon. Labor unions were ferociously attacked. Jobs were shipped overseas by the millions. People were hired as temps or consultants so benefits could be denied.

All of this may finally be changing. It remains to be seen how strong a voice Ms. Solis will have in the Obama administration, but she is pro-worker to her core, a politician who actually knows what it’s like to walk a picket line.

Friday, December 19, 2008

California Marriages Axed?

The gloves are off. The bigots really are out to get us. The Toronto Star reports:
The sponsors of Proposition 8 asked the California Supreme Court on Friday to nullify the marriages of the estimated 18,000 same-sex couples who exchanged vows before voters approved the ballot initiative that outlawed gay unions.

The Yes on 8 campaign filed a brief arguing that because the new law holds that only marriages between a man and a woman are recognized or valid in California, the state can no longer recognize the existing same-sex unions. The document reveals for the first time that opponents of same-sex marriage will fight in court to undo those unions that already exist.

"Proposition 8's brevity is matched by its clarity. There are no conditional clauses, exceptions, exemptions or exclusions," reads the brief co-written by Kenneth Starr, dean of Pepperdine University's law school and the former independent counsel who investigated President Bill Clinton.

CNN reports:

California Attorney General Edmund "Jerry" Brown called on the court to reject the initiative.

"Proposition 8 must be invalidated because the amendment process cannot be used to extinguish fundamental constitutional rights without compelling justification," Brown said in a written statement.

Rick Jacobs, founder and chair of the anti-Proposition 8 Courage Campaign, said he was "appalled" that the initiative's supporters wanted to nullify the same-sex marriages that are already on the books.

"The motivation behind this mean-spirited and heart-breaking action should not be allowed to be buried in legal brief," he said. "If Proposition 8's sponsors plan to destroy lives, they should at least have the courage to admit it publicly.

All of which makes me question yet again Obama's motives in inviting Rick Warren to the Inauguration. Looks to me that's a gesture that says, "Hey, we're pals, we're buddies, he's my special friend."

And that makes me want to throw up. How about you?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

WTF: Rick Warren to Pray at Inauguration

Rick and Barack having a bonding moment earlier this year

Oh no! Obama has invited homophobe Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church in California to give the invocation at his inauguration on January 20th.

Yep, that's the same Rick Warren who supported Prop 8. I cannot f****** believe this.

Is Obama really that clueless?? I love the guy - so far. But this really, really raises a big red flag in my mind.

The HRC has already fired off an open letter to Obama, which reads in part:

Let me get right to the point. Your invitation to Reverend Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at your inauguration is a genuine blow to LGBT Americans. Our loss in California over the passage of Proposition 8 which stripped loving, committed same-sex couples of their given legal right to marry is the greatest loss our community has faced in 40 years. And by inviting Rick Warren to your inauguration, you have tarnished the view that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans have a place at your table.

I totally agree. This does not bode well for us, guys, if the incoming administration is that insensitive and that callous. What happened to that "CHANGE we can believe in," huh? . . .

People for the American Way had this to say:
Pastor Warren, while enjoying a reputation as a moderate based on his affable personality and his church’s engagement on issues like AIDS in Africa, has said that the real difference between James Dobson and himself is one of tone rather than substance. He has recently compared marriage by loving and committed same-sex couples to incest and pedophilia. He has repeated the Religious Right’s big lie that supporters of equality for gay Americans are out to silence pastors. He has called Christians who advance a social gospel Marxists. He is adamantly opposed to women having a legal right to choose an abortion.
And this guy is going to be part of the inaugural ceremonies for the new President? The movie Groundhog Day comes to mind here for some reason. Scary thought. Think we need to raise a fuss about this one, y'all.

More reactions at these blogs:


Pam's House Blend

Andrew Sullivan

P.S. To date, as far as your Head Trucker knows, Mr. O. has not made a single public comment about the Prop 8 protests. What does that say? Can straight boys ever be trusted to do the right thing? I'm just asking.

Update. In case you need convincing that this is a horribly bad choice, here's Rick Warren advising his flock to support Prop 8; and he doesn't even have his fundamentalist facts right:

Andrew Sullivan, who married his husband Aaron in Massachusetts last year, has this trenchant observation:

Warren is a man who believes my marriage removes his freedom of speech and cannot say that authorizing torture is a moral failing. Shrewd politics, but if anyone is under any illusion that Obama is interested in advancing gay equality, they should probably sober up now. He won't be as bad as the Clintons (who, among leading Democrats, could?), but pandering to Christianists at his inauguration is a depressing omen. More evidence that a civil rights movement needs to realize that no politician can deliver for us what we have to deliver on our own.

Today's Quote: Fear and Love

I seem to be in blogger-lite mode lately, what with holiday preparations and all. Probably I'll get back up to speed soon. In the meantime, here's a timely thought from the very quotable Melissa Etheridge in The Advocate, Jan. 15, 2008:

Every single moment there is fear and love. You find it in everything - What am I going to eat? How am I going to spend my day? What am I making money for? What is my work? - everything is a choice between love and fear. Just choose love every time.
And here's Melissa rocking out "Blue Christmas" - after a little dust-up about Prop 8 on The View:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Lovelight: Now That I've Found You

Wrapping up the weekend with some sweet thoughts of two guys in love. I like the first part, with Alison Krauss's folky rendition of the Motown classic, "Baby, Now That I've Found You." It also has some clips of sexy actor Matthew Montgomery, who always winds my crank.

Sleep tight, y'all.

Sunday Drive: God Loves Me Too?

(Link to the video if the player doesn't work for you: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1219608346345310021)

This sermon, "How Can I Be Sure God Loves Me Too?" was given in 2006 by the Rev. Mel White. Here's an excerpt about him from Wikipedia:

White was a behind-the-scenes member of the Evangelical Protestant movement during the 1960s, '70s, and '80s, writing speeches and ghostwriting books for televangelists such as Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and Billy Graham. After years of writing for the Religious Right, he came out of the closet in 1994.

[In 1962,] he married his wife Lyla. They had two children, one of whom is the actor/comedian and screenwriter Mike White.

After their marriage, Mel White admitted to his wife that he had always been attracted to men. He embarked on a long process of attempted "cures" for his homosexuality, including psychotherapy, prayer, electroconvulsive therapy, and exorcism. None of these techniques changed his homosexuality, and after he attempted suicide, he and his wife agreed to an amicable divorce. His son, Mike, is bisexual.

In 1984, White began dating Gary Nixon. In June of 2008 they were legally married in California. They currently reside in Lynchburg, Virginia, where they lead the gay rights organization called Soulforce.

In 1994, White wrote his autobiography, Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay And Christian In America, which detailed his former career in the Religious Right and his struggle coming to terms with his sexuality. His former wife wrote the foreword to this book.

In 1997, White was awarded the American Civil Liberties Union's National Civil Liberties Award for his efforts to apply the "soul force" principles of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. to the struggle for justice for sexual minorities.

Gary Nixon and Mel White

Saturday, December 13, 2008

In Memoriam: Van Johnson

Beloved movie star Van Johnson died Friday in New York at the age of 92. Millions of moviegoers will remember his likeable all-American personality from a career that spanned six decades. Although he played a lot of dramatic roles, as pictured in the screen shot above from The Last Time I Saw Paris, he was also a superb singer and dancer. The clip below is from one of my favorite I Love Lucy episodes; in real life Lucille Ball and Van Johnson were old friends, having known each other on Broadway before they made it big in Hollywood.

A side observation: I always wondered if he might be gay. (I once briefly dated a former actor who looked a lot like Johnson.) It appears that he was, though like Rock Hudson, a convenient marriage was arranged for him by studio brass anxious to preserve the heterosexual image of one of their big-box-office stars. Pity.

Well, let's remember this greatly talented guy at the height of his fame. Here he is with Lucy, who was no slouch at dancing herself, from the episode "The Dancing Star," 1955:

Friday, December 12, 2008

Afternoon Drive: Don't Tell Me Who to Love

Out singer/songwriter Ray Boltz has posted a free download of his newest tune on his blog, and it's one I think all you Truckers are gonna love. I sure do.

So crank it up and let's head on out of town now. Y'all have a good one.

(Honk to Joe.My.God)

Right Wing Ruckus over the Gays

The right wing has its knickers all in a knot this week over them awful gays. So what else is new? Jeezus, don't those people ever think about anything else? Keith Olbermann has the definitive report:

As HRC reports, first it was rock 'n' roll oldtimer Pat Boone scratching a hate letter in the mud with these comments:

...there is a real, unbroken line between the jihadist savagery in Mumbai and the hedonistic, irresponsible, blindly selfish goals and tactics of our homegrown sexual jihadists.

Hmm. Now just what would a sexual jihad look like, I wonder? What a maroon.

Next, after that inspirational note the right wing is deluging Newsweek with fire-and-brimstone letters over their great cover story this week on "The Religious Case for Gay Marriage," which exposes the illogic of upholding so-called "Biblical standards of marriage," when in point of fact marriage in Biblical times is something nobody wants to go back to. Bravo, Newsweek!

Here's a link to hear the mag's religion editor, Lisa Miller, talking with HRC's Joe Solmonese about the bombardment of rightwing hate mail over the story:


Go check out the stories at the HRC site, send an email, make a donation. God will love you for it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hump Day: Break Time

(Honk to The Truck Man.)

Two Ways to Equal Marriage

My apologies to regular Blue Truck readers - it's a very hectic week here with work and Xmas shopping and all. I hope things will settle down soon and I can get back to regular blogging.

It's International Human Rights Day - and also Day Without a Gay. In keeping with all that, here's some very insightful remarks by Evan Wolfson, director of Freedom to Marry:

In his 1963 book, Why We Can't Wait, Martin Luther King reminded us that, "It is an axiom of social change that no revolution can take place without a methodology suited to the circumstances of the period." He wrote, "Direct action [such as peaceful protests and grassroots mobilization] is not a substitute for work in the courts and the halls of government... Indeed, direct action and legal action complement one another; when skillfully employed, each becomes more effective."

Leaders of established organizations who resist welcoming new energy, new creativity, new involvement make a mistake. We need more people speaking to more people; as I've written in my book, Why Marriage Matters, and elsewhere, it is conversations -- person to person, group to group -- over time that creates the needed climate for true social and legal change for justice.

Likewise, people now stepping up to, or stepping up their, involvement make a mistake if they don't work to connect their engagement to the tasks that will result in the legal change sought. We need more people to break the silence and make the case, not just with the most hard-core opponents but with friendly people and even our own as well as the reachable-but-not-yet-reached. And we need to connect those conversations and the change in hearts and minds they bring to the actual ways in which law changes.

When all is said and done, for instance, there are only two ways to undo Proposition 8 and restore the freedom to marry in California: creating a climate that enables the California Supreme Court to do the right thing and strike it down, or continuing to build public support in order to prevail on a new ballot measure, perhaps in 2010 or 2012. Meanwhile, non-gay and gay people can have these important conversations about who gay people are and why marriage matters in all 50 states, and win the freedom to marry in several other states that are now poised to end discrimination.

Those truly committed to change, whether through "new" methodologies or "old," will shed complacency or negativity and do their parts -- and find ways to work together to bring that change sooner. All of Dr. King's "methodologies of social change" remain as needed and relevant today; what we need is not just "new," it's more.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Kiss to Canada

A happy Canadian couple married in Banff

December 7, 2006, is a day I will never forget. That's when Canada's parliament gave a ringing defeat to Prime Minister Harper's attempt to overturn equal marriage in that country, by a vote of 175 to 123.

This was the third vote supporting same-sex marriage taken by three Parliaments under three Prime Ministers in three different years. The Supreme Court of Canada had also ruled that not only was gay marriage allowed under their Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it flowed from it as an integral, essential part of the law of the land.

What a thought.

I pulled up the CTV and CBC broadcasts of the vote in the House of Commons, and I wept as member after member answered the roll call, their names reflecting the ethnicities of Canada, drawn from the four corners of the globe. And I watched as one after another stood up to preserve equal marriage in that nation, the equal respect and dignity of all gay people. It was a breathtaking moment.

Thanks, Canada.

Because I foresaw that if equal marriage prevailed in Canada, it would one day spread to this nation too, and all around the world. I hope I live to see that day. I wish my late husband and I could have seen it, and married as we wanted to.

Canadians can marry. Why can't we?

Member of Parliament Olivia Chow defending equal marriage in the House of Commons before the final vote:

CBC News story and video on the defeat of the motion here.
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