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, March 31, 2010

Hate Speech IS Free Speech

I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

I have sworn upon the altar of Almighty God eternal hostility towards every form of tyranny over the mind of man.

Attention, please:  the class will now come to order.  Take your seats and spit out that damn bubble gum. 

Time for a very elementary civics lesson, boys and girls:  freedom of speech means you are free to say what you think.  Whatever you think.

You are equally free, then, to say out loud and in public that you approve of something, and equally free to say that you disapprove of something. 

If your approval extends all the way to love of something, it's okay, you can say that.  And if your disapproval extends all the way to hatred of something, that's okay too, you can say that as well.

It does not matter whether anyone else agrees with your approval/love or with your disapproval/hate.  It does not matter whether your stated opinion is fashionable or unfashionable with any particular group.  It does not even matter whether you are right or wrong.

Freedom of speech means you are free to say whatever you think.  Even if what you think offends someone else's idea of what is right or wrong.

Because freedom of speech - which of course includes not merely oral utterances but also any form of written utterance as well, and even silent demonstrations of opinion - is another facet of an even larger, more important concept that we call freedom of belief, aka freedom of conscience.

A free man, or woman, - unlike a slave - has the inalienable right to think whatever he pleases, believe whatever he pleases, and express whatever he pleases.  Is that point very clear?  Free people can think and say whatever they want.  Slaves and prisoners and children cannot.

Which is why totalitarian regimes always clamp down first on freedom of expression; once that is taken away, the process of converting people to slaves of the State is halfway done.

Continued after the jump . . .

Another Year, Another Spring

What's left of the vegetable garden that the ex-roommate and I planted last year.  Tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, bell peppers, squash, and okra, a bedroom-size plot and a white picket fence - it was a lovely hope.  But all it ever produced was a single handful of stunted tomatoes, not enough to feed two people. 

Sometimes despite all your tender care, and plenty of sun and water and good soil - things just won't grow, or they wither on the vine.  No good reason - they just do.  So you let it all go back to grass, and move on.

Finally, There's a Word for It

Swiped verbatim from Joe.My.God.:
"Mantique" - An attractive gay man over the age of 50. From the Queers United "word of the gay" series.

The Straight Politician's Guide to Managing Your Gay Crisis

Brian Safi nails the gay crisis sweeping through straight Republican circles.  Chuckle.

Keeping Up with the Bonobos

And the albatresbians.  The New York Times Magazine features a thoughtful, well-written piece on "Can Animals Be Gay?" that you should read.  Excerpt:
Various forms of same-sex sexual activity have been recorded in more than 450 different species of animals by now, from flamingos to bison to beetles to guppies to warthogs. A female koala might force another female against a tree and mount her, while throwing back her head and releasing what one scientist described as “exhalated belchlike sounds.” Male Amazon River dolphins have been known to penetrate each other in the blowhole. Within most species, homosexual sex has been documented only sporadically, and there appear to be few cases of individual animals who engage in it exclusively. For more than a century, this kind of observation was usually tacked onto scientific papers as a curiosity, if it was reported at all, and not pursued as a legitimate research subject. Biologists tried to explain away what they’d seen, or dismissed it as theoretically meaningless — an isolated glitch in an otherwise elegant Darwinian universe where every facet of an animal’s behavior is geared toward reproducing. One primatologist speculated that the real reason two male orangutans were fellating each other was nutritional. . . .

These ideas generally aim to explain only particular behaviors in a particular species. So far, the only real conclusion this relatively small body of literature seems to point to, collectively, is a kind of deflating, meta-conclusion: a single explanation of homosexual behavior in animals may not be possible, because thinking of “homosexual behavior in animals” as a single scientific subject might not make much sense. “Biologists want to build these unified theories to explain everything they see,” Vasey told me. So do journalists, he added — all people, really. “But none of this lends itself to a linear story. My take on it is that homosexual behavior is not a uniform phenomenon. Having one unifying body of theory that explains why it’s happening in all these different species might be a chimera.”

The point of heterosexual sex, Vasey said, no matter what kind of animal is doing it, is primarily reproduction. But that shouldn’t trick us into thinking that homosexual behavior has some equivalent, organizing purpose — that the two are tidy opposites. “All this homosexual behavior isn’t tied together by that sort of primary function,” Vasey said. Even what the same-sex animals are doing varies tremendously from species to species. But we’re quick to conceive of that great range of activities in the way it most handily tracks to our anthropomorphic point of view: put crassly, all those different animals just seem to be doing gay sex stuff with one another. As the biologist Marlene Zuk explains, we are hard-wired to read all animal behavior as “some version of the way people do things” and animals as “blurred, imperfect copies of humans.”
What I Say:  Your Head Trucker is mildly amused by the convoluted attempts of scientists and philosophers to fit homosex into some rigid, all-encompassing Grand Theory of Life; which to me seems just as silly and irrelevant as the fundamentalists trying to fit all the messy, multiform variety of the cosmos into the straitjacket of Biblical literalism.

Both attempts are very short-sighted and missing the point:  namely, that there is a divine and jovial mystery at the heart of things whose depths no one can plumb. 
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

--Hamlet, Act I.
As I see it, one might as well try to explain why Australia is where it is and not, say, in the Gulf of Mexico.  Or why the sky is blue, or why stars twinkle but planets don't, or why we say the sun rises in the east when we could if we wanted to just as easily say it rises in the west.  Or why in certain cases the precise compound curve of a lip, a shoulder, a hip, or a buttock makes another person weak at the knees.

Very clever fellows have, indeed, long since come up with explanations for some of these things; but I submit that these delightful events would still be occurring and giving daily joy had no explanation ever been devised.  Explanation is not the same as justification; and some things need no justification at all.
Beauty is truth, truth beauty:  that is all ye know, and all ye need to know.

--Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Thirty Years Later: Desire and Regret

Your Head Trucker about 1983, in the one short beardless period of my adult life.

I've been meaning to write a note about a significant milestone in my life.  I don't remember the exact day, but I know it was a Saturday night in February, 1980 - that's when I first had sex, at the very late age, so it seemed then, of 24.   (That fooling around I did with some other boys when I was 11 or 12 doesn't really count.)  I had missed out entirely on the Seventies, I am very sorry to say, all except for some Playgirl magazines and a lot of furtive whacking off - but that doesn't count either.

The previous fall I had finally worked up the courage to go to the gay rap group on campus and ease into the water, so to speak.  It's difficult, and amusing, to remember now how terrified I was of coming out, even just to other gay men.  But after a year on a large university campus I had taken those baby steps of connecting socially; and then after a few months of paddling around in the shallow end of the pool, it was time to try the diving board.

It was probably in January that I first went to the local gay bar, along with some friends from the campus group.  I would never have had the balls to walk in there all alone, I don't think.  Hell, I didn't even have a clue that there was a gay bar in town - that's how deep in the closet I was.  But as soon as we arrived, I was thrilled at the sight of all these guys - and some gals too, of course - dancing with each other.  Hot looking guys, like something out of my dreams; but who were also very ordinary, everyday guys in jeans and college T-shirts and ball caps:  not scary at all.  I don't know what I expected, but it was all very reassuring, and fun.

I don't remember if I even danced with anyone that first time; mainly I was just scoping out the scenery.  A few weekends later I went out with the guys again, still a bit shy and not expecting anything in particular to happen.  And that's when somebody introduced me to Greg, and suddenly - kersplash!

Continued after the jump . . .

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Nightly Bullshit Report

I'm sure a lot of people work very hard to produce television news programs.  But sometimes it does seem a whole lot like this, don't it.  Which is one reason why your Head Trucker doesn't have cable. 

Language NSFW.

Honk to my truckbuddy RPTRCUB who found this first.

Landmark Gay Weddings in Britain

It seems the United Kingdom is alive and well and operating in the 21st century.  So why aren't we?

This weekend, two high-profile civil partnerships were celebrated in that right little, tight little island.  Labour MP Chris Bryant, 48, currently Minister of State for Europe and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, tied the knot with his sweetheart Jared Cranney, a company secretary, in the first-ever gay union held in the Houses of Parliament.  Because it is still forbidden to hold gay weddings in British churches, the Parliamentary chapel of St. Mary - where straight MP's have been getting married since forever - was not used; instead, the ceremony took place in the House of Commons dining room, overlooking the Thames.

Bryant, who represents a district in South Wales, came in for a lot of criticism when a picture of him - posing in what some fashionistas deemed very unfashionable underpants - was discovered on Gaydar back in '03.  Nevertheless, his political career has continued very successfully.  Imagine that happening over here.

Also this weekend, as reported by The Independent:
One groom wore ceremonial uniform with his Iraq medal, the other morning dress with an orchid. Surrounded by silverware and paintings commemorating great battles, Lance Corporal James Wharton, 23, and his new husband enjoyed their first dance to Tina Turner in the warrant officers' mess of the most prestigious regiment in the land.

The Household Cavalry, famed for escorting the Queen during state occasions and the fact that it counts both her grandsons among its officers, celebrated its first gay wedding in style. L/Cpl Wharton was joined in a civil partnership with his boyfriend, the Virgin air steward Thom McCaffrey, 21, surrounded by members of L/Cpl Wharton's regiment, the Blues and Royals.

"The entire regiment has been really supportive," he said. "When I went to ask the Squadron Leader, Major Nana Twumasi-Ankrah, for permission to get married, he just said 'This is fantastic, congratulations'."

"The lads joked it was the gay event of the year. Everyone was excited. It was the talk of the barracks. This generation of soldiers is completely liberal," added the junior non-commissioned officer, whose only regret was that some of his friends would not be back from Afghanistan in time to enjoy the nuptials.

Just over 10 years ago, before a ban on homosexuality was lifted, gay soldiers faced interrogation and expulsion from the Army if discovered. But, in a very visible sign of the changing times, L/Cpl Wharton was given permission to host his wedding reception at the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment's Knightsbridge barracks.
Wharton was featured on the cover of the British Army's magazine Soldier last year.  The British military has been around for a millennium longer than the American army, and seems to be thriving - surely ours will too, when DADT is kicked into the dustbin of history.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Lovelight: No Matter What

Goodnight guys, sweet dreams.

Scenes from the movie Shelter; song by Boyzone.

My Garden

So yesterday I got outside on my knees in the dirt, and dug and planted and cursed at the weeds and old roots that kept getting in my way.  Okay, okay, I admit it don't look like anything to write home about, even after spending fifty bucks on the flowers.  But it's the best this old garden-ignorant shitkicker could do. 

Still, it adds a little cheerful color to the place, and that helps my feelings.  Here, take a look:

Sunday Drive: I Know That My Redeemer Liveth

He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

A favorite aria of your Head Trucker's, appropriate at this season.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Grayson: Republicans Have Nothing Left but Fear and Hatred

What a MAN.  Tell it like it is, Alan:

"It's time to get rid of Republicans entirely" from public office.  Damn straight.

Which of course won't happen.  But it is a lovely thought that perhaps one day the GOP might be replaced by a party of decent conservatives - rather than the circus parade of fools, fascists, and fundamentalists that are the current Republican party and are patently unfit to govern.

Keep Grayson in Congress:  contribute to his "money bomb" website here.

Honk to Joe.My.God.

Today in Texastan: "Gay Jesus" Play Cancelled

In the face of outrage from the local Christianist Taliban and criticism from the Lieutenant Governor of Texas, not to mention security concerns, student director John Otte's professor has cancelled the workshop performance of Terrence McNally's Corpus Christi, which was to have been performed this morning at 8 a.m. before a small audience of classmates and family members on the Tarleton State University campus in Stephenville.

Kudos to university president Dr. Dominic Dottavio, who while asserting his belief that the play is "offensive, crude, and irreverent," nevertheless firmly upheld academic freedom and the student's First Amendment right to produce the play.

Otte:  "Never did I choose this play to attack Christians. I am one."

If you can bear to sit through the painfully amateurish TSU student news broadcast below, you will hear interviews with local mullahs preachers, Dr. Dottavio, and Otte himself.

And get a pretty good idea of the backwards, small-minded, fundamentalist-controlled world your Head Trucker lives in out here on the prairie.

Story begins at the 4:10 mark.

Update:  Houston ABC news report interviews Tarleton State students, who say "Homosexuality is the one unforgiveable sin in our society."

And that, my friends, is what you're up against if you're a gay man living in Texas in the year 2010.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Big Brother Just Friended You

FYI:  Your New Facebook Friend May Be a Federal Agent.  Or even the local police.

You have been warned.

Also:  Facebook, Twitter, and Google Are Out to Screw LGBT Privacy. If You Let Them.

Afternoon Drive: Make It Naughty Tonight

Oh yeah baby, anything you say.

So who are you making naughty with tonight?  Y'all have a good one, see you down the road.

Tired Old Queen at the Movies #24: Jennifer Jones

I love Steve Hayes.  He's like the fabulous edition of Robert Osborne.

Rachel: What Just Happened

The monumental significance of the healthcare victory is still slowly sinking in with me.  Rachel deftly spells it out and sums it up in this report:

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Next Big Thing: Beer Floats

No, not root beer floats.  Just plain beer floats. 

And shakes.  And cakes and gelato and fritters and candy.  I'm not making this up

Those California people need to get their heads on straight.  Why ruin a perfectly good beer by adding ice cream? 

That would definitely be considered a sin around these parts, I tell you what.

Photo:  Deaf Chef at Large.


Well now that the BFD of healthcare reform is finally almost sorta kinda over - the Senate had to do some last-minute tweaks on the bill and sent it back to the House today for final approval, which makes me wonder how the President could sign something on Tuesday that wasn't absolutely final, but - well, here are a few other stories that have caught my eye in the last few days that I haven't had time to comment on, thought I'd post them for your information.

--Pentagon Relaxes DADT - making it a little harder for the military to boot people out based on third-party outings.

--Pope Should Resign - so says Andrew Sullivan, a devout Catholic, in light of the deepening crisis over Benedict's role in covering up sexual abuse scandals in Germany and the United States, including a case where one priest allegedly molested 200 deaf boys at a Wisconsin school.

--National party identification, registered voters and likely voters only, at this point in time:

All adults:

State of the Country, all adults:

--Legal Pot?  Come November, California voters will get a chance to legalize marijuana in that state, and not just for medical purposes - no doubt while still looking down their noses at us lowly but perfectly legal tobacco smokers.  Marijuana, of course, is as harmless as sugar candy, and doesn't rot your teeth.  Right . . . .

--Ten Democrats Attacked - Capitol Hill police are dealing with reports of bricks and bullets through office windows, vandalism, and in one case, a cut propane gas line.  CS Monitor:
Complicating matters for Republicans is the rhetoric of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), a favorite of tea partyers. On a Twitter feed Tuesday, Ms. Palin called on conservatives not to retreat, but to “RELOAD!” On her Facebook page, she posted a US map with cross-hair targets on the states where she plans to campaign against Democrats who voted for healthcare reform.

In an interview on NBC’s “Today” show Thursday, Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona defended Palin, his running mate in the 2008 presidential campaign, saying that such “battleground” language is typical for political campaigns.
Palin, BTW, has just signed a deal for her new reality TV show on TLC, asking $1+ million per episode.  Ah, no wonder she gave up that crappy little lowlife job as, um, what was it?  Oh yeah, Governor of Alaska.  Sales of her book, Going Rogue, are already up to $7 million, and she signed a multi-million-dollar deal with Fox News a while back too.

And here I worked my ass off all these years, slaving away through college and dead-end jobs and poverty and all sorts of difficulties, and still have very damn little to show for all that honest work - and may still be a homeless man in retirement.  I don't care what you say, boys - brazen, busty, and dumb always wins the pot hands down, always has, always will.

--And finally:  Texas Christians outraged over "Gay Jesus" play - big-ass uproar in Stephenville at the Tarleton State campus over a student workshop production of Terrence McNally's 1998 passion play, Corpus Christi, depicting Jesus and the apostles as gay men living in modern-day Texas.  Local Bible-thumpers say it demeans Christianity to portray Jesus as a gay man.  Video report here.

I never heard of the play before, but I sure would like to see it now.  From the 1998 production:

Honks to Andrew Sullivan and Joe.My.God. for some of these stories/images.

Update:  9:08 p.m., Texas time:  the House just passed the reconciliation bill, 220-207, so now the healthcare reform fight is really over.  And with this week's victory, the President's balls are starting to clank a little - good for him:

Waitin' for the Weekend

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

OMG: It's Him!

According to a new Harris Poll:
Majorities of Republicans believe that President Obama:

--Is a socialist (67%)

--Wants to take away Americans' right to own guns (61%)

--Is a Muslim (57%)

--Wants to turn over the sovereignty of the United States to a one world government (51%); and

--Has done many things that are unconstitutional (55%).

Also, large numbers of Republicans also believe that President Obama:

--Resents America's heritage (47%)

--Does what Wall Street and the bankers tell him to do (40%)

--Was not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president (45%)

--Is the "domestic enemy that the U.S. Constitution speaks of" (45%)

--Is a racist (42%)

--Want to use an economic collapse or terrorist attack as an excuse to take dictatorial powers (41%)

--Is doing many of the things that Hitler did (38%).

Even more remarkable perhaps, fully 24% of Republicans believe that "he may be the Anti-Christ" and 22% believe "he wants the terrorists to win."

While few Democrats believe any of these things, the proportions of Independents who do so are close to the national averages.
Did you get that, guys?  One out of four of your Republican neighbors thinks Obama might be the Antichrist.  How utterly, ludicrously, ignorantly absurd.

Everyone knows it's Oprah.

BFD: Healthcare Reform Signed into Law

President Obama signed the health insurance reform bill into law yesterday in the East Room of the White House.   "I'm signing this reform bill into law on behalf of my mother," he said, "who argued with insurance companies even as she battled cancer in her final days."  Transcript here.

And it's a Big Fucking Deal.  So said no less than Joe Biden, the Vice-President of the United States.  On live nationwide television, sort of.

And Press Secretary Robert Gibbs tweeted shortly thereafter:  "And yes, Mr. Vice-President, you're right."

Be prepared for an unceasing campaign by the Republicans to repeal the law, at least from now till the November elections. 

From the L.A. Times, a map of how the House voted on Sunday:

Click to enlarge.

And FYI:  the Wikipedia article on the legislation provides an overview and many helpful links.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dan Choi: Not Guilty, Not Ashamed, Not Finished

From Newsweek's interview with Dan Choi on his arrest with Capt. Jim Pietrangelo after handcuffing themselves to the White House gates last week:
Why not now? Within the gay community so many leaders want acceptance from polite society. I think there's been a betrayal of what is down inside of us in order to achieve what looks popular, what look enviable. The movement seems to be centered around how to become an elite. There is a deep schism [in the gay-rights movement], everyone knows this. But this shouldn't be about which group has better branding. There is a tremor right now in every gay and transgender youth that these groups are not grasping. I would say to them—you do not represent us if all you are looking for is a ladder into elite society.

When I get messages from people who want to be a part of this I ask back: what are you willing to sacrifice? We are tired of being stereotyped as privileged, bourgeois elites. Is someone willing to give up their career, their relationships with powerful people, their Rolodex, or their parents' love to stand up for who they are? I'm giving up my military rank, my unit—which to me is a family—my veterans' benefits, my health care, so what are you willing to sacrifice?

They say freedom is not free, but it doesn't have to cost anything either. Jesus up on the cross did not have a party with all his major donors to raise money for his cause, his cross was free. Ghandi did not need three-course dinners and a cocktail party to get his message out. These are people who sacrificed their lives. For them it was hemlock, a cross, the bullet that shot Harvey Milk . . . it was not the size of their distribution list, but their message that endured. . . .

When I was handcuffed to the gate someone else asked me what's next. I'm standing there with hands lifted skyward and I just told him, "This is." I have fully committed my life and all the sacrifices necessary to manifest equality and America's promises. Like I said at court, "I'm not guilty, I'm not ashamed, and I'm not finished."
A trial date is set for April 26.  They will also likely face courts-martial by the military.  Below, the two men after being released on bail last Saturday at the D. C. Courthouse:

Rube Goldberg Would Be Proud

The L.A. Times explains the nuts and bolts of healthcare reform and how it will affect you.  As I said in my last post, it's a mishmash of provisions no ordinary person would ever dream up, and few ordinary persons can see any sense to.  If you are poor or unemployed, and single - you are still screwed under this plan, basically, as I see it.

Sigh.  But as I also said - after a century of trying, it's a start.

Honk to Inverse Square for the illustration.

Update:  President Obama's remarks last night after the House vote:

Bonus:  Charts from the LAT and the NYT show how the plan will affect you.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

House Passes Healthcare Reform

House Votes On Health Care Reform Legislation

By 219 votes to 212, and not a single Republican vote among them.  NYT:
Never in modern memory has a major piece of legislation passed without a single Republican vote. Even President Lyndon B. Johnson got just shy of half of Republicans in the House to vote for Medicare in 1965, a piece of legislation that was denounced with many of the same words used to oppose this one. That may be the true measure of how much has changed in Washington in the ensuing 45 years, and how Mr. Obama’s own strategy is changing with the discovery that the approach to governing he had in mind simply will not work. . . .  In 1966, celebrating the creation of the first Medicare rolls that covered 20 million Americans, President Johnson recalled the complaints three decades earlier that Social Security “would destroy this country,” and noted “there is not one out of 100 who would think of repealing it.” . . .

Mr. Obama’s gamble is that what worked for Johnson and President Franklin D. Roosevelt will ultimately work for him. Once Americans discover that they can no longer be rejected for insurance for pre-existing conditions, he is betting, or that they can keep their children on their own insurance plans longer, the more they will come to appreciate the effect of the changes on their day-to-day lives.
L.A. Times:
The House vote Sunday to send a comprehensive healthcare reform bill to President Obama's desk put the United States on a path toward universal health insurance, a goal that had eluded reformers since then-presidential candidate Teddy Roosevelt called for all workers to have coverage in 1912. It may prove to be the signal accomplishment of Obama's administration, even though the controversy surrounding it threatens to end his party's majority in Congress. Rarely has such a good thing for Americans been perceived by so many as a threat to their livelihood and liberty.

There's wide agreement in the healthcare industry and across the political spectrum that the system is in dire need of repair. But while liberals called for government to eliminate the insurance middleman and act as the single source of coverage, conservatives sought to reduce the government's presence in the market and give consumers more responsibility.

The measure that emerged from the Senate, HR 3590, pursues a course between those two extremes. It augments the existing system with a new marketplace for individuals and small groups to shop for insurance, a mandate that everyone buy coverage, insurance subsidies for the working class and rules limiting insurers' freedom to design, price and market their policies. It won't bring coverage to everyone -- the Congressional Budget Office estimated that HR 3590 would leave about 6% of Americans uninsured in 10 years. But that's a significant improvement over the situation today, when an estimated 17% have no insurance and thousands lose their coverage daily.
Well, finally a victory after a hundred years of struggle on this issue:  Obama has done what FDR, Truman, Nixon, and Clinton could not.  For an enlightening history of the long, drawn-out fight for healthcare reform, see this excellent summary (PDF) by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

What this bill ended up being is a mishmash and doesn't go nearly far enough in my opinion; I would like to see a single-payer nationwide system, which this is not.  But at least, thank God, it's a start on something that could eventually be a decent program.

If the fascist fundamentalist know-nothing crowd doesn't overthrow the government, that is.  Note this very interesting map I swiped from Sullivan's blog, and the overwhelming Baptist population of my tragic, benighted Southern homeland:  notice that the green area is practically identical with the boundaries of the Confederacy, even 150 years later.  Nothing wrong with being a Baptist per se, but so very often that kind of believing is allied with ignorance, arrogance, and a hatred of everything and everyone who isn't a straight white Bible-believing Anglo-Saxon Republican.  And then there are plenty of people in this region who never show up in church and don't much miss it, but still retain the prejudices of the culture they grew up in.

Compare that with the NYT's interactive map of the geography of tonight's House vote here.

Lovelight: This Is My Life

I wish.

Good night and sweet dreams, guys.

Sunday Drive: So Far Away

For Scott.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Teabagger Circus

House Rules Committee Meets On Reconciliation Act of 2010

From HuffPo:
A staffer for Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told reporters that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) had been spat on by a protestor. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a hero of the civil rights movement, was called a 'ni--er.' And Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was called a "faggot," as protesters shouted at him with deliberately lisp-y screams. Frank, approached in the halls after the president's speech, shrugged off the incident.
From Joe.My.God.:
A huge crowd of Tea Party protesters attempted to "storm" the U.S. Capitol and Congressional office buildings this afternoon, prompting DC police to close the buildings. Teabaggers also hung "Don't Tread On Me" and "American Revolution II" flags from the outer balcony of the Capitol.

WTF: Snow?!

On the first day of spring, no less.

Tonight and tomorrow too, they say.  That sucks.  Cold and rainy here at the house today, and 34 degrees as I type, but hoping this is winter's very last gasp before a warm sunny spring like we had all this week, till now.

Update:  Midnight and cold as fuck here, wind chill is 22 degrees.  And yesterday afternoon it was 70 degrees.  That's TX weather for you.  When I went out for liquor about 8:30, it was snowing so hard I had to run the windshield wipers the whole time.  Now we got a couple inches of white stuff on the ground, and more coming very steady.  This was fun at Christmas, but . . . I'm over it now, let's get on with spring.

It's lovely to stand on the front porch and watch the big, fluffy flakes blowing across the sky, big as quarters or more.  The haze around the street light in these following pics is actually hundreds of flakes swirling around the lamp just like bugs in summertime.

From the kitchen window, 3 a.m.:

WTF: Blog Security Warnings

Okay, surely this can't be just me.  The last 24 hours I've been getting dire Area-51-type pop-up warnings from McAfee SiteAdvisor on some of your blogs, guys.  Yesterday it was when I tried to open the comment box on Sebastian's blog; tonight his is okay, but Frank's blog does the same thing when I try to post a comment, and Gary's whole blog is radioactive, apparently.

Shit.   I loves the Intertubes and all, but things are getting out of hand here.  Let me know if this kind of stuff is happening on my blog.  Not that I have one fucking clue what to do if it is - but I guess it's the kind of thing your friends ought to tell you, like when your fly is open.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Afternoon Drive: Romeo

I may not be in love, but let me tell ya, I'm in heat . . . .

A hit for Dolly a few years back.  Y'all have a good one, see you down the road.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Lt. Dan Choi Arrested at White House Protest

Kathy Griffin: A Call To Action In D.C.

Catch the video posts at Joe.My.God.

Also:  GetEQUAL activists have staged a sit-in at House Speaker Pelosi's offices in Washington and San Francisco, saying they will not leave till ENDA is passed.  Story and videos at Towleroad.

Waitin' for the Weekend

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spring Fever

This week, I just don't feel like writing much.  The Bradford pear trees are all bloomed out in snowy glory, and the redbud trees are just about to pop.  Texas is awash in golden sunshine, and spring is quivering to be born any minute now.  It's a time of hushed expectation, a pause before joy:  listening for the horn of jubilee.

A languor has sunk into my bones.  All the usual news of the world's folly seems utterly irrelevant in view of nature's advent.  Let the mad pageant of the world roll on by; in spring, even an old man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love, and lust.  And who can blame me, when all around the birds and bees, fish and fowl, trees and plants are trembling with the resurgence of life, the vital Yes of creation?

Or to put it more simply:  this week, I'd rather dream than write.  And here's something worth dreaming about on a lovely afternoon in almost-spring, don't you think?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Trans Thing

Joe.My.God. has posted this anti-trans video by MassResistance, a hate group in Massachusetts:

Which seems to fall awfully far short of its target to me.  First of all because, despite the scare captions throughout the video, it's obvious there is no mass panic in the restrooms of the hotel, nobody screaming or running for their lives, and even the cleaning lady is going about her routine in a perfunctory way as if it was all just business as usual.

Second, looks like a very mild party to me.  I would say dull even, but maybe it's one of those things you just had to be there.

By way of contrast, here's a very nice informative video by GLAD that ought to put any sensible person's mind at rest:


Now I will say I think the whole restroom thing needs to be thought out and discussed a little further.  I can't imagine guys who wear dresses are going to the ladies' room to rape anybody; but still, we all need as a society to reach a comfort level about this issue.  And problem is, people just don't know enough about trans people to feel comfortable with the whole thing yet.  We need more educational videos like the GLAD one.

Way too many people still don't understand the whole gay thing, let alone the trans thing, ya know.  And I have to say, it pisses me and lots of other gay guys off big time that people are still thinking, even at this late date, that all gay men love to wear dresses and makeup and big hair and bling.

Now I don't know what all you big city boys are doing, maybe you're all out in drag every weekend, but just for the record let me be clear on this point:  I do not want to wear a fucking dress.  Ever.

And wouldn't I look ridiculous if I did?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Living True: The Tour

Life does go on, even when your church and all your "Christian" friends turn their backs on you and consign you straight to hell.  Your Head Trucker can relate to that statement, and I'm sure many of my readers can too. 

As Joe.My.God. reports, gay ex-evangelical entertainers Ray Boltz and Azariah Southworth are teaming up for a nationwide tour later this spring.  Both were shunned and condemned by the Christian-music world when they (separately) came out in 2008.

Bonus:  I wasn't listening to that kind of music back then, but here's a pic of Ray Boltz at the height of his career back in the early 90's:


Five Rules for a Happy Gay Life

1. It's important to have a man who helps at home, who cooks from time to time, cleans up and has a job.

2. It's important to have a man who can make you laugh.

3. It's important to have a man who you can trust and who doesn't lie to you.

4. It's important to have a man who is good in bed and who likes to be with you.

5. It's very, very, very important that these four men do not know each other.

. . . found on the Internet.

Sunshine on My Shoulders

Actually, that's the one John Denver song I positively hate:  so repetitive and cloying.  But we did have brilliant sunshine here in Texas all weekend, which helped my feelings a lot.  Hope you boys are having good weather too.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Lovelight: I Like the Way You Move

Love ain't all hearts and flowers.  Sometimes it's heat and motion too.

Goodnight guys, and sweet dreams.

A Sunday Kind of Love

The great Etta James sings one of my favorites.

Can you relate?

Sunday Drive: Made in God's Image

Desmond Tutu Speaks At A University In Florida

Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu has written an editorial for the Washington Post, condemning the wave of anti-gay legislation and violence in Africa.  An excerpt:
Hate has no place in the house of God. No one should be excluded from our love, our compassion or our concern because of race or gender, faith or ethnicity -- or because of their sexual orientation. Nor should anyone be excluded from health care on any of these grounds. In my country of South Africa, we struggled for years against the evil system of apartheid that divided human beings, children of the same God, by racial classification and then denied many of them fundamental human rights. We knew this was wrong. Thankfully, the world supported us in our struggle for freedom and dignity.

It is time to stand up against another wrong. . . .

That this pandering to intolerance is being done by politicians looking for scapegoats for their failures is not surprising. But it is a great wrong. An even larger offense is that it is being done in the name of God. Show me where Christ said "Love thy fellow man, except for the gay ones." Gay people, too, are made in my God's image. I would never worship a homophobic God.

"But they are sinners," I can hear the preachers and politicians say. "They are choosing a life of sin for which they must be punished." My scientist and medical friends have shared with me a reality that so many gay people have confirmed, I now know it in my heart to be true. No one chooses to be gay. Sexual orientation, like skin color, is another feature of our diversity as a human family. Isn't it amazing that we are all made in God's image, and yet there is so much diversity among his people? Does God love his dark- or his light-skinned children less? The brave more than the timid? And does any of us know the mind of God so well that we can decide for him who is included, and who is excluded, from the circle of his love?

The wave of hate must stop. Politicians who profit from exploiting this hate, from fanning it, must not be tempted by this easy way to profit from fear and misunderstanding. And my fellow clerics, of all faiths, must stand up for the principles of universal dignity and fellowship. Exclusion is never the way forward on our shared paths to freedom and justice.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Today's Quote

Any coward can fight a battle when he's sure of winning, but give me the man who has pluck to fight when he's sure of losing.
--novelist George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans), 1819-1880

Found on my truckbuddy Ultra Dave's blog.

The Greatest of These Is Love

During a speech at Princeton last month, Andrew Sullivan makes a beautiful, powerful statement about marriage and love:

The other segments of his talk are viewable on YouTube.

Tech Update

Okay, so I've added back the LinkWithin feature. Let me know if this causes a difference in the way the blog loads, fellas.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Afternoon Drive: Dirty Little Secret

Everybody's got one . . . .

It's a brilliant sunny day here in Texas, I'm glad to report.  Sure helps my feelings.  Y'all take care and have a good one, see you down the road.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Note to Readers

Been having some trouble with the Blue Truck the last 24 hours or so, weird error messages and things freezing up, which is why I've deleted nearly all the HTML/Java scripts on this blog, including the LinkWithin feature.  Now, at 3 a.m., everything seems to be running smooth, but I don't know if I fixed the problem or not, and I got other things like my real job, etc., that demand my attention right now.

So just wanted to let you fellas know, if I don't blog for a couple days it's because I had to take the engine apart and got all the parts spread out on the shop floor.  I'd appreciate it if any of you guys would let me know about any particular difficulty you may be having getting the blog to open up.  My email address is on my profile.  Thanks guys.

Waitin' for the Weekend

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Same-sex Weddings Begin in D. C.

Same-sex couples began marrying today in the nation's capital, under the new equal-marriage law that took effect last week.  Place your cursor over the photo to view the caption.  Congrats to all the newlyweds.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Obama's Last Stand

Obama Travels To Philadelphia To Promote Health Care Reform Legislation

Seems like the President is finally taking the gloves off over healthcare reform, and it's about damn time if you ask me.  Kenneth T. Walsh reports in U.S. News and World Report:
President Obama has begun his last stand on healthcare. "Every idea has been put on the table," he said last week. "Every argument has been made. Everything to say about healthcare has been said, and just about everybody has said it. I believe the United States Congress owes the American people a final vote on healthcare reform."

Obama has taken a year to reach this point. He has long argued that without massive change, the public will face higher premiums, the government will amass more debt, and tens of millions of Americans won't have any health insurance at all. What is new, White House officials say, is the president's acknowledgment that he needs to get a bill passed now or nothing will be done anytime soon. He also has accepted the idea that there probably will be no Republican support so he will have to win passage with only Democratic votes. . . .

"The United States Congress owes the American people a final up or down vote on healthcare," he said. "It's time to make a decision. The time for talk is over. We need to see where people stand. And we need all of you to help us win that vote. So I need you to knock on doors. Talk to you neighbors. Pick up the phone. When you hear an argument by the water cooler and somebody is saying this or that about it, say, 'No, no, no, no--hold on a second.' And we need you to make your voices heard all the way in Washington, D.C."

He added: "They need to hear your voices because right now the Washington echo chamber is in full throttle. It is as deafening as it's ever been. And as we come to that final vote, that echo chamber is telling members of Congress, wait, think about the politics instead of thinking about doing the right thing."
And in a speech at Arcadia University in Pennsylvania, the President ripped the insurance companies for being the greedy bloodsucking bastards they are - those are my words, here are Obama's:
"Every year, insurance companies deny more people coverage because they have a preexisting condition. Every year, they drop more people's coverage when they're sick and need it most. Every year, they raise premiums higher and higher."

"These insurance companies have made a calculation," Obama said. "Listen to this, the other day, there was a conference call organized by Goldman Sachs; you know Goldman Sachs," he said to laughter.

He continued, "An insurance broker told Wall Street investors that insurance companies know they will lose customers if they keep raising premiums. But since there's so little competition in the insurance industry, they're okay with people being priced out of health insurance because they'll still make more by raising premiums on the customers they have. And they will keep doing this for as long as they can get away with it."

In his remarks, Obama cited the move last month by Anthem Blue Cross in California to raise rates by nearly 40 percent. He also mentioned his home state of Illinois where, he said, rates are going up by as much as 60 percent.

"So how much higher do premiums have to rise until we do something about it? How many more Americans have to lose their health insurance?" Obama said. "How many more businesses have to drop coverage? How many more years can the federal budget handle the crushing costs of Medicare and Medicaid? When is the right time for health insurance reform?"
I well recall when my best friend Tommy was dying of AIDS back twenty years ago, and how he had to argue, beg, and plead with the insurance company over the phone from his hospital bed to please approve this drug or that procedure, every single new thing the doctor ordered: the insurance company put him through flaming hell at his weakest, most vulnerable time.

And I could go on to talk about other friends and relatives, but the bottom line is this: it's simply immoral to be making a profit out of people's illness and injuries, period. And all that has to stop. Now.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Lovelight: The Art of Steve Walker

This week, something a little different.  The song works my nerves, but I love these paintings:  Walker is so talented, and every picture tells a story, or suggests one.  See what you think.

Good night guys.  Sweet dreams.
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