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.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Hitched in Taos, and Other Marriage News

Some video of the first same-sex weddings in Taos, New Mexico, last Wednesday the 28th. Dignity may be somewhat lacking in these impromptu ceremonies, but the emotions are all that they should be.

While we're on the topic of marriage, Chicago Cardinal Francis George, while ranting against how "irrational" gay marriage is, admits that "the Church did not invent marriage"; but "nature gives us marriage," so that's why we do it.  Say what?

It's also worth taking another look at this rather amazing chart of Biblical Marriage that I posted on the Blue Truck a year or two ago - at the link, you can download it yourself or share it on Facebook or Twitter.

And Mary Cheney, lesbian daughter of the former Vice-President who married her wife, Heather Poe, last year in D. C.,  today slammed her sister's announcement earlier this week that she is "not pro-gay marriage."  Mary said:
For the record, I love my sister, but she is dead wrong on the issue of marriage. Freedom means freedom for everyone. That means that all families — regardless of how they look or how they are made — all families are entitled to the same rights, privileges and protections as every other. It’s not something to be decided by a show of hands.

Finally, in the atrium of the Kennedy Center in Washington, D. C., tonight Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will officiate at the wedding of her good friend and Kennedy Center Director Michael Kaiser and government economist John Roberts (no relation to Chief Justice John G. Roberts). On the guest list are stars of opera and Broadway, as well as the cream of Washington society. Ginsburg is already scheduled to celebrate another same-sex wedding next month.

My God, fellas - can you believe?? A GAY WEDDING presided over by a SUPREME COURT JUSTICE?!! Holy fuck, we're sure not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

And I have lived to see this day.

President Obama Seeks Congressional Approval for Syrian Strike

President Obama discusses the Syrian crisis with his top advisors in the Situation Room of the White House on August 30, 2013.  (White House photo)

The President spoke to reporters in the Rose Garden of the White House this afternoon:

Full text of the President's remarks here.  Speaker John Boehner has announced that the House of Representatives will take up the matter during the week of September 9, after returning from its Labor Day recess.

For the record, as much as your Head Trucker deplores the killing of innocent civilians in Syria, or anywhere, he is still not sure what the right thing to do is, and is glad the decision is not on his shoulders.  It's good that the President will seek the support of Congress on this matter, for moral and constitutional reasons.  One can make a compelling argument on both sides of the issue; but no one can predict with certainty what will result from acting or not acting, or the unintended consequences not yet foreseen. As always, the future is veiled from sight, and only time will tell which is the better choice.

But I will say that I rate the intelligence and integrity of Obama, Biden, and Kerry a helluva lot higher than that of Bush & Co.

Update, 8:50 p.m. - Steve Benen at The Maddow Blog writes about Obama's decision to pull Congress into the mix:
It's one of those terrific examples of good politics and good policy. On the former, the American public clearly endorses the idea of Congress giving its approval before military strikes begin. On the latter, at the risk of putting too fine a point on this, Obama's move away from unilateralism reflects how our constitutional, democratic system of government is supposed to work. . . .

The dirty little secret is that much of Congress was content to have no say in this matter. When a letter circulated demanding the president seek lawmakers' authorization, most of the House and Senate didn't sign it -- some were willing to let Obama do whatever he chose to do, some didn't want the burden of responsibility. Members spent the week complaining about the president not taking Congress' role seriously enough, confident that their rhetoric was just talk.

It spoke to a larger problem: for far too many lawmakers, it's so much easier to criticize than govern. In recent years, members of Congress have too often decided they're little more than powerful pundits, shouting from the sidelines rather than getting in the game.

It's one of the angles to today's news that's so fascinating -- Obama isn't just challenging Congress to play a constructive role in a national security matter, the president is also telling lawmakers to act like adults for a change. They're federal lawmakers in the planet's most powerful government, and maybe now would be a good time to act like grown-ups who are mindful of their duties.
The New Yorker's Amy Davidson writes in "Going to Congress: Obama's Best Syria Decision":
Dropping a few missiles and leaving, which is what the President has in mind, could as easily be an instrument of increased chaos—one of many points that ought to be debated in Congress. A quick strike is something that the Assad regime could put behind it, and sometimes a spectre can be more of a deterrent than a strike. The delay, as frustrating as it might be for some, means at minimum a period of uncertainty for the regime forces. And it pauses what had been a headlong rush to do something—anything that would make us forget those pictures—without thinking the next steps through or caring what happens afterward in Syria. By waiting and deliberating, this becomes, despite all the posturing that will take place, more about the Syrians, and less about our grief-stricken selves.
A couple of other very pertinent articles from the New Yorker are well worth your time:

"Two Minds on Syria"

"The Syrian Question"

Friday, August 30, 2013

Waitin' for the Weekend

Here's hoping all my truckbuddies have what they need to make it through this long, hot Labor Day weekend:

Anderson Cooper Exposes Pat Robertson

Earlier this week, televangelist and granddaddy-of-all-homophobes Pat Robertson said on his TV show that teh evil gays wear special rings that will cut your finger when you shake hands with them, giving you AIDS - which of course is murder. The clip was on YouTube, but Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network had it yanked after a furor arose over his shitheaded comments.

But now the essential part of the clip - and some other choice moments of fatuous bigotry - have been preserved forever in this edition of Cooper's Ridiculist:

Jonathan Capehart, columnist for the Washington Post, says it's time for real Christians to speak out against this kind of homophobia and tell Robertson and his ilk to "stuff it":

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Thursday, August 29, 2013

IRS Recognizes All Married Gay Couples Across the Country

So much momentous, life-changing good news in one day, I can hardly take it all in, boys. After waiting all these many years for Change, now that it's arrived, it just seems unreal - am I waking or dreaming?

First, via Freedom to Marry:
Today, the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service announced how they will implement the June 2013 Supreme Court ruling declaring the central part of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. The Treasury Department and the IRS announced that all legally married same-sex couples will be fully respected by all federal tax programs, including income tax, gift and estate taxes, deductions, exemptions, retirement accounts, and child tax credit.

The ruling will be applied to same-sex couples who married legally in any U.S. state or international country that has approved marriage for same-sex couples. All couples - no matter which state they live in (even if they live in a state that discriminates against their marriage) - will be respected for these federal tax programs.

Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew announced the decision today. He said:
Today’s ruling provides certainty and clear, coherent tax filing guidance for all legally married same-sex couples nationwide. It provides access to benefits, responsibilities and protections under federal tax law that all Americans deserve. This ruling also assures legally married same-sex couples that they can move freely throughout the country knowing that their federal filing status will not change.

Wonderful news and a great advance for equality and civil rights - but note that the ruling does not apply to couples in domestic partnerships or civil unions. Of course, every couple should seek professional advice on how best to make use of these new financial benefits.

What does this mean for you? Well for starters, bud, even if you aren't particularly well off, it means that if your husband dies and you inherit the house, you do not have to pay income tax on the value of it, or any part of his estate you inherit, if you guys were married. And that, fellas, is truly a big fucking deal.

For another thing here and now, if you have health insurance through your husband's employer's plan, it will no longer be counted as income to you, so you won't have to pay income tax on it any longer.

Evan Wolfson has compiled a comprehensive list of statements and policies from various federal agencies in the wake of the Windsor ruling here. At the time of this writing, it seems that Social Security for the near future will base benefits on whether a couple lives in a marriage-equality state or not, but that might change, so stay tuned.

See also these very helpful factsheets on Life after DOMA, and what it means for you in terms of bankruptcy, family and medical leave, federal student aid, and other pertinent issues.

Update, 4:45 p.m.:  More good news, via the Advocate:
The federal Department of Health and Human Services announced today that legally married same-sex couples on Medicare will be eligible for equal benefits and joint placement in nursing homes around the country.

In the wake of the Supreme Court's landmark ruling in June striking down a key section of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius said today's announcement is just the first in a series of changes forthcoming in how the department deals with married same-sex couples.

"Today, Medicare is ensuring that all beneficiaries will have equal access to coverage in a nursing home where their spouse lives, regardless of their sexual orientation," said Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator Marilyn Tavenner in a statement. "Prior to this, a beneficiary in a same-sex marriage enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan did not have equal access to such coverage and, as a result, could have faced time away from his or her spouse or higher costs because of the way that marriage was defined for this purpose." . . .

The new guidelines revise this standard, confirming that Medicare now applies equally to all married couples, regardless of where the couple resides. That's important for legally married gay and lesbian Medicare recipients who reside in a nursing home in a state that does not embrace marriage equality, since they will still be eligible for the same benefits as opposite-sex couples.

Update, Friday, 12:30 p.m.: Yesterday, a federal district judge in California struck down the provisions of Title 38 of the United States Code that limited veterans benefits to heterosexual couples. According to Freedom to Marry,
The judge wrote that there was no rational basis for the Department of Veterans Affairs to bar same-sex spouses from receiving these protections - that it is not related to the goal of gender equality, to any military purposes, or to the military's commitment to caring for veteran families. The judge explained that the definition of "spouse" in Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations is unconstitutional.

For now, the ruling is limited to married same-sex couples living in states with the freedom to marry. We await further clarification on how military families living in the 37 non-marriage states will be treated.
The case is Cooper-Harris v. United States, and here's a sweet video about the plaintiffs:

I Have a Dream

Fifty years ago, yesterday:

Full text (with with Anglicized spelling) here.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Silent Songbird

I'm sure many of my truckbuddies who are around my age are saddened, as I was, to hear that Linda Ronstadt's golden voice, part of the sound track of our lives, is now silenced by Parkinson's disease.  But though she cannot now sing a note, as she puts it, one of the greatest American voices ever heard will echo down the ages through the magic of recording technology - like a
happy melodist, unwearied,
For ever piping songs for ever new.

A commenter at the New Yorker's paean to Ronstadt's career nails the essence of her great talent:
. . . underlying the great singing was a very pure voice with a range wider than that of most of her contemporaries. She also had perfect pitch and could sing in tune. Never did she have to "slide" up to a note (unless she wanted to for style's sake) and she always nailed every interval, no matter how unusual it might have been. Finally, she understood the importance of dynamic range-- something missing in most pop music. That is, she could and did sing softly as well as loudly.

In short, she made the songs she sang into works of art.

Here are just four of my favorites by Linda from her vast repertoire - what are yours?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Marriage News Watch, 8/26/13

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

FLASH, 6:28 PM CST - - - This just in, from the Santa Fe New Mexican:
Bernalillo County told to issue same-sex marriage licenses

An Albuquerque judge on Monday ordered the clerk of New Mexico’s most populous county to join two other counties in the state in issuing marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples.

The order from State District Judge Alan Malott came in a case involving a lesbian couple who sought an emergency ruling because one of them is dying.

In an unexpected turn, the couple was able to get married Friday after a judge in a separate case ordered the Santa Fe clerk to issue same-sex licenses. Also last week, the clerk of Doña Ana County in Southern New Mexico decided on his own to recognize same-sex marriage.

Malott said New Mexico’s constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Earlier Monday, Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver said she had 1,000 licenses printed in case Malott ordered her to issue licenses for same-sex marriages.

The hearing originally was scheduled on an emergency motion to force the county to issue a marriage license to Jen Roper, who is dying of cancer, and Angelique Neuman because of Roper’s cancer. . . .

A group of Republican legislators is planning to file a lawsuit to stop [Doña Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins].

Ellins, however, says, “I think the train has pulled out of the station."

Update, 8/27, 1:35 p.m.: Two more counties, San Miguel and Valencia, announced today that they will also issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples this week.

This train is bound for glory.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Just Married in the Land of Enchantment

"Mass Gay Wedding in Santa Fe" was the news on Friday afternoon as
gay and lesbian couples flocked to the courthouse to get hitched.

Teh gay seems to be bustin' out all over the place now. Suck it, Putin.

This week, two counties in New Mexico began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. On Wednesday, Lynn Ellins, the county clerk of Doña Ana County, which is next door to El Paso, Texas, took it upon himself to begin issuing marriage licenses, saying:
After careful review of New Mexico's laws it is clear that the state's marriage statutes are gender neutral and do not expressly prohibit Doña Ana County from issuing marriage licenses to same-gender couples. Any further denial of marriage licenses to these couples violates the United States and New Mexico Constitution and the New Mexico Human Rights Act. Doña Ana County is upholding New Mexico law by issuing these marriage licenses, and I see no reason to make committed couples in Doña Ana County wait another minute to marry.
Then late on Thursday afternoon, a state district judge ruled on a case brought by several gay couples that Santa Fe County, home of the state capital, must begin issuing marriage licenses, and the clerk there did so beginning on Friday afternoon. County clerk Geraldine Salazar stated:
I am a fervent supporter of same-sex marriage in New Mexico and have always believed that the restrictive and antiquated statutes in our State must fall to principles of equal protection embodied in our Constitution. I have been frustrated recently wanting to issue licenses but being confronted with long standing statutes that do not permit it. Now that Judge Singleton has ordered me to issue a license to Messrs. Hanna and Hudson on constitutional grounds, I intend to do so and to issue a license to any same-sex couple who desires one and are otherwise qualified. By complying with the judge’s order, we will be issuing licenses legally and will not continue to use limited county resources on further litigation.

New Mexico statutes do not specify that married couples have to be male-female.  No doubt there will be more lawsuits for and against marriage equality until it is finally settled, but seems like the dam is cracked beyond repair in New Mexico now.  Here's a video summary of this week's events:

Friday, August 23, 2013

Waitin' for the Weekend

Damn, it's hot today.

Trans Navy Seal Denounces Chelsea Manning

Former Navy Seal Kristin Beck, once part of the team that later hunted down Osama Bin Laden, slammed convicted wikileaker Chelsea (née Bradley) Manning today on her Facebook page - via Joe.My.God.:
What you wear, what color you are, your religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity has no basis on whether you are a CRIMINAL or NOT. For this person, whether male or female to use gender identity to act 'BADLY' is a slap in the face to me and everyone who does not fit the 'Binary Gender Norm.' It is not an excuse for anything illegal or unjust. This person took an oath to protect American interest and defend the constitution, and took additional oaths due to security clearances to protect information that leaders deem secret. There are legal avenues to whistle blow or bring attention to issues. THIS person is a liar and a thief and a traitor to many people. If Bradley is truly 'Chelsea' then 'she' is a traitor to ME personally. There is no excuse.

Beck published her memoir, Warrior Princess, earlier this year, recounting her life as a closeted transgender person while serving in one of the toughest military outfits anywhere. Here's an interview Anderson Cooper did with her after the book came out:

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Out of This World

The Kitchen of Tomorrow from Frigidaire at the time of the New York World's Fair, 1964. I swear to God, this had to be produced by some big ol' stoner.  Gets trippier and trippier as you go along.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The World's Most Expensive Paintings

An eye-opening documentary nicely presented by a very truckable personable young Brit.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Keep Calm and Carry On

Oh dear.  How would you go about restoring a broken vahze from the Queen's living room?  Not to worry - senior conservator David Wheeler of the Royal Collection shows how, in this the first of five short episodes:

Watch the rest of the episodes at The Royal Channel on YouTube.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Marriage News Watch, 8/19/13

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports;

Also, there's cause for celebration down under: Today, gay New Zealanders began marrying.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Saturday, August 17, 2013

You Can Help: Manny

Hey fellas, my truckbuddy Martin in Berlin, Germany, needs help paying the vet bills for his little dog who was savaged this week by a Rottweiler in a public park and nearly died.  Here's Martin's appeal from Indiegogo, and a video of Manny.
I'm Martin and Manny is my 13 year old Jack Russell terrier whom I rescued from the animal shelter in October 2011. Manny is the light of my life, and prior to having him, I never thought I could get this attached to another living thing. Manny is simply adorable, the cutest, sweetest, dog you can possibly imagine!

Last Monday evening, as I was walking him in a nearby park, Manny was viciously attacked by a Rottweiler. It was immediately clear that Manny was badly bitten as he bled heavily. It turned out, the owner of the Rottweiler had no dog insurance, even though it is mandatory in Berlin, nor did he assume any responsibility. Needless to say, I did call the police, but they could do little - so they claimed - as the dog owner stated that he had no money since he's living on welfare.

Taking Manny to the vet, Manny's wound was stitched and all seemed to fine, relatively speaking. The bill of 121 Euros was paid by me. A few days later, however, Manny's wound started to smell badly and he started limping. Taking him back to the vet, he unbelievably failed to diagnose the severe infection which was already well on its way destroying Manny from the inside.

Manny's condition went from bad to worse. Eventually, on Saturday night, I had little choice but taking him to the pet clinic as it was obvious that he was on his last legs - literally! Once at the pet clinic, he was put on a drip and it was made clear to me that his condition was, in fact, life-threatening. I was told that an operation was inevitable, starting with reopening the wound stitched by the vet a few days earlier. To do so, however, Manny had to be stabilised first and I was told that Manny had to spend the night at the clinic with the operation to follow the next day.

The next day, I received a phone call from the surgeon who explained that Manny could not be operated upon as his would will have to heal - and subsequently close - from the inside before any new stitching could be done, let alone any operation. For that, Manny has to stay at the clinic for a full 4 days, until I'll be allowed to take him home, though I will then have to take him back to the clinic as an out-patient for at least another week until his wound has fully healed and the infection has been contained.

I was told that entire bill, including the daily dressings of the wound once Manny's been discharged from the clinic, would come to well over 1,000 Euros, all depending on how swiftly Manny recovers.

Being on a low income, I cannot afford this kind of money, yet losing Manny would quite frankly break my heart and simply - is not an option!

I'm asking you to help Manny getting the care he needs to recover. Every single penny of my campaign will go towards Manny's vet bills, and I'm asking you hereby for your support!

Bear in mind that every little helps!

As perks, I have little to offer you other than keeping you posted in detail, including images, regarding Manny's recovery.

Trust me, you help, however little, is greatly appreciated by both Manny and me!


You can contribute to Manny's recovery on the Indiegogo page here. Please do, if you can.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Waitin' for the Weekend

Christianists Boo Gay Marine Vet Eric Alva

I am so fucking tired of these ignorant, self-righteous creeps who spew their hate and bigotry in the name of God.  From the Dallas Voice:
Anti-gay protesters reportedly booed a gay Marine veteran who lost his leg in the Iraq War while he was speaking in favor of a nondiscrimination ordinance at a San Antonio City Council meeting on Wednesday night. At a prayer vigil outside City Hall before the meeting, about 300 people protested the proposed addition to San Antonio’s nondiscrimination law that would add protections for sexual orientation, gender identity and veteran status.

“Let them vote ‘no’ to this ordinance, and ‘yes’ to the reign of the kingdom of God,” Pastor Charles Flowers said at the rally. About 200 people signed up to speak at the City Council meeting for and against the ordinance. Alva, a Marine staff sergeant who became the first U.S. soldier injured in Iraq when he stepped on a landmine, was booed by the crowd when he spoke in favor of the ordinance. Alva lives in San Antonio.

“To all you people that preach the word of God, shame on you because God loves me, like the day I laid bleeding on the sands of Iraq and that’s why he saved me,” Alva said before he left the podium.

Alva wrote on his Facebook page later: “Well I just left city council chambers and I feel like crying. I have never seen a city so divided and hateful towards each other. All of man kind should be ashamed. I already spoke and even some of the religious groups even boo’ed me as I spoke. Such disrespect as they preach the word of God.”

The City Council is expected to vote on the ordinance on Sept. 5. A Change.org petition calls on San Antonio city council members to support the ordinance.

Below, Alva talks about losing his leg and coming out, on an episode of the Chris Matthews show in 2010:

Update, 6:15 p.m.: From Gawker via Joe.My.God., San Antonio city councilwoman Elisa Chan and her staffers caught on tape in a major homophobic rant, equating the "disgusting" gays to bestiality, incest, pedophilia, etc., etc. I listened to just the first two minutes, that was enough.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Good Duck Artist

A short documentary in two parts about the career of the late Carl Barks, a shy, lonely boy who found his life's calling in drawing the Scrooge McDuck comics, which were among my special favorites.  By the time I was 12 or so, I had amassed over 1200 comic books of all kinds, which I kept neatly filed and organized by brand, title, and date - if I had them now, I would be a rich man, but alas, all but a handful were lost to the vicissitudes of life.

Mickey Mouse never interested me much - by the early 1960's, he had become a rather bland, Ward Cleaver kind of character without any charisma, to my way of thinking.  But Donald Duck was always getting into hilarious trouble, usually through his own hubris.  And Uncle Scrooge stories were the most fascinating - partly because of the thought of those uncountable fantasticatillions in his Money Bin, and partly because of the rather ingenious storylines that took the reader from the Lost Cities of the Incas to the Arabian Desert to the center of the earth, and so on.  Somewhere years ago I read that Barks often drew inspiration for his stories from current National Geographic articles, and that certainly gave them an exotic, intriguing atmosphere.

And no, don't even talk to me about Duck Tales - tedious juvenile pabulum.  The Barks stories had an adult sophistication to them that none of his successors ever achieved.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Prop 8: Gone Where the Goblins Go

This just in from the Los Angeles Times via Joe.My.God.:
SAN FRANCISCO -- The California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to revive Proposition 8, ending the last remaining legal challenge to same-sex marriage in the state.

Meeting in closed session, the state high court rejected arguments by ProtectMarriage, Proposition 8’s sponsors, that only an appellate court could overturn a statewide law.

A federal judge in San Francisco declared Proposition 8 unconstitutional in 2010, and state officials refused to appeal. ProtectMarriage did appeal, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that initiative sponsors have no right to defend their measures in federal court. The decision left in place the ruling by retired Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker.

In its challenge before the state’s highest court, ProtectMarriage argued that a single judge lacked the authority to overturn a state constitutional amendment. The group also contended that Walker’s injunction applied to two counties at most and that state officials had overstepped their authority by ordering county clerks throughout California to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

State officials countered that the challenge was a veiled attempt to persuade a state court to interfere with a federal judge’s order in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

I think that's settled it, boys. It was a long, weary road - not paved with yellow bricks - that started with Mayor Gavin Newsom allowing gay weddings in San Francisco, beginning on Valentine's Day in 2004 - and after many, many steps and stages in the state and federal courts, here we are, nine and a half years later, almost to the day, with wedding bells free to keep ringing in California - forever, I hope - for the gays. And that can only encourage other states to do the same.

For the record, here's attorney David Boies recounting the history and outcome of the marriage cases last month:

Isn't It Romantic

USA TODAY reports:
A Navy sailor returning from a six-month deployment emerged from his submarine, dropped to one knee and proposed to his boyfriend during the homecoming celebration in Connecticut for USS New Mexico.

About 200 people were gathered at the dock of the Naval Submarine Base New London where Machinist's Mate Jerrel Revels proposed to Dylan Kirchner. Kirchner said he had thought about getting married but the proposal Monday came as a surprise.

"I didn't really care everybody was around. It felt just like the two of us," Kirchner said.

The couple has not set a wedding date.

Sweet. Of course, your Head Trucker looks forward to the day when this sort of thing will not be at all newsworthy.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sucked Dry in West Texas

You boys from the frozen Nawth should understand that West Texas is a land unto itself: sort of like the Sahara, only with traffic lights, Dairy Queens, and Baptist churches. My late husband always said, "They call it God's Country because nobody but God wants it."

But now the right-minded, God-fearing, Bush-and-Perry-loving denizens of that dusty wasteland are perhaps encountering for the very first time in their lives a little cloud of doubt as to whether all is well in the world they voted for. It's hard to ignore a sign like running slap out of water - sounds kinda Biblical, don't it?

But hey, you can't argue with free enterprise - can you?  The Guardian reports on the consternation now bubbling up in the little nowhere town of Barnhart:

Meanwhile, Rush Limbaugh said yesterday that you cannot believe in God and believe in climate change, too. Why? Because "You must be either agnostic or atheistic to believe that man controls something that he can’t create." 

I wonder if anybody in Barnhart, Texas, agrees with him today.

Honk to Americablog.

Marriage News Watch, 8/12/13

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Daughter's Tale: Mary, Lady Soames

Mary's wartime service was spent in an anti-aircraft unit defending London
and environs from the Nazi bombers.  Here she is shown accompanying
her father as his aide-de-camp at the Potsdam Conference in 1945.

I've spent the morning reading all that I can see on Amazon preview of A Daughter's Tale by Winston Churchill's youngest child, Mary, who is still going strong at age 90 and published this, her seventh book, last year. It's very good reading, and Lady Soames is what my mother and grandmothers would have described as a lovely person, who has led quite a remarkable life.

Here's a clip from an interview by Andrew Marr last year:

If you're into modern British history, I can also recommend an hour-long interview done by Brian Lamb on C-SPAN in 1999, in which she discusses her then-new book Winston and Clementine: The Personal Letters of the Churchills.

A related thought: I've also been re-reading a book that's been in my possession for many years now, The Gathering Storm, the first volume of Churchill's memoirs of the Second World War, in which he chronicles the long, inexorable drift towards war - which happened precisely because the Western democracies were so terrified of repeating the horrors of the 1914-18 war, on an even larger scale, that they refused to stand up to the dictators, or maintain their military strength, until it was all too late.

Of course, the dangers of appeasement are all too clearly seen now, in hindsight. And the lesson was misapplied later by those who should have known better, such as in the Suez Crisis, and to some extent in Korea and Vietnam. On the other hand, it seems to me that by maintaining a more than adequate nuclear defense, the West certainly did forestall any aggrandizing ambitions the Soviet Union may have had, and ultimately hastened its downfall.

I thought of all these things the other day when I was reading an article in the Telegraph about the current debate over renewing Britain's Trident nuclear submarine defense - at a cost of many billions of dollars to the British taxpayer, of course. I was struck by one particular comment some reader left on that article, to the effect that, "Well I don't see anybody planning to start another world war, so why should we spend all that money on a system that will never be of any use."

Oh but children, the course of human events takes many strange, unexpected twists. Who foresaw 9/11 or the Crash of 2008, huh? And now the rotten aroma of the 1936 Berlin Olympics wafts across the ocean from the direction of Moscow. There's no exact parallel between Putin and Hitler here, and I'm not implying there is one; but take a look at the map of antigay countries, and you'll find a huge block conveniently extending from Russia through most of Africa and Asia.

Granted, that covers a lot of very different political and religious systems; but history makes strange bedfellows. Nor am I saying anyone would go to war specifically over the the gays - Hitler did not go to war just so he could kill the Jews, there was more to it than that.  And ruthless cruelty is not extinct in this old world. Better to keep one's guard up than to have no power of resistance or deterrence at all, is what I'm saying.

Again, if the subject interests you, read Churchill's magisterial 1955 speech on Britain's decision to develop a hydrogen bomb, and see what parallels you can find with the present time.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sunday Drive: In My Own Little Corner

From the 1957 live television special, Cinderella, by Rogers and Hammerstein:

Watch the whole unforgettable show here.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

If Gay Marriage, Why Not Polygamy?

John Corvino is chair of the Department of Philosophy at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Oprah a Victim of Racism? Not Necessarily

I suppose you boys have heard about the shop clerk in Zurich who refused to let Oprah see a handbag:

Oprah, naturally enough, thinks the clerk was prejudiced against her race, but your Head Trucker (who, by the way, is the same age as La Winfrey) is here to tell you that it ain't necessarily so.

When I was 21, on my one and only visit to Paris in the hot, dry month of August thirty-seven years ago right now, one day on the Boulevard Haussmann I wandered into some fancy store selling ladies' goods, thinking I might pick up a little bottle of parfum to take home to my mother as a gift. There was a long glass counter case full of paints and powders and such, and shelves behind full of every brand and variety of smell-um-good, in all sizes from tiny to enormous.

I saw some small bottle with an intriguing name - perhaps Bal à Versailles - and asked the youngish clerk behind the counter, Pardon, Mademoiselle, combien ce coute? She seemed to be following the conversation between another clerk and customer six feet away, but otherwise she was just standing there, doing nothing. With an admonitory look, she turned to me and said, Oh, c'est très cher. And turned away from me, just like that.

And I thought - you nasty little bitch. I was clean, well groomed, presentably dressed, and even used my best schoolroom French; there was no reason for her to brush me off that way. Granted, I was young, but for all she knew, I might have been J. B. Gotrocks the IVth, and loaded with dough enough to buy the whole goddamn store. Snotty little shit of a girl, being snooty just because she could.

Well, maybe someone else gave her a comeuppance sometime or other - I certainly hope so. The other shop clerks I dealt with in Paris were all perfectly nice, and I did eventually get Mama a little flask of her favorite cologne, at Galeries Lafayette, I think it was. But this is exactly the same thing that happened to Oprah, and there was no racism involved - just sheer snobbery and arrogance.

It occurs to your Head Trucker that the same kind of thing probably happens in New York and Los Angeles too, in the tonier shops, but I've never been to those places - have any of you fellas experienced such a thing in these United States?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Waitin' for the Weekend

Today's Chuckle

From the New Yorker.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

You Can Help

It could have been any one of us.

Jimmy Lee Dean was beaten nearly to death five years ago by two men looking for a gay man to rob, leaving him with a smashed face and many physical problems.  Failed surgeries and the indifference of the medical profession have left him with a ruined life.  The Dallas Voice ran an article on the fifth anniversary of tbe brutal attack, but here's the story in Jimmy's own words:
On July 17, 2008 I was the victim of a hate crime in Dallas, Texas. Through the kind act of everyday people like you, I did not die that night. The criminals were stopped, prosecuted and the good people of Texas provided $50,000.00 from their crime victims fund to repair my physical damages and any phycological help that might be needed.

Problems started when I left Parkland County Hospital intensive care unit. Up to that point everything seemed to be going ok. Then After some 16 visits to the Oral Surgery Clinic, 2 surgeries and one attempted surgery that never took place and 27 visits to Parkland crisis center I am in the same phycical situation as at the crime scene.

Work done in the second surgery at Parkland Hospital has all come undone. My jaw and cheek bone are no longer attached. Teeth have never been dealt with. No one has followed up on my broken back. I have headaces every other day. My eyes are having problems. I walk with a causious gate. I get light headed all the time. I don't reallly go anywere because of the facial disfigurments and the way I look when I eat.

I never asked for what happend. It could have been anyone of us at that spot at that time.

My dreams and identity are gone along with my alillity to smell, but maybe there are medical procedures that might restore me to a point where I can have some kind of a normal life.
Nobody should have to go without needed medical treatment in this country, but you guys know the score as well as I do: if you have no money, the doctors won't even look at you. But we can make a real difference in Jimmy's life by contributing at his Indiegogo page. Please do.

It could have been you.

 Honk to Unfinished Lives.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Marriage News Watch, 8/5/13

Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights reports:

Also, same-sex marriage begins today in Uruguay.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Today's Quote

It’s great we live in a democratic society, but we’ve lost all sense of decorum and occasion. To be on Fifth Avenue is now about the same as being on the Coney Island boardwalk.

--"Shirtless Goes the City," The New York Times
Your Head Trucker has been saying the same thing for the last forty years, but nobody has paid me the slightest bit of attention. 

Sunday Drive: To Love Somebody

This is so touching, and not just because it's an old favorite song - Barry is the last one standing.

I always thought he was so hot. But damn, son, you're looking mighty old now.

But of course, I say that every time I see myself in the mirror, too.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Why Every Man Needs a Beard

Not to mention, beards are sexy as fuck.

And why should a man scrape his face smooth and bare like a woman's? Isn't that the very definition of unnatural?

Anal Sex

John Corvino is chair of the Philosophy Department at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Waitin' for the Weekend

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Marriages Begin in Minnesota and Rhode Island

This brings the total of marriage-equality states to 13, plus the District of Columbia and five Indian tribes; thirty percent of Americans now have the freedom to the freedom to marry a same-sex partner. Seven other states have full civil unions or limited domestic partnerships.

Also this week, Gullup released its latest polling results, which show that 52% of Americans would vote for a federal law legalizing same-sex marriages across the country, while 43% would vote against it. The landmark Supreme Court rulings in June had no discernible effect on public attitudes as measured by this poll. Here's the breakdown by various groups:

Click to enlarge.

And here's a trendline showing the increase of support over time for same-sex marriage:

Click to enlarge.

Related Posts with Thumbnails