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.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Love Feast in Ottawa

Yesterday President Obama joined Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada and President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico for the Three Amigos Summit in Ottawa. After the departure of President Peña Nieto, bromancers Trudeau and Obama proceeded to Parliament Hill, where the latter delivered a speech to an adoring House of Commons, and a good time was had by all.

The speech was one of Obama's finest, elegant, eloquent, and highly pertinent to the times we live in; it is well worth your time to listen to. Excerpt:
We meet at a pivotal moment for our nations and for the globe. From this vibrant capital, we can look upon a world that has benefited enormously from the international order that we helped to build together’ but we can see that same order increasingly strained by the accelerating forces of change. The world is by most every measure less violent than ever before; but it remains riven by old divisions and fresh hatreds. The world is more connected than ever before; but even as it spreads knowledge and the possibility of greater understanding between peoples, it also empowers terrorists who spread hatred and death -- most recently in Orlando and Istanbul.

The world is more prosperous than ever before, but alongside globalization and technological wonders we also see a rise in inequality and wage stagnation across the advanced economies, leaving too many workers and communities fearful of diminishing prospects, not just for themselves, but more importantly, for their children.

And in the face of such rising uncertainty, it is not enough to look at aggregate growth rates, or stock prices, or the pace of digital innovation. If the benefits of globalization accrue only to those at the very top, if our democracies seem incapable of assuring broad-based growth and opportunity for everyone, then people will push back, out of anger or out of fear. And politicians -- some sincere, and some entirely cynical -- will tap that anger and fear, harkening back to bygone days of order and predictability and national glory, arguing that we must rebuild walls and disengage from a chaotic world, or rid ourselves of the supposed ills brought on by immigrants -- all in order to regain control of our lives.

We saw some of these currents at work this past week in the United Kingdom’s referendum to leave the European Union. Despite some of the initial reactions, I am confident that the process can be managed in a prudent, orderly way. I expect that our friends on both sides of the Channel will develop a workable plan for how to move forward. And I’m equally confident that the Transatlantic values that we all share as liberal, market-based democracies are deeper and stronger than any single event.

But while the circumstances of Brexit may be unique to the United Kingdom, the frustrations people felt are not. The short-term fallout of Brexit can be sensibly managed, but the long-term trends of inequality and dislocation and the resulting social division -- those can't be ignored. How we respond to the forces of globalization and technological change will determine the durability of an international order that ensures security and prosperity for future generations.

And fortunately, the partnership between the United States and Canada shows the path we need to travel. For our history and our work together speak to a common set of values to build on --proven values, values that your Prime Minister spoke of in his introduction -- values of pluralism and tolerance, rule of law, openness; global engagement and commerce and cooperation, coupled with equal opportunity and an investment in our people at home. As Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau once said, “A country, after all, is not something you build as the pharaohs build the pyramids, and then leave standing there to defy eternity. A country is something that is built every day out of certain basic shared values.”

Full text here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Stop the Hate: 49 Celebrities Honor the Orlando 49

From HRC, a deeply moving tribute. I'm having to watch this in segments. The celebrities include:

Lady Gaga, Chris Pine, Cuba Gooding Jr., Connie Britton, Matt Bomer, Sarah Paulson, Angela Bassett, Lea Michele, Colton Haynes, Sophia Bush, Jane Fonda, Harry Shum Jr., Denis O’Hare, Rob Reiner, Melissa Benoist, Caitlyn Jenner, Édgar Ramírez, Max Greenfield, Chaz Bono, Cheyenne Jackson, Emma Roberts, Kerry Washington, George Lopez, Evan Rachel Wood, Sofia Vergara, Diego Boneta, Nina Jacobson, Demi Lovato, Tyler Oakley, Yeardley Smith, Kid Cudi, Kaitlin Olson, Kevin McHale, Jamie Lee Curtis, Lee Daniels, Chace Crawford, Evan Peters, Gerard Butler, Katey Sagal, John Stamos, Laverne Cox, Jordana Brewster, Wes Bentley, Finn Wittrock, Darren Criss, Kathy Bates, Anna Paquin, Guillermo Díaz and Joe Mantello.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Stonewall Inn Now a National Monument

Last Friday, President Obama announced that he has designated the Stonewall Inn in New York City, along with Christopher Park across the street and some other properties in the vicinity, as America's newest national monument, commemorating the modern gay rights movement that began there 47 years ago last night.

The official text of the presidential proclamation is here

The Park Service site is here.

The New York Times article is here.

These two announcement videos overlap a bit:

And here's a report from CBS New York:

Ya know, guys, it continues to take my breath away to realize how far we've come just in my lifetime - when Stonewall happened, I was a closeted, totally isolated teenager in a world where merely the word homosexual was loathsome and unmentionable. But now that I'm an old man, the President of the United States has declared a gay bar a national monument.  Incredible.

And I have lived to see this day.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

One Year On: Marriage Equality USA

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.

--Justice Anthony Kennedy writing for the majority
in Obergefell v. Hodges, June 26, 2015

A year ago today, the Supreme Court made its landmark ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States.  What a joyous day that was, so long awaited by so many, and the beginning of many happy marriages - legal at last. Here's that day's report from NBC News:

Not the least of those happy couples rushing to courthouses across the country were Jack Evans and George Harris, who first met in 1961 and were a committed couple for over half a century, and were the first gay couple to marry in Dallas a year ago today.

Sadly, Jack passed away in a Dallas hospital last Thursday, with George at his side, but their story continues to inspire all of us who believe in the right to love whom we choose.  Here's an oral history interview they did in 2013:

Sunday Drive: Be Still, My Soul

As performed by David Archuleta; the tune is Finlandia, by Sibelius.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Waitin' for the Weekend

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sunday Drive: Golden

A short film by German director Kai Stänicke that you will like:

Friday, June 17, 2016

In Memoriam: The Dead of Orlando

In memory of those who died in Orlando:

Click to enlarge.

Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old

Amanda Alvear, 25 years old

Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old

Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old

Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old

Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old

Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old

Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old

Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old

Cory James Connell, 21 years old

Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old

Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old

Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old

Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old

Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old

Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old

Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old

Frank Hernandez, 27 years old

Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old

Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old

Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old

Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old

Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old

Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old

Kimberly Morris, 37 years old

Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old

Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old

Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old

Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old

Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old

Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old

Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old

Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old

Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old

Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old

Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old

Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old

Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old

Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old

Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Obama in Orlando: In America, Everybody Counts, Including the Gays

The President and Vice-President leave flowers at a memorial to the victims of the mass shooting in Orlando.

The President and Vice-President visited Orlando today to meet with survivors and families of the dead. Here is an excerpt from the speech President Obama gave before returning to Washington:
Here in Orlando, we are reminded not only of our obligations as a country to be resolute against terrorists, we are reminded not only of the need for us to implement smarter policies to prevent mass shootings, we're also reminded of what unites us as Americans, and that what unites us is far stronger than the hate and the terror of those who target us.

For so many people here who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, the Pulse Nightclub has always been a safe haven, a place to sing and dance, and most importantly, to be who you truly are -- including for so many people whose families are originally from Puerto Rico. Sunday morning, that sanctuary was violated in the worst way imaginable. So whatever the motivations of the killer, whatever influences led him down the path of violence and terror, whatever propaganda he was consuming from ISIL and al Qaeda, this was an act of terrorism but it was also an act of hate. This was an attack on the LGBT community. Americans were targeted because we’re a country that has learned to welcome everyone, no matter who you are or who you love. And hatred towards people because of sexual orientation, regardless of where it comes from, is a betrayal of what’s best in us.

Joe and I were talking on the way over here -- you can't make up the world into “us” and “them,” and denigrate and express hatred towards groups because of the color of their skin, or their faith, or their sexual orientation, and not feed something very dangerous in this world.

So if there was ever a moment for all of us to reflect and reaffirm our most basic beliefs that everybody counts and everybody has dignity, now is the time. It's a good time for all of us to reflect on how we treat each other, and to insist on respect and equality for every human being.

We have to end discrimination and violence against our brothers and sisters who are in the LGBT community -- here at home and around the world, especially in countries where they are routinely persecuted. We have to challenge the oppression of women, wherever it occurs -- here or overseas. There’s only “us” -- Americans.

Here in Orlando, in the men and women taken from us, those who loved them, we see some of the true character of this country -- the best of humanity coming roaring back; the love and the compassion and the fierce resolve that will carry us through not just through this atrocity, but through whatever difficult times may confront us.

It’s our pluralism and our respect for each other -- including a young man who said to a friend, he was “super proud” to be Latino. It’s our love of country -- the patriotism of an Army reservist who was known as “an amazing officer.” It’s our unity -- the outpouring of love that so many across our country have shown to our fellow Americans who are LGBT, a display of solidarity that might have been unimaginable even a few years ago.

Full text here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Newsbites, 6/15/16

 A few more-or-less positive things I gleaned from today's news, all of which are well worth your time to watch or read.

1. Prince William appears on the cover of British gay magazine Attitude, the first member of the Royal Family ever to do so:

Following a meeting on May 12 at Kensington Palace with young LGBT people, HRH issued this statement:
No one should be bullied for their sexuality or any other reason and no one should have to put up with the kind of hate that these young people have endured in their lives. The young gay, lesbian and transgender individuals I met through Attitude are truly brave to speak out and to give hope to people who are going through terrible bullying right now. Their sense of strength and optimism should give us all encouragement to stand up to bullying wherever we see it. What I would say to any young person reading this who’s being bullied for their sexuality: don’t put up with it – speak to a trusted adult, a friend, a teacher, Childline, Diana Award or some other service and get the help you need. You should be proud of the person you are and you have nothing to be ashamed of.

2. Utah's Republican Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox speaks at vigil, apologizes for past behavior to gays, calls for change of hearts:

3. Liberal Redneck Trae Crowder breaks it down in plain English: Which fucking side are you on, bubba?

I can't embed the video, but do go watch it at the New York Daily News website.

4. In case anyone is in doubt, Stephen Colbert kindly diagrams the meaning of Trumpery:

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Anderson Cooper: Remembering the Victims

A must-watch:

If YouTube pulls the video, watch it on CNN here.

Monday, June 13, 2016

At the Intersection of Hate and Murder

I am still trying to take in what happened in Orlando, but although I've read numerous accounts of the massacre, I still feel strangely numb - I think it's just too big and too horrible to comprehend.  And too much of the same old hate, hate, hate we have all endured for a lifetime, a nightmare fear now brought to a terrible reality.

But I offer a couple things to my readers today, for consideration. First, I am irritated with the media-manufactured controversy on whether it was terrorism or a hate crime, or whether it was directed at gays or at Americans, and yada yada yada. Of course it was ALL those things at the same time, and more. I couldn't find an image to convey what I mean, so I made up this simple graphic of what seem to me to be the four main causes of this crime:

It's important, very important I think, to see ALL these factors as valid causes of this tragedy; human beings are complex, and people rarely do anything just for one simple reason.

If you don't believe me, just ask yourself why you ate what you ate for breakfast this morning, or for dinner last night - whatever you put in your mouth, was it because you were on a diet, or falling off one, because the cupboard was bare or overflowing, because you were sick or well, tired or inspired, or because you ate alone at home or out with friends, or, or, or - what?

And perhaps a few more causes could be added to my graphic; for example, I just read this brief but highly significant report in the Orlando Sentinel:

Gunman Omar Mateen visited gay nightclub a dozen times before shooting, witness says

Was he casing the joint, or was he locked in a closet of self-loathing and trying to break out?

And I am quite touched by this interview with the murderer's father - despite my anger and grief, I see a man struggling to come to terms with his own enormous pain and loss, and not yet quite understanding the part he played, at second hand as a parent, in this massacre:

Father of Orlando Mass Murderer Apologizes, Clarifies

(Video not embeddable by me)

The Orlando victims have been remembered around the nation and the world: in New York, the Empire State Building spire went dark in mourning, while the World Trade Center spire was lit in rainbow colors last night:

In Sydney, Australia, the harbor bridge was lit in rainbow colors too:

Crowds gathered at the Eiffel Tower in Paris:

One man held a sign saying, "We are a 'certain idea of the world,' never targeted 'by chance'" - a riff on a famous quote by Charles de Gaulle:

The Eiffel Tower was lit in the colors of the rainbow:

While an illuminated balloon bore the colors of Old Glory:

Amsterdam also remembered at the Royal Palace:

Crowds gathered in Seoul:

And on a beach in India:

And in London, a vigil was held in Soho:

Will it ever end?  A chilling report from the Guardian: 1,000 mass shootings in 1,260 days.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Horror in Orlando

Your Head Trucker slept late this afternoon and is just now taking in the grievous news of what is the deadliest shooting in American history, according to President Obama:

Full text of the President's remarks here.

The President has also ordered U. S. flags to be flown at half-staff for the next three days.

I have no words, only thoughts of sympathy and condolence for the wounded and the families of the dead.

New York Times account of the massacre.

Washington Post account.

Los Angeles Times account.

Orlando Sentinel account.

Queen Elizabeth II issued a statement of sympathy:
Prince Philip and I have been shocked by the events in Orlando. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been affected.

Pope Francis condemned the massacre:
The terrible massacre that has taken place in Orlando, with its dreadfully high number of innocent victims, has caused in Pope Francis, and in all of us, the deepest feelings of horror and condemnation, of pain and turmoil before this new manifestation of homicidal folly and senseless hatred. Pope Francis joins the families of the victims and all of the injured in prayer and in compassion. Sharing in their indescribable suffering he entrusts them to the Lord so they may find comfort. We all hope that ways may be found, as soon as possible, to effectively identify and contrast the causes of such terrible and absurd violence which so deeply upsets the desire for peace of the American people and of the whole of humanity.

Time magazine reports reactions from other world leaders and notables here.

From Reuters:

Via Reluctant Rebel:

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Trooping the Colour, 2016

The official celebrations of Her Majesty the Queen's 90th birthday began yesterday in London with a service of thanksgiving at St. Paul's cathedral; and as it happens, yesterday was also the 95th birthday of her consort, HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Today, the annual Queen's Birthday Parade, also known as Trooping the Colour, took place, with the Queen taking the salute of the Coldstream Guards on Horse Guards Parade, followed by a balcony appearance with the rest of the Royal Family and a splendid fly-past put on by the Royal Air Force. The precision flying of the Red Arrows, seen at the end of the third video below, was surely a breathtaking sight to see.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Waitin' for the Weekend

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Sunday Drive: They Can't Take That Away from Me

As performed by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong on the album Ella and Louis, 1956:

Friday, June 3, 2016

Waitin' for the Weekend

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Today's Quote

Left by a commenter on this Washington Post story:

Not a republican, but I thought that Paul Ryan was at least a decent, principled human being. And today he sold his soul to support someone who's an utter buffoon.

Yup, that nails it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

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