Thursday, December 29, 2005

More Failures For Heterosexist Supremacists

As I reported last week, one group of heterosexist supremacists failed to gather enough signatures to put an initiative on the June 2006 primary ballot. In today's Los Angeles Times, the other shoe drops: Andrew Pugno,'s general counsel is quoted saying "I think it is very unlikely there will be any [anti-gay] measure on the ballot this coming year." Randy Thomasson, of, announced that "it would not circulate petitions until it raises enough money to guarantee a successful drive by paid signature gatherers." He said that his group may not have a ballot measure until 2008. Happily, the good guys (Equality Califiornia) is not taking them at their word and is rapidly attempting to set up a field operation in every county in the state. "We are moving full steam ahead preparing for what we think will be a major battle in November," said executive director Geoffrey Kors. I agree with Equality California, that we should be prepared. It only takes one wingnut millionaire with more money than sense to donate $1-2 million dollars to pay the signature gatherers to initiate a $10-20 million ballot battle in November 2006. Happily, we do know that at least there will not be an anti-gay proposition on the June 2006 primary ballot. Instead, we just have to decide who do we want to be the next Governor of California: State Treasurer Phil Angelides or State Comptroller Steve Westly (both of whom have said they would have signed the Civil Marriage and Religious Freedom Act of 2005 which Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed in September 2005).

Another tidbit from today's Times article was the estimate of 2007 for a final ruling from the California Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the current heterosexuals-only marriage law. I also must applaud the Times for pointing out that the ballot measures proposed by the heterosexist supremacists Thomasson and Pugno and their ilk would not only amend the state constitution to further ban gay marriage, but also would have voided statewide comprehensive domestic partnership benefits and responsibilities which just went into effect on January 1, 2005.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A Panoply of Films, A Myriad of Reviews

So, it's the end of the year so I have been seeing an average of about one movie a day in "Ron and Dean's Moviegoing Orgy." So far, we have seen (finally!):

Syriana. A tangled mess of interconnected plots which are interesting but also bewildering and ultimately uninvolving.
Good Night, and Good Luck. Realistic, almost journalistic portrayal of McCarthy era paranoia and the fourth estate's response.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. A slightly too-faithful adaptation of the book, with a nice performance by Tilda Swinton as The Witch.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Very skillfully executed installment in the Harry Potter franchise, with clever direction to elicit strong performances from the rapidly maturing returning teenaged castmembers.
A History of Violence. Probably David Cronenberg's best film, though what exactly that means from the man who made "Dead Ringers," "Crash," and "Naked Lunch" is not quite clear. The script is very taut and the performances by Viggo Mortensen and Ashton Holmes are riveting.
Walk The Line. Simply amazing performances by Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix who inhabit their roles while depicting the amazing love story of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash with stunning accuracy and heartbreaking emotion.
The Squid and the Whale. A very disturbing meditation/explication of parental psychological violence and influence upon their children. The parents are exquisitely depicted by Laura Linney and Jeff Daniels, but I found the structure of the film itself problematic as the narcissistic, obnoxious father gets to replicate his fictional dominance upon the audience due to the director's choice of focussing the film around this character's behavior without providing the other characters with opportunities for countervailing input.

On the list to be seen before Oscar nominations are announced on January 31: King Kong, Brokeback Mountain, Match Point (maybe), Pride and Prejudice and Memoirs of a Geisha.

Dumb Stuff Said By Conservatives in 2005

Wow. Steve Gilliard of the News Blog, a DailyKos alum, has highlighted Media Matters' list of "the most outrageous statements of 2005." Of course, Bill Bennett's now-infamous faux pas "[Y]ou could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down" from September 28, 2005 is on the list, and at least 20 others, just as horrifying, from Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Pat Robertson, Tucker Carlson and their ilk.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Congress Goes Too Far Right On Immgration

Right before leaving for the year, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed an immigration bill. The bill was described by Mexican President Vicente Fox as "shameful" in the New York Times. It's main sponsor was the odious James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin). It is unlikely that such a xenophobic bill will have much traction in the Senate so that is doubtful that any of the very many onerous provisions will ultimately become law.

Here is a brief list of some of the 169 page bill's contents :
  1. Requires employers to use within six years a database to verify Social Security numbers of employees or face civil or criminal penalties for hiring illegal workers.
  2. Requires detention for all non-Mexican illegal immigrants arrested at ports of entry or at land and sea borders by Oct. 1, 2006.
  3. Establishes mandatory sentences for smuggling illegal immigrants and for re-entering the country illegally after deportation.
  4. Makes illegal presence in the country a crime.
  5. Makes a drunken driving conviction a deportable offense.
  6. Requires building five two-layer fences in parts of California, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona on the U.S.-Mexican border. Places priority on fence at Laredo, Texas.
  7. Requires the departments of Defense and Homeland Security to develop a joint plan on increased use of military surveillance equipment on the border.
  8. Requires Border Patrol uniforms to be made in the United States, not Mexico.
  9. Prohibits the attorney general from providing grant money to any federal, state or local government agency or entity that fails to provide the Department of Homeland Security with information on a person's citizenship or immigration status.
  10. Eliminates the visa lottery program.
  11. Makes wording of oath of citizenship recited in naturalization ceremonies law to prevent changes without congressional action.

The bill passed the House 239-182. Today's Los Angeles Times has an article on Rep. Tom Tancredo, one of the main proponents of the recently passed bill, as well as a piece analyzing family-based immigration in the United States. I suspect as 2006's political season heats up immigration will become an even more salient issue. I find it hard to believe that a majority of Californians will be following the House of Representatives' lead on this matter.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Mariah Ties Elvis For Most #1 Singles Behind The Beatles

Mariah Carey scored her 17th #1 single with "Don't Forget About Us," tying her with Elvis Preseley, second only to the Beatles' twenty #1 singles. Fellow divas Madonna and Whitney Houston both have eleven #1 singles. Some purists insist that Elvis has 18 #1 singles by counting the doubles-sided single "Don't Be Cruel" and "Hound Dog" as two hits instead of one.
It took Mariah 15 years to have 17 #1 singles, starting with 1990's "Vision of Love." Interestingly, Mariah may have another significant chart success in 2005: the #1 best-selling album of the year with The Emancipation of Mimi. Currently, she is in a very close race with 50 Cents' The Massacre(4.6 million for Mimi compared to 4.8 million for The Massacre) but since Mimi just scored 8 Grammy nominations and is still in the Top 10 of the Pop Albums chart, it is likely that the Voice will win this battle of the Divas!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Meme of Four

There's a "meme of four" going around the blogosphere. Bloggers are basically listing four answers to particular questions. From firedoglake:

Four jobs you've had in your life: department chairman, college professor, research assistant, international chess player.

Four movies you could watch over and over again: Dangerous Liaisons, The Princess Bride, Alien, The Lion in Winter.

Four places you've lived: Troy, New York; Bridgetown, Barbados; Amherst, Massachusetts; Los Angeles, California.

Four TV shows you love to watch: Alias, The Simpsons, Commander in Chief, The Daily Show

Four websites you visit daily:,,,,, etc etc

Four of your favorite foods: curried chicken with peas and rice; Dean's brownies; homemade mac 'n' cheese; Thai salmon curry;

Four places you'd rather be: Buenos Aires, Argentina; Delhi, India; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; St. George's, Grenada;

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Improbably Handsome Terrorists on TV

Showtime's Sleeper Cell is an interesting, well-done 10-hour miniseries about a Muslim terrorist cell operating in Los Angeles. The season finale aired last Sunday, and was a somewhat disappointing end to a usually well-written, tautly acted television show. The main plot follows an undercover FBI agent who is a green-eyed, African American Muslim played by the very handsome Michael Ealy. All of the members of the sleeper cell are improbably attractive: the beefy, blond, blue-eyed, all-American Tommy (Blake Shields), the sexy, shaved head, Gallic Christian (Alex Nesic), the shy, geeky, good-looking Ilija (Henri Lubatti) and the sinister, darkly handsome Faris (Oded Fehr). It's not clear exactly what the intentions of the creators of the series were when they cast such a pulchritudinous group of men to portray people who are systematically, purposefully planning to kill as many Americans as possible. Is it because they don't think the writing is compelling enough that they have to entice viewers with beautiful evil also? I may be too harsh, I actually like the show and think that the producers are doing a good job to show the minutiae and logistics of how a terrorist sleeper cell would actually operate in the United States. That being said, this is a television dramatic series after all, so verisimilitude is not the primary objective. And I don't think that it should be.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Muted Reaction to Gay Organ Donor Ban?

Okay, now this is getting ridiculous. The "homosexuality as pestilence" trope is becoming more and more ingrained in certain quarters. Kudos to QueerDay for bringing this story to my attention. Corrente and Pam Spaulding has also covered it, but I don't quite understand why this story has not reached that much "play" in the blogosphere. The facts of the situation are uncontested. An openly gay man named Albert Soto died in Tucson, AZ of a massive stroke on November 26. He was a generous person, and an organ donor. But his organs were refused for donation.

One response to the Soto story has been from the Donor Network of Arizona:
"The criteria for tissue and eye donation
is a federal regulation enforced by the
Food and Drug Administration. Federal
regulations preclude recovery of tissue
from potential donors who may have
engaged in male-to-male sexual contact
within the preceding five years, as well
as from donors with other medical risk

Please note this is not about HIV or AIDS. Soto was HIV negative. This about the fact that the Federal government is equating homosexual sex (male-to-male sexual contact, in their parlance) with infection. I believe this is a reflection of institutional and medical homophobia. And, as a friend of mine wrote earlier this week, homophobia can have deadly consequences.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Heterosexual Supremacists Miss Signature Deadline

The heterosexual supremacists who are attempting to re-write California's constitution to prohibit recognition of domestic partners by any subdivision of state government and restrict marriage to be a heterosexual entitlement have until December 22 to file their signatures with the Secretary of State in order to attempt to qualify for the June 2006 primary ballot.

They have apparently missed their deadline, according to Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

VA: Warner Tries To Sneak LGB Equality Thru

As one of his last acts as Governor of Virginia, Mark Warner (D) has amended an executive order to add sexual orientation as a protected category which is protected from discrimination in hiring by the state. His successor, Tim Kaine (D) has agreed to maintain the equal rights protections for LGB folk in his administration. Republican conservatives are complaining about both the process and principle which led to Warner's action.

Of course I disagree with the Republicans on principle, but I also disagree that LGB democrats should be praising Warner for enacting protections for LGB employees in state government at the end of his gubernatorial term instead of at the beginning. To me, the ambitious Southern governor is trying to have his cake and eat it, too. He can appear supportive to supporters of LGB rights, but he risks no political capital to do so. Meanwhile, there's been a huge amount of virulently anti-gay legislative activity in the last four years--what has the Governor been doing to reduce and tamp down this activity?

Monday, December 19, 2005

Bush Doesn't Care About Civil Liberties, Either!

After a jaw-dropping scoop by the New York Times on Friday that President Bush authorized the National Security Agency to electronically monitor the telephone calls and emails of certain American citizens and permanent residents, the blogosphere and mainstream media have been very active! (I have been locked in my bedroom grading final exams and computing semester grades--all done now!) The President has admitted that this domestic spying program has been used 30 times, says that his lawyers tell him that he can legally do this (which many other lawyers and politicians spiritedly dispute) and says that he will continue to use the program.

The immediate fallout of the news of warrantless searches of Americans being conducted in apparent violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 was the United States Senate's inability to end a filibuster against the renewal of the USA PATRIOT Act, the most controversial provisions of which expire on December 31, 2005. In addition, heads of the Judiciary Committee in the House and in the Senate promised hearings into the constitutionality of the President's domestic spying program to be held early in 2006.

In his end-of-year press conference today, President Bush implicitly referenced Kanye West's comment that "George Bush doesn't care about Black people" comment from earlier this year in response to a reporter's question about Hurricane Katrina and race relations in general. Bush's answer to that question was disappointing, but it brought up the thought in my mind that Geoerge Bush doesn't care about civil liberties, either!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Prince of Darkness Hired by Fox News Channel

After 25 years at CNN, columnist and tv commentator Robert Novak is leaving the network for Rupert Murdoch's Fox News Channel. Widely derided among political junkies and others as "Novakula" or "the Prince of Darkness," Novak had not appeared on CNN since he cursed James Carville live on air during the August 4th taping of an "Inside Politics" segment. CNN promptly suspended Novak. He had recently received national attention as the columnist who pyblished the original story revealing that Ambassador Joe Wilson's wife (Valerie Plame) was a covert CIA agent, leading to the now-infamous PlameGate controversy.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Top 10 Online Dictionary Searches for 2005

Merriam Webster has released the annual list of the Top 10 words searched for at its website in 2005. The List of Top 10 searched words are
  1. Integrity
  2. Refugee
  3. Contempt
  4. Filibuster
  5. Insipid
  6. Tsunami
  7. Pandemic
  8. Conclave
  9. Levee
  10. Inept

Here's a fun contest! Can you use all ten words in a short paragraph (1-3 sentences) to describe the Bush administration in 2005??

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

MadProfessah Endorses Pam's House Blend

Yes, he's cute. (For a white boi.) Yes, he's going to be appearing on the cover of Instinct Magazine soon. But, is Brat Boy School the Best LGBT Blog in 2005? Methinks not. The Mad Professah endorses Pam's House Blend, who has been on our blogroll since very early in our inception, and who is a refreshingly gay (well, lesbian, anyway) and progressive voice in the blogosphere. Go, Pam!

Noah's Arc Season Finale

Tonight is the season finale of Patrik-Ian Polk's Noah's Arc on LOGO. The show has improved as the season has progressed so there are many other people in addition to myself looking forward to the inevitable cliffhangers in tonight's episode.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

D.C.:Comprehensive Domestic Partner Bill Proceeds

The Washington, D.C. city council has given a comprehensive domestic partnership bill its first reading. Unfortunately, D.C. is not a state, but a colony of the U.S. Congress. So, even if the bill does pass its second reading on December 20th and is signed into law by D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams, the U.S. Congress can prevent the legislation from taking effect by passing a statute with a simple majority in both houses.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Martina Returning to Women's Tennis in 2006

No, not that Martina! Former #1 Martina Hingis has announced that she will be returning to the WTA Tour in 2006, most likely in a tournament in Australia in January. Hopefully, this comeback will succeed better than her previous comeback from last February, when she lost to unheralded Marlene Weingartner 1-6, 6-2, 6-2. It will be interesting to see if Hingis can really have an impact on the 2006 WTA Tour, with the Williams Sisters in and out of form, Henin-Hardenne weakened, Seles and Capriati basically retired, and Davenport not committing to a schedule past March. Somehow, Although she has 40 WTA Tour titles and 5 Grand Slam titles and came within one match of winning the calendar Grand Slam in 1997 (losing the French Open Final to Iva Majoli), it's a different game now in 2006 and I doubt she can repeat a fraction of her previous success.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

NY: Appeals Court Overturns Marriage Ruling

Hmmm, the favorable gay marriage ruling from a New York Superior Court judge from last February has been reversed by a New York Appellate Court 4-1. and both have stories which include commitments from the plaintiffs to appeal to the highest court in New York, the 7-member State Court of Appeals. As I have mentioned before, we're still waiting for a final ruling from Washington State, and California's case has yet to get to the appellate level.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Arnold Appoints Over-40, "Single White Female" to Powerful Position (Again)

In the midst of the Roberts, Miers and Alito nominations to the U.S. Supreme Court, I have been repeatedly commenting about the vacancy on the California Supreme Court and Governor Schwarzenegger's hesitancy in filling the seat vacated by Janice Rogers Brown on her elevation to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. I said then that he would pick either Vance Raye or Carol Corrigan. I was right. Yesterday, Arnold announced he was naming Carol Corrigan to the California Supreme Court. Is it just me, or does anyone else notice a pattern here?

Last week, Arnold shocked the establishment by naming Gray Davis' Chief of Staff to be his Chief of Staff. It's not clear what Republicans found more offensive, that Susan Kennedy worked for Gray Davis, that she is openly lesbian, or that she used to have executive positions in statewide Democratic and pro-choice organizations. Susan Kennedy is white, 45, "single," and lives with a female partner in Marin County.

Carol Corrigan, as the Los Angeles Times, so coyly informs us in a sentence fragment at the end of a biographical sidebar about the soon-to-be Justice of the California Supreme Court, "[i]s unmarried and shares a house in Oakland with a female friend." To summarize, Carol Corrigan is white, 57, "single" and lives with another female in Alameda County.

So, let me get this straight (sic). For the second time in two weeks, Arnold has appointed an over-40,"single" white female who shares a residence with another woman in a Northern California county to an incredibly powerful position. Well, I guess that's one way to attempt to resolve one's "mommy issues!"

Objectifying Male Flesh: Rating Flogs

Thanks to Rod 2.0 I have discovered Made in Brazil. Anyway, MIB is having a contest for the best "photo blog" (or flog) devoted to a hunky young man. After extensive research, I voted for Marsili. Go to the website and let me know if you agree!

Friday, December 09, 2005

BULGARIA: Gay Sex Soccer Scandal

In what reads like the "script" for a gay porn movie, four amateur football players from Varna , Bulgaria have been fired for engaging in a "sex foursome in the changing room." The full news items reads as:

A gay scandal involving four
players has hit an amateur football club
from Varna, Bulgaria.

The four were expelled from the MAX
club after being caught in a sex foursome
in the changing room, a newspaper report
said Friday.

Coach Georgi Dimov has confirmed the
disclosure, saying that the homosexual
players were kicked out for damaging the
club's reputation, 7 Dni Sport says.

MAX is currently struggling to enter
professional football, and negotiating
with potential sponsors, the report

Truth is stranger than fiction?

Mariah Vindicated By Music Establishment

Mariah Carey has a damn good publicist! On the day the Grammy nominations are announced she has a Column One story on the front page of the Los Angeles Times titled "Back Atop The Charts, Her Way." The story continues with "Carey Rebounds After a Hard Fall" and "Pop Star Shakes Off Bad Run."

Later in the day, Mariah was vindicated with the announcemen of her Eight Grammy Nominations, tied for first with Kanye West and John Legend. Significantly, Mariah was the only who had three nominations in the big four categories (Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artist). Mariah's nominations are:
  1. Album of the Year, The Emancipation of Mimi
  2. Record of the Year, "We Belong Together"
  3. Song of the Year, "We Belong Together"
  4. Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, "It's Like That"
  5. Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, "We Belong Together"
  6. Best Tradional R&B Vocal Performance, "Mine Again"
  7. Best R&B Song, "We Belong Together"
  8. Best Contemporary R&B Album, The Emancipation of Mimi

Oddly, Mariah currently only has 2 Grammy Awards, (Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "Vision of Love" and Best New Artist from 1991). I think she has a good chance of winning at least one of the major awards. "We Belong Together" was the most played song of the year on radio. I'll definitely be tuned into the Grammy Awards on February 8, 2006.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

WA: Mayor West Recalled

Unsurprisingly, Mayor Jim West was removed from office by the voters of Spokane, Washington yesterday. The vote was overwhelming, 65% in favor of the Mayor's recall, and only 35% opposed. This should be the end of the career of the publicly homophobic, privately homosexual conservative Republican politician. Good riddance!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Devin Brown's Killer Will Not Face County Prosecution has the details of Mayor Villaraigosa's statement in response to Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley's decision to not charge LAPD officer Steve Garcia in the shooting of 13-year-old Devin Brown. He does a good job of mentioning the policy changes that LAPD has begun to institute as a result of this case while still expressing outrage at the event itself. MadProfessah has been covering this case closely since it happened in February. It's my understanding there is a civil suit pending and that there is still a question about whether the LAPD will fire Garcia. In addition, the Los Angeles Police Commission has yet to rule on the case.
Interestingly, The West Wing fictionalized a version of the Devin Brown affair to illustrate racial fissures in the campaign of Matt Santos for President. More comment about that later...

Elton John Getting Married in the UK

Sir Elton John has set a date for his registered partnership with his partner of 12 years, David Furnish: December 21, 2005. Amusingly, they are getting hitched in the same place that Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles were finally married over the summer, in Windsor, Scotland. It's interesting to see that this story is being covered pretty well by the mainstream media, not just the gay press. The British registered partnership law went into effect today, Monday December 5th.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Lesbian Susan Kennedy Named To Governator's COS

New boss? Same as the old boss! Arnold Schwarzenegger announced Wednesday November 30 that openly gay democrat Susan Kennedy, Chief of Staff to former Governor Gray Davis, would become his new Chief of Staff. Ms. Kennedy, who previously was the highest ranked openly gay person serving in the California government as head of the California Public Utilities Commission, had a commitment ceremony with her partner, Vicki Marti, who is a psychotheapist, according to the Los Angeles Times. Needless to say, certain factions in the California Republican party are not happy: "She embodies everything I have spent my life opposing. It obviously raises more problems and concerns about where he is headed next year," said Mike Spence, president of the California Republican Assembly. "There is a list of things now where it appears we would have been better off if Gray Davis were governor."
Let that last line sink in for a moment, folks. "[W]e would have been better off if Gray Davis were governor." Think Mr. Spence will be invited to smoke any cigars with Arnold (or Susan Kennedy, for that matter!) any time soon? Sheeeesh.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

SOUTH AFRICA: legalizes same-sex marriage!

And then there were 5... (countries which allow same sex couples the full rights and responsibilities of marriage identical to opposite sex couples: The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada and now South Africa

The country's highest court ruled that these restrictions were unconstitutional. South Africa has an explicit mention of sexual orientation in its constitution as a non-discrimination category.

World AIDS Day: 40.3 million and counting...

UNAIDS, the United Nations programme on HIV/AIDS, has produced its latest predictions on the number of people who have HIV/AIDS in 2005: 40.3 million people. On its website, the BBC has this very disturbing map of the global distribution of HIV/AIDS, with color coded HIV prevalence rates.


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