Gay Flip-Flops Abound

I’ll say this for the Bush administration. They can still surprise me. Back in January I posted about how the Bush administration backed an Iranian initiative to block U.N. access to gay human rights groups.

But apparently there’s been an about face, of sorts. As other countries again lined up to deny consultative access to a gay human rights group (this time a German organization), the U.S. parted ways with countries agreed with just months ago, and voted along with France to support U.N. access for a gay organization.

United Nations member states again voted to deny a gay group the ability to officially influence proceedings, but the United States is once again backing the group’s effort to be included, according an international human rights organization.

Mark Bromley, a spokesman for Global Rights, said United Nations members voted May 16 to deny a German gay organization’s bid to obtain consultative status. The status is required for any organization hoping to speak at United Nations meetings, or lobby member nations.

… According to Global Rights, nine nations voted to reject the German group’s application. Opponents included China and Iran.

France and the U.S. were among the seven nations that voted to support the application. Two countries — India and Turkey — abstained.

Bromley said it was significant that U.S. officials voted May 16 to support the German group’s application. In a vote earlier this year, U.S. officials opposed applications by gay-focused groups.

“I think that sort of the big change from our perspective — and the small victory — is that the U.S. government changed its vote,” he said. “That’s a real step forward.”

It is a real step forward, but I can’t help looking a gift-horse in the mouth here and asking just what has changed for the Bush administration since January? Besides poll number, that is. Or maybe that’s it.

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Iraqi Gays Still Terrorized

I don’t know if news is just slow to spread in Iraq. But unless this story is older than I think it is, it looks like gay Iraqis still face religious death squads, despite earlier news that Sistani lifted the fatwa against gay men (not lesbians, though) last week.

THE death threat was delivered to Karazan’s father early in the morning by a masked man wearing a police uniform.

The scribbled note was brief. Karazan had to die because he was gay. In the new Baghdad, his sexuality warranted execution by the religious militias.

The father was told that if he did not hand his son over, other family members would be killed.

What scares the city’s residents is how the fanatics’ list of enemies is growing. It includes girls who refuse to cover their hair, boys who wear theirs too long, booksellers, liberal professors and prostitutes. Three shops known to sell alcohol were bombed yesterday in the Karrada shopping district.

In this atmosphere of intolerance and intimidation, the militias have made no secret of their hatred of homosexuals.

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Posted in Current Events, Gay Rights, Human Rights, Religion, War on Terror | 1 Comment

So, can we call them racists yet?

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A christian adoption agency that receives government funds won’t let Catholics adopt. Well, you know what they say about “what goes around.”

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It’s official. The reservations have been made. I’ll be at the YearlyKos Convention in Las Vegas, June 8 – 11. (And “the ex” is gonna be there too.) I’ve never been to Las Vegas before, so it should be quite an experience. The family is staying behind, so — since I don’t drink or gamble — maybe I’ll take in a show or two. Gimme a holler if you’re gonna be there too.

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links for 2006-05-17

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Somehow it got by me, but the Mad Professah reminded me that today is International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO). Of course, every day is a day against homophobia on this blog, so I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do differently today. Anyway, I’d say head to the nearest IDAHO activity in your area, but there aren’t any U.S. activities listed in the site. That just figures, don’t it?

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Brain Busted

I always suspected it, now I hear there’s a study that damn near proves it: my brain is working against me.

As you dash outdoors in the middle of winter, you might make it halfway down the block before realizing that your ears are freezing because you forgot your hat.

Now, scientists have shown that even though you’ve had an apparent memory lapse, your brain never forgot what you should have done.

Memory works mainly by association. For example, as you try to remember where you left your keys, you might recall you last had them in the living room, which reminds you that there was a commercial for soap on television, which reminds you that you need soap, and so on. And then, as you’re heading out the door to buy soap, you remember that your keys are on the kitchen counter.

Your brain knew where the keys were all along, it just took a round-about way to get there.

Well, shit. Brain, you’re busted. But I’ve suspected that all along.

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Good News from Georgia

Well, this is welcome news. A Georgia judge struck down the state’s ban on gay marriage. And in doing so, she offered these words of sanity.

Judge Constance C. Russell’s order states: "This Court is well aware that Amendment One enjoyed great public support. However, the test of law is not its popularity. Procedural safeguards such as the single subject rule rarely enjoy popular support. But, ultimately it is those safeguards that preserve our liberties, because they ensure that the actions of government are constrained by the rule of law."

I’m rather amazed, actually. But not naively hopeful. The judge’s wise words will soon be lost in the hysteria almost certain to ensue. Rest assured that the proponents of the amendment will mount another attempt as soon as possible, this time maybe more inline with the procedural guidelines, and the overwhelming majority of Georgians will turn out to vote for it again. They’ll turn out because they won’t get the overarching message in the judges comments. Or at least I have no faith that the majority of the people in the state of my birth will even bother to try get it. Continue reading

Posted in Courts, Current Events, Family, Gay Rights, Politics | 1 Comment

Tar Baby

Oh no he didn’t. It’s amazing what people will say when they think you ain’t in the room.

SNOW: Having said that, I don’t want to hug the tar baby of trying to comment on the program, the alleged program, the existence of which I can neither confirm nor deny.

….

QUESTION: What are your personal goals? What do you hope to achieve here? Will you continue to televise these briefings? And would you put into English the phrase (OFF-MIKE) the tarbaby?

SNOW: Well, I believe hug the tarbaby, we could trace that back to American lore.

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Posted in Culture, Current Events, Politics, Race | 4 Comments

Religious Remainders

I don’t often to “remainders” posts. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever done one. But there were a lot items on my radar and in my news reader today that were religiously related in one way or another. So many, in fact, that when I tried to tie them all together in a single post, I found myself tripping over countless contextual links.

So, chickened out and figured if I just posted them all together people would recognize the contexts they all share in common.

We’ll start with something I blogged about just last week.

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links for 2006-05-16

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Boss from Hell

Prada1I’ve been seeing previews for The Devil Wears Prada, and as much as I’d like to see Meryl Streep sink her teeth into what looks like a pretty over-the-top role, I don’t think we’ll be spending any babysitting mojo on this one. I’ve heard the story (it’s thinly veiled account from a former assistant of Vogue’s Anna Wintour of what it’s like to work for her), but it wasn’t until I saw this clip of the movie that I realized I’d also lived some of the story, as I listened to some people interviewed for the clip describe some of the more outlandish tasks assigned by their previous bosses. And then there’s the flaming hoops you jump through on a regular basis on some jobs.


In Miranda’s universe, two pre-publication copies of the latest Harry Potter book must be flown by private jet to Paris so that her twin daughters can read them before their friends; it’s up to Andrea to make the arrangements on a moment’s notice. Tough, but do-able. More finesse is required when Miranda asks Andrea to hunt down the address of "that antique store in the seventies, the one where I saw the vintage dresser." Of course, Andrea wasn’t with Miranda when she saw the dresser, so she winds up trekking to every antique store — and, just to be safe, every furniture store — between 70th and 80th Street in Manhattan, grilling clerks to find out whether the famous Miranda Priestly had stopped by recently. Three days later, Andrea admits defeat . . . only to have Miranda inform her, impatiently, that she’s just located the store’s business card, the one she thought she’d lost. The address is on East 68th Street.

Miranda requires up to five breakfasts per morning so that whenever she arrives at the office, a hot meal will be waiting; reheating isn’t an option. The other four must be thrown out because her assistants aren’t permitted to eat in her presence. Nor are they permitted to hang their coats next to hers. Nor to request clarifications if her demands are indecipherable: "Cassidy wants one of those nylon bags all the little girls are carrying. Order her one in the medium size and a color she’d like."

There’s a kind of grotesque heroism in this, an obliviousness to the feelings of others that is larger than life — and thus mesmerizing. When Weisberger’s novel succeeds, it succeeds on these terms. No one who reads the book will forget Miranda Priestly.

Just remember, when reading your job description, it’s that "other duties as assigned" clause that makes it all possible.

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Maybe I’m a hardass, but it doesn’t mean much to me that a criminal will be "tormented for the rest of his life" by his crimes (or at least by the fact that he got caught). He can just endure that same torment in a cell.

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Supremes Sidestep Gay Families

Did they dodge a bullet or did we? I’m not sure, but I’m a bit relieved when the Supreme Court refuses to rule on a gay adoptions case, thus letting stand a ruling that came down in our favor.

In a Washington state case, the U.S. Supreme Court refused today to block a gay woman from seeking parental rights to a child she had helped raise with her partner.

Justices could have used the case to clarify the rights of gays in child custody disputes stemming from nontraditional families.

They declined, without comment, to disturb a ruling of Washington state’s highest court that said Sue Ellen Carvin could pursue ties to the girl as a “de facto parent.” The girl is now 11.

The case had brought a contentious issue to a court that has shied away from gay rights disputes.

… Carvin’s attorneys had said the court has never agreed to hear a case involving parenting or visitation disputes arising from same-sex relationships, a recognition “that state courts can best provide the case by case attention these matters require.”

In this case, I think it may be that both the Supreme Court (and the Bush administration and Republican party, by extension) and gay families dodged a bullet this time.

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