Jive in the [415] Blog | Gay LGBT News Political Commentary: December 2012 December 2012 | Jive in the [415] Blog | Gay LGBT News Political Commentary

December 30, 2012

The 4 Top Gay LGBT News Stories This Week

The residents of Maine celebrate marriage equality 12/29/12
The 4 most important Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender news stories of the week ending December 30, 2012.

1. Marriage Equality The Law In Maine and Maryland Is Next

Maine's marriage equality law took effect at the stroke of midnight on December 29th, 2012, and LGBT couples throughout the state waited in line to apply for their marriage licenses, so that they could legally be married.

The voter approved marriage equality ballot measure was approved by Maine voters on November 6th, 2012, as voters in Maryland and Washington state, passed similar measures. Washington state’s marriage equality law took effect December 9th, 2012., and Maryland’s is effective January 1st, 2013.

The Associated Press described the excitement:
In Portland, the mood was festive with the crowd cheering and horns sounding at midnight as Bridges and Snell began filling out paperwork in the clerk's office in Portland City Hall. There were free carnation boutonnieres and cupcakes, and a jazz trio played.

Outside, the raucous group that gathered in front of the building cheered Bridges and Snell as if they were rock stars and broke into the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love."

Fourteen couples received marriage licenses, and five of them married on the spot, a city spokeswoman said. Many of those who received their marriage license were middle-aged, and some said they never envisioned a day when gay couples could wed just like straight couples.

"I came out years ago and the only thing we wanted was to not get beaten up," said Steven Jones, 50, who married his partner, Jamous Lizotte, on his 35th birthday.
Congratulations to those who worked so hard on the campaigns for equality in Washington state, Maryland, Maine, and Minnesota.

To the couples getting married and making history, BRAVO! You are brave pioneers and trailblazers. Be proud and stand tall, and know that you have the love and support of the LGBT community that stretches from coast to coast.

2. Pope Benedict XVI reaffirms his commitment to homophobia and unequal rights.

Pope Benedict XVI made inflammatory remarks about marriage equality that fanned the flames of homophobia, and was roundly criticized in the press.

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell attacked the Pope and his misguided and troubling remarks about marriage equality, and the LGBT community around the world (video below).

Clare King of MSNBC.com writes:

[The Pope believes] same-sex couples are fundamentally different because they cannot biologically reproduce. But MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell points out that “the Vatican sees nothing wrong with heterosexual couples who cannot biologically reproduce getting married.”

O’Donnell states that the Vatican, full of “guys who have taken a lifetime vow to remain tragically ignorant about marriage” is wrong again, not only on gay marriage, but also about socialism.

Naomi O'Leary writing for Reuters, described a protest by LGBT activists in Vatican City.

A group of demonstrators protesting against the Roman Catholic Church's stance on homosexual marriage tried to enter St Peter's Square in the Vatican on Sunday as Pope Benedict was giving his weekly address to pilgrims.

The protesters - who were kept out of the square by police - were upset over a speech by the pontiff on Friday in which he appeared to include efforts to legalize gay marriage among the threats to peace in the world.

"We find intolerable the assertion that gay unions are dangerous to the world. Weapons are much more dangerous," Gianfranco Mascia, 52, an activist who organized the protest told Reuters. "No to arms, yes to rights for everyone,.

The group of about 15 people held up signs reading "Gay unions don't harm peace, weapons do" in various languages.

As I wrote last week, the anti-gay pronouncements from the Vatican, and the anti-marriage equality message in L’Osservatore Romano , are incorrect and morally wrong on every level, and do not follow the example set by, or the loving spirit, of Jesus.

3. Professional Sports Teams Are Not Open To A Gay Teammate 

The Los Angeles Times reporter Kevin Baxter takes a look at homophobia in professional sports. Professional gay athletes come out after their playing career is over, and Baxter implied that even with advances in LGBT civil rights and marriage equality, that there are many in pro sports who aren’t “ready” for an active professional gay male athlete to come out. His story is entitled “In pro sports, gay athletes still feel unwelcome.”
No active player in the NFL, NBA, major leagues or NHL has ever come out as gay. Some say it would be career ending. Others say it will happen someday.

And it's not hard to see why. Even though public opposition to same-sex marriage and gay rights is rapidly eroding, the locker rooms and clubhouses of the country's four major sports leagues remain among the last bastions of homophobia in the U.S.

Consider the numbers. About 4,000 players spent time on active rosters in the NBA, NHL, NFL and Major League Baseball in 2012. With the best estimates of the gay/bisexual population in U.S. ranging from 2% to 10%, it's likely many of those 4,000 athletes are gay or bisexual.

Yet not one has come out of the closet. Not this year, not last year, not ever.
This is a story that needs to be told, and I’m confident that we will see progress sooner rather than later.

4. Republicans In Congress Tell American People to F*ck Off

The approaching “Fiscal Cliff” and Republicans obstructing a tax increase in Congress, as the GOP continues to thumb their nose at public sentiment, while willfully ignoring the will of the people,to raise taxes on individuals earning over $250K a year, is a strong signal that this political party doesn’t care about the people who are affected by their intransigence.

New members of Congress will be sworn in next week, and there is no indication that they will behave any differently in 2013.

Discrimination in our tax code, because the federal government does not recognize marriage equality, mandates that LGBT families pay more in taxes than heterosexual families. Married opposite-sex couples can file their income taxes jointly, while same-sex couples cannot.

Many in the LGBT community probably don’t think that what ‘s going on in Congress has any effect on our community, when it has a big impact on all of us.

I find it very difficult to understand why the GOP is insisting on draconian cuts to social programs right now. Why do they want to hurt the poor, and take food from the mouths of the hungry? The cuts to entitlement programs do NOT reduce our debt, it slows down growth., and that will cripple our economy.

Let your member of Congress know exactly how you feel about their inability to compromise. Though House Republicans are likely to say f*ck off. They’re pathetic.

straight talk in a queer world.      jiveinthe415.com          
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December 27, 2012

Bush 41: President George H. W. Bush Hospitalized In ICU

Our 41st President George H.W. Bush

Get Well Soon!

As some people may know, and many do not, I grew up in a rabidly Republican household. In many respects it was more Rockefeller Republican, than the current iteration of Republican, but it was the GOP all the same. My migration to the progressive cause was slow largely due to my upbringing.

President George Herbert Walker Bush was a statesman who was respected around the world. He knew the ins and outs of Congress as well as anyone, and could work with Republicans and Democrats. In fact he lost his re-election bid in part, because of his deal with Democrats to raise taxes.

I have a soft spot in my heart for our 41st President, and his wife George Washington as well. (On a serious note, Barbara Bush is pretty fantastic in her own right.)

President George H.W. Bush was the first president I ever met in person, in the flesh, and I shook his hand and got to look in his eyes. He was warm, funny, super smart, and not the best verbal communicator. Regardless, he was a good president who I admired and liked and respected. He appointed openly gay men and lesbians to his administration. He was honest and fair in my estimation.

Our oldest living former US President has been in the hospital for a few weeks, and apparently took a turn for the worse, and is now in intensive care. He is 89 years old and has had a hard time getting around of late. While his limbs have bothered him, and limited his mobility of late, his mind is still sharp. Barbara makes sure of that.

I wanted to send my thoughts and prayers to Bush 41. I think history will be very kind to the patriarch of the Bush family. He was the last true statesman to occupy the White House, and the last president who was very respected on both sides of the aisle.

This is the Navy Hymn that I know the President loves. It might sound maudlin to some civilian ears, but “Eternal Father” has provided hope and great comfort for countless numbers of US Navy personnel on shore and at sea. The President likes the second verse especially.

Eternal Father: The Navy Hymn    

Lyrics by Reverend William Whiting and Music by Reverend John B. Dyke

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep,
Its own appointed limits keep.

Oh hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea! Amen.

Eternal Father, lend Thy grace To
those with wings who fly thro' space,
Thro wind and storm, thro' sun and rain,
Oh bring them safely home again.

Oh Father, hear an humble prayer,
For those in peril in the air! Amen.

Oh Trinity of love and pow'r,
Our brethren shield in danger's hour,
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them where so e'er they go.

Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea! Amen.

President Bush - get well soon!

straight talk in a queer world.      jiveinthe415.com          
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Being The Senior Senator From Idaho Is A Tough Job - Just Ask Senator “Wide Stance”

Mugshot of former Idaho Senator Larry Craig and current Idaho Senator Mike Crapo

Legal Troubles: Senator Larry "Wide Stance" "I'm Not Gay" Craig and Senator Mike "Teetotaler" Crapo besmirch the good people of Idaho with their indiscretions.

I guess Christmas Eve was a slow news day, because the drunk driving arrest of US Senator Mike “the teetotaler” Crapo (kray*poe) (R-ID) was the big news of the day. Crapo is the Senior Senator from Idaho, and a very conservative Republican and Mormon at that. He won’t just have the court to answer to, I’m sure he was paid a visit from his Bishop this week, as the LDS church has little tolerance for people that use or abuse alcohol.

It got me to thinking about the last Senior Senator from Idaho who was arrested, the equally conservative Republican US Senator...... Larry “wide guy” “I’m not gayCraig. Craig told his police interrogator that when he sat undressed on the diminutive toilet in the handicap stall at the Minneapolis airport, that he had a “wide stance.” If his elderly foot and leg happened to encroach under the wall and into the stall of his neighbor, he assured the policeman that he wasn’t making a sexual overture, he was merely a “wide guy” with a “wide stance” using the bathroom.
When Larry Craig left the US Senate, he was appointed to the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association. He is still currently a board member, along with his pal Grover Norquist.

The Federal Election Commission is suing Senator Larry “I’m not gay’ Craig, or Senator “wide stance” as he is known in some circles, because he is alleged to have  misappropriated campaign funds to pay for his legal defense in the Minneapolis Airport Tearoom sex-sting operation. Senator “wide stance” says that using the toilet is part of “official Senate business.” According to the Associated Press:
Senator “wide stance” Craig, is being sued by the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) for allegedly misusing more than $200,000 in campaign funds  to pay legal bills in the Minneapolis Airport Tearoom scandal. He justified using campaign funds by claiming that using the toilet and employing a “wide stance” was official Senate business.
Mind you, Senator “wide stance” Craig entered a guilty plea. A guilty plea, where there was no trial, costs upwards of $200,000 dollars! And “wide-stance” says that even though he entered a guilty plea, he is not guilty. Just like I’m the sugar plum fairy.
Senator “wide stance” Craig purports that travel between Idaho and Washington, D.C. is official business of the Senate, and he cites a Senate rule which include all charges for meals, lodging, cleaning, french laundry, shoe shines -- and airport tearooms --  as reimbursable expenses. “The trip was constitutionally required, but Senate rules sanction reimbursement for any cost relating to a senator's use of a bathroom while on official travel" wrote Craig’s lawyer in documents filed with the court on on August 2, 2012.
It must be tough representing the great state of Idaho in the US Senate. The current Senior Senator, and the former Senior Senator, will have their day in court. I suspect that the people of Idaho, are thinking that they should cast a “wide net” when looking for a good candidate for US Senate the next time they have that opportunity.

A “wide stance” and a “liquored up” teetotaler hasn’t served the people very well.

straight talk in a queer world.      jiveinthe415.com          
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December 26, 2012

House Republicans Still Out Of Touch With Reality

Quotes from politicians in Congress criticizing GOP intransigence.

The GOP passed H.R. 6684 that mandates draconian cuts to anti-poverty programs, and maintains current levels of defense spending.

We’ve been hearing about the looming fiscal cliff since President Obama was re-elected for a second term. The term “fiscal cliff” was first uttered by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, while testifying before a committee in Congress, to describe the ramifications of a Republican sponsored bill in the House of Representatives, that mandated cuts in government spending, and increased income taxes on all Americans.

During debt-ceiling negotiations in the summer of 2011, House Republicans concocted a political scheme that they gambled would hurt the President and the Democratic party. The GOP agreed to increase the debt ceiling if a “nuclear option” was attached to the bill. The Budget Control Act mandated $1 trillion in spending cuts, and formed a Congressional committee to come up with an additional $1.2 trillion in cuts by November of 2011. If the committee failed in their mission, mandatory cuts in spending would take place starting January 1, 2013.

The committee failed to agree on a plan, as Democrats in the House and Senate required an increase in revenue, to balance spending cuts. This single issue is why our economy is sitting on the precipice of the cliff. While our economy has slowly recovered, the Republican party has refused to budge on taxes. This intransigence could destroy the small gains that we’ve made.

House Speaker John Boehner had a “plan B” that he hoped would solve the problem in the short term. He was unable to get enough support from his own Republican caucus to pass his proposal.

The GOP managed to pass H.R. 6684 which they called the Spending Reduction Act. This bill cuts billions of dollars from anti-poverty programs, and eliminates the mandatory cuts in defense spending. This House bill eliminates the existing tax incentive for college education, does not extend unemployment insurance, and makes severe cuts to spending on education, food assistance, airline safety, infrastructure, and health care.

The people made a choice when they re-elected the president, but that choice has fallen on deaf ears. It will be important for “the people” - that means you and me - to make our voices heard in the coming week.

These actions in the House do NOT reduce our debt, it just slows down growth., and that’s the opposite of what we need to happen right now.

I hope that we all let our elected Representatives know that we expect them back at work, looking for common ground. And they could start by raising the taxes on the wealthiest of our neighbors. Anything less is unacceptable.

straight talk in a queer world.      jiveinthe415.com          
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Many Gun Advocates Are Unbelievably Stupid!

A photo of Piers Morgan who has enraged gun advocates by calling them stupid
Piers pissed off the NRA and their gun advocates by calling them stupid. And I agree with him, they are beyond stupid.

I know that I recently wrote that I wondered who the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) “Wayne” was, and after his pitiful performance at last Friday’s press conference, I now know who Wayne is. He is the President of the embattled organization.

As usual, the NRA blamed the gun violence afflicting our country on everything but the guns. He proposed that the way to combat gun violence, is by placing armed guards in our schools. He felt that more guns would deter the use of guns. Right. Now there’s a solution we can all agree on. That it's unrealistic and will not work!

I abhor violence, and I don’t like guns at all. In spite of that, I recognize that there is little chance that we will ever outlaw them. I also know that there’s a good argument that we should allow hunting, which in most cases requires a rifle. So I will concede that we should allow sane people to have a licensed firearm, like a hunting rifle.

Does a hunter require an assault rifle or a machine gun? No. Does a hunter require a handgun? No. Does law enforcement require firearms? Probably.

I still contend that we need to have a discussion about gun violence and guns, as well as mental health, mental health treatment, and background checks and licenses for firearms. The statistics are pretty sobering.

  • 62 Mass murders 1982 - present

  • 6,103 Gun sales were rejected in 2010 after a background check indicated mental health issues.

  • 44 States (plus the District of Columbia) have laws that regulate the sale of firearms to individuals with a mental illness.

  • 68% of Homicides in the United States where a firearm was the weapon (2009)

  • 11 Million American adults who are non-institutionalized with "serious psychological distress" in the past month.

I don’t think that the NRA should be included in any serious discussion of gun violence, when their prescription to solve the problem isn’t serious. Someone in their organization started a petition to deport television personality Piers Morgan. According to the Associated Press:
Morgan has taken an aggressive stand for tighter U.S. gun laws in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting. Last week, he called a gun advocate appearing on his "Piers Morgan Tonight" show an "unbelievably stupid man."

Now, gun rights activists are fighting back. A petition created Dec. 21 on the White House e-petition website by a user in Texas accuses Morgan of engaging in a "hostile attack against the U.S. Constitution" by targeting the Second Amendment. It demands he be deported immediately for "exploiting his position as a national network television host to stage attacks against the rights of American citizens."

The petition has already hit the 25,000 signature threshold to get a White House response. By Monday, it had 31,813 signatures.
The irony isn’t lost on me, but it appears to be lost on the NRA and their supporters. While they cite the Second Amendment to the Constitution, to justify their right to “bear arms”, they have forgotten that the First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees a right to free speech. Unless perhaps a gun is pointed at your head.

Just because they have a gun doesn’t make them smart, and in fact I would have to agree with Piers Morgan - man are they unbelievably stupid!

straight talk in a queer world.      jiveinthe415.com          
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