Jive in the [415] Blog | Gay LGBT News Political Commentary: 2013 2013 | Jive in the [415] Blog | Gay LGBT News Political Commentary

November 29, 2013

The Republican Party’s Concern For Humanity Begins And Ends With The Womb

The Republican Party’s Concern For Humanity Begins And Ends With The Womb

By Roy Steele

I can’t be the only person who has noticed the huge numbers of caring and empathetic Republican members of Congress coming out of the woodwork, to express outrage that the “Obamacare” website isn’t working.  

In fact, someone who isn’t a news junkie might get the mistaken impression that the GOP actually believes that we all should have access to affordable healthcare.

The reason why I’m writing about the Republican party’s newfound concern about the future of “Obamacare,” is to reassure their right-wing devotees that nothing has changed.

Despite the dissonant noise we hear, Republicans still don’t care about the middle class, healthcare, or our nation’s economy. Their concern for life and the human condition, continues to begin and end with the womb.

Republican’s in the House have voted 42 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act. One hundred and sixty GOP members of Congress voted against the Violence Against Women Act. On a strict party line vote of 217-210, Boehner’s boys voted to slash $39 billion dollars from the food stamp program, while they continue to provide corporate welfare and tax breaks for farmers and oil companies.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) refuses to allow any debate or consideration of legislation related to comprehensive immigration reform, meaningful gun control, and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), and the silence from Democrats is deafening.

A federal government website isn’t ready for prime time, and that’s the story dominating the news. We have an economic crisis affecting middle class jobs, as millions of undocumented immigrant families are being ignored and marginalised, while House Republicans erroneously claim that LGBT Americans aren’t subjected to employment discrimination.

Our two party system in Washington is badly broken, and Congress is no longer responsive to the will of the people. That’s the REAL story, and I doubt that the lamestream media will do their job and tell the truth about our badly broken democracy.

The true fact of the matter is that the Republican party’s concern for humanity begins and ends with the womb.

When I hear an out of touch paid pundit on a cable news show criticize the president or Obamacare, I wanna yell and scream - though I’ve found it much more effective to just change the channel. And I’m forced to wonder, where’s Honey Boo Boo when I need her?

straight talk in a queer world.         jiveinthe415.com     
© 2011 - 2013 JIVEINTHE415.COM All Rights Reserved
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October 27, 2013

TV Talk: $20 Asshole Josh Altman Was Bitch Slapped By A Flagg

The cast of Bravo's "Million Dollar Listing - Los Angeles" Josh Flagg, Madison Hildebrand, and Josh Altman.

As I’ve said before, Bravo’s very gay Million Dollar Listing - Los Angeles  is one of those television reality shows that’s a guilty pleasure for me. It’s like pressing your nose up against the window of a Rolls Royce or Lamborghini showroom, and fantasizing about buying an incredibly impractical and expensive car.

Million Dollar Listing - Los Angeles  features Los Angeles area homes and realtors, and the trials and tribulations related to buying and selling homes and “McMansions,” in southern California. [A McMansion is considered to be a large modern house that is ostentatious and lacking in architectural integrity]

The three protagonists of the reality show are realtors Madison Hildebrand, Josh Flagg, and Josh Altman, and the last episode of season six aired last week.

I don’t think that anyone would deny that the two Josh’s and Madison, do everything they can, to represent the best interests of their clients.
Anatomy of a bitch slap from "Million Dollar Listing - Los Angeles" cast members Josh Flagg and Josh Altman.

Madison Hildebrand is the only cast member that has appeared on all six seasons, and he’s had a fascinating journey over the course of the show. He went from being a closeted gay man in season one, to a fully out and proud gay man today.

Josh Flagg first made his debut during the second season, and was quiet about his being gay. Contrast that with today, where his life partner Colton Thorn, figures prominently in his life and many of the episodes.

Josh Altman is the rookie on the show, as he first appeared in season four. Altman is the mean straight guy and villain on the program, as he’s fiercely competitive, haughty, ostentatious, and homophobic.

The reason why I’m calling out twenty dollar asshole Josh Altman for being homophobic is because he called Josh Flagg a “bitch” countless times this season. You can easily  substitute “faggot” for “bitch” (a female dog), and in my view they are one and the same, and his outrageous behavior is completely unacceptable.

Edith Flagg of "Million Dollar Listing - Los Angeles"
I was thrilled beyond measure when Josh Flagg stood up to Altman, and bitch slapped the true “bitch” in the face. When Josh slapped Altman, it was like a shot heard ‘round the world. He served notice to a noxious and obnoxious bully, that he was fed up and wasn’t going to take it anymore.  Bravo Josh Flagg!

I have to confess that I wish that Josh Flagg’s grandmother, Edith Flagg, had her own television show, as she is far more interesting and intriguing than any other character we see each week (including her grandson). The grande dame sits in her Sierra Tower penthouse dispensing sensible no-holds barred advice, on any and every subject, and she’s never wrong. She has a great sense of humor, and I wish that Bravo would have an “ask Edith” segment, each and every week.

Madison Hildebrand and Josh Flagg have grown up quite a bit on the show over the years, and I never thought I’d say this, but this season they were honest and had more personal integrity than in previous years, and they’ve become a true asset to the gay community.

Every chance that LGBT people have to tell our stories on television, is a very good thing. Bravo has been out front on this issue for many years, and I applaud them for that.

Million Dollar Listing - Los Angeles  season six was fun to watch, and I hope that the producer’s will find a new villain for season seven. I have no tolerance for anti-gay bullies, and twenty dollar asshole Josh Altman needs to be given the boot.

And I’m sure that Edith Flagg would agree with me.

 straight talk in a queer world.         jiveinthe415.com     
© 2011 - 2013 JIVEINTHE415.COM All Rights Reserved
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October 24, 2013

Jimenez Hypocrisy And His Anti-Gay 'Book Of Crap'

Gay writer Stephen Jimenez is the author of "The Book of Matt"

Review: Gay Author Stephen Jimenez rewrote Matthew Shepard’s life story to suit his false narrative. His thesis is based on pure bullshit. He has a vendetta against the gay community, and relies on hearsay evidence, unverifiable claims, and poorly researched facts, in his newly published book, "The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard."

by Roy Steele

On April 29, 2009, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) rose from her seat, and asked the Speaker to be recognized, as the US House of Representatives was debating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA).

Rep. Foxx made an impassioned speech against passage of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Foxx is not known for her intellectual acumen, and in true Republican fashion, her remarks received a tremendous amount of media attention, because she made an outrageous statement.

With Judy Shepard, Matthew Shepard’s mother, sitting in the gallery of the House watching the proceedings, Foxx said:
The bill was named after a very unfortunate incident that happened, where a young man was killed, but we know that that young man was killed in the commitment of robbery. It wasn’t because he was gay. The bill was named for him, the hate crimes bill was named for him, but it’s, it’s really a hoax, that that continues to be used as an excuse for passing these bills.”
After Rep. Foxx called Matthew Shepard’s murder a “hoax,” Judy Shepard told NBC News  that “Attacks of lesser consequence have been said about Matt since the beginning... but I never expected it to be called ‘a hoax’.” Rep. Foxx based her outrageous assertion on an ABC News  special report that aired on 20/20  in 2004. The basic premise of the 20/20 piece was that Matthew Shepard’s murder was a drug related crime that had gone horribly wrong.

Gay Author Stephen Jimenez and "The Book Of Matt" book cover
ABC News  reporter Elizabeth Vargas reported that Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson targeted Matthew because they wanted to rob him in order to buy more drugs. Vargas said that anti-gay hate was not a factor in the high-profile murder, and that McKinney’s violent rage was fueled by a crystal meth binge.

The producer of the 2004 20/20 news report was freelance journalist Stephen Jimenez. Jimenez spent the next nine years researching and writing The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard.

In The Book Of Matt,  Jimenez characterizes Matthew Shepard as a drug trafficking crystal meth addict who was partying and having sex with Aaron McKinney, and purports that Matthew Shepard died because he couldn’t provide McKinney with the drugs that he was craving.

Media Matters For America writer Luke Brinker has done a fantastic job debunking The Book of Matt , and I highly recommend reading his extensive coverage of the book and the author (See the links to his reporting below).

Alyssa Rosenberg at Think Progress  wrote a very thoughtful and hard hitting piece entitled “The Book Of Matt  Doesn’t Prove Anything, Other Than The Size Of Stephen Jimenez’s Ego.”
Shepard’s 1998 murder in Laramie, Wyoming, galvanized a national conversation about the visceral, violent nature of anti-gay hatred in America, and Shepard has persisted as a martyr figure and a cultural touchstone. Writing a compelling biography of Shepard fifteen years after his death might have been an important project. But Jimenez hasn’t given us that. Instead, The Book Of Matt isn’t really about Shepard at all. Rather, it’s an exceptionally shoddy attempt to prove that Shepard was killed because he was a major methamphetamine distributor who Aaron McKinney, one of the two men convicted in his death, intended to rob to pay drug debts and to feed his own habit. And most distastefully, it’s an opportunity for Jimenez to portray himself as a hero who’s stood up to political correctness.
If you want to prove a controversial theory about a story that’s become deeply embedded in accepted history, and to suggest that you have more integrity than your critics, it helps to impeccably document your claims. But the problems with Jimenez’s ethics begin in the Author’s Note that begin The Book of Matt. “Though this is a work of nonfiction journalism, I have occasionally employed methods that are slightly less stringent to re-create the dialogue of characters — words I did not personally hear; nor could the characters themselves recall every word exactly from memory,” he explains. “But my intention throughout has been to remain faithful to the actual characters and events as they really happened.” This is a dubious practice to employ at all, but Jimenez compounds the problem by not distinguishing which quotations are manufactured from recollections, which are paraphrases recounted by sources, and which were spoken directly to him.
All of the “conversations” in the book have been made up out of thin air, in order to support the author’s hypothesis. While he promised to remain “faithful to the actual characters and events as they really happened,” he is relying on hearsay and third hand accounts, to support his shaky claims.

A good and experienced journalist would have gone to great lengths to be wholly objective, in order to present both sides of the story. That way a reader could make up their own mind about what is true and what isn’t. Instead, Jimenez had his own agenda.

The author approached Dennis and Judy Shepard 18 months after the murder of their son, because he wanted to write a screenplay about the crime. The Shepard family said no, and Jimenez was rejected.

The New York Times Magazine  asked Jimenez to write a story about the Shepard case in 2004, and they killed the story. Jimenez claims that the story was killed because it was “too politically sensitive.”

Media Matters For America writer Joe Strupp interviewed the editor of the New York Times Magazine , who remembers things differently. Editor Paul Tough says that the story was killed because Jimenez “was a person I think who didn’t have a lot of experience in long-form magazine writing. And so the story never got to the level where we could publish it ... it was not killed for political reasons at all.”

Jimenez then took the questionable evidence he gathered for his failed New York Times story to ABC News, and pitched his story. They ran with it and he produced it for 20/20, where the reporting was widely criticized and vilified by the gay community.

Jimenez is obviously an author with a vendetta, who is still smarting from the rejection and criticism that his 20/20 report received in 2004, and he set out to prove his critics wrong, and failed in the process.

The biggest hypocrisy evident here is that Stephen Jimenez holds that in order to assess whether a hate crime has occurred, that a hate crime statute needs to be present in the jurisdiction that the hate crime occurred, and that the ultimate arbiter is the jury in a court of law. He posits that the merits of hate crime charge should be argued in a courtroom, between lawyers, before a judge and a jury - so that a determination can be made, based on the evidence presented in court.

It’s an interesting point of view that hasn’t fully been fleshed out by Jimenez, because by writing this book, he himself asks the reader to ignore established legal procedures and standards that allow opposing parties to objectively examine the evidence, cross examine witnesses, and refute the wild assertions made by individuals with a personal agenda.

I read this trashy book so you don’t have to. Don’t buy the book, as it’s a book of crap and a complete waste of your time.

As I said a week ago, Stephen Jimenez failed to deliver on his promise to reveal any new facts or hidden truths in the Matthew Shepard murder case. This book is nothing more than a middling work of fiction.

straight talk in a queer world.
© 2011 - 2013 JIVEINTHE415.COM All Rights Reserved

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October 23, 2013

TV Talk: Dom's Da Bomb On Project Runway

Lifetime's Project Runway Season 12 finalists Bradon McDonald, Justin LeBlanc, Alexandria von Bromssen, and winner Dom Streater.

Lifetime’s reality television competition show Project Runway  Season 12 - Finale, Part 1 ended with Heidi Klum bidding designer Helen Castillo auf wiedersehen, and designers Justin LeBlanc and Alexandria von Bromssen advancing to the next round. They joined fellow designers Dom Streater and Bradon McDonald, who advanced directly to compete for the half a million dollar prize, and the final runway show at New York’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.

The Project Runway  judges were Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, and Zac Posen. Actress Kerry Washington joined the panel as the guest judge.

First up at New York’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week was Justin LeBlanc. Justin has a degree in architecture and a passion for fashion.  Justin was eliminated during episode six “Let’s Go Glamping,” and Tim Gunn used his “save” to veto the judges decision to send the North Carolina native home.

I have to say that after watching every episode of every season, that no single designer impressed me more than Justin LeBlanc. He’s a gay deaf man who had to work his ass off to make it to the finals. Justin never had a bad word to say about his fellow competitors, and was eager to interact with the judges, and hear their criticism of his work, so that he could improve each week.

During the course of Season 12, Justin spoke about how people defined and dismissed him due to his disability, and his collection reflected his personality and journey in life. His collection was very personal, and each garment had clean lines and a linear sensibility that was honest and pure. He embraced technology and 3D printing to design and produce wearable art that complemented his garments, and made you want to see more.

Philadelphia native Dom Streater followed Justin, and her collection was elegant and exuberant. She designed and produced her own gorgeous textiles, that were sophisticated and beautiful. Throughout Season 12, Dom was steady and sure. She produced consistently good work, as she worked in Helen Castillo and Bradon McDonald’s shadow, because they won the most weekly challenges.

Dom’s work in the final episode was nearly perfect, and the only look that I didn’t like was a bathing suit. She designed cocktail dresses, evening wear, and jumpsuits, that were styled flawlessly, and I knew that Dom Streater produced a collection that was a winner. I don’t know if her design sense was impacted at all by Diane von Furstenberg, but I couldn’t help but see her influence on Dom’s gorgeous collection.

Bay area fashion designer Alexandria von Bromssen opened her show with her unconventional material garment made from old phone books, which was smashing. I thought her entire collection was the most commercial, as I could envision every look in a department store. Alexandria’s separates were easy and breezy, and I felt that her design’s reflected her San Francisco home.

Alexandria was earnest and hard working, and I can’t help but wonder if she over thought some of her designs. While her collection was cohesive, she focused on separates and trousers, in largely neutral colors, that lacked the design diversity reflected in Dom’s collection. Regardless, I think Alexandria did a fantastic job, and her hard work and attention to detail, really won me over.

Of the final 4 fashion designers remaining, Bradon McDonald won the most challenges over the course of Season 12, and he was an early favorite to win Project Runway. He was incredibly creative and fearless, and I was pulling for the former dancer all season.

Bradon wears his heart on his sleeve, and I admire that. For some reason, I couldn’t relate to his New York’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week collection at all. While he chose luxe fabrics, and had some interesting individual pieces, I wondered where the designer went that worked so hard during the course of the season.

Somehow Bradon lost his way, and I couldn’t help but wonder who he was designing his collection for.  Some of the looks were more appropriate for an old lady than a young model, and the lack of cohesiveness resulted in him being eliminated first.

Dom Streater was aptly crowned the winner of Project Runway  Season 12, and Alexandria von Bromssen was the runner-up. Justin LeBlanc finished in third place, and Bradon finished in fourth. I can’t help but wonder how Helen Castillo might have impacted the final runway show.

Dom, Alexandria, Justin, Bradon, and Helen, have lots of reasons to be proud of their performance on one of the most enduring reality competition shows on television.

Lifetime’s Project Runway has a winning formula that’s still compelling, and is a real joy to watch. Both Season 11 and Season 12 produced great TV, and I’m looking forward to the third edition of Project Runway All-Stars that starts tomorrow night.

Project Runway  and Project Runway All-Stars  airs every Thursday night on Lifetime at 9pm Eastern and 8pm Central time.

straight talk in a queer world.         jiveinthe415.com     
© 2011 - 2013 JIVEINTHE415.COM All Rights Reserved

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