Thank you for checking out my blog. To submit comments, click on "COMMENTS" at the end of each post. To email a post to a friend, click the white envelope also at the end of each post. Contact Me

TO ADD YOUR BLOG HERE - Click the "Follow This Blog" on the right.

TO SUBSCRIBE - Click a subscription option on the right.

TO READ PAST POSTINGS - Scroll down to my "Blog Archives" on the right or enter a search word or phrase in the search box above.

September 19, 2008


Hot on the heels of Sarah Palin's much publicized attempts at book banning comes this incident in Helena, Montana.

Helena is both the capital of the state of Montana and the county seat for Lewis and Clark County. The Chamber of Commerce touts it as a city alive with community spirit and filled with timeless treasures and sophisticated services.

Unfortunately, despite their claim of sophistication, it seems that some of its citizens would like to ban at least one of the books the Lewis and Clark Library has on its shelves. It is, of course, a gay oriented book which these self-righteous zealots think shouldn't be available to anyone.

According to a story in yesterday's Helena Independent Record:

The book, “The Joy of Gay Sex,” was petitioned to be removed from the library’s shelves after a Helena man stumbled upon it on one of his frequent visits to the library.

Ironically, this book has been available at the library since the early 1990's, which means that no one has complained about it for almost 18 years. Of course, now that a single, uptight individual has "accidentally" found it, it's suddenly objectionable to have it available in the public library.

Coauthor Edmund White said of his book:
Its sole purpose is to enrich the lives of men whose sexual preference is for men by indicating how to get the most out of sex, by pointing out ways to banish negative emotions like guilt and by encouraging intelligent, creative relationships.

In an encouraging development, at a public hearing last Tuesday night, the testimonies of supporters advocating to keep the book outnumbered those who wanted it removed from the shelves.

The Independent Record's article ended by saying: "Indeed, nearly every book on the library shelf could potentially offend or disgust a reader...it would be a far greater disservice to a community — and to democracy — to have a library that censors what people can and cannot see."

Hopefully, due the clear-minded thinking of many Helena residents, this issue won't end up in the courts because of lawsuits that the ACLU will feel obligated to file.

BTW - a newer version titled “The Joy of Gay Sex, Revised & Expanded Third Edition” by the book's original coauthor Charles Silverstein is available at Amazon.com.

September 18, 2008


Wayne Besen is an accomplished author, activist, columnist and public speaker. He is the founder and driving force behind the TruthWinsOut.org website and was a national spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign.

He has appeared on numerous television shows from NBC Nightly News to Fox's O'Reilly Factor to Hard Copy, MSNBC News and numerous others. He has also spoken at many leading universities, including Vanderbilt, Harvard Law School, John Hopkins, and the University of Florida.

The totality of his accomplishments leaves no doubt that he is one of the strongest, most articulate and best known voices for the GLBT community.

That being said, I find myself in strong disagreement with a suggestion he made in a recent posting at WayneBesen.com.

In that article, he calls for the Log Cabin Republicans to disband. His reasoning is absolutely spot-on and I totally agree with his logic.

A few paragraphs before the end, he said:

It is obvious, however, that this organization has outlived its usefulness and has been soundly defeated by much larger, wealthier and influential anti-gay forces. The party is now rotten to the core and thrives on homophobic bigotry, anti-immigrant sentiment, small-minded populism and foolishly mocking our foreign allies at the expense of our long-term national security (remember freedom fries?).

A couple of paragraphs later, Wayne goes on to say:
The only chance for gay Republicans to be legitimate players in the GOP is to have the party suffer a string of crushing losses. The defeats have to be so painful and substantial, that they lead to realignment, where the role of social conservatives is significantly diminished. Clearly, the Log Cabin Republicans can only save their party by helping to defeat it.

I wholeheartedly agree with this logic. Ironically, that is precisely why I so strongly disagree with his call for the Log Cabin Republicans to disband.

I firmly believe that the most effective and most startling tactic that LCR could use in this mind-numbingly important election is to NOT DISBAND. Instead, they should come out very publicly and withdraw their support for the McCain/Palin ticket. They should then turn right around and strongly endorse Obama and Biden.

This kind of action could send shock waves throughout much of the Republican Party. More importantly, if they explained that they were doing it out of conscience, a deep love for the Party and the hope that it would help bring about much needed change within it, it would definitely garner huge international publicity. That kind of public spotlight could even help persuade enough gay and straight voters to follow suit, in elections from the White House to City Councils, and possibly bring about Wayne's scenario of devastating the republican party to the point of forcing a realignment within it.

I would call upon President Patrick Sammon and the other leaders of the Log Cabin Republicans to consider this kind of history making action. It could not only restore your weakened credibility but it would also put you squarely in the center of a worldwide public spotlight. If you truly believe in what was once the republican principles and you honestly want to work within that system to change it, then there really is no other option - except to quit.

Wayne Besen is right. The republican party is never going to change unless it undergoes a major, transformative shake-up.

To use a somewhat worn but still true cliche...drastic times call for drastic measures.

September 17, 2008


I'm sure, by now, everyone has seen the devastation caused by hurrican Ike in Galveston, Texas. Thousands of homes were turned into nothing more than matchsticks, flooding covered almost everything and all power and water were knocked out.

Although people were warned to leave before the storm, some stayed hoping to protect their homes and keepsakes from the scavengers who would certainly swarm the area after the storm passed.

In the aftermath, those who stayed realized how lucky they were to still be alive. But the problem of surviving without food and water until help came quickly became very serious.

During this critical time, help surfaced from one of the only businesses still left standing. A popular gay bar known as Robert’s Lafitte.

Owner Big Mouth Robert (as he is known to locals) said that the bar's windows were blown out and three feet of water gushed inside during the height of the storm. After the waters receded, they saw that the building still seemed to be sound so they cleaned everything up and reopened the bar.

It quickly became a kind of defacto community center for everyone - straight and gay. People started dropping off food and some supplies at the bar for people in need knowing that it could be months before the city is up and running.

With the help of friends, Robert even started offering his previously scheduled drag show and Tina Turner sing-along. These shows helped keep spirits up and people's minds off the devastation that was just outside the door.

“It’s more than a life saver. This is like the Coast Guard,” Brian DeLeon, a straight man who told Reuters News Service that he had never thought of entering the bar in the past.

“These are the people who take you up out of the water and make life livable. Once I get back to work, I’m coming back here.”

Now, that's how we build trust and mutual respect between straights and gays. Let them see who we really are.

Major kudos to Robert and everyone over there who made this happen.

Sources for this story: 365gay.com and Advocate.com

September 16, 2008


Before he began running for President this time around, I used to like John McCain. I really wanted to believe that he was who he claimed to be. And judging from his public comments and the people he stood up for, he seemed to be just that.

Over the years, I've become pretty cynical. Especially when it comes to politics and politicians. But there have been occasions, even though I've been a life-long democrat, when I've supported other candidates. McCain was one of those candidates. At least he was 8 years ago. In 2000 I did vote for Al Gore but in 2004 I very seriously considered voting for McCain had he become the nominee. I even went so far as to write a letter to Kerry urging him to consider McCain for his running mate.

The tragedy of who McCain has turned himself into has more than reinforced my cynicism. Maybe he got blinded by the prospect of finally becoming a viable presidential candidate or maybe it was the promises he got when he made that startling turn-around in support of Bush. Whatever the reason, he has become everything he used to despise and has transformed himself into a mean, ugly and totally untrustworthy old man.

Richard Cohen wrote an op-ed piece in the Washington Post that is online now and will be published in the paper tomorrow. It's titled "The Ugly New McCain" and in it, he details everything that has become wrong with a John McCain candidacy. He brilliantly sums up my own personal feelings and it's one of those rare pieces of journalism that everyone should read.

To access Cohen's piece, go to: WashingtonPost.com

September 15, 2008


There has been much written and much said about Sarah Palin's attempts at banning books from Wasilla's Public Library. Did she or didn't she?

Unfortunately, there was at least one claim that even included a "hit list" of books that she allegedly wanted removed. I say unfortunately because that list was easily shown to be a fake but the widely publicized debunking of that claim successfully muddied the whole issue.

That incident doesn't change the fact that Palin did attempt to ban books on at least two occassions.

According to a New York Times article published Saturday, Sept. 13th:

Witnesses and contemporary news accounts say Ms. Palin asked the librarian about removing books from the shelves. The McCain-Palin presidential campaign says Ms. Palin never advocated censorship.

But in 1995, Ms. Palin, then a city councilwoman, told colleagues that she had noticed the book “Daddy’s Roommate” on the shelves and that it did not belong there, according to Ms. Chase and Mr. Stein. Ms. Chase read the book, which helps children understand homosexuality, and said it was inoffensive; she suggested that Ms. Palin read it.

“Sarah said she didn’t need to read that stuff,” Ms. Chase said. “It was disturbing that someone would be willing to remove a book from the library and she didn’t even read it.”

“I’m still proud of Sarah,” she added, “but she scares the bejeebers out of me.”

Although Palin didn't specifically insist that "Daddy's Roommate" be removed from the library, the implication of what she said as a councilwoman was clear.

For years before Palin was elected Mayor, the social conservatives (including Palin's own Assembly of God Pentacostal church) were pressuring the library director to remove books they considered immoral.
“People would bring books back censored,” recalled former Mayor John Stein, Ms. Palin’s predecessor. “Pages would get marked up or torn out.”

In one instance, the Rev. Howard Bess, a liberal Christian preacher in the nearby town of Palmer, said that the Wasilla Assembly of God, was pushing to remove his book, "Pastor I Am Gay," published in 1995, from local bookstores.

Head librarian Mary Ellen Emmons told Rev. Bess that several copies of his book had disappeared from the library shelves.

"Sarah brought pressure on the library about things she didn't like," Bess said. "To believe that my book was not targeted in this is a joke."

The second, and most publicized incident was in 1996 shortly after Palin took office as Wasilla's Mayor. According to the Washington Post and the New York Times, Palin asked Emmons three times in her first few weeks in office whether she would agree to remove controversial books. Emmons told Palin that she would not.

Taylor Griffin, a spokesman for the McCain campaign, said the questions were hypothetical and entirely appropriate. He said a patron had asked the library to remove a title the year before and the mayor wanted to understand how such disputes were handled.

Records on the city's website, however, do not show any books were challenged in Wasilla in the 10 years before Palin took office.

In a startling and lengthy letter posted in the comments section of the Washington Independent Anne Kilkenny said of this incident:
While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin's attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the Librarian are on her enemies list to this day.

This incident has been documented and verified by media the world over.

Aside from Palin's obvious lack of experience with and even basic understanding of the dangerous world affairs this country is now facing, is she really the of kind "moral compass" we want the United States of America to follow?

I think not. I think we've had enough of that garbage for the last 8 years!

September 14, 2008


On his first and only visit to Denver, 26 year old Nima Daivari, his cousin and her boyfriend were walking home from dinner at a 16th Street eatery. While they were talking, a pedestrian passed by and suddenly yelled, "Keep that faggot away from me."

Maybe it was Daivari's tight, white jeans, snakeskin shoes and the fairy pendant that he wore on a chain around his neck but when he said "Excuse me?" to the man, the assailant turned and punched him in the head. Fortunately, Daivairi was a trained boxer and he quickly subdued his attacker, holding him in a headlock until a policeman arrived.

Unfortunately, that's when things went from bad to unbelievable. Daivari wanted his attacker arrested but not only did Officer Richard Boehnlein refuse repeated requests to press charges, he refused to investigate and didn't even bother to take the attacker's name. Instead, he simply told Daivari "No, go home," and let the attacker walk away.

Daivari registered an official complaint which resulted in a finding that the officer should have at least documented the case and "probably" should have arrested his attacker. Officer Boehnlein was reprimanded and fined with a ludicrous "one regular day off."

To make matters even worse, when Daivari tried to bring a civil suit, U.S. District Judge Zita Weinshienk dismissed the case, holding that no rights were violated. Gay men are not a protected class under the Constitution.

That doesn't even make any sense! This was a physical attack on a law abiding citizen and as such should have been prosecuted, if not as a hate crime, then surely as an assault. Certainly at least the assailants name should have been taken. What's wrong with these people?

Apparently the mile-high air there is a little to thin for them to even be able to think straight. What a sad commentary on the city and on the state. I certainly won't be visiting there anytime soon.

My source for this article is the Denver Post


Keith Olbermann is a hard hitting commentator for MSNBC. My partner just sent me this video of Olbermann's scathing rebuke of the McCain camp, the current administration and the republican party's callous marketing of the horrendous 9/11 tragedy.

I don't normally publish on Sundays but this is one of the most brilliant pieces of journalism I've ever seen anywhere. It deserves as wide a distribution as possible so, please, after you watch it, send it to as many people as you can. This should be seen by everyone.

You can click the little white envelope below to send people an email link to this page.

If you prefer, you can send them the following direct link to this video at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26645619/. (This link though includes an unskippable commercial just before the video starts.)