Monday, June 29, 2009

PA State Sen. Eichelberger: "We're allowing them to exist."

From John Morgan at The Pennsylvania Progressive:

"State Senator John Eichelberger says 'we're allowing [gay and lesbian couples] to exist' in a recent radio debate. Today twenty of us confronted him with petitions asking for an apology and he steadfastly refused and ducked behind security so as not to answer questions. The story with video:

"This is an important story we need to get viral. This is as outrageous a homophobic statement as anyone can say. He implies he and the state also have the right to deny our existence. Sen. Eichelberger has introduced legislation writing discrimination into the state constitution by denying the right to marriage and equal rights for GLBT people."
Pretty rad. I'm intrigued. Who's "we"? The PA House? The PA Legislature? The Far Right in PA? In the USA? "We" hets? Who? Exactly who does he mean when he says "We're allowing [gays and lesbians] to exist"? I mean, I think I have a right to know. I do have a pretty big dawg in this fight.

I want to know, because I've long taken seriously the fact that the US Constitution applies to me. Whatever else I am, I am an American. I have certain inalienable rights. Until and unless I am convicted of a felony, I have all the rights enumerated in and implied by the US Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights.

Predicating this argument on my queerness evades the core point that I am an American. Still more fundamentally, most fundamentally, it evades the core point that I am a human being.

Force a shift in this argument. This isn't about whom I love. This is about who I am.

Seen in that inescapable light, Senator Eichelberger's comment becomes, "we're allowing her to exist." This is both a direct existential threat and an act of treason against the United States Constitution. It is both an implicit promise of violent extermination if his mood changes, and a violation of the one set of principles that makes an American an American.

The reality is that we're allowing Eichelberger to govern. That's profoundly disturbing.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

I Love It When a Plan Comes Together

From AlterNet: "On Saturday, Pat Buchanan hosted a conference to discuss how Republicans can regain a majority in America. During one discussion, panelists suggested supporting English-only initiatives as a prime way of attracting 'working class white Democrats.' The discussion ridiculed Judge Sotomayor for the fact that she studied children’s classics to improve her grammar while attending college. The panelists also suggested that, without English as the official language, President Obama would force Americans to speak Spanish.

"One salient feature of the event was the banner hanging over the English-only advocates. The word conference was spelled 'Conferenece.'” [Emphasis added.]

And look carefully at the caption. If you've harbored any fantasy that white racism is a fringe phenom, think again. It's a growing segment of the mainstream posing as concern about illegal immigration and liberalism. Teach your children well, or there will be hell to pay.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Chi on the Block

This is Gus. Have you ever seen a more photogenic dog? Gus is our new Chihooeyhooey. We have Gus because the Yuma Humane Society sent out an APB recently begging state rescuers of any breed to help out with an overflow of dogs. Like a fool, I agreed to take three Chis, thinking (if I can call it that) that three Chis would be less trouble than one Doberman. It doesn't work like that, but anyhow. . . .

This is Gus. I don't know how he got to the Yuma Humane Society, but I know he's one wonderful pup. Gus illustrates the chief hazard of rescue: It's damn hard not to keep 'em all.

Welcome home, Gus!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I'll be amazed if anybody's still here after my unexcused absense, but I'm going to pretend you're there anyhow. I'm humoring myself.

OK, I admit it. I haven't posted much lately partly because I've been up to my eyeballs in rescuing abandoned Doberman Pinschers, and partly because I've been FURIOUS at Blogger for not helping me fix my previously disappeared righthand column. A glitch like that takes the wind right out of my sails.

If you've visited here before today, you may have noticed that all the wonderful photos and features that now appear on the right side of the posts had disappeared. They actually plunged to the bottom of the lefthand column. This pissed me off just enough to feel sick at my stomach when I thought I might like to post something. I mean, it's not like I didn't spend countless hours of my life working on this site.

So now it's back. YAY!! I found a very nice guy -- The Laughing Idiot -- who knew exactly what I needed to do, and I fixed it just now. Thanks, Laughing Idiot. You rock! I looked for a stranger upon whose kindness to rely, and there you were! Please, let me know if you're up for it. I'll find a way to thank you.

So now that there's a lull in Doberman rescue, and now that I'm snit free, I thought I'd post for a while. I hope you're still there.

So what about Obama?

I've enjoyed the last few months of relative sanity. I'm speaking of the post-election period. How wonderful to ignore the world and to rest at last, assured that Obama can't screw it up as much as Bush did even if he tries. I really needed that break. We all did.

So. Are we out of Iraq yet? Do we have universal health care? Has the President put the Department of Homeland Security back on the tracks of the law and the Constitution and is domestic spying without a warrant once again really illegal? Can gays serve proudly in the military now? Are we happy? Having fun yet?

No. I still like him but like Bill Maher said, "A Socialist? Jesus, he's not even a Liberal!" OK I knew that. I did. I knew when he enlisted Rahm Emanuel that we weren't going to see anything like FDR. But still I'm disappointed. I expected more than I've gotten.

What I think is that this President isn't a Boomer. He's of the next generation, the anti-radical generation. This President was born in 1961, and was in his formative years when American radicals captured the decades of the 1960s and 70s.

Like my partner who was born in 1955, Obama is of the generation for which it was obligatory to react to the radical agenda, just as, for my generation, it was obligatory to react to the conservative agenda represented by the 1950s.

It is not in his character or in his cohort to react to anything with radical fervor. Not the outrage of warrantless spying, not the latter-day ghettoization of GLBT constituted by DOMA and DADT, and not the murder of Neda in the streets of Tehran.

Yet the media are populated with my peers. We and they do expect fervor, passion, steel and flint. We expect sparks. At least once in a while. We do. We just do.

Measured rhetoric slammed up against the bewildering babble of a George Bush is one thing. But measured rhetoric up against five previous months of measured rhetoric is just possibly a tiny bit flat. Disappointing. Deflated. Oomphless.

And that's a dilemma for O. For O's popularity ratings. The accident of birth that makes him so measured, so deliberate, may cause him to disappoint us from time to time. That's not so bad. What's unfortunate is that if he disappoints us, the Right will pound him with it, distort him, and try to work its wicked will.

He needs someone who gets that.

What about Obama? I like him but I'm not happy. I really hate the bailouts. I don't know if the rationale is true or not. What do I know? What does anybody know? But bu God if we're going to make the little people live by free market, the big shots ought to have to live by free market too. It's what Gore Vidal said. We have socialism for the rich and free market capitalism for the rest of us. (Well, that's a paraphrase.) What I do know is that if he doesn't get us decent health care, fix this depression, and get us queers out of the military and marriage closet, he's toast. Congress won't take the rap. Obama will. And with considerable justification. The reason? Because he will not have wielded his personal power and the power of the presidency well.