Monday, October 30, 2006

Marriage Equality: Not a wedge issue

Republicans have used "marriage" as an issue to stir up voters for years. Conservative pundits sow terror into an easily swayed electorate by railing against the "homosexual agenda" and how the GLBT community threatens to destroy "traditional marriage." This hurtful rhetoric stirs up voters and causes vicious, bigoted legislation to be written into state constitutions, denying an entire class of people the rights and privileges enjoyed by the rest of society.

Progressives haven't found a cohesive counter-argument to this hateful ideology, and have largely resorted to pushing the issue aside as a "wedge issue," one that is used to "distract voters" from the "real issues" such as health care, social security and education. While the other issues are critical, and must be addressed, the issue of marriage equality is hardly a wedge issue to those of us being wedged by it.

Those of us being wedged are finding ourselves alienated on all sides. One side demands that we remain second-class citizens, denied the rights and benefits afforded to everyone else, and attacks our character, accusing us, without any shred of evidence, of harboring nefarious intentions to destroy a "sacred institution." The other side belittles our cause and shoves us aside, because of our tendency to "frighten" persuadable voters. And in the middle, a strange chorus speaks up and asks us to accept a "separate but equal" regime of "civil unions" that gives us "some" rights of marriage, but not all.

Progressives should be embracing the cause of full marriage equality, and championing it as the next great civil rights battle. The very phrase, "marriage equality," is the perfect progressive antidote to the Republican "family values" sound byte. "Marriage equality" has the added benefit of meaning something concrete, coherent, and morally correct, unlike the nebulous and politically motivated meanings behind "family values."

As most intelligent, thoughtful people realize, same-sex couples, like myself and my partner, have neither the interest in nor the ability to have any effect whatsoever on heterosexual marriages, for good or for evil. We're just not that powerful. All we want is what heterosexual couples already enjoy: the rights and privileges inherent in civil marriage. We don't have any interest in forcing any religious institution to recognize our marriages. All we want is civil marriage.

I want the ability to inherit from my partner. I want to file my taxes as a married couple. I want to visit my partner in the hospital without any question as to my relationship with him. I want the ability to adopt children with my partner. I want to have the option of sharing my partner's health insurance. I want my partner and I to be able to own a house jointly as a couple.

These are not wedge issues, to be shoved aside as "politically imprudent" by otherwise progressive candidates in politically difficult districts. To me, these issues are central to my life. These issues define how my partner and I are allowed to live our lives together. If you're a heterosexual married couple, think about how you would feel if you had to fight for the right to, for instance, give your husband the ability to make decisions for you in the hospital if you're incapacitated. How would you feel if you knew there was a possibility that after you die, your husband could be cut out of your will by bigoted parents, and the state couldn't do anything about it because your marriage wasn't legally recognized?

These are not wedge issues. Marriage equality should be at the forefront of every true progressive's political agenda. There are people in America are not able to enjoy the rights and privileges to which they should be entitled. That is morally reprehensible, and we should not stand for it. Forget red and blue states. Forget political expediency. Forget all of that, and realize that the cause of marriage equality is a great, if not the great moral issue of our time. And unlike the false monsters put up by the Republicans, this moral issue actually does matter.

I don't want to wake up next Wednesday to find my partner and I denied access to another group of states, because the right-wingers scapegoated us and the progressives abandoned us. I want the issue of marriage equality to be front and center in this election, and in all future elections, until all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation, are given full equality in the rights and responsibilities of civil marriage.

To me, that is not a wedge issue.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Saturday thread

It's Saturday. 10 days till the election. Halloween is Tuesday. I've had a hell of a week, but I'm not going to get into that.

"Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so."

--Douglas Adams

Who wants the conch?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A good list of articles on evil Republicans

List compiled by Chris Bowers of DailyKos and myDD.

--AZ-Sen: Jon Kyl

--AZ-01: Rick Renzi

--AZ-05: J.D. Hayworth

--CA-04: John Doolittle

--CA-11: Richard Pombo

--CA-50: Brian Bilbray

--CO-04: Marilyn Musgrave

--CO-05: Doug Lamborn

--CO-07: Rick O'Donnell

--CT-04: Christopher Shays

--FL-13: Vernon Buchanan

--FL-16: Joe Negron

--FL-22: Clay Shaw

--ID-01: Bill Sali

--IL-06: Peter Roskam

--IL-10: Mark Kirk

--IL-14: Dennis Hastert

--IN-02: Chris Chocola

--IN-08: John Hostettler

--IA-01: Mike Whalen

--KS-02: Jim Ryun

--KY-03: Anne Northup

--KY-04: Geoff Davis

--MD-Sen: Michael Steele

--MN-01: Gil Gutknecht

--MN-06: Michele Bachmann

--MO-Sen: Jim Talent

--MT-Sen: Conrad Burns

--NV-03: Jon Porter

--NH-02: Charlie Bass

--NJ-07: Mike Ferguson

--NM-01: Heather Wilson

--NY-03: Peter King

--NY-20: John Sweeney

--NY-26: Tom Reynolds

--NY-29: Randy Kuhl

--NC-08: Robin Hayes

--NC-11: Charles Taylor

--OH-01: Steve Chabot

--OH-02: Jean Schmidt

--OH-15: Deborah Pryce

--OH-18: Joy Padgett

--PA-04: Melissa Hart

--PA-07: Curt Weldon

--PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick

--PA-10: Don Sherwood

--RI-Sen: Lincoln Chafee

--TN-Sen: Bob Corker

--VA-Sen: George Allen

--VA-10: Frank Wolf

--WA-Sen: Mike McGavick

--WA-08: Dave Reichert

Advertising Terrorism

Another zinger from Keith Olbermann. He's got more balls than a Chuckee Cheeze ball pit.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Liberation in trouble

That's Liberation, the French newsmagazine to which I have a link on this blog. Evidently the right-wing rag Le Figaro ran a story claiming that Liberation had gone bankrupt and was ceasing printing operations. Figaro's report was then picked up by US media outlets.

According to the article linked above, Liberation is in some financial dire straits, but the paper has entered a process called "sauvegarde," which sounds to me like bankruptcy protection (translates as "safeguard"), though I can't be sure because I've never heard of it before. In any event, the article goes on to reassure Liberation's readers that it will continue to be printed as usual.

I know there's more to this story, and since Liberation is a publication for which I have a great deal of respect, I will be following the developments as closely as I can.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Life always gets in the way of life

Dear readers of Sinister,

Sinister things are afoot. This blog is being severely compromised by an extreme lack of time to write in it.

At least this week. Between work and play rehearsal, I am literally going to be busy from 8:00AM to 11:30PM. And while being at work has previously not been an obstacle to blogging, I am going to make a serious effort to "grow up," as it were, and not blog or surf while I'm supposed to be working.

Thus, you may not see many new posts from me in the next few days, and the pattern of blog posts should alter dramatically as I shift away from posting during the day while I'm at work and begin sitting down after work while I'm at home to compose blog posts.

End transmission.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Is the Republican Party more like the Catholic Church than we think?

New inquiries opened about Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Arizona. Apparently he went on a camping trip with some former pages, and there are allegations that he acted inappropriately with at least one of them.



The place that launched a thousand punk bands is now history, due to a stupid landlord-tenant dispute.

I'm glad I got a chance to go there before it closed. It was a dark, seedy, dirty, nasty place, but it was also perfect.

What hurts me the most about this story is that the owner is now going to open a kitschy copy of the club in Las Vegas. Then again, that's fitting--after all, Vegas is where rock star careers go to die. Maybe it's where the place that launches rock star careers should also go to die.

Friday, October 13, 2006

CNN Video shows contrast between China and North Korea

The link provided will take you to the CNN headline that the North Korean air samples contain no radioactivity, calling into question whether North Korea actually tested a nuclear bomb.

What interested me more than the story itself, however, was a video link at the bottom left of the story entitled, "River Town Divides China and North Korea in many ways."

Clicking that link will bring up a video report from CNN about the river that separates China from North Korea, and the contrasts between the Chinese city on one side and the North Korean town on the other. It's not only an interesting glimpse into the stark differences between the two countries, but also a fascinating study in the way two countries whose underlying ideologies are, at least in theory, based very roughly on the writings of the same man, can have such widely divergent models of social and economic development.

China, on the one hand, has largely abandoned most of Marx's teachings, and keeps only the authoritarianism and centralization of political control that it inherited from the Soviets and Mao, while embracing a kind of fervent reverence for super-capitalist economic development at all costs. North Korea has taken the communist idea of "dictatorship of the proletariat" to the extreme, creating a cult of personality around its leadership of which Stalin would be envious, and by completely rejecting capitalist development and insisting on a rigid policy of "self-reliance," it has driven its people into misery and starvation.

Were Marx alive today and had the chance to visit the Chinese city and look across at North Korea, I don't think he would be pleased with either side. In neither country is the "working class" truly in charge of the "means of production." In neither country has the class war "ended." In neither country is there any movement towards the abolition of state control or the establishment of a truly cooperative civil society and a rationally planned socialist economy.

Of course, this goes into the larger issue that no country, ever, in the history of the world, has managed to follow the Marxian model to socialism, and, eventually, communism, without succumbing to some form of authoritarianism and stagnating there. This doesn't mean that the Marxian model will never work, but it has led to the majority of the world discrediting Marx. I myself believe the jury's still out on Marx and his theories. We're still a capitalist world, and at the moment it looks like that could be the case for a very long time. Marx's theories can only truly be applied if and when capitalism collapses on a worldwide basis. So long as capitalism exists somewhere, no country can truly establish an autonomous, truly socialist, alternative model.

Halloween Project: Piss off Theofascists

1. Go here.

2. Print off several dozen flyers.

3. Take said flyers to GUTS church and distribute to idiots in line for the "Nightmare" brainwashing tour.

Optional: Wear a pirate costume.

Who's in?

This is bad news.

Air America Radio filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Happily, they'll be able to stay on the air while they sort everything out, but the fact that they're in such financial trouble is not a good thing.

Now these numbers I can live with

New Senate: 50 Dems, 49 Repugs, 1 tie
New House: 226 Dems, 205 Repugs, 4 ties.

Good site for tracking trends and polls.

It's Friday


New polls out suggest a coming Democratic landslide in November. Landslide, I tells ya. Still, I'm not going to get my hopes up. Oh, shit, yes I am.

I'm not quite as sick as I have been the past few days, though I'm still not feeling well, and I have to work a full day and do a 3 hour play rehearsal tonight. Bleah.

Anyone have anything they want to discuss? There's a lot of news out there. Come over and sit on my settee and we'll drink tea and chat a while.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

CNN uses the "s" word in almost a positive light

That word being "socialist." It's a story about one of my personal political heroes, Bernie Sanders, who is running for Senate and is expected to win.

"I am prepared to stand up to the big-money interests," he said, his voice rising and his signature New York accent growing more pronounced with every syllable. "I am prepared to talk about the growing gap between rich and poor. I'm prepared to talk about the fact that, in many ways, we are becoming an oligarchic society with a few people on top who have tremendous wealth while the middle class is shrinking, people are working very, very hard to keep their heads above water and poverty is increasing."

Mark Warner Not Running for President in 2008

which is not good news. He could have been the anti-Hellary: a credible, moderate, dynamic candidate with cross-party appeal, from Virginia, a red state that could have been put into play--a Clintonesque dark horse that could have united the diverse wings of the Democratic Party, and beaten John McConjob or whatever other neo-fascist the Repugnant Party puts out there.

The idealist in me is still rooting for Russ Feingold, but I know he's a longshot. He's got stuff going for him though--respected for his efforts on campaign finance, from a swing state (Wisconsin), and very able to energize the activist base of the party, but the question is whether he'd be able to generate enough cross-party appeal to take on a media darling like John McConjob.

Ultimately I worry that the Dems will pick someone horrible and useless like John Kerry again, and we'll lose.

Thursday thread

How is everyone out there in blogland today? I myself am sick, and probably going home from work early today.

The weather has finally turned cold-ish, which is nice...maybe the leaves will start changing soon. I love Autumn.

And DayQuil. Stuff works. To a certain extent.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Theofascist Christian Hate Groups Are Horrible, Horrible People

Horrible quote of the day:

"As a society, we've made diversity and tolerance the guidepost of public life," Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council told ABC News. "Maybe we shouldn't be surprised that we have congressmen chasing after 16-year-old boys."

Diversity and tolerance lead to congressmen chasing after 16-year old boys? No, Tony Perkins, you fascist prick. You unbelievable piece of elephant shit. This has nothing to do with diversity and tolerance. It has to do with one man's problems controlling an inappropriate libido. It also has to do with a Republican establishment that is so uncomfortable talking about sexuality and so determined to hold onto power at all costs and suppress bad publicity that it refused to deal appropriately with Foley's actions. It has absolutely nothing to do with homosexuality. Foley's actions would have been equally inappropriate had he been sexually harassing female pages. Scapegoating "gay lawmakers" for the actions of one pedophile is like...well, it's kind of like invading Iraq when we were attacked by terrorists who had no connection to Iraq. Deflect the blame to a convenient scapegoat and you don't have to deal with the real issues involved, and you can shore up your own support base of clueless bobbleheaded drones brainwashed at megachurches and hanging on your every word, oh Dear Leader.

You are a horrible person, Tony Perkins. And so's your buddy, James Dobson, and everyone else involved in the neo-fascist Family Research Council, and Focus on the Family. Horrible, horrible, stupid, pinheaded, brainless, mean, evil, nasty, awful, disgusting, hateful, spiteful, ignorant, rude, idiotic, xenophobic, homophobic, anti-semetic, racist, fascist, fuckheaded people who have absolutely no conception of the world as it really is and live in a little bubble of certainty that you have decided to thrust upon a world that really doesn't conform to your little white uber-Christian heterosexual vision of how things should work.

As Keith Olbermann would say:

Tony Perkins: Today's worst person in the world!

Mission Accomplished.

655,000 civilians killed in Iraq since the invasion.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A quiz

What historical political leader corresponds to the following facts?

Click on the link and try to find the answer.

Something about a fox and a henhouse comes to mind

A former pesticide executive is nominated to head a regional EPA office.

What I love about this Administration and their cronies is that they're so consistently evil about absolutely everything. And as Bush knows, consistency is the key. Cause he's the decider.

Mission accomplished.

So glad we've got that extra money for victory parades.

Cartoon of the Day

Printed in today's Tulsa World.

Tuesday thread

It's Tuesday. I think I'm coming down with a cold. And I'm at work.

On a brighter note, the Republicans continue their slide toward oblivion.

And my Night Elf warrior is up to level 33. W00t!

Anyone have anything on their mind? Anyone? Bueller?

Monday, October 9, 2006

New poll: Democrats lead Republicans by 23% in all categories

The biggest margin since 1978. Republican support is not only tanking, it's disintegrating.

Good things are going to happen in November. Very, very, very good things.


Well that can't be good.

But tell me this: what, exactly, does the Stalinist nation of North Korea have in common with Islamic theocrats in Al-Qaeda? Nothing, right? So why would people be afraid of North Korea giving nukes to Al-Qaeda? Maybe I'm naive, but it seems like this is another example of neoconservative foreign policy lumping all of our enemies together under the same umbrella, even if they absolutely hate each other. Like Sadaam and Al-Qaeda, for example. "If you're not with us, you're against us," as Bush said sometime after 9/1l, and then lumped Iran, Iraq and North Korea in an "Axis of Evil," even though two of those nations were at war with one another as recently as the '80s, and the other is a completely different ethnic and ideological entity.


It's Monday morning. What's going on in the world?

Friday, October 6, 2006

Olbermann's Special Comment

It's really long, so I won't try to excerpt it here. But it's worth reading/watching. Once again Keith takes Bush to the woodshed and smacks him around with a lead pipe. Why there's a lead pipe in a woodshed is beside the point.

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Republicans at fault for spinach e-coli?

A story in the Sacramento Bee suggests that a Republican move to kill funding for a food safety center is responsible for the slow response and large amount of damage from the recent e-coli outbreak.

Thanks to this DailyKos diary for alerting me.

An e-mail from John Edwards

Pass this on.

I got an email from John Edwards telling me about his trip to Uganda and asking me to spread the word about the humanitarian crisis happening there. I thought you might like to read his message. Here's what he said:

I just returned from a trip to Uganda and wanted to share my experience with you. Uganda is home to one of the greatest unreported humanitarian crises in the world -- millions of people have been displaced from their homes and subjected to horrific violence. And with the exception of extraordinary groups, like the International Rescue Committee (IRC), whom I traveled with, most of the world is ignoring this tragedy.

Uganda has been plagued by a long civil war and a rebel army/terrorist group called the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Among other things, the LRA abducts children, turns them into soldiers, forces them to commit atrocities, and in some cases, turns them into sex slaves.

We first went to an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp outside Kitgum, just over 30 miles from the Sudan border. The people at IDP camps are the same as refugees, but they have not crossed a country border. This camp was one of hundreds throughout the region, and many of the people in this camp have been stuck there for several years, some for twenty years.

I sat under a tree with three adults and lots of children. They told me the stories of what they'd been through and what their hopes were. I met a little girl, about a year old, whose mother said she had never smiled -- her father was killed by the LRA. I tried to get her to smile and almost got one.

The living conditions at the camp were awful -- open sewage, little water, malnourished children. There were children that had been abducted by the LRA, forced to commit atrocities against others, including their own families, but had escaped and come back to the camp.

The next day we flew to Lira, another region of northern Uganda. There, I visited with a family that had taken in a young girl, an orphan, named Lilly. Lilly's parents had been killed by the LRA. She was about eight or nine years old -- around my daughter Emma's age. Lilly carried one baby in her arms and one on her back. It was heartbreaking to see her providing childcare for babies instead of going to school.

We then went to the Kira School, which is run by the IRC. In spite of everything they'd been through, the children at the school were remarkable -- they still had hope and lots of love to give. A 14-year old boy performed a song that he had written. He had lived on the streets for 13 years, and a year ago had been taken in by the IRC. In front of us and hundreds of his classmates, he sang a song about how happy he was to have a new life.

I also had the opportunity to meet with the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni. I talked with him about what I had seen, the critical importance of the peace process and what we can do to help it along, and all the suffering we had witnessed in Northern Uganda.

Although I am back in the United States, I know I will never forget the faces of the people I met in Uganda, especially the children.

What's happening in northern Uganda is similar to conditions elsewhere, like Darfur. But with a peace process underway, this is a great opportunity for Americans to show we care about the suffering of people around the world. But before people can care, they have to know what's gone terribly wrong. You can help spread the word about what’s happening in Uganda by forwarding this message to a friend. Please help us spread the word.

Thanks for taking a moment to read this message.

Your friend,

John Edwards

Heads up!

Keith Olbermann is doing another Special Comment tonight. I'm sure it'll be just as eloquent, pointed and fearless as his others. Watch it tonight at 8:00PM Eastern Time (7:00PM Central) on MSNBC.

It's almost the weekend

Is there anybody out there? What's on your mind? Don't be shy. I don't bite. Hard.

For the Alliance!

(oops nm lol warcrack addiction coming out)...

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Obama in '08?

Certainly be better than Hellary. God I hate her. Obama's not my favorite candidate, but he's good, and if he can win, that's doubleplusgood.

I just absolutely love it.

The Repugnant Party is going down in flames. Flames. On the side of my face. Breathing..breath..heaving...

Seriously. Let's not let them swipe the Foley story out of the headlines like they did with every other thing they've done wrong. Latest predictions are that Dennis Assdirt will not be Speaker for much longer. True. After November 7th, that job will belong to Nancy Pelosi.

*channels Mr. Burns*


*does a happy dance, giving standard "for idiots only" disclaimer that yes, I'm appalled that teenagers were sexually harassed by a member of Congress, but I am happy that it's turning out to be the mortal blow to the Repugnant Party's hopes to keep control of either chamber of Congress.*

Last night I had a dream...I found myself in a desert...called cyberland....

Ok, not really.

But I did dream that the Democrats ended up with 70 Senate seats and something like 290 House seats.

Wouldn't that be lovely?

only thing to do is jump over the mooon...

Lou Dobbs: Class Warrior?

I'll be the first to admit that I don't read a lot of Lou Dobbs. But it's always been my impression that he's a lot more conservative than this column might indicate. Still, he makes a lot of good points here, and his column deserves to be read.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Cartoon of the day

Printed in today's Tulsa World.

Yom Kippur is over.

Which is a good thing.

Republicans have yet another scandal on their hands. No surprise there. The only question is: could this Mark Foley thing be a manufactured distraction designed to take our minds off the fact that the Republicans shredded the Constitution last week? The question then becomes: which is worse, torture or child molestation? Gee, the Republicans are really on a roll, aren't they?

The Radical Reich is also on a roll, thinking that the Republicans were afraid that they might be accused of gay-bashing if they disciplined a child predator. Yeah, because just like gay marriage is the same thing as a guy marrying a goat, and will destroy every heterosexual marriage in America as straight men across the country suddenly get fond of farm animals, so pedophilia is the same thing as two grown men who love each other. Rick Santorum's logic is just...flawless, isn't it? I'm so glad the Radical Reich has embraced it.

Trent Lott was on the Daily Show last night trying to extricate himself from his "towelheads all look alike" comment, and Jon Stewart let him get away with it. Shame on you, Jon. You should have ripped that Klan member a new one. Or just not had him on your show. I would have preferred the latter. Trent Lott is worse than George Macaca. Remember last year when he said we'd be better off if Strom "I hate niggers" Thurmond had become President in 1948? Real class act there.

Well, that's what's on my mind. What's on yours?