Progressive. Queer. Feminist. Opinionated.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Well, this explains a lot!

Pentagon Lists Homosexuality As Disorder:

A Pentagon document classifies homosexuality as a mental disorder, decades after mental health experts abandoned that position.

The document, called a Defense Department Instruction, was condemned by medical professionals, members of Congress and other experts, including the American Psychiatric Association.

Well, thank goodness for that, at least.

Still, I think this is a Freudian slip, in a way. Someone's letting his/her true feelings show!


There were 726 military members discharged under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy during the budget year that ended last Sept. 30. That marked the first year since 2001 that the total had increased. The number of discharges had declined each year since it peaked at 1,227 in 2001, and had fallen to 653 in 2004.


Aaaand AMERICAblog has an image of the document.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Gay Animal Update

Perhaps you remember my post with the Gay Animal Link. I kinda left it as it was and didn't comment on it aside from the fact that it was an interview with someone with an alternative viewpoint of queerness and evolution. Some of what she says has merit and some of it doesn't but, well I'm not an evolutionary biologist. But PZ Myers of Pharyngula is. While I do think that he's a pompous (he gets attack-y with people who don't share his viewpoint, though I guess that's the scientist in him popping out --- we like to be right. Shut up.) ass of a white man (science is owned by the patriarchy --- check out the web pages of any competitive science department and you'll definately see mostly old white guys.) he takes this interview apart pretty well and I agree with him almost 100%. He is, however, a liberal and is queer friendly, which is nice. And he's a rational human being, which is also nice.

At any rate, now that I'm done rambling, here's a link to the post he made about the Gay Animals. I wanted to make highlights for all of you lazies, but I like the whole thing. So at least go and scan it.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Seed Magazine Rocks

I love Seed Magazine. They're a fairly new showing to the Science News crowd with a lot of good ideas. For one, they're made science a lot more accessible to you non-science types. It's not like reading, say Scientific American, which is also a fairly informal publication but significantly heavier. The downside to Seed is that it can seem a little trashy sometimes --- not as trashy as Discover can be (not to insult any of you who like Discover, I liked it fine until I wanted to read some heavier stuff.). The difference is, Seed isn't trying to be as serious as Discover is, so it has more of a lighthearted, fun, gossip rag kind of trashiness. It's really more focussed on science culture than science itself, though there are some excellent actual science articles in each issue too. Also, its physically larger (each page is bigger than 8.5 x 11) so bigger pretty pictures!

Aaaaaaand --- because everyone loves the gay penguins --- here is a Seed article about gay animals! (I have yet to poke around enough to find out how far into the archives is free for online access, but so far it's all been free for me. This is something they do significantly better than Sciam, but I have Sciam Digital so I don't care. Mmmm coffee ramblings)

The Gay Animal Kingdom

Articles like these are why Seed is great. It's a theory way off the beaten track, but that's how science progresses. You give the seeming crackpots a voice and sometimes great things happen. But not if they're just wrong. Then those people (anti-global warming, Intelligent Design) are just wrong. I'm not squelching debate here either. When a theory has no evidence to support it beyond denial or flaws in another theory, it's not a theory. This gay animal thing is based on actual observation, so don't go flying down my throat.

Listen to the muzak and fight global warming!

For all of you Weather Channel-tapers and eco-conscious human beings out there, there's some excellent news:

The Weather Channel has joined the Virtual March against global warming. According to Huffington Post's Laurie David

The Weather Channel is the first cable television network to take a formal position on global warming -- to say not only that it's real, but also that it's a result of human activities. Its important decision to join the mainstream scientific community in acknowledging the threat from global warming should serve as a wake-up call to those meteorologists who have yet to connect the dots between increasing episodes of extreme weather and global warming. (Link)

You best believe it. They even have a full time expert, a Dr. Heidi Cullen. Maybe this is the beginning of the end to the pseudo-intellectual hackery that devotes itself to going "lalalalalalaIcan'thearyou" whenever anyone mentions global warming. Also, perhaps a clue that, hmmm, science is a little important?

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Fighting on the internet

This post is now about what I was going to use as a subject line for a post about something else. I was fighting with people on Live Journal, and thought I remembered a sort of saying about fighting on the internet, but I couldn't remember what it was. So I googled it, and discovered many variations on saying that fighting on the internet is like competing in the special olympics-even if you win you're still retarded. What bothers me even more than this saying is the knowledge that at some point I thought it was fine. Now I have noticed friends, family, and teachers supporting disability rights and explaining things to me repeatedly and basically...Yeah. It's not funny. It's awful.

A friend and co-worker says "that's gay" to mean that something is bad. For the first year I worked with her, I didn't really say anything about it. One time early on I made a joke-she had said that her friends were all being gay, and I said that, no, my friends are gay. Because at that point everyone I hung out with was. I was trying to make a subtle point to her. It didn't really work. Lately I've gotten on her case about it. She explains it's just her word for stupid, and I know she is not someone who hates gay people. It's just this is the way people around her talked etc. So now she is, at least, starting to not do it around me. She is trying to not do it in front of me at all. I explained that I used to say things were retarded, and that being around people with siblings with disabilities etc I learned to not say that. I kind of hope that by having to think about what it means, and by not saying it around me, she will stop saying it. But really I don't know what to do. How did I go from someone who said retarded to mean stupid to someone who finds it offensive? I think it was partially our old writing teacher throwing so much disabilities rights stuff at us, but I know that at the time I found it annoying, and that was coming from a teacher. From a peer I honestly would have ignored most of it.

My general theory of teaching my beliefs is sort of derived from St. Francis saying to teach the gospel at all times, and if necessary to use words. I live my life in the way that my beliefs decree, and I hope that people will be influenced by that. Nothing deafens someone like shouting. The vegetarians and vegans I know who yell or chastise just make people hate vegetarians and vegans. The vegan I knew who never said anything about it had me almost convinced to be a vegan-she just ate lovely looking meals every day, and made it seem do-able and more right than not doing it. Then there was cheesecake in the world, and I failed. But still, the point is, I believe that the best convincing is not done by shoving something at someone. However, nobody is going to change if I sit by and do nothing....
So. Advice?
And I guess my original post topic will happen later.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Jon Stewart and The Gay

Via BoingBoing: The Daily Show's Jon Stewart lays it out for Bill Bennet.

Bennett: Well I think if gay... gay people are already members of families...

Stewart: What?

Bennett: They're sons and they're daughters...

Stewart: So that's where the buck stops, that's the gay ceiling.

Bennett: Look, it's a debate about whether you think marriage is between a man and a woman.

Stewart: I disagree, I think it's a debate about whether you think gay people are part of the human condition or just a random fetish.

Crooks and Liars is currently out of commission, so I instead present you with the YouTube link.

Marriage amendment fails. Miserably. Everyone laughs.

The Senate rejected a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage Wednesday, delivering a stinging defeat to President Bush and other Republicans who hope the issue will rally GOP voters for the November elections.

Ha! Yeah, nice try there, suckers.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

"Republican Right Wing 2006 Electoral Strategy Amendment"

That's what Fox News quotes Ted Kennedy calling the proposed Marriage Protection Amendment. As Harper points out in her earlier post, yesterday the President gave a huge anti-same-sex-marriage speech, and while certainly the most publicized, it was by no means the only discussion going on in DC.

CSPAN Radio (accessible by people in the DC metro area and by those who have satellite radio) was just chock-a-block full of the gay yesterday, largely because the proposed amendment is coming up for a Senate vote on Wednesday (or today -- sources vary), and everyone wants to get their two cents in. Why the furor? Well, it's rather astonishing that the amendment's being brought up right now, since apparently no one's really expecting enough votes to get the amendment passed. And the White House itself is divided on the subject (rare, these days), with Cheney's (2004) point of view being that "People ought to be free to choose any arrangement they want. Traditionally that's been an issue for the states. . . . That would be my preference," and Laura Bush quoted as saying that "I don't think it should be used as a campaign tool, obviously."

Except, well... frankly, everyone's looking at the timing of this Gay Extravanganza and wondering how much this sudden outburst of "traditional values" has to do with the midterm elections and the GOP's floundering approval ratings. Even conservative groups like The American Family Association of Michigan are coming out and saying, "Increasingly, social conservatives expect real action, not just politically timed attempts to motivate and organize the base." Add that in with the other amendment being voted on this week ("Anti-flag-burning! You miserable old bitch, how you been since we saw you last? Still stepping out with the Pledge of Allegiance's 'Under God'?"), and it just seems like so much political pandering.

So the amendment probably won't pass, which is all well and good, and if the President isn't pandering and he truly thinks this is a massively important issue then he chose a really bad time to make mention of it -- but what does this actually mean to us poor queers stuck watching this stuff from the outside?

Frankly, I'll stick with what I've always said: You can take away my civil rights, but you can't take away marriage. If we're talking historical institutions, technically (if I wished to appropriate other people's cultures willy-nilly) I could jump over a broom with my fiancee and lo! we'd be married! Taking away my ability to legally visit her in the hospital won't stop us from being married -- no one can stop that but ourselves.

Listening to CSPAN radio led me to this rather fabulous article by Dale Carpenter, associate professor of law at the University of Minnesota Law School. In it he gives a point by point explanation of why introducing a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage is a Bad Idea -- and to his credit, he doesn't harp on the issue of bigotry and discrimination, which would (with many folks) instantly color his argument with big ol' rainbow stripes. But the argument he's presenting -- that this amendment would be anti-democratic, anti-federalist, and that "A person who opposes same-sex marriage on policy grounds can and should also oppose a constitutional amendment foreclosing it, on grounds of federalism, confidence that opponents will prevail without an amendment, or a belief that public policy issues should only rarely be determined at the constitutional level" -- is one that's good enough to convince even staunch anti-gay-marriage proponents who nonetheless still wish to uphold the values of our political system.

There are four main arguments against the FMA [Federal Marriage Amendment]. First, a constitutional amendment is unnecessary because federal and state laws, combined with the present state of the relevant constitutional doctrines, already make court-ordered nation-wide same-sex marriage unlikely for the foreseeable future. [...]

Second, a constitutional amendment defining marriage would be a radical intrusion on the nation's founding commitment to federalism in an area traditionally reserved for state regulation, family law. [...]

Third, a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage would be an unprecedented form of amendment, cutting short on ongoing national debate over what privileges and benefits, if any, ought to be conferred on same-sex couples and preventing democratic processes from recognizing more individual rights.

Fourth, the amendment as proposed is constitutional overkill that reaches well beyond the stated concerns of its proponents, foreclosing not just courts but also state legislatures from recognizing same-sex marriages and perhaps other forms of legal support for same-sex relationships. Whatever one thinks of same-sex marriage as a matter of policy, no person who cares about our Constitution and public policy should support this unnecessary, radical, unprecedented, and overly broad departure from the nation's traditions and history.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Bush pretends to love tolerance and respect

So unless you've been living under a rock, you must know that the President's beginning his attack against gay marriage again.

I found a decent video of his television press conference on PageOneQ, which can be found here.

Some quotations from the speech:

The union of a man and woman in marriage is the most enduring and important human institution. For ages, in every culture, human beings have understood that marriage is critical to the well-being of families. And because families pass along values and shape character, marriage is also critical to the health of society. Our policies should aim to strengthen families, not undermine them. And changing the definition of marriage would undermine the family structure.

As this debate goes forward, every American deserves to be treated with tolerance and respect and dignity. On an issue of this great significance, opinions are strong and emotions run deep. And all of us have a duty to conduct this discussion with civility and decency toward one another. All people deserve to have their voices heard and a constitutional amendment will ensure that they are heard.

...the logic does not run deep in this one.

The blogs are all a-chatter with this, so I'm not going to bother to post links. Check out any big name blog, and they have post about this, almost for sure.

In good news, however, Dean's trying to repair the DNC's relationship with gay folks:

"I want to start today by thanking you for standing with me ... as we have fought side by side for equal rights under the law for all Americans. That fight continues, and the Democrat Party is standing with you by leading the fight against discrimination, and by helping you meet your electoral objectives this fall....

I am proud to lead a Party that has led the fight for hate crimes legislation, and fought for laws banning any discrimination based on race, ethnicity, and on sexual orientation... And I am proud to lead a party that understands that using marriage as a wedge issue and scapegoating groups of Americans to win elections is morally wrong."

I hope he means this. I really do like the guy. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how a representative of the people should be talking. A real leader wouldn't be speaking about "tolerance and respect and dignity," while pushing an anti-gay and hateful rhetoric of gay bashing and intolerance.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Rick says, "Treat people poorly! It's the American way!"

Santorum's dragging in the senate race, so what does he do?

Go out and blast gays, of course. (Duh, people. Get with the picture here!)

And it's [Federal Marriage Amendment] an opportunity for us to get beyond, you know, 'We should treat everybody nicely.' I'm for treating everybody nicely, but that doesn't mean that we need to change the law to recognize a form of marriage that is harmful to our country.

Uh huuuuh.

I think it's time to give up, Rickie. It appears that your campaign is going down in flames and no amount of anti-gay rhetoric is going to save you.

(Source: The wonderful Raw Story.)