Thursday, December 22, 2005

Gay Cop Drive

Los Angeles is following Fort Lauderdale's lead, it would seem:
The Los Angeles Police Department announced on Thursday that it will go on a recruitment drive at the Gay Games, scheduled for Chicago next July.


Take That, Wal-Mart!

Empty your pocket change and distribute it amongst the workers you abused, vile corporation:
A California jury on Thursday awarded $172 million to thousands of employees at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. who claimed they were illegally denied lunch breaks.

The world's largest retailer was ordered to pay $57 million in general damages and $115 million in punitive damages to about 116,000 current and former California employees for violating a 2001 state law that requires employers to give 30-minute, unpaid lunch breaks to employees who work at least six hours.


Because NYMary Likes Me (Even Though Phila Does Not)

And because I am packing, I will attempt to reply to this lengthy questionnaire.

Seven Things To Do Before I Die

1. Write and publish books. Plural.
2. Raise children.
3. Go skydiving behind Miriam's back.
4. (Re)learn to dance well in several styles.
5. Take up spelunking again.
6. Teach hundreds, thousands, of people about literature and Marxism.
7. Swim with sharks.

Seven Things I Cannot Do

1. Remember names, ever.
2. Understand the religious impulse in other than the most superficial way. (That's the religious impulse, not the spiritual.)
3. Enjoy a normal 8-to-5 schedule.
4. Shave regularly.
5. Resist my cats' demands for attention.
6. Stop buying books (this answer is stolen from Phila).
7. Drive standard (much to Miriam's chagrin) (this answer is stolen from NYMary).

Seven Things That Attract Me to...Blogging

1. Miriam, who grew tired of being the only audience for my bitching about the way this country is going.
2. My other writing (publications, dissertation), which requires focus, revision, and attention to detail and provides no instant gratification.
3. My cats told me to.
4. Attracting vast hordes of admiring readers. Vast, I tell you.
5. Sheer boredom at the job I may or may not still have.
6. Intrinsic sarcasm which insists on an outlet.
7. Gnawing misery that besets my very soul and demands that I share it with others.

Seven Things I Say Most Often

1. What was your name again?
2. Do we have anything planned tonight/this weekend, Miriam?
3. Gramsci, no!! Tista, no!!
4. No, I haven't seen your keys/wallet/backpack, Miriam.
5. I love you! (Sappy, but in the interest of honesty.)
6. Bloody goddamn motherf***ing pieces of shit!
7. Where did my drink go?

Seven Books That I Love

1. Thomas Pynchon's Mason & Dixon.
2. James Joyce's Ulysses.
3. William S. Burroughs's Cities of the Red Night.
4. Buchi Emecheta's The Joys of Motherhood.
5. Fredric Jameson's The Political Unconscious.
6. Michel Foucault's Discipline and Punish.
7. Karl Marx's Das Kapital.

Seven Movies That I Watch Over and Over Again

1. Chicken Run.
2. Raising Arizona.
3. Apocalypse Now.
4. Lord of the Rings trilogy.
5. Dress to Kill.
6. South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut.
7. Dr. Strangelove.

Seven People I Want To Join In Too

As usual with these things, I imagine I'm late to the game, so my list will be redundant, but:

1. Echidne of the Snakes.
2. Redneck Mother.
3. Avedon Carol.
4. Moonbootica.
5. Thersites.
6. LJ.
7. Vestal Vespa.



This moment of Schadenfreude brought to you by the Society of Jesus:
A Catholic magazine is apologizing to its readers after running an ad featuring a condom wrapped Virgin Mary statue.

The display ad, in America, was placed by a British artist for what he called the "Extra Virgin" statue. The ad said that the statue wears "a delicate veil of latex."

The advertisement, in its December 5 issue, drew complaints from Catholics across the country, incensed that the paper was promoting condoms and using the Virgin Mary to do it.

Readers were particularly angry that the ad appeared in a magazine printed by a priestly order in the Catholic Church.

America is owned and published by the Society of Jesus, the Jesuit Order.


Court to DeLay: Dangle

The love for Austin judges keeps on growing:
A Texas appeals court Thursday thwarted former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's bid for a speedy trial.

The money laundering and conspiracy case against the Republican congressman has been on hold while prosecutors appeal a judge's dismissal of some of the charges.

DeLay's attorneys asked the 3rd Court of Appeals to speed up the appeals process by shortening the filing periods from 20 days to five days. But the court said no.

DeLay has been pressing for a quick resolution to his case so he can regain his post as majority leader before his colleagues call for new leadership elections next month.


Wednesday, December 21, 2005


The people sending these cards out somehow think they are defending "the spirit of Christmas"?

Just weird:

Santa Claus points a handgun at a masked terrorist on a Christmas card that John Michael Snyder, public affairs director of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, sends this year to a number of recipients.
The card presents Santa guarding a group of small children from a bomb-harnessed suicide killer. The bomber appears ready to cast a stick of dynamite at an image of the Infant Jesus beneath a decorated Christmas tree.


Bizarro World

I'm not sure just when it happened, but we seem to have slipped into an alternate universe, in which Democrats have spines and are able to stand up effectively to Republicans:
A quarter-century long fight over the nation's most divisive environmental issue rages on after the Senate on Wednesday rejected opening an Alaska wildlife refuge to oil drilling -- even though that provision was included in a must-pass bill that funds U.S. troops overseas and hurricane victims.

It was a stinging defeat for Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, one of the Senate's most powerful members, who had hoped to garner more votes by forcing senators to choose between supporting the drilling measure, or risking the political fallout from voting against money for the troops and hurricane

Instead, Stevens found himself a few votes shy of getting his wish.

Republican leaders could not break a Democratic filibuster threat over the drilling issue, falling three votes short of the 60 votes need to advance the defense spending bill to a final vote.


More National Sovereignty in South America

How long until neocons start talking about a "domino effect"?
The winner of Bolivia's presidential elections has repeated his vow to nationalize oil and gas and said he will void at least some contracts held by foreign companies "looting" the poor Andean nation's natural resources.

Indian coca farmer Evo Morales said he will not confiscate refineries or infrastructure owned by multinational corporations. Instead, his government would renegotiate contracts so that the companies are partners, but not owners, in developing Bolivia's resources, he said.

"We will nationalize (Bolivia's) natural resources," Morales said at a news conference Tuesday in La Paz.

"Many of these contracts signed by various governments are illegal and unconstitutional. It is not possible that our natural resources continue to be looted, exploited illegally, and as the lawyers say, these contracts are legally void and must be adjusted," Morales said.



Well done, Conyers:
As President Bush and his aides scramble to explain new revelations regarding Bush's authorization of spying on the international telephone calls and emails of Americans, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, has begun a process that could lead to the censure, and perhaps the impeachment, of the president and vice president.


No ID in the Biology Classroom

Common sense prevails:
A courtroom battle seen as a test case for the teaching of science in America ended in a decisive victory for evolution yesterday when a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled that it was unconstitutional to teach "intelligent design" in biology class.

In a 139-page decision that was scathing about the area school district and dismissive of the science of "intelligent design", US district judge John Jones III ruled that the school district of Dover, Pennsylvania, had violated the constitution by ordering teachers to read a statement which challenged Darwin's theory of evolution.


National Sovereignty

It's refreshing to see a nation asserting its own right to control its resources in the face of multinational capital:
Venezuela has given the world's biggest oil company, ExxonMobil, until the end of this year to enter a joint venture with the state.

Failure to do so will almost certainly result in Exxon losing its oil field concessions in the country.
Venezuela's socialist government has now signed new agreements with almost all foreign petroleum companies.

After months of pressure from left- wing leader Hugo Chavez most foreign oil firms working there have caved in.

They have agreed to hand over a controlling stake of their oil interests to the Venezuelan state.
This means that Venezuela now calls the shots in what the foreign guests can and cannot do.


Same Old Song and Dance Again

How many times will they trot out the "we're stupid, not evil" justification for everything they do?
A surveillance program approved by President Bush to conduct eavesdropping without warrants has captured what are purely domestic communications in some cases, despite a requirement by the White House that one end of the intercepted conversations take place on foreign soil, officials say.

The officials say the National Security Agency's interception of a small number of communications between people within the United States was apparently accidental, and was caused by technical glitches at the National Security Agency in determining whether a communication was in fact "international."


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Scary Gays

Oh lordy. Kissing is a credible threat?
An organization that represents gays in the military said Tuesday that it will file a Freedom of Information Act request to learn if it or other LGBT organizations have been monitored by the Bush Administration following media reports that the Pentagon has been spying on “suspicious” meetings by civilian groups, including student groups opposed to the military’s "don't ask, don't tell".

Allegations of spying were first reported on NBC which said that Pentagon investigators labeled a gay kiss-in at the University of California - Santa Cruz as a "credible threat" of terrorism.


A Stupid Move for an Evil End

But that's what the GOP is all about these days:

Senate Republicans prepared a targeted version of the so-called “nuclear option” yesterday as they tried to ensure adoption of a defense-spending conference report that includes a controversial provision opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and gas drilling.

The tactic promises to make the consensus-based Senate temporarily resemble the majority-dominated House.


Monday, December 19, 2005

Very, Very Bad

Just, bad:
"Taking a T." That's what HIV-negative gay men call the growing practice of downing the AIDS drug tenofovir and, with fingers crossed, hoping it protects them from the virus during unprotected sex.

It's being sold in packets along with Viagra and Ecstasy in gay dance clubs — and even prescribed by physicians, say doctors and AIDS prevention experts. The trend has alarmed public health officials. There is no proof that tenofovir protects against HIV transmission, they say. People who practice unsafe sex while taking the drug could still become infected or suffer side effects from it.

Recreational use of AIDS drugs also might increase overall resistance to the medications, HIV experts say. "This is a very worrisome development," said Dr. David Hardy, an HIV doctor at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He said the drug could lead to an even further erosion of condom use, which studies show has been falling among high-risk populations.


Bush Is Still a Clueless Idiot

Just in case you were wondering.
With a slip of the tongue, U.S. President George W. Bush briefly turned Osama bin Laden into Saddam Hussein on Monday.

Bush momentarily switched the names of his two greatest nemeses in a news conference at the White House where he was defending his decision to authorise eavesdropping on Americans suspected of links with al Qaeda and other organisations in the U.S. war on terrorism.

"In the late 1990s, our government was following Osama bin Laden because he was using a certain type of telephone and then the fact that we were following Osama bin Laden because he was using a certain type of telephone made it into the press as the result of a leak," Bush said.

"And guess what happened. Saddam ...Osama bin Laden changed his behaviour. He began to change how he communicated. We're at war. And we must protect America's secrets."

The Bush administration sought to convince Americans before the invasion of Iraq that Saddam Hussein's government had links to bin Laden's al Qaeda. No such links have been proven.


Blaming the Messengers, Again

Every day, it becomes more clear that, to this administration, talking about unlawful acts is worse than committing them in the first place.

Here's hoping that loose lips sink shits:
President George W. Bush vowed on Monday to authorize more eavesdropping on Americans suspected of ties to terrorists and said he believed a probe was underway into who committed "the shameful act" of revealing the covert program.


More Than I Need to See

But, um, good for them, I guess?
IN THE beginning was the word of God and God never said anything about brassieres or boxer shorts. Thus was born Natura, America’s first Christian nudist camp.

After two years of biblical debate over Adam and Eve and their fig leaves and whether or not nudity is sinful, a 67-year-old Quaker grandfather is preparing to open a modern-day Garden of Eden 40 miles north of Tampa, Florida.


Hunting Gays

In the bad sense:
A soldier says he has requested a discharge from the military after his sexual orientation made him a target for attacks.

Private Kyle Lawson says he was punched in the face by a fellow member of a training unit at Fort Huachuca at an off-post party in October after a friend let it slip that Lawson was gay.
Now, he is so concerned about his personal safety he's sleeping on a cot in his drill sergeant's office
But, the army has done little to prosecute the alleged attacker in a military court. Lawson said as far as he knows, his attacker was punished by losing some privileges, such as having his weekend pass revoked.

"Pentagon leaders have consistently refused to take harassment seriously, and our men and women in uniform continue to pay the price," said Sharra E. Greer, SLDN’s director of law and policy.

And in the good sense:
Police in Fort Lauderdale are hunting down gays. Not to arrest them, but to hire them.

The police department has begun an aggressive advertising campaign in the state's LGBT press hoping to find recruits for the force. It will also have a booth at Pridefest, Fort Lauderdale's gay pride celebration.

"I wouldn't mind seeing more openly gay officers at the department,'' Police Detective Brice Brittenum told the Sun-Sentinel newspaper. "I think that would be great for the department and the community.''


Sunday, December 18, 2005

God Loves Gay New Orleans

A few Christian political activists blamed Hurricane Katrina on gays, noting that it hit immediately prior to gay-friendly New Orleans' famed "Southern Decadence" gay festival.

But, in fact, about the only parts of the city that weren't severely damaged by the massive flooding from burst levees were the gayest areas. And the New Orleans gay scene appears to be bouncing back faster than the city in general.

"The 20 percent of the city that was spared, 80 percent of those parts of the city are gay [neighborhoods]," said Larry Bagneris, executive director of the New Orleans Human Relations Commission. "The benefits of living in that environment -- the French Quarter, the Marigny, the Bywater, Uptown -- where most gay people live, they were spared the water. We've come back not only to dry land, but to our jobs.

"All those preachers who blamed the gay community for Katrina -- our neighborhoods were the ones that had the rainbow over us and were blessed," Bagneris said.


The Spirit of Christmas

The Kiwis know how to wage War on Christmas:
A gang of drunken "Santas" caused merry hell across central Auckland yesterday, robbing stores, tagging buildings and assaulting security guards.

Three men were arrested on a variety of drunk and disorderly charges, and two security guards had to be treated for cuts after being hit with beer bottles.

The group of 40 men - mostly in their mid-20s and dressed in ill-fitting Santa costumes - began their "Santarchy" shortly after 2pm.

First stop was the Victoria St motorway overbridge where they smashed beer bottles and urinated.

They moved through Victoria Park kicking over rubbish bins, throwing bottles at cars and leaping in front of vehicles. One also tagged the Victoria St NZ Post building.

Then they headed to the Sky City Casino where several vandalised the giant Christmas tree in the foyer.


Out of Control

Shouldn't there be indictments for this lawless behavior?
The National Security Agency first began to conduct warrantless eavesdropping on telephone calls and e-mail messages between the United States and Afghanistan months before President Bush officially authorized a broader version of the agency's special domestic collection program, according to current and former government officials.