Archive for the 'Ain't That America' Category



12
Nov
10

No Matter What

For a months there’s been a documentary in my Netflix queue called For The Bible Tells Me So. More or less, it’s an overview of how the Bible has been misused to denigrate and condemn gays and lesbians (and our abominable ilk) for generations.

I put off watching it because it sounded sort of dry, but last night I gave it a look. It was particularly illuminating, given the recent spate of suicides and the continuing violence and vitriol against the GLBT community.

Plus, it starts with the classic 1977 Anita Bryant pie-in-the-face clip. Who could resist that?

Go, Minneapolis! (And nice jacket, dude!)

The film makes a light examination of about five religious families and how a son or a daughter coming out of the closet has affected them — how both sides reacted to the situation at first and how they’ve gotten on since.

On exhibit are Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson and his family, Dick Gephardt’s lesbian daughter, a lesbian raised by Southern Baptist preachers, a mother whose beliefs lead to a family tragedy (a particularly disturbing and moving story) and activist Jake Reitan and his Lutheran family. Cut into their stories are various commentaries from ministers, preachers, rabbis and doctors on the big-ticket biblical references that get Christian loudmouths so heated up about homosexuality.

What I kept hearing over and over in these coming out stories was how … my parents, my friends, my colleagues, my neighbors love me for who I am, no matter what.

Continue reading ‘No Matter What’

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03
Nov
10

Of Coffee and Donuts and Half-Eaten Hoagies

On Election Day, I always have a soft spot in my heart for the volunteers working the polls. Every polling station has some variation of the same thing: a half dozen retirees, sitting on folding chairs, stationed at folding tables, a box of a dozen donuts on one side, a slowly cooling polystyrene cup of coffee on the other. They look over the rims of their glasses at you. They squint in the dull fluorescent, sometimes gently flickering, light.

Whatcha last name, hon?

Continue reading ‘Of Coffee and Donuts and Half-Eaten Hoagies’

21
Oct
10

To Ask or Not To Tell, That is the Question?

Following the news about the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy can be dizzying. Reporters have a hard time explaining this. Gay citizens are feeling confused and disappointed. Everyone else is just flummoxed. It’s like: Am I reading this correctly?

So, last week a court ruled that DADT is unconstitutional and the Pentagon could not enforce the policy. In turn, the Pentagon announced yesterday that it will stop investigations and discharges of gay soldiers and will now accept openly gay recruits. Nice work.

The then the administration responded by asking for a freeze on that court’s decision. So, in effect, the Pentagon can enforce DADT. Wait… what?

While the appeals court reviews the policy, there’s a lot of judicial uncertainty about what precisely the rules are. So the Department of Justice, with urging from the White House, asked for this stay to temporarily maintain the status quo until there’s a firm decision.

Continue reading ‘To Ask or Not To Tell, That is the Question?’

15
Oct
10

Be Careful What You Promise

This in from the AP: Back in September, when crackpot fame whore Terry Jones was threatening to burn a pile of Qurans, a New Jersey car dealer (and former NY Giant) did a radio ad in which he announced he’d give the Florida preacher the use of a Hyundai off his lot for a year if he backed down.

Apparently he mistook TV news for a game show. Who could blame him, really? So, no sooner had Jones put the lighter fluid away than one of his helpers called up the dealer looking to collect on the offer — under threat of calling him out on “false advertising.”

I guess if it’s in an ad, it must be true… so, a promise is a promise, I guess.

The dealer says he wants nothing to do with Jones — apart from making himself one of the highest-rollers to donate to Dove World Outreach Center, apparently — so he’s telling him to keep the thing. To his PR rep’s delight, Jones has said he’s going to donate the car to an organization that helps abused Muslim women.

I was once offered a car if I would renounce homosexuality. It was a pick-up truck, as I recall. But I stuck to my gay guns and ended up with a great husband. And he has a car. So I guess I’m set.

11
Oct
10

Hungry, Hungry Hypocrite?

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is getting some guff for pushing to prevent poor families from buying sugary snacks and sodas with food stamps while at the same time offering similar items to employees at his financial firm. This is the height of hypocrisy, some say. (“Mayor’s Soda Plan and His Company’s Policy Differ“)

He has, on the record, served junk food at Gracie Mansion and at events in his townhouse. Further — gasp — he uses salt at home.

So, does this deflate his argument that poor families should not be using food stamps to buy crap for their kids? Not at all.

Bloomberg’s employees are given healthy snacks as well as Coke and Fanta. I agree 100% that it’s a little weird that he gives away soda. His employees are basically a captive audience. They will take what is given to them. Just like families on welfare. They’ll take what’s available to them. So, to align better with his public policy, he should probably do away with the free junk food at work.

Better yet, he should install a vending machine. Then will people have to actually buy the stuff. It would be completely their choice and their responsibility.

If he wants to salt his food and if his employees want to spend their own money on junk food or bring in whatever they buy from elsewhere, let them. But we should not allow poor families to use taxpayer money to buy crap for their kids. Force them to make better choices. Lobby retailers to offer better options.

Food stamps should be used for things that are actually nutritionally beneficial for kids. Anything else is a waste of money and an insult to the taxpayers who fund assistance programs. Food stamps are for food: fruit and vegetables, meat, cheese, bread, milk. Someone at some point has already had to decide what families are allowed to purchase with food stamps. Items have already been vetted and either added to or eliminated from the program. Under further scrutiny, it’s a very excellent idea to cut as much nutritionally void content as we can. A government in the business of assisting its less fortunate citizens has a responsibility to give them access to the good stuff, not some bullshit that’s going to make them worse off.

10
Sep
10

In Defense of “The Media”

It’s tiresome to see so many people blame The Media for blowing this Terry Jones thing up into something bigger than it should be. As if The Media is some sort of insidious, evil force desperate to manipulate reality. It’s such a cheap, thoughtless and simplistic cop-out. The Media. What does that even mean?

Continue reading ‘In Defense of “The Media”’

16
Aug
10

Fear the Schmear

The New York Post can be always be relied upon to deliver the important stories of the day that really make a difference in our harried, overcomplicated lives, such as this nugget about a woman who got tossed out of a Starbucks by the cops after getting into an argument with a barista about the way she was ordering a bagel. (It’s a biggie. It took a team of three reporters to cover it.)

She asked for a “toasted multigrain bagel,” and when the barista asked if she wanted butter or cheese on it, she dug her heels in the dirt and refused to specify or say “neither.” To her way of thinking, there was  no need to use their weird lingo.

“When you go to Burger King,” she told the Post, “you don’t have to list the six things you don’t want.”

No, lady, but when you go to Burger King, you don’t order a flame-grilled quarter-pound hamburger sandwich with mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion, mustard and ketchup on a sesame seed bun, either. You order a “Whopper.” You use the conventions of the fast-food place you’re in. We all feel like assholes when we order a chalupa, but that’s what Taco Bell calls it. We can’t be responsible for the fool who named it. Just suck it up, and move on. There’s a line behind you.

Continue reading ‘Fear the Schmear’




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