Saturday, September 25, 2004

Apologies - Very light blogging 
I'm just way busy. Between work, volunteer committments, and the Jewish High Holy Days, there's been little time for blogging and, especially, for doing the amount of reading I need to stay current.

I'm especially busy with rehearsals for The Strollers' upcoming production of The 1940's Radio Hour - I am both the producer and a member of the cast. We open November 5 at 8 PM, at the Burgdorff Cultural Center in Maplewood Village. Come see us.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

A Question 
I was reading a thread at Daily Kos - If you could ask one question at the debates, and I started thinking about the US Constitution - specifically the 14th Amendment:
Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
I was thinking I might ask about the Federal Marriage Amendment he's pushing, vis-a-vis that 14th amendment and then I thought again ... it occurred to me that the reason the radical Christian right and their most visible spokesman, George Bush, are pushing the FMA so forcefully is that their own considered legal opinion is that the Constitution right now explicitly permits same-sex marriages, and that it's an inevitability that the federal courts will, sooner rather than later, hand down rulings that overturn restrictive state marriage laws. The other side of that, and one that wingers pretend doesn't exist when they say (as they often do) that such things should be left to the states, is the "full faith and credit" clause of Article IV:
Section 1. Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.
Now THAT one - that one says that in the law (although not in fact), same-sex marriage is ALREADY the law of the land, because it is legal in the state of Massachusetts.

It's not likely that the FMA will pass, but it's more than just smoke to hide other administration shenanigans. The FMA effort is, as much as anything else, a shot across the bow of federal judges - touch this issue and you will be a target. So far, the tactic has been moderately effective - but when Justice O'Connor (despite her disavowals re: marriage) invoked the equal protection clause in her concurring opinion in Lawrence v Texas, it signalled that even the Supreme Court itself may be starting to lean that way.

So - maybe the question to ask (though it would no doubt be WAAAAY over Dubya's head) would be something along the lines of "Will you appoint federal judges who believe in the inviolability of the 14th amendment?"

Monday, September 20, 2004

Republican brownshirts on the loose 
I'm sure they don't think of themselves that way but then, such people never do. How long 'til an American Kristallnacht?
Vandals target local Democrats’ office for second time
Lafayette Daily Advertiser
September 17, 2004

LAFAYETTE[Louisiana] — Vandals set fire to signs and wrote pro-President Bush messages on the front of Lafayette’s Democratic Party Headquarters, the second time the office was hit by vandals.

The remnants of a small fire fueled with John Kerry/John Edwards campaign signs remained on the front steps of the headquarters at 310 Buchanan St. in downtown Lafayette on Thursday morning.

A mixture of ash from the fire and what appeared to be motor oil was used to smear “4+ GWB” across the front windows and “W” on the headquarters’ door.


Skinner said it’s the second time this location has been vandalized. Recently, campaign signs were torn up and thrown into the street in front of the office and a bottle was shattered on the sidewalk in front of the door.

Bush campaign officials in Louisiana and Arlington, Va., did not immediately return calls for comment, the Associated Press reported.

Check out the headlights on that baby! 
Bob PLutz, CEO of General Motors, comparing women to automobile design, thinks he knows the mind of the American male.
"What do you want in a female companion? What is the first thing that attracts you. Her ability to cook and keep house or is it the way she looks? It's not politically correct, GM hates it when I draw that analogy. But it's absolutely correct."
The GM philosophy - keep 'em barefoot, pregnant, and in the garage. Must be why I've never bought a GM vehicle.

Today's funny blog discovery 
This morning I had the most bizarre subway ride. I board the Number 3 train at Grand Army Plaza after 9 a.m. Find a seat, then settle into reading Henry James for class. I hear a woman’s voice gradually rising in volume. She is preaching the “Lord’s” word to the train car’s sleepy riders. Of course, I had forgotten the headphones for my subway evil sounds blocking device. The train stops and starts.
The words denigrating “gay devils” reach my ears. I stand up.

Me: “Excuse me, but do you mind keeping your voice down, I am trying to read.”

Preacher Lady: (screams) “I got to testify.”

Preacher lady hitches up her skirts and tells me that I am going to hell for interrupting you-know-who’s word. Two or three OTHER Christian ladies on the train start shouting at me and discussing my prospects as the Devil’s prison bitch. The last straw was a 50 something red faced man in a suit slamming his Bible towards my face.
There was only one thing I could do.

Me: “If you all don’t lower your voices and cease calling me Satan, I will have to sing show tunes.”

The other straphangers look at me with stony faces.
I begin to sing.
“Its very clear, our love is here to stay. Not for a year, but forever and a day…”

Preacher lady and the Jesus police start mumbling and beseeching G_d to strike me down and boil me in molten tar. (I look better in silver.)
The train reaches Wall Street. Confused subway riders check out the scene. I begin swaying and feeling the music.

The slamming Bible man looks like he is going to pop a blood vessel. “I cast ye out, Satan.”

I go into jazz dance crouch and then spring up to belt out, “THAAAAAAT OLD BLACK MAGIC, HAS ME IN A SPELL…”

Bible man has to get off the train as I wriggle and shimmy. “That same old witchcraft when your eyes meet mine!”


“So when you walk alone and forlorn, and hear that Cadillac horn remember, love isn’t born, its made…and that’s why every window has a window shade…bad a biddle be bop…”

I try to discuss freedom of religion with the ladies, but all attempts at reasonable discourse fail.

By 34th street, the last of the Christian word warriors has left the train. 3 subway riders shake my hand and say, “I have always wanted to tell those idiots to shut up! Bless you.”

I am shaking. I don’t know what comes over me at times like this. I only know that I cannot stay silent. I wish that I had my ukulele with me.

At 42nd street, a woman strides into the car and starts PREACHING. The entire car bursts into laughter. I interrupt this new preacher lady and note that she is wearing a flowered straw bonnet.

Me: “Excuse me, Ma’am…but I must warn you that there has been a 12 subway stop donnybrook regarding the unwanted intrusion of religious beliefs into our morning commutes.”

Preacher Lady 2: “I got freedom of speech! And GOD TELLS ME THAT THE GAY DEVILS ARE CONTROLLING NEW YORK.”

Me: (standing up) “If you do not cease and desist fouling the air with homophobia, I must sing…SHOW TUNES.”

There are now 3 or 4 gay men on the train. They start laughing.

Preacher Lady 2: “The Lawd says you are going to …” (litany of punishments that would be fun with the right person).

Me: (sings) “The Girl that I marry will have to be, as soft and as sweet as a nursery… the girl I call my own, will wear diamonds and laces and smell of cologne…”

One of the boys on the train starts to harmonize.

Preacher Lady 2 makes her way down the car, pointing and exclaiming, “I have met the devil right here!”

Me: (sings) “Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets…”

Dancing around the subway poles and doing my best Gwen Verdon kicks, I feel the spirit in me.

I close with “Pennies from Heaven” and make sure to get the Jazz Hands in for good measure.

As Preacher Lady 2 runs to the next car at 72nd Street, the doors open, a perfect end of song button for my gay pointing gesture.

The subway riders break into applause and I bow. Rock on.

Several straphangers whisper, Happy New Year to me in Hebrew.

An Orthodox lady hands me an orange.

I don't know if I should laugh or cry.
Link (via BoingBoing)

Wolcott's Rules 
James Wolcott pinpoints the essence:

The environment. The judiciary. WMDs. The occupation of Iraq. The deficit. Pick a subject, any subject, and giving Bush the benefit of the doubt has been a guaranteed loser.

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