Republicans Grateful to Pro-Choice Movement

In a supreme irony, the Republicans are eminently grateful for having in place a woman’s right to choose what happens to her own body.

Sound strange? I suppose, but only at first blush.

Now that the Republicans are parading around their newest canonical Pro “Life” (yeah, right) hero, Sarah Palin, I have to admit even I am surprised at how grateful the right-wingers are in having in place the right of women to choose their own reproductive destinies.

It begs the question: how many new supporters does the McCain/Vagina 2008 campaign have in place for no reason other than that Democrats and other Progressives have long fought for Choice? Probably quite a few.

The fact that none of them are willing to admit the benefits (to them politically, be they male or female)? Probably none of them. This is quite telling.

Even as all these misguided right-wingers (Department of Redundancy Department Alert!) cheer on the choice that Sarah Palin made to carry to term her pregnancy despite horribly unfortunate results of prenatal genetic testing. The fact that none of them is willing to thank the actual legal ability to choose whether or not to carry to term bespeaks the simplistic, cartoonish lack of thought processes going on when it comes to abortion. Their unwillingness to give credit where due rings of extraordinary cowardice and duplicity.

I see the word “evil” used in many places—and this is only from a smattering of supposedly well-intentioned blogs. Abortion? Evil. Pro Choice movement? Evil. Pro Death Penalty? Evi—oh, wait.

The mindset on display in this 2D dog and pony show betrays a genuinely scary pattern: There is Good; there is Evil. Nothing more and nothing less.

Experts of basic logic will quickly point out the either-or fallacy standing on end with its neck broken: logic is Evil, after all, because it attempts to usurp God and Her Followers.

But there are no Evils and no Goods. What’s Evil to you is of benefit to those who supposedly perpetrate it. What’s Good to you, personally, can intrude on your person and your ability to be happy…even down to your ability to feel equal and free.

Right-wingers think they’re doing Good Works when they spend so much money on “protecting marriage” which, well, could be better spent invested into the so-called “faith-based initiatives”. “FBI” is gonna come back and bite them on the ass one day, you’ll see.

When you vanquish Evil, does that mean that what comes of its defeat is necessarily Good? When you stop Evil, does Good spring up in its place? Not necessarily, of course: there are plenty of things out there which are neither good nor bad. A victory over Evil results in a lack of Evil.

Does the Lack-Of-Evil == Good? No, of course not.

Pro Birthers are quite fond of referring to abortion as murder. Murder is a legal thing, so on the literal level, they’re lying (if you assume they know that abortion isn’t illegal). Are there news stories out there celebrating McCain’s not having murdered anyone today?

What it all comes down to here is that the Right-wingers champion Sarah Palin for choosing not to abort. In doing so, they’re abusing the rights that liberals have worked so hard to preserve.

If abortion were not legal, Palin would not be getting celebrated for having chosen “correctly”.

My opinion on the Choice question? I have no idea what it’s like to be a female when it comes to reproduction; no male does. I have heard every Pro Birth argument in the world and none sway me. I invite any Pro Birther to make a science/biology case for their opinion. Just expect to fail—there are finite arguments based on science to justify removing reproductive rights and I’ve heard all of them. I’ve even made them, but that was years ago before I pulled the stick out and started looking at the whole thing with human compassion and decency and admitted my limits and failings.

So be thankful today, Pro Birthers, that Palin didn’t abort. Give real thanks by giving real money to researchers of Down’s. Help make it a thing of the past by helping to develop techniques that would correct genetic defects.

Or would that be wrong because then “91-93%” of Down’s births would never happen?

John McCain’s VP Choice

Seemingly figuring that it’s finally not in the advantage to be a white male with a white male running mate in the 2008 Presidential Election, John McCain has apparently consulted with the Exec Producers of the maudlin-yet-effective the 2004 Republican National Convention to find a 2008-suitable candidate.

Now, if you’re asking why a 2008 candidate is looking to 2004, just consider the party in question (questionable?): any first-order direction they set sail for is going to point backwards.

So the Exec Producers seem to have come up with a winner! Yes, seemingly so!

  • it’s a woman (ish)!
  • it’s no so much a person as a true Phenomenon!
  • while not in the running in 2004, she was effective in helping a lame candidate become a lame duck!

Who is this marvel of a woman(ish)? Her name: Nina Leven.

True, at one point she was a remarkably evocative creature. Everyone rallied around her to the point of truly (albeit temporarily) overriding bipartisanship. At one point, everyone had a profound respect for her. Many even feared her. Whatever the reaction, the point is that everyone had a reaction to Nina Leven.

What McCain seems to have forgotten (she is as big as a house) is that you really can’t dip into the same well twice. Or 78 times…depending on if you count RNC 2004 as a single instance or single out every mention of her name.

The Exec Producers must have already told McCain that she’d been whored out for the sake of Bush & Cheney 2004, but McCain doesn’t seem to listen. I guess he prefers to remember her when there was respect towards her.

Sorry if I’m ruining the surprise for everyone, I know there’s a huge (rolling eyes) build-up of suspense to McCain’s choice of VP. I just have to do my patriotic duty and do the expansive, decent thing and help McCain avoid a huge pitfall in spite of the fact that I’m voting for not-McCain Biden Obama and remind him how his predecessors whored the fuck out of her.

I remember an old joke about how to recondition an old whore, but it’s not very kosher.

Get [to] Mortified!

Last night I went with Paul-Boom to see the Mortified SF show.

Not only was it a further extension of the weird and wonderful linkage of coincidences starting with Yen Tan reading DogPoet and finding my blog all the way up to one of the stars of Ciao, Adam Neal Smith leading the band in the show called Mortified down in LA.

The gist of the show: people volunteer to read their childhood-teenage journals, diaries, speeches, plays…any kind of writing they did back then. They read their actual, original pieces. This is not about memories, it’s about reading actual documents from back then, whenever “back then” happened to be.

It’s a strange set of emotions when you’re sitting there being entertained by someone exposing their childhoods to you. You sympathize—maybe even empathize as well—and you laugh at it both at the same time. It’s like laughing, feeling guilty about laughing and the laughing at having felt guilty. In any event, it’s exhausting laughing so much for 90 minutes.

Mortified, if you follow that link, has expanded in a grass-roots kind of way to SF and a bunch of other cities. If you’re lucky enough to be in one of those, get your ass there for the next show. Srsly.

It’s even funner to go with someone whose got an out-sized sense of humor. Y’know, like Eric.

So go. In San Francisco, it’s held at the Makeout Room near 22nd and Mission.

That’s What Parents Are For

When I chose to go away for college back in 1982 (yikes!) it started an era that my parents usually described as “showing them the world”. They’d designated me as that guy.

My parents aren’t that literal. I haven’t flown them all over the world, but I did introduce them to many things…foods, people, places, cultures, minds. Play that against the generally static background grid by which many people measure difference, time, space, in northeastern Pennsylvania, it’s even more of a contrast.

Marie (mom) has been surprised over the years that I’ve learned a lot of the kinds of things that contribute to a personal body of wisdom, learned them a lot younger in life than they had, that some things I’ve experienced have informed their own wisdom. I remind her that these are the kinds of things that come along in a life lived.

She stops me, usually, because she needs to pause for it herself. That’s when I know she’s going to mention all the “wonderful” (her word) things I did in order to take care of Allen throughout our relationship, that I was never too proud or too stubborn to ask for help (mom’s a nurse, I needed caregiving help, I asked for it). Neither she nor my dad have had to live through the death of a spouse—thank the universe—but they both lived through the deaths of both their parents. My mom lost her mom when she was only 30 years old. I was 31 when Allen died. His death wasn’t at all unexpected; her mom died suddenly of a heart attack while she was on her hands and knees scrubbing a floor. Mom’s mom was only 56.

The point here is that everyone has experiences. You can’t not live and not get them, unless you find yourself a social cocoon, an employment cocoon and a cave to live in. Life is different than you are. Life brings in the outside (if you let it). Life puts you in the thick of things, where sorting it out is required, where conflict happens and thus are new worlds born. Worlds you get dropped into the thick of. Worlds that need sorting. Worlds that bring new conflicts. And yes, new resolutions if you dare to work towards them.

I think what Marie is getting at is that I bother to share the lessons. And knowing my parents as well as I do—I’ve known them practically all my life—I know how to talk to them in order to communicate as effectively as possible.

They both say these things to me and there’s a tinge of wonderment in how they talk about it, as if I was smarter or wiser or possessing of some kind of sagacity that had passed them by at my age.

What they don’t realize is that wisdom is one of those faculties that scales. By that I mean that is simply this: wisdom imparted is wisdom learned. You can’t impart wisdom like you can transfer a kidney or a property or a mobile phone plan. If I carry wisdom I can’t wrap it up and hand it to you with a bow on it. No one can. What I can do is live within my wisdom in order to help another live in his. Nothing more and nothing less.

It was the very fact of having two parents each brimming with vastly different shades and textures of wisdom and perhaps more importantly their willingness to share it all. Wisdom without application is another cocoon: one at the top of an inhuman ivory tower.

I gather wisdom at the rate and quality I do because of the care and effort of my parents showing me how they gathered theirs.

So when my parents recently offered that they’ve learned that just because personal histories with other people have intertwined and overlapped, there is no obligation to maintain that intermingling. More important is: do those persons add to your own happiness and fulfillment or do they subtract from it? Do they do neither? My parents’ answer: in the absence of immortality, time is better spent with those who add to your happiness and enrich your lives. They no longer have time for those who are “downers” because they don’t like how they feel when they’re around those types.

Did listening to them move the sentiment directly from hearing into memory? No, of course not. Wisdom isn’t just a memory. What did happen, was that they helped me to arrive at the same conclusion. Different people, different reasons, different places, different times: and different remedies.

Without their wisdom, my own faculty might be less probing. Might be more simplistic, or even just simpler.

The beauty of wisdom is that isn’t immeasurable.

My own personal wisdom let me to their same conclusion: choose to be around the people who make you feel more like you. Disgard social bonds with those who insist you feel more like them.

Tonight I spent several hours with long-time friends of mine who I hadn’t seen in a long time. Doing so wasn’t wisdom, it was a choice. Ignoring the past, the length of the span of time, and setting aside possible awkwardnesses because of…that’s wisdom.

Go, Joe!

cover_jb.jpgI’m sooooo happy that it’s going to be Joe Biden on the ticket with Obama!

Even though it feels like Senator Obama made the choice so that he could have someone else do the dirty work while the good Senator keeps himself squeaky clean.

Kinda cowardly.

But the fact that Biden will have a high soapbox for a few months on a national stage makes me very, very, VERY happy.

I love that man. I think he’s the best chance of bringing candor into the mix. And I think that’s the only way to escalate far past the pitiful (oh, am I allowed to say that to a saint veteran?) John McCain.

Who really believes he’s all for anything but keeping the status quo? You really think someone like that is all for alternative energy? All for technology? (I heard he learned how to google something a couple of weeks ago).

I think Joe Biden will aggravate enough people on the other side of the aisle that we’ll finally see some gloves come off and there will be enough slips of the tongue from them that their xenophobic backwards asses will be exposed. Remember “Barney Fag”?

Go Joe!

Now I actually have a proactive reason to vote for Obama. Y’know, instead of just “he ain’t McCain”.

My Favorite Olympics

The Summer Olympics have never been quite as interesting to me as the Winter Olympics. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I paid any serious attention to the Summer Games.

Not so this year. I’m not sure why, but I was ready to see it even before I knew much about Michael Phelps.

I think it was because I was curious about China. Not so much the controversy because of China’s Human Rights violations, because I new that was coming. Spielberg chose on the side of boycott. Me? I think communication, open and available, is always better. The rest of the world isn’t going to be sanctioning or (goddess forbid) militarily threatening China any time soon. Silence only lets existing reality continue, gathering dangerous momentum.

The more that China participates in the larger universe, the more likely it will begin to find parity with the majority opinion of how human beings should be treated (for that matter, maybe the USA will find parity, too. Thanks, W.!).

Anyway, being a gay man and knowing other gay men, the obvious cat-calls happen and it turns out that that’s the primary opinion others have of the Olympics: men in speedos! big-upper-body boys doing gymnastics!

I’m guilty of that somewhat: I admit that the male water polo players are…compelling.

But my favorite event—diving—is different to my favorite athletes: Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor.

Those two women are incredible to watch. I’ve been fast-forwarding through a lot of the shows, skimming the events that I don’t really find accessible. Motocross, fencing, etc. No disrespect to those athletes, but I’d burn myself out—and get nothing done—if I watched 8-hours-a-day in real time.

I can’t stop watching May-Treanor/Walsh. Well I can, I guess, because they just won the Gold!

There was a human-interest story about Misty. Both her parents were successful athletes. Dad was in the ‘68 Olympics; Mom was a tennis and volleyball star. Misty’s mom died five or six years ago, and in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece, after they won a gold medal, Misty took a small amount of her mom’s ashes and spread them over the sand after they won. I cried.

Today, she did the same. More of mom’s ashes, now in Beijing.

What a beautiful thing. Her mom is in Athens and now in Beijing.

Just beautiful.

Oh, and for the record, it was the team’s 108th consecutive victory.

Good Night

No, not saying goodbye in any way, shape or form. I’m too mouthy and too verbose and too loquacious for that. My writing is timeless because I never shut up.

Tonight I was out in the Castro for the first time since….well…Since.

No large group of so many directions that there’s no cohesive anything. Just a couple of friends—and some of their friends—together at a small table and conversations that were enjoyable and even funny, but the good kind of funny…the kind that adds to us instead of taking away from others. Random sightings of others that were his or his or my friends, or combinations thereof.


Apple Rocks

Today I took my ailing AirPort Extreme Basestation to an Apple Store.


Somewhere around the time I updated its firmware to version 7.3.2, the Basestation would randomly (every hour or so) restart itself. During the restart, of course, the internet connection is severed and the wireless goes silent.

Frustrating, that’s what it was. I made the appointment on Thursday evening for this morning (Monday) because I didn’t want to have to get in a longer queue. You’d be surprised how no-line it is 30 minutes before the mall opens on a Monday morning.

Friday I’d gone to Best Buy to get an interim router (or not so interim if things didn’t go well at the Apple Store). It was a Belkin. I love Belkin. But the router was at the low end ($34.99), but it did do 802.11g (no n) and it had three ethernet ports.

It took me hours to get going. If it wasn’t one thing it was another, and most of those nothers were related to the fact that it appears my cable modem has no reset switch (you should reset a broadband modem every time you switch out the device to which it’s directly attached), pulling the plug and restoring power didn’t help out the Belkin router either.

After looking further/deeper, I saw that the telephone jack never lost its connection. Turns out there’s a battery in the thing (to keep the phone connection alive in a power outage). I unplugged it, yoinked the battery out for a moment and put it back, and then plugged it all in.

After at least 90 seconds, nothing was going on so I went to get a drink of water. When I came back, the router was working!

You could blame the cable modem, but my lovely, lovely AirPort Exteme didn’t need such cable-voodoo nor did it need so much time to sync and establish a connection.

Anyway, the new router is/was sssssslllllooooowwww. Oh, it was plenty fast once a download started, but for some reason it is dog slow when it comes to DNS lookups. Doesn’t it cache any?

Back to the Apple Store. I went to the Genius Bar and immediately there was a genius there. I told him that I’d covered every possible contingency when I was debugging the whole shebang, told him I’m actually good at this kind of stuff, told him that problems started around the time I updated the firmware to 7.3.2.

He’d also seen on the net that some AEs ended up corrupted after that update. He excused himself and came back with a brand spanky new AirPort Extreme!

In and out in under ten minutes!

Man, that just made my day. I went from worrying I’d have to spend money I didn’t have to having a fresh start with my router. It’s back, it’s beautiful and although it’s equally functional on Mac or PC, it does things it can when it can. I prefer that to having to wait for Windows and Microsoft.

Oh, and PS: Noelbear? You probably should have ignored this entry because we “church folk” are so tedious. 🙂