24 December 2008

Don't Divorce

In response to the lawsuit filed by Ken "Panty-Sniffer In Chief" Starr and the Yes on 8 contingent to nullify the 18,000+ same-sex marriages that took place in CA between May and November, the Courage Campaign of CA is soliciting photos of couples, families, individuals and pets all spreading the message, "Don't Divorce Us/Our Friends/Our Parents/Our Families/Californians/People Who Love Each Other."

Our contributions:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/couragecampaign/3133905828/in/set-72157611501972510/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/couragecampaign/3133906458/in/set-72157611501972510/

22 December 2008

Leaving SGA: "Vegas" [spoilers]

Just watched the penultimate (originally the last of the season) episode of SGA, which was leaked online.

It's well-written, well-acted, even well-filmed.

It's also the whitest episode of SGA ever. And that's saying something. Rachel and Jason aren't there at all. There are no other PoC's as extras; here's one brother who plays a Marine, and he doesn't get any lines. Based on this episode, you would assume that everyone on Earth--or at least, in Las Vegas--was white.

Which, you know, since that's been the implied message for the entire run of the show...I supposed at least they're being up front about it.

This, though, is why I'm really not sorry that the show's been cancelled. It's bad enough to have no people of color on the screen--see also: Avatar casting foolishness--but when they have them and completely ignore them?

Fuck you, Cooper and Wright.

19 December 2008

This. This is why it matters

I was going to do a post about Obama asking Rick Warren to give the invocation at the inauguration, and why I'm disappointed. But right now, I can't. I'm too upset.

For everyone who doesn't get why Obama asking Rick Warren to give the invocation at the inauguration is a big deal? This is why:

The sponsors of Proposition 8 asked the California Supreme Court on Friday to nullify the marriages of the estimated 18,000 same-sex couples who exchanged vows before voters approved the ballot initiative that outlawed gay unions.

I'm sitting here at my desk in tears, because these fucking assholes can't even let me be happy with having made it in before Prop 8. No, they want to rip up my marriage license--and you know I'm not getting my $171 back!--and make it real clear that I'm just a fucking dyke who doesn't deserve to be happy or treated just like anyone else.

That's what Rick Warren is saying, although he makes it sound nice and not like the hateful bigotry that it is. And Obama is saying that telling me I'm not worthy of being a full citizen is just a "disagreement".

27 November 2008

Heteronormativity and Hopefulness

This year, Thanksgiving at Chez Rozilla turned unintentionally heteronormative: did all of the cooking, while I sat downstairs and ran Positron's Task Force in CoH. (Hey, at least I wasn't watching football.) Like I said, it wasn't intentional; I didn't realize that the TF was that long when I accepted the team invite. I did contribute to dinner by running out to RiteAid after we realized that we'd never replaced the corkscrew that broke ages ago. And everything was delicious: the Cornish game hens with pomegranate glaze, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes in cranberry-orange sauce (thank you, Trader Joe's), mustard greens, a bottle of cabernet for Ruth and white zin for me (thanks again, TJ's!). And if we can ever eat again, there's vanilla bean cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory for dessert.

I'm not going to do the requisite "what I'm thankful for" post this year, because frankly, 2008 was mostly full of suck, and what I'm most thankful for is that it wasn't any worse. Instead, I'm going to look forward to the things that I'm hopeful about:

1. I'm hopeful that now that my mother's in the hospital, she'll be able to get the treatment that she needs. I know I'm never going to get the mother I remember back, but at least maybe she can get to a point where she's not constantly unhappy and angry and making everyone around her miserable.

2. I'm hopeful that the California Supreme Court will recognize that the civil rights of a minority--any minority--should never be left to the popular vote, and that Proposition 8 will be overturned so that I can be married again.

3. I'm hopeful that with an intelligent, competent President in the White House, there's a chance we can avoid hurtling off the cliff we've been careening toward for the past eight years. No, Obama's not the Great Progressive Hope, but he appears to be a genuinely thoughtful man who cares about all of the people of this country, and who wants America to live up to its promise.

4. I'm hopeful that 2009 will suck less than 2008, for everyone.

15 November 2008

No More Ms. Nice Dyke

"In order to win votes, you have to convince people that they should LIKE you."

So, basically the idea is that we have to swallow our anger and be nice so that people will like us.

As a child, I absorbed the message that nice girls don't get angry, or at least don't let it show when we are. Since I wasn't supposed to show my anger, and it had to come out somehow, I started cutting myself and banging my head into walls. What I finally learned is that when you stuff your anger down over and over and over again, the festering pile starts to grow and stink, until it bursts out, usually in an uncontrolled explosion of toxic rage and resentment.

Right now, I'm fucking pissed off that 52% of the voters in California think that I don't deserve the same consideration as a goddamn chicken. I'm angry about the fact that the Mormons came in from Utah and spent millions of dollars disseminating lies about me and my wife. I'm livid that a couple of chubby disabled geeky dykes and their two cats are considered such a threat that the constitution of my state has to be amended to enhrine us as second-class citizens under the law.

God forbid I should make people who think I'm less than fully human because of who I love uncomfortable.

If there's a single reason the No on 8 campaign failed, it wasn't because we were too confrontational. On the contrary: we were so afraid of confrontation that we listened to the focus groups who said that mentioning our families and even the word "gay" might offend swing voters. Instead, the campaign was all about abstracts. We said Prop 8 was "unfair" and "wrong", but we didn't say, "We're your neighbors and co-workers and classmates and friends. We're the ones you'll be hurting if you vote in favor of this, because you'll be telling us that we're less than you, that we don't deserve to be happy." We let the other side define us because we didn't want to be too aggressive.

Yeah, that worked out real well.

The reason we're at the point where marriage equality is a reachable goal is because almost 40 years ago, a bunch of drag queens, stone butches, hustlers and runaway teenagers (many of whom were people of color, but everyone seems to forget that) at the Stonewall Inn finally said, "Fuck this shit". Instead of waiting for the NYPD to like them, they got up, got angry, and fought back.

Remember when the President of the United States couldn't even say the word AIDS, even when a friend of his was dying from it? Remember those pissed off fags and dykes who took to the streets yelling "We're here; we're queer--get used to it!" They weren't nice, and they weren't well-behaved, but you couldn't ignore them.

In the history of this country, no minority group has ever gained their rights by being nice and non-confrontational and waiting until people liked them. Right now, 52% of the voters in this state--my state, where I live and work and pay taxes--have effectively come into my house and torn up my marriage license. I'm angry about that. I have a right to be. And I refuse to sit around and hope that maybe someday, they'll like me enough to possibly give me back my right to spend my life with the person I love.

Fuck that shit.

09 November 2008

My *really* last words on Prop 8

As soon as that poll came out, I knew where this would end up.

I've pointed out that the numbers are based on a single, flawed poll, and been accused of "abusing math" and "denying the obvious".

I've mentioned the ways in which the No on 8 campaign could have done a better job, both at outreach to communities of color, and in general (most ads against 8 never even mentioned the words gay or lesbian, and hardly any showed same-sex couples), and been told that I shouldn't blame the victims.

I've said over and over that pointing fingers is useless, but all some people want to do is complain about how black people are the most homophobic group in the country.

And the result? I decided not to attend the protest at the state capitol today, because I was afraid of what might happen. I no longer feel safe in a large group of my so-called queer brothers and sisters if they're mostly white--this despite the fact that November 5 was my 2-month anniversary, and I have no idea what the legal status of my marriage to the (German/Scottish/English, glow-in-the-dark white) love of my life is.

Andrew Sullivan and Dan Savage and friends can keep blaming the brown people if it makes them feel better. This black dyke is through.

07 November 2008

Black Voters and Prop 8: My Last Words

First, some links to discussion of the continuing nonsense:

Someone who saw this coming. She was dead-on.

An example of how the No on 8 campaign dropped the ball, especially with regards to people of color.

Stats showing that if black people hadn't voted, 8 still would have passed--and nationally, we'd be talking about President-elect McCain.

More number crunching. Pay special attention to the maps that show where 8 did well. The idea that California is one big hippie paradise is bullshit. California is mostly liberal along the coast and in the urban areas. Go east? Not. So. Much.

A thorough debunking:

...if Black folks were really 10% of the electorate, we would have contributed 1,730,409 registered voters to the pool. This is a number which with 5 minutes of demographic research any of the haters spewing "Black people are the Reason!" would have realized exceeds the entire Black adult population in the state by more than 300,000 people

Pam's original post from Wednesday. I admit that I was surprised by how many regular posters were trying to tell the black dyke siteowner that she didn't know what she was talking about.

Queer racists show their asses.

More commentary on the bullshit from recent protests.

A post on the "Solidarity (when we want something)!" attitude the big, overwhelmingly white LGBT organizations have toward communities of color.

A truly awesome post that pretty much sums it all up. (Thanks for the link).

And my final thoughts:

I've been banging my head against this wall for the three days now, and I'm over it.

Prop 8 didn't pass because of Obama's tepid opposition to it.

Prop 8 didn't pass because of black voters.

Prop 8 was put on the ballot by white evangelicals, and was bankrolled by rich white folks like Howard Amundson and the mother of Erik Prince, who owns Blackwater--and, of course, that organization noted for being so racially diverse, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Prop 8 passed because the Yes on 8 people ran a strong grassroots campaign, and because the No on 8 side was disorganized, timid, reactionary instead of being proactive, and complacent. I'm certainly guilty of the latter; when the early polls showed 8 down by 9 points, I assumed that people had seen through the stupid and realized that the 18,000 of us who'd already gotten married hadn't caused the world to end. Unfortunately, the No on 8 forces also made that assumption, and it wasn't until the Mormon-funded ads started running that people realized it wasn't going to be that easy.

So what was the response? To release ads that never mentioned the words "gay” or "lesbian", and hardly ever featured actual same-sex couples (and of course, everyone in the ads was white). Volunteers were told not to mention our children or our families, because the "protect the children" frame had already been claimed by the other side--even when they were using images of children in their ads without the parents' permission! There was almost no outreach to the Black and Latino communities until the last two weeks before the election; volunteers have said that heavily Mexican neighborhoods were left off the phone lists because there were no Spanish-speaking phone bankers. In California! While everyone worried that the black turnout for Obama would lead to more Yes votes, no one put out advertising quoting Obama saying Prop 8 was "divisive and unnecessary" until after the ones quoting him saying "marriage is between a man and a woman" went out.

There is homophobia in the black community, as with all racial and ethnic communities. Instead of trying to engage, the No on 8 campaign effectively wrote off the black voters of California. The white LGBTs who are wondering why black folks didn't stand in solidarity need to look in the mirror, at their own organizations that rarely have more than a token POC in leadership positions, that perpetuate racism by supporting people like Shirley Q. Liquor (and viciously attacking black LGBTs who point out said racism). Andrew Sullivan and Dan Savage need to realize that solidarity is a two-way street, and that if you want black folks to see your invocation of the Civil Rights Movement as anything other than cultural appropriation, you need to engage on issues like immigration, health care, jobs, and housing instead of claiming the legacy of MLK while clinging stubbornly to your white male privilege.

And while you're at it, understand that right now, the people who put 8 on the ballot are laughing their heads off. While we're pointing fingers at each other, they're planning their next move. If we keep going this direction, we'll lose next time too.

05 November 2008

Hearts and Minds

Thank you, former Governor Moonbeam: California will still recognize my marriage. Also, the first legal challenge against 8 has been filed, which argues that changes to the underlying principles of the constitution--like an amendment that contradicts the equal protection guarantees of said constitution--must be approved by two-thirds of both houses of the legislature before going to voters.

But even if we win in court, there's still another fight. The LBGT community and straight allies need to stop relying exclusively on the legal process to guarantee our rights. The Civil Rights Movement that the mainstream gay community loves to invoke involved a two-pronged strategy of changing the laws, along with coordinated effors on the ground to change people's hearts and minds. That will never happen if we only focus on the courts.

While it's heartening on one level that the vote was close....it never should have been this close in the first place. The opposition to No on 8 was out-organized and out-maneuvered, and that hurt us more than even the massive amounts of money raised by the Yes crowd; has a great post with an example of how No on 8 dropped the ball. There was enormous complacency--and I'm as guilty as anyone else there--after the first set of polls showing the No side with a huge lead. The other side was much better at connecting with voters on an emotional level, to make it all about children being forced to learn about gay marriage in school, or churches being sued for not marrying same-sex couples. We needed to say, "Here we are--your sisters and brothers and daughters and sons and cousins and nieces and aunts and nephews and uncles and co-workers and friends. These are the faces of the people this amendment will hurt. We are the ones you're saying don't deserve to be happy." We didn't say that loudly or often enough.

04 November 2008

Blame the Brown People = Recipe for Failure

It seems like the frame for the passage of Prop 8 is going to be "It's because Obama's candidacy caused increased black turnout, and the black community is homophobic."

Never mind that it was voters 65 and over who put Prop 8 over the top, or that one of the whitest institutions in America--the Mormon Church--funnelled millions of dollars from Utah to California to make sure that 8 passed. The parts of the state that went solid for 8 were the inland areas, which are overwhelmingly white.

There's no question that homophobia is a problem in the black community, especially the churchgoing segment of said community. And even though I understand why Obama (and all of the other serious Democratic candidates) weaseled on marriage equality, that doesn't mean I'm not disappointed in him for not taking a strong stand against 8.

At the same time, I'm frustrated and angry by the rush to pin this defeat on African Americans. It wasn't a black group that put Prop 8 on the ballot, and paid the signature-gatherers and bankrolled the ads. Nor is it fair to say that Obama's have-it-both-ways position meant that black voters were going to march sheeplike to the polls and vote as Obama dictated.

Writing off an entire race as hopelessly unenlightened isn't going to help; in fact, a lot of the rhetoric I've seen in the left blogosphere tonight is only going to serve to reinforce the idea that "gay" = "white", and that the gay community only notices people of color when there's a comparison to the Civil Rights Movement to be made. And the Blame the Brown People push leaves those of us who are queer people of color marginalized by both of our communities.

That's not the way to build a coalition, and it's not the way to win.

The fight goes on

I'm disappointed, no question; although it's not quite over yet, it certainly doesn't look good: Prop 8 is leading by 4 percentage points.

But tomorrow...we get up and fight this thing. Allowing a simple majority to take civil rights away from a minority is simply wrong.

I do want to thank all of you who donated, canvassed, phone banked, and voted against this constitutional obscenity.

For everyone who voted for Prop 8?

Karma's a motherfucking bitch, and I'm confident that sooner or later, the hate you spewed will be returned in full measure.

The air is humming...

Could it be?

YES, WE DID!

"Rosa sat so Martin could walk, Martin walked so Barack could run, Barack is running so our children can fly."

03 November 2008

Sometimes, I do love my job

I've never worked anywhere else where we could have a serious debate about whether Dick Cheney is Lawful Evil or Neutral Evil.

RIP, Madelyn Dunham

Barack Obama's grandmother, the one he called his "rock" died today. I'm glad he had a chance to say goodbye, and I'm sure she'll be watching proudly tomorrow night.

31 October 2008

"You're calling the wrong house."

That's what I said to the chipper young woman who called from "Yes on 8", asking to speak to Ruth. I also told her that what she was doing was hurtful and wrong, and that she needed to think about what she was doing. Then I hung up.

I should have said, "I don't want to talk to you, and neither does my wife."

I'd actually thought that if someone called, I'd try to engage them in dialogue. As it turns out, I was just proud of myself for not yelling at her and asking what I'd ever done to her, why her side was lying like a bunch of lying liars that lie, and why she was such a hateful bigot who couldn't mind her own fucking business and keep her nose out of my life.

I didn't say that. But I'm tired of being fucking nice to people who believe that I should be a second-class citizen, so I was sure thinking it. Loudly.

Sam Has Spoken

....and he's telling the motherfucking bigots to get off the motherfucking state constitution:

28 October 2008

Our Marriage: Let Us Show You It

If this is kind of disjointed and rambly, it's because I finally failed my "Save vs. Current Cold Virus". I felt like death insufficiently warmed over when I woke up yesterday morning, so I stayed home and slept most of the day. Telesilla made her awesome cold-weather lentil stew and did a load of laundry. I had some stew when I woke up, along with a couple of the cookies we made Sunday night. At some point, I may play some CoX and try to get the Zombie Apocalypse badges for more of my characters, and I may write a bit; Telesilla's still getting over her cold; she's gone to bed already and is asleep with the kitten curled up on the pillow next to her.

It's a pretty typical evening for us, really. Our idea of an exciting night is going out to dinner--if we're really feeling adventurous, we'll go somewhere other than the local tacqueria or the little cafe with the awesome crepes. Once a month, we'll go into the Bay Area to hang out with friends, and once a year for the past three years we've gone up to Sea Ranch in February with friends for a writing weekend.

This is pretty much our glamourous lesbian lifestyle: a couple of chubby middle-aged women in an apartment in Northern California with two cats, driving a 7-year-old Volkswagen Bug with fuzzy d20's hanging from the rearview mirror. This is what's being described as "Armageddon" and "more important than the presidential election" by some on the right. We're the great threat to "traditional marriage". We're the reason the California constitution has to be amended, because otherwise more people like us, might get married.

I've commented on several blogs now, asking for someone to list specific examples of how our marriage has harmed theirs--or affected their lives in any way. Strangely enough, no one's taken the challenge. No one's been able to explain exactly how traditional marriage has become such a fragile entity that it must be defended from a couple of geeky lesbian fangirls, or why 50%+1 of California voters should be allowed to decide whether my marriage is valid when I wake up on November 5.

I feel like I should say something profound, but the truth is that our marriage is made up of a collection of tiny, mundane moments--just like the marriage of everyone else I know. How is telling us that we can't get married because we're both girls any different than telling us we can't get married because I'm black and Telesilla's white? How is this so important that state law has to be changed? How is this--how are we--a threat to anyone?

The answer is simple: it isn't, and we're not. Proposition 8 is unfair, because it will write discrimination into law. Proposition 8 is unnecessary, because marriage doesn't need protecting from us. Proposition 8 is wrong, because it says that we don't deserve to be happy because of who we love.

07 October 2008

*sigh*

After weeks of poll numbers indicating that voters in CA were going to reject Prop 8, two new polls are showing it ahead.

Please, please, those of you in CA...get out and vote. I want to stay married.

16 September 2008

*incoherent frothing*

I can't...this is...WHAT THE FUCK???

The Sac Bee has a story about a couple who refused to sign the wedding licence in Sacramento because it refers to "Party A" and "Party B" rather than "Bride" and "Groom". They feel that their rights have been violated by the use of the non-traditional language.

I wonder if they refused to fill out their license forms at the County Clerk's office. It's all computerized now, and I'm pretty sure that's not "traditional".

The real kicker, though, is at the end of the article:

For now, they are busy with their family (she has two children from a previous marriage and he has three) and starting their new life.

He's 29.

She's 25.

Sounds like I'm not the one whose marriage needs to be "protected".

11 September 2008

That Old Earth Logic

Pressed about what insights into recent Russian actions she gained by living in Alaska, Palin answered: "They're our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska."

To quote one of the commenters at Balloon Juice:

"And when I look out my window I can see the moon. Doesn’t make me a fucking astronaut now, does it?"

09 September 2008

Smells Like Desperate

McCain's latest ad attacks Obama for sponsoring "Legislation to teach "comprehensive sex education" to kindergardeners."

SB 99 (which did not pass) would have lowered the start of sex ed from 6th Grade to Kindergarten. The bill included opt-out provisions for parents and specified that "all course material and instruction shall be age and developmentally appropriate. " It emphasized the consequences of pregnancy and STD as well as how to say no to unwanted sexual advances.

Why does John McCain believe that children should not be taught that it's okay to say no to inappropriate touching?

ETA: A noun, a verb, and POW:

"It is shameful and downright perverse for the McCain campaign to use a bill that was written to protect young children from sexual predators as a recycled and discredited political attack against a father of two young girls – a position that his friend Mitt Romney also holds. Last week, John McCain told Time magazine he couldn’t define what honor was. Now we know why," --Obama spokesman Bill Burton

"The Obama campaign has not disputed any of the facts in our ad, but if they want to question John McCain’s honor and record of service to this country, then that’s a debate we welcome."--McCain spokesman Brian Rogers

04 September 2008

*flails*

In a little less than 16 hours, Telesilla and I will be married.

I'm only freaking out a little.

The rings came today--the right ones. We'd ordered them off Amazon at the beginning of August, and they arrived promptly, but both in the same size instead of a 6 and an 8. I called, and the woman sent another--size 7. We sent those back, and she sent a size 8, but in the wrong pattern. Today, she sent a 6 and an 8 in the pattern we wanted, so that's right, at least.

We had an appointment this afternoon at 1o go to a local spa and get our faces done. We got there on time, but the place was closed. I called and didn't get anyone, and it was hot, so we came home. About half an hour ago, I fiinally heard from the spa lady. She's been sick, which is fine, but hello? Call and let me know?

Tonight, we went out for sushi, so I'm feeling better, if a bit full. And yeah, still kind of nervous about this whole getting married thing.

01 September 2008

Also...

Can you just imagine the reaction if the Democratic National Convention had included a party featuring a band called "Hookers & Blow"?

Yay family values!

WTF2: Political Boogaloo

I'm actually starting to feel bad for Sarah Palin. More and more, her pick is looking like a spite choice on McCain's part, since Rove wouldn't let him have Joe Lieberman and McCain can't stand Romney. So he picks this unknown that he's met all of twice, without vetting her (clearly!), because she's a woman.

And now in addition to the fact that she has no experience to speak of and is in the middle of an investigation over alleged misuse of her office, her 17-year-old daughter is five months pregnant. Obama took the high road and said unequivocally that attacks on candidates' families are out of bounds. I think he's dead right. I also wish that the McCain campaign can't be counted on to do the same. Why be above mudslinging when you can pick apart the senior thesis that your opponent's wife wrote for possible anti-white sentiment? Or when you can try to tie your opponent--who was 8 at the time--to the actions of a '60's radical? Or when you can release ads implying that your opponent is the Antichrist? But I suppose you can't expect anything else from the guy who hired the man who slimed his family eight years ago to work on his currrent campaign.

There is a failure of judgement here, but it's not Palin's that I'm worried about. It's McCain's. Choosing someone to be your running mate without knowing everything there is to know first, and allowing yourself and your party to be completely blindsided tells me that you're either arrogant enough to think it doesn't matter or too short-sighted to realize it'll be an issue. Or both.

As for Palin, all that really needs to be said is that I believe that deciding whether or not to have a child is a private decision for each individual woman to make--and that it's too bad Sarah Palin doesn't agree.

30 August 2008

WTF?

I'm still stuck there with regards to McCain's VP choice. I'm really starting to wonder if there's something to the idea that the Republican brand has been so tarnished that the GOP is saying, "Screw it; let the Dems have this one--they'll just have to clean up W's shit anyway."

Let's be real clear:

If he really wanted to choose a woman as his running mate, there were other alternatives with more substantive resumes, like Condoleezza Rice, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Olympia Snowe, or even Carly Fiorina...except all of them are pro-choice or otherwise unacceptable to the hard right. Sarah Palin was chosen (after McCain had met her exactly twice) because she appeals to the American Taliban wing of the Republican Party (creationist, global warming denier, forced pregnancy hardliner) who've never trusted McCain, and because she's female, which the McCain campaign clearly thinks will appeal to the mythical hordes of disappointed Clinton backers.

Joe Biden wasn't my first choice, but if, gods forbid, something should happen to Obama, there's no question in my mind that he'd be up to the job. But even McCain's own people don't actually think she's qualified to step in if something happens to the 72-year-old guy who's had four bouts with cancer: "She's going to learn national security at the foot of the master for the next four years, and most doctors think that he’ll be around at least that long," McCain advisor Charlie Black said yesterday. Now there's a ringing endorsement.

Or you can let Palin speak for herself:

"I've been so focused on state government, I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq." --2007

"What is it exactly that the vice president does all day?" --July 2008

She has zero experience at the national level. She has no experience with economic issues outside of Alaska, which is in a unique situation as a state with oil money coming in and a relatively small population. She has no experience with security issues, and being commander in chief of your state's National Guard doesn't count. (I certainly wouldn't count it for Arnie, and he's the governor of a state that ranks in the top ten largest economies in the world.) The only things she brings to the table are far right cred and two X chromosomes.

And you know what? It's no more unfair to call her out on that than it was to point out that Clarence Thomas was rated lower than any previous Supreme Court nominee by the American Bar Association, or to note that the only reason Bush I chose him was because it was Thurgood Marshall's seat and Thomas was black. Attacking her lack of experience is absolutely legitimate when the McCain campaign has been hammering on Obama's lack of experience since he became the presumptive nominee. I don't understand how criticizing Obama's lack of experience is acceptable, but criticizing Palin's is sexist. That sounds like, "You can't pick on her because she's a girl!" And that, my friends, is bullshit.

28 August 2008

Obama's Speech

I'll have more to say later; I'm kind of worn out tonight. What I will do, though, is use a baseball metaphor, for which I totally and completely blame Telesilla.

Obama needed to hit it out of the park tonight. He did--but he waited until the bases were loaded and knocked out a Grand Slam.

27 August 2008

Rest in Peace, Del Martin

Pioneering lesbian rights activist Del Martin died yesterday in San Francisco at the age of 87. Two months ago, she and her life partner Phyllis Lyon--together for 55 years--were legally married.

I'm sad that it took so long, glad that it did happen in her lifetime, and above all, I'm grateful. She paved the way for me to marry this weird chick I know (next week!).

Thank you, Del. You and Phyllis will be in both of our thoughts next Friday.

This right here? Is history, folks.

Putting aside my differences with the Democratic Party and with Barack Obama, I just watched as Hillary Clinton moved to name Obama the nominee by acclimation.

Think about that for a minute:

The Democratic Party, which was originally formed as a pro-slavery party, just accepted a motion by a woman to make a black man their nominee for president.

Change does happen.

23 August 2008

Biden. Huh.

I'm actually pretty pleased, and I think Biden's a good choice for several reasons.

He knows how many houses he has: one. In Delaware. He commutes between there and DC on Amtrak. He ranks at or near the bottom in terms of wealth among U.S. Senators. He's a Catholic from a working-class family in Scranton, PA--where they love him. He'll help neutralize Obama's so-called "Appalachian problem" and defuse the stupid "elitist" nonsense coming from Seven-House John.

He's got a personal narrative that can go up against POW John POW McPOW Cain's. His wife and daughter were killed in a car wreck caused by a drunk driver and his sons were badly injured. He was sworn in to the Senate for the first time from their hospital room. One of his sons is scheduled to be deployed to Iraq this October.

He's got serious foreign policy cred. This neutralizes another perceived weakness of Obama's while making it easier to chip away at the myth of McCain as some kind of foreign policy expert. Also, the Beltway Villagers like him--which is important, since Obama's got to work against the political press whose lips are surgically attached to St. John's Maverick dick. (I apologize for any permanent mental scarring caused by this image.)

He's an attack dog. Sometimes he misfires and shoots himself in the foot, no question. But he's also the guy who helped doom Rudy Giuliani's candidacy by calling him out and coining the phrase, "A noun, a verb, and 9/11" to describe him. He's already out there swinging: "John McCain will have to figure out which of his seven kitchen tables to sit at."

Biden's not perfect. I still remember his disgraceful performance during Clarence Thomas' confirmation hearings. He voted for the war in Iraq. He's only got a 60% rating from the ACLU. And he was responsible for the horrific bankruptcy bill that basically gives the credit card companies the right to fuck you up the ass without lube--and yes, that's personal for me. But he definitely brings stuff to the ticket--without being someone who will overshadow the nominee. And frankly, I'd much rather see him on the ticket than Bayh or Kaine. Sebelius would have been nice, but the reality is that she's largely unknown outside of Kansas, a state that's unlikely to go blue, and she does nothing to offset Obama's perceived experience gap, particularly in foreign policy. Richardson was my choice, but he's got some questionable stuff in his background with possible sexual harassment.

What I honestly don't understand is why anyone thought for a second that Obama was going to choose Hillary Clinton as his running mate. No matter where she'd be on the ticket, the visceral loathing many on the right feel for the woman they spent 8 years demonizing would bring out the vote--including the conservative evangelicals, who are largely underwhelmed by McCain. Also, there's no reality in which Barack wants Bill within 100 miles of the White House--and based on what we saw in the primaries, Bill is incapable of shutting the fuck up and not getting in Hillary's way.

I can't see Hillary accepting it, either. If Obama wins, then the VP's next chance at the top job will be 2016. Clinton will be 69, and given how much whispering there is about McCain's age, can you imagine what people will say about a nearly 70-year-old woman? More importantly, the VP's job is to support the President. Hillary spent 8 years doing that for a man she loves; why on earth would she want to do it again for a guy she doesn't like very much, who came in and captured the nomination when it was supposed to be her turn?

And honestly, in what universe did anyone really think the black guy wasn't going to pick a white guy for his running mate? Much as I'd have liked to see two people of color on the ticket (Obama/Richardson), I'm not sure this country's ready for one nontraditional candidate on the ticket, let alone two.

I'm just crossing my fingers in hopes that McCain will pick Mitt Romney for his running mate.

10 August 2008

RIP, Isaac Hayes

May your legacy in the end turn out to be your music.

And really, people need to cut this dying thing out. I've used this tag way too often this year.

04 July 2008

Speaking Ill of the Dead

Jesse Helms died today.

Some choice quotes from the man himself:

"As for homosexuality, the Bible judges it, I do not...I understand the militant homosexuals and they understand me...As for Mark, I wish he had not played Russian roulette with his sexual activity."
-- Response to a constituent on the death of her son from AIDS, 1995

"Homosexuals are weak, morally sick wretches."
-- Radio broadcast, 1995

"Mr. Clinton better watch out if he comes down here. He'd better have a bodyguard."
-- Interview on CNN, 1994

"She's a damn lesbian. I am not going to put a lesbian in a position like that. If you want to call me a bigot, fine."
-- Explaining why he was opposing the appointment of a woman for a cabinet post, 1993

"Moseley-Braun tells a story of Helms later getting on a Senate elevator and singing Dixie, vowing to keep it up ''until she cries.'"
-- Comment made to Senator Carol Moseley-Braun of Illinois, the first Black woman elected to the U.S. Senate, 1993

"They should ask their parents if it would be all right for their son or daughter to marry a Negro."
-- In response to Duke University students holding a vigil after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, 1968

"White people, wake up before it is too late. Do you want Negroes working beside you, your wife and your daughters, in your mills and factories? Frank Graham favors mingling of the races."
-- Attack ad written for the Senate campaign of North Carolina Republican candidate Willis Smith, 1950


He was a vile, miserable, hateful human being, a racist, a homophobe, a bigot and frankly evil, and I refuse to stay silent while his legacy is being written. If there is any justice in the universe, he will receive in death exactly what he gave in life, in full and equal measure.

I am sorry he's dead, though.

I'm sorry that he didn't live long enough to see his worst fucking nightmare come true: a black man as President of the United States.

26 June 2008

The state...the state...the state is on fire

We could really use some water, and I don't want to see this motherfucker burn.

Looking outside the window of our trailer, the sky is kind of a brownish gray. It's been like this since Monday, getting steadily worse throughout the week. When you step outside, you can smell woodsmoke. My eyes itch constantly and it's even harder to breathe than it normally is during a Sacramento summer.

There are more than 800 separate wildfires throughout Northern California this week, most of them sparked by lightning. We're already in drought conditions, so the initial fires spread quickly.

I'm still boggling over the people upset that Arnold's considering a ban on fireworks sales this year. In California, only nonprofit organizations can sell fireworks for a couple weeks around the 4th of July, as a fundraiser. I understand that a lot of groups depend on that revenue, but under the circumstances, discouraging people from using potential fire hazards outdoors seems reasonable.

This is one of those times when I wish there were some way to swap weather, because right now, the Midwest rain sounds pretty good.

22 June 2008

Bye, George

You'll be missed.

It seems weird to say "Rest in Peace" for you, so instead, I'll just say, wherever you are:

Party On, Dude.

18 June 2008

Birth of a Meme

I can actually say I was present at the birth of a new meme. I was reading Lawyers, Guns and Money the other night when a troll failed to grasp the "Shorter" concept. He explained:

I am aware of all internet traditions and also of literary conventions

Well, he sure told us! How do you respond to a someone like that, who is aware of all internet traditions?

Here's how.

FF3 = FTW

I downloaded Firefox 3 Tuesday at work to test out, and I was happy enough that I installed it at home. So far, I'm pretty happy: the memory leakage seems somewhat better, and I like the overall look and feel.

The one downside, as usual, is that several of my extensions broke. However, there's a fairly easy workaround:

Updating your Firefox Extensions:

1. On the page for the extension, click the "Versions" link.

2. Right-click on the most recent verson of the extension, and save it to your hard drive.

3. On the saved file, change the "xpi" extension to "zip".

4. Open with your favorite unzipper.

5. Use the text editor of your choice to open the install.rdf file.

6. Search for "Max Version" and change it from 2.0.0* to 3.0.0* and save.

7. Depending on your extractor, you may have to re-zip. WinZip will ask you if you want to replace the file in the archive with the new version.

8. Rename the extension from "zip" back to "xpi".

9. In Firefox, go to File > Open File and browse to the file. Firefox should recognize the .xpi as an installer and bring up the appropriate dialog.

10. Restart Firefox.

Caution: This will work for many extensions, but not all. I was able to use it to update Read Easily, Create TinyURL, Organize Status Bar, and Copy Plain Text, but with Firesomething and Tabbrowser Preferences, something weird happened that screwed up my tab display.

Some related links:

Lifehacker's Power User's Guide to FF3 is useful.

An article on Mozilla's "chief security something-or-other", who's both geeky, good at what she does, and gorgeous.

16 June 2008

Why I Love Her

I love Telesilla for a lot of reasons, including the fact that she often says things so I don't have to. For example, her post on the latest ass-showing moment in SGA fandom. Or her post on same-sex marriages, including ours.

So, yeah. September 5. It's just going to be us, a couple of our friends as witnesses, and the Sacramento County Clerk. We're saving up to move, so we didn't want to try to do anything extravagant, but we wanted to make it all official before November, just in case the ballot initiative to ban our marriage goes through. Don't worry--we'll give our friends plenty of notice before having the big party. :-)

We're not registering for stuff or really expecting gifts this time, but if you know us and want to do something, we've registered here (give it a couple of days before you try) with Equality California’s Marriage PAC, which is working to defeat the ballot initiative.

14 June 2008

My Unpopular Media Opinion

All over the blogosphere, people are mourning the death of Tim Russert, and I'm over here scratching my head.

I do think it's horrible when someone relatively young dies suddenly. My former hairstylist died recently--she was 32 with a two-year-old son. I truly feel for and sympathize with his family, friends, and colleagues, people who knew him and worked with him and loved him.

But I'm not of the school that says it's inappropriate to address the less-than-positive aspects of a public figure's legacy at the time of their death. I was appalled when Ronald Reagan died at the way an ethically and intellectually bankrupt hypocrite was transformed into Saint Ronnie. And so, when I read comments describing Russert as, "the steadiest and most serious inquisitor of the powerful during the darkening period when broadcast journalism was degenerating beyond parody", I have to say, "Huh?"

Russert was one of the Beltway Villagers who repeatedly enabled the Bush administration, never challenging them on the expansion of the unitary executive, or the case for attacking Iraq. Dick Cheney once said that he liked going on Meet the Press because he knew he wouldn't get challenged. And instead of asking questions about policy when he moderated the Democratic debates, it was all about "gotcha" questions for both candidates and getting Obama to "reject and denounce" every black person who's ever said anything controversial ever.

Is it sad that Tim Russert's dead? Of course, as it is any time someone who was by all accounts a decent person dies. But that doesn't mean that he was a journalistic paragon, or that we should pretend he was simply because he's no longer here.

04 June 2008

The Audacity of Hope

This is my great-grandfather. He was the first African-American elected to office in Memphis--and the last, until 1960.

I wish he could have seen this. And my grandfather as well. And my dad. And my aunt and my godfather.

When I called my mother today, she said she'd always hoped she'd live to see this.

And you know what? I agree with Michelle Obama.

For the first time in my adult life, I really am proud of my country.

15 May 2008

We can haz marriage nao!

Me: So, you wanna at some point?

Telesilla:
Yeah.

Chez Rozilla: Where Romance is Not Dead Yet.

It doesn't really change anything, and our first priority is to save up enough to move into an apartment where the appliances are younger than I am.

But still...it's pretty fucking cool. And the reason I'm struggling not to cry is because of how many friends have said, "I immediately thought of you two."

10 May 2008

My thoughts on the Democratic primary; let me show you them

Way back in elementary school, I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up:

President of the United States.

That, of course, was before I discovered that I liked girls and boys, and that I was kinky, and that I had serious problems with Christianity--plus the whole anger control problem, being well to the left of most of the country, and, you know, being crazy. What didn't stop me, though, was the idea that I couldn't be President because I'm black and female. I just figured I'd be the first.

(Dude, I even memorized the oath of office. Just in case.)

Ironically, when the primary campaign started, I was planning to vote for a white guy: Dennis Kucinich. Not only was he against the war and had always been against the war, but he and Mike Gravel were the only candidates on record as supporting full marriage equality. I was annoyed by the presumption that I should vote for Clinton because she's female or that I should vote for Obama because he's black--though I will note that it was the Clinton supporters like Gloria Steinem and the head of NY NOW who rendered me invisible as a black woman--and frankly, I thought they were both way too centrist for my tastes.

Kucinich dropped out before Super Tuesday, and I had to decide between voting for him anyway (as I did in 2004 when I voted for Dean a month after he'd dropped out of the race), voting for Clinton, and voting for Obama. In the end, I voted for Obama because I believed that the number of people who won't vote for the black guy will ultimately be smaller than the number of people who won't vote for a Clinton, and especially Hillary, who the right spent eight years demonizing.

It wasn't until Obama's speech on race that I turned to and said, "You know, maybe there is something to this 'hope' stuff." The two things that struck me most were the fact that he wrote that speech himself, and the fact that, to paraphrase Jon Stewart, he talked to the American people as if we were adults--on the topic that has been called the "third rail" of American political discourse.

At that point, while I really did want Obama to get the nomination, I would still have felt okay with voting for Clinton. It would have been another "vote against the Republican" election, but I'm used to that; it's not like I was all that enthused about Dukakis, Clinton, Gore or Kerry. I was even making a concerted effort not to hold comments by campaign surrogates like Carville and Ferraro against the candidate herself, since I certainly didn't want Obama to be held responsible for every dumbshit thing someone said on Daily Kos.

Then Clinton did three things that pissed me off:

1. She talked about "obliterating" Iran.

2. She proposed her pandering, pointless gas tax holiday, and when even economists like Paul Krugman, who supported her, detailed how this was a bad idea, she dismissed criticisms from "experts".

3. She said in an interview with USA Today that she would be the better nominee because a recent poll showed that "Senator Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again...There's a pattern emerging here."

The first two are excellent illustrations of why the country is in the mess we're in right now. We have a leadership who thinks nothing of attacking a nation that hasn't attacked us and killing hundreds of thousands (we think--there's no official count of Iraqi dead) of civilians. We also have a leader who personifies smug ignorance, and doesn't need "experts" to tell him he's wrong. If I wanted more of that, I'd vote for McCain.

The third statement, in addition to being flat-out wrong--Obama got a greater share of the white vote in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and North Carolina than he did in Ohio; Clinton's information was based on old poll data--is using a particularly nasty racial dog whistle no matter how you slice it. Either she's saying that she should be the nominee because white people are still too racist to vote for the black guy, or she's saying that the only hard-working Americans are white. I don't actually think Clinton herself is racist, which in a way makes it worse, because it's another instance of her saying and doing anything to get elected.

Right now, if Clinton was the Democratic nominee, I'd have to think long and hard about whether or not to vote for her. Not because she's a woman or because she's white. Not because she cries or doesn't cry, or how "likeable" she is. Not because of her surrogates or the bloggers or anything other than the way she herself has conducted this campaign and the things that she has said that make me believe she would be a poor choice for President.

06 May 2008

Rest in Peace, Mildred Loving

Mildred Loving died yesterday at age 68. 41 years ago, she challenged the state of Virginia for the right to marry the person she loved. In what may be the most appropriately named court case ever, Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court struck down laws banning racially mixed marriages in at least 17 states.

Last year, on the 40th anniversary of that ruling, Loving said:

Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the "wrong kind of person" for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.


I hope that years from now, our friends' children and grandchildren will find the idea that Aunt Ruth and Aunt Nancy couldn't get married because they're both girls as incomprehensible as they would the idea that we couldn't get married because she's white and I'm black.