Atlantis Alumni

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Wacky Religionist "Do-Gooders"

And for all the do-gooders who want to start waving their religious
beliefs in my face, please don't. While I respect your right to
believe what you want, please also respect mine. I do not believe in religion.
Your arguments hold no weight with me. If it comes down to a life not worth
living, then I would rather no life at all.

This was written by a friend of mine, named Anna, who lives in New Zealand. Anna will have open heart surgery on December 10. On her blog she wrote about her wishes should something go wrong and she ends up in a situation where she cannot recover and has no real prospects. She wants out. I understand and agree with her. It's a shame that good people like Anna who are facing great challenges have to worry about the religionists and their wacky cults and the effect that they have on everybody else.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Macy/Wanamaker Holiday Light Show 2008 - Return Of Magic Tree

Always a joy, this is the Holiday Light Show at the former John Wanamaker (now Macy's) store in central Philadelphia. The huge tree in the center is back in the display after being totally re-wired. Macy's has invested a lot of money in the Light Show and in the historic Wanamaker organ. Good for them!

New York State Gay Marriage Problem

The gay community has waited for years for Democrats to gain control of the New York State Senate in the hope that a marriage equality bill would finally be passed. Now that the Dems have a slight majority the issue of gay marriage has become a political football with three conservative Democratic senators threatening to withhold their support from the Democratic candidate for senate leader. These renegade senators, one of whom is some sort of minister from Brooklyn, are opposed to gay marriage, and they are demanding that the issue not be voted upon.

WTF? ...if you know what I mean. On the heels of Prop 8 we now have this fiasco in New York State, where once again religionists are standing in the way of equality for gay people. When will it ever end?


Friday, November 28, 2008

Terrorism And Travel, And Thanksgiving

For those of us who enjoy foreign travel, the situation in India is frightening. Islamic terrorists targeting foreigners, especially Brits and Americans...this is not exactly conducive to making reservations to travel to any part of the world where Muslims are present...and where are they not? Where are the condemnations of these terrorist acts from Muslim leaders, I wonder?

We enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving dinner with good friends. It was a nice, relaxing day. The dinner was interesting. There were six of us: two gay male couples who have been together for a combined total of over 50 years but can't get legally married; and two divorced single women looking for partners who could get married if only they could find the right man. The old single women's lament comes to mind: "All the good men are either already married or gay."


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Add Your Own Caption

A Heart Valve Surgery Diary

Well, I did set up another blog where I can vent about my heart problem. You can read it here but it's really intended to be read primarily by others who have a similar heart condition.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Rumor had it that he was going to appoint one John Brennan to some important national security post, until lots of observers pointed out that this guy is tainted by his CIA experience related to the issue of torture. I think he's gone now. The New York Times notes that several of Obama's key economic appointees are some of the same people who are actually to blame for laying the foundations of the current economic meltdown. Is this change we can believe in? I don't think so. Luckily, people are watching.

I've been preoccupied lately with a personal health issue - appointments, and I'll need some tests...heart related. I'm considering starting a separate blog about it. It's serious but I'm on top of it.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Brian Wilson: That Lucky Old Sun

The great Brian Wilson live at the Keswick Theater, in Glenside PA last night on tour in support of his new album, That Lucky Old Sun. At 66, he's still writing and performing great stuff. This new album is another almost seamless rock oratorio, a love letter to youth, the sun, love, and Southern California. Nobody does it better.

Gays And The Religionists: Prop 8

Maureen Dowd in today's New York Times on the new movie about Harvey Milk:

The movie, chronicling the rancorous California fight of gay activists
against church-backed forces in the ’70s to prevent discrimination against gays,
is opening amid a rancorous California fight of gay activists against
church-backed forces to prevent discrimination against gays.

Some things never change...or do they? The overall culture now is much more accepting of gays and willing to embrace equal rights for gay people. It seems that a part of the populace is still holding onto medieval views about sexuality, but if we gays had waged a better campaign we could have won the Prop 8 battle. Our ads were timed late and actually somewhat closeted. We blew it, now we have to fix it.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

THE Holiday Movie of 2008!

Gotta see this! Dan put me onto it. Gay kids today are so lucky to have their own love stories and heroes to see in the movies!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Obama-Biden Administration And Civil Rights

Click on the title to read the list. Pretty impressive words...let's see how much get's done.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

California Supreme Court & Prop 8

I've done a bit of reading online this morning...of various takes on the prospects of Prop 8 before the Ca. court. Generally, it seems that the feeling is that the court will uphold 8. In fact, one observer thinks that the reason the court agreed to hear the case quickly is that the justices have already made up their minds to uphold 8. One justice that voted for gay marriage back in the Spring voted against hearing the case - but that could have been for "procedural" reasons. Another justice voted to stay the proposition until the court could review it. That would indicate that there is at least one vote on our side. We won't have a decision until probably mid-2009 at the earliest. Will the gay community mount an ongoing public campaign of demonstrations against 8 lasting until then?


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Gays Get Dumped On Again

The California Supreme Court has voted 6 to 1 to hear the case against Prop 8 but they refused to stay it until they have ruled. In other words, the rule of the right wing religious inspired mob to strip a minority, gay people, of their fundamental rights under the California constitution AS DETERMINED PREVIOUSLY BY THE COURT - this travesty, will stand until the Court rules. Only gay people have to endure this kind of good way to say it...being shitted upon by straight people. Fuck you I say to anyone and everyone who is not prepared to support gay equality, including the California Supreme Court.


My Proposition 8 Fixation

I wondered how I'd feel in the months before the election, if Proposition 8 was approved in California. Now I know. I feel pretty bad. It's tough for me to even blog about other issues, automaker bailouts, the Obama transition, etc. I'm just fixated on the loss in California. There is some hope that the California Supreme Court will invalidate it as being an unconstitutional initiative. However, I'm not holding my breath for that particular outcome because it involves gay rights and it's just about always OK to dump on gays. So, I watch the discussions on other blogs and wait like everyone else for the California Court to rule.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Grown up Christmas list

...that right would always more lives torn apart...that Proposition 8 is overturned or repealed...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Prop 8 Philly Protest Pix

Philly's ANti-Prop 8 Protest - Youth!

Where are the middle age gays and lesbians? I felt a little like a relic. I suppose the torch has to be passed and I'm glad the kids are engaged, but where are the older gays and lesbians? Are they too comfortable or too bored?

Anti-Proposition 8 Protest Nationwide Today!

There will be anti-Prop 8 protests today in something like 80- cities across the country. Good. It' about time the gay community woke up. As Larry Kramer noted: "I guess gay people are tired of being hated." The Philadelphia protest starts at 1:30 PM...rain or shine....and it's rainy here so I guess I'll get a little wet this afternoon.

Obama: Governing From The Center?

Will he make Hillary Secretary Of State? I doubt it, but Obama I think will turn out to be unpredictable. One thing that distresses me is the thought expressed by some pundits that Obama will "govern from the center." That's just what we don't need...more Democratic Leadership Council centrism in the mold of Bill Clinton. That will mean no real health care reform, and backtracking on progressive positions in regard to taxation, the environment, and gay rights (DADT), to name just a few. Why is it that when the Republicans get into office they govern from the right wing fringe yet when the Democrats get their chance they feel that they have to be "centrist?" The public pandering to turncoat Democrat Joe Leiberman is an example of the wimpy way Democrats behave too much of the time. Kick him out and do with Bush Junior said he would do when he won the second time: use the political capital you've earned to push through your agenda. I'm already disappointed in Obama and he hasn't even been inaugurated yet. I didn't vote for him but I had high hopes anyway. Silly me.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Republican Party's Dearth Of Leadership

On MSNBC's "Morning Joe" TV show today there was a fascinating discussion of the current plight of the Republican Party. It was noted that a little over a decade ago, after the rise of the Gingrich wing of the Republican Party, it was said that the Democrats lacked a leader and a message. This was the case until the rise of Barak Obama, the commentators noted. He represents a new kind of leader with a new message, one attuned to a more modern time, at least this was the argument put fourth.

Then ensued a discussion of who in the Republican Party could play the same part for them as Obama has played for the Democrats. Sarah Palin? Newt Gingrich? Tim Pawlenty" Bobby Jindal? Some thought Jindal might be the next Republican political messiah, but I think he's too old time conservative, as on social issues, to fit the bill. What they are going to have to come up with is somebody really new, just as Obama materialized seemingly out of nowhere, somebody with a message and a demeanor to fit the 21st century...conservative on economic issues but probably more libertarian on social issues. Otherwise, the Republicans will be left with their "base" of social conservatives, parts of the South, and little else.


Prop 8: Marriage Equality, Oppressive Institutions

Some gays think that our battle for marriage equality is misguided. Marriage is an antiquated and oppressive institution, they believe. Having marriage equality as the primary thrust of the current day gay rights movement is a mistake, they maintain. Instead, they believe that we ought to be focusing on things like workplace protections, hate crime prevention legislation, etc. They want to jettison the fight over marriage, because they believe marriage give the religionists a public relations tool to use against us.

I disagree with this for two reasons: 1. Marriage is first and foremost a civil contract that can and does stand apart from religious sanction for many people, and 2. We ought to take on the religionists whenever and wherever they seek to impose their beliefs upon us.

There is no reason to think that if we cede the battle over marriage to the religionists that they will all of a sudden approve of us and support our demands for other forms of gay rights legislation, and every reason to think that they will continue to oppose gay equality across the board. On marriage, as with DADT, I say make me equal first, then we can talk about whether or not certain institutions are oppressive.

As for gay rights organizations like HRC and president-elect Obama, of course they'll disappoint anyone who has their head screwed on properly. We should detach our fight for equality from the Democrats and HRC. As was the case with the civil rights movement of the 60's our movement should be politically neutral. Let the Obama's come to us for our votes and approval, rather than handing our support to them on a silver platter in spite of their unsatisfactory positions on gay rights.


Prop 8 And The Black Community

On Andrew Sullivan's blog:

"That was our mistake. So many African Americans don’t look at gay marriage
as a civil rights issue. They look on it as a religious one. And we, for
whatever reason ... fear? Arrogance? Complacency? We did not do enough outreach
to them. We need to begin a dialogue with them, because we should be putting
this back on the ballot every election every year until we win," - David
, to Kevin Sessums. Amen.

I like the idea of putting Prop 8 repeal on the ballot every year until we win. As for the problem that the gay community has with African Americans, that will be tough given the fact the African American president-elect Obama opposes marriage equality. We can do outreach at the grass roots level, but we also have to make a compelling case to the new president that he is wrong headed in his opposition to our fundamental right to marry our partners. There's nothing wrong with a two pronged approach. I just don't see national gay rights organizations holding Obama's feet to the fire on this. They're just delighted that McCain didn't win. This, it seems to me, is an inadequate posture going forward. We have to demand full equality and we have to demand it from Obama.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Proposition 8 National Day Of Protest

This Saturday, November 15, there will be protests all across the country against California's Proposition 8. In Philadelphia, the protest will take place at City Hall at 1:30 PM. Hopefully, this will once again send a message to politicians that anti-gay discrimination is unacceptable and make the point that the rights of a minority should never be subject to a popular vote. Click on the title of this post above to go to the local Philadelphia Prop. 8 protest site.


Monday, November 10, 2008

No Quick Fix

There's no quick fix. There, I said it! There is no quick fix for the economy. We can't just do a stimulus package here, ship a dollar to this bank or that bank, whatever silly idea our little hearts desire. This isn't something we can get out of by printing more money and hoping that the economy holds together with bobby pins and glue.

It takes years to get into the kind of economic mess we are in. It will likely take the global population of the world at least a decade to pull everyone out.

By the way, I am for letting some of the institutions that have imperiled the economy go down the toilet. I've already seen many abuses of the so called "bailout" funds at AIG and others.

And let's talk about Detroit. I was born in Detroit and I grew up just outside of Detroit. I know just a little bit about auto companies; many of my family members work for them, my family sold products to them and I grew up with "auto brats". Most of the kids I grew up with had parents that were executives in Ford, GM and Chrysler. We went on field trips in my school to the Ford Rouge River plant almost every year. At my high school graduation party my gift bag was from my friend's at General Motors. Most of the people that I graduated with attempted to work for auto companies. My first car was an Chrysler Omni Horizon (which I rebuilt several times with junk parts bought in Detroit Junk Yards near 8 mile road off of Woodward Avenue). Am I an expert? No. Do I have much more experience with American car companies than many or most? Well, yes.

American car companies have been going out of business for almost 35 years. They've been consistently behind the times with some bright exceptions like Lee Iacoca and the K-car and the Ford Taurus. Even with those successes, they let them (the models) linger far too long and tend to fall back on automobile comfort food; big cars with bad milage and mediocre customer service. I can tell you about one of my relatives that has worked for Ford for 40 years and for 30 of them he's been shuffled around, had his hours cut and had his pay fiddled with consistently. He is great at what he does and I can tell you he knows one heck of alot about building cars. Whenever I've asked him about restructuring in Detroit he's told me the same thing: wait until the spotlight is off of the auto companies and everything goes back to business as usual; bad quality, products that are out of touch and executive pay that is inconsistent with performance.

Here's my point: the same guys that have presided over the last 35 years or so of Detroit mess are still there. After years of high gas prices, these people are just figuring that the world might need more fuel efficient automobiles? Or people might be sick of paying the Saudis for oil and want electric cars? Or that Toyota is now bigger than all 3 American car makers combined?

The Detroit Executives are just figuring out now that they need cash, coincidentally at the same time the banks seem to be out of cash?

Here's something to think about when you hear about how we should bail out the auto companies: all American cars get most of their key components from another country. My first car that I mentioned? The 1979 Omni Horizon had a motor by VW. That was almost 30 years ago. And if you are lucky enough to be able to afford a Ford, GM or Chrysler product in this economy, check out where the American car was made. My American car was made in Canada.

Make no mistake, I am for American workers. I am an American worker. But I am not for Auto Executives that make bad decisions consistently over decades and still get a huge paycheck. I don't want to bail out rich people. I want the people that really do the work to keep their jobs. And I can guarantee one thing: auto workers jobs ain't cushy. They aren't easy and they shouldn't be treated with such a lack of respect or honesty. Auto workers should be treated with as much respect and integrity as any Vet coming back from war. These people do hard jobs and shouldn't be at the whim of the "quick fix".

Thus the point of this: there is no quick fix. There's no quick fix for banks that bought mortgage backed securities based on nothing, there's no quick fix for insurance companies that were insuring mortgages based on nothing and there's no quck fix for auto executives that build huge cars and trucks while the price of gas is widely fluctuating and consumers are opting for hybrids, electric cars and product that is reliable and inexpensive. There's no quick fix for greed and stupidity. I am leery of looking at any politician as a potential fix for this. It has to come from the people.

The banks are still trying to make huge amounts of money off of mortgage backed securities and the auto companies are still trying to sell huge lots of SUV's. I just saw a new commercial for the Escalade Hybrid. The theme of the commercial was "game set and match". At $72k plus per car and at 20 MPG on the highway, is this a company that really needs tax dollars?


After Obama's Inauguration

It appears as though President Obama will be focusing on the economy after his inauguration. He favors another stimulus package, which Bush opposes. Krugman offers the following advice:

My advice to the Obama people is to figure out how much help they think the
economy needs, then add 50 percent. It’s much better, in a depressed economy, to
err on the side of too much stimulus than on the side of too little.

Today the current administration announced additional bailout money for insurance giant AIG, bringing the total to $150 Billion. Bush & Co. have no problem bailing out big business but they oppose helping average Americans. So what else is new?

Will we bail out the automakers? Obama favors it, while the Republicans seem not too interested. I guess they wouldn't mind the loss of so many union jobs.

Will Obama tackle the health care crisis early on? There are two theories of how he should proceed: the "big bang" approach that addresses the economy, health care, and other issues; or the incremental approach. Many pundits feel that Obama is cautious by nature and that he will proceed slowly. We'll see.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Will Obama Stand Up For Gay Rights?

Obama's lack of concern for gay community was evident during the election. He did little to help out and we got creamed on election day.

Frank Rich:

The success of the four state initiatives banning either same-sex marriage or same-sex adoptions was the sole retro trend on Tuesday. And Obama, who largely soft-pedaled the issue this year, was little help. In California, where other races split more or less evenly on a same-sex marriage ban, some 70 percent of black voters contributed to its narrow victory.

In Arkansas, they passed another initiative aimed at stopping gay couples from adopting even though there is a crying need for foster parents in that state. The usual suspects, evangelicals and conservatives, were behind the initiative.

Gays have every right to be outraged at the continuing demonization aimed at us by fundamentalist bigots, Christian and Mormon churcdhes, and retrograde political conservatives. This has to stop! One thing we need to do is to insist that the new president step up to the plate on behalf of the gay community.


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Sullivan: Chill Out On Proposition 8

Andrew Sullivan on the gay anger over 8:

Calm down. We are not experiencing a massive, permanent backlash.
next generation overwhelmingly backs the right to marry, and there is no sign of
cultural reversal, even if we have suffered some electoral set-backs. If Obama
has taught us anything, it is to keep our eyes on the prize, and not always to
react impulsively to hatred, bigotry or simple ignorance by exaggerating its
power over us. We are winning. We lost this one, by an excruciatingly small
margin. But the whole point of this movement is education in support of
toleration. Even though we lost, we persuaded many of something they barely
thought about a short time ago. I am immensely touched by the support of
straight readers and all of you, gay and straight, who donated time and money to
the No On 8 campaign. We need to remember this as well. And the sight of a small
minority having basic equality stripped from them by a religiously-funded
majority is itself educational. It has already changed minds. One thing we need
to remember is dignity in defeat. That's how it becomes victory.

Some good points here, but I don't think that the gay community's expressions of anger are a bad thing. We have a right to be angry...and to turn our anger into mobilization toward productive strategies for change.


Friday, November 7, 2008

David Foster - Carol of the Bells

I need something to cheer me up after the anti-gay triumphs on election day. Just in's the holidays! One radio station in Philadelphia is already playing non-stop holiday music. Here's one family's light display set to a great version of "Carol Of The Bells" by Daivd Foster. Hooray for the holidays!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Proposition 8: What The Gay Community Must Do Now

Yesterday was not a good day for me. I felt as though I had been punched in the stomach.

While so many people were celebrating the results of the election, many of us in the gay community were sickened and outraged at the outcome in California. Proposition 2, which protects farm animals from abuse, passed handily, while Proposition 8, which strips gay people of a fundamental right under the California constitution, also passed. It appears that farm animals have more rights in California than do gay people.

There's plenty of blame for this to go around starting with President-elect Obama, who stated his opposition to gay marriage in an interview with MTV just a few days before the election. African-Americans voted overwhelmingly in favor of Proposition 8. Obama could have spoken out forcefully to members of the Black community against Prop 8 but he did not. Then there's the governor of California, Mr. Schwarzenegger, who promised gays he'd be there for them in this battle but did nothing. Some criticism of the tactics of the "No On 8" campaign appears to be valid. Finally, I think the gay community nationwide failed to mobilize so as to counteract the activities of the Catholic Church and its supporters, and the Mormons.

On a day when history was made with the election of our first African-American president, another kind of history was also made in California. For the first time, the right of gay and lesbian couples to legally marry was stripped away from us. This is a black day for our nation. Gay people remain the only minority without legal protections, the only minority that it's OK to verbally bash, physically harm, to hate, and to take rights away from.

The anger in some quarters of the gay community is palpable. Hopefully, this will translate into a re-energizing within our community that is long overdue. The victories won by the religious right and other gay haters might very well embolden them to seek to further marginalize gay people in this country.

We must fight back. We must demand that politicians take principled stands on our behalf in exchange for our votes. We need to detach our fight for our civil rights from a reliance on politicians from any one political party. It's not too late to turn the tide on those who hate us but we must act on our own behalf. This is no time for complacency. There should be a renewed national gay rights mobilization. We must act now.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The End Of The Golden Age Of Gay Rights

Blogger Richard Rothstein:

America enters a new world on this day. But a golden age of gay
rights has died a quick death after a very short life. And as a gay
American I am once again faced with an almost daily decision: which mask do I
don as I head out into the heterosexual world?

As expected, Obama's base swept him into the White House while sweeping away gay rights, banning gay marriage in Arizona, Florida and California. The
question now becomes who will Obama ask for compromise? Will he honor the
wishes of his core African-American and Christian base or will he deliver on his
promise of full equality for all Americans?

No Time For The Gay Community To Celebrate

It appears as though it's a clean sweep for the anti-gay bigots. Marriage equality was defeated in Florida, Arizona, and probably in California. In Arkansas, the good citizens passed a ban on gay people adopting children. In California, the heavily Black and Hispanic populations of Los Angeles County actually voted in the majority in favor of Proposition 8 while voting for Obama. It's a black day for gay rights. As one writer put it on another blog:

Obama has become a powerful role-model for oppressed minorities in America.
He has set an example for African Americans in particular, whom exit poles
indicated as voting over 70% in favor of Proposition 8, on how to vote
homophobically while maintaining a clear conscience. In Obama's America,
non-whites have finally won acceptance into the highest reaches of mainstream
society, but queers remain firmly shut out.

I have no expectations that the plight of the gay community will improve under President Obama. I have no reason to have any such hope.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Weezer - Undone -- The Sweater Song

Music break...I love this song...can't believe it's 14 years old!


The Obama Gay Marriage Disappointment

Talking Points Memo is one of the most read and respected political blogs out there. The other day a pro-Proposition 8 ad started appearing on TPM. Needless to say, many TPM readers wrote in to portest the ad. Josh Marshall has responded citing his policy of not censoring ads for content, only for accuracy. This is why he did not take down the ad:

Obama says he opposes Prop 8. And he says he's for civil unions. But he has
also said clearly that he opposes same-sex marriage. This is the ambiguity the
creators of the ad were clearly playing on. The ad may imply and I think it is
misleading; but it doesn't say something that is clearly false. And so we
decided to keep it running.

So, there you have it in a nutshell. Obama is totally wrong for publicly stating his opposition to gay people getting married. They are already getting married in Mass., CA., and soon, Conn., and what this country needs is a leader prepared to stand for justice and marriage equality for all citizens including gay and lesbian Americans.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Proposition 8 May Fail..And Nader (Again)

The latest polling seems to indicate that the anti-gay marriage ballot initiative in California may fail. Bill Clinton and Arnold Schwartzenegger are now being quoted in ads and telephone calls in opposition to 8. Let's hope that this piece of pure hatred is defeated on Tuesday.

Meanwhile Carl Bernstein is whining about Nader in an article over at Huffington, worried that Nader could hurt Obama. Carl needs to chill a bit. The last time I checked democracy means that everyone should have a chance to run including Ralph Nader. Something tells me that if Obama loses it will not be because of Ralph Nader, rather, the Bradley effect (racism.)