Atlantis Alumni

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cuomo vs. Christie in 2016?

Photo: Copenhagen closeup

If that fat bigoted tub Chris Christie of New Jersey survives politically until 2016 it is possible that the Republicans will nominate him to run for President. The Democrats may very well nominate New York Governor and hero to gays Andrew Cuomo. Maureen Dowd at the New York Times thinks Cuomo's gay followers will come up with a lot of cash if he runs:

"for many gays, Cuomo is now the civil rights leader among elected officials, a role President Obama should have proudly held. Cuomo, who now has a huge and excited base of millions of volunteers, activists and donors across the country, can press a button and raise millions."

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Marriage: White Bells and Red Tape!

Photo: Copenhagen

This morning I visited the Brookhaven Town Clerk's web site and the New York City Clerk's marriage home page to find out about applying for a marriage license for Dan and myself. It's still too early for them to have revised the marriage license application from "Groom & Bride" to something more "fits all." New York City says to keep checking back. They also don't seem to require as many documents (forms of ID, etc.) as does Brookhaven.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Cuomo's Leadership Style vs, Obama (MIA)

Nate Silver at the New York Times:

That Mr. Cuomo’s accomplishment pertains to same-sex marriage, an issue on which Mr. Obama has adopted an indecipherable position born of a cynical-seeming political calculus, makes the contrast sharper. And that it involved achieving cooperation from Republicans, something Mr. Obama has rarely received, makes it seem as though Mr. Cuomo has more effectively executed upon Mr. Obama’s “theory of change” than the president himself, demonstrating that articulating clear and unapologetic goals is not incompatible with persuading votes on the margins.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Maureen Dowd on Obama's Lack Of Leadership

Photo: Copenhagen

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd takes the president to task once again for his lack of leadership:

Obama’s reluctance to come out for gay marriage seems hugely and willfully inconsistent with what we know about his progressive worldview. And it is odd that the first black president is letting Andrew Cuomo, who pushed through a gay-marriage bill in Albany on Friday night, go down in history as the leader on the front lines of the civil rights issue of our time.

But for the president, “the fierce urgency of now” applies only to getting checks from the gay community, not getting up to speed with all the Americans who think it’s time for gay marriage.

As with “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” Obama is not leading the public, he’s following. And worse, the young, hip black president who was swept in on a gust of change, audacity and hope is lagging behind a couple of old, white conservatives — Dick Cheney and Ted Olson.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

New York, New York! Free To Marry At Last!

What a great pride weekend and marriage equality in New York State. It doesn't get much better than this. Watching the debate last night and witnessing the courage of great men of principle including Republican Senators Saland and Grisanti, was incredibly emotionally powerful and uplifting. While openly gay Senator Tom Duane was magnanimous - "There are no villains, only heroes" he said - we will not forget those who fought for us, most notably Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg, as well as those who failed us like President Obama. So today we celebrate as the battle for full equality for GLBT people continues. It's a great day in New York state and in America!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Obama Fails The Gay Community Once Again

Photo: Copenhagen

Last night, as marriage equality in New York State was held hostage by Republicans in Albany, President Obama addressed gay donors in New York City. He told them:

"Under the leadership of Governor [Andrew] Cuomo, with the support of Democrats and Republicans, New York is doing exactly what democracies are supposed to do. There is debate and deliberation about what it means here in New York to treat people fairly in the eyes of the law. That is the power of our democratic system.”

No, Mr. President, you are wrong. Democracies are not supposed to debate the basic human rights of minorities. Democracies have constitutions that guarantee basic rights to all citizens including members of minorities, rights not subject to debate. And democracies have leaders, Mr. President, who are supposed to protect and defend the constitution by exercising firm leadership, by articulating the values enshrined therein. What you should have said was that full marriage equality is merely a component of our democratic system, guaranteed by our constitution, and that New York State should institute marriage equality now. You had the opportunity to be presidential, to lead, to defend the constitution’s guarantee of equal rights for all. But you failed. You failed us, your gay and lesbian constituents. But worse, you failed in your duty as president. History will not be kind to you nor should it. You do not deserve to be re-elected.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

No Support From Obama

Photo: Copenhagen

Blogger John Aravosis on Obama's speech tonight in NYC:

What do you know, the President went to a gay/trans fundraiser in New York City in the middle of the biggest gay political debate in that state since Stonewall (they state may pass, or kill, gay marriage in the next few hours) and he didn't give us a lick of support in that battle. Then what was he doing there taking our money if he can't even support our equality? In New York, no less.

The Gay Equality Train Is Leaving The Station Without Obama

Photo: The Royal Palace in Copenhagen

Regardless of whether we win or lose in New York State this time around, marriage equality will happen. Obama knows this, yet he refuses to do the right thing and lead on the issue. Time is growing short for this president to be a decisive leader on gay rights and a whole host of other issues. You have to wonder if he cares at all about his legacy. To be remembered as a timid president lacking in the courage to be a leader would seem to me to be one of the worst outcomes of being president. But this is who the man is, unfortunately.

Protests Against Obama Tonight In NYC!

Photo: Copenhagen lightship

While we're struggling for our basic human rights, the president jets into town to collect our money but still won't endorse marriage equality!

Towleroad commenter Bill Purdue on Obama...

Obama's deliberate maintenance of high levels of unemployment and low wages, his union busting, the fact that his administration offers the banksters bailouts instead of bail, his refusal to help the states to avoid draconian cuts in social services for our communities (and everyone) and you have a President with the worst economic record since Hoover and the worst war record since Nixon, and you want us to vote for him because he gives us Easter eggs... ?

Read more:

The Injustice Of The NY Marriage "Debate"

Photo: Lightship docked in Copenhagen

Paul Schindler at Gay City News:

"...the larger measure of my frustration comes from the unpalatable experience of sitting and waiting day in and day out while a nearly opaque political dance unfolds that is, in fact, a referendum on my dignity as a citizen. The fact that my equality –– which according to core American values is God-given or, in more secular terms, mine by right of birth, should be in the hands of elected officials who show such cavalier disregard for basic notions of fair play and equal treatment is a truth I will never be able to accommodate myself to.

As I write these words, I remain confident that our goal is within reach. But at moments on the journey, there are bittersweet reminders of the injustice that has defined far too much of our lives."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Albany Back Room Deal or No?

Photo: Copenhagen view

Today is the make or break day for marriage equality in New York State. But who holds all the cards? Republicans, that's who. Why am I not optimistic? Well, maybe Cuomo extracted some sort of promise of a vote in exchange for who knows what from the Rs. If we lose today at least Cuomo tried.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Failure That Is Obama

Photo: view of Copenhagen

Marriage equality is stalled in New York state just as the president is about to attend gay fundraisers in NY for his campaign. Yet he refuses to endorse marriage equality. Why are any self-respecting gays supporting him and giving him money? Beats me. He'll not get my money or my vote until he stops being a mere calculating politician and starts being a leader, and a president for the ages.

Gay blogger John Aravosis:

...let's not forget that Barack Obama had the opportunity to do so much more, on gay rights, on health care reform, on the stimulus, on eliminating tax cuts, on the budget, on immigration, on civil liberties, and he didn't. And the only reason he did as much as he did on gay rights, even though it wasn't enough, is because a great many of us in the Netroots took the arc of history and threw it in his face.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Will New York Marriage Equality Happen This Week?

Photo: View Of Copenhagen from a canal boat

Because Dan and I live in Pennsylvania getting legally married somewhere else (Canada or one of the states that has gay marriage) just hasn't made all that much sense. But all that might change this week if New York legalizes same sex marriage. Since we have a residence here in New York state, from a legal perspective we should take advantage of the opportunity to legally formalize our relationship. This is because courts are now deciding in favor of legally married same sex couples in disputes related to DOMA (see the ruling yesterday by the Federal bankruptcy court in California,) and because of tax and inheritance issues that could come up for us at any time. Legally formalizing our relationship if we can do it in New York would establish us as a married couple under New York state law, and we might actually consider declaring ourselves New York state residents to avoid the nasty Pennsylvania state taxes that unmarried partners have to pay in that state. We're excited about the prospect, but the vote hasn't happened yet.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Obama Offers Fluff To The Jobless

Robert Reich tells it like it is:

"... the President met with business leaders on his “jobs and competitiveness council,” who suggested more public-private partnerships to train workers, less government red-tape in obtaining permits, and more jobs in travel and tourism, among other things. The President then toured a manufacturing plant in North Carolina, and made an eloquent speech about the need for more jobs.


Doesn’t the White House get it? The President has to have a bold jobs plan, with specifics. Why not exempt the first $20,000 of income from payroll taxes for the next year? Why not a new WPA for the long-term unemployed, and a Civilian Conservation Corps for the legions of young jobless Americans? Why not allow people to declare bankruptcy on their primary residences, and thereby reorganize their mortgage debt?

Will Obama Ever Do The Right Thing?

Photo: the modern new opera house in Copenhagen

Former Senator Gary Hart says we need to hope that Obama will find the courage to be the president that we all hoped he would be:

We must hold out the hope that the better angels of his nature will come to rest upon his burdened shoulders and he will lift up a prophetic voice that calls America to the highest standard of social justice and national morality. Now is the hour, and it is not too late.

Monday, June 13, 2011

APCG Tuesday Night At The Movies Tomorrow!

Paul Jablonsky and Jim Kelly under the auspices of the Arts Project Of Cherry Grove present the the film "Mambo Itailano" June 14th at 6:30 PM in the Cherry Grove Community House. This is the first in a new Tuesday Night At The Movies summer series of films. Admission is free. Donations jar benefits the APCG.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Of Bread And Circuses

Photo: View of Copenhagen

Weiner's weiner and Palin's emails??? Meanwhile the stock market is slumping and all the other economic numbers are dismal.

Robert Reich:

Washington? Completely clueless. Our representatives in the nation’s capital continue to obsess about future budget deficits and games of chicken over raising the debt ceiling — neither of which has anything at all to do with the stalled recovery and the carnage on the Street.

Otherwise, the airwaves are filled with Weiner’s tweets, Gingrich’s implosion, and Palin’s emails. When times are tough we look for entertainment.

Road Trip To The New York City Ballet

Photo: the lobby of the David Koch Theater (New York State Theater), home of the New York City Ballet - taken during the Beverly Sills tribute in 2007.

Saturday was a stormy day so we went into New York City. We had a power lunch at Landmark in the Time-Warner building at Columbus Circle. Then we enjoyed a ballet performance at Lincoln Center. We saw Balanchine's "Jewels," three great ballets set to the music of Faure, Stravinsky, and Tchaikovsky, The dancers are so excellent and the sets and costumes are beautiful. We used to attend many ballet performances at City Ballet back in the 1980s, but I never saw the complete "Jewels." It was a rare treat indeed. After the performance we took the long Island Rail Road back to Oakdale, where we had a light dinner at one of our favorite Long Island restaurants: Tai Sho.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Stormy Cherry Grove

Thursday evening at about 6 PM it got real dark here in Cherry Grove. There were unusual cloud formations and high winds. This is not that unusual out here.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

It's The Economy, Stupid! Redux

Photo: View of Copenhagen

The chorus of voices wailing about the sour economy from the president's own side of the political spectrum is deafening. Yet Obama & Co. continue to play in the Republican's deficit reduction ballpark. As has been his custom, Obama refuses to use the bully pulpit to present a counter narrative to the Republicans. What Obama should be hammering home is that in a time of high unemployment and poor growth, deficits are not job 1, rather getting Americans back to work and growing the economy should be the primary focus. Doesn't Obama want to be re-elected? The way he's going one of the nutty Republicans will be able to unseat him.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Photo: centuries old tower and crane used to work on sailing ships rigging in Copenhagen

It's even hot out here in Cherry Grove, but there is an ocean breeze.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Come To Dan's Opening At The Lighthouse

Dan has been invited to participate in a juried art exhibit at the Fire Island Lighthouse. The opening reception will be on Thursday, June 23rd from 6 PM until 9 PM at the lighthouse. Come one, come all!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Pragmatic Barak Obama

Photo: A pretty church in Copenhagen

Yale Professor David Bromwich writes about Obama's embrace of Bush-Cheney national security policies that have eroded our civil liberties over at Huffington:

...under the endlessly forgiving label of 'pragmatist', this president has devised a system of mental bookkeeping that is at once complex and simple. It is the belief of Barack Obama that his being the president of the United States is good for the world regardless of what he does.

It's as if Obama is asking his supporters to "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain." He will do what he wants no matter what he promised during his campaign because that's the pragmatic thing to do. Principles? What principles? Principles don't matter because you have to be pragmatic. Progressives are really sunk with this president. But Obama's prospects for re-election may also founder without the enthusiastic support of those he has let down.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Obama's Failure On Immigration Reform

Photo: Twon Hall, Copenhagen

Just as in the case of GLBT rights, Obama could but has so far refused to use his executive authority as president to end certain unjust immigration policies. Why doesn't he act? What is he afraid of?

New York Times:

President Obama, who has spent two and a half years not delivering on his promise to fix immigration, gave a speech in El Paso last month and cloaked his failure in tough statistics — this many new border agents, that much fencing, these thousands of deportations... O.K., so maybe it isn’t. But there is a lot President Obama can and should do, using the discretion and authority granted to the executive branch and its agencies to make the system work better.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Obama's Tinmidity On The Economy May Cost Him Re-election

Economists Paul Krugman and Robert Reich have been warning that we are in danger of falling into a double dip recession. Today's job numbers are terrible. But it may be too late for Obama to take the steps necessary to halt our slide now.

Robert Reich:

The President cannot be reelected if the economy tanks. He may not even be reelected on an anemic recovery in which unemployment remains nearly this high. But all incumbents are endangered. Republican House members from swing districts are toast if they don’t show voters they’re actively working on the twin problems of jobs and wages.

Several steps need to be taken right away. Exempt the first $20,000 of income from payroll taxes for two years. Lend money to cash-starved state and local governments. Initiate a new WPA for the long-term unemployed. Amend bankruptcy laws to allow homeowners to include their prime residencies in personal bankruptcy (giving them more bargaining leverage with their lenders to renegotiate mortgage loans).

How To End The Debt Crisis WIth Fairness

Photo: Colorful Copenhagen

Senator Bernie Sanders has fair and humane solutions to the debt crisis:

Instead of ending Medicare as we know it and making savage cuts to community health centers and children's health care programs, we must ask the top 2 percent of income earners, who currently pay the lowest upper-income tax rate on record, to start paying their fair share of taxes. Instead of making it harder for working families to send their kids to college, we must end the foreign tax shelters that enable the wealthy and large corporations to avoid paying tens of billions in U.S. taxes. Instead of making major cuts in job creating programs in infrastructure, public transportation and sustainable energy we must do away with a wide variety of loopholes that allow Wall Street executives, whose profits and compensation packages are soaring, to have a lower tax rate than middle class workers.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Obama's Gay Pride Proclamation Rings Hollow

President Obama recently issued a gay pride proclamation for 2011...with no mention of marriage equality...a step backward from last year's proclamation. With these hollow words he expects our votes and our money? I don't think so.

From GetEqual:

How long must we wait for our young people to walk school hallways with pride, rather than suffering without federal safe schools legislation to make those hallways safe?

How long must we wait to hear the President of the United States value and respect ALL American families and relationships, rather than only the ones that the Religious Right embraces?

How long must our families continue to pay tens of thousands of dollars simply to assure that their children won't be ripped away from them by faulty adoption laws?

How long must we wait for our friends to feel safe at work, rather than suffering without even the most basic workplace protections that can alleviate stress and fear?

How long must we wait for our neighbors to be able to remain with their soulmates from other countries, rather than suffering without immigration policies that treat them as full American citizens?

How long must we wait for our undocumented queer youth to be able to live their American dream, rather than being deported from everything and everyone they know by a broken immigration system?

How long must we wait for our transgender siblings to serve their country with pride, rather than serving silently while fighting for the freedom of all of us?

How long must we wait to hear from the harbinger of hope elected in 2008, rather than the political cautious president we've come to know?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Medicare Reform WIll Eventually Lead To Single Payer

Photo: snake digesting lunch in our neighbor's front yard.

Andrew Sullivan paints the picture of the future of health care in the US:

Medicare needs more means-testing and more heavy-handed rationing. Private insurance companies will equally have to ration to remain affordable - until, one suspects, the logic of the crisis forces the US to move to single-payer. Even then, my Tory pessimism suggests we will need some major tax hikes, and defense cuts to boot. It's all gruel and no gravy. Is America capable of understanding that, let alone embracing it?