Wednesday, December 2, 2009

"I'll Take the Dreaded Opera Category for $500 Alex"

Turandot [The Village] must be satisfied by being begged for marriage and having her pre-requisite riddles answered and never challenged or rebuked. She’s a bit bitchy. Go figure.

This opera begins with a Mandarin (take your pick; might as well be Broder) delivering the law, the edict, and the result which demands that an unworthy Prince, who could not answer the Three Riddles of The Village, be beheaded. “Popolo di Pekino” People of Beijing:

Turandot , by an offhand gesture, quickly orders the dispatch of the unworthy head, and we move on!

There’s a New Prince in Town, dazzled by The Village’s beauty.

Prince’s dad [previously in exile, who’s name, btw, is Howard Dean] urges the Prince to resist Turandot’s charms, don’t answer her damn questions, hell don’t even DEAL with her at all.

Servant Girl Liù, [otherwise known as Normal People; not so normal if they’re totally in love with the dude, but as they worked on his campaign and knocked on doors for him and got other people to donate money to his campaign, they have a lot of skin in the game] is secretly in love with the Prince, and pleads with him; Listen to me!

Signore Ascolta!

Well, you know what the Prince does?

He sings “Don’t Cry For Me, Liù.” Which in Chinese, or Italian, is translated as “I got this.”

[He knows he’s dumping her ass; he flat out says to her “make the path of exile sweeter.” Meh. Anyhow, back to the Opera.]

So the Prince starts answering the Villager questions.

The Princess presents her first riddle: Straniero, ascolta! – "…..What is born each night and dies each dawn?" The Prince correctly replies, "Hope."

The Prince flips out the frikking Village Empress by actually answering all her 3 questions! Nobody could have predicted! W00T! But the Village totally FREAKS out! Just can’t frikking believe he passed the test, AT ALL. So Turandot throws a fucking hissy at that upstart Prince.

[In Questa Reggia] which in Italian/Villagespeak is ”I’ve been here a jillion years, and you’re an affront to me. So cut me some slack, even though you won fair and square.”

Guess what? The Prince is gobsmacked by this here nasty Princess! Who knew! He actually CUTS HER SOME SLACK! Dammit, my operanizzles, I totally did NOT see that coming!

So the Prince Tells Ms. Village, “If you can GUESS who I am by tomorrow, you can go ahead and cut my head off, like you’re used to doing with the other dudes.” PSYCH!

Ms. Turandot/Village so did NOT see this coming either. So she orders Congress to not sleep, you know, freeze up, freak out, teabag and stuff until she frikking knows his 11th dimension NAME! Like what he stands for and stuff.

He sings a “ha, ha, HAH!" Song to her.

Liù [remember her, you know the OFA people?] declares that she/they alone knows the Prince’s name and intent, but she/they will not reveal it. Ping [Bobo] demands the Prince’s name [the 11th dimensional one], and when she/they refuse, she/they is tortured.

Ms. Turandot/Village is clearly taken by Liù’s & the OFA people’s resolve and asks her/them who put so much strength in her/their heart. They answer "Princess, you know who, Hopey-Change!!!".

Turandot demands that Ping [Krauthammer] tear the Prince’s name from Liù/OFA’s lips, and he orders her/them to be tortured further.

Liù/OFA counters Turandot/Village (Tu che di gel sei cinta – "You who are begirdled by ice"), saying that the Village too shall learn love and hopey changiness!

Having spoken, Liù seizes a dagger from a soldier’s belt and stabs herself [or stays at home and doesn’t vote. You decide].

As she/they stagger towards the Prince and fall dead, the crowd screams for her/them to speak the Prince’s 11th dimensional name. Alas, it cannot be pronounced in a 4 dimensional world. Sighs ensue.

Since Timur1 [Tim Kaine] is blind, he must be told about Liù’/OFA’s death, and he cries out in anguish.

Timur2 [Howard Dean, Digby, others] warns that the gods will be offended by this outrage, and the crowd is totally freaked out, even though they read the warnings a jillion times.

The grieving Timur3 [Rham, now unemployed as his usefulness has been completed] and the crowd follow Liù’/OFA’s body as it is carried away. Everybody departs leaving the Prince and Turandot.

The Prince reproaches Turandot/Village/Olympia Snowe for her cruelty (The Prince, Turandot: Principessa di morte – "Princess of death")

This is the big point of it all. Just Watch It.

And then The Prince takes her/Village in his arms and kisses her/them in spite of her/their resistance. Peggy Noonan passes out, and it’s before noon. Weird.

The TOTALLY weird thing is, in the end? The Prince and The Evil Turandot Villager Empress end up married, and HAPPY!

Don’t mind about those dead people one second.

This is opera, people. It ain’t for sissies.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Clown Music

For baby Dasha! She's so cute, and I just love her parents.



Friday, August 14, 2009

Rachel Maddow Has Already Taken Down, but there's one more little nugget...

Rachel Maddow has already exposed's affiliation to Jack Abramoff. But there's a motive and some connections of, that I wanted to explore, so I did some more digging.

The Ad: In case you haven't seen it. Clearly senior scare mongering -

Rachel Maddow's Take Down and Tie to Abramoff:

The website: would like to be known as "the conservative alternative to AARP." It's president is Jim Martin which you wouldn't know from the website itself; you'd need to do an advanced google search to dig up this bio-page:

Now Mr. Martin serves as the President of the 60 Plus Association, which has been called an "increasingly influential lobbying group for the elderly--often viewed as the conservative alternative to the American Association of Retired Persons."

60 Plus is a hard hitting organization dedicated to protecting the tax rights of seniors, and to repealing the most confiscatory of all taxes--the inheritance or estate (death) tax. Jim Martin has been quoted as saying that while there are two certainties in life, taxes and death, now, thanks to the death tax, Jim adds a third certainty--taxes after death. 60 Plus presents a Benjamin Franklin Award to Members of Congress in both parties who sponsor legislation to abolish the third certainty, taxes after death. Original sponsors are Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA) and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ).

Pretty classy, hiding the leadership bio page, yes? So who would do that? Well, the firm that provides the technology and registered the domain names, and appears to host's email servers might do it. And who would that be? Generation X Strategies, And who is

Why it's none other than the recently former head of the VA Republican Party, Jeff Frederick!

Amongst the list of GXS clients which I'd like to highlight are Media Research Center (Bozell's outfit) as well as the RNC and the Texas Christian Coalition. And what else is supercool is that GXS has procured some Federal and State government contracts, as well as a Minority Owned Business status by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Jeff Frederick was ousted as the VA Republican Party Chair in April of this year, but prior to that, since July 8 1996, and up to today runs GXS services
for, and then therefore powers the contribution technology at's website, which is what this is all about. Money.

Abramoff (Shill-ius Maximus), Martin (Astroturfius Nastius), Frederick (Republicanus, Head of VA Party), PhRMA (Tauzin, probably hired because he has a drug sounding name) - probably all legal relationships, but they seem way too cozy to me. And the poor saps who are scared by this fearmongering ad have no idea that PhARMA doesn't need their help to keep their drug prices high, but Jim Martin and Jeff Frederick are really happy to facilitate the money exchange for them.

The icing on the cake?'s National Spokesman is Pat Boone. Yep, No More Mr. Nice Guy Pat Boone - and when you think about it, none of them in this tale are nice guys at all if you ask me.

TAGS: , , ,

Friday, August 7, 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Beyond Race: On "Contempt of Cop" Regarding The Crowley/Gates Affair

In my opinion, there was undoubtedly some racial profiling going on in the Crowley/Gates affair. I'll leave the racial component to others, as what I wish to draw out are some underlying points as regards the relationship between all of us citizens, our rights and the police.

First, bmaz articulates the basis of the legal argument better than I can:

Instead, the officer seems to have become angered and bellegerent [sic] that Gates would be so forward as to demand his identification. At this point, little old Professor Gates, who walks with a cane, was in what is known in the criminal justice field as "contempt of cop".

The salient problem for the Cambridge Police Department is contempt of cop is simply not a crime, even if profanity is directed at the officer, a situation escalator not even present in Gates' case. In fact, there is a case I have argued with success many times, Duran v. City of Douglas, 904 F.2d 1372 (9th Cir. 1990) which, in an opinion written by now 9th Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kosinski, provides:

Duran's conduct is not totally irrelevant, however, as it suggests a possible motive for his detention, one upon which law enforcement officers may not legitimately rely. The Durans contend, and the district court held, that Aguilar stopped their car at least partly in retaliation for the insult he received from Duran. If true, this would constitute a serious First Amendment violation. "[T]he First Amendment protects a significant amount of verbal criticism and challenge directed at police officers." Hill, 482 U.S. at 461, 107 S.Ct. at 2509. The freedom of individuals to oppose or challenge police action verbally without thereby risking arrest is one important characteristic by which we distinguish ourselves from a police state. Id. at 462-63, 107 S.Ct. at 2510. Thus, while police, no less than anyone else, may resent having obscene words and gestures directed at them, they may not exercise the awesome power at their disposal to punish individuals for conduct that is not merely lawful, but protected by the First Amendment.
No less well established is the principle that government officials in general, and police officers in particular, may not exercise their authority for personal motives, particularly in response to real or perceived slights to their dignity. Surely anyone who takes an oath of office knows--or should know--that much. See Hill, 482 U.S. at 462, 107 S.Ct. at 2510. Whether or not officer Aguilar was aware of the fine points of First Amendment law, to the extent he is found to have detained Duran as punishment for the latter's insults, we hold that he ought to have known that he was exercising his authority in violation of well-established constitutional rights.

Sounds pretty much on point doesn't it? It is. The City of Cambridge, Sergeant Crowley, and the other individual officers actively participating in the wrongful arrest of Professor Henry Louis Gates are in a world of hurt legally. They may want to rethink the company line of no official apology.

Pretty much lays out the legal side, no? So let's move on to the society and relationship pieces, which are woven together by who else, the traditional media.

While most of the chattering class is interested in beer today, there were a few "poker tells" thrown in about the underlying issue; Do What Cops Say Or Else. From the years ago, formerly vaunted, but now pretty much noise machine NPR today there was anthe following article on All Things Considered.

Doing the usual, mush-mouthed, split-the-baby vis-a-vis Colbert "Bad Stenographers" type of reporting Tovia Smith offered this:

Adams is calling for a federal investigation into whether local police make unjustifiable or illegal arrests.

"We're going to have to compel them to examine what needs to be done. And to look at [whether they are] misusing the disorderly conduct statute to teach people a lesson who talk back to police officers," Adams says.

To others, Gates' arrest shows that the public needs educating as much as the police do.

"That learning curve should be on both sides," says Dr. Joe Thomas Jr., police chief in Southfield, Mich. He says citizens need to know not to cross the line with police. It's not so much about protecting police egos as it is about public safety.

"There's a certain amount of respect. There are certain things you don't say to ministers; there are certain things you shouldn't say to your mom, your dad, or the clergy," Thomas says. "It's how you talk to people that got responsibility and authority for controlling people, because if you disrespect them, you take away that authority and it hurts everybody." [emphasis added]

You can listen to the audio here, and you tell me if Joe Thomas' tone of voice is irrelevant.

This was not Joe Thomas' only appearance on a PBS network about this issue. He was also on Newshour, in a segment with Ray Suaresz and Professor Antwi Akom:

JOSEPH THOMAS, JR., Chief, Southfield Police Department: I think that there are some studies out there that this does happen in some areas, in some communities, but let`s not get too far away from this incident, because this is what we`re talking about. This is why we`re here. If not, we`re talking about a larger study.

This incident, as a law enforcement executive, when I saw this, first thing that went through my mind is a lack of training. That incident that occurred to that professor could and should have been handled differently.

Now, that does not mean that this officer did something that was against the law. I`m not going to go that far, because I don`t know the totality of the circumstances.

But I do know, from my personal standpoint, my law enforcement career standpoint, based upon my working with students and colleges and university settings, and I also own my own consulting company, G.I. Consulting (ph), that case or that incident should have been handled differently.

There`s no doubt about it; there`s a lack of training there.

RAY SUAREZ: So, Chief, just so I understand you, you`re saying by definition, if a mistaken call of a crime in progress occurs and it`s understood by both parties in an encounter that there is not a crime in progress, if somebody ends up getting arrested and led away in handcuffs, this wasn`t handled properly?

JOSEPH THOMAS, JR.: It could have been handled differently. I don`t use the word improperly. With the proper training, it could have been handled differently.

This is why I made the statement in the copy of today`s USA Today that, when you began to react and interact with a police officer in a negative manner, then the humanistic sides take place and you can -- sometimes I talk to my people of color about police demeanor and police training.

And you can talk your way into a ticket. I`ve seen people talk their way in jail by saying things to antagonize the police on the scene. And that could have been what happened here.

So we`ve got to be extremely careful and look at this case by itself, and then we voice our opinion. If not, we`re going to start talking about what happened in the `50s, the `40s, the `30s and `60s, and you won`t solve this problem.

I`ve seen a lot of cases, cases throughout this country, where we saw emotions and we saw personal frame of reference and we don`t solve the problem. If we don`t look at this from a training standpoint and take a look at what those officers are being taught in the academy and their enrichment training and what they`re taught to do, this incident will reoccur, if you don`t change the policy and training, rituals, beliefs and values of people that are in the law enforcement industry. That`s what I`m saying about this incident.

RAY SUAREZ: Let me turn to Professor Akom at this point. Professor Akom, does a black man have to handle an encounter with the police different from any other American?

ANTWI AKOM, San Francisco State University: No, I think that we should all be handling encounters with the police by following exactly what the police say. At the same time, I think that racial profiling is a rampant problem and that we need to very much be focused on making sure that racial profiling -- i.e., the criminal suspicion of people based on race -- there`s a psychological impact that I think that we need to be concerned about and that that this is actually broader than a law enforcement problem.

This is actually a problem that is also a public health problem. But in terms of reaction, I think that, yes, black Americans are no different than any other American, and we need to respond in the same way.
And voila! Yes, I said this post was beyond race, but behold; PBS put on two men of color who said basically "Do What The Police Say - Don't Get Uppity." Because the big message here was to anybody who would watch or listen to either of these PBS articles, much less any other trad med that might have pushed into this confrontation piece; Don't Any Citizens Talk Back To Authority. Have Respect Or Else You Get What You Deserve.

What is particularly bothering me, is that living in Denver, I have very recent memories of the Police State occupying town last year.

Nonetheless, I say:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I Still Mean it: No Quarter

Yes, sorry I hardly blog anymore. But here you go - NO QUARTER! As in it's original meaning; "I yield no quarter" but musically.

An I mean it; I yield No Quarter.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hopenchange - FOR REAL!

Go here to join the Facebook alliance to deliver a million cans of food; it'll feel great and be more filling than some dumb teabag affair...

Really! It will!

I'll be in Lincoln, NE that day and talking to folks about it. Here's a vid I made 2 years ago about exactly what it is that hunger is, and what foodbanks do.

Part 1.
Part 2.

GIVE, dammit!

Last year, I was unemployed at tis time, and you know what? If I had not gotten my current job as I did in last Septemeber, I would have lost my house, and been looking here for food.

Just saying; it can happen to you. By being involved and caring, it's probably true that you can avoid such a position.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How One Gets Along, or Dominique Starr

In the past I related this story.

It was really quite formative of my youth, and now here's the next truly formative age, fast forwarding in time to 1980.

I came out 30 years ago. Bit by bit, piece by piece, social segment by social segment, and my family last. I never realized till much later, and still think to this day, that "coming out" is a process, rather than an event. And so, from the beginning, my process unrolled, and continues to do so.

From the pot-smoke filled '71 Mustang where I told my best friend the first time in '79, until I told my mother in '80, there were layers. And ever since then too. Experimentation of HOW to just get the words out were a big deal to me (still is.)

We're talking about 1979 and 1980 after all. In backwards Phoenix AZ to nail the place as well as time. It was so different there, then. Violence was really an issue for me. It was so prevalent. [The story of the scar on my ass while I was getting mugged doesn't happen till '84, and is a different post.]

After the fits and starts, I began to get the hang of the words, and how to come out. Surprisingly quickly, but surprisingly devastatingly.

You'll never believe this, but my school was actually the easiest entity to come out in. A boys only Jesuit High School.

Reading that sentence above, I realize I'm going to give a lot of people the wrong impression. It was no homo playground. That school was so right wing and jock oriented, it was tough to be myself. But it was also such a world, where intelligence, acumen and loyalty totally counted, that I had some amazing experiences, particularly when I was homeless.

That's right; homeless, which really wasn't a word at the time, or at least didn't have the same cachet or meaning of circumstances.You see, to come out as publicly gay was "simply not suitable, this is disgraceful" thus, I could not be allowed in the home. Away with you!

Which was perfectly fine with me then. At that minute that I handed my mother the key to our house, and turned away, I knew the life I had expected was gone, and whatever was going to happen was not what I had expected previously. At that point I was 17 years old by less then a months worth of days.

Dominique Starr was still in my future by about 6 weeks.

What I did during those earliest days, was make deals with some of the guys at school. Two in particular. Let me store my suitcase in your trunk, and sleep in your car. I'll do your homework. Worked for about two weeks, as I'd shower at school, and keep that whole suitcase thing to a minimum. The clothes situation I handled by sneaking into the locker room, and doing my clothes in the school's laundry. So far, so good.

Busted! About 3 weeks into this, I'm innocently going to my goddamn LATIN class, first class of the day, and get hauled into the Principle's Office.

He was a prick to begin with. SOP - Standard Operating Procedure. Then -

Mike: How are things going?
Me: Fine.
Mike: No, I mean how are things going with you living with your dad?
Me: What?
Mike: Your Mom tells us you're not living with her.
Me: True.
Mike: Your Dad lives in San Diego, right?
Me: Yes.
Mike: Then where are you living exactly?
Me: [hackles rise] What do you care? I'm coming to class every day.
Mike: This is what we find amazing.
Me: What?
Mike: Because in normal circumstances, you'd be long gone. You wouldn't be here. Most kids run away and don't go to school. You've run away, and you still show up. What's the deal?

Honest to God, right then I lit a cigarette in his office; right then and there.

Me: Mike I didn't run away, I was thrown out.
Mike: Put out that cigarette.
Me: Sorry, nope.
Mike: Don't call me Mike, It's Father _____, and put out that smoke. [Fr. Mike was smoking BTW. Those were the days at that time.]
Me: No. You can throw me out, but since I'm responsible for myself, res ipsa loquitur. [The thing speaks for itself. I actually really said that. The Jesuit took notice, and hard.]

Mike: [pushes himself back from his desk] What are you saying?
Me: I am responsible for myself. [I blew a cloud of smoke out at then. The irrepressible hippy/punk kid.]

[big pause]

Mike: So you're not living with your mother?
Me: No I'm not.
Mike: You're not living with your father?
Me: No I'm not.
Mike: Where are you living?
Me: However I can.
Mike: [the ever keen Jesuit] you said however. I asked where are you living?
Me: I told you. However I can.

Good ol' Mike spun his chair around, where he didn't have to observe the next exchange.

Mike: We're prepared to make a deal with you.
Me: About what?
Mike: Tuition.
Me: [trepidatiously] OK
Mike: Yeah, your mom, well, you, if I read your thoughts correctly, owe the school about $10,000.
Me: No no no. She sued my dad for tuition, and won. You should have been paid. I only owe for today forward.
Mike: Sadly, that's not the case. There's nothing paid on your account beyond the first enrollment of your freshman year.

Dear reader, you cannot imagine my fury, angst or impotence that I felt at that very moment, as those feelings were fused, all together at a single point in time. My parents used me as a pawn between each other, threw me out the house, AND dumped the whole Jebbie School debt on me simultaneously. Freaks, really. That's all changed but only in degree, not in substance. And I fell sorry for both the parents, but in different ways, which is for another telling.

It didn't dawn on me for years that this selfsame Jesuit asshole who was basically CEO of a mini prep college was badgering a homeless kid for thousands of dollars. I bought into his meme for a while - and cut a deal. That's what you do with the Republicans In Charge, right?

I got to stay homeless and agree to thousands in debt with these fabulous Christians.

Needless to say, it totally got around the grapevine what my situation really was, and the kids who were in-the-know and at all sympathetic dried up, as their parents really couldn't have "such a situation." It was really socially unacceptable. My life was really unacceptable at that point. Until I met;

Dominique Starr.

Dominique was a transsexual and performing at several bars around town, the seedy ones you know. Including one in the neighborhood of 3rd and Roosevelt [back in the day] where she busted me blowing some dude for cash.
Her fury was legendary, the dude was instantly disappeared, and I was esconced on her couch in her apartment immediately. Dominique Starr was a Saint to me.

You cannot, dear reader, imagine the relief that Dominique provided me. Street knowledge alone kept me from being killed. Aside from that, she was a real Pridester (as I call it now.) She was FIERCE! and Proud and simply couldn't accept what had happened to her, happening to anybody else. I hung onto her for advice all through the early and mid 1980's when we had the MLK marches happening in Phoenix too. She was fantastic and unsung and passed away from AIDS in '85.

Dominique was a shrewd character; she only co-signed for my apartment when I had ponied up 6 months worth of rent for the 6 month lease I signed in 1980. (Don't ask how I put the money away.)

I was devoted to her; how could I not be?

So aside from the whole DOMA/DADT bullshit going on lately, I simply can't countenance any ENDA legislation that does not include the "T's".

I only understand help and freedom from where I got it, and I ain't abandoning that source. What Dominique did for me mattered; what I do in her memory matters too.

No more kids rooting around in garbage cans and alleys or blowing tricks for a living. They're human and this nightmare has to stop.

And just let me tell you this, whether you like it or not; you have seen one of these kids. You have passed by them in some McDonalds or Taco Bell as you go through your life. Someplace like that. You just haven't seen them in their seedy reality, unless, you actually have. And if you have;

Are you Dominique Starr? Can you help one of these kids?

Do it. I find for myself I simply must do something that helps.

Friday, June 12, 2009

8 Reasons For the Firece Urgency and Advocay of Separate and Unequal

The Obama administration, in the persons of the DOJ's Tony West, James Gilligan and W. Scott Simpson gave eight legal reasons in the form of a Motion to Dismiss Smelt/Hammer v. United States of America why gay people are separate and unequal. A summary list of those reasons:

1 - Court Lacked Jurisdiction
2 - Plaintiff's Claim Lacks Standing
3 - DOMA is a Valid Exercise of Congress' Power under the Full Faith & Credit Clause
4 - DOMA Cannot Be Said to Violate an "Asserted Right to Travel"
5 - DOMA is Consistent with Equal Protection and Due Process Principles
6 - DOMA Does Not Violate the Right to Privacy
7 - DOMA Cannot Be Said to Infringe on any Rights of Speech
8 - DOMA Cannot Be Said to Infringe on any "Right" under the 9th Amendment

Reasons 1 and 2 are techno-legal, and can be dismissed as regards the separate and unequal discussion that follows. These same technical reasons could have been enough for the Obama DOJ to weigh in on the Constitutional basis that the President is required to do if s/he feels that the case at issue IS Constitutional. If the case is deemed un-constitutional, the President is free to not defend the damn law.

The Department of Justice may also notify Congress of a refusal to defend an impugned statute without appearing in court for either side. As recently as 2005, the Department of Justice notified congress that it would not defend a law prohibiting the display of marijuana policy reform ads in public transit systems. ACLU et al., v. Norman Y. Mineta (civil action no. 04-0262).
Since PresBO's DOJ wieghed in, points 1 & 2 alone would have sufficed if the Administration meant it's campaign claims, namely that DOMA was "abhorrent" and should be repealed, yet felt on technical bases that the case lacke merit or standing.

And yes, repeal means a legislative process. But the Administration has not sponsored or introduced their own legislation. But they did offer the remaining six reasons why I am separate and unequal along with other gay people. Frankly, this leads me to the belief that the campaign promise was empty, hollow, as actions are louder than words as we all know.

Let's have a look at the interesting points and most egregious claims in this Memorandum of Points and Authorities.

Lawrence Tribe, Harvard Law Professor who hired Obama as a research assistant in Obama's first year law:
"I certainly agree (a) that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional, at least as applied to couples like those who are currently challenging it in federal court here in Massachusetts.... I'm not at all reluctant to have it known that I think the equality component of the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause forbids the federal government to deny same-sex spouses benefits identical to those that it would grant to opposite-sex spouses when the spouses are "married" under the law of their state -- that is, when the spouses were married and reside in states where the law forbids a distinction between same-sex and opposite-sex marriage and rejects the DOMA definition of 'marriage.'"
From DOMAFlipFlop:

Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is Clearly Unconstitutional

Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) DOMA, 1 U.S.C. § 7 states, ““In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word „marriage‟ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word „spouse‟ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.”

Because of this interpretation guideline, same-sex couples legally married in their state are denied economic benefits granted to heterosexual couples legally married in the same state. These include spousal health insurance for state employees, federal income tax deductions for those “married filing jointly,” and the one-time lump-sum death benefit granted to a spouse under the Social Security program claim. Gill et al. v. OPM et al. v. U.S., No. 12-345 ¶ 6-8 (D. Mass. filed Mar. 3, 2009).

The denial of these benefits to legally married couples has no rational basis. The denial of marriage-based benefits to same-sex couples has been found to violate constitutional equal protection guarantees by a number of State Supreme Courts. Kerrigan and Mock v. Connecticut Department of Public Health, 957 A.2d 407 (Conn.,2008.), In re Marriage Cases 43 Cal.4th 757 (2008), Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health, 440 Mass. 309 (2003), Varnum v. Brien, WL 874044 (Iowa 2009). The challenge to DOMA 1 U.S.C. § 7 does not argue that same-sex marriage is guaranteed by the United States Constitution. It does not, in fact, address the question of same-sex marriage at all. Instead, DOMA 1 U.S.C. § 7 denies benefits to same-sex couples already legally married in their home state where the equality question has already been argued in front of the courts and settled.


The President reserves the right to refuse to defend an unconstitutional statute. Section 3 of the DOMA is clearly unconstitutional in that it denies married same-sex couples economic benefits granted to heterosexual married couples from the same state without providing a rational basis for this discrimination.

We ask that President Obama and Attorney General Holder refuse to defend DOMA in the upcoming challenge filed in the State of Massachusetts, Gill et al. v. OPM et al. v. U.S.

Yes, you'll notice that's the Gill case, not Smelt/Hammer. But it's the same difference in Presidential perogative as regards USA standing. Larry Tribe and the FlipFlop folks viewpoints are prior to the filing of this MPA (Memorandum of Points and Authorities) under discussion.

On to the egregious. Reason 5 (C) DOMA is Consistent with Equal Protection and Due Process Principles; DOMA Does Not Rest on Any Suspect Classification. The twisting of the Loving decision from the DOJ motion:
Loving v. Virginia is not to the contrary. There the Supreme Court rejected a contention that the assertedly "equal application" of a statute prohibiting interracial marriage immunized the statute from strict scrutiny. 388 U.S. 1, 8, 87 S.Ct. 1817, 18 L.Ed.2d 1010 (1967). The Court had little difficulty concluding that the statute, which applied only to "interracial marriages involving white persons," was "designed to maintain White Supremacy" and therefore unconstitutional. Id. at 11. No comparable purpose is present here, however, for DOMA does not seek in any way to advance the "supremacy" of men over women, or of women over men. Thus DOMA cannot be "traced to a . . . purpose" to discriminate against either men or women.
Speechless. The issue is about orientation, not gender, which is superfluous, as we're talking about SAME SEX COUPLES. But that's the rub with this argument; same sex oriented people clearly do not have the same rights as opposite-sex oriented people, hence the term "Unequal" in my post headline.

Since the claim by Hammer/Smelt brought up the Ninth Amendment, the same rude treatment was given by the Obama DOJ as they too brought up Griswold and twisted it just as they did Loving. Reason 6: DOMA Does Not Violate the Right to Privacy
Plaintiffs also assert that DOMA constitutes "an undue invasion of the Right of Privacy,"citing Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, 85 S. Ct. 1678, 14 L.Ed.2d 510 (1965). See Complaint ¶¶ 17, 27, 28. This claim must fail, first, because the Supreme Court has rejected a "right to privacy" claim in relation to same-sex marriage. One of the arguments made in Baker v. Nelson, referred to above, was that Minnesota's refusal to permit same-sex marriage constituted "an unwarranted invasion of . . . privacy" in violation of the Constitution. See Jurisdictional Statement, Baker v. Nelson, No. 71-1027, at 18 (Attachment 2 hereto). In dismissing the appeal in Baker "for want of Case 8:09-cv-00286-DOC-MLG Document 25 Filed 06/11/2009 Page 47 of 54 a substantial federal question," the Supreme Court necessarily addressed the merits of that claim, and rejected it. 409 U.S. 810 (1972) (Mem); see Hicks v. Miranda, 422 U.S. at 343-44.

Even if Baker were not dispositive in this regard, this Court should reject plaintiffs' right to privacy claim. The Supreme Court has described the contours of this right as follows:
The Constitution does not explicitly mention any right of privacy. In a line of decisions, however . . . the Court has recognized that a right of personal privacy, or a guarantee of certain areas or zones of privacy, does exist under the Constitution. . . These decisions make it clear that only personal rights that can be deemed "fundamental" or "implicit in the concept of ordered liberty," are included in this guarantee of personal privacy.
So you see, according to the Obama DOJ, rights of marriage equality for gays are neither fundamental, nor do they rise to the level of the "concept of ordered liberty." [And btw, just be on the alert about Griswold and the Ninth Amendment as regards women's reproductive rights with this Administration, as Griswold and the Ninth are part and parcel of Roe v. Wade.]

I'm not buying into what others around the blogosphere are saying about the incest and pederasty angles that are being read into this MPA, as I think that's overly reaching compared to the civil libertarian material I've pointed out so far, which I believe is enough to oppose the Administration.

Which brings me to the next part; how to oppose a popular President and not support the Right?


In this case, I propose that neither Obama, the DNC, DLC, Democrats of any stripe get one nickel until they do a 180 on this issue. Additionally, I think a tactic from the AIDS activists of the '80s is due for revival:


It's FUN! Stamp your cash in pink, red, hell just write on it in pen GAY MONEY and watch how the bills flood the circulation. Hell, just screwing around with money to send messages is kind of a neat way to protest at all.

But to end, that's the first peaceful method of protest I can think of at this moment as I am just simply mad at this turnabout from the campaign rhetoric. I'm sure to think of others, and I bet you will to.

Thank you for reading.

Out, Proud, and Not Asking For Rights - Simply Demanding and Living Them -
Kelly Canfield,
Denver Colorado

[cross posted at Firedoglake and the Unruly Mob]

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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Been A While

Hey there blogosphere - been a while. Cooking up something new. Meanwhile, the Van Cliburn finalists can be found here.

Smooch -

PS, My money is on Di Wu. She's teh awesome as far as the Record Company types are concerned. But really, Bozhanov, Vacatello and Tsujii are totally world class.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Comedian In Chief

He's hilarious! And not in that "Hillary" hilarious kinda way until a way bit into the monologue.

Continues! [He get's serious near the end, and so will I, but still, watch.]

The guy has charm and wit all over the place. The country's favorable/unfavorable numbers are all moving in the right direction, save for those few dinosaurs who just can't cope.

"Tone At The Top" is a subject that I think is really overlooked, and Obama does it very well. Bush? HAHAHAHAHA! Puh-LEASE.

There's just a few things Mr. O, that you need to REALLY pay attention to. The whole "torture" thing and especially the whole "states secrets" thing. You didn't get to them in your funny business, but they remain funny business.

Step up and do the right thing on both issues.

Yes, You can.

[By the way, this post happen to be post 999. The next post shall be the 1,000th.]

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul

Glenn Beck and Texas Governor Rick Perry are floating trial balloons about secession. Three months into a pretty decent looking presidency and Texas looks like they have already had enough. Any bets on who's next? Alaska? South Carolina? Louisiana? I'm starting to feel pretty good about being safely in the North.

Meanwhile, I'm watching CNN's coverage of the tea parties. Clearly these people (not that many of them) have seceded from reality on planet Earth (Andrew Sullivan has pictures). At least Wolf Blitzer is not making the tired teabagging-equals-balls-in-the-mouth jokes that were fun at first, but were quickly played out. Still, every time Wolf comes back from a break he sounds giddy, like there's a big sporting event going on instead of a bunch of losers who don't get that their taxes are lower than they used to be. In fact, Nate Sliver writes, "Even today, US tax receipts as a proportion of GDP are generally lower that other large, industrialized countries, except perhaps Japan." SadButTrue weighs in with a look at how U.S.-style tax cuts are hurting Canada.

Pandagon blogger Jesse Taylor breaks it down (h/t Sullivan):

Tea Partiers are hoping that if they mimic the energy of anti-war protests and the savvy of Obama’s new media operation, that at some point an actual movement will spawn. Getting together a bunch of pissed off middle-aged white people with no clue about how the tax system works in public areas will generate a coherent agenda designed to combat the stimulus; if it gets enough media coverage, they will DOMINATE THE AGENDA.

It’s like taping a horn to a horse and waiting for it to alight on a magic cloud of stardust and pixies.

Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks takes on Neil Cavuto's bullshit regarding Fox's coverage of high tea:

Don't worry teabaggers, help is on the way--Newt's got his eyes on the Oval Office.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Do Not Fucking Lie To Me About These AIG Bonuses

The fastest way to piss me off is to out-and-out lie to me. I mean Lie. Lie, lie, lie. Prevaricate. Say something you know to be untrue. And that's what's going on right now about these AIG bonuses and from the Obama Administration! Via Jane Hamsher at FDL:

Language from the Senate bill, written by Dodd:

(4) a prohibition on such TARP recipient paying or accruing any bonus, retention award, or incentive compensation during the period that the obligation is outstanding to at least the 25 most highly-compensated employees, or such higher number as the Secretary may determine is in the public interest with respect to any TARP recipient;


(a) In General- Notwithstanding any other provision of law or agreement to the contrary, no person who is an officer, director, executive, or other employee of a financial institution or other entity that receives or has received funds under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (or ‘TARP’), established under section 101 of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, may receive annual compensation in excess of the amount of compensation paid to the President of the United States.

(b) Duration- The limitation in subsection (a) shall be a condition of the receipt of assistance under the TARP, and of any modification to such assistance that was received on or before the date of enactment of this Act, and shall remain in effect with respect to each financial institution or other entity that receives such assistance or modification for the duration of the assistance or obligation provided under the TARP.

Dodd's version prohibited TARP recipients from paying out bonuses, retention awards or incentive compensation to the 25 most highly compensated employees. It also prohibited any employee of a company receiving TARP funds from making more than the President. Both provisions would have been in effect so long as a company was receiving TARP funds. Since AIG just paid out $1 million in bonuses to 73 employees, Dodd's version limiting all employees to what the President made (roughly $500,000) would have substantially nipped that in the bud.

Very Fucking Crystal Clear. Dodd inserted the "don't pay these people" language into the bill.

In fact, the Wall Street Journal makes it entirely clear. From Jane again and the WSJ:

The most stringent pay restriction bars any company receiving funds from paying top earners bonuses equal to more than one-third of their total annual compensation. That could severely crimp pay packages at big banks, where top officials commonly get relatively modest salaries but often huge bonuses.

As word spread Friday about the new and retroactive limit -- inserted by Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut -- so did consternation on Wall Street and in the Obama administration, which opposed it.

Who pushed back against Dodd, and told him to neuter the provision? The WSJ says Geithner and Summers:

The administration is concerned the rules will prompt a wave of banks to return the government's money and forgo future assistance, undermining the aid program's effectiveness. Both Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers, who heads the National Economic Council, had called Sen. Dodd and asked him to reconsider. [emphasis Jane's]

Jane's post documents this sequence of events without any possibility for doubt. The debate that took place over limits on executive compensation for bailout-receiving companies only occurred six weeks ago, and it is all documented in the public press. Dodd was the one fighting against the White House in order to apply the prohibition to all bonus payments, i.e., to make the compensation limits retroactive as well as prospective. As but one crystal-clear example that proves this, here is a February 14 article from the Wall St. Journal on the debate over executive compensation limits:

The most stringent pay restriction bars any company receiving funds from paying top earners bonuses equal to more than one-third of their total annual compensation. That could severely crimp pay packages at big banks, where top officials commonly get relatively modest salaries but often huge bonuses.

As word spread Friday about the new and retroactive limit -- inserted by Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut -- so did consternation on Wall Street and in the Obama administration, which opposed it.

Can that be any clearer? It was Obama officials, not Dodd, who demanded that already-vested bonus payments be exempted. And it was Dodd, not Obama officials, who wanted the prohibition applied to all compensation agreements, past and future. The provision which shielded already-promised bonus payments from the executive compensation limits ended up being inserted at the insistence of Geithner. [emphasis Glenn's]
I'll tell you what change I can believe in; the change of employees, starting with Geithner and Summers.

Obama better clean house and keep promises or we're looking at a one-term-wonder. It's this kind of shit that Republicans eat with a goddamned spoon and it's not neccessary. Obama's administration SHOULD have said "Dodd was right, and we're inserting that language going forward." Because THAT'S THE EXACT POSITION THEY FIND THEMSELVES IN!

Why they find it necessary to pitch Dodd overboard amazes me. Connecticut ALREADY has 1 Rethug Senator named Joe LIEberman; do they want to hand CT 2 fucking senate seats?

Between the lie factor and the politics I am just amazed at the stupidity. And not a little concerned about how it's going to continue in the future. And despite all this bonus hoo-ha, Obama is still going to be painted as a SOCIALIST!


So some cheery Socialist Music For Us Comrades:

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Monday, February 9, 2009

Being A Good Blogger, I Recycle...

I wrote last June, after the primaries, FISA, and before the election results, and before what's going on today in DC.:

And what does this guy do? Take some of their food, and when they ask him, "Do you know the way out?" he tells them, "Hey, go back the way you came. Look, that's the way out. You see?"

And they turn on their heels and follow him.

Long story short, he's a hologram, a puppet run by the same CorporoState that Brought You Consumables!

At 7:46 - "How shall a new environment be programmed? It all happens so slowly that most men fail to realize that anything had happened at all..."

This is my long winded and weird to get to the flap between Glenn Greenwald and Keith Olberman. The thing is, is that Digby is right. Fuck this centrist bullshit. What they're not saying is that POLITICS SHOULD BE AS PARTISAN AS CONCIEVABLE OR POSSIBLE RIGHT NOW! Cheese and Rice, there is no time like NOW to repudiate the politics of the Republicans with 8 out of 10 people saying the country is going down the tubes.

Obama Ain't Gotta Play On FISA. It's as simple as that. So he should suck it up and LEAD THE FILIBUSTER!

Now Olbermann announced that he'll have a Special Comment on his Monday program about this little grange war. Fine. I hope he shoots the shit out of the target and makes Obama squirm. If Keith goes to the alleged "center " on this thing, well fuck, he turns into the next generation of the Very Wise And Serious Villagers, at which point I will vomit, as if anybody cares.

Anybody that keeps saying to me "march to the center, it's pragmatic" I feel like punching in the face. I'm no sheep. I may be a Democrat and I want to win as much as anybody eolse but I don't want to wake up in 4, 5, 10 more years and be even farther down the road to THX 1138.

What the hell would be my name? UNC - 4291?

I'll vote for this Obama person, but it's only because of the alternative. Like I said during the primaries "If the country is a car hurtling off the cliff, the Repugs are stepping on the gas, the Dems are thinking about putting on the breaks. It's up to us to stop the fucking car."
Weeeee! I was a little bit harsh on the whole CorporoState comment, but not really alltogether off. For sure, he was never a Progressive. So I'm over that. AND, I have liked how there's been a wee bit of Repug smacking down. Just a wee bit though. This whole bi-post-partisan thing escapes me. Failed ideas are failed ideas and they belong strongly and completely attached to those folks who failed to actually think and promulgated thosae shitty policies.

In Other Words: SUCK IT, DUMMIES.

So, Dear Mr. President, loving you in office and having the bully pulpit and all, but just take a deep breath and CALL BULLSHIT! Do it on the economy, and do it on that nasty and un-transparent legal position you just took regarding rendition and torture.

YES! One more blog entry on What Obama Should Do.

Not sorry. This is what participatory democracy is all about. I'm just saying my piece, so to those who say "Yeah, but what's your strategy to get it passed in Congress?" I say - DON'T CARE about YOUR needs for strategy vs. my need (not to mention RIGHT) to articulate my position. That is why after all, I do have my own blog - technorati ratings be damned.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Just Because

I like Heifitz. And Prokofiev. Here it is.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Is It Just Me, Or...

Have you noticed that the whole "pissed-off-o-meter" level of the country is down? I am just noticing around me that since the actual Inauguration and the Farewell to Bush (oh I can't help it, you gotta see the video: listen to the background "nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nah, hey hey, good bye")

and Cheney out of the Capitol, that people are just overall, um, less pissed of and a wee bit nicer?

Yes, there's this whole economic gloom-and-doom going on, and people should be watching the money and the predators. But that whole level of concern is somewhat allayed, or at least not tinged by the whole "GODDAMMITYOUFUCKINGPRICKSWHATTHEHELLAREYOUDOING!?!?!"

The "house cleaning" has just reduced the this-shit-in-the-zeitgeist stuff we've been dealing with for so long. We are getting the last years of unbridled criminality Out Of Our System. It's really kinda nice that the whole frikking WORLD is giving the US another chance not to be jerks, not to be criminals, not to be pariahs. It's only been two days and while we have every opportunity to blow it, so far, so good.

In two days, we have Executive Ethics Reform,

“We are here as public servants, and public service is a privilege,” Obama said, addressing his White House staff and Cabinet on his first full day in office. “It’s not about advancing yourself or your corporate clients.”
an Executive Order to close Guantanamo, FOIA transparency, some most excellent appointments to the DOJ (that's Department of Justice; not Dave of the Jungle. Sorry Dave.) and poll numbers that support investigations into Bush and Cheney's illegal activities. (We also have the stoopid media, but that's for a post on another day.)

It's like the country is AWAKE! In spite of our stoopid media. How weird is that?

Just think. If we can get Obama off of this whole WAR IN AFHANISTAN mode, we might have Ghandi Nation. Where "The Simpsons" would turn into.....

Can I have some really spicy Vegetable Korma? Maybe some Vindaloo?
Mmmmm, Vindaloo.
A little Elephant Ride wouldn't be out of order, if you don't mind.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

The Inauguration Speech

I'm very fortunate. My work made several and continued efforts today about 1- MLK Day today, and 2- The Inauguration tomorrow.

I am very proud of them, my Corporate workmates. They sent two very cool MLK messages out today, one "Think About What Martin Said" then "Think About What Martin Did."

Then, they sent out support AND a directive to make sure that we would BROADCAST THE INAUGURATION and MAKE TIME FOR PEOPLE TO WATCH IT LIVE! That is frikkin awesome in my book.

So, I'm all with these efforts. I will not try to hear what I want to hear in the speech however. I will simply listen and be glad in the moment, as that seems the thing to take some Joy in.

What I want afterward though is Justice, and this guy says it pretty well. Crazy things like "Adams" "Rule of Law, not by Men" and, well, you know, generally crazy dirty fucking hippy-ness:

The Object Lesson Here: All Crime Prosecuted Have Happened "In The Past."


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Believe it or not, Danny Elfman and Prokofiev have something in common. Some day I shall have to explain why this:

and this:

have something in common at a relatively deep level. They really do, believe it or not!

But I'll have to save the "Music Theory Lesson" for later. But "modes" are where it's at, baby.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Israeli Ground Troops Invade Gaza

"This will not be easy and it will not be short," Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on national television about two hours after ground troops moved in.
Of course it won't. Because the current war hawks in the Israeli government don't want it to be easy or short.

"We have many, many targets," Israeli army spokeswoman Maj. Avital Leibovich told CNN. "To my estimation, it will be a lengthy operation."

Israeli leaders said the operation, meant to quell militant rocket and mortar fire on southern Israel, would not end quickly, but that the objective was not to reoccupy Gaza or topple Hamas. The depth and intensity will also depend on parallel diplomatic efforts that so far have been unacceptable to Israel, the officials said. [emphasis added]

This is the Bush Regime's "my way or the highway" diplomacy. Do what we say, or no deal.

Before the ground invasion, defense officials said about 10,000 Israeli soldiers had massed along the border in recent days.

Israel initially held off on a ground offensive, apparently in part because of concern about casualties among Israeli troops and because of fears of getting bogged down in Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said his government decided to mount a land operation despite the risk it posed to thousands of soldiers.

An inner Cabinet of top ministers met with leading security officials for four hours Saturday before deciding to authorize the ground invasion.

Olmert told the meeting that Israel's objective was to bring quiet to southern Israel but "we don't want to topple Hamas," a government official quoted the prime minister as saying. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not supposed to share the information.

The immediate aim of the ground operations was to take control of sites militants use as rocket-launching pads, the military said. It said large numbers of troops were taking part but did not give specifics.

Israeli airstrikes intensified just as the ground operation was getting under way, and 28 Palestinians were killed. Palestinian health officials said civilians were among the dead, including a woman, her son and her father who died after a shell hit their house.

One raid hit a mosque in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya, killing 13 people and wounding 33, according to a Palestinian health official. One of the wounded worshippers, Salah Mustafa, told Al-Jazeera TV from a hospital that the mosque was packed.

"It was unbelievably awful," he said, struggling to catch his breath.

The whole thing is unbelievably awful. Don't get me wrong, any jerk firing a rocket at anybody is an assclown. But organized mass deaths as a response is morally unacceptable to me.

What's just making me insane is that there is a cure available; withdraw support from Israel. I mean that US policy should say "Israel, these mass killings and invasions aren't going to do you any good. So guess what? Our $6 Billion per year support is going bye-bye. There's nothing you can do to get it back. "

There's a couple other things we should do in terms of moderating US policy in the Middle East if you ask me, which nobody will.

After telling Israel nuh-uh, we should just say to Afghanistan "Provide Bin Laden's body for irrefutable proof of death; we will withdraw immediately afterward. And should you choose to continue a democratic form of government, you will get $2 Billion per year of what we used to give the Israelis. For as many years as we occupied Afghanistan. Strings attached; you have to educate women, and they must be equal in your law and society. That's it. If you don't want to do that, no problem, we just won't give you any monetary support. Your choice."

We then fund an immediate program of green tech science with another of the $2 billion to replace oil. We make sure the Saudis know. In fact, we should hire their American PR firm, Qorvis Communications LLC, as they could use a little rehabilitation, eh?

The other $2 billion should come home and take care of our own homeless. And our own hungry people. All this goes without saying that we should have been out of Iraq yesterday (or 2003 if you lke) as far as I am concerened.

Can you imagine that situation happening? All of the sudden, the US wouldn't be fueling oxygen to the fire of Muslim resentment. We would actually be working on our own security issues by helping real people. And it would all be a hell of a lot less expensive. Including the moral costs.

Nobody's going to let the Holocaust happen to Israel again. But will we let it happen to Palestinians in Gaza?

Yep - just a Dirty Fucking Hippy, but all I am saying, is:

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