Wednesday, May 30, 2007

This Would Kill Me

Nothing makes me happier than seeing other Latinos and gays and anyone who's smart and talented and motivated move ahead in this world.

And PerezHilton makes me happy. I like the pictures on his blog and the silly drawings he "paints" on celeb's photographs. I think he's funny and I think he's cute. This, however, does not a cohost on The View make.

So while I applaud Perezzle's success I think it's time for me to toss my hat into the ring and vy for Rosie's spot on The View. He can have the blogosphere and candid celeb shots, I'll take my seat next to Barbara.

I've been writing about left-right-center politics for the past year -- I'm no Maureen Dowd or Andrew Sullivan -- but I thought to complement the writing I do all day for work (which is usually dismissed and wrong and uninformed anyway) with somewhat-daily missives about the goings-on in our world.
I never claimed to be an expert on anything. I think of myself as an observer of world events who might be smarter than the average queer. I write about issues that I'm passionate about -- issues that play to my Christian-Latino-born-in-Brooklyn-wanted-to-leave-from-the-minute-I-learned-to-walk-was-once-closeted-but-am-now-free-to-live-in-Chelsea-with-partner-of-three-years-and-work-in-PR-and-still-have-guilt-for-God-knows-what-self.

That's really what political debate is. The big ideas being dissected and mulled over in the heart and discussed with friends and family over meals and after the State of the Union Address. It's that spontaneity of political and social debate that I try to bring to this blog. It's the same spontaneity (and photogenic-ness) that I would bring to The View.

So let's have at it --- who would you rather see on the air?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Peace Out, Cindy Sheehan

Citing fatigue and disenchantment, Cindy Sheehan, a pillar in the national debate on the war in Iraq, has bowed out of the anti-war movement.

What started as a silent protest outside President Bush's Crawford, TX ranch demanding accountability from the Commander-In-Chief for the death of her 24-year-old son Casey in Iraq turned into a two-year spectacle that turned a grieving mother into an odious figure on both ends of the political spectrum.

This is the image that I'm always going to remember of Cindy Sheehan. I don't think hunger strike, I don't think vigils in Texas, I don't think of a pissed-off mom who has lost her son. I think of someone who lost touch with reality and wound up becoming a traitor. Not to this country (for what is a country after all if you think of what's worth laying your life down for...would I die for the U.S. if it meant protecting Idaho? My US is NY, the word country is elusive...but I digress) but to the movement of peace and democracy she supposedly represented.

Hugo Chavez is not a man of peace. He's no better than George Bush and yet for the Latin dictator's taunting of our President, Cindy Sheehan snubbed reason and common sense to further mock W. And it wasn't worth it. It came across as pathetic and self-aggrandizing.

Her parting words, though, did make me pause:

"Casey [Sheehan's son] died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives. "

That much is true. Your job, Cindy, one that you took upon yourself, was to call out the circus and spectacle for what is was: vulgar, immoral and unacceptable. Instead you became your own freak show -- and you have no one to blame but yourself.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Rosie, Chavez, Bush and Some Irrelevant Bitch

My Memorial Day Weekend has been consumed by Fox News, sunscreen, and heated conversations with my mom about Rosie, Chavez and W. By now everyone knows that Rosie has left The View following a heated argument with that blonde idiot blowhard with a speech impediment. Soon after Rosie's departure was made public, the Fox News Channel swept in like the vultures that they are to exaggerate and denigrate.

I love how so many people in this country are enthralled with the goings-on of one opinionated private citizen. Meanwhile, while we're commemorating the sacrifice of our dead soldiers, our Democrats-in-Power don't have the courage to impeach the biggest war criminal in our nation's history. And that was the argument that sparked the show-down on The View, the argument that has been buried in the cat-fight angle of the story, the argument that needs to be brought back to the forefront.

I'm seething at Congress for giving Bush the $120 billion he's asked for to make his rich friends richer (and shut up about Diane Feinstein, TGC, she wasn't making money off an endless, stupid war that hasnt made us safer, found Osama, or thwarted the activity of Al-Qaeda) without pushing for the provisions that call for troop withdrawl and a more transparent account of how things are unfolding in Iraq. The same idiots who stood by while Bill Clinton was being railroaded for getting a blowjob are the same fools who can't even utter the word impeachment. The monster-at-large needs to be stopped, but again, we have bigger issues to worry about, chiefly "big, fat lesbian" talkshow hosts.

And speaking of people who need to be stopped, Hugo Chavez just etched a notch in his belt of victories against democracy with the closing of Radio Caracas Television, the oldest independent TV channel in Venezuela. Slowly but surely Chavez is silencing dissent while forging alliances with Iran and positioning himself as the heir-apparent to Fidel Castro's brand of totaliarianism. CIA snipers anyone?

All of this has gotten me to thinking, doesn't The View need an opinionated, handsome, gay Latino to keep the controversy going? I so know Middle America would love me...thoughts?

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Remember the first episode of Queer as Folk when Brian's car gets spray-painted with the word "fag" and he drives off screaming "faggot!"?
Well, the same thing happened to one Erin Davies, 29, in Albany, New York. But instead of trading up her wheels, and driving off screaming "faggot!"or having the vandalism covered up, she's taking her fagged-up VW across America to educate people about hate crimes.
How very cool.
Erin's keeping a blog about her pet project -- the possible TV deals, the strain on her relationship, the fear she sometimes feels about driving around with the word "fag" spray-painted on her car -- you should definitely check it out. In her latest post, she writes about a group of teenagers who laughed right in her face as she pumped gas:
He came within a few inches of my passenger side door and kept laughing in my face and finally took a camera out of his pocket and took a picture of me and the word "fag" and kept laughing, and finally gave me a thumbs up and one more laugh and walked away laughing with his friends. It was a big fuck you to me. Not pleasant. It was probably the most disturbing moment I have faced thus far with this whole thing. He totally invaded my space and it made me feel pretty small.
That line about feeling small really hit me. It's how I felt when I was walking James home from the hospital and two guys released the breaks on their car to scare me and then call me a faggot. Words may be words and sticks and stones, bla bla bla, but it's those moments when you're confronted with the reality that some people just don't think you matter, that you don't even deserve to exist. So you can be a successful whatever you are, you can be creative and noble enough to turn a hateful experience into an opportunity to educate others, and then some blowhard can happen along to push you into a corner.
Well, here's snaps to Erin for not backing down and fighting the good fight.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Fabulous Life of Marianne Pearl

Who wouldn't be tickled by the thought of spending a raucous weekend on the French Riviera with Brangelina and the creme de la creme of cinematic high society? Marianne Pearl, wife of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, is certainly having the time of her life.

I can't imagine what it's like to lose your husband just months before giving birth to your baby, but the five years since that horrible ordeal seem to have done Marianne very well, so much so that she's now clinking glasses with the jet set, swathed in couture.

And Marianne isn't the only one turning calamity into lucre while the War on Terror rages on. Pointless films like United 93 and World Trade Center don't celebrate heroism as much as triviliaze the most harrowing events of our times. Unlike the victims on the big screen we get to walk out of the mess. To think that a two-hour rehashing of unthinkable violence is somehow cathartic or brave is just stupid. If you ask me, these kinds of movies are pornographic.

I'm not taking a shot at a widow who has a child to support. I want to think it's admirable that Marianne Pearl hasn't ended her life along that of her husband's. But to go from grieving widow to the toast of Hollywood sounds more like a Candace Bushnell novel than any great feat.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Yes, We Do Need Immigration Reform

As the immigration debate rages on (or re-emerges when there's a lull in Iraq and the Senate takes a break from grilling Alberto Gonzalez), our lawmakers are hard at work trying to define who is and who isn't entitled to live and work in this country.

The latest incarnation of a proposed immigration bill has everyone in a tizzy -- and in the middle of the drama, Republicans are making some shockingly sound observations on the impact of hasty legislation. In short, you can't just drag a couple million people out of the shadows of anonymity and call them yankee-doodle-dandys just 'cuz.

But that's not the point of this post.

Given that the face of the immigration debate looks, well, like me, I thought I'd write about the need for reform within the Latino community regarding immigration. In short, if we're gonna make a big (and justified) deal about being in this country, then let's step our game up.

While more and more Latinos are going to college, a lot more of us are also just getting by -- and are happy with it. The trappings of success -- hi-def TVs, cell phones, and instant credit -- have become the American dream for many people. What's worse, many hardworking people are coming to this country so that relatives in Latin America can enjoy these things, too. I wonder, has the DVD player replaced the diploma as the benchmark of success?

Walking along the streets of the neighborhood that I grew up in I see little families that are clearly living paycheck to paycheck with three kids, another in the stroller, and another in the belly. And healthcare isn't really an issue because most of these people receive government-funded medical insurance.

But that doesnt bother me as much as the lack of ambition that I see in so many of these people. It seems that crossing the border was as far as their imaginations could go. And it saddens me. I wonder how many of these children, sporting Dora the Explorer backpacks and guzzling 50 cent soda pop, have ever been to the Metropolitan Museum of Art or have ever been to Central Park. I also wonder how many of them will ever read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, the definitive, timeless story of working class Brooklyn and the possibility of the impossible.

What I saw in my neighborhood in Brooklyn was a proliferation of Mexican street gangs -- people who wanted to wage war on the Puerto Ricans who had been there for two, three generations before them. In my days as a door-knocking JW I saw squalid homes but no sign that change would come for these people, or if it was even wanted. I was supposed to teach these people about God but thought that I should tell them about Martha Stewart and Windex first.

When I think of the immigration debate, and how it has become a Latino issue I want to shake my own people by the shoulders more so than the politicians who are clamoring for "reform" and "fairness." The question isn't "should we let illegal immigrants stay?" it's "why do they want to be here at all?"

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Just Trying to Matter

Pope Benedict XVI wrapped up his tour of Brazil today with action items for Latin America's ten remaining Catholics that include taking over the media and universities in the name of the faith.
His five-day PR campaign through Brazil included the canonization of a 19th century priest and the chiding of capitalism and marxism for the problems affecting Latin America. In short, senstional buzz words worthy of headlines and Internet chatter were the order of the day during the Pope's visit which many predict will have little impact on the Church's declining numbers in Latin America.
I agree. Everyone loves a good spectacle, and the Catholic Church has become just that. So to gather throngs of "faithful" Christians on an airport tarmac is really no big deal and no sign at all that Brazilians are ready to trade in their bikinis for nun's habits. The Church's history in Latin America, from the Inquisition through the Marxist upheaval of the 60s, is a story of unabashed abuse and hunger for power. For every "saint" and "miracle" produced by the Vatican there is a story of corruption and ungodly behavior that has rightfully turned millions away from the Church.
Sadly, this doesn't mean that Latin America is becoming a beacon of progressive thought in the developing world. The church is losing its flock to the advent of born-again Protestant denominations -- churches that are as homophobic, repressive and power hungry as the Catholic Church.

The real story behind the Pope's visit to Brazil isn't that he's trying to save the country from wanton godlessness -- it's that Latin America is still embracing some backwards opinions on important social issues like reproductive rights and gay rights. In short, the story of repression continues with no end in sight.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Walk Like a Dem: Giuliani

From the New York Times: Rudolph Giuliani directly challenged Republican orthodoxy on Friday, asserting that his support for abortion rights, gun control and gay rights should not disqualify him from winning the party’s presidential nomination.
You know, Rudy, some Dems aren't all that thrilled with our options for President -- ever think of switching teams?
I've taken a few hits on this blog for my contradictory view on major issues, but if I had to point to one person who personifies my political beliefs, it'd be Rudy Giuliani. In short, he gets the fact that politics is not a black and white business. Moreover, the business of running cities, and a country, should be dictated by common sense and not a "moral" agenda. For example:
-- Who wouldn't agree with the fact that guns are too easy to find? In fact, who besides law enforcement needs them? If you want recreation, get a dog. If you want protection, get a big dog.
-- It makes sense to take billions of dollars worth of real estate away from porn theaters and hookers and sell it to businesses (and turn it into another sort of Disney-fied eyesore, albeit one that generates money and jobs).
-- While no one likes the idea of pregnancies being cut short it's not up to the state to intervene in one of the most personal decisions of a woman's life.
-- Gays are people too. And they deserve the same rights as straight people -- the church cannot tell the state who it can and can't marry. Churches can refuse membership to anyone they want not the State. And before someone gives me the "what if I want to marry my sister" argument just know that gays are asking for the same rules that apply to straight couples who want a marriage certificate and state recognition to apply to them.
This unique, rational perspective is truly a New York thing. In this city you're forced to co-exist with "undesirables," your points of view are constantly challenged because instead of talking about issues and people you actually live them and see them right here. Rudy Giuliani is a product of this unique place and as such is beyond qualified for the office of the President.
See? I can swing right.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Long Good-Bye

Parting IS such sweet sorrow, isn't it? Especially if you're a politician.

Threats of firings, resignations and withdrawls merit their own color index of severity because I really can't tell the difference between conjecture and actual policy anymore. Should we leave or Iraq or WILL we leave Iraq? Why is Gonzalez still fighting for his job? It seems he's spending more time defending himself than being the actual Attorney General. Now Blair has set the stage for a two month long resignation-fest. And so on...

Like any consumer product, politicians need to remain relevant -- and nothing screams relevant more than a going-out-of-business sale. Or at least the threat of one.

While the business that is the war in Iraq won't be shutting down anytime soon, everyone loves to talk about exit strategies. At one point the Iraqis are going to ask us to leave politely (because suicide bombings will become gauche by 2010) and we're still going to be fighting with each other here in the U.S. over whether it's the right thing to do.

In the meantime, the House of Representatives has just signed a bill (that W has threatened to veto) that allows for $96 billion in spending for the war effort. According to CNN, "Additional funding would be dependent upon progress in the four-year-old war, based on a review of how well the Iraqi government was meeting a series of benchmarks."

You have to wonder why this administration thinks it's above accountability when the House is giving it the money it needs to continue fighting a war that most Americans didn't want in the first place?

And speaking of no-accountability, Alberto Gonzalez is putting his best face forward at Senate hearings regarding the firing of nine (the latest count) U.S. Attorneys. Apparently the AG wasn't aware that people were being let go from his department and now everyone, with the exception of the President (the only guy the AG really has to please) wants him to resign. Personally, who the hell cares about Alberto Gonzalez? If Bush is happy with him let him stay. At this point who else is this administration going to come up with to fill the post? (Paging Harriet Myers) Eventually, though, Gonzalez is going to have to resign -- these hearings, and the media attention devoted to them, are the pre-game to the eventual two-handed peace sign Gonzalez is going to give Washington very soon.

Across the pond, Tony Blair is calling it quits after 10 years as Prime Minister of Great Britain. For some reason I've come to think of him as an American politician, but I forget that he's totally European and has other issues to grapple with in his own country besides that pesky war our President dragged him into. Over the next two months the Brits are going to rally behind their favorites, one of which will be chosen at the end of June to replace Blair. Oh the pageantry and mea culpas and "hand on heart" speeches that will follow.

Oh the joy of say goodbye, I say hello....

Monday, May 07, 2007

L'Etat C'est Moi

Why I'm excited about the election of an unabashedly conservative politician to the presidency of France I do not know. But Nicolas Sarkozy's victory yesterday marks the start of a new chapter in the Franco-American narrative that I think (hope) will bring a much needed, new voice to the global debate on Iraq, human rights and environmentalism. Plus, the man's kinda cute.

While most Americans' perception of France is of a lazy, sultry country that disapproves of us, our two countries have a long history of support and admiration that as of late has been marred by conflict. It's easy to dismiss France with pop stereotypes, but to hate France is to hate ourselves -- our Constitution is a product of progressive 18th century French thought. The French Englightenment gave us the Universal Rights of Man, the precursor to our notion that "all men are created equal."

As both countries grapple with what the term "equal" means -- equal access to healthcare? an open immigration policy? gay marriage? -- it's clear that soon enough the U.S. will find its equal in what is now being called SarkoFrance -- an outspoken and determined country that is ready to shake things up on the world scene.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Last night James and I attended the Live Out Loud Spring Gala, an event that honors GLBT high school seniors with scholarships for college. Over the course of the evening, six bright-eyed and truly outstanding kids shared their stories of leadership and their plans for college. One of the kids even wants to be President some day (though he should know that the Gay Conservative Liberal is a trademarked name).

It was a lovely night, if only because I got to see James at a resaonable hour on a weekday. But it was also nice to see so many dashing gay men raising a glass and digging into their pockets to invest in the future of our community. While I rarely look at men unless they're of a certain age and tax bracket, I realize that for every liberated man-about-town in Chelsea there's a kid somewhere that has to take a leap into the unknown and make something of his life -- even if people around him say he doesn't have much a life to hope for.

Fortunately a lot of these kids go on to do some amazing things. Or at least they're going to try. And when you look at the options available to young people today, regardless of their sexual orientation, you realize that by virtue of understanding the concept of community and of wanting to be better and do better for others, some kids really are Young Trailblazers (that's the name of the award last night's kids won).

High school wasn't THAT long ago for me. Though I was lucky enough to attend the High School for the Performing Arts here in New York (I majored in fine art), I didn't come out of the closet until I was 22. Surrounded by dancers and boys in mascara I still couldn't muster the courage to say "by the way everyone, I'm REALLY into Antonio Sabato Jr and his picture in my locker isn't just unfortunately stuck and unremovable." I don't even think the promise of a scholarship would have lured me out of the closet.

So, congratulations to yesterday's winners and tomorrow's leaders. As the closet door cracks open even more we're going to need outspoken, driven young men and women to stand up not just for the rights of a certain group, but for fairness for all people.