Wednesday, January 30, 2008

You Won't Have John Edwards to Kick Around Anymore

And that's fine by me. Thanks, John, for playing Piggy in the Lord of the Flies saga that was primary season. I loved you more than Kerry in '04 and I was thrilled when you announced your bid for the White House in '06. I was on board with your policies on poverty and economics, but you lost me when you admitted that I, as a gay man, don't deserve the same right as you, a heterosexual man. Years from now we're going to look back at you the same way we look at Governor Orval Faubus - as a man who could not see beyond the confines of misguided but current popular opinion.

And that's why you didn't connect with most Democrats this time around. Not just because of the gay thing - that's between you, me, and a couple of million civic minded queers - it's because on all fronts you just seemed eager to make a sell or win a vote.

One of my readers said it best:

"John Edwards uniformly comes across as an empty suit to me. What is there to love? That he's good looking? He is perhaps the least accomplished, least attending Senator. While Kerry destroyed Bush in at least two of the debates, Cheney wiped the floor with Edwards in the VP debate. Edwards style, "I, John Edwards, will fight for the little guy...etc., etc., etc.," is used car politician speak - straight from another time. I can't imagine why the Democrats would lend their weight behind him. I really can't."

Hillary sparked the debate over national healthcare when the Republicans ran the House of Representatives and Obama opposed the war in Iraq in 03. I can't recall a tough stand you've taken. And that's what this election is about - a radical departure from the past 8 years of crackpot policy.

This post, however, doesn't mitigate your achievements as an enterprising family man who has done very well for himself in spite of being the - say it with me - son of a mill worker. I applaud hustle and you've got it in spades. You just couldn't hustle us Dems, though.

While my guess is that you're going to endorse Barack (I mean, you were all but playing tonsil hockey with him during the ABC debate)I would encourage you to take a tough stand this once and endorse Hillary. It's her time, we need her, and you just might make a difference in this election after all.

Sidebar: I'm headed to Colombia on Friday to visit my grandma (expect a long post about that when I get back) and, horror of horrors, I realized that not only would I be missing Fashion Week, but Super Tuesday.

Thanks to the Board of Elections in Manhattan, though, a short ride on the 1 train let me carry out my civic duty within my lunch hour.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Clinton/McCain; What This Election is About

The McCain team scored a major coup tonight with its victory in the Florida primary. And the right is cringing.

The POW, elder-statesman, pro-life and fiscally conservative front-runner is simply not biggoted enough for the likes of many who are gunning for Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee.

But he's just the man for us Dems.

I'm sold by this endorsement from my favorite anorexic, bottle-blonde pundit:

"Of course, I might lie constantly too, if I were seeking the Republican presidential nomination after enthusiastically promoting amnesty for illegal aliens, Social Security credit for illegal aliens, criminal trials for terrorists, stem-cell research on human embryos, crackpot global warming legislation and free speech-crushing campaign-finance laws.

I might lie too, if I had opposed the Bush tax cuts, a marriage amendment to the Constitution, waterboarding terrorists and drilling in Alaska.

And I might lie if I had called the ads of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth 'dishonest and dishonorable.'"

Which brings me to the title of this post.

This election is not going to be won on promises of birthing babies within the confines of marriage, per Romney's defeat speech tonight. It's not going to be about demonizing every last American who isn't a heterosexual WASP and it's not going to be about making stupid promises about securing a border that's been jumped over, dug under and walked around forever.

This election is going to be about restoring the government to its rightful place as the arbiter of big issues, not the indivdual affairs of private citizens.

Our next President will be the person who proposes a convicing approach to three issues:

- Iraq
- Healthcare
- The Economy

Our government needs to demand accountability from the government of Iraq for the course the country is on, our government needs to ensure that all citizens have access to healthcare, and our government needs to repair the damage that years of reckless spending and nonsense tax rebate programs have done to our economy. The "illegals" didn't eff up the economy, this stupid war and our government's dukes-up international policy did. It's time to fix that and not the idyllic, unrealistic notion of the American family.

A defeated but magnificiently coiffed Mitt Romney was swinging at everyone tonight. According to him, us Dems have it all wrong because we think America's greatness comes from our government and not the people of America.

Thankfully, the leading Republican and Democrat candidates do believe in the power of our government. That's why they're in and Romney's on his way out.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

It IS Time to Ask What Your Country Can Do For You

Well done, Team Obama. A victory in South Carolina last night and now an endorsement from Caroline Kennedy. The headline: Barack is the JFK of the new millenium.

It's hard to compete with Camelot, but let's try anyway.

JFK is lauded for spearheading the Civil Rights movement - and rightly so. His pet project, the Peace Corps, is still around today and is certainly a noble institution.
And yes, JFK represents a long-gone sense of idealism that has been reignited by Barack Obama.

But let's not forget that on issues of national security, JFK left much to be desired. The Bay of Pigs tipped the scale toward a nuclear holocaust, the Cold War raged on, and so did the Vietnam War.

Barack is simply not prepared to take on the threats posed to this country by the Middle East and our woeful energy policy. I simply do not see him taking a tough stand on Pakistan, China and Saudi Arabia.

According to Caroline Kennedy:the candidates’ goals are similar. They have all laid out detailed plans on everything from strengthening our middle class to investing in early childhood education. So qualities of leadership, character and judgment play a larger role than usual.

I respectfully disagree.

Let's not forget that JFK was a philanderer and that Joe Kennedy didn't make his money selling lemonade. So let's stop talking about character in the context of the election - Washington doesn't promote boy scouts, it promotes power players. It's not fair, it's not right, it's just how it is.

And as for this comment: "Senator Obama is running a dignified and honest campaign," Hillary's been running as clean a campaign as possible. Funny how Team Obama has been crying foul over Hillary's tactics - what are they going to do when, say, Pakistan aims a nuclear bomb at us or China, Russia and Iran team up to declare war? Are they going to say NO FAIR!?

And no, the candidates' agendas are not the same. Barack's goal is to effect from change through gosh-darn-goodness and Hillary's goal is to effect change through fact and reason. A million users on Facebook can't do what the right mix of thinkers and leaders in the Oval Office or some club in Washington can.

Being a politician is not a bad thing. And Hillary is the master politician.

I don't care about changing Washington. I care about putting someone in office who can make the system work for Americans. Washington is not Havana or Beijing or Baghdad. The system works if you know how to work it - and Hillary knows how to work it. This is not me casting aspersions on Barack's integrity or intellect, but idealism does not bring soldiers home from an unnecessary war. A war whose funding Barack subsequently supported following his much-publicized opposition in '03.

I have nothing but respect for President Kennedy and his legacy, and I admire Barack's ability to engage young Americans. But the issues facing America won't go away with nostalgia and eager college students. It's time for a hardline approach on healthcare, national security and energy. Thus far, Barack's offered us feel-good fluff.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Fine. I Love You, Hillary

It's curtains for team Obama. Hillary has snagged an endorsement from the New York Times, albeit a tempered, qualified one.

And I have egg on my face. Again.

The spectacle that is this election, one that has captured the world's attention more than any other election I can remember, has been unfolding since November 2000 when the GOP elbowed its way into power. And then there was the fallout of 2004. Who really liked John Kerry? In the Pepsi/Coke mash-up that was the 04 elections voters went downmarket and stuck with their C&C Cola president.

Fast forward 4 years and the U.S. is atwitter with the prospect of participation, of making an impact. Finally, voters feel relevant. Thanks to YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, the blogosphere, the debate over the direction of this country is an all-consuming affair. We have the tools, and the desire, to grab the reins of this country and steer it back on the path of inclusion, reparation, and success.

And that's why I was all about Obama a few months ago. The Times says it best:

The sense of possibility, of a generational shift, rouses Mr. Obama’s audiences and not just through rhetorical flourishes. He shows voters that he understands how much they hunger for a break with the Bush years, for leadership and vision and true bipartisanship. We hunger for that, too. But we need more specifics to go with his amorphous promise of a new governing majority, a clearer sense of how he would govern.

When you think about the issues facing this country it's enough to make anyone crawl under the covers and not want to come out. It's enough to make you give up on the system. It's enough to make you say, let's let God sort it out, this is beyond us.

And then someone like Hillary Clinton comes out. Ready to take a beating from GOP bullies. Ready to make hard choices. Ready to admit failure. And start all over again and effect change. I'll never forgive Hillary for voting for the war in Iraq, but I will applaud her steadfast vision for an America where people have jobs, health insurance and purpose.

Some people say her camp is dragging the primary process back into traditional mud-slinging politics. Some will say that the "bickering" with Obama on CNN earlier this week was unseemly.

I say it's necessary.

We're heading into a recession. Americans re-elected a moron into office for a second term. Iraq is a nightmare. Pakistan is not our friend. Kids in this country are dropping out of school. Pro-lifers want to rescind reproductive health into the dark ages with our current President's full support. If you can talk politely about these issues while sipping Evian then you're not human and you certainly have no business running for the Dems' nomination.

And that's why I - gulp - love you, Hillary. You got the NY Times on your side. Now you have me.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

What's the Point of the Debate, Then?

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Less than a year after winning the right to establish domestic-partnership contracts through the state, the gay and lesbian community is seeking the rights that go with divorce.

This is why gay people annoy me. The same loud-mouth queers who got their 2Xists in a bunch because they can't get married are now crying foul because they can't get all Krystle Carrington in a court of law. Stop the drama.

And please, screen your mates thoroughly to ensure they're marriage potential. There are signs that point to a person's ability to commit to an adult relationship. HX has listed but a few of these here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Gay Couples as Boring as Straight Couples

Whether the government allows us to file joint taxes or not, James and I (not pictured above) are just as boring as any other straight couple.

From Reuters: Gay and lesbian couples are just as committed in their relationships as heterosexuals and the legal status of their union doesn't impact their happiness [...]regardless of sexual orientation, as the level of commitment increased, so did the ability to resolve conflict -- debunking the myth that same-sex relationships are not built on the same level of commitment as heterosexual ones.

As it happens, most of my gay friends are in relationships. These are 2, 3 year affairs in the case of my 20-something-year-old friends (which is like a million years when you're a PYT in NYC), and there are 10-plus-ers in James' clique. When we're not gathering for theater night we're hosting dinner parties and playing Balderdash.

What the study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne didn't highlight is that many gay relationships also have a more amorphic definition of commitment. Like, what happens in the steam room stays in the steam room if-you-know-what-I-mean. Not that every gay relationship is that way, but the fact of the matter is that without the legal constructs that hold up conventional marriage, many gays in long-term relationships are prone to shrug off their partner's indiscretions after 2, 10, 20 years of co-habitation. It's not settling, it's not "these are the cards life dealt us," it's more, "we're in this for the long-haul and no one said we couldn't have fun along the way." I call these couples Thoroughly Modern Millies.

For those boys, and even straight couples who let their partners go out for "ladies' night" or "guys' night" a Hep A vaccine and an awareness of the superbug would be prudent. Regardless of your sexual orientation, stuff splashes around when you're getting a lap dance. Trust.

As for James and me, it doesn't look like either of us is going anywhere. We're committed to each other, our cozy rent-stabilized apartment in Chelsea, and our Saturday morning waffle breakfasts at the Gallery Diner. Those are the cards life dealt us.

Monday, January 21, 2008

"Mi Padre" Will Do Anything for a Vote

Mitt Romney is playing footsie with Latino voters with a "come-see-the-softer-side-of-hate" ad that touts his accomplishments as a businessman, governor and dad. However, the messaging isn't consistent for English and Spanish-speaking voters.

About the "Mi Padre" (My Father) ad which isn't up on YouTube yet:

From the NY Times:

"Mitt Romney is out with a new Spanish-language ad today. The spot is running in the Miami media market, and it features narration by Craig Romney, one of the former Massachusetts governor’s five sons.

Craig honed his Spanish skills working as a missionary in Chile.

Here’s the English script for the spot, called “Mi Padre”:

Mitt Romney’s record speaks for itself: successful as a businessman, saved the Olympics, and as Governor of Massachusetts, lowered taxes and stimulated the economy.

But above all, Mitt Romney is a family man, a great father, husband and grandfather.

I know because Mitt Romney is my Dad.

I’m Craig Romney and I invite you to get to know my father, Mitt Romney, a leader who loves our nation, recognizes our challenges and has solutions to confront them."

Kudos to Mitt and Craig for realizing that there are a few idiota, self-hating Latinos in this country who would love nothing more than to prove their American-ness (blanquito-ness) by voting Republican.

However, for those of us with our papeles (citizenship, residency) and some self-respect, Mitt Romney's ploy is nothing short of desperate, pathetic and evil.

Come correct, Mitt: You've got a Six Point Planthat aims to purge this country of illegal immigrants whose presence here "has eroded Americans' faith in the rule of law, put great pressure on our health and education systems, and compromised our national security as our ability to secure our border is questioned around the world."

You put this plan in the Ending Illegal Immigration section of your English-language Web site. However, for your target audience of non-English-speaking Latino voters you simply talk about Inmigracion. If it's illegal in English it's illegal in Spanish, Mitt, just say so.

FYI - The Spanish word for "illegal" is ilegal.

Not only did you drop a word in your English-to-Spanish translation, you also dropped your entire Final Solution for "Illegal Immigration."

For the benefit of your on-the-fence Latinos, you pay lip service to value of immigrants to our country: "La inmigración ha sido una parte integral de nuestro éxito como nación." (Immigration has been an integral part of our success as a nation.")

For the English-only xenophobe element you harp on fears of an overstretched healthcare system and a lawless society run by killer Mexican nannies and rapist deli workers.

I'm sure Latinos would love to know about your proposed Punishment for Sanctuary Cities that harbor criminals - err, illegals. Or your brilliant idea to "Issue a biometrically-enabled and tamperproof card to non-citizens and create a national database for non-citizens so employers can easily verify their legal status in this country."

How sci-fi.

I understand running a campaign and keeping up with the whims of racists, homophobes and alleged Christians is hard work. Which is why I'd be more than happy to offer the Romney campaign my translation services so that Spanish voters can fully understand the contendor's six points of Big Brother surveillance.

In the mean time, jodete Mitt.(Go f*** yourself).

Saturday, January 19, 2008

True Story: The Bahamas Suck

A few years ago I had to take a reporter on a tour of a jail in Westchester to show off the facility's high tech security system. The tour also included a walk past the prisoner's cells, where yours truly was paraded around like a piece of bloody rib eye before some angry, pent-up lions. I found it funny that the cameras whose face-recognition technology I was talking about were capturing the full-on crotch-grabbing, invitations to come inside the cell, and simulated sex acts performed by the prisoners for my pleasure.

And I wondered, was I being taunted or were they just flirting? I mean, the only difference between the jail visit and a Friday night at Barracuda is that after the crotch grabbing and naughty chat I'm offered a cosmo.

But what does this have to do with the Bahamas?

The jail visit, and my recent visit to the Bahamas for work, were both instances where my flaming gayness was so apparent that it warranted hostile behavior from people I had no choice but to spend time with. OR I was being made to feel at home; just in a seemingly mean way.

I'll spare you the recap of the clusters of women I'd see looking at me up and down, shake their heads and laugh. Or the scowl on the faces of the men manning a speedboat when I shreaked after my suit got splashed with water on our way to a god-awful private island with tiki torches and conga lines. But I will recap the colorful conversation I had with two ladies who were running the security check point at the airport in Nassau.

From the moment I walked in with Baby Gooch (my pet name for my Gucci man bag) all eyes were on me. And the glances exchanged Selena and Eileen (of course they introduced themselves)said, "girl, it's on."

Selena: You got a girlfriend? This is a nice bag.
Me: No
Selena: You ever been with a Bahamian woman?
Eileen: Selena you so bad!
Me: Hee hee, does a Bahama Mama count?
Selena: Why you got a ring? You married?
Me: Yes, to a man.
Eileen: Oh no he didn't!
Me: I know you guys don't do that here.
Selena: No we don't.
Me: That's why I'm going home.
Selena: We just do our thing on the low.
Eileen: Can I say that it's a waste that you're a gay?

At this point I realized that, in their own way, Selena and Eileen were trying to be friends. OR, I've matured enough to let myself be in on the joke as opposed to feeling victimized.

Selena: We got a coworker here like you.
Me: How nice.
Selena: He says he loves cock more than we do. Do you talk like that?
Me: Uh
Selena: How about when you're getting f***ed?
Me: Uh
Eileen: Let's call him! (Him being the gay coworker I'm supposed to meet and f*** in front of them)
Me: Ladies I'm going to miss my flight but this has been fun.
Selena: You'll be fine.

Sigh. So I wait. And pull out my Altoids and offer them to my captors. Turns out my hands were trembling! I'm such a silly fag.

Finally the gay coworker comes in and shrieks (damn us, queers) and turns away.

Eileen: I told you he was pretty!

And that's pretty much it. I should have taken a picture of my new clique but I was so exhausted (and scared, sadly) that I just sped off and blew them a kiss.

This experience confirms my utter dislike for the Caribbean, with the exception of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic were James and I were treated very well by the locals.And you know I'm never setting foot in Jamaica.

We can add the Bahamas to that list.

Wondering what Selena and Eileen looked like? Here's an approximation:

And what does Nassau look like? Here are some cell phone shots:

Marina at the Atlantis Resort

Mrs.Roper Curtains in my room

Monday, January 14, 2008

It's OK if You're That Way

If you must vote Republican in November, then place your bets on John McCain.

He's trying to tow the GOP line of taking away personal liberty - with the exception of enforcing gun control - but deep down you know he's just a good, normal person who might make an OK President.

I encourage you to read the emerging front runner in the Republican race's views on the issues. Yes, he seems ultra-Right, but he pads his ridiculous opinions on Roe v Wade and gay marriage and stem cell research with so much copy (apologies, really) that you know he'll drop these issues once he gets into office.

For instance, John on gay marriage, an issue he puts in the Human Dignity and Sanctity of Life bucket:

"As president, John McCain would nominate judges who understand that the role of the Court is not to subvert the rights of the people by legislating from the bench. Critical to Constitutional balance is ensuring that, where state and local governments do act to preserve the traditional family, the Courts must not overstep their authority and thwart the Constitutional right of the people to decide this question.

The family represents the foundation of Western Civilization and civil society and John McCain believes the institution of marriage is a union between one man and one woman. It is only this definition that sufficiently recognizes the vital and unique role played by mothers and fathers in the raising of children, and the role of the family in shaping, stabilizing, and strengthening communities and our nation.

As with most issues vital to the preservation and health of civil society, the basic responsibility for preserving and strengthening the family should reside at the level of government closest to the people. In their wisdom, the Founding Fathers reserved for the States the authority and responsibility to protect and strengthen the vital institutions of our civil society. They did so to ensure that the voices of America's families could not be ignored by an indifferent national government or suffocated through filibusters and clever legislative maneuvering in Congress."

That explanation sounds like a filibuster, but anyway, my take is that McCain will move on to the more pressing issues facing our nation if elected and will leave those of us on the Champs de Sleazay alone.

I won't vote for him, even though I thought I would if I ever swung Right, but I must have been mad at a Democrat or James that day.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Kill Joy: Men Singing A Capella

My, how the mighty fall.

Within two minutes and a quick You Tube search, the man who I swore would be my next baby daddy went from hot, sweaty macho stud to embarassingly queeny, cosmo-sipping dandy.

While perusing Queerty this morning I came across the new Colton Ford video for "That's Me."

And I swooned...

The muscles. The faux-hawk. The gotee. The white suit. Sigh.

(What's the song about? Something about exploring, spreading wings, me, me, me...)

So I thought to treat my cold/hangover with more Colton videos.

And I found this:

I feel so cheated.

But these things happen for a reason. See, for the past two weeks I've slowly been turning into Beyonce. James' parents got me the Beyonce Experience DVD for crimmus and since then my free time has been devoted to gyrating and shaking the crabs out a-la-B.

Colton's video, however, is a cautionary tale for those of us who think that pulling out a camera and singing in an alley does a hot music video make. Leave it to the pros, y'all:

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Married to the Mob?

Believe it or not, I'm happy that Hillary won in New Hampshire. Partly because I like an underdog, partly because my opinion on Barack is starting to change.

While sippin' maritas (or, margaritas) with a European friend, he made an interesting point: The country is headed toward a recession, the first six month of our next President's term is going to be fraught with obstacles, and this lovey-dovey mob of supporters, now jobless, can go violent.


Well, who knows.

However, it is something to think about.

Everyone is high on the prospect of change, and kudos to team Obama for coining the word as the mantra of this election. However, it's not like team Clinton isn't for change, I mean, hello, it's a WOMAN running for office. They were thinking that change was implied. But it's PR 101: state the obvious. Again. And again. Stick to message. Bla bla bla.

Anyhoo, it's on to Michigan for the candidates and I think Hillary could pounce Obama here, too. I don't know why, but I'm almost willing to give Hillary another chance. I think I needed to see her -- God, I hate this word -- a bit vulnerable in order to like her. After Iowa I started to think about what American politics would be like if Hillary skulked away...and I wouldn't like it. Go figure.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Hips Don't Lie

In America, a boy who vogues or loves Beyonce too much might have to learn how to do a roundhouse kick on the fly if he wants to make it to and from home school in one piece.

But what if your dad is the one who's telling you that you must not know about him and that he can find another you in a minute? Or that Harlow, Jean, is the picture of a beauty queen? Or that hips don't lie?

Well call me Sheba, that's the case in Egypt, where men are reclaiming belly-dancing. Says the Houston Chronicle:

Male belly dancing, a centuries-old Egyptian tradition, is making a comeback — against the odds, considering its periodic suppression by government and religious officials. The problem for Mesbaah is that his craft has long been associated with homosexuality — a taboo here.

"I just like to dance," says Mesbaah, who has seven children. "It's very sensual. I've been doing it since I was little."

And all of a sudden I love my dad a little more for not flinching when I used to run around the house wanting to be She-Ra, because if I ever saw him do this:

He clanged metal castanets, magically converted his hips into pistons and twirled his head around like a centrifuge. The crowd at tables lining a dirt alley clapped rhythmically. Young men in jeans jumped up to wiggle along.

...I'd disown him.

Film: For the Bible Tells Me So

Here's hoping that after watching this documentary my mom and I can focus our Saturday afternoon chats on what's gone wrong with Britney's life as opposed to my doomed sodomite ways.

Filmmaker Daniel Karslake has received glowing praise for his documentary "For The Bible Tells Me So," which follows five Christian families who have to come to grips with a loved one's homosexuality. From Sundance to the Seattle Film Festival to Outfest, the documentary looks like a must-see, but I can't find it anywhere here in New York. And that just means I'm probs behind the trend.

Anyhoo, here's a trailer:

Friday, January 04, 2008

Barack Wins Iowa; Startin' Somethin'?

I don't want to get my hopes about this, after all, there's New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada to think about. But score 1 for Team Barack!

Sorta feel sorry for Hillary and her well-written defeat speech. Hang on that speechwriter for November, sweetie.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

I Want to Like Mitt Romney

What's not to like about Mitt Romney? He's old school charming, an early-to-bed type who's in a seemingly happy marriage with well-mannered kids. Oh, and he's hyper-educated and can make a dollar out of fifty cents.

But all that counts for nothing seeing as Mitt is running for President of the United States and not the Ned Flanders Award for Citizenship. To win the GOP's nomination, Mitt has to crawl into the mud with today's radical republicans and promise to continue their warmongering agenda while purging this country of non-whites, non-Christmas and non-heterosexuals.

Whether the issue is civil unions or gay marriage, Romney is first and foremost, for the purposes of political advantage, an avowed homophobe.

Rewind to 1994 when he was trying to take Ted Kennedy's seat in the senate and trying to differntiate himself from uber-conservatives: "People of integrity don't force their beliefs on others, they make sure that others can live by different beliefs they may have."

Well, well, well.

I can vote for a Mormon, but I can't vote for a liar and a bully. Or a punk. And Mitt Romney has punked out of being a good leader to become a puppet for the hateful views of a small but well-funded minority.