Friday, February 5, 2010

Anyone with a spine out there?

Yes, I know it has been a week since I last posted. I tend to do my blogging in the evening and there were a couple evenings when I didn't feel like writing anything followed by a slew of evenings when I was out -- and a few more of those to follow, which is why I'm writing during the day. Even so I've been accumulating stuff to write about. A bunch of these topics might be a bit old and several won't get my usual full treatment and will be lumped together.

First, news on the mouse front. It has been 11 days since I plugged yet another hole between outside and the basement and put steel wool where pipes come in and out of the cabinet beneath the sink. Since then the traps have not been triggered and I've seen no evidence of mice. Glad that episode is over with. I had escorted 11 mice out of the house (though I can't tell if it was 11 different mice).

The Westboro Baptist Church -- that virulently homophobic church that protests soldier funerals saying the deaths are justice from God because America doesn't condemn gays strongly enough -- decided to protest the headquarters of Twitter in San Francisco because that company isn't using their enormous reach to condemn gays. The church's representatives were outnumbered by a counterprotest group holding nonsensical signs: "I was promised donuts." "I have a sign." "Silly hats only." "Build prisons on the moon." Passersby gave the nonsense signs a lot of attention, ignoring the Westboro gang. Mission accomplished.

A sweet video about how it is becoming difficult for corruption to hide in secrecy. This one's about banning video from the Calif. marriage trial but the idea will mean more as corporations open the floodgates to money.

We've long known the GOP is a known enemy of gays (though, thankfully, that is lessening). But, as I say again, the Dems are not necessarily our friends. The prime example (at the moment) is the Hawaii House. They can't claim this incident is the result of GOP maneuvering because the GOP has such a tiny presence. Here's what happened.

Last February the House voted for civil unions with a margin so wide it was one vote shy of veto-proof (with one pro-gay representative missing).

The Senate sat on the bill, then killed it, then brought it back. The House leadership declared the bill would not be worth their attention unless the Senate passed it with a veto-proof majority. You never know what the governor will do so lets not waste effort. Towards the end of January the Senate *did* overwhelmingly pass the civil unions bill.

What to do when your bluff has been called? The House Dems met behind closed doors to talk it out. They decided that they didn't want to go on record in an election year, so through an untraceable voice vote they chose to postpone voting on civil unions. Let me repeat that -- none of them wanted to go on record for supporting gay civil unions, in sharp contrast of their vote a year ago. One protestor summed it up saying something like, "Oh, sorry that my civil rights stepped on the toes of your reelection campaign."

Nepal -- Nepal! -- will be offering same-sex marriage soon. It is trying to make itself the gay destination of choice that Hawaii is working hard not to be.

Jon Stewart has a few things to say about bumbling Dems. This was from the show just before the Dems lost that senate seat in Mass. Stewart's histrionics quite accurately show my annoyance with the party that needs a collective spine transplant.

Stewart is at it again, this time praising Admiral Mike Mullen for his stand on repealing the ban on gays in the military. McCain is caught in a flip-flop on the issue, and not for the better. Stewart and a colleague explore the issue that too many senators are old, not only that, they're openly old. Well worth the 8 minutes.

The text of Mullen's testimony, in case anyone needs to know what a spine looks like.

There is a very good reason not to waste the year studying the military ban (and it would be a waste because it should only take 2-3 months to implement). If the whole thing is delayed after the election the increase in the number of GOP legislators will make passing the repeal that much harder, or impossible. Yeah, I know you don't want to go into the election with that vote on your record. But see my comments about spines.

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