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Monday, August 28, 2006

Lesbians Made Me Do It!

Those darn lesbians get blamed for a lot. If they aren't being accused of bad fashion, ushering gentrification into an area by being a gateway population, or not providing their offspring with male role models, then they are charged with being in cahoots with those homosexuals that are demanding marriage rights and trying to destroy civilization. But this story out of Tennessee takes lesbian scapegoating to a new level.

A Roane County judge facing a lengthy prison term for corruption is pleading for mercy and blaming his plight on stress after learning his wife had been having a lesbian affair.

Of course! Makes perfect sense. I'm sure most people decide to use their power and authority to fleece underlings of cash after a partner reveals they are cheating on them with someone of the same sex.


Wikipedia for pleasure

Wikipedia, the great public encyclopedia on the web has let us know what the most viewed articles on their site are. Any guesses? Anybody? Have a look.

Sex is at the top. Now this is not a big surprise. Sex has driven many innovations on the internet, in part because it was the first thing you could buy directly from the internet. You didn't need to wait for a package in the mail, it came directly to your computer. The porn industry developed instant credit card checking which is now used by all commercial internet sites. You have to wonder why marketing expert Seth Godin is so scared by this. Surely of all people, he knows that sex is the number one seller in America. All these years into the internet, and this is a surprise?

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Plan B for college boys

This morning at FOX news, Bill Kristol said the following:
I don’t know, I came into Fox this morning and one of our younger colleagues who works here, a guy just out of college a couple of years, said all his friends in who are still college are very happy about this — all his guy friends, his male friends who are still in college are happy about this. They have a wild night. Precautions aren’t taken. The burden is now totally off them. They tell their girlfriend to go out and get this drug and no problems at all. And I don’t think that’s a very good thing for the the country.
Of course, the thing to remember is that this is a guy over at Fox News talking. I mean, really, why do we need to make policy in this country just to answer the ignorant assholes at Fox news. Typical BS from Kristol too. All he has to offer is what some new guy whispers in his ear five minutes before he goes on the air. I mean, really, do you get paid for that?

You can see the video at Thinkprogress.

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Friday, August 25, 2006

CA State Assembly Smackdown!

On the same day South Africa granted same sex couples access to the rights opposite sex couples have under legal matrimony, California assembly members got into a shouting match about the "homosexual agenda". While trying to decide if domestic partners can file joint tax returns like married partners. Some excerpts directed at colleagues:

Assemblyman Jay La Suer, R-La Mesa, called the measure "part of the homosexual agenda." He said it would negatively affect California's children by teaching them "that this is an acceptable lifestyle."
...efforts to bring the discussion back to the specifics of the bill were thwarted by an outburst from Assemblyman Dennis Mountjoy, R-Monrovia. "But your lifestyle is abnormal. It is sexually deviant."

No F-bombs were reported. This argument actually has a kernal of brilliance. Save California schools by charging a state wide sexual deviance tax! If the definition of deviance included everything outside of the missionary position between two opposite sex married adults, California could have the wealthiest schools in the world.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Emergency contraception for adult women only

Finally, the FDA approved the sale of emergency contraception over the counter. The greatest evidence that the FDA works under political pressure, rather than for the benefit of people, was the fact that this medication was not available for so long. Now it is here. One catch thought. You must be an adult woman to buy it. That only leaves out those who need the medication most. The Advocates for Youth know that risky sexual behavior is not declining, despite the propaganda of the government. Besides and HIV risk, there is a risk for unplanned pregnancy.
Read the commentary of NOW here.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Trouble When Jane Doesn't Become Jack

The front page of last Sunday's New York Times Style section was dedicated to an adequately researched puff piece on female to male transgenderism in the lesbian community and the tensions felt between these overlapping and typically marginalized groups. For lesbians living in most urban US communities this was news back in 1998. Of course, this article wasn't written for the lesbian or FTM transgender community since it included nothing about the second generation of transitioning and genderqueer women, the enormous social pressure now exerted on self-identified butch lesbians to become men, or the recent sexual assault scandal in San Francisco allegedly perpetrated by a transman and tried in the court of public opinion via the women seeking women board on a local popular online list. This article doesn't even take into account the possible long term medical issues for the FTM population that are currently unknown. That would be news.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A major American sexuality research finding? Reported only in India

Guess what? Couples who live together unmarried are pretty much like married couples. So says some new research presented at this year's American Sociological Association meeting in Montreal.

Living with a person may still be considered to be an alternative lifestyle, but as a new study shows, most couples who live together outside the bounds of matrimony are about as conventional as married couples when it comes to their relationship, pursuing careers and household chores.

As a part of the study, a team led by sociologist Sharon Sassler, associate professor of policy analysis and management in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell University, interviewed 30 cohabiting working-class couples, and found that most still comply with traditional patterns throughout their relationships, including the initiation of the first date, moving in together and discussing marriage.

But where was this reported in the American press? Given the hullabaloo about the sanctity of marriage here, you'd think this would be front page news. Besides the National Sexuality Resource Center's news feed, you'd be hard pressed to find the story anywhere. Thank goodness for the Hindustan Times!

The rest goes here.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

race trumps sexuality?

Several articles, including one in The Advocate.com, are paying attention to a local political race in Birmingham, Alabama. It appears that Patricia Todd, an out gay politician won in a district that is majority African-American. The brouhaha is not about her being openly lesbian though, constituents are up in arms because she is white.

But the issue people are talking about is whether a white woman should get to represent a mostly black district in a state where blacks couldn't vote two generations ago and where race is still an overriding factor in carving out election districts. A black Democratic leader urged black voters to support Todd's black opponent, Gaynell Hendricks, on the basis of race, and Todd fears racial politics may taint proceedings before the subcommittee."

Call me naive, but what happened to voting for the person who can do the best job, no matter what their ethnic background or sexual orientation? I guess that would mean governing instead of just politicking.

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Sign a vision statement?

There is this new voice in the LGBT movement that thinks that the emphasis on marriage equality should end. A website called "Beyond Marriage" proposes a broader politics of household and partnership than marriage alone. That seems to be the crux of it. This is highlighted as the central statement:
We seek access to a flexible set of economic benefits and options regardless of sexual orientation, race, gender/gender identity, class, or citizenship status.
There is much of value in this statement that you can read here. I miss a discussion of sex. I really miss it from a group of people who are to progressive.

Here is my main question. You can sign this document. What does that mean? Usually when I sign something it is a petition, a document that asks of others to act in a particular way. Why would I sign this document, or rather, who do I ask to act and in what way? This question has no answer on the website and it puzzles me. I do notice that there are an large amount of academics (such as myself) who started all this. I know that they can think and make strong points. What I don't see in this website and document is any notion of a strategy, a building of movement. And I think that the method chosen, signing onto this document, tells us why. These are people who want others to act according to their lofty vision. What I want to know is what they are doing beyond stating what they think. What is their effort in movement building. Really, I want to know that.

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Summer Travel Blues

Kudos to security in Great Britain for foiling what could have become a horrific airline disaster. But what do the new heightened security measures mean to vacationers trying to get out of town for a little summer R&R with loved ones? Even before yesterdays discovery, I personally had experienced multiple blatant invasions of privacy by security people going through my checked luggage, including putting security check notices amongst discretely contained personal items that were only meant to be shared with lovers. Inconvenience when bringing carry-ons is one thing, but these repressive and invasive tactics need to be addressed by security adminstrators to allow innocent passengers the ability to relax without fear that their most intimate sexual expressions are being monitored and marked.

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Africans follow HIV regimen better than North Americans

I have long argued against the notion that lack of education is the source of the HIV epidemic in Africa. You always hear it: the reason people don't protect themselves in Africa is because they are unaware, they don't know. Of course the real reason the HIV epidemic has spread in Africa is poverty. You can only exercise choices when you are in a position of autonomy, which poverty destroys.

Now the LA Times reports a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Africans follow HIV regimens better than North Americans. That is important news, because it takes away one more reason not to distribute medication in Africa. Pharmaceutical industry leaders argued against wide distribution using exactly the argument that Africans won't follow the regimen, necessary for success, due to lack of education. Yes, that is playing on racist stereotypes. The argument won't hold any longer.

Of course, now the real challenge is to educate Americans. That seems an impossible task sometimes.

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Plan B for Plan B

Reuters reports today that Barr Pharmaceuticals will adjust their FDA request to sell the Plan B contraceptive without a prescription, delaying a decision for at least another two weeks.

Last week the FDA proposed allowing Plan B to be sold without a doctor's order for women 18 and older from behind the pharmacy counter, adding it would reopen discussions with Barr which had sought to sell the drug to women 16 and older.”

As reported in the Los Angeles Times:

A decision on Plan B has been pending since 2003. Two senators angry over delays said they would continue to block a floor vote on Von Eschenbach until the FDA made a firm ruling.

The FDA's announcement "is really a nondecision," said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) is blocking the nomination.

Murray pointed out that as recently as last year, the Bush administration had promised a final decision, only to backpedal after a prior FDA commissioner won Senate confirmation. "Fool me once," she said. "We're not going to go there again. We will keep our hold on this nomination until we get a 'yes' or 'no' on Plan B."

This is a big deal because FDA officials have reported that access to Plan B was rejected well before FDA scientists finished their review, making the rejection a political maneuver rather than a health and safety precaution as depicted by the administration.

FDA officials say Plan B was rejected because of insufficient data on whether or not the drug could be safely used by younger girls. Critics of the FDA say the agency's early decision on Plan B indicates a trend within the agency of caving to political pressure instead of making sound scientific drug decisions to protect public health.”

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Sunday, August 06, 2006

men have bigger brains

Would love to comment on the SF Chronicle front page article on "The Female Brain", but too high from breastfeeding and I need to call my friends now.

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Friday, August 04, 2006

Beard trimming

Who knew beards were still used in this day and age? The New York Times took on the subject in of all places- the fashion section. And the article attempts an exploratory, sympathetic lean towards the married (to women) men who have sex with men. After at least one high profile and explosive divorce last year of a woman married to a man on the "down low", it is refreshing to see the subject examined from a less emotionally charged place when trying to answer the big "why?".
For gay men in heterosexual marriages, even after the status quo becomes unbearable, the pull of domestic life remains powerful. Many are desperate to preserve their marriages- to continue reaping the emotional and financial support of wives, and domestic pleasures like tucking children in at night."
Included in the article is the introduction of a phrase- closed loop relationship, which is a type of polyamorous setup that allows for two monogamous relationships to be held by the man in the relationship. Other variations of polyamorous arrangements are not mentioned. The married (to men) women who have sex with women were not included in this article.

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Straight Talk

Straight Talk:

I can just hear Homer Simpson: "It's funny 'cause it's true..."

For years following the breakup of my marriage I wallowed in anger, despair, and self-recrimination. I had been determined to spare my daughter the prolonged, nasty, and bitter divorce that tore apart my childhood home, yet the best I could do was paint a smiley face on her uncertain future.

"You're so lucky," I lied to my then 4-year-old. "You get to have two houses."

Of course, like any rational person I blamed my ex. But I also blamed myself... again and again. Like Billy Pilgrim in Slaughterhouse-Five I had become unstuck in time, the tiniest train of thought instantly transporting me back to some distant moment when I said the wrong words or made the wrong choice, then suddenly sweeping me off to an idealized future of marital bliss that I would never experience.

Introspection can suck.

But I'm happy to report that the clouds have cleared from my eyes, for while reading the state supreme court decision upholding Washington's Defense of Marriage Act, I had an epiphany. All my brooding and blaming and finger pointing had been misplaced. The divorce wasn't my fault after all. It wasn't even my ex's.

It was the gays'.

Now, who can I blame my inability to finish projects, occasional grumpiness, and strangely literal mind on? I'm thinkin'...television!


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Good As You: Looking back at Gibson's 'mo-centric missteps

Good As You: Should we believe Mel's apology?

As we all consider whether or not to accept Mel Gibson’s “hatred of any kind goes against my faith” apology, let’s take one second and look back at Mr. Braveheart’s past voicing of hatred for homosexuality. First up, from 1993:

“…I do feel that gay people will burn in hell. Their way of life goes completely against God’s plan for procreation.” [Writer Philip Wuntch, recounting a statment Mel gave him while being interviewed for the Dallas Morning News in 1993]

And then this infamous incident from 1992:

Heartthrob actor Mel Gibson, asked by one of Spain’s leading magazines what he thinks of homosexuals, launched into a tirade against gay men.

“They take it up the ass,” Gibson told El Pais as he got out of his chair, bent over and pointed to his butt. “This is only for taking a shit,” he said.

Reminded by the interviewer, Koro Castellano, that he worked with gays while studying at the School of Dramatic Arts, Gibson added: “They were good people, kind, I like them. But their thing is not my thing.”


Plan B- An Obsession With Repressing Youth Access to Contraceptives

According to Tuesday’s Los Angeles Times, the Food and Drug Administration offered a proposal to Barr Pharmaceuticals to approve over the counter sales of their “morning-after” birth control pill, Plan B, as long as Barr could assure the FDA that it would only be available without a prescription to women over 18.
A decision on Plan B has been pending since 2003…Last year, an extensive Government Accountability Office review of the FDA’s handling of Plan B found that it had not followed its usual science based process in making decisions. Von Eschenbach’s [acting FDA Commissioner] letter suggested that the decision would hinge on the manufacturer’s plan for keeping Plan B out of the hands of minors.”

The irony is that most states maintain an age of consent that is under 18 years old. This is a confusing mixed message for youth.

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