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It Gets Better

23 Sep

Writer Dan Savage and his camera shy and dead sexy husband Terry talk about their experiences in high school with one simple message to LGBT youth.

It gets better.

This is the kind of homosexual agenda everyone should support. (I almost said ‘get behind’ because I have the comedy stylings of a 12 year old today.)  9 out of 10 LGBT youth are bullied in high school.  You may not remember high school and how it seemed like it was forever, that the decisions and actions and situations you found yourself in felt permanent, like a life sentence.  It would have been so much easier if you could hear from someone who made it out, who knew how you felt and got through it.  So Dan Savage thought he’d help:

But gay adults aren’t allowed to talk to these kids. Schools and churches don’t bring us in to talk to teenagers who are being bullied. Many of these kids have homophobic parents who believe that they can prevent their gay children from growing up to be gay—or from ever coming out—by depriving them of information, resources, and positive role models.

Why are we waiting for permission to talk to these kids? We have the ability to talk directly to them right now. We don’t have to wait for permission to let them know that it gets better. We can reach these kids.

And what’s even better is the outpouring of videos from other people saying the same thing.  It gets better. It really does.

Sports Illustrated 2008 End of Year Cover is a HELL YES

27 Dec

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An amazing article about the Vick dogs that is truly inspirational…

I wish you and yours peace, prosperity and happy endings in 2009.

Oh The Joys Of Having Gone To Graduate School

26 Sep

Today I received this email:

 

Debating Ahmadinejad at Columbia‏

From: Eric J. Furda- Vice President for Alumni Relations (alumnilink@columbia.edu)

Sent: Tue 9/25/07 9:46 PM

To: Columbia University Alumni (bethshax@hotmail.com)

This message is being sent to you because of your affiliation with Columbia University.

Over the past week the scheduled appearance of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Columbia’s World Leaders Forum has sparked debate around the world. Here on campus, in countless conversations, students and faculty challenged one another to think critically about the issues raised by his visit. President Bollinger has answered tough questions from the media and from local and regional politicians. The University has heard from hundreds of alumni on the subject expressing both support and dismay.

Yesterday the Morningside Heights campus was alive as thousands of students participated in peaceful demonstrations and dialogue about issues relating to both Iran and free speech. Many alumni would have been proud of our students who, however intense and disparate their viewpoints, upheld the values of free expression and respect that define the essence of our campus community and our society.

At the World Leaders Forum event in Roone Arledge auditorium, President Bollinger, SIPA interim dean John Coatsworth, and Columbia students called the Iranian President to account for his positions on the Holocaust, Israel, nuclear weapons, homosexuals, women’s rights, and many other matters—and afforded Ahmadinejad the opportunity to respond. I hope you will take the time to visit http://www.columbia.edu/cu/news/07/09/sipairan.html, where you can see a full video of the event, read transcripts of President Bollinger’s introduction and President Ahmadinejad’s remarks, and read other statements relating to the event. You may also want to read an editorial, “Free Speech in Practice,” published in the Spectator, Columbia’s student newspaper.

The issues raised at, and by, yesterday’s World Leaders Forum will continue to reverberate. I invite you to follow the links above and then log in to share your thoughts with other alumni in Columbia’s free speech discussion group at alumni.columbia.edu/forum.

Yours,

Eric J. Furda
Vice President for Alumni Relations

Wouldn’t it be better and easier if they had just sent out an email saying, “please donate to us, even though we let someone who you may or may not agree with politically speak at our school”?  I mean, lets put aside for a brief moment the fact that the opening remarks were racist, jingoistic diatribes that made us look like sullen schoolyard bullies.

Let’s instead focus on the fact that everyone felt compelled to defend this decision.  All the power that would have been generated from this decision, to allow a man who is an essential element in the new world order whether we like it our not, to speak at Columbia freely would have been the ultimate act of power for a free society.

Instead, cloaked in propaganda and financial concerns, we chose not to set the standard for humanity, decency religius tolerance or intellectual freedom.

My money is better spent supporting the advertisers for a re-run of the Daily Show.  Fucked, but true.

A Ray Of Hope In American Politics

23 Sep

If you don’t cry watching this you are dead inside.

I do feel a little strange feeling hopeful about American politics.  It has been so long since I’ve thought a politician was being human and humane that it strikes me as dangerous to put any weight behind the San Diego mayor.  And it strikes me as cause for concern that a decision that comes from the heart (as this one does) requires so many tears, as if he has been making bad decisions for so long that this one, and this announcement, is something akin to standing up at an AA meeting and announcing your alcoholism for the first time in public.

The Five Questions I Want Answered (FQIWA)

31 May

I’ve been struggling for awhile on how to (in my own sad, limited, hey did i get over 30 hits a day way) cover the elections and the current political climate.  Going after the representatives in the House and Senate for backing down from the very thing that got them elected — Iraq — seems great, but how without getting arrested?  Auctioning off a dog to support my sad “Gore/Clinton 2008 — The Way It Should Have Always Been” campaign?  Maybe we could all put on a show? About ponies.  And how ponies will never win the White House because they never lie.

No?

Listening to Al Gore talk on Jon Stewart something started forming and I think, maybe, this time, I have it.

I have questions and I want them answered.  I want them answered by the government that is supposed to represent me.  The thing is, you have questions, too.  So here is what we are going to do.

Blog your five questions.  Link to all the other five questions you know of (either because you read someone’s post, or because you figured out “FQIWA” in Blog Search on Google is pretty damn helpful.)

And when we are done, lets see how many are the same.  And then lets send these questions out there to be answered.  We keep asking until they get answered.  They can be questions for anyone currently in public office (and that includes you Justice Department meatheads) or running for office (Mitt… oh Mitt.)

The questions are harder than you think.  It feels so easy in theory but it gets very Alladin and the lamp…so I’ll have mine up sometime this week, and if you get yours up first, so be it.

Oh and I think stealing as long as credit is given is totally okay.

Roll Call Of The Spineless AKA The Fearful Forty

30 May

Following is a list of Democrats who voted YES on HR 2206, giving in on the Iraq spending bill.
HR 2206 Roll Call

YEAs —80
Akaka (D-HI)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bayh (D-IN)
Biden (D-DE)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Brown (D-OH)
Byrd (D-WV)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Conrad (D-ND)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Harkin (D-IA)
Inouye (D-HI)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Kohl (D-WI)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Levin (D-MI)
Lieberman (ID-CT)
Lincoln (D-AR)
McCaskill (D-MO)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Pryor (D-AR)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Salazar (D-CO)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Webb (D-VA)

A Very Nice Lady Named Elizabeth

25 Mar

Earlier this week I had dinner with my friend Natasha and we discovered we are both political junkies. And that we both had some secret hopes for John Edwards. Bright, charismatic, skilled at campaigning with significant national campaign experience, Edwards has the ability to look like a centrist and act like a liberal. He’s displayed, in my opinion, fiscally conservative sound judgment — and if that doesn’t tell you that I’d love to be a liberal Republican but hate the party as it stands with a passion then nothing will.

The news that Elizabeth Edwards has had a recurrence of the cancer she beat less than five years ago is of course devastating to anyone who wants to believe that once you kick cancer, it stays kicked. Cancer has its own plans, and strength of will/body has no effect on it. Witness Elizabeth Edwards who clearly has both kids of fortitude.

“I expect to do next week all the things I did last week. And the week after that, and next year at the same time,” she said.

I don’t think that attitude or intelligence have any impact on survival.  We probably all know smart people who have died from cancer and stupid people who have survived.  I think the point of her attitude and her strength isn’t that it will change the length of her life but that it could improve her quality of life.  We all live with a timer, some of us know our life expectancy and some of us don’t.  What I find most heartening about Elizabeth Edwards is that she doesn’t appear to be chipper and optimistic because she thinks it will help her live longer, but because that is who she is, and she has bigger fish to fry.  Namely getting her husband the job he might well deserve.

Who knows if this will help or hurt John Edwards.  I can imagine that it will be something of a temptation to his opponents, the way Obama’s race and Clinton’s gender seem to beg for some sort of comment to those who have no intention of fighting fair.

I hope we can separate the maudlin from the practical and let John Edwards run a good race.  Because I think that is the most respectful thing we can do for a very nice lady named Elizabeth.

Not alone

4 Mar

If you know me at all, you know that my relationship with my heritage (mostly Jewish) is tenuous at best. I don’t consider myself very Jewish and though I can probably say the Sabbath prayers, I don’t really have a connection to them. One of the reasons why is that I have felt shut out of the Jewish faith; because I found the politics to be so limited and my feelings about Israel are not in line with what Jews are supposed to think.

It turns out I’m not alone.

Here is an excerpt from Rabbi M. Lerner’s response to the NY Times article claiming a new Anti-Semitism.

    The impact of the silencing of debate about Israeli policy on Jewish life has been devastating. We at Tikkun are constantly encountering young Jews who say that they can no longer identify with their Jewishness, because they have been told that their own intuitive revulsion at watching the Israeli settlers with IDF support violate the human rights of Palestinian civilians in the West Bank or their own questioning of Israel’s right to occupy the West Bank are proof that they are “self-hating Jews.” The Jewish world is driving away its own young.But the most destructive impact of this new Jewish Political Correctness is on American foreign policy debates. We at Tikkun have been involved in trying to create a liberal alternative to AIPAC and the other Israel-can-do-no-wrong voices in American politics. When we talk to Congressional representatives who are liberal or even extremely progressive on every other issue, they tell us privately that they are afraid to speak out about the way Israeli policies are destructive to the best interests of the United States or the best interests of world peace—lest they too be labeled anti-Semitic and anti-Israel. If it can happen to Jimmy Carter, some of them told me recently, a man with impeccable moral credentials, then no one is really politically safe.

It is a weird thing to find out that people have been having the same reaction as you, but you didn’t know it. But what is the next step? Do I follow this like minded Rabbi simply because he opened a door and showed me there are like minded people? Or do people end up being religious robots because they think they have found their people, when in fact there is no such thing as “your people” and that thinking leads to war and strife?

Today is Purim, which has something to do with Esther, dressing in costumes and putting up pretty shacks in your backyard. I don’t really get the holiday because I am not really Jewish. But from what I remember Purim is about Jews refusing to bow down to a king named Haman as it was against the first commandment: I am the lord our god and you will have no other gods before me. The idea of a people refusing to bow to a king is pretty heady stuff until you realize that this same group of people are asking another group of people to bow to their will. If the first commandment applies to Jews, doesn’t it also apply to Muslims?

This is a weird time we live in. Being at all associated with the wars in the Middle East puts one in the place of having to have either cogent and defendable beliefs or of staying quiet. Spirited and inquiring debate is not welcome when it comes to this question. You can’t wander in half full of knowledge and expect people to educate you, so most of us shut up and say the simple: this war is wrong because we are losing.

What if the war isn’t wrong because we are losing but it is wrong because it comes from a horribly misinformed, not interested in questioning place? What if people like me, the Jews who question the state of Israel, if we had spoken up, what if we could have stopped this set of wars against Muslims? What if America wasn’t seen as a knee-jerk pro-Israel country but instead we were seen as fair believers in the right for freedom of religion, even if that religion believes they are better than Christianity.

Because isn’t that at the core of this fight? Most Americans believe that Christianity is the best religion, the supreme belief and if they tolerate other religions they feel pretty good about themselves for being progressive thinkers. But they still think Christianity rules. Can we really ever find peace if we don’t abide by the first commandment and let others abide by it as well? If there is a god, isn’t the need to bow before that god, no matter what flavor, a right that people should have protected?

If the Sunnis and the Shiites saw America as protecting everyone’s right to worship, without ranking it 1st Christians, 2nd Jews, 3rd Muslims, could we get out of the Middle East without losing a generation of soldiers?

I really don’t know.

I hesitate to post this, since I think people who wander here are hoping for some pithy or bitchy comments on culture and my dogs.

But there you go. Blogs are crazy like that sometimes. Sometimes I wake up and I want to change the world. Sometimes I wake up and I want a peanut butter cup cookie.