Monday, April 30, 2007


Can't let this one slip by, exams be damned!

So there's an escort service in DC (shock!), that apparently had many high profile people as clients (double shock!). Oh and lefties are reveling in the hypocrisy of "family values" conservatives that may have engaged the madam's, ahem, services (quadruple shock, skipping triple shock altogether!).

At first I was tempted to criticize this scandal as petty and politically motivated (which it may still be), but then I realized that sex is an issue because these Theocrats make it one! So I have decided that I'm giving the lefties their day (I have almost as big a problem with "family values" conservative Theocrats as they do). Indeed I found this fun little quote about one of the Madam's clients, recently resigned Randall Tobias, in the Chicago tribune:
Among other duties, Tobias was responsible for implementing a policy that requires grant recipients to take steps against prostitution and sex trafficking and supporting efforts to fight the spread of AIDS. The AIDS policy emphasized abstinence as the first line of defense against the disease. (Emphasis added)

That made me laugh. In all fairness, Ms. Palfrey is only an accused madam, and indeed, were it up to me, even if the allegations are true, Ms. Palfrey's actions would not be illegal. But I wonder who else on Ms. Palfrey's client list is wondering why they made sex such a big, fat, and in many cases, criminal deal.

So I get this email...

from my friend Alan:

I found a Pink Elephant. Thoughts?

It seems I had commented as Pink Elephant on a blog that he reads. I'm not upset or worried; Alan is a close friends and the next on my list to come out to (in fact this save me a bit of trouble). I'm just surprised that either 1) I am not as anonymous as I think I am, or 2) I am subconsciously taking risks that would out me in order to avoid having to come out affirmatively. I suspect it is the latter. After all, I'm the one that introduced Alan to the other blog in the first place!

I'm not alone on my limb

It's nice to know that at least one other gay person agrees with me on the hate crimes issue.

Sunday, April 29, 2007


I don't often agree with the very left leaning commentary on Towleroad, but I do appreciate the work that Andy does in order to find gay interest news.

This article, and the accompanying picture (below) made me sad. Not angry, which would also be an appropriate reaction, just disappointed in the close-mindedness of certain people. Even if you disagree with the conclusions on, this kind of thing seems just hateful. Again, I promise to discuss this more fully when I am not (supposed to be) studying.

Yet another reason gay men don't want to go to Iran

From CNN:
Iranian police have warned barbers against offering Western-style hair cuts or plucking the eyebrows of their male customers, Iranian media said Sunday.

The report by a reformist daily, later confirmed by an Iranian news agency, appeared to be another sign of authorities cracking down on clothing and other fashion deemed to be against Islamic values.

We may not be allowed to marry in the U.S., but at least we do have recourse for those dreaded unibrows.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Al-Qaeda and Iraq

Courtesy GayPatriot, apparently U.S. just captured a former Saddam-era Iraqi major believed to be responsible for terrorist attacks in London, and who was an Al-Qaeda leader in Afghanistan in the late 90s. I didn't go to try to substantiate the report or do any further research. Again, this really is another "look what I found (that someone found previously)" post.

I have another week of exams. Then I shall return to some substance. I've been thinking a bit about religion as I pretend to study.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Social Security

Until exams end, most *important* posts will be of the "look what I found" variety. Here is a great post about social security; be sure to read the "related posts" linked at the bottom.

The last line of the linked post is spot on. I once had an accounting professor say that if the federal government conformed to GAAP, the budget, let alone the social security shell game, would be revealed as as fraud almost instantly. And we thought Enron was bad for cooking the books!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


I have apparently become a master of procrastination. I Found these recut trailers on youtube, and just had to share them.

And to round things out, I present my favorite:

Who knew that nanny movies could be so creepy :)

Monday, April 23, 2007

One good thing

The one good thing about exams in the spring as opposed to those in the winter is that you can study outside. Today is gorgeous enough that not even the Internal Revenue Code can ruin it!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I wonder

Why is watching proceedings in the British House of Commons far more enjoyable than watching our own House of Representatives? Could it be that they have smiles and tongues in cheek even as they argue? Surely not, it must be the accents.

Closet Update

For someone who should be focusing on exams, I sure am finding more time to blog than I expected. I suppose that I can only take so much of the Federal Rules of Evidence or The Securities Exchange Act of 1934 before I need to engage in some of my blog therapy :)

I haven't talked substantively about my coming out in a while, and although nothing monumental has happened lately, I thought I might give an update. I mentioned already that I have decided to come out this year instead of next, as was my original plan. I'm not the type to make a grand gesture; no coming out party for me. But I have had the talk with a few more close friends. So far things are going well. No one has been anything but supportive.

I have noticed one thing, however. It is so much easier to come out to people that I don't know well. New and informal acquaintances seem to come easily. I think the biggest thing holding me back is I don't like to disappoint. I worry about not living up the expectations of people I am close to. Not to mention that while I am in the closet, I am constantly lying to my friends and family. The longer I lie, the harder it is to admit to it. I still don't know when I will be ready to tell my parents. When I was home for spring break it weighed heavily on me, but sadly, I couldn't find the courage.

I think the best plan will be to tell my sister first. She is the most progressive and open minded person in our family. It will be good to have an ally should things not go well with the parents. I really do love her.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Going out on a limb

I mentioned here that I would talk about the Matthew Shepherd Bill, and now I will. Recently, I read this post and got involved in a comment conversation on hate crimes. This post is a sort of distillation of what I wrote there.

Here's the limb: I don't support hate crime legislation. This position puts me at odds not only with the gay orthodoxy (something that isn't new) but also the unorthodox Log Cabin Republicans. I don't support hate crime sentence enhancement with regards to race or religion and so even if it would benefit me, it would be hypocritical, to say the least, for me to support it in regards to sexual orientation.

I am certainly in favor equal rights for sexual minorities, indeed any minorities. Do I want Marriage? Sure, If a church is willing to give it to me, but honestly I’ll settle for a civil union that would allow me the same civil benefits afforded to married straight couples. Do I want to have the option to adopt children? Without a doubt! Do I want to leave my estate to my partner intact? Of Course! Do I want to be able to help provide my partner with health care? You bet! Do I want someone to get a worse sentence for killing me because I’m gay than for killing me because I have money? NO! At the end of the day what I want is equality, not special rights. My sexual orientation definitely should not relegate me to a worse position in society, but it also shouldn’t, on the other hand, afford me any better a position.

One poster in the comment conversation made an excellent point that hate crimes are not just against the actual victim but are intended to be against a group and about sending a message. However, the reason I don't support hate crime laws is that I’m concerned a special status for gays will do more to retard acceptance than to accelerate it. I certainly want to see any any bullying punished, but making it worse to kill a straight kid than a gay one will only nurture the resentment that led to a hate crime in the first place. My point is that the danger of fostering such resentment by giving certain classes of people special protection outweighs, in my mind, any good done by the justice of compensating for the emotional injuries of those not directly involved.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Partial Birth Abortion ban

Yesterday the Supreme Court handed down a decision upholding a ban on partial birth abortions. Read the NYTimes article here. Read the Fox News treatment here. Read the AlterNet reaction here. The decision was written by Kennedy, joined by (surprise!) Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito.

Exam pressures prevent me from giving a full treatment to the issue, and I have only skimmed the opinion, but I offer these thoughts.

I am pro-life. I like to think I am reasonable in cases of rape or life of the mother, but by and large I don't like abortion. I've explained some practical reasons why abortion is wasteful (I find arguments based on religion or about when life begins don't persuade the pro-choice crowd no matter how compelling I may find them). Moreover, I find partial birth abortions as described in Kennedy's opinion to be particularly repugnant. So I am quite content with the outcome of this case.

People are worried about a woman's right to choose, but I'm not sure why considering that Kennedy wrote:
"We presume the following principles for the purposes of this opinion. Before viability a State may not prohibit any woman from making the decision to terminate her pregnancy. . . . On the other hand, regulations which do no more than create a structural mechanism by which the State, or the parent or guardian of a minor may express profound respect for the life of the unborn are permitted, if they are not a substantial obstacle to the woman's right to choose." (Emphasis added)

Looks like the right to choose is pretty safe to me. Even assuming for argument that right to an abortion is indeed a right (something I am not really willing to concede), we have a ruling about a procedure that may be used to exercise a right, not a ruling on the ultimate right itself. You still get your abortions, just not partial birth ones. It's as if the ranters are all up in arms about not being allowed to suck the brains out of 14 week old fetuses (pictured above). Usually I can understand the opposition's point of view, but this just escapes me.

Added: Paul at Right Side of the Rainbow points out that the opinion bans the vaginal delivery of a living fetus and then crushing it's skull. It is still allowable to deliver a living fetus by c-section and crush its skull, or to fill the fetus with poison, kill it, and deliver it vaginally. So in the end, it really doesn't seem to have much practical effect whatsoever.

It Doesn't Suck to be Me

This morning, and I am not sure why, it occurred to me that I have much to be thankful for.

First, I live in a country that despite all its problems is still the greatest place to live in the world.

Second, I come from a loving family. My parents never neglect to tell me they are proud of me. Although we are not Butler and Bentley rich, we are very comfortable. My father's hard work afforded me opportunities that he did not have. Heck, we provide our dog with better health care than most of the world can provide their children.

Third, I have some great close friends who accept me for who I am without a moment's hesitation.

Fourth, I am (at the risk of sounding arrogant) rather talented. I am able to take the opportunities my father's hard word provided me and make the most of them.

Fifth, I am young, healthy, educated, and ambitious.

Finally, I have many other blessings too numerous to list here.

Keeping an eye on these things makes my daily stresses and mild disappointments seem far less important by comparison.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech Hero

Liviu Librescu was a holocaust survivor who became a distinguished mathematics and engineering professor at Virginia Tech. He gave his life yesterday helping to save his students. A man like this will be sorely missed.

You can read a story about this man's heroism here.

Please sign the condolence book here. Your message will be shared with Professor Librescu's family.

Virginia Tech II

I have mentioned before that I am a Christian and that I find traditional church music to be both beautiful and comforting. One hymn in particular seems suited for today.

O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
our shelter from the stormy blast,
and our eternal home:

Under the shadow of thy throne,
thy saints have dwelt secure;
sufficient is thine arm alone,
and our defense is sure.

Before the hills in order stood,
or earth received her frame,
from everlasting thou art God,
to endless years the same.

A thousand ages in thy sight
are like an evening gone;
short as the watch that ends the night
before the rising sun.

O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
be thou our guide while troubles last,
and our eternal home!

My thoughts and prayers are with those in Blacksburg this morning.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Virginia Tech

I am sickened by this tragedy. I wish only to mourn the innocent dead and shall save any political lessons for another day.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

More fun from IGF

On John Corvino's information page at Independent Gay Forum, there is a link to this set of videos of a lecture he gave entitled "What's Morally Wrong with Homosexuality?" In the lecture Dr. Corvino goes through 4 major objections to homosexuality: 1) the Bible says it's wrong, 2) it's not universalizable, 3) it's harmful, and 4) it's unnatural. Dr. Corvino argues against each of these objections, but it is his final point that I found most worthwhile. He stated that he is not arguing in favor some permissive sort of moral relativism, but that the objections to homosexuality on moral grounds are not sustainable. Instead the moral judgment should not be whom or how a person loves, but whether a person loves.

Dr. Corvino's lecture is about an hour long, and then there is a period of questions and answers following. I found most of the questions difficult to hear and gave up on them. But the lecture itself is worth a look if you can find the time.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Federal Hate Crime Law

Here's an opinion piece on Independent Gay Forum about the proposed enlargement of the federal hate-crime law to include, among other things, sexual orientation. Here's an article from the Washington Post about it.

Sorry for the cop out, but I'm a bit busy now. I promise I'll weigh in with my own opinion soon. Besides, Mr. Carpenter's opinion articles are always a good read.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

No Gay Days

Sometimes I have what I can only describe as "No Gay Days." These are days when I tell myself I am not going to do anything that reminds me that I am gay. I certainly avoid anything stereotypical (musicals, the Bravo Network), but I also avoid anything overtly masculine. I steer clear of humor based on homosexuality (like Tobias on Arrested Development), as well anything that might arouse me.

I'm not sure why I do this. I tell myself it is a away to focus on other things that make me who I am, or to avoid beginning to define myself entirely by my sexuality. Honestly, my ideal world is one in which my sexuality is a non-issue, like being left-handed or not liking broccoli. However, part of me wonders if it is just a way to go back into a mini-closet, or if it's rooted in my gay shame.

Is this a typical part of coming out? I would especially appreciate comments on this.

Sunday, April 8, 2007


Apparently, in order to avoid offending some Muslim students who are taught at home that the Holocaust is a fiction, schools in the U.K. are dropping the Holocaust from the curriculum altogether. (I found a link to this op-ed on Right Side of the Rainbow.) Remind me, in the book 1984 wasn't Winston's job to erase inconvenient bits of history?

5 Political Movies I Love

# 5) Primary Colors. Though no fan of Clinton, I do love this thinly veiled fictionalization of Clinton on the campaign trail. We see how political ambition can turn a flawed though likable man to The Dark Side, so to speak. Kathy Bates' idealistic Libby Holden kills herself when she sees that Jack Stanton is not the same man she though he was; Jack's numerous infidelities kills the soul of his wife until she only concerned with his career; Larry Hagman's Fred Picker is a straight-shooting golden boy whose past catches up to him in an unjust way. In all, it is a picture of how ugly politics can be even when those involved aren't ugly to begin with.

# 4) A Face in the Crowd. This film was Andy Griffith's first big screen appearance, in which he played Lonesome Rhodes. Lonesome goes from a jail house interview to a down-home country radio personality. As he gains popularity Lonesome gains power, even attempting to manipulate a presidential election. Though Lonesome was corrupt to begin with, power only makes him worse until his very public downfall. This film explores very candidly the influence of media.

# 3) The Manchurian Candidate (1962 Version). Angela Lansbury's ambitious and calculating Mrs. Iselin still sends chills up my spine (especially when one compares Mrs. Iselin to grandmotherly amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher). Apart from cold war thriller contrivances such as brain washing, The Manchurian Candidate shows that for some power is the only principle. It explores how the politics of fear can lead us right into the arms of those we fear most--a lesson we oughtn't forget.

# 2) V for Vendetta.
I saw this film in the theater and last night re-watched it. Although when it came out, I really enjoyed the film, it somehow seems to have even more meaning to me now. The dystopic, totalitarian and homophobic UK depicted in the film is my worst nightmare. V attempts to remind the masses that governments can only oppress when its citizens are complacent. Now that I am accepting my sexuality and no longer turning a blind eye to the theocrats, this film about fighting for freedom is very poignant indeed.

and my all-time favorite...

# 1) Mister Smith Goes To Washington. Jimmy Stewart plays idealistic Jefferson Smith, a man accidentally thrust into a political world that is entirely alien to him. Corrupt political machines manipulate not only politicians but also entire constituencies. Eventually Jeff Smith must stand alone for what he believes in while his enemies perpetrate a character assassination. In the end, when Jeff collapses from exhaustion, we see finally that truth triumphs over evil. Perhaps Claude Rains' confession is a bit contrived, but sometimes it's nice just to feel good about things.

Friday, April 6, 2007


I am in my third month of blogging about being a gay man and have yet to discuss sexual activity. This may seem odd to some, disappointing to others, but I have three reasons why I have decided not to discuss sex with any particularity on this blog, and I thought it fair to disclose them.

1) It's not really what the blog is supposed to be about. Certainly blogging about being gay necessarily implicates sex; however, I don't blog about just being gay. I blog about coming out, and how my sexual orientation does or does not inform my politics. The difference is this: I started this blog as something of a therapeutic exercise to help me deal with coming out, and as I explained initially, with the disconnect in the minds of many of being gay and a member of the Republican party. I made the decision, I am sure at the expense of traffic, that I don't really need to titillate. Also, I don't want to alienate with gay porn those straight friends of mine whom I have shown the blog.

2) Less self-righteously, I'm still pretty prudish. I did grow up in a conservative southern family, which is a large part of what makes coming out to my family especially difficult. We didn't discuss sex much in my family; my birds and the bees talk was less a talk and more an "important trip to the library." Similarly, I went to an evangelical Christian high school (think: the movie Saved!). My abstinence-only Sex Ed primarily consisted of "If you have sex with more than one person you will get herpes. If that one person is the same gender as you are, you will get AIDS. And then you will go to Hell." As you can imagine, in this environment I became incredibly repressed. Nick once introduced me as "the most sexually repressed person you will ever meet." Even if I were straight I'd be a prude, but as homosexual it was even worse. Coming to terms with my sexuality is hard enough, and I certainly cannot undo the years of repression and prudishness overnight. I'm still afraid of herpes and AIDS.

3) I don't have a lot of opportunity. I live in a small college town with almost no gay population to speak of. Although I have lost both my straight and gay virginities, my experiences since those times have been limited. I suppose I could make stories up, but I'll bet people could tell, and again it's not what this blog is really about.

For those of you reading this post in great disappointment, I offer this small consolation: this policy is subject to change and indeed the circumstances behind reasons 2 and 3 are likely to change with time. For those of you who wish this blog to maintain its current policy, I offer this assurance: Even if I were to start discussing sex, I would not be explicit for the sake of gay readers; there are plenty of alternative sources for porn.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Ethanol Tariff

On climate change I take a definite middle of the road position, eschewing both the "sky is falling" and "head in the sand" camps. I'm skeptical but not dismissive. I do not support a pollution tax (rather I prefer the more market based cap and trade type regimes). On the other hand, I definitely think that investing in alternate fuel sources is prudent both environmentally and economically. We have only a finite amount of fossil fuels, after all. With that in mind, I am angry (yes, angry!) at the U.S.'s current 53 cent per gallon tariff on Brazilian ethanol. It may seem odd that someone would get so hot and bothered about a tariff, but certainly even the most mundane economic policies have significant real world consequences. Allow me to outline briefly my problems with it.

Economically: Tariffs notoriously distort international trade and thus allocation of resources both domestically and abroad. The tariff artificially inflates the price of Brazilian sugar cane ethanol for American consumers. American consumers are then more likely to prefer to buy the comparatively cheaper American corn ethanol. What's wrong with this? First it robs consumers of ethanol by making them buy more expensive American ethanol instead of the otherwise cheaper Brazilian alternative. Second, it destroys incentives of American ethanol producers to find more cost effective means of production. Third, it gives consumers of ethanol in other countries access to a less expensive source that not available to Americans. Fourth, it encourages investment in an American industry that may not be best use of those investment dollars. Finally the enforcement of the tariff requires government resources that could either be used elsewhere, or preferably, given back to the taxpayers. Some justify the tariff as an offset to Brazilian ethanol subsidies, which artificially reduce the price of ethanol. However, why shouldn't Americans be allowed to take advantage of the Brazilian government's fiscal decision? Furthermore, with our own agricultural subsidies, this is an almost laughable case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Environmentally: Ethanol is a cleaner fuel derived from renewable resources. With the problems created by fossil fuel pollution (my climate change skepticism is not so strong as to completely deny that pollution is *bad*) a cleaner fuel source which is cheaper should be welcomed not punished with a tariff. I do not mean to suggest that ethanol is the answer to all our fuel problems, but it is certainly an alternative worth exploring.

Internationally: The primary reason that the middle east is of any importance to us is oil. I am not making a normative judgment, just pointing out that were we not so dependent on oil, the Middle East would be about at important to U.S. national interests as is Africa. We wouldn't be inciting the terrorists, making questionable and uneasy alliances with Middle Eastern governments, and fighting a war that few support. Moreover, the tariff on Brazilian ethanol closes off a huge market to Brazilian ethanol producers, making it more difficult for them to further develop.

It just seems insane that we would cling on to this policy with no many negative attendant consequences. Do I have any thought to the American corn farmers protected by this tariff? Of course, but if they are unable to compete with Brazilian sugar farmers, then it is immoral to encourage them to continue in a failing industry at the expense of all American consumers.