Friday, June 29, 2007


Looks like we have made a pretty big breakthrough on the road to a cure for HIV:

The scientists engineered an enzyme which attacks the DNA of the HIV virus and cuts it out of the infected cell, according to the study published in Science magazine. The enzyme is still far from being ready to use as a treatment, the authors warned, but it offers a glimmer of hope for the more than 40 million people infected worldwide.
* * *
The researchers engineered an enzyme called Tre which removes the virus from the genome of infected cells by recognizing and then recombining the structure of the virus’s DNA.
I'm not even going to make a snarky comment about government funding (the scientists were German anyway).

Thursday, June 28, 2007

"Gay Pioneers"

My firm's diversity committee sponsored a screening of the short (30 Min) documentary "Gay Pioneers." I went, though I was dreading it. I worried that this film would be the "woe-is-us, we're all victims" whine fest that I despise. I was quite pleasantly surprised. The film was all about the first (pre-stonewall) demonstrations for equal rights for gays and lesbians. The tone of the film was the much more optimistic "we've come such a long way (even if we still have a long way to go)" message that I and I think straight people can better relate to. I actually recommend it highly.

One thing that struck me: in the first Mattachine demonstrations (1965-1968) they had a strict code of dress and conduct. At the time they were fighting the misconception that gays were only a bunch of weirdo queens. Instead men had to wear suits; women had to wear dresses. They had to lower their signs when they played patriotic songs. They had to be respectful but firm. The message they wanted to convey was "we are upstanding citizens just like you." Contrast that with Pride today.

What does this say about us? It could go either way. On the one hand you might say our pride events that resemble gay Mardi Gras are doing nothing more than perpetuate the stereotype that we are weirdos. On the other, you might say, how great it is that we can be so visible, campy, and celebrate our differences without the (great) fear of people throwing stones at us. One could argue that the pride events of today have lost the message in favor of a week long party. Others might argue that Pride is more of a celebration of who we are than it is about gaining recognition, so a party is appropriate.

Not sure yet where I fall. I did enjoy my first "out" Pride this summer. But I do understand the importance of demonstrating that gays are just like ordinary citizens. Nonetheless, coming out of the closet is all about being honest instead of conforming to the requirements of society. These Pioneers in the 60s paved the way for social change that ALLOWS us take a weekend, week, or even whole month in most major cities to celebrate our progress and work towards even more. Then back on the first hand, I know that lots of people look at Pride as a prime example of the "decadence and immorality" of our community, making progress even harder. I don't have an answer here, and I would appreciate hearing your thoughts.



Dead-of-the-night backroom type legislation is almost always the worst of both worlds (if you are liberal you might point to the Patriot Act; if you are conservative you might point to Sarbanes-Oxley). Now, it's time to start thinking critically about this issue and go about reform the proper way: transparently, slowly, and with full debate.

Idiot Update

As something of a public service: go here to read about sun exposure. It gives information without the doom and gloom of most skin cancer/sunburn sites ("You had a sunburn one time? Better make out your will, NOW!").

As for me, the sunburn doesn't hurt much anymore. Instead I am now in the disgusting peeling stage. Below is a picture of what I look like right now:

I'll just think of it as a chemical peel.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Immigration cloture

Still not a fan of this immigration bill, for the same reasons as before. However, Stanley Kurtz at the Corner touched on something that I felt but never quite articulated (via GayPatriot) :

For all the bitterness of our political battles, there’s at least the sense that the government responds to the drift of public opinion. The Republicans in Congress turned into big spenders and the war in Iraq went poorly. As a result the Democrats prospered in 2006, if narrowly. That’s how democracy works. Our politics are often angry and ugly (and that’s a problem), but this is because the public is deeply divided on issues of great importance. Deep down, we understand that our political problems reflect our own divisions.

Somehow this immigration battle feels different. The bill is wildly unpopular, yet it’s close to passing. The contrast with the high-school textbook version of democracy is not only glaring and maddening, it’s downright embarrassing. Usually, even when we’re at each others’ throats, there’s still an underlying pride in the democratic process. This immigration battle strips us of even that pride.

In response to Stanley Kurtz, Mark Stein writes:

There's something creepy about a political class so determined to impose a vast transformative bill cooked up backstage in metaphorically smoke-filled rooms on a nation that doesn't want it. It's an affront to republican government and quasi-European in its disdain for the citizenry.

This reminds me of something I read a while back. George Bush I famously didn't like broccoli (one of the things we agree on, he and I). When Clinton won in 1992, Hills made the comment "We bringing broccoli back to the White House." Commenting on that, someone (I can't remember who, so I cannot attribute it properly) noted that that nicely describes her politics: "I know you don't like it, but it's good for you, so eat it anyway." This immigration bill reveals that our senate seems to have largely adopted the broccoli model of politics, and I have to agree that it's one of the most offensive parts of the Bill. I've called my Senators. Have you?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

More on Bong Hits

The following is edited from an email I sent to Paul at Right Side of the Rainbow in response to his post on the Morse v. Frederick (Bong Hits) case. I thought I'd share with you.

I will first admit that I have only just skimmed the Court's Opinion, though I have read more carefully Judge Kleinfeld's, now reversed, 9th Circuit Court decision, which I found quite illuminating. Kleinfeld carefully examines whether the Morse case most properly fits under Fraser (limiting offensive--as in lewd--speech), Kuhlmeier (granting schools the authority to limit speech that may be perceived as having the endorsement of the school), or Tinker (allowing students the right to free speech, so long as it did not cause disorder or interfere with the education of other students). Kleinfeld found that Frederick's sign at a privately sponsored event off school grounds would not be perceived as bearing the endorsement of the school, so Kuhlmeier did not apply. Secondly, the speech was not offensive in the sense of the lewd and suggestive remarks at issue in Fraser. Thus Kleinfeld determined that Tinker was controlling. Although the school board argued that the speech "undercut [its] critical mission of preventing use of drugs," Kleinfeld reasoned that a school may not censor speech "merely because the students advocate a position contrary to government policy."

Roberts quotes Tinker for the rule that "student expression may not be suppressed unless school officials reasonably conclude that it will 'materially and substantially disrupt the work and discipline of the school.'" This rule seems to focus on the disruptive, not the political nature or the substance, of the speech. Disagreement or a contrary viewpoint is not disruptive, nor was the delivery of the message (do we really think kids are going to start smoking pot because of the banner?). Indeed it could have been used as a teaching moment to further the mission of schools to educate students about illegal drug use better than a head-in-the-sand "no drugs here at all" attitude. The fact that the banner seems to advocate illegal activity is immaterial; no worse than a banner that said "Pirated Music 4 Jesus."

Regardless, Roberts distinguishes Tinker because the armbands protesting the war are more clearly political speech and thus get to the heart of First Amendment protections. (Query whether "Partial Birth Abortions 4 Jesus" would be allowed--much more clearly a political position a la the armbands in Tinker, but quite likely more "disrupt[ive] to the work and discipline of the school" than the bong hits sign). Making the inquiry whether the speech is clearly political creates a qualification on the first amendment not clearly drawn from the intent of the framers (Originalists my foot). What distinguishes political satire from speech advocating an illegal activity? These are not lines I am comfortable with the courts drawing. This decision is at best disappointing and at worst frightening.

The nightmare is over!

Thank Jesus, Allah and Science! The 23 day hostage crisis has finally come to a peaceful resolution: Paris Hilton has been freed! Not only is Paris free, but her grueling ordeal has helped her lose 10 pounds just in time for swimsuit season! It's a glorious day!

Now can we stop talking about her?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Free (kinda) Speech day

I haven't read the opinions yet, but thought I should post a little something on the super-excitement coming out of the Supreme Court today.

So, look like today's opinion were all about weakening things. First, the good news: McCain Feingold loses some teeth (more like a tooth--and a chipped one at that). If the breakdowns are accurate--meaning that Roberts and Alito simply state that the Wisconsin ads do not rise to the level of campaign ads covered by the 2003 decision, but that Kennedy, Scalia and Thomas would overrule the 2003 decision--looks like this is pretty narrow. Nonetheless, issue ads seem to be allowed and free speech gets a nice little nudge of support.

Then just like that, it is taken away. The Court ruled against the high school student in the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case. Looks like state action limiting "sophomoric" speech is A-ok, especially if it *gasp* might possibly be interpreted by someone somewhere as encouraging drug use. Does this mean that Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle is now in danger (I know I am being extreme here--but note that whether Frederick was "at school" is arguable)? Just for fun read Judge Kleinfeld's Ninth Circuit Opinion (439 F.3d 1114) which the Supreme Court overruled (PS: Kleinfeld is generally considered one of the more conservative judges on the Ninth Circuit). Here's a nice little quote from Judge Kleinfeld:

Thus, the question comes down to whether a school may, in the absence of concern about disruption of educational activities, punish and censor non-disruptive, off-campus speech by students during school-authorized activities because the speech promotes a social message contrary to the one favored by the school. The answer under controlling, long-existing precedent is plainly “No.”

Well, I guess now it is plainly "yes."

So First Amendment gets a +1 from the issue ads case but a -3 from the Bong Hits Case. I suppose it could have been worse. But not much.


And I'm talking about me.

With all that we know about skin cancer and sun exposure, I decided to spend most of yesterday outdoors and neglected to put on sunscreen. I'm paying the price today: wearing my clothes is a pain that is only just bearable. Stupid, stupid, stupid!

Sunday, June 24, 2007


I just ran across this (thanks to Andrew Tobias, of all people). Listening to this poor, sad, insecure but talented man gave me goosebumps. I'll let you listen for yourself.

Yep, still choked up.

Oh and he did win.

Friday, June 22, 2007


A co-worker (an actual attorney, not just a summertime poser like me) sent me a link to the Top 15 Unintentionally Funny Comic Book Panels.

My favorite? Number 13:

Hey, it's Friday afternoon. Like anyone works. I have a happy hour to get to....

Rhode Island

Has once again overridden the governor's veto of medical marijuana use. This is another issue on which I come out on the wrong side of the Republican Party (though I still wont succumb to the siren call of the Libertarian party, or as I call it, political irrelevance).

I have to admit the couple of times I have been around people who, um, self-medicate their "glaucoma," I have been pretty uncomfortable. Not because I care what people do to their bodies (as a law student, I am required by the rules of professional conduct to drink a minimum of one liter of liquor or four bottles of wine per week--why do you think our professional association is called the bar?), but because I don't want to be involved in the mindless enforcement of a ridiculous law. Gay Republicans tend to prefer to stay out of jail, unless it's tennis prison for some barely illegal offense like embezzlement or insider trading.

Sure the medical use exception is a narrow one, but it's a welcome, if small, retreat of the government (in only a few states) from our private lives. I wonder why no Republican is willing to say that our limited (were it only so!) tax dollars might be better spent not on the war on drugs, but the war on terror. Heck, I'll say it.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Morning Roundup

A couple blogs I read have a regular or semi-regular round-up feature. I'm going to do that this morning because there are several items that I want to comment on, but don't really warrant a full post. I'm not sure if I will continue to do this, but who knows

  1. Ed and Elaine Brown have barricaded themselves in their hilltop compound in order to avoid serving a 63-month prison sentence for tax evasion (to the tune of almost $2 million). Now, I know that when people like this don't pay their taxes it increases the burden on those of us who do (or more accurately just increases the loss margins under which our Enron-esque government operates), but tax evaders have always been my anti-heroes (well, tax evaders and vigilantes). Plus, this kind of stuff--holing up in a compound, taunting SWAT teams with references to Ruby Ridge and Waco--while crazy, is still kind of fun to watch.
  2. In the "neato" category, physicists have been able to turn waste energy into sound, and then electricity. Note also that the research was funded by the army (I would have loved for it to be private), but since it could have legitimate national defense applications, I am not sooo annoyed. Also, it looks like there would wonderful private sector applications, so perhaps there is a chance here for investment. Regardless of who's footing the bill, I continue to be amazed at the ingenuity of man.
  3. Courtesy Towleroad: this Homo History looks like it might be an interesting read; also our friend Sully makes an appearance. The piece appeared in the Seattle Stranger, and although I haven't had the chance to go through it might be worth a few minutes time.
  4. Also from Andy Towle, Columbia's Same-Sex Union Bill is thrown out after being approved by a lower house of the Columbian legislature. I'm mixed an this. On the one hand it's upsetting that gay couples are still not afforded even semi-equal rights in Columbia; on the other it looked REEEEEEALLY bad when The United States was falling behind Columbia in terms of equal rights for gays. Of course if we don't want to look bad, optimally the US would stop dragging its feet rather than hoping that Columbia fails.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Parents Problem

In a couple weeks my parents are coming to visit me for a few days. While I'll be happy to see them, because I do love them, I am dreading their arrival in *my* city. I am still not ready to tell them, so the freedom to be me that I have been experiencing this summer will be pushed way back into the closet. I'm sure that when they get here it will be easy for me to revert to closet Pink Elephant around them, but knowing its coming makes me really uncomfortable.

I will not be introducing them to my new friends. I haven't told anyone that they are coming or even that I am not out to them. I find myself trying to pack in all sorts of activities so they don't really have the opportunity to ask about my personal life. ("Work has me too busy to date").

Yes, I realize there is an obvious solution, and that I should just tell them I'm gay. However, it won't just be my parents; it will also be my aunt and uncle. I suppose I am using my aunt and uncle as an excuse to avoid telling my parents, but really it doesn't seem fair or appropriate to just blurt it out to everyone at once. Also I hope to get more comfortable being an out gay man socially before I am out to them. Is that really just a lame cop-out? I don't know. Part of what upsets me is that even though I feel like I am making a lot of progress, on the parental front I am no better now than I was a year ago. I find that really frustrating.

I was hoping that venting here would make me feel better, but my stomach still tightens when I realize they are coming.

Yeah, and so is Ann Coulter

Please forgive me; although I try to stick to policy and not get personal, I couldn't let this one slip by.

Micheal Moore now believes he is "in the mainstream," arguing that American sentiment has caught up with his documentaries, though they were controversial upon their release.

Michael uses his trademark fuzzy correlation. As for Roger & Me, in which he took on General Motors, Moore notes that "they are near bankruptcy." The film describes the human impact of closing several factories. Closing factories (as opposed to relocating them) is kind of a sign of financial difficulty. Mightn't General Motors be "near bankruptcy" regardless? Besides, a company's economic performance is not necessarily an indication of changing public sentiment. Perhaps competition had something to do with it? Nah. It's much more likely that the American People, outraged at the human cost of closing GM factories, decided to boycott GM forcing them more factories.

In Bowling for Columbine, Moore attempts to blame gun violence in the U.S., illustrated by the Columbine incident among others, on a culture of violence. Apparently this is mainstream now because of the VA Tech shooting. Honestly, though prepared for it, I didn't hear much of a call for broad bans of personal firearms after the VA Tech tragedy. Instead we tried to close the particular loophole exploited by the gunman to avoid waiting periods and registration (and though I love me some guns, I think these are fairly reasonable restrictions). I suppose our gun culture endures just as before.

Then in Fahrenheit 9/11 Moore criticized the Bush Administration, The War on Terrorism, and the Iraq War. Perhaps here, Moore has his best argument for public sentiment catching up to him. Nonetheless it's rather specious to claim that declining support for a war that Moore always opposed indicates that he is now mainstream. We'd have to go a little deeper into why people now oppose the war. Is it because it was always a bad idea (point for Moore) ? Is it because we have other more compelling foreign policy interests to pursue (maybe point for Moore)? Is it because we aren't acting strongly enough (Point against Moore)? There are probably as many reasons for opposing the war as there are opposers.

Michael Moore is just as delusional and egotistical as ever.
Update: David Whelan at Forbes discusses Moore's upcoming Sicko. About halfway through Whelan makes points that are often overlooked or ignored by proponents of socialized healthcare, but seem all too obvious to anyone with but a cursory knowledge of markets.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

More immigration problems

I readily admit that I have not done my due diligence and actually read the immigration proposals (I'm not even sure they have been released, finalized, etc). But if the report from Heritage is correct there is a sginficant expansion of federal regulation of buiness a bureaucratic nightmare coming to every legal U.S. worker and employer. Most significant for those of us who are employees rather than emploers:

Under the proposal, each worker would be required to prove work authorization even if he or he has already done so under current law. A passport or birth certificate would not be sufficient; a new "confirmation" from DHS is required. American workers would actually need approval from DHS to continue working in their current jobs.

Things are worse for our bosses. First there will be increased record keeping and no doubt hiring compliance officers, and

[i]n addition, before contracting with other businesses, such as cleaning and construction companies, employers may be required to check with DHS to "obtain confirmation from the secretary that the contractor or subcontractor has registered with the Employment Eligibility Verification System (EEVS) and is utilizing [it] to verify its employees" (Sec. 302(a)(3)(B)).

So, who on earth came up with this? The fact that I have already proven my right to work in this country, not only to the satisfaction of my current employer but also the Department of State (my birth certificate got me a passport) is basically moot. My U.S. Birth Certificate won't be enough to prove that I am a citizen of the U.S. and elible to work here?

As an economic conservative, I am usually most interested in the bottom line of policy: what's this going to cost the taxpayers and the private sector. The Heritage report doesn't specify, and I am not qualified to estimate the costs with any particularity. Nonetheless, given such things as A) the sunk costs of implementing the system, B) the cost of compliance by the private sector (including both out of pocket and opportunity costs) and C) the cost of enforcement by the public sector, it doesn't seem like it would outweigh the benefit of re-ensuring that I am elligible to work in this country (as Heritage does point out, how many software engineers, or in my case lawyers, are working here illegally?). And lest you begin to think "eh, my employer can afford this, it doesn't really affect me" remember that like any good or service,when costs of labor go up, quantity demanded goes down. This means if you aren't productive enough to justify these costs or willing to take a pay cut to help offset them, off to the unemployment line you go (therby costing those who do keep our jobs even more in taxes). Hmm, with that in mind, perhaps I should get off the internet and back to work

Why does immigration reform impose nonsensical requirements on natural born citizens? Surely we can do better.

(h/t Paul at Right Side of the Rainbow - I encourage you to visit and take a look at his list of Senators in dire need of a call from constituents)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Another date

Since my last couple of posts were rather serious and sparked a bit of controversy (thanks to Matt and the DtB readers for joining in!), I thought I'd lighten things up with a description of my latest date. I mentioned when discussing last week's social calendar, I was going out with yet another boy. It was the second time we had seen him (you see, we had our pre-date last Sunday), so in gay dating time we have known each other for over a month. (note: I shall continue to translate for my 6 straight readers).

This boy has only one job [[is not an artist/actor/musician supporting his "craft" with a day job]], and even contributes to his 401(k)! This fact alone made me melt (I am a Republican after all).

We met downtown near where I work (he works in the suburbs but got off before I did). I had neglected to get dinner reservations because 1) I am still new to the city and don't know what the really good restaurants are, and 2) it didn't look like you needed them anyway. We were seated immediately once we selected a little french bistro [[overpriced pretentious cafe, that was sort of romantic anyway]]. The two of us decided to try a new drink together, so we ordered a Trance (have no idea what was in it, but it was blue and tasty). We had a couple each. Regardless of my alcohol consumption, I was able to remain discrete about the fact that I hunt old people and the poor for sport [[am a Republican]].

Our plan had been to go to a movie after dinner [[make out in the theater]], but dinner ran long, and so instead we just walked around this trendy [[expensive, and though not officially gay, popular among gays]] area of town. We stopped in a gelateria that also served gelato-based alcoholic drinks! Finally, we ended up at a coffee shop with an outdoor patio and people watched [[judged the appearance of passers-by]]. We found that we have compatible senses of humor (probably in my top three criteria for a date).

After coffee, we decided to check out the big gay bar in this city. Oddly enough, Friday seemed to be a rather slow night. Although Thursday is their big night (I never understood that--don't people have work on Friday too?), Friday was especially slow, judging from some of the remarks from the staff. Nonetheless, there were enough people to run the gamut of all gay stereotypes.

First there was an older gentleman who resembled Mr. Humphries from Are You Being Served. Mr. Humphries, was dressed age appropriately [[as a 50+ year old he was wearing Brooks Brothers not Abercrombie]] and appeared to be with another gentleman. As 401(k) (that will be my date's name in this blog) was ordering our drinks, Mr. Humphries approached him and had a polite, if flirty conversation. 401(k) asked him if the other gentleman was his partner and Mr. Humphries replied, "Oh god no! There's no ring on this finger. I noticed you don't have a ring either." I asked later if 401(k) knew this man, and the response was "no, and he made me really uncomfortable." Later in the evening I glanced in the direction of Mr. Humphries and got a little wave and a "let me show you a good time" look. I waved back out of my southern politeness instincts, but I felt creepy.

Then 401(k) introduced me to a couple boys he actually knew. One was like a gay parody from some sitcom. He was a hair designer [[he cuts hair for way too much money]] with bleached hair, was about 6'2 and had anywhere from 0 to 1% body fat. He talked with an affected femme-y voice (I presume affected because when he genuinely laughed the pitch didn't really match his speaking voice), and was snarkily sarcastic in a way that's really funny, but in the back of your mind you wonder what he's going to say about you when you leave. The hair designer was with a friend who had similarly bleached hair, though it was much longer than hair designers, and the friend wore not only lip gloss but eye makeup and had perfectly white teeth [[spent his money on both hair AND teeth bleaching]]. I was decided un-made-up [[my pre-going-out grooming regimen had only taken about an hour]]. Seriously, if these two had been characters in a movie, the gay community would be outraged at the unfair stereotyping.

Without going into the specifics of everyone I met, suffice it to say that there were all kinds in this bar, some I liked more than others.

After we had been out for several hours [[about the end of the third date in gay dating time]] we decided to explore of 401(k)'s employee discount at the hotel chain he works for, "just to see" [[find out if we could get a nice room on the cheap]]. We ended up at a really posh hotel for next to nothing [[$80]], and enjoyed all sorts of amenities [[ ;-) ]]. I never though myself a very affectionate or intimate person (with women--I think now we all know why), but it turns out I really do enjoy just holding someone.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

I still feel sorry for Tyler

I have gotten a lot of comments about my Tyler Whitney post, and I thought I should address some things publicly, rather than let them get lost in the comments. Also, it's clear that I am in the minority, so I want to better explain myself (not defensively, but just so everyone knows exactly where I am coming from).

First, I am not sure Tancredo is the most hostile to gays candidate (hostile to immigrants certainly, but we aren't talking about a story exposing Tancredo of employing an undocumented gardener). He opposes gay marriage using the same tired procreation argument, and doesn't vote for any pro-gay federal legislation (there could be a legitimate federalism reason for this, though I doubt it). Now, do I think Tancredo would make even a passable president? No. I'd vote for Obama over him (A Hills v. Tom race might send me to a third party again). Tancredo is certainly not a gay-friendly politician, but I'm just not sure a gay kid working for him is exactly like a back kid working for George Wallace.

Secondly, It's true that I may have glossed over Tyler's own exercise of extremely poor judgment. Perhaps some of the things he did were awful. Apart from various connections a la six degrees from Kevin Bacon, the only thing I can find that Tyler actually SAID or DID was hold a sign that was is in extremely poor taste. (You'll notice that some of the more outrageous things in the article are attributed to associates, but the author is obviously making an attempt to connect them to Tyler). For that, he deserves to be outed? If you think so, I am afraid we are going to have to agree to disagree.

Third, do I want to give him a free pass? No, had the story been that in addition to working for Tancredo, Tyler had been convicted of a hate-based assault against gays, my opinion would be different. Matt is quite right to point out the personal responsibility aspects of this situation, and I have to agree with Matt up to a point. I'm just concerned that this punishment is not commensurate. Basically, from what I can tell, Tyler's sins are: holding incorrect beliefs, expressing them in poor taste, and having acquaintances who are even more evil. If that's all he did, sure he should be called out, but there's no reason he should be called out in such a way that I should ever have heard about it. (Please ignore the fact that even by trying to take his side, I am continuing to call attention to Tyler's situation, making his outing even more widespread). It seems like instead of washing his mouth out with soap, we are throwing acid in his eyes.

Fourth, you may think I am overreacting. "All that happened to him is that he was outed, and now he can live a more honest and fulfilling life. Plus now he doesn't have to go through the agony of doing it himself; the band-aid is already off," you may say. But it's more than that. At 18 he's finished in public policy. Pro-Gay groups (including also the libertarian leaning groups I align myself with) wont have him for what he did before he was outed. And conservatives won't have him because he's gay. Even if, as I expect (hope?), conservatives give up this anti-gay nonsense, Tyler will not be welcome as a reminder of the movement's dubious past. Furthermore, should Tyler see the light, any attempt to look rehabilitated ("I was a very misguided youth, and I deeply regret some of the things I have done") will be met with a jaundiced eye from both sides. This kid will be lucky if anyone from a city councilman up will talk to him again. That HAS to matter to him. People with only a passing, cocktail party interest in policy and politics do not go to work for congressmen running for president.

Finally, true confessions: the Tyler Whitney situation is scary to me because I see how EASILY I could have been him. I have said here before that back deep in the closet I associated with groups and supported politicians who could legitimately be criticized for being being anti-gay. I rationalized at the time "I support 75% of what they say, and I don't really care that much about social issues, anyway." (My current, continued affiliation with the GOP, certainly the more anti-gay party, is different. I no longer turn a blind eye to their anti-gay policies, and hope to help change the party from within). I am ashamed now of those affiliations and have severed them completely, but they still exist in my past. It grieves me to think that I contributed, even indirectly, to some of the pain and prejudice that I and many others are experiencing now.

Thankfully even at 18 I had the good sense to know that holding a sign in such poor taste would not only be ineffective for my cause, but could also come back to bite me. However, a few years ago I worked for a policy organization and wrote two op-eds. One was about education policy and the other was a criticism of a prominent leader in the gay community. Can you guess which one still shows up when I google my name? Though I was never mean spirited and tried to focus my criticism on legitimate problems, someone could construe the op-ed as anti-gay. (I remember at the time I wrote it, I had a paragraph along the lines of "even if he is right that XYZ," and was told to take it out, because it "ruined my argument and gave [the leader] too much ground.") I wouldn't say I am haunted by the op-ed the way I am some of my former affiliations, but I would prefer that it could recede back into history just so I don't have to deal with it if it ever does come up.

North Dallas Thirty found a few more folks who are, well, sympathetic to Tyler.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


I HATE outing people. I think it is a vile practice that is hardly ever justified. As someone dealing with the turmoil of coming out myself, I know how scary it is. I still remember how the worst thing in the world would be people finding out my secret. Outing someone is only cruel, and in the case of poor Tyler Whitney, particularly so. (The story I linked to is a prime example of the heartlessness I describe).

Here is a young Republican kid working as a webmaster for a presidential candidate. A marginal one at best, but still not a bad little item for a political resume. Whitney was quietly coming out to friends (indicating that he was not ashamed of his orientation or hiding it; rather he just felt it was a personal matter), but then because he happens to work for Tancredo some people decided it was high time to punish him.

In reality the outing was meant to throw egg on the face of the Tancredo campaign, the life of this poor kid being one of the shells that had to be broken. Anyone who denies this is lying or delusional. What does the alleged hypocrisy of one kid matter to me or any other gays at all? (Indeed we may ask what does the Tancredo campaign matter to us at all). Nothing, he is just an expendable political tool. It makes me physically ill.

As someone who knows full well the pain of being gay in the right (no one accepts you), my heart goes out to Tyler.

(H/t Queer Conservative)

Friday, June 15, 2007

That's nice!

As I'll bet any casual reader of this blog will guess, I'm not likely to move to Massachusetts soon. Nonetheless I, like every single other gay blogger in the country, am pleased that the state legislature voted against an amendment to the state constitution to limit marriage to people of the opposite sex. The vote was more than 3 to 1 against the amendment. (The picture to the right comes from the link--I happen to like it).

Again, it's nice. It's a good thing. But was it necessary?

I FULLY support equal civil rights, and any constitutional amendments, plain Jane every day laws, or even regulations, state or federal, that limits certain civil benefits to couple of the opposite sex and denies them to couple of the same sex are anathema to me. ANATHEMA (I like that word and can't believe I haven't used it yet). But I never jumped onto the "civil unions aren't enough" bandwagon.

However, the fight for gay marriage seems to be as much about language as rights. But even without equal civil benefits, many committed gay couples call their partnership a marriage, refer to each other husbands (or wives) and so forth (I personally prefer "partner," maybe because I work in a law firm). So once you have equal civil benefits in the form of a civil union or domestic partnership, how does the quality of your life change once the state starts officially calling it a marriage, even though you have been doing so for years?

Sure it's a victory, and sometimes even symbolic ones are important. But were substantive rights really in danger in Massachusetts? If not, maybe we should focus our energy on other states, like Virginia, where they are.
Addendum: This is the kind of story that is really important for gay rights. Sure it's in Australia, not the U.S., nonetheless, it's both encouraging and heartwarming. Read the birth grandmother's lovely comment here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Social calendar

I'm seeing the date boy again tonight. Tomorrow is a Firm Cocktail party, and then Friday night I have a date with another boy. Saturday I am going to a party at the house of the Lesbian I had lunch with. I've never felt this popular.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I'm a Little Teary Eyed

Today is the twentieth aniversary of Reagan's powerful "Mr. Gorbechev, Tear Down This Wall" speech at the Brandenberg Gate.

Read the text of it here. I shall let President Reagan's remarks speak for themself.

I'm not crazy, after all

In an effort to diversify my links (meaning not everything must come from Sully), I am going back to my old friends at Independent Gay Forum.

Paul Varnell writes:
More than most social and political activists admit, economic behavior is the fundamental social force in society. Economic change brings other change in its wake, sometimes kicking and screaming but ineluctably. Businesses that want to maximize their income need to maximize our patronage.

You may recall, that I noted:
You may think it unseemly to break down something that is a "moral should" to something as base as economic advantage, but in the end, it's what works. Selfish motives are stronger than altruistic ones, and outcomes based on profit are more robust than outcomes based on moral guilt-tripping and especially those based solely on fiat. That's just fine with me.

Sure, I highlight this partly because it is narcissisticly affirming that someone with a far larger readership agrees with me (and even more so that I said it first!), but also, I really think that in this month of Gay pride, it's nice to actually be proud, not only of ourselves, but also that we have come a long way in society in general. Let's not get complacent, of course, but let's also not wallow in our disappointments to the point of ignoring, or worse, forgetting our successes (I'm talking to you Larry Kramer).

I don't mean to quote O'Reilly

but I couldn't think of any phrase other than "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day," when I read that China is drafting space law.

We have to "effectively protect the space environment." I laughed out loud reading that. First: is the space environment in any danger, I kind of figured that there might be a slight difference between the relatively scarce area on this planet and, oh, THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE! Okay, so fragments in orbit around our planet are a danger to other space traffic. If so, perhaps China can "increase international cooperation" by not blowing stuff up and creating those dangerous fragments. That might help the situation.

Second, um, since when is China concerned about any kind of environment?

Perhaps China just wants to be ahead of the curve when we and the Vulcans finally form The United Federation of Planets.

Monday, June 11, 2007

D'oh! There is other stuff in the world too!

Apparently too narrowly focused on my personal life, I missed this HUGE DEVELOPMENT in the Paris Hilton case. Just kidding, the link is about the immigration bill that was defeated last week.

Like I said, I wasn't crazy about it for process reasons. Maybe now we can address the problem without using dead of the night tactics. Of course, that means government will be unable to do anything at all. Oh well, devil you know...

Now I don't mean to make light of a serious issue. For the record: I still oppose illegal immigration and amnesty for the illegals (unlike the Rightwing Radio Rascals, I do not consider having to pay a $5,000 fine amnesty, especially since these illegals aren't exactly making six-figures; though like them, I wasn't crazy about those Z Visas, and I thought enforcement was unrealistically optimistic). Additionally I'd favor making English the national language (more for logistical and transaction cost reasons than anything else). Nonetheless I still think that the process of legal immigration is unnecessarily cumbersome. I also continue to roll my eyes mildly when it comes to the national security argument for securing the Mexican border. I haven't been convinced that the porous Mexican border poses a considerable national security risk that will be ameliorated significantly by a closed southern border. If you have been convinced and think I am naive, I eagerly welcome your comments.

Ron Paul, not yet dead

I seem to link to Sully a lot--I really need to start reading more blogs. Anyway: this is interesting. I didn't notice any confirmation yet, but if it's true I'd have to agree: Ron Paul brings some welcome diversity of opinion into the GOP race. I agree with Paul on quite a lot, though I think he's, uh, misguided on foreign policy (I'm being polite).

Even with the money, does he have a snowball's chance? No. Nonetheless, that money will allow him to keep bringing up issues and fueling the debate quite nicely. I like that.

Not Soprano

Congratulations to David Hyde Pierce, who won the Tony for best actor in a musical for his portrayal of Lt. Frank Cioffi, a musical loving detective (musical theater requires you to suspend your disbelief...a lot) in the show Curtains. I am a huge Frasier fan.

Best musical this year was Spring Awakening. I actually hadn't heard of this one before, but according to "the internets" is about a couple horny kids in Bismarckian Germany. Sounds like a good time to me.

Oh and Karen actually went to the Tony's. I am avoiding her calls so I don't have to endure her gloating. Sure, it's inevitable, but I'll just wait until I have something to gloat about too.

Saturday, June 9, 2007


I have promised that my descriptions of my new gay dating life (consisting of a whole one date) will not be explicit. As such I am keeping things PG-13. However, please stay regardless.

First an administrative matter: for the benefit of my straight readers (I know of 5), I feel it need the to translate certain things. Because I am already a liberal user of parentheses (two uses already in this post, and this makes three), I shall use double brackets to indicate my translations into Straight--my gay readers should feel free to ignore the double brackets as the true meaning of my statements will obvious to them.

I met David in a park that is nearby my city's gay enclave [[daytime gay meat market, nighttime place to contract hepatitis--I was there during the day]]; people were out enjoying the sun, walking dogs, playing volleyball, having picnics, and all sorts of wholesome activities [[cruising and looking to be cruised]]. I was almost ready to go home. Because I hate that ever so awkward "I don't have a reason to talk to you, but I am anyway" moment (unless I have had at least 2 alcoholic beverages--note: this is a parenthetical, not a translation, so gays should read it), I have not really talked to anyone. I'm also a little self conscious about my horrendous obesity [[no visible six pack, despite having a 32 inch waist]]. Suddenly I hear "you have an adorable dog" [["You have an effective dating prop"]], and so I turn around and see David.

We start talking, using typical small talk ("What's your Dog's name;" "How long have you lived here;" that kind of thing). It didn't take him long to compliment my eyes--my second best feature (I've always considered my smile my first). So then we decide to go for a walk and just continue the conversation [[gay pre-date]]. I learn that he is a visual artist [[receptionist]], and he learns I am law student interning at a firm for the summer [[sugar daddy]].

After a pleasant afternoon, we return to the park and exchange numbers. A few days later [[A few hours later--Nick once explained to me that gay dating is like dog years]], I got the following text:

"Hey Sexy, I had a really good time with you :-)"
[["Ask me out on a real date"]]

I responded by asking if he wanted to get a bite to eat, he agreed and we set a time for later that evening. I did some mild grooming [everything short of hot wax]], and dressed casually [[the only article of clothing on me that cost less than $70 was my underwear]]. I picked him up and we went to a trendy-ish "healthy" pizza place [[we weren't the only male couple in the restaurant, by a long shot]].

Eat, eat, eat, talk, talk, talk. Taking Icon's sage advice, when political topics came up I was careful not to reveal that I worship Satan [[am a member of the Republican Party]]

After dinner, since we are downtown, we go for a walk in the city. I love just walking around cities. David acts as my little tour guide. He shows me some really interesting points of interest I never would have found on my own. I showed him my office building, he showed me his [[actually we literally pointed out our places of business, pervs]].

We then walk along the river and he wants to hold my hand. I am internally a little uncomfortable but i think i hid it successfully. Especially since we hold hands for most of the rest of the night. Thinking back, despite my initial discomfiture, it was sort of sweet. At this point we had been on the date for about 3 hours [[Remember, in gay dating time, this actually counts as the second date]].

After about another hour of touring the city--we must have walked three miles together--I drive him back to his car, and the ride was very pleasant [[ ;-) ]]. Once we get to where he parked, we said goodnight [[ ;-) ]] and went home [[ ;-) ]].

I had a great time [[ ;-) ]].

We probably aren't talking long-term boyfriend material, for a couple reasons. First, super-sweet as he was, and snobbish as this sounds, I got the impression that when it came to brains, like Scar, I had the lion's share. Also, neither of us really seemed to be looking for a boyfriend. Looks more like he'll be my first gay friend in this city and sort of my "in" to the community here. I'm quite glad he noticed my dating prop in the daytime gay meat market so many months ago.

Friday, June 8, 2007

I'm new to this

So I think the guy at Banana Republic was flirting with me, but I am not sure.

He works there, and is the only one who doesn't have a really femme-y voice. Indeed, he could easily be straight, which is why I am confused.

Despite looking and sounding straight (which makes him all the more attractive to me) there are some questionable indicators. First, he did mention being a fashion major (stereotype, I know, but really--fashion major, that's kind of a big clue!). Also, the first time I went into his store, he said I looked familiar (which is a lame pick-up line men use, mostly without success, on women). Afterwards he explained this familiarity by saying I looked like some actor, but he couldn't remember his name (riiiight). Then the second time I went in the store he remembered me (albeit it was only a week later, but I used to work retail, and I rarely recognized repeat customers until about the fourth or fifth time). When I was in the dressing room, he checked on me not once but twice. Then after I had made my purchases, (another sales person checked me out, I think the maybe-flirting guy is like a manager or something) he asked my name and told me his name (which is Josh).

So, is this flirting, or is it trying to get me to spend $300 in the store (which I did)?

PETA and Leather (but not really)

I've never quite understood what good it does for their cause when PETA folks throw red paint on people wearing fur and leather. First off, the animal is already dead: in the case of leather, probably long ago served at some Outback. You aren't getting it back. Secondly, now this person is just going to have to go out and replace the coat. Even if you think the use of animals for such thing is repugnant, isn't it better to wear the leather after you someone has eaten the steak? Seems wasteful otherwise.

AAAAAND, that's sort of how I feel about embryonic stem cell research. Yesterday the House passed a bill easing restrictions on federally funded stem cell research. The bill eagerly awaits swift veto. Now I don't much like abortion. Hate it actually. Nonetheless, once the human being (or blob of protoplasm if you prefer) is sucked out of the mother's womb, are we just going to throw it in the garbage disposal? So long as we've got the material, why not try to cure Parkinson's? Since abortion is here to stay, it seems like we ought to bring some hope out of a terrible situation. Sort of like using executed criminals for medical research.

Of course, meanwhile, there have some other promising developments. Seems several scientists have been able to "re-program' mouse cells to act like embryonic stem cells. Now isn't that clever?

THAT SAID, I'm not a huge fan of federally-funded anything ('cept national defense). If stem cell research is so promising, why hasn't the private sector stepped in? Seems like a good idea to approach some research lab and say "here's $500,000 for stem cell research, in exchange for the money I get an exclusive license to any and all finding for 7 years" or something. Now, if there are legal barriers to private funding of such research, they must go; I hate legal barriers to private investment even more than I hate federally funded crap art. Anyway, President Pink Elephant would probably veto the bill too, but from a fiscal standpoint rather than a moral one.

And this is why there will never be a President Pink Elephant.

Thursday, June 7, 2007


Today I am having lunch with another attorney who is openly gay. I met her and her partner last week at a firm event, and we scheduled this lunch to discuss her experiences with the firm (at the event she indicated they were positive). G., the attorney I am lunching with, is quite friendly and clearly the lipstick--not that that really matters, except that I often find myself unable to make conversation with the more masculine lesbians ("No, I don't follow football; did you see Wicked?" "No, I didn't see Wicked, but I am building a new deck." "I bought a new shirt." [Silence]). Anyway, lesbians of all types are people who do go through similar struggles as I do, and they deserve respect, but I am not the only one who feels a little awkward.

Nonetheless, I am looking forward to our lunch today.

PS: I have already had my very first actual gay date (as opposed to drunken hook-up)!!! I shall post about it this weekend.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

JFK terrorists

Yeah, yeah, I know I'm a little behind on the attempted terror plot at JFK airport. I blame that on work and not having a usable laptop power cord (which will change this weekend as Friday is payday!!!!). However, because just yesterday the fourth suspected terrorist surrenendered, it gives me something of a reason to post on it now.

Now many are pointing to the fact that these guys are more like Larry, Curly, and Moe (and I guess now, Shemp) trying to perpetrate a plot. We heard Similar murmurings about the Fort Dix Six. Honestly, I don't care how amateurish these plots were. Last I checked, the generally accepted elements for an attempt crime were 1) The intent necessary to perpetrate the crime, and 2) some action taken in furtherance of the plot (naturally what sort of action this requires is the subject of considerable debate, but I'd bet that obtaining photgraphs of the target, soliciting financial and technical assistance, and recruiting others qualifies).

Assuming we can prove these elements (which oughtn't be too hard unless evidentiary rules exclude the recorded conversations, a distinct possibility) then, to cautiously paraphrase George Tenet, this should be a slam dunk.

I'm not going to advocate torture (wink), but even if these guys are the Three Stooges of the terrorist world, I think it perfectly approriate to interrogate them (aggressively) for information on other more urgent terrorist threats. Then punish them to the fullest extent of the law.

And like Alan Shore, I know I'll get letters.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

GOP Debates

Pink Elephant will not be watching the debates for three reasons in descending order of weight:

1) There are currently 789,462 Republicans jockeying for the nomination that is, oh, about a year and a quarter away. Sure, the primaries start in 9 months, and we need to weed these folks out. However, we have only 3 serious contenders (and then 1 sorta serious contender who is not yet official and thus will not be at the dabate), but with the a stage as populous as China, no one is going to get to say anything of any real substance. The questions might as well have only yes or no answers. You want to know what these people think (or say they think)? Then visit their websites.

2) I have a happy hour to go to.

3) I don't have a TV in my new apartment yet.

Monday, June 4, 2007


I can't say this much better than Andrew Sullivan, so I won't try.

I will add, the only not-even candidate that has shown consistent federalism is Southern Conservative Fred Thompson. I've said before: I like him, I just don't think he would be a wise choice this time around. Unless we want another (and worse) President Clinton, we need to think very critically about how our candidate will appeal to moderates.


Today marks the birth of a new category for this blog: dating. I must reiterate, however, this blog is not about sex, and discussions of dating will not become a ribald string a NSA hook-ups (not my style anyway).

Cards on the table: I've never dated much. I had a couple of beards in high school, but they were more of the standing date for dance variety. Nonetheless they did the job, even in college people would ask me if was still dating ____. (Aside: my senior year beard just recently got married).

In college, I was still very closeted, and would go to parties, but ALWAYS go home alone (a couple of times I would crash at a friend's place, but that would involve sleeping and nothing else). I always used the excuse "I'm too busy to date," and incidentally my lack of dating is what makes my mom suspicious.

All that is to say, I never got the cheesy high school "not-too-serious-but-feels-like-it-anyway" kind of starter dating that most people get. I have no idea what do, and I'm about a decade behind on that front. Regardless, I decided this weekend, that if I am going to be out this summer (new city and all), I might try some casual dating. Emphasis on the casual. I don't think I am in a place right now where I can seriously contemplate a boyfriend.

Now comes the challenge: I want casual not too serious dating (meanign doign stuff together, but not feeling obligated always to be with the same person) but I am not exactly looking for the mindless sexual encounters and one night stands that is the stereotype of the young gay dating scene. I'm more interested in going to dinner, taking walks, watchign movies, and so on. So basically I want more serious romantic dating that I can treat casually, hmm. Anyway, just musing. I don't have a plan of action to share, but this is something I've been thinking about.

Oh and, Icon: your point in the comment to my last post is very well taken. I'm not even sure I can get away with the old line, "really I'm just a libertarian" with most. Though I might keep my politics in my back pocket if I ever want to end something quickly :)

Friday, June 1, 2007


For all her moderate posturing, Hillary reveals herself to be a tried and true member of the free-markets-are-evil left.

(I wrote this post on my lunch break, so I stopped stealing from the firm)

That's a switch

According to this CNN article, the Democratic candidates are doing to more to appeal to religious voters and top Republicans seem to be shying away from discussing their faith publicly.

"I don't think that a person who's running for a secular position as I am should talk about or engage in discussions of what they in their personal faith or their personal beliefs think is immoral or not immoral," Romney said in an AP interview last week in response to a question about whether he believes homosexuality is immoral.

Giuliani didn't want to talk about his faith, either. "The mayor's personal relationship with God is private and between him and God," his campaign told AP.

I wonder if this is a blip or trend that suggests I can come back into the tent.

Aside: People keep saying the GOP needs someone like Fred Thompson to mobilize the base (i.e. religious conservatives). I'm not sure Fred would be a wise choice, not to say I don't like him. The base will be mobilized regardless (two words: Hillary Clinton), and focusing too narrowly on the base is going to alienate the moderates again meaning we will lose.

UPDATE: Here is the article that Andrew Sullivan linked to (h/t Matthew). The money quote (also highlighed by Sullivan) is

Paul Nagy, the group's top-gun in New Hampshire, believes nominating Giuliani would be disastrous for the American conservative movement. Along with other activists, Nagy signed a letter seeking additional signatories to the anti-Rudy declaration. The letter states: "Rudy Giuliani is an unacceptable Republican nominee for President of the United States. He is pro-abortion, pro-partial birth abortion, pro-registration of handguns, and pro-homosexual rights. He is the most liberal Republican candidate for President in our nation's history."

A couple of things. I readily disagree with Rudy on abortion and gun control, but since when is Rudy pro-partial birth abortion? Has he come out against Stenber v. Carhart? Is this an older position that has been swept under the rug as he runs for president? I'm not being argumentative, but that line surprised me. How DARE he, though, advocate equal rights for a minority. After all, homosexuals are a minority because they like to do icky things to each other (now, I'm being argumentative). Also it's interesting that this litany of sins mentions nothing about national defense, federalism, fiscal policy, or limited government, which is kind of what I thought conservatism was about. I'm in my 20s and already behind the times, I guess.

Seriously though, I need to get of the blog and do some paid work.