Friday, April 17, 2009

Youth In Flower

orchidshow2009 - 43.jpg
Originally uploaded by actor212
OK, it was hard to resist this shot.

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) In fairness, her blowdryer DID look like a gun.
2) Rush Limbaugh. Like a fruitcake, he's the gift that keeps on giving, even tho you really don't want it.
3) I'm sorry, did I say "like a fruitcake"? He IS a fruitcake! Just ask any of his two, err, three, errr, four, errr, five? Four...four wives!
4) JammieWearingFool lives up to the last part of his name. Maybe he ought to buy a suit and get a job? Quoting a blind item about NBC worrying about being Obama's opposition network in the NY Post then claiming Fox News is the opposition network-- when the Post is OWNED by News Corp. and clearly this blind item was made up out of whole shit-- is like me quoting the Democratic Underground about, well, right wing terrorism. Or worse, me quoting Paris Hilton about how awful Obama's tax hikes will be.
5) One final funny note on the Teabagging on Wednesday: The DC protestors forgot to secure permits to dump a million teabags in the DC park they were authorized to protest in, thus missing the opportunity to have at least a decent visual for the nightly news. Instead, a conservative think tank funded in large part by the RNC offered the use of their conference room. On the twelfth floor. Of a building with tiny elevators. Meaning it took two people a few dozen trips up and down to take all those tea bags up, dump them in the conference room, take some pictures, then leave them for the non-union undocmented cleaning crew to cart out later that night!
6) One final UNfunny note on the Teabagging on Wednesday: If ur calling a President wif a 60% approval rating "fascist" on th' nashunal teevee, ur doin it wrong!
7) You are one of two major league baseball teams in the largest city in America, both opening a brand new stadium in the middle of the worst depression since World War II. Your stadium was paid in large part with public funds and one of the two team's field is named after a de-facto bankrupt multinational bank. Who do you get to sing your national anthem? A legendary singer associated with New York City, like Billy Joel (who has played both former stadiums), or Paul Simon, maybe even Tony Bennett? No. A legendary opera singer, like Renee Fleming or Placido Domingo? No. A famous Broadway performer like Sutton Foster or even Glenn Close who lives here and is a big baseball fan? No.
You get the ensemble cast of a failed revival of West Side Story or a near-washed up former American Idol winner.
Excuse me? YOU'RE FUCKING NEW YORK TEAMS! Why in the hell are you humping a Broadway show done worse than a high school production and a barely-tolerable singer humping her new album??? This is Yankee Stadium! This is the new home of the Mets! It's no wonder karma bit you both on the ass and made you embarass yourselves in the home openers!
9) It's just pork and beans!
10) Mr. President, it's not just about turning the page. It's about justice and human rights. If we truly want "Never Again," we have to make sure it happens never again, no matter what the cause or reason.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring Sprung

Don't Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out!

From the "Who Gives A Shit?" file:

AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry fired up an anti-tax "tea party" Wednesday with his stance against the federal government and for states' rights as some in his U.S. flag-waving audience shouted, "Secede!"

An animated Perry told the crowd at Austin City Hall -- one of three tea parties he was attending across the state -- that officials in Washington have abandoned the country's founding principles of limited government. He said the federal government is strangling Americans with taxation, spending and debt.

Perry repeated his running theme that Texas' economy is in relatively good shape compared with other states and with the "federal budget mess." Many in the crowd held signs deriding President Barack Obama and the $786 billion federal economic stimulus package.

Sounds like yet another Texasshole is gearing up to take a run for the Presidency, apparently not having learned the lessons of the Bush years, which were "All hat, no cattle, makes Jack a lousy president".
They grow 'em big in Texas, including blowhards. Texans might do well to remember that the United States bailed their sorry asses out when Mexico had bankrupted the Republic by continuing a war of economic and violent attrition and Texans were practically begging for our protection.
So, Rick, ol' boy, here's your ten gallon hat. Stick it over your five cent brain and take your two-bit state and shove it where the sun don't shine: Del Rio.

To Be Or Not To Be

CONCORD, N.H. — A committee of the New Hampshire State Senate plunged Wednesday into the escalating debate over same-sex marriage, hearing hours of discordant testimony on whether the state should become the fifth to allow it.

The state's House of Representatives narrowly approved a bill last month that would legalize marriage for same-sex couples, and the public hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee came on the heels of victories for same-sex marriage in Iowa and Vermont. But with the full Senate preparing to vote on the measure as soon as next week, its chances remain uncertain.

With Gov. David A. Paterson set to introduce a same-sex marriage bill to state lawmakers Thursday, activists differ on whether the effort from an unpopular executive will help the cause of marriage equality.

The issue will hinge on whether Paterson and his allies can win the votes of enough Republican state senators to offset opposition from conservative Democrats such as Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. of the Bronx.

Alan Van Cappelle, executive director of Empire State Pride Agenda, a gay-rights group, didn't directly answer questions about whether failure in the Senate following Paterson's high-profile support would constitute a setback for the same-sex marriage movement. "We are closer than people think, but we're not there yet," Van Cappelle said.

After Vermont and Iowa legalized gay marriage this month, New York could add to the momentum or halt it, said Suffolk County Legis. Jon Cooper (D-Lloyd Harbor).
"It doesn't make sense to bring it to a vote and have it fail," said Cooper, who has plans to marry his longtime partner in Connecticut on April 29. "It could potentially have national implications - the opponents of same-sex marriage could say even in liberal New York, this couldn't pass."
Make no mistake, Legislator Cooper. New York is not as liberal as you would like to believe. Parts of upstate and the North Country are redder than the reddest parts of Alabama.
I have long supported gay marriage on the theory that misery loves company, and why should gays have all the fun? Indeed, I suspect once gay marriage is legalized across the nation, the descriptor will be changed to "miserable" (insert Victor Hugo joke here).
In a nation ruled by law, as the United States claims to be and certainly as the Founding Fathers intended, gay marriage has its place. There is no good legal reason why marriage should be limited to anything beyond two consenting adults. Period. End of discussion.
One could, on a very conservative platform, make a moral issue with respect to marriage, but so what? Laws are made not to enforce morality and behavior, but to protect people from other people. Period. Two men or two women marrying impacts no one outside of their families.

It is not my business. It is not your business. It is not society's business. It is the business of the two adults, men, women, man & woman, and that's the end of it.
And if it were as simple as that, the issue would be resolved. Here's where it gets sticky.
Laws may be objective and impartial, and justice may be blind, but lawmakers are not, and there's the rub. You see, this isn't about the law itself. Any Constitutional lawyer (and the Congress and the state houses are packed to the brim with ConLawyers) will tell you that gay marriage ought to be legal.
The problem is, they have to be elected and that's where things get dicey. In order for gay marriage to obtain legal status, politicians must be able to override the fear of being ousted by their constituents, who don't always want to listen to reasoned legal arguments, who's opinion can be summed up as "they are fags and abominations", who's own fears are preyed upon daily by talk show hosts and televangelists and absurd manipulative hatemongers who, having lost the ability to stir up hate against racial and ethnic minorities (altho they still try, trust me), have shifted their focus on to less identifiable, more ephemeral biases: gays, liberals, Muslims.
Substitute "negroes, Commies, Jews" and you can see how the entire monologue of the haters isn't new, it's just been repackaged.
The way I see it, it's going to take one of two things to make gay marriage acceptable in this atmosphere: either a slow change in the atmosphere, or a radical event that presents a rationale that makes opposition to gay marriage pale in comparison.
Likely it will take a little of both, altho more evolution than revolution: after all, if Jackie Robinson (who broke the baseball color barrier 62 years ago yesterday) hadn't been Jackie Robinson, the Civil Rights Act couldn't have followed 17 years later. That's a combination of breakthrough and evolution, and that's what it is going to take.
There's an awful lot of fear surrounding this issue: an awful lot of the "ick factor" surrounding gays (sorry, but there's no other way to frame part of the trouble many people have in accepting gay marriage), and an awful lot of fear on the part of gays to be out and proud about who they are.
The fortunate signs are, both of these fears seem to be melting away, glacially. Certainly, more gay men and lesbians can come out into the sunshine now, and that four states have overcome the fears of married men and married women is a positive step.
Amen for both of those. We need more courage these days.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sunshine Superman

More beautiful than you can imagine.

Liveblogging The Tax Day Tea Party

7:00 PM This is Actor212, speaking to you live from City Hall Park near the site of the World Trade Center, where literally ones of people turned out today in support of the nationwide "Tea Bag Parties," protesting President Obama's plan to raise taxes on the fat and lazy rich.
7:05 PM I see over there on the corner a handful of former Lehman brokers, looking spiffy in their Brooks Brothers suits...even if it's been a few days since they've bathed, and haven't bothered to change clothes since Veteran's Day, shuffling around like they were about to board the trains to a Michelle malkin Internment camp, asking for spare stock tips, panhandling at Harry's Of Hanover Street, leaping off tall curbs trying to commit suicide, and then showing up in droves mobs small groups of one or less to protest the patent unfairness of Obama's tax policy.
7:06 PM One protestor I interviewed, a Richie McRich, talked about how Obama had his nerve asking the ultrawealthy to pitch in and help, when they have houses on small tropical islands to support and landscape.
7:07 PM OK, we've got a little action here. Apparently, one of the protestors, a lawyer from the looks of it, has spilled his Perrier all over one of the brokers, and accidentally washed a small patch of his suit clean.
7:15 PM So far, just a lot of speaking, squawking really, about "taxes", "flat", and "screwed". Sounds more like a union meeting at an unpopular Vegas strip club, but maybe they're just getting warmed up.
7:20 PM Is that Michelle Malkin? The cameras converge. Much anticipation of some violent and self-ignorant outburst....
7:21 PM Nope. Just a homeless Filipino collecting deposit bottles after losing his job at Citibank.
7:25 PM I'm surrounded by literally dozens of pigeons, scrambling for the crumbs left by a couple of protestors who bought a sack of Big Macs to feed the ensemble.
7:30 PM A couple of signs being held up...uh oh, the crowd suspects something about these protestors...they're conferring in a phone booth...I can't quite make out what...oh. OHHHHHHHHHHHH! Apparently some liberal infiltrators from ACORN have intruded! The tip-off was the fact that their signs were spelled correctly!
7:31 PM Someone is trying to show a's hard to see the screen of the cellphone from this far away...I'm about one-deep in the throng of five....
7:35 PM OK, I manage to elbow my way past the dude who thought we were having a free sex show, and the homeless guy who thought this was City Harvest...the video is from Chicago where apparently, a conservative comedy team is putting on a show for a handful of people and some Cubs fans staggering by..."Crocs & Stretch Pants" is the name of the group.
7:40 PM People are looking around at each other in embarassed silence.
7:45 PM The Lehman brokers are looking at people like they were giant hot dogs, drooling.
7:50 PM Uh oh, there's a few cops on the outskirts of the group, about a foot away from the podium, moving in closer, checking their watches. It must either be time to wrap this up, or a new batch of Krispy Kremes is baking and they want to see if they can beat the rush...
7:51 PM OK, I see looks like a nightstick raised up! Could we be seeing The Man oppressing our lowly taxpaying brethr-- Oh. No. Sorry. Jonah Goldberg showed up, carrying a salami and baguette.
8:00 PM It's starting to rain again; it's—the rain had slacked up a little bit. The back motors of the ship are just holding it just enough to keep it from— It's burst into flames! It burst into flames, and it's falling, it's crashing! Watch it! Watch it! Get out of the way! Get out of the way! Get this, Charlie; get this, Charlie! It's fire—and it's crashing! It's crashing terrible! Oh, my! Get out of the way, please! It's burning and bursting into flames; and the—and it's falling on the mooring-mast.This is terrible! This is the worst of the worst catastrophes in the world. Oh my President! It's flames... Crashing, oh! Four- or five-hundred feet into the sky and it—it's a terrific crash, ladies and gentlemen. It's smoke, and it's flames now; and the frame is crashing to the ground, not quite to the mooring-mast. Oh! The humanity! And all the passengers screaming around here. I told you; it—I can't even talk to people. Their friends are on there! Ah! It's—it—it's a—ah! I—I can't talk, ladies and gentlemen. Honest: it's just laying there, mass of smoking wreckage!
8:05 PM OK, I made that up, but it's FUCKING BORING HERE!!!!!!! Oh god, I could be home poking my eyes out with knitting needles!!!!! What have I done to deserve this fate?????
8:11 PM Now people are milling around, which is really funny to watch since there's maybe a dozen people here, four if you subtract the Fox News reporters. Try to organize four people to mill, it looks like a game of musical chairs.
8:15 PM It's agreed. No one wants to pay taxes and everyone would rather be home watching the Law and Order repeat. Even the Fox News reporters think we should go to a titty bar. Meeting adjourned!

Havana Wonderful Time, Wish You Were Here

I think I speak for anyone with a lick of sense when I say, at last!:
HAVANA, April 15 (Xinhua) -- The decision by the U.S. government to change its strategy and lift some restrictions on Cuba have aroused multiple reactions in the island, among which there are hopes of a start to the end of the decades-old economic blockade.

    On Easter Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama lifted restrictions on travel and money transfers to Cuba, opening a crack in a 47-year-old embargo against Havana.

    Obama also authorized U.S. telecommunication firms to open up investments in Cuba, as well as to hire radio and television satellite services for people in the Caribbean nation.

    The new measures overturned the policy imposed in 2004 by the Bush White House. The "Transition Plan toward a Free Cuba," also know as Plan Bush, limited money remittances from Cuban Americans to their families to 300 U.S. dollars every quarter, and visits to the island once every three years with each lasting no longer than14 days.

The blockade and embargo of Cuba made sense when it was a close ally and satellite of the long-defunct Soviet Union. After all, it was only 90 miles from the shores of America, and the Soviets had already shown a propensity for dangling that fact in front of our faces. Even the retention of a foothold on the island (Guantanamo Bay) has become a bit of an anachronism and even a sore spot for American foreign policy.
I've flown over Cuba. Looking down from 35,000 feet, it looks absolutely beautiful, unlike nearly every other Caribbean island I've ever been to or flown over. Hardly like this massive threat to American security and interests that Republicans and Cuban-American partisans have painted it to be.
Which highlights the narrowness of American policy towards Cuba. A lot of what we've done recently has been to placate a bunch of people who are 50 years beyond ownership of land and property on the island, whose families now have stronger ties to Nebraska than to Havana. The pitiful "reforms" accomplished under Plan Bush were nearly meaningless and paid lip service to the greatest weapon America has in transforming Cuba back to our greatest ally: economic strength and generosity.
You say you want a revolution? Free the minds of the people. Right now, every European nation has visa exchanges with Cuba, including our strongest allies. The average Cuban gets American culture second- or third-hand. Why not give it to them, straight up?
Once Cubans see images that aren't Elian Gonzalez-ised, once they see that America is a great and good land filled with great and good people, once they see that the vast majority of Americans would love nothing more than to point a boat south and hit the tropics rather than stand around government offices in Miami, shouting "Death To Castro", they'll get it.
They'll see us. We'll see them. And we'll understand that these people, these resilient and stoic people who for fifty years have lived in fear and hatred of a nation that truly means them no harm-- save for a bunch of arrogant assholes and their political operatives who have all been marginalized now-- have much to teach us.
After all, they've lived in a northern umbra of fear and hatred and assumed it was universally shared in the lands above them on the globe. We need to free these people, both of their fears of us, but also of their fears of freedom. This will not require guns or weapons or armies or even money.
It will require me with a camera, and you with a passport, and him with some scuba equipment, and her with a phrasebook. Shiny happy people. Real Americans.
Wherever I go in the islands, I am struck by how negative the image is of Americans "except for you guys, of course". It could be the Caymans or Bahamas or Bonaire or Aruba or Jamaica. It doesn't matter. There is this amorphous image of Americans as fat, lazy, stupid and arrogant people.
Here, in Cuba, we have a chance to work with a fresh slate. In the course of this rollback of the embargo and blockade, I urge President Obama to encourage Americans to become involved in Cuba and with Cuban lives. We're all of us responsible for the tragic policies of the past fifty years, even if at times they were deemed necessary evils.
We have voices. We did not use them. We let others with an agenda speak for us, and they said the wrong things in our names.
We need to show the Cuban people that we want to help bring them up to speed, to enjoy the bounties of our friendship and good relations with among neighbors.
After all, there's only so many Cuban cigars I can smoke! You guys are going to have to help pick up the slack a bit.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Porno For Tyros

There was a time, in the dark recesses of the 70s and into the early 80s, when porn was cool.
There was a time, before AIDS (then known as the Gay Cancer), before even herpes, when porn was about as mainstream as professional wrestling or professional bass fishing. Perhaps even moreso, since anyone could participate and often did.
There was a time when birth control and abortion made sexual liberation and exploration inevitable and even palatable.
There was a time when the forces of know, the guys who later exposed themselves as serial adulterers and pedophiles...were waned behind the onslaught of popularity some porn produced.
I'm reminded of this by this sad story on the wires today:

Marilyn Chambers, the angelic-looking, blue-eyed blond who symbolized purity while selling laundry detergent then went on to become one of the first mainstream porn superstars, died Sunday in her Los Angeles home. She was 56.

The Westport, Conn.-born actress was found by her 17-year-old daughter, McKenna Marie Taylor.

An autopsy will be done but no foul play is suspected.
This is Marilyn Chambers. This is not a fake.
She was a mainstream model and actress, even appearing briefly in the Barbra Streisand film, The Owl And The Pussycat.
Her big break, so to speak, was a film called Behind The Green Door, the first porn film released to mainstream theatres. It paved the way for later films like Deep Throat, and actresses from Linda Lovelace to Tracy Lords to Jenna Jameson to have legitimate superstar credentials both in porn and in Hollywood.
In fact, so big an impact had she had in American culture that the city of San Francisco declared a "Marilyn Chambers Day" in 1998, some 25 years after her film.
I knew her indirectly. Al Goldstein of Screw Magazine lived in my neighborhood, and we'd speak on occasion (the man wouldn't stop talking, in point of fact, so it was more me listening), and her name came up in conversation a few times, always with respect for what she did for his industry.
Marilyn Chambers represented a difficult crossroads for the burgeoning feminist movement of the 70s. On the one hand, some feminists thought all porn was to be shunned as exploitive. On the other, here was a woman who was taking control of her career in porn, who was strong and could dictate how and where her body was to be used, who was also exploring the First Amendment boundaries, very strong feminist values.
I do not judge the woman beyond this: she lived her life as she saw fit, and made her way as best as she could. She broke ground and whether we are the better for it is for history to judge. But she was a human being and for that, accorded my respect and compassion.
Godspeed, Marilyn. Godspeed.

Monday, April 13, 2009