Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Alabama Senate Race Gets Crazy



In Alabama's most outrageous Senate race, Roy Moore is in

Roy Moore is running for U.S. Senate.

Surprise!

Which means that no less than three candidates - Moore, the Christian Coalition guy and Rep. Ed Henry - will probably seek the "backed by God" mantle.

Sorta like The Bachelor in search of God's rose.

It could get uncomfortable.

This race, the special election for the seat abandoned by now-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and assumed by now-tainted U.S. Sen. Luther Strange, is a downhill sprint that might just end in a heap outside a Sand Mountain Dollar General.

There is Moore, who has name recognition surpassing even the sitting senator. But it ain't all good. The guy has been booted off the Alabama Supreme Court twice. He says it was for standing up for your rights. Rights groups say it's because if you don't fit into his definition of rights your rights are wrong.

Strange would have been the presumptive favorite if not for, well, current events. The downward spiral and subsequent earthly impact of ex-Gov. Robert Bentley didn't just take out the governor, it left Strange's reputation in a smoking pile. The former attorney general is now widely seen as the guy who was willing to look the other way on potential gubernatorial crimes if Bentley would appoint him to his dream job.  

Henry - a guy who hounded Bentley for months - now claims the crown of corruption fighter in chief.  "Trump's going to need help draining the swamp," he said when entering the race. But I'll never stop seeing this "corruption fighter" clapping like a seal on speed at a pep rally supporting former House Speaker Mike Hubbard, the current poster child for Alabama corruption.  

Randy Brinson, president of the Christian Coalition of Alabama, has also announced his candidacy, bristling against corruption and the "venality of politicians."

Hard to argue that, and this race is case in point.

The wild card - if he's even in this race - is Alabama Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh, who has made a decision about whether to run but had not, as of this posting, decided to share that decision.

He's a somewhat boring businessman, who along with Hubbard dominated the Alabama GOP for years, although he has managed to do it without becoming a household name. He'll take heat for being a silk-stocking Republican, a part of the Goat Hill status quo. He won't claim the anointing of God but will probably get a sprinkling from the BCA, which in Alabama politics is pretty close to the same thing.

His biggest asset - and this could be a big thing - is that he's not, as far as I know, crazy as a bag of jackhammers.

As a matter of fact that should be his slogan, should he choose to run: "Del Marsh: The practically sane one."

This thing is gonna get hairy fast. The primary election - and in blood-red Alabama the election that counts is the Republican primary - is in August, so name recognition and money will be big.

Strange has already been able to build a campaign war chest of almost $800,000, but he's got as much baggage as he has money.

Moore hasn't been as successful raising money in the past - and his last attempt at governor was a dismal failure - but he has a big name and a committed base. But he, too, has as much baggage as he has base. And Henry and Brinson could peel off some of his votes.

If I had to lay odds now - assuming Marsh makes it into the race -- I'd say Strange finishes third to Moore and Marsh.

And while Moore seems a shoo-in to make the runoff, he could very well lose to Marsh.

But then, maybe I'm putting too much stock in "practically sane."


The pretty picture above has nothing to do with the article but is a palate cleanser since politics can leave a bad taste in your mouth.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Isabella



Sometimes, she likes to sleep under the covers and play with my feet. Her favorite game is fetch. She will bring me one of her toy mice or a toy fish that says catnip on the side and expects me to throw it. When I do throw it, she goes gets it and brings it back to me to throw again. She can go on like this forever and never seems to tire of the game.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Gay Haiku



I don't understand

You love it when I do that--

Wait, no.  That's Stephen.


Remember when I

Said I disliked oral sex?

I meant just with you.


My seventh birthday;

I weep at Barbie's Dream House.

How could you not know?


The salmon's divine,

But I'm afraid we can't stay--

I screwed our waiter.


He's gorgeous, witty

And stimulating.  Please, God,

Let him be a top.




EDIT: These are all from "Gay Haiku" by Joel Derfner. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Habit of Making Historical Figures Gay or Trans Is Problematic


With Transgender Day of Visibility and the GLAAD Media Awards occurring during the same week and with Pride Month just a few months away, it made me reflect on LGBT history and historiography. If you don’t know what historiography is, it can be defined as “the writing, methods of scholarship, and selection of materials to create a narrative of history that will stand the test of critical review.” It’s the work that historians engage in to help us understand our past. There are numerous approaches to it that have risen and fallen in popularity over time from Great Man, Annales School, and Marxist to Consensus and New Left, each with its own merits and followings. However, the challenge they all share is how to reconcile their views with the complexity of human existence and its past. As part of that, LGBT history faces the same dilemmas and the same issues with reconciling the past without falling subject to fallacies commonly found in historical thought.

It’s only been in the last few decades that being LGBT has moved beyond being seen as merely a sexuality or way of expressing yourself but a genuine group identity. As with any emerging group, there is a drive to create a historical narrative of where we came from, to create a mythology that includes virtuous heroes, and to place us within the greater society. This is nothing new or special, as every group in history has done it — nations, ethnicities, genders, religions, and even various professions. To want to find a place in the historical narrative of humanity is simply an act of being human, yet as such can be entirely flawed and problematic. This is not to say that what LGBT people are doing is wrong — far from it — it’s just that we need to be aware of these problems and work to correct them, as the process can ultimately work against our goals of acceptance.

The major problem where this occurs is the same problem that has plagued other groups, which is forming a selective narrative and projecting our current worldviews into the past. The first part is forming a selective narrative that tends to emphasize the good and play down or ignore the bad. A good example for Americans would be the issue of race. For example, while much focus is placed upon the South’s Jim Crow laws and slavery in our collective history, we tend to overlook that American finance and industry were funded and supported by the slave trade. Additionally, we have yet to fully resolve the contradictions of our hero Founding Fathers with their claim “All men are created equal,” while many still fought to own slaves themselves. In this regard, the LGBT community is quick to proclaim virtuous obvious heroes such as Harvey Milk, Alan Turing, and Bayard Rustin, but tends to play down those that are far less virtuous such as Roy Cohn, a man who helped persecute LGBT people and helped Donald Trump escape greater punishment for his racist housing practices. Another great example of this is J. Edgar Hoover, who helps highlight the second great problem in developing an LGBT history.

J. Edgar Hoover was never proven to be gay, though rumors circulated his entire life. Allegations about his relationship with his assistant Clyde Tolson, whom he was extremely close to, were around for years, along with Hoover’s suspiciously coincidental associations with other closeted gay men like Roy Cohn. Now, while Hoover’s sexuality will likely never be proven to a general satisfaction and many people will debate it for years, it raises a particular issue for LGBT people — that of appropriating historical figures. While there certainly are historical figures we can cite as being part of the LGBT population, such as the Emperor Hadrian, Gustave Flaubert, or Oscar Wilde, it’s when we start to take on those who have more ambiguous histories that we run into issues that may actually end up working against us. For example, it’s often said that Abraham Lincoln was gay and Joan of Arc was transgender because of the behaviors they exhibited that we see now as fitting those identities. Historians have a word for it: “presentism.”

With LGBT people, the issue is that in trying to paint many historical figures who behave in ways that seem to be “gay” that are familiar to us — or err on the side of favorable historical rumors — we run contrary to the contemporary arguments about gender and sexuality that we use to foster our own acceptance. We regularly argue that gender roles and behaviors are a social construct and therefore are constantly evolving. For example, we point out that at one point in Western history it was acceptable to be bisexual or to exhibit same-sex attraction, yet we fail to note that people of the time viewed sexual behaviors in a vastly different than we do, and the period often included complex social values and norms. We also seem to sometimes place modern views on same-sex nonsexual relationships to these figures in that “no true straight person” could have such feelings for a person without it being sexual. We cite letters and poems that express a fondness we consider romantic or sexual, when we know well that in those times and in different cultures expressions of closeness were different. Even in today’s world, while Americans might find men kissing or holding hands an overtly homosexual act, in many parts of the world, it’s simply a sign of affection and closeness, just as men sharing a bed for long periods of time in the past was completely common but seen as “queer” today. The same goes for expressions of gender behavior that we have deemed masculine or effeminate, like dress and occupation, including those that served a specific purpose. When we place a pattern of gendered behaviors from our contemporary culture onto the past, we contradict our own arguments against gender expectations.

LGBT people are not special nor really stand out in misinterpreting, appropriating, or revising history to suit their purposes over any other groups. Reconciling the good and bad LGBT figures from history will come with time and from a more reflective position when values have changed. People project their own values and views so regularly onto the past, it’s practically expected. A huge portion of the work historians do is to counter that. However, there is a unique interest in LGBT history to avoid viewing the past through our current frameworks. If we are to advocate for diversity of expression, to work against toxic views of gender and sexuality, and to show that society is better for embracing such beliefs, we cannot rewrite or whitewash history along those lines, as we end up working against our self-interest. 


AMANDA KERRI is a writer and comedian based in Oklahoma City. Follow her on Twitter @EternalKerri.


Source: http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2017/4/05/habit-making-historical-figures-gay-or-trans-problematic

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Boasting About Tomorrow


Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit"-yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
James 4:13-17

There is so much depth to these five verses. In the big picture, do we include God in all of our plans? Do we include him in our career or educational plans? Do we pray about the path He wants us to take?  When we make plans and exclude God, no matter what the plans are, it is as if we are boasting in our own abilities.

Verses 13 and 14 refer to making future plans for prosperity without consulting God. Even if the plans are honorable and righteous, God may have other ideas. Our lives are but a blink of God's eye, "a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes." God wants us to consult with Him for all plans.

I plan ahead.  If I do not have the next step or two thought out before I get to them, I feel behind and unorganized.  However, God does not work this way.  Ever since I gave Him full rights to my life, I cannot seem to plan anything too far in advance.  He is the ultimate schedule shifter.  James notes, "you do not know what tomorrow will bring."  I have to remind myself of this.  Life throws sudden changes at you.  Yes, I still plan ahead to the best of my ability, but I now make flexible plans instead of rigid ones.  This is one way I submit my life to God, by giving Him free reign to jumble my schedule.  In the end, I trust God has a better idea of what I should do with my life than I do since He sees the entire picture.

I remind myself that God has a plan for me in my prayers.  I begin by asking God to forgive me of my sins, then I ask Him to guide me down the path He has chosen for me before asking Him to bless my family and friends.  I pray for guidance down the path God has chosen for me, because I know it is not an easy path.  In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus says, "Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few."

I've learned to use verse 15 in all planning. "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." There is so much each of us wants to do with what time we have left in our lives, right? Personally, I would love to travel to Europe again, write a book, get in better shape, and be healthier. With each thing I want do to, I pray about it and say, "Lord, if it is Your will that I do this, then I will do it."

Psalm 37:4 states: Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. This is a Scripture of hope.  We think, "I love the Lord and so He will give me whatever my heart desires." That sounds great and all, but what about this:  if we love the Lord and become very close and intimate with Him, very soon His desires become the desire of our hearts. Ask the Lord if your desire is His will and you may find that His will truly becomes your desire.

Verses 16-17 remind us that boasting in our arrogance is evil, and goes on to say that if we know the right thing to do and fail to do it, we are sinning.  If the Lord places something upon your heart, and you do something else instead, verse 17 tells us that it is sin.  In 2 Corinthians 1:12, Paul writes, "For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you."

Boast in the Lord and proclaim to everyone: "My God has blessed me abundantly, and He directs my path."  In Matthew 5:6, Jesus said: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." There is satisfaction in doing God's will. To actually do good is filling food. The more we eat the keener our appetite becomes. Dissatisfaction is a sure sign that we are not eagerly doing the will of God. It is a symptom of spiritual immaturity. The only way to discover the point of Christ's teaching is to practice it. The only way to godly contentment is to hunger and thirst after righteousness.

Friday, April 21, 2017

A Day Off



I have today off because I have to work Saturday. Since I have today off, I'm sleeping in. There isn't much more to write about, so I'll leave it at that.