27 April 2011

I don't know how many times I've heard that bankruptcy carries no stigma in America. Apparently this does not apply if you're managing a LGBT newspaper.

26 April 2011

Yesterday I watched most of the PBS documentary Stonewall Uprising, according to the instructions of my gay overlord, Dan Savage. This morning the history lesson continues with this interview. One salient point:

What has frustrated you about the move toward gay marriage in the country?

Just that it's taken forever. I don't think we should have taken the state by state approach because it just makes it go on, and then you have to re-sue and defend. Things need to go to the Supreme Court as fast as possible. There were ways it could have gone to the Supreme Court a lot earlier. If we lose at the Supreme Court, which everyone was afraid of, you just come back again.

True that. Too many gays are afraid of losing a high-profile national case on marriage equality. They should remember that the infamous Dred Scott decision (1857), aggressively upholding the system of slavery, was not a death-blow to the abolitionist cause. If anything, it made the election of Abraham Lincoln even more plausible, as Northern opinion reacted with horror to the inhumane reasoning of Chief Justice Taney.

21 April 2011

On the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, a little history:

"He was regarded as a foreigner," says Gordon Campbell, a historian at the University of Leicester in England. "He spoke with a heavy Scottish accent, and one of the things he needed to legitimize himself as head of the Church of England was a Bible dedicated to him."

And we're not talking about a Gordon Brown-like accent, either. James VI's English was about as far from Elizabeth I's as the drug dealers on The Wire are from Barack Obama.

A good example of Scots English from this time is Gavin Douglas' Aeneid:

Laude, honor, prasingis, thankis infynite
To the, and thi dulce ornate fresch endite,
Mast reverend Virgill, of Latyne poetis prince,
Gemme of ingine and fluide of eloquence,
Thow peirles perle, patroun of poetrie,
Rois, register, palme, laurer, and glory,
Chosin cherbukle, cheif flour and cedir tree,
Lanterne, leidsterne, mirrour, and a per se...

19 April 2011

The best hope for Wisconsin's future, after Gov. Walker has sold off all our utilities to Wall Street, the last underfunded public school collapses in a tornado, the last openly gay person has been deported, the last poor woman dies of a botched illegal abortion, is that Minnesota will buy us out. We could then leap from the 17th century to the 21st century in no time.

15 April 2011

Movie Listings for StarPoint 16, April 14, 2021:

John Galt Vs. Judas Iscariot: The Reckoning (PG, 1:00, 1:45, 2:15, 3:00, 4:00)

Live Birth of the Kardashian Girl-Baby (PG-13, at 3:00 only, delays possible)

A YouTube Bigscreen Newsreel. Highlights: Anarchy in London!, Polar Bears Prepare for First Winter in Antarctica, Sex Tourism in Zimbabwe. (R, 2:00, 3:00, 5:00)

Madea Calls AT&T to Complain (R for adult content, 1:30, 3:00, 4:30)

Dutch: the Animated Life of Ronald Reagan, America's Darling (G, every hour on the hour)

13 April 2011

Reading about the "Chinese crackdown":

“Let Ai Weiwei go? But Richard, how can we do that? How can China admit to the world it is being defeated, it is bowing to international pressure and not doing what is right for China? How can we humilate ourselves like that?”

On the other side of this mirror:

GREGORY: Mitch McConnell says he is a high-tech terrorist. Others say this is akin to the Pentagon papers. Where do you come from?

BIDEN: I would argue that it's closer to being a high-tech terrorist than the Pentagon papers.

But look, this guy has done things that have damaged and put in jeopardy the lives and occupations of people in other parts of the world. He has made it more difficult for us to conduct our business with our allies and our friends.

For example, in my meetings -- you know I meet with most of these world leaders. There is a desire now to meet with me alone rather than have staff in the room. It makes things more cumbersome. So it has done damage.

07 April 2011

If your only source of news was the New York Times, you might think that America's greatest scourges today were sexting and class-action lawsuits.

The latter piece is particulary galling, as it clothes the extreme opinions of Justice Scalia in a pseudo-scientific drivel of "rights" and "representation." We are warned that female employees of Wal-Mart "would be bound by the result in the case even though they had not volunteered for it and had no right to opt out and sue on their own." Because, of course, the right to bankrupt yourself challenging the nation's biggest retailer is paramount. Furthermore, one Court of Appeals judge believes "that something more than a 'mechanical computation' was needed to decide who gets how much money should the women win." What is that something? Babylonian entrail divination?

06 April 2011

Judge Joann Kloppenburg, who is at this writing less than 1,000 votes behind Judge David Prosser, and has not given up yet, puts me in mind of this passage from Mark Twain's autobiography:

No, there is nothing comparable to the endurance of a woman. In military life she would tire out any army of men, either in camp or on the march. I still remember with admiration that woman who got into the overland stage-coach somewhere on the plains, when my brother and I crossed the continent in the summer of 1861, and who sat bolt upright and cheerful, stage after stage, and showed no wear and tear. In those days, the one event of the day in Carson City was the arrival of the overland coach. All the town was usually on hand to enjoy the event. The men would climb down out of the coach doubled up with cramps, hardly able to walk; their bodies worn, their spirits worn, their nerves raw, their tempers at a devilish point; but the women stepped out smiling and apparently unfatigued. [dictated 15 February, 1906]

04 April 2011

A poem for MLK's assassination

HE SPOKE slowly, measuring the words to the occasion,
and the people of that river city listened.

MEN FOUGHT halfway across the world, for a cause
that flagged in their own land;

WE READ of a stuttering prophet, struggling
to perfect his nation in the wilderness.

A BABE in basket of reeds floated past the city
called Enduring and Beautiful.[1]

FEAR GRIPPED this city on the day of plagues--
its native pomp and imperial splendour
bleeding out, to be gone in a week.

STEAMBOATS PUSHED the waters of the city reincarnate,
carrying cotton and slaves.

DREAD GRIPPED the city on the day of disaster--
hundreds consumed in a floating furnace.[2]

MEN MARCHED eleven decades later,
maintaining their dignity.

HE STOOD on a hotel balcony,
happy and relieved.