Friday, January 29, 2010

sotu

Watched the State of the Union speech last night. Overall I thought it
was a good speech. The GOP response was postmodern, no other way to
describe it.

The President promised to work with congress and the military to
repeal DADT. I believe he will do just that, but I'm not holding my
breathe waiting for the outcome...

Monday, January 25, 2010

disconnected

Well, my new year’s resolution to blog more has been thwarted by my home internet’s lack of connectivity. Most annoying. I keep getting bumped offline, and haven’t had the chance to chase down the problem. Hubby usually deals with those things in the relationship. I’m pretty tech savvy, but when it comes to explaining a tech issue, I sound like a babbling moron! We are going to be moving into another unit in our building soon, so it’s probably not worth trying to identify the issue with Vodafone. By the time they ‘correct’ the problem, we will have already moved, and I think we are going to look into cable instead of wireless internet – it is just too unreliable in Sydney.


I have no idea what’s going on in the news – other than big stories. I’m the only one working today in my department, so will try to catch up at some point later. Australia Day is tomorrow and most people took a four day weekend. Australia Day is sorta like 4th of July in the US. It’s the day all citizens are intended to feel proud about their country. We celebrate the day we declared independence from England; they celebrate the arrival of the first ships to the continent – I just learned that some groups refer to Australia Day as Invasion Day...cf. Columbus Day.

History is relative, huh?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

crackin' internet

Have I mentioned lately how much I loathe my home internet connection? Just thought I would share that with you while I'm taking a break at work and enjoying normal internet.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

to continue...

Wrapping up day 2 of the Prop 8 hearing by Rick Jacobs here. When I read this:

I had never spent any time in the Castro. The truth is that I was afraid to as I was maturing because in my twenties, when I was not out and hated being gay, I was afraid to come to San Francisco because I did not want people to think I was gay. So there I was yesterday listening to how those two couples had gotten mauled by prejudice and how all they want to do is marry and then that night I was walking through gay history with two of the people I most respect. Cleve knew lots and lots of people still even last night. Some folks came up to Lance to give him a book or ask for a picture. We stopped in Twin Peaks, a bar that had been there since, as Cleve remembered, 1972. Lance and I were talking and at one point we realized that Cleve had been gone for a long time (usually I’m gone and they never notice, but enough of that). The bartender laughed at us as we swiveled our necks looking for him. There was Cleve, twenty feet away at the end of the bar talking to two African American gentlemen of a certain age. They’d been at it for about twenty minutes, recalling who had been alive, who was still alive, who was where and what had moved, what had changed, what had not.

...it made me pause. I told my partner this morning how much the trial made me miss San Francisco more. I'm not sure if he got my meaning. It's been so odd being in Australia watching and listening to this on the outside - from Prop 8's passage to this hearing. I do feel a bit helpless. Not sure what I would be doing if I were there, but at least I would feel more grounded. Going back over the holidays made me realise San Francisco is my home. So when I read RJ's paragraph above, I thought to myself I can't imagine not spending time in the Castro, and more importantly, I can't imagine not spending time in San Francisco!

Ironically, I'm one of the few people I know who hated San Francisco the first time they went there. I found it odd, confronting, sexualised, and dirty. My uptight "east of the Mississippi" persona didn't understand the environment. I remember saying to my bf at the time, "I want a gay culture, but not this gay culture!" It's very odd to think about that now. I miss that gay culture so much. More importantly, I miss my friends.

Marriage is a public and a private institution. I understand that more now than ever.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

prop 8 federal trial

The federal trial regarding the constitutional status of Prop 8 began today. An article by Ted Olson that came out yesterday in Newsweek is here. I found this to be rather poignant:

The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly held that marriage is one of the most fundamental rights that we have as Americans under our Constitution. It is an expression of our desire to create a social partnership, to live and share life's joys and burdens with the person we love, and to form a lasting bond and a social identity. The Supreme Court has said that marriage is a part of the Constitution's protections of liberty, privacy, freedom of association, and spiritual identification. In short, the right to marry helps us to define ourselves and our place in a community. Without it, there can be no true equality under the law.

The text of Olson’s opening remarks today is here. This hits the mark:

Proposition 8 had a simple, straightforward, and devastating purpose: to withdraw from gay and lesbian people like the Plaintiffs their previously recognized constitutional right to marry. The official title of the ballot measure said it all: “Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry.”

Proponents of Proposition 8 have insisted that the persons they would foreclose from the institution of marriage have suffered no harm because they have been given the opportunity to form something called a “domestic partnership.” That is a cruel fiction.

Rick Jacobs (Chair of Courage Campaign) liveblogging the trial is here. This bit:


Judge Walker: why shouldn’t courts stay out of this as Mr. Cooper says?

Olson: That’s why we have courts, to protect those who are discriminated against, when their children can’t go to school because of their skin color. We would not need a constitution if we left everything to the political process. We’d just let the majority prevail and that’s a good thing about democracy, but it’s not so good if you are different, new. It causes gays and lesbians unrelenting pain. We have the courts to take our worthy, upstanding citizens who are being hurt to be protected by the courts. That’s why we are here today.”
…is classic. This observation (paraphrased by Jacobs) by Professor Nancy Cott, author of Public Vows:

Marriage is unique because it successfully combines private and public. It is successful as an institution as a couple’s valuation of living together, commitment to each other and engage in an economic partnership to their household. Upon that core, very many cultural add ons have been admitted as well.

The ability to marry, to say I do, is a civil right. It demonstrates liberty. This can be seen in American history when slaves could not legally marry. As unfreed persons, they could not consent. They lacked that very basic liberty of person to say I do which meant they were taking on the state’s obligates and vice versa. A slave could not take on that set of obligations because they were not free.

When slaves were emancipated, they flocked to get married. IT was not trivial to them by any means. They saw the ability to replace the informal unions with legalized vows that the state would protect. One quotation, the title of an article, “The marriage covenant is the foundation of all our rights,” said a former slave who became a northern soldier. The point here is that this slave built his life on that civil right.

She refers to Dred Scott who tried to claim he was a citizen. He was denied that claim. Justice Tawny spent three paragraphs saying that marriage laws in the state in which Dred Scott was prevented him from marrying a white woman was a stigma that made him less than a full citizen. It was a piece of evidence that shows that he could not be a full citizen.
...is a stellar analogy.

more tomorrow…

Monday, January 11, 2010

shoes


image of the weekend - this says it all


really, this monday

Gag-o-gag, this Monday was not looking pretty on me. It wasn't that I was hung over (well, I was), I just couldn't muster the energy to keep a proper persona. The day would have been more productive if I had stayed home and shared intimate thoughts with you on the blog. To make myself feel better, I downloaded the new Lady Ga Ga album...need I say more?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

so...

as an unspoken New Year's resolution, I promised myself I would write more frequently on the blog - as if all the drunken uploads of iPhone pics haven't been enough! I think of this project as a living public journal, but I don't really think that I've explored what the really means to me. Some days I want to use the blog to focus more on personal thoughts and happenings and other days I want to use it solely as a means to focus on public/social critique. Both are very important to me, but as usual I tend to cancel out my own ideas by trying to find the middle ground. I think the redesign over the break sparked new interest for me, even if it is a ready-made template provided by blogger. As some point, I'll work with someone to design the blog to be exactly the way I want it (or lock myself in a room for 10 days to figure out the code for myself). On the other hand, I do like working within constraints – my artwork always operated within that framework, so it make sense (at least to me) that this project would too. I look at the next couple of months as a trial period for where I want to go next with the blog. February 10 will mark my one year anniversary of blogging. So using that date as a deadline, I would like to have a clearer direction for the second year. I still want to keep things open, but it would be nice to set some goals and pass some milestones. The thing I have learned about this medium is that it gives you the feeling you are communicating with a lot of people directly, but the reality is that very few people are reading it. It's an odd state, but actually not much odder than making (physical) artwork – and it is a lot cheaper! Also, it feeds my narcissistic desire to blather on about my mundane shit, kinda like the way I am now.

Monday, January 4, 2010

back to the grind

After a month off, today is back to work day. Trying ease back into
the routine...Thai for lunch...yum.