The soul has greater need of the ideal than the real for it is by the real that we exist, it is by the ideal that we live

Monday, November 28, 2011

The things evil men do


J. Edgar Hoover, ‘Sex Deviates’ and My Godfather

Charles Francis
In 1956, the tabloid magazine Confidential published a lurid exposé on Arthur H. Vandenberg Jr., the writer's godfather.

JUST before Christmas in 1952, J. Edgar Hoover, the director of the F.B.I., let President Dwight D. Eisenhower know that the man Eisenhower had appointed as secretary to the president, his friend and chief of staff, my godfather, Arthur H. Vandenberg Jr., was a homosexual.
It was part of a pattern of persecution that would destroy thousands of lives and careers. Earlier that year, the American Psychiatric Association’s manual had classified homosexuality as a kind of madness, and Republican senators had charged that homosexuality in the Truman administration was a national security threat. Hoover — the subject of Clint Eastwood’s new film — was determined to stave off such threats.
A public Puritan with a compulsively bureaucratic and controlling personality, he built an intricate system of files on people of influence — personal and confidential, official and unofficial, and all full of dirt. The most damning were the voluminous “Sex Deviate” files on famous actors, syndicated columnists, senators, governors, business moguls and princes of the Roman Catholic Church, just to name a few. There was one on Adlai E. Stevenson, the Democratic nominee for president, because some college basketball players being investigated by the F.B.I. for game-fixing claimed that Stevenson, one of “the two best-known homosexuals in the state,” was nicknamed “Adeline.” There was even a file on Eisenhower himself, recording rumors of an affair with Kay Summersby, his driver in Britain during the war.
One was devoted to my godfather because, while he had years of experience in politics and foreign affairs and working for his father, Arthur H. Vandenberg Sr. — a Republican senator from Michigan with a mistress and a file of his own — he also drank, and he wasn’t discreet. Apparently, the file held reports of some incidents with two enlisted men at Camp Lee, Va., in 1942, before he served with and became friends with my father. Worse, at the time Eisenhower appointed him to the White House, he was sharing an apartment in Washington with another man. This was not uncommon. But the other man had been arrested on some morals charge. That was enough for Ike, whom Hoover later described, to an aide to Richard M. Nixon, as “astounded.”
Arthur wasn’t a fighter. He folded. He checked into a hospital, complaining of stomach problems, and resigned the appointment for “health reasons” three months after Eisenhower’s inauguration. He was a pale, fleshy, thin-haired man — sort of like Hoover, actually. And he was a bachelor. Like Hoover. He had never had a girlfriend, or seriously dated women. Like Hoover, Arthur seemed to spend all his free time with men. Hoover, after all, had lived with his mother until she died in 1938, and by then, he was practically inseparable from the natty, lean, quiet Clyde Tolson, whom he had hired in 1928 and promoted meteorically, making him associate director, the No. 2 position in the F.B.I., in 1947.
J. Edgar and Clyde had separate offices and separate houses, but they had lunch together, dinner together, rode to work in Hoover’s car together, attended private dinners and receptions in Washington together, went to the horse races together, and vacationed in the same hotel suites together. By Hoover’s standards, if they hadn’t been the director and associate director of the F.B.I., they would have been in its Sex Deviate files together, because there sure was a lot of talk about them. Hoover sent agents to squash the talk and threaten the talkers wherever it occurred.
But at least they had each other. Eastwood’s film imagines a violent kiss between them, but my guess, as someone who loves men, is that they were never lovers. They weren’t built for it. They were too prim, too rigid, too Victorian. The only way Hoover could be comfortable in such a public relationship, I think, was because he knew it wasn’t sexual in private, whether he desired it to be or not. Hoover was too aware of the power of a secret. How could he permit anyone — even Clyde — to have something on him?
As far as I know, Arthur Jr. never had a full relationship, either. What he had was an F.B.I. file. He left Washington, moved to Coconut Grove, Fla., bought a house, drove a convertible, made extensive foreign policy visits to the Middle and Far East and Asia, and became a popular lecturer on American foreign policy at the University of Miami.

And Eisenhower had stayed in touch, including Arthur at a White House stag dinner, having him in again to talk about his conversations with foreign leaders and suggesting to Secretary of State John Foster Dulles that they ought to find a place for him. Arthur seemed on the verge of resurrection. That ended in late 1956, when Confidential, a smut and scandal tabloid probably fed by the F.B.I., published a lurid exposé about him.
Arthur resigned from the university, and disconnected his phone. The couple of times my parents saw him in that period, he seemed unfocused, drinking too much, and restless to be out of their company. In 1964, when President Lyndon B. Johnson’s close friend and aide, Walter Jenkins, was arrested for performing oral sex in a men’s room, L.B.J. reminded reporters that the Republican, Eisenhower, had had a problem, too, and his name was Arthur Vandenberg.
It must have seemed as if it would never end. But then, on Jan. 18, 1968, Arthur died at the age of 60. My father was then editor of The Tampa Tribune, and friends at The Miami Herald told him that Arthur had killed himself. But there was no such public report, and when, years later, I asked an investigative reporter friend of mine in Miami to look for the coroner’s report or death certificate, he could find nothing.
I had a feeling growing up — and later, as I realized I was gay, and came to terms with it in my 40s — that something must have happened to my godfather. He had disappeared from my childhood. The only memory I have is of him driving away, in a convertible. I was just 8 when Hoover outed him. I didn’t know what had broken the relationship. It wasn’t until the early ’90s, when I asked if my parents thought he had been gay, that they told me of his death, and of one night, in a Spanish restaurant in Tampa, when they were shocked to see Arthur emerge from behind the curtain of a private dining nook with a tipsy young airman. In all those years, they had never spoken of it, even to each other.
Two weeks after Arthur resigned in 1953, Eisenhower issued Executive Order 10450, which mandated the firing of any federal employees guilty of “sexual perversion.” But apparently, he felt badly about Arthur. The Kameny Papers Project, an archival project named for Franklin E. Kameny, a major gay rights leader who died in October, has found a series of personal notes and letters from Ike and Mamie to Arthur, regretting that he wasn’t with them. “I feel very distressed about your health,” the president wrote in one. “I feel in some respects guilty.”
When Hoover died in May 1972, his personal secretary shredded a mass of his private files. In December 1973, the board of the American Psychiatric Association voted to rescind its 1952 decision to classify homosexuality as insanity.
They had been wrong, the directors of the association said. It had been a mistake.

she wins!...sort of

In the uproar over a Prairie Village teenager's tweet about Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback during a school trip, it is the governor who is apologizing.
“My staff over-reacted to this tweet, and for that, I apologize. Freedom of speech is among our most treasured freedoms,” said a statement from Brownback's office.

Emma Sullivan was in Topeka last week as part of a Kansas Youth in Government program when she posted an insult about Brownback on her Twitter page. Someone in the governor's office flagged the tweet and reported it to event organizers.Though she initially said her principal ordered her to apologize in writing, Sullivan said on Monday that it was more of a strong recommendation that she do so."They thought I should write the letter," she said.Sullivan said she would not apologize."They shouldn't have been Gov. Brownback's priority to see who is tweeting about him and make it a priority -- to find me and let the principal know what I was tweeting," Sullivan said. Brownback Apologizes In Teen Tweet Furor Sullivan, who is a senior at Shawnee Mission East High School, said she really wrote the comment as a joke and never actually said it."I don't think that I did anything wrong. I just voiced my opinion," Sullivan said.She said the joke was really intended for the other people along on the trip."It wasn't like I was trying to make everyone believe I did some heroic thing," she said. "It was just supposed to be (directed) at my friend Ryan."

KMBC's Marcus Moore reported that Sullivan had just over 60 followers on her Twitter account Monday. Now she has thousands."It's shocking to see how many people stood behind me for this," Sullivan said.Moore reported that the whole experience has left its mark."I think you should still watch what you say, especially if you're in my boat, you know? Looking for colleges or trying to get a job. I think if you have an opinion and you want to say it, that's more power to you," Sullivan said.Sullivan said she has been getting requests for her tweet to be put on T-shirts and bumper stickers. She's even been invited to speak at a rally about freedom of speech.The school district released the following statement late Monday morning:"District officials have reviewed recent events surrounding the reported tweet by Shawnee Mission East High School student Emma Sullivan. The district acknowledges a student's right to freedom of speech and expression is constitutionally protected."The district has not censored Miss Sullivan nor infringed upon her freedom of speech. She is not required to write a letter of apology to the governor. Whether and to whom any apologies are issued will be left to the individuals involved."The issue has resulted in many teachable moments concerning the use of social media. The district does not intend to take any further action on this matter."Sullivan said she hopes that is the case."I'm trusting them that nothing is going to happen. That they're going to take care of me and the situation," she said. "I'm just hoping all this works out at this point."

and so it goes.

Sam Brownback is a crybaby

Emma Sullivan is my idol!

Emma Sullivan doesn't tweet often. Most of her recent twitter posts refer to the new Twilight movie. But one tweet, posted Monday, got her called into the principal's office, with a request for a letter of apology to the Governor.
"He (the principal) started off with saying that he had to do a bunch of damage control. And that I needed to do damage control and that I needed to fix this," said Sullivan.
She made the tweet while on a field trip to the Kansas state capital. Governor Sam Brownback was addressing the group and she voiced her opinion on the social media site.
"I tweeted: Just made mean comments to gov Brownback and told him he sucked, in person," said Sullivan.
One issue she now has is how the district found out. The school was informed by an email sent by a Brownback staffer who forwarded her remark to a district official.
"I think it was a cowardly move for him to go after her," said Julie Sullivan, Emma's mother.
The district spokeswoman said she wasn't aware of any particulars but said, generally that "Students on school-sponsored field trips are representing the school. Students may express their personal beliefs, views, and opinions, as long as they do so appropriately and in accordance with school policies."
"I didn't say anything that I couldn't say at school. I'm pretty sure I didn't cuss," said Sullivan.
As for the language she did use, she and her mom said it's perfectly acceptable for the medium.
"This is the lingo for this generation. And it's not entertaining if she said, ‘well my political views differ' and went on to explain in a more intellectual form," said Julie.
Sullivan said she hasn't written the letter yet and hasn't decided whether she will.
KCTV5's Betsy Webster contacted Brownback's press people by cell phone and email and did not hear back, though it is worth noting that the office was closed Wednesday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

and then...
A Kansas teenager who wrote a disparaging tweet about Gov. Sam Brownback is rejecting her high school principal's demand that she apologize.
Emma Sullivan told The Associated Press on Sunday that she's not sorry and an apology letter wouldn't be sincere.
The Shawnee Mission East senior was in Topeka last week when she sent a tweet from the back of a crowd of students listening to Brownback. It read: "Just made mean comments at gov. brownback and told him he sucked, in person."
She actually made no such comment. But Brownback's office saw her post, and she was called into the principal's office. Her apology is due Monday.
Sullivan has received a wave of support, with many saying she shouldn't have been targeted. Her Twitter account now boasts 3,000 followers.

Out of the mouths of babes.

And the Principal of Shawnee Mission East should be ashamed of him or herself.

And so it goes.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

You mean he didn't do it? (gasp)

I am not much on conspiracy theories, but something this public, and of such magnitude, doesn't happen because some guy is waiting in a kitchen with a gun on the off chance a Presidential candidate shows up.

Los Angeles (CNN) -- Sirhan Sirhan, convicted of the 1968 assassination of presidential candidate Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, should be freed from prison or granted a new trial based on "formidable evidence" asserting his innocence and "horrendous violations" of his rights, defense attorneys said in federal court papers filed this week.
In a U.S. District Court brief, Sirhan's lawyers also say that an expert analysis of recently uncovered evidence shows two guns were fired in the assassination and that Sirhan's revolver was not the gun that shot Kennedy.
Attorneys William F. Pepper and Laurie D. Dusek also allege that fraud was committed in Sirhan's 1969 trial when the court allowed a substitute bullet to be admitted as evidence for a real bullet removed from Kennedy's neck.
The attorneys further assert that Sirhan was hypno-programmed to be a diversion for the real assassin and allege that Sirhan would be easily blamed for the assassination because he is an Arab. Sirhan, 67, is a Christian Palestinian born in Jerusalem whose parents brought him and his siblings to America in the 1950s.
Sirhan "was an involuntary participant in the crimes being committed because he was subjected to sophisticated hypno programming and memory implantation techniques which rendered him unable to consciously control his thoughts and actions at the time the crimes were being committed," court papers said.
The California Attorney General's office declined to comment Saturday on Sirhan's court filings, said spokeswoman Lynda Gledhill.
Court papers filed by Sirhan's attorneys say the state "refuses to acknowledge that hypno programming/mind control is not fiction but reality and has been used for years by the U.S. military, Central Intelligence Agency and other covert organizations.
"Though the practices of hypno programming/mind control is hardly new, the public has been shielded from the darker side of the practice. The average person is unaware that hypnosis can and is used to induct antisocial conduct in humans," Sirhan's court filings say.
Pepper and Dusek represented Sirhan earlier this year in his unsuccessful request for parole from Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga, California, 200 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. He is serving a life sentence.
Sirhan was convicted of killing Kennedy and wounding five other people during the June 5, 1968, shooting inside the kitchen service pantry of the former Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.
Three bullets struck Kennedy's body while a fourth bullet passed harmlessly through the shoulder of his suit coat. Kennedy, the most seriously wounded of the six victims, died the next day. The other five people survived their wounds.
The substitute bullet was introduced in the trial as the actual bullet removed from Kennedy's neck and alleged to have been matched to Sirhan's gun, Pepper said.
Pepper and Dusek are requesting a hearing to present dramatic new findings that they say show a kitchen crossfire in the hotel.
An analysis of a recently uncovered audiotape of the assassination shows that in addition to the eight gunshots fired by Sirhan's Iver-Johnson handgun, five other shots were fired by a second gun from the opposite direction, Sirhan's attorneys said.
The sound recording "clearly showed that 13 shots were fired in the pantry, and Sirhan's gun had only eight shots, so it definitely means there was a second shooter," Pepper told CNN.
The tape was made 40 feet away from the crime scene by freelance newspaper reporter Stanislaw Pruszynski and is the only known recording of the gunshots fired in Robert Kennedy's assassination. The recording was uncovered in 2004 by CNN's Brad Johnson, who had it independently examined by two experts, Spence Whitehead and Philip Van Praag. They concluded, individually, that more than eight shots were captured in the tape.
Watch Johnson's 2009 CNN "Backstory"report on the experts' separate findings.
In their court filings, Pepper and Dusek are focusing on Van Praag's analysis. Van Praag concludes that the Pruszynski recording is authentic and reveals that, over a five-second period in the pantry, two guns fired 13 shots, exceeding the capacity of the eight-shot Iver-Johnson Cadet -- the only gun that Sirhan possessed and had no opportunity to reload.
Van Praag rules out the possibility that any of the 13 shots were echoes, ricochets or non-gunshot sounds. He also finds that some of the shots were fired too rapidly, at intervals too close together for all the shots to have come from Sirhan's inexpensive handgun. Van Praag further concludes that the five shots fired opposite the direction of Sirhan's eight shots displayed a "frequency anomaly" indicating the second gun's make and model were different from Sirhan's weapon.
Pepper said that witnesses reported Sirhan was standing several feet in front of Kennedy and firing nearly horizontally while the medical evidence showed Kennedy's body and clothing were struck by four bullets fired point-blank from behind the Senator at steep upward angles.
Pepper said witnesses reported that bystanders grabbed Sirhan immediately after he fired his first two shots and that they had his firing arm pinned against a steam table, forcing Sirhan to fire his gun's remaining six bullets away from Kennedy, thus striking other people instead.
For decades following the 1968 assassination, Sirhan had claimed he could not remember the Kennedy shooting. Pepper and Dusek argue this is because he was "hypno-programmed" to fire his gun in the pantry and to then forget the shooting, his programming and those who had programmed him.
In 2008, Pepper hired a Harvard University memory expert who says he got the imprisoned Sirhan to recall the Kennedy shooting for the first time.
That expert is Daniel Brown, an associate clinical professor in psychology at Harvard Medical School who submitted a statement to the parole board after interviewing Sirhan for 60 hours over a three-year period. Brown says Sirhan now remembers that when he fired his shots in the pantry he believed he was at a gun range and shooting at circular targets, according to Pepper.
Brown believes Sirhan was programmed to do this so as to cause a distraction in the pantry, allowing a second gunman to secretly shoot Kennedy from behind, according to Sirhan's attorneys. Brown is described in Sirhan's court papers as "one of the world's foremost experts in hypno programming."
Brown says Sirhan now remembers hearing loud sounds he describes as "the thunderclap of other bullets" being fired by another gun in the pantry, the defense attorneys said. Brown says Sirhan also recalls seeing flashes in front of him that he associates with gunfire inside the pantry but not coming from his own weapon, according to Pepper.
Pepper accused both prosecutors and Sirhan's lead attorney, Grant Cooper, who has since died, of misconduct in the 1969 trial. At that time, Cooper was under federal indictment for illegally possessing grand jury minutes in an unrelated case, but the indictment was dropped after Sirhan's sentencing, Pepper said.
"The state suppressed, destroyed and withheld a great deal of evidence," Pepper said in an interview Saturday. Sirhan's "counsel provided totally ineffective assistance and collaborated with the prosecution in violation of his 6th Amendment rights.
"The prosecution told the judge in chambers that we do not have foundation for some of our ballistics evidence, and the defense counsel immediately jumped in and said, don't worry about that, we will stipulate that all of the ballistics evidence is what you say it is," Pepper said.
Los Angeles County prosecutors couldn't immediately comment Saturday, a spokeswoman said.
Said Pepper: "This is one of the most egregious miscarriages of justice imaginable, and because it relates to the assassination of a man who would likely have been president of the United States, the feeling of sadness is irrepressible in these circumstances."
Pepper said he personally knew Kennedy and his family, and ran his campaign in the heavily Republican Westchester County in New York when Kennedy, a Democrat, successfully ran for the U.S. Senate in 1964.
Sirhan never became a U.S. citizen, so if he were released from prison, he would be deemed an illegal immigrant and likely be deported to Jordan, where he has extended family, Pepper said.
In 1968, the 42-year-old Kennedy, younger brother of the assassinated President John F. Kennedy, was a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination against Vice President Hubert Humphrey and Sen. Eugene McCarthy.
On the night of his assassination, Kennedy had just appeared on live television in an Ambassador Hotel ballroom, where he had claimed victory over McCarthy in the California primary election. Moments later, he was fatally wounded in the hotel service pantry while on his way to a press conference set for a small banquet room just beyond the pantry. The shooting in the pantry was not captured by any cameras.
At Sirhan's 1969 trial, prosecutors argued Sirhan killed Kennedy because of statements the New York senator made about the United States sending fighter jets to aid Israel.
But in the court papers filed this week, Sirhan's attorneys dismissed that allegation as a "most speculative motive," without any sworn statements for substantiation.
Sirhan was the only person arrested in Robert Kennedy's assassination.
And so it goes.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Home Home on the Range

Back in the American Airlines saddle tomorrow.  With any luck i'll get my original flight plans unlike Tuesday's tour of major airports of the midwest. 

In any case I return a homeowner
..the American dream?  Let's hope so.  But there are many things to do on my return, no rest for the wicked.

I do plan to start showing more support for the OWS/KC folks.  Braving the weather on our behalf.  Perhaps I'll bring them real food products.

And so it goes.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A wish

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today we engage in our annual ritual of parades, football, too much food, and hopefully taking stock of our good fortune.
I am, this particular day grateful for real estate brokers who go above and far beyond the call of duty for clients who take half a year to find a house and then inflict their bizarre karma on said broker.  For the service, for the many many hours of work, and as a result the friendship, i give thanks.

For my family, who, six months ago offered their poolhouse to me...for six weeks, for their unending support, understanding, and love, i give thanks.

For my dutiful, loyal, loving friends, and their week after week after week of listening to me ruminate about one house after another, for allowing me to spend every friday night in their guest room for six months, and never once questioning me, aloud anyway, about whether i was being realistic about my search I give thanks.

And as I spend thanksging with dear friends whom I cherish I plan to deliver this bit of thanks:

In recognizing whatever powers exist in the Universe and whatever form they may take we give thanks.
We give thanks for our health, particularly Chuck's renewed vigor, despite the number of spare parts such renovations required.
We're thankful for our minds, we're a fortunate group, we've been given good ones, and we're thankful too that we're allowed to share that gift and contribute to the evolution of our culture
We're thankful for the children, whom, despite our frequent and vocal protestations do bring us joy, and give us hope for the future.
In particular we're thankful that we are able to be here together today to acknowledge our friendship and our love for one anothe
Please raise your glasses.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank each of you for your contributions to my life both big and small.
From your confidence in my abilities, to your perpetual assistance in helping me explore the possibilities. But most of all for your love.

And so it goes

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Giving thanks

Off for the holiday. Flying on thanksgiving holiday...what was i thinking.

All the recent talk about reforming government is moot. Business is the problem. Was scheduled to close on my new house yesterday. But there was an "undefined snag" on their end.  When one is a cash buyer for a house in this economy one should be afforded a little cachet. But nooo.

Reform businesses who issue contracts with conditions for their customers and then do as they damn well please.
So now I have to handle the purchase over the internet, and wire transfer the just know this story will have another chapter don't you.
At any rate have a happy and safe holiday.
And so it goes.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A few offerings

My thanksgiving plans in a nutshell:

I am breaking my number two rule and traveling over the Holiday.  Gay family will celebrate between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I'll spend Christmas with the real family.  Thanksgiving I want to spend with my extended family, people I adore and do not see nearly often enough.  So I'm off to New Mexico and several days of peace and harmony with people I love.

and a look at modern christianity via joemygod:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Warning: Reading this will make you feel like walking wide

They are so not done with us.  

Seriously, when will we stand up and fight?  The police state is moving out OWS protestors from city to city, Big Oil is unveiling it's latest screwing of the American Public, and here we sit taking it like we get paid for it. 

By the way, Happy Holidays. Plan to pay 30% more for that Thanksgiving trip you're taking.  


$200 Crude in 2012?

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In May 2008, as crude oil steamed toward a July -- and all-time -- high of $147 per barrel, a Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS  ) group predicted that black gold's price could move as high as $200 within the following 24 months. Few financial forecasts have ever received more attention. Instead, during the second half of the year its price rolled over and began a free fall to near $30 as December brought the eventful year to a close.
 It now appears, however, that Goldman might just have been early in its prognostication, rather than simply  wrong. Oh, I know, light, sweet crude is currently trading near $100 a barrel, and it would require a host of major events to drive it to double that level, especially during 2012. But almost unnoticed is a price increase by nearly a third in just the past month.  And far more important, it seems that a number of game changers can -- and probably will -- occur as we move into the impending new year. I'm wagering that a host of the potentially catastrophic events could involve Iraq and its neighbor to the east, Iran. The result, almost certainly, would be a steep escalation of crude levies.
Swimming in oil?For now, energy affairs in war-torn Iraq are progressing swimmingly. The country's production has grown by leaps and bounds since major oil companies from around the world -- beginning with a BP-led (NYSE: BP  ) consortium, and later including ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM  ) and Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS-B  ) -- began accepting the government's unusual contractual terms and started reinvigorating its major (albeit waning) fields. Indeed, with help from Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB  ) and its oilfield services compadres, the companies have boosted Iraqi production from a couple of million barrels a day to 2.6 million daily barrels in just over a year.
Even more impressive are the seemingly reasonable notions that the country could reach 9 million barrels a day within a few years. That number assumes, however, that the companies are able to plug away unabated. And therein lies the rub. Indeed, a number of emerging speed bumps will need to be negotiated to prevent production from actually reverting to previous levels and world crude prices from making the Goldman Sachs folks appear amazingly prescient.
Questionable pullout and the lurking dangers
  • Last month, President Obama announced a complete pullout of all U.S. forces from Iraq, thereby making room for as many Iranians as that country's President Ahmadinejad wishes to deploy to his neighbor's territory. The Wall Street Journal called the announcement "a disappointment for U.S. defense officials." There's likely a stronger -- and more appropriate -- term than "disappointment" for those officials, who likely were discharging volumes of smoke from their ears, as were the members of Congress who'd demanded that Iraq "tap its oil resources to pay some of the U.S. war costs," a demand that the White House not surprisingly refused to support.
    Nevertheless, watch for dangerous developments from a combination of the two primarily Shiite-populated "I" countries. It seems that the potential for a progressively closer relationship between the pair -- they're already tending to be mutually supportive on regional issues -- is enhanced by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's having resided in Tehran while Hussein was in power. As a result, he retains a number of contacts in the dangerous land of Ahmadinejad.
  • Further, ExxonMobil has ruffled feathers in Iraq by becoming the first member of Big Oil to reach an agreement to search for oil and gas in the country's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. The Kurdish area is thought to hold as much as 45 billion barrels of oil and 200,000 billion cubic feet of gas, amounts approximately comparable to those in Libya.
    But while the new deal obviously will provide a substantial opportunity for Exxon, it has sufficiently raised the dander of Iraq's central government -- which reportedly sent three letters admonishing the big company before its Kurdistan agreement was signed -- that it could ultimately endanger Exxon's license to perpetuate its current work on southern Iraq's giant West Qurna field. Beyond that, the Kurdistan Regional Government may have held discussions with Chevron (NYSE: CVX  ) , which is not currently involved elsewhere in Iraq, and Italy's Eni (NYSE: E  ) , which is.
    Obviously, the primary concern involves the potential for widespread conflicts between the companies working in Iraq and those that wish to spread their efforts to the Kurdistan region. According to the Iraq Oil Ministry's Abdul Mahdi al-Ameedi, "Exxon should choose between either continuing with its deal with the Kurdistan Regional Government or lose its contract in southern Iraq."
  • Clearly more danger lies in Iran's development of nuclear weaponry, which -- if it weren't already widely known -- was documented last week in a United Nations report. As part of an effort to provide a regional counter to the rogue nation, the U.S. is in the process of formulating a deal to provide the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) with thousands of "bunker buster" bombs, among other munitions.
    At the same time, the Obama administration is reportedly preparing to fortify the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, U.A.E., and Kuwait). Beyond that, concerns are mounting almost daily regarding the potential of Israeli airstrikes (with or without U.S. support) against Iran's nuclear facilities.
  • And finally, within Iraq, minimally publicized Shiite-Sunni factionalism appears to run the risk of spilling over into a renewed civil war with the attendant danger of possibly drawing in Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia -- neither of whom are especially fond of each other to begin with. The normal factionalism has been intensified by the Shiite Maliki's determination to purge the nation's security and intelligence forces of those who served in Saddam Hussein's Sunni-dominated regime.
    At the same time, with the U.S. about to complete its role as a peacekeeper in the country, Maliki has yet to fill a number of ministry posts, given his concern about a coup emanating from potentially disloyal security units. As such, he remains personally in charge of the ministries of defense, interior, and national security.
I could continue to discuss potential difficulties in the oil-rich Persian Gulf area, along with other exporting countries, such as Libya and Nigeria. But you get the point: The Middle East and North Africa -- and especially the all-important Iraq-Iran-Saudi Arabia region -- remain very much a tinderbox, with the potential to drive crude prices to stratospheric levels.

And so it goes.

Monday, November 14, 2011

There are no words

via Joemygod-

SCOTLAND: Hundreds Mourn Young Gay Murder Victim Stuart Walker

Hundreds of mourners turned out yesterday for the funeral of Stuart Walker, the young gay man found burned and tied to a lamppost in his Scotland village last month.
Many of the town’s 9000 inhabitants attended the service. Mr Walker’s sister, Julie called her brother the “life and soul of our family”. She said: “You were our ray of sunshine when you were here. And now you will forever be our brightest star, watching over us.” The day of Stuart’s death, 22 October, was described as “one of the darkest in Cumnock’s recent history” by the vicar, Reverend Patterson. Leona Lewis’ Footprints in the Sand was played during the procession, with 600 mourners following the hearse to the town cemetery.
An 18 year-old man has been charged with the murder.

SCOTLAND: Dead Gay Man Found Tied To Lamppost In Possible Hate Crime

A 28 year-old gay man was found tied to lamppost and may have been burned alive in what Scottish police are describing as a possible hate crime.
Detectives today launched a murder inquiry following the grim discovery, with streets in a nearby industrial estate sealed off as part of the ongoing investigation. Strathclyde Police confirmed the body had scorch marks and the victim had suffered horrific injuries. A spokesperson for the force said relatives of Mr Walker, the former assistant manager at the Royal Hotel in, Cumnock, have been informed of his death. Strathclyde Police would not rule out that Mr Walker had been murdered because of his sexuality and were now closely examining all aspects of the victim’s life.
A conflicting report says the victim was killed before his body was burned.
The hotel worker had been out with friends earlier in the night and was last seen alive by a family friend at about 2.30am. Strathclyde Police have launched a murder inquiry, with a spokesperson saying Mr Walker had not "died from his burns" and had been subjected to "a horrific attack". Officers are not ruling out that Mr Walker was murdered because of his sexuality.

Quo Vadimus?

And so it goes.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Substance of Integrity

When one makes a mistake in our culture it's American to point at someone else and attempt to shift the blame.  It's very difficult to stand up and admit in private that you have erred, and in public it's more than doubly difficult.

Today Bret Ratner demonstrated more integrity than I've seen in a long time.  He  not only resigned his position as Producer of this years Oscar telecast, he issued a letter of public apology, not only to his GLBT friends and co-workers, but to...well everyone.

And though he admits what he did was stupid he's to be applauded for his integrity.  His letter gives me no doubt of his sincerity:

An Open Letter to the Entertainment Industry from Brett Ratner
Dear Colleagues,
Over the last few days, I’ve gotten a well-deserved earful from many of the people I admire most in this industry expressing their outrage and disappointment over the hurtful and stupid things I said in a number of recent media appearances. To them, and to everyone I’ve hurt and offended, I’d like to apologize publicly and unreservedly.
As difficult as the last few days have been for me, they cannot compare to the experience of any young man or woman who has been the target of offensive slurs or derogatory comments. And they pale in comparison to what any gay, lesbian, or transgender individual must deal with as they confront the many inequalities that continue to plague our world.
So many artists and craftspeople in our business are members of the LGBT community, and it pains me deeply that I may have hurt them. I should have known this all along, but at least I know it now: words do matter. Having love in your heart doesn’t count for much if what comes out of your mouth is ugly and bigoted. With this in mind, and to all those who understandably feel that apologies are not enough, please know that I will be taking real action over the coming weeks and months in an effort to do everything I can both professionally and personally to help stamp out the kind of thoughtless bigotry I’ve so foolishly perpetuated.
As a first step, I called Tom Sherak this morning and resigned as a producer of the 84th Academy Awards telecast. Being asked to help put on the Oscar show was the proudest moment of my career. But as painful as this may be for me, it would be worse if my association with the show were to be a distraction from the Academy and the high ideals it represents.
I am grateful to GLAAD for engaging me in a dialogue about what we can do together to increase awareness of the important and troubling issues this episode has raised and I look forward to working with them. I am incredibly lucky to have a career in this business that I love with all of my heart and to be able to work alongside so many of my heroes. I deeply regret my actions and I am determined to learn from this experience.
Brett Ratner

Now that's how you apologize.  That's how you demonstrate integrity.  And if we were smart we'd learn from his example and THEN we'd start to be the country we think we are.

And so it goes.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Almost Done

By this Thursday I will finally be done with my latest show, and thank the Gods!  It has been a nightmare from beginning to end.  It has also made me rethink my position at the college.  If they don't make a move first I'll be outta there in May.  It's been a good experience, but it's what it is and it's not gonna change, and that means it's time for me to do something else.  Phew.

House number four has turned into a ridiculous exercise with a servicing company in Mumbai that won't communicate nor will they do anything else in a reasonable time frame.  So moving on from that too.  Found another that I like a lot more, and beginning the process regarding it today. " Maybe this time, I'll get lucky, maybe this time.."

Andy Rooney, an American institution as long as I can remember has died at 92. Good long run Mr. Rooney, thanks for all you did.  There were commentaries that I didn't exactly see the point of, but there were many that were spot on as well.

 The Occupy protestors are going to have to start making more noise.  Just occupying isn't going to get the job done.  After a bit the short attention span of American's will just accept them as part of the landscape.  They're going to have to get unruly if they want anything to happen. Herman Cain is stealing all the headlines with his antics and his admitted relationship with the Koch brothers.  Not to mention that sex sells and he's apparently been trying to get over on almost every woman who's worked for him.  Today on the fourth story is about Occupy protestors who are wearing the Guy Fawkes masks from V for Vendetta.  Much akin to the media's need to interview and film the most outrageous drag queens, glitter boys or leather Daddy's on Gay Pride all the while ignoring the 99% who don't represent that.  A willingness to be the media's organ grinder monkey and pander to that mindset could be their undoing.  A good action that has to be ongoing needs shock value, yet needs teeth as well.

Why would we not want the bankers and brokers to see and know our faces?  We are the 99% and we need to make it known that we are real people who have been affected, nay ruined by the greed and avarice of the 1%.  A friend on facebook posted this the other day. 

It doesn't get more accurate than that.

The notion that politics is the panacea to our ills is monumentally incorrect.  The very idea that we would elect the likes of a George Bush, or a Herman Cain to public office and then entrust such a one blindly with our future is folly.

We can change our world.  We can make it what we want it to  be, and we have the power to do it.  We simply must take the reins and guide ourselves to our chosen destination. There will be obstacles, there will be barriers, barricades, and the faithful will attempt to stop us at every turn.  But if your life isn't what you want it to be then you have to change it, and if you don't, if you suffer in silence, live in  quiet desperation as it were, then you have only yourself to blame.

Words and ideas can change the world, they can and do make a difference, they have unimaginable power.  Just think about how your parents shaped your way of thinking as you grew up with simply the words they spoke.  They taught you either to believe in yourself, or to  doubt your every thought. They taught you that you had value and worth or they reminded you that you were bad and would never amount to anything.  That's the power of words, that's how you shape things. you change them by making the dreams real. You decide what it is that you want and then you simply make a claim that  nothing will stop you from achieving it.  And it becomes a reality.

It may not become the reality you imagined, compromise  is always involved, but in the end if you can stay true to your original intent, you will see the finished product.  And it will gratify you.  It will validate your commitment to your ideal. But first you must do one must stand up.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I wish this only happened in Texas

Then it would be easier to avoid.  

Alas, it doesn't just occur in Texas, it's a worldwide epidemic, perpetrated  by people whose minds are filled with the hate they've been taught by the faithful, who have twisted the words in the scriptures to suit their purposes.  


Burke Burnett says he was punched in the eye, stabbed with a broken beer bottle and thrown onto a lit burn barrel early Sunday at a party in Reno, Texas. View more photos of Burnett's injuries below.
A 26-year-old gay man says he was the victim of a brutal hate crime early Sunday in Reno, Texas — a small town just east of Paris and about 100 miles northeast of Dallas.
Burke Burnett said he was at a private party at about 1 a.m. when four men suddenly attacked him, stabbing him at least twice with a broken beer bottle before throwing him onto a fire. His attackers yelled things like “pussy-ass faggot,” “gay bitch” and “cock-sucking punk,” Burnett said.
Burnett said it took 30 stitches to close stab wounds to his back and forearm, as well as a cut above his left eye. He also sustained second-degree burns and severe bruises.
“They knew I was gay,” Burnett said Monday. “I’m convinced they were trying to kill me.”
Jeff Sugg, interim chief of the Reno Police Department, released a statement Monday afternoon saying: “The Reno Police Department is currently investigating an aggravated assault that took place last weekend. The investigation is ongoing and additional information will be provided when available.”
Reno police officials declined to further discuss their investigation.
Burnett said the officer investigating the case told him the attack will be classified as a hate crime. But Burnett said his attackers, whose identities are known, remain at large, and the officer told him it could be two weeks before they’re arrested.
“I’m scared for my life,” Burnett said, adding that he’s staying with a family friend. “I’m scared to go home. These guys have nothing to lose.”
Burnett said he grew up in Paris and came out as gay when he was 15. He knows at least one of his attackers personally. Two of the suspects have been to prison and may be on parole, he said.
Burnett said he’s attended several parties at the residence and was invited by his straight friend who lives there. He arrived at the party several hours earlier with three gay friends. However, the group left after someone at the party was overheard making anti-gay remarks such as, “These faggots don’t deserve to be here. Somebody needs to get them out of there.” Burnett said he didn’t hear the remarks and wasn’t aware of them when he returned to the party later in the evening with one of his girlfriends.
Burnett said he was sitting inside a large metal shed called “the party shop” when he was blindsided with a punch to his left eye. When he got up and tried to defend himself, one of his attackers stabbed him in the back with a broken beer bottle. Burnett called the stab wound “a kill shot” but said fortunately it didn’t puncture his lung.

Reno, Texas
One of the suspects stabbed him a second time in the right forearm — cutting into the muscle but missing an artery — before he was thrown onto a lit burn barrel.
At that point, some of Burnett’s girlfriends managed to slow down the attackers enough so that he could escape to a vehicle. None of the other 20 people at the party attempted to stop the attack, he said.
Burnett’s girlfriends eventually drove him to a hospital in Sulphur Springs, about 30 miles away.
Burnett said he’s hoping none of his injuries are permanent. He’s scheduled to return to the doctor on Friday.
Chivas Clem, one of Burnett’s gay friends who accompanied him to the party, contacted Dallas Voice and other media outlets about the attack Monday morning. Chivas, an artist who recently moved to Paris from New York City, said he fears people in the small, conservative town will try to brush the incident under the rug.
“I intend to make sure the Police Department follows through with this, and that the local press covers it,” Chivas said. “When I saw him [Burnett], I vomited because he looked so bad — and I cried.”
Another one of Burnett’s gay friends, Austin Holloman, said he’s heard police are considering downgrading the charges to misdemeanors because the attack occurred at a party. Holloman said he recently moved to Paris to live with his partner, who’s from there and has known Burnett since childhood.
“We don’t want people thinking this is OK in this area,” Holloman said. “We plan on being here forever.”

and so it goes