Saturday, March 19, 2016
Georgia Republicans are about to learn that self-prostitution to Christofascists can carry a significant price. Yesterday, the NFL said that, if the anti-gay "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" (RFRA) bill passed by the legislature isn't vetoed by the governor, Atlanta can kiss its Super Bowl bid goodbye. The Atlanta Constitution has details:
If Georgia chooses to turn the “religious liberty” bill into law, be prepared: Atlanta may not get a Super Bowl.
While the Republicans continue their unprecedented obstruction of Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, some cracks in the party's facade are showing. Now, Senator Mark Kirk (R) has called on his Senate colleagues to "man up" and hold a vote on Judge Garland. Kirk, it should be noted, is facing a rough re-election fight and seemingly doesn't want to be tagged with the obstructionist label. A piece in the Washington Post looks at this development. Here are highlights:
Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois on Friday became the first Republican senator to call for an up-or-down vote on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, saying on a Chicago radio show that his colleagues ought to “just man up and cast a vote.”
Kirk, speaking Friday morning on WLS-AM, said that the Senate “should go through the process the Constitution has already laid out” but that he did not see McConnell relenting before the election.
Kirk’s comments come three days before Democratic activists plan a nationwide “Day of Action” to protest Republican senators who are opposed to taking up Garland’s nomination.
|View of Sunset Key|
Our trip to Key West continues to be amazing, with the weather fully cooperating so far. Today looks like it will be a gorgeous day with temperatures in the low 80's. We spent the first part of the day walking around the Old Town area of Key West and view the sights - physical of the place and nice looking guys - and doing some shopping. The afternoon was spent around the pool, followed by b cocktails at 5:00 pm before heading to the Bourbon Street Pub to meet friends for a drink before four of us headed to the Key West Yacht Club for dinner. The club was nice and the food was great. As is the case of our home club, flags of associated clubs were hanging around the rafters and we were able to locate the Hampton Yacht Club flag (see below).
|Hampton pennant - second from left|
|The husband near the waterfront|
Friday, March 18, 2016
Yesterday was exhausting. I got home Wednesday evening at 9:45PM and then had to be up at 2:45AM to head for the airport in Norfolk. Our flights went off without delay and we landed in Key West at 11:25 AM. The weather was clear and sunny with a temperature of 83 degrees! Our first day at the Equator was pleasant and given our exhausted state, we hung by the pool all afternoon after settling in. The view from our top floor balcony is above. One nice aspect of The Equator is the 5:00PM cocktail hour that is included in the room rate (breakfast is as well), and we took full advantage of it!
After multiple cocktails, we walked to Martin's - a Germany style restaurant on Duval Street towards the opposite end from where the craziest St. Patrick's Day partying was going on. Dinner, as is always the case at Martin's was fabulous. Not that we needed more alcohol, we had a great bottle Riesling. On the back to The Equator we made a quick pass through the 801. Once back at our room, we basically passed out. :)
This morning I have dealt with about 220 office e-mails and reviewed a few documents for clients. Today we will wander around and revisit some local sites. This evening we are meeting friends at the Bourbon Street Pub before going to dinner at the Key West Yacht Club which has reciprocal privileges with the Hampton Yacht Club.
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
The husband and I leave for Key West on a crack of dawn flight in the morning. I will no doubt be working late at the office as I try to get out of town, so posting will be reduced this evening and tomorrow morning. The good news is that we will be in Key West before noon tomorrow. The husband's adopted brother will be house sitting and baby sitting the dogs on the home front. We will be staying once again at The Equator on Fleming Street (pictured above) where we stayed during our last visit to Key West in 2014. I am excited, but dread getting up to make the 5:25 AM flight out of Norfolk International. Drop me a message if you will be in Key West over the weekend.
As Hillary Clinton begins her pivot toward the general election in November, the so-called GOP establishment finds itself on the ropes and seemingly in a death spiral as the lunatic party base that it nurtured for years and whose ugliness was ignored with winks and nods continues to rally to Donald Trump. While last nights primary results kept Ted Cruz and John Kasich in the GOP nomination contest, the chances of stopping Trump seem to be fading. Having watched Trump's fact free, ego filled "speech" last night, it is hard to believe how low logic, reason, and objective reality have disappeared from the GOP. A piece in Politico looks at the desperate situation of the so-called GOP establishment. Here are excerpts:
The Republican establishment is just about out of candidates — and if the delegate math is tough for Donald Trump, it’s far worse for everyone else.
The donors who pumped millions into an anti-Trump campaign are now assessing whether to continue the fight. And while some mainstream Republicans are girding for a likely floor fight at the July convention, others are losing their resolve.
“Only in the minds of the delusional DC establishment is there a brokered convention at this point,” said Tony Fabrizio, a longtime GOP pollster who advised Rand Paul’s campaign. “And if the elites try and steal the nomination from Trump, the riots at the ’68 Democratic Convention will look like a garden party.”
By taking Florida, along with Illinois, North Carolina and the North Marianas Islands (Missouri was still too close to call), Trump racked up more than 200 additional delegates, increasing his lead and further dimming the hopes of those desperate to stop him.
Tuesday night delivered more carnage for mainstream Republicans when Trump steamrolled Marco Rubio, long thought to personify the party’s future, in the senator’s home state of Florida.
“The goal for most of us at this point is to keep delegates away from Trump, and it really doesn’t matter who wins them,” said Charlie Black, a longtime GOP operative who just signed on as an adviser to Kasich’s campaign as it approaches a contested convention. “There are delegates who will be bound to Trump on the first ballot or the first two ballots who aren’t going to be for Trump once they’re free. If you get to a third ballot, the world changes.”
The Republican Party’s #NeverTrump movement, after spending $15 million in Florida and not putting so much as a dent in Donald Trump’s armor, has only a few unpalatable options left: uniting behind Cruz, long a loathsome thorn in the establishment’s side, or pinning their hopes on a long shot like Kasich and girding for a messy fight at the RNC’s convention that could further fracture the GOP beyond repair.
“With Kasich winning Ohio, a contested convention is more likely than ever,” said one Republican operative in Washington. “The backside shadow campaign for delegates who will come to you on the second and third ballots begins.”
the party is not about to roll over for Trump, especially with his negatives rising higher amid a spate of violent skirmishes between his supporters and protesters at several recent rallies. In fact, there’s rising chatter on Capitol Hill that the party could nominate Ryan himself at the convention. “He probably wouldn’t [do it] but everyone thinks he’s Republican Jesus,” said one GOP Senate staffer.
A number of prominent Republican Party donors who funded the anti-Trump campaign, including New York City hedge fund manager Paul Singer and the Chicago Cubs-owning Ricketts family, plan to gather in Florida later this week for a private meeting.
With Donald Trump increasingly looking as if he will be the Republican Party nominee, Hillary Clinton took the time last night after her wins in five primary states to give a taste of how she intends to counter Trumps policy free, demagogic campaign. A column in the Washington Post contains a summary. Here are highlights:
WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. . . . Clinton delivered the speech she has wanted to give for weeks, debuting the case she will make to the country between now and November. And it is a pretty good one.After Tuesday night, it is no longer presumptuous for Clinton to begin her great pivot to the general election. She trounced Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in Florida, North Carolina and Ohio, and she essentially fought him to a draw in Illinois and Missouri. She added to her delegate lead, and she quieted concerns that she cannot win in the industrial Midwest.
she introduced her general election pitch, which stressed experience and seriousness. “The next president will walk into the Oval Office next January, sit down in that desk, and start making decisions that will affect the lives and the livelihoods of everyone in this country, indeed everyone on this planet,” she said, before methodically listing off the “three big tests” the next president will face and arguing that GOP front-runner Donald Trump fails each of them.
“First,” she said, “can you make positive differences in people’s lives?” She mentioned a series of policies she would like to pursue — lowering student debt, providing affordable child care, investing in infrastructure. One could object to one proposal or the other — cutting student loan interest rates for everyone, for example, instead of just for those who need it. But she brought the speech back to her larger point about political responsibility. “Every candidate makes promises like this. But every candidate owes it to you to be clear and direct about what our plans will cost and how we’re going to make them work,” she said, establishing a standard that she has satisfied more than any other presidential candidate this year.
The next test, Clinton explained, is “can you keep us safe?” “Our commander in chief has to be able to defend our country, not embarrass it,” she said. “When we hear a candidate for president call for rounding up 12 million immigrants, banning all Muslims from entering the United States, when he embraces torture, that doesn’t make him strong, it makes him wrong.” Clinton nailed Trump for being reckless.
Clinton’s third and final test is the most pointedly anti-Trump: “Can you bring our country together again?” She condemned Trump’s “bluster and bigotry,” saying that “to be great, we can’t be small,” she said. “We can’t lose what made America great in the first place.” Once again, she contrasted Trump’s rhetoric with her experience. “Running for president is hard, but being president is harder,” she said. “No one person can succeed in the job without seeking and finding common ground.” Clinton has a record of working with Republicans; like her foreign policy point, she should develop this one to show off her strengths as much as highlight Trump’s weaknesses.
Clinton also ignored warnings that she has wandered too far from the center on immigration, speaking near the end of her speech about “a day when deportations end and families are reunited.” This is probably a sign she believes that locking up the Latino vote is more important in the general election than trying to soothe concerns about illegal immigration among other voters that Democrats may have traditionally attempted to court. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
Tuesday night’s address was much cleaner than her first few drafts. Among other things, she wisely removed this meh line: “America never stopped being great; we need to make America whole.” She also delivered her speech with the conviction she sometimes lacks.
Stressing experience may be a questionable strategy in an anti-establishment election year. But her experience is Clinton’s greatest strength. She must show that she is the competent one and that Trump, if he claims the GOP nomination, simply is not.
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
I have often said that gay Republicans are as insane as 1930's Jews who supported the Nazi regime. It's even more insane for transgender individuals to support the Republican Party given the party's and the party base's utter contempt for transgender. Hence, Joy Behar's comparison of Caitlyn Jenner to a Jew supporting Hitler. While I applaud Caitlyn Jenner's courage in coming out and transitioning, I continue to be shocked and appalled by her cluelessness on social and political issues that never affected her as a privileged white male up until her transition. Is she blind and/or deaf to what the GOP continues to say about LGBT individuals? Towleroad looks at Behar's apt comments. Here are highlights:
The women on The View had a conversation about Caitlyn Jenner today, reacting to a photo she tweeted last night in response to outrage from the LGBT community over her support for Ted Cruz (she has said she wants to be Cruz’s “trans ambassador”).
Jenner’s tweet was a photo of her and some friends, including Candis Cayne, with Hillary Clinton and read “#learningfrommygirls #willingtolisten.”
Raven Symone commented that she thought Jenner should have taken a hiatus after stepping into the public eye and feels Jenner could have benefited from the perspective:
“I knew that I liked girls at 12 years old, but when I came out at 28 I didn’t go ‘I’m an advocate! I’m an advocate!’ I didn’t know the struggle cause I didn’t live in that world, and now she’s backtracking. I think she just needs to step back a little bit.”
Added Sunny Hostin: “She lived the majority of her life as a white male athlete star…privileged, right? So (now) she’s part of the minority. I think it’s fascinating to watch her struggle with those issues. She’s experiencing things that people of color, that women experience all the time.”
Michelle Collins felt a bit more cynical about it, adding that Jenner’s just trying to “put out a fire” with the Hillary photo.
“Transgenders for Cruz is like Jews for Hitler,” interjected Behar. “She’s not paying attention. She is transgender and she should be reading about it and understanding politics. Or watching and thinking.”
In the wake of Mitt Romney's 2012 loss to Barack Obama, conservative and Republican think tanks stressed the need for the GOP to remake itself and welcome a more diverse party base. One of those tagged to represent the new face of the GOP was Marco Rubio. That was then. Now, the GOP base has become more racist and extreme and seemingly is headed in the opposite direction from what the 2012 post mortems said was need for the party's survival. After losing badly to Donald Trump in Florida, Marco Rubio - once heralded as the GOP's savior - suspended his presidential campaign. At the same time, GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz is "thrilled" to be endorsed by Christofascist lunatics and hate group leader (and KKK affiliated) Tony Perkins has been yet again elected to the 2016 GOP platform committee. Moderation and tolerance are dead in the GOP base. First, these highlights from a piece in the Washington Post:
WEST MIANI - Years of carefully laid plans to repackage the Republican Party’s traditional ideas for a fast-changing country came crashing down here on Tuesday when Sen. Marco Rubio suspended his campaign for the presidency after a crippling defeat in his home-state primary.Since Mitt Romney’s devastating loss in the 2012 presidential election, the Republican National Committee and leading voices at think tanks, editorial boards and Capitol Hill symposiums have charted a path back to the White House based on inclusive rhetoric and a focus on middle-class issues.
Nobody embodied that vision better than Rubio, a charismatic standard-bearer for conservative orthodoxy who readily embraced the proposals of the right’s elite thinkers. The Florida senator spoke urgently and eloquently about raising stagnant wages and eradicating poverty. He had an immigrant’s tale to match the rhetoric. And on foreign affairs, he was a passionate defender of the GOP’s hawkish tilt.
But Rubio’s once-promising candidacy, as well as the conservative reform movement’s playbook, was spectacularly undone by Donald Trump and his defiant politics of economic and ethnic grievance. The drift toward visceral populism became an all-consuming rush, leaving Rubio and others unable to adjust.
“The party finds itself catching up to its base. Those very elegant papers it published and conferences it held may have been good and smart, but they didn’t really matter,” said William J. Bennett, a conservative talk-show host and former education secretary in Ronald Reagan’s administration. “Instead, everyone who’s been prominent for the last 15 to 20 years finds themselves getting pushed out.”
Rubio’s fall comes weeks after others who advocated for conservative reforms, such as former Florida governor Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, have dropped out of the race, and as the donors and institutions who have long supported hawkish policies on fiscal and foreign policies find themselves scrambling to hold onto the consensus that has shaped the GOP for decades.
For many of them, Trump represents a threat to the traditional order of the party and its platform. He does not support overhauling Social Security — a key plank for Romney and GOP congressional leaders — and he was a vocal critic of the 2003 invasion of Iraq in its aftermath, setting him apart from much of the party’s high command.
Whit Ayres, Rubio’s pollster, spent the last several years compiling data and published a book showing that Republicans could not afford to alienate minority voters, especially Hispanics, if they ever hope to retake the White House. Watching Rubio’s concession speech, Ayres was despondent. “After 2012, you thought we’d learned our lesson,” he said.
While Trump is riding rough shod over supposed GOP reformers, the party and other candidates such as Ted Cruz are cozying up with some of the ugliest elements of the GOP's Christofascist base - the very element that has been the driving force in the party's succumbing to a swamp fever like insanity. A case in point: Tony Perkins - president of the hate group Family Research Council with KKK ties - has been elected to the GOP platform committee. Here are highlights of Perkins' gloating via Joe My God:
We may not know who will be representing the GOP at the Republican National Convention, but I know one person who will be representing Louisiana — me! For the second time, I’ll be serving as a delegate for my home state when the Cleveland event gets underway July 18. Just as importantly, I’ve been elected by the delegation to serve on the Republican Platform Committee, which is where some of the most significant debates over the party’s core values occur.
In 2012, my role as a delegate gave me the opportunity to play a key role in amending the marriage plank, which led to the committee approving a much stronger version than 2008’s. We also tightened language on obscenity and pornography, protected conscience rights, explained how abortion hurts women, and supported the Second Amendment in D.C. And while the platform work is usually overshadowed by the pageantry of the broader convention, make no mistake: What happens over those two days could dramatically impact the direction of — not just the presidential campaign — but the entire Republican Party and the country.
Very scary stuff given Perkins' anti-gay, anti-woman, and anti-modernity agenda. Just as scary as Perkins' election to the platform committee is Ted Cruz's embrace of Linda Harvey's endorsement. For those unfamiliar with Harvey, the woman, in my opinion, belongs in a mental institution. Only among the Christofascists could someone with no credentials and it would seem a significant degree of mental imbalance become a successful social parasite. Right Wing Watch looks at Cruz's self-prostitution to Linda Harvey. Here are highlights:
Earlier this year, we reported that a handful of right-wing activists in Ohio, including anti-gay activist Linda Harvey of Mission America, had issued a press release announcing their support for Ted Cruz but that these endorsements had not been officially promoted or announced by the Cruz campaign.That changed yesterday when the Cruz campaign "announced the endorsements of more than 30 key Ohio leaders, including clergy, elected officials, and activists," including three of the activists we highlighted in our original post: Harvey, Phil Burress of Citizens for Community Values Action and Molly Smith of Cleveland Right to Life.
In honor of the Cruz campaign's announcement, we decided to republish our earlier post in order to remind everyone just whom Cruz is embracing:
Perhaps Harvey thinks that Cruz will be the president she has longed for who will issue “an Emancipation Proclamation … to free America from the tyranny of sodomy.”
Harvey, who is boycotting so many pro-LGBT businesses that she complains she is running out of places to shop, has just this year:· Claimed that efforts to combat bullying of LGBT young people amount to “sexual abuse.”· Said that gays “were not born this way, but created through sexual indoctrination” and now want to recruit kids in turn.
· Worried that LGBT youth are possessed by “demonic spirits.”· Said that gay pride parades are signs of God’s impending judgment on America and “ought to be banned.”· Backed Jamaica’s law criminalizing homosexuality.· Said she actually loves gay people, but supporting gay rights is “the least compassionate, the meanest and most hateful thing you can do” because that will “accelerate and confirm this behavior in more and more people in our country.”’
Harvey has also advised parents not to let gay doctors or nurses treat their children, even when they’re hospitalized, and has insisted that “there is no proof that there’s ever anything like a gay, lesbian or bisexual or transgendered child, or teen or human.”
|Anti-gay zealot and nutcase, Linda Harvey|
If nothing else, as noted in a previous post, Hillary Clinton's disastrous misstatement about Nancy Reagan and the HIV/AIDS crisis has prompted a new and much needed conversation about HIV/AIDS, a disease that continues to wreak havoc, especially in minority populations (it is a huge problem in the Hampton Roads black community). Now, Bernie Sanders has released his proposed plan on who to defeat the disease, including by taking on “profiteering” pharmaceutical companies" that have keep prices prohibitively high and out of the reach of many in need of HIV/AIDS medications. A piece in The Advocate looks at Sanders' proposal. Here are highlights:
Bernie Sanders has a plan to create an AIDS-free generation.
The Democratic candidate’s campaign released a statement on his website in order to address “the great moral issue of our day”— the affordability of HIV medicationThe statement took “profiteering” pharmaceutical companies to task for raising the prices of these treatments, thereby forcing those who live with HIV to pay thousands of dollars each year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that at least 1.2 million people are living with HIV in the United States. In 2012, over 13,000 people died of an AIDS-related illness. LGBT people and people of color are particularly at risk. A recent CDC report noted that half of black gay men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime.
“In the richest nation in the world, we must not tolerate a health care system that offers the best care to the rich, while leaving everyone else to fend for themselves,” said the Sanders statement. “We must do everything possible to end the greed of the pharmaceutical companies and get people the medicine they need at a price they can afford.”
To this end, the Sanders team proposed creating a “Prize Fund” of more than $3 billion annually that would “incentivize drug development” and “provide virtually universal access to lower-cost life-saving medicines” as they become available.
The plan also seeks to reform patent laws that privilege pharmaceutical companies. Moreover, as president, Sanders would have the secretary of Health and Human Services “negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies and reduce barriers to the importation of lower-cost drugs from Canada and other countries.”
“The United States is the only major country on earth that does not regulate prescription drug prices in some manner,” the plan pointed out, “and the results have been an unmitigated disaster for patients and their families.”
The Sanders plan called for universal health care and the expansion of health services currently in place, including access to mental health care, the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS.
It goes without saying that Sanders' proposals would be vigorously opposed by Republicans and their Christofascist base,Sanders also stressed the need for civil rights protections for LGBT and HIV-positive people, including safeguards against employment and housing discrimination.“We all must work together so we can finally realize the goal of an AIDS-free generation,” the statement concluded.
Today may usher in the end of Marco Rubio's presidential quest - and perhaps his political career. Expectations are that he will fair poorly in the Florida primary, taking a third place finish. The irony is that it is the forces he rode to power that are not determined to end his career. I make no pretense about my dislike of the so-called Tea Party and its embrace of ignorance and thinly veiled racism. Rubio at one time prostituted himself to the Tea Party faction and now he is about to face the consequences of his heresy of once supporting comprehensive immigration reform. A piece in The Daily Beast looks at his likely payback today. Here are excerpts:
If Marco Rubio’s campaign flames out in Florida tonight, as polls suggest, it will be delicious revenge for the Tea Partiers who have been waiting years to embarrass the senator in his home state.“We’re going to have a sweet taste in our mouths tomorrow when little Marco gets embarrassed by those he betrayed. He betrayed all of Florida, but mostly he betrayed people like me who worked hard to get him elected,” said Dan Ray, a founding member of Tea Party group in The Villages, a large retirement community in Florida, where Rubio campaigned earlier this week.
When Rubio joined with the so-called Gang of Eight to propose a bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform bill, Tea Party groups saw it as akin to an act of treason. They had supported the young lawmaker, preferring him to the alternative, Gov. Charlie Crist (who later became a Democrat). They had also trusted him on the issue of immigration—and worked as foot-soldiers to get him elected.
The people who elected him in 2010 don’t trust him anymore.”
Like Ray, Hall had supported Rubio in 2010, volunteering as a liaison for his staff with conservative activists. She now says she is “ashamed” that she worked so hard for him.Jack Oliver, the legislative director for Floridians for Immigration Enforcement, can recite the date, from memory, where he believes he was sold a bill of goods. It was Dec. 22, 2009, he said: the day when Rubio “conned us all... and then went out to con the rest of the citizens of Florida.”
Instead of a resounding victory on home turf, polls seem to indicate a humiliating defeat is in Rubio’s very near future. A number of public polls show billionaire businessman Donald Trump leading Marco Rubio by double digits, in some cases by more than 20 percentage points. A Quinnipiac University poll published Monday shows Trump leading Rubio in the senator’s home state, 46 percent to 22 percent.
Florida’s Tea Partiers have found at least one unifying theme to rally against once more: Repaying Rubio on Tuesday night—by making sure he loses big.
And Oliver couldn’t be more pleased: “I expect him to lose by double digits… The informed voters aren't buying his B.S. anymore.”
Monday, March 14, 2016
Among the amazing people I have come to know since coming out is singer Tom Goss. Tom has a new album out and the cover piece is a remake of Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man" which has a gay theme that also looks at the poison disseminated by the "godly folk." The music video above is touch and underscores what I tell those coming out after having been raised in a toxic, homophobic religious tradition: walk away!! Here's what Huffington Post has to say:
The classic hit "Son of a Preacher Man," originally recorded by Dusty Springfield in 1968, has been reimagined by singer Tom Goss in a video telling the story of two young, gay teens struggling to understand their sexuality -- and feelings for one another -- while operating within the confines of an evangelical church.
Goss' somber remake follows the son of an anti-gay preacher after he falls in love with another boy in his father's congregation and reveals what happens when the pair's relationship is subsequently discovered.
"The story of the video is one that hits home to me," Goss told The Huffington Post. "I had planned to become a Catholic priest -- I spent 18 months in seminary following college before I realized I was gay. I also attempted suicide when I was 13. Although it was for different reasons, it's a place that I've been."
Like Goss, I once contemplated becoming a Catholic priest as part of my effort to "pray away the gay." Thankfully, I turned away from that idea and ultimately the misogyny of the Catholic Church.
One of the catalysts to my decision to come out after more than two decades of marriage to a woman was the loss of my sister in April, 2001, after a truly heroic battle against cancer. She was a remarkable person and all too often, in my view, put her own life an hold in order to meet the expectations of others. Sadly, it was only in her last years that she seemed to be finally coming into her own only to have her life cut short. Her death was frightening to me for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the nightmare quality for my family. In addition, for me, there was the recognition that I was living my life much as she had done: living to meet the expectations of others and societal stereotypes. I was suddenly faced with the reality that, if I did not do something, I would never really live my life authentically and not as an actor on a stage. In the aftermath of my coming out to key family members thereafter and with the encouragement of my therapist, I launched this blog as I struggled to survive my coming out journey, my subsequent firing from a large Virginia Beach based law firm for being gay, and the resulting financial and emotional nightmare. Was it worth it? Most definitely, although admittedly, at times I questioned if this was true. Recently, a piece in UpLift looks at the regrets of those faced with impending death. Here are excerpts:
For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives. When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honor at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.
Reading this article made me think of many friends who have continued to live in the closet, putting their lives on hold until parents or other family members have passed away. The problem is than none of us know how much time we may be allotted. My sister, while straight,is but example of one who put her life on hold in some ways only to find out too late that her time was very limited. Parents will pass on and we find ourselves left alone. Why throw away your future to satisfy others who do not want to have to rethink their views or let go of their prejudices? To all readers in the closet and struggling to decide what to do, ask yourself if you want to have regrets like those noted above.
For myself, I know first hand that being who you really are and throwing aside self-hate and self-loathing (most religious and societal based) is truly liberating and makes every single day of one's life so much more fulfilling. .
With her death Nancy Reagan belatedly began a serious conversation about HIV/AIDS. Sadly, the conversation has begun 35 years too late to help the tens of thousands who dies of AIDS during her husband's presidency, a presidency that marked the beginning of the Republican Party's selling of its soul to the Christofascists who have played a major role years later in the rise of Donald Trump and what I can only hope will be a catastrophic loss for the GOP in November. True, Hillary Clinton unwittingly provoked even more conversation with her totally false initial remarks about the Reagan's foul legacy of turning a blind eye and cozying up to hate-filled modern day Pharisees (Clinton has twice apologized for her untrue remarks). The good news is that at least in some circles, the much needed conversation about HIV/AIDS has been reignited. Michelangelo Signorile has a piece in Huffington Post looks at the positive aspects of the aftermath of Nancy Reagan's death and Hillary's major case of foot in mouth. Here are highlights:
Suddenly, Bernie Sanders has an AIDS/HIV policy paper. It went up on his campaign website over the weekend, shortly after he attacked Hillary Clinton for her bewildering comments on Friday about Nancy Reagan in which Clinton claimed the now-deceased former first lady was a "low-key advocate" for people with AIDS during the Reagan administration, who, along with her husband, "started a national conversation" about AIDS.
Sanders now calls for establishing "a multibillion-dollar Prize Fund to incentivize drug development" that would "provide virtually universal access to lower-cost life-saving medicines for HIV/AIDS as soon as they are approved for sale." He doesn't address expanding access to PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), the drug combination approved to prevent HIV infection among HIV-negative people at risk, nor many other issues, but his "Prize Fund" is a start.
On CNN on Sunday morning, Sanders said, "I just don't know what she was talking about," regarding Clinton, though he was "glad she apologized." Clinton in fact apologized twice. The Clinton campaign had tweeted a statement from Clinton, a terse apology --"I misspoke...I'm sorry" -- sent on her feed on the day of Reagan's funeral, within hours of Clinton's comments, after a quick backlash had ensued.
Then on Saturday Clinton posted a fuller response online that lauded AIDS activists as those who truly started the conversation, talked about what she'd done as first lady on AIDS (and it should be noted that it was Bill Clinton's administration that turned things around after the horrific Reagan/Bush years), as a U.S. senator and as secretary of state. In her online post, Clinton took on the harsh HIV criminalization laws that stigmatize and criminalize people with HIV, and she discussed some plans if elected president, including making sure there's access to drug treatments, including PrEP for HIV negative people at risk.
It was a terrific statement, got a lot of media attention, and had the Sunday talk shows discussing the terrible, callous record of the Reagan administration on AIDS, when, during a period of years, thousands died as the president stayed silent, bowing to religious zealots while Nancy wouldn't even help her dying friend Rock Hudson when he reached out.
All of this, honestly, is a great thing to see. But there needs to be much more. Whatever caused Clinton to make such a strange gaffe, is, at this point, less important than the discussion itself: It got her to put out some details reminding us of her commitment in the past and offering some ideas moving forward, and it moved Sanders to rush out a policy statement with ideas as well.
But statements aren't enough. We want to hear from the candidates directly and in more detail. Clinton spoke in a live broadcast (on MSNBC) about Nancy Reagan when she made the regrettable comments. Judging from social media, many believe she should now speak directly about her plans and engage in dialogue. I've invited her to come on my radio program on SiriusXM Progress to discuss the issue, and to talk about many other issues affecting LGBT people, and I've invited Senator Sanders on as well. And I'll continue to do so.
We've seen no discussion of LGBT issues in the Democratic debates at a time when a furious backlash against LGBT equality has erupted across the country, as states push forward with "religious freedom" bills meant to enshrine discrimination in law after last year's marriage equality ruling from the Supreme Court. Both candidates have tweeted condemnation of these laws, but there's been little to no discussion among them in the media.
While that ignorance during the debates could be laid at the feet of the media and moderators, it's also true that neither candidate has spoken with a gay journalist or interviewer specifically about issues LGBT voters care about.
This election cycle, it took Nancy Reagan 's death, ironically, to get a discussion going among the candidates about an issue important to LGBT people. But there's more to talk about on that issue -- actually talk, beyond the position papers -- and there are more issues affecting LGBT people to have a dialogue about.
The campaigns surely know that the LGBT electorate plays an outsized role in elections, raising money, working in the campaigns, getting the vote out, inspiring younger voters around issues of equality. In the past few days, gay voters -- and their allies -- were jarred by Clinton's Reagan comments, which have them asking questions and wanting to hear more from her on issues concerning them, even after her sincere apology. And they want to hear from Sanders, too, on the whole range of issues, not just a mention of "gay rights" from a podium or a position paper on a website.
With the brutal campaign of Donald Trump unleashed and barreling forward, it's important to get every group, every Democratic voter, energized. We've seen an entire Democratic debate rightly focused on concerns of Latino voters, and an important one which took place in racially-polarized Flint, Michigan. Both debates were meant to discuss issues vital to constituencies in the party's base. But again, there's been no focus in the campaigns on issues important to LGBT voters.
Given the reality that some studies indicate that the LGBT vote is what flipped Ohio and Virginia to Barack Obama in 2012. Any sane candidate on the Democrat side of the aisle ought to be courting the LGBT vote even as the GOP seems to be doing all that it can to totally alienate LGBT voters.
I have noted how some of the forces Donald Trump is unleashing mirror to some degree what Adolph Hitler did in early 1930's Germany. But there are other parallels to that time and while not directly connecting the dots, Joe Scarborough makes the case that trump is playing the media much as Hitler did throughout his rise until, of course, his regime took over the German media. How is Trump doing this? By staging his rallies and seeking out confrontation to garner media coverage and to further inflame his deranged followers. Some of what has happened at Trump rallies is indeed frightening. What may be more frightening is how the mainstream media is allowing itself to be manipulated. Here are highlights from Scarborough's column in the Washington Post:
We keep talking to ourselves. Constantly. Trying to make order out of chaos and sense out of the surreal. And this year, most doing the talking have gotten it wrong. Wrong about Trump. Wrong about Rubio. Wrong about Bernie. And now wrong about the road ahead.What are we talking to ourselves about now on the Sunday shows, on cable news, in newspaper columns, in the blogosphere, on Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook? We are grimly warning the world that following Friday night’s fracas in Chicago, America faces a deepening divide that is tearing away at the fabric of this great land.
What mind-numbing nonsense. Friday’s freak show was as prepackaged as an rerun of “Celebrity Apprentice.” The only difference was that Donald Trump delivered his lines on the phone from a hotel room in the Windy City instead of on the set of his made-for-TV boardroom.
It was all a scam. Has anyone noticed that Trump’s campaign now regularly stages media events designed to eclipse any negative coverage that predictably follows Republican debates?
When news broke early Friday night that the Chicago rally had been cancelled because of safety fears, you didn’t need to be a programming genius to predict what would be jamming America’s airwaves for the rest of the night. And for the next four hours, the candidate who is promising to weaken libel lawsspoke on cable news channels about how his First Amendment rights were being violated. He was doing all of this while reaching a far larger audience than he could have ever done while actually speaking at a rally.
As has been the case throughout the entire 2016 cycle, Trump thrives on the political chaos that he helps creates. If it is true that opportunity and chaos are the same word in Mandarin, Trump should stamp that word on a poster and sell it at his next scheduled event. For the Manhattan billionaire, manufactured chaos is just as profitable for his brand as Paris Hilton’s sex tape was for hers.
Friday’s spectacle in Chicago was more reality show than political revolt. The rally was cancelled, we were told, because law enforcement officials consulted with the campaign and concluded that scrubbing the event was in the best interest of public safety. One problem: The Chicago Police Department said that never actually happened.
And if you find that curious, perhaps you will find it even more interesting that a political campaign whose security has been so stifling as to draw angry comparisons to fascist regimes would plan a key rally for Trump in the middle of a racially diverse urban campus. The fact that that campus sits in the middle of a city that is so Democratic that it has not elected a Republican mayor since before Franklin Roosevelt was sworn in as president makes the venue’s selection even more bizarre.
Following the rally’s cancellation, Trump supporters expressed surprise at the number of protesters that were filling the lines and streaming into the event on a campus that is 25 percent Hispanic, 25 percent Asian and 8 percent black. William Daley, the son of former Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley, did not share that surprise. “Whoever picked that location knew what they were doing as far as poking that sleeping dog there,” Daley suggested to the New York Times that the venue was staged for the purpose of provoking protests that would energize Trump’s own supporters.
[E]veryone got sucked into the political sideshow. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio’s brief appearances on TV during the rolling cable news coverage only made their own candidacies seem smaller under the glare of Donald’s Big Tent Show.
Friday night’s farce was a made-for-television event with a handful of Trump supporters squaring off against protesters offended by Trump’s presence on their campus.
Unfortunately for his opponents, most of the protesters who appeared on camera during the night shouted profanities at cameras, intimidated others being interviewed by networks and played directly into the Republican frontrunner’s hands.
Donald Trump wants to be the next president of the United States. But that will never happen unless the man who is about to lock down the GOP nomination drops his reality show routine, starts working on uniting his party and gets serious about the daunting task before him. Mark me down as skeptical.
I would caution Scarborough that many were skeptical that Hitler would rise to power as he did. Hitler manipulated the media, played the victim when appropriate, and played the discontent and rage in Germany like a fine violin until he secured enough power to make himself dictator. Rather than be skeptical, learning from the past and recognizing the danger at hand is more appropriate.