Thursday, March 31, 2011

Well, that didn't take long...

Two days after announcing a hold on same sex couple deportations, the USCIS says  "whoops! Not really!"  (hat tip to The Advocate)

Official: No Hold on Gay Immigration Cases

Immigration officials say they will no longer put a hold on the cases of binational married gay couples, just two days after U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that action on such cases would be halted pending further legal guidance. 

Wednesday morning USCIS press secretary Christopher S. Bentley toldThe Advocate that the agency had received legal guidance to lift the hold it had issued Monday. The guidance was issued in the form of written communications from the Office of the General Counsel at Department of Homeland Security (USCIS is a component of DHS). 

Bentley declined to release any of the written documents at this time, saying it was privileged communication. He emphasized that the official policy itself within DHS had never changed.
Well so much for that... Turns out the "Abeyance" or hold on same sex partner deportations is over.

I don't know WHY so many people are surprised by this... ALL of the promises made by then Senator Obama, to the LGBT community in 2008 were just hot air.

We will hear them again in 2012. The President will barnstorm around the country claiming HE repealed Don't Ask, Don't Tell.   He didn't.  Congress did.  The President didn't lobby, didn't act, didn't do diddly-squat.   Oh sure,  AFTER all the work was done, he was glad to jump in.   The ONLY thing he did was sign the bill.  Important to be sure,  but hardly "fierce advocacy".

Over the next 18 months, the President will tout how he has "Stopped Defending DOMA" (while hoping nobody asks about the ENFORCEMENT of DOMA, or how for the first 3 years in office he defended DOMA by comparing same sex marriage to incest...)
So I guess it's time to (once again) point out the BLINKING OBVIOUS... (everybody join in.. this time with feeling!)


President Barack Obama, is a centrist.  A  timid one at that.  He wants to govern but he doesn't want to actually have to lead.  Now that being said,  we all can agree that he is light years better than ANY of the GOP Wingnut lunatics  that want to replace him.  But frankly, at this point,   that  isn't saying much.

Also,  what is even more apparent this past week, given his behavior;  it is starting to become clear, that deep deep down, the President  believes the Gays are kinda icky.   To be fair,  I think he feels BAD about believing that,  but not bad enough to actually change anything.
We waited, my husband and I. We hoped, we donated, we campaigned and we believed. Now three years later,  we have  this latest 'bait and switch- back" on DOMA and Immigration equality.  It has  just proved to us, that we were right this past year to give up on President Obama, and move to the UK.
I said this on Monday,  and  it keeps ringing true;  The BEST the LGBT community can hope for out of Barack Obama, is that he moves from a position of actively opposing marriage equality to one of passive indifference.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My Reaction to the USCIS Announcement

Yesterday, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services revealed that  deportations of people who have overstayed their visas, but  are in a state-recognized same sex marriage,  are now on hold.   (From  Metro Weekly:)
Following up on reports from this weekend, Metro Weekly just received confirmation from Christopher Bentley, the spokesman for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, that cases of foreign partners who are married to a same-sex partner and would otherwise be eligible for a green card are on hold in light of questions about the continued validity of the Defense of Marriage Act. Bentley writes, "USCIS has issued guidance to the field asking that related cases be held in abeyance while awaiting final guidance related to distinct legal issues." He notes, however, "USCIS has not implemented any change in policy and intends to follow the President's directive to continue enforcing the law." The legal distinction means that although DOMA is still being enforced, the USCIS is using its discretion to hold off on denying green card applications where applicable.
 A lot of people  have sent me text messages and emails  today  asking me if I am excited and happy about  this "significant step forward"  for same sex  bi-national couples.


I'm sorry but this is all nonsense, wonderfully symbolic nonsense, but nonsense all the same.

Green Card Petitions by same sex couples will not be approved as long as DOMA is still on the books. Also this does NOTHING for bi-national same sex  couples who are currently living overseas,  or for couples where the Non-American partner is not currently in the U.S.

As far as the Administration taking  this "significant step" goes... There is also no logical reason that the steps taken this past month;  (declining to defend DOMA in court,  putting pending deportations on hold ect.) couldn't have been taken THREE YEARS AGO. That might have helped move current court challenges to DOMA through the system faster. Instead we had the Obama DOJ filing legal briefs defending DOMA by comparing same sex marriage to incest... How soon we forget huh?

The legislation recently introduced to repeal DOMA is dead on arrival in the House of Representatives. Why? Simple, the GOP and it's rabidly wingnutty base are desperate to keep LGBT Americans as the one last minority it is safe for them to promote the hatred of, for fundraising purposes.

When the Republican Party wants to deport children BORN HERE because their Parents were not citizens, do you honestly think these politically opportunistic bigots are going to sit idly by and allow same sex couples even a small dose of equality?

I am very glad that the couples who were facing forced separation have been given a reprieve, but unless DOMA is repealed it will be only a temporary one. 
  I know this feels like it should be seen as some sort of positive step forward, but I just can't get excited because Barack Obama (with one eye on his re-elect) has moved from active opposition to Marriage Equality, to passive indifference.    
This is window dressing ahead of the 2012 re-election kickoff.  Which Huffington Post says is coming in April. 
Nothing more...

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Illustrious Jabba The Huckabee will now Accept your Donations...

(hat tip to  JoeMyGod for this latest bit of American Taliban ass-hattery)
Speaking to his faithful minions at the Shereton in West Des Moines, GOP Presidential hopeful, Rev. Mike Huckabee, ranted how the threat of Gay Marriage will destroy America, and that stopping it might even cost you your Job!

Wow... There is just way too much Crazy here to even begin  to  pick apart.   If you are going to argue about  who God gave land to, you might want to check with the  Native Americans,  who I imagine would take issue with Mike's claim of  divine ownership.

The singularly  Caucasian  audience was almost roused from their rubber-chicken induced stupor by Huckabee's  dire exhortations of a battle of Good vs Evil,  and his fierce stand against those who would "enslave us".   (Mike better be careful,  Wall Street  might take those references  personally....)

Also you can't help but wonder,  how thrice-married serial adulterer Newt Gingrich  will deal with  Huckabee's  assertions that only a monogamous marriage is "true".

Let the glorious circular political firing squad that is  GOP Presidential Primary politics, begin!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Happy 80th Birthday William Shatner!

Big Immigration Equality News Out of New York...


Bi-National Lesbian Couple Can Press US Marriage Claim

It what appears to be the first such action of its type, an Immigration Judge in Manhattan has adjourned deportation proceedings for the Argentine lesbian spouse of an American citizen to allow the couple to proceed with their application to have their marriage recognized for purposes of federal immigration law.

Monica Alcota, 35, who came to the US a decade ago, married her partner of nearly three years, 25-year-old Cristina Ojeda, last August in Connecticut.

The couple’s attorneys, Lavi Soloway and Noemi Masliah, argue that their clients’ marital status should qualify Alcota for permanent residency, as would be the case with any different-sex couple.

A 2010 US court ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act’s denial of federal recognition for legal same-sex marriages, they say –– coupled with the Justice Department’s recent decision that it could not and would not defend DOMA’s constitutionality on that point –– opens up the real possibility that Alcota and Ojeda may be accorded recognition.

In a March 22 hearing in the US courthouse at 26 Federal Plaza in Lower Manhattan, Immigration Judge Terry A. Bain gave the couple the go-ahead to press their claim with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) –– a unit of the Department of Homeland Security –– through what is known as Form I-130, a petition to have Alcota recognized as “the spouse of USC.”

For now, the couple’s case has been adjourned until December, a decision supported by the government's attorney.

“It is almost impossible to overstate the significance of what happened in there,” Soloway said immediately after the hearing. “An adjournment based on an I-130. It would never have happened a year ago. I don’t think I even would have filed it.”

Describing the development as “huge,” Soloway also credited Bain with being “very kind, very generous” in her handling of the case.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Today on the House Floor,   Rep Anthony Weiner (D NY)  thanks the GOP for  their  clear laser-like focus on the issues that  TRULY matter to the American People...

(hat tip to  JoeMyGod)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Last Night on American Network Television..

On FOX no less...

Fear, bigotry, hatred  and homophobia lost.

All those who ranted that such a thing,  as what happened last night on prime-time TV would "destroy America", are now exposed for what they really are.   People like Newt (thrice-married adulterer) Gingrich,  Sarah (unmarried pregnant daughter) Palin,  Tony (gay kids should just kill themselves) Perkins, and   Maggie (hating people is what I do best) Gallagher  all got their asses kicked last night.  Their fear mongering, lies and outright hatred of other Americans failed.  

So what was it that defeated them?  What  showed the world that everything these hate mongers  have said  is just ignorant bile with no basis in reality or truth?

Just a tiny little television show....  called  Glee

Over the course of today there have been a slew of reactions  across the blogosphere, the vast majority of which have are overwhelmingly positive.   There were a few comments posted on the Los Angeles Times media blog from people claiming to be "concerned parents"  who didn't feel it was appropriate for teens to see  two boys kissing.   One commenter claimed  the kiss was  too  "confusing" for her teenage daughter.


If  these kids are any indication,  it's safe to say that the teens of America were not at all confused  by last night's episode.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Moving On...

In the Spring of  2004,  I moved to  San Francisco.   I had lived in Chicago for nearly  6 years.   When  I  was part of the  large scale lay offs  that  swept through the Banking industry  back in the  early  2000's.    It was geographically and  culturally not  nearly as big a move as  when I moved to  South Korea,  back in the late 1990's.  Yet  it felt  nearly as big.  

Now 7 years later,   I once again sit in my apartment surrounded by boxes, faced with the daunting task of culling through the bits and pieces  of my life.  Deciding what to pack,  what to discard, what to give away.   Once again,  I am moving. Leaving a city  that I have grown to  love,  a job that  has been fun, challenging,  and always rewarding.  Leaving  friends  who  made this  crazy place  feel like home,  and  leaving  family  who moved here  themselves only  few short years ago, as well.

Moving is always something that  prompts  introspection.  Whether you want to or not.    Lots of  people have asked me  "what will you miss?"   When they ask that,   they of course mean,  what  aspect of living in San Francisco will I miss after I leave.   Of course there are lots of "things".  Yet,  like any big transition  you find yourself looking more, at  the difference between the person  I was when I arrived here,  and  who it is,  that will be leaving  San Francisco in April.   Older?  Yes  of course.  Wiser?  One would hope.   I learned a lot  about  myself and  life in general  living here.   Regrets?  A few,   but  isn't  that the case  with all things in life?  

Back in  2004  when I started  this blog over on the now-defunct  AOL hometown,   then moving it to Yahoo 360,  and finally here to blogger.  I entitled it  "Funny Odd Thing...Life."   It is quote from  one of my favorite writers,  the late, great  Douglas Adams.       In his series of books,   "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", the main character, Arthur Dent, is a man who keeps having the most  improbable  things happen to him on nearly a daily basis.   When he repeatedly asks others he encounters why all these crazy things always happen to him, invariably the person would shrug and reply;  "Dunno....  It's a funny odd thing.... life."

I will confess,  that  over the years, I  have often  felt a lot like Arthur Dent.  When I was a kid, growing up in South Central Wisconsin , I think it is safe to say (and those who 'knew me when',  would probably agree.)  I  really didn't  "fit in".   My vocabulary,  sense of humor and interests  where always very different from that of my peers.   I was into  Monty Python,  The Goon Show,  and  Douglas Adams.   I hosted my own local television show, I watched  Doctor Who,  listened to movie soundtracks  and  knew all the lyrics to songs by  Gilbert and  Sullivan.   In short,  I was a funny odd kid.

But like so many funny odd kids,  I eventually found my own way.  As a teenager,  I moved to Germany,  then back to Wisconsin for college.  Then, in my 20's I moved  to South Korea.   From there, I found my way in my 30's to  Chicago, and  eventually, to here, in San Francisco.  Now in my fourth decade,  I find life is no less funny or odd.   I fell in love,  I got married,  found a new job,  and  as a result,  I am moving again.  To London.

So as I sort and  pack for this move.  I am  grateful  for everything that the past  seven years  has given me.   Along with that gratitude  is a great deal of  excitement.  One of my favorite composers is Stephen Sondheim.  In his musical  "Sunday in Park with George", there is a great song  about change,  and the mixed feelings  we often have when facing it.    Like  Arthur Dent,  like George,  this funny, odd kid...  is looking  forward,  and  is excited to  Move On.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

We Interrupt this Blog for a Very Good Cause...

Hey there Funny Odd Thing'ers...

I don't usually post "action item" kinda stuff on here. But this is a special case. I'd like you all to meet Joshua Jurack. Josh lives with his two brothers and two sisters in  Virgina. He is the  VA Goodwill Ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association-- Josh is a great kid, who is dealing the best he can with the effects of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

So I am asking my readers to take just few moments to watch  this video, and if you are  so inclined - to please consider making a donation to  "Team Joshua's Hope" .   Josh and his family  are fighting to  help find a cure for all those who suffer from  muscular dystrophy.

On 4/2/2011, MDA will be hosting the Muscle Walk to raise money to find a cure for Muscular Dystrophy. Together, let's work to make a muscle, make a difference.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

The View from Across the Pond...

It is always interesting  to watch American politics from  the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.   As I type this blog entry I am sitting in the Pillars of Hercules pub in London's West End.

CNN International is  playing on the TV behind the bar,  and  former Arkansas  Governor  Mike Huckabee is pontificating  his world view. Huckabee seems to have grasped  the fact that  his only shot at  winning the  2012 Republican Presidential Nomination is to out-crazy everyone else   who is thinking about running.

In a radio interview with official hate group wingnut  Bryan Fischer Huckabee  gave one of the lamest non-denial, denials  we have seen  in a long time.   Criticized  for  stating the  out and out lie that  President Obama "grew up in Kenya" (he didn't)   Huckabee  doubled down. (hat tip to  media matters)

In a radio interview today, Mike Huckabee claimed that President Obama "has a different worldview and I think it is, in part, molded out of a very different experience. Most of us grew up going to Boy Scout meetings and, you know, our communities were filled with Rotary Clubs, not madrassas. And I just do think that there is - again, I am not saying he's not a citizen, I've never said that, I've said the opposite. I've never said he's a Muslim."

Sure Mike, you're not saying the President is a Muslim, you're just saying he grew up going to a Madrassa somewhere in the Middle East or Africa.

So by that same logic; I'm not saying Mike Huckabee is a violent racist extremist who supports the Klu Klux Klan, I'm just saying that where most Americans grew up in States that taught how the Civil War was fought to end the horror of slavery, Mike Huckabee grew up in communities filled with lynchings, Klan rallies and pro-segregationist politicians.

So it's only natural that Huckabee would have a different world view than most of us.

Let's clear up a few things shall we?  If you think President Obama...

- was born in Kenya
- was born in Indonesia
- is a Muslim
- is a Marxist
- reformed health care so the government can kill old people,
- hates America
- is in any way similar to Adolf Hitler, or Joseph Stalin
- was not legitimately elected (by a landslide) as President
- is a Socialist
- is Fascist
- is the Anti-Christ

If you believe ANY of these things, you are either a complete and utter moron, lacking the basic intelligence God gave geese, OR you are a frightened racist who simply cannot handle the fact that the President of the United States is not white.   And if you are a politician who is trying to capitalize on that stupidity or  that racism, you are not fit to hold elected office of any kind, let alone that of President of the United States.

The rest of the world looks at the GOP / Tea Party lunatics and just shakes its collective heads. Americans clearly have a shorter attention span than your average goldfish. Forgetting the unbelievable damage the GOP inflicted on them, American voters turned right around in 2010 and said "thank you , may we have some more?"

What does the Republican Party offer? Job growth? Nope, the proposed GOP budget will result in the loss of over 700,000 American jobs. Liberty and justice for all? Nope, not even close. The GOP / American Taliban is on a quest to eliminate women's rights, and turn bigotry into civil law, and turn the clock on workers rights back to the late 1800's.

So as I sit here in London and gaze back across the Atlantic,  I see the Nation of my birth is at risk.   The United States of America is now in real danger of going from being the leader of the free world, to the laughing stock of it.