Friday, July 22, 2011

A Quarter of a Century Later....

The great Midwestern humorist Garrison Keillor sings a song about being someone who has "left" his hometown and moved away. His "Song of the Exiles" has always held a certain resonance with me.

Like Keillor, I grew up in a small town in the American Midwest. My "Lake Wobegon" was in Sun Prairie Wisconsin. And like many who grow up in small towns I viewed it as a place that you grow up in,  then leave, as quickly as you can.  And I did.  After High School I left.  I went away to college, then I  lived in Europe, in Asia and then Chicago, San Francisco and now here in London.

This weekend is the 25 Year reunion of my High School Graduating class.   No, I won't be going.  Not out of any sort of disdain or desire to be curmudgeonly.   It's a matter of time and distance. To travel from London to South Central Wisconsin for two days just isn't really all that practical. Also, I have never attended any of the previous reunions. The 5 and 10 year reunions seemed just plain silly, and I honestly don't recall where the 20th was or if there even was one.    Yet, the run up to this weekend's get together back in Wisconsin has been interesting. Mostly due to Facebook. It has enabled the organizers to track down and reach out to a fairly large number of alumni.

Which has been an odd experience...

Over the past few months, I have been contacted and even "friended" (to use Facebook lingo...) by people who I literally never have had a sustained conversation with in High School ...ever.  People who back then may as well have been total strangers, given how much interaction we had.  Yet now twenty five years on, there is an implied bond,  due to the commonality of where and more specifically, when we all graduated from High School. Consequently a verse from Keillor's song keeps floating back to me:

"What's their names I knew back when
Never liked each other that much then
But memory has been kind, and they weren't bad.
I'd like to see those folks again..."

It's safe to say that "back in the day" I was not someone who was in with the "cool kids".  My varsity letter (yes I have one) was in Extemporaneous Speech. (Yeah, I know... you actually can letter in that, who knew?)  So no,  I didn't fit in very well. My vocabulary and interests were not really typical,  and differed from most  of my classmates.  And for better or worse,   Sun Prairie  Wisconsin was not a place that smiled upon being  "different".   As a result, I was  never  going to be someone the student body of Sun Prairie High would consider "popular".

At the time in 1986,  I viewed Sun Prairie High School as something that was to be endured, survived and quickly left behind... far,  far behind. Yet looking back,  if I am honest, I will admit that I did enjoy High School. I had wonderful friends, and for the most part had great teachers. (Granted, one or two of them should have been hauled out and beaten with a stupidity stick, but overall,   Sun Prairie Public Schools did okay...)

So now in 2011 I find myself in the odd position of feeling nostalgic, not just for the experience and the time in my life, but for the people as well. Even for those  for whom it can be said we were definitely not friends. But that is the beauty of the passage of time.   Memory is kind, and none of us are who we were at age 17 or 18.

So the people who will gather together at the Edgewater Hotel in Madison, Wisconsin are folks  I do not know.  But  honestly wish I could meet  them .   We have in common a significant period of time in our lives that though, long past, played a huge role in making us all the people we are today.

So  to the SPHS Class of '86,  I  raise a glass on the other side of the world, and wish you well, and.... yes,  I  wish I was there,  to see who it is we all  have become.

Go Cardinals...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Today's Senate Hearing on DOMA

Senator Al Franken (D-MN) destroys the  loads of  crap  being  spewed  by "Focus on the Family"  as  fact based  testimony  on the Defense of Marriage Act  (DOMA)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Keith Olbermann's Special Comment on President Obama

As always...  Keith  sums it up,  brilliantly.     Sadly  I doubt  very much anyone  in the White House  has the courage or the  basic  intellect  to  listen...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bill Maher calls it like it is.... Brilliant..

If you are  an American  who  isn't  a muli-millionaire  or  billionaire   and you  are still  voting for the  Republican Party...   You are  an  idiot.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Department of Justice Makes History... very very quietly.

via Lambda Legal - On Friday, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a brief strongly arguing that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional in a case brought by Lambda Legal and Morrison & Foerster LLP on behalf of Karen Golinski, a lesbian federal court employee denied medical coverage for her wife, whom she married when same-sex couples could do so in California.

The DOJ had previously announced they would no longer defend DOMA, but this is the first legal filing in the country in which they have fully argued to a court that DOMA is unconstitutional. They asked the federal court not to dismiss Golinski's claim.

First of all, this is very good news. The Obama Administration has finally actually and demonstrably evolved. This administration has gone from defending DOMA , to saying they wouldn't defend DOMA, but would keep enforcing it, to not defending it, and selectively not enforcing parts of it, to last Friday's legal brief. Which for the first time argues forcefully that DOMA , or least section 3, (the part of it that bars federal recognition of same sex marriages), is unconstitutional and cannot stand.

“Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act … unconstitutionally discriminates,” the brief states. “It treats married same-sex couples who are legally married under their states’ laws differently than similarly situated opposite-sex couples, denying them the status, recognition and significant federal benefits otherwise available to married persons.”

The Justice Department contends LGBT people are a suspect class, or a group likely subject to differential treatment, because they’ve been subject to a history of discrimination, they exhibit immutable characteristics, and they’re minorities with limited political power. Additionally, the brief contends sexual orientation bears no relation to a person’s ability to contribute to society.

Wow... This is a big deal right? I bet the national media coverage of this has the wing nuts of America's right wing going crazy.... Well, not so much.

As it happens there wasn't any national media coverage of this. News of the brief was not even posted on the Department of Justice web site. The brief was filed on late Friday night, before then 4th of July holiday weekend, pretty much guaranteeing any news of it would get buried and missed by the White House press corps.
This, at the end of a week where  President Obama hosted  LGBT activists to mark the anniversary of the  Stonewall riots in New York.  One might have thought  the President would have shared news of this  historic shift in Administration policy there, in  a room full of representatives of a key segment of the  Democratic base  that  has become  increasingly  frustrated by  President Obama's reluctance to take any firm steps in the direction of supporting  Marriage  Equality.
Nope... not  a word.   It is as if the entire process was done to  attract no attention, or as little as possible.   
Here is the full brief:

I suppose  moving from  being  indifferent to  being a "closeted supporter" of  Marriage Equality, is step in  the right direction.   Albeit  one done quietly on tip toes....

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Great Interview from Countdown With Keith Olbermann

Keith talks  musicals and  gay marriage with  Dan Savage...

Friday, July 01, 2011

Take a Bow Bozo....

We say goodbye to  Cable TV's  premiere  Rodeo Clown.   Happy Trails  Glenn Beck.   When  you are deemed  too crazy  for even  Fox News, that is saying something...

Take a bow  Glenn... you've earned it!