Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Town DC will close on July 1, 2018


Town Danceboutique will close on Sunday, July 1, 2018, after more more year of operation.  The disco has operated since 2007.  The property was sold in the Spring of 2016 for an apartment complex.  The best link right now is here on Twitter/

Even so, the club recently put in a patio (as I recall, in 2015).

This is plenty of notice, more than the Hippo had in Baltimore.

There are two or three new but smaller clubs (like the Uproar) nearby which may take up some of the clientele. I’ve seen the Eagle dance floor once (on the Memorial Day “Bryce Harper Gate”) but I don’t know how well it is doing.

But the Town essentially replaced the Velvet Nation, which closed in mid 2006 while Nationals Park was being built.   And Velvet Nation had replaced Tracks, nearby, one of the best bars ever (remember the Volleyball Court) in the 1990s.  One wonders if there would be space for nightlife along the Anacostia after the soccer stadium, next to Nats Park, is built, or if RFK is renovated.

  Another possibility could be the new Ballston Quarter in Arlington; the local population would probably support a bar.

The problems with the Metro and the midnight closings since mid 2016 don’t seem to have been a factor.  But parking in the area has become difficult, with space running out on the lot.

Dance clubs often operate on leased space and wind up eventually getting evicted by developers.  It's not terribly efficient for a property to remain unused most weeks except Friday and Saturday nights.  It may be more efficient to rent hotel or even casino ballroom space for dance events in many cases.


Monday, June 26, 2017

SCOTUS rules for same-sex couple on birth certificate case from Arkansas; will hear "wedding cake" case next term; the libertarian side


The Supreme Court this morning reversed the Arkansas Supreme Court and ruled (6-3) that a state must list both parents of a same-sex marriage when one partner has a child or adopts one.  Presumably this could include surrogacy.   The case is Pavan v. Smith.  The SCOTUS opinion is here.

Judge Gorsuch dissented and seemed to believe that the entire panoply of marriage benefits is not completely settled law.

The Court agreed to hear a case from Colorado where a wedding cake seller refused to offer a cake to a same-sex married couple. The basic idea is that the business is a public accommodation and cannot discriminate on the basis of many other categories.  It probably could not use religious shield for an interracial marriage.

Here is the Washington Post story by Robert Barnes, link.

There is a possible twist in public accommodations law where I can see the “libertarian” argument. Suppose I am a small book self-publisher and the law requires me to make large print or braille or audio versions of my books to be able to sell them at all, to avoid indirect discrimination (against the visually disabled).  Maybe this would never happen with “smaller” businesses; but I do see the conservative side, but not from a religious perspective.

If appears that Justice Kennedy probably will not retire this summer (good news).

The Blue Moon bar in Reboboth Beach has a doll of Donald Trump in drag.


Friday, June 23, 2017

5th Circuit punts on Mississippi religious freedom law; Lavender scare apology law introduced


The Washington Blade has at least two important stories today.

The 5th Circuit in New Orleans let stand a Mississippi “religious freedom” law because the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue (Chris Johnson story).  The law would have allowed religious organizations and medical providers to deny services in certain circumstances based on religious beliefs.  State employees could defer themselves from issuing marriage licenses.  The court said it would consider a case where plaintiffs had suffered "stigmatic harm".
 
The case catches my attention because in 1985 the 5th Circuit overturned a favorable 1982 ruling by Judge Buchmeyer in the Baker v. Wade case on the old Texas 21.06 sodomy law.  The court had mentioned “moral values”.

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) has introduced a “lavender scare bill” to provide apologies and expunge personnel records of those fired from the State Department in the 1950s during the Cold War.  The same attitude helped contribute to my own William and Mary expulsion in 1961.  Story by Michael Levers here.

Dean Rusk told Mike Wallace of CBS that the State Department "discharges" homosexuals as late as 1967 on  notorious CBS documentary "The Homosexuals".  I started working for the NBS (Commerce) in 1963 and there was certainly a pervasive anti-gay attitude ("removal" for "sexual perversion" was in Civil Service regulations).

The policy reminds one of the career of Frank Kameny, fired from a government Army map service in 1957.

It's interesting that the British government has apologized to the estate of Alan Turing.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

GOP Florida governor backs down on LGTBQ protections after honoring Pulse victims


Equality Florida has noted that Florida governor Rick Scott ( R ) has refused to issue an executive order protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination, despite other proclamations “Pulse Remembrance Day” on June 12, story.  This includes a refusal to protect state employees.

The announcement was sent out as a press release today.

It’s also important to remember that the Pulse attack occurred on a Latino event night.
 
In other news, a minority group in Washington has started a retail business called “Check It” in the Anacostia area of Washington DC.  The story appeared on WJLA this evening.  I’ll report after I can make a visit by Metro.
 
There was also a small demonstration for asylum seekers and refugees today in DC; more details to come.  The group wants the Trump administration to allow 75000 refugees to enter the country in 2017.  More details will follow later.

Friday, June 16, 2017

US Department of Commerce removes explicit LGBT protections from policy statement


The United States Department of Commerce has removed explicit LGBTQ protections from its policy statement.  The department says this will not change anything in practice.  But why was the wording retracted?  The Washington Post has a story (by Juliet Eilperintoday. Will other federal departments behave in a similar fashion?

My first job, starting in August 1963, was at the National Bureau of Standards on the old Federal City campus at Van Ness in Washington DC (now UDC), before it moved to Gaithersburg.  I stayed there about a year.  My most recent external job was with Census, 2010-2011.

It's worth a visit to Federal Globe's website.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Transgender woman becomes first candidate to win a primary, at least in Virginia


In Virginia, a trans woman Danica Roem has won a Democratic primary to face “transphobic” Republican incumbent Bob Marshall, story here.

Much of her district encompasses Prince William County, from Manassas to Woodridge.
 
It is certainly becoming more likely that transgender persons would be regarded as fit for office, like “Lady Valor” Kristen Beck.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Memorial candlelight service for Pulse Orlando held in Washington DC, Dupont Circle


Monday evening I attended, at Dupont Circle in Washington DC, the Candlelight Service for Victims of the Pulse Orlando terror attack on 2016/07/12, one year to the date of the attack, which had started at 2.02 AM EDT.

The event was in part sponsored by the Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, whose link is here.

A male speaker for the fund said he had served in the Army in Iraq and made the argument that military weapons have no place in civilian hands.    The speaker also noted that the event at Pulse that night had been intended as a Latino party.



Later Mayor Muriel Bowser spoke.

A family member of one of the victims spoke, and she rebutted the argument that had patrons of the bar been armed, they could have defended themselves.  Of course, this might not work against military weapons and no business owner (of a bar or movie theater) wants to allow weapons on the premises. But she said that the idea that you think you need to carry a weapon is an admission of fear, an existential statement that you are on your own, and that you live in a precarious, unstable society based on the use of force. That idea can be a predecessor of fascism.

The Washington DC Gay Men’s Chorus sung twice.

There was a reading of the victims’ names, 49 deaths, with a bell ring for each one.  I do not normally name victims in my own blog postings or videos unless I have a separate personal connection to the person.  This has to do with my own personal values;  I don’t want to “sell” victimization.
 ‘
There was also mention of the medical expenses of some of the injured.  Florida does have a crime victims’ compensation fund which as covered a lot of this.  I had said before that civilians injured by military weapons should have access to US military surgeons and rehab if medically necessary.  Does that let the rest of us off the hook?
 
Speakers did try to encourage people to join the Pride Fund.  There was also mention of some specific partisan political races and their behavior with regard to the NRA.  While I am happy to link to organizations online, I generally don't film or report or urge detailed fundraising myself, especially for partisan political purposes, in my own reporting.
 
There is more video that I took at this Wordpress location.

The Pulse property will become a museum and memorial, here.  It is not clear if the club will reopen at a different location as a disco.

I had visited the club on July 12, 2015, eleven months before, leaving around 2 AM, so this could have happened to me (I was on a visit to Orlando to visit Disney and Universal).  A good friend had been there just two weeks before the attack.  It can happen to anyone.