Sunday, July 31, 2011

Shift "The End" Party (that is, last Shift event) at Cobalt DC, while debt crisis percolates three miles away

Last night, Cobalt DC held its last Saturday “Shift” party, subtitled “The End”, apparently because the sponsoring DJ group is moving out of the area.   (The link is the same.)  Cobalt DC will need to come up with a new last weekend event starting in August. 
The crowd built up slowly at first, only gradually becoming festive on this somber, hot late July evening.

The crowd was not as intimate as usual, until it just exploded around 1 AM.  A lot of cell phones were being watched as a drama went on three miles away on Capitol Hill.

I didn’t try to attend the RuPaul’s Drag Race event at the TownDC, (link) but I hope other bloggers did.
All of this on a very eventful weekend for the country in many ways. The recent certification of the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell” is one of them. 
I left about 2, and cabbies were charging extra last night, maybe because of the mess on the Hill.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Will recruiters reach out to gays after Sept. 30?

First, the full certification letter for the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell” is available at the White House website, here.

The Palm Center has a statement here

The Washington Times, on Friday morning, is whining in a story by Rown Scarborough that military recruiters will reach out to gays after the official end of DADT on Sept. 30, story here.   This is reported by the Organization of Actively Serving LGBT Personnel, Outserve, (website url) here

The Washington Times also lamented this morning that a number of states have eliminated “till death do us part” in their marriage ceremonies (straight), including lifetime right to alimony (or palimony).

Sunday, July 24, 2011

NY gay marriage is good for city's economy; MLB teams support "It gets better"

Today, Bob Witeck has an article on CNN, “NY Marriage Equality Is Good for Business”, link here

CNN also showed the first marriage performed in NY early this morning.

The debate on repealing DOMA marches in Congress, and Cathy Crowley this morning questioned  GOP candidate Tim Pawlenty on, why the “preferred” status for heterosexual marriage.  Minnesota, generally a blue state, faces a referendum on an anti-gay marriage amendment.

In the meantime, more major league baseball teams are indicating support for the “It Gets Better” Project initiatives. The Philadelphia Phillies are the most recent team to do so. The Nationals are already on board.  

Here’s a story in the Philadelphia Weekly paper. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pentagon ready to certify repeal of "don't ask don't tell" Friday (CNN)

CNN is reporting that the Pentagon will report out the certification of the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” on Friday July 22.

It takes sixty more days for the repeal to go into effect.

Certification means that the US Armed Forces can accept servicemembers in uniform who say publicly that they are gay.

The link for the Breaking Story on CNN is here

Update: July 23:

The certification has been completed. Here is the SLDN press release. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Freddie's (Arlington VA) turns karaoke into a "tribunal"

Well, last night, there was quite a little show at Freddie’s in Arlington, VA.  One karaoke performer, singing about “dreams” (Inception-style), did the shirt pull-up and solicited tips like a dancer (for charity, I hope).  And this looked like a tribunal: he was “absolut thmooth”.   No drag queen made him lose it.

And there just a tad of dirty dancing in little area near the stage.

Another karaoke performer as announced as “Mr. Capital Pride”.

Back in 2004, I had tried to sing Smallville's "Save Me" in karaoke at Baltimore gay pride. 

In another matter, Metro Weekly is reporting on the closing of the Apex DC Club.  I had enjoyed it in the past (including the karaoke upstairs), but in recent months it had not been able to attract the crowds of other clubs. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ninth Circuit upholds most of LCR injunction against DADT (one exception)

Late on Friday, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld part of the injunction against “don’t ask don’t tell”, that part prohibiting discharge of gay servicemembers. But it did allow recruiters to bar enlistment of people who voluntarily declare they are gay. The Washington Blade has the full story by Chris Johnson here

Log Cabin Republicans linked to a different account on its webpage (for its own suit), here

As noted in my posting July 16, last weekend I visited the Visitor's Center at West Point NY, then the exterior grounds of the Coast Guard Academy at New London CT, and the Nautilus at Groton CT.  I did visit the Air Force Academy in 1973, and the Naval Academy several times (like 1988).  (Coast Guard is said to be physically tougher than Navy; I knew an openly gay graduate in the 1990s.)  That leaves the Merchant Marine Academy, near New York City, but hard to get to on a weekend trip. 
Update: July 17

Look at the New York Times article on p A15 today on the scene for same-sex couples involving members of the military, after DADT repeal (assuming it goes through), link, story by James Dao.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Michelle Bachmann connected to "ex-gay" or reparative therapy clinic

ABC “Good Morning America” aired a shocking story Tuesday AM about GOP presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann from “blue state” Minnesota, that she and her MD husband run or ran a medical or psychiatric clinic that “offered” reparative therapy to homosexual men; they called the service “Trutn wins out”.  ABC aired a young man who had been a “patient” of the clinic.  Her husband claims the cliic offered many "services".

Hopefully this story will discredit her candidacy. 

Here’s the “Ex-gay Watch” link

Update: Wednesday July 13

CNN has been airing more details on this story. "Truth Wins Out" was mentioned as a publication exposing the Bachmann operation, not part of it.  Here is Anderson Cooper's "Keeping them Honest" video, portions of which were replayed on CNN Wednesday morning's daybreak news (as I got up, anyway).

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Inspection of a service academy (West Point)

It's nice to see what our service academy cadets go through.  Here's a simulated room inspection from the Visitor's Center at the US Military Academy (Army) at West Point, NY :

I can recall a Saturday night in Army Basic in 1968 where a drill sergeant (himself 20) lectured us on the importance of getting every button done for a wall locker inspection.  (They could get undone).

Service academies also have strict honor systems, as explained by former Midshipman Joseph Steffan in his 1992 book "Honor Bound".  Does (or did) "don't ask don't tell" violate the academy honor codes?
Integrity becomes a very loaded subject.  It can contradict the concept of "unit cohesion".

Update: July 10

I updated the Submarine museum and the Nautilus ("20000 Leagues Under the Sea") at Groton, CT.  These were the most crowded living conditions I have ever seen on a sub.
Or this:
I also dropped by the Coast Guard Academy (New London, CT, nearby), whose visitor center is closed for rebuilding. I could not go on the grounds but got some pictures from the distance:
Or at the north boundary:

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Ninth Circuit reverses stay, technically meaning DADT is invalid in that Circuit

Today, the Ninth Circuit removed a stay in Judge Phillips's earlier ruling stopping the enforcement of "don't ask don't tell" in the Ninth Circuit area.  The Metro Weekly has a copy of the order here, and the order also mentions the litigation in the Circuit regarding the Defense of Marriage Act.

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network has a "Breaking News" story and statement, here, warning servicemembers that the administration could appeal and that DADT is still technically the "law of the land".  SLDN encourages the administration to make due speed in the certification. (No "all deliberate speed" here.)

Recently, there was still another case where a soldier did not report a bashing because of DADT.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Do gay clubs now benefit from no-smoking local ordinances?

In 2007, Washington DC initiated an indoor smoking ban in bars and restaurants.  Many other cities (New York and San Francisco) have done so.  I noticed on a visit to Minneapolis in early June that the same policy seemed to hold (the Saloon had only a very small outdoor smoking area). Has this affected bar business in the gay community?

It seems to me that on most Friday and Saturday nights, with decent weather (which can matter) popular dance floors (which, in my personal experience, in DC seem to be Town-DC and Cobalt, the latter of which has specialized Saturday night events, and in Minneapolis, The Saloon and “maybe” the Gay 90s ) seem to become packed shortly after midnight (but sometimes not much before).  It seems as though younger people (especially men of college and graduate school age) prefer the smoke-free atmosphere for dancing.  They’ve grown up in a culture that now frowns on tobacco use, as a legal product, more than it objects to marijuana, which is still illegal (usually).   I don’t think there is a case that the indoor smoking ban hurts business, and it may help it.

In the old days, ventilation systems were usually good enough to take out the incidental smoke, but when I got home, I could still smell it (the second-hand smoke deposit) in my clothes.  They needed immediate washing. That’s no longer the case.

Of course, the libertarian position is that private businesses should set policies as they like. Probably now most of them would want to stick with no smoking.

As to the outdoor patio areas, no, I don’t bother to look and see who smokes.  I don’t want to know. “It’s depressing”, as a former boyfriend in Dallas used to say.

In older times, the 50s and 60s, nobody thought anything of it.  Now, in this “lookism-obsessed” society (call it body fascism) we know that tobacco use is very damaging to circulation and causes someone to age more much rapidly.  Don’t wear shorts if you smoke. 

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Parents of openly gay soldier who gave his life in combat oppose MN anti-gay-marriage amendment (Don Lemon, CNN)

Don Lemon reported on CNN the story of US Army CPL Andrew Wilfahrt, 31, the first openly gay soldier to die in combat (in Afghanistan) since the “conditional” repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell”.  Andrew was 31. He was from Rosemount, MN.  Wilfahrt served openly without any repercussions. He was killed while on foot patrol in late February 2011 from an I.E.D. (story).

His parents are opposing the proposed state constitutional  amendment in Minnesota limiting marriage to one man and one woman.

Don Lemon interviewed them Saturday night, as well as a MN legislator trying to implement the amendment,  who claims that “the people” will never have a say without a referendum.

There is a tribute on Youtube  by Courage Campaign (press link)

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Town DC gaudy with patriotic colors for Fourth Weekend, attracts crowd on Green line from Nationals Park after sudden Nats win

Last night (“hier soir”) I picked up the crowd from Nationals Park on the Green Line on the way to Town-DC (I had been to see “Page One”) and many of them, mostly female, actually followed me off the stop at U Street to TownDC.  Nobody already in the club knew about the Nats’ walkoff win tonight, first win for new manager Davey Johnson, who made an odd comment about his bench that sounded a propos “  And on The Nationals Journal for the Washington Post, manager Davey Johnson made a comment that sounds a propos, about what he wants to see or have on his bench (story by Adam Kilgore): He wants “a guy sitting over next to me with a big, hairy chest”.  (Comma included --  wesbite url link.)  The Nats’ walk-off his had been a “Fenway Park single off the wall” lined by 43 year old veteran Matt Stairs.  The official scorer should give him credit for a double.

Alll of this happens on 18+ night at the Town, where it seems most people have the wrist bands anyway. (It’s more expensive, sometimes, for <21.), but where people often want to “look young”.   The performing drag queens, who used to announced Nats’ scores if you passed them on a cell phone, were busy with celebrating the Fourth – and with migrating from Myspace (where every entertainer had elaborate pages three years ago) to Facebook.  The club was quite gaudy (especially with the downstairs ceiling) with red, white and blue – it’s interesting how the psychological effect differs from red and green (Christmas and New Years).  This is the time for Charles Ives’s “Holidays” symphony, or maybe for gay author Clive Barker’s “The Thief of Always”.   It felt like the atmosphere before “The Tall Ships” which I attended in New York City in 1976 (by accident, it turns out).

I understand (I think I posted) that the Nats had won another walk off during a recent “Gay Night”. It seems as though the home team advantage of last bat is very real. 

On the way home, I encountered a "birthday party" on the Orange Line on Metro.  Not quite "The Boys in the Band".