Step right up!

GOP presidential race NOT the greatest show on earth, but certainly has its share of clowns

Haberman-Hardy-I have held my tongue regarding the current slate of Republicans running for their party’s presidential nomination.

I have held my tongue as I watched more than a dozen “candidates” jockey for position, each trying to move further right than the next. I have held my tongue as the press has breathlessly reported on the latest insane rant by what passes as politicians in the GOP.

I have held my tongue because as everyone knows my hand would burn should I ever press the Republican button on a voting machine.

But sometimes, the crazy just overwhelms me and I have to speak. So here goes.

More than a year ago, most folks with any political savvy anticipated the candidacy of the next in line in the Bush dynasty, Jeb (Jeb!), to run for president. He was carefully groomed, like his brothers George W. and Neil. George was maneuvered into a governorship in order to hone his political skills and prepare him for the White House. His brother Neil seemed to be on the same track until his political train was derailed by the whole Silverado Savings and Loan debacle.

Enter Jeb (Jeb!).

His time as governor of Florida made him an ideal choice for a GOP presidential candidate. The buzz in political circles was that Jeb (Jeb!) was the candidate to beat, and everything looked like pretty smooth sailing — until the Republican boat ran aground on the Tea Party reef.

The frustrations expressed by most Tea Party folks stem from a feeling that they have lost control of the country. The phrase “Take back our nation” is a common one among the Oolong crowd, but it really is thinly veiled code for “There is a black man in the White House.”

Add to this wage stagnation and economic woes — brought on by the previous GOP regime, but not really felt until the first Obama term — and you have a powerful force.

These are irate folks who believe that the Republicans, who pretty much caused their problems, must be the ones to fix things. I blame Fox News and the right wing talk radio machine for most of that.

Meanwhile, riding on the crest of the Tea kettle boil-over comes Ted Cruz and an assortment of people who all are saying the same things. The drone of their rhetoric pretty much drowned out Jeb (Jeb!) and left him looking uncharismatic, which frankly, he is.

Enter The Donald. Mr Trump, whose ego is only exceeded by his crass demeanor, broke through the clutter of GOP wannabes and the gullible public took notice. After all, compared to Jeb (Jeb!), Trump looks appealing — or at least different.

That difference is why he has topped the polls. When asked, a lot of Republican voters say, “He speaks his mind,” and “He is not intimidated by political correctness.”

They are correct, But those attributes do not a president make.

Trump is a bull in the GOP china shop, and his reckless bluster has stolen the spotlight from all other GOP candidates — except for one, Ben Carson.

Dr. Carson seems positively a statesman compared to Trump, and even though his soft-spoken performance is riddled with misinformation and downright idiocy, he looks safer than Trump.

The rest of the gang, with the possible exception of Mario Rubio, are cut from the same cloth, and it’s a polka dot pattern suitable for the circus.

So what does this mean for LGBTQ people?

Well, all of the GOP candidates are far from on the right side of our issues, and only the most deluded in the Cabin think the party will “come around” any time soon. The Republican Party is conservative, and that means resistant to change.

LGBTQ rights would be change, so don’t count on hearing any candidate lay out a plan for full equality for us.

Trump, for all his bellicosity, is probably the most benign for us. But that still comes with statements like, regarding same-sex marriage, he “just doesn’t feel good about it.” Yet he has said there should be “no discrimination against gays.”

Make of that what you will.

The ultimate battle for the GOP nomination has yet to play out, and I feel sure there will be more “entertaining” debates in the near future. My biggest problem is with the American people who have actually been hoodwinked into believing that there is anyone in the crowd of GOP hopefuls that is presidential material.

We are a country that has decided to eschew intellectualism in favor of spectacle. I feel sure P.T. Barnum is chuckling in his grave, knowing that an entire generation of fools may decide the fate of our country.

Hardy Haberman is a longtime local LGBT activist and board member for the Woodhull Freedom Alliance. His blog is at

—  Tammye Nash

Obama sign in McKinney defaced with racial epithet, anti-gay language

An Obama yard sign in McKinney was defaced last week. One side had the inevitable racial epithet along with “Obama Sucks Dick.” The other read “Romney & Ryan Christian, white, anti-gay. Republicans rule.”

A neighbor brought the sign to McKinney resident Cassy Zobel after finding it in Zobel’s yard. Zobel filed a police report and wrote about it on her blog, Blue Chick in a Red Barn.

While there’s been a racial undertone to a lot of Obama criticism, the haters are rarely this blatant. Zobel notes in her blog that McKinney was recently rated second best place to live in America.

“I suppose there should have been a caveat,” she wrote. “’Best Place to Live If You’re A Bigoted White, Christian, Anti-Gay Person Who Doesn’t Support Our First African-American President And Hates Everyone Who Does.’ That was probably too long a title, though.”

Watch NBC 5’s report on the incident below.

—  David Taffet

Another misstep for Perry’s campaign


Hateful bigotry of Texas governor’s presidential campaign ad is surpassed only by its asininity

David Webb
The Rare Reporter

Just when I thought the 2012 Rick Perry for President campaign couldn’t get any nuttier, guess what? Yep, it managed to get sillier with the release of Gov. Perry’s campaign video attacking openly gay and lesbian members of the U.S. Armed Services.

Never mind that in the video dubbed “Strong” Perry is wearing the same type of tan Carhartt ranch coat actor Heath Ledger wore in the gay romance movie Brokeback Mountain, and that the video’s musical score was inspired by gay American composer Aaron Copland. The message is ridiculous, and the video’s distinction of registering more than half a million “dislikes” (646,000 dislikes to 20,000 likes) is probably attributable as much to its asininity as its hateful bigotry.

Facing the camera, against a wooded backdrop that conjures images of the big gay movie’s outdoor scenes, Perry declares that he is not “ashamed to admit” he is a Christian.

“You don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know that something is wrong when gays can serve openly in the military, but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas and pray in schools,” he declares.

Perry adds that as president he would “end Obama’s war on religion” and “fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage.”

Aside from the imagery and the music of the video making Perry and his campaign staff again look like fools, the idea that openly gay and lesbian members of the military somehow undermine Christianity is ludicrous. Or are children supposed to resent gay and lesbian soldiers because they get to go off and fight wars while they are stuck at school, unable to pray out loud?

I doubt that it will come as a shock to Perry, his staff, the voting public or even school children that there are openly gay and lesbian people working in every level of local, state and federal government and private business — even churches — without harm to Christianity. Yet for some reason they expect everyone to swallow the notion that openly gay and lesbian members of the military will put the nation under the control of pagans.

What about openly gay and lesbian soldiers who observe Christianity by going to church, reading their Bibles and praying? Are they to be the demise of their own religion?

And do U.S. citizens who are Jewish or members of other faiths matter at all to Perry and his campaign staff? Under the Perry plan, are the children of those citizens to be indoctrinated into Christianity?

As to Perry’s promise in the video’s closing, it would be news to everybody if it were learned President Obama had declared a war on religion. Those laws regulating Christmas displays and school prayer were put in motion decades ago, a long time before Obama ever thought about running for political office.

Open prayer in school was banned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1962 when Perry was in grade school. Surely he remembers.

Ultimately, I can’t imagine many people viewing the overturn of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which was supported by a majority of the American public, enacted by Congress and signed into law by Obama, as an assault on Christianity.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said last week that Obama was probably not aware of the Perry campaign video claiming he had declared war on Christianity, but regardless the president is proud of his support of LGBT issues.

The video looks like evidence of the Perry campaign’s desperation following the governor’s disintegration in national polls since his announcement in August he would run for president. Perry dropped from a double-digit front leader status to 5 percent following a series of debate missteps and disastrous public appearances that showed him to be outmatched on the debate stage by every other Republican in the campaign.

A new American Research Poll shows Perry now has 13 percentage points in Iowa, the first primary state. But he still is in back of the pack, far behind Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.

Regardless of where Perry goes in the polls, I’m confident he will again sabotage himself in some manner, unless he has an undercover gay or lesbian person on his campaign staff doing it for him.

Speaking of which, after Perry’s anti-gay ad was released, leaders from the gay Republican group GOProud outed one of the campaign’s consultants as gay. It was later learned that the consultant, Tony Fabrizio, had written an email prior to the ad’s release calling it “nuts.”

But aside from that effort and the obvious aspect of Fabrizio being a traitor who apparently has sacrificed the LGBT community to make a few bucks for himself, he doesn’t appear to have been doing a good job of using his expertise as a gay man to help Perry navigate difficult waters. Who will ever forget the image of Perry deep-throating a corn dog at an Iowa state fair while Romney graciously nibbled on his?

What were they thinking when they handed a corn dog to Perry, who has been fighting rumors that he is secretly gay for years?

In fact, a common question today is, “How did he ever go so far in Texas politics?”

There is only one group of people — other than personal friends, relatives and other beneficiaries of the governor’s influence as an elected official — to whom Perry still appeals: That is conservative Christians who put their religious beliefs ahead of every other consideration, regardless of whose rights get trampled upon in the process.

No wonder Perry released such a video and continues to offer it on his campaign website, but I don’t think there are enough of them to vote him into office.

Many people who started off supporting Perry have now fled from his camp, saying that his performance as a presidential candidate has brought about a national embarrassment. The worst part of it is that there is no telling what Perry and his campaign will do next. But it’s bound to be a dilly.

David Webb is a veteran journalist who has covered LGBT issues for the mainstream and alternative media for three decades. Contact him at or

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 16, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Starvoice • 08.26.11

By Jack Fertig


Phil McGraw turns 61 on Thursday. The former Wichita Falls resident has used his talk show Dr. Phil to address LGBT issues regarding youth and same-sex marriage. He recently spoke to CNN about the damages of ex-gay practices in the wake of Michelle Bachmann’s presidential campaign.



Mercury in Leo stimulates creative thinking, but also a lot of self-promotional BS. While in Leo he’s agitating the Pluto-Uranus square, leading people to take their notions way too seriously, but those aspects can trigger bits of revolutionary genius. The trick there is to not challenge everyone around you, but to challenge yourself.


VIRGO  Aug 23-Sep 22
As naughty fantasies come inside your head, explore them safely there. Putting them into reality could be delicious, but be careful! However you explore them, you learn a lot about yourself.

LIBRA  Sep 23-Oct 22
Everyone wants an argument. Can’t they just be nice and agree with you? There’s nothing wrong with sticking to your guns. Shooting them off freely drives away people you care about.

SCORPIO  Oct 23-Nov 21
You may feel hassled by an overbearing boss. Bite your tongue and take it all in as feedback to help you do your job better, no matter what the tone. There’s always room for improvement.

SAGITTARIUS  Nov 22-Dec 20
Your idea of playful banter can really upset some people. That could be a good thing when done in the right time and place. In any event, there will be a price to pay, so make sure it’s worth it.

CAPRICORN  Dec 21-Jan 19
Capricornian brilliance at sex is one of the zodiac’s best-kept secrets. The more it stays that way, the better off you are. Keep that info on a need-to-know basis.

AQUARIUS  Jan 20-Feb 18
If you can’t avoid debate, keep one eye inward to see how your arguments reflect your deepest fears and insecurities. Keep a friend nearby with whom you can have an honest talk about that.

PISCES  Feb 19-Mar 19
Taking a cut in pay might be a necessary strategy for long-range benefits. Don’t get taken advantage of. If money gets tight, you have the creative resourcefulness to make it through.

ARIES  Mar 20-Apr 19
Your idea of fun and good humor upsets some people. In the right time and place that could be a good thing, but think ahead about consequences and whom you can afford to piss off.

TAURUS  Apr 20-May 20
Arguments at home reflect and exacerbate your insecurities and doubts. Reflect on childhood patterns and how they affect you now. Probably best to do that on your own.

GEMINI  May 21-Jun 20
Your mouth is getting even further ahead of your brain than usual, and your libido is somewhere inbetween. The brilliance of your ideas depends on how much you challenge yourself.

CANCER  Jun 21-Jul 22
Hiding financial problems from your partner will make the situation worse. It may be time to renegotiate how you deal with bills and expenses. Explore ideas now, but don’t make decisions.

LEO  Jul 23-Aug 22
Others admire your brilliance nearly half as much as you do, but a good showman always leaves the audience wanting more. The ability to listen makes you more popular than the ability to talk.

Jack Fertig can be reached at 415-864-8302 or

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens