10 Twitter suggestions for Astros’ new name

During a press conference yesterday Houston Astros owner Jim Crane suggested he would be open to changing the teams name. Crane also announced cheaper beer ($5!) at Astros’ games, new rules permitting fans to bring their own food/water to games, and more affordable tickets, but to read Twitter you’d think the name change was all he talked about. Here’s 10 of Houstini’s favorite suggestions:

 

…and Houstini’s personal favorite:

Don’t forget you can follow Houstini on Twitter @Houstiniblog.

—  admin

SEX… in a fashion

The DMA’s exhibit on the fashions of Jean Paul Gaultier exudes sex appeal with a big dose of flamboyance

Fashion-1

DRESSED TO KILL IT | Gay fashion pioneer Jean Paul Gaultier oversees his own exhibit (Below) as an Animatronic mannequin, a fascinating technology that only accentuates the brilliance of the designs. (Photography by Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

 

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

For a man best known for creating the Valkyrie-like conical breastplate that shot Madonna into the pop culture stratosphere, Jean Paul Gaultier is a surprisingly humble person. While he’s clearly delighted to have his fashions on display — as they are at the Dallas Museum of Art in the traveling exhibit The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, which runs through February — he makes one thing plain: He does not consider fashion “art.”

“My work is not art,” he says flatly. “My job is to make clothes that have to be worn. My role is not to create in the abstract but to be inspired by the needs and desires of the people. So I am in service to that. Art is art — it is a personal vision of the artist.” He pauses, then adds with a smile, “My collections are my babies, though.”

While the designer himself may not consider his work product “art” in an academic sense, there are probably few who would agree with him. More so than most fashion designers, Jean Paul Gaultier’s style is instantly recognizable, even without seeing the label.

He almost single-handedly moved the bustier from the boudoir to the arena stage, cladding Madonna in a corset for her Blonde Ambition tour in 1990, immediately making legends of them both.

It’s not just brassieres, but lace bodysuits, silk leotards, men in skirts — Gaultier takes fashion rules and sets them on their heads, turning out wearable art (there, we said it) that is both old-fashioned, even classical, and futuristic — but always oozing sex.

“My love for fashion belongs to the fact I saw a movie from the 1940s when I was 12,” he says. “In the movie, they did a beautiful description of couture.” (Now, when he works with a film director — as he did recently with Pedro Almodovar on The Skin I Live In, or Luc Besson on several films — “it is like I return to that [moment]”.)

But really, the germ of his style was started by what a pre-teen Jean Paul found in his grandmother’s wardrobe.

“I was fascinated by the whole world of my grandmother’s closet — it was beautiful and different,” he says. “It was underwear that could be worn as outerwear. I stole my ideas from her.”

Though not just her. Gaultier was inspired by television, by old movies, by showgirls — anything that offered a view of beauty he could re-imagine on the runway.

“My definition of beauty — there’s not one type. Beauty is beauty — you can find it in different places,” he says.

It’s a keystone not only of his design style, but of the DMA’s astonishingly exciting exhibit. (Anyone who doesn’t think a Gaultier gown deserves formal museum treatment obviously hasn’t seen the show.) In just a handful of rooms, we move from camp to punk — with many, many visits to edgy haute couture.

In the first gallery, visitors are introduced to Gaultier himself, talking about his fashions via a quasi-Animatronic mannequin that captures his actual face and voice, projected with unnerving authenticity. That happens with a lot of the mannequins, some of whom seem to look back, even judge you. (One Mohawk’d man in tights and a codpiece seemed to be flirting with me; I bet he does that with all the boys.) Lanky sailor boys in striped Apaché T-shirts look as if they leaped from a Tom of Finland drawing; that cone bra is also unmistakable.

Walk further, and the second room oozes the dark romance of a bordello, approximating (with its window-like display cases) the red-light district of Amsterdam. “I think when you exit this room, they should give you a cigarette,” I told another patron. She didn’t disagree.

Another room shows the movement of the pieces, sort of, with a moving catwalk that is like a time machine of Gaultier runway fashions, including representative designs from his famous Men in Skirts that took MOMA by storm some years ago. That’s only the most obvious example of the genderbending that is a Gaultier hallmark — and a central theme of the sexual forthrightness of the DMA’s exhibit.

“Androgyny is part of the thing that interests me,” he says, “that moment when the young can pass to adolescence [and] their beauty is between feminine and masculine at the same time. I use it to show in reality how [both sexes] can assume [the identity of the other sex]. In Scotland, you will see me in kilts and they are very masculine — it’s not feminine to wear a skirt [in that context].”

That, Gaultier says, is the essence of freedom, showing that “men can cry just as well as women can fight.”

And this exhibit shows that a designer can be an artist with a bold sense of sex — even if he doesn’t think so.

………………………

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE

Visit DallasVoice. com/ category/ Photos to see more of the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the DMA.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 18, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Starvoice • 09.09.11

By Jack Fertig

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAY

Jennifer Hudson turns 30 on Monday.
The Oscar winner has made headlines in the recent past mostly on her weight loss. She talks to Self magazine this month about losing over 80 pounds. This year, she returns to the big screen in Winnie, portraying Nelson Mandela’s wife, and in 2012’s The Three Stooges.

…………………..

THIS WEEK

Venus coming home to Libra normally helps us to be more gracious, social and polite. Opposing Uranus on the way in whips up some crazy ideas of what that might mean. Compassion and imagining yourself in the other’s position is usually the best way to start out.

…………………..

VIRGO Aug 23-Sep 22
You find amazing deals at estate sales, perhaps even your true love. If you already have one, bring him or her along and you find some treasure that will become an emblematic keepsake.

LIBRA Sep 23-Oct 22
You’re looking especially gorgeous. The attention you get will surprise you. Of course you’re not just a pretty face; a new contact could prove very helpful as a colleague.

SCORPIO Oct 23-Nov 21
Hiding out from the social whirl may give you peace, but doesn’t do much for your anxieties. Hum the first tune that comes to mind. That song will offer insights to face your worries.

SAGITTARIUS Nov 22-Dec 20
Party it up but don’t go overboard. Seek out new, interesting, unusual people at these events. Their perspectives can trigger new insights into your own roots.

CAPRICORN Dec 21-Jan 19
Career opportunities are looking good, but are you prepared? Know your strengths and the difference between reaching and overreaching. Work causes you to neglect issues at home.

AQUARIUS Jan 20-Feb 18
Think a little harder before opening your mouth. Does it really need to be said? Your words carry more weight than you realize. Treat them like currency and don’t waste them.

PISCES Feb 19-Mar 19
Opportunities abound as Venus is flashing her goodies in your house of illicit pleasures. She offers a deeper challenge to re-
examine your priorities and values.

ARIES Mar 20-Apr 19
You’re suddenly looking marriageable no matter what local laws allow. Let someone special see your inner wounds. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable shows confidence in both of you.

TAURUS Apr 20-May 20
A friend in need is a pain in the ass. You have your own problems. Even so, helping out your pal can not only get you out of your own problems for a bit, but help point you to a solution.

GEMINI May 21-Jun 20
Your idea of social outreach is a little outré. One on one is fine for scaring off people you don’t want to deal with, but if you’re working with a group, behave accordingly.

CANCER Jun 21-Jul 22
New recipes go better than you’d hoped for. Even if things screw up, you get points for trying. At work keep your boss up on any experiments, just in case.

LEO Jul 23-Aug 22
Advice is not necessarily appreciated, as you could find out the hard way. An earnest, soul-searching talk about sex can be more satisfying than actually doing it. Not that one rules out the other.

Jack Fertig can be reached at 415-864-8302 or Starjack.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 9, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Judge to rule this week in Nikki Araguz case

Nikki Araguz

Transgender widow vows appeal if she loses case

JUAN A. LOZANO  |  Associated Press

WHARTON, Texas — The transgender widow of a Texas firefighter will likely learn next week whether his family’s request to nullify their marriage and strip her of any death benefits will be granted, a judge said Friday.

State District Judge Randy Clapp made the announcement after hearing arguments in a lawsuit filed by the family of firefighter Thomas Araguz III, who was killed while battling a blaze last year. The suit argues that his widow shouldn’t get any benefits because she was born a man and Texas doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage.

The widow, Nikki Araguz, said she had done everything medically and legally possible to show that she is female and was legally married under Texas law. She believes that she’s entitled to widow’s benefits.

“I believe the judge is going to rule in my favor,” Araguz said after the court hearing.

The lawsuit seeks control over death benefits and assets totaling more than $600,000, which the firefighter’s family wants to go to his two sons from a previous marriage. Voiding the marriage would prevent Nikki Araguz from receiving any insurance or death benefits or property the couple had together.

Thomas Araguz died while fighting a fire at an egg farm near Wharton, about 60 miles southwest of Houston, in July 2010. He was 30.

His mother, Simona Longoria, filed a lawsuit asking that her son’s marriage be voided. She and her family have said he learned of his wife’s gender history just prior to his death, and after he found out, he moved out of their home and planned to end the marriage.

But Nikki Araguz, 35, has insisted that her husband was aware she was born a man and that he fully supported her through the surgical process to become a woman. She underwent surgery two months after they were married in 2008.

Longoria’s attorney, Chad Ellis, argued that Texas law — specifically a 1999 appeals court ruling that stated chromosomes, not genitals, determine gender — supports his client’s efforts to void the marriage.

The ruling upheld a lower court’s decision that threw out a wrongful death lawsuit filed by a San Antonio woman, Christie Lee Cavazos Littleton, after her husband’s death. The court said that although Littleton had undergone a sex-change operation, she was actually a man, based on her original birth certificate, and therefore her marriage and wrongful death claim were invalid.

Ellis presented medical and school records that he said showed Nikki Araguz was born without female reproductive organs and that she presented herself as a male while growing up and going to school. He also said her birth certificate at the time of her marriage indicated she was a man.

“By law, two males cannot be married in this state,” Ellis told the judge.

Nikki Araguz, who was born in California, did not change her birth certificate to reflect she had become a female until after her husband’s death, said Edward Burwell, one of the attorneys for Thomas Araguz’s ex-wife, Heather Delgado, the mother of his two children.

But one of Nikki Araguz’s attorneys, Darrell Steidley, said that when his client got her marriage license, she presented the necessary legal documents to show she was a female. He also noted changes made in 2009 to the Texas Family Code that allowed people to present numerous alternatives to a birth certificate as the proof of identity needed to get a marriage license. That was an example, he argued, of the state trying to move away from the 1999 appeals court ruling.

The changes in 2009 allowed transgendered people to use proof of their sex change to get a marriage license. The Texas Legislature is currently considering a bill that would prohibit county and district clerks from using a court order recognizing a sex change as documentation to get married.

After the hearing, the firefighter’s family and attorneys for his ex-wife criticized plans by Nikki Araguz to star in a reality television dating show and implied she was only interested in money and fame that the case would bring her.

“That is absurd,” Nikki Araguz said in response. “I’m after my civil equality and the rights that I deserve as the wife of a fallen firefighter.”

If the judge rules against the firefighter’s family in their motion for a summary judgment, the case would then proceed to trial. Araguz said if the judge rules against her, she would appeal, all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

—  John Wright

UTAH: GOP State Sen. Chris Buttars Wants To Repeal Anti-Bullying Rules

Republican state Sen. Chris Buttars has introduced a bill that would repeal the Salt Lake City school board’s recently instituted anti-bullying rules. Pride In Utah reports:

Speaking at a meeting for the anti-gay group Eagle Forum, Buttars said: “We’re in big trouble in our public education system. I didn’t realize how much until a month ago when I was asked to chair public education appropriations,” said Buttars. “We met and when we got done we were all so terrified we couldn’t believe it. This was right under our nose.” “By accepting that, there’s no God because he deals in absolutes,” said Buttars. “This is an entire program to bring America down and I want to tell you right now it’s well entrenched in Utah.” Other speakers at the Eagle Forum called the anti-bullying and non discrimination policies a “Socialist and Communist plot to take over children.”

Pride In Utah will stage a protest rally at the Utah Capitol Building on January 24th, the first day of the legislative session.

RELATED: We’ve heard from Buttars before. He has called the “sexual perversion” of homosexuality “the greatest threat to America I know of.” Buttars also wants to eliminate the 12th grade because kids know everything they need by then. And in 2008 when referring a bill that would increase funding to minority school districts, he said, “This baby is black. It’s a dark, ugly thing.”

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

New Year. New Congress. New Senate Rules?

As the 112th Congress convenes for the first time on Wednesday, senators are expected to consider revising Senate rules to address procedural dysfunction highlighted during the 111th Congress.  Increased use of Senate rules for the purpose of obstructionism during the 111th Congress led to, among other things, delayed executive branch appointments, including a virtual standstill on the appointment of equality-minded judges, and multiple filibusters to delay passage of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal legislation.   In response, HRC has joined a coalition of groups calling on the Senate to prioritize open debate, increase transparency and accountability, and prevent needless partisan obstructionism.

Proposed reforms to Senate rules include eliminating “secret holds,” a tactic that allows any senator to anonymously block a vote on a presidential nomination.  In addition, a central topic in the discussion of reform is the filibuster.  As the coalition notes, “[t]hough the Senate averaged approximately one filibuster per year until 1970, senators in the past two sessions have used this tactic roughly 70 times per year.”  A filibuster was invoked on 139 occasions during the 111th Congress, a record high and also a 100% increase from the 110th Congress.  This abusive use of the filibuster has led to a new standard in the Senate that requires senators to meet a 60 vote threshold for a large number of votes.  Potential filibuster reforms include reducing the threshold number of votes required to avoid a filibuster and requiring senators who invoke a filibuster to remain on the Senate floor while the filibuster is taking place.

While there were landmark achievements in the 111th Congress for the LGBT community – including passage of a hate crimes bill and the legislative repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” – the exploitation of current Senate rules led to delays and partisan warfare over both bills.  It is time for the Senate to take a hard look at whether its current rules lead to unnecessary partisan obstructionism, safe havens for senators to avoid discussing substantive issues, and distortion of the views and beliefs of the American people.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

VIRGINIA: Judicial Activist Rules Parts Of Health Care Reform Unconstitutional

A Virginia federal district court judge appointed by Dubya has ruled that parts of President Obama’s health care reform plan are unconstitutional. The lawsuit was brought by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

In a 42-page opinion issued in Richmond, Va., Judge Hudson wrote that the law’s central requirement that most Americans obtain health insurance exceeds the regulatory authority granted to Congress under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. The insurance mandate is central to the law’s mission of covering more than 30 million uninsured because insurers argue that only by requiring healthy people to have policies can they afford to treat those with expensive chronic conditions. The judge wrote that his survey of case law “yielded no reported decisions from any federal appellate courts extending the Commerce Clause or General Welfare Clause to encompass regulation of a person’s decision not to purchase a product, not withstanding its effect on interstate commerce or role in a global regulatory scheme.”

Two other district court judges have previously upheld the law and some expect the issue to reach the Supreme Court before the end of Obama’s term. Dozens of similar lawsuits are still working their way through the system.

RELATED: As in the case with the judicial overturn of DADT, the Obama administration has the option of appealing this ruling.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Take Two On The Prep Work I’m Doing To Get A Passport Under New State Department Rules

Apparently, I’ve got it wrong on passports for transgender people. Geez, I was wrong…what a surprise there! Emoticon: Roling on the floor, laughing

Seriously, my friend Abby, who in the brick-and-mortar world is an attorney, left this comment in the Pam’s House Blend thread for the The Prep Work I’m Doing To Get A Passport Under New State Department Rules diary.

Her comment:

I think you are misreading the State Department’s new gender change policy. The policy states:
A full validity U.S. passport will be issued reflecting a new gender upon presentation of the following: A signed original statement, on office letterhead, from the attending medical physician (internist, endocrinologist, gynecologist, urologist or psychiatrist) * * * stating the applicant has had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition to the new gender ….

(Section b(1) and b(1)(g), P. 2, emphasis added). In contrast, a “limited validity,” i.e., two-year, passport is issued when the physician is only able to state that “the applicant is in the process of gender transition to the new gender ….” (Section b(2)(b), P. 3, emphasis added). In other words, the two-year passport is for those who have not yet completed “the appropriate clinical treatment” necessary to obtain a full validity, i.e., standard 10-year, passport. (Of course, it’s important to note that it is between the trans person and her/his physician to determine what treatment is appropriate for her/him to transition, without interference or restriction by the State Department.)

I believe this is how NCTE, which worked closely with the State Department in developing this new policy, interprets it. NCTE’s recommended language for the physician’s statement recognizes this distinction, with the more limited language to be used by those applying only for the two-year passport. Thumbnail Link: NCTE: Understanding the New Passport Gender Change PolicySee NCTE, Understanding the New Passport Gender Change Policy, June 2010, p. 2. NCTE’s explanation also states, “If you are just beginning transition and need to travel abroad, you can obtain a two-year provisional passport.” (p. 1)

Obviously, you’re way beyond the beginning stage of transition and should have no trouble in obtaining a full validity passport showing your correct gender.

And on my Facebook page for the Pam’s House Blend article I wrote, there was this note from Mara Keisling, the executive director of the National Center For Transgender Equality:

I think there is some confusion about the difference between requirements for full ten year passports and provisional two year passports. Neither type requires “genital surgery.” Ten year passports require a letter saying you have had “appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition.” Technically, the provisional passport is for people who have not completed the aforesaid treatment. However, it is our interpretation that if you and your Dr. believe you have had appropriate treatment for you, even if that does not yet or ever include genital surgery, you qualify for a full ten year passport. I cannot imagine a specific circumstance in which a transperson should apply for a provisional passport.

Egads, I got this wrong. I was in part working off the Time Magazine‘s take on the new passport policy:

For decades, the State Department had required that transgender individuals, who identify with a gender other than their physical sex, have “sexual reassignment surgery” – a term that doesn’t have a clear definition in the medical community – before they were permitted to change their passport listing. Now a note from their physician stating that they have undergone clinical treatment for a “gender transition” will net them a new passport valid for two years. (Regular passports are good for 10.)

Okay, I have to get a new letter written with the phrase “appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition” in it. Emailed my doc already, and I’ll have my new letter in January. Since it’ll probably take at least that long for my official birth certificate copy to arrive in the mail, getting a new letter won’t be much of a delay, but it has been another hoop to jump through. To quote a phrase I used often in the military: “Life is hard, then I whine.” Emoticon: Tongue out, smiling

So thank you, Abby and Mara — Getting my new passport under the new rules has been quite a learning experience. But, even though this is a difficult slog to get a new passport with a gender identifier that matches my gender identity, I’m quite aware that for many trans people in the United States, a passport may be the only path to getting an identification document with a gender identifier that matches one’s gender identity.

~~~~~

Related:

* The Prep Work I’m Doing To Get A Passport Under New State Department Rules

* BREAKING Blend exclusive: State Department issues gender change policy for passport applications

* Foreign Affairs Manual Requirements For Passport Change Of Gender
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Federal Court Rules Students Must Hear Pledge Of Allegiance

A federal appeals court has ruled that a New Hampshire Patriot Act requiring the “voluntary” recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance does not force religion on students. The Freedom From Religion Foundation had argued that even a so-called voluntary recitation of the words “under God” violated the Constitution and made outcasts of students unwilling to participate.

The panel of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit on Friday rejected the claim that exposing children to group recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance violated their constitutional rights. The judges, a Clinton nominee, a George W. Bush nominee and an Obama nominee, agreed the pledge references religion, but they said its purpose is to encourage patriotism. The ruling affirms a 2009 ruling by U.S. District Judge Steven McAuliffe at the federal court in Concord. “In reciting the Pledge, students promise fidelity to our flag and our nation, not to any particular God, faith or church,” wrote Chief Judge Sandra Lynch. “The New Hampshire School Patriot Act’s primary effect is not the advancement of religion, but the advancement of patriotism through a pledge to the flag as a symbol of the nation.”

Christianist website World Net Daily hailed the decision with this headline: “Court: Constitution ‘does not require complete separation of church and state’.” In 1954 the words “under God” were added to the Pledge after the Knights Of Columbus pressured members of Congress to make the change.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

NCAA Ironing Out Trans Athlete Rules

Kye Allums X390 (GETTY VIA DAILY NEWS) | ADVOCATE.COMThe governing body of college sports has clarified its stance on
allowing student athletes to undergo medical gender transition
procedures while remaining eligible to play.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin