Hear Lovers tonight at Andy’s in Denton

Lovers’ finds zero limits as an out musicians

Lovers has five albums under its belt, and through rotating members, the touchstone has always been Berk. But this current incarnation of the band seems to find Lovers at its best self. Berk, Kerby Ferris and Emily Kingan have produced a confident album with Dark Light, and after a decade of doing this, Berk feels this is the band at its strongest.

“When we came together, it felt very egalitarian and feminist and comfortable,” she says. “I hadn’t experienced that level of confidence and there are a lot of benefits to having our kind of connection. I felt like this was a really great place to be creatively.”

This confidence has taken Berk to new levels, as an artist and a person. All three members identify as queer, and for Berk, that offers a comfort in writing her music. Although she starts the song on her acoustic guitar, the others chime in for a group dynamic.

At 32, her personal growth over these 10 years has manifested differently in Dark Light than it has on any of the previous releases. She’s out of the closet, but this album shows Berk coming out of her shell.

“I feel like I sort of went from being an artist who was working mostly to exorcise personal demons to someone who, with time, is able to looking more outward,” she says. “This is the most extroverted album Lovers has ever had.”

Read the entire article here.

DEETS: With Sextape and One Red Martian. Andy’s Bar, 122 N. Locust Road, Denton. May 13. 9 p.m. $6–$8. LoversAreLovers.com.

—  Rich Lopez

When allies zero in on the cozy relationship between the WH and HRC, it’s game over

Over at Firedoglake, Jane Hamsher is saying what we uncouth LGBT bloggers of dissent have been saying all along — the cozy relationship between the HRC and the Obama administration serves to primarily to boost Democratic party interests ahead of policy advances for the LGBT community.

Michael Petrelis made this observation about the Valerie Jarrett “lifestyle choice flap:

On Wednesday when Jarrett’s comments roiled the gay community and progressive bloggers, thousands of words were spilled from all sides about her remarks, but America’s largest gay Democratic advocacy org, the HRC, had not a peep to say about it all. Of course, no sane person would expect HRC, after slavishly avoiding even the mildest and meekest bit of criticism against the Obama administration’s screwing of the gay community without a rubber or any lube, to issue a rebuke to Jarrett. She is after all, a Democrat and HRC executives would rather walk barefoot on glass than slam a Democrat.

Jane echoed the same sentiment below.

The much greater problem is that the comments do reveal Jarrett to be unfamiliar with the discourse in the LGBT community for the past 40 years. Which doesn’t make her a leper either – it’s hard to be up on the crosscurrents of every community all the time. The problem is that Jarrett is ultimately in charge of LGTB relations at the White House. Brian Bond, the LGBT liaison and Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, reports directly to her.

Josh Gerstein writes today that Rahm Emanuel was the one in the White House who “sought to avoid a showdown with the military over the issue.” As Obama was making critical decisions on Iraq and Afghanistan, he “didn’t want the process derailed by the culturally freighted gays-in-the-military fight.”

So when White House senior staff were discussing how to proceed on DADT, who was the one tasked with representing the concerns of the LGTB community? Who answered Rahm on their behalf? Ultimately in the White House food chain, that was Jarrett.

And once again, this brings us back to the problem of the veal pen. The White House chooses “friendly” groups who won’t force them into uncomfortable positions to represent the concerns of various constituencies. The Center for Biological Diversity isn’t invited to the Tuesday Common Purpose meetings, the Sierra Club is. If choice groups want to express their concerns to the White House, they have to go through NARAL’s Nancy Keenan. And when the White House wants to interact with LGBT groups, they communicate with (and through) the HRC.

Which is why it’s extremely troubling that the HRC goes after Republican Joe Buck for his comments on “lifestyle choice,” but doesn’t speak up when Jarrett does the same. I agree that Buck uses the words with the same intent as Tony Perkins – to demean gay people and justify his support for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It’s much, much worse than anything Jarrett did. But Joe Buck isn’t in charge of anything.

HRC covers Obama’s left flank. They are the principal communicators with the White House, and they’re not communicating. They use their clout and resources to marginalize LGTB activists who criticize the White House, branding them as “extreme” and “irrational” within the community. They clearly see their roles as Democratic operatives who insulate the White House from the heat being applied at the grassroots level, and use LGBT issues to advance the Democratic Party’s agenda.

When the progressive allies of our community (who are dealing with the failures of this administration to properly address myriad issues) are blogging about how rank and blatant the LGBT shell game is that is going on, it really is game over. Joe and Co. at HRC have pulled the wool over the eyes of no one (save the die-hard Obama supporters) during these last two years.

And this is why we have written criticism about this WH and Gay Inc. on the Blend at length and in detail for quite some time. What is extremely trying is having to deal with apologists who want to, in advance, blame the messenger for reduced turnout at the polls or suppressing voter interest.

Ahem — it’s the actions of those purportedly working on our behalf in the WH and lobbying the Hill that have let us down. Discussing those shortcomings on this blog has always been accompanied by calls to vote, to go out and support pro-equality officials running for office — and to keep the gAyTM closed for organizations that aren’t doing their jobs and holding feet to the fire of those in the White House who are obstructionists. You’d think that for all of the millions HRC pulls in each year it would at least educate Jarrett and other people of influence who are woefully out of touch with the problems we face out here.

HRC continues to churn out nice press releases and e-blasts, and focus on NOM and other non-legislative matters, hoping to distract from the very fact that its DADT repeal strategy has failed; we’re left with only the courts moving the ball forward, and a Senate that has no chance of passing the weakened measure in the Def Auth bill that doesn’t even stop the discharges. ENDA is dead for this year, DOMA’s going nowhere (other than becoming an issue because of DADT).

What we’ve pointed out is that the system is broken – not that we don’t need a HRC, but that the leadership has failed, and when that happens in the real world, heads roll, there’s a shakeup within, and those who are working at the ground level have to have their morale restored by seeing assertive leadership that will challenge the White House. The question I always think about is this clear ambivalence we see – does HRC believe the LGBT community has clout or not– which is it? Going by what we’ve learned, through leaks and reporting by the LGBT media, it’s not clear.

The WH certainly wouldn’t know that we’re anything other than we’re an ATM; no threats are made. We don’t even know if HRC believes it could marshal a serious threat that the WH would take seriously. So it’s back to the niceties said at the annual dinner, the invites to the next social function that takes precedence. We’re left with the goose egg on the big ticket items and some appreciated, but almost all non-permanent Cinderella Crumbs as a consolation prize.

Does the HRC board believe in accountability and performance? This year presents a challenge — if they’ve been paying attention at all. There are really “no excuses” left, to use a phrase appropriated by HRC for its campaign from The Dallas Principles to sell more T-Shirts. It’s always about smoke and mirrors to make it look like something politically fierce is going on. Of course there’s nothing wrong if something is actually going on, but watching the back-patting, for instance, regarding the back-channel compromising on DADT to save it from complete death is the symptom of the problem. No fear, no gain. Ask the NRA.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

NC GOP Congressional candidate Renee Ellmers rails about Ground Zero ‘Victory Mosque

I don’t know Renee Elmers, but whoever is advising her that running an ad about a ‘Victory Mosque’ at Ground Zero is a useful ad for people she intends to serve in the 2nd District is a dumbass. All we’re talking about here are jobs, health care — you know, reality-based needs of the people. We’re 500 miles away from Ground Zero for crying out loud.

Apologies in advance for wasting 30 seconds of your time, but the drama-filled ad is so craptacularly inflammatory — and says nothing about what Elmers brings to the table. How on earth is she supposed to unseat Dem. Bob Ethridge with this drivel? If I were Elmers, I’d want my money back on this one.


Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

We’re quickly heading towards zero major gay accomplishments by the Obama administration this term

With the imminent demise of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” compromise that did not, in any case, repeal DADT (even though the NYT and other lazy journalists like to claim it did), and the imminent demise of the Democratically-controlled House of Representatives, President Obama is about to have accomplished a record zero of his top promises to the gay community. A record that, if we lose the House, will likely remain at zero for the next six years, if the President is so lucky as to win re-election.

We were told that the President simply couldn’t get to his promises to our community in his first two years in office because we are a nation at war, and he had to work on health care reform, the economy, and many other issues that were meant to believe were far more important than our basic civil and human rights.

And now, after all the pandering by all the pro-Obama apologists who said that we were wrong to ask the President to address our community’s needs during his first two years in office, that we were wrong to warn of the imminent loss of a Democratically-controlled House, and how that loss would stymie gay rights progress for years to come, and that we were wrong to suggest that this President would never, ever get to addressing a real repeal of DADT and DOMA, and the passage of ENDA – after all that, it turns out we were right.

Barack Obama is on the precipice of accomplishing a grand total of none of his major promises to gay and lesbian Americans in return for our supporting his candidacy with our votes and our money. I’m not smelling change.

What do the apologists, who criticized our criticism at every turn, say now?

1. That it’s not Obama’s fault that we’re about to lose the House? Perhaps, though I would argue that it’s precisely Obama’s fault that Democrats are in such a sorry state. After all, who’s the leader of our party? Who took the lead in setting our agenda last year, and took the lead in dumbing down every single Democratic accomplishment from the stimulus to health care reform so that none of them would have a significant enough impact to win over the American people, cure our economic and health care woes, and thus create a strong case for maintaining Democratic control of Washington?

(Obama was warned that the stimulus wasn’t big enough, that the economy wouldn’t rebound fast enough, and that it would not only hurt our chances for a second stimulus, but would also hurt our chances at retaining control of Congress. And what did he do? He asked for a stimulus that he knew was one half the size of what was needed, and then handed 35% of it to Republicans in the form of near-useless (in stimulus terms) tax cuts. And now the economy is f’d, the voters are pissed, and Democrats are about to lose control of the House. This is a class-A f-up. And it’s one that the President walked right into, with full knowledge of the consequences. But he did it anyway. And now we’re f’d. Tell me again why I shouldn’t be pissed at the man?)

If Barack Obama’s fear of confrontation, and his incessant need to compromise on everything, regardless of whether such compromise was necessary, didn’t set the agenda for the Democratic fall, and fail, then what did?

But let’s put that aside for a moment.

2. It clearly was Barack Obama’s choice not to move ahead with any of his major promises to the gay community in the first two years of his administration. No one else is to blame other than the President for that simple decision. That decision may have killed any chance of ever passing ENDA, or repealing DADT and DOMA, for the entire four years that President Obama in office. It was Barack Obama’s choice not to even touch DADT until this year, and then not to push for a full repeal, but rather some make-shift compromise that may, or may not, lead to some kind of change in the policy at some future date (though what kind of change, for the better or the worse, isn’t a guarantee). We simply weren’t important enough, and now it appears we are getting nothing.

What is the point anymore?

Democrats like Andy Tobias lecture us like we’re children, like we’re naive to expect President Obama to actually keep his explicit promises to us during the campaign. We were told that Obama would be our “fierce advocate.” We were told that by Barack Obama himself. That, my friends, has turned out to be a crock. The President is not our advocate, and on no issue, gay or otherwise, is the man fierce. Yes, he appointed a lot of gays to decent, but not the most senior, positions in his administration. Is it somehow now a great accomplishment for a Democrat not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation in hiring and firing for lower and mid level jobs, but to discriminate on such a basis for cabinet jobs, senior White House position, and positions on the Supreme Court? Tell me again who is gay in the senior reaches of this White House – can anyone name even one person? And how about the Cabinet? And spare us the “head of OPM is gay” line. First off, OPM isn’t a cabinet-level position. Second, the appointee’s previous job was running the National Zoo. He’s not involved in any serious discussion of federal policy on the largest issues of the day. And if he is involved on gay issues, he’s clearly failed.

So what was the point of voting for President Obama, over Hillary, for example, if you’re gay? If he wasn’t going to keep his top promises to our community, then how was he any better than Hillary, or any other Democrat running at the time? Does anyone honestly think Hillary wouldn’t have appointed more gays than any previous administration? Does anyone honestly think Hillary wouldn’t have signed the Hate Crimes bill? President Obama has done nothing on gay civil rights that any other Democrat wouldn’t have done in his stead. Such is not a definition of fierce advocate. It’s the definition of business as usual. And it’s not a very compelling argument to justify voting for one Democrat over another in the future, if words and promises are meaningless, and the candidate’s actions in office are indistinguishable from any other Democrat.

And finally, there’s DNC Treasurer Andy Tobias’ favorite argument. Sure the President lied to us, Tobias seems to imply, but he’s a nicer liar than John McCain would have been. And Andy is right. As much as we seem to have now been betrayed by the Obama campaign’s false promise of hope, John McCain would have been an even bigger liar and worse president (though, at least, McCain wouldn’t have lied about what was coming). But as I’ve written before, I’m not a big fan of being betrayed by friends, even when I know my enemies would have treated me worse. I expect my enemies to treat me like a pariah. I don’t expect my friends to do the same. And in many ways, it’s worse when the indifference, and the lies, come from a friend rather than an enemy.

But, yes, Andy is right. A lying president who has repeatedly endorsed bigotry against LGBT Americans is still better than a flaming bigot who almost always endorses bigotry against us. I guess. And I’m sure Andy will keep touting his increasingly long, and ridiculously thin, list of mostly-minor Obama accomplishments on gay issues, such as our invitation to an Easter Egg roll, and the cocktail party thrown to make up for the President’s lawyers having invoked incest and pedophilia to justify his defense of the despicably bigoted Defense of Marriage Act. The President is still defending DOMA and DADT in court. And conservatives are having a field day quoting the President’s supposed new-found opposition to gay marriage (which is a lot like his new-found support for offshore drilling – kind of hard to explain a valid reason to explain either flip-flop) in order to justify their own bigoted views. But hey, we’ll always have that Easter Egg roll.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that Barack Obama is not an agent of change. He’s not out to fundamentally transform our government or our country, and he’s never going to be anyone’s fierce advocate. If gay voters want to hand their money and their ballots over to someone who won’t keep his major promises, who won’t significantly advance the cause of their civil rights, who will outright work against those promises as we attempt to advance our civil rights in courts of law, but who at least won’t be as big a bigot as John McCain, then they are certainly welcome to support him with all their hearts and wallets. I for one am not feeling an overwhelming desire to donate another ,000 to, or raise another ,000 for, a candidate who promises me the moon and then seems almost embarrassed of me the morning after the election.

Perhaps it is naive. But I expect politicians to at least try to keep their major promises. I never said they have to succeed. But they have to at least TRY. Our fierce advocate seems fiercely indifferent. And I fear that an increasing number of Democratic voters now share his indifference.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Salahis Raise Zero for Charity at DC Gay Bar

Salahisx390 (Screengrab) | Advocate.comThe White House crashers said a recent party would raise money for the troops, but the charity says it will receive nothing from the event at a D.C. gay bar.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  John Wright

9/11 Widower Ted Olson Supports ‘Ground Zero Mosque’

Mosque_olson

After an extended discussion of the Prop 8 ruling, Andrea Mitchell asks attorneyTed Olson, whose wife Barbara was killed in 9/11, how he feels about the Park51 controversy.

Olson agrees with Obama that it should not be blocked:

"We don't want to turn an act of hate against us by extremists into an act of intolerance for people of religious faith."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP… 

In related news, Howard Dean is saying just the opposite, calling it an "affront to people who lost their lives."


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Keith Olbermann: There is no ‘Ground Zero Mosque; Eleveld on Obama’s other mixed messaging problem

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

And from Politicususa.com, a good summary of Keith’s remarks (no transcript yet). A snippet:

Olbermann described the Right’s campaign as, “Yet in a country dedicated to freedom, forces have gathered to blow out of all proportion the construction of a minor community center to transform it into a training ground for terrorists, and an insult to the victims of 9/11, and a tribute to the Medieval Muslim subjugation of the West. There is in fact no Ground Zero Mosque. It isn’t a mosque. A mosque technically is a Muslim holy place where only worship can be conducted. What is planned for 45 Park Place New York City is a community center. It’s supposed to include a basketball court and a culinary school. It is to be thirteen stories tall, and the top two stories will be a Muslim prayer space. What a cauldron to terrorism that will be, terrorist chefs and terrorist point guards.”

Olbermann pointed out that since 9/11 Muslims have been at greater risk of being victims of US terrorism than non-Muslims. After he debunked Newt Gingrich’s fear mongering over the name Cordoba House, which he called a figment of Gingrich’s imagination, and the MSNBC host pointed out that the community center will be open to all New Yorkers.

He also knocked down the falsehood that the community center is located on Ground Zero, “This place Park 51 is not even at Ground Zero, not even right across the street. Even the description of it being two blocks away is generous. It is two blocks away from the northeast corner of the World Trade Center site, from the planned location of the 9/11 Memorial, it is more like four or five blocks even.” Olbermann showed that there is no view of the World Trade Center visible from the community center.

***

On a related note, Kerry Eleveld’s latest column in The Advocate points out that “Obama’s mixed messaging on the mosque proposed near Ground Zero leads one to wonder why the White House is so unwilling to touch other hot-button issues.”

Like “The Homosexual Agenda“?

Well, he sure likes taking our money, huh? Just doesn’t like to step on that third rail (other than to send David Axelrod out to bleat out incoherent messaging about equality and marriage).

Obama’s position – that he defends the right to build without supporting the project – mirrors national polling numbers. While one poll found that about 64% of voters believe proponents should be able to build, another poll found that 68% oppose the plan itself.

The situation brings several questions to the fore.

First, what exactly is the administration’s communications team doing? They either miscalculated the national mood or they misjudged how the president’s words would be received on Friday. But they unquestionably should have seen flashes of the firestorm to come from Sarah Palin and her cronies eons before they sent the president out to carry the torch for democracy.

Or is it possible that the president and his advisers understood exactly where this was headed but just couldn’t take the heat once they stepped into the pit? No matter what the answer, the White House squandered the president’s most precious commodity: his word – his compact of trust with the American people.

And here’s another stumper. The same CNN poll showing that more than 2/3 of Americans opposed the project was also the very first poll in history to find that a majority of Americans (52% to 46%) believe gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry.

Now marriage polls do see-saw even as they continue to trend toward equality and a Public Policy Poll late last week found that 57% of voters still think same-sex marriage should be illegal. But the fact remains that both of those polls show less opposition to marriage equality than to the Mosque project, and I can’t help but puzzle at the White House’s willingness to broach one subject while they continue to run away from the other as if it’s too hot touch.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

NY GOP Candidate For Gov: Vote For Me And I’ll Stop The Ground Zero Mosque


RELATED: The New York Times reports today that the GOP has launched anti-mosque campaigns around the country in an attempt to capitalize on the fervor about the Ground Zero mosque.

In Murfreesboro, Tenn., Republican candidates have denounced plans for a large Muslim center proposed near a subdivision, and hundreds of protesters have turned out for a march and a county meeting. In late June, in Temecula, Calif., members of a local Tea Party group took dogs and picket signs to Friday prayers at a mosque that is seeking to build a new worship center on a vacant lot nearby. In Sheboygan, Wis., a few Christian ministers led a noisy fight against a Muslim group that sought permission to open a mosque in a former health food store bought by a Muslim doctor. At one time, neighbors who did not want mosques in their backyards said their concerns were over traffic, parking and noise — the same reasons they might object to a church or a synagogue. But now the gloves are off. In all of the recent conflicts, opponents have said their problem is Islam itself.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright