Angry With Israel

Last night, I rode my bike down to the International District to join some friends for dinner. I crossed paths with Critical Mass, a bike ride comprised of hundreds of cyclists, all spinning up Jackson. It was a beautiful site and I was happy to be out with my own two wheeled friend. At the restaurant, we ate excellent Vietnamese food, had cake, talked about languages, and celebrated our mutual friend’s birthday. It was getting a bit dark and I’d forgotten my lights, so I took off, rolling home under a fading summer sky.

While all that was happening, about a mile away, a man walked in to the Jewish Federation of Seattle and shot six women, killing one. He shot them because he was “angry with Israel.” A man walked in to a building and shot six women because they were – are – Jewish.

I’m angry with Israel too. I’m angry about a lot of things.

I’m angry that people can’t make the distinction between Jews and Israelis.

I’m angry that people can’t make the distinction between governments and individuals.

I’m angry that the US government can’t make the distinction between Iraq and Afghanistan.

I’m angry that Osama bin Laden has somehow managed, though one awful blow, to devolve American society into a culture of fear.

I’m angry that the US government exploits that fear.

I’m angry that the the US government is so embroiled in an endless war that they can’t spare the resources to dedicate to a cease fire.

I’m angry that the rhetoric Israel is using is almost exactly the same that the US adminstration is using. Olmert probably doesn’t even write his own speeches, I’ll bet he just recycles Bush texts, changing Al Qaeda to Hezbollah.

I’m angry that Tony Blair continues to act like George’s lap dog.

I’m angry that Al Gore conceded. Still.

I’m angry that people get all hopped up when oil companies post profits. They’re not state run, people. Get a grip.

I’m angry that we can’t make the connection between oil and war in the Middle East.

I’m angry that people like Dick Cheney have power.

I’m angry that something I was born to – being Jewish, like the color of my eyes or the shape of my feet – is something that someone could use to justify shooting me.

I’m angry that we don’t have gun control.

I’m angry that there are casualties in the Israel-Hezbollah war in my city, half a world away.

“Angry about Israel.”

I’m out of words to describe how angry I am that while I was eating dinner, a man walked in to the Jewish Federation of Seattle and shot six women, killing one.

“Meet the couples who can’t marry here”

As David foreshadowed a few days ago, we made the pages of the Seattle PI today. Susan Paynter is wonderful. We got connected with her earlier this week through our friends at the Pride Foundation and talked to her on Tuesday, before we knew how the State Supreme Court case would turn out. Oh well…

For posterity’s sake, my family “turned on a dime” the minute I came out–they didn’t wait for the wedding. But I know it did make a big difference to them.

As disappointed as I am about the court’s decision, I do believe that the best long-term approach is to go through the legislative process. Had we won, we would have spent the next five years in a defensive position trying to keep the Rethuglicans in Olympia and Tim Eyman from defeating us again–not to mention reinvigorating backers of efforts to write a marriage ban into the US Constitution. Much better, in my view, to set to work building support for a future legislative shift.

Demographics are on our side–people under 30 support our right to marry. As MLK said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Our time will come. And on that day when David and I can make our marriage official in Washington, we’ll throw one hell of a party!

Washington State turns down equality

Sadly, the today’s Supreme Court decision struck down equality for gay and lesbian couples in the state by affirming the constitutionality of the 1998 defense of marriage act. We’re sad, but I’m not surprised. There are some glimmers of hope though: it was a close 5-4 ruling, and the justices did say in the decision that the legislature “may want to re-examine the impact of the marriage laws on all citizens of this state.” And, as the Pride Foundation said:

This is a sad day for everyone in Washington State, and indeed, the country, who believes in equality and fairness. By upholding the Defense of Marriage Act, the Court has said that Washingtonians should be treated differently based on who they love and who they are. Washington State has a long and proud tradition of standing up against discrimination. Let’s not be discouraged, but rather move forward and vow to continue our fight for equality. Our community is resilient. We know that this discriminatory law will be struck down.

I’m sure the Pride Foundation will continue to fight the good fight, and if you haven’t contributed already, they are deserving of your support.

By the way, Jay and I were interviewed by Susan Paynter of the P-I (before the decision came down), so there might be some quotes from us in her Friday column.

Unlucky? Yes. Unthirsty? HELL YES!!!

On a Monday when I have chased after a runaway dog in my bathrobe, unleashed a torrent of scalding water inside my house and incurred $500 in charges from the plumber — all before nine in the morning! — I think it’s fair to say I need a drink. Right. Now.

So I couldn’t be happier to find a Google Maps app for directionally challenged lushes. You have to love the “happy hours at this very moment” checkbox. Unthirsty, where have you been all my life?

I’m off to get that drink!

Skinheads in Uniform

The New York Times reports on the incredibly important work being done by the Southern Poverty Law Center to uncover a fairly terrifying upsurge in neo-Nazi and skinhead infiltration of the military. The Army cracked down on this after being embarrassed by revelations about Timothy McVeigh’s white-supremacist conversion while in the Army. But you know, the Oklahoma City bombing is so ’90s and we need every solider we can get–except “teh gay,” of course. So recruiters under pressure to meet their quotas are just smiling and nodding while homegrown terror groups build a fifth column inside the military.

A decade after the Pentagon declared a zero-tolerance policy for racist hate groups, recruiting shortfalls caused by the war in Iraq have allowed “large numbers of neo-Nazis and skinhead extremists” to infiltrate the military, according to a watchdog organization.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks racist and right-wing militia groups, estimated that the numbers could run into the thousands, citing interviews with Defense Department investigators and reports and postings on racist Web sites and magazines.

…The report cited accounts by neo-Nazis of their infiltration of the military, including a discussion on the white supremacist Web site Stormfront. “There are others among you in the forces,” one participant wrote. “You are never alone.”

An article in the National Alliance magazine Resistance urged skinheads to join the Army and insist on being assigned to light infantry units.

The Southern Poverty Law Center identified the author as Steven Barry, who it said was a former Special Forces officer who was the alliance’s “military unit coordinator.”

“Light infantry is your branch of choice because the coming race war and the ethnic cleansing to follow will be very much an infantryman’s war,” he wrote. “It will be house-to-house, neighborhood-by-neighborhood until your town or city is cleared and the alien races are driven into the countryside where they can be hunted down and ‘cleansed.’ ”

He concluded: “As a professional soldier, my goal is to fill the ranks of the United States Army with skinheads. As street brawlers, you will be useless in the coming race war. As trained infantrymen, you will join the ranks of the Aryan warrior brotherhood.”

This is not pretend, not made up, and these people are serious. In a climate where mainstream Republicans are demonizing and dehumanizing immigrants and gays in violent terms, these fringe groups are more empowered to act. Maybe it’s just the time I spent in the wreckage of the Murrah Building, but I’m a lot more scared of these people than I am of Zarqawi and bin Laden. I’d rather fight Whitey at home than fight Jihadis over there.

“Awkward moments abound in penis pump trial”

Ah, Oklahoma! Your freaks are like the freaks of no other state! My pride knows no bounds!

Former Judge Donald D. Thompson, a veteran of 23 years on the bench, is on trial on charges he used a penis pump on himself in the courtroom while sitting in judgment of others.

Thompson’s former court reporter, Lisa Foster, wiped away tears as she described tracing an unfamiliar “sh-sh” in the courtroom to her boss. She testified that between 2001 and 2003 she saw Thompson expose himself at least 15 times.

“I was really shocked and I was kind of scared because it was so bizarre,” said Foster.

She testified that during a trial in 2002, she heard the pump during the emotional testimony of a murdered toddler’s grandfather.

The grandfather “was getting real teary-eyed, and the judge was up there pumping on that pump,” she said. “It was sickening.”

I suppose when you’re sitting in judgment of others, sometimes you have to go to great lengths to feel worthy. Pretty sick, though.