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Of State Quarters, Nieces & Nephews

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 10:10 pm - December 31, 2007.
Filed under: Family,Travel,Vacation Blogging

While I would not have chosen Miami as the place to spend the last few days of 2007, I’m grateful that I joined my family here for this vacation. Not only did I get to spend some quality time with my Dad, walking on the beach together or just relaxing with the rest of the family, but I also got to play with my nieces nephews and one of my sisters and one of my brothers, the only ones who made it down for the holiday.

And I got to have fun with my step-sister and step-brother better while bonding with his kids.

I have to note the irony in passing the gay section of the beach while walking with my father. What in other company might have been a major distraction was, in this case, only a minor diversion, some nice ice candy, but of little sustenance compared to conversation with my Dad.

And I delighted in playing the “state quarter” game with my nieces and nephews. You see, sometime in 2000 or 2001, I decided to start collecting the state quarters for my nieces and nephews (who now number 15). At the bank, I’ve buying a roll each time the mint released the latest coin. Well, I started pulling some of the older ones out of my change (as I hadn’t yet gotten those for the kids). Soon, I found myself saving any and all state quarters I got in change.

I started accumulating quite a number of these special coins. Now, I have drawers full of them.

So, instead of just giving the kids the latest quarters, I’d realized I needed to find a means to share them with the kids without actually giving them away. Now, before each family trip, I grab a handful, pulling them out when the kids are present, offering my various niblings* (nieces and nephews) a quarter if they can spell the state correctly.

Last night, seeing my baggie full of quarters, one of my nieces offered to spell a lot of states to help me get rid of them faster. And this young lady happens to be a most gifted speller, determined to learn how to spell each state she gets wrong. (Earlier in the evening, she had refused to spell certain states, telling me they were “too easy.”)

I think now maybe I should change the game and make them learn a fact or two about the state before they can win their two bits.

Oh. One more thing. For all the trouble I take to saving these coins, I learned that once my nieces and nephews win them, they’re eager to spend them.*

This way, some other devoted uncle can collect them and save them for his niblings.

*********
*Well, at least they do keep those they put in the folders I gave them.

Immigration Is Top Issue for GOP, Independent Voters

This doesn’t come as any surprise to me.

In a recent Associated Press-Pew Research Center poll, 17 percent of likely Republican voters in the New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary named illegal immigration as the one issue they want to hear candidates talk about, making it second only to Iraq. In Iowa, where caucuses kick of the presidential nominating season, immigration was the leading issue for 18 percent of Republicans, ahead of Iraq.

The figures are somewhat surprising in New Hampshire, a state of 1.3 million people with a small immigrant population and even smaller illegal one. There were 14,000 more foreign-born residents in the state last year than in 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. A report last year by the Pew Hispanic Center estimated the state is home to somewhere between 10,000 and 30,000 illegal immigrants.

Andrew Smith, director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, said he has believed for a year or so that illegal immigration would be important in the GOP primary because it strikes so many chords.  There’s the economic argument: Illegal immigrants are taking jobs from Americans.  There’s the legal one: They’re breaking the law.  There’s the cultural argument:  They’re not assimilating into American culture.”

The surprise is that most INDEPENDENT primary voters are also expressing support for a more security-conscious immigration policy… and opposition to blanket amnesty of law-breakers.

A sizable majority — an average of 65 percent of voters in those three states [Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania] — said that they would vote for the candidate they agreed with on other issues but not on immigration. But an average of 22 percent said that illegal immigration could be a deal-breaker for them when it comes to voting for a candidate.

That would be a significant number in a close election.  Most interesting is that 27 percent of independents — the key swing voters who decide elections — say immigration could turn them away from a candidate, more than either Democrats or Republicans.

Democrat voters, on the other hand, are content to live in their made-up land of Bush Derangement Syndromeville and cast their votes from that warped perspective.

-Bruce (GayPatriot) 

“Go Away, You Little Gnat!”

In what must be the most ridiculous spectacle of the 2008 Presidential Campaign so far, Democrat candidate John Edwards actually had the cojones to admit that he personally called Pakistan’s President Musharraf in the hours following the Bhutto assassination last week.

I can only imagine the phone call went something like this….

Musharraf’s aide running into room:  “Sir, there is an urgent call from the United States!”

Pervez Musharraf:  “Is it President Bush?  Please bring the phone instantly!”

Aide:  “No, sir…. someone named John Edwards.”

Musharraf:  “John Edwards?   That guy who talks to dead people?”

Aide:  “No, he is a candidate for United States President.  Here is the phone.”

John Edwards:  “President Musharraf, I am so sorry to hear about the death of Benazir Bhutto.  Do you think her family needs any legal representation to sue the government or big corporations that obviously killed her?”

Musharraf:  “WHAT?!  That’s outrageous…. who do you think you are?”

Edwards:  “I mean no disrespect, it was just a reflexive reaction.  When I’m upset… I sue people.  I meant to say that I insist that Pakistan continues on its path to democratization with free and open elections.”

Musharraf:  “Why?  You didn’t support that path in Iraq.”

Edwards:  “Yeah, but that’s because I don’t really believe in it…. it just seemed like the right thing to say so I can tell people I called you today.”

Musharraf:  “Go away, you little gnat!”

Hopefully Iowa voters will leave John Edwards with the same message this week…

-Bruce (GayPatriot) 

Jack Goldsmith’s Book: Bush Criticism for Grownups

Among the many issues which have concerned me in the last month of 2007, a book I finished just before leaving on my trip, Jack Goldsmith’s The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgment Inside the Bush Administration, addressed two of them. I bought the book primarily because I thought it would help me explore the background of the administration’s policy on aggressive interrogation, what some have called, “torture.”

While the book did help familiarize myself with that issue, it also helped me find some answers to a question which has preoccupied me for the past two years, “When did W go wrong?” That is, I have been trying to figure out how the president squandered the mandate of his reelection in 2004, losingthe popular support he had enjoyed when he won reelection and in the months immediately after his second inauguration. As I read the book, it seems that while the president made numerous mistakes in the first year of his second term, the root of many of his biggest mistakes lay in his first term of office, in the months immediately after 9/11.

It might well be counterproductive (at this point) to focus on those reasons in a post on Goldsmith’s book for that post might get sidetracked from the issues the former Assistant Attorney General addresses in this reflection on his turn in office. But, I should now that as I read the book and considered some of this distinguished lawyer’s criticisms, I began better able to consolidate some of my thoughts on this question, that is, Goldsmith’s observations corresponded with some of my own. And he was much closer to the key players than I could ever be, encountering them directly rather than experiencing them as did I filtered through the news media and blogosphere.

I will attempt do at least two (additional) posts on his criticisms, one inspired by the book, addressing the question I had asked and the other reflecting on the book, one of the best pieces of Bush criticism I have read in recent days, quite possibly the best I have read in book form.

Unlike the great majority of Bush critics, Jack Goldsmith takes the time to understand the arguments of those he criticizes, the president and his closest advisors, to understand their motives and to consider them in as a favorable light as possible. He does not see them as diabolical agents, acting out of their greed, other malicious motives or to promote power for its own sake, but out of concern for the national interest. And in criticizing them, he does not do so to vent his own spleen, to exorcize his own demons or demonize his ideological adversaries (well, in his case, his ideological allies with different interpretations on furthering executive authority in the War on Terror), but to show why they (that is, those whom he is criticizing) have not promoted the national interest as best they could.

********

Just before bed last night, I wrote the preceding five paragraphs, intending them as an introduction to one of two (proposed) posts on Jack Goldsmith’s book. When I woke this morning, I realized that they qualified in a post in and of itself and publish them for your perusal. As my schedule allows in the next few days, I will try to post additional pieces on the book and the issues it addresses. Let me repeat, as my schedule allows.

Conservative Perspectives Win Out in 2007

It is interesting that when people make their own editorial choices of what to read at the Washington Post’s website, these items are the top three for 2007.

1. Retreat Isn’t an Option by Liz Cheney, published Jan. 23.

On the day of the State of the Union address, the vice president’s daughter, a former deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, argues in favor of continuing the Iraq war.

2. Why Bush Will Be a Winner by William Kristol, published July 15.

A rousing (and controversial) defense of the president’s legacy. The rebuttal, Why Bush is a Loser by David Corn, was also high on the most-popular list.

3. Pratfall in Damascus, editorial, published April 5.

The Post’s editorial board criticizes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Syria and her statements about negotiating peace with Israel.

This is probably also more evidence why FOX News Channel is still the most highly-rated news organization, and the reason in part is because it truly IS “fair and balanced.”  At least that is what the results of a George Mason University study of the 2008 campaign coverage reveal…

Fox News Channel’s coverage was more balanced toward both parties than the broadcast networks were. On FOX, evaluations of all Democratic candidates combined were split almost evenly – 51% positive vs. 49% negative, as were all evaluations of GOP candidates – 49% positive vs. 51% negative, producing a perfectly balanced 50-50 split for all candidates of both parties.   On the three broadcast networks, opinion on Democratic candidates split 47% positive vs. 53% negative, while evaluations of Republicans were more negative – 40% positive vs. 60% negative. For both parties combined, network evaluations were almost 3 to 2 negative in tone, i.e. 41% positive vs. 59% negative.

It is comforting to know that American conservatives are truly the silent majority and yet seek out the “fair and balanced” news source.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Unbelievably Cheap Luxury Hotels

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 4:18 pm - December 27, 2007.
Filed under: Family,Travel,Vacation Blogging

When I drove cross country, I stayed at a good number of motels along the various interstates in our great land. In each of these places, where I paid between $50 and $70 for a room, I was able to get free Internet in my room. The one hotel I stayed where I had to pay for an Internet connection was the fanciest place I stayed on trip (a corporate hotel where we stayed for the Bat Mitzvah). As I had to pay for Internet access in my room at the hotel where I stayed for the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists’ Association convention.

And now on the second night of my unusual Winter vacation, I can only blog because I agreed to pay the $9.99 fee for Internet in an otherwise very nice hotel in Miami Beach (where you also have to pay to use the workout facility). Last night in Denver, I declined the option of paying for Internet at another nice hotel.

What is it with these fancy hotels that they seem to feel obligated to charge their clientele for Internet where roadside motels offer it free of charge? I wonder if it’s because they have a captive audience or because they cater largely to people traveling for business who can put such incidentals on their expense accounts.

In its first twenty-four hours, this has been an unusual trip. Yesterday, a friend who lives near Ontario (suburb of Los Angeles) drove me to LAX. On the flight to Denver, I sat next to a young veteran (he had served in Iraq) who had flown in from Palm Springs, changing planes in Ontario. He was going to meet friends in Colorado and go skiing. When we talked, he complained about how clueless the media were when reporting from war zones — and how often he, his fellows and the troops under his command had to go out of their way to protect them. In so doing, they became less effective in taking on the terrorists.

In Denver, without a winter coat, I experienced freezing temperatures, but that inconvenience was minor because I could not have otherwise spent time with a cousin and a beloved Aunt and Uncle. My cousin, a Democrat, is most enthusiastic about her man for ’08, Barack Obama. Her excitement seems similar to that of other supporters of the Illinois Senator’s White House bid.

This morning, we left Denver in a snowstorm and arrived to 80 degree temperatures and sunshine in Miami. With such warm weather, a new niece (born this very morning) and a vacation with my Dad, his wife, five of the PatriotNiecesWest and three of the PatriotNephewsWest, I really don’t have too much too complain about. Even the fee for Internet access.

I guess I’ll just see that, as I saw the snow in Denver, as a minor inconvenience I need experience so I can blog while spending time with some of my favorite people in the world.

I hope all of you will get to share this time of year with such people. Even when you have to suffer some minor experience to gain such great joy.

- B. Daniel Blatt (GayPatriotWest@aol.com)

Bethlehem Returns to Peace at Christmas

All together now, folks…. say it with me:  “It is all George Bush’s fault!”

Christmas Cheer Returns to Bethlehem – Associated Press

Hundreds of Christian pilgrims celebrated Jesus’ birth on Tuesday in the West Bank town where he was born, in an atmosphere made markedly cheerier by the renewal of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks after years of bloody conflict.

By midday, the ancient Church of the Nativity was packed with tourists waiting in line to see the grotto that marks the traditional birthplace of Jesus.

The visit to Bethlehem was a first for Kiel Tilley, 23, a science teacher from Charlevoix, Mich.

“It’s very powerful and meaningful to me,” Tilley said. “It’s very moving to visit a place which I always read about in the Bible.”

The relaunch of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks at a U.S.-sponsored conference last month reassured him before his trip, he said.

“I’m always in fear something would happen,” Tilley said. “But the peace process made me feel safer.”

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2007

birth_of_jesus_christ_nativity_scene.jpg

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled.  This was the first enrollment, when Quirin’i-us was governor of Syria.  And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city.  

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.  

And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered.  And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.  And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!”

(Luke 2:1-14)

*******

I’d like to add one thought this year as an addendum to last year’s Christmas Day posting, which is one of my favorite Biblical passages by the way.  When I was growing up in rural Pennsylvania, my Mom and I attended a very historic old Episcopal Church.   At the end of every Christmas Eve midnight service, our vicar used to read another favorite Biblical passage of mine.  He would read it by solo candlelight as the rest of the church was dark.  When he closed the Bible, he would begin to light all of the rest of the candles in the church as his wife sang a lovely rendition of “Silent Night” as the church slowly lit up.

(more…)

Merry Christmas From The Patriot Pooches

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 2:00 pm - December 24, 2007.
Filed under: Dogs

hi human peeple. we want to wish u a mary christmas. dad and dad were out at the maul yesterday shopping. we guess they were shopping for moor food fore me and shadow. gramma isn’t feeling too well today. i think dad will rite about that later.

mary christmas to you and your pups from me — saxby and my sister — shadow.

ss-merged-for-stamps.jpg

saxby (patriotpooch on left)

Christmas Eve In The Emergency Room

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 11:56 am - December 24, 2007.
Filed under: Blogging,We The People

**TUESDAY EVENING UPDATE** — Mom is recovering just fine from the emergency surgery to fix the burst appendix.  The doctors and nurses have been great; it makes me thankful to live in this country when I meet hard-working people like that who are giving up their Christmas holiday to help people in need.  Again, many many thanks for your thoughts and prayers.

There are moments once in a while when our advances in technology really do amaze me. I’m having one of those moments today.

Unfortunately, my Mom is spending this Christmas Eve in an emergency room bed with possible appendicitis. Tests aren’t done yet. This comes two weeks after her surgery — so she DEFINITELY is looking forward to 2008!!

Anyway, isn’t it kind of weird that I can live-blog from an emergency room ward? It is better than watching bad television on the ER wall. And, we are also using my computer to listen to Christmas songs from my iTunes collection.

I hope everyone has a very nice Christmas and may God bless you and your families today and always.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Satan/Nostradamus — 2008, Part II

**UPDATED**

I’ve had some trouble with Pollhost.com lately (including the first iteration of this poll, and our Blog Diva poll)…. so I’m revamping this posting to use a new service and to include more candidates based on commenters’ suggestions.

***********

I have been amused over the past several months that in discussions with work colleagues, friends and family — a similar “we-know-for-a-fact” statement keeps coming up. It is the following: “Presidential Candidate X is the Anti-Christ”; followed by citing of Scripture or a prophecy right out of the mind of Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code.

I caught this tongue-in-cheek iteration on Monday at The Huffington Post, implicating Mike Huckabee as The Big AC.

4. No normal American man over the age of 40 loses 110 pounds. It’s not natural.

5. Read this: “And that is why part of me, I confess, wants Huckabee to win. So he can lose. So the GOP can lose – as spectacularly and humiliatingly as possible. If we are to rid conservatism of this theocratic cancer, we need to start over. Maybe it has to get worse before it can get better.”

Who said it? Andrew Sullivan. Have you ever heard of the psy-ops mind trick called “negative psychology”? If Sullivan — a gay Catholic — says he wants Huckabee to get the Republican nomination so he can lose, you can bet your beanie that what the secret cabal of Romish sodomites really wants is for Huckabee to win.

So I figured before I vote next year, I want this topic settled once and for all. Please help!

Thanks!

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Remembering Our Troops At Christmas

Posted by Average Gay Joe at 9:04 pm - December 23, 2007.
Filed under: Holidays,Military

Out of all the Christmas videos I’ve seen from the candidates on both sides of the political spectrum, I think that Fred Thompson’s campaign did the best job:


h/t Ace of Spades

With all the hustle and bustle of the Holidays, and the focus on faith and family, things like this remind us that no matter what our political views are we should take a moment to say “thanks” to the men and women in uniform who defend our freedoms. Many of them are away from their loved ones because of their service and just a simple “thank you” can help brighten their day. If you want to do more, and can spare anything, please consider giving to a worthy cause that supports our soldiers, sailors, Airmen an Marines. Here are some that I particularly recommend:

  • America Supports You
  • Any Soldier
  • Armed Forces Children’s Education Fund
  • Armed Forces Relief Trust
  • ECarePackage.com
  • Fisher House
  • Help For Heroes (for our Brit friends, who’ve stood by us countless times)
  • Operation Gratitude
  • Project Valour I/T
  • Semper Fi Fund
  • USO

    Merry Christmas everbody!

    – John (Average Gay Joe)

  • Merry Christmas from a Jewish GayPatriot

    Posted by GayPatriotWest at 12:14 am - December 23, 2007.
    Filed under: General

    By some means, unbeknownst to Bruce or myself, someone hijacked our original web-site on blogspot and deleted most of our posts. Fortunately, I archived nearly all of my posts (in text format), thus having text versions of the hundred or so posts I wrote when we were over there. When I read Bruce’s Christmas post, I recalled that I had written a post wishing our readers a Merry Christmas back in 2004, so revise it in order to wish our readers the Merriest of Christmases, even as I, the one offering the wishes, do not celebrate the holiday because of my Jewish faith.

    Please note that I did not save the links in the original post, so have had to recover them as best I could. Without further ado, my post of December 21, 2004 revised.

    Back in 2004, when my governor Arnold Schwarzenegger lit what most of us (including Jews) know as a Christmas tree. Some reporters sensed a controversy because his Democratic predecessor had called the decorated evergreen a “holiday tree.”

    You see, that politically correct Democrat, like too many in our society, strove to eliminate all references to religion in public ceremonies and holiday displays. They seem to think that the Constitution has created some sort of wall of separation between church and state. Unfortunately, that expression (“wall of separation“) comes not from the U.S. Constitution, but from a letter of Thomas Jefferson. The actual text of the First Amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” (quoting only the first part of the amendment referencing religion).

    And frankly, this Jewish writer just doesn’t see how calling a decorated evergreen tree a “Christmas Tree” represents the establishment of religion. And yet, so many over at the ACLU get their panties all in a bundle every time someone tries to put a religious symbol on public property.

    Now this wave of political correctness has spread beyond the public square. Some corporations train their employees to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”

    Indeed, a few of my friends worry that they might be offending me if they wish me a “Merry Christmas.” Those very individuals, some of them devout Christians, are touched when I wish them “Happy New Year” at Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year). Back in 2004, I lit the Chanuka candles for my mostly non-Jewish class of mythology students. They appreciated that I had shared this religious ritual with them.

    I appreciate their sensitivity, but why should I be offended by a Christian’s sharing his or her joy in celebrating their religious holiday when they appreciate me sharing my joy in mine?

    I understand that if someone wishes me a “Merry Christmas,” they speak from their heart, wanting to share the spirit of this festival (sacred to them) with me. So, I welcome their good Christmas wishes, even when expressed to me, a Jew.

    I welcome religious expression because it often (yet, alas, not always) tends to humanize us. In the Jewish World Review, Rabbi Mitchell Wohlberg wrote:

    let’s put the “Ch” back into Chanukah! And, yes, let Christians put Christ back into Christmas. Let us not attempt to secularize our religions, or to blur our religious differences. Let us learn to respect each other’s religion. Then there will truly be “peace on earth and goodwill toward all men” … and women as well!

    He’s right. Let’s learn to respect each other’s religions. We can’t do that by secularizing religious holidays. Nor by eliminating all references to sacred traditions in the public square. Let us share the joys of our tradition and use them to build bridges of understanding.

    Indeed, the great Peggy Noonan thinks this might even help the Democrats, writing:

    Stop the war on religious expression in America. Have Terry McAuliffe come forward and announce that the Democratic Party knows that a small group of radicals continue to try to “scrub” such holidays as Christmas from the public square. They do this while citing the Constitution, but the Constitution does not say it is wrong or impolite to say “Merry Christmas” or illegal to have a crèche in the public square. The Constitution says we have freedom of religion, not from religion. Have Terry McAuliffe announce that from here on in the Democratic Party is on the side of those who want religion in the public square, and the Ten Commandments on the courthouse wall for that matter. Then he should put up a big sign that says “Merry Christmas” on the sidewalk in front of the Democratic National Committee Headquarters on South Capitol Street. The Democratic Party should put itself on the side of Christmas, and Hanukkah, and the fact of transcendent faith.

    Read the whole article and delight in Peggy’s wisdom and writing.

    I’m glad my Governor “renamed” the state’s “holiday tree” and called it what it has long been called, “a Christmas tree” (a week before attending a Menorah lighting ceremony). We should welcome public displays of religion in our society and as Rabbi Wohlberg suggested, use them as means to respect each other.

    And from this Jewish American, Merry Christmas to all our readers.

    Why Ann Althouse is a Diva to this Conservative

    Posted by GayPatriotWest at 7:27 pm - December 20, 2007.
    Filed under: Blogging,Blogress Divas

    Just over two years ago when I asked, Who are Our Conservative “Divas”?, I defined a diva a strong, successful woman who commands the respect of men. At the time, we were looking for those divas whose politics didn’t turn the stomachs of gay conservative men, given how much we gay guys look up to strong women.

    When we decided to limit our poll to consider only blogresses, we included (over the past three years) a number who were not conservative per se, notably Virginia Postrel and Ann Althouse. While these gals may not be as ideological as some of their competitors, we do admire their independence and the confidence with which they express their opinions.

    In some ways, particularly in the case of Althouse, it’s their very absence of ideology which makes them divas. For, isn’t it a mark of a true diva that she’s not beholden to any individual or any ideology?

    It’s one reason Arianna Huffington who once carried herself like a diva can no longer be considered for the honor. In her eagerness to curry favor with the Bush-hating left, she’s sacrificed the independent voice she provided in the second half of the 1990s. Maybe that’s because Huffington knows that to be accepted by the leftist blogosphere she has to toe their line.

    That ideological conformity which the left seems to demand seems absent on the right, at least among the conservative (and libertarian) pundits and bloggers I read on a regular basis. Or maybe it’s because the liberal ideology has become so dominant in the MSM, that we conservatives delight in reading pieces by those willing to challenge it.

    While Ann Althouse is certainly not a conservative, she is definitely a blogress who challenges liberal orthodoxy. She speaks her mind. When commenting on the competition last year, she said it best when she wrote:

    If the emphasis is on the word “diva” — as it should be — rather than on “conservative” — I think I definitely deserve it. It’s not about who is the most conservative — which would be incredibly stupid — it is who embodies “diva” and can also be accepted by the conservatives. Clearly, I fit that.

    It’s not just that. Despite her decidedly non-ideological bent, Althouse somehow manages, in her words, to drive liberals “nuts.” Which seems to me more a reflection of their narrow-mindedness than of her ideology.

    Indeed, it was amusing to see some of the comments on her blog wondering why she was nominated to be Grande Conservative blogress diva while reading posts on left-wing blogs attacking her with the venom they tend to reserve for such conservative women as Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter.

    Today, as I “researched” this piece, reading her latest entries and some of her past references to our contest, I realized how much I liked her blog. Even when I disagreed with some of her points, I delighted in the way she expressed herself. While my posts, like this one, tend to be essayistic, hers are sassy and succinct with a sizable sampling of snark.

    We gay conservatives like Ann Althouse because she speaks her mind and retains her independence, calling them as she see them.

    While Sondra K has once again earned the honor to be Grande Conservative Blogress Diva, Ann Althouse remains a diva to this blogger. As are some of her more ideological competitors in our recent competition.

    Conservative Ideas & the 2008 election

    It seems there are a lot of people on the right, scholars, pundits, bloggers who have thoughts about the 2008 contest for the GOP nomination which parallel those I expressed in the piece, 2008 Presidential Election: the GOP in Search of Itself, I posted on Monday. Either there’s something in the air or we’re all onto something. I think it’s the latter, given the number of political observers who have come to similar conclusions.

    Scott at Powerline links this insightful piece by the Claremont Institute‘s Charles Kesler. (While we’re on the subject of books, his Keeping the Tablets: Modern American Conservative Thought, is a superb anthology of essays articulating the basic ideas of modern conservatism. Perfect for conservatives who want to better understand the background of our ideas and for liberals who would like to better understand this political philosophy.)

    In his piece, Kesler notes the incredible flux of the Republican race, finding that many Republicans still haven’t made up their minds, even discovering uncertainty among those “who’ve endorsed a candidate.” He observes, “There are a lot of Republican contenders to choose from, too, and most are plausible as president.

    He does a better job of discerning what he calls “the perplexity” Republicans experience than has any recent political commentator, at least those I’ve read. Perhaps, that’s because he’s spent so much time studying American conservatism. He does see the various political philosophies at play in the party and understands the difficulty of forging a consensus:

    Unlike the defeat of Communism and socialism, goals shared by all conservatives and functioning as the movement’s great amalgam and inspiration, shrinking the state and rehabilitating American morals are the favorite causes of different, and to some degree differing, parts of the Right.

    Conservatism’s slow loss of focus after the Cold War’s end was predictable (and often predicted). That the “crack-up” never occurred quite as predicted, however, shows that a broad agreement persists among conservatives. Nonetheless, the bonds between libertarian and social conservatives have weakened. Although 9/11 revealed a new common enemy, the effect was more to change the subject than to forge a new consensus on the Right. After all, the issues that remain–how to limit government again, whether and how government should promote virtue, and more generally, how to restore the republic along the lines of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution–are difficult.

    He goes on to look at how each of the leading candidates embodies some aspect of modern conservatism, but notes that “that Republican voters don’t recognize any of these trial versions of conservatism as the real deal, a distillation of American principles for our time.” I think he’s onto something.

    This may well be the most important short piece (at least from the standpoint of ideas) on the contest for the GOP presidential nomination. So, without further ado, I suggest you read the whole thing!

    2007 GayPatriot’s Man Of The Year:General David Petraeus

    The hands-down winner from Dan (GayPatriotWest) and I as our first GayPatriot Man of the Year: General David Petraeus.

    david_petraeus.jpg

    From a TIME Magazine profile written by John McCain written a couple months ago: Fouad Ajami, director of the Middle East studies program at Johns Hopkins University, says the sense of optimism he finds among Iraqis is “invested in the arrival in Iraq of General David Petraeus.” Bright, studious, morally committed, physically brave, willing to carry a “heavy rucksack” without complaint and with clear-eyed resolve, Petraeus—along with the courageous men and women he has the honor to command—is our best reason to hope that we might yet avoid the catastrophe of an American defeat in Iraq.

    We choose a man who looked at chaos and brought security. A man who looked at despair and brought hope. A man who saw freedom’s defeatists at home and defeated them. A man who upholds and defends the principles of the United States Constitution.

    In short, we chose the “anti-Putin.”

    -Bruce (GayPatriot)

    UPDATE (from GPW): Looks like London’s Telegraph agrees with us (via Instapundit).

    Bush, US Troops Win Budget Battle Over Anti-War Democrats

    Associated Press:  The vote reflected the reluctance by each party to deny money to troops in the field. At the same time, anti-war Democrats had found their position weakened by the decline in violence in Iraq.

    Yes, Congress… you have shown the truth to the lie that “you can support the troops without supporting the mission.”  When it came down to it, you HAVE to support the mission in order to support the troops.

    Thank you, US Congress, for recognizing that our men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan are doing important work that demands to be supported.

    House OKs War Spending, Bill Heads to President for Welcome Signature – AP/FOX News.com

    Congress approved $70 billion Wednesday for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, a bitter finish for majority Democrats who tried to force a change in President Bush’s war policy.

    The House’s 272-142 vote also sent the president a $555 billion catchall spending bill that combines the war money with money for 14 Cabinet departments.

    Bush and his Senate GOP allies forced the Iraq money upon anti-war Democrats as the price for permitting the year-end budget deal to pass and be signed. But other Democrats were eager to avoid being seen as not supporting troops who are in harm’s way — and avoid weeks of bashing by Bush for failing to provide that money.

    God Bless the United States Armed Forces for liberating 60 million oppressed men, women and children since 2001.

    [RELATED STORY Another Democrat Visits Iraq, Sees Success – MichelleMalkin.com]

    [RELATED LINK:  Please donate to Soldiers’ Angels this Christmas season.]

    -Bruce (GayPatriot) 

    Gay Books For Grownups

    It seems that every winter, a number of publications release their lists of recommending holiday reading, assuming their readers will be in a book-buying mood when they shop for holiday presents. Indeed, it the National Review’s Symposium on Christmas shopping, that journal’s editors noted that its list (collated from “regular contributors and friends) “as often is the case . . . is book heavy.” The folks at Powerline linked the Claremont Review of Books Christmas reading list. But, it doesn’t seem the Weekly Standard has offered such a list since 2004.

    Doubting that there exists a gay conservative reading list, I thought I’d offer my own list of gay books that I recommend. Some of these writers’ might be surprised to find their books on the reading list of a gay conservative. Indeed, one of the authors raises money for the Democratic National Committee.

    Back when I was trying to publish my novel, I used to read gay novels with great regularity, feeling it my duty to familiarize myself with what was out there. But, I found that most of them were self-indulgent, without focus, theme or moral, except to blame society in general and conservatives in particular for the plight of gay men. One novel even took infidelity as a matter of course in gay (male) relationship.

    And that said, I did discover some gems. I’ll get to those in due course.

    i wanted to start with the book (that I believe) is the most important book on gay culture or as its author subtitled it, “The Gay Individual in American Society.” That book is of course Bruce Bawer‘s, A Place at the Table. It was the first gay book I read which addressed concerns I had as I was coming to terms with my feelings. I underlined numerous passages, scribbled notes in the margin, noted important passages in the flyleaves.

    Among the many insights Bruce offers is this observation on “professional gays,” among whom “there has been too much invective and too little effort to explain and clarify.” Seems like some of these people have turned up in our comments section.

    He suggested that the “vociferous emphasis on ‘gay pride’” was a sign “that, deep down, many subculture-oriented gays don’t really have very much pride in themselves as individuals; for it would never occur to an individual with pride in himself to feel a need for group-oriented pride.” And this wonderful line: “I hate to see people cocooning themselves in victimhood and straightacketing themselves in stereotype.” For that and other insights, I highly recommend Bruce Bawer’s, A Place at the Table.

    I have only read a few of the essays in Bruce’s BEYOND QUEER: Challenging Gay Left Orthodoxy. For those essays alone, the book is well worth the cost.

    While most readers who have read both of Andrew Sullivan’s first two books prefer the first published, Virtually Normal, I found that tiresome and repetitive. I think his second book, Love Undetectable: Notes on Friendship, Sex, and Survival, is the superior, largely due to his essay on friendship. There he observes:

    For a gay child or adolescent doesn’t really have a friend in the true sense of the term until he has a gay friend who knows and accepts the fact that he is gay. When he finds this friend, who is almost always gay himself, the relationship has a significance often far deeper than the first friend a heterosexual child discovers. Because, in a way, it is only when the gay child finds his first true friend that he can really exist at all. Until then, only a part of him exists, the public part, the part that has learned to act and portray a real person, while the essential person, his deepest self, remains hidden from view, even, in many cases, from himself and almost always from the people he cares about the most, his family.

    Indeed. Now, just get the book to see that while Andrew’s latest writings may be angry and unhinged, he once had something to say and said it quite well.

    (more…)

    Sondra K–Grande Conservative Blogress Diva 2008

    Posted by GayPatriotWest at 11:18 pm - December 19, 2007.
    Filed under: Blogging,Blogress Divas

    When we launched the Grande Conservative Blogress Diva contest this year, we expected to have a number of blogresses nominated and seconded as we did. So, we assumed a run-off would be necessary.

    What we did not anticipate was the number of glitches in this year’s competition. We were delayed in setting up the contest due to misunderstandings and miscommunications (between Bruce and me). When we first announced the nominees, Bruce set up a poll which for some reason didn’t work.

    I tried to fix it, but failed. At the same time, Bruce was taking care of his Mom. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong, wanted to set up a new poll, but feared that some people had already cast their ballots in the original contest. In the end, I did set up the poll, more than two days after we had anticipated the voting to begin. When I posted that poll, I neglected to announce that there would be a run-off nor to indicate when voting would end. I didn’t even link the post announcing the contest.

    Given that the final tally had reigning Grande Conservative Blogress Diva Sondra K so far ahead of her competitors, we decided to dispense with a runoff and anoint her Grande Conservative Blogress Diva for the coming year.

    We believe Sondra is especially deserving of this honor because of the spirited way she campaigned for the title, enlisting her readers and fellow bloggers to sign her praises in our comments section and to pump for her on their own web-sites. Self-promotion and devoted followers: qualities of a true diva.

    This is not to say that the other competitors are less than divas. In their outspoken ways, all of them have earned the respect of these gay conservatives and merit the diva label. But, only one woman can become Grande Conservative Blogress Diva. And once again, Sondra K of Knowledge is Power has earned the title.

    Congratulations Sondra!

    Bob Dole in a Pants Suit

    At the outset of the 1996 contest for the Republican presidential nomination, then-Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole emerged as the early frontrunner. After serving at the GOP vice-presidential nominee in 1976 and vying unsuccessfully for the nomination in 1980 and ’88, it was “his turn.” The Dole juggernaut seemed unstoppable until he refused a check from Log Cabin.

    He recovered from that, but, as the first caucuses and primaries approached, seemed to be slowly losing momentum. People began to wonder if the only reason for backing him was the seeming inevitability of his nomination. He only eked out a narrow victory in the Iowa caucuses (besting Pat Buchanan by 3%), a contest he had won handily eight years previously. After losing New Hampshire to that egotistical demagogue, he went on to win the Republican nomination, but, never really finding a theme to animate his campaign, lost to incumbent Bill Clinton that fall.

    As we see Clinton’s wife locked in a tight three-way contest in Iowa as her lead began to evaporate in New Hampshire, I’m wondering if Democrats are having the same kind of frontrunner’s remorse that Republicans had for Bob Dole nearly twelve years ago.

    Both were seen as the candidates of their respective party’s establishment. Both didn’t seem to stand for anything, but their own ambition for the White House. Both are strong political partisans. Hillary, to be sure, has an ideological streak which Dole lacks.

    All that said, the sudden tightening of the Democratic race this year parallels that of the GOP in 1996. Hillary, like Dole, could survive a narrow win in Iowa and a defeat in New Hampshire (or, her case, vice versa) and go on to win the nomination. Should she do so, she would be more strongly situated than was Dole in 1996, running as he was against an incumbent president during a time of peace and prosperity.

    Yet, in having to fight for something which she assumed to be hers by right, she has only reinforced public perceptions of her own ruthlessness. As her campaign has attacked her opponents, she has resorted to broad statements and banalties in defending her candidacy, making, in one interview, five references to the Des Moines Register‘s endorsement of her White House bid, rather than answering the question.

    That empty rhetoric, in many ways, echoes Dole’s 1996 campaign. Like the GOP nominee that year, Hillary seems to be running for the White House largely because she thinks she’s entitled to the job. She ust knows she’ll do a good job because she’s Hillary Clinton and anyway, someone else says so, so why answer the question.

    At least Bob Dole has a good sense of humor and a natural laugh. But, I don’t think he’d look good in a pants suit. And I dare say his classy wife would have better sense than to wear one.

    UPDATE: Just read this from Dick Morris, “Hillary has a carefully cultivated impression of invincibility that serves as one of her principal attractions to Democratic primary voters.” He notes that, “Hillary has a real potential for a comeback.” Whereas Buchanan’s extremism made him easier for Dole to defeat when it became a two-man race, Morris believes Obama’s inexperience could play against him once the spotlight focuses on him should the Illinois Senator prevail “in the first few primaries.” Read the whole thing!