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No, Mr. Obama, one does not lead by presence alone

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:18 pm - March 24, 2011.
Filed under: Obama Arrogance

Back when I was in high school, we knew of this psychiatrist who, at least by his own account, graduated in the top of his medical school class.  Parents would dispatch many a teenage boy, diagnosed with some of the difficulties of adolescence, to this dapper man.  And to most of them, he did a world of good by fulfilling one aspect of the Hippocratic oath; he did no harm.

But, that’s of course, because he did nothing, merely sat and listened — or so we heard tell.  But, if a boy had real problems, well, this man wasn’t very good because all he did was sit and listened, as if by his very presence, he could fix whatever ailed him.

Which brings me to the present.  And the president.

Almost from Day One of his tenure in the Oval Office, President Obama has stood back and let others set his Administration’s agenda.  Congressional Democrats wrote his much ballyhooed “stimulus.”  They would later, in back rooms on Capitol Hill, craft his health care overhaul.  He let France and the United Kingdom, through the ministrations of the United Nations, set his policy in Libya.  No wonder only 17% of Americans see Obama as a decisive war leader.

It seems he thinks he can lead by his presence alone.

And to be sure, in normal times, that might not be a bad thing.  In times of peace, a free society functions better with a leader who is little more than a functionary, refraining from meddling into our daily lives.  But, with crises around the world and a meddlesome government continuing to hold our economy in check, we need a leader who can do a little more than go around the world delivering speeches while letting others set national policy.

Currently, instead of the president setting the agenda, we have an Alice in Wonderful Libya policy, with the coalition continually quibbling even though the operation is still in its infancy.  What a difference eight years makes. (more…)

Obsession & Intolerance

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:29 pm - March 24, 2011.
Filed under: Free Speech,Freedom,Gay PC Silliness

Every now and again, I’ll meet a man (or woman) who technically qualifies as an “ex-gay.”  Yet, even though these individuals once slept with members of their own sex and now have chosen life partners of the opposite sex, they don’t identify as such.  Some, usually the men, only reluctantly acknowledge their homosexual past.  The women occasionally do — oftentimes to their husbands’ amusement.

Those who dwell on their past seem as if they’re trying to convince themselves they’re no longer attracted to men.  The more they protest (to borrow an expression), the more we doubt their sincerity.  While most people who change rarely mention their past attitudes, ex-gays seems obsessed with theirs, as if their entire identity is tied up in not being gay.

Indeed, as reader ThatGayConservative informed me in an e-mail, one ex-gay group has even come up with an app for their obsession:

Exodus International, the notorious “ex-gay” organization, has just released an iPhone app that, according to its website, is “designed to be a useful resource for men, women, parents, students, and ministry leaders.” The Exodus website further boasts that its app received a 4+ rating from Apple, meaning that it contains “no objectionable content.”

Those who have successfully pushed to have Apple pull the app have called “Exodus’ message is hateful and bigoted” (emphasis in original), might want to examine their own prejudices.  Just because someone is obsessive does not mean he is hateful or bigoted.  (Why must every attitude which does not correspond with the ideology of the gay left be defined as some form of hate?)

Now, Apple is a private company and should be free to pull — or provide — the app.  But, one wonders at the intolerance of the anti-ex-gays, why are they so committed to suppressing this obsessive group.  If they were truly confident of their own ideas, wouldn’t they welcome opportunities to contest ex-gays’ contentions in public fora and in open debate? (more…)

GayPatriot Los Angeles dinner, Today, Thursday, March 24

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 11:35 am - March 24, 2011.
Filed under: Blogging,LA Stories

At the request of some of our readers and to accommodate a former Angelena returning to LA later this month, we’ll be holding another dinner in LA in just eight days on Thursday, March 24.  Please drop me a line if you’d like to attend.

The last dinner not only included gay conservatives, but also some readers who don’t always see eye-to-eye with your humble bloggers.  We welcome all who enjoy the blog.  (bumped)

Elizabeth Taylor’s Life in the Limelight

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:52 am - March 24, 2011.
Filed under: Divas,HIV/AIDS,Movies/Film & TV,Strong Women

As fate would have it, one of the movies I received from Netflix on the day of Elizabeth Taylor‘s passing was the original Father of the Bride with her in one of the title roles.  And in honor of her passing, I watched it.

And this movie really does hold up. Not just because of the solid direction and smart script, portraying a situation which helps define a man’s relationship to his daughter (and hers to him), but also because of the players. Joan Bennett as the mother is one of those underappreciated character actors who more than pulls her weight. But, it’s Spencer Tracy and Dame Elizabeth who really steal the show, he as the archetypal father and she as the archetypal daughter who has Daddy wrapped around each of her little fingers.

When she calls at the end to tell him she loves him, she knows that expression will make him melt. And just watching her we know it too.

It’s odd to see a film, particularly today where she has third billing. Given the way she looked in this film and the way she played an all-American girl getting married, it’s no wonder this role will help catapult her to superstardom. She looked as Tracy’s Stanley Banks says upon seeing her in her wedding dress, “like a princess in a fairy tale.” Indeed.

There is, to be sure, a bit of irony in the seminal nature of this particular role to her career. She would have many weddings in her life.

In watching the extras, I realized yet again how closely her personal life was tied to her public image — and wondered if that could explain the brevity of her marriages; no man could live up to her fairy tale expectations.  She married Conrad Hilton Jr when she was just 18, the ceremony taking place one month before the release of the film featuring her as a bride.

The extras after the film include newsreel footage of that first wedding, with a passel of paparazzi and ropes holding back the crowds.  From her adolescence and her earliest adulthood, Elizabeth Taylor was always in the limelight.

In the twilight of her life, she used that limelight to good end, as our reader Jim Michaud noted: “Her work on behalf of AIDS was incredible as well as valued at the time (ignorance and discrimination of victims was still rampant during the mid-80s).”  You could honor this great lady by sponsoring one of our readers who’ll be riding in the AIDS ride this June. (more…)