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    Ann Rostow: Here We Go

    By Ann Rostow–

    Here We Go

    Well, my friends. It’s 2020 at last, and we are perhaps just one year short of evicting the incoherent moron who now inhabits the White House along with the sad coterie of sycophantic hangers on who bow and scrape along in his wake. By the way, what the hell was going on with the dramatic staging of Trump’s Iran speech? First, a bunch of somber white guys assembled on each side of the podium, grave expressions on their faces and hands carefully clasped over their crotches as if to guard against some lurking danger to their manhood. Then, the main door opened and Trump stepped out bathed in light like a crusading angel or god. Really? 

    Mel and I actually watched that speech because we were mildly interested to know whether or not World War III was coming our way. Usually, there’s a frantic race for the remote control whenever Trump appears, both of us desperately screaming “mute mute mute” until one of us successfully locates the gizmo and then hits the button. We do the same thing for Matthew McConaughey’s ice fishing commercial as well as a few other select offenders. But there’s something about Trump’s plaintiff whine that particularly grates on our nerves, much as the content of his diatribes grates on our souls. It’s not supportable.

    Now we will soon discover his replacement. Super Tuesday is March 3, and not since Gary Hart in 1984 has anyone won that day without going on to win the nomination. It seems clear that, barring an upset by Mike Bloomberg, we will be rallying behind Biden, Sanders, or Warren. But speaking of Bloomberg, I am personally putting my vague objections to money in politics on the shelf for the duration. If Bloomberg wants to spend tons of his own money getting Trump out of office, I applaud the effort. 

    As for the complaint that the Democratic field is no longer diverse, I was interested to read Jonathan Capehart’s op-ed, pointing out that it’s simplistic to think the African American electorate would limit its support to African American candidates. Indeed, Biden wins the support of African American Democrats because, like many other Democratic factions, their top priority is unseating Trump. How many LGBT Democrats think Mayor Pete is great, but prefer a more electable candidate? I’m one of them, and I don’t think I’m abandoning the gay community in some way.

    Lesbian Behaving Badly

    Moving along, did you hear about the professor at Mount Holyoke who turned up uninvited at the home of another female colleague and announced she had long been in love with her? I guess the romantic overture did not go as planned because she then attacked her potential soulmate with a fire poker, a rock, and some garden shears, leaving her hospitalized with severe injuries but expected to survive. 

    Art professor Rie Hachiyanagi, 48, told police she had no recollection of any of these events, since she suffers from a medical condition that affects her memory. Oh, that’s handy! She has now been placed on administrative leave pending a review, and has been charged with attempted murder and various counts of assault. Hey, I’m all for due process in the administration of university affairs, but sometimes you should be able to forget the red tape and just fire someone. No leave periods or review boards required. She beat up a colleague with a fire poker, a rock, and garden shears. Case closed!

    Speaking of lesbian drama, I guess The L Word is back on the air. I’m reminded of it because Mel was watching it from the other room and I had to go check on her because I thought she had a loud porn movie blasting through the house. No, just a steamy sapphic scene from the famed series that once formed the basis for lesbian TV watching parties around the country. I never followed it, so I found the parties somewhat dull. Now again I find myself on the outside looking in because I don’t remember any of the characters, nor do I care what happens in their lives. (It sounds exciting, however.) 

    Lambda Wins Appeal for HIV-Pos Fly Boys

    On Friday, January 10, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit agreed with a lower court that Trump does not have the right to discharge two HIV-positive airmen. The men, who are not named in court records, were fired because the Air Force has a policy not to deploy HIV-positive service members in a range of locations, including the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia. The men sued in 2018, and a lower court judge in Maryland issued an injunction against the Trump administration, agreeing that the men were likely to win their case. 

    Represented by Lambda Legal, the men argue that there is no rational justification for isolating HIV-positive service members, even as Department of Justice lawyers claim that people with HIV are more dangerous in areas where blood might be shed. The three-judge panel called that philosophy “outmoded and at odds with current science.”

    What’s the Hold Up?

    Mel has returned and informs me that The L Word is “just as ridiculous as it always was,” although she plans to keep watching for whatever reason. As for other federal appellate court news, there hasn’t been much to write home about in these last weeks. But I was surprised to read that we are still waiting for a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in a case involving two married women who want both names on their child’s birth certificate.

    Call me complacent, but I had thought this entire legal question had been settled for good by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2017 case of Pavan v Smith. Bear with me, because this all leads to an interesting mystery!

    Not too long after the Court ruled on marriage equality, two married Arkansas women were told they could not list both their names on their child’s birth certificate because said certificate was meant to reflect biological relationships. This rationale was put forward, even though the state had no problem listing a woman’s husband as a child’s father, and even when said child was conceived through a sperm donation from some other guy. The women sued, and in June, 2017, the High Court issued an unsigned majority opinion without hearing further arguments, reemphasizing that marriage equality includes the full rights of marriage as offered to heterosexual couples, including state paperwork. 

    A month before the Pavan ruling, the Seventh Circuit heard arguments in a similar birth certificate case out of Indiana, where two mothers rely on the non-biological partner for their child’s health insurance. Oh, and the child has medical problems, so the insurance is critical. These women are married. But if the partner’s name is removed from the child’s birth certificate, she would have to undertake a stepparent adoption in order to repair her legal status.

    Normally, the Seventh Circuit would have dismissed its own case, or ruled for the same-sex couple as per the Supreme Court’s precedent. But instead, the court did nothing. It has not ruled on the case, nor has it disposed of it, since the arguments in May 2017. According to an article in Slate, lawyers and court observers are baffled by the delay, with one law professor calling it “nothing short of bizarre.”

    For what it’s worth, the panel was an unusually conservative group, so perhaps they prefer to leave Indiana in an ambiguous netherworld rather than kowtow to those liberals on the Supreme Court. Still, for an appellate court to stall a ruling for more than two and a half years is extraordinary and weird.

    It’s an Outrage!

    It’s time again for a blitz of alarmist headlines as various state legislatures get back into business for new sessions. Once again, I refuse to cover absurd antigay proposals from showboating conservatives looking for national headlines. Few of these nonsense bills ever make it out of committee, let alone pass both houses. Ergo, after years of obediently covering the twists and turns of these horrid, but doomed, measures, I decided to stop. 

    That said, because it’s the start of the year, I will report back on the first headline of this ilk that I have encountered so far. State Senator Sylvia Allen of Arizona has proposed a bill to remove the word “homosexual” from public school curricula, ban sex ed for anyone under 12, and deem any discussion of sex between minors as harmful.

    According to the ABC News article I consulted, this same lawmaker “proposed a bill” to make all Arizona citizens attend church back in 2015. Since this factoid did not pass the smell test, I checked it and discovered that, in fact, Senator Allen merely suggested during a committee discussion that such a proposal would be a fine idea. See? This is why I steer clear of these breathless stories. I have to add that Sylvia Allen comes from a town called Snowflake. Paging Hallmark Christmas Movie producers! 

    And, speaking of movies, Brazil’s highest court was called in to resolve the turmoil over a satiric Netflix film, The First Temptation of Christ, which depicts Jesus as gay. As far as I understand it, the plot involves Jesus bringing his boyfriend Orlando to the 30th birthday party that Mary and Joseph are throwing on his behalf. At any rate, devout Brazilians were not amused, and a lower court ordered the film squelched. After an appeal, the high court reversed and said the show could go on. As Supreme Court President Jose Antonio Dias Toffoli wrote in his opinion:

    “It is not to be assumed that a humorous satire has the magic power to undermine the values of the Christian faith, whose existence goes back more than two thousand years.” 

    And before we drop the subject of outrage, our friends over at One Million Moms are going nuts over a Burger King commercial for the Impossible Whopper that includes a customer taking a bite and remarking: “Damn that’s good!” These wretched harridans accuse the company of using “profanity” and exposing young children to the “d-word.”

    “Burger King’s Impossible Whopper ad is irresponsible and tasteless,” the organization wrote in a public screed. “It is extremely destructive and damaging to impressionable children viewing the commercial. We all know children repeat what they hear.”

    Let’s Be Great Again

    Finally, here’s a recent discovery I made while researching tidbits for our continued enjoyment and edification. It’s a three-day women’s conference coming up this May in Orlando called “22 Convention; Make Women Great Again” that features a slate of male speakers helping women avoid “toxic bullying feminist dogma” and regain their ancient, biological natures. 

    “For the past several hundred thousand years of human life on this planet, masculine men have preferred feminine women in all areas of life; from the kitchen to the bedroom, dating to relationships, marriage, family, and beyond,” the website explains, conveniently ignoring the fact that we humans have not been around for “several hundred thousand years.” 

    “High quality masculine men want high quality feminine women to mother their children and set great examples for their daughters. Our speakers will teach you what men and women of prior generations FAILED to teach you as a direct result of feminist meddling and sabotage.”

    Various sessions focus on losing weight, becoming more feminine, finding a man, having babies, and getting fit. And, of course, you can get your own baseball cap with “Make Women Great Again” on the rim. It seems there has been a raft of “21 Convention” events for men all over the world, although I see no evidence of prior events for the ladies. Believe me, it’s worth checking out. One of the convention speakers, “Texas Dom,” saved his marriage by transitioning into a dominant/submissive relationship and now is enjoying the best sex of his life. 

    I’ve been reading that lesbians divorce at higher rates than gay men or straight couples, so perhaps our cohort could use some tips from Texas Dom. Act fast. The $2,000 conference premium full event ticket is half price for early birds!

    arostow@aol.com

    Published on January 16, 2020