Topic >> general

Charting old territory

announcements, general 1 Comment »

I imagine many of you were surprised to find an email update from Inside, Looking Out yesterday. I was too. Yeah, it’s been nearly a year since my last post, eleven months to be exact. Apathy, work, and a failure to gain traction in a competitive blogosphere contributed to the long drought. And I didn’t think my heart was in it any more.

After a few years of actively blogging I realized I didn’t have the mettle to go up against the likes of Joe.My.God and Towleroad and others, who were already doing a fabulous job, and I might add are tremendous assets to the LGBT community. Simply parroting them was no way to distinguish ILO, and the three hour head start of many of the east coast blogs didn’t help either.

I used to joke that I was a small fish swimming in a small pond full of big fish. Occasionally I’d get a nibble. Once or twice enough traffic to take the site down (thanks Carrie Prejean). Sometimes I’d get lucky and more popular blogs would cross-post or even feature one of my original posts.

This little fish was never eaten. It simply grew tired of swimming.

Which brings us to yesterday. And the new post.

Lately I’d been feeling the itch to start blogging again. I looked back at the early years of ILO when posting was definitely more sporadic, but more personal. Less chore.. more fun. I need to go back to that. At least for a while.

So I started off, not surprisingly, with a review. I used to do quite a few of those. There will be more of that and more personal/essay type posts as well. There will be less breaking news, unless it’s really juicy, or really relevant. I’ve also got a couple of niche-oriented blogs in the hopper, and I’ll be posting more about those too.

I know some of you will abandon ILO. Two already have. And that’s fine. For those who stick around, I hope to make it worth your while. Until next time.

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Bronx teen hates cats, roasted ex-roommate’s kitten

animals, general, news 6 Comments »

Tiger LilyNever  in a million years did I think I would be on this topic again, but in another case of horrendous animal cruelty, a Bronx teen was arrested yesterday for throwing her ex-roommate’s kitten into the oven until it burned to death. From the NY Daily News:

“I hate cats,” Cheyenne Cherry, 17, allegedly told investigators when asked about the heartless crime.

She and an unidentified juvenile allegedly broke into Valerie Hernandez’s Tinton Ave. apartment on May 6 and trashed the place.

Then in a shocking act of animal abuse, they tossed the woman’s kitten, Tiger Lily, into the stove and cranked up the temperature, ASPCA assistant director Joe Pentangelo said.

The duo bolted from the apartment with DVDs and packages of noodles, Pentangelo said … “She didn’t want to hear the cat crying and scratching at the oven door.”

Firefighters found the female cat’s remains smoldering in the oven after neighbors complained of smoke coming from Hernandez’s apartment.

After being charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, burglary, arson, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief, Cherry was released into her mother’s custody.

Released? Cherry is 17 years old. She knew what she was doing. She should be in a jail cell or at least be forced to post bail.

This incident brings back some painful memories of a local case a few years ago where girls set a kitten on fire just for kicks. Little Adam, his ears and tail nearly burned off, ultimately survived. Tiger Lily unfortunately, did not.

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California AG Jerry Brown urges courts to overturn Prop 8 on eve of hearing

activism, general, lgbt, politics, religion 2 Comments »

jerrybrownCalifornia Attorney General Jerry Brown, who has asked that the courts overturn Proposition 8, writes in the Huffington Post on the eve of the hearing.

The case touches the heart of our democracy and poses a profound question: can a bare majority of voters strip away an inalienable right through the initiative process? If so, what possible meaning does the word inalienable have?

Fundamental rights in California are recognized and protected by our constitution, which declares in Article I, Section 1 that “all people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights” and “among these are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy.”

These fundamental premises of a free people were declared when the constitution was first adopted. The initiative process came much later in 1911, when the immediate concern was to give the people power over the railroads, which were seen as having a stranglehold over the legislature. In creating this initiative process, there was no discussion or any evidence of intent to permit a simple majority of voters to take away the pre-existing rights deemed inalienable by Article I.

In 2008, the California Supreme Court was faced with the question of how the values enshrined in Article I apply to same sex marriages. It concluded that the concept of “liberty” includes the right to form the enduring relationship called marriage and that no compelling interest justified denying this right to same sex couples. Just like the right to be free from discrimination in housing, citizens have the right to be free from discrimination in state-granted marriage licenses.

With this Supreme Court decision, same sex marriage has the protection of Article 1 and, like other inalienable rights, cannot be taken away by a popular vote — whether it be 52% (as was the case in Proposition 8 ) or 65% (as it was for Proposition 14).

I believe, therefore, the Court must conclude as I have that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional and should be stricken.

Oral arguments begin at 9am PST on Thursday, March 5, and can be viewed online here.

Meanwhile Catholics for the Common Good are urging their flock to pray and fast to uphold Proposition 8.

Vigils supporting marriage equality will be taking place throughout the state tonight. Visit www.eveofjustice.com for more information.

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Lincoln, Darwin, Zoe and me…

announcements, general, religion 1 Comment »

February 12th has become a special day for me, but not necessarily for the reasons you might expect.

lincolnAbraham Lincoln, our 16th President was born 200 years ago today. He is perhaps the most remarkable of all of our leaders, presiding over a nation split by the wound of slavery. He was also a tremendous orator, his speeches succinct and written with a rhythm and cadence reminiscent of poetry.

Lincoln was also our first Republican president, helping found the party… but I don’t hold it against him. We need more Republicans in the vein of Lincoln… and Democrats too.

As a kid growing up in Chicago I knew very little about Lincoln, other than always getting the day off from school, which I thought was pretty cool. But lately my interest in Lincoln has grown, thanks in part to our new President, Barack Obama.

While the parallels between Lincoln and Obama have been well documented, the most striking for me is their gift for language, using it to inspire and show a way forward though the most difficult of times.

That is why I celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday today.

Lincoln happens to be in very good company today. Another famous historical figure was also born on February 12th 1809: Charles Darwin, the man behind the theory of evolution.

darwinI’ve taken a keen interest in Darwin of late thanks to my growing disillusionment with organized religion. Though I have long considered myself agnostic, witnessing the hypocrisy, greed, and out-right hate over the last several months has fueled my latent atheism and distrust of all things religious. Its steady and relentless assault on science, placing mankind’s fate in the hands of some invisible omnipotent being instead of repeatable and observable evidence, has put us all at risk. Delays in stemcell research. The growing movement to the teach creationism and Intelligent Design in schools. The delay in our acknowledgment of and response to global warming. These are just a few of the symptoms.

So for me Darwin is a symbol of reason in this sea of mysticism and superstition that threatens to drown all us all. His theory of evolution survives despite being under constant assault. Only 39% of Americans believe in evolution, which to me is both astonishing and scary. But they do believe in a talking snake.

That is why I celebrate Charles Darwin’s birthday today.

zoeOur Zoe celebrates her birthday today too… Number four. So who is this Zoe? Well she’s our cat. Four of our years roughly translates to 32 in cat years. Wow. I had no idea she that old until just now. Wow.

A beautiful ragdoll with a diva complex, she has added so much balance and love to our lives. I remember her first day home, lying on the floor next to her until she felt safe enough to cuddle up next to me. And then we both fell asleep. Later I woke up with crook in my neck and Zoe on my belly, purring like a little steam train.

I don’t know if we will ever have children. But for now Zoe is enough. Any latent paternal instinct, and I mean LATENT, seems to be is satisfied. She has brought me and Chad closer together, as someone to care for often does.

That is why I celebrate Zoe’s birthday today.

And oh yeah, I almost forgot… it’s my birthday too… I’m 42. Ack!

Frankly the number 42 makes me a little nervous, as that’s how old my namesake (Elvis Presley) was when he kicked the bucket and shuffled off his mortal coil. I guess as long as I don’t keel over in the john, I should be fine :)

So now I am going to celebrate my birthday by taking a few days off… there maybe be a post or two, but it’s not likely. I wish all of you a safe and relaxing President’s day weekend.

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