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I get a real kick of out stories like today’s piece on Idaho Sen. Larry Craig . When it comes to the question of civil rights for homosexuals, I believe they deserve the rights of normal human beings –because they are.

With that said, I get a real kick out of guys who make their careers out of railing against the “homosexual agenda” and end up being queerer than steers themselves. In fact, they’re often the epitome of the very negative stereotypes they rail against: they’re into kids (er… pages), anonymous sex in my local international airport (see above), having drug fueled parties with gay prostitutes, or soliciting kids off the internet.

That’s not to say being gay and Republican are automatically incompatible in the same way it isn’t incompatible to be black and Republican –it just involves strong criticism on certain portions of your party (like a lot of normal people in any political party –at least, if you have a conscience). One of my best professors in law school was a prominent “homocon” as they are sometimes called, and that basically made him a Libertarian Republican –he was a major supporter of Lawrence v. Texas, writing an amicus brief– but that didn’t prevent him from remaining a conservative on other issues.

So as for this Senator? Just another conflicted, closeted fag. Feel free to point and laugh, I am.

Okay Mr. Gravel, like the vast majority of Americans, I have not watched any of the super-early Presidential debates, and I probably won’t for some time. Thanks to your commercials, I have decided to give you a bit of my attention. So why, oh why, did you choose these now infamous bits?

I’m still trying to wrap my head around them –and I don’t mean any supposedly deep meaning to them. I’m trying to figure out why they thought these almost caveman-themed ads were a good idea. Yes, they’re different from other political commercials –but so’s superimposing your campaign URL over footage of nitro-burning funny cars.

No, whoever came up with these sort of freaky gems decided that they wanted to send some kind of message. Okay then… here are a few of the readings I made from these commercials:

  • Mike Gravel is an angry mute
  • If you’re stuck in the wilderness, you better hope Gravel isn’t out to get you
  • Mike Gravel might just kill us all
  • Mike Gravel will help us, for a price
  • Mike Gravel: The world turns to ashes campaign
  • Mike Gravel pick up rock, Mike Gravel throw rock, rock go splash!

If there were deep meaning to these ads, they’re so deep down and lost in the bizarro-world mindset that dreamed them up that I don’t dare go after them, lest I get pulled in. But what sort of person has a mind this dark and twisted? I was curious to see what this Gravel was all about so Googled and found out the man was a goddam US Senator …from Alaska. Holy shit, and here I thought Ted “Series of Tubes” Stevens (R-Alaska) was an outstanding case of Land of the Midnight Sun crazy. What the fuck are they feeding these people up there? Bears? These godless killing machines must have have poisoned the state. Yes, Mr. President, I know we get a lot of oil from this area, but –damn it, sir– it’s time to accept the state as a basket case and cut our losses before it spreads to our borders through Canada. Fire, Mr. President. It’s time to take some of those extra nukes and show the Eskimo (pardon, Inuit) what Northern Lights really look like.

First off, let me say that I sincerely believe that people like VP Dick Cheney (and Pres. Bush) are not as bound to their more socially conservative positions in their day to day lives. Since they’re fairly intelligent people (note: I did not say strategic planners or orators), reason and maturity help prevent them from going as apeshit with a real life issue as they would during a press conference. Of course, we currently live in the political version of X-treme sports so these days no Republican (with national aspirations) can really say anything short of the Falwell-Party line without risking a serious backlash (McCain in 2000, anyone?).

Back to Cheney: With his lesbian daughter, Mary Cheney, 37, he’s usually avoided any discussions about GLBT rights. Well now the VP has something else to stir around in his head: Mary Cheney and her longtime partner, Heather Poe, just gave birth to Dick’s 6th grandchild, Samuel David Cheney, this morning. From published photos, he and his wife seem (expectedly) happy for their new grandson, thus we see the glimmer of a warm human figure behind the normal political bullshittery. While I’m tempted to go with the whole “see? Cheney loves his daughter for who she is and has some admirable traits”, at the same time I think there’s a strong argument that, if he really loves his daughter and is okay with it, he should be screaming at the barricades for GLBT rights. For now his position is going to go down in history has one of the ironic spots in the Bush Administration’s heavy social conservatism.

“Former [Montana State University] wide receiver Rick Gatewood was arrested this week on drug charges and is accused of using his athletic scholarship money to traffic cocaine from California in the Bozeman area.”(AP)

I am a ridiculously big college football fan (and I’ll try to curb that here) –however if there’s one opinion that’s been bothering me, it’s the vocal minority of people who think that, in addition to athletic scholarships and stipends, college athletes should be paid. Paid as though they were professionals and not amatuer athletes. I’ll stop short of saying the people advocating this are absurd –after all, the top echelon of the D-I/DI-A (top level) college divisions of football and basketball do show aspects close to professional sports, however they should still not be confused with professionals. In football, they are still developing as athletes; unlike basketball, there have seldom any top-college prospects who have the physical development to reach the NFL. In college they hone their skills.

The people who would pay them because the games are starting to look like professional sports forget its the schools that do the job of promoting their teams –first to alumni (since we tend to donate more when they do), and then to anyone else who will pay the school. The biggest factor they forget is that all major college programs are non-profit organizations that will take those funds and pour it right back into the students. The students benefit, the school benefits, and the system works. To pay the students individually would be selfish, waste money that could be used on the school’s athletic programs (most football and basketball programs pay for the rest of sport programs) and kill any semblence of the STUDENT-athlete. I feel that some of the people advocating salaries seem to have a ultra-pessemistic view over why some of these kids go to school, a surprising amount will never get to play pro-ball, and those are the ones that will benefit from a college education.

Contrary to popular belief, college athletes seem to be doing all right with their scholarships. Some of them can’t resist the temptation of extra benefits (by boosters or other nefarious routes), and you start to see that anytime one of these kids get caught, people from their school start to become advocates of paying the students to avoid these temptations –well I say those kids should man-up, learn to live on a “measily” amount of money and accept that it’s college life.

Today I read what I think should be the poster-child story for why college athletes seem to be doing just fine. Dateline: Bozeman, Montana. The head coach of Montana State (not even in the top divison) is fired because his student-athletes keep getting into trouble –the drugs and murder kind sort of trouble. In reading the AP article today, I read about the kid who finally forced the university to act (the quote that opened this post). If that’s not proof that the kids are able to make due with their scholarships (and become entrepreneurial), I don’t know what is.

So Tony Blair is in the US on his farewell tour…  they don’t want to call it that, but that hasn’t stopped everyone from stating the obvious.  I think its sad that Blair burned his approval ratings to the ground in Iraq –he arguably accomplished a lot while in office.  Will time work in his favor?

Look at it this way: while most concede Blair had many accomplishments outside of his Iraqi excursion, what will people say about Dubya’s eight years in office?  Once you strip away Iraq… most people seem to remember the first year everyone seemed happy he wasn’t completely stupid, then 9/11 happened and he, for those fleeting moments, had the world on his side… then everything slowly came apart.  There’s no catch-phrase like “devolution” to attribute to Bush’s non-Iraq, non-9/11 related work –if anything the phrase would be “scandal” involving his administration …or maybe “shady” when thinking about all the erosions of civil rights and, before 9/11 the uncomfortably close ties between department heads and the industries they were supposed to be regulating.  Even the initial success in Afghanistan is slowly coming apart.  I think Tony’s future isn’t as dark as it seems now.  As for George, this is a quote from today: “Last year I read three histories of George Washington. If you’re still analysing 1 then 43 doesn’t have anything to worry about.”  Somehow that’s not a great excuse…

So other than the two chums slumming it up in the White House, I’m sure there’s a little bit of politics going on, but nothing more than Bush asking “So, is Gordie going to be cool?”  Seriously now: how long do you think it will be until Dubya dubs the new UK Prime Minister with his own nickname –“Tony” already came prepackaged, Gordon Brown just sounds to stuffy for the President to let slide by.  “Brownie” unfortunately came to an early end after Katrina.  “Gordie” just begs to be used; even The Simpsons used the name for a joke on Canadians (back when they were funny, the Scorpio episode) –now that I think about it, I could picture the President mixing his cultures and addressing the new PM thusly: “Hey Gordie, how’s it going aboot, eh?”

I frankly hope the new UK PM comes over to the US regularly –if only to bring their delightfully interesting press corp –you might know them as the ones who actually ask tough questions.  Today the questions took our domestic-press-spoiled Commander-in-Chief for such a loop that Tony couldn’t help but note: “You had forgotten what the British media were like hadn’t you?”  George didn’t reply, but I have a feeling someone is going to get a noogie when they get back into the clubhou–err, I mean White House.

Hello blogosphere. My name is Bobak. Eric has politely invited me to join him in his growing blog. You might have noticed he initially addressed me as “TheBobak”. That’s because, as surprising as this may seem, there’s always someone named Bobak registering online before I do. Thankfully, I could go and change my “public” profile to Bobak. Nothing beat visiting the internet for the first time in 1996 only to find out http://www.bobak.com was a sausage factory in Chicago –from that… uh, surprise I learned that Bobak is a Polish last name. I am neither a sausage, or a Polish last name. What I hope to do is contribute something interesting to this fine blog that Eric has created –starting after this posting.

The End?