Tuesday, March 24, 2009

AIG: Assholes In Government

The question that needs to be asked is not why did they use bailout funds to pay bonuses, but rather: Why in hell did they even get bailout funds?  Is AIG that crucial to the stability of our economy?

I call bullshit on the bailouts.  Before, I was open to them, now I call BULLSHIT.  Do a little research and you'll find that AIG received bailout funds because one of the architects of these bailouts actually stood to benefit financially if AIG survived instead of going under.

"Freed from all capital restraints, sitting pretty with its man running the Treasury, Goldman jumped into the housing craze just like everyone else on Wall Street. Although it famously scored an $11 billion coup in 2007 when one of its trading units smartly shorted the housing market, the move didn't tell the whole story. In truth, Goldman still had a huge exposure come that fateful summer of 2008 — to none other than Joe Cassano.  [The one who caused AIG to crash and burn.]

Goldman Sachs, it turns out, was Cassano's biggest customer, with $20 billion of exposure in Cassano's CDS book. Which might explain why Goldman chief Lloyd Blankfein was in the room with ex-Goldmanite Hank Paulson that weekend of September 13th, when the federal government was supposedly bailing out AIG.

When asked why Blankfein was there, one of the government officials who was in the meeting shrugs. "One might say that it's because Goldman had so much exposure to AIGFP's portfolio," he says. "You'll never prove that, but one might suppose."

Market analyst Eric Salzman is more blunt. "If AIG went down," he says, "there was a good chance Goldman would not be able to collect." The AIG bailout, in effect, was Goldman bailing out Goldman. " ~ Rolling Stone (http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/26793903/the_big_takeover/print)

Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit.  

I've been labeled a cynic and this just proves my point: America has been bought and paid for by powerful billionaires who play with the country's money as if it were a game of monopoly. You'll notice that Joe Cessano of AIG is in his mansion, keeping all the pretend money he made. The profits for AIG weren't real, hence the assets weren't real, yet Joe's bank account is real. Does that make sense to anybody?  

To a certain degree, I understand why letting big, powerful banks fail would hurt us in the short term.  But I don't understand why allowing the same companies who bought and sold bad debt to investors and a made billions from it are allowed to 1) keep the money they made and 2) receive more money and less incentive to be responsible with it.  

The bad thing is, we can't throw them in jail because, believe it or not, what they did wasn't illegal.  20 years ago, it was.  But not today.  The Democrats, in a half-wit move in the early 90's, were so desperate to get back into Congress that they decided to be more "big business friendly."  So they lifted many of the regulations from the banking industry and the selfish, gluttony banking CEO's used this opportunity to 1) get rid of any competition 2) buy up the needed legislators in Washington and 3) run a ponzi scheme that could have very well destroyed our economy for good.

Thanks a lot, Congress.  I appreciate it.  Go fuck yourselves.

And now, we're being told that to save our economy, we have to give billions of dollars to the very companies that did us in.  And even that I could understand if there was massive reform going on as well.  There isn't.  These companies are receiving the money with little to no restraints, the deregulation hasn't been reversed on Wall Street, and they're doing what I feared they would do: they spent it on themselves.  

Great.  Just great.

Now Washington is trying to rack up private investors, whom they won't identify (dear god, we're not taking money from terrorists, are we?), and the Feds, the most unconstitutional government body I've ever seen, are pumping trillions of unaccounted for dollars into the economy.  Where is it going?  They won't say.  Where is it coming from?  They won't say.  And get this: The Feds aren't accountable.......TO ANYONE.

Congress and the President have no authority over what the Feds do.  This is scary shit. Because if the current economic crisis has taught me one thing, it's this:  Self-interest rules and fuck everybody else.

And you and I are everybody else. 

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Hey Medical Community! Are you listening?!

This next blog is a series of email responses I made in a conversation with a friend of mine. We were discussing my afternoon in which I participated in Vanderbilt Hospital's effort to inform people about the trial HIV vaccine. For more (accurate) information, please visit their website.

Here is my side of the conversation:

The event went well. I did meet some cool people. It wasn't as well attended so it was a short time at the booths. But I did learn about the HIV vaccine. It's still in the trial stages and Vanderbilt Hospital has been running it for 20 years. They had a big bust (i.e. a trial that failed) in 2007 so they're starting over this year. They basically inject 3 parts of DNA from the HIV virus into a person's bloodstream to see how the person's immune system reacts. The theory is that if the human body recognizes the 3 proteins of DNA when the actual virus hits the blood, the body will already have a trained defense. There are 3 stages of this trial and they're only in stage 2 right now.

Of course, being around all this disease talk is making me paranoid. I am a hypo, after all. But TN is experiencing another syphilis outbreak. (We're #1 in the nation! We're so proud...) Listening to all this stuff, it makes me want to be celibate. I mean, jesus, my idea of foreplay now would be an exchanging of paper test results from either planned parenthood or a physician.

And now they're saying that Oral Herpes (HV 1) and Genital Herpes (HV 2) are interchangeable. So since over 80% of the U.S. population is already infected with Oral Herpes, that means that currently, or in the future, over 80% of the population will be infected with Genital Herpes. Sighs.....I'm inheriting a bankrupt country, a broken healthcare system, AND multiple STD epidemics. Sometimes, it just doesn't pay to get out of bed, ya know?  

The good news is that syphilis they can treat. As long as you're not allergic to antibiotics (and haven't abused them with over-prescriptions), you're good to go. The problem with syphilis, as well as all the other STD's, is that you can be asymptomatic for a long period of time. During that period of time, you can infect everyone you have unprotected sex with.

And I've come up with a solution. I don't know why this hasn't been a solution. We teach sex education and that works part of the time. But most people who are having sex aren't necessarily thinking of their sex ed class. So mistakes get made. Mistakes will always get made.

So looking at the rising number of infections, I'm still wondering why STD and HIV testing is still voluntary. What the fuck is wrong with our medical community in that they would allow this to be voluntary. The only time an HIV test is administered involuntarily is when a woman is pregnant. Other than that, if you don't specifically ask for testing, you won't get tested.

I think that starting at ages 11-13, when the doctor takes blood and urine, as it per usual, they run HIV, syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and, if they can, herpes. Every single time they come in for a physical. We know kids are having sex that young and if 35 year olds can forget to put a condom on, you can bet your ass that a 13 year old will forget as well. There's nothing to report unless there's a positive.

I honestly believe if we make STD tests mandatory and yearly, we could catch the positives earlier, inform the infected, which would hopefully stop the spread of the disease from that person. Most transmissions are done b/c people simply do not know they're infected. This would decrease the ignorance. and hopefully, the spread. Make the ad campaign similar to cancer. Catch cancer early, live another day. Catch an STD early and your spouse gets to live another day.

But I don't hear anybody in the medical field talking about this. There's still too much stigma in this puritan nation about sexual health. We're literally dying and our medical community is failing us. Just pisses me the fuck off.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Sissy

Sorry for the long absence. I went on a spring break (the joys of being a student once again) and let me tell ya, spring break loses its luster when you're 25. I did not get drunk, run around naked, or do unmentionables with a hula hoop. Nor did I wake up with someone new every morning. And I had no desire to do any of those things. In fact, I spent almost my entire break with my parents and it was wonderful.

That said, onto the first post of this week:

Why does everyone hate sissies?

It's not just the straight world anymore. I have met more than one gay guy who claims to be "straight-acting" and isn't interested in "femmes." Go onto http://www.gay.com or http://www.connexion.org and count how many profiles state that they want a "real man" or someone who's "proud to be a man" and is only interested in those who "don't act gay." Go head, I'll wait.....


.........back? Okay. A lot has been written on the blogosphere about the gay rights movement and how gays should be portrayed on television. Many gays get mad about such shows as "Will & Grace" and "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" because they showcased easy gay stereotypes. I'll grant you that point. However, those stereotypes are there for a reason.

Because they exist.

Some of us gay guys are whirling, twirling dervishes of fabulousness and proud of it, dammit. And it's those guys who take the most shit...from other gay guys. (I can't speak from experience but I'd imagine butch lesbians probably get more grief than, say, the bombshell femme. Of course, I could be wrong. Lesbians? Bi-sexuals? Any thoughts?)

Here we are fighting for social equality and we're already putting down ourselves? Seriously?

It's not too hard to figure out. We want to be accepted by straight culture and so there's more and more pressure to "act straight." We want our straight friends to say, "I have a gay friend but, you know, he's not *that* gay or anything." Admit it, guys, you want to be the "can't tell if he's gay" fag, don't ya?

Problem is, most of us aren't straight acting. Truth be told, most gay guys are in the middle when it comes to mannerisms and those are the guys that can't stand the flamers the most. They project their own insecurity onto some unsuspecting sissy who wants nothing more than to dance the night away with wrists a-flayed and hips a-cocked (no pun intended). And I say, "Good for the flamer!" It takes guts in this society to be flamingly gay. People will cast their eye upon them and know without a shadow of a doubt that he is GAY with a capital G.

And all the "in the middle" guys wouldn't be caught dead walking next to a flamer because they too could be labeled as gay by passer-by's. That's really what the anti-flamer crowd is afraid of. They're "out" but they want to pass through straight culture almost undetected. They long to be a Stealthy Gay, and anyone who could blow their cover (again, no pun intended) is not well liked.

We're all guilty of thinking this way. We're taught early that men under no circumstances should ever have feminine traits. Boys don't cry, etc. etc. And many of us gay guys are still holding out for essentially our father's approval, for our families not to be embarrassed of us. We, again, want the people of our lives to say, "Well he's gay but not *that* gay." This is a stupid reason for any kind of self hatred, especially self-hatred that is projected onto somebody else.

I don't mind effeminate guys. (In fact, I can be pretty effeminate myself.) And just admitting that the reason I had steered clear of flamers is because they bring to the forefront my own homophobia and fear has allowed me to be more comfortable with strangers, friends, and myself. Truth be told, like a good morning orgasm, we all need a little sparkles in our lives and there are plenty of out and proud flames that will bring a smile to your face.

And they should get your respect too. They're tougher than you or I because they take all the shit from the entire world.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Eve of Justice

I had the privilege to be a part of the team that organized the Eve of Justice March on March 4th (Get it? March Forth on March Fourth? Clever? No? Fine...) in Los Angeles. This candlelight march was to bring visibility to the following days event: the Supreme Court Oral Hearings.

...Not sure what I'm talking about, eh? Well, in a nutshell, it was an oral debate from both sides to the CA Supreme Court over three items: 1.) If the 18,000 gay marriages that were performed legally before Prop 8 passed will be annulled or not, 2.) If Prop 8 will be upheld or overturned, and 3.) if Prop 8 will be an amendment or a revision to the Constitution. Basically: "HOLY FUCK" IMPORTANT. Ya dig?

Now, I'm still very new to activism. I only, and I mean ONLY, started to get involved in the gay rights movement about a month ago, so what I brought to the table was minimal, but it still felt better than doing a whole lot of NOTHING.

I got involved on an individual level when Prop 8 came about, like most gays did, but then my involvement tapered off in November when 8 passed and I didn't know where to go or what to do. Luckily I made some friends who are heavily involved with several grassroots organizations here in L.A., and they took me under their wings. I am starting to feel more educated, more aware, and more connected to my community as a whole. These are all great things. What I love the most, however, is that I'm not just sitting around on my ass expecting other people to fight for me. I've joined in on my own fight... and MAMA SAID KNOCK YOU OUT.

Right, enough back story, back to the march...

Our march (there were 34 known marches in total going on in the state of California that evening) ended up quite well, all things considered. It was a Wednesday, it was raining, it was in downtown, and it started at 5:30pm. Now, if you know anything about LA, you know this is pretty much attendance suicide as is, sans the rain, but WITH the rain... oh boy, good luck! People in LA don't even want to go outside if it's cloudy, let alone risk getting wet (and not in the good way) as it would ruin our fancy clothes, water spot our pimp rides, and frump our $250 haircuts. BUT 1200 people were estimated to have been there! Wooo!

The one downfall? It was a candlelight march, as I mentioned earlier, and we had to go back and clean up all the wax to avoid being charged by the city. This was probably the only time I was thankful for the rain, as it made the wax not stick to the cement so badly.

I met a lot of tremendous people (see video below of Todd, who was on LA Ink just after the courts made gay marriage legal in California), saw some great re-commitment ceremonies, and generally felt very touched by the showing of people who believe that marriage is about love, not gender.

Some faith in humanity restored? Check.

Now we just have to wait 90 days (maximum wait) to see what the court decides. I'm a bundle of nerves here...

His tattoo is SICK and he and his husband and daughter are aaaaa-dorable.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Monday, Monday

Mondays don't have to suck...too badly. Watch this gem from Sesame Street. (Warning: might not be safe for work.)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Happy Friday!!!!!

Mornings suck, but Friday mornings are less sucky because with the rise of the sun comes the promise of an entertaining evening that's just a few hours away.  

Now because I love all of you, remember that if you do party hardy, please party responsibly. Just like our golden gals:

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Straight Sex Equals Unwanted Pregnancies; Therefore, It's Wrong And Nobody Should Choose To Be Straight

You know, I'm fine with straight people...as long as they're not open about it. No offense, but who wants to see a straight couple holding hands in the park? My kids could see that and ask me questions about it. What kind of world are we leaving in when I have to explain to my own kids that there are people who sleep with the opposite sex....sighs. It's just wrong.

Monday, March 2, 2009


I'm in the middle of midterms, so I apologize for not posting as often as I should.  So I implore the Promo Homo and Miss Katie to write some deep insightful words....or at least post some humorous links.  

And here's to midterms!  Woot!  (I'm really not that enthusiastic, I just want them to be DONE.)