Daron “Smoochy” Hall

You know how it is.  You’re a loveable children’s character (or the sheriff of a major metropolitan city, in which you grew up) and you’re invited to speak some place and you don’t bother to check the group out and the next thing you know, you’re performing in front of neo-Nazis, or in Hall’s case, the Council of Conservative Citizens.  Really, it could happen to anyone.

This is my favorite part:

Hall says he didn’t know anything about the group’s views and figured it was one of many local organizations that request him as a guest speaker to hear about the immigration enforcement program.

“To be honest, I had no idea,” Hall said. “The person doing the scheduling for me had no reason to believe that this was such a group. I regret that we didn’t know. I surely don’t want that reputation.”

Lest we forget, this is the man under whose watch a pregnant woman was shackled during her delivery.  The thing is 287(g) program was most in the news last year for was his department’s shackling of a birthing woman.  Who did he think would want him to come speak to them after that?

Not the good guys, Sheriff Hall.  Not the good guys.


On a side note, I can actually understand how this would happen.  The Council of Conservative Citizens doesn’t have a name that screams “we hate race mixing.”  But once he got there, how did he not know?

How is a Lie Better than the Truth?

I am still fuming about SB0078, Stanley’s bill to ban all unmarried couples from adopting.  It’s not just the language about how adoptive parents must “foster an appreciation for the policies of the state.”  It’s not just that it pisses me off that Stanley thinks it’s an appropriate use of the State’s time and money to go nosing around in Tennesseans’ bedrooms.  And it’s not simply that I find it so small and cowardly that Stanley wants to oppress gay people, but he’s too chicken to come straight out (so to speak) and say it.  He wants to hide behind this language about children being better off in stable married homes.

Gay people in Tennessee, of course, cannot get married to the partners of their choice.  They can, of course, still marry people of the opposite sex.

I mention this because, though there are some folks who can make it work, one of the least stable kinds of married homes is one in which one partner is lying about who he really is and what he really desires.  Sure, it would be nice to believe that, if you want it bad enough, you can just “not be gay anymore,” that you can pray away the gay, as they say.  But we’ve seen repeatedly that this is not the case.  No matter how much a gay man might love a woman–and gay men can and do fall in love with women, especially when they feel their God forbids them from being with anyone other than women–he’s still gay and pretending not to be is incredibly destructive for everyone involved, man, woman, and their children.

Today Andrew Sullivan is talking about the Haggard show on HBO and he says–

But I saw in my own life and those of countless others that the suppression of these core emotions and the denial of their resolution in love always always leads to personal distortion and compulsion and loss of perspective. Forcing gay people into molds they do not fit helps no one. It robs them of dignity and self-worth and the capacity for healthy relationships. It wrecks family, twists Christianity, violates humanity.

And I cannot say it any better.  Forcing gay people to pretend to be straight, to marry members of the opposite sex, that screws gay people up.  It does deep violence to the people those screwed up folks come in contact with.  Any good that comes out of gay people pretending to be straight–such as children–can still be screwed up by the deception.  Everyone deserves to marry someone who can love him or her with his or her whole heart.  It’s only in very rare cases that a gay person can marry a straight person and they both love each other with their whole hearts.  Much more commonly, the lies eat at both people.

I bring this up because this damage, the damage that is done not only to gay people, but to their families, is exactly the kind of damage Stanley’s bill is designed to inflict.  The only way, under this bill, for a gay person to adopt a child is for him to lie about who he is, to pretend for other people’s comfort, to be something he is not.

You cannot build a healthy family on lies.  Even Stanley surely must know this, and so his own concern about what’s “best for the children” is revealed as the lie it is.  It is not best for children to be raised by people who cannot be honest about who they are.

So, this bill is not about “protecting children.”  It’s about continuing to inflict as much pain and suffering as possible on gay people.  Stanley may feel a religious duty to oppress gay people, but the State of Tennessee is not and should not be bound by that same religious duty to inflict such misery on our own people.

Welcome, New Convention Center!

I swear, I once read in the New York Times them calling Nashville the Home for Wayward Architecture and yet, when I google it, the only result is me making that claim.  Nothing from the Times itself.  Did I imagine it?  Could I have coined a phrase so awesomely fitting of our great city and somehow forgotten and, upon remembering the phrase, attributed it to the Times because I didn’t believe in my own awesomeness?

I have no answers.

I do, however, courtesy of The Nashvillest, have another piece of architecture destined for the Home.

America, behold the new convention center!  Marvel at the way it resembles some fake-grass contraption you’d put on the floor for your cat to scratch on!  Wonder if that’s real grass on top of it!  Ponder, like me, if incorporating elements from other buildings around down is cool or Frankensteinish!

I don’t know.  I just kind of look at that and go “Huh?”  Which, I guess is better than looking at it and going “Yuck.”  If they send word that we’ll be allowed to sled on the roof whenever we get snow, I will immediately revise my opinion for the better.

Edited to add: Courtesy of Tiny Pasture, here are some bigger, better images.

Hurray! Cancer! (Or Superpowers! Let’s Be Optimistic.)

So, it turns out that the fly ash the TVA couldn’t bother to properly contain is full of arsenic and radioactive materials.

Oh well.  When all the people exposed to it get cancer and get sick and maybe die, then they’ll be bearing the full weight of the cost of coal and then maybe they’ll force the TVA to clean up it’s act.  We’ve been skating by for too long avoiding getting cancer from our power plants and that’s made us soft and complacent.  Only once people know the true cost of coal will we…

Aw, fuck it.  That’s why I could have never been Jonathan Swift.  I have the anger, but I can’t carry through with the satire.

I’ll just be awaiting word from the whole “we must feel the full weight of the cost of coal so bring on the suffering” crew about whether cancer and poisoning is too much or if that is just one more thing that has to be borne in order for us to get serious about the environment.  Hell, I’m sure some of the people who are going to get cancer from this mess probably have flat screen TVs, so they kind of deserve it.