This was gay pride weekend in DC. Here is a photo I took today at the gay pride street fair...
I think I captured the event fairly well what with the pretty drag queen, the shirtless muscular dudes, and the Capitol in the background.
In honor of Gay Pride, I also thought I should share with everybody this article I found about Bush's nominee for the Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. James Holsinger. Holsinger is a cardiologist who has previously held the position of chancellor of the University of Kentucky's medical center and of Kentucky's health secretary. He also served as the President of the Methodist Church's national Judicial council where he voted to expel a lesbian pastor. Moreover, sixteen years ago, he wrote a paper for the church where he explained how gay sex was unnatural and unhealthy because the pipe fittings of male and female plumbing aren't supposed to connect that way. I wonder if that scientific language came straight out of the AMA Journal? He also believes that homosexuality can be cured, and he helped found the Hope Springs Community Church where heaven-only-knows-what-methods are used to "cure" gays.
Bush said he chose Holsinger hoping the doctor could help publicize the growing problem of childhood obesity. But obviously Holsinger harbors a deep-seeded, personal bias against gays. I also think that appointing someone who is involved in the hierarchy of an established church to a cabinet post seems like it would further entangle church and state.
To be totally fair, someone in the article is quoted as saying that Holsinger did not let his religious beliefs affect his duties as a doctor back in Kentucky and that he did reach out to offer gays and lesbians necessary medical advice. But still, if Americans won't accept an unabashed homophobe as their TV doctor why should they accept one as their surgeon general?
There was also a Pro-Palestinian/Anti-Israel rally on the mall today; I guess that means all the gay Palestinians had a tough choice to make.
As someone who's never been to Israel and thus doesn't know first hand what he's talking about, here's my take on this controversial issue: I am all for Palestinian statehood. I imagine that the majority of Israelis (leaving to one side some ultra-Orthodox crazies) believe in a two state solution to the problem. Heck, Ariel Sharon began Israel's unilateral disengagement from Gaza, and Olmert planned on doing likewise for the West Bank. I also read an article on Friday which stated that Israel was making overtures towards the government of Syria in an attempt to loosen the strong ties currently in place between Syria and Iran. A treaty between Syria and Israel would likely include secession of the Israeli occupied Golan Heights, but -- as the article suggested -- Olmert presently lacks the political clout necessary to pull off such a bold move.
So of course Israelis want to live in peace, and they are clearly ready to secede land to the Palestinians in order to realize this dream. The major concern hindering this process, from the Israeli point of view, is security. Again and again, the Palestinian authority has proven itself unwilling and/or unable to crack down on extremist groups who use their territory as a base for terrorist attacks against Israel. Sadly, no concessions by Israel will ever satisfy these most extreme elements because their goal is the destruction of the Jewish state. They even use terrorism to try and sabotage the peace process because they are against any compromise.
Israel's military missions in Palestinian territory are an attempt to weed out these terrorist groups, who plan and carry out attacks on Israeli civilians, much as the US invaded Afghanistan because the Taliban offered sanctuary to Al-Qaeda. The only difference is that Israeli society is not shielded from the consequences of these military decisions the way Americans are: we have a buffer zone between us and Afghanistan, which is half a world away; the Palestinians and Lebanese are Israel's next door neighbors.
The fact that the Palestinian parliament is currently controlled by Hamas, a party which does not recognize the state of Israel (and you can't negotiate with someone if you don't have diplomatic relations with them) and which refuses to renounce violence, does not help matters. This is what rifles me about these protesters who were calling for an end to "Israeli occupation". Why pick on Big Bad Israel and let Hamas, which refuses to negotiate or even to recognize Israel's right to exist, off scot-free? You almost wonder if these people are calling for an end to"Israeli occupation" of such places as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.