Category Archives: Discussion

Ginger Men

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, lets have a look at what makes a redheaded man so hot. Ginger guys have a hard time. So much so that there’s been talks of whether ‘gingerism’ is as bad a racism. True story. Photographer Thomas Knights released an entire exhibition in New York’s BOSI Gallery trying to bring down stereotypes of ginger men and promote their eternal hotness..

Not convinced yet? Here’s 21 reasons red-headed guys are actually ginger Gods amongst men.

1. Their Confidence

All those years of playground torture have molded them into the hardy, self-confident MEN they are now. They know who they are and aren’t about to let a few sh*tty put-downs change that.

2. Their Personalities

Because they haven’t always had to rely on their looks (that unforgiving inch of red hair has worked ’round the clock against them), 9 times out of 10 they will have naturally winning personalities.

3. Their Ginger Beards

When they grow a beard it actually MATCHES their face.

4. Their Sense of Humor

Due to the fact everyone has been poking fun at them their entire lives, they know how to take a joke and have a good old laugh at themselves.

5. Their Freckles

Ahhh, those freckles. Sexy AND cute.

6. They’re Fireballs in Bed

Ask anyone who’s been there to confirm – for some unknown reason they are ALL dynamite in the sack.

7. They’re Unique

They’re a rare and exotic breed (approx. 0.5 per cent of the world’s population), so unlike the hoards of blondes and brunettes out there, they will always keep your attention. Which is a big bonus in the apparent modern day “hookup” culture we live in.

8. They’ll Age Well

The sun and red heads will never be friends. So unlike other men who will grow leathery and awful, their skin will be primed for perfection well into old age.

Another plus: if you’re being selfish about it, they will make you look extra bronzed for half the tan-time.

9. Their Straight Forwardness

That fiery temper will always let you know where you stand; there are no mind games. When a ginger guy is pissed at you, you will know about it.

10. Their Sense Of Style

Ginger guys in suits – guaranteed HOT.

11. Their Eyes

That fiery red hair and porcelain skin only accentuates their stunning blue/green/gold eyes.

12. Their Passion

They are passionate and feisty people in all aspects of life, and what’s hotter than that?

13. They OWN it

They always have a slightly mysterious vibe going on.

14. They’re Classy

For some reason we can’t quite pinpoint, they are automatically kinda classy.

15. Their Tan

When they actually manage to get a tan it’s like you’ve got one of the rarest jewels right in the palm of your hands.

16. The Hot Accents

Can you ever imagine a ginger man who doesn’t have a glorious accent? Scottish? Irish? Count us in.

17. They Have No Egos

Usually they don’t realize how unbelievably hot they really are, so there’s no battling with ridiculous egos.

18. They’re Strong Minded

They know what they want and go for it. Damian Lewis, Prince Harry, Tom Hiddleston – they live their dreams.

19. They’ll Protect You

Science says ginger people have higher pain thresholds than the rest of us. What woman doesn’t want a strong man?

20. Their Spawn

If you manage to reproduce with this man you could be in for the most bitchin’ hot family of red head babies ever.

21. THEY ARE JUST SO FLAMING HOT

There’s just something about ginger guys – they’re rare, they’re precious, and they’re IN demand.


Pondering 

  

 I’m still not feeling 100 percent, so I thought I’d do something a bit different today. I want each of you to look at this picture and tell me what comes to mind. It can be one word, a sentence, or even a paragraph. 
For those of you who this picture evokes no particular thoughts, I’m going to give you a prompt. It obviously looks as though he is thinking something, pondering, you might say. What is he thinking about?

I obviously like this picture, but I want to know: What does it say to you? What feelings/emotions does it evoke? Do you even like the picture?

Feel free to answer one, all, or any number of the question. I’d like to hear your thoughts today.


Thinking with Your Penis

  

Guys, have you ever noticed that when you have an erection that you think differently?  Maybe it’s just me, but if I have a hard-on my mind can have some pretty dirty thoughts.  I find things I wouldn’t normally find attractive/sexy, I find irresistible when I’m already turned on.  Urban Dictionary defines “thinking with your penis” as cognition which is tainted by horniness or when a man makes decisions intended to satisfy the short term goals of his penis and fails to consider the long term consequences.  So do you think with your penis?


A Difficult Climb

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Most people do not fully understand how an amendment can be proposed and ratified. As someone who teaches history and government, it’s part of my job to understand this process. Article V of the Constitution lays out the processes by which constitutional amendments can be proposed and ratified. It begins with the proposing of the amendment which can be done in one of two ways.

In the first method which takes place in the U.S. Congress, both the House of Representatives and the Senate must approve the amendment by a two-thirds supermajority vote, a joint resolution amending the Constitution. Amendments so approved do not require the signature of the President of the United States and are sent directly to the states for ratification. The second method, which has never been used, requires two-thirds (or 34) of the state legislatures to ask Congress to call a national convention to propose amendments.

Of these two processes, it is unlikely that a new Equal Rights Amendment as I outlined on Monday could pass by a supermajority of both houses of the current Congress. The atmosphere is highly politicized with Republicans largely against equality for LGBT Americans and Democrats largely for LGBT equality. With Democrats not holding a supermajority in both house, it is highly unlikely to be able to move through Congress.

However, 34 states legislatures could call for a national convention. The likelihood of this is fairly slim because it’s never been done before, and the majority of state legislatures, roughly 60 percent are controlled by Republicans. However, the majority of Americans, even if you go by state-by-state polls, favor same-sex marriage. At least, two-thirds of the states have 50 percent or more of its citizens who favor same-sex marriage. If the majority of citizens in favor of marriage equality in those 34 states became vocal enough, then state legislatures might be convinced to vote for a national convention for proposing amendments. This is also a tricky prospect because it would depend on who the states sent to a national convention and whether or not they would even even choose to propose a new ERA. The precedent set by the original Constitutional Convention would point to a national convention throwing out their mandate and proposing completely different amendments.

If a new ERA were proposed by a national convention, then it would move to the states for the ratification process. Again, Article V recognizes two ways for this to be accomplished. An amendment could be added to the Constitution if three-fourths of the state legislatures approve it. States may also choose to call ratifying conventions in which three-fourths of the states approve it. This method has been used only once, to ratify the 21st Amendment, repealing Prohibition.

The fact is, I realize this is a dream. Even with the 30 states that currently have same-sex marriage legalized, not all of those states would want to agree to a constitutional amendment for LGBT equality. Some polls show that in 38 states, there is a majority or near majority of people who believe that same-sex marriages should be recognized. The Pew Research poll which looked at regional support of same-sex marriage showed that only 34 states supported same-sex marriage, with basically the old Confederate states of the South, plus Kentucky, Oklahoma, and West Virginia being opposed to same-sex marriage.

Of the thousands of proposals that have been made to amend the Constitution, only 33 obtained the necessary two-thirds vote in Congress. Of those 33, only 27 amendments (including the Bill of Rights) have been ratified. It’s a long shot but with enough momentum and support behind it, it is a possibility.

Sources:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in_the_United_States
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_opinion_of_same-sex_marriage_in_the_United_States
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_state_legislatures
http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/constitution/
http://www.freedomtomarry.org/resources/entry/marriage-polling
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/10/15/gay-marriage-arrives-in-the-south-where-the-public-is-less-enthused/

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Equal Rights Amendment

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Just over four years ago, I wrote a post about the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). In that post I suggested that a new ERA be proposed. The original Equal Rights Amendment was designed to guarantee equal rights for women. The ERA was originally written by Alice Paul and Crystal Eastman, and it was introduced in the Congress for the first time in 1923. Though the ERA was introduced in every Congressional session between 1923 and 1970, it almost never reached the floor of either the Senate or the House for a vote—instead, it was usually “bottled up” in committee. In 1972, it passed both houses of Congress and went to the state legislatures for ratification.

The resolution in Congress that proposed the amendment set a ratification deadline of March 22, 1979. Through 1977, the amendment received 35 of the necessary 38 state ratifications. Five states later rescinded their ratifications before the 1979 deadline, though the validity of these rescissions is disputed. In 1978, a joint resolution of Congress extended the ratification deadline to June 30, 1982, but no further states ratified the amendment before the passing of the second deadline. Several feminist organizations, disputing the validity and/or the permanence of the ratification deadline, and also disputing the validity of the five rescissions, continue to work at the federal and state levels for the adoption of the ERA.

The language of the 1972 ERA was fairly simple and read:

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

In all likelihood, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is dead and will never be ratified to become the 28th Amendment. The fight to ratify the ERA is still ongoing and is not quite over. More than three decades after the deadline set by Congress, advocates are working to advance the amendment’s cause at the grass-roots level as some in Congress work to either repeal the amendment’s deadline or start over.

Advocates say the Supreme Court’s June 30 ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby has energized interest in the ERA. That 5-4 decision said the 2010 Affordable Care Act can’t require certain businesses to provide free insurance coverage for birth control if they object on religious grounds. Pay equity is another factor driving renewed enthusiasm for the Equal Rights Amendment. Women on average are paid 77 cents for every dollar men are paid, according to the ERA Coalition.

Congress is considering amendment resolutions that take two different approaches: the three-state approach and the fresh start approach. The “three-state” approach, sponsored by Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., would repeal the ratification deadline and make the ERA part of the Constitution when three more states ratify it. The “fresh start” approach — by Menendez and Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. — would start over with a new resolution and no ratification deadline. Menendez and Maloney also are co-sponsors of the three-state approach legislation.

I believe that they should not only push through with the fresh start approach, but I think there should be a Federal Amendment that would extend the ERA to include barring discrimination because of sexual orientation or identity. I propose that the new language of the amendment read:

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3. All laws infringing on the rights of individuals because of sex, sexual identity, or sexual orientation shall become null and void immediately upon passage of this amendment.

I think it should also be proposed that a possible Section 4 might be added that would define sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

Section 4. Definitions of sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

Section 4.1. Sex shall be defined as the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women.

Section 4.2. Gender shall refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women. Gender identity shall be defined as the gender, male, female, with which a person identifies exclusive of their biological secondary sexual characteristics. The gender identities one may identify as include male, female, both, somewhere in between (“third gender”), or neither and may or may not correspond to the sex assigned to them at birth.

Section 4.3. Sexual orientation describes a pattern of emotional, romantic, or sexual attraction to men, women, both genders, neither gender, or another gender. Sexual orientation is enduring and also refers to a person’s sense of personal and social identity based on those attractions, behaviors expressing them, and membership in a community of others who share them.

Though some might believe this fourth section is too strict or defined. However, whenever the debate over gay marriage is brought up, the ideas of polygamy, bigamy, and bestiality are always raised in the debate by crackpots. I think these definitions would clear up any debate about the meaning of the terms. It would also not allow for a great deal of interpretation of the meaning of the amendment by the Supreme Court or the state ratifying legislatures.

If this amendment were to be proposed and ratified, the debates over GLBT rights would effectively be ended. Gay marriage would be forced to be recognized nationwide and we would no longer be holding our breaths as court cases continue in nineteen states. Furthermore, school bullying would be against federal laws. Teachers could not be fired because of their sexual orientation. We would have definitive protection once and for all. I realize this is a dream, but I think it is a great idea. What do you think? Should we all push to have this amendment proposed, passed by Congress, and ratified by the states?

I am going to be discussing more about this idea this week. I want to look at whether it is possible for a new ERA to pass through Congress and what would happen if it reached the states. Though I believe that the federal courts are moving in the right direction, court decisions can be overturned. The Supreme Court has reversed their decisions before, and let’s face it, the Supreme Court is as political as any branch of government and with that the balance of the Court could move away from LGBT rights. I think a constitutional amendment is the true way that LGBT Americans to be equal once and for all.


To Be, Or Not To Be

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To be, or not to be hairy is not the question I was asking yesterday. I was however, trying to make a statement about being happy with the bodies we have and being content with nature. Just because someone, such as JiEL said in the comments, being naturally hairless is “not less manly.” Running my hands over a smooth chest is just as luxurious to me as a hairy one. I remember a particular dancer at a gay bar in Houston that was shaved, but was letting his hair grow to a stubble. I remember being incredibly turned on by that “sandpaper sensation.” The tactile sensation of hairy, hairless, or somewhere in between does not, however, mean that there is not a aesthetic pleasure to seeing a man in all his natural beauty, hairless or not.

Of course, all of this is a matter of personal taste, and when it comes down to it, I completely agree with Damien, who wrote “So I guess I mostly like the person beneath the skin, the skin beneath the hair, the hair beneath the shirt.” I also agree with Bodhisbuddy who said that his tastes have changed. As a preteen through early twenties, I too preferred as little body hair as possible on a man. As I grew older, I began to appreciate well groomed bodies with hair, and now I’m to the point where hairless looks much less appealing. Though my tastes do occasionally change, I rarely look for the very hairy. It just doesn’t appeal to me that much.

I also agree with Damien that Nick Jonas is getting too much attention over these photos. Me personally, I find his ass the most appealing thing about him, then again, I’m an ass man, so that kind of figures I’d find his attractive. It’s a nice round bubble butt.

I also agree that there is a double standard when it comes to male and female celebrities, especially those who were child stars/wholesome Disney personalities. However, and I may be adding to this double standard, but I believe that Miley Cyrus and Nick Jonas took two different paths when they decided to break away from their squeaky clean personas. Miley appeared to eschew all the values that she previously seemed to embrace. Nick Jonas may be making racier photos (and not all people, were upset over Miley’s racy behavior) and he may have taken off his purity ring, but he still seems to have kept some core values. “This is a real growth in me and not something [wearing a purity ring] I’m doing anymore. But I’ve got my set of values, things that are important to me now at this point in my life and that’s all that matters,” said Jonas in a recent interview. “I’ve had an incredibly intense journey with faith and religion and my own growth. My belief in God is still very strong and important to me as a person and I think that’s all that should matter,” he continued. “I grew up in a church environment and still have love for the church.”

So i think the photos and the publicity have brought to light a few interesting things about our culture. I do believe that the lack of outcry is a reflection of the sexism still prevalent in our society. As Damien out it “Boys will be boys but girls should be ladies!” Also, the little bit of hair he shows in the mildly revealing photographs has at least raised the question of manscaping or not. I honestly think it makes for some interesting conversations, though not many are talking about it in those terms.

Thank you all for your comments. I don’t often answer comments directly, but know that I read every one of them. Please keep commenting and keep the conversation going.


It’s Time: SCOTUS and Marriage Equality

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The U.S. Supreme Court has stepped in to block a federal appeals court ruling that would have allowed gay marriages to begin in Virginia on Thursday. The decision was widely expected and tells little about how the high court will ultimately rule on the issue. It merely preserves the status quo. Now, it’s up to the Supreme Court. It’s unlikely they will continue a perpetual stay on the issue. The federal courts have been moving quickly on the issue, and the Utah and Virginia cases have passed through the appellate courts and await the Supreme Court. Virginia asked the justices to decide the gay marriage constitutional question “as quickly as possible.”

The first opportunity for the court to take action would be when it meets Sept. 29 for its first conference of the new term. But even if the court decides to go ahead and take the Utah case, which likely will be the first one there, the timetable for filing briefs would put the argument at mid- to late January at the earliest. If this timetable occurs, the Supreme Court could issue a ruling by late spring 2015.

Many court specialists believe the justices will go ahead and take either the Utah or Virginia case early in the term. Other experts think the justices may want to wait for a decision from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Cincinnati, where the panel at argument this month sounded as though it would uphold the ban on gay marriage. That would provide a conflict in the lower courts for the Supreme Court to resolve.

To date there have been 37 pro-gay marriage rulings in state and federal courts since the Supreme Court last year struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act. That law barred federal recognition of marriages performed in states where such unions are legal, and set the stage for a nearly unanimous set of rulings in the lower courts issued by both Republican and Democratic appointees.

While the nations lower courts have consistently overturned gay marriage bans, the Supreme Court will likely be forced to make a final decision on the matter. This is a risky proposition. Equal protection should give the Supreme Court no choice but to say that all states must recognize same sex marriages from states where it is legal. Will they go a step further and make it legal in all states, or issue a partial ruling such as in the case of the Defense of Marriage Act? However, if the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals does uphold the ban, the Supreme Court could do the same, and marriage equality will take a step backwards, or at the very least remain static. Federal recognition could remain, and state recognition could continue to be a state issue.

Nineteen of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, currently allow same-sex marriage. How likely do you think it is that the United States will have nationwide marriage equality by the summer of 2015?


Finally…

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While many states are battling over same-sex marriage, Alabama has only just ruled that prohibiting homosexual sex is unconstitutional. Civil rights organizations in Alabama are cheering a state appeals court ruling that declared part of a state sexual misconduct law as unconstitutional.

Under the statute, consensual oral and anal sex was banned in what the court determined was an act aimed at criminalizing homosexual activities. Furthermore, the statute has been traditionally interpreted to criminalize all sexual practices other than the missionary position between one man and one woman. The portion of the law cited in the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals ruling includes: “Consent is no defense to a prosecution under this subdivision.” The sixteen page ruling by the Court of Criminal Appeals can be read in it’s entirety by following this link. (It’s well worth reading, and I found it quite interesting. Plus I’d love to know silvereagle’s opinion on this case and the ruling.)

The ruling was unanimous in the case of Dewayne Williams vs. State of Alabama. Williams, a Dallas County, Ala., man, who, although was not convicted in 2010 of first-degree sodomy, was convicted of the “lesser-included offense” of sexual misconduct, according to the ruling. Williams acknowledged he had taken part in the sodomy but argued it was consensual, the ruling states.

Alabama is one of a dozen states that still have laws prohibiting consensual homosexual sex, according to a survey by the Human Rights Campaign, a national group advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

Susan Watson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, applauded the ruling. “Aiming to ban consensual sex is flat out wrong,” she said Saturday. “A person’s sexual orientation shouldn’t matter. Consensual sex is consensual sex.”

Ben Cooper, chairman for Equality Alabama, also lauded the ruling and added the law was “settled years ago” under Lawrence v. Texas, a case the Alabama court referenced in its decision. In the 2003 case, the crime for two persons of the same sex to engage in certain intimate sexual conduct was determined to violate the due process clause of the 14th Amendment.

“Each and every person, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity, is entitled to equal protection under the law,” Cooper said in a statement. “The Alabama court’s unanimous decision overturning the statute is a step in the right direction and makes us optimistic for future and ongoing equal rights through the continued elimination of unconstitutional provisions in our state’s constitution that violate privacy and equal protections.”

Michael Jackson, the prosecutor in the Williams case, said Monday that he understood why the appeals court ruled the way it did, and said the decision would probably be upheld if appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court. But he said the victim is not getting a fair result because the sex in the case he was prosecuting wasn’t consensual.

“He got attacked by another man and he had sex he didn’t want to have,” said Jackson. He said Alabama’s sodomy law still applies in cases of forced sex. For the record, Jackson has no business prosecuting sexual misconduct. As District Attorney for Fourth Judicial Circuit of Alabama, Jackson has often hired female prosecutors based on their ample breasts and how often they will go to bed with him. Jackson himself should be tried for sexual misconduct and sexual harassment. He is a further disgrace to the already disgraceful Alabama judicial system.

The state of Alabama also was denied its request to remove the language on consent from the law and remand Williams’ case for a new trial. The Alabama appeals court explained in its ruling that a remand of the case would violate the double jeopardy clauses of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Alabama Constitution and that by amending the statute the Court would be creating and ex post facto law that would further violate the U.S. Constitution.

The question does remain as to whether the sex between the two men, Williams and the unnamed clerk at the Jamison Inn Hotel, was consensual as Williams claims in his defense. However, because the prosecution knew they could not convict Williams of first degree sodomy, which had been struck down by Lawrence v. Texas, they chose an obscure section of the clause which made the question of consent moot. The clause used stated that “Consent is no defense to a prosecution under this subdivision.” Therefore the prosecution cannot have the trial remanded because Williams would be tried twice for a crime in which he has already been convicted.

There are two things that really surprise me about this whole case. First, that Jackson attempted to prosecute Williams in the first place for sodomy, when if he is going to claim that no consent was given, then he should have charged Jackson with rape and assault. Instead, he charged him with sodomy and sexual misconduct. For me this proves, not only Jackson’s incompetence as a prosecutor, but also that there was insufficient evidence that the sex between Williams and the hotel clerk was not consensual.

Second, the other, and actually most surprising thing, considering that Roy Moore is the head of the Alabama Judicial System, is that the all Republican Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals actual made a ruling that made sense and followed the law. Moore’s philosophy of justice is that whatever laws he deems appropriate in his head are the only ones that need to be followed, so for a lower court under his authority to make a ruling that actually follows the law is astounding. Maybe there is hope for Alabama’s Republican controlled judicial system after all.


What Would You Do?

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What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
James 2:14-17

Many of us have stories about old couches — particularly ones we had in college, or shortly after. But not many stories are like the one three roommates in New Paltz, N.Y., can now tell.

After the trio realized their beat-up couch was stuffed with more than $40,000, they decided to return the money to its rightful owner.

It all started when roommates Reese Werkhoven, Cally Guasti and Lara Russo realized that the lumps in their couch’s pillows were actually envelopes stuffed with money. Just two months earlier, they’d bought the couch for $20 at a Salvation Army store.

“It had these bubble wrap envelopes, just like two or three of them,” Werkhoven tells CBS New York. “We ripped them out and [I] was just like freaking out, like an inch and a half of $100 bills.”

Or, as he told SUNY, New Paltz student-run blog The Little Rebellion, “I almost peed.”

They kept finding more envelopes in the couch, pulling money out of it like an upholstered ATM.

Werkhoven added, “The most money I’d ever found in a couch was like 50 cents. Honestly, I’d be ecstatic to find just $5 in a couch.”

The discovery was like a dream for the three friends, all of whom are either in college or recent graduates.

As they counted the money, they talked about what they might do with it; Werkhoven says he wanted to buy his mom a new car. But then they spotted a name among the envelopes, and realized they were faced with an ethical puzzle.

“We had a lot of moral discussions about the money,” Russo tells Little Rebellion. “We all agreed that we had to bring the money back to whoever it belonged to … it’s their money — we didn’t earn it. However, there were a lot of gray areas we had to consider.”

They asked their parents for advice; don’t spend the money, they were told. A phone number led them to the family that had donated the couch — and to answers about why it was full of money.

The roommates drove to the woman’s house in what The Little Rebellion calls “a rustic home in a rough neighborhood.”

“I think the part of this whole experience that cleared away my prior thoughts and worries was when I saw the woman’s daughter and granddaughter greet us at the door,” Werkhoven tells the blog. “I could just tell right away that these were nice people.”

It turned out that the money was socked away out of the woman’s late husband’s concerns that he wouldn’t always be there for his wife (she has chosen to remain anonymous). It represented decades of savings, including wages from the woman’s job as a florist.

For years, she also slept on the couch. But recent back problems led her daughter and son-in-law to replace it with a bed, meaning that the couch had to go.

“This was her life savings and she actually said something really beautiful, like ‘This is my husband looking down on me and this was supposed to happen,’ ” Guasti tells CBS NY.

After they returned the money to the woman, Guasti, Russo and Werkhoven received $1,000 as a reward.

What would you do if you found $40,000 in a Salvation Army couch? I honestly think that I’d do the same as these roommates did, because they found the name of the person to whom it belonged. If I had no idea of who it belonged to and no way of finding out, I would have given part of the money to the Salvation Army and done something good with the rest if it.

In addition, Reese Werkhoven looks pretty sexy in the picture above, this story makes him all the sexier to me.


Tolerance

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The following is excerpted from Suzanna Danuta Walters’s article for the Chronicle of Higher Education, “The Incomplete Rainbow.” Suzanna Danuta Walters is a professor of sociology and director of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Northeastern University. Her new book is The Tolerance Trap: How God, Genes, and Good Intentions Are Sabotaging Gay Equality, just published by New York University Press. She offers and interesting and thought provoking look at the meaning of tolerance. After reading it, I had to share it. This is not the whole review article, which can be found at: “The Incomplete Rainbow.”

In contemporary times, we speak of a tolerance to something as the capacity to endure continued subjection to it (a plant, a drug, a minority group) without adverse reactions. We speak of people who have a high tolerance for pain or worry about a generation developing a tolerance for a certain type of antibiotic because of overuse. In scientific usage, it refers to the allowable amount of variation of a specified quantity—the amount let in before the thing itself alters so fundamentally that it becomes something else and the experiment fails. So tolerance almost always implies or assumes something negative or undesired or even a variation contained and circumscribed.

It doesn’t make sense to say that we tolerate something unless we think that it’s wrong in some way. To say you “tolerate” homosexuality is to imply that homosexuality is bad or immoral or even just benignly icky, like that exotic food you just can’t bring yourself to try. You are willing to put up with, to tolerate, this nastiness, but the toleration proves the thing (the person, the sexuality, the food) to be irredeemably nasty to begin with.

Tolerance is not an embrace but a resigned shrug or, worse, that air kiss of faux familiarity that barely covers up the shiver of disgust.

But here’s the rub: If there is nothing problematic about something—say, homosexuality—then there is really nothing to tolerate. We don’t speak of tolerating great sex or a good book or a sunshine-filled day. We do, however, take pains to let others know how brave we are when we tolerate the discomfort of a bad back or a nasty cold. We tolerate the agony of a frustratingly banal movie that our partner insisted on watching and are thought the better for it. We tolerate, in other words, that which we would rather avoid. Tolerance is not an embrace but a resigned shrug or, worse, that air kiss of faux familiarity that barely covers up the shiver of disgust.

———————-

Tolerance is not just a low bar; it actively undercuts robust integration and social belonging by allowing the warp and woof of anti-gay animus to go unchallenged. Tolerance allows us to celebrate (hysterically) the coming out of macho professional athletes as a triumphant sign of liberation rather than a sad commentary on the persistence of the closet and the hold of masculinist ideals. Tolerance allows religious “objections” to queer lives to remain in place, even as it claims that a civilized society leaves its homos alone. Tolerance pushes for marriage equality and simultaneously assures anxious allies that it won’t change their marriages or their lives.

And there you see the crux of the tolerance trap: If an ostensible concession doesn’t challenge straight lives, it’s not very radical, and if it does challenge them, it’s not a concession gays and lesbians will win. The marriage assurances are similar to gay responses to right-wing attacks on queer parents: Researchers and advocates argue that “no harm” is done to our kids, that there is no difference between gay and straight parenting. But couldn’t we imagine the strong case? Shouldn’t we argue, instead, that our progeny would/could grow up with more expansive and creative ways of living gender and sexuality? Shouldn’t we argue that same-sex marriage might make us all think differently about the relationship between domestic life and gender norms and push heterosexuals to examine their stubborn commitment to a gendered division of labor?

Difference does, well, make a difference. But when difference is erased in the quest to make us more tolerable to those heterosexuals who get to do the tolerating, when the messiness and fluidity of sexual desire and identity are put into the straitjacket of biological inevitability, when queer challenges to gender rules and regulations are morphed into nuptial sameness, and when queer freedoms are reduced to the right to wed, we all lose out. President Obama’s moving second Inaugural Address links Stonewall to the great lineage of American social movements. But then it modifies that sweep by signifying those rights as marital: “For if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.” The history of Stonewall and other queer riots and rebellions is then reduced, dulled, narrowed.

Americans are rightfully outraged at Kremlin-style homophobia and horrified by the possibility of death sentences and flogging in several African countries. But we would do well to take a closer look into our own “tolerant” heart. Much has changed in America. Dedicated community activists, gender-bending queer youth, and even some of us retro radicals a bit long in the tooth do often sidestep the (almost) all-encompassing discourse of tolerance and immutability. But the time for easy celebration is not yet here. Anti-gay animus is not a remnant of a transcended past, nor is it the province of passé nations “over there.” It runs through our cultural waterways in pure red, white, and blue. The road to a real Oz is still littered with land mines, and Dorothy’s rainbow seems more and more like a dream deferred.


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