It was, in the end, about a 21st century governor who joined a short, tragic list of 20th century governors. You know at least some of these names, probably: Wallace, Faubus, Barnett. They were men who fed our worst impulses, men who rallied citizens against citizens, instead of leading their states forward. —Charlotte Observer editorial board

North Carolina’s not-so-illustrious Governor Pat McCrory was evidently caught completely off guard by the backlash of outrage and condemnation from individuals, organizations, North Carolina city governments and national corporations that followed his signing of the anti-LGBT House Bill 2 (HB2), sometimes known as the Charlotte Bathroom Bill. The nAll-Gender-Restroom-Signew state law not only overturns Charlotte’s city ordinance barring discrimination and creating transgender accommodation for bathroom use. According to David A. Graham in The Atlantic, “… it also prevents any local governments from passing their own non-discrimination ordinances, mandates that students in the state’s schools use bathrooms corresponding to the gender on their birth certificate, and prevents cities from enacting minimum wages higher than the state’s.” Chris Fitzsimon of NC Policy Watch notes that “the legislation also eliminated the right of workers illegally fired because of their race or religion or gender from suing in state court.”

Of course when you live in a privileged, white, heterosexual, affluent male bubble, it’s easy to lose touch with reality and the fact that homophobia, transphobia and bigotry don’t play too well outside the rural conservative enclaves in North Carolina. Even the governor of Georgia saw the wisdom of declining to sign the bigoted bill that his state legislature recently passed, perhaps not wanting to have his name mentioned in the same breath as extremists George Wallace, Orval Faubus and Lester Maddox. (more…)

What do guys really want? Male stereotypes might have you believe that joining our pals for binge watching NCAA basketball tourney games while consuming lots of cold beer and hot pizza fulfill our ultimate desire. However, we guys have deeper wants and needs to share with our female counterparts, wants and needs that often go unspoken. So in the interest of greater XX-XY harmony, here are ten things a lot of us guys really want from the women in our lives.

We want you to tell us what you want. Of course, sharing what you really want from us doesn’t that_was_a_good_oneguarantee you’ll get it. But it sure as hell increases the odds. Plus it eliminates the need for us to make dubious assumptions, take half-assed guesses or play mind reader. For starters maybe you could tell us how and when you prefer to be touched, how you want to be comforted when you’re feeling low and what really turns you on in bed.

When we’re grumpy, sullen or withdrawn, we want you to understand that it’s probably not about you. We guys have our ups and downs just like you do. Often we’re not even conscious of what’s going on. We just know something’s not quite right, and we tend to pull back. From your perspective, it may be easy to think we’re pissed at you or dissatisfied with the relationship, when frequently it’s just that we’re not at peace with ourselves, which brings us to . . . (more…)

On the 13th anniversary of the Iraq War, a repost of an op-ed I wrote on October 12, 2002, several months before the invasion began.

* * *

After all, this is a guy that tried to kill my dad.
–President George W. Bush about Saddam Hussein

I can appreciate his obsessive need to prove his masculinity and defend his family name. But should Americans kill and die for that?
–Dr. Susan Block about George W. Bush

The first casualty when war comes is truth.
–Hiram Johnson

Thousands, perhaps millions of Americans are saying “Yes” to peace and “No” to a war on Iraq—via telephone calls, e-mail, the U.S. Postal Service and their feet. Here in Asheville letters to the editor in the Citizen-Times overwhelmingly oppose a pre-emptive strike against Iraq, and over 125 citizens from all walks of life gathered at Pack Square last Sunday, in solidarity with thousands of other demonstrators throughout the U.S., to declare “Not in my name.”

Yet the relentless march to war by the Bush administration and camp followers proceeds. Congress has folded like a cheap suit, giving the President the authority to bully another second-rate power into submission. Yeah, we’re number one … as long as we pick on nations we can easily defeat.U.S. Marine holds Iraqi child after crossfire ripped apart family in central Iraq

There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein is an aggressive tyrant who maintains power through brutality and armed force. Of course, he was one of our guys in the Middle East until he lurched into Kuwait, but no one has ever accused us of choosing allies for their adherence to democratic principles. Nonetheless the Bush administration’s justifications for the proposed crusade against our latest Public Enemy Number One (Does anybody remember Osama bin Laden?) are worthy of close scrutiny. (more…)

While living by myself in a little cottage on Mount Bonnell outside Austin in the early nineties, I was without a significant other for the first extended period in my life. Fortunately (though I didn’t think so at the time) I had the solitude needed to turn my attention toward my own wants and needs rather than those of a mate. And I had the opportunity to become very clear about the attributes I wanted in my next relationship. The list I created during those five years was long and very specific, and around ten of the desired characteristics were non-negotiable—physically attractive, athletic, willing to be authentic and vulnerable, dedicated to spiritual/psychological growth, belief in equality for all, intelligent with sense of humor, among a few others. About the only quality I didn’t specify was age, which as you’ll discover, was probably fortunate.

Near the end of my five-year retreat at the age of fifty-two, I joined Austin Fit, a marathon training group, with three goals in mind: (1) complete a marathon; (2) find some running buddies; and (3) meet attractive, athletic women.

Austin Fit Green Group

Austin Fit Green Group

Between twenty to thirty runners in the intermediate-level Green Group met early each Saturday morning at Town Lake. It was summer, and as usual, hot as Hades in the capitol city of Texas—highs in the upper 90s to lower 100s. Of course, Austin runners (approximately ten percent of the city’s population at that time) were accustomed to being thoroughly sweat-soaked by the time they hit the quarter-mile mark during the summer. With the encouragement of our coaches, we ran increasingly long distances on the trails around the lake (ultimately up to twenty-plus miles) in preparation for the Austin Motorola Marathon that would take place on February 18, 1996.

After running together week after week for longer and longer distances, the size of our group dwindled to seven runners. My initial impression of the single remaining female member of our group was of a very attractive, assertive woman of indeterminate age who looked pretty damned good in running tights. Her name was Shonnie Lavender. (more…)

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