Thursday, May 31, 2007


Dr. Laura, Dr. Laura. You know her, the adultering fake doc who posed nude, then got her withered face on all hella media for saying antigay things about ten or 20 years ago?

Hey, nothing's better for PR to a rightwinger than to slam the gays.

But now her once-cute son has done some even more unpleasant things, like showing what a nutbag he is. She calls him her "bunchkin," whatever that is.

Dr. Laura son linked to lurid Web page
Site contained violent, sex-oriented images one official called 'repulsive'
By Matthew D. LaPlante
The Salt Lake Tribune

The soldier son of talk radio relationship counselor Laura Schlessinger is under investigation for a graphic personal Web page that one Army official has called "repulsive."

The MySpace page, publicly available until Friday when it disappeared from the Internet, included cartoon depictions of rape, murder, torture and child molestation; photographs of soldiers with guns in their mouths; a photograph of a bound and blindfolded detainee captioned "My Sweet Little Habib"; accounts of illicit drug use; and a blog entry headlined by a series of obscenities and racial epithets.

The site is credited to and includes many photographs of Deryk Schlessinger, the 21-year-old son of the talk radio personality known simply as Dr. Laura. Broadcast locally on 570 KNRS, "Family Values Talk Radio," the former family counselor spends three hours daily taking calls and offering advice on morals, ethics and values. She broadcast a show from Fort Douglas, in Salt Lake City, last week.

Military leaders have long grappled with how to balance positive publicity and operational security with technological opportunities for troops to tell their personal stories.

The Pentagon last week shut down access to a variety of video-sharing and social networking Internet sites, including MySpace, on its computer systems worldwide. Officials said the change was made to enhance security and protect a strained bandwidth, but critics worried that it might close a public window into the lives of deployed U.S. troops, some of which can be raw, frightening, violent and revealing.

"Yes . . . F---ING Yes!!!" said one blog entry on the Schlessinger site. "I LOVE MY JOB, it takes everything reckless and deviant and heathenistic and just overall bad about me and hyper focuses these traits into my job of running around this horrid place doing nasty things to people that deserve it . . . and some that don't."

Deryk Schlessinger joined the Army in 2004, telling a crowd of Santa Barbara, Calif., Army reservists gathered for an appearance by his mother that he resented the way Americans criticize the war without recognizing soldiers' sacrifices.

"Real people were fighting, and I wanted to be part of that," the younger Schlessinger said, according to The Associated Press.

Since Deryk Schlessinger deployed earlier this year, his mother's talk show increasingly has been focused on the battles being waged in Iraq and Afghanistan and the wars' effects on families back home. Meanwhile, the radio host has taken to referring to herself as "the proud mother of a deployed American paratrooper" and speaks frequently about her soldier son before military audiences nationwide.
Deryk Schlessinger did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment from The Tribune.

Mike Paul, spokesman for Laura Schlessinger, released a statement which said, in part, "We hope all news media outlets will respect his privacy for his safety and the safety of those serving with him." In an interview with The Tribune, Paul suggested that the page could be a fake.

That was a contention echoed by Army spokesman Robert Tallman, who said "it may be possible that our enemies are actually behind this. "Our enemies are adaptive, technologically sophisticated, and truly understand the importance of the information battlespace," Tallman continued. "Sadly, they will use that space to promulgate and disseminate untrue propaganda."

MySpace is an online social network in which users link pages together through like interests and shared friendships. The Deryk Schlessinger page included nearly a dozen "friends," including a number of soldiers in Afghanistan, several of whom were linked back to Schlessinger's page and some of whom had additional photos of, and comments from, Schlessinger on their sites.

Deryk Schlessinger's Web site indicated the 21-year-old soldier is stationed in Kandahar, Afghanistan, where, the site's author writes, "godless crazy people like me," have become "a generation of apathetic killers."

The site indicated Schlessinger's team has survived numerous mortar, rocket and roadside bomb attacks. It also included several graphic cartoons. In one of the stick drawings, a top-hatted man laughs as he rapes a bound and bleeding woman in front of her family. In another depiction, a man forces a boy to perform oral sex at knifepoint as the child's mother pleads for her son's life.

It's unclear who created the cartoons, but Army spokesman Robert Tallman said the drawings "are repulsive and not anywhere near being acceptable," for a soldier's personal Web page. (more at link)

Back in 2004, Deryk the derelict was caught on tape kicking a female protestor at the hot air fest known as the GOP convention. Along with vulturizing the corpses of 9/11, the GOP conventioneers sought out a record high number of prostitutes, according to the NYPD. That is, when their kids weren't kicking women and children.

Other bloggers commenting on this and Deryk's little GOP kickfest include: Slog Jesus' General Brad Blog and Parent Dish Democratic Underground's forum, The Immoral Minority ... and well, lots more!

It appears "Parenting by Proxy"s worked out pretty well for Dr. Laura.

I don't get what all the fuss is about. Deryk is just behaving exactly the way Republican Values extoll. In fact, he's a perfect poster child for the party. He ought to be a platform speaker in 2008 at their next convention. He could do a little PowerPoint presentation with his illustrations.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Dept. of Homeland Idiocy

I have long been hesitant to openly discuss my years-ago participation in ACT UP. And it's not just paranoia; it's knowing the facts. Once you get arrested for dissent, some powers that be remain curious about your activities.

What started as a small item on a local news site has thankfully spread to Yahoo/AP News, when the Alabama Dept. of Homeland Security was criticized for having gay rights groups, abortion rights and antiwar organizations listed possible terrorists.

The Web site identified different types of terrorists, and included a list of groups it believed could spawn terrorists. The list also included environmentalists, animal rights advocates and abortion opponents.

The director of the department, Jim Walker, said his agency received a number of calls and e-mails from people who said they felt the site unfairly targeted certain people just because of their beliefs. He said he plans to put the Web site back on the Internet, but will no longer identify specific types of groups.

Howard Bayliss, chairman of the gay and lesbian advocacy group Equality Alabama, said he doesn't understand why gay rights advocates would be on the list.

"Our group has only had peaceful demonstrations. I'm deeply concerned we've been profiled in this discriminatory matter," Bayliss said.

The site included the groups under a description of what it called "single-issue" terrorists. That group includes people who feel they are trying to create a better world, the Web site said. It said that in some communities, law enforcement officers consider certain single issue groups to be a threat.

"Single-issue extremists often focus on issues that are important to all of us. However, they have no problem crossing the line between legal protest and ... illegal acts, to include even murder, to succeed in their goals," it read.

Walker said the site had been up since spring 2004, and had gotten a relatively small number of hits until it recently became the subject of blogs, he said.

Birmingham attorney Eric Johnston, president of the Alabama Pro Life Coalition, said he was concerned about any list that described people doing social justice work as terrorists.

"Our group's main mission is educational. The thought that we would somehow be harboring terrorists escapes me," he said.

The news has quickly spread to hundreds of other media sources, putting these good ole boys to deserved shame.

Funny how this branch of Homeland Security failed so miserably to consider including groups that are the polar opposite of the targeted peaceful groups, like abortion clinic bombers led by rightwing fundamentalist Christians, white supremacist hate groups that torch churches, and neoNazis that piep bomb gay bars.

But that's not what Alabama Republicans and Bushco underlings consider terrorists. Those are called constituents and donors.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Moscow Mayhem

Мы благодарим всех за поддержку и помощь оказанную нам в достижении равенства для геев и лесбиянок в России. Прошедший фестиваль был только первым шагом.
Мы приглашаем всех Вас принимать участие на втором фестивале, который пройдет в следующем 2007 году в воскресенье 27-ого мая.

A small protest about the banning of the Moscow Gay Pride march turned violent when rightwing thugs assaulted activists in front of dozens of media cameras. The mayor of Moscow has banned gay marches for the second year.

UK Gay News has regular updates, links, and video.

See the video where UK activist Peter Tatchell gets punched, along with others.

"Arrested: Marco Capatto (left), Italian Member of the European Parliament; Volker Beck (centre) , Member of the German Bundestag: and Nikolai Alekseev, one of the organisers of Moscow Pride and the group's spokesperson. The politicians have now been released, but Mr. Alekseev is expected to be held over night and will appear in court on Monday."

"None of the gay rights opponents were seen being taken away by police and demonstrators who were not detained complained that police ignored the violence, The Australian is reporting in its Monday edition."

International gay rights supporters were arrested at a demonstration outside the Moscow mayor's office Sunday and also assaulted by ultra-nationalists and Orthodox Church hardliners.

Police detained Russian gay community leader Nikolai Alexeyev and several others in central Moscow at the start of the demonstration by dozens of homosexual rights activists.

Dozens of Russian ultra-nationalist extremists converged on the group, throwing eggs and punching and kicking gay demonstrators before riot police moved in to separate the two sides.

Also detained were veteran British gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell; Volker Beck, a member of Germany's parliament; and Marco Cappato, an Italian member of the European Parliament.

Capatto was later released after being held for some four to five hours at a police station, said a staff member of the Italian embassy.

"He was released with the help of the Italian embassy," said Italian parliament member Vladimir Luxuria, a transsexual who was in Moscow.

Both Tatchell and Beck were punched in the face in full view of police and dozens of journalists. Another activist was seen bleeding from his face after being attacked.

Tatchell took a punch in the eye from an ultra right-wing nationalist counter-demonstrator, eyewitnesses said. Riot police eventually detained several far-right members.

Alexeyev was attempting to deliver a letter -- also signed by more than 40 members of the European Parliament -- requesting permission to hold a march in central Moscow. Mayor Yury Luzhkov has repeatedly refused to do allow such a march.

The powerful mayor of Russia's capital and by far biggest city earlier this year referred to such marches as "the work of Satan."

Supporting Sunday's demonstration were Italian, German and Austrian lawmakers, Richard Fairbrass of the British pop group Right Said Fred, and the Russian pop duo Tatu.

Tatu singer Yuliya Katina said she was angered "when someone forbids someone else from loving in the way they want to love," Interfax news agency reported.

Far-right Russian parliamentary deputy Alexei Mitrofanov was also present in support of the march, despite the opposition of many in the legislature to sexual minority rights.

Intolerance of homosexuals is stronger and more widespread in Russia than in western Europe, forcing gays to keep a low profile.

Igor Miroshnichenko, a deputy leader of a hardline Orthodox Church group, told Interfax that gays were "perverts who violate the will of God," Interfax reported.

"We want to attract the attention of society so that no one even talks about a gay parade," he said, accusing "those who want to destabilise Russia" of standing behind the demonstration.

Ahead of the march, Moscow police spokesman Viktor Biryukov accused the gay activists of stirring trouble.

"The organisers of this type of event do not protect the rights of sexual minorities, but use the citizens with non-traditional orientations for their own purposes, provoking trouble in the capital," he said.

At another banned gay rights demonstration in Moscow last year, police arrested more than 100 people.

For updates, visit the Moscow-based blog on UK Gay News.

The BBC had covered this event in advance, yet US media remains indifferent.

This is larger than just a small protest. Mayors of several major cities have castigated Moscow's rightwing mayor in international forums. It's been konwn that Putin himself allowed and condoned such violence. But then, what else would one expect? Ever since the fall of the Soviet state, the entire country has been run by thugs. Neo-Nazis get support from the police, and foreign diplomats get arrested for being assaulted.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Billions Served

Chimpoleon got the blank check my congresswoman Nancy Pelosi promised that she wouldn't write.

Chimpy gleefully signed the newest Iraq spending bill that Congress and Senate approved, which completely ignores the majority of American citizens' beliefs that the war should be curtailed, shortened, and for 3 out of 4 people polled, stopped soon.

What blackmail voodoo does Bushco have over this alleged Democratic majority? Billions more for a complete and utter failure that even Chimpy warned -as a bird shat on his suit-would lead to more violence throughout the summer.

Calling for a pullout is equated with siding with Iraqi terror mongers like Al-Sadr, who has continued his threats against US forces. Such are the statements made by Bush asslicker John McCain.

"I think the president's policy is going to begin to unravel now," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who expressed disappointment that the bill did not force an end to U.S. participation in the conflict.

I don't see how anything is going to unravel when you keep giving him billion-dollar rope with which he has yet to hang himself.

At least some people, unlike Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, who only voted against the funding bill AFTER it had enough votes to pass, are protesting.

At the University of Mass. Amherst graduation ceremonies, hundreds of of graduating students and audience members protested so loudly that they shouted down speaker Andrew Card, who is Chimpoleon's former chief of staff.

Yep, another Bushco quitter, this time, getting a fake, er, honorary doctorate. For what? Doctoring documents to provoke the fraudulent war? Card was one of the demonic engineers of the Iraq invasion.

""It was a great honor and a privilege to be here," he said afterward, ignoring a reporter's questions about the protesters.

The protests were mainly contained to an area in the back of the campus arena and many of the faculty on stage who joined the three- to four- minute outburst.

One faculty member on stage held a sign: "Card - no honor, no degree." Another sign said "War criminals go home."

Chancellor John Lombardi refused afterward to comment on the protests or Card's honorary degree.

Daniel Ball, a political independent who received a doctoral degree in industrial engineering, said he wouldn't judge whether Card should be given the degree. He thought the protesters were out of line.

"I'm definitely the minority here. But it turned into a circus, outside, inside, and it was a disappointment," Ball said.

Before the commencement ceremony, about 100 faculty and students sang anti-war songs, handed out leaflets and waved signs outside the arena."

What part of the horrific Iraq war isn't a circus, Mr. Ball?

This being Memorial Day weekend, we'll have dozens more dead soldiers to remember by Monday.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Turd Blossom Did It

E-Mails Show Rove's Role in U.S. Attorney Firings
White House Says E-Mails Are Consistent With Its Original Statements on the Controversy


New unreleased e-mails from top administration officials show that the idea of firing all 93 U.S. attorneys was raised by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove in early January 2005, indicating Rove was more involved in the plan than the White House previously acknowledged. The e-mails also show how Alberto Gonzales discussed the idea of firing the attorneys en masse while he was still White House counsel -- weeks before he was confirmed as attorney general.

The e-mails put Rove at the epicenter of the imbroglio and raise questions about Gonzales' explanations of the matter.

The White House said Thursday night that the e-mails did not contradict the previous statements about former White House counsel Harriet Miers' role. The e-mail exchange, dated January 6, 2005, is between then-deputy White House counsel David Leitch and Kyle Sampson at the Justice Department. According to a senior White House official who has seen the e-mail exchange, "It's not inconsistent with what we have said."

Justice Department spokeswoman Tasia Scolinos said Gonazales "has no recollection of any plan or discussion to replace U.S. attorneys while he was still White House counsel." She said he was preparing for his attorney general confirmation hearing and was focused on that.

"Of course, discussions of changes in presidential appointees would have been appropriate and normal White House exchanges in the days and months after the election as the White House was considering different personnel changes administration-wide," Scolinos said.

The e-mail exchange is dated more than a month before the White House acknowledged it was considering firing all the U.S. attorneys. On its face, the plan is not improper, inappropriate or even unusual: The president has the right to fire U.S. attorneys at any time, and presidents have done so when they took office.

What has made the issue a political firestorm is the White House's insistence that the idea came from Miers and was swiftly rejected.

White House press secretary Tony Snow told reporters Tuesday that Miers had suggested firing all 93 attorneys, and that it was "her idea only." Snow said Miers' idea was quickly rejected by the Department of Justice.


So, the lying liars keep on lying as they lie in wait. Where the hell are all the impeachment hearings that should have taken place by now? Why is it taking so long to get any facts about this scandal, and all the other ones? 27 Watergates, and thiese criminals aren't being arrested for anything. Turd Blossom (Chimpy's nickname for Rove) should already have been hanged.

In other turd news, a bird shit on Chimpoloeon today.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Born to Run ... or jog .. or waddle

70,000 runners, dozens of "salmon" spawning upstream (running the wrong way), more than 40 Elvises, tutu'ed couples pushing baby strollers, about a dozen "Dick in a Box" dudes, superheroes, drag queens, floats fulla beer, hula skirted folks by the hundreds, ducks, geese, bears, oh my; it's the annual Bay to Breakers!

If you haven't witnessed it, it's kind of like Gay Pride for straight people. With the ruse of athletic competition as the motivation - well, there are some serious runners - most people do a sort of fast walk from the Embarcadero to Ocean Beach.

The wonderful thing about living in Hayes Valley is, as soon as the throoping sound of helicopters wakes me, I can walk two blocks, hang out where music's playing (in the new little park across the street from Marlena's), and catch the early flood of runners.

After all these years, I still haven't made it early enough to see the front runners, and the bottleneck on the hill of Hayes Street at Buchanan really sorts the true runners (who take to the left sidewalk) from the fast and not so fast walkers, and the partiers pushing shopping carts full of beer kegs.

Of all the thousands of participants, I found it amazing that I got a picture of the only two guys I knew who were in it. The fact that they were naked may have helped.

I almost regret having turned down their invitation to join them. I've been running a lot lately at the gym, in preparation for the San Francisco Track and Field Club's first Pride Meet, July 7 at SF State's Cox Stadium (where the first two Gay Games track meets were held in 1982 and 1986, and where I graduated with a masters in English/Creative Writing, by the way; got my diploma at graduation ceremonies on the same field).

But there's something about running with my dangly parts flopping about and being over-photographed that made me bow out. Maybe I'll do it next year.

Speaking of nudity, I had seen the opening night of New Conservatory Theatre's production of the play Take Me Out last night. Along with a few lengthy shower scenes, it's a funny and philosophical treatise on sports, bigotry and the nature of fame. Check it out.

You can read my interview with playwright Richard Greenberg HERE.

In the meantime, the only place you'll ever see me running naked is at a semi-private beach.

Gee, I hope my naked pals had somebody to bring their clothes! It always gets a bit chilly by the ocean, no matter how sunny it is.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Iraqracy's feature article today exposes some secret documents from the Coalition Provisional Authority, the privately appointed cabal, -er, now it seems, droning bureaucracy- given the now fruitless and hopeless duty of forcing the violently war-torn Iraq into a stable, docile money-making pseudo-democracy.

Writer Pete Moore's son accidentally stumbled upon these documents while downloading instructions for a video game. Huh.

"Through such fortunate mistakes researchers could piece together the unofficial, off-the-record history of empire," he writes.

The documents, in many pages, betray a single-minded myopia, and a good bit of mutual plagiarism.

"Much of the material they were cribbing seems to have come from the kind of sensitive, security-related documents that were never meant to be available to the public. In fact, about half of the 20 improperly redacted documents I downloaded, including the March 28 report, contain deleted portions that all seem to come from one single, 1,000-word security memo. The editors kept pulling text from a document titled "Why Are the Attacks Down in Al-Anbar Province -- Several Theories.""

An amusing note:

Item IV: "Design Oil Trust Fund."

Oh, no. Invading Iraq was never about oil!

Other pages betray a hackneyed, cliché-ridden perspective that is naive at best.

A gem: "We are still in knock on wood mode here, and there is no telling what the future holds."

It's kind of like watching a bumbling bureaucracy futzing with a failed dotcom while the building's on fire, except instead of stock prices tanking and the fire department showing up, hundreds of thousands of people die.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Bike to Work Day

Switching gears to a happier tone...

Today was the annual Bike to Work Day. Organized by the SF Bicycle Coalition, almost 700 cyclists participated (riding from 8am-9am eastbound on Market).

I made my way to work a little later, Thursdays being our "easy" day at the BAR, what with the paper out, and only a few omitted online errors to repair.

Altogether a good day for the improvement of cycling access and visibility. it's always cute to see city officials in helmets on a bike. San Jose's mayor Harry Reid, SF's mayor Gavin Newsom (not eating any microphones), and Supervisor Tom Ammiano looking stylish and safe.

Check out SFBC's Chain of Events for more upcoming fun cycling events in the Bay area.

And join for only $35.

Enough shilling for cycling; off to watch the Ugly Betty season finale!!

Iran's AntiGay Pogrom

Mass Detentions, Home Raids Continue

Iran’s arbitrary arrests of thousands of men and women in recent weeks under the banner of “countering immoral behavior” threaten basic rights to privacy, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch called for the immediate release of all those detained as part of this campaign, including more than 80 people seized in a raid on a private gathering in the city of Esfahan on May 10, 2007.

“In Iran, the walls of homes are transparent and the halls of justice are opaque,” said Joe Stork, deputy director of the Middle East division of Human Rights Watch. “This ‘morality’ campaign shows how fragile respect for privacy and personal dignity is in Iran today.”

Since early April 2007, Iranian police and militia known as basiji have launched a nationwide crackdown against people they accuse of deviating from official standards of dress or behavior. On April 14, Iran’s Supreme Court overturned murder sentences against six basiji who had killed five people in 2002 whom they considered “morally corrupt,” contributing to a climate of impunity for the militia forces.

Ismail Ahmadi Moghadam, Iran’s chief of police, told the semi-official Mehr News Agency on April 25 that “law enforcement agents detained 150,000 people” during the campaign and forced the majority of them to sign ”commitment letters,” to observe official dress codes before being released. According to Moghadam, the police referred 86 people to the judiciary for prosecution.

On May 13, Mahmoud Botshekan, the police chief for airport security, told the semi-official Iranian Labor News Agency that his agents had stopped and interrogated more than 17,000 people at Iranian airports during the past month. He said that his agents detained 850 women, releasing them only after they signed “commitment letters.” Another 130 people are being prosecuted by the judiciary, he said.

A witness to the raid in Esfahan told Human Rights Watch that, around 10 p.m. on May 10, police and basiji raided a private birthday party in an apartment building in the city. They reportedly arrested 87 persons, including four women and at least eight people who were accused of wearing the clothes of the opposite sex. The police and basiji agents led those arrested to the street, stripped many to the waist, and beat them until their backs and faces were bloody. Several reportedly suffered broken bones.

The authorities reportedly released the four women the next day, along with a child. While additional detainees have reportedly been released, an undetermined number remain in custody. A judge told family members that all those held will be charged with consumption of alcohol and hamjensgarai (homosexual conduct).

Family members have apparently not been allowed to see those detained, and they have been denied lawyers.

“When the authorities break doors and bones in the name of morality, the rule of law is reduced to a mockery,” said Stork.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Tinky's Revenge

A summation of the Rev. Jerry Falwell:

From his pre-Moral Majority days when he preached against religious folk supporting the civil rights movement, to his support for President Ronald Reagan-backed contra movements in Central America and Africa, movements that were responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people, to his invective against Nelson Mandela and South Africa's African National Congress and his support for the apartheid regime, Falwell has been a Republican Party stalwart and a dependable voice of reaction.

From accusing Tinky-Winky, a character on the popular British children's television show "Teletubbies," of being gay, to being involved in a video entitled, "The Clinton Chronicles: An Investigation into the Alleged Criminal Activities of Bill Clinton," which accused President Clinton of being involved in a covert cocaine-smuggling operation, to blaming pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays and the American Civil Liberties Union for the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Falwell has had more than his fair share of embarrassing moments.

On a broadcast of Pat Robertson's 700 Club, shortly after the Twin Towers fell, Falwell said: "I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen."

Now he's dead.

Ding, dong. the fat pig is dead.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

PlanetOut of Control

Back in April, the saucy blog Queerty snooped out the first warning signs from financial news reports. In its article, PlanetOut Going Down faster Than Mark Foley on a Senate Page, it states:

Down on page 15 of their 2006 SEC filing, PlanetOut can't keep up the charade any longer and just admits it:

"We have a history of significant losses," they declare, outlining a litany of past failures and the myriad events that could lead to the company going out of business altogether. "If we do not regain and sustain profitability," the filing continues, "our financial condition and stock price could suffer."

Well, it did. And it continues to suffer. As the largest owner of gay media in America—their trading symbol is "LGBT" for crying out loud—one has to wonder what the consequences would be if PlanetOut (and all its subsidiaries:,,, The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler, HIVPlus, was suddenly no more.

What's that? You say you're shocked to find Queerty knows its way around an SEC filing? Well, hold onto your chiseled asses, then, boys, because you're going to be downright shocked when you read what John Carney of Dealbreaker said when we asked if he could give us a true pro's opinion on the reasons behind PlanetOut's ongoing 12-month decline...

Here's how John put it:

"All stock prices move because of the aggregate effect of buying and selling of investors and traders on stock exchanges. That's the universal DealBreaker answer to all these kind of questions because we're not stock analysts and we're very short post-hoc explanations of stock and market movements. "Short" is Wall Street speak for "we don't believe it works.

But we've never let our lack of expertise get in the way of sharing our opinions before so we won't start here. PlanetOut has a chart that's almost painful to look at. It's slid from highs a couple of years back around twelve bucks down to Vonage territory. The company has been chopped-down by Wall Street analysts, who have noted declining revenues from ads and travel biz. Mounting debt and insider sale last year probably don't help. It's not clear what the companies core business is. Is it a publishing company? A travel site? A web 2.0 portal? Investors don't like companies when they can't tell what it's supposed to be doing.

To make matters worse, at start of the year PlanetOut adopted a "Shareholder's Rights Plan" which is the phrase companies use to describe something better known as a poison pill. Basically, it's a device that prevents an outside shareholder from acquiring the company without the consent of the insiders. These things hold down stock prices because they make acquisitions less likely and discourage outsiders from acquiring substantial portions of the company. No one has ever successfully swallowed a poison pill."

Then, CNBC caught up on this news in PlanetOut Dives in Widened First Quarter Loss.

Shares of media company PlanetOut Inc., which creates media and entertainment for the gay and lesbian market, plunged to an all-time low Thursday after the company said its first-quarter loss widened on decreased sales and higher operating costs.

PlanetOut shares fell 63 cents, or 25.3 percent, to $1.86 in afternoon trading. Earlier, shares traded as low as $1.45, well below their 52-week low of $2.38.

Late Wednesday, PlanetOut reported its first-quarter loss totaled $6.9 million, or 39 cents per share, compared with a loss of $132,000, or a penny per share, in the same period last year. On an adjusted basis, the company recorded a loss of $6.6 million, or 38 cents per share, in the recent quarter.

The company's quarterly revenue declined to $16.8 million from $17.6 million in the year-ago quarter.

Operating costs grew to $23.3 million from $17.7 million in the year-ago period, as revenue costs grew to $12.3 million from $9.4 million.

The company also lowered its full-year revenue outlook to between $70 million and $75 million, with an adjusted loss of $700,000 to $900,000. In February, PlanetOut forecast 2007 sales of $75 million to $80 million, with adjusted income of up to $2 million.

In a note to clients Thursday, Roth Capital Partners analyst Richard Ingrassia wrote the company's results were disappointing, and that the company "remains a work in progress."

"Management believes it will now take 12 to 24 months to complete the turnaround," he wrote.

Ingrassia rates the stock "Buy" with a $6 price target.

Today, The San Francisco Chronicle caught up, and repeated the bad news in Cash Crisis Closing in on PlanetOut:

After becoming the dominant media company for the gay community, PlanetOut Inc. is now just trying to survive.

The San Francisco owner of, along with the Advocate and Out magazines, disclosed this week that it will run out of money before the end of the year without an infusion of cash.

The dire situation is a consequence of PlanetOut's declining subscriptions for personal ads, a shortfall in advertising revenue and trouble booking passengers on its gay-oriented cruises.

A dismal first-quarter earnings report on Wednesday hammered the reality home. Virtually every piece of the business needs fixing, according to management.

In the report, PlanetOut said it lost $6.9 million in its fiscal first quarter, compared with a $132,000 loss a year earlier. Revenue totaled $16.8 million, down from $17.6 million during the same period a year ago.

Spooked by the results, investors sent PlanetOut's shares tumbling 33 percent over two days to close Friday at $1.64, the lowest point since the company's initial public offering three years ago.

Look for a Bay Area Reporter article out on Thursday.

You can keep up on this downward trend at Yahoo's Financial Stock News.

One Queerty comment states:

PNO could have been something if it weren't for the politics and the egos of upper management that made decisions based solely on what would look good to others, or add to their resume. The worst part is that while all of this was going on, there were/are some truly talented and committed people who worked long hours and made sacrifices in salary and career to be a part of something that 'could have been'.

Well, call me Cassandra.

Seven years ago, when the initial merger of PlanetOut and was imminent, I was quoted in an article "Gay Monopoly in Cyberspace about it:

One backdrop to the PlanetOut debate is the debacle of Australia's Satellite Group, a gay media and real estate company that went public last year, only to end up in receivership with seven gay publications shuttered. To someone like Jim Provenzano of San Francisco, a freelance writer and former PlanetOut staffer, the lesson of Satellite is that one company should not control so many publications.

"The collapse of Australia's gay media may serve as a harbinger of the media blackout that could happen if financial truths are belatedly faced by the U.S. version," Provenzano said.

To [CEO Megan] Smith at PlanetOut, however, Satellite's failure proves just the opposite: "We have no desire to go the way of Satellite media in Australia. We want to make a strong, profitable company."

Well, neither Megan nor I work for them anymore, and that dream of a profit never happened.

A little history: I wrote for The Advocate in the early 1990s, when it was making money, then again a few times in 2000.

I worked at the SF-based before it merged with the NY-chat-focused This was in 1997-1998.

In 2000, I worked for less than six months for PlanetOut, which had moved to a big warehouse space on Harrison.

On my first bike ride to work, I was doored by a car, actually a City-owned car driven by an employee of the SF Mental Health Services. That should have been a warning.

As with the very unpleasant experience with, my boundless creativity was reigned in by uncreative, unimaginative and utterly dotcom-dopey superiors with little grasp of the LGBT community.

For, my ideas were trashed, ridiculed and only later stolen or accepted when my "co-producers" couldn't think up new ideas. A few coworkers with whom I had unpleasant relations were fired while I was in Amsterdam at Gay Games V in 1998.

For PlanetOut, I did get some good articles - Gay comics, homophobia in rap and hiphop, Gad Beck, a gay holocaust survivor - in between being basically forced to travel to the bloated Millennium March on Washington (where entire bags of cash went missing), its related Equality Rocks concert, and two GLAAD Awards.

Celebrity pap
with no byline, interspersed with some good content, and all of this sprinkled with coworkers providing obtuse sexual harassment and persnickety backstabbing.

But the cherry on the PlanetOut cake was when PNO decided to sponsor World Pride Rome in July 2000. In its choice over which staff members were to go to Rome, they chose only senior staff members, none of whom could speak Italian. I and three others who could were not chosen to go.

One reporter got a translator hired for him. So, I took my well-deserved vacation time - a week- and went to Rome myself.

Bumping into a few executives -sent all expenses paid, with partners, of course- was fun enough. Telling off my boss's boss why I would not be returning to work for them - all in Italian- was more fun.

So, here we are, seven years later, and despite millions invested, and reinvested, the largest gay media conglomorate -my three-time former employer- is about to collapse like the ancient Roman empire.

That is, unless some naive and rich fool wants to pour another $15 million into a lumbering media hybrid that's doing exactly what sceptics -and no doubt a lot of other former employees– said it would.

Schadenfreude Sundae, anyone?

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


Amid so much bad news, there is good.

Many more Iraq War veterans are speaking out against the Bushco bumbling and the immense failure there. They're also rather media-savvy, too.

Gen. Wesley Clark has a lot of clips and quotes on his website.

He's alligned with the big media burst for

Among them are many former military commanders who know from personal experience how mismanaged and horrendous things are in Iraq.

We know that, from what little truthful news comes forth, now that the years of "embedded" (i.e. propagandistic) media have gone back to their studios.

Iraq Veteran and Freshman House-Members Joe Sestak and Patrick Murphy support a resolution against the troop escalation that will be debated for the next two days in Congress.

In this clip, Jon Soltz, Iraq War Veteran and Chair of, discusses the group’s work. Melanie Morgan, a radio talk show host, bizarrely tries to argue that’s thousands of veterans don’t represent… thousands of veterans?

Of course, Chimpoleon, with his Arab emirs and military contractors ruling his tiny brain, has threatened to pull another veto hissyfit.

Where the hell is A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism) these days? Why aren't there more massive protests? Why did they fizzle out?

Well, I don't know. They're apparently planning another march/protest May 23 in New London (in the state of... Connecticut?).

SF's branch may once again have a march, as long as it isn't obsessing about Mumia, I'll stop by, if it isn't overrun by anarchist doofs and Che Guevera poseurs.

Protesting just ain't what it used to be around my town. marchign in the streets seems futile, when what really proves a point these days is actual veterans of this war launching multimedia campaigns against it.

And still, it continues, full force.

But elsewhere, more people continue to protest, in small personal ways, with a rugged tenacity, like the tenacity of a mere 24 activists in rainy Minnesota, who were arrested for protesting the Iraq occupation, including this endearing elder woman.

It just shows that there are no age limits to standing up for your rights and your opinion.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

It's a Book!

Okay, a little sneak preview for the small group of folks who've migrated from the Sports Complex or other readership.

Cyclizen is published! Sort of.

Still a few glitches with the cover art, and perhaps a few typos, but the "preview" version is available to the public for sale only on They're my new favorite DIY publisher, much more fun and easier to deal with than previous companies that were not flexible and charged too much.

Check out my hunky cover model Patricio! And let me know what you think of the book as I roll it out. It won't be online at other retailers like for weeks, nor in bookstores for a few weeks, so order it online now! I make a few more $$ this way, too).


Thursday, May 3, 2007

LAPD Thugfest on May Day

One of the more disturbing aspects of being part of an activist movement was the acknowledged presence of infiltrators, particularly government spies who participated in activist organizations. This has been going on for years.

When I was in ACT UP New York in the late 1980s-early 1990s, we had a few people who were suspected informants, but that was rather absurd, considering our meetings were open to anyone. The regular announcement each Monday at meetings in the LGBT Community Center's hall went something like, "If there are any members of law enforcement, you are required to identify yourselves now..." Of course none of them did. And every activity of the AIDS activist group was known by the police, and in some cases, the FBI.

Yet, we got our actions done, for the most part, with only minor interference from some who served as "liasons" to the police. Sometimes actions had to be curtailed or shifted across a street, or cordoned behind barricades.

But it wasn't very often that we had a member who would die and then have his real identity revealed.

Such was the case in Fresno, of all places:

Members of the organization Peace Fresno were recently shocked when they found out that one of their participants, Aaron Stokes, died in a motorcycle accident. An obituary published in the local newspaper in late August showed Aaron's picture. But the name under the picture was not Aaron Stokes. It was Aaron Kilner - an undercover detective who was working for the Fresno County Sheriff's department. He was also a member of the local anti-terrorism unit. Kilner was 26 years old and the father of two girls.

Peace Fresno activists are concerned that an undercover officer attending their meetings is in violation of their personal liberties and civil rights. Fresno County sheriff Richard Pierce would not answer whether or not Kilner was attending meetings but asserted that he "was not and is not the subject of any investigation by the Fresno County Police Department." But in a statement issued October 2, Pierce declared, "For the purpose of detecting or preventing terrorist activities, the Fresno County Sheriff's Department may visit any place and attend any event that is open to the public, on the same terms and conditions as members of the public generally."

Of course, we all know what a hotbed of potential terrorist activities Fresno is known for! How utterly ridiculous. This kind of inane infiltration continues in activist groups all over. Some of the more radical groups have insiders working to foment violence and give police the nudge to get violent in return, as they did yesterday at immigration rights rallies in Los Angeles.

From inside the park, the first warning was a single thud. Then a line of squad cars, sirens wailing, raced down 6th Street and turned onto S. Park View to 7th Street. Crowds from the street began pouring into the south end of the park, as parents scooped up children from impromptu wrestling matches and pulled them out of trees where they had climbed. Finally a helicopter overheard blared out the dispersal order, telling the crowd to leave the park and return to their cars. Another round of cop cars tore down the crowded street.

"I've been in protests in the '50s, the '60s, '70's. I've never seen anything like this," an elderly woman reported. She had been on Alvarado when the cops had charged. The people had lifted the woman over a fence onto private property, where the owner offered her sanctuary. Her daughter, frantically seeking her child as she retreated, was batoned in the stomach three times by a pig who said she wasn't moving back "fast enough."

As the police entered the park, vendors at the entrance frantically tried to escape with their carts. Organization members desperately tried to clear tables and literature in the path of the incursion. Roughly eighty pigs formed a diagonal line and marched across the park, sweeping everybody into a shrinking semicircle.

The police used foam and bean bag bullets against the people in the park. At least one guy left with blood soaking through his white T-shirt and a massive bruise already forming. Foam bullets carry the impact of a 95 m.p.h. fastball or a baseball bat. Last month, David K. Maxson from McHenry County, Illinois died in a "justified" police shooting with a beanbag gun.

For more on this heinous incident, visit Included are links to Telemundo videos showing the police brutality. The TV screencap shows an LAPD cop pointing a rifle at a guy holding a US flag. That's not something you'll see on the other (white-corporate-owned) news.

This is the increasing risk one faces when participating in protests that are set up to be peaceful. One person simply has to throw something - an infiltrator given that task, perhaps- and the riot police are gleefully set to pounce on old women, children, and hundreds of people who simply came to march and wave a flag.

For what? to "protect" a park?

No, to silence dissent.