Friday, July 25, 2008

Sorry We Asked, Sorry You Told

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post (and a frequent commentator on Countdown with Keith Olbermann) wrote a column for the paper's website entitled Sorry We Asked, Sorry You Told. In it, he reports on some of the testimony given by one of the biggest fans of the failed & unnecessary "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy. Just reading what Elaine Donnelly, who is founder and president of the Center for Military Readiness & who is fighting to keep DADT, made my blood boil! Watching her on the clips I've seen on YouTube only reinforces my indignation!

What Dana does, however, is explain that Donnelly's obvious homophobia & insistence on perpetrating the same old lines & the same old lies has actually helped in advancing our cause. Not that DADT will be repealed as long as Bush is in office or if his comrade-in-arms, John McCain wins in November, as McCain has said he sees no reason to scrap the program either. Senator Obama has made it clear, however, that he will work to kill the program as Commander-in-Chief.

Some video of Donnelly's interaction with an Iraqi-War-vet-turned-Congressman Patrick Murphy:


Some video of retired Staff Sergeant Eric Alva (the very first US soldier injured in Bush Jr.'s Iraq War & whom George Bush called a "hero"--before he knew Alva is gay). Alva, who is openly gay, says he risked his life & lost his leg to fight for freedoms that, ironically, he himself doesn't get to enjoy.


The Go By Bike Challenge

Believe it or not, it's not ALL bad news about the price of fuel these days! Of course, for many Americans, it means having to use the car less, but it also means that most of us may get the chance to walk or bike more...which is a win-win-win-win situation!

The nation wins by lessening our nation's dependence on fossil fuels;

The environment gets a break from the ever-increasing CO2 emissions (footprints) that we each produce prodigiously in our current, fast-paced drive-thru lifestyle;

Your wallet wins, of course, because you don't have to take so many depressing trips to the "filling station" (as they used to call it on The Andy Griffith Show);

Your health wins because finding methods of transport that don't even involve fuel (i.e. your tennis shoes &/or your bike) and the resultant exercise gives you a chance to keep your cardiovascular system in tip-top shape.

The Trek Bike Company estimates that 40% of our trips in fuel-driven vehicles are of distances of 2 miles or less!!! So biking when you can (especially on these short trips from home) is just a nice little thing we can all do with probably only a minimum of sacrifice to help take better care of this fragile planet, as well as those of us who call it home.

Trek--in what is obviously a gimmick to sell more of their products (I already own a Trek Bike & I love it)--has created a website called "1 World 2 Wheels" (http://www.1world2wheels.org/), where you can go & pledge to bike to as many places as it is feasible for you to do. You can visit their website from time to time to see how the pledges are going & Trek has even created a little widget that you can post on your blog to keep track of how many miles of non-fuel-generated traveling we're all pledging (even if it's not done on a Trek bike)! I even have one of their widgets at the bottom of this blog, if you want to take a look.

As of the writing of this post (7/25), over 12,500 people have pledged nearly 4 million biking miles--saving nearly as many pounds of Carbon Dioxide from being released in the atmosphere, burning over 187 million calories & saving over $875,000 in gas money.

So, considering how painful it is to have to face another gas pump & boosting Big Oil's bottom line, you can turn that frown upside down by getting up & getting your (human) motor running and taking the "Go By Bike" Challenge.

As Nike always says, "Just Do It."

Live From Berlin, it's Barack Obama...

Well, it's actually recorded from yesterday, but I watched it live at the time he gave the speech (thanks to CNN) & was just again impressed (as I usually am) by his ability to speak so forcefully & so eloquently of his audacious hope not just for a better country, but for a better world. Even people whose first language isn't English (or who may not speak English at all) share & can grasp that message. The over 200,000 people who packed into Berlin's Victory Column in the Tiergarten park could see that, obviously, as he noted in his speech, he doesn't look like "the Americans who have previously spoken" in the historic city of Berlin. Quite an appropriate observation from an American leader who is dedicated to changing so much about not just how the world sees Americans, but how we see ourselves.

The full speech is posted here...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Reason #5,765 that I love the junior senator from Illinois

NO...not his OBVIOUS expertise in basketball (that's reason #17,509).



NO...not that he has at least enough of a knowledge of geography that he knows that Iraq & Pakistan do not share a physical border (that's reason #213)



NO...not because he's aware of the countries that currently actually exist on this planet (that's reason #27).



Reason #5,765 is that he knows exactly what Fox "News" is...
(Sorry, no YouTube for this clip featuring the always glorious & magnificent Stephen Colbert).

Please do cut & paste it into your web browser, though, it's really worth it!!

http://www.crooksandliars.com/2008/07/22/the-colbert-report-barack-obama-snubs-fox-news/

Looks Like Obamamania has even found its way to Baghdad!

DADT's Days Numbered???


It just really does my heart good to see Democrats on Capitol Hill actively talking about gay rights in the midst of a presidential election season! To be sure, repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is an issue that apparently 3/4 of the nation agrees on now, so the Dems aren't exactly going out a limb for us, but with the problems of recruiting soldiers in the midst of an unpopular war & the sheer stupidity of kicking out highly-trained soldiers who refuse to lie about themselves, the Democrats obviously think this political fruit is ripe for the picking. Good for them (and us)!

Whatever the cause, I'm just glad to that we're all getting a chance to discuss the inanity of a policy that actively encourages secrets & lies.

It should be interesting to see & hear what those who actually still support the ban have to say at the hearing tomorrow. I'm sure that, where these fear-mongers are concerned, it'll be the same "homosexuals-are-a-demoralizing-threat-to-the-stability-of-a-cohesive-unit" argument that they have simply already done to death. Same old song, not even a new verse! I guess where these people are concerned, as it says in Ecclesiastes, there's just nothing new under the sun.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Speaking of GLBTQI People...

In this video, you will hear many inspiring words from Barack Obama as concerns his stand on equal rights for GLBTQI people & about the audacity of hoping for better than most of us have right now. I know it takes more than hope to change things in this world, and I know that hope alone can never be enough...but it does have to start with hope. When I hear this man's words & when I see that he has no problem speaking with respect about & to our community, my hope is renewed again. In Barack Obama, I see the crest of the tide of change for which so many of our hearts ache. He helps me believe that not only must we do better as a country & as a people, we can do better. YES, WE CAN.

Below is a video I found on the Queers United website that shows you a little more about the man who dares talk about the "Audacity of Hope" even for people like us...



Friday, July 18, 2008

Another bit of loveliness from the Capital of the World...

I simply cannot add A SINGLE THING to this WONDERFUL column by Mark Morford of SF Gate.com, so I will just let you read his awesome work of art. WARNING: Make sure you're not drinking anything that you don't want shooting out through your nose while you're reading it, though!! :-)

Link = http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=
/g/a/2008/07/11/notes071108.DTL

Totally Happy Gay Meals

It is the end of the nutball Christian right. Here is your proof. To go

Friday, July 11, 2008

Hey, remember the angry evangelicals? The quivering clan of militant Christoholics who propelled Bush into office and seized the national narrative for a few terrifying moments about five years back, ran deep into the woods with it and rubbed it all over their naughty bits in a frenzy of fear and confusion and lust for all things homophobic and saccharine and spiritually denigrating?

Dying. Nearly dead. Gasping their last. Very soon to be a footnote, a caricature, a gag, a punch line, blasted to the dustbin of history like dried housefly limbs after a sneeze. You should know this now.

Yes, you are right; they already were a caricature, a cultural pothole, a nasty rash in the armpit of society. But it wasn't all that long ago that they were, through a bizarre series of sociopolitical machinations still being parsed by baffled historians, a powerful rash, hugely newsworthy, as dangerous and unstoppable as they were wrongheaded and sad. Remember?

You were not much younger than you are right now. As the Bush era crested, as the neocons' power reached nuclear levels, when female nipples and f-words and evil gay agendas ruled the news, the evangelical Right -- led by the most virulent, spittle-flecked gaggle of mental throwbacks to ever stain the American newswires, Focus on the Family (Dr. James Dobson's clan) and the American Family Association and its nefarious leader, the Rev. Donald Wildmon -- these groups controlled, for a brief, awful moment, the national dialogue. They were the temporary arbiters of taste, the warped conscience of a freaked-out culture. And lo, it was ugly.

Rejoice, won't you? For their time is over.

Did you know the AFA recently boycotted McDonald's? That's right, this once semi-powerful tub of right-wing brain-caulk recently declared a comestible fatwa against America's foremost purveyor of toxic foodstuffs because, apparently, some high-ranking McD's VP just joined the board of directors of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, which, to the AFA, somehow translates directly into free pink condoms and mind-controlling rainbow flags in every toxic God-fearing Happy Meal.

Did you read about that? No? Of course you didn't. Here is why: No one cared. Well, that's not quite true. McDonald's sort of cared, just enough to write up a nice letter of response to Wildmon stating, in essence, that the AFA is a bunch of troglodytic knuckle-draggers with the sociosexual awareness of a fungal spore, and they should crawl away right now before God spanks them even harder with the 2x4 of total irrelevance.

I might be exaggerating. What they actually said was: Thank you, AFA, for your hateful consideration, but we support our employees' right to join whichever socially responsible and positive groups they like. And thusly did McD's flick the AFA away like a tick from a dog. Isn't that amazing?

Now, you may argue that McDonald's and the other megacorps that the AFA has tried to boycott in the past, including Wal-Mart (for selling "Brokeback Mountain" DVDs to unsuspecting toddlers), the Disney Corporation (for its overall corporate support of the evil gay agenda) and the Ford Motor Company (for advertising in gay magazines), aren't shrugging off Wildmon's wide-eyed cult out of the goodness of their gay-loving hearts. It's not like the majority of McD's honchos actually give a damn about gay rights, or gay marriage, or social justice, or the deeper aspects of love.

Nossir, they do so purely for economic reasons, because it's just good PR, because they are safe in the knowledge that the AFA's rantings have exactly zero effect on their bottom line and lots of their own employees are gay -- and by the way discrimination based on sexual orientation is thoroughly illegal -- and therefore it simply makes more business sense to support tolerance than it does to endorse homophobia and general spiritual stupidity. Isn't that right, Boy Scouts of America? You bet it is.

But wait just a second: Is it still not fascinating in this day and age that our most powerful capitalist companies, those most associated with mainstream, dumbed-down, unhealthy, rather uninformed Republican Americana, even these megacorps are now openly and rather shamelessly supporting gay rights and tolerance?

Is it not, concomitantly, interesting that no one at all cares a whit for what the hell the AFA has to say anymore? Is this not a sign of something interesting and sea-changing and good? I think it is. McD's, Wal-Mart, Ford and Disney utterly ignore the Christian Right? What's next, an articulate black intellectual president? Oh wait.

It is made all the more amusing, more comical and cute, by another recent tidbit, the final evidence you will need that the evangelical Right has returned to its original state of inbred silliness, and therefore it is very likely indeed that you will never have to read anything more about them ever again until Wildmon and Dobson join Jerry Falwell and Jesse Helms in the Great Gay Bath House in the sky.

It is this: The AFA's Web site apparently has (or rather, had, until just recently) an auto-filter installed. So utterly terrified of anything remotely gay are these kindly folk that whenever the word "gay" appeared in any news story on their site, their autobot automatically changed it to "homosexual." True.

Thus did it come to pass that many fine stories about American Olympic track and fieldster Tyson Gay become a whole lotta wacky stories about the epic struggles of some unlucky runner named "Tyson Homosexual" to post some good numbers in the 100-meter dash. Poor guy.

And that about does it. Your final proof that God laughs and snorts and doesn't give a flying McRib sandwich about any particular gaggle of humans, particularly those who profess that they know and love and worship him more violently and blindly than anyone else.

Somewhere in all this, a moral, a lesson. Perhaps a curious anecdote about how, in this country, it seems like every agenda, every stupid idea, every rancid fireball of ignorant religious fanaticism nevertheless gets its moment, its 15 minutes, its desperate shot at guiding the culture, just to see if it can, if there's something of value, if there's something to be learned.

And when it comes to the sad Christian nutballs, well, the lesson appears to be wildly obvious indeed: Avoid the sad Christian nutballs, now and forevermore. Hell, even God could've told you that.


Sounds fair to me...

I know that I should really, truly be above such pettiness, but for some reason this just tickles me. Reason #7,249 that I LOVE SAN FRANCISCO!!

[BTW the bold, italicized brackets inside the article below were added by me] :-)

http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/07/17/presidential.putdown.ap/index.html

Voters to decide on naming sewage plant for Bush

SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- A measure seeking to commemorate President Bush's years in office by slapping his name on a San Francisco sewage plant has qualified for the November ballot.

The measure certified Thursday would rename the Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant the George W. Bush Sewage Plant.

Supporters say the idea is to commemorate the mess they claim Bush has left behind by actions such as the war in Iraq.

Local Republicans [both of them] say the plan stinks and they will oppose it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Homos Not Wanted in OUR Neighborhood

While looking through the video files of WFTV, I found this interesting bit of ugliness in Orange County. Obviously, an east Orange County home owners association doesn't think same-sex or unmarried couples can be families (or at least the RIGHT kind of families) & they will only allow the owners of the homes in their subdivision to rent to married opposite-sex couples.

The reporter interviews a couple of people for this story, but don't look for anyone who represents Rybolt's Reserve subdivision to actually defend or explain their position, they didn't bother to respond to requests for an interview. Maybe if the reporter had told the HOA had clarified that she was MARRIED to a man, they'd have gladly submitted to an interview.

The City of Orlando has an ordinance that prevents housing discrimination based on sexual orientation, but--alas--Orange County does not, so the homophobes operate with impunity!

http://www.wftv.com/video/16892512/index.html

Vote for a Democrat, Doom Your Country!


Who says the Republicans haven't wrung every drop of false fear they can out of the tragedy of 9/11???

Apparently the guy who paid for & put up this billboard at the corner of John Young Parkway & Orange Blossom Trail thinks there is still political mileage to eke out one of the darkest events in our history (I forget, who was President on Sept. 11, 2001??? Was that Bill Clinton?? Maybe Jimmy Carter?? Could it have been the person who REALLY won the 2000 election, President Al Gore???).

Just thought I'd let you see this piece of Republican dirty politics in all its "glory"!

Here's the story from WFTV:
http://www.wftv.com/news/16879991/detail.html

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Get married. Go To Jail. Go Directly To Jail.

Go To Jail. Go Directly To Jail.

Sounds like the boardgame, Monopoly, doesn't it?

But it's not. Unfortunately, this is no game. It's what can happen to you if you’re a same-sex couple residing in Wisconsin & you plan to get hitched in California.

Should you dare to commit such an illegal act & then bring your Golden State Marriage Certificate back home to the Badger State, you risk trouble (and I DON'T mean that other board game!)...

Here’s a video report from CNN:

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2008/07/09/dnt.wi.same.sex.jail.wkow

Here’s the info from the GLBTQI rights website, Fair Wisconsin…

http://www.fairwisconsin.com/

Friday, July 4, 2008

Jesse Helms Dead at 86

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/07/04/conservative-icon-senator_n_110867.html

I never agreed with him & I am disgusted at what he did to make people like me feel like second-class citizens & less-than-human.

As with his brother-in-arms, Jerry Falwell, I will not miss him; I will not pretend I am sad that he is gone; and, I will not heap fake praise on a human being so undeserving. I do, however, wish his family quick relief of pain at their obvious loss, and pray that God is much more merciful with Sen. Helms than the Senator was with his "enemies" on earth.

The Muppets Take Philadelphia!

On the auspicious occasion of the U.S. of A.'s 232nd birthday, I'd like to present this is a clip from a 1982 TV special called "I Love Liberty," (produced by People For The American Way founder, Norman Lear) featuring the Muppets and Martin Sheen!

Norman Lear? Martin Sheen? The U.S. Constitution?? Who knew the Muppets associated themselves with such radicals?!?!

God, I love stealth subversives!!

Enjoy...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

1-866-4U-TREVOR

Not sure how many of you have ever heard of the Trevor Helpline, but it is a 24/7 toll-free phone number that is dedicated to GLBTQI teens who are in need of a kind, understanding voice who won't judge them or try to change them--just listen to them & help them. Unfortunately, they gets lots of calls--15,000 calls per year--from GLBTQI kids, many who feel like they can't go on.

The Trevor Helpline was named for the 1994 Academy Award winning short film, "Trevor", which Amazon.com describes thusly:

Trevor constists of diary excerpts narrated by their author, a buoyantly charming 13 year old (Brett Barsky) who loves to lip-sync to Diana Ross records, gets excited looking at photos of men, and develops a crush on the most popular boy in school, Pinky Faraday (Jonah Rooney), who befriends him. Trevor's world comes crashing down when his true feelings for Pinky are discovered. Mocked by classmates and branded a "fairy", Trevor is shunned by his new best friend and attempts to kill himself in a scene that is both heart wrenching and darkly funny, but as played by Brett Barsky, Trevor is no victim. You can be certain that his enthusiasm and developing sense of self will see him through.
I saw it when it was shown on HBO & then I had to buy the DVD! It's a wonderful little film that not only sends out a message to the world that it's tough to be a teen NO MATTER WHAT YOUR SEXUAL ORIENTATION but that it's even harder for GLBTQI kids, who just don't look or feel or act like most other teens. It's why the suicide rate amongst GLBTQI kids is so high. According to the website Religious Tolerance.org, nearly 1 out of every 3 kids who commit suicide are GLBTQI!

Anyway, it's a great little film if you've never seen it!

The reason I am posting this is because CNN has an article about the Trevor Helpline. I hope that, being in such a prominent place on the world wide web, more people (and more kids) will see & hear about it & understand that there is hope & help out there.

I hope you get a chance to read it & that you will spread the word about the Trevor Helpline, too! :-)

http://www.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/07/02/trevor.project/index.html

24-hour help for gay youth

by Jacque Wilson
CNN

(CNN) -- The transgendered woman on the other end of the line was threatening to kill herself by jumping off of a parking structure. The Trevor Helpline counselor who answered the phone worked to get the 24-year-old calm and immediately called police for help.

Exactly one month later, that same woman called the helpline back -- to thank them for saving her life.

Stories like these are the reason The Trevor Project operates its helpline, the only nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention number for gay and questioning youth. More than 500 volunteers are trained for 40 hours to run the bicoastal call centers.

"There's a high level of stress that youth face in the transition from youth to adulthood," Charles Robbins, executive director of The Trevor Project, said. "Add on top of that the challenges of sexual orientation or gender identity and we get 15,000 calls a year."

A 2005 Massachusetts Department of Education survey of 3,500 high school students, in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found almost 11 percent have seriously considered suicide. And that percentage is almost four times as high for 10 to 24-year-olds who identify themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual.

"Because of the unfortunate stigma that still exists in the United States around homosexuality ... youth tend to hold back their feelings, don't disclose, live in denial or shame," Robbins said.

Every year The Trevor Project honors one individual who publicly works to reject that stigma and helps in the group's overall goal: to promote the acceptance of gay and questioning youth in society. This year's honoree, actor Alan Cumming, has been "unapologetic, and true to himself," Robbins said.

"Anything that helps those people have a voice and have someone to talk to and have somewhere to turn is really important," Cumming said. "Suicide is in the top three causes of death for teens. That's a shocking statistic."

The Trevor Project began in 1998, named after the short film "Trevor" that won an Academy Award in 1994. To encourage open discussions about suicide, personal identity and sexual orientation, the organization created The Trevor Survival Kit. The kit includes the DVD of "Trevor" and a classroom teaching guide.

"All of these resources are helpful and necessary for gay and questioning youth because it's important for them to understand that they are not alone, that there is a safe place for them to find someone to listen, and most importantly, that their lives are valuable," Jacqueline Wing, communications manager for The Trevor Project, wrote in an email.

For more information on The Trevor Project, or to see a list of suicide warning signs, visit www.thetrevorproject.org. To contact the helpline, call 1-866-488-7386 or (866) 4.U.TREVOR.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

McCain vs Obama: Advocate-style....

McCain's Advocate report:

John McCain’s position on California’s marriage amendment has officially switched from supporting the voters’ right to define marriage as they see fit to endorsing efforts to prohibit same-sex marriage by amending the state’s constitution, according to a statement by the Log Cabin Republicans.

ProtectMarriage.com, the group leading the charge to constitutionally ban gay marriage in California via a ballot measure, published the following statement from the McCain campaign on its website last Thursday: “I support the efforts of the people of California to recognize marriage as a unique institution between a man and a woman, just as we did in my home state of Arizona. I do not believe judges should be making these decisions.” The wording varies from the campaign’s original statement following the state supreme court’s May decision to legalize gay marriage, which asserted that McCain supported “the right of the people of California to recognize marriage as a unique institution sanctioning the union between a man and a woman…”

Conservative organizations such the Christian Broadcasting Network wasted no time hailing the new statement as an endorsement of the antimarriage amendment. But until Tuesday, Log Cabin representatives said the campaign itself had neither confirmed nor denied that the Arizona senator had in fact changed his position from neutrality to active support.

A statement released Tuesday by the Log Cabin Republicans read, “Late last week, the group pushing California’s antimarriage constitutional amendment released an e-mail from a McCain staffer saying the senator backed the amendment. We now have confirmation that this represents the senator’s view.”

Log Cabin president Patrick Sammon asserted in the statement that supporting the amendment is inconsistent with McCain’s belief in federalism. “Unfortunately, his position on this amendment hurts gay and lesbian families. We obviously disagree with Senator McCain on this issue and do not believe he should have interjected himself into this state issue,” Sammon said in the release. “Backing California’s ban sends the wrong signal to the independents who will decide this election because it creates the impression that he’s pandering to social conservative leaders.” McCain held a closed meeting in Ohio late last week with social conservative leaders, around the time the new statement appeared on ProtectMarriage.com.

Sammon, who has met several times with McCain’s campaign staff and once with the senator himself, declined to discuss the nature of those meetings or whether the senator had indicated what his official stance on California’s ballot measure would be.

Senator McCain’s campaign did not return phone calls for this article. His stance on other marriage ballot measures -- such as Florida’s or one that just qualified for the November ballot in his home state of Arizona -- remains unclear. (Kerry Eleveld, The Advocate)


Obama's Advocate report:

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama took a strong stand this weekend against a constitutional amendment to appear on California’s ballot in November that would effectively overturn the state supreme court’s recent decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

In a letter to the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club read yesterday at the group's annual Pride Breakfast [see link to letter below], Senator Obama wrote, “I am proud to join with and support the LGBT community in an effort to set our nation on a course that recognizes LGBT Americans with full equality under the law … that is why I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states.”

A campaign spokesperson confirmed the authenticity of the letter, the full text of which is available below.

“For too long, issues of LGBT rights have been exploited by those seeking to divide us. It’s time to move beyond polarization and live up to our founding promise of equality by treating all our citizens with dignity and respect,” the senator wrote.

Obama also stated his support for “extending fully equal rights and benefits to same-sex couples under both state and federal law,” and reiterated his desire to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and “don’t ask, don’t tell” as well pass legislation to protect LGBT American against hate crimes and employment discrimination. Obama closed the letter by congratulating those who have chosen to celebrate their love by getting married in the past several weeks. (The Advocate)

Read Barack's letter to the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club here.