Friday, October 05, 2007

Another DC Closet Case? Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. That would be the shoes of Representative Pat McHenry (R-NC) who it turns out owns a home with another man in Washington DC. He also took a homestead exemption on his taxes on that home while he still was a registered voter in North Carolina.

McHenry is not the only same-sex homeowner couple in the Republican Party. Condi Rice owns a home with a woman in Palo Alto, California. Now I would never make a big deal of GLBT folks buying homes together, or for that matter even straight men and women doing it, but I have to wonder when the whole story will come out. Mike Rogers, known for outing the DC political set, has the story at

Jon Stewart on Bush Children's Health Care Veto

One again Stewart nails this and in doing so shows Bush for what he is, a tool of corporate America.

Blogging From Austin This Weekend

This weekend I am in Austin, Texas. Not only is the city the capitol of Texas, it’s the capitol of funkiness in Texas. From the eclectic cafes to the ubiquitous live music, Austin has a character that is decidedly unlike any other city in Texas. I don’t know if it’s the waters of the Colorado River that flows through the center of town or the crunchy-granola vibe that emanates from the University of Texas. Whatever it is the city is both charming and absolutely maddening.

The streets are in a continual state of “under construction” and everyone drives like my grandmother. No one in Austin wears real fashion, just a hodgepodge of slacker wear, sandals and an occasional rumpled suit. Such is the laid back scene here. It’s as though Berkley, California was dropped right in the middle of the Bible Belt. You gotta love that dichotomy.

I am here for the Central Texas Boys of Leather anniversary party. These “boys” are all adult before anyone gets any odd ideas, and they invited me to come down and give a class of one of my favorite BDSM activities. I will spare the uninitiated the details, but suffice to say it will be fun!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Judge Denies Senator Craig's "Do Over"

Too bad Larry, you will have to live with your guilty plea! A Minnesota Judge rejected Senator Larry Craig’s attempt to withdraw his guilty plea to disorderly conduct. Craig as everyone knows was arrested in a sting in a public bathroom in the Minneapolis airport trying to solicit sex from a male undercover officer. Since then he had hoped the matter would disappear, but it didn’t.

Craig hedged his bets saying “I intend to resign” from the Senate, however that means he intended but might not. Well the judge didn’t buy his argument that he didn’t intend to solicit sex, so I wonder if he will actually resign now and give it a rest?

Craig is not gay, being gay would mean he was open about his sexual preferences. Craig says he is a heterosexual man, he just wants to have sex with other men. Being gay would indicate a healthy acceptance of your orientation; instead Craig is one sick puppy and needs to figure out what he really wants. Hope you find out some day Larry, but do it in private.

Take Action on ENDA!

How's This For Funny? More Poisoned Chinese Toys!

Here’s a funny one. So you recall a bunch of toys because they contain poisonous levels of lead paint. As an apology you send your customers a free gift toy to retain their business. Now here’s the fun part, wait for it… Now you find that gift has lead in it too and have to recall the gift! Is that a knee slapper or what?

Thousands of Thomas & Friends toys were recalled back in June and the company sent out free gifts to customers who returned the poisoned toys. The gifts are now being recalled for lead paint. No joke.

I will ask the question again and again, how many more times will companies get burned by poisoned Chinese goods before they realize that China is not a safe place for manufacturing. Someone with a brain could open a toy company here in the United States and manufacture toys right here, and even though they would cost more, the public would buy them. When is someone going to realize this? The economics of having to recall your products is going to take a toll on profits eventually. Globalization is not bad, but having absolutely no product quality and safety controls is!

HRC Board Member Resigns Over ENDA Flap

Looks like the HRC has really screwed the pooch with their wishy-washy stance on the ENDA bill and the possibility of dropping transgendered people from it. Board member Donna Rose has resigned in protest. Donna was the first and only openly transgendered person on the board of the Human Rights Campaign. Because of the dust up regarding the Employee Non-Discrimination Bill she has walked out, leaving HRC with no openly transgendered people on its board.

I hate to see the GLBT community split like this but I have to support her actions. Throwing Transgendered people under the bus in order to get a watered down ENDA passed is a crappy way to cave to the bigots in Congress. Time to add an asterisk to that equals sign hat HRC uses as their logo. In fine print it should say, “*equality for everyone but transgendered people, and anyone else we find politically incorrect.”

The whole thing reminds me of the prejudice towards leathermen and drag queens back in the early days of the Gay Rights movement. The politically astute gay men forgot that Stonewall was started by drag queens and supported by leathermen. Time for HRC to get over itself and affirm that transgendered folk are just as queer as the rest of us.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Al Jazeera Cameraman Held Prisoner Since 2001 Near Death in Guantanamo

So I guess most of you have forgotten about the prison at Guantanamo. I had, until I was jolted from my temporary memory loss by an article on Al Jazeera. Seems during the sweep of arrests in the Afghan invasion, the US picked up a cameraman for Al Jazeera working in the area. After the arrest he was never charged with any crimes but was whisked away to Guantanamo without any charges or explanation.

Sami Al-Hajj, the cameraman, has been on a hunger strike to get attention to his situation. According to a fellow inmate who was released on Sept 25, “His health condition is extremely deteriorating. He is losing weight continuously. He suffers from kidney infection and he urinates blood."

Sources say health care at the prison is minimal at best and they fear for his life. Additionally, as with many prisoners at Guantanamo, there are allegations of torture.

Isn’t it time this crap stops? What kind of country have we become that we arrest people without charges and torture them? That is certainly not the America I grew up in, and 9/11 or no 9/11 it shouldn’t be America today. Come on Ms. Pelosi, let’s put impeachment back on the table!

Bush Vetos Health Care for Poor Kids in Secret Ceremony

Working behind closed doors is the standard operating procedure for the Bush Administration. The only time you see Bush or Cheney is in a staged press photo opportunity or a carefully controlled press conference. No surprise then that Bush vetoed the State Children’s Health Insurance Plan in secret.

You see, health care for lower or middle income children is just not a priority for Bush. As an employee of the businesses in the war industry, healthy kids just don’t get much attention. I guess if there had been a provision for purchasing more V-22 Osprey aircraft (that’s the one that falls from the sky so often) it might have passed. No guns or bullets, and no signature with this administration.

Bush justifies his despicable actions with the specter of “Socialized Medicine”. We are supposed to cower in the corner and clutch our insurance cards and quake in fear when we hear those words. In reality millions of American’s cannot get health insurance, while the rich get untaxed benefits of lavish health plans and the President and Congress get their health care on our dime. SCHIP would assure insurance for mostly children, from families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford their own private coverage. The problem with that? Well private insurance companies might miss out on a few more bucks in their coffers from these marginalized groups, and God forbid we deprive big business of profits!

So, in the secrecy that Bush is so comfortable in, he makes a stroke of a pen and kids will be sick or die without health care. And Bush sleeps well at night knowing he has rescued the Insurance Lobby from a slight down turn in profits. Thanks Mr. President, for nothing!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Torture and Death in Iraq - Eyewitness Account

To say that things in Iraq are ugly would be the understatement of the 21st century. I read the blog of a friend in Iraq on a regular basis. His writing gives me an idea of what the real Iraqi people are facing in their everyday lives. A few weeks ago he told of his fears of Cholera, and now there are hundreds of cases of the disease in Baghdad. Now his blog details the creative ways the militias and Al Qaeda have found to kill and torture innocent civilians.

In his words, “it’s a blessing now if an Iraqi dies by a bullet or an explosion.” As to the techniques that have sprung up, “the militias and AQ (Al Qaeda) seems to enjoy killing and I think they look at it as an art or something.” He talks further about a torture referred to as “Drilling”. Since he is a dentist, I assumed it had something to do with teeth, but the reality is more horrific than even I could imagine.

The militias just take a power drill to the victim. They drill holes in the person until they confess to whatever crime they are seeking or they just die from loss of blood and shock. Why would anyone do this? Well the reasons are many, but one prominent “crime” is cooperating with the Americans. For that act you can be drilled or worse. Lately people are being beheaded for helping American troops. No wonder things are so difficult for our forces over there.

I tell you these stories not for any political reason, just to let you know that there are real people in Iraq who are suffering unimaginable tortures and hardships. Too often we look at Iraqis as some faceless group. We do not see the individuals that are trying to find some semblance of normal life in a country that has been flipped upside down and left in chaos.

Read Mohammed’s blog if you dare. It isn’t easy or fun. What I find amazing about it is that in the midst of this nightmare, he can still find the words to tell the world what is happening. That is a testament to his spirit and humanity. May Allah bless him and his family, and may the long nightmare that is the Iraq war be wiped away by the light of a new day.

ENDA Stalled Over Transgendered Inclusion

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act is hitting the skids before it even gets a vote. House leaders (and that is the Democrats damn it) are stalling the bill for a while. Here is the statement issued by Congresspersons Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, George Miller and Tammy Baldwin.

"After discussions with congressional leaders and organizations supporting passage of ENDA, we have agreed to schedule mark-up of the bill in the Committee on Education and Labor later this month, followed by a vote in the full House. This schedule will allow proponents of the legislation to continue their discussions with Members in the interest of passing the broadest possible bill."

Let me translate, “We are throwing transgendered people under the bus.”

The committee is reportedly taking “transgendered” out of the bill to assure its passage. I do not understand why this would be better. I know there are right-wing bigots in Congress who will vote against ENDA, but they will do that with or without the transgender part, so what gives?

Imagine a Civil Rights Bill that assures the rights of all Americans regardless of race, religion or national origin, except for Jamaicans and dark skinned Cubans. Think that is fair? Backing off from the idea of full equality will bring no victory. ENDA must contain guarantees of non discrimination for gay lesbian bisexual and transgendered people or it will be morally flawed.

As Dr. Martin Luther King said, “When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.”

Monday, October 01, 2007

A Day at Jury Duty - Now I Need a Chiropractor

It is a mind numbing exercise, Jury Duty. I have a great respect for our judicial system and would want a jury of my piers to decide my fate should I ever be accused of a crime, but there has to be a better way to physically do it. Prospective jurors are herded from one uncomfortable waiting area to another like cattle, all the while being constantly told how important we are and how much the state appreciates our service. In reality we are a commodity. Enough supply for the demand. We are interchangeable parts to be used or discarded and that's the truth.

If only they would hold a bond election to buy more comfortable seats for waiting, it would pass overwhelmingly. The pews, for that is really what they are, that jurors wait in are hard wooden and straight backed and probably came from some strict Calvinist church where the discomfort was considered penance for sins real or imagined. After waiting for hours on end in these torturous seats, the simple act of standing comes as a relief.

Why couldn't they come up with a system of "call on demand" jury where your cell phone wold ring if you were needed. You would be given a time window where you would be "on call" and wold be required to be only an hour from the courthouse. I am sure there are lots of holes in that plan as well, but hey at least it's outside the box and not on the hardwood bench.

I personally would gladly wave my $6 service salary to go toward pads for the benches.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

21.7 Million Pounds of Beef Recalled!

Love deregulation? Then you will love this. 21.7 million pounds of ground beef are being recalled because of E-coli contamination. For the lucky “free-trade” American consumer it’s a non-stop parade of poisoned toys and food lately. The ground beef in question has been linked to 25 cases of the illness and was distributed in Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Maine, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

This is stuff produced by Topps Meat Company here in the United States and meat that had passed the USDA testing, allegedly. So, check your meat and don’t trust anything anymore. Gosh I love the free market!

Kucinich Proposes Forcing Vote on Cheney Impeachment

If Rep. Dennis Kucinich, and dark horse presidential candidate can actually do what he is talking about, he just switched me from an Obama backer. Kucinich said on the Ed Shultz Show that our government is basically out of control and “We have a government in place right now that has to be challenged. I'm seriously thinking about calling a privileged resolution on impeachment of the vice president and forcing a vote on the floor of the House."

It’s about time, and I suspect the majority of Americans will agree if he does it. Cheney and his government, for I do believe he is the real president, are drumming the beat for war with Iran so loud they have drowned out common sense. They must be stopped before they destroy America.

The real irony is that a conservative web site set up to impeach Bill Clinton gives the road map for the maneuver in the House of Representatives. He could do so in spite of House Speaker Pelosi’s refusal to bring the issue to a vote. Now we are talking!