Friday, May 21, 2010

How To Destroy A Landmark (Video)

This is what happens when you don't do your engineering studies prior to trying to move a century old landmark.  Not pretty and I suspect not very funny for the folks involved.

Rand Paul Says Obama Un-American for Criticizing BP (Hint to Paul, It's British)

Meanwhile in the "can this guy stick his foot any further down his throat" department Rand Paul is calling President Obama "un-American" for criticizing BP over the gulf oil disaster they caused. 

Paul is amazing in his ability to say precisely the wrong thing.  First he debates the virtues of the Civil Rights Bill, arguing that it infringes on the personal liberties of businesses to perpetuate racist policies and now this.  I believe he is trying to out "Palin" Sarah Palin!  Way to go Kentucky!

Tomorrow is Harvey Milk Day

Tomorrow, May 22 will mark the second observance of Harvey Milk Day in California. It was Harvey's birthday and it should be a day all people, LGBT or straight should observe. Milk sought to being people together to work for the common good. Funny, that sounds a lot like the same ideals of the founders of our country.

USA Today has a nice interview with Cleve Jones about Harvey. Cleve has been active in the LGBT movement since the days back in the Castro and was instrumental in the AIDS Quilt Project. Take a moment and listen to him.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Malawi Sentencing - Prison For Loving

As Steven Mojenza, 26, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, were sentenced to 14 years in prison for loving each other in the Malawi courtroom, Tiwonge made this statement.  I warn you it will make you cry.
"I love Steven so much. If people or the world cannot give me the chance and freedom to continue living with him as my lover, then I am better off to die here in prison. Freedom without him is useless and meaningless." Tiwonge Chimbalanga
 Meanwhile the politicians of  Malawi, the land locked, dirt-poor African country were belligerent of criticism by the international community.
"I do not think that in this particular case that these two people were prejudiced against," he said. "We have no law that criminalizes sexual orientation, just certain sexual acts." Anthony Kamanga, Malawi's solicitor general.
In years past the west looked at Africa and unfairly called the people living there "savages".  In this case, I can understand why.

PeeWee Herman On Broadway!

Just heard from PeeWee that his Broadway show will open in October for 6 weeks.  Some lucky people already have seats!

The official show site is here.  Hint:  the secret word is SCREAM.

Rand Paul Wants End To Civil Rights

Rand Paul, wunderkind of uber-libertarian Ron Paul has been in the news a lot lately.  Finally his real values have come out in an interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal Paul declares that he thinks it should be OK for businesses to deny service to people because of their race.  Trying to reconcile an ultra-libertarian philosophy with the Civil Rights Act Rand is exposed for what he really is.

Now I know many folks will call me radical for saying this, but come on, if you take away the provisions that insure businesses treat everyone equally regardless of race, you take away the whole Civil Rights Act and you are right back to separate but equal.  So let's call it like it is, Rand Paul is racist at his core and he masks it in libertarian "values" but the reality is clear.

Think Progress says it this way:
INTERVIEWER: But under your philosophy, it would be okay for Dr. King not to be served at the counter at Woolworths?

PAUL: I would not go to that Woolworths, and I would stand up in my community and say that it is abhorrent, um, but, the hard part—and this is the hard part about believing in freedom—is, if you believe in the First Amendment, for example—you have too, for example, most good defenders of the First Amendment will believe in abhorrent groups standing up and saying awful things. . . . It’s the same way with other behaviors. In a free society, we will tolerate boorish people, who have abhorrent behavior.
For the record, here is an example of the “boorish people” that Paul thinks a free society must tolerate:
lunch counter

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

NASA Photo Shows Oil Slick Growing and Going Toward Open Ocean

This latest NASA photo shows the oil spill headed to the open ocean and that is not a good thing.  The magnitude of this mess is evident from the photo. 

Click on the photo for a larger version.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mark Souter Video - Endorsing Abstinence with His Mistress!

Disgraced Re. Mark Souder discusses abstinence with the woman he had the affair with.  Oh the irony is so rich!

Of course the Daily Show is on hiatus this week, which is probably why he resigned this week!

Malawi - Gay Couple Goes to Prison for 14 Years Because of Love

File this under the category of places you don't want to visit!

Malawi, the tiny land locked nation that borders Zambis, Mozambique and Tanzania has struck a blow for homophobia by convicting two men for gross indecency and unnatural other words being gay.

According to a BBC article, the couple faces 14 years in prison for celebrating their engagement ahead of a wedding planned for 2010.

For a country with the motto "Unity and Freedom" it seems that only unity of heterosexuals and freedom only if you are straight.  Perhaps they should rethink that motto?

Malawi is one of the most populated and poorest countries in Africa.  Right now 40% of the country's development budget depends on donors, therefore the government there would be more likely to listen to international concerns about this matter.  Human rights in Malawi are abysmal for LGBT people, please write your congressperson and let them know you oppose further aid to this country is it does not reform it's anti-LGBT laws.

Another GOP Family Values Politician - Caught in a Sex Scandal

It has almost become a given if a politician runs on "Family Values", he or she will get caught in a sex scandal.  Well, more proof to that hypothesis comes in the form of Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN).  He has long run on that old platform, family values, and so I guess this should come as no surprise.

In a Fox News exclusive, Souder says he is leaving office to spend more time with his family.  Sound familliar?  Seems Souder was having an affair with a 45-year-old staff member.  That infraction would have ended up with him in front of an Ethics Panel and a messy press situation. 

Thanks to AmericaBlog for finding this nifty tidbit.

Monday, May 17, 2010

ADHD Linked To Pesticide Use

I wondered why the whole ADHD thing was so prevalent these days and this new study may have the answer.  Organophosphates used in pesticides like Malathion are toxic to the nervous system.  Traces of these are higher in children with ADHD than those without.  Interesting study.

Indiana Stonewall Democrats Shun Party Pick to Replace Bayh

Sometimes the Stonewall Democrats make me so proud!  The Indiana Stonewall Democrats refused to endorse the party's pick to replace Evan Bayh.  Here is theri statement in full:
For Immediate Release - - Today, the Indiana Stonewall Democrats (ISD) spoke resolutely and loudly by saying nothing on our ballot to determine Evan Bayh's successor for Democratic candidate for United States Senate.
To any who would question our commitment to the Democratic Party based on our abstention, we would respond with a simple question, "What does it mean to be a Democrat?"
We find our answer in the Indiana Democratic Party's 2008 platform, which includes the following statements:
As a party of the people, we strongly oppose restriction of opportunity to Hoosiers based on their race, religion, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, or economic background.
We also encourage legislation addressing hate crimes that would protect the freedom of all Hoosiers and create tougher penalties for those who infringe, criminally or otherwise, on those freedoms.
We must work to ensure that all people - without regard to race, religion gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, or economic background - have the right to achieve the American dream. For the sake of current and future generations, it is our duty as Democrats to put an end to any injustices that threaten that goal.
We find further guidance in the Democratic National Committee's 2008 platform, which states:
We support the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the implementation of policies to allow qualified men and women to serve openly regardless of sexual orientation.
We support the full inclusion of all families, including same-sex couples, in the life of our nation, and support equal responsibility, benefits, and protections.
We believe it is time for the Democratic Party at all levels to live up to our expressed ideals.
Our abstention is born, in large part, from the frustration of feint support from the Indiana Democratic Party, which has taken our support for granted too long and shown no interest in developing ISD further.
We do not intend our abstention, in any manner, to be taken as support for Republican nominee Dan Coats. His objection to permitting highly-qualified gays and lesbians to serve in the armed services is well-documented, as is his historical hostility to the gay and lesbian community. Further, we doubt a high-paid, Washington, D.C. lobbyist is what average Hoosiers needs in this time of economic insecurity.
Nor do we intend our abstention to be construed as an indictment of Congressman Ellsworth's personal sentiments towards gays and lesbians. By all accounts, the Congressman interacts respectfully and meaningfully with our community, and to his credit, implemented a gay-friendly employment policy as Vanderburgh County Sheriff at great political risk to himself.
But as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated, "Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will."
Regrettably, there has been, up to this point, a disconnect between not only the Democratic Party's words and deeds, but in the Congressman's personal conduct toward gay, lesbian, and transgender Hoosiers and his votes and public statements on their issues. Specifically, Congressman Ellsworth voted against the Hates Crimes bill and the version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that provides protection to transgender Hoosiers, and he has not expressed publicly his willingness to vote for the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Moreover, and perhaps most tellingly, when asked during our meeting whether he supports adoption by gay couples, Congressman Ellsworth stated he "needs more information."
Given the number of children suffering in the foster care system, the Congressman's reservations about gay adoption are deeply troubling
But, in fairness, we must say that our meeting with Congressman Ellsworth was constructive overall. Our hope is that he will continue to learn about our issues, moderate his positions on areas of disagreement, and follow through on our many areas of agreement.

Had the Congressman spoken publicly for the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, voted for the Hate Crimes bill, or supported a transgender inclusive version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or had the Indiana Democratic Party shown interest in facilitating the growth of our caucus, perhaps our path today would have been different. But we see a clear distinction between an elected official with a record forged under the crucible of political pressure like Senator Evan Bayh's and a candidate who claims to be supportive but whose voting history and public rhetoric show an effort to too frequently side with those who demonize gay, lesbian, and transgender Hoosiers, and a political party that does the same.
In sum, we will no longer go along for the sake of "party unity" with a party that too frequently fails to unify with us under its own guiding principles.
We want to state emphatically on behalf of our members and our fellow progressives in the Democratic family that our support must be earned by living up to the Democratic Party's principles through action. When that is done, we will respond accordingly. Approximately two weeks ago, we hosted a fundraising event for several Indiana House of Representatives candidates. We did so to support our friends who have lived up to our platform and to help preserve the Democratic House leadership that has done the same.
It is our hope that we will soon be able to likewise embrace Congressman Ellsworth without reservation and usher in a more fruitful relationship with the Indiana Democratic Party.
The Indiana Stonewall Democrats will have no further comment at this time.

Video of Last Weeks Bombing in Iraq

If you have a weak stomach don't watch this.  YouTube may remove it soon but if it is still online and you want to know what kind of hell Baghdad is right now, watch it and pray.  This is not a bomb by the US but one set by internal Iraq factions fighting for control of the country and seeking to destabilize the existing government. 

Why am I posting this?  Because wars that we helped start should have a face, ignoring the suffering of others gives us a false impression of the world.  To the terrorists who did this and their heartless cruelty, they have stepped out of the human race and into something entirely different. I cry for their victims and for their own loss of humanity.

Miss USA - And the Winner is...

My partner and I were having a nice meal at Lucky's Cafe in Dallas last night.  Lucky's is a Dallas institution and serves great food for all tastes.  One of the annoying things about the cafe is the ubiquitous TV screens.  It seems that today you cannot go anywhere without seeing television, and in most cases, more than one channel at a time.

One screen was playing a baseball game and the other, since this is the gayborhood, had the Miss USA Pageant.

My partner and I had a close encounter with this event a few years back when we stumbled into the press conference in front of the then, Aladdin Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.  The hotel is not Planet Hollywood, but the pageant still resides in the massive performing arts theater in that venue.

As we casually watched the proceedings we took bets on who would be Miss USA.  It was a toss up between Miss Oklahoma and Miss Michigan.  Seems we were spot on, and Miss Michigan won the title.  \

We were too far from the set to see the names of the contestants and the sound was thankfully off, so all we saw was perfectly coiffed young impossibly pretty women competing and answering what I feel sure were softball questions. 

Imagine our surprise today when the right wing noise machine begins complaining about Miss Michigan winning the contest.  Why?  Because her family is of Arab descent!  Turns out she was raised in a dual faith family and attended a Catholic High School.  OMG!  That is just too much diversity for the right wing media.

These insane people see any diversity as something imposed from some sort of liberal/PC agenda.  I guess they can't understand that  the large Arab American population of Michigan might lead to at least a few entrants being of Arab heritage? 

OK lets call it what it is, bigotry.  FOX and Beck and the rest of these talking heads are pretty much bigots wrapped in American flags and pretending to be news reporters.  Enough already!  Let the pretty girl have her title and save the world, or whatever Miss USA's do.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Recent Oak Lawn Robbery Not A Hate Crime and Other Lies!

OK folks, if you don't like reading my stuff when I am on my soapbox, leave now. 

Friday night two men walking down Throckmorton Street toward the bars were attacked and savagely beaten with baseball bats by thugs screaming anti-gay epithets.  Now our esteemed police force decided that since the victims were robbed of their wallets, it was just a simple robbery and assault and not a hate crime. 

Excuse me?  This is what used to be called back in the bad old days "rolling queers" and even though  there was a robbery involved it is about as clear a hate crime as you can find.  Apparently our police cannot or will not protect the LGBT community and refuses to understand that calling people who you are beating into unconsciousness with a baseball bat, "faggot" is hate speech. 

I guess the LGBT community is going to have to start protecting ourselves, because the police do not take seriously this kid of crime.  Sad day for Dallas and even sadder for the LGBT community who has seen a rise in these kinds of attacks recently.

I recall the 1970's and 80's when a group of trained gay men and lesbians donned pink berets and patrolled the gayborhood.  They carried radios and whistles as well as cans of mace for protection.  Most knew self defense moves and were not itching for a fight, but their presence deterred a lot of crime.  The Dallas Gay Alliance handed out whistles to people at bars and clubs and we became vigilant.  The attacks diminished and he police took notice of our actions and increased patrols in the area.

Well I am willing to take a few shifts and I have a very nice uniform that could look even snazzier with a pink beret.  With the advent of cell phones it should be easier to stay in touch and I believe pepper spray works even better than Mace. 

Anyone with me on this?