Friday, July 09, 2010

Futurama - Robosexual Marriage! Oh My!

FuturamaThursdays 10pm / 9c
No on Infinity
Futurama New EpisodesFuturama New EpisodesIt's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

LGBT Youth In Prison - Violence Behind Bars

The idea of being in prison is bad enough, especially for a young person.  When the other youth in the facility attack and abuse you, who do you tell?  When the guards call you," a disgrace to mankind," a "punk" or "fucking faggot", what do you do?

It's not a very pleasant world for an incarcerated LGBT youth, and the recent article in The Nation gives a vivid picture of how bad it is for LGBT kids who wind up in correctional facilities. What's worse is that many are jailed prior to their trials in inordinate numbers.  According to the article, "in Louisiana, 50 percent of the gay youth picked up for nonviolent offenses in 2009 were sent to jail to await trial, while less than 10 percent of straight kids were".  Louisiana is not alone.  The same holds true for many states.

Once in a facility after a conviction, gay youth report constant attacks, rapes and little if any recourse.  Many are placed in isolation after an attack rather than punishing their attackers.  It's a no win situation and it is made worse by the disproportionate number of LGBT youth in the system.
An LGBT youth's problems with the law frequently begin at home. "LGBT youth are more likely to be arrested than straight youth because they're more likely to be pushed out of their homes," says Dr. Beyer. And "family rejection is a direct pipeline to the juvenile justice system," says San Francisco State University researcher Caitlin Ryan of the Family Acceptance Project. While only 3-10 percent of Americans are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, LGBT youth make up 15 percent of the prison population. Indeed, one-quarter of all LGBT youth are kicked out of their homes or run away. Compared to their heterosexual peers, incarcerated LGBT youth are twice as likely to report abuse at the hands of family members, homelessness or state-ordered foster placement. A shocking estimated 20-40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBT.
This article is worth a read and worth thinking about.  As a community, we have to start recognizing the problems specific to LGBT youth and finding ways to address them.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Beheading Was a Hoax

Today the blog, Box Turtle Bulletin issued a retraction for the story of the murder of a gay activist in Uganda.  Apparently the story, first propagated by Changing Attitude, an LGBT Anglican blog was true in that there was a beheading, but the victim was not an LGBT activist as first reported.

Box Turtle Bulletin has the rest of the story.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Woman With Leukemia Has Insurance Canceled Because She Was One Penny Short

OK, if you ever needed a reason why we need health care reform, check this out.  A woman with Leukemia had her coverage canceled because she was 1 cent ($0.01) short in her payment. Only when she threatened to go to the press was she reinstated.  The Colorado Springs Gazette describes it this way:
La Rosa Carrington has more than enough to worry about. She’s a single mother with two teenage daughters, she’s fighting a type of leukemia that requires five days of chemo a month for four months, and she lost her job in May. So the last thing she needed was news that her health insurance benefits would be terminated because she hadn’t paid her premium in full. The shortfall? One penny.


Artist Formerly Known as Prince Says the Internet Is "Over"

First he was Prince, then he was (whatever that symbol was) and now he is back to Prince I think.  Though I love his music, his intellect is somewhat in question.  His latest pronouncement is that, "The internet's completely over".

In an interview with the Daily Mirror the pop icon is shutting down his website and pulling his material from YouTube.  In the interview he stated, "the internet’s like MTV, at one time, MTV was hip, and suddenly it became outdated.... Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can't be good for you."

Well he is releasing a new album,and it was recorded digitally, so all those numbers, specifically 1's and 0's must be good for something!  Let's hope his dismissal of the internet isn't followed by the public's dismissal of Prince.  I like his music!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Ugandan LGBT Rights Volunteer Beheaded in Brutal Murder

When I hear the name of the country Uganda, I have vivid memories of Idi Amin, the brutal dictator who ruled that African nation for many years.  I also think of the draconian laws against LGBT people in that country especially a draft of a new law that makes even knowing the whereabouts of homosexuals a crime.  Not a happy place.

That impression was strengthened when I saw the horrifying news in the Box Turtle Bulletin blog about the murder and beheading of a gay rights activist there.  Pasikali Kashusbe who volunteered for Integrity Uganda, a pro-LGBT organization founded by an Anglican Bishop, Christopher Senyonjo. 

Here are some of the details published in a release on the Anglican, Changing Attitude blog, they are not pretty.
Judith Nabakooba, a police spokesperson, identified the head as that of Pasikali Kashusbe, one of the workers on Kigggundu’s farm and a member of Integrity Uganda. Pasikali and his partner Abbey are youth workers with Integrity Uganda charged with the responsibility of mobilising young LGBT people in activities which build community capacity to face up to the challenge of homophobia, especially in the area of attitude change and care through drama and sports activities.
According to the police, a mutilated torso which was earlier in the week discovered in Kabuuma Zone, about half a kilometre away from Kiggundu’s farm was probably Pasikali’s The torso was described as belonging to a young man and had no genitals.
Pasikali went missing over three and half weeks ago when the country was celebrating Uganda Martyrs Day. All efforts by his partner Abbey and other family members to find him had been fruitless.
Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, Chairperson of Integrity Uganda lamented the murder of this young man as ‘absurd’ adding that, ‘clearly, the values of tolerance and social inclusion are sadly being sacrificed on the altar of state ignorance, ineptness and good old colonial stupidity’.
 What is worse is that the state owned media is encouraging a "crackdown" on homosexuals.  I put crackdown in quotes because it is in my opinion a code for vigilantism.  One article published a few years ago contained the following inflammatory rhetoric, “The police should visit the holes mentioned in the press, spy on the perverts, arrest and prosecute them”.

Obviously, some people in Uganda have decided to take the law in their own hands.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

A-Team Tries to Thrill. Fails!

What was I expecting?  Well I figured it would be a campy send up of the A-Team that would have a good story with a few self conscious nods to the old series.  As it began, I had high hopes.  The just in the nick of time rescue and the reappearance of the A-Team van worked into a somewhat plausible story.  Unfortunately that was just the credits.  From there it went downhill, or at least into far left field quickly.

Why the writers had to include the impossibly beautiful Army Captain/busted to Lieutenant in charge of some sort of top secret sting operation, I don't know.  Also the whole "we are all crazy rangers" thing made no sense at all. But as I said the whole story made little sense.

Part of a good movie is the "suspension of disbelief".  The same thing that is needed for a good play.  You have to believe the characters and action is real, even though you know it's acting and special effects.  I found I could not suspend my disbelief long enough to get two bites of popcorn down. The whole thing was unbelievable, and not in a "wow isn't his a great fantasy", or "gee this is so goofy" kind of way. It was just bad, and when it got so convoluted there seemed like no way out, Well, the producers used the old "deus ex CGI" to save the day. Except it didn't.  

I rarely find a movie where I not only don't care about the lead characters, but I actively am rooting for their demise!  The A-Team was the B or really the D-Team.  Don't waste your money and 2 hours of your life.