Friday, December 31, 2010

Famous Faces We Lost in 2010

Nothing makes me aware of my own mortality like these year end "who we lost" montages.  This year the names are almost all people I grew up watching on TV or in the movies as well as even a few sports figures I actually followed. I guess it puts things in perspective to watch these and helps me realize how fleeting our lives are and how important every day is.

Somber thoughts for a New Years Eve? Not really, since the joy and effect of these famous folks still lives on in our memories.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Geraldine Hoff Doyle - WWII Icon Dies

If you ever saw the poster of the determined woman making a fist with the words, "We can do it" above her, might know her as Rosie the Riveter.  She was not Rosie, but she was Geraldine Hoff Doyle who at 17 worked in the war effort.  She operated a metal stamping machine and inspired the poster.

She died today at 86 from age related causes.  Her image still inspires young women today as it was resurected during the early days of the Feminist movement,  Ironically, she only worked in the factory for a few weeks injuring her hand and leaving the job.

L.A. Times has more.

Earth from the Edge of the Solar System

The blue dot near the right of the photo is Earth.
Photo taken by Voyager 1990 (NASA)
My friend Lex tweeted this story from Discovery News.  It has this picture and a quote from Carl Sagan that is worth considering at the turn of this New Year.

"From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of particular interest. But for us, it's different. Look again at that dot. [...] On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam."

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Real Gay Agenda

Barney Frank shares the REAL gay agenda. (Thanks to The Dallas Voice for finding this clip!)

GOP Still Making Sausage With PORK - Senator Shelby Stuff $500M Into Useless Program

As I long expected, the Republicans who wailed and bemoaned the pork of Washington during the campaign are still bringing home the bacon.  Case in point: Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) who stuffed a $500 million provision into the 2011 budget.  It was for NASA spending on the Ares I rocket program.  Now, I am a fan of NASA and at first blush this sounds fine, except that NASA doesn't want or need it.  They had scrapped the program, but Shelby's pork deal continues to fund two contractors,  Lockheed Martin and Alliant Techsystems (ATK) both in the Senators home state of Alabama.

When it's election time, the GOP will squeal about pork, but once the votes have been counted they wallow back to the trough.

Next Time Someone Protests the DADT Repeal, Tell Them This True Story

Though Gerald Ford only served a short time as president, he managed to make at least one enemy.  Sara Jane Moore. On Sept. 22, 1975, she approached the President with a revolver in her purse. As she reached in and drew it out, a quick thinking former Marine and Vietnam Vet named Billy Sipple lunged at her and grabbed her hand, deflecting the shot that could have killed Gerald Ford.

What does this have to do with DADT repeal? Well, Billy Sipple was gay.

It is a sad story what happened to him after that. Though he received a letter of thanks from the President, Sipple's life spiraled downward. News stories about his heroism included his sexual orientation, and his family who hadn't known previously reacted badly. That turn of events haunted Sipple for the rest of his life.

He died alone in his apartment in San Francisco with half-gallon bottles of bourbon and 7-Up nearby in 1989.

So next time someone starts going off about how unfit LGBT service members are, tell them about the heroics of Billy Stipple, a Marine who was discharged as "undesirable" because he was gay.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

FBI Files Reveal Much About LGBT History & Oppression

On July 4 1967, a group of gay men and lesbians from the Mattachine Society picketed Independence Hall in Philadelphia. They handed out leaflets that, in-part, bore these words which still ring true today.
The Declaration of Independence says: “All men are created equal.”
But in no walk of life, and in none of his dealings, whether with his fellow citizens or with his governments (Federal, state or local) is the homosexual American citizen treated as equal to others; he is always placed in a status of inferiority. Systematically and unrelentingly, he is placed into and kept in the category of second-class citizen….
The Declaration of Independence says: “All men are endowed with certain unalienable Rights – among these are – the pursuit of Happiness.”
But the homosexual American citizen, upon savage penalty of law, and upon pain of loss of livelihood and other severe disadvantage, is denied proper pursuit of harmless happiness open to other citizens.
This hand typed and mimeographed document contains much more and is part of the FBI files recently declassified and available online here. Though the government’s surveillance was despicable, the preservation of documents reflecting the history of LGBT struggles in America is a good thing. Without these files much of this would be lost. It is worth your time to download and read some of this.

Happily, several of these grievances have been addressed in recent years. The Supreme Court decision of Lawrence vs. Texas did a lot to change things. Most recently, the repeal of DADT has given new hope to LGBT activists that the long march toward freedom may be nearing its goal. As we approach the New Year, take a few moments to read some of these documents and consider how far we have come. They look at how far we still must go to achieve full citizenship in our own country.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Maine Tea Party Governor Elect Already Corrupt - Hires Own Daughter - Nepotism?

In a startlingly and blatantly corrupt move the Tea Party backed Governor elect of Maine, Paul LePage (Republican), has hired his own daughter as an assistant to the tune of $41,000 per year. This from a man who pledged to surround himself with "the best and the brightest" and to "avoid political cronyism.”

So at first glance, the "Tea Party" looks like the same old Republican political machine.  In the words of the song by The Who,  "meet the new boss, same as the old boss."  So much for "we won't be fooled again!"  Thank you Pete Townshend.