Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Joyeux Réveillon de Noël



Saturday, December 12, 2009

Today in Gay History

Houston elects lesbian mayor

By James Withers, contributing editor, 365Gay Blog 12.13.2009 4:16am EST


Annise Parker, the controller of Houston, won a run-off [Saturday 12-12-09] for mayor. Her victory made her the first openly gay politician to win an election to lead a large American city.

“Tonight the voters of Houston have opened the door to history,” Parker said in her victory speech, with her partner Kathy Hubbard and their three adopted children standing next to her. “I acknowledge that. I embrace that. I know what this win means to many of us who never thought we could achieve high office.”

Parker, mayor-elect of the country’s fourth largest city, defeated her opponent Gene Locke 53 percent to 47 percent.

Crapaud's Comment: And despite bitterly partisan anti-gay $$ and vitriol poured in by the Talibangelicals, Houstonions were unconvinced.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

RIP Vieille Reine


Leon Khalil Zainey, a pioneer in New Orleans Gay Society, has died

ZAINEY Leon Khalil Zainey, age 101 years, died Friday, December 4, 2009 at River Valley Nursing Center in Gainesville, Texas, where he had been residing since Hurricane Katrina. Son of the late Rachel Moghabhgab and Khalil Zainey. Brother of the late Mrs. Paul (Linda) Hickey and Alexander K. Zainey. He is survived by a cousin, Mrs. Jamelia Gubgub of Mosman Park, Western Australia. Mr. Zainey was a native and lifelong resident of New Orleans, LA. A graduate of Warren Easton High School and a World War II Army veteran serving in the Alaskan Defense Command. He was an organizer with the late attorney Alfred Danziger of children's theatre in the late 1920's and published the "Processional", a newspaper giving information about theatre productions in New York and San Francisco. He was the wardrobe and property manager of the New Orleans Opera Association for 43 years and a charter member of Local 840, Electrical Wardrobe Attendants. He was the founder and charter member of the Steamboat Club** of New Orleans. Memorial Services for Mr. Zainey will be announced by THARP-SONTHEIMER FUNERAL HOME of Metairie. Information: (504) 835-2341.

**Steamboat Club

A lively gay social world had long existed, but after Prohibition ended in 1933, it became more public. In 1936, a bar opened at the Lafitte Blacksmith Shop on Bourbon Street. Although its clientele was a varied group, gay men and women knew they were welcome. But in 1953, the owners lost their lease. They moved to the next corner and reopened as Café Lafitte in Exile – now one of the oldest gay bars in the country.

Private gay socializing flourished in mid-century New Orleans. The oldest continuing gay event, the Fat Monday Luncheon, began in 1949, and the oldest gay social organization, the Steamboat Club, was launched in 1953. The Krewe of Yuga was the first gay Carnival club in 1958, followed by the Krewe of Petronius in 1962.


Monday, November 30, 2009

World AIDS Day Turns 21



Wednesday, November 25, 2009



Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Today in Gay History

First Mattachine Society meeting

Members of the Mattachine Society in a rare group photograph.

Pictured are Harry Hay (upper left),
then (l-r) Konrad Stevens, Dale Jennings, Rudi Gernreich,
Stan Witt, Bob Hull, Chuck Rowland (in glasses),
Paul Bernard. Photo by Jim Gruber.

On November 11, 1950, at Harry Hay's home in the Silver Lake district of Los Angeles, a group of gay men met as a group to assert their common societal interests as gay men. Harry hay had been promoting the idea of such a society for several years prior, as he envisioned, to be "a service and welfare organization devoted to the protection and improvement of Society's Androgynous Minority."

Subsequent meetings of the group resulted in the formation of the Mattachine Society. Of the original Mattachine founders, Chuck Rowland, Bob Hull, Dale Jennings pre-deceased Hay; Konrad Stevens and John Gruber are the last surviving members of the founding group.

"Mattachine" took its name from a group of medieval dancers who appeared publicly only in mask, a device well understood by homosexuals of the 1950s. Hay devised its secret cell structure (based on the Masonic order) to protect individual gays and the nascent gay network. Officially co-gender, the group was largely male; the Daughters of Bilitis, the pioneering lesbian organization, formed independently in San Francisco in 1956. Though some criticized the Mattachine movement as insular, it grew to include thousands of members in dozens of chapters, which formed from Berkeley to Buffalo, and created a lasting national framework for gay organizing. Mattachine laid the ground for rapid civil rights gains following 1969's Stonewall riots in New York City.



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Let Us Remember Willie McBride and The

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ex-fundie Frank Schaeffer in stunningly frank 12 minute Video

Via Crooks & Liars

From our friends at GritTV, the former Christian Fundamentalist Insider-turned Author expounds on the dangers of religious extremism and its takeover of the former Republican party~


Saturday, November 7, 2009

GOP Shows Its Ass in the House

Up to the minute from HuffPo

Male GOP congressmen try to shout down female lawmakers. During early debate over the health care bill, a group of House Republicans -- led by Rep. Tom Price (R-Georgia) -- attempted to stop the Democratic Women's Caucus from making their arguments about how the health bill would benefit women by screaming over them.

Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif) only had time to say "Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to--," before Price shouted "I object." The presiding chair, Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) made gestures to maintain control, declaring "the request is not yet before the House," and Price was "out of order," to little effect. Capps attempted to go on, but Price continued shouting "I object, I object, I object, I object."

The same shouting tactics were used on Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Ohio) who asked angrily: "do I not have the right to be able to continue my sentence without objections that are trying to censor my remarks here on the floor that I have a right to make as a member of this House?"

Watch the compilation reel that Think Progress put together below. Truly astounding.

-- Lila Shapiro @ Huffington Post

Monday, November 2, 2009

Cody Daigle: playwright, pundit, penseur ~
recently shared a prescription for the pursuit of happiness

An Excerpt:

. . . Change something.

It begins in us. Change doesn’t come by simply criticizing our leaders. Change comes when we hold them accountable and go out into the world and show them the change we seek. Change comes when we confront homophobia, not just complain about it. Change comes when we acknowledge that our happiness is something we create, something we are responsible for. . . .

Read the whole thing here.
Daigle: Change Something

Posted using ShareThis

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jim Hightower's Take on Congress' Own Socialized Medicine

Jim Hightower via Common Dreams

. . . Right under the Capitol dome, conveniently situated between the Senate and House chamber, is the Office of the Attending Physician. Inside are more than a dozen navy doctors, nurses, medical technicians, pharmacists and other health professionals, all employed by the government solely to attend to a select clientele: the 535 members of Congress.

Let's say that, after giving a fiery speech on the floor assailing the evils of government-run health care, a lawmaker gets gaseous or has a tongue cramp. He or she can pop right into the OAP for — yes! — some government-run health care. No appointment needed, no pesky insurance forms to fill out, no co-pay — just care.

For this, members pay a flat fee of $503 a year. A year! You and I are taxed to cover the real costs of this elite service. And that's not the end of public health benefits for lawmakers — if they need a specialist, an operation, therapy, rehab or other pricey procedure, it's all free at the government's Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval hospitals.

If it's good enough for them, why not us? The public deserves what the Congress has, and any member who opposes extending it to us should automatically be stripped of their privileges.

For a model of integrity, they might look to Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Rep. Steve Kagen, D-Wis. — both of whom have rejected taking congressional coverage until everyone in America has coverage of equal quality. I don't think the noisy naysayers are looking for integrity, however — not as long as they can get away with their abominable hypocrisy.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

President Obama Signs the Matthew Shepard-James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act

From Lambda Legal:

This law will send a message that violence motivated by hate will not be tolerated in this country and is a welcome first step towards other critical protections for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
This law comes too late to provide justice for the victims of violence we have already lost, but it holds the promise of greater safety and respect for LGBT people today and in the future.

Our work is not done. Now that the Hate Crimes Act has become law, Congress and the President must also enact an inclusive ENDA to protect us against discrimination on the job. The majority of Americans support workplace protections for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people and there is no reason for further delay. There is also no reason to delay the repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and Don't Ask, Don't Tell -- there should be no place for discrimination in our laws.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Joe Lieberschmuck (? Ct)


On why he'll vote against any public option: "We're trying to do too much at once. To put this government-created insurance company on top of everything else is just asking for trouble for the taxpayers, for the premium payers and for the national debt. I don’t think we need it now."

And, its almost as though you could hear him saying, "Oy, where'll we get the money to plant trees in the holy land of Israel? "

Image © WMxdesign / Hebiclens


Friday, October 23, 2009

Dave Vitter, R-LA Votes Against the Troops

| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |

The Senate passed on Thursday October 22, The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2010. The Senate vote was on final passage of the Defense Appropriation bill for 2010 to which the Hate Crimes bill had been attached. Clever Democrats, finally finding a way to vote FOR THE TROOPS and for GLBT civil rights protections at the same time. The vote was 68-29. All 29 NAY votes were by Republicans hell-bent on self destruction.

I am surprised at how far the Party of No will go! Voting AGAINST THE TROOPS. Watch out for low-flying pigs!

For the record:

YEAs ---68
Akaka (D-HI)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bayh (D-IN)
Begich (D-AK)
Bennet (D-CO)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Bond (R-MO)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Burris (D-IL)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Collins (R-ME)
Conrad (D-ND)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Dodd (D-CT)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Durbin (D-IL)
Ensign (R-NV)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Franken (D-MN)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hagan (D-NC)
Harkin (D-IA)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inouye (D-HI)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kaufman (D-DE)
Kerry (D-MA)
Kirk (D-MA)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Kohl (D-WI)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Lieberman (ID-CT)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Lugar (R-IN)
McCain (R-AZ)
McCaskill (D-MO)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Merkley (D-OR)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Pryor (D-AR)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schumer (D-NY)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Snowe (R-ME)
Specter (D-PA)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Udall (D-CO)
Udall (D-NM)
Voinovich (R-OH)
Warner (D-VA)
Webb (D-VA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)

NAYs ---29
Alexander (R-TN)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Bennett (R-UT)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Corker (R-TN)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Enzi (R-WY)
Feingold (D-WI)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE)
Kyl (R-AZ)

LeMieux (R-FL)
McConnell (R-KY)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Wicker (R-MS)
Not Voting - 3
Byrd (D-WV)
Hatch (R-UT)
Murkowski (R-AK)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mid Week Bestirring for Equality


86 year old veteran Phillip Spooner of Maine testifies in April, 2009 before the Maine legislature. Tip o the Hat to Tétard and Huffington Po:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Stand Out Story of the Week

Republicans remain the Party of NO!

Is the True Reagan Legacy "Just Say No!" ?


Friday, October 16, 2009

Today in Gay History

Happy 64th Birthday

Paul Monette (1945-1995)
Poet, Playwright, Novelist

Chronicler of the Devastation of AIDS

Photo: l to r Paul, Roger

text from glbtq

In novels, poetry, and a memoir, Paul Monette wrote about gay men striving to fashion personal identities and, later, coping with the loss of a lover to AIDS.

Monette was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1945. He was educated at prestigious schools in New England: Phillips Andover Academy and Yale University, where he received his B.A. in 1967. He began his prolific writing career soon after graduating from Yale. For eight years, he wrote poetry exclusively.

After coming out in his late twenties, he met Roger Horwitz, who was to be his lover for over twenty years. Also during his late twenties, he grew disillusioned with poetry and shifted his interest to the novel, not to return to poetry until the 1980s.

In 1977, Monette and Horwitz moved to Los Angeles. Once in Hollywood, Monette wrote a number of screenplays that, though never produced, provided him the means to be a writer. Monette published four novels between 1978 and 1982. These novels were enormously successful and established his career as a writer of popular fiction. He also wrote several novelizations of films.

Monette's life changed dramatically when Roger Horwitz was diagnosed with AIDS in the early 1980s. After Horwitz's death in 1986, Monette wrote extensively about the years of their battles with AIDS (Borrowed Time, 1988) and how he himself coped with losing a lover to AIDS (Love Alone, 1988). These works are two of the most powerful accounts written about AIDS thus far.

Their publication catapulted Monette into the national arena as a spokesperson for AIDS. Along with fellow writer Larry Kramer, he emerged as one of the most familiar and outspoken AIDS activists of our time. Since very few out gay men have had the opportunity to address national issues in mainstream venues at any previous time in U.S. history, Monette's high-visibility profile was one of his most significant achievements. He went on to write two important novels about AIDS, Afterlife (1990) and Halfway Home (1991). He himself died of AIDS-related complications in 1995.

In his fiction, Monette unabashedly depicts gay men who strive to fashion personal identities that lead them to love, friendship, and self-fulfillment. His early novels generally begin where most coming-out novels end; his protagonists have already come to terms with their sexuality long before the novels' projected time frames. Monette has his characters negotiate family relations, societal expectations, and personal desires in light of their decisions to lead lives as openly gay men.

Two major motifs emerge in these novels: the spark of gay male relations and the dynamic alternative family structures that gay men create for themselves within a homophobic society. These themes are placed in literary forms that rely on the structures of romance, melodrama, and fantasy.

Monette's finest novel, Afterlife, combines the elements of traditional comedy and the resistance novel; it is the first gay novel written about AIDS that fuses personal love interests with political activism.

Monette's harrowing collection of deeply personal poems, Love Alone: 18 Elegies for Rog, conveys both the horrors of AIDS and the inconsolable pain of love lost. The elegies are an invaluable companion to Borrowed Time.

Before the publication and success of his memoir, Becoming a Man, it seemed inevitable that Monette would be remembered most for his writings on AIDS. Becoming a Man, however, focuses on the dilemmas of growing up gay. It provides at once an unsparing account of the nightmare of the closet and a moving and often humorous depiction of the struggle to come out. Becoming a Man won the 1992 National Book Award for nonfiction, a historical moment in the history of lesbian and gay literature and culture in the United States.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

I've Got My Old Gay Fingers Crossed Today!

National Coming Out Day
& THE National Equality March


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Friday, October 2, 2009

Rep. Alan Grayson, D-FLA

Crapaud's discovery from several months ago...comes through!


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Demonization of ACORN

Image © WMxdesign / Hebiclen

cheer-led by Glenn Beck
have found another scapegoat for their hatred. The blogger, Anonymous Liberal, eloquently states the case concerning the selective release of the "undercover" videos:

. . . it would not surprise me if they have been edited so as to severely distort and misrepresent what actually happened. The videos do not show a dialogue; the film-makers intersperse their own representations as to what they said with the supposed responses of the ACORN workers. I suspect that they are edited in this way to remove necessary context and make these conversations look worse than they actually were. The ACORN office in California is claiming exactly that, that the employee captured on film was playing along with what she assumed was a joke (and having watched the video, that seems perfectly plausible). I suspect the unedited footage looksA very different. Moreover, I virtually guarantee that for every one of these videos aired, there were numerous attempted "stings" in which employees acted appropriately and therefore didn't provide any good footage.

But even if you take these film-makers at face value and assume the worst, the reality is that ACORN has thousands of employees and the vast majority of them spend their days trying to help poor people through perfectly legal means (and receive very little compensation for doing so). Even before yesterday's Senate vote, the amount of federal money that went to ACORN was very small. This is a relatively insignificant organization in the grand scheme of things, but it's an organization that has unquestionably fought over the years to improve the lives of the less fortunate in this country.

That the GOP and its conservative supporters would single out this particular organization for such intense demonization is telling. In September of last year, the entire world came perilously close to complete financial catastrophe. We're still not out of the woods and we're deep within one of the worst recessions in U.S. history. This situation was brought about by the recklessness and greed of our banks and financial institutions, most of which had to be bailed out at enormous cost to the American taxpayer (exponentially more than all of the tax dollars given to ACORN over the years). The people who brought about this near catastrophe, for the most, profited immensely from it. These very same institutions, propped up by the American taxpayer, are once again raking in large profits. . . .

Read the whole post HERE.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fox News Caught Manufacturing "News"

Fox News producer Heidi Noonan, encouraging the crowd to hoot and holler behind "reporter" Griff Jenkins while he talks live from the scene with Glenn Beck in the studio. Cheerleading the crowd during Glenn Beck's show =not fair and balanced:

What it looked like on air with Glenn Beck:

Clips © Media Matters

Friday, September 18, 2009

Dean Cheerleads Health Care Reform

In a letter to supporters yesterday, Gov. Howard Dean enthused:
We've worked together since the beginning of the healthcare debate to draw a line in the sand -- the choice of a public option must be included in any reform bill passed this year. And every time Republicans have tried to kill it or the insurance industry has claimed it's already dead, we've stood up and proven them wrong. The new line from opponents of reform is that Congress doesn't have the votes to pass a public option. Once again, thanks to you, we've proven them wrong. We've asked everyone in Congress where they stand. At least 218 House and 51 Senate Democrats have said they would vote for the final healthcare bill if it included the choice of a public option rather than vote against the bill and kill reform. That means Congress has the majority votes needed to pass a public option -- TODAY. Now is the season for action. The majority of Americans want it. Majority votes in Congress will pass it. Join President Obama in calling on Congress to get the job done this year.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Private Medicare (DIS) Advantage Insurance

Private Medicare Advantage plans cover some 11 million patients, and are very profitable to the insurance industry. I think they're another example of corporate greed overwhelming decency. Republicans have protected privatized Medicare Advantage, and most progressives, seeing the abuses, have called for their elimination for years.

On average, the government pays about 14 percent more for a private insurance Medicare Advantage plan than regular Medicare. President Obama hopes to wring billions in savings by reducing that premium. He'll then reinvest the savings - an estimated $177 billion over ten years -- in his push for universal healthcare.

. . . [Peter ] Orszag, who's leading Obama's healthcare reform effort, [states] "Evidence suggests that each dollar provided under Medicare Advantage costs the government a dollar thirty in costs," he said. "I believe in competition. I don't believe in paying a dollar thirty to get a dollar."

The administration is not calling for an end to the plans, but rather that they be required to bid for the premium instead of simply being handed it. Reducing the premium could also reduce the fraud. Take the example of Curtis Smith: an elderly patient on a fixed income getting cancer treatments isn't any insurers idea of an ideal customer. But agents who sign patients up are generally paid a commission up front, so there's little incentive for them to do a longterm cost-benefit analysis. Once companies start doing that calculation under the new, reduced premium, tricking sick, old people into signing away their Medicare plan will be less profitable.

An example from Huffington Post

Curtis Smith is retired, 72, and not in the best of health. He lives with his wife in Washington DC. He rises early each day, and has difficulty finding safe things to do, as he does not live in the safest of neighborhoods. His story is an example of why health care reform, including limiting Medicare Advantage, is so necessary.

The tedium was broken one morning [last] summer when a young woman knocked on his door. His wife told him not to answer. Nothing good could come from it.

"Most time she's right, I have to give her credit," he says. "If I'd have listened to what she said, I wouldn't be in the predicament I'm in now."

The next time Smith went to his pharmacy, he was told he was no longer covered. When he went to Howard University Hospital for a colon cancer procedure, he was told the same thing. His wife sent him to the local Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia.

The woman who'd knocked was a sales rep from EverCare ( "We care about healthcare" ), a company that sells Medicare Advantage plans, which are privately run and can be more expansive - with vision and dental coverage - but have a smaller network of providers that participate. In practice, the extra vision and dental coverage is often of negligible benefit and doesn't outweigh what's lost by leaving traditional Medicare - but it looks good at first.

The sales rep told him her plan would be cheaper and would provide vision coverage, something Smith, whose eyes are deteriorating, had wanted. "She told me to sign it. It was a piece of paper just like one of these right here," says Smith, who can't read well. "A big piece of paper. And she had read me something about the benefits being better and cheaper and I signed it." (An EverCare spokesman said he couldn't comment on any specific case.) . . .

[Whether the President's proposal to give relief to the victims of Medicare Advantage is] . . . .a moot point for Curtis Smith; he didn't stay on EverCare's rolls for long. Smith had two things most victims of such policy-switches don't: access to free legal help in his neighborhood and a wife smart enough to tell him to use it. His attorney at Legal Aid, Jennifer Hatton, pressed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to rescind his enrollment in the Medicare Advantage plan, arguing that it was done fraudulently and was therefore illegitimate. CMS has long battled with shady marketing practices employed by Medicare Advantage companies. The agency has increasingly tightened what they're legally allowed to do, but policing against all situations like Smith's is a practical impossibility.

In late February, CMS apparently agreed that Smith had been enrolled under illegitimate circumstances. CMS, as a result, agreed to retroactively dis-enroll him from EverCare and re-enrolled him in traditional Medicare.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Alan Greenspan Continues to Repent

In his long-awaited memoir released this week~

Photo ©

'I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient
to acknowledge what everyone knows:

the Iraq war is largely about oil.'


Friday, September 11, 2009

Geese and Ganders, Goofus and Gallant

© Tom Tomorrow @


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bill Moyers' Advice to President Obama



Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Stand Out Story of the Week



Friday, September 4, 2009

Happy Labor Day: Thank A Liberal!

Day in the Life
of Joe Middle-Class Republican

By John Gray – originally Published by – July, 2004

Joe gets up at 6:00am to prepare his morning coffee. He fills his pot full of good clean drinking water because some liberal fought for minimum water quality standards.

He takes his daily medication with his first swallow of coffee. His medications are safe to take because some liberal fought to insure their safety and work as advertised. All but $10.00 of his medications are paid for by his employers medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance, now Joe gets it too.

He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs this day. Joe’s bacon is safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

Joe takes his morning shower reaching for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with every ingredient and the amount of its contents because some liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some tree hugging liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

He walks to the subway station for his government subsidized ride to work; it saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees. You see, some liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day; he has a good job with excellent pay, medicals benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe’s employer pays these standards because Joe’s employer doesn’t want his employees to call the union.

If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed he’ll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some liberal didn’t think he should loose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

Its noon time, Joe needs to make a Bank Deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe’s deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some liberal wanted to protect Joe’s money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the depression. Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae underwritten Mortgage and his below market federal student loan because some stupid liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his life-time.

Joe is home from work, he plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive to dads; his car is among the safest in the world because some liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home. He was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers Home Administration because bankers didn’t want to make rural loans.

The house didn’t have electric until some big government liberal stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded rural electrification. (Those rural Republican’s would still be sitting in the dark)

He is happy to see his dad who is now retired. His dad lives on Social Security and his union pension because some liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn’t have to.

After his visit with dad he gets back in his car for the ride home. He turns on a radio talk show, the host’s keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. (He doesn’t tell Joe that his beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day) Joe agrees, “We don’t need those big government liberals ruining our lives; after all, I’m a self made man who believes everyone should take care of hemselves, just like I have”.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Here Come the Nuremburg Defences, Again

Cartoon by R.J. Matson

Nuremberg Principle IV, states that "defense of superior orders" is not a defense for war crimes, although it might influence a sentencing authority to lessen the penalty.

Nuremberg Principle IV states:

"The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Reconciliation Process and Health Care Reform

The most cogent explanation I've found of the much-talked-about (but less understood) congressional budget reconciliation process is from TalkingPointsMemo. TPM's Brian Beutler explains:

Each year, Congress passes a budget, but sometimes it has to enact a separate bill to raise or reroute funds in order to meet the budget's demands. That's the reconciliation bill--and it's so important that Senate rules exempt it from a filibuster. But they also prevent it from being a vessel for any old provision that the majority party wants enacted.

The specifics of these limits (enshrined in the so-called Byrd rule) are complex, but the overarching rule of thumb is that provisions passed through this process must have a significant budgetary component (i.e. involve the moving around of federal money) and that the legislation should not, in the long run, increase the federal deficit. (A recent historical example: the 2001 Bush tax cuts were passed via the reconciliation process. They survived the Byrd rule because they had a huge budgetary impact, but since they vastly increased the federal deficit, they sunsetted, and had to be renewed after five years.)

Thanks to Mimi @ Wounded Bird for blogging about the TPM post first and thus educating my formerly clueless self about reconciliation on so many fronts.
As Mimi points out:

[quoting from TPM]
. . . According to Martin Paone, a legislative expert who's helping Democrats map out legislative strategy, a more robust public option--one that sets low prices, and provides cheap, subsidized insurance to low- and middle-class consumers--would have an easier time surviving the procedural demands of the so-called reconciliation process. However, he cautions that the cost of subsidies "will have to be offset and if [the health care plan] loses money beyond will have to be sunsetted."

And there the irony continues: Some experts, including on Capitol Hill, believe that a more robust public option will generate crucial savings needed to keep health care reform in the black--and thus prevent it from expiring. But though that may solve the procedural problems, conservative Democrats have balked at the idea creating such a momentous government program, and if they defected in great numbers, they could imperil the entire reform package.
[Mimi then comments]
Let's see if I have this straight. If Democrats choose the more robust public option, they are more likely to be able to overcome the procedural hurdles and pass the bill on 51 votes without the threat of filibuster by the Republicans. The bill would also save money and perhaps pay for itself.

But the conservative Democrats may not stay on board, because they don't like the idea of a "momentous government program"? On what grounds? Read on. Because the Republicans in their pushback say that the public option would have to be "very aggressive in setting rates, price controls and rationing,". Ah, those are scary words to conservative Democrats.

On the other hand, those with no health insurance know rationing quite well.

So. As the author of the article, Brian Beutler says:

The path of least political resistance is beset by procedural obstacles; and the path of least procedural resistance is beset by political ones.

Got that everyone?


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

E-Mail from a Fiscally Conservative Friend

I just received a brief note by e-mail from a dear friend who rarely enjoys entering the political fray. He is socially very moderate to liberal, but fiscally, economically, and monetarily is a true conservative. (Well, he can be generous almost to a fault, but is the kind of guy who is likely as not to do his charitable giving anonymously). I share this without his express permission, but have notified him of this posting. If the post disappears later, you'll know that I misjudged his silence for consent. Herewith a pragmatic and thoughtful view of health care reform:

OK, first let me start off by saying this is NOT a particular party political statement...

I have had a series of recurrent ear infections/problems for years. I now have a substantial hearing loss in my right ear caused by constant fluid in the ear drum. After getting a ct scan ($1,100.00 here in the U.S., approx $99.00 in Japan), I need sinus surgery to correct the problem.

I have excellent insurance (which I pay dearly for every month). I have met my deductible (a few heart tests, again substantially less costly in other countries, took care of that). I STILL have to pay an up front "deposit" of $400.00 before I will be able to have the surgery. Fortunately, God has blessed me with the resources to be able to pay for everything.

So, when I arrived at the MD's office to pay the deposit, I inquired as to what other people, who can't afford to pay the deposit, do. The young lady took a deep breath and said rather sadly and plainly...."THEY DON'T HAVE THE SURGERY".....! I pressed her and said "do you all ever make any kind of 'arrangements' with people who can't pay. She said, "very very rarely"

..... So, I asked around and discovered this is pretty much "standard practice"....unless it is life or death.

If I didn't have this surgery, I would continue to go back and be treated with cortisone, antibiotics and worst of all, continue to lose more hearing in the ear.... I'm grateful to be able to have a viable option which will most probably fix the problem (I know in medicine there are no certainties)....

In conclusion... No matter WHICH side of the aisle you are on (or if you are in the middle). Contact your congressmen/women and tell them to work together to find a solution to the health care crisis in our country.

And lastly, to my friends on both sides of the aisles. Please don't send ME your criticisms of the other sides solutions. There's way to much of that going around. It's so much easier (and quite frankly so much more destructive) to criticize an idea/person than it is to seek solutions and compromise....

Your partner in finding a solution,


Monday, August 31, 2009

Iowan Veteran Urges Republican Support for Public Option



Saturday, August 29, 2009


Friday, August 28, 2009

Today in Gay History

Happy 184th Birthday

Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (1825-1895)

Pioneer Homosexual Theorist/Pamphleteer

Credit glbtq for the folllowing:

Ulrichs then earned his living as a reporter for the important Allgemeine Zeitung (Augsburg) and as secretary to one of the representatives to the German Confederation in Frankfurt am Main. He also received a small inheritance from his mother on her death in 1856.

Using the pseudonym Numa Numantius he published in 1864-1865 five booklets under the collective title Forschungen über das Rathsel der mannmännlichen Liebe (Researches on the Riddle of Male-Male Love). They set forth a biological theory of homosexuality, the so-called third sex theory, which he summed up in the Latin phrase anima muliebris virili corpore inclusa (a female psyche confined in a male body).

Ulrichs coined the term Urning for the male subject of this condition; he variously called the female counterpart Urningin, Uranierin, Urnin, and Urnigin. (The term "homosexual," coined by Karl Maria Kertbeny, first appeared in 1869.)

Using his real name in his next booklet, Ulrichs described his appearance at a Congress of German Jurists in Munich, where on August 29, 1867, he urged repealing the anti-homosexual laws. He was shouted down and not allowed to finish, but this was the first time that a self-acknowledged Urning/homosexual spoke out publicly for his cause. Thus Ulrichs was not only the first theorist of homosexuality, but also the first homosexual to "come out" publicly.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

RIP ~ Sen. Ted Kennedy, 1932-2009


Ted Kennedy, friend and hero to LGBT folks, people with HIV/AIDS, minorities, the disabled, liberals, and progressives over his decades in the U.S. Senate, succumbed to brain cancer late Tuesday night at his home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. This is a tremendous loss for the nation, losing what many Americans, myself, consider to have been the greatest elected official of our lifetimes. We salute you, Mr. Kennedy. Every gay person in America owes you our everlasting gratitude.

HT to FromTheLeft for this LEGACY tribute:

Writing a number of laws ranging from making it easier for workers who change or lose jobs to keep their health insurance, to giving 18-year-olds the right to vote, to deregulating the airlines, and helping lower airfares. He spearheaded legislation to raise the minimum wage and in the early 1970s, wrote the law creating Meals on Wheels, which delivers meals to seniors. He was influential in reforming immigration laws and in expanding Head Start programs. In 1982, he helped gain an extension of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and he was a principal sponsor of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which negated Supreme Court decisions that made it more difficult for minorities to win lawsuits charging job discrimination by employers. In 1990, he worked to gain passage of the landmark Americans With Disabilities Act giving disabled Americans greater access to employment, among other things. That same year, he was author of the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act providing funds for community healthcare and support services. In 1993, Kennedy worked with newly elected President Bill Clinton to gain passage of a bill to allow employees to take time off from their jobs to care for a newborn child or deal with a family illness.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lifted whole grain

from the much-admired Band of Thebes blog:

Cambridge Mayor & Her Wife:

Nation's First Black Church Gay Wedding

Aadeni Exactly eight blocks down Harvard Street from Skip Gates' house is St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church, where this Sunday the nation's first lesbian black mayor will marry her partner in America's first same sex wedding in a black church. In terms of actual historical significance, the legal union of Cambridge Mayor Denise Simmons and Mattie Hayes by a black minister in a black church is more important than the wrongful arrest of a black professor in his own house by a white police officer. Monday morning, for the first time ever, lgbt members of black churches nationwide will wake up with the leverage of being able to say to their pastors, "St. Barts will marry us, why won't you?" and conscientious black leaders will have to begin shifting their thinking from "if" to "when." As all houses of worship grapple with degrees of lgbt acceptance and as religious organizations play an increasing decisive role in US politics, this first minority foothold marks a monumental step forward in the march toward equality. It should be a national story, yet it hasn't even appeared in the Boston Globe five days after Simmons sent out her press release. You might ask why the black preachers who speak against homosexuality get so much coverage in the mainstream media while this good news is ignored by everyone: NYT, LAT, WashPo, CNN, even Towleroad and Pam's House Blend haven't mentioned it. Possibly they're waiting until after the nuptials, but it's already big news online in the UK and France.

Simmons' press release concludes with:

“I believe this may be the very first African-American church to hold a same gender wedding, and that’s something that just wouldn’t have happened years ago. But times are changing, people are becoming more accepting of their fellow citizens, and we are slowly arriving at more of a ‘live-and-let-live’ kind of world. It’s not an easy process, and there have certainly been some detours along the way, but I think all the kind words I’ve received about this ceremony suggest we’re living in a friendlier, more open society. Our society is definitely making progress.”

Really, Simmons and Hayes should be the Cambridge-ites invited to the White House for a beer. Or champagne.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Health Care Reform Post Office Style

Journalist Bill Decker of The Daily Advertiser, published this tongue-in-cheek comparison of the present US health care system to the postal service:

Let's Stamp Out Socialist Health Care!
U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-Metairie, conducted an immensely popular health-care forum Monday in Lafayette. One of the panelists was Dr. Andy Blalock of Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center who said:

"Health care that's run like the post office is not good medicine."

Let's turn that around. Imagine that the post office was run the way American health care operates:

The rest of the industrialized world pays 50 cents to mail a first-class letter. Americans pay $1 for slower, more uncertain delivery. If you can afford it, of course, you can use Federal Express.

You get postage through work, so you and your family have to pay only 25 percent of the cost. Then your boss switches post offices. Now you have to use a mailbox in Opelousas.

You're on a lot of junkmail lists, so the post office raises your postage.

One-sixth of Americans have no postage at all, so they don't mail anything until they have to keep the gas turned on. Then they go to Federal Express. Your postage goes up to pay for their overnight envelopes.

n You send a Christmas fruitcake to Grandma. The postman crushes the fruitcake under a stack of Frederick's of Hollywood catalogs. Then he goes on FOX and complains that postage is expensive because postmen have to pay to replace so many flat fruitcakes.

The following June, a collection agency says you owe $75 for the fruitcake postage. You call the postman, who says the post office used the wrong stamps. The post office says it's the postman's fault. They won't talk to each other. You have to keep calling back and forth between them.

The following year, the post office drops you. They found out you had a pre-existing e-mail.

Your neighbor, the one with the "I Heart Glenn Beck" T-shirt, tells you to cheer up: America has the best postal system in the world.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Town Hall Teabagging

Youth in Asia
Will Kill Your Grandmother

and other funny signs that
the Town Hall Protesters
Have Nothing to Fear
But Fear Itself!

See MORE SIGNS at Huffington Post


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sen. Chuckles Grassley (R-Iowa)

Iowa put Obama
firmly on the road to the White House.

Credit Hebiclens / WMxdesign's buddy icon
Hebiclens / WMxdesign's photostream

In gratitude, we should send the clown Grassley back to Iowa for good.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009