Thursday, November 20, 2008

Someone Didn't Think This Through

I received this ad today as a 'Top Supporter' of the Republican National Committee. I'm not sure how I wound up on this list, but they do get a lot of funding on the backs of gays...

Doesn't anyone remember what a 'White Elephant' is any more?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Olbermann on Prop 8

Gads, I love listening to this fellow.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Liveblogging the LBGT Caucus

Originally posted at Bluegrass Roots.

The LBGT Caucus opened with a special message from Nancy Wohlforth of the AFL-CIO: Support the Employee Free Choice Act. We need a transgender-inclusive ENDA, and we need the Employee Free Choice Act.
Alan Cummings from X-men gets a special shout out. He waves to the audience.

Dell Martin, who passed away this morning, gets a moment of silence.

Introducing the first guest speaker: he just helped provide universal health care to San Francisco. He also blocked the development of Treasure Island out of San Francisco. He also opened the gates of marriage, for a brief time, in California. Gavin Newsom! A huge cheer from the crowd.

Newsom speaks of Dell Martin and her partner, whose devotion he felt defined marriage.

He recalled listening to Dubya's State of the Union address in 2004 in which Bush declared his support of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. It spurred his decision to marry same-sex couple. Newsom had read the CA Constitution and didn't see anything about it barring equal rights and protection under the law. He wanted to put a human face on the issue, and Dell Martin and her partner Phyllis were the first people he thought of.

He arranged for their marriage, plus several others. The next day, the headlines screamed that the world was coming to an end. Restraining orders were filed and denied. Four years later, a largely Republican California Supreme Court decided that Newsom was right about the Constitution. Dell and Phyllis were remarried. Dubya's attempt to prevent same-sex marriage failed, but California has an anti-marriage amendment on the ballot.

Newsom: We need your help defeating Proposition 8. It would be a monumental setback in the history of your movement. This is about human rights and dignity, and is the second most important election in this nation.

Standing ovation.

Steve Hildebrandt from the Obama campaign is up now. We have handouts comparing Obama's stand on LBGT issues to McCain's. I notice that his listed opposition to same-sex marriage bans doesn't include support of actual same-sex marriage. However, he does support civil unions and feels that they should have the full equivalent rights and recognitions that marriage has. Why must people quibble over semantics? If it's the equivalent of marriage, then why not call it that? Or, if that makes people too comfortable, why not call ALL marriages 'civil unions' in the eyes of the law, and let individual churches decide who they want to 'unite in holy matrimony'?

Hildebrandt is urging them to vote for Obama, for everyone's benefit. Quote: "Barack is f---ing smart." The crowd cheers. "Give it everything you've got."

Howard Dean is speaking now. He recalls the battle over civil unions in Vermont, and the advances made over the last few years, despite the efforts of George Bush and Karl Rove to stem them.

He encourages the members of the audience to not only register voters, but encourage them to vote early. It circumvents the last-minute handouts in church bulletins and last-minute smears on television. Ask everyone to vote early or vote absentee. When the GOP make it harder for minority groups to vote, they also made it easier to vote early (since so many GOP supporters vote early). Take advantage of this. Every vote has to count.

They're introducing Linda Kettner, openly LBGT candidate for Congress in South Carolina. She says that she is the "Southern Strategy". However, she is not running to make a point, but to win. She is currently up in the polls.

Kettner has learned that people will vote for her when she asks them what's important to them and she really listens to them. Apparently, voters aren't used to that. Overall, people need and want the same things. She is not running for gay people, white people, or blondes. She's running for everyone.

Introducing Congressman Tim Wallace. He says that the message of LBGT equality is being heard as freely in Minnesota as it is in San Francisco. He won despite his pro-LBGT positions. When people said "Wow, you won a red district despite your positions," his answer was: "No, I won BECAUSE of my positions."

Barney Frank is coming to the podium now, accompanied by applause. He is definitely getting older, and his voice is grizzled. He's probably been making speeches all week. My question: will he run for Ted Kennedy's seat in the Senate once it becomes vacant? I don't want to sound like a vulture here, but the term 'grim diagnosis' not one you usually live through.

He's talking about first running for office, and people learning he was gay. It startled the men, but didn't bother the women at all. Laughter.

Frank says that we are freeing people from homophobia when we come out. He complains, though, that When we discuss our sexuality, we are accused of shoving it into people's faces. Strangely enough, straight people talk about sex all the time, and it's just called 'talking'.

The parties' stands on LBGT rights is where they are most dissimilar. The more Democrats we have in office, the better off we are. It doesn't mean all Democrats are our allies, but overall our community will do better with Democrats in office. They are more supportive.

Also: the GOP has been trying to split minority groups away from the gay groups, using religious arguments, suggesting that we aren't real victims of prejudice, etc. However, the most supportive group to LBGT rights in Congress is the Black Caucus. Applause again.

Frank feels that in the history books, 2008 will be listed as the year Americans decided to legally end discrimination against sexual orientation. Be able to say, "I was there when we broke the back of bigotry."

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Update on KY Farm Bureau Violating Fairness Ordinance

Page One Kentucky reports:
In what could be considered one of the biggest stories ever about the historic Fairness Ordinance that protects individuals from discrimination on several fronts, the 8th District Circuit Court in Jefferson County has ruled that Todd Eklof can sue Kentucky Farm Bureau for violating the ordinance.

POK has made the court document available (click on the pic to read).

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Your Pets Will Not Be Flagged For Removal By Jesus During the Rapture

Many, many thanks to Barefoot and Progressive for alerting me to this Craigslist bulletin!

Have you ever thought about what will happen to your pets after Jesus comes back to claim the souls of the saved during the Rapture and deliver them to heaven to enjoy ever lasting life? The bible clearly teaches that only those that have accepted Jesus as their savior will enter heaven (John 14:6, Romans 3:23), and we all know that pets do not have the cognitive ability to do this, so what will happen to your beloved pets? Surely without you there, they would be stuck inside your empty house, starving to death with no one to feed them, let them out to potty, or clean their litter box. This is probably not what you envision for your pets after you are gone. This is where I come in.

I am here to offer you pet care service for after the rapture. As an atheist, I will surely still be here on this earth post rapture and would love to look after your pets for a small fee and make sure they are still well taken care of after you and your family have been raptured. You will be able to look down on them from heaven and see them being well cared for by me and living happy, healthy lives. Do not let my atheism scare you! I am a moral and loving pet owner and would never do harm to any animal.

Click here to check out the rest of the ad.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Ice Cap Melting? Make a run to SuperAmerica!

Recent reports that the North Pole may be ice-free this summer has environmentalists up in arms. GOP supporters... not so much.

James Pence brings us this video, where attendees at a Louisville GOP $1000 per plate fundraiser are first confronted about the war in Iraq and then the global warming worsened by Bush/Cheney/Mitch's policies. One of the supporters has an interesting suggestion for solving the problem of an overheated North Pole:

Of course, SuperAmerica's main sales are oil and gas. Hmmm.... Leave it to Republicans to find a new way to turn a buck while feeding a global crisis!

And why should they care about homeless polar bears or the increase of heat-related deaths worldwide? There's a silver lining to this soggy cloud:

"There's also, or course, oil at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean," he (Mark Serreze, senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center) said. "Now, the irony of that is kind of clear, but the fact that we are opening up the Arctic Ocean does make it more accessible."

Does this at least mean that they'll leave Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico alone?

Monday, June 30, 2008

Lexington Pride 2008!

This past Saturday, Lexington had its first downtown Pride Festival. Sunday morning, I'm sure videos like this were shown in fundie churches everywhere:

Other videos can be seen here, here, and here.

The Pride Festival, despite the predictable complaints, was a huge success. The festival was held on the lawn of the old courthouse. Meanwhile, a block or two away, the annual Diversity Festival (which presents food and music from countries all over the world) was taking place on the lawn of the new courthouse. Rather than 'stealing' people from each other, the two celebrations benefited from the crowd of over 1000 people that wandered back and forth between them.

Several openly gay politicians spoke at the event: Jim Gray, Lexington's vice mayor, Ernesto Scorsone, state senator, and Diane Lawless, candidate for city council. For the non-political types, there was a silent art auction, booths with pride gear, a Pride Idol competition, and several drag performers to hold their interest.

A rumor that Fred Phelps and clan would drive in for the event did not manifest. They were probably too busy announcing that they would picket George Carlin's funeral. This looks like it may have been a rumor, too - or the press didn't care to mention them.

An even larger celebration is planned for next year:

Pride Festival chairwoman Ginger Moore-Minder was almost beside herself at the larger-than-expected crowd.

”I am amazed and awed by this day. The response is outstanding. ... We've already raised over $9,000 that will go towards local LGBT causes. And we've started planning for next year – it'll blow this year's festival out of the water.“

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

FINALLY! Beshear Starts Fixing Some Fletcher Damage

Ryan Alessi is reporting that:

1. The Labor Cabinet will become a standalone department again;

2. Beshear is restoring the Governor's Employee Advisory Council (which gives labor groups the opportunity to discuss issues directly with the governor); and

3. Beshear has restored the executive order protecting gay employees. When I spoke to Beshear at the Change For Kentucky summit last year, he promised me that this last item would happen. I'm glad that he followed through!

From the Herald-Leader:

"Experience, qualifications, talent and performance are what matter," Beshear said in a statement.

Democratic former Gov. Paul Patton signed an executive order in 2003 aimed at protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender state employees. The policy also bars discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, age and religion.

But Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher removed sexual orientation from the list of specifically protected characteristics as part of an executive order he signed on Diversity Day in April 2006.

I haven't been very impressed (at least, not favorably) with the 'regime change' in Frankfort up till now. Are things taking a turn for the better?

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Some Programmers Have Gone Over To The Dark Side

Right Wing Watch, an arm of People For the American Way, recently discovered that when readers clicked links leading to the American Family Association's website, they weren't going to the pages RWW referenced. Instead, they were being redirected to a Good Person Test that they couldn't pass.

Answer a question about honesty and you are told you are a liar; answer a question about lust and you are told you are an adulterer; answer a question about anger and you are told you are a murderer.
We’ve noticed that this special redirecting service is something AFA seems to have reserved for Right Wing Watch, because, for example, Street Prophets excerpted one of our posts the other day that included a link to a OneNewsNow article that, from their blog, takes readers to the article quoting Gary Bauer whereas those clicking through from our post get redirected.

Unfortunately for our fundie friends, RWW has programmers, too. They have already figured out how to get their links working again. Enjoy this story I was able to reach from their site. By the way, the author has forgotten Rhode Island.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I couldn't resist

Talk about a bad hair day!

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tax Time is Upon Us Again: Monetary Suggestions

Today, a large number of people are only beginning to fill out their tax forms. Some won't start until tonight, necessitating that drive by the TV cameras at the Post Office. Others will file on line, cursing the burden on the servers that delays their work. The phone lines will buzz with calls to tax help services and relatives with financial experience.

Everyone who can file should, since it will make them eligible for the tax 'rebate' that has been promised us. This election-year giveaway isn't going to help the government get out of the hole it's in, but it may provide some needed cash for folks out there.

Tax refunds and 'rebates' are often a nice little chunk of money that gets wasted. Do not piss this money away. The Bushites want you to spend it on frivolous things that will 'help the economy'. Do something really useful instead.

Some Pagans are smart with their money and/or well-heeled, but I've met a larger number who, just like most people out there, don't have a lot of money and don't have any idea of what to do with a windfall (even a small one). Many Pagans feel that they shouldn't concern themselves with money, but I think they should still spend what they have wisely!

Some suggestions:

* If you've been putting off dental work for yourself or your child, do it now.
* Have that physical or well child checkup.
* Get that eye/hearing checkup for yourself or your child.
* Fix those brakes and/or replace those bald tires.
* Buy that damned auto insurance! I entered traffic accidents for about seven years, and too many people out there are driving uninsured. If you can afford more than liability insurance, it's worth it. I say this as one who knows.

Don't have those needs?

* Pay down (or off) one of your credit cards. Don't divide it among your credit cards, kill one outright.
* If you don't have an emergency savings account, get one. This works better if it's at a different bank than the one for your checking account. The temptation to nickel-and-dime a savings account to nothing is pretty high, so don't make it easy to shift money over to the account you use for daily expenses. I would suggest paying the credit card(s) off first, though, because a credit card can get you through an emergency when a tiny savings account won't.
* File a will. This is especially important if you have children or are half of a gay couple. Don't trust the court to leave your property or award your kids to the person of your choice.
* Get that house/property repair you desperately need. Last time we got a rebate, a damaged tree in our yard was threatening to fall over. We paid some local people to come take it out. This helped stimulate the economy and ensure our house's safety.

Got more money left over, or don't have those needs?

* Open an IRA. Those of you who got rebates before will remember that, the following year, you had to count them as income. An IRA will reduce your tax liability next year and, in the long run, help replace the Social Security you may not be getting. Your bank may tell you that you need $500 - $1000 to open an IRA, but some online services will let you begin one with a much smaller amount of money. I opened one on Sharebuilder (owned by ING) with $200 and could probably have opened it with $25.
* Give to a worthy charity. It can be a tax benefit, and it'll help someone else. If you feel political, give to a group like Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. There are also some Pagan charities doing good work. If you want the tax deduction, verify that they qualify for it before you give them the money. Of course, the good karma of giving to a charitable group doesn't depend on its IRS classification.

If you're getting a large return:

* Buy a CD. You have to get a bigger check to do this, but it lets you save money at a higher rate and is not as easily broken into as a savings account. If you're getting a big refund and don't need the money immediately, it's not a bad idea.
* Buy a bond. Ask your bank or credit union about this. I have some bond stocks in my retirement account, but I'm no expert on this. Bonds are a nice hedge when the economy sucks.

Got some better ideas? Feel free to comment.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Ralph Long: Know Your Friends (and those who aren't)

From Ralph Long's blog:

I recently got a couple of Fund Raising emails from The emails came from Kelly L. Smith []. Now I subscribe to this site, along with a number of other sites and I know its run by the same folks that run the Bluegrass Institute. Kentucky Votes is a pretty good service if you ignore most of the comments on the site.

The subject of the email was KentuckyVotes.org_A Testimonial from Norman Davis and contained this line.

Our friend and colleague, Norman Davis of Clarkson, Kentucky, is a regular user of Kentucky Votes. No big deal, I’m a regular user of Kentucky Votes. But to think that Norman Davis endorsing something will get me to pony up some bucks, well that’s not going to happen.

For those of you who don’t know who Norman Davis is let me introduce you. Davis is the leader of a coalition of groups called Take Back Kentucky.

A 2004 Kentucky Department of Justice Report - Hate Crime and Hate Incidents in the Commonwealth of Kentucky lists Take Back Kentucky as a Patriot Group.

Patriot groups define themselves as opposed to the “New World Order” or advocate or adhere to extreme anti-government or conspiratorial doctrines.

Ralph says that he won't be giving money to this group any time soon. I would suggest that everyone do the same before ponying up for any candidate or interest group that contacts them during this election year.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Too bad it's not coming to KY!

Information on the simulcast below:

Celebrities, Religious Liberty Heroes Headline National Simulcast For Church-State Separation

Activists Gather At Theaters In 25 Cities To Put Church-State Separation On National Agenda During 2008 Election

Actors, musicians and comedians will join church-state activists from across the country March 26 to put church-state separation on the national agenda during the 2008 election season.

In movie theatres in 25 cities across the nation, interested citizens will gather to learn about the threats to church-state separation and to demand that presidential hopefuls and candidates for other offices answer questions about key issues dealing with individual freedom. A list of 10 great questions to ask candidates will be featured.

Titled “Everything You Always Wanted to Know about the Separation of Church and State … but Were Afraid to Ask!,” the high-definition program is being hosted by First Freedom First (FFF), a joint project of Americans United for Separation of Church and State and The Interfaith Alliance Foundation.

Peter Coyote, a celebrated Hollywood actor and filmmaker, will emcee the program, which is to include a performance by special guests, The Bacon Brothers. Actor Kevin Bacon and his brother Michael formed the band more than 10 years ago and continue touring nationwide.

Other actors and celebrities scheduled to participate include Michael J. Fox (“Family Ties” and “Spin City”), Jack Klugman (“The Odd Couple” and “Quincy, M.E.”), James Whitmore (“The Shawshank Redemption”), Wendie Malick (“Just Shoot Me!”), Dan Lauria (“The Wonder Years”), Catherine Dent (“The Shield”), stand-up comedian and Air America host Marc Maron, singer/songwriter Catie Curtis and singer/satirist Roy Zimmerman.

In addition, Americans who have fought for individual freedom will tell their stories. Invited guests include Bryan and Christy Rehm (who fought creationism in Dover, Pa. science classes), Matthew LaClair (a New Jersey high schooler who exposed religious indoctrination at his school), Roberta Stewart (an Afghanistan War widow who fought for equal rights for Wiccan veterans), Dr. Susan Wicklund (who wears a bullet-proof vest to provide reproductive services in underserved areas) the Rev. Madison Shockley (pastor and reproductive rights advocate) David and Ryan Altoon (who oppose fundamentalist proselytism at U.S. military academies) Melinda “Lindy” Maddox (who successfully sued Alabama “Commandments” Judge Roy Moore) and Susan Jacoby (author of The Age of American Unreason).

First Freedom First was launched in 2006 to mobilize Americans from all walks of life in defense of church-state separation. Recently FFF ran television ads in several presidential primary states urging citizens to ask the candidates to elaborate on their understanding of religious liberty.

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director, and the Rev. Welton Gaddy, president of The Interfaith Alliance Foundation, will also participate in the simulcast.

Said Lynn, “This is a unique event that brings together celebrity commitment, civic engagement and the latest technology. Presidential candidates have been asked what their favorite Bible verse is and what sins they have committed. I want to know where they stand on key issues of individual freedom. This simulcast will tell us how to find out that information -- and give us an entertaining evening to boot.”

Said Gaddy, “We are thrilled that so many American icons we have welcomed into our living rooms over the years have graciously agreed to lend their star-power to focus attention on religious liberty and some of its heroes. This gathering should prove to be a lively and much-deserved celebration of the diversity of belief systems in this country and some of the citizens who have boldly taken public stands to protect the boundaries between religion and government.”

The March 26 simulcast is being produced by Progressive Media Agency, a Portland, Ore.-based firm led by Adam Klugman and Enrique Arias.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Kentucky: The Newest Pretext to Force Christian Prayer Into the Schools

DINO Bob Damron, et alii panderers, are making another run at injecting religion into the schools. This is one of the reasons I voted 'No' on the constitutional amendment allowing the KY General Assembly to meet every year. The state seems to run more quietly when these folks aren't in session.

The ploy this time is to get the kids to recite the Lord's Prayer in class under the guise of understanding the American forefathers. Thus, they will have "American = Christian" (specifically Protestant Christian) stamped into their minds early on. Why do I suspect that they won't be re-enacting any Native American rituals, which would certainly be an important part of our country's history as well? Perhaps they should also include some African religious instruction, which would give the pupils a greater understanding of how the slaves brought here felt when they were forced to give up their faith. That'd really ram the message home, wouldn't it?

HB 460 (BR 27) - R. Adams, K. Hall, J. Comer Jr, R. Damron, J. Stewart III, A. Wuchner

AN ACT relating to schools.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky:

Section 1. KRS 158.175 is amended to read as follows:

(1) As a continuation of the policy of teaching our country's history and as an affirmation of the freedom of religion in this country, the board of education of a local school district may authorize the recitation of the traditional Lord's prayer and the pledge of allegiance to the flag in public elementary schools. Pupil participation in the recitation of the prayer and pledge of allegiance shall be voluntary. Pupils shall be reminded that this Lord's prayer is the prayer our pilgrim fathers recited when they came to this country in their search for freedom. Pupils shall be informed that these exercises are not meant to influence an individual's personal religious beliefs in any manner. The exercises shall be conducted so that pupils shall learn of our great freedoms, including the freedom of religion symbolized by the recitation of the Lord's prayer.
(2) The board of education of each school district shall establish a policy and develop procedures whereby the pupils in each elementary and secondary school may participate in the pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United States at the commencement of each school day.
(3) The Kentucky Board of Education shall develop a program of instruction relating to the flag of the United States of America, including instruction in etiquette, the correct use and display of the flag, and other patriotic exercises as may be related. This program of instruction shall be provided to each public school for use in its course of instruction. The program of instruction, at a minimum, shall include the provisions of 4 U.S.C. secs. 1 to 3 and 4 U.S.C. secs. 5 to 9.
(4) The board of education of each local school district may purchase or otherwise acquire and provide for display in each classroom copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, and other documents the local board deems significant to the history of Kentucky and the United States.
(5) At the commencement of the first class of each day in all public schools, the teacher in charge of the room shall [originally may] announce that a moment of silence or reflection not to exceed two (2) minutes [originally one (1) minute] in duration shall be observed.

Note that the proposed law also enforces reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, which will probably NOT be the original one without the 'Under God' phrase. Somehow, I think the later version will be used. I guess our buddies in the House don't want the kids to get confused about what religious freedom really means.

The real fun should start, though, when the Catholic kids start using different words in the middle of the Lord's Prayer. Back in the Bad Old Days, Catholic kids got punished for using the 'wrong' words during classroom prayer. Today, they'll just get points off until they start using the American version. And they'll get the message, too.

Interested in complaining? Call 1-800-372-7181 to leave a message.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Fuzzy creatures

Yes, I'm a sucker for fuzzy critters.

However, if you prefer another type of fuzzy critters, look below. I blame this all on Daily Kos.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Church-State Separation Commercials Running in South Carolina!

Many thanks to Blue Gal's post at Street Prophets for drawing my attention to this! First Freedom First is putting their money into the 'Red States', where it's needed the most.

This ad features Jack Klugman, one of my favorite actors. Klugman also has one where he advocates his right to choose how he dies. There's still a lot of fire in the old belly, though, so don't think it maudlin.

Sarah G