31 May 2009

the sum is greater than the whole:

ok, folks. fasten your seatbelts for another glbt civil rights rant. if you put all the acronyms into a big basket, shake 'em up and pour 'em out...you end up with discrimination against the last unprotected "class" of people. MY people. yes: dadt, doma, enda, with a heaping helping of "marriage equality" thrown into the mix...bake at 350 degrees and what you wind up with is a heaping, steaming, nasty casserole of discrimination topped with bigotry.

read the whole post at americablog:

By the end of June, we'll know if the Obama administration intends to defend DOMA in the GLAD lawsuit seeking to have Section 3 of that law found unconstitutional. That will be a seminal moment for this administration and its relationship with the LGBT community. I'm not sure if the great minds in the West Wing fully grasp that yet. My suggestion to the White House is: Don't bother with the small stuff and the Gay Pride proclamations if you're going to say in Federal Court that DOMA is constitutional and should be upheld. If you do that, it's over.

in closing, i couldn't resist posting the youtube of "fierce advocate's" spokesman, gibbs, twisting in the wind of "fierce advocate" hypocrisy.


water, water everywhere...and nary a drop to drink

this is certainly an issue that flies completely below the radar...

perhaps because it's not as "sexy" or "newsy" as partisan politics and name-calling.

as those of you familiar with me already know, my partner and i have a horse breeding farm in the middle of CD10...currently represented in d.c. by michael mccaul (r-clear channel). unlike justin, we are represented in the state house by lois kolkhorst (r-brenham). i have been searching "teh google" but can't find any position statements by rep. kolkhorst on this issue.

although we have a 15-acre hay pasture, we've been forced to purchase hay for the last 3 years...so much for self-sufficiency. not only that, but we've seen the price for a square bale go from around $3/bale to $8/bale (and the quality has gone down as fast as the prices have risen).

so, without further ado, here is a very thoughtful peace by another rural texan (reposted in its entirety, without edits, with the originator's permission):

Water, water everywhere and none to drink. Imagine yourself on a boat, in
the middle of the ocean without drinking water. This would be a stressful
and trying time for you fighting the urge to drink. Either choice leads to

If one could open his or her eyes, one should see that Texas is in
the same situation. It does not matter if its urban metro areas like
Houston, Austin, and San Antonio or rural area like ours. We are all
affected. It is evident with the long term drought, the burn bans and the
growth of population.

I maybe a day late and dollar short on the this subject, but it
seems to me that there are no long term solutions being made. It seems no
one-NO ONE- are putting two and two together. We can not afford in not
preventing water storages. The common plan is to create or plan water
districts or zones. A simple water district does NOT solve the problem.

According to a local area newspaper, last spring one pillar of the
community who testify in front of a county commissioner court said that
desalination is "too costly" for Texans. I have to ponder if desalination is
so costly, then lets add up all of the local burn bans, local unemployment,
budgets of water districts, and the sky rocketing price of hay, feed,
cattle, and farm equipments. Correct me if I am wrong, but does that cost at
least one desalination plant? I mean the budget of the Texas Water
Commission is over 128 million dollars. Again why not Desalination Plants?
Our so-called friends in the Middle East have them. Why can't the Great U.S.
of A? Why can't the former republic of Texas?

We must remind ourselves of what happen in 2006 and 2007 with our
sister state of Georgia. Due to the major drought in those two years. The
man-made lake, the name escapes me for the moment, that feeds the Atlanta
metro area could no long sustain itself. This was due to fact that the
population of Atlanta was growing and the lack of rainfall. It was so bad
that Governor George Ervin "Sonny" Perdue III (R-GA) had to asked the nearby
states, like Tennessee and Kentucky, to deliver tons of water to relieve

Today, here in the crossroads area, there are rumors - real or
imagine- that a city like San Antonio would take water from this area even
during a drought. The sad thing that our State House Rep and our State
Senator are muted on this subject. Our State House Rep. Geanie Morrison (R-
Victoria) and State Senator Glenn Hegar (R-Katy) voted to force one county,
Lavaca, to vote on a water district, not once, but three times. By the way,
the fourth election is in 2010. This is like creepy guy advancing his
feelings to a girl who doesn't want it. This is kind of like stalking to me.
This is not leadership from the two officials we elected to Austin. Real
leadership is about making HARD CHOICES. Hard choices must be made , not
political pandering and grandstanding to be elected to the "millionth" term.
No one is talking about that.

The questions remain. Where is the leadership? Where is the foresight? Where
is the wisdom? Where is the commitment? We do not need Apathy,
backwardness, and shyness. Unlike the our two elected officials to Austin, I
have a solution to the water problem. My solution is lay aside money from
the corrupt Texas Department of Transportation and require and help San
Antonio, Austin, Houston, and Corpus Christi to built a system of two or
three Desalination Plants to feed their populations. Think of the
possibilities of saving and creating jobs in Victoria, Dewitt, Lavaca,
Jackson, and other counties in the crossroads. It is time for us to be like
Joseph and King Solomon. Some of you do not want to hear about the Bible.
Too bad, there is no time for political correctness. Joseph. dreams saved
Egypt from incoming disasters that the monarch appointed him something that
of a Primer. How about King Solomon who uses wisdom to solve problems in
ancient Israel? Let us not be like Oedipus Rex, yes folks I know Greek
literature. Me's can read too. He, unlike Joseph and Solomon, was loud,
arrogant, and obnoxious with envious pride that made him blind from seeing
the way. He did not have the foresight, the wisdom, the leadership and the
compassion to solve the problem. That is like some of us , well some people,
who accuses, making up wacky conspiracies, and use code words like
socialism, political correctness, Ebonics, "Nobama" or some other stupid
language because they can't take a lost.

Water is VERY, very important for us. Ranches need water. Farms need
water. Small communities need water. We ALL need water. The so called Water
wars has not, not been lost. The time is now not tomorrow, now. It is time
to dream and have foresight like Joseph and apply wisdom of Solomon to solve
the issues of the day. Or we will be like Oedipus, the foolish King,
blinded and ashamed by his own pride. Atlanta, Georgia should be a warning
for us. You just been warned.

Justin W.
Hallettsville, Texas

30 May 2009

only if the first port of call is the hague:

via the washington post:

ooh, what fun! all aboard for a sea cruise with war criminals and enablers! damitol, the cruise only goes to the mediterranean and adriatic...

any chances of a port-of-call in spain?!?

You'll be able to commiserate with and enjoy the grand company of luminaries from the conservative National Review -- Rich Lowry, Jonah Goldberg, Kathryn Lopez, Kate O'Beirne and others.

my luck, i would be seated for the duration of the cruise at K-Lo's table. how many days, i wonder, before i would jump overboard?!?

Some of the guest speakers include Karl ("Permanent Majority") Rove, author Michael Novak, former U.N. ambassador John Bolton and ace political analyst Dick Morris, who appears fully recovered from that toe-sucking incident. Also on board will be columnists Tony Blankley, Cal Thomas and George Gilder.

at this point, if i haven't already jumped overboard, i'll be looking for hot sticks to jab in my ears.

The cruise is conservatively priced as these things go, with 185-square-foot cabins for $5,000 a couple ($6,000 if you want a window, which you do). But the fiscally prudent will have to chance a waiting list for those rooms. The pricey suites, up to $14,000 per couple for one with a veranda, are still available. In times past, the plush accommodations went first. Must be the economy.

OMFG! "conservatively priced"! isn't that just teh cuteness?!?

methinks i'll bring teh husbear (tm) along for that $14K price tag.

29 May 2009

shake your money maker friday:

anastacia ~ "i can feel you"

pet shop boys ~ "did you see me coming"

cyndi lauper ~ girls just wanna have fun/set your heart

28 May 2009

...and now there's video...

...and the glbt community was obviously the butt of a very lame joke at our equal civil right's expense.

...and the obamabots at dKos are trying to claim he was responding to a handful of protesters upset about the genocide in armenia from 1915-1918.

our time is now...

ok, i promise this isn't going to become a "big gay blog". pam spaulding and joe.my.god and so many others do it so much better than i ever could.

that said, the issue of glbt equality is very personal for me and i would be remiss if i didn't jump into the fray while "we" are in the limelight. who knew that glbt-related issues would be vying for equal coverage (at least in the progressive blogodrome) with O's first SCOTUS nominee.

i realized just how much coverage glbt issues were getting today, when i made my daily foray into the land of huffington (not to mention my subsequent foray to the "big orange monster", aka Daily Kos). following are linky's to the articles "all things gay" from the front page and the politics page...keep in mind, this is JUST TODAY, just huffpost:

























thanks, dan choi, for putting a face on so many of the issues of importance to the glbt community in addition to your valor in standing up to dadt!

O thinks glbt civil rights are a punchline

whilst dining in the beverly hills hilton (at $30,400/couple), celebs were treated to a really cute joke from our "fierce advocate".

this really raises my hackles (emphasis added):


“One of them said, “Obama keep your promise,’ ” the president said. “I thought that’s fair. I don’t know which promise he was talking about.

isn't that just the funniest f'ing joke you've ever heard? i'm inclined to send monopoly money when the campaign contribution requests start pouring in...

wanda on the first lady...

perhaps one of the funniest (and most accurate assessments of the msm's veiled racism) conversations wanda sykes has had with leno.

leno makes a great point that wanda can do the neck crank/finger snap joke and he can't.

i'll take double standards for $1000, alex.

27 May 2009

water lilies

i took these all today...i must have 30+/- blossoms on the lily pond right now...and they'll bloom until thanksgiving (or later, depending on the weather)

as always, clickety clack to view full size.

garden update:

well, the labor is finally starting to pay off! harvested snow peas, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, green beans, spring onion...all today!

as always, clickety clack for full-size.

26 May 2009

a cavalcade of no...

gotta love the repoobliCANT'S.

they were against filibusters in 2005...now that they're faced with a young latina scotus nominee? yes, the caged birds are now singing a different tune:

bite me, senator hatch.

for more hypocritical frothing, visit here.

i'll take equality for $1000, alex:

today is a very sad day for those of us that don't want special rights, merely equal civil rights.

the courage campaign is planning to mount a ballot initiative to overturn prop h8 in 2010. this won't be easy...or cheap. please consider clicking here and making a donation.

the following 4-minute video has already been trimmed to 1 minute. your donation will help get it on television in california.

stop8.org was prepared for this bad news (hat tip to Joe.My.God)

update 2: now the one minute edited version of "fidelity" is up on youtube. very powerful.

25 May 2009

on this memorial day...

...let us never forget the brave young men and women who sacrificed their lives in the bush/cheney/rumsfeld/halliburton vanity, pre-emptive, unnecessary war for profit.

my original intent was to copy and paste the list here. the list exceeds blogger's 1MB size requirement, which speaks volumes.

4300 reported coalition deaths. click here for the list. once there, click "DoD Confirmation" to see how startlingly young most of these kids were when they were killed.

a gross underestimate of 45,000 iraqi civilian deaths. those are only the deaths reported by various news agencies, according to icasualties.org.

merely stumbling upon this site for this posting has left me in a puddle of emotions.


24 May 2009

scroll down

or clickety clack here for memorial day yum yum update...

in praise of O

ok, i think i've shown a trend on this blog that i can be hypercritical of O. particularly when it comes to his inability to follow through on his claim of being a "fierce advocate" for glbt people/issues.

...and then, i stumble upon something like this:

what a wonderful teaching moment...to tell a young man, "yes, i really am like you. yes, you really can grow up to be the president of the united states; you can be whatever you can dream!"

teacherken writes some of my favoite diaries at dKos. this one was no exception.

teacherken's original dKos diary here (which will include the comments on his diary, as well, sans above pic):

That picture is available for download at the official White House Flickr site, where it is accompanied a text I will offer below the fold. For now, examine the picture, imagine what is going on.

Here is the text accompanying the photo at the White House Flickr site:

President Barack Obama bends over so the son of a White House staff member can pat his head during a family visit to the Oval Office May 8, 2009. The youngster wanted to see if the President's haircut felt like his own. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
This official White House photograph is being made available for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way or used in materials, advertisements, products, or promotions that in any way suggest approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

Think about it. The youngster wanted to see if the President's haircut felt like his own.

The humility of our President. His accessibility to a somewhat ordinary person, a child, who doesn't know that one does not ask the President of the United States something like that.

For all of our complaints about policy and actions, the various criticisms we offer - and in many cases we must so criticize - still, it is helpful to have a more complete picture.

Barack Obama is still a caring person. To me this picture says a lot.

I simply wanted to be sure y'all had a chance to see it.


Gone to the Dogs...

sorry for not posting today...it was our annual community picnic in my little burg and so i've been playing "pit master" all day...

speaking of "pits", enjoy this slideshow of my little rescue pits, Rex teh Wonder Pit and his NEWLY rescued adopted sister, Roxie teh Pitty Princess. there are also some pix of "bredwell farms", our little corner of heaven...

as always, clickity clack to super size.

23 May 2009

Gay US diplomats to receive equal benefits

Gay US diplomats to receive equal benefits

Posted using ShareThis

Memorial Day Yum Yums...

made this for my church annual community picnic. it was da' BOMB. not one shred of brisket left over! i left the coffee-cup full of sauce at the church when i left because they were putting it on hamburgers and hot dogs and i didn't wanna leave my all-clad sauce pan at the church (ok, i'm OCD about my cookware!)

that said, we are having a little brisket held aside for supper with the sauce and i made an amendment to the recipe worth sharing: i used the last of the butter in the house and the last of the cider vinegar, so tonight i substituted olive oil and red wine vinegar...i think i like the flavor even more!

i've been told that this brisket is so good it'll make you wanna slap your momma and the sauce is so good you'll wanna soak your feet in it...

don't take my word for it. make it. the great part is that you don't have to spend the whole day checking the smoker/grill and you can just chill with your buds sipping longnecks (i would highly recommend any of the beers from shiner, a texican tradition).


• 4 large garlic cloves, minced
• 1 12- to 15-pound fat-trimmed beef brisket (at room temperature)
• 3 tablespoons chili powder
• 1 Tablespoon paprika
• 1 Tablespoon salt
• 2 teaspoons ground cumin
• 1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage, crumbled
• 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
• 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
• 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 3 tablespoons freshly ground pepper
• 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
• 1 Tablespoon onion powder
• 2-3 sliced onion


Preheat oven to 350°F. Rub garlic into both sides of brisket. Combine all remaining ingredients except barbecue sauce and sliced onion in a bowl and mix well. Rub into brisket. Set brisket fat side up on top of the sliced onion in a large disposable aluminum rack roasting pan (approximately 16x12x3). Cover tightly with aluminum foil, pressing as much air space out of the roasting pan as possible (alternately, wrap brisket tightly in aluminum foil and place in roasting pan. After 1 ½ hour, reduce temperature to 225°F Bake until tender, about 12-14 hours. Serve hot or cold with sauce.


• 6 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
• 2 medium onion, chopped
• 2 carrots, chopped
• 6 cloves garlic
• 1 ½ cup water
• 1 ½ cup prepared chili sauce
• 1 ½ cup catsup
• ¾ cup cider vinegar
• 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 5 tablespoons brown sugar
• 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
• 3 tablespoon molasses
• 1 Tablespoons salt
• 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dry mustard
• 1 Tablespoon freshly ground pepper
• 1 ½ teaspoons paprika
• ½ teaspoon hot sauce (I used “Dave’s Gourmet Insanity Sauce)
• Liquid Smoke (to taste, I used 9 dashes for a “hint” of smoky flavor)


Melt butter in large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic and carrot. Cook until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Blend in remaining ingredients. Bring sauce to boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently, uncovered, 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Puree’ sauce until smooth. Serve at room temperature.

Notes From a Texas Patriot

the following is from one of the most powerful voices in progressive politics in the state of texas. i not only admire david for his tenacity, i'm also honored to call him a friend. please consider subscribing to his newsletter.

May 23, 2009

Beginning Note: Please forward this edition of Notes from a Texas Patriot to others if you deem it worthy of circulation. If a friend forwarded this edition of Notes From a Texas Patriot to you and you wish to continue receiving them, please send an email to david@texas-patriot.com and say "subscribe" in your subject line. If for any reason you do not wish to receive any more of Notes From a Texas Patriot, please send an email to david@texas-patriot.com and say "unsubscribe" in your subject line. Thank you in advance for your courteous attention.

Bury the Trans-Texas Corridor

For all of you Texas patriots who have upraised your voices for the last three years against Slick Rick Perry's plans to sell off our public highway system to private interests so they can stuff their bloated pocketbooks with billions of dollars in predatory toll fees while devastating hundreds of thousands of acres of good Texas earth in massive land grabs - IT HAS COME DOWN TO THE NEXT FOUR DAYS.

In some of the pending versions of transportation legislation, the public will would finally be honored with the long-sought elimination of the Trans-Texas Corridor and the democratization of the Texas Transportation Commission. I want to take this opportunity to express special commendation for Rep. David Leibowitz, whose labors against the toll-building robber barons and the anti-democratic TXDOT bureaucrats are on the verge of success with the potential final enactment of his bills into law.

In other versions of transportation legislation, the use of private contracts to build and operate massive toll roads, particularly TTC-69 through the heart of East Texas, would be re-authorized. In one particularly ugly bit of backroom chicanery, a deal is already made to grant the building and operation of TTC-69 to a private company from Spain. We have been fighting the same spectre for years now, but as we know, the greedy don't give up easy.

It appears probable that the competing value systems will face off in House-Senate conference committee action on Tuesday, May 26. Long hours, days, and years of hard work for many thousands of grassroots Texans who have been fighting for democracy in Texas transportation planning may come down to making sure the legislators hear the voice of the people loudly and clearly over the next four days.

The TXDOT reauthorization bill is HB 300. The bad bills that the people have to defeat to nail the coffin shut on the Trans-Texas Corridor are SB 17 and SB 404. The latter bills would re-authorize CDAs (comprehensive development agreements); in other words, sell-out deals to put billions of dollars in toll fees into private pockets for operating toll roads that the people of Texas do not want.

If you want to do your part to make sure the people are finally rewarded with victory in this fight, CALL your Texas House Representative and your Texas Senator today through the Capitol switchboard at (512) 463-4630 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tell your Representative and your Senator, or their staffs, you are against SB 17 and SB 404 and anything else that allows comprehensive development agreements in highway construction. Tell them you expect them to GET RID of the Trans-Texas Corridor for good and to GET RID of private toll road development for good. Tell them you want a democratically elected Texas Transportation Commission.

We the People have been speaking for a long time. We want democracy, not corporate-governmental oligarchy. Now let's bear down. Two years ago some of the legislators who had pledged to support the people's will wavered at the finish line. This time we can't let them waver. Let them hear our voices in this moment of truth. NO private contracts for toll roads, NO Trans-Texas Corridor, NO comprehensive development agreements, and YES to a democratically elected Texas Transportation Commission.

Thank you for your attention.
David Van Os

22 May 2009

OK, i lied...

i will continue to flog this dead horse until dadt is repealed.

compare and contrast:



(i've added emphasis to show the utter hypocrisy)

from americablog 5.19.09:

The Pentagon's official f-you to their commander in chief has begun.
"I do not believe there are any plans under way in this building for some expected, but not articulated, anticipation that 'don't ask-don't tell' will be repealed," [Pentagon spokesman Geoff] Morrell told reporters at the Pentagon.
And Mr. Morrell is a Republican holdover from the last administration. Surprise.

from the huffington post 5.22.09:

White House Press Secretary indicated in Thursday afternoon's briefing that the White House is in the midst of "active" negotiations with the Pentagon to repeal "don't ask, don't tell."

Just two days ago, a Pentagon spokesperson said that there were no plans to repeal the policy, which President Obama promised to abolish during his campaign.

what a difference 100+ days make...

so which will it be fellas? this is starting to smell like 3-day old fish.

Must See TeeVee

i received an e-mail alert from progressive democrats of america today. it says, in part:

Healthcare NOT Warfare Co-chair Donna Smith
to appear on Bill Moyers Journal

Watch Bill Moyers Journal this Friday, May 22, at 9 p.m. EDT on PBS
(check local listings)

Bill Moyers speaks with PDA Heathcare NOT Warfare co-chair Donna Smith about how our broken system is hurting ordinary Americans. Then, policy analysts and physicians Sidney Wolfe of Public Citizen and David Himmelstein of Physicians for a National Health Program join Bill Moyers for a frank discussion about the political and logistical feasibility of a single-payer system amidst the troubled economy and a government dominated by lobbyists.

perhaps with the return of senator kennedy after the recess, a single payer option will be back on the table.

21 May 2009

Our Horses*

i'm suffering from politics/glbt issues fatigue today. one thing i won't do on my blog is to continue to rehash an issue ad infinitum...SO, without further ado, here are some pix of our horses (lest i start beating a proverbial dead horse).

*as always clickety clack for bigger pix.

20 May 2009

GR8 political videos this week:

first, jesse ventura has been en fuego taking on the bush regime on the view and then on sean (the manatee) hannity's "program":

...in glbt/politics:

barney frank vs. michelle bachmann

rachel maddow with lt. col. fuhrenbach (aka the $25M gay fighter pilot):

...and ending on a delightful note, ellen degeneres delivering the commencement at tulane (love the line about all the books being portia's and ellen can't read 'em cuz they're in "australian"):

19 May 2009


omg. looks incredible. thanks for making us wait until november! can you say major box office/academy awards?

oh, snap!

normally, i'm not one to jump on the "ooh, they really played this one perfect" bandwagon, but in this case it's starting to look as if there might have been a very brilliant strategy in getting to the bottom of this whole tortured torturing torture mess.

exhibit a:

good work, rachel, keep it up!

veddy interesting, indeed.

18 May 2009

SCOTUS Refuses to Hear Cali. Medical Marijuana Case

well now, this comes as a surprise. considering the incredibly conservative nature of the current supreme court.

ryan grim reports:

The state of California, in an effort to systematize the 1996 voter-approved initiative, required localities to implement identification card programs for patients with doctor approval in 2004. Such ID cards are required to enter medical marijuana shops in California and can be shown to police officers who find patients in possession of marijuana.

San Diego County, however, argued that the federal ban on marijuana trumps the state law, meaning they are not required to follow the state law. The county filed suit in 2006. Both the San Diego Superior Court and the Fourth District Court of Appeals rejected the argument, which was followed by the California Supreme Court's refusal to review the case in 2008.


The Supreme Court ruling, following the Obama administration's decision not to raid medical marijuana clubs acting in accordance with state law, removes one of the last barriers to full implementation of the state law.


Thirteen states have laws that allow certain folks to use medical marijuana if their doctor recommends it. Illinois, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey and New York are currently considering medical marijuana bills in their state legislatures.

could this mean that the draconian prohibition laws days (at least regarding marijuana) are numbered? as a victimless crime, i've never understood the reasoning behind continuing the puritanical bias against pot. it's clearly been established that, unlike the canard always foisted upon us, it isn't a "gateway" drug.

clearly, marijuana has a myriad of medicinal uses. ask anyone with cancer, hiv/aids or glaucoma that finds tremendous relief from ingesting pot. if it weren't effective, the big pharma wouldn't have gone to the expense of developing "marinol". that this hasn't been challenged at the federal level (or a rejected challenge at the scotus level) proves just how strong and influential the pharma lobby is in our nation's capitol.

According to drugpolicy.org:

Medical marijuana is one of the most widely supported issues in drug policy reform. Numerous published studies suggest that marijuana has medical value in treating patients with serious illnesses such as AIDS, glaucoma, cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and chronic pain. In 1999, the Institute of Medicine, in the most comprehensive study of medical marijuana's efficacy to date, concluded, "Nausea, appetite loss, pain and anxiety . . . all can be mitigated by marijuana." Allowing patients legal access to medical marijuana has been discussed by numerous organizations, including the AIDS Action Council, American Bar Association, American Public Health Association, California Medical Association, National Association of Attorneys General, and several state nurses associations.

Public opinion is also in favor of ending the prohibition of medical marijuana. According to a 1999 Gallup poll, 73% of Americans are in favor of "making marijuana legally available for doctors to prescribe in order to reduce pain and suffering." In a 2004 poll commissioned by AARP, 72% of Americans ages 45 and older thought marijuana should be legal for medicinal purposes if recommended by a doctor. Also, since 1996, voters in eight states plus the District of Columbia have passed favorable medical marijuana ballot initiatives.

hopefully, this will be the first step to the eventual decriminalization of pot altogether. making pot legal for adults would have a positive effect on several fronts: the incredibly violent and powerful mexican drug cartels would lose their power, a very sizable "sin tax" could be placed on weed (providing a huge revenue stream for education, health care, green energy, etc.), our court system would have a tremendous burden lifted off its shoulders because users and dealers wouldn't be prosecuted clearing the way to prosecute crimes with actual victims.

it's encouraging to see that O's administration is on the correct side of this issue.

with 13 states currently allowing medical marijuana and another 5 states considering it in their state legislatures, this could be the dawn of a new era.

17 May 2009

Notre Dame Commencement, Abortion and GLBT Equality

O gave the commencement address at notre dame today. it was controversial, in that the pro-lifers from the right felt he was an unacceptable choice and protested in what I would consider (surprisingly) a “christian” manner.

unfortunately, one need look no further than alan keyes pushing a baby carriage with a mutilated doll covered in fake blood to see the outrageous, immoral lengths being gone to in order to demonize the issue of choice. all it took was the announcement to send keyes to notre dame. the polar opposite of the behavior and dignity of those predominately elderly catholics.

(tip o' the hat to tengrain over at Mock, Paper, Scissors for this image)

but i digress.

in reading the text of O’s speech, i couldn’t help but feel anger turning to sadness. God knows, i want to believe that he really believes the things he says…especially when he starts talking about grand ideas about humanity and equality. unfortunately, his actions don’t allow me to view his words without a feeling of constriction in my chest…a reflexive clenching of the jaw.

this rhetoric isn’t just meant to be applied to some issues. it must, in fairness, be applied to all issues of equality. yes, i’m talking about O’s lack of spine and conviction on issues of import to the LGBT community…from dadt, to an all-inclusive enda, to marriage equality to the full repeal of doma.

following are portions of the speech. i’ve taken the liberty of adding emphasis to things i think are particularly germane to this posting.

In short, we must find a way to live together as one human family.

It is this last challenge that I'd like to talk about today. For the major threats we face in the 21st century - whether it's global recession or violent extremism; the spread of nuclear weapons or pandemic disease - do not discriminate. They do not recognize borders. They do not see color. They do not target specific ethnic groups.

Moreover, no one person, or religion, or nation can meet these challenges alone. Our very survival has never required greater cooperation and understanding among all people from all places than at this moment in history.

O, you just made a great point! cooperation and understanding is what the glbt community would like from those who oppose marriage equality. the glbt community is in almost complete agreement that no religious organization should be “forced” to recognize, or even codify, or desire to “marry”. we have readily conceded this. most glbt people understand the religious right’s strong feelings about the cultural/religious aspects of the “institution” of marriage in a faith-based context. Isn’t it time that the right also concede that what we are working towards is civil marriage equality? i don’t know a single glbt person that wants to infringe on the rights of anyone to believe as they choose, so long as they don’t try to impose their belief system on others.

Unfortunately, finding that common ground - recognizing that our fates are tied up, as Dr. King said, in a "single garment of destiny" - is not easy. Part of the problem, of course, lies in the imperfections of man - our selfishness, our pride, our stubbornness, our acquisitiveness, our insecurities, our egos; all the cruelties large and small that those of us in the Christian tradition understand to be rooted in original sin. We too often seek advantage over others. We cling to outworn prejudice and fear those who are unfamiliar. Too many of us view life only through the lens of immediate self-interest and crass materialism; in which the world is necessarily a zero-sum game. The strong too often dominate the weak, and too many of those with wealth and with power find all manner of justification for their own privilege in the face of poverty and injustice. And so, for all our technology and scientific advances, we see around the globe violence and want and strife that would seem sadly familiar to those in ancient times.

We know these things; and hopefully one of the benefits of the wonderful education you have received is that you have had time to consider these wrongs in the world, and grown determined, each in your own way, to right them. And yet, one of the vexing things for those of us interested in promoting greater understanding and cooperation among people is the discovery that even bringing together persons of good will, men and women of principle and purpose, can be difficult.

The soldier and the lawyer may both love this country with equal passion, and yet reach very different conclusions on the specific steps needed to protect us from harm. The gay activist and the evangelical pastor may both deplore the ravages of HIV/AIDS, but find themselves unable to bridge the cultural divide that might unite their efforts. Those who speak out against stem cell research may be rooted in admirable conviction about the sacredness of life, but so are the parents of a child with juvenile diabetes who are convinced that their son's or daughter's hardships can be relieved.

try replacing “ravages of HIV/AIDS” with something like…oh, let’s say “equality and civil rights”. a completely different picture emerges when placed in my frame.

The question, then, is how do we work through these conflicts? Is it possible for us to join hands in common effort? As citizens of a vibrant and varied democracy, how do we engage in vigorous debate? How does each of us remain firm in our principles, and fight for what we consider right, without demonizing those with just as strongly held convictions on the other side?

Nowhere do these questions come up more powerfully than on the issue of abortion.

As I considered the controversy surrounding my visit here, I was reminded of an encounter I had during my Senate campaign, one that I describe in a book I wrote called The Audacity of Hope. A few days after I won the Democratic nomination, I received an email from a doctor who told me that while he voted for me in the primary, he had a serious concern that might prevent him from voting for me in the general election. He described himself as a Christian who was strongly pro-life, but that's not what was preventing him from voting for me.

What bothered the doctor was an entry that my campaign staff had posted on my website - an entry that said I would fight "right-wing ideologues who want to take away a woman's right to choose." The doctor said that he had assumed I was a reasonable person, but that if I truly believed that every pro-life individual was simply an ideologue who wanted to inflict suffering on women, then I was not very reasonable. He wrote, "I do not ask at this point that you oppose abortion, only that you speak about this issue in fair-minded words."

Fair-minded words.

“fair minded words”, indeed, O. as a professor of constitutional law and president of the united states, i would assume that you realize that you’re being blatantly hypocritical. you’re advocating “separate but equal” when you espouse “civil unions” for glbt people and yet allow “civil marriage” to remain the exclusive right of heterosexuals. an acceptable compromise from the glbt community would be “civil unions” for all couples and eliminate the word “marriage” from civil discourse…but the religious/political right are hung up on the word to the extent that they can’t negotiate in good faith. “negotiation” requires both give AND take. at this point, the only group being asked to give anything are those on the side of marriage equality.

i only wish O would be emotionally and intellectually honest with those of us in the glbt community. O harbors at least a glimmer of bigotry towards those of us in the glbt community. if not, why does he continue to insist upon straddling the moral fence of civil equality?

the glbt community is under attack from the apologist wing of progressivism, as well. the glbt community is the last remaining group to not have full civil rights, and yet, the mantra from the left is “the time isn’t right” or “he has more important things to focus on right now, just be patient and wait your turn!”. this is an incredibly convenient excuse coming from the same group of people (including the administration) that, on every other issue has said, “but don’t you see that we can work on more than one problem at a time?”

sure. sure you can. just don’t expect anything glbt to be in that mix.

it’s truly heart wrenching that we have to convince those that should agree with us philosophically, that equal civil rights for every american should be at the top of the priority list...otherwise, we are as morally bereft as the right.

this isn’t a “state’s rights” issue any more than racial equality was an issue that could be decided state by state, either. too many of the benefits that come complete with a marriage license are conferred at the federal level. at this point in time, the victories in new hampshire, iowa, etc., are nothing more than symbolic. sure, you can go to city hall and get “married” but it will ring really hollow when you have to pay 50% of your property’s value if your spouse dies and leaves you the home you’ve built together. what about the social security “death benefit” paid to surviving spouses? do we get that with state-mandated “marriage”? no. hey, iowa glbt married people, good luck filing a joint federal income tax return next year.

After I read the doctor's letter, I wrote back to him and thanked him. I didn't change my position, but I did tell my staff to change the words on my website. And I said a prayer that night that I might extend the same presumption of good faith to others that the doctor had extended to me. Because when we do that - when we open our hearts and our minds to those who may not think like we do or believe what we do - that's when we discover at least the possibility of common ground.

i’m firmly convinced that this is O’s achille’s heel…his inability to accept responsibility for anything controversial. changing words have consequences, O. remember the still unresolved kerfuffle regarding the whitehouse.gov’s language on the repeal of dadt going from unequivocally repealing the policy to the more “fuzzy words “committed to changing dadt”.

That's when we begin to say, "Maybe we won't agree on abortion, but we can still agree that this is a heart-wrenching decision for any woman to make, with both moral and spiritual dimensions.

So let's work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies, and making adoption more available, and providing care and support for women who do carry their child to term. Let's honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded in clear ethics and sound science, as well as respect for the equality of women."

Understand - I do not suggest that the debate surrounding abortion can or should go away. No matter how much we may want to fudge it - indeed, while we know that the views of most Americans on the subject are complex and even contradictory - the fact is that at some level, the views of the two camps are irreconcilable. Each side will continue to make its case to the public with passion and conviction. But surely we can do so without reducing those with differing views to caricature.

Open hearts. Open minds. Fair-minded words.

pot, meet kettle.

seriously, O, you can’t be so naïve as to think that the same can’t be said of glbt equal rights.

For if there is one law that we can be most certain of, it is the law that binds people of all faiths and no faith together. It is no coincidence that it exists in Christianity and Judaism; in Islam and Hinduism; in Buddhism and humanism. It is, of course, the Golden Rule - the call to treat one another as we wish to be treated. The call to love. To serve. To do what we can to make a difference in the lives of those with whom we share the same brief moment on this Earth.

“…unless you are glbt”, O conspicuously did not say.

After all, I stand here today, as President and as an African-American, on the 55th anniversary of the day that the Supreme Court handed down the decision in Brown v. the Board of Education. Brown was of course the first major step in dismantling the "separate but equal" doctrine, but it would take a number of years and a nationwide movement to fully realize the dream of civil rights for all of God's children. There were freedom rides and lunch counters and Billy clubs, and there was also a Civil Rights Commission appointed by President Eisenhower. It was the twelve resolutions recommended by this commission that would ultimately become law in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

the glbt community is just asking for equality. full equality. equal, and not separate, civil rights. just like your parents were allowed to marry and racial minority children received the right to equal (and not separate) educations.

for the apologists on the left, the civil rights act of 1964 was FORTY FIVE years ago. i think the next bold civil rights action/legislation's time has come. not in the next 100 days. not next year. not by the end of the first or second administration. NOW. if i can support O's agenda on the rest of his platform, won't someone please be willing to unclench the fist that holds my full civil rights equality?

again, O, please remove the log from your eye so that you can help remove the splinter from mine and millions of other glbt Americans.

16 May 2009

...and now for a little press secretary spin.

this stinks to the stratosphere. it was only a matter of months ago when gibbs was able to give a one word answer on O's commitment to REPEALING DADT. that answer was an unequivocal, "YES".

now, because O is being a political coward, gibbs has to give a tortured non-answer about the "legislative process".

in the meantime, loyal service members are having their lives and careers destroyed.

sorry, but this isn't "change" i can "believe in" nor is it the "change" i campaigned for, donated to and supported without reservations.

spring wildflowers w/mom '09

clickity clack for bigness.