Friday, April 30, 2010

AHHH! TEH STOOPID! IT BURNS!

So Arizona, not satisfied with its nasty "we can stop you if you look like you might be from somewhere south of the border" nastiness and how stupid the rest of the world has deemed them because of it, has decided to outlaw the creation of human-animal hybrids.

Yes, folks, they felt the need to make it a felony to "intentionally or knowingly creating a human-animal hybrid." Not satisfied with this tidbit of craziness, they go on.

The bill, which passed 16 to 12, would prohibit anyone in the state from “creating or attempting to create an in vitro human embryo by any means other than fertilization of a human egg by a human sperm.”

The measure would also outlaw “transferring or attempting to transfer a human embryo into a nonhuman womb,” “transferring or attempting to transfer a nonhuman embryo into a human womb” and “transporting or receiving for any purpose a human-animal hybrid.”
Sounds like they covered all the bases. No creation of human-animal hyrbrids. Check. No creating "human" embryos in vitro with something other than human DNA. Check. No cross-species surrogacy. Check. No crossing state-lines with said hypothetical hybrid. Check.

One problem. At the current state of technology, no one can make the damn things. Oh, and if its a felony to knowingly create this hyrbrid, what happens if you make one UNintentionally? Cause, you know, it's possible.

In crazy land.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

OMG. WTF. GOP. *SIGH*

And the craziness moves on to Texas. You just knew it was coming.

Texas State Representative Leo Berman (R-Tyler) has plans to introduce a bill in the state legislature similar to Arizona's charmer in January 2011.
According to the aide, Berman said his bill will be similar to the Arizona law, specifically the provision which requires local law enforcement agencies in the state to check the immigration status of individuals who they suspect of being in the United States illegally.
The only good thing that may come of this would be the awakening of the Hispanic electorate in Texas.

I kind of like Juanita Jean's solution to the papers question. If this bill passes in Texas, I'll have to tell my daughter's boyfriend to grab a copy.



I can only sustain the outrage for so long. The madness needs to stop.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

OMG. WTF. GOP. CUBED

Just when you thought it couldn't get any crazier...oh, wait, we're talking about Republicans, sorry. Any way, they seem to be growing them crazy in Iowa.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) likes the Arizona legislation. Surprise. He also thinks that those who are advocating a boycott of Arizona companies are unpatriotic. To be exact, he thinks fellow Congresscritter Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) is a puppet for Mexico. If you have the stomach for it, follow the link to Crooks and Liars and watch the clip.


LAURA INGRAHAM: This boycott is intended to do, what? I would imagine to intimidate people from supporting this law which, as far as I can tell, is wildly popular, but to intimidate because they're using dollars. Is there anything wrong with that?
REP. STEVE KING: Well, it looks like the case is that, that he's trying to scare the businesses out of Arizona, or he's trying to get the businesses to change their position and press the legislature to reverse the law that was just signed by the governor the other day. I'm wondering if we look at the map of Congressman Grijalva's congressional district if we haven't already ceded that component of Arizona to Mexico judging by the voice that comes out of him, he's advocating for Mexico rather than the United States and against the rule of law, which is one of the central pillars of American exceptionalism.

Yes, that's correct. Rep. King is accusing Rep. Grijalva of advocating for Mexico because he is against this legislation and the proposed boycott is intimidation. Well, that last part is correct. That's always what boycotts are about. It's how they work.

If you're interested in participating in this boycott of all things Arizonan, here's a list of corporations with their headquarters in Arizona:

  • U-Haul
  • PetSmart
  • Cold Stone Creamery
  • America West Airlines
  • Circle K
  • Lifelock
  • US Airways
  • Discount Tire
  • Fender Musical Instruments
  • Pei Wei Asian Diner
  • Best Western
  • Greyhound Corporation
  • PF Chang's China Bistro
  • Ramada
  • Sprouts (Grocery chain)
There are no doubt more. If you're a sports fan, there's always the Arizona Diamondbacks and Arizona Cardinals, too. Won't you join me in our unpatriotic duty and find a few of these fine companies to avoid. My kiddos are both moving at the end of the month. U-Haul will not be getting any of their money. It's a start.

OMG. WTF. GOP. PART EFFING 2!!!

What is it with the GOP today. They're really starting to piss me off.

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) wants to start deporting American citizens.

Yep, you read that right. He wants to deport children born in America to illegal aliens. These so-called anchor babies are an economic drain, according to Hunter.

Hard to believe, I know. But here's video. (When, oh when, will the GOP understand the power of YouTube?)




Money quote is at the 2 minute mark.

Or if you can't wait:
Question: "Would you support deportation of natural born American citizens that are the children of illegal aliens?"
Hunter: "I would have to, yes."

In fact, he's one of  90 House Republicans who are sponsoring a bill to deny citizenship to these anchor babies unless one of their parents is a citizen.  (Wonder who that one is really targeted at?)

What will we become if  Hunter and his ilk win the day? We are a nation of immigrants. No one here can trace their ancestry to someone who didn't come from somewhere else except Native Americans. And technically, they're immigrants, too. They've just been here a mite longer having come across the Bering land bridge a few hundred thousand years ago.

The American Dream is an immigrants dream, at its heart. We need to remember that.

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

OMG. WTF. GOP.

So, think the Arizona solution to stop everyone who is driving brown is bad? (Hint: It is.) Well, a Republican candidate from Iowa thinks we need to go one step further. And it's a step that reads like science fiction.

Pat Bertroche, an Urbandale physician and Republican candidate for US Congress thinks we need to microchip illegal aliens prior to deportation.

“I think we should catch ’em, we should document ’em, make sure we know where they are and where they are going,” said Pat Bertroche, an Urbandale physician. “I actually support microchipping them. I can microchip my dog so I can find it. Why can’t I microchip an illegal?
“That’s not a popular thing to say, but it’s a lot cheaper than building a fence they can tunnel under,” Bertroche said.
So let me get this straight. Because you can microchip your dog, you've gotten the bright idea that we should microchip human beings? He doesn't seem to see any disconnect there at all. He's equating illegal aliens with animals.  As in, lets treat them the same as we would a wandering pet. Tag them so we can know where they belong. Which isn't the US of A.

Someone capable of suggesting this kind of thing, much like the people who wrote and passed the Arizona law, doesn't really view immigrants as people. They view as them as vermin. Something that needs to be trapped and removed so that it no longer contaminates our nation.

Whatever happened to "bring me your huddled masses yearning to breathe free"?


H/T to Andrew Sullivan.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Autumn's story

As I mentioned last week, GetEqual staged a protest at the White House where veterans handcuffed themselves to the fence in protest of the lack of movement on DADT repeal.

One of those veterans was Autumn Sandeen. As a transgender veteran, she didn't have to risk her benefits and jail to protest something that would not effect her fellow transfolk. She did, however, to express solidarity with her LGB brothers and sisters.

One of the concerns in the community and among those who personally know Autumn was what might befall her after she was arrested. She was verbally harassed and processed at one point as male. Actually, harassed is a weak word. She was dehumanized, called an it and a shim. Despite being upfront and honest about her physical status, Autumn was subjected to derogatory statements and cruel taunts. And this was from the federal marshals.

A transgender person is not an it. There is no excuse for this kind of behavior from law enforcement. I hope that the officers involved are subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. Surely they would be if they called an African-American by the n-word. Or if they had called Lt. Dan Choi by the f-word. How is this any different?

As always, a big thank you to Pam's House Blend for being such a positive resource for T in LGBT. And thank you, Autumn, for your service and your courage.

Autumn tells her story far better than I. It's after the jump:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Another amazing video from Sungha


I've posted about this young man before. This is his latest video and he just keeps getting better. Ain't YouTube just freaking amazing?

DADT Activists Arrested at White House Protest

Lt. Dan Choi, Capt. Jim Pietrangelo, Petty Officer Larry Whitt, Petty Officer Autumn Sandeen, Cadet Mara Boyd, and Cpl. Evelyn Thomas have been arrested after protesting at the White House for the repeal of DADT by chaining themselves to the White House fence.

Here's GetEqual's Press Release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEApril 20, 2010

To schedule participant interviewsContact:  Joel Silberman, 917.287.3816 or joelsilberman@mac.com <joelsilberman@mac.com
  

Gay and Transgender Vets Again Handcuff Selves to White House Gates
Demand Pres. Obama repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ this year
  
Breaking Coverage and Call to Action at: http://GetEQUAL.org/GetDADT
WASHINGTON – Moments ago, Lt. Dan Choi along with five other lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) discharged veterans -- Capt. Jim Pietrangelo II, Petty Officer Larry Whitt, Petty Officer Autumn Sandeen, Cadet Mara Boyd, and Airman Victor Price -- handcuffed themselves to the White House gates to demand that President Obama keep his promise to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell this year.  The vets are concerned about mounting signs that the President is wavering on his promise to push for repeal this year.

Today’s action comes one month after Choi and Pietrangelo were arrested for a similar DADT protest at the White House in which they handcuffed themselves to the gates for a period of an hour, while hundreds of protesters looked on.  The new LGBT activist group, GetEQUAL, coordinated both today’s action, and last month’s civil disobedience.

“We are handcuffing ourselves to the White House gates once again to demand that President Obama show leadership on repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’  If the President were serious about keeping his promise to repeal this year, he would put the repeal language in his Defense Authorization budget,” said Choi.  “The President gave us an order at the Human Rights Campaign dinner to keep pressure on him and we will continue to return to the White House, in larger numbers, until the President keeps his promise to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ this year.”

Amid growing signs that the White House is wavering on its commitment to repeal DADT this year, Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) called on the President last month to publicly state his desire to repeal DADT this year.  President Obama has refused to respond, prompting Frank to say last week that he is “disappointed” and “frustrated” with the Obama administration’s silence on DADT. “At this point the President’s refusal to call for repeal this year is a problem,” Frank added, saying that the President’s silence is now costing us votes in the Congress.

Corporal Evelyn Thomas, who participated in today’s action said, “A few weeks ago I saw Lt. Dan Choi take dramatic action at the White House and it made me realize that I needed to do something to stand up for all the Black female soldiers who have been discharged under DADT.  Many people don't know that we Black women are discharged disproportionately more than others under DADT.”

GetEQUAL.org, a new lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activist organization, coordinated today's action and is also calling on the public to join the soldiers in their ask on President Obama at: http://GetEQUAL.org/GetDADT<http://GetEQUAL.org/xxxxxxxx.

Today's activities come a day after GetEQUAL activists interrupted President Obama’s speech at a fundraiser in Los Angeles for Senator Barbara Boxer.

Involved in today’s action are:
Lt. Dan Choi served as an infantry officer with the United States Army in Iraq in 2006-2007.  Choi graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and is fluent in Arabic.  In June 2008, he transferred from active duty Army to the New York National Guard. After coming out on The Rachel Maddow Show in March 2009, he was notified that the Army had begun discharge proceedings against him.  Choi is a founding member of KnightsOut, an organization of West Point alumni that advocates for the rights of gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military, and he speaks frequently
in support of rights for LGBT members of the military.

Capt. Jim Pietrangelo II, a former infantryman and lawyer originally from Ohio, served in the United States Army until he was discharged in 2004 under the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.  Pietrangelo fought in Iraq in 1991 as an infantryman and returned as a JAG officer for the second Iraq War.  As he was readying for a third combat tour, he was honorably discharged for declaring he is gay. Pietrangelo sued the government, charging that the policy is unconstitutional.  He appealed to the Supreme Court, but in June
2009, the Supreme Court rejected the case and refused to intervene, at the request of the Obama Administration.

Petty Officer Larry Whitt was born in Barnwell, South Carolina, and grew up in Florida.  Fulfilling a lifelong goal, Whitt joined the Navy after high school and served for 12 years.  He received the Outstanding Sailor Award aboard the USS Compass Island, was a Sailor of the Month aboard the USS Caloosahatchee, and retired as a Petty Officer First Class. He was stationed with the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Pentagon, and
received a Joint Service Commendation Medal, two Good Conduct Medals, and a Navy Expeditionary Medal.  Whitt was honorably discharged in October 1982, after he requested discharge for fear of being turned in for being gay. Currently, he is the Color Guard Coordinator for the Florida Gold Coast Chapter of American Veterans for Equal Rights in Ft. Lauderdale.


Petty Officer Autumn Sandeen was born in Northridge, California and raised in Los Angeles's San Fernando Valley. Sandeen joined the United States Navy in 1980 as a Fire Controlman.  She served on two Guided Missile Fast Frigates as a Mark 92 Fire Control System technician, and one Guided Missile Fast Frigate as a Mark 15 Close-In Weapons System technician.  Her last ship was the Third Fleet Command Ship, the USS Coronado, where she served as a Mark 15 Close-In Weapons System technician from 1996 to 2000. She retired after 20 years as Fire Controlman First Class.  At the end of 1999 and
beginning of 2000, Sandeen was sexually harassed by a subordinate and Executive Officer for being perceived as an effeminate gay male.  After retiring from the U.S. Navy, she was awarded a Veteran's Administration Service Connected Disability rating.  She began transitioning as a male-to-female transsexual on February 6, 2003.  As a transgender activist, she has worked with many transgender advocacy organizations.   She is currently the transgender chair of DOD FedGlobe, and she writes for the blog
Pam's House Blend.

Cadet Mara Boyd, originally from and currently residing in Ann Arbor, Michigan, completed three years in the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Colorado at Boulder and graduated in the top ten percent of her basic training class before she came out as a lesbian to her commander in the fall of 2002 and was honorably discharged under the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy in June 2003.  Before she came out, Boyd held the position in her cadet detachment of Cadet Captain, Character Development Officer, having been nominated by the officer cadre and cadet corps to handle the character
development and moral guidance of the entire detachment.  Boyd's ROTC scholarship, which had paid for two years of nonresident tuition, was revoked upon her discharge, and the government demanded that she repay her scholarships and book stipends. Boyd ended up with $30,000 of tuition bills to pay.  Boyd returned to UC Boulder and completed her degree, but she is still paying back the scholarship debt.

Airman Victor Price, originally from Asheboro, NC, served as a Bioenvironmental Engineering Specialist with the United States Air Force.
During his tour, he obtained a BA in business marketing at Delaware State. A Senior Airman, Price was honorably discharged in 2000 under Don't Ask Don't Tell.

Corporal Evelyn Thomas, who was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Texas, joined the Army National Guard and then the U.S. Marine Corps. She served at Camp Pendleton for four years until another Marine found a letter in her locker about her relationship with a woman.  She was then honorably discharged in 1991.  In October 2009, Thomas founded a ministry for gays in the military who fear they may be discharged for speaking openly to base chaplains about their sexuality.  The Sanctuary Project Veterans is a ministry of Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Carlsbad, CA, and it provides a safe haven, support, legal advice, and services for soldiers harassed due to the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy.
  


# # #
  
GetEQUAL is a new online lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer activist community.  Emphasizing direct action and people power, the mission of GetEQUAL is to empower the LGBTQ community and its allies to take action to demand full legal and social equality, and to hold accountable those who stand in the way. For more information on GetEQUAL visit www.getequal.org
 There is quite a bit of debate on whether these tactics will have a positive or negative outcome. Before you judge, realize that these veterans are risking their pensions in this protest and detention. For one of them, Petty Officer Autumn Sandeen, this detention puts her in a precarious position as a transwoman. If you're interested in why she chose to participate in a protest about a piece of legislation that would not even effect transgender service members, check out Pam's House Blend.

As for me, I think this is the way to go. We've tried to talk to politicians. We've given them our time and our money and our vote. Yet they continue to set aside LGBT issues once in office. To affect change in Civil Rights after all other avenues have failed us, we are left with protest. Non-violent protest has a proven track record. I applaud Get Equal for taking a stand.

These are the kind of people we want defending our nation - those who are willing to make personal sacrifices for the greater good.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Greene v. County of Sonoma et al.

As I'm sure you've heard, California is once again in the news with a case that simply boggles the mind. Clay Greene and Harold Scull were a couple for 25 years. They'd done everything within the law to ensure that they could care for each other.  The County of Sonoma and their many co-defendants made a mockery of those legal documents and perpetrated one of the most vile cases of elder abuse and discrimination on record.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is handling Greene's case. I encourage you to read the case docket and see for yourself what Clay Greene and Harold Scull were subjected to at the hands of their own government.

It's long and full of legalese as these kind of documents are wont to be, but it's worth the effort to slog through it to understand just how depraved and criminal the actions of the county, the nursing home, the auction house and all those involved were.

This is why we need a repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and the recognition of same-sex marriage in all 50 states.  Despite taking legal measures available to them, they were separated, had their financial accounts confiscated, their home and belongings auctioned off,  involuntarily placed in separate nursing home and verbally harassed and threatened by the very people meant to ensure their safety. None of which would have happened had they had one simple legal document - a marriage certificate.

If I were to suffer a similar fate as Harold, no one would deny my husband access to me. No  one would confiscate our bank account, our home, our pets and dispose of them without our consent. All because the state recognizes our relationship and grants us a over a thousand different federal benefits.

25 years of a shared life destroyed in a few months at the hands of bigots.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Spin Cycle: Quotables

Hello all you out there in the blogosphere. I know it's been a while. No really good excuse, just nothing I felt like I could add to the conversation.  But then I happened across this week's Spin Cycle and I thought, you know, I  think I can do this. So here I go.


If you ever happen to wander over to my Facebook page, those lucky few who know who I am, you've probably seen these a few of these already.  But since I have no problem stealing from myself, I hereby share some of my favorite quotes with you:


  1. "Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government only when it deserves it."
    - Mark Twain
  2. "Yea, and the Lord spaketh unto Itawamba, 'Itawamba, pull thine heads out of thine buttocks and leave Constance alone, for she is My child as much as any of you are. Thine internet and IRL shenanigans have greatly displeased me, so I say unto you, cease and desist. Go forth and teacheth thine children to love one another, as well as proper grammar, and leavest thou the task of judgement unto Me. Or dost thou thinkst thou canst do a better job?'" - The Book of Kaitlyn - Kaitlyn Sheffiel
  3. "If by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people - their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties - someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad; if that is what they mean by a "Liberal," then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal."
    - John F. Kennedy
  4. "I believe that activism is important. Activism is change. It is the fuel, lubricant and engine that drives the slowing moving turtle-mobile that is progress."
    -Will Phillips, age 10
  5. I like to think of myself as "a walking systemic intervention" - Dr. Stephen Sprinkle
  6. "If the Church told you you were an abomination, the Church lied. " Rev. Dr. Cindi Love.
  7. "God, I know you're testing me, but you need to know, I'm only a C student"- Bill Engvall
So, a bit of a theme there it looks like. A few are new, a few have been hanging out on my Facebook profile for a while. The newest ones are from Equality Texas State of the State Public Policy Conference that I attended yesterday. What did I learn after spending all day listening to speakers on various LGBT related topics? That we are called to share our stories. To place a human face on inequality. I leave you with one last quote:

Stand Up.
Speak Up.
Act Up.