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May 22, 2009


Today is Harvey Milk's birthday. He would have been 79. There are candlelight vigils planned for this evening from Sacramento all the way down to San Diego to commemorate this day. Queers United has posted the specifics for where and when each of these vigils will take place.

So how appropriate is it then that the California Supreme Court also published a notice today that their decisions on the three cases challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8 will be filed at 10:00am (pacific time) next Tuesday, May 26th?

After a long 3 month wait, we're finally going to find out whether we're going to have celebrations or demonstrations. This has been one of the most closely guarded decisions the court has ever issued. No one on the court or in their offices has leaked any information that might give a clue about those decisions so no one, outside of the court, is really sure which way they'll go.

Here in Phoenix (as well as across the country) a Day Of Decision action is planned for Tuesday evening. John Allard, who works with Marriage Equality and Day Of Decision, said this morning:

I'm thrilled that the California Supreme Court gave us an entire three day weekend to spread the word that DAY OF DECISION will be TUESDAY, MAY 26. In PHOENIX we will rally at 6pm Tuesday evening on 7th Avenue at Camelback, next to Charlie's. Please spread the word about this over the holiday weekend. It is important that we mobilize a large number of people in response to this decision.
See you TUESDAY!

If you would like to know where and when an action is planned in your area, go to: DayOfDecision.com

Looks like this is going to be a very long weekend.

May 21, 2009


Michael Steele, the current Chairman of the Republican Party, made another incredibly lame but valiant attempt to redefine his party's opposition to gay marriage without resorting to hateful, homophobic bigotry. Unfortunately, his argument made absolutely no sense.

According to a Box Turtle Bulletin report, while speaking at the National Rifle Association's 138th Annual Meetings & Exhibits last Friday (May 15th), Steele said:

Republicans can reach a broader base by recasting gay marriage as an issue that could dent pocketbooks as small businesses spend more on health care and other benefits, GOP Chairman Michael Steele said Saturday.

Steele said that was just an example of how the party can retool its message to appeal to young voters and minorities without sacrificing core conservative principles. Steele said he used the argument weeks ago while chatting on a flight with a college student who described herself as fiscally conservative but socially liberal on issues like gay marriage.

“Now all of a sudden I’ve got someone who wasn’t a spouse before, that I had no responsibility for, who is now getting claimed as a spouse that I now have financial responsibility for,” Steele told Republicans at the state convention in traditionally conservative Georgia. “So how do I pay for that? Who pays for that? You just cost me money.”

Now I could go into all the reasons why this is such a stupid argument but, as usual, Keith Olbermann did it in a far more entertaining way. Here's what Keith had to say:

I love this guy!

May 20, 2009


Several of my posts lately have addressed relatively heavy subject matters. Just to remind us that there are a lot of really good people out there who aren't trying to put us back in our closets or reindoctrinate our youth to believe that violence can sometimes be an acceptable answer, here's something on the much brighter side.

In accepting the Capitol Champions Award, Iowa State Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal made it very clear why the Iowa Supreme Court decided the way it did and who was really responsible for that great victory.

Here's the video of the Senator's comments...

Of course, the Senator himself was the key person who shepherded the legislation that officially made the court's decision a reality through the State Senate.

Thanks to the Stonewall Democrats for sending me the email with this video.

I've posted several stories about Iowa's gay marriage ruling and background. The first was on April 3rd just after the ruling was handed down.

The others can be found at the links below:

May 18, 2009


This picture appeared above a New York Times article titled "Scouts Train to Fight Terrorists, and More" which ran last Wednesday.

My first reaction to just the image alone was how startling reminiscent it was of the numerous pictures I've seen of the infamous Hitler Youth. However, as disturbing as this picture and others are, the article is even more so.

When I was a scout, the emphasis was always on doing your best and contributing to the good of the community primarily through public service projects and learning how to live within the natural world without harming it.

Now, however, according to the article:

The Explorer Scouts, which is a coeducational affiliate of the Boy Scouts of America, is training thousands of young people in skills used to confront terrorism, illegal immigration and escalating border violence — an intense ratcheting up of one of the group’s longtime missions to prepare youths for more traditional jobs as police officers and firefighters.

The training, which leaders say is not intended to be applied outside the simulated Explorer setting, can involve chasing down illegal border crossers as well as more dangerous situations that include facing down terrorists and taking out “active shooters,” like those who bring gunfire and death to college campuses. In a simulation here of a raid on a marijuana field, several Explorers were instructed on how to quiet an obstreperous lookout.

“Put him on his face and put a knee in his back,” a Border Patrol agent explained. “I guarantee that he’ll shut up.”

These are not the altruistic goals I remember being taught as a scout. This is clearly an attempt to turn the scouts into a militarily trained adjunct group ready to do the bidding of whatever military-oriented group that wishes to use them.

Membership in the Explorers has been overseen since 1998 by an affiliate of the Boy Scouts called Learning for Life, which offers 12 career-related programs, including those focused on aviation, medicine and the sciences.

But the more than 2,000 law enforcement posts across the country are the Explorers’ most popular, accounting for 35,000 of the group’s 145,000 members, said John Anthony, national director of Learning for Life. Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, many posts have taken on an emphasis of fighting terrorism and other less conventional threats.

“Before it was more about the basics,” said Johnny Longoria, a Border Patrol agent here. “But now our emphasis is on terrorism, illegal entry, drugs and human smuggling.”

These are children! Children who aren't experienced enough yet to know when they're being used by someone or some entity that has other motives in mind.

The leaders claim that a child must be at least 14 to participate but obviously, they're willing to overlook that requirement if any one of them personally decides they want someone younger.

A. J. Lowenthal, a sheriff’s deputy in Imperial County, CA, said: "This is about being a true-blooded American guy and girl. It fits right in with the honor and bravery of the Boy Scouts.”

“I will take them at 13 and a half,” Lowenthal went on to say. “I would rather take a kid than possibly lose a kid.”

Something like this, depending on it's pitched, could easily attract many children for all the wrong reasons.

16 year old Cathy Noriega said she was attracted by the guns. The group uses compressed-air guns that fire tiny plastic pellets but they also shoot real guns on a closed range.

“I like shooting them,” Cathy said. “I like the sound they make. It gets me excited.”

BTW - if this isn't scary enough, consider who is currently the largest financial backer of the Boy Scouts and all of its programs and who has many of their own members on the scout boards. Yep. It's the Mormons. One of the biggest (next to the Catholic Church) and most virulently homophobic groups in the world.

I only touched the surface of this brilliantly articulate article. It's WELL WORTH taking a few minutes to read the whole thing. I guarantee that you'll sit there with your mouth hanging open at the end.

Go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/14/us/14explorers.html?_r=4&th&emc=th