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August 6, 2009


In a ceremony held yesterday in downtown's Daley Plaza, Chicago honored all of the gay men and women who served their country proudly throughout America's march through history.

The Windy City Times, Chicago's oldest gay newspaper, reported that for the seventh year running, Chicago has held the only municipally sponsored ceremony in the country that recognizes and honors the service of GLBT veterans. It's called With Liberty And Justice For All and included the laying of a pink triangle wreath and a mayoral proclamation read by Dana Starks of the Chicago Commission on Human Relations.

The keynote speaker was Luke Visconti, a veteran, CEO of Diversity Inc, and a member of the U.S. Navy Diversity Senior Advisory Group. In his moving speech, he outlined what he believes defending the constitution means now. He said:

"Keeping liberty is disruptive. Ending slavery was disruptive, as was winning the vote for women, desegragating the military, integrating women into the military. Liberty is fragile and needs care.

I think it is time for veterans to come to the forefront to defend liberty. I don't mean just LGBT veterans but, I hate to tell you, it always is the oppressed ones who have to carry the water for the trest of us. Oppressed people have to bring society forward, it is the way it has always been. Emancipation of slaves didn't happen without a fight, women's sufferage didn't happen without a fight. People didn't get the civil rights act and voting rights without a fight and this isn't happening without a fight.

Below is a television report on the event by WSL-TV (Chicago's ABC affiliate).

It was working until sometime over night. I've tried reembedding the coding but it's not working so I think it's corrupted at WSL-TV.
As soon as I can get it working, I'll remount it.
If you want to see it before then, go to:

I was born in Chicago but because I grew up in the country just north of the city, I never really saw that side of it. It was always obscured by the many political scandals that plagued that whole area. Since then, I've come to appreciate just how forward thinking most people there were - and obviously still are. Today, I couldn't be prouder of my birth city than I am right now. Congratulations Chicago - we've both come a long way.

August 4, 2009


Air Force Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach is a decorated pilot who has flown combat missions over Afghanistan, Iraq and Bosnia. Now serving as the assistant director of operations for an Air Force squadron in Idaho, he has an exemplary 18 year record of serving his country with unquestioned honor and a level of bravery that most of us could never know.

Now, after 18 years and nine Air Medals, including one for heroism under fire during an enemy ambush near Baghdad in 2003, Fehrenbach faces discharge because last year a civilian reported to military authorities that Fehrenbach is gay.

According to an in-depth piece published yesterday by Washington Post writer Steve Vogel, the Air Force launched its own all-out investigation based on nothing more than the hearsay quality and probably revenge instigated civilian report. The result was that last September the Air Force charged Fehrenbach with "damaging its good order and discipline." How despicably ironic is that? After 18 years of exemplary service they tell him that he damaged their "good order"! That's about as cruel and callous a statement as they could have come up with.

But wait - it gets even cruder...

In April, a review board ruled against Fehrenbach, and unless Air Force Secretary Michael Donley rejects the recommendation, he will be dismissed. If he is unable to retire with 20 years of service, Fehrenbach will lose nearly $50,000 a year in retirement pay as well as medical benefits.

If he is discharged and does lose all of the benefits he EARNED over the last 18 years, it's highly unlikely that, in today's marketplace, he would ever be able to recoup any of that - provided that he's even able to find work right now! And, given the damaging label the military has pinned on him, most employers who offer more than minimum wage positions would be very reluctant to hire someone who "damaged the good order and discipline" of the military.

This whole DADT thing is getting more despicable and uglier with every passing day. It's also fermenting deep seeded resentments and almost insurmountable distrust of the military and the political leaders who allow this to happen when a simple stop-loss order from the President or fast-tracked legislation by congress would put a humane end to this cruel and unsustainable policy.

As an Air Force veteran myself, I couldn't be more ashamed of and embarrassed by our military and political leaders than I am right now. This is a great and extraordinarily vibrant country but these power brokers are making it seem little better than our most ardent adversaries.

STOP THIS STUPID POLICY NOW before anymore dedicated and patriotic service members are slandered and discharged by the very same government they risked their lives to defend!!

August 3, 2009


At approximately 11:00pm on Saturday, a man reportedly dressed in black and wearing a black ski mask entered the Gay Youth Center in Tel Aviv, Israel and immediately opened fire, spraying bullets indiscriminately around the room.

The teenagers, many of whom were very young and hadn't even come out to their parents yet, were gathered in a basement room of the Tel Aviv Gay and Lesbian Association for a group support meeting. Within minutes, two people were killed and more than a dozen where wounded.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Israel Radio identified a 17 year old girl from Holon and a 24-year-old guide from Givatayim as the two fatalities. Of those who where wounded, at least two are in critical condition, another six were badly hurt and several others had minor wounds. Unfortunately, regardless of the physical wounds, the psychological trauma of just being a target during such a horrendous attack like this is going to haunt everyone who was in that room for the rest of their lives.

Even though Tel Aviv has been a target of numerous terrorist's attacks, most agree that this one was not done by a terrorist. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that this was "most likely a criminal attack and not a terror attack."

Eyewitness Yaniv Weisman told Channel 10 TV that, "This was a hate crime, a premeditated attack." He said Cafe Noir (the basement club's name) was a popular spot with gay youth. The club is also a bit off the beaten path which means that you have to know where you were going to be able to find it. So this being a random terrorist's act seems unlikely.

Of course it won't be possible to know the real motives behind the gunman's attack until he is caught. But, it's well known throughout Israel that the Jewish right wing religious sects espouse the same hateful, homophobic, rabble-rousing rhetoric that our own right wing religious fanatics constantly blubber about here. It's not such a big leap to assume that that kind of shrill pomposity, especially "in the name of God," can easily lead an unstable mind to believe that they would be doing "God's work" by such horrendously evil acts like this shooting. Somewhere along the line, this needs to be stopped before more innocent people and children are killed because of those twisted beliefs.

Yes, there is the issue of freedom of expression. But even that has limits -- like it's unlawful to yell "FIRE" in a crowded theatre when there isn't any fire. Well, to me, this kind of religious rhetoric is exactly the same thing and shouldn't be protected by any law or constitution. And, I have no doubt that our founding fathers would agree.

Since this incident occurred there have been dozens of stories in mainstream medias, blogs across the internet and radio and television stations around the world. If you would like to read more, the links I've provided below are the sites I used to compile this report:

The Jerusalem Post
The Huffington Post
The Advocate.com

And here's a recent article about the continuing manhunt for the gunman...