4/28/2008

Help Support AZ Equality

Help bring Equality to Arizona. Vote online to support Equality Arizona at http://www.equalitygiving.org/

Equality Arizona was chosen from a national pool of statewide LGBT advocacy organizations as one of nine participating organizations in eQualityGiving.org, putting us in the running for a gift of $1000 and placing Arizona in the national spotlight.

You can help bring more national attention to and support for Arizona's movement for equality by voting for Equality Arizona online at http://www.equalitygiving.org/.

About eQualityGiving: The Online Donor Community for LGBT Equality

eQualityGiving's mission is to grow and support an online community of donors by providing free services and strategic advice to achieve legal equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Americans.

Visit www.equalitygiving.org to learn more and to vote for Equality Arizona

4/25/2008

GLBT Housing

From AZ Equality:

Housing Programs. What would you do if you lost your home? Where will you live when you retire? Listen up as our guests discuss programs geared towards helping create affordable housing for ALL communities. YOU can help make a difference!

Saturday's Guests include:

Jeremy MacMillan-Hilton, Corporate Operations Manager, Rainbow Housing
Assistance Corporation

Moli Steinert, Executive Director, Openhouse San Francisco, CA

Debbie Pervis, Out Properties, Building retirement community in Surprise, AZ

About Equality Arizona Radio

10:00am - 11:00am PT | Every Saturday
Streaming live at www.equalityarizona.org or in the Phoenix Metro area at 1480KPHX.

If you want to join the conversation during the live show call 602-258-8800 in Metro Phoenix; outside the area call 800-989-1480. You can send questions to be answered on air to radio@equalityarizona.org.

Check it out: n' touch news magazine now carrying Equality Arizona Radio's LISTEN LIVE link. www.ntouchaz.com

4/21/2008

Faking Out Our Vets to Push Religious Hatred

Seems as though the Republicans don't give a rat's ass about the troops after all. There was a bill in the Arizona Legislature to create a state "Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Day" but at the last minute the Repugs gutted the entire text of the bill and substituted the text for a state constitutional amendment to outlaw equal marriage rights! Yep, they used our vets as a bait and switch political ploy! What a bunch of morons and any military person who would even CONSIDER voting for one after this is out of their minds.

Here's the info!

Now is the time to stop SCR1042!

Statement from Jason Cianciotto, Wingspan Executive Director:

I vividly remember a series of television commercials for a fast food chain that became a pop-culture phenomenon in the 1980s. It featured an adorable elderly woman who, when presented with hamburgers of inferior substance from competitors, would loudly yell, 'Where's the beef?' That phrase took the nation by storm and became synonymous with simply demanding more for your money. As our legislature prepares to vote on yet another anti-marriage measure, I can't help but feel we Arizonans are having our own 'where's the beef?' moment...
(To read the full text of the statement, click here)
What's Ahead:

Scheduled to be voted on tomorrow (Tuesday) by the Arizona House of Representatives is the amended SCR1042, which states:

1. Marriage

SECTION 1. ONLY A UNION OF ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN SHALL BE VALID OR RECOGNIZED AS A MARRIAGE IN THIS STATE.

2. The Secretary of State shall submit this proposition to the voters at the next general election as provided by article XXI, Constitution of Arizona.

That's the full text of the amended SCR1042. We defeated Proposition 107 in 2006 and tomorrow the same issue pushed by the same people (The Center for Arizona Policy) is scheduled for another vote. They want this on the ballot in the November general election again!

How did this happen?
SCR 1042, a bill that would have established a Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Day, was amended in the House Judiciary Committee to strike everything and replace it with the marriage amendment language.

Email, fax or call your legislator TODAY to ask, "Where's the beef?" See below for a contact list for the Arizona State House of Representatives.

Email Now: Here's a sample email that you can copy and paste into your email program. (If you don't know your district number or representatives' names click here):

Subject: Oppose SCR 1042 as amended

Text:
As your constituent, I am writing to urge you to oppose SCR 1042 as amended, which would put on the ballot another constitutional amendment to define marriage.

The House of Representatives has already addressed this issue during this session, so I ask, "Where's the beef?" It's now time to take care of the business of the people and of the state, and not waste any more time on this divisive issue.

At a time when you and your colleagues in the Legislature are dealing with a budget crisis, you should be able to focus your energy on finding real solutions to real problems. Our families and children deserve more from our tax dollars than the politics of distraction.

As a supporter of equality, I call on you to oppose SCR 1042 as amended.

Sincerely,


[Your name]

[Your address]

4/18/2008

Two Political Posts Coming Up...

I've been out of the political blogging game for a long time now and intend to keep it that way. But, a couple things have been nagging at me and I want to talk about them a bit.

Hillary Vs. Barrack

First, Hillary Clinton and the vagina patrol. I keep running into people in the GLBT community who are just falling head over heels for Hillary. This is particularly true of Lesbians. The refrain I hear is that "it's time" for a woman President and how much of a "role model" she can be for women and girls.

Let's consider this for a minute. First of all, if you're gay a Clinton is not your friend. Let's not forget Bill in '92. All of us worked like dogs to get that man elected. I spent 12 and 14 hour days campaigning in a completely solid Republican state and handed him one of the closest races for a Democrat in 20 years! I took a huge amount of abuse for this guy. Then, he becomes President and once the party ends he quietly works out a compromise with the GOP to enact the horrid "Defense of Marriage Act" thus telling all of us that we're never, in his eyes, equal to him or anyone else. Do you really think Hillary - the ultimate political insider and power broker would be any different? Look at her backbone on Iraq!

As for being a role model. How much of a role model is she? Her husband has carried on notorious and public affairs. He has dragged her reputation through the mud along with his. All the while she's stood by him and put on a good wifey face. Is that a role model? Perhaps to some of the folks in the Religious Right community who think a wife's duty is to grin and bear it no matter what the man's shortcomings. But really, is that the message we'd prefer for girls - no matter what your guy does just put on a happy face and keep going.

Now, I'm not saying Obama is any great catch either. I like the fact that he seems to have a mind and use it. He says truthful things even when they might bite him in the ass. But, his record on equal rights isn't much better than Clinton's. However, he does say things directly and truthfully. Something I'm not sure Hillary Clinton has ever considered a possibility. She tells anyone anything they want to hear basically. So, given the alternatives I'd take Barrack Obama any day of the year.

Brown is the New Black

I have discovered that in Arizona it does not pay to have brown skin. It appears that people in Arizona are as fearful of Hispanics and particularly Mexicans as anyone in the South ever feared African-Americans. The rhetoric heard here is almost exactly the racist stuff from the 1950's in the South.

Recently, the Arizona legislature passed a bill that would make it illegal for schools to teach any subject that "opposes democracy". First of all, not only is it a direct violation of the first amendment, it also just isn't about democracy. The whole impetus for the law came from a course in a Tucson public school that teaches Hispanic heritage and culture.

And Rep. Russell Pearce, (R-Mesa) said some of the teachings amount to "sedition" by suggesting that the current border between the United States and Mexico should disappear, with Mexico — and Hispanics — taking over the American Southwest.

Tucson resident Laura Leighton had specific problems with a text titled "Occupied America," a book touted by its publisher as examining Chicano history from the coming of the Spanish in 1519.

She read one line that said "kill the gringos." Another talked about a plan to take back the U.S. Southwest and deport all the Europeans.

Leighton, however, said she and others who reviewed the course work believe it is unacceptable.

"We find hate and revolution is being taught in their books," she told legislators. "We found a denigration and disparagement of American values, and a subversion of our history."

Ridiculous as it seems, people here buy that kind of stuff. I'm simply stunned.

Of course the line that required a whole new law to rein in those "uppity" brownies is from a radical organizer back in the early part of the 20th century. There was, around 1915 a movement by original Hispanic settlers of the area to take back the land from the United States and once more become part of Mexico and was pushed by the Mexican government. It was never much of a threat and the ring leaders were quickly rounded up after a few minor acts of violence. Nothing huge. But it is part of history and part of the story of Hispanics in the USA.

Yet, to hear people in Arizona talk about even mentioning this in a classroom brings to mind the panic of white Southerners after the early slave revolts like the Vessey Uprising and Stono Rebellion. Those prompted the Whites to enact the Slave Codes that prevented teaching certain things to slaves.

It would appear that in almost 200 years little has changed in the way white Americans react to people of other races or cultures. What did Arizona do in 2008 because it fears "hate speech" which might lead to "violence" against whites? Why they take a page for the Old South and prohibit the teaching of certain subjects to Hispanics.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. I suppose no matter where you go you just trade one brand of racism for another. Funny though, they always seem to be led by Republicans. Guess that changed in 200 years!

4/13/2008

Historically Ignorant

This morning's paper included the USA Today magazine. In that was a story on how American students are woefully inadequate when it comes to their knowledge of history and civics. According to a survey even at elite Harvard seniors only scored 69.6% on the test.

It seems that Americans prefer getting their history via Hollywood rather than the classroom or primary sources. We are woefully ignorant of our own past which might help explain the sad state of affairs our country finds itself in at present.

Years ago when our government in its infinite wisdom began making everything in the schools about "math and science" I predicted that we might turn out a generation of students who could do algebra and physics but be completely ill equipped to handle real life issues related government, politics, and public policy. It seems that has become the case.

Luckily, the test given to these kids at Harvard and across the country is available online for anyone to take. The scores are calculated into the monthly averages for all Americans taking the quiz. Right now the average score stands at 67.5%. That's an "F" people!

My score was 85%. I got 51 out of 60 questions right on the test. The questions I missed dealt primarily with economics (never my strong suit) and political theory.

Want to see how you do? Take the History Quiz and see how much you know about your own history!

You answered 51 out of 60 correctly — 85.00 %
Average score for this quiz during April: 67.5%

Average score since September 18, 2007: 67.5%

4/08/2008

The Politics of Life

My old friend Bill over at Bill & Kent's place wrote a wonderful post on how he has moved from the political side of life to a more contemplative existence. As has happened many times over the years, his post spurred my own thoughts on the subject and what started out as a comment for his blog quickly became a post of its own on mine. Thanks again, Bill.

To Bill:

You're so right about living for today. As you know this past year both Michael and I faced life threatening illnesses. We were both fortunate to be taken care of by people who respected our relationship and in many instances genuinely thrilled at the longevity of our relationship which has far outlasted many of their "marriages".

There's always the fear of running into someone who wants to be an ass but what this year has taught us is that each day is precious. We came so close to losing each other to cancer and liver disease that now we truly try to enjoy our lives.

We've gotten used to doing things together again even if it's just to make sure that every week we have a "date" for a movie or miniature golf. We take little trips together and try to make our time together special and fun.

Sure, we could still be screaming about injustice but at my age I don't see things changing any time soon. Certainly, not when we don't know what tomorrow may bring as far as life itself. I think we all did our part... we got the ball rolling. We took the impetus of Stonewall and shaped it into a national conversation on whether gay men and women were truly equal under the law. Now it is up to the younger folks to take it to the next step.

When you stop one day and realize that you have fewer days ahead than you do behind it puts politics into perspective. It's time to enjoy what we do have now. The next generation, hopefully, will have more equality but its up to them to carry the torch along.

I give my money and my support but today if given the choice between a day walking in the desert with Michael and looking at the beauty of nature and picketing a government building, well, I'll choose the desert.

Torch Song

I'm going to depart from my journaling about life in Tucson and revisit my days as a political blogger. So, suck it up and bear with me.

I've been scanning articles on the protests along the Olympic Torch route. France seemed particularly hard due to the vehemence of the protesters. They even tried to extinguish the flame and the torch bearers had to retreat to the safety of a bus. More protests are expected in San Francisco (duh, people... BERKLEY).

Now the IOC is thinking of just canceling the whole thing. Seems they just didn't have any idea that the world was pretty pissed at China for a number of reasons, not the least of which is a systematic policy of genocide for a country they invaded 50 years ago. They just had no clue. Imagine.

Now they've decided the best defense for their idiotic decision to let a nation with zero human rights credibility host the premiere international event is to blame the people speaking out.

"I'm definitely concerned about what has happened in London and in Paris," Rogge said. "I'm deeply saddened by the fact that such an important symbol has been attacked. We recognize the right for people to protest and express their views but it should be non-violent. We are very sad for all the athletes and the people who expected so much from the run and have been spoiled of their joy."


Yes, how sad for all the athletes. Then again, if I were an athlete, I'd be ashamed to be carrying a torch for a country that kills, rapes, and maims spritual people, monks, and nuns. A country that carts the population off to work as slave labor so that their land can be given to the ethnic majority and their factories and mines. Oh, yeah, I'd be really joyous over that.

Sorry, I can't work up sympathy for anyone taking part in this debacle. That goes doubly for the International Olympic Committee who had to be off its rocker to even consider China as a host. Hey guys, what's next, swimming events a GITMO?

4/04/2008

Off to Phoenix

We're off to Phoenix in the morning for "Paranormal in the Park" at Papago Park. It's sponsored by Sonoran Paranormal Investigations and should be great fun.

While we're in town we're also going by to visit Michael's old friend, George who's in the hospital and have supper with another friend.

You can check out more about PITP at my Ghosts and Hauntings website.

I Ain't in South Carolina Anymore

It's not like Arizona joined the human rights revolution and 21st Century like Europe or anything, but they did manage to kill the ubiquitous "constitutional ban" on gay marriage that the Republican morons and Catholic pedophiles trot out over election season.

Seems the good ole boys were trying to pass one here again. The last one failed. According to the local pedophilia information bureau (read Catholic Church) the reason for that was it targed heterosexual couples too. They figured if they only targeted us then it would pass with flying colors. After all, we know that popular votes on human rights always work. Just ask African-Americans how those votes to desegregate and miscegenation went.

Well, it seems that the Democrats in Arizona have a pair, figuratively speaking. Look what happened:

The House gave preliminary approval Thursday by a 28-27 vote to put the question on the November ballot. But that OK came only after Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix, lined up enough votes to tack on a provision to grant certain rights to unmarried couples living together, whether gay or straight.

That move effectively tied the two issues together as a single ballot question, meaning voters who want to make same-sex weddings unconstitutional would be voting for some constitutional rights for gay couples. A spokesman for House Speaker Jim Weiers, sponsor of HCR 2065, said that is unacceptable and that the Phoenix Republican will now kill his proposal. (Source)
That's something that could never happen in South Carolina because well, there, the only difference between a Democrat and a Republican is that the Democrat can actually get African-Americans to vote for him/her. Otherwise, same thing.

So, the ban is dead for another season and the Catholic church is "reviewing" its options in getting the Republicans to do its bidding in future seasons. Good, luck boys. But maybe y'all should worry more about the roving hands (and other body parts) of your priests and bishops that have bankrupted your diocese in Arizona and less about committed relationships between consenting adults.

Just my opinion....

4/03/2008

The Beauty of a Warranty

When we bought our car at CarMax in February we decided to get the extended warranty. Since then almost everyone I've talked to has said we were crazy because no matter what went wrong with the car they would find some reason that it didn't fall under the warranty.

Well, for the past few weeks we've been hearing a noise in the car. It sounded like metal rubbing and got louder the longer you had the engine on. We made an appointment with CarMax (nearby our house) to have them check it out.

Michael took it in at 8:30 this morning and they discovered the bearings in the alternator were bad. So, they had to replace the alternator. They had it done by noon and instead of costing over $150 it only cost us $50 (the amount of our warranty deductible) since it is a covered part. That's nice since we're headed to Phoenix this weekend for Paranormal in the Park and need it in working order as well as not having to shell out extra cash right now!

So, guess warranties are good sometimes.

Catfishing...

Michael helps out a fisherman at Christopher Columbus Park in Tucson....


4/02/2008

Howl at the Moon

We enjoyed a nice late lunch yesterday at a little bar and restaurant nearby. It's called "Howl at the Moon" and just happens to be gay. That's cool to have something more or less in the neighborhood.

We got there about 3:30 (they open at 3:00) and it was quiet. Just a couple people plus the staff. Michael had a burger and I had fries. (duh!) The food was pretty good and we played a trivia game on TV while we ate.

Seems like a pretty nice place and we'll probably stop in again. The bartender said they also had live music sometimes along with shows and dancing. So, who knows? Maybe we'll venture out some evening since it's only about a mile away.

Working Out Again

We decided to join a nice little gym nearby today. It's called Snap Fitness and we happened to notice it a few weeks back when we were shopping at Basha's (our new favorite grocery store). It was a small place tucked into the same strip mall as Basha's and at first we thought they sold exercise equipment. But, no, they're a gym!

We met a really nice young guy, Steve, who told us all about their programs. We liked the place because it was small and unpretentious. Most of the gyms we'd seen out here were these huge things like Bally's with attitudes to match. This place is the size of a store with state of the art machines as well as old school free weights. It's sort of like an updated and nicer version of our old gym back in South Carolina.

We actually joined Monday but Tuesday was our orientation where they show you how to use all the machines and make sure you're doing things correctly so you don't get hurt. That was really nice. They also do a free session where they set up your exercise program if you want. Michael wasn't interested in that too much being the ex-jock but I may consider it at some point.

The guy who did our orientation, John, showed me a couple alternate things to do when I discovered one of the machines really pulled my abs. That's a big no-no after the hernia repair in December. It was weird because it was a sitting row. Anyway, he showed me how to work the same arm and shoulder muscles using the cable machine so I didn't strain anything.

So, we're back to working out. Hopefully, I can drop some of the weight I've picked up over the past several months and begin building some muscle. I really did like having a bit of muscle before I had to stop everything because of the incisional hernia.

If you're in Tucson and would like to try it out, let me know and I can arrange for a free pass for you to work out. If you're not in Tucson, they still have them all over the USA so you should be able to find one nearby.

Links