Books, Dinner on the Southside and Other Queer Stuff

Leading off tonight, a thoughtful post from The Bilerico Project about the 12 most significant books for the lesbian and gay community (his term).  I've read one – the Bible.  And I have to stay that I am absolutely stunned that Middlesex did not make the cut.  It is a phenomenal novel.  I'm adding the other books to my Goodreads.com account tonight.  If you are a booklover, Goodreads is the place for you (plus, there's a Goodreads application on Facebook).   Anyway, check out the list and let me know what you've read.

Surprise, surprise.  Sarah Palin has a connection to the ex-gay movement.  Sigh.  Well, to be precise, her church has ties to “Love Won Out”, the ex-gay movement.  Obama himself was tied to Donnie McClurkin, an avid ex-gay pastor.  Nothing new under the son.  Religion wins out. 

Pennsylvania's own John Murtha and Tim Murphy have been named among the 20 most corrupt members of Congress.

Murphy: Misuse of Congressional Staff

Rep. Murphy has misused taxpayer-funded congressional staff and resources for political campaign activities.  Specifically, Rep. Murphy used his Mt. Lebanon congressional office for campaign strategy sessions and to store campaign-related materials.  In addition, his congressional staff was expected to assist his re-election campaign.

In October 2006, former and current staff members alleged that congressional staff dropping off official literature throughout the district in the summer before the election were instructed to make drops only at the homes of registered voters; and that in December 2005, district office staff were instructed to assemble and send greeting cards to Rep. Murphy’s campaign contributors during the government workday.  According to Rep. Murphy’s aides, while they were not explicitly threatened with dismissal if they did not participate in these activities, they felt pressured to do so.

By using congressional staff to engage in campaign activity on official time and with the use of official resources, Rep. Murphy may have violated the prohibition on soliciting political contributions from employees, the prohibition on using appropriated funds for campaign activity, House ethics rules and the regulations of the Committee on House Administration.

Murtha:

Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA) is an 18th-term member of Congress, representing Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district.  Rep. Murtha chairs the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.  Rep. Murtha’s ethics violations stem from abuse of his position on the subcommittee to benefit the lobbying firm of a former long-term staffer and from threatening to block earmarks of other members for political purposes.  Rep. Murtha was included as a member to watch in CREW’s 2006 and 2007 reports on congressional corruption.
PMA Group

Paul Magliocchetti worked with Rep. Murtha as a senior staffer on the Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Defense for 10 years.  After leaving the committee, Mr. Magliocchetti founded the PMA Group, which has become one of the most prominent Washington, D.C. defense lobbying firms.  Since the second quarter of 2007 campaign cycle, the PMA Group and ten of the firm’s clients ranked in the top 20 contributors to Rep. Murtha, having made campaign contributions totaling $190,880.  In the 2006, 2004 and 2002 cycles, PMA and its clients have given $274,649, $236,799, $279,074 in contributions respectively.  In turn, many of PMA’s clients have benefitted significantly from Rep. Murtha’s earmarks.  In the Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Appropriations bill, Rep. Murtha helped steer at least $100.5 million to PMA clients–up from $95.1 million in the 2006 Defense Appropriations bill.

The City Paper ran a recent story on efforts to wipe out sidewalk food service on the Southside.  I've been following this for several years as we are regular patrons Cambodican Kitchen, home of cat on a stick.  Our buddy Dan has been lobbying tirelessly for the freedom to sell from a grill on his property, but outside of the door — like the stoop.  While I understand that the locals want the drunks gone, it makes little sense to target food vendors who are sobering them up (before they get behind the wheel).  Why not shut down some of the bars?  From a logistical standpoint, that's probably insane.  But al fresco dining adds a nice touch to an evening on the Southside.  We purposefully go to the Southside to eat at Cambodican versus the bar restaurants.  Then we wander down the streets and spend other monies at the small businesses (or do so before we eat).  This is Councilman Bruce Kraus' baby and while I understand his desire to protect the interests of the business community who have to deal with the post-debauchery trash and debris, it seems like there could be some middle-ground on this issue.  I'd urge the proposal architects to remember that not everyone who patronizes the Southside independent restaurants is a drunken college student.  Bruce Kraus is a bright man and I hope he doesn't see this in black and white terms.  Or has a Plan B if everyone can get to the table together.

I'm not a planner so I don't know what a good solution would be, but there are a lot of codes that could be enforced to address this problem.  The student code of conduct at Duquesne, Pitt and CMU for one.  It would be great if the Provosts would spend some time holding their students acccountable for commiting crimes. On the other hand, I would love if someone started to enforce codes when it comes to the Steeler Nation.  Any code that happens to be violated on the Northside as opposed to the Northshore.  I can dream.  Ah well, we would be very sad if Cambodican and similar businesses closed.  It would be another loss along the line of Tuscany. 

Let me leave you on a positive note.  A Florida Circuit Court said the ban on gay adoption is unconstitutional <Pam's House Blend>.

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