Saturday, May 24
by Sue on Sat 24 May 2008 12:59 PM EDT
So, we might be adopting a dog on Monday. Her name is Ana and she is a Chihuaha mix. She was rescued. She lives with big dogs and has lived with cats in the past. She weighs 9 lbs. Ana comes from Starfish to the Sea Animal Rescue.
Ledcat has a rescue friend that is going to help us introduce her to our crew. That's a bit of a worry for us, but I think it will be okay based on how she integrated into her foster home. Here is Ana sleeping on top of her much bigger brother.
Her story is similar to Mona's even though she weighs 40 lbs less. Actually, Ana weighs about half as much as Simon the cat so that should be interesting. And I've always wanted a dog named Anna (close enough). Plus, it keeps up the alliteration with Amadeus and Alexander.
If everything goes okay, I'll be blogging about integrating Ana into our family over on Miss Mona's Blog. As much as we miss Mona, we think she would want us to take in another dog in need of a home.
Stay tuned ...
by Sue on Sat 24 May 2008 12:36 PM EDT
The Correspondents love Gab. She's funny and smart and plays a mean game of Trouble.
Anyhoo, Gab has gathered up the four funny women in Pittsburgh for what promises to be a very cool show on Saturday, May 31, 2008. This is my favorite kind of show. Women. Non-smoking. Saturday night. And $10 tickets.
You should come out and support the funny. Here's the word from Gab:
I am feeling benevolent today because my good friends at Hoi Polloi special cooked me an egg burrito even though it is past breakfast. I found someone to paint the inside of my house. I'm not having luck finding someone to rent it yet, but that will come.
So rock on, Gab. You are trouble, but in a popping bubble kind of way.
by Sue on Sat 24 May 2008 11:35 AM EDT
I have been informed that individuals invited to the LGBT luncheon with Luke Ravenstahl are not being required to make a campaign contribution. They are invited to do so, as their discretion.
I don't know all the ins and outs of these sort of invitations, so I'm going to take this information at its word. What I must do is also assume that my original source acted in good faith and perceived the invitation language in a different way. That's for them to sort out.
I stand by the rest of my post. LGBT leaders attending a campaign fundraiser for Luke Ravenstahl strains creduality in light of his failure to move one single inch closer to gay-friendly positions during his tenure as Mayor. It just gives him further ammunition to say that he has broad based LGBT support.
Attending a meeting with the Mayor in his capacity as an elected official is a different animal, particularly when you hold him accountable for his promises. Where is the gay liaison? Where is the gay advisory committe? Where does he stand on gay civil protections and domestic partnership benefits under a City-County merger?
The private campaign meetings (apparently, 4 not the 2 I reported earlier) are not generating results for our community. Does it make sense to make financial contributions or lend your name to a campaign under these circumstances? Is is the responsible thing to do when you represent our community? I say the responsible thing to do is to ask the Mayor to take one step forward and take action before you support him.
That's my opinion. Yes, I am stirring up the pot. I do it all the time. But you -- you the supporter of Luke, you the letter writer from Braddock, you the person who took on a leadership role in the GLCC or the PrideFest committee -- you put the pot on the stove. I am following a long tradition of pot stirring -- stirring that took groups of Pittsburghers to DC marches, stirring that got PrideFest up and running and then up and running again, stirring that codified civil protections in City law, stirring that grew a phone line into a community center, stirring that brought thousands of gay people out of the closet.
I just use a computer instead of wooden spoon. I'm not out to attack anyone personally and just this morning took down an anonymous comment that slandered someone in our community. This isn't about attacking anyone. It is about a dialogue. Sure, I get the ball rolling with my thoughts and opinions. But blogging is a wonderful resource and it would be great to see more folks in the LGBT community doing it.
Have a great weekend!
Friday, May 23
by Sue on Fri 23 May 2008 09:05 AM EDT
From Tuesday's Post-Gazette. Always good to read a hit-the-nail-on-the-head letter.
Like letter writer Kim Winbush ("Let's Keep Discrimination Out of the Pa. Constitution," May 16), I too was happy to see the Pennsylvania Senate table the Marriage Protection Amendment.
This brazen attempt to pander to the theocratic aims of the religious right must be opposed by all who cherish the freedoms of our secular nation.
Would that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court follow the excellent example of the California Supreme Court ("Gay Marriage Ruled Legal in California," May 16).
AMESH A. ADALJA, MD
Thursday, May 22
by Sue on Thu 22 May 2008 10:49 PM EDT
As we discussed earlier in the week, plans are underway for LGBT "supporters of Luke" to get together with him over lunch to discuss LGBT issues. A few key LGBT designated leaders have been invited. This was confirmed by local LGBT business owner and chair of the Delta Foundation, Gary Van Horn, in the comments section of our blog.
Also confirmed in the comments: this is a private event and not open to the media.
What I've recently discovered is that those attending the private lunch to discuss LGBT issues are allegedly being required to make a campaign contribution to the Luke Ravenstahl war chest.
Wow. I'm sure this goes on all the time. Money buys you access. Is it a sign of the times that gay money is worth courting? Should we care about a secret meeting?
Well, yes. And here is why. This will be the second private opportunity for dialogue on LGBT issues between the Mayor and actual LGBT people. The first was held on election eve after he infamously announced live on WQED that he was opposed to civil unions. That meeting, too, was top secret and did not result in the Mayor reversing his public stance on civil unions.
Publicly, the Mayor has had contact with the LGBT community. He's just adroitly sidestepped any type of public contact that involves dialogue. This includes the "Big Gay Chat" sponsored by the Allegheny County Democratic Committee last spring. Luke sent a surrogate.
Luke himself did attend PrideFest. With a police escort. He attended OUTrageous Bingo. He spent some time in a gay bar. None of these contacts allowed for any real dialogue between Luke and our community. He came, but he didn't listen. He didn't even know we had anything to say. Or maybe he just didn't care.
The community is not well-served by secret meetings and backroom negotiations. We deserve a Mayor that is willing to talk publicly about our issues and engage a cross section of the community, not just one particular interest. We deserve a Mayor who doesn't trade access for campaign contributions (allegedly).
If that is the price of admission to this luncheon, let us hope that those who represent us on boards and committees and commissions will think twice before attending. Have any of the previous private meetings and soirees moved Luke a single inch further along the line of gay tolerance? There is no evidence of that. No change on civil unions. No support for HB 1400. No promise to protect the civil liberties and domestic partner benefits in a City-County merger. No nothing.
The private meetings aren't working. At least, they aren't working for our community. They might be working for the campaign. We don't know because even the gay media is excluded (believe me, I've tried).
Make no mistake, gentle readers, we are WAY past the point at which attending PrideFest is newsworthy. There's no extra credit points for taking that risk. The Mayor's people should be aggressively courting connections with the LGBT community. What happened to plans for a LGBT liaison in the Mayor's office? Or the LGBT advisory committee?
So, the meeting. Gary thinks it is a worthwhile investment of his time and he's entitled to that opinion. He's also entitled to organize events to support candidates in whom he believes. However, I think that continuing to contribute our hard-earned monies to a candidate that hasn't done a single thing for our community is going to get us nowhere. We cannot allow Luke Ravenstahl to continue making promises to us -- liaisons and committees, etc -- with no consequences for his failure to act.
So, why not email your local LGBT leaders and ask if they plan to attend the Mayor's event and, if so, whether they are financially supporting his campaign? It would be interesting to identify LGBT leaders that publicly support a candidate opposed to civil unions. After all, we can get the campaign contribution information after the fact if the City Paper keeps up the database. It would just be nice to know in advance where people stand.
LGBT supporters of Luke, comment away ...
by Sue on Thu 22 May 2008 05:37 PM EDT
What's more important for local social justice - the stability of the Thomas Merton Center or the culpability of a dead police dog? I'd like to ask Carole Weidmann that question. Carole's pants were ripped during an anti-war protest a few years ago and the culprit may have been Ulf, the dog who was shot and killed by Justin Jackson a few weeks ago. Mr. Jackson was subsequently killed by return fire. (Ripped pants do not equal dead teenager.)
Carole is oft brought up as an example of the horrors of police brutality in Pittsburgh. Carole is also a board member of the Thomas Merton Center, Pittsburgh's most significant anti-war organization. The Merton Center seems to be in terrible straights -- almost all of the professional staff have resigned. One sent an email (I have a copy if you want it) citing board issues as a reason for his resignation. The organization is struggling financially.
Who is going to protect the rights of other Justin Jacksons if TMC isn't back on solid ground? As a member, I'd personally prefer Carole put her time and energy (and her legion of fans) to use on that issue.
It is sad to read a City Paper story about a CMU student who claims to have stared down Ulf and avoid being "mauled" as he put it. That's just silly, condescending talk. David Struthers believes his elite status saved the day when he was confronted with a big bad police dog anxious to get 'em. I noted with some interest that the City Paper did not include any perspective from reputable dog trainers. I have consulted a few and their interpretation of the YouTube video footage is very different than Mr. Struthers.
Further, there's the never-ceasing coverage of police dogs gone wild with little if any acknowledgment of situations where police dogs saved lives or prevented violent endings. No information on the difference between a dog grabbing a suspect and a dog biting a suspect. Anyone with large dogs can tell the difference. A dog can be trained to subdue. They do it every day and no one ends up dead. It doesn't take Swami Struthers to prevent a catastrophe.
I love the man called Potter and his crew. They do good reporting. But this story mimics the one-dimensional approach to the death of Justin Jackson we saw when the story broke. And it continues to really piss me off to see all of this man v dog coverage. And I would be disingenuous if I didn't write this post out of deference to their feelings. I almost didn't. But they have much thicker skins than certain people who write 80 paragraphs responses to my criticism. So on we go ...
If David Struthers is so concerned about the other Justin Jackson's of the world, maybe he should call up Carole, roll up his sleeves and do something to build up the TMC.
Instead we get this ...
Par for the course? Ahem. This man puts monies (and his talent) in the coffers of a University that builds robots for war. A war in which Justin Jackson is much more likely to be used as cannon fodder than CMU "elite" students. So spare us the moral high ground, David. You have no clue what Justin was thinking when he pulled that trigger and it is insulting to imply otherwise. More importantly, why don't you speak out about what you are doing to make a difference?
To summarize. Stop the man v dog media coverage. Give the public a well-rounded perspective on police dogs -- find out how many suspects have been apprehended without violence with the assistance of a police dog --- now that would be a story. Consult dog behavioral experts instead of college students for analysis. Figure out what the hell is going on with the Thomas Merton Center -- they don't even list their board members on the website.
Monday, May 19
by Sue on Mon 19 May 2008 08:59 PM EDT
Simply put, we cannot support this merger until we have two guarantees.
First, we must have the County pass legislation ensuring our civil rights are preserved. Right now, those of us who live or work in the City are assured protections based on our sexual orientation and gender identity. At the Big Gay Chat last spring, sponsored by the ACDC, County Council President Rich Fitzgerald admitted that passing this type of legislation would be an uphill battle.
Second, we must insist that the County provide domestic partnership benefits for all employees. Onorato hides behind claims that it is a budget issue. That's ridiculous. If all the gay and unmarried heterosexual employees quit tomorrow and they were replaced by happily married heterosexuals, the budget would somehow accommodate their families. WHY IS MY FAMILY DIFFERENT? I can say this based on the fact that Ledcat works for the City so this will directly impact moi!
So, here's where our champions suit up and make sure that Pittsburgh's gay residents are not kicked to the curb. I understand that Luke is having a big gay luncheon at Images in the next few weeks. I'm hopeful Gary and company educate him about the importance of these two issues. It is important that we use whatever access we have to make sure Luke is aware of how this very significant legislation will impact us.
How come I never get invited to important gay luncheons? I eat lunch. I know my silverware.
Let's not forget Dan. Or our County Council reps. Oh, in my case, that's NOT Brenda Frazier so I'm basically screwed (thanks, HosPAC for quashing homo allies, by the way). We'll need that $0.15 discount on those drinks to drown our sorrows when we can't take the damn bus out of the County to find housing or jobs. Awesome.
Anyway, we need to be sure that our County Council and Chief Executive understand that we are law-abiding, tax-paying, bus-riding, drink-buying residents of this County and we deserve equal rights.
So, our champions have their work cut out for them. Bill and Doug, Patrick and Bruce. Rich.
by Sue on Mon 19 May 2008 04:02 PM EDT
Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents! Or PLC as the Post-Gazette's Cutting Edge feature referred to us. The lesbians are not amused. Pgh Lesbian is an appropriate abbreviation. PLC sounds like an 80's one-hit-wonder smushed with a bureaucratic acronym.
It is curious that 2 Political Junkies was featured for a LGBT comment whereas we get the nod for police commentary. It did generate a lot of comments so perhaps that's the trick to get MSM attention -- write provocative stuff that pokes at beloved social justice entities?
Anyway, we are happy to accept the award for best female blogger in a supporting role. We'd like to thank our 26-100 daily readers. Without you, it would get mighty boring around here. We also have to thank Chris Briem, 2 Political Junkies and PittGirl for inspiring all of us to strive just that much harder to get an inch or two in the Post-Gazette.
Nothing says Pittsburgh as when the Post-Gazette ignores hundreds of other bloggers to focus on the same four voices. All you need is a quote from the CPRB ... just kidding, Beth.
Is Tony Norman hosting the post-awards luncheon?
Sunday, May 18
by Sue on Sun 18 May 2008 10:11 PM EDT
Today is Ledcat's birthday and she gets to spend it at a dinner for my work. Wow! That's love, folks.
Last night, I threw her a surprise party at Hoi Polloi on the Northside and it was awesome with a capital AWE. Jessica, Sandra, Daniel, Christopher and Julian did a great job prepping for the big day and giving us super-duper-delishus service. Our friend Kerry at KS Kennedy Flowers delivered a beyootiful arrangement. We specifically invited vegetarian friends, gay and straight, all of whom raved about the food. Even our little picky eater niece -- the Pickle -- approved of the pb&j while our friends' 14 month old boy dug into a bowl of vegetarian chili.
The nice thing was that the party sort of stretched out over 4 hours. There was no single moment of party rapture even though I had to pick a critical mass moment for the cake. People rolled in and out. I mean 16 people, plus kids, but still ... it was really nice and I am very grateful to the Burgan clan for pulling it all off. They even baked a cake especially for Ledcat (they being a joint Sandra/Jessica collaborative cake effort). She's been telling people about that all day. That really touched her. And my father thinks that cake is the best thing he's ever eaten and has already planned his next five birthdays at Hoi Polloi.
I was so happy that Ledcat enjoyed her party. You always worry about these things. I knew she suspected something was up so I tried to throw her off the trail. She would never expect someone she knows just a little bit to bake her a cake.
Later that night, I asked Jessica about that as we discussed donating our magazines to their coffee table. She summed it up very sweetly ... "It is the neighborly thing to do."
That has hung in my heart all day long. I've never ever lived in a place where I had a neighborhood space to which I felt drawn. Aside from 7-11 when I have PMS and there's nothing nurturing about that.
Hoi Polloi is a wonderful place to be. The Burgans are this awesome family that just share their great vibe with whomever walks in the door. Sandra is the creator of cakes and must be always appreciated. The food is yummy and gets this somewhat stodgy lesbian to try all sorts of new soups
And they say "yes!" when you want to throw a surprise birthday party right in the middle of their business.
Neighbors. That's the real birthday gift for Ledcat (and me!).
Happy Birthday Ledcat!
by Sue on Sun 18 May 2008 02:58 PM EDT
What's good news for Californian queers may mean the battle over same-sex marriage heats up again in Pennsylvania as the anti-gay marriage amendment backers put on the pressure to revive that legislation.
They argue that predictions of courts overruling state DOMA laws has come true and call the Pennsylvania House to gird their loins for battle.
Not so quick. Michigan's Supreme Court just ruled that a statewide ban means no domestic partner benefits for state employees. In other words, the implications for an amendment about "marriage" could be far reaching. Regardless of California.
So what does all this mean for you? Well, I'd say two things. First, let's hurrah for our California sisters and brothers.
Second, maybe you should call your representative in the Pennsylvania House and let them know that you are opposed to the amendment and do not want to see it gain momentum when so much important legislative work remains to be done. You can find out who represents you via the Equality Advocates website. It can't hurt to make that call.
And remember ... a little over 30 days until PrideFest 2008. Equality Advocates should have a table there. So will Steel City Stonewall Democrats. Excellent opportunity to get involved and show them some $$ love to keep their good groove going.