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View Article  Do lesbians make Mama Ravenstahl cry?

The boy who would be Mayor President is making us feel guilty for upsetting his mama.  According to the Post-Gazette's front page propaganda, er, article, the Mayor laughs in the face of those who would mock him.  His sainted mother, however, weeps as we merrily make up awful crap about her son. Ha!

Then there are the Internet blogs.

"Many of them are interesting in the way they portray what I'm doing," he said. "Very negative. And my mom, she reads those all the time. ... It bothers her more than it bothers me."

I wonder if Mama Ravenstahl read this:

Does he have the capacity to think about these statements before they fall out of his mouth or do they just sort of slip out?

or

Good lord, the boy-mayor has absolutely no intention of appointing anyone who isn't part of the good old boys network on his watch.  He might maybe perhaps appoint a socially conservative white woman who knows her place and can keep her mouth shut.  Maybe. 

This is the adminstration that fired BJ Leber.  Sure there's a handsome new puppet instead of an incapacitated old one, but the fact is that the power mongerers have not changed.

or

First, someone from U-Haul's corporate headquarters came to my site because I said I need a U-Haul to escape Luke Ravenstahl.  That's just really funny. 

or

I know the muckety muck rich Riccardi loving homos embrace these Social Conservative Democrats for all they are worth, but I'd think most of us should recognize a clear distinction between Ravenstahls "love the sinner/hate the sin" stance on most things involving women and gays  and the TRUE progressive in this race, Bill Peduto, who actually seems to value women and gays for more than our ability to contribute to campaigns. 

or ... and this is my favorite ...

Not a single homo involved and this story has more twists and turns than a drag queen's virginal encounter with panty hose, a site much prettier than watching Luke Ravenstahl contort an explanation out of this story. 

If you read the subtext, its right out of a gay movie -- Slightly inebriated guy meets guy in uniform, intense exchange occurs, guy ends up in handcuffs, guy returns to wife and goes on to become mayor.  Old guy makes it like it never happened. Denials ensue. MacGuy asks questions. The story comes tumbling out. Wife stands by MayorGuy. UniformedGuy can't tell, so don't ask.  I can't make this stuff up. 

To be fair, Mama Ravenstahl, I do acknowledge that your son is a handsome lad and I'm sure you are proud of him for that.  Just like Barbara Bush.   And he's quite the sly one lobbing the "bloggers diss me and I don't care" pitch to which any response merely proves his point. 

What I want to know is if Erin Ravenstahl is the next Hillary?  I mean Erin Feith Ravenstahl, of course.  Now that would be cool. 

View Article  Another ACDC Update

For those following the saga of my contact with the Allegheny County Democratic Committee ...

I spoke directly with Tiffany at the ACDC yesterday morning.  She clarified the names and contact information for my committefolks. I asked her what their duties are and explained that I've never had any political contact with them (no contact at all with one). She told me she would mail the handbook out and asked me to read it over then call her back if I find that my committefolks have not been living up to their responsibilities.

Whew.  Sooo, I'm waiting for the handbook.  Unfortunately, it is not online.  The ACDC website could use some work  - it is very boring and staid.  Surely, there's some loyal Democrat they could contract with to redesign it (perhaps a political junkie)? 

I'm not really intending to diss my committeefolks b/c I bet they are no better or worse than others.  But how do we bring about change if we don't take a close look at what isn't working for the best interests of the party AND the residents of the county? 

View Article  Ellwood City Man Calls a Bigot, a Bigot

Vince Avedon of Ellwood City knows bigotry when he reads about it. So he took a moment to call out President Bush's intent to veto the extension of hate crimes legislation to include homosexuals. 

President Bush said he will veto any bill that would include gays and lesbians in this existing hate crime law. His position is that there are already protections in place.
If that were the case, then why is there special legislation protecting race, color, religion, or national origin? Aren't there already laws on the books protecting people of race, religion, or national origin? The answer is pure bigotry from this administration against gay and lesbian Americans.

You nailed it, Vince.  Bush is in hot water and needs something to shore up his eroding popularity with the base. So, of course, he's going to clamber back up on the backs of the gays. 

Thanks for writing Vince. 

View Article  State Rep Chelsa Wagner's Office Steps Up

Sometimes, people do pay attention.  I just now received a call from a legislative staffer with State Representative Chelsa Wagner's office.  My post to the Run, Baby, Run email list about Democratic Committee reps caught his eye, particularly the part where I stated that Pgh City Councilwoman Tonya Payne is the only elected official I've seen at a community meeting since I moved to Manchester.

Pat wanted me to know that Representative Wagner is very interested in meeting with Manchester residents, but there have been some scheduling snafus with the meeting organizers, Manchester Citizens Corporation.  He was very tactful about it, of course. 

I'm not so tactful, of course.  MCC does a lousy job of organizing meetings and informing community residents with enough advance notice to get it on our calendars.  That's not Representative Wagner's fault.  But the end result is that MCC's organizational challenges are directly squashing the community's access to our elected officials.  And that's not okay. 

Pat asked me if there are other groups he could contact to keep abreast of community meetings.  I gave him a few thoughts, but it is really slim pickings around here.  So then I offered to hold a meeting myself.  I figured I should put my money where my mouth is. 

I'm impressed that 1) they read the email list, 2) they responded to the challenge and 3) they are proactive and positive rather than defensive.   I'm impressed.

I invited Rep Wager to PrideFest which is just a hop, skip and jump out of her district but definitely draws a lot of Manchester residents. 

 

View Article  The Birth of the Pgh Women's Blogging Society

A secret agent, a lesbian and a political junkie walked into a cyber-coffeehouse. A few keystrokes later, the Pittsburgh Women's Blogging Society was born. The Society is open to all women bloggers in the Pittsburgh region. To participate, you must have a virtual footprint be it a blog, email-list or dynamic website. Your gender identity must be female. Your identity must be known to the blog owners, but can be kept private on the blog. Men are welcome to read and comment. We'll appreciate your support and engagement.Visit us at http://pghwomenbloggers.blogspot.com/ to check us aht.

For more information, email pghwomen@gmail.com

Yours in sisterhood,

Agent Ska

Maria of 2 Politial Junkies

Sue of Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents

 

View Article  PA Wingnuts Want to Oust Gay Chairman of Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission

Today is June 4, which marks the end of Stephen Glassman's five year term as chair of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.  Governor Ed Rendell is expected to nominate Glassman for another term.  Diane Gramley and her bastion of bigots are hopping mad about this and have churned out the hate literature fast enough to make Big Daddy Dobson proud.  Their goal?  To stop the insidious promotion of the gay agenda by Glassman and his ilk.

According to their website, the mission of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission is to administer and enforce the PHRAct and the PFEOA of the Commonwealth of the Pennsylvania for the identification and elimination of discrimination and the providing of equal opportunity for all persons. (BTW, acronyms stand for Pennsylvania Human Relations Act and Pennsylvania Fair Educational Opportunities Act.)

Gramley is not pleased that Glassman is openly gay and actively working for progress in protecting the rights and civil liberties of LGBTQ Pennsylvanians, as well as others.  See that's the part Gramley wants folks to forget -- Steve Glassman is not stepping on other victims of discrimination and bias to lift up the homos.  He is working to make Pennsylvania a fair place for all residents.  It is Gramley and her patrons that want to keep an entire group of residents down and out because we don't fit into her world view. 

Read up on the good work of the PHRC.  Contact your State Senator and let them know what you think about Stephen Glassman's confirmation.  If you are inclined to do nothing, remember that Diane Gramley's minions will be all over this.

View Article  Mini ACDC Update

Ledcat informs that the ACDC has returned my telephone call and left the names of my comitteefolks on our voice mail.  One is the lady I identified in my earlier post.  I'll learn the other person's identity tomorrow when I get back to da 'burgh.

I am going to call them back and find out what their version of the committeefolks responsibilities are to date.  So they did call.

You know who didn't call?  The probation officer of the dude on house arrest two doors down from me.  The one who throws his vodka bottles all over our property among many other infractions.

You know who hasn't been helpful with that situation?  Our elected Democrats.  Except for Brenda Frazier.  The one who wasn't endorsed by the ACDC.  She's being helpful. 

So now I want to know if quality of life issues factored in the committefolks votes. 

View Article  Weekend at BJ's (Wedding) - the proof is in the love, not the orientation

I'm blogging from a Holiday Inn on Long Island where I've been ensconsed for the wedding of my college roommate, BJ, and her now-husband Ron.  I flew into JFK and discovered that one of my bags went missing, thankfully not the one with my wedding attire.  I was not in the wedding party, but showing up in clothing purchased from the Wal-Mart across the street would not be my idea of good fun. The missing bag contained my wedding gift and eventually turned up the following morning.  Dude at luggage central was a little perplexed why I wanted it delivered to a rectory, but I've been embedded with priests and priestly family members all weekend.  This is a cool group of priests - when we rolled in for the wedding rehearsal, the rectory Cocker Spaniel, Ricky, was hanging out near the sanctuary.

Anyway, the weekend involved lots of trips back and forth between Long Island and the Bronx/Queens.  I lost track of how many times.  My job was primarily to remember tasks (pick up this, call that person, etc. )and offer words of condolences during minor catastrophes (the wedding rings were locked up at a jewelers; his mother died and he left town -- it all worked out thanks to the owner of the liquor store next door -- I can't make this up!). 

I've had three limo rides (I was a limo virgin) and two of 'em were Hummer limos (also a Hummer virgin).  To compensate for the latter, I have kept almost every single recyclable item I've had this weekend and plan to bring home with me to recycle (not an option at the Holiday Inn), including 17 water bottles and two mini Pringles plastic containers.  Thankfully, I have the extra tote bag.  Did I mention that Ledcat and I put together a Pittsburgh basket as a wedding gift, thanks to the input of A Pleasant Present.  Ledcat isn't going to be happy when I toss the bag o'recyclables into the car and I'm pretty sure she's not bringing the Hummer.  :-)

I feel sort of maudlin tonight as I sit in my room waiting for the post-reception reception to start hopping in the bar.  The wedding was beautiful and I have had a wonderful time catching up with the family -- it is as if no time had passed at all.  Some of the family know I'm gay and some don't, but that wasn't a huge deal because I'm like family and it just didn't come up -- I wasn't going to do anything to cause a ripple for her day -- it was like a "don't ask, don't tell" veil.

Until the reception.  Then the dj kept calling couples and lovers out to the table.  Ledcat was supposed to come with me, but she stayed home to take care of our girl Mona.  I realized even if she were with me, we'd be sitting at the table anyway.  Song after song played, slow and fast alike, and I felt disconsolate listening to the words and missing the woman I love, knowing even if she were there I would have to keep quiet.  Then it was time to toss the bouquet.  At first, I demurred because I'm not single.  Everyone kept urging me on and while the brother who knew the truth gave me a sympathetic glance, I had to get up or risk being either a poor sport or ripping the "don't ask, don't tell" veil away.  I ended up catching a piece of the bouquet that fell apart as it was tossed.  That's symbolic, huh?

I consider myself pretty out in most circumstances, but I think we all have moments when we have to deny this pretty important part of our identities for what seems a good reason.  I thought my reason was noble -- to avoid darkening this important day for my good friend (who, of course, knows and invited Ledcat to the wedding) -- so why do I feel so cruddy?  Because I lied to people who love me and, even though I think they really know the truth, I took the coward's way out.

Someone recently asked me what it means to be openly gay.  I think the answer is about authenticity.  Bruce Kraus, for example, never hid his sexual orientation, but didn't necessarily make a point to accentuate it.  He is single and childless, so his website had no references to his sexual orientation vis a vis his family (no pictures with partner and child, etc).  That's authentic.  If voters asked, he answered honestly.  If it didn't come up, it wasn't really relevant, was it?  I'm sure many people just assumed he was straight, but it is not his responsibility to correct that assumption unless it has relevancy. 

I don't often hide my orientation, but I sometimes have to be discreet. There would be no need for me to tell the groom's great-uncle that I'm a dyke, even if Ledcat were with me.  But I kept this very important part of my life a secret from people that do matter to me because I'm afraid of their reaction.  That's not easy to admit.  I thought I was past this.  I'm almost glad Ledcat couldn't make it because I can't imagine how awful I would feel if I had to deny her amongst people that are like family.  To have to sit back and let all the rest of the lovers be recognized and venerated.

So what does it mean to be openly gay?  I suspect very few people beyond Rosie O'Donnell know because society is heteronormative -- if you look straight, people assume you are straight.  I only correct them when it is necessary (or when I feeling ornery and want to watch that look settle in their eyes).  And sometimes I don't correct them even when I should.  Because I'm still afraid.

I miss Ledcat tonight because, suppressed or not, I would still like to share these moments.  And because she loved me enough to stay home to take care of our cancer-stricken dog, I know that she would understand all this angst and love me anyway. 

And I'm looking forward to my own wedding.  Someday.

 

View Article  City Paper On The Pittsburgh Primary

I'm getting ready for my journey to NYC, so I'm going to throw out a few first impressions of the City Paper's cover story ananlyzing the election outcomes, the potential for the three new City Councilpeople-elect, and, of course, where blogs fit into it all. 

* Interesting that Patrick Dowd and Bruce Kraus were interviewed together, but Ricky Burgess was interviewed separately.  Was that a timing issue? 

They also acknowledged knowing next to nothing about Burgess, the third challenger to win his primary race.

"I don't know much about his work," confesses Dowd, though he notes that he was "moved" by Burgess' yard signs, which promised "The Power of Hope."

"I really don't know [Burgess]," seconds Kraus, though he adds, "we've met a couple of times."

This comes as little surprise to Burgess. District 9 is predominantly black and poor, and it "is not the focus of a lot of people," Burgess says. "It's not surprising people don't know a lot about me."

Taking things one step further, didn't any of the progressives working so hard for Dowd and Kraus make the time to get to know Burgess?  The election has been over for more than two weeks folks.  I read about Burgess on the Steel City Stonewall site and noted that he was good on some issues (DP bennnies, needle exchange, history of workign with PATF) and not good at all on others (gay marriage, right to choose).  But he's here and he's now and it just strikes me as odd that no one is taking the time to get to know him.  Reading yard signs and the City Paper article isn't the same thing as saying "Hey, Ricky, let's you, Bruce/Patrick, and I grab some coffee at Ritter's Diner and get to know each other."    To be fair, I have to wonder if Burgess' people took the time, then or now, to get to know Dowd or Kraus -- these things matter to me because I work in District 9 and a lot of my families live there.

* Blogs get a rap on the knuckles in this piece.  We feasted on the setbacks of the old timers.  Burgess thinks we don't pay enough attention to issues outside of our own purveuy, like the perspective in Homewood.

"The issues of some people, like those in the blogs, are not my issues," Burgess says. "What's holding our district back is the education for our kids, the violence and lack of economic development in our communities." Such issues, he notes, get very little attention from bloggers, who are much more likely to be set abuzz by the news that Ravenstahl was detained by police at a Steelers game in 2005.

Burgess admires the blogs for being an "unfiltered perception of some segment of the community." But, he adds, "The authors of the blogs are talking about the perspective they live" -- and "mostly, they aren't living in Homewood."

Ouch!  <Surveying the landscape for political bloggers who aren't white or anonymously racially unknown -- Hello Three Rivers Online .....Khari --- why no updates?.>.  To be fair to myself, I live in Manchester which isn't a haven of white upper class sensibilities and I do blog about local issues, but my perspective on local issues is definitely colored by the privileges of being white and middle class.  I've most notably blogged about urban dumping, police indifference, political indifference and so forth, but I do think I've tried to consider the big picture. 

Please note that I do have a constructive plan on this particular issue, a plan I've been hatching with Maria and Agent Ska.  It will be anounced, hopefully, next week.  You will all, including Chris Potter, be invited to lavish us with phrases like "Pure Genius,"  "Revolutionizing the Burghosphere," and "Damn, Those Chicks Are F***ing Brilliant."

* It is easy to romanticize the "progressive bloc" backing Peduto, but the CP reminds that in politics, things are never romantic.  Dowd and Kraus are not clones and have philosophical differences <thank goodness they have philosophical anything>.  Burgess is keenly aware of the historical isolation of his district and staking territory as his own man.  It is not Peduto the progressive leader or Peduto the king-maker who is going to surge ahead with these gentleman in tow. It is Peduto's ideas -- solid, smart and good governance policies -- that stand a chance of winning the support of these gentleman.  And, to be fair, these gentleman stand a chance of winning Peduto with their own good ideas. 

* There's a really cute picture of Doug Shields in the story.  Not really relevant to anything, but I did honestly think,"That's a cute picture."  He looks like a man who wouldn't light up in a public building.  Let's hope.

Alrighty then, I must go finish packing my carryon bag.  Ledcat and the woofers will hold down the fort.  The kitties will carry on as usual.  I will probably log back on tonight and look forward to the usual hundreds of comments. 

View Article  Hello, Is this the Allegheny County Democratic Committee?

Where oh where have my little reps gone, oh where oh where can they be?

During a recent heated discussion on the Run, Baby, Run listserv, I realized that I am not sure who my Allegheny County Democratic Committee representatives are.  I moved to this here neck of the woods (Manchester) in 2005 and have never been contacted, approached or sought after by anyone connected with the Democratic Party.  I am not a supervoter (to my chagrin), but I have attended a lot of community meetings and events and never once have I seen anyone, male or female, identify themselves as a committee people or a ward chair or ward cleaver for that matter.

I did happen to learn by quirk that a neighbor down the street may or may not be the female committee person.  She's a very nice lady, but when I saw her at the post-endorsement Bill Peduto (sigh) rah-rah meeting she was more interested in playing with the hosts' children than doing any networking or socializing.  In fact, most of the old school long-time muckety muck white people there pretty much talked with their friends and ate blue cookies.  She also tends to brag that she's been a committeewoman for like 25+ years or some ungodly amount of time and that "they won't let me retire."  I'm hopeful she's talking about her employer, but I doubt it.

So I was encouraged by ACDC guru herself Dianna Wentz to call the office and get the scoop.  The number is 412-321-2995. 

Being an intrepid blogger, I tried their website first.  No dice.  Lots of pretty red, white and blue fonts to convince me how patriotic I am for being a Democrat (something you never reinforce often enough I suppose), but not a lot of actual information to be had. 

Today, I called and left a detailed message.  Dianna cautioned me that they have a lot of calls and an overworked staff, so I'm willing to wait a few days and see what happens. 

Anyone else know their committeepersons?  Do they go to meetings?  Contact people?  Identify themselves?  Show up period? 

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