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View Article  Spirit Day 10-20-2010

It does get better. You approach your 40th birthday and embrace the gifts of maturity.  My partner and I are living the life, so to speak.  We have good jobs where we can be ourselves for the most part.  We have built a home together filled with a lot of real moments, including moments that have been sad and dark and devastating.  But we have each other.  Life is not perfect, but it is better.  Our parents realized they loved us more than they believed their prejudices.  They don't talk about us being gay, but they are part of our lives and it really is okay.  And for those who don't ... you fill your life with others.  You embrace your friends and appreciate the many ways they support and lift you up. 

I'm a firm believer that sometimes you just need to close your eyes and believe it will get better.  It always has, in some small incremental way. It isn't easy, painless or glamorous, but it is about believing in ourselves in some small way.

My favorite moment of each day is when I get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.  I come back to bed and Ledcat is asleep.  I always - ALWAYS - stop and think of how lucky I am to snuggle back into bed with someone who loves me with all of her heart and soul.  That soothes me right back to sleep.  It is the most precious  moment of the day for me and I truly know that it will continue to get better. 

The darkness is real, I know. But there is light and there is hope and there is so much love to surround each of us. Sometimes, you need to let that lift you up and carry you through.  Until it gets better for you.

View Article  PA Senate Race - a dead heat?

Step back, naysayers.  It appears we have a race.  According to poll data released today, Sestak LEADS the race, 46-45. 

You can put Pennsylvania Senate back in the toss up category. Joe Sestak leads Pat Toomey 46-45 in our newest poll of the race, erasing the 9 point deficit he had in an August PPP survey.

Toomey's support has remained stagnant over the last 2 months while Sestak's has gone up 10 points from 36% to 46%. There are three main factors driving the increased competitiveness of the race:

-Democratic voters are getting more engaged as election day moves closer. Barack Obama won Pennsylvania by 10 points in 2008 but our August survey in the state found those planning to vote in November had actually supported John McCain by a point in 2008, suggesting a massive drop off in Democratic turnout. Now those saying they will vote next month supported Obama by 4 points in 2008. The enthusiasm gap is still there but it's not as severe a problem for Democrats as it was 2 months ago.

-Sestak has wiped out what was an enormous deficit with independents. In August Toomey led 50-27 with them. He hasn't really lost any support with them but Sestak has picked up most of the undecided ones and now trails only 49-48 with that voter group. Most Democratic candidates across the country are down double digits with independents so for Sestak to be running even with them is a good sign for him.

-The Democratic base is unifying more around Sestak. In August there was a considerable party unity gap in this race with Toomey winning 74% of Republicans while Sestak was getting only 64% of Democrats. Toomey is still benefiting from greater unity with his party's voters, getting 82% of Republicans, but Sestak is up to 77% of Democrats. While it persists that unity gap is half the size of what it was in August.

Interesting.  Pennsylvania could really be a battleground this year and this data can only help Dan Onorato. 

I'm mulling over the conclusions in my personal experiences.  My enthusiasm gap feels a little less rigid, but I'll admit that the "bash 'em over the head for turning traitor" approach is leaving a sour taste in my mouth.  I'm tired of people with privileges I don't have lecturing me about getting on board. 

The LGBT community is certainly rallying around Sestak from what I've seen in local social media.  It will be interesting to see how this plays our over the next few weeks. 

sdf

 

View Article  WHAT TO SAY WHEN THEY START QUOTING SCRIPTURE?

Received this via email tonight ...

If you are Christian and have struggled with friends, family, or religious enthusiasts that quote scripture to disprove or reject your sexuality,  you are invited to participate in this enlightening 8 week course at First United Methodist Church. We have been adamantly open to the gay community for decades. You are more than welcome. 

WHAT TO SAY WHEN THEY START QUOTING SCRIPTURE?

CLAIMING THE PROMISE, an eight week Bible study

First United Methodist Church of Pittsburgh
Sundays, October 24 through December 19, 9:30-10:45am

 

First United Methodist Church of Pittsburgh invites you to an eight week Bible study exploring same gender love in relationship to Christian scripture.  The course is open to all  who are  looking for words to respond to the seven familiar biblical texts or are struggling with what they have heard others say compared to what they know in their hearts.

 

 Beginning Sunday, October 24 and ending December 19 (8 Weeks), Jeff Miller, Austin Hornyak, and Bob Wilson will facilitate a Sunday School Class (9:30-10:45).  This class is appropriate for teens through seniors; for persons who have given significant consideration to this concern and for those who are just beginning to reflect on them.

 

This study will help you

?         Identify assumptions about biblical authority and how to engage in biblical interpretation

?         Examine alternate understanding of biblical references that people sometimes apply negatively

?         Explore the place of those biblical references within a comprehensive understanding of the

           Bible's liberating message of justice-love and freedom in Christ.

?        Claim the promise of being God's heirs apparent by as welcoming, reconciling disciples of Christ.

 

If you have questions, please feel free to contact   Robert Wilson, Pastor, First United Methodist Church  at 412-681-4222  or  a49always@ alum.bu.edu

First United Methodist Church is located at the corners of Baum Blvd. and Centre, Liberty, and Aiken Avenues between Shadyside, Bloomfield, and Friendship (next to the all night Wendy?s)   412-681-4222. wwwFirstUMCPittsburgh.org  

View Article  National Coming Out Day

It is October 11, 2010.

How are you acknowledging or honoring this event?

I'm going to come out to someone.  Not sure whom that will be.  Social media won't count.

Stay tuned ...

View Article  LGBT Sestak Rally

 Joe Sestak needs every one of his LGBT allies to stand with the campaign next Friday, October 8, to show the public what is really at stake.  We will be gathering at 11am in the courtyard of the County Courthouse, 414 Grant St., to deliver a press statement on behalf of the Congressman.  Representative Dan Frankel and Councilman Bruce Kraus will be on hand to speak for the campaign.

Believe it or not, we have less than five weeks until we decide who our next U.S. Senator will be.  The stakes are high; but, I am sure, that with your help, Pennsylvania will make the right decision.  The key word being help.  Now is the time for members of the LGBT community to get off the sidelines and get into the game.  We all know that progress doesn?t just happen; we have to fight for it.  

Joe has co-sponsored a number of bills directly affecting our community that include, but are not limited to, the following:
    
    *Respect for Marriage Act to repeal DOMA
    *Military Readiness Enhancement Act to end Don?t Ask, Don?t Tell
    *Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act
    *Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA)
    *Family Medical Leave Act

With Pat Toomey as the next Senator, the LGBT community will not only fail to gain an ally, we will be up against strong opposition.  Just look at his record.  In 2004, Pat Toomey supported a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as being between a man and woman.  If that isn?t bad enought, Pat Toomey voted to prohibit health benefits for domestic partners and ban adoptions by LGBT couples.  He also failed to support every piece of legislation the Congressman sponsored above, and more.  

*With less than five weeks to go, it is also imperative to bring the necessary attention to our cause.  One of the most effective ways of doing this is to get out as many letters to the editor as possible.  Joe needs every one of his LGBT supporters to send in at least one Letter to the Editor to your local newspapers every week:  http://joesestak.ning.com/page/letter-to-the-editor.  Don't forget to send me a copy as well!
*Help organize friends and colleagues to join us in the final weekend before Election Day on November 2nd to knock on doors, make phone calls, and ensure people are getting to the polls.
View Article  Trib Letter to the Editor

It has been awhile.  Thankfully, Kris Saunders of Squirrel Hill has brought back the homobigot rant to the editorial page of the Tribune Review.  Kris is of the mindset that the pedophilia scandal in the Catholic Church is a result of rampant tolerance of homosexuality.

But it is odd that the Trib, which has called for a societal endorsement of the homosexual lifestyle by granting same-sex couples the "right" to get married, would attack the church on the basis of the notorious priest sex abuse scandal, in which the homosexual lifestyle played such a major role.

That scandal only proves, once again, that too many Catholics aren't faithful to the teachings of the church and the example of the saints. Indeed, if more bishops had followed the example of Cardinal Peter Damian, a canonized saint and doctor of the church who had zero tolerance for homosexual behavior among the clergy, there would never have been such a scandal -- while the Trib, I suppose, would consider this saint a homophobic "bigot."

Now I'm not quite sure I understand.  Is Kris arguing that the Trib is being inconsistent by lifting up homosexuality, but failing to demonize the homosexuals for destroying the Catholic Church?

Let's take a gander at Cardinal Peter Damian ... from the lovely Wikipedia ... I learned that this is the guy who invented flagellation.

A zealot for monastic and clerical reform, he introduced a more severe discipline, including the practice of flagellation ("the disciplina"), into the house, which, under his rule, quickly attained celebrity, and became a model for other foundations, even the great abbey of Monte Cassino: subject-hermitages were founded at San Severino, Gamogna, Acerreta, Murciana, San Salvatore, Sitria and Ocri. There was much opposition outside his own circle to such extreme forms of penitence, but Peter's persistent advocacy ensured its acceptance, to such an extent that he was obliged later to moderate the imprudent zeal of some of his own hermits.

There's more ... namely The Book of Gomorrah: An Eleventh Century Treatise Against Clerical Homosexual Practices

Clearly, Peter had issues with homosexuality.  What gets lost in Kris' letter is the fact that Peter also had issues with the abuse of power by those in authority.  Would his censure of pedophiles who are homosexual end there or would he have the perception to see the deep corruption that covered up these sins and literally led lambs to the slaughter by refusing to exercise authority in the best interests of children, not the Church?

Who knows?  But it certainly is interesting reading and, as always, I appreciate a good letter to the editor! 

sdf

 

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View Article  Star Struck?

This morning, Ledcat and I toddled down to Millvale to try out their incarnation of Pamela's Diner.  I expected to be thrilled and amazed by yummy strawberry pancakes, but turns out it took a chair to slay me.

Michelle Obama's chair.

Well, she doesn't *own* the chair.  She sat in it. When she stopped by Pamela's during the G-20 (I'm ducking so don't hurl anything at the computer).

 

 

We were both a little giddy that we were seated at Michelle Obama's table and got in each other's way vying to get the perfect Facebook photo op.  Our server patiently waited for us and confirmed that pretty much everyone does the same thing.

Then I was like "hold up, Sue." Well, I didn't actually say that so much as "May I have coffee and ice water, please?" as I settled into the chair NEXT to Michelle Obama's chair.  But it was swirling around in the pre-caffeinated brain of mine somewhere.  (Word: Ledcat beat me with the photo-to-Facebook thing).

It dawned on me that I was pretty giddy about a chair even as I feel rather despondent about the Administration.  So I'm making this chair the piece de resistance in my November 2, 2010 attitude -- something sturdy upon which to cast my Democratic votes ... perhaps, the sturdiest thing the Democrats have offered this little lesbian in the past two years? 

View Article  I find myself longing for Guy Costa ...

As reported in today's Rich Lord article, the attitude of Public Works Director Robert Kaczorowski pretty much exemplifies the worst type of entitlement so many public <ahem> servants exhibit.

The piece is on the official report on how to make things better if we have another snowmageddon.  Mr. Kaczorowski didn't even read it, but is quick to dismiss the findings. 

Mr. Kaczorowski said the city has purchased new trucks as part of its ongoing fleet build-up. If the city decides to spend proceeds from a proposed parking garage and meter lease on capital needs, he may buy more, he said.

He rejected any suggestion that the February storm revealed departmental inadequacies.

"There was a noisy minority" of complainers, he said, "and a quiet majority that knew the magnitude of the historical event we were up against and appreciated our efforts."

In February, he said, "We saw our shortcomings, and we're correcting them."

The storm cost the city $3.64 million, of which just one-third was reimbursable by state and federal governments. Curtis L. Mitchell, of Hazelwood, died waiting for an ambulance during the storm, and the city's response to 911 calls from him and his girlfriend is the subject of a negligence lawsuit filed Thursday in Common Pleas Court.

I wonder if he thinks the repeated calls to 911 from an African-American household count as a noisy minority?  Is he being flip in the face of someone's death or just flip in the face of criticism period?  Criticism from a <gasp> woman!?!

What a sad reflection on the lack of professionalism and maturity among the Ravenstahl Administration leaders.  It is embarrassing that this sort of childish tantrum doesn't get filtered through a spokesperson. 

Read the article.  Good stuff and plenty of positives about the hard-working women and men of DPW who helped us weather the storm.  The problem seems to be the attitude and forethought on the Administrative level, not the efforts of those in the trenches. 

I'll be honest though.  If they banned parking on my street, I'd probably ignore it.  Where do they expect us to park?  That's the piece I need to know.  Where can I park? 

sdf

View Article  Women and Girls' Foundation lauds Pgh Women in Media

Congratulations to the honorees in the upcoming "Women in Media" celebration sponsored by the Women and Girls' Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania.  The celebration is set for Saturday, November 6 at the August Wilson Center and promises to have some social media twists, including lots of live tweeting (!) and a slideshow of local women's blogging excerpts. 

Special Award of Distinction

 

Virginia Montanez

Honorees

Cynthia Closkey
President, Big Big Design, Co-Founder, PodCamp Pittsburgh
Developer, iTwixie.com

Elaine Effort
Radio Newscaster, KQV Radio

Vanessa German
Multimedia artist, writer, sculptor, performer, and photographer

Sally Kalson
Columnist, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Lauren Lawley Head
Editor, Pittsburgh Business Times

Beverly Morrow-Jones
Executive Director of Marketing, VisitPittsburgh

Debbie Norrell
Lifestyles Columnist, New Pittsburgh Courier

Mary Robb Jackson
News Anchor, KDKA-TV

Cindy Skrzycki
Journalism Professor, University of Pittsburgh

Heather Starr -Fiedler
Creator, PIttsburghMom.com
New Media Professor, Point Park University

Heide Waldbaum
Technical Production Manager for the film Avatar
Visiting Professor, Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute

Shaina Wallace
Hip Hop Artist
High School student, Westinghouse High School

Carolyn Wean
Retired Media Executive

Rosemary Welsch
Radio DJ, 91.3 WYEP

Congrats!

sdf

 

View Article  PA Rep Tim Solobay - defends himself from Harrisburg "trash"

I was pleased that Representative Tim Solobay used quick thinking to defend himself in an attempted mugging in Harrisburg.  I'm glad some of the suspects are in custody and no one was injured.  It is a good story of an individual using the resources at hand to get help.  Being a former athlete didn't hurt.

But the last lines in the Wednesday late edition version of events took me aback.

   Though the experience was frightening, Mr. Solobay said it had a positive side.

"At least we got some of the trash off the streets of Harrisburg," he said.

We are talking about 4 teenagers.  Yes, they committed a crime and one pointed a weapon at Solobay.  He's understandably angry and shaken, but ... referring to youth as trash?  That reads like a soundbyte for reelection, not a thoughtful commentary on community safety in Harrisburg. 
 
I guess I expect a more nuanced response. 
 
Perhaps I would read this differently if I were the victim of a similar crime.  But it doesn't sit well with me.  It sounds like more state $$ for prisons and less for prevention. 
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