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View Article  Tony Norman on The Tragedy of King Richard the Cheney

I won't waste words telling you how much I enjoyed this column.  I'll just give you a teaser and link you on your way...

Cheney: I will not sup tonight.
Give me some ink and paper, maybe some buckshot while you're at it.
Are all my guns laid out?

Gates: They are my liege; and all things are in readiness.

Cheney: Good, Duke of Defense, hie thee to thy charge; use careful watch; choose trusty sentinels. Watch out for The New York Times.

Gates: I go, my lord.

Bush: Now wait a darn minute. He's not your lord. I am. I'm the Decider. I can read your mail if I want to.

[Vice King Cheney rolls his eyes.]

View Article  Good Workplace News for Pgh Homos

Good news for members of the LGBTQ community working for a handful of our local employers. From the Post-Gazette ...

Mellon Financial Corp., US Airways and GlaxoSmithKline were among 142 companies ranked as the Best Places to Work for Gay, Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Workers. The Human Rights Campaign Foundation's 2007 rankings include companies that implement policies and practices to promote fairness and equality for GLBT workers, the foundation said.

Mellon Financial was featured in a Post-Gazette article for supporting employee driven affinity networks

The HRC Best Places to Work 2007 identifies over 140 companies that achieved a perfect score on equality issues.

Individuals can be fired in 33 states if they are gay, lesbian, or bisexual, and 42 states if they are transgender. HRC recognizes these Best Places to Work for GLBT Equality as companies that have made a commitment to end discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace.

The index only considers Fortune 500 companies and excludes governments, non-profits and hospitals (that's a shame). Criteria include:

* Including sexual orientation and gender identity and expression in company non-discrimination policies.

* Offering diversity education that includes sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.

* Offering equal benefits to domestic partners, including health coverage

* Supporting transgender employees with transition guidelines and wellness benefits.

*Recognizing and supporting GLBT employee resource groups or company wide diversity councils

* Engaging in respectful and appropriate marketing/philanthropy to the LGBT community

Some other companies of interest on the ranking (at least my interest):

- GAP , Nike and Levi Strauss

- Clear Channel Communications

- Best Buy

- Sears

 

 

View Article  Councilwoman Darlene Harris' Credibility Goes Up In Smoke

In another stunning effort to spin negative publicity, City Councilwoman Darlene Harris claims that she did not order a smoke eater machine to de-stuffify her office.  Ms. Harris simply wanted some box fans and now she is outraged, outraged I tell you, that someone mistakenly spent $1200 on the smoke eater.

"I wanted a little square box" with a ventilation fan, she said. Gesturing at the 2-foot-by-4-foot Trion Eliminator Series SE 800E mounted in the ceiling above her desk, she said, "When I came in and saw that thing, I couldn't believe it."

Harris, along with Student Body President Doug Shields, was featured in a recent Post-Gazette article about illicit smoking in the City-County Building.  Both admitted that they smoke in spite of a smoke prohibition rule going back before our new county-wide ban.  Neither seemed the least bit penitent which doesn't bode well for them to follow the new law. 

To summarize thus far, Harris has completely missed the point that this is about SMOKING not a smoke eating machine.  Her umbrage is matched only by her ridiculousness.  Not only is she refusing to take responsibility for breaking the law, but she's now pointing fingers at her political enemies whoever they may be:

She said she has asked Public Works Director Guy Costa why the device was ordered and installed when she only wanted a ceiling fan.

"I'm still trying to find that out, and I don't know if I ever will," she said. "I'd like to know, is this politics, or what?"

Yes, Darlene, it is politics at its most sad when an elected city leader openly violates the law because she's too lazy/proud/arrogant to go outside like the rest of the city employees.  It is politics at its lowest when an elected city leader shifts responsibility for her own stupid choices onto the shoulders of said city employees.  Public Works gets enough guff without having to ante up for your mistakes.

It is politics at its most disgusting when an elected city leader assumes we are foolish enough to be distracted from her illegal activities by other issues.

Ms. Harris said she has occasionally smoked in the office on nights when she was working late. She said she's been working hard to get more plainclothes police in North Side neighborhoods, catalog abandoned houses, identify drug and prostitution hot spots and write legislation to govern absentee landlords.

Let me get this straight --- according to her logic, if we want a more lawful community, she's going to have to break a few laws.  If we want healthier communities for our families and children, she's going to have to compromise the health of her staffers and others who visit the building.  If we want absentee landlords to take responsibility for their property, she's going to need the freedom to place responsibility on others.

She should have left well enough alone after the last article.  Doug Shields came off like a giggling schoolboy with a big man-crush on Luke, but that's nothing to the political harridan that is Darlene Harris.

View Article  Presbyterian Bashing? PG Reader Defends Church From Homo Lovers

James M. Edwards of Squirrel Hill is not happy with Carol Mullen of Edgewood.  So very not happy that he took the time out of his busy schedule of sanctimonious self-congratulations to pen a little missive to the Post-Gazette.  Edwards took umbrage with a letter Mullen had published on December 26 offering her insight into the tragic suicide of local Presbyterian pastor, Brent Dugan. 

Mullen had the audacity to suggest that perhaps KDKA was not solely responsible for this tragedy and that perhaps Reverend Dugan's inner turmoil over his homosexuality could be traced to the Presbyterian Church's anti-gay stance. 

The Presbytery's long history of supporting the Presbyterian Church (USA) ban on the ordination of sexually active gay people certainly could not have helped the Rev. Dugan as he struggled along on his faith journey. By forcing him to feel "less than" his heterosexual peers, it seems that the Pittsburgh Presbytery was very clear in the message of condemnation and exclusion.

Point well taken, I thought as I sipped my coffee and read her letter.  KDKA made a colossally stupid decision to spin this tragic little story of Reverend Dugan's sexual turmoil as a ratings grabbing expose.  But its shortsighted to ignore the reasons Reverend Dugan may have sought solace in an adult bookstore or an illicit relationship rather than feeling free to live an open, authentic life as a homosexual man and a pastor. 

Edwards, apparently, is just the man for the task.  He thinks Dugan had made his own bed by hooking up with an anti-gay church.

The church tenet is and always has been not to permit this -- the Rev. Dugan has to have known that, and was working within the sanction. What precipitated his suicide was KDKA -- that was the new pressure in his life and correlates directly with his suicide. The Presbytery was continuing what always has been.

Does he seriously think Dugan was just happily rolling along as a closeted homosexual?  That the anti-gay hostility emanating from church leadership (and the pews) was not a "pressure" for Reverend Dugan?  Can Edwards really be that simple-minded?  Or just that hateful?  Ah ....

To try to shift blame to the Presbytery is an act of malformed logic equal to that which tries to rationalize homosexual ordainment and homosexual marriage -- they are pure acts of politics to advance an agenda -- not welcome or helpful in a religious denomination.

Legislation has not brought Ms. Mullen the change she wants; court proceedings now haven't either. She descends to using a man and his family's personal tragedy to hurl an indictment in the wrong direction. Ms. Mullen: Please desist on Presbytery bashing.

Well, I guess the gloves are off, you sanctimonious prick.  What's not welcome or helpful in a religious denomination is intolerance, ignorance and hate.  Unfortunately, you seem to have the upper hand in some denominations, but there are puh-lenty of Christian communities where my people are welcomed and affirmed, even ordained. 

If you don't want us in your church, fine.  But you don't get to hang your sanctimonious wreath on Brent Dugan's grave and point fingers at KDKA. 

But the really sad thing is that while Ms. Mullen tried to elevate one man's suffering and personal tragedy to call us all to accountability, Edwards continues to diminish Reverend Dugan's full personhood by denying the pressures of living a closeted life in the Presbyterian Church.

View Article  West VA Sheriff Refused CPR, Gay Man Dies, Civil Rights Case Moves Forward

Back in March, we reported on the West Virigina Sheriff who denied CPR to a dying gay man under the pretext that the man was HIV+.  The man, Claude Greene, died later that evening at a local hospital.  Greene's friend was present at the scene but was physically prevented from performing CPR by Robert K. Bowman, Sheriff of Welch, West Virginia.  Greene's mother filed a federal lawsuit claiming her son's civil rights had been violated along with a myriad of other chages, including a violation under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In late December, the federal court ruled that the case could move forward:

Significant issues remain to be sorted out in this litigation, but at this initial stage, Faber's ruling permits the case to go forward on the basis that the estate may have a valid federal civil rights claim against the city and Bowman for the way in which Green was treated on the day of his fatal heart attack.

It is a complicated situation and far more legalistic than I can pretend to understand.  Bowman's folks claimed that since Greene was dead, there was no reason for a civil rights case. Bowman's folks also seem to claim that he prevented bystanders from performing CPR out of concerns about HIV transmission.  The federal judge noted that there is no record that performing CPR on an HIV+ person would present a transmission risk. 

The bastard was willing to let the wrongful death move forward.   Fortunately, the judge cleared the way for the whole kit and kaboodle.

Did I mention that Greene was not HIV+?  Nope, he was just gay. And, thankfully, the idiot responsible for his death could pay the price for his bigotry and hate. 

Sadly, Claude Greene has already paid the ultimate price for it.

View Article  Why Pittsburgh Libraries Rock er, Tango ?

The Post-Gazette's Big Kahuna himself , David Shribman, dedicated his weekly column to a subject near and dear to our hearts - public libraries.  It seems some libraries are contemplating replacing underutilized classics with modern hot properties to conserve shelf space.  Ick!  Shribman correctly points out the damage this move can cause:

Some of the slow-moving books in the Fairfax library system remain of incalculable value to humankind and remain the foundation stones of our civilization.

The fact that  no one has recently checked them out does mean no one should be able to do so. 

I am a huge fan of the Carnegie Library.  I visit my little branch in Woods Run (Brighton Heights) on a weekly basis.  Thanks to the power of the network, I have access to a million titles without having to head into Oakland (another mighty fine but hard to access library).  Right now my library tote bag contains a coffee table book written by U2, a few paperback mysteries, several movies (including Akeelah and the Bee), a novel by Margaret Atwood, and a book on contemporary etiquette dilemnas by Emily Posts's granddaughter.  I pick stuff up like the last item when I browse around the new releases tables -- things I would never buy, but might like to read.  Last week, I checked out the book on children's etiquette written by Whoopi Goldberg just because I wanted to see what it was like.

What I haven't been is attentive to are the classics I'm always claiming to want to read.  While I doubt my modern tastes have been making a serious dent in the library circulation, Shribman's point is well-made.  I last read Aristotle, Plato and Tolstoy in graduate school; Alice Walker, Thoreau and Willa Cather were even further back in my academic history.  Perhaps its time to dust off my acquaintance with the books that made me think beyond the limits of my own experiences.  What a lofty pledge! 

Another excellent thing about the Carnegie Library - they provide us access to books that others might not want us to read.  We have a great little book on our coffee table (under the 8 zillion magazines) title "And Tango Makes Three" that tells the true tale of two gay male penguins who are raising their own chick.  It was a source of contention in school libraries that quivered at the hands of the mighty right wingnuts and their gay hostility.  While school libraries debate censorship, the Carnegie Library has multiple copies at your disposal. 

View Article  A Cool School Chick - Heather Arnet Backed for School Board

Kudos to the District 2 School Board Coalition for endorsing Heather Arnet to run for the school board seat being vacated by Highland Park resident Patrick Dowd.   Arnet, also a Highland Park resident, is the Executive Director of the Women and Girls Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania

The Correspondents (and the Lesbians) are long-time fans of Arnet for her great work on behalf of women and girls throughout the region, including women and girls in the queer community.  As we are city residents, we are especially pleased that Arnet is turning her tremendous talent to the oversight of one of our most important resources - the public schools.

Go Heather!

View Article  Massachusetts Lawmakers Keep Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment Alive

Lawmakers in Massachusetts are in the midst of a Constitutional Convention and a vote today paved the way for a constitutional amendment barring gay marriage to move forward.  To make it onto the ballot, the amendment must pass in another legislative session.

You might recall the Massachusetts is the only state in which gay marriage is legal.  Existing marriages would be intact, but no further marriages recognized.  Ahem.

This has been a highly contentious issue of late with anti-marriage proponents insisting that legislative refusal to vote on the matter was undemocratic.  Even the high court weighed in on the matter, chastising lawmakers for not voting while acknowledging that there was no way to compel a vote.

Since when have "the people" been the best-suited to determine civil rights issues for minorities?  This is just bullshit back-of-the-bus politics that will decimate the existing rights of gays in Massachusetts to appease yet another interest group with more power.

The courts and the lawmakers completely wimped out on this matter.  They have made it clear that the gay community cannot simply sit around and wait for those in power to recognize and honor our rights as citizens and human beings. 

View Article  The search for weapons of heterosexual destruction -- Mary Cheney's baby garners yet another opinion piece

The PG ran an interesting commentary by Slate's William Saletan who contemplates the oft-cited but never actually proven claim that homosexuals are not fit parents.

The 30-year search for proof that gay parents are destructive looks a lot like the hunt for WMD.

Saletan uses the conception and pregnancy of Mary Cheney to illustrate his point that there's simply no proof that gays make bad parents.  There's a lot of date however, that heterosexual men do a lot of damage to children than lesbians.  If you want to rely on averages to make parenting decisions as in who should and should not parent.

If you're going to base family policy on averages, the chief problem isn't stepparents; it's men. That's what "pro-family" groups keep covering up. According to Focus on the Family, "increased risks of physical and sexual child abuse at the hands of non-biological parents are another serious concern for same-sex families." Nope, not for lesbians. The latest study the group cites actually concludes that the "key risk factors are living with a stepfather or the mother's boyfriend." Of 55 child deaths reviewed in the study, the number caused by a stepmother or by a biological mother in a stepfamily or live-in relationship was zero.

I don't think Mary's pregnancy warrants all this attention. The fact that she is a dyke is more than mitigated by the fact that she's the daughter of an incredibly rich and powerful white man.  I'm sure she'll be able to raise a child of privilege in a manner befitting any other uptown chic.  Now what would be interesting is if Heather were to be the biological parent b/c then Mary would have no legal relationship with their child (they live in Virginia).  Regardless, Mary and Heather could spawn a dozen children between them and still have no clue of what life is like for the average homosexual parent.  And as long as they support a President who embraces the wingnuts, they deserve no kudos for gay milestones.

Back to William's piece ...

You want to protect kids? Here's my proposed constitutional amendment: "Marriage in the United States shall consist of a union involving at least one woman."

Or you could just let Mary Cheney raise her child in peace.

Amen.

View Article  Joey Porter to March at 2007 PrideFest

From the City Paper's Sports Stories that Should Have Been ...

And lastly, Steelers linebacker Joey Porter announces he will march in front of Pittsburgh's Gay Pride Parade in June 2007, although he insists on carrying a Terrible Towel in lieu of a rainbow flag. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

We don't want him.  I'd rather have one of the good guys like Troy or Charlie step out as a friend to the gay community.  We could even customize a rainbow Terrible Towel.  If I were Maria at 2pjs I could use the magic of photoshop to produce one right here.  Unfortunately, that ain't gonna happen.  Just imagine.  :-)

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