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View Article  Tony Norman: Bilinguals scarier than bisexuality?

Today our good friend Tony Norman takes the House GOP to task for "knuckle-dragging" on the renewal of the Voting Rights Act.

The House Republicans currently rebelling against President Bush and Speaker Dennis Hastert over the practicality of renewing the Voting Rights Act believe there's plenty of electoral advantage in embracing the politics of exclusion.


These days, the object of their pitiless gaze has shifted from blacks to "non-English speaking immigrants" who have the temerity to say "I'm an American. I want to vote, too."

The icy fear among Dixiecrat-style Republicans like Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa and House members from other regions who have joined the cause, is that local and state governments will be forced to print bilingual ballots, provide interpreters at the polls and ensure access to the democratic process if the Voting Rights Act is renewed.

Not bilingualism!  Haven't we had passified minority groups enough by withdrawing the tanks from the front of the public schools? 

Who best exemplifies this latest brand of divisive hate?  Our guy Ricky Sanctimonious:

Santorum turned up at Geno's Steaks in South Philly earlier this week to support Joey Vento, the beleaguered 66-year-old shop owner who was recently ordered by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission to take down signs that read "This Is America When Ordering, 'Speak English.' "

Last night, Santorum apologist John Braybender stopped in to spin a bit on KDKA's The Flipside with John McIntire.   It made me want to throw up.  McIntire seemed to be just politely allowing him to spin his little heart out while trying not to laugh at the inane stupidity flowing from his mouth.  The guy actually defended the cheesesteak-bigot by saying that there is a difference between legal and illegal immigrants and we cannot treat them the same.  Huh? 

And Santorum doesn't believe in polls so it doesn't matter what they say.  He does believe in WMD.  Ah the power of reckless disregard for reality.  Its served him well thus far, so maybe he's onto something ... I'm sure Pat Buchanan can find him a nice job after November.

Santorum's latest bull has caused one of the Political Junkies to endorse Casey in her own unique style.  And she despises Casey.  That's big.  Good job Ricky!

View Article  Pittsburgh - Let's Queer Up PUMP's 40 Under 40
Reminder that the deadline for submitting nominations is July 1, 2006. 
It is that time of the year again when the Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project (PUMP) accepts nominations for Pittsburgh's "40 Under 40" which honors 40 young leaders for their commitment to shaping our region.

In years past, there have been some gay nominees including folks from the Gay & Lesbian Community Center and GLENDA among others as well as some fabulous gay friendly nominees. 

Last year, however, there were no eye catching queers on the list.  I ran the list past several local queers who didn't recognize a single name.  Maybe we are out of touch?  (Not at all suggesting this was intentional -- I suspect there just weren't enough gay nominations flooding the PUMP offices).

Now I know there are some FAB-U-LOUS homosexuals here in Pittsburgh doing all sorts of great things  .... in the arts, business, non-profit sector, sports, and so forth.

This is an opportunity to put a gay face on what's happening here in Pittsburgh.  We *are* making the community better for everyone, gay and straight alike.  So grab your pen and nominate your favorite queer under 40 (yes, you can nominate yourself).  Let's make sure PUMP knows all about the great accomplishments the young LGBT adults are, well, accomplishing here in Pittsburgh.   

Why should we let the heteros get all the fun?  Plus, there's a photo shoot in Pittsburgh Magazine (I wore my LGBT for Kerry button) as well as a swanky party.  That's a cool kind of advocacy.

In all seriousness, this is a good opportunity to put a positive face on our community.  

View Article  Pgh Homos Should Thank Our Senators for Voting to Only Discriminate a Little Bit?

I know I'm beating a lonely drum on this.  I have been informed that the Pittsburgh Democratic Senators voted in favor of the marriage protection amendment.  I've also been informed that I'm being a bit of whiny bitch for not congratulating them like the mainstream LGBT political groups are doing. 

I get that the groups have to play politics.  But last time I checked, I'm allowed to have my own opinions.  And I opine these are yet another bunch of spineless Democrats who want to have their cake and eat it, too. Its sheer genius really - a vote in favor of the watered down amendment keeps the homos all happy while giving them the ability to say that they voted to uphold traditional marriage. 

It is a political solution designed to keep their social moderate voters happy and keep them in office.  Keeping the constitution of Pennsylvania free from discrimination is ancillary to the overall plan. 

And when I disagree, object, complain, speak out, speak up or speak my mind (NOT A MIND!), I get the brush off b/c I'm not a good little girl who plays nice with the boys. 

Honey, if I wanted to play nice with the boys, I wouldn't need to worry about the definition of marriage. 

So we narrowly avoid the amendment (hopefully).   Now we'll continue to avoid naming the propensity of Pennsylvania Democrats to treat my life, my relationship and my civil rights as political trading cards.

Roll call should be out tomorrow.

View Article  Sarah McLachlan's Coolness Keeps Growing -- Watch Out Bono

h/t Fact-esque

Sarah MacLachlan gave away the $150,000 production video for her new video for the single "World on Fire" and made a video for $15.00.  The video shows the many cool things she was able to do with the money to help people living in poverty.  And its uplifting, not preachy.  Just setting a good example ...

The world's on fire and
It's more than I can handle
I'll tap into the water
(Try and bring my share)
I try to bring more
More than I can handle
(Bring it to the table)
Bring what I am able

The more we take, the less we become
A fortune of one that means less for some



View Article  Humor Luminaries Perform for Alleg Co Young Dems: A Chick, A Yapper and That Old Guy

Last night, Ledcat and I picked up a Political Junkie and headed down to the Funny Bone for some good ole fashioned political humor at a fundraiser for the Allegheny County Young Democrats.  Now we should be honest -- we went to see the comedians.  The YDAC aren't a very impressive lot from the get go --- check out their "latest issues" webpage for a classic example of what I mean.  And it was somewhat obvious after about oh ten minutes that they come across as the stuffy non-progressive quasi-Republican Democrats. You know what I mean--- white affluent people dressed in power clothes who don't laugh at abortion jokes. 

But I still gave them a donation b/c maybe just maybe they don't hate homos.  Whatever.

Anyway, the talent is why we went and talent is what we got.  Our good friend and staunch supporter John McIntire was there and in really good form -- he was very funny last night.  I think it was that he went beyond political commentary (at which he excels) and did some self-deprecating stuff that came off really well.  And that man can do some wicked ass funny impressions.  Granted we are completely biased on the issue but I the laughter of the other 26 people seemed genuine. (Yes 26 people turned out --- how's that for a base?)

Gene Collier of the Post-Gazette was there.  First time we've seen him and we found him funny as well in a more droll, observational way.  Maybe its because we aren't such Young Democrats and caught most of his cultural references?  Who knows.  I'd go see him again.

And, the true delight of the evening .... comedian Gab Bonesso.   All we've been hearing from McIntire of late has been "Gab this, Gab that, Gab is funny" blah blah blah.  So our expectations were super-high and she did not disappoint.   She is this wicked smart, razor sharp woman who had us in tears about marijuana and babysitting.  Yes, she is the one who told the abortion jokes which went over very well with the Correspondents but not so much the Young Republicans, er Democrats.  They did go over with the older hippie retreads in the crowd come to think of it.  Go to her website and catch her upcoming performances. 

Overall big fun.  Plus, we got to sit with City Councilman Bill Peduto.  I'm just enough of a geek to think that is really cool and be nervous about what to say to him.   After all he is THE progressive man.  And I don't want to look like some fawning sycophant.  Which I totally did, but I'm sure he's used to it. 

And I discovered that some of the people there are reading my blog.  Which made my night.  And mitigated the fact that it cost me $14.00 damn dollars for two pepsis.  No more Funnybone for us.  We'll stick with the Square Cafe.

View Article  PA Senate Approves Amended Marriage Protection Amendment

The Senate stripped the language prohibiting civil unions and passed the legislation 38-12. Now the amended amendment heads back to the House for approval. 

The wingnuts are up in arms about the changes, believing that permitting civil unions is marriage by another name which discredits the entire attempt to preserve the sanctity of marriage from homosexual assault (PG). 

Michael Geer, president of the Pennsylvania Family Institute, said the "weaker" language of the Senate bill "won't give Pennsylvanians an opportunity to effectively defend the institution of marriage."

He claimed that civil unions "are marriages, for all intents and purposes," more often used by same-sex couples, and said both civil unions and gay marriages should be outlawed.

So some folks voted against it b/c it was too weak, while others voted against it b/c it was discrimination.

This is a good thing, don't get me wrong. I know the odds are very much against the two chambers passing the same bill by next Friday.  Which is a win for our side

But the issue still remains that some Democrats voted FOR the amendment in the first place.  Which demonstrates that there are too many spineless legislators who would sell us out -- sell our families out --- sell our civil rights out --- to pander to the right wing nutjobs.   

Still looking for roll call to identify said spineless cowards ... will post as soon as I find it.

View Article  You Go Girls! Pittsburgh's Own Girlcott Girls Named to "Real Hot 100" list

Kudos to those rockin' young women who in partnership with the Women and Girls Foundation launched the Girlcott against Abercrombie & Fitch.  In acknowledgement of their excellent work, they were named among the 100 Real Hot Women.

This week's 2006 REAL hotties fought Abercrombie & Fitch -- and won! Because of their REALLY hot Girlcott, A&F pulled demeaning t-shirts from their shelves. How hot is that?

So what's all the fuss about?  Read on

We?re tired of the media telling young women how to be "hot"! Maxim Magazine?s annual "Hot 100" list exemplifies how young women are viewed in popular culture.  The women featured in this leading men?s magazine are chosen solely for their appearance.

The REAL hot 100 shows that young women are "hot" for reasons beyond their ability to look cute in a magazine.

REALLY hot women are smart. REALLY hot women work for change. REALLY hot women aren?t afraid to speak their minds. And while some REALLY hot women might look awesome in a bikini, they know that?s not all they have to offer.

Who are the REAL hot 100?
The REAL hot 100 is a list featuring young women from around the country who are breaking barriers, fighting stereotypes, and making a difference in their communities or the nation.

This project will not only combat the popular notion that all young women have to offer is their ability to appeal to men, but it will also highlight the important -- but often overlooked -- work young women are doing.

Congratulations girls!  You make Pittsburgh proud.

View Article  Can Pittsburgh Queers Cross the Bridge? Good Stuff On Gay Activism

This is popping up all over the gay blogosphere.  Its a reflection on the state of gay activism.  Very interesting.

Activism, people power, hunger strikes. angry demonstrations, sit ins; they work.

Part One:  AIDS and the rise of partyism

Part Two:  The Perils of Complacency

Part Three:  You Can Make a Difference

I like the recommendations (paraphrasing):

    * Speak up and speak out

    * Donate to advocacy groups (the other side coughs up the cash)

    * Stay connected - via email lists, websites, etc. Stay informed.

    * Support LGBTQ owned and friendly businesses

Ledcat and I talk about this all the time.  Our community is horribly apathetic, especially here in Pittsburgh where we struggle against the parochial "I can't cross the river" genes from birth.  She focuses on how to mobilize these homos into action to demand the respect of the powers that be.  I'm a bit more on the side right now that we should be getting some respect from the party (and local LGBTQ leaders) if we want to galvanize the queers.  But it is pretty much the same side of the coin. 

Nothing makes me so crazy as a homo who claims s/he is not political. 

View Article  Former Iraq Hostage's Kids Camp Closed By Catholics b/c He's Gay

You remember James Loney.  He was a Christian aid worker who was held hostage in Iraq by insurgents and freed by Coalition forces.  He is from Canada.  And he's gay.  A fact his family and partner kept quiet for fear for his safety while imprisoned. 

So he's freed by the troops and returned to Canada where his partner can end what could only be hellacious agony born in solitude without the "comfort" other spouses can seek from public support. 

And he finds that his summer camp program has been de-funded by the Canadian Knights of Columbus b/c the curriculum might promote homosexuality to kids according to Loney.

The good Knights deny this was their agenda.  

In an interview with the Toronto Star KC official Jack Clancey said Loney's allegations were "out of left field."

"We closed down that leadership camp because we needed to review the way we were going and the curriculum that we were teaching," Clancey told the Star

But of course.  The timing, and the fact that the Knights support anti-gay marriage amendments EVERYWHERE has nothing to do with it.  Its just business. 

Just Catholic bigotry as usual.

However, some in the LGBTQ community aren't that thrilled with Loney.  Particularly as he was engaged in "missionary" work in the first place.  From the UK-Ireland edition of gay.com comes this perspective:

While Loney has obviously suffered trauma at the hands of his kidnappers, it's not hard to question his presence in Iraq, preaching Christianity on behalf of an unashamedly homophobic organization.

Aside from putting his own life at risk, Loney undoubtedly endangered the lives of beleaguered US soldiers, already overworked with insurgencies and bomb threats.

It?s also highly unlikely that war-torn Iraqi citizens are in need of God-bothering missionaries attempting to convert them as gore and missiles rain from the sky.

Loney seems to have learned little form the experience as he?s considering the possibility of joining a Christian Peacemakers Team project in Colombia or the Palestinian territory next year.

He acknowledged his experience in Iraq could make it a lot more difficult, but seems oblivious to the inherent selfishness of such an act.

View Article  Pittsburgh Catholic Nun Tells Post-Gazette Readers To Value All Families

Big shout out to Sister Patricia McCann of Oakland who outed her Roman Catholic self as a believer that:

Building family depends on good, loving, generous, mature, self-giving and stable adults who are able and willing to parent. God makes those in a variety of patterns.

Amen, Sister Patricia.  You tell those who are glued to their pulpits in righteous indignation that they should get out in the world and actualy work with families before them jump to their hateful little conclusions. 

The well-being of children and young people is threatened by a family context of violence and dissension, by parental alcohol and drug abuse, by narcissistic behavior in adults, by parental neglect or lack of interest in their activities. I've seen young people, both rich and poor, raised by loving and devoted parents, grandparents, stepparents, foster parents, gay parents, single parents and adoptive parents who thrive and grow into mature adulthood because of loving and stable homes. And I've seen youths raised by adults who, through their own limitations, handicap children psychologically and morally for life.

Another PG luminary, columnist Reg Henry weigh in with his thoughts on how fortunate Pennsylvanias are that legislators are tackling real issues like gay marriage.

But how exactly will gays threaten traditional marriage? That is a good question, but only in the sense that no one has a good answer.

In ignoring the question, we need to heed our most prominent moral leaders, i.e., our politicians. Just because they are shifty characters you wouldn't lend a dollar to unless it was attached to a string, doesn't mean they can't thunder like Old Testament prophets.

Now that's deserves another cup of coffee ...

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