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View Article  Modern English - college favorite
View Article  I am Wolverine!

The transformation from cuddly Siamese kitty to mutant superhero begins as Coco/Wolverine subdues her foe.

Uh oh ... our mutant superhero is overcome by her foe ....

Don't let her fuzzy cuteness detract from her vicious attack of the renegade (but 100% recycled content) paper towel roll.

 

View Article  Weekend This and That

Keori has a legislative round up over at Pam's House Blend.  Great job wrapping up the national scene in terms of LGBTQ legislation.  No news in terms of Pennsylvania. 

And because it is so wonderful, GAINESVILLE VOTED DOWN A REPEAL OF ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAWS THIS WEEK!!! WOOOO!!!!

I encourage you to check it out.  There's really quite a lot going on.  The comments section is filled with even more detail.  It would be awesome if some of the local folks working on the Allegheny County Anti-Discrimination Ordinance tapped into Keori as a resource to keep some national scrutiny on their efforts.

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Persad is launching a new afterschool program for LGBT youth.  This is awesome news.

Beginning in April, Persad Center will offer after-school services to youth ages 14-18.  The after-school program will be housed at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center and will operate from 3-7 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays, expanding days as attendance increases.  Unfortunately, many GLBT youth are confronted with bullying regularly as part of their school day.  Harassment results in youth avoiding certain classes or missing school and this leads to poor school performance and can affect students? lives far beyond their school years.  Many youth struggling with their sexual or gender identity lack adult support and their isolation makes them vulnerable.

 

The After-School program will provide a safe, supervised and supportive environment for teens to interact with their peers, receive important prevention information and treatment services when needed, and get their homework done.  Persad is looking for a few teachers and educators who are willing to become volunteer tutors in the program.  For more information about the after-school program or to apply to become a volunteer, contact Melissa at 412-441-9786 x233.

This is a wonderful opportunity to make a difference and a much needed resource.  I know from personal experience that having supportive adults in your academic world can just make a world of difference. 

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The Bilerico Project, a huge national LGBTQ blog, went "dark" after being targeted by anti-progressive hackers.  Read about it here.

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View Article  Earth Hour

Bill Peduto is asking you to turn off the lights from 8:30 - 9:30 tonight to help raise awareness about environmental issues.  Can you do that?  Can I?  Ledcat is going out tonight so I am wondering if I can cheat by turning out my lights and using my laptop battery?  Does that count? 

 

View Article  Hawaiian Bill: Dead.

The Hawaiian Civil Unions bill died in committee.

DISAPPOINTMENT:  A motion to pull the Hawaii civil unions bill from the deadlocked Senate Judiciary Committee failed this afternoon 18 to 6, effectively killing the measure. The legislation passed the House of Representatives by a 33-17 vote on February 12.

Sen. Gary Hooser, who made the motion to pull the bill from committee, urged support for the bill; however, opposition by Senate President Colleen Hanabusa helped convince senators to vote against bringing the bill to the floor.

?Today?s vote is a great disappointment for loving, committed Hawaiian lesbian and gay couples,? said Family Equality Coalition Co-Chair Alan Spector. ?We share the sadness of all who hoped this vote would go differently and that the state would take a step toward equality for all Hawaiians.?

Joe Solmonese issued this statement this afternoon:

Today?s vote helps no one in the state of Hawaii. It protects no one?s marriage. It grants dignity to no couple?s relationship. It does nothing to ensure that all families receive the equal rights and responsibilities they deserve. But no one is giving up.  The Human Rights Campaign is proud to have partnered with the Family Equality Coalition on behalf of this critical legislation. It has been a long, hard struggle for couples and families in Hawaii who simply want equal rights, and this effort continues, as it does across the nation.

In an AP story, Senate Judiciary Chairman Brian Taniguchi said there?s still hope that the bill could be amended and revived, but that probably wouldn?t happen until next year.

 

You may remember an earlier story I did highlighting an offensive cartoon published in a Hawaiian newspaper owned by owners of the Pirates. 

This is one of those complicated corporation issues.  On the one hand, the Nutting family makes money selling papers that bash our community (the cartoon compared gay marriage to marrying a sheep).  On the other hand, they make money organizing a "Pride Night at PNC Park" during PrideFest. 

So complicated.  Do they want our pink dollars or do they want our pink dollars and the bigot dollars, too?  In the midst of pondering this, I received the following information about Pepsi.

Domald Wildmon's conservative homo-hatin' AFA is at it again. That dodo  is pissed at PepsiCo because the soda company gave $500,000 to PFLAG and another $500K to the Human Rights Campaign. And to add insult to injury, Dobson he got what he terms a "condescending" letter about the matter from Pepsi's director of public policy Paul Boykas. Wildmon has worked his Bible into a bunch because the organizations are using the money to:::gasp!::::

help promote homosexuality in the workplace. Pepsi refuses to give money to any pro-family organization that opposes the homosexual agenda. Plus, every homosexual organization we know of is overwhelmingly pro-abortion. 

And Wildmon reports, in bold letters signifying super outrage,:

Pepsi forces all employees to attend sexual orientation and gender identity diversity training where they are taught to accept homosexuality

Apparently, Pepsi isn't trying to have it both ways.  Pepsi.  I drink Coke so this is like a little moral quandary for me.  Hmmm.  However, we should take a moment to say "thanks" to Pepsi for being consistent.  Here's the contact information courtesy of the AFA.  Just reverse the information.

Sign the Boycott Pepsi Pledge. After signing the pledge, please call Pepsi (914-253-2000 or 1-800-433-2652) and tell the company you will boycott their products until they stop promoting the homosexual agenda.
Call the Pepsi bottler nearest you and ask the bottler to ask Pepsi to stop supporting the homosexual agenda.
Pepsi's products include Pepsi soft drinks, Frito-Lay chips (800-352-4477), Quaker Oats (800-367-6287), Tropicana (800-237-7799) and Gatorade (800-367-6287).
Print out the Boycott Pepsi Pledge and distribute.
Forward this e-mail to your friends and family so they will know about Pepsi's support of the homosexual agenda. Millions of people are not aware of Pepsi's support of homosexual organizations.

So if you are disappointed about Hawaii, you can do something.  You can call Pepsi (or Quaker Oats if you want to be healthy).  Thank them. 

Then go to PNC Park and order a Pepsi.  Does our PrideFest serve Pepsi? 

 

View Article  Tech

TFHEXRW5BUU3

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View Article  Slippery rockOUT rocks the PG Editorial Page

First, let me say that rockOUT is an awesome name for the Slippery Rock campus LGBTQ organization.  Kudos to whomever came up with that moniker.

The faculty co-advisers have an (I can't help it) awesome letter in today's Post-Gazette, supporting HB 300.  Here's a snippet:

This isn't about "pursuing a homosexual agenda" but about extending basic rights to all people in a country dedicated to equality and fairness.

We are familiar both with discrimination and with the rhetoric that describes the protection of basic rights as "special treatment." It is not special treatment to ensure that a gay man who does his job well and thoroughly be protected from being unjustly fired because his boss doesn't like "queers." Neither is it special treatment to ensure that a lesbian who is being harassed at school be guaranteed protection.

The simple (and sad) reality is that the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community continues to wake up daily in a world where hating "gays" is still somehow acceptable, where calling a boy or a man a "fag" is the worst insult imaginable and where a lesbian is gang-raped simply because she drove a car with a rainbow gay pride sticker ("4 Arrested in Lesbian Rape," Jan. 2).

Ah, the "r" word (rhetoric) once again nailed into its rightful place as inflammatory speech. 

Cindy LaCom and Sharon Sykora capture the most fundamental element driving homophobia in the United States -- men's fear of being labeled queer.  They don't have room to delve into the underlying misogyny driving that statement, but the simple truth is that there are many heterosexual men who are so threatened by any perceived challenge to their masculinity -- so insecure in their own skin and identity -- that they will use every institution at their disposal as a weapon in their defense --- church, school, government, whatever.  They simply cannot tolerate men who want to be with other men or women who do not want to be with men at all.  This insecurity drives acts of indescribable violence (the rape mentioned above) as well as the much more civil, but equally hateful discourse in the State legislature and the Presbytery meetings recently conveened to discuss homosexual issues. 

It is fear wrapped up in the cloak of hatred and while HB 300 will help to protect us from both, it is incumbent on us to be more proactive in addressing the fear itself. 

You must push for the state and the County bills.  You must not be content to simply make one call -- make multiple calls asking your friends and family to pick up the phone.  You must write other letters to the editor.  Find someone from the Mon Valley to write a letter.  Find someone from the other wavering districts.  Now is your chance. 

Cindy and Sharon sum it up nicely by endorsing HB 300 (and applauding the PG for doing so)

Things have gotten better, certainly, and continued education, advocacy and activism will bring us all closer to our country's ideal of "equality for all." In the meantime, we thank you for endorsing that ideal. We do, too.

Amen, ladies.  Thank you for writing.

 

View Article  Northside Car Wash to Benefit Doberman Rescue

My friend Debby is the founder of Damon?s Den Doberman Rescue, based in Brighton Heights.  She is a local dog trainer and a great person.  She?s holding an unusual, but cool fundraiser to help pay for the recuperation of a specific dog which was found abandoned in a foreclosed home (sigh!).  As you get ready for your spring car washing, keep this in mind.  The car wash recently changed hands so the sign just says Car Wash. 

 

> Anyone who is either local to the Bellevue/Brighton Heights/Avalon

> qarea or travels through there frequently may be interested in these.

> My friend runs the fancy car wash on Ohio River Blvd. next to Eat -n-

> Park and she has printed coupons that are good for up to a $14.00

> deluxe wash. This car wash is a hand car wash. They are great. The

> coupons are available for $12.00 and Damon's Den Doberman Rescue gets

> 1/2 the proceeds. We currently have in rescue, an 8 year old female we

> pulled from WPHS a couple of weeks ago who was abandoned in a

> foreclosed home in McDonald. A neighbor heard her and broke in and

> brought her to the WPHS. She was almost bald, she was badly in need of

> thyroid meds and good nutrition and TLC. She is doing better but we

> will need $$ to have her vetted again and make sure her meds are at

> the right dosage. If you are interested in these coupons, please email

> me at dogslife4me @ comcast.net You can see Odessa (and the other dogs we have now)

 at www.damonsden.petfinder.org Thanks in advance!

  

 I?m hoping to find a local business to help sell the tickets so Odessa can get back to full health and find a loving home. 

 

View Article  Another fine letter to the editor

Dick Marshall of Crafton writes a moving tribute to his deceased father, noting his loving acceptance and celebration of Dick's identify as a gay man.

My father died nine years ago, encouraging me until the very end of his life to be a compassionate, nonjudgmental, loving and inclusive man. He encouraged my leadership with mentally challenged children and as a facilitator with HIV and family groups affected by AIDS. He also encouraged me to stay active in my church. My father loved me unconditionally as his gay son as he loved my brother as his straight son. He would have hoped (and prayed) that Mr. Fox would one day feel similarly about his own beloved son, and I imagine that he would have wanted to quietly and firmly shake Mr. Fazzini's hand.

Mr. Fox and Mr. Fazzine testified at the recent Presbytery meeting on gay clergy.  Mr. Fox said he loved his son but deplored his identity as a gay man which he deemed sinful and unworthy of providing leadership in the church.  Mr. Fazzini also has a gay son of whom he states he is inordinatnly proud and clearly deserving of a church that affirms and celebrates him as a complete being, not in spite of his identity. 

Mr. Fox makes me appreciate my parents.  They won't join PFLAG anytime soon, but they love and accept Ledcat and me.  My parents are willing to leave their comfort zone to participate in our lives. 

Kudos to Mr. Marshall for providing yet another example of the power of the letter to the editor.  Please won't you write your own? 

View Article  Chalk up another to religious hypocrisy in Jefferson County

A United Methodist pastor has continued to minister at two Jefferson County churches even though he has been awaiting trial since August 2007 on charges that he molested two women at a mental health center.

The Rev. Michael Clair Garvey, 59, of Worthville, also faces a lawsuit filed by one of those women. He serves the Coolspring United Methodist Church in Coolspring and Ramseytown United Methodist Church, Knoxdale.

No church members are involved in the cases pending against him. He was arrested for molesting two clients and a counselor at Brookville Behavioral Health, where, according to court records, he also was a counselor until July 2007.

Ah.  So good to see the Methodist Church looking out for the vulnerable.  Ann Rodgers has the story in today's Post-Gazette

The Rev. Robert Higginbotham, assistant to Bishop Thomas Bickerton, of the United Methodist Conference of Western Pennsylvania, knew of the charges. But he said no one had complained to church officials about the Rev. Garvey and that the conference was waiting for the matter to be resolved in court.

"There is a presumption of innocence until guilt is proved," he said.

"The fact that this has gone on for a year and a half gives some indication to the seriousness of the allegations. I would think that if there was some hard evidence, this would not drag on."

So Reverend Higginbotham is a lawyer with an extensive background in judicial proceedings?  I don't think so.

Here comes the part where they disparage the alleged victims character.

"They have set court dates again and again and the folks who made the allegations never show up," the Rev. Schwab said. "We are just waiting to see if there is any truth to the allegation."

But according to the judge's summary, two accusers testified at a hearing in December 2007 and the third in January.

Apparently, the church leaders aren't even paying attention to the facts in the case.  Well done.  Good to know that the faithful little Methodist women who belong to his two churches are being looked out for with such rigor and scrutiny by their church leaders.

Garvey's lawyer plays "why did they wait so long? card.

The Rev. Garvey's attorney, Blair Hindman, said his client is innocent of the charges.

"We're dealing with two women ... who, a year and a half after these actions allegedly occur, come forward to make accusations," he said. If it was true, "you would think someone would have complained about it earlier."

Here's someone who actually thinks criminal proceedings based on sexually victimizing people under his power and influence warrants being proactive to protect others in similar vulnerability.

The appropriate church reaction would have been to immediately suspend him, and for the bishop to go to each church and ... at a bare minimum say that anyone who has any information that could prove or disprove the allegations has a moral duty to speak up," said David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, which responds to victims from all denominations.

The fact that no complaints have come from the Rev. Garvey's churches proves nothing because victims are reluctant to accuse pastors, he said.

What?  People are reluctant to accuse pastors?  Where on earth does that revelation come from?  Is there any precedent for pastors victimizing their flock?  Hmmm. 

The Methodist Church in Jefferson County sucks.  Does this disgust you?  Sick of the hypocrisy of churches blasting the LGBTQ community for being the anti-Christ while they provide cover for sexual predators? 

Bishop Bickerton  umbishop@wpaumc.org 

Reverend Higginbotham BishopAssistant@wpaumc.org 

Reverend Schwab indiana.district@wpaumc.org 

Reverend Garvey coolspring.ramsaytown.charge@gmail.com

This is just a pathetic backwater good old boys club attempt to preserve the power of the pulpit no matter the risk to the faithful.  These so-called leaders should writhe in shame at their failure to balance the needs of their church members with the rights of Reverend Garvey.  What kind of message does this send to women in the Methodist Church? 

The message that your church won't believe you if you bring clerical abuse to light.  Period.  They won't believe you and they will even say so in the leading newspaper in the region.  They are not protecting you and your families from potential predators garbed in clerical robes. 

They didn't learn a damn think from the Catholic abuse scandal. 

Disgusting. 

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