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View Article  Fatal shooting in San Fran's Castro District before Pride Parade

From the San Francisco Chronicle;

One of three victims of a shooting in San Francisco's Castro District late Saturday night has died from his injuries, according to the medical examiner's office.

Stephen Powell, 19, was shot in the torso about 11:30 p.m. at Market and Castro streets during the city's "Pink Saturday" celebrations, police said. The medical examiner's office could not confirm his city of residence.

Powell, along with a 19-year-old woman and a 29-year-old man who were shot in the leg, were taken to a hospital. Powell was subsequently pronounced dead.

The woman and older man are expected to survive, according to police.

A 19-year-old man was taken into custody in connection with the shooting, and police said they recovered the handgun used in the crime.

No word yet on motive, but word is that the shooter and the victims were acquanted.  Another reminder why we need to push for our rights and create truly safe spaces to be ourselves.




View Article  Steel City Hoop Union

Does this not sound like big fun?

Hello Friends and Neighbors,

It has come to my attention that some folks don't know that the Steel City Hoop Union still meets every Tuesday evening at the Union Project.  Just bring yourself (and your mom, your dad, your grandma, your uncle, your girlfriend, your boyfriend . . . . ) and we'll bring hula hoops, music, and instruction if you'd like some.  It's so much fun you'll forget it's exercise.  If it's hot, bring some water.  We hoop outside in nice weather, indoors if it rains.

Hoop Union Tuesdays
6:30 to 7:30 pm, Rain or Shine
Union Project
Corner of Stanton and Negley
$5 for grown-ups, $2.50 for kids under 12

If you hoop, we want to meet you, if you don't we want to teach you!

Hoop Union Tuesdays are brought to you by the Union Project and Steel City Hoop Union.  Visit us on Facebook!

I do the hula hoop on Wii Fit Plus and its a hoot (hoop?).  I seriously debating trying it in real life with only the fear of utter embarrassment holding me back --- hips, don't fail me now?


View Article  Mayor Ravenstahl Appointment -- Any Gays?

Today the PG reports that Mayor Ravenstahl is "ketchin up" on his job by appointing 23 people to 10 different boards. 

The nominations need City Council approval. There's lots of wrangling about people with expired terms doing a fine job in their current positions.  Funny how that never comes up when it comes to City Council elections.  Daniel Lavelle, for example, didn't say Tonya Payne was doing a fine job.  But I guess it is different when we are discussing unelected positions that have potential allegiance to their City Council liaison.  Nothing like transparency.

Of course, Luke dropped the ball (imagine my shock!) by waiting this long to fulfill this job requirement. Expecting City Council to hurry up and do their end of due diligence on 23 appointments is pretty typical tyranical (or bratty tantrum prone) behavior.

But here's my question.  How many of these 23 folks are openly gay?  The Mayor has set up his committee, sponsored Pridefest repeatedly, kept the dykes from being run down ... lots of stuff.  But board appointments, that's key to saying he values the input of the LGBT community in an official capacity. 

Yes, my expectations are high. I want continued progress, not anyone resting on their laurels and none of this behind the scenes pink-washed good old boy campaign donor "trust us we've got it' crap.  We need equality and we need to keep up the pressure on young leaders to do the right thing, continuously. 

View Article  Swipe

Addendum:  This is irony. There is no such thing as a swipe button.  I officially think we should elect Dan Onorato as Governor. He has my blessing.  (Also irony in case that doesn't translate from written word.)

View Article  Marcellus Shale and Ricky Burgess

A few days ago, I wrote a little chastisement of Reverend Burgess' vote for regulating the drilling for natural gas within the City in lieu of standing against it.  I received an off the record email from a Burgess supporter explaining the nuances of the law and the Council's ability to defend citizens in this matter.  I was amazed that the writer commented that City Council should be putting on a united front instead of inner-squabbling.

Seriously?  Reverend Burgess wasn't that concerned about "unity" when it came to LGBTQ equal rights so it is incredible now to try to persuade me that he's the voice of unity.  He bitch slapped us by refusing to have his picture in magazine, incredibly sad since he should have familiarity with the challenges LGBTQ people are facing in his district and the African-American community.  It was a magazine for God's sake. 

I'm waiting for some feedback on the legal arguments from the Councilors who want me to have clean drinking water, not those who do not practice what they preach.

View Article  The Anti-Choice convention

Tis tempting to tap into the oh-so-easy comparison of the Furry convention and the "National Right to Life" convention which winds up tomorrow. 

The PG mentions a long-term pro-choice activist who is among the longest term attendees at this conference and has a mutually supportive 'right to protest' relationship with an anti-choice priest.  Good stuff.

To my knowledge, the conference attendees did not engage in activities to support Pittsburgh's living children who are living in poverty, poor health or on the adoption rolls.  Just saying. 


View Article  Trib gives credit to Obama on gay rights .... irony is delicious

Here it is:

WASHINGTON ? President Barack Obama is chipping away at his long list of promises to gay voters but has yet to earn the full-throated backing of the reliably Democratic voting bloc.

The Obama White House has accomplished more than any other on gay rights, yet has drawn sharp criticism from an unexpected constituency: the same gay activists who backed the president's election campaign. Instead of the sweeping change gays and lesbians had sought, a piece-by-piece approach has been the administration's favored strategy, drawing neither serious fire from conservatives nor lavish praise from activists.

Obama on Tuesday planned to tick through some of the accomplishments at a meeting with grass-roots gay activists at the White House. His administration planned to announce Wednesday that the Labor Department would order businesses to extend unpaid leave for gay workers to care for newborns or loved ones.

Spare me the "best gay president ever" whining.  President Obama has failed the LGBTQ community in almost every way possible.  The incremental change is indicative of a cowardly, fearful approach to equal rights, not the fiery advocacy we were promised. 

There are many local and national gay advocates who would have you dance around with joy over being tossed a few crumbs in lieu of a slice of bread. While you dance, people in your community are suffering without healthcare, under tremendous tax burdens, without access to decent housing or job security and the list goes on and on. 

The folks with privilege just don't get it. But they rarely have.



View Article  Stuff in the Post-Gazette

A few things of interest ...

A gay pastor is coming to North Versailles to talk about his experiences being outsted and then reinstated in the Lutheran Church.

Rev. Schmeling at 1 p.m. Saturday. He will also preach Sunday at 11 a.m. in St. Andrew Lutheran Church, Shadyside.

Saturday's event, "Let the Whole Church Sing: A Eucharistic Celebration Embracing Unity in Diversity," is sponsored by the Pittsburgh Chapter of Lutherans Concerned, which advocates for inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in all ministries. It's a delayed reaction to last year's decision permitting the call of clergy in committed, lifelong, monogamous same-sex relationships.

Maureen Dowd (reprinted from the NYT) weighs in on the closing of oral arguments over Prop 8.

Some comments from commencement speeches ... again from the liberal rag called the NYT

Gail CollinsNew York Times columnistMount Holyoke CollegeText

You're going to write the next chapter. I can't wait to see what happens. The women who went before you won legal equality for our sex. They opened a thousand doors. But here's what they didn't do. They didn't end violence against women. They tried, but today celebrities who beat up their girlfriends, who sexually harass powerless women in bars, are still treated less severely than celebrities who mistreat animals. So we're going to have to pass that battle on to you. They didn't achieve full rights for gay couples. This is the one area, people, where you can be on a picket line and be totally confident that the winds of history are at your back. And they didn't figure out how to find a proper balance for work and family.



View Article  Peduto and Shields Protecting City

I truly do not understand City Council.  How can only two of our electeds want to keep drilling out of the City? 

The Gulf Oil Spill is still gushing. The corporation and the bureaucrats are bungling the heck out of it.  People's livelihoods are drying up.  And the environment is dying. 

How a man as learned as Councilor Patrick Dowd thinks regulations are the way to go --- in spite of very recent history --- staggers the imagination.  How Councilors like Burgess and Lavalle who represent the economically vulnerable that are always screwed by these situations can not stand up and say that poor Pittsburgh residents deserve safe water undermines their credibility as legitimate students of the history of environmental racism.  But maybe they never claimed to be so. 

I am very sad.

View Article  PG weighs in on the 14th Amendment

Their consensu is that the lack of footnotes precludes distinguishing children of legal citizens from children whose parents are not legal residents.

Mr. Pearce is the author of the divisive Arizona law that puts local law enforcement officers in the unsuitable role of enforcing immigration controls, a federal responsibility. Now he wants to punish the children of illegal immigrants. He proposes to write a law that says the state of Arizona will no longer issue birth certificates unless at least one parent can prove legal status.

The whiff of hypocrisy is more than a little strong. Conservatives like Mr. Pearce make a great show of venerating the Constitution as a sacred text to be followed strictly. They castigate so-called activist judges who would stray beyond the plain meaning. Yet when they face the inconvenient truth that the children of the illegal immigrants become citizens according to the Constitution, which attaches no asterisk to "all persons born," they are eager to forget their own principles.

Of course, the 19th century framers of this amendment did not anticipate that legal immigration would become such a great problem in the 21st century. But it says what it says -- and very plainly at that. The solution to the immigration problem should not involve picking on innocent children born in the United States, American children according to the Constitution.

Good point, eh?



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