Tuesday, May 31, 2005
June is here and it marks GAY PRIDE. GAY PRIDE has its origins to a turbulent time in New York City in June of 1969.
On June 27, 1969, Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village, while patrons were minding their own business and enjoying an evening out, the NY Beverage Board and NYC police officers raided the bar under the auspices of enforcing an alcohol control law. This was very much out of the ordinary, but raids on gay establishments was not.
However, this night was to be quite different. The people in the Stonewall fought back, literally. One would like to think the gays beat the shit out of the police and the battle ended. But, patrons were eventually rounded up and led away in paddy wagons. But, word spread quickly and crowds gathered for several nights, protesting the mistreatment that night on June 27th at the Stonewall Inn. This uprising signaled the modern political movement for gay rights. Thus, June commemerates GAY PRIDE.
Gays today still fight for their rights. As stated in the Declaration of Independence, gays only want our country to "hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Pride celebrations will be held all over the world this June. Philly's GAY PRIDE celebration will be June 12, 2005. I encourage every gay man and woman, and anyone who supports equality for all citizens to attend the festivities.
However, after spending the weekend in New York City, which has had a ban on smoking in all public places including bars and clubs for a few years, I now realize that a smoking ban does not substantially hurt businesses. And people still go to the bars and clubs despite not being able to smoke. I visited a dance club this past Saturday night, as I have during other trips to NYC since the ban on smoking, and the clubs are always packed. It sure doesn't appear to me that smoking ban slows business down. Sure, maybe prices have been raised a bit to make up any difference for any loss to the business, but I am sure the bars and clubs do not suffer all that much. Believe it or not, people will still go to bars and clubs, and they will adjust to not being able to smoke a few hours. Or, they will go outside to smoke if they need to.
I do have to say also that for a non-smoker, it is so much nicer being able to leave a bar or club and not smell like an ashtray. And I'm sure it's much better for my lungs and everyone else in the place.
Monday, May 30, 2005
While in NYC this weekend, I saw NAKED BOYS SINGING for my second time. This musical, an all-male review with 8 naked, yes, totally naked men singing, is a satire about just how really uptight we are about nudity. And how true this is especially in the American culture. We somehow tend to equate nudity with sex. For the most part, the naked human body is a thing of beauty, and nudity, in and of itself, is actually a wonderful thing. Naked Boys Singing is gay-themed, but targets a well rounded audience consisting of gays, straights, women, and just about everything inbetween. The funny thing about Naked Boys Singing is that after about half way through the first song, you seem to forget that the guys are naked. It becomes just another musical. Only when the guys bring to your attention that they are indeed naked, do you again realize that these 8 men, clad only in their birthday suits, are on stage in front of you singing, dancing, and swinging in the buff. Humorous, yes. A definite message? Yes. And since seeing Naked Boys Singing, I haven't put my clothes back on.
On this Memorial Day 2005, I just want to say "THANK YOU" to the men and women who have served and continue to serve in our military. To these individuals who serve to protect my freedom, I am greatly appreciative.
One of the things in life I will never understand is war. From the beginning of time, it seems that men have always been warring with each other. Someone wants what someone else has, and he gathers armies to take it. The other man goes on the defensive to protect what is his. Thousands, living meaningful day -to -day lives with family and friends, go into battle and drop one by one until enough men on one side have dropped and that side "gives up", and the victor either gets what he wants or the loser looses what was his. It just seems so worthless. But, I guess it is one of those necessary evils of life because it always seems there will be another who wants what we have.
No, I don't understand it, but I am grateful to those who have protected my freedom throughout the years. To those who give me the right to say, "FUCK you George Bush! Fuck you for sending our troops to die in your political war," I am thankful. And I just want to say thatI DO NOT support the war in Iraq, but my support goes out to every man and woman serving in Iraq and elsewhere.
I spent this weekend in New York City. While there I visited the Museum of Modern Art. Now, personally, I have never really been that into art. I mean I enjoy looking at paintings and other art forms, but if my life depended on it, I cannot even draw recongnizable stick figures. But after going int the MoMA, I realized that I too could be a modern artist. The above paintings were done by Willem deKooning, and they really caught my eye. But even more than being appealing to my eye, they gave me a new perspective about art; I can even do that! Perhaps I should try my hand at modern art?
Friday, May 27, 2005
Despite all the nonsense that goes on in NJ (dirty politics, high car insurance, etc.), I have to say that I am proud of NJ's progressive thinking in the area of civil rights, particularly in the area of equal rights for gay individuals. NJ has an extensive domestic partners law, has ruled in favor of a lesbian couple for consortium damages, and now has legally allowed a lesbian domestic partner to share in equal parenting rights of their daughter.
NJ has traditionally been a "blue" state, and I am certainly happy about that. NJ's legistlators, both state and federal, seem to really care about civil rights. My prediction is that this will continue as John Corzine probably will be elected NJ Governor in 2005. And who knows, maybe NJ will be one of the next states to allow gay marriage.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
I really have to hand it to Senator Barbara Boxer, D-California. She has got bigger balls than most of the men either the Senate or House.
Firstly, she stood firm on the right of Senators to filibuster, and she was a major reason Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist never dropped the "nuclear option." Secondly, Senator Boxer is standing firm in her opposition to the approval of John Bolton as UN Ambassador.
It is a triumph for the Democratic party to have a person such as Senator Barbara Boxer oppose the Bush machine and stand up for democracy and decency.
We don't hear alot from Senator Hilary Clinton these days. Perhaps she is too busy moving to the right in an attempt to get votes in 2008? Perhaps Hilary does not want to make too many waves? A coworker of mine recently said that Hilary was "in bed with the bankers" when she voted for the new bankruptcy law, which in my opinion, only serves to punish low to middle class Americans while helping the banks and credit card corporations. And when I checked, sure enough, Hilary voted YES to restrict the rules of bankruptcy.
Maybe it should be Senator Barbara Boxer who gets the Democratic nomination for president in 2008?
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Seems NJ has found the funds to continue tax relief!! Miraculously, NJ would have $400 million more than initially planned for property tax relief for the 2006 budget (which begins July 2005).
Acting Governor Cody, originally facing a $4 billion deficit, proposed cutting tax rebates and not increasing state aid for cities and schools. That proposal was very unpopular. Now, NJ has learned that it would receive about 1.2 billion in unexpected revenue.
It is amazing how politicians can always come up with money when their careers or the political futures of friends is threatened. With a governor's race in the wings this November, the Democrats, including Cody, certainly do not want anything like tax relief take backs to stand in the way of victory. Thank God it is an election year!
What a sad state of affairs when the U.S., the supposed "Fighter of Freedom" worldwide, is the reason Amnesty International has blamed for a general decrease in human rights
Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Khan said, "When the most powerful county in the world thumbs its nose at the rule of law and human rights, it grants a licence to others to commit abuse with impunity." Cited specifically was the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib Prison, the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, and the fact that Washington has circumvented its own ban on the use of torture.
And we are surprised? The arrogance of the Bush Administration and the U.S. in general is sometimes appalling. The U.S. has a tendency to forget that it is a part of the worldwide community. The U.S. believes it is the center of any community, and only the U.S. beliefs and systems matter. And the U.S. feels only its safety is important no matter what the cost. And the King George is responsible for this attitude!
"This Senate agreement represents a complete bailout and betrayal by a cabinet of Republicans and a great victory for the united Democrats." And the Washington Times, a major tool for the Republicans, stated, "7 Republicans abandon GOP on filibuster".
So, I guess you could say the Democrats won this victory. And part of the reason was their unity. Democrats must continue to stand firm against King George and the Republican machine to do what is in the best interest of the people. The Republican machine needs to realize that they do NOT have a mandate to just push through any legislation they want.
I think the next big test for King George will come with the stem cell research veto threat http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/05/24/stem.cells/index.html. I am happy to see the House stand firm despite threats from the White House. King George should soon learn that he is not the dictator who orders from his palace.
Monday, May 23, 2005
Tomorrow, Tuesday, 5/24/05, may be the day that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (Rep-Tenn) calls for an end to the Democrats' delay tactics http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/17/AR2005051701425.html. Senate Majority Frist may attempt to change the rules to pave the way for right wing judges that King George has nominated to be approved for appointment. The filibuster process, like it or not, is a way to guarantee democracy works. It gives the minority party a chance to have some say in what legislation is passed or not passed. Everyone should be concerned by the Republicans trying, again, to change the rules. It is time they are stopped! Hopefully it will be stopped!
Sunday, May 22, 2005
Seems the Middle East is not welcoming Queen Laura with open arms. http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=domesticNews&storyID=8566474.
She was greeted on her diplomatic, image-redeeming mission with heckles.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
Seems that Queen Laura is going on a diplomatic tour of the Middle East. Queen Laura is hoping to change how the U.S. is viewed. Queen Laura said that America's image abroad had been damaged by the prisoner-abuse scandal and the retracted Newsweek report of the Koran desecration. Just don't forget the other reasons Queen Laura: your husband invaded a Muslim nation and your husband's administration has been almost null in any diplomatic endeavors!
Friday, May 20, 2005
Mark Morford, SF Gate columnist, asks, "if we (U.S) are the Great Liberator, the great Crammer Down of Democratic Values...why do we not bomb the living hell out of Saudi Arabia and call it a war?"http://sfgate.com/columnists/morford/. Instead we bomb Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11. We bomb Iraq whose former dictator, Saddam Hussein, hated Osama bin Laden. We bomb Iraq which had no WMD.
Mr. Morford admits he is talking "silly"when he suggests the U.S. bomb another country. But, the majority of the WTC bombers were Saudi. The Saudis treat their women only a notch above the Taliban. Political prisoners in Saudi Arabi are routinely tortured. Journalists are systematically arrested in Saudi Arabia. Human rights groups have been appalled by Saudi treatment of its people. And yes, Saudi Arabia has poured millions of dollars into terrorist organizations such as al Qaeda.
The difference between Iraq and Saudi Arabia? Saudi Arabia also invests billions (with a "B") of dollars into the American economy. And Saudi Arabia cooperates fairly well in providing oil to the U.S.
The real reason behind the Iraq situation in Mark Morford's opinion? "Empire. The rush to neoconservative power. And perpetuation of fear as a means to securing that power for many years to come."
Thursday, May 19, 2005
I personally do not know any state employee that has taken any elaborate trip. I would not consider driving to a New York hospital to retrieve a mentally retarded adult who left NJ for a cup of coffee a fun time, not to mention any monetary reimbursement or paid meal. I would not consider receiving a jar of homemade jam as a family’s way of saying thanks to be an extravagant gift, not to mention the jam could not even be eaten by the employee because it would be considered accepting a gift which is prohibited by State Ethic rules. I do not know any state employee that has, or will, retire with a pension that will permit living a life style any better than he knew while still employed.
Do trips, gifts, very high pension payments occur to state employees? I am not so naïve as to think not. But it is not the average, everyday state worker you will ever come in contact with. The state employees that reap these extreme benefits are the exception. These are the state employees in the “ivory palaces” in Trenton and other administrative offices, making the policy that the everyday state worker has to perform. Or they are the few employees given payback for political favors. And when the ordinary state worker brings to light a questionable practice or use of state funds, he is ignored or told to be quiet.
With the State budget in such bad shape, it is easy to blame state workers for the problem. Medical benefits, salaries, and high pensions are the alleged reasons for the budget crisis.
King George is guaranteeing a showdown in Congress by trying to stop the filibuster of nominated judges. Former representative Mickey Edwards (R-OKla.) said, "This is being done to ...help a president achieve what he wants to achieve....It's a total disavowel of the basic framework of the system of government. It's much more efficient (for Bush), but our government was not designed to be efficient."http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/09/AR2005050901126.html. King George.......stop trying to change the rules!
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
I sometimes wonder what Jesus thinks about all that is done in his name. Watching the recent death of a pope, and the subsequent election of a new pope, all that I could was what Jesus taught against, the Scribes and Pharisees and the hierarchy of the Jewish establishment of Jesus' day.
And now, the Catholic Church is refusing to allow Haley Waldman, a 9 year old suffering from celiac spruce disease, from taking her first holy communion. (Celiac spruce disease is an allergic reaction to wheat based products). Haley could receive a rice based wafer, but the Catholic Church says a rice based host is unacceptable.
When Jesus said, "do this in rememberance of me", do you really think he was speaking about the elements used in communion? No! Jesus was talking about the act of spiritually "taking" of his body and blood. But the Catholic Church, in all its wisdom, does not agree with this interpretation.
What is even more sad, is that people are duped into believing that man made religion and churches brings about communion with God. What must Jesus be thinking now?
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Kenny Chesney was named entertainer of the year at the 40th Annual Academy of Country Music Award show. Other big winners were Tim McGraw, with his song, "Live Like You Were Dying", Brad Paisley and Alison Kraus for "Whiskey Lullaby", and Keith Urban. Gretchen Wilson won the trophie for top new artist, and Brooks and Dunn were deemed the top duo. Retired performer Garth Brooks made an appearance, which included a 20 second applause, and Toby Keith sang from Iraq while entertaining the troops. For more results see www.acmcountry.com.
Monday, May 16, 2005
Instead of giving churches more power in the political arena, the Federal Government, specifically the Internal Revenue Service, should be more closely monitoring and dealing with churches that endorse candidates and campaigns. However, if Rep. Walter Jones, Republican from North Carolina, and Rev. Chan Chandler, a former minister from North Carolina, have anything to do with it, churches may have even MORE involvement in politics, and in essence act like Political Action Committees.http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/05/16/MNGASCPR0F1.DTL
Rep. Jones introduced the House of Worship Freedom of Speech Act two times already, unsuccessful in gaining enough support. The Act would amend the IRS tax code to enable churches to endorse candidates and campaigns. Rev. Chandler, who recently resigned from his church due to a political controversy in which he "ran out" nine members of his congregation who disagreed with his political views,(http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/05/10/church.politics.ap/) is endorsing the House of Worship Freedom of Speech Act, and the debate is back on.
The religious right already think that God is on their side, and if this Act is passed, the country will further be divided, and the intolerance will grow. Churches should not be allowed to be Political Action Committees to any extent.
Sunday, May 15, 2005
Saturday, May 14, 2005
So, for those other 39 states (40 total) that have laws banning same sex marriage, beware, that if the bans go too far, they too will be struck down..................hopefully!
The Philadelphia celebration of Equity Forum week, ended with a fantastic outdoor party and concert with Cyndi Lauper was a success! The best thing about such events is that the world did not come to an end.........and ALL people who attended had fun. http://www.equalityforum.com/
Friday, May 13, 2005
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is even getting it from his own Ivy League. Seems like the Princeton students are filibustering Senator Frist.
Why is it that the Republican party, the party that believes government should stay out of people's lives, is always the party that wants to change the congressional rules or the constitution?
The Republicans need to remember that if the "nuclear option" is imposed, it will be they who one day will have to live by it.
Until a few months ago, I had never really heard of Michael Buble. However, I have just listened to his new cd, IT'S TIME. Buble is a mix of Sinatra and Clay Aiken. He sings classics such as "Save the last dance for me" and "Quando, quando, quando" (a duet with Nellie Furtado). There is an original song, "Home", which is great. So check it out. http://www.michaelbuble.com/
Thursday, May 12, 2005
This is the question asked by Republican Senator George Voinovich, OH, who has now agreed to allow the nomination of John Bolton as United Nations ambassador to go to the full Senate for a vote. Senator Voinovich further stated that, "John Bolton is the poster child or what someone in the diplomatic corps should not be..."http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2005/05/12/national/w090903D77.DTL&sn=005&sc=362.
The message the U.S. is sending is the same message King George and his administration have been sending since January 2001: "Do it our way or else! No diplomacy! No compromise! The U.S. way is the ONLY way!"
Why in the world would anyone want a United Nations ambassador that is "arrogant" and "bullying"? Are those characteristics of a diplomat? Maybe in Hitler's Germany!
I guess we will find out soon enough what kind of message the full U.S. Senate will send to the world community.
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Opinions are NOT facts. They are simply opinions, feelings, ideas, thoughts that each one of us have. No one's opinion is more important than anothers, despite whether or not we agree with it.
So go ahead. Make an asshole out of yourself and give me your opinion.
This blog will deal with political and current events and happenings. It will NOT be my personal journal. It may not always be politically correct, and it might just piss some people off from time to time. Any feedback is appreciated.
So, here I go.