Monday, April 30, 2007
May it take you to a special place, as well. It's a short, yet poignant trip. Enjoy.
The link will not embed, so go to Pale Blue Dot.
This rumor began almost immediately after the storm but now through the FOIA, CREW has uncovered the extent to which the Bush administration delayed, refused, and failed to collect foreign aid pledged after Katrina. We’re talking about allies here, folks – Canada, Britain, Israel, Greece and Italy. CREW executive director Melanie Sloan said, "It's clear that they're trying to hide their ineptitude, incompetence and malfeasance.” [She uses such big words to describe such little people.] How much more will be uncovered as more bodies are still being discovered throughout the city of New Orleans?
Allies offered $854 million in cash and in oil that was to be sold for cash. But only $40 million has been used so far for disaster victims or reconstruction, according to U.S. officials and contractors. Most of the aid went uncollected, including $400 million worth of oil. Some offers were withdrawn or redirected to private groups such as the Red Cross. The rest has been delayed by red tape and bureaucratic limits on how it can be spent.
In addition, valuable supplies and services -- such as cell phone systems, medicine and cruise ships -- were delayed or declined because the government could not handle them. In some cases, supplies were wasted.
Read the whole thing, it’s worth it. Again I ask, Why isn't "Brownie" in prison? He admitted lying throughout the whole disaster in an interview I posted HERE.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
I found this poem in a book of prayers and meditations for gays and lesbians I was reading this morning, and I thought I’d share since it sums up my life right now pretty well.
After a while you learn
The subtle difference
between holding a hand
And chaining a soul.
And you learn
That love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security.
And you begin to learn
That kisses aren’t compromises
And presents aren’t promises.
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes ahead
With the grace of a man or woman
Not the grief of a child.
And you learn to build all your loads on today
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn
That even sunshine burns if you ask too much.
So you plant your own garden
And decorate your own soul
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn
That you are strong
And you really have worth.
And you learn.
And you learn.
With every failure or loss you learn.
Today I feel blessed beyond imagining.
As Daniel says, Be Loved.More Later.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
From First Draft: This is just an amazing revelation. Something we never would have thought possible, what with all of Bush's promises and all that love from FEMA...NOT. This is posted 605 days AFTER these events. Please, pass this on to others who think that all is well in the Gulf States devastated by Katrina and Rita. Here's a snip:
In a press conference to begin a fund raising effort to build a memorial and mausoleum so 100 forgotten victims of Katrina can finally be given the respect and dignity of a decent burial, Orleans Parish Coroner Dr. Frank Minyard stated there are more bodies to be found in New Orleans. My transcript from part of the WGNO-TV 26 video report...
REPORTER PAUL MURPHY: They are the forgotten victims of Katrina. 100 bodies now warehoused in a nondescript building near downtown New Orleans. 70 have names, 30 have yet to be identified, none have been claimed by their families. Orleans Coroner Dr. Frank Minyard says there are more bodies yet to be discovered.For the rest, go HERE, but the embedded links no longer take you to appropriate pages. So just read Scout Prime's piece and pass it on. And be sure to read the comments below.
Thanks to Scout, and thanks to everyone at FD for all you have done and continue to do.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Last night Thelma and Louise drove the bus off the cliff or at least into the White House Correspondents Dinner. The "highlight" of the evening had to be when we were introduced to Karl Rove. How excited were we to have our first opportunity ever to talk directly to the Bush Administration about global warming.
Anyway...To all those who think cats are stupid, self-centered, callous, and lazy. Pfffffffffffffffffffffftttttttt.
This does tear at your heart. We live among magnificent creatures and seldom recognize them as they truly are.
Oh, and clicky the image to make biggy.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
They have renamed their latest proposal in honor of Matthew Shepard, the gay college student who died after he was beaten and tied to a fence in Wyoming in 1998.
‘’I can’t think of a better way to honor Matthew’s memory. He was a 21-year-old college student just living his life,’’ said Shepard’s mother Judy Shepard, who now heads a foundation in her son’s name.
Click on the banner above to read the rest of the article and then sign the petition.
Go to Google Maps, click on 'get directions' link at the top (two boxes will appear in place of the single one) now enter: New York, NY in the left box and Paris, France in the right one. Now click the gray "get directions" button at right of the destination box. An animated map will appear on the right. Directions are on the left. Scroll down as you read...
A friend sent this to me. Oh, just do it...
Friday, April 20, 2007
He smelled of fish, gasoline, cigarettes and stale beer. His pale denim jacket matched his jeans, right down to the rips and tatters here and there. His gray hair was as long, thin and wily as his body, and his face was filled with the sort of deep wrinkles known to those who spend most of their days fishing and crabbing the waters of the Delmarva Peninsula.
He was in front of me at the local Deli, his purchases spread out on the counter like modern artifacts of his life: two cartons of menthol no-name brand cigarettes, a six pack of beer, a large bag of potato chips, a pack of dried beef jerky, and a box of 12 chocolate cupcakes, on sale for $1.99. I suspected that was his supper.
As he completed his transaction, counting out the coins to the exact amount, he took the last dollar in his wallet to purchase a Lottery ticket. Turning to me he hesitated and stammered a bit before he said, “Can I ask you a favor?”
“Sure,” I said, “what?”
“It may sound a little strange . . .” he cautioned.
I looked at him and then at the cashier who had been engaging in friendly chatter with him while she rang up his order. She smiled at me and her eyes indicated that it would be okay. I looked back at him and tried not to look astonished as he asked, “Will you kiss this bill for me? I need all the luck I can get with this Lottery ticket.”
Read the rest. It will do your heart good. No, I didn't ask permission. I figured that if she can post my photos of double rainbows, I can post part - and link - to this entire piece. So, what are you waiting for? Go HERE. You will be blessed. If Elizabeth sees him again, I am sure we will know if her kiss was a lottery winner.
First a little good news: New Hampshire's wildly popular governor, John Lynch, announced that he's going to sign the bill allowing for civil unions for gay couples in his state. "I believe it is a matter of conscience, fairness and preventing discrimination. "I believe it is a matter of conscience, fairness and preventing discrimination." Although Massachusetts already has gay marriage, New Hampshire will join Connecticut, Vermont and New Jersey as states establishing civil unions. These were also states early to oppose and abolish slavery.
More good news: 66 House members-- all Democrats, of course, have perfect (100%) records on standing for gay equality. Among those 66 are not just openly gay members like Barney Frank (MA) and Tammy Baldwin (WI), but most of the Democratic leaders as well, like Nancy Pelosi (CA), George Miller (CA), Rahm Emanuel (IL), and Charlie Rangel (NY).
And now the bad news: All but 3 Republicans-- Libertarian Ron Paul (TX), Jim Sensenbrenner (WI) and ex-Democrat Rodney Alexander (LA), each with a 25% score-- also have perfect scores: 0%. That means that all but 3 of the Republican congressmembers-- including the half dozen known gay Republican closet queens-- voted against gay equality every single time it came up. That is staggering. I wonder how the Log Cabin loons can look at themselves in the mirror.
And now the worse news: fourteen reactionary Democrats have voted with the Republicans on every roll call seeking to legislate discrimination or block equality in regard to gay men and women. These are the homophobic and disgraceful Democrats with zero scores:
* John Barrow (GA)
* Melissa Bean (IL)
* Dan Boren (OK)
* G.K. Butterfield (NC)
* Russ Carnahan (MO)
* Emanuel Cleaver (MO)
* Jim Costa (CA)
* Henry Cuellar (TX)
* Stephanie Herseth (SD)
* Brian Higgins (NY)
* Daniel Lipinski (IL)
* John Salazar (CO)
* Allyson Schwartz (PA)
* John Tanner (TN)
Are you gay? Or do you have gay family members or friends? Think about those names-- all but 3 Republicans and those 14 homophobic Democrats-- next time that any of the Inside the Beltway PACs asks you for a donation... and next time you go to the polls.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Yes, one year and almost eight months after the fact this is what residents of NOLA face everyday.The video slide show was produced by Athenae at First Draft, the result of her time in NOLA with many other bloggers from all over the country, helping to gut and rebuild houses in the city, and it is must see video. And, you're gonna love the soundtrack. Please don’t forget that these images were shot just weeks ago, not in 2005 after the flood waters receded. How could this country allow this to continue?
Also, a big thank you to Scout Prime for her continued coverage and caring for the people and city of New Orleans.
Monday, April 16, 2007
While this weekend nor’easter has definitely been an E ticket ride, it certainly put a crimp in my timetable for the ongoing mother of all moves. Jebus, isn't it over yet? Anyway, I thought the heaviest rains happened overnight Saturday into Sunday until about 4:30, so I assumed the worst was over. (You know what they say about 'assume') When things calmed down I met Viponnah for a bite, and it appeared as though the sky was clearing a bit. So, the storm was over; much ado about nothing…Wrong.
The worst rains hit last night and the flooding soon followed. Some streets and back roads were blocked and impassible, while police closed others. Having tried to make a run to the grocery store and turned back by state troopers, I decided to come back to the house and not even attempt a quick trip to the new place with what was already in the car.
My aching back thanked me for making that wise decision.
With winds whipping through here at 40 mph and gusting to 65 mph, the house shook, wheezed, trembled, scraped, crackled, and otherwise scared the crap out of the cats. They spent most of their time under the covers or on my desk and at my feet.
I braced for the inevitable power outage that never came. Surprise!
I was able to get work done and pick through items I wanted to pack into the car for another trip to the new place. Chucked, wrapped, bagged, and put more things into the car.
The rain finally stopped this morning and I made a run to deliver what was in the car. The winds were still in the 40 mph range and gusting, but I managed to get a few things unloaded without being swept off my feet. Literally.
While at the new place I emptied boxes and made the bed, so at least it ‘looked’ as though I lived there. It was a tight squeeze. The room is smaller than I thought and my butt kept banging into bookcase, dresser, and chair as I put mattress cover, sheets, and comforter on the bed.
It will be much easier once all the cartons and boxes are out of there and I actually live in the house. It will be a relief to unpack and store the CDs and DVDs and see the progress. Chaos will turn to calm…and not bloody soon enough for me.
As I made my way back here I decided to do the grocery shopping not done on Saturday. The store was empty and I was in and out in record time. After putting away the groceries I thought I would pack the car and make another trip, possibly empty kitchen things, and finish making the bed, since the pillows are still here. I was feeling a sense of accomplishment and renewed energy. As I began collecting and organizing what was next to go, the power went off. After a minute or two, it was on again. Then off. Then on.
Then…off. Oh. No.
Surprise? No. A day late, however. It had to happen, especially with such high winds.
After a few false starts, power was finally restored about three hours later. By that time the temperature in the house was 48 degrees and I was too cold and tired to make another trip. So, with power restored, I sent an email to my housemate telling him of my visit and plans for the rest of the week; which includes more trips/caravans, and getting an adjustment by my chiropractor – who, it turns out, is away until Wednesday. Sheesh!
Oh well, it’s cocktail time somewhere…oh, even here. I didn't realize it was so late. It’s been a long day. Do I smell olives? Cheers.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
AMERICA is watching Don Imus’s self-immolation in a state of shock and awe. And I’m watching America with wry amusement.
Since I’m a second-class citizen — a gay man — my seats for the ballgame of American discourse are way back in the bleachers. I don’t have to wait long for a shock jock or stand-up comedian to slip up with hateful epithets aimed at me and mine. Hate speak against homosexuals is as commonplace as spam. It’s daily traffic for those who profess themselves to be regular Joes, men of God, public servants who live off my tax dollars, as well as any number of celebrities.
In fact, I get a good chuckle whenever someone refers to “the media” as an agent of “the gay agenda.” There are entire channels, like Spike TV, that couldn’t fill an hour of programming if required to remove their sexist and homophobic content. We’ve got a president and a large part of Congress willing to change the Constitution so they can deprive of us our rights because they feel we are not “normal.”
So I’m used to catching foul balls up here in the cheap seats. What I am really enjoying is watching the rest of you act as if you had no idea that prejudice was alive and well in your hearts and minds.Read the rest HERE.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
We passed out flyers on Global Warming, the dangers of coal powered power plants, Wind Power, and even one with a checklist of ways to reduce energy consumption and save money in the process.
Fortunately for us, it was a sunny, albeit windy and cool day at the beach, but we had quite a successful afternoon.
The person taking the helm and getting this off the ground here is, of course, a lesbian and a delightful, concerned woman. She is relatively new to the area and this may be her first plunge into the activism of conservation and global warming issues here. I was the first to arrive, and we picked each other out straight away.
As others arrived and identified with the action, clipboards with petitions were handed out, as well as the flyers mentioned above.
A state senator, interested in and supportive of these issues, stopped by to chat and lend her voice to the effort. It was nice to meet and chat with her, if only for a short time. I was, along with 6 others, snagging passersby and offering them the literature. We then asked if they would sign the petition to demand that Congress work to cut carbon emissions by 80% by the year 2050. All but a few were happy to do so. We were amazed at how ill informed or uninformed people were on both subjects. But, folks who know the facts and are on the frontlines in the state and on the scene to share accurate and verifiable information answered their questions.
Now, you may be thinking ‘why 2050, why not sooner?’ The answer is that the damage has been done and it will take that long because of the oil, auto, and energy lobbies. Not to mention those living in denial. And besides, this is for future generations, not necessarily our generation. After all, we’re one of a few previous generations that got us into this mess, aren’t we? I mean that collectively, not individually.
Another action is planned either next weekend, or the one following and I'll be there.
To see the results of today’s efforts go HERE. There are photos from all over the states, including NOLA. I am very proud. [I don’t know how long this page will be active.]
Wind generates as much electricity as 9 million tons of coal each year.
To learn more about Wind Power go HERE.
Other serendipitous photos of the day:
Click on any image to enlarge.
UPDATE: Alternet covers this, too. A nice shot from NOLA is on the right.
[B]rown also accepted some blame himself for FEMA's slow response to the disaster, and said he lied about what FEMA was doing in response to the hurricane.He said it was "meaningless" when he said FEMA was moving more cots, food, blankets and rescuers into the Gulf Coast than it had for any other disaster in the United States because there weren't enough supplies and people to meet the victims' needs and the supplies weren't going where they needed to.
"I should not have lied," he said.
When asked why he lied, Brown said, "People get fired for telling the truth."
I guess it's OK to come clean almost two years after the fact and when you have nothing else to lose. Can anyone tell me why Brown isn't in jail today?
Read the rest HERE.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Before we left however, the rain had subsided and Elizabeth shouted "look, rainbow". We could see it from the restaurant windows. We raced outside (along with a few other diners) in the light drizzle and were struck by something else.
There were TWO rainbows arcing through the evening sky. So we grabbed cameras and took a few shots before they disappeared. Rainbows are fleeting, magical things.
Interestingly, the purple line in the prominent rainbow was quite vivid, somewhat of a rarity. Not easy to see in this photo, just trust me. The other rainbow was less spectacular, but remarkable by its very presence.
The second is shot from the beach and you can see the rainbow rising from the ocean. From our perspective we could see the entire arc of the bow, rising from the ocean north of us, and descending into it in the far south. Just an astonishing visual. People were smiling and taking pictures on the street and at the beach. Everyone was happily amazed by this natural spectacle and were shouting, “did you see there are two, there are two?”
In the third shot below you can see that the second rainbow is already gone.
By the time we got back to the restaurant there was no sign of either of them. The sun had sunk lower into the west and our window into the miraculous had closed.
There is no need to chase rainbows. It’s a great gift when they appear to us and bring such joy.We received a blessing this evening and all of us who were present shared this event together in community. It will not be forgotten any time soon.
I knew there was something special about today and this evening. All day everything seemed to click, mesh, and come together, but I just couldn't put my finger on what it was. I think I know now:
New beginnings. New directions. New attitudes.
The rainbows witnessed and approved.
As Daniel says; Be Blessed.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
We will hike, bike, climb, walk, swim, kayak, canoe, or simply sit or stand with banners of our call to action: I signed up for the closest of the two planned in my area.
Go HERE and find out if there is one near you. It's only one or two hours out of your day and I am sure it will be interesting.
This video is from The CT blog, My Left Nutmeg. This one features one Robert Muckle who offers a merry-go-round ride of homophobic, wingnut, fundie testimony against the amendment. The video has been augmented a bit by mikect, who has added a few extra visuals to the piece.
If you can stifle laughter enough to actually listen to what Mr. Muckle reads and says, you will learn a lot about absolutely nothing. Except, perhaps, that old Mr. Muckle forgot his meds.
Oh, and wait for the last bit about global warming then - - his explanation of cultural warming. Ya gotta love these crazies. Well, not really. For more hearings videos go see mikect.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Monday, April 9, 2007
New Orleanians breathed a collective sigh of relief last week, as celebrity super-couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie confirmed they are in late-stage negotiations to adopt New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. The couple had been frustrated in their recent attempts to adopt a Vietnamese child, due to international legal restrictions preventing unmarried parents from adopting. No such restriction applies to Nagin, according to Ann S. Williamson, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Social Services.
"Married, unmarried, gay, straight, space aliens, hell, they can have him," Williamson said at a joint news conference with Jolie, Pitt, and a scowling, towel-swaddled Nagin.
Although it is hoped that simply removing Nagin - or "Baby Ray," as Jolie has nicknamed him - from City Hall and remanding him to a nursery in the couple's renovated French Quarter mansion will dramatically accelerate the city's recovery, residents have not given up hope that the couple will also adopt District Attorney Eddie Jordan and New Orleans Police Superintendent Warren Riley.
"Well, you know, those two do tend to fight a lot, and they're sneaky," Jolie said. "Let's see if we can get this one to play nice first."
Gov. Kathleen Blanco announced that citizens could apply for adoption by Pitt and Jolie through the governor's new "Road to Someone Else's Home Plan." Delays began immediately, and the program is expected to make its first awards no later than 2013.Heh heh...
Sunday, April 8, 2007
Just going to do my part by sending you to the best - and most timely - post on the subject I could find. With over 150 "christians" from Falwell's, and Robertson's universities, this piece is not only very telling, but scary as hell.
Go to FireDogLake and read this by Christy.
Friday, April 6, 2007
Thursday, April 5, 2007
This made my day.
Now this is an intriguing bit of theatre news.
From the press release: “Matthew Passion tells the story of the passion of Christ; the story of Matthew Shepard being picked up, beaten up and left for dead on a hillside in Laramie, Wyoming, and the story of a middle-aged HIV positive survivor who outlives his life expectancy. Although the three stories take place in three different locations, and are two thousands years apart, they all reflect one another and converge in the final scene”Go HERE.
So whenever anyone asks you how things are going in "the city that time forgot" just tell them the truth. The city is forgotten, and so are her residents.
O.K so that number isn't accurate...it feels like it is. After more than two dozen round trips in the last week the car knows its way all by itself.
Since making arrangements for my friend's truck to move the big furniture, I have prayed daily that the weather would at least not be rainy.
Well, then God had a good belly laugh yesterday.
Oh, we did get the bedroom set and sofa moved to the new place, but even though covered with a tarp, the bed and sofa will take a day or two to dry.
The thing is, this weather front was supposed to have come through on Tuesday leaving Wednesday chilly and windy, but at least sunny. Ah, the weather channel…
Anyway, waiting for the trucker-man, we packed boxes into the other cars and, as if on cue, as the truck arrived, so did the downpour – followed by lightning, and thunder – followed by even heavier rain.
Nothing for it…this was the only day the truck was available…we had to go for it.
As our caravan made it’s way north and west the rain intensified to the point where it was difficult to see the road ahead. Traveling at about 25 mph it was easy to see that the bedding would be soaked and that I would be unable to sleep at the new place. Something I had been looking forward to doing. Getting out of the surreal that is this environment has been uppermost in my thoughts.
The move pretty much got done! There are a few boxes to pack, a few others to explore and possibly move, as well.
During the subsequent two trips I unpacked boxes I'll use in the kitchen and bath. The roomie provided a bit of cabinet space and I took the opportunity to fill it up. Things are looking up. At least eight boxes were emptied and the kitchen counter tops are now usable again.
Monday, April 2, 2007
"This war must end. The American people have lost faith in the president's conduct of the war. Let's see how we can work together," added Pelosi, D-Calif.
She and Reid also sent Bush a letter during the day that said they "stand ready to work with you, but your threats to veto a bill that has not even been presented to you indicate that you may not be ready to work with us."
Also, check out this sequence of photos and analysis from last week; HERE.
Sunday, April 1, 2007
The gang from First Draft is down there now helping to gut and clean out homes. Go, and see for yourself. HERE. Be sure to read the comments below the post and pictures. And remember this is not an isolated neighborhood. This is the norm in what one NOLA blogger calls "Debris City" and they ain't kidding.