Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Murkowski: Words, Words,Words, Then a 'No' Vote

With her smackdown of Bobby Jindal you would think that Murkowski was ready to fund the volcano monitoring, wouldn't you? Uh-uh.

In reality, Murkowski voted against the stimulus package that provided funding for volcano monitoring. Wonder how her constituents feel about this.

The 60-38 roll call by which the Senate on Friday passed an $787 billion economic recovery plan.

On this vote, a "yes" vote was a vote in favor of the bill.

There is one vacancy in the Senate.

Voting "yes" were 55 Democrats, 3 Republicans and 2 independents.

Voting "no" were 0 Democrats and 38 Republicans.


Sessions (R) No; Shelby (R) No.


Begich (D) Yes; Murkowski (R) No.

The stoopid, it burns us, precious! You just can't make this up.

And so it goes.


Alaska GOP Senator Smacks Jindal

So much for the 'rising star' of the Republican Party. The latest smackdown is from Alaska Senator Murkowski. From TPM:

Bobby Jindal's denunciations of federal spending to monitor volcanoes is now attracting some serious critcism from a Republican Senator -- namely Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, whose state has been recently disrupted by a series of eruptions from Mount Redoubt.

"Recently there were some comments made about federal spending for volcano monitoring being wasteful," Murkowski said from the Senate floor, without naming Jindal directly. "I can assure you that monitoring volcanoes is critically important to the nation and especially to my home state of Alaska."

In Jindal's speech, he said: "While some of the projects in the bill make sense, their legislation is larded with wasteful spending. It includes ... $140 million for something called 'volcano monitoring.' Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, DC."

The massive eruptions from Mount Redoubt were serious enough to cancel all airport service in and out of Anchorage for several hours -- even though the city is about 100 miles away from the volcano. Memo to Bobby Jindal: "Volcano monitoring" in some parts of the country is not all that dissimilar from "hurricane monitoring" on the Gulf Coast.
The interesting thing is - this story won't go away and every time a new eruption is highlighted in the news there is always a reference to Jindal's dumbass comments. Truly, Jindal is the gift that keeps on giving. Love it.

More later.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Jamaica Boycott Site Launched

Found this in my inbox this afternoon. This new site asks LGBT travelers to boycott the homophobic island of Jamaica. The violence against members of our community has been on the rise for the past 4 years. So, why should we spend our gay dollars there on the off chance we won't get our heads busted - or worse?

From the site:

Human rights activists have given Jamaica the infamous title: “The Most Homophobic Place on Earth.” If you love your gay friends and family members, you won’t visit Jamaica. If you care about the human rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, you won’t buy Jamaican products.

Isn’t it time we stop rewarding this hate state with our tourism dollars? Isn’t it time to stop drinking Jamaican beverages, such as Myers Rum and Red Stripe Beer?

This nation should be avoided at all costs until the Jamaican government takes action to end the country’s virulently homophobic climate and draconian laws that persecute homosexuals. Until Jamaica takes the following easy steps an official boycott is in effect:

Launched by Wayne Besen (Truth Wins Out), Jim Barroway (Box Turtle Bulletin), and Michael Petrelis (Petrilis Files) this problem is finally being taken seriously.

And so it goes.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spent Sunday

I don't know what hit me. Woke up in the middle of the night feeling like my brain had been removed, stomped on several times, then stuffed back into the skull. Groggy, disconnected, dizzy, soul tired. Out of sorts would be an understatement. I eventually went back to sleep, but it was far from restful. An overall sense of dread and dis-ease. Don't ask.

It doesn't feel as if I'm coming down with some kind of crud (there is a doozy making the rounds here) but the increased hours at work and long stressful days of job hunting - unsuccessfully - have suddenly drained the life and energy out of me in only a few hours. Maybe G*d suddenly decided I needed a good bitch-slap, or sunthin'.

Errands and lists are going to wait. I planned to visit a new church today, but I don't have the umph to put on clothes or shoes; G*d forbid shave. I finally made it into sweats. It's chilly, foggy and drizzly right now; not weather to cheer one up, if you get my drift.

I don't feel like reading, listening to the radio, or watching TV. All require too much energy and concentration for this tired old body. I don't even care about making breakfast - and not hungry, at least not yet.

I'm spent. As Bilbo Baggins once said, "I feel like butter spread over too much bread."

And so it goes.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Hangover Caturday

Sorry to be so tardy, but I ran late this morning and it's been a very long day.

More later, maybe.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Maxed Out On Mardi Gras

President Obama would be mighty proud of me. I am nothing, if not persistent.

Having made three or four attempts each and every week since the New Year - and not connecting with my sister in NOLA - I was totally frustrated. She will not own an answering machine or subscribe to voice-mail. She will not own a cell phone. You reach her when she's at home, or not at all. That's just the way she is. Recognizing all that didn't do anything to alleviate my frustration.

I checked the PO box last weekend to discover, along with the usual bills, a notice that a package was waiting for me. No information about the sender and knowing that I didn't order anything, I was curious as to what it might be. After work on Monday I paid a visit and presented the notice to my friend at the counter, who sighed and shook his head when I pointed out that there was nothing to identify the sender. Just another person too lazy to do their job.

Rick disappeared and as he retrieved the box called out, "hey, it's from NOLA - your sister sent you something pretty heavy. He presented it to me with a big smile and sent me on my way with a cheery "Enjoy!"

When I returned to the apartment there was a message from my niece asking if I had received the package yet, and telling me that my wayward sister would be home all afternoon, if I had time to call.

You can imagine my surprise when I opened the box and found nearly 10 pounds of Mardi Gras beads and other throws from various parades, (all unique, no duplicates) including the krewe she has belonged to for years. The Krewe of The Knights of Nemesis. The Krewe has only had a parade for the last 4 years, but their floats are pretty nice. Yes, my crazy sister rode on a float again this year - along with my niece - having the time of her life. She will be 69 years old next month. In the note included in the box of throws she wrote that after the parade when someone asked if she would be riding next Mardi Gras, she replied, "As long as I can climb up onto the floats, I'll be riding!" Laissez les bons temps rouler. Indeed.

After opening the box, reading the note and examining the contents - a far cry from the cheap stuff that used to be thrown when I was a kid - I called and she was excited that I enjoyed the gift. She told stories of other Mardi Gras happenings she attended or was otherwise somehow involved and we caught up on the past 3 months that we were out of touch. Seems she was everywhere from King's Day (also known as Epiphany - January 6) until Midnight and the beginning of Ash Wednesday. We talked for almost 2 hours until it was time to get supper. Hers was on the stove, but mine needed attention, so after providing info on the best days and times to call her we said our goodbyes.

The pictures above are one pair of generic beads and one pair of the Nemesis 2009 collector's 'special' throw. Yes, that's a FEMA trailer. And, yes, these special throws are copyrighted. You need a sense of humor to live in NOLA. Click on the images to make biggen.

Note to self: Don't call on Tuesdays or Fridays (volunteer nights) and only after 6 pm on the other days. And I still may not find her home. So there! Yes, Ma'am!

And so it goes.

GOP Budget: Look Mom, No Numbers!

The GOP, led by the well tanned, teary-eyed John Boehner - the June Cleaver of the party - called a news conference to present their 19-page "budget" yesterday. A budget that contained no numerical figures, that is. And John seemed shocked, taken aback even, that a reporter would ask about such a blatant omission.

Under pressure for an answer, Tanning-Bed John explained that actually this was just the "outline" (in a pretty blue official looking cover, and all) and that the final document (presumably one containing numbers) would be released next Wednesday. Uh-huh! Right.

Class? Do you know what next wednesday is??? The First of April!

April Fools Day!!! See any connection here?

Good News!

Circus Boy is in trouble, again.

Lassie rescued Timmy, again...

Baby Jessica is just fine.

Elvis is alive and well and living in Graceland.

The Monkees are on tour, again.

And, I'll see you at the drive in Saturday night. I'll be in the trunk.

I wonder if the voters in Boehner's district are as stupid as he thinks they are. Just sayin'.

More later.

Good Day for Equal Rights in Delaware

From the News Journal via Delaware Online:
DOVER -- Gay rights advocates gained two victories Thursday in the state Legislature -- the Senate's defeat of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and the House's passage of a bill prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.
More than 1,000 demonstrators wearing white T-shirts with the slogan "One Man, One Woman -- That's Marriage" rallied on the steps of Legislative Hall as, inside, both chambers engaged in lengthy debates colored by accusations of discrimination past and present.

Senate Bill 27, the defeated constitutional amendment, sought to make an existing state law that defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman more difficult to overturn. But many members of the Senate voiced concern that amending the constitution was unnecessary and even inappropriate.

"I believe that the constitution ... should be not a place where rights are restricted but where there is a positive affirmation of the rights of all of the people of Delaware," Sen. Brian Bushweller, D-Dover, said.

The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Robert Venables, D-Laurel, who said he wanted to make the already-illegal practice part of the state Constitution to prevent courts from being able to overturn the law.

Venables said other states have seen their legal bans overturned when courts ruled the laws were a violation of civil rights.

Far from gaining the three-fifths majority necessary for an amendment to progress, the bill was voted down 11-9.

Debate turns contentious

Several people testified in favor of the legislation, including Nicole Theis, executive director of the Christian group the Delaware Family Policy Council.

The overturning of gay marriage bans in other states has forced churches to comply with the laws and schools to teach that homosexuality is acceptable, she said.

"Whatever you put into public policy reflects what happens in the classroom," Theis said, holding up copies of children's books that depict gay characters. "I think most people would agree, how you want to live is up to you, but don't teach it in the classroom."

Drewry Fennell, executive director of the ACLU in Delaware, spoke against SB 27 and accused Venables and the bill's co-sponsors, including Sens. Colin Bonini, Thurman Adams, Bruce Ennis and Gary Simpson, of being motivated by their own biases.

"Elevating a prohibition that isn't based on one thing but discriminatory feelings is wrong," Fennell said. "That's not what we use the constitution for. I think it sends a message that many of you would not want to be sending."

It got nasty at a few points in the proceedings - read the rest HERE.

As usual, the sponsors of the bill had to drag out the old dead horses to beat again and again - gay marriage = pedophilia, incest, dangerous to society, and blah, blah, blah. Didn't work.

Let me just say that I had a two way conversation with Sen. Venables via letters to the editor in our local paper a few years ago. He wrote long, uninformed letters, not only uninformed, but some outright lies. He wrote that gays were 'dangerous' and the agenda had to be stopped. I wrote that I found it mystifying that he gave us so much power for second class citizens, and that a straight man appeared to know more about life of gay men in Delaware than gay people did. I pointed out that he spent way too much time judging gay people. Our letter war ended when I wrote that his letters (wandering essays, really) bordered on an obsession with all things gay.

Yesterday we took one more step forward. I wish I could have been there in person.

More later.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mt. Redoubt Responds to the GOP

Click image to Biggen and read the quote.

h/t to The Mudflats. A great site.

More later.

NPR Achieves Record High Ratings

To me, this is great news. I listen to NPR almost every day at work or at home. News and analysis from all sides of any issue without all the screaming or accusations. I am an especially big fan of the Diane Rehm Show. She's an icon and no one on her daily panel of guests gets away with falsehoods because she calls them on it and demands proof. I love her. Now this.
From today's WaPo:
At a time when newspapers, magazines and TV news continue to lose readers and viewers, at least one part of the traditional media has continued to grow robustly: National Public Radio.

The audience for NPR's daily news programs, including "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered," reached a record last year, driven by widespread interest in the presidential election, and the general decline of radio news elsewhere. Washington-based NPR will release new figures to its stations today showing that the cumulative audience for its daily news programs hit 20.9 million a week, a 9 percent increase over the previous year.

The weekly audience for all the programming fed by Washington-based NPR -- including talk shows and music -- also reached a record last year, with 23.6 million people tuning in each week, an 8.7 percent increase over 2007.

While almost every news organization saw its audience spike during the political campaign last year, NPR's surge continues a trend that goes back to at least the fall of 2000, when the organization began aggregating audience data from hundreds of affiliated public stations across the country. NPR saw a big audience increase after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and has added listeners since. Its audience has grown 47 percent since 2000, according to figures from Arbitron.

"When people discover us, they seem to discover us for good," Ellen Weiss, NPR's senior vice president for news, said in an interview yesterday. "They stay with us."

More than half of NPR's daily audience comes from its two "core" news shows, "Morning Edition" and the evening "All Things Considered." "Morning Edition's" average daily audience, 7.6 million, is now about 60 percent larger than the audience for "Good Morning America" on ABC and about one-third larger than the audience for the "Today" show on NBC.

The favorable audience data, however, hasn't spared NPR from the budget woes that are affecting almost every news organization in the nation. In December, NPR cut 7 percent of its news staff and eliminated two daily newsmagazine programs, "Day to Day" and "News & Notes."
On weekends there's a gardening show, and The Splendid Table for people who love to cook and eat, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion, among others. Read the rest at the link above. then tune in and if you like what you hear, consider becoming a member of your local station to help close the budget gap.

More later.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Freddie Mercury's Last Vocal Performance:

With Montserrat Cabelle: Barcelona

For some reason the embedding option has been disabled "by request" - by whom, we don't know. " So, you'll have to click on the link above to view the video. Sorry for any inconvenience.

But, go and watch and be amazed that he still had the stamina to get this done.

It is truly amazing.

And so it goes.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Global Economic Crisis about Power, not Money.

It doesn't get much better than this. Long, but worth the read by Matt Tiabbi in Rolling Stone:
The Big Takeover.

It's over — we're officially, royally fucked. no empire can survive being rendered a permanent laughingstock, which is what happened as of a few weeks ago, when the buffoons who have been running things in this country finally went one step too far. It happened when Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was forced to admit that he was once again going to have to stuff billions of taxpayer dollars into a dying insurance giant called AIG, itself a profound symbol of our national decline — a corporation that got rich insuring the concrete and steel of American industry in the country's heyday, only to destroy itself chasing phantom fortunes at the Wall Street card tables, like a dissolute nobleman gambling away the family estate in the waning days of the British Empire.

The latest bailout came as AIG admitted to having just posted the largest quarterly loss in American corporate history — some $61.7 billion. In the final three months of last year, the company lost more than $27 million every hour. That's $465,000 a minute, a yearly income for a median American household every six seconds, roughly $7,750 a second. And all this happened at the end of eight straight years that America devoted to frantically chasing the shadow of a terrorist threat to no avail, eight years spent stopping every citizen at every airport to search every purse, bag, crotch and briefcase for juice boxes and explosive tubes of toothpaste. Yet in the end, our government had no mechanism for searching the balance sheets of companies that held life-or-death power over our society and was unable to spot holes in the national economy the size of Libya (whose entire GDP last year was smaller than AIG's 2008 losses).

So it's time to admit it: We're fools, protagonists in a kind of gruesome comedy about the marriage of greed and stupidity. And the worst part about it is that we're still in denial — we still think this is some kind of unfortunate accident, not something that was created by the group of psychopaths on Wall Street whom we allowed to gang-rape the American Dream. When Geithner announced the new $30 billion bailout, the party line was that poor AIG was just a victim of a lot of shitty luck — bad year for business, you know, what with the financial crisis and all. Edward Liddy, the company's CEO, actually compared it to catching a cold: "The marketplace is a pretty crummy place to be right now," he said. "When the world catches pneumonia, we get it too." In a pathetic attempt at name-dropping, he even whined that AIG was being "consumed by the same issues that are driving house prices down and 401K statements down and Warren Buffet's investment portfolio down."

Read the rest HERE.

And so it goes.



This sudden burst of blooms came about quite by surprise. The plant is at the store and was thought to be almost dead due being left on an open terrace exposed to the winter cold. Then, one morning I found five branches had sprouted over the weekend and strange little nodules peopled the branches. A few days later these lovely, delicate flowers began to appear. (Click the image to make biggen.)

Some nodules, or buds, are still opening and growing larger as they do. I took this shot two days ago and just now getting to post it. Clearly this plant likes its new home. I have no idea what species of orchid this is, but it is quite stunning and vivid in colouring.

It's a joy to see the crocus are coming up and daffodils are on the way. First signs of Spring.

Just thought I'd share. Hope your weekend is a peace-filled one.

More later.

Friday Night & Saturday Morning.

My friend Elizabeth left a message letting me know that she was coming to the beach on Thursday for a little peace, quiet, and more importantly, a break from her Lenten duties. She suggested a fish and chips dinner and a martini - one of our traditions whenever we get together - at a favourite Irish pub in town Friday evening.

There were three of us for dinner; E invited a friend and parishioner (named Biz) to join us and we had a great time. The fish was wonderful (they use grouper), as usual, and the company was grand. We laughed out loud and shared stories about everything and nothing in particular. That single martini - Bombay Sapphire Gin with two olives - did us a world of good and gave us just enough buzz to let loose. The whole affair was perfect medicine.

I arrived at the apartment still smiling and right on time to watch Keith and Rachel before nodding off to sleep. Slept well and woke to the rising of the crescent moon with Venus as an added bonus just above the horizon.

It's going to be a good day; a bit cold, but the plan is to spend the day cooking and listening to music. Jambalaya is first on the agenda followed by marinated pork roast. I am grateful to have the entire weekend off to do only what strikes my fancy. Nice.

More later, maybe.


Dominion Caturday

'Nuf said!

More later.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Buyers of Fake Designer Handbags Held Hostage.

No surprise here. It was bound to happen sometime - and it could have been worse if you think about it.
From the NY Daily News:
During a police raid on counterfeit purse vendors who operated their business out of vans, one vendor locked his would-be buyers in his van for two hours. He didn't make any demands and the "hostages" were released; police believe he was just scared. The vendor was arrested for trademark counterfeit charges AND unlawful imprisonment; 20 other vendors just face the counterfeiting charges. The commanding officer of the trademark unit told the Post and Daily News vendors set up their vans like storefronts, with benches, shelves and lighting, "I don't think the recession is affecting it at all." According to the NYPD, the fake bags included "a number of Louis Vuitton, Coach, Burberry, Dooney and Bourke, and Dolce & Gabbana counterfeit purses with a street value of approx. $125,000 were recovered," and the city says that besides cheating legitimate business owners, many of these operations are connected with money laundering.

When friends visit NYC Canal Street is always at the top of their list of places to go to buy these cheap knock-off bags that will likely last a few weeks before falling apart. Aside from being illegal to sell the counterfeits, it should be illegal to buy the damned things as well. These buyers and sellers side step the NY economy. In short, the buyers ought to be arrested, too. Damn it!

More pics and the full story at the link above.

More later.

AIG Chief Didn't Always Defend Contracts

Why didn't anyone think of this before? While at Allstate Liddy was known for dissing contracts to maximize profits. Take, for example, his response and performance in the hurricane gulf coast.

From the Times Picayune:

"Bilking American taxpayers is what insurance companies do. Why is anyone surprised?!" Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., said in a news release Wednesday afternoon about the AIG bonuses.

To many on the Gulf Coast, watching AIG Chief Executive Officer Edward Liddy talk about the sanctity of contracts in defending the award of $220 million in bonuses to employees at the embattled insurer was an ironic moment.

"How about that?" said Bob Hunter, a New Orleans native who is director of insurance at the Consumer Federation of America and author of a 2007 study documenting the decline of claims payout ratios at Allstate, Louisiana's second-largest insurer, during Liddy's tenure. "He's always disregarded contracts to maximize profits."

Liddy was appointed by the federal government in September to run AIG when the ailing insurer got its first installment of taxpayer bailout money, which now totals $170 billion.

Before caving to pressure Wednesday and saying he would ask those who received more than $100,000 in bonuses to return half of the money, Liddy argued that the money needed to stay where it was because contracts are sacrosanct.

"We cannot attract and retain the best and the brightest talent to lead and staff the AIG businesses -- which are now being operated principally on behalf of American taxpayers -- if employees believe their compensation is subject to continued and arbitrary adjustment by the U.S. Treasury, " he said earlier in the week.

Delay and deny

Liddy ran Allstate Corp. from when it was spun off from Sears, Roebuck & Co. in 1995 until the end of 2006. During that time, Allstate perfected the practice of getting tough with policyholders to delay and deny claims, as documented in the book by New Mexico attorney David Berardinelli, "From Good Hands to Boxing Gloves."

While that book dealt mainly with a strategy for tamping down car insurance claim payouts to increase profitability, many believe those same practices could be seen at work en masse after Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, where thousands of policyholders filed suit against the Illinois company.

"It's rather ironic that Ed Liddy is espousing the sanctity of contracts when it serves the interests of the insurance company, but when the sanctity of contracts is violated from the homeowners' perspective, there's no obligation and it's up to the homeowners or the courts to enforce it, " said Johnny Denenea, an attorney for Slidell homeowners Bob and Merryl Weiss, who won a verdict against Allstate in the first insurance trial to be completed in federal court after Hurricane Katrina.

My grandfather always said that insurance was for people who didn't need it. Katrina, Rita, and Gustav proved him right.

More later.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Taxing the AIG Bonuses?

It ain't a good day when you see the head of the Fed in this pose.

There's a bill being pushed in the House to tax the recipients of AIG's biggest bonuses and it's getting lots of play on the news.


How is that going to happen when the majority of those receiving the biggest bonus are in the UK division?

How can the US demand taxes be paid in another country? Am I missing something here? I'm just askin'.

More later.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Dirty F**king Hippies Were Right!

This arrived in my inbox. Seems to be the cool new way to offer an Op-Ed using music and images, and a bit of dirty language. But, it was THEY who used that derogatory phrase to describe us.

Still, it's good to see this compilation. Enjoy.

And so it goes.


God Hates Figs!

You read that right... (Click to make biggen.) For the next time you're faced with Christianist nut jobs.

More later.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St.Pat's Day

I'll be having Corned Beef and Cabbage leftovers for supper. It's always better the second time around.

Haven't heard "Danny Boy" once today...thank you Jeebus!

And so it goes.

West Point Grads Come Out

Maybe this is a coincidence, coming on the heels of the report of the Army firings of January, but a welcome one, indeed. This takes a lot of courage. I wonder if the MSM will run the story anytime soon, or wait until they can't avoid it anymore.

From Navy Times:

Thirty-eight graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., came out of the closet Monday with an offer to help their alma mater educate future Army leaders on the need to accept and honor the sacrifices of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender troops.

“Knights Out” wants to serve as a connection between gay troops and Army administrators, particularly at West Point, to provide an “open forum” for communication between gay West Point graduates and their fellow alumni and to serve in an advisory role for West Point leaders in the eventuality — which the group believes is both “imminent and inevitable” — that the law and policy collectively known as “don’t ask, don’t tell” are repealed by Congress.

“We’re publicly announcing our sexuality, our orientation,” said 1st Lt. Dan Choi, (pictured above - click to biggen) a National Guardsman with the 1st Bn., 69th Infantry, based in Manhattan. “It’s just one part of who we are in saying that we are standing to be counted.”

In forming Knights Out, its 38 members are following the example of similar support and education groups formed by graduates of the U.S. Naval Academy and U.S. Air Force Academy, known respectively as USNA Out and Blue Alliance. Most if not all of these groups’ members also belong to the Service Academy Gay and Lesbian Alumni social network, a group that Knights Out claims includes some active-duty commanders serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Choi, a Korean by descent, is a combat veteran of Iraq who graduated from West Point in 2003 with a degree in Arabic language. He said his unit is aware that he’s a homosexual and added, “I’m very comfortable with all the repercussions right now. To me, it’s about doing the right thing, not about trying to fit into the process that gets you the rank or prevents you from getting a discharge.

“If that’s the repercussion, I’m ready to take it,” he said. “I think it’s more important that I let everybody know that … it is a wrong policy.”

Choi said the group has contacted West Point leadership and gotten “a very warm response.” An academy spokesman couldn’t confirm that assertion, noting that today was the first day of West Point’s spring break and that the campus was nearly empty.

Ah, playing dodge ball again...just end the frigging ban, already.

More later.


Monday, March 16, 2009

"Coco" Video from the 1970 Tony's

In my wildest dreams I never thought I would see a reminder of this show. While not a big hit, it did run for almost a year - from 12/69 to 10/70 - and Hepburn is just as I remember her; quick, always in character, giving, and unbelievably beautiful.

If you didn't see the show, don't fret, even many gay men in NYC didn't want to see Kate attempt to sing. S0me were even cruel without even having seen the show. I was mesmerized. This video may show you why that was.

This brought back so many lovely memories.

And so it goes.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Another Bush Phrase Bites the Dust.

Last month the new administration said it would no longer use "war on terror" and now it has eliminated "enemy combatant" as well.

From the AP via Google:

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is abandoning one of President George W. Bush's key phrases in the war on terrorism: enemy combatant. In court filings Friday, the Justice Department said it will no longer use the term to justify holding prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

Obama still asserts the military's authority to hold prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. But he says that authority comes from Congress and the international laws of war, not from the president's own wartime power.

Bush had argued that the president as commander in chief could unilaterally hold prisoners without charge.

The Justice Department says prisoners can only be detained if their support for al-Qaida or the Taliban was "substantial."

Maybe these are only minor changes, but words are powerful and BushCo used many words and phrases as fear mongering talking points to keep us all scared witless.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

DADT: US Army Fired 11 Soldiers in January 09.

Our military has fired and destroyed the lives of thousands of talented LGBT personnel since 1993. As if firing translators in the middle of the Iraq war wasn't bad enough, would you believe they're still at it? Why does the Pentagon hate America? Homophobes, and that's a fact.
From Yahoo News:
WASHINGTON – The Army fired 11 soldiers in January for violating the military's policy that gay service members must keep their sexuality hidden, according to a Virginia congressman. Democratic Rep. Jim Moran said he has requested monthly updates from the Pentagon on the impact of the policy until it is repealed.

In a statement released on Thursday, Moran said the discharged soldiers included an intelligence collector, a military police officer, four infantry personnel, a health care specialist, a motor-transport operator and a water-treatment specialist.

"How many more good soldiers are we willing to lose due to a bad policy that makes us less safe and secure?" asked Moran, a member of the House panel that oversees military spending.

The Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy was instituted after President Bill Clinton tried to lift the ban on gay service members in 1993. It refers to the military practice of not asking recruits their sexual orientation. In turn, service members are banned from saying they are gay or bisexual, engaging in homosexual activity or trying to marry a member of the same sex.

The military discharged nearly 10,000 service members under the policy in a 10-year period, from 1997 to 2007. The number fired each year dropped sharply after the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, when forces were stretched thin. Whereas more than 1,200 were dismissed in 2000 and again in 2001 for violating the policy, about half as many — 627 — were fired in 2007.

The Pentagon has not released its 2008 figures.

The White House has said President Barack Obama has begun consulting with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen on how to lift the ban. But the administration won't say how soon that might happen or whether a group of experts will be commissioned to study the issue in-depth, as some Democrats have suggested.
Ya gotta wonder...

And so it goes.


Busy, Busy...

This is what my life was like last week, stuck in the middle, to be sure. (Click to make biggen.) Not only is one person away on holiday, there was the inventory to finish up, new pieces to get into the computer system, and a whopping 38 appraisals to prepare for customer’s insurance companies. (Not all are completed, but they’ll have to wait until next week.) All this while any customers who wandered in, by the way.

Monday and Tuesday were 10-hour days. Thursday and Friday were 12 and 11-hour days, leaving me with just enough energy and brain power to prepare an evening meal without falling asleep.

The appraisals are the most difficult, requiring great concentration due to the detail that must be given to each and every piece – caret weight of gold, size, cut, colour, and quality of stones, as well as a description of the design of each piece – is time intensive and tedious work. I created a template so that appraisals can be typed into the computer and printed out rather than going through the agony of hand printing each one. That, at least, was an improvement.

I arrived last evening with barely enough energy in reserve to make a turkey burger and a glass of wine, which was followed by a hot shower, tooth brushing and bed. I don’t remember anything else. No dreams, merely pure blackness and peace.

Woke with the sun today. More relaxed this morning I was able to complete some web updates that I’ve been working on since Wednesday. Now I have the luxury of the rest of the weekend to myself. Looking forward to a meet up and dine out with friends on Sunday evening before beginning another nightmarish week pretty much a duplicate of the last one. I really can't complain, at least for the moment I have a job, albeit a part time one.

I’m not Irish, but I have a hankering for Corned Beef and Cabbage; it being nearly St. Paddy’s day and all, so I’ll start making that after lunch and a walk. Following snow showers and rain yesterday the sun is bright today and there is hardly a breeze.

I can’t remember the last time I had an entire weekend off, but it certainly feels good. I may even get to church tomorrow, and that would be one more good thing.

More later.


Cocktail Caturday

After the week I've had, I could you a few, too.

More later when I come up for air.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

DE Anti-bias Bill Could See a Vote.

We here in the first state seldom make national news, but this has been picked up by a few progressive and LGBT blogs. I had the honor of working on Pete's first campaign. And now he's the Majority Leader. Make me proud, Pete.

Delaware Online:

DOVER -- The decade-old battle to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation began anew Tuesday with the introduction of legislation in the state House.

And this year, with the Senate's famous desk-drawer veto now apparently out of play, the bill's chances of reaching the governor's desk seem brighter than in years past.

House Bill 5, sponsored by Majority Leader Peter Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in housing, employment, public works contracting, public accommodations and insurance.

"This legislation is long overdue. This is the fifth time it has been introduced in the past nine years and we have passed it in the House three times," Schwartzkopf said in a statement. "This is 2009. If the past several months have taught us anything, it's that Americans are much more tolerant and accepting of others now than ever before."

"End of story. That's it," he said in a subsequent interview. "It's not a special-rights bill. It doesn't have anything to do with gay marriage, it has nothing to do with civil unions. The bottom line is, people shouldn't be discriminated against."

Delaware already prohibits discrimination based on age, religion, gender, race, marital status and physical handicap. HB 5 would add sexual orientation to that list.

The bill would not cover religious corporations, associations or societies, even if they receive government funds. And it would not require employers to offer health insurance, pension or other benefits to same-sex couples.

The Senate has always been a dead-end for similar bills, even though it is controlled by Democrats and then-Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, a Democrat, made it a legislative priority. The bills have all died in the Senate without a floor vote.

But this year, the Senate has changed its rules to eliminate the desk-drawer veto, which gave Senate committee chairs the ability to bury a bill.

Go and read the whole thing. It's a bit long, but it's been long in coming, too.

More later.

"Diapers" Vitter Does a Hissy Meltdown

Why is this wingnut still in the Senate? Fetishes and hookers weren't bad enough? Oh well, just one more embarrassment for Louisiana. From Roll Call via Raw Story:
The Republican senator who found himself on a DC madam's client list is drawing new attention over "impulse control."

After missing a flight last Thursday from Washington to New Orleans, Louisiana Sen. David Vitter opened an armed security door and went off on a United Airlines employee, according to a report filed Wednesday by (paid-restricted) Roll Call.

The door sounded a security alarm.

Vitter had arrived at the gate for a flight from Dulles Airport, only to find that the door had been closed twenty minutes prior to departure.

After setting off the security alarm, the Louisiana senator proceeded to dress down an airline employee who told him entering the restricted area was forbidden. He invoked his standing as a senator, delivering a "do-you-know-who-I-am" tirade, the paper said.

The airline worker then announced he was going to summon security.

"Vitter, according to the witness, remained defiant, yelling that the employee could call the police if he wanted to and their supervisors, who, presumably, might be more impressed with his Senator's pin," the paper's Heard on the Hill column noted. "But after talking a huffy big game, Vitter apparently thought better of pushing the confrontation any further. When the gate attendant left to find a security guard, Vitter turned tail and simply fled the scene."

The paper joked that Vitter, 47, had joined the "mile-low club," and said that there's a "proud tradition" of US lawmakers devolving into temper tantrums at airports.

Reached for comment by Roll Call, Vitter's spokeperson did not dispute the incident.

I love that he tried the old 'do you know who I am' routine what worked so well for Larry Craig.

More later.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Gay Unions Won't be Counted in 2010 Census

And to think I was attempting to work for the 2010 Census. You know, they are going to have to be brought into the new century kicking and screaming. If they call, I won't be available. This really stinks.

No matter the legal fate of Proposition 8, the 2010 Census will not count same-sex marriages or ask respondents about their sexual orientation.

The federal Defense of Marriage Act signed in 1996 by President Bill Clinton does not recognize gay unions sanctioned by states.

Census takers will ask same-sex couples who live together to define themselves as "unmarried partners," as they did in 2000 before some states - currently only Connecticut and Massachusetts - allowed gay marriage.

"This is all about the numbers. This not about lifestyle or anything else," says U.S. Census spokeswoman Cynthia Endo.

The omission of gay marriage and sexuality questions on the census bothers some gays and lesbians, who argue that a proper accounting would give them the same visibility as minorities, who gain political power when their numbers increase.

"I am a sociologist and census data \ very important to our existence, and I don't like it when they leave things out, it causes an undercount," says Sharon Raphael, 67, who teaches gerontology at Cal State Dominguez Hills. "Certain numbers of us are not out, and when they hide us under these general descriptions ... it just makes us more invisible."

Raphael's partner, Mina Meyer, 69, says she will probably check the "married" box when the census form arrives at their East Long Beach home.

"Somebody needs to read that, somebody in those offices needs to know there are people out here who are married," Meyer says, adding that she and Raphael married in California when it was legal last year.

Though the census will not count gay marriages, domestic partnerships, civil union or the numbers of gays and lesbians, the questionnaire should provide some insight, albeit indirectly, into those areas.

The census form, Endo says, allows respondents to identify the number of adults in a given household and their relationship. Along with husband and wife, one of those choices is "unmarried partner."

If two people of the same sex identify as husband and husband or wife and wife, the census will retain that answer, but when results are released those people will be counted as unmarried partners.

"The census is all about self-identification," Endo says. "We don't ask that question \ on the census at all, but certain information can be gleaned from that if two people are living ... in the house."

Same-sex couples with children will not be categorized as "families" on the census. Children will be counted as belonging to single parents, those "unmarried partners."

Although I am no longer married (yes, I was, in Canada in 2003 - part of my previous life) my census forms will go into the garbage.

Read the rest HERE.

More later.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Pet Shop Boys Help Celebrate the Blogiversary

This is the video from their soon to be released CD "YES" titled "Love Etc.". It's in HD and the wonderfully catchy lyrics are below the video. These guys just get better and better.

If you’d like to sing along:

Well it’s tough getting on in the world

When the sun doesn’t shine

And a boy needs a girl

It’s about getting out of a rut

You need luck

But you’re stuck and you don’t know how

(Don’t have to be)

A big bucks Hollywood star

(Don’t have to drive)

A super car to get far

(Don’t have to live)

A life of power and wealth

(Don’t have to be)

Beautiful but it helps

(Don’t have to buy)

A house in Beverly Hills

(Don’t have to have)

Your daddy paying the bills

(Don’t have to live)

A life of power and wealth

(Don’t have to be)

Beautiful but it helps

You need more

Than a big blank check to be a lover, or

A gulf stream jet to fly you door to door

Somewhere chic on another shore

You need more (6x)

You need love

You need love

You need love

Too much of anything is never enough

Too much of everything is never enough

Well it’s tough getting on in the world

When the sun doesn’t shine

And a boy needs a girl

It’s about getting out of a rut

You need luck but you’re stuck

and you don’t know how

(Don’t have to be)

A big bucks Hollywood star

(Don’t have to drive)

A super car to get far

(Don’t have to wear)

A smile much colder than ice

(Don’t have to be)

Beautiful, but it’s nice

You need more

Than the girl handwriting on your wall

A chauffeur driven limousine encore

To drive your wife and lover to a whiter ball

You need more (6x)

You need love

I believe that we can achieve the love that we need

I believe, call me naive, but love is for free

(Don’t have to be)

A big bucks Hollywood star

(Don’t have to drive)

A super car to go far

(Don’t have to live)


A life of power and wealth

(Don’t have to be)

Beautiful but it helps

Beautiful but it helps

Beautiful but it helps

And so it goes.


A Letter to the Bank

Dear Sirs,

In view of what seems to be happening internationally with banks at the moment, I was wondering if you could advise me.

If one of my checks is returned marked "Insufficient Funds," how do I know whether that refers to me or to you?


More later.

Happy Blogiversary to Me!

OK, so I'm one day late. March 6, 2007 actually, and this was the very first post that day.


Three words: Isn't this sad?

(Yes well, somethings never go away.)

More later.


It's Caturday!


More later.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Moving Forward While Taking a Look Back

What a great day to be off work. The sun is shining in a clear blue sky; there is a light breeze; the temp. is closing in on 60’ F, and the snow is almost gone. If this pattern holds the only evidence of the snowstorm this week will be the residual sand and salt on the roadways. I’ll be heading out for a walk shortly just to enjoy the fresh air and the warm sun.

While rummaging through the storage space I found another box of photo albums from the previous life. They too, will be thrown away, but a friend is coming by tomorrow to view them beforehand. I’ve already dumped the first four years of photos (1975 – 78), and the Ex disposed of dozens of trays of slides – my film of choice most of the time. These go back to 1979 and end somewhere in the mid-nineties.

From the NYC apartment to the house in the woods of Northwestern NJ; various trips and events; vegetable gardening and old friends – many long since dead. Summer trips to lakes Winnipesaukee and Sunapee (see the photo above) with friends in New Hampshire, and weekend getaways to upstate NY and Massachusetts. To holidays in London, Amsterdam, and Paris.

Good times and happy faces all around. Weddings, births, baptisms, and funerals. Volunteering for the AIDS Memorial Quilt displays in DC in 88, 89, and 92. The March on Washington, and plenty of NYC Pride Parades. What a full life that was. ‘WAS’ being the operative word in all this.

Surprisingly I feel nothing looking at them now. Mildly surprised when it’s difficult to recall details of a specific photo or the name of a person in the shot. That’s to be expected after 3 decades and so many life-changing events.

That’s all I got. It’s time for that walk in the sun.

More later.

"Leave Limbaugh Alone" - A Video Satire

John Amato of Crooks and Liars fame has created a video.

Let's let John do the 'splainin' for this. It's so good.

Those mean liberals are beating up on Rush Limbaugh! The horror! The horror!

This is, as Kos notes, the right-wing whine du jour, keyed by Karl Rove. I just wanted to beat Glenn Beck to the burst-of-tears thing ...

Digby sent me an e-mail saying that a reader from the Burnt Orange Report had mentioned doing a takeoff of the "Leave Britney Alone" video from Chris Crocker, this time about Rush Limbaugh.

Since Limbaugh is running the GOP now, I thought that he could use a little back up from us lefties, right? Michael Steele certainly hasn't helped the GOP much.

Anyway, I wanted to have a little fun with a webcam...

Here's the video. Brace yourselves:

And the Oscar goes to...

John is so cute when he cries. I am still laughing. Seriously, thanks for all the work you folks do at C & L. You're the best.

It's the weekend...Yay!

And so it goes.

President to Send $438 Million to NOLA & Gulf

Maybe this time the funds will actually be distributed and accounted for. Why is it always the Democrats who have to clean up the mess made by incompetent Republicans and their cronies?

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) — The Obama administration announced Thursday that it would commit an additional $438 million toward resettling Gulf Coast residents uprooted by storms dating back to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The announcement came as Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano toured parts of the New Orleans area, pledging to speed up aid to those who still need permanent housing.

“What we have seen today makes us disturbed, angry even, to see some of the families living the way they have,” Donovan said. “And we pledge to you our partnership to a new beginning here in New Orleans and across the Gulf.”

From his mouth to G*d's ear. To hear Rove say that "Bush did everything he could and the rebuilding has been a success" burns my biscuits. Anyone visiting beyond the Quarter knows that NOLA is virtually a dead and dangerous place.

Three and a half years...amazing.

More later.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What's another word for Beyond Cold?

It's a whopping 5 degrees this morning. My door is frozen shut. Just waiting for the sun to warm it up a little; don't want to force it open and wreck the paint job.

Off to work in 3 -2 - 1...Although I have no idea why. The only folks daring to shop in this weather will be searching for warm clothes and they will be out of luck. All stores are stocked to the ceilings with Summer fashions. Yes, folks. Summer fashions.

We haven't celebrated St. Paddy's day and all the Easter crap is already everywhere.

Ah, retail.

More later.


Monday, March 2, 2009

'Milk' Evokes Memories for Relatives

What else to do on a snowy, blustery day? Read the Gray Lady, of course. I stumbled upon this from about a week ago. Don't know how I missed it, but here it is. It's quite touching, really.

Here's a taste:

Long before Harvey Milk became one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States, before he established himself as a civil rights leader in San Francisco, and before he was assassinated in 1978, he was a bright, sometimes mischievous, kid growing up in a large Jewish immigrant family on Long Island.

Gus Van Sant’s “Milk,” a nominee for the Academy Award for best picture, has evoked strong memories for Milk’s family on the East Coast. The film, starring Sean Penn, who has been nominated for best actor, focuses mostly on Milk’s life after he moved to San Francisco in the early 1970s. His family was not emphasized much in the film nor in earlier accounts, “The Mayor of Castro Street,” Randy Shilts’s 1982 biography of Milk, and Rob Epstein’s 1984 documentary “The Times of Harvey Milk.”

March Came in Like a Lion!

The snow began as rain early on Sunday morning, turning to freezing rain by afternoon and snow at around 6 pm. Huge flakes fell as a light winds blew them about as they began to cover everything almost immediately. There was about 3 inches when I went to bed and the flakes were a bit smaller.

I woke up to about 8 inches of snow and a small fox in the back yard who was covered in snow, looked cold and confused. The snow continues to fall and is predicted to fall until late afternoon, but there's a possibility of snow showers throughout the night. High tide on the marshes was so high there was no sign of reeds - only water and snow and ice. Very strange sight, indeed.

It is a wet, heavy snow and won't be easy to shovel. I left the car on the road stupidly thinking that I'd be going to work today. Ha! Ain't nobody going to work today. Only a few of the main evacuation roads have been plowed and opened. I'll wait for the snow to taper off to get out and clean snow and ice off the car.

As you can see by the photos taken through the living room window the wet snow blankets everything. (Click on the images to make biggen.) We lost power twice over night, but only for brief periods at a time. I hope that remains true for the duration.

I've never seen this much snow here at the beach this far south. It's beautiful, also dangerous, as the winds are now kicking up to between 25 & 35 mph.

More later.
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