Archive for May, 2008

>Show Me the Money, Gays

May 30, 2008

>Happy Birthday Red!!!

My youngest turns 18 today. Yes that makes me feel old. Here are both kids (not current – from a couple of years ago)


Scroll down to yesterday’s post to see listings of Pride events. Happily, Central Alabama Pride finally has their permit for next weekend’s parade.

CAP president Jonathan Quinn is still working to get rainbow flags or banners up in Five Points as in past years, and is working with merchants in the area. “They know what we do for the community and what business we bring and they appreciate our time and money.”

The gay community’s money is green, just like straight money. Years ago, when Pensacola was “wrestling” with hosting the big gay beach event on Memorial Day, the gay community made a point. A big one. With pink markers they drew triangles on their green money (never mind the color clash, this ain’t fashion) so that business owners could see just how much gay money was being spent. Business leaders got the message, city leaders enjoyed the tax revenue, and the heat against the gay event died down.

CW says gays and lesbians would have more disposable income than other groups, since many of the group have no children. But there are other reasons as well.

The following comes from various sources, including : Selig Center (African-American, Hispanic and Asian-American Buying Power), U.S. Census estimates, and Witeck-Combs Communications and MarketResearch.com.

Gays are:

  • More than twice as likely as the national index to be professionals or managers.
  • 3.4 times more likely as the national index to have incomes over 250K.
  • twice as likely to have graduated from college

And there are reasons for business people to cater to the GLBT community:

  • 2000 census shows that partnered gays and lesbians live in over 99% of U. S. counties
  • 9% 0f urban populations are gay
  • Gay men and lesbians go out more, buy more, have more disposable income and are extremely loyal consumers
  • Gay and lesbian consumers purchase from companies/brands that advertise in gay media, deliver product messages in gay-specific advertising, support gay and lesbian community causes and are good to their own gay and lesbian employees
  • 60 percent took a foreign trip in the last three years
  • 59 percent buy themselves whatever they want

And there is this. In 2003, America’s 17 million Gays had 485 billion in buying power, compared to 688 billion for the nation’s 36 million African Americans and 653 billion for America’s 37 million Hispanics. That calculates to 1.5 times per capita buying power for gays compared to other groups.

So listen up, merchants. Gays are paying your mortgage and your kids college tuition. Fly the flags and let us know you appreciate us (well, our money, anyway).

And things are looking up in California. A Los Angeles Times poll taken just after the Supreme court decision for marriage equality showed that by a 54 to 35 % margin, Californians were in support of the proposed amendment banning same sex marriage.

More recently, a Field Poll, which has been tracking same sex marraige since 1977, when only 28% favored it, now shows that by a 51 to 42% difference gays should have the right to marry.

That difference in opinion has occured in just a couple of weeks since the decision. I think that by the time the vote comes around, the measure will be defeated handily. But not without hard work by people on the ground in California.

The Human Rights Campaign points out that marriage equality could last only 173 days if the ban is approved in November. Continue to visit Equality for All and donate to their effort to defeat the anti-equality amendment.

Enjoy Central Alabama Pride, even if you are not gay. The Art Show is tonight (see below).

Show Me the Money, Gays

May 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Red!!!

My youngest turns 18 today. Yes that makes me feel old. Here are both kids (not current – from a couple of years ago)


Scroll down to yesterday’s post to see listings of Pride events. Happily, Central Alabama Pride finally has their permit for next weekend’s parade.

CAP president Jonathan Quinn is still working to get rainbow flags or banners up in Five Points as in past years, and is working with merchants in the area. “They know what we do for the community and what business we bring and they appreciate our time and money.”

The gay community’s money is green, just like straight money. Years ago, when Pensacola was “wrestling” with hosting the big gay beach event on Memorial Day, the gay community made a point. A big one. With pink markers they drew triangles on their green money (never mind the color clash, this ain’t fashion) so that business owners could see just how much gay money was being spent. Business leaders got the message, city leaders enjoyed the tax revenue, and the heat against the gay event died down.

CW says gays and lesbians would have more disposable income than other groups, since many of the group have no children. But there are other reasons as well.

The following comes from various sources, including : Selig Center (African-American, Hispanic and Asian-American Buying Power), U.S. Census estimates, and Witeck-Combs Communications and MarketResearch.com.

Gays are:

  • More than twice as likely as the national index to be professionals or managers.
  • 3.4 times more likely as the national index to have incomes over 250K.
  • twice as likely to have graduated from college

And there are reasons for business people to cater to the GLBT community:

  • 2000 census shows that partnered gays and lesbians live in over 99% of U. S. counties
  • 9% 0f urban populations are gay
  • Gay men and lesbians go out more, buy more, have more disposable income and are extremely loyal consumers
  • Gay and lesbian consumers purchase from companies/brands that advertise in gay media, deliver product messages in gay-specific advertising, support gay and lesbian community causes and are good to their own gay and lesbian employees
  • 60 percent took a foreign trip in the last three years
  • 59 percent buy themselves whatever they want

And there is this. In 2003, America’s 17 million Gays had 485 billion in buying power, compared to 688 billion for the nation’s 36 million African Americans and 653 billion for America’s 37 million Hispanics. That calculates to 1.5 times per capita buying power for gays compared to other groups.

So listen up, merchants. Gays are paying your mortgage and your kids college tuition. Fly the flags and let us know you appreciate us (well, our money, anyway).

And things are looking up in California. A Los Angeles Times poll taken just after the Supreme court decision for marriage equality showed that by a 54 to 35 % margin, Californians were in support of the proposed amendment banning same sex marriage.

More recently, a Field Poll, which has been tracking same sex marraige since 1977, when only 28% favored it, now shows that by a 51 to 42% difference gays should have the right to marry.

That difference in opinion has occured in just a couple of weeks since the decision. I think that by the time the vote comes around, the measure will be defeated handily. But not without hard work by people on the ground in California.

The Human Rights Campaign points out that marriage equality could last only 173 days if the ban is approved in November. Continue to visit Equality for All and donate to their effort to defeat the anti-equality amendment.

Enjoy Central Alabama Pride, even if you are not gay. The Art Show is tonight (see below).

>Central Alabama (Birmingham) Pride…and Scotty boy

May 29, 2008

>Pride begins in Birmingham this week, and key events are listed below. But I have to comment on “Scotty Boy” first.

Scott McClellan’s new book, What Happened, is reported to be a tell-all about the Bush White House, and there is plenty to hear and read about it all over the place. But why are so many of us not surprised to hear the things he wrote? We have known all along the administration misled the public (and the congress) in the run up to war. We knew there were no weapons of mass destruction. We knew Scooter Libby and Dick Cheney were involved in the Valerie Plame leak.

President Bush is said to be puzzled by the revelations, but that is no surprise. Bush? Puzzled?

But is the book really a “tell-all”? I haven’t heard Scott or any reporters talking about Scott’s role in allowing Jeff Gannon press passes so he could launch soft ball questions to the press secretary. Gannon remember (real name James Guckert) was really a gay escort (aka prostitute) who was featured on a military studs website. I hope no one takes offense at this picture, but it was all over the news a few years back.

Now you know that in a White House so boned up about security, that somebody had to realize that Jeff’s background included posing nude and making money with his body. Scott McClellan comes to mind, in part because of his reputation for cruising gay bars in Austin before going to D.C.

McClellan said at the time there was no breakdown in security, but most journalists take weeks to get clearance to work in the White House press corps. Somebody had to vouch for him, or maybe even lie about supposedly getting clearance for Gannon. Cruisy McClellan seems the likely choice.

And speaking of things gay, Pride begins in Birmingham this week. See a listing of all the events

at Central Alabama Pride. Highlights include:

Pride Art (works by local artists for viewing and sale) at the Harbert Center (2019 Fourth Ave N.) Friday, May 30, 7 – 9 pm.

Interfaith Prayer Service at Hill University Center (1400 University Blvd) Saturday, May 31, 7 – 8:30 pm.

Town Hall Meeting at Covenant Community Church (5117 1st Ave N) Wednesday June 4, 7 pm.

Parade Five Points South Saturday June 7, 8:30 pm. Arrive early.

Pridefest at Sloss Furnace Sunday June 9, 12:30 – 10:00 pm. Vendors, music, drag, politics, advocacy.

There are plenty of other offerings, like Cosmic Bowling and a cook out at Lakeview Yacht Club and more, so check out the web site.

Central Alabama (Birmingham) Pride…and Scotty boy

May 29, 2008

Pride begins in Birmingham this week, and key events are listed below. But I have to comment on “Scotty Boy” first.

Scott McClellan’s new book, What Happened, is reported to be a tell-all about the Bush White House, and there is plenty to hear and read about it all over the place. But why are so many of us not surprised to hear the things he wrote? We have known all along the administration misled the public (and the congress) in the run up to war. We knew there were no weapons of mass destruction. We knew Scooter Libby and Dick Cheney were involved in the Valerie Plame leak.

President Bush is said to be puzzled by the revelations, but that is no surprise. Bush? Puzzled?

But is the book really a “tell-all”? I haven’t heard Scott or any reporters talking about Scott’s role in allowing Jeff Gannon press passes so he could launch soft ball questions to the press secretary. Gannon remember (real name James Guckert) was really a gay escort (aka prostitute) who was featured on a military studs website. I hope no one takes offense at this picture, but it was all over the news a few years back.

Now you know that in a White House so boned up about security, that somebody had to realize that Jeff’s background included posing nude and making money with his body. Scott McClellan comes to mind, in part because of his reputation for cruising gay bars in Austin before going to D.C.

McClellan said at the time there was no breakdown in security, but most journalists take weeks to get clearance to work in the White House press corps. Somebody had to vouch for him, or maybe even lie about supposedly getting clearance for Gannon. Cruisy McClellan seems the likely choice.

And speaking of things gay, Pride begins in Birmingham this week. See a listing of all the events

at Central Alabama Pride. Highlights include:

Pride Art (works by local artists for viewing and sale) at the Harbert Center (2019 Fourth Ave N.) Friday, May 30, 7 – 9 pm.

Interfaith Prayer Service at Hill University Center (1400 University Blvd) Saturday, May 31, 7 – 8:30 pm.

Town Hall Meeting at Covenant Community Church (5117 1st Ave N) Wednesday June 4, 7 pm.

Parade Five Points South Saturday June 7, 8:30 pm. Arrive early.

Pridefest at Sloss Furnace Sunday June 9, 12:30 – 10:00 pm. Vendors, music, drag, politics, advocacy.

There are plenty of other offerings, like Cosmic Bowling and a cook out at Lakeview Yacht Club and more, so check out the web site.

>John McCain…so much to be said

May 28, 2008

>John McCain is a veteran, and most veterans, it seems, would support a G I bill that increases veterans benefits such as improving the path to college for vets. But McBush, er, McCain, like his hero George W, is opposed to improving the lot of those who fight for our country.

Of course their reasoning is flawed; they say that better college benefits will decrease re-enlistment and result in less numbers of servicemen. But a prediction by the Congressional Budget Office says the bill will increase recruitment by 16%, which happens to equal the predicted decline in re-ups.

VoteVets is urging McCain to support the bill. Watch.

At the VoteVets site you can also find news stories about V A officials urging fewer diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder. Now my understanding of good medical practice is when a disease or disorder is present, you diagnose it. Don’t avoid the diagnosis to make the numbers work or to reduce costs.

It is absolutely ridiculous and a sin that people returning from war can not get all of the counseling and therapy that they need. Perhaps then some of the estimated 18 suicides per day among veterans could be avoided. Of course the VA claimed that there were only 790 suicide attempts in all of 2007, when in reality about 1000 attempts per month were seen at VA facilities. 18 per day works out to be about 6,570 attempts per year.

Here is how Dr. Ira Katz, VA head of mental health, communicated about the numbers: ( from CBS…read it )

First, he titled his e-mail: “Not for the CBS News Interview Request.”

He opened it with “Shh!” – as in keep it quiet – before ending with “Is this something we should (carefully) address … before someone stumbles on it?”

Our country just uses its young men and women, then discards them with no concern for their future.

But really I didn’t set out to write about PTSD in current veterans. But it does lead right into my column on John McCain and his medical records.

McCain released (some of) his medical records on Friday. Here is my column from today’s Western Tribune about that:

Forty years ago, in the summer of 1968, John McCain was a prisoner of war. As is often repeated, he is a war hero, in part for surviving this harrowing experience, and should be honored as such. His past heroism is partly responsible for his success as a senator, while also providing somewhat of an excuse for his hot temper and at times unexplainable behavior.

As the presumptive presidential nominee for the Republican Party, under media pressure, McCain released his medical records last week. Included were such accolades as being much younger physiologically than he is chronologically. Not included were his psychiatric records.

When McCain was released from captivity he admittedly had experienced severe trauma, but avoided the diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder because the term was not used at that time. Information in his medical record clearly shows he would have received the diagnosis had it been recognized as such then. We have also seen that since the diagnosis became available in 1980, that veterans from as far back as World War 2 would be diagnosed with current episodes related to the condition.

PTSD can be overcome, or can linger and become a chronic condition. Shouldn’t John McCain release his psychiatric records if we are to believe he can be our president? If he has recovered, his records should say so, and we should be able to see them.

In addition, during that summer 40 years ago, McCain twice attempted suicide. I am not sure that anyone undergoing the torture that he went through could endure it without similar thoughts, but still, do you want a president whose answer to a most severe problem, regardless of the magnitude, is ending his own life?

Don’t get me wrong. I do not think that there should be a stigma associated with mental illness or even a suicide attempt, and if treated properly and a recovery is made this should not preclude one from becoming a leader or taking a position of responsibility including becoming a senator. But a senator works as part of a body of legislators, and is not by himself making decisions of national importance.

A president does make such decisions, often under unpredictable stress. For this reason, and unless John McCain releases his psychiatric records, I do not believe he is qualified to be president.

John McCain…so much to be said

May 28, 2008

John McCain is a veteran, and most veterans, it seems, would support a G I bill that increases veterans benefits such as improving the path to college for vets. But McBush, er, McCain, like his hero George W, is opposed to improving the lot of those who fight for our country.

Of course their reasoning is flawed; they say that better college benefits will decrease re-enlistment and result in less numbers of servicemen. But a prediction by the Congressional Budget Office says the bill will increase recruitment by 16%, which happens to equal the predicted decline in re-ups.

VoteVets is urging McCain to support the bill. Watch.

At the VoteVets site you can also find news stories about V A officials urging fewer diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder. Now my understanding of good medical practice is when a disease or disorder is present, you diagnose it. Don’t avoid the diagnosis to make the numbers work or to reduce costs.

It is absolutely ridiculous and a sin that people returning from war can not get all of the counseling and therapy that they need. Perhaps then some of the estimated 18 suicides per day among veterans could be avoided. Of course the VA claimed that there were only 790 suicide attempts in all of 2007, when in reality about 1000 attempts per month were seen at VA facilities. 18 per day works out to be about 6,570 attempts per year.

Here is how Dr. Ira Katz, VA head of mental health, communicated about the numbers: ( from CBS…read it )

First, he titled his e-mail: “Not for the CBS News Interview Request.”

He opened it with “Shh!” – as in keep it quiet – before ending with “Is this something we should (carefully) address … before someone stumbles on it?”

Our country just uses its young men and women, then discards them with no concern for their future.

But really I didn’t set out to write about PTSD in current veterans. But it does lead right into my column on John McCain and his medical records.

McCain released (some of) his medical records on Friday. Here is my column from today’s Western Tribune about that:

Forty years ago, in the summer of 1968, John McCain was a prisoner of war. As is often repeated, he is a war hero, in part for surviving this harrowing experience, and should be honored as such. His past heroism is partly responsible for his success as a senator, while also providing somewhat of an excuse for his hot temper and at times unexplainable behavior.

As the presumptive presidential nominee for the Republican Party, under media pressure, McCain released his medical records last week. Included were such accolades as being much younger physiologically than he is chronologically. Not included were his psychiatric records.

When McCain was released from captivity he admittedly had experienced severe trauma, but avoided the diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder because the term was not used at that time. Information in his medical record clearly shows he would have received the diagnosis had it been recognized as such then. We have also seen that since the diagnosis became available in 1980, that veterans from as far back as World War 2 would be diagnosed with current episodes related to the condition.

PTSD can be overcome, or can linger and become a chronic condition. Shouldn’t John McCain release his psychiatric records if we are to believe he can be our president? If he has recovered, his records should say so, and we should be able to see them.

In addition, during that summer 40 years ago, McCain twice attempted suicide. I am not sure that anyone undergoing the torture that he went through could endure it without similar thoughts, but still, do you want a president whose answer to a most severe problem, regardless of the magnitude, is ending his own life?

Don’t get me wrong. I do not think that there should be a stigma associated with mental illness or even a suicide attempt, and if treated properly and a recovery is made this should not preclude one from becoming a leader or taking a position of responsibility including becoming a senator. But a senator works as part of a body of legislators, and is not by himself making decisions of national importance.

A president does make such decisions, often under unpredictable stress. For this reason, and unless John McCain releases his psychiatric records, I do not believe he is qualified to be president.

>McCain on Ellen

May 27, 2008

>Tomorrow I have my final, final exam, in the morning I will be studying, and that is why I posted the other day that on Wednesday I will put my Western Tribune column on here, about John McCain not being fit for the presidency.

Today, I am going to post a video of McCain on the Ellen Degeneres show last week.

I don’t like giving McCain that much blog time, but he is, after all, the candidate that keeps on giving.

Our Memorial Day was excellent, and I hope yours was as well. Later this week I hope to post some pictures of the fun. But for now, its study study.

McCain on Ellen

May 27, 2008

Tomorrow I have my final, final exam, in the morning I will be studying, and that is why I posted the other day that on Wednesday I will put my Western Tribune column on here, about John McCain not being fit for the presidency.

Today, I am going to post a video of McCain on the Ellen Degeneres show last week.

I don’t like giving McCain that much blog time, but he is, after all, the candidate that keeps on giving.

Our Memorial Day was excellent, and I hope yours was as well. Later this week I hope to post some pictures of the fun. But for now, its study study.

>Enjoy Memorial Day

May 26, 2008

>This Memorial Day, enjoy your family and friends, enjoy the lake, the pool and the barbecue. Enjoy the alcohol (responsibly – don’t drink and boat, don’t drink and drive, don’t drink and embarrass yourself), enjoy the sun. Cut a watermelon, make homemade ice cream or fish shaped cupcakes (that’s what we are having).

If you are one of the lucky ones to be in Pensacola, you can celebrate on the beach. This is a scene from Pensacola Beach last year.

But also take a moment and remember the men and women who gave their lives for our country. So that we could sit over here and fight in other ways for liberty.

In particular, remember the 4,082 Americans who have been killed in Iraq, including 67 from Alabama (along with 514 wounded). They were doing what was required of them, and put in harm’s way by our president. As we remember these individuals, we will also remember what must be done to end this war.

Electing a Democratic congress was not enough, obviously. We must elect a Democratic super-majority and a president who will commit to ending the war. A Democrat.

If that sounds partisan on a day that should not be, blame your president.

Enjoy the day, and be safe.

Enjoy Memorial Day

May 26, 2008

This Memorial Day, enjoy your family and friends, enjoy the lake, the pool and the barbecue. Enjoy the alcohol (responsibly – don’t drink and boat, don’t drink and drive, don’t drink and embarrass yourself), enjoy the sun. Cut a watermelon, make homemade ice cream or fish shaped cupcakes (that’s what we are having).

If you are one of the lucky ones to be in Pensacola, you can celebrate on the beach. This is a scene from Pensacola Beach last year.

But also take a moment and remember the men and women who gave their lives for our country. So that we could sit over here and fight in other ways for liberty.

In particular, remember the 4,082 Americans who have been killed in Iraq, including 67 from Alabama (along with 514 wounded). They were doing what was required of them, and put in harm’s way by our president. As we remember these individuals, we will also remember what must be done to end this war.

Electing a Democratic congress was not enough, obviously. We must elect a Democratic super-majority and a president who will commit to ending the war. A Democrat.

If that sounds partisan on a day that should not be, blame your president.

Enjoy the day, and be safe.