Archive for March, 2010

>Coffee Party meetup in Birmingham

March 31, 2010

>Tired of Tea?

Join the Coffee Party in Birmingham. There will be a meeting on Friday, April 9, 2010 from 2:00 to 3:00 at Starbucks at the Mervyn H. Sterne Library on UAB campus. 917 13th Street South Birmingham, Alabama 35205 The library is across the street from the Arts and Humanities Building. Between 8th and 10th Ave. So. on 13th street. Birmingham, AL.


Here is the mission statement of the Coffee Party.

COFFEE PARTY MISSION STATEMENT: The Coffee Party Movement gives voice to Americans who want to see cooperation in government. We recognize that the federal government is not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will, and that we must participate in the democratic process in order to address the challenges that we face as Americans. As voters and grassroots volunteers, we will support leaders who work toward positive solutions, and hold accountable those who obstruct them.

I have highlighted phrases that stand out to me in contrast to the Tea Party movement.

cooperation in government. This does not mean voting “no” just for the sake of voting no, or trying to create a Waterloo at the expense of the American people.

the federal government is not the enemy of the people. How often have we heard from the Teabaggers about the federal government being the enemy, about states rights and sovereignty, and about secession (Texas?)?

but the expression of our collective will. The President, and the current congress, was, in fact, elected by the people of this country to accomplish the agenda that they are pursuing.

democratic process. Not spitting on people, mocking older men with Parkinson’s disease, using the “N” word or the “F” word to taunt congressmen.

support leaders who work toward positive solutions, and hold accountable those who obstruct them. The Party of Solutions or the Party of No?

The Coffee Party is not a political party. It is a movement, and from what I have seen the people are more diverse by age, race, and sexual orientation than the Tea Party.

Check it out.

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>Health Care Reform – mandates from 1798

March 30, 2010

>History is a wonderful thing. Not that it’s always pretty, but there is so much to learn.

Thanks Mooncat and Paul.

Take Health Care reform, for instance. People like Alabama Attorney General Troy King are claiming the new health care reform, signed into law by President Barack Obama, runs afoul of the Constitution.

“These are the oldest victims I’ve ever been called on to defend. They are the founding fathers, the people who wrote the founding documents of this country, and they have been hurt,” he said.

One of those founding fathers was John Adams. In July 1798 President Adams signed into law “An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen,” a bill which had been passed by Congress.

This bill created the marine hospital service. How was the marine hospital service funded? By mandating that privately employed sailors purchase health care insurance, from which the proceeds were turned over to the hospitals.

Marine Hospital Service Stapleton Staten Island in 1887

Each ship’s owner was required to deduct 20 cents from each sailor’s monthly pay, and this money was channeled to the hospitals that provided care for the sailors.

Furthermore, failure to comply was discouraged by fining the ship’s owners or captains $100 for each infraction.

Here is the bill that founding father John Adams signed into law. Highlights are mine.

CHAP. LXXVII – An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen

Section 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled –
That from and after the first day of September next, the master or owner of every ship
or vessel of the United States, arriving from a foreign port into any
port of the United States, shall, before such ship or vessel shall be
admitted to an entry, render to the collector a true account of the
number of seamen, that shall have been employed on board such vessel
since she was last entered at any port in the United States,-and shall
pay to the said collector, at the rate of twenty cents per month for every
seaman so employed
; which sum he is hereby authorized to retain out
of the wages
of such seamen.

SEC2. . And be it further enacted, That from and after the first day
of September next, no collector shall grant to any ship or vessel whose
enrolment or license for carrying on the coasting trade has expired, a
new enrolment or license before the master of such ship or vessel shall
first render a true account to the collector, of the number of seamen,
and the time they have severally been employed on board such ship or
vessel, during the continuance of the license which has so expired, and
pay to such collector twenty cents per month for every month such
seamen have been severally employed, as aforesaid; which sum the said
master is hereby authorized to retain out of the wages of such seamen.
And if any such master shall render a false account of the number of men, and the length of time they have severally been employed, as is herein required, he shall forfeit and pay one hundred dollars.

SEC3. . And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the
several collectors to make a quarterly return of the sums collected by
them, respectively, by virtue of this act, to the Secretary of the Treasury;
and the President of the United States is hereby authorized, out of the same, to provide for the temporary relief and maintenance of sick or
disabled seamen, in the hospitals
or other proper institutions now established
in the several ports of the United States, or, in ports where no
such institutions exist, then in such other manner as he shall direct:
Provided, that the monies collected in any one district, shall be expended
within the same.

SEC. 4. .And be it further enacted, That if any surplus shall remain
of the monies to be collected by virtue of this act, after defraying the
expense of such temporary relief and support, that the same, together ,
with such private donations as may be made for that purpose (which the
President is hereby authorized to receive) shall be invested in the stock
of the United States, under the direction of the President; and when,
in his opinion, a sufficient fund shall be accumulated, he is hereby
authorized to purchase or receive cessions or donations of ground or
provision for buildings, in the name of the United States, and to cause buildings,
when necessary, to be erected as hospitals for the accommodation of sick and disabled seamen.

SEC5. . And be it further enacted, That the President of the United
States be, and he is hereby authorized to nominate and appoint, in
such ports of the United States, as he may think proper, one or more
persons, to be called directors of the marine hospital of the United
States, whose duty it shall be to direct the expenditure of the fund
assigned for their respective ports, according to the third section of this
act; to provide for the accommodation of sick and disabled seamen,
under such general instructions as shall be given by, the President of
the United States, for that purpose, and also subject to the like general
instructions, to direct and govern such hospitals as the President may
direct to be built in the respective ports: and that the said directors
shall hold their offices during the pleasure of the President, who is
authorized to fill up all vacancies that may be occasioned by the death
or removal of any of the persons so to be appointed. And the said
directors shall render an account of the monies received and expended
by them, once in every quarter of a year, to the Secretary of the Treasury,
or such other person as the President shall direct; but no other
allowance or compensation shall be made to the said directors, except
the payment of such expenses as they may incur in the actual discharge
of the duties required by this act.

APPROVED July 16, 1798.

The tax rate later was increased to 40 cents per month, and was discontinued in 1884. From 1884 until 1906 the cost of running the marine hospitals was paid from a tonnage tax on vessels entering the country. From 1906 until the hospitals were closed in 1981, they were funded by direct appropriations from congress. NIH reference


Here is a modern day ship in New York harbor. These pictures were taken during our trip to New York last year.

>"Those Others" now available

March 29, 2010

>My book, Those Others: Navigating the “Riddle of Homosexuality” in 1965, is now available.

Buy from Amazon, right here, or get one directly from me. Details plus more information about the book and the articles from the Washington Post that inspired me.

Thank you Uncle Joe (who provided me with the Washington Post articles), and Frank Kameny (who provided special insight into the gay protest in DC in 1965).

>Am I my brother’s keeper?

March 26, 2010

>I’m just going to make a few comments on some letters in today’s Birmingham News. I will post the letters, or parts of them, then respond in general to them.

Letters to the Editor from the Birmingham News

The foes of progress are neither patriots, Christians

Now the forces that at one time divided this Union, blocked the rights of women, people of color and people who immigrated to this country; that opposed rural electrification, the highway system, Medicaid and Medicare, the space program; that have always been against progress, rally again.

They use the “N-word” and anti-gay epithets against noble, tested-in-battle legislators. They rally for “states’ sovereignty,” the same as states’ rights was the rallying cry for the preservation of segregation. They would like to tear down the United States public school system, the greatest investment of democracy in the world.

Don’t let them cloak themselves in the American flag or hide behind the cross. They are neither patriots nor Christians. Their actions thinly veil their hatred of equality, of every man and woman having the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

To deny health care denies the right to life. To deny a fair wage and an education stunts the opportunity to pursue happiness.

Support the right of every man and woman to be healthy, to be educated in a well-funded public school system and to have the opportunity to make their future according to their effort and ability, not to what station they are born into in life.

Stewart Evans
Hoover
*****

Are we our brother’s keeper?

After reading the letters and posts in the various Alabama newspapers of Alabamians’ response to the passage of health care reform legislation, I guess the majority of our citizens agree with Cain and believe we are not our brother’s keeper.

William Powell
Hoover

*****
Jesus didn’t mean government

Syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. always presents an interesting view of the world; mostly inaccurate, but interesting. His column “The Gospel of Glenn Beck” (Other Voices, Monday) was no exception.

Pitts’ sarcastic explanation of Scripture is most revealing. Jesus did teach that each of us has a responsibility to help others. This was especially true for widows and orphans. I am not aware of any teaching that in order to accomplish this, Jesus gave government the responsibility or the authority to take from whomever it saw fit and give to whomever it deemed needy. That was Karl Marx, not Jesus. Jesus instructed you to give from your resources, not someone else’s.

I am afraid there will be no reward or joy in forced obedience to one of God’s commands. That is doubly true in that you have to violate several other commands to achieve this one.

That is why God gave us a free will. Or did that also come from the government?

Jesus also told us the poor would always be with us. That was so we could continue to receive the joy for helping them.

Doug Harkness
Hoover

*****
So here’s the situation.

All three writers are from Hoover.

The first writer makes the point that health care is a right, which I whole-heartedly agree with, and makes a constitutional argument for health care, something I did here, in September, 2009.

The next writer questions the values of the anti-reform crowd, and makes the biblical argument for health care, something also did at the above link.

The third writer questions the role of government by using the words of Jesus.

I am not aware of any teaching that in order to accomplish this, Jesus gave government the responsibility or the authority to take from whomever it saw fit and give to whomever it deemed needy.

It just seems a little hypocritical to me to say that Jesus does not want the government to do his work in assisting the poor, yet these same people are basically theocrats who want the government to rule on a biblical basis when it comes to controlling who we love and live with and when they declare holy wars on developing nations.

It is clear that the people of this country will not willingly help the poor to the extent that help is needed, otherwise my city of Bessemer would look a lot different. I know that we are a generous people, and only have to look at the response to Katrina or the earthquake in Haiti to know that. But those in our neighborhoods who do not have the ironic misfortune of a natural disaster to point out their needs are ignored.

Take this guy. He suffers from Parkinson’s disease and was at a recent Teabagger event.

Teabaggers mocked him and one guy even tossed money at him.

The man tossing the money had a epiphany, it seems.

“I snapped. I absolutely snapped and I can’t explain it any other way,” said Chris Reichert of Victorian Village, in a Dispatch interview.

In his first comments on an incident that went viral across the Internet and was repeatedly played on cable television news shows, Reichert said he is sorry about his confrontation with Robert A. Letcher, 60, of the North Side. Letcher, a former nuclear engineer who suffers from Parkinson’s, was verbally attacked as he sat before anti-health care demonstrators in front of Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy’s district office last week.

“He’s got every right to do what he did and some may say I did too, but what I did was shameful,” Reichert said. “I haven’t slept since that day.”

“That was my first time at any political rally and I’m never going to another one,” Reichert said.
“I will never ever, ever go to another one.”

>Letters to the Western Tribune

March 25, 2010

>A firestorm was started when The Western Tribune printed a letter from Snuffy Garrett equating loving relationships between members of the same sex to having sex with a horse. The Western Tribune received at least 24 letters in opposition and printed two.

The Western Tribune has now ceased to operate, and I know that some who wrote or commented will have no problem with this, since the paper did not change its ways and continued to print the letters from Snuffy, including at least one again using the sodomy and animal comparison, and which was directed at me, by name.

Of the 24 letters letters submitted, in addition to the ones printed, I have access to 11 more. the rest of the letters, according to the former editor, were destroyed because they contained profanity.

I believe these letters better illustrate the objections to Snuffy’s comparison than the ones chosen for print. With the demise of the Western Tribune, this will serve as a “last word” on the issue (unless Snuffy gains access to our other local paper, the Western Star).

I am printing these letters as they were submitted to the paper for publication.

*****

Last account I looked we were all created by GOD and my GOD is a very loving being. How your personal views are concerning who I wish to love and wake up next to in the morning is my business. But on that note I think HOMOSEXUALS deserve the same right to be as miserable as HETEROSEXUALS. So he who is without sin may cast the first stone. Sincerely yours loved by GOD, JEFF DABBS

*****

How dare you print such garbage for people to read! I am a gay woman and also own a horse farm and that statement pisses me off. I bet old Snuffy teaches that masturbation is wrong in the eyes of God, but I can only wonder how many “loving relations” he has had with his own damn mule!! Shame on all of you who pass judgement on others! Love Has No Gender! God made us and God Loves Us. Lori

*****

The Western Tribune should print an apology for printing hateful speak, and should refrain from publishing any letters or columns that degrade any segment of our society. On Feb. 24, 2010 you allowed a letter to be written into your paper that compared loving same-sex relationships to sex with a horse. That is a complete hateful and wrongful letter. The bible also condemns sex before marriage, working on the sabbath, eating shell fish and a whole list of other things.

Do you plan to run a letter in your paper that says ” All women who have had sex before marriage should be stoned to death?” or ” All people who work on the sabbath or visit a place that makes employees work on the sabbath should be put to death for breaking a 10 commandment? I doubt you would.

Yet you allow a letter to be published that puts down every gay relationship based on the ideas of some misguided bigot. Shame on your paper.

That letter was a defamation of my character, and I am more than a sex act in a bedroom behind closed doors. Plus there are thousands upon thousands straight couples who practice sodomy as well, so to single out gays was a complete and utter disrespect.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender are productive, tax-paying, caring members of society and should never be defamed in the media. America was founded on the idea of freedom and equal rights for all citizens. True inclusive community will treat all its diverse members with respect.

No longer a reader of your biased uninformed hateful paper.

anonymous

*****
A recent letter to your publication was offensive to a minority group. In this letter, the uninformed writer equated marriage equality to “marriage with a horse.”

I have been legally married to my spouse for 7 years after a trip to a state which lives up to the standards of freedom upon which our nation was founded. Our marriage is similar to those of our brothers and sisters whom God created differently.

In our marriage, I often cook while my spouse mows the lawn. I wash clothes while my spouse checks the oil on our vehicles. I drive her mother to the airport; she calls my mother on her birthday. The audacity of printing a letter reducing this God-given love to some perverted extent indicates a lack of sensitivity and intelligence not only on the part of the letter writer, but on the part of the editorial staff who chose to print it. Just as discrimination against racial minorities should not be allowed, neither should discrimination against sexual minorities. In the words of MLK- “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Elisa Macon

*****

I was shocked to have read an insert from the letter that Aubrey “Snuffy” Garrett’s wrote on February 24th and that it was printed in the Western Tribune. Yes people have the right of freedom of speech, however when it comes at the cost of spreading hate, I feel that it is uncalled for. I think that those of us in the public eye, including businesses, and media sources have a responsibility to do everything in our power not to encourage anything that has to do with hate or mistreatment of others. I would hope that in the future you would be careful of the things you print, because once in print they can not be undone.

As a Minister I can think of many different scriptures that can go along with this letter; however there is one that really comes to mind.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not parish but, have eternal life. (NIV)

Whoever to me does not say “only heterosexuals”, but also includes Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender people. We are all children of God and at some point must learn to start treating each other as brothers and sisters. I hope and pray in the future the Western Tribune would try and do the same.

Blessings in Christ
Minister Tony E. Haynes

*****
I am writing in strong disappointment regarding the letter published in your paper (Feb. 24th, 2010) relating same-sex relationships to having sex with horses.

This is very concerning as same-sex couples are very similar to any other committed and loving relationship.

The letter published, not only embarrasses your paper but is also noted as slang and a form of discrimination.

Same-Sex couples are just as human as you, and if anything the most significant difference between you and I is the discrimination I face daily.

Attached you may find some Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender statistics that possible you could write a positive and educating story on.

Warmest Regards,

Caleb Laieski

Caleb Laieski Director of Legislative Affairs

*****
Please print a retraction on Aubrey “Snuffy” Garrett’s inflammatory letter. As a Gay man, I take offense his illogical, ignorant and divisive letter. It is obvious this person is very ignorant of The Bible. HE is nothing more than a clanging symbol and is putting words into “God’s” mouth, thinking he knows what God wants and thinks. We, the LGBT community expect a formal apology.

Aubrey “Snuffy” Garrett said that God condemns homosexuals and sodomy. Nowhere in the Bible does God condemn “sodomy.” The word “Sodomy” does not exist in the Bible. People, erroneously attribute the act of anal sex to Sodomy because of a misinterpretation of the Story of Sodom and Gomorrah in the 18th Chapter of Genesis in the Old Testament of The Bible. Only modern translations suggest that the city was full of homosexuals, which is erroneous.

I will not belabor this point, but God had decided to destroy the twin cities prior to the incidents outside of Lot’s house. Ezekiel 16: 49-50 states why God destroyed the cities, and “homosexual behavior” was not listed. If anything, America is in danger, because we are guilty of the very things that caused God to destroy those cities!

Also, the use of the word “Abomination,” in Ezekiel 16:49-50 does not mean anything but “a classification of sin.” It does not infer “homosexuality (or any sex sin, as most Evangelical would assume).” Since Sodom and Gomorrah were matriarchal societies–worshipping female deities, the abomination was idolatry. The term Sodomy really means “being from Sodom,” and is as ridiculous as saying someone committed “Bessemery,” to mean robbery or a mugging or tax evasion. See how ridiculous?

On to Leviticus. The scriptures that Mr. Garrett probably inferred are probably Leviticus 18:22 & 20: 13-14, which are laws for procreation, not against homosexuality. This law was written For the Levite Tribe. God does condemn sex between two men, but not between two women. This was to enforce the law to procreate so that the people would have enough babies to carry on their legacy. They had to separate, subdue and survive in the wilderness. They also had to maintain their armies. This took babies and lots of them.

As for laws, there were 613 of them. God also condemned eating shellfish, touching a woman while she was on her period, touching swine, eating pork, eating undercooked meat, wearing clothing of mixed materials (microfiber, wool blends, rayon, polyester), planting different crops in the same fields, touching the dead, having sex without the explicit intention of having children, working on the Sabbath (Saturday).

Now, how many of these sins does Aubrey “Snuffy” Garrett” commit daily?

There are 613 laws that he must live by, if he is to condemn loving gay relationships as condemned by God. God also had 612 other laws…but applicable only to the Jews. The book of James, says “if you live by the law and break one of the laws, you are guilty of breaking all of the laws.” James 2:10. Uh oh. Mr. Garrett, is guilty of homosexuality…it is in the Bible! If you break one of the (613) laws, you are guilty of breaking them all!

I am sure that Mr. Garrett is a Christian and not a Jew. Therefore he subscribes to Christ’s Sacrifice for Righteousness, and the Old Testament Law (even the 10 Commandments) wasn’t written to make you righteous. In fact, The Ten Commandments are obsolete now, according to Matthew 22:36-40. Jesus broke the law-every time as a way to prove the law was obsolete, and He was putting the law in its place. People like Mr. Garrett keep trying to use the law as a way to grace. Jesus came as a new priest and this absolved the Old Laws – all 613 of them! Jesus is the new priest and brought a new law! Hebrews 7:11-19 and 4:14. Jesus, the new High Priest said nothing about homosexuality; if it was so offense to God, why didn’t Jesus say something about it? If Jesus was quiet on this subject, why is Mr. Garrett so strung out?

Nick Jones

*****
I wanted to write a quick response to a recent article that compared someone being in a loving relationship with the same sex the same as loving a horse.

I am sure that you truly do not believe what you wrote, because if that was true then I am sure that you agree that eating shellfish is a sin too, just as the Bible states in Leviticus.

I ask you to step back and think to yourself, is God asking me to hate people. I am then sure that you will find that God has never asked us to hate anyone, just to love one another.

I pray for the best for you!
Michael J Smith

*****
Aubrey “Snuffy” Garrett needs to learn that humans who love each other may be of the same gender, and that these loving relationships may include sex. Snuffy also needs to seek some kind of therapy because he is overly concerned about what other people may be doing in their sex lives. Further, he equates sex with a horse with sex between two loving people.

Now what normal person ever has sex with a horse cross his mind? Or obsesses about other people’s sex lives? I’ve met people of all orientations, and none of them thought about the horse option. Just Snuffy.

So apparently, Snuffy has some sort of sexual problem, which is allowed for some reason to be expressed publicly through his hate talk. Doesn’t this paper have any discretion? The Western Tribune should apologize.

People used to equate sex and marriage between blacks and whites the same way, complete with Biblical references. But today we recognize that as hate talk. Because the injustice and inhumanity of that hate talk became so obvious to America, we as a nation decided it must end. We took steps as a nation that believes fundamentally in equality to bring the same full equality to blacks, including being able to love and marry the person they choose. If a newspaper published a letter like this one from sick Snuffy, with blacks substituted instead, it would be obvious hate speech.

So why did Snuffy’s letter get published?

Stephen Brittle

*****
As a legally married same sex couple in and from Alabama (we went to MA in 2008 to be legally married) I think I can speak for many of us in AL. Religion has no place in this debate, since I have the same God in my religion as does your writer, but apparently mine is one of love and theirs is one of hate.

If the writer would like for religion to be involved in the government of the country, I suggest they move to a country where Theocracy is working so well, such as Iran.

If churches insist on getting involved politically in the processes of this country, then it is time to rethink the tax codes. Churches who get involved in political campaigns (i.e. LDS in California’s Prop 8 ballot) should have their tax exemption revoked. I think we could solve our budget crisis if we start taxing churches with political agendas.

The pulpit is for lifting up the congregation through inspiration, not creating a mob mentality through fear and hate.

I am appalled that such words were used to describe a loving relationship that can happen between two people of the same sex.

I know that in my lifetime the state of AL will be forced to recognize our marriage as a legal union.

Love is Love,

Jonathan F Cooper

*****
Your paper is promoting hatred that has not been seen in this area since the water hoses of Bull Conner. My loving relationship with the person God chose for me should not be compared to f***ing a horse. How dare you?

We worship a God who loves diversity (one need only see nature in all its Glory to know this is fact) and Jesus preached liberal tolerance, but the hate-mongers who use the Bible as defense for their hatred have found a voice in your paper. Homosexuality occurs in every species our loving Father created, including his precious human children.

For the sake of love, for the sake of what is right, and for the sake of loving our God who created us, stop this hate

unsigned

>The Bible and Homosexuality, Part 2

March 25, 2010

>Part 2 of this series would have been a column in the Western Tribune had it not folded. The series is four parts long.

Here is Part 1 (Leviticus) in case you missed it. After all of the parts are published here, I will edit them into a single article with a link under “Popular Posts.”

The Letters of St. Paul (Romans)

Part 2, The Bible and Homosexuality : Romans

This is my second in the series on homosexuality and the Bible.

Another group of verses often used against homosexuals, these from the New Testament, are found in the first chapter of Romans.

“Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” Rom 1:26-27

When these words were written, it was not understood that homosexuality was the natural orientation of some members of the human species as well as almost every other animal species known. Science has shown us that homosexuality occurs in most mammals, and some birds and fish as well. It occurs in nature, naturally.

So it could be said that the men referred to in this verse were heterosexual men, who were having sex with other men, unnaturally. It says nothing about “naturally” homosexual men. The same can be said for the women; some are naturally heterosexual and some are naturally homosexual. The natural sexual activity for a homosexual man would be with another homosexual man, and for a homosexual woman, with another homosexual woman.

But why would a naturally heterosexual man be having sex with another man?


The Apostle Paul by Rublev

Paul is attempting to show the Gentiles how they have turned from God to idols. Later he shows how Jews have turned to self-righteousness and hypocrisy and harsh judgments on others. What he is trying to show is that all of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God rather than trying to set apart a particular category of people as the worst possible type of sinners.

During the time of Paul homosexual activity was usually associated with adultery when a married man might have a young male lover on the side. Male prostitution was common. An adult male could choose a legitimate sex partner of either sex. The sexual activity between them accentuated their differences in social class and certainly could be viewed as a misuse of sex and power.

This is quite different than the love between two men or two women of equal social status, and this is not addressed in Paul’s letter to the Romans.

Next: The love between Jonathan and David

>Western Tribune Folds

March 24, 2010

>Well, some of the haters in Bessemer will be overjoyed.

The Western Tribune is no longer in business, and you will not receive a copy this week or in the future.

This was news to me on Tuesday as I had submitted my column (Part 2 of my Bible and Homosexuality series) on Friday as usual and not heard anything since.

For those looking forward to my column the series will continue this week, probably late Wednesday, on this site.

In addition, there will be (hopefully) more political news and Bessemer happenings here. Maybe. We will see how my time allows.

I will not allow derogatory comments to be posted.

Also, I have no way to contact the owner of the Tribune, so don’t ask.

I spoke to a former employee today who confirmed the closing of the paper.

Now the only progressive voice will be on this blog. At least there will be no more Snuffy letters printed, that is the only good thing to come of this.

This song kind of fits. I’ll leave it up to you to figure that out. Mat Kearney – All I Have.

>The Party of Solutions

March 23, 2010

>AKA, the Democrats.

In contrast to the Party of No, the Democrats have now made law what generations of Americans have fought for for a century. Democrats and Republicans have been aware of the need, and have worked to pass health care reform since the time of Teddy Roosevelt.

However, with this president, the Republicans were replaced by the Party of No, whose strategy leading into this was to lead Barack Obama to his Waterloo.


This doesn’t look like Waterloo to me. This was the scene in the East Room just after Obama signed the historic legislation.

The Right to health care is now a reality. The Party of No is already working to take away this right, or, in effect, throwing children and sick people back off the rolls of the insured.

Great plan, John McCain and John Boehner and other “leaders” of the GOP.

No more speculating. No more hyperbole. Just facts.

In Alabama, 641,527 uninsured people will be able to get health insurance. Thank a Democrat (with a vote).

400,000 patients will become eligible for Medicaid. You will have access to health care where you did not have it before. Thank a Democrat (with a vote).

This year, before the November elections, children with pre-existing conditions will now be covered with insurance. Parents, thank a Democrat (with a vote).

This year, parents can begin to keep their young adult children on their policies until age 26. Parents, and young adults, thank a Democrat (with a vote).

Within three months, people in Alabama who have been excluded from insurance because of pre-existing conditions will have access to a national high-risk pool to get subsidized premiums. Thank a Democrat (with a vote).

Seniors, your benefits are safe and the donut hole in your prescription drug coverage is closing. Seniors, thank a Democrat (with a vote).

People with existing medical conditions who are using up their benefits, the lifetime dollar cap is being eliminated this year. Thank a Democrat (with a vote).

This year, tax credits for small business owners will make purchasing insurance for employees more affordable. Small business owners, thank a Democrat (with a vote).

Barack Obama has now taken a place in history, and is without a doubt the leader of the Democratic Party now. Here he is at the bill signing.

Whoever posted the comment the other day that progressives are a dying breed needs to re-think.

>As Ugly As It Gets

March 22, 2010

>At least one TV in our home was on C-Span all day yesterday. That doesn’t mean I was parked in front of it all day, but I did see the good parts.

All the rhetoric that we have heard over the last 427 days (that this legislation has been worked on) will soon be forgotten. Health Care Reform will be seen to be a benefit to society and America will be a better place.

Republicans seem to think this gives them momentum, but I believe just the opposite. I am a typical Democrat, in that I support most of the policies of the party and usually vote for Democrats. And my elation this morning is profound. If I use the feeling after Barack Obama was elected as a baseline of 100, then today I am feeling a 93.

And if all Democrats in America are feeling a 93, then we will do well in November. A fringe benefit from this vote will be about 32 million votes. Democrat poll number should go up this week and continue to rise in the run up to the 2010 election.

Nancy Pelosi ended the night with her remarks on the floor of the House by smiling and giving examples of the positive ways this reform will benefit women in particular and Americans in general. Every woman in America should vote for Democrats this year after what Pelosi has done and after what Lilly Ledbetter did to advance equality. Being female is no longer a pre-existing condition.

Minority leader John Boehner screamed “Hell, no,” several times in a fit of rage.

An unidentified Republican called out “baby killer” as Bart Stupak was speaking.

(Update: I just read this tweet: “Dear Congress: Before you shout “baby killer”, remember that 5,378 babies have been killed fighting in Afghanistan/Iraq.”)

John Lewis was unfazed as Republican supporters chanted “ni**er” at him as he approached the Capitol on Saturday.

John Lewis and me at last year’s Weekend of Equality.

Let’s just say that Democrats and progressives were on the high road over the weekend, while Republicans and teabaggers were on the low road.

Shamefully, as has been the case throughout history, Alabama’s congressional delegation stood firm in their attempt to deny insurance to 32 million Americans and to prevent the Medicare donut hole from closing.

Artur Davis will be left behind as he will no longer be in office in Washington to see this reform implemented. Terri Sewell, who is seeking to replace Davis in AL-07, had this to say.

“Today’s vote brings this country a step closer to ensuring that all Americans have access to affordable quality coverage. It is important that health care reform does not end here, but that we continue to press for a public option that will ensure coverage of 100% of Americans. In Congress, I will work with President Obama to make sure that this is done,” said Sewell.

Sewell hopes to be the first black women elected to congress from Alabama. We need a woman representing Alabama. Our seven congressmen, including Davis, voted against the interests of women in the area of health care last night.

Ron Sparks wants to be governor, and said this.

“I have been on record supporting affordable health care,” said Commissioner Ron Sparks. “I am happy for the 7th District, which will finally get the assistance they desperately need and want. I have never seen a Representative so blatantly ignore the will of the people in his district like Artur Davis has done. He was elected to represent the 7th District, not the special interests, but he chose to return to Washington to vote against his constituents.”

Read what some other locals said at Left in Alabama.

>Artur Davis? No!

March 19, 2010

>

Update: Update about Artur Davis. From a comment from a friend. ” Please call his office…….1-202-225-2665 (congressional office). 205- 322- 9096 (local campaign office). They are getting lots of calls and maybe he will reconsider…….” Call both, the person at the campaign office tries to put you off but tell her, no, his “no” vote will mean a “no” vote from me and many others in his race for governor. I called both.

Till after the vote is taken, at least…

My lack of support for Artur Davis is now solid.

After what he said about the Health Care bill yesterday, it is clear that he is putting his aspirations to be governor above the needs of the people who voted for him, including myself and my family.

I met Artur Davis years ago at a neighbor’s house here in Bessemer when he was first running for congress. Like so many of the politicians who begin their run, we had such hopes for him. I called his office in the days that followed to see what his views on gay issues was, and was assured that he was a supporter of the gay community. His predecessor, Earl Hilliard, was 100% supporter on our issues, so Davis had some big shoes to fill as far as equality issues went. We believed him.

His failures in LGBT issues are well documented. He voted against ENDA, the Employment Non Discrimination Act, so he voted against my economic security. He voted against the hate crimes bill, which means he voted against my safety.

At a forum sponsored by Over the Mountain Democrats in January 2008, when discussing LGBT issues, Davis said (paraphrased), “It is not the role of government to tell people how to think,” referring to proposed legislation.

Does he not realize that he was sitting on that stage only because the government, in the 1960’s began telling people how to think? That despite the will of the people of this state and others, the government told “us” that “we” could not fire a worker because of their color? That “we” needed to believe that people of his color were equal and treat them that way?

But he believes “it is not the role of the government” to influence people in this way?

He threw the gays under the bus. The same bus, that a few decades ago would have seen him sitting in the rear of. Equality for him is a black and white issue. That’s all, though. Lady Gaga got it right in DC when she said, “It’s not equal if it’s sometimes.”

I sent his campaign an email yesterday. I told them that the CBO report was out, and that the Office of Energy and Commerce report was out, and that I hoped he would look at those and change his vote on the health care bill for the sake of the people in his district. The Energy and Commerce report shows how Davis’s district would benefit under the Health Care bill.

I heard Davis’s interview on Fox 6 last night, and it is obvious that he has received the same Republican talking points memo that the GOP members have. He mischaracterizes the bill and in doing so, only shows his ignorance about it.

I even told them I would offer my support (in spite of the gay issues) if he would vote for the bill.

They must have gotten my email because on my caller ID last night was “Davis 2010”, but I tried to call back and they don’t answer and the message says they don’t have voicemail.

Here are some of the benefits to AL-07 from the health care bill.

Improve coverage for 309,000 residents with health insurance.

Give tax credits and other assistance to up to 179,000 families and 12,800 small businesses to help them afford coverage.

Improve Medicare for 105,000 beneficiaries, including closing the donut hole.

Extend coverage to 61,500 uninsured residents.

Guarantee that 11,900 residents with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage.

Protect 2,200 families from bankruptcy due to unaffordable health care costs.

Allow 55,000 young adults to obtain coverage on their parents’ insurance plans.

Provide millions of dollars in new funding for 39 community health centers.

Reduce the cost of uncompensated care for hospitals and other health care providers by $304 million annually.

And

No deficit spending. The cost of health care reform under the legislation is fully paid for, in large part by eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and excessive profits for private insurers. The legislation will reduce the deficit by $130 billion over the next ten years, and by about $1.2 trillion over the second decade.

It’s going to be hard to vote for him for governor (should he win the June primary) in November even if I hold my nose, if he votes against this bill. Maybe I should start paying more attention to the Republican candidate ads.