Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

>Well alright, it’s OK

October 15, 2010

>
Well alright, it’s OK,

We all get the slip sometimes, everyday.

This is for you. Yes, you.


You may not feel like dancing down the hallways of your school, or your workplace, or maybe you do.

If you are young, and gay, or questioning your identity, or a parent of a child you suspect might be gay, or if you don’t know any LGBT people and don’t know why someone would be this way or what it’s all about, watch this video. Thanks David, for sending this to me.

Now you may not appreciate the Christian lean of this video, but its not about that. It’s about being honest with yourself and others and opening lines of communication.

Let me hear your story. Tell me what school you attend, or attended, and how things are, or were, there. And if you are a Bessemer student, read this. I need your help. Email me. metrocat10@aol.com .

Have a good weekend. Here are a couple of music videos to start the weekend off.

“Thieves” by She and Him

And just in case you think Zooey is zombie-like as she stares straight ahead while singing, here she is a little more active. This is the video that picture of the kids in the hallway (and the title of this blog post) came from.

“In the Sun” by She and Him

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>A call out to Bessemer gay kids

October 14, 2010

>There are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender students at Bessemer City High School and at Davis Middle School in Bessemer, Alabama.

If you are LGBT or describe yourself as any other sexual minority, I need to hear from you.

If you are not LGBT but know a student who is, please have them contact me.

You can reach me by email at metrocat10@aol.com

You can reach me on Facebook and send me a private message.

You can contact me anonymously if you want, and our conversations will be confidential. Your identity or personal information will not be shared.

After your initial contact, we might talk by phone if you want to.

Specifically, what I want to know is if you feel you are being bullied at school, if you feel the school is not doing enough to protect you. I will also ask if your family knows you are gay and if you get support from home. I will also give you some phone numbers of organizations that can offer you help or if you feel you need to talk to someone.

I want to add your information (without revealing your name) to the information I already have.

And remember, it does get better. Last year I saw the Broadway production of Chicago. The cast of that musical has made this video to offer you encouragement.

Others from the diverse Broadway community teamed up to make this video.

And there are people all across this country that are working hard for your rights, for your safety, for your equality. Here are three pictures I took at last years National Equality March in Washington, DC, last year. More about our experience at that march can be found here.


It does get better. I hope to hear from you. But if you feel that you need to talk someone right now, there is a welcoming ear at The Trevor Project, 866-488-7386, or 866-4U-TREVOR.

>Denial

September 7, 2010

>Prominent black leaders recognize it.

Some progressive bloggers recognize it. Others do not.

The leaders of the Alabama Democratic Party do not.

Joe Turnham, chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party wrote a piece that was published in the Birmingham News on Sunday’s Viewpoints page. His purpose was not to acknowledge that the Democratic Party has a problem, or that racism contributed to a poor decision by the state Democratic Executive Committee; rather it was to blame the Birmingham News for “inciting racism within our party from your writings” and “writing racially charged editorials.”

I can not say for sure that the following words were printed in the Birmingham News, but I know for a fact that they were spoken by Joe M. Reed at the meeting of the SDEC that nominated Elisabeth French over the “runner up” in the primary, Nikki Still, and I wrote about my disbelief.

“I’m from the brass knuckles wing of the Democratic Party, the 3 guys that
visit you after 12 o’clock at night wing of the Democratic Party.”


He followed this intimidation with instruction to vote for “a family member…a sister.”

The following words were also heard at the meeting.

“This is not a race issue. This seat was won by a black person because
a majority of people in Jefferson County chose a black person over a white
person.”

That was representative Alvin Holmes that joined Joe M. Reed in putting forth the “racially charged” words; not the writers for the Birmingham News.

This is not a media problem, Mr. Turnham. You sound an awful lot like a Republican in making those charges.

The group of committee members cannot be judged as individuals who voted for Still or French for whatever reason they may have had. Turnham defends the committee members, and yes, they did do what was required of them by party and state rules. But as a body, they allowed “racially charged” words to influence them, or to intimidate them (brass knuckles) into voting a certain way.

Would the leaders of the committee allow men in white sheets and pointed hats to make a presentation or to nominate a candidate? Certainly not.

Would they allow the same individuals to appear before the committee without their uniforms and use anti-black rhetoric and 1960’s style intimidation to promote a white candidate. Hopefully not.

But either due to political correctness carried too far, or naivety, or fear of losing their own grip on power, they allowed blatant racism to be expressed during the meeting, and the tactic worked.

Judge U. W. Clemon, retired federal judge for the northern district of Alabama, also had a letter in Sunday’s Birmingham News. He recognized the racism, in part because he experienced the same thing in 1973 that Nikki Still experienced here. Clemon had run for a seat on the Birmingham City Council. It was an at-large election for three City Council seats, and Clemon placed fourth. One of the three whites who finished ahead of him died before his investiture, and both conventional wisdom and the black community thought (or insisted) that Clemon be named as the replacement.

“Instead, the largely white local unit of the Democratic Party chose one of
its own, one who had not run for the office. Only hypocrisy would permit me
to denounce the 1973 decision while silently acquiescing in the recent Democratic Executive Committee decision.”

Clemon says the decision in racist, that the decision is unfair (based on Still’s qualifying to run, her campaigning, and her place in the election), and that it is politically unsound (referring to the probability that the decision will result in fewer Democratic successes in the November election).

There have been calls for Elisabeth French to reject the nomination. Whether she does or not will go a long way in revealing how she feels about the issues raised by Judge Clemon and others.

There have also been calls for Nikki Still supporters to ramp up a write-in campaign, but Still herself so far is not enthused about it. However, letter after letter in the paper and voter after voter in person tell me that write-in is exactly what they are going to do. Many feel like a vote for French is a vote for the race based system that has infected the Democratic Party.

So we will write in our vote for Nikki Still.

Some progressives have demonstrated their unwillingness to address the problem as found on Progressive Electorate. (Emphasis mine)

Left in Alabama has video from yesterday’s SDEC Meeting in which
Elisabeth French was appointed to replace Kenya Marshall on the Democratic
ballot. A number of folks I’ve talked to are disappointed that the nomination
did not go to Nikki Still – the 2nd place finish in the July 13th Runoff. I’m
confident Liz French will competent just as I thought Nikki Still would. The issue we should all agree on is the need to rid our State of the parasite called partisan Judicial elections.


Rather than looking inward to solve their own problem, they say focus on the unrelated but also important problem of partisan judicial elections.

What the Alabama Democratic Party should do is form a committee of SDEC members and outside people (such as Judge Clemon, James Laster, and me) to get to the meat of the issue and find out exactly why such attitudes still exist, how prevalent they are in the committee, and develop recommendations to overcome the problem. Just because these people are members of an elite group does not mean they are too good for some personal development, sensitivity training and common sense instruction. To do otherwise just means that the attitudes of the 1960’s are alive and well in 2010, and will continue to control the party.

Many of the old folks won’t mind if the party does not evolve, but the young voters that the party desperately needs (especially in Jefferson County) will not want to be a part of a “movement” that refuses to budge.

>New Health Care Reform provisions being unveiled.

July 15, 2010

>Support for Health Care Reform is increasing, as provisions of the act begin to become reality for people and they see improvements in their own health care situation and yet the world has not collapsed around them.

In the news today is that the Obama administration unveiled new rules about preventive services, which will be free. This means cancer screenings, counseling for overweight kids, diabetes and cholesterol screening, mammograms, flu shots and more.

But did you know that there are many more provisions of Health Care Reform being implemented this year?

Here are the provisons of the Affordable Health Care Act that are being enacted in 2010.

Prohibiting Denying Coverage of Children Based on Pre-Existing Conditions. The new law includes new rules to prevent insurance companies from denying coverage to children under the age of 19 due to a pre-existing condition. Effective for health plan years beginning on or after September 23, 2010 for new plans and existing group plans.

Prohibiting Insurance Companies from Rescinding Coverage. In the past, insurance companies could search for an error, or other technical mistake, on a customer’s application and use this error to deny payment for services when he or she got sick. The new law makes this illegal. After media reports cited incidents of breast cancer patients losing coverage, insurance companies agreed to end this practice immediately. Effective for health plan years beginning on or after September 23, 2010.

Eliminating Lifetime Limits on Insurance Coverage. Under the new law, insurance companies will be prohibited from imposing lifetime dollar limits on essential benefits, like hospital stays. Effective for health plan years beginning on or after September 23, 2010.

Regulating Annual Limits on Insurance Coverage. Under the new law, insurance companies’ use of annual dollar limits on the amount of insurance coverage a patient may receive will be restricted for new plans in the individual market and all group plans. In 2014, the use of annual dollar limits on essential benefits like hospital stays will be banned for new plans in the individual market and all group plans. Effective for health plan years beginning on or after September 23, 2010.

Appealing Insurance Company Decisions. The law provides consumers with a way to appeal coverage determinations or claims to their insurance company, and establishes an external review process. Effective for new plans beginning on or after September 23, 2010.

Putting Information for Consumers Online. The law provides for an easy-to-use website where consumers can compare health insurance coverage options and pick the coverage that works for them. Effective July 1, 2010.

(New on Bessemer Opinions is the “Read More” feature. Just click on “Read More” to see the rest of the article, which in this case reveals many more Health Care provisions.)

IMPROVING QUALITY AND LOWERING COSTS

Providing Small Business Health Insurance Tax Credits. Up to 4 million small businesses are eligible for tax credits to help them provide insurance benefits to their workers. The first phase of this provision provides a credit worth up to 35 percent of the employer’s contribution to the employees’ health insurance. Small non-profit organizations may receive up to a 25 percent credit. Effective now.

Offering Relief for 4 Million Seniors Who Hit the Medicare Prescription Drug “Donut Hole.” An estimated four million seniors will reach the gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage known as the “donut hole” this year. Each such senior will receive a $250 rebate. First checks mailed in June, 2010, and will continue monthly throughout 2010 as seniors hit the coverage gap.

Providing Free Preventive Care. All new plans must cover certain preventive services such as mammograms and colonoscopies without charging a deductible, co-pay or coinsurance. Effective for health plan years beginning on or after September 23, 2010.

Preventing Disease and Illness. A new $15 billion Prevention and Public Health Fund will invest in proven prevention and public health programs that can help keep Americans healthy – from smoking cessation to combating obesity. Funding begins in 2010.

Cracking Down on Health Care Fraud. Current efforts to fight fraud have returned more than $2.5 billion to the Medicare Trust Fund in fiscal year 2009 alone. The new law invests new resources and requires new screening procedures for health care providers to boost these efforts and reduce fraud and waste in Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP. Many provisions effective now.

INCREASING ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE CARE

Providing Access to Insurance for Uninsured Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions. A new Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan will provide new coverage options to individuals who have been uninsured for at least six months because of a pre-existing condition. States have the option of running this new program in their state. If a state chooses not to do so, a plan will be established by the Department of Health and Human Services in that state. National program effective July 1, 2010.

Extending Coverage for Young Adults. Under the new law, young adults will be allowed to stay on their parents’ plan until they turn 26 years old (in the case of existing group health plans, this right does not apply if the young adult is offered insurance at work). While the provision takes effect in September, many insurance companies have already implemented this new practice. Check with your insurance company or employer to see if you qualify. Effective for health plan years beginning on or after September 23.

Expanding Coverage for Early Retirees. Too often, Americans who retire without employer-sponsored insurance and before they are eligible for Medicare see their life savings disappear because of high rates in the individual market. To preserve employer coverage for early retirees until more affordable coverage is available through the new Exchanges by 2014, the new law creates a $5 billion program to provide needed financial help for employment-based plans to continue to provide valuable coverage to people who retire between the ages of 55 and 65, as well as their spouses and dependents. Applications for employers to participate in the program available June 1, 2010

Rebuilding the Primary Care Workforce. To strengthen the availability of primary care, there are new incentives in the law to expand the number of primary care doctors, nurses and physician assistants. These include funding for scholarships and loan repayments for primary care doctors and nurses working in underserved areas. Doctors and nurses receiving payments made under any State loan repayment or loan forgiveness program intended to increase the availability of health care services in underserved or health professional shortage areas will not have to pay taxes on those payments. Effective 2010.

Holding Insurance Companies Accountable for Unreasonable Rate Hikes. The law allows states that have, or plan to implement, measures that require insurance companies to justify their premium increases will be eligible for $250 million in new grants. Insurance companies with excessive or unjustified premium exchanges may not be able to participate in the new health insurance Exchanges in 2014. Grants awarded beginning in 2010.

Allowing States to Cover More People on Medicaid. States will be able to receive federal matching funds for covering some additional low-income individuals and families under Medicaid for whom federal funds were not previously available. This will make it easier for states that choose to do so to cover more of their residents. Effective April 1, 2010.

Increasing Payments for Rural Health Care Providers. Today, 68 percent of medically underserved communities across the nation are in rural areas. These communities often have trouble attracting and retaining medical professionals. The law provides increased payment to rural health care providers to help them continue to serve their communities. Effective 2010.

Strengthening Community Health Centers. The law includes new funding to support the construction of and expand services at community health centers, allowing these centers to serve some 20 million new patients across the country. Effective 2010.

>Jeremy Sherer for State Treasurer

May 27, 2010

>The race for State Treasurer is not a sexy race. I mean, it doesn’t get a lot of attention, there are no controversial racial issues or hateful ads to get the public’s attention. Most of the interest is on the Republican side, because one of their candidates is a Boozer. That’s his name, Young Boozer. I’m going to refrain from making any obvious jokes.

On the Democrat side, however, we have a young progressive candidate and an established party switching candidate. I need to go no further than this quote from Left in Alabama.

It appears that you get a well-connected pol like Democratic candidate for
Treasurer, Charley Grimsley, a guy adept at playing both sides of the political
game. He’s boasted about his friendship with Lt. Governor Folsom while
donating $5,000 to Roy Moore in 2006. He contributed $2,000 to George W.
Bush in 2004 (the day before the election) and $2,300 to Barack Obama last
October.

Grimsley may have been a Democrat when he donated to Roy Moore, but that is an automatic lifetime disqualifier as far as I am concerned.

But even if Grimsley had not drifted to the dark side, I would still be in support of Jeremy Sherer.

Jeremy is an attorney whose career has focused on protecting the rights of consumers. He’s involved with Alabama Citizens’ for Constitutional Reform, and serves on Governor Bob Riley’s Blackbelt Action Commission (as do I).

I’ve heard Jeremy speak and he has good ideas regarding PACT, which has to an extent been rescued anyway, so lets look at some other things. As far as cash management, Jeremy points out that a lot of Alabama is held in banks located outside of our state. About $270 million.

“As Treasurer, I will ensure that state taxpayer dollars are deposited in
Alabama based lending institutions that are good corporate citizens within their
lending communities, by utilizing state resources to grow their local economies
through principled lending practices.”

Jeremy is also concerned about financial literacy and points out that about 20% of Alabama families are dependent on payday loan stores, pawn brokers and refund advance services to get by. These are predatory services. The public needs to be protected from such, and Alabamians need to be educated regarding the financial systems of the 21st century.

As far as openness and transparency goes, Jeremy wants to offer a detailed account of all state financial holdings, expenditures, and investments via an online database. In addition, “I will establish an anonymous whistle blower hot line so that misuse of state funds may be reported,” he says.

Sherer has called for increased fees on our offshore drilling companies. “It is past time that reckless corporations operating off of Alabama’s coast pay their fair share to our state.”

Jeremy has been endorsed by the New Jefferson County Citizens Coalition, The Jefferson County Progressive Democratic Council, the Talladega Daily Home and the Anniston Star. The Mobile Building and Construction Trades Council (composed of 15 labor unions in the region) also endorsed him.

The Daily Home stated:

Sherer’s ideas coalesce into a picture of a forward-thinking state treasurer
who will look for unconventional solutions to existing problems. He’s part
of a new generation of politicians in Alabama, and it’s about time.

Learn more about Jeremy at Sherer in 2010.

>Xenophobia – here and there

May 3, 2010

>Tim James and his teabaggin’ supporters think it’s great that he is being criticized by the New York Times.

I think it’s great, too. Let’s the world know that there are still phobic (xeno – in this case) people in our state. And helps educate the people who live here about things like this.

Some of the auto plant workers in our state speak Japanese, Korean and German (that’s the home countries of the auto industries that have located here, you know).

The state also offers tests in Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, French, Greek, Russian, Spanish, Thai, Vietnamese and American Sign Language.

I personally want people who are seeking a driver’s license to be tested on how well they know the laws and how well they can drive, not on how well they can speak the English language.

Some people come to this country with full intentions of learning English and they need to be able to make a living while doing so. Being able to drive really is a necessity in our state if one wants to work because we refuse to provide decent public transportation in most (all) areas.

Xenophobia is a fear or hatred of anyone or anything foreign or unfamiliar. The result is a pandering to the far right group of voters that want Alabama to change from a red state to a white state.

Xenophobia is fueling the immigration debate surrounding the Arizona law also. Anyone with any knowledge of our nation’s history can see the parallels between this law and the actions in the 1920’s and ’30’s in Alabama and other southern states where blacks were picked up under suspicion of “loitering” and charged and convicted using racist laws. Then when they couldn’t pay the fines and court costs they were forced into labor with corporations that were in on the deal.

Many of these black men were never allowed to see their families again, just as many of the immigrants being targeted would be separated from their loved ones and may never see them again.

Hatred hurts. So does ignorance. When you combine the two, watch out.

Oh, another good thing resulting from Tim James’ ad is this parody by Dustin Timbrook. I’m not familiar with Three Happenin Guys, but I might go see them at Bottletree this month (May 28).

>Then and now

March 4, 2010

>Auburn

Last night was the final men’s basketball game to be played in Auburn’s Beard Eaves Memorial Coliseum. Auburn won it’s first ever game there, beating LSU and Pete Maravich 90-71 in 1969. In last night’s game, Auburn defeated Mississippi State 89-80.

I was at Auburn from 1972-1981 ( I stretched out my education as long as I could) so I was there when the coliseum was still impressive and sort of new.

After I left basketball really took off with Charles Barkley and Chuck Person and other quality players leading the team.

But other sporting events took place in the Coliseum, and I was there for some of those too.

I took my trusty Minolta SLR camera.


That camera once took a dive in Hatchet Creek. My friend Walter and I were canoeing and came suddenly upon a tree downed across the creek. The current was pretty fast and we couldn’t avoid the tree and we flipped, the canoe was bashed under water from the force of the current, and the Minolta went under. We were actually very fortunate that we didn’t get trapped under water tangled in the limbs of the tree. It could have been bad. We had to walk a long way back to where the drop off car was parked along Hwy 280 where it crosses Hatchett Creek.

Here’s an unnamed gymnast performing at a meet. I remember hearing complaints about the sound from the shutter on my camera, especially during the balance beam events. I don’t think that would be a concern now.


I attended many wrestling matches as well.


Auburn’s new facility will open next year, and the Tigers should get a boost from their $90 million new home.

Here’s a short video of what canoeing the Hatchett is like. This is not me, it’s Dan Wood and Jerry Saulsbury. How fun!!!

Historic Bessemer

Historic home restoration never ends, and I am working on an upstairs bedroom this month.

I want to save the wallpaper that is below the picture rail, but am removing the paper above the rail and on the ceiling. There’s a lot of wood trim in the room, and I haven’t decided yet what colors to use on the wall and the trim.

Here you can see an area where the vintage paper has separated from the wall and will have to be reattached. There are also multiple tears and other defects that I will have to repair. But I like the paper and consider it worth saving. I labeled the picture but the words may be too small to read. Oh well.

There are at least five layers of wallpaper under the existing paper, it appears. In this area, the paper has become detached and pulls some of the plaster off with it. This must have happened years ago, and had been repaired with massive numbers of staples to hold the paper back into the plaster. that has all broken down now, and I will have to carefully remove the staples and repair the missing plaster and glue the paper back. Fun.

Here is a close up of the paper. I’m not sure exactly what the paper is made of, but there are these fiber elements running vertically that I really like. Anyone with wallpaper expertise is welcome to come take a look.

After this room, there will be one other upstairs bedroom, the upstairs hallway, and the downstairs study left to do. The upstairs hallway is going to be the most difficult because it appears that the plaster on part of the ceiling is separated from the underlying lath to which it is supposed to be attached, and is only being held up by the paper that covers the ceiling. Not fun.

>Stories from the Bham News

December 8, 2009

>If you live in Birmingham, vote now, before the rain gets any worse!!! Patrick Cooper!!!

These snowman salt and pepper shakers have nothing to do with the news, but aren’t they cute!

News Flash! I agree with Joe Reed. Speaking of Artur Davis, Reed said, “But because he is now running for governor he is looking out for himself and not the people.”

Reed was referring to Davis’s votes against health care reform, but the poor people of his district are not the first voters that Artur Davis has thrown under the bus. His republican votes on gay issues (hate crimes, ENDA) are nothing but a play for the homophobe vote in his run for governor. Since Davis’s aid told me when he was running for congress (the second time) that Davis is a friend of the gay community and even had a lesbian on his staff (that’s what I was told) then it’s clear, he is voting the way he does for his own interests, not the interests of his constituents. Same with health care.

Today the Birmingham News is just full of encouraging news.

1. Greenhouse gases now a threat

(Article) That headline is a little misleading. The gases have been a threat for years, the EPA is just now admitting it, after 8 years of ignoring or re-writing science. It will be interesting to see what comes out of the World climate conference in Copenhagen.

Rising sea water is part of the reason for the flooding in Bangladesh. The people living there and being forced from their home probably don’t understand climate change and its effects, but they have an excuse. Republicans and other doubters in this country don’t have an excuse.

But while Bangladesh needs help now and this conference won’t produce any immediate results, it is still encouraging that we have an administration that believes in science and understands the urgency of the situation.

The EPA said that America’s health is at risk from climate change.

2. Medicaid, Medicare expansion sought

(This story is not available on al.com yet). Democrat Senators are seeking to expand Medicare and Medicaid to near-retirees age 55 or 60 who would be able to purchase coverage. They probably won’t be able to include this in the current bill, but at least they are talking about it.

3. President praised for pumping cash into arts

(Article not posted on al.com but available here) President Obama has “marshaled the largest infusion of cultural funding in decades.”

So, these are a few of the major issues (yes, arts is a major issue) that were reasons we voted for Obama and democrats in general.

>Marching for Equality by Zach Childree

October 20, 2009

>My friend Zach Childree marched in Washington for Equality along with 200,000 others, including my partner and me. I have posted five accounts of the event, and may come up with more, on Examiner. (See what Julian Bond said here. See what Dan Choi did and said here. See what Urvashi Vaid said here. See what Lady Gaga Said here. See some of the signs at the march here).

Zach wrote a piece for the Chanticleer, the student newspaper at Jacksonville State University, where he is editor-in-chief. the piece is also posted on his blog, Sweet Homo Alabama.

Marching for equality

by Zach Childree

My feet hurt.

They hurt because I did a lot of walking this weekend during my trip to Washington, DC. I walked around the national mall, up and down stairs at the Smithsonian and at the Lincoln memorial.

My feet don’t just hurt because I walked, My feet also hurt because I marched in the National Equality March.

My partner, David, and I and roughly 200,000 other lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people took to the streets of our nation’s capital with a simple message for the nation- we demand equality. We demand to be treated with dignity and respect and to be granted the same rights and responsibilities as straight Americans.

Right now, LGBT Americans in many states, including Alabama, can be fired from their jobs just for being honest about who they are.

LGBT Americans cannot serve openly in the military, nor can we marry the person of our choosing.

Right now, LGBT Americans are second-class citizens. We are denied the right to visit our partners in the hospital because the state doesn’t recognize the validity of our relationships.

A gay or lesbian couple could be together for decades, but the federal government still calls them legal strangers.

In some states, such as Florida, being gay means you can’t adopt children.

That it’s 2009 and the people of the United States still allow such a miscarriage of justice to continue is a travesty.

While President Obama has continually promised to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell as well as the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, the LGBT community is still waiting to see action from the administration or even a suggestion as to when those promises will be fulfilled. We’ve grown tired of waiting for full equality.

We marched because we’re tired of hearing empty promises from the man we helped put in the White House.

We’re tired of hearing about another lesbian who wasn’t allowed to see her partner as she lay dying, alone, in a hospital.

We’re tired of hearing about yet another gay bashing where a young man lies bleeding and dying in a gutter. We’re tired of being told our relationships are somehow less valuable than straight ones.

We’re tired of watching family after family being legally dissolved because of the will a deceitful campaign misusing religious ideas.

We grow weary of hearing lies told about us from the floors of state legislatures around the country.

We marched because our voices won’t stay in our throats any more. They are bursting forth with a mighty yell as we demand equality for all Americans.

We marched on the streets of our nation’s capital on National Coming Out Day to stand together as one people and burn down the closet doors once and for all.

We marched for LGBT youth around the country who come out each year to be sentenced to homelessness by religious parents. We marched to bring those kids hope. Hope that one day they may come out and not be persecuted for who they are.

In 1978, San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to public office in California, was assassinated along with Mayor George Moscone by Dan White, a former supervisor.A few months before, Harvey sat down with a tape recorder to dictate his thoughts in case he was killed. On this tape, he told a story about receiving a phone call from a young gay man in Altoona, Pennsylvania who had just heard of Milk’s election in California. The young man thanked Milk for giving him hope.

Milk’s eerie words echoed in my mind as we marched toward the White House this weekend. “It’s not about personal gain, not about ego, not about power – it’s about giving those young people out there in Altoona, Pennsylvania’s hope,” Milk said.” You gotta give them hope.”

We marched for those young people.

We marched for Harvey.

We marched for hope.

My feet hurt, but I’ve never been more proud of my bruises than I am today.

>A good story from McCalla and more COPS for Bessemer

July 29, 2009

>The truth about the “birther lady” is at the end of this post. Whacko.

McCalla

Fred and Reneea Ross of McCalla are raising money for orphans who have outgrown their orphanages in Romania.

The fundraising is part of a larger, sustained effort by Fred and Reneea Ross to help orphans in Romania, where they say poverty, discrimination and national policies contribute the abandonment of many children in the east European nation.

The Bessemer Rotary Club, the Adamsville Lions Club and others are also working to raise $10,000 to help complete the House of Hope home in Campulung, Romania.

The Rosses and the civic clubs are selling $1 tickets for a chance to win a $500 gift card. They hope to find organizations willing to donate matching funds. The drawing will be Aug. 25.

The Rosses spent a month in Romania last year and worked at the House of Hope. They had also visited Romania in 2005 and were already working to raise awareness for the plight of abandoned babies in the country.

Bessemer

In Bessemer, a $705,250 federal grant will allow the city to hire 5 new police officers. Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder announced the grants yesterday. The COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) grants will fund the officers for three years and the city must fund the fourth year, under the terms set forth. Story at al.com.

This is stimulus money, so take notice all you anti-Obama readers. Mobile got $2.5 million and Huntsville 2.6 million. Tuscaloosa got 2 million. Across the state 114 new police officers can be hired because of this stimulus grant.

View the announcement and all of the Alabama cities here.

Birther Lady

And remember the birther lady who stood up and made a fool of herself. Well, here’s the truth about her. She’s known as “Crazy Eileen” in Delaware, and is a regular caller to talk radio. Unfortunately you have to endure the ranting again (or forward to the 1:39 mark on the video).