Archive for the ‘Western Tribune’ Category

>The Bible and Homsexuality, Part Three

April 1, 2010

>

This is part three of my series, which would have appeared in the Western Tribune, but…

You can read part two (Romans) here and part one (Leviticus) here.

Most of this information, in a little greater detail comes from my previous post, which includes an explanation of the phrase “until David exceeded.” It doesn’t hurt for people to read it again.

*****

This is part three in my series on homosexuality and the Bible. I was also asked to show where homosexual relationships are mentioned in an affirming way.

In both the Old Testament and the New Testament there are passages where same sex relationships are affirmed. In the Old Testament, the story of Jonathan and David is such an example.

“When David had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul… Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that he was wearing, and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.” 1Samuel 18:1-4.

This was pretty much love at first sight. Brotherly love does not lead a man to get naked and offer his most personal possessions, the symbols of his manhood, to another man, but that is what Jonathan did here.

Jonathan’s father, King Saul, was not happy about the relationship. In 1Samuel 20:30 we read that Saul was furious that his son had chosen David as his lover. Saul told Jonathan that he could not produce an heir to the throne and could not claim the kingship.

“…they kissed each other and wept with one another; until David exceeded. Then Jonathan said to David, ‘Go in peace, since both of us have sworn in the name of the Lord, saying “The Lord shall be between me and you, and my descendants and your descendants, forever.”‘ He got up and left; and Jonathan went into the city.” 1 Samuel 20: 41-42.

Again, clearly the association between Jonathan and David goes beyond what is expected from heterosexual males. They knew they would not see one another again, and this is the parting of doomed lovers, so to speak. Yet they made a bond that would last through all generations.

After Jonathan’s death, David wrote a song while mourning, in which he says:

“I am distressed for you my brother Jonathan;Greatly beloved were you to me;your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.” 2 Samuel: 1: 26

I have not known a heterosexual man to proclaim that his love for another man was greater than his love for a woman.

This is an example, in the Bible, of two men in a loving, sexual relationship, and the Bible celebrates that love in David’s song.

Next: Jesus and the centurion
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>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

>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 Bible and Homosexuality, Part 1

March 17, 2010

>This Western Tribune column (March 17, 2010) is the first of a four part series on the Bible and homosexuality. One way to look at this, the Washington Post featured a five part series on homosexuality in 1965 (from which I got the idea for my book,which should be available in April) and the Western Tribune is featuring a four part series in 2010. Sure to raise some eyebrows, but you know what happens when eyebrows are raised? Eyes open!

The Torah inside the former Glockengasse synagogue in Cologne.

How the Bible looks at homosexuality

I have been asked to show the verses in the Bible that mention same sex activity that are not critical of homosexuality. This column is the first of four that will address this issue.

The trouble with taking the words of the Bible without careful study of the language and customs of the time is that often this leads to the wrong conclusion. We only have to look at how the Bible was used in the past against blacks or against women to realize this. Currently, the same approach to biblical interpretation is used to point judgmental fingers at the gay community.

If we incorporate science and history into biblical interpretation we don’t find such condemnation.

Verses in Leviticus that are part of Israel’s Holiness Code include certain specific instructions on sexual matters, but also contain instruction not to eat shellfish, not to wear blended fabrics, not to plant fields with two kinds of seeds and more.

Along with certain male homosexual acts, adultery and sexual intercourse with a woman during her menstrual period are forbidden.

These proscriptions were given for several reasons: to separate Israel from other nations and their practices; to avoid idolatry and the practices associated with it; and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness.

Ritual purity was one of the ways the people of Israel set themselves apart from others for God. The avoidance of things unclean was part of the purification process.

Semen was looked on as critical to the ongoing of human life and thus was an important part of ceremonial law. The emission of semen during intercourse with a menstruating woman or even during an involuntary nocturnal emission was forbidden.

There were pagan rituals in which semen was offered up to the gods, so in order to set Israel apart a code was developed for this people at this time in their history and any use of semen that violated this code was forbidden. If this code is to be enforced against the homosexual community today, should we not also be enforcing the code against eating shellfish, wearing wool blends or having intercourse during a woman’s menstrual period?

These verses do not speak out against loving and committed relationships between modern gay or lesbian persons. They are about violations of a code that was set for a particular group of people and that, by the way, was replaced by the life and teachings of Jesus.

Next: Romans

>Western Tribune column February 17 2010 Olympics

February 17, 2010

>My column focuses on the Olympics.

What could be more fitting than a day of snow prior to watching the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics? Never mind that snow was lacking in Vancouver, British Columbia, the host city.

Those watching the event quickly learned that a Georgian athlete, luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, had been killed in a training accident earlier in the day. The ceremonies were dedicated to the young man and the festivities went on. The Olympic and Canadian flags were lowered to half staff.

Nodar Kumaritashvili Photo AP via Huffington Post

Some sports writers have said that the opening ceremonies should have been canceled or delayed or that luge events be canceled.

As one who has watched both winter and summer Olympics since 1964 I look at the games as the pinnacle of sporting events and as tragic as the death of a competitor is, the games must go on.

Although we don’t like to admit it, all sporting activities involve some degree of risk, including death. In Olympic history, death is nothing new.

Just prior to the 1964 games the deaths of a British luger and an Austrian alpine skier occurred prior to the opening ceremonies. Several other deaths have occurred in both winter and summer games. The games go on.

If one looks back to the ancient Olympics in Greece, death was sometimes a part of the competition in the sport of boxing, and possibly in other sports. In those games if a competitor died he was immediately declared the winner.

While competition and rivalry rightly exist in Olympic competition, a spirit of diversity, acceptance, and cooperation is one of the things most appreciated about the games. For two weeks during Olympic summers and two weeks during Olympic winters we can forget about politics, wars, and skirmishes, even though those things certainly are going on and even affecting the games.

Uncertainty is another factor in sports, and this is not the first time that a lack of snow in the host city has been a concern. In fact, for those same 1964 Olympics in Innsbruck, the Austrian army brought in ice for the bobsled and luge runs and snow for the alpine events.

Let’s remember Nodar Kumaritashvili as an athlete who died doing what he loved to do, but let’s not let this or unpredictable weather hinder our enjoyment of sport.

“Shine in the momentum of noble contests,” the Olympic Hymn commands.

Shine, indeed, Vancouver and every athlete.

Update:

Medalists in men’s singles were Felix Loch (Gold), David Moller (Silver), and Armin Zöggeler (Bronze)

Gold medalist Felix Loch

Here’s Moller completing his run.

Armin Zöggeler preparing for a previous run.

Here are the three medalists.

>Western Tribune column February 3, 2010 Bingo Raids

February 4, 2010

>Here is my Western Tribune column from February 3, 2010.

The pictures of the pre-dawn raid were sent to me, with permission from VictoryLand to use them. Plus, we now know the raids cost the taxpayers over one million dollars.

Bob Riley’s bingo raids are insane

Tensions were probably high among the employees of Country Crossings in Houston County when told they had to leave work last week in anticipation of Governor Riley’s raid on the facility. The building was subsequently darkened and padlocked when 135 state troopers arrived in a caravan of headlights that stretched as far as the eyes could see in the pre-dawn darkness.

One would think that the hideout of Osama bin Laden had been discovered, when in reality, little old ladies and some country music fans were just plunking nickels and dimes into bingo machines.

A similar raid was attempted at VictoryLand in Macon County, but the raiders were also turned away there. Former state Senator Fred Clay said that the raid reminded him of Governor George Wallace’s attempt to prevent desegregation by sending state troopers into Macon County fifty years ago.

Troopers arriving without a search warrant

Task force leader John Tyson reading document from attorney Fred Gray

It is estimated that the raids cost the Alabama taxpayer over $130,000 as the number of state troopers on duty for that time of the night jumped from 8 to possibly 240 for both raids. That, when state agencies are facing budget cut, does not seem a wise use of our limited resources.

And how many drunk drivers went unnoticed and truckloads of cocaine and marijuana slipped by while the enforcers were standing by doing nothing for hours outside of the entertainment facilities?

Troopers lined up outside of Victoryland

Bingo in Bessemer is just as contentious although the venues are not as grand and the opposing authorities not as powerful as those in the big time operations.
However, seeing a ticket for $400 come out of a bingo machine in Bessemer is just as rewarding as retrieving one in Dothan.

What is really amusing about the controversy on both the local and state level is that in an economy where revenues are down and employment is historically low we have elected officials who want to let large amounts of potential tax money and licensing fees go uncollected.

They also have no qualms about putting people out of work. The facilities in Macon County and Dothan employ thousands and the small bingo parlors in Bessemer together probably employ one hundred or so.

Ron Sparks, candidate for governor, released a statement after the raids in which he said, “Instead of spending money to take jobs away we need to tax gaming to educate our children.”

Commissioner Sparks is right. He called the raids “insane.” Maybe after November sanity will return to the governor’s mansion.

Troopers arriving at entrance being greeted by attorney Fred Gray.

>Western Tribune column Sept. 9, 2009 Shelter Abuse and Ed May

September 9, 2009

>Here is my Western Tribune column for the week.

On July 7, 2009 at a city council meeting Bessemer mayor Ed May accepted a $5000 check from Robert White for Bessemer Schools.

On September 1, 2009 at a city council meeting Mayor May explained his refusal to accept a $2000 donation from Robert White which would have benefited the Bessemer Animal Shelter which had been without food.

I would quote his statement that he did not have the authority to accept anything on behalf of the city except why should we believe him, when he also said this:

“There has been no time when we have been out of food for our animals nor has there been any time when we have not had sufficient funds to purchase food. The dogs have absolutely not gone hungry.”

He said this less than a week after the shelter had called Greater Birmingham Humane Society begging for food and cleaning supplies.

I spoke with the director of GBHS and was told this is not the first time Bessemer has called with such a request.

The mayor previously said, “Something like this, quite frankly, it reminds me of Sodom and Gomorrah,” when the council passed the bingo ordinance.

The lesson of Sodom, when considered with all the passages in the Bible that mention the story, is a condemnation of the mistreatment of those who are most vulnerable, in that case, the strangers who appeared in town. In Ezekiel the guilt of Sodom is referred to as pride and excess of food with an unwillingness to assist the needy.

While the prophet was certainly referring to needy persons, it just seems that the prideful mayor’s refusal to accept the excess of food for the needy animals reeks of the type of wrongdoing referred to in scripture.

And while we are considering the biblical aspects of the story, let’s remember that we were given dominion over the creation. That means that we have a responsibility to care for the earth and its creatures, including the dogs and cats under our care. At the very least that would mean not neglecting or abusing animals and not withholding food. There is documented evidence of abuse over the last few years at the Bessemer shelter, and this latest incident only serves to underscore the uncaring attitude of city officials.

The people of Bessemer should rise up in protest about our shelter and our mayor. The dogs and cats deserve better.

>Western Tribune column August 19, 2009 Billy Cox

August 20, 2009

>

This is my column from the Western Tribune this week

Billy Cox was a hero to many then, and is still a hero today.
In 1987 Billy received a diagnosis that at the time signaled an almost sure death sentence. He tested positive for HIV. Within a few years he had developed AIDS, and by 1994 Billy had passed away.
During those early years of the AIDS epidemic most patients were silent about the disease and felt marginalized by their community.
Not Billy. He became a crusader and those who knew him saw him as energetic and optimistic, even when most would not be able to find that kind of spirit.
Shortly before his death, determined that a change was needed in the way AIDS patients and gay people were treated, Billy offered his final disability check to start a foundation in his name which helped to direct community resources and talents to help those with HIV/AIDS.
By sharing his experience and teaching those around him how to care for him, he changed the way people with HIV/AIDS were treated and a new dimension in caretaking began, as care teams of volunteers formed to assist those in need. The 1917 Clinic at UAB developed networks of teams that have helped people all over the state.
Now Billy has been honored by having a scholarship dedicated in his name at the UAB School of Public Health. The scholarship will go to students with an interest in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender public health issues.
The dean of the school, Dr. Max Michael, says the scholarship may be the first of its kind in the nation.
This comes at a time when the achievements of LGBT persons are being recognized across the country. Just last week, tennis legend Billie Jean King and former San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk were presented the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Obama. They received their awards, along with 14 others, not because of their sexual orientation, but because they were “agents of change.”
Billy was an agent of change as well.
Bessemer can be proud of Billy, a 1975 graduate of MacAdory High School and president of his senior class. How many can say that they helped change the way a disease is looked at and the way those with the condition are treated? And now he has an endowment in his name that will help future public health providers make advances in fighting it.

>Western Tribune column July 29, 2009

July 30, 2009

>My column from the Western Tribune July 29, 2009.

In spite of the controversy last week following the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates in his own home and the president’s misstatement afterwards, and in spite of the resurgence of the “birthers,” the radical right wingers who can’t believe that a “certificate of live birth” proves the same thing a “birth certificate” does, the week was refreshing.

Refreshing for at least two reasons. First, it was so nice to listen to a president explain his policies during a press conference and not be embarrassed that he is representing the nation. He spoke in clear, complete sentences, and if a listener did not understand the urgent need for health care reform as presented then the person just wasn’t listening.

Secondly, we now have a president who recognizes when he has made an error. Former president George W. Bush bristled when asked to name a mistake during a debate. President Obama called the man he offended and acknowledged that he could have chosen his words better.

As for the birth certificate issue. While I acknowledge that discussing this is a complete waste of my time for writing it, and yours for reading it, I offer this. At some time in the past, I had to order an Alabama birth certificate. It could have been when I was learning to fly, or when I got a passport, or when I applied for a driver’s license, I don’t remember. But what I do know is the folded pinkish piece of paper with the raised seal that I received is in a secure place, and on it is written “Certificate of Live Birth.”

That is what one receives from the state when one requests a birth certificate.

Likewise, in Hawaii, after such a request a “certificate of live birth” is sent. But the birthers will have none of that. They want the original. Sorry, guys, it just doesn’t work that way.

On Wednesday after the president’s press conference 8 year old Ciana Pelekai appeared on America’s Got Talent and stunned the judges with her rendition of “At Last.” Little Ciana is from Honolulu, Hawaii, or so she says. She could have been born in Kenya, and if so, should be performing on Kenya’s Got Talent. This could just be a conspiracy set in place 8 years ago to assure her the $1,000,000 top prize.

No, she’s like President Obama, born in the USA.

>Friday Five

April 17, 2009

>1) At the Pensacola Teabagging Party at least one person told the truth. Watch.

“back in 2000, there was a budget surplus in the country [lukewarm cheers], and then the next eight years, it was destroyed by the profligate spending of the Bush administration.”

“Your taxes are going to be cut under the current budget—congratulations!”

“So let’s remember that if you’re going to argue about lower taxes and less spending to place the blame where the blame belongs—and that’s squarely in the hands of the Republican Congress and the Bush administration.”

Did the guy make it out alive? (Thanks Kathy )

2) See whats developing at the Jonesboro Community Garden and view pictures. Bessemer Science and Nature .


3) What a surprise. The day that I promote my friend Malcolm Marler’s web site, he comes out!
Malcolm’s Coming Out. I kind of suspected.

4) Be safe this weekend. Be aware of your surroundings. If anything seems unusual, be suspicious.

5) Be sure to read what I had to say about Legion Field in The Western Tribune. It follows this post.