Friday, July 24, 2009

Oregon heatwave-could be worse

Courtesy of my mom, who still lives in

*Note-This is NOT her actual diary!:)

Dear Diary

Just moved to Texas! Now this is a state that knows how to live!! Beautiful sunny days and warm balmy evenings. What a place! It is beautiful. I've finally found my home. I love it here.

June 14th:

Really heating up. Got to 100 today. Not a problem. Live in an air-conditioned home, drive an air-conditioned car. What a pleasure to see the sun everyday like this. I'm turning into a sun worshiper.

June 30th:

Had the backyard landscaped with western plants today. Lots of cactus and rocks. What a breeze to maintain. No more mowing the lawn for me. Another scorcher today, but I love it here.

July 10th:

The temperature hasn't been below 100 all week. How do people get used to this kind of heat? At least, it's kind of windy though. But getting used to the heat is taking longer than I expected.

July 15th:

Fell asleep by the community pool. (Got 3rd degree burns over 60% of my body). Missed 3 days of work.. What a dumb thing to do. I learned my lesson though. Got to respect the ol' sun in a climate like this.

July 20th:

I missed Lomita (my cat) sneaking into the car when I left this morning. By the time I got to the hot car at noon, Lomita had died and swollen up to the size of a shopping bag, then popped like a water balloon. The car now smells like Kibbles and Sh*ts. I learned my lesson though. No more pets in this heat. Good ol' Mr. Sun strikes again.

July 25th:

The wind sucks. It feels like a giant freaking blow dryer!! And it's hot as hell. The home air-conditioner is on the fritz and the AC repairman charged $200 just to drive by and tell me he needed to order parts.

July 30th:

Been sleeping outside on the patio for 3 nights now, $225,000 house and I can't even go inside. Lomita is the lucky one. Why did I ever come here?

Aug. 4th:

It's 115 degrees. Finally got the air-conditioner fixed today. It cost $500 and gets the temperature down to 85. I hate this stupid state.

Aug. 8th:

If another wise a*s cracks, 'Hot enough for you today?' I'm going to strangle him. Damn heat. By the time I get to work, the radiator is boiling over, my clothes are soaking wet, and I smell like baked cat!!

Aug. 9th:

Tried to run some errands after work. Wore shorts, and when sat on the seats in the car, I thought my ass was on fire. My skin melted to the seat. I lost 2 layers of flesh and all the hair on the back of my legs and a*s . . . Now my car smells like burnt hair, fried a*s, and baked cat.

Aug 10th:

The weather report might as well be a damn recording. Hot and sunny. Hot and sunny. Hot and sunny. It's been too hot to do Sh*t for 2 damn months and the weatherman says it might really warm up next week. Doesn't it ever rain in this damn state? Water rationing will be next, so my $1700 worth of cactus will just dry up and blow over. Even the cactus can't live in this damn heat.

Aug. 14th:

Welcome to H*LL! Temperature got to 115 today. Cactus are dead. Forgot to crack the window and blew the damn windshield out of the car. The installer came to fix it and guess what he asked me??? "Hot enough for you today?" My sister had to spend $1,500 to bail me out of jail. Freaking Texas. What kind of a sick demented idiot would want to live here?? Will write later to let you know how the trial goes.

Here is the beginning of my post. And here is the rest of it.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ballpark in Lents

I just received this email update:

ROSE CDC Executive Director, Nick Sauvie shares the story and says it best:

"At 12:30 pm today [June 19th], prior to entering a meeting with Mayor Adams, I learned that Mr. Paulson had withdrawn his proposal to use urban renewal funds to build a minor league baseball stadium in Lents Park. The reason cited was non-support from the neighborhood. According to OPB, Commissioner [Randy] Leonard has withdrawn his support for MLS soccer in Portland and [Merritt] Paulson is not interested in alternative sites in Lents, [or] less reliance on Lents urban renewal funds. Thanks to everyone who worked so diligently on this campaign including allies at the Oregon Opportunity Network, Community Alliance of Tenants, Coalition for a Livable Future, League of Women Voters and the awesome Friends of Lents Park.

"I know that the many people who supported the stadium in Lents Park sincerely believed that the proposal would have been good for the neighborhood and are disappointed by this result. Hopefully everyone can move ahead from here toward our shared goals of building an even stronger community." And here is the rest of it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Legislation explained

I can't believe I haven't posted in over a month. I've been busy getting ready to graduate and with planning for the Pride festival (June 13-14!) but this was worth sharing.

I absolutely love it when law-makers actually take the time to explain in detail (but not mired in legalese) the impact of legislation that gets passed. Michael Dembrow is outstanding at this.

From his most recent newsletter:

HB 2578, the predatory towing bill that I sponsored with Rep. Chuck Riley, unanimously passed the Senate today. The bill requires a tower to contact a property owner or tenant before towing and allows the vehicle owner to move their vehicle without fees beyond the initial hookup. The bill also requires that parking rules be clearly posted by a landlord.

Patrol towing generally involves an agreement between a property owner and tower to allow any unauthorized vehicle on the property to be towed without notice. HB 2578 prohibits this practice except for in cases where public safety or access is compromised. The bill would also require a tower to take photographic evidence of a parking infraction before towing a vehicle. There was a minor amendment on the Senate side, so the bill will come back to us in the House for a concurrence vote, and then on to the Governor.

Hearing Revenue Bills

Last week I reported on the Co-Chairs’ proposed budget, involves $2 billion in very difficult cuts. It’s a very daunting prospect, very tough work. But it will be even worse if we cannot find ways to add new revenue to the budget; the budget assumes that we will be able to raise $800 million through increases in individual and corporate taxes. Our office has received emails and letters opposing any increases in the upper tax brackets, but many more in support of asking wealthier Oregonians to help us get through these difficult times.

I want to clarify one thing about the individual income tax. We are currently looking at an increase of just under 2% (above the current 9%) for those with household incomes above $250,000. Some have been misinforming the public and saying that all their taxable income will be taxed at this higher rate. That’s not true. The additional 2% is ONLY on the income above $250,000. So, for a family with a $260,000 income, they would only see their taxes increased on the additional $10,000 in income. And here is the rest of it.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Connecting Schools to Family and the Community

Message from PCC Cascade's campus president:

Cascade Campus and Portland Public Schools will hold a joint event, Connecting Schools to Family and the Community—A Discussion with Karen Mapp, on May 6 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., MAHB 104 (lunch will be provided). The first 50 registrants for this event will receive a free copy of one of Dr. Mapp’s books, Beyond the Bake Sale. Dr. Mapp is a lecturer with Harvard School of Graduate Education.

The official flier and RSVP information is linked below.

This is a free event!

Hope you can join us.


AlgieAnd here is the rest of it.

Pride NW Letter to Community

This year marks the fortieth anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. With that in mind, Pride NW wants to give tribute to the past and present accomplishments of our global community in relation to civil rights. Additionally, the past year has been one of highs and lows for the LGBTQ community. Both locally (with the division amongst our community about mayor Sam Adams), and on a National level (with anti-same sex marriage Proposition 8 in California and similar measures in other states) we have seen visible division. These facts, in combination with Pride Northwest's continued efforts to reach out to the many facets of our diverse community by building community partnerships over the last few years with, including but not limited to; Portland Latino Gay Pride, Black Pride (put on by The Unity Project), Basic Rights Oregon, the Portland Area Business Association, the Q Center, SHARE, the Sexual Minorities Youth Resource Center, Our House of Portland, and many others, has led us to choose this year's theme, "United We Stand."

The process for choosing this theme was extensive. Pride Northwest Inc. asked for community input via our website, word-of-mouth, advertising in Just Out magazine, a press release, and lengthy discussion amongst our board members. In addition to this process, Pride Northwest Inc. board members checked in with other west coast Pride celebrations to see what their themes were this year. It seemed that everyone was trying to create a comprehensive message of unity. Pride Northwest Inc. is not exempt from this effort. Especially considering that, in the past, we fully acknowledge that this nonprofit organization has not always been proactively inclusive or successfully built bridges within all areas of our community as is our responsibility. This sad fact has left deep wounds in some facets of our lives and Pride Northwest Inc. is dedicated to doing as good a job as possible in repairing past shortcomings and in new ways to be the best we can be. We serve this community and that is our only function.

We cannot do this alone. We are not perfect. We need community input, direction, guidance, and checks and balances to help us all do our best. We always invite positive new energy on our board and within our organization and constructive criticism from the community whose diversity is our soul. We thank you for caring about the Portland Pride celebration and ask you all to stand united with us to make our world a better place.

For us, Pride Northwest is a work in progress and we are completely committed to working toward that vision of inclusion and representation that the community looks for and expects from us.

This year's festival is the weekend of June 13-14, with the parade on Sunday the 14th. More details at

And here is the rest of it.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Tuition Equity in Oregon

This is one of those issues that drives me nuts because of the misinformation and outright untruths that gets spewed from the woodwork.

Very specifically, Tuition Equity (HB 2939) does the following:

Tuition Equity is a policy that would allow students to pay in-state tuition at Oregon University System institutions as long as they fulfill the following requirements:

1.They have attended an Oregon high school for three years prior to graduation
2.They have graduated from an Oregon high school
3.They have been admitted to an Oregon University institution
4.They are working towards residency
*How hard is it for people to understand this? One of the most common arguments I hear against this bill has to do with "they broke the law, (keeping in mind we are talking about children here) make them go the legal route like the rest of us." Well guess what? They ARE going the legal route (see #4 above) which, by the way, can take years (up to 10).

All of this, regardless of documentation status.

What it won’t do:

1. Change eligibility for state-based financial aid

Another argument that I hear that is completely without truth or logic, is that we are giving folks a "discount" and should make them pay the higher price. Well guess what? They aren't paying anything to BEGIN WITH, because they can't AFFORD it. We aren't losing tuition here, we are GAINING it. Any attempt to say otherwise is an untruth, period.

I realize that this is a passionate issue and that I am likely to see an increase in comment traffic. I would ask folks to refer to the few policies I adhere to for comments. If you plan to rant about brown people and the "damage" they allegedly cause, don't bother. Aside from the fact that I won't tolerate it, it just makes you look sad.
And here is the rest of it.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Paid Family Leave in Oregon, SB 966

This seems like a no-brainer to me. We consistently complain about lack of family structure and investment in our children and yet we don't take steps to provide even the most basic and crucial time for care of those families. You can't have it both ways. How many reports need to be done and how many personal stories need to be heard and how many scenes of desperation do we need to witness before we actually GET that Paid Family Leave is in all of our best interests as a society? Now I know that people think this is "coddling" workers who should be glad to have the scraps thrown at them as it is. But you know what? Every single one of us is going to face the need for time off at some point in our lives, whether through having children or to give back some time to that parent that gave so much to us to begin with. And for anyone to label that coddling or over the top or unnecessary? Those who do that have forgotten or are ignoring the sacrifices and effort that has gone before them, getting them to where they are. They have forgotten or are ignoring the fact that we don't live in, nor do we want (unless you have decided to denounce that you are human to begin with), an "everyone for themselves" society. They have forgotten the United We Stand implicit in the E Pluribus Unum part of this country's creed and motto. And here is the rest of it.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Food "Safety" Legislation

Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 (Introduced in House)

From Stephen Lendman:

Some Likely Truths about HR 875

Several recent articles and the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) offered their analyses. They believe this and companion bills are vehicles to let agribusiness control the entire US food supply, destroy independent local farming, and end the production of healthy organic food. They may be right.

Linn Cohen-Cole calls HR 875 "monstrous on level after level - the power it would give to Monsanto (and other Ag giants), the criminalization of seed banking, the prison terms and confiscatory fines for farmers, the 24 hour GPS tracking of animals, the easement on their property to allow for warrantless government entry, the stripping away of their property rights, the imposition (of) "industrial" standards, (and) planned elimination of (independent) farmers through all (the above) means."

It's no secret that Ag giants want all foods to be GMOs so they have total control. It's an agenda going back decades that Engdahl explained in his book. The science came out of US research labs in the 1970s when no one noticed or paid attention. It became apparent when the Reagan administration decided to make America dominant in a friendly unregulated environment, unmindful of safety and public health concerns, that's persisted ever since under Republican and Democrat administrations.

Monsanto is the dominant producer, a company with a long record of fraud, cover-up, bribery, deceit, and disdain for the public interest, yet it has enormous clout in Washington. In the 1980s, and especially under GHW Bush, it got unregulated free reign for its operations. A Bush Executive Order assured it. It ruled GMO plants and food to be "substantially equivalent" to ordinary ones of the same varieties, such as corn, wheat or rice. "Substantial equivalence" became the standard for the GMO revolution by sweeping away all regulatory restraints in spite of early concerns about safety that were confirmed overwhelmingly later on.

PASA says don't be fooled by the bill's deceptive language that hides its true intentions. Code words like "traceability, source verification, and best farming practices with proven scientific results" will force farmers to tag every animal (the requirement for industrial farms is one per 800,000) and use drugs, pesticides and GM seeds.

Already an Ohio state agricultural department swat team raided an organic food coop. The same thing happened to Pennsylvania Mennonite farmers and Wisconsin Amish ones. Other independents have been terrorized by home break-ins, burglaries, and treetop helicopter over-flights scaring animals to death. Conventional seed farmers like North Dakota's Rodney Nelson have been sued by Monsanto for infringing on its patent rights because wind currents landed GM seeds on his land. In Poland, pro-agribusiness laws eliminated 60% of small farmers. Ones in the UK led to 60 suicides and in India to over 180,000.

From 1996 - 2004, worldwide GMO plantings expanded to 167 million acres, a 40-fold increase on 25% of global arable land. Over two-thirds of US farmland grows GMOs, more than 106 million acres. Argentina has 34 million acres, and production is expanding in Brazil, China, Canada, South Africa, Indonesia, Spain, Eastern Europe, and wherever else Ag giants have clout. They want it all, everywhere, and have complicit government allies to help them, here and abroad.

In Iraq, Paul Bremer's Order 81 covers patents, their duration, and stated: "Farmers shall be prohibited from re-using seeds of protected varieties or any (designated) variety." It gave Ag giants absolute control over farmers' seed usage for 20 years. They're now GMO, owned by the transnationals, and Iraqi farmers had to sign an agreement to pay a "technology fee" as well as an annual license fee. Plant Variety Protection (PVP) made seed saving and reuse illegal, and even "similar" seed plantings can result in severe fines and imprisonment. Agribusiness wants the same rights everywhere, including in America. If they get it, the future of organic and independent farming will be threatened.

PASA says HR 875 doesn't regulate, prohibit or penalize private gardens or farmers markets directly. It focuses solely on ensuring supermarket food safety. But it regulates seeds, harvesting, transporting, seed storage facilities, and seed cleaning equipment under "food safety" provisions to prevent contamination - from agricultural water and manure, not pesticides, fertilizers, or unsafe GM seeds.

Seed cleaning equipment is crucial as it's how organic seed is saved. It's used after plants "go to seed" to separate them from plant material so farmers can harvest and store them for future plantings. HR 875 doesn't mention seeds but PASA believes its intent is to criminalize their banking through code language and bill provisions. Already, some areas of the country ban seed cleaning. Monsanto is likely involved, and the scheme is to claim the equipment produces contamination.

To prevent it, Ag giants want provisions that require expensive storage facilities, per line of seed. Organic farmers can't afford them, and this has nothing to do with food safety. But HR 875 claims it does.

PASA says FDA and USDA targeted organic and other independent farmers for years, at least since the early 1980s when high interest rates drove many out of business. Today, pro-industry laws have the same effect because Ag giants like Monsanto demand them. If they succeed, biodiversity and organic farming are at risk along with public health and safety to a greater degree than already given the amount of tainted and dangerous foods allowed, not addressed in HR 875.

While bill language doesn't prohibit organic or independent farming, that's the likely aim. Its provisions are Ag business-friendly, but destructive to small competitors by establishing heavy fines, imprisonment, onerous rules, and letting regulators interpret them as they wish.

Bill language also doesn't mandate a national animal ID system (NAIS) but does it by claiming it's in current law. It's so deceptive that Congress and consumer and food safety groups support it. But some are industry funded so look the other way when they should know better.

HR 875 and its companion bills are under consideration in committees, not yet voted into law. Activists feel now is the time to stop them before it's too late. Agribusiness wants total control over every step in the production, processing, distribution, storage, and marketing of foods to consumers.

Using the ruse of food safety and security, they aim to eliminate competition to have it all and replace wholesome foods with unsafe GMOs. Congress is willing to go along. And why not. Representatives like DeLauro get large Ag business contributions. In return, they assure bills like HR 875 are passed. It's for concerned people to stop them.
And here is the rest of it.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Office of Public Liason

I know that the cynics out there will assume this to be a waste of time and even I realize that I am unlikely to get a personal phone call from President Obama in response to a message from me. However, it is my understanding that SOMEONE reads the mail submitted through the Office of Public Liason, which was established as part of in January. I haven't had a chance to check everything out, but there does appear to be a wealth of information and of course the email page.

At the least, it appears to be a more direct way to get your voice heard.

And here is the rest of it.

SB 328-Illegal debt collection prevention

From Attorney General Kroger:


Attorney General



March 24, 2009

Dear friends,

We have a great opportunity to protect Oregon’s consumers. The House will vote on SB 328 on Thursday. If approved, this bill will protect Oregonians from abusive debt collection tactics.

We need your help to make this happen.

Complaints about debt collection agencies have been on the Oregon Department of Justice’s Top 10 Consumer Complaint List since 2001, and complaints are on the rise. In Oregon, unfortunately, there is currently no state agency able to enforce illegal debt collection practices. Senate Bill 328 would close this loophole by giving the Attorney General the authority to hold debt collection agencies accountable when they violate the law, just like any other industry.

Earlier this month SB 328 was passed with strong bipartisan support in the Senate. Last week the House Consumer Protection Committee sent a strong pro-consumer message by sending it to the House Floor with a unanimous recommendation in favor of passage. Now the bill is headed for a vote.

Similar legislation has been defeated twice before by powerful lobbying interests. This year may be different but your legislators need to hear from you. The lobby is mobilized and is intent on defeating SB 328.

Please contact your legislator and urge them to support SB 328. You can locate contact information for your representative, or email them directly using this link.

Thank you so much for helping the Department of Justice do more to protect the citizens of our state.


John R. Kroger

Attorney General of Oregon

One note: Even though this is a senate bill, it has already passed there and is coming up for a vote in the House and so it is our representatives that need to hear from us.
And here is the rest of it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Safe Schools passes Education Committee

In a year that is going to to be almost nothing but suck-ass for students, of any age, it is nice to get some good news. K-12, community members, and college students from all over Oregon have been working on this for a long time. Now we need to make sure it passes the House vote.

From BRO:

After a hugely successful Day of Action on Friday, it's official: The House Education Committee has passed the Oregon Safe Schools Act! In a 9 to 1 vote, committee members approved the bill for a full vote from the House.

That means that in as little as a few days, the House of Representatives could vote on House Bill 2599. Now, more than ever, your legislator needs to hear from YOU!

Contact your Representative today!

Email your Representative TODAY and tell them to vote YES on House Bill 2599! Tell them that ALL youth deserve to grow up free from intimidation and harassment in school.

Even if you've previously sent a message. Even if you were one of the over 300 fair-minded Oregonians to stand up for Oregon youth at the Capitol on Friday. Your Representative needs to hear from you TODAY!

Click on the BRO link above to send a message to your reps in Salem.

And here is the rest of it.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

International Women's Day

Somehow I don't know why I am surprised at the overall lack of coverage for the fact that, not only is this Women's History Month, today is International Women's day, now in its 99th year (although it took the UN 67 years to recognize it). Yesterday, a meeting took place in Monrovia of many of the top women leaders in the world. Here is some of what they had to say:

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa's first female head of state, saluted the distinguished gathering of political and business leaders, saying: "You motivate us, you inspire us, you encourage us to continue."

Sirleaf took power in the west African nation ravaged by 14 years of back-to-back civil wars, and her Finnish counterpart Tarja Holonen was quick to point out that women played a leading role in healing war wounds.

She said experience showed that the role women play "in conflict resolution and reconciliation in post war is very vital. This country Liberia is a good example of that."

Canadian Governor General Michaelle Jean, originally a Haitian refugee, echoed the theme that women were the best guarantors of peace.

"I'm telling you: give women the means to react and you will see less violence, you will see the end of sickness and illiteracy because women never forget that life is the most precious thing.

"Exclude women and you will fail," Jean added at the Monrovia gathering, which will debate the future of women.

And from UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon:

"Violence against women cannot be tolerated, in any form, in any context, in any circumstances, by any political leader or by any government," said Ban.

He revealed that around the world, one woman in five has been a victim of rape or attempted rape, and that in some countries one woman in three has been beaten or subjected to some kind of violent act.

"Violence against women is an abomination. I'd like to call it a crime against humanity," he said.

Damn skippy.

And here is the rest of it.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Appropriating Our Language

Spread far and wide. We have to retain the control of this conversation or the falsehoods spread by ultra-conservatives will be repeated enough to become truth (see Rove playbook).

And here is the rest of it.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Memo from County Chair

Ouch. County Commissioner Cogen posted this on his website:

Chair Wheeler's budget memo to county employees:

The weakening of the economy continues to bring disheartening news for Multnomah County. Today’s state revenue forecast predicts further erosion of the state economy which will result in a significant decline in state funding to Multnomah County. The state reports a $855.3 million budget shortfall for the current year and a $3 billion deficit for the 09-11 biennium. Multnomah County faces a $36.5 million General Fund shortfall in FY 2010, which grows to $45.9 million in FY 2011. These numbers are unprecedented, continue to change, and will result in deep reductions to county services.

The federal economic stimulus plan may present some relief, but the details of how and if federal dollars will affect local government are yet to be determined.

Since I took office, I have worked toward preparing us for the lean times by paying down debt and taking a conservative approach to budgeting. I have asked department directors, the District Attorney and Sheriff to bring forward plans for reductions, including options for savings of four percent from the current budget year. For fiscal year 2010, I have asked for general fund budget reductions of 12 percent across the board.

Painful cuts are necessary, and we will do everything we can to minimize the impact on the vulnerable people who depend on us. The county is the safety net for many members of our community. The numbers of people seeking our assistance continues to grow, as home foreclosures, unemployment and the cost of basic needs, such as food, housing, fuel and utilities increase.

What is clear is that future demands for our services will be greater than the resources we have available. We will focus on investing in programs that can demonstrate successful outcomes and have proven track records. Some layoffs are necessary and could be reduced if we can find creative ways to save money. I am proud of the relationships we have built with union leadership that have enabled us to look at ways to save as many jobs as possible while reducing the budget. I am hopeful that these productive conversations will continue.

The Board of County Commissioners will ultimately make decisions in June about which services will be continued and which services will be cut in fiscal year 2010.

The timeline for budget deliberations is as follows:
February 13 Program offers submitted
March 2 and 16 Budget community forums
April 23 Chair releases Executive Budget
May Public budget hearings
June 4 Board adopts FY 2010 Budget

I understand that Multnomah County employees, like people everywhere, are anxious about their economic and job security and I know that we have tough times ahead. If we can support each other, I know we can weather the rough spots and find the best ways to keep moving forward. These are challenging times, but I firmly believe that we are up to the challenge.

Really painful to read but I appreciate knowing this. Damn-12%?...blehhhhh....

And here is the rest of it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Human Trafficking in Portland

From The Not For Sale Campaign:

Did you know that Portland Police identify at least 3-5 cases of human trafficking per week right here in Portland? Come find out how you can help in spreading awareness and fight this epidemic in our state.

“The Not For Sale Campaign” is pleased to announce that the Backyard College Abolitionist Tour is Coming to Portland on Saturday, February 21st from 7-9pm (doors open @ 6pm) @ The Red Sea Church 7535 N. Chicago St.

This gripping multimedia event brings together lecture, film and music to expose the truth about the 27 million individuals currently held in slavery today. Not For Sale founder, Dr. Dave Batstone and award-winning singer/songwriter, Brant Christopher Menswar will be together in Portland weaving songs into stories while being supported by riveting video; all in an effort to emotionally connect the audience with the global slave trade. It is a gripping night of heart breaking truth and inspirational victories.
And here is the rest of it.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The HRC-Not inclusive-Let me count the ways

I've posted here before about the HRC, and my ambivalence regarding their policies and tactics. I understand enough of politics to know that no one, anywhere gets everything all at once, particularly when it involves changing social "acceptability." However, that is not to say that people, groups and organizations are doing themselves or anyone any good by backing off their end goals-which is what theHRC did with ENDA (I am giving the benefit of the doubt and assuming that full inclusion is their actual end goal.) I'm not so ambivalent anymore and this is a major reason why:

This week, the Human Rights Campaign released its 2009 State of the Workplace report and Corporate Equality Index (CEI) ratings of large US employers for GLBT inclusive policies and practices.[1] Perfect 100% ratings were awarded to a record 260 major companies, up from 195 in 2008. In a press release from Workplace Project Manager Samir Luther, the HRC boasted that 175 of the Fortune-500 businesses and 60 of the Fortune-100 firms now have gender identity protection in their employment policies.

Sounds pretty good...but then there is this:

Despite years of objection by health advocates for the trans-community, the HRC continues to omit medically necessary transition care as a requirement for a perfect 100% CEI score. Employees who suffer distress with their physical sex characteristics or ascribed gender role (often termed gender dysphoria) are singled out by many employers for exclusion from coverage for corrective procedures that are not excluded for other employees. By rewarding these employers with 100% scores, the HRC perpetuates this discrimination.

I am a pragmatist and to me being pragmatic is not the same thing as throwing someone else under the bus in order to get the crumbs that most serve you on a personal level. Even if we don't get it right out of the gate...we still have to demand it.
And here is the rest of it.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Obstructionism is a tired old tactic

Hilda Solis needs to be confirmed. Why the GOP seems to think that times have not changed is beyond me.

And here is the rest of it.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Lilly Ledbetter-All we need now is President Obama's autograph

Yep yep.

Hoyer Statement on Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act


WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in support of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which passed the House and is now headed to President Obama for his signature. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

“I am proud that one of the very first bills passed by this House in the 111th Congress was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. In passing that bill, we recognized that sexism and discrimination can still cheat women out of equal pay and equal worth—a theft of livelihood and dignity that is especially damaging as families across our country struggle to pay their bills. Within my lifetime, sexism in the workplace could be blatant and unashamed; but today, it does some of its worst work in secret. We can take a stand against it by voting for final passage today.

“It was secret sexism that cheated Lilly Ledbetter out of thousands of dollars, for years. And we repeat her story not because it is unique and shocking, but because it is typical of the experiences of so many American women.

“Ms. Ledbetter was a supervisor at a tire plant, and for years she was paid less than her male coworkers. For years, though, she was left in the dark, and by the time she finally saw the proof, it was too late. The Supreme Court ruled that even though Ms. Ledbetter had suffered clear discrimination, she had missed a technicality—she had failed to file suit 180 days after her first unfair paycheck. Of course, Ms. Ledbetter didn’t even know her paychecks were unfair until years after the fact. But the justices decided that women like her were out of luck for a lifetime.

“The Court’s flawed ruling left many victims of pay discrimination without legal recourse. With this bill, we aim to restore that right to redress by allowing employees to file suit 180 days after each unfair paycheck—because pay discrimination is an ongoing practice that is renewed every time an employer signs an unfair paycheck.

“Opponents of this bill might argue that it will lead to more lawsuits. I’d respond that employers who discriminate could end those lawsuits tomorrow, if they paid their female employees fairly. But until that happens, women who face sexism have every right to get the pay, and the respect, they deserve.

“So I urge my colleagues to support final passage of this bill and send it to President Obama’s desk. It would be fitting if this were one of the first bills he signed—a reminder that, even in hard times, we can always make time for justice.”
And here is the rest of it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

RIP Gag Rule-Don't let the door hit ya in the ass

From the Feminist Majority:

President Barack Obama issued an executive order today that repealed the Global Gag Rule.

This executive order will have a monumental impact by saving the life, health, and suffering of literally millions of women worldwide yearly. In part because of restricted access to reproductive health services caused by the Global Gag Rule, more than 70,000 women annually die from unsafe abortions worldwide and the incidence of HIV/AIDS is skyrocketing.

The Global Gag Rule prohibited family planning programs in other nations that receive US aid from using non-US monies for abortion counseling, advocacy, and referrals. The rule was instituted by President Reagan in 1984, was repealed by President Clinton, and was reinstituted by President George W. Bush.

The Global Gag Rule inhibited women worldwide from access to gynecological exams, AIDS prevention and treatment, and contraceptive options. It also halted shipment of condoms and contraceptives to more than 20 countries.

And here is the rest of it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bishop Gene Robinson's Untelevised Invocation


O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will bless us with tears, tears for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women in many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.

Bless this nation with anger, anger at discrimination at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Bless us with discomfort, at the easy, simplistic answers we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth about ourselves and our world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

Bless us with patience and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be fixed any time soon and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.

Bless us with humility, open to understanding that our own needs as a nation must always be balanced with those of the world.

Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance, replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences.

And bless us with compassion and generosity, remembering that every religion’s god judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable.

And God, we give you thanks for your child Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States. Give him wisdom beyond his years. Inspire him with President Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts and Dr. King’s dream of a nation for all people.

Give him a quiet heart, for our ship of state needs a steady, calm captain.

Give him stirring words. We will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.

Make him colorblind, reminding him of his own words, that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.

Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.

Give him strength to find family time and privacy. And help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods.

And please, God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we are asking far too much of this one. We implore you, O good and great God, to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand, that he might do the work we have called him to do, that he might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity and peace. And here is the rest of it.