Friday, June 30, 2006

Pay the lady, dammit!!!

The campaign for equal pay at Wimbledon got a shot in the arm yesterday. First from British Prime Minister Tony Blair who said "he fully supported the campaign for equal pay at Wimbledon."

Tennis legend John McEnroe weighed in as well noting that "There should be no argument that there should be equal pay."

As it stands, the men's winner takes home about $50,000 more than the lady champ. Considering that both take home over a million bucks, the difference is a meager sum. But the symbolism is huge. Says defending champ Venus Williams,
"I'm disappointed not for myself but for all the women who have struggled so hard to get here, the great legends like Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova who have never stopped fighting for equality. And I'm disappointed that the home of tennis is sending a message to women across the world that we are inferior. How can it be that Wimbledon finds itself on the wrong side of history? It can only be that Wimbledon is trying to make a social and political point, one that is out of step with modern society."
When asked how she felt about tennis' original superbrat John McEnroe backing her cause Venus replied, "It's very nice to have a world champion like him, someone who has a respected opinion, to speak up on the women's behalf. I understand he has four daughters also."

And Britains' Prime Minister?

Says Venus: "The fact that Mr. Blair finds this cause extremely important really gives credence to the free world that (equal pay) is something that really makes sense, something that needs to be done"

It's worth noting that the tournament in Dubai (in the United Arab Emirates) offers equal prize money to the men's and women's winners. So moderate Arab nations are willing to pay up for equality's sake, but not Wimbledon. Ironic?

I'll close my feminist rant with this. Sports Illustrated suggests that-- for what the women bring to the game-- they should be paid MORE than the men! Naturally, I agree. But for now I'm happy being pragmatic.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

You can be Jackson Pollock (with out the alcoholism!)

Art can be cool and fun!

My friend Ted sent me this link were you can make your very own digital Jackson Pollick art!!

I've had a little too much fun on that site today, but it's fun and really addictive.

Teens with Credit Cards and other WMD's

Which is the scariest? (click to enlarge)

If you ask me, the answer is:
a little from column A
a little from column B
and a little more from couumn C.

I realize that a credit card in the hands of a teenager isn't really a weapon of mass destruction, but it's pretty darn close. I was in college when I got my first credit card. I was studying in Boston and went straight to Manhattan and maxed out the card buying shoes, clothes, booze. When the dinner bill would come I'd cover the whole check then have the others pay me back. Then I promptly took the cash to buy those pesky non-chargeables. Like drugs and god knows what else. And to think I thought I was being clever. OY!!!

I not exactly pround of it. But I worked really hard to mess up my credit and it pretty much started in college. It's a cautionary tale. If I had a kid going off to college, I'd put the 'credit card talk' right up there with the "drug talk" and the "HIV talk."

Image courtesy Cal Grondahl.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Purple Heart recipient goes to Canada

I don't wanna be drunk and on drugs pissing away my life waiting to die in my room like many other Iraq Vets are doing.--Darrell Anderson

Here's a guy who got hit by a roadside bomb early in the Iraq Occupation, comes back to the States to recover, gets a Purple Heart, gets orders back to Iraq........

Only his family drives him north of the border where he applies for refugee status. You must check out this guy's story. Not only is he real juicy eye candy, but he has a provocative and thoughtful message as well.

Some folks will view what Darrell Anderson has done as a noble act of courage. Others will view him as a coward or a traitor. Either way, one thing is clear. Darell Anderson is a man of principle. Which is more than I can say for the men (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld) who sent him to Iraq to do their dirty work.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

It Pays to Discover

I got a wild hair up my ass today. I thought it would be cool to call my credit card companies and ask them when I become eligible for a lower interest rate.

Would you believe that in both cases, they lowered my APR? They further suggested I call back in 6 months to get it lowered again! Who knew???

Now, I don't have the best credit rating on the planet, but I am good at paying the minimum on time I guess. Presumably if I go another 6 months without ever being late, they'll lower the rate again. I swear if I knew it was this easy, I might have called earlier! But being an informed consumer ain't always easy and I never would have guess that lowering my credit card APR was as easy as a phone call.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Flags and Fags, a republican diet for success

Or is it Gays-n-guns??
With Congress gearing up to amend the Constitution to partially repeal the First Amendment in order to address the grave threat of flag burning, Bush decided to take a minute (while in Austria last week) to scrawl his name on the flag for some fans. This is not his first flag-autographing stunt. Here he is doing it back in 2003. (click pic to enlarge)

Bush wipes his fanny with the flag every day. Why the double standard?

And you thought Philly sports fans were bad!

World Cup pee is killing the trees in Berlin. Clearly this is proof positive that European sports fans are no more civilized that their American counterparts. Guardian UK:
The only thing the organisers of the World Cup appear to have got wrong is the number of toilets provided. Biologists have warned that trees in Berlin are in danger of dying because of male fans urinating in the bushes. The huge, leafy 'fan mile' in the centre of the city has regularly been attracting crowds of up to 700,000 who have gathered to drink beer, eat sausages and watch games on giant screens - but it only has 280 portable loos.
Now I'd be lying if I said I've never wee'd on a tree before, but I try to rotate my targets as much as possible. For all other outside pissers, I recommend doing the same. So does Tilman Lamparter, a biologist at Berlin's Free University who cautions, "The urea sinks into the ground as ammonia. In small quantities this is a good fertiliser, but too much acidity is bad for the soil and could damage or even kill the trees."

Not to mention the smell!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Hippy Chickenhawk

I wonder how differently Dick Cheney would feel about war-waging, were it not for his draft-dodging prowess in the Viet Nam era.

The mind reels....
(Image courtesy Mike Lane)

Saturday, June 24, 2006


Looks like Philippine President Gloria Arroyo has signed a law banning the death penalty in her country. Aparently, Arroyo was under pressure from the Roman Catholic Church to end capital punishment. To their credit, the Catholics have long advocated to ban the death penalty. So the new law means that the 1,2oo prisoners on death row in the Philippines will serve life-terms.

I made up my mind once and for all about the death penalty when I interviewed Kirk Bloodsworth, the first American exonerated from deathrow by DNA evidence. Check out that interview here.
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*On a much lighter note, Wimbledon starts tomorrow. The ladies in the tournament are pissed that the men get paid more prize money, even though the gal's game gets bigger TV ratings. All the other Grand Slam-tier tournaments offer equal pay, so Wimbledon's unwillingness to treat women fairly really is difficult to defend. (On the bright side, blacks are still allowed on the courts.)

In the pic, Maria Sharapova (r) and Venus Williams (r) illustrated the total prize money difference awarded by Wimbledon (£6,132,770) to male and female players in the past decade. Ahhh, life in the pink collar ghetto........
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Also on the Wimbledon front, lesbian goddess Martina Navratilova is entered in the doubles draw. She and her partner are seeded 7th. Astonishing to know that she'll be 50 this year. She won her first Wimbledon (with Chris Evert) back in 1976 which blows my mind.
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Ya'll remember the BBQ I had for Congressional Candidate Rich Sexton a few weeks ago? It was a big success and at the party we raised $1,515 for Rich's campaign to unseat a nasty republican and send a great guy to Congress. Well, thanks to the generosity of Lassiter Space readers and some contributors who didn't show, the total is now well over $2,ooo!! I am not worthy.
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Finally, did you hear the one about the chicken and the egg? Well, the chicken and egg are lying in bed. Ok, the chicken is laying there, smoking a cigarette looking totally satisfied. The egg is laying next to the chicken looking totally dejected and says to the chicken, "well, I guess we answered that question!"

Friday, June 23, 2006

Lassiter and the Transexuals take over Trenton

I knocked on over 10,000 doors (while stumping in the 14th district) and not one of the people I spoke with said to me, 'when you're elected you should ammend the constitution to discriminate against the gay community.' Not one."
-Republican Assemblyman Bill Baroni

Trenton was gayer than ever yesterday and Jim McGreevy was nowhere to be found!! And even though we definitely had a gay old time, there was a serious message to Equality Day at the state house. Namely, marriage and gender equality.

The day was put on by Garden State Equality and
Gender Rights Advocacy Association NJ. Our plan was to lobby the powers-that-be to remain sympathetic to our cause, which is equality for all citizens of New Jersey. Plain and simple.

jay lassiter :: Equality Day at the State House (updated with pics!)
We first met with the chiefs of staff for the Governor, Senate President Codey and Assembly Speaker Roberts. It was pretty obvious by the dialogue with these folks with that we (gays and transsexuals) have genuine allies in Gov. Corzine, Codey, and Roberts.

We next met with some members of the GOP caucus, who impressed me with their enlightened views on gay- and trans issues. John Bramnick (R-Union), Bill Baroni (R-Mercer) and Sean Kean (R-Monmouth) all showed up as did NJ GOP state Chairman Tom Wilson. I must confess, this meeting with the republican caucus was the most spirited of the day in my opinion. In addition to assurances we received that the GOP caucus would not write discrimination into the NJ coustitution, ("Never gonna happen" says Bramnick) they really held their own in a lively discussion on equality and diversity in the state. My lasting impression was these GOP memebers were really good guys. It was nice to engage with the other side without the fear that my "lifestyle" might be used against me on election day. Would you believe me if I suggested that these guys hold themselves to a completely different standard than Karl Rove and his brand of republicanism? (enlarge pic to see a captivated GOP caucus)

Next up was a meeting with NJ's brand spankin' new Public Advocate, Ron Chen. What's a public advocate you ask? Something akin to an ombubsmnan between NJ citizens and the government. An interloctor between "us" and "them" with regards to civil rights and other issues of advocacy. Mr. Chen's background as a law professor at Rutgers and with the ACLU inspired confidence. Not only does this guy have an intimate knowledge of NJ constitutional law, he also earned some stripes at the ACLU, as well. Blue Jersey invited Mr. Chen to write an op-ed piece here on the site, basically explaining in more detail the roll he hopes to play in the Corzine cabinet. So stay tuned for that.

After lunch it was back to the lobbying. We met with NJ State Senate majority leader Bernard Kenny (D Hudson) who said the right things to us, albeit it in a non-committal way. (Note to Sen. Kenny: simple questions require simple answers.)

Next we were treated to a mini-nervous breakdown courtesy of Sen. Bill Gormley (R- Atlantic) who is generally open to GLTBI-issues but seemed horrified at our contingent. "You've ambushed me!" and "I have nothing to say!" and further "i don't want to listen to you either."

Sen. Gormley's lack of hospitality was bitterly ironic. The gang was there to present him with a placque, basically thanking him for being a friend to the gays. EEEEKK!!

Shortly thereafter Sen. John Adler paid us a visit. His assurances that the bill protecting transexuals from discrimination would be "one of the first" pieces of legislation we take up in the next section. There was a woman in our juggernaut named Jacqui who presented the legislators with three years worth of rejected resumes which she suffered while trying to find a job after her (stunningly gorgeous) transformation. Basically, Jacqui couldn't find a job in NJ and had no legal recourse to fight the obvious discrimination she faced while seeking employment. "New Jersey failed me. Please don't make anyone else have to endure my fate." I should add that Jacqui is no longer living in NJ. So we lost a tax payer, and a life long Jersey homegirl. Our loss.

By the end of the day, we had also met with Assemblyman Joe Cryan, Chair of the Democrat State Committee who is clearly a friend and ally of the gays. In fact, of all the legislators, he seemed genuinely the warmest of the lot. Honestly, you learn a lot about a person watching them react to a transsexual. Joe Cryan seemed to exude an aura which said "I don't care where you fall on the gender continuum, you're still a knucklehead. Now come gimme a hug!!" (In this pic, I attempt to get the scoop from Cryan staffer Bob Bresenhan, but i was clearly distracted by the faaaaaabulous decor of the statehouse rotunda. click to enlarge)

In conclusion, our message could be boiled down to this: "We're still here, we're still queer. But we are also a powerful lobbying body and we vote and we matter and we're watching you."

(after a long day lobbyin' NJ NOW president Suzannah Porter leans in to congratulate Garden State Equality prez Steven Goldstein on a job well done. click to enlarge)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Local Airman Carl Ware laid to rest amid suspicions of foul play in Iraq

As Glassboro Airman Carl Ware Jr. was laid to rest yesterday, questions began swiriling about the exact nature of his death.

Airman Ware's parents have suggested the shot to the chest that killed their son in Iraq wasn't fired by the enemy, rather by someone on his base, possibly a fellow soldier or security contractor.

Military officers in Hawaii (were Airman Ware was stationed) told the family they were investigating the shooting to try to determine if it was accidental or deliberate.

Air Force Times:

Officials at Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu did not confirm or deny the family’s account other than to say his death did not happen in combat, and that it was being investigated.

Calls by Blue Jersey to the 15th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office at Hickman were pretty much fruitless.

When asked "Do you have anything to tell me beyond what what stated in the Department of Defense's original press release" they were unwilling to divulge any substantiative details regarding the death of NJ's 44th casualty of the Iraq conflict.

According to a military spokesman at Hickman AFB, the DOD has thirty days to conduct an investigation into Airman Ware's death. At that point it's the Pentagon's prerogative to rule that the investigation is simply "Inconclusive."

In other words his family may never know what really happened in Airman Ware's final moments.

How did Airman Ware die?

Why did Airman Ware die?

Did Airman Ware have to die?

Will we ever know?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Kim Jung Il is a bad mamma jamma

Image courtesy Bill Mitchell

Your Tax Dollars at Work

(Pam at the House Blend reports)--Headline over at Raw Story: Federal contracts up 86% under Bush; Halliburton rises 600%.

Bonus points to Lockheed, which nailed contracts larger than the budget of Congress and the Department of the Interior.

Does your wallet feel curiously light?

Monday, June 19, 2006

Another Bush Pantywaste!!!

North Korea is planning a missle test-launch any day now. Presumably the rocket has the range to reach the US mainland. And yet President Bush refuses to even comment on it other than to say "North Korea has imposed a moratorium on launching missiles. We hope it will continue that moratorium and we hope it also will abide by commitments it made." So while Iran is on the verge of having nukes, North Korea has missle technology to hit the US, we're up to our tits with the Iraq distraction!! Does Bush even care enough to make a substantative comment?

This latest threat from North Korean crackpot Kim Jong Il comes the very same day the deputy Secretary of State, Robert Zoellick resigned his post as America's number 2 diplomat. Curious timing you might say, especially since Zoellick was said to have a good bit of expertise in Asian affairs. So the day North Korea aims a rocket towards the United States we lose one of our top foreign policy makers, who quit for a better paying job at Goldman Sachs. He said as much. Well, that and sour grapes.

It was no secret that Robert Zoellick was pissed that he did't get the job as Treasury Secretary. Aparently the #2 job at the State Department was not enough for him and his ego. So he quit. Presumably when we needed him most. Sounds a lot like wussy to me. I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions about the values of the Bush cabinet, but clearly this Zoellick guy lacks character, leadership and balls. Kinda like the President.

Maybe it's better that Zoellick is gone. If you look around the world you see that the US is tied up in a clutch of diplomatic crises ( Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, et al. ) so clearly this guy was a hack diplomat.

Instead of leadership Bush has given us (yet) another pantywaste.

Are you scared yet?
(Image courtesy Clay Bennett)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Bush in Iraq for a white-hot minute

Image courtesy Steve Sack

Ambassador Lassiter?

Peter Lein is one of the best known photographers in Philly and I have worked part-time at his studio for years. When Peter's not shooting supermodels and stuff, he's in places like Rwanda (documenting genocide) or Uganda or Haiti (archiving the AIDS crisis.)

He's also been known to jet off to Rio for carnival footage. In short, when he's not being a famous photographer, he's off being an activist with a camera. Let's face it, AIDS and genocide are grim topics and going to these exotic locales to document this kinda stuff epitomizes "fightin' the good fight." Believe it or not, Peter's even been to Antarctica once documenting the effects of global warming.

But there is one place he's never been and that's China. I've never been either and China is way up on my list of choice destinations! In fact, except for last sememster while my Achilles healed, I've been studying Mandarin at NYU for the past few years. (and yeah, it's hard.)

Anyway, when a delegation of Chinese Photographers came to Philly this week to meet with their American counterparts at the American Society of Media Photographers, it was a chance to really put my linguistic and diplomacy skills to the test.

Ambassador Lassiter? Kinda has a nice ring to it don't ya think?

Now it's hard to remember sometimes that China is still a communist country. The notion that you can be a freelance photographer but still draw your salary from the state really blew my mind. So whether you're shooting communist propoganda pics, or doing a a shoot for Nike in Bejing, you're still obstensibly an apparatchik of the state.

So we hung out, traded tips, had some green tea, took some photos and played host to the Chinese delegation for a few hours. And in spite of the fact that my Mandarin's still a litttle basic, the opportunity to speak Chinese when it mattered was thoroughly satisfying. I should add that Peter's studio looks a lot like an art gallery, so our guests were pretty blown away by the whole package.

Between Peter's many professional credentials and my command of their mothertongue, we somehow secured an invitation to come to China as official guests of the Chinese Photographers Association. Of course me showing up for work with a Chairman Mao t-shirt (a gift from my boyfriend, Greg) and shamelessly waving their flag (see pic) didn't hurt our cause. I should add that their offer came as a complete surprise to us. It felt a little like winning a gameshow or something.

The moral of the story is this: what goes around comes around. If you treat other people (and cultures) kindly, if you engage them with respect and genuine curiosity then good things will happen to you. Goodwill goes a really long way. In this case, it goes all the way to China.
This time next year, I will have a China stamp in the old passport. And I am positively giddy with anticipation!!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

World Cup Fever/Iraq war metaphor

Al-Zarqawi is dead, Bush is just back from Iraq, and there is actually a glimer of hope that Iraq is not headed to hell in a handbasket.

I want nothing more that to BE WRONG about Bush's Iraq War follies... I've always been ready to eat some crow. And yet somehow--recent good news not withstanding--I can't shake the feeling that the mess in Iraq was a collosal foreign policy blunder.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Sexton campaign update/Challenge to Blog readers

Yesterday's fundraiser for Congressional candidate Rich Sexton went really well. The weather was picture perfect, the food was fantastic and the company was pretty darn good too. Oh, and by the way, we also raised some cash for the campaign. At last count, we were just shy of $1,5oo.

This year in my district, we're up against a well-financed incumbent who shamelessly accepts big-ticket donations from the likes of Tom Delay and Jack Abramoff. So the Sexton campaign relies on events like yesterday's BBQ as its life blood.

Yesterday had some real intangible effects, as well. By helping Dems stretch the field in districts with entrenched GOP incumbents, we're helping with DNC chairman Howard Dean's mission to take the fight to the GOP in every district of every state in the country.

Additionally, the BBQ gave me the chance to cross-pollinate with my progressive neighbors and activists. There's a lot of frustration at our President and his rubberstamp congress. The fact is, many of us feel ashamed and disgusted with Rich Sexton's election-day rival (and GOP lapdog) Jim Saxton. And by bringing all that frustration (and energy) together--on my back porch--the grassroots had a chance to brainstorm our next steps.

I have to be honest, I hoped to raise more. My goal beforehand was $2,ooo. Don't know why I picked that figure, it just sounded like a nice, round number. I still would love to achieve the original 2k goal so I am turning to you in the blogosphere to help me out. You can still contribute and no amound is too modest. In fact, on my blog, I raised $300 in three days for the cause, mostly in $5 and $10 donations which can quickly add up. As an added inducement, for every $10 that we raise here in the blog-o-sphere, I'll donate an hour to the Sexton campaign. So it's like your donation will be working double time! If you think that sounds like a good investment, then click here, and make a small pledge.

Can you tell that everything I learned about asking for money came from listening to NPR pledgedrives....(sigh)

I never organized a fundraiser. Trying something like this was a great opportunity to cut my teeth and to get a feel for it. Next time will be even better, no doubt.

But I am still a long way from entering the furdraising pantheon of my hero and muse, Pamela Harriman whose glamorous Georgetown parties kept the Democratic coffers full during the dark days of the Reagan administration.
top pic: Me and Rich enjoy a lite moment.
second pic, Rich and Me and the O'Neills whose committment to activism is matched only by their genorosity. Joanne is the South Jersey PDA organizer and her husband Tim is always out fighting the good fight, as well.)

Saturday, June 10, 2006

BBQ,party down

I have neglected the blog a bit lately while pulling a BBQ/political fundraiser together this weekend. Here in NJ's third congressional district, we have a terrific Democratic candidate for Congress, Rich Sexton who's running against the Republican incumbent Jim Saxton. Sexton, Saxton, tomato, to-mah-to, you ask?

Hardly. First of all, Sex is always better than sax. I'm just saying....

And secondly, Jim Saxton (who raised national attention lately with a panic attack that sent Capital Hill into lockdown-mode) is a lapdog for the Bush Administration and I am profoundly ashamed and disguested that he's my voice in Congress. Jim Saxton's gotta go. The idea of a Democratic-controlled congress is very appealing to me. I am doing what I can to turn the republican tides in my district. Besides, a win in NJ-3 is a win for Democrats and progressives nationwide.

The BBQ extravaganza is tomorrow. If you can't make it, would you still consider supporting me with a small contributionto the campaign?(No amount's too modest!) I set up a webpage to accept donations to Rich's campaign so it's really easy and totally secure.

I've gotten to know Democrat Rich Sexton pretty well throughout the campaign. Since he and I share many of the same progressive values, it's natural that I'm working hard to get him elected. Wanna know more about Rich Sexton check out the podcast-able interview I did with him a month ago.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

What anti-gay marriage ammendment?

After several years, thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars, Al-Zarqawi is dead. Good riddance.

But considering that Al-Zarqawi's cult of personality was ostensibly created by George Bush in the first place, I have a hard time seeing how Al-Zarqawi's death is worth all this fuss.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Everything I know about the death penalty I learned from Pope John Paul II

I am against capital punishment and I feel it should be abolished. But that hasn't always been the case. Until a few years ago, I believed the state reserved the right to impose the death penalty on offenders who commit the most henious types of crimes. It wasn't until about three years ago when I heard a speech made by the late Pontiff John Paul II, that I began to re-evaluate my own position on this compicated matter. At the time the Pope weighed in, I was skeptical that there would be much common ground between a liberal queer activist like me and the leader of the Catholic Church. I should note that I was raised Catholic and I always took a dim view of their rigid dogma, particularly concerning issues of sexuality. But when I heard Pope John Paul II discuss the death penalty in the context of forgiveness and vengance, I was moved to revisit the issue (and my own ideas of forgiveness.)

The Pope mentioned that support for the death penalty is generally rooted in desire for revenge. He acknowlegded the legitimate urge for justice, but suggested that justice can never be achieved through vengance. He admonished those who cite Biblical scripture to justify a pro-death penalty stance. According the the Pope, the oft-repeated proverb "an eye for an eye...." (Lev. 24:20) was not a recipe for vengance, rather to meant to serve as a cautionary tale against the escalation of violence in general. The Pope also pointed out that Jesus' position on the death penalty was clear: rather that reltaliation, we should "turn the other cheek" and extend our hand in healing, blessing, and forgiveness. (Matthew 5:38-55)

Rather that relying on a second-hand account of stuff I heard John Paul II say three years ago, I wanted to find some actual quotes from the Pope which support the values I've just described. It wasn't difficult. A Google search on the words "Pope John Paul + death penalty" turns up 641,ooo hits. The Vatican has its own website complete with an archive of transcripts from many Papal speeches and masses. (Who knew?) From paragraph 56 of Evangelium Vitae (Gospel of Life) Pope John Paul II states:
It's clear that for punishment to be achieved, the nature and extent of the punishment must be carefully evaluated and decided upon, and ought to not go to the extreme of executing the offender except when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society. Today however, such cases are practically non-existent.
The Pope advanced the argument that when a prisoner (who poses no threat to society) is executed, it sends the message that life is worthless, thus we can view the death penalty as an injustice to the sanctity of life. I share the Pope's belief that execution does not end with the death of the criminal, but affects each and every one of us living in a society which justifies capital punishment.

I admit it's instinctively pleasing to jugde those who commit henoius crimes as worthless or "less-than" but we should resist this temptation. If we convince ourselves that some among us deserve death, then we forget that all of us deserve forgiveness and the grace to ammend our lives. Fighting violence with violence for the sake of vengance does not serve a useful role in this country. Nor does it allow society to cultivate less vengeful methods of dealing with violent crime.

A 1994 piece entitled Confronting a Culture of Corruption: A Catholic Framework for Action the American Conference of Catholic Bishops states:
Increasingly, our society looks to violent measures to deal with some of our most difficult social problems...including increased reliance on the death penalty to deal with crime. Violence is not the solution; is it the most clear sign of our failures. We can not teach that killing is wrong by killing.
As I mentioned, I spent a long time believing that capital punishment is justified in some cases. My change of heart occured when I heard the Pope issue a pretty bold and compelling statement condeming the death penalty. He basically suggested that those who take a pro-death penalty stance are generally folks who suffer from issues related to forgiveness. The fact is, at the time I was an angry young man with no ability to forgive others (or myself) for anything. Not that there were all these things to forgive, but I tended to err on the side of vengance whenever I felt threatened or slighted. In my case, the Pope was right: when I addressed my inablitiy to forgive, my feelings regarding the death penalty simply changed. I believe there is a strong correlation there.

Thinking back, I'm surprised I didn't respond defensively to the Pope's assertion, instead somehow managed to take his words to heart. I said earlier that my relationship with the Catholic Church is hardly a cozy one. That might have made it easy to dismiss the Pope out of hand. Instead, I had a "teachable moment" which has led me to a greater understanding of my own values.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

something to ponder on primary election day

I am busy voting and watching women's French Open tennis all day. Thanks to ESPN2, I'll be enjoying 8 hours of coverage from Paris.

By the way, I wonder if the call the French Open by a different name down south. The Freedom Open perhaps?

Monday, June 05, 2006

Ban Gay Marriage? How About Banning Gay Uniforms

(Kvatch reports)--
While George Bush whips up the Republican base with the old gay marriage warhorse, a far more pernicious scourge lurks within our borders. Our military, the very defenders of our nation, are afflicted by the disease of gay uniforms.

Just look at these pictures and tell me you don't agree. These uniforms that could grace the cover of International Male for Pete's sake!

When President Bush speaks to the nation tonite, he shouldn't push for a ban on gay marriage, he should push for a ban on gay uniforms! Or at the very least a "don't ask, don't tell policy" on the fruity duds our troops are wearing this season.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Inconvenient Truthiness

When Al Gore say's he's not running for the Whitehouse in 2oo8 do you believe him? I don't. But that's okay, I hope he does run. He' s a smart man and I hope he'll be my president one day. (Hopefully sooner than later.)

Anyway, I saw the former VP's hot new flick today, An Inconvenient Truth.

LOVED IT! Definitely worth the $8.

So back to my original question. Who do you think will be the democratic candidate in '08? And who would you like to see the candidate be? (i guess that's two quesions, if you'll allow....)

Is it gonna be Hillary? Al? How about Joe Biden or Wes Clark? Who are you liking?

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Until my friends start dying of bird-flu...

The reason I write about AIDS (and my 13 years living HIV+) is because I want every one who reads this blog to know someone with HIV. The more I can personalize the disease , the more folks seem to become emotionally engaged in the fight against AIDS.

With the 25th anniversary of the first AIDS diagnosis being commerated this weekend, there is a lot of reflection going on. The whole how far we've come/how far we have to go kinda thing.

I just heard something on NPR which moved me to tears about one of the doctors who figured prominently in the early days of the AIDS crisis. As a young doc out of med school, he went to work for the Centers for Disease Control and went on to become a pioneer of AIDS research. Listening to him describe how his faith enables him to continute to fight the good fight was very moving indeed. Like I said it got me a little misty.

Sentimentality quickly gives way to rage when I contemplate just how short-sighted President Bush's AIDS policy has been. His whole abstinence-till-marriage routing is so seeped in judgemental religious ideology that it is doomed to fail as a policy, which means of course that more people will die of AIDS in the meantime. The fact that the Bush is exporting these "values" abroad makes it all the more contemptable.

Bush is also staunchly against needle exchange suggesting that providing clean needles "sends the wrong message." I dubunk that myth here. Anyway, the message Bush is really sending is that he doesn't care about faggots and niggers and junkies. Sorry for the harsh language, but this is what the President's behavior says to me personally. And since gays, black and drug users are the ones getting the disease in highest numbers, AIDS (unlike the bird flu) will lag far beyone Bush's real priorities.

Anyway, if you're reading this, then you know at least one person with HIV. I don't wanna die of AIDS. I 'm tired of my friends dying of AIDS. So many are dead that I am an elderstatesman (of 34) and archivist of the fight, which is a miracle in itself. You can imagine when first diagnosed, the last thing I was thinking was I'd ever be the long-term archivist of anything. For this much I remain grateful. Which is a perfect note to end on.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Batwoman is a lipstick Lesbian!

I always suspected that Gotham City was a good place to be gay.

Years after she first emerged from the Batcave, Batwoman is coming out of the closet. DC Comics is resurrecting the classic comic book character as a lesbian, unveiling the new Batwoman in July as part of an ongoing weekly series that began this year. The 5-foot-10 superhero comes with flowing red hair, knee-high red boots with spiked heels, and a form-fitting black outfit.
Said Dan DiDio, vice president and executive editor at DC, "we decided to give her a different point of view. We wanted to make her a more unique personality than others in the Bat-family. That's one of the reasons we went in this direction."

"She's a socialite from Gotham high society," DiDio continuted. "She has some past connection with Bruce Wayne. And she's also had a past love affair with one of our lead characters, Renee Montoya."

Montoya, in the "52" comic book series, is a former police detective. Wayne, of course, is Batman's true identity -- but he has disappeared, along with Superman and Wonder Woman, leaving Gotham a more dangerous place. The "52" series is a collaboration of four acclaimed writers, with one episode per week for one year. The comics will introduce other diverse characters as the story plays out.
No word yet whether Gotham City's Mayor will be performing gay marriages anytime soon.