Monday, December 24, 2007

Roman Holiday, Jersey Style

Here are some parting shots from Rome where the NJ death penalty repeal was the big story bouncing around old Europe this past week. And that's just the beginning of the story.

You'll laugh, you'll cry.  It's better than Cats.



Friday, December 14, 2007

New Jersey repeals the Death Penalty

When Governor Corzine signs the bill, N.J. will be the first state in the land to repeal the death penalty legislatively.  Nasty criminals face life without parole instead.

Is it me, or are some victories just extra sweet?


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

ELECTION DAY! GO VOTE or STFU!!

Vote today in New Jersey to help farmers AND the environment! Vote YES on ballot question #3!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Interviewing Governor Corzine

New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine is blog-friendly. We met yesterday at Rutgers University to discuss stem cell research, Iraq and more. First of two parts.


Me and the Governor, part II

Corzine muses about healthcare for kids, gay marriage equality and crime. He also reflects on his near-fatal accident last summer. Interesting stuff, if I do say so myself.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Jim Saxton, the biggest S-CHIP head in Ocean, Burlington, Camden counties

I hope Jim Saxton gets bludgeoned for this S-CHIP vote coming up tomorrow....assuming of course Saxton bends over for George Bush. Again. Which I fully expect.


Note to Jim Saxton: we don't need S-CHIP to beat you in 'o8 but you can bet the farm that your obit just got a whole lot more unsympathetic!

Crossposted over at Blue Jersey

Friday, September 07, 2007

Grande Hypocritical Latte, please (aka Starbucks Sucks)

I used to love starbucks and their forward thinking business model. But nowadays, they are just another rootin', tootin', pollutin', highfalutin', Union bootin' Frappuccino factory with little to no regard for the communities they leech off of.

The following email exchange between myself and local manager Delma Wells proves they just don't give a damn.

-----Original Message-----
From: jay lassiter
To: Delma Wells
Subject: customer feedback

I live near the Haddonfield Starbucks. Usually the drinks and the staff are great. This is why I choose to spend $4+ on a cup of coffee from time to time. Unfortunately, on a recent "trash day", the staff put dozens of clear plastic trash bags on the sidewalk which were full of recyclables (and compostables) for a landfill. Again. This is a weekly issue.

Seeing the store's disregard for the environment offends me. For Starbucks to ignore its PROGRESSIVE policies in such a visible way -- right on the sidewalk --is a drag. It also contradicts the Starbucks mission statement which, according to your business card, seeks to contribute "positively to community and environment."

Whatever the reasons you are not recycling, I suggest that you revisit them. At present, the store is ill-equipped and the staff is not trained to properly dispose of its trash. Throwing everything out together on the sidewalk in clear plastic bags is unacceptable.

As neighbors, we share this burden. I am eager to help with a solution.

I look forward to your reply and i appreciate you making yourself available for feedback.
Jay Lassiter

Her reply follows...


Delma Wells wrote:

After speaking with the store manager he has informed me that the Township will not pick up the recyclable from Kings Highway because it interferes with traffic flow in the A.M... I will continue to work with the town to find an answer. I hope to resolve this ASAP, and will keep you posted.
Thanks again
Delma W.
District Manager

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~My reply follows...~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Miss W:

So what you're saying is "It's too hard to recycle."

We can not wait for the township to get its act together and make it easy for us!! You should take initiative! Anything short of this is falling short of the mission statement.

Forty bags of (mostly recyclable) trash every collection day? Can't you at least try to do better?

jay lassiter
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
That email exchange happened 2 months ago. I heard nothing more from the Starbacks district manager since, despite her vow to "keep me posted.". If Starbucks can be consciencious of the plight of some far-off indigenous coffee farmer, then they can surely stop shitting all over their own neighborhood!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Jay's Garden State.

Check out this cool interview I did with NJ Secretary of Agruculture, Charles Kuperus. It's a lot more interesting that it might sound, I promise.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Playing Politics with Genocide

Not too long ago, in response to the Sudanese government's genocidal policies, Assemblyman Bill Payne shepherded a bill through the Statehouse that would prohibit the state of New Jersey from investing in Sudan.

In doing so the Garden State joined Illinois as the only state in the land to put its money were its mouth is when it comes to the extermination of an entire race.

The move to divest was largely hailed as an important symbolic move. In fact, the House of Representatives commended New Jersey and Illinois for their leadership on this issue . Likewise, all over the country, men and women of conscience were pleased to see someone finally doing.... something. After all, genocide is forever and already the number of dead and displaced is too high to count.

You'd think with something as serious as mass extermination , most people would be sympathetic to the cause. But you'd be wrong.

From a recent Rush Limbaugh show:
Democrats "want to get us out of Iraq, but they can't wait to get us into Darfur," Limbaugh said.

He continued: "There are two reasons. What color is the skin of the people in Darfur? It's black. And who do the Democrats really need to keep voting for them? If they lose a significant percentage of this voting bloc, they're in trouble."
Now it's possible that it was the OxyContin doing the talking, but still.....

Limbaugh fans notwithstanding, I suspect anyone troubled about the plight of Darfur is probably concerned that hundreds of thousands of people are dying. Black, white, or polka dotted, it wouldn't matter much. Am I right?

Now it's worth pointing out that Assemblyman Payne's leadership on the issue of genocide in Darfur is a family affair. His brother, Congressman Donald Payne chairs the Africa and Human Rights sub committee in Washington who has made Darfur a huge personal priority. Unfortunately the lack of leadership in the Whitehouse (and State Department) have limited the American response to hollow gestures for the most part. (In fact in a Dec 'o6 interview with Blue Jersey Congressman Payne remarked that the United States finds itself currently in a pickle where our purported human rights values are in direct conflict with our post-9/11 "intelligence" objectives.)

It's for these reasons that New Jersey and Illinois' brave position on Darfur (and genocide on general) is so unique and noteworthy.

Now what?

First of all, regarding Limbaugh, click over to Media Matters and add your name to the growing list of folks demanding an apology from Rush for his latest race-based rant. It might not seem like it would make much difference, but here at Blue Jersey we have a proud tradition of rising up to challenge hate speech on the airwaves. Imus? Jersey Guys? Hello!

After that, call your representatives in Trenton. Very, very few places have laws on the books that specifically address the situation in Darfur. New Jersey is one of them. This issue was very much a bi-partisam one so keep this issue on Trenton's radar!

Finally, call Congressman Donald Payne. He's chairman of the House Africa and Human Rights Subcommittee, thus represents all New Jerseyans in that capacity. Again, remind him how much genocide matters to you.

And when you're done with all that feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section. I've no doubt that you have something to say about genocide or Rush Limbaugh (or both), so by all means fire away.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Blur

Come for the novelty, stay for the musical score. It's stunning. The music I mean.

This video is one of the more iconic of You Tube's short history and I was pretty blown away at first blush. But what keeps me coming back is that delicate (yet throbbing) piano accompaniment by musician Carly Comando. The music in a word: Perfect.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

What's your favorite Elvis tune?

Find your favorite Elvis Presley song on You Tube and leave it as a message! Here's mine!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Google me Timbers

It's amazing what folks try to find with Google. It's even more amazing what some folks try to find on the net, only to find me instead. Here's a sampling of the latest search engine gems, according to my site meter:


* Danish+Male+escorts
* Bigmany in New Jersey
* Dirty bookstores in New Jersey
* Free+Lady+piss
* Toy+Soldier+lawn ornament
* "Do black people have achilles tendons?" and finally.....
* "Let peace begin with me"

Hey, whatever floats your boat!

Friday, August 10, 2007

My radio show

Have you heard the latest installment of Blue Jersey BlogTalkRadio?

Of course we air every Saturday but each episode is available for download. I must confess the response to our radio show have been uneven thus far.

For example:

You guys are morons. If you feel you must continue with this little radio show thing you really should practice a little. Assholes.
Or
I laughed so hard it was like a 30 minute ab workout.
So take a listen and judge for yourself.

These podcasts and more are just waiting to be downloaded to your iPod. What? You didn't know you could do that? Well - you can! Just subscribe here:





Thursday, August 02, 2007

No. More. Junkmail. Ever!

Opting out of Junkmail?  Sign me up!

Junk mail (especially those darn credit card solicitations) creates an astonishing 8,000,000,000 pounds of waste per year.  Of course much of this is recyclable but it's still problematic for two reasons:  1) the trees have already been cut and 2) most people still don't recycle anyway. 


If you're like me, you tear right through these bits of junk mail right away and toss it into the recycle bin.  You also might ask yourself how the hell you, as a consumer, can reduce the amount of junk mail that ends up in your box. 


I recommend checking out this (secure) site where you can opt out! of unsolicited credit card junk mail.  It's akin to the "do not call" list, but it actually reduced greenhouse gas by saving trees and reducing the need to send stuff thousands of miles via mail. 


I signed up myself a few weeks ago and was excited to share this info with you guys right away.  But I wanted to wait a little while to make sure that it actually worked.  I am happy to say, I haven't seen any of this type of stuff in my mailbox in over a fortnight.  Heck, these pieces of mail travel a loooong way just to end up in the trash.  So I am glad that it's an inconvenience I no longer have to deal with.


Every little bit counts.  This suggestion isn't gonna save the planet or anything, but it's one more tool to live greenly and mindfully. 

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Living Green is a Regional Thing

A Fascinating story came over the airwaves today via National Public Radio that's worth sharing. As you all know, Jon Corzine recently signed the Global Warming Response Act into law. Since this bold move by our state is a collaboration with other (blue) states here in the Northeast, it's worth updating what's been going on regionally.

It's also worth underscoring that these initiatives are in lieu of the anemic Federal response to climate change. Frankly, treehuggers and wonks alike agree that a national strategy would be best. But since the Bush Administration is too preoccupied with fags, flags and fetuses to bother with OO2 emissions, regional initiatives will have to do. For now.

This radio short checks up with an environmentalist and a power plant exec from our own PSE&G about the preparations for the upcoming transition.


NPR:
The Northeast region of the United States is the world's seventh biggest emitter of climate changing carbon dioxide gases. But, 10 Northeast states have signed up in a regional compact called "RGGI" (Reggie) the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, to set mandatory caps on carbon emissions on power plants and a cap and trade program to help industry meet the reduction goals.

For a tutorial on the economics of Can and Trade, check out this video blog from last month.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Senator Bob Menendez talks Iraq, Healthcare, illegal firearms

How cool is it that the Senator from New Jersey Bob Menendez is so blog friendly?

I got a chance to interview him for my other (bigger) site Blue Jersey, and Menendez had all kinds of interesting things to say on topics that matter to me: the war in Iraq and the plight on the uninsured. You can listen to the podcast here or you can do it up YouTube style, below.

And in case you're wondering I did remind him that the Democratic majorites were sent to Washington with a mandate to put the breaks on Bush's war follies. He hasn't forgotten.


Part two

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Arcade Fire

This song has been rockin' my world lately. I dare you to try it on for size!

"My Body is a Cage" by Arcade Fire

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

New York Times Profile of....ME!

From yesterday's NY Times article by Jon Miller New Media, Old Politics and the Blogger in the Middle:
Jay Lassiter used to write Internet posts flecked with profanity that lacerated New Jersey lawmakers. He described the actions of one legislator as “nincompoopery” and called another “a bully.” Last fall, he accused Mayor Cory A. Booker of Newark of “pimping” for Joseph I. Lieberman, the senator from Connecticut.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the State House, which Mr. Lassiter now covers as a blogger. “I don’t find myself launching firebomb campaigns anymore,” Mr. Lassiter admitted in a recent interview. “This whole exercise has kind of mellowed me out. These people in here, they seem like they’re doing their best.”
Continue reading here.

Two years into my bloglife, one thing seems clear: the battle between old and new media is only just beginning. And mostly that's what this article is about.

Image: (c) Laura Pedrick for The New York Times

Monday, June 25, 2007

Menendez urges Chertoff to protect South Jersey. Just in Case.

IMG_1753.JPG
Senator Bob Menendez
IMG_1753.JPG
Menendez gestures southbound towards South Jersey's many chemical refineries.
With the Philly skyline in the background, Senator Bob Menendez delivered a stern warning to Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff to not leave South Jersey residents vulnerable to a possible terrorist attack or natural disaster. 


Menendez:

?For all intents and purposes, an attack on Philadelphia is an attack on South Jersey. The communities across the river from Philadelphia need to be prepared, the first responders need to be equipped, and the funding distribution should reflect this reality.


As the nation's 5th largest city, Philadelphia is considered a  "high-threat" city and is allotted millions of dollars per year from Homeland Security to prepare and equip first responders in the event of an attack.  (If areas of PA  ~50 miles outside the city limits are covered, then so should we be.  That was Menendez' basic premise.)


Center City Philly -- replete with skyscrapers -- lies just a few thousand feet across the Delaware River from Camden's commercial pier district.  The two cities are inextricably linked to be sure, but New Jersey doesn't get a dime of the Federal assistance afforded our neighbors, should the sh*t hit the fan.


Try this on for size:  I live in Cherry Hill, a scant 7 miles from Philly.  Now imagine living 7 miles from Ground Zero (or the Pentagon) on 9/11.  Don't you think that given the proximity, our local "first responders" would be pressed into action in the unlikely event that -- God forbid -- tragedy strike the city of brotherly love? 


If Philly is the target that Homeland Security suggests, then our first responders need to be TRAINED and EQUIPPED for the task.  That simple. 


Sen. Menendez was quick to point out that South Jersey shouldn't be left to fight with Philly for the slice of the Federal pie but that the slice needs to be larger.  To include us. 


Chertoff's past record heeding warnings is dubious  -- (Katrina? anyone?) -- but Menendez is on the money this time.  It was particularly poignant that Senator Menendez -- who as Congressman represented the district adjacent to Manhattan on 9/11  -- would be showing solidarity with South Jersey folks like me who are most affected by Homeland Security's curious preparedness policies thus described.


Post script:  upon arrival at the Camden piers where Menendez' press conference took place I was met with a large placard which read "ELEVATED RISK, significant risk of attacks." 


Yikes.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Big Pharma knows what Daddy Likes

What happens when a hungry gay liberal blogger meets up with a glamorous GOP big Pharma spokesgal? 

Friday, June 01, 2007

Strawberry Fields. Fovever

Or at least for another forty years.

I was negative 5 years old when Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was released 40 years ago today. It was the Beatle's eight album and to many fans, the band's opus. It was definitely the trippiest.

So here's a little tribute, and one of my very favorite Beatles songs ever. Enjoy!


Monday, May 28, 2007

Honoring the Fallen, Philly style

First off, a proper musical backdrop while contemplating the real costs of war.


With Philly's Constitution Hall (see pic) providing an iconic back drop, A Memorial Day visual/vigil was set up to honor the men and women in uniform who have died in war. A broad coalition of peace activists from across the Delaware Valley gathered this morning to set up a stunning and evocative tribute in the form of several thousand wooden "tombstones" in honor of the Iraq War dead.

I had the privilege of being a steward of the New Jersey section of the memorial.
In the second picture (click to enlarge) I kneel next to the memorial to Army Specialist Marlon P. Jackson of Jersey City who died much too young at 25, the victim of a roadside bomb in Iraq.

AP:
Spc. Marlon P. Jackson was a quiet young man of simple pleasures: basketball, Chinese food and Caribbean music. From Iraq, he asked family to send music magazines and sports clippings. And he never forgot to say thank you. "He always thanked me for everything I did. He was so appreciative," said Vanessa Selby, his self-described stepmother. He was stationed in Vilseck, Germany. He is survived by his mother, Lois La Grenade, and father, Leighton Jackson. Before joining the Army in 1999, Jamaica-born Jackson attended community college. He had become a big brother to Selby's son Khabir, 22, and tutored him in his free time. "He was just becoming a young man, trying to be responsible," Selby said.
I was also touched by the tombstone dedicated to Marine Major John C. Spahr who's from my hometown of Cherry Hill. (see last pic) Needless to say it's sad and moving to consider the toll the Iraq War has taken on the great state of New Jersey.

Isn't 57 too many already?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

New Media meets Old Politics. Wackiness ensues.

There's some fun stuff going on at my other blog Blue Jersey including me covering all the madness at our statehouse in Trenton. We're even getting our videoblog thing on pretty soon too.

Here's a teaser.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I was a Teenage Ballkid

Back in highschool, I was a ballkid for the pro tennis tour stop in Washington D.C., near my childhood home. I got a chance to be on court with the brightest lights of the tennis constellation, including Hall of Famers Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Monica Seles anong others.

I pretty much knew I was gay when I saw Chris Evert's panties, and it did nothing for me. But tennis skirts are very short. And when you're down on the court with the players, and they're bending and lunging, you can't help but get a panty shot or ten. I've seen some pretty famous panties.

The name of the tournament was Virginia Slims of Washington. Thinking back, the idea having a cigarette maker sponsoring sports seems crazy. But it was a lot less politically correct back then and frankly I never saw the irony. If you look at the picture of my credential, you can see the image of a lady holding a cigatette in one hand, a racket in the other.



The players did have a canned answer for the press if asked about the obvious contradiction between a smoker and a tennis champion. According to Martina's autobiography the players responded, "I don't smoke. But if I did, I'd smoke Virginia Slims."

Nowadays the tour's title sponsor is Sony, which doesn't have the same P.R. issues as a tobacco company.


Anyway, the tournament came around each February, and it was a huge thrill to take part. Growing up in a military community in Southern Maryland, I was starved for an urban fix, and hanging out in Washington (an hour away from where I lived) was fun and exhilirating. Anyone who remembers their first time in the big city, knows what I'm talking about.

As I write this, the memories are flooding back, but one stands out.

One year, a player named Natalia Zvereva asked if I knew how to find Tower Records, which was a few blocks from the event. I ended up walking over her over, and we chit chatted along the way. I don't speak Russian, and her English was dodgy at the time.

When we got to the record store, she thanked me and I wished her luck in her next match, at which point we went our separate ways. Needless to say I was buzzing.

I went over to the "listening station" to check out the (latest) 1980's hits and was jamming out, when all the sudden someone tapped me on my soldier.

I turned took off my headphones and turned around to find two burley, mustaschioed men wearing black overcoast and dour expressions. They looked really out of place. And really pissed.

"What did she say to you?" one demanded in a Russian accent, clearly refering to my chat and walk with Ms. Zvereva. Keep in mind this was the 1980's and the Cold War was still in full swing. Natalia was from the USSR, and the guys accosting me were her "minders." I was convinced they were KGB agents.

I was still young and fearless at this point, and I simply told them "she asked for directions" and went back to listening to my Depeche Mode, and that was that. Thinking back, it seems a little creepy. Fact is, the tournament I was ballboy'ing was at George Washington University, just a few blocks from the Soviet Embassy. There were agents and spies trolling all over in that neighborhood.

Such was the life of a teenaged ballboy: fun, rich glamourous people, geopolitical intrigue, free Reebok from head to toe, a week off from school, a chance to flirt with cute GWU guys, I could go on and on!

Anyway, thanks to Mom for sending me the badge from the 1990 tournament which got me thinking back. She found the badge while cleaning out her attic.

For more about Natalia Zvereva and her dramatic struggle with Soviet system, check out this article.

Good Riddance

Nothing but nothing says "Humble servant of the Lord" like a life-sized painting of yourself. On the wall. In your office.

Nancy from Pams House Blend envisions this scenario for Falwell when -- and if -- he makes it to heaven. (Personally, i have my doubts.)
When he arrives for his admission interview with God, and finds that Godself has decided to appear as a black woman.

Falwell: Where's God?

God: Here - and everywhere else.

F: I don't see God.

God: That's YOUR problem. You've got to lighten up a little and appreciate the afterlife - you screwed up down below, biggest pain in the posterior for a whole lot of people. So chill and open your eyes. Don't blame me if you get an ulcer in the afterlife.

F: I don't appreciate joking about this very serious matter!
Now take me straight to The Old Man, NOW!

God: Oh, all right.

(God escorts Falwell to elevator, pushes button gets out with Falwell.)

God: Here's The Old Man. (gesturing toward seated impressive-looking old man with white beard)

F: FINALLY! (stalks off in a huff, towards T.O.M. At the same time, God turns and starts walking toward the elevator)

God (shouting over Her shoulder to T.O.M.): Thanks, Nick! See ya later!
Moreover, according to Nancy, "Falwell was his own worst enemy while alive. He missed out on meeting a lot of good people and going to a lot of good parties, and for what? The joy of pursing his lips and tsk-tsking at the world. Jesus hung out with all sorts of characters, and even provided the booze once, but Falwell only wished to dine with "the elect". Too bad for him."

And for the rest of us too.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Obama Rocks Trenton (and I was there)

(Trenton)--
I have nothing against people getting rich, but our economy is only as strong as the middle class. As president I won't just pass laws that favor workers, I'll use my "bully pulpit" to be a friend to working men and women.
--Sen. Obama, click to enlarge


obama



Senator Barack Obama was in Trenton today, part of the "Working Families Vote '08" campaign launched earlier this year by the AFL-CIO.


The campaign -- which looks to engage rank and file members in Labor's endorsement process -- is a series of town hall-style forums with each of the Democratic presidential candidates in different cities throughout the nation.


(The campaign culminates in August with a multi-candidate forum in Chicago. The AFL-CIO's endorsement will follow shortly thereafter.)


How lucky are we to get Senator Obama here in the Garden State? Several NJ Union members each got a chance to talk to the the Senator about what's on their mind.


A steelworker asked Obama how he might handle future trade negotiations.


Obama said he'd start by enforcing trade policy against counties like China for example, which manipulates its currency.


This not only makes Chinese goods artificially cheaper on the export market, it also puts American imports out of reach for most Chinese consumers. God knows if we had 1.2 billion Chinese buying American-made good, that would be a helluva lot of manufacturing jobs, huh?


Obama's observations on healthcare were compelling. Reminding the audience that only 5 cents of every health care dollar (all 2 trillion of 'em) is spent on preventative care, he wondered how this would be better allocated if so many people weren't uninsured to begin with.


Access to affordable health care would keep many from having to rely on the emergency room for their primary medical care, he noted. Chances are by that point, patients are a lot more expensive to treat. Which is money wasted.


By the end of the forum, Obama had hit all the right notes on issues like healthcare, retirement security, and good jobs with freedom to form unions.


Judging from the crowd's reply, Obama was a huge hit. I counted several rousing ovations. I even got goosebumps a few times.


All in all, Sen. Obama looked sharp and well-rested. His connection to the audience was apparent and I suspect when he and his campaign look back on today's event, they'll be very satisfied indeed.

(Crossposted over at Blue Jersey)

Friday, April 27, 2007

blogroll


blogroll
Originally uploaded by bluejersey.
If you wanna get your blog on my humble blogroll, leave me a message! I am looking to spread the love.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

More War Shit

Maybe readers of Lassiter Space are familiar with the story of Airman Carl J. Ware Jr, a Glassboro native who was killed last summer in Iraq. To recap, Airman Ware was killed last July in what was described as a "non combat" related casualty. Almost immediately, ominous questions began to emerge about the exact nature of his death. His family suspected foul play and in retrospect they were right. Yesterday, Carl Ware's killer -- a fellow soldier named Kyle Dalton -- pleaded guily to manslaughter and faces a dozen years in the brig.

Dalton's bargained plea (the original charge was murder) is some 10 months in the making and hopefully will allow Ware's family some solace. I know for sure it hasn't been an easy time for them. His sister and widow Christine reached out and told me so. (Aparently a Google search of Carl led them to the blog and they wanted to send a shout out for keeping Carl's story alive and for asking the tough questions, namely WTF did Carl Ware die for?) Since that sad day in Iraq, Carl's wife and sister have both given birth which is bittersweet given the circumstances. And now a trial to boot. Oy. At least Christine gets the chance say her piece today at the trial of her husband's killer. Hopefully that will be theraputic for her. It's worth remembering she's only 23 which is an awfully shitty age to be a widow.

The war in Iraq has been going on for ages and the death toll continues to climb. The latest count is 3,332. That's a lot of anguished families, but for me the Carl Ware story is the one that keeps this number from being just a statistic.

Monday, April 23, 2007

My other Blog goes BIGTIME!

After a year and a half of breaking ground and building up a formidible progressive netroots here in the Garden State, BlueJersey found itself at a crossroads. And so we reached out to our readers for some guidance. (Thanks to everyone who filled out our recent survey, by the way.) You told us what you like best and likewise gave us great suggestions for improvement, as well.

I suspect if we knew how compelling the feedback was gonna be, we might have done it sooner. An overwhelming majority of you (over 90%) want to see more original news posts, especially breaking news. And with that the choice of how to take Blue Jersey to the next level became a whole lot easier.

So here's the plan: in addition to some asthetic changes -- a little spring cleaning to freshen up the look of the joint -- Blue Jersey now has its own Statehouse correspondent to keep an eye and ear on what's going on in the capitol. So from now on, when something goes down in Trenton, you'll know about it because we'll be there taking plenty of notes. On the record of course. We believe this arrangement -- a fully-credentialed blogger covering the statehouse beat -- is truly revolutionary. This may even be a first for the progressive blogosphere.

Hopefully it won't be long before there are bloggers in every statehouse in the nation. And when that happens, we can say we blazed the trail.

New Jersey Tidbits

Did the state trooper driving Corzine have a particularly long day leading up to the crash? Was he distracted by an email to his Blackberry at the time of the crash? And *most importantly, will this time off for recovery allow the Governor a unique position to focus of policy?

The latest on the ugly saga of Wayne Bryant. Anyone out there wish to see his fellow Democrats in Trenton lean on Bryant to resign? And now that he's not running for reelection, what will become of all that campaign cash?

Jim Saxton thinks a deadline for bringing troops home is a mistake and wants to give Bush (yet) more time for the "surge" to play out to its conclusion. I guess his political masters in the Whitehouse still have ol' Jimbo by the balls.

Victims of last weeks floods wait for Bush to react. With the Iraq and his beleagured Attorney General to contend with, one gets the feeling little ol' New Jersey isn't very high on his to-do list. For many in NJ, the hard part of picking up the pieces begins now.

New Jersey celebrated Earth Day ove the weekend. This gal sure is in the spirit. What are you doing to get greener? (Here are some central NJ-inspired tips)

If I missed something, let us know. This is an openthread so fire away.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Why is my Surgeon saying all these scary things about my Governor?

I had a real twilight zone moment the other day when i saw the press conference about NJ Governor Corzine's car accident. (see pic)

The surgeon who had operated on the Gov. throughout the night -- the guy speaking to the press -- was the same ortho-doc that brought me back from the brink with all my Achilles tendon madness a year or so ago.

Hopefully Dr. Ostrum can do for Corzine what he did for me and have him back on his feet within the year.

I love Jon Corzine. As a member of the New Jeresy netroots how could I not?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Rutgers U. Press Conference

This is the video in two parts from the Lady Knights press conference earlier today. These women make me proud to be a NewJerseyan and they put Imus to shame.


Hat tip Juan

NJ News Roundup

  • The Rutgers Womens basketball team and their Coach met the press yesterday to address the stupid remarks that Don Imus lobbed their way. If you ask me, they showed a lot of poise, especially for being so young. One thing is for sure, Don Imus sure shit all over their moment in the sun. Any bets how long he will last at his current job?

  • From one beast to another, state wildlife officials are looking into the case of a coyote attacking a child here in NJ. It's believe to be the first such attack ever in the state.

  • After months of wondering (his funeral was last summer) the death of South Jersey Airman Carl Ware Junior has been ruled a homocide. He was murdered in a Iraq by a fellow soldier. Read it and weep.

  • All those primaries coming up this election season should make for some sublime and/or ridiculous theatre for New Jersey residents. We don't have long to wait for the show, either. There is also a lot if interest into who isn't running.


  • Remember the New Jersey post office that was contaminated with Anthrax poisoning all the way back in 2001? Congressman Holt is curious whatever became of that investigation which seems to be going nowhere. Now he wants answers from the FBI.

  • The State Senate is calling the treasurer to discuss pensions today.


  • That's all for now. What's on your mind today?

    Tuesday, April 03, 2007

    Lassiter and Limbaugh, Strangest of Bedfellows

    Overheard on the train:"I used to be hooked on crystal, now I'm hooked on crystal lite!"
    Now that I think about it, Rush Limbaugh and I really do have a lot in common. We share a love of country. We have big mouths and egos. And we are both recovering drug addicts.

    While Rush was running 'round doctor shopping and popping pills like they're Tic Tacs, I was doing everything humanly possible to score another bag of meth. I am sure I speak for Rush when I say "It was ugly."

    Would you believe that Rush and I were actually in rehab at the same time back in 2003? Early on (right about the time I stopped grinding my jaw. I am guessing day 4) the scandal broke that Rush got busted and sent to some luxury treatment center in the southwest. In fact, Rush's stint in drug rehab set off quite a heated philosophical debate in my recovery gang. Aparently Rush was being weaned off OxyContin with this fancy new fangled method where he was in a kind of medically induced half-coma while the drug works it self out of the system.

    When I learned about this I was jealous.

    "If you could do it that way, would you?" My drug councelor Craig asked my group of recovering junkies.

    "YES!!" we shouted back. Coming down off of crystal meth is a lot like re-entering the earth's atmosphere: You're travelling at the speed of sound while desperately hoping to not burst into flames. Would I want to basically detox in the comfort of my own comfy coma? Hell Yeah!

    But it was the wrong answer. Naturally, that method--painless as it is--would have not bode well for my long-term recovery. Nope, staying clean would require more work than that.

    Keeping myself on the straight and narrow also required me to start taking responsibility for my actions. I couldn't continue to blame my childhood or the liberal media for my problems.

    It's weird being inextricably linked to ol' Rush. When I heard about his latest drug-related legal problems, it brought back some interesting memories. One thing's for sure after nearly three years off crystal, I'm glad I did it the hard way.
    (Image courtesy www.cagle.com)

    Monday, April 02, 2007

    New Jersey Notes and Tidbits

  • The New Jersey shore is sinking at a rate of about 16" a century. Add to that the rising seas caused by global warming and you have the possibility that our venerable New Jersey Shore will cease to exist as we know it. This is a grim article to read on a Monday morning. You've been warned.

  • Ellis Island storied past is slowly emerging from hiding and offering glimmers of yesteryear to a curious public. This story is much more heartwarming than the last, especially the part about the Island falling under Garden State sovereignty.

  • According to his ex-wife-to-be Dina Matos McGreevy, the erstwhile Governor and current gay American Jim McGreevy is not gay. He's bi-sexual. That's right, bisexual. You buy, he gets sexual. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

  • Tom Hester takes a look at how the majority Dems in Trenton will make up for the projected budget shortfalls without raising taxes.

  • Ever wonder why so many State Senators are leaving Trenton? Josh Gohlke takes a peek.

  • Dealers at the Trump Casino in Atlantic City voted to unionize. With the vote they join employees at Caesars. Now that I think about it, how funny is it that they are called "dealers."

  • A group from Seton Hall University tries to shed some sunlight into the mess in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

  • The game was decided in the first half, so the celebration continued until the buzzer as the Rutgers Lady Knights beat the hell out of LSU to advance to tonight's finale to claim the big prize in women's basketball. How proud are we? You go girls!! The game is tonight at 8pm on ESPN. Will you be watching?

  • Wednesday, March 28, 2007

    If you had to metabolize Bush's nonsense, your liver would be diseased as well

    The Republican National Committee has just released this statement in support of Presidental spokesman Tony Snow's cancer diagnosis:
    We send our prayers to the Snow family in this, their hour of need. This is just one example of how the new Democratic majority has abandoned real Americans. If Tony Snow were an illegal immigrant, Democrats would be kicking Barbara Streisand in the ass to make her pay for his treatment. Instead, his poor insurance company will be forced to dig into its deep coffers and pay reduced rates for his care. This could result in the reduction of executive bonuses by as much as one-half of one cent. Democratic policies such as this are destroying the country and shipping our jobs overseas. The only way to save Tony Snow is to send another ten thousand troops into Iraq where they can be blow halfway to bits in return for $800 a month in food stamps for their families. If Nanci Pelosi and Harry Reid have their way, all Americans will have their colons removed and have to poop in bio-degradable bags to "save the planet". The sad thing is that this could have been avoided if we'd just maintained a Republican majority.
    Image courtesy of Kirk Waters

    Sunday, March 25, 2007

    Quote of the Day, wintersports edition

    "Are ice dancers drug tested? Because they sure do look f*cked up!!"

    --My boy Greg watching the World Championships on ESPN

    Monday, March 19, 2007

    March Madness

    Bush's Brackets.
    Image courtesy of Pennsylvania finest John Cole.

    Friday, March 16, 2007

    As Iraq War enters its 5th year, NJ activists take a stand for Peace

    It's a grim date to commemorate but the fourth anniversary of the Iraq war is upon us.

    There's a flurry of activity this weekend to mark the sad occasion and I'm especially grateful for the many events taking place across the Garden State. Clearly the peace movement is alive and well here in New Jersey.

    Here's a sampling:
  • Tomorrow a bus caravan from New Jersey will head to Washington for a big weekend rally.
  • For those wishing to mark the anniversary in New Jersey there are events in Lambertville and Teaneck, on Sunday.
  • DFA has four days worth of events nationwide including serveral here in NJ.
  • There's a huge rally at the Statehouse in Trenton Monday at noon.
  • Finally there's a Monday evening memorial in Ocean County.

    According to a fascinating audio piece on NPR, this is a critical juncture for the peace movement. NPR:
    Anti-war groups are planning to protest the conflict over the next several days, at events in Washington, D.C., and around the country. But the anti-war movement, while enjoying broader support than anti-war protests of the Vietnam era, is struggling to reach mainstream America. Activists are organizing Web campaigns to pressure members of Congress. And Move On, a leader in the anti-war movement, has its own political action committee. Apparently, marching on the Pentagon with flowers is considered to be passe.
    The (podcastable) clip is only a few minutes long and it's worth a listen, especially since the reporter raises the question of where the netroots fits into the anti-war equation.

    If you have an tip about an event this weekend, let us know in the comments so I can update this post. And if you already have plans to mark the anniversary, please share that too.
  • Thursday, March 15, 2007

    Thursday NJ Politics Roundup

  • The state sentate is facing a bit of an exodus, the likes of which hasn't been seen since the early 1970's. Fully one quarter of the Senate (and counting) will be turned over in November and that's before the first vote is counted. That figure does not include folks who get voted out like Tom Kean Junior.

  • A lot of media response about ex-Gov. McGreevy's paternity suit with his ex-wife. As a Gay American, I like what Monica Yant Kinney has to say about it all. Regarding McGreevy, part of me says everyone deserves the grace to ammend their life while the other half wonders WTF?

  • Joe Cryan defends budget grants and puts them into some context.

  • A generation gap in Newark? Corey Booker is mute on his support of Congressman Payne's Congressional reelection. Aparently there's no love lost between Mayor Booker and Asm. William Payne, who's the Congressman's bother.

  • This is old news generally, but the latest tidbit about our early-ish presidental primary can be seen here.


  • Did I miss something? Tell me all about it in the comments section.

    Wednesday, March 14, 2007

    Gen. Peter Pace's thoughts on Gays

    To thousands of Gay soldiers currently risking their lives in the mid-east, their boss offers a lesson in morality.

    Surely you've all heard about Marine General Peter's Pace's unfortunate remarks about gays people, both in the military and in general. I read this stuff and it still stings. If the military can bend its standards letting folks into the service to meet recuriting goals, then why not allows gays and lesbians as well? Says Gen. Pace,
    "I believe that homosexual acts between individuals are immoral, and that we should not condone immoral acts. I do not believe that the armed forces are well served by saying through our policies that it's OK to be immoral in any way, not just with regards to homosexual acts"
    No word yet about what Gen. Pace has to say about he morality of war, but that's another blog for another day anyway. I decided to call my dad, a retired Marine whose perspective I value more and more the older I get. What did dad think about the General's remarks?

    First a disclaimer: "I've known Peter Pace since he was a Major," dad tells me. "He's a good Marine, the first to become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs."

    "I believe every person should -- regardless of religion or sexuality or whatever -- should be able to grow up to be whatever they want to be," Dad tells me. "But to make the changes to make that happen would have remifications."

    To prove his point he asked me how much having OB-GYN's aboard Naval ships (to care for the many pregnant female sailors) really has to do with combat readiness.

    (Note to Dad: point taken)

    Dad and I both agree that Gen. Pace would have been well served to keep his opinions to himself and simply defer to the Commander in Chief on the topic. Judging from the tenor of the General's remarks the next day, he feels the same way.

    "That's the closest thing to an apology that you're gonna get from Peter Pace," Dad warns me.

    Dad's final remarks on the topic were more reassuring: "I disagree with Peter Pace that homosexuality is immoral. It's not. It's not a choice."

    By the time I got off the phone with Dad, I didn't feel steamed up about Pace's remarks. I guess the moral of this whole polemic is this: feeling confused, vexed, frustrated? CALL YOUR PARENTS!!

    Monday, March 12, 2007

    Monday Comic Highlights

    Image Courtesy of Cam Cardow, who's widely considered Canada's finest editorial comic. He sure gets my vote.

    monday NJ News Roundup

    Good morning everyone and welcome to Monday's news roundup. I'll try to keep the commentary to a minimum but it won't be easy. Let's get right down to it!

  • Tom Hester Jr. reports that the days of nice gifts for lawmakers may be coming to an end. AP:
    Free meals, hotel rooms, golf games, train rides and Philadelphia Eagles tickets — those were some of the offerings enjoyed last year by New Jersey legislators. But the days of lawmakers enjoying food, lodging, entertainment and travel paid for by lobbyists may soon be over.
    Find out why.

  • The highest paid workers in the state? Here's a clue: it's not the Governor. Believe it on not, it's it was "Lourdes Montezon, a clinical psychiatrist who admits and treats mentally ill patients at the Sen. G.W. Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital in Hunterdon County. Last year, Montezon made roughly $277,000, about $116,500 of that by working extra shifts." According to the pInky, 85 out of the top 100 paid state workers were mental health professionals whose base salaries were supplemented (sometimes doubled) by overtime pay.

  • Here's the latest about that horrifying (but titilating) tale from Atlantic City about a politician/priest, a hooker and a video camera. According to media reports, the blowjobee caught on tape was none other than City Councilman Eugene Robinson, described in his City Hall bio as a "minister of the Gospel" at the Second Baptist Church. Too bad he's not Catholic, he could just go to confession and move on with his life of hypocracy. Stay tuned.

  • Life ain't easy for the aging NJ politician. Tom Moran takes a look at the case of outgoing Sen. Littell.

  • Here's the latest on the "That's a Family" video that sent the Evesham school district into a tizzy. This story is not going away anytime soon, aparently.

  • The state budget review starts this week.

  • The Rutgers Camden provost who's at the heart of Wayne Bryant's no-show job lecturing gig (not to be confused with his arrangement at UNDNJ) takes umbrage with the suggestion that Bryant didn't deliver by saying "This was not a no-show job. We netted significant value out of it."

  • This just in via NPR: Assembly Budget Chair Lou Greenwald (who happens to represent yours truly in the Statehouse) has promised that this year's budget will be signed sealed, delivered and available for public scrutiny by June 15. That date is much earlier than last year. More to follow on this one, too.

    The sun will set on Trenton today at 7:02pm. I am being literal, not metaphorical. Today will be 2:30 longer than yesterday and likewise tomorrow will be nearly 3m longer than today. Spring is in there air and I am so glad. This is an open thread. Fire away.

  • Tuesday, March 06, 2007

    uploading pics, text to follow

    These pics (click to enlarge) are from the Garden State Equality Legends dinner where me and my blogmates (see bottom pic) picked up an award for our liberal activism. We've been on quite a streak of great legislative and electional success this year in New Jersey. Victories include: a state minimum wage hike, a death penalty moritorium, civil unions for gays and lesbians, needle exchange to combat HIV, protections for transgendered New Jerseyans, and on and on. See, I told you I was a liberal!! (And a very proud one I might add.) Anyway, we bloggers were at the heart of all those movements and that's why we got the award.

    The guest list was a starstudded one: gay comedien Judy Gold was emcee and the crowd included Gov. Mario Cuomo, Congresscritters Tammy Baldwin and Dennis Kucinich, Mayor Corey Booker and Ambassador James Hormel and others. Fancy, indeed. Hence, the monkey suit.

    Greg snapped the first pic when I was not expecting it. It's my tendancy to mug goofyness for the camera, as the second shot so beautifully demonstrates.


















    Monday, March 05, 2007

    Monday News Roundup

  • I hate to be a downer on this, the first day of a new week, but the war rages in Iraq and many of our neighbors here in the Garden State continue to pay a heavy price. A very heavy price indeed.

  • Congressman Rush Holt continues to press for answers to the deadly Anthrax attacks from 2001? You're forgiven if your recollection is a bit fuzzy, it has been 6 years afterall.

  • Governor Corzine is under some question for some gifts he gave to his ex-ladyfriend, who happens to be a Union leader. While I have never had a girlfriend myself, I kinda thought the whole point was to do nice stuff for one another?

  • Here's the lastest on the toll roads debate. It sounds very Christie Whitman-esque to me.

  • Did you know the woman who discovered the G-spot has a south Jersey connection?

  • We all cheered the success of our beloved Scarlet Knights on the gridiron last year, but as Rutgers U continues to cut sports, some of the best student athletes are looking out of state for colleges.

  • The state legislators are working to make the cellular phone industry a bit more consumer friendly. They must have seen my last bill!

  • The economic forecast for South Jersey looks bright, with tourism, businesses and hospitals in the region poised to capitalized on a rebounding economy.

  • I am still buzzing from last night's Garden State Equality gay-la. Unfortunately I didn't get a whole lot of sleep, so if I missed a news nugget out there somewhere, lay it on us our comment section.



  • Thursday, March 01, 2007

    Thurday NJ newsbites

    In a speech today Gov. Corzine urges New Jersey to take the lead on an environmental policy that will curb greenhouse gas. On a related note, the environmental hazzards of commuting hang heavy in the air.
    ~~~ ~~~
    Will a tax credit for the working poor help them quickly enough? One thing is for sure, the Governor's budget does seem to be making the working poor a serious priority.
    ~~~ ~~~
    For many New Jersey Iraq vets, the hardest part is moving on. This is a sad one, folks.
    ~~~ ~~~
    Have you bought your ticket to the Garden State Equality's legend's dinner this weekend? It promises to be a star-studded affair. Every little detail will be perfect. It will also be a chance to honor and remember our own NJ rights icon, Laurel Hester.
    ~~~ ~~~
    It's 59 degrees in Cherry Hill and today was 2m50 longer than yesterday. Likewise tomorrow will be another 3 minutes longer than today. We all know how schiziophrenic this winter has been, so consider this a spring-is-coming open thread.

    Wednesday, February 28, 2007

    More (unbelievable) War Shit, part III

    Of all the 3,161 brave souls to lose their life in Iraq, Airman Carl Ware Jr. is the one that stands out for me. I guess seeing a neighbor lying in a casket and hearing the sobs of his family mourning will do that.

    His tragic death last summer made him the 44th casualty from New Jersey and to make matters worse, Carl's family didn't even have a chance to grieve before the questions surrounding his death began to swirl around the community. In relatively short order it bacame clear that this was an avoidable tragedy. And now after eight long months of wondering, the answers are finally beginning to emerge.

    Air Force Times:
    Airman 1st Class Carl J. Ware Jr. was to return from his six-month deployment to Iraq in time — if barely — for the birth of their second daughter in January. Instead, Carl Ware came home months early in a flag-draped casket, the victim of an alleged fratricide July 1 at the hands of his roommate, friend and squadron-mate at Camp Bucca in southern Iraq.
    Of couse the story took a gut-wrenching turn. And just when you think this tale couldn't get any more twisted, this little nugget emerged from the military grand jury hearing to determine whether to charge fellow Airman Kyle Dalton with murder:
    What is clear from documents released by the Air Force is that there were at least two, and possibly three, separate incidents during a one-month period in which Dalton allegedly brandished a firearm toward Ware. The first and second, for which Dalton has been charged with assault, occurred around June 1 and June 30, according to Air Force documents. Christine Ware, who said she just recently learned of those incidents, told Air Force Times that Dalton allegedly pointed a loaded firearm at the feet of (her husband) and another airman. Christine Ware, who said she just recently learned of those incidents, told Air Force Times.
    Sounds like some red flag should have been raised to avoid the inevitable. “I have, like, 18 different stories on how it happened,” Christine Ware said, “but not so much why it happened.”

    Carl Ware's sister alleged that Airman Dalton was only allowed into the military after the standards were lowered to maintain war-time recruiting goals. I'll take her at her word that she believes that wholeheartedly, but of couse I have no way to substantiate such an assertion at this point. But these are the types of details that will surely reveal themselves at the Dalton's trial next month. In conviceted, Dalton "will face life in prison, a dishonorable discharge and forfeiture of all pay and allowances."

    All in all a heartbreating tragedy that has turned two families -- and communities -- upside down.

    And all the while, the war in Iraq rages on.

    (Pic: One of South Jersey's bravest, Carl Ware Jr. with his eldest daughter in happier times -- just look at that proud grin on his face -- courtest of the Ware family.)

    Thursday, February 22, 2007

    Equal Pay for Women at Wimbledon

    This year's Wimbledon lady champ will earn the same payday as her male counterpart, breaking a ~120 year tradition of inequality for women. It's about time.

    I wrote about this topic after last summer's tournament when the women's finale proved infinitely more dramatic and exciting than the men's. The way I figured, it's 2007 already. As a matter of principle, equal pay is just a no brainer.

    (Photo of last year's champ, Amelie Mauresmo of France, courtesy of CNNSI.com)

    Monday, February 19, 2007

    MOnday New Jersey Roundup

  • It's all Civil Unions all the time in New Jersey media this morning. It's a good thing. So to all the couples who tied the knot last night: congrats and WE LOVE YOU!

  • Let's talk a little about New Jersey pride. What makes you most proud to be a New Jerseyan? Personally, I love it here and I can't imagine living anywhere else in the world.

  • Happy Chinese New Year everyone, it's the Year of the Pig, an animal associated with fertility and chivalry!! Chinese tradition suggests it's a time for renewal. So let's get out there and make some babies and treat each other with chivalry!

  • Changing gears a bit, there's an interesting piece about Rep. Chris Smith in today's Courier Post. Check it out and see how NJ's longest serving Congressman is managing in the new Democratic Congress.

  • Atlantic City casinos are worried that their revenues are headed in the wrong direction. Maybe the gambling industry will look at that trend and transform the AC landscape to an envoronment that more people will want to take part in. For so long and the state faces competetion from neighbors AND the atmosphere in a casino feels like an art deco internment camp, this trend should continue.

  • Could Admiral William Fallon's South Jersey pedigree help him lead the US to victory in Iraq? He seems to think so. As the commander of US forces in the Mid East, he sure has his work cut out for him.

  • Thanks to Congressman Donald Payne, Chairman of the Africa SubCommittee, the movement to divest in Sudan is gathering momentum. Just remember folks, GENOCIDE IS FOREVER.


  • What's going through your mind this morning, folks? Did I overlook something? It's an open thread, so bring it on!!!

    Sunday, February 18, 2007

    The Littlest Lassiters

    My mom has been giving me some fever about having a picture of my nephew Chase here on my blog, but none of my niece, Brooke. So in the interest of impartiality and equal rights for (little) women, here's Brooke (aka "the littlest Lassiter.")
    Both shots were taken recently in beautiful Seattle, Washington. In fact, in the first pic (of me and Chase) you can even see Puget Sound there in the distance. That's me, Greg and Brooke there in the second shot. (Click to enlarge)

    Saturday, February 17, 2007

    You can't polish a Turd

    Watching the Iraq war debate play out in the Congress has been bittersweet. Sure it's nice to see the President's expensive and deadly failures pointed out for the world to see. He took the gamble in Iraq and it has not paid any dividends whatsoever.

    But just the same it was painful watching so many republican Congressmen take the lectern and shill for Bush's failures. Here's a nugget from the Seattle Times which sums up Bush better than I could:
    By sending more soldiers, the U.S. government could "help the Iraqis secure the capital." This, in turn, could provide "political breathing space" for Iraqi politicians to do the work of "reconciliation." Those were (Bush's) words. The quivering lip, the just-woke-up manner, the movement of the eyes, were saying something different. Here was a man who knew that the great gamble of his life had not paid off. He knew the people watching him knew it. He was proposing another roll of the dice at odds none too good, but that postponed admitting a major mistake.
    I've boiled the debate down to one talking point to answer the critcs of the resolution: this debate was about stopping the presdident's ill-advised escalation, NOT about turning turds into diamomds, as the Bush apologists would like the world to believe.

    Friday, February 16, 2007

    Gay in the NBA, part II

    (I reported about the coming out of NBA player John Amaechi and since then the shit has really hit the fan. Pam from the House Blend has the call)--
    Former NBA center John Amaechi, who is the first basketball player to come out of the closet showed class and focus when asked to respond to the mind-blowing comments of fellow former player Tim "I hate gay people" Hardaway.
    "His words pollute the atmosphere. 'It creates an atmosphere that allows young gays and lesbians to be harassed in school, creates an atmosphere where in 33 states you can lose your job, and where anti-gay and lesbian issues are used for political gain. It's an atmosphere that hurts all of us, not just gay people."
    Amaechi's response on Sporting Life:
    "Finally, someone who is honest. It is ridiculous, absurd, petty, bigoted and shows a lack of empathy that is gargantuan and unfathomable. "But it is honest. And it illustrates the problem better than any of the fuzzy language other people have used so far."
    A great report with Hardaway's outrageous, ignorant original statement, was covered on ESPN's Outside the Lines yesterday (see below), including coverage of the NBA's decision to drop him from public appearances. It also features an interview with Dan Le Batard, the radio host who sat in disbelief as Hardaway spewed the bile in the interview, and reactions and comments from Amaechi about Hardaway's remarks.

    No doubt this debate is just heating up. So stay tuned.

    Monday, February 12, 2007

    News Roundup

  • Congressman Rob Andrews has added his voice to the growing chorus warning against the drumbeat of war against Iran. More and more it seems inevitable that Bush is gonna take us down that road again....just listen to the rhetoric.

  • One Atlantic City casino worker likened the smoking demi-ban which allows cigarette smoking in 1/4 of casino floors to "being told you can only pee in the shallow end of the pool."

  • Did you know that the only politician in the state prohibited from "double dipping" is Governor Corzine? As it stands 19 legislators in Trenton have another government job such as mayor, freeholder or superindentent.

  • From the WTF/OMG files (via the Press of AC):
    The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission is reviewing the plan to dispose of the low-level radioactive rocks and dust by burying it and capping it with dirt, grass and stone. If approved in October 2008, it would become the first official nuclear waste dump in New Jersey.
    How are those solar panels looking right about now?

  • Tomorrow night progresives will come together in Marlton for a school board meeting to discuss the teaching tolerance of gays in NJ public schools. So long as my homo tax dollars are good enough for state coffers, then teaching diversity to students is an imperative, IMHO. Won't you join us tomorrow at 8pm? (DeMasi Middle School, 199 Evesboro-Medford Road in Marlton.)

  • And finally, a breath of fresh air from BurlCo. for gays and lesbians looking to go to the middle of the bus. Newly minted Burlington County Surrogate George Kotch wants same-sex couples to know he will do the (civil union) honors. “Call me at the Surrogate's Office and, quite frankly, I would perform them wherever they want,” Kotch said. “It's part of offering a public service to the people of Burlington County.”
  • Saturday, February 10, 2007

    Gay in the NBA

    We have a very diverse league. The question at the NBA is always 'Have you got game?' That's it, end of inquiry.--NBA Commissioner David Stern on gays in pro ball

    CNN:
    The small, exclusive club of openly gay professional male athletes has a new member. Former NBA center John Amaechi, who spent five seasons with four teams, on Wednesday became the first NBA player to publicly come out. Amaechi details his life in his autobiography Man in the Middle, which will be released Feb. 14.
    Hey, baby steps still mean progress. So bravo to Amaechi for coming out.

    Martina Navratilova, the most visible gay athlete in history, applauded Amaechi's courage suggesting that gay youth need roll models. "It's hugely important for the (gay) kids so they don't feel alone in the world. We're role models," she said. "He will definitely help a lot of kids growing up to feel better about themselves."

    Reaction from the NBA was encouraging. I'lll share a few quotes here in order from least- to most enlightened.

  • Philly 76ers center Steven Hunter uttered this gem:
    "For real? He's gay for real? Nowadays it's proven that people can live double lives. I watch a lot of TV, so I see a lot of sick perverted stuff about married men running around with gay guys and all types of foolishness."
    Then an olive branch perhaps:
    "As long as he don't make any advances toward me I'm fine with it. As long as he came to play basketball like a man and conducted himself like a good person, I'd be fine with it."
    That's the nastiest comment i could find surrounding Amaechi's coming out. So if Hunter's remarks represent the the most inherently homophobic sentiments in the NBA, then we are in pretty good shape in the big picture.

  • Hunter's Philly teammate Shavlik Randolph weighs in as well:
    "As long as you don't bring your gayness on me I'm fine," Randolph said. "As far as business-wise, I'm sure I could play with him. But I think it would create a little awkwardness in the locker room."
  • Cleveland Star LeBron James offered this asssement:
    "With teammates you have to be trustworthy, and if you're gay and you're not admitting that you are, then you are not trustworthy," James said. "So that's like the No. 1 thing as teammates -- we all trust each other. You've heard of the in-room, locker room code. What happens in the locker room stays in there. It's a trust factor, honestly. A big trust factor."
    Keep in mind, LeBron is widely considered the future on the NBA, Jordan's heir aparent. Sounds like his criticism is valid. Living in the closet does create trust issues.

  • To that end, Orlando star Grant Hill quips, "The fact that John has done this, maybe it will give others the comfort or confidence to come out as well, whether they are playing or retiring."

  • Miami superstar Shaquille O'Neal got right to the point: "If he was on my team," noted Shaq, "I guess I would have to protect him from the outsiders."

  • Finally, Amaechi's former coach, Doc Rivers nails it. "He's better than a good kid; he's a fantastic kid. John Amaechi, when I was coaching him, was a great kid. He did as much charity work as anybody in our city, and he's still doing it. That's what I wish we focused on. Unfortunately, we're talking about his sexual orientation, which I couldn't care a flying flip about."

  • Sooner or later, gays in sports (or in politics, government, the military, etc.) will be a non-issue. But in the meantime, I'll remind folks (as nicely as possible) that WE'RE HERE, WE'RE QUEER, WE'RE NOT GONNA DISAPPEAR.

    Tuesday, February 06, 2007

    Cheney's Dyke Daughter's Baby

    Surely you've heard by now that Vice President (and notorious homophobe) Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter is preggers. Nowadays it's hardly news that gay people are having kids, starting families. But then the mamma dyke in question is the daughter of George Bush's Vice Prez does it become a "thang."

    And according to the New York times, Mary Cheney does not believe that she needs to answer to anyone -- including the right wing goofballs in her party -- for her choices. Or her fitness to be a mom.

    Mary Cheney: "This is a baby. This is a blessing from God. It is not a political statement. It is not a prop to be used in a debate, on either side of a political issue. It is my child.”

    "Nice try Mary," scolds Dan Savage who's known for scathing social commentary from a gay perspective.

    He goes on:
    The fitness of same-sex couples to parent is very much part of the political debate thanks to the GOP and the Christian bigots that make up its lunatic “base.” You’re a Republican, Mary, you worked on both of your father’s campaigns, and you kept your mouth clamped shut while Karl Rove and George Bush ran around the country attacking gay people, gay parents, and our children in 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006. It’s a little late to declare the private choices of gays and lesbians unfit for public debate, Mary.

    And so long as your party insists on making the fitness of homosexuals to marry or parent—or, hell, exist—a subject of public debate, Mary, your decision to become a parent is germane and very much fit for public discussion and debate. The GOP’s selective embrace of some pregnant dykes—only knocked-up lesbians with powerful connections will be treated with respect—is a disconnect that demands answers. From you, from your father, from your venomous mother, from the idiot president you helped elect. Is that fair? Maybe not. Want to blame someone? Go look in the mirror—and then come out swinging, Mary—for yourself, your partner, and your child.
    Sounds about right to me. Anyway, thanks to Dan Savage for his pitch perfect analysis of this issue.

    In conclusion I wanna add that I part of me is really happy for the VP's daughter. Sure, she's a hypocrit and a radical right winger. But as a lesbian, Mary is still my 'sister-in-struggle' and she deserves to be happy as much as the rest of us. So I wish her the best during her pregnancy. I hope she has a healthy baby.

    I also hope that the kid grows up to be a liberal democrat. That would be ironic, poetic justice at its finest.