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MassResistance Insanity

From Kuwasi Balagoon - revolutionary New African anarchist

"i think we tend to use the term "left" too lossely, everybody left of Reagan ain't left. Basic self-determination, the means of production being in the hands of the workers, should be the criteria of recognizing an ideology as left. Just because someone doesn't want some fool in Washington to blow the world to pieces doesn't make them left. Everybody who protests the curtailing of civil liberties that effect them, ain't left. And we make a mistake when we assume that they are, and they let us know we made mistakes when the basic issues arise.

When a gay group protests lack of police protection, by making an alliance with police to form a gay taskforce, they ain't making a stand against the system they are joining it. Putting more power in the hands of those who attack them for being what they are in the first place. Those women's organizations with membership with underpaid Black, Puerto Rican and Mexican maids, who decided to vote differently when the Equal Rights Amendment was defeated, can't be called Left, just as Blacks mobilizing to field a presidential candidate arn't left. Left is the land and means of production in the hands of the masses and Right is land and the means of production in the hands of a few pigs."

Kuwasi Balagoon was a Black revolutionary soldier who died on Dec. 13, 1986 from AIDS related illness. While I think we need more than just the means of production in the hands of the masses, I think this is a helpful statement from Kuwasi for us to think about. Kuwasi is a forgotten queer hero who struggled for liberation!

Today: National Day of Silence

QueerToday.com stands in solidarity with all of the young people across the nation participating in the Day of Silence to draw attention to anti-LGBT bullying and harassment. This year's event is in honor of Lawrence King, the 8th grader who was murdered early this year for being gay.

Break the Silence at the new queertoday.com by starting a blog and sharing your experiences with the Day of Silence or anti-lgbt harassment.

Break the silence here: http://queertoday.ning.com/?xgi=hAcfffY

Greenwashing of the Gays!

Welcome New Englade Blade Readers!

The Boston Pride 2008 theme "Sustaining our Community, Conserving Our World" presents queer activists with an excellent opportunity to demonstrate why environmental justice is important. I applaud the activists who voted for it on the Boston Pride web site.

Though it is a great theme, I worry it could be a reflection of the "grenwashing" of the gay community. We must remember that corporate sponsors of gay events and publications such as Ford, Bank of America, Chevy, Clorox, Pfizer, and Proctor and Gamble are not "green."

Being "green" has become more trendy and popular than we could have ever imagined, even after Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth I don't think anyone saw this coming. In the past few months the magazine shelves have been filled with "green issues." Not to be outdone The Advocate premiered its "green issue" this week. Aside from the color choice the content was far from green. Maybe a little racist (see below), but not "green."

The Advocate's corporate advertisers submitted a bevy of "greenwash." The first ad in the magazine is for a Hybrid Lexus. There is not a peep about corporate destruction of the environment in the Editor's letter. And the first article in the magazine about "green" issues is one that praises Ford motor company for having the largest "green roof" on a building and the company's 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign (I just threw up a little in my mouth because Shell Oil is one of HRC's major corporate funders).

The magazine continues by giving lots of tips, geared towards the wealthy, on how to go "green." Paint with organic paint. Change your light bulbs. Drive a hybrid SUV. Pay for carbon offsets. Even Rufus Wainwright chimes in telling Advocate readers to turn off their electricity for a day.

Then there are the "green warriors" who the Advocate admits were hard to find. Yes, these folks are on the front lines of fighting for environmental justice (a term I couldn't' find in the entire issue). There is a fashion designer, an architect, and an interior designer. Heroes!

Next up, an interview with General Motors praising their "concept" car. (The gays like totally forgot who killed the electric car.)

Finally, on page 48 of the "green issue" the Advocate has an advertisement for itself featuring a photo of a person of color's hand holding a white hand set in a forest. The tagline: "he wanted to show me some exotic places." So there you have it. Buy a hybrid SUV and have sex with an "exotic" brown person and your martini sipping Friends will be "green" with envy!

Now I do my fair share of little "green" things. I use my own cloth bags when I shop, I eat a plant based diet (yes that saves your health, saves money, animals, AND the environment - but you won't hear Al Gore admit that little inconvenient truth), I use energy saving light bulbs, I don't wear leather, and I've asked my employer to green their products in the staff kitchen. But I'm also realistic about the fact that even if we all do those little things the ocean's plastic garbage bin that is twice the size of Texas will not disappear, and the entire world's environment is doomed unless we get the oil companies and their buddies to stop.


As the gay community jumps on the green trend, it is up to queer activists to expose the scientific truth. We must join hands with our friends at organizations like ACE in Boston - an organization that empowers teens to fight for environmental justice issues such as better public transportation, and no biolabs. We must make our voices heard by first creating coalitions with activists on the front lines, and then by educating others at events like Boston Pride, where corporate Coal Industry investors like Bank of America will likely engage in well-funded "greenwashing" campaigns.

On May 10th (Youth Pride Day) QueerToday.com will launch a new social network and publish a green toolkit that you can use to inform yourself and others about environmental justice during this "green" Pride season.

In the Life: Beauty on the Black Market

Exposing Teen Jails

"Erica was 16 when she was sentenced to Columbia after running away, a probation violation of an earlier marijuana conviction.

She admits she was a girl quick to sass her parents, full of anger about the death of a relative that happened around the same time Katrina wrecked her family's Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, home.

Nervously touching a sparkly barrette in her red hair, she cries as she describes how guards forced her legs into tight metal shackles. She said she was cuffed and chained when she ate and used the bathroom -- and was even forced to play soccer that way against other girls." Read more at CNN>

This is why we must radically change our justice system, and we must immediately legalize marijuana.

AIDS Drug Maker Inflates Cost 400% - Wants Documents Sealed

Photo: ACT UP! Protests Abbott's 400% cost increase of AIDS Drug Norvir.

Today my employer Prescription Access Litigation asks:
What is Abbott Trying to Hide?

"
In December 2003, Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) decided to increase the price of its HIV/AIDS drug Norvir (ritonavir) by 400%. PAL member Service Employees International Union Health & Welfare Fund filed a class action lawsuit against Abbott in October 2004, alleging that the price increase violated the antitrust laws.

Norvir is a “protease inhibitor” (PI) that is commonly used as part of AIDS “drug cocktails” (combinations of prescription drugs working together). Norvir is very important because it “boosts” the effects of other PIs taken by HIV/AIDS patients. Abbott, by increasing the cost of Norvir by 400%, effectively forced HIV/AIDS patients to pay significantly more for their life-saving drug regimens. (The Wall Street Journal did an excellent story in Jan. 2007 laying out the history of the price increase, “Inside Abbott’s tactics to protect AIDS drug“)

Abbott faced a firestorm of criticism for this outrageous price increase — there were shareholder resolutions, protests at Abbott headquarters, a boycott by hundreds of physicians, Attorney General investigations, numerous newspaper editorials lambasting the move, etc. But Abbott refused to even consider reducing the price. The only significant challenge to Abbott’s conduct is the lawsuit brought by SEIU Health and Welfare Fund and two patients.

The lawsuit has overcome significant hurdles (the Court denied Abbott’s motion to dismiss and motion for Summary Judgment, and certified the case as a class action), and the trial is scheduled to begin this summer. Abbott has again filed a motion for Summary Judgment. Such motions are filed with the Court after the parties have completed discovery (exchange of documents, depositions of witnesses and experts) but before the trial. Abbott is essentially asking the Judge to rule in its favor, arguing that based on the evidence, there’s no way a reasonable jury could find in favor of the plaintiffs.

Both Abbott and the plaintiffs have filed numerous documents with their Summary Judgment motions, and now Abbott is asking the Court to “seal” many of those documents, i.e. make them not available to the public. The motions and papers concerning Abbott’s request are here, here and here.

Why does Abbott want to keep these documents a secret and out of public view? "

Rainforest Action Network Shuts Down Bank of America

Today. Copley Square, Boston

Members of the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) have connected themselves with metal tubes in front of Bank of America at Copley Square to protest the corporations funding of the coal industry which destroys communities. Police are currently breaking them apart.


Bravo! Boston is desperate for more direct action protests!

RAN should jump in the Pride parade this year since the theme is sustaining our world/communities.

Join their facebook group. Join the QueerToday.com facebook group.

Thanks to Trevor for sending photos from his fancy schmancy I-phone!



From Their Flyer:
While the world is calling for immediate action to confront climate change reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and end our reliance on dirty coal energy, Bank of America (Boston Pride Corporate Sponsor) is continuing to use your money to invest in the most destructive and polluting industries.

Coal:
  • responsible for 40% of US greenhouse gasses (2 billion tons/year)
  • largest source of toxic mercury contamination
  • power plants are the leading cause of asthma and lung cancer responsible for over 24,000 death annually
  • Mountaintop removal mining has destroyed over 450 mountains in Appalachia, buried thousands of miles of streams and poisoned water supplies.

Bank of America made headlines with an environmental initiative pledging support for "environmentally sustainable business…. (and) to address global climate change." While hailing themselves as leaders in addressing climate change – CEO Ken Lewis' lofty rhetoric is at odds with his company's track record. This pledge commits less than 2% of their assets to this cause, spread out over the next 10 years. What are they doing with the other 98% of their $1.4 trillion in assets? Raking in record profits from America's fossil fuel addiction.

A Doctor For Trans Children

Dr. Norman Spack specializes in helping Trans youth at a new clinic in Children's Hospital.

The Boston Globe printed an interview with the doctor this weekend.

" SPACK: Transgendered kids have a high level of suicide attempts. Of the patients who have fled England to see me, three out of the four have made very serious suicide attempts. And I've never seen any patient make [an attempt] after they've started hormonal treatment."

Sally Kern's Troubled Theology

The infamous Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern (left) has gotten a lot of attention, so she is a perfect example of the dangers of anti-gay theology. I've written a fairly lengthy theological essay responding to some of her bigoted ideas. To save space, I've only posted an excerpt here. You can read the rest of the essay at Queertoday2.

"To suggest that the values of a ancient West Asian monarchy (i.e. ancient Israel) or texts written in an imperial Roman dictatorship (i.e. the New Testament) should be simply applied to a modern, post-industrial society is absurd and dangerous. Too many people have suffered and died because literalists refused to leave ancient customs and assumptions in the ancient world. But it is no surprise that right-wing bigots like Sally Kern would want to preserve as many values from authoritarian, hierarchical societies as possible...."

Read more.


Massachusetts Family Institute Lies Again

Among the long list of deceptions Massachusetts Family Institute has tried to perpetrate against the public comes yet another attempt to put a spin on reality. The transgender rights bill (H-1722) has been put to study, and that has MFI's Kris Mineau declaring victory against it on their website and subsequent emails to supporters:

"Massachusetts Family Institute also strongly opposed and testified against an array of other anti-family bills that are now defunct. The following bills have also been sent to a "study," meaning they are effectively dead for this legislation session."


Here are portions of his testimony at the Judiciary Committee Hearing on the matter:

"This bill is a radical assault on the right to privacy and safety of all women and children on behalf of one of the smallest special interest groups, which can be accommodated otherwise."


MFI's delusional logic here is that sexual preditors (to them GLBT people are one in the same) may now have access to public rest rooms.

"It is estimated that the ratio of male-to-female transsexuals to genetic males is at the most 1:2000 (or five one-hundredths of 1%) with the ratio of female-to-male transsexuals being even smaller."


His point here is that this group is too small to bother with. He seems to feel that if a group is too small their needs are outweighed by his wants.

"This bill would add the vague terminology of “gender identity or expression” to the state ban on sex discrimination. The bill says, “The term ‘gender identity or expression’ shall mean a gender-related identity, appearance, expression, or behavior of an individual, regardless of the individual’s assigned sex at birth.” There is no generally accepted definition for “gender” or “expression,” which would cause chaos in the inevitable swirl of litigation, as activists press for access to the most private spaces of the opposite sex.

The word “gender” (as opposed to “sex”) is dangerously vague. It refers to socially constructed roles unrelated to biology. The term denies immutable biological differences between the sexes and places women and children at risk from biological males."

Here is Mineau's attempt to mire the public is legaleze. First he says that there is no legal definition for gender, then tries to inject his own opinions on the matter as fact, throwing in the word "dangerously" for good measure. Keeping the public afraid is how this organization keeps it's funding, so I can understand why we hear this language from them so often.

"Transgenderism is classified as a disorder by the American Psychiatric Association in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Under this bill, if a father and his young daughter went to a public accommodation and the young girl needed to use the ladies room, her own father could not go in with her, but a man claiming a gender identity disorder could."

Apparently Mineau thinks that if transgender is a mental disorder they are not to be afforded the dignity of equality. Then in a bizarre twist he tries to say that parent's aren't allowed to cross the gender line for the sake of their small children needing to use the bathroom. What parent has not already come across this problem and dealt with it? The public accomodates what it sees fit to; all situations are up for their individual scrutiny. A man trying to help is little girl try to use the facilities has the public sympathy, just as someone with "mental disorders" do too. Mineau wants to have his cake and eat it too. He wants people to believe that transgender is a disorder, but then wants the public to hold that against these people somehow. People should not be discriminated against on the basis of who they are inherently, but for people like Mineau this is too difficult of a concept to grasp.

"H1722 also deletes protection from discrimination for children, or based on marital status, veteran status or membership in the armed services, or recipients of public assistance. Public policy should not allow an infinitesimally small percentage of the population with a psychiatric disorder to use whatever public restroom or bathhouse they want, while simultaneously removing protection of families with children, veterans and people on public assistance."

There is absolutely no explanation of this charge given, but I guess it goes along with Mineau's scare tactics. Perhaps Mineau thinks that his word is good enough. Perhaps he thinks that the public has forgotten that he is behind a petition so rife with fraud that there was a special hearing to investigate the matter, or that since then Senator Edward Augustus has proposed legislation preventing the elements which led to this trouble. Mineau had charged KnowThyNeighbor.org with intimidation because they posted the names of people who signed his petition, yet he used Wanted: Dead or Alive style posters against legislators himself. Isn't that more clearly intimidation? When the legislators met on the historical day of June 14, 2007 and voted 151-45 to deny Mineau's attempt to write discrimination into the Constitition he claimed that those who changed their votes were given what amounts to bribes. Time and Mineau's inability to prove his accusations have shown the truth behind this claim. Mineau's testimony on H1722 is yet another mistruth that he had hoped the public would fall for. In addition to all these lies Mineau tries to re-sell the idea that Catholic Charities was forced to pull out of Massachusetts rather than be forced to abide by our laws against discriminating against same sex families interested in adoption. In actuality Catholic Charities had already allowed several adoptions to same sex couples over the years, but since the dawn of marriage equality had tried to cover up this truth and seem more conservative. To say they were forced out is simply untrue, the board did not want to go, but it was Cardinal O'Maley's call to make. Let's put the blame where it's due. From the Boston Globe we find the unbiased truth:

"In the past two decades, Catholic Charities has placed 720 children in adoptive homes, including 13 with same-sex couples."

For the betterment of public understanding on this matter, review the talking points made by the Massacusetts Transgender Political Coalition and the facts supported by the ACLU:

House Bill 1722 would make it clear that discrimination on the basis of an individual’s “gender identity or expression”* also violates those state civil rights laws.

• Transgender students will be protected from discrimination in public schools.
• The Massachusetts laws forbidding discrimination in employment, housing, and credit and in places of public accommodation will explicitly apply to transgender individuals.
• Transgender people will have the same rights as others to bring complaints to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD), to have that agency evaluate and hear their claims, and to bring their claims to court.
• The MCAD’s advisory boards will be encouraged to include transgender members, just as diverse representation from various communities and businesses is encouraged under current law.
• The Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth will become a more inclusive Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth.
• Assaults and property damage crimes intended to intimidate individuals because of their race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or disability will be punished in a like manner when they are committed with the intent to intimidate an individual because of gender identity or expression. The State Police, who have responsibility now for keeping records and making reports concerning crimes motivated by bigotry or bias, will add crimes because of gender identity or expression to those records and reports.
• Sex-segregated accommodations will continue to be available, as they are now, consistent with a person’s own gender identity or expression.

In 1989, Massachusetts passed Ch. 516, “An Act Making It Unlawful to Discriminate on the Basis of Sexual Orientation,” making clear that our Commonwealth’s basic civil rights laws protect gay men and lesbians. Since then, 14 states have passed or amended their state anti-discrimination laws to protect gay and lesbian rights and have included transgender rights. Minnesota (1993); Rhode Island (2001); California and New Mexico (2003); Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, and Washington, DC (2005); New Jersey and Washington (2006); Colorado, Iowa, Oregon, and Vermont (2007).



My take on all this is that Massachusetts Family Institute's practices are founded on lies, is morally bankrupt, and therefore cannot be trusted. They are nothing more than a group of bigots trying to perpetuate a time when they were free to discriminate against whom they chose without public opinion against them. America is growing in a direction that takes it away from such devisiveness, and into a direction that encourages individuals to embrace themselves for who they are. We in Massachusetts have been known for being the leaders of liberty and enlightenment since before our nation's existance. Giving equality and protection under the law is not just the morally responsible thing to do, it's one of our founding principles that our Constitution calls for.

Hate Speech On Campus? Should it be allowed?

Framingham State College is allowing the Young Conservatives to sponsor a speaker who will spread hateful lies about the LGBT community on March 31.

The speaker, praised and promoted by MassResistance, a group recently deemed a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center, will be giving a speech about his upcoming book The Born Gay Hoax.

Call Student Life:
(508) 626-4616

Click here to contact Framingham State.

Watch Ryan Sorba Speak at another College on Google Video.

Cheers & Jeers

Cheers to Barney Frank for supporting the decriminalization of Pot. (Still in the doghouse for splitting ENDA though!)

Jeers to Hillary Clinton for keeping the pressure on Obama over his Pastor Rev. Wright - a pro-gay fighter for social justice who has been smeared by the media.

Jeers to Quebec for ending Sex Ed!

Cheers to the Boston Pride Committee for choosing the most progressive theme of the options presented. (Now let's cut down on the corporate nature of this event!)

What are your cheers & Jeers?

Making political sense of an "outraged sensibility": Whiteness, Jeremiah Wright and Barack Obama

Some white people, including white queers, in this country (and still, far too few of us white people) have chosen to work for social justice, including racial justice. Some actively oppose the structures that prevent people from living life on their terms. Some come out of the privilege-closet for protecting voting rights, preventing discrimination, fighting for poor people's self-determination, and supporting political candidates that reflect their values.

Fewer white people enliven their commitment to freedom and fuller humanity by re-learning history. Re-learning the history of this country enhances attempts to show up and confront injustice alongside those who live it, inherit it and never forgot it the first time. Re-education puts our hope and individual actions into a movement-building context. Without this re-education, the recent conflict between Pastor Jeremiah Wright and Senator Barack Obama has the potential to confuse, alarm and upset white people--those who support Obama and those who don't.

In his article, "Of National Lies and Racial Amnesia: Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama, and the Audacity of Truth," one white guy, Tim Wise, a long-time and well-respected white antiracist writer-educator (www.timwise.org), really helped me connect the historical struggles to the current political landscape embedded in this conflict and escape the vacuum of the monolithic media frenzy. He provides an opportunity for a piece of this re-education right here and now. So, if you're white like me and you like justice, read this article--it might be helpful in working for change with sincerity and simultaneously, continuing to question the pre-established ways of being American and white.

Here is the link to the article: http://www.lipmagazine.org/~timwise/NationalLies.html

These are some questions that came up for me while reading: What happens when political leaders who offer up hope for the vision of justice suddenly say something I know isn't true? How can I be sincere in my commitment to anti-racist movement building when it doesn't make me feel "nice"? How do I both act in support of individual political leaders of color and also, refuse to again accept inaccurate retellings of the past and mis-representations of a minister of color's anger? How do I share both my outrage toward injustice and my hope for the future?

What came up for you?

The 2008 Boston Pride Theme

Your votes made a difference. Boston Pride chose the most progressive of the themes they presented as options. With just 500 votes cast, there is no doubt the QueerToday community made an impact. This year's umbrella theme leaves the door open for discussion about the issues we care about in our community. I'm down with the environmental justice aspect as well.

Now, let's keep encouraging the Pride committee to gather smaller local sponsors and shed the big corporate folks who work against our interests.


From NewEnglandBlade:

Pride 2008 Theme: Sustaining Our Community, Conserving Our World


At its Tuesday, March 18 meeting, the Boston Pride Committee ended months of speculation, debate and online voting with the announcement that the theme that 2008 Parade marching groups must somehow embody will be: "Sustaining Our Community, Conserving Our World."
The committee has already committed to a number of environmentally-sensitive initiatives: renting office space in a green-certified building, requiring parade and festival applications to be submitted online only, and encouraging parade-goers to carpool or take public transit during Pride Week, which begins June 6 with a flag-raising at City Hall. The committee is also asking parade participants to partner with local "green" groups and businesses.
"Boston has always been progressive, and here we go being progressive again," said Pride Committee President Linda DeMarco, who added that going green this year will be "a huge task for us as an all-volunteer group."
But "green" is not the only way the committee is imagining groups will approach defining "sustainability." Cale Moore, who is the chair of the merchandising sub-committee, said the word could be used to describe issues like health care and social reform.
"We want to encourage our community to think about these things and how they affect the world," said Moore.

HRC Makes Deal with Bush?

Here is one I don't remember hearing about.

From
Wikipedia:

"
HRC was criticized by gay activists when the group's leaders announced that the organization would be softening its demands for equal rights and consider making political bargains, such as supporting President George W. Bush's plan to privatize Social Security partly in exchange for the right of gay partners to receive benefits under the program. [23] [24]"

This is as sick as it gets.
HRC considers selling out all of the people who would be harmed by privatizing social security - all of the working and middle class - so that their rich constituents could get partner benefits. I suppose it is no surprise considering their corporate sponsors like Shell Oil company and Washington Mutual. Is it starting to make sense why they endorsed John McCain's bff and warmonger Joe Lieberman?

Join our HRC Doesn't Speak for Me Facebook group today.

Read more about how HRC stayed silent about issues concerning HIV/AIDS and sold out our community time and time again>

Damn You Rich!

Guest Post:
by "devilstower" (see more by this DailyKos blogger)

Damn you rich! You already have your compensation.

Damn you who are well-fed! You will know hunger.

Damn you who laugh now! You will weep and grieve.

Damn you when everybody speaks well of you!

A rant from a radical preacher? Without a doubt. Someone on the Obama campaign? Well, Sen. Obama says so. That's the Scholars Translation of Luke 6:24-26, and the speaker is Jesus of Nazareth.

In the King James Version, the first part of Luke 6:24 reads "But woe unto you that are rich!" That comes off as quaint and a lot less shocking to modern ears -- not the kind of preaching that nets you space on Fox News. But Jesus meant his words to be shocking. He meant them to strike against the status quo and shake up the comfortable.

God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human.

God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme.

That's Jeremiah Wright.

Is the vision of a pastor standing in his pulpit shouting "God damn America" shocking? Yes. But don't mistake Wright's (or Jesus') statement for what some drunk in a bar would mean using the same phrasing. Wright isn't saying "FU America!" he's saying "these actions of America are worthy of God's condemnation." He's just saying it in a way that cuts through the Sunday morning sleepiness and makes people sit up in their pew.

From Gandhi to King, it's in the nature of spiritual leaders to grab their audiences by the throat and their nations by the short hairs. This was true at the time of the Civil War and during the Civil Rights movement. Martyrs did not become martyrs by appealing to the status quo.

Don't take this to mean that I agree with every word that Wright spoke (e.g. the United States did not create AIDS), but neither do I feel like his words require that "his church should lose it's tax exempt status" that he's a traitor, or that he's an embarrassment to his church or to Senator Obama -- all comments that have appeared on this site.

Do I think that 9/11 was the "chickens coming home to roost?" Yeah, I pretty much do. Of course the terrorists bear the personal responsibility for their actions and the deaths that resulted. But to pretend that decades of actions overseas had nothing to do with that terrible morning is far more delusional than anything said by Rev. Wright. If you jab a stick into a hornet's nest and shake it for fifty years, the hornets might do the stinging, but you can't blame only the hornets. Actions have consequences, and though we may pretend to both purity of motive and prescience about outcomes, the truth is that violence tends to generate violence in return. Or, as that radical I quoted above said "those who take up the sword, will die by the sword."

The purpose of a good sermon isn't to placate, ease, and make people comfortable. A dangerous religion isn't one that challenges people and makes them squirm. Makes them angry. A dangerous religion is one that is too amicable to what you already think, one that pats you on the head and sends you forth in assurance of your own righteousness. If you want to search for "traitors" in the pulpit, turn your eye toward those who never find anything wrong in the actions of this nation.

I understand why Senator Obama finds it necessary to distance himself from Rev. Wright. There were plenty of things in those sermons that I don't agree with, and I'm suspect many of the ideas that grate on my nerves also strike the Senator as either wrong or unsustainable politically. These days, three isolated words on the news seem far more important than context or intent. But I wish he didn't have to do so.

Because getting your personal beliefs regularly challenged, rather than reinforced, is important.

Save San Francisco Queer Nightlife!

Guest post by Trevor Hoppe (blog)

SF Mayor Gavin Newsom and Supervisor Sophie Maxwell have put forward legislation that would effectively kill independent queer nightlife in San Francisco. The bill, "would require anyone who promotes two or more events a year to obtain a permit, and would enable police to determine who to hold accountable for a security plan, any health or safety rule violations, or creation of a public nuisance."

More importantly, it would require event promoters to provide proof of at least ONE MILLION DOLLARS in liability insurance!!!! One Million Dollars!!!

The best queer nightlife in San Francisco would be killed under this new legislation. How can indie queer organizers afford this costly burden? They couldn't. The parties would be over.

This kind of regulation and government encroachment on queer lives -- along with real estate development -- has been destroying gay nightlife in cities across the US. We've seen the closure of some of the most famous clubs in the country over the past five years: Club Universe in San Francisco; The Roxy in New York; Backstreet in Atlanta; Nation in DC -- just to name a few!

Tell Supervisor Maxwell and the Entertaintment commission that this legislation is bullshit and should be killed ASAP. Contact Maxwell here -- and here's the Entertainment Commission's contact info:

Entertainment Commission City Hall, Room 453 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place San Francisco, CA 94102

Phone: (415) 554-4539
Fax: (415) 554-7934

Web: www.sfgov.org/entertainment

Robert Davis, Executive Director
(415) 554-7793 voice
(415) 554-7934 fax
bob.davis@sfgov.org

Jocelyn Kane, Deputy Director
(415) 554-5793 voice
(415) 554-7934 fax
jocelyn.kane@sfgov.org

Audrey Joseph, Chair
City Hall, Room 453
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102

To leave a message for any Entertainment Commissioner, please call (415) 554-6678.

Anti-Immigrant Neanderthals Strike Again

Racist Providence Store Owner Demands Latin@s' Social Security Card

"You shall not pervert the justice due to a resident alien..." Deuteronomy 24:17

"The resident alien who lives with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were resident aliens in the land of Egypt; I am YHWH your God." Leviticus 19:34

From the Providence Journal:
'All José Genao planned to do at the heating equipment supply store was buy a spare part for his boiler.

While the owner began searching for the part, Genao and his friend began speaking to each other in Spanish.

As owner David C. Richardson was ringing up Genao’s $18 purchase, he demanded to see their Social Security cards.

...When Genao told Richardson “he did not have the right to ask all those questions,” Richardson pulled out a membership card for Rhode Islanders for Immigration Law Enforcement, a group that seeks curbs on illegal immigration.

Then, he lifted the phone receiver and threatened to call immigration authorities, Genao said.

“He [Richardson] grabbed the phone and said, ‘I can call ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] anytime I see an illegal immigrant,’ ” said Genao. “He also said, ‘I can make a citizen’s arrest.’ 

... Genao, a Rhode Island state employee, is a native of the Dominican Republic and a U.S. citizen. He speaks fluent English. He said his friend — who declined comment — is also a Dominican native and U.S. citizen. “There is no problem with his status,” said Genao. “He is legal.” State records list both as registered voters. '

Folks, this is where anti-immigrant rhetoric takes us. Every Spanish speaking person and Latin@ person is a suspect. It is tempting to focus on the fact that American citizens were harassed and make that the injustice, but the evil here is the racism and anti-Latin@ sentiment that go along with anti-immigrant hysteria. You cannot separate the two. Anti-immigrant activists like to say that this is just about the law and enforcing the law--as if people who vehemently oppose "illegal immigration" were busting down the doors to make legal channels for immigration a lot easier. Rather, ideas about how "those people" are stealing jobs or causing crime or straining our social system lie behind "illegal immigration" rhetoric (as the article makes clear). So cut the bullshit--this is not about law; it's about your distaste for Latin@ immigration. And that is why we rightly call the anti-immigrant movement racist.

When the right-wingers were scouring the Bible for anti-gay passages, in their haste to cite Leviticus 18:22; 20:13--the infamous "you shall not lie with a man as with a woman" passage--they seem to have skipped some verses that pose some problems for their political foolishness. Biblical passages, including some in the very book used to condemn queer people, repeatedly support justice and kind treatment for immigrants. Even an ancient West Asian despotism had some concept of decent treatment of immigrants, but it's obviously too much to ask for America--you know, the Christian nation. Excuse me--"Judeo-Christian" nation (snickers sarcastically)

The notion that this country should be hostile to foreigners is barbaric and stoops to levels even ancient peasant societies condemned. Decent and ethical people should expect and demand hospitable treatment for immigrants.

Call for Proposals: Translating Identity Conference


Just passing on this call for proposals for the sixth annual
Translating Identity Conference (TIC), which will take place on November
8th, 2008, at the University of Vermont.

TIC is a student-run event (free and open to the public)
that focuses on gender and gender identities. We hope to reach out to
the University of Vermont, the Burlington community, and the nation as a
whole to educate us all further on transgender and gender non-conformant
topics. Check out our website, for more information, or email us at tic@uvm.edu.

Guerrilla Queer Bar to Take Over Faneuil Hall Bar

Boston: Guerrilla Queer Bar takes over predominately straight venues.

"
Call your grandmother and rally your friends...Get ready for GQB's biggest takeover yet!

This friday at 9pm, we'll be taking over the nation's oldest bar - The Bell In Hand. While we're sure they've seen plenty in their 213 year history, they ain't seen nothin' yet!

The party starts at 9pm, but with our numbers there's sure to be a line, so show up early.

Its right in the Quincy Market area, so you can get there easily from either the Government Center or the Haymarket T Stops."

MA Trans Rights Bill Hearing Updates

Trevor Wright Reports from the State House:

1:09PM:

  • Over 100 supporters of HB1722 already in attendance.
  • Deval Patrick will submit testimony. Says he had daughter proof read it for him.
  • Martha Coakley to submit testimonial in favor of the bill.
  • Brian from the anti-gay MassNews asked for Trans Rights Sticker. Response: "That will be a dollar donation to MTPC."
Read New England Blade's Report>

Read Bay Windows Full Report>

Take Action! Hearing on Trans Rights Tuesday March 4

The Joint Committee on the Judiciary has scheduled an open hearing on HB1722, “An Act Relative to Gender-Based Discrimination and Hate Crimes” for the afternoon of Tuesday, March 4 at the State House. It is scheduled for room A-1, but may get moved to Gardner Auditorium. Those wishing to testify in support of this legislation should sign in by 1PM and plan to be there for the entire afternoon. MTPC will have people there to guide and help you. Read More at MTPC>

Call or email your legislator TODAY and ask them to support H.B. 1722.

To Call:
1. To find out who your State Representative and State Senator are, and to get their phone number, go to http://www.wheredoivotema.com/bal/myelectioninfo.php and type in the address where you are registered to vote: You want to call your "Senate in General Court" and "Rep in General Court."

2. Calling Script:
Hello, my name is______, and I am a constituent of Representative/Senator______. I am calling because I would like him/her to support House Bill #1722, An Act Relative to Gender-Based Discrimination and Hate Crimes. This bill simply expands the existing non-discrimination statutes to include protection from discrimination based on gender identity and expression. Will Representative/Senator ______ support this bill?