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Archives – December, 2010

P8TT New Year’s thread

By Adam Bink

My holiday season has been quiet, then busy, then quiet. Which is exactly how it should be. I’m currently finishing the World’s Most Perfect Or Pretty Darn Close Noodle Kugel, which can be found at 2nd Avenue Deli in NYC, on 33rd between Lexington and 3rd. It’s sweet but not too sweet. It holds together perfectly. It’s browned and crispy just right. I couldn’t think of a better New Year’s Eve dinner centerpiece. Later I’ll be joining some friends and a whole lotta champagne to ring in 2011.

I’m not going to do a long 2010 reflection piece right now, but I think it would suffice to say three of the best highlights were the Prop 8 ruling, the NOM tours, and the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. It is wonderful when work comes to fruition for all of us.

How was your holiday season, what are your favorite moments of 2010, and how are you spending New Year’s?

A very happy, healthy, and Courageous New Year’s to you all. See you on the flip side.

32 Comments December 31, 2010

Golden Oldie: Food for thought: A P8TT community project

Hopefully AnonyGrl doesn’t mind, I thought this was one of the best examples of strong community on this blog. The original post has over 300 comments, many of which are worth reading for really great discussion- or you can start new ones here, reflecting.

We at P8TT are taking Christmas through New Year’s off. Golden Oldies you requested will run in the place of regular posts. Regularly scheduled programming will resume on January 3rd–Adam Bink

——

(Check out the following guest post by Vienna Hagen — AKA “AnonyGrl” in the comments — in which she talks about how the Prop 8 Trial Tracker community has self-organized a creative campaign to promote LGBT equality through the spirit of giving and community outreach. It’s yet another reason why I love the Trial Tracker family! — Eden)

By Vienna Hagen AKA AnonyGrl

A few days ago the National Organization for Marriage — in conjunction with a number of others including our old friend Lou Engle’s TheCall and Bishop Harry Jackson — announced a 40-day fast against marriage equality (and other signs of the apocalypse) that will run through October 30, just a few days before the November election.

As is usually the case, we here at P8TT gave the whole business the once over, dissected it thoroughly and exposed it for the #completeFAIL that it promises to be. But in the course of that discussion, interesting as they all are around here, an idea was tossed out by our own “elliom”:

He suggested that perhaps if they fast, we should feed; that is we should organize 40 days of feeding the hungry instead.

A number of people climbed right on board with that idea, and we started tossing around ideas of different ways we might proceed, what to call the group, how to organize and so on. The discussion (as some of ours do around here) looked like it might start to hijack the thread, but more importantly, it looked as though it might take on a life of its own, and so I suggested we move it off-site, so to speak, and get interested folks together to talk more and see what happened.

On Saturday, five of us got together on Skype for a conference call from all over the place, and tossed around ideas for almost two hours. Present were elliom, Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan), Rhie, bJason and yours truly, AnonyGrl.

I have to say, we had a great time, both just chattering and cracking jokes, as well as getting some good ideas percolating for making this idea into a do-able reality. We tossed around some thoughts for names, and came up with one we liked. Currently bJason is on the hunt to see if it is one we can actually GET, researching both the possibility of snagging it as a domain name and finding out what will be necessary to registering it as a trademark, should we decide to go that route. Richard is on the hunt for information about free website hosting, and getting us an established presence that way. Rhie has volunteered to be our social networking resource, looking into setting up a Facebook and Twitter account for use in getting the word out when the time comes, elliom has the task of writing up a mission statement which he will mold and shape as we go along and I get to do some general research, create a logo (once we’ve settled on a name), and to write this post, to tell all of you folks about it.

But that is just the business end of things. Here is what we are looking to actually do.

We want to gather food and get it to food banks.

As we head into what seems to be the season of feasts, Ramadan having just passed, the fall being a time of harvest, Halloween, Hannukah, Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up, the irony is that donations tend to fall off. Food banks are constantly seeking donations so that they may provide assistance to families in need, but more so during these times of plenty, when people who might normally donate start to tighten their belts a little because of all the expenses the season provides them. There are many organizations which seek to help, and we would like to join them, and we think with the advantage of knowing so many people from all around the country and the world, we might be uniquely situated to do some good.

Our idea is that volunteers (and here we turn a hopeful eye to you wonderful people) will help in a variety of ways, both in spreading the word, helping us locate and target food pantries, and in organizing local food drives, which can be as simple as putting a box with some info out at your office and taking the results down to your local food bank, to as full an experience as you might wish to make it, organizing donations of food and volunteers, or whatever your area might need. We hope to be something of a clearing house for coordinating efforts and getting information out to people (as well as serving as local volunteer organizers ourselves) but also to let people in other places know that this is not a difficult project to achieve, and the rewards can be measureless.

It was noted during our Skype conference that we have one pretty strong thing going for us. We are all the sort of people who are not just dedicated, but are willing to listen to the ideas of others and work to incorporate them in where we can. Each of us tossed out great suggestions (if I may pat us on the back for a minute) and we think we have the basis for making this really work. We talked about what we would need to do to make it a short term, 40 day, event, and also discussed the possibility of creating a more permanent sort of organization, if we discover that the idea really takes off. We threw in other suggestions of projects that relate to our main goals that could be added in further down the line. We discussed, a bit, and will continue to do, why we want to do this, and what we want to say while we do it. We have the opportunity to turn this into a way to reach out to communities that might not understand the cause of Equality and to show them who we are, and that we just want to be their neighbors and lend a helping hand where we can. And by doing so, we stand the chance of reaching some hearts, and maybe changing some minds too.

So here is what we are looking for right now. First of all, we would love to know what you think of the idea, so feel free to toss out thoughts and suggestions in this thread. We’ll certainly read all of them, file some away for future reference, and act on any that seem feasible. We also would love to have the assistance of anyone who is interested in getting involved. A second Skype call is scheduled for this coming Thursday at 6pm Eastern time (I am on the east coast, and I am organizing the call, so you guys get to figure out when that is for you, or check with Richard, who is the official keeper of times, since he can remember all the time zones when I can’t). If you are interested and available and would like to join in, drop me a note in my email at anonygrl@aol.com and include both your real name (or something we can call you, if you like, and if your P8TT name is complicated) and your Skype ID. Skype is easy to set up, free to download and use, and all you need is either a headset or a computer with speakers and a mic. Actually, if you just have speakers, you can still listen in and contribute in the chat panel that also comes up. Just so you know, there is a maximum of 25 people on a Skype call, but we will certainly be doing more posting like this (either here or somewhere else) with updates if you can’t make it.

Some of you have already indicated interest, which is great, and we would love to know what anyone would be interested in doing to help even if you can’t make the Skype call, so feel free to discuss that here too. If you have interest in being a local volunteer, or to organize local volunteers, or are a website administrator, or know something of the legal aspects of this sort of project, or are an accountant with a yen to help set up the bookkeeping… any talent you might want to share, I am certain we can find a way to use, so please do let us know! At the moment, we are working under a committee structure, and will formalize things as we go on, but since we are in the ‘fact finding’ and organizing stage right now, we would be glad of any assistance anyone would like to provide.

And eventually, even if you don’t have the time to volunteer, we hope you all will end up as donors in whatever way you can to your own local food banks so that we can bring a little joy and some full bellies to those who really, really need it.

33 Comments December 30, 2010

Golden Oldie: Are you an anti-LGBT conservative? Did you just sound like a homophobe? Then this piece is for you.

Another one of my personal favs. Sometimes you just gotta take a minute to mess.

We at P8TT are taking Christmas through New Year’s off. Golden Oldies you requested will run in the place of regular posts. Regularly scheduled programming will resume on January 3rd–Adam Bink

Cross-posted at my home blog, OpenLeft.com

By Adam Bink

So I haven’t written much about my fellow Buffalonian Carl Paladino and his ugly comments on sexual orientation, partly because I have to keep my blood pressure down. But his “apology” is just something I have to dismantle, because it just makes me roll my eyes at the same old story.

A week or so ago, I did a piece on these recent suicides anti-LGBT conservative responses to it, titled “Are you an anti-LGBT conservative? Are you worried about people questioning your role in anti-LGBT bullying? Then this piece is for you. In it, I wrote that there is a time-tested recipe for how they respond to such news. Example:

1 teaspoon each of the words “tragic” “appalling” and “heartbreaking”. Optional substitutions: “terrible” or “sad”. This will emphasize that you really do have a heart.

1/4 cup of compulsory “bullying is wrong”. Here’s [Chuck] Colson:

First, we must absolutely, positively condemn harassment and bullying in all of their ugly forms.

1/2 cup of trying to show that LGBT kids aren’t especially targeted.

Here’s Kathleen Parker:

Although Clementi was filmed with another man, one can imagine as easily a roommate spying on a heterosexual encounter.

Here’s Colson:

Cyber bullying is an equal-opportunity crime.

Here’s Maggie [Gallagher]:

…the cruelty of cyberbullying is causing teen suicides among those who are not gay, as well.

1 quart of “social media is really the problem, here- not homophobic kids or where they get their homophobia from.”

Here’s Parker (after discussing social media):

I don’t want to downplay the gay aspect of this travesty, but there isn’t space in a column to tackle everything.

Here’s Colson:

Teenagers have always intimidated and harassed other teenagers. And now with the advent of social media—Facebook, Myspace, Twitter—young people have a new way to abuse and torment each other. It’s called cyber bullying.

You get the idea.

Along comes Paladino, who says some disgusting homophobic comments. And surprise, surprise, he follows the same, tired, scripted recipe for the kind of apology everyone makes when they offend the gays. And so we have a recipe for “How an anti-LGBT conservative can make a seemingly heartfelt apology for homophobic comments”:

One tablespoon of blaming the media. Here’s Paladino:

I did also say some things for which I should have chosen better words. I said other things that the press misinterpreted and misstated.

One cup of “I really do support homosexual, er, gay rights!”

I am 100% against discrimination of any group. I oppose discrimination of any kind in housing, credit, insurance benefits or visitation.

I am 100% against hate crimes in any form.

No word, of course, on whether he’s reversed his opposition to actual laws banning discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation, or opposition to hate crimes legislation.

One teaspoon of denial (however incorrectly stated). Paladino on the ABC’s “This Week”:

I am not a homophobic.

One quart of comparing yourself to someone the larger public thinks is “gay-friendly: (spelling aside)

My position on marriage is based on my personal views. I have the same position on this issue as President Barrack (sic) Obama.

One pint of naming lots of types of people to show you like everyone.

I am concerned with the future for all our citizens, gay, straight, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim and Agnostic.

Mix well, and voilà! You have a boilerplate written apology, radio interview, or TV appearance to show you’re not a raving homophobe.

Too bad no one believes you, Carl.

14 Comments December 29, 2010

Golden Oldie: Day 4 on the NOM California tour: Karyme Lozano says adios, cruel world

One of my all-time favs.

We at P8TT are taking Christmas through New Year’s off. Golden Oldies you requested will run in the place of regular posts. Regularly scheduled programming will resume on January 3rd–Adam Bink

If you missed the original interview Arisha conducted with Karyme Lozano, check it out before reading this post. Quite the goings-on today. Keep in touch, Karyme! — Adam

By Arisha Michelle Hatch

Stop #18: Stockton

Twenty minutes after 10 AM, the Vota Bus finally arrived at Weber Point park in Stockton with three large vans filled with 42 (predominantly Latino and male) members of an organization called Victory Outreach, a Christian men’s group that does outreach in inner-city communities. Three local equality supporters also stopped by to check things out. Here’s the Christian men’s group:

Members of Victory Outreach, a Christian men's group, in Stockton to support Vota Tus Valores

“I don’t know why I’m here,” one man said. “We’re just following the leader.”

Arisha chatting with the pastor of Victory Outreach in Stockton

Arisha talking to the pastor with Victory Outreach

It appears that Vota Tus Valores learned a little bit from yesterday’s events and are now attempting to organize. Can they keep it up? Will progressives continue to come out in opposition? Only time will tell.

A few notes on the tour setup. The Vota Bus is accompanied by three advance cars: two white Dodge Caravans (one has Nevada plates and the other has California plates), as well as a gray Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Yesterday, the general practice seemed to be that 2 cars would scout the initial location – take note of any organized counter-protest and radio back to the Vota Bus. The caravan with California plates would then lead the Vota Bus to the scheduled location or to some sort of abandoned parking/Mexican restaurant based on some set of criteria that I can’t figure out.

My hunch is that they avoid locations with viable counter-protest unless there is some compelling reason that they must go to the location (like when a major news outlet is expected). Flashmob counter-protests may be the most effective way to counter.

Stop #19: Modesto

In Modesto, the Vota Bus stopped at a local farmers’ market bringing with them the three vans from Victory Outreach. Should we count those 42 in the tally again?

Vota Tus Valores supporters in Modesto

The Courage media blackout is still in effect. I kind of understand it, I wouldn’t want Alfonso speaking for my organization either. Karyme Lozano got a little feisty this morning as Alfonso rejected yet another interview.

“We saw your blog and we should see that you don’t show the truth, you change the truth,” Lozano said as she was hurried back onto the bus. I asked her and her comrades what exactly I “lied” about and she refused to respond. Watch:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N40C7BBZXBw]

Attention You cannot go around with a camera in a person’s face. It’s called freedom of movement. You’re harassing and being intolerant which is ironic because you say you are so tolerant.” Watch (he hurls this accusation starting at about the 0:53 mark):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Efz2t_we4x8]

Meanwhile,

Later at the Los Banos stop – attended by seven supporters – a tour security guard told us on-camera that her exit was pre-scheduled; however, this conflicts with other reports we received on the ground. Sources close to the tour had no idea that Karyme had even left. The guard’s statement would be more believable coming from a more reliable source. The security guard has been extremely hostile to us throughout the tour.

Fiorina/Vota Tus Valores suppoters in Los Banos

Fiorina/Vota Tus Valores supporters

Equality supporters in Los Banos

There were also those with pro-equality views

Minutes after issuing the statement, he apologized (off-camera) to our videographer Anthony for stepping on his foot while he was attempting to film an exchange between Alfonso and a counter-protester in San Jose. He said that it was unintentional because he has an artificial leg. Perhaps this is true, but it doesn’t explain why he intentionally bumped Anthony twice with force on two separate occasions prior to the incident.

We previously opted not to report this information, but now that the guard has chosen to give a conflicting on-the-record account with respect to Karyme’s departure, we feel that the facts go to his credibility.

Now, you be the judge, did I cross the line with Karyme? Did Adam’s earlier post on her participation in San Francisco Pride strike some sort of nerve with Karyme, the Vota Tus Valores organizers or the National Organization for Marriage?

We can only speculate because Alfonso refuses to comment to us about anything.

26 Comments December 29, 2010

Golden Oldie: A life-changing event: My time documenting the NOM tour

This one at Sagesse’s request.

We at P8TT are taking Christmas through New Year’s off. Golden Oldies you requested will run in the place of regular posts. Regularly scheduled programming will resume on January 3rd–Adam Bink

(Anthony is our lead videographer on the ground, as profiled here. As the tour is coming to a close tomorrow, here’s his reflection piece. -Adam)

By Anthony Ash

The last official tour stop is tomorrow. Soon I will be returning back to California and back to my “normal” life. When I originally left California I was only supposed to be gone for a week, but once I got out on the road I realized that being out on the tour was where I needed to be. When I was told I would be on the road traveling to a couple of states and following the National Organization for Marriage around, I didn’t totally understand the scope of what I was about to undertake.

It only took a few stops on the tour to realize that what I was part of something that was much larger than just “touring a few states”. I began to see the faces of the families of the pro-equality counter rallies; I began to hear their stories and learn of their struggles. I began to meet amazing people from all over the U.S. I realized that we were connecting hundreds and thousands of people together; it wasn’t just about filming Brian Brown lying about something again or not being allowed into a NOM rally, it was about building OUR community and linking us all in this battle for equality.

Trust me, there were plenty of times that I wish I was home (when we heard the Prop. 8 verdict, for example, as well as not being there for my mother as she goes through a divorce). And there were times that I missed my friends and family. But, every time we had someone come to us and tell us a simple “thank you” it made it worth the time away from home and after awhile I began to feel like I was at home when I was meeting the amazing same-sex families and felt the love from all the people who came out to counter-protest NOM.

There were many times during the tour when I felt emotional, whether it was anger, sadness or joy. And there were two moments that I found myself not being able to hold back tears. The first moment was when we stopped in Madison, Wisconsin, I heard a noise off in the distance and that noise began to grow louder. I was busy filming so I didn’t get to turn around to see what the noise actually was, but when I finally turned around I saw a sea of pro-equality protesters engulfing the street as they made their way toward the Capitol. As I stood there filming all I could do is cry.

Here’s the video I shot of that moment:

The

During Patti’s speech the hair stood up on my arms as she spoke about the unconditional love that parents should have toward their children and the difficult time that her family experienced when her son Adam came out.

She told me that “when Adam come out of the closet, we went right in,” and when I asked her if she had any words of advice for mothers struggling with a child being gay she told me: “They need you now more than ever. Remember that moment when you dropped your son off at kindergarten, he didn’t question if you were going to be there to love him when he got home, now he questions that because society has him questioning that now.”

“Go to your son and hug him,” she continued. “He’s still the same. Let him tell you his story…” I held it together during the interview, but when walked away I just lost it.

This trip has proved to be one of those life-changing events that one rarely experiences. I have been able to grow as as an activist, as a videographer, and most importantly as a human. I was able to see this beautiful country we live in and do it with two people that have become my sheroes: Arisha Hatch and Phyllis Lozano. We watched out for each other at the rallies, we paid for meals when one was low on funds and we forgave each other when there were disagreements along the way.

As this trip comes to an end, I can only look to the future and hope that what has transpired over the last month will be one more stepping stone to full equality across America.

Signing off (for now)…

29 Comments December 28, 2010

Golden Oldie: Madison’s Testimony (video): A daughter eloquently expresses the meaning of marriage equality

This one at Sagesse’s request.

We at P8TT are taking Christmas through New Year’s off. Golden Oldies you requested will run in the place of regular posts. Regularly scheduled programming will resume on January 3rd–Adam Bink

By Eden James

On Tuesday, Garden State Equality responded by organizing an overflowing town hall in Trenton, New Jersey, that attracted 158 people, according to Courage staffer Arisha Michelle Hatch’s hand-count (versus the 48 who showed up for the NOM rally).

The GSE town hall was quite moving, featuring same-sex couples and their children expressing what being denied marriage equality means to them personally.

Here is one touching moment that moved me to tears, quite frankly. We just got the video up last night:

If

If you have a reaction to Madison’s testimony or the experiences of the Galluccio family in being on the front lines of the battle over adoption rights and marriage equality, share it in the comments and share this post with your friends and loved ones.

UPDATE: Watch this video — a really good summary of the day, including Madison. “Lesbians Love Boies” just posted it in the comments. Thanks LLB!

22 Comments December 28, 2010

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