Thursday, October 30, 2008

Obama & McCain ~ 8 Questions

WebMD asked the Presidential hopeful eight questions, and I want to give you the links that will take you to their answers:
McCain's Answers
Obama's Answers

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Is Chambers the one for District 81?

A number of years ago, I had the then pleasure of interning/working with State Representative Jill Chambers. I met Rep Chambers because I wrote all of the members of the Georgia House of Representatives asking them to pledge support to HB 885--The Nondiscrimination Act of 2003. When a Representative didn't respond to my letter within 2 or 3 weeks I sent a follow-up letter that let them know I understood they are busy--bla-bla-etc---"but a number of your peers found time to write me." Well, I had to send one of the follow-up letters to Rep Chambers, and she responded quickly to the letter. I continued to send occasional letters and emails to reps regarding bills that caught my interest, and Rep Chambers always responded. Before long I was in her office finding a way to be involved with her service to District 81.

Rep Chambers was the only Republican to vote no against the GA constitutional amendment (regarding gay marriage). I still admire her vote; however, as she said in her Capitol office-- she voted the way she felt her constituents wanted her to vote. If memory serves me correctly, after her vote, GA Equality sent Rep Chambers a t-shirt with a spine printed on the back with a quote of "I've got backbone" or something of that nature. Rep Chambers says she wore the shirt proudly to the Atlanta Pride Festival after the whole debacle of amending the constitution. Not that attending an Atlanta Pride affects how Rep Chambers does her job, but I am curious as to how many festivals she has attended since she wore her "backbone" t-shirt. I would assume if she is so accepting and supportive of her LGBT constituents she might make at least a brief appearance each year. Maybe she goes only when she has something "to wave" in our faces.

I remember when I became disappointed with Rep Chambers. It was during her 2004 re-election bid. One of the gentleman she hired to manage her campaign asked me to attend a fundraiser for Rep Chambers's opposition to count how many drinks the opposition consumed during the night. When does interning/assisting with a campaign come to counting alcoholic beverages? I am sure Rep Chambers would say she never knew I was asked to do such, and I think that would be ironic since during that campaign, if memory serves me correctly, her campaign sent out fliers about the opposition receiving a DUI during his college days.

And now, more disappointment. I read in the AJC's Politic Insider that Rep Chambers tried to intimidate the man who filed a complaint on her with the State Ethics Commission. (Click here for the complete article.) Let me share some info from a police incident report:
According to [Jeremy] Tanner, last Tuesday, Chambers herself came to his residence, took pictures of his house and yard, knocked on his door, and told him “you are in serious trouble.”

….The resident said Chambers also told him that it was “a very serious offense to accuse an elected official of bribery.”

Tanner said he told Chambers to leave the property, and closed the door, after which he said that the state representative continued to knock and say,”Come on out and talk to me, Jeremy.”

After working with Rep Chambers, I believe she did exactly what Tanner claims. Rep Chambers seems to likes to use intimidation when she feels she needs to show her power wants to "defend" herself. Read some of her fliers from previous re-election bids if you think I might be a bit of course with my thoughts. When will Rep Chambers learn that intimidation is a bully tactic most people outgrow after middle school?

Mentioning middle school, let's talk education for a moment. On Rep Chambers's website she touts, Jill re-wrote the charter school laws in 2005 to allow more tax money to be used for direct student instruction. In 2008, DeKalb Schools will get a $250,000 grant to retrofit school buses for cleaner diesel emissions. Isn't that $250,000 grant lovely. Why doesn't Rep Chambers mention the $8,788,912 in austerity reductions the Dekalb County Schools have battle during the 2008 fiscal year? Dekalb County citizens, keep austerity cuts in mind because they basically equal increases in property taxes.

Also, on her website, Rep Chambers touts, MARTOC – Committee Chairman - Jill is Chairman of the Committee to oversee MARTA spending. Is that all she has to say? What has she done as Committee Chairman? Seriously, don't brag about being chairman of committee if you can't list off some accomplishments. For me, titles mean nothing-- actions do.

I bet this entry earns me a spot on Rep Chambers's crap-list. She might even regret or forget all the lovely comments she made about me to some Log Cabin members at a fundraising event at the now closed Red Chair. She might even regret the nice recommendation
she wrote for me when I applied for a political internship with HRC. Oh well, I have to speak my mind.

I recall, from those days of old, Rep. Chambers stating she needs 10% of the Democrats in District 81 to vote for her to win. Yes, I voted for Rep Chambers in the last election because at that time I did believe in her, but those days are gone. I will NOT be part of the 10% Rep Chambers needs to keep her seat. I will NOT cast another ballot in favor of Jill Chambers. District 81 is need of change in the Georgia House of Representatives. Come on Chris Huttman!

"Autopsy" ~ Christopher Hennessy

Christopher's first revision of Autopsy is up at Quarrel.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

WHY DO I WRITE ~ Matthew Hittinger

WHY DO I WRITE ~ Matthew Hittinger

It's not like I'm writing a poem every day. Far from it. But when I do, when some image or idea has so stuck itself in my head that I have to keep turning it over and over, attacking it from as many angles I deem possible, when I'm in those writing jags and the work is coming fast and fully formed after months of contemplation, when I'm in “that zone” as my first writing mentor used to say, I feel more present and grounded than at other moments in my daily life, as if the true self, call it mind, call it voice, is suddenly struck in high relief (or is suddenly striking a pose) by this concentrated act of pulling and placing words together.

And though I do not write poems every day I remain engaged with the process every day whether that means testing out sentence rhythms in the million and one emails I feel get composed, or the notes I jot down on the backs of my bookmarks when a snippet of overheard conversation seems to resonate or an image I have witnessed burns itself into my retina, or even the reading I do on the subway on my way to and from my day job to see how others go about the dance.

So even though I do not write in that concentrated way every day, if I had to pinpoint what it was about writing that keeps me doing it I'd have to say the process. Don't get me wrong, I love the end product when the formal choices of word-music and rhythm and imagery all click together, but I love living in the process for as long as I can. The white page never terrifies me as I always work from notes. As long as I have those raw materials, a handful of words, I can spin in any direction, rhyming and chiming, arranging their placement like the seating chart for a dinner party to see which order is the best order, which cadence conveys the meaning best, all the pleasures of crafting a form that captures the actual process and takes the reader along on all the twists and turns of thought, the choices made along the way.

For ultimately that is why I write: to create snapshots of the brain in motion, to document the process of thinking, thinking about feeling, about the emotional states in which one finds him or herself, making sense of the experiences we have with each other, with the world at large, and that ongoing conversation with the self that on some level is in constant marvel at being a sentient being, of having consciousness and conscience. And doing this all within the constraints of form, setting down our individual way of seeing in a construct that will last, that will allow another to step behind your eyes in that ultimate empathic act. This is why I write.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Update: LIMP WRIST Scholarship/Poetry Contest

Hello Blogosphere:

You might have already received information regarding the Limp Wrist scholarship/poetry contest for LGBT youth; however, there have been a few changes, so please take a moment to read the details portion of this post. I apologize if you fill pestered; however, ever bit of publicity helps make this scholarship a success, so PLEASE, take a moment to share this information via a blog, Myspace, Facebook, and/or email list.

As many of you know, in April 2008, I started Limp Wrist, and I am proud to promote Limp Wrist as an e-zine with queer sensibility. I am also proud to announce that Limp Wrist is offering a small scholarship to a LGBT High School Junior or Senior via a poetry contest. Even more exciting than the small scholarship is that the scholarship recipient wins a spot at the 2009 Juniper Summer Writing Institute. A huge thanks to the talented Dara Wier for making Juniper possible.

~ NO entry fee required.
~ Student must identify as a member of the LGBT community.
~ Student must be a high school junior or senior for the 2008-2009 school year.
~ Only one poem of no more than 75 lines may be submitted in the body of an email. The poem should be submitted to, and the subject line must read "LW Sholarship" with the student's first and last name.
~ The poem submitted should not be a previously published work or have won a previous contest.
~ The email must include the following statement: "The poem submitted is my own original work and has not been previously published."
~ The submission email must also include the student's name, mailing address, and name of high school attending.
~ All submissions must be received by 1/31/09.

As mentioned above, the winner of the poetry contest will receive $150 and a spot at the 2009 Juniper Summer Writing Institute. Airfare to and from the '09 Juniper Summer Writing Institute is also covered by Limp Wrist.

Dr. Beth Gylys will serve as the inaugural judge. Dr. Gylys's work has been published in numerous magazines/journals (including Limp Wrist), anthologies, and she has received a mention in Drury's POETRY DICTIONARY as well authored two award winning poetry collections: SPOT IN THE DARK and BODIES THAT HUM.

All this isn't possible without out a price-- if anyone is interested in donating please click here for more information on how to make a tax-deductible donation.

Feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns, or comments.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Tina Fey? Sarah Palin? Both? Say What?

Dolly's "Jolene" on NPR

All Things Considered, October 9, 2008 - When Dolly Parton launched her career on a country-music television show in the late 1960s, she says, she used to sign autographs every night after the broadcast.

"One night, I was on stage, and there was this beautiful little girl — she was probably 8 years old at the time," Parton says. "And she had this beautiful red hair, this beautiful skin, these beautiful green eyes, and she was looking up at me, holding, you know, for an autograph. I said, 'Well, you're the prettiest little thing I ever saw. So what is your name?' And she said, 'Jolene.' And I said, 'Jolene. Jolene. Jolene. Jolene.' I said, 'That is pretty. That sounds like a song. I'm going to write a song about that.'"

Parton says that she got the story for her song from another redhead in her life at the time — a bank teller who was giving Parton's new husband a little more interest than he had coming.

"She got this terrible crush on my husband," Parton says. "And he just loved going to the bank because she paid him so much attention. It was kinda like a running joke between us — when I was saying, 'Hell, you're spending a lot of time at the bank. I don't believe we've got that kind of money.' So it's really an innocent song all around, but sounds like a dreadful one."

200 Words

When Parton released "Jolene" in 1973, it became one of her first hit singles. The song has only 200 words — and a lot of those are repeated. But Parton says that that very simplicity, along with the song's haunting melody, is what makes the character of "Jolene" memorable.

"It's a great chord progression — people love that 'Jolene' lick," Parton says. "It's as much a part of the song almost as the song. And because it's just the same word over and over, even a first-grader or a baby can sing, 'Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene.' It's like, how hard can that be?"

"Jolene" has been covered by more than 30 singers over the years, and in several languages around the world.

Jack White's emotional rendition of "Jolene" has been a staple of The White Stripes' concerts for years.

"I thought to take the character and change the context and make this red-headed woman my girlfriend, and that she's cheating on me with one of my friends," White says. "Then, that would be what I could really get emotionally attached to."

White says that the character of Jolene has fascinated him for a long time.

"I love the name, first off," he says. "I thought that was an interesting name when I started hearing that song as a teenager. And I guess later on, as a songwriter, I started to think about names starting with 'J,' like that could be used almost accusatory, like Jezebel... Jolene."

"Jolene" launched country singer Mindy Smith's career five years ago, when Parton said that it was her favorite version of the song.

Smith says she could relate to the vulnerability of the woman pleading with Jolene.

"I think the main character is really the person singing about Jolene," Smith says. "Jolene's a mess. She just steals things."

A Universal Character

Parton says that Jolene is so popular because everyone can relate to her feelings of inadequacy— competing with that tall redhead in the bank who was after her husband.

"She had everything I didn't, like legs — you know, she was about 6 feet tall. And had all that stuff that some little short, sawed-off honky like me don't have," Parton says. "So no matter how beautiful a woman might be, you're always threatened by certain... You're always threatened by other women, period."

Parton says that "Jolene" has been recorded more than any other song she's written — in styles that range from Olivia Newton John's 1976 disco version to the Goth rendition of the post-punk band The Sisters of Mercy.

Click here to see the article on the NPR site.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

"Emily Dickinson at the Poetry Slam"

On Thursday, Dan Vera read a poem titled "Emily Dickinson at the Poetry Slam," and I have yet to be able to stop thinking about this phenomenal poem. Even Mark Doty gave it a mention in his blog. When I read lines that I wish I had written I called them 'jealousy lines.' Well, every single line of "Emily Dickinson at the Poetry Slam" made me jealous. Damn good job, Dan!

Emily Dickinson at the Poetry Slam

I will tell you why she rarely ventured from her house.
It happened like this:

One day she took the train to Boston,
made her way to the darkened room,
put her name down in cursive script
and waited her turn.

Poets before her stood and rhymed,
followed a meter tight and expected,
outdoing one another in a monotonous clip.

When they read her name aloud
she made her way to the stage
straightened the papers in her hands --
pages and envelopes, the backs of grocery bills,
she closed her eyes for a minute,
took a breath,
and began.

From her mouth perfect words exploded,
intact formulas of light and darkness.
She dared to rhyme with words like cochineal
and described the skies like diadem.
Obscurely worded incantations filled the room
with an alchemy that made the very molecules quake.

The solitary words she handled
in her upstairs room with keen precision
came rumbling out to make the electric lights flicker.

40 members of the audience
were treated for hypertension.
20 year old dark haired beauties found their heads
had turned a Moses White.

Her second poem earased the memory of every cell phone
in the nightclub,
and by the fourth line of the sixth verse
the grandmother in the upstairs apartment
had been cured of her rheumatism.

The papers reported the power outages.
The area hospitals taxed their emergency generators
and sirens were heard to wail through the night.

Quietly she made her way to the exit,
walked to the terminal and rode back to Amherst.

She never left her room again
and never read such syllables aloud.

~ Dan Vera, The Space Between Our Danger and Delight

BUY Dan's book-- you won't regret it!


from the keyboard of that sexy and talented Jack Kinley:

What: B Scared—Art Show and Carnival Extraordinaire!

When: Friday, October 31, 8:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.

Where: The B Complex
1272 Murphy Ave, SW
Atlanta, GA 30310

The B Complex—an artist cooperative community in Atlanta's West End—is undergoing a costume change of sorts as it transforms from one of the city's most rustic re-purposed industrial spaces into an old fashioned carnival of sorts this Halloween. Organizers at the co-op have compiled works from over 20 artists which explore traditional day of the dead imagery, various interpretations of modern-day Halloween rituals, as well as explorations of the psychological and emotional aspects of fear.

But don't come to the B Complex expecting "just another art show." And please don't show up in your blazer and turtleneck like your stereotypical art critic—unless of course, that's your costume for the evening. The B Complex throws a wild party and what, if any, is a better excuse to party than Halloween? The 8,000 square foot exhibit space will be bustling with the sounds of DJ Dr. Tim, performances by aerialists Dances in Air, and a very special treat from Atlanta's very own burlesque troupe—Dames Aflame. Resident artists have transformed the two-acre compound with black-lights, fire sculptures, carnival games and spooky surprises around every corner. And for those of you who wait until the last minute to plan your Halloween costumes, custom masquerade masks will be available on site!

A $20 cover ($15 for those in costume) gets you access to all of the evening's entertainment—including an open bar, as long as it lasts!

Click here for directions.

Dolly ~ "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Soul"

I'm not a gospel music fan; however, I guess I am if Dolly sings it. But... I'd be a fan of an Arby's menu if Dolly is singing it to me. The video is a melody, but my favorite part is Dolly singing "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Soul"--- I loves it! Enjoy:

Atlanta Queer Literary Festival ~ Pics

Kate Evans & Yours Truly

Paul Lisicky

Sister SoAmI

Dan Vera

Thursday, October 16, 2008

WHY DO I WRITE ~ Christopher Hennessy

WHY DO I WRITE ~ Christopher Hennessy

Of course, the de rigueur answer is ‘because I must,’ but that’s always smelled a bit off, a bit undercooked, a bit two-days past its due date to me. I could live without writing; I might even be able to find a happy rhythm to fall into (though, see! -- even in this non-writing future I need rhythm!). Yes, I could live without writing, but I would not be me, I would be someone else...or rather I would be someone else pretending to be me.

So, why do I write, if not because ‘I must’. It’s all wrapped up in words...the world and touch and surface of words, the pluck and smash and love and ‘fuck off’ of words. I am in love with language, with individual words, with words that rhyme, that call to each other, that remind each other of their roots, that sing, that fart. How words are paired, as a delicate white wine is selected, tasted and poured to go with flounder or halibut. Or, sometimes, on the contrary, how words are paired like colors that wonderfully clash, like a chalky pink and neon plum paired to make the eye dizzy on purpose.

So, as it was in the Beginning, a word sets it all into motion. I hear the word ‘sawbuck’ used as slang at the local liquor store and run home to look it up. Or I read the word copse in a poem and find it suddenly the most interesting word in the language. Or an aunt uses 'anvil' instead of 'amble' in a missive on the back of a birthday card and I think I've stumbled upon genius.

But words are only at the root of my need to write. I write because a poem is a puzzle, words the pieces. (More and more I think not just a poem, but all writing is a puzzle.) And I write because I am in love with puttering over a table, the words splayed about like jagged pieces, putting this one next to that to see if it somehow fits, flipping it around and shoving it in between two other pieces where it clearly doesn’t belong to see if it sings there in its awkwardness.

This may make me sound like my poems are more language-based than anything else, but that's not the case. Because my love for words is tempered by a need I have. That is I am desperately seeking to understand myself, every moment of every day, to understand why I’m here, why I love the people I love, why I fight for the things I fight for, why I am me and not someone who doesn’t need to write. And my relation with the words I play with, the ones I find beautiful and the ones I find boring, and everything in between, well, that is my way of learning about myself. What I create tells me more about myself that a shrink or a god or a well-meaning friend ever could. The words I love create the stories I tell. And the puzzle set out before me when I come to a blank computer screen is the puzzle of me.

Sarah Palin on Abortion/Morning After Pill

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

MoveOn.Org, Thanks for the Laugh

When I logged into Facebook this evening, I noticed I had two update notices. One was a laughter invoking experience from

Would you let your parents drive drunk? Take dangerous drugs?

Of course not. So why would you stand by as they make a much more dangerous choice: voting for John McCain.

Article From Anchorage Daily News Website

Ousted safety commissioner: Palin image damaged

The Associated Press

Published: October 13th, 2008 08:16 AM
Last Modified: October 13th, 2008 11:08 AM

WASHINGTON - Former Alaska Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan said Monday he feels "relieved" by a legislative report concluding that Gov. Sarah Palin abused her authority by trying to have her former brother-in-law fired as a state trooper.

"I've never contested my firing. My firing was completely lawful," Monegan said in a nationally broadcast interview. "It wasn't that I was fired that I asked any questions. It was, what were the reasons for the firing."

Monegan declined to say in an interview with NBC's "Today" show what legal options, if any, he might be exploring in the wake of the findings announced late Friday in Alaska by investigator Stephen Branchflower.

Monegan did say that he and his family were pleased with the report's conclusions.

"Actually, I feel relieved," he said. "My wife and I have been through a lot. It's not a matter of being revenged. It's just strictly a matter of being relieved." Monegan was interviewed by telephone from Alaska.

In his report Friday to a bipartisan panel that looked into the matter, Branchflower found Palin in violation of a state ethics law that prohibits public officials from using their office for personal gain. Palin has said that Monegan's tenure as the state's lead law enforcement officer ended because of policy differences.

The inquiry looked into the dismissal of Monegan, who said he lost his job because he resisted pressure to fire a state trooper involved in a bitter divorce and custody battle with the governor's sister.

"I feel vindicated," Monegan had said late Friday. "It sounds like they've validated my belief and opinions. And that tells me I'm not totally out in left field."

On Monday, Monegan said the controversy "really isn't about me."

"I think that we're more concerned about our governor," he added, "and I think she took a big blow to her credibility and more significantly to her promises of being open and transparent."

Asked how he planned to vote in the November elections, Monegan said he didn't want to say, telling his interviewer that's why they "put those little curtains around" the polling booth.

snagged from the Anchorage Daily News

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Atlanta Queer Literary Festival ~ 10/15 - 10/19

I'm exhausted, ao I'm going to make it easy on myself. C

Click here for the AQLF schedule.

I'm reading on Thursday and Saturday.

Rape Rate In Alaska Is 2.5 Times The National Average

Palin's town charged women for rape exams
from Jessica Yellin

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (CNN) -- Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's hometown required women to pay for their own rape examinations while she was mayor, a practice her police chief fought to keep as late as 2000.

Former state Rep. Eric Croft, a Democrat, sponsored a state law requiring cities to provide the examinations free of charge to victims. He said the only ongoing resistance he met was from Wasilla, where Palin was mayor from 1996 to 2002.

"It was one of those things everyone could agree on except Wasilla," Croft told CNN. "We couldn't convince the chief of police to stop charging them."

Alaska's Legislature in 2000 banned the practice of charging women for rape exam kits -- which experts said could cost up to $1,000.

Palin, the Republican nominee for vice president, often talks about her experience running Wasilla, population approximately 7,000, and that has prompted close scrutiny of her record there. Wasilla's practice of charging victims for their rape exams while she was mayor has gotten wide circulation on the Internet and in the mainstream media.

Some supporters of Palin say they believe she had no knowledge of the practice. But critics call it "outrageous" and question Palin's commitment to helping women who are the victims of violence.

For years, Alaska has had the worst record of any state in rape and in murder of women by men. The rape rate in Alaska is 2.5 times the national average.

Interviews and a review of records turned up no evidence that Palin knew that rape victims were being charged in her town. But Croft, the former state representative who sponsored the law changing the practice, says it seems unlikely Palin was not aware of the issue.

"I find it hard to believe that for six months a small town, a police chief, would lead the fight against a statewide piece of legislation receiving unanimous support and the mayor not know about it," Croft said.

During the time Palin was mayor of Wasilla, her city was not the only one in Alaska charging rape victims. Experts testified before the Legislature that in a handful of small cities across Alaska, law enforcement agencies were charging victims or their insurance "more than sporadically."

One woman who wrote in support of the legislation says she was charged for her rape exam by a police department in the city of Juneau, which is hundreds of miles from Wasilla.

But Wasilla stood out. Tara Henry, a forensic nurse who has been treating rape victims across Alaska for the last 12 years, told CNN that opposition to Croft's bill from Wasilla Police Chief Charlie Fannon was memorable.

"Several municipal law enforcement agencies in the state did have trouble budgeting and paying for the evidence collection for sexual assault victims," Henry said. "What I recall is that the chief of police in the Wasilla police department seemed to be the most vocal about how it was going to affect their budget."

Croft has a similar memory. He said victims' advocates suggested he introduce legislation as a way to shame cities into changing their practice, and Wasilla resisted.

"I remember they had continued opposition," Croft said. "It was eight years ago now, but they were sort of unrepentant that they thought the taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for that."

He does not recall discussing the issue with then-Mayor Palin.

The bill, HB270, was before the legislature for six months. In testimony, one expert called the practice of billing the victim "incomprehensible." Others compared it to "dust[ing] for fingerprints" after a burglary, only "the victim's body is the crime scene."

During a rape exam, the victim removes her clothing and a medical professional gathers DNA evidence from her body. There is also a medical component to assess her injuries. That component has led some law enforcement agencies to balk at paying.

Henry, the forensic nurse, said charging victims "retraumatizes them."

"Asking them to pay for something law enforcement needs in order to investigate their case, it's almost like blaming them for getting sexually assaulted," she said.

The Alaska Legislature agreed. The bill passed unanimously with the support of the Alaska Department of Public Safety, the Alaska Peace Officers Association and more than two dozen co-sponsors.

After it became law, Wasilla's police chief told the local paper, The Frontiersman, that it would cost the city $5,000 to $14,000 a year -- money that he'd have to find.

"In the past, we've charged the cost of the exams to the victim's insurance company when possible," Fannon was quoted as saying. "I just don't want to see any more burden on the taxpayer."

He suggested the criminals should pay as restitution if and when they're convicted. Repeated attempts to reach Fannon for comment were unsuccessful.

Judy Patrick, who was Palin's deputy mayor and friend, blames the state.

"The bigger picture of what was going on at the time was that the state was trying to cut their own budget, and one of the things that they were doing was passing on costs to cities, and that was one of the many things that they were passing on, the cost to the city," said Patrick, who recalls enormous pressure to keep the city's budget down.

But the state was never responsible for paying the costs of local investigations. Patrick was also a member of Wasilla City Council, and she doesn't recall the issue coming before council members, nor does she remember discussing the issue with Palin.

She does recall Palin going through the budget in detail. She said Palin would review each department's budget line by line and send it back to department heads with her changes.

"Sarah is a fiscal conservative, and so she had seen that the city was heading in a direction of bigger projects, costing taxpayers more money, and she was determined to change that," Patrick said.

Before Palin came to City Hall, the Wasilla Police Department paid for rape kits out of a fund for miscellaneous costs, according to the police chief who preceded Fannon and was fired by Palin. That budget line was cut by more than half during Palin's tenure, but it did not specifically mention rape exams.

In a statement, Jill Hazelbaker, communications director for Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign, said that "to imply that Gov. Palin is or has ever been an advocate of charging victims for evidence gathering kits is an utter distortion of reality."

"As her record shows, Gov. Palin is committed to supporting victims and bringing violent criminals to justice," Hazelbaker said. "She does not, nor has she ever believed that rape victims should have to pay for an evidence gathering test."

Those who fought the policy are unconvinced.

"It's incomprehensible to me that this could be a rogue police chief and not a policy decision. It lasted too long and it was too high-profile," Croft said.

The rape kit charges have become an issue among Palin critics who say as governor she has not done enough to combat Alaska's epidemic problem of violence against women. They point to a small funding increase for domestic violence shelters at a time when Alaska has a multibillion-dollar budget surplus. Victims' advocates say that services are lacking and that Palin cut funding for a number of programs that treat female victims of violence.

In the past week, Alaska's challenges with sexual assault have been in the spotlight again -- in connection with an ongoing inquiry into whether Palin abused her power by firing the head of Alaska's Department of Public Safety. Palin's office released e-mails showing that one area of disagreement between her and Department of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan was his lobbying in Washington for $30 million to fund a new program of sexual assault response teams.

The McCain-Palin campaign insists that fighting domestic violence and sexual assault are priorities for Palin. And they say she has been looking at other programs to support. As governor, Palin approved a funding increase for domestic violence shelters -- $266,200 over two years. And she reauthorized a Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.

Sunday Eye Candy ~ Dominic Purcell

Saturday, October 11, 2008

"Redneck Loan" from Decatur Dispatch

Taken from Decatur Dispatch:

A man from Georgia walked into a bank in New York City and asked for the loan officer.

He told the loan officer that he was going to London on business for two weeks and needed to borrow $5,000 and that he was not a depositor of the bank.

The bank officer told him that the bank would need some form of security for the loan, so the Georgia man handed over the keys ro a new Ferrari.

The car was parked on the street in front of the bank.

The man produced the title and everything checked out. The loan officer agreed to hold the car as collateral for the loan and apologized for having to charge 12% interest.

Later, the bank's president and its officers all enjoyed a good laugh at the redneck from the south for using a $250,000 Ferrari as collateral for a $5,000 loan.

An employee of the bank then drove the Ferrari into the bank's undergroun garage and parked it.

Two weeks later, the Georgia man returned, repaid the $5,000 and the interest of $23.07.

The loan officer said, "Sir, we are very happy to have had your business, and this transaction has worked out very nicely, but we are a little puzzled. While you were away, we checked you out and found that you are a multimillionaire. What puzzles us is, why would you bother to borrow $5,000?"

The Georgia man replied, "Where else in New York City can I park my car for two weeks for only $23.07 and expect it to be there when I return?"

Friday, October 10, 2008

Atlanta Pride Selects Date for 2009 Festival

Atlanta Pride Selects Date for 2009 Festival

The 2009 Atlanta Pride Festival will be held at Central Park on the weekend of June 26, 27, and 28, 2009.

ATLANTA, October 6, 2008 – After reaching consensus with the City of Atlanta and the other Class A festivals in town that Pride 2009 would be held in Central Park, the Atlanta Pride Committee has selected June 26th, 27th, and 28th as the weekend for next year’s festival.

“We know that the community has been waiting anxiously for the dates for Pride 2009.” says Deirdre Heffernan, Pride’s Board Chair, “However, we first needed to ensure a venue that included a workable park. Once we secured Central Park, we were able to take the necessary steps to move our event back to the more traditional and historically significant month of June.”

This return to June is supported by a month-long poll run by Atlanta Pride on its website which asked the community in which month it would like to see Pride held. June was the most favored response at 41% of the votes cast.

The final selection of the actual dates in June was dictated by the availability of the venue. “We are fortunate that Central Park is available for the last full weekend in June. Having Pride 2009 return to a green space in the month of June will really bring the event back to its roots,” said Heffernan.

As the Pride Committee now moves into program planning for the 2009 festival, it encourages community members to forward ideas on how to improve future Pride events by emailing ideas to “Obviously we have time constraints, financial limitations, and city ordinances that impact the services and entertainment we are able to offer, but Pride is constantly working to find ways for our organization and festival to better meet the needs of our community. And we would love to hear from the community how their Pride experiences might be enhanced,” says Heffernan.


The Atlanta Pride Festival, an event organized by the non-profit Atlanta Pride Committee, promotes unity, visibility and self-esteem among lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender persons. The celebration traditionally includes entertainment, a marketplace, charity poker tournament, slam poetry event, commitment ceremony, dyke march and parade. The festival is supported through donations and sponsorships.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

"Our Other Sister" ~ Jeffrey Harrison

I've been in love with this poem from the very first time I read it.


for Ellen

The cruelest thing I did to my younger sister
wasn’t shooting a homemade blowdart into her knee,
where it dangled for a breathless second

before dropping off, but telling her we had
another, older sister who’d gone away.
What my motives were I can’t recall: a whim,

or was it some need of mine to toy with loss,
to probe the ache of imaginary wounds?
But that first sentence was like a strand of DNA

that replicated itself in coiling lies
when my sister began asking her desperate questions.
I called our older sister Isabel

and gave her hazel eyes and long blonde hair.
I had her run away to California
where she took drugs and made hippie jewelry.

Before I knew it, she’d moved to Santa Fe
and opened a shop. She sent a postcard
every year or so, but she’d stopped calling.

I can still see my younger sister staring at me,
her eyes widening with desolation
then filling with tears. I can still remember

how thrilled and horrified I was
that something I’d just made up
had that kind of power, and I can still feel

the blowdart of remorse stabbing me in the heart
as I rushed to tell her none of it was true.
But it was too late. Our other sister

had already taken shape, and we could not
call her back from her life far away
or tell her how badly we missed her.

From Feeding the Fire (Sarabande Books, 2001).

Random Fact Time ~ Hustler Magazine v. Falwell

Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, 485 U.S. 45 (1988), argued 2 Dec. 1987, decided 24 Feb. 1988 by vote of 8 to 0, Rehnquist for the Court, White concurring, Kennedy not participating. In a parody that appeared in Hustler magazine the prominent fundamentalist evangelist Reverend Jerry Falwell was depicted as a drunk in an incestuous sexual liaison with his mother in an outhouse.

A jury in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia found that the parody was not libelous, because no reasonable reader would have understood it as a factual assertion that Falwell had engaged in the described activity. Nevertheless, the jury awarded $200,000 in damages on a separate count of "intentional infliction of emotional distress," a cause of action that did not require that a false statement of fact be made.

The Supreme Court overturned the jury verdict and held that a public figure or official may not recover for intentional infliction of emotional distress arising from a publication unless the publication contains a false statement of fact that was made with actual malice (knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard for truth or falsity). That the material might be deemed outrageous and that it might have been intended to cause severe emotional distress were not enough to overcome the First Amendment. Vicious attacks on public figures, the Court noted, are part of the American tradition of satire and parody, a tradition of speech that would be hamstrung if public figures could sue them anytime the satire caused distress.

~ Rodney A. Smolla in The Oxford Guide to United States Supreme Court Decisions

**This post is dedicated to Sissy.**

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Dine OUT for Pride





The generous owners of Homegrown Restaurants will donate 15% of your lunch and dinner to Atlanta Pride. Do your part to support Atlanta Pride-- plan a night out with friends at a Homegrown Resaurant this month!

AQLF 10/15 - 10/19