Saturday, January 31, 2009

Project Verse Seeks Applicants!

Can you write under pressure without breaking a sweat?
Always telling friends that writing a crown of heroic sonnets is a cinch?
Do you dream of perfect line breaks?
If you think you’ve got the write moves, I’ve got the poetry competition for you.

Project Verse

Dustin Brookshire, through I Was Born Doing Reference Work in Sin and Limp Wrist, is proud to announce Project Verse, the self-proclaimed “Project Runway” of the poetry world.

Project Verse is a free competition set to be a grueling but fun competition for poets. It’s a 10-week competition, and the winner will be announced week 11. Each Monday, an assignment will be posted in I Was Born Doing Reference Work in Sin. Poets will have to complete and submit the assignment by noon Friday of the same week. The judges will read and score the assignments over the weekend, and the judgment will be posted in I Was Born Doing Reference Work in Sin the following Monday.

Who are the judges? Dustin Brookshire, Beth Gylys, and Dana Guthrie Martin are your weekly judges; however, it wouldn't be fun without a little variety. Each week, except for the first week of the competition, there will be a guest judge. I would give you the list of guest judges, but that wouldn't be any fun either! We have a varied list of guest judges ranging from Pushcart Prize nominees and winners to a Lambda Literary Award recipient to National Endowment for the Arts fellowship recipients.

And a competition wouldn't be complete without a prize! The winner of Project Verse receives the following prize package:
 a contract for a limited edition chapbook published by Limp Wrist
 a weeklong residency at Marilyn Nelson's Soul Mountain Retreat* (for the poet to revise and finish his/her chapbook)
 an interview with Joe Milford of “The Joe Milford Poetry Show
 a review of the chapbook that will be published in ouroboros review and Limp Wrist
 a year subscription to the Naugatuck River Review
 a copy of Best Gay Poetry 2008
 a copy of the 2008 Squaw Valley Review

How do you apply to compete in Project Verse?
 Write a short bio with a max of 200 words. (Make it personal yet poetic.)
 In 500 words or less, respond to the words of Ellen Bryant Voigt, "It's all a draft until you die."
 Submit a max of 10 unpublished poems, no more than 20 pages total.
 If available, provide links to no more than two sites where your work may be viewed.
 Copy and paste the Rules/Regulations/All That Jazz section on its own page
 "I, *Insert name here*, agree to follow all items listed under the Rules/Regulations/& All That Jazz for Project Verse. I understand that not following these items, at any point during the competition, will result in my being disqualified from Project Verse.
 All requested information should be sent in the order requested above, in one Microsoft Word document, to Dustin Brookshire at by 3/01/09. The subject line of the email should read, "Project Verse: Insert Your Name." Your name and email address must appear on every page of your Microsoft Word document. Numbering your pages will make us smile; however, it won't sway our decision on having you as a contestant.

Rules/Regulations/All That Jazz
 Contestants will be selected from a pool of 15 semi-finalists, which in return will be narrowed down to the 11 Project Verse contestants.
 Contestants may not have published more than one full collection of poetry. (Number of chapbook publications does not matter.)
 Contestants must not have studied with any of the weekly judges in a collegiate setting or be related to any of the weekly judges (by blood, marriage, or love affair).
 Contestants must work solo on the weekly Project Verse assignments. Outside help from friends, family, professors, etc. is strictly prohibited and is cheating. Cheaters will be disqualified from Project Verse and thoroughly gossiped about throughout the blogosphere.
 Contestants must agree not to use any previously written poems for a Project Verse weekly assignment, unless the weekly assignment requests it.
 Contestants must be willing to complete pages two and three from the Soul Mountain Retreat application package. (Click here to see the forms.)
 All written information collected from the application, excluding the information from the Soul Mountain Retreat forms, may be published in I Was Born Doing Reference Work in Sin.
 The winner's chapbook will be published in the Limp Wrist limited edition chapbook series. The chapbook will include, but will not be limited to, the poems the winner wrote during the Project Verse competition. The chapbook must receive approval from Limp Wrist before being published.
 By participating in Project Verse, you agree to acknowledge Project Verse as first publisher in future reprints of books, anthologies, website publications, podcasts, radio, etc. Copyright reverts back to authors upon appearance in the Project Verse competition, which takes place on the I Was Born Doing Reference Work in Sin site.
 While the copyright reverts back to the author upon appearance in the Project Verse competition, Dustin Brookshire in combination with Project Verse and I Was Born Doing Reference Work in Sin, reserve the right to use any poems from the competition to create an anthology in the future.

*Please note: The winner of the competition will be required to arrange transportation to and from Soul Mountain Retreat. The fees of the residency are taken care of by Dustin Brookshire on behalf of I Was Born Doing Reference Work in Sin.

Don't forget about the autographed items on raffle:

Friday, January 30, 2009

Perdue Says School Nurses Are NOT Needed

FROM THE ASHE ADVOCATE, a newletter written by State Representative Kathy Ashe.....

House Democrats fight to keep nurses in schools
According to the Governor's FY 2009 amended budget proposal school nurses will soon become a thing of the past. The recommendations submitted by the Governor last week cut $30 million in state funds which would eliminate the school nurse program. The Georgia House Democratic Caucus opposes this cut and has pledged to work to restore the program.

Democrats believe in promoting preventive medicine and supporting nurses in schools so children can focus on learning and avoid complications that arise when health problems go untreated. They also believe every family should have access to a doctor and every school should have a nurse.

"We have a growing number of working families without health insurance and some of those parents rely on school nurses to keep their children safe and healthy while they are in school." said Rep. Pat Gardner (D-Atlanta), Chairperson for Health and Human Services Policy Committee for the Georgia House Democratic Caucus.

Georgia House Democratic Caucus Education Policy Chair, Rep. Kathy Ashe (D-Atlanta), said, "We must fight for our children and their right to receive appropriate health care while they are in school. If children don't receive the care they need their medical issues could escalate. It's a short sighted approach that will eventually cost our state additional funds and more importantly, diminish our children's ability to do the job they go to school to accomplish - learning. I am asking our parents and teachers to express your concern about these cuts to your state representative and state senators. Email if you need assistance finding your elected representatives."

Removing school nurses is extremely short-sighted. Georgia House Democratic Leader, Rep. DuBose Porter (D-Dublin) added real life examples. "In Dublin, we have one nurse for four elementary schools. Numerous daily school-age related illnesses aside, our nurse manages diabetic children who must undergo daily blood sugar testing, she takes care of a child on a feeding tube, and has a student going through stage 4 cancer. The management of these health issues takes a trained professional." said Porter. "In one of the four schools alone there are 38 students on asthma inhalers, students who at times have had to be rushed to the hospital with acute asthma attacks. We should not balance the state's budget by cutting health care to sick children or making our teachers become health care providers."

Georgia House Democratic Caucus Chairman Calvin Smyre (D-Columbus) agreed and pointed out legal questions that may arise, regardless of safeguards designed to protect the school. "The governor should be asking, who will administer this care... the teachers? The liability on untrained school employees administering health care could easily become an issue. Teachers in Georgia schools now are not allowed to administer medications. Nurses in our schools give out over 5 million doses per year. There are approximately fifteen million annual visits to the office or school health room for illness, medication and injury in Georgia," said Smyre. "Children can't learn when they are sick and teachers can't teach when they are running a health clinic."

In conclusion Porter noted, "We are willing to fight to stop this cut that will directly damage our schools and our children, but it will take a great effort to get the message to this Governor. Now is the time for Georgians to engage in the political process. Times are changing and Georgians can no longer assume basic services will continue. Georgians must become involved in the process."

The Georgia House Democratic Caucus has an e-mail address to handle issues that relate to the Governor's proposed cuts. To voice your concern, e- mail Together we can continue to protect our children's future.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

From The Atlanta Pride Committee

Below you'll find an open letter from the Atlanta Pride Committee, and while APC has press releases throughout the year, I do believe this is the first open letter that has been released from the committee. If it isn't the first, I know it is the first since I have been on the committee.

Please take a few minutes to read the letter below as I think it serves as a spotlight to some important items.

I want to give a hearfelt thank you to my fellow committee members who take the time to complete this letter campaign!

An open letter to Atlanta Pride patrons:

The Atlanta Pride Committee continues to receive valuable and unprecedented feedback from all corners of our diverse community, and we must first say thank you. It is clear that you care as much as we do about making Atlanta Pride a continuing tradition in our region, as well as an ongoing celebration of the varied facets of our culture.

For that, you have our most sincere gratitude.

With the announcement of our move back home to Piedmont Park — with a date change to Halloween Weekend — we are receiving a refreshing majority of positive response from people excited about the possibilities, and we are also hearing requests for more detail on how we came to that decision.

We are happy to share the efforts we made. And we are just as excited to remind everyone that we are more confident and determined than ever to make sure the 2009 October event will stay true to the real meaning of Pride: celebration of our achievements, reverence for our past and a welcoming environment for those not yet fully “out” who will lead our future struggles toward full equality.

The Atlanta Pride Committee takes our duty very seriously. We share the following details of our work these past months in hopes that concerned parties know how much we’ve accomplished, and to assure everyone that we anticipate a successful Atlanta Pride this year and well into the future.

Does a Pride festival in October respect gay history?
A fall Pride was not our first choice, but we are actually very excited that the new date falls during National LGBT History Month, which also includes National Coming Out Day. Both events go directly to remembering where we’ve been and recognizing the personal and political value of being true to ourselves by living openly.

And we haven’t forgotten Stonewall and its anniversary in June. Our plans include a dynamic lineup of June events with partners representing a wide spectrum of our communitydesigned to commemorate Stonewall. These events, from politics to parties to the commemoration, and will energize everyone and build towardthe community for our October celebration. Ideas for multiple events in June should suit the varied tastes of our patrons. As those plans are solidified, we will be eager to share those with you.

We also want you to know that we realize that the festival’s traditional June date, as well as our home park, is important. We understand that the date change is not ideal for everyone, but we also know that it will not break our spirit. The Pride Committee quickly realized that putting Pride back in Piedmont Park, or another usable, affordable greenspace was the only option to make the organization financially whole. We also look forward to 2010, when drought circumstances improve and more options are available.

What happened since the 2008 festival that got us here?
Amidst continuing drought restrictios that allow only one major festival in Piedmont Park per April-to-October Festival Season (Dogwood has the park in April), the Pride Committee agreed to, then announced, that the 2009 Pride festival would be held in Central Park adjacent to the Atlanta Civic Center. Then the reality of that agreement set in.

A Central Park festival, while in June, required an estimated $150,000 porta-floor to protect the greenscapes and hardscapes of the park. As Pride struggles to overcome the challenges of 2008, the porta-floors alone were cost-prohibitive. Other caveats on using Central Park included no stages or set up on the sod-based athletic fields, placing all festival patrons directly on the fields and putting costs for any foot-traffic damage squarely on the Pride Committee.

We needed a creative solution and looked at several other venues, including detailed logistical and cost analysis on Grant Park and Centennial Park, among other venues. Several options considered over months led us to plead our case to the City of Atlanta to satisfy the number one comment from our constituents: How can we get back into Piedmont Park?

The Parks Department and the City Council were responsive, and by holding the festival at the end of October, we not only comply with their Festival Season rules, but are also able to take advantage of the cooler weather, the energy around Halloween and most importantly, the spirit of LGBT History Month.

The weekend of Oct. 31-Nov. 1 was not our first choice. But we are committed to making the most of it.

Is Atlanta Pride in financial trouble?
In short, yes. No one should underestimate the importance of making Pride 2009 a financial success. But don’t be alarmed. Making sure that the event is sustainable for the future is a top priority, and the threats to the solvency we’ve enjoyed for many years are challenges that we must view as opportunities to recover. We know that our renewed energy as Pride Committee Members, a revitalized commitment from our sponsors, and support from each and every lesbian, gay man, bisexual and transgendered person in Atlanta, can turn it around.

The unfortunate circumstances of the last year left us strapped for operating expenses, and like many organizations, that necessitated tough decisions and creative thinking. But we remain committed to the values of Pride. We have a wonderfully supportive community and amazing resilience. The perseverance of our community has proven itself throughout history, and we know that by pulling together, we can clear this hurdle.

What can you do?
That’s a good question. Our theme this year, PRIDE BEGINS WITH YOU, reflects the start of a good answer. Whether you can offer your time or skills, a sponsorship, booth or monetary investment, or simply your word-of-mouth support, we welcome your collaboration. Quite frankly, we exist for you, and you are part of the process.

Let us know how you’d like to participate. Ideas and solutions are always welcome as we move forward. In the meantime, come aboard for what we know will be an amazing year of chances to honor Pride leading up to a climactic October to inspire the best in all of us. After all, it’s ultimately not about a venue or date, but about each of us individually and collectively. It’s a matter of Pride.

With Pride,
Your Atlanta Pride Committee

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

"Jewish girl who passed out in my bed"

Greg, a wonderful friend and talented photographer, sent me a link to a Craigslist Ad that was sent to him. I read. Laughter ensued.

Now, I share it with the world in honor of Greg's birthday. I'm sending tons of happy birthday wishes to my JOF!

Jewish girl who passed out in my bed - m4w
Date: 2009-01-21, 12:25PM EST

You: Jewish, attractive and drunk

Me: Not Jewish (Gentile), dashing, gazelle on the dance floor and drunk

In case you were as blacked out as I think you were, I feel as though I should reintroduce myself. You were dancing around and enjoying the festive cake and brownies at the JCC inaugural bar mitzvah…I mean inaugural ball, before cabbing to Chinatown and passing out in my bed. Nothing makes me swoon for interfaith relationships like a girl who passes out in my lap in the back of a cab.

You might be asking yourself “why did that sweet boy not call me?” or “did I really wake up in a random guy’s bed in Chinatown?” and other important questions to gauge whether or not last night was a dream, drunken haze or bittersweet reality. Allow me to answer those questions.

While I have not called you, I did text you to make sure you succeeded in getting a cab at 7am and making it to work on time. However, in the heat of the moment last night, you either you gave me the wrong number, or we were both so F’ed up that the number went into my phone incorrectly. My equally blacked out friend (who you met in the bathroom and introduced us on the dance floor) pawned you off on me – the responsible, mitzvah-seeking guy who had been hitting on you most of the night – when it became clear that you could not effectively locate any of your belongings or coherently tell us where you lived.

Upon stumbling into my apt, you decided the party must go on, albeit you couldn’t stand or keep your eyes open. Again, quality traits I look for when asking myself, “could I see myself converting for this woman?” Once you changed into my clothes and passed out immediately in my bed, I wasn’t sure whether to sleep on the floor or in my bed. However, the cute way you drunkenly mumbled to yourself “I should stop drinking on Tuesdays” as you woke up, confirmed my decision to sleep in bed and make sure you didn’t suffocate in the sea of pillows before you.

I must say, the morning wasn’t as awkward as I thought it’d be. I figured you’d freak out, not knowing where you were or whose bed you were in. You took relative comfort in how I left a big glass of water and Excedrin (not rufies) on the table. After offering you more clothing to keep you warm outside and walking you out to get a cab, I went back to bed saying to myself, “I think that classy woman might be the one.”

If you’re reading this, my offer to take you out to dinner still stands. I'm a mensch at heart and will bring the Manischewitz.

Click here to visit the AD in the world of Craigslist.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Atlanta Pride Changes Date and Venue

Yes, the date and venue have changed again for the Atlanta Pride Festival; however, I assure you there is more than enough reason. Every year I hear so many gay peeps complain about different aspects of Pride, whenever I hear it directly, I challenge those people to become part of the organize. Being part of something is the best way to start change. However, the complainers never seem to volunteer-- at the least ones I encounter.

Hopefully, I'll have an Atlanta Pride interview in the blog within the near future.

Below is the press release addressing the date/venue change:

Reinvigorated Atlanta Pride ’09 in Piedmont Park for Halloween Weekend

City officials help Pride Committee embrace change as part of new attitude

ATLANTA, JAN. 27, 2009 — 2008 brought many challenges to finding a suitable venue for the Atlanta Pride 2009. There has been uncooperative weather, unforeseen hurdles and unprecedented community feedback. But finally, in cooperation with the Atlanta City Council, the Atlanta Pride Committee is thrilled to announce that the Annual Pride Atlanta Pride festival will return Piedmont Park for 2009 — with a an exciting twist: the event kicks off on October31, alongside Halloween’s spirit of revelry and celebration that gay Atlanta already embraces as its own.

Atlanta City Council President Lisa Borders and Parks Commissioner Diane Harnell-Cohen understood that moving Atlanta Pride back to Piedmont Park was important to pleasing the festival’s patrons and crucial to keeping the organization solvent. Both worked hard with Atlanta Pride to find a solution to permit the festival back into Piedmont while also respecting the City’s parameters of limiting Class-A events in the park to one per Festival Season (April-October). By starting Pride on October 31, the City of Atlanta will be able to again grant the festival access to its traditional home – Piedmont Park.

“The number one thing we heard from the community in 2008 was a desire to move back to Piedmont Park.” Heffernan says.

Harnell-Cohen says she understands that drought-induced limitations on park usage put an unfortunate burden on festivals, but also acknowledges the importance of festivals to the City. “We value the festivals as a rich part of Atlanta’s culture and are pleased to work with Pride to get them back in a venue that will allow them to produce a sustainable event,” she says.

Borders agrees that supporting Atlanta Pride was a duty the City could not ignore. “When I was approached by the Pride committee, it was clear there was more we could do to help,” Borders says. “It was with great pleasure that we found a creative solution to support this festival for the LGBT members of the Atlanta community.”

Heffernan is happy with the city’s response, and she acknowledges the rough road that led to a renewed vigor among committee members. “At first, the date-change felt controversial. We have always held Pride during the summer months. But we quickly realized that an October Pride will dovetail with other community milestones.”

The Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 2009 Atlanta Pride festival leads directly into Atlanta City elections and wraps up National LGBT History Month. Holding Pride in October, which also includes National Coming Out Day, the anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s death, as well as the Atlanta AIDS Walk, allows the committee to realize another of its rediscovered goals: to energize its relationships with even more individuals and organizations in the community. “We hope that everyone will be able to claim a part of Pride 2009 and our theme reflects this goal: PRIDE BEGINS WITH YOU”

“Pride belongs to everyone, and the Pride Committee can’t possibly produce an event of this magnitude by ourselves. So as the country talks about inclusion, we ask each and every lesbian, gay man, bisexual and transgendered person to claim a piece of your festival.”

Heffernan assures all that June will still be a time to celebrate. “We will be acknowledging the 40th anniversary of Stonewall in June,” Heffernan says. “We have several surprises in June that will provide exciting opportunities to come together and celebrate while also including more partners than ever to build up the excitement and momentum to October event.”

Friday, January 23, 2009

Limp Wrist Limited Edition Chapbook

I am excited to announce that Limp Wrist is producing a limited edition chapbook, and it will be available in April 2009.

All proceeds from the chapbook will fund Limp Wrist's scholarship.

The Chapbook Roster
Laure-Anne Bosselaar
Dustin Brookshire
Kurt Brown
Denise Duhamel
Christopher Hennessy
Charles Jensen
Mary Chi-Whi Kim
Dana Guthrie Martin
Courtney Queeney
David Trinidad
Robert Walker

If you would like to reserve a copy, contact me via email The cost is $10 per chapbook-- don't forget, it goes for a great cause.

I will personally pay your shipping and handling fees if you reserve your copy before 2/1/09.

Karen Chase, Ellen Bass, and Dorianne Laux have all agreed to write a blurb for the chapbook.

Quarrel Updated!

Dana Guthrie Martin's 1st revision of "Everything Loosens in the Kitchen" is up in Quarrel.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Birthdays Are An Excuse For Good Deeds


Another year older....
Since my 21st birthday, I have used my birthday as a way to benefit and raise awareness for an organization. I am happy to say previous organizations include Project Open Hand as well as Grass Roots Institute. This year I am proud to announce that I am trying to raise funds and awareness for Limp Wrist and our scholarship. Anyone wanting to show a little birthday love, feel free to make a tax deductible donation of $5 or more to Limp Wrist. Click here to donate.

If you donate you can win....
If you donate $5 or more between now and 2/28/09, you could win a number of autographed items. Some of the items include a limited broadside of a poem by Mark Doty, books by Sandra Beasley, Marilyn Nelson, Cecilia Woloch, and more.

Check out the items HERE. The breakdown:
1 Chance = $5
3 Chances = $10
5 Chances = $20
10 Chances = $45
A donation of $200 or more will allow you to pick three items.

Dolly "Dusty" Parton.....
If I raise $1,000 by 2/28/09, I am going to create a Youtube of me doing Dolly drag. Silence to the peanut gallery-- even though I am crazy for Dolly, I don't spend my weekends in Dolly drag. So shhhhh Chris, Sissy, and Maxton.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Rep Karla Drenner Email

Taken word for word from an email sent out by State Representative Karla Drenner:

Friends, Neighbors, and Supporters,

As the 2009 Legislative Session convened this week, we will be addressing issues that are being discussed around kitchen tables throughout the state of Georgia. As Georgians in every corner of our state closely watch their bottom line during this economic downturn, it will also be a tough session for lawmakers as we determine the fate of state programs and projects as we face a budget deficit.

Since state tax revenues are lower than had been projected, we will have to address spending cuts for the last six months of the current fiscal year. Gov. Sonny Perdue has proposed a large program funded on borrowing, but has not detailed how he would spend the money. We are also waiting to see how much President-elect Obama’s stimulus package will affect individual states. Once these two issues are clarified, we will have to roll up our sleeves and determine the most responsible way to proceed.

In regard to taxes, both House and Senate l eaders have expressed support for plans to cap property taxes, although the details have not been agreed upon. We recognize that any tax relief would be welcomed by the citizens of Georgia, but we must be diligent so that any such legislation doesn’t get drowned by dissenting legislators in a myriad of party-line details.

Roads and transportation will also be a major issue this session. As the more populous cities in the state experience an increase in traffic congestion, and as rural areas desire roads to entice employers, at the same time environmental groups want a mass transit system. All three interests are being represented as business groups and environmentalists are jointly lobbying for a constitutional amendment that would allow a group of counties to impose a regional sales tax to support transportation projects. The proposal would have to be passed by voters in the 2010 general election, so there is time for us to carefully consider all of the ramifications.

Trauma care is an issue that 20 lawmakers have wrestled with for years and one that will likely be another top priority. Because there is a dire need for a dedicated funding source for a statewide network of facilities to provide advanced trauma care, including specialized equipment, air transportation for patients, and physicians, this is a cause for legitimate concern. Without a solution, there is a concern that trauma centers could be forced to close amid recent operating losses in the millions of dollars. Because of the dire need coupled with a suffering economy, this will undoubtedly be a hot-button topic again this year.

The Savannah Port continues to create jobs and bring in significant revenue for the state, and because of this the harbor deepening project that the Georgia Ports Authority hopes to partially fund with money from the state will more than likely be approved. The Port wants to deepen the harbor from 42 feet to 48 feet to allow for larger vessels. Due to the budget crisis, it is more than likely that bonds will be issued to pay for this construction project. It is most likely that a final review of this project will take place later this year. Georgia0s deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 286,000 jobs throughout the state and contribute $14.9 billion in income and almost $3 billion in state and local taxes. I am honored to be your representative. I will keep you informed through weekly updates. Your opinions and concerns are important to me and I consider it an honor to serve you at the state capitol and in our district.

Durex Commercial-- ADULT HUMOR

Again, Adult Humor..... not for the kiddies...

Monday, January 19, 2009

MLK, Jr. Holiday w/ Protest

A friend of mine, Jeff, is one of the activists behind the protest objecting to Rick Warren speaking at the King Center. I wish I could have attended the protest today because I find it disgusting to have someone like Rick Warren speak at the King Center on the MLK, Jr. holiday. It would be more fitting to have Warren speak at Primrose Baptist Church.

Since I had to work today, I wanted to share some found items from the net in honor of the event:

Dolly's Birthday!


I'm not going to limit myself just because people won't accept the fact that I can do something else.
~ Dolly

If you don't like the road you're walking, start paving another one.
~ Dolly

The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.
~ Dolly

We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.
~ Dolly

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Governor's Proposed Budget

Fellow Georgians:

I know many of you are excited about the change happening in Washington; however, in our Obama excitement, we can't forget about the change that is needed in Georgia. I hope you will keep your eyes on what is happening in the '09 Georgia General Assembly, and I especially hope that you will keep an eye Governor Perdue.

Are you curious about the budget? If not, you should be. Click here for information regarding Perdue's proposed budgets.

A few items from the Governor's budget include:
1. Continued cuts to the QBE education formula that go to operate schools.
2. Elimination of 10 conservation rangers and 18 staffers at the Environmental Protection Division.
3. Cuts for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime labs and arson investigators at the Georgia Forestry Commission.
4. Reduction of case workers at the Child Protective Services Division.
5. Closing of four prisons.

*Thanks to Representative Benfield's weekly updates for this information.*

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

WHY DO I WRITE ~ D.A. Powell

WHY DO I WRITE ~ D.A. Powell

When I was very young, I could get by quite comfortably letting people touch me. I wasn't very beautiful, but I was young, which is its own kind of beauty--at least, there are plenty of people who are drawn to youth. They would touch me; I would touch them. I could obtain travel, lodging, liquor--whatever I needed--in this economy of touch. But I knew even then that bodies diminished, and that at some point I, too, would be as untouchable as the ones visibly infected.

My second resource was my wit. Though obviously it was unreliable, I felt that I could lean on it, practice it, and--if kept honed and polished--it could last a bit longer than the flesh. Wit, too, opened doors: it allowed me to move through the world in ways that my body had allowed, and in new ways, too. To be the troubadour. The fool with no king.

I'd love to say that there is something noble to writing. And, in fact, there often is. But at a more basic level, I write as a form of intercourse; it is my body of work that gets to be fingered, tongued, penetrated, used, and eventually dropped into someone else's lap.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

RIP: W.D. Snodgrass

W.D. Snodgrass passed away today at the age of 83. His fans will miss him dearly; however, he is still very much alive in his work. Snodgrass is often said to be one the of founding members of the school of confessional poetry, but it should be noted that many sources state he was not a fan of the term confessional poetry.

Thinking of Snodgrass makes me think of Anne Sexton. In celebration of Snodgrass's life, I share an excerpt from Diane Middlebrook's Anne Sexton: A Biography:

[Sexton] also spent hours examining the poems in a book that all her friends in John Holmes's class were reading: New Poets of England and America, with a preface by Robert Frost.

This anthology was widely discussed in the poetry world, largely because it assembled so much that was academic and conservative in mainstream American writing. Detractrs dismissed it as "gray flannel poetry." But in its pages, sometime in mid-March, Sexton encountered a poem that had a definitive influence on her development: "Heart's Needle," by William DeWitt Snodgrass. Unlike many of the other poems in the anthology, "Heart's Needle" had a personal theme. It was addressed to the poet's three-year old daughter, separated from him by divorce --- a topic that spoke loud and clear to Sexton, whose own toddler still lived with Billie.

In "Heart's Needle," Snodgrass balances images of the Korean War, which began during the winter of his daughter's birth, against images of caretaking. During her visits he and the little girl plant a garden, go bird watching in the marshes, feed animals in the park. He learns to cook so he fan fix her supper. The context of the war functions to illuminate the plight of loveless men doomed to banishment and conflict. The divorced father feels as helpless and lonely as the soldiers freezing in a foreign country, longing for home: "I've gone / As men must." The poem's emotional center is Snodgrass's claim that "I am your real mother"; what does a man need to change in himself in order to care for a child? A new marriage gives him a comforting structure for his life, but for instruction in the role of father he visits the Museum of Natural History, where the dioramas of wildlife offer him vignettes f relationship that he rakes to heart.

The poem ends in the spring, with a visit to the zoo. Nothing is resolved in the ongoing war between the child's parents, but life reasserts itself in new generations. Some bonds are simply given, whether or not they are understand.

"Heart's Needle" engaged issues central in Sexton's therapy; as she later recalled, "I ran up to my mother-in-law's house and brought my daughter home. That's what a poem should do -- more people to action. True, I didn't keep my daughter at the time -- I wasn't ready. But I was beginning to be ready."

The impact of "Heart's Needle" on the poetry world was also dramatic and immediate. In retrospect, this poem can be singled out as the first in what became known as the "confessional" mode of contemporary poetry, mainly because it was emulated by Robert Lowell, the most influential poet in Boston, perhaps in America, at the time. Snodgrass had been a student of Lowell's at the University of Iowa.

Click here to read "Heart's Needle" by W.D. Snodgrass.

Monday, January 12, 2009

2009 Atl Pride Logo Contest

The Atlanta Pride Committee has selected PRIDE BEGINS WITH YOU as the theme for the 2009 event and is now soliciting logo submissions in its logo design competition.

Contest submission are due by Feb 27, 2009 and the logo will be selected in March 2009.


2009 Georgia General Assembly

Today is the first day of the 2009 Georgia General Assembly.

Typically, each session I find one or two bills that I cover in-depth in the blog. While I am sure this tradition will continue, I also plan to expand my blogging on the legislative session. I want to write on more bills. I want to spotlight elected officials. I'm a man on a mission!

Georgia Politicians:
Keep the state motto in your mind and near your heart as you work.
Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday Eye Candy ~ Evan Wadle

Economy, budget to dominate 09 legislative session

ALL of the information below is taken directly from The Ashe Advocate, a newletter prepared by State Representative Kathy Ashe.

Economy, budget to dominate 2009 legislative session

After six straight years of massive spending increases that have resulted in a 46.2 percent expansion of government since 2002, the state of Georgia is facing some harsh economic realities as the General Assembly gets ready to convene on Jan. 12.

The current recession has hit our state hard, with unemployment numbers reaching a 25-year high. Tax revenues are down, leaving a budget deficit of up to $2 billion. State agencies have already been ordered to reduce their budgets for the remainder of the current fiscal year by 6 percent. Legislators are preparing for cuts of up to 10 percent in the new budget.

But at the same time budget writers are working to make ends meet, the governor has proposed an aggressive stimulus package leveraged on heavy borrowing and spending to build roads, schools, libraries and other facilities. Legislators have yet to be told what specific projects are proposed or how much the package will cost taxpayers.

How the state handles its budget priorities in the current economic environment will be the overriding issue of the 2009 legislative session. Other pressing matters we will be dealing with beginning Monday include the following:

Property taxes. A proposed constitutional amendment would cap increases in residential property tax assessments at 3 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. Lawmakers will also have to decide on whether to go along with the governor's proposal to eliminate the $430 million property tax relief grants that save homeowners about $200 to $300 per year.

Transportation funding. Last year, legislation proposing a regional, local option sales tax for transportation improvements passed the House of Representatives but was defeated in the Senate. That plan will likely be reconsidered this year to address a need for $100 billion or more in coming years to build the roads and transit facilities that can effectively serve the state's growing population.

Education funding. Over the past six years, the state has shifted more than $1.6 billion of school funding responsibilities to the local property taxpayers. Lawmakers made a $50 million dent in restoring those funds last year, but we need to do more. Even in tight budget times, spending tax dollars on private school vouchers will likely be proposed again.

Trauma care funding. In 2008, the legislature passed a one-time $58 million appropriation to expand and sustain Georgia's limited trauma care network, but a proposal to raise fees on car tags in order to provide a permanent funding mechanism failed. A new plan is expected to be considered in the new session.

Health insurance. Rising unemployment has caused the number of Georgians without health care coverage to surpass 1.6 million, according to a recent report. Expanding access to affordable health care is another side of the economic crisis the legislature must deal with in 2009.

Sunday sales. After previous failed attempts, the issue of allowing cities and counties to authorize the packaged sale of alcoholic beverages on Sunday will be discussed again.

Death penalty. The failure of a jury to reach a unanimous death penalty verdict in the case of Brian Nichols, who murdered four people in a shooting rampage that began at the Fulton County Courthouse in 2005, has renewed a proposal to allow the death sentence to be imposed on a vote by 10 out of 12 jurors, instead of the currently mandated unanimous decision. Similar legislation passed the House but lost in the Senate in 2008.

Gun laws. Legislation has been pre-filed that would eliminate the provision in Georgia law that currently requires a person with a handgun to keep the weapon in a holster when carrying it in public.

Seat belts. Lawmakers will again debate whether to end the exemption in Georgia's seat belt law for drivers and passengers in pickup trucks. Proponents of the legislation say closing the loophole will save lives and make Georgia eligible for $20 million a year in federal highway funding.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

You Voted- You're Faves are......

The results are in.....

Voted as the '08 fave in the WHY DO I WRITE series:
Matthew Hittinger

Voted as the '08 fave in the SUNDAY EYE CANDY series:
Bryan Thomas

I went through each month and selected some posts I wanted to put in the spotlight. I have my reasons as for why I've selected each post. I hope you'll have a few minutes to browse:

Key West Literary Seminar & Workshop Thoughts

Limp Wrist Launch Party

Letter to Senator Dan Moody

1993 to ? ... When Will DADT Rest in Peace

Dear Mr. Rove: 32 Letters to Karl Rove

Only 1 boring post for the month. NEXT!

Editorial in David

"Cher" by Dorianne Laux

Limp Wrist & Tax-Deductible Donations: Now In The Same Sentence ties
Tina Fey as Sarah Palin

Is Chambers the One for District 81?
Dolly ~ "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show"
Limp Wrist Scholarship

Prop 8 Protest ~ Atlanta
Not In My Georgia
Obama-Biden: Plan to Strengthen Civil Rights

People & Their Os
"You're Likeable Enough Gay People"
Woman Gang Raped in East Bay

Almost Time for Faves...

Voting for faves in the Sunday Eye Candy and Why Do I Write series is over. I'll announce the results later tonight.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Few Thoughts Regarding DOUBT

Saturday, I saw Doubt and said I would write about it on Sunday; however, I did not. I have a problem called procrastination, and I assure you it is a nasty problem/addiction. My apologies. When it comes to movies, I typically don't write too much more than "Go see it" or "Worth the money that could have been used for a drink and a half." However, I feel quite strongly about Doubt and want to give it a little more than a line or two.

Doubt is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by John Patrick Shanley, which also won four Tony awards in the 59th Annual Tony Awards.I don't want to say too much about the topic of Doubt as I don't want to give too much away; however, if you've seen any previews you know the movie is centered on a nun who confronts a priest after suspecting him of molesting a black student. As you might expect, the movie deals with religion, societal roles, race, and expectations, and it does each in a fantastic way. Some of these topics are handled in a blunt manner while some are handled subtly. The movie delves into another topic that was quite taboo for 1964 and in a way is still taboo today, but mum is the word on this-- chat up about after you've seen it, and we will discuss!

Back on December 2, I posted a trailer for Doubt, and my title, which I derived from just watching the trailer, for that blog entry is "Meryl Streep + DOUBT = Oscar." After watching the movie, I stand by this prediction. Streep deserves an Oscar nomination and win for her role as Sister Aloysius Beauvier. If you disagree, you now have a two-part homework assignment. (1) Rent and watch MAMMA MIA. (2) Watch Doubt for a second time. Then, I think you will see and feel the rage of the screen goddess known as Meryl Streep.

While I feel that Streep's presence as Sister Aloysius is getting most and will continue to get most of the attention in the press, I have to applaud and rave about Amy Adams as Sister James and Philip Seymour Hoffman Father Brendan Flynn. I could hardly believe Adams was the same actress who starred in Enchanted and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. Well, I should say Sister James does share naivete with Adams's character from Enchanted. I'm happy Adams received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress, and I hope she receives an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress as well. I predict that Adams's career is going to catapult after this performance. And, Hoffman, well, I thought it was going to be hard to see him in this role because all I could think was Capote, but after getting into the movie his performance erased all his others for me. For the rest of my life Philip Seymour Hoffman will always be Father Flynn. Yes, you know it is coming: He deserves his Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor and deserves it again when Oscar time rolls around.

Bottom Line: Go watch Doubt & talk about it!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

New GA Laws Enacted on January 1, 2009

New Laws Enacted on January 1, 2009

SB 488: Driver's licenses
The law allows foreigners who are temporarily in the United States to keep their home country driver's license after they obtain a Georgia license. Previously, a visitor had to surrender the foreign license. This cuts down on bureaucracy for business travelers and other legal visitors who want to drive in Georgia, but will need their original license when they go home, said bill sponsor Sen. Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock.) The law also allows refugees and other legal immigrants who are in the country indefinitely to renew their license once every three years instead of every year. This cuts down on unnecessary paperwork, Rogers said.

SB 474: Sex offenders
Registered sex offenders must hand over Internet passwords and screen names. While federal law requires authorities to track Internet addresses, Georgia goes further and wants passwords, too.

HB 977: Health care
This law relates to health plans with high deductibles and associated health savings accounts. The idea is to give health coverage to more uninsured Georgians. Under such plans, consumers pay high deductibles, but get tax breaks for putting money into savings accounts to be used for health care. The new law exempts insurers from paying taxes on premiums in the sale of the high-deductible savings account plans. That would save health insurers $146 million in tax breaks over the next five years, according to consumer groups. Proponents say the law will spark competition among insurers to sell the plans, making them cheaper. Critics said the new law is essentially a tax giveaway to insurance companies that sell the plans.

HB 426: Railroad crossings and school buses
Local school districts are to provide the Department of Transportation with information regarding rail crossings without active warning devices that are crossed by school buses. School districts are to use their best efforts to reroute buses to minimize the use of such rail crossings.

ALL information is from Representative Stephanie Benfield's newsletter, The Benfield Beat, 12/31/08 - 1/4/09.

Wow'd By DOUBT

I haven't been in too long from watching Doubt. More on the topic later today after I've had some beauty sleep.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Birthday Time = Fundraising Time


Another year older....
Since my 21st birthday, I have used my birthday as a way to benefit and raise awareness for an organization. I am happy to say previous organizations include Project Open Hand as well as Grass Roots Institute. This year I am proud to announce that I am trying to raise funds and awareness for Limp Wrist and our scholarship. Anyone wanting to show a little birthday love, feel free to make a tax deductible donation of $5 or more to Limp Wrist. Click here to donate.

If you donate you can win....
If you donate $5 or more between now and 2/28/09, you could win a number of autographed items. Some of the items include a limited broadside of a poem by Mark Doty, books by Sandra Beasley, Marilyn Nelson, Cecilia Woloch, and more.

Check out the items HERE. The breakdown:
1 Chance = $5
3 Chances = $10
5 Chances = $20
10 Chances = $45
A donation of $200 or more will allow you to pick three items.

Dolly "Dusty" Parton.....
If I raise $1,000 by 2/28/09, I am going to create a Youtube of me doing Dolly drag. Silence to the peanut gallery-- even though I am crazy for Dolly, I don't spend my weekends in Dolly drag. So shhhhh Chris, Sissy, and Maxton.

WHY DO I WRITE ~ Didi Menendez

WHY DO I WRITE ~ Didi Menendez

I write because I am losing my mind. Seriously.

I want to make sure that when my mind is gone, my children will have something that will express my point of view, my sentiments, my sense of history. Yes, especially my history since I am the voice of a generation that was displaced. A generation that was taught to love a country that they did not live in, die for, decide the outcome of the government in. To love a four letter word. Cuba.

Then again, I also write in other voices that come to me in the middle of the night. Voices that remember love. Love sometimes writes for me.

I also write because I cannot teach what I preach unless I practice it.

In other words, I can not call myself a Poetry editor unless I have been there, done that.

I cannot call myself an artist unless I have painted.

I do however, call myself a publisher because I am.

That is the one exception.

So there.