Thursday, August 31, 2006

Oh Charles I Loved You When You Were a Phoenix Suns Basketball Player and I Will Love You When You Are a Governor of Alabama!

There is a most interesting article on 365Gay about Charles Barkley right now. But before I proceed any further a disclaimer is in order: I love this bad boy of Basketball. I have never been a big sports fan, but for Charles I made an exception. Because of him I became a Phoenix Suns fan during the time in which he played for them.

I always loved the fact that you knew exactly where he stood on issues. He was not one to mince words and usually there would be controversy not long after he would open his mouth, but he didn’t care. He had a way of making things so much fun with his “let ‘er rip” attitude. I also loved the fact that he had such a strong mother and grandmother and he never missed an opportunity to give them credit for his success and who he had become.

Charles may be older and wiser, but it sounds like he is still the same man I loved years ago:

Charles Barkley was his usual outspoken self during a recent television interview in which he said, among other things, that he advocates gay marriage, believes Republicans have screwed up the country and is "struggling with my idea of what religion is."

Charles then goes on to explain why he changed his party affiliation:

Barkley was a Republican until recently, saying he switched parties when the Republicans "lost their minds." He said he is troubled by some of the actions of people in the United States in the name of religion.

"Religious people in general are so discriminatory against other people, and that really disturbs me," he said. "My idea of religion is we all love and respect. We all sin, but we still have common decency and respect for other people. So right now I'm struggling with my idea of what religion is."

He also said he supports gay marriage.

"I think if they want to get married, God bless them," Barkley said.

And he finishes up:

"I don't know anything about a lot of things, but I would ask somebody and try to make a fair, honest decision for the majority of the people. Not the rich, not the poor, not the black, not the white," Barkley said.

"When you get elected to public office, you're supposed to represent everybody. Your job is not to take care of the rich or the poor or the black or the white. Your job is to take care of everybody."

You know something? I think Charles should forget about becoming a Governor and aim for the Presidency. Hell, he could teach the current President a thing or two.

Hat tips to Shakespeare’s Sister and Pam’s House Blend Share

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Off to Fight the Good Fight

Last night we took our oldest, newly graduated-from-college son to the airport to catch a red-eye to the next adventure/chapter of his life. I have always kind of cringed when people say they live vicariously through their kids, but I am softening up a bit on that stand. It is just too much fun watching this kid take on life with such a sense of purpose and gusto.

Long before he found out his younger brother was gay, our older son was an activist for gay equality and rights. In high school he helped start a Gay/Straight Alliance club and organize the yearly “Day of Silence”. There was no debate to which he would not readily step into if he thought he could educate people on gay issues. And what made all of this especially courageous was that his forum in those early years was on the campus of an all boys Catholic High School and later on the campus of a Jesuit University. He was not intimidated by all that male testosterone in high school and he certainly was not deterred by the homophobia and ignorance he encountered in college. It only made him more determined.

So now we have arrived at the next chapter in this son’s life: the Peace Corps. He leaves in February. He is not sure what his assignment will be yet, but he does know he will probably end up somewhere in Eastern Europe. Not one to enjoy idle time, he is filling the few months between now and February with an internship at the Human Rights Campaign in Washington DC. He is ecstatic about this opportunity. And it goes without saying that his dad and I are too.

I asked him last night on the way to the airport what was the catalyst that made him become such an activist for gay equality and rights. He certainly did not know yet about his own brother when he started fighting this fight. He told me that it all started with a friend and classmate who in his freshman year was the sole participant in the Day of Silence. This boy’s courage so inspired him that he decided that this was a cause to which he too wanted to devote himself. And though our oldest son is not gay, he has many friends and a brother who are. I cannot help thinking how lucky they are to have such a great ally in this fight.

So to my beloved son:

Good bye, good luck, and thank you. You are such a gift. You are a wonderful son and a kind human being. Stay passionate. Stay strong. Stay true to yourself.

We love you so much!


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger, Thank you, love Seething Mom

Today the Governator of California put his money where his mouth is. And proved once and for all that Ahhhhhneeee is not a girleeeee man and he proved it by signing SB 1441:

The EQCA-sponsored measure, authored by Senator Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica), bans discrimination in state operated or funded programs on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

“We greatly appreciate the governor signing this EQCA-sponsored legislation authored by Senator Kuehl prohibiting sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in government programs and services. This bill will help to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Californians are treated equally by our government and is an important step towards our goal of ending discrimination in the Golden State,” said Geoff Kors, EQCA executive director.

And apparently not one Republican in the State Senate or Assembly voted for the bill, which in my book seals the Governor’s status as a NON-girleeeee man.

But now the freekshow fun begins:

For those who still don't believe that there is a radical homosexual agenda, keep in mind that the characteristics added to the protected list are designed to target people of faith alone.

…the measure is not "even a veiled attempt at subtly advancing the radical homosexual agenda," but "an outright, blatant assault on religious freedom."

"The gates of hell are prevailing against the church." "It's because Christian colleges and churches have ignored the political process for so long. Now the political process, absent religious values, is coming back to assault the church."

…the governor has trampled religious freedom to satisfy hyperactive sexual activists. He's not the lesser of two evils, he's doing evil,"

Schwarzenegger is doing what Gray Davis did - trample religious freedom at the bidding of liberal activists from San Francisco and West Hollywood.

I just about fell out of my chair about 10 minutes ago. This Governor signed SB 1441, a perfectly hideous bill, so out of the mainstream of social thought that one has to wonder what the calculation is, exactly. What is the political purpose? Are there minions of newly energized transvestites now going to push Arnold over the top in November?

Maybe Arnold really does mean it when he says he endorses “the values of tolerance, understanding, respect, equality, and inclusion.”

Hat tip to PageOneQ


Friday, August 25, 2006

Get Ready, They Won’t Concede Defeat Without a Fight

Yesterday’s big news that scientists have found a way to grow colonies of human embryonic stem cells using a technique that does not require the destruction of embryos got John Cole over at Balloon Juice on his high horse, which just titillates this seething mom’s somewhat diabolical side. I just love it when he gets mad!

And because he has an uncanny way of taking the emotions right out of my heart and putting them into words so much better than I can, I shall pretty much lift his entire post and present it here. He starts out:

As science moves on, the knuckle-draggers will have to come up with a new objection.

While I fully support the idea of an expedient dodge so that science can continue onward, I doubt this will have any real impact on the ‘concerns’ of our self-annointed ethical and moral stewards. In fact, this new method may be more dangerous, because it treats the concerns of the loudmouths as if they were serious, and worthy of a compromise. Let’s review.

Embryonic stem cell research is not murder. Embryonic stem cell research is not on the same moral plane as abortion. Embryonic stem cells are not people. And pretending they are, and working to find a ‘compromise’ will, in my opinion, simply validate the complaints lodged by the loudest and shrillest of the morality police.

Remember who we are dealing with- these are the same folks who think that gays are the root of all evil, and that a couple sessions in church can make you ‘ungay.’ These are the same folks who really do think or pretend to think that Terri Schiavo was just a few prayers away from playing volleyball before she was ‘murdered by the courts.’ These are the same people who think that the world was created in six days a few thousand years ago. These are the same people who think that NASA should be run by teenage religionists or that decisions about the morning after-pill are little more than political decisions to appease a segment of the base.

Do we really want to concede one inch to these folks, to give their fantasies and fears one shred of legitimacy? I sure don’t. I understand why the researchers may be doing this- so they can get the loudmouths to shut up, and then let the scientists get back to doing what they do best. But this isn’t about actual science to the critics- it is about political manipulation and the application of brute political force. And I doubt it will even appease the hardliners.

He goes on to quote Mona Charen:

“Cautiously optimistic on this stem cell news. If news reports turn out to be correct, the procedure they’re describing takes one cell from an embryo (a biopsy if you will) and then coaxes that cell into making stem cells. The embryo from which the cell was extracted continues to develop normally.

Fertility clinics already do this to test for inherited disorders.

Again, if this procedure is really what it seems to be, then it passes a key moral test – it does not destroy life.

We’ll have to wait and see whether it actually does no harm to the developing embryo.”

To which John replies with a bit of snark, anger, and disgust:

We- you, me, science, and the rest of the world, have to wait until Mona Charen, from her seat at the National Review, decides if this ‘destroys life.’ You can’t make this shit up.

And even if they decide this doesn’t destroy life, they will come up with something else, probably with scary words delivered with furrowed brows and all sorts of shows of concerns- “This may be close to cloning, which creates a whole new ethical dilemma.” I can already hear it.

I used to think the appropriate course of action was to listen to their concerns. No longer. This is not about science, ethics, or concerns for human life for these people. It is about their political relevance. And if you ask me, they should have none. As far as I am concerned, they should be ignored, and if we can’t find a way to do that, we can point at them and laugh at them if they still find it necessary to demand our attention and waste our time.

(Oh and emphasis above is all mine)


Sunday, August 20, 2006

Save yourself Peter before it is too late...

The other day I started writing a letter to Peter LaBarbera, the departing Executive Director of the Illinois Family Institute. I felt strongly that as a compassionate human being first (and seething mom second) I needed to do something to save him from what looked to me like impending doom. Unfortunately, according to John (Religious right leader in Illinois resigns after string of high-profile failures), my letter below may be too late.

I have been following Peter’s escapades for quite some time over at Pam’s place. And I confess it has been entertaining in a morbid sad kind of way. He just seems to stand out more than your average run-of-the-mill rabid foam-at-the-mouth antigay bigot hiding under the cloak of religion and family. What made watching him so entertaining were his undercover adventures which were supposedly aimed at exposing the gay underworld, but which really only succeeded in exposing him as a man with some possible issues of his own and earning him the nickname of Porno Pete in some circles.

But as time went on it became impossible not to notice that with each of Peter's failed endeavors there seemed to be an escalating sense of urgency and shillness and I started to feel more like a rubbernecker at the scene of a terrible car crash than a seething mom following the adventures of a guy whose only objective in life is to destroy my child’s life. I actually started to feel sorry for this guy. I definitely felt embarrassed for him. And call me crazy, but I felt I had to do something to save him from himself, so I decided to write him a letter:

Dear Peter LaBarbera,

Today I write you not as a Seething Mom but as a Worried Mom. Yes, I know I am not your mother, but if I were, I would be very concerned, in fact, I’d be on the verge of panic if you were my son. I have been following your failing crusade against gays over on Pam’s House Blend for quite some time now and um Peter, I think you need some professional help. Your problem has become too big for you to handle on your own and it is becoming alarmingly clear that it is getting worse. You should not be ashamed. Lots of people have overcome great hurdles and gone on to live productive normal lives. Paranoia and irrational obsessions can be very frightening, but there is help out there. Don’t let this problem you have take over your life, you have already admitted to 15 years down the tube monitoring a homosexual movement that is alive more in your imagination than in real life. If you are not careful, you could end up losing your job and destroying any credibility you have left.

Peter, as the mother of a gay child, I need to set you straight (no pun intended) on a few things. There is no gay agenda honey. And that sexual orientation agenda that you have worried yourself sick about, well it is not working its way into our children's education, what you are seeing is just a long overdue anti-bullying program that people like you have fought tooth and nail because it might mean that children perceived to be gay might be protected from bullying too. And Peter, Christians are not the victims of discrimination, no matter how hard you try to project victimhood upon the very people who are actually doing the victimizing, most people aren’t buying it. Oh and Peter, private schools are not promoting homosexuality to our children, I think you got the homobigot talking points messed up, it’s the evil public schools that are recruiting and poisoning our precious little ones – remember? And no Peter, Illinois will not be known as a homosexual tourist mecca because it hosted the Gay Games, in fact because of successful events like the Gay Games it is known as a beautiful, vibrant, progressive city that welcomes everyone. And Peter, as a straight woman, I hate to disappoint you, but your idea of sexual perversion is not limited just to homosexuals, there are plenty of heterosexuals who like kinky sex too. And no Peter, the world will not come to an end if two people of the same sex are allowed to marry and it looks like the people of Illinois get that, no matter how hard you tried to convince them otherwise. And as much as you wanted to make homosexual behavior an issue in the public’s mind and bring shame back to those who are practicing and advocating homosexual behavior, you have failed.

Peter you have lost the battle, and I believe you are well on your way to losing the war. The tides are turning. Gays and lesbians are coming out of the closet in greater numbers and people are just not finding them as scary as you do. It’s too late Peter, you can’t stuff the genie back in the bottle, no matter how hard you try. You need to come to terms with it. YOU LOST.

I understand that now that you are no longer working for the Illinois Family Institute you are going to work full time for a national organization that you have created called Americans for Truth. I hear that this organization will be dedicated solely to confronting the homosexual activist agenda. Well Peter let me be the first to wish you great success in your new endeavor ----- yep, you heard me right, success ---- you have done more to help people see how ugly bigotry of any kind is than all the efforts of gay activists put together. And you have taught this seething mom a lesson too: no amount of raging fury at the keyboard can match the strides you have helped gays and lesbians everywhere make. What better way to highlight the brink of insanity than to watch you teeter on it?


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Bigger Victory Than I Thought

My husband and I have been sweating the survival of his pension for quite some time now (he is retired and we rely on his hard earned pension benefits). It has been very stressful worrying about this. The uncertainty has truly been agonizing. And watching Congress play political football with our lives on this for what has felt like an eternity was sheer torture for us and thousands of others like us. So naturally today we breathed a huge sigh of relief when President Bush finally signed it into law.

But what I did not know until today was that it is a big victory for the GLBT community as well. I received an email from the Human Rights Campaign explaining how this bill will benefit millions of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender families:

It is a great and historic day for our community. Today, federal legislation called the Pension Protection Act was signed into law and it includes two provisions that extend important financial protections to more Americans - including same-sex couples. This is an incredibly exciting victory that will be helpful to millions of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender families.

This Act is important because it has two hard-fought HRC-backed provisions that we lobbied for intensely and secured its inclusion. These provisions will help same-sex couples nationwide. Basically what this means is that these two provisions ensure that the U.S. tax code, in times of emergencies, is fairer to more Americans, including our community, and puts us on a more equal footing with other couples. Here's how these provisions can impact the lives of GLBT Americans:

The first provision, called "Non-Spousal Rollover"

  • Allows the transfer of an individual's retirement plan benefits, like a 401(k), to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) for a non-spouse beneficiary like a domestic partner, sibling, parent, cousin or anyone else when the individual dies.

  • In the past, unless you were the legally recognized spouse of the deceased, you were forced to withdraw the amount as a lump sum and you faced immediate tax penalties which would eat away at the savings amount intended for retirement.

The second provision, known as "Hardship Distribution":

  • Allows individuals who list their same-sex partner or other non-spouse beneficiary under a 401(k) plan the ability to tap into their retirement funds in the case of certain medical or financial emergencies of the beneficiary.

  • In the past, the federal law only permitted such withdrawals for employees' legally recognized spouses or dependents.

The email goes on to single out for thanks certain members of Congress who partnered with HRC in a truly cooperative spirit despite the very divisive times. And I wholeheartedly agree that these people should be recognized. But what was most surprising for me was seeing how many “R”s were sprinkled in the HRC email. And though everyone of these people deserve our deepest gratitude, I actually think those Republicans who stepped forward and helped make this a reality for the GLBT community deserve maybe a little extra recognition for doing the right thing in spite of possible repercussions to their political careers. That took courage, something I have not seen much of these past 5 ½ years.

I don’t know, but somehow this email gives me hope that one day soon the GLBT community will be enjoying the same rights and benefits that everyone else takes for granted. This bit of news today is more than just a baby step, it is a big victory.

Those in Congress who helped make this happen are:

Former Representative Rob Portman (R-OH), Representative Ben Cardin (D-MD), Ways & Means Committee Chairman Representative Bill Thomas (R-CA), Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR), Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Senator Max Baucus (R-MT) and Senator Jim Jeffords (I-VT).

Gosh it feels good to finally feel some optimism. From the bottom of this Seething Mom’s heart --- Thank you to the men and women above who helped make this a reality for our gay loved ones!


Seems to be a consensus forming:

Bush signs law that helps gay couples - oops

Chimpy couldn't have known he was helping the homos


Sunday, August 13, 2006

Is Supporting the Repeal of DADT Political Suicide?

“When I was serving in Iraq, it made no difference to me what the sexual orientation of my comrades was. It certainly did not matter to me what the sexual orientation was of the men or women who helped save my life after my Black Hawk helicopter was shot down over Iraq,” Duckworth said in the statement, which her campaign acknowledges is correct. “Any qualified American who is willing to make that kind of sacrifice for our freedom should be free to do so.”

You would think from the sounds of the above statement that Tammy Duckworth, a Democratic candidate for Illinois’ traditionally Republican 6th District, where some voters might not support such a repeal, was taking a courageous and possibly risky stand on this issue, but you would be wrong. Sadly, after Tammy made the above statement she had to do a lot of backpedaling. According to the Duckworth camp:

Tammy has not expressed strong support for repealing don’t ask, don’t tell.

And backing Tammy further into a corner, her opponent, Republican state Sen. Peter Roskam, left no doubt about where he stands:

“My view is keep the current policy,” said Roskam, who backs don’t ask, don’t tell. “In knocking on 5,000 doors, it hasn’t come up.”

Roskam said the flap shows the contrast between his campaign and Duckworth’s.

“I’m talking about local traffic relief and flood control and relationship with local government and my opponent is weighing in on the national liberal social agenda,” he said.

Now what I want to know is this: why should this Mr. Roskam even have any credibility on this issue? Has he served in the military? Has he known the horrors of war firsthand or have all his battles been fought from the safety of a pew in his local megachurch?

I looked up Mr. Roskam’s biography on his Illinois General Assembly State Senate page and nowhere is it mentioned that Mr. Roskam has any military service:

Biography: Born in Glen Ellyn; Executive Director, Educational Assistance Ltd. 1987-1993; Illinois Family Institute - Leadership Award; Illinois State Crime Commission - Legislator of the Year; Chicago-Kent College of Law - 1989; University of Illinois, BA -1983; married (wife, Elizabeth), has four children.

In fact the only thing I see in his biography is a leadership award from the Illinois Family Institute, usually a telltale sign that we’ve got us another wingnut who feels it is his God-mandated duty to legislate our morals because we peons cannot be trusted to know what morality is unless it is spelled out and enshrined into a law written by a Chosen Few who have the only direct line to God.

Mr. Roskam, no offense but why should anyone put more weight in your opinion than Ms. Duckworth’s? Ms. Duckworth lost both her legs and very nearly her life in the Iraq war. And no Mr. Roskam, Ms. Duckworth is NOT weighing in on the national liberal social agenda, she is weighing in with personal experience from being in the military. You sir, are the one capitalizing on the national conservative social agenda. Shame on you for minimizing something she paid dearly to learn firsthand: that when you are laying there with both legs blown off, you are not worrying about the sexual orientation of the people valiantly trying to save your life. I think she earned the right to be respected for her opinion on gays in the military with her blood. You sir have not. From where I stand you seem to be standing on nothing but your homophobia and a misplaced sense of sanctimony. I do hope the good people in your district see right through you.

And to you Ms. Duckworth, stand up for your principles. If you believe that don't ask, don't tell should be repealed, then say it. You have more guts in your little pinky than most of these GOP bullies put together. I don't think you are giving the people of the 6th district enough credit. They will see that on this issue, you have the credibility, not him.

Hat tip to PageOneQ


Quote for the day

Let's make it even simpler, shall we? The oh-so-mysterious message to elected officials is: People are sick unto death of war, of unresponsive representation, of incompetence, of corruption, of ever-more-intrusive government, of a spiraling deficit, of lobbyist-owned and corporation-sponsored politicians, of a power-hungry president, of six years of attempts to pass stick-up-the-ass moralizing legislation telling us when and how we can die and when and how we can reproduce. Get out of our personal lives, get the hell out of Iraq and do your freaking job - run the government competently, economically and fairly. Period.

Hat tip to Best of the Blogs


Sorry for the lack of posts lately.

My husband and I went to see Bill Maher last night. It was a great show and we really enjoyed it. I find his ability to make me laugh at things that normally make me so angry I could spit a real sanity saver right now. And though I don’t always agree with him, I find his straightforward, no-holds barred take on politics very refreshing and often painfully on the mark.

At one point in his routine he mentioned that he thinks many Americans are suffering from Bush “Fuck up Fatigue” and I am sure that is probably true. But for me it is more like Fury Fatigue, only I am beyond fatigue, I am exhausted. I am so tired of being angry. I am so tired of feeling hopeless. I am so tired of my insides churning. I am so tired of feeling pessimistic. I am so tired of being tired. And at times I feel myself slipping into a sort of sanity-saving numbness.

What worries me most though is that at some point apathy sets in and that is dangerous. We cannot afford to become apathetic now. I know it is no fun to walk around in a constant state of anger, but apathy will only guarantee us more of the same thing that is going on right now.

I know I have not been very good about posting lately. I had to take a break. I apologize for the absence. I am back now with a renewed sense of seething fury, a renewed sense of hope, and a renewed sense of determination. And I beg anyone who feels like giving up to please fight the impulse. We cannot afford to give up. We cannot afford to become apathetic. We cannot lose hope. We’re in the home stretch now. And to those who have not grown weary, please disregard the above pep talk, I am more or less just talking to myself anyway…


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

One Down, 259,999,999 to Go

How would you feel if you had to ask 260 million people for permission to marry the person you love?

Hat tip to Andrew Share