Friday, March 30, 2012

Bully - a documentary that forces you to confront the extent to which cruelty is embedded in our schools and our society as a whole

I have not seen this film yet, but I can assure you, I will be one of the first to see it when it comes here to Arizona. This is an issue near and dear to my heart. I know first-hand the agony and devastation bullying can cause. And with the issue taking on political and religious overtones, solutions to the very life-threatening situations many of our children face by merely getting on a school bus or walking through the doors of their school, could not feel more elusive and unattainable.

Hell, not even two weeks ago, my very own whack-job Arizona legislature proved, yet again, no problem is too pressing or deadly for our children that it can't be made into a partisan/religious score-one-for-the-god-party drama. A bill that had bipartisan support and would have mandated bullying-prevention programs for school employees, allowed parents to opt their children into similar programs, and created a wider definition of bullying that, among other things, included electronic harassment such as via Facebook or text message was effectively killed by a very powerful lobbyist group that claims to "Protect Arizona Families" and "Put Your Biblical Worldview Into Action".  Unfortunately in their quest to protect Arizona families and put their version of a biblical worldview into action here in Arizona, the Center for Arizona Policy (and Cathi Herrod in particular) has decided no anti-bullying bills can ever be passed into law. After all, the risk that even one GLBTQ child might be protected from the devastating, soul-crushing affects of bullying is absolutely unacceptable - can't have no homosexual agenda taintin our kids. So thanks to Cathi's vallient fight to legislate "Your Biblical Worldview Into Action" we will continue to see children bullied, some of them right into the grave.

Bully is not GLBTQ focused, although I believe there is at least one child of the 5 chronicled in this documentary that comes out as lesbian, but there is no denying that GLBTQ students are bullied at much higher rates than the general student population, which makes this movie a must-see for all parents, but especially parents who have GLBTQ children. The movie brings home the urgency of this problem, the need to cease and desist with the politicization of the issue, the need to drop-kick those who stand in the way of finding solutions in the name of their so-called "biblical worldview" and most importantly, the need to start a serious national discussion about how to tackle this very serious problem and make it easier for victims to get help.

I have heard the movie is quite moving and powerful. It definitely moved Mike Huckabee. Yes, you heard me right, Mike Huckabee. And in a big way. Watch this clip if you don't believe me:

I confess, I have felt so very angry and hopeless for so long about this issue that I have to admit, seeing someone like Mike Huckabee so passionate and so moved by this movie truly gives me hope that I have not felt for a very long time. Watch out Cathi Herrod, when you lose someone like Mike Huckabee, it is the beginning of the end for homophobes like you.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The 12 Talking Points That Republicans Are Using To Guarantee Obama's Re-election

I met a good friend for breakfast the other morning. We hadn't seen each other for a few months and it was so nice to catch up on her family, and her on mine. We were neighbors for years. Our children are the same ages and went to school together. I adore her children, she adores mine. To say she has been a wonderful friend throughout the many years we have known each other would be an understatement. She saw me through some very difficult times and me her. I will always love her.

When we first met, our kids were pretty young. I still thought I was a Republican. I still thought I was a Catholic. And I still lived life in my little cocoon, happy, completely immersed in my family, and extremely, blissfully ignorant of anything other than what was going on in my little tiny world. (ugh it hurts to look back and admit this)

The years passed, our older children entered high school, and I was thankful to have her to moan and groan with about the usual stuff that goes along with teen angst and hormones. I shared pretty much everything with her. After all, we were on the same page on pretty much everything - family, faith, and even politics. Perfect friendship. 

Then, my husband and I found out our middle son was gay when he was a junior in high school. My life pretty much turned upside down. And I slunk into the closet from which my son finally freed himself. I didn't share this news with anyone, not even this friend - not because I thought she'd react badly, but because I had too much to digest, too much to work through, and I certainly was not going to make this announcement until I could make it with the peace and tranquility I knew I'd eventually reach. And that - as it so happens - takes time, longer for some (me) than for others (my husband).  

And all of this transpired in 2003, smack-dab in the middle of the Bush re-election campaign, with a promised Federal Gay Marriage Ban stirring up truly ugly, hateful homophobia and undying support from the so-called "good" Christian evangelicals they call their base. And oh how my Fox-loving neighbors were getting into this campaign, not because of the gay marriage nastiness although for some that was a bit tantalizing I'm sure, but because they could not fathom that oh-so french elitist, John Kerry, ever being able to lead this country as well as Bush. 

I no longer could be around it all. I was confused. I was furious with myself for it taking a big event in my life to wake me up to what was happening. Why did it take learning my son was gay to open my eyes? I felt such revulsion and disgust for being so ignorant and selfish.   

So I shut myself in, shut my friends out, and started re-thinking everything I thought I believed. And ooof, what a transformation I went through. R after my name: gone. My Catholicism - lapsed and then renounced. My concern for life outside my own little nuclear family - huge and growing by leaps and bounds. My desire to rejoin my friends and publicly announce my new stances and why I'd had such a transformation - pathetically low.

Well then we moved from the neighborhood and the urgency to announce I had a gay son and I was now a flaming, godless liberal was not so urgent anymore. But I was still  getting together with my friends and old neighbors - just not so frequently. And slowly but surely my need to start divulging that I no longer shared their views on just about everything was getting more pressing (I already hated myself for being such an ignorant twit for so many years, I didn't need to add two-faced twit to the list too). I'd started paying attention.I stopped letting cable tv talking heads, politicians, and the priests within the church tell me how to think. I had started reading everything I could get my hands on - from all sides. And I started forming my own opinions. And confidence. And thick skin. Damn, it was liberating. And I started talking.

My friends were not impressed with my political changes of heart. They were not swayed with my arguments. Some nearly dropped to the floor when they learned I'd be voting for Obama. But they all accepted the news  about my son just fine. I was happy. Convincing them their political views were wrong would be impossible and probably wrong for me to even try. Maybe they too would need some life-touching event of their own to open their eyes. And who the hell was I to judge? 

Which brings me to my friend and my breakfast the other morning. She never understood my transformation, but our friendship remained intact, her love for my son never wavered. We get together every few months. But something was different this last time, I noticed cracks. Her oldest son is getting married. He is not Catholic but his soon-to-be wife is. They are taking the obligatory classes the Church requires to get married in the church. Neither of their hearts are in it. They are coming home and talking about the church's/politician's (hey, separation of church and state does not exist right now with the GOP or the Catholic bishops) views on contraception, women, gays, the poor, etc  and they are openly showing their disdain for the 16th century views of both the GOP and the church. It is getting harder for my friend to deny what is right in front of her when her own children are seeing it. There are cracks forming in my friend's views and I am starting to see them.   

So when I saw this chart of 12 talking points that Republicans are using to guarantee Obama's re-election and I realized that even sane people stuck in cocoons eventually have to break out one day and see what is out there. This friend is not dumb, and she certainly is not blind. She has to be seeing some of the crazy going on around her. We live in Arizona for god sakes. We are surrounded by it. So even though I didn't ask her, I walked away thinking there might be hope for her and maybe others as well. And maybe it doesn't take learning that you have a gay child for it to happen. Maybe it just takes a political party going off the deep end.  

One can only hope.

Via TPC who got it from


Congratulations - You did it! - Part 2

I am so proud of you Michael! You've earned your private pilot license. You are one step closer to your goal. We are so proud of you. 

Love you,
mom (and definitely not seething today)


Thursday, March 22, 2012

TESTIMONY: Setting the heartfelt words from the "It Gets Better" videos to music

I dare you to watch this lovely clip without at least getting a lump in your throat. Having tissues on hand is highly recommended:

A little bit about the clip:
In writing TESTIMONY, Stephen Schwartz collaborated with Dan Savage, creator of the groundbreaking "It Gets Better Project." Schwartz has set the heartfelt words from the "It Gets Better" videos to music, weaving them into a breathtaking, emotional new masterpiece that speaks to anyone who has ever felt out of place.
TESTIMONY was recorded and engineered by Leslie Ann Jones, the legendary multi Grammy award-winning Director of Music Recording at Skywalker Sound. Performed by the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus under the direction of Dr. Timothy Seelig.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Grab yourself a fresh cup of Starbucks Pike Place Roast coffee and savor some good java and some good news on the marriage equality front

Could it be the tide is turning? Could sane people finally be reaching their saturation point with the holier-than-thou, stick-their-noses-in-our-private-lives, sanctimonious frauds, also known as the religious right or in my personal dictionary as bigots, homophobes, and haters in this country? Or is it that people are realizing that the sky is not falling in states that have legalized gay marriage and are now figuring out what big fat liars people like Maggie Gallagher, the good-ole boys over at the National Organization for Marriage, and the prissy bishops in the Catholic Church (to name just a few offenders) are? 

Well regardless of the reason, there is some great news today on marriage equality. First up is the breaking news that the great state of "Live Free or Die", New Hampshire, a state that has had full marriage equality for 2 years, has just smacked down those NOM-backed lawmakers within the legislature who wanted to repeal the gay marriage law, effectively defeating repeal efforts. So full marriage equality will remain the law of the land in NH. 

I am pretty darn sure this is not sitting well with our Religious Freak crowd because as we all know, stripping gays and lesbians of rights that everyone else enjoys, demeaning and dehumanizing them, and making damn sure that all children who happen to have 2 parents of the same sex are penalized and denied rights and protections other children have is just what Jesus would have wanted. 

And on another front, Starbucks has been a major and vocal supporter of Washington State’s historic marriage law. Listen to Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz, responding to NOM's complaint about his company's support for marriage equality and then revel in the strong applause of the assembled stockholders as they respond to what Mr. Shultz said. 

Ahhhhhh, good java, good fun, good riddance to haters and homophobes ...


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Jeff Wilfahrt: "The Constitution our son died for was intended to protect rights not deny them."

A picture from the last time Jeff Wilfart
saw and hugged his son, Andrew. 

I am a bit late in reporting this, but there is a lovely article posted on the Advocate website on March 9th that is well worth the read. I will include a snippet here, but click on over and read the article in its entirety. After all, we need to know everything there is about this wonderful man since he will be, I hope-I hope-oh-please-dear-God-I-hope, Minnesota District 57B's new state Representative in 2012:

Running on a three “E” ticket — “Economy, Equality and Education” — Jeff Wilfahrt notes, “I’ve always had a strong sense of fairness and tried to help ‘right the wrongs.’ This sense was never stronger and clearer to me as when the Minnesota State government moved to allow the marriage amendment to be placed on the November 2012 ballot.”
For the last year, the Wilfahrt family has taken charge of their son’s memory, refusing to assume spectatorship in a society that regards his memory as that of second-class citizen.  Corporal Andrew Wilfahrt was serving as an MP in the U.S. Army when he was killed by an IED near Kandahar, Afghanistan. Jeff Wilfahrt notes with great pride in speeches across the country that his son’s platoon named their combat outpost after him, COP WILFAHRT.  “Andrew was a great warrior and beloved by his fellow soldiers,” Wilfahrt says. “He was also an openly gay soldier.”
A self-confessed introvert, the loving father of a daughter who graduated from Cornell and a younger son in graduate school in North Carolina, Wilfahrt has his campaign cut out for him as he musters his own troops. He’ll do it with a familial courage, casting aside privacy, and determined to effectuate equality for all in Minnesota. Jeff Wilfahrt has entered the race not only to address the “discrimination and inhumanity” of the marriage amendment, “but also to address the many inequities we seem to be building into our communities.”


Friday, March 16, 2012

No Big Surprise Here: Arizona's Biggest Homophobe Is Also A Big Fat Bully Herself

Ahhh jeeze, one of Arizona's nastiest, most homophobic godbotherers has waddled her way back into the spotlight, making news again, this time for killing SB 1462, an anti-bullying measure that was approved in the state Senate with bi-partisan support.

Why, pray-tell, would a "good Christian" like Cathi Herrod want to squash a bill that would have set up a system for reporting bullying on school campuses and programs to educate administrators, teachers and students on the dangers of bullying and how to spot it?  Well because Cathi Herrod, a heavyweight lobbyist and president of the Center for Arizona Policy, believes there is a grand conspiracy afoot for gays to "gain access to our schools and to our children."

And when Cathi Herrod decides something is not good for Arizona's children, like protecting them from the devastating affects of bullying, then Cathi Herrod, "good Christian" that she is, makes sure a bill like that dies before it ever sees the light of day. Because as we all know, it is better to take the chance that some Arizona children will get the living sh*t beat out of them than to take the chance that a "cultural acceptance and affirmation of homosexual lifestyles" might take root with this generation of children.

And shame on all those big-talkin, faux-macho, gun-totin, good ole boy Republicans in the Arizona legislature who wet their pants in utter fear the moment they heard Godzilla Herrod enter the halls of the state capital. What a bunch of cowardly toads for caving on this bill. They showed us once and for all why its 24-7 talk about guns, guns, and more guns. They're scared sh*tless of their own shadows --- and of Cathi Herrod. Good job you idiots, you can talk tough all you want, but now we know what you really are: a bunch of gutless wimps.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Thank you Delta Airlines!

Coming from an airline family and surrounded by airline people, this makes me so proud:



Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The religious right's worst nightmare: being honest with a child about love - be it gay or straight

Saw this the other day, meant to post it, got really busy, and I forgot. Thank you for the gentle reminder Alex:

I've been forced to explain homosexuality to my kids (aged 3 and 4) because their uncle is gay. This incredibly difficult and traumatic experience went as follows:
Child:  Why does Uncle Bob go everywhere with Pete
Me:  Because they're in love, just like Mummy and Daddy are.
Child:  Oh. Can I have a biscuit? 
We're all scarred for life. Scarred, I tell you. 
So take that all you people out there screaming the world will come to an end if we dare be honest with our children about love, regardless of whether it is a gay or straight couple. They won't be scarred for life, they won't catch the gay, and they won't hate you later for lying to them, but, they will learn that it is perfectly normal to openly love the person you are attracted to. And that last part folks, is what is terrifying the religious right haters, normalizing it and taking away the stigma and disdain.


Tuesday, March 06, 2012

GOP Fail Chart

Again, I am guilty of sporadic posting. Suffice it to say that life is hectic right now, so don't take the lack of seething and raging as a sign on my part that there is a lack of crazy about which to post. Nothing could be farther from the truth. 
Oh and the chart below is from the wonderful TPC so go over and give those amazing ladies some love.

And one more thing, Rush is a big fat blowhard idiot and if it wasn't for the comedy gold putrid monsters like him provide, I'd be crying.