Friday, October 24

TROY DAVIS UPDATE!!!


UPDATE - STAY of execution issued on 10-24!
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issued the stay. More information to come shortly.


The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denied clemency for Troy Anthony Davis shortly before 5 p.m. on Friday, September 12. They did so despite overwhelming doubts of Davis' guilt - and after stating last year that they would "not allow an execution to proceed in this State unless and until its members are convinced that there is no doubt as to the guilt of the accused." On September 23, The U.S. Supreme Court stayed Troy Davis' execution "pending the disposition of [his] petition for a writ of certiorari." On October 14, the Court decided not to accept his petition.

Background

Restrictions on Federal appeals have prevented Troy Anthony Davis from having a hearing in federal court on the reliability of the witness testimony used against him, despite the fact that most of the witnesses have since recanted, many alleging they were pressured or coerced by police. Troy Davis remains on Georgia death row, and may be scheduled for execution in the near future.

Troy Davis was sentenced to death for the murder of Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail at a Burger King in Savannah, Georgia; a murder he maintains he did not commit. There was no physical evidence against him and the weapon used in the crime was never found. The case against him consisted entirely of witness testimony which contained inconsistencies even at the time of the trial. Since then, all but two of the state's non-police witnesses from the trial have recanted or contradicted their testimony. Many of these witnesses have stated in sworn affidavits that they were pressured or coerced by police into testifying or signing statements against Troy Davis.

One of the two witnesses who has not recanted his testimony is Sylvester "Red" Coles – the principle alternative suspect, according to the defense, against whom there is new evidence implicating him as the gunman. Nine individuals have signed affidavits implicating Sylvester Coles.

Thursday, October 23

I have seen it all now!




This is really the limit!! How much further are we going to with these juvenile, no, INFANTILE photos and jokes? This is serious, we're making history here, and people have nothing better to do with their time but come up with stuff like this??? "McCain in KKK sheets chasing Obama"...come on, give me a break! There are so many more important subjects out there, (not to say the election isn't important) than what color someone's skin is! When are we ever going to get past that? ARE we ever going to get past it?

Wednesday, October 22

Police Torturer Arrested On Federal Charges


Nicole Colson reports on the long-awaited arrest of the man who oversaw torture in Chicago police stations.

October 22, 2008

Former Chicago Police Commander Jon BurgeFormer Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge

THERE MAY finally be some long-overdue justice for the victims of former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge, after he was arrested October 21 at his Florida home on federal charges of perjury and obstruction of justice related to his role in the systematic abuse of prisoners.

The name "Burge" is synonymous with torture in the city of Chicago. As an officer in the Chicago Police Department, Burge oversaw the beatings and torture of dozens of suspects, all of them Black men, at Area 2 and 3 police headquarters during the 1970s and '80s. Most were railroaded into prison, and even onto death row, as a result of confessions extracted from them through abuse, suffocations and electroshock.

A $7 million special prosecutor's inquiry released in 2006 found credible evidence of torture in more than 70 cases, though activists say the real number is much higher--certainly in the hundreds.

"While not all the officers named by all the claimants were guilty of prisoner abuse, it is our judgment that the commander of the Violent Crimes section of Detective Areas 2 and 3, Jon Burge, was guilty of such abuse," read the report's conclusion. "It necessarily follows that a number of those serving under his command recognized that, if their commander could abuse persons with impunity, so could they."

Dozens of Burge's victims remain in prison today. Despite repeated calls by activists, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has not pressed for new trials.

In 2002, Madigan took over prosecution of many of the torture cases when a Cook County judge declared that State's Attorney Dick Devine had a conflict of interest because he had represented Burge in a civil suit related to torture allegations. When she ran for office that year, Madigan claimed she "would never stand in the way of justice." But in more than five years on the job, she hasn't initiated even one evidentiary hearing.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

BURGE WAS fired in 1993 after the Chicago Police Review Board ruled that he tortured Andrew Wilson into giving a confession. Despite this, Burge had remained free, collecting a city pension of more than $3,500 a month and receiving taxpayer-funded legal representation while living a comfortable retirement in Florida (where he keeps a boat named the "Vigilante").

Prosecutors in Chicago had claimed that Burge and his men were untouchable, because the statute of limitations governing their crimes had run out.

But federal investigators believe there is evidence to make a case against Burge on charges of obstruction of justice and perjury. According to prosecutors, Burge lied when he claimed he never witnessed and did not have any knowledge of physical abuse and torture on the part of Chicago police officers during a deposition in lawsuit filed against him on behalf of former death row prisoner Madison Hobley.

Hobley was convicted of setting a January 1987 fire that killed his wife, infant son and five others. In a pattern of abuse that would become familiar as more cases came to light, Hobley was suffocated by Burge with a plastic typewriter cover. Police then falsified his confession. Hobley was convicted and sentenced to death in 1990. He spent more than 12 years on death row before he was exonerated and pardoned, along with three other men, by former Illinois Gov. George Ryan.

"If Al Capone went down for taxes, it's better than him going down for nothing," federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said in a press conference announcing the arrest. As he concluded, "For his lies about this torture and abuse, we intend to hold him accountable."

Darrell Cannon, a Burge torture victim, told the Chicago Tribune, "I'm thankful to be an American today because...the man that has been skating for so long, riding in his boat, catching fish and everything else--well, now he's in jail, killing roaches. And that's exactly where he belongs."

After his arrest, Burge appeared before a federal magistrate, who set bond at $250,000 and released him. Burge is expected to be arraigned in federal court in Chicago October 27.

Federal prosecutors are hinting that other charges may be forthcoming, with Fitzgerald warning that other police involved in torture should not pin their hopes on police refusing to talk about their colleagues. "If their lifeline is to hang onto a perceived wall of silence, they may be hanging on air," Fitzgerald told reporters.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

FOR NOW, the charges are against Burge, but many others are implicated in this scandal and should be brought to justice. That includes Burge's fellow officers who participated in the torture and other law enforcement officials who knew what was taking place--among them, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, who was Cook County State's Attorney when Andrew Wilson was tortured in 1982.

At the time, then-police Superintendent Richard Brzeczek sent a letter to Daley, with a letter from the director of Cermak Prison Health Services, detailing Wilson's injuries and Wilson's claims that he was electro-shocked. Brzeczek requested "direction as to how the Department should proceed in the investigation of these allegations."

According to special prosecutors who oversaw the investigation, the letter "was probably discussed" with both Daley and his then-First Assistant (and the current State's Attorney) Richard Devine--but Daley "has no current memory of how the letter was processed."

Now, with Burge's arrest, Daley is once again claiming he had no knowledge or responsibility for the systematic abuse that took place in Chicago police stations. "I was very proud of my role as prosecutor," he told the Tribune when Burge was arrested. "I was not the mayor, I was not the police chief. I did not promote this man in the 80s, so let's put everything into perspective."

While the arrest of Jon Burge is welcome, federal prosecutors are not condemning the system, but attempting to preserve it--by pointing to Burge and his men as "bad apples.

"According to these charges, Jon Burge shamed his uniform and his badge," Fitzgerald said. "The last time he wore that uniform and that badge was more than 15 years ago. It is important that the public respect that, when we bring these charges, they should not judge the people who walk the streets in a uniform and badge today to try and serve and protect."

But Chicago police have been involved in a number of recent incidents that should give pause to anyone who thinks abuse is a thing of the past. In a two-week span in June, for example, Chicago police were involved in eight shootings--five of them fatal--including Devon Young, a 26-year-old Black man who was shot by police in the back of the head.

A Justice Department report released in July detailed ongoing human rights abuses against prisoners at Chicago's Cook County jail. The report detailed inadequate health care leading to prisoner deaths and a culture of abuse among prison guards.

Such incidents aren't "exceptions to the rule," but part of a culture in which police consider themselves to be above the law. The arrest of Jon Burge is a welcome development--but only the tip of the iceberg in terms of getting real justice for all of the victims of the Chicago police.

Tuesday, October 21

Maybe I Can't Vote, but.....

Whatever happens in California on Election Day with Proposition 8 will have a long-term effect on what happens in the rest of this United States. If we let Proposition 8 go through, I may never be the wife I want to be, I may always be the "domestic partner"; and so might you.

Whether you believe that being gay is a choice or not, whether you believe that it's right or wrong, this United States was founded on what? The premise that ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL. Black slaves got the right to be free, and women got the right to vote, now please give EVERYONE the right to marry the one they love. If you're in California, VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION 8. If you're not, please donate, even if it's just a dollar; help us keep America the land of equality!



Now is the time to donate. Let your support be known.

Do Gays Really Have It So Bad Here?


Reading this article made me realize that while it may seem horribly unfair to a lot of us, not being able to marry the partner of our choice, not being able to take another's last name, having to worry about possibly being harassed or 'outed' before we're ready, relatively speaking we don't have it bad at all. We don't have to worry about being marched through the streets naked to the police station, where we'll be arrested and jailed with the possibility of a life sentence. We don't have to worry about being deported from a country that we've fled to for asylum, only to be sent back into the same homophobic atmosphere we fled from, because "bans on homosexuality in asylum seekers’ home countries are not reason enough to allow them to stay." Now, I'm not saying that we should be happy with what we have, or that it's not unfair. We shouldn't, and it definitely is. What I'm saying is that when you get all depressed and upset because you can't get married where and in the manner that you want to, think about people like Prossy Kakooza and what she went through. We should never, ever stop fighting injustice of any kind, bigotry in any shape, prejudice of any form, and racism of any color. It's not just us that are fighting though, that's what I want you all to think about. We are not the only ones fighting, and as long as countries like Uganda are allowed to continue doing horrific things like this, there will always be people here saying "you don't have it so bad, be happy with what you've got." We've got to stand up and fight for everyone's right to be with who they want, love who they want, marry who they want, and by god, HAVE SEX WITH WHO THEY WANT.

Whew, I had no intention of going into this rant today, but the more I think about what they did to that poor young girl, the angrier I get. There has to be something that people can do to help people like her and others who have been humiliated, beaten, raped, and killed in the name of the "Christian Right" or the "Moral Majority" or whatever they're calling themselves these days.

Ugandan lesbian granted asylum in UK

By Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk • October 20, 2008 - 14:10


A judge has ruled that a lesbian woman from Uganda may remain in the UK.

Prossy Kakooza, 26, fled her homeland after her family found her in bed with her partner and marched both women naked to the police station where Ms Kakooza was raped and tortured by police officers.

She escaped to the UK after her family bribed the guards to release her so they could have her killed. They believed this would ‘take away the curse from the family.’

The Home Office’s initial decision to deny Ms Kakooza asylum did not take into account the fact that she had been mistreated by the state and would probably face the same treatment again if she returned.

It believed that she was raped and tortured, because of the medical evidence, but dismissed her attack as the ‘random acts of individuals’ and suggested that she could move to another town in Uganda.

The Home Office will not appeal against the ruling that she can now remain in the UK, it emerged on Friday.

Ms Kakooza said that she is still in shock at the decision.

"You have held me together, you have held me upright when all I wanted to do was roll up in a heap and give up," she said in an email to supporters.

"You gave me the motivation to go on and fight! Going with me to places to collect signatures, encouraging people to sign online, coming to meetings, writing statements, going to court with me, and most importantly - all the prayers.

"And I don't think you have any idea how the phone calls, texts and emails help. They kept me sane.

"There are no appropriate words I can use to say thank you. All I can do is pray to my God to bless you all.

"You have changed my life and for that I will forever be grateful."

More than 5,000 people from across the world had signed a petition to the Home Office to grant her asylum and hundreds more wrote to immigration ministers.

The MCC Manchester, a church that welcomes LGBT people, gave her financial and spiritual support.

Last month a gay man was removed from the UK and deported back to his native Uganda in what his supporters called an illegal act.

John "Bosco" Nyombi, 38, fears he will be persecuted on the grounds of his sexuality.

Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, and gays caught by the police can face a life sentence in prison.

Mr Nyombi, who has been employed in the UK as a mental health worker since 2002, was taken to Heathrow Airport for deportation.

The Ugandan President spoke of his country's "rejection" of homosexuality during a speech he gave at the wedding of a former MP's daughter earlier this year.

Mr Museveni said the purpose of life was to create children and that homosexuality was a "negative foreign culture."

During his time in office LGBT Ugandans have been repeatedly threatened, harassed or attacked. Many have fled the country.

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission said:

"In the past five years, the government has arrested LGBT people on sodomy charges, harassed LGBT human rights defenders, and fined a private radio station that broadcast programming on HIV prevention and men who have sex with men.

"In July 2005, Uganda's Parliament passed an amendment to the constitution making Uganda only the second country in the world to use its constitution to outlaw marriage between people of the same sex.

"A coalition of religious leaders has marched through the streets of Kampala demanding the arrests of LGBT people with one cleric even calling for the "starving to death" of homosexuals.

"Inspired by the official homophobia of the state, the Ugandan media has published lists of gay men and lesbians, leading to physical violence, loss of employment and educational opportunities by LGBT people."

Last week Lin Homer, chief executive of the Borders and Immigration Agency (BIA), said that bans on homosexuality in asylum seekers’ home countries are not reason enough to allow them to stay in Britain.

"What the court takes into account is the practical consequences for the individuals concerned," she told The Scotsman.

"The simple presence of either a law or a culture that frowns upon homosexuality is not of itself a reason [to grant asylum].

"I think these decisions are made carefully and thoughtfully."

Ms Homer insisted that the information used by the BIA when deciding whether to deport gay asylum seekers is thorough and accurate.

Friday, October 17

Finality Over Fairness - Death Warrant Issued for Troy Davis


From Amnesty International....




UPDATE - Death Warrant Issued!
Execution date has been set for October 27.
The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denied clemency for Troy Anthony Davis shortly before 5 p.m. on Friday, September 12. They did so despite overwhelming doubts of Davis' guilt - and after stating last year that they would "not allow an execution to proceed in this State unless and until its members are convinced that there is no doubt as to the guilt of the accused." On September 23, The U.S. Supreme Court stayed Troy Davis' execution "pending the disposition of [his] petition for a writ of certiorari." On October 14, the Court decided not to accept his petition.

* Listen to Troy tell his story
* Visit Troy Davis' website
* Send a solidarity message to Troy on his E-Book through AI-France

STAND FIRM FOR JUSTICE!

Global Day of Action for Troy Davis
October 23, 2008
Rally in Atlanta! Download the flyer.
Organize a solidarity event in your hometown! Go here for more information.
Download a photo of Troy Davis to hold at your rally.
Download a fact sheet to provide passersby with more information.

The Georgia Board has the power to step in at any point, so we encourage you to continue to collect letters and petitions asking them to issue clemency.

» TAKE ACTION! Write a letter to the Georgia Board of Pardon and Paroles

* To see what activists are doing in Georgia, please visit GFADP.
* Write a letter to the editor of your local paper. It's quick and easy using the ACLU's website.
* Text "TROY" to 90999 to help spread the word with your cell phone.

School Bus Driver Charged In Anti-Gay Assault

How much farther does it have to go before society realizes it's gone too far? An adult being fired from his job and criminally charged for taunting a 10 year old boy with the word "gay"...I feel like crying, not only when I think of what that poor child must have gone through, but when I think that I live in a world where something like this could happen to a child. No, happen to children, because the boy that got chased isn't the only one who has been scarred by this. The children that were encouraged by the driver (yes, he was a SCHOOL BUS DRIVER!) to chase the boy; can you imagine what this has done to their minds? At 10 years old, most kids have not yet learned that adults make mistakes; that not all adults should be listened to. They are still at the age of "Well, a grown up said it so it must be right." How confusing it must be for them now, knowing that a grown up told them to do this, but now that grown up is going to jail (hopefully) for it.

Society needs to stop equating the word "gay" with something terrible. The dictionary meaning for the word "gay" is:
gay /geɪ/ adjective, -er, -est, noun, adverb –adjective
1. having or showing a merry, lively mood: gay spirits; gay music.
2. bright or showy: gay colors; gay ornaments.
3. given to or abounding in social or other pleasures: a gay social season.
from gay. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved October 17, 2008, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/gay

There is no definition in there for "something horrible to be destroyed", at least not the last time I looked. (although there is now one I didn't know about:
5. homosexual.
6. of, indicating, or supporting homosexual interests or issues: a gay organization.
–noun
7. a homosexual person, esp. a male.
Number 7 leads me to question why is it "especially a male", but that opens a whole nother can of worms that I'm not going to go into right now, that's for another post)

The word gay has always represented something happy; how did we end up in a world where an adult male is so threatened by it that he would attack a 10 year old child over it, and use other children to do his dirty work?

Tuesday, October 14

Supreme Court allows Troy Davis execution


This is outrageous.
What would it have cost them to listen?
To hear the appeal?
That's all he asked for.

By BILL RANKIN, RHONDA COOK

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday cleared the way for Troy Anthony Davis’ execution, declining to enter a contentious debate as to whether the condemned inmate was the real killer of a Savannah police officer in 1989.

The court, without explanation, refused to hear his appeal even though seven of nine key prosecution witnesses have recanted their testimony since the 1991 trial. Just three weeks ago, the high court had halted Davis’ execution with less than two hours to spare.

Davis should find out soon when he will be put to death. It is the third time he’s faced the prospect of execution in little more than a year.

The next step is for a Chatham County judge to set a time frame during which Davis’ execution can be scheduled by the Department of Corrections.

Davis’ innocence claims attracted international attention, with Pope Benedict XVI and former President Jimmy Carter among those challenging the fairness of his execution.

Davis was condemned to die for the Aug. 19, 1989, killing of Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail. The 27-year-old father of two, working off duty, was shot dead after he responded to the cries of a homeless man being pistol whipped in a Burger King parking lot.

The officer’s mother, Anneliese MacPhail, expressed relief at the high court’s decision.

“Especially for my grandson and my granddaughter,” she said, referring to the slain officer’s two children, now adults. “We can now settle down.”

MacPhail, 75, does not expect “closure” if Davis is executed.

“There is no such thing,” she said. “We will always be thinking about Mark. At least we won’t have to go to court. We will have some peace.”

She does not plan to attend the execution, although two of her four remaining children want to witness it.

“It doesn’t give me any satisfaction to watch that,” she said. “I still have anger in me and I’m afraid I would say something.”

Davis’ sister, Martina Correia, was furious .

“I’m truly disgusted by these people,” Correia said. “I don’t even know what to say. I wonder why I’m still a U.S. citizen sometimes.”

Correia told her brother of the high court’s decision.

“He said, ‘It doesn’t make any sense. What do I have to do?’ to convince a court that he is innocent,” Correia said.

“I haven’t given up hope,” Correia said. “We’re going to fight until we can’t fight any more.”

Davis’ mother, Virginia Davis, 63, said police charged the wrong man.

“The real killer is walking around Savannah, bragging about what he’s done,” she said. “If they kill Troy, they have God to answer to. They don’t have the Davis family to answer to.”

Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International, which has supported Davis’ appeals, condemned the high decision.

“It is disgraceful that the highest court in the land could sink so low when doubts surrounding Davis’ guilt are so high,” Cox said. “Faulty eyewitness identification is the leading cause of wrongful convictions and the hallmark of Davis’ case.”

Stephen Bright of the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta said the case was riddled with errors.

“The trial of this case has all the integrity of a professional wrestling match,” he said. “It was deeply flawed, yet there’s no way to correct it.”

Since Davis’ trial, seven key witnesses recanted their testimony. Others also have come forward implicating another man who was with Davis at the scene.

Eyewitness testimony formed the backbone of the prosecution’s case. The murder weapon was never found and there was no DNA evidence or a confession.

But Chatham County prosecutors have long expressed confidence that Davis is a cop killer.

On Tuesday, District Attorney Spencer Lawton accused Davis’ supporters of manipulating the legal process, using the news media and waging a public relations campaign to undermine confidence in the court system, all at the expense of MacPhail’s family.

“While an 80 percent recantation rate…may seem to some as overwhelmingly persuasive, to others of us it invites a suggestion of manipulation, making it very difficult to believe,” Lawton said in a lengthy statement.

He noted that each of the recanting witnesses was vigorously cross-examined at trial as to whether they were pressured by police to point the finger at Davis. “All denied it,” Lawton said.

The justice system, Lawton added, has been “painstakingly indulgent” of Davis’ claims, not dismissive as his advocates contend.

In the meantime, MacPhail’s family has endured “a seemingly endless succession of new technical and substantive legal threats to their faith and hope,” he said. “It should be obvious that the PR campaign intensifies the agony of the victim’s family.”

Davis’ lawyers had asked the U.S. Supreme Court to declare that the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment bars the execution of the innocent and requires at least a court hearing to assess the recantation testimony.

The Rev. Al Sharpton announced the court’s decision at a get-out-the-vote rally Tuesday at Morris Brown College. The crowd let out a collective groan.

Sharpton contended Davis’ case is another example of the of the unfair treatment that African-Americans experience. “You don’t have to go back in the day,” he said. “We’re still in the day.”

Davis had been scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection on Sept. 23. But, with less than two hours to spare, the high court halted the execution to give the justices time to consider whether to hear his appeal.

In July 2007, the state Board of Pardons and Paroles had halted Davis’ execution less than 24 hours before it was to be carried out. Last month, after meeting again, the parole board denied Davis’ request for clemency.

Staff writer Mary Lou Pickle contributed to this article.

TIMELINE

* Aug. 30, 1991: Troy Davis is sentenced to death by a Chatham County jury for the 1989 murder of Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail.
* July 16, 2007: After a 10-hour hearing, the state Board of Pardons and Paroles stays Davis' execution, set for the next day.
* March 17, 2008: By a 4-3 vote, the Georgia Supreme Court upholds Davis' death sentence, rejecting his request for a hearing that recantation testimony be presented in court.
* Sept. 3, 2008: Davis' execution is set for Sept. 23 at 7 p.m.
* Sept. 12, 2008: The state parole board, after hearing more testimony, declines to grant clemency to Davis.
* Sept. 22, 2008: The Georgia Supreme Court rejects Davis' bid for a stay of execution.
* Sept. 23, 2008: The U.S. Supreme Court issues a stay of execution for Davis less than two hours before he was to die by lethal injection. Davis is asking the court to order a judge to grant him a hearing.
* Oct. 14, 2008: The U.S. Supreme Court says in an order that it will not consider Davis's appeal.

Sunday, October 12

Thousands of voter registration forms faked, officials say

So now that links to former "terrorists" hasn't worked, and "he's running a dirty campaign" was seen for the trash-talk it was, here they come with another one; Obama is working with ACORN to file fraudulent voter registrations. Now I admit, that's not exactly what was saidin the article, but it might as well have been! ACORN has been investigated before for doing the same thing, long before Obama ever thought about running for President, so why is it now being made to appear as if all their fraudulent practices are being done strictly at Obama's bidding? It seems like this campaign is getting worse and worse, there's more mud and s**t being slung than in a barnyard. Has there ever been a time when politicians acted honorably? When they actually did base their campaigns on "the issues" and not on how many skeletons they could unearth from their opponent's closet? It's gotten ridiculous, it's no wonder so many people are either undecided or totally apathetic about voting; it's so difficult to get through all the b.s. to see what's really going on...

Friday, October 10

Conn. high court rules same-sex couples can marry

THEY DID IT!!! Another state did it, finally wised up and realized that they needed to face inevitable: we are here to STAY!!

I guess this one makes me so happy because although I was born in New Jersey, my mom moved us to Connecticut when I was about 3 years old, so that's actually where I consider "home". Now I'm actually thinking about going there and "doing the deed", if the law says we can. Have to find out more about it...I'm surprised there isn't more news about it though, I found out on Twitter!! LOL Anyway, here's the story.

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Connecticut's Supreme Court ruled Friday that same-sex couples have the right to marry, making that state the third behind Massachusetts and California to legalize such unions.

The court ruled 4-3 that gay and lesbian couples cannot be denied the freedom to marry under the state constitution, and Connecticut's civil unions law does not provide those couples with the same rights as heterosexual couples.

Justices overturned a lower court ruling and found in favor of the plaintiffs, who said the state's marriage law discriminates against them because it applies only to heterosexual couples, therefore denying gay couples the financial, social and emotional benefits of marriage.

Eight same-sex couples sued in 2004, saying their constitutional rights to equal protection and due process were violated when they were denied marriage licenses.

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Friday, October 3

One "Sicko" responds to the bailout


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Barney Frank discuss the bailout plan


There were several things I wanted to blog about today, and I may still do something about the others; they're all such great topics. For now though, it's this one. This is the best example of what's wrong with the bailout plan for Wall Street that I've found so far(IMO). It asks the question, what does that plan have to do with me? What is it going to do FOR me? Unfortunately, I don't hear an answer.....

From SocialistWorker.org:

One "Sicko" responds to the bailout

October 1, 2008

Donna Smith is a victim of the U.S. health care system who was featured in Michael Moore's documentary Sicko. Donna is national coordinator of American Patients United and has toured the country, speaking about her experiences and the struggle for health care rights for all.

She wrote the following in response to an open letter from Michael Moore that asked people to contact Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and their congressional representatives to urge them to vote "no" on the $700 billion bailout plan for Wall Street.

OKAY, MICHAEL, I did it. I called--just like you asked me to. I called my senators and told them I am fed up with the mess on Wall Street, fed up with the bailout of the big boys, fed up with the wealthy ruling the rest of us. I am so angry today I can hardly contain it. Enough is enough doesn't touch my rage.

Sen. Barack Obama's office politely logged my comments and took down my address. Sen. Dick Durbin's office did not. They argued with me about the benefits for me of the bailout. They argued with me--asked me if I wanted to see more people suffer if there was no bailout. Oh my God. They argued with me.

Four years ago, my husband Larry and I declared bankruptcy because even with health and disability insurance and a health care savings account, we went belly up when our bills and expenses surged well past our ability to cover them. Larry has chronic health issues; I had cancer. There was no way for us to hang on despite our efforts to borrow and plead to stay afloat. We lost our house and most of our furniture and most everything we worked to achieve.

As punishment for going bankrupt in America, we will never again--never again--own a home or have a credit card that isn't savings-backed or have any of the nods of acceptance the "good" credit bearers have in this nation. People will look at that bankruptcy and judge us unfit--look down their noses at us and decide we are losers from now until forever. We got sick, and we went broke, and we are no longer among the valued folks in this nation.

But today, my U.S. senator's office argued with me about how Wall Street needs this bailout to protect me. Bullshit. There is nothing in this for me. I have lost everything. I will never have it back, no matter if I work 100 hours a week, or try 1,000 times harder than I did before. Nothing I can do will erase my failure in getting sick.

Next week, though, armed with my money from the bailout, the Wall Street leaders and the government leaders who now judge me unfit will sit fat and happy, sipping fine wine and eating paté and giggling about the next trip to Europe or an evening at the club. Their lives will remain soft and pure and without the nasty judgments I have to endure every day. My bailout will have funded their greed and smug disdain for people like me.

It stinks to high heaven in America today. I understand damn well that they've mismanaged this into a point of collapse, and that without a fix from somewhere, there are dire things waiting to unfold worldwide.

But by God, no one was there to lift me up or put me back on my feet. And I will die without a home. I will die without ever regaining what I lost. And I will die with the bastards who I am bailing out today looking down their noses at me like I am a piece of garbage because I cannot shop at Neiman Marcus for my clothes or carry a Fendi bag.

I am sick to my stomach after talking with Durbin's office. I can only hope that the polite and respectful response from Obama's staff will reflect how I will be treated under a President Obama. Else, I am not sure staying alive under this sort of domestic and economic terrorist assault on my humble position in life is worth enduring.

This bailout reflects a much deeper and more difficult problem--a very fundamental disdain for democracy. You see, anyone in government who believes this is the way to treat the vast majority of your citizens certainly does not believe in the common good or the value of individuals within a democratic system.

We are just depositors in their bank accounts--they need us to foot the bill for their party. And we're not invited to any table at all. We can pick up the trash.