Monday, January 24

While a hostile relative re-writes my life: 'Who is, and is not, my family'

Leslie Feinberg
[please repost]

Leslie has requested that this message be reposted and disseminated all over the world; I am doing my part to do just that.
I just read Stone Butch Blues about a year ago; it opened my eyes in a way that no other book ever has. It raised my consciousness to a much higher level, showing me just how different our (lesbians) lives are from those in the so-called "straight" world... It is a book that I urge everyone to read, especially if you're struggling with gender identity issues.


In autumn 2010, Knopf published a “transgender” themed young adult novel. The author, Catherine Ryan Hyde, is an estranged relative of mine.

The analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of Hyde’s young adult fiction novel will come from those who are living the identities, and oppressions to which she has applied her imagination.

However, as part of the media coverage and publicity tour for the release of the young adult novel, Hyde claims much of her expertise and authority for writing her “transgender”-themed young adult novel as based on my life and identity.

The author is a relative with an axe to grind. When she claims me as kin in order to counter-narrate my life, I am forced to get up out of a sick bed in order to respond in writing.

Since I became acutely ill in October 2007, it has been very hard for me to write, or to speak. So it is opportunistic and unconscionable that a hostile relative would take this opportunity to re-tell my life in a way that changes my sex, mis-describes my gender expression, and closets my sexuality. Hyde also attempts to silence me politically as a revolutionary, reasserts the dominant legal control of the biological family, and ignores and disrespects my chosen family.

My verbal and written request for no further contact has been violated by my relatives numerous times over the last forty years. So I do not rely on them to respect my wishes. Instead, I have clarified and strengthened my legal papers, and I am making this statement public: My living biological relatives—Irving David Feinberg, Betty @Vance Hyde, and @Catherine Ryan Hyde—are not my family. They do not speak for me.

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) defines “family” as: “The person(s) who plays a significant role in the individual’s [patient’s] life. This may include a person(s) not legally related to the individual.”

Irving David Feinberg, Betty Vance Hyde, and Catherine Ryan Hyde have not played any significant role in my adult life. I have not seen or spoken to my parents in 40 years. Catherine Ryan Hyde was a child when I left home as a youth, and has only met me a handful of times in her adult lifetime.

Catherine Ryan Hyde’s narrations about my identity and early family life to audiences and media on her young adult novel book tour is not the first time that she or other relatives have narrated hostile accounts of my life--in person and in print.

Who is, and who is not, my ‘family’

My estranged biological relatives know very little about the decades of my adult life. They are strangers, by my choice, because of their history of bigotry and abusive behaviors toward me.

Yet the capitalist state often cedes legal power to blood relatives by default. So, I’ve had to struggle to assert legal independence from the white, patriarchal, heterosexually-modeled nuclear family into which I was born.

For four decades I have been forced to create and revise sets of legal forms for every state in the U.S. in which I’ve lived or sought medical care. These foundational documents state in clear language that I have been legally autonomous from my birth family since I reached the age of legal consent.

My documents state that Irving David Feinberg, Betty Vance Hyde, and Catherine Ryan Hyde have no legal rights in my life.

My legal papers also spell out clearly who does have the right to speak for me if I am unable to speak for myself.

Minnie Bruce Pratt has been my family, legally and in life, since 1992. As lovers, we have shared a home, life and struggle—in sickness and in health. We are domestic partners. We are civil union’d. Yet the state and federal government discriminate against our same-sex economic family unit by denying more than a thousand of the benefits that recognition of same-sex rights as a civil “marriage” certificate would provide.

Because I am female, and in a same-sex relationship, I have to live and travel with legal documents that expressly state who is, and who is not, my family.

Even chosen family members who travel with their legal documents intact can find themselves barred from visiting their loved one in an emergency room, while vindictive relatives who are virtual strangers can proceed to the bedside to make life-and-death decisions.I carry a hospital visitation authorization, the new Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST), my domestic partnership and civil union papers, advanced directives, living will and last will & testament. In addition, I carry a copy of caregivers’ rights, and requests for secular-based care.

I have to legally state in paperwork that Minnie Bruce Pratt is my health care proxy, together with my attorney--who has taught issues of law and transgender. They have my powers of attorney. Based on legal documents that I’ve worked hard to prepare, my chosen family would speak for me if I were unable to advocate for myself.

Minnie Bruce and I both have to carry each other’s documents at all times, as well.

Catherine Ryan Hyde is attempting to undermine all my painstaking documentation of chosen family relationships, by claiming blood ties give her intimate knowledge of my life and identity, and the right to re-write them.

Self-expression of oppressions,
Versus bashing counter-narrative


On her author promotional tour, Catherine Ryan Hyde is developing an embryonic biography of my life--fictionalized and unauthorized—to which I give no consent. Her assertions are all easily found on the web in a google search.

“This is totally my story to tell,” Catherine Ryan Hyde publicly maintains. She claims insider knowledge, because, she says, she grew up with a “transgender sibling.”

She also claims that because I have written and spoken publicly about my own oppressions and life’s struggles, my life is now public domain for her imagination. This argument draws an equal sign between the right of oppressed individuals to self-expression, and the bigoted “voice-over” that contradicts and denies those oppressed identities and life experiences.

Hyde claims she learned acceptance from an early age because she “grew up” with a “transgender sibling.” However, she must admit she is either a virtual stranger to my life, or is maliciously re-writing my identity—or both.

Catherine Ryan Hyde appropriates the description of my life in order to contradict my identity. In her commentary, she co-opts my life’s journey, changes my sex, denies my pronoun(s) of choice, mis-describes my gender expression, and closets my declared sexuality.

I can say with certainty that if anyone claims “insider” knowledge of my life based on patriarchal blood relations--or claims to have been a long-lost “good friend,” or to have “dated” me long ago—in order to deny and obfuscate my life’s struggles, then I can guarantee you that the “love” is not mutual.


When a basher narrates my bio


The only authority any of my biological relatives, including Catherine Ryan Hyde, can muster to justify talking about my early life is that they were “there. “

But, those who take part in group beatings and gang rape of oppressed individuals are also “there” during assaults. That doesn’t give those bigots the right to “own” or re-write the biographies of those who survived their attacks.

Nor do bigots and bullies have the right to rewrite their violence against an oppressed individual as “loving” and “consensual.” Such actions are a continuation of the violent and prejudiced abuse; it’s trying to take over another person’s life; it’s attempting to control and define someone else, against their will.

“As some of you may know already, I grew up with a transgender sibling,” Hyde states--assigning a later 20th-century identity to my mid-20th-century birth.

“A transgender person is someone who is born with a type of birth defect, for lack of a better phrase,” she asserts. (People Profile; posted: xcell.paulmitchell.edu)

Hyde makes this pronouncement as someone who is not self-identified as “transgender.”

Hyde narrowly defines her use of the term “transgender” for her young adult novel character when she says that he has “not transitioned yet.” (my emphasis]

My own life’s journey and oppressions are different than those of her protagonist. To state or imply that my life’s identity is the same as Hyde’s leading “transgender” character pits my life and identity and oppressions against those of others.

See my writings for how I’ve defined my life’s journey, my sex, gender expression, sexuality, and politics.

So in having based herself as an authority on my life, is Hyde proclaiming my sex, my gender expression or my sexuality as biological “birth defects?”

In any case, she wasn’t around for my birth. As the youngest of three daughters, I was already about 6 years old when she was born.

Hyde was only about 7 years old when I was 13, and I had to ask my parents to sign working papers, so that I could get a job after high school and not have to come home until it was time to go to bed.

Outside my parents’ home, and beyond high school corridors and classrooms, I was able to find wage work during the Vietnam War, and loving relationships. I found communities, struggle, my voice and pride.

What happened, in Hyde’s publicity-tour narrative of my life, to my out-and-proud butch lesbian life in communities and struggles in Buffalo, Albany, and Rochester, New York; Erie, Pennsylvania; St. Catherine’s and Toronto, Ontario—at a time when same-sex love was illegal and subject to raids by police and groups of bashers?

I later moved out of my parents’ home before the legal age of consent, despite the fact that I was still their legal ward. After years of living independently, I had to return shortly before my 21st birthday, in order to ask my parents to sign permission for me to begin taking hormones. I did not self-identify as transgender at that time.

Several years later, when I told my parents that I was going to stop taking hormones, my biological father ridiculed me and my biological mother sat silently in another room, her back towards me as I left. Catherine Ryan Hyde was nowhere to be seen.

My biological parents reportedly debated, for the second time in my young life, whether they should sign legal papers that would forcibly confine me to a psychiatric institution. I did not self-identify as transgender at that time in my life, either.

By suddenly publicly claiming me as kin, and implying that familial knowledge is a foundation for her young adult novel, Hyde erases my chosen family, in order to return me, inaccurately, as her “brother,” back as a 20-year-old still under the legal control of the father-dominated, heterosexual, nuclear family.

I am not a daughter or a son to Irving David Feinberg and B. Vance Hyde; I am not a sister or a brother to Catherine Ryan Hyde. I could not be forced into those legal categories or those violent dynamics of group bigotry with these three relatives, even at gunpoint: metaphorically or literally.

Burying my life in fiction,
while I’m still living the non-fiction



After 20 years of respecting my request for no contact, Catherine Ryan Hyde called me and asked to meet. At that time, I thought she accurately narrated the prejudices articulated through group scapegoating in the nuclear family of my birth.

But when I agreed to meet with her several times over the most recent two decades, she just delivered more “family” horror stories: an earlier account of parents debating whether to permanently institutionalize me when I was a young teen; family members actually speculating, as adults, whether I might have been possessed by an evil spirit at birth; the patriarch of the family disowning me in his will; the fear of a family member that I might kill her children if I knew of their existence.

If Catherine Ryan Hyde, the willing messenger, answered the bigotries, she did not relate that to me.

I last met Hyde when she came to my 60th birthday party. I had hoped to spend one-on-one time with many loved ones that weekend, on the eve of treatment for long-untreated Lyme plus serious co-infections.

Catherine Ryan Hyde dominated my weekend when she argued with me for hours that the story of the Tutsi people in Rwanda is hers to tell. Her statements about the peoples of Rwanda were so racist, so apologetic for colonialism and imperialism, that I informed Hyde at that time that she was no political kin to me.

She continued to press by e-mail argument. At that time, I restated my request for no further contact from these living biological relatives.

Now Catherine Ryan Hyde is appropriating my life and voice in order to try counter-narrate it. Hyde, a coward who is emboldened with Knopf’s power and money behind her, is trying to bury my life in fiction, while I’m still living my non-fiction journey and struggles.


‘Crossing the street to start trouble’


In a web interview traveling the Internet, Hyde writes that she created a “transgender” character because: “I was so outraged by the violence and abuse faced by transgender people. The way someone will cross over from the other side of the street to start trouble. To get in their faces, push them.”

The fact is, however, that’s exactly what this biological relative is doing to me.

Hyde’s counter-narration of my life attempts to silence my adult lifetime of revolutionary anti-capitalist political writing and activism. She replaces my message of collective struggle and liberation with her timid appeal for “tolerance.”

Catherine Ryan Hyde’s story of my life and her relationship to it omit this real-life fact: She and her parents are not welcome in her “transgender sibling’s” home.

The only way Irving David Feinberg, Betty Vance Hyde, and Catherine Ryan Hyde can prove they’ve learned a lesson in acceptance is to respect my stated and written requests to stay out of my life--and the lives of my chosen family.

However, based on past experiences, I do not expect any of the three to respect my requests. And in this case, the bully pulpit of the public relations speaking tour is paid for and promoted by a major industry publisher, with money and media power.

As public relations, repeated over and over in publicity, on the web, and before audiences, this co-optation of my own life’s narrative is a form of identity theft.

I can only write this public message one time. I have suffered a serious medical setback during the time and effort it took me to write and post this.

I thank each person who has asked me if there’s any way they could help lift a burden from me in time of illness. I ask your help in circulating this statement from me into the public record.

I ask for help in circulating this message from workers in the publishing, and other media industries--from media for LGBT communities to Publisher's Weekly—from legal and library and medical workers, those who work as secretaries and researchers, bloggers and journalists, those who defend the rights of youth and elders, revolutionaries and all who fight for social and economic justice, my literary agency Sterling Lord Literistic, Inc., and my labor union--the National Writers' Union, UAW Local 1981.

I ask you to aid delivery of this message—on flat typography and raised Braille, in signed languages and spoken languages. As an internationalist and anti-imperialist I am sorry to be posting a message that I hope will be read around the world, and yet, I am only able to post my statement in the English language—the lingua franca of imperialism.

I ask help from some of the skilled and thoughtful translators I’ve worked with around the world in translating this statement.


Message to my chosen family:

I have had a very low quality of life since October 2007; however, I treasure the love in my life—the only riches I desire.

To my chosen family: I can feel the strength of your love and caring and support--even when there are so few words in the English-language that recognize the power of our bonds.

We are all unique. We don’t all share the same ideas. Instead, as chosen family, we are defined by our loving, mutually supportive relations. Our chosen family bonds are built on principles that aren’t for sale, including mutual respect, and a process of understanding through increasingly clear communication.

My caring circle extends across the U.S. and around the world, and each member of my chosen family can recognize a bashing, whether the verbal delivery is hard-knuckled or honey-smooth.

So I take this opportunity to publicly thank you for your support. And I’d like to also honor two of my relatives, who I do think of as family.

After rejecting mean-spirited family gossip about my sister Christie, I went to visit her in a nursing home on her birthday, shortly before her death. Because I will not co-opt her voice in life, or after death. I will only say that I talked to her about the way I felt that violent family dynamics pitted me against her. I learned a lot that day about how she felt about the role she’d been put in as a child, as well.

When we said our goodbyes, I hugged her as a sister.

I also want to honor one of my grandfathers; I never met either one.

I honor my grandfather who labored all winter long without a paycheck during the last Great Depression in order to stoke the furnace at the “poor house.” I’ve been told that when he later died, his funeral drew more people from the town than that of its mayor.

I have never taken off my hat for a cop, a boss or a foreman. But as my grandfather’s communist grandchild, I take my place in that gathering of respect--hat in my hands--to honor this worker, who demonstrated with his labor, his consciousness of the class truth that the union movement is built on: An injury to one is an injury to all!

Saturday, January 22

Hawaii Law Bars Release of Obama Birth Certificate

Mark Niesse
Jan 22, 2011 – 6:58 AM


When are these so-called "birthers" going to give up? Why are they willing to go to these ridiculous lengths to raise doubts about our Commander-in-Chief? Do they really believe this stuff about him not being a citizen, or is it a case of 'If we throw enough mud something has to stick!"? What is it going to take to make these people understand that there is no basis for any of these accusations?

HONOLULU - A privacy law that shields birth certificates has prompted Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie to abandon efforts to dispel claims that President Barack Obama was born outside Hawaii, his office says.

State Attorney General David Louie told the governor that privacy laws bar him from disclosing an individual's birth documentation without the person's consent, Abercrombie spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz said Friday.

"There is nothing more that Gov. Abercrombie can do within the law to produce a document," said Dela Cruz. "Unfortunately, there are conspirators who will continue to question the citizenship of our president."

The Obama campaign released a copy of his certification of live birth in response to claims by conspiracy theorists that the president wasn't born in the United States.
Abercrombie, who was a friend of Obama's parents and knew him as a child, launched an investigation last month into whether he can release more information about the president's Aug. 4, 1961 birth. The governor said at the time he was bothered by people who questioned Obama's birthplace for political reasons.

But Abercrombie's attempt reached a dead end when Louie told him the law restricted his options.

Hawaii's privacy laws have long barred the release of a certified birth certificate to anyone who doesn't have a tangible interest.

So-called "birthers" claim Obama is ineligible to be president because they say there's no proof he was born in the United States, with many of the skeptics questioning whether he was actually born in Kenya, his father's home country.

Hawaii's health director said in 2008 and 2009 that she had seen and verified Obama's original vital records, and birth notices in two Honolulu newspapers were published within days of Obama's birth at Kapiolani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu.

Health Department spokeswoman Janice Okubo again confirmed Friday that Obama's name is found in its alphabetical list of names of people born in Hawaii, maintained in bound copies available for public view.

That information, called index data, shows a listing for "Obama II, Barack Hussein, Male," according to the department's website.

"The index is just to say who has their records within the department. That's an indication," Okubo said. "I can't talk about anyone's records."

The Obama campaign issued a certificate of live birth in 2008, an official document from the state showing the president's birth date, city and name, along with his parents' names and races.

Saturday, January 15

Widow who lived with corpses could get them back

In This June 25, 2010 photo, Jean Stevens, 91, holds a photograph from the 1940s of herself and her late husband, James, outside her home in Wyalusing, Pa. Authorities say Stevens stored the bodies of her husband, who died in 1999, and her twin, who died in October 2009, on her property. (AP Photo / Michael Rubinkam)

Okay, this one is a little different, it still points out the craziness in this country, but in a way that has a happy ending. I wonder though, why is it a problem for her to have her husband and sister's bodies? If there was a law against it, why'd they let her dig them up in the first place? I wonder who helped her do it; I can't imagine this old woman sneaking into a cemetery with a shovel when she was 79 years old and doing it herself!

Associated Press

WYALUSING, Pa. -- It looks like Jean Stevens will be reunited with the two people she loved so much that she wanted them to keep her company after they died.

The 91-year-old widow who lived with the embalmed corpses of her husband and twin sister—until authorities found out and took them away—is hopeful they’ll be returned soon.

Workmen at Stevens’ rural property outside the northern Pennsylvania town of Wyalusing have been busy the past few months, erecting a gabled building with gray siding and a white door. It resembles an oversized shed, or a smaller version of Stevens’ detached garage.

In reality, it’s a mausoleum that Stevens intends as the final resting place of her husband of nearly 60 years, James Stevens, and her twin, June Stevens. And authorities have told her it’s the only way she can get them back.

She can’t wait.

“I think about them all the time,” Stevens told The Associated Press a few days before Christmas, “and I always will.”

The coroner, she said, “has them up there in the cold box, which makes me shiver. He says, ‘They’re all right, Jean, you don’t have to worry about them.”’

Stevens had their bodies dug up shortly after they died—James in 1999, June in 2009 -- because she couldn’t bear not being able to see them again. She kept her husband on a couch in the garage, and her sister in a spare room off the bedroom, where “I could touch her and look at her and talk to her,” Stevens told AP last summer.

“Death is very hard for me to take,” she added then.

Stevens’ tale touched a chord. She estimates she received about 70 letters from around the world, most of them expressing well-wishes and sympathy. She’s written back to some. One of her new pen pals mailed a Christmas package with fruitcake, mints, and a holiday tin stuffed with Chex mix. “Dearest Jean,” wrote her correspondent, “you’ve sent us a Christmas treasure, your letter!”

Stevens also knows that some people think she’s strange. She laughs heartily as she leafs through a pair of supermarket tabloids that had blared her story. She says Jay Leno once cracked a joke about her.

But it’s Stevens who may get the last laugh.

Bradford County authorities, who have been storing the bodies in the morgue since they took them away in June, have told Stevens she can have them back if she builds an aboveground vault.

Coroner Tom Carman said he plans to release them once it’s completed.

“I want to get Jimmy and June back to her just as soon as I possibly can,” he said.

Carman has struck up an unusual friendship with Stevens. He’s spent hours listening to her talk, mainly about the past. “She’s a wonderful lady,” he said.

Stevens plans to place her husband and sister in body bags with clear panels, so she can see their faces.

The mausoleum is large enough to hold as many as eight bodies. Stevens said she’d like to transfer the remains of several loved ones to the crypt, including those of her long-deceased mother and father.

One of the spots will be reserved.

“She means to be placed there, as well,” Carman said. “She’s made that very clear.”

(Copyright ©2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Friday, January 14

Vaccine-autism researcher should be prosecuted

The United States needs to put together a team from Law and Order like District Attorney Jack McCoy, Assistant District Attorney Claire Kincaid, Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot, Assistant District Attorney Casey Novak, and Assistant District Attorney Ron Carver, and then (since the whole thing started in Britain) add in Senior Crown Prosecutor James Steel, and go after this guy! Can you picture it? Not only would he be prosecuted and convicted of fraud, for all the people who died as a result of not taking the vaccine and contracting the illness and dying, he would be charged with untold counts of murder, prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced to the electric chair!

Unfortunately, this isn't Law and Order, this is real life, and in real life, the justice system just isn't interested enough in a case like this to spend the man-hours and money necessary to pursue such a judgment. If he gets prosecuted for anything it will be fraud, and perhaps theft by misdirection (or something else equally as stupid) and MAYBE be sentenced to a couple of years; and I wonder how much of that time he would actually do? I hate to think of the anguish of all the families whose children died from whooping cough in an age when no one even gets it anymore...

By Alex B. Berezow, Special to CNN

(CNN) -- Finally, after 13 years of needless controversy, the British Medical Journal determined that Andrew Wakefield's vaccine-autism link constituted an "elaborate fraud."

Having already lost his medical license in the UK for unethical professional conduct, it is now time for him to be prosecuted.

The prosecution of a scientist, or any academic for that matter, might conjure up images of the trial of Galileo. For the sake of research integrity and academic freedom, it is not something to be undertaken lightly. Scientists require the flexibility to publish unconventional research, especially if that research is controversial or unsettling. However, there is a distinct line between controversy and fraud. Wakefield clearly crossed that line, according to the medical journal.

In 1998, Wakefield conducted a small study with 12 children in which he reported finding a link between the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and autism. However, it was recently revealed that Wakefield manufactured the vaccine-autism link by falsifying patient histories. Despite the British journal's accusations, Wakefield maintains he did not commit fraud.

Scientific fraud is a very serious matter. From a fiscal standpoint, it is essentially stealing money. Whether the funding comes from taxpayers, charities or private sources, there is an expectation that the recipients of such largesse act in good faith and honesty. Any knowledge produced from this funding then enters the public domain via scientific journals. Thus, when a scientist fabricates data, he is not only squandering limited financial resources but is also violating the public's trust.

Even worse, when a scientist commits fraud, he misleads his fellow colleagues for years, if not decades. Thousands of hours and millions of dollars are often wasted disproving the research, and those precious assets could have been better spent elsewhere. In this case, the scientific community has been wasting its resources on Wakefield's theory for 13 years.

As bad as that is, wasted time and money pale in comparison to the devastating personal consequences that occurred across the globe as a direct result of Wakefield's behavior. The marked decrease in vaccinations which occurred in the decade following his research literally cost people their lives. When parents refused to vaccinate their children, many of them contracted diseases such as measles and pertussis (whooping cough). Some of them died.

The reluctance of millions of people to accept the annual influenza vaccination also likely stems, at least in part, from the fallacious vaccine-autism link.

Prosecuting scientists is not common, but it is also not without precedent.

Eric Poehlman, a former obesity and menopause researcher, falsified data in grant applications to the National Institutes of Health. He was convicted of scientific misconduct and sentenced to a year in prison.

Additionally, disgraced researcher Hwang Woo-suk fabricated data in regard to the cloning of human embryos. He was tried in South Korea and convicted of embezzlement and bioethical violations, but he escaped a fraud conviction and jail time.

In the current case, the journal says, Wakefield purposefully manipulated patient histories in order to fabricate an erroneous link between vaccines and autism. The direct result of this was the creation and perpetuation of an insidious myth that may be unparalleled in modern day medicine. Amazingly, Wakefield even established the "Thoughtful House" in Austin, Texas, from which he promoted his quackery in the United States.

It is for these reasons that Wakefield should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of American and British law. Perhaps if he spends the next few years behind bars, people who have suffered from the impact of his actions will see that justice is being done.

Unfortunately, Wakefield's enthusiastic supporters have little use for facts. With Jenny McCarthy and others willing to use their celebrity to propagate this myth, the scourge of preventable childhood diseases may be with us for years to come.

Let us hope Hollywood sends us a pro-vaccine actor.

(Editor's note: Alex B. Berezow is the editor of RealClearScience. He holds a Ph.D. in microbiology. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Alex B. Berezow.)

Monday, January 10

Countering The Westboro Baptist Protests Of The Six Slain In Arizona


This is a child, a child whose parents deserve to have a quiet time to say goodbye to their child; when is someone going to stop these people? All these high-powered lawyers manage to find loopholes to get criminals off everyday, and they find ways to whitewash some of the crummy things some of these politicians do, so why can't they find a way that the cities can deny this group the right to be so offensive and insulting? If the police can get away with shooting people in cold blood on a subway platform in front of witnesses, why the hell can't they do something about these jerks showing up at private funerals and disrupting things? This was a little girl for goodness' sake! How can anyone who calls themselves a Christian honestly believe the things that these people spout?? Okay, enough from me; here is the article I came across on LezGetReal...

by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
The funerals will soon be held for the six who were slain during the same shooting that nearly took the life of Representative Gabrielle Giffords, and the people from Westboro Baptist Church are planning on showing up to hold their usual disrespectful protest. One group of gay activists are planning on raising money during that time from passers by to help fund the Anti-Violence Project of Southern Arizona. There are, however, those who could, and should, come out for these funerals.

Imagine the cadre from WBC being surrounded by the combined might of the current Philadelphia Phillies and the LA Dodgers when the come to protest at the funeral of Christina Taylor Green. Her father works for the Dodgers and her grandfather managed the Phillies. All the players have to do is form a circle shoulder to shoulder and stand with their backs to the group.

The same should happen when it comes to the funerals of Judge John Roll and Gabe Zimmerman, but this time with Federal employees from the area. For the other three, members of the various religious communities of Tucson should form the human circle. The media should just ignore WBC.

As for Phelps-A-Thon, their aim is noble. Here is their press release:

The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) advocacy group,
Progressive Approach, is hosting an online PHELPS-A-THON to
counter-protest the Westboro Baptist Church’s (WBC) picket of the
funeral of the victims of the recent shooting in Arizona. The WBC is
protesting the funerals because they believe God sent the shooter to
punish America for its tolerance of LGBT people.

During their own protest, the Westboro Baptist Church will in fact be
raising money for Wingspan, the Anti-Violence Project of Southern
Arizona.

The website, http://Phelps-A-Thon.com is collecting pledges online for
every minute WBC pickets the funeral. The longer they protest, the
more money they will raise.

“I believe everyone has the right to free speech, but protesting these
funerals is beyond wrong, it is disgusting,” said Chris Mason,
Director of Phelps-A-Thon.com. “A lot of people are angry with this
and have emailed, asking us to do something. We feel this is an
appropriate response to such hatred; while the Westboro Baptist Church
is celebrating violence, they will also be raising funds to fight it.”

Fred Phelps and his group travel all across the United States
spreading their “god hates fags” message at schools, churches, and
soldiers funerals. Many states have passed laws against protesting at
funerals in order to stop the group’s actions.

Those interested in the Phelps-A-Thon can find out more information by
visiting the website: http://www.Phelps-A-Thon.com.

Thursday, January 6

5 Things to Do in 2011

I know it's rather late for resolutions; most people pop those out on January 1st, and promptly forget them on the 2nd! I actually hadn't planned to blog about any, but then I heard something on the Tom Joyner Morning Show that made me change my mind.

One of the TJMS commentators did a piece on 5 things we should do; while I have not recreated the whole commentary (I don't take shorthand! LOL) these are the 5 things and the basic meaning behind them.


5 THINGS TO DO IN 2011

1. READ - The first is read; the younger generation is coming up woefully short when it comes to education and literacy. We are the only ones who can change that, by instilling in the young people the idea that 'knowledge is power', and knowing how to read (and using that knowledge) is something that will carry you far in business and social circles. Read to them; make time every day to read to or with them. It doesn't have to be long, or deep, but READ. Let them see you reading. Take time to read the newspaper over coffee in the morning, catch up on what's happening in the world at large and especially in your community. In the evening, pick up a book or a magazine after dinner, rather than hitting the remote or turning on the video game. You can have a 'reading hour' in the evening, where there's no television, video, or even radio, just read. If you want your children and grandchildren to be literate and well-educated, first you must be. "Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it." (New Living Translation, 2007)

2. SAVE - There are many ways you can save money, even if you're living from paycheck to paycheck. The most basic, PAY YOURSELF FIRST. Whatever you bring home, before you start on the bills, take a predetermined amount or percentage off the top and pay it to yourself. It's not for spending though, it goes into a savings account meant expressly for that. One way I've found to make it less painless, I have direct deposit, and I have an automatic transfer set up on my payday. When my pay is deposited, the amount I've chosen is automatically transferred to a savings account. By the time I go to pay bills, what's in checking is what I have to work with, PERIOD. You can also find out if your bank has a 'Keep the Change' option; every time I use my debit card to make a purchase, the amount spent is rounded up to the nearest dollar and that change also goes into the savings account. It may not sound like much, but if you use your debit card a lot, it adds up!

3. SERVE - Find a place to volunteer. You can feed the homeless, read to the elderly, visit sick children in the hospital; there are many ways you can serve. Give back to your community some of the blessings you've received. It doesn't have to be daily, or even weekly; you can spend two hours a month helping an elderly couple with their shopping and running errands. However you choose to do it, serve the Lord by serving others.

4. BUILD - Build something. Making something with your own two hands can give you an amazing sense of well-being, of pride, of contentment, and of satisfaction. Better yet, build something with your children! Spending quality time with them building something where there was nothing shows them that a. They don't have to be reach to make things happen. b. They can do anything they set their minds to. It will also give you a chance to be with them doing something fun, other than playing computer or video games or eating dinner! What you build can be something as extensive as a 10,000 piece Lego city, or something as small as a bird house made from a pre-cut set; it doesn't matter, as long as you do it yourself.

5. LOVE - Does this one really need explanation? Love someone, anyone, everyone. Not romantic love, just plain love for humankind. Show someone some love today; you'd be amazed at the love you get back!

So while it's not exactly the way he said it, it's pretty much what he said, with a few embellishments of my own of course. Sounds like a pretty good list to me; nothing too big it can't be done, nothing so small as to render it insignificant, and everything on the list will make a big impact.

Have a Happy and Blessed New Year!

Monday, January 3

It's Going To Be A Happy New Year!!

The year 2011 has arrived, and it actually appears that it just might turn out to be better than 2010... I can't say that I'm going to be rich, or lose 40 lbs, or suddenly not look my age anymore, I'd be lying if I did. I think I can say though that enough small things are going to change in my world that they will add up to making the whole a lot prettier than it was. I'm going to have more peace of mind, less stress, and enjoy life more. All in all, I think it's a good thing.

Feels strange being back in Bikini Bottom; haven't blogged in so long (just don't have time or motivation anymore)that I find myself rereading my own old blog posts, and feeling like they're news to me! I do believe the motivation is coming back though. Don't know if I'll be able to find the time, but I'll sure be trying! LOL

Appears that I've been gone too long, my old followers have bailed on me. I certainly hope that in 2011 I will gather new friends to share my thoughts with, and who will share their thoughts (and their blogs) with me. If you'll notice, the article I posted today is not exactly in the same vein as what I usually post; NO, I have not suddenly "gone straight", or stopped working for gay rights, or stopped speaking out about ALL the inequality that exists in this society. Every once in awhile I just see something that strikes me, and I'll post it, especially if it's something that I'd like to get feedback on.

Well, I hope everyone had a happy, safe, and blessed arrival of the New Year, and I pray that with God's blessing your life will be as you need it to be.

Be Blessed.

Kristi Cornwell's remains discovered by brother; investigtors identify 'strong suspect' in slaying


A little different from my usual, but something I felt moved to comment on... Comment being, how did her body remain undiscovered for over a year and although such a "relentless search" was done for her, when she was only "roughly nine miles away from where police believe she was abducted"???


Breaking News

Brother found Kristi Cornwell's remains

Metro Atlanta / State News 3:41 p.m. Monday, January 3, 2011

By Christian Boone and Marcus K. Garner
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Kristi Cornwell's brother discovered her remains Saturday while searching for the sibling who disappeared nearly 16 months ago.

"I'm thankful she can now have the proper burial that she deserves," Richard Cornwell said Monday at a press conference in which GBI officials confirmed that the partially buried, burned remains were those of the former probation officer, last seen Aug. 11, 2009 walking near her parents' Blairsville home.

Investigators also said they think they know who killed Cornwell: James Scott Carringer, who first emerged as a suspect last spring after fatally shooting himself following a three-hour standoff with Atlanta police.

GBI director Vernon Keenan said Carringer was now a "strong suspect" after cell phone records revealed that he was "within a two-mile radius" the night Cornwell disappeared.

Carringer was wanted in the April 6 kidnapping and rape of a 19-year-old relative in Ellijay. While assisting in that investigation GBI agents "uncovered information that led them to pursue the possibility of Carringer’s involvement ... in Kristi’s disappearance," GBI spokesman John Bankhead said.

Carringer also emerged as a person of interest in the botched abduction of a Ranger, N.C., woman by someone seen driving away in a silver Nissan Xterra. Investigators believe that incident and Cornwell’s slaying could be related, Bankhead said.

Perhaps the most damning evidence implicating Carringer, arrested in 2000 in North Carolina for assault to inflict serious injury, was his removal of a brush guard that had been on front of his Xterra soon after Cornwell went missing.

Agents impounded two Xterras from Carringer's Young Harris home, not far from where Cornwell disappeared. The former appraiser and home builder was also suspected in the attempted abduction of a 10-year-old girl from a church parking lot in Montgomery, Ala., on April 4.

Cornwell was talking to her boyfriend on the phone the night she disappeared. She said that a car was following her and the boyfriend, Douglas Davis, of Carrollton, said he then heard her scuffling with her abductor. Cornwell, 38, pleaded, "Don't take me," Davis told investigators.

The former prison guard's shoes and eyeglasses were found nearby and her cell phone was located a few miles away. Evidence was otherwise scarce.

Cornwell's family maintained a relentless search, renting airplanes to scout for her and sending some 80,000 fliers with information about the case to communities in Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee.

That search was down to a single family member by Saturday. Kristi Cornwell's remains were found roughly nine miles away from where police believe she was abducted.