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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

This Just In: "Hope Still Alive"

After tonight's SOTU, I still believe in change. The President came out humble, then after reading his hand, went all in. Even finished with the DADT card at the end. I especially liked his boldness when he was explaining his freeze on discretionary spending and looked over at the Republicans and said 'I'm afraid that means there isn't going to be room on the budget for those tax cuts for the big oil companies and for the wealthiest 1% of Americans.' PRICELESS .

It was also good to hear him speak to the public's expectations of him at the end. Since the Primaries, Obama has had this almost "savior" or "Messiah" type of tag affixed to him. He addressed that tonight. He is just one man. The world can't expect one man to fix everything in a matter of a year and seven days. It's not going to happen unless we get up off of our asses and start making a change ourselves. Health care reform, trillion dollar deficit, bringing all of our troops home from Iraq, putting 23 million people to can't just wave your "Obama Wand" and make these things happen tomorrow. Give the guy a chance. We gave him four years. Give him four years. Why are we all freaking out after 12 months and acting like it's the end of the world? Do what you can to make that change happen. In the meantime, keep doing what you're doing Mr. President.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Apathy Or Ignorance

I became privy to a conversation that was taking place online concerning donations to Haiti. Someone posted on their Facebook status:

"Shame on you America: the only country where we have homeless without shelter, children going to bed without eating, elderly going without needed meds, and mentally ill without treatment - yet we have a benefit for the people of Haiti on 12 TV stations."

I was dumbfounded. I didn't know where to start to pick this message apart. First, this occurs in practically every country. There is a level of poverty, whether it be great or small, in all nations, even communist countries. Secondly, the poverty level in the United States is roughly 13%, give or take a percent or two, depending upon the region of the country you live in. Haiti, prior to the earthquake, was at a poverty rate of over 60%. It was the poorest nation, by far, in the Western Hemisphere. Add to it a magnitude 7.1 earthquake, killing upwards of 200,000 people, and leaving over a third of the population, or roughly 3 million people, homeless.

My friend explained those points to this woman that posted the message. She received the following response:

To me I don't care any time something happens here no one comes and help us be we are the 1st to help other. We need to help our own people before we help others!!! And all we are doing by helping them is putting our country into more debt!!

At what point did the Hope For Haiti telethon put our nation into more debt? Was it government backed or funded. Did the Federal government agree to match donations dollar for dollar like the Canadian government did? (Classy move BTW)

When the World Trade Center fell, dozens of countries offered aid, but were all refused. We had the manpower and the resources to take care of our own. When the airports were shut down, people opened up their homes to take in Americans, so they wouldn't have to sleep in airport terminals for days. 2,752 people lost their lives on 9/11.

Here is something that you may not know. When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, 98 countries and 11 International Aid organizations pledged humanitarian aid, including $854 million in funds(yes cash), of which, $40 million was used. Hurricane Katrina claimed 1,836 lives.

The U.S. has not seen a disaster anywhere near the scale of what Haiti has witnessed. Imagine Katrina multiplied by 100. Imagine the city you live in...gone.

This last message really got me:

and I have the power to NOT use any of my funds to help the people of Haiti!!! I understand what happend to them is bad, but I also know that peoplehere at home are just as hard up for money, food, water, and a roof over their head!!! And that is all thanks to the down falls the came after 9/11.

9/11 happened almost nine years ago. Don't tell me people are still blaming the economy on that! Last time I checked, the economy had a nice upswing, then we hit a recession, but that had nothing to do that day back in 2001. The economy bounced back from that in 2002. And I would be willing to say that people aren't as "hard up" as the Haitians for food and water. Latest reports from the country are saying that groups of armed men are storming orphanages. They threaten to kill all of the children on the property unless they are given the food and the water that has been set aside for the kids. I must say, food stamps and unemployment checks sound so much worse.

I honestly don't know if this is a case of apathy or ignorance. It sounds like she is getting her information second hand, likely reposting something that she read from someone that reposted it themselves. It doesn't seem like they're politically active. If they get their news, it's more than likely from Rush Limbaugh than Rachel Maddow. Sure, I'm making generalizations here, but it's hard not to. On the surface, you picture a Nascar loving, tobacco chewin', Toby Keith fan. If it's not a bunch of white, working class Americans that need help, then they're not worth helping. "So, the world just lost a quarter of a million black people. Not my problem."

Well, it's mine. The nation of Haiti can't take care of themselves. Without our money or our assistance, we would be leaving nine million innocent people to die. Their blood will not be on my hands. to donate. Thank you.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Haiti And A Personal " Hallelujah"

I didn't get a chance to see the telethon for Haiti last night. We went out to dinner and didn't get home until after it was over. This evening, I caught a video of Justin Timberlake and Matt Morris' performance of 'Hallelujah' from the program. It made me cry.

I must admit, for as long as I can remember, 'Hallelujah' has been one of my favorite songs. It is, in my opinion, an example of the perfect song. Leonard Cohen put lyric to melody as if he were divinely inspired. It can easily fit into a number of scenarios: love, betrayal, loss and hope.

Hallelujah roughly translates to "thank" or "praise God" in Hebrew. When seeing this performance, it made me make a quick list of all of the thing that I held dear that I could go to sleep tonight and say a personal "Hallelujah" for. Although, I don't believe in God in the traditional sense, per se, I am still mindful of what I have and what I could have easily lost.

With that in mind, make a donation to, or make a $10 donation to the American Red Cross by texting the word Haiti to 90999. A charge for $10 will appear on your phone bill next month. Conditions are getting desperate. Anything you can do will help.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

An Obama Supporter Suddenly Feels Discouraged

I can't say I blame him. For the Senate to give up Ted Kennedy's seat to a Republican in the midst of health care legislation. I'm just sick.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Royal Caribbean Profiting In Haiti

Last night, the Guardian paper in the UK ran a story online, reporting that Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines still has a port of call on a private island in Haiti.

As recently as January 15th, Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas docked in Labadee, Haiti, 60 miles outside of Port-au-Prince. There, travelers jet ski, sun bathe, and enjoy barbecue lunches behind a 12 foot tall barbwire fence, complete with armed guards.

The decision to go ahead with the visit has divided passengers. The ships carry some food aid, and the cruise line has pledged to donate all proceeds from the visit to help stricken Haitians. But many passengers will stay aboard when they dock; one said he was "sickened".

"I just can't see myself sunning on the beach, playing in the water, eating a barbecue, and enjoying a cocktail while [in Port-au-Prince] there are tens of thousands of dead people being piled up on the streets, with the survivors stunned and looking for food and water," one passenger wrote on the Cruise Critic internet forum.

"It was hard enough to sit and eat a picnic lunch at Labadee before the quake, knowing how many Haitians were starving," said another. "I can't imagine having to choke down a burger there now.''

Some booked on ships scheduled to stop at Labadee are afraid that desperate people might breach the resort's 12ft high fences to get food and drink, but others seemed determined to enjoy their holiday. "I'll be there on Tuesday and I plan on enjoying my zip line excursion as well as the time on the beach," said one.

According to Royal Caribbean, they are donating $1 million to earthquake relief efforts. They also like to point out how they're bringing 40 pallets of rice, beans, powdered milk, water, and canned foods with each trip to the island. According to their spokesman, however, "when the supplies arrive in Labadee, they are distributed by Food for the Poor, a "longtime" partner of Royal Caribbean in Haiti". Being a "longtime" partner tells me that they have been delivering these supplies for quite some time before the earthquake.

At the very least, this is insensitive. This could easily be called disgusting. As a cruise line, Royal Caribbean has many more options than to go into a country that was hit by an earthquake less than a week earlier. It is a slap in the face to the people of Haiti to treat their country as a tourist destination when 200,000 people are dead, as many as 3 million people are homeless, and eat burgers and ribs behind a fence, while armed guards are hired to keep the locals out.

BOYCOTT ROYAL CARIBBEAN. You have many other choices for your vacation or cruise provider. Royal Caribbean charges as much as $2250.00 per person for a room on the Independence on the Seas. Your lack of patronage will be felt. Let them know that you find their practices uncalled for.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Why Today Is A National Holiday

On a sweltering August day in 1963, an estimated 300,000 people gathered at the National Mall in Washington D.C. seeking change. A change in attitude. A change in standards. A change in life. When the sun came up that morning, many men spoke on their behalf. By sundown, the world only knew the name of one: "Brother Martin".

He was a popular preacher and activist in the South. He had already seen his share of protest and persecution. He was so popular amongst those in attendance, in fact, that he was asked to speak last. Organizers feared that most of the crowd would leave if he had spoken earlier in the day. The program that day had run long. He was asked to give a few, final encouraging words to cap the day off, and to keep it short. He had prepared a speech; no more than five minutes of speaking.

On that breezy Summer afternoon, fate had other plans for him. A few moments into his speech, the wind blew his prepared remarks from the podium. Martin paused for a moment. What followed was the turning point of the civil rights era:

It took a signature the next year from President Johnson to bring about civil rights legislation. It took much more than a signature to change the minds and hearts of many Americans in the years to follow. Brother Martin died from an assassin's bullet less than five years after his "I have a dream" speech.

If not for Dr. King and his speech, the term African-American would not exist. A little boy named Barack Obama would not have had the opportunity to go to Harvard Law School and become President of the United States. Americans would not be donating by the hundreds of millions to a tiny nation of former African slaves.

Thank you Dr. King.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Guaranteed To Make You Laugh

Study Finds Witnesses Can't Keep Their Members

A new report from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life was released last week which had some interesting information on Americans and religion. In it, it revealed that nearly three quarters of Buddhists in the U.S. were converts. And, only one in three Buddhists were Asian.

Most interesting to me was this tidbit: only 37% of those raised as Jehovah's Witnesses as children identified themselves as Witnesses as adults. I would be willing to say that a large chunk of the remaining 37% still call themselves Witnesses due to the fact that they're afraid to lose everything they have. It was the reason I stayed in as long as I did. I knew the things that I was preaching were wrong. I felt that I had to stay in to keep my family. I am glad to see that I am part of the 63% that was able to get out.

I Took A Belief Quiz

I took a "belief quiz" on, just to see what religion would be suggested based upon my moral and spiritual beliefs. See if you could guess which religion came in at the bottom of the list? Yep, you guessed it, in 27th place was Jehovah's Witnesses at 12%.

Surprisingly, at the top of the list at 100% was Neo-Paganism, followed by Theravada Buddhism at 96% and Mahayana Buddhism at 95%, respectively.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Change The Channel In 2010

I am a person that never, I mean NEVER, make New Year resolutions. To me, they are pointless. They're a waste of time, and they always end up being broken. This year, however, I have decided to make one. I'm changing the channel.

It's a simple concept. If I am sitting on the couch watching television, I am not going to sit through a show that I have no interest in watching. I am going to pick up the remote and change the channel. Why aren't I doing that with my life? Why do I insist on "sitting on the couch" and letting other people and events dictate how my life is going to be lived? So, from now on, I'm changing the channel.

I have already removed certain contacts from Facebook. Why am I still wanting to be friends with people I have nothing in common with? Why do I bother when it comes to people that think they're better than me and my family? CLICK.

I have been sitting back for way too long and letting politics as usual happen in my community. Between Maricopa County, the City of Phoenix and the State of Arizona, there is always a need for a Democratic voice and an activist in the state. I have spent too many years on my ass as a citizen complaining about the Sheriff, City Council members and Governors as time has gone by. CLICK.

The Greater Phoenix area has more LGBT citizens than San Francisco, but a very fractured LGBT "community". Part of the reason why Arizona is such a "Red" state is because the gay community in the Phoenix area is not cohesive. I want to help change that. I want to help bring the community together. I am not sure how. Hell, at this point, I not sure if that is even a possibility. I have been a part of what has been considered the LGBT community in the Phoenix area for the better part of 14 years, and it has been downright embarrassing. The only time anyone communicates with each other is Pride. Lesbians distance themselves from the gay community. Even the gay community is split by the bar or club that is frequented by the individual in question. Leathers hang only with leathers. Bears with bears. Club kids with club kids. CLICK.

When I was first diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome, I was very discouraged at the lack of visible support in the state of Arizona. The website for the Tourette Syndrome Association Arizona Chapter was more than a year behind. It had no contact information. It had no information for support groups or online support. I found myself getting depressed pretty quickly because I felt alone in my fight. I am so thankful that I found Karen Miller. She almost singlehandedly has been keeping a number of local Tourette's support groups up and running. She not only has a group for young adults, but also one for children and for mothers of children with TS.

I don't ever want to see someone else in the same situation I was when I was first diagnosed with Tourette's. Lost, agitated and feeling alone is no way to start a lifelong journey with a neurological disorder. I am going to become an advocate for those with TS. I am going to blog about this as much as I possibly can. I am going to assist Karen with the support group with as much help as she needs. CLICK.

I am going to do the same with my PTSD. I have a unique perspective on it. Mine was a result of childhood abuse. I am not a veteran. I am not a casualty of war. I am a casualty of brainwashed parents.

That being said, let me make one thing clear. I am not, and have never been anti-God or anti-religion. I admire people that have a belief system or a level of faith that has role in their life. It is those people that make God such a central focus in their life that it trumps all other ways of thinking. They can't think for themselves. It's "God's way or no way". That is the problem I have with Jehovah's Witnesses. That is why I am no longer one. There are tens of thousands of people that make the decision to leave the church each year. Doing so, they are abandoned by their families and friends. I will be a voice for them as well. CLICK.

Change the channel in your life. Whether it be recycling your soda cans, or losing a couple of extra pounds. Donate some time at the dog shelter. Blog. Get off your ass and grab that remote.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Proof That Everything Is Funnier With The Benny Hill Theme

Breaking News: Glenn Beck Not Killed In Tragic Accident

Victim In Fatal Car Accident Tragically Not Glenn Beck

My Social Security Appointment

I guess it went about as well as it could have gone. He seemed a little skeptical about my PTSD diagnosis. He kept asking me what made me think I had PTSD. It almost got to the point where I said, "Maybe you should talk to the people that diagnosed me and find out why THEY think I have it". I had a migraine at the time. Still do.

I've had this migraine since last 5 days now. I have been popping Imitrex and Percocets like fucking Tic Tacs and haven't had much relief. The most has been down to a 6 from a 9 or so. Last night was so bad, the pain was going through every joint in my body. It hurt to chew.

Gotta love Tourette's.


I'm really digging these DJ Pogo tracks.


"At Least I Can Say I Have Lived"

For Tiger:

Where Is The Outrage?

So, two days ago, Brit Hume turned a round table of sports picks on Fox News into the 700 Club by going on national television and telling Tiger Woods that the only way that he'll find forgiveness is to abandon Buddhism and become Christian:

That was two days ago. Other than the occasional mention in the blogosphere (and three or four revisits by Andrew Sullivan), I haven't seen or heard anything about this in the mainstream media. Where is the outrage? Where is the call for boycott of advertisers? Why aren't there advertisers dropping from Fox News? Is this something that has come to be expected from them? If Tiger were Muslim, or Jewish, would that have made a difference? Am I not giving it enough time? This is ridiculous!

Dating Site Drops 5000 "Fatties" After Holidays

As further proof that the good looking ones are usually assholes, the dating site dropped over 5000 of it's paying members yesterday after noticing they've added some holiday weight in their profile pictures. The majority of those that were dropped were from the U.S., Canada and Britain.

The move was reportedly prompted by other members of the site, who actually have a say as to whether perspective members are attractive enough to be allowed access onto the dating and social networking website.

When asked for comment, Robert Hintze, site founder said, (I'm not making this up)"Letting fatties roam the site is a direct threat to our business model and the very concept for which was founded."

Maybe I should start a site called

Sunday, January 3, 2010

My Social Security Appointment Is Tomorrow

I'm not as nervous as I thought I would be. I've had an 8.5 migraine for about 24 hours now, so I'm in a lot of pain and very irritable. 'Nuff said.