THE DRESDEN FILES Reading Challenge



My Blog List

Monday, October 12, 2009

HAVING THE QUEERS TO TEA, PART II

Well, gangers, it’s official. President Obama is now on record that he is going to END DADT. Yuppers, I DO believe in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus, IDOIDO.

President Obama told a gay rights group Saturday at a $250 a plate dinner that he will end the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that bars openly homosexual people from U.S. military service. "I will end 'don't ask, don't tell'; that is my commitment," Obama said. "I'm here with you in that fight." The president added that there are "still laws to change and hearts to open." Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that he’s actually GOING to do anything. The Human Right Campaign hasn’t exactly been a friend of the B and T ends of that spectrum, either.

President Obama addressed 3,000 people at a Human Rights Campaign fundraising dinner in Washington, the Los Angeles Times reported. He also said he wants to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which allows states to withhold recognition of same-sex marriages contracted in states where they are legal. So, why isn’t he following in The Governator’s footsteps? California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a bill commemorating Harvey Milk, the first openly gay politician elected to public office in the state, a spokesman for the governor said Monday. He also put into place recognition of gay marriages that have been performed in other states.

So, why isn’t the President doing more for us, the GLBT citizens of the United States?

President Obama patted himself on the back for his party’s passage earlier in the week of a hate-crimes bill that, for the first time, includes gay and transgender people. He also used the opportunity to tell gay critics who have expected so much of him to express what he expects of them. The hate-crimes bill, he said, had become law only because those who believed in it had thoroughly educated the public about why it was important. “Countless activists and organizers never gave up,” he said. “You held vigils. You spoke out year after year, Congress after Congress.” Well, President Obama is right, in a civics-class sort of way, because social change can’t occur if it’s forced from the top-down. Unfortunately, that’s also a convenient argument for him, since it defers responsibility from his office.
“Obama lost me,” said Zach Rosen, 28, who came to Washington from Philadelphia. “He took a lot of gay dollars and gay votes, and then it was like Clinton - unkept promises.” The difference here between the two Presidents, of course, is that Bill Clinton betrayed us all with DADT and DOMA, while smilingly insisting that “now isn’t the time”. President Obama hasn’t done that – yet. “I am disappointed, and I am frustrated,” said Cleve Jones, 54, a former aide to gay rights leader Harvey Milk, the San Francisco supervisor shot to death in City Hall in 1978. Jones, speaking before the president’s address, said he continues to support Obama, but “my sense is there is growing concern and apprehension that he is not going to deliver.”

He and others are disheartened not only by what they perceive as the President’s glacial pace, but by the one-step-forward, one-step-backward progress on the state level. Their Exhibit A is California’s Proposition 8, which halted same-sex marriages after they had been permitted by the state Supreme Court. Now activists promise to exert a new push for more rights with respect to marriage, adoption, the workplace, immigration and other realms.
To many gay rights activists, including me, President Obama has sent mixed signals since he took office in January. Blow hot, blow cold – and never, EVER upset the Religious Reichians©! NEVER upset the ReThugs! NEVER! And that big stick, the majorities that the Democratic Party enjoys in both houses of government? What GOOD are they if they aren’t utilized?

Activists were rankled when the conservative Rev. Rick Warren, a high-profile backer of Proposition 8 and founder of Orange County’s Saddleback Church, gave the invocation at President Obama’s inauguration. Eight months later, the president has gotten good marks for appointing gays and lesbians to administration posts, such as John Berry, director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; Nancy Sutley, chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality; and Fred Hochberg, chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank. He got the best people that he could for the jobs at hand, and that they are all GLBT citizens is good. No, it’s great – but is it enough?
On Thursday of last week, the House passed a bill that would broaden the federal hate-crime law to cover violence against gays. The measure is expected to go before the Senate within days. President Obama noted that the bill was named after Matthew Shepard, the young gay college student whose killing in Wyoming in 1998 galvanized the GLBT rights movement. “This bill will pass and I will sign it into law,” the president said to more cheers. Might I mention at this point that this is LONG overdue? New York City attorney Richard Socarides, Clinton’s former senior advisor on gay and lesbian issues, said he believes Obama is worried about “getting too far out front on some of these social issues” because he fears offending social conservatives.

Never, EVER upset the Religious Reichians©! NEVER NEVER NEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There have been symbolic events, including a White House reception in June to mark LGBT Pride Month; invitations to the White House Easter Egg Roll to gays, lesbians and their children; and a nod to same-sex parents in a late September proclamation heralding “Family Day” I understand that the president has a lot on his plate – really, I DO - but I also remember eight years of peace and prosperity under Bill Clinton, who came to our parties, took our campaign contributions, issued proclamations and THEN betrayed us with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and the Defense of Marriage Act. NONE of us want a repetition of THAT experience.
Pentagon figures released Friday of last week indicate 10,507 men and women have been discharged from the military under DADT in the 12 years ending in 2008. Defense Department spokeswoman Cynthia Smith declined to release the number let go under President Obama, saying these figures would be available next spring. Pardon me, but BULLSHIT. They’ve got the numbers, and they’re afraid of telling anybody just how many MORE soldiers are being kicked out – because they’re queers. Remember 1st Lt. Choi? West Point graduate, highly decorated, universally liked? An openly gay man who served in Iraq with the 10th Mountain Division for 15 months ending in 2007, and is now with the New York Army National Guard? He’s been given his walking papers because of the policy and now awaits final discharge. He’s not the only one either. Look them all up sometime, you’ll be sickened with the waste of resources.

I for one am sick and DAMNED tired of incrementalism. Yes, I understand that we have to wait our turn, just like the African-Americans and the Latinos. I DO understand that health-care reform is a wee bit more urgent. Yes, I DO understand that a consensus has to be built for repeal. So, why hasn’t it been? Don’t we, the Democratic Party, have the votes to get this done?
I realize that other things have priority – and, for the most part, I agree with what the President is trying to do. Unfortunately, he’s squandering the good will, money and votes of, roughly, 20 – 25% of the country. No politician can do that for very long and expect to be re-elected. Not even this good, smart man, who is what we’ve needed for a very long time.

So, another show-and-tell. Having the queers to tea, just in another venue – and nothing else.

A VERY CLEAR AND EVER-PRESENT DANGER

I have always been interested in the ecology and our place within it. I have always recycled everything that I could, and have done so for the past 25 or so years. I have always believed that, given the right opportunities, people will overcome their greed for profits and their callous indifference to the impact that both have on peoples’ lives, especially when it comes to the environment. That belief has taken quite a few not-so-subtle whacks in the past 3 years, but I STILL believed that people in the various polluting industries would at least try to clean up their acts. I even believed that Al Gore winning both an Oscar and the Nobel Prize would change things, would make people in the coal and the oil and gas industries want to be more responsible for being more green, and for helping the green tech revolution really get going.

Naïve much? You BETCHA! Especially about the coal industry.

Please read the article on the following link: http://www.planetshifter.com/node/1348

I had no idea just how toxic coal ash is. I had not one clue as to just how awful the “clean” coal industry is. I did not understand that the EPA cannot – and probably will not – do anything about it, either. Bureau of Red Tape and Sealing Wax – more studies, more delays, and in the end, who suffers? WE do, and we will continue to.

Raise your hands if you remember Rachel Carson’s SILENT SPRING. Nobody? Well, yeah, I guess that you DO have to be at least 50+ years old. Anybody UNDER the age of 50+ remember DDT? No? and yet, we would have NO EPA if not for Rachel Carson. Carson's work had a powerful impact on the environmental movement. SILENT SPRING, in particular, was a rallying point for the fledgling social movement in the 1960s. According to environmental engineer and Carson scholar H. Patricia Hynes, "SILENT SPRING altered the balance of power in the world. No one since would be able to sell pollution as the necessary underside of progress so easily or uncritically."

So, how does this tie into the “clean”coal technologies that we’re being bombarded with these days? The coal industry has responded to environmentalists’ criticisms by running advertising touting clean coal in an effort to counter negative perceptions, as well as by putting more than $50 billion towards the development and deployment of clean coal technologies, including carbon capture and storage. The expenditure has been unsuccessful to date in that there is not a single commercial scale coal fired power station in the US that captures and stores more than token amounts of CO2. So, what’s the benefit again? And why should we care, as long as we get our electricity at cheap rates?

Well, it’s the environment, stupid. (See this article in Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingston_Fossil_Plant_coal_fly_ash_slurry_spill) for an overview of one of the worst ecological disasters in modern history. Environmentalism is different than conservation because it involves a concern for environmental quality, especially with respect to the control of pollution while conservation usually entails the preservation of natural resources. Coal ash is one of the most toxic substances known to exist. Coal, which is primarily used for the generation of electricity, is the second largest domestic contributor to carbon dioxide emissions in the USA. Coal ash also contains toxic metals including arsenic, copper, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, nickel, and thallium, not to mention lead, mercury and arsenic. OH, and some of the coal – the bituminous coal, the medium soft stuff that just about everybody uses – also carries a high percentage of NORM (naturally occurring radioactive material) to boot. Lovely mess we’ve got, isn’t it? We burn so much coal in this country for electricity that every year that process generates 130 million tons of waste. Most of it is coal ash, which as I’ve pointed out previously here, is toxic beyond belief.

So, what’s being done? Basically, nothing. There are only a few companies that are doing coal waste remediation in this country. Right now, one of them that’s headquartered in Houston has a process that removes and precipitates toxic materials from coal tar waste. It’s a start – but it’s just a start. So, what can you do as a private citizen? Get involved. Read about the subject, learn about it, talk about it, join the Sierra Club and various other environmental groups and work with them to help alleviate the problem. Don’t make the presumption that somebody else is going to do it for you. Do it yourself.

Otherwise, we’re not going to have much of a world left to enjoy.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Getting to know me

Hi, all:

I guess that I should have written this introduction BEFORE I started writing, but that's the way it is with a Pisces, we're always going about things bass-ackwards.

As you can see from my picture, I'm a red-head, and an opinionated one to boot. Y'all will all find that out as I post, you read - and hopefully, you comment.

As for politics: I am a fiscal conservative and I used to be a political one. Unfortunately, the (THANK THE GODDESS) FORMER pResident cured all that while he was still governor of my home state of Texas. Cuz'n Anne Richards had it right when she remarked that he was born with a silver foot in his mouth; the only problem that I've been able to find with her remark was that she stopped the analogy too soon. He was actually born with an entire silver LEG in his mouth, and he never learned how to get rid of it effectively, OR keep his mouth SHUT when he needed too. He did a lot of harm here, and he and his'n hurt the country while their regime was in power.

I used to believe in a lot of very conservative issues, and, over the years, have changed my views pretty radically. I no longer believe in the death sentence, for example. I personally don't think that just killing someone is enough punishment for that person. She/he should be put into superseg and left there, to rot in the stink of her/his own reflections. Plus, it's actually cheaper for the rest of us taxpayers that are footing the bill for these crapulous cretins to NOT have to pay for the BEEEEEEEEEEELYUNS andBEEEEEEEEEEEEELYUNS of appeals that ultimately fail in their purpose for the most part.

I don't believe in abstinence-only sex ed in the public schools. It doesn't work, and even the girls that take chastity pledges are only virginal in the technical sense once those nasty ol' hormones kick in. The majority of the girls that take those pledges wind up being a proctologist's BEST customer, or they wind up with STDS in their eyes and mouths from doing the suckjob on their boyfriends. Sad, but true.

I don't believe that we should offer any benefits to illegal aliens whatsoever, including free medical treatment, free dental treatment, food stamps or prenatal care for those women who swim across the Rio Grande to have their babies here so that they themselves can't be deported.

I DO believe that the world needs to do more to address these problems in an organized and comprehensive way, so that their countries of origin aren't so horrid that even cleaning toilets in the bus stations is preferable to being IN those countries.

So, here's who I am: short, fat redhead with MS, a wonderful wife that I adore, and opinions. LOTS of opinions. Stick around if you'd like, and please DO comment. Good, bad or indifferent, the ONLY thing that I hate is somebody that will NOT take a stand. Declare yourself, and then defend your positions - if you can, and if you dare.

I dare - and I dare y'all as well!

"Clean" Coal, my . . . fill in the blanks!

A VERY CLEAR AND EVER-PRESENT DANGER

I have always been interested in the ecology and our place within it. I have always recycled everything that I could, and have done so for the past 25 or so years. I have always believed that, given the right opportunities, people will overcome their greed for profits and their callous indifference to the impact that both have on peoples’ lives, especially when it comes to the environment. That belief has taken quite a few not-so-subtle whacks in the past 3 years, but I STILL believed that people in the various polluting industries would at least try to clean up their acts. I even believed that Al Gore winning both an Oscar and the Nobel Prize would change things, would make people in the coal and the oil and gas industries want to be more responsible for being more green, and for helping the green tech revolution really get going.

Naïve much? You BETCHA! Especially about the coal industry.

Please read the article on the following link: http://www.planetshifter.com/node/1348
I had no idea just how toxic coal ash is. I had not one clue as to just how awful the “clean” coal industry is. I did not understand that the EPA cannot – and probably will not – do anything about it, either. Bureau of Red Tape and Sealing Wax – more studies, more delays, and in the end, who suffers? WE do, and we will continue to.

Raise your hands if you remember Rachel Carson’s SILENT SPRING. Nobody? Well, yeah, I guess that you DO have to be at least 50+ years old. Anybody UNDER the age of 50+ remember DDT? No? and yet, we would have NO EPA if not for Rachel Carson. Carson's work had a powerful impact on the environmental movement. SILENT SPRING, in particular, was a rallying point for the fledgling social movement in the 1960s. According to environmental engineer and Carson scholar H. Patricia Hynes, "SILENT SPRING altered the balance of power in the world. No one since would be able to sell pollution as the necessary underside of progress so easily or uncritically."

So, how does this tie into the “clean”coal technologies that we’re being bombarded with these days? The coal industry has responded to environmentalists’ criticisms by running advertising touting clean coal in an effort to counter negative perceptions, as well as by putting more than $50 billion towards the development and deployment of clean coal technologies, including carbon capture and storage. The expenditure has been unsuccessful to date in that there is not a single commercial scale coal fired power station in the US that captures and stores more than token amounts of CO2. So, what’s the benefit again? And why should we care, as long as we get our electricity at cheap rates?

Well, it’s the environment, stupid. (See this article in Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingston_Fossil_Plant_coal_fly_ash_slurry_spill ) for an overview of one of the worst ecological disasters in modern history. E nvironmentalism is different than conservation because it involves a concern for environmental quality, especially with respect to the control of pollution while conservation usually entails the preservation of natural resources. Coal ash is one of the most toxic substances known to exist. Coal, which is primarily used for the generation of electricity, is the second largest domestic contributor to carbon dioxide emissions in the USA . Coal ash also contains toxic metals including arsenic, copper, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, nickel, and thallium, not to mention lead, mercury and arsenic. OH, and some of the coal – the bituminous coal, the medium soft stuff that just about everybody uses – also carries a high percentage of NORM (naturally occurring radioactive material) to boot. Lovely mess we’ve got, isn’t it? We burn so much coal in this country for electricity that every year that process generates 130 million tons of waste. Most of it is coal ash, which as I’ve pointed out previously here, is toxic beyond belief.

So, what’s being done? Basically, nothing. There are only a few companies that are doing coal waste remediation in this country. Right now, one of them that’s headquartered in Houston has a process that removes and precipitates toxic materials from coal tar waste. It’s a start – but it’s just a start. So, what can you do as a private citizen? Get involved. Read about the subject, learn about it, talk about it, join the Sierra Club and various other environmental groups and work with them to help alleviate the problem. Don’t make the presumption that somebody else is going to do it for you. Do it yourself.

Otherwise, we’re not going to have much of a world left to enjoy.