Unite the Fight will have a live feed from the “Meet In the Middle 4 Equality” rally in Fresno, CA, today at 1pm PST on USTREAM. You can also see videos from the 14 mile equality march from Selma, CA to Fresno, CA on Unite the Fight’s qik site. To see these folks marching for 14 miles in over 90 degree heat is pretty darn inspirational to me, and makes me very proud of them. Saw San Diego in the house, as well as Planned Parenthood, in this video. Also great to see folks representing us straight allies!

You can also follow “Meet In the Middle 4 Equality” by putting #mitm4e in the search box on Twitter for up-to-the-minute tweets.

Best of luck to everyone involved in today’s equality rally and march!

***Live feed for “Meet In the Middle 4 Equality” just went up @ 12:40pm PST…they’re welcoming the 14 mile equality marchers. :)***

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Dear GLBTQ community,

Please know that not everyone in California thinks the way those who voted Yes on Prop 8 do. Please know that the illogical decision handed down by the Supreme Court of California WILL be challenged. Please know that you have countless straight allies, such as myself, out there who are ready, willing, and able to continue to fight with you to gain equality in every aspect of the law.  Please know that you ARE valued individuals (not second class citizens), that who you love should NOT matter, and the fact that you continue to stand firm in your love in the face of this ignorance is still truly amazing to me.  Don’t be discouraged for too long,  don’t look at every person and wonder how they voted, don’t think that things will never change, and don’t give up hope.  Everything is just going to take a bit longer than anticipated or hoped for, but change WILL come and I look forward to being right there with you when it does.

Much love and admiration,

Laura Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve been meaning to post a review of the opening night of the New York Dolls “‘Cause I Sez So” tour, with The Cliks opening for them,  from last Wednesday night (5/20/09) at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach, CA, but haven’t gotten around to it.  Short review: GO SEE THIS SHOW!!!  Especially if you’re on the west coast and get the great opportunity to see The Cliks (“Snakehouse” and “Dirty King”) open for the New York Dolls!!!!  I figured if I don’t at least post these videos now, I might not ever get around to it. 😉 (Laziness ensues…) I’ll try to write more later, especially on the main reason I went to the show, the incredibly talented The Cliks, whose new CD “Dirty King” is fantastic, and available at the show, as well as various online options such as iTunes for $11.99, “Snakehouse” for $9.90. Read the rest of this entry »

News just broke that the Supreme Court of California will file its decision on the constitutionality and validity of Proposition 8, this coming Tuesday, May 26th at 10:00 a.m.  Click here for the official court notice of filing, and here for “Day of Decision” rallies.

One can only hope that a just decision will be handed down, that love will prevail, and that equality will finally be extended to each and EVERY Californian regardless of who they choose to marry.

***Added after the Supreme Court of CA upheld Prop 8: Open letter to the GLBTQ community in California regarding Prop 8 (video)

What a great tribute Keith Olbermann gave to his mom, Marie Olbermann, on Countdown tonight. She passed away this past Saturday, April 4th, from cancer. I’m not really quite sure how Keith made it through without losing it (I know I was shedding a few tears, along with the laughs), but in his incomparable Keith style he was able to make us all feel like we knew his mother, Marie. After watching the segment, it’s plain to see that Keith is the male version of the very witty, sarcastic, and endearing Marie. What a character she apparently was, and how obvious it is that she’ll be missed by not only Keith and their family, but by many others. Our thoughts are with you, Keith.  R.I. P. Marie Olbermann.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

child-abuse…shame on you! I was driving down Jefferson in Carlsbad (CA), enjoying the blustery, gorgeous day with my poochie sticking his nose out the window, when I drive past a man playing catch with his child on the small grassy area in front of their apartment complex (between Las Flores and Laguna…Park Place Apartments?). No sooner than it takes for me to think what a Norman Rockwell type moment it was, than the man hits the child in the head, the child’s hat flies off, the child grabs his (or her) jaw and hits the ground, and the man looks up and down the street quickly. It took a moment for me to register what had just happened, with instant disgust overcoming me and complete concern for that child–and immediate anger at that man. Unfortunately I was in the middle of traffic, but at the next corner I turned my car around as fast as I could to head back (was only a matter of a few hundred feet) and they were gone.

I honestly don’t know what I would have done if they’d been there (although I do know damn well I would have shielded the child from the man and called 911), and I hope against hope that I wouldn’t have gone with my initial, futile instinct and hauled off and smacked the guy (I’m actually a pacifist), but I guess I’ll never know. I’m incredibly bothered by this whole event and cannot get that poor child out of my head. My guess is that it’s not the first time this has happened, and who knows what else took place once the man shuffled the child away.

I hope that someone else saw what happened, knows who the man is, and follows through on helping that young innocent soul. For that child to grow up always wondering when the next hit might come, who might see it, and the aftereffects of it all, mentally and physically, as well as thinking that this is what adults do to children….well, it just breaks my heart. The chances of that man ever reading this post are slim to none, but if he does, or if someone else who has done the same thing is reading this, then PLEASE stop and think about the repercussions of your actions and seek some type of help. Perhaps you were abused as a child, and this horrific cycle is just continuing with your actions. Please be the one to put an end to it. Please.

(AP photo/Denis Poroy)(AP photo/Denis Poroy)

Just a quick shout-out to the San Diego State Aztecs women’s basketball team, and superstar player Jene Morris, for their exciting 76-70 win over DePaul in the first round of the Women’s NCAA Tournament. I may be a CSUSM alum, but I’m always for San Diego teams, especially one in the State system. Way to go, Aztecs, and best of luck in the next round!

I found this delightful tit-for-tat while catching up on email today.  (And yes, in order to maintain these valued friendships I will NOT use their names…for now…bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha… ;)) Love you, L** and K********!

Hi K******** et al,

I’m sitting here getting ready for a colonoscopy tomorrow morning and didn’t think anything could make me smile .. but the Door Frame and Pet Tax Form got me feeling good for at least a few moments, so thank you thank you.

L**

————————————————————

L**,

Glad to hear you aren’t feeling so poopy! I’d hate to waste such a funny form. I’m just passing things along the chute I think all you might enjoy.

Sorry :D, I couldn’t help it! I know colonoscopies are icky – although it’s the prep more than anything so tonight you feel much worse than you will tomorrow.

Remember, this too shall pass! Sorry, gotta run!

Meanly,
K********

President Obama’s weekly address hit upon one of the more troubling aspects of our government right now: the total failure of the FDA to keep us, our children, and our pets safe in the knowledge that what is consumed will not harm any of us.  He has named a new Commissioner of the Food and Drug Agency, Dr. Margaret Hamburg (go ahead, giggle as I did at her last name being Hamburg(er)–I blame the cold meds I’m taking), and Dr. Joshua Sharfstein (nope, no food-related funny with his last name) as Principal Deputy Commissioner.  Obama is also creating a new Food Safety Working Group which ultimately sounds like it will be making sure that the left hand of government agencies involved with food safety know what the right hand is doing–what a concept!

And as an animal welfare advocate I am THRILLED with the short, but oh-so-important sentence President Obama stated, “As part of our commitment to public health, our Agriculture Department is closing a loophole in the system to ensure that diseased cows don’t find their way into the food supply.”  Please read Wayne Pacelle’s email sent out this afternoon in response to this fantastic decision.  Thank you President Obama, and thank you to everyone who helped put an end to the horribly abusive downer cattle issue!

Great news from President Obama on farm animals

March 14, 2009


Our investigation thrust a global spotlight on abuse of downed cows.

Dear ******,

It’s been a long fight, and today, we closed another chapter on it. Since the mid-1990s, The HSUS has been working hard to stop as a matter of public policy the abuse of downer cattle — animals too sick or injured to walk. And today, President Obama himself announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture was officially putting a stop to non-ambulatory cattle being mishandled in order to get them into slaughter plants. He made the announcement along with two top selections for the Food and Drug Administration and a series of other statements about food safety.

I invite you to read my blog post for today about the food safety crises and horrifying investigations that led up to today’s announcement.

The length of time we had to persist and what our investigations revealed are sad, but today I celebrate this news. And I hope that it is a harbinger of a far more serious attitude toward food safety and animal welfare from the new Administration. I am personally looking forward to working with Secretary Vilsack — a man of great integrity — on a wide range of issues. And I express my gratitude to him and his team today for his decisive action.

Many of you joined us in demanding change on this issue, so this is your victory as well as the animals’. Thank you for all you do.

Sincerely,

Wayne Pacelle
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States

P.S. Did you know you can easily subscribe to receive my blog daily by email or RSS? Look for the links to subscribe on the right side of my blog, www.waynepacelle.org. I write daily about pressing issues like farm animal abuse, so it’s a great way to stay in touch.

Yes, I realize the title of this quick blog posting is not a news flash to anyone, but I’m just home for a quick lunch, saw the following on Huffington Post and just HAD to post it even though no time right now to REALLY go off on all the reasons Rush is an ass. Can somebody PLEASE permanently place a filter on that disgusting man’s mouth? Ass.

Limbaugh: Kennedy Will Be Dead By The Time Health Care Bill Passes

The Huffington Post | Rachel Weiner | March 6, 2009 02:51 PM

On his radio show Friday, Rush Limbaugh suggested that Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) would be dead by the time health care reform legislation passes. “Before it’s all over, it’ll be called the Ted Kennedy memorial health care bill,” the talk show host says. He says President Obama has moved on to health care because he can’t solve the economic crisis. Listen, via Media Matters:

Kennedy was at the Senate Thursday for President Obama’s health care summit, where he made an impassioned plea for universal coverage.

Tomorrow is a HUGE day for those in California (gay, straight, trans, and everything in between!) who believe in equal rights FOR ALL, in this case the right for everyone to marry the person they love. Of course it isn’t JUST for those in California since this outcome will send a signal to the rest of our country and the world. Fingers crossed it’s a signal of equality and hope. Please watch the following video and TAKE PART in tonight’s vigils across not only California, but other areas of the country.

This anticipation of change is exciting folks, it’s REALLY exciting.

From Eve of Justice:

EVE OF JUSTICE

Candle

The Eve of Justice: Lighting the way for the Supreme Court

Chico Costa Mesa Delano Fort Bragg Fresno Kernville Long Beach
Los Angeles Mariposa Miami, Florida Modesto Napa New York Palm Springs
Palo Alto Phoenix, Arizona Riverside Roseville Sacramento San Diego San Francisco
San Jose San Luis Obispo San Mateo Santa Barbara Santa Cruz Santa Maria Stockton
Thousand Oaks Tulsa, Oklahoma Tucson, Arizona Tuolumne Ukiah Ventura Visalia

Wednesday, March 4 is the day before the California Supreme Court hears oral arguments on the validity of Prop 8. That evening, we’ll stand together and send a unified message to our fellow Californians, including the Supreme Court Justices, that individual liberties like the right to marry are guaranteed by the Constitution to everyone and cannot be stripped away at the ballot box by a bare majority. Just as important, we will give our love and support to all the families headed by same-sex couples who are threatened by the recent electoral outcome, as well as same-sex couples whose hopes and dreams of marriage and family have been frustrated by enactment of Prop 8.

To read the parties’ filings and the dozens of amicus ‘friend of the court’ briefs filed on behalf of Civil Rights Organizations, Bar Associations, Academics, Women’s Groups, Faith and Religious Groups, and many others go to http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/supreme/highprofile/prop8.htm

March 5th – Supreme Court Oral Argument Hearing 9am to noon.

Television viewing: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/supreme/highprofile/prop8viewing.htm

Local Public Viewings: Check your local city for viewing locations as they become available.

Equality should not be put up for a popular vote.

• Prop 8 is a radical and unprecedented change to the California Constitution that puts all Californians at risk.
• Prop 8 defeats the very purpose of our constitution, which is to protect minorities and to make sure the law treats everyone equally.
• This is the first time the initiative process has successfully been used to change the California Constitution to take away a fundamental freedom from a particular group and to mandate government discrimination against a minority.
• If prop 8 is upheld, the courts will no longer have a meaningful role in protecting minority groups or women, since any decision prohibiting discrimination could be reversed by a simple majority.

Nationwide/Statewide Sponsors of Eve of Justice

Marriage Equality USA Human Rights Campaign EQCA Join The Impact
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation PFLAG COLAGE National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Courage Campaign California Faith for Equality Progressive Jewish Alliance Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry, California Amnesty International Gay-Straight Alliance Network

You’re a better person than yours truly if you can really grasp all that is (and hopefully will be) the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  Here is President Obama’s weekly address regarding the topic, along with a link to the White House blog discussing it.  I’ve also added a link in my blogroll to Recovery.org, the website which lays out, it all its transparent glory, details of the Recovery Act, the entire bill for your reading pleasure, as well as a timeline of where the money is going.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed on this one, and our politicians held to task.

I saw this on the Rachel Maddow Show the other night and LOVED the story!  With all the negative news we are pummeled with on a daily basis, it was an unexpected and nice break to hear about genuine good-heartedness taking place.  See, it IS still out there, folks!

Here’s the video on Rachel’s show, and a snippet of the ABC News story about it.

But the night of the big game, Madison’s co-captain –18-year-old senior Johntell Franklin — was missing. His mother, who was suffering from cancer, had taken a sudden turn that Saturday, Feb. 7. At the hospital, Franklin was by his mother’s side as she died…McNeal, the team’s top free-throw shooter, stepped to the foul line and purposely missed both shots…”I missed them because it was just the right thing to do at the time. And him losing his mom, it really got to me,” McNeal said, who lost his father when he was 2 years old.

**************

(ADDED) But wait, there’s more… After posting the blog entry above, I was reading other stories on the ABC site and just about flipped my lid when I read this one.  Simply disgusting that the coach of Covenant School in Dallas allowed the score to reach such a ridiculous nature, especially considering it was against a school comprised of students with learning disabilities.  I’m not saying go extra easy on someone due to any form of disability in the sports arena (especially when they are putting themselves out there to be your equal on the playing field), but to push forth in the manner coach Micah Grimes did is disgraceful.  Kudos to the opposing team, Dallas Academy, for completing the entire game.  And shame on you, Micah Grimes, shame on you!  Enjoy your unemployment.

Yup, it’s me.  I’m really back…well, for the most part.  I moved in early December and was without cable/internet until 1/16.  (Yes, it IS humanly possible to NOT be connected to the internet; I just don’t recommend it.) And a big fat “Screw you AT&T”  for claiming to service my area with U-verse, having me wait WEEKS upon weeks for an installation appointment, then the day of installation notify me that ‘ooops’ you don’t service my area!!!  And Cox isn’t doing much better since for some annoying reason I can’t get the internet to be connected if I’ve got the TV connected…argh!  And I just don’t have the patience to deal with the customer service runaround I get each time I call, so until I do, I have to unscrew the TV cable if I want to connect to the internet.  Obviously very annoying (TV cable is behind a bunch of stuff), so it goes without saying I’m not popping over to the web very often.  (Hmmm, does anyone say web anymore?)

Anyhooch, what amazing things we’ve had happen since I’ve been gone, most notably inaugurating our new President of the good old USA!  Now you just KNOW this big time Obama supporter made damn sure she had cable in time for all the inauguration hoopla.  Heck, I even took a vacation day off of work to plop my fanny in front of the TV all day.  But if that wasn’t enough, I made sure to hang my US flag up in the window AND wear my Obama/Biden shirt.  Yes, I’m a geek, but I don’t care. 🙂  Let’s just say that the tears started when I was watching the Whistle Stop Tour, continued that Sunday with the Inaugural Concert on HBO, and were out in full force on Inauguration Day.  Is it not absolutely INCREDIBLE to actually be (dare I say it?) PROUD to be an American again?!?!  And yes, despite this annoying BS back-and-forth debate about the stimulus package, I AM still proud and thrilled with our country and our democracy.  I do want to kick the majority of the Republicans in their collective stubborn elephant asses, but will try desperately to retain even the slightest of grips on that olive branch Obama really wants us all to extend.  Let’s just say my grip is quickly slipping away and I’m just about ready to use that branch to start knocking some common sense into some noggins, but…

Okay, enough with that–for now.  How about that Adele and her two Grammys on Sunday night?  Who’s Adele you say?  Well gather round my friends, and let me introduce you to one of the most powerful, unique, soulful, and incredible voices I’ve heard in quite some time.  I first became aware of Adele when she appeared on Saturday Night Live mid-October, last year.  Of course I was watching SNL hoping the Sarah Palin appearance would be worth it (read that as Tina Fey really sticking it to her), and wasn’t too interested in the musical performer I’d never heard of before.  But the minute Adele belted out those first notes I stopped what I was doing, turned my attention to the TV and was instantly mesmerized–and hooked!  This girl can sing, and I mean S-I-N-G!  I was so excited when they announced her name as the winner of the Grammy for Best New Artist two nights ago, and was hootin’ and a hollerin’ (did I just go hillbilly on ya?) and making sure Rudy (yes, he’s my dog…told you I’m a geek) was as excited about her win as I was.  This gal has got a powerhouse voice that you just know is going to withstand the test of time.

Catch Adele on her tour which happily begins in my area on 3/9, but sadly is already sold out.  Don’t let that happen to you, so buy your tickets NOW!  Here’s her SNL performance for you to (hopefully!) enjoy as much as I do.

g

thanksgiving-with-the-turkeys-1

Deb, over on her great Invisible Voices blog, has posted recently about Poplar Springs Animal Sanctuary and their “Thanksgiving with the Turkeys” event, which I would LOVE to have been at. (Can you say ‘epitome of anti-Sarah Palin turkey slaughterhouse video event??) 

This will be a very quick post – it has been a long cold day, but an amazing one as well. Somewhere around 300 people came to Poplar Spring’s Thanksgiving With the Turkeys, despite a predicted high in the 30’s, and a bitter wind.

And the turkey’s had a hell of a time.

Deb’s pictures are always incredible and put you RIGHT in the middle of things, just as her writing does.  I’m totally lifting this picture above from the event (sorry, Deb…let me know if you’d like me to take it down :)) , but it truly is one of my favorite photos of all time and wanted to share it with more people.  PLEASE take a quick trip over to Invisible Voices to enjoy the many other heartwarming photos Deb took.

Thank you for sharing your passion with us, Deb, and for all you do for the animals.  Happy Thanksgiving to you, my vegan blogger friend, and even to all of you meat-eaters our there.  (I’ll give you all some time to come around to our vegetarian/vegan way of thinking and living. :))

michael-vick-and-dogfighting

I thought I had previously reached the highest level of disgust with Michael Vick’s animal cruelty that I could (my previous posts), but after reading an AP story and one on ESPN, detailing portions of a 17-page USDA report released on Friday under the Freedom of Information Act, I’m even more disgusted and sickened than I ever imagined possible.  And that’s saying a lot.

Here are some extremely disturbing details:

  • A person identified as confidential witness No. 1 said Vick placed pets in the ring against pit bulls owned by “Bad Newz Kennels” at least twice and watched as the pit bulls “caused major injuries.”
  • The witness said Vick and co-defendants Purnell Peace and Quanis Phillips “thought it was funny to watch the pit bull dogs belonging to Bad Newz Kennels injure or kill the other dogs.”
  • Vick was administered a polygraph test by the FBI in October 2007 and denied taking part in the killing of dogs in mid-April. When told he had failed that part of the test, Vick recanted his story and admitted to helping hang six to eight underperforming dogs.
  • The dogs were killed by shooting, hanging, electrocution and drowning, and in at least one instance, according to one of the witnesses, when Vick and Phillips killed a red pit bull by “slamming it to the ground several times before it died, breaking the dog’s back or neck.”
  • According to the report, the three men hung the dogs “by placing a nylon cord over a 2 X 4 that was nailed to two trees located next to the big shed. They also drowned approximately three dogs by putting the dogs’ heads in a five gallon bucket of water.”

You need help, Michael Vick, serious help.  I only wish all you were ever allowed to lay your hands on again are the pots and pans you’re washing in jail for 12 cents an hour, and never, ever again on any innocent animals.  Sick and twisted, you are, mentally sick and twisted.

panos-brands

Many of you know I’m vegetarian, so news regarding vegetarian and vegan fare is important to me, hence the need to post this recall of a PANOS brands product, for my vegan friends (and those with milk protein issues) out there.  I guess reading those labels doesn’t always work, eh?

PANOS Brands Recalls Vegan Rella Cheddar Block

Contact:
Kathie Gibbs Borkowski
(201) 843-8900 x 425

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE –Saddle Brook, NJ — November 20, 2008 — PANOS brands, of Saddle Brook, NJ is recalling Vegan Rella Cheddar Block, (a cheese substitute) with a Sell by date of 12/09/2008. This product is being recalled because it may possibly contain an undeclared milk protein. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk protein run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product. No other lot or variety of Vegan is involved.

The product was sold directly to the consumers from their retail stores located nationwide.

The recalled product is packed in 8oz packages with UPC Code 0 37983 00015 4 and a sell by date of 12/09/2008.

There was one reported incident of an allergic reaction associated with the consumption of the product. The product is manufactured by Swan Gardens/Tree of Life, Austell, GA. This recall is being conducted with the knowledge of the Food and Drug Administration.

Consumers who have purchased this product are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may call (800) 494-8839 ext. 425

 

join-the-impact1

Join the Impact  (Click the image or link to find protest locations near you.)

This election is something I obviously felt quite strongly about, not only on the presidential level, but especially with some California propositions I took to heart; Prop 2, Prop 4, Prop 8.  One would think that with my choice for President, Barack Obama, being swept into office, and two of the propositions I felt strongly about all going the way I had hoped, I would be running to my blog, sharing my happiness and thanking everyone who voted the same way I did.  But the joy at seeing my beloved country make the historic choice it did for President, was unfortunately overwhelmingly deflated when I realized that the majority of my fellow Californians who took the time to vote on Proposition 8 (defining marriage as only between a man and a woman, thereby stripping away the civil rights of the GLBT community to marry the person they love) voted to support this antiquated, hateful, and discriminatory proposition. 

This has affected me in a profound and extended way which admittedly has surprised me.  I’m not gay.  I’m not married, and don’t have any mad desire to be (have already traveled down that road).  But why should I have rights my friends and neighbors don’t have just because I was born straight?  Why should my love for someone else be deemed “appropriate” and “legal” just because as a female I may want to wed a man and not a woman?  I don’t get it folks, I really, really don’t.  I don’t get how someone thinks that they have the right, usually based on their religious beliefs, to legislate who someone else can spend their life with, who they can love and be with.  I don’t get the hate–and yes it’s hate so don’t try to sugarcoat it–that people have for others who believe in something different from what they might believe in. 

And where is this unbelievable hell that we are all supposed to descend into if gay people are allowed to marry?  They’ve had the legal right in California for several months now, and I’m not seeing the heterosexual marriages needing protection from that.  I’m not seeing the marriages of straight folks falling apart any faster than they already were.  And have your children come home from school over the past months, suddenly preaching “the gay lifestyle” because they are being indoctrinated into it at their public school?  Hmmm, the sky has not been falling Chicken Little?  Say it ain’t so! 

How ridiculous all of this is.  Ridiculous that this proposition even made it to the ballot, especially considering our State courts have already stated that disallowing gay marriage is unconstitutional.  This is definitely going back into the courts which is only going to extend the divisiveness, the hate, and the pain being inflicted upon members of the GLBT community who have to face each day knowing that other human beings are considering them to be second class citizens without the right to love the person they choose and have that love be acknowledged legally in marriage.

Do any of you that voted yes on Prop 8 REALLY think that you will be keeping gay marriages from being legal for all time?  Really?  Do you really feel so strongly about the issue that you are willing to spend your time fighting against equality for all?  Is there nothing you could be spending your time on more productively?  Really?  How sad it is that you choose to spend even a second of your life fighting against love.  I feel for you.  I really do.  What a sad little life you have if needing to strip away the rights of others is a priority for you.  Sad and pitiful.  Shame on you, narrow-minded, hateful person, shame on you.

Transcript of Keith Olbermann’s “Special Comment” on gay marriage

Finally tonight as promised, a Special Comment on the passage, last week, of Proposition Eight in California, which rescinded the right of same-sex couples to marry, and tilted the balance on this issue, from coast to coast.

Some parameters, as preface. This isn’t about yelling, and this isn’t about politics, and this isn’t really just about Prop-8.  And I don’t have a personal investment in this: I’m not gay, I had to strain to think of one member of even my very extended family who is, I have no personal stories of close friends or colleagues fighting the prejudice that still pervades their lives.

And yet to me this vote is horrible. Horrible. Because this isn’t about yelling, and this isn’t about politics. This is about the human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it.

If you voted for this Proposition or support those who did or the sentiment they expressed, I have some questions, because, truly, I do not understand. Why does this matter to you? What is it to you? In a time of impermanence and fly-by-night relationships, these people over here want the same chance at permanence and happiness that is your option. They don’t want to deny you yours. They don’t want to take anything away from you. They want what you want—a chance to be a little less alone in the world.

Only now you are saying to them—no. You can’t have it on these terms. Maybe something similar. If they behave. If they don’t cause too much trouble.  You’ll even give them all the same legal rights—even as you’re taking away the legal right, which they already had. A world around them, still anchored in love and marriage, and you are saying, no, you can’t marry. What if somebody passed a law that said you couldn’t marry?

I keep hearing this term “re-defining” marriage. If this country hadn’t re-defined marriage, black people still couldn’t marry white people. Sixteen states had laws on the books which made that illegal in 1967. 1967.

The parents of the President-Elect of the United States couldn’t have married in nearly one third of the states of the country their son grew up to lead. But it’s worse than that. If this country had not “re-defined” marriage, some black people still couldn’t marry black people. It is one of the most overlooked and cruelest parts of our sad story of slavery. Marriages were not legally recognized, if the people were slaves. Since slaves were property, they could not legally be husband and wife, or mother and child. Their marriage vows were different: not “Until Death, Do You Part,” but “Until Death or Distance, Do You Part.” Marriages among slaves were not legally recognized.

You know, just like marriages today in California are not legally recognized, if the people are gay.

And uncountable in our history are the number of men and women, forced by society into marrying the opposite sex, in sham marriages, or marriages of convenience, or just marriages of not knowing, centuries of men and women who have lived their lives in shame and unhappiness, and who have, through a lie to themselves or others, broken countless other lives, of spouses and children, all because we said a man couldn’t marry another man, or a woman couldn’t marry another woman. The sanctity of marriage.

How many marriages like that have there been and how on earth do they increase the “sanctity” of marriage rather than render the term, meaningless?

What is this, to you? Nobody is asking you to embrace their expression of love. But don’t you, as human beings, have to embrace… that love? The world is barren enough.

It is stacked against love, and against hope, and against those very few and precious emotions that enable us to go forward. Your marriage only stands a 50-50 chance of lasting, no matter how much you feel and how hard you work.

And here are people overjoyed at the prospect of just that chance, and that work, just for the hope of having that feeling.  With so much hate in the world, with so much meaningless division, and people pitted against people for no good reason, this is what your religion tells you to do? With your experience of life and this world and all its sadnesses, this is what your conscience tells you to do?

With your knowledge that life, with endless vigor, seems to tilt the playing field on which we all live, in favor of unhappiness and hate… this is what your heart tells you to do? You want to sanctify marriage? You want to honor your God and the universal love you believe he represents? Then Spread happiness—this tiny, symbolic, semantical grain of happiness—share it with all those who seek it. Quote me anything from your religious leader or book of choice telling you to stand against this. And then tell me how you can believe both that statement and another statement, another one which reads only “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

You are asked now, by your country, and perhaps by your creator, to stand on one side or another. You are asked now to stand, not on a question of politics, not on a question of religion, not on a question of gay or straight. You are asked now to stand, on a question of love. All you need do is stand, and let the tiny ember of love meet its own fate.

You don’t have to help it, you don’t have it applaud it, you don’t have to fight for it. Just don’t put it out. Just don’t extinguish it. Because while it may at first look like that love is between two people you don’t know and you don’t understand and maybe you don’t even want to know. It is, in fact, the ember of your love, for your fellow person just because this is the only world we have. And the other guy counts, too.

This is the second time in ten days I find myself concluding by turning to, of all things, the closing plea for mercy by Clarence Darrow in a murder trial.

But what he said, fits what is really at the heart of this:

“I was reading last night of the aspiration of the old Persian poet, Omar-Khayyam,” he told the judge. It appealed to me as the highest that I can vision. I wish it was in my heart, and I wish it was in the hearts of all: So I be written in the Book of Love; I do not care about that Book above. Erase my name, or write it as you will, So I be written in the Book of Love.” 

Considering some of the extremely ridiculous and far-fetched things that have been asserted by McCain and Palin during this campaign, it wouldn’t have been that surprising if McCain had decided that Obama was to blame for the “redistribution of daylight” with DST going into effect on Sunday.  However, due credit for that hilarious line must be given to Seth Meyers from tonight’s Saturday Night Live Weekend Update.  Was everyone else as shocked as I was that the entire show (well, at least 90% of it!) was actually, really, really good tonight?!  A lot of the credit has to go to Ben Affleck who really stretched himself and became each character he inhabited. (What a hoot he was in the German coat and Target sketches!) 

And being the HUGE  fan of MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” that I am, I was loving the ‘hilarious for the most part’ take-off on Keith and the show.  Keith had mentioned on his Friday Countdown show that he had been invited over to the SNL studio to see Ben rehearse the skit, but Keith wasn’t sure if it would make the cut since skits are really up in the air until practically air time.  Thankfully the skit DID make it, and Ben did a fantastic job, especially with the expressions Keith is famous for, although the voice could have used some work.  It really showed that those who put that skit together are fans of Keith’s show because they had the camera angles down pat, as well as the staging.  Only thing that could have made it even more perfect was if the camera was in a lot closer on Ben as it always is on Keith.  Very funny stuff, VERY funny.  I’ll try to dig up a video of the skit.  It will be interesting to see what my boy Keith has to say about it on Monday’s Countdown.

**ADDED: Look what NBC finally posted!  Woo-hoo!  This one gets better each time I watch it.***

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But for now I’ve got the two John McCain appearances for you.  First up is the opening skit with the always dead-on Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, and John McCain, as, um, John McCain. (What casting! ;))  I have to say that the skit WAS pretty darn funny, especially when Sarah/Tina went all “rogue” and hawked her “Palin 2012” t-shirts–of course, asking potential buyers to please wait until November 5th to wear them.  Cindy McCain could definitely fulfill a Vanna White-type role if she’s ever hard up for money. (Like THAT will ever happen. ;)) 

[clearspring_widget title=”Saturday Night Live – McCain QVC Open” wid=”4727a250e66f9723″ pid=”490d5deaa42b8c84″ width=”384″ height=”283″ domain=”widgets.nbc.com”]

The second video is when McCain was on Weekend Update (you could hear some boos from the audience),listing the various forms of “Maverickiness” he could enlist.  Have to say I thought the “Sad Grandpa” one was the funniest.  All in all, John McCain’s SNL gig was MUCH more enjoyable than his “Maverick” counterpart’s was.  Enjoy the videos!

[clearspring_widget title=”Saturday Night Live – Update: Sen. McCain” wid=”4727a250e66f9723″ pid=”490d5e4fd276e37e” width=”384″ height=”283″ domain=”widgets.nbc.com”]

Sniffin’ out the info

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