Archive for March, 2008

Random Flickr-Blogging: IMG_1515

Monday, March 31st, 2008

It’s been awhile. Want to play? Click here. I’m not feeling too snarky today, so I have to go for the cute.

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Originally uploaded by Autistico.

Resistance Is Futile. You Will Be Assimilated.

Happy Anniversary To Us!

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Eighteen years and counting.

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Siegelman To Be Released on Bond

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Better late than never, I finally catch up with the big news story of the day. Don Siegelman will be released on bond tomorrow morning, pending appeal of his conviction.

The [11th Circuit Court] judges wrote that Siegelman met both requirements for an appeal bond: He is not a flight risk and his appeal raises a substantial question of law or fact likely to result in reversal or an order for a new trial.

“After thorough review of this complex and protracted record, we conclude Siegelman has satisfied the criteria set out in the statute, and has specifically met his burden of showing that his appeal raises substantial questions of law or fact,” the judges wrote.

The court did not elaborate on what those questions were. Siegelman’s lawyers, among other issues, have argued prosecutors didn’t prove that Siegelman and Scrushy struck a “quid pro quo” deal to swap the money for the appointment.

The court denied Richard Scrushy’s request for release. His attorney had no details, but I’d guess he’s considered a flight risk. He certainly has the financial wherewithal to take off for parts unknown, and his unscheduled yacht cruise last year didn’t win him any points with the Feds. [UPDATE: Danny confirms my guess here.]

I’m glad Siegelman is being released. He’s no danger to society, and I can’t see him running. It’s a waste of taxpayers’ money to keep him in prison while his conviction is appealed.

Public Service Announcement

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

I know this isn’t a news flash to anyone here, but when the economy goes bad, the people who suffer first and most are those who didn’t have much to start with. The Birmingham News has a feature today detailing shortages and financial struggles at food banks here in town and around the country. Those come at the same time we all face increasing costs for food, gasoline, utilities, health care. More and more people are finding it impossible to make the proverbial ends meet, and they are turning to food banks and other social service agencies to help them feed their families.

One thing the article doesn’t mention: summer will be here before we know it. That means parents who are already struggling will have to find a way to feed kids who qualify for free or reduced-cost breakfasts and lunches during the school year. It’s also the time of year when donations to local agencies and congregations are typically low. We tend to focus more on others in need around the holidays, but poverty doesn’t end on January 1.

So — next time you go to the grocery store, pick up a few extra non-perishable food items if you can. Save them till you have a nice-sized pile and then take them to your service agency of choice. Have your kids outgrown clothes that are still in good shape? Have you, perhaps, done the same…? Or maybe that New Year’s resolution paid off, and you have some things that are too big. Pack those up and take them with you.

My local favorites are Greater Birmingham Ministries and Urban Ministry, but there are many others that do great work with very limited resources. Feel free to list yours in the comments, with links/contact information if possible. They don’t have to be local; in fact, it would be great to have a comprehensive list. You never know who might see it and be inspired to give.

Oh, and remember that gifts of any size are much appreciated. Small or large, they add up when we all do what we can.

Here endeth the public service announcement.

Shout!

Monday, March 24th, 2008

2007shout2.gifBirmingham SHOUT, the city’s gay and lesbian film festival, is this Saturday, March 29, at WorkPlay. Click here for information on this year’s films. I’m particularly intrigued by the documentary “Chasing the Devil: Inside the Ex-Gay Movement”, which follows the paths of four people who claim they’ve actually changed their orientation from gay to straight and explores the inner workings of organizations that say they can “cure” the “illness” of homosexuality.

There are six films on this year’s schedule; you can pick and choose or buy a festival pass that will get you into all of them.

It’s Good To Know He’s Not In a Bread Line

Monday, March 24th, 2008

Fred Thompson, erstwhile savior of the Republican party, has officially returned to the acting profession. Despite his demonstrated inability to act interested in being President in real life, I’m sure he’ll be quite successful.

Good luck, Fred! Maybe someone will hire you to play a candidate.

Five Years and Counting…

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

…since George W. Bush chose to invade a country that had not attacked us, using phony links to al-Qaeda and fears of non-existent weapons of mass destruction. Five years since Dick Cheney told us our soldiers would be greeted as liberators. Five years since Donald Rumsfeld told us the war would last “six days, six weeks. I doubt six months.” Five years since the Bush administration threw our credibility and moral leadership in the toilet and took a giant crap on it.

And, by the way, more than six years since we sent troops into Afghanistan to root out the Taliban, an effort that took a back seat to Bush’s war of choice in Iraq. Here’s what the Dear Leader had to say about it last Thursday:

“I must say, I’m a little envious,” Bush said. “If I were slightly younger and not employed here, I think it would be a fantastic experience to be on the front lines of helping this young democracy succeed.”

“It must be exciting for you … in some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger. You’re really making history, and thanks,” Bush said.

I don’t know why he can’t just head on over if he thinks it would be such fun. He’s only two years older than this guy, and all that mountain biking keeps him in good shape. We’ll be glad to give him a little more vacation time. He’s already taken off more than 450 days since he took office in 2001. What’s a few more months? Maybe he could use some of that flight training he got before he left the Texas Air National Guard during Vietnam.

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Melissa has more at Shakesville. The war protesters were out in force in Five Points South today. They report that the public response was very positive, a far cry from the epithets and middle fingers they got five years ago. Only 307 days till January 20, 2009. It can’t get here soon enough.

Another Hero Passes

Monday, March 17th, 2008

Bruce Hilton, father of Tom and Steve Hilton of If I Ran the Zoo, passed away on Thursday. Their mother Virginia died in October 2007. Both of the Reverends Hilton worked on the front lines of the civil rights movement and continued to advocate for social and economic justice throughout their lives. They were strong supporters of LGBT equality and founded the Parents Reconciling Network. Bruce was the author of Can Homophobia Be Cured?, which graced my bookshelf for many years before I “met” Tom and Steve online and became part of the IIRTZ family.

There is a nice article from the University of Indianapolis alumni magazine detailing Bruce’s life and career here. The San Francisco Chronicle did a feature on Virginia after her death. Go read them and be inspired by what two ordinary people can do when their lives reflect their passion for justice.

Tom and Steve, I’m so sorry for your loss. Your father and mother left a wonderful legacy — for you and for us.

Into the Woods Pictures

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

Okay, for all the, um, one of you clamoring for show pictures, here are a couple of the tree. The costume is incredible! I wish I had a good shot from the back, which shows when I’m “destroyed” and “fallen” in Act Two. Not only merely dead, but really most sincerely dead. You still have one more opportunity to see the show this afternoon at 2:30 at Virginia Samford Theatre.

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Cinderella’s mother a/k/a The Tree

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Cinderella’s mother with Cinderella

House Holds Closed Session To Discuss Warrantless Wiretapping

Friday, March 14th, 2008

The US House held a rare closed session last night to discuss the pending FISA bill that would regulate government spying on phone calls and emails. Ironically, according to the Rachel Maddow Show, House members had to wait several hours to start the session so the chamber could be swept for bugs.

George W. Bush, who insists that the new FISA bill must include immunity for telecom companies who broke the law by allowing the government to eavesdrop on customers without proper authorization, is pulling out all the stops now. Having failed to frighten House Democrats with the specters of national security breaches or telecom bankruptcy, he’s now playing the patriotism card. To wit, telecoms that broke the law were showing their love of country and should be rewarded for it.

Apparently it has slipped his mind that those same telecoms cut off their “patriotic” wiretaps when the government failed to pay its phone bill.

The House is expected to vote on the bill today before adjourning for the Easter recess. Bush has vowed to lie down on the floor and kick and scream veto it if he doesn’t get his way.

UPDATE:  The bill passed 213-197.  It will go to the Senate after Easter break.