Friday, October 26, 2007

More kitty pictures

Here's Lulu:
Doozie at the window, Lulu on the ledge:
Thinking about pouncing?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Paul Wellstone died five years ago today

Five years ago this week, the plane carrying Paul Wellstone and his wife Sheila, their daughter Marcia, and campaign workers crashed on the Iron Range. I can’t help but wonder how the past five years might have been different in Washington if Paul were still there representing the principles he so proudly upheld.
and
You don't find many politicians like Paul Wellstone, in part because he never really started out to be one. His passion was teaching, and his lesson was one of empowerment. He knew that powerful interests would undermine the public good, unless average people knew how to organize to challenge that power— and that's what he worked to teach, both in the classroom and through hands-on training. For him, being senator wasn't about ego or money, it was about continuing his mission of empowering average people. Ultimately, Wellstone's message was an intensely hopeful one.
Read Wellstone’s voice sadly missed in a spineless Congress
by Marshall Helmberger
Timberjay newspapers: Ely, Tower and Cook/Orr MN ~ October 25, 2007

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Five years ago today a plane carrying Senator Paul Wellstone, his wife Sheila, their daughter, and five other people crashed into the woods in northeastern Minnesota. All eight were killed, and Minnesota politics was thrown into chaos just days before the election. Since Wellstone's death he's been remembered in big and small ways.
Read Five Years After His Death, Wellstone Still Inspires
by Mark Zdechlik
Minnesota Public Radio ~ October 25, 2007

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Paul Wellstone quotes:
Never separate the life you live from the words you speak.

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A politics that is not sensitive to the concerns and circumstances of people's lives, a politics that does not speak to and include people, is an intellectually arrogant politics that deserves to fail.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

If we don't fight hard enough for the things we stand for, at some point we have to recognize that we don't really stand for them.

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The future will not belong to those who sit on the sidelines. The future will not belong to the cynics. The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Sometimes, the only realists are the dreamers.

Another adoption

Meet our newest member of the family, Lulu.

We decided that Doozie needed a pal so we got Lulu from the shelter.

They are getting to know each other and doing pretty well at it.

Lulu is about the same age as Doozie - one and a half. Her tail wags almost constantly doing a click-track (that's for Steve Schalchlin & Jim Brochu, a reference to a line in The Last Session) i.e. - a metronome keeping a beat. She's bigger than Doozie but not huge, and her meow is squeaky. So they are also now known as Squirt and Squeak.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Wahoooo! Rebecca Riots is back!

Rebecca Riots is three amazing singers/songwriters from Berkeley, California: Eve Decker, Lisa Zeiler, and Andrea Pritchett.

They stopped playing together after I saw them here in Olympia a couple of times. Now they are back together which is very exciting. I can't recommend them enough.

They will be performing all over Oregon and Washington between November 2nd and December 15th.

Alec, Catherine and I are going to see them at Traditions Cafe and World Folk Art here in Olympia on Nov. 2nd.

Check out
Rebecca Riots and listen to some mp3s here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Happy birthday to me, and other news

Thanks to family and warm wishes from friends ~ my birthday on Sunday was a good one. Noel was here. He, Alec and Catherine took me out for a great dinner.

Noel had his cat Linus with him to visit ours, Doozie. She likes that ~ she chased him around the house for two days. He may be twice her age and twice as big but she's the boss of the house.

Noel is fine and doing well. Yesterday while Alec worked copy-editing for Volcano Noel took me shopping for my birthday present from the family. As we were leaving one of the stores a little old lady (older than me, maybe close to 70) saw us, noticed his black trench coat and cool scarf and commented that he looked 'spiffy' (or something like that). I agreed with her, and Noel thought it was funny because she apparently didn't notice or didn't care that he was wearing torn-in-the-knee slacks and his somewhat scuffy work shoes.

They bought me a great new chair for my computer desk. I just bought a new computer, a desktop this time, because my laptop was getting rickety. So was the old chair.

While we were out, we stopped for lunch at IHOP and I ordered from the senior menu for the first time, being one day into 55! :-)

Noel and Linus returned to Seattle on Tuesday morning. Doozie moped and pouted for a little while and then caught up on sleep.

Other news ...

I've had vertigo since July 19th. Yes, still! I make jokes about being a 'dizzy dame' but that description doesn't generally fit me and its getting quite old. I had an MRI on Thursday. I see my neurologist on the 12th and will see if it showed anything.

Alec had a successful opening of his show One Degree ~ Three Artists on Saturday night at the a.o.c. gallery in Tacoma. It will be up through November so check it out if you can.

And on the night before that he was in an art walk event reading from his new and very-soon-to-be-available third novel, The Wives of Marty Winters.

There's an event Tacoma Word! Northwest Perspectives in Literary Art being put on by TALE (Tacoma Area Literary Enthusiasts) for writers and independent press folk in Tacoma on November 3rd and we will be tabling there. We hope 'The Wives' will be here by then.

Soon I'll be working on a print edition of Bill's story. Then Alec and I plan to write a memoir together ~ in our 'spare time'.

Oh, and Alec and I will be up in Seattle tonight to see Spamalot!

Eh? For whose greater good?

Compromise is the art of getting someone else thrown under the bus

The title of this post is a comment I found at MetaFilter. It's so perfect at describing the congressional haggling and backroom political smackdowns I've been privvy to in online and offline discussions about the current congressional session, that I just had to have it.

It was a comment that perfectly described Barney Frank's "thoughtful compromise" on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). That bill would have prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation AND gender identity; making it not only a crime to dismiss a worker for being a lesbian but also for firing a woman for looking like man (or vice versa).
and
Which brings me to Hillary Clinton and her throwing of documented and legal resident children and pregnant women under the Democrats political bus.

Read closely, the senator's statement mentions the word proud none other than 8 times. When it comes time to mention the dropping of the Immigrant Children's Health Insurance Act from SCHIP, the only word she manages to muster is "disappointed"
and
Maybe it is too much to ask from legislators to be activists.

Maybe it is too much to ask from presidential candidates to be put principle above power.
and
I don't believe it is unreasonable to consider that these two pieces of legislation are further changing the way we interpret equality to be under the constitution.
Read all of Compromise is the art of getting someone else thrown under the bus
in liza's blog on culturekitchen, by Liza Sabater on 9 October 2007

Friday, October 5, 2007

Dennis Kucinich - Candiidate Close-Up


Dennis Kucinich Discusses Iraq War, Health Care on PBS: News Hour.

Historical Perspective and more on ENDA

Fear and Loathing on the (Trans-Inclusive) ENDA Trail
by Katrina C. Rose here in pdf format.

Katrina C. Rose is a transgender legal historian and is licensed to practice law in Texas and Minnesota. She is the author of "Three Names in Ohio: In re Bicknell, In re Maloney and Hope For Recognition That The Gay-Transgender Twain Has Met," which appears in the current edition of the Thomas Jefferson Law Review. She may be contacted via e-mail at TexKatrina@aol.com.

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It’s Your History—Use It! Talking Points for Tran-Inclusive ENDA Activists
by Susan Stryker, here in pdf format ~

Susan Stryker earned her Ph.D. in United States History at UC Berkeley in 1992, the same year she transitioned male-to female, helped found Transgender Nation, and got fired from her first job for being transgendered. She later won two years of fulltime funding from the Ford Foundation, through the Sexuality Research Fellowship Program of the Social Science Research Council, to do historical research on transgender community formation. She worked for five years as Executive Director of the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco, and was co-writer, -director, and producer of Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria. She currently holds the Ruth Wynn Woodward Endowed Chair in Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver.

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Much more from United ENDA
http://unitedenda.org/
which I'm proud to say Families United Against Hate is listed as a coalition member of.

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Also, listen to The Radicalguy's September 30th podcast episode:
ENDA: What You Need To Know
A Time line of facts concerning ENDA, with Ethan St. Pierre & Marti Abernathey. Also, part of Joe Solmonese's speech at the Southern Comfort Conference.
If you don't Listen from beginning to end, you may miss relevant facts!

~*~*
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and ...
ENDA must remain inclusive of protections for trans people.

JUST OVER A year ago, when a debate over supporting hate crimes legislation that was not transgender-inclusive started, the staff at PFLAG National went to work to educate our members about the problems with the bill. In the process, we got some interesting feedback.

An e-mail came from a mom in Iowa who informed us that she'd called her legislators and told them to vote yes only if the bill was inclusive of all members of our PFLAG family. She commented, "I don't think that I've ever met a transgender person, but it doesn't matter. I won't support anything that leaves them out." She did this knowing that no bill meant no coverage for her gay son, but as a parent, choosing which members of a family will get integral protections just isn't a choice.

The idea that leaving the T behind is a strategy to the bill’s passage actually isn’t a strategy at all. It is a validation of our opposition’s plans to divide and conquer, to make us satisfied with whatever we can get, and, worst of all, affirm the idea that some of us are more acceptable than others.
and
The idea that leaving the T behind is a strategy to the bill’s passage actually isn’t a strategy at all. It is a validation of our opposition’s plans to divide and conquer, to make us satisfied with whatever we can get, and, worst of all, affirm the idea that some of us are more acceptable than others.
Read all of
Don’t break up the family by Jody Huckaby, executive director of PFLAG.
Washington Blade ~ Friday, October 05, 2007

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Lambda Legal Responds to Representative Barney Frank

‘Rep. Barney Frank is and has long been a great advocate for our community and we both have the same goal — to have a law that protects LGBT people from discrimination’

New York, October 4, 2007) — Prompted by a press release issued late yesterday from Rep. Barney Frank's office, earlier today Lambda Legal sent an open letter to Rep. Frank further explaining the shortfalls in the most recent version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

"Rep. Barney Frank is and has long been a great advocate for our community and we both have the same goal to have a law that protects LGBT people from discrimination," said Jon Davidson, Legal Director at Lambda Legal. "In our letter to Rep. Frank we clarified why we are concerned that the newest version may not provide the protection all LGBT people deserve."

Lambda Legal placed a call to Rep.'s Frank's office and sent a detailed letter further explaining its preliminary legal analysis.

Letter excerpt:

[removing gender identity] "diminished the bill not only by excluding transgender people a consequence we oppose in itself. The cut also made the bill far weaker by denying protection of the earlier version to those who may not identify as transgender but who are discriminated against because they are perceived as gender nonconforming. Lesbians, gay men and bisexuals frequently are perceived that way."

Lambda Legal was also one of many LGBT legal groups signing onto a statement that further explains concerns about the most recent version of ENDA. For more information visit www.lambdalegal.org


View the entire letter to Rep. Barney Frank here (pdf format)

###

Lisa Hardaway: 212-809-8585 ext. 266; Email: lhardaway@lambdalegal.org.

Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.
That was here: Lambda Legal Responds to Representative Barney Frank.

Within the excellent full version of the letter by Lambda Legal Executive Director Kevin M. Cathcart is this powerful and simple statement of a basic truth:

It simply is wrong for lesbians, gay men and bisexuals to seek protection for themselves and leave transgender people in the dust.
Thank you (again) Lambda Legal!

A 'conversation' with Representative Adam Smith regarding inclusion of gender identity in ENDA

Yesterday I sent this email:

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: ENDA must include gender identity!
Date: 03 Oct 2007 20:45:36 -0000
From: gabi@gabiclayton.com

Representative Adam Smith
U.S. House of Representatives
2402 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-0001

Dear Representative Smith,

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act must include BOTH gender identity and sexual orientation.

Taking gender identity language out of the bill would leave millions of Americans vulnerable to losing their jobs. Removing gender identity from the bill would suggest that discrimination is fine and it is okay to compromise on basic civil rights.

As Carolyn Wagner quoted me in "About PFLAG's Trans-Inclusive Legislative Policy" on the PFLAG website at
http://www.pflag.org/TNET_PFLAG_Policy_History.715.0.html
Suppose you live in a community where there is a community bomb shelter. As the bomb sirens begin to roar and the citizens file into the shelter, the community leaders begin to bar admission to a few. They tell those that they refuse admission to "Maybe next time. And if you survive you can work with us to be sure the larger community will allow you shelter the next time we are under attack."
It is a basic right to be judged in the workplace by our qualifications and our job performance - not by the color of our skin, our religion, the country of our birth, our sexual orientation, OR our gender identity.

Compromise on basic civil rights is not acceptable.


Sincerely,
Gabrielle Clayton

cc:
Representative Barney Frank
Senator Patty Murray
Senator Maria Cantwell
Speaker Nancy Pelosi

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

This morning I received this reply:
Subject: Re: WriteRep Responses
Date: Thu, 4 Oct 2007 10:31:13 -0400
From: Representative Adam Smith

Dear Gabrielle,

Thank you for contacting me with your support for H.R. 2015, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) of 2007. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts and concerns with me on this important matter.

Like you, I believe that it is wrong that someone can be fired or denied a job opportunity because they are, or are perceived to be, gay, lesbian, or bisexual. As a result of your letter and others like it, you will be pleased to know that I have agreed to co-sponsor H.R. 2015 again this Congress. As you know, H.R. 2015 was introduced by Representative Barney Frank on April 24, 2007. This bill would prohibit employers, employment agencies, and labor unions from using an individual's sexual orientation as the basis for employment decisions such as hiring, firing, promotion, or compensation.

ENDA simply extends basic employment discrimination law to include sexual orientation, thereby providing legal recourse in our state or federal courts. The bill prohibits preferential treatment and quotas, exempts small businesses, religious institutions, and the military and does not require employers to provide benefits to the domestic partner of employees.

This bill is a common-sense solution to this problem. Unfortunately, it remains legal in 33 states to fire or refuse to hire anyone based on sexual orientation. This legislation does not create special rights; ENDA would simply add sexual orientation and gender identity to the current list of federal employment protections that already ban discrimination based on race, religion, gender, national origin, age and disability.

Currently, H.R. 2015 has the support of 165 Members, but must be reviewed in the House Education and Labor, House Administration, House Oversight and Government Reform, and House Judiciary Committees before reaching the House floor. Please be assured that I will support this legislation should I have the opportunity to vote on this bill.

Again, I want to thank you for contacting me on this important matter. If you have any additional questions, comments or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

If you'd like to receive occasional e-mail updates from Congressman Adam Smith, please visit my website to sign up - http://www.house.gov/adamsmith/IMA/newsletter.shtml.
***********************************

So ... I called his DC office (202) 225-8901 this morning and spoke to an assistant (Paul Hoover). I explained that I had emailed yesterday, received a reply this morning, and that I was disappointed and upset that the reply did not address why I wrote.

I explained that I wrote because I want ENDA to include both sexual orientation AND gender identity and that it is important to me that transgender people not be left out of this protection.

I told him who I am - a straight woman, not transgender, mother of Bill who was a hate crime victim 12 years ago - I didn't mention FUAH, PFLAG or any other organization. I said I have a lot of glb AND trans friends.

I said I know they are busy and send form letters, but this one missed my whole reason for writing yesterday.

Mr. Hoover was friendly, interested and receptive. He seemed to be taking notes and made sure he had all my contact information.

There you have it.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Homeroom

In the living room ...


... Doozie knows the catnip lives in the cabinet beneath her.

That's my new computer and my new desk ...

and mostly Alec's paintings on the walls ...

One Degree
Three Artists
Alec Clayton - Mike George - Drake Deknatel
October 6 - November 30
at
aoc gallery 608 S. Fawcett, Tacoma WA 98402

Artists Reception; October 6, Saturday 5-8pm

See you there!