Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year Everyone!

I have no clue what happened to my sidebar... will figure that out tomorrow. For now, getting ready to go to a neighbors for New Years where other neighbors will also gather and we'll eat, drink and be merry!

Blessings to everyone in the new year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Pew On Religious Makeup of Congress

The Pew Forum published some really interesting data on December 19 which annotates the religious makeup of Congress (and divides it into House/Senate) by religion. Pretty interesting stuff and useful politically.

So for you Piskie types here, I just want to alert you to something you might not be aware of: There are MORE republican Piskies in Congress than dem Piskies. Yep, sad, but true.

So any of you liberal leaning to liberal socialist types, get out there and run for office, would ya?

And for FranIAm... hey girl, your folks win in numbers.

Bishop Robinson on Rick Warren + Life Stuff

Update: The Nation has an article running entitled, Episcopal Church Splits Over Gay Equality. Read it here.

From Beliefnet, read it here.

On a personal note, the exterior of my house is now done. You have no idea how extraordinary that is after nine years or so! I am sure my very kind and patient neighbors are delighted. In fact, I know they are:) They have had a nifty view of every color or tarp, in various sizes, for years.

Now I just need to seal the boxed eaves with silicone (helps with fireproofing, these are what they call 45 minutes eaves... LOL... giving a burn time just sounds so weird), then screen the three vents to keep embers out (fire batt chief friends have told me what to do, oddly, not required by code yet this is the most common way homes catch on fire from embers), then in the spring, paint... and NO I am not going to paint myself. I will try a few colors first, then make a decision, but that's as far as this ol dog goes with painting.

My version of painting? Get the sprayer and anything that gets in the way, animal, vegetable or mineral, gets it. Trust me. Me painting should be outlawed.

Now I have to find the electrician and see how much he will charge me to finish the electrical which scares the hell out of me here. Only about 1/2 of my house, right now, has electrical and we have no heat other than little heaters and they drive me crazy with the animals and are energy inefficient.

Then the windows... oooo. Windows. I have windows in almost all the house, but one room doesn't. Screen, yes. Dual pane (the only thing you can put in here), no. Some, for privacy reasons, will be stained glass. I am designing one with a religious theme so anyone knowing sites that have info on religious symbolism, please share!

Then heat. Then work on inside... tearing the interior walls out and insulating, finishing the bathroom and kitchen. Then rebuilding and extending the deck. I might sneak a second bathroom in while I am at it, but this will all take several years.

Then flooring, which is the hardest part of all given the animals. Still trying to decide on whether hardwood or linoleum. Probably the former except in the kitchen (probably will tile with mex tiles) and bath (the entire thing will be tile, for the most part).

The last (and my fav part) is re-landscaping. I can hardly wait. I LOVE to work with plants. The dogs are a terror on them, so I have to consider that plus consider toxicity. Should be interesting and I have already begun research, just because, well, it's neato.

Of course, in the meantime, I have taken on the great storage area... argh, and I already have four trash cans full of STUFF. Not even usable stuff. Just stuff. And a pile of stuff to go to the toxics dump... paints, unlabeled liquids (fertilizers, probably, but who knows). When the x left, he left a LOT of stuff and I have no clue what some of it is. Then, I attack the area under the house (this will be awful... we have a ton of every kind of vermin here in the wild lands imaginable) so it's a full breathing mask situation. Dreading that.

And as far as the herd of minions goes...

Still struggling with the lost Spencer's brother, Chuck, trying to get him on his feet. S L O W process, and he is not out of the woods. Please keep Chuck on your prayer list, would you?

George and Bambi, the two 15yo all black fosters who are hyperthyroid, are getting meds but George isn't responding yet. He gets a blood test in about another 2.5 weeks and then we readjust the meds as needed. In the meantime, we have put him on a higher protein (and, I might add, incredibly expensive) food.

Kahn (pic above)has lost four pounds! Yeah! He is a foster for a woman in drug/alcohol rehab. He weighed 21 pounds when he came in. He will go to the vet next week for another looksie and we will set another weight goal. His brother, Kezo, has lost two pounds. GREAT! Poor Kahn was so fat he couldn't groom himself and was literally a slug. He's doing a lot more moving around now (no doubt trying to scout out the illusive former open-feeding bowl... haha, that won't happen here! Open feeding is a No!- No!). As you can see, he is a character. This is one of my favorite pics of him... especially considering what he chose to pose on.

Whaler has lost 8 pounds. He weighed 25 pounds when he came in and was incredibly sick. Talk about a food thief:) Have to put THAT boy in a dog crate while feeding he is such a food vacuum. He's going in for blood work, too.

Two ear infections, one in a cat, one in a dog... weird. Just showed up out of the blue. My med charts are getting quite long.

And... ARGH... I found my first tick of the season. Gads I hate those things, and I found it on ME... GRRRRRR. Tick season never really leaves here, given the wild lands, but we tend to get a short break in the fall for some reason. Early for ticks, so I am not a happy camper.

So much for the news here at For Pete's Sake! Rescue.

Hope all is well with each of you!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Axelrod on Warren, Thoughts on Prop 8 and More

Obama's advisor David Axelrod defended Obama's choice of Warren at inauguration as a "healthy thing". Read it here. Apparently, bigotry is healthy and good now.

Kos diarist hahne writes on the problems with the no on 8 campaign. Worth reading, and has links to other postmortem diaries. This is one person's perspective, but give it a read. I am not being critical, but I do believe it is important to look back and see what could have been done better.
Now all this said, this 60 Minutes section really outlines Obama's rise. It is excellent.

Watch CBS Videos Online

Friday, December 26, 2008

Really Neat Photos of Polar Bear and Huskies

I refer you here.

Wow is all I can say.

A Nice Light Day (at long last!)

I just love this You Tube vid that Katie Sherrod posted (hat tip). It is really fun and has a really interesting twist.


This diary at Daily Kos is a powerful reminder of how sometimes efforts to cross gaps don't result in bridges built. This is a very interesting story of Rick Warren, lgbt families and promises broken. Well worth the read. The gist is that they will be praying for Warren.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas, Everyone! (+ a news video)

There are many of you that come here that are not Episcopalian, let alone Christian... let alone any other spiritual belief. So I offer you a very happy holiday! This is actually my favorite time of year!

We had dinner at my mom's (I cooked) and here is a nice picture of her with her dear tenant, Robert. Mom will be 95 in January.

Here is a picture of the local mountains covered in snow. I live in there somewhere:) In my 34 or 35 years here, I have NEVER seen these mountains (in the center is Saddleback Peak) like this. It has been just incredibly cold (oy, my electric bill!), and lots of rain this year. Normally, we get our rain in January and February, so if this continues, we will have a very good rain year which we certainly need.

In the 2007 burn area, though, it is still wrecking havoc. Many continually struggle with debris flows, etc. These many folks are still so very harmed by the arsonist. It is terribly sad.

Much has been said about the civil rights Methodist minister Joseph Lowery giving the Benediction at Obama's inaugural. One of the things said is that he supports gay marriage. He doesn't.

You can watch the MSNBC vid here where, in his own words, he struggles with the term.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What to do About Warren?

Update: It seems that Warren is now taking a page from Palin's book. He is blaming the media.

Susan Russell (hat tip!) over at An Inch at a Time provided a link today to a Boston Globe ( article on Warren/Obama/inauguration. It's good reading.

But the question is, what to do about Rick Warren, and WHY this situation really does matter and should matter to gays and straights alike.

Obama and Warren: The Inauguration and What They Each Believe

Obama is not going to remove Warren from the inaugural invocation. That is clear. Obama is extending his hand to those who disagree with much the liberal and progressive political community supports--not to mention some religious institutions--or at least tolerates (e.g. abortion).

I can understand that thinking from a political make-nice perspective, but the fact remains that Obama doesn't understand this issue at all and has a terrible blind spot when it comes to the issue of same gender marriage. He's human. But that does not mean that he can or should escape criticism for his position or for his inclusion of a religious bigot at his own inauguration.

It is important to understand that Obama does not support same gender marriage but does support something akin to what we think of as equal rights. Many of us know this as "separate but equal", and we know this is a faux standard. As a professor of constitutional law, Obama should know that too. Perhaps he, in fact, does.

And what does Pastor Rick Warren believe?

Please view this. It's important you especially watch from 2:15 forward. It is probably one of the biggest compilations of falsity and BS overall I have ever heard. I cannot begin to take the time to go into each of his points, but would LOVE to. I could write ten pages on almost every sentence.

It is important to hear his views from HIM, not me.

So, what we have here are two people, President-elect Obama and Pastor Rick Warren in agreement on same gender marriage, albeit perhaps for different reasons. Make no mistake, on the point, they are in harmony.

Warren refers to his recent Beliefnet interview and should you be so inclined, you can view it here. This is how some of the recent criticism started. But the fact is, long before the Beliefnet interview--and now after--he holds his point on same gender marriage. He says one thing in one way to his church and one thing another way to society at large. But he says the same thing, it is just coded differently for each audience.

Since the incredible recent volume of criticism of Warren emerged, his Saddleback Church has removed the following from their site, and I think you can see why.

Gender identity to Warren is a "lifestyle choice". That is fundi-code for those that refuse to believe one is innately not straight regardless of how or why:

So, despite Warren's faux plea that he thinks everyone should have equal rights, he doesn't view lgbt people as equal to start with nor can they be equal given his Biblical/religious beliefs.

Warren speaks not as an individual but under the color of a Southern Baptist pastor. Unless Warren leaves the Southern Baptists or the Southern Baptists change their religious dogma, Warren's position(s) will NOT NOT NOT NOT change and I don't care how many tables he sits at for discussion, how many dinners he has with gay couples, and how many times he issues some kind of bizarre clarification or even (gasp!) apology.

Any thought of reconciliation with Warren on this issue is absent his core religious beliefs and values. It is a waste of time and I don't care who challenges us to work "with" Warren. It is useless on its face.

For those of us insulted by the blending of religion and constitutional standing, let me iterate again that marriage is NOT a religious institution but a legal contractual one. You get a license to get married from your municipality. That is a legal matter. Whether you choose to be married by Bozo the Clown, an airplane pilot at 15K feet, an Elvis impersonator, a Justice of the Peace, someone that bought a religious standing of one kind or another on the internet, or a church pastor or priest, these people only do you the service of the actual completion of the contract.

If you divorce, Bozo, the pilot, Elvis, the Justice of the Peace nor anyone else CAN or WILL help you out. It was a legal contract to start with, and it must be dissolved legally. It is a civil institution by its nature, not a religious one.

However, the trip wire is the legalities that come with that civil contract both in terms of state and federal law. If you cannot get married in California, you have no right, for instance, to a joint tax benefit under federal law. There are several thousand of these legal inequities and no religious "blessing" can change them.

What the California Supreme Court Had to Say About "Marriage"

Writing for the California Supreme Court last May, Chief Justice Ronald George (appointed by GOP governor Pete Wilson on July 29, 1991) opined:

Marriage, George said, is not just a bundle of rights, but is a relationship uniquely honored by the state and society. Confining same-sex couples to a different category marks them with "second-class citizenship," the chief justice said.

As for the argument that marriage has historically been reserved for a man and a woman, George said that even the most widely accepted traditions "often mask an unfairness and inequality" that only the victims understand.

No kidding, Justice George.

So, should we--can we--inherently "define" rights away?

Apparently, some believe we can and should as evidenced by Proposition 8 which Warren supported and Obama opposed. It should be said, however, that to do so cost about $37 million dollars for the supporters of prop 8 (to ban same gender marriage) and about a million more than that in their attempt to defeat the proposition (to stop the ban of same gender marriage). In the end, the proposition won 52.3% to 47.7%.

The German yellow star and pink triangle visually denoted people that were supposedly both different and lessor. The KKK's burning crosses (still existent today) define people as supposedly different and lessor. Swastikas scrawled on synagogue doors represent people supposedly different and lessor.

Prop 8 was a political invisible branding of supposed difference and lessor.

Civil unions, offset by marriage, are different and lessor.

We either believe in equality, or we don't. It is that simple.

Under the California Supreme Court's language, neither Obama nor Warren support equality no matter how vociferously each pleads that they do.

Reaction to Obama's Choice of Warren for the Inaugural Invocation

I wish I could say that the liberal/progressive end of the spectrum was united in outrage about Obama's decision. They aren't, as reading any of the probably now hundreds of posts on the matter at Daily Kos, for instance, now makes perfectly clear. Some in the lgbt community are not outraged about the choice, some are, some straights are outraged, some are not. Most that are not outraged don't "get" the problem.

Interestingly, some on the conservative side are outraged because Warren is colluding with the supposed enemy, and some are reticent--even mildly supportive--of both Obama and Warren.

And this, all over one word in the English language: marriage.

Some have suggested all churches stop marriage blessings. Yeah, that's going to happen. Talk about a war!

Some have suggested changing the legal terminology from marriage to "civil union" across the board as some European countries have done. That won't happen given this is a state matter and even were we to try this, it could take umpteen decades though the idea is a solid one. The folks invested in theocracy, though, won't EVER buy into this. It would require them to further separate religion from politics which is antithetical to their goal to start with. On the positive side, it might make the IRD and their ilk nuts.

So, What Do We Do About Warren?

From my vantage, we do what we are doing. We continue to call him out as a religious bigot and political theocrat. We give him no ground, we enter into no discussion. He has his right to freedom of religion, and the lgbt community has their right to equal protection. Warren does NOT have the right to to create two classes of people. Been there, done that, not going there again. Ever.

And for those going to the inauguration, we need to ask EVERY sympathizer on the issue to hold up a symbol of defiance when Warren speaks and perhaps break into a chorus of We Shall Overcome! or something. They should turn their backs to Warren, en mass. The visual would be spectacular and the world will see it, too. And so will America.

For those of us not attending, we should be sending message after message to Obama stating our outrage (you can be outraged without being a complete jerk). That can be done here.

Warren also needs to hear from you, don't let him off the hook. You can contact him at Send pictures of you and your beloved. Tell him your story. Let him know how he is wrong and why and how religious persecution effects you. Being insulting and crude won't help. Remember, when you send something by e-mail it is traceable.

There are 36,000 people in California that could have their marriages voided. Make sure he hears from as many of these people as possible.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

How Greed Has Changed One Life

I received this today from another dog rescuer.

It makes me so angry and brings me to tears. I am trying to find a foster until I can take the dog in, but I do not have a place for the human, so I am trying to find a solution for her.

We absolutely HAVE to do something about this foreclosure situation. These are PEOPLE we are talking about! These are not failed businesses, they don't get million dollar bonuses. Some have no place to go. And that is the best of it.

Won't you take a minute, copy this plea and send to your US Senators and Congressional members asking them to deal with this NOW?

If this short plea doesn't hit the bullseye then nothing can.

I have lost my house in foreclosure and am living in it illegally with my 8 year old dog. She is German Shepherd/husky mix and I need to find her a home immediately. I have had her since she was a pup and living without her seems unfullfilling and blank. I dont know whre I will go and am considering suicide but I must find her a home before the animal control comes back and seizes her and takes her to her death. I dont even want to live without her but the immportant thing is that someone TAKE HER NOw .......Can u help us? Txxxx (661)944-xxxxanytime [sic]

Link to your U.S. Senate/House members is here.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Rick Warren and Reality: Tears, Hope and Action!

The only possibly good thing about Warren's pick by Obama to give the inaugural invocation is that many lgbt people have felt compelled to tell "their" stories for others to read. There is no way to understand the situation, especially for straight folks, other than to read them or experience them through a friend or relative. These are painful stories to read by those of us who are hets and Jamessia's story at Kos made me cry. His is not the first.

I highly recommend reading Jamesia's story. It is sad, moving and says a great deal about the coming out/family issue for those that have experienced it and how their lives are constantly touched in ways we hets don't experience.

The bottom line, as you will note, is that Jamesia (as others) points out that the only way to settle "the matter" of lgbt's is acceptance. This can only occur through equality. For marriage, it means TOTAL equality, including 1) either full rights to marriage, or 2) no one "marries", but each couple, regardless of individual gender identity, has equal right to and through a civil union and current marriage are honored and grandfathered as such.

The pain that bleeds through the many posts by "our" IT--her marriage put in jeopardy by litigation being forwarded by Pepperdine University Dean Ken Starr (yes, THAT Ken Starr of Clinton fame) and prop 8--is similarly felt by the 18,000 other couples in exactly IT's position. A longer piece on Starr/Prop 8 can be found here, at Salon.

Imagine, if you will, the government being sued to dissolve YOUR marriage.

Now let me ask you this: What are you going to do about this? Are you going to help our dear friend IT and the 36,000 other same gendered persons married since last may?

The only way we can lift up this issue is by being active in lifting it up. There are many ways to help, including prayer. But prayer must not the the only way.

If we had relied on prayer for other major changes in this country, likely we would still be praying for them. The love extended to us, by God, requires that we extend it to others, as well. That requires our hands and feet, our hearts and our minds. We have to become knowledgeable--as messengers--about the many issues facing the lgbt community. We must, literally, stand with the lgbt community in their peaceful protests, vigils and marches. We must write our decision makers and the editors of our local papers.

1. First, let's consider some major federal policy issues (this means, also, writing to your federal legislators which is REALLY simple):

DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act): Read here, click-able by state. Support repeal of this 1996 act.
DADT (Don't Ask, Don't Tell): Read here, here, here (for research on the issue), and here (Box Turtle Bulletin which has numerous articles).

Find the electronic addresses for your House and Senate members here.

Feel free to add other issues in the comments section, please.

2. In the case of California Prop 8, I strongly urge a short letter to California Attorney General Jerry Brown thanking him for his intervention in Prop 8 litigation to protect the California constitution.

Write Attorney General Jerry Brown here and thank him for upholding the California Constitution.

Here's the long and short of his decision to ask the CA Supremes to strike down Proposition 8:

While Proposition 8 was a short if not sweet proposition (VERY short language here, "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California") it sought to amend the California constitution. Amending the CA constitution and revising it are different things. Amending can be accomplished through propositions, revising it cannot.

So, opponents of Prop 8 (that's we good guys!) are opining that when it comes to civil rights being stricken from the constitution (the right to marry was granted by the California Supreme Court in May of 2008), doing so requires a constitutional revision NOT an amendment:

Under the California Constitution, the initiative can be used for "amendments" but not "revisions":

[Art. XVIII, § 1.] The Legislature ..., two-thirds of the membership of each house concurring, may propose an amendment or revision of the Constitution ....

[§ 2]. The Legislature ..., two-thirds of the membership of each house concurring, may submit at a general election the question whether to call a convention to revise the Constitution....

[§ 3]. The electors may amend the Constitution by initiative.

[§ 4]. A proposed amendment or revision shall be submitted to the electors and if approved by a majority of votes thereon takes effect the day after the election unless the measure provides otherwise.

Technically, an amendment requires 50%+1 vote. In the California state constitution, a revision requires passage by the 50+1% vote plus a 2/3 vote of the California legislature. VERY different things.

So, the legal question (in part) before the CA Supreme Court in regard to Prop 8 and the taking away of civil rights of same gendered persons to legally marry (and the revoking of marriages already in place) does prop 8 rise to constitutional revision (higher standard) versus amendment (lower standard)?

The California Attorney General's job (Jerry Brown) is to protect and defend the U.S. and California Constitutions:


California Oath of Office, California Constitution, Article XX, Section 3:

"I, ______, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter."

Attorney General Duties, California Constitution, Article V, Section 13:

Subject to the powers and duties of the Governor, the Attorney General shall be the chief law officer of the State. It shall be the duty of the Attorney General to see that the laws of the State are uniformly and adequately enforced.

So, you see, AG Jerry Brown is taking the position that this is precisely what he is doing by reversing his previous stand (previously, he said he would defend prop 8 as the voters had approved it, but after more investigation found it contrary to the CA Constitution) and is now asking the California Supremes to set Proposition 8 aside in his elected position and in regard to his duty to defend the CA constitution. I posted on this topic yesterday.

There are more things to do, and learn. But let's start here.

This gives you four letters to write:

One to your house member to support DOMA and DADT and one each to your two federal senators.

One to Jerry Brown, thanking him (even if you don't live in CA!).

Now you have the info and the addresses. I can only hope that you are willing to support the civil rights of your brothers and sisters by writing. It takes everyone!

Friday, December 19, 2008

CA Att.Gen. Brown Files Suit to Overturn Prop 8

Update: Here is a copy of Brown's December 17 Press Release with attachments for his briefs.

Read it here at the Los Angeles Times.

It is the attorney general's duty to defend the state's laws, and after gay rights activists filed legal challenges to Proposition 8, which amended the Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, Brown said he planned to defend the proposition as enacted by the people of California.

But after studying the matter, Brown concluded that "Proposition 8 must be invalidated because the amendment process cannot be used to extinguish fundamental constitutional rights without compelling justification."

Backers of Proposition 8 expressed anger at Brown's decision not to honor the will of voters, who approved the measure in November. "It's outrageous,"said Frank Schubert, campaign manager for Proposition 8.

Kudos to Jerry Brown!

Goodbye, My Friend: RIP Little Spencer

Despite our trying everything to save Little Spencer, he passed on early this afternoon after we woke to find him unconscious this morning.

Spencer, a cat abandoned when his foreclosed-on humans selfishly and cruelly left him and his brother, Chuck, behind, had been extremely ill with hepatic lipidosis (caused by starvation) and pancreatitis. A large framed cat, Spencer weighed 4 pounds when we took him in.

While we worked constantly with the vet, his condition continued to worsen.

Please go here and light a candle (click on an unlit candle to get started) and say a prayer for Little Spencer.

Fr. Scott also lost his cat, Wizard, today. You may go here to offer your condolences.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

More on Obama and Warren

The Obama-Warren issue has totally gone viral. There isn't a site, now, not addressing it, a talk show not variously talking about it, a radio or television news program without some meme on it, and were I working, I cannot imagine a water cooler discussion excluding it.

Nonetheless, I want to address it, again, from a different point of view.

Those of you who are regular readers know how strongly I feel about the topic of theocracy and how bright a line I believe there should be between government and religion despite the fact that I am a strong Episcopalian. And yes, I am extremely liberal in almost all ways. And yes, I am devoted to the right of lgbt folks to marry and for all people to have equal rights. I am also a huge advocate of the First Amendment.

On the matter of Warren and Obama, Obama has the perfect right to do as he will. That right carries consequence with it. Nothing about Obama gives him any sort of "free pass" to escape criticism from me or anyone else on this or any other topic.

As I stated yesterday in my blog post, Obama's choice of Saddleback (mega)Church pastor Rick Warren (Warren describes them as friends) to give the inaugural invocation appears to be a political move. And a bad one. In fact, it might be the worst decision Obama has made, to date.

Many folks--lgbt folks included--have stated that Obama is a "bring everyone to the table kind of guy" and that this somehow makes Warren's appearance at the inaugural okay. Well, that's great for a buffet. It isn't palatable when it comes to equal rights.

Am I supposed to somehow support giving someone that doesn't believe in equal rights a place at the political table? Well, am I?

If Rick Warren shows up at my door asking for food, he'll get it. If Rick Warren shows up at my door advocating against lgbt marriage, he'll get a dressing-down from me. I can and do separate Christian charity from political street talk. Apparently, Obama cannot.

The inaugural is a POLITICAL and constitutional event, not a religious get together, issue forum or a debate. And while many of us will not like everything Obama does--and the people he appoints to political positions--this isn't about that. The objection to Warren is about his basic opposition, from a Biblical perspective, to equal rights and the fact that our president-elect is embracing this person at a political event of unequaled precedence. It is also about the hateful language he has used to describe and compare lgbt folks to we not.

If McCain did this, people would be enraged. Oops. In fact they were enraged over McCain's embrace of the wacky theocrat and San Antonio megachurch pastor John Haggee. So much so, in fact, that McCain finally distanced himself from the uber right Christian Haggee.

If you read the above link to Politico's piece, you will notice that the dems took McCain to task for his relationship with Haggee. Understandable. So now, somehow, we are supposed to look the other way with democrat Obama and his relationship with Warren?

I will have none of that hypocrisy.
So, we wonder, what exactly was Obama trying to accomplish in inviting Warren? Some have suggested--and I disagree with this--that he is interested in the image. The right wing evangelical, popular author, and megachurch pastor praying for the president. Surely Obama realizes that while Warren has millions of fans, his invocation won't sway people to Obama. That is just plain stupid.

Is it that Obama wants to show that he can work with people he is not in total harmony with? That might be a possibility, though some of his recent cabinet nominees surely have sent this word out already. Many are very hard line hawks when it comes to war, and have been, at best, mediocre on issues important to us all like clean food, water and air. Obama's nomination of Salazar to Interior almost couldn't be worse.

So we get it. You can and are reaching across the isle. WAY across in some cases.

No, I think this is personal. I think Obama genuinely believes this is a good decision and that he likes most of Warren. This is troubling.

Obama's not gay. He does not understand lgbt issues and he doesn't understand the fight. There is just NO way to equate the civil rights fight of African Americans to that of the lgbt community. I have said this a bazillion times. This makes a bazillion and one. They are different fights. Yes, they can sometimes look the same.

The Los Angeles Times had this to say about it tonight:

In a written statement Thursday, Warren commended Obama "for his courage to willingly take enormous heat from his base by inviting someone like me, with whom he doesn't agree on every issue, to offer the invocation."

Warren continued: "Hopefully individuals passionately expressing opinions from the left and the right will recognize that both of us have shown a commitment to model civility in America." [my emphasis]

Obama opposed Proposition 8 even though he, like Warren, opposes same-sex marriages. Aides said earlier this year that Obama believes state constitutional amendments such as Proposition 8 can threaten the legality of same-sex civil unions, which Obama supports.

Obama said that he had been invited to speak at Warren's church in recent years despite the pastor's "awareness that I have views that were entirely contrary to his when it came to gay and lesbian rights, when it came to issues about abortion."

"That dialogue is what my campaign was all about," Obama said. "The magic of this country is that we are diverse and noisy and opinionated. And so that's the spirit in which we have put together what I think will be a terrific inauguration."
Let's think a bit about the term "model civility" in several contexts.

Picture the KKK in suits and ties. They plant the burning cross on a front yard of a black family, then ask the residents to come out and have a chat over some ice cream and cake.

The torturers carefully place the tortured and emaciated guest of honor at the cloth-lined dinner table. It's pork, of course, and the tortured is an Orthodox Jew.

The Host wafers are respectfully and gently cradled in hands and respectfully set atop the leftover spaghetti and other "bread" in the garbage can.

These are civil approaches to actions that are each horribly reprehensible. Does that make them nicer or more acceptable?

If you look at what Warren has said and done, and the way he does it, the above are tantamount to his approach on lgbt issues. He has friends that are gay. Gosh, he has had dinner at their house! He is not a homophobe. He fights AIDS (like that is just a gay issue? Did I miss something?) in Africa and has given a lot of money to the cause (and yeah, he palled around with some Anglican Communion folks there that advocate violence... but hey, it's "civil" and we work together in our differences, right?).
There is simply NO escaping Obama's screw-up and I don't care what one believes or what party one identifies with.

Yes, we must work together. Obama can work with theocrat Warren all he likes.

But having a bigot give the introductory prayer at a political inauguration is beyond the pale.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Time Names Obama as Person of the Year and More!

Time magazine has chosen Obama as their Person of the Year. Woot! Great choice, eh?!

I am MUCH less enthusiastic about Obama choosing mega church pastor Rick Warren to give the inaugural invocation. Must be a political move, eh? Go figure. The two men couldn't be more different in their ideology.

David Brody over at CBN had this to say:

Even though Warren and Obama disagree on the life issue, they do see eye to eye on many social justice issues. This move is also classic Obama because it is a signal to religious conservatives that he’s willing to bring in both sides to the faith discussion in this country. Obama has never shied away from that.

Okay. Well, I hold a DIM view of Warren, and here's why (excerpt is from a Beliefnet interview between Waldman and Warren, 4min, here) :

Warren dodged Waldman's question about whether he supported civil unions or domestic partnerships, answering instead, "I support full equal rights for everyone in America," adding that he only opposes a "redefinition" of marriage. He went on to say he's opposed to gay marriage the same way he is opposed to a brother and sister marrying (that would be incest), a man marrying a child (that would be statutory rape), or someone having multiple spouses (that would be polygamy). Pressed by Waldman, Warren said he considered those crimes equivalent to gay marriage.

Anyone that doesn't SEE the problem has his/her head... Oh, nevermind. You know what I am thinking.

In fact, the more I think about this, the more it really upsets me. Why not bring in the 700 Club and Robertson and let them spew? Does Warren's slick presentation CHANGE the facts of these folks? No.... it doesn't.

And, BTW, in the video note Warren's "5000 year" error. Did you catch it?


On the other hand, this is a see God moment. Obama seems to truly have a means to forgiveness that has certainly passed me by. He does so well with forgiveness and reconciliation. From a Christian perspective, he is far the better of we two.

I'm working on it, but I have to get this civil rights chip off my shoulder first. Oh wait. That's not a chip! It's that bright, bright anti-theocratic line!

Now think about this: How are we supposed to view this, both as believers and not, when among us are both lgbt Christians and not? Am I supposed to lighten up on Warren? Am I supposed to downplay the absolute absurdity of this, a man of justice having a man of injustice give an invocation? How in the world am I supposed to think about this?

And for God's sake, are Christians the only people that matter under our laws?

Of course, Andrew Sullivan at the Atlantic had this to say:

He won't be as bad as the Clintons (who, among leading Democrats, could?), but pandering to Christianists at his inauguration is a depressing omen.

Depressing, indeed.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Iowa Supremes Case on Same Gender Marriage + Other Nifty News

Desmoinesdem over at Daily Kos does an excellent job of covering Iowa state's litigation on same sex marriage in this piece, Recap and analysis of Iowa Supreme Court's gay marriage hearing. I highly recommend it.

Then read this very sweet and powerful diary of a child of assumed het parents that divorced, raised by a loving lesbian couple. VERY powerful. Very wonderful.


Big week for two of my lovely minions.

Hank, the dobie/hound mix, is leaving for his new home Thursday, and today is the first day he has had his cone off... so he got smothered in fun toys (they can't play with toys with a cone on because they can't hold the toys between their feet!).

He's all worn out now after having a super fun time.

And he has a whole 'nother pile of toys to take with him he hasn't even tested yet. What a lucky dog!

And by lucky I mean lucky. His adoptive parents have a therapy dog already and Hank is already signed up for classes to do the same thing. This, after being on the death list at the shelter is quite a change.

Little wee Timmi, the kitten of a homeless man living in a container, is now fully vetted and spayed and healthy and is getting transported *by a volunteer* to a rescue I foster for that will be taking her in to place. Lucky girl. I wish they all had such a chance. What a lucky kitten.

This kitten is going to a Persian Breed rescue... and note, she is hardly a Persian! More like a DLH tiger or at best a Maine Coon Mix.

I thank God every single day that there are people to help these animals from the Samaritan that picks them up out of the gutter to those that help them through their health needs (in sickness and in health), the wonderful veterinarians that have low cost spay and neuter clinics (believe me, this isn't just about money, some really do care!), and those that are willing to haul them from one location--sometimes hundreds of miles or perhaps a series of people collectively taking them thousands of miles--to their rescue or perhaps their furrever home.

ANYONE that says animal rescue work doesn't take a village hasn't done it!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

News of Various Sorts

I am happy to say I finally finished my Kos diary yesterday about rehoming animals in this economic environment. If you know of someone (neighbor or friend) that must rehome their cats or dogs, please refer them here. It is long and perhaps boring for those that don't need the help, but for those that do, it may actually help them.

Animal diaries don't do very well at Kos, so I was very pleased that I did and make it to the top 16 for the day. Amazing, really.


As you readers know, I was highly critical of VP candidate Palin. And for very good reason. Since the election, I just don't post on her name because, frankly, she is not news in the real non-MSM world. She has nothing to say worth writing about. Pretty simple.

Interestingly, some don't agree and with recent news stories suggesting that her Wasilla church was arson torched (the department says it is suspicious, so I don't really know if that means arson, or "suspicious"--two very different and distinct words), the universe of Palin has been (pardon the pun) ablaze. I have recieved over 125 Google news references on this in the last 36 hours.

The photo that you just can't miss here (with some nutcase holding some kind of weapon) seems to represent what I think of as an obviously mentally unhealthy pro-Palin supporter who writes, "You people know who you are and you're scum. Come to my door , church or neighborhood with that crap and you'll get this ...........what you deserve...." [sic]

Why do I bother with even writing about this? Because here is the prologue, in part:

Title of the blog piece: "Lunatic Libs or Gay Gestapo Torch Palin Church, Gone Too Far This Time"

And, the first line reads: "It's an absolute fact that members of one or both groups mentioned above are entirely responsible for this arson and while we're at it add the MSM and even SNL's Tina Fey in as accomplices for drumming up such unnecessary hatred for Palin and her family in this past election season so irresponsibly, all to help guarantee their Messiah would win the election."


And this isn't the only piece, by any means, blaming the gay community for this supposed arson which is, of course, like blaming all whites for nutso Timmothy McVeigh. The difference is, however, that the lgbt community is already suffering under the hand of violence having done absolutely nothing other than being.

The reason for this linkage is the "pray the gay away" nonsense that Palin's church, an Assemblies of God church, sponsored in, I believe, September. That said, why not accuse wiccans? After all, Palin's church had a witch hunter come and pray the witches away. Or why not the Jews? The same church did have, in fact, a predatory anti-Jewish group welcomed into their sanctuary which caused many Jewish groups to issue statements on the matter.

Gay is the enemy of the day. The scapegoat now, as we all know.

I am sure the Wall Street debacle in its glory is all the fault of the lgbt community. And the auto workers? Absolutely. It's the fault of the lgbt community. It had nothing to do with bad decisions and bloated management. AIG? All those gays buying houses. Citibank? Once again, all those gays. Recent ice storms in Massachusetts? Yep, the gays. My broken dinner plate? The gays.

But, in reality, it says way more than that.

There is a saying that goes like this:

First they ignore you.
Then they laugh at you.
Then they fight you.
Then you win.

And that, my friends, is where we are. We are at the 'fight you' stage and the next one is 'win'.

For those of us not gay, but strong community supporters, it is a time that we must really re-involve ourselves. Sure, there is no "gay vote" on the ballot next week or month. Maybe there are or are not Yuletide protests (if there are, please go!). But there is work to be done in supporting and networking with our friends and it doesn't stop because of the holidays. And it doesn't stop because the CA Supreme Court is mindbending over the issue.

There is the White Knot project. Something really easy to do, and an inexpensive way to personally get the word out to others, yourself. You can hand them out attached to flyers. You can use them as Christmas bows, with an explanatory note.

They are to be worn. They are to be seen.

Those of us committed to our friends--and strangers--lgbt, and to the concept of equal rights, don't need a "day" or "protest" event to help. I think it is incumbent upon us to BE and LIVE that concept and support.

Just as a thought, how many of you have written your Bishops to tell them what is on your mind or to our beloved ++Katherine?

If your diocese, as mine, is progressive on the issue, have you written to thank and support them?

What have you done in your church to support the issue? Have you had talks or discussions or???

And what have you done in your community? Even just in your neighborhood?

This is not just about who lgbt people "are", this is also about who WE straights are. It's about our willingness to take the reins and move people on the issue towards understanding. It's about asking people to stand with us for equal rights for our friends and family members and for those we do not know.

I am sending out a Christmas card this year with a white knot in it and a Christmas blessing for ALL people. Some may not speak to me again, and some may send me bad tidings and some will smile. I will know them by their fruits. The hardest one to send will be to my LDS neighbors who I love and adore as friends and who I know for a fact (looked it up on the donation site) donated to the yes on 8 campaign which made me so very sad. The "he" of the family is an elder in his ward. I have known them for two decades.

Won't you join me in making a statement at this time of year, the season of peace and love, in asking for what Christ himself came to stand for?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Serious Consequences of Gay Marriage

No explanation needed.

This is VERY Good News!

I am happy to report that Obama has chosen Dr. Steven Chu, Nobel Prize winner, as his nominee for Secretary of Energy. Can you imagine! Science back in the cabinet!

You can read about the choice here at the NY Times.

For you science types, here is an hour-long video with Chu:

Also chosen are:

Carol Browner, former head of EPA under Bill Clinton (good choice) to head energy policy from the White House.

Lisa Jackson, chosen to be EPA administrator

Los Angeles Deputy Mayor Nancy Sutley was chosen to be chairwoman of the president's Council on Environmental Quality.

I cannot speak to Jackson or Sutley, but Browner was pretty darned good.

Steven Chu's one position that I oppose is increased use of nuclear power. He has stated, though, that the waste is a huge problem to solve so I do give him credit there. He does have some viable alternatives, on their face, to Yucca Mountain for high-level radioactive waste and that is good. It is NOT going to be an easy subject to solve.

Science back in the cabinet? Science back in the white house? Good grief, change is coming!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Timing: It's a God Thing

First, I am sneezing my head off so if there are a few more vowels or consonants in a word than there should be (or maybe a lot), forgive me. Sniff. Sneeze (x 6). Cough. Sniff. Repeat.

I had one of those God days today. I was on a mission of my own (ha, or so we always think!), to take three of my healthy wee little doggies to another rescue who could not handle a big dog they had gotten. Trade sort of thing. The rescuer is older and physically unable to handle this doggie but is absolutely fabulous in vetting and placing her dogs. The incoming dog is 12 weeks old and almost 30 pounds... gonna be a big boy! She has broken both legs and spent over a half year learning to walk again and this is NOT a dog she can handle, but the shelter begged her and, well, she made a decision.

The beginning of the God thing is that I was sick and spent almost the whole day in bed which I absolutely NEVER do. I have to be really sick, given my animals, to actually stay horizontal for more than four to five hours at a time.

I finally felt my e-mail calling, and got up to check. There was her e-mail about three e-mails down, pleading, in a rescue room, for help with this dog. She was really distraught. She is not well and this was beyond her doing. I wrote back I would take him. I know her. She is a great rescuer. Might she be willing to take a couple of very healthy, spayed/neutered little dogs that I believe are very placeable? Yes, she writes. Absolutely. So we arrange to meet two days later, today, Tuesday.

So I get to the meeting place today--her vet's office--and her dog is now in my car's dog crate, and my three are in hers, and we are standing at the vet desk making arrangements for the three to go in and get microchipped when...

She says, "Oh no." She lays her head on the desk and all of us are looking at her and each other wondering exactly what that statement means. It's one of those combined uh-oh moments that is adrenaline spiking. She lifts her head up and says, "Okay." I know she is talking to herself, but I have no clue what the context is. I ask her if she is okay and if she needs help. She is NOT okay. She says so.

The staff moves her to a room where she can lie down and sends someone out to watch the dogs (our cars parked side x side in front of the clinic, the backs of our SUV's open. It's only 70 degrees, but that is NOT the point...).

I ask her what the heck is wrong and she explains she has something called "pet". Some irony in that, believe me. What she has is a condition that, in more modern parlance that "pet", is ventricular tachycardia which is described thus:

VT is a rapid heart rhythm originating within the ventricles. VT tends to disrupt the orderly contraction of the ventricular muscle, so that the ventricle's ability to eject blood is often significantly reduced. That, combined with the excessive heart rate, can reduce the amount of blood actually being pumped by the heart during VT to dangerous levels. Consequently, patients with VT often experience -- in addition to palpitations -- extreme lightheadedness, loss of consciousness, or even sudden death.

She tries to correct it herself which, she says, she has been doing for a while learning, apparently, some techniques from, frankly, God knows where. She tries about ten times. The vet is panicked. He takes her blood pressure and looks extremely perplexed. I wanted to call 911 from the get-go, but she said no... you know how that is. This is an independent, extremely bright woman, well employed (even in this environment) worried about her dogs. Even if near death, she she would be like an 18 wheeler at 90mph beeping "get the hell out of my way" as she approaches, dog leashes in hand.

Finally, we call 911. I load all the dogs back into the vet except the big dog, Hank. Not one, but FIVE fire vehicles of various sorts show up, sirens blaring. I have to explain that while we asked them to tip-toe in, law requires them to do what they do.

Eventually, in the ambulance, after three tries of some sort of injection, they lower her heart rate, close the doors and speed off. I ask where they are going. Perfect. Whittier Hospital. Know it well. I had three broken arms set there, a finger sewed back on there, and left some adenoids and tonsils behind there. I should have a club card.

So over the meadows and through the woods I drive and arrive shortly after they do. Of note is that the paramedic that was working on her backed into a light pole (oops) while leaving, because he was staring at me. How funny is THAT? Well, if you had seen what I looked like, you would be asking the SAME question. I see him at the emergency, he looks pretty sheepish. I obviously drive better than he does. Well, if you ignore that tiny bit of a crunched bumper on the left rear of my car I do. I ran into a light pole. Mmm. Maybe I have met my true love.

So I wait in the empty emergency waiting room watching some kind of game show that I really cannot figure out. Guys with head phones and lots of money and pregnant screaming women. Oy. Totally out of my league. I don't even own a TV. There is no--and I mean NO--reading material, and since I didn't plan on this field trip, I don't have anything either. I walk outside and look around. I bump into Mr. Hit-the-light-pole again. I am really not--in fact definitely not--looking for a relationship. Unless of course he is a total animal lover and loves to spend money at the veterinarian. I might think about that. I go back into the emergency waiting room.

In the meantime, three pregnant women enter and go in a door... baby time. Some people are sitting outside crying... loss time. I am hell and gone from home at this point, and the cats need meds an hour ago but I need to make sure this is okay, that her children know she is HERE (not somewhere else) and try to figure out if I can help with her animals at home if need be. Yes, she has three biters at home, but the other nine or so are nice. Mostly. Mostly nice. No prob. Can handle that. They are small. The indoor feral cat is unseeable. Food, cat box, water and all is fine.

I get the list of whose who and who's where. How to get in, what to do, etc. just in case.

She calls her doctor (while in the emergency room!) and makes an appointment for the next day. I tell her ten times she really must get serious about this and get this handled. She agrees. We agree to send each other (because we are both single) an e-mail am and pm each night so someone knows we are alive. She is worried not because she might die, but because if she does, someone might put her dogs in a city shelter. I totally get it. I worry about this constantly. Many animal people are extremely independent and many are singletons. If they don't have cooperatives (she does) they are in deep trouble when ill or when dying. But if she cannot get home, she cannot take care of the dogs. I get it.

So, what is the moral of this story for me? God wanted me there. Period. I know I learned a few things today, and was in the right place at the right time (she could have had this happen with strangers at a 7-11).

Often times in EFM as my lead-in, lead-out (assigned rotational), I don't come with reading in hand. My question is always: Where did YOU see God this week? The question is really designed to get people to think about what they see in terms of God AT THE TIME in motion. What did you SEE? What were YOU a part of?

It's easy to say we see God in all things. But I believe that is us not paying attention and it is a well used phrase to just excuse ourselves from paying attention.

This story reflects a big event, but I experience them all the time. There isn't a day I don't experience them. It might be a single sentence someone utters that brings things home. It might be an act by a friend or stranger, large or small. It might be a frigging miracle!

The point to me is that we do a lot of thinking and hand-wringing. Nothing wrong with that. But what about just 'God observation', if you will?

As we enter the season of birth of our Lord Christ, and re-witness the beginning of our belief and its stories, myths and miracles, isn't this the perfect time to set about seeing them not just once or twice a year, but daily?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Colds, Flu GAH!

To say that I always get sick this time of year just started in the last eight or nine years. It started when my house rehab (loss of heat, etc.) started. And I am NOT going to say I get sick every year about this time. Won't. Will not.

Trouble is, I am sick again. Gah!

My throat feels like a race car just peeled out and left smoke and rubber behind. My head feels like it is the size of my car. My lungs are most unhappy. And... it just pisses me off! I just don't like being sick.

So there. Nuff said. (cough cough)


Well, animal news, as always, is mixed.

My two new senior (blacks, both 15, Bambi and George) cat fosters are BOTH hyperthyroid. This is the BEST of the possible diagnoses, and I am actually thrilled about it. Diabetes and kidney failure were the other two, so you can see why. This is easy (of course all things are relative): Get the pills down the cats twice a day, redo bloodwork in a month. Snapola! Liking this a lot. Greatly relieved.

They are both eating now, though Bambi is having a bit of behavior snitting as she doesn't like pills, doesn't like other cats, and to date is not wild about me. That will change... and I keep reminding her of this little factoid.

Spencer is now doing quite a lot better. Spencer is the classic example of why NEVER to feed fish to a cat. He is totally addicted, and many cats DO become centered on fish, though taste testing in cats shows fish is actually the LAST of the five meat options preferred (believe it or not, they fall in this order: beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, fish). But the problem is, once they get hooked on fish it is hell in a handbasket to get them away from it. I am mixing beef or chicken in with the fish... to start a gradual transition, but for now, he MUST eat and get his strength back.

PLUS fish is really polluted and from a health perspective should really not be fed to a cat anymore, even if fresh, and particularly if a farmed fish. (Crap... we just cannot get it together to protect our food sources. Fish isn't safe anymore (at least most kinds) for humans, either.)

Now Chuck is not feeling so well, again. Argh. He is not eating as well, not as expressive... oy. Just when I get one of the two brothers on his feet, the other goes sideways again.

And, as always, in the midst of it all... someone brings me a kitten that is living with a homeless man in a metal boxcar. His name is Timmie.

What a cutie Timmie is. He was awfully hungry, but other than that and the typical ear/intestinal parasites, he is doing quite well. Nice little kitten. Thank God it was not September and 110 degrees outside.

Three of my little guys (doggies), Wrigley, BeBe and Darla, are leaving tomorrow for another small dog rescue. In return, I am taking in a 25 lb. 13wo GSD x pup, Hank. I will miss the little guys, but am sure that Hank will be lots of fun for the other dogs his size. Nice when rescues can help one another.


The outside of the house is almost done, now. One more day of finish texturing and that's it. Then I have to silicone seal the eave boxes and in the spring, paint. Been waiting a lot of years for this, so very exciting. Then I move on to the electrical work.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The pounding is over, and up goes the concrete!

Oy... after computer problems, I am finally back.

For some of you that have known me a long, long time, you know my home has been in a constant state of repair/construction/replacement. Some years back, we cut the whole top of the house off and put on a pitched, three section roof. We had a flat roof which was causing multiple problems in oh... so many ways. When it leaked finally, I lost almost everything but my piano and a couple of small items. I had every bucket, pan, bowl... tarp... in the neighborhood. Finally an old friend went and bought this ENORMOUS tarp that covered the whole house... hehehe. It was like living in a cave as it went clear to the ground in places. Was hysterical! And "space silver" in color, no less.

Home improvement sucks often. Mine sure has. For instance, I have not had heat for about 8 years. When it gets below 50, I get out the portable heater and get it up to 65 at night. The cats have heat boards. Lucky them.

While the electrical was being done (phase 1), I took cold showers for almost a year in all months of the year. Try THAT in a house that is 40 degrees in the morning. I always thought Yoko Ono was a nut for taking ice baths. Now I know she is.

Also, I do not have electricity in each room (most but not all) as we were waiting to pull it through the walls when the interior walls were taken out to insulate and re-do, to save costs.

But the BIGGEST issue has been sealing up the outside of the house (the view from indoor/outdoor has been interesting for about 7 years!). Well, see here, it is finally getting done!

This lovely mason came around looking for work shortly after my homeowners ins. co. cancelled me for exterior reasons (surprised they didn't do this long ago, actually!). He has been doing residential exteriors, rock walls, sidewalks for 23 years. He needed the work, and I needed it done. He and his worker friend, have been here for a week now. They are no longer afraid of my dogs (that did take some doing! But being greeted by 10 dogs, four of which are 80 lbs. can be startling, at the very least!). One of my little dogs ADORES these guys... it's funny to watch. He would much rather be with them than me. He LOVES men. Every worker that has ever come here--of the male gender--turns into his new best friend.

Anyway, here are the pics... and you have NO idea how happy this makes me! It has been a VERY long time coming.

Well, all this pounding is driving me nuts... but well worth it! They have finished the front by the door (day 1), are finishing the part by the sidewalk (day 2), back towards John's (day 2) , the side toward the Hatches (day 2), and will finish the deck side on Day 3.

Now to think about the electrical as soon as I get my thousands of dollars from the state's lost/found account some of which has been there for at least 8 years. I kept it aside as a house savings account. You laugh? Hehe, it's true. It was my way of making sure I didn't spend it.

Oh, and a new little kitten (living in a metal storage unit) has also entered my life. A little Maine Coon Mix doll. Pics later.