Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Supes: love violence, fear sex

Robert Scheer writes on Truth Dig "Yes to Violence, No to Sex" in response to the latest Supreme Court decision on free speech for minors, especially as enunciated in Scalia's opinion. In which while opposing any ban on violent video games, he reaffirms the Court ban on "prurient" & "obscene" materials for minors and most other Americans.

I agree, as does Scheer, with the Supe decision against any government ban on violent video games; but not with its hypocritical reaffirmation of its agreement with bans on sexuality. After all, unlike violence, sex is the most natural act human beings can engage in. Although I do believe that parents should have the right (obligation?) to control what their minor children see, I don't believe that viewing a nude body or even a loving sex act will damage their little psyches. In fact, there's probably reason to believe that it might make American adults more comfortable with nudity and sex. This raises the question: why is the male majority on the Supreme Court in love with violence and afraid of sex.? To what extent do they mirror the male population of the country? Unfortunately, I believe too much.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Catholic leadership reaction to same sex marriage: predictable

It's fascinating how the "religious leaders" have reacted to the State Senate vote to legalize lesbian & gay marriage, according to today's (6/26) Daily News. First of all they are both Catholic. I'm not sure how other "religious leaders" are reacting. But the Catholic bishops are reacting totally predictably. New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan said
I think for anybody, especially state government, to tamper with something as sacred and timeless and as much a part of the human condition as marriage is careless.
I agree 100%. The state should not say who can and who can't get married.

The state was absolutely correct to step out of the business of "tamper[ing] with ... marriage," in particular, who can and who can't indulge in "something as sacred and timeless and as much a part of the human condition as marriage". Historically, the Catholic leadership has taken the position that when the state acts to make illegal what they oppose (see abortion), the state is doing the right thing. But when the state decides to step out of the business of deciding which people (women, gays) can make their own choices, then it is "careless".

This nonsense was echoed by Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio. He told The Daily News, "The state should not be concerned abut regulating affection." Exactly. And that's what 33 senators said with their votes on Friday night. Di Marzio said some other ridiculous things, but I will only mention one more.
It [passage of same sex marriage] is destructive because we fail to view marriage in the context of a vocation: a calling to participate in the great enterprise of forming the next generation. Marriage is reduced to an empty honor.
He says this despite the fact that it is obvious that lesbians and gay men are more than capable of "forming the next generation" by bringing up wonderful children. He should be advocating - if he is to be taken at all seriously - that no one (or two) who want a childless marriage should be issued a marriage license, no matter their sexual orientation.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Gov. Cuomo signs bill legalizing gay & lesbian marriage in New York State

And that's our neighbor and friend Sen. Tom Duane - the bill's primary sponsor in the Senate - hidden in the back between the other two on the right. Congratulations.

N.Y. becomes sixth (& largest) state to recognize gay& lesbian marriage

Finally! Gay men and lesbians are going to be treated as human beings with the same rights (to marry) as everyone else in New York State. A struggle for equality, which began at the Stonewall Inn on the night of June 27, 1969, has finally led to one of the most basic of human rights - the right to marry the person you love. In other words, the right to be treated as a human being.

Although it took eons to become a reality, is it possible to imagine a better weekend for the "right to marry" to become a reality. There is still much to be done, but Sunday will be one hell of a Pride March. And we'll be there as we have been since 1976.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Video: "The End of the American Dream

I'm not at all sure for who the "American Dream" actually existed. Or maybe better put, I think the dream existed for many people, but it was never a reality for most Americans. The dream is what kept Americans going - particularly to work - from day-to-day. Now that there are far more people than jobs, the corporate oligarchs and their political and media pets no longer need even to make believe that most Americans can share in the "Dream". Now the oligarchs can simply keep virtually the whole pie for themselves. And that's exactly what they are doing.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Tell Fox to fire "Follow the Money" host Eric Bolling for race-baiting

Dear Dan,

Since Tuesday, more than 65,000 people have signed onto a petition calling on Fox Business Network Chairman Roger Ailes to fire “Follow the Money” host Eric Bolling for his race-baiting comments targeting President Obama. Will you join us? Your voice can make a real difference.

The response has been tremendous, and major media are covering the campaign.1 Clearly Bolling and Fox are feeling the heat. Bolling issued a weak pseudo-apology earlier this week saying that he had gotten, “a little fast and loose with the language.” But his “apology” was disingenuous, as the offensive material was obviously scripted and premeditated.2

Which is why we’re keeping the pressure on. We plan to deliver the petitions to Fox Business chief Roger Ailes soon. Can you help us get to 80,000 before we do?

It takes just a moment to add your voice — just click below. After you do, please ask your friends and family to do the same.

Thanks and Peace,

-- Rashad, James, Gabriel, William, Dani, Matt, Natasha, and the rest of the team
June 17th, 2011


1. “Black political group demands firing of Fox Business Network host,” Los Angeles Times, 6-16-11

2. “Tell Fox: Fire Eric Bolling,” Huffington Post, 6-16-11

June 24: NYC Drag March

Thursday, June 16, 2011

June 23: Donna Minkowitz & others @ Bluestockings

Thursday, June 23rd, 7PM - $5 Suggested
Lesbian & Bisexual Literary Pride Showcase
Hosted by Donna Minkowitz

172 Allen Street @ Stanton
(We host events nearly every night and you will not be turned away from an event at Bluestockings for lack of money.

Featuring Ellis Avery, Rachel Simon, Alison Smith & Aoibheann Sweeney

Get some doses of (L)esbian and (B)i-sexual literature into your LGBTQ life with Lambda winners and featured writers. Tonight's show features queer pride with a great lineup of writers, including: journalist Donna Minkowitz ("Ferocious Romance"), novelist Ellis Avery ("The Teahouse Fire"), poet Rachel Simon ("Theory of Orange"), chronicler Alison Smith ("Name All the Animals"), and mythologist Aoibheann Sweeney ("Among Other Things, I've Taken Up Smoking").

Thoughts on Weiner's resignation & its aftermath

Rep. Anthony Weiner has resigned and has sort of faced the media. A few thoughts about Weiner & his resignation. But first let me quote from Rob Kall on OpEdNews on why Rep. Weiner should stay:
The truth is, if Weiner resigns, as he is being pushed to do by his hypocritical, moral midget critics, then his replacement will be appointed by a moderate and will surely be a weak, compliant team player, unlike Weiner, who has stood out for his strong progressive positions.

He should not resign. He should get help, get counsel and stay in the role he was elected to serve. Sanctimonious, self-righteous, hypocrite Republicans and immoral, sell-out Democrats have no right to tell him what to do. Let his constituents decide.
Basically I perceive two arguments against his resignation in Kall's comments. (1) The people calling for his resignation are hypocrites - both Republicans & Democrats; (2) His replacement will not be as progressive as Weiner & we will lose a spokesperson. My concerns are quite different. Just as when President Clinton was caught messing around with Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office my main concern was and is: what kind of message does this send to young people, especially young men (Andrew was a young teenager at the time). When people take on the responsibilities of public office (as well as athletes & entertainers to a lesser extent) they take on the responsibility of being role models for young people. Whether they want to or not. It's simply part of the job. What kind of message does Weiner's behavior send to young men about how to treat women. Clearly even more so than Clinton who was engaged in a mutually initiated affair (although by no means an equal one), it seems that Weiner, in most instances, initiated a relationship with women who contacted him in a political not a sexual context. In other words, they said we really admire your work and he replied: "What about my penis?" So I think his resignation is the best thing he could have done, especially since he spent the first week of this mess lying to everybody. Real politics requires trust.

With regard to the second of Kall's points about losing a progressive voice the best thing we can do is put pressure on Cuomo to appoint a true progressive to fill the seat. Anyone have any ideas?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tonight at midnight, New York’s rent laws expire. We have to act now.

Dear Dan,

Tonight at midnight, New York’s rent laws expire.

An estimated 2.5 million New Yorkers depend on the rent regulations to keep their housing costs stable in an unstable economy. But even if the current law is renewed, it’s not enough. We need to strengthen the law and end the “vacancy decontrol” giveaways to the Big Landlords.

Legislators are scrambling over the next few days trying to put the new law in place. Governor Cuomo is leading the fight, and has said he will not let the legislature adjourn until they do so. We applaud his leadership.

But the Republican-led state senate is standing in the way. They’ve been bought and paid for by the landlords lobbying association, the “Rent Stabilization Association.” Ironic name. They’re not interested in stabilizing anything other than their profit margins.

It’s bad enough when you’re an upstate Republican who is willing to meddle in New York City’s housing laws in exchange for contributions from the Big Landlords. But it’s even worse to sign onto the Big Landlords’ reckless anti-tenant agenda when you represent one of the five boroughs.

That’s why State Senator Marty Golden is so important.

Golden has gotten contributions from the RSA. However, he has 37,900 rent regulated units in his Brooklyn district. That’s about 95,000 tenants who will be put at risk in his very own district if the RSA gets its way.

The RSA’s president was caught on video saying he “emptied our piggy bank” to keep the Republicans in power and in line with their agenda.

Please, tell Marty Golden that the only agenda that should matter to him is his own constituents. Ask him to stand up to the RSA and to end the loopholes:

To make sure Marty Golden knows we're counting on him to stand up for his constituents, we want to gather signatures from thousands of New Yorkers .

We’ll be watching where each state senator and assembly member falls in this fight. Whether they’re with us and the tenants or with the Big Landlords and lobbyists. And we’ll remember come election time.

Thanks for all you do,

Bill Lipton
Deputy Director, WFP

Monday, June 13, 2011

June 15: Solidarity march across the Brooklyn Bridge

From the AFL-CIO:

Wednesday, June 15. Assemble beginning at 1 p.m. for a 2:30 p.m. march

Solidarity march across the Brooklyn Bridge

Enter Cadman Plaza Park by the Brooklyn War Memorial (middle of the park) and look for your delegation.
The address is 89 Cadman Plaza West, Brooklyn, N.Y. (A or C trains to High Street)

March for the Middle Class

As a showing of solidarity for working people across the nation facing attacks on their livelihood, NYC area working families will join together to march across the Brooklyn Bridge. Be there.
If you're in a union, remember to show your union colors proudly.

We still believe an attack on one is an attack on all. That is why a march to show that we stand united is so important.

The attacks on collective bargaining rights go too far and come at the expense of solving our jobs crisis and other real problems that are delaying the economic recovery. We cannot let the misinformation continue. This is about workers’ rights, fixing the economy and the future we leave for our children.

In Solidarity,

Manny Herrmann
Online Mobilization Coordinator, AFL-CIO

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Quote of the Day

"Richard Nixon, if he were alive today, might take bittersweet satisfaction to know that he was not the last smart president to prolong unjustifiably a senseless, unwinnable war, at great cost in human life... He would probably also feel vindicated (and envious) that ALL the crimes he committed against me -- which forced his resignation facing impeachment -- are now legal."

-- Daniel Ellsberg, in an interview with CNN.

(from Taegan Goddard's Political Wire)

June 15: Protest at Gov. Cuomo's NYC Office

Protest at Gov. Cuomo's NYC Office
Will be the day that rent regulations are set to expire:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.
633 3rd Avenue @ 41st Street, Manhattan
(Subway: 4, 5, 6, 7, or Shuttle to Grand Central)

June 25: BBQ to honor Leonard Peltier

BBQ for Native American
Prisoner of War Leonard Peltier
Saturday June 25, 1 pm-4 pm
(Rain Date: Sunday June 26, 2011)

Dias y Flores Community Garden
(13th Street between Avenues A & B)

Native American Flute by Franc Menusan

Potluck BBQ: To arrange what dish to bring for the potluck,
call MD (our food coordinator) after 7 pm: 347-731-9947

The three years following the occupation of Wounded Knee are often referred to as the Pine Ridge “Reign of Terror” because anyone associated with the American Indian Movement was targeted for violence. People’s homes were burned and their cars run off the road. People were struck by cars, shot in drive-by shootings and beaten. Between 1973 and 1976, over 70 traditionalists were murdered and scores more were assaulted. As the situation worsened, the traditionalists asked AIM to return to the reservation to offer protection. Leonard Peltier was among those who answered the call. He and a dozen others set
up camp on the Jumping Bull ranch at Pine Ridge, the home of a number of traditional families. In Native American history, June 26th is a day of anguish. On that date in 1975, two FBI agents in unmarked cars pursued a red pickup truck onto the Jumping Bull ranch. Gunshots rang out. While mothers fled the area with their children, other residents started to return fire.
A shootout erupted between the FBI agents and the residents. Law enforcement immediately mobilized. Within a couple hours, over 150 FBI swat team members, Bureau of Indian Affairs police and GOONs surrounded the ranch. Peltier helped lead a small group of teenagers out of the Jumping Bull area, barely escaping through the hail of bullets. He fled to Canada and was illegally extradited to the U.S. on Feb. 6, 1976 based on false information provided by the FBI.
This assault has not ended. For 35 years, Leonard Peltier, a Lakota/Anishinabe organizer of the American Indian Movement (AIM), has been in prison, falsely accused of killing the FBI agents. U.S. prosecutors have publicly admitted that they do not know who actually fired the shots that killed the agents, but they have refused to consider Peltier for parole or to turn
over thousands of pages of documents that could prove his innocence.

This event is honoring AIM warrior Leonard Peltier, so no alcohol or drugs are permitted.

NYC Leonard Peltier Defense-Offense Ctte • • 718-325-4407

Who Cares - I Do: Spread the Word

"WHO CARES? I DO." IS A GRASSROOTS CAMPAIGN supported by individuals, organizations, businesses, policy makers, philanthropists, and many others who recognize how critical human services are to New York and all its communities — whether it's an after-school program, a senior center, shelter for the homeless, a food pantry, assistance for domestic violence victims, a mental health clinic, a home for foster children, or a day care center. Our mission is to make government accountable to the needs of all New Yorkers by honoring the commitments made to our communities.

(1) let our elected leaders know that too many cuts to important services will hurt, not help, economic recovery

(2) illustrate that the work performed by nonprofit human services providers is essential to communities throughout New York

(3) demonstrate vast support for the continuation of critical programs in our communities

Who Cares - I Do: Spread the Word

Friday, June 10, 2011

June 13: Tell U.S. labor officials: Dump Israeli Bonds

1356 BROADWAY (36 ST.)

Support Palestinian workers. Picket apartheid.
Tell U.S. labor officials: Dump Israel Bonds.

Israel Bonds are an investment in apartheid and U.S. unions have invested billions of U.S. workers; retirement and pension dollars in Israeli apartheid bonds. Palestinian workers and labor unions, facing siege, invasion, and occupation, have called upon the international labor movement to divest from Israel Bonds. Tell labor officials Stuart Applebaum and Denis Hughes to stop investing in apartheid.

For more info.: or 718-228-8636

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

No Taxes on the rich is about the system not the individuals

My friend Moshe Rothenberg recently posted this on Facebook:

Why would millionaires tax themselves when they hold the controls of power? Virtually every Senator in Congress is at least a millionaire. This system has never been rational; why would they start now? Because Facebook exists? I don't think so.
I'm not sure where this concern about taxation comes from and I'm not sure what Facebook has to do with it, but I think the argument that because Congress is made up of a bunch of millionaires, they wouldn't tax themselves, largely oversimplifies the question. It seems to me that it focuses the argument on the characteristics of the individuals rather than the characteristics of the system. I think both Moshe & I would agree that the problem is the system, capitalism. I don't know how many members of Congress are in fact millionaires but I do know that they are all bought and paid for by the corporate oligarchy ("ruling class" if you prefer). As the cost of political campaigns escalates, the politicians are more and more subjected to that small minority that owns and controls the source of political financing the corporate owners. Without suggesting that the U.S. has ever been a democracy, what used to be considered bribery and resulted in jail terms - with the consent of the Supreme Court - is now labelled campaign contributions and is perfectly legal. I think this is one of a number of reasons capitalism & democracy are essentially incompatible.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Geronimo Pratt, 1947-2011

Black Panther leader Geronimo Pratt, a symbol of the desperate and illegal measures utilized by the U.S. government and the FBI to destroy the Black liberation movement, died on June 2 in a Tanzanian village. He was 63. The top leaders of the movement - Malcolm X, Martin Luther King & Fred Hampton - were assassinated; the activists just below that level were falsely imprisoned. After spending 27 years in prison for a Santa Monica, Calif murder in he did not commit, in 1997 Pratt's conviction was overturned on the grounds of prosecutorial misconduct. In 2000 he received $4.5 million from the federal and local governments for wrongful imprisonment. Although there were a number of reasons that California Superior Court Judge Everett Dickey vacated the conviction, the main one was that the LAPD, the FBI and the prosecutors failed to inform the defense that their star witness was a government informant. A juror told the NYT:
If we had known about Butler's [the government's eye-witness] background, there's no way Pratt would have been convicted.
Geronimo Pratt spent most of his post-prison life in Imbaseni, a Tanzanian village, following the same ideals that had drawn him to the Panthers in the first place. Among other things he helped install an irrigation system .


"Bridesmaids" A review

The boys have had their chances at least since Animal House and more recently in Judd Apatow's Hangover and Knocked Up (Apatow, by the way, is also a producer of Bridesmaids). Now thanks to SNL's Kristen Wiig, the girls get theirs. But because of Wiig's particular comedic sensibility, Bridesmaids is much more than the usual Apatow film. The boy's films are generally about a bunch of adult teenagers trying desperately not to grow up. But Bridesmaids is about a bunch of women trying to come to terms with grown-up life. The wedding of Annie's (Wiig) best friend Pauline ( Maya Rudolph) is just the mechanism with which this happens, and it's hilariously funny. I really loved Melissa McCarthy (fourth from the left in the photo), who often gets more laughs and is more real than any of the other characters (as often happened on The Gilmore Girls)



June 8 at 6:00pm

Queers Against Israeli Apartheid was supposed to have our meeting at the Center at that time... but since the Center won't stand up for us, we have to SIT IN!

And this Sunday 6/5, march with NYC Queers Against Israeli Apartheid in Queens Pride!
Meet at 11:30am at 37th Ave between 75th and 85th Sts.
(For info:, or find us on Facebook.)

Please note this important message - and for an excellent historical run-down on the whole Center mishegoss, go to and type Pauline Park into the search box - Pauline's excellent chronology is there. And come on Sunday! And come on Wednesday! Love, Brad

The Center has done it again. After a brief flirtation with openness, the NYC LGBT Center has capitulated to right-wing pressure – and shut down progressive queer political organizing again.

Last week, the Center responded to community demands that the Center remain open to queers, by finally granted meeting space to Queers Against Israeli Apartheid. But on Thursday, after a new round of threats and bullying from the right, the Center cancelled all future QAIA meetings. In short, the Center has said that it won't stand up for queers' right to organize if that organizing becomes “controversial.” (Read statements from the Center and QAIA here.)
Please call and/or e-mail Center director Glennda Testone and board president Mario Palumbo (again!) Tell them they can't avoid controversy just by slamming the door on queer activists. You can email from here:

And this Sunday 6/5, march with NYC Queers Against Israeli Apartheid
in Queens Pride!
Meet at 11:30am at 37th Ave between 75th and 85th Sts.
For info:, or find us on Facebook.