Sunday, August 31, 2008

Pre-Con Pre-Crime



5 arrested, dozens detained in pre-RNC raids
Activists planning protests around the Republican National Convention say they are being targeted in a heavy-handed attempt to chill dissent after police arrested five people, detained dozens of others, and seized computers and protest guides in raids Friday night and Saturday on private homes and the major meeting center.

The "RNC Welcoming Committee," an organization of dozens of activist groups and individuals from around the country, has been planning demonstrations for over a year at the convention. The largest, which activists said could draw up to 50,000 people, is scheduled for Monday, the opening day of the convention.

At around 9:15 p.m. Friday, Ramsey County sheriffs and St. Paul police officers kicked in the door of a former theater in St. Paul that the group had rented as a central planning office, said Lisa Fithian, a nonviolence coordinator working with the protesters. They ordered the 50 people inside onto the floor, where they were handcuffed, photographed and asked for identification, then had their possessions searched.

Salon.com columnist Glenn Greenwald reports his personal perspective and eye-witness account.
That sounds like what it was: a cry for help from a hostage. Hours later, the Police finally obtained a search warrant -- for the wrong house, one adjacent to the house where they were being detained -- and nonetheless broke in, pointing guns, forced them to lay on the floor and handcuffed everyone inside (and handcuffed a National Lawyers Guild attorney outside). They searched the house, arrested nobody, and then left.

Any rational person planning to protest the GOP Convention would, in light of this Government spying and these police raids, think twice -- at least -- about whether to do so. That is the point of the raids -- to announce to citizens that they best stay in their homes and be good, quiet, meek, compliant people unless they want their homes to be invaded, their property seized, and have rifles pointed at them, too. The fact that this behavior is producing so little outcry only ensures, for obvious reasons, that it will continue in the future. We love our Surveillance State for keeping us safe and maintaining nice, quiet order.



"They will not crush our spirit," said one activist. (MSNBC article)

But the MSNBC article deletes the facts that this is the work of the FBI, Sherriffs, and local police, including several who infiltrated the group, and made arrests without warrants (for the wrong house, then after the arrests), including members of the media and a lawyer.

Streaming video on the scene HERE.

Updates on IndyMedia, Feministing.org, and blog posts from detainees - basically forced into house arrest- here at IWitness video Blog.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has further details:
At least five suspected leaders of the RNC Welcoming Committee, a self-described anarchist group, were taken to the Hennepin County jail, and another was being sought, said Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher.

On Saturday afternoon, he displayed a number of the confiscated items: a gun, throwing knives, a bow and arrows, flammable liquids, paint, slingshots, rocks and buckets of urine.

"We know these things were going to be used as weapons," Fletcher said, a charge protesters and their advocates vigorously disputed.

Even in my most hardcore activist days, I always found "anarchists" to be pests. They burned flags, deliberately caused disruption, and incited violence amid peaceful protests in which I participated, both in New York and San Francisco.

Still, these thuggish tactics show the state of mind common in America. It shows how a rightwing government crushes dissent and civil rights. Now, even the most peaceful protest will be suspect. Equal blame for over-reaching authorities and eccentric anarchists?

There will be protests, and they will be infiltrated with government provocateurs aiming to stir more violence and justify government violence in return. It won't be pretty.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Oh, Deer


So, aside from being an unpopular governor (of a state whose legislature only meets 90 days of the year), a deer and moose-shooting NRA member (to be expected in Alaska), a politician who doesn't even know what a vice president is supposed to do, who flipflopped on the gargantuan "Bridge to Nowhere" scandal, is someone whom John McCain met only once, and whom even Alaska media consider a questionable choice, and others consider an absolutely ridiculous choice, anti-choice Sarah Palin is about to be indicted for a firing scandal involving her sister and some abusive ex-husband, she completely messed up a deal with a milk dairy (which resulted in its closure), she lost Alaska millions in a bungled oil/land deal, and she may have may have covered up her daughter's pregnancy by pretending it to be her own.


All of that, and plenty more, makes her a perfect choice for the GOP, despite the sad fact that their convention may be delayed by a hurricane.

Oh, she also doesn't care for the gays.

Highlights of Governor Palin's Anti-Equality Record

* Prior to being elected governor, Palin supported the 1998 constitutional amendment barring marriage for same-sex couples and has said she would support a ballot measure overturning a state supreme court decision mandating benefits for domestic partners of state employees

* She is close to "traditional values" groups, like Family Research Council, because she is strongly anti-choice


Marriage and Relationship Recognition

* Palin told the Anchorage Daily News that she supported the 1998 constitutional amendment on marriage.

* In addition, she told the Daily News that she would support a ballot question that would deny benefits to the domestic partners of public employees, which were ordered by an October 2005 decision of the Alaska Supreme Court, because, she said "honoring the family structure is that important."

* While she followed the Court's decision and he also signed legislation-her first legislative act as Governor of Alaska-to put the issue on the April 2007 ballot for a nonbinding advisory vote. This was the only issue on the ballot and that election cost the state taxpayers $1.2 million. This measure passed, but the legislature did not follow the public's advice and it chose not to take any further action to overturn the court's decision.

* She did, however, veto legislation passed by the state legislature in 2006 that would have prohibited providing DP benefits to state workers, in defiance of the Alaska Supreme Court's ruling. She did this after the Supreme Court had already ruled and the Attorney General (Republican) advised her that the legislation was unconstitutional. Palin went on to state that, as a matter of policy, she was in favor of the bill.

Ties to Anti-LGBT Groups

* She will be honored alongside anti-gay Representative Michelle Bachman (R-MN) at an event at the 2008 Republican Convention, the "Life of the Party," sponsored in part by long-time opponent of GLBT rights, Phyllis Schlafly.

And yet, the idiotic Log Cabin Republicans slathered praise on her.

At least she smoked pot.

This just gets more and more absurd.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Change



in Denver.

in November.

Pocket Hunk; Pioneer Gone



Wasn't Henry Cejudo the cutest little pocket stud ever? His appearance on last night's Tonight Show made enduring Bill Maher's amusing political rants even better. Oh, he's so cute, and a perfect poster boy for immigrant cultures making good. Here's a Wall Street Journal blog bit on Henry the mini-hottie.
--
Another minor and ineffectual victory in the controversy over NBC's deliberate omission of Aussie diver Matthew Mitcham's victory hugs deemed "too gay for TV."

Relentless AfterElton.com editor Michael Jensen got a lame apology from NBC's president, no less.

"We regret that we missed the opportunity to tell Matthew Mitcham's story. We apologize for this unintentional omission."

Enjoy the thorough discussion n AfterElton.com, BAR sports writer Roger Brigham's even-handed take on it, and if you get Sirirus Out Q news radio, did you know I do the occasional news story? Yep, they like my "announcer voice," and I did a short bit on the Mitcham/NBC thing.
--


Pioneering lesbian activist Del Martin died yesterday, and pretty much everyone covered it; even Barack Obama's people released a statement.

"Michelle and I were deeply saddened to hear that Del Martin had passed. Del committed her life to fighting discrimination and promoting equality. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her spouse Phyllis Lyon, and all those who were touched by her life."

Here in San Francisco, Alex Randolph, the Mayor's ultra-cute liason to the LGBT community, said that the state flag at City Hall would be lowered today in her honor.

There isn't any aspect of contemporary LGBT life that can't be traced back to the groundbreaking work of Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, even sports.


When I curated Sporting Life for the GLBT Historical Society, one of my goals was to find the earliest documentation of organized out lesbian and/or gay sports activities.

And where did I find it? One the last page of the first issue of The Ladder, a women's bowling group. That's why I insisted on combining the vintage-looking (actually late 1980s) image of women bowling, with the then-current image of the cutie soccer players. We're all connected.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bike Lane Blocker



Politics and conventions; read about it elsewhere.

Here in SF, even riding a bike is political, as this Wall Street Journal article proves:

New York is wooing cyclists with chartreuse bike lanes. Chicago is spending nearly $1 million for double-decker bicycle parking.

San Francisco can't even install new bike racks. Blame Rob Anderson. At a time when most other cities are encouraging biking as green transport, the 65-year-old local gadfly has stymied cycling-support efforts here by arguing that urban bicycle boosting could actually be bad for the environment. That's put the brakes on everything from new bike lanes to bike racks while the city works on an environmental-impact report.

Cyclists say the irony is killing them -- literally. At least four bikers have died and hundreds more have been injured in San Francisco since mid-2006, when Mr. Anderson helped convince a judge to halt implementation of a massive pro-bike plan.(It's unclear whether the plan's execution could have prevented the accidents.) In the past year, bike advocates have demonstrated outside City Hall, pushed the city to challenge the plan's freeze in court and proposed putting the whole mess to local voters. Nothing worked.

"We're the ones keeping emissions from the air!" shouted Leah Shahum, executive director of the 10,000-strong San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, at a July 21 protest.


More on Anderson, in this SFGate article. He seems like a cranky pensioner who did time in prison for draft-dodging; that's cool. But why is he such a jerk about cycling?

Seems like it gives him a hobby.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Elvishly Good


The guy I voted for, Dennis Kucinich, wowed the crowd at the DNC. If only he'd been nominated, then Chimpoleon would be impeached by now.

Yahoo coverage

Then he launched into a “Wake Up” litany:

“The insurance companies took over health care. Wake up, America!

“The pharmaceutical companies took over drug prices. Wake up, America”

“The speculators took over Wall Street. Wake up, America!”

With each refrain, the delegates grew more frenzied.

“We went into Iraq for oil, and now they want to drill more… into your wallet. Wake up America.

“This administration can tap our phones but they can’t tap our creative spirit. They can open our mail but they can’t open economic opportunities. They can track our every move but they lost track of the economy.

He played on the terror alert level “color chart.”

“Every day we get the color orange while the oil companies, the insurance companies, the speculators, the war contractors get the color green. Wake up, America.

“This is not a call for you to take a new direction from right to left; this is a call for you to go from down to up.

“Up with peace!” Kucinich yelled to approving roars. “Up with prosperity! Up with education! Up with Democrats!"

Best Boy
Andrew Tobias, the DNC Treasurerma dn author of The Best Little Boy in the World, spoke as a gay man, who invests and doesn't need to be a Republican to be wealthy:

"About the only guy who seems to have done really well these last eight years is a guy with a private jet and so many homes that he loses count. In just the last eight years, the Republicans have cut the value of the U.S. dollar almost in half and added $4 trillion to our children's debt. They've done this in just eight years. And now they want four more?

"As an investor, I yearn for a president who looks to financial heroes, not corporate lobbyists, for economic advice. As a gay man, I yearn for a president who believes in equal rights for all Americans. But most of all, as an American, I yearn for a president that the world can root for and be inspired by. Because having much of the world on our side again would not only be good for our national security, it would be good for business. Vote Obama, my fellow Democrats. Because, boy, do we ever need a change."

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Gay Gold: Aussie Matthew Mitcham Wins 10m Platform Diving


In a cheerful and unintentional smack in the face to the repressive Chinese regime and to homophobia in sports, out gay diver Matthew Mitcham won the gold medal in 10-meter platform diving in Bejing today.


Mitcham had come out in several interviews, including Australia's SX, but says he's been out since he was 14.

The Sydney Herald Sun included mention of Mitcham's being the first out gay gold medalist in Olympic history. The Sydney Morning Herald also did an honest feature on him. The Advocate did a cover feature on him. Gay paper the Sydney Star Observer posted a short article about his success.

An excerpt from The News.com.au's feature:
AUSTRALIAN Matthew Mitcham last night produced the dive of his life to win a shock gold medal in the men's 10m platform and end host nation China's stranglehold on the Beijing Olympic diving competition.

The 20-year-old Sydney diver produced the highest scoring dive in the history of the Olympics with his sixth and final effort to become Australia's first male Olympic gold medallist in diving since Dick Eve in 1924.

Mitcham was trailing China's Zhou Luxin by more than 30 points leading into the final round, but scored a whopping 112.10 on his last dive - a back two and a half somersault with two and a half twists - to pull off an stunning upset.

Mitcham finished with an overall score of 537.95 to defeat Zhou (533.15), who had led the final until the final round, to grab Australia's second diving medal of the Games.

The openly homosexual Mitcham was in shock over his win last night.


"It's absolutely surreal. I never thought that this would be possible,'' Mitcham said.

"I wasn't even sure of my medal chances at all. After I did my last dive and I saw I was in first, I thought, "That's it, it's a silver medal, I am so happy with this' and then I won. I can't believe it, I'm so happy.

"I had some very wise words and some very good advice before coming into the 10m competition, to just enjoy it, have fun and that's what I thought right from the very first dive in the prelims to the very last dive in the final.

"I was definitely stressing it to myself, just enjoy the moment, there is nothing you can do to change what's about to happen, so just enjoy it and it worked.''

The result was a major turn-around for Mitcham from his performance in the 3m springboard, in which he failed to make the final after struggling to keep his nerves under control.

Mitcham's form going into last night's final was impressive after finishing second overall in the preliminaries and semi-finals, but he didn't quite get the start he wanted in the final with his opening dive scoring 73.50 to have him ranked equal ninth after the first round.

But he recovered with confidence to emerge as one of the unlikely stories of the Games for Australia.

"The first dive wasn't the best, the third dive wasn't the best, but there was nothing I could do about it except just enjoy the moment,'' he said.

"I knew that the best diving would come and the next three dives were really good for me.''

But Mitcham's gold almost wasn't to be. Mitcham walked away from the diving boards mid-way through 2006, feeling mentally and physically burnt out, but was lured back after watching his friends compete at last year's world championships. His decision was rewarded last night.

"Absoultely everything I have done has been for this,'' Mitcham said.

"Coming back and doing everything that I did was to win an Olympic gold medal. That was my aim when I was training every single day, twice a day, 11 sessions a week, 30 hours a week, before every single dive, it was like `I want to win Olympic gold' and that made me try my hardest in every single training session for the last year and a half.

"It was all worth it.''


Don't look for any mention of his being gay on NBC. They're too busy lavishing praise on the U.S. basketball and Jamacian track teams, and obsessing over the bikinia-clas Bush-loving women's vollyball team.

Fox Sports Australia
has a photo gallery of Mitcham's victorious moment.


Here's a great montage of Matt's dives in 2008; some great, some okay, plus him doing some off-board training on mats:


More diving photos at Yahoo Sports. Watch a short video interview with matt, his mom, and his partner, Lachlan, at the Daily Telegraph site. More Flash photos galleries with audio of Aussie athletes HERE.

Yeah, Matty!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Propaganda, proper gander


while the media lavishes praise on millionaire Michael Phelps...

Eight Americans arrested in Bejing
At least eight American blogger-activists and several other foreigners have been detained in Beijing as the government intensifies a crackdown on pro-Tibetan protests in the home stretch of the Olympics, rights groups said on Wednesday.

Students for a Free Tibet earlier said authorities detained five self-styled "citizen journalists" who were in Beijing to promote Tibetan freedom on Tuesday. The New York-based group said activist-artist James Powderly had also been nabbed.

Later on Wednesday, the group said four more protesters, including two Americans and a British national, were also detained after unfurling a Tibetan flag outside the National Stadium, or "Bird's Nest."

The Beijing Olympics have not been dogged by the widespread demonstrations that authorities had feared. Several protesters advocating for Tibet independence have nonetheless managed to breach tight security, in one case hanging a "Free Tibet" banner outside the headquarters of the state broadcaster.


Olympic Prisoners get little notice

Chinese authorities have sentenced two women in their 70s to a year's "re-education through labour" after they applied to protest during the Olympic games, a relative said today.

This week, officials said they had not approved a single permit for a demonstration, despite designating three parks as protest zones.

The International Olympic Committee's communications director said she would look at the women's case, but stressed that the games were "not a panacea for all ills".

Wu Dianyuan, 79, and her neighbour Wang Xiuying, 77, sought to protest about their forced eviction from their homes in 2001. They went to the Beijing Public Security Bureau four times this month to request permission to demonstrate in the new zones — created for the Olympics to counter criticism of the limits to political expression in China.

Their applications were neither granted nor denied, but on their first trip PSB officers interrogated them for 10 hours, Wu's son, Li Xuehui, told the New York-based group Human Rights in China.

On August 17, the two women received an order dated July 30 from Beijing's "re-education through labour commission" sentencing them to one year for "disturbing the public order". It placed restrictions on their movements and warned that if they breached any of the requirements they would be sent to a labour camp. The system does not require formal hearings or allow appeals.



Not to say that I haven't watched a little of the pageantry amid the endless commercials and feel-good pro-US propaganda, and Chinese cheating and judging bias.

But what of our one in less than a dozen out gay jocks? Cutie pie diver Matthew Mitcham is only like 16th best springboard diver in the world, a great accomplishment, but not enough to even get on NBC's broadcast prelims. Oh, well. There's still 10m platform on Friday.

always a gay hug moment here and there, but sadly few real gay athletes coming out.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Taken Down


Over the years since my first novel PINS was published and found a devoted readership, a lot of people asked if I would ever write a sequel. It made sense to them. The story ends on an uplifting yet tenuous note. Joey has endured a lot, but may return to wrestling.

Yet, those who know the underlying story as more than that of a troubled gay high school wrestler may understand why that never happened. It's clearly an updated version of the story of Saint Sebastian, full of religious symbolism. So since I'd told the full story, and fully explored all aspects of the topic, I thought people would get that it was done, told, complete.

Yet, when I did consider exploring what would have happened to Joey and Dink a few years later, a few aspects left hinted at but not fully explored were considered.

And sadly for two young wrestlers, the exact scenario I considered played out last week.




Two University of Nebraska wrestlers have been kicked off their team after a blog posted the news that they had both dono solo masturbation videos for the website Fratmen TV.com. Paul Donahoe and Kenny Jordan made the videos only a few months ago, and someone with a grudge started the blog The Scarlet Project, outing the two as having made the videos. News spread quickly, and gay blogs and porn blogs ran with it. Fratmen's CEO John Marsh quickly tried to expunge nude pics of them from various blogs, although if you Google "fratman Nash" you can find some of the guys and their, uh, big talents.

While it's sexy to see hot college jocks doing what comes naturally, it's rather sad to see promising wrestlers have their hopes dashed by what at least Jordan has admitted in a very brief interview as "a mistake."



It's difficult to imagine what drove a very successful wrestler like Donahoe to do something so seemingly innocuous to some communities, but "morally wrong" to others.

The sticking point, other than the sexuality question (it doesn't even seem like these guys are gay), is that they used their images for profit, which is against NCAA rules.

From an article at the porn (NSFW) site QueerClick:

"Says John Marsh, owner of Fratmen, "If Nebraska is going to be pigheaded and kick him off unreasonably there has to be another wrestling program that's going to want him... I'm in my mid-40s, and my generation has a stigma about porn. The kids, the generation of the student-athletes, don't have that stigma. They really don't care."

Apparently, Marsh doesn't realize that most of the people who control the college students' fate belong to his generation and have a stigma about porn. It's wonderful that the younger generation doesn't care, but the coaches, parents, teachers and employers do. Basically, Marsh's job involves making money off the naivete of college students.


And even though U. of N. has a right to uphold a standard of "decency" for its athletes, not surprisingly, Donahoe and Jordan's friends and fellow students have proven to be more tolerant than expected.

From the Daily Nebraskan:
When reached by phone by The Flint Journal — a newspaper near his hometown — Paul Donahoe ("Nash") said, "I can tell you that I am transferring and will wrestle next year. That's all I want to say now." He didn't indicate which school he will be transferring to. The Flint Journal also interviewed two of Donahoe's teammates:

"I was shocked about the whole thing when I heard about it and it's really sad when some little stupid fling that he did puts him in such a tough situation," said Kyle Chittick, who now wrestles at Cleveland State University. "This is something I never even thought I'd ever hear about Paul, but I really feel bad for him that this one bad decision gets blown up so much. I don't think that's justified."

Chittick said he spoke with Donahoe soon after the news broke. "I think he is more worried about his future in wrestling than anything else and this is the last thing he wanted to deal with as his senior year is coming up," Chittick said. "The last thing he wanted to do was leave Nebraska. Paul is one of the hardest working athletes I know and is a great student too. Nothing is going to keep him from going after his goal of winning another NCAA championship."

Chittick added he did not ask Donahoe for an explanation. "I really didn't want to get into the reasons he did this," he said. "I just wanted to keep our conversation simple and supportive."

Trevor Perry, a two-time NCAA qualifier at the University of Indiana, was Donahoe's high school teammate from 2002-04. "I really feel bad for Paul, bad decision or not," Perry said. "I can't imagine what he's going through. I'm sure he's in a lot of pain, but the Paul I know is going to deal with it and concentrate on the future."


300-plus more articles about all this seem to have locked their future inextricably to what to them, at the time, seemed like a little wank session. Well, no need to write that sequel. It's already happened. All I can say is, good luck to the little guys.


In other unpleasant wrestling news, at the Olympics, Ara Abrahamian, a Swedish wrestler, frustrated by the subjective judging (I've seen that happen, to me, and elsewhere) angrily tossed his bronze medal on the floor after getting a mere bronze. He was then stripped of his medal, and his outrage may be justified, his behavior didn't do him any good. More photos here, including of cute Italian gold medalist Andrea Minguzzi.

Wrestlers, I've learned, are some of the most intense athletes and people I know. They can be so solid about their devotion, and yet a streak of fury that sometimes can't be explained.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Gun Ho


Republicans and guns; guns and Republicans. It's a toxic mix.

A gunman entered the Arkansas Democratic Party headquarters Wednesday and shot the party chairman, who was hospitalized in critical condition, authorities said.

The gunman asked to speak to the party chairman, Bill Gwatney, and fired three shots at the office near the state Capitol.

"He came in and went into this office and started shooting," police Lt. Terry Hastings told reporters near the party headquarters.

Gwatney, a former legislator, was in critical condition, Hastings said. Party officials confirmed the victim was Gwatney.

The suspect was chased into Grant County, south of Little Rock, and apprehended after being shot, the police spokesman said. The suspect's condition and motive were not known.


But I'll bet $10 it was similar to the rightwing freak who shot people in a Tennessee church because he despises "liberal values."

Yes, shooting rampages are the values Republicans adhere to, like the guy who had a weapons arsenal and was "detained" for joking about assassinating Barack Obama.

Even snake-handler and (preposterous) Repub. prez. contender Mike Huckabee made jokes about it.

The rightwing hatred will get worse. Wait and watch.

Across the globe, Georgia's attack by Russia may have stopped, but John McCain wants money and support sent there, pronto. Why?

Maybe it's because "John McCain's chief foreign policy adviser and his business partner lobbied the senator or his staff on 49 occasions in a 3 1/2-year span while being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the government of the former Soviet republic of Georgia."

Johnny's quite the Gun Ho, as are Republicans who like to shoot people with them.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Auspiciousity



08-08-08 is supposedly the luckiest day of the century for the Chinese.

It was for lanky stud Michael Phelps, who's on his way to his 8-medal goal. His relay team won the gold by a fraction of a second to France.

Not so lucky for athletes who wore smog masks like normal Chinese citizens. They were forced to apoligize under cloudy toxic skies.

Not so lucky for the family of an American coach who was murdered in a strange incident by a Chinese man who leapt (or was pushed?) to his death afterward. The assailant's identity was unknown (or made to disappear?)

The victims were Todd and Barbara Bachman, parents of former Olympian Elisabeth Bachman, who is married to men's volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon. Bachman's father was killed.

The assailant also stabbed and injured a Chinese female tour guide with the Americans. He then committed suicide by throwing himself off a 130-foot-high balcony of the ancient landmark the Americans were visiting, the 13th century Drum Tower, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.


Oh, and those amazing fireworks over Bejing? They were partially faked. Yep, faked. Just one of many frauds from the massive country to which NBC is bowing and scraping, and in complete complicity. After all, China owns a lot of our debt, all of which was created under the Bush regime.

And what of Chimpoleon and his visit? War broke out in Georgia as Russia invaded, and what did Chimpy do? Sit petulantly at the stadium, yuck it up with bikini-clad women volleyball players, and generally make an ass of himself, so much so that one Republican Iraq War vet has turned against the GOP. A little too late, bub.

Oh, well. It is all about the athletes, even the allegedly pre-pubescent female Chinese gymnastics team. The Chinese cheat?

That would be inauspicious. And you won't read about that, or this, in Bejing.

Just remember, major corporate sponsors are: Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Snickers, General Electric, Kodak, Panasonic, Samsung, Visa, Johnson & Johnson, Adidas, UPS and Budweiser. I bet you can think of a fine substitute for every one of them.



More Chimpy being all LOLBush here.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Olympic Sweep



2 Million displaced by Beijing Olympics, 40,000 jailed



Gleaming and amazing, China’s £200million Olympics stadium is shown to the world as a proud symbol of the country’s dramatic change.

But two million people driven from their homes for this summer’s Beijing Games could tell a different story… if they were allowed.

A tale of how their lives have been ruined for the sake of their rulers’ Olympic dream.

Of how their houses have been torn down with just a month’s notice.

And how those who have dared to complain have been tortured and jailed.

More than 40,000 people have been arrested for organising protests at the way lives in China’s capital have been destroyed. Many have been treated brutally by police.

And more than 200,000 have had to live on the streets while they seek a new home - in towns and cities miles from their old ones.

But Prime Minister Gordon Brown saw no sign of them on his visit to Beijing last month. Before he arrived police swept them from the streets.

Last night Amnesty International UK protested to the Chinese Embassy in London over the treatment of citizens such as Ye Guozhu, evicted with his wife and son.

He was told their home was to be razed to make way for a park to beautify the capital for the Games. There was no offer of compensation and no advice on where they could live. Ye, 38, began planning a 10,000-strong protest.

When the police learned of the plan, Ye was arrested and beaten unconscious. He woke up in a grubby cell. (more at link).

Enjoy the Olympics.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Home, less

"It's like you've stumbled upon the Cosmic Lost and Found Office, Sagittarius. whether or not it happened 'by mistake' is irrelevant. It's an opportunity to recover good stuff that prematurely disappeared from your life. But keep in mind that your valuable s may be mixed in with abandoned and forgotten junk, both yours and other people's. You might initially feel discouraged at the prospect of having to wade through all that meaningless dross in order to locate your treasures. Don't give up. Your diligence will ultimately be rewarded." - Rob Brezney


That was my horoscope the week before I flew back out to Ohio, for probably the last time (except as ashes in a box headed for the cemetery), to help my brother completely empty our family house and prepare it for auction.

My mom's already moved to Tucson, but is missing things, like her computer, and her car, which, as I type, are en route to Tucson, thanks to my bro.


Yep, we sold out childhood home and everything left in it that we hadn't shipped to ourselves, for a little over $100,000. Not much, but pretty good considering the market and the economy.


Memories since 1970 (We lived elsewhere in Ashland for a few years, and in NYC before that) were boxed up, shipped, sold, or thrown out.


Old family friends who still live in Ashland stopped by to bid on a few trinkets. Then Becky took me, bro, and pal Lori out to the Lyn-way, a favorite restaurant, more known for its pies than the quality of its cuisine.



I should have been melancholy, but was instead elated after a near week of boxing and hauling, tossing and sorting. The cutie-pie junior auctioneer made things entertaining. He donned a flowered hat that had hung lifeless on a wall for years. The 50-year-old yet good condition wooden lawn furniture was sold to a woman who is a family friend, and who grew up in the house before we lived there.

That's the good thing; all those objects sitting in that house, are dispersed, and given new life. The house, cleaned out and ready for a vital, young new owner, will enjoy a resurrection. Out of our hands, we're free to continue our lives elsewhere.

More later. Here's the auctioneer with my sister's hat:
video

Friday, August 1, 2008

Black out



It was great to be completely offline for almost a week when I visited Ohio, probably for the last time, to help my brother sell our mom's house and estate. A month before, we'd helped her move to Tucson, and I'll have pics and videos of the sale soon.

Actually, catching up has been quite time-consuming. It's a good thing I get to proofread my own paper, otherwise I wouldn't have time for news. But for other updates, I check out my filtered news sources of choice, 365gay.com, JoeMyGod, Towleroad and Queerty.

People are getting assaulted outside bars, pride marches are being attacked, McCain continues his flatulent campaign, etc. etc.

The pic above is from today's solar eclipse, visible in China. The folks there say it's a bad omen for their Olympics. I'd say they're right. Bulldozing the homes of thousands, imprisoning thousands more, shutting down gay bars, using slave labor, censoring all media access, bullying through the torch ceremonies.

Yep, you got a truckload of bad karma. I'd be worried about more than the moon upstaging the sun.