HRC’s Disco Fruit Bowl at 300 in Addison

Strike it up

Bring out your bell bottoms and flared collars for this year’s Fruit Bowl as the Human Righs Campaign goes disco. The annual event raises funds for the HRC, but really, it puts our Wii talents to the test. But if you’re gonna dress up disco, reconsider those platforms for the slick lanes.

DEETS: 300 Dallas, 3805 Beltline Road, Addison. Noon and 3 p.m. Individuals $25–$30, teams $100–$160. HRC.org/FruitBowl.

—  Rich Lopez

Texas: A not-so-great state

As Perry eyes the presidency and Dewhurst makes a bid for the Senate, let’s look at the story the numbers really tell

Phyllis Guest | Taking NoteGuest.Phyllis.2

It seems that while David Dewhurst is running for the U.S. Senate, Rick Perry — otherwise known as Gov. Goodhair — is planning to run for president. I wonder what numbers they will use to show how well they have run Texas.

Could they cite $16 million? That’s the sum Perry distributed from our state’s Emerging Technology Fund to his campaign contributors.

Or maybe it is $4.1 billion. That’s the best estimate of the fees and taxes our state collects for dedicated purposes — but diverts to other uses.

Then again, it could be $28 billion. That’s the last published number for the state’s budget deficit, although Perry denied any deficit during his last campaign.

But let’s not get bogged down with dollar amounts. Let’s consider some of the state’s other numbers.

There’s the fact that Texas ranks worst in at least three key measures:

We are the most illiterate, with more than 10 percent of our state’s population unable to read a word. LIFT — Literacy Instruction for Texas — recently reported that half of Dallas residents cannot read a newspaper.

We also have the lowest percentage of persons covered by health insurance and the highest number of teenage repeat pregnancies.

Not to mention that 12,000 children have spent at least three years in the state welfare system, waiting for a foster parent. That’s the number reported in the Texas-loving Dallas Morning News.

Meanwhile, the Legislature has agreed to put several amendments to the Texas Constitution before the voters. HJR 63, HJR 109 plus SJR 4, SJR 16, and SJR 50 all appear to either authorize the shifting of discretionary funds or the issuance of bonds to cover expenses.

Duh. As if we did not know that bonds represent debt, and that we will be paying interest on those bonds long after Dewhurst and Perry leave office.

Further, this spring, the Lege decided that all voters — except, I believe, the elderly — must show proof of citizenship to obtain a state ID or to get or renew a driver’s license. As they did not provide any funds for the issuance of those ID cards or for updating computer systems to accommodate the new requirement, it seems those IDs will be far from free.

Also far from free is Perry’s travel. The Lege decided that the governor does not have to report what he and his entourage spend on travel, which is convenient for him because we taxpayers foot the bill for his security — even when he is making obviously political trips. Or taking along his wife and his golf clubs.

And surely neither Rick Perry nor David Dewhurst will mention the fact that a big portion of our state’s money comes from the federal government. One report I saw stated that our state received $17 billion in stimulus money, although the gov and his lieutenant berated the Democratic president for providing the stimulus.

And the gov turned down $6 billion in education funds, then accepted the funds but did not use them to educate Texans.

The whole thing — Dewhurst’s campaign and Perry’s possible campaign, the 2012-2013 budget, the recent biannual session of the Texas Legislature — seems like something Mark Twain might have written at his tongue-in-cheek best.

We have huge problems in public school education, higher education, health care, air pollution and water resources, to mention just a few of our more notable failures.

Yet our elected officials are defunding public education and thus punishing children, parents, and teachers. They are limiting women’s health care so drastically that our own Parkland Hospital will be unable to provide appropriate care to 30,000 women.

They are seeking a Medicaid “pilot program” that will pave the way for privatized medical services, which will erode health care for all but the wealthiest among us. They are fighting tooth and nail to keep the EPA from dealing with our polluted environment. They are doing absolutely nothing to ensure that Texas continues to have plenty of safe drinking water.

They are most certainly not creating good jobs.

So David Dewhurst and his wife Tricia prayed together and apparently learned that he should run for Kay Bailey Hutchison’s Senate seat. Now Rick Perry is planning a huge prayer rally Saturday, Aug. 6, at Houston’s Reliant Stadium.

God help us.

Phyllis Guest is a longtime activist on political and LGBT issues and a member of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 9, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Rawlings campaign staffer declares victory

It doesn’t take a CEO to decipher these numbers. Mike Rawlings chats with campaign staffer Paula Blackmon on the patio of the Meddlesome Moth a few moments ago.

Just arrived at the Meddlesome Moth in the Design District, site of Mike Rawlings’ watch party. Despite the heat, there’s quite a crowd here on the patio, where Rawlings was making the rounds as I came in. Rawlings campaign staffer Paula Blackmon told me he’ll be speaking at 9 p.m. When I noted that early voting results look pretty good for Rawlings, Blackmon replied, “It’s over.”

—  John Wright

Annise Parker kicks off re-election campaign

Mayor Annise Parker poses with her daughters, right, and their friends at a campaign kickoff event in Houston last week.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker, the first openly LGBT person elected mayor of a top 10 U.S. city, kicked off her re-election campaign last week.

Houston city elections aren’t until November, and Parker campaign spokeswoman Sue Davis said right now the focus is fundraising.

No other candidates have declared to run against Parker, but Davis said the mayor has to be ready for potential challengers. She added that a Houston firefighter has indicated an intent to run but is not what she called a serious candidate.

Even if no challenger emerges in this election cycle, Davis said Parker wants to prevent or be prepared for challengers for a third term.

The Houston mayor and city council members are elected to two-year terms with a three-term limit for each office. Parker was first elected in 2009.

Parker’s campaign kickoff and rally was held at Discovery Green park in downtown Houston. About 300 people attended.

—  David Taffet

LOCAL BRIEFS: HRC and LULAC hold Cinco de Mayo

The Human Rights Campaign will partner with the local LGBT chapter of LULAC — The Dallas Rainbow Council to celebrate Cinco De Mayo.

The annual Salsa Cocktails event —featuring dancers, food and high-energy music — takes place at Havana, 4006 Cedar Springs Road, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 5.

“We have already confirmed Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez as one of our speakers,” said Kimberly Williams, HRC event coordinator. “Our dance group will also offer free salsa dance lessons for our guests.”

HRC and LULAC will talk about recent national and local successes. The public is invited to attend. The event is free, although a $20 donation to HRC at the door will get two free cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

“Both HRC and LULAC will have information about membership and ways to get active,” said Jesse Garcia, president of LULAC 4871. “We have great projects coming up this summer. We invite community members ready to get involved to come learn about opportunities to further equality.”

—  John Wright

Local Briefs

GAIN holding monthly meeting

GAIN, the GLBT aging interest network that is a program of Resource Center Dallas, will meet Thursday, April 28, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Resource Center, 2701 Reagan.
Educator, public speaker and writer Deneen Robinson, BSW, will present the program on Alzheimer’s and dementia in the aging LGBT community.
Hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be served.

Students seeks study participants

Cindy Chwalik, a clinical psychology student at Walden University who is interning with Youth First Texas, is looking for natal females (those who were born biologically female) who were born in the South and came out as lesbians while living in the South to participate in a research project she is conducting. She is particularly looking for women born in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and South Carolina.

Participation involves a 60-to-90-minute interview. Chwalik said there is no compensation for participating, but the information will help those who come out in the future.
Contact her via email at cindychwalik @aol.com.

TDWCC to hear from candidates

Texas Democratic Women of Collin County will hold their next general meeting Monday, April 25, at 6:45 p.m. at the Preston Ridge Campus of Collin College, 9700 Wade Blvd. in Frisco, Founders Hall, Shawnee Room F148.

The program will feature a forum of candidates in the upcoming non-partisan municipal elections. Confirmed thus far from Plano are Judy Drotman, campaign manager for City Council Place 3 candidate Andre Davidson; City Council Place 5 candidate Matt Lagos; City Council Place 5 candidate Jim Duggan, and City Council Place 7 candidate Pat Gallagher.

Candidates in the Frisco elections who have confirmed so far are Mayor Maher Maso, City Council Place 5 candidate Bart Crowder, and Frisco ISD candidated Anne McCausland and Dody Brigadier.

—  John Wright

Lady Gaga Appears in Terry Richardson’s Predictably Adult Ad Campaign

THE SHOT — Lady Gaga poses for Terry Richardson's lens for the fall/winter Supreme campaign.

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—  David Taffet

The Completely Homoerotic Mangano Ad Campaign, Infused With Ladywood

THE SHOT — The new ad campaign for Mangano, featuring model Charles DeVoe (who just died in a surfing accident), not coming soon to a New York City billboard near you.

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Human Rights Campaign Field Staffer named “Organizer of the Year”

Nancy Pelosi Congratulates HRC Organizer Karl Bach for his work in Nebraska moments before sending DADT repeal bill to the president

HRC Regional Field Organizer Karl Bach was voted Organizer of the Year this week by Grassroots Solutions, a national grassroots training organization.

Karl was recognized by this prestigious group for his organizing leadership in many states, including Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Delaware and Texas.  But it was Karl’s field work in Nebraska that made history.  Karl built and led a team of Nebraska organizers that created a grassroots campaign in support of repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell directed at Senator Ben Nelson.

Many in Nebraska noted that Nebraska had never seen such a large, strategic, and effective grassroots program until HRC hit the ground.

Karl’s  leadership team included Nebraskans Nic Swiercek and Cassie Fleming.  Together they identified and mobilized hundreds of Nebraskan veterans (gay and straight), and thousands of Nebraskans across the state.

When Senator Ben Nelson issued a statement the day before the May vote in the Senate Armed Services Committee, Karl and his team were deservedly proud of their accomplishment.  In fact, Senator Nelson’s staff commented that it was HRC’s field effort that helped make it possible for the Senator to vote yes.

Karl was in Delaware this election season, engaging HRC members in the high-profile Senate race there. He was also in New Hampshire, working with New Hampshire Freedom to Marry, to help win marriage equality in the state.

Karl has worked in New Jersey alongside Garden State Equality as they sought to win marriage equality; he worked in Florida helping to protect equal rights at the ballot box in Gainesville; he was in Texas in 2008, working on state legislative elections.

Karl is not only a great organizer, but he’s also a wonderful colleague. The HRC field team and the entire HRC family are so proud of this well-deserved recognition of Karl Bach.  Karl Bach, you rock.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

Family Research Council’s anti-SPLC campaign places bullseye on the backs of Republican leaders

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

Those organizations either named as anti-gay hate groups or profiled for their tendency to defame the lgbt community via lies are running scared. On Tuesday morning, they brought out the “big guns”

From  People for the American Way's Right Wing Watch:

 . . . FRC announced that it was running this open letter [PDF] in both Politico and The Washington Examiner and that the effort had the support of dozens of Republican members of Congress and conservative leaders:

Family Research Council (FRC) announced the placement of a full-page open letter in today's print editions of Politico and the Washington Examiner responding to the Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) recent attacks on FRC and other groups.

SPLC has targeted FRC and other organizations that uphold Judeo-Christian moral views, including marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The open letter, signed by more than 150 organizational leaders, Members of Congress and other elected officials, calls for a “vigorous but responsible exercise of the First Amendment rights of free speech and religious liberty that are the birthright of all Americans.”

The open letter was signed by many current and former elected and government officials including Speaker-designate John Boehner, Majority Leader-elect Eric Cantor, U.S. Reps Mike Pence (R-IN), Michele Bachmann (R-MN), John Carter (R-TX), John Fleming (R-LA,) Trent Franks (R-AZ), Louie Gohmert (R-TX,) Gregg Harper (R-MS), Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Steve King (R-IA,) Don Manzullo (R-IL), Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Joe Pitts (R-PA), Peter Roskam (R-LA), Lamar Smith (R-TX,) Steve Scalise (R-LA,) Fred Upton (R-MI), U.S. Senators Jim DeMint (R-SC), Jim Inhofe (R-OK,) David Vitter (R-LA), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Sam Brownback (Gov.-elect, Kansas), Governor Bobby Jindal, former Governor Mike Huckabee, Governor Tim Pawlenty, former Senator Rick Santorum, Edwin Meese III, former Attorney General of the United States, and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

Those look like some pretty heavy hitters, don't they? Personally I am not impressed. The vast majority if not all of these individuals have been very vocal with their tendency to stigmatize the lgbt community whether it be Mike Huckabee with his insults to lgbt households, Tim Pawlenty via his unnecessary and coldhearted vetoing of a bill that would allow same sex partners to make end-of-life decisions for their partners, or Jim DeMint who doesn't believe in the hiring of any gay teachers.

 

But it would seem to me that FRC, through its need to deny the obvious (that its hate group status does not come from upholding “Judeo-Christian” moral beliefs but its desire to smear the lgbt community via lies and junk science), have now expanded the bullseye placed on its back by the Southern Poverty Law Center to include Congressional leaders who have signed this madness.

If the lgbt community and our allies take advantage of this situation, we would communicate with any and all of these Congressional leaders via email, phone, or whatever and ask:

Congressman or Congresswoman so-and-so,

Do you really stand with groups who proclaim that:

•Gays should be exported from the country;

•The federal government must be overthrown if it allows gay marriage;

•”Moral perverts” need to be kept out of the military;

•There is nothing “conservative” about “one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it 'love'”;

•Homosexual behavior ought to be outlawed;

•Gay sex ought to carry criminal penalties;

•Gays ought to be prohibited from serving in public office;

•Gay sex is domestic terrorism;

•”Hitler recruited around him homosexuals to make up his Stormtroopers … [because] homosexual soldiers basically had no limits [to] the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict.”

Or how about organizations who will intentionally cite discredited research in order to smear lgbts the same way the Klan cites FBI statistics to smear African-Americans?

We need those questions continuously until we either receive an answer or, at the very least, send a message to these leaders that maybe they should know all of the facts behind a situation before interjecting themselves into it.

UPDATE – the Southern Poverty Law Center issued a what can only be described as devastating response to FRC's campaign. This is my favorite part:

Despite the claims made in today’s statement, the SPLC’s listings are not in any way intended to suppress these groups’ free speech. We’re not asking that these groups be silenced or punished in any way. What we are doing is calling them out for their lies. There is nothing wrong with labeling an organization a hate group based on what they say. A simple example illustrates the point: If a neo-Nazi group said all Jews are “vermin,” no one would argue with our characterizing it as a hate group.

Neither are we mounting an attack on individuals or “groups that uphold Judeo-Christian moral views,” as today’s statement suggests. In fact, as we say in our article dissecting the views of these groups, “Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups.” Instead, as we explained there, “the SPLC’s listings of these groups is based on their propagation of known falsehoods — claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated, groundless name-calling.”

For another good list to ask Congressional leaders about, go to:

FRC's 'Start Debating, Stop Hating' effort: Let's look at some of those aligned debaters, shall we?
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin