Drawing Dallas • Rick Phillips

With the holiday upon us, floral designing is a labor of love for Dallas’ Rick Phillips

MARK STOKES  | Illustrator
mark@markdrawsfunny.com

Name: Rick Phillips

Occupation: Floral designer

Spotted at: Dog park on Swiss Avenue

Tanned, fit Aquarian Rick Phillips was born in Dallas but raised in neighboring Grand Prairie. He sprouts from a small but creative family: His mother sings opera, his brother is a drummer in a rock band, and his grandmother was also a gifted artist.

Labor of Love: Rick has been creating beautiful floral arrangements for more than 17 years. His first job interview in the business was to create a funeral arrangement. “I almost cut my thumb off,” says Rick, “I think they felt sorry for me. I got the job!”

Studying photography in college led to a natural progression into painting and finally into floral design. The instant gratification he gets from the process satisfies his art muse. Rick says he makes up his arrangements as he goes along. “I have a concept about color and shape when I start, but after that I free-wheel it.” He has been the exclusive florist for a high-profile jewelry store for eight years.

When he’s not handcrafting floral masterpieces, Rick enjoys cooking and shopping vintage and junk shops for awesome shirts and cool coats (and he can’t wait to for the weather to get cooler so he can wear them!) He loves all kinds of music from classical to techno/dance.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 2, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Hope for the future: Another youngster speaks up for LGBT equality

Malcolm and his letter

Back in November, 2009, then 10-year-old Will Phillips of West Fork, Ark., made headlines around the country when he refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance with the rest of his classmates because the pledge includes the phrase “with liberty and justice for all,” and Will knew that LGBT Americans aren’t really guaranteed that liberty and justice.

Now, a 7-year-old named Malcolm is speaking out for LGBT equality, and putting his money where his mouth is.

Recently, the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center received an envelope containing a $70 donation and a hand-written note that read: “I am sending you this money because I don’t think it’s fair that gay people are not treated equally.” It was signed, “Malcolm.”

There was another note with the donation, this one from Malcolm’s mom. She explained that in an effort to help Malcolm learn the importance of helping improve the world around him, he had been given $140 to donate to the charity of his choice. And when Malcolm heard a story on the radio about LGBT people being mistreated, he got so upset that he decided he would donate his money to LGBT causes.

Malcolm chose to split his his $140, giving half to the LA Gay and Lesbian Center and the other half to the Human Rights Campaign.

We all know that nonprofits of all stripes always need money. But they — and all of us, in fact — also always need hope. Malcolm gave the Gay and Lesbian Center and the HRC both. And he gave hope to all of us.

—  admin

Judge Phillips rules against Obama Department of Justice re: DADT Stay of Injunction

Gauntlet thrown down…

Today Judge Phillips ruled against the Department of Justice by denying its request for a stay of injunction in Log Cabin Republicans vs United States of America.  Below please find statements from the Log Cabin Republicans and White & Case on the ruling. The order denying the stay as well as the transcript from yesterday’s hearing are both attached.

Clarke Cooper, Executive Director of Log Cabin Republicans

“Judge Phillips is right to stand with servicemembers by rejecting President Obama’s request to continue this discriminatory policy,” said R. Clarke Cooper, Executive Director of Log Cabin Republicans. “It is vital that as a nation we uphold the fundamental constitutional rights of all soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coast guardsmen.  As this past week has shown, our military is well-equipped to adapt to open service, and eager to get on with the work of defending our freedom.  As Commander in Chief, the president should drop his defense of a policy which he knows undermines military readiness and threatens national security.  The president has said that ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ will end on his watch, but is currently standing in the way of its demise.  Log Cabin Republicans will continue to fight this policy no matter how many obstacles he puts in the way.”

Dan Woods, White & Case

“We applaud Judge Phillips’s ruling denying the government’s request for a stay of injunction, as it brings us one step closer toward ending once and for all this unconstitutional policy that President Obama and Congress seem incapable or unwilling to end themselves,” said Dan Woods, White & Case partner who is representing Log Cabin Republicans in Log Cabin Republicans vs United States of America.  ”Meanwhile, homosexual servicemembers are fighting and dying today in two wars for their fellow Americans’ constitutional rights, while their own constitutional rights are being held hostage to an uncertain bureaucratic process that seems more interested in beancounting the trouble they would be put to from modifying their training materials than in protecting these servicemembers’ civil rights.”

SLDN:

Statement by Army veteran and SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis:

“By the judge keeping the injunction in place, lesbian and gay service members are protected another day, but the uncertainty has not gone away.  The Department of Justice will immediately ask the 9th Circuit to stay the injunction.  We’re talking about the careers of patriots, people who are on the frontlines serving our country – some of whom are highly decorated – and the court needs to keep the injunction in place.  As the DOJ fights to keep this unconstitutional and oppressive law, we are monitoring active-duty clients’ cases and fielding calls every day to our hotline.  During this interim period of uncertainty, service members must not come out.  Our service members need finality.  Given the uncertainty in the courts, we urge the Senate to act swiftly next month on repeal when they return to Washington.”

Servicemembers United:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Servicemembers United, the nation’s largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans, issued the following statement today in response to District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips’ ruling denying the government’s request to stay her injunction:

“Given that seven days have passed since enforcement of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy was halted, those seeking to reinstate the policy have been proven flat wrong in their predictions of ‘enormous consequences.’ Judge Phillips recognized this contradiction in the Justice Department’s arguments and once again refused to abdicate her duty to reach an objective conclusion based on the evidence before her,” said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United and the sole named veteran plaintiff in the case along with the Log Cabin Republicans. “Once again, we call on President Obama to stop defending the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy in court and we reiterate that it is the President, not the Attorney General, who has the final word on this decision.”

HRC:

Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese issued the following statement:

“Judge Phillips once again did the right thing for our national security. We call on the administration not to appeal her decision. DADT is an unconscionable law that forces brave lesbian and gay Americans to serve in silence and has forced 14,000 patriotic Americans out of the military. The law is detrimental, not only to our national security, but also to the core American value of fairness.”

HRC urges all fair-minded Americans to sign an open letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, calling on him not to defend DADT at:https://secure3.convio.net/hrc/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=940

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:

“Judge Phillips again rejected the government’s bunk that it’s necessary this discriminatory policy remain in effect any longer. She and the overwhelming majority of Americans have rightly concluded it’s time to make ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ a policy of the past. Our elected officials have diddled around and played the delay game as the careers of thousands of courageous, patriotic service members have been destroyed. Phillips said enough is enough, and we couldn’t agree more.”

Prop 8 Trial Tracker is also following.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

SLDN advises caution despite Pentagon announcement; Dan Choi attempts to re-enlist

Despite the Pentagon’s announcement Tuesday that military recruiters have been told they must accept gay applicants, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network continues to advise caution.

“During this interim period of uncertainty, service members must not come out and recruits should use caution if choosing to sign up,” SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis said in a statement Tuesday afternoon. “The ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ law is rooted in any statement of homosexuality made at anytime and to anyone. A higher court is likely to issue a hold on the injunction by Judge Phillips very soon. The bottom line: if you come out now, it can be used against you in the future by the Pentagon. As the DOJ fights to keep this unconstitutional and oppressive law, we are monitoring active-duty clients’ cases and fielding calls every day to our hotline. Given the uncertainty in the courts, we urge the Senate to act swiftly next month on repeal when they return to Washington.”

Of course, if you’ve already been discharged for being gay, you don’t have much to lose. Among those who plan to try to re-enlist in the wake of the Pentagon announcement is Lt. Dan Choi, according to his Twitter feed:

—  John Wright

BREAKING: Pentagon tells recruiters DADT is suspended, they must accept gay applicants

The Associated Press is reporting that Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith has announced that “top-level” guidance has been issued to recruiting commands telling them that the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy prohibiting openly gay and lesbian people from serving in the military has been suspended, at least for now.

But recruiters have also been told to tell possible LGBT recruits that the moratorium could be re-instated at any time.

The move comes in the wake of U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips’ ruling, in a case brought by the Log Cabin Republicans, that DADT is unconstitutional, and the injunction she issued last week ordering the military to halt enforcement of the ban.

The Department of Justice, which is defending the ban in court, has asked Phillips to delay enforcement of her injunction pending appeal, but Phillips said Monday, Oct. 18, that it is unlikely she’ll suspend the injunction. If she doesn’t, the DOJ is expected to ask an appellate court to do so.

—  admin

Judge Phillips: Nah, I Don’t Think I Want To Hold Off On My DADT Ruling, Thanks

It's tentative, and it doesn't mean gay soldiers should be coming out anytime soon, but Judge Virginia Phillips said today she's not inclined to grant the Justice Department's request for a stay in her issuing an immediate injunction to Don't Ask Don't Tell, which last week killed the law (or threw its status into turmoil, whichever interpretation you prefer). A formal ruling is expected.


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—  John Wright

Calling DOJ Arguments “Vague” & “Insufficient,” Judge Phillips For Now Rejects DOJ’s Stay Request

From The Advocate‘s Judge Skeptical of Govt. Arguments

A federal judge issued a tentative ruling Monday denying the government’s request for a stay in the injunction against “don’t ask, don’t tell” but will issue a final ruling by late Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning.

During a 25-minute hearing in Riverside, Calif., U.S. district judge Virginia A. Phillips wasted no time in rejecting the government’s position that barring DADT immediately would be an undue burden on the military, calling the arguments “vague” and “insufficient.”

…Phillips said there were “significant failings” in the evidence submitted by the Justice Department following her injunction issued last week. Though the government declined to put on evidence in the Log Cabin Republicans’ trial against “don’t ask, don’t tell” in July – instead relying solely on the legislative history of the statute – DOJ attorneys submitted a declaration to the court last week from a top Pentagon personnel official who warned against any abrupt change in the policy.  

“[T]he military should not be required to suddenly and immediately restructure a major personnel policy that has been in place for years, particularly during a time when the Nation is involved in combat operations overseas,” the official, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Clifford Stanley, wrote. “The magnitude of repealing the DADT law and policy is demonstrated by the Department’s ongoing efforts to study the implications of repealing DADT[.]”

From the Los Angeles TimesJudge tentatively rejects ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ stay request The federal government had asked to delay enforcement of the ruling allowing gays to openly serve in the military. A final decision will be made later Monday or Tuesday:

A federal judge in Riverside who halted the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on Monday issued a tentative ruling rejecting a federal government’s request to stay enforcement of the landmark ruling while the government appeals.

Paul Freeborne of the U.S. attorney’s office had urged the judge to halt implementation of the injunction while the federal government appealed the decision.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips said she would issue a final decision later Monday or Tuesday.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

WATCH: Rally, vigil for Asher Brown


A rally and vigil were held Tuesday in honor of 13-year-old gay suicide victim Asher Brown outside the middle school he attended near Houston. From organizer Barry Ouellette of the Foundation for Family and Marriage Equality:

“It was a great event, very touching. We had about 30 people for the demonstration and about 70 for the candlelight vigil where there were some touching stories and kind and inspiring words from many teenagers as well as concerned parents, clergy and Houstonians.”

However, KTRK-TV reports that other parents weren’t happy about the demonstrations and are defending the school against allegations that it failed to do anything about bullying complaints from Asher’s parents:

“I think it’s terrible because it has frightened all of our children too. For this reason, I am here to pick up my daughter today. Because it has scared my daughter,” said Shay Phillips.

“I don’t worry about bullying in this school or any other school. But I do worry about it in general,” said Sheila McGraw-Hall. “I think the school is being wrongfully blamed in this case. Or at least to the magnitude that it is being put out there right now in the media,” said another parent.

Below is a report from MyFoxHouston.com, and Channel 2 has a report here.

—  John Wright

Query • 08.20.10

What are you doing to beat the heat?

……………………….

Jerry Birdwell — “Come and visit Lake Tahoe. Forecast for today is a high of 72.”

Dorian Dean — “Staying in air conditioning, as much as possible and driving up the electric utility’s profit margin.”

Natalie Phillips — “Going to the pool.”

Lisa Rainey — “Our central air went out so we are holed up in the bedroom with a window unit trying to stay cool.”

James Navarrette — “Staying indoors and catching up on ‘True Blood’ episodes.”

Ross Virock — “Drinking lots of water and driving with the top down, not much else I CAN do unless someone has a pool I can hang out by.”

………………………..
Have a suggestion for a question you’d like us to ask?
E-mail it to nash@dallasvoice.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 20, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Will Phillips, Little Hero at Big Commit

OH SNAP — Pledge Of Allegiance connoisseur Will Phillips is among the crowd at The Big Commit in Washington D.C., the gays' answer to National Organization for Marriage's summer bus tour.

[via]


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—  John Wright