The Bad Pam blogmistress update

This will be a big DADT week, so my fellow baristas are likely to bring you information on the goings-on on that front.

It’s probably best for me, but I’ve stayed away from reading blogs, watching news or anything connected to politics for about 95% of the time since I’ve been back home from the hospital (last Tues). I’ve mostly dropped by on Twitter or FB to update people on how I’m doing.

I’m ok, could be better, but probably within the norm. It’s easily a 4-6 week recovery, with many women not 100% even 4 months out, so it’s a long haul even without complications.

TMI-aversives can skip the details below the fold.
A summary of last few days…

* I joined HysterSisters, a community of women who are pre- and post-op. Lots of good infomation there. Shark-Fu, who had her operation on the same day that I did, said she’s signing up as well.

* All of my abdominal incisions save one look good; we’re watching one that has had some discharge that’s a tad nasty, but overall I think it’s in check.

* All bathroom functions are occurring (not a easy given after this particular op), but not back to normal quite yet, particularly #1. I think that has something to do with the stitches from the va-jay-jay tearing taking out the enlarged uterus wholesale (argh, glad I was knocked out), also from the narcotics, which I am reducing, and that is helping some.

* My legs are like a dysfunctional Pillsbury Dough-Boy’s. Swollen with fluids, the pitting (or indentations left if you push your finger into my skin) is outlandish. A loose pair of socks left their mark on my legs for many hours after I had removed them. I had only had them on about an hour when I briefly went out.

* Oh yes, about that trip out. I was feeling clear headed enough and in little pain on Sunday, so Kate took me to Macy’s for a brief trip to get some knee highs. I have to wear dresses or sundresses with long-sleeve shirts because I can’t tolerate any pants pressing on my abdomen. Thus I have cold legs. Anyway, 20 minutes at Macy’s turned into 1) an almost complete pass-out onto the couch for a long nap. The fatigue was like hitting a wall, and 2) I had breakthrough bright red bleeding, likely from the dreaded “doing too much.”

* This AM I probably would have freaked out had I not learned on HysterSisters that passing large blood clots is not abnormal, since when I got up today, that’s exactly what happened.

* While the first few days when I was taking pain meds round the clock on a schedule, I had more energy. As I ratcheted down the oxycontin and upped the use of ibuprofen, pain management is a bit more difficult, and I’ve been more tired. Today I was unable to do anything except sleep. I didn’t eat anything until about 1PM today. Not that I was hungry anyway. I actually feel worse physically than I did last week. Also not abnormal. This stuff ebbs and flows as you make adjustments in meds.

* The one bright spot has been my diabetes control. I have continued my strict regimen of many needles and lots of testing to help avoid infection risk. Thank goodness I don’t have to worry about that, but the frequency with which I have to get up and test and take needles is interrupted sleep that I need. It’s a rough balancing act that non-diabetics hysterectomy patients don’t have to deal with.

Anyway, I was duly flogged on FB and Twitter for my trip out in the real world, so I’ve learned my lesson and will take shorter walks (doing nothing is just as bad as doing too much) to keep things moving, and get more sleep. I will check in with my endo and surgeon soon if anything goes south.

OK, that’s way too much typing for now. I’m wiped; thanks again for the emails and comments. I do read them, I just don’t always have the energy to respond.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Lady Gaga has an update on DADT for her millions of Little Monsters

Lady Gaga is back on the DADT repeal bandwagon. She did a video for her “Little Monsters.” Now, some may dismiss the activism of the Lady Gaga. But, she has over 7.2 million followers on twitter and almost 24 million fans on Facebook. That’s a pretty fierce network.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Happy Thanksgiving and a health update post-alien fibroid uterine removal

UPDATE: Just got labs back from blood work done just before surgery, and in fact my blood count was lower than the norm (as in I bleed way too much during my period). Duh, I could have told them that without a test. I don’t know whether the doctor will put me on iron on or not, but it’s likely to bounce back on its own over time.


Happy Turkey Day! It’s time to give thanks for what good we have in our lives. I am thankful for my family, my friends old and new – online and offline — and for readers who have been kind and generous. A special shout out to others in the hysterhood, who gave me good pre- and post- surgery advice.

Our Thanksgiving was relatively quiet, we were home and I was unconscious most of the day, getting up at regular intervals (about 4 hours or so), to take pain meds. The doggies loved having us home. My follow up appointment with the surgeon is on 12/7.

The surgeon has me alternating doses of ibuprofen (anti-inflammatory) and hydrocodone (hard core opiates). Both work ok, though pain relief is never as good as you receive in the hospital. I am usually able to ditch the pain meds after a couple of days, but post-hysterectomy pain is way worse than when I had my gall bladder removed.

Details below the fold.
If you missed following my Facebook and Twitter updates, I was released from the hospital yesterday, only after I was able to do #1 on my own. Otherwise I was either going to be sent home with a catheter or stay another day and be re-cathetered. Both were bad options, but around 2PM yesterday I was finally able to go. It’s kind of a surrealistic experience – you feel the urge to go, your brain is sending the signals to go, and then nothing happens. At all. This went on every few hours as I would attempt it. I thought I was losing my mind. Anyway, once I did, I got dressed and was outta there.

Whack-a-mole holes in the gut

I was left with five holes in my abdomen from the laproscopy, including one entry point in my navel, which will probably be one of the last to heal. As I mentioned yesterday, one of the complications of my surgery was some tearing of vaginal tissue as the uterus was removed in one piece after it was severed from the fallopian tubes/ovaries. Since the largest fibroid was the size of the uterus itself, it’s not surprising it wasn’t going out easily.

The area with the stitching to close that up is somewhat swollen, which inhibited my ability to void. So it’s a small miracle I didn’t have to do another day in the hospital.

Needless to say, even on the percocet I was on in the hospital, I was still in some pain, just not excruciating. The nurses were wonderfully attentive in giving meds to me upon request and kept checking my pain levels.

So once home, what I can report is that I’ve done little else except sleep, get on and FB and tweet when I’ve had to test my blood glucose and take my needles/pain meds. Kate has the alarm set to every four hours to wake me to take the pain meds and to test. So I’m getting more sleep than at the hospital, but it’s still interrupted sleep. Good thing I am testing regularly, since my lows have been around 72. So I’d pop a few prunes and go back to sleep.

There is a L&O marathon on TNT today, so I watch some random episodes that I fall asleep on. I am too weak to be bored, so that’s a good thing. As you might imagine, the worst part is standing up and lying down. Your abs simply don’t want to work after this kind of surgery. The only comfortable position is flat on my back, which is crappy since I’m a side/tummy sleeper, but I’m so drug-addled I don’t even care. I just want to sleep.

Today’s adventure — my first shower since arriving home. Kate took all of my dressings off — three abdominal incisions required stitches, two were glued shut — and I feebly got in the shower and, well, it was a painful experience washing that area. But it was good to get clean. I will have to do this for a while, so Kate can help with the dressings. My abdomen is very swollen due to the surgery and the 4 IV bags of fluids I took in. That added another 10 lbs over night. Argh.

The only clothing that fits comfortably at this point are my sundresses with a shirt under them or my night gowns. The elastic waist pants that I thought would be a good choice post-surgery hurt like hell.

I’ve taken to shooting up my insulin in my arms since my abdomen is so sore. All of this sucks but at least I wasn’t blindsided — I was told to expect this. My appetite is not very good. I can eat solid food, but clear broth soup is better digested.

I expect to feel about this bad for a week, with each day getting a little better. I did try stairs today. That was a mistake. Oh god that hurt. Going down is worse that going up. Guess I just like testing my (in)abilities. Bad blogmistress.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

New York Marriage Equality Update

Kennedy: “I would like to thank the Human Rights Campaign for the assistance they have provided in my effort to change Albany. HRC staff and volunteers played a key role in ensuring a major victory."

They say everything comes in threes.

On Election Night three new marriage equality supporters were elected in tight state Senate races: Tony Avella (Queens), David Carlucci (Rockland County), and Tim Kennedy (Buffalo).

HRC played a key role in helping each of these wins by providing campaign staff, volunteers, and funds.

Unfortunately, there are also three  races that are still not officially called, and each Senator voted for marriage equality last year: Craig Johnson (Nassau County), Suzi Oppenheimer (Westchester), and Antoine Thompson (Erie County).

Earlier this week the final Election Districts were tallied in Westchester.  Now, with only absentee, provisional, and military ballots remaining to be counted, marriage equality supporter Senator Oppenheimer is ahead by 504 votes.

Carlucci: “HRC provided my campaign with top-notch organizers. Along with their financial support, HRC played a key part in my campaign and I’m grateful for their support, and I'm looking forward to working together on the issues we care about."

In the other two races,  Senator Craig Johnson trails by 415 votes and Senator Antoine Thompson trails by 598.  However, each District still needs to count approximately 4,000 absentee, provisional, or other ballots.

Avella: "Thank you to the Human Rights Campaign for their support of my campaign. I look forward to representing the values of equality and fairness in the New York state senate and to voting in favor of marriage equality and GENDA."

Most observers believe these three elections will not be officially decided until November 24 or beyond, and there may be challenges.

Party control of the Senate hangs in the balance of these three races.  However, Senate leadership from both parties support a vote on marriage taking place.  Time (and results of these three races) will tell.

HRC’s Campaign for NY Marriage has and will continue to play a key role in the fight for marriage equality.

Senator Craig Johnson trails by 415 votes.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

UPDATE: Obama’s Secret Plan: Getting Republican Votes

Crossposted on ZackFord Blogs

Earlier today I wrote about yesterday's anything-but-secret secret meeting at the White House about Don't Ask Don't Tell. With no details forthcoming, I speculated on what really happened there, suspicious that Obama did try to score some political points but without clear answers as to what he might be getting them for.

barack_obamaThis evening, we have our first details of the meeting, and they come from President Obama himself. For the first time ever, a member of the LGBT media/blogosphere got to ask the President some direct questions, and Joe Sudbay has shared his results with us.

Overall, the President did not have much new to say. He still refuses to address whether DADT is unconstitutional. He is eager to toot his own horn for how much his administration has done for the LGBT community, including being “systematic and methodical” (note: not proactive and assertive) on the agenda to repeal DADT. In fact, he doesn't think  the community's “disillusionment is justified,” because his administration has been a “stalwart ally.” In terms of marriage equality, all he had to say was a reiteration of his support for civil unions but traditional marriage. After all, did anyone expect him to reverse his opinion at 3:30 in the afternoon in the Roosevelt Room? We wouldn't want him to suddenly switch back to the support of full marriage equality he had in 1996, would we?

I'm being snide, I admit, but it's only because the President's responses are so condescending. It's like any suggestion that he's not as great the ally as he thinks he is just bounces off. Again, I ask, where does he get the idea that he's this wonderful ally who's done right by us? He's a constitutional scholar who won't answer a constitutional question and he expects credit for regurgitating talking points the religious right uses against us. If the theme of his campaign was “umbrage,” the theme of his Presidency is turning out to be “hubris.”

Then, Obama shared a little bit of the strategy from yesterday's meeting. It involves him, the lame-duck session, and getting the Log Cabin Republicans to flip a few votes.

You’re financing a very successful, very effective legal strategy, and yet the only really thing you need to do is make sure that we get two to five Republican votes in the Senate.

And I said directly to the Log Cabin Republican who was here yesterday, I said, that can’t be that hard. Get me those votes.

Because what I do anticipate is that John McCain and maybe some others will filibuster this issue, and we’re going to have to have a cloture vote. If we can get through that cloture vote, this is done.

Yeah, why are we wasting all that time and money in the courts? It's not like the courts are the one place we've had almost every big precedent-setting victory in the past 10 years. We just have to flip a few votes in the Senate!

It would have been nice if the effort had been made the first time the vote came up.

Mr. Obama was reluctant to “tip his hand,” but I surely hope there is more to this strategy than just actually trying to get the votes this time around.

We don't have much choice but to wait and find out. Come on, then, stalwart ally, show us what you got.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

UPDATE: Greensboro News & Record drops NC marriage license requirement for its wedding contest

Sometimes challenging convention in support of equality does pay off. The Greensboro News & Record, is now going to allow same-sex couples to fully participate in its wedding contest,  dropping its requirement for a NC marriage license. John Robinson, the editor of the paper, contacted me just a few moments ago with the news.


From: John Robinson

Date: Mon, Sep 27, 2010 at 3:15 PM

Subject:

To: tips @ phblend.net

Hi, Pam,

We’ve dropped the rule about the N.C. marriage license from the wedding contest.

Thanks for your challenge and feedback about inclusivity. It took a little longer than we would have liked because we needed to discuss it with the other “wedding” partners and then get the lawyer’s OK to change the rules after the contest started.

I’m going to update the post as soon as we update the website where the rules are listed.

Best,

John Robinson

Editor

News & Record

Greensboro

The N&R contact page for Robinson if you would like to thank him for (belatedly) doing the right thing:

http://www.news-record.com/whois/john_robinson

***

Back Story

Regular readers may recall my post from a few days ago about the Greensboro N&R holding a wedding contest with all the frills to be provided to one lucky couple for a ceremony. When a reader, Liz at Greensboring, asked whether same-sex couples could reply, editor John Robinson said:

John Robinson September 19, 2010 – 2:57 pm EDT

Sorry, but a N.C. wedding license is required.

There was nothing to prohibit the N&R from opening up its contest to same-sex couples, after all, there are weddings and commitment ceremonies held in NC all the time. The marriage license is not the purview of the N&R, but of the state. There is no minister or justice of the peace provided; that’s the couple’s choice. All we’re talking about is the hotel and vendors providing these services.

* Schiffman’s Jewelry for the ring;

* Extra Ingredient for the wedding registry and china;

* Ashleigh’s Fine Paper for the wedding planning and invitations;

* Ollie’s Bakery for the cake;

* Dr. Mark Hyman for teeth whitening;

* Merle Norman for make-up;

* Dawn’s Bridal for the gown;

* Letia’s Bridal for the tuxedo;

* Plants and Answers for the flowers;

* AAA Travel for the honeymoon.

* The Proximity Hotel will host and provide the rehearsal dinner, wedding ceremony and reception.

So after I Tweeted and Facebooked about this hot mess, a couple of hours later Robinson responded with a “compromise”. See that fail below the fold, plus a reader writes the vendors.

John Robinson September 20, 2010 – 10:47 am EDT

I hear you, Pam and ascensions. We and our partners talked about this issue as we were planning the wedding project. We knew it could be contentious. We decided to take a traditional approach to the wedding because we hadn’t done this before and weren’t sure how everything would work. As part of that, we settled on following the state laws as it applies to marriages.

But you raise good points. If a same-sex couple wants to have a commitment ceremony, I encourage them to send me an email at the address on this blog’s home page and I’ll make sure that the request will be considered.

So I posted an update. However, it was later clarified that the rules of eligibility had not changed.

John Robinson September 20, 2010 – 6:52 pm EDT

Sorry to be so confusing. If a gay couple is interested in applying for the marriage, email me and we will talk. Right now, though, we’re committed to throwing a wedding, following North Carolina law.

Pam_Spaulding September 21, 2010 – 1:34 pm EDT

OK, so now you’re saying that a same-sex couple that enters, will be “considered”, but has zero chance of winning the contest because they cannot receive a NC marriage license? Come on, John, you cannot have it both ways. Please clarify.

John Robinson September 21, 2010 – 1:43 pm EDT

We haven’t changed the rules. We are open to hearing from and talking to people who feel they qualify under the rules except for the requirement about the valid N.C. marriage license. I can’t say whether that will cause a change in the rules or not.

So gay and lesbian couple would be “considered,” with their application tossed in the virtual ash can because they cannot obtain a marriage license in the state of NC.

Another reader, Brian O., was so incensed that he wrote every vendor on that contest list to ask if they knew this was a discriminatory contest.

This letter is to the dentist providing the teeth whitening service. Brian’s letters to the others were similar.

Dear Dr. Hyman,

Thank you for your support and dedication to the Greensboro community. I write today to bring your attention to a serious issue regarding the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population in our community.

Many sponsors of the Triad Dream Wedding, sponsored in part by your business are avid supporters of LGBT causes in this community. This is why when I saw the advertisement on the Greensboro News & Record website for the Triad Dream Wedding you are co-sponsoring I assumed it would be open to all couples. But, living in the world we live in, I knew to investigate further. And, to my surprise, I found the following line within the legal jargon, “…who are 21 years of age or older and are able to obtain a valid North Carolina marriage license.”

The above contest rule effectively bars same-sex couples from participating in the contest. Through this contest, you had the opportunity to make a statement about your businesses belief in the value of everyone in our community. You lost this incredible opportunity.

On a practical note, the contest is sponsoring a ceremony and reception. These events are separate from the legal binding nature of a marriage license. In fact, heterosexual couples could take advantage of the ceremony and reception and still not even proceed to file for a marriage license. Ceremonies and receptions are celebrations of two people’s lifelong commitment to one another. Why are you choosing to only celebrate the commitment made by heterosexual couples? By participating and sponsoring this contest, your business is validating the belief that only heterosexual marriages have value in our society.

I challenge you to take a stand and urge organizers to open this contest to all couples regardless of their ability to attain a state marriage license.

I look forward to hearing from you regarding this very important issue.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Brian O.

Greensboro, NC

Each of the following sponsors responded to Brian and said they would be following up with the N & R:

  • The Main Ingredient
  • Mark Hyman, DDS
  • Ashleigh’s Fine Paper
  • Plants and Answers
  • Quaintance-Weaver Restaurants & Hotels (Proximity Hotel and Print Works Bistro)

With the ball back in John Robinson’s court (and probably vendor emails in his inbox), he later consulted his attorneys and got back to me today.

The whole dust up just shows that there is more fear than is necessary in these instances. It’s just a matter of communicating with the concerned parties to see where they stand. Obviously the N&R was more concerned about its partners on this contest than it needed to be.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

UPDATE: Greensboro News & Record drops NC marriage license requirement for its wedding contest

Sometimes challenging convention in support of equality does pay off. The Greensboro News & Record, is now going to allow same-sex couples to fully participate in its wedding contest,  dropping its requirement for a NC marriage license. John Robinson, the editor of the paper, contacted me just a few moments ago with the news.


From: John Robinson

Date: Mon, Sep 27, 2010 at 3:15 PM

Subject:

To: tips @ phblend.net

Hi, Pam,

We’ve dropped the rule about the N.C. marriage license from the wedding contest.

Thanks for your challenge and feedback about inclusivity. It took a little longer than we would have liked because we needed to discuss it with the other “wedding” partners and then get the lawyer’s OK to change the rules after the contest started.

I’m going to update the post as soon as we update the website where the rules are listed.

Best,

John Robinson

Editor

News & Record

Greensboro

The N&R contact page for Robinson if you would like to thank him for (belatedly) doing the right thing:

http://www.news-record.com/whois/john_robinson

***

Back Story

Regular readers may recall my post from a few days ago about the Greensboro N&R holding a wedding contest with all the frills to be provided to one lucky couple for a ceremony. When a reader, Liz at Greensboring, asked whether same-sex couples could reply, editor John Robinson said:

John Robinson September 19, 2010 – 2:57 pm EDT

Sorry, but a N.C. wedding license is required.

There was nothing to prohibit the N&R from opening up its contest to same-sex couples, after all, there are weddings and commitment ceremonies held in NC all the time. The marriage license is not the purview of the N&R, but of the state. There is no minister or justice of the peace provided; that’s the couple’s choice. All we’re talking about is the hotel and vendors providing these services.

* Schiffman’s Jewelry for the ring;

* Extra Ingredient for the wedding registry and china;

* Ashleigh’s Fine Paper for the wedding planning and invitations;

* Ollie’s Bakery for the cake;

* Dr. Mark Hyman for teeth whitening;

* Merle Norman for make-up;

* Dawn’s Bridal for the gown;

* Letia’s Bridal for the tuxedo;

* Plants and Answers for the flowers;

* AAA Travel for the honeymoon.

* The Proximity Hotel will host and provide the rehearsal dinner, wedding ceremony and reception.

So after I Tweeted and Facebooked about this hot mess, a couple of hours later Robinson responded with a “compromise”. See that fail below the fold, plus a reader writes the vendors.

John Robinson September 20, 2010 – 10:47 am EDT

I hear you, Pam and ascensions. We and our partners talked about this issue as we were planning the wedding project. We knew it could be contentious. We decided to take a traditional approach to the wedding because we hadn’t done this before and weren’t sure how everything would work. As part of that, we settled on following the state laws as it applies to marriages.

But you raise good points. If a same-sex couple wants to have a commitment ceremony, I encourage them to send me an email at the address on this blog’s home page and I’ll make sure that the request will be considered.

So I posted an update. However, it was later clarified that the rules of eligibility had not changed.

John Robinson September 20, 2010 – 6:52 pm EDT

Sorry to be so confusing. If a gay couple is interested in applying for the marriage, email me and we will talk. Right now, though, we’re committed to throwing a wedding, following North Carolina law.

Pam_Spaulding September 21, 2010 – 1:34 pm EDT

OK, so now you’re saying that a same-sex couple that enters, will be “considered”, but has zero chance of winning the contest because they cannot receive a NC marriage license? Come on, John, you cannot have it both ways. Please clarify.

John Robinson September 21, 2010 – 1:43 pm EDT

We haven’t changed the rules. We are open to hearing from and talking to people who feel they qualify under the rules except for the requirement about the valid N.C. marriage license. I can’t say whether that will cause a change in the rules or not.

So gay and lesbian couple would be “considered,” with their application tossed in the virtual ash can because they cannot obtain a marriage license in the state of NC.

Another reader, Brian O., was so incensed that he wrote every vendor on that contest list to ask if they knew this was a discriminatory contest.

This letter is to the dentist providing the teeth whitening service. Brian’s letters to the others were similar.

Dear Dr. Hyman,

Thank you for your support and dedication to the Greensboro community. I write today to bring your attention to a serious issue regarding the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population in our community.

Many sponsors of the Triad Dream Wedding, sponsored in part by your business are avid supporters of LGBT causes in this community. This is why when I saw the advertisement on the Greensboro News & Record website for the Triad Dream Wedding you are co-sponsoring I assumed it would be open to all couples. But, living in the world we live in, I knew to investigate further. And, to my surprise, I found the following line within the legal jargon, “…who are 21 years of age or older and are able to obtain a valid North Carolina marriage license.”

The above contest rule effectively bars same-sex couples from participating in the contest. Through this contest, you had the opportunity to make a statement about your businesses belief in the value of everyone in our community. You lost this incredible opportunity.

On a practical note, the contest is sponsoring a ceremony and reception. These events are separate from the legal binding nature of a marriage license. In fact, heterosexual couples could take advantage of the ceremony and reception and still not even proceed to file for a marriage license. Ceremonies and receptions are celebrations of two people’s lifelong commitment to one another. Why are you choosing to only celebrate the commitment made by heterosexual couples? By participating and sponsoring this contest, your business is validating the belief that only heterosexual marriages have value in our society.

I challenge you to take a stand and urge organizers to open this contest to all couples regardless of their ability to attain a state marriage license.

I look forward to hearing from you regarding this very important issue.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Brian O.

Greensboro, NC

Each of the following sponsors responded to Brian and said they would be following up with the N & R:

  • The Main Ingredient
  • Mark Hyman, DDS
  • Ashleigh’s Fine Paper
  • Plants and Answers
  • Quaintance-Weaver Restaurants & Hotels (Proximity Hotel and Print Works Bistro)

With the ball back in John Robinson’s court (and probably vendor emails in his inbox), he later consulted his attorneys and got back to me today.

The whole dust up just shows that there is more fear than is necessary in these instances. It’s just a matter of communicating with the concerned parties to see where they stand. Obviously the N&R was more concerned about its partners on this contest than it needed to be.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Update: Navy Chief accused of gay-baiting hazing likely to retire at full pay

Last September we brought you the stellar reporting by Youth Radio about heinous cases of sexual harassment suffered by members of the U.S. Navy’s Bahrain Military Working Dogs Division. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents were released detailing the horrendous behavior of one Chief Michael Toussaint.

It was inside that Bahrain kennel in July 2005 that Petty Officer Joseph Christopher Rocha, then 19 years old, says he was being terrorized by other members of his own division. “I was hog-tied to a chair, rolled around the base, left in a dog kennel that had feces spread in it.”

Rocha says that beginning six weeks into his deployment, he was singled out for abuse by his chief master-at-arms, Michael Toussaint, and others on the base, once Rocha made it clear he was not interested in prostitutes. “I was in a very small testosterone-driven unit of men,” Rocha says. “I think that’s what began the questioning-you know-’Why don’t you want to have sex with her? Are you a faggot?’”

“Petty Officer Rocha and another junior sailor…were instructed to go into a classroom by Chief Michael Toussaint, who orchestrated the entire training. And Chief Toussaint asked them to simulate homosexual sex on a couch,” Hogan says.

In an update by Youth Radio , it appears that Toussaint has been allowed to get away with this behavior with a full pension and a censure.

Since it was announced last October, the terms of Michael Toussaint’s retirement have come under scrutiny that is unprecedented for an enlisted sailor. The senior chief petty officer, who from 2005 to 2006 led a Bahrain-based canine unit that was plagued by widespread documented abuse, denied much of his alleged misconduct in February during a retirement board hearing, a proceeding normally reserved for commissioned officers.

The case will soon go to the desk of an assistant secretary of the Navy, who faces a choice: to approve the unanimous recommendation of the three board members who said Toussaint deserves to retire with a senior chief’s pension; or to take a harder line and reduce him to a lower pay grade, as government lawyers had sought to do during the hearing.

Deciding against the retirement board’s recommendation would be rare.

I’ve never yet seen one (a board recommendation) that was overturned by a higher authority,” said Eugene Fidell, a professor at Yale University and President of the National Institute of Military Justice.

And in what is another case of Lucy yanking the football away from Charlie Brown, those who sought harsher treatment are left flat on the ground with zero hope of seeing justice for those harassed, or even to see the assailant receive more than a wrist slap.

But advocates for the sailors who were abused under Toussaint’s leadership said Navy officials had led them to expect a harsher judgment from the board hearing, which according to Navy guidelines determines the highest rank at which a sailor or officer has served honorably.

“I was surprised,” said Aaron Tax, legal director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, “because we thought that the Navy believed this was someone who engaged in outrageous behavior.” Tax said despite the board’s recommendation, the Navy should lower Toussaint’s pension to that of a first class petty officer, the rank he held before becoming chief of the Bahrain unit.

I guess anything goes with the big boys upstairs. Read more by Youth Radio here.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Halstead says policies failed, investigation continues

Fort Worth Police Chief Halstead told the City Council that policies regarding bar checks were inadequate and new policies have been established to go into effect Sept. 1.
He also said the investigation continues and he will not rush it. And he apologized for his early comments that offended people.

—  admin

Waiting for a report

8:22 a.m. Tuesday. Fort Worth City Council pre-council chambers. Waiting to hear Chief Halstead give an update on the FWPD’s investigation into the Rainbow Lounge raid. Spoke to the chief on the way in and he told me he has a press release “with all the details.” Stay tuned for more.

—  admin