Friday, April 30, 2010

Hawaii Legislature Sends Civil Unions Bill To Gov

The Hawaii Assembly completed work on HB444 by approving the measure by a vote of 31-20 months after rejecting the measure almost exactly three months ago. The bill passed the Senate by a veto-proof majority and in 2009 had passed the House by a veto-proof majority. Republican Governor Linda Lingle has not said whether she would sign the bill into law or not.
If HB444 does become law, Hawaii would join Oregon, Washington, California, New Jersey and Nevada who have comprehensive "everything but marriage" statutes.

Celebrity Friday: Jennifer Hudson

Jennifer Hudson will be the new spokesperson for Weight Watchers. She looks great!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson has become a publishing phenomenon. It's a contemporary mystery novel set in Sweden (Stockholm, mostly), written by a debut novelist who died suddenly before his books were officially published.

Happily he wrote three books before he died, and the third book, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest will be released in May 2010. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has also been made into a major (Swedish) motion picture which was released in the United States in March 2010.

The book is centered around Lisbeth Sander, an anti-social hacker with a photographic memory who works with a corporate security form on private investigations of people, as well as Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist/publisher who loses a libel case against a prominent Swedish businessman. The story is set in Sweden, mostly Stockholm and the fictional Hedestad Island.

The plot is incredibly complex, built around three compelling mysteries: solving a disappearance of a 16-year old girl from a remote Swedish island over forty years before, unearthing the truth about the complicated business deal which caused Blomkvist to commit libel and fiiguring out what makes Lisbeth Salander tick.

Salander is one of the great characters in the mystery genre; it is no wonder that Oscar-nominated British actress Carey Mulligan has aggressively gone after (and apparently won) the role, with David Fincher directing.

Despite a viciously negative review from The New York Times, the novel has gone on to become a publishing sensation in several countries and won multiple awards. This is not surprising to understand. Once begun, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is almost impossible to put down. I got it for Christmas last year and had finished it and the sequel before New Year's Eve!

Don't say I didn't warn you.

: Stieg Larsson.
Title: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Paperback: 608 pages.
Published: June 23, 2009.



Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Calls To Boycott Arizona Increase

In the wake of the enactment of SB 1070 in Arizona many people around the country are following my call for a boycott of the state of Arizona for as long as this law is in effect.
On Tuesday, seven members of the Los Angeles City Council signed a proposal for a boycott, calling for the city to "refrain from conducting business" or participating in conventions in Arizona. Councilman Ed Reyes, who coauthored the proposal with Councilwoman Janice Hahn, said he wants city officials to spend the next 90 days assessing the financial relationships that exist between various city departments and businesses based in Arizona


The leader of the California Senate, Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), called the law a "disgrace" and said the state also should consider a boycott. He sent a letter to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger asking for an inventory of Arizona businesses and government agencies with which California does business.

"The Arizona law is as unconscionable as it is unconstitutional, and the state of California should not be using taxpayer dollars to support such a policy," Steinberg wrote.

Already, several organizations have canceled planned conventions in Arizona. The American Immigration Lawyers Assn. announced that it is moving its fall convention, originally scheduled for Scottsdale in September.
Interestingly, according to Jon Stewart there is a provision in the law that if you declare that you are a citizen, then the police are supposed to take you at your word.

Google (Docs) Has A Draw Program!

I needed to produce a document for an elementary school math festival I am participating and organizing on Friday in Glassell Park. I don't really know how to use any Draw programs and I am not "artistic" at all but the above diagram I literally created in 15 minutes in Google Docs. I heard about the program from my husband but you can read more about it here. You simply "Insert Drawing" and you get a wonderful graphical interface which is very intuitive to use.

Thanks, Google!

SCOTUS Hears Doe v. Reed Argument Today

Today is the final oral argument of the 2009-10 Supreme Court term, and the last one of John Paul Stevens long career. The case in question is Doe v. Reed, which involves whether petition signers of Washington state's Referendum 71 can have their identities shielded, in violation of that state's robust open records law. Referendum 71 asked voters whether they approved of Washington state's comprehensive domestic partnership law, commonly known as the "everything but marriage" law.

SCOTUSblog covers the issues in today's oral arguments:

The Court, perhaps, has tipped its hand in the case, not only by its order in October, temporarily protecting the Washington signers’ privacy, but also by its 5-4 ruling in January in the Proposition 8 TV trial coverage ruling. But both of those actions tend largely to exhibit sympathy for the argument that opponents of gay marriage do face threats and other forms of harassment or outright violence. That sentiment, perhaps, cannot be translated directly into a conclusion that signing a petition is a form of protected political speech.

The Court has never before analyzed, as it must in this case, just exactly what occurs – in a constitutional sense – when a citizen writes a signature, and enters personal information, on a political petition. The Referendum 71 case presents that issue very directly, with the signers making a vigorous argument that it is a purely expressive form of political speech, while those favoring public disclosure of petitions make an equally vigorous argument that the role of citizen as legislative sponsor is no different from that of an elected lawmaker. To side with the former and against the latter, the Court would have to make a sizeable constitutional leap from past rulings on electoral anonymity. Perhaps some of the Justices voted to grant review of the case precisely anticipating that they might well do just that. The briefing, though, has sharpened the issue, far more than did the content submitted to the Court prior to the October order and that presented before review was granted.

For a Court that has recently shown, especially in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision in January, that it reads the First Amendment expansively in the context of election campaigns, there may be little hesitancy now in deciding the Referendum 71 case by lengthening that trend, to elevate the constitutional significance of signing a political petition. Much may be revealed on this score at oral argument.

Whether the Court will see this case as a test of the Constitution’s role in mediating the heavy political controversy, being waged across the country, over gay rights, is unclear at this point. That controversy, to be sure, has a bearing on the intimidation issue that is so central to the Referendum 71 signers’ case.

However, just as central to the other side’s argument is a plea for open government, coupled with a plea for state control of their own initiative and referendum processes. Choosing between those two conflicting approaches to the case may be difficult, indeed.

More than 24 states allow citizen-initiated ballot measures, so a ruling in Doe v. Reed could have a wide impact, especially in California where another Proposition 8-like battle over marriage equality will happen in the future, probably sooner rather than later.

UPDATE: 04/28/2010 11:51AM PDT
It should be noted that LGBT groups have filed a very strong amicus brief in support of the respondents (Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed) and today issued a press release where they basically mock the arguments of the homophobes who want the right to legislate their position from the ballot box while wearing a shroud of First Amendment non-disclosure.

From the release:
Some of the instances of supposed "intimidation" cited by opponents and noted in the amicus brief include:

- A country club member in California, a supporter of Proposition 8, noted that "the openly gay members of the country club have changed their attitudes toward me. They used to greet me warmly; now, they give me looks of disdain and do not greet me as I pass."

- A person with a yard sign supporting Proposition 8 was disturbed on Halloween that some people "pointed and whispered to one another in disapproval" during trick-or-treating.

- A woman was upset that her brother, who is gay, would no longer speak to her after she told him she might vote for Proposition 8.

As the amicus brief says, these complaints "are not only trivial, they reflect a fundamental refusal to accept the legitimacy of speech that disagrees with the complainants' viewpoints, deeming it 'hateful' or 'harassing' simply because they do not like hearing it."

"There's nothing to see here, folks," said Jon Davidson, Legal Director of Lambda Legal. "There's no comparison between a few scattered instances of whispers and disapproving glares and the very real discrimination, harassment and even violence LGBT people experience every day all over the country. After all, more hate crimes are reported against gay people than any other group per capita in the United States."

"The Petitioners are attempting to create a through-the-looking-glass world in which the aggressors are the victims and the victims the aggressors," said Gary Buseck, Legal Director of GLAD.

"This is an outrageous attempt by anti-gay groups to use false claims of persecution to undermine laws that protect the integrity of the democratic process," said Shannon Price Minter, NCLR Legal Director.
We'll see what the Supremes say about that. As always, they have the last word.

MadProfessah Endorses Kamala Harris for AG

I attended the Equality California statewide candidates forum on Sunday April 25th which was a rare opportunity to see all 6 Democratic candidates running to be the next Attorney General of California.

From left to right, the candidates in the picture are Assemblymember Ted Lieu, Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, former Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, Assemblymember Pedro Nava and Assemblymember Alberto Torrico. The likely Republican opponent in November is Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley.

I have seen a number of the Attorney General candidates in small group settings in my capacity as Steering Committee member of the Stonewall Democratic Club and elected delegate of the California Democratic Party.

Previously, I had been impressed with Pedro Nava. He has been endorsed by the smartest politician in California politics, LA County Democratic Chair Eric Bauman and he generally is a very effusive and energetic speaker. Unfortunately, he has very little money, although he does have Parke Skelton as his political consultant.

At the forum, it was the first time I was seeing Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico in action, and he said some very impressive things about education ("should be a civil right") and rehabilitation that made me want to take another look at him. Torrico has nice ideas but doesn't seem to be ready for the scale of a statewide race. Yet.

Ted Lieu is probably the strongest supporter of the LGBT community and hardest worker of the group (the male Judy Chu!) which has won him many LGBT Democratic club endorsements, even in such a hotly contested field. He points out that he can repeat the Ted Chiang statewide win of 2006 for State Controller, but I just don't think one can equate a State Controller race with a State Attorney General race. I do agree that the Southern California candidates have an advantage. Those are Delgadillo, Torrico and Lieu. Lieu is the only Asian in the race, and they vote in excess of their proportion in the population, which statewide is nearly 12% (statewide the Black population is close to 6%).

It's true that Nava, Delgadillo and Torrico all have Spanish surnames in a state which is hurtling towards majority-minority status, but the electorate, even the Democratic primary electorate is still majority white. Delgadillo ran for and lost this race to Jerry Brown, and instead of giving him a leg up in this race, the odor of food past it's purchase date lingers around his campaign.

However, I think this is trumped by Kamala Harris being the only woman in the race. I think the fact that she is a prosecutor (even if she is from the liberal enclave of San Francisco) will allow her to distinguish her from the crowd of guys she is running against. She's a pretty electrifying speaker and has the most "star power" of the group. She's also raised the most money (except for the self-financing Chris Kelly, who has essentially "pulled a Whitman" and written himself two $2 million checks).

On the issues, I would be happy with any of the candidates as the next Attorney General, but by electing Kamala Harris California would be really signaling we have truly entered the Obama era of politics, by electing the first African-American statewide official since Mervyn Dymally for Lieutenant Governor a generation ago when Jerry Brown was his running mate in 1974.

Federer Opens 2010 Clay Court Season With Loss

Julian Finney/Getty Images

World #1 and 2010 Australian Open champion Roger Federer lost his first clay court singles match of the year 2-6, 6-1, 7-5 to Ernests Gulbis of Latvia at the Rome Masters series tournament. Gulbis, 21, won his first ATP Tour title in Delray Beach, Florida earlier this year and is known for his big-serving, hard-hitting style. It took him 7 match points to earn his first win over the 16-time Grand Slam champion and current World #1. Interestingly, Federer won a clay court doubles match with countryman Yves Allegro on Monday.

World #2 Novak Djokovic cruised to the 3rd round, while World #3 and defending champion Rafael Nadal will open his title defense on Wednesday. World #4 Andy Murray stopped his tour match losing streak at three in a row by winning his first clay match of the year

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Anand-Topalov World Championship Tied 1.5-1.5

The world chess championship between 35-year-old Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria and defending champion Viswanathan Anand of India, 40, began on Sunday in Sofia and surprisingly the first two games have ended decisively (most super-grandmaster matches are draws). You can see Game 1, Game 2 and Game 3 online.

Both players have been ranked World #1
and achieved stratospheric ratings of above 2800 (most super grandmasters have ratings around 2650-2750 and only 5 people have ever exceeded 2800) but Norwegian phenom Magnus Carlsen has recently become the youngest player to top the rankings.

The match is taking place in Topalov's home town and he is currently slightly higher rated (2805 to 2787) with a +1 advantage in the forty-four games they have played against each other (23 draws). Most expect Topalov to win, but I have my money on Anand.

Go, Vishy!

Status of DADT Repeal: A Summary

Last year I was quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle saying there would be "hell to pay" if Obama did not follow through with his promise to repeal DADT in 2010.

Obama raised the stakes by including the following quote in his State of the Union address this year:
"This year I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are — it’s the right thing to do."
Wonder Man parses this statement to say that Obama is not committing to repeal DADT this year, just to work to finally repeal, which to me is a possible (but ultimate unreasonable) interpretation of what the President said.

When he was in Los Angeles last week for a fundraising event for Senator Barbara Boxer, Obama was famously heckled by activists from GetEqual and responded (angrily, according to some observers):
"But let me say this, when you've got an ally like Barbara Boxer and you've got an ally like me who are standing for same thing, then you don't know exactly why you've got to holler because we already hear you[.]" [he responded] "It would have made more sense to holler that at the people who oppose it."
Now, activists have started to focus on the Senate Armed Services Committee, where 15 votes are required to pass a DADT repeal measure, presumably at a meeting in mid-May.

Human Rights Campaign, whose executive director promised a 2010 repeal of DADT would happen this year back in February, has released their target list of 6 Senators:
Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) (202) 224-5623
Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) (202) 224-4543
Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) (202) 224-3954
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) (202) 224-6551
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) (202) 224-5274
Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) (202) 224-4024

Serena Williams Now #1 for 100 Weeks

Serena Williams has become the 7th player to spend 100 weeks at #1, following in the footsteps of other players such as Steffi Graf (377), Martina Navratilova (332), Chris Evert (260), Martina Hingis (209), Monica Seles (178) and Justine Henin (117).

There have been 19 players to ever hold the World #1 ranking since 1975. Serena's sister, currently ranked at #4 has spent 11 weeks at #1.

Monday, April 26, 2010

UNANIMOUS Vote(s) on Gay-related Bills in CA, IL

Interesting news! Not even Assembly Republicans in California still believe homosexuals should be labeled "sexual deviants" in state law. AB 2199 (Lowenthal) has unanimously passed the State Assembly by a vote of 62-0. Could this be a sign of a thaw in the Neanderthal levels of homophobia that have been witnessed from California Republicans over the last decade or so due to the presence of openly gay Speaker John Pérez ?

What's also interesting about this result is that it's the second unanimous vote on a gay-related bill in as many weeks. In Illinois, an anti-bullying bill (SB3266) was passed 108-0 by the House of Representatives on Friday April 23rd. This legislation requires schools to adopt policies against bullying of students that are inclusive of protections for LGBT students.

The times they are a changin'!

Eye Candy: Peter Le (reprise)

Peter Le has been a featured Eye Candy model before, but since then the fitness model has launched a website called where you can see even more pictures of this muscular Asian hottie.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

All 6 AG candidates at EQCA forum

Obama's List For SCOTUS Has 10 Names On It

The New York Times reports that although the top 3 favorites have not changed (Solicitor General Elena Kagan, 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Diane Wood and D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Merrick Garland) President Obama is interviewing up to 10 candidates for the upcoming vacancy on the Supreme Court due to Justice John Paul Stevens already-announced retirement.

The other seven on the (not-so short) list are:
Sidney R. Thomas, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
Ann Claire Williams, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm of Michigan;
former Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears of the Georgia Supreme Court;
Martha Minow, dean of Harvard Law School;
Justice Carlos R. Moreno of the California Supreme Court;
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
I'm curious as to why liberal judicial rock stars Pamela Karlan and Kathleen Sullivan are not being publicly considered. Could it be because they are openly lesbian? It is heartening to see that Justice Carlos Moreno is still under consideration, however.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

White Guy Disguises Himself As Black To Rob Banks

This has to be seen to believed:

Ohio police say they've apprehended a wily white bank robber who threw them off the trail by disguising himself as a black person. Authorities say 30-year-old Conrad Zdzierak would rob the banks in a high-quality mask, then take it off as he drove to his next robbery target, confounding police on the lookout for a black man. He allegedly managed to hit four banks and a CVS within just three hours, ABC reports. His mistake? He never disguised his car.
Here's a local news story on the case:

Obama Denounces Racist AZ Immigration Law

Gov. Jan Brewer signed the hateful anti-immigrant bill into law, which will go into effect 90 days after the Arizona legislature adjourns. As I said before, I will be boycotting the state of Arizona until this law is no longer in effect.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Celebrity Friday: Lee Daniels

Lee Daniels, the 50-year-old, openly gay Oscar-nominated director of Precious: Based On the Novel "Push" By Sapphire (which won two Academy Awards (Best Supporting Actress for Mo'Nique and Best Adapted Screenplay for Geoffrey Fletcher) is in the news as one of the two Black members of the Out 50. The other is Wanda Sykes.

Hat/tip to LOL Darian

Thursday, April 22, 2010

MOVIE REVIEW: Shutter Island

Finally saw Shutter Island starring Leonardo Dicaprio and directed by Martin Scorsese a few weeks ago at our favorite local movie theaters in Alhambra.

Amazingly, this is the first (and only) 2010-released movie I have seen this year. A little bird has told me that the Pacific Paseo movie theaters in Pasadena are being taken over by Arclight Cinemas by summer so they may become our new favorite places to see movies soon.

Anyway, back to Shutter Island. The movie also stars Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Max von Sydow, Patricia Clarkson and Jackie Earle Haley.

The film is clearly an homage to the films of Alfred Hitchcock. It has an old-school look and feel, with a classic art direction and cinematography.

The plot is based on Dennis Lehane's best-selling novel of the same name. The basic story is about U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels played by Dicaprio who is investigating the disappearance of a mental hospital patient from a locked room on Shutter Island. He is accompanied by his partner Chuck Aule played by Ruffalo and the head psychiatrist of the mental hospital is played chillingly by Oscar-winner Ben Kingsley.

Of course soon after the federal marshals arrive on the island a huge storm strikes it which prevents communication from the mainland and complicates the investigation. The story is like an onion, with layers being revealed piece by piece until a surprising plot twist at the end shocks the audience and gives the film its overall emotional impact.

Dicaprio gives a compelling portrayal of a conflicted man who has a past that intersects his ability to complete his mission and Kingsley is strong as his main adversary.

Overalll, it's a film that I'm glad that I saw in the theaters, since I am generally a fan of Scorsese's work but it's unlikely to be remembered when the memorable films of 2010 are noted at the end of the year and during award season.

Running Time: 2 hours, 18 minutes.
MPAA Rating:Rated R for disturbing violent content, language and some nudity.



AD-43: Gatto Prohibitive Favorite As Main Rival Exits

MadProfessah-endorsed candidate for the 43rd Assembly District seat and top vote-getter in the Tuesday April 13th Special Primary election Mike Gatto is now the prohibitive favorite to win the seat after his main rival Nayiri Nahabedian announced that she is suspending her campaign.

MadProfessah actually heard the news at the California Democratic Convention on Saturday from multiple sources but since it had not been confirmed in writing until the Daily News printed a story about it today and the candidate's website was not updated with the information, I waited until today to report the news.

From the Daily News article:
A consultant to Nahabedian said Tuesday the Glendale school board member won't campaign for the June 8 primary for the next full two-year term in the Assembly's 43rd District. Her name, however, will still appear on the ballot alongside Democrats Gatto and Chahe Keuroghelian and Republican Sunder Ramani because it is too late to remove it.


Paul Mitchell, a campaign consultant, said Nahabedian decided to stop campaigning after talks that included Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles. Mitchell said Nahabedian wanted to create "unity among the Democrats" and avoid "confusion" for voters in the Gatto-Ramani runoff.


"While I'm pleased to have one less opponent in the race, I'm taking nothing for granted," Gatto said. "These races are not done yet."

Having placed first in the special primary election, Gatto would be the only Democrat to be eligible to fill out the rest of Paul Krekorian's term in the June 8 run-off election. Additionally, he is now the prohibitive favorite to win the legislative primary election (also on June 8) to be the Democrat on the November ballot to win his first of three two year terms to represent the 43rd Assembly District.

Congrats, Mike!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pass ENDA Now!

The following statement was released today by over 236 LGBT and allied organizations:

“Pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act NOW.”

Here's the list of organizations:

Equality Federation, Toni Broaddus, Executive Director
Family Equality Council, Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director
Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), Lee Swislow, Executive Director
Human Rights Campaign, Joe Solmonese, President
National Black Justice Coalition, Sharon J. Lettman, Executive Director/CEO
National Center for Lesbian Rights, Kate Kendell, Esq., Executive Director
National Center for Transgender Equality, Mara Keisling, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Stonewall Democrats, Michael Mitchell, Executive Director
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays National, Jody M. Huckaby, Executive Director
Pride at Work, AFL-CIO, Peggy Shorey, Executive Director
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, Selisse Berry, Founding Executive Director
Transgender Law Center, Masen Davis, Executive Director
CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, Terry Stone, Executive Director
Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, Shawn Gaylord, Director of Public Policy
A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI), Clayola Brown, President
Advocates for Youth, James Wagoner, President
African American Ministers in Action, Rev. Timothy McDonald, Chairman
AID Gwinnett, Larry M. Lehman, Executive Director
AIDS Action Council, William D. McColl, Political Director
Alabama Gender Alliance, J. D. Freeman, President
Alaska Together for Equality, Inc., Elias Rojas, Board President
Aleph: Alliance for Jewish Renewal, Debra Kolodny, Executive Director
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Gerald W. McEntee, President
American Federation Of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, President
American Humanist Association, Karen Frantz, Communication and Policy Director
Arizona Stonewall Democrats, Erica Keppler, Chair
Arizona Trans Alliance, Erica Keppler, Co-Chair
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), Amado Uno, Executive Director
Association of Flight Attendants - CWA, Patricia Friend, President
Atlanta Stonewall Democrats, Tim Cairl, President
Basic Rights Oregon, Jeana Frazzini, Executive Director
Baystate Stonewall Democrats, Claire Naughton, President
Bi Writers Association, Sheela Lambert, Founder
Bisexual Resource Center, Ellyn Ruthstrom, President
Black Pride Los Angeles, Milton Smith, Board President
California Council Of Churches/IMPACT, The Rev. Dr. Rick Schlosser, Executive Director
California Faith for Equality, Kerry Chaplin, Interfaith Organizing Director
Celtic Circle Church of US and Scotland, Rev. Lord Arteo MacAiken Sneath, Founding Elder Clergy/CEO
Central City AIDS Network, Inc, The Rainbow Center, Johnny Fambo, Executive Director
Cleveland Stonewall Democrats, Robert F. Rivera, President
Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW), Karen J. See, President
COLAGE, Beth Teper, Executive Director
Colorado Stonewall Democrats, Karen Bachman, Vice-Chair
Communications Workers of America, Annie Hill, Executive Vice President
Community Alliance and Action Network, Tim Pierce, President
Community Health Awareness Council, Monique Kane, Executive Director
Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Rabbi
Consortium for Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals, Debbie Bazarsky, Co-Chair
Coqsure, Cris Land, Founder and Administrator
DC Trans Coalition, Sadie-Ryanne Baker, Leadership Committee Co-Chair
Democratic Party of Oregon, Meredith Wood-Smith, Chair
Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE), Paul Almeida, President
DignityUSA, Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director
Empire State Pride Agenda, Joe Tarver, Interim Executive Director
Equal Rights Washington, Joshua Friedes, Executive Director
Equality Alabama, Lori Stabler, Board Co-Chair
Equality Arizona, Mike Remedi, Co-Chair Board of Directors
Equality California, Geoff Kors, Executive Director
Equality Florida, Nadine Smith, Executive Director
Equality Hawaii, Paul Gracie, Co-Chair
Equality Illinois, Bernard Cherkasov, Esq., CEO
Equality Iowa, Sandy Vopalka, Founder
Equality Maine, Betsy Smith, Executive Director
Equality Maryland, Morgan Meneses-Sheets, Executive Director
Equality North Carolina, Ian Palmquist, Executive Director
Equality Ohio, Sue Doerfer, Executive Director
Equality South Dakota, Robert Doody, Chair
Equality Texas, Chuck Smith, Interim Executive Director
Equality Toledo Community Action, David Mann, President
Fair Housing of Marin, Nancy Kenyon, Executive Director
Fair Housing Partnership of Greater Pittsburgh, Peter Harvey, Executive Director
Fair Wisconsin, Katie Belanger, Executive Director
Fairness West Virginia, Stephen Skinner, President
Families United Against Hate (FUAH), Gabi Clayton, Board President
Female-To-Male International, Rabbi Levi Alter, President
Fight OUT Loud, Waymon Hudson, President
Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus, Michael Albetta, Caucus President
Florida Together, Ted Howard, Executive Director
FORGE, Michael Munson, Executive Director
Forum For Equality, SarahJane Brady, Managing Director
Forward Montana, Matt Singer, CEO
Freedom to Marry, Evan Wolfson, Executive Director
FTM International Albuquerque, NM Chapter, Adrien Lawyer, Leader
FTM International Atlanta, GA Chapter, BT, Leader
FTM International Bay Area, CA AFLOAT-SOFFA Chapter, Genie Moore, Leader
FTM International North Texas Chapter, Clay Rieber, Leader
FTM International Ohio Chapter, Jake Nash, Leader
FTM International Sacramento, CA Chapter, Marty Diaz, Leader
FTM International San Buenaventura, CA Chapter, Seth Mwansa, Leader
FTMI International San Diego, CA Chapter, Connor Maddocks, Leader
Garden State Equality, Steven Goldstein, Chair and CEO
Gay And Lesbian Labor Activist Network
Gay & Lesbian Medical Association, Rebecca Allison, MD, President
Gay City Health Project, Fred Swanson, Executive Director
Gay Grassroots of Northwest Florida, Doug Landreth, Founder
Gay Liberation Network, Andy Thayer, Co-Founder
Gay Straight Alliance for Safe Schools, Cindy Crane, Executive Director
Gays and Lesbians United Against Discrimination, Caleb Laieski, Executive Director
Gay-Straight Alliance Network, Carolyn Laub, Executive Director
Greater Seattle Business Association GSBA, Louise Chernin, Executive Director
Gender Justice LA, Latrice Johnson, Executive Director
Gender Rights Advocacy Association of NJ, Barbra Casbar Siperstein, Director
Gentle Spirit Christian Church, Rev. Paul M. Turner, Senior Pastor
Georgia Equality, Jeff Graham, Executive Director
Georgia Rural Urban Summit, Larry Pellegrini, Executive Director
Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, Jeffrey D. Richardson, President
GetEQUAL, Kip Williams, Co-Founder
GLBT Bar Association of Washington, Cynthia Buhr, President
Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, San Francisco, David Waggoner, Co-President
H.E.R.O., Meg Sneed, Co-founder
Holy Sprit Ecumenical Church - Largo, FL, Rev Steven M. Rosczewski, Pastor
Housing Opportunities Made Equal, Inc, Scott W. Gehl, Executive Director
Human Rights Campaign of Vanderbilt University, Luis Munoz, President
Immigration Equality, Julie Kruse, Policy Director
Ingersoll Gender Center, Marsha Botzer, Co-President
Integrity USA, John Clinton Bradley, Acting Executive Director
Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality, The Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge, Co-Chair
International Court Council, Coco LaChine, President
International Federation of Black Prides, Inc, Earl Fowlkes, President/CEO
International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, AFL-CIO, James A. Williams, General President
Jacksonville Now, Jeremy Gould, CEO
Jefferson County, Colorado, Democratic Party, GLBT Caucus, David Reaser, Chair
Jewish Family & Career Services - The Rainbow Center in Atlanta, Gary Miller, CEO
Juxtaposed Center for Transformation, Inc, Tracee McDaniel, Executive Director
Kalamazoo Gay Lesbian Resource Center, Antonio David Garcia, Executive Director
Kentucky Fairness Alliance, Travis Myles, Chairperson
Keshet, Idit Klein, Executive Director
KnoxBoyz of East Tennessee, BEAR A-M Rodgers, Founding Executive Director
KnoxGirlz of East Tennessee, Deirdre Radcliffe, Executive Director
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), Hector E. Sanchez, Executive Director
LaGender Inc, Dee Dee Chamblee, Executive Director
Lambda Legal, Kevin Cathcart, Executive Director
Lavender Caucus SEIU, Eastern Region, Tony Fernandes, President
Legal Aid Services of Broward County, Anthony J. Karrat, Esq., Executive Director
Legal Aid Society - Employment Law Center, Joan M. Graff, President
Legal Voice, Lisa Stone, Executive Director
Lepoco Peace Center, Nancy Tate, Executive Director
Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens (LGBDQ), Bruce Friedman, President
Lesbian and Gay Family Building Project, Claudia E. Stallman, Project Director
LGBT Stonewall Caucus of the Democratic Party of Virginia, Roland Winston, Chairman
Long Island Housing Services, Michelle Santantonio, Executive Director
Love Makes a Family PAC, Martin L. Heft, Chairman
Lutherans Concerned/North America, Ross Murray, Interim Executive Director
Maine Transgender Network, Inc, Alex Roan, Executive Director
Massachusetts Lesbian & Gay Bar Association, David Eppley, Co-Chair
Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, Gunner Scott, Executive Director
Mautner Project: The National Lesbian Health Organization, Leslie J. Calman, Ph.D., Executive Director
MEGA Family Project, Kathy Kelly, Executive Director
Metropolitan Community Churches, The Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, Moderator
Miami Valley Fair Housing Center, Inc., Jim McCarthy, President/CEO
Michigan AIDS Coalition, Detroit, Michigan, Craig Covey, Operating Officer
More Light Presbyterians, Michael J. Adee, Executive Director
NAACP, Hilary O. Shelton, Director NAACP Washington Bureau & Senior VP for Advocacy and Policy
National Caucus SEIU, Tom Barbera, President
National Coalition for LGBT Health, Rebecca Fox, Executive Director
National Council of Jewish Women, Nancy Ratzan, President
National Fair Housing Alliance, Shanna L. Smith, President and CEO
National Marriage Boycott, Laura Wadden, Executive Director
National Organization for Women - Alabama, Shirley Ann Rawls, President
National Student Genderblind Campaign, David Norton, Executive Director
National Youth Advocacy Coalition (NYAC), Gregory Varnum, Executive Director
New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition, Mo Baxley, Executive Director
New Mexico GLBTQ Centers, David Stocum, Executive Director
New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA), Pauline Park, Chair
New York Transgender Rights Organization (NYTRO), Joann Prinzivalli, Executive Director
Northwest PA Trans Group, Joanne Lynn Benjamin, Founder
Office & Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU), Nancy Wohlforth, Secretary-Treasurer Emerita
One Colorado, Lea Ann Purvis, Interim Executive Director
Our Family Coalition, Judy Appel, Executive Director
Out4Immigration, Amos Lim, Founding Board Member
OutFront Minnesota, Amy Johnson, Executive Director
Outlet Program, Eileen Ross, Director
Outright Vermont, Melissa Murray, Executive Director
PA Diversity Network, Liz Bradbury, Executive Director
Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, Rand Hoch, President and Founder
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual and Transgender Individuals of Jacksonville, FL, Frieda Saraga, President
People For the American Way, Michael B. Keegan, President
Perpetual Transition, Casey Lanham, Co-Founder
PFLAG-Vero Beach, Carl Burns, Treasurer
Pikes Peak Gay & Lesbian Community Center, Ryan Acker, Executive Director
Pride At Work, Martin Luther King County WA Chapter, Mike Andrews, Secretary-Treasurer, Chapter Lead
Pride Tampa Bay, R. Zeke Fread, Executive Director
PROMO (Missouri), A. J. Bockelman, Executive Director
Religious Institute, The Reverend Debra W. Haffner, Executive Director
Respect Resource Group, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Randy Kammer, Executive Sponsor
Rockway Institute, a unit of the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University, San Francisco campus, Robert-Jay Green, Executive Director
Room for All (Reformed Church in America), Rev. Robert D. Williams, Founding Co-President
RU12? Community Center and Vermont TransAction, Kara DeLeonardis, MSW, LICSW, Executive Director
S. U. R. E. Foundation, Dr. Mekah Gordon Ph.D., Founder/CEO
Safe Schools Coalition, Kyle Rapinan, Co-chair
San Francisco LGBT Community Center, Rebecca Rolfe, Executive Director
Santa Cruz County Task Force for LGBTIQ Youth, Stuart Rosenstein, Chair
SEIU 509 Lavender Caucus, Tom Barbera, President
Service Employees International Union, Anna Burger, International Secretary Treasurer
Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS), Joseph DiNorcia Jr., President and CEO
SOFFAs of East Tennessee Transgenders, Valerie Knight, Executive Director
South Bay Transmen, Lance Moore, Organizer
South Carolina Equality, B. Dean Pierce, Chair, Board of Directors
Stonewall Democratic Club of New York, Joseph G. Hagelmann, III, President
Stonewall Democratic Club of Southern Nevada, Derek Washington, Chair
Stonewall Democrats of Volusia & Flagler, Larry Glinzman, President
Stonewall Democrats of Pasco County, Jocelyn A. Dickman, President
Sunshine Social Services, Inc/SunServe, Mark Adler, MPH, Executive Director
Tennessee Equality Project, H.G. Stovall, Board President
Tennessee Equality Project Foundation, Randy Cox, President/Chair
Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, Marisa Richmond, Ph.D., President
Tennessee Vals, Vickie Davis, Chair Woman
The American Institute of Bisexuality, Denise Penn MSW, Director
The Center (Des Moines, Iowa), Sandy Vopalka, Administrator
The Center for HIV Law and Policy, Catherine Hanssens, Executive Director
The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry (CLGS), Bernard Schlager, Ph.D., Executive Director
The Crystal Club, Barbie Rogers, President
The Family Tree LGBT Community Center, Jim Van Riper, Co-Chair
The Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation, Hebrew Union Collage-Jewish Institute of Religion, Dr. Joel Kushner, Director
The Pride Center at Equality Park, Paul Hyman, Executive Director
Trans/Giving Arts Showcase, Kalil Cohen, Lead Organizer
Trans-Action Initiative of Bard College, Kira Gilman, Club Head
TransActive Education & Advocacy, Jenn Burleton, Executive Director
Transgender at Work, Mary Ann Horton, Chair
Transgender Education Network of Texas, Lisa Scheps, Executive Director
Transgender Equality Rights Initiative (TERI), Jacqui Charvet, Co-Administrator
Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, Michael Silverman, Executive Director
TransOhio, Shane Morgan, Founder & Chair
Triangle Community Center, Norwalk, CT, Christopher J. Spiegelman, Board President
Triangle Foundation/Michigan Equality, Alicia Skillman, Executive Director
Tucson GLBT Chamber of Commerce, Sheldon Fishman, President
UNITE HERE International Union, John Wilhelm, President
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries, Rev. M. Linda Jaramillo, Executive Minister
Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry, CA, Rev. Lindi Ramsden, Executive Director
Vermont Freedom to Marry Action Committee, Beth Robinson, Chair
Washington Gender Alliance, Rory Gould, President
Western Mass Pride at Work, David James, President
WKJCE TLGB Radio, Alanna Maneer, Co Founder
Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual (WATER), Mary E. Hunt, Executive Director
YouthPride, Inc, Terence McPhaul, Executive Director

(236 Organizations)

GLEE: The Power of Madonna

Thanks to f******* American Idol going long I missed the last three minutes of Glee last night on my DVR since I was watching Lost live. It figures that is the part of the show that has the amazing rendition of Like a Prayer. Watch it now!

By my count the Madonna songs in the episode were Express Yourself, Like A Virgin, Ray of Light, Burning Up, Open Your Heart, Vogue, Borderline, What It feels Like For A Girl and (the execrable) 4 Minutes.

Lots of websites are claiming that Crazy For You was in the episode, but I don't remember hearing it at all.

The soundtrack to last night's episode,Glee: The Music, The Power of Madonna, has been released an is available at

AD-53: Lau Denied CDP Endorsement By 1 Vote

An interesting race in the 53rd Assembly District has had some exciting developments recently. On April 12th, Betsy Butler (the candidate with most cash) won the endorsement of the Stonewall Democratic Club by a vote of 38-22 (a margin of victory of a mere three votes, since the threshold is 60 percent, or at least 36 to 24) over openly gay Mitch Ward, the African American mayor of Manhattan Beach. This was seen as a surprising result by many, with an LGBT Democratic club endorsing a straight ally over an openly gay candidate. MadProfessah a member of the Steering Committee of the club, introduced Mayor Ward before he addressed the members of the club in the wee hours of the meeting. It was the most closely contested endorsement result of the evening.

But on Saturday April 17th at the Los Angeles convention of the California Democratic Party an even closer vote happened. James Lau was prevented from getting the endorsement of the state party at a caucus because he failed to garner 60% of the votes cast by one vote. And that one vote was a provisional vote that was for Lau, but was disqualified because the delegate turned out not to live in AD-53 and was thus ineligible. Butler and Ward were the only other candidates to receive votes. Other people who had not been following the race closely were surprised to see Lau with such a strong showing, but since he was once in the leadership of the 53rd Assembly District local Democratic club.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Obama Heckled In L.A. By LGBT Activists Over DADT

Earlier on Monday evening in Los Angeles President Obama was heckled by LGBT activists Pat a Barbara Boxer fundraiser over Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Here's the pool report:

POTUS took the stage at 6:13 p.m. local time. Audio again is not the greatest. He calls out names of several California government officials, each of whom draw applause.

At 6:17, several protesters among the crowd interrupted POTUS' speech, expressing anger over the slow progress on repealing the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gay service members. The crowd tried to hush them. "What about don't ask, don't tell?" one protester shouted.

POTUS yelled back "we are going to do that."

POTUS kept talking, increasing his volume to speak over the protesters. The crowd then erupted into chants of "Yes, we can."

He later said, "we are going to repeal don't ask, don't tell."

Your pooler has learned the protesters are from GetEQUAL, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender group that also orchestrated protests outside the fundraiser. The group was also behind a protest last month at the White House, where activists Lt. Dan Choi and Capt. James Pietrangelo handcuffed themselves to a gate.

"IT's time for equality for all Americans!" another protester yelled at 9:22. Obama said, "can I just say again Barbara and I are supportive of repealing Don't ask dont tell." But protester keeps yelling. Bringing Obama's remarks to a halt. The crowd responds again by "shouting yes we can!" over the protesters.

"Be quiet!" someone yells.

At 6:25 local time, POTUS has regained control of the speech.
Here's the press release from the folks at GetEqual who interrupted the only President to sign a federal law granting rights to the LGBT community to complain he isn't moving forward to enact legislation which has not been passed by Congress yet:

April 19, 2010

To schedule participant interviews
Contact: Robert Polzoni, 415.806.3898 or
Moments Ago GetEQUAL Activists Interrupt Pres. Obama During Fundraising Reception Speech

They demand he repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ this year
Los Angeles, CA – Moments ago, several GetEQUAL activists interrupted President Obama during his speech at a fundraising reception for Senator Barbara Boxer in Los Angeles, expressing anger over the slow progress on repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ this year and demanding that he repeal it.

GetEQUAL activists shouted, “what about ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’” and “it’s time for equality for all Americans.” The President, at one point bringing his remarks to a halt, said, “Barbara and I are supportive of repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’.”

Activists David John Fleck, Dan Fotou, Laura Kanter, Zoe Nicholson, and Michelle Wright were then escorted out of the reception by security officers.

“President Obama has been AWOL on DADT,” Fotou. “We had to reminded him of the promises he made to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community during his campaign and several times during his Presidency - that DADT will be repealed because, as he's stated, ‘it's the right thing to do.’”

“We made it clear our community will hold accountable our President for unkept promises,” said Wright. “Denying LGBT service members and personnel the ability to serve their country is unfair.”

Today’s action took place nearly one year after a similar protest outside an Obama appearance in Los Angeles, when Lt. Dan Choi asked the President for a response to a letter signed by 136,000 people to repeal DADT.

“These empowering and brave activists feel so strongly about our rights they were willing to confront the President of the United States on his lack of leadership on DADT and to hold him accountable for the promises he has made to our community,” said Kip Williams, co-founder of GetEQUAL.

Those involved in the action

David John Fleck resides in Long Beach, CA. He is a former Grassroots Outreach Organizing Director for the Courage Campaign and Steering Committee member for the National Equality March. He was involved in today’s action because he believes that this year, this Congress offers the only realistic prospect to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and that the President must take a leadership role in accomplishing what he promised in his State of the Union Address.

Dan Fotou lives in Los Angeles, CA. He took part in today’s action because he has a dream to have access to the same rights, freedoms, privileges and protections as every other American citizen. He believes federal law must be enacted to protect the LGBTQ community against all forms of discrimination

Laura Kanter resides in Irvine, CA with her wife. She was one of 18,000 couples able to get married. A good friend of Dan Choi, she is participating in today’s action because it is wrong to deny Dan Choi and every other LGBT American who is willing to risk their life for this country, the opportunity to serve. Laura will continue to fight out loud as long as LGBT people are denied equal rights and will challenge Democrats and other progressive thinkers who allow this injustice to continue.

Laura McFerrin from Dallas, TX. She organized a protest at First Baptist Church in Dallas, TX after the minister preached a sermon, "Why Gay is Not Okay". Laura is the director of March On, a documentary following the lives of several LGBT families on their journey to the National Equality March in Washington last October. She believes that this direct action will serve as a wake up call to Obama and remind him of his promises

Zoe Nicholson lives in Newport Beach, CA. A feminist and fighter for civil rights, she is the founder of ERA Once and For All, a life long member of NOW, NWPC, Veteran Feminists of America and outspoken voice for LGBTQAI rights. She has been on the front lines of activism since the 1960s.

Michelle Wright
resides in Fresno, CA. Through years of participation in sports she understands competition and passion. Both are key components in the life of a military service member and have the ability to weave there way into one's internal framework. To deny LGBT the right to pursue their dreams is unjust and she took part in the action because she stands in solidarity with uniform wearing LGBT members who look forward to serving their country with pride and honor.

You can view photos of the action at

You can view videos of the action at
# # #

GetEQUAL is a new online lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer activist community. Emphasizing direct action and people power, the mission of GetEQUAL is to empower the LGBTQ community and its allies to take action to demand full legal and social equality and to hold accountable those who stand in the way. For more information on GetEQUAL visit

Only Legally Married Same-Sex Couple in Latin America

Carlos Alvarez & Martin Canavaro

Thanks to my friend Andrés Duque of Blabbeando comes word about the legal marriage of Carlos Alvarez & Martin Canavaro in Argentina and even better news that the law may soon be changed to allow other couples to get maried there as well:
Today [Thursday April 15], two legislative commissions - the General Legislation Commission and the Women, Children and Adolescence Commission - backed a full congressional debate of a bill that would amend Argentina's Civil Code to allow same-sex couples to marry.

La Nación
reports today the recommendation has already drawn support from members representing a plurality of the political parties sitting in Congress (which doesn't mean all party representatives sitting in congress will vote in favor once it does come down for a floor vote). It also noted that members of two conservative parties, including the Peronistas - Quick! Someone call Madonna - er - Evita! - were holding off and willing to endorse a "civil union-only" bill that did not define legal same-sex partnership recognition as "marriage".

Vilma Ibarra
, the lead sponsor of the bill, said it would replace the words "man and a woman" in the Civil Code with "spouse". She also said that, considering the wide support that the bill received today, she expected a full debate in the next congressional session and passage of the bill.
Congratulations to Carlos and Martin!

Eye Candy: Jon Micklow (reprise)

Found most of these other shots of previously featured "all-American guy" Jon Micklow over at A Few Hot Dudes. I don't usually feature guys in Eye Candy more than once (Santiago Peralta, Edilson Nascimiento, Mehcad Brooks, Phillip Fusco and Rishi Idnani are the exceptions to date) but there's just something about Jon Micklow which makes one hungry to see more.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Nadal Wins 6th Consecutive Monte Carlo Title

In an all-Spaniard final, Rafael Nadal cemented his status as the greatest clay court player of all time by beating heartthrob Fernando Verdasco 6-0 6-1 to win his 6th consecutive Monte Carlo ATP Masters Series title.

The match was much more competitive than the score suggests, with Nadal's lack of unforced errors and ridiculous defensive skills more than a match for Verdasco's firepower and nervousness.

It was former World #1 Nadal's first title since May 2009.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is coming!

Part I in theaters on November 19, 2010, Part II in July 2011.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Nadal To Face Verdasco in 6th Straight Monte Carlo final

World #3 Rafael Nadal has won 31 matches in a row at Monte Carlo. On Saturday, Nadal dismissed compatriot David Ferrer 6-2 6-3 while Djokovic was demolished 6-2 6-2 by Fernando Verdasco to set up an all-Spanish final which could lead to Nadal's 6th consecutive Monte Carlo Masters series shield. It will be Nadal's first tournament victory in over 11 months and bodes well for his chances next month in Paris.

At the CDP convention

As a delegate for Region 12 Assembly District 45, I am attending the
California Democratic Party convention at L.A. Live in downtown Los

Friday, April 16, 2010

Celebrity Friday: Melissa Etheridge

Grammy and Oscar winning lesbian singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge, 48, has announced that she has separated from her partner Tammy Etheridge (formerly Tammy Lynn Michaels), 35. Tammy bore twins, a boy and a girl in 2006 and Etheridge has two more kids from a previous relationship with Julie Cypher who are now 11 and 13.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Presidential Memo On Hospital Visitation Rights

Last night the big news was that President Obama signed a memorandum ordering the Secretary of Health & Human Services to derive a rule which will prevent hospitals which get Medicare and Medicaid funds from preventing same-sex partners from visiting their spouses or partners in hospitals.


SUBJECT: Respecting the Rights of Hospital Patients to Receive Visitors and to Designate Surrogate Decision Makers for Medical Emergencies

There are few moments in our lives that call for greater compassion and companionship than when a loved one is admitted to the hospital. In these hours of need and moments of pain and anxiety, all of us would hope to have a hand to hold, a shoulder on which to lean -- a loved one to be there for us, as we would be there for them.

Yet every day, all across America, patients are denied the kindnesses and caring of a loved one at their sides -- whether in a sudden medical emergency or a prolonged hospital stay. Often, a widow or widower with no children is denied the support and comfort of a good friend. Members of religious orders are sometimes unable to choose someone other than an immediate family member to visit them and make medical decisions on their behalf. Also uniquely affected are gay and lesbian Americans who are often barred from the bedsides of the partners with whom they may have spent decades of their lives -- unable to be there for the person they love, and unable to act as a legal surrogate if their partner is incapacitated.

For all of these Americans, the failure to have their wishes respected concerning who may visit them or make medical decisions on their behalf has real consequences. It means that doctors and nurses do not always have the best information about patients' medications and medical histories and that friends and certain family members are unable to serve as intermediaries to help communicate patients' needs. It means that a stressful and at times terrifying experience for patients is senselessly compounded by indignity and unfairness. And it means that all too often, people are made to suffer or even to pass away alone, denied the comfort of companionship in their final moments while a loved one is left worrying and pacing down the hall.

Many States have taken steps to try to put an end to these problems. North Carolina recently amended its Patients' Bill of Rights to give each patient "the right to designate visitors who shall receive the same visitation privileges as the patient's immediate family members, regardless of whether the visitors are legally related to the patient" -- a right that applies in every hospital in the State. Delaware, Nebraska, and Minnesota have adopted similar laws.

My Administration can expand on these important steps to ensure that patients can receive compassionate care and equal treatment during their hospital stays. By this memorandum, I request that you take the following steps:

1. Initiate appropriate rulemaking, pursuant to your authority under 42 U.S.C. 1395x and other relevant provisions of law, to ensure that hospitals that participate in Medicare or Medicaid respect the rights of patients to designate visitors. It should be made clear that designated visitors, including individuals designated by legally valid advance directives (such as durable powers of attorney and health care proxies), should enjoy visitation privileges that are no more restrictive than those that immediate family members enjoy. You should also provide that participating hospitals may not deny visitation privileges on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. The rulemaking should take into account the need for hospitals to restrict visitation in medically appropriate circumstances as well as the clinical decisions that medical professionals make about a patient's care or treatment.

2. Ensure that all hospitals participating in Medicare or Medicaid are in full compliance with regulations, codified at 42 CFR 482.13 and 42 CFR 489.102(a), promulgated to guarantee that all patients' advance directives, such as durable powers of attorney and health care proxies, are respected, and that patients' representatives otherwise have the right to make informed decisions regarding patients' care. Additionally, I request that you issue new guidelines, pursuant to your authority under 42 U.S.C. 1395cc and other relevant provisions of law, and provide technical assistance on how hospitals participating in Medicare or Medicaid can best comply with the regulations and take any additional appropriate measures to fully enforce the regulations.

3. Provide additional recommendations to me, within 180 days of the date of this memorandum, on actions the Department of Health and Human Services can take to address hospital visitation, medical decisionmaking, or other health care issues that affect LGBT patients and their families. This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

You are hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.


Turbo Tax Asks About Same-Sex Marriage

I found this at the blog Sociological Images but I thought it was especially appropriate for today.

UPDATE 17:47 04/15/2010: Reader Bryan Blumberg points out that in California TurboTax will also ask if you were in a Registered Domestic Partnership (RDP):
Pretty cool!

Tax Day: Thank You, President Obama!

Today is April 15th, the day for Americans to file their 2009 tax returns. Like 98% of American households, my federal taxes for 2009 are lower than they were for 2008, thanks to the President Barack Obama tax cuts!

Thank you President Obama!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

AZ Passes Bill To Criminalize Undocumented Status

The Republican-dominated Arizona legislature has passed a bill which would require police officers in the state to issue citations to people whom they have a "reasonable suspicion" is an undocumented immigrant, and determine their immigration status. Gee, I wonder how many blonde haired, blue-eyed Canadian immigrants are going to be cited!

Currently, officers can inquire about someone's immigration status only if the person is a suspect in another crime. The bill allows officers to avoid the immigration issue if it would be impractical or hinder another investigation.

Citizens can sue to compel police agencies to comply with the law, and no city or agency can formulate a policy directing its workers to ignore the law -- a provision that advocates say prevents so-called sanctuary orders that police not inquire about people's immigration status.

The bill cements the position of Arizona, whose border with Mexico is the most popular point of entry for illegal immigrants into this country, as the state most aggressively using its own laws to fight illegal immigration. In 2006 the state passed a law that would dissolve companies with a pattern of hiring illegal immigrants. Last year it made it a crime for a government worker to give improper benefits to an illegal immigrant.

Pity. I really enjoyed visiting Saguaro National Park outside of Tucson, but I will not be going to that state for as long as that state becomes law. Say, bye-bye to tourist dollars, Arizona!

AD-43: Gatto Is #1!

In yesterday's special election to replace Paul Krekorian in the 43rd Assembkly District, MadProfessah-endorsed Mike Gatto not only placed first among the three Democrats, he received the most votes over all:

As of Date: 04/13/2010 Time: 23:04                            Votes  Percent


MIKE GATTO DEM 10,584 32.34
SUNDER RAMANI REP 10,403 31.79

This means that on June 8, Mike will face the Republican candidate in the run-off to fill the rest of Krekorian's term through November 2010. He will also probably be the favorite to win the Democratic nomination (against Nahabedian) in the primary election which happens on the same day.

So, basically you will need to vote for Mike twice on that day.


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