Tuesday, October 28, 2008

selling out fast

The Second Annual Lesbian Radio All-Star Revue is happening Saturday, December 6th, 8:00 pm, at One Longfellow Square in Portland. I'll be co-hosting again with the lovely Jill Barkley, and we've got some amazing talent lined up for what is certain to be a fabulous show. Tickets are already selling fast--we are more than halfway to sold out!! So call One Longfellow Square--RIGHT THIS MINUTE--and order your tickets. 207-761-1757. Or click here for more details about how to purchase tickets on line.

it's gonna be a great night--don't miss it!!


Monday, October 27, 2008

okay, how about mars?

sunshine diva

i am, as we used to say in the restaurant biz, in the weeds. up to my eyeballs in organizing. touring the pine tree state for the next 4 days to train over 400 volunteers who will help us identify 10,000 pro-LGBT voters on election day. (have i mentioned before that this has never been done, EVER, by any LGBT statewide organization? and we're gonna do it. for. serious. ) yep, it's full steam ahead for the next 8 days and little if any time at all for chilling. rockin' and rollin'. spreading the gay agenda like wildfire (that's right Mr. Michael.) kicking ass and takin' names. burning multiple candles at all freaking ends. and i won't have time to look up until about 1:35 pm on Wednesday, November 5th, which is exactly five minutes after my debut segment of WMPG's Lesbian Radio's Amazonian Politico ends. it's crunch time ladies and gents, and when it's over, here's hoping we can all say President-Elect Barack Obama, and we can all celebrate a Prop 8 defeat in California, and EqualityMaine can send out an All-Points-Bulletin that we are desperately seeking data entry gurus to enter 10,000 freshly signed postcards of support into our database.

i've made my list and checked it twice, and there you have it. yeah baby yeah.

by the way, the title of this post is a dedication to my beautiful mother, who signed up with EqualityMaine to be a Sunshine Diva on Election Day and deliver treats and encouragement to our volunteers at the Sanford polling places. she has had a ridiculously difficult year and she still manages to amaze me with her strength and support and love. after beating back a life-threatening illness, after enduring the unspeakable sadness of saying goodbye to her very best and dearest friend, she just keeps moving on with a beautiful smile on her face and big heart that just keeps on giving. and she makes me so damn proud.

alrighty kids. i may not be back on the slant until november 5th. or i may just surprise you and show up unannounced.

vote.
vote.
vote.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

goodnight, grace

Grace Phinney
Shapleigh

Grace G. Phinney, 69, of Shapleigh, passed away at home on Sunday, October 19, 2008. She was born in Rochester, New Hampshire on October 10, 1939, a daughter of Guy and Clara (Carll) Berry. She graduated from Limerick High School in 1957.

On July 12, 1959 she married Robert D. Phinney at the Limerick Congregational Church. A lifelong member of the church, she served on the Diaconate Board. A devoted wife, mother and grandmother, she cherished her family. She looked forward to cooking and hosting holiday gatherings. For several summers she baked pastries at the South Arm campground in Andover, Maine. Some of her hobbies included, painting, reading, doing puzzles, dancing and camping.

She is predeceased by her parents; one son, Larry Phinney; two brothers, Charles Berry and Hartley Berry.

She is survived by her husband of 49 years, Robert D. Phinney of Shapleigh, four sons, Ken Phinney of Shapleigh, Brian Phinney of Waterboro, James Phinney of Sanford and Tony Phinney of Summerville, South Carolina. She is also survived by her 12 grandchildren.

Visiting hours will be on Thursday from 6 to 8pm at the Carll-Heald & Black Funeral Home, 580 Main Street, Springvale. A funeral service will be held on Friday at 1pm at the Limerick Congregational Church. Burial will be at the Highland Grove Cemetery in Shapleigh.

In lieu of flowers contributions may be made in her memory to the Limerick Congregational Church, P.O. Box 118, Limerick, Maine 04048.

Condolences may be expressed at www.blackfuneralhomes.com

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

dear excellent friend

This was circulated on a list-serve I belong to and it's just goddamn funny. It's a take on all those ridiculous spam emails that ask for money, and when I read it, I laughed out loud...a lot. Enjoy:

------------------------------

Dear Excellent Friend:

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 700 billion USD. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

I am working with Mr. Phil Gramm, lobbyist for UBS, who (God willing) will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a former U.S. congressional leader and the architect of the PALIN / McCain Financial Doctrine, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. As such, you can be assured that this transaction is 100% safe.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to wallstreetbailout@treasury.gov so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully,
Henry Paulson
Minister of Treasury
Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20220

ps: ignore anything you read at afterdowningstreet.org

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

12 Reasons Why Gay Marriage Will Ruin Society

from the Gator Gay-Straight Alliance website...

1. Homosexuality is not natural, much like eyeglasses, polyester, and birth control are not natural.

2. Heterosexual marriages are valid because they produce children. Infertile couples and old people cannot get legally married because the world needs more children.

3. Obviously gay parents will raise gay children because straight parents only raise straight children.

4. Straight marriage will be less meaningful, since Britney Spears's 55-hour just-for-fun marriage was meaningful.

5. Heterosexual marriage has been around for a long time, and it hasn't changed at all: women are property, Blacks can't marry Whites, and divorce is illegal.

6. Gay marriage should be decided by the people, not the courts, because the majority-elected legislatures, not courts, have historically protected the rights of minorities.

7. Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are always imposed on the entire country. That's why we only have one religion in America.

8. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people makes you tall.

9. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage license.

10. Children can never succeed without both male and female role models at home. That's why single parents are forbidden to raise children.

11. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society. Heterosexual marriage has been around for a long time, and we could never adapt to new social norms because we haven't adapted to cars or longer lifespans.

12. Civil unions, providing most of the same benefits as marriage with a different name are better, because a "separate but equal" institution is always constitutional. Separate schools for African-Americans worked just as well as separate marriages will for gays & lesbians.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
According to a report given to the Office of the General Counsel of the U.S. General Accounting Office, here are a few of the 1,138 benefits the United States government provides to legally married couples:

1. Access to Military Stores
2. Assumption of Spouse’s Pension
3. Bereavement Leave
4. Immigration
5. Insurance Breaks
6. Medical Decisions on Behalf of Partner
7. Sick Leave to Care for Partner
8. Social Security Survivor Benefits
9. Sick Leave to Care for Partner
10. Tax Breaks
11. Veteran’s Discounts
12. Visitation of Partner in Hospital or Prison

Here are a few of the state level benefits within the United States:

1. Assumption of Spouse’s Pension
2. Automatic Inheritance
3. Automatic Housing Lease Transfer
4. Bereavement Leave
5. Burial Determination
6. Child Custody
7. Crime Victim’s Recovery Benefits
8. Divorce Protections
9. Domestic Violence Protection
10. Exemption from Property Tax on Partner’s Death
11. Immunity from Testifying Against Spouse
12. Insurance Breaks
13. Joint Adoption and Foster Care
14. Joint Bankruptcy
15. Joint Parenting (Insurance Coverage, School Records)
16. Medical Decisions on Behalf of Partner
17. Certain Property Rights
18. Reduced Rate Memberships
19. Sick Leave to Care for Partner
20. Visitation of Partner’s Children
21. Visitation of Partner in Hospital or Prison
22. Wrongful Death (Loss of Consort) Benefits

Saturday, October 11, 2008

rollercoaster

it is a quiet morning on beacon street, at last. i am cradling the first cup of coffee, willie is curled up next to me, and i'm thinking about lighting a fire to take the edge off the bit of chill we are both clearly feeling. today will be about laundry and cleaning and groceries, and somewhere in between a good long meditation. i have a few days to reflect, relax, regenerate. And I need 'em, badly.

yesterday--wow. such a rollercoaster of a day, and what a way to end a very long stretch of ten work days in a row. connecticut! it feels like that case has been sitting for 3 years (it was actually one year, five months) and when we received the call from Mary B. telling us the judgment would be announced at 11:30 yesterday morning, the office was just...buzzing. electric. we spent the morning vacillating between hope and despair, all of us understanding the enormous implications this decision would have on the work we are doing here in Maine.

and so at 11:15, matt and i sat at our desks, went to the CT Supreme Court website, and hit "refresh", obsessively, for the next 15 minutes. at exactly 11:30, matt screamed "OH MY GOD IT'S UP" and then it was just, well, utter chaos. betsy and matt and half our organizing staff, crowding around my desk as i frantically scrolled down 85 pages of a PDF file trying to translate legalese and find that one line that would tell us whether CT was to become the third state in the country to legalize marriage for same-sex couples. what a scene. it took us about 3 minutes to figure it out, and even then, we didn't celebrate until the call came from our friends at GLAD to tell us we had won. and then...utter joy. laughter. high fives. tears.

we had nothing to do with this victory, of course. but we lived through the last excruciating 17 months with our friends who were directly responsible. and we all knew how profoundly this decision would impact US. and california (hopefully). and new england. everywhere. hurray for the team at GLAD, who are my absolute heroes and heroines, hurray for the courageous couples who were part of the court case, hurray for the wisdom of those judges. and most especially, hurray for the thousands of same-sex couples in connecticut who can now enjoy that most wonderful freedom to marry. it was a joy to be at work yesterday. our organizers called every one of the 90-something poll captains we've recruited for election day to share the good news, and to say "thank you. because of your help, we will celebrate in maine someday too." wow. great freaking day, indeed.

and then...last night. i had dinner with my mom and dad, and then we drove to maine med to visit gracie, who was hospitalized yesterday. she will spend four or five days there, and then she will hopefully go home to spend the rest of her days in shapleigh. i'd not seen her in three weeks, and the difference was stunning. she is so...small. weak, exhausted. you must be within inches of her to hear her voice. it was nearly impossible to take, yet i know in my heart that our visit meant the world to her. when i leaned over to kiss her goodnight, our eyes connected and i understood that, completely.

as i walked out of her room, i turned for one moment to see my mother crawl into the hospital bed and wrap her arms around gracie. i stood there, frozen, unable to take my eyes away from this tiny glimpse of an extraordinary friendship. they simply lay there, quiet, no words, not even tears. my mother whispered something to her, i do not know what, and gracie whispered something back. and then my mother kissed gracie's tiny, bald head, said 'i love you'. stood, wrapped and tucked in the blankets around her dear friend. watched gracie fall asleep within seconds. and then, because i simply could not bear it for another second, i turned, heart heavy, eyes filled, and walked away.

it was one of those moments that sears through your heart--i am always amazed that heartache is just that--a physical, palpable pain in the chest, and in the lungs. and yet it was also beautiful to see, my mother, so strong, so *present*, so completely available for her friend, and gracie, so willing to let her in. this different kind of love between women, a love that has lasted more than 50 years, the most profound and lovely portrait of friendship.

my mother continues to teach me new things, every day. how lucky i am.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

full of grace

you are in my head this morning gracie.

i should be running around, scurrying, lately i am like a leaf blowing in the wind, or better yet, a cat chasing my tail, never quite getting it, always a step behind, but stubborn and determined and convinced that if i just move a little faster i will catch it, i will catch up and finally climb to the top of the mountain of work in front of me, and get to the other side of it.

i should be running, but i am frozen, jarred by an early morning phone call, the sound of my mother's voice still echoing in my head as she struggled to find the words to tell me that your light is fading ever-so-quickly. she already feels gone darl, there is no life left in her. and me wanting so desperately to somehow crawl through the phone line and wrap my arms around my mother, hold her, be strong for her so that she can let go of all she holds so tight inside, and let in, finally, her heartache. how strange, my mother, near 70, experiencing the loss of a friend for the first time in her life, how strange, her daughter, well-versed in such losses, consoling and comforting her, i understand this grief mom. i have been inside this dark place before, i remember well the sting, the breaking of your soul in two, the strange feeling of heaviness and emptiness happening at exactly the same painful moment.

your light is fading away, gracie, and i am so sad to let you go, i am so completely and utterly heartbroken. our world will be less bright, less colorful, less beautiful, without your presence in it. it is almost unimaginable, and yet, we must begin to learn to live without you.

and so i will find my own way through today, i will smile and inspire, i will do the work that must be done. and i will hide my own heaviness, i will ignore my own emptiness, i will wear the mask necessary to see this day to its end. but my every thought will be in shapleigh, i will be holding you and my mother close in my heart, i will wish and i will pray that you are sleeping peaceful, that you are dreaming of your sons and your grandchildren and the tall birch trees in shapleigh and the night sky filled with the same stars we looked at together so many times, your hand always clasping mine, when i was a just a little girl.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

fuel

i'm on day 8 of 13 work days in a row, leaving for bangor in a few hours to do a poll captain training. i woke up tired, as if i had only just fallen asleep...and i woke feeling sorry for myself and in a very foul kinda mood.

so i logged onto my work email, and among the many unread messages i saw one from Lady Bug, subject line: "fuel." and when i opened it, there was only this link:

http://groundspark.org/del-and-phyllis

so i went there. wow.

i'm not so tired anymore. and i'm no longer grouchy.

jill reminded me why i do this work, and it was a very kind thing for her to do.

love you, LB. and thanks.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

on debates and marriage and gays, oh my

I don't have much time to respond--we are working seven days a week now at EqualityMaine to get ready for our biggest single day action, EVER, but I wanted to offer my two cents to the marriage question during the vice presidential debate, and to the notion, in general, that we need a presidential candidate who will come out and definitively say that they support marriage for same-sex couples.

Obviously I want that...a candidate who doesn't pussy foot around the topic and then stumble when they have to take a position on civil unions/marriage etc. I am confident that day will come, and my prediction is it will happen, finally, after Obama (fingers crossed) finishes his second term and a whole new slate of candidates start torturing us again in 2016.

On Thursday night, i think both Palin and Biden lied when asked about their views on equality for same-sex couples. I think Biden lied when he said he didn't support gay marriage--I feel that in my bones. There is no way Obama would stand in the way of legalizing gay marriage in the US. Remember, that would take an act of Congress, and if we ever managed to push that kind of a bill through, he would sign it in a minute. Of course, let's be honest, that isn't going to happen for a good long time, and it's likely that same-sex marriage will (and actually is) follow the same course as interracial marriage did. It will start in the states, and eventually these marriages will be recognized by the federal government. It ain't gonna happen tomorrow people...but we are on course, and actually moving much faster than anyone could have predicted. IF CA manages to defeat the amendment in November, the momentum we will see from that will be amazing.

So Obama (and Biden) are not going to say the words out loud "I support same-sex marriage" because they are still queasy about 2004 and still worried that this would cause some voters to turn to McCain. And you know what--it probably would. Which would spell disaster for our country, and let me tell you, would push LGBT issues on a federal level back into the closet for another decade.

What is more interesting to me was Palin's answer. She stumbled and mumbled and made some ridiculous statement about the diversity of her friends, and how she supports equality, yadda yadda yadda. An Outright Lie. Remember, she told Katie Couric that homosexuality is a choice. And HRC just released this video, asking queer Alaskans what *they* think of Sarah Palin. Take 5 minutes and watch it...it's unbelievable:




So why did Palin lie and why did she ease right up to that line of being "pro-equality"? Of course she slammed the door hard on the whole marriage issue, but she tried to build a case that she wasn't anti-LGBT before the slam. She lied, I think, because we as a country are changing enough in our views that a viable candidate can no longer get away with slamming queer people outright. Her answer was pretty damn close to Kerry's answer in 2004. Only in '04 Kerry was likely sincere about supporting queer people in general, and Palin was not.

The point is, (and I think I have one in here somewhere) that those who oppose all things gay are starting to be very, very careful about how they say it (people like Mike Heath excluded, of course) because it is becoming less and less of a polarizing issue for the voters. They can't get away anymore with the overt homophobia they displayed during the '92 national republican convention when they nearly hung us in effigy, and now, in 2008, they are even parsing their words carefully so as to not appear completely anti-LGBT. When you think about the 2004 presidential election, and how gay marriage was used as tactic against us by the GOP, we've come a long, long way baby.

So am I disappointed that Obama/Biden are not coming out and clearly stating they support gay marriage? In the words of Palin, you betcha. But I don't believe that makes them less of an ally to our community. With an Obama administration and the right people in Congress, we will see passage of ENDA. We will see the end of Don't Ask/Don't Tell. We will see a federal Hate Crimes bill passed. Hell, 6 or 7 years from now we may even see the federal DOMA fall. Obama will do nothing to stand in the way of that, and he will sign those bills without hesitation. My god, that is such amazing progress, and we have to recognize and acknowlege that.

It isn't perfect. And yeah, I want a candidate to say out loud that we deserve the freedom to marry legally, just like everyone else. And let's be honest, of the frontrunners during the Democratic Primary, not one of them could say that out loud. Not Obama. Not Clinton. Not Edwards. So, it seems to me we need to stop using that as the moral yardstick that measures where they stand on our issues.

My rambling two cents...