Monday, October 20, 2014

L G S M !

This is a movie that shouldnt be missed.  My meetup group saw this Saturday night, and it was fantastic.  It draws one right in, and never lets up until the triumphant end.

Its a story about the Mining Strike in the UK. 

And the LGBT being targets for violence, from citizens and the police, and sadly, parents. 

Stir in the beginning horror of the AIDS crises.

But what this film is truly about is finding the common ground that exists between us all, no matter how divergent the groups seem to be.

Love,  this film has acres of love, in all its wondrous corners, and where its least expected.



Saturday, October 18, 2014

Hallelujah!!!!!

Alaskans are free at last!  Monday morning equal marriage licenses will be available and a quick three day wait and then

M A R R I A G E!






Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sweetness and Hate! Now! in one very Convenient Package!


Saturday night i had a meetup, the plan of attack was to meet in front of a local cupcake store in downtown Tempe, choose our treats and walk to Starbucks and buy liquids and sit and eat and visit.  Six people, including myself were on tap to come.
Well, one of the meetup members, Trica is celiac like me, however she isnt the least bit careful and does cheat a goodly bit.  And she is also allergic to soy.  The cupcake place does offer GF cupcakes, but they say their could be cross contact due to them being made within the same kitchen.  However, their good works dont help me as they use dairy and eggs, so none for me.  The store only used to offer the GF cakes once a week, but they must have expanded their GF offerings as they had two flavors that night.

Not knowing if there would be any treats for her, she was excited that i was going to make cupcakes for the two of us.  When i grocery shopped I made sure to by soy free vegan butter, and to read the cake mix to be sure its soy free.

  ok!  all set! 
 
Saturday came, i heated up mr. oven and set to work!  Just as i shut the oven with the cakes nestled within their paper liners, I said a very filthy word, I had used soy milk. 
 
 blast and damnation!
Quick quick I ran into the living room fired up the computer, and started looking for a cup cake recipe that i had all the ingredients for.  Oh this one sounded good, and I had all the ingredients!  As i blended the flour the thought hit me, i only have soy milk!   I need to go to the store after all!
Oh!
Wait!
Last week I accidentally purchased chocolate almond milk instead of soy, and it was NASTY to drink.  Totally the wrong texture, way to thin and odd tasting.  But what the hell, it will be entombed within a cupcake, so no worries!  Added that in, slipped them into the oven and hoped.
My timer on my phone jingled jangled and sure enough, they were done!  Whoopie!
After they were cool enough to taste, I bravely took a bite and
OH MY HEAVENS!   
these were the best cupcakes ever!!!  like seriously ever!
While they were cooling awaiting their crowning glory of frosting, and no, I dont go in for miles high frosting, just an old fashioned amount, thank you very much!  I left a comment on her blog telling her how much i adored the cupcakes.  Thanked her a zillion times.  Trica liked the cupcakes, heck so did everyone else that tried them.  She bought one even though they couldnt promise there wasnt soy in them???  Yeah I dont get Trica at all. 
Yesterday while doing my once around the web, I thought I'd go back and see if she left a comment to me.  And you know what?  She deleted my comment! 
gone!  
nada!
el disappear-e-o!
Then I looked at her profile, god and jebus is mentioned a zillion times.  Ahhh so she was offended that a transman liked her treats.  Wow, how christian is that of her?
Oh well, I suppose not everyone can live according to that big book they admire.

 FACE PALM!! 

oh my!  Thats just what she was doing, yeah?  Learned her hate from that book quite well i'd say.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Is it just me?

I'm an addict of Bigfish games.  Why?  They are fun and non-violent, puzzles to solve and quite often well crafted story lines, coupled with fantastic graphics.  So, yesterday I'm playing along and a puzzle opens up, but all I can see is something large and hard in his pants.  Or is it just me?


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Howdy!

Well, 'tis been quite the while yeah?  A month, at least it wasn't a month of Sunday's, yeah?  So, what have I been up to in that month? 

Last year when TH's medical odyssey began he told them he had pains running down his legs, and that his foot at times would go numb.  However, his neck was in such a shape, the docs all ignored the leg issue and went to work on his neck.  Now that his neck is AOK, he's feeling the pain in his legs quite a bit more.  A trip to the doctor, an MRI later and yup, he has the same issue in his lower back that he did in his neck, only thankfully not as extreme.  And so he will be back in Arizona with me this winter, around November-ish for a new pony ride on the surgery circuit.

Which brought up the whole retirement discussion.  He retired once already and he was a very unhappy fella, which made the rest of us very unhappy as well.  TH turned walking into a job, if he didnt get out of the house right on the dot of 9 am he would shout at who ever made him late.  Thats when 2nd son and I sat him down and gave him a choice of getting a job or swimming with the fishes.  He got a job.  But now its 7 years later, and hes wondering if he could retire again and this time be happy.

Because we are still paying off the previous two surgeries we decided to pack everything we want into a storage unit, junk off the rest and not renew the lease and be out by December 1st.  We got rid of an entire truck full of stuff, and really should have weeded better, but after a while it becomes overwhelming to go thru all of ones belongings and decide "keep, donate or trash?" And just have the apartment in Arizona while he heals.  If he decides to return to work, he'll get a new apartment then.  This will save us an enormous amount of money.  Hopefully with the cheap living expenses down here, we can get the old surgeries and the new paid off.  And????  Because one of the surgeries was in this calendar year, most of this one should be paid for by the insurance!  w00t!!!!

Third son and his wife had a beautiful baby boy this summer.  What does he look like?  Think Gerber baby with coal black hair and blue eyes.  Hes a perfect blend of both mommy and daddy, they are the prettiest couple ever.  Yes, I am a mite on biased side.  Three days before I was supposed to fly back to Arizona, my phone rang and it was the son and his wife.  She was going back after being off for maternity leave and her babysitter was in the hospital.  This poor girl managed to slam her thumb in the car door, and within 3 days the thumb had gone septic!  After an involved surgery, getting a dose of MRSA, and a week in the hospital she was ready to come home, whew!  But her poor hand wasnt up to the task of caring for a 10 lbs infant, so I took up the slack and stayed on for another week to help out.

Oh my!  It was wonderful to get to know this new wee soul!  He is sure a treasure, and that week was worth all the gold, ever mined!  But, it did make us sad.  TH and I are welcomed into his life, whereas we werent really welcomed into our granddaughters life.  It honestly feels like this is our first grandchild.

And speaking of eldest, somehow he slipped up and they are expecting again, sigh.  And even worse?  She wants a divorce ASAP and is making son's life a living hell.  What bothers me however is what it is doing to their daughter.  She was a bubbling wee slip of a girl, but is very subdued now.  Son is super unhappy, so much so that his walk is unhappy sounding, rather a plod than a walk.  He's afraid the courts will side with her and he'll never get to see her again.  I dont believe it, anyone who knows them, knows that Son does most of the caring for his daughter ever since her birth. 

I came back to Arizona early this year because TH is planning on spending all of his weekends out hunting and camping.  Leaving me alone, and very lonely.  As it is during his work week, I see him at the most 1.5 hours a day, thats when he's slept well, on a bad day, its 40 minutes.  So, why stick around for 4 hours?  He can call me from hunting camp like usual, the only difference is I'm not in Alaska.

Monday I start back with Table Talk and on Wednesday at the library proper doing pull holds and discharging materials.  My calendar is already filling up with lunches and outings and dinners with friends, it feels nice to be missed!

Oh!  And while wandering around the Seattle airport I came across this sign, and it is a sign of the times!

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Timeline of the Alaskan Battle for LGBT Rights

                     Legalizing Love: The struggle for gay rights in Alaska continues
    By Scott Christiansen and Matt Caprioli
                                            Originally printed in the Anchorage Press

Since the 1970s the struggle for LGBT equality in Alaska has taken on a one-step-forward/two-steps-back quality. Whenever gains are made, either politically or in the courts, a backlash follows. We’ve tracked some of those gains on a timeline along with some of the backlash. We’ve attempted to include those milestones when the courts, legislators or voters weighed-in and actual law was passed or repealed, and in some cases struck down or blocked or vetoed. Some lesser milestones we chose because they seem to illustrate cultural or political shift, if not an actual change in law.


The exercise seems timely because of the new court case, Hamby v. Parnell, in which five same-sex couples are suing in federal court to have Alaska’s gay marriage ban overturned. It’s not the first time this issue has been in court in Alaska. In fact, the definition of marriage in our state constitution was itself a backlash that followed gay rights gains made in court. But the current lawsuit is part of a trend that has included recent victories for gay marriage in courts across the nation. That’s not the only trend. American attitudes are changing, too. This month a Gallup poll showed that 55 percent of Americans think marriages between same-sex couples should be on equal footing with traditional marriage. It was 27 percent in 1996. Alaska isn’t likely far behind in the progress toward social acceptance.
But Alaska has lagged when it comes to legal acceptance. It was the first state to ban same-sex marriage through an amendment in its constitution in 1998, beating Nebraska by two years and Arizona by a decade. The current lawsuit tests Alaska’s marriage amendment against the U.S. Constitution and could render the Alaska law moot. Our freelancer, Matt Caprioli, caught up with the five plaintiff couples to ask them why a legal marriage in Alaska was so important they were willing to sue for it.That the five couples are brave is self-evident. That’s a required trait when someone is called upon to fight a powerful political arm of society. But in contrast to the political arena, we didn’t hear chest thumping or saber rattling from the plaintiffs. Each of them talked about personal slights and times when those two-steps-back in Alaska law hurt.


They also talked about loving each other and about commitment and caring within their relationships. And that last part is what they all had in common. What they want recognized is simple. It’s a commitment spawned of love. For those of us who now find ourselves among the majority in America, it’s baffling that anyone would want to deny their commitments exist or diminish them in any way.

The Struggle for Marriage - Article about Hamby et al. v. Parnell et al.


Gay rights milestones
1972
 The Imperial Court of All Alaska was founded. The group now claims to be the first LGBT association to incorporate as a nonprofit in Alaska. Imperial Courts operate in a fashion similar to fraternal organizations or sororities. The ICOAA grants scholarships, raises money for charity, recognizes community members with annual awards and hosts the Gay Alaska pageant each year in June.

August 10, 1974 
Peter Dispirito, a gay man, owner of a hair salon and founding member of the IOCAA, was stabbed and killed in his home. Dispirito’s killer, Gary Lee Starbard (then 22 years old), was indicted on second-degree murder and pled down to manslaughter. He served less than a year in prison. A defense attorney referred to the killer as a “victim” and called Dispirito a “wolf” during a sentencing hearing. The judge admonished the defense lawyer, reminding him the victim was a dead man.

December 1975 to January ‘76

In the first year after the old City of Anchorage and Greater Anchorage Area Borough merged, the Anchorage Assembly passed an ordinance that included “sexual orientation” in the local code banning discrimination due to race, gender, religion and disabilities. Then-Mayor George Sullivan vetoed the legislation and Assembly attempts to override the veto failed. The Anchorage Equal Rights Commission was established without the sexual orientation language.


1976 - 1977
 Mayor Sullivan deleted the Alaska Gay Coalition listing from the 1976-77 edition of The Anchorage Blue Book. The coalition sued the Municipality and lost, but the Alaska Supreme Court overruled the lower court. The government argued that the Blue Book was not a public forum and claimed it needed to exclude organizations due to lack of space, but the court found that argument lacking because the Alaska Gay Coalition had been singled-out for exclusion.

1977 
The Alaska Gay Community Center, the precursor to Identity, Inc., was founded in Anchorage. Organizers met weekly, established a helpline and eventually a newsletter, Gay Alaska, first published in 1980.

June 1978
Anchorage’s first Pride Parade was more of a demonstration than a parade, with many protesters wearing bags over their heads to protect themselves from employment discrimination. 

1983 - 1985 
An Anchorage lesbian mother lost custody of her child and filed an appeal. The Alaska Supreme Court overturned the decision. “Simply put, it is impermissible to rely on any real or imagined social stigma attaching to mother’s status as a lesbian,” the court ruled. 

1986 - 1989 
Identity, Inc. published two reports documenting gay and lesbian life in Alaska. They found that 31 percent of business owners and managers surveyed said they would not hire or promote someone they knew was gay. Twenty percent of landlords said they would not rent to lesbians or gay men. 

October 1989
 The Anchorage Equal Rights Commission, whose members were appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the Assembly, took notice of Identity, Inc.’s reporting. The Commission held hearings and struggled with potential changes to city code. It voted against recommending changes. (Appointments to AERC become further politicized, with gay rights in the center of a tug-of-war.) 

December 1992 - January 1993 
Progressives on the Assembly, led by Democrats, moved to add “sexual orientation” to the local law enforced by the AERC. They failed, but the Assembly passed a version that banned job discrimination among city employees. Mayor Tom Fink vetoed the law. The Assembly overrode the veto. The new law only protected city employees from job discrimination and did nothing to prevent housing discrimination

.February - April 1993
 Christian activists petitioned to repeal the watered-down gay rights law. The law was suspended after 20,000 signatures were delivered to the city clerk’s office. (Fewer than 6,000 were required.) A group sued to keep the issue off the ballot and the Supreme Court ruled in their favor. The title of the referendum—“Referendum Petition to Repeal a ‘Special Homosexual Ordinance’”—the court ruled, was “potentially prejudicial” and misleading. Opponents of gay rights took over the Assembly in the April election and the new Assembly voted 7 - 4 to repeal the law. 

1993 - 1994 
Politician Kevin “Pat” Parnell, a one-term member of the Alaska House of Representatives and former Assemblyman, told constituents in a newsletter he was switching his registration from Democrat to Republican. Parnell’s social conservatism was well known— he told the Anchorage Daily News gay rights must be kept out of local law. Parnell said he did not want the city to “stray” from its 1975 charter. Pat Parnell lost his bid to become mayor. He is the father of current Governor Sean Parnell. 

1994 - 1995
 Two University of Alaska employees, Kate Wattum and Mark Tumeo, took the University to court after being denied health benefits for their same-sex partners. Fairbanks Superior Court Judge Meg Greene ruled in favor of the couples, concluding that the University’s policy meant married employees automatically receive better compensation for the same work. The University appealed to the Supreme Court. That effort failed and the University announced in July of 1995 it would adopt a new policy. 

1994 - 1995 
Two republican state representatives, Norm Rokeberg of Anchorage and Pete Kelly of Fairbanks, sponsored legislation that made it legal to discriminate against same-sex partners when it came to employee benefits. It failed, but the following year Rokeberg and Kelly backed a “definition of marriage” bill that Rokeberg claimed was “forced” by Judge Greene’s decision in the University case. Anti-gay laws were passed, but the University continued to allow its employees to earn family benefits. 

1995
 Jay Brause and Gene Dugan, the couple who founded Out North Theater, filed a lawsuit against the Alaska Bureau of Vital statistics seeking to obtain a marriage license in Alaska. The couple argued that they had been denied equal protection under the law, a violation of both the state and U.S. Constitution. They also argued their right to privacy, protected by the state constitution, was being violated. Baptist minister Howard Bess and his wife Darlene would later join the lawsuit because it was illegal for Bess to “solemnize” a gay or lesbian marriage. 

1996 
The Legislature passed the law sponsored by Rokeberg and Kelly explicitly defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Governor Tony Knowles allowed the bill to become law without his signature. Knowles called the law “unnecessary” and “divisive” but refused to veto it. 

February 1998 
Anchorage Superior Court Judge Peter Michalski ruled that the lawsuit Brause v. Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics should go to trial. The Alaska Legislature responded almost immediately by passing a resolution to place an amendment to the state constitution before voters. The amendment read: “To be valid or recognized in this state, a marriage may exist only between one man and one woman.” The amendment was scheduled to be added to Article 1 of the Alaska Constitution, the article titled “Declaration of Rights.”

Link to info on the Mormon Church's funding of the amendment

 November 1998 
Alaska voters passed the marriage amendment and Alaska became the first state in the union to include such language in its constitution. Sixty-eight percent of voters (nearly 153,00 people) voted in favor, while about 32 percent (about 71,600) voted against it. The Brause-Dugan case is declared moot. 

1999 
Government entities around the state refused to follow the lead of the University of Alaska and continued to deny benefits to same-sex partners of their employees. The ACLU of Alaska and nine same-sex couples sue the state and the Municipality of Anchorage. The state and city successfully defended their policies in Anchorage Superior Court, but the ACLU appealed. The case would not be resolved until 2005. 

March 2002
 Governor Tony Knowles, in his final year in office, issued Administrative Order #195. The order says Alaska’s “state workplace” should be free of “discrimination and harassment” and asserted Alaskans should have equal opportunity when seeking state services. The order talked about race and sex discrimination, but also included “sexual orientation” in its text. Despite Knowles’ order, the state continued to fight the ACLU in the lawsuit over family benefits. 

October 2005 
The Alaska Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, ruled it unconstitutional to deny benefits to same-sex partners of public employees. The decision hinged on the equal protection language in the Alaska Constitution. Immediately afterward, ACLU attorneys told reporters this “equal protection rationale” is likely to be followed in other states where constitutional bans on gay marriage existed.

 November 2006 
After briefings from both sides in the ACLU’s employment benefits case, the Alaska Supreme Court set a deadline of January 1, 2007, for the state to begin offering family benefits to employees and retirees with same-sex partners. Conservative lawmakers had been fuming all year about a “constitutional crisis” and Governor Frank Murkowski called a special session of the Legislature. Murkowski’s administration had written the benefits plan and asked the Legislature for permission to adopt it. The lawmakers flew to Juneau and in two days did the opposite, passing a law prohibiting the administration from adopting any plan that expanded benefits to gay and lesbian state employees. Palin left intact a special election set by the Legislature during the November session. 

December 29, 2006 
Governor Sarah Palin signed her first veto, striking down the Legislature’s attempt to stop employee benefits from expanding and saying it would be unconstitutional. Palin’s administration adopted a benefits plan prepared by Murkowski with guidance from the court. 

April 3, 2007
 The special election on employee benefits had a low turnout and, at $1.2 million for an advisory vote, a high cost. About 23 percent of registered voters turned out and 53 percent voted yes to further amend the constitution in order to deny employee benefits to gay state workers. Later in the year, efforts to advance a constitutional amendment failed to make it through the Legislature. 

Summer 2009
 The Anchorage Assembly passed a gay-rights ordinance that would allow LGBT citizens to take claims of discrimination to the city’s equal rights commission. Mayor Dan Sullivan (son of the 1970s mayor) vetoed the ordinance.

Spring 2012 
Petitioners got a local gay rights initiative onto Anchorage’s April election ballot. Voters rejected the measure 57 percent to 43 percent. They also re-elected Mayor Dan Sullivan to a second term.

One of the commercials that ran on air during this time period


Spring 2013
 A bill that would allow LGBT citizens anywhere in the state to have discrimination cases heard by the Alaska Commission on Human Rights was introduced in the Legislature by then-Representative Beth Kertula, a Democrat from Juneau. The bill got committee referrals, but never got a floor vote in either the House or Senate and received only one committee hearing. The hearing was held in the House committee on State Affairs, where Republican committee chairman Bob Lynn, of Anchorage, accepted only written testimony from the public. Lynn never asked the committee to vote on the bill. 

Spring 2014 
Kertula resigned from the Legislature to take a job at Stanford University and Democrats resurrected her human rights legislation. This time, the bill got a hearing in the Senate Health and Services Committee, chaired by Sen. Bert Stedman, a Republican from Sitka. About two-dozen people testified in favor of the legislation but Stedman did not allow the committee to pass the bill along. 

April 2014
 The Alaska Supreme Court ruled that a property tax exemption for senior citizens and veterans is being unconstitutionally denied to same-sex couples. Once again, the Alaska court used the equal protection rationale to arrive at its decision.

 May 2014
 Five same-sex couples sue in U.S. District Court to overturn the 1998 marriage amendment to the Alaska Constitution. The lawsuit claims the Alaska definition of marriage violates their due process and equal protection rights under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. 

Timeline compiled by Scott Christiansen from: Municipality of Anchorage documents; records of the Alaska Court System and Alaska Legislature; archives of Identity, Inc.; Human Rights Campaign website; and, the archives of the Anchorage Daily News, The Anchorage Times and the Anchorage Press. Special thanks to Mel Green, Drew Phoenix and Jacob Dugan-Brause.  


Matt Hamby and Chris Shelden.







Sunday, August 3, 2014

Food Dreams

Dealing with multiple food allergies makes cooking tricky.  Very few recipes are available for me that doesnt  require some sort of change-o-matic magic.  I've noticed a common thread in reading across the many allergy food blogs:
1. most of the allergy food blogs are written by moms for their children, totally ignoring adult suffers
2. they rarely cross more than one or two allergies
3. a lot of really bad recipes are out there.

Making gluten free bread is tricky at best, leave out the incredible amazing egg, and it gets tougher.  I've made loaves of bread that were yummy while still warm, only to cut a piece the next day to find it had turned to bread shaped flavorless sawdust slices.  No, I have no idea why, only that it occurs.  I have made buns from my own recipe that were stable on the counter for days, but I cant get loaves to rise without falling.  Its an either or area for me, i'm currently stuck, buns that taste good, or high rising loaves that go to crap soon after baking.

What I'd like to do is to start up an allergy food blog, that would work with most food allergies.  With built in substitutions for different allergy suffers, so people can mix and match ingredients according to their food limitations.  In many ways, I do tend to look at things from a different angle from most, and this is true of food as well.  Is my ego getting the better of me?  Or could I make a difference in someone's pleasure at what is on their dinner plate?

So, we get down to the nitty gritty of things, where I'd really appreciate feedback.  

Do you feel I have something to contribute to allergy cooking?

If I do this what should my persona be?  Do I mention the fact im third gender gay guy?  Like Bob says, "we need visibility, not invisibility".  Or would that lessen the pool of readers due to bigotry?  Do I tie it to my current blog, or strike out under a new alias?

Finding a catchy name, that hasnt been snapped up, that brands who I'm cooking for.

And finally, I'd like some recipe testers.  Any gluten free ingredients would be mailed to you, the only things you'd need to provide are things that are considered kitchen staples.  Also any specific food item that I can't mail, but the recipe requires, but I dont think you'd buy, or use normally, I could supply funds for them.  I need to know that my recipes work out of my kitchen.