Monday, July 28, 2008

Knoxville Church Shooter Targeting Gays

cross-posted at mydd and at clintonistasforobama

NO. The shooter at a Knoxville Church yesterday didn't open fire on a bunch of churchgoers killing two and injuring seven, because he didn't like "the liberal movement." This is inaccurate and it slides over the reality in a way that borders on falsehood.

The man who opened fire in a Tennesee church hated gays

The church had just put a sign up welcoming gays! Yeah. The shooter left a 4 page letter in his car saying he didn't like "the liberal movement," but this is often code for a social agenda which fosters equal rights for gay people and that specifically was the trigger issue.

This is the headline that is more accurate:

Several people shot at gay affirming church in Knoxville. Shooter may have targeted church because of its support for gays.

Of course, this headline only appeared in a gay newspaper out/'>">Out and About

When Kitty Genovese in 1964 was stabbed to death 25 times by a man in Queens-- while 38 bystanders looked on it and did nothing-- the case was reported in the national media as the worst case of bystander apathy in American history. In all the media publicity and furor, nowhere was the fact that Kitty Genovese was a lesbian, who had been prone to loud fights with her girlfriend, ever mentioned.

The bystanders who refused to help her as she was stabbed to death refused to come to the aid of a lesbian.

Bystander apathy was a phony issue. However, it was widely believed because a) no one bothered to find out she was gay or b) if they did find out, refused to say so publicly.

As of 8 am today, two of the victims have died, two were treated and released and five remain in critical or serious condition at University of Tennessee Medical Center.

As a result of the shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church at its Sunday morning service, Linda Kraeger, 61, died last night at at UT Medical Center. Greg McKendry, 60, died when he confronted the gunman as he entered the church.

The shooter, Jim D. Adkisson 58, of Powell, Tenneessee, shot eight people with a 12 guage shotgun after firing 13 rounds. Of those shot, all were adults: four women and three men. Although at the time of the shooting a group of children were singing from a church production of "Annie."

The FBI is assisting in the investigation which is required in a hate crime.

The church is the site of gay affirming activities. A member of the congregation wrote in a national blog that the church just recently put up a sign welcoming gays. One of the goals of the church's long range plan is to:

Increase congregational participation in human rights programs forgay/lesbian/transgendered persons.

"Elrod," who posted a comment on the blog the/'>">The Moderate Voice says he is a member of the church. He said he was not present on Sunday, but did add:

all we know right now is that the suspect was not connected to the church in any way. I have no idea if the man had some sort of political or cultural agenda (TVUUC had just put up a sign welcoming gays to the congregation), or if it's just some lunatic acting for no reason at all.

The church is home to Knoxville's Spectrum Café, which is an eight year old social gathering place for Knoxville area high school youth who:

support the principles of diversity, tolerance, and the worth and dignity of every human being.

Teens who come to Spectrum respect each others' ideas, religious views, race, sexual orientations, abilities, and ethnic backgrounds. The group welcomes:

self-identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, or who are questioning their sexual or gender identity.

The Knoxville Monday Gay Men's Group meets at the church each Monday from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

David Massey, who is one of the coordinators of Spectrum Café, also known as "Spectrum Diversi-Tea and Coffee House," said recently in the Unitarian Universalist World Magazine:

We advertise it as a safe harbor for teens who identify as LBGTQ and their straight friends and allies, plus any other youth who are being harassed for religious beliefs, appearance, or abilities.

At least seven people were shot - Becky Thompson with UT Medical Center confirmed to NBC News that seven people were transported from the church to UTMC for medical treatment.'>">

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Show Me the Money, Barack

cross-posted at mydd and clintonistasforobama

Okay. Look. I am not all impressed by the Obama Grand Tour. There was a movie a few years ago with Sandra Bullock who plays a grungy cop made over by Michael Caine to go undercover as a contestant in the Miss Universe Contest. One of the running jokes in that movie is that each contestant for the Biggie Prize ends her speech with "And I am for World Peace."

So I just don't get how this 2 continents in a handful of days with photo ops, little prayers leaked to the press and Biggie speeches on World Peace makes Obama a better candidate for President.

I mean this is supposed to be shore up his foreign policy credentials? Frankly, I was embarrassed.

I also don't like grandiose and soaring hyperbole. I don't trust it. I feel as if I am always screaming in my head: but what the effing hell are you gonna do? Jeeze, as long as I am doing this I may as well say that for me, anyway, Obama's speeches don't touch Jack Kennedy's. Now that guy could give a speech.

Ok. OK. I know. I am out of synch with half the democrats in the country. And this is probably when I should say I am going to vote for the guy. But I am nervous about it. I don't want to bring up unpleasant subjects, but FISA totally jammed up my personal little drive to get on the Bus.

Will he take out the troops in a year or won't he? Will he pick a Republican Vice President or won't he? Will he support gay rights and gay marriage, let alone repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell or won't he? For every person who tells you he will do all these things, there is another one with evidence who says he says he won't.

Obama has left a trail of misdirection, half-truths and pandered positions that makes my head swim. And I don't like it.

So maybe now you are wondering why I am going to vote for the guy. I hate John McCain. And I hate the Republican Party. I fear the election of John McCain the way some people fear snakes. He is the Anti-Christ. And the Republican Party is the elephant in the middle of America's living room. So I am I guess the loyal opposition. And I want to see people here hold Barack Obama's feet to the fire on basic Democratic Party principles.

I don't wanna hear about a Republican Veep because this creepo could become President. I wanna hear about repealing the Patriot Act and FISA. I want to hear about bringing back the Fairness Doctrine, so we can begin to restore the reality--as opposed to giving lip service to the ideal-- of a free press. I want a President who is friendly with the press and does not manage it in the interest of image control. I want a President committed to Social Security, raising the minimum wage and universal health care. I want a doer--not a talker. I want a President who understands the value of a civil service with appointments across the board who are the best at their job. Bush has gutted this bedrock principle--a bedrock of our democracy and its ability to serve our citizens well and fairly.

Sure I want all the bells and whistles in terms of a forward looking thinker about global warming, about moving us away from fossil fuel dependence, about solutions to our shrinking water supply, about our cities built in deserts, and about our over population.

So here's the deal. I am taking Obama on faith in the Democratic Party. Because this guy, himself, ain't doing it for me. Will he be another Carter, as President? I dunno. Ok. I know some of you love Carter. I didn't. Now there's a guy who could talk you to death. I myself do not think we would have ever gotten to where we are today in the Mideast if we had acted to free our hostages in Iran Immediately. And I don't think the party would have sunk so low with the American people.

So, the bottom line is this. Dear Barack Hussein Obama, stop with the effing soaring and get down here in the trenches with us little people who need healthcare and assistance with aging parents, who are losing their homes in the mortgage fiasco and money in banks that are failing, who want to drive cars with better gas mileage and who know the time for mass transit is Here. We don't care about fancy speeches. But we do care about vision and commitment and honesty.

Show us the money, Barack. OK??

Friday, July 25, 2008

Cat Lovers Will Understand

cross posted at mydd and at clintonistasforobama

Obama coulda gone to Ramstein sans media and photo op, John Edwards really was in the hotel-- in the room with the woman reported to have given birth to his child-- and I still don't have a caretaker for my Mom.

And while all this has been going on a contractor in Brooklyn  was locked up in a psych ward for four days after he smashed into walls in three apartments trying to rescue a cat.

Auyup! You read that right. He is reported to have told the mental health police as they carted him away.

I'm not crazy, doctor. There really is a cat in my wall.

But guess what? There really, really was.

According to the NY Post, that collector of all things bizarre in the greater New York environs, it all started with a mischievous kitty named Rumi who put his head a hole in the wall of a condo undergoing renovation in Carroll Gardens.

Poor Rumi, the hole opened on a 30-foot shaft and he fell to the bottom.

The contractor, Chris Muth, had been watching Rumi for a friend and panicked when he went missing.

He couldn't reach the cat from the first apartment - even after enlarging the hole.

So the super, Doug Steiner, gave Muth permission to make a small hole in the wall of another unit.

But, Steiner said:

He opened up all the walls. I said, 'What the hell are you doing? The owner's going to flip out.'

Muth cared only for catching Rumi. Unable to catch him from that second hole, he broke into a third apartment, and again started smashing into the walls.

According to the Post:

Steiner had as much success coaxing Muth out as Muth did with Rumi.

So the super called the cops - who shipped Muth to a local psych ward.

Rumi remained in the catacombs of the condo - a former church.

Again, according to the Post in typical  NY Post style:

And the shrinks decided Muth was suffering from bats in his belfry.

They are not kidding. The hospital report on Muth declared:

He had a bizarre delusion [he] was trying to save a cat of his friend

But it all ended happily.

Muth finally convinced the doctors that he wasn't a wacko.

And Rumi, tired of his 15 days in solitary, let himself be caught by professional cat rescuers using a fishing-pole-like, professional cat-catching  device. Muth told the Post:

After 60 hours stuck down there, I thought the cat was going to die. Otherwise I wouldn't have panicked like I did.I can fix holes, but I can't bring a cat back to life.

I wish this guy was running for office somewhere. He'd get my vote!



Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Puma Bashing [Updated]

[Update--For all those who have asserted this diary is not factual. These are the facts: He didn't have reporters with him, he didn't have a press pool, he didn't do a press conference while he was on the ground in either Afghanistan or Iraq. No one disputes this. This was not only due to the security of the situation. An interview, by the way, is not any of the preceding. And in the place of real media coverage we were shown stage managed questions and the appearance of press conferences. Get it? Stage managed. If you think this is a small matter and that I am nitpicking--we will converse again in a year or so. Obama's treatment of the press has been deplorable. I am not saying the press isn't also deplorable, ok? What I am saying is this isn't any way to improve matters. We are reaching the point of a stage managed, state run media. Obama shows no inclination to reverse this aweful trend. And I will stand up for improving real media access, no matter who the candidate is!!!]

I made a different choice than the Hillary supporters who joined Puma which means Party Unity My Ass. It was a hard choice. And at first I was irritated at those who refused to support the nominee as Hillary had done and asked her supporters to do.

But Enough is Enough!!!

Leave the pumas alone. I do not think they are dishonest, misguided or stupid. I do not think they are ripping Hillary off. And I certainly do not think ridiculing them, bashing them and humiliating them serves any useful purpose.

So get over it!!! Some Hillary supporters will not back the nominee. And they do so for excellent reasons, be it dislike of Barack Obama  and/or outrage over the way Hillary was demeaned in the media and railroaded by the DNC.

I saw a clip today from Andrea Mitchell who was about as outraged as I have ever seen her over the fact no reporter was allowed to ask a question of Barack Obama in either Iraq or Afghanistan.

Everything the American public saw out of those two places about Barack Obama's trip was staged. This is something even  G.W. did not dare attempt in the general election contest. Mitchell said:

He didn't have reporters with him, he didn't have a press pool, he didn't do a press conference while he was on the ground in either Afghanistan or Iraq.

Gives you pause, doesn't it? And if it doesn't, it should.

Barack Obama is exercising  more press "management" than even George Bush.

So I think the PUMAs serve a legitimate purpose. They are saying that the primary contest was rigged which is not the way a democracy is supposed to work. And they are saying that practices like fake news conferences by a presidential candidate are not something they will vote for.

They are not saying this directly, but by their  existence These aren't just sore losers. And they aren't all weird and crazee. Many of them are longtime democrats who believe the Democratic Party needs to change, become more responsive to its members and more fair.

I could never be a PUMA, anymore than Hillary could be. But I respect their intention. It is time to stop smearing them and  accusing them of  being disloyal to Hillary. They are refusing to do as she has asked, but that is their right.

This is the way a democracy works. People get to promulgate their cause and act on their convictions. In this spirit I say  the PUMAS show us that democracy--at least at this level--is alive and still kicking--which is all to the good.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Indymac and the Democratic Party

On Friday, July 11, The Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) closed the $32 billion IndyMac Bank, headquartered in Pasadena, California, and transferred operations to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

My Mom, who is 88 years old, has a CD at Indymac Bank.  She lives off the interest. Thanks to the Democratic Party and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, my Mom didn't lose her money when the feds seized the  bank in the second largest federal takeover in US history.  I haven't told my Mom about the takeover. She has Alzheimer's. If you can't figure out how to find the bologna in the refrigerator I figure you can go without knowing you almost got wiped out financially.

I, on the otherhand, am a wreck. I got her into Indymac! For years they paid the highest CD rate around--if you opened it online. Whoohoo. I've even  got a little money stashed  there.

The woman I talked to at Indymac today--who works for the FDIC--said people have been weeping on the phone. They had more deposited there than the FDIC will insure. If you are above $100,000 that money is out the door.

I was speechless on Friday. When I could put two words back to back they were x-rated:

 Holy fu*king shit! What a fu*king disaster. Jesus H. Chist, Dad, you were right. I mean you were RIGHT!!!.

And then --even though he has been gone for 10 years-- I whispered:


It was my Dad when  I was 18 who drummed the FDIC into my head with tales of the Great Depression and how people were wiped out and jumped from skyscrapers. And then he would explain how FDR and the Democrats fixed it so if the banks failed again, no one would be wiped out.

But c'mon, banks fail?? I didn't think it could happen again. And I certainly flirted over the years with money ventures and institutions that were not FDIC insured. But my Dad really pounded something into my thick head. Why flirt with disaster when the Democratic Party has provided a safety net? Over and over, in countless different ways he brought the point home.

Why? For a little extra money--you could lose it all. Stick with the FDIC. You'll be fine. Don't color outside the lines, Ok?

I'd nod my head, bored and despairing of his interminable lectures. Now, I find out that  these lectures from my depression era papa shaped my behavior with Indymac.And so my Mom and I are among those who are lucky this Monday.

Many others are not.

I supported Hillary Clinton for the nomination for the Democratic Party, and a cast of sore losers--unlike the woman they profess to support who has been gracious in defeat-- cannot understand why I now support the Dem nominee, Barack Obama. It is so fuc*king simple. It ain't the head of the party that matters above all else. It is the Party!!!

And I am living proof right now today that the Party matters.  Ok. Sure. The dem leadership hasn't been exactly angelic in the primary struggle. But I will take this party and these "fu*k-ups" over the Republicans any day.

Remember, it was Herbert Hoover who fired on the vets when the marched on the White House demanding their pay. And this is the same party that has backed our Coward in Chief from showing the coffins of our soldiers as they come home in body bags from Iraq.

Hillary knows what is at stake in this election. In Chicago Saturday for the American Federation of Teachers conference, she said:

The Republicans should hold a press conference and apologize to the country and say they're just not going to run anyone for president.

I am newly grateful to the Democratic Party today. And I urge you to think of this Party and it's long and grand tradition of standing up for the rights and welfare of working people. The Republicans for the last eight years have done nothing but gut every protection they could get their hands on.

Isn't it time to put the Party back in power that brought us the FDIC.