aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
UGA spent $2.2M in New Orleans for Sugar Bowl
How the other half lives… The AJC reports on the school up the road:
It takes a lot of money to party with Georgia in New Orleans…
Georgia spent about $2.2 million, or $323,753.30 more than it was allocated, in New Orleans from Dec. 26-Jan. 2.
But the university will get that money back and more when the Southeastern Conference hands out its annual revenue distribution checks later this month. Georgia is expected to receive at least $10 million.
Perhaps that’s why the Bulldogs lived well while in New Orleans, according to information obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution through state and federal open records laws.
The Bulldogs spared no expense. A massive group, including the president’s official party of 89 people, made the trip and went to numerous parties, all paid for by the athletic association. The 400-member Redcoat Band made the trip. So did the cheerleaders, Hairy Dawg and Uga.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Lethal Injection Set for tonight
A Georgia man is set to be executed by lethal injection tonight. William Earl Lynd is to be the first inmate in the nation to be put to death since the Supreme Court held that the method is constitutional. Lynd’s clemency bid was denied yesterday by the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Paul Broun: No boobs on base
That headline is shamelessly lifted from the brilliant Radley Balko:
What’s maddening about it is the legal reasoning.
Broun said he wants to bring the Defense Department into compliance with the intent of the 1997 law “so that taxpayers will not be footing the costs of distributing pornography.” [...]
Exchange officials noted that tax dollars are not used to procure magazines in the system’s largely self-funded operations. [...]
But Broun’s spokesman John Kennedy contended that taxpayer dollars are involved - “used to pay military salaries, so taxpayer money is, in effect, being used to buy these materials,” he said.
Balko notes that line of argument would open up all sorts of other possibilities. It is absolutely amazing that conservatives can find legal rationale for nanny state intrusiveness whenever they’re in the mood.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Thomas’ choice as UGA grad speaker riles faculty
The Georgia native will be the graduation speaker up the road at UGA. Some faculty are not pleased:
Some faculty members said they were outraged that the university would ask Thomas to speak when UGA has been facing criticism that administrators have been slow to address sexual harassment complaints filed against faculty members.
“What a slap in the face this is to everyone who has been working to bring to light the realities of sexual harassment, and to establish appropriate methods and offices for addressing this significant problem on our campus,” Chris Cuomo, director of UGA’s Institute for Women’s Studies, told The Red & Black student newspaper.
UGA spokesman Tom Jackson said Thomas has a close relationship with the UGA School of Law and has visited campus several times to give lectures.
“We’re honored to have an associate justice of the Supreme Court bringing our commencement address,” Jackson said.
Via Think Progress.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Water Body @ Canopy: Flying Trapeze Movement
We went to Canopy Studio last night—“a community arts center dedicated to enriching the culture of our community and the lives of individuals through aerial dance, movement education and performance arts”—to see a friend’s performance.
Last night’s piece was Water Body:
As an exploration of water, the performance represents the sublime beauty of the Earth, while also exploring the shadow side of ourselves that pollutes and decimates the world around us. Dancers move through the space as if cradled, submerged, or swept away by water-illusions enhanced by video projections depicting water in its many forms. Harnessing the emotional power water carries, the show ultimately honors the balance water represents: strong enough to destroy everything we know, it also gives us life.
Speaking of water, we’ve had a wet spring in these parts, but we’re still in a drought. Here’s current conditions via the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Nunn hits Hillary where it hurts
Sam Nunn’s national security credentials bring to Barack a lot of what Hillary claimed she’s got. Nunn was born in Macon and raised in Perry, GA to boot!
Based on my conversations with Senator Obama, reading his book and his speeches and seeing the kind of campaign he has run, I believe that he is our best choice to lead our nation. Senator Obama, as evidenced by his words and his deeds, recognizes that:
â€” We have developed a habit of avoiding the tough decisions and seemingly lost our ability to build consensus to tackle head-on our biggest challenges.
- Demonizing the opposition, oversimplifying the issues, and dumbing down the political debate prevent our country from coming together to make tough decisions and tackle our biggest challenges.
- Solving America’s problems will require difficult choices and sacrifices and leaders capable of considering new ideas from both political parties.
- On foreign policy and security policy, we must recognize that we are not limited to a choice between belligerency and isolation and that we must listen to lead successfully on the key issues facing America and the world.
â€” Our next president must also recognize that the battle against violent terrorists, while requiring a prudent use of military power, is also a long-term contest of psychology and ideas.
Of course Nunn was only one of the day’s Obama endorsers. David Boren, the longest-serving chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee in history, and Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich round out the list.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
A surge of black & young voters for Obama in GA
Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel has released the race, age and gender breakdowns for the February primary.
- Democrats cast nearly 53 percent of the 2,007,544 ballots counted on Feb. 5.
â€” Within the Democratic primary, African-Americans cast 55 percent of the vote. This is the first time that’s happened. White voters made up just a tad less than 40 percent of the Democratic vote.
- White voters made up 96 percent of the Republican presidential primary vote.
â€” African-Americans cast 30 percent of all votes on Feb. 5. In November 2006, with gubernatorial candidate Mark Taylor at the top of the Democratic ticket, black voters cast only 24 percent of all ballots. This is the number causing Republicans to lose sleep.
- In addition to juicing turnout among black voters, the Feb. 5 primary showed signs of a shift in party preference among the state’s youngest voters. You read above that Democratic voters accounted for 53 percent of all ballots.
But 61 percent of voters 24 and under picked up a Democratic ballot.
- Young voters are notoriously unreliable, but young African-American voters - 24 and under - had a voter turnout rate of 26 percent. That’s remarkably strong. Turnout among young white voters was 22 percent - again, not too shabby.
Broun instructs House on ‘proprer’ pledge technique
"There should not be a comma between ‘one nation’ and ‘under God,’” conservative Republican congressman Paul Broun instructed his colleagues on the floor of the House before beginning his rendition of a pause-free pledge Monday. Raw Story has more:
It may seem a minor issue, but some have argued that saying the pledge as Broun prefers—and as it was written when “under God” was inserted in 1954—implies a fealty to religion that is inappropriate in the US.
“Without a comma, the phrase indicates that the central characteristic of the United States as a political community is its subordination to God,” wrote history professor Matthew Dennis, after the Supreme Court rejected an attempt to strike “under God” as unconstitutional. “In short, the political community is defined by its religious charge. A pledge that states this becomes, in the words of the 9th Circuit, ‘impermissible government endorsement of religion,’ functioning to ‘enforce a religious orthodoxy of mono- theism.’”
The pledge had no reference to a diety until 1954, when Cold War fever saw its inclusion to separate Americans from “godless Communists.” The Supreme Court dismissed a case arguing that the phrase violated the First Amendment’s guarantees of freedom of religion because the plaintiff had no standing to argue the case, not because of any inherent legal justification for the phrase.
A Broun spokesman even said there should be no pause to emphasize there is “no separation or implied separation between nation and God.” So his House floor lesson may be more than just a penchant for details.
“As a Marine, clearly, he’s had to face a lot more difficult challenges than instructing Members of Congress on the proper way of saying the Pledge of Allegiance,” spokesman John Kennedy told Roll Call‘s Heard on the Hill column. “There is, in fact, no comma in that section. So correctly, it’s said, â€˜One nation under [God],’ no separation or implied separation between nation and God.”
A first-term lawmaker from the northeastern corner of Georgia, Broun’s House floor admonition was not his only attempt to insert God further into American life. Last November, he supported a resolution honoring a group promoting the Ten Commandments.
“I commend the Ten Commandments Commission for their efforts to remind Americans that we are, in fact, ‘one nation under God,’” he said at the time.
Here’s theC-SPAN video:
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Jim Marshall: uncommitted superdelegate
Five of Georgia’s six superdelegates have committed to Obama. They are Sanford Bishop, District 2; Hank Johnson, District 4; John Lewis, District 5; John Barrow, District 12; and David Scott, District 13.
But Rep. Jim Marshall of Macon remains uncommitted.
“I am an uncommitted superdelegate who doesn’t feel too super,” Marshall said. “Nobody asked me whether or not I wanted to be one, and my plan is to just stay out of it and hope the others make the decision.”
Maybe he’s waiting for Carter & Gore to step in and deliver the coup de grÃ¢ce to Hillary.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Georgia Supreme Court denies Troy Davis appeal
The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday again rejected a death row inmate’s request for a new trial, even though several witnesses who testified against the condemned man have recanted.
Troy Davis was convicted of gunning down a Savannah police officer in 1989.
In March, the state’s top court denied Davis a new trial by a 4-3 vote. On Monday, the justices rejected Davis’ appeal for them to reconsider that decision. The vote was again 4-3.
Writing for the majority, Justice Harold Melton said the new evidence was not enough to force a new trial. The court cannot disregard the jury’s original verdict, he wrote. [...]
Davis’ lawyers say several witnesses have recanted or contradicted their testimony that they saw Davis shoot 27-year-old Mark MacPhail or heard him confess to the shooting.
Three people who did not testify at trial have said in affidavits that another man confessed to killing the officer after Davis was convicted.
For more on the case visit TroyAnthonyDavis.org.
Burning Down the House
A friend here told me that the way to kill fire ants was to poor gasoline on them, light a match, and be done with it. He says that the chemicals we use to kill fire ants are bad for the environment and don’t work.
What do I know?
So yesterday I’m doing yard work. I take my can of gasoline, poor it on the ant hill, strike a match, toss it, and whoosh!
Now I have to tell you it has been many, many years since I put a match to gasoline. Somehow I was honestly thinking that the gasoline was going to soak into the ground and it wasn’t even going to light. Like I was going to have a problem lighting it.
Well, it lit alright. And I jumped right out of my skin! There was fire and there was smoke and I am just lucky I wasn’t fricasseed right along with those ants!
With the ants dead, I mowed the lawn and came on inside.
A couple hours later my nephew came home. And I do mean A COUPLE OF HOURS LATER. Maybe three? He comes in and I’m sitting here comfortably on the couch with the dogs working on the computer and my nephew says to me, “Uncle Joey, is the yard supposed to be on fire?”
THE YARD IS ON FIRE???
Now I have to tell you that we’re lucky there’s still a water shortage here in Georgia. It’s because of that water shortage that we have garbage cans full of collected water all over the yard.
We ran and collected those cans and dumped buckets and pales and we hosed and we got lucky. And I’m going back to Amdro I don’t care what anybody tells me!
Sexual tales from my old Pennsatucky home
I was raised in Central PA. Ran away at 17. Remember that my nephew, who is gay, lives here now with Doug and me. Ironic that he had to leave the liberal Northeast and flee to the Old South to find loving support and family acceptance. My brother is, er, oh, never mind…
I’m going on about this because I just read about the Republican commissioner of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, who had been accused of rape. By a man!
He denied it.
TPM Muckracker picks up the story from there:
On March 31st, police, investigating the allegation of rape by the 20-year old Marshall McCurdy, obtained a warrant to search Barclay’s home. They didn’t find evidence of rape. But they did find videotapes of hundreds of sexual encounters with men that Barclay had filmed on high-tech surveillance cameras. The cameras were hidden inside AM/FM radios, motion detectors and intercom speaker systems, among other places. There was also one at his business office.
None of the subjects were aware they were being filmed and no permission had been obtained, Barclay admitted. According to a second warrant issued on April 9th, Barclay also admitted to hiring prostitutes on a weekly basis from the now-defunct website harrisburgfratboys.com.
On April 10th, the rape charges were dropped. One of the videos found during the search showed Barclay and McCurdy engaging in apparently consensual sex.[...]
Sadly, his vindication was his undoing. Barclay was forced to resign.
And legally, Barclay’s not quite out of the woods yet-- he’s still facing possible charges for privacy violations and promoting prostitution. McCurdy, however, has been charged with making false reports to law enforcement authorities and unsworn falsifications to authorities. He’s up for a possible 3-year prison stint and $7,500 in fines.
Ah, just as I remember home.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
More on the technical perils of blogging
We’re always hearing about how empowered bloggers are, and I count myself among those who agree that it’s a wondrous world in which any of us can become a publisher. But the perils are many. It’s an either do-it-yourself or put yourself in the hands of huge corporations choice that bloggers face when they decide to set out.
I chose the former, wanting to learn how to design and build the blog, not just enter my content into someone else’s system. But that is an even more complex choice in which you must make a myriad of complex decisions, choose a blog platform, and still you are at the mercy of web hosting companies.
This morning I shared my nearly six months of struggle with a designer I had enlisted to help with my site. Later I ran across news from Blogs for Democracy that a regional ISP in Georgia has apparently failed without warning:
Sorry for the nonpolitical post, folks, but an area ISP that I (and thousands of others) use, Speedfactory (link is dead), has apparently ceased operations with no warning. I’m taking the liberty of posting this info here, because with the exception of this web forum thread there seems to be no information available at all. All that’s known from anecdotal reports is that everything has been down for two days, customer service calls are answered by an “all circuits busy” recording, and Speedfactory’s offices in the area are locked up with no sign of activity. It’s conceivable that this will have an effect on some area web sites, so don’t be shocked if you notice some isolated outages for a couple of days while customers transfer their DSL and web hosting services.
It’s probably only a matter of time before the AJC, Clark Howard, and/or other media types bring you more in-depth reporting on this unfolding debacle, but in the meantime, you heard it here first. (This post brought to you by Verizon mobile broadband while my DSL modem sits uselessly idle.)
Nothing yet reported in the news.
UPDATE: More from Blogs for Democracy. They say they’re still in business. But I’m thankful that I’m not their customer.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
a BIG experiment…
...the Atlanta Ballet dances live with Big Boi. Performance end tomorrow. From the rehearsals:
AP Video. The NYTimes review:
At best, “big” has moments of fascinating intersection between the movement and the firecracker verbal delivery of Mr. Patton’s work. At worst, the dancers simply look like a rather sophisticated back-up troupe.
Alvin Ailey 2 will be in our town next week. At my age, more my speed.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Broun likes nukes & english
Well today he gone and done it! Who better to quote for the occasion than the American Family News Network’s One News Now out of Tupelo, Mississippi:
Rookie Congressman Paul Broun (R-Georgia) has introduced the “English the Official Language Act of 2008,” which states that “no person has a right” to receive federal documents or services in languages other than English. The legislation is identical to a companion Senate measure sponsored by Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma).
Although Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) and every major Democratic presidential candidate voiced opposition to the legislation last June during debates on CNN, Broun contends there is widespread support for the bill across the country.
“I am pleased to hear the news of Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power, MEAG, and Dalton with Westinghouse/The Shaw Group agreeing to build two new nuclear generating units at the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant near Augusta .
“While final review and certification will be performed by the Georgia Public Service Commission against competing bids for new electric generation, Georgia Power’s commitment to move ahead with this contract is good for the Tenth Congressional District and is good for the citizens of the state of Georgia.
“Nuclear power has operated safely in the United States for decades, and in Georgia since 1975, and now accounts for about 20 percent of our electric generation.
“Locally, this decision will be strong for our economy, adding needed jobs and spurring investment in our communities. With Plant Vogtle already being a positive influence in our district, I welcome two new units â€“ with new advanced AP1000 design technology â€“ being added.
“This decision ensures that the energy needs of our growing state and district will continue to be met, and I applaud the decision to move forward.”
Meanwhile, AP is reporting:
Georgia Democrats have quietly assembled a group of five military veterans—including three fresh out of Iraq—to challenge Republican congressmen from around the state in November’s elections.
The candidates are criticizing the incumbents on domestic issues such as the sluggish economy, but they also say they have the moral authority to challenge their opponents for giving President Bush lockstep support on the five-year war in Iraq.
They are all long-shots, political newcomers in a conservative state that routinely elects Republicans. Bobby Saxon, 46, of Nicholson, GA, an Army veteran who served with the 3rd Infantry Division in Iraq and now runs a software consulting firm, is set to take on Broun.
I wish him well.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
High Deductible Plans Will Take GA Down the Wrong Path
Knowing what I think of flexible spending accounts it probably won’t surprise you that I’m no fan of high-deductible insurance plans either.
Recently, Susanna Guffey at The Georgia Forum wrote to point me to Daniel Blumenthal, a pediatrician arguing that high deductible insurance plans are the wrong path for Georgia:
Faced with a high deductible and an outlay of cash to meet even minimal health needs, many consumers will postpone needed care and forgo preventive services altogether. In the short run, money will be saved for the consumer and the health care system. In the slightly longer run, asthmatic kids will wind up in the hospital, middle-aged adults with uncontrolled high blood pressure will have heart attacks, and the elderly who failed to get screened for cancer will have it discovered in advanced stages. Health care costs will increase and Georgians will be less healthy. [...]
High deductible health plans are not affordable options for the majority of Georgia’s uninsured population, who come from low to moderate income working families. They are uninsured because they cannot afford coverage, and the modest tax breaks included in this proposal will do almost nothing for them.
Instead, these small incentives will be more likely to motivate already-insured individuals, families and employers who offer comprehensive coverage to their employees to switch to high deductible plans. And, rather than reducing the number of uninsured, the state would increase the number of underinsured.
By definition, high-deductible health plans cannot cover primary care services, prescription drugs, mental health care, and many other services until the purchaser has reached the deductible, which often exceeds $2,500 for an individual and $4,500 for a family. Proponents of high deductible plans claim that the “personal responsibility” of the consumer will motivate them to live a healthier life, but research has shown that high deductibles simply prevent people from getting medical care.
High deductible plans fail to meet the needs of the majority of the 1.7 million Georgians who currently need health coverage, but cannot afford it. We need a plan that will help Georgians receive the health care they need and deserve. Asking people to pay more money out-of-pocket is not the answer.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
The impact of the Subprime Market Squeeze on the South
Source: The New York Times. Click for the entire U.S.
Barr another turd?
Does anyone remember Newt Gingrich’s long, drawn-out, surprise attack run for the presidency?
This Gingrich quote comes from Fortune Magazine in November 2006:
“I am not ‘running’ for president. I am seeking to create a movement to win the future by offering a series of solutions so compelling that if the American people say I have to be president, it will happen.”
I titled my post about that, A movement or a turd?
Newt pops to mind today because former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr posted a YouTube video yesterday announcing the formation of of an exploratory committee to determine if he should run for president as a Libertarian.
In it he calls Barack Obama an “empty suit,” and tells us he’s “crossed swords” with Hillary Clinton—“she’s no leader”—and reminds us that John McCain is “on a first name basis with every lobbyist you run into… he’s part of the problem, part of the status quo.”
Barr concludes by calling on his supporters to send a message:
I need you to send me a message by logging on to BobBarr2008.com and let me know through your words of support and your financial support if you want me to run for president of the United States of America in 2008. Bob Barr. 2008. Dot Com. I’ll see you there.
Let’s all watch. This should be good.
SEE ALSO: On Bob Barr’s libertarian credentials.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
On Bob Barr’s libertarian credentials
Gays in Georgia remember Barr with some disdain. Chris Crain:
When Bob Barr was a Republican congressman from Georgia, he authored and was the chief sponsor of the Defense of Marriage Act, which blocks any federal recognition of gay couples married by the states, as well as allowing each state to refuse to recognizes marriage licenses issued to gay couples by other states.
Barr has always been a walking contradiction, defending the institution of marriage from gays even as he divorced his first two wives and is now on his third; he is also an ardent foe of abortion rights even though he supported a decision by his wife at the time to terminate a pregnancy. There are individual rights Barr does care about—he’s a longtime board member of the National Rifle Association.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
GA Senate restricts release of sex tapes involving minors
State Senator Emanuel Jones, who very correctly complained and called for an investigation of the political release and distribution of the Genarlow Wilson sex video in that controversial case, followed up with legislation last month.
The Senate voted unanimously on Wednesday to place new restrictions on the copying and inspection of sexually explicit material involving minors used as courtroom evidence.
The bill comes after a Georgia prosecutor came under fire last year for releasing copies of a videotape showing Genarlow Wilson engaging in sex acts with two underage girls. District Attorney David McDade said the state’s open records law required him to release the footage to anyone who requested it. U.S. Attorney David Nahmias labeled it child pornography and ordered him to stop.
The Wilson tape was released to members of the media. Several state lawmakers watched the tape at the Capitol as they considered legislation that would help Wilson.
Wilson was serving a mandatory 10-year sentence for having oral sex with a 15-year-old when he was 17. The Georgia Supreme Court freed him last year, saying the steep sentence amounted to unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment.
Under the bill that passed the Senate Wednesday, a judge could allow for public inspection of sexually explicit materials for inspection under open records law, but they couldn’t be copied. A version of the bill has already passed the House.
Fact of GAY life? Or time to change the POLITCAL world?
The husband of a colleague died recently. They were married four years. She will receive his pension for life.
Next year my partner and I will celebrate 9 years. We, of course, don’t have—can’t have—shared health insurance, tax benefits, inheritance, visitation privileges, or a myriad of other things taken for granted by heterosexual America today.
When I had that recent health emergency, we had to rush to see lawyers and worry that the Power of Attorney and Living Wills we put in place would be honored and not litigated.
Yadda yadda yadda… you know the story. You may wonder why I’m going on.
I was moved by this story posted on Towleroad as told by DNC Treasurer Andy Tobias by his friend Joel Kelly of the Slain Gay Hospital Worker Remembered as Hero in Georgia:
On Thursday afternoon in Columbus, Georgia, as reported here, a man entered Doctor’s Hospital, shot and killed two hospital workers and then another man in the parking lot on his way out before he was apprehended. My boyfriend Kevin Perry works at the hospital on the floor where the shootings took place and was at work when this happened. I knew both of the nurses that were killed. They were two of Kevin’s closest friends. A couple of things which I feel are important to say...one of which is that the second person who was shot and killed was gay. Not that this particular fact is noteworthy in and of itself...but I would like to say that Les Harris was shot in the face while he was trying to wrest the gun out of the hands of the shooter. The man was trying to kill a young woman and Les gave his life in order to save her. We don’t often hear about gay heroes . . . too often stories in which our humanity is front and center are lost in the chorus of the Christian Right. We deserve these stories to be told. The second part of this and the reason that I am sending this to you is to let you know that his partner, Keith Cavender, another nurse at the same hospital, was unable to secure his partner’s personal belongings, was kept from seeing him before and immediately following his death, and of course will receive none of the benefits due our heterosexual counterparts. Common human decency is not a privilege accorded us under current law. Please let the powers that be in the Party know that we desperately need to win back the White House and let everyone know that we have heroes among us.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Facing South notes that the South is still rising, but no one is paying attention:
Strangely enough, there has been almost total silence in the political blogosphere about the major new report from the Census Bureau on the explosive growth of metro areas in the South [...]
But anyone who cares about U.S. politics should be paying attention. These latest numbers show the South is home to growing centers of political power in the South that cannot be ignored—especially with the upcoming 2010 Census, where Southern states stand to gain Congressional seats and Electoral College votes.
The 50 fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the U.S. in 2006 and 2007 were concentrated in the country’s western and southern regions, the Census Bureau said today.
Eight of the 10 areas with the biggest population gains as measured by percentage of increase were in the South. Palm Coast, Florida, led with 7.2 percent growth, followed by St. George, Utah, 5.1 percent; Raleigh-Cary, North Carolina, 4.7 percent; and Gainesville, Georgia, 4.5 percent.
Monday, March 24, 2008
GA Court Overturns Hadaway Contempt Conviction
ATLANTA - A long nightmare has ended for Elizabeth Hadaway, who was convicted of criminal contempt of court last year for not handing her daughter over to foster care after she lost custody solely because she’s a lesbian. A year and one day after a county court judge sentenced Hadaway to 10 days in jail, the Georgia Court of Appeals today overturned her contempt conviction. The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented her in the appeal and secured the little girl’s return home from foster care last May, applauded the court’s decision.
“Just yesterday I was watching Emma hunt for Easter eggs and thinking how the possibility of going to jail and being separated from her again made it hard to just enjoy the moment,” said Elizabeth Hadaway, a 29-year-old paramedic who first took in the little girl when the child’s biological mother asked her to raise and adopt Emma. “I’m just so grateful that the court has lifted this burden so we can move on and I can keep focused on making sure Emma has a happy home and a good life.”
Hadaway’s struggle began in 2006, when a Wilkinson County Superior Court judge was on the verge of granting her request to permanently adopt Emma when he noticed in a home study that Hadaway was living with her female partner of seven years. The judge abruptly changed his mind about the adoption request solely because Hadaway is a lesbian. Although Emma’s biological mother told the court that she wanted the child to be raised and adopted by Hadaway, the judge denied the adoption and ordered that Emma be sent back to her biological mother. Hadaway met with the biological mother at a truck stop to hand over the girl. After accepting custody, thus satisfying the court order, the biological mother saw how distraught Emma was at being taken from Hadaway and again insisted that Hadaway should raise the girl. Because Hadaway took Emma back, the Wilkinson County judge then ordered that Emma be sent to live in a foster home and sentenced Hadaway and her attorney to 10 days in jail for contempt of court. The sentence was stayed pending appeal.
Emma, now seven years old, was eventually returned to Hadaway’s care last May after an expert commissioned by Wilkinson County Department of Children and Family Services found that the little girl was experiencing emotional trauma because of the separation from Hadaway. Next, a judge in another Georgia county granted Hadaway permanent custody. DCFS then let Emma return home, but not before she had been in foster care for three months, during which her welfare was seriously compromised.
“We’re pleased that the court has agreed with us that Elizabeth Hadaway shouldn’t do jail time simply for doing the right thing for her child, but it’s unfortunate that it’s taken almost two years of court proceedings to end up with things where Elizabeth, Emma, and Emma’s biological mom wanted them to be in the first place,” said Debbie Seagraves, Executive Director of the ACLU of Georgia. “Elizabeth Hadaway did everything the judge ordered her to do, and she should never have been punished.”
Via Gay News Blog.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Not everyone in Georgia loves Wal-Mart
A federal judge today upheld a Georgia man’s First Amendment right to criticize Wal-Mart’s business practices by using satire to compare its destructive effects on communities to both the Holocaust and al-Qaeda terrorists.In rejecting the company’s claim of trademark infringement, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in Atlanta found that Charles Smith’s parody Web sites (www.walocaust.com and www.walqaeda.com) and related novelty merchandise were protected speech and that a reasonable person would not confuse their use with Wal-Mart’s legitimate trademarks. The court also rejected Wal-Mart’s claim that it has trademark rights in the “smiley-face” that Smith used in one of his parodies.
Public Citizen and the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia Foundation defended Smith after Wal-Mart sued the Conyers, Ga. man in 2006, claiming he infringed on its trademark by creating parody logos and Web sites built around the “Walocaust” and “Wal-Qaeda” concepts, including the image of an eagle clutching a yellow smiley face, similar to the one Wal-Mart uses in advertising. Smith also put the design on T-shirts, bumper stickers and other items that he sold on CafePress.com.
Judge Timothy C. Batten Sr.’s decision reaffirms an important point of trademark law â€“ that even though a parody is placed on a T-shirt and sold, it nevertheless represents non-commercial speech that is fully protected by the First Amendment and, thus, is not a proper basis for a trademark action, said Paul Alan Levy, a Public Citizen attorney, who represented Smith along with Gerald Weber of Atlanta.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Jeremiah Wright - in Macon; on Gays
Wright’s in the news in Macon for a planned October church* visit just days before the November election:
“I’m sort of echoing what Barack Obama said, I’m not going to disown him, no more than I would disown America,” [St. Paul AME Church Pastor Ronald] Slaughter said.
During Macon Mayor Robert Reichert’s inauguration, he credited Wright for giving him vision for moving the city forward during an earlier visit to Macon.
Mayor Reichert is white:
“He may say some provocative and insensitive things,” Reichert said Thursday. “But overall his message is wonderful!”
Some accuse Wright of making racially inflammatory and unpatriotic remarks, but both these men will tell you people are missing the bigger message.
“I think we need to focus on the body of work that this man has accomplished, not on 30 second sound bites,” said Slaughter.
“It’s bad enough to take 30 seconds out of 1 sermon and concentrate on it,” Reichert said. “What do you mean? What did you say before that? What did you say after that? How does it all fit in? It’s even worse when you select this out of 20 years worth of sermons.”
As a leader, Wright defied convention at every turn. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune last year, he recalled a time during the 1970s when the UCC decided to ordain gay and lesbian clergy. At its annual meeting, sensitive to the historic discomfort some blacks have with homosexuality, gay leaders reached out to black pastors.
At that session, Wright heard the testimony of a gay Christian and, he said, he had a conversion experience on gay rights. He started one of the first AIDS ministries on the South Side and a singles group for Trinity gays and lesbians-a subject that still rankles some of the more conservative Trinity members, says Dwight Hopkins, a theology professor at the University of Chicago and a church member.