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Politics Archive



October 2010



A whole new level of creepy

Written by , Posted in Politics

Have you heard about this? It is making me extremely sad. From what is being reported so far, it appears that freshman Tyler Clementi was recorded remotely by his residence hall roommate, being intimate with another man. It now appears that Mr. Clementi jumped from the GW bridge, killing himself.

There are two aspects to this story that I’m mulling over right now. The first is the ridiculousness of the two alleged defendants. I understand that 18-year-olds may be adults legally but are still figuring some things out. However, while I do not think it is likely that they acted with the idea that Mr. Clementi would end up killing himself, one would have to have never lived in the world – let alone attended high school – to recognize that what they were doing would be highly humiliating and emotionally hurtful. Whether it ended up being made public or just circulated among friends, having photographic evidence of someone doing something they would not normally do in public only serves to embarrass them. Emotional harm can be the only outcome.

The second aspect is whether they would have considered doing this if Mr. Clementi had been intimate with someone of the opposite sex. Was he taped solely because the two people who taped him were thinking it would be funny? Or were they thinking it would be funny because they could humiliate him even more because people are still bigoted towards gay men and lesbians?

Both possibilities are disturbing to me. The fact that young adults still think that humiliating people they do not know or do not like is fun saddens me. Perhaps kids have always been this way, but now the actions can be magnified and sent out across the planet instantly. Once a video is sent to someone, there is no way to get it back. Even if the person who filmed it later realizes that he screwed up, he can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. It may be unfortunate, but it is the reality, and I think there needs to be more of an effort to explain what that actually means, to try to get these kids (and adults, too, in some cases) to think more long term. I post some silly things on Facebook, but everything is set to private, and nothing I post there would get me in trouble (mostly because I don’t do anything that troublesome). Do young adults not realize that their moments of being obnoxious could have lifelong consequences not just for others, but for them, too?

A sex tape of anyone at any age that was made without his consent is going to be disturbing. I certainly don’t want my intimate moments viewed by anyone else. But if it’s thought worse because it involved two people of the same sex, that’s another example of what is not right in the world. Life can be hard for people who are gay because of people who decide to make life hard for them. Sexual orientation is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about, and the fact that there is a chance that the people who chose to be bigots are what lead this young man to kill himself should be distressing to everyone.

The comments section of Rachel Maddow’s blog is an interesting read.



September 2010



Koran Burning Cancelled

Written by , Posted in Politics and are both reporting that the Florida pastor has called off the Koran burning. Here is the full text of the story, from…


The Florida pastor who had planned to burn copies of the Quran on Saturday has called it off.

The Rev. Terry Jones of the Gainesville, Florida-based Dove World Outreach Center made the announcement Thursday.

Earlier Thursday, President Obama said Jones’ plan, which had triggered worldwide controversy, would be a “recruitment bonanza for al Qaeda.”

“You could have serious violence in places like Pakistan or Afghanistan” as a result of the proposal by Jones, Obama said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “This could increase the recruitment of individuals who’d be willing to blow themselves up in American cities, or European cities.”

Jones had previously said he would proceed with the plan Saturday — the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — despite increased pressure to abandon the proposal and warnings that going ahead could endanger U.S. troops and Americans worldwide.

There were several developments prior to Jones’ cancellation announcement:

— Local governments said they were going to bill Jones for the extra cost of security for Saturday’s event.

— Interpol on Thursday issued a global alert to its 188 member countries, warning of a “strong likelihood” of violent attacks if the Quran burning proceeds.

— An armed Christian organization, which withdrew its support for the Quran-burning event last month, said the administration “needs to stay out of this” and pledged to defend the Dove Center’s right to hold the event, despite its disagreement.

— The FBI warned local law enforcement that the plan, along with other recent controversies involving the American Muslim community, could lead to hate crimes and could encourage extremist rhetoric, although a federal law enforcement official said there was no credible information that attacks were planned.

The FBI visited Jones at the Dove Center on Thursday, according to Jeffrey Westcott, special agent in charge of the Jacksonville, Florida, bureau. The FBI also visited him a few weeks ago, he said, but would not say what was discussed.

Discussions were taking place within the Obama administration about the possibility of intervening, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters Thursday. Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said the possibility of calling Jones is under consideration, and that Defense Secretary Robert Gates was participating in the discussions.

Earlier this week, the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, warned that the plan “could cause significant problems” for American troops overseas.

Jones has rejected the pleas, saying his message targets radical Islamists. “The general needs to point his finger to radical Islam and tell them to shut up, tell them to stop, tell them that we will not bow our knees to them,” Jones said on CNN’s “AC360.” “We are burning the book. We are not killing someone. We are not murdering people.”

Meanwhile, Obama told ABC, “As commander in chief of the armed forces of the United States, I just want him to understand that this stunt that he is talking about pulling could greatly endanger our young men and women in uniform who are in Iraq, who are in Afghanistan. We’re already seeing protests against Americans just by the mere threat … this is a destructive act that he’s engaging in.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil liberties and advocacy group, announced an initiative called “Learn, Don’t Burn” on Thursday and will distribute Qurans to replace the burned copies.

Awad said the group is concerned that the plan may lead to hate crimes against Muslims. Cross burnings by the Ku Klux Klan were an indication of hate crimes to follow against African-Americans, he said, and Nazis started with burning books and “ended up burning people.”

CAIR has been working with attorneys, and no basis has been found to stop the burnings under the law, he said, but he added that if the plan is going to incite violence, the government should step in.

“I can assure you that on September 11, you will not see a bonfire of Qurans being burned at the Dove Church,” Imam Mahdi Bray, head of the Muslim-American Society, told reporters.

He said he has just returned from Gainesville, where city officials told him Jones will not receive a burn permit and any sort of incendiary material will violate the city code. A fire truck will be nearby to douse any flames, he said.

Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe said Jones’ requests for burn permits have been denied, and city officials hope that he will comply. If he breaks the law, action can be taken against Jones, with the response based on whatever the infraction might be, he said. Lowe has declared Saturday “Interfaith Solidarity Day.”

City Communications Manager Bob Woods said the city will tally up costs related to the event and present Jones with the bill.

Alachua County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Art Forgey said “we do plan to compile and send a bill to Mr. Jones.”

“I don’t know that we have the teeth to enforce it, though,” Forgey added. Instead, the bill may just end up being a statement to Jones about how much the event cost local citizens, the spokesman said.

Before Jones announced the cancellation, the Gainesville Students for a Democratic Society said Thursday it would bus in students from as far away as Chicago, Illinois, and would have about 600 on hand Saturday to protest at a nearby park, then march to the church to picket the event.

Meanwhile, two websites associated with Jones and his church were down Thursday.

Rackspace Hosting took down the two sites because the church “violated the hate speech provision of our acceptable use policy,” spokesman Dan Goodgame said.

The company investigated a complaint in the past couple days and made the determination after reviewing both sites, said Goodgame, adding that Rackspace was under no pressure to act.

“This is not a constitutional issue. This is a contract issue,” he said.

Rackspace gave Jones until midnight Wednesday to migrate content and find another host. Goodgame said he did not know how long Rackspace had hosted the websites, but he said it did not handle design or content.

“We have about 100,000 customers,” Goodgame said. “We don’t even know what all the sites are.”

Jones and Dove World had agreed to terms on the Rackspace Cloud service, Goodgame said. The policy dictates the suspension or termination of service for offensive content, including material that is “excessively violent, incites violence, threatens violence or contains harassing content or hate speech.”

“We would have taken the same position if it was hate speech against Christians or other groups,” he added.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is one of the few public officials who defended Jones’ right to go ahead with the burning, even as he condemned the idea as “distasteful.”

“The First Amendment protects everybody, and you can’t say that we are going to apply the First Amendment to only those cases where we are in agreement,” Bloomberg said, citing the section of the Constitution that promises freedom of speech.

The U.S. State Department issued a global travel alert because of the potential for anti-American demonstrations if the Quran burning were to have been carried out.




September 2010



Embarassed and disappointed

Written by , Posted in Politics

I am embarrassed. And disappointed. The last year and a half I’ve been watching much of what has been going on in this country from afar. I was mortified by the health care debate, and saddened by the woefully inadequate outcome. Health care is still attached to employment, and for some reason people are content judging those who do not have health care as deficient, as somehow unworthy of the benefit if they do not have a full-time job. I see people who have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to have a job that provides health care actually believe that they alone deserve those benefits, and those without do not. Not having health care is a punishment for ‘not working hard enough.’ If you have health insurance, you are a good person in a worthy job. If you don’t, it is your fault. You are a bad person and thus not worthy of assistance from others.

I am not willing to accept that compassion for others no longer factors into how we interact with our fellow humans. I do not believe that most rich people got there solely by working hard and pulling themselves up by their bootstraps; they had help, whether they are willing to admit it or not. They had a connection through a parent or friend, or happened to be born into an environment that nurtured their growth. Even those salt of the earth folks who begrudge others access to health care because it is too much government assistance gladly take large farm subsidies, and are happy to have the police show up if they call 911. I do not subscribe to the idea that any one person can succeed all on his or her own, and I also do not believe that some deity rewards some people and punishes others based on some perceived work ethic. Many people work very hard and don’t succeed; others pick a good stock and end up rich. I do not believe life is fair, but I also do not accept the use of that platitude as a way to justify unfair and cruel actions. It may be true that life is not fair, but that does not mean we as a country should be actively engaged in acting in as unfair a way as possible.

The issue of health care hit close to home to me, as previous posts describe, but that is not what motivates me to write today. What spurrs me on is the disgusting Islamiphobia that is bubbling up throughout the country, as evidenced by the opposition to the Islamic Center in Lower Manhattan and the proposed Koran burning on September 11.

I posted Mayor Bloomberg’s response to the debate on the Islamic Center, and it is the most eloquent statement I have heard. In spite of all the severe problems with the US constitution and the inequalities present at the founding of the nation (slavery, lack of vote for women), there were some things the framers got right. They did not found the country on Christian principles, and they chose to specifically allow in the Bill of Rights for both freedom of speech and freedom of and from religion. Those who claim to so love the constitution and the framers seem to be unable to grasp this reality.

Some who have discussed the issue of the Manhattan Islamic Center have said that they think the builder has a right to develop it where it is proposed, but that he probably should not. I disagree. I think he has a right, and I think if that’s the real estate that is available within the group’s budget, then build it there. What is missing in this discussion is the fact, the reality that the people who flew the planes on September 11 2001 were not accurately representing the Muslim faith any more than Scott Roeder was accurately representing the Christian faith when he killed Dr. Tiller. Just because people claim they subscribe to a religion and are acting in support of that claim does not mean they are actually representing that religion.


The ‘faith’ of the September 11 terrorists may be what they used as their excuse to murder people, but it is not an accurate representation of the religion. Muslims did not kill nearly 3,000 people that day; assholes with no moral compasses did. That they happened to be Muslim, and believed they were acting in furtherance of their version of that religion does not mean they, the nineteen “men” who destroyed thousands of lives, somehow get the honor of being the poster boys of their religion. That’s not how it works, and it is not what they deserve. 

I am especially disgusted by the Republicans who suddenly care about NYC. I know that September 11 has always been exploited by the GOP, but I find it extraordinary that the same people who spend each day telling me I am not American because I live in a big city on one of the coasts and think gay people should be able to get married suddenly cares about what happens in that city. Either people from New York – including those who support the religious freedoms of all people – are Americans, or they aren’t. If you are not going to take their opinions seriously on other issues, then butt out of this local land use decision. Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, I’m talking to you. And Newt, as I believe Jon Stewart and others have pointed out better than I can, your statement about Saudi Arabia not allowing churches is beyond ironic. We used to be different from such nations because we allowed religious freedom – ostensibly, at least. Now there isn’t even a pretense; either you’re Christian or you apparently don’t deserve the same rights.

This leads me to the proposed Koran burning on September 11. Book burning is an action taken by people who are afraid that their own belief systems cannot stand up to scrutiny. They hide behind these acts of aggression, Burning books is disgusting and childish. It is the action of those who either know they cannot win an argument on facts, or are too lazy to attempt to do so. I certainly recognize their right to act in whatever manner they choose, but I remain gobsmacked that there are people who would choose to act in this way. As I write this I am trying to find some way to not be filled with such anger towards these people, but I am at a loss.

I am embarrassed. And disappointed.



July 2010



From MN Progressive Project: Target Corporation Responds Poorly as News Goes Nationwide

Written by , Posted in Feminism

Target Corporation Responds Poorly as News Goes Nationwide

by: BearBudMN

Last week the news of Target Corporation’s $150,000.00 donation to Minnesota Forward made it’s way around Minnesota.  Particularly Minnesota’s LGBTQ Communities. Three different stories were written in the Twin Cities LGBT News Blog The  There were also two different blog posts here on the Minnesota Progressive Project.  A boycott of Target group has been created on Facebook over the weekend with close to 100 members already signed on.

As of last Friday many of us who started contacting Target about our disappointment over the corporations decision to support Minnesota Forward most likely got a return email that was very much like this one:

Dear Philip Lowe,

Target has long believed that engaging in civic activities is an important and necessary element of operating a national retail business. What’s more important than any one candidate’s stance on a particular issue is how we nurture thoughtful, long-term growth in the state of Minnesota.

To continue to grow and create jobs and opportunity in our home state, we believe it is imperative to be engaged in public policy and the political process. That is why we are members of organizations like the Minnesota Business Partnership, the Chamber of Commerce and many others. And that is why we decided to contribute to MN Forward.

MN Forward’s objective is to elect candidates from both parties who will make job creation and economic growth a top priority. We operate best when working collaboratively with legislators on both sides of the aisle.  In fact, if you look at our Federal PAC contributions year to date, you will see that they are very balanced between Republicans and Democrats. For more information please visit, and view the Civic  Activity page.

Target has a large stake in Minnesota’s future, which is why it is so important to be able to provide jobs, serve guests, support communities and deliver on our commitment to shareholders. As an international business that is proud to call Minnesota home, it is critical that we have a business environment that allows us to be competitive. Our guests, team members, communities and shareholders depend on Target to remain competitive.

Please don’t hesitate to call me at (612) 307-5075 using the reference number 1-452594505 if you would like to discuss this further.

Thanks for taking the time to share your feedback.


Target Executive Offices

Here was my response to that email.


Dear Dylan,

The very fact that Target Corporation has placed a business and it’s corporate interests above the civil rights of individual people, and supported a candidate that is against the very principle’s that Target claims to be in favor of, is unacceptable.

I will continue to no longer support Target Corporation and encourage other members of the LGBTQ communities to follow suit.

I will not accept or tolerate any explanation of what Target has done in this regard, except refusing to further fund Forward Minnesota and Tom Emmer’s Campaign.

In addition to Tom Emmer’s claim against the LGBTQ communities, Tom Emmer is also in favor of reducing Minnesota’s Minimum Wage requirement, which will give more power to corporations to further do damage to Minnesota’s already hurting work force.

I therefore will not accept the answer that I have been given, and now regard Target as a lying ally of the LGBTQ communities.  Come Monday morning, I will begin my communications with the Human Rights Campaign to see if we can make the move against Target a nationalized activist campaign.



That email was followed with the following response.


Dear Philip Lowe,

Thanks for taking the time to share your additional thoughts about your experience. Our support of causes and candidates is based strictly on issues that affect our retail and business interests.

Your feedback helps us understand the changes you’d like to see at Target. Because we’re always reviewing our policies and services, I’ve shared your comments with the appropriate team.


Target Guest Relations

In other words a professionally polite “screw you.”

The news of Target’s decision to fund Tom Emmer’s PAC went beyond Minnesota when I wrote a blog article about it on Pam’s House Blend.  In the comments of my blog post was the following.


Mr. Steinhafel,
I have long recognized Target’s progressive policies toward its LGBT employees and have thusly rewarded it with my business, even in the face of miserable customer service experiences at your XXXX location near my home.  My household easily spends over $1,000 at Target each month.  Due to Target’s heavy support of gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, my household’s spending will now be directed elsewhere.

In 1985 I was a leader in the economic response to bigotry at the ballot box in Houston when anti-discrimination policies of the city were taken to a referendum.  Major financial institutions and other businesses suffered losses of income due to their support of bigotry, though many became enlightened about workplace fairness in the process and reformed their corporate human resources policies.  Twenty-five years later I cannot abide by Target’s betrayal of the trust of LGBT consumers, regardless of the “pro-jobs” rhetoric your firm has proliferated in response to other questions about support for Emmer.

Corporations and politicians are either with me or against me.  To stand lukewarm or conflicted is just as bad as outright hate.

With kindest regards,
David Phillips

And this one:


The following is an email I sent to Target, via their web page. Thanks for the corporate contact and address, as I will also be sending a message directly to the CEO.

For all the good I’ve always heard about Target doing for the local communities it serves, it was quite a shock to read an article about Target giving $150,000 to Minnesota Forward, which supports the gubernatorial campaign of Tom Emmer, an opponent of gay marriage. The article (… states that Target’s response was that “Target supports causes and candidates based strictly on issues that affect our retail and business interests.” I suspect, and hope, that Target is going to find out that this contribution is going to have an adverse affect on your retail and business interests, as it appears that you hopefully will realize that the LGBT community doesn’t like getting stabbed in the back, and will realize the hypocrisy you espouse. I personally don’t do a lot of shopping at Target, as there isn’t one close to me, but I will now make every effort to avoid Target, and let my friends in the LGBT community know what you’re really up to. I don’t think they’ll react too sympathetically with your decision.

And lastly


If Minnesota Forward’s aim is to create businesses and jobs, for the love of God, why are they accepting money from the likes of Target (Walmart lite)…?!

These types of mega-retailers kill local businesses and apparently would rather shell out $150,000 to a political organization than pay their average employees a living wage.


It just so happens that as I was proofreading this blog post, I got a returned phone call from the national office of the Human Rights Campaign.  HRC Press Secretary Paul Guequierre sent me the following statement as he told me that HRC is attempting to work directly with Target over their choice to support Minnesota Forward.


Target has worked hard to create a fair and equitable workplace for its LGBT employees, and should be proud of its leadership in this area. It is for this reason that HRC is very disappointed in Target’s significant monetary contribution to Minnesota Forward, a group supporting the most clearly anti-LGBT candidate for Governor in Minnesota. We have reached out to Target to express our concern over this contribution. While political contributions to support candidates are not a factor in HRC Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index, HRC finds it puzzling that Target would take great steps to support LGBT inclusiveness while simultaneously helping a candidate who shamelessly rejects equality for LGBT Minnesotans.

The news of Target Corporations support of Tom Emmer is also in a newspaper in San Francisco where they are reportedly building a new store there.

How will Target deal with the news that what they have done in Minnesota also affects them in other parts of the country?  We have yet to see.  This is getting very interesting to say the least.


As always, corporations make decisions to support candidates and causes that I may not always support myself. It would be difficult to function in America without patronizing at least some of these corporations. But this? I hope Target reconsiders.



July 2010



That’s dedication

Written by , Posted in Feminism

Google to offer gay staff extra pay to allow for tax inequality with straight couples

By Scott Warren

Last updated at 6:14 PM on 1st July 2010

INTERNET giant Google today began paying its gay staff more than  heterosexual employees in the latest example of its lavish perks culture.

Lesbian and homosexual staff will get extra wages to make up for higher taxes  they have to pay.

Google is already famed as an extremely benevolent employer, giving its  workforce free food, free laundry and five months’ maternity leave on full pay. New payment: Gay Google employees will now be given extra pay to allow for a tax that is not levied on straight employees

New payment: Gay Google employees will now be given extra pay to allow for a tax that is not levied on straight employees

And given the competitive nature of California’s Silicon Valley, where  companies use extra perks to attract top employees, more are expected to follow  suit, experts said.

The search engine decided it was only fair to bump up the salaries of its gay  staff, a spokesman said.

Under U.S. law, when a firm offers health insurance as a benefit for an  employee’s partner, it is tax-free for married couples but taxable income for  gays.

Google will make up the difference in additional pay, on average £650 a year.

The move was announced today and is being backdated to January 1.

The firm will also speed up infertility benefits for lesbian and homosexual  staff and include their partners in its compassionate leave policy.

How many of Google’s 20,600 employees will be affected by the changes is  unclear, but the company’s internal gay group — who call themselves Gayglers —  counts around 700 members. 
The measures only apply to the workforce in the U.S.

Personnel chief Laszlo Bock, Google’s ‘vice president for people operations,’  said the firm decided to act when an employee pointed out the disparity.

‘We said, “You’re right, that doesn’t seem fair,”‘ he said. He declined to  reveal how much the changes will cost Google, which made profits of £4 billion  last year.

The company is renowned for its innovative streak, and others usually follow  its lead.

‘It could have a ripple effect. When you have a high-profile company doing  anything, that tends to get into the mind of the culture, and it can have a  more diffuse effect,’ said corporate benefits consultant Kathleen Murray.

But Google has also earned a sinister reputation thanks to blunders by its  controversial Street View service, which has sent ‘camera cars’ to take  pictures along every road in Britain.

On Wednesday Claire Rowlands, 25, told how she was stunned to see a photograph  of her three-year-old son Louis naked on Street View.

He had been snapped as he played in his grandmother’s garden in Walkden,  Greater Manchester.

Google blurred out the registration plate of a car on the drive of the house –  but the image of Louis, who was wearing nothing but his shoes, was uncensored.




July 2010



Go Iceland!

Written by , Posted in Feminism

REYKJAVIK, Iceland — Icelandic Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir has married her long-term partner, her office said on Monday, making her the world’s first national leader with a same-sex spouse.

Sigurdardottir, 67, married writer Jonina Leosdottir on Sunday, the day a new law took effect defining marriage as a union between two consenting adults regardless of sex.

The two had had a civil union for years and changed this into a marriage under the new law, which was approved by parliament earlier this month.

The new law was celebrated at a church service on Sunday, which was also the international day for homosexual rights.

The prime minister’s office said Sigurdardottir had sent a message to the gathering saying the new law was a cause for celebration for all Icelanders and adding: “I have today taken advantage of this new legislation.”

The Lutheran State Church has long been split on the issue of same-sex marriage and the church congress in April did not unanimously support the new legislation. The bishop of Iceland has urged parish ministers to comply with the law.

Sigurdardottir, who has children from a previous heterosexual marriage, is the world’s only openly gay prime minister but her sexuality has never been an issue in Iceland, which, like the other Nordic states, has a history of tolerance.

Copyright 2010 Reuters.




June 2010





June 2010



US v England – With the diplomats involved, it gets witty

Written by , Posted in Random

From the

Ambassadors bet on USA-England World Cup match

Page last updated at 21:45 GMT, Tuesday, 8 June 2010 22:45 UK

 The US ambassador in London will buy his counterpart a steak if England wins

Diplomats in London and Washington have raised the stakes over Saturday's US-England World Cup clash by wagering a meal over the game's outcome.

The bet was brokered in cables between aides to US Ambassador Louis Susman and UK Ambassador Sir Nigel Sheinwald.

"We will understand if you decline, given the outcome of the last such encounter," a US aide wrote, referring to the US defeat of England in 1950.

A UK aide said Sir Nigel took his steak like that win – "somewhat rare".

'Generous nation'

"Even for such an exceptionally optimistic nation as the United States, I am struck by the confidence with which your ambassador proposes this wager," Martin Longden, press secretary to Sir Nigel, wrote to Philip Breeden of the US embassy in London in an exchange first reported by

"It is testament, I assume, to the generosity of your great nation, since the British ambassador does not anticipate paying out."

Mr Breeden replied: "It is true that our soccer (a fine English word we have kindly preserved for you) history is not as long and illustrious as yours.

"However, as your generals noted during World War II, we have a unique capability for quickly identifying and advancing talent."

British embassy staff, their families and some US acquaintances will be watching the game on a big-screen television at the embassy in Washington.

Roughly one quarter of the embassy staff are American nationals, "so it should make for a lively crowd", an embassy official told the BBC.

"We're not doing anything more grand," the official said. "We'll leave that to the final."



January 2010



We interrupt this self-indulgence for a reality check

Written by , Posted in Random

Okay, I’ve just had the most amazing birthday ever. And in a couple of days I’ll post about it. But as I’m getting my feet back on the ground, and getting caught up on all the news, I’m going into a bit of shock. I’ve seen some articles online, and listened to pod casts, but wow. I can’t believe what’s going on in Haiti. I spent four years working in domestic emergency management, and yet I just can’t imagine dealing with an emergency on this scale. It’s disturbing and heartbreaking and frustrating. 

Some people are suggesting the Haitians brought it on themselves, or suggesting that we shouldn’t help them, and that makes me even sadder. When a man can’t even find it in himself to offer compassion in these situations, how can he call himself a human? I keep hoping as I weed through back articles online I’ll see that things are getting better, but I don’t have a lot of hope for that right now.



October 2009



Wait, what? (courtesy of the BBC)

Written by , Posted in Random

Man marrying woman

Keith Bardwell is happy to marry couples of the same race

A white US justice of the peace has been criticised for refusing to issue marriage licences to mixed-race couples.

Keith Bardwell, of Tangipahoa Parish in Louisiana, denied racism but said mixed-race children were not readily accepted by their parents’ communities.

A couple he refused to marry is considering filing a complaint about him to the US Justice Department.

Mr Bardwell said he had many black friends and frequently married them.

‘No integration’

Mr Bardwell, who has worked in the role for 34 years, said that in his experience most interracial marriages did not last very long and estimated that he had refused applications to four couples in the past two-and-a-half years.

He said he had “piles and piles of black friends” but just did not believe in “mixing the races”.

“They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else,” he said.

He said he had discussed the issue with both black and white people before making his decision.

“There is a problem with both groups accepting a child from such a marriage,” he said “I think those children suffer and I won’t help put them through it.”

I try to treat everyone equally
Keith Bardwell

Mr Bardwell added that he checked the race of the couple in question, 30-year-old Beth Humphrey and 32-year-old Terence McKay, when they first phoned him requesting a marriage licence.

Ms Humphrey, who is white, said that when she phoned Mr Bardwell on 6 October to discuss getting a marriage licence signed his wife told her about his stance.

Mrs Bardwell recommended that the couple see another justice of the peace, who did agree to marry them.

Ms Humphrey said she had not expected such comments “in this day and age” and that she was looking forward to having children with her husband.

American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana attorney Katie Schwartzmann said that her organisation has requested an investigation into Mr Bardwell, describing the case as one of “bigotry”.

She said the Supreme Court ruled in 1967 “that the government cannot tell people who they can and cannot marry” and that Mr Bardwell had knowingly broken the law.

However, Mr Bardwell denied mistreating anyone and said if he oversaw one mixed-race marriage, then he would have to continue to do it for everyone.

He said: “I try to treat everyone equally.”

I’m just . . . huh. Really?