Gay Fresno - Opinion

Opinion

#GOPshutdown

  • Category: Opinion
  • Published: Thursday, 17 October 2013 17:03
  • Written by Micah Escobedo

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The GOP Shutdown of 2013 is officially over. Sixteen days, $24 billion siphoned out of the economy, as well as a slow-down of the economic recovery, record low approval ratings for the Republican Party (lowest in modern history), and the looming threat of default on the national debt finally forced the hand of one of the most ineffective House Speakers in American history, John Boehner. He allowed a vote and got 87 Republicans to join the rest of us in reality to pass the Senate CR, a vote he could and should have held long before the shutdown lasted for over two weeks.

Yep, that's right...after this fiasco and national embarrassment for Republicans, the majority of the Republican caucus (144) in the House voted to keep 800,000 people furloughed from their jobs, cancer treatments on hold, small businesses from getting vital government loans, women and children impoverished and billions of dollars bleeding out of the economy. That doesn't even include their fetishistic willingness to breach the debt ceiling – which does not actually increase the deficit – and send the nation's credibility global economy into free fall and most likely depression.

How has the GOP responded? Well, it's complicated because the Republican Party is deeply fractured and in catastrophic disarray. Tea Party Republicans, all 144 of them in the House and 18 in the Senate, blamed the President for a shutdown that they literally campaigned on and fought hard to get and maintain. Nutcases like Representative Michele Bachmann have gone so far as to say that President Obama and the Democratically controlled Senate "wanted" the government shutdown. Don't you see, America? We didn't shut the government down as a result of our recklessness and extremism – it was all that Kenyan, Marxist's fault!

 

Read more: #GOPshutdown

Cold Feet: I'm Getting Married And...

  • Category: Opinion
  • Published: Tuesday, 15 October 2013 15:03
  • Written by kelleyd

I’m getting married in 3 days and I’m having some reservations.

Not about my betrothed (she’s fabulous!) but rather about what’s going to happen when we come home after saying, “I do”.

We live in Arizona, one of the special states that have both a state statute and a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Here’s the thing: when I come home from California next week – married! – the federal government will see me as married; however the state of Arizona will see my wife and I as legal strangers.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has clarified their rules determining that if the state or country you were married in sees your marriage as legal, then the IRS says you’re married! I’m not sure when the last time I was excited about taxes and the IRS, but it was probably the last time I was thrilled by the clarifying rules from the Department of Labor; who incidentally also explained their use of the “place of celebration” determination versus the “place of residence”.

The “place of celebration” basically says if it was legal where you got married, you are married in the eyes of the federal government. The “place of residence” rule, one’s benefits based on where you live. The Department of Labor cited the “place of celebration’ determinant when it comes to benefits extended to spouses – all spouses. So can I cover my wife under my health insurance? Can I be listed as a spouse on our car insurance?

That’s why returning to Arizona is going to be interesting. There are a lot of unanswered questions in this patchwork of policies, rules, laws and how they’re blended at the federal, state and local levels. The trickle down of the rights and responsibilities of marriage are flowing like honey and not the celebratory champagne I expect.

Remember: this is the law now. It doesn’t matter how you feel about it or what you think about it. It’s the law. So what am I to do when my state government and my job see me as legally single? How far do I push for my rights at work since I live in one of the multitude of states where I can be legally fired for being queer? I don’ delude myself to think that I’m special – my family is not unique. Millions of folks are going through the same thing – being treated unequally under the law simply for who we are and who we love.

We’ve seen the issue of marriage evolve publicly from “gay” marriage to same-sex marriage to marriage equality. We all know that we each have our own coming out process and I guess my government is no different.

Hackin’ The Net

  • Category: Opinion
  • Published: Tuesday, 17 September 2013 16:18
  • Written by Ted Fleischaker

rainbow-pc

Two topics this month, hopefully both of interest...
There's a reason "beta" is the second, not first, letter of the Greek alphabet and that's because it's second, but not usually first-rate. The reason I bring this up is I have had the opportunity recently to try the new (and still in beta testing) operating systems (OS) for both the iPhone and Mac computers. There's a certain honor, prestige or whatever word you want to use about having something first, but after this experience, I will also say there's a heavy burden, too, because not only do you get the chance to be first, you also get to experience anything and everything that can and usually will go wrong. This includes, in the case of the iOS7 for the phones, more lock-ups than the county jailhouse and more frustration than imaginable.

As far as the OS for the computer, all I can say is I hope they get it on track as we did download and put it on one of our Macs (a rather new-ish iMac) and after two very trying days, went back to the previous 10.4 version which we'd purchased a year ago. Not only (honestly speaking here) did we not get the beta of the new computer OS to function well, but this writer, at least, finds the name Apple picked for it — Mavericks, named for a surfing beach in Northern California — the height of stupid. Somehow after Lion, Leopard, Snow Leopard and Jaguar and all the other big cats, we just can't (here in the Midwest, anyway) get our heads around the name of a surfing spot.
Back on topic, as far as the OS itself, we had the biggest frustration when trying to surf (there's that word again) the net as Safari flatly refused to load or operate. Not good for the native Mac browser.

Back to the iOS7 for the iPhone. That works somewhat better, though the word buggy comes to mind, and not the kind that the NSA is accused of planting or the kind that describes my garden most years. These bugs are programming ones and often found when one tries to do something on the phone and it either freezes or shuts down. I think I have seen more apples as the system reboots on my screen in the past 30 days than I have any time since I got my first iPhone years ago!

That said, I do like the new look of the OS and I do think that some aspects are better than the current one. Unlike some friends I have shown it to, I like the motion when one texts now, and the colors do add to its attractiveness. That said, the bugs often keep the camera from hitting its full potential, though when it does decide to work, it's very crisp as anyone who's a friend on Facebook can testify as I tend to post a lot of pics. There's also the new Apple iTunes Radio which while still in trial I find to be interesting. That's a polite word to say nowhere near Pandora yet as they seem to lack the depth of library material, especially for an old geezer like me who wants easy listening or classical and not the hits by Billy and the Bing Bongs or whoever's popular this week. It has potential, but as it's also Beta it seems to have a ways to go.
Read more: Hackin’ The Net

Elizabeth Warren Calls Out the “Anarchists” in Congress

  • Category: Opinion
  • Published: Monday, 14 October 2013 11:14
  • Written by Micah Escobedo

...so about that government shutdown...

Progressive hero and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren gave an epic speech on the Senate floor a few days ago in which she called out the far-right in the House for its extremism. House Republicans, hijacked by the fringe Tea Party, literally championed a government shutdown and many of them campaigned on it ("If we don't get our way, we'll shut it down!"). To them, Elizabeth Warren had this to say:

"You can do your best to make government look like it doesn't work when you stop it from working. You can do your best to make government look paralyzed when you paralyze it. You can do your best to make government look incompetent through your incompetence and ineffective through your ineffectiveness. But sooner or later, the government will reopen because this is a democracy and this democracy has already rejected your views. We have already chosen to do these things together because we all know that we are stronger when we come together.

"When this government reopens, when our markets are safe again, when our scientists can return to their research, when our small businesses can borrow, when our veterans can be respected for their service, when our flu shots resume and our Head Start programs get back to teaching our kids, we will have rejected your views once again.

"We are not a country of anarchists. We are not a country of pessimists and ideologues whose motto is 'I got mine. The rest of you are on your own.' We are not a country that tolerates dangerous drugs, unsafe meat, dirty air, or toxic mortgages. We are not that nation. We have never been that nation and we will never be that nation"

Here's a video of the awesome smack-down – it's a must-watch:

 

 

 

The Word by Sheila

  • Category: Opinion
  • Published: Monday, 16 September 2013 11:14
  • Written by Sheila Suess Kennedy

More and more, I find myself mulling over the question posed by Rodney King in the wake of his horrific beating at the hands of the L.A.P.D. and the ensuing riots: "Can't we all get along?"

Evidently, we can't.

As I write this, a jury in Florida has just acquitted George Zimmerman of Second- Degree Murder in the killing of Trayvon Martin. As a recovering lawyer, I am not prepared to argue with the jury's verdict. For one thing, I didn't watch the trial. And for another, there are elements of a crime that must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt in order to justify a conviction. From the bits and pieces I did see, it appeared that the prosecution was struggling to prove Zimmerman had the requisite criminal intent.
But while it may be possible to absolve Zimmerman of legal liability for Martins death, his moral culpability — and what it tells us about human behavior in the presence of difference — is quite clear.

From all accounts, Zimmerman was one of those pathetic wanna-be macho types that gay and lesbian folks — and especially gay men — encounter all too frequently. He'd wanted to be a police officer and had been rejected on more than one occasion — rejections for which we should all feel grateful. He compensated by buying a gun (Feelings of inadequacy are an all-too-common reason for owning a firearm.) and by participating in his neighborhood watch where he could exercise an authority he did not otherwise possess.
In the television interviews that followed the shooting but preceded his trial, his self-righteousness and embarrassing swagger were on display. This was not an individual who was self-reflective. He displayed no remorse about taking the life of an unarmed teenager whom he had voluntarily stalked, despite being told by the police dispatcher to "go home and let us handle it."
Read more: The Word by Sheila