Official trailer for Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing

Official trailer for Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing

The documentary on the Dixie Chicks, the most successful female band ever until one of them speaks 12 words. NBC has refused to play an ad promoting the documentary opening in New York and Los Angelas.

Willie Nelson said in Time Magazine, August 7, 2006 Canadian edition, that he was surprised while overseas last year he didn't get into trouble when he was asked about our wild Texas Cowboy President ...
"He's not from Texas, and he ain't a cowboy, so lets stop trashin' Texans and cowboys."

It got a little chuckle but I didn't get run out of the country...

The Dixie Chicks had the number one song in the country when one of them spoke out. In a wave of unfettered war fever, the Dixie Chicks were pulled from the airwaves as big radio networks jumped on the Republican war wagon. The Dixie Chicks became another victim of the ongoing war to control the minds of Americans.

This year the Dixie Chicks had to cancel a tour through the USA south and mid west due to lagging sales. They took those dates to Canada. It may not surprise people to know they are playing to sold out venues in this country.

In the land of the free, where free speech is available if you agree with President Bush, all the Dixie Chicks need do to be among the top again is Shut Up and Sing, right?


Not quite Marriage, just the same ...

“a history or tradition of discrimination — no matter how entrenched — does not make the discrimination constitutional.” - New York Court of Appeals Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye

The New Jersey Supreme Court today ruled against same-sex marriage and in favour of civil unions affording all or most of the benefits of marriage without the name.

“Despite the rich diversity of this state, the tolerance and goodness of its people, and the many recent advances made by gays and lesbians toward achieving social acceptance and equality under the law, the Court cannot find that the right to same-sex marriage is a fundamental right under our constitution,” the court decision said.

The decsion went on to add ...
"But the court also said that denying same sex couples “the financial and social benefits and privileges given to their married heterosexual counterparts bears no substantial relationship to a legitimate governmental purpose.”

A victory for sure but far short of the needs of same-sex couples. The court gave the New Jersey State Legislature six months to write a new law permitting same-sex unions and affording them the rights referred to above.

Read the decision here via the New York Times.


God's biker says bring it on...

People appointed to deliver services for government must deliver those services to any Canadian legally entitled to those services. Seems to me to be reasonable expectation yet some people are trying to use religion to refuse that service to people their faith disapproves of.

Challenging some Canadiands rights to access of government services is Manitoba resident Kevin Kisilowsky, a 36-year-old former marriage commissioner. Kisilowky refused to perform same-sex marriages as required by the Province of Manitoba (Setember 16, 2004 commissioners were informed that they were expected to perform same-sex marriages.) in his role as a marriage commissioner. Such commissioners are appointed by the province to perform civil marriage ceremonies. Kisilowsky refused to resign.

Kevin Kisilowsky says his freedom of religion rights have been trampled on as a result. He took his case to the Manitoba Human Rights Tribunal and lost, now he has taken his case to court.

Kisilowsky told the Legislative Committee on Bill C-38 on June 9, 2005,
"On September 15, 2004, I was a qualified marriage commissioner. On September 16 they were telling me to resign when, because of my religious rights and freedoms, I said I cannot accommodate homosexual couples. So my rights are already being stripped away, and this bill hasn't even been passed."

His case is that the government protects the rights of churches and clergyman but not an individuals religious freedom.
"If I were to marry homosexuals I would be making a public statement that I am willing to sacrifice communion with God in order to bow down to ungodly and worldly demands...The Manitoba Provincial Government picked this fight. The biker in me will shove back hard, but I did look to God's word when searching out what he would have me do. I found it in the book of 1 Samuel where we see the story of David and Goliath. It was there that God spoke and said "Kevin, when a giant picks a fight with you….throw a rock at his head". Bring it on!" - Kevin Kisilowsky in opening statement in ManitobaCourt of Queens Bench

The Kisilowsky case if successful would have huge ramifications on delivery of government services. Government employees could refuse to receive and or handle custody disputes or same sex adoptions, perhaps refuse to perform transactions paying for health services like HIV medications or counselling, social workers could refuse to provide benefits to same-sex couples and or unmarried spouses or their families.

No the Kisilowsky case should not succeed in court. Religious groups are free to refuse to marry same-sex couples, free to bar them from membership. Governments are not free from doing so and must uphold the rights of all Canadians including same-sex couples rights to marry.

South of the border blogger Marry in Massachusetts suggested ... Kisilowsky might exercise his Christianity by thumbling through the New Testament. He might even get to Matthew 22:21 or Mark 12:17 or Luke 20:25, all of which include, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's."

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That damn marijuana

How did I miss this...

Canadian troops in Afghanistan have come up against almost impenetrable forests of 10-feet-high marijuana plants when chasing down the Taliban. Canada's Armed Forces are being stalled in their efforts to rid the countryside of those Taliban forces who have planted forests of marijuana.

I can see the horror on the faces of the front line troops when they come upon these dangerous plantations of weed. Just say no doesn't work here. Now kidding aside, I can see the potential danger to our guys over there. The plants won't burn, they are the ultimate weed. The Taliban are hiding in there and taking pot shots at Canadian soldiers.

I don't envy the difficulties. Just imagine how terrifying it would be if the Taliban had done some home work and opened up Beer Store franchises.

There is no truth to the rumour the Department of National Defense (DND) is bar coding each plant to ensure our boys and girls aren't trying to clear the field the old fashion way. The DND is however looking at the potential business opportunities given the costs of the Harper Government's military expansion.

I suggest that our ground folks over there harvest what they can and help supplement their salaries which are abysmal by any standards.

Thanks to Morons.org for pointing me to this story. You can find their headlines in the side bar.

Just so you don't get me wrong I support our forces. I don't want anything bad to happen to them, I wish all of them to be safe from the dangers of war and to return home alive and in one piece. I don't support the type of mission we are on. I wear red on Friday.


Give me Liberty, but not Sunday

It is Liberty Sunday in Boston and across the United States of America live sat feeds and some were likely pay per view are being beamed out. Liberty to be free to practice your religion, liberty to live in an America that harkens pleadingly back to the good ole days when queers were in the closet and women used coat hangers and kids were to be seen and not heard.

This is a day when the Religious Right takes time out from feeding the poor, counseling the families of loved ones killed in Iraq, haranguing Islamic folks (cause nothing like hating queers brings fundamentalists of any strip together) for their religion, to focus on us queers entirely. I wish I could say I was touched by their concern for me and others like me.

They do a good job, they even put some fabulous sugar icing on the day, talking about protecting the family, now who wouldn't want to protect families. To prove their genuine concern for families they held a big summit earlier this fall.

The Family Research Council headed by Tony Perkins, hosted the 2006 Values Voter Summit. The summit provided background on the issues facing families and churches in the 2006 election. I may not need to spell it out but for some of you, at the top of the agenda was gay marriage and gay rights and just why these items are ripping families and America apart.

Given all this, any moral American ought to see the writing on the wall if not in the heavens above. The reverend Dwight McKissic who keeps of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, on the straight and narrow spelled it out even more clearly at the summit, just in case some Americans missed it. Speaking on gay rights he said,

"I believe it's from the pit of hell itself, that this movement is inspired, that it has a satanic anointing. The civil rights movement was inspired and given by the Holy Spirit, birthed in the church and bathed in prayer. But the gay rights movement, I believe, was birthed and inspired by the Antichrist."

McKissic didn't mince his words, gays are inspired by the Antichrist. Its no wonder these folks are so hell (sorry) bent on stopping those hoMOEsexxxuawll's and that party of the donkey. They prefer to get lovin from the Gays Out Party.

Today's event even had a bit of irony attached to it. The gay fearin' fest was held at the Tremont Temple Baptist Church yet all the posters promoting the event had a picture of the Old North Church also in Boston. The Old North Church is a national historic site, a picture of what America should be, how Americans should see themselves, a symbol for freedom.

However unlike the leaders of today's event, the Old North Church actually welcomes and affirms gay rights. The Old North Church is leading in a way the Religious Right cannot hope too.

Just as one Robert Newman, climbed the steeple, and hung the two lanterns which set into motion, the War for Independence, the church's affirming position of gays is a beacon of resistance, of the fight to come, one of thousands of similar lights across America the Religious Right is trying to put out, just as the English tried to do 230 some years ago...


telemarketer on call from the looney land

a humourous break for you all unless you are a telemarketer that is...

Now just pretend you are a telemarketer and this happens to you!

kudos to caiterwauling for finding this bit and to Chimera's Cavern for pointing me that way!


Green Queen, no not that kind!

My sister needs your support. She has been collecting things for years now. You can't see her stuff at times for other stuff. 30 coffee cups, 30 travel mugs and she would have more of those if I hadn't borrowed some and then promptly lost them.

Her stuff is all cool, in fact she has single handedly outfitted many kitchens, apartments and community group gatherings. I feel her pain, as you will too when you visit her blog, Maureen's Garden and read about her effort to see her real stuff. She even gave up on the Conservatives and I suspect has been supporting the NDP for some time now.

She has two big things happening, a couple of crushes in which she makes it clear she is a Green Queen, not a you know, a gay queen, and then her expressed wish to get rid of the clutter in her home.

I suspect she has already started to remove things, to give them away. Though it would likely take a couple of moving vans to get it all out.

Can you readers go to her blog and encourage both the crushes and the declutter effort. If anyone deserves to be happy or smiled upon by the gods, whoops I mean god, its Maureen. I would say she was my favourite sister but then my other sister who reads my blog would read that, and you, I mean I wouldn't want to distract anyone from supporting Maureen in becoming free of all that good stuff she has.

Now just one thing Maureen, you are keeping that Elvis album I gave you right?

Tar on my Heels

America is a land of contradictions. The land of the free, the brave, you can say or do what you like, that is if you aren't gay, black, hispanic, or female.

So imagine my surprise when doing some online research for a trek planned for November to the Old North State, to the city of Durham North Carolina, to find a check box for info on Gay and lesbian (GLBT) culture. I was taken aback for a second, pleasently enough however.

I checked the box and now will see what they have to send me. I will be sure to let you know. Now the reason for my surprise is the reason I am going to North Carolina in the first place. I will be visiting friends of mine there and they have indicated a far less friendly place for us queer types. I am sure they are relaying the real state of affairs.

Now back to the surprise, what will they tell me about GLBT culture in the Tar Heel state. How many clubs, groups are there? How do I contact them? Is it safe to be out at night or for that matter to go to the local diner for lunch? Do I have to pack my plaid shirt and sh-t kicker boots? Or can I wear something more fashionable without fear of ridicule or worse?

Durham may in fact be an island of progressive people, even if it is limited in its progressiveness. It may be a shining light if you will for hope. They obviously believe there is a queer market and they want a piece of us.

Ontario you may not be surprised to know does this as well. But then in the land of the "good" you expect that. The government here is even advertising the benefits for GLBT health Care practioners relocating they practice here.

Back to NC and the attitude toward GLBT folks, its interesting to note that in this year's congressional race, incumbant Miller is up against Vernon Robinson, the indefatigable yet unsuccessful conservative candidate for public office in North Carolina. Mr. Robinson, (I wonder if he is related to Svend, he moved to Canada as a kid from the USA), raises lots of money to run his anti gay and smear campaigns. His ads are pretty bad even by American standards.

The money Robinson raises is largely raised outside the State of North Carolina. He has obviuosly struck a cord with some folks that know he won't be elected but give him money so his "hate" agenda can be broadcast far and wide in this Democratic house seat.

So first hand I will experiance Durham North Carolina and tell you what I think of the place and maybe just maybe this will be a good news story or I will come back with tar on my heels.


A boy strikes down Goliath

What do Bob Ney, Tom DeLay, Duke Cunningham, Jack Abramoff and Mark Foley, all good Republicans have in common other than being in the same party. They all have been driven from power within a year.

Why were they driven out, because of a perfect storm of ethical and legal challenges. The party dependent on morality as defined by "America" has all of those guys exposed in ethical, sexual, or financial scandals.

Its ironic that the crime of sending off so many young Americans to be killed in Iraq, only two or three years older than the recipient of sexy emails, is too complicated to resonate with people. Its wrong in both cases. A sixteen year old boy has struck the biggest blow against the Bush Government. Three words, SICK, SICK, SICK sum up the Republican record very well.


No Queer blood here, thanks


This article will offend some readers

If you don't want my blood in an emergency, then push the back button on your browser now.

The South African National Blood Service has yielded to pressure in allowing some gay people to donate blood. Those that have been celibate for six months can give blood. South Africa where almost six million people have HIV/AIDS, gays make up a very small proportion of those numbers.

Still the blood service feels they are being reasonable in limiting blood donations from gays to those who haven't had any sex in six months. They have missed the whole point. No other population group is excluded from donating blood. In fact they recently changed the rules so that black blood can be mixed with white blood. Horror of horrors.

The decision in South Africa actually highlights the problems and the systemic discriminatory practice being applied around the world and here in Canada against gay men. The six month no sex and you can give blood rule is meant to ensure the gay man has been prescreened for HIV, a standard not applied to any other group.

The stupidity in this position is that all blood is screened for HIV and other diseases and viruses after it is collected. The wrong in it is that it implies all gay men, even those that practice safer sex, are too much a risk to accept their blood. Instead of using a more practical tool such as prescreening for unsafe sexual or drug injection activity, gay men are forbidden to donate.

I lived with my HIV positive partner for many years. I was HIV negative. Negative means I did not have HIV and positive means my partner had HIV. We had lots of sex, right up to the days before he passed away four years ago. I was tested for HIV every three months. Every test came back negative. Every test I have taken since my first one in 1990 has come back negative, even my last one just three weeks ago.

We practiced safer sex methods. In fact I am willing to bet that gay men use condoms more than any other group in society. 77% of us use condoms during sex according to surveys conducted in British Columbia. I would ask if there is any other group out there that can match that number. I seriously doubt it.

Yet despite the facts, hysteria and hypocrisy rules the day. In order to rebuild confidence in the safety of our blood supply gay men were vilified without any scientific basis to support such a ban. Gay men have been paying the price since. So have blood collection services.
Now a huge pool of perfectly good blood is left circulating in my body and others while hospitals are screaming for donations every long weekend and all summer long. "Warning only two days blood supply on hand." You have all heard these warnings.

I like to think of myself as a Canadian, that I actually contribute to making the community I live in a better place just because I am here. Most people think like that. The difference is you can feel that way and I and many other gay men who want to contribute when it’s needed are shunned.

Its time the Canadian Blood Services reversed their ban on gay men donating blood. Its time that we remove the barrier that prevents us from performing what is considered by many as a civic duty, and guess what, it would be perfectly safe to do so.

One good thing that has come out of the South African National Blood Service partial lifting of a complete ban on gay men donating blood is that it has finally exposed what a con job has been played on us all. I am expecting some Conservative holy terrors to take issue with what I wrote. Good. A spike in numbers is what I need to encourage me. I am doing what I set out to do, right Bruce?

I expect better here in Canada. Don't you....

P.S. I won't be committing to being celibate for six months in order to donate so forget that possibility, even if all of you agree to a rule that says anyone that has had sex in the last six months can't donate. There is only so much I am willing to give up.
P.S.S. I have been receiving emails from many readers for months and months now. Thank you for your kind comments yet even you in your hundreds of emails did not bring me back. Thanks to Bruce at Canuck Attitude for reminding me of why I started a blog in the first place. It’s good to be in the saddle again... If me being back is not good news blame Bruce or push the back button on your browser.

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This article is also posted on PEJ News where I have been a regular contributer in the past.