Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Architecture Wednesday: Tresarca

Tresarca by assemblageSTUDIO:
“Nevada is a state of two worlds, one of glitz and glamour on the Las Vegas Strip which seeks to transplant imagery from around the globe to mesmerize the minds of 40 million tourists. While the latter develops its architecture from local materials, whose vernacular represents function over form.
At Tresarca, the materials develop a layering of mass as you move from the basement to the private realm. Each layer is representational of the stratification of the nearby Red Rock Mountains. Change of materials provides the variety of textures associated with the rock formations. Crevices between the masses form an oasis where landscape and water cool the space. The mesh screen provides both a protection from the harsh sun on the interior spaces and a play of shadows among the forms.
Blurring of the line between inside and out has been established throughout this home. Space is not determined by the enclosure but through the idea of space extending past perceived barriers into an expanded form of living indoors and out. Even in this harsh environment, one is able to enjoy this concept through the development of exterior courts which are designed to shade and protect.
Reminiscent of the crevices found in our rock formations where one often finds an oasis of life in this environment.”

Take A Moment and Sign Your Name For AJ Betts ... and Others

Yesterday I reposted about AJ Betts, the young man who endured torment and bullying at school until he finally took his own life — see that post HERE

I told his story again because the bullying didn’t end upon AJ’s death; he wanted to donate his organs to help others who might need them, and while his heart, liver and lungs helped save a few lives, the Food and Drug Administration [FDA] declared that, because AJ was gay and may have been sexually active, his eyes could not be donated — see that post HERE.

The policy of the FDA was established some 30 years ago during the early, panicked, “It’s a gay disease” days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and it’s well past time the policy was changed. So, I was pleasantly surprised to find a comment on that post from AJ’s mother, Sheryl Moore: 
"God bless you for blogging about my son's story. I appreciate it so much. If you and your readers oppose this outdated FDA regulation, I would urge you to PLEASE sign this petition [at Change.org]:
Change the policy of automatically excluding homosexualsfrom donation of organs and tissue, and blood donation.
Thank you, and keep-up the good work. Together, we can create change!"
So, why don’t y’all take the next second to click that link and sign that petition, in AJ’s memory?

It’s a good thing.

Black People Are Registering To Vote In Ferguson and The GOP Calls It 'Disgusting'

Is it any wonder why Michael Brown was murdered in Ferguson?

I mean, the population is mostly black, but the mayor is white, as are five of the six city council members; and apparently only three of the 53 Ferguson police officers are black.

It’s quite clear the black community in Ferguson is underrepresented in both city government and on the police force. And there is an effort, in the wake of Brown’s murder, to change that; Ferguson has a 12% voter participation rate.

There is a massive drive to register black voters in Ferguson and not everyone is happy about that because, as Matt Wills, the Executive Director of the Missouri Republican Party seems to suggest, blacks vote for Democrats and whites vote for Republicans.

In an interview with Breitbart News, Wills seems really poised off about the voter registration booths popping up in Ferguson:
“If that’s not fanning the political flames, I don’t know what is. I think it’s not only disgusting but completely inappropriate.”
No, Wills, it’s actually trying to make sure that the black community is not only represented in government, but that the black community has a voice and is heard, especially in a place where they are the majority being governed and policed by the minority. But then Will calls the murder of Michael Brown a tragedy for everyone:
“This is not just a tragedy for the African American community this is a tragedy for the Missouri community as well as the community of what we call America. Injecting race into this conversation and into this tragedy, not only is not helpful, but it doesn’t help a continued conversation of justice and peace.”
It’s a tragedy for the Brown family; it’s a disgrace for this country, because, once again, we have a young black, unarmed man being gunned down in the street for no apparent reason except for being on the street and being black.

And trying to get the black community involved in politics, represented in government, represented on the police force, giving them a voice in their own community is the best thing the people of Ferguson can do in the memory of Michael Brown.

And it’s telling how afraid this makes the GOP.
via NCRM

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Lorraine Fleming of Cake Pros Says Jesus Told Her Not To Bake For The Gays

It’s happened again: WeddingCakeGate.

This time it’s Lorraine Fleming, the owner of Cake Pros in Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania who has refused to bake a cake … bake a mother-effing cake … for a same-sex wedding because she says it violates her Christian right to bigotry, homophobia and just plain discrimination.
And I, for one, am so sick of this shiz.

It all started when Jennifer and Bethany Petrich wanted a cake for a vow renewal ceremony and Jennifer’s mother, who was planning the event, scheduled an appointment with Cake Pros to taste some cakes. During the conversation it came up that it was a cake for :::gasp::: two women, and a couple of days later, before the appointment, Lorraine Fleming called to say that Cake Pros — 'pro' is short for professional which does not apply to this particular business — would not bake a cake because they don’t ‘do’ same-sex weddings … or vow renewal ceremonies.

Lorraine Fleming used the ‘Christian’ excuse for denying service, and then added the she had … wait for it … it’s rich … “talked to Jesus for two weeks” and that because the cake was for a couple of Lesbians Jesus told her not to bake the cake.

Yup, she's saying that Jesus said, Oh hell no.

Here’s the deal, Cake Pros … and Jesus , if you’re listening and actually said what she says you said … you are not being asked to participate in the wedding; you are not being asked to condone it; you are not being asked to sanctify it, dance at it, celebrate it or even like it. You are being asked to do what you do: bake an effing cake.

And it doesn’t matter what the people who order the cake and pay for the cake do with it once it leaves your shop. These women could take it out in a rowboat and set fire to it and it’s not your business.

It’s.Not.Your.Business. Your business is to bake cakes.

Jennifer and Bethany took to Facebook to let everyone know about their story … as folks should when a public business refuses services to them … and the bakery has received a lot of attention. Lorraine Fleming says some of her employees have been harassed and that, too, is wrong.

Go on and spread the word that Cake Pros won’t sell cakes for same-sex weddings, and talk about Lorraine Fleming all you want, but her employees do not set policy, or make decisions; hell, her employees might have loved baking that cake because, you know, they’re there to work and get paid … for baking.

Lorraine Fleming has said she sorry “as far as hurt feelings" and then, naturally, played the I have gay folks in my family card, but this is about religion and the Baby Jeebus and if the Bay Jeebus said Don’t Serve The Gays, well, she’d probably tell her gay family to go away, too.

Cuz that’s Christian love, y’all.

And for those of you who say, “Why not just go to a different bakery” well, I agree. But I also think the word should be spread that a public business is discriminating against people based on sexual orientation.

I mean, would we be acting as if Jennifer and Bethany are over-reacting if they happened to be a Black heterosexual couple refused service? No, because that’s a crime, but discriminating against The Gays is still legal in much of the country, and unless, and until, we point out every single business owner who hides behind religion to refuse service, our fight will never truly be won.

Rant over. Soap box stored away for another day.

Except … oh yeah … if you live anywhere near Cake Pros, try a different bakery.

Whaddya You !@#*% Mean You Can't Swear In Mother@#!&*% South $#*@ Carolina?

Last week Danielle Wolf was at her local North Augusta, South Carolina Kroger store when she was overheard telling her own children to, ahem, “Stop squishing the f**king bread.”

And she was arrested for it. Hands cuffed behind her back, and taken out to a patrol car and placed in the “rear caged area” for dropping an F-bomb in the bread aisle.

Danielle Wolf denies that she was speaking to her children, and said she was talking to her husband instead but, under a local city ordinance, a person commits “disorderly conduct” when they “[u]tter, while in a state of anger, in the presence of another, any bawdy, lewd or obscene words or epithets.”

Man. If that was the law at my local Kroger I’d probably be on Death Row by now for foul language in a food store.

Some folks are arguing that Danielle Wolf’s arrest is unconstitutional because in 1971, in the case of Cohen v. California, the Supreme Court stated that “the State has no right to cleanse public debate to the point where it is grammatically palatable to the most squeamish among us.”

Unconstitutional, sure; stupid, definitely.

Still, I might start checking myself while squeezing melons at the grocery store this week because, well, South Carolina … 

Even After Death AJ Betts Is Being Bullied For Being Gay

A little more than a year ago I first wrote about AJ Betts; he had become ‘Another One’ on this blog; another young LGBTQ youth who took his own life after constantly bullying and torment at school made him think going on for even one minute more would be unbearable. See that post HERE.

And just months before taking his life, AJ decided to become an organ donor, wanting his organs to be put to good use when he died. But, sadly, even after death, AJ’s being bullied again because, even although he kidney, liver, heart and lungs were given to people who needed them, his eyes will never be used.

AJ’s eyes were rejected because of a thirty-year-old Food and Drug Administration [FDA] regulation that came about at the height of the AIDS epidemic; it stated that would-be donors were ineligible to donate certain tissue if they’re believed to have a “risk factor” for communicable diseases.

Now, no one knows if AJ was a “risk factor” because no one knows if he’d been sexually active in the five years preceding his suicide. But, being a young gay man, he was automatically excluded from donating certain tissues; in fact, gay men are banned for life from donating blood because there is still the stigma of AIDS being a “gay” disease.

AJ’s mother, Sheryl Moore, finds it sad that people cannot get “the life-saving assistance they need because of regulations that are 30 years old” and she hopes that by telling AJ’s story will help to change those decade’s old regulations.

Ironically enough, the FDA does allow donations from heterosexuals who have slept with an HIV-positive person or commercial sex worker after one year, which makes absolutely no sense. Heterosexuals can get HIV/AIDS; they do contract the virus. But because AJ Betts was gay, even in death he’s being treated as less than.

Just like he was by the kids in his school. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Facebook Financially Supports Anti-Marriage-Equality Candidate

After Utah's attorney general resigned—and was later arrested bribery charges—Utah Governor Gary Herbert appointed Sean Reyes, a Republican Party official, to serve out the AG's term. Reye’s time in office began just ten days after a federal court ruled that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, so the first thing Reyes did was to begin his defense on inequality based on sexual orientation. He hired a private law firm to assist in his defense of the ban and vowed to spend $2 million in taxpayer money — can y’all afford that, Utah? — to do it.

He also petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to issue a "stay" halting the same-sex marriages in the state, and thus leaving in limbo the 1300 couples who had married legally in the state. Reyes then issued a statement saying the stay was needed because, with the recognition, and legality of same-sex marriage, there “is a likelihood — indeed, a certainty — of irreparable harm to the State."

Naturally, he did not say what that harm might look like because, well, liar. He then dismissed those 1300 couples and their legal marriages by calling them "interim marriages.”

Why all this talk about Reyes? Well, just last week Facebook — and ALLEGED LGBT ally — donated $10,000 to help Reyes win election and return as Attorney General of the state.

And when folks began questioning the donation, a spokesman for Facebook replied like this:
“Facebook has a strong record on LGBT issues and that will not change, but we make decisions about which candidates to support based on the entire portfolio of issues important to our business, not just one. A contribution to a candidate does not mean that we agree with every policy or position that candidate takes. We made this donation for the same reason we’ve donated to Attorneys General on the opposite side of this issue – because they are committed to fostering innovation and an open Internet.”
You cannot have a strong record on LGBT issues and then give money to a candidate who not only works against LGBT issues, but calls the legal marriages of 1300 couples “interim marriages” and treats them as though they don’t count, don’t matter.

You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Facebook, for saying you’re one thing and then proving your another through your actions and your campaign donations.

Funding a candidate who is aggressively working to deny equality to a community you say you support is the lowest of the low. You really need a ‘Hate’ button for that.

Go to Change.org to sign a petition asking Facebook to donate an equal amount to Reye’s opponent.
via NCRM

WTF? Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber's on-again-off-again babysitter, out and about in two different outfits.

in one, she seems to be wearing the teapot cozy from my grandmother's house while in the other she's channeling Julia Roberts' Hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold from Pretty Woman.

Angel or demon, even she can't seem to decide, but they're both a couple of WTF's anyway.

Ferguson: My Two Cents

I normally have a great deal of respect for the police; those men and women who risk their lives each and every day to “protect and serve.” But I also know that, like in almost every area of society, there are the good cops and the bad cops. There are cops who are over-zealous; cops who profile; cops who target.

And I know that, in some cases, and probably far too many that I’d care to think about, the police act and react differently to a situation based on the area, the community, and the color of the skin involved.

I am quite certain that, were a police officer to point his gun at me and I were to raise my hands — in that universal symbol of surrender and proof that I do not have a weapon — I’d live another day.

Not so Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri.

Sure, a lot’s been said, and then unsaid, about this situation. There are stories, he said and she said and they said, and who said, from all sides, but the fact remains that another young Black men is dead in what seems almost like an epidemic in this country.

Are Black men not allowed to wear hoodies? Are they always suspect? And when they surrender are they always shot?

It appears so. Sadly, and that’s the real issue.

The police in Ferguson were out of control that night, that's clear, and they continued running unchecked for the first few nights that followed; they did things they would possibly never do to a white man in a white suburb; that’s clear. You may not believe it, but you’d be wrong, because, try as I might, I don’t recall a lot of stories where white kids are shot and killed for carrying Skittles and wearing hoodies, and I don’t see a lot of newspaper reports of young white men surrendering and being shot and killed.

I just don’t see it.

And while people can say the police in Ferguson were just doing their job — serving and protecting — it seems quite clear, by any number of witnesses, that Michael Brown, an eighteen-year-old Black man, was murdered on the street.

Sure, there was some kind of kerfuffle between Brown and Darren Wilson, the cop who shot him, but it appears the facts — given by any number of witnesses — state that, while Brown was running away from police they continued shooting at him, and when he turned around, raised his arms in surrender, and to prove he had no weapon, he was murdered in the street.

And then left there. No call to 911; no call to report the shooting. A young man dead in the street and nothing happens ... no calls ... no reports.

Afterwards, the Black community — which accounts for the majority of the citizens of Ferguson — began rioting, and, yes, maybe some were looting. I have never understood how breaking into a store and stealing a TV shows my anger at police, or anyone other than the store owner, but that’s just me. What happened next, however, was surreal...

The local police, of St. Louis, reacted as though this were some terrorist attack and began firing rubber bullets and tear gas even into crowds that had peacefully gathered together to protest Brown’s death. Again I can’t see this happened in a white community; I cannot see police, in riot gear, firing recklessly into a crowd of white citizens who are marching in protest; I cannot see police in riot gear, assault weapons, and assault vehicles, rolling through a white community to “keep the peace.”

Finally, after several days of unrest, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon stepped in and took the local police out of the equation — possibly thinking they were too close to the situation since it was one of their own that shot and killed Michael Brown — and placed the state highway patrol in charge of the situation.

The next night it was quiet in Ferguson.

But people are still thinking about why this happened, and how this happened, and why it happens again and again around this country. If Michael Brown was doing something stupid, even something illegal, even something to provoke a cop into shooting him, you cannot argue that what happened to Michael Brown had nothing to do with his skin color.

I know for a fact that had it been me, or any other white man on the street that night, in any town in America, and I had turned toward police officers, my hands in the air, I would still be alive today.

Not so for Michael Brown, and that’s the issue we need to discuss.