Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mississippi: It's 1963 All Over Again

I've had one of those nasty summer colds for the past few days and, for me, the only way to feel better is to get some sleep. So, to that end, I have been dosing myself with Nyquil--which tops the cough and the stuffiness--and sleeping like a baby. The only side effect for me is the odd dreams I have in a Nyquil-induced stupor.

Take last night's dream, for instance. I dreamt there was a Black president! Can you believe that? And it was 2012! That's some crazy shiz. Luckily, when I woke up, everything was back to normal and it was 1963 again, which makes this story seem, well, still bad, but not out of 'normal,' for the South....in the 60s

There was a couple in Jackson, Mississippi, who had planned a wedding; it was the biggest day of their lives and they wanted everything to be perfect. But, the church where they wanted to hold their ceremony turned them away because they're Black.

Well, duh. It's 1963, dontcha know. I mean, at least it must be in Mississippi.

Charles and Te'Andrea Wilson fell in love, he proposed, and they set a date. They found a church--the predominantly white First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs--bought a dress, rented a tux, sent out some invitations, and were all set to go, until the day before the wedding the pastor of the church, Dr. Stan Weatherford, told the couple he'd gotten some bad news from the congregation.

Charles Wilson: "The church congregation had decided no black could be married at that church, and that if [Weatherford] went on to marry her, then they would vote him out the church." 

How Christ-like. No black people can marry in the church, and if the pastor dares to break that rule he's out of a job. What is even nuttier is that Charles and Te'Andrea often attend services at this church, though they are not members.

Dr. Weatherford was stunned by the announcement from, what he calls, a small minority against the black marriage at the church: "This had never been done before here, so it was setting a new precedent, and there are those who reacted to that because of that."
He went on to perform the wedding at a nearby church.

For their part, Charles and Te'Andrea don't understand why the church suddenly turned them down and wonder about the “Christianity” of the congregation: "I blame the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs, I blame those members who knew and call themselves Christians and didn't stand up," said Charles Wilson.

Church officials are now saying they welcome any race into their congregation and will hold internal meetings on how to move forward, should this situation occur again.

Here's how that goes down: you believe in God, God isn't racist, perform the damned wedding.

Don't make me think this is 1963 again.

Must Have: A Colorful Vacation Spot .... But First ....

A Programming Note:
After taking the trip up to Washington DC last week to participate in the Keep The Promise March on Washington, now I am headed to that other Washington--in the PNW, The Dog's Mother's neck of the woods--to participate, along with my brother and sister, in celebrating my father's birthday in Sumas. It may not be as vibrant as these spots, but time with my wackadoo family--and I mean that with love--it's bound to be quite colorful
So, while I'm away, play nice, and enjoyed some pre-planned stuff. New posts will appear sometime next Monday.
Now we resume our scheduled blogging, a Must Have, Colorful Vacation spot.....
Riomaggiore, Italy
The eye often wearies of red brick, gray steel and beige stone. For this, the solution is house paint. When an entire neighborhood assumes the colors of the rainbow, even the front gardens pale in comparison. Throughout the world, there are ten particularly stunning towns that resemble freshly opened packages of crayons – offering a respite from our dismal urban surroundings and reminding us that our personal environments need not be so bland.
Willemstad, Curacao, Netherlands Antilles
Developed in the mid 17th century, the stunning Dutch-inspired colonial architecture of the capital of the Netherlands Antilles reflects all the colors of a tropical ambiance.
La Boca, Buenos Aires, Argentina
The most colorful barrio of Argentina's capital, La Boca is a neighborhood settled by Italian immigrants and modeled after the seaside city of Genoa; its architecture, therefore, is strongly European.
Wroclaw, Poland
Wroclaw, located in the south-west, is Poland's most charming city. The town square dates back to the 12th century, and its 14th century brick Gothic architecture is particularly inspiring. Like most of the country, it has a strong Roman Catholic affiliation. Thus, cathedrals of celebratory hues line the streets.
Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway

When a town is situated on an island in the icy white Arctic, a little color is much appreciated. The brightly painted homes of Longyearbyen are illuminated by a backdrop of snow-dotted imposing mountains. For an archipelago hostile to the growth of flowers and trees, a colorful town reminds visitors that life still thrives.

Nyhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark

This 17th century waterfront is situated on a picturesque canal; wooden ships sleeping lazily on its gentle waves.
Guanajuato, Guanajuato, Mexico
Founded in 1554, Guanajuato is a small city with a wealth of Spanish colonial architecture. Translated, its name means “Hill of Frogs,” because frog is the Mexican symbol of wisdom, but the green buildings inject a more obvious meaning.
Lima, Peru
Unlike many of the tourist-driven towns on this list, Lima is very much a working city. Unique in its mixture of poverty, native and imported cultures and varied development, Lima is especially noted for its different architectural styles. Spanish baroque, French neoclassicism and art nouveau buildings make the city an arena of colors and art.
Bryggen, Bergen, Norway
The Bergen waterfront, which locals call Bryggen, meaning wharf or quay, dates back 900 years to the Middle Ages. During this time, Bryggen in Bergen was a thriving port for international trade. Today, the parallel wooden buildings lining the harbor are popular restaurants located adjacent to a fish market.
Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
Though not multicolored, Jaipur explore shades of pink. Nicknamed the “pink city,” Jaipur, the capital city of the desert state of Rajasthan, features architecture of pink sandstone – from grand structures and forts to tiny markets. The town looks even more surreal with elephants, camels and cows strolling past the pink buildings.
Painting a building a vivid color contributes greatly to the beautification of a town. A colorful facade has the power to turn an ordinary town into one bucolic and charming. If not quite ready to throw a bucket of purple paint on your home, visit these pretty towns and brave seeing the world in brighter color.

That's Our Nikki: She Has One Of Her Friends Give Her Daughter A State job

Our beloved [?] Guv’nah, the dishonorable Nikki Haley has seen to it that at least one South Carolinian has gotten a job in these tough economic times.
Her 14-year-old daughter is working in the State House gift shop, which is run by the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, a state agency whose director, Duane Parrish, is appointed by Haley.
She appoints a man who hires her children.
That’s our Nikki, working for all of South Carolina, starting first with her friends and family.
Parks, Recreation and Tourism officials have referred all questions by South Carolina newspaper, The State, about the teen’s job, including whether or not it was in the agency’s budget, to the governor’s office, but, not so surprisingly, Nikki Haley isn’t talking about it.
Instead, her office is chastising the newspaper for even asking the question: “The State newspaper ... should be ashamed for printing details of a 14 year old’s life and whereabouts, against the wishes of her parents and the request of the chief of SLED, who is ultimately responsible for her security. We have nothing more to say.”
Foot stomp. Head snap.
But then, because even her own party wondered WTF she was doing, Nikki pulled a Mittsy and did The Step back, giving some of the information requested; although she didn’t speak to The State, she gave her tidbits of uselessness to The Post and Courier of Charleston
Haley’s spokesbot, Rob Godfrey, told the paper that Haley’s daughter usually works 20 to 25 hours a week and is paid $8 an hour, the same as all entry-level workers at the gift shop. He also said the hours of other gift shop workers were not cut to accommodate the daughter’s position.
A Parks, Recreation and Tourism spokesman says that Haley’s daughter is one of seven to 12 workers who clean and stock shelves, and admits that the job was never advertised, calling that standard procedure for seasonal positions.
How do you hire folks unless you advertise the availability of a position? Or, do you just send a list to Nikki and she finds someone she knows to fill the space?
Haley’s office has not responded to questions about nepotism.
State law prohibits public officials from causing the employment of a family member to a position they supervise or manage, but, and here’s the glitch, while Haley does not supervise the gift shop, she does supervises the agency that operates it.
Dick Harpootlian, chairman of the S.C. Democratic Party says the issue isn’t about the daughter it’s about Nikki’s continued lack of judgment and being a complete moron.
Okay, maybe that last bit was just me.
Harpootlian said: “You don’t use your position to get your daughter a job. It’s not about the daughter. It’s about lack of judgment by the governor [and the] appearance of impropriety doesn’t seem to bother the governor.”
Of course not, because she doesn’t believe in accountability. Or transparency.
And yet, in South Carolina—where we are blessed with the nation’s fourth-highest unemployment rate and a governor who boasts of cutting state spending—Nikki’s hiring of her own daughter does raise questions of favoritism.
And, when, during an impromptu press conference last week, Robert Kittle, a WSPA-TV reporter from Spartanburg, asked Haley about her daughter working at the gift shop, and she snapped back, “Y’all are not allowed to talk about my children.”
But Kittle pressed on, asking Haley if the story really wasn’t about nepotism and she snapped, again: “None of that is true,” Nikki whined. “That’s what makes me angry. Not only is this a story about my daughter, it’s a story that is based on false facts and none of that is true. Do not attack my children. Do not even talk about my children.”
Kittle said the issue wasn’t about the daughter but about what Nikki had done.
 “I’m not going to talk about it anymore,” Haley said. “My children are off limits.”
Unless they need a job, apparently, but….
That’s our Nikki!

Monday, July 30, 2012

A Mass Exodus Over The Firing Of Gay Scout Member

Although I was born in Mississippi, we left when I was about six months old, and I grew up in Sacramento, California, so I feel a strong bond with my home town, which makes this story all the more special.
This week, responding to the continued homophobia, discrimination, and bigotry of the Boy Scouts of America [BSA], 10 members of a Sacramento area summer camp staff walked out after Tim Griffin, a gay staff member, was fired.
Naturally, the BSA is denying that Griffin was fired for being gay. Their “official” story is that he was let go because he failed to heed repeated requests to dress appropriately for camp.
Oh, Tim had painted his fingernails and wore an earring.
How, um, gay?
But one Senior official also said there were complaints about his mannerisms and behavior.
You know, gay mannerisms, I guess.
Griffin, a 22-year-old Eagle Scout, believes he was fired for being gay: "I definitely think that the reaffirmation of the anti-gay policy played a role in my termination."
But his wasn’t the only vacancy at camp. After that week’s campers left, 10 members of the 30 member staff resigned in support of Griffin. And, while decision to fire Griffin came from the Golden Empire Council—program director, Glen Goddard said, "What it came down to was his failure to comply with management regarding a uniform issue. We gave him plenty of warnings"—those fellow staffers all say Griffin was fired simply because he was gay.
"It was absolutely about his sexual orientation, no question about it," said Graham Littlejohn, an Eagle Scout and the third-ranking staff member at camp until he joined Saturday's walkout.
Griffin is considering his legal options, but he may not find any help in California's anti-discrimination statutes because a 2000 U.S. Supreme Court decision found that the BSA was able to successfully argue that their anti-gay stance is an essential part of the membership; the BSA also bans atheists and agnostics.
Griffin said most people at the camp have known for years that he is gay, and it only became an issue this summer when an adult leader him aside to tell him he was being too gay.
Too gay. Oh, yeah. The nail polish, cuz nail polish is gay.
At first, Griffin said camp director Joel Adema had stood up for him, but over the summer Adema also asked him to stop wearing the nail polish. Right after that request, more than half the staff, male and female, joined Griffin in wearing nail polish in a display of solidarity.
But visiting adult leaders followed up with complaints to Sacramento-based Scouting leaders, and Scout Executive Jim Martin said the council received four separate complaints. The tension over the firing of Griffin–the longest tenured staff member–peaked at a Friday night campfire when the camp program director gave a speech ablaut tolerance. He resigned the following morning over Griffin’s firing.
Griffin admits that he knew when he first joined the Scouts that he was gay, and he knew of their anti-gay policies. But, he said, counselors at summer camp had a different message: “The thing that really kept me going was Camp Winton. It was full of enthusiastic role models … the staff taught me it was OK to be who I was."
It’s a shame that those in power at the BSA don’t get that message.

A Dip In The Shallow End......

While cruising the blog-o-sphere this morning, I stopped in at the junction, Nutwood Junction, where the always brilliant Beth was listing her Top Ten Reasons why she loves the Olympics. And, well, naturally, I couldn't help but add that, for me, #11 was Ryan Lochte's dimples. I'm shallow like that.
So, since I had already dipped into the shallow end, I thought I'd share some of my Hottie Olympians. I mean, it's not like it isn't hot enough already in Smallville. eh?
So, let's rip....and in no particular order.....
Alexandre Despatie
Canada, diver and perennial favorite
Cameron van der Burgh
South Africa, swimmer
Camille Lacourt
France, swimmer
Danell Levya
USA, gymnast
Giuseppe Lanzone
USA, rower
Hugo Parisi
Brazil, diver
John Isner
USA, tennis
Ky Hurst
Australia, swimmer
Teddy Riner
France, judo
Terrence Boyd
USA soccer
Yohan Blake
Jamaica, track-and-field
David Oliver
USA, track-and-field
James Magnussen
Australia, swimmer
Brazil, soccer
Nick Symmonds
USA, track-and-field
Oscar Pistorius
South Africa, track-and-field
An inspirational hottie
Pascal Behrenbruch
Germany, decathlon
Trey Hardee
USA, decathlon
Troy Dumais
USA, diver
Ryan Lochte
USA, swimmer,
Gold for Best dimples

The Mittsy Chronicles: An Olympic-sized Douche

Pity poor Mittsy....I giggle at that.

I mean Mittsy went to Great Britain to show what a great president he'd be in dealing with foreign powers, and decided to shove both Italian loafers in his mouth at the same time. An Olympic feat for most of us, but, well, just another day for Mittsy.

His trip was meant to illustrate his command of the international relations, but it has become, as one newspaper, The Guardian, said:  "Mitt Romney's Olympics blunder stuns No. 10 and hands gift to Obama."

The Guardian went one further, and began running live Tweets about RomneyGaffe2012: "Romney in London....It's a little comic relief. Kind of like Mr. Bean, only he's an American."

Mittsy in the UK has been a d-i-saster from the moment he arrived, and one of his--and I use the term loosely--"advisors," said that Romney's "Anglo-Saxon heritage" meant he could forge closer ties to Britain than Obama.

Cuz, you know, Obama's Black, y'all.

Now, Mittsy did try The Step Back from those remarks, and instantly started more drama when he suggested that, maybe, just days before the start of the Olympic Games, that London wasn't ready: "You know, it's hard to know just how well it will turn out....There are a few things that were disconcerting, the stories about the private security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials; that obviously is not something which is encouraging."

Oh, but he did.

Then he questioned whether or not the British people had the "spirit" for the games:  "Do they come together and celebrate the Olympic moment? That's something which we only find out once the Games actually begin."

Foot.Meet mouth.

Prime Minister David Cameron was not amused: "You're going to see beyond doubt that Britain can deliver...We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course it's easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere." AKA Salt Lake City.

Suh-nap. In Wimbledon-speak: point Mister Cameron.

And Cameron wasn't the only one dogging Mittsy's idiotic, and really, derogatory, statements. London mayor, Boris Johnson, said, at the Games' opening ceremonies: "There's a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we're ready. Are we ready? Are we ready? Yes we are!"

And 50,000 people cheered Johnson, while the rest of the world booed Mittsy.

And, again, Mittsy did The Step Back, AKA The Flip Flop. After a meeting at 10 Downing Street, with the prime minister, Romney tried to spin his stupidity: "I am very delighted with the prospects of a highly successful Olympic Games. What I have seen shows imagination and forethought and a lot of organization and I expect the Games to be highly successful."

Doesn’t sound like high praise to me, it sounds like he wants the world to know about "his" Olympics, because, with an ego the size of a Swiss Bank account, Mittsy is all about Mittsy.
And, naturally, the White House joined in with the Mittsy Smackdown: "In keeping with our special relationship, the president also made it clear that he has the utmost confidence in our close friend and ally, the United Kingdom, as they finalize preparations to host the London Olympics."

But Romney's Olympic Douchebaggery didn't end with just The Games. He also spoke openly about meeting the head of Britain's top-secret MI6 intelligence agency, something which is considered a lapse in protocol, causing even the most conservative Brits to sound the anti-Mittsy alarm.

"Who invited him?" The Daily Mail asked, calling his visit "humiliating." The paper's political editor, James Chapman, provided a Twitter play-by-play of Romney's very bad day, one of which called Romney "worse than Sarah Palin."

Okay. I need a giggle break. Worse.Than.Palin. Two birds. One stone. God, I love the Brits.

Another Tweet from Chapman said Romney was "devoid of charm, warmth, humour or sincerity."

Honey, you are preachin' to the choir. I, and a lot of my fellow Americans, have been saying that for, well, years.

The Daily Mail also reported another gaffe, calling it "cringe-worthy" when Romney referred to British opposition leader Ed Miliband as "Mr. Leader," while other reports said he used the term because he'd forgotten Miliband's name.

Oh Mittsy. It's nice that the world gets to see what we've known all along. You aren't presidential. You don't know what to say, how to say it, or even when you should be speaking, and to whom.

An Olympic-sized douche, you are, Mittsy.