Monday, March 30, 2009

Playing 20 questions

So many questionnaires are being cranked out these days that, albeit many are circulated via the internet, many others are sent out on dead trees (paper). Regardless of delivery method, some thoughts:

A candidate recently bemoaned the fact that candidates are receiving not only questionnaires from the old standbys, newspapers, unions, etc. seeking info, to aid in their endorsement process, but the number of issue/activist organizations, rights groups, environmental groups,etc. are also sending out their questionnaires. And a third, rising sector that's jumping onto the Questionnaire bandwagon is the blogging community.

I applaud efforts to get as much info as possible into voters' hands so they can make smart decisions in the polling booth.

However, I do sympathize with candidates, especially those seeking "wide" offices, e.g. county wide, state wide. They are deluged with so many questionnaires that they must delegate the answering of these to others. Some questionnaires are not tailored to specific offices, they are a generic list of questions, some not applicable to the office being sought. Finally, some questionnaires have an inordinate number of questions, to the point of absurdity.

Be honest, do you read responses to questionnaires?
Do you search out organizations' candidate questionnaires to learn about those running for office?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I wonder wonder who

Stop wondering and start asking:

The League of Women Voters is partnering with the PA League of Young Voters and KDKA-TV to present a televised mayoral debate on April 15 at 7:00 PM. The public is invited to submit questions in a video or a written format in advance of the debate. To do so go to the KDKA web site

To Upload Questions For Pittsburgh's Mayoral Candidates go to:

Join us on Facebook

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour Today!

This year, the world's first global election is taking place, an election between earth and global warming. It's not about what country you are from, but what planet you are from. Your light switch is your vote. We need one billion votes for earth, because our planet is worth saving. Vote Earth by simply switching off your lights for one hour and join the world for Earth Hour.

Today, March 28th, 8:30-9:30pm

More at

And, locally from Pittsburgh City Councilman Bill Peduto:

Pittsburgh Shuts Off the Lights

Pittsburgh Joins International Effort to Combat Global Warming

PITTSBURGH – Under the leadership of Pittsburgh City Councilman William Peduto, the City of Pittsburgh will join millions of people around the world tonight in an international effort to combat global warming, “Earth Hour.”

In 2007, the first Earth Hour occurred in Sydney with 2.2 million people turning off their lights in a show of support for efforts to fight global warming. Last year, 50 million people joined the effort and lights were shut off at the Golden Gate Bridge, the Colosseum in Rome, the Sydney Opera House and the Coca Cola billboard in Times Square.

This year, Councilman Peduto worked with leaders across the community to have Pittsburgh play a key role in this important show of support. A coalition of education, business, labor and community groups have joined together to show Pittsburgh’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint. The following organizations have agreed to participate by turning off lights in their buildings, turning off signs atop downtown skyscrapers, and sending letters home to employees, board members, and students.

Chatham University
Carlow University
University of Pittsburgh
Carnegie Mellon University
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Mercy Hospital
PNC Bank
BNY Mellon
Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council
United Steelworkers of America
The Falk School
The Environmental Charter School
ePittsburgh Parks Conservancy
Group Against Smog and Pollution
Carnegie Science Center
The City of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh’s participation in Earth Hour has been a community wide effort,” said Councilman Peduto. “I am proud of the many individuals who have taken a leadership role at the local level in promoting this global initiative.”

What: Earth Hour
When: Saturday, March 28, 2009 8:30 PM – 9:30 PM


Friday, March 27, 2009

We Shall Overcome- The Fight Ain't Over Friends

....We who believe in freedom cannot rest
We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes

Struggling myself don't mean a whole lot, I've come to realize
That teaching others to stand and fight is the only way my struggle survives

We who believe in freedom cannot rest
We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes

- from "Ella's Song" by Sweet Honey And The Rock

I was taking Benjamin, my six year-old, and Seth, my one year-old, swimming this morning when "We Shall Overcome" floated through the speakers of my mini-van, courtesy of the CD "Peter, Paul, and Mommy, Too." I hesitated for a moment, fully expecting Benjamin to voice his blatant opposition to this rather slow-moving melody, favoring "The Fox Went Out On A Chilly Night" or "There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly," instead. But then I heard it- my son's small yet powerful voice- singing that incredible chorus, to his little brother, as if the words were merely the breaths he was taking that moment. And the chills spread from my spine, down my arms, and into my soul, as Ben then pronounced that "Martin Luther King was good for our planet, Mommy, because he made things good for white people and black people. And now white people and black people can be together." And I wanted to shout to the universe that this little boy, who makes me crazy nearly every second of everyday, gets it- and I'm so proud to know that he has garnered this amazing reality of "rightness" from the world we have built for him, in this house, within these walls.

But outside these stones which make-up the home we reside in, the fight is not over, and the battle not won, until all people on this planet have the civil rights that belong to them, based on the fact that they are human beings, not on their orientation or what the Constitution says or what our "fore-fathers" intended when they designed it. We cannot rest until we don't have to justify the laws of our land, to our children- the laws which restrict gay and lesbian human beings from the civil right of betrothing themselves to another human being whom they love- the laws which will reek of shame to the future generations who will wonder how we, as a civilized Nation, could have condoned such injustices, as we did to people of color many decades ago. And every time this question hits the ballot boxes, we must march ourselves, along with our children, to the polling place, where WE CAN overcome, and show young people that THEY CAN overcome, by turning their backs on the hatred, which is still a part of our current generation, and making their voices heard.

And let the history books, which attempt to "teach" our children what was important in our Nation's past, laud people like Harvey Milk, as a soldier of human rights, along with heroes such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, John F. Kennedy, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.

A future of justice and peace relies on the truths we speak and the actions we take, in the presence of the young people we bring forth into this world.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

She did what?

I just took this quiz in today’s P-G and got quite a few answers wrong. Plus I just LOVE LUPEC.

A Pittsburgh women's history quiz

It’s more fun than filling out/reading the incessant lot of inane quizzes coming out of Facebook, e.g. What are your top 5 favorite brands of toilet paper? Back in high school what were the 11 best places for major make out sessions? (Hey, if you like these quizzes, more power to you, just leave me alone).

Monday, March 23, 2009


Um, pu-leeze?

Like our whole goal in life should be to tiptoe around a man to catch him?

Granted, there is some decorum to be followed in texting, depending on how well you know someone, but this is ridiculous to perpetuate the notion that A WOMAN'S UNIVERSE REVOLVES AROUND GETTING A MAN! By being a quiet, little, submissive, Stepford-standard-model.

OK. I'm done.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Jefferson County Methodist Church: Hypocrisy

A United Methodist pastor has continued to minister at two Jefferson County
churches even though he has been awaiting trial since August 2007 on charges
that he molested two women at a mental health center.
The Rev. Michael Clair Garvey, 59, of Worthville, also faces a lawsuit filed by one of those women. He serves the Coolspring United Methodist Church in Coolspring and Ramseytown United Methodist Church, Knoxdale.
No church members are involved in the cases pending against him. He was arrested for molesting two clients and a counselor at Brookville Behavioral Health, where, according to court records, he also was a counselor until July 2007.

Ah. So good to see the Methodist Church looking out for the vulnerable. Ann Rodgers has the story in today's Post-Gazette.

The Rev. Robert Higginbotham, assistant to Bishop Thomas Bickerton, of the
United Methodist Conference of Western Pennsylvania, knew of the charges. But he
said no one had complained to church officials about the Rev. Garvey and that
the conference was waiting for the matter to be resolved in court.
"There is a presumption of innocence until guilt is proved," he said.
"The fact that this has gone on for a year and a half gives some indication to the seriousness of the allegations. I would think that if there was some hard evidence, this would not drag on."
So Reverend Higginbotham is a lawyer with an extensive background in judicial proceedings? I don't think so.

Here comes the part where they disparage the alleged victims character.

"They have set court dates again and again and the folks who made the
allegations never show up," the Rev. Schwab said. "We are just waiting to see if
there is any truth to the allegation."

But according to the judge's summary, two accusers testified at a hearing in December 2007 and the third in January.

Apparently, the church leaders aren't even paying attention to the facts in the case. Well done. Good to know that the faithful little Methodist women who belong to his two churches are being looked out for with such rigor and scrutiny by their church leaders.

Garvey's lawyer plays "why did they wait so long? card.

The Rev. Garvey's attorney, Blair Hindman, said his client is innocent of the
charges. "We're dealing with two women ... who, a year and a half after these
actions allegedly occur, come forward to make accusations," he said. If it was
true, "you would think someone would have complained about it earlier."
Here's someone who actually thinks criminal proceedings based on sexually victimizing people under his power and influence warrants being proactive to protect others in similar vulnerability.

The appropriate church reaction would have been to immediately suspend him,
and for the bishop to go to each church and ... at a bare minimum say that
anyone who has any information that could prove or disprove the allegations has
a moral duty to speak up," said David Clohessy, national director of the
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, which responds to victims from all

The fact that no complaints have come from the Rev. Garvey's churches
proves nothing because victims are reluctant to accuse pastors, he said.

What? People are reluctant to accuse pastors? Where on earth does that revelation come from? Is there any precedent for pastors victimizing their flock? Hmmm.

The Methodist Church in Jefferson County sucks. Does this disgust you? Sick of the hypocrisy of churches blasting the LGBTQ community for being the anti-Christ while they provide cover for sexual predators?

Bishop Bickerton
Reverend Higginbotham
Reverend Schwab
Reverend Garvey

This is just a pathetic backwater good old boys club attempt to preserve the power of the pulpit no matter the risk to the faithful. These so-called leaders should writhe in shame at their failure to balance the needs of their church members with the rights of Reverend Garvey. What kind of message does this send to women in the Methodist Church?

The message that your church won't believe you if you bring clerical abuse to light. Period.

They won't believe you and they will even say so in the leading newspaper in the region. They are not protecting you and your families from potential predators garbed in clerical robes.

They didn't learn a damn think from the Catholic abuse scandal.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Gay families more likely to live in poverty than opposite sex families

A recent study published in the Washington Blade reveals that lesbian and gay families are more likely to be living in poverty than opposite sex families (the study did not include bisexual and transgender families because of the limits of the data).

The analysis found that 7 percent of lesbian couples are living below the
poverty line, compared to 4 percent of gay male couples and 5 percent of
opposite-sex couples.

The study also found that after “adjusting for a range
of family characteristics that help explain poverty,” same-sex couples are
“significantly” more likely to be poor than opposite-sex married couples.

Also, the study found that children of gay couples are living in poverty at
a rate that is twice as much as the children of straight married couples.

The Williams Institute compiled the information by looking at the U.S.
Census data from 2000, the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth and the
California Health Interview Surveys from 2003 and 2005.

This is a particularly striking finding given that conventional wisdom is the gay families are more affluent, typically because they are less likely to have children. The study busts that myth.

The issue of delivering human services that are inclusive and accessible by these families is even more relevant give that this data is pre-recession. Strengthening the safety net for gay and lesbian families is complicated by multiple factors, including social stigma and bureaucratic limitations.

For example, families that rely on domestic partner benefits for health insurance must pay federal taxes on that benefit because the federal government does not recognize that relationship. That can equal thousands of dollars in taxable "income" for the person receiving the benefit.

However, my experience suggests that gay and lesbian families use the extension of domestic partner benefits to measure an organization's commitment to equality. Another indicator is the inclusion of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in an organizational non-discrimination policy (and practice). A third is the prominence of openly gay staff members. These indicators are part of an informal evaluation someone like myself would use when referring gay and lesbian families for services.

This data is important. If we want to reach all families struggling with the reality of living in poverty in our region, we have to understand who those families are. Developing services that are respectful and inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity is very important.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


(about time someone just said it flat out)

Meghan McCain - Size 8 Is Not Fat
Posted: Mar 16th 2009 4:00PM by Jacki Donaldson
Filed under: Diet and Weight Loss, Celebrities and Entertainment

Meghan McCain is not fat. The 24-year-old daughter of Senator John McCain is a size 8. And while she admits to fluctuating up to a size 10 during her dad's presidential campaign, she is not overweight. I'm sure conservative political pundit Laura Ingraham knows this deep down. Still, Ingraham threw out the weight card recently, pegging McCain as a heavy girl.

Here's how the fat hit the fan: McCain blogged in her column at "The Daily Beast" and a spoke in an interview with talk show host Rachel Maddow about Republican pundit Ann Coulter's too-extreme views. Ingraham got mad and responded by mocking McCain in a "Valley girl" voice and implying she's too plus-sized to get a role on MTV's "The Real World." Now, McCain is talking back.

On today's "The View," McCain said she can't possibly understand why a woman would comment on another woman's weight. "Why are we so obsessed with weight, why?" she asked. It's bad form, no matter how you look at it. When McCain writes about politics and the reaction is "she's fat," it implies she's not fit to write. And what kind of message does that send to her young readers? A bad one.

McCain tells all in a public and very personal message on "The Daily Beast." Among her comments: "The question remains: Why, after all this time and all the progress feminists have made, is weight still such an issue? And in Laura's case, why in the world would a woman raise it? Today, taking shots at a woman's weight has become one of the last frontiers in socially accepted prejudice."

It's happened to Oprah, Jessica Simpson, Hillary Clinton -- even Kelly Clarkson after she appeared last week on "American Idol." And remember when Tyra Banks sported a bikini on stage after her beach body was scrutinized? Just as Tyra told her critics then, McCain told "The View" hosts this morning that those making her weight a matter of national news can, simply put: "Kiss my fat a**!"

McCain says there's no place for weight criticism in 2009.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Invite to Bill Peduto's Re-election Party

I have known Bill Peduto for 10 years. I whole heartedly endorse him!

He steadfastly supports getting a more diverse group of people involved in the
political process and generously gives his time and knowledge to these efforts.

Bill is also a committed supporter of women's rights - he stood with us on
correcting the police department's staff rules on domestic violence.

Date: Friday, March 13, 2009
Time: 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Location: Schenley Ice Rink, Banquet Room, Overlook Drive, Schenley Park
Cost: Free

By phone: 412.361.6113 or email:

What: Help Bill kick off his campaign, we'll have food & drinks AND you can
skate, for free, if you desire.

Everyone's welcome, bring your friends, your kids, your (nice) neighbors...


Just in case some of you didn't know.

I thought you should.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Smoke Detectors

It is spring forward day, clean and check your smoke detectors.
Smoke detectors are the first line of defense to alert you and
your family of a fire in your home.

The question often arises as to what type of smoke detector to purchase or use? Currently there are two types of smoke detectors that are the most popular; Ionization and Photoelectric.
What is the best? Ionization and Photoelectric work differently and react differently depending
on the type of fire in a home. A smoldering fire with much smoke, photoelectric smoke
detectors may react more quickly. With flaming fires, Ionization smoke detectors may react more quickly than they would to a smoldering fire. Since you never know what type of fire will occur in your home, it is best to have both types installed in your home. There are smoke detectors available that include both types of sensors in the unit, they are a bit more costly, however, you never know what type of fire may occur in the home.

Friday, March 6, 2009



i got mine from utah savage. a helluva blog!

Something's rotten in Lawrenceville

Full disclosure: I am a volunteer on Susan Banahasky's campaign for District Magistrate.
MARCH 5, 2009
Disorder in the court endorsement

Thursday, March 5, 2009

It's official

I mean, if it's in the Post-Gazette it IS official, isn't it?

"Lynn Cullen gets WAMO talk radio gig"
Thursday, March 05, 2009
By Adrian McCoy, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"Talk host Lynn Cullen is returning to the airwaves.
Starting Monday, she'll host a two-hour talk show on WAMO-AM (860). It will air Mondays through Fridays from 5 to 7 p.m."

Later in the article it says:
"Ms. Cullen's fan base has been very vocal during her absence."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Dan Onorato's Silence on Gay Issues is not "moot"


Let me just say this. If HB 300 becomes law and our community gains statewide civil protections in the areas of housing, employment and public accomodation, it will be a good thing.
However, it is shortsighted to celebrate that avoiding a county vote on this issue -- especially any public commitment from our Chief Executive -- is some sort of auxillary victory. It is most decidedly not, especially when Dan Onorato gets to run for Governor without doing anything for gay people.
Electing a social conservative to follow in the footsteps of Ed Rendell is not going to be very good news if you aren't protected by the privileges of race, gender, sexual orientation or class (or any combination of those). No human rights ordinance can protect us from that.
Is it completely unrealistic to ask Chief Executive Onorato to make a show of good faith on any one gay issue over which he holds sway? Just one, Dan. It doesn't have to be the HRC. Just do one thing.
My God, why is this so unreasonable?

Monday, March 2, 2009

SUNSTAR Women's Music Festival

What: 1st annual SUNSTAR Women In Music Festival, featuring performers, workshops & special events. Local & nationally known artists will perform.

When: March 5 – 7

Where: Kelly Strayhorn Theatre

Info: 412.363.3000 ext. 107

How Much: $40 for a festival pass

All the info you could ever want on the event at: