2008
01.27

MSNBC: Some Mexican women lose right to vote —Move to respect indigenous rights opens door to discrimination by males

SANTA MARIA QUIEGOLANI, Mexico – Women in this Indian village high in the pine-clad mountains of Oaxaca rise each morning at 4 a.m. to gather firewood, grind corn, prepare the day’s food, care for the children and clean the house.

But they aren’t allowed to vote in local elections, because — the men say — they don’t do enough work.

It was here, in a village that has struggled for centuries to preserve its Zapotec traditions, that Eufrosina Cruz, 27, decided to become the first woman to run for mayor — despite the fact that women aren’t allowed to attend town assemblies, much less run for office.

The all-male town board tore up ballots cast in her favor in the Nov. 4 election, arguing that as a woman, she wasn’t a “citizen” of the town. “That is the custom here, that only the citizens vote, not the women,” said Valeriano Lopez, the town’s deputy mayor.

Rather than give up, Cruz has launched the first serious, national-level challenge to traditional Indian forms of government, known as “use and customs,” which were given full legal status in Mexico six years ago in response to Indian rights movements sweeping across Latin America. . .

Normally I’m a strong proponent of indigenous rights, but I think the men in Ms. Cruz’s village are using their “customs” as a cover to keep not only Ms. Cruz in her place, but all of the women in their community.

If I find out any info on how folks can support the cause of women’s rights in this community, I’ll let you know.

2008
01.27

RedStater: FREE or Low Cost Healthcare In OKC Area

It’s a good list and I appreciate Redstater for posting it.

I do disagree though with his allegation that liberal bloggists won’t post the information because it doesn’t help their political agenda. That is pretty absurd. I agree with Redstater that it is tremendous that these agencies are out there, but I also know that the need is so huge that these agencies can barely put a dent in the problem.

I can personally testify to this because a couple of years back I sought the help of some of these agencies, as I was very sick and needed to see a doctor, but also very broke. While I did find one clinic that could see me, the clinic wouldn’t have been able to see me for several weeks. I couldn’t wait that long. Thankfully I had family that I could contact to borrow money from to see the doctor, but if I didn’t have family I would have been stuck showing up the ER and hoping for the best.

I’m 100% supportive of agencies providing these services, but let’s not kid ourselves and pretend that the need of the poor for affordable healthcare is actually being met, because it isn’t.

2008
01.27

JohnEdwards.com: Speaking event on Tuesday, January 29th

You’re invited to join John Edwards at an event in Tulsa!
January 29, 2008 – 8:45 a.m.
Special Event with John Edwards
TWU #514 Hall
11945 E. Pine St.
Tulsa

2008
01.24

MAPJ.org: February 2-3: Kansas GI Rights Workshop

February 2-3: Kansas GI Rights Workshop

MAPJ (Manhattan, KS Alliance for Peace and Justice) along with other community organizations, is sponsoring a workshop on February 2 & 3 to train attorneys, social workers, clergy, non-profit personnel, social service providers, teachers, and concerned citizens in providing confidential, accurate information on US military regulations and practices to service personnel, veterans, potential recruits, and their families.

The workshop will take place at the Manhattan Unitarian Universal Fellowship, 481 Zeandale Road (K-18 Highway East of Manhattan).

The workshop will include the following themes:

* Introduction to Military Law
* Structure of Military
* Administrative Discharges
* Army AWOL Defense

Content will focus on education and appropriate responses concerning issues of discharges, DEP (Delayed Entry Program), hazing, AWOL/UA, harassment, discrimination, sexual orientation, and conscientious objection. The ethics of helping military personnel with these issues is imbedded throughout the content of the program.

Continuing Education Units Availability

Three hours of ethics information consistent with requirements for social worker CEUs. Lawyers can earn eight Continuing Law Education credits.

Workshop Schedule

* Saturday, Feb 2 – 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
* Sunday, Feb 3 – 1:00 PM – 3:30 PM
* From 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM trainers will work with those participants interested in establishing a local hot line.

Registration Costs

* Lawyers/Social Workers: $40
* Clergy, Non-Profits/NGOs, and Interested Individuals: $25
* Registration includes lunch on Saturday and extensive resource materials.

Presenters

* James Branum, private practice attorney in military law, Oklahoma City. He has also worked with the Oklahoma Committee for Conscientious Objectors and is on the board of the Military Law Task Force of the National Lawyers Guild.

* Luke Hiken, attorney with a history of work as a draft counselor with the SDS, helped establish the Military Law Project in Monterey, CA, and has represented many GIs in courts-martial, administrative discharge hearings and federal court proceedings for over 30 years. Member of the Steering Committee of the Military Law Task Force of the National Lawyers Guild.

* Marti Hiken, civilian military counselor and legal worker. Currently co-chair of the Military Law Task Force of the National Lawyers Guild. Also was director of the NLG Prison Law Project and chaired the NLF Native Committee for some years.

* Barbara Gehring, co-pastor of the Manhattan Mennonite Church and active in MAPJ. Experienced as a clinical social worker working with victims of traumas. Will be speaking on post traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues frequently faced by soldiers returning from combat. Will also discuss techniques for talking/working with panicky or stressed GIs . . .

2008
01.24

OK, I know my regular readers think that I must have jumped off the deep end, but I heard an interesting interview a few nights ago on the Derek and Romaine Show (on OutQ 109 on Sirius Satellite radio) with the person behind the website, PhagsforPhelps.com, Josh Kilmer-Purcell.

The basic argument that Josh makes on his website (and in an op-ed column in Out Magazine) is the same argument that persuaded me back in 2002 to understand that even the more “loving” forms of homphobia, are still hateful. (click here to read a post I wrote back in 2006 about my conversion from gay hating to gay loving)

Here’s one bit that really lays it out very clearly…

From: Out.com: Donate to the Partridge Family of Hate — Our columnist founds the Phags 4 Phelps Dephense Phund

. . . I’m not setting up the Phelps Dephense Phund because I pity Fred. I’m doing it because I respect him more than George Bush and other like-minded homophobes in sheep’s clothing.

Why? Because I would much rather have Fred Phelps be the public face of homophobia than “tolerant” homophobes like Mitt Romney, who preaches “respect for diversity” while recently insinuating that dead heterosexual parents would raise children better than live gay men and women.

I would much rather have Fred spewing undiluted hatred on CNN than listen to all of the front-running Democratic presidential candidates tap-dancing around gay marriage like Larry Craig on a layover. Unlike them, the only “middle of the road” position Fred takes is the one blocking the hearse.

I would much rather have Fred’s kooky daughter Shirley raging on Fox News than George Bush and Congress not being enraged by two decades of Phelps’s protests at AIDS victims’ funerals. (Now they decide that protesting funerals is not OK? But only those of America’s fallen military heroes—no gays allowed.)

Yes, I want Fred Phelps free to walk the streets verbally assaulting stick figures having anal sex because Fred Phelps, as crazy as he is, is an honest homophobe.

By not hiding his repugnance under a bushel, Pastor Phelps is one of America’s most effective gay activists. Middle America finally gets to see what homophobia actually looks like when it’s stripped of such polite, compromising words as tolerance, states’ rights, and activist judges. And for that we shouldbe grateful.

I believe that each time Fred Phelps gets a little airtime, a fallen AIDS hero gets his wings.

I think Josh is right. Fred Phelps shows America the ugliness of hate in its most extreme form, and the revulsion that good folks feel when they see that kind of hate, I think has the power to make folks question the less offensive forms of hate.

And unfortunately (or fortunately), Fred Phelps is doing his dead level best to keep himself and his “partridge family of hate” in the news, as he is planning to picket at Heath Legers funeral. (see Godhatesfags.com: ‘Brokeback Mountain’ star – Heath Ledger – is dead. WBC will picket his funeral. (PDF download), also see MSNBC: Baptist church plans to protest Ledger’s funeral — Actor’s role in ‘Brokeback’ calls ‘God a liar,’ radical group claims)

Keep at it Fred! You’re winning more and more converts to the cause of love and tolerance everyday. In fact, I would go so far as to say that maybe God has a hand in this (since God has a crazy sense of humor… reading parts of the Bible or seeing some of the weird looking animals at the zoo convinced me of that). It wouldn’t surprise me at all to find out that this was all part of the divine plan, to have a crazy hateful homophobe winning over people to see that gay people are a-ok.

2008
01.23

New article on Army AWOL cases

NLGMLTF.org: AWOL from the Army — Information for Lawyers and Counselors on how to help (PDF download)

I’m really excited to see my memo published on the Military Law Task Force website. It will also be appearing in a future issue of On Watch, the MLTF’s monthly journal.

2008
01.23

RedStater:Call it The New Christianism?

. . . Written about, back in 2005 at the George Mason University History News Network, the new “Christian Left” has deep roots here in Oklahoma and might even lay claim to the foundation of the philosophy of the entire current movement. Woody Guthrie (pictured above in 1945) is a legend in Oklahoma particularly among the left and of course music buffs, but arguably could be considered the very founder of the New Christian Left.

Woody Guthrie wrote “This Land Is Your Land” (originally titled “God Blessed America”) as a rebuttal to “God Bless America” among many other famous tunes, but as we all know there was much-much more to Woody Guthrie than just his tunes.
Woody had a problem and a rather unique but logical (to some) way of solving it.

He studied communism, wrote for the communist paper, performed for great socialists and communists in and out of the country and desperately wanted to be a communist, but his strong belief in Jesus prevented his inclusion among the party membership. Guthrie was baptized into the Church of Christ, had a strong belief in Jesus Christ and for religion but organized faith was too restrictive and he rarely attended church… it just didn’t fit exactly.

So, being the highly creative and clever fellow that he was, (and living in a free country) he combined the two into his own Christian/ Communist philosophy on life. . .

It’s not often I’ll quote Redstater, but this post is interesting. Despite some major differences of opinion on certain points (namely, I think that Christian socialism is or should be considered just regular old Christianity, and that capitalism merged with Christianity is really a bastardization of Christianity), it is surprisingly worth reading.

I also should note that Woody might have been one of the best known Okie Christian Socialists, he was far from being the first one. In fact, the Oklahoma Socialist party of the early part of this century was for the most part very comfortable with using the language of faith in a political context, and in fact often held Jesus up as one of the great Socialist thinkers. (for more on this, read Jim Bissett’s book Agrarian Socialism in America: Marx, Jefferson and Jesus in the Oklahoma Countryside, 1904-1920)

Anyway, I’m quite proud to be a Christian Socialist. Thanks Redstater for reminding me of our very proud history. (hehe, I guess I’m a “redstater” too, but I think I’m a different kind of Red than redstater is 😉

2008
01.23

In memory of Ralph, the gerbil

I’m sad to report that I came home to the farm on Monday night to find Ralph (my pet gerbil that I’ve had since May 2006 ) dead.

I definitely will miss the little guy. He was so fun to watch as he climbed up the bars of his cage, or when he would chew up toilet paper rolls. He also would take sunflower seeds and yogurt drops from my fingers after he realized that he got more treats if he didn’t bite me.

I probably will get another pet. It was nice having some company when I got home at the end of a long day.

2008
01.19

I got there a couple of minutes late so I was stuck just outside the door, but I did get a few shots (thanks to the help of some of the people who were sitting on other people’s shoulders to get a better view).

The speech itself was superb. It was his regular stump speech (similar to what I heard him give via my brother John’s cell phone in Iowa), but it was one heck of a speech. In fact I would go as far to say it was the closest thing I have heard to a straight up Socialist speech by a mainstream candidate in ages.

You can see some more of my pretty crappy pictures of the evening by clicking here.

Added at 11 p.m.: Here’s a link to a video of the speech on KOCO.com:

2008
01.18

I got a request from one of the participants in the Oklahoma Blog Authors Straw Poll to ask if she can change her vote based on new information she has found out about one of the candidates, and whether folks can vote for NOTA (none of the above).

So here’s the official new straw poll rule…

Participants may change their votes anytime before the polls close. If you do want to change your vote, just shoot me an email and let me know what you want your ballot to now read as.

NOTA (None of the above) can be selected by a voter as one of their three choices in either party’s poll. If NOTA or any other choice is listed more than once on the ballot, only the first vote of that choice will be counted.