So yesterday, I was looking around at other blogs to see what was going on Around Fort Wayne when I found this story regarding the Model T Bike Tours @ Head Waters Park. My curiosity was peaked not because of the entrepreneurial spirit behind such an endeavour but the personal benefits of the images of their vehicle.
However, after reading some of the crap they have gone through to continue operations, it is F6's honour to applaud them for keeping an privately owned attraction available, and at minimum cost to consumers, in a public venue. That they have continued to overcome every obstacle put in front of them is something that should be celebrated publicly. Tour prices and packages vary but run from the beginning of June through Halloween.
So what peaked my interest? Could it be true! That after twelve years, I have found an answer to being able to ride a bike again, due to my over sized scrotum. Then I went looking around their website and could not find a product (bike) name or supplier/trader. I went with the limited information I could find and caressed Google's algorithms with my FiOS and came up with yet another awesome find, ... my new dream car!!
The Chinese Rickshaw (picture to right) is a one cylinder, four stroke, five gear, Cargo and Passenger Tricycle. Zipping around at over thirty seven miles per hour, it can carry a load of up to one thousand one hundred and two pounds (four adults, plus cargo) This Tricycle's tank holds only twelve liters of fuel (just over three gallons); but at approximately sixty seven miles per gallon, you will be spending less time at the pump and more time on the road.
There are also electrically powered options for the more environmentally conscious consumer.
Now if I can just find a supplier that will ask me to promote without cost on this City's streets?
31 May 2008
So yesterday, I was looking around at other blogs to see what was going on Around Fort Wayne when I found this story regarding the Model T Bike Tours @ Head Waters Park. My curiosity was peaked not because of the entrepreneurial spirit behind such an endeavour but the personal benefits of the images of their vehicle.
30 May 2008
Set in Rome City, Indiana an hour northwest of Fort Wayne on State Route 9, in 1929. A small ensemble of local actors present the love story of Max and Millie who are struggling to established a life together near Sylvan Lake amid the economics of the roaring twenties into the hardships of the Great Depression. Hope and despair, G-men and gangsters, radio, talkies and print all collide to unfold this presentation as a 1920’s film while also telling the concurrent story of Al Capone as it interweaves the societal fabric of early twentieth century Mid West America.
The Firehouse Theater, operated by former LPAC officer Jeannette Jaquish, is located 1245 East State Boulevard (just east of Crescent Avenue aka Stellhorn Road/State Road 37) is presenting the newest play Al Capone and Me by local award winning author and educator, Ruth Tyndall Baker, with four remaining shows on the 31st of May and the 1st, 7th, and 8th of June.
The shows on the 1st and 8th start at 3p.m.; while the shows on the 31st and 7th start at 7p.m., with the option of dinner (for an extra fee) an hour before the show. Please RSVP if you wish to attend the dinner @ 260-750-9013. Ticket prices for this show are normally $10 for adults and $6 for children ages 8-13 (children younger than eight are asked not to attend) but with the new Liberty Discount not only will you get $3 off normal adult ticket prices and $2 dollars of a child's ticket but an additional donation will be made to the Libertarian Party of Allen County.
For more information about The Firehouse Theater please visit their website.
28 May 2008
There are two things that I hope for the readers of F6: besides the general conversation, communication of ideas, and putting up with my ranting about politics, educations first goal is to have an affect on the way people think about different issues.
Through the educational resource that F6 is committed to present the second goal has always been more controversial in its display; that simply stated, people will realize the male body is beautiful, there is something intrinsically beautiful about men being able to express their love and affection for one another, without that intimacy being labeled as evil or sinful in or by society any longer.
That is the reason why F6 splits the line between showing the naked male body and the intimacy between men versus the exposure of male genitalia without explicit reasons in its editorial policies which can be viewed on our DISCLAIMERS AND COPYRIGHTS page.
Justynian is one of my long time friends on MySpace and writes a personal reflections blog called Through These Eyes. And what beautiful eyes they are! Recently "Justin" diverted from his normal routine and made a video of an entry he wrote last year entitled: On Being Held: In The Arms Of The Man You Love.
I would like to offer his post as F6's contribution to the conversation that a lot of local and statewide blogs have been having regarding homosexuals effect on society due to recent events. F6 has always challenged the assumption that we are all in it for crazy uncommitted sex with multiple randomness of partners and no regard for principles. But more importantly I would like to introduce you to this wonderful young man that I am honored to know, and who knows you may just get a few new ideas from him as well.
And as is the normal policy (when I happen to think about it) for those whom are on a slow connection or RSS feed and cant view the video here are the words:
On Being Held
I sleep with a pillow between my legs, a pillow in my arms, and a pillow behind my back. I tuck myself in so tightly in that I cannot move. I close my eyes and pretend.
I pretend that the pillows around me are the arms, legs, and chest of someone I love. Behind these eyes, and in these pillows, I find the comfort to fall to sleep each night.Being HeldThe first time I slept with my ex, I asked him: "Will you hold me tonight?"
"Are you serious?" he laughed. He was surprised with the request. "I'll try."
That night was probably the most uncomfortable night of my life. He was holding me in the most awkward position, and he hated it, too. His arm fell asleep several times, his muscles ached, and his desire to turn and get suited was forfeited.
But he suffered through because I requested it. And I suffered through because it's what I'd fantasized about every night since we met. He held me every night we were together thereafter. It became our favorite pastime. It was, for me, more intimate than sex. It was who we were.
He once hated to hold me. Today, he still calls and asks permission to come over not to have sex with me—but to wrap his arms around me. To drive forty minutes out of his busy way to just hold me.PerfectionOut of a potential boyfriend, I ask four things: to be honest with me, to be romantic with me, to avoid breaking my heart, and to hold me.
That doesn't sound like much, but those are some big orders for many people. My ex nailed the holding part. That's about it, though. He hated being romantic with me, he lied to me, and he broke my heart worse than anyone in the world.
The fact that he held me so well, though—this is powerful enough for me to long for his presence still.
That's because being held means more to me than a 20-minute session with a climax. Being held means drifting to sleep in the arms of the man who holds your heart. And waking to someone who loves you enough to remind you every night.
26 May 2008
Federal court rules against military gays policy
By GENE JOHNSON
SEATTLE (AP) The military cannot automatically discharge people because they're gay, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday in the case of a decorated flight nurse who sued the Air Force over her dismissal. The three judges from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals did not strike down the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. But they reinstated Maj. Margaret Witt's lawsuit, saying the Air Force must prove that her dismissal furthered the military's goals of troop readiness and unit cohesion. The "don't ask, don't tell, don't pursue, don't harass" policy prohibits the military from asking about the sexual orientation of service members but requires discharge of those who acknowledge being gay or engaging in homosexual activity.
Wednesday's ruling led opponents of the policy to declare its days numbered. It is also the first appeals court ruling in the country that evaluated the policy through the lens of a 2003 Supreme Court decision that struck down a Texas ban on sodomy as an unconstitutional intrusion on privacy.
When gay service members have sued over their dismissals, courts historically have accepted the military's argument that having gays in the service is generally bad for morale and can lead to sexual tension. But the Supreme Court's opinion in the Texas case changed the legal landscape, the judges said, and requires more scrutiny over whether "don't ask, don't tell" is constitutional as applied in individual cases.
Under Wednesday's ruling, military officials "need to prove that having this particular gay person in the unit really hurts morale, and the only way to improve morale is to discharge this person," said Aaron Caplan, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington state who worked on the case.
"When the government attempts to intrude upon the personal and private lives of homosexuals, the government must advance an important governmental interest ... and the intrusion must be necessary to further that interest," wrote Judge Ronald M. Gould. One of the judges, William C. Canby Jr., issued a partial dissent, saying that the ruling didn't go far enough. He argued that the Air Force should have to show that the policy itself "is necessary to serve a compelling governmental interest and that it sweeps no more broadly than necessary."Gay service members who are discharged can sue in federal court, and if the military doesn't prove it had a good reason for the dismissal, the cases will go forward, Caplan said.
An Air Force spokeswoman said she had no comment on the decision and directed inquiries to the Defense Department. Lt. Col. Todd Vician, a Defense spokesman, said he did not know specifics of the case and could not comment beyond noting that "the DOD policy simply enacts the law as set forth by Congress."
In other news Representative Henry Waxman, Chairman of of the Congressional Oversight and Government Reform Committee, in a letter requested documents related to the recent sharp increase in the number of personnel conduct waivers, which allow the enlistment of U.S. service members who would otherwise be precluded by recruitment standards, and released the number of waivers granted for specific criminal felonies in FY 2006 and FY 2007.
The data, released Monday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, reveals that the number of Army felony waivers given to enlistees jumped from 249 in 2006 to 511 in 2007. The number of felony waivers granted in the Marine Corps rose from 208 to 350. The numbers are broken down according to the nature of offense for when a felony waiver was needed. During the 2006-2007 period, the Army offered waivers to three soldiers who had been convicted of manslaughter, one convicted of kidnapping, eleven convicted of arson, one hundred forty two convicted of burglary, three convicted of indecent acts with children, seven convicted of sexual assault, and three convicted of making terrorist threats.
During that same time, the Pentagon continued discharging almost 700 service members annually under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law banning lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel from serving openly in the military. This data shines a bright light on the outrageousness and absurdity of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell." On the one hand, the Pentagon is discharging highly-qualified, honest, law-abiding men and women because they are gay, while on the other hand granting waivers to rapists, killers, kidnappers and terrorists. Repealing "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" will reduce the need to grant felony waivers.
Meanwhile, Gay service members recently discharged from the armed forces are fuming over recruiters admitting ex-felons to fill the ranks, while the military continues to expel others for their sexual orientation.
Alexander Blais, a former Army soldier discharged in 2007, was frustrated that the military would take on convicted felons to fill shortfalls in desperation while at same time continue its policy of expelling gay troops. He said, “They’ve lowered their standards to let these soldiers into the military to try to make up for the fact that we are indeed in an unpopular war,”. Blais, 22, began serving in Army intelligence in 2005 and participated in National Security Agency (NSA) counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics activities. In 2006, while taking part in a mission in Costa Rica, Blais let it slip to commanding officers and fellow soldiers that he was gay. After being put under status known as a “suspension of favorable actions,” Blais was stripped of his “top secret” clearance, making him ineligible for NSA duties. He was discharged in March 2007, but technically for medical reasons and not because of his sexual orientation. Lawyers for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network found that the Army had started a medical review on Blais because he had asthma. SLDN argued that this review held precedent over investigation into his sexual orientation. The Army agreed to follow through with the medical review and dismiss him for his medical condition.
Blais said he was particularly angered because he contends straight soldiers were participating in sexual misconduct during the 2006 mission in Costa Rica, and yet these soldiers were promoted upon return to the United States instead of being discharged. “There were a number of married non-commissioned officers that fooled around with each other and with the locals down there, and it was well-known to almost everybody, but nothing was ever said or done about it,” he said.
Bet yet it is okay to allow straight single Service Members in Afghanistan to have as much hanky panky as desired even though it is an admitted "adverse impact on unit cohesion, morale, good order and discipline". Talk about double standards! Let's not forget to mention the possibilities of "war babies syndrome" as a very likely reality by this decision.
Ban on sex for soldiers in Afghanistan is lifted...
By Drew Brown, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Wednesday, May 14, 2008
JALALABAD, Afghanistan — Single soldiers and civilians working for the U.S. military in Afghanistan can now have sex legally. Sort of. A new order signed by Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser, commander of Combined Joint Task Force-101, has lifted a ban on sexual relations between unmarried men and women in the combat zone.
General Order No. 1 outlines a number of prohibited activities and standards of conduct for U.S. troops and civilians working for the military in Afghanistan. Previously, under the regulation, sexual relations and "intimate behavior" between men and women not married to each other were a strict no-no. The regulation also barred members of the opposite sex from going into each other’s living quarters unless they were married to each other.
But the latest version of General Order No. 1 for Afghanistan, which Schloesser signed April 19, eases those restrictions. The new regulation warns that sex in a combat zone "can have an adverse impact on unit cohesion, morale, good order and discipline." But sexual relations and physical intimacy between men and women not married to each other are no longer banned outright. They’re only "highly discouraged," and that’s as long as they’re "not otherwise prohibited" by the Uniform Code of Military Justice, according to the new order.
Single men and women can now also visit each other’s living quarters, as long as everyone else who lives there agrees, and as long as visitors of the opposite sex remain in the open "and not behind closed doors, partitions or other isolated or segregated areas," according to the new regulation. Unmarried men and women who are alone together in living quarters must leave the door open, according to the new policy. Men and women "will not cohabit with, reside or sleep with members of the opposite gender in living spaces of any kind," unless they are married or if it’s necessary for military reasons, the new policy states.
Lastly, for those whom didn't see it by now, the Gay Military story unfolds on Grey's Anatomy
F6 Sources Quoted and Cited
SLDN's The Frontlines | The Washington Blade |
The Associated Press | Stars and Stripes |
F6 Your References
Gays In The Military | Inclusive Military |
24 May 2008
Well starting out, today was suppose to be a lazy day; originally I had four posts planned for today: two updates on national GLBTIQAS (Gay and Lesbian etc.) issues, and this one, followed by a general commentary post. That was at half past ten, in the morning; it is now eleven fifteen at night! I have three posts still sitting in draft mode, and I am just now sitting down to type this one; it has been a long, hard, day. Folks, that is what makes life in Fort Wayne great. Short of F6 sounding like a montage of slogans, Fort Wayne really does provide "room for dreams".
Being able to help certain people in query secure their dreams for the future and resolve the nightmares of the past bad choices and decisions by others, makes my vocation while limited in recompense or reward, satisfying and worth every moment of personal sacrifice of a few lazy moments of writing and much needed rest. Additionally, any time I start to question or fret over whether or not to continue my ministry here in any capacity or just pack up and move to Wyoming (get it, " WHY? OH ME!", sorry - bad pun), God always seems to send me into situations that no one else is either willing to deal with or knows how to. That is kind of cool and it is also nice to know that I am right where He wants me to be.
There are several major events coming up as well as new additions or offerings from long standing community organizations and you can get a quick picture by viewing F6's Links Page and scroll to the bottom for our Google Calendar. The following are just three that I would like to highlight and also correct previous misinformation posted on this forum, if you don't mind.
About a month and a half ago, I received an unverified email regarding ARCH's Downtown Treasures Tours that happen April through October at 1p.m. on the first Friday of the month starting @ The Convention and Visitors Bureau on Calhoun Street and runs a course across the south end of Downtown's historic attractions.
I put it up on the calendar, with a private note to review it later. A couple days ago, I finally spoke with Angie Quinn, who leads the tours and also writes @ Revolutionary Potluck League, randomly. I was able to verify with her some details and clarify certain others. During our conversation she also filled me in about a new set of tours that will happen on Saturdays from the 7th of June through 27th of September and start at ten in the morning leaving from the Barr Street Market and run north and again west covering those attractions.
Each tour takes approximately ninety minutes and covers one mile of travel. The Downtown Treasures Tours are free; although ARCH does ask that you call ahead to notify them how many people will be attending, so they have enough guides to lead you around our historic and yet modern City.
UPDATE: TOURS ARE NOW $5 FOR ADULTS!
Katie @ Fort Wayne Yoga sent me a message, clarifying that while Dodge Ball @ Foster Park starts at 5 p.m. on Sundays apparently the Yoga class doesn't start until 6:30 p.m. For more information, follow the links in the previous sentence, and again my apologies for the misinformation.
One of the strongest assets and institutions in Fort Wayne is it's art community. Please take time to check out Allen County Public Library's Fort Wayne Area Artists blog. With the hundreds of working and innovative artists, Fort Wayne is the hometown choice of several nationally and internationally recognized artists.
Comcast in conjunction with Arts United and several other companies are presenting THE ART CRAWL FESTIVAL on Friday the 30th of May from 5-9 p.m. It all starts off @ the intersection of Wayne and Calhoun and stretches all the way east and west from Harrison to Clinton Streets and south to Washington Boulevard. The event is free to browse and by purchasing the works, you can support our local artists and help them flourish in their craft. In addition, with all the great local art and age appropriate venues, the Downtown Improvement District has other features for this festival listed on their website; so I will refer any further event promotions to that page.
F6 encourages you to bring your family & friends out celebrating The Arts in The Summit City!
21 May 2008
Wednesdays post is a bit late because I had to fact check three things before I felt comfortable posting. Todays post is all about you choosing to make everyones life better, improve the environment, help to clean the shit out of our three rivers, and it all starts behind your bedroom door.
Recently F6 was contacted by Fiona King @ Nerds Do It Better (not promoting just citing) and was referred to their fact sheet written by Jessica Hupp that suggested ways to create a more green and eco/environ-healthier sex life. These are some of the twenty seven pointes followed by my commentary, as indicated via the (~) sign. Feel the excitement of going green!!!!
Setting The Mood
* Dim The florescent Lights ~ "What's a gay domicile without having a regulator dial"
* Take advantage of the cold; warm each other up or vice versa
~ cuddle by the fireplace or burn pit out back; soak and, or have sex in the jacuzzi/hot tub.
~ break out the kool aide/juice ice cubes and rub them all over, or just serve over vodka, or gin.
* Natural Aphrodisiacs, Wines, Fair Trade Chocolate ~ strawberries are my favorite addition.
* Wear green friendly lingerie ~ Save the ground, switch to organic, nutrient rich fabrics.
* Use vegetables and fruits for sex toys
~ although just ensure safety from food allergies please wrap a condom around it before hand!
* Use silicone, metal, or glass sex toys.
~ not vinyl, use faux leather, spandex/lycra, rubber.
* Buy for Durability and Dispose of toys properly
~ Well made items will last longer. Repair it first.
* Use a safe lubricant with a condom!
~ Note gay men DO NOT want to use a condom
or lube with spermicide for anal sex.
For your family as a whole
* Take baths and showers together (see picture above)
* Use organic soy, beeswax, or palm oil candles at the dinner table
~ It saves that florescent bulb; it calms everyone down together; easier to scent.
* Buy Bamboo or Hemp bed sheets @ Target
~ They are renewable; offer a silky, slippery feel;
~ Sure to increase your ecological awareness!
* Put away your large plates ~ When eating at home use salad plates reduce portions.
* Increase intake of organic fruits and vegetables
Most men also need to know "pineapples makes the cream so sweet!, not of wheat."! I know what your thinking. You can understand the idea of high quality, organic, cotton underwear in traditional styles but you are still having a bit of trouble grasping your mind around the idea of designer under garments, essentials wear, and active-sports wear being made from alternative fabrics like hemp, bamboo, and eucalyptus. But yet, you are okay with polypropylene for your winter weather protection?
Taken directly from RIPS MySpace blog:
If someone told you they had a great line of underwear, made from Eucalyptus (and no, scratching & sniffing doesn't work), that those underwear were the Eco-Friendliest underwear on the market... plus naturally stays odor-free... plus feels like silk (we think of it as nature's luxury fabric)... plus helps to keep you cool in hot weather/warm in cool (perfect wearing all year around)... and simply looks great (while wearing)....would you not be just a little intrigued?
When we were looking at fabrics for RIPS Performance we looked at them all, felt them all, and just kept coming back to Tencel (which is made from the Eucalyptus) because it just felt like it would make perfect underwear and activewear. THEN came the fun part and that was finding out how very special it was. Amazing point here - you can make ten t-shirts from Eucalyptus using the same size piece of land that you can make one t-shirt from Cotton. Add to that the Eucalyptus doesn't need any pesticides and requires 100 times LESS water than cotton. Is that not the perfect fabric? So there you have it. Whether you are looking for Eco-Friendly or simply great underwear - check out RIPS Performance. Besides, if Koalas can't resist a good Eucalyptus, how can we?
Why hemp and organic cotton underwear though?
"Because...it takes one-fourth of a pound of chemicals to produce 2 pairs of conventional cotton men's boxer shorts. Annually, 275 million pounds of pesticides are applied to the conventional cotton plant, which must be the most environmentally destructive crop ever. The pesticides and chemicals used in the growing and processing of conventional cotton can enter the human food chain via cotton seed oil used in processed foods.
Contamination of ground water is directly linked to pesticide and fertilizer use on conventional cotton crops. Nitrates found in these fertilizers are found to cause "blue baby syndrome" in infants. Conventional cotton underwear is also processed with chlorine bleach. Dioxin--the most toxic chemical known--is a carcinogen that is derived from chlorine bleach and is responsible for hormone disruption and a host of other ills."
Which leads me to refreshing more local issues, news, and events. My regular readers will remember when I bitched about the City wasting 500,000 Public Works dollars for matching funds for the bike trail system in order to earn "feel good" national press. During the last episode of Oprah's Big Give this season the City was spotlighted for "raising" a million plus dollars for a revamped bike trail system that is already privately funded! As I stated previously, The City, should have dedicated that money to actually cleaning up the rivers before having the citizens ride around them any further.
Most readers will remember F6's promotion and coverage of Save Maumee's Earth Day Project near Hosy Dam last month too. Save Maumee doesn't just do one work project a year; the work continues every day. The vision of a future where our children can go take a dip in the river and within the next twenty years we might just be able to have a public beach again is possible.
What is in our rivers that makes them so polluted?
E. Coli. and bacteria from combined sewer overflows (CSO's), geese, cattle and pig farms. There are 249 active NPDES permitted discharges (permitted legal discharges) and 44 CSO discharge points in the St. Joseph/Maumee watershed. Additionally there are illegal point source discharges such as tiles discharging septic tank effluent that exist in our watershed. According to Joe E. Johnson there has been 50 potential CSO discharges between July 2007-April 2008. Research shows the EPA will allow five per year.Dissolved Oxygen (DO) problems present in the Maumee will reflect on the wildlife also! DO means simply, the content of oxygen in the water is so low that native wildlife cannot exist in it! PBC’s heavy metals from large corporations, and factories stemming all the way from the rust belt time of 1920’s -1950’s still loom in the Maumee today and the Maumee continues to be a dump site in 2008. Indiana also used to have a natural "water filtration" system because we had twenty five percent of our land mass covered with wetlands. With the removal of 85% of the wetlands within 4 generations, our natural "water filtration system" is devastating to our rivers!
How does planting trees and native grass seeds help river water quality?
Dissolved Oxygen problems can be alleviated by creating shade, thus increasing Oxygen in the water. All this will create the beautiful aesthetics of pristine waterways for Fort Wayne's future! The number one pollutant in our watershed is dirt (erosion/sedimentation). Plantings today provide a "rain-garden" type area so plants will drink up the rain water which produces enzymes, absorbs bacteria - and “eating” bacteria out of water rather than letting it just runoff into the river and helps reduce the pollutants in the water down stream all the way through Ohio to (one of the Great Lakes for those whom may not be aware) Lake Erie.
Grasses will help to settle out or suspended sediment in the water; the trees will help to hold down the soil that could be washed away because there is nothing to hold down the barren soil when the water comes rushing in when we have a rain event. By using natural Riparian seeds, projects like these will eventually will help with flooding too, eighty five percent of wetlands in Indiana no longer exist, these restoration practices will aide in replenishing wetland species and activity right here in Fort Wayne!
These practices of planting Cottonwood trees (which drinks up water like a cotton towel) also eliminates standing pools of stagnant water left over when the river water recedes - thus controlling West Nile! West Nile is spread by mosquitoes that hatch in standing, pollution ridden water.
What can you do to help clean up our rivers?
Don’t pour ANYTHING down the storm drains
Don't pour medication, grease, cigarette butts, condoms, tampons, or ANY garbage down the toilet or sink. It will end up in your drinking water! Only bodily waste matter, toilet paper, minimal amounts of cleanser please! BTW try not to flush if you only urinated, save water.
Eliminate standing water in your yards and uncontrolled run off of rain water from your house or control with strategic rain gardens.
Incorporating a compost pile and consistently recycle or reuse products reducing your footprint in the area.
Vote with your wallet! Change the market by changing your purchase habits. Here are three actions under the Libertarian ideal of free markets regulating best practices that need to be initiated by everyone:
Hold government officials to the fire for not cleaning up their mistakes. Write to city, county, state, and national elected officials, tell them you will not vote for them in November unless they do something to move forward with all of our concerns and dreams for a beautiful city.
Do the same for businesses. Tell businesses to change the way they package goods and provide services or else you will discontinue your patronage of their establishments and purchasing of products.
Support organizations that share your concerns. Joining in will help to bring forth successful restoration efforts in our watershed. Take Hoosier River Watch Training “a volunteer water quality monitoring program,” with the St. Joe River Watershed Initiative at the USDA offices. Sign up to become a Hoosier River Watch Volunteer!
The next class is on the 31st of May see F6's Google Calendar for more information. If you don't have any idea of where to begin your own campaign, start within your circle of friends and sign a petition. Have river clean up days where you get your family and friends to join the fun. Contact Save Maumee for some suggestions and a shit load of resource information they also have some awesome connections across the county. Abigail Frost, the founder of Save Maumee Grassroots Organization can be reached @ 260-417-2500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is more information to cover but I think that is enough of going green and cute bois for one post. I will post more environmental news and updates in two to three weeks.
[EDITOR'S UPDATE: Local Rain Garden Initiatives]
The strategic "green infrastructure" resolutions that were mandated for the City by part of a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency regarding the over 50 potential CSO's incidents mentioned above (6th section) were reported, reviewed, and commented on the same day as this post @ Fort Wayne Politics by Mike Sylvester and Jeff Pruitt (two posts, last one w/video). I will yield to their coverage rather than making a separate post during this weekend as originally intended. Otherwise, it would seem like I am the only one beating the drum about the City wasting money on frivolous, or in this case, poorly planned projects....
*pardon me for a moment while I pull out my soap box*
I do however just have to pointe out the obvious: If the City had not spent the 500,000 dollars to match money donated to the privately funded bike trail system for a five minute spotlight we could have funded some of the Rain Garden Initiative and still had 160,000 dollars minimum left in the Public Works fund for other projects. To boot, the City tried to hire an out of State firm when we have plenty of organizations here able to do the job, as the three cited above in this original post. Thanks goes to City Council for standing up and saying, "NO!". Now it is time to let the citizens, City Departments, and Grassroots Non For Profit Organizations locally come together and put a real plan in place! The rain gardens are a good place to start but they are not the only answer.
*steps down off soap box*
Thank you for putting up with my ranting and bitching.
17 May 2008
As a rule, I don't comment on current events until they have had a little time to settle. Especially when the issues come from partisan pandering or the law. By setting up this rule of a cooling off period, F6's commentary is based not on an emotional or zealous response but a little more information and analysis, by both qualified interpretation and incompetent buffoons alike. I get the pleasure of throwing down some other concerns or queries that everyone else has ignored or over looked, which then put the issues into a new light that will either stir up more controversy or piss everyone off. I, much like Oscar Wilde, await such responses with anticipation and receive them freely with gratitude. The rest of my commentary is towards the end and there are some cross blog links that I though you all might find interesting at the bottom of the page. On a secondary note, there are no pictures on this post.
So first, a case law review: What exactly did happen in California this week?
The California Supreme Court was ruling a combination of six cases from back in 2004 and 2005 that had trounced through and were delayed in the normal judicial reviews and pathways of the legal system for over three plus years. These cases still had remaining questions that had not been raised or resolved in the original findings by the Court regarding the February 2004 San Francisco Gay Marriage Protest in which, Mayor Gavin Newsom began an act of civil disobedience. The Court later ruled "concluding that the City officials had exceeded their authority in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in the absence of a judicial determination that the statutory provisions limiting marriage to the union of a man and a woman are unconstitutional, and further concluding that the approximately 4,000 same-sex marriages performed in San Francisco prior to our March 11, 2004, order were void and of no legal effect.", (Lockyer vs. City and County of San Francisco).
So that makes this not at all a sudden drastic decision on the Courts part. This was the normal course of review to clean up the remaining cases from a group of incidents which could not be resolved by the decision in the original case which was brought by the Attorney General. The "new cases" asked a "substantive constitutional question" and due to the nature of preexisting laws on the books in California made the establishment unique to other precedents or legislative schemes not applicable to these particular other cases across the country. "These (other State and Appeal Courts), often by a one-vote margin, have ruled upon the validity of statutory schemes that contrast with that of California, which in recent years has enacted comprehensive domestic partnership legislation under which a same-sex couple may enter into a legal relationship that affords the couple virtually all of the same substantive legal benefits and privileges, and imposes upon the couple virtually all of the same legal obligations and duties, that California law affords to and imposes upon a married couple. Past California cases explain that the constitutional validity of a challenged statute or statutes must be evaluated by taking into consideration all of the relevant statutory provisions that bear upon how the state treats the affected persons with regard to the subject at issue."
The path of judicial review is established; becomes necessary for the Supreme Court to review
a. On April 13, 2005, the superior court issued its decision on this substantive constitutional question.... the superior court confined its decision to the challenge that was based upon the equal protection clause... ultimately concluding that the statutory limitation of marriage to the union of a man and a woman not only does not satisfy the strict scrutiny standard, but also does not meet the more deferential rational basis test because, the differential treatment mandated by the statute does not further any legitimate state interest. In light of this conclusion, the court held that California's current marriage statutes are unconstitutional under the state Constitution insofar as they limit marriage to opposite-sex couples.
b. On appeal, the Court of Appeal, in a two-to-one decision, reversed the superior court's ruling on the substantive constitutional issue, disagreeing in a number of significant respects with the lower court's analysis of the equal protection issue a right to same-sex marriage (without established precedent). Second, rejected that the California marriage statutes discriminate on the suspect basis of sex but rather permit members of either gender to marry only a person of the opposite gender. Third, sexual orientation does not constitute a suspect classification for purposes of the state equal protection clause.
The majority thus concluded that, the marriage statutes survives rational basis review, reasoning that the state has a legitimate interest in preserving the traditional definition of marriage and that the statute's classifications are rationally related to that interest. The concurring justice observed that in her view, "The nuance at this moment in history is that the institution(s) are distinct and, we hope, equal. We hope they are equal because of the great consequences attached to each. To the degree that any committed relationship provides (those consequences) it is entitled to respect. Whether it must be called the same, or supported by the state as equal to the traditional model, only time and patient attention to the models at issue will tell."
The third appellate court justice dissented from the majority's determination that the marriage statutes do not violate the California Constitution. The dissenting justice (1) disagreed that the same-sex couples challenging the marriage statutes are seeking recognition of a novel constitutional right to "same-sex marriage" rather than simply the application of an established fundamental constitutional right to marry a person of one's choice, (2) sexual orientation should be considered a suspect classification for purposes of equal protection principles, and (3) finally concluded that the challenged statutory restriction limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples "has no rational basis, let alone a compelling justification."
What the Court asked? How the Court ruled?
"Accordingly, the legal issue we must resolve is not whether it would be constitutionally permissible under the California Constitution for the state to limit marriage only to opposite-sex couples while denying same-sex couples any opportunity to enter into an official relationship with all or virtually all of the same substantive attributes, but rather whether our state Constitution prohibits the state from establishing a statutory scheme in which both opposite-sex and same-sex couples are granted the right to enter into an officially recognized family relationship that affords all of the significant legal rights and obligations traditionally associated under state law with the institution of marriage, but under which the union of an opposite-sex couple is officially designated a "marriage" whereas the union of a same-sex couple is officially designated a "domestic partnership."
The question we must address is whether, under these circumstances, the failure to designate the official relationship of same-sex couples as marriage violates the California Constitution.... (and) whether the difference in the official names of the relationships (marriage vs. domestic partnerships) violates the California Constitution. As explained hereafter, the determination whether the current California statutory scheme relating to marriage and to registered domestic partnership is constitutionally valid implicates a number of distinct and significant issues under the California Constitution:
"Whom has the right to marry"
1. The nature and scope of "the right to marry"... we conclude that, under this state's Constitution, the constitutionally based right to marry properly must be understood to encompass the core set of basic substantive legal rights and attributes traditionally associated with marriage that are so integral to an individual's liberty and personal autonomy that they may not be eliminated or abrogated by the Legislature or by the electorate through the statutory initiative process. These core substantive rights include, most fundamentally, the opportunity of an individual to establish -- with the person with whom the individual has chosen to share his or her life -- an officially recognized and protected family possessing mutual rights and responsibilities and entitled to the same respect and dignity accorded a union traditionally designated as marriage. As past cases establish, the substantive right of two adults who share a loving relationship to join together to establish an officially recognized family of their own -- and, if the couple chooses, to raise children within that family -- constitutes a vitally important attribute of the fundamental interest in liberty and personal autonomy that the California Constitution secures to all persons for the benefit of both the individual and society.
Furthermore, in contrast to earlier times, our state now recognizes that an individual's capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual's sexual orientation, and, more generally, that an individual's sexual orientation -- like a person's race or gender -- does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights. We therefore conclude that in view of the substance and significance of the fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship, the California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians, whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples.
2. The Attorney General, observing that fundamental constitutional rights generally are defined by substance rather than by form, reasons that so long as the state affords a couple all of the constitutionally protected substantive incidents of marriage, the state does not violate the couple's constitutional right to marry simply by assigning their official relationship a name other than marriage. Because the Attorney General maintains that California's current domestic partnership legislation affords same-sex couples all of the core substantive rights that plausibly may be guaranteed to an individual or couple as elements of the fundamental state constitutional right to marry, the Attorney General concludes that the current California statutory scheme relating to marriage and domestic partnership does not violate the fundamental constitutional right to marry embodied in the California Constitution.
3. We therefore conclude that although the provisions of the current domestic partnership legislation afford same-sex couples most of the substantive elements embodied in the constitutional right to marry, the current California statutes nonetheless must be viewed as potentially impinging upon a same-sex couple's constitutional right to marry under the California Constitution. Furthermore, the circumstance that the current California statutes assign a different name for the official family relationship of same-sex couples as contrasted with the name for the official family relationship of opposite-sex couples raises constitutional concerns not only under the state constitutional right to marry, but also under the state constitutional equal protection clause. In analyzing the validity of this differential treatment under the latter clause, we first must determine which standard of review should be applied to the statutory classification here at issue. Although in most instances the deferential "rational basis" standard of review is applicable in determining whether different treatment accorded by a statutory provision violates the state equal protection clause, a more exacting and rigorous standard of review -- "strict scrutiny" -- is applied when the distinction drawn by a statute rests upon a so-called "suspect classification" or impinges upon a fundamental right.
4. As we shall explain, .... we conclude that strict scrutiny nonetheless is applicable here because (1) the statutes in question properly must be understood as classifying or discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, a characteristic that we conclude represents -- like gender, race, and religion --a constitutionally suspect basis upon which to impose differential treatment, and (2) the differential treatment at issue impinges upon a same-sex couple's fundamental interest in having their family relationship accorded the same respect and dignity enjoyed by an opposite-sex couple. Under the strict scrutiny standard, unlike the rational basis standard, in order to demonstrate the constitutional validity of a challenged statutory classification the state must establish (1) that the state interest intended to be served by the differential treatment not only is a constitutionally legitimate interest, but is a compelling state interest, and (2) that the differential treatment not only is reasonably related to but is necessary to serve that compelling state interest.
We came to the conclusion
Applying this standard to the statutory classification here at issue, we conclude that the purpose underlying differential treatment of opposite-sex and same-sex couples embodied in California's current marriage statutes -- the interest in retaining the traditional and well-established definition of marriage -- cannot properly be viewed as a compelling state interest for purposes of the equal protection clause, or as necessary to serve such an interest. A number of factors lead us to this conclusion.
First, the exclusion of same-sex couples from the designation of marriage clearly is not necessary in order to afford full protection to all of the rights and benefits that currently are enjoyed by married opposite-sex couples; permitting same-sex couples access to the designation of marriage will not deprive opposite-sex couples of any rights and will not alter the legal framework of the institution of marriage, because same-sex couples who choose to marry will be subject to the same obligations and duties that currently are imposed on married opposite-sex couples.
Second, retaining the traditional definition of marriage and affording same-sex couples only a separate and differently named family relationship will, as a realistic matter, impose appreciable harm on same-sex couples and their children, because denying such couples access to the familiar and highly favored designation of marriage is likely to cast doubt on whether the official family relationship of same-sex couples enjoys dignity equal to that of opposite-sex couples.
Third, because of the widespread disparagement that gay individuals historically have faced, it is all the more probable that excluding same-sex couples from the legal institution of marriage is likely to be viewed as reflecting an official view that their committed relationships are of lesser stature than the comparable relationships of opposite-sex couples.
Finally, retaining the designation of marriage exclusively for opposite-sex couples and providing only a separate and distinct designation for same-sex couples may well have the effect of perpetuating a more general premise -- now emphatically rejected by this state -- that gay individuals and same-sex couples are in some respects "second-class citizens" who may, under the law, be treated differently from, and less favorably than, heterosexual individuals or opposite-sex couples. Under these circumstances, we cannot find that retention of the traditional definition of marriage constitutes a compelling state interest. Accordingly, we conclude that to the extent the current California statutory provisions limit marriage to opposite-sex couples, these statutes are unconstitutional.
COMMENTARY: How will this landmark case effect laws in Indiana or across the Country?
It is also important to note that like Texas, California was originally a very long time ago was an Independent Republic and not always a State or Territory of the United States. The Constitution, the legal mind set, and cultural roots of Hawaiians, Californians, and Texans is uniquely distinct from that of most Americans. These cases besides the query of Equal Access/Protection Under The Law is more about what type of Judicial Review applies either a "Rational Basis" or "Strict Scrutiny". Legal precedents and established law have had three plus years to accumulate between the original cases and this particular judicial review by the highest Court of California. As reported by F6 last August, the Ninth Federal Circuit Court issued a broad definition for a person's social associations based on unchanging or undeniable characteristics that are inherent to membership in the group as protected under the Constitution of the United States of America as a stable minority classification.
The precedent of either decision will not have stability in Indiana until the precedent is affirmed either by the State or Circuit Courts here or the Supreme Court of the United States. This is also a landmark victory both for and against Federalism/State Rights versus The People under the enumerated powers of the 9th Amendment to the Constitution. However it also reopens questions and provides a challenge specifically to the United States Congress to certain pundits dismay under the Commerce Clause (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3) as well as the Duties of the States under the Full Faith and Credit (Article 4, Section 1) Clause, like the Tenth Circuit's Oklahoma Gay Adoption Case, (Finstuen v. Crutcher (pdf)), amongst others.
While the case at issue was specific the precedent established holds application in the State of California. However to the dismay of all citizens and Legislatures, it looks as if the Supreme Court of the United States will have to rule on some of these cases eventually. Why? you ask. Because, at least with a layman's interpretation of the rulings, there are now unanswered questions in both Federal and State Courts decisions regarding Title 9 compliance - at least at the State level, as pointed out in number four above: "the statutes in question properly must be understood as classifying or discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, a characteristic that we (The California Supreme Court) conclude represents -- like gender, race, and religion --a constitutionally suspect basis upon which to impose differential treatment"; with strict scrutiny.
As much as people wish to bitch about "judges legislating from the bench" which is easy for a rhetoric debate. They forget that it really is a bottom-up review process before it becomes a top-down application. The review by the judiciary starts at the local level. As President James Madison said so eloquently "In Republics, the great danger is, that the majority may not sufficiently respect the rights of the minority." is the purpose of the rule of law in this country having supremacy unto or by no one else, even "We The People". As the Justices said in their decision: "Whatever our views as individuals with regard to this question as a matter of policy, we recognize as judges and as a court our responsibility to limit our consideration of the question to a determination of the constitutional validity of the current legislative provisions."
This is the reason why, as a Libertarian, I believe government should get out of regulating marriage all together, allowing consenting adults to form their own contractual bondings, as their individual selves, under the review of the courts, the way it was intended in the first place.
SOME OTHER ALTERNATIVE THOUGHTS ON MARRIAGE EQUALITY DECISION:
1. Hold The Champagne
by Jonathan Rauch
Independent Gay Forum
2. On Differing from my Gay Peers on Marriage Ruling
3. Where Kurt is King
by Bil Browning
4. The Reasoning of the CA Supreme Court
and her prelude review
Sitting Around Waiting for the CA Supreme Court to Rule
by Ellen Andersen
5. The Libertarian Party of California's Official Statement
by Chairman Kevin Takenaga
Third Party Watch
16 May 2008
"When I grow up, mom and dad, I want to be a.... HOUSEWIFE!" New music video by JAY BRANNAN premieres!!!
Hi y'all. I am officially turning F6 over to Jay Brannan for this unscheduled Friday post. Housewife, the second song Jay ever wrote, now has its own spankingly awesome music video. If I knew how to gank the codes, I would have it up here in a half a heart beat!! Below you will find some other things that Jay wanted everyone to know about regarding his new album "goddamned", upcoming concert schedule, contact information, and other random bits of intellect or wisdom. As always you can find contact information, more reviews and articles by or about Jay, on F6's Links Page in the top left corner. The picture to the above right was taken by Walter Briski Jr. and used with permission.
Well, there's a lot of cool stuff happening RIGHT THIS SECOND. so I'm writing to give you the info. Keep in mind that I need your help with this shit. the music industry is changing because people who listen to music are the new power players, not all the rich conservative types. So if you like any of the stuff I'm doing, tell people about it! not just for me, but for the next generation. (cue theme music)
1. Click here to view the music video for "housewife"!! It is exclusively available on the homepage of spinner.com (part of AOL Music) and I need you and all your friends to watch it a billion times so these people realize that us freaky independent types are not to be ignored. Get the single on MAY 27 thru iTunes and other digital download stores.
2. Click here to pre-order your CD copy of goddamned!! although it will eventually be in stores, I am a small, unknown person who can't pay big retail chains to carry & advertise my album -- they need people like you and me to show them what they are missing out on. Reserve your copy NOW before it goes on backorder, and have all your friends do the same.
3. Uh, I made some t-shirts (also at the above link http://jaybrannanstore.com/ more coming soon). I have to quit my day job soon, and things like t-shirts will help put food on my table (not that i have a table. and not that i actually need more food in my life)
4. "HOUSEWIFE" will be available as a digital SINGLE on MAY 27 on iTunes and other digital retailers. The entire album will be available for download worldwide (I believe) on the 1st of July.
5. Click here for my TOUR DATES and the links where you can get tickets! (the last few are going up tomorrow (saturday). I feel really bad, cuz I know Madonna's tour is going on sale this weekend too...and I don't want to steal her thunder or anything, but PLEASE TELL YOUR FRIENDS ABOUT THE SHOWS!!! so these bitches will let me come back someday and so I can pay for the fucking plane tickets to get there. You asked for it, so I'm comin! ......one thing you can do to help is add the Facebook events for my tour dates and invite your friends (only the ones you think might care -- no spamming)
6. I lost my virginity to Paula Cole's album This Fire. I just thought you should know.
jaybrannan (main site)
myspace | youtube
The Morning After (blog)
... and coming soon to a cd player near you!!