An Open Letter to Those Who Are Anti-Gay

Welcome to my blog. This letter has been composed especially for you and hopefully it will enlighten you about some near-future events. Please read carefully.

Dear Anti-Gay Individual or Group,

It is 2011 – welcome to the dawning of a new age. What makes it a new age? The fact I am deeming it so. For too long now, the status quo has elevated some Americans above others and afforded them not only greater civil rights, but monetary rewards also – this will come to an end. It might not take effect just as you are reading this, but the cracks in the foundation are already showing. I will widen those cracks and bring down the columns that sustain your ivory towers. And not just me – but millions more like me with a singular voice aimed at piercing the very heart of homophobia.

The time has come to shun those who stand in the way of another persons civil rights and force them back into hiding, where their hateful rhetoric is stifled and shared only with other hateful humans that are as twisted as they are themselves.

Make no mistake – we are everywhere – whether you see us or not, whether we identify ourselves or not, and whether we care about your opinions or not. We will make it a point to live our lives as we see fit and go where we want to be – no matter if you like it or not.

We teach your children in schools, both public and private.

We are your coworkers and your bosses.

We are your neighbors and acquaintances.

We are everywhere you look and we will remain there.

We will worship at your place of worship, even if we are preached against.

We are at the gate and whether or not you give us the key, we will get in.

We are immune to your arguments and your anger.

In one breath, you extoll the great virtues of your religion as a basis for hate and then turn around and shatter the very tenants you say you hold dear and change your mind to suit your needs. You fool no one and your hypocrisy sits there, glistening for the world to see. You are something to pity, not revere. No God or Goddess has destroyed the countries, cities, or states that allow Same-Sex marriages. Your threats of hellfire and damnation are greatly exaggerated and you can hear the laughter beginning to grow.

And minority groups, whether by race or gender (women) – those of you who are anti-gay – be the most ashamed. Of all the people that should know what it is like to be oppressed, it is you. So to stand there, shoulder to shoulder, with those who block the civil rights of others – you are the most foul of all. Your ancestors would be ashamed for all they fought, which you have taken for granted and turned into complacency and hate. They had to take, rather than be given, those rights which you now feel are God-given and inalienable. Remember – it was not always that way and there is not guarantee they will always be that way.

We are not on our way – we are here. Hate me, threaten me, and try to stand in my way. It will do no good and the days in your ivory towers are dwindling to the last, desperate few. Enjoy them while they last, but expect to hear the victory cheers soon.

I will always remember to shine,

Eric

Let’s look on the bright side…?

Sometimes, you’re forced to look on the bright side when something is so disgusting that your brain cannot register it correctly. That’s right, people, it’s going to be one of those days.

I was forced to look on the bright side when it came to NC State Rep. Larry Brown’s comments recently.  According to the Winston-Salem Journal, Rep. Brown said “[. . .] that although he did not oppose treating children with HIV, he did not ‘condone spending taxpayers’ money to help people living in perverted lifestyles.'”

If that is not fucked up enough, he later tried to rationalize what he said by stating “that he sits on no health committee and that he did not advocate cutting off funding for HIV or AIDS.”

Oh, look – another ignorant, old, straight white male.

What a wonderful, but confusing, world these old homophobic bigots must live in.  To think how glorious it must be to get so aged that you don’t even bother updating your archaic thoughts! Sure, as we all get older we don’t learn how to use new technology (for all you old people, think 12:00-flashing VCR), but comments that vile should really just keep to yourself.

Much the same way many of the older generation in the US continue to use words for African-Americans that are now unacceptable, must we wallow through the muck and mire of bigotry waiting for these dinosaurs to die off before things change?

And let’s not equate any of this to going overboard on political correctness.  No – being politically correct is saying “waste manager” instead of “garbage wo/man,” it is not being pissed off that someone had the nerve to make an asinine, ignorant statement based on prejudice.

And sure, everyone is entitled to an opinion.  But I hate to break it to everyone who would pitch a fit at this blog post, because every opinion is subject to scrutiny.  Fine, he has a right to say it in an open forum.  I’m not saying he shouldn’t have that right; what I am saying is that my opinion of him is he is a Grade-A, 100% disgusting bigot with few redeeming features, if any.  Oh look, I have an opinion, too.  I certainly hope no one would want to censor my opinion, either.

There are a lot of things I don’t support that public money goes to.  For example: war.  Do I bash those who are fighting? No.  Do I use foul language to decry the wars themselves? So far I haven’t.  And if I did, I certainly wouldn’t say “Well, I’m a private citizen and since I don’t and can’t work on the US Government’s budget, why don’t you just shut the hell up and mind your business?!”

It turns out I was wrong (hey, it happens) – there is no bright side.  Nope, there is only more shame that we add to the United States’ total amount of ignorance.

Let your voice be heard – tell Rep. Larry Brown that his homophobia and bigotry is disgusting and will not be tolerated.

Telephone: 336-972-4256.

Email: Larry.Brown@ncleg.net.

 

Always remember to shine,

Eric

Cures and Pink? Think again.

So, that’s right, I’m back to blogging.  I’m sure that was a collective “hurrah!” I heard somewhere out there.  Of course, it could have been coincidental and in conjunction with something completely unrelated, like a Republican get-together where they all step on kittens.  But I digress…

Charity…what is charity?  It can mean a host of different things to different people.  You can be charitable with your time or even your patience.  But in the United States, the idea of charity is mostly related to our wallets.  So, when we feel like it or have been guilted by a Sarah McLaughlin-laden video (I hate those damn adverts),  we give money and let someone else do the dirty work.  This is not a bad thing – I’d rather have a million people giving money to one well-oiled charity rather than having a million people try to run their own inept charities.

Of the well-oiled variety, we’ve be inundated with one in particular: The Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation.  From yogurt lids, to walks, to ribbons galore – it is probably the first charity the vox populi would reference if they were asked which charity comes to mind. And they’re a good charity, but…

According to an article on HuffPo – “fundraising giant Susan G. Komen for the Cure has a lesser-known mission that eats up donor funds: patrolling the waters for other charities and events around the country that use any variation of ‘for the cure’ in their names.”

Now I can understand this, to a degree. If they went after those who are trying to scam the public, that would be a reasonable reason to go after someone.  But to go after a mom-and-pop foundation, which is completely unrelated to breast cancer, because they used the words “for a cure” in their name is completely unacceptable.  And to spend $1 million dollars (1,000,000!) every year is just ludicrous.

Eric’s Pancreas Cancer Walk for the Cure

Eric’s Dandruff Control Jog for the Cure

Eric’s IBS Pancake Breakfast for the Cure

Which one of the above have you confused with being in business with Susan G. Komen for the Cure?  None of them? Oh my word, I am completely shocked by that.  Sort of.  OK, not at all.  Putting “for the cure” in a title is not going to change anyone’s opinion of a charity based solely on the fact that the Komen foundation has it in there.  I think it’s a little self-important of them anyway – it is not like with those three words they reinvented the wheel.

But, what do I know? Charity in the United States is a business.  The local charity shop was packed, packed, packed the day before New Years – I’m talking lines just to get in the door to drop your Christmas crap off (and, admittedly, the rest of your crap as well, not just the holiday load).  Why? Because you get a receipt for your donations and they have to be dated by December 31st of the year you want to deduct them from your taxes.

This isn’t a bad thing; I’m not railing against the fact that a charity is a business – but I am lamenting the fact that it has been taken to such a degree that we have a huge, national organization going after well-meaning (and haven’t done anything wrong) smaller organizations for use of “for the cure” in their name.

Who benefits from Komen “trying to protect its brand” as it were?  Who’s supposedly out there scamming people out of their hard earned money by tacking on “for a cure” on their charity’s name?

And how many women could that $1,000,000 have helped?

I’m not saying don’t give – it isn’t my place to tell you where to spend your money and, as far as I’m aware, Komen is a decent foundation.  But just think next time you give in the hope of helping a person with breast cancer – is that $100 donation going to them or going to squash Kites for a Cure?

I expect better from people.  I expect even more from huge, friendly-faced charities.  Don’t disappoint me, Susan – there are millions out there counting on you and for them, it might not just be about disappointment.  You wanted to be huge, well-known, and wanted to take on a monumental task – and with those comes a tremendous amount of responsibility and an enormous amount of good will.  Use it wisely or lose it quickly.

Always remember to shine,

Eric

I wondered what kind of fresh hell…

…the news was going to bring me today.  I found out just a bit ago.

Getting a link from a friend, I find a story on Care2.com about Joseph A. Rehyansky – a former military officer.  He is advocating for gay men not be allowed to serve, but promotes the idea of lesbians serving.  The reason is absolutely foul.

Let’s look at some of the gems from his closing argument.

Many gays will deny that this [arousal through visual stimuli] is the case with them, but why then is the Internet saturated with gay porn?

Really, Mr. Rehyansky? Did you do extensive research on the topic? I’m sure you did.  I mean, otherwise, how did you miss all the straight porn out there?  Oh, you weren’t looking for it?  Well, that answers that.  Don’t ass, don’t tell, I guess.

[. . .] shouldn’t the overwhelmingly straight warriors who answer their county’s call be spared the indignity of showering with other men who achieve lascivious enjoyment from the sight of those lithe naked bodies, and who may be tempted to seek more than the view?

Someone was obviously a little more than turned on while writing this bit.  Who writes “lascivious enjoyment from the sight of those lithe naked bodies” other than a closet case?

“My solution would get the distaff part of our homosexual population off our collective ‘Broke Back,’ thus giving straight male GIs a fair shot at converting lesbians and bringing them into the mainstream.”

Where the fuck did that come from?  I’m a gay man and let me tell you, nothing is making me straight.  Nothing.  The same goes for Lesbians.  And, yes, even straight men and women.  If Mr. Rehyansky is having to decide when he wakes up in the morning, then he has some issues he might want to work out with a psychologist.

So, I basically want to say this:

You are a fucking idiot, Joseph A. Rehyansky and you don’t know a goddamn thing about gay people or even other straight people.  And from what it sounds like, it’s time to leave Narnia behind and get out of that closet.

 

Always remember to shine,

Eric

Have Yourself a Merry Little Foot in the Face

Please note: this is a strongly worded blog entry.  So if you don’t like that, shut the hell up.

“Cognitive Dissonance” is not really a term you are going to hear outside of a Psych classroom.  Even when talking with advanced-psychology majors, they are still probably just going to say something like “conflicted” instead.  Let us look at what the word means:

Cognitive Dissonance is the feeling of uncomfortable tension which comes from holding two conflicting thoughts in the mind at the same time.

What the fucking hell happened to cognitive dissonance? I am calling absolute bullshit on that theory.  I’m sorry Social Psychology, you were my main focus and my beloved when I got my degree, but you really managed to get this one wrong.  Not just wrong-wrong, no, like Freud-wrong – you’re a gem to pull out of the ass at cocktail parties, but I’m debunking you now.

Here is just one example:

That is right – every year people actually get trampled on Black Friday.  Let’s break that down because you need to think about what this means (names have been changed to protect the stupid): Mary Moron “needs” a new television and decides that cheap Chinese television at Target on sale for half-off is worth risking her life.  She interrupts her life to stand in line for 8 hours to get $300 off a $600 television.  Dave Douchebag also wants that TV, so when the doors open and Ms. Moron gets pushed down, he doesn’t stop to help her – instead, he will step on or over her.

So, in the first place, apparently Mary Moron’s time is worth $37.50 per hour…instead of priceless (this calculation doesn’t include the fact some people stand in line way longer than 8 hours).  She could have died – and then her time really is up, forever.  That is a really piss-poor trade off.

Secondly, I think it has become fair to say the masses believe monetary savings on non-essentials is more important than human life.  I had the sneaking suspicion anyway when people get super pissed off when there is a minor disaster instead of being thrilled everyone is uninjured.  Yes, your basement flooded with an inch of water, but no, your children didn’t drown…but sure, go ballistic like you just got shot in the face by Cheney.

Thirdly and this is why I’m debunking Cognitive Dissonance – there is no uncomfortable feeling with being two-faced in America anymore.  If you ask any single person out there (save the really deranged) “Is human life worth more than $1 million?” they will answer a resounding “Yes!” But then they go and trample someone for savings – not even something for free (not that that would make it acceptable by any means).  Go and grab up those shitty $1.33 Walmart towels, but please try not to reenact Pamploma’s Running of the Bulls, for chrissakes!

Further cases-in-point: Republicans and Teabaggers.  Yeah, if you don’t know at this point I’m a Super Liberal, sworn to defend against the Ridiculous Right, this post can be the big tip off.

Anyway,  let’s see some examples:

“I’m 100% against tax-payer funded health care…Where the fuck is mine?!”

“Gay marriage? Marriage is sacred!…while I’m not boffing some guy I ‘hired to carry my luggage’.”

“I’m not racist…but that jpeg of the White House lawn covered in watermelons was hilarious.  I forwarded it to everyone in my address book – even journalists!”

And the list goes on and on and on.

So where is this “uncomfortable tension which comes from holding two conflicting thoughts in the mind at the same time?”  I’m sorry – it just doesn’t exist anymore.  Definitely in some of us it lives on, but by no stretch of the imagination is this a universal trait in Americans – they have become so self-centered, self-gratifying, and lack any sense of personal responsibility.  It’s disgusting.  Absolutely disgusting.

Way to go, America, you’ve made me proud once again.

Always remember to shine,

Eric

HIV – Still the “Gay Disease?”

First off – I’d like to remind everyone that it is 2010 BCE, in case anyone has forgotten.

 

I asked myself the question: how far have we come from believing that HIV and AIDS are diseases that affect mostly gay men?

HIV first become recognized in early 1981 and was found mainly in IV drug users and gay men.  At the time, Reagan was the US President – a man that would not utter the words “homosexual” and “AIDS.”  One would think that after four more presidents (Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr., and Obama) and 21 years later, the outdated notion of HIV being the “gay” disease would have subsided once we found out more about it and saw other groups that were being affected.

As illustrated in the graph below, we see the hardest hit areas are in Africa.  In these areas, there is the prevalent belief that HIV-infected men who have sexual intercourse with a virgin will be cured.

So, in Africa, HIV is not a “gay” disease.

Another point: in the United States, the group that has the fastest rising rate of HIV infections is heterosexual African-American females.

According to the CDC, about 1/3 of HIV cases stem from drug use.

The information from the CDC (from the year 2000), states that:

Since the epidemic began, injection drug use has directly and indirectly accounted for more than one-third (36%) of AIDS cases in the United States. This disturbing trend appears to be continuing. Of the 42,156 new cases of AIDS reported in 2000, 11,635 (28%) were IDU [Injection Drug User]-associated.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/idu.htm

Just using these two bits of information, we can see that HIV is not a “gay” disease.  And yet, the media continues to bill it as such.  An Associated Press article from today (November 23, 2010) is titled

Study: AIDS pill helps gay men avoid HIV infection

I read through the article, about the drug Truvada, and I was astounded at some of the language.  Let’s look at some of those now:

A pill already used to treat HIV infection turns out to be a powerful weapon in protecting healthy gay men from catching the virus, a global study found.

But he warned they may not apply to people exposed to HIV through male-female sex, drug use or other ways. Studies in those groups are under way now.

That’s the one that got me.  I was unaware that HIV was discriminatory in the way that it entered the body.  I would wager that if it helps one group, it is going to help any group.  I have not been able to find any restrictions on the medication stating it was a homosexual-exclusive drug.  So I do not understand why it would be hypothesized that it could possibly only work on homosexuals.

“It’s not time for gay and bisexual men to throw out their condoms,” Fenton said. The pill “should never be seen as a first line of defense against HIV.”

Is it time for heterosexuals to throw out their condoms?  Again, what is with the focus on only gay and bisexual men?

Here’s the kicker:

Gay and bisexual men account for nearly half of the more than 1 million Americans living with HIV. Worldwide, more than 7,000 new infections occur each day. Unlike in the U.S., only 5 to 10 percent of global cases involve sex between men.

Again, it is clear that HIV – the worldwide disease – is not exclusively a gay disease.

Full article here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_med_aids_prevention_pill

Is the medication a good thing?  Yes, of course it is; mind you, the cost in the US is exorbitant at $5,000 – $14,000 per year for the drug.

But the language still bothers me – it is something that can affect anyone of any race, any gender, any religion, and HIV knows no country or state lines.  When is it going to stop being aligned with homosexuality as some sort of exclusive demographic?

Not in 2010, apparently.

 

Always remember to shine,

Eric

When People in Power Don’t Understand Math –

When the people we put into office don’t understand the basics of mathematics – we endure a train wreck.  Today, I’m going to take aim at the American foundation of capitalism…and everything the Republicans want it to stand for, but instead how it fails.

I’m not a math buff, but I have a flair for economics.  I run a household, which means to be prosperous, you need to know how money works inside and out; if you don’t, you have more going out than coming in, cash flying out the door like water through a sieve, and your financial future is an absolute mess.  I’d like to retire some day and you probably would, too.

So where do you start?  It isn’t hard to figure out – start at the freaking bottom of the pyramid to get to the top.  At home? I clip coupons.  Yes, that is mundane and yes, it isn’t very glamorous, but I can tell you that over the course of the last 10 years, I’ve saved tens of thousands of dollars.  And that money? It’s in my pocket accruing interest, until I decide to use it on anything I want.  After all, I have it because of the time spent clipping coupons.

So you see, I start small – 50¢ here, $2 there – nothing major, nothing to write home about.  And then you move up: cleaning appliances to make sure they work right, keeping your car in good shape, and going about your life in an economically-minded fashion.  It may not sound fun, but a penny saved is a penny earned, according to Franklin, and I’m inclined to agree.

Now, you may be wondering what the hell this has to do with the government or Republicans.  Not much, it isn’t a direct analogy – I’m simply trying to illustrate that you and I know the fundamentals of basic economics.

Why is it that the government doesn’t know this?

According to LifeInc on The Today Show, minimum wage is less than it was in 1968 – 42 years ago!

Adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage was worth $8.54 per hour in 1968, according to calculations by the Economic Policy Institute. The current minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

The value of the minimum wage has risen in the last few years, following a three-year government effort to boost the lowest allowable hourly wage in the United States. The final stage, which took effect in July of 2009, brought the minimum wage up nearly 11 percent to its current rate.

Source: http://lifeinc.todayshow.com/_news/2010/11/19/5495013-good-graph-friday-minimum-wage-is-worth-less-than-in-1968?gt1=43001

So all of those people working the base jobs of society make less than their grandparents did in the 60’s.  And yet the costs of products continue to rise, of course.

There has been opposition to raising the minimum wage by Republicans.  It is often said if you raise the minimum wage, you are going to drive the cost of products and services higher and higher.  As we can see, this is not the case at all.  A little deductive reasoning and we can see the prices associated with foods, rent, and other industries have climbed, whereas the minimum wage has not increased at the same rate.

Joe Miller, the 2010 Alaskan Republican senatorial candidate (who has since been defeated by Republican write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski) was in favor of abolishing the Federal minimum wage and said it should be left up to the states to decide.  That sounds great in theory, but how long before they decide that $4/hour is good enough? “Oh, well, then, no one will work for them and they’ll go out of business!” is the answer you’d get from a Republican.  But there is always someone to work that job, because they need food in their mouth and a roof over their head.  Additionally, it would create a society with even more people on welfare – another group that Republicans have a huge problem with.  A friend of mine said, quite aptly, that Republicans would rather have them just tossed in a pit and set on fire.  It appears to be true, if they want the poor to stay poor and not give them an social assistance, either.  “Compassionate Conservatives,” my ass.

It isn’t a case of lower costs for everyone – it’s about putting MORE cash in CEO’s pockets – because do you (or anyone intelligent?) really think if a company is only paying its employees $4/hr that they’re REALLY going to pass those savings on to you?  Hell no.  That no longer happens; instead, they put out great quarterly revenues and their investors are happy, which bring them even more money.

Why must America drag its feet on every. single. thing. it. does?  From Civil Rights to minimum wage, the idea that America takes care of her citizens has gone from making us a laughingstock to disgusting.

Oh, and the ones telling you that America is based on Capitalism and that it works?  Check their pay stubs – I’m sure they’re not being paid minimum wage.  Time to wake up and smell the shit for what it really is all about.

Always remember to shine,

Eric