Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Indiana Professor Don Belton Murdered

Another week, another queer person of color murdered. Indiana University Professor Don Belton, who I knew from his time in Minneapolis, though I did not know him well, was murdered by Michael Griffin. Mr. Griffin accused Don of sexually assaulting him "twice" on Christmas Day. So he went to Don's house, with a hunting knife, and when Don didn't apologize, he stabbed the man at least five or six times in the back and then several times in front.

I call that premeditated murder. You don't go to someones house for an apology and bring a knife.

The reporting also included that the police found a journal in the professor's apartment that had an entry which read that he was "very happy" that someone named Michael entered his life. Now, I could be wrong, but unless someone is a pathological or serial rapist, they generally do not write journal entries about individuals they assaulted.

This sounds like someone got their dick sucked a couple of times, couldn't deal with their internal homophobia, and killed an innocent man. There is an investigation that will dig up the facts, but I am going to go ahead and say that based on the age difference, the obvious physical fitness of Mr. Griffin, and knowing Don's commitment to justice and community, it would be very difficult for Don to assault Mr. Griffin. And even if he had, inappropriate touching does not qualify anyone for a death sentence.

I am an assault survivor. I was assaulted twice as an adult. I understand that assault between men can happen. My heart and understanding goes out to assault survivors, particularly those that are men as we are made almost completely invisible in the domestic and sexual violence movements unless we are the perpetrators.

But I don't believe for a fucking second that Michael Griffin was assaulted by Don Belton. The facts, as they stand, do not add up. Perhaps my opinion will change, but I doubt it. Even in supposed gay panic cases, the murderer has killed while, during, or just after the sexual encounter. They don't go back, days later, with a bowie knife. That is the sign of a fucked up mind and some fucked up issues.

And, of course, who values the life of a black man? Let alone a queer black man? Who thinks twice about murdering those that society still often fails to value? Why do people still think, use, and triumph with the gay panic defense? If I murdered the woman that grabbed my dick at a nightclub in Virginia over the Thanksgiving holiday, would I have been able to get off based on a straight panic defense?

I am exhausted.

Rest in piece Don. Thank you for your contributions to education, your writing, and your spirit. You will be missed.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Ganymede #6 Released Featuring Poetry by Brandon Lacy Campos and Charlie Vazquez

GANYMEDE #6 issue now out
6x9² perfect bound paperback book, 272 pages

--DAVID SEDARIS on loving his man
--British gay author DENTON WELCH (1915-1948), enjoying a big cult following
in the UK, returns to America thanks to Ganymede: SIX sample stories over
three issues!
--The Dirt on the Duchess: From Charles Higham's new memoir, learn what
Chinese vaginal technique the Duchess of Windsor used to cure her man's
impotence. Who needs the throne of England when your wife makes you cum?
--EDMUND WHITE¹s new memoir ³City Boy² and other book and film reviews
--MY DIVA: six gay authors on the great divas they love
--a rare homo-erotic mystery story by ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON
--14 gay poets, 5 gay story writers, gay photographers and artists

POETRY by Edward Field, Walter Holland, Steven Cordova, Gregg Shapiro, R.
Nemo Hill, Stephen S. Mills, Brandon Lacy Campos, Jeff Mann, Lee Houck, Eric
Norris, Bryan Borland, Christopher S. Soden, Sergio Ortiz, Mark Milazzo
FICTION by Denton Welch, Charlie Vásquez, Cyrus Cassells, Wayne Hoffman,
Eric Karl Anderson, Andrew J. Peters
ART PORTFOLIO: Today¹s Painters of the Male Form
PHOTO PORTFOLIOS: Yannis Angel, Kent Mercurio, Jannis Tsipoulanis, Eric
Phillips, Lars Stephan

Details and readable sample pages:

Purchase (print or download):
If you order print or download before Dec. 31, Lulu offers 20% off by using
this code in checkout: HOHOHO

Contributors can receive a free electronic version of the compete issue
provided their email service can handle very large attachments of 10+ mb
(gmail and Road Runner can; most others cannot)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Shits and No Giggles

Let me tell you, spending a week and a half alternating between taking 40 shits a day to all of a sudden being backed up like the 101 in L.A. during rush hour is enough to make a man say fuck it and carve into his own intestines to install a homemade colostomy bag. Then just as I thought all was well, I developed a waterfall of snot down the back of my throat and what felt like a Satanic Christmas elf with a red hot dagger in the junction between my ear and my throat that went berserk every time I swallowed anything, including the snot fountain.

Of course, all of this happened as David and I threw our holiday party, which drew about 40 guests, and our holiday trip to Connecticut to spend time with the in-laws.

And that's when "stupid man syndrome" kicked up in my butt. Now, most normal human beings, around day three of peeing out of their anus, would get thee to a doctor's office. Not my stubborn ass. Since Urgent Cares are not popular in New York, I decided to tough it out the first weekend, so as to avoid the $75 co-pay at the ER. By Monday, the fountain had dried up, and I thought...MAN WINS AGAIN! Of course, the day we leave for CT, my ear decides to go Sarah Palin rogue, but at that point it was too late to go to the doctor, as we were on our way to CT. I figured it was just a little earache, and it would go away, so I ate about three bites of Christmas dinner (I must be the only idiot in the Christian world that lost weight with about 20 lbs of ham staring him in the face). Day before last I decided to self medicate. Turns out that enough vodka heals all wounds, or at least least numbs them to the point where you just don't care.

Oh but I did care yesterday morning.

When I woke up yesterday, the ear pain was back with a vengeance, and this time the mucus waterfall was non-stop, yum. Unfortunately, "stupid man syndrome" was still in full effect. I decided that I was going to tough it out. I laid back down to take a nap. Finally, when I realized that the Hell's Elves had built a full on mosh pit in my ear/throat, I decided to suck it up and ask David to take me to urgent care.

I rose only to discover that David had been summoned by the Spirit of Martha Stewart Past (before jail), and he was off to the yarn store. I offered up a great lament, as David is a big old Uptown Girl when it comes shopping. That one can disappear into a craft aisle for three days and sustain himself with the water he keeps in the nick knack hump on his back.

Thank the lord that he made it back swiftly.

We trucked to the urgent care and then got to sit in the waiting room for 45 minutes. Once in the back, I got to tell a crotchety nurse about my various systems, and then she asked me my doctor's name. I blanked. I seriously blinked at her and said ummmm, "Steve." And she said, "umm. Last name." I totally could not remember. Then I mentioned he was in Chelsea, and she gave me that, "Oh you are from the CITY," look and shuffled out of the room. By the time the doctor came in, I was eyeballing a tongue depressor and a bottle of rubbing alcohol wondering if I could just fix the situation myself. The doc listened to my chest and then stuck one of those giant swabs down my throat, which came out bright red and bloody. I almost fainted off the damn examination table. I hadn't realized that the Elves weren't moshing, they were butchering my throat and selling the flesh to Dwarves as beef jerky.


The doctor was about as pleasant as Nurse Evil. And then I made the ultimate mistake as I left the examination room. I wished him a Merry Christmas, to which he did not respond. Then I read his name on the prescription sheet. Score one for wishing a Merry Christmas to a Jew. I am so awesome.

I got my drugs, headed home, and evicted the elves. Stupid Man Syndrome gave way to No More Blood in the Throat Common Sense.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a phlegm free night.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Yesterday, Mo'nique received a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her role in the movie "Precious," the film based on the novel Push by Sapphire. She deserved it. Indeed, Mo'Nique, Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz, and Gabourey Sidibie should all just be handed Golden Globes and Oscars right now.

This movie was so good and so hard and so raw and so real that at times I felt as if I were a voyeur inside the real life of any number of young women that I see on any given day walking the streets of New York.

Precious deals with a range of issues from incest, physical abuse, teen pregnancy, literacy, HIV/AIDS, poverty, and race. The truth is that the American cinema rarely deals well with ONE of those issues, and most films that attempt to not only address more than one of these issues but also to demonstrate the very real interconnections between these issues and their attendant oppressions, usually the movie falls flat or has to resort to being a musical (Rent anyone?). This movie not only addresses these issues but maintains a realism that for anyone that has struggled with any of these issues, you feel as if your story is being told to you from the silver screen, and it is not always a comfortable feeling.

I saw this film with my friend Kenyon, and at one point, he just laid his hand on my leg in comfort, and I was glad to have him nearby. Watching this film with another person of African descent, someone that I know understands many of the issues discussed in this film, made all the difference. When the two young black women walked out of the movie after a particularly difficult scene, I didn't wonder why. Watching it is not for the weak of heart or for anyone that is not in a good head place and soul space.

But it is a movie that everyone should see. I think what made the movie work, and I came to this conclusion after a Facebook conversation with my friend Cindy, was that everyone in the movie was ridiculously humble. With the stars attached to this movie, it could have easily have become a Divafest. Anyone one of the megastars attached to the film could have out shined the newcomer, Sidibie, but they all understand that the story they were telling was greater than themselves. Hell, to be real, I knew Mariah Carey was in the movie, and I was staring right at her and did not register the woman on the screen with the pop star.

Do yourself a favor. Go and see Precious. I guarantee that no other movie that came out in 2009 is anywhere near the quality of this movie. Prepare for an Oscars sweep.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Judy Shephard's Statement on Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado's Murder

I received this statement from Judy Shephard via Christopher Pagan, the amazing man that broke the story of Jorge (George) Steven Lopez Mercado's brutal murder to the world. Judy Shephard is the mother of Matthew Shephard. Matthew was murdered in Wyoming in 1998.

Statement from Judy Shephard on the Murder of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado

Dennis and I, and the entire board and staff of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, stand with all who are grieving the loss of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado in one of the most shockingly brutal hate crimes in Puerto Rico’s history.

While we are grateful to the local law enforcement officials for their swift work to apprehend the suspect in this terrible crime, we remain deeply saddened that yet another family should have to suffer the pain of such a tragedy, and that such breathtaking violence continues to be directed at gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people who are simply trying to live their lives honestly and openly.

For another young person to lose their life and be taken from their family and community due to fear, prejudice and hatred is simply unacceptable. Each of us who believe in freedom and equality must remain vocal, active, and unrelenting in calling for justice.

Our thoughts are with Mr. Lopez, all who knew and loved him, the members of his community and the millions worldwide who have been touched by his senseless death. Our family and the Foundation will continue to work to prevent similar tragedies in any way we can.

To learn more about the Matthew Shephard Foundation click here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Jason Mattison, Jr. Murdered in Baltimore

I am sitting at my computer, drying tofu and waiting for a college friend to come over, so we can have dinner, drink wine, and enjoy each other's company. Up until I opened my Facebook a moment ago and saw an article posted by my friend and fellow blogger Andres Duque, I took every single moment of my day supremely for granted.

Today Jason Mattison, Jr. reminded me to pay attention and to be grateful. Yesterday it was George Steven Lopez Mercado. Both of the lessons came at the cost of these youth's lives.

What the fuck is wrong with motherfuckers in this world?

I mean come on. Jason was raped, stabbed in the throat and face, gagged with a pillow and shoved in a closet in his Aunt's house. He was murdered by a friend of the family known to be a violent criminal and yet somehow they let him in the house and left him alone with this boy? WHAT THE FUCK! I might love the hell out of a good friend or relative that snaps and does violent harm to someone, but you can bet from that day forward that person will NEVER be alone in a room with anyone that is precious to me...especially a child.

And what really pisses me off, once again, is that since this was a black child that was murdered in Baltimore in a poor neighborhood, there will be no massive Matthew Shepherd outcry. There will not be massive candle light vigils around the country. There will be no massive legislative intervention by the HRC or NGLTF or any other national advocacy group. I am so tired of the fact that OUR children, our beautiful brown and black children, are continuously sacrificed and pass out of this world without a tremendous roar by every breathing loving person that understands that every single human being is precious. FUCK YOUR RELIGION if it tells you that a gay child should not complain when he or she is killed. FUCK YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD if people get off by harassing and slamming queer kids just trying to grow up. FUCK YOUR SCHOOL if it does not immediately boot anyone that thinks its ok to bully or shame someone because of their perceived sexual orientation or perceived gender identity.


I want to see white straight male Republican capitalists that own overseas assets crying on TV about this child's murder. I want WHITE LED LGBT ORGANIZATIONS to organize the marches and vigils and remembrances of this baby. I WANT A GODDAMN NATIONAL ACT TO ELIMINATE POVERTY in this country called the JASON MATTISON JR and GEORGE STEVEN LOPEZ MERCADO ANTI-POVERTY AND WELFARE RIGHTS ACT that also includes a provision that provides for Puerto Rico to become a free and independent nation with a guaranteed annual no strings attached AID package of 100 billion dollars a year for every year that Puerto Rico has been a U.S. Colony, which is 110 years and counting.

Remember Jason Mattison, Jr and his family in your thoughts and prayers. And once you are done praying, call someone and tell them about his murder, then call your neighbors, your schools, your legislators, your ministers, your police force, and anyone else that needs to be called and told that our youth are inherently sacred, valued, loved, cherished and no one has any right or reason to dim or put out their light.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

George Steven Lopez Mercado Murdered in Puerto Rico

Say his name: George Steven Lopez Mercado. Say his name every day, out loud, until he receives justice. George Steven Lopez Mercardo was brutality murdered, his legs and arms ripped off, his body partially burned, decapitated, and his torso ripped in half near Cayey in Puerto Rico. Thanks to an iReport by Christopher Pagan we know about this tragedy. No thanks to CNN or any other major U.S. News Source.

Puerto Rico is a colony of the United States. Since 1898, the U.S. has owned Puerto Rico and used it as a fat cash cow. Each year the island pumps more than $20 billion in tax and other revenue into the U.S. economy, yet the island exists as a third world country, its per capita earnings each annum is about half that of Mississippi or roughly around $8,000. As a colony, the island is required to follow federal laws, the FBI has jurisdiction on the island, and the U.S. is responsible for enforcing basic human rights standards. The fact that there has been almost no coverage of this heinous murder of a well known queer youth in Puerto Rico is endemic to the role of Puerto Rico in the U.S.: most people don't know we own it, it's a cheap vacation spot for U.S. tourists, and we don't care about the island unless the islanders get restless.

I do not support the recent hate crimes legislation signed into law by President Obama specifically because it is going to increase sentences for people of color. But, since it has been passed and signed into law, and since Puerto Rico is under federal jurisdiction, the law needs to be applied thoroughly to this case. And since every damn news outlet in the country covered the murder of Matthew Shepherd, here is a chance to set racism and colonialism aside and remember George Steven Lopez Mercado.

It's bad enough that this young man's life was brutally ended, but the detective, Angel Rodriguez, in charge of the investigation has basically said that based on George's sexual orientation, he deserved what he got. Excuse me?

I am willing to bet that the police detective has had his cock sucked more than once. Bugarrones make me sick.

I lived in Puerto Rico. I know that the queer community there is vibrant. I also know that I met more "straight" men that liked to take it up the butt than anywhere else I have ever been.

First off the F.B.I needs to take over investigation of this crime.

Secondly the police detective that made the fucked up comments regarding this tragic murder needs to be fired and charged with compromising an investigation, obstruction of justice, and intentional assholery.

Then the individual or individuals responsible for this crime need to be locked in an iron cage and dropped off the tip of El Morro Castle directly into the ocean.

Thank you to Christopher Pagan for bringing this to our attention, and thank you to for ensuring that Christopher's iReport has gotten the coverage it deserves.

George Steven Lopez Mercado, you will not be forgotten.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Shit Talk

I had a tremendously satisfactory poop this morning. While power turds were shooting from my bottom with tiny glorious splashes in the toilet bowl, I thought about how much I love to take a poop.

Now let's be clear. I am not into scat. If you shit on me, you had better meet at least three of the following four criteria:

1) I gave birth to you
2) You are less than a year old
3) No court in the world would declare you mentally competent
4) You have amoebic dysentery

If you do not meet three of those four criteria and you shit on me, kiss your Mama goodbye and prepare to meet your maker cuz I am going to put you directly in a hole in the ground with a shape that exactly matches my fist in your heart. I will start chanting "O Num Shabyum," like that crazy mo'fo' in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and snatch your blood pumper straight up out of your chest.

But, for real, I love to take poops. Next to sex and writing, it is my favorite pastime. The good Lord knew what he was doing when he placed more nerve endings in your anus than anywhere else in the human anatomy except the clitoris (if that isn't a selling point for butt sex, I don't know what else could be). And when you have a gloriously poopy morning when your body decides to give itself a colonic, well that is generally a sign that your going to have a good day.

Seriously, sometimes when I am on the Porcelain Power Seat, I get real upset if I run out of crap before I finish the chapter of the book I am reading. Ever since I jumped into exercise high gear and built up my abs, I have been pooping much more efficiently and quickly, so I have not been getting my good reading time in lately, and that is messing with my Book-A-Week average. Hell, I read the entire Bible on the toilet. I kept a good old Precious Moments Newly Revised King James Version that I got for Christmas when I was 12 on the back of the toilet for a couple of months, and my Revelation was that God made Poop and saw that it was good. Amen.

I am also fascinated by the changes in my poop from day to day. Like when I eat a bunch of collards, I basically shit "hooker green" poop for the next two days. If I eat a lot of rice Chex it comes out grainy and stringy, and if I eat Lucky Charms it turns bright green from the dye in the marshmallows. And since I love hot peppers I also get a nice warming sensation in the morning after a night of extra spicy deliciousness.

1-2-3-4 It Is Pooping I Adore! GO TEAM GO!

It's the little pleasures in life that will sustain us in this crazy shifting world of ours.

Friday, November 13, 2009


So I love Minnesota. I betcha could never guessed. My beloved homeland has been in the news quite a bit lately. From electing Al Franken to the Senate and giving the Democrats the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster (that is if Lieberman's dumbass doesn't go all Sarah Palin rogue) to once again being at the top of the healthy, livability, education, arts, and economic recover lists...the land of 10,000 lakes (actually 11,842 lakes) is pretty much the best state in these here United States.

I even found out recently at a party with a professor of linguistics that the Minnesota accent is the fastest spreading in the country and can now be heard as far south as Kansas and Missouri, east to Ohio and west to Nebraska. BOOOOOOOOOYA!

Sure the state is frozen over from mid-November to mid-April. And yeah I remember once it snowed on May 1st, and there was that one time that it snowed four feet over night on Halloween and I went trick or treating with a sled, but other than the time when the air temperature with windchill was -90 degrees and the Governor shut down all the schools in the state, Minnesota is awesome.

Minnesotans are also the toughest creatures on the planet.

I mean I just explained to you that other than Polar Bears and Penguins, no other living creatures roam about in -90 degree weather except Minnesotans. And not only do we roam about, we throw parades. There is a parade called the Holidazzle that runs every night from Dec. 1 until December 31 at exactly 6pm along Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. That is after nightfall ya'll. Almost every January we build a LIFE SIZE castle out of giant ice blocks and put on a festival we call the St. Paul Winter Carnival. Every year the city of St. Paul buries a golden medallion in the snow somewhere in the city and thousands of people search for weeks for the medallion...the lucky winner takes away $15,000. The longest dog sled race in the world outside of the Iditarod takes place in Northern Minnesota. Those cowboy boot wearing pansies in Texas ain't got nothing on Minnesota pride or Minnesota tough.

It also helps that we have several of the top public and private higher education institutions in the world in our little old state. My high school, Patrick Henry, in North Minneapolis has been named one of the top high schools in America by U.S. News and World Report every year for about a decade, and who else has the Mall of one else that's who. Shoot.

Oh yeah, and we were the first state to include gender identity in our state's human rights act. DOUBLE BOOOOOOOOYA!

We've elected six independent governors in our state's history, and Minneapolis has 22 lakes within the city limits. Sure, we have a ridiculous shit stain asshole of a governor that would have sucked whiskey from George Bush Jr's tit if he thought it would get him into the White House, but, you know, we can't be PERFECT otherwise those nasal talkin' cheese eatin' Sconnies would want to move into Minnesota. I would have to hire some Minutemen to move to Minnesota and guard our Eastern Border. I welcome undocumented immigrants to Minnesota. It's Wisconsinites I can't stand.

Minnesota is the shit. You betta recognize!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ragtime on Broadway Fucked My Ass Up

So I basically spent the last two hours being angry as hell and crying like a little biznatch that got beat in the face with a morningstar dipped in acid.

Ragtime is the best piece of theater I have seen in a long damn time. It's better than Wicked, and since I named my penis Gregory McGuire after seeing Wicked...that should tell ya'll something.

Ragtime is a revival of a play from the late 90s. It is officially re-opening this Sunday at the Neil Simon theater just up the street from my house. Today was a preview matinee. A friend of mine, that I met through David, had extra tickets to the show and sent me a text earlier this afternoon to ask if I would like to see the show.

I had already had a midday cocktail as today was a day off for me, and I was debating whether or not I should go. Ragtime was on the top of my list of shows to see, so I figured I should get my lazy ass up off the stool and go check out the show for free.

I haven't decided yet if it was a good choice.

So, in a vacuum it was an excellent choice. The show was fucking phenomenal. The music was incredible, the performers were outstanding, the story was great and original, and the stage/sound/lighting are going to win this production a Tony.

In relationship to my mental health after two days of intense labor and already being soul tired before I went, it was probably a poor choice.

I didn't know what the show was about before I signed up to see it. I knew it had black folks in it, and I knew that it must be set in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as that was the hey day of ragtime music.

In actuality the show wove the stories of two Jewish immigrants, a well-to-do white American family, and a black woman and her child, and a Harlem based successful ragtime musician. The play addressed issue of workers right and industrialism. Emma Goldman figured in prominently as did JP Morgan and Booker T. Washington. The gist of the play is that a poor black woman abandons and then is reunited with her infant. What she thought was an itinerant musician tracks her down and tries to build a life for her. Unfortunately, she is beaten by whites and killed. As often happened, the legal channels of justice did jack shit to remedy the situation, and the musician goes ape shit and kills three white men. And I say halle-fucking-lujah to that.

Of course in the end, the black man is shot down by the authorities, and Booker T. Washington's assimilationist and white washed negro ass advocates for the wronged musician to trust the wheels of justice which roll right over the musician.

The entire story is told through brilliant musical numbers and frankly I cried from sadness and ridiculous anger.

I am so tired of being angry. I wasn't sitting in the audience angry at some historical injustice, I was angry because the EXACT SAME SHIT HAPPENS RIGHT NOW EVERY DAY AND NOT A FUCKING THING HAS CHANGED fundamentally. Sure, overt racism in the criminal justice system is no longer permissible but violent crimes against black men by the police have not substantially dipped in a generation, white cops that kill black men almost uniformly get off no matter HOW obvious it is that the shit that went down was a case of fucked up white men shooting down a black man who only had a wallet in their hand, and institutional and structural racism, though mitigated, remains rampant in so many ways. I love Obama but his election has meant little to jack shit in the substantive day to day realities of black folks living in America.

Didi I mention I am tired of being angry. I really am. I am so emotionally drained. I know that when I came home pouring a delicious vodka drink was probably not the best answer, but it was a readily available one. I know that my man is going to come home in an hour or so, and he should not be subjected to the ridiculous and irate feelings that are pumping along with adrenaline through my veins. But, seriously, right now at this juncture I am utilizing every tool that I have to just survive this rage without reverting to old drugging patterns or pulling out a hatchet and going Jason Voorhies on the asses of whatever poor white souls I meet on the street below.

I am sure tomorrow I will be my old chipper self again, but today I am pissed as hell.

Oh, and btw, go see Ragtime. It is worth the ticket price.

Homohop star Tori Fixx to release digital greatest hits album!

NEW goodies coming SOON for DIGITAL distribution from Big Milo Records/VYJ2!!

It's the premier Big Milo Records/VYJ2 release from:
Tori Fixx..."The Fixxology" (VBIG-CD-1402 / 8 12782 81402 3)

Tori Fixx’s Digital Only “The Fixxology” Release Slated for December 8

(Los Angeles, CA) Big Milo Records announces a new Tori Fixx release set for December 8, 2009. The project is a DIGITAL-only release entitled “The Fixxology” and is a completely remastered compilation anthology of Tori Fixx’s decade of remixes and two new tracks that indicate his new musical direction.

“The Fixxology” highlights fan favorites from his decade of work and also familiarizes others to the artist’s older material that many new fans may not be aware of. “The Fixxology” features remixes of “Respect the Situation,” “Take Care of U,” “1 Mo’ Nite,” and a completely transformed “Reciprocity,” which is the first official radio single. All tracks on “The Fixxology” have been completely remastered and brought up to modern production levels. This is Tori Fixx today, yesterday...and yet to come!

“The Fixxology” will be released on December 8, 2009, with an MSRP of $9.99 for the full release of 21 tracks. Certain songs will only be available with purchase of the entire “The Fixxology” release.

Tori Fixx is a producer and out hip hop artist who has released over 7 albums in his career - his music is a blend of hip hop, funk, soul, and pop. He has been profiled in The Advocate and Out Magazine. He has also appeared on the Tyra Banks Show and CNN's Paula Zahn Now. He was just nominated for two Outmusic Awards for material released in 2008, ("I'm the Same," also on "The Fixxology") as well as Producer of the Year for his remix of Guy B's "Co-Exist."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Doggy Style

I am totally, absolutely, totally, head over heels in love...with a dog.

Her name is Mimzy, and she is the boss of me.

About six weeks ago, David and I were talking about how we missed having a dog around the house. David spent hours flipping through webpages on Jack Russell Terrier adoption sites. One day, he sent me a picture of this little face staring up at me out of a red blanket. I was frickin' hooked. I ran into the studio, and I told David that this was our girl.

We took the train to Central Connecticut, and then we borrowed David's Dad's truck and drove to Boston on a rainy day when I had the flu in order to get our new girl, Mimzy.

It has been a love affair since then. Now, I know I am biased as a parent, but literally people stop us on the street because she is so damn cute. She has unusual markings for a JRT, and she is basically so laid back that sometimes I wonder if she's dead. She is generally ridiculously delicate and very inquisitive...actually at the moment she was sniffing the cacti in the window sill.

She is also smart as hell.

So she hates/loves the canned air bottles I have and use to clean my keyboard. But it's not just the cans she flips out about. If the can is sitting by itself on the shelf in her view, she is absolutely ok with it. She knows that the can isn't a threat unless I touch it. But let my hand stray near the can or touch it, and she loses her mind. And she does one of two things: She either snaps at my hand OR she grabs the can of air via the straw attached to the nozzle and drags it away from me. She does the same thing with the self-inking address stamp I have for work. As a matter of fact, yesterday, I looked over my desk and she was on the bookshelf. She grabbed the stamper, very softly, dragged it onto her sleeping pallet, and stood over it looking at me as if it dare me to try and touch it.

I got nipped in the man titty today for teasing her with the spray can. Mimzy ain't no joke.

In the last couple of weeks her personality has really come through. She is sweet and playful. She's a trickster, and she is a lover. And she has totally captured my heart and the heart of Michael Urie the dude that plays Mark on Ugly Betty. He hasn't more than nodded in my direction but when Mimzy enters the dog park, he is all about her royal cuteness.

Monday, November 9, 2009

20 Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall

I remember November 9, 1989 very well. I was living in Brainerd, MN, and I was a 7th grader at Washington Middle School. Though I can't remember the name of my 7th grade civics teacher, I do remember a few things: 1) He was hot, 2) He expected us to know what was going on in the world, 3) He gave me extra credit for reading Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee, which fucked me up emotionally, 4) I found the first modern fantasy novel I ever read, Spellfire by Ed Greenwood, underneath my chair in his classroom, which has led to a life long fascination with Sci Fi/Fantasy, and 5) it was that Civics teacher that informed me that the Wall had come down.

He walked to the front of the class in some jeans that made his booty do a double bounce, and he said to us, "The world has changed forever, the Berlin Wall has come down."

Sometimes I take things a little too literally. I immediately looked out of the classroom window expecting to see something amazing...Unicorns humping in the middle of Oak Street, my church, which was just across the way, glowing with heavenly lights, or my Civics teaching floating on a cloud, naked, asking me to join him.

Instead my heart full of anticipation became a hard on of disappointment, the world looked exactly the same. But it wasn't was it?

By the end of that year a whole host of new countries or old countries with new freedom emerged in Europe, and I was pissed. I had just memorized all the countries of Europe and their capitals, and all of a sudden a half dozen new ones showed up without as much as a "How do you do?" Cheeky.

Later that night I returned home, and I watched video of the Knight Rider aka David Hasselhoff singing some stupid song on top of the Berlin Wall. The world had changed indeed.

20 years later Europe has moved to the edge of becoming one unified political structure, most of the European Union has adopted a single currency, old enemies are now new friends, and the new political closeness has bred an atmosphere where questions that were once taboo (such as the Armenian genocide) are now being asked and answered. I can't wait to see what happens next.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Near Universal Health Care vrs. A Woman's Right to Choose

Last night the United States cleared a major hurdle and took a huge step towards near universal health care coverage for all U.S. citizens. (Please dissect this sentence: near universal means 96% of Americans covered, it is not a singer payer system, and it will only cover citizens and not undocumented workers...which leaves huge amounts of work to do).

Of course, in grand U.S. fashion, there is also direct and immediate work to do in that in order to pass the House version of the bill last night, an amendment passed that would restrict any federal insurance programs from providing abortion services to any woman except in the case of rape, incest or a direct threat to the health of the mother. Conservative Democrats and Republicans banded together to add this piece of Religious Right assault on a woman's right to choose to the health care bill. The hope for the amendment was two fold: 1) conservative Democrats and GOP members hoped that by restricting a woman's right to choose more liberal Democrats would change their vote and the whole bill would fail or 2) the bill would pass and the amendment would survive through the Senate version and make it into law.

Thank God that liberal Democrats stuck to their guns and passed the bill. I hate the attempt by the Right to restrict a woman's right to choose, but I still support the House bill. Here's why:

The Senate version of the bill does not include the language restricting abortion rights nor will it. The make up of the Senate simply does not require that the language be included in order to gain 60 votes. Frankly, no Senate Republican, except perhaps the two women Senator's from Maine, will back the Senate version of the bill. The fact that it is two women from Maine are moderates and Sen. Snowe has supported reproductive rights for women. I am not sure what the viewpoint of Sen. Susan Collins from Maine, also a Republican, happens to be on the issue.

Now let's remember how a bill becomes a law. In general the House takes the lead in the legislative process. Traditionally the Senate will not debate or vote on a bill (other than treaties, Presidential appointments or other Constitutional procedures that need action by the Senate only) until the House has passed a version of its own. Both chambers often work on bills simultaneously but the House acting as the chamber of the people is given first dibs to present their bill. Once a bill has been passed by the House, the Senate goes into debate mode. In general, the Senate does not consider the content of the House Bill other than in broad generalities. The Senate is comprised of individuals with tremendous power that have all sorts of interests. The Senate then passes its own version of the bill at hand (or fails to pass a bill, which either kills or restarts the process from the beginning). Once the Senate version of the bill has passed the for real for real work happens

Here's the part that most U.S. citizens really do not know or understand: the Conference Committee.

The Constitution requires that both houses of Congress pass IDENTICAL bills. Both houses pick members of a conference committee. The Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House, specifically, choose these people. In general there are a few token members of the committee from the minority party in each house and a larger delegation from the majority party. Now pay close attention here, the conference committee almost has carte blanche to re-write the bill into the form that is most likely to pass both chambers. They, themselves, can add or subtract provisions of the is during this most undemocratic of processes that all kinds of pork barrel projects end up getting inserted into bills. The President, also, tends to have folks in or near the room to make sure that the key provisions in the bill backed by the White House are in the final bill. The committee then sends its final version of the bill back to both chambers for a final vote. Often, but not always, big differences in the two bills are axed.

This is why we have to act NOW. First of all, we need to put pressure on our U.S. Senators to get a good final Senate bill passed and make sure that there is no anti-choice language in the final Senate version of the bill. Once the final version of the Senate bill is passed, it will then be our work to make sure that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid know that whoever they appoint to the conference committee better know damn well to make sure the anti-choice language does not end up in the final bill.

The Republicans, which are in the minority, know that they will not be able to pass any anti-choice stand alone legislation themselves. They also know that right now the only branch of government firmly in their control is the judiciary. If, God help us, the anti-choice language makes it into the final bill passed by the House and the Senate, it will be the best chance since Roe v. Wade that the Right will have to strike a blow, at the Supreme Court, over abortion rights. Simply put, the restriction worked into the bill would, most likely, under Roe v. Wade be declared unconstitutional. Except, of course, if in reviewing that section of a new health care law the Supreme Court decides that, in fact, the Roe v. Wade decision was wrong and reverses it.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the insidious and diabolical intent behind forcing the language into the House bill, and it is why we all need to do what we need to do in order to make sure it doesn't end up in the final bill and become law.

Even with the language in the bill, I believe that covering nearly all U.S. citizens with health care is worth it. It is my commitment as a man to fight like hell to make sure that the final bill that becomes law does not, once again, create a win on the backs of women's rights.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ganymede Poets One Anthology Hits Bookshelves

first annual anthology of all 38 poets published in the first six issues of
the gay men¹s quarterly GANYMEDE
172 pages, 6x9² perfect-bound paperback book, illustrated throughout with
thematic photos
Purchase link, details, sample pages:

" innovative, nearly overwhelming new player among poetry

"There is more queer life between these covers than in virtually any gay
novel..."--Top British gay poet GREGORY WOODS in Chroma

"First in a promised series of annual collections, this strong debut sets a
high bar of quality."--Rainbow Reviews

POETS: David Ayllon, David Bergman, Bryan Borland, Brian Brown, Brandon Lacy
Campos, C.P. Cavafy, Matt Cogswell, Sean Patrick Conlon, Steven Cordova, Ron
Curlee, Jase Donaldson, Edward Field, Christopher Gaskins, R.J. Gibson, R.
Nemo Hill, Matthew Hittinger, Walter Holland, Lee Houk, Jee Leong Koh, Matt
Loney, Jeff Mann, Dug McDowell, Mark Milazzo, Stephen Mills, Michael
Montlack, Robert Kulovec Müller, James Newborg, Eric Norris, Sergio Ortiz,
Jon Rentler, Gregg Shapiro, Christopher Steven Soden, John Stahle, Matthew
Stradling, P. Viktor, Ocean Vuong, Cyril Wong, Zhuang Yisa

CURRENT ISSUE: Ganymede #5
Edmund White, Oscar Wilde, Glenway Wescott, Paris at the birth of
photography, 10 poets and 8 gay artists featured from around the world

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My Name is Peaches

I am sitting in my living room, after dark, listening to Four Women by Nina Simone. For those of you not familiar with the song, you can listen to it here. In the song she sings the story of four women: a slave, a prostitute, a mixed girl, and an angry post-slavery woman.

Alice Walker wrote in the Color Purple that when you first see the shores of Africa, it's as if someone strikes a chord inside of you. This song does that for me.

Nina Simone sings with such soft power, boiling down four caricatures representing epochs in black history yet encapsulating in four minutes the reality of a 400 year period of history.

The first three verses are matter of fact, and then she sings the last verse:

"My skin is brown. My manner is tough. I'll kill the first mother I see. My life has been rough. I'm awfully bitter these days. Because my parents were slaves. What do they call me? My name is Peaches!"

No other song I have ever heard in my entire life has ever compacted into such simple verses a vitriolic anger that simply, radically, and unapologetically holds the anger of all those held in bondage plus the weight carried by and lived with by their descendants.

Slavery ended 142 years ago, and I am still pissed off.

I have heard so many times from so many people (almost uniformly not black) that they don't understand why black people are so angry. They don't get why we still carry a burden "laid down" by ,at this point, our great-great-great grandparents. In fact, the only people that I have met that actually understand are Jews. Genocide whether 142 years ago or 60 years ago is carried in the DNA of those that survive it.

When I hear Nina Simone sing "Black is the Color" or "Four Women" or "Strange Fruit" or any number of her songs, I can hear the pain and anger that is carried and is righteously held in her for all of us that share those same terrible roots. And like all things grievous it can be healed, but never has the United States shown the will or the willingness to go beyond an apology to the amends necessary to heal those old yet still fresh and festering wounds. name is Peaches as well.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

One Liner of the Week: Joshua Mandelbaum

So Mr. Joshua Mandelbaum is the boss of me. Literally. He is my boss.

Today we visited the amazing Eastern European Hottie Zone (the name of the real site has been changed to protect the innocent) on the upper East Side. Recently remodeled, this place is stunning, and it is where we are having our annual benefit dinner next week.

We met a lovely staff person there by the name of Michael. Michael was a hotty Eastern European man wearing tight jeans. When I got back home, I IMed Joshua and told him that I had a crush and Michael and that Michael and I would be making out in the coat closet during the benefit.

This was Joshua's response:

"Either he has the soul of a fawn or he was crushing on you too."

I almost peed on myself. Oh my straight boss how funny ye be. And that, ladies and trannies, is the One Liner of the Week.

United States of Afghanistan or NYC Democracy Dies

Welcome to New York City, the capital of Venezuela...or maybe it's Ecuador....or perhaps Cuba...or maybe Haiti....could be the Central African Republic....might be Liberia...pick a place that has had a dictator that has engineered an overturn of constitutional or legal term limits...and had themselves re-elected...and that is what New York has become.

The next time that someone has the nerve to say some shit about a "Latin American dictator" engineering their own perpetual electoral victories over the will of the populace, I am going to punch him or her in the face and scream "BLOOMBERG" at the top of my lungs.

I am a wee bit depressed.

Last night, I spent a couple of very chilly hours on a street corner in Astoria encouraging folks to cast ballots for Lynne Serpe. At the site where I was standing, more than a dozen people passed by letting me know that they had, indeed, voted for Lynne. The people that voted for Lynne were damned excited. It's rare to see people that are happy about voting. Other than Obama voters, I have never really had that experience (well, people that voted for Peter Hutchinson in the Minnesota Gubernatorial election in 2006 also were extremely confident in the justness of their votes).

Lynne last night managed to bring in 23% of the vote against an extremely popular incumbent. Lynne was the Green Party candidate, and she out fundraised, out organized, and out shone Peter Vallone, so much so that he launched an attack direct mail piece days before the election in which he did NOT attack Lynne but instead attacked the Green Party on an issue of "national security."

Vallone was one of the diabolic cadre of fucknuts that voted to overturn TWO popular referenda that established CLEAR term limits for city wide office holders in the city of New York. I swear to Sweet Jesus that if a Latin American leader used a parliamentary vote to overturn two popular referenda in order to hang on to power, there would be screams and shouts and bellows and condemnations from every "democratic" corner in the world. France would tsk tsk, the UN would issue a statement, and the U.S. President would have harsh words for X President that would instantly become a "dictator" in the popular imagination.

Yet, just as with the election stealing of George W. Bush, when dictatorial anti-democracy behavior happens in the United States it is chalked up to the wheels of democracy turning and Divine Providence.


I am so fucking pissed off today. I was so depressed last night that I ate two McDonald's cheese burgers, an order of fries, three fried chicken wings, a slice of cheese pizza, two empanadas, and three mini pigs-in-a-blanket. Talk about stress eating.

It so deeply fucks with my mind that the general populace so readily and blindly accepts the "Do As We Say Not As We Do" philosophy without thought. The same douche nozzles (thanks Gracie) that scream about the vagaries of young democracies are the same ones that hop, skip, and jump to participate in the gutting of democracy right here in our own back yard.

Last night was a democratic sham. Michael Bloomberg is a fucktard billionaire that proved once again that the rules of democracy do not apply to the mega wealthy. Peter Vallone is a small dick bastard that should be strung up by his nutsac with chicken wire dipped in sulfuric acid for his crimes against democracy and his electorate.

I declare again that America is about as much of a democracy as I am the Prince of Wales.

As the French would say, "FUCK YOU BLOOMBERG AND VALLONE."

PS Minnesota once again proves that it understands democracy as St. Paul, the state capital, has joined Minneapolis in approving Ranked Choice Voting as its preferred election process. THANK YOU FAIRVOTE MINNESOTA!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Everyday Heroes: Divine Grace

She's creepy. She's kooky. She's a smart ass. And she's spooky. The Divine Grace Family *snap* *snap*

Just playing, well except for the smart ass. That's just the God's and the Grace's own truth, and I love her for it.

Divine Grace aka Chad Pace is a bright and shiny human being wrapped inside of a drag queen cocoon, and I am hard pressed to think of a more gifted writer and more brilliant person walking around this planet.

Technically, I met Chap Pace just shy of 15 years ago when I was a freshman in college and living in Asheville, NC. More recently, I reconnected with him, originally, through the "Are You Interested" application on Facebook. I had no idea that I already knew this individual, I just thought he had pretty eyes, and over the last couple years of Facebooking, I have come to reknow and love this amazing human being.

Let me tell you why.

Divine Grace is a truth speaker. In her writings and her rantings, she uses comedy pushed to the edges and astute insight and an absurdly powerful gift of stripping the shit from the shingle and serving it up as a delightful cocktail for your funny bone in order to dissect the ugly of the world and reveal it for what it is. I am in awe of Divine Grace.

I am humbled by Chad Pace.

Chad Pace is a sweet man that moved home to the Blue Ridge mountains to be with his family and take care of his sick father. Far away from his chosen home, he has managed to remain spiritually strong at a time of intense pain. He has put on the back burner what, from what I can tell, has been a thriving career as a performer in New York, in order to be there for a man he loves dearly. And while I have a deep and treasured love for Asheville, North Carolina, being an out queer in Western North Cackalacky ain't nothing like being oneself, in all its drag glory, on the streets of New York (btw, it is no fluke that Divine Grace is one of the fiercest Queens in place I have ever been...not even Atlanta...has produced the quality of performers as has that Gay Bermuda Triangle from Hickory to Asheville to Charlotte).

Chad Pace and Divine Grace are a testament to how to live rightly in the world. He doesn't hide his pain, but he shows us how to live with it and to embrace it. He speaks truth when it is difficult and looks damn good doing it. He is a brilliant thinker, a tremendous performer, and if the bitch doesn't get his ass on Project Runway with his home sewn recreations of shit like Idina Menzel's dress from Wicked, I am going to personally kick his ass back to Appalachia when he finally does return home.

Like many people in the world, I love you Gracie. Kiss your Daddy on the cheek from a colored stranger he has never met. Take good care of yourself, and come home when you can.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


One of the greatest blessings of my life is that I have never doubted the existence of God. Though I have lacked faith in the moment, my belief in a power greater than myself, yet intimately connected to myself, has never foundered. Lord knows I have been angry at God, and each and every time the anger was misdirected, I have always had the steadfast certainty that there is a God, who goes by names and many faces, but a Creator that is love and was there in the beginning and will be there in the end.

Most recently, I have started a faith journey in the Nichiren Buddhist tradition. For those of you that are unfamiliar with Nichiren Buddhism, it is a Buddhist path championed by Nichiren Daishonen, a 14th century Japanese monk that espoused the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha (Siddartha Guatama) and taught that the Lotus Sutra, the last Sutra developed by the Buddha and taught by him in his last three years of life, was the highest form of Buddhist thought and was the most direct path towards enlightenment.

In fact, unlike other schools of Buddhism, Nichiren Buddhism teaches that one can reach Nirvana and the end of the cycle of birth, death, rebirth and suffering in a single lifetime through study, faith, and practice, which is embodied in chanting nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the translation of which is "I dedicate myself to the mystical law of cause and effect as expressed through sound." Basically, what you do comes back to you.

Now, in attending local meetings in Harlem and gongyo at the Cultural Center, I have met amazing people, and I have met zealots. Zealots from any faith path are a huge turn off to me no matter how noble the faith or how pure the intentions. Zealotry only exists in the context of dogma, and, officially, Nichiren Buddhism is non-dogmatic. Meaning, it is a faith without a moral code of conduct, as the code is embodied in the choices made by each individual, and, jointly, an individuals salvation is also a personal responsibility--there is no magic prayer that can be said to a deity that will result in absolution and evolution, your forward movement is your responsibility.

Many of the people I have met in SGI, the lay organization of Nichiren Buddhism, are former Christians that either were turned away from the faith through the hateful or hurtful acts of its adherents or failed to find meaning in Christian worship for themselves. Officially, Nichiren Buddhism is atheist in practice but accepting of those that believe in a higher power. By atheist, I do not mean that Nichiren Buddhism denies the existence of God but it believes that whether or not there is a God a person may find Nirvana through their own works and faith and practice. Indeed, Nichiren Buddhism is based on the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha who did, indeed, believe in gods.

Officially, in its writings, SGI welcomes people of duel faith. Unfortunately, I have encountered one too many people that have been disdainful or discounting of my choice to continue a faith in God. I personally believe that the teachings of Christ and the teachings of both the Buddha and Nichiren Daishonen are in accord. The Christ and The Buddha both taught personal responsibility. Both taught that you are responsible for your own salvation and your own actions. It is only the Church, created as a temporal agency with an eye towards power and control, that created an external path of salvation that is dependent on the Church.

SGI members know first hand how an institution can corrupt a faith, which is why in 1991 SGI was excommunicated by the Nichiren Buddhist priesthood for refusing to bow to an institution that claimed hegemony over a faith's teachings. It is saddening that some individual members of SGI practice a personal dogma that attempts to undermine the faith choices of other practitioners walking the same path.

Thankfully for every overzealous individual I have met in SGI, I have met 10 others that are perfectly willing to allow me to understand God and my spiritual practice, including the incorporation of Nichiren Buddishm, in my own way.

I believe in God, and I believe in the power of nam-myoho-renge-kyo. I do not see them as mutually exclusive, and I do not see any conflict in my Christian upbringing which has been critically examined and critically deconstructed through my own faith practice and the new faith practice I have found in SGI Nichrien Buddhism.

Zealots of any kind are welcome to keep their puritanism to themselves. There are no gatekeepers in Nichiren Buddhism and those that I have found that have espoused a dogma and cultishness that has no place in Nichiren Buddhism need to reflect on their faith instead of trying to manipulate that of others. I am a Christian Buddhist, and I plan to continue that faith journey without permission from anyone.

God bless us everyone, and may the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin and Shakyamuni Buddha guide our steps.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

I love Halloween. Though I am not dressing up this year, as I was just too plain lazy to figure out a costume, I have been known, in the past, to put a new twist on old themes. Like Halloween 1999 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, when I dressed up as Foxy Brown cum Vampiress. I had on a mini-black dress, fish net stockings, high heels, an afro wig, and big hoop earrings. I was FIERCE.

Another year, I dressed up as a crazy beatnik clown with an Elvira wig on and a beret. My own Mama didn't recognize my sweet ad demented face.

The ancient peoples of Great Britain celebrated Samhain, a Harvest festival when it was said that the spirits of the dead were able to cross back over into this world. The people carved turnips with grotesque faces (which is the origin of the tradition of carving pumpkins) in order to keep the evil spirits at bay. Also, the townsfolk would dress up as goblins and sprites and all kinds of creatures in order to blend in with the naughty naughty spirits that roamed the night on All Hallows Eve.

Then along came the Catholic Church, fucking everything up, they declared November 1st to be All Saints Day, since they couldn't get the silly pagans to give up outright their notion of ghoulies running about, then the church started burning witches, and well...Halloween wasn't fun least not until Hershey's and the other candy companies got together and decided that in America even pagan holidays could be money makers.

All joshin' aside, I believe that Halloween is a sacred night. All day long I have felt the presence of my ancestors just a little bit closer. I have been on my best behavior just in case my Big Mama or one of other deceased relatives takes the thinning of the veil between the worlds to reach through and switch my ass.

Big Mama chewed tobacco. That woman didn't play.

I am very happy for the nearing of my ancestors on such a night as this. Let's hope that they move on to pester other relatives before I get to the birthday festivities that I am attending this evening. If I decide to haul David into the bathroom and touch his no no spot or start dirty dancing with a random Mexican man with a tight booty, I don't want Uncle Ornery or Grandma Druscilla watching me.

Have a super spooktacular Halloween.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

God Bless America

I mean it God Bless America.

Of course, God should bless Ethiopia and Ghana, Botswana and Australia, Papa New Guinea and Guinea-Bissau and Guinea Pigs and People with Swine Flu and the one that flew over the cuckoos nest.

But I digress. I meant to talk about America.

I love America. I really do. I was listening to Whitney Houston's rendition of The Star Spangled Banner, and I was struck by the fact that I am one of the most patriotic people I know. And, as it turns out, I know a whole helluva lot of patriotic people.

Mark Twain said that ".....the true patriotism, the only rational patriotism, is loyalty to the Nation ALL the time, loyalty to the Government when it deserves it."

Most of the people I know are desperately devoted to this nation. Though, before I continue, the term nation begs definition. Nation, in this sense, is a collection of people living within the same political boundaries and forming a single polity. That is my own definition of nation, and it is the one that works for me. My definition purposefully excludes First Nation's people living on reservations as they form a polity separate from those of us that are not living on reservations, they constitute a collection of independent sovereign states, and it is with their sufferance that the rest of us occupy the land that forms the physical constitution of our nation.

Now that I have defined nation, I can go back to my original thesis: I am ridiculously patriotic and so are most of my friends.

With all of my heart I believe that this nation is, actually, the greatest on the Earth if looked at through a very subjective lens. I actually believe that in the history of developed nation-states (this purposefully excludes tribal or indigenous groupings) the United States has the most highly developed form of constitutional liberties (though the governmental structure could use some work...can we say proportional representation please) in history. The Founding Fathers, though many were slave owning racists, were quite literally geniuses. There is a reason why most democracies in the world radically altered their basic structures owing to our form of representative democracy. Sure, we didn't invent all of our democratic principles. Most of them were based on ancient Greek city state political practices and Roman law, and sure when we started we defined "people" as white men that owned property, but as history has progressed and human consciousness has developed (or redeveloped as it were...considering not long before Columbus "discovered" America, Europe was fully aware that the universities in Sankore and the Songhai Empire in Africa were the most advanced in the world...and that European academics were considered too dumb to teach there)...America has made leaps and bounds in terms of real protections for most people most of the time in relationship to personal liberties. In fact, we have often times overbalanced the rights of the individual at the cost of the rights of the collective or community,

Considering that I believe our nation is, at its core, based on generally vibrant principles that usually promote the greatest freedom of a person to develop as a human being (it's outer limits defined by the realities that uphold capitalism), I also believe that fundamentally it is incumbent on each person to question at all times whether or not our government is acting in the best interests of all its people AND owing to its place in the world community acting in a way that upholds the same principles it values for its own people for the rest of the world. If we apply the golden rule to politics, and we do unto others as we would have them do unto ourselves, then we must require that our government act with integrity and in a just manner. To do otherwise shirks our commitment to the nation, which is greater than our obligation to the government and thusly requires that a true patriot speak truth to power in order to ensure that the nation is well even if it means the government must change, end, or be overthrown.

For the last eight years, I offer, it was actually unpatriotic to support President Bush and his policies. The Patriot Act aimed a knife directly at the throat of American civil liberties, and if you apply the test that the only rational patriotism is support of the nation all of the time over the prerogatives assumed by the government then the rights of the people to live freely under the Constitution trumped the actions of the government to abrogate those rights to protect national security. National security is best served all of the time by protecting the full human rights and constitutional protections of the people with the full force of the government, which is its representation, not it's dictator.

Last November we elected a new president that campaigned against the degradation of our proud nation (as opposed to our sick and twisted government), and, for now, though I have harsh critiques of Obama, particularly his failure to end our occupation of Iraq, his politicking that made single payer health care a political dream instead of an American reality, and his use of too many of the same old same old faces and power players from previous administrations in his current administration, I believe that right is patriotic to critique Obama where he needs critique but it is also patriotic to support his efforts to make this government better in line with the best interests of its people AND as its people are citizens of the world and do not live in a special isolated land where our actions do not impact the lives of others...he must also continue to act in a way that upholds the human rights and inherent value of all humankind wherever they may live.

God Bless the people of the United States and God help the United States government.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I'll Take A Public Option for $900 Billion, Alex

Hot diggity damn. I was tooling around Yahoo this evening, just minding my own business, when what too my wondering eyes should appear but a miniature clause in the Senate Health Care Reform Bill that would create a public option for reindeer Americans and the rest of us too.


Sorry...I just had to let that out.

But before anyone goes and puts on their happy pants and starts making appointments for backne surgery, you better pick up your phone. As it stands, Harry Reid doesn't know if he is going to be able to wrangle up the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster on the bill. And though Miss Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine voted in committee for the health care bill, she doesn't sound so tickled now that there is a public option included in the bill that will go before the entire Senate.

Confused as to how she could vote a bill that included a public option and not know it? Well. She didn't.

Harry Reid is a sly mo'fo. Basically the Senate had a whole mess of a number of bills that emerged from the Senate Health Care Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. Since no one bill emerged whole from either committee that was identical, Senator Reid, as the Almighty God of the Senate, basically gets to put together what he likes from either bill (and what he thinks has the best chance of passing) and can then lay out that bill for a full Senate vote.

Now comes the tricky part.

The Senate and the House differ in a number of aspects but the two biggest differences between the Senate and the House are that in the House there can be no amendments offered to a bill that are not germane to the primary motion and there is no filibuster in the House. In the Senate there are no predetermined limits to debate unless those limits are established at the outset of debate on a bill AND once a Senator has been yielded the floor the Senator has the right to continue speaking and/or control the floor until he or she remands the remainder of his/her time back to the President of the Senate. This is where the filibuster comes in...if you can't limit debate from the outset it becomes a game of wills and stamina. Also, in the Senate almost all amendments are germane to the main motion whether or not the amendments have anything to do at all with the motion at hand. To translate from Geek Speak that means that you could be debating a bill in the Senate about Hamburger Helper and Senator X can stand up and offer an amendment to your bill that would cut off food stamps to the elderly. In the House, the rules are much more strict and if you are debating a bill on Hamburger Helper you could perhaps offer an amendment that would change it from Hamburger Helper to Tuna Helper but if you tried to shut off granny's foodstamps, your motion will be ruled out of order as being not germane to the main motion.

What this usually means is that in the Senate if the opposition wants a main motion to fail they will attach a rider to that motion that is targeted at a pet project of the majority. So now you have to vote not only on a public option but also you have to decide if the amendment that passed that will strip a federal subsidy for a rail line through your home state that your constituents want is more important to your political future than making sure that millions of uninsured, only a fraction of which are voters in your home state, have a viable public insurance option. See the trap there?

There is a way to keep those sorts of amendments from being offered (they are called riders) on the Senate floor but that takes almost as much procedural wrangling as getting a cloture vote (cloture is what the vote is called that sets a predetermined time for debate and makes a filibuster impossible, a cloture requires 60 votes, once cloture is passed then a bill only needs 51 votes to pass).

So now that we have a public option in the bill, it is time for all of us to do our work. We need to be on our Senators like a Leather Daddy on a Pig Bottom. You need to call, write, fax, and stalk your Senators and make sure they know that you will not tolerate any health care reform bill that does not include a public option. With the right amount of public pressure, Senators will tow the line. But if even one Democrat or Independent gets a bug up his or her ass and decides to not follow the Majority Leader's lead...we are up shit creek without a public option.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Some of My Best Friends Are White

As a matter of fact two of my best friends are white and the third is black. So using Mendelian genetics, I think that actually makes one of the white friends mulatto.

But seriously, I love white people. I let some white people carve pumpkins in my house last night AND I let them use my bathroom. My Mom is white, and I don't hold that against her (anymore), and I sleep with a white man every night...and now that the Summer has ended he gets paler by the day. I am thinking about getting him a sun lamp before his skin gets any whiter and he starts reflecting light.

I think white people are very articulate. They are funny (that Kathy Griffin is a riot). And they sure are a musical people (N'Sync rules!). And boy oh boy can they move...I mean those white folks on Dancing with the Stars are AMAZING. And considering how queer I am, you know I appreciate all those Rogers and Hammerstein/Stephen Sondheim Broadway tunes. Thank you White America!

But seriously, a good friend of mine (he's white)....noted that I had been directing my anger lately at the shenanigans of white people. And truthfully between Glen Beck and Perez Hilton (I know, I know, that one is Cuban, but the Latino community voted to strip her of her Latinidad until she stops speaking in any public forum)...anyway...from Glen Beck and Lou Dobs to that idiot in Arizona with the "sweat lodge," white folks have been pissing me off a lot lately. But, I am an equal opportunity bitch master, and so yesterday I had to call out a dumbfuck black woman that was more worried about her food stamps than she was about the fact that she left two children in a house that caught on fire killing one of the kids.

And, frankly, since Obama took office many white people have decided that we are living in a post-race America. I still haven't gotten my 40 acres and a mule or a check for my share of 400 years of free labor by my ancestors (plus interest) just as soon as I get me a stretch of prime downtown Manhattan real estate and a check for roughly $1 billion dollars (I will cut the IRS a deal and settle their back taxes bill for a cool half-billion)...I will declare the United States to be post race. Until then, I am going to continue to write about the laughable yet sad attempts by racial terrorists to kill Barack Obama (there have been at least three plots foiled that I know about...curse those kids and that dog!)...until Lou Dobbs is yanked from CNN by his balls for his vilification and racist diatribes against undocumented immigrants...until Don Imus is dunked in a vat of Pink Lotion for daring to refer to black women as nappy headed...until transgender women of color are no longer targeted by white men for sexploitation and murder...until white privilege is a history lesson instead of an object lesson on racial reality....until no justice of the peace DARES to decline to marry a mixed-race couple...until white folks can tell me apart from Tiger Woods, Barack Obama, and Derek Jeter...until the day I die...I am most likely going to be on the case of white folks like...well...white on rice.

I love you white people, I just don't love what you do (sometimes). And I know that all white people are not guilty for the sins of the idiot few, which is why I rail against specific incidents as opposed to white folks in general. And I totally think that white people should be allowed to sit anywhere on the bus they want....just as long as its in the back.

Just kidding. Rosa Parks wouldn't like that at all.

This blog is dedicated to Divine of the most awesome white people I know.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tragedy and Stupidity In South Memphis

This morning I logged into my Facebook account to find a news clip posted on my wall by my friend Arthur. The clip was an interview from a Fox affiliate in South Memphis. A mother and and her sister left their home unattended with a two year old and a three year old inside while they went to drop off a friend at home. During their absence the house caught on fire. The two year old died.

You can see in this clip that the mother of the children is understandably distraught. One child is in critical condition and the other one is dead. Then the aunt of the children loses her fucking mind. At the end of the clip, she announces that she has no regret that the children were left home alone, then she laughs and says she needs to get in to see if her "purse burnt up cuz her food stamp card..." was in the purse.

Stupidity knows no fucking color.

Unfortunately, this ignorant black woman's interview is already making its way around the country at the speed of YouTube. I am sure that Fox News could not WAIT to get this clip up on the Internet and into the hands of their faithful across the country. At a time when the black community is enjoying the beginnings of a Renaissance, Fox has helped ensure that this ridiculous excuse for a human being is going to get massive amounts of air time.

And let's be real here. When a crazy white person aka Timothy McVeigh blows up a federal building killing innocent children, he is just one disturbed human being. When a crazy working class black woman exhibits her personal ignorance and callousness on Fox News, she is representing the entire American Black community. She immediately conjures of images of deadbeat welfare queens, uneducated poor, and stereotypes of black women used to galvanize the religious right base during the Reagan and Bush Sr. years.

The woman in that video clip is a poor excuse for a human being that should have her tongue yanked out by her sister. I can't imagine one of my siblings being so heartless and cruel as to make a statement such as the one she made while the house is still smoldering. If any of them did, you can bet the first thing I would do when I came out of the shock of losing my child would be to kick his or her ever loving ass. But I would know that it was just a stupid person saying stupid shit. But when the media, particularly Fox media, gets a hold of something like this it is a culture war gold mine.

If I had the stomach for it, I would Google search this topic. I would not be surprised if Don Imus and Glen Beck mentioned this news story on their shows today. Just as one black person should not represent our entire community nor should that same black person have the power to sabotage the image of an entire community, but this one disturbed individual does. My own internal tapes started running as soon as I heard her speak. False stereotypes of the working class (from which I come), the South (my family is from the South and I went to college in the South), black women (ummm I am black), and a whole host of other negative stereotypes started running through my head. AND I KNOW BETTER. I know that the South is a beautiful and vibrant place. Most of my political mentors come from, live in, and organize in the South. I came out in the South, cut my teeth as an organizer in the South, and I know the power, beauty, and history of that place. Yet this one woman was able to raise all the specters of the South implanted in my mind by history books, television, movies, and other pop culture vehicles. I know so many powerful black women that it should be impossible for me to project the shortcomings of this stupid individual to all black women, yet the tapes in my head started shouting things like "typical." The Aunty in this video IS NOT TYPICAL. Yet pop culture and U.S. acculturation tells me that she is.

I hate Fox News. I despise this woman her personal ignorance, and I hate our cultural system that indoctrinates even people that know better to feel and think AUTOMATICALLY the thoughts and feelings that rushed through my head and heart when I watched this particular interview.

My heart and prayers go out to the Mother of those children. She is not faultless. She knew better than to leave two young children at home alone. She has reaped a punishment that will haunt her for the rest of her life. I wish her only peace as she tries to pick up the pieces of her family. To the Aunt, I hopes that she gets the help she needs from friends and neighbors. I hope she sees her interview and is embarassed to the core of her being. And I fervently hope that Fox News and Ruport Murdoch are sucked into a worm hole, deposited on an oxygen-less planet on the far side of the solar system where they are gang banged by giant poisonous sea slugs.

Lord let the rest of the day be filled with peace, joy, and love.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

That Girl's A Grade A Player

I saw a master at work tonight, and I was in awe.

Let me preach at you a minute for I have heard the true Word, and I must proselytize.

Tonight I met my best friend RJ at the Krispy Kreme at Penn Station. The Universe is a funny place where random things happen such as: I have a performance gig at Smith College, which was scheduled half a year best friend happens to be going to a conference in the same town over the same two days.

Now this might not sound so fantastic, except the town is Northampton, Massachusetts...not the largest or busiest of seaports in the world.

Anyway, so I meet RJ, our friend Ricardo, and their friend Tiffany at the train station. Our train was scheduled to depart at 6:43, but Amtrak decided to give Northwest Airlines a run for their title of Miss Delayed Travel, and we didn't leave NYC until almost 7:45. But, just to prove to NWA that Amtrak is indeed the Queen of Ridiculously Unexplainable Delays, we ended up stopping for another 30 or so minutes en route...once without explanation and another time to switch from an electric to a diesel engine.

But the magic happened about 45 minutes before we got to Springfield, MA. Tiffany, a young and rakish queer Puerto Rican gal, was talking about how her organization had basically put her pussy on lock because she tends to take Conference Whoring to new levels, and so they banned her from having her own hotel room. Not to be thwarted, Tiffany clicked her titties together, spun around in a circle, and turned into Joy the Super Player.

Joy gets up to go to the refreshment car and comes back with two bottles of vodka and a girl. Say what? Now the three boys were unsure if said hotty Long Island Italian/Puerto Rican girl was straight or not. But The Super Player, in less than five minutes, not only got the girl to fess up to having a special bib that she only wore for eating pussy but also Joy ended up laying down the law, via telephone, to this random girl on the train's stalker that called a couple of times while we were sitting together.

I was in fucking awe.

I mean for real. In less than 30 minutes, Tiffany cum Joy had met a girl, had a cocktail somewhere in rural Massachusetts, exchanged phone numbers, got a Queer Confession, and is probably right now laying face down in a Puerto Rican girl with legs in spread eagle v-formation.

Joy is my Goddess.

This trip has gotten off to a great start. I can't wait to hit the dyke bar tomorrow night after my show.

Lube it up ladies, my girl Joy got a tongue of steel (or callouses).

Monday, October 19, 2009

I Am Not Tiger Woods

Just in case you were wondering, I am not Tiger Woods. I am not Derek Jeter, nor am I the 44th President of the United States, The Prez, Barack "I Got A Fatty Dick" Obama.

Ever since the Rise of the Woods to super fame, the world (aka white America) has been forced to come face to face with its mixed-race children. Now, we been around ever since the first Massa' decided to rape Olinka and them fresh off the slave ship from Africa, and I am sure Columbus had a whole mess of half Genoan/half-Taino babies in the Caribbean, but mixed race folks, as visible as we have been, have been purposefully hidden in our history. From one drop rules to blood quantum laws, mixed race folks have been legislated almost as much as we have been miscegenated.

But an obviously mixed-race Tiger Woods catapulting to international stardom by sinking holes in ones and sporting funny green sports coats, raised the mixed-race baby to a level of invisibility that could no longer be ignored. And I have been pissed off ever since.

In 2006, I was walking in parade for Minnesota Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Peter Hutchinson. We were in some god forsaken suburb of St. Paul, when some country children saw me and yelled, what's up Tiger! If I had a 9-Iron that day there would have been brains on the parade route let me tell you.

A couple of summers ago, during a random hook up with a dude that I met from some cruising site, the guy I was fucking said that he responded to my add because he thought I looked like Derek Jeter. He better be lucky I didn't have a baseball bat handy.

The best mixed-race mix up that I have ever had was also a Derek Jeter moment. I was taking my trash to the trash chute in my old apartment building in Minneapolis, when a kid opened his apartment door, looked at me, and starting screaming..."MOM! MOM! DEREK JETER IS IN THE HALLWAY! MOM! DEREK JETER! MOM!"

I tried to calm the kid down, but he was not having it. It made perfect sense to him that Derek Jeter should be taking out his own trash and living right down the hallway from him. Oh sweet young uncorrupted youth.

During my first visit to David's parent's house in Connecticut last spring, after a couple of cocktails, David's Dad leaned over and said, "You know who you look like? Barack Obama! But without the ears." Ummmm...that was the Jack Daniel's talkin'.

And then there was today, David and I were standing in line at the produce market up the block. Our favorite cashier was ringing us up (a sweet Latina immigrant that slyly asked me in Spanish a few months ago if David was my boyfriend and then told me that she totally supports the gays....SCORE). This crazy haired old stoner lady leans back and looks past David to me and says..."Oh My God, I thought you were Tiger Woods. If you are an actor, you need to audition to play Tiger in his life story. You will make millions."

The woman was cracking up and all I could think about was swinging my back full of vegetables like nunchuks straight at her head.

Now, I don't mind, really, being compared to Derek Jeter's fine ass. I mean come on...the man is PRETTY. But here's a little notice to all my well meaning racially confused mono-racial people out in the world...just because my Mama and Daddy decided to make a big old genetic milkshake does not mean that I look like every other mixed-race person in the world.

But if someone wants to give me a few million to play Tiger Words in a HBO Made for TV Movie Event....well...I say....."TEE TIME BITCHES!"

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cultural Appropriation Can Kill You

So today I read an article on Yahoo about a self-styled guru spiritual leader self-help expert James Arthur Ray who booked a spa in Arizona and charged clients $9,000-$10,000 for a week called a "Spiritual Warrior" retreat. The culmination of the retreat was a "sweat lodge." Three people have died from multiple organ failure from the sweat.

First of all, I have no experience in running a sweat lodge but common sense says that you do not pack 80 people into a superheated space, period. Anyone that has ever been in a sauna or hot tub or steam room has seen the sign warning against over exposure to those superheated spaces. And a sweat lodge is NOT one of those things. it is an even more intense space that is also a spiritual ceremony tied to rigorous traditions that are both for enlightenment and for the safety of the participants.

James Arthur Ray was a stupid cultural appropriationist as well as criminally negligent. The deaths have been ruled a homicide, and while I don't think he murdered those people, they entered the sweat of their own free will, he was responsible for their health and safety, and I hope that the three families smack him with a wrongful death suit that leaves him penniless eating government cheese straight from the box.

For fuck's sake white folks, stop STEALING shit that you DON'T understand, that is NOT part of your life tradition, and that you have NO BUSINESS APPROPRIATING for your own.

Charging for a sweat not only is wrong but also it profanes the experience. This isn't some weekend Scandinavian recreational event, this is a spiritual ceremony tied to a tradition of faith. Why the fuck do certain privileged, generally white people, all of a sudden up and decide they can steal another people's spiritual practices and then CHARGE for the shit?

If I put on a cassock, got me a bottle of Three Buck Chuck Merlot and a box of Wheat Thins and started charging people for Holy Communion there would be a riot. Hell, in some states it is illegal to impersonate a member of the clergy. So why the hell is it alright for Joe Whitey to impersonate a shaman, medicine person, or other spiritual leader?

Now don't get me wrong, there are some white folks that do cultural immersion the right way. Pema Chodron is a white Canadian woman that after a nasty divorce took vows as a Buddhist nun and is now a world renowned and respected leader in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. But she didn't take the spiritual learnings for herself and then charge for them. She followed the ways, laws, teachings, and traditions of the path that she found fulfilling for her. She submitted to the structure of her new faith and worked within it under experienced teachers and through that found her way.

The fact that white folks still think that they can snatch up something that they do not understand, slap some "wampum" on it and a dreamcatcher and call it a self-help seminar is endemic of the continued subjugation and culture war being waged on the native peoples, my people, of the United States.

It's time for this shit to stop. Three people dead is a high price to pay for one man's greed, cultural appropriation and racism.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Black Face and Interracial Marriages

Ummm hello? *tap* *tap* *tap* Is this thing on? Can someone please let the world know that it has lost its goddamn mind. I mean come on people. What the fuck is going on here?

So, let's have a quick recap.

Last week, Harry Connick, Jr. was a guest judge on an Australian television show where six doctor's showed up in black face to do a mock performance by the "Jackson Jive." In the show's defense, the guys were gonged and Harry let them have it after the show. Although, we did find out that the same group, 20 years previous, had been on the show and WON doing the same routine also in black face.

Yesterday a justice of the peace in Louisiana denies an interracial couple a marriage license as he does not believe in mixing the races that way, though he has loads and loads of black friends, and he lets them use his bathroom (I can't make this shit's in the article people).

Today, French Vogue released its new issue with a 14-page spread of a white model in black face. Ummmm what the fuck? Was Tyra Banks unavailable? Where the hell was Naomi Campbell?

The next person that tells me that because we elected Obama we have become a post-race society, I am going to beat the hell out of them with a copy of French Vogue (and, btw, "French" "Vogue" is redundant).

Was there some sort of stupidity chemical that was spritzed into the air that only affects certain white people? Do black folks need to riot again and burn some shit down to get the attention of these motherfuckers that all of a sudden seem to have thought that bringing back Minstrel shows and Mamie dolls is chic and fashionable?

I swear to the Lord that he had better help these people before I open up my window and start taking picking off models I see heading towards Prada headquarters with a .22. Come on people WAKE THE FUCK UP!

I can't imagine how anyone in their right mind would think that black face in this day and age is funny. I don't understand how a justice of the peace can just decide that Loving v. Virginia didn't happen, that he knows better than the Supreme Court, and that he is going to go ahead and make a choice for two grown ass people.

I wish he had tried to tell my Mama that she couldn't marry my Daddy. She would have been a Lifetime Movie for Women called, "I Gouged Out His Eyes When He Lost His Mind and Told Me I Couldn't Marry My Black Husband." Work Mama, work.

I am thinking about calling my Congressperson and suggesting that they pass a bill that requires the weather person to also give the Stupidity Pressure right along with the Barometric reading and weather forecast every day. At least then I will know whether or not I should open my email, log into Facebook, or read my Twitter feed. If the weatherman got on the air and said, "Today will be partly sunny with a high chance of ignorance," well, I will be able to decide whether or not I want to put on my dumbass galoshes or just turn over and go back to sleep until the Fucknut High Pressure Front passes.

Good God.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Putting My Footprint in Carbon's Ass

My Feet Only Walk Forward is a proud participant of Blog Action Day 09 focused on Global Climate Change.

A few weeks ago, I spent an entire day, from sunup til just before dusk, in Central Park. My friend Julio had flown in from Chile a few weeks before and he, with Team Vicki, had organized a massive human sculpture that was the kick off to a series of events for Climate Change Week.

Since Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth, the topic of global climate change has been shifted from an issue that concerned climatologists and Green Peace activists to a mainstream issue. From the auto industry to the United Nations, climate change has been on every lip and tongue. Green buildings, green jobs, green economies, and green energy are the code words that really mean that the world had better get its carbon consumption under control as Mother Nature is gearing up for a global ass whooping of cataclysmic proportions.

In all the talk about reducing carbon footprints, Greening this and that, and the new Kyoto Protocol type gathering scheduled for Copenhagen in December of this year, the one conversation that is missing is the impact of climate change on people.

This week there has been massive flooding in the Philippines where hundreds have lost their lives. Mega-Hurricanes like Katrina, once a rarity, are now almost common place and create billions of dollars in property damage each year and claim priceless lives. Changing weather patterns means changes in agriculture. It means wet places going dry and dry places getting extremely wet, with little time for adaptation. It means that the poorest are starving, with the latest estimate that 1 billion people on the planet are experiencing famine, the rapidly changing climate will only exacerbate the impact on those that do not have the means or resources to feed themselves.

Climate change is about people. The cost of climate change, though measured in dollars, should be measured in lives lost.

The conversation about climate change isn't new. Thirty years ago scientists began attempting to bring the risk of global warming to the attention of the powers that be. And, in the grand fashion of the powerful, they were largely ignored or shunted to the fringe. Republicans and Democrats in this country believed that climate change was hocus pocus and was not discussed credibly by anyone other than long haired hippies that wanted to save the whales and unicorns and whatever else they fancied might be in trouble.

If only we had listened 30 years ago.

The reality is that it is incumbent on the largest consumer nations on this planet, starting with the number one resource guzzler the good old USA, to take the biggest, boldest and hardest steps to combat climate change. Economic pressure must give way to human pressure and nations such as China and India that claim their right to develop in the same monstrous way that industrialized nations developed has to be dealt with in a way that recognizes the need of these countries to move their people out of poverty but without sending the world spiraling into destruction.

The only way to do that is for Western nations to suck it up and realize that we can't continue to consume the way we always have. It is all of our responsibility to lift humanity out of poverty and want. When it comes to hunger, disease, and the threat of natural disaster and climate crisis there are no national borders. If my personal actions do not reflect a consciousness of my impact on the planet, then I am culpable for the dead Pillipinos as well as for the starving in Sub-Saharan Africa.

It is incumbent on all of us to join the fight against climate change. You don't have to become an activist but you do have to become conscious about how you, as an individual, impact the world around you. This is truly one of those moments where if we all do something the collective impact will be tremendous. Copenhagen is a big next step for the governments of the world, and it is up to us to pressure our own governments to be real and make real commitments to stopping climate change, but it is also as important for each of us to do our best to reduce our impact on the world we share.