Month: May 2009

Good Stuff (A little Neo-Soul)

A little bit of a different music thing this week. I’m kind of going for music that you don’t just hear, but that you feel.

Here’s a goodie, it’s got the neo-soul sound down like a mother fucker!

Here’s Yaw with “Where Would You Be”

Ok, Anthony Hamilton. I see him a little like the good old days of the 1970’s with Al Green, Stevie Wonder, et al.

First time I heard him is in a song he did with Angie Stone called “Stay for a while”

Anthony Hamilton “I’m a Mess”

Another Anthony Hamilton “Comin’ From Where I’m From”

Another retro-ized neo-soul sounds is from Raphael Saddiq, you’lll recognize his voice from Tony Tone Toni.

Here he is with “Calling”, don’t worry about that funny sounding language (It’s Espanol) is only the first 30 or so seconds.

Raphael Saddiq “100 Yard Dash”

And a favorite of mine from 1999, Raphael Saddiq and Q-Tip with “Get Involved”

And one degree of separation we have Q-Tip with Andre 3000 with “That’s Sexy”

This of course brings us to John Legend and Andre 3000 with “Green Light”

That’s what I love. The collaborations that lead me to discover new music. Enjoy it. This is all stuff that bubbles to the top of my iTunes playlists.

I’m Getting increasingly pessimistic about marriage equality in Rhode Island

I understand the perceived constraints that we’re up against. I think a large part of it is not having enough contact with our legislators. As I’ve previously posted, we need a grand total of 68 (45 hours, 23 senate) votes to override a veto by that asshole Governor Carcieri.

That’s 68 people. I know there are a lot more gay people in every district in Rhode Island that could lean on their legislators. Legislators are creatures of habit, and easy to find and contact. This is after all Rhode Island where you’re only one and a half degrees separated from just about anyone else.

But one thing that constantly astounds me is the perception that the Rhode Island Judiciary is hostile to any potential legal challenges. Certainly the Chambers v. Ormiston case was a let down, but one of the justices helpfully suggested the proper way to frame the case as a constitutional issue on which strict scrutiny would apply.

I understand it takes money to run a grassroots campaign. I understand that a legal challenge would also be costly. We need a development effort to get funding so that we can effectively lobby the legislature, so that we can educate the judiciary.

Back to the legislature – they don’t live in a vacuum. They know that marriage equality has now been granted via courts and legislatures in a half dozen other states. Even the ProJo had an article about Maine and New Hampshire in which the first sentence stated:

AUGUSTA, Maine — Rhode Island would be the last New England state without such a law if New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch signs a similar bill approved by the New Hampshire Legislature, or lets it become law without his signature.

So it isn’t like our legislators and justices didn’t see this one. They know RI is next, and sooner than later.

New Hampshire is getting equality, why not Rhode Island?

Now I’m pissed. Not pissed because equality is raising its head in New Hampshire. No I’m pissed because Rhode Island will now be the LAST FUCKING STATE in New England to get marriage equality.

With that in mind, every day I will be emailing Speaker Murphy and Senate President Paiva-Weed to please let legislation move forward for a full vote in Rhode Island.

You can send them both email should you wish:

Email both Speaker Murphy and Senate President Paiva-Weed

Maine gets Marriage Equality

Seems that Governor Baldacci (Ah, another Italo-American!) signed the marriage equality bill into law today.

How can I make this more clear. The Rhode Island legislature is embarrassing to say the least. They’ll squander time doing solemnization votes, and things of that nature but the leadership will NOT allow marriage equality to come to a full vote.

On the representative side we have Speaker Murphy doing his absolute best to quash this legislation at every opportunity. On the other side we have Senate President Paiva-Weed who in the past has been supportive of LGBT issues suddenly having a change of heart and opposing marriage equality.

I think it is high time for serious agitation. If our legislative leadership won’t listen to reason and logic, then we need to embarrass them for their submission to religious leaders. It would be a relatively simple matter, just pull the lobbyist records for the Roman Catholic Diocese. Why else would the Diocese be paying the Rev. Healey $1,001 per month unless they were actively lobbying against marriage equality, or maybe wining and dining legislators?

What I find very interesting is that since the entrance of the National Organization for Marriage in Rhode Island, we’ve seen no lobby activity reports for the Diocese of Providence. I see no lobbyist registration for NOM in the database either. Note also that NOM is thus far refusing to show their IRS form 990. The 990 details major program funding, as well as the complete board of directors etc. What does NOM have to hide?

Here is a thought, maybe it would be fun to hire a PI to follow our esteemed legislative leadership and see what we can dig up. I know I can’t afford this myself but I’m sure we could get a big enough pool of money together if we really wanted to do this, and find out just what goes on. Because we’re moving from the point of frustration to action here.

As I said at last evenings MERI (Marriage Equality Rhode Island) sessions at the Bell St. Chapel, never be afraid to contact your legislators since they were elected and not appointed. They’re people just like the rest of us, and I bet there are more than a few skeletons in the closets of the legislative leadership. With any luck our findings might stimulate the U.S. Attorney to indict them. That’s one sure fire way to change the leadership in Rhode Island.

Marriage Equality Discusson at Bell St. Chapel

Tonight was the first meeting of the discussion group centered around E.J. Graff’s book “What is Marriage For?” at the Bell Street Chapel here in Providence. I keep meaning to get over there a little more often. Yes I know, I’m an atheist. But the part missing is the social and the UUA seem to understand that it isn’t all about the god thing.

There were eight people in attendance including the President of the Bell Street Chapel Don Laliberte, his partner Richard Corso, Board Secretary of Bell Street Chapel Carol Crowley, a gentleman by the name of Brian, Kathy Kushnir from Marriage Equality Rhode Island, and the couple I’ve written about previously who happen to live about three doors down from me, that would be Angela and Jack.

We discussed the two central themes of the book, namely:

What is marriage

and

Why do people marry

We split off into groups of two and hashed out all the various answers. In why people marry the group I was part of with Don came up with the usual suspects plus the drunken/UI reasons a la certain demi-celebrities who shall remain nameless. But it was a good workup to next weeks discussion which will explore topics in the book more thoroughly.

As you’d expect the answers are the same as what we’ve heard over and over again from both sides of the marriage equality battle. Things such as familial, money, et al.

I did get to relay the comments of the NOM spectator from the Senate hearings on marriage equality to the couple. They’re feisty, and I love that aspect of people.

I’m also told that there will at least be yet another hearing on the issue this time on the house side. But it’s very unlikely we’ll see any activity this late in the legislative season. That’s the leaderships way of letting us know there will be no marriage equality again this year. Fourteen years down, and only three to go before we achieve equality in Rhode Island.

At the end I did sum up that in RI it will be a judicial challenge that grants our rights. It will come in one of two ways. The first will be a gay couple attempting to obtain a marriage license and some organization backing them up to file suit. Then there will be the one I think is more likely, that a couple will marry in IA, MA, CT, VT, or possible NH or ME then move to RI. They’ll file to have their marriage fully recognized here.

The reason I don’t see a direct challenge as happening is because both MERI and GLAD seem to believe that the judiciary is packed with right wing ideologues that our Repugnant Governor Don Carcieri put in place.

Let me explain why I see a problem with that thinking. The governor reaches out the Judicial Nominating Committee. The Committee then submits the names to the governor who then selects his ideal candidate. It then goes to the Senate for confirmation.

The Senate is a very big stumbling block for ideologues. So the reality is you get the candidate most palatable to just about everyone out the end of the process.

And as Justice Hurst stated, bring it back under a constitutional challenge and the courts will have no choice but to grant the divorce in Ormiston v. Chambers, but it also opens the door to full marriage equality.

Do I really want to wait three years for a new governor that supports our rights to be elected? Do I really think that the leadership in the house and senate will change that dramatically in that same time?

To answer the first, no I do not want to wait three years for a political solution. It seems to me all the effort is being put into that basket. It is funny, someone made the suggestion we send the Graff book to all legislators, I suggested we send a few copies to the RC diocese too.

As to the leadership, how is that with the Majority Whip being gay in addition to another high ranking member being gay too, we can’t get this bill to a full house vote? Certainly this year is notable for the 31 co-sponsors of Rep. Handy’s H5744 Marriage Equality bill. But the leadership in the form of Speaker Murphy and President Paiva-Weed is sorely lacking.

Part of the problem is we don’t have the political pull we need to move this bill. There are no huge campaign donations, no regular lobbyists.

I see us in an untenable situation. We cannot get redress from the legislature, the executive or the judiciary although I think the last one is more likely. So what are we left with other than outright revolt?