Top Of My Head

Thoughts on everything from Politics to Video Games

Tag: Civil Rights (page 1 of 2)

We were married!!!

Giving Cheryl her ring

Photo courtesy of “Loki” David Lott

On November 14th, just after 7PM, Cheryl and I did what thousands of couples before us have done – we were legally married.  We’ve been together for nearly 19 years and it has been an amazing ride.  We’ve gone through home ownership, trying to have children, having grandchildren and more.  Our journey isn’t ending, but this new beginning is, well, just something.

I honestly didn’t think that when I awoke on the morning of November 15th that I would feel any different.  After all, Cheryl and I had married in 2001 in a ceremony complete with gowns, unity candle and the breaking of the glass.  I have considered myself married for the last thirteen years.  How can a piece of paper make that much of a difference?

Lighting the Unity Candle on April 28, 2001 - our first wedding. (Look how young I was!)

April 28, 2001 – our first wedding.

Well, it does.  I feel closer to Cheryl, more involved, safer.  I know that my family would never be the kind that would toss her out on her ear if something would happen to me and I’m pretty sure her family wouldn’t do that to me,.  But, I’ve been kept out of her hospital room (not for long) and a nurse did tell me that I wasn’t Tommy’s grandmother, so I wouldn’t be able to be in his room.  No one will ever be able to tell me that again.

Cheryl’s daughter, Kim, has always treated me as a true step-parent.  She’s always respected our relationship and I’ve always treated her like a daughter. Dustin took a little time to warm up – accepting your wife’s family can be

Listening to Pastor Dana

overwhelming – but he’s always called my parents grandma and grandpa and he’s been a pall bearer for my family, I think more times than for his own.  His acceptance of Cheryl and I extended to his family.  Having all of them be a part of our wedding day was amazing.

The outpouring of love from friends and family was amazing.  Having our relationship be recognized by the state, as well as people close to us is an indescribable joy.  I can’t wait for the whole country to come to their senses and legalize gay marriage.

Our first official introduction as Julie and Cheryl Totsch

Photo courtesy of “Loki” David Lott

 

Elizabeth Hasslebeck – Stupidity in Motion

According to new stories, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, late of The View and new to Fox & Friends, believes that there should be a video game registry, not a gun registry. Somebody get this woman a brain. Video games don’t kill people, people with guns kill people. We had mass shootings and serial killers long before there was even such a thing as a Video game.

What we do need is 100% background check on every sale – even when father is selling to his son.

We do need is parents being responsible and not buying video games that are not designed for children.

That’s what we need.

What we don’t need is Hasselbeck to muddy the waters of discussion with crap. We don’t need someone who’s claim to fame was being on Survivor. It’s not like she worked hard to get on The View, nor Fox & Friends.

An Open Letter to My Fellow Gays

Dear Gay People of America;

I know that while we have been busy trying to secure our rights as human beings in America, Russia’s “President” (or, as I call him, Head Thug) has trampled all over gay people’s human rights.  Putin is threatening to arrest gay foreigners.

And, we’re not that far off from the Olympics being held in Russia come next February.  You would think the man would have better sense.  I believe all leaders of the free world should denounce the Thug’s actions.  We should boycott Russia Vodka, caviar and any other products they export.  We shouldn’t vacation there or do business with them until they grant the same freedoms to all of their citizens – not just the straight ones.

Yes, we should.  Yes, we can.  And, yes, we will.

But, let’s not cause any trouble at the Olympics.

Please.

The Olympics are not supposed to be political.  Let me repeat that:  The Olympics are not supposed to be political.  The Olympics is when all nations send their best athletes to compete in sports most of the rest of us pay no attention to during the time between Olympic games.  (Or, maybe, it’s just us Americans and maybe just some sports.

Still, let’s not get carried away and boycott the Olympics.  Let’s not ask our leaders to do so.

Despite what Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) thinks, boycotting the Olympics is wrong. It was wrong in 1980 when Carter did it (to protest Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan). It was wrong when Russia and other Communist countries did it in 1984. It would be wrong if we did it to appeal for Gay Rights or if we did it because Russia is letting Edward Snowden stay in their country, as Senator Graham wants done.

No politics at the Olympics.

Russia sucks.  Russia has sucked for quite a while.  They treat their citizens like crap.  They treat their parentless children like crap.  What do you expect?  That thug – Vladimir Putin – will always be nothing but a thug.  We should oppose him and thugs like him at every single turn – but not during the Olympics.

Hell, we didn’t even boycott Hitler’s Olympics.  We sent Jessie Owens over there and proved that race had nothing to do with ability.  (Although, we did leave with less medals.)

Let’s kick Russia’s butt in the Winter Olympics in 2014.

That’s better than any protest or boycott.

God Bless our American Athletes!  They rock and we should support them and allow them to compete on the world stage.

Left, Wrong and the Internet: Early Morning Ramblings

I love the Internet.  I love technology.  That said, I think the Internet – for all the good – has a dark side.

We’re not anymore divided in this country than we were back when brother raised arms against brother, but thanks to the Internet; it sure feels that way.  To paraphrase Mark Twain, a lie can travel the email boxes of the world before the truth can boot the computer. (And, actually, to say that’s Mark Twain’s quote might not even be true – it might be Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon.)

And, speaking of lies, it is amazing to me how someone will believe the lie of an email rather than believe the actually fact.  And, it seems as if people want to believe the lie.  Further, at least in my life and my experience, these people are on the right.

For example, I don’t care who sent you the email, George Soros doesn’t own nor is he affiliated with Snopes.com.  But, since this information from about Snopes is from Snopes, I’m guessing those on the right won’t believe it.

Oh and another thing:  The media, with some exceptions, is a tool of the left.  Fox News and the right may want you to believe that, but it simply isn’t true.  The media, again with some exceptions, is a business.  Businesses like to make money and whatever ups the ratings or sells newspapers is what’s going to be printed.  Don’t believe me, check out the ads for your local news.  Go ahead – it’s all:  Water – is it going to kill you or The danger lurking in your kitchen.  It’s designed to get you to watch.  Sometimes, you might get the full story, but most of the time you don’t.  And, radio news is just as bad (if not worse) than TV news.  I happen to have a long commute and no matter which station I listen to in the morning, that station will have the news on 3 or 4 times.  And, it’s always the same stories.

And, who owns the media?

Well, The Disney Company owns ABC, so they might lean a little to the left. Comcast owns NBC. Clear Channel owns 850 radio stations.

Our media, which translates into our news and information, is slowly being owned by less and less companies. In other words, more stations are being owned by the same company.

And, don’t even get me started on the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which was supposed to deregulate Cable and lower our rates (seen your rates drop? Anybody?) and it allowed companies to own more and more stations. There was a limit before.

Anyway, even for a rambling post, I’m getting off track.

I’d like to bring up Trayvon Martin – I know, I know, you’re all sick about the subject and your tired from all of the coverage, but I fought with my father about this yesterday and it’s on my mind.

  1. I’ve made this statement before and I’m making it again:  Once George Zimmerman left the safety of his vehicle (after being told by police not to do so), it wasn’t self-defense.  Once he approached Martin, he was taking the law into his own hands and whatever transpired after that made him a murderer.  And, that’s why stand your ground laws are dangerous, because the victim is no longer here.
  2. The picture of Trayvon Martin with tons of tattoos?  It’s not him.  And, the blatant lie of him flipping off the camera?  That’s a Trayvon Martin, but not THE Trayvon Martin.  Check out Snopes.
  3. I don’t care what Martin was doing that night.  I don’t care what he did in his young life before that night.  I don’t care if the kid was flunking out of high score and planning on scoring some drugs that night.  I don’t know if any of that is true and I don’t care.  He had a right to be on that sidewalk and he had the right to not have someone without any legal authority stop and question him.  It doesn’t matter that Zimmerman thought he had some right or was justified – he wasn’t.  Follow me in your vehicle at night and then approach me?  You might be the one down on the sidewalk looking up at the stars.  Pull a gun on me in some sort of “self-defense” and be prepared to die.
  4. Personally, I think Zimmerman deserves vigilante justice.  He stalked and hunted Trayvon Martin; he should only get the same.  And, it’s amazing how right wing people are offended by that.  They think that’s horrible.  How could I possibly feel that way? I feel that way because I believe in an eye for an eye.  Zimmerman totally disregarded Martin’s rights by approaching him.  Zimmerman knew he had a gun.  He knew the police were on their way.  He knew he was safe and then he got out of the car.  I think the real justice will be the fact that Zimmerman for the rest of his life will have to look over his shoulder to make sure he’s not being attacked.

As much as I would like to continue my ramblings (and, I never did reach my original point), I have to get going and head to work. I know, a liberal who works for a living! Imagine that! No government aid! It must be some leftist, Marxist, fascist, Communist conspiracy!

GOP Voter ID Laws to Curb Democratic Voting

Voter ID laws aren’t about fraud – we all know it.  Republicans don’t like losing elections and, due to their lack of any agenda resembling polices that will help America, they don’t win many National elections.   How will they fix this?  They’ll scream about non-existent voter fraud and pass voter laws to prevent it.

But, finally, one Republican has admitted the truth.  It’s all about taking votes away from the Democrats.  Robert Gleason, chairman of Pennsylvania’s Republican Party, when asked about the voter ID laws responded with “Yeah, I think a little bit. We probably had a better election. Think about this: We cut Obama by 5 percent, which was big. A lot of people lost sight of that. He won. He beat McCain by 10 percent, he only beat Romney by 5 percent. I think that probably photo ID helped a bit in that.”

Indiana’s Unconstitutional Anti-Gay Law

According to Indiana law, which will take affect next July 1st, breaks the separation of church and state in a manner that is shocking:

IC 31-11-11-5
Solemnization of marriage in violation of this article
 Sec. 5. A person who:
(1) is authorized to solemnize marriages by IC 31-11-6; and
(2) solemnizes a marriage in violation of this article;
commits a Class C infraction.
As added by P.L.1-1997, SEC.3.

In other words, if you are legally capable of performing marriages in the State of Indiana and you perform a gay marriage, you commit a Class C infraction (“A person who commits a Class C misdemeanor shall be imprisoned for a fixed term of not more than sixty (60) days; in addition, he may be fined not more than five hundred dollars.*“)  Really? And, two sections down, there’s this:

IC 31-11-11-7
Solemnization of marriage between persons prohibited from marrying
Sec. 7. A person who knowingly solemnizes a marriage of individuals who are prohibited from marrying by IC 31-11-1 commits a Class B misdemeanor.
As added by P.L.1-1997, SEC.3.

If you perform a gay marriage, you commit a Class B misdemeanor, which can result in 180 days in jail and a $1000 fine*. I’d like to mention that this is not only against the Constitution of the United States of America – it is, also, hypocritical. One of the right-wing arguments against gay marriage is that it is against their religion (which isn’t true).  But, if they believe in religious freedom, how can they possibly support a law that restricts religious freedom?

Oh, who am I kidding?  Anti-Gay people would give up their own freedom in order to harm gay people.  They’re truly crazy!

Gay Marriage: The Real Inequality

Last week, the US Supreme Court ruled that DOMA was unconstitutional.  That means that gay people in states that recognize or have gay marriage will have their marriages recognized.  This is good – for them.

For those of us who are gay, in non-legally recognized marriages and living in the wrong states, nothing has changed.  We still do not have the right to inheritance, hospital visitations and joint income tax returns.  It, also, means we don’t have the responsibilities and protections that marriage offers.

There are legal ways around this.  My wife and I have registered as Domestic Partners, so we have some of these rights.  And, prior to Domestic Partnerships being legal in my state, we had signed power of attorneys for health and legal matters.

BUT…

What we can’t do is file a marriage, filing jointly income tax return.  And, this is what burns my butt.

By myself, I will pay $12,260 in Federal Income Taxes in 2013.  My wife (who earns less than I do) will pay $2,978.  Together, that’s $15,238.  (This is based on the IRS Withholding Calculator.)  Using the same calculator, I calculated what we would owe if we could file as a married filing jointly couple and the amount is $13,901.  That’s $1,337 less than what we’re separately paying now.

I don’t think I’m receiving $1,337 in extra Federal Benefits, do you?  What am I getting for this money?  Why is MY marriage not recognize by the Federal government because a bunch of bigots didn’t want gay marriage nine years ago – and they won. (By cheating, the question was worded so that yes meant against gay marriage and no meant for gay marriage.  I can’t tell you the number of my friends who were happy it passed, because they couldn’t figure out the difference.)

In any case, we have a long way to go.

Conservative Hypocriscy

When the end of time comes and America falls, we can leave our failures at the feet of the stupid.  I really believe that.  The further along in time we go, the dumber the people of this nation get.  Right after the tragic shooting on Friday, the pro-gun morons (because, let’s face it, those people are morons) are throwing out statements calling for more guns in this country, not less.

Gun ownership is up in this country.  In fact, we own more guns then ever before.  Unfortunately, Mass Shootings are, also, up.  More mass shootings are happening every year as well.

The truth is that more guns owned will not make our country safer.

And, here’s something else:  we don’t just own more guns – we own more assault rifles.  WTF?  Why do we need assault rifles?  What’s wrong with limiting the number of rounds that can be held in a clip?

And, why is it that we ban gay marriage in our state constitutions, but we’ll accept other states’ concealed carry permits?  We want to regulate who can marry and who’s marriages can be recognized, but God forbid we recognize love between two same sex people.

And this is for the assholes who claim that God isn’t allowed in schools:  Kiss my fucking ass!  You people are more concerned with waving banners than protecting children.  Fuck you and your families.  I hope the next fucking asshole who decides “Hey, today’s a good day to kill people”  starts with Mike Huckabee, Ann Coulter, the fuckhead that runs the AFA and every fucker at the Westboro Baptist Church.

 

The Abortion Lie

Let me start this by telling you about my neighbor.  My neighbor is a Republican and she’s on disability (which I think shouldn’t happen, but there it is).  She’s a good Christian woman, who suffered through an intolerable childhood and never married.  She worked, before her illness, in the Health Care field.  She offers advice, even when you don’t need it or want it.  My neighbor knows every thing that goes on in our neighborhood and I mean every thing.  I’ll be she’ll know about this post before I finish writing it and before I even post it.  Even when she was working, she knew every thing.

In the old days, we would call her – unkindly – the neighborhood gossip or busy buddy.  And, perhaps, that’s what she is.  But, she’s always kind, very giving and the kind of neighbor you can call when you need help.  For example, when we were having our biggest trouble with Oliver, she would take him every single day.  She helped train him and I think he’s more well-adjusted now than he would’ve been without her daily care.  Only her illness stopped her from continuing to watch him, but she’s never stopped loving him.

Over the weekend, she stopped with her little dog for a visit.  We had a nice time, even though I have no manners and forgot to offer her a drink or something.  Anyway, she told me that she was going to vote for Romney in the  Presidential election.  When I asked her why, since it is clear she doesn’t like Romney, her answer was abortion.  Republicans are against abortion.  She’s against abortion, so she’s going to vote for Romney.

And, that is why I’m writing this.  The anti-abortion stance in the Republican Party is a lie.  Mark my words:  There will NEVER be a Federal Anti-abortion – I mean make it back like it was – law EVER.  It doesn’t matter if the Republicans hold Congress, Senate and the White House.  It didn’t happen during Bush’s eight years (where they had all three for more than 4 years) and it will never happen.

Why?

Because abortion is an issue that keeps voters voting Republican.  A Federal Ban would mean that the voters would have to look for something else.  There are plenty of voters, like my neighbor, who is a one issue voters.  She doesn’t want abortion to be legal.  She doesn’t realize that the Republicans don’t really want to outlaw it because maybe she might start looking at their other issues.

So, if you’re a single issue voter and abortion is your issue and that’s why you’re voting for Romney – you might want to think again.  And, you might want to see what else Romney has in his bag of issues.

Obama Sues to Protect Voting Rights in Ohio

A cousin of mine posted a link to an article on breitbart.com that claimed President Obama was suing in Ohio to restrict Military voting rights.  The truth is that Ohio passed a law that restricted non-military voting rights and Obama for American, the Democratic National Committee and Ohio Democratic Party are suing to have it overturned.  Ohio’s general Assembly passed into law three bills:  “Amended Substitute House Bill Number 194 (“HB194”), Amended Substitute House Bill Number 224 (“HB 224”) and SubstituteSenate Bill Number 295 (“SB 295”)”1“Prior to the enactment of these laws,there was a single uniform deadline of the Monday before Election Day for in- person early voting.”2

Now, only the military has until the Monday before Election Day for in-person early voting. The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees that in the eyes of the law, all citizens are treated equally (which means the same). When it comes to voting, the Military and the citizens it protects should be treated equally.

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”
The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment

Obviously, the Breitbart site and the other right-wing websites want to make an argument that Obama hates the Military and wants to restrict Military voting rights. In truth, the President just wants everyone to be treated equally.

Here’s the full compliant.

OFA Complaint as Filed

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