Is America Burning - a Forum To Discuss Issues

All comments welcome, pro or con. Passionate ok, but let's be civil. ...Pertinent comments will be published on this blog. Air your viewpoints.


Skyline - Houston, Texas

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Freedom of Speech - As Long as You Agree With Me

Most of this report is the usual thing from Media Matters. They listen carefully to what is said by the consvervatives and point out the errors and omissions.

Take a look at the two paragraphs in extra large print.

Ron Paul is a legitimate candidate, no matter what the voting public may think of him. He has as much right to his views as any of the others. Why is "Red State" so afraid of a difference of opinion? I won't vote for any Republican candidate but I wouldn't dream of censoring their right to speak or the right of anyone to support whomever they wish.

On the October 26 edition of MSNBC's Tucker, discussing Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (TX) and "the remarkable Paul-for-president movement," Los Angeles Times columnist Rosa Brooks attributed Paul's support to his "tapping into ... a lot of distaste for the kind of cookie-cutter stuff of the major parties. A lot of desire to have a candidate who just says whatever the heck he thinks." Later in the segment, Washington Post staff writer Anne E. Kornblut said that the "groundswell that Ron Paul has" demonstrates "a real craving on the Republican side for somebody who seems like they are being authentic." During the segment, the panel discussed Paul's position on numerous issues, and host Tucker Carlson asked: "But who does agree with him? OK, consider -- here is a guy who is against legal abortion. Just against -- he's gonna ban abortion. Very pro-marijuana, Ron Paul, OK? Doesn't believe the IRS ought to exist and is for the gold standard. So just take those four among 4,000 positions he 's taken in his public life." However, at no point in their discussion of support for Paul and his positions did any of the participants note that Paul is the only Republican presidential candidate to have voted against the Authorization for the Use of Military Force in Iraq Resolution of 2002, or that he has repeatedly voiced his support for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.

During the June 5 Republican presidential debate, Paul asserted that "it was a mistake to go" into Iraq, and said that "[t]he sooner we come home, the better":

WOLF BLITZER (moderator): Congressman Ron Paul, how much longer should the United States stay in Iraq?

PAUL: The sooner we come home, the better. If they declare there's no progress in September, we should come home. It was a mistake to go, so it's a mistake to stay. If we made the wrong diagnosis, we should change the treatment. So we're not making progress there and we should come home. The weapons weren't there, and we went in under U.N. resolutions. And our national security was not threatened.

We're more threatened now by staying.

Numerous media accounts have attributed Paul's support in part to his opposition to the Iraq war:

  • An October 15 Washington Post article reported that "[l]ike Paul himself, the Paulites are against the war in Iraq, against the growing federal bureaucracy, against the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Education, the income tax, against, as [New Hampshire Paul supporter Jim] Forsythe says, 'politics as we've known it.' "
  • An October 4 Houston Chronicle article reported, "The libertarian-leaning Paul has drawn media interest and a group of devoted followers, in part because of his outspoken opposition to the Iraq war, which has set him apart from other GOP presidential candidates."
  • McClatchy Newspapers reported in an October 17 article: "Iraq, too, is beginning to split the [Republican] party base. While Arizona Sen. John McCain lost his front-runner status in part by championing the war, libertarian Texas Rep. Ron Paul is gaining traction in part by stoutly opposing it."

According to a CBS News poll conducted October 12-16 with a margin of error of three percentage points, 24 percent of Republican respondents said that the United States should have "stayed out" of Iraq rather than taking military action, and 26 percent said they would be "willing to have large numbers of U.S. troops stay in Iraq" only for "less than a year."

From the October 26 edition of MSNBC's Tucker:

CARLSON: Plus, Ron Paul joins the presidential campaign for real, dipping into his significant cash pile just as one prominent conservative website bans his famous Internet supporters. A look at the remarkable Paul-for-president movement and those who would stop it.


CARLSON: Plus, a conservative website is banning bloggers from talking about presidential candidate Ron Paul. More on the No Ron Paul Zone after the break. We'll be right back.


BROOKS: Because I think it would be a mistake to conflate the idea of Iraq that possessed a nuclear weapon with an Iraq -- I'm sorry Iran -- with an Iran that is necessarily going to use it, because I think that there are more effective containment strategies even in the worse-case scenario and because I think that there are other paths toward preventing them from getting nuclear weapons.

CARLSON: All right. We will be right back to talk with a man who probably agrees with you. There is trouble brewing in the blogosphere. Why are supporters of Republican Ron Paul being banned from a site popular with Republicans?


CARLSON: Welcome back. There is agitation in the world of conservative blogs. Beneath the headline "Life is Really Not Fair" recently announced it was banning bloggers from posting Ron Paul-related comments. The site bans Ron Paul posters as quote, "a bunch of liberals pretending to be Republicans." Others say the Internet is the perfect place for Ron Paul. And you can't stop him.

Who is right? Back again: L.A. Times columnist Rosa Brooks and The Washington Post's Anne Kornblut.

Here is part of the statement put out by I want to put it up. It says a lot about a lot, I think.

"Effective immediately, new users may not shill for Ron Paul in any way, shape, form or fashion. Not in comments, not in diaries, nada. If your account is less than six months old, you can talk about something else, you can participate in the other threads and be your zany libertarian self all you want but you cannot pimp Ron Paul. Those with accounts more than six months old may proceed as normal."

This is a measure, I don't need to tell both of you who write in public and have public email addresses, Ron Paul is a big deal online, no?

BROOKS: Yeah, I'm hearing from his supporters in my email account.

CARLSON: Can you stop Ron Paul?

KORNBLUT: Of course, this is the reason that you're even putting him on the show is to spike your ratings, because we know that every time we write about him, hits to our website, it's not a joke. I mean, it's amazing that every time we write about him, the hits to The Washington Post website go up. They're very activist. They've raised him money. And it's sort of amazing to me, given that the real measure, I mean, I think if you measure the money alone, this isn't just a phenomenon. It is not six cranks sitting at home writing about Ron Paul. There are real people who really like him. Like it or not.

CARLSON: That's right. There are 6,000 cranks sitting at home writing about Ron Paul.

BROOKS: But, you know, actually it -- it actually is heart-warming, and I am not a Ron Paul supporter, but it's a kind of American phenomenon, and I don't mean that it's an American phenomenon that there are crazy people out there although that's also an American phenomenon. Because I don't think all of his supporters are crazy.

But I think he is tapping into something that, thank God, is still there in America, which is a lot of distaste for the kind of cookie-cutter stuff of the major parties. A lot of desire to have a candidate who just says whatever the heck he thinks. You know, and Ron Paul does that. You know, and I am -- he is a genuine phenomenon. He is not a media creation. And thank God that Ron Paul is out there, even though I don't agree with him on much of what he says.

CARLSON: But who does agree with him? OK, consider -- here is a guy who is against legal abortion. Just against -- he's gonna ban abortion. Very pro-marijuana, Ron Paul, OK? Doesn't believe the IRS ought to exist and is for the gold standard. So just take those four among 4,000 positions he 's taken in his public life. Who is at the intersection of all those? And who agrees with all of those?

KORNBLUT: Have you ever been to New Hampshire? This is sort of like rural New Hampshire or rural New England.

CARLSON: Well, I sort of agree -- I'm not sure about the gold standard but on for the rest of it.

BROOKS: You know, I think Ron Paul actually knows something that the other candidates probably deep down in their little shriveled hearts know but are scared to let themselves feel, which is that, you know, people will vote for you even if they don't agree with you on everything. If they feel like you're a guy or a gal who's got a conscience, who's got some integrity, who's got some intelligence, who calls it like you see it. Who thinks for yourself. You know, who is not just a creation of a bunch of consultants.

CARLSON: I agree.

BROOKS: And he is that. You know, I'm sure that there is nobody out there who agrees with him on everything, even in New Hampshire.

CARLSON: No, I don't agree with him on everything. I will say I agree with him on most things.

BROOKS: Which piece of that do you agree and not agree with him?

CARLSON: I'm not for the gold standard. I think Iran probably is trying to get a bomb and that's a problem. I don't think it's all a neocon plot to take over America. But I'm with him on the IRS. I'm probably with him on abortion, I'm with him on marijuana. I'm kind of, you know, I'm kind of there on Ron Paul's side.

He's going up with TV commercials. Rudy Giuliani hasn't gone up with TV commercials. He has got $5.4 million on hand.

KORNBLUT: It's impressive.

CARLSON: Are people -- is he going to have any effect in any specific state? Can you tell me quickly?

KORNBLUT: I think certainly he'll have an effect on the debate in places like Iowa and New Hampshire. Now, whether he changes the outcome, I can't say for sure. But I will say it's worth noting he's been more effective than, on the Democratic side, Mike Gravel, who you could argue is equally wacky and inconsistent. He's not had the same kind of groundswell that Ron Paul has. So it shows, I think, a real craving on the Republican side for somebody who seems like they're being authentic.

CARLSON: I would say Mike Gravel, as much as I love him, I think he actually probably is deranged and I think Ron Paul is just flamboyant and eccentric. And there is a distinction. Thank you both very much.

KORNBLUT: Thank you.

CARLSON: As we prove every day


USpace said...

Good coverage here, Ron Paul has some good ideas...
absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
just blame America

for all the ills of the world
don't blame simple dictators

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
ignore the threat of jihad

SCREAM that it's made up
an excuse for blood for oil


Sunday, October 28, 2007 6:41:00 PM

Granny said...

Thanks for the comment; however, I didn't mean to imply that I agreed with everything Ron Paul says or that I'm a supporter.

I do agree with some things; especially his stand on Iraq.

The purpose of the post was to express my disapproval of that one blog banning comments on a candidate they dislike. It would have applied to any candidate; it just happened to be Ron Paul.

Sunday, October 28, 2007 6:50:00 PM

USpace said...

I know what you mean, but Daily Kos, among other Lib sites routinely ban conservatives. Maybe they don't state it implicitly though. Btw, Red State has since modified their Ron Paul posting policies. Free speech is best, but it's their site too, so they have the freedom to restrict content on their site if they want. They don't ban all speech they disagree with either, it's just that apparently, Ron Paul fans are rabid spammers and refuse to debate anything.

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
never debate your beliefs

Sunday, October 28, 2007 7:15:00 PM

Granny said...

That does make a difference. My blogging partner and I welcome differences of opinion although a spammer or a troll is something else again. Even with the trolls, we try to wait them out. We don't get many. Still, it sounded like the Ron Paul fans were banned from the beginning.

I've heard that about KOS but I stopped reading him some time ago because it seemed like the participants were more interested in scoring points than discussing.

To each their own but not for me.

Sunday, October 28, 2007 8:17:00 PM

The Future Was Yesterday said...

Every blog, regardless who "owns" it, is a bully pulpit, for the simple reason the owner gets to speak first, last, and determine who speaks in between. There's nothing "free" in any of that speech process.

I used to worry about "free speech" on my blog. I tolerate all dissenting opinions, provided they're in a tasteful manner. But we write posts on our blogs so that you can give your opinion on our subject matter - sort of a validation process of our thinking, if you will.

If you want to write about Ron Paul or Betty Crocket, and my post's about fishing in China, then the Ron Paul and Betty Crocket writers are going get zapped. These are all personal blogs. There's no law or rule that says we have to follow anything, other than Google's guidlines. Nearly all of us let anybody say what they wish, is all, but if I even think somebody's trying to use my blog for their platform, they get the boot, and I sleep very well at night. You want true freedom of speech? Wrote your own blog. Otherwise, your freedom of speech ends where my blog begins.:)

And the use of "your" "you" was in no way aimed at you, Granny.

Sunday, October 28, 2007 10:52:00 PM

GDAEman said...

The line that caught my attention was:

CARLSON: Can you stop Ron Paul?

It inspired my own commentary.


Wednesday, October 31, 2007 9:00:00 PM

Worried American said...

On one of my other blogs ( a war blog) i used a statement by Ron Paul as the header :

"Only tyrants can take a nation to war without the consent of the people. The planned war against Iraq without a Declaration of War is illegal. It is unwise because of many unforeseen consequences that are likely to result.It is immoral and unjust, because it had nothing to do with United States security and because Iraq had not initiated aggression against us." Congressman Ron Paul (How true that statement has proved to be).

I do not agree with Ron Paul on every issue but I do not think we will ever have a candidate with whom we agree on every issue - especially since so many lie just to pander to voters then renege after they are elected. At least Paul is honest about his views, even if some are unpopular.

Sunday, November 04, 2007 1:07:00 AM

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Read It - Just Read It

I borrowed the title of this post from The Old Hippie. I could have thought all night and not come up with a better one.

As most of you know, I leave most of the "international affairs" writing to my blogging partner, Worried American. She's far more knowledgeable than I in that area, a better researcher, and I usually end up saying "what she said" and focusing on domestic affairs and civil rights. Lately, with the ongoing medical problems of my husband, I've been even more out of the loop.

From time to time I make an exception. This is one of those times.

This report, by Scott Ritter, deserves careful attention.

From the author's biography:

A former Marine Corps intelligence officer, Scott Ritter was a chief inspector for the United Nations Special Commission in Iraq from 1991 until 1998. He is the author of several books; “Target Iran,” with a new afterword by the author, was recently released in paperback by Nation Books.

He should know whereof he speaks. The report makes good sense and it's terrifying.

Scarlet Witch said it well the other day. The woman does have a way with words and images.

I've tried to push Iran to the back of my mind and focus on everyday things. My family, the Colorado Rockies, Thanksgiving coming up soon. I'm not sure if there's anything any of us can do at this point to avert our nation's headlong rush to destruction. The arrogant neo-cons are convinced they're right; the rest of us are cowardly wimps at best; traitors at worst.

But at least I can try.

The Future Was Yesterday said...

There was a video embeded somewhere in the links, in which Bush said "Here's a man who's announced he intends to destroy Israel." It all just keeps looping back to Fundamentalist religion, and the B.S. thinking that Israel is somehow special because a mythical figure was supposedly born there. That in turn, was exploited by Fundamentalists all over the world, until we arrived at the insane, fanatical thinking that there's a halo over Israel. There isn't. They're one of the chief problem causing A holes in the middle east!

I agree with a commenter on "Just Read It", who said:
I think the most dangerous time will be after the election but before he leaves office, particularly if the Democrats win. He's got about a two-month window there where he can act without consequence to himself or his party, and I expect a flurry of bombs and pardons and executive orders.

That is going to be our real time to worry. We have a dry drunk with a napoleon complex and a Rodney Dangerfield attitude, with an itchy finger. That's not at all good.

Friday, October 26, 2007 12:49:00 AM

Scarlet Witch said...

Why, thanks, dear Gran. (I'm so not worthy....).

Friday, October 26, 2007 5:13:00 PM

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Hmmm. So King George is threatening WW III. I wonder if he’ll set it off before his term runs out. I believe the Constitution allows impeachment for insanity. If not, I am certain a case can be made for high crimes and treason where Dubya is concerned.

The man terrifies me.

Friday, October 26, 2007 10:55:00 PM

Lucy Stern said...

The liberals and socialists terrify me even more......

Saturday, October 27, 2007 12:22:00 AM

Granny said...

Lucy, I checked your profile and your blog.

I save potato water too. We seem to agree on some things.

Have you read what the "religious" leaders say about any faith other than their own warped, hateful thinking?

It may take the fundamentalists a while but they will eventually get around to you. And my husband.

Of course they'll go after me first.

Saturday, October 27, 2007 3:29:00 AM

fjb said...

The little toadie we have as Prime Minister seems to be panting at the opportunity to fill Tony Blair's vacated position as Bush's lap dog. We Canadians had better keep the insidious creep of neo-con tentacles spreading out from Ottawa in check, too.

Saturday, October 27, 2007 11:06:00 AM


Riverbend Has a New Post

They are becoming settled in Syria. Here is her first post from that country.

Also, for those with feeders, she may have a different url. I couldn't find her on Bloglines.

Thanks, Betmo. I probably wouldn't have found it without your help.

Otofoot said...

It really surprises me that there hasn't been a word about the long lines of Iraqi refugees at the Iraq-Syrian border. What Riverbend describes in her post is a very shocking sight, and no one here is aware of it.

Kinda makes me think of the Californians running from away from the fire. That's exactly what the Iraqi's are doing, not? Only the fire in Iraq is caused by the same equipment that should actually be putting the fires out in California.

Friday, October 26, 2007 3:59:00 AM

betmo said...

i don't believe she has the setting set for feeds. i linked to her on the sidebar because of that. :)

Friday, October 26, 2007 8:41:00 AM

Scarlet Witch said...

Hey, thanks for that heads up.

Friday, October 26, 2007 5:13:00 PM

Southern California Fires (cross posted)

Again from Emily and Cooper.

These two women started blogging as a response to Katrina by establishing a clearing house for information. Their blog has evolved into a political forum with the primary focus on women's and children's issues (although they write about other things as well).

Now they're involved in a group on The Motherhood (to which I belong) which is serving as a clearing house for those interested in helping the people of Southern California.

You can find the link to The Motherhood on their blog.

Kvatch, the Multicolored, Gadabout Amphibian

For those of you who, like me, miss our froggy friend, he has begun updating Blogonymous as he hops around the blogosphere.

Click on the link to find out where he's been lately.


Worried American said...

Always happy to see our friend in print!

Sunday, November 04, 2007 1:09:00 AM

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Darn, I Forgot to Title this One

Let's see if this link works.

This happens to be the Texas legislature but I wouldn't be surprised if it happens elsewhere as well.

Welcome to the circus!!


David Cho said...

It's almost like they are walking around to operate slot machines. Very funny.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007 9:33:00 PM

ThomasLB said...

The lowest point in Texas Legislature history was the time Bo Pilgrim (the chicken guy) stood on the floor and handed out $10,000 campaign donations to legislators who voted his way on a bill that gutted unemployment benefits.

Yes, ten thousand dollars.

Not exactly subtle, was it?

Thursday, October 25, 2007 6:30:00 AM

Otofoot said...

Is this comedy? It sure is hilarious!

Thursday, October 25, 2007 9:03:00 AM

Granny said...

Otofoot. I've read much of Molly Ivin's writing about Texas government so it's probably real.

Either way, it's funny.

Ann (granny)

Thursday, October 25, 2007 9:11:00 AM

Otofoot said...

Hi Granny,

Why am I not surprised about this? I think the best truths are the ones that can make you laugh and cry at the same time.

BTW: Howcome you've turned off anonymous comments (just curious)?

Thursday, October 25, 2007 9:34:00 AM

The Future Was Yesterday said...

Texas is noted for many things; honesty is not among them.

Thursday, October 25, 2007 7:19:00 PM

Blog Hers Act - Post Partum Depression (cross posted)

I didn't know about this until this morning when I was reading my friends Cooper & Emily at Been There.

If BlogHer emailed me, I didn't see it and I hadn't checked the site lately. I admit, I'm not their most active member.

I left a comment for Emily telling her I was going to cheat and copy her post because time was so short.

It's also probably too late to ask others to post today but we still have time to contact our Senators and ask them to support S. 1735.

Here is Emily's post (I updated to show today's date).

Katherine Stone appeared this morning yesterday? on The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet to talk about Blog Day for MOTHERS Act -- happening this Wednesday -- and did a wonderful job. Go to the Mike and Juliet site to watch Katherine talking in the Green Room after her interview and see what a natural she is on camera.

We're getting behind Blog Day for MOTHERS Act tomorrow because as Katherine says,

Postpartum depression is a serious and disabling condition that affects up to 20 percent of new mothers -- as much as 800,000 American women each year. Yet only 15 percent of these women will receive any assessment or treatment. Let me repeat. With all we know and as smart as we are, only 15% of 800,000 women will get diagnosed and treated. That is so wrong on so many levels. Women are not being diagnosed because they're not being educated and they're not being screened. Untreated, the consequences of maternal mood disorders range from chronic, disabling depression to death. The impact of untreated maternal depression on infants/children ranges from behavioral and learning disabilities to depression and, in the worst case scenarios, death from infanticide."

Here's what Blog Day for MOTHERS Act is all about (thank you again, Katherine):

On Wednesday October 24th, BlogHer, Postpartum Support International and Postpartum Progress are joining together to host Blog Day for the MOTHERS Act. We're asking bloggers from around the country to write about the MOTHERS Act for postpartum depression on the 24th and to encourage their readers to pick up the phone that day, call their Senators and urge them to endorse this critical legislation. I hope you will join us in this effort, which is part of the overall BlogHers Act 2007-2008 initiative to improve maternal health.

What is the MOTHERS Act? The Moms Opportunity to Access Help, Education, Research and Support for Postpartum Depression Act, or MOTHERS Act (S. 1375), will ensure that new mothers and their families are educated about postpartum depression, screened for symptoms and provided with essential services. In addition, it will increase research into the causes, diagnoses and treatments for postpartum depression. The bill is sponsored by Senators Menendez and Durbin.


1. Blog it on Blog Day for The MOTHERS Act tomorrow today, October 24, 2007.

2. Share your link at BlogHer.

3. Proudly display the badge in this post stating you're going to do the above.

(I can't display the badge - Blogger is being contrary about images again.)


5. Go to Postpartum Support International to get all the contact info you need.

We're hoping a LOT of bloggers will get in on the act on Thursday Wednesday?. Your post doesn't have to be long. Just let everyone know you support the bill, and you hope they'll agree with you, and call their Senators.

And every one of us, let's pick up the phones tomorrow. Even if you've never ever called your Senator before, give it a try. It takes a couple of seconds, and all you need to do is say to the person who answers the phone that you're calling because you want the Senator to vote for the MOTHERS Act, Senate Bill 1375. Telling him or her that you vote and you live in the Senator's state. That's it. They'll make a note of it, and you're done. And you'll feel great because you've been heard and because you could make the difference in getting this bill passed into law.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Our green, froggy friend Kvatch, is closing down his blog.

He's provided many laughs for WA and me along with some serious moments.

His Kommandos have been picked up all across the country.

Kvatch, we'll miss you.

(He has a final post up on the blog and, as of now, his comments are open if you want to drop over and wish him bon voyage.)


The Future Was Yesterday said...
Sorry Granny, but I just can't do that.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007 12:57:00 AM
enigma4ever said...
oh this is such sad news...heartbreaking..
Thursday, October 18, 2007 6:25:00 PM
Kvatch said...
Granny, Worried...Thanks so much for the kind words and don't worry about Blognonymous. I don't plan to delete it. Since I host it myself, it stays up as long as I keep paying to host my other web-sites. I've been thinking about what to do next and, coincidentally, many bloggers have asked me to guest post on their own blogs. So I'm considering going the "journeyman" route for a bit. We'll see. Anyway...I'm not going away. I just need to disconnect from Blognonymous for a while.
Friday, October 19, 2007 11:07:00 AM
Granny said...
That's very good news. I totally understand the "burnout" or whateverit is afflicting you these days and I'd never try to armtwist.Please drop a note and let us know where you'll be guestposting as Imay not frequent all the blogs you do.If you'd ever like to borrow our space you'd be more than welcome.Best to both of you.
Friday, October 19, 2007 12:40:00 PM
Scarlet Witch said...
Friday, October 19, 2007 4:07:00 PM
Worried American said...
We will sadly miss our multicolored frog!! Do keep in touch, Kvatch.
Sunday, October 21, 2007 7:15:00 PM

Blog Action Day (cross posted)

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

Today is Blog Action Day during which we've been asked to sign up and write about the environment.

I got it half right. I tried to officially sign us up and obtain a button to post on our sidebar. I'll try again for the button but they wanted an RSS number, whatever that is. I know it has something to do with feeders like Bloglines, but I sure couldn't find it.

So, unofficially, here we are.

Here, from the New York Times and reprinted in Truthout, is something a little out of the ordinary. We all know Al Gore won the Nobel and I think most of us believe global warming is a reality. Hopefully, we're all doing what we can as individuals to combat it.

Here's what the Congo Republic's pygmies are doing.

When Congo Republic's northern pygmies go out into the forest these days, some will be carrying hand-held satellite tracking devices along with their traditional bows and spears.

Using GPS handsets to pinpoint sacred sites and hunting areas, the nomadic forest dwellers are literally putting themselves on the map to protect their livelihoods and habitat against the chainsaws and bulldozers of commercial loggers.

Through the scheme, northern Congo's Mbendjele Yaka people and the central African country's largest logging company are working in an unusual alliance to ensure the forest areas crucial to the pygmies' daily lives are left standing.

"It's essentially a process by which the traditional rights of the pygmies can be respected and protected," Scott Poynton, executive director of the Tropical Forest Trust, which works to promote responsible forest management in the world, told Reuters.

With training and technology provided by the trust, logging company Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB) owned by Denmark's DLH group, and other international partners, the Mbendjeles are using the GPS (Global Positioning System) to mark out forest areas and even specific trees they want preserved.

"The sets have icons on them, so they don't have to be able to read and write. They basically go out and say OK, click, here is a sacred site, and a GPS point is taken and links up to the satellite," Poynton said in an telephone interview on Wednesday.

"They can wander through the forest and map all of the areas -- the tombs of their ancestors, hunting grounds, sacred areas, water holes, areas of medicinal plants -- these are all captured on GPS points, all downloaded on the computer," he added.

"And suddenly, you've got a map."

These maps were being used by CIB to guide its logging operations on its concessions in this part of the Congo Basin rainforest, the world's second largest which conservationists say is under threat from indiscriminate illegal logging.

CIB is using the GPS scheme to extend certification of its Congo concessions by the Forest Stewardship Council, which recognizes responsible, sustainable logging that takes into account the rights of indigenous peoples.

"It's a wonderful partnership between very poor, disenfranchised traditional people and a large company that's saying we want to do things the right way," Poynton said.


CIB turned to anthropologist Jerome Lewis of the London School of Economics, an expert on the Mbendjele pygmies, to help design the pictorial icons that allow the forest dwellers to click and identify on the GPS sets their important sites among the towering tropical hardwood trees of the forest.

For example, a syringe represented an area of medicinal plants, a pygmy with an arrow a hunting area, while an image of a typical pygmy leaf and liana home indicated a living area.

"We've been working with them about six months and honestly, they're like fish to water, they're like kids with a computer game ... We're finding they can map very large areas very, very quickly," Poynton said.

The project was also receiving funding from the World Bank's Development Marketplace program.

Among the trees being marked out by the pygmies for preservation are the giant sapelli, many of them more than 40 meters high and more than two meters in diameter at the base, from which the Mbendjele gather caterpillars to eat.

"OK, trees are falling, but they are not trees deemed to be traditionally important by the community. These are marked with paint and the bulldozers go around them," Poynton said.

The project is also setting up a local community radio station, named Bisso na Bisso or "between us" in the local language, to help spread the word about pygmy issues among communities scattered across the vast forest.

"It's about getting their voices heard," Poynton said.

He said the GPS mapping scheme had set a benchmark for conservation partnerships and the Tropical Forest Trust was already working on a similar project in neighboring Cameroon.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Family Equality - National Media Awards

In my post yesterday, I mentioned Janice would be speaking that night and that I'd post her speech.

Janice is a quiet, unassuming person who wanted only to be allowed to live her life. Until this occurred, she was non-political and was fortunate enough to live in a community where she and her partner were just one of many sets of parents.

Her life changed in an instant.

She recounts the circumstances surrounding Lisa's death (see my earlier post) and then talks more about their life together.

I think the reason her story saddened and angered me so greatly is that these two women exemplified the very best this country has to offer. Instead, she was treated as an "untouchable".

She spoke out for the far too many "untouchables" in this country. I hope that she can make a difference. Sometimes it just takes one determined person to begin the change of hearts and minds.

Click here for the photos on the sidebar.

(Added Sunday night. Tonya, from Canada, thank you for your comment. This is not my story though but the story of a woman I've come to consider a friend. Sorry if it was confusing).

National Media Awards

Family Equality Council

Janice Langbehn - October 13, 2007

Invited to speak about our horrible experience in Florida in February 2007 - Family Equality Council (previously Family Pride) - this is the speech I gave on 10/13/07 at the Hollywood Roosevelt when Jamie Lee Curtis received her award along with Growing Generations.

as promised, i have just gotten back to our room - here is my speech. 10:40pm

Good evening, I am Janice Langbehn. In trying to prepare for tonight’s speech and express to you how family equality is essential I am saddened to think the only reason I am up here is because my partner died. Some of you may have heard our story. In February 2007, my partner, Lisa Pond, and I arrived in Miami, Florida with three of our adopted children to realize a family dream – a weeklong vacation on RFamily Cruises. As we boarded the Norwegian Jewel, Kelli O’Donnell greeted us and had our picture taken. None of us realized it would be one of our last family photographs. We also did not anticipate the unimaginable homophobia and inhumane treatment we would be faced with just a few hours later. While I unpacked in our cabin, Lisa, my partner of 18 years took our kids Danielle, David and Katie up to the top deck to play basketball. Just a short time later the kids were banging on the stateroom door saying, “Mommy was hurt!” I opened the door, and took one look at Lisa and knew the situation was very serious. As a medical social worker for many years, I have seen people in critical condition. I knew that my life partner was gravely ill. As the ship was about to leave, we had no choice but to seek medical help in an unfamiliar city. After local medics arrived, we hurried off the ship to the closest hospital in Miami, Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital. The kids and I, hauling a week’s worth of luggage for five, arrived just before the ambulance carrying Lisa. I tried to follow the gurney into the trauma bay but was stopped by the trauma team meeting Lisa and told to go to the waiting area. I did as I was told and a short while later a social worker appeared to inform me that I was - and I quote – “in an anti-gay city and state.” He explained that this meant that I would not be allowed to see Lisa or make decisions about her care without a Health Care Proxy. I asked for his name and fax number and within 20 minutes I had contacted close friends in Olympia, WA who raced to our house, found all our legal documents including our Durable Power of Attorney, Living Wills and Advance Directives and fax them to the hospital. I never imagined as I paced that tiny waiting room that I would not see Lisa’s bright blue eyes again or hold her warm, loving hands. Feeling helpless as I continued to wait, I attempted to sneak back into the trauma bay but all the doors to the trauma area had key codes, preventing me from entering. Sitting alone with our luggage, our children and my thoughts, I watched numbly as other families were invited back into the trauma center to visit with their loved ones. I was still waiting to hear what was happening with Lisa, realizing as the time passed that I was not being allowed to see her and if the social worker’s words were any indication it was because we were gay. Anger, despair and disbelief wracked my brain as I tried to figure out a way to find out what was going on with Lisa. I finally thought to call our family doctor back in Olympia to see if she could find out what was happening. While on the phone with our doctor in Olympia, a surgeon appeared. The surgeon told me that Lisa, who was just 39 years old, had suffered massive bleeding in her brain from an aneurysm. The surgeon asked me for consent to place a pressure monitor in her brain. It was only then, hours after the documents had been faxed, that I knew that they had been received by the hospital. A short while later, two more surgeons appeared and explained the massive bleed in Lisa’s brain gave her little chance to survive and if she did it would be in a persistent vegetative state. Lisa had made me promise to her over and over in our 18 years together to never allow this to happen to her. I let the surgeons know Lisa wishes, which were also spelled out in her Living Wills and Advance Directive. I was promised by the doctors that I would be brought to see Lisa. Yet I was still waiting when a hospital chaplain appeared. I politely requested a Catholic Priest be brought in to administer Lisa’s Last Rites. The chaplain offered to pray with me, and I remember staring at her wondering – what did she think I had been doing for the last several hours but praying? The true tragedy really came over the next five hours. With the priest, I recited the ritual of the Last Rites and prayed for Lisa and held her hand for the first time since she arrived at Ryder Trauma Center. Following my few minutes with Lisa, the priest ushered me out to the waiting room again. After finally seeing Lisa, I knew our children and I needed to be with her and I asked over and over if we could go back again and was repeatedly told by hospital staff, “No”. In those five hours, Lisa lay at Ryder Trauma Center moving toward brain death and yet no one was there to hold her hand and talk to her and tell her how much she was loved. Jackson Memorial Hospital, in their inability or unwillingness to recognize us as a family with legally adopted children, forced Lisa to be alone in her last moments of life. I used every tactic I could think of to be with her, to bring our children to her yet five hours after they stopped life-saving measures we still sat in that small waiting room. I showed hospital staff our children’s birth certificates with Lisa’s name on them and was told they were “too young to visit”. I thought to myself “how old do you need to be to say goodbye to your mother”? In those hours of waiting and trying to calm our children, explaining to them that their “other” mom was dying and would go to Heaven, I felt like a failure. It wasn’t until Lisa was officially declared brain dead on Monday February 19, 2007 at 10:45am and individuals from the Organ Donation Agency became involved did I finally feel validated as a spouse and partner. They talked directly with me and allowed me to choose which organs would be donated and allowed me to sign all the consent forms. It is only now, eight months after Lisa’s death that I can gain more perspective and with that insight has come anger at how we were treated. Lisa and I were together 18 years, had become foster parents for the State of Washington when we were just 24 and 25 years old. After being guardians to a teenager until she graduated from high school, taking in 22 foster children and then adopting four children, I realized that we were fortunate in our life together. We had each other; we lived in a community where our adopted children were never harassed for having two moms. Lisa was a “stay-at-home mom” and very involved in our children’s lives from teaching all our children’s first communion classes to volunteering at their schools, sitting on the PTSA for 2 years and serving as our daughters’ Girl Scout leader for the past 8 years. Her troop was so popular it swelled to 26 girls at one point. Lisa never turned anyone away. When we did face inequality, we just found other ways to meet our children’s needs. Truly until February 18, 2007, I can only think of a handful of times when I felt out of place as a family. However, I now believe that a family – however they may define themselves (GLBTQ) – has the human right to be together is at the time of death. Yet, in our situation not only were we not validated as family we were actually shunned. All because, as the social worker made very clear, I was in an anti-gay state, as if I should just accept that. Yet I had no choice. He and the hospital held the power to allow or not allow our children and me the basic human right to hold Lisa’s hand while she was still alive. They stole that time from Lisa, our children and me, and that time can never be given back. So as I move through my grief and help our children through theirs, I speak out for family equality and basic human rights. I believe with all my heart, that at the hour of Lisa’s death, no one should have been able to deny our children and myself the ability to say goodbye to Lisa and let her know – if only be holding her hand – that she was so loved. That should not be a privilege in our country but a basic human right of every family regardless of how they define themselves. If you remember nothing else from tonight, I hope you have come to understand that even with legal paperwork it is a reality that someone can leave this earth completely alone even though their loved ones are just 20 feet away. No family should have endured what we did that night in Miami at Jackson Memorial Hospital. It was wrong, insensitive and a defining moment for my family that can never be replaced or forgiven. Lisa Pond was a wonderful caring person who gave endlessly to others. She took care of countless children when they were abused or neglected. She nurtured even more through her community service and as a Girl Scout Leader. Through organ donation, four people received another chance at life when they received her kidneys, liver and heart.

As for me, and our wonderful children, we are left with a hole in our hearts that will never be filled.

Thank you


Ingrid said...

That is heartbreaking. How unimaginably frustrating it is to think that this country is still soo extremely backwards about these issues. What do we need, another reformation??
thanks for posting Ann,

Sunday, October 14, 2007 1:38:PM

Tonya said...

Dear Ann,

Thank you for having the courage to share your story. I am writing to you from Canada to say that human rights violations are regularly committed against LGBTQ-identified persons in both Canada and the US despite the fact that these two countries are respected the world over as models of democracy and upholders of human rights. It is important to speak out against these types of human rights violations so that our two governments will start to see that basic democratic rights still need to be respected and protected at home before looking abroad to solve other countries' problems with democracy. It is amazing that during your time of crisis you were able to get your friends to fax your legal documents to the hospital and it is truly astounding that these documents were not respected. It is one thing to change the laws and legislation, but it is entirely another to change the hearts and minds of the people. The stand you took is one step forward in building empathy and understanding in the minds of others who cannot comprehend our lives and the ways we live them. Bravo to you for speaking out and my sincerest condolences to you on the sudden loss of your partner.


Tonya Callaghan
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Sunday, October 14, 2007 11:34:00 PM

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Discrimination Against Those Different From Mainstream Citizens

Granny's post below this one is a perfect example of how citizens who are different from the mainstream suffer discrimination, bias, maltreatment, and yes, abuse by authorities as well as the public. (Please read her post).

This post is about an event that was much less tragic and yet was humiliating and degrading to the individuals involved. Whereas the bouncer was correct to investigate what he thought was a man invading the ladies room, he was far offbase to ignore the woman's effort to prove her gender and to evict her party.


Bounced from the bathroom for being different

Woman mistaken for man claims eatery deaf to her explanation, protests

NBC News video
She was kicked out of a ladies’ room
Oct. 11: Khadijah Farmer was tossed out by a bouncer because he thought she was a man. She spoke with TODAY’s Meredith Vieira.

Today show

By Mike Celizic contributor
Updated: 10:16 a.m. CT Oct 11, 2007

Khadijah Farmer doesn’t wear makeup, has close-cut hair and wears men’s business clothing, so she understands when she is frequently mistaken for a man. What she refuses to tolerate is being thrown out of a Manhattan restaurant for using the women’s bathroom.

That’s what happened to Farmer on June 24 when she, her girlfriend and another friend went to the Caliente Cab Company to eat after attending New York’s Gay Pride Parade. A male bouncer followed her into the women’s room, banged on the stall door and, when she came out, refused to look at her identification and demanded that she and her friends leave.

“I was in there maybe a minute” when the bouncer came in, she told TODAY co-host Meredith Vieira on Thursday.

“I replied from inside the stall, and I told him that I’m a woman and I’m supposed to be here,” she said. “I could see him through the crack in the stall door — that was really frightening. When I came out of the stall, I attempted to show him my identification to prove that I was in the right bathroom.”

The bouncer, she said, refused to look at the proof of her identity and gender. Instead, he took her upstairs to the seating area, made her party pay for the appetizers they’d already eaten, and showed them the door.

“Needless to say, that night was incredibly embarrassing and quite humiliating,” Farmer, a counselor for people with disabilities, said. “I didn’t do anything except go to the bathroom.”

Farmer says she called the restaurant manager the next day to complain about the way she was treated, and was offered a free meal.

She wanted the management to assure her that it would train the staff to deal with people who express their gender in unconventional ways, but said that she was ignored.

With the help of the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, Inc. of New York City, she filed suit against the Caliente Cab Company.

Motivated by money?
The company did not send a representative to be on air, but issued a statement that said: “The complainant’s representatives would not discuss any issues nor consider the overwhelming evidence contradicting complainant’s allegations, without a prior promise of serious monetary compensation to the complainant. This is their primary interest.”

Farmer and Michael Silverman, a staff attorney with the transgender group, denied the charge.

“Anyone who knew how we struggled to keep our doors open every day as a nonprofit charity would know that we’re not in this for the money,” he told Vieira. “We believe in the cases that we take. We never charge our clients money; we don’t take money from them. We take cases because we believe it’s the right thing to do.”

The transgender defense group never accepts money from anyone it represents, he added.

New York City has a law that prohibits discriminating against people because of the way they express their gender through clothing and speech. Farmer and Silverman said they want similar laws passed on the state level.

“What we really want is to make sure this doesn’t happen to people elsewhere again,” Silverman told Vieira. “In this case, we believe the fundamental issue is, who gets to decide whether someone’s gender expression is appropriate? Is it Khadijah, or is it every bouncer in a restaurant? Is it every employer or manager who says, ‘Well, would you try a strand of pearls? Maybe that would make you look more feminine. Maybe we’d like you more in the workplace’?”

Although Farmer is asking for monetary damages, she said in a pre-interview with TODAY that she’d rather have one dollar and the assurance that businesses would institute training programs for their employees than a million dollars without the training.

“This has happened to me on many other occasions,” said Farmer in a soft voice. “Usually, people just say, ‘You’re in the wrong bathroom,’” she said. “I just make the correction because I don’t want anybody to be under the misconception of me being somebody that I’m not.”

I am much opposed to discrimination against people because of various kinds of bias.

Daniel said...

I blocked off the caption underneath and asked my 15 year old son whether the photograph was of a male or female. He said it was a male.

That makes it a tough call. Perhaps the security man was just trying to do his job? After all, there are some strange people around!


Sunday, October 14, 2007 4:59:00 AM

ThomasLB said...

Assuming the security guard honestly thought it was a man, I don't understand why he didn't think, "He accidentally went into the wrong restroom." He seems to have launched into full attack mode right from the start.

He cost that restaurant a table full of business that night. I'd fire him just for that.

Sunday, October 14, 2007 5:36:00 AM

Worried American said...

Many people of different gender-choices appear to be members of an opposite sex (biologically).

As I stated in the post, the security guard was correct to investigate what he thought was a man invading the ladies room.

However, he was incorrect to refuse to examine the woman's proof of gender and identity, and especially to carry it to the extreme of evicting the party from the restaurant.

I have a lesbian cousin twice removed who wears men's clothing and sports a masculine haircut. On the rare occasion that she accompanies family members to public facilities, she gets odd looks in the ladies room but has been challenged only once.

A ladies room attendent stopped her once, addressing her as "Sir". My cousin wordlessly settled the problem by raising her shirt and exposing her small but definitely womanly breasts. End of challenge.

Ofcourse this would scarcely be an option if confronted by a male bouncer.
Sunday , Oct.14, 2007. 1:45 PM

Granny said...

I said much the same thing in an email, WA.

I compared it to the times I've set off the shoplifting alarm in a store.

The security guard or whoever would be right to stop me. (Actually, I stop in my tracks when it happens). He would have been wrong to drag me off without even checking my receipt.

I wandered into the men's room at Barnes & Noble accidentally a couple of months ago. Didn't notice until I came back out - my mind must have been awol that day.

Fortunately, it was empty when I entered and when I left although there was one guy about to enter. I just put my face in my hands and then we both laughed.

Even giving the security guard at the restaurant the benefit of the doubt, his actions afterwards were inexcusable.

Sunday, October 14, 2007 1:54:00 PM

Daniel said...

I've decided to take being a security guard off my list of potential jobs given all the variations of human behaviour and dress. Cheers.

Sunday, October 14, 2007 4:14:00 PM

Worried said...
Probably a good idea, Daniel. One of my numerous cousins owns a Security business and takes shifts himself most of the time. Some of his tales of the trials and tribulations of a Security Guard are disturbing and discouraging.Our fellow humans can be a fractious lot.



In Honor of Janice and in Memory of Lisa

I have never met Lisa or her partner Janice. That is my loss.

I intended to post this story as soon as I read it back in July. I looked and couldn't find it in our archives. With Janice's encouragement, I'm posting it now.

I've read many horror stories about the mistreatment of same sex couples in this country. All of them anger me; this one left me in tears. It still does.

Yesterday was the 16th anniversary of their union. They'd been together 18 years. I won't reprint her entire post. I hope you drop over and read it along with her other posts. She'll be speaking at an affair at the Hotel Roosevelt in Los Angeles tonight and has promised to post the text of her speech once it's delivered. I'll update then.

Two sentences jumped out at me.


I can’t tell you how much lisa was there for me all the years since my MS diagnosis and how I feel like a failure for not being there to hold her hand when she died. it haunts me even tonight - and tomorrow I will have to tell a room full of people how I failed Lisa, how the”sytem” fails many families every day.

And this:

She wasn’t in her death, as I explained to Kelly - Florida listed on her death cert.. she was “single”.. the only other choices are married or divorced.. not even a box for “other” - would take that for now, no nothing to count our 18yrs together, it is gone with the swoop of a pen in all official government records that SHE counted, that WE counted.
Janice and their children did not fail Lisa. We as a country, Florida as a state, the uncaring hospital, and the homophobic bigots in this country failed her. By his action yesterday, my governor failed the "Lisa's" of California.

Janice, if you're reading it wasn't my intention to turn this into a political rant but somehow my words got away from me. I'm letting it stand.

Afterthought (right after I posted of course)

When my daughter was in the terminal care facility, no one questioned me - ever.

When my husband was recovering from his recent bypass surgery, no one questioned me - ever.

It isn't fair and I can't begin to say how wrong it is that I take for granted the rights they are denied.

Lisa or Janice could be my children. They could be yours. We must speak out against the injustice.

Here, from Family Equality Council (formerly Family Pride - I must fix our sidebar) is Janice writing for Family Week An article was published in The Advocate as well.

Triumph over Tragedy

David on Jul 19th 2007

Today, we bring a very touching guest post by our friend Janice Langbehn. She lost her partner, Lisa Pond, while they were waiting for the February Rosie Cruise to depart. In her own words, here is her story:

On February 18, 2007 my partner, Lisa Marie Pond, died from a brain aneurysm. On that day, our family was dreaming of white sandy beaches and blue waters as we were getting ready to set sail on the RFamily Vacation cruise out of Miami to the Bahamas. Instead, Lisa who was very healthy collapsed while watching our children play basketball on the top deck. The kids were brave souls and carried Lisa down to the stateroom where I took one look at her and knew it was very serious, she couldn’t talk at all and had no ability to stand. I will always have to live with the memory of the trauma our children endured by watching as their “other” mom was dying before their eyes. Fortunately, Lisa and I knew sign language because we have had many foster children who had language delays. So I signed and asked her if she hit her head and she replied very sternly in sign language “NO”. That is when I thought it was a stroke or some other serious brain event. The ship porters helped me get her to the Ship’s doctor who called for Miami Fire and Rescue.

The kids and I packed all our belongings and hurried off the boat while Lisa was intubated and taken to local trauma hospital in Miami . The kids and I waited and waited for word about Lisa, finally when someone appeared nearly 2 and ½ hours later – Dr. Garnet Fredrick, a social worker, was very blunt in telling me that I was in “an anti-gay city and state” and that I would need a health care proxy before I was allowed to see my partner of nearly 18 years or know of her condition. After getting his fax number I immediately called Kathy Bowen our closet friend in Olympia who went to our house, found our legal documents including our Power of Attorney, Living Will and Advance Directive allowing me to speak for Lisa in the event she couldn’t. Kathy went to our house within minutes of my frantic call, faxed our legal documents to the hospital in Miami. I then waited and waited – going on three hours when I finally called our family physician at her house in Olympia. WA on a Sunday and asked for her help because I was being barred from seeing Lisa and still was being denied the information on Lisa’s condition. Halfway through the call with our family doctor a neurosurgeon appeared to tell me that Lisa had suffered a massive and fast bleed in her brain and they needed to place a pressure monitor in her head and that other surgery may be needed. I consented. It was only then I realized that they had received the documents Kathy had faxed to them nearly an hour ago, yet I was still not being allowed to see my partner. I also never saw that social worker, Dr. Frederick again. He never came to me to say that he was sorry for his comments or that he received our legal documents and they were sufficient.

Another hour passed before two more neurosurgeons appeared to talk with me and Lisa’s parents who were listening in via my cell phone. It was during this meeting that they initially said that one of Lisa’s pupils was fixed and not responding but there may be a chance. Seconds later, the surgeons got a page, stepped out of the family room and then re-entered to say that both of Lisa’s pupils now were blown and she was essentially brain dead and they would do the flow study in the morning to confirm. It was only after this meeting that I learned that our Lisa was essentially gone, that no surgery could save her brain from the massive aneurysm. After the doctors left the room, I brought our children in to tell them that their “other” mom had died and that she was in Heaven now. I explained that we would keep her on a breathing machine so that she could donate her organs so that others could live just as Lisa wanted it.

More than one tragedy occurred that February day in Miami: I lost my partner, my love, my life, our kids lost their “other” mom and what makes all these tragedies more horrible is how I was treated by the Social Worker and receptionist at that hospital in Miami by telling me I couldn’t see Lisa nor make important decisions about her care. In those 3 hours, desperate for information about Lisa, I paced and watched other families being brought back into the trauma center, yet my family waited, with no word about Lisa’s condition. Our children Danielle, David, Katie and I all lost the ability to be with Lisa in her last moments of consciousness, to hold her hand and to say goodbye and that is something that can never be given back to our family. When I finally was allowed to see Lisa it was with a Priest to perform her Last Rites.

So our family grieves for what was. We grieve for the immeasurable loss of Lisa and we grieve for all the other GLBT families who face discrimination on a daily basis. Lisa and I never set out to change the world or change how others accept gay families, we just wanted to be allowed to live equally and raise our children by giving them all the same opportunities their peers have. I believe we achieved that and in no way deserved to be treated the way we were in Miami. To this day, I am unable to receive Lisa’s death certificate directly from Miami or the State of Florid. Instead I have to ask the funeral home to request them for me because we were not a recognized couple. This may seem insignificant but without a death certificate, our children’s social security and life insurance benefits were held up. In addition, I have been unable to receive her medical records from Miami though I have requested them numerous times. I also filed a formal complaint about 1 month after her death regarding the Social Worker, the receptionist and our family’s treatment – yet I have heard nothing until this week past week (7/10/07) when the hospital said that they had “lost the complaint”.

There was brightness in this tragedy of how we were treated, when the organ donation individuals took over – who are separate from Jackson Memorial Hospital. The air in Lisa room turned to one of love and light. They allowed me to sign all the consent forms to donate Lisa’s organs – just how Lisa planned it. They allowed the children to visit whenever and for as long as they could and allowed me to stay by Lisa’s side until organ matches were made. We are thankful for the many individuals who have been there for our family over the past several months including Rosie and Kelli O’Donnell, the incredible individuals at RFamily vacations including Gregg and Colleen, Cindi, Ross and Adam from GLAAD and most importantly Kathy and Bob Bowen who have taken me and our children under their wing to see us through this horrible loss.

Shortly after arriving back home after Lisa’s funeral Mass in her home state of Connecticut , I wrote this in the memory of Lisa. Thank you.

Her smile and love of life is left with all who knew her
Her simple wish was to be a mother and A Girl Scout Leader
She was both and so much more
As a mother she nurtured so many
Some for only a few days
Four became her forever children
They now look up to the heavens to see her star shining
As a Girl Scout Leader her troop swelled to over 30 girls
She never said “no” to a girl
Wanting to help as many as she could
Even the adults who “discriminated” against her
Her loss is felt now by too many to measure
Her sons, her daughters, her partner and her friends
Even in her death she gave to others
By giving life through organ donation - as young as a 12yo
She left this earth happy and content
Dreaming of blue waters and white sandy beaches
Signing “I Love You” to her kids in their palms
when she could not speak
She was a partner, a beloved mother to many,
troop leader to many more
She will not be forgotten

by: janice


The Future Was Yesterday said...

I don't know as there ever will be a uniform change to recognizing same sex couples' life long devotion. I hate to say that, but I think the Florida's of this nation will prevent any change other than hod podge and vague. And it's not just Florida. Start with them, and go down the entire coast...(: A five year old was recently sent home (here) by his school, for "evaluation", for kissing a male playmate and friend, on the cheek.

Saturday, October 13, 2007 9:38:00 PM

Worried American said...

A heart rending story but unfortunately not the only one of its kind. It has happened many times, to the shame of our society.

It is also a shame that the innocent show of affection by a 5 year old is seen as wrong by narrow minded adults. When they are toddlers we ooh and ahh about how cute it is for the little ones to demonstrate affection. Then a few years later certain adults attach a sexual interpretation to it. Fie on them.

Sunday, October 14, 2007 12:03:00 AM