Monday, December 29, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008


Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown's Brief Protecting Gay Marriage in California

for full legal brief go to


The Attorney General's office legal brief -- to which provides a link in full below -- states in pertinent part:

"Respondent Attorney General is the chief law officer of the state [citation omitted]. In that capacity, he is duty bound to uphold of the whole of the Constitution, not only the People's reservation of the initiative power, but also the People's expression of their will in the Constitution's Declaration of Rights (Cal. Const., art. I, section 1.) In reconciling these separate constitutional protections, Respondent concludes that the initiative power could never have been intended to give the voters an unfettered prerogative to to amend the Constitution for the for the purpose of depriving a disfavored group of rights determined by the Supreme Court to be part of fundamental human liberty...
...The use of the initiative power to take away a legal right deemed by this Court to be fundamental and from a group defined by a suspect classification is a matter of deep concern. Existing precedents of this Court do not support the invalidation of Proposition 8 either as a revision or as a violation of the separation of powers. However, Proposition 8 should be invalidated as violating the inalienable right of liberty found in article I, sectino 1 of our Constitution."

"In the brief, AG Brown doesn't support an argument made by some challengers to to Prop 8 that existing case-law precedents invalidate Prop 8 either as a revision or as a violation of the separation-of-powers doctrine." LBReport

"Instead, AG Brown argues that Prop 8 should be invalidated because the Supreme Court concluded (4-3) earlier this year that Article I, section 1 of the CA Constitution provides a right to marry that cannot be denied to same-sex couples...and to invalidate such a fundamental right requires the Court to find a compelling justification. Since a majority of the High Court found no such compelling justification, Prop 8 must be stricken, AG Brown argues."LBReport

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Kudos to Hillary Rosen For Standing Up for US and Against Obama's choice of Rick Warren, anti Gay Marriage Pastor to Ungrace His Inauguration

I was proud of Hilary Rosen. She was on Anderson Cooper's CNN news commentary show tonight speaking up against Obama's outrageous choice of a controversial pastor to give the introductory invocation at his inauguration. I was so looking forward to Barack Obama's inauguration day thinking change will be coming at last; Instead we LGBT people get slapped in the face. Roland Martin was speaking on the other side saying Obama was trying to bring all kinds of different sides together to show he can work with everyone. A third person on the show supported Hilary. But it was Hilary's aghast looks and frown and very incisive comments that broke through all the traditional speech. Hilary's mouth did not just move, she said something important to herself and to all of us. It was as if she and her words became one. I remember she said this issue was not about Gay Marriage. I think she suggested in a way it was about symbolism, what Obama stands for. And I say who does he want up there with him, everyone good and evil or at least people who stand for something better than old tired superstitious thinking.

I had no idea Hilary Rosen was a Lesbian but for sure I know she is now. I looked it up and saw she spoke up on Gay Marriage on Huffington Post back in 2006 and used the We not the royal "We" but the we that means I am one of us. I have no idea when Hilary Rosen "came out" publicly but more power to her. I knew Obama stated publicly he defined marriage in the traditional way but did he have to go out of his way to pick a pastor who uses Gay Marriage and anti abortion issues as a weapon to hold sway over his converts and congregants. Rick Warren from what I understand is a fire and brimstone type of pastor who puts the fear of Hell and Damnation in his audience. Do we have to elevate that kind of person over thousands of other worthy pastors who receive their ovations and support from congregations that pray for peace and freedom and inclusiveness rather than who get "high" on pontificating about the evils of LGBT folks who want to marry the ones we love. Who else does Rick Warren put down in his sermons? Women who choose abortion as a way out of an unfortunate situation thus saving the world from overpopulation and saving babies from what could end up being a less than desirable life.

Yes, we have room for the Rick Warren's of the world but does the room have to be the outdoor space reserved only once every four years for the President of the United States to take his oath of office. Does the room have to be given to a so called religious person who brings fear and confusion into the hearts of so many people? It is an outrage and I can hope Obama comes to his senses and univites this person who intrudes so rudely into our hearts and minds at the thought of his being in front of a podium next to our future President of the United States. I guess we were well warned in advance that Obama and our interests as LGBT people are not the same but we did think at least if he was not on the same page, Obama had bookmarked our page and would not let us down. But sadly he has let us down. And now the point we must take from this is that during this administration we need to be ever more vigilant not only about our enemies like Rick Warren but also vigilant and ever wary of our once "true friends". Never let your guard down and keep the pressure up. We don't like what is going on Mr. President-Elect. I hope your LGBT insiders and LGBT colleagues speak up and do something as profound and wonderful as what Hilary Rosen did. I assume there will be protests over this strange slap in the face choice of a pastor to ungrace an inauguration.

Sharon Raphael

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Day without a Gay (or Lesbian)

Day Without a Gay' (The Chicago Tribune)
Homosexuals urged to skip work

—John Keilman
December 9, 2008
The HR office has probably never encountered this before: People across the country are being urged to skip work Wednesday after calling in "gay."

The loosely organized protest, called "Day Without a Gay," ( is intended as a statement against California's ban on same-sex marriage, along with other political developments considered anti-gay.

Some are calling for a boycott of all economic activity to highlight the gay community's financial power. Others want gays and lesbians to spend the day volunteering for worthy causes to demonstrate their compassion, which could win new sympathy to their cause.

In Chicago, the Gay Liberation Network has called for an 11 a.m. rally outside the County Building, 118 N. Clark St., to call for granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Network co-founder Andy Thayer said he didn't expect people to actually "call in gay," but added that "many people will find one way or the other to not be in work that day, because we're sick of being treated like second-class citizens."

The motto has stirred a tempest of online debate about the wisdom of skipping work during a recession. Sean Hetherington, a West Hollywood, Calif., comic and personal trainer who helped devise the event, said the slogan wasn't meant to be taken literally. But noting the flood of media attention it has attracted, he was unapologetic.

"I'm happy with the way we did it," he said. "We're keeping gay people in the spotlight."

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

African Parrot drawing by me

Alex & Me by Irene Pepperberg

I just finished reading a book titled Alex & Me published in 2008 by Harper/Collins. The subheading on the cover says "How a Scientist and a Parrot Uncovered a Hidden World of animal Intelligence--and formed a Deep Bond in the Process." That  subheading was the hook and I purchased the book thinking it would be good reading. I tend to like books, documentaries, programs that focus on what people discover about animal life and also have a curiosity about human-animal communication. I have a therapist friend who wrote a book about her relationship with her cat. I ended up doing an in depth book review about her book. In this book, Irene, starts out as a shy young girl with only a parakeet for a friend and ends up using her knack with caring for birds as a means to establishing a brilliant career questioned though it is by established authorities who tend to poo poo the thought of animals being anywhere near the equals of humans in the brain/thought category. .

Alex is an African Grey, type of parrot which or should I say who tends to project words they learn to speak more clearly than most other parrots. Irene, the main human character, who has a PhD. is a scientist in search of a research project. Although her degree is an advanced very specialized area in chemistry, she decides to spend her life delving into processes and various aspects of bird communication and learning coming from the premise that some species i.e. the African Grey, which by the way have brilliant red tail feathers have the ability to understand what they are saying. In the process Irene and Alex, the first parrot she adopts to be her student, companion, science experiment become extremely bonded with each other. The bottom line is after over 30 years of working with Alex using meticulous methods and creative procedures the scientific community begins to accept both Irene as an equal and Alex as sort of an equal in the realm of having the ability to think. As Irene explained, Alex has the emotional development of a 2 year old and the intellectual development of a 5 year old. This conclusion as a result of the fact that Alex can count up to 7, understands colors and size and shapes, knows what nothing is, can communicate a couple hundred words in the right context and at the right time, can make up words of his own i.e. banberry for apple (cherry plus a banana) and can solve problems in his own unique way usually by making humans do things for him they don't necessarily want to do.

Alex is raised and lived most of his life in various labs that Irene manages to run. At one point Irene attempts to take Alex home with her as much as she can do it,  but that period is ruined because Alex becomes frightened by a small owl he sees outside Irene's window and asks to be taken back to the Lab "Wanna go home" he kept repeating intently. (paraphrasing). Irene closes the drapes so he can't see the owl but that doesn't work, of course, as Alex knows objects still exist even when not seen or heard, a notion that scientists tend to reserve only for human minds. As Irene put it the owl, a feared predator, was in Alex's DNA and she never brought Alex home again. His life at various labs was not too bad given he had the run of the places, even a tree out in an open area with birds up there to look at which is what he preferred to do rather than go in the tree. The downside was the repetitious tests he was given which often became boring for him to do. In that case, he would make up wrong answers and generally be disruptive. As time passed, Alex also had two other parrots as buddies though Alex was always the one in charge and his number one companion and preferred friend was Irene. They used to call that imprinting. Wonder what Irene would say about that.

I enjoyed the book. There are funny parts such as the time Irene takes Alex on a plane trip and the the woman giving out the tickets gives both of them a hard time when she finds out that one of the passengers with Irene is a bird with his own ticket with his own baggage and all. Alex himself is funny, has a sense of humor and is always a step ahead of the humans.

I did come away with a thought though. I disagree with the need to compare animals with humans. When Irene states compared with the average human, Alex is like a 5 year old mentally, turn it around. How would we compare if we were thrown in with a world of birds and no other humans?  How well would we learn to fly, care for our "feathers", communicate with other birds? We know, we wouldn't be able to survive at all though we might learn to sound like birds would we ever know what they are saying to each other. As Irene admits, she could never know Alex's "consciousness" , what the intent of his actions were. One time he tore up a grant she was writing. Why did he do it? She will never know for sure but she can always surmise. It was just fun, Alex liked to eat paper, he was bored and on and on. Was he jealous of the grant? Did he suspect the grant itself would mean boring tests? Well that is a bit far out. (on my part) 

The book is more about Irene than Alex in some ways as it shows how Irene develops into her own person, after experiencing a deprived kind of childhood, a divorce, and the misfortune of being looked down upon within the scientific world because of her research interest in proving that animals can think and in this case that parrots are not just "birdbrains". Some of us always knew not only that animals can think but they can also feel. It was clear that Alex loved Irene in that special ways animals have of communicating their affection for humans. I wonder why scientists have never latched on to that concept that individual animals can feel just as deeply as the individuals within the human species can feel. Thank goodness they are not trying to prove that notion too. Irene Pepperberg's book opens up a world in which the reader can learn how progress was made in the quest for knowledge about how not only birds think and communicate but also how humans change themselves as a result of their conscious connectedness with the animal kingdom which in this case means a human sharing intimate moments with an African Gray named Alex.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

News "Blackout" at CNN: What the Hell is Going on Here?

I sent this complaint to CNN Nov. 27, 2008 11:41 pm. I also sent similar complaint to (AP) The Associated Press.
Found this website sent by a reader of my blog, very helpful.

Why does there seem to be a news blackout of the attacks and especially of the Indian Commando takeover of the Chabad House in Mumbai? I am very upset there has been No News at all today Thanksgiving evening only special shows. What is going on? CNn cut out the outcome of what happened when the Commandos took over and entered the Chabad House or at least that is what I think happened. What did happen? This is important news to the whole world!! You were the only news channel covering the event and then nothing. What gives here. When will you be on again? Damn it!!!

What I sent above is unbelievable to me. I am so frustrated. I was watching the CNN news when I saw that Indian special forces (Commndoes) were pictured landing on buildings surrounding the Chabad house in Mumbai, India with the intent to end the hostage taking of the Rabbi and his wife and others who were thought to be there. I had no where to go as all the other stations that provide news were doing reruns of shows or special enterntainment for Thanksgiving or that is what I gathered. Was this purposeful because some government determined the people should not know what is going on. At minimum, we should have been told that for military reasons, there is a news blackout or whatever but this nothing approach is irresponsible. When will the damn news resume? At 11 pm the main channels did have their superficial news reports which said nothing too.

Sharon Raphael

P.S. I finally woke up this Friday morning after Thanksgiving and saw news coverage of what had happened in Mumbai. It appears that most of the action has died down and that the Indian military is mostly in control. I appreciated the e-mail from
the person who sent me a live news channel from India which summed everything up using a breaking news format. Unfortunately, the 5 people in the Chabad house including the Rabbi and his wife are dead. Something like 150 died and several hundred were wounded. I don't think either tally is complete. They say 2 Americans died at least that is what is said up to now. I don't think that includes the Rabbi and his wife who are said to be from Brooklyn. I will need to check that out.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Attacks at Mumbai India: Far from the Scene

What is going on in India is just terrible. A coordinated attack struck 10 sites including the very fancy Taj Majal Hotel in Mumbai not the beautiful Taj Mahal built in memory of an (Mogul) Emperor's wife which is in Agra. I am listening to the reports from CNN and MSNBC. So many unnecesary deaths is hard to comprehend. I have one former student/friend and two relatives in India right now. The relatives are safe in New Delhi but they had recently visited Mumbai. I don't know where my student is. He went back for a wedding. I hope I hear from him soon. Obviously, India is a big country and only those in Mumbai are affected at least for now. 81 fatalities but this number will get bigger, hundreds are wounded. Americans and British tourists are the targets of this attack. There are reports of hostages. I am listening to eyewitness accounts of the attacks by ordinary tourists who say there are still gunshots being fired . Let us all hope this will all be over soon. No one reallly knows exactly what group launched the attack but it is clear it is a group that wants Westerners and Western influencce out of the region.

Sharon Raphael, long beach, ca.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sarah Palin's Turkey Horror Show: My Comments

I may never eat turkey again after seeing Sarah Palin's interview in front of a place where turkeys are killed one at a time placed upside down in a rendering machinge. Obviously Sarah Palin has no sense of public sensitivies to animal slaughter. What appears to be a huge political fiasco also reinforced the sense of Palin's gun toting "kill em"philosophy of life but it also brought up the huge differences between hunters, farmers who earn a living from animals who are used for food and most of the rest of us urban dweller and somewhat sophisticated types who do not like to see animals of any kind killed even for food. Of course, those of us who love animals who are not moral vegetarians know animals are killed in mass so we can have chicken, pork, and beef on the table. We hope they are killed humanely. In my case, I have a lot of guilt about eating the small amount of meat that I do eat. Now I am focused on turkey health and welfare. Who can help themselves from being nauseated after the Palin debacle!!!

So the question is Is Palin just plain dumb or does she represent a subgroup of the population that takes animal killing as a matter of routine, just done in the course of daily life which they witnessed growing up on farms and in our countryside and in many parts of Alaska I gather where people eat food they hunt regularly. I was apalled when I saw photos of Palin's children pictured smiling behind a moose dripping in blood that their Mother had killed. So the question that comes to mind are some of us unnecessarilly squeamish because we are twice removed from the reality of where our food comes from or is there a true difference in the degree of humanity among different individuals? I bet that there are plenty of cow farmers and even hunters out there who would never expose their children to the indecencies I mention. I do remember once going to a restaurant and sitting next to what appeared to be a nice middle class familly who were talking loud enough for me to hear about how much they loved hunting deer and other forest creatures and what a "high" they got doing this. I was so bent out of shape I wanted to go over to their table and pound on their table. Of course, I didn't. I restrained myself.

There was something during the election going around on e-mails about Sarah Palin shooting wolves from a helicopter with a high powered rile. This was a signal of sorts. It reminded me of Cheney shooting small fowl from an automobile. I place all these types in one category- inferior human beings. So what is up here? I do know one thing which is that Palin and Cheney don't need to kill animlas to eat. It is a sport to them. I find this type of activity, killing for the hell of it truly disgusting. I rather am envious of all the huge animlas like elephants, camels, horses who don't have to eat meat to survive, just some grass and leaves are just fine for them. Poor humans, we are omnivours and have the option to be vegetarians. I do believe it would be a better world if we all could stop eating animals so we could stop killing them. Unfortunately, eating meat is a time honored tradition esp. in Europe and the USA. Some areas of the world cattle are considered as sacred animals and only their milk is used not their bodies for meat. I realize this tradition will be hard to end overnight but could we at least develop a higher sensibilitly about the treatment of our better halves-(they don't eat meat and the animals who do don't kill for sport) turkeys, fowl of every kind, cattle, horses and all the rest? Please stop finding new types of animals for Americans to eat. Palin just represents a brand or type of human I find less than and I can hardly tolerate. Her brand of politics comes out of her upbringing and background but her uncouthness is quite something else. Maybe we can figure out a way to stop reproducing people like her. Thanks for listening and please I'd love your input.

Sharon Raphael

Monday, November 24, 2008

Great Concert at Disney with Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos Conducting

I enjoyed the concert described below very much. It was quite unusual and de Burgos the conductor was really special choosing Mozart, Beeethoveen and Respigghi both the PInes and the Fountains which were spectacularly played with every instrument you can think of including the Celeste (bell ringing piano contraption).
Los Angeles Times file photo of Frühbeck de Burgos

Richard C. Ginell

Review: Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos at Disney Hall
12:14 PM, November 24, 2008
The splashy, relentless, pounding, high-volume conclusion of Respighi’s “The Pines of Rome” tested the limits of Walt Disney Concert Hall on Sunday afternoon and drove the audience into frenzied applause ...

No, this is not reportage from a Gustavo Dudamel concert, nor a preview of these next two weeks when Dudamania hits town. The conductor was 75-year-old Spanish maestro Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos — and he was just following Respighi’s instructions as faithfully executed by a world-class orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Concert hall excitement, therefore, doesn’t necessarily have to come from a 27-year-old fireball.

Frühbeck de Burgos is keeping his travel bags packed this season, leading the best American orchestras from coast to coast. In the old-master phase in his career, he has definite conceptions and knows how to get what he wants.

For Mozart’s “Serenata Notturna,” Frühbeck de Burgos seated his small complement of strings across the front of the stage, placing the timpani to the extreme right and the string quartet-within-an-orchestra (two violins, viola and double bass) standing front and center. This heightened the concertante nature of the music, producing a three-dimensional effect in beautiful detail, with a slightly broad treatment of the Rondo’s theme offset by quicker tempos elsewhere. It was exquisite.

There were no slavish period-performance conformities in Frühbeck de Burgos’ Beethoven Symphony No. 8 — just vigorous, big-orchestra sonorities, rounded phrasing, tempos right on the dot. He tried something really different in the finale, slowing the tempo each time Beethoven prepares for his humorous discord, and then holding the misbehaving note out for maximum effect.

Besides the obvious thrills and chills in the extravagant climaxes of Respighi’s “The Fountains of Rome” and “The Pines of Rome” — which Frühbeck de Burgos brought off with exactly the right sense of timing and release — there are plenty of mellower meditations in which astute conducting can and did realize the depths within. The high-powered Philharmonic could have provided a more rapt response in these passages within “Fountains,” but the orchestra reached that zone in “The Pines of the Janiculum,” with Michele Zukovsky’s soulful clarinet leading the way. The Disney Hall pipe organ did its job too, with pedal notes that you could feel vibrating in your bones.

You don’t see “The Fountains” and “The Pines” programmed together in concert very often these days — and Frühbeck de Burgos made you wonder why not.

-- Richard C. Ginell

Los Angeles Times file photo of Frühbeck de Burgos

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

California State Supreme Court Rejoins Battle on Prop. 8

Go to

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fires Rage in Southern California (pic of Sylmar fire)

The smoke from the fires has been swept even here though we are miles away in Long Beach where last night I saw what appeared to be little white "snowflakes" falling on my car windshield when I decided to go out quickly for q quick bite to eat. The smoke also emits a strong odor like cigarette smoke does. It is a warning for those who are sensitive to smoke. It isn't good for anyone. Still I am tired of staying in and may venture out again at least for a short time. Shouldn't complain as many have lost their homes or been evacuated. (Sunday Nov. 16)


Friday, November 14, 2008


Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State: "Yes We Can"

When it was clear Hillary Clinton was losing the primary race to Barack Obama, the idea of Hillary as Secretary of State did flash through my mind. Now this notion is closer to reality and the naysayers are out there saying Hillary is too demanding, her husband Bill would present a conflict of interest, and her politics are too hawkish, also she would have a shadow government that would come with her, a ridiculous idea if you ask me. Barack has been reading a new book out by Doris Kearns Goodwin titled Team of Rivals about Abraham Lincoln's cabinet which consisted of many former rivals including a Secretary of State ,William H. Seward, (1861-65), who did not agree with Lincoln on a series of issues concerning foreign policy. In the end, they became best friends. Barack as described by Doris Kearns Goodwin appears to want to run his administration in the same way Lincoln did so successfully, listening to many points of view, absorbing them fully and then making his own judgement about what foreign policy to take.

I sincerely believe, Hillary Clinton is smart enough and has enough good will to want to be Ohama's Secretary of State making sure Obama's final decisions are followed to the tee as it should be; yet making her own brilliant mark on the position by tirelessly working on the country's behalf keeping a careful balance between carrying the big stick of Teddy Roosevelt days and at the same time not alienating or making more enemies than we need or want. Perhaps, HIllary can put the final nail in the peace treaty between Israel and Palestine and the other Arab countries. Her husband certainly worked extremely hard for that goal. The truth is Obama and Clinton are not that far apart on these foreign policy issues. One difference is tone and Obama's tone seems more peace oriented or maybe that is in our heads but for whatever reason I believe Hillary Clinton will change her tone and should that is if she is in her right mind she will. I do believe Hillary Clinton is a very competent person and would have been an extremely effective President ;therefore, I have no doubt that she can fulfill carrying out the tasks of Secretary of State which takes the similar kind of combination of talents as one would need in a President. I predict the naysayers who appear to be" all along supporters" of Obama are wrong on this one. This will show Obama is a big man who can have people as much larger than life as he is as a colleague. As Martha Stewart always says "This is a good thing". And I think it is a going to happen. "Yes We Can".

Sharon Raphael, Long Beach

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

OLD Lesbian Pic from AARP/SAGE Conference in Brooklyn, New York (Oct.)

"Give this CARD to Your Favorite Old Lesbian" OLOC members showing cards to give out at SAGE conference in NYC
Marlene and Sharon at Table

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Prop 8 Winning: Bitter Disappointment

I added this e-mail from Kate Kendall from NCLR which refutes some of what appears to be inflated figures on the Yes on 8 vote in terms of the African American Community. News reports kept saying 70% votes Yes, where as the newer account states
it at 57 %. Not how how these figures were determined but it still is seems to be an issue for me. A few points could have made the difference and 57% as opposed to 49% in the white community is a big difference. On the other hand, I do not believe we should scapegoat or lay blame on a whole group of people just because the majority ( significantly more than half i.e 57% are against us.getting married, maybe I wrote right the first time against us. I do think it means we should work harder to educate
African Americans who are against us and us better strategies to win us over. If there is blame, it should be directed at the campaign insiders of the No on 8 movers and shakers.

Sharon Raphael

"Dear Sharon:
This has been a very trying, challenging, and exhilarating 10 days. We have witnessed history that raises our hopes and defeats which almost crush our spirit. The reaction to the passage of Prop 8, and other anti-LGBT measures in Florida, Arkansas, and Arizona has been unlike anything we have ever seen in our community. The energy and commitment and vow to fight on has been awe-inspiring. In the midst of these rallies and marches—tomorrow there will be over 130 across the country—we have come back from these defeats resolved to make them a relic of the past.
In the midst of these rallies and marches, there have also been a handful of acts that can only set us further back. The most powerful antidote to hate and misunderstanding is love and compassion and dignity. The attached letter has been generated from colleagues around California. It calls on all of us to indeed fight back, to not slink away and accept these defeats, but it also, rightly, calls on us to not, in our anger or pain, drive a wedge between our future allies. The scapegoating of African-Americans in particular, has the potential to do us real damage in the long run. A sad fact is that the often-quot ed number of 70%—the figure by which black voters passed Prop 8—is terribly exaggerated and the figure is likely much closer to 57%, which is consistent with all earlier polling. We are charting a course to a new day—if we show who we really are, we will have many more on that path with us." Kate Kendall. NCLR

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) -- "With more than 90 percent of the votes counted in California, the proposition to ban same-sex marriage was winning 52 to 48 percent."

As a Lesbian who married my spouse for the second time Aug. 24th 2008 (the first one was voided) , I am disappointed that Prop. 8 the proposition to ban Gay Marriage looks like it is winning. It made Obama's victory bittersweet for me as it turns out because of the large turnout of Black voters 70% voted for prop. 8 against Gay Marriage which made the difference in the outcome of the vote. I am sure the Gay community voted for Obama in large numbers probably way over 80%, The fact he won is historic and right. The fact we are losing the right to marry is bad news for us. Clinton sent a robo message that we got saying Vote No on 8. If Obama had also sent a message, it might have made the difference but of course, there was no way that was going to happen. I wonder if it ever will. My spouse Mina cried when she realized we had lost. I was more stoic. Lambda Legal has asked us to be part of a lawsuit one of many that will be created to try to overturn the new ruling which would go explicitly into the State Constitution banning marriage between two people of the same sex , not allowing Gay Marriage. We have a sign outside our house saying No on 8, Equality for All. It really hit me what that means for the first time tonight. It is not for all now, not for us. As Robin Tyler, the Lesbian comedian put it, "the public cared more for the chickens than us. " I voted yes on 2 and am glad the chickens, pigs, other livestock will hopefully be helped. But yes it is definitely ironic. The final vote is still being tallied. There are several million votes outstanding and the yes on 8 are almost 4 pts. ahead but supposedly the gap is getting smaller. This may be wishful thinking.

Years ago when my spouse Mina Meyer and I worked on the No on Briggs campaign which tried to fire LGBT school teachers,
we joined a group called Jews Against Briggs. With that group we gave speeches against the Briggs campaign in several dozen temples and synagogues around the LA area in an attempt to reach the Jewish community and get their support fighting the Briggs Initiative. It worked and though we weren't the only ones responsible for our victory I am convinced our efforts were significant. It is my opinion that the same approach should have been used in attempting to reach the Black Churches that we could and in spreading the word using our own LGBT African American brethern and sisterhood. We missed a bet on this one.

I also felt the ads on our side were just not strong enough and not explanatory enough. Some say we should have directed the ads toward the issue of not changing the State Constitution to be discriminatory, emphasizing keeping it as it. There was just something missing in the ad campaign. I think it was us Gay people. Our voices were just not there. Where was Ellen De Generes's voice and all the other entertainers who are us. Those voices were just not loud and clear enough. Hindsight is easy and I know we tried and the vote count is not even done but hopefully we aren't done at all. Given all the protests I am seeing and hearing especially in California, I see victory not far from now albeit a legal one.

Sharon Raphael

Monday, November 03, 2008

One More Day

Andrew Sullivan seems impressed by Obama's campaign people pulling off a spoof of the performance musical Miserables. Nice to see Sullivan supporting Obama and finally admitting he was wrong on Iraq.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Obama says No on 8 : Vote Yes for Obama

The above No on proposition 8i is for California voters: Voting against Proposition 8 would keep the California State Supreme Court decision intact that ruled marriage between same sex couples as legal.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

See link below Fat Old Women for Peace

Don't Miss this link : Fat Old Women for Peace

I loved this link. See above in title space. "Don't Speak for Me Sarah Palin" sung by a Hockey Mom.

Republicans Try to Block Disabled Persons and Others from Voting

I saw a report on MSNBC Th. morning that the Republican Party is trying to keep a group of disabled persons who live in a group home from having the votes they cast for the Nov. 4th election count. I also read a report that stated the Bush administration is not allowiing voter registration groups to organize outside hospitals and other sites where disabled veterans congregate.* This is part of a general campaign the Republican Party is mounting to keep people who they see as tending to vote Democratic be denied the right to vote. I saw another article that said the Republicans were trying to keep people who have had their homes foreclosed from voting. This reminds me of what happened in the South when Jim Crow laws applied and African Americans were denied the right to vote based on bureaucratic rules and tests and threats and that made it impossible for people to vote because of the color of their skin. Now it has to do with disability and homelessness. What a bunch of crock!!!!!! I hope the courts turn down every request from Republican officers and campaign people to keep ordinary citizens from the ability to vote. In some cases, the Repubican up to no good types are saying the disabled involved do not have the mental capacity to vote. In the case mentioned allt could understand at a 5th grade level. They could understand the broad ideas involved and whether the person seemed able to care about them. That is good enough for me and probably better than what many persons understand when he or she is is in the voting booth. I say let the disabled who want to vote and have some idea who is the best candidate vote. Ordinary people vote for candidates based on really dumb reasons. I suspect the disabled do better than the average person with more intelligence who votes based on whether the person has the right skin color or whether he or she is attractive to them.

Do Disabled Veterans tend to vote Democratic? If so, that says a lot.

Sharon Raphael

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Gay High School Stymied by Mayor Daly

Mayor Daly of Chicago delays vote on Gay High School. This is a poor move on the part of Mayor Daly. I think his turndown of the School which would have helped LGBT high school students who have been subjected to harassment or could be was probably motivated by political pressures and perhaps, the poor economic times. The need for these kinds of school is dire; too many young LGBT students attempt of commit suicide or drop out of school as a result of outright homophobic treatment and the existence in many schools of a hostile enviroment. Shame on Daly for not doing the right thing. These schools are needed.


Daley voices concerns about gay high school
Recommend (11) Comments
October 24, 2008
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter
Mayor Daley on Thursday expressed strong reservations about the Chicago Board of Education’s controversial plan to open the city’s first high school serving gay and lesbian students.

One day after his handpicked school board put off a vote on the School for Social Justice Pride Campus, Daley explained why — by expressing his concerns.

Decision delayed on gay high school
Gay-friendly high school may open here in 2010
A school where gay students could feel safe

“You have to look at whether or not you isolate and segregate children. A holistic approach has always been to have children of all different backgrounds in schools. When you start isolating children and you say, ‘Only 50 percent here, 40 percent here’ — same thing we went through with the disabled — then you want to do that when they’re adults,” Daley said.

Daley insisted he was not behind the board’s decision to put off a final vote on Social Justice High until Nov. 19. The school would serve a 50/50 population of gay and straight students.

Schools CEO Arne Duncan had hoped to open the school in the fall of 2010 to offer parents and students more choices and a feeling of safety. He has argued that gay and lesbian students have higher drop-out rates because they feel ostracized.

Duncan was emboldened by a national survey of 6,000 middle and high school students released by the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network. It showed that nearly 90 percent were harassed at school and that 61 percent felt unsafe.

Rick Garcia, political director of Equality Illinois, said Daley is “absolutely correct” on Social Justice High.

“There’s no doubt there’s violence and bullying of gay kids and something has to be done, but segregating them is not the answer,” said Garcia. “It doesn’t stop bullying at other schools. And if a kid is different and the object of scorn or bullying, instead of addressing it, the teacher might say, ‘Send him to homo high.’

“Instead of a school for gay kids, maybe we need a school for the bullies. Gay kids are not the problem. Bullies and teachers and administrators who don’t stop the bullying are the problem,” he said.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Prop 8

The Advocate online
October 24, 2008
Poll: Likely Voters Oppose Prop. 8 But by Slimmer Margins
A new poll released Wednesday found that California’s gay marriage ban, Proposition 8, is losing among likely voters 52% to 44%.

But comparing those results to previous polls conducted by the same organization indicates that the margin is tightening, not widening. Last month, likely voters said they would vote against the measure 55% to 41%, and in August likely voters opposed it 55% to 40%. Support for Prop. 8 among Republicans has risen to 70%, up from 62% in September; and Democrats now oppose the initiative by only 67%, down from 71% last month.

In the presidential race, Sen. Barack Obama’s lead over Sen. John McCain has grown to 23 points (56% to 33%), a 13-point gain since September.

The new statewide telephone survey of 2,004 adult residents was conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California from October 12-19 and the margin of error among the poll’s 1,186 likely voters is +/- 3%.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Gay Marriage in California

photo after our marriage in Long Beach, Ca. with friends and family around the cake.
Go to this Time article on The Gay Marriage proposition 8 in California,8599,1852263,00.html?imw=Y

The article gives a history of states that have passed similar propositions against Gay Marriage including Hawaii. The Supreme court decision in California by a Republican led State Supreme Court was far reaching. more far reaching than any other court which has issued a decision on the matter of the right to Gay Marriage as well as takes a stand o all forms of discrimination against Lesbian and Gay folk.

As one who married my Lesbian partner of 37 years twice, once in SF in 2004 which was voided and then again in August 2008, we are hoping proposition 8 will be defeated. We also do not understand how a State Supreme Court decision can be overturned. We are told even if the yes votes win, our marriage and others who married under the new State law will be recognized as valid. If this becomes reality, it seems a major contradiction and discrepancy of the law to allow some and not all who want to have a same sex marraige legally sanctioned. This whole thinking leaves many of us stupefied and confused.
Any legal minds out there who can explain what is going on here?

Sharon Raphael, Long Beach
Married legally Aug. 24th by a designated County official who is also a friend. It was a non-religious ceremony though many of my friends have been married by Rabbis and MInisters after obtaining the prescribed paperwork at the LA County offices in Norwalk, Ca.

Monday, October 20, 2008

W. the Movie: It wasn't funny

I just came back from seeing ( W. ) the new movie release directed by Oliver Stone and written by Stanley Weiser. It wasn't funny but it was worth seeing. Oliver Stone and the writer tried to get inside George W. Bush's head and in some ways may have succeeded in developing a picture of a driven man who can't live up to his father's expectations and even after becoming President is haunted by his Father's real and his own fantasy of his Father's disdain for him. James Cromwell is one of my favorite actors, has always been, and he did a great job of playing George Herbert Walker Bush, Senior. Every movement and close look into his face exuded the senior Bush. In comparison to his son, Bush the senior comes off as a decent man though in an odd way the son appears to be trying his best to outsmart his Dad, to be better than him, to win and take over Iraq like his Father didn't. He is depicted as a not so bright fellow who is misled by his advisers especially Cheney and Wolfowitz, the true believers in the notion that the USA must "own" the world. Not sure why I put own in quotes as these men really want a take over of every aspect of the MIddle East so they can control the oil production in name of "freedom and democracy". Now that really should be in quotes. Josh Brolin does a good job of making Bush come to life. At times, it is hard to separate fact from fiction as he does achieve a look alike quality especially when Brolin is in motion. But also there are shots that make them seem like look alikes too. But something is missing and it is not Brolin's acting ,it is in the script. Bush still remains a mystery of sorts. The jocular nature of Bush is left out. Perhaps, if that was kept in, W would seem more evil because of the contrast.

I hated the way Condi Rice was depicted, as a yes woman who had no mind of her own. I rather think she probably believed in the road she was traveling but I doubt she could have gotten as far as she did at Stanford and in her rise to Secretary of State by never questioning anything and acting like a servant of Bush and that alone. In spite of the fact, I despise all of these war mongers including Rice, I found the depiction too rough and quite sexist but perhaps, I do not know of what I speak. The truth is Bush Junior comes off as a pathetic figure. His only slight hesitation with signing off the documents that gave the military and intelligence people the right to torture suspects was explained away by his equating this newish kind of "sophisticated" torture with the hazing he received when he was a fraternity boy at Yale. Quite an insightful correlation and probably right on at least in part.

The truth is Bush is not really depicted as a stupid man but as a shallow person not used to probing anything very deeply.
Not one to see every side of an issue. Colin Powell tries to explain his side of it, trying to prevent the NeoCons from declaring War but fails miserably as he is alone in his great hesitation, outnumbered and outmaneuvered. He is a pathetic figure in my mind. Not eloquent, rather stumbling in his efforts. Just not loud enough on some level though he bangs his hand on the table and scares Connie Rice as a result of his physical gesture. I felt the portrayal did not reflect the Colin Powell I am used to seeing on the news. One reviewer said that Thandie Newton who played Connie Rice looked just like her. I didn't think so. She was too young and her physicality was somehow different less than in my opinion. Laura Bush is insipid and irrelevant and that depiction of her is probably correct though I think she was played "too young" as was Connie Rice's role and character too. This was because the actresses were caste "too young". By making them so young, the consequence was to also make them appear smaller and more irrelevant than I think is reality.

If Oliver Stone intended for this movie to make me come away hating Bush for his terrible misdeeds, I did not. I came away more angry at a public that elected this misbegotten figure. Cromwell's character was the only one that had real depth and seemed bigger than life, well Cromwell is a towering figure but Cromwell achieved something bigger than that- I think it will be an Oscar. Too bad the overall movie doesn't have the same overall strength.

The baseball analogy that is used throughout the movie, showing W playing ball and trying to catch the ball in different scenes
didn't do it for me. It was as if Bush was trying very hard in his own mind to be a good President, a son who makes it in his Dad's eyes and good Christian since his recovery from alcohol addiction (what happened to the drugs)? and his Born Again transformation. There is something pathetic about the whole business of George W and there is the rub, maybe this version is just too hard to take. As I said there was nothing funny about this movie.

P.S. Ellen Burstyn does a good job of portraying Barbara Bush but she does it in a somewhat positive light. You find Barbara Bush to be sensitive to her husband's need less so regarding her son. She even engages in self criticism, says W. is like her, they both say too much, don't censor enough something like that. After her history, calling HIllary "a bitch'. belittling Katrina survivors by suggesting they were having a good time in a Texas stadium used as a refuge for them as compared to their own homes. Seeing Barbara Bush as a nice Southern lady supporting her nice man and acting rather normal was a hard pill to swallow. What was Oliver Stone trying to convey about any of these women in the movie? I think he saw all of them as totally irrelevant.

Sharon Raphael

Friday, October 17, 2008


Obama or McCain: What Does the Future Hold for Us? Election Year Musing is a question.

What does the future hold for us? A youngish Black man bold enough to run on Change or a white older man intent on defending the Fort of Yesteryear. The older white one waves a red, white and blue flag and the younger Black man carries a globe in his hands.

Obama smiles broadly while McCain smirks as "he knows better" most of the †ime. Our fate is in the hands of a few states and swing voters (who have no philosophy and no rooted idea). These anchorless mindless forces can swing The Electoral College one way or the other. Those who might cast a vote against Barack based on myths about race and national origin also may hold our fate in their hands unless we rise up and vote in large numbers that overwhelm and surprise. Barack himself says he is not the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. Our faith in Obama may be too deep, too broad. He is not an FDR, may never come close. But he is all we've got now. I look to his policies and find hope that we may get something to hang onto- some universal kind of health care, a safety net, jobs that government may have to manufacture to get us through bad times. The alternative is living through 4 years of smirks though Congress may succeed as it goes Democratic in keeping the worst of the greedy dogs at bay. I wonder if Barack wins, if we will really leave Iraq and turn our attention to Afghanistan. I wonder if that is another dark hole we will enter rueing the day we made that fateful decision, looking sadly behind, for many of us our only regret the totally veiled woman we might have to leave behind. Or will Barack get lucky, track down and kill Bin Laden and then declare a victory of sorts, leaving peacekeepers behind to hold another kind of Fort. Yes, what does the future hold? It can't be McCain! What if it is then what do we do then, move to Canada or some other place, hibernate underground, join the revolution. It is too utterly hard to digest that happening again, again. No!. The future can't be that mean, can it?

Some Pics taken at SAGE/AARP Conference in Brooklyn, NYC

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Here in NYC at Lesbian and Gay Center for OLOC and SAGE Meeting

Pics above of OLOC members taken in Brooklyn, New York at SAGE/AARP conference Oct. 08.
(Marriot Hotel at Brooklyn Bridge)

Hi All,

Here I am sitting in a computer room at the Lesbian and Gay Center in New York City in the Village. Just came from an OLOC NYC Chapter OLOC (Old Lesbians Organizing for Change) meeting. The OLOC women are real activists and get right to the point. Myra Brahms is the chapter organizer. I like these women. Mina and I are here for a joint AARP/SAGE Conference which is being held at the Marriot Hotel in Brooklyn near the Brooklyn Bridge. The weather is beautiful, clear and sunny.

Also saw my cousins who live in New York yesterday. Went to Central Park with the grandkids of my first cousin Helen. Her husband, Gus drove us all around Manhhattan to different ethnic neighborhoods including Williamsberg, an ultraorthodox Jewish area, and a Polish neighborhood where he likes to get sausage. What a blast we are having.

Preparing for our panel presentation on Old Lesbians Challenging Ageism: Taking Our Power. I am presenting on Research Gatekeeping for OLOC. Mina is presenting on Why over 60. Looking forward to the whole conference and networking at our OLOC table and meeting people interested in aging issues from all over the country.

I love seeing the beautiful skyline of NYC and the aestheticallly pleasing buildings, huge and tall as they are. Finally saw the huge hole in the ground that was the World Trade Center. The empty space left is very large from my perspective and the memory of what happened overwhelming to get your mind around.

Alix Dobkin, the Lesbian folksinger, is driving us around today. Enjoy her companpy. Myra had us over her place in Manhattan for a great brunch. Loved the bagels and lox and all the good delectables. It was nice to experience how a (single Lesbian) person lives in the City not just my relatives.

I am loving New York this week and looking forward to the SAGE Conference.

Posted from computer room at the LGBT Center in NYC. Manhattan NYC.

Best to everyone.

Sharon Raphael

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

No on 8 in California: Please Vote No So We Can Say Yes

The online excerpt below shows that those of us and our supporters who want to allow Gay Marriage to continue to be legal in California need to get to work as the Yes on 8 proponents appear by several polls to be ahead in one instance by 4 points. One reason is the No on 8 side is behind on fundraising for media ads. The No on 8 group need an infusion of funds to catch up and move ahead of the insidious kind of ads the Yes on 8 types are sponsoring including promotion that is shown over and over again which depicts Gavin Newsom, Mayor of SF, speaking in a probably concocted by exaggeration using a hoarse and irritating voice saying in reference to the State Supreme Court decision " Whether they like it or not" meaning the anti Gay Marriage folks will get it whether they like it or not. Whether concocted or not it was an unfortunate clip given the usually positive images and wonderful quality Mayor Newsom projects to most of his community most of the time.

Our side had a great Ad to begin the voting season of a earnest nice looking woman dressed in wedding finery on her way to The Alter being made to stumble many times by forces beyond her control that parallel what is obviously the mean spirited types backing Yes on 8. But that ad was not paid for by No on 8 and was considered a promotion by those trying to promote tolerance and caring as No on 8 is never mentioned in the promotion. There is an Ad of two nice looking older parents of a Lesbian who both remind the public in a respectful way that they want their daughter to have equal rights. But it is not enough. We also need more supportive No on 8 forces working on the phones and in other venues speaking on behalf of the No on 8 philosophy. We need to keep making the point that Separate in not Equal. That our having marriage does not take away from a heterosexual couples status if we are given the same status. The best communicators of this message is probably those who are heterosexually married themselves making that phone call. And I know plenty of them are making those phone calls. But everyone can help. Vote No on 8 So We Can Say Yes.

Foes of gay-marriage ban say poll shows Prop. 8 leading
The campaign says it is being outspent and urges more donations. Both sides ramp up outreach to Latinos.
By Jessica Garrison, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 8, 2008
Opponents of a campaign to ban same-sex marriage in California said Tuesday that a new poll shows them in danger of losing -- unless people step forward with more contributions to pay for No on 8 television commercials.

The opposition has enjoyed a healthy lead in several surveys taken by polling organizations that do not have a stake in the campaign. But officials with the No on 8 campaign held a conference call with reporters Tuesday to announce that their own poll showed the measure would pass by four points. Opponents attributed the result to fewer television ads, which is, in turn, a result of the No on 8 campaign falling behind in fundraising.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Celebration of the Life of Del Martin LGBT Rights' Leader

Pictured right in younger days. Del Martin is on the right: Phyllis Lyon her legal spouse in on the left.

Civic Celebration of the Life of Del Martin Scheduled for October 1, 2008
Beloved civil rights leader to be honored at San Francisco City Hall; Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others to pay tribute

(San Francisco, CA, September 24, 2008)—Family, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, elected officials, community leaders, and performers will honor the life of Del Martin, one of the nation’s first and most visible lesbian rights activists, on Wednesday, October 1 at 2:00 p.m. in the Rotunda of San Francisco City Hall. Martin’s many contributions shaped the modern lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT), as well as feminist civil rights movements. Martin, 87, passed away on August 27, 2008 in San Francisco.

In a program featuring tributes by Mayor Gavin Newsom, Reverend Cecil Williams, political activist and feminist Aileen Hernandez, Ambassador James C. Hormel, writer Jewelle Gomez, poet Jan Mirikitani, and National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendell, Martin will be remembered for her transformative civic contributions. The celebration will include performances by the Glide Ensemble, Sistah Boom, Linda Tillery, Holly Near, Margie Adam, and Ellen Seeling, Montclair Women’s Big Band director.

Over more than five decades, Del Martin helped shape the modern feminist and LGBT movements. She was a tenacious and tireless fighter for equality and the rights of LGBT people, women, particularly battered women, and older Americans.

Martin began working as an activist after receiving her degree in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley. While working on a newspaper in Seattle, Martin met her partner Phyllis Lyon and the two began working on behalf of lesbians in their community. Martin and Lyon have devoted their lives to working towards LGBT equality, women’s rights, healthcare access, advocacy on behalf of battered women, and issues facing elderly Americans. Their many contributions over the past five decades helped shape the modern LGBT movement.

Del Martin met her partner Phyllis Lyon in 1950, in Seattle, where they both worked for a building trade publication. In 1955, Martin and Lyon were among the founders of the Daughters of Bilitis, the first lesbian rights organization. In 1956, they launched “The Ladder,” the first lesbian magazine, which became a lifeline for thousands of women isolated and silenced by the restrictions of the era. Del Martin was the first openly lesbian woman elected to the board of the National Organization of Women (NOW), and in 1971, encouraged the board to pass a resolution stating that lesbian issues were feminist issues. Lesbian/Woman by Martin & Lyon, published in 1972, was a landmark book that described lesbian lives in a positive way virtually unknown at the time. In 1976 Martin wrote Battered Wives which was a catalyst for the movement against domestic violence. In 1995, Martin and Lyon were named delegates to the White House Conference on Aging by Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. In 2004, Lyon and Martin became the first same-sex couple to be married in the state of California, and subsequently became plaintiffs in the California marriage case, helping to ensure that the fundamental right to marry under the California Constitution belongs to all couples, including same-sex couples.

Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon were married in California on June 16, 2008 after 55 years together.

Contributions can be made to honor Martin’s life and commitment and to defeat the California marriage ban through NCLR’s No On 8 PAC at

Friday, September 26, 2008

Obama vs. McCain Debate in Oxford, Mississippi: My Reaction

I watched the debate between Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain which took place at the University of Mississippi (Old Miss) tonight. I came away with a pretty ho hum feeling given the high tension that took place before the debate, it was really kind of a let down though I did feel Obama showed great composure and better grasp of the issues than McCain especially when it came to describing the path he wants to take in the future which would focus more attention on the needs here at home i.e. health care, children's issues, and emphasis on a pursuit of alternative energy sources, rather than an overemphasis abroad. Too bad Obama did not have a chance to expound further on that point as it would have sounded better than McCain's same old dogmatic take on world events and outworn ideas about what to do for the folks at home. Neither Obama or McCain talked about what would happen to ordinary people and what is happening to ordinary people as a result of our economic failures. Quite amazing given the fact so many domestic issues have been neglected for so long. The news analysts seem to think the debate was pretty much a draw with Obama winning on the "being a gentleman" front Obama was given points when he agreed with McCain, ",John you are right" and also got points in terms of having an in depth knowledge of foreign affairs but we already knew that, right?. If it is true that Barack Obama is really about change, endemic change in this country, change that would really help the poor, the working class, and the so called middle class that is failing, I didn't hear much on that score.

Obama is too worried about being called a liberal by someone like McCain yet alone a radical thinker which it appears he is not. FDR sounded like a far left radical back in his day. The economic times of his era made FDR into a real person. What kind of man will Obama become when he finally has to come to grips with what is going on in America today. Well, as they say "half a loaf is better than no loaf" and McCain is no loaf so I will stick with Obama and hope he rises to the occasion, better late than never and I think he will. Another way to look at it is these are different times than the dark days of the 30's. America has moved way to the right and now the prospect of the pendulum swinging left again is not even in the vernacular of the common person on the street or in the media. The best a few right wing Senators can get out is we are moving toward "big government" or when really pressed "I can't vote for this package meaning the bailout of corporate America. "It is Socialism and UnAmerican". Neither candidate seems to know where they stand on the bailout package though McCain said "sure' when asked if he would support it though it is not completed yet. Obama was not asked the same question. I think Obama should be with his own Party, and supportively behind the hard work that Barney Frank and Chris Dodd and others on the finance committee have worked on to this point. He should be urging his countrymen to support the package, the whole deal and the especially the part that helps out the little guy and that should be that. If it doesn't work, at least the Dems did their best to clean up the Republican mess and Obama would look stronger for having stood up to the naysayers and pessimists who are mainly on the other side and not in his own party. This is what he should have done somehow at the debate, stood up and over the shoulders of negative backward thinking John McCain. Obama did well in the debate but I must say deep down "I still ain't satisfied".

Sharon Raphael