Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mina is home

Mina came home on Monday Dec 14.
I spent the day before preparing the house
for her return, shopping etc.

I am exhausted already as Mina needs lots
of physical help transferring from bed to wheelchair
and wheelchair to bathroom toilet. Also just dealing
Bed rails and wherlchair etc. Is not easy.

We have a CalPers policy that pays for
A CNA or caregiver person. So we are
Checking out different options , online and by

Overall, most of time we are doing fine and
Mina will be able to walk on her own in a few
Weeks. By Feb hopefully this ordeal will be behind her
and us.

From my iPod plus.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Noodle Kugel: A very short story

The Noodle Kugel

I had a funny thing happen around a noodle kugel that a friend named Elsa made for Mina to eat at Thanksgiving time. Mina had some of the kugel (she had eaten some the day before as Elsa had brought it all the way from Oceanside, Ca.) after I left for home). Mina had what was left put in a locked refrigerator at the nursing home but when she asked for it, I was going to eat some too, it was gone. This also happened previously with some probiotic yogurt I had brought. A male nurse who seemed to be in charge of the Frig encouraged me to talk to the Director of the Home because he was under the impression that someone ate our food and this was wrong. Explaining to this very non Jewish guy(The Director) what a noodle kugel was not easy. He asked if he could replace it, like go out and buy one. Understand, we are in the middle of the Mexican American ghetto which is where this nursing home happens to be located. I said "You can't replace a noodle kugel, it is not replaceable. He said is it llike Ramen noodles?

I said "Kugel meanss pudding in Yiddish". The Director looked at me blankly. " It is hard to describe" I said "but there is farmer's cheese in it". Oy Vey. What could I say? Getting to the point, the Director said Mina had to put a date on the food she put in the Frig in order to expect it to be there as the staff is instructed to throw it out if it doesn't have a date. I wondered but not outloud why the staff didn't seem to know this and 'au contrar' seemed to think other staff were eating food meant for the residents. I told him to call Mina and tell her this information about the dating of the food. He could have gone down to her room in the first place but did not. Makes me wonder about those like Mina who are pretty much bed bound. Mina listened and admitted she had not dated the food.

Anyway, we both ended up getting some mediocre tuna fish sandwiches to eat as a mid-day snack. It was a poor substitute for the vision and taste I imagined of that noodle kugel Mina's friend Elsa had made. When I got home, I felt deprived so I bought a sweet at a coffee house and went home. Here I have lost 24 lbs. since Mina's fall, and now I think I am off the wagon once again. Oh, no, that damn noodle kugel. But it seemed so right, the way it looked in my mind with a sweet brown and yellow crust, yummy egg noodles and farmer's cheese and brown sugar oozing about. My Mother's face was watching me think about the noodle kugel and I know she smiled knowingly as I ate a pumpkin slice instead along with a cup of coffee.

Such are my days. Learn something every day at the nursing home.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Email to Friend about Mina plus

Sent from my iPod

Begin forwarded message:

From: Sharon Raphael
Date: November 26, 2009 12:26:48 PM PST
Subject: Re: Happy Thanksgiving Wishes...


Yes, of course I will take Mina the card as I do all the others. It will be nice to see you in December.

Wed late afternonn Mina and I sat down and had a t-day dinner at the
Rehab place. It wasn't as good as the food usually is, not even any cranberry sauce. But we listened to some pretty fine Mexican music and enjoyed the other 2 guests at our table, one engaging Thai fellow who will be leaving the place after 7 mo. (he had a stroke) and a smiling woman with dementia who loved being seranaded. She still had her sex appeal.

Mina sat in her wheelchair longer than usual. It is hard for her as she has 2 pressure sores she got from being in the hospital not the nursing home. But she did okay and they are healing. So is her ankle.

Today Mina has 4 sets of visitors arriving mostly at different times.
After Carolyn and I visit, we are both going to a family style cafeteria I like for our own T-Day dinner in LB.

Mina's friend Elsa is bringing Mina a noodle kugel she baked.

All the best,


Yesterday after sending an old friend from high school one of those emails I had forwarded on to twelve people, I heard back from her. She asked me how I was. I told her about what happened to Mina and then she called me on the phone. I have only seen this person once since our early college days and that time being fairly recently. Several years ago, we got together when she happened to be in my city for a convention. Like me, my friend is a Professor in a similar field so we do have a lot to talk about on that score. Our lives drifted in different directions as my friend is a very conservative religious Jew, and I am a very non conservative non religious Jew. Seems like our views on Israel are not as far apart as one might guess. We both think the leftist knee jerk reaction to everything very diversified Israelis (people tend to see Israelis as all white) do or think is wrong. We both are against settlements.

My former classmate has been married for many years since college days. After I sort of "came out" with her, I moved to California and we drifted apart but one day about ten years ago I came across her name in an academic publication, I googled her and her email came up so I wrote. Several years ago when we met at a downtown hotel, I saw the same person I knew in high school, a caring, thoughtful person who reached out to me though even back then we appeared to live in such different worlds. On second, thought, she kind of revealed to me that we are not in such different worlds. Her primary attachments seem to be with woman friends. Her best friend is a nun at her college. It is hard to discern what our differences really are but the chasm seems pretty large to me. It is like to talking to my cousin in NYC. who has been married for eons, lives on Long Island, and is very involved with her grandchildren. Family is not the focus of my life, Mina and our friends are though.

Nonetheless, my friend and I had a good conversation. It is nice to know people care even if we are connecting again at these later ages. There is something about connecting at this time in life (We are both approaching 70 in year and half. I think it has to do with family roles changing. It is easier for heterosexual women to reach across the divide because they are no longer threatened. The lost years are their (her) loss not mine.

Sharon Raphael

Friday, November 20, 2009

Update on Mina and Sharon

Life goes on. Mina and I have settled into our different routines. Mina is adjusting well to living in a nursing home temporarily. She needs to be there for a minimum of another 3 wks. getting attended to by nurses who specialize in taking care of her wound vac machine and other special needs she has. Her wound is healing well. She is learning to stand on one leg and pivot into her wheelchair with some help. This is important for her functioning at home.

I visit Mina every day usually during the afternoon after lunchtime though often I am there when she gets her lunch which is good. I teach a class every Thursday evening so on those days I visit in the morning. This thursday is Thanksgiving so I am looking forward to a break and then only 2 wks. of classes left. Next semester I may have a heavier load of teaching which I kind of dread. Because of budget cuts I may get a very large class of students, something I haven't done in years as I usually teach graduate students. But I need to keep my health insurance going at full speed ahead; otherwise I might drop a class. My other class is not a class, it is administrative work I do for the Gerontology Option. So I need two to maintain my present coverage especially dental.

I am now the bill payer in the family and also have had some handywork done, something Mina usually is doing, hiring people for odd jobs etc. I kind of like paying online. I get to see what's up. It may be hard to give back all these little new roles I am learning. However, today I think I was overcharged for putting in a deadbolt lock in my front door. I was charged 175.00 and I think I was taken. It only took about 40 minutes. He did a good job but still....It was someone I trusted so I was taken aback and didn't know how to question it until he left.

Well, a little time left to the evening, I'd like to go a read more of the book I am into lately, The Help by Kathryn Stockett. It is about several women in Mississippi around 1961 after integration of Old Miss and all the rioting. It is from the viewpoint of several maids working for white people during those trying time ( as though they are not still trying) and also from viewpoint of a young white person who is learning about racism. It is a controversial book because it is written by a white woman, thus how authentic can it be? But worth a read so far.

Sharon Raphael

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Good News: Mina says

"I know I am getting better. " " I feel better".


Friday, November 06, 2009

Mina's (Our) Progress

Mina is now in a Nursing Home/Rehab place. She has been there for 2 days and she seems to be accommodating to the place.
It takes me at least a 1/2 hr. to get there. It is in Pico Rivera in a place with a unlikely name Riviera (Italian not Spanish). Most of the residents there are Spanish speaking which makes it a bit hard on both of us though we really don't mind as the staff is pretty cooperative and friendly. Mina was seen by a physical therapist today who put her in a sling and had her exercise her arms.
She is not allowed to step down on her feet or jump around on one foot either as he doesn't want to risk harming her major injury to her ankle on the right foot. Mina likes the food or she has liked it so far. So one down and who knows how many to go. The place is quite a distance from Long Beach and I would have preferred her being in Long Beach but she needed special care that this place offers. I think Mina's poor body has been through the mill but her spirit is good. In a way, it is Mina who keeps me going. I am doing the bills now, something I always hated doing but they are online now so I kind of like that part. I keep making phone calls trying to catch up with things at home. It is hard work going to see Mina every day and also taking care of the busywork Mina usually did. Wow, Mina really did take good care of me. I plan to return the favor in more than one way. Sometimes I get very tired but one good thing is I am actually losing weight, about 22 lbs. so far. I am very overweight so I see this as a good thing. I don't think I am losing too fast. It has been over the past month or a bit less. I think it is because I am expending more energy than usual and also eating much less. A great combination. So for now all is as well as it can be.

Sharon Raphael

Monday, November 02, 2009

Rehab Delayed, a few more days in hospital for Mina

Because my spouse Mina has a wound vac and diabetes which involves a special kind of nursing, there are no Rehab places at this time in our area that will take her. Thus the hospital as a result of Mina's appealing for a delay is keeping her a few more days which is good as she is getting the physical therapy in the hospital that she needs to recover at a Rehab or at home down the line. Her wound care is priority number one as far as I am concerned and think she is doing the right thing. One issue is that I am so far away from Kaiser Sunset and since I don't drive frwys ( a phobia) I have to rely on friends to take me there or go city streets. One day I took a taxi which was prohibitive but I did it anyway. I hate to ask people for help but they do offer. I plan to go see Mina tomorrow with a neighbor. I did stay overnite when Mina had her own room. I am taking care of myself. Yesterday I visited 2 different Rehab places, neither called the case manager/discharge planner back. We got the message. Stay in hospital a while longer. Kaiser should have known better. Mina is doing well though they keep changing her cast again and again which is painful.

Sharon Raphael

Sunday, November 01, 2009

My spouse Mina will be in Rehab tomorrow

Mina, my legal spouse, will be in a Rehab place tomorrow. She needs to be off her ankle from 6-8 wks. and needs to build up her upper body strength so she can move from bed to a wheel chair without help or at least with less help. Not sure which Rehab. I have two choices, one is better than the other but both will suffice. Kaiser wanted a third choice and there was none I wanted so hope they don't screw with us. I saw a great looking place with good staff. It is only 15 minutes away from where we live. Hope we can get in there. The other place is in Long Beach closer but not as nice. Hope Kaiser goes for the first one.

Sharon Raphael

Friday, October 30, 2009

My spouse Mina is improving

Mina is getting better. Will be released from the CCU unit soon. Surgery was successful on the ankle. Now it need to heal.
Take care.

Sharon Raphael

Friday, October 23, 2009

My Spouse Mina had a heart attack

Hi everyone,

My spouse Mina (we legally married Aug. 24, 2008) had a heart attack and broke her ankle at same time so I will not be writing as much as usual. We will see. I am spending all my time at the hospital. Mina is improving.

Sharon Raphael, Leftturnonrights

Sunday, October 18, 2009




Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pics of OLOC Steering Committee meeting + Sharon in Cleveland oct 09

Rally at CSU Dominguez Hills to save programs

Greetings Students, Faculty, and Staff friends,
My thanks to all for your help with a VERY SUCCESSFUL RALLY today. It was an inspiring event. Here are some great pictures posted on
I especially want to thank all the speakers and performers: David Bradfield

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Equality march photos-take a look

See below: activist react to Obama's speech on Gay rights to Human Rights Campaign audience.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


The Race Question and President Obama: Getting at Basics

racist and anti Obama image (This is disgusting)
There is a lot of talk these days including a statement that came out yesterday Sept. 15, 2009 from former President Jimmy Carter "I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man," and other comments in the media that these tea parties and other recent demonstrations against Barack Obama and his health care policies are race based attacks. It is clear that the "Birthers", demonstrators and others who keep repeating that Obama was not born in the United State are spreading racist sentiments. It is clear that protesters who carry signs that are renderings and/or distorted images of the President portrayed as the Joker from Batman fame is clearly a racist image of Obama. The media has also focused on these images so often the message comes across as though large numbers are participating in these anti Obama rallies which is not the case. The right wingers expected a million to show up at their Washington DC rally, only 70,000 came according to Washington police estimates. Most major civil rights movements in the past had half a million or up towards a million. I also think that what Jimmy Carter is saying about race and Obama is true. Carter knows the South, knows racism when he sees it, and he is an insightful, intelligent and high minded person.

Obama's Press Secretary Robert Gibbs reported today Sept. 16th that Obama does not think these sentiments are race based. Politically Obama cannot afford to distract the public from his focus on health care policy and he may truly believe other factors are involved in this health care and anti Obama crowd. It is also very hard for the victim of racism to always see the racism clearly for what it is. My take on this anti Obama crowd, I won't call them a movement, is that this type of thinking is ignorance based and there is also the taint of anti foreigner attitudes plus racial stereotyping attached to their idiotic thinking. It has been reported that there have been signs among this "talented" group saying" Foreigner Go Home" or "Go back to Africa". The fact most Republicans will not stand up and say outloud "This is wrong" show me what I have thought all along that the Republican Party exploits and has for a very long time exploited racist thinking and attitudes in order to win votes especially from blue collar and Southern whites. You can't turn around without watching someone representing the Republican Party taking a stand against a group comprised of people of color, true they are usually progressive and cutting edge groups that fight racism and are critical of the status quo.

It is true the Republican Party has roots which seem progressive in term of racial issues. The Democrats in the South during the height of the racist attacks on Black people often could be connected with organizations i.e. the Klu Klux Klan and the Republicans back in fifties seemed more business minded and wanting peace among the races so they could continue to get money from both races. But things have changed as the voters have changed and the Democrats in the North prevailed and won civil rights victories under the leadership of Lyndon Johnson and other civil rights minded Democrats and movement folks who prevailed upon the Democratic Party to join their cause. There was definitely a racist tone to the era of Ronald Reagan.
The Bushes, all of them, were never in the forefront of civil rights legislation. Bushes always dragged their tails when it came to cutting edge legislation and race. Republican McCain from Arizona even voted against allowing a Martin Luther King holiday in his State long after civil rights legislation had been enacted. The Democratic Party could not exist without help from voters and activists of all races.

It is true that we are going through a period of time when people from all political persuasions are questioning President Obama's decision making. I think many in the public thought he was a kind of new Messiah coming to save them from all kinds of injustice. It was clear Obama was catering to moderates during his campaign tours. He always sounded like someone
who would weigh the pros and cons very carefully and not act too radically about anything much. People compared him to W.
and thought this is a really smart guy, he can do it. There was a kind of reverse racism among liberals I think. These soft
minded and soft hearted types felt that a Black man couldn't possibly fail them. Now that we are still mired in Iraq and building up forces in Afghanistan, the liberals and more to the left types are giving up on Obama. They are not the racist types
Carter and others are pointing to yet race played a definite factor in their high turn out and great organizing efforts to get Obamna elected President. I guess I am one of the broken hearted though I knew better and also felt I was electing a pretty moderate guy but thought at least we would get universal public health care, even if it would not be single payer. I thought we would get the end of "Don't Tell, Don't Ask". And I hoped the country would be finally ready when the courts state by state
stood up for Gay Marriage. I thought Obama would be ready too but alas I was mistaken.

I was actually a Hillary supporter up to the time I saw her strategists including what seemed to be Bill Clinton turning toward the racist path in an attempt to garner a few more votes. The truth be told I think Hillary and Obama have pretty much the same very moderate politics. One thing I know for sure, if I thought Hillary would be doing better now because she is white, it would not change a wit my volition to see Obama in the highest office in the land. He won fair and square and if people want to undermine him based on his vulnerability on race than let them reap unfortunately with the rest of us the evil which they have wrought. Too bad the people who are not acting out of racial animosity have to suffer too.

The truth is many of us are put off by the fact Obama is not standing up for himself or what we think is himself. When the hysterical right cries about death panels and old people being euthanized, Obama should not say he will call these people out, he should do it. As an older person myself I have questions about the fact the cost of the new health care package may be balanced on the backs of medicare recipients, for instance, Obama clearly stated, he wanted to get rid of Senior Advantage, a program that many HMO have that give extra services to those over 65. Obama says his plan to can do the same thing but cheaper. Well, we do have the right to know exactly how that will play out. On the other hand, the need for universal health care with no pre-existing conditions is so imperative, I am willing to give those in Congress who have the will to do it my support. I want everyone to have access to good health care and I am hoping AARP and other old persons groups make sure
the medical care we already have that we like stays the same. It is not racist though to question aspects of the health care package.

The answer to the question Is Race Undermining Obama's Presidency? It will do so if the media doesn't get on the stick and put these issues into a better perspective. Stop acting like the majority are against public health care which they are not. Most people want to be able to keep their health care whether they lose a job or not. They want to keep their health care whether they get sick or not. They want to see a stop of soaring health care costs. It is not just race but also fear mongering that could end the whole movement forward. It is all of the above, exploitation of race, exploitation of immigration issues, and a little bit of concern about what the real facts will be in the long run that is stirring the pot. Let's put the lid on the race and anti foreigner commotion and let the lid be open when it comes to a fair minded discussion of whether Obama is on the right track on health care, the wars we are fighting, and the direction of the economy. Let's also give credit to Obama where credit is due.

Sharon Raphael

Friday, September 11, 2009

Olympic Athlete's Gender Supposedly Revealed by Newspaper

I would like to know who revealed the results of a gender test done on Olympic athlete Caster Semenya? If it was the Olympic committee looking into the gender issue, they should be sued. Semenya was found to be the I in LGBTQI meaning Intersex,neither male or female but having some male characteristics plus she was raised as a girl. According to a Doctor on the Olympic panel she is to be seen as female. the only issue for the Olympic committee is cheating and Semenya was not cheating as she thinks of her gender and always has known her gender as female. Actually determining what gender she belongs too is probably not scientifically possible at this stage in our knowledge base. Most likely she falls somewhere in between. The testosterone that she may have in her system according to most experts is most likely not usable but that too is hard to determine. Nothing is clear and that is just the way it is for the experts. For Semenya it is a whole different story and she has a long road to walk getting her identity back in order after such an ordeal.

on my Facebook Sept. 11, 09

try this website for more info.

Sharon Raphael Now after reading more I am wondering who did the test and who revealed it as the Olympic Committee denies doing anything yet and says they would have to report to Semenya first before the public knows anything so I am wondering if this reporting which came out of Australia is bogus.
on my Facebook Sept. 11, 09

It appears a reporter either erroneously reported the results of a gender test done on Olympic athlete Caster Semenya or legitimate tests were done and illegally given to a reporter. That is my take on what happened and I think it is a damn shame
as revealing such information when in the long run Semenya will be ruled a female in any case according to most experts. This information could damage this young woman psychologically and I hope she can keep a semblance of sanity after this whole debacle subsides into the background. What a terrible thing to do to anyone and in this case one so deserving of the medals and honors she has won this far in her courageous Olympic battle to be the best runner in her category.

See at least one of the articles from Australia below.

Brisbane Times, Australia
Secret of Semenya's sex stripped bare
September 11, 2009

THE world champion 800m runner Caster Semenya has been revealed to have male and female sexual organs, posing an ethical and political quandary for the sport's ruling body, the International Association of Athletics Federations, and her home nation, South Africa.

Extensive physical examinations of Semenya, who is just 18 and from a remote village in the country's far north, has shown the athlete is technically a hermaphrodite. Medical reports indicate she has no ovaries, but rather has internal male testes, which are producing large amounts of testosterone.

The presence of both male and female characteristics will come as a devastating blow to Semenya, who has fought off snide remarks about her masculine appearance for much of her life.

Late last night the IAAF was trying to contact the athlete to inform her of the results. After her domination of the world titles in Berlin last month, Semenya was given exhaustive blood and chromosome tests as well as a gynaecological examination.

It is believed the IAAF was hoping to consider the ramifications of the results before publishing details.

One possibility would be to allow Semenya to retain her gold medal, but award a second gold to the runner-up, Janeth Jepkosgei from Kenya.

"This is a medical issue and not a doping issue where she was deliberately cheating," an IAAF spokesman, Nick Davies, told the Herald.

"These tests do not suggest any suspicion of deliberate misconduct but seek to assess the possibility of a potential medical condition which would give Semenya an unfair advantage over her competitors. There is no automatic disqualification of results in a case like this."

Earlier the IAAF said it was likely that Semenya would keep her medal because the case was not related to a drug matter.

Following her stunning victory, Semenya was embroiled in controversy, but returned to South Africa as a hero. South Africans condemned the scrutiny of Semenya and an African National Congress politician has filed an official complaint with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The president of Athletics South Africa, Leonard Chuene, said he was unaware the tests had been completed.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Reactions to Obama Just Plain Scare me

I just read an article on how some parents are reacting negatively to a speech Obama plans to give to school children across the country. some are saying it smacks of socialism and big government when George W. Bush gave almost the exact same speech encouraging children to study and not to take drugs. In addition, the tea party types who are organized by the right wing power brokers are acting as though they are part of a grassroots movement to keep Obama from enacting a universal health care plan that could help those who are underinsured or who don't have health care at all and to try to reduce costs for all of us. Again, people are yelling about Socialism. There are in addition " The Birther's" who claim Obama was not born in this country. All these reaction scare me as they are overkill and based on lies and total inaccuracies. Don't forget the gun toting people who show up at public demonstrations against Obama. Another strange and disgusting development.

I can't help but think as I see nearly all of the protesters are white that racism is involved. No other President in my memory has been treated this way. The other side, those who support Obama and those who see what the other side is doing and see the racist motivation are now just beginning to organize. I pray it is not too late for Obama to achieve the upper hand and take the reins of power and run with it as he did so nobly in the start of his days in office. Perhaps, the speech he is giving on Health Care before a joint session of Congress will help move things in the right direction again but I do have my doubts. I am afraid the Know Nothings and Racially Motiviated Acid tongued types are gaining an upper hand via the media and I know they are a relatively small minority of people in this country. Unfortunately, so many are ignorant of politics in this country that other may join this mean spirited movement.

Obama and other centrist types together the progressive wing of the Party and other progressive must band together to fight together to win back center stage and get things going in the right direction. I think Obama's tendency to appease Republicans in Congress put us in the mess in the first place. G.W. Bush did one thing right, I agree with Bill Mahr on this one, and that was he did what he wanted and paid little heed to those who disagreed with him. Why can't Obama take his power and do more of the same. Now it may be too late as the shrewd and deceitful saw his weaknesses and seized the moment. Obama must seize the moment back. I hope he can.

Sharon Raphael

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Carrying The Torch for Ted Kennedy and more Importantly for Ordinary Folks like Us

The best course we can take to continue the mission that Edward Kennedy championed is to make certain that Congress and the President pass a fair universal health care package that lowers costs by inclduing a public option, provides quality health care for all, and takes into account the needs of people of all ages. I just heard Adrianna Huffington say she was tired of hearing media buttonhole Ted Kennedy as only a liberal or progressive. His ideas were the ideas of Americans, she went on to say. It is true what Adrianna says. Ted Kennedy represented the voices of hard working class Americans who wanted a fair shake in life. He wanted justice for those who were disadvantaged and for those who couldn't always speak up for themselves.

I heard a blurb from TV of Ted speaking before the Senate about the need to raise the minimum wages which he fought for over his whole career. He said and I paraphrase when he was disgusted with the conservative Senators and others who did not want to support a raise of 2.15 cents over a 2 year period. He spoke with disgust saying What more do you want from these good working men and women of America, how greedy can you get? How much more do you need referring to the wealthy power brokers in power. He was something else. You never hear that kind of speak anymore. The greedy Capitalists are winning all the time now and now Ted's voice will be silent. Others will speak up from time to time but we need to get the Ted Kennedy injected back into the political scene again. It seems in order to win a seat in Congress or to even think of running for President, one has to be right smack in the middle or to the right. There is no being progressive or even a liberal Democrat in current political time.

I wonder about the evolution of Arianna Huffington from Republican to progressive opinion news and blog writer and speaker. I know she wrote a book back in the seventies which was anti Feminist. I find this astounding given who she seems to be. Never hear her talk about Feminism to this day yet she seems like a strong progressive voice who must have renounced those antiquated ideas she had years ago. Hearing her speak up to talk about the legacy of Ted Kennedy is strange and a bit bittersweet. It is not that I don't like her as I think her ideas are refreshing and usually right on target or should I say left on target or is it as she says, her ideas are American common sense ideas or do we have to just say that because the country is now so far to the right. It sure can get confusing.

Who else may carry the torch and tradition of Ted Kennedy. No one has mentioned "Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (born July 4, 1951) was lieutenant governor of the U.S. state of Maryland from 1995 to 2003. She ran for the governorship in 2002. The oldest of Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Skakel's 11 children, she is part of the Kennedy political family." ( She has always impressed me. Perhaps, the younger generation need not carry a torch as what is expected today is that they be themselves rather than enlarge power for the Kennedy family which always seemed a given.

No one knows what the future will hold. Obama's image seems to be diminished and diminishing as a result of shrewd political maneuvering of the large corporations and business that run our country. They have brought out the cave men, the gun toting
and the lunatic and know nothing fringe shouting stupid and carrying sign with slogans i.e. give me back my country and Obama is Hitler. Is this America, Arianna, Teddy? Is this country for those who shout the loudest and have the most hysteria. The mainstream Republicans will not put this group of marginal nutcases in their place because they seem afraid to lose their votes and perhaps, deep down, agree with some of the anti intellectual message many of them share including the carrying of lethal weapons in public settings. And people just look on including most of the media without condemnation and without simple human reactions of horror at the sheer thought of these images surrounding the highest elective offices in the land including our President who happens to be a Black man.

Ted Kennedy who supported Obama and saw him as a new generational face of his older brother Jack would want to see
President Barack Obama take the heavy mantel he accepted, get some real back bone and pick up the will of the majority of people in this country who want fairness for all regardless of race or class or sexual orientation or gender , equality, environmental justice, and health care for all. As Ted Kennedy said, how greedy can you get. Give the people what they need and I would add even if they don't know they need it and are too ignorant and brainwashed by big business to know what they need. It is our job to continue Ted's tradition of educating the public at large and to keep pushing for the rights of people, the average common people in this land who need a break and sho don't need to have their anger channeled against their own self interests.

As Ted said "The Dream will never Die". Obama must carry this dream on or get out of the way for the next politiican determined to do the right thing.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Testimony From a Gay Survivor of the Nazi Regime

The following was translated by a friend from LAIN and Facebook. See below.

Gerard Koskovich: Testimony From a Gay Survivor of the Nazi Regime

Gerard's Notes|Notes about Gerard|Gerard's Profile
Testimony From a Gay Survivor of the Nazi RegimeShare
Yesterday at 10:27pm
Following is my translation from the French of a first-person testimony published by a gay survivor of the Nazi concentration camps. The French version first appeared as "Les homophiles dans les camps de concentration de Hitler" by B.M., "Die Runde," in Arcadie, no. 82 (October 1960), pages 616-618.

Homophiles in Hitler's Concentration Camps

by Bert Micha

When the German concentration camps were thrown open in 1945, a wave of terror swept over Germany and the entire world. But the indignation, pity and horror soon were wiped out by the general misery that followed the war, by daily worries about finding food and a place to live. The Dachau trials remained unknown to large parts of the public, and it didn't take long before some individuals started to show signs of doubt about the genuine gravity of the horrors that took place in the camps. Too many people had a powerful interest in minimizing the atrocities that had been committed and in letting them fall into obscurity as quickly as possible. A few books did appear, but they were not always objective, and often they were aimed at sensationalism. As for the survivors of the horrors of the camps, they were busy trying to find their place in the new society then being formed -- a society that they hoped would be in keeping with fundamental humanitarian principles. From time to time, organizations representing the interests of the victims -- particularly Jews, who were the most severely affected, as well as communists, socialists and displaced foreigners -- tried to claim indemnification, most often without much success.

The common law prisoners -- pimps, killers and professional thieves who had been so numerous in the camps and who had at first greatly damaged the reputations of the liberated internees -- quickly rediscovered their old lives and disappeared from view. Bonds of friendship already had been less than firm in the camps, where shared misery too often brought out the basest instincts; such bonds rapidly came undone. The recent trials of former concentration camp doctors have created barely even a weak renewal of curiosity and interest regarding these past events.

Yet there is one group among all the victims that has never received the light of publicity, hasn't complained about the damage it sustained, and hasn't encountered any understanding from the newspapers, from government agencies or from organizations that defend the interests of former internees: That group is the homophiles. Because Paragraph 175 of the German Penal Code -- the very Paragraph 175 that has been a subject of debate for decades -- makes homophiles into criminals, they encounter no pity from the public, and of course can make no claim for damages. To this day, no one has sought to learn how many homophiles were hunted down by the Nazis, nor to learn what the survivors retrieved of their lives and their belongings.

Memorial to the gay victims of the Nazi regime (Nollendorfplatz, Berlin). The inscription on the granite triangle reads: "Beaten to Death. Silenced to Death. The Homosexual Victims of National Socialism." (Photo: G. Koskovich)

The trials of former camp doctors have recently called to mind the fact that thousands of homophiles were forcibly castrated, often under beastly conditions. In the camps, homophiles often were singled out for special mistreatment. The author of these lines himself once witnessed how an effeminate young man had to dance repeatedly in front of the SS, only to be subsequently strung up on a beam in the guardroom with his hands and feet tied, then beaten horribly. The author also recalls the "latrine parades" in one of the first camps (Sonnenburg), for which the commandant always chose homophiles.

We must not forget that the homophiles in question often were honorable and cultured citizens who held important positions in society and in the government. During the seven years that he passed in various camps, the author of this article got to know a Prussian prince, major athletes, professors, schoolteachers, engineers, artisans, workers of every type -- and naturally, prostitutes, as well. Certainly, not all of them were worthwhile people, but the majority were completely lost and alone in the world of the concentration camps. During their rare hours of leisure, they lived largely in isolation. It was thus that I came to know the tragedy of a very civilized foreign embassy attaché who remained absolutely walled-up and unapproachable in a boundless and inescapable despair. He couldn't manage to make sense of the atrocious cruelty that he saw around him, and one day, for no apparent reason, he slumped over dead.

To this day, I find it impossible to recall all those comrades, those outrages, those deaths without sinking into profound despair.

None of this would have been possible without the legal opportunities that Paragraph 175 offered to the sadistic butchers of the Third Reich. I am now an old man. In my youth, I knew the activities and the struggles of the homophile circles that were then united under Magnus Hirschfeld, Adolf Brand, Fritz Radszuweit and others -- men who gave their honorable names to the fight for rights. I worked with them and I joined them in hoping for understanding and justice. Whether Paragraph 175 is maintained or repealed is no longer of much concern to me personally. But I hope for all those human beings known or unknown who still live under the weight of its constant threat that -- despite everything -- reason, progress, science and the courage of the medical profession will finally win the day. If that happens, the victims of all the concentration camps will not have died in vain.

NOTE: Arcadie was the main French homophile periodical of the 1950s. It gives little indication of the source of the text translated here: merely the German words "Die Runde" ("the round," "the circle" or "the party") that follow the author's initials. Although not so stated, the article was translated into French from a German text that appeared under the pseudonym "Bert Micha" in the autumn 1958 issue of the mimeographed private newsletter of Die Runde, an informal social group of gay men in the town of Reutlingen, near Stuttgart.

Details about Die Runde and the Micha article can be found in Karl-Heinz Steinle, Die Geschichte der Kameradschaft die Runde 1950 bis 1969, Hefte des Schwulen Museums, no. 1 (Berlin: Verlag rosa Winkel, 1998), pages 12-13, and Andreas Sternweiler et al. (eds.), Goodbye to Berlin? 100 Jahre Schwulenbewegung (Berlin: Verlag rosa Winkel, 1997), page 199. Thanks to Prof. James Steakley of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA, for providing this information. --GK

Translation copyright © 2009 by Ray Gerard Koskovich; may be reprinted with credit for noncommercial purposes provided a copy of the print publication or a link to the online publication is sent to the translator at

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Books That Influenced Me: Shows My Age

A friend asked me to list at least 15 book that influenced me or made their mark so here they are. Shows my age.

Alice in Wonderland, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll
Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn by Mark Twain
Short Stories by Jack London
The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
Helen Keller by Annie Sullivan
Moby Dick, Herman Melville
Diary of Anne Frank
Life of Maxim Gorky Autobiography
My Life by Eleanor Roosevelt , any book about Eleanor Roosevelt by Eleanor Roosevelt
Short Stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer
KeepYour Gunpowder Dry, Margaret Mead
Well of Loneliness, Radcliffe Hall
The Story of Christine Jorgenson, by Christine Jorgenson
Capital, by Karl Marx sometimes written Das Kapital
The Second Sex, Simone De Beauvoir
The Protestant Ethic and Spirit of Capitalism by Max Weber
Moses and Monotheism by Sigmund Freud
Woman on the Edge of Time , Marge Piercy
The Cancer Journals, Audre Lorde
Aging in Three Industrial Societies, Ethel Shanas et. al.
Journals and Novels by May Sarton

One Book I am promoting is Lambda Gray: A Practical Emotional and Spiritual Guide For Gay and Lesbians Who are Growing Older, ed. Karen Reyes (Mina and I have a chapter in it). Marcy Adelman's book on Midlife Lesbians where we also have a chapter.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Question/Answer about My Senior Advantage

Below is correspondence I had with my health provider about the benefits of Senior Advantage which one can join at age 65 with some insurance carriers i.e. Kaiser Permanente which is my health care provder. I am happy with my coverage at Kaiser but wondered about what I get for joining Senior Advantage. Obama says the government could save money by eliminating that program. What is left out to be fair is what alternative the President or Congress would provide, if anything, for those of us who prefer something other than basic Medicare plus Medigap coverage. Obviously it is in Kaiser's interest to keep Senior Advantage. Any ideas on this one? By the way, my question was answered within a very short time so this advice forum for Kaiser members is quite helpful.

Name: Sharon Raphael
State: CA
Question: I am on Senior Advantage and am a Kaiser Group Member. I work at CSUDH as a ferper, retired faculty. Obama says he want to get rid of Senior Advantage because it costs the government 14% more than straight medicare. I don't understand why this is so. What advantages am I getting from Senior Advantage and if this were changed what would I lose? I want universal health care to pass but I don't necessarily want to lose my senior advantage unless you can make some sense out of this for me. Thanks. Sharon Raphael, Long Beach


Under a Medicare Advantage plan, like the one you have with Kaiser, the federal government pays your insurance carrier a monthly fee for assuming the responsibility of your health care expenses. This amount, according to statistics, is 14% higher than the claims incurred by Medicare Part A and Part B recipients, for which Medicare is fully liable. So, the government is suggesting that by eliminating Advantage plans, and not contracting with insurance carriers to assume claims liabilities, they will save money. Part of the reason why claims are less on Medicare A and B is because the covered benefits are limited. You can visit, where they provide a comprehensive comparison of which benefits are offered under Medicare Part A and Part B. You will see that there are substantial sacrifices in coverage from what you have now on your Advantage plan. Medicare Part A is standard coverage, Medicare Part B will cost you a $96.40 a month. But, if you want prescription drug coverage, you will also need to purchase Medicare Part D. Combined, these Medicare programs will fall short of your current benefits and will include things like hospital deductibles and gaps in prescription drug benefits. If you have Medicare, you can still purchase additional Medigap coverage, but these plans can be quite costly and may still not equal the comprehensive coverage you receive under your Advantage plan.

Best Regards,
Health Insurance Advice Forum

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Gay Men Targeted in Iraq; article from Washington Post

Gay Men Targeted In Iraq, Report Says
Militias Blamed for Scores of Killings


By Ernesto Londoño
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, August 17, 2009
BAGHDAD, Aug. 16 -- Human Rights Watch will urge in a report to be released Monday that the Iraqi government do more to protect gay men, saying militiamen have killed and tortured scores in recent months as part of a social cleansing campaign.

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Gay Men Targeted In Iraq, Report Says
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Although the scope of the problem remains unclear, hundreds of gay men may have been killed this year in predominantly Shiite Muslim areas, the report's authors said, basing their conclusion on interviews with gay Iraqi men, hospital officials and an unnamed United Nations official in Baghdad.

"The government has done absolutely nothing to respond," said Scott Long, director of the gay rights program at Human Rights Watch. "So far there has been pretty much a stone wall."

Homosexuality was tacitly accepted during the last years of Saddam Hussein's rule, but Iraqis have long viewed it as taboo and shameful.

Iraq's human rights minister, Wijdan Salim, has expressed concern about the reported slayings, but few other government officials have addressed the issue publicly or indicated that they are disturbed by the reports.

A senior police official in Baghdad said authorities could not effectively protect gay men because they often do not report crimes.

"To protect someone, you have to know who he is and his location," the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the issue. "It's very easy for the militiamen to find them and harm them, and it's very difficult for our forces to protect them."

Reports of slayings targeting gay men began circulating early this spring in Sadr City, a conservative Shiite district in eastern Baghdad. Gay men were also reportedly slain in Basra, Najaf and Diyala province, Human Rights Watch said.

Gay activists said militiamen loyal to Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr had target lists containing the names of men suspected of being gay. Some were killed and some were tortured, they said. Human Rights Watch said a commonly reported form of torture involved injecting super glue into men's rectums.

When violence in Iraq began ebbing in 2008 and militia and insurgent leaders lost sway in several parts of the country, social norms became less strict. Women began to shed abayas -- long black robes that cover them from head to toe -- in certain formerly conservative neighborhoods. Liquor stores began selling alcohol openly. And gay men began to congregate in cafes and other venues for parties. The advent of the Internet in Iraq after the 2003 invasion also allowed gay men to form bonds and circles of friends.

The attacks on gay men appear to have coincided with a call by religious leaders in Sadr City and other Shiite communities to curb behavior that clerics called unnatural and unhealthy.

Sadr movement officials say they condemn homosexuality, but have denied participating in violence targeting gay men.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Support Ezra Nawl

Ezra Nawi's sentencing hearing took place yesterday (Sunday), and Jewish Voice for Peace was there with over 20,000 of your signatures. The judge will render her sentence on September 21st, 2009. At the hearing, Emily Schaeffer testified on behalf of
Ezra Nawl. Ezra Nawl is a Jewish farmer who was born in Iraq.
20,000 sign petition asking
to put Ezra Nawi in jail | Israel | Jerusalem Post
Jerusalem Magistrate's Court Judge Eilata Ziskind, who convicted peace activist Ezra Nawi in March of participating in a riot and assaulting a police....

(Nawl was,,," jailed for his courageous nonviolent defense of Palestinian Bedouins in the South Hebron region-under constant attack by settlers, the Israeli army and police."

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Saving Grace to be cancelled: Boo Hoo!!!!!

Show to be canceled after 9 shows next summer. "TNT’s bold series SAVING GRACE i. Academy Award® winner Holly Hunter stars as gutsy Oklahoma City Police Det. Grace Hanadarko, a woman who holds nothing back, whether on the job or in her personal life. ...Hunter’s acclaimed performance has earned the actress two consecutive Screen Actors Guild Award® nominations." Loved the series. I am a regular watcher of the show. Holly Hunter and her many co-stars do a great job pulling off a complicatedplot line each week. The main plot always involves detective work to find the culprit, the other plot going on involves an Angel named Earl, who portrays a downhome kind of guy, sent by God to save Grace from her sexual, drinking and other sinful behavior. There is no Christian banality in this comedy/drama. Reminds me sometimes of the brilliant play "Angels in America", not sure that fits but it has overtones as Grace goes through her seemingly driven and challenging life. Her best friend is a crime pathologist working for the same police department where Grace is a detective. The women are depicted as competent and determined and Grace's male friends including her married boyfriend are true characters to remember. The show also demonstrates the local humor of these police types which is often very funny even to me, a non police midwesterner originally from Ohio transplant to LA. The rumor is the show is not selling as well in overseas markets as here in the USA. It does have regional significance as it takes place in Texas ( I think) and there is a lot of local color. I thought Europeans loved cowboy types and there is a modern American Indian detective on the show to boot. Too bad only 9 more episodes to go. I guess Holly Hunter can go back to making block buster movies. Boo Hoo!!!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Watch this Documentary: The Yes Men Fix the World

Watch the "The Yes Men Fix the World" on HBO on demand documentaries shown until 8/24/09. It was fabulous. If you haven't seen it, you will love it. It is about two hoaxsters who brilliantly and in reality try to fix the world. You will feel good and will learn
a great way to educate people about how to right wrongs i.e Bhopal, New Orleans, Exxon pollution.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Watch Meteors tonight Wed. Aug. 11, 2009


Get away from city lights. I live in Southern California where the lights can be at certain times at one per minute.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Obama team debunks end of life bunk about his health care plan

Go to the following link and watch video which debunks the right winger assertion that Obama's end of life option in his health plan would "kill seniors". It turns out the government would pay every 5 years for the health participant in the plan to get updated information about advanced directives which is only optional. Advanced directive are forms one can fill out to determine who will make decisions for the person if he or she is incapacitated and unable to make choices for her or himself and to decide
what kind of end of life treatment the person chooses. Notice the word chooses. The person can choose not to get counseled at all. But more specialists in aging believe filling out directives about future option is a good thing and has nothing to do with killing anyone. These options enhance quality of life and the help provide a voice for the person facing a terminal illness or catastrphobic illness that will help health care providers give the person the care he or she desires. It has nothing to do with "killing seniors". Why do the Republicans lie so much?

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Two Attorneys for Gay Marriage Reject Gay Groups Lawyers Requests

They agree on little else, but the two sides of the federal lawsuit challenging California's ban on same-sex marriage have found one point in common: that other gay-rights groups and the city of San Francisco should be kept on the sidelines as the case moves ahead.

Lawyers for the same-sex couples challenging Proposition 8 in U.S. District Court in San Francisco and for the Alliance Defense Fund, representing sponsors of the law, filed briefs Friday that differed on whether a trial is required to settle the dispute over the November ballot measure, which invalidated the state Supreme Court's May 2008 ruling that struck down a law defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

But the two sides agreed that the court should deny motions by the city and the advocacy groups seeking to become parties in the case.

The two couples represented by attorneys Theodore Olson and David Boies note that the gay rights organizations seeking to intervene in the case share their clients' basic positions. But adding parties would just delay matters, they argue - an opinion shared by the Alliance Defense Fund.

But underlying the plaintiffs' objection to the intervention is a more fundamental debate that has riven the gay rights community: the question of whether this federal lawsuit should have been brought at all.

That debate began shortly after the suit was filed in May, within days of the California Supreme Court upholding Prop. 8. Several gay rights groups immediately slammed the suit as disastrously timed because they said federal courts and the Supreme Court were unlikely to uphold same-sex marriage at this time.

Chad Griffin, president of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which launched the suit, sent a letter in July accusing the advocacy groups of undermining the case in public and private comments and asking them not to intervene.

Nevertheless, the groups filed a motion to intervene that month, arguing that they represented a more diverse community of same-sex couples than did the two couples represented in the suit. San Francisco also moved to intervene.

Olson and Boies suggested Friday that if the court allowed any intervention, it should grant San Francisco's request. But the other advocacy groups, the lawyers argued, should be limited at most to roles as "friends of the court," - allowed to offer opinions, but shut out from decisions on how the case should be pursued.

"Having declined to bring their own federal challenge to Prop. 8," they wrote, the advocacy groups "should not be allowed to usurp Plaintiffs' lawsuit."

Attorneys for the city and the advocacy groups have note yet filed their responses to the opposition to intervention.

E-mail Matthew B. Stannard at

Tel Aviv Shooting Protesters Attacked
Tel Aviv Shooting Protesters Attacked
By Julie Bolcer

Residents of an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood in Jerusalem attacked a group of young people who visited the area on Thursday to hang posters condemning the deadly shooting at a gay youth center in Tel Aviv, reports The Jerusalem Post.

The youngsters and an Army Radio reporter went to the Mea She’arim area to raise awareness about the shooting at a gay youth center that killed a counselor and a young woman and injured at least 10 on Saturday. Members of the ultra-Orthodox haredim chased the protesters down alleyways, prompted by the feeling that the youths were blaming them for the shootings, but the young people managed to escape.

In the days since the shooting, many have cited strong religious bias against LGBT people, and appealed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to mitigate the influence of conservative religious opinions in government.

Israeli government officials have confirmed that the shooting is being investigated as a hate crime, among other possible motives.

A vigil is scheduled for Saturday night to mark one week since the shooting, considered the worst attack ever against Israeli’s LGBT community. President Shimon Peres is expected to attend.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Friday, August 07, 2009

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Commentary on the Murderous Attacks on Gay Youth in Israel

Gypsy and Wanda Friends Forever at PAWS

Go to

Phyllis Lyon below photo of her recently deceased spouse Del Martin at GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Cops Beat Women Protesting in Sudan

Cops Beat Women Protesting in Sudan
posted: 8 MINUTES AGOcomments: 32filed under: WORLD NEWS
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KHARTOUM, Sudan (Aug. 4) -- Sudanese police fired tear gas and beat women protesting outside a Sudanese court Tuesday during the trial of a female journalist accused of violating the Islamic dress code by wearing trousers in public.
Police moved in swiftly and dispersed about 50 protesters, mostly women, who were supporting Lubna Hussein, a former U.N. worker facing 40 lashes on the charge of "indecent dressing." Some of the women demonstrators wore trousers in solidarity with Hussein while others wore more traditional dress.
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Trousers are considered indecent under the strict interpretation of Islamic law, adopted by Sudan's Islamic regime which came to power after a coup led by President Omar al-Bashir in 1989. But activists and lawyers say the implementation of the law is arbitrary.
Hussein was among 13 women arrested July 3 in a raid by the public order police on a popular cafe in Khartoum. Ten of the women were flogged at a police station two days later and fined 250 Sudanese pounds, or about $120.
But Hussein and two others decided to go on trial. She has sought to publicize her case internationally, inviting human rights workers, Western diplomats and fellow journalists to witness her trial.
"I am not afraid of flogging. ... It's not about flogging. It's not about my innocence. It's about changing the law," Hussein said, speaking to The Associated Press after the hearing Tuesday.
She said she would take the issue all the way to Sudan's constitutional court if necessary, but that if the court rules against her and orders the flogging, she was ready "to receive (even) 40,000 lashes."
Hussein wore the same clothes Tuesday she wore when arrested, including the dark-colored pants that authorities found offensive. Although she was required to wear the same outfit to court so the judge and others could see the clothing, Hussein said she's been wearing it every day to highlight her case.
In the clashes outside the courtroom, witnesses said police wielding batons beat up one of Hussein's lawyers, Manal Awad Khogali, while keeping media and cameras at bay. No injuries were immediately reported.
"We are here to protest against this law that oppresses women and debases them," said one of the protesters, Amal Habani, a female columnist for the daily Ajraas Al Hurria, or Bells of Freedom in Arabic.
While the police broke up the demonstration outside the Khartoum Criminal Court, the judge adjourned Hussein's trial for a month to seek clarification from Sudan's foreign ministry.
At the time of her arrest, Hussein was working for the media department of the U.N. Mission in Sudan, which gives her immunity from prosecution. She submitted her resignation after her trial began last week because she wanted to go on trial to challenge the dress code law.
Defense lawyer Jalal al-Sayed told reporters Tuesday the judge wanted to know whether Hussein still has immunity because her superiors have not yet accepted the resignation.
Hussein's hearings first opened last Wednesday but immediately adjourned to give her the opportunity to resign.
Hussein has lauded her supporters, saying they showed that "Sudanese women from different political parties and groupings stand with us."
The case has drawn criticism from the United Nations. The U.N. Staff Union urged authorities last week not to flog Hussein, calling the punishment cruel, inhuman and degrading.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was "deeply concerned" about Hussein's case and said flogging was a violation of international human rights standards.
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Sunday, August 02, 2009

Attack on gay club (youth group) prompts protests in Israel-BBC

Send a message of condolence and international support to Gay Tel Aviv now following the appalling murders and injuries that took place today in an act of terror against the gay and lesbian community. (Jo Harrison, Australia)

See below.

I can't find a damn thing on CNN except a quick one sentence blurb. What is wrong with them? Actually it wasn't a Gay club, it was a support group for Gay Youth housed in a basement apartment in Tel Aviv.


Attack on gay club prompts protests in Israel

Hate crime? Israelis protest outside a gay youth club in Tel Aviv. (AFP)

Israeli demonstrators have taken to the streets of Tel Aviv after an attack on a gay community centre left at least two people dead and many others wounded.

Most of the victims were gay teenagers, who were taking part in a support group when a gunman burst in and started firing indiscriminately.

Within hours of the killing hundreds of people gathered outside the centre for a silent candle-lit vigil.

The attack has been described as the worst anti-gay attack in the country's history.

Gay leaders have described the attack as a hate crime targeting lesbians and gay men.

Yaniv Weisman is the head of the Israeli Youth Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Association.

"There is a big anger and if it will be known that behind this action it's a religious movement, we will punish the people behind it," he said.

"The gay community here is very strong and there would be a reaction from the gay community.

"The people in the government would be the first one to give us answers."

In many parts of Israel homosexuals often face opposition and sometimes violent protests, especially gay pride festivals in Jerusalem have seen angry confrontations between gay and lesbian activists and hardline religious groups.

But Tel Aviv has a reputation of being a liberal and secular city and many people have been shocked by news of the attack.


Gay Youths Killed in Tel Aviv : Stream of Messages I put on Facebook

The minutes posted are not accurate but are based on facebook time I posted Aug 1, 2009 Saturday evening time

Sharon Raphael I just heard on the news that gunmen went into a Gay Community Center in Televiv and killed LGBT participants. I don't know how many were killed. A spokesperson for the Center implied the killers might be from the right wing Jewish religious community. LGBT demonstrators took to the streets to express their horror and anger. I think LGBT persons in the United States should come to the support of that Center.
52 minutes ago · Comment

Sharon Raphael Still trying to find website or email address for Gay/Lesbian Center in Tel Aviv. We should send condolences and ask the government to act not only getting the shooters but in attacking their own homophobia. SR
27 minutes ago · Comment · Like

Sharon Raphael

2 Shot Dead at Gay Center in Tel Aviv -
A man opened fire on a crowd at a gay community center in Tel Aviv, killing three people.

29 minutes ago · Comment · Like · Share

Sharon Raphael Tel Aviv sorry.
40 minutes ago · Comment · Like

Sharon Raphael These were teenagers," Yaniv Weisman, chairman of the Israeli Gay Youth organization, told The Jerusalem Post. With tears in his eyes, Weisman added, "They came to this center from across the country to talk to one another and receive help. This was supposed to be a safe place for them. Someone knew what they were doing when they came here. This is not a pub or a club." Jerusalem News
42 minutes ago · Comment · Like

Sharon Raphaelcorrection above is from the Jerusalem Post
39 minutes ago · Delete

(Sharon Raphael) ....(Zak) warned in a column last year that Israel is a place which, on the one hand has liberal laws, but on the other does not attempt to counter homophobia," Danny Zak, a gay activist and journalist, told the Jerusalem Post during the demonstration. "A murder was waiting to happen," Zak added.

Jerusalem Post
35 minutes ago · Delete

Sharon Raphael I understand the target of the attack were youths having a support group at the Center.
44 minutes ago · Comment · Like

Sharon Raphael
45 minutes ago · Comment · Like

Sharon Raphael Please put on line more information on incident I have mentioned below. Any suggestions on what we can do would help. Need the address or websitee of the Gay Center in Televiv where this happened. It is said this is the worst Gay type hate crime of this kind in Israel. There is a history of homophobia among the religious right wing. We have to be careful not to paint all the religious groups in this category.
49 minutes ago · Comment · Like

Sharon Raphael I just heard on the news that gunmen went into a Gay Community Center in Televiv and killed LGBT participants. I don't know how many were killed. A spokesperson for the Center implied the killers might be from the right wing Jewish religious community. LGBT demonstrators took to the streets to express their horror and anger. I think LGBT persons in the United States should come to the support of that Center.
52 minutes ago · Comment

Friday, July 31, 2009

OLD Lesbians Organizing for Change website

We have pins:


We are a national network of Old Lesbians over age 60 working to make life better for Old Lesbians and to confront ageism in our communities and our country using education and public discourse as primary tools. During biennial National Gatherings hundreds of us come together to share experiences and ideas and recharge our energies for the tasks at hand.

Our national organization is directed by a Steering Committee that works with local Chapters who operate in their own communities and encourages Regional OLOC Gatherings.

We love sharing our wisdom, experience strengths and laughs with our communities as well as among ourselves.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Harvey Milk to Receive Posthumous Medal of Freedom

Dear Sharon:

The White House just announced that on August 12 President Obama will bestow America's highest civilian honor-the Presidential Medal of Freedom-on Harvey Milk, a true American hero and trailblazer. On behalf of the boards and staff of the Victory Fund, we are thrilled.

Harvey was one of the first openly LGBT elected officials in the country, and he was so much more than that. He was a leader who understood the incredible power of being out, speaking out and demanding the equality we all deserve. But Harvey also knew demands alone were not enough, so he stood for election time and again until he finally won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, where he worked to pass the city's first LGBT rights ordinance. He gained real power, and used it expand freedom and equality.

Harvey's election was a political awakening that inspires all of us at the Victory Fund each and every day. In fact, one of the first things our staff sees when we enter our of fice is an iconic photo of Harvey outside his camera shop on Castro Street. It reminds us what we can accomplish when we are guided by hope rather than fear.

We also learned the President will honor tennis legend Billy Jean King and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy with the Medal of Freedom. King, an open lesbian, has been a champion for women's and LGBT rights throughout her distinguished career, and Sen. Kennedy's tireless work on behalf of LGBT Americans has made him one of our most important allies. In fact, the Victory Fund honored Sen. Kennedy in 2004 with our Oates-Shrum Leadership Award.

This high honor, the Medal of Freedom, recognizes extraordinary lives, but it is also a signal that leadership, especially political leadership, is critical to completing the work begun by people like Milk, King, Kennedy, Bayard Rustin, Dr. Frank Kameny, The Mattachine Society, The Daughters of Bilitis and so many others whose sacrifice and courage helped deliver the progress we see today.

The Victory Fund's mission is to build on that hard work, and to elect more courageous people like Harvey Milk who continue to build a more equal and just America. Thank you for support of our work.
Yours in victory,

Chuck Wolfe
President & CEO
Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund

Meeting for a Beer at the White House: A Huge Distraction and "More Stupid"

As far as I am concerned Lucia Whalen, the woman who used her cell phone to call police, was the only party in this sad affair who kept her cool though I do think President's Obama's original remarks about "stupid behavior" on the part of the arresting officer were refreshing and not pre tested. It is a shame that Whalen was dragged through the mill when her only fault was to be a good citizen. As for the hotshors getting together for a beer that was more "stupid". Crowley has discrepancies in his write up of the reported incident, Professor Gates seems to understandably have lost his cool, Obama had to retreat on his correct initial reaction that Gates should not have been arrested since he was in his own house. Lucia Whalen was careful about her description of the people she thought were involved. She even said it might be the suspected parties own house. Whalen never used the words "Black men". The 911 call transcript confirms this. She did say one of the men may have been Hispanic, however, she didn't know for sure what the race of the men was or were.

The fact that the majority of white people in this country do not understand race issues and tend to have knee jerk reactions always blaming minorities for run ins with the police is mind boggling to me. I noticed on AOL yesterday morning that 67% of person voting thought the arrest was Gates' own fault. The lack of knowledge or acknowledgement that there is something wrong with the way Black men have been profiled and arrested in large numbers compared to white male arrest rates shows the a huge gap in both attitudes and in lack of an information base on race relations in America. Black people seem to know from experience to be wary, white people tend to blame the victims in these instance of false arrest or initial profiling. Until perceptions change within society at large and among police in particular, this tension and difference in perception between white and Black on the fairness scale will continue. Some suggest that since Obama was elected our President that white people especially younger white people have more progressive views on race than have existed ever before. This may be true but we still have a long way to go.

Electing someone to a high office and dealing with everyday race issues is a horse of a totally different color if I can use that
ironic description. Obama is the token admirable Black man who many white moderates on race issues can accept. But when it comes to acting and decision making on the spot, old fears and stereotypes come to fore all too often as is evidenced by the Crowley-Gates episode, the President's handlers would so much like to put behind him so we can get on with the debate on Health Care. But race will come back to stare us in the face. I have a friend in Australia who calls the USA Obamaland. She is a huge admirer of our first Black President. I think people abroad have the wrong idea of what this election was about. Yes, electing Obama was a move in the right direction, but there is still a long road left hike when it comes to race in America. Segregation still exists in most major cities and towns in this country, inequities in access to health care, equal pay for equal work and access to same, equality in housing and education for all is a long way off.

Passing some form of universal health care would help repair some of the inequity on race, class and gender too when it comes to access to health care. But I see the Obama plan for health care being compromised in the wrong direction with the private health insurers who have a long history of racial discrimination being too much in the forefront of the health care discussion, getting unfair advantages and taking away the public option would help in lowering costs of health care. Black, White, Latino, Asian, we all lose if the old way of doing health care or education wins the race toward visibility and possession of Congressional favors and votes.

Was this a teachable moment as Obama hoped it would become? It appears that Gates-Crowley might make this into a dog and pony show as they plan to meet again since the White House event. I can just imagine the two speaking to groups, having a discussion from both points of view and trying to help folks come to some kind of common ground on the issue. Perhaps, this could be a good outcome but my instincts say there is something just not right here. It appears it would result in an attempt to make both sides if these are sides right at least from each respective point of view. And what happened just wasn't right. Crowley was clearly wrong ethicallly speaking and probably legally speaking too. Why should Gates give Crowley this spotlight and even a framework for becoming a national spokesman on the race issue? It is Crowley who needs to save face not Gates. The only thing Gates did that might be interpreted as wrong was to "blow up" and be angry about being wronged. His anger was justified. Crowley's actions were not justifiable.

There is no law that says if one says something negative to a police officer or even yells at a police officer that equals interfering with an officer's ability to do the job. Stress is part of the job and so is negativity even when directed toward the officer, in this case, yelling and saying what the officer was doing was racist. That should not be a crime especially as I see the label in this case fit the situation and was truth telling. Of course, I know Crowley did not appreciate the label and it may not have been the wisest way of reacting to Crowley's presence. But how wise can one be in these situations. Colin Powell suggested a cooler head should have prevailed on Gates' part. I think that was arrogant on Powell's part. From his lofty positions in the military, in security, as a General, as former Secretary of State, it is easy to sound rational. Rational is what was Powell's problelm all along. If he had any courage, he would have resigned and gotten angry at what Bush did to him. Yes, always plodding on the straight and narrow may be Powell. It obviously does not describe Professor Gates.

Monday, July 27, 2009


For a new copy of
an online book that covers policy issues and information on the topic of LGBT seniors. Just go to
The download is free. All you need to do is to give National Taskforce (LGBT) your name and email address. Laurie Young edited and updated the new version. Sean Cahill, Ken South and Jane Spade are the authors. P.S. new version is not out until Oct. Just learned this but it is worth viewing the old version too.


Friday, July 24, 2009

California Faculty Assoc. of the CSU Voted for Furloughs: Pres. Garcia sends message to staff

CFA voted 54% to 46% in favor of furlough instead of a 20% layoff percentage. This seems to mean the layoff percentage would be cut in half and instead larger number would have wage cuts, I am not sure of the percentage at this point but it would be a significant reduction. Below is a notice our President of the CSUDH, Mildred Garcia sent out to staff employees. This does not apply to faculty. Just thought the following was interesting. The fact that staff have to return to 5 day week schedules and then take off certain days may not sit well with some staff.

Dear Colleagues,

As you know, the CSUEU and UAPD Leadership and the Chancellor’s Office have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on furloughs for the 2009-10 fiscal year. We are still working on our campus plan but I want you to know that our first furlough day will be Friday, August 14th. I hope this information will help you with your planning. Soon, we will meet with your campus union leadership to share the finalized campus furlough plan including dates.

A number of employees are on compressed/alternate work week schedules, e.g. 4, 10 hour days or a 9 day, 80 hour schedule. This complicates the agreed upon furlough plan and the payroll process. Therefore, it will be necessary for employees currently assigned to a modified schedule to convert to a 5 day, 8 hour per day work for the remainder of the 2009-10 fiscal year. Please consider this email your 21 day notice for a schedule change if you are currently on a compressed/alternate work week schedule. If you feel an exception is warranted, please submit a written request to your HR liaison within your Division by August 3, 2009. The requests will be reviewed by your division vice president.


Mildred García, Ed.D.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

What's on My Mind Today (CSU Budget Threats, The Harvard Professor Arrest, Health Care)

Today foremost, we are all waiting to hear the outcome of the budget deal that the California State Legislature may or may not have worked out with our Governor, The Terminator. I am a FERPER in the CSU which means I am officially retired but teach part-time. I am also concerned for my colleagues who are either starting their careers or are midway through them. If furloughs are not approved, there could be a 20% layoff reduction which is too many people, of course even one unfairly dismissed is too many.

My Union, California Faculty Assoc. has not yet counted the votes, for or against furloughs, which translates when applied to teaching faculty to mean pay cuts of about 14% from what I heard. In the UC it is less for many, as they are doing the cuts on a more needs friendly basis, cutting bigger amounts from the highly paid faculty and staff and less from the average and lower paid workers. The CSU administrators obviously could have cared less about doing it all more fairly. I thought it kind of strange that our Union, The CFA, has not come up wit the vote tallies yet. Something kind of fishy seems to be going on here as they did the vote a second time round and now nothing.

The Harvard Professor, Henry Louis Gates, who was arrested by the Cambridge policeman in his own home is starting a campaign to highlight the continuing problem of racial profiling. Kudos to him for doing so. I bet he is still steaming from that incident which I see clearly as an example of the continuing racism and racial profiling still going on in this country of ours. The fact that the officer who arrested Gates is trying to portray himself as not racist because he once gave mouth to mouth resuscitation to a star athlete who was Black, was it Basketball?, means nothing to me. By the way, that athlete died. Is that mean of me to say? The fact this guy who harassed Professor Gates mentioned this shows he knows Didley S--- about what racism or race issues mean. Why do so many police officers have to go to extremes in handling distraught individuals? They should be better trained. Also police should screen out racist types or types who tend toward racist thinking. In this case, who wouldn't be angry if a law enforcement person walked into my house and asked me to prove who I was. On top of that, most Black men have been through rough and stupid treatment before hand, and I am pretty certain that Gates just had had it, and justifiably so.

I also believe there was a class issue involved. Since Gates hobnobs with Presidents, teaches at Harvard, is lavished with praise for his work constantly, to be confronted by a blue collar guy in a uniform who doesn't know his A-- from a hole in the ground and then to be treated with such disdain, Black or White, it could make anyone furious. Add the factor of race to the mix and you can imagine the fury it must of caused in Henry Gates' mind and heart. As a white older woman, I have noticed police and fire types tend to be very respectful of me but I know the minute I might try to cross the line, speak our in someone's defense, police tend to react and to react strongly. I have witnessed this on various occasions. I also wonder who Professor Gates' neighbor could be? Is he or she sorry for what he or she caused? Why didn't she/he recognize Gates? It is a bit bewildering. Did this neighbor only see Black. Do we have a new term now "Black While Entering Your House"

As for Obama and what kind of Health Care plan we are likely to get, the climate around the health care debate has taken a turn for the worse. I have read that some experts feel things would be going more smoothly if Obama had started with the single payer system then dropped it and gone to what he wants now, a public insuranace option. This strategy sounds quite cynical to me but who knows what would work with the Republican wolves out there there howling in the winds. Best to just ignore them and move straight along or gayly forward as we say to the desired goal. But that strategy say that the stupid naysayers and fear mongers would have been more satisfied with Obama's plan as it is now. They mean the ones that see Communists lurking in every corner of the health care debate. Obama just seems too weak and a bit confused as to how to manage this tiger he has by the tail. I feel for him but this need of the country for universal health coverage is too important to mess up on now. I am afraid in the end, not everyone will be covered and those who have coverage will end up with something less than what we want especially us older persons who I think some would like to balance the cost of on our literal bodies. I hope we don't end up facing basic rationing of our health care. Yes, some procedures are unnecessary but there is a slippery slope here I don't trust. Still, we need every child insured, and every adult and old person too. All our families and individuals need good coverage and with a little courage on Obama's part it could happen. I say tax the oil companies, tax the richest corporations and individuals, tax tobacco, and the polluters, pay some taxes on luxury items i.e. big cars, SUVS etc. There has to be ways to do this all and NOT keep the poor and the disabled and others from having decent health care.

California is a good example of what is going wrong with our economy. Lack of reasonable taxes has made the State go
broke. And now who does the Terminator want to pay for the rupture in the economy, the poor, the disabled and those who can least afford and need the most in services rendered by the State. Perhaps, if we had universal coverage that would include long term care, hospice, special issues of the disabled that would solve some of the problems for the States that are now going broke .

So all of the above is what is on my Mind today.

Sharon Raphael, Long Beach

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "What's on My Mind Today (CSU Budget Threats, The ...":

I find your depiction of the police officer very offensive. The police officer was doing his job. He was not engaged in "racial profiling", he was responding to a call saying that two black men appeared to be breaking into the front door of a house. And you are criticizing the neighbor for making the call??? If you were out of town and your neighbor saw someone breaking into your house, wouldn't you want the police to come check it out? (And just out of curiosity, if the police had NOT responded to the call, would that mean that they were racist bastards who were refusing to protect the property of a black man?)

When the cop arrived, he asked Gates for ID, and he was shown Harvard Faculty ID (no address), and was asked "Don't you know who I am?" Gates was abusive of the police officer, continued to be abusive even when they were outside in front of a crowd. The police officer made a judgment call in arresting him, but the policeman had a right to make the arrest.

I was a research fellow at Harvard/Harvard Medical School for a decade. The degree of NARCISSIM seen in various faculty members there is incredible. From the description of Gates' behavior, I would bet he fits right in.

In Maureen Dowd's column today, she quotes Gates as follows:

"Gates told his daughter Elizabeth in The Daily Beast: “He should have gotten out of there and said, ‘I’m sorry, sir, good luck. Loved your PBS series — check with you later!’ ”

Think about that. Gates expects not only to be recognized as a Harvard Superstar, but also wants recognition as a Television Superstar. What incredible vanity!

This isn't racial profiling. Gates would probably have been just as much of a narcissitic jerk to a black police officer (although he would not have been able to accuse him of racism). A black cop would have been just as likely to have arrested him for disorderly conduct.

And you're jumping on the bandwagon and slamming the cop, too. Shame on you.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Jimmy Carter Leaves His Church because of Sexism

I thought Jimmy Carter's decision to leave the Southern Baptists because of their sexism is great. Kudos to former President Carter who is often on the "leftside" of things. He was a member of the Southern Baptist Church of his for sixty years. One might say what took him so long? But I would rather applaud him for his whole history of supporting good causes i.e Habitat for Humanity and fighting discrimination wherever Carter found it.

Sharon Raphael

taken from

Jimmy Carter leaves Southern Baptist Church, cites sexism
Former President Jimmy Carter has announced that he is leaving the Southern Baptist Church after sixty years because of its treatment of girls and women.

[It was an] unavoidable decision when the convention's leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be "subservient" to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.
This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths. Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women's equal rights across the world for centuries.

At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.

Read Carter's full statement here. (By the way, I'm just shocked that I haven't seen any media coverage of this.)

Via BlogHer.

UPDATE: Apparently Carter leaving the church is old news, but he issued a position paper this week on the subject, severing all ties. Thanks!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Postscript to Accidental Billionaires

Postscript: July 19, 2009 There must be something strongly seductive about Facebook that makes so many people use it. There is something quite obscene about the fact anyone or anything could be worth that much money (in the billions). What does it say about our society that such a thing can come to pass. It is not Zuckerberg or any other computer minds that annoy me. It is the fact that so much time is spent on Facebook with people doing mindless things, taking stupid quizzes that are truly meaningless. And many love to record minute details of what they are doing everyday. Perhaps, some day Facebook will provide important historical minutiae and insight into our ironic way of life in the beginning of the 21 Century. The bottomline for me is not that Facebook is worthless; there are some good things about it and people can use the mechanism provided for the betterment of society if they so choose and also as a catharsis to get things off their chest, that is not all bad but it is terribly self involving.

The networking part is more interesting. It can lead to complex social interaction that leads in many directions, hopefully sometimes in a constructive direction offering people a platform for ideas across borders and above the narrowness of place and inbred thinking. The final question is who really should own Facebook and get the economic rewards. Society could put all this monetary outcome to better use than one young man and a few corporate buddies. If there is so much money in these software programs and related invention perhaps, more entities i.e. States, Countries, Political groups, Networks of Labor Unions should hire people like Zuckerberg to create new products so larger and ever larger numbers of people might benefit from the rewards of these computer and internet creations and sensations. Of course, the people with the creative minds and nonstop working ethics need to handsomely rewarded for their creations but not given billions of dollars. One can say, that's America for you but not in my book. I wonder if one can really hire genius. They certainly seemed to do it during WWII to build that evil bomb (The A Bomb) of ours.

Sharon Raphael