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April 4th was the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. I still remember hearing the news and being shocked that this great man had been killed. Growing up in a small town in North Carolina, I had heard him called many things besides great but disagreed with those who wanted to teach racism and continue the history of injustice in America. I was just a small scared white boy but I knew things were not right. I remember going to school the next day. Schools had not been desegregated yet but there were a few black children who attended Bridges Elementary School. Jetta Knight was in my class and a sometimes friend. Her eyes were red and you could tell she had been crying. I tried talking with her but the words sounded so fake and unreal even to my young ears. I could not understand the loss the black community was feeling but I could feel the deep sadness. Our housekeeper, Annie, had the same sense of sadness and resignation about her that morning when she arrived at the house. Annie was my second mom and I ran to her and cried in her arms as she patted me on the back and said “ Hush, child. Things will be okay. We will survive this.” I really didn’t understand what she meant but as the years have gone by I realize she meant that Black Americans would survive the killing of their great Leader as they had survived many hardships before and would survive the ones ahead.
Read the rest at: I Have A Dream- Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.
This election year is one of the most exciting ones I have ever seen in my 41 years of being involved in politics and civil rights. There is all the buzz about the presidential campaigns, Texas being in play for the first time in decades and exciting races such as Rick Noriega for Senate and all the Texas Legislative races. Well, there are another set of elections that will take place in June at the Texas Democratic Party Convention and I have decided to throw my hat into the ring. Every two years the delegates at the State convention elect the Senate District Committeeman and Committeewoman to represent our Senate Districts on the Executive Committee of the State Party. Rich Bailey, who is the current Committeeman for Travis Senate District 14 is stepping down after 2 terms as is the tradition in Travis County. I am announcing my candidacy for this seat. I believe it is time for the SDEC to have a grassroots activist and blogger as a member who is willing to try and move the party in a new direction. The extreme numbers of new voters and activist across the state need a voice and I believe I can be that voice.
Read the rest of the story TX-Elections 2008- Yet Another One
Hope

Obamacan

Obamacrat

Barack
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Anyone who has been a regular listener knows I was a John Edwards supporter. After John Dropped out of the race, I did a lot of research and soul searching to decide who I would support in the 2008 election. Barack Obama has my full support and endorsement. I believe his message of Hope is something that America and the World are ready for. It is a message we must all get behind and work to achieve it fulfillment. It means lots of hard work ahead for not only our elected officials but for all Americans. I hope you will join me in supporting Barack Obama for President in 2008. In the show I share a letter I wrote to Hillary and a story a fellow Obama supporter sent out to show how Obama's speech on race & politics has affected people. Letter to Hillary Dear Sen., You say you want to be President to be a leader for the American People. Your campaign and rhetoric is showing anything but true leadership. Your negativity and whining to win at any cost are ripping the Democratic Party apart and you seem not to care at all. This is not about another line to add to your resume but about the future of America. In the last month, you have suddenly become the champion of the Florida and Michigan voters when you earlier agreed to abide by party rules when both delegations where denied. You only changed your mind when you realized you were behind in the popular vote and delegate count. Your campaign (which speaks for you) is now threatening to sue the Texas Democratic Party because you lost the caucus part of the Democratic Primary. Sounds like sour grapes or just plain whining to me. Texas is proud to have had the largest voter turn out in decades and more people active in the precinct conventions than ever before. You now want to negate all the hard work and effort people made to attend and do their best to be part of the democratic process because you didn’t win. Is this a sign of leadership or just a spoiled brat acting out? Your callous statement that McCain is a more experienced leader in international affairs and would better handling a crisis than Barack Obama showed that you no longer care about America or the American People but just your fight to stay alive in a political campaign you are losing. The negativity of your “3 AM” ad was a tactic taken straight from Karl Rove’s play book on how to defeat Democrats and should have been beneath you but wasn’t. Your hesitation and vague answer when asked did you believe Barack Obama was a Muslim just added fire to a rumor the Republicans have been spreading for months. Instead of asking for Geraldine Ferraro to step down and apologize for her racist comments about Obama’s candidacy, you let it keep playing out in the media. If someone had stated that you were only in your position because you were female, you would have been the first one screaming at the top of your lungs. At one time, I respected the work you had done and was proud of your candidacy and what you were bringing to the picture in American politics and history. I can only say now that I am ashamed of you and your pettiness. The Democratic Party and the Nation would be better served if you dropped out of the race and saved us all from your fight to stay alive in a race you have lost. You seem to have forgotten the big picture. This is about America- not Hillary. Respectfully yours, refinish69 Worried Democrat A Trip to the Gas Station: No it is not a Curious George Story "Yesterday, as Barack was giving his speech I took a break at work so I could watch. I knew then that it was historic... I knew then that he was so much more than a politician... I knew then he was a visionary. My day went on as usual, finishing work... I came home, changed clothes and went to workout. I wore, as I often do one of my five Obama t-shirts. So I finish working out and it was a tough workout. I was exhausted, sweaty, nasty and just wanted to go home, shower and relax. But I had to get gas and I am so glad I did. I pull in and it was windy as could be and start pumping my gas. Then this huge blue truck with a guy in his forties, beard, rough looking actually gets out. I notice he's staring at me and I'm thinking "ok this is it, I'm gonna get my ass beat right here for being a white, gay, Obama supporter from Kentucky." With a deep southern drawl, he say's: "I like him." "Who? I think" "The man's got it... He's smart... He's real... (insert cursing, anti-Hillary remarks here) and he's got my vote." "That great" I say, not only cause he's supporting Barack but because it looks like my life has just been spared!!! Then I asked him if he saw the speech. "Yup, that's why I'm voting for him... if he can change my mind and let me see the error of my ways... he can sure as hell change this country." "Wow" I'm thinking. Then I remember I had an extra Obama, "yes we can" bracelet in my pocket. I reach in, pull it out and toss it to him, telling him what it is and pointing to the one on my wrist. You would have thought I had just given him a million bucks. Then he does something I will never forget as long as I live. He goes to the back of his truck and slowly peels off a confederate flag bumper sticker, "the south will rise again" right next to a "sportsmen for Bush" bumper sticker and tosses it in the garbage. The ironic thing about all of this is that both the worst experience in my life and one of the best experiences of my life happened at a gas station. As you may recall in 2006 I was stabbed in a restroom at a gas station because I was gay... Barack Obama is our next great President, just ask the gun waving, redneck, that turned out to be one of the kindest people I've ever met, kinda guy who he's voting for. Pass this along as you wish and thanks for reading!!! We can change the world ~ted" Having been the victim of hate crimes not once but 3 or more times before we had a term for them, I understand this young man's story and the hope that Obama's speech gives to many as we see how everyday Americans respond to it. People can call it rhetoric and hype and get tired of hearing Obama and his supporters talk about hope but after the results of the past 12 or more years of divisive politics and politically and religiously endorsed bigotry, maybe hope is what this country needs.
TEAM OBAMA
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(This is a repeat of the show I did last year for World AIDS Day. I have nothing to add but more tears.) December 1st is the day to honor the memory of all the people we have lost to AIDS and say a prayer in our hearts for those living HIV & AIDS.  The world has lost so many men, women, and children to this horrific disease. This is the 19th World AIDS Day.  I remember attending a meeting to organize a remembrance 19 years ago in an apartment in Raleigh, North Carolina.  If anyone had told me I would still be attending or helping with World AIDS Day events 19 years later, I would have called them a liar but here I am. I refuse to rant or rave about the stupidity that has caused this disease to continue and worsen for so many years.  Today is not the day for that.  However, I will share some stories from my life.  

I have lost over 1,000 people I call friend to this disease.  I will not list all the names but they are burned into my heart and soul.  I will tell you about a few special people who touched my life, my heart and my soul.

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The first person I lost to AIDS was David Pendergras.  He was one of the most beautiful men I have ever met.  I had a huge crush on David that finally became one of the best friendships I ever had.  David was the brother my brother could never be to me.  We would spend hours talking about everything from our latest boyfriends, clothes, music, movies, books, plays, and even family.  It was nothing for us to sit up all night talking, laughing and watching old movies.  I still miss his smile and wacked out sense of humor.   One time when we were out shopping with my Mom, David screams from across the store "Would you come on Miss Thing. We are ready to go."  I was mortified.  We were in Raleigh, North Carolina and I had only come out to my mom the previous year.   To my surprise, my mom laughed and hugged David.  I think he actually helped her understand me and what it meant to be a gay male.  Neither David nor I were nelly in anyway but did love to cut up once in awhile.  I still talk to David and tell him my dreams, fears, and aspirations and he is still listening and cracking jokes.  David, I love you and I miss you.

In July of 1999, I lost two incredible people in 10 days time.  Keith Mcelhenny had been a friend for 8 years.  I had met him and his lover Carl when I was dating a mutual friend and bartending part time at a country western bar in San Francisco.  Keith was one of the gentlest souls I have ever known.  He was an artist, a writer, a furniture builder and designer.  Keith and I would get lost in the bookstores while our respective lovers would fuss and complain.  I loved attending plays, movies and concerts with Keith & Carl and talking about them afterwards.  For many years, any holiday was spent either at their home or with them at my home.  Dinner parties were a common occurrence and I always knew the food would be wonderful and would help with my own contributions.  The last two times I ever attended church were for Keith.  He was inducted as a deacon to the MCC church he and Carl belonged to and he asked me to attend.  Unknown to me, I was asked to participate in the lying on of hands part of the ceremony.  I tried to refuse as I am not a practicing church member of any kind and he and the minister said I had a Christian heart and the service would not be complete without me.  The next time I attended was for his memorial service.  I had promised Keith in the hospital that I would cater his memorial to make sure it was nice and not just thrown together.  Keith's memorial was delayed for several days since his Minister and the majority of the congregation of the church was at an MCC World Conference.    I was honored to do this for him and still miss him terribly.  He will always hold a special place in my heart and mind.

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The other person I lost that awful July was my Lover Don.  What can I say about Don?  He was light of my world.  Here was the one man that was special enough for me to date, live with and love more than 6 months.  He was someone I wanted to grow old with and laugh about our past blunders, but that was not to be.  When I met Don, he had been HIV positive for 15 years.  That did not mean a thing to me.  I was in love from the first night we spoke.  I am not saying everything was perfect.  No relationship is.  We were total opposites in almost everything.  He loved bloody action movies and gambling.  I am a comedy or chick flick guy.  In his entire life, he had never seen a play, a classical concert or even a jazz concert.  He laughingly said that the only things we had in common were that we were both gay, loved dogs, and loved each other. He had this sleepy little smile that could melt my heart and make me forget any little dispute.  He would plan special occasions for me that would simply blow my mind.  He was probably one of the most romantic men I have ever met.  It was nothing for him to plan a special night on the town or an incredible dinner at home with flowers and candles all over the house.  He made me feel special and unique.  Don died on the Thursday before Keith's memorial.  He died at our home with our two dogs, his cat and me.   One week after Keith's memorial, I threw a party for Don.  I cooked all of his favorite treats and invited his friends and mine.  There was a poker table set up in one room, music and conversation in the living room. I decorated the house with every type of flower I knew he loved.  

Don will always be a part of me.  He touched my heart & soul as no other human being ever has.  I think of him always and still talk to him and listen for his answers.  He occupies my dreams when I am troubled and has even helped me find solutions.  I wish anyone in love 10 years for every 6 months that Don and I had together.  It was the best 5.5 years of my life.    

Take some time today to remember the loved ones you have lost and to say a kind word to those you know who are living with HIV and AIDS.  Wear a Red Ribbon and explain the significance to all that ask.

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Coming Out is never an easy thing to do but is vital. Speaking out is even more important to everyone. Speak out for Equal Rights for Everyone and fight to get elected officials who recognize all Americans and their rights elected. I was lucky enough to attend the Seven Straight Nights For Equality Vigil hosted by Atticus Circle and Soulforce in Austin Texas. Anne Wynne, the founder of Atticus Circle spoke about the need for Equality for all families. Anne is a straight mother of 3 who understands that all families are important. She has opened her heart and mind and supports Equality for All. Check back for an interview with Anne in the upcoming weeks.
Rainbow Bear

Rainbow World
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