(Gasp) Hypocrisy In The Legislature!

…about health care. Apparently, the legislators decrying health care reform with the loudest voices, have chosen to receive state financed health benefits worth up to $733.00 a month- and they’re on the run.

From Mike Dennison at The Missoulian:

Legislative officials agreed Friday to a Lee Newspapers request to release the names of all legislators accepting health insurance benefits from the state, revealing that all but seven of the 150 lawmakers chose to receive the health benefits, worth up to $733 a month.

Within hours of the information’s release, the Montana House refused to consider a bill putting into state law that the information on lawmaker health benefits should always be made public.

Don Pogreba had this to say from Intelligent Discontent:

As always, Representative Knox best  represented the values of today’s Republican Party. He voted against the blast motion on SB 284 today, despite championing transparency about state spending two days earlier:

knox transparency

But let’s not end with Representative Knox today. Another well-known champion of liberty has apparently been seduced by the Marxist wiles of state bureaucracy and largesse. Even Representative Derek Skees has been transformed from a Galtian hero into a puppet of the state, gladly accepting benefits he knows to be socialistic.

Sigh.
I see chickens circling the henhouse- and the sun is going down…

Meditation Poetic

Boast of Quietness
by Jorge Luis Borges

Writings of light assault the darkness, more prodigious than meteors.
The tall unknowable city takes over the countryside.
Sure of my life and death, I observe the ambitious and would
like to understand them.
Their day is greedy as a lariat in the air.
Their night is a rest from the rage within steel, quick to attack.
They speak of humanity.
My humanity is in feeling we are all voices of that same poverty.
They speak of homeland.
My homeland is the rhythm of a guitar, a few portraits, an old
sword, the willow grove’s visible prayer as evening falls.
Time is living me.
More silent than my shadow, I pass through the loftily covetous multitude.
They are indispensable, singular, worthy of tomorrow.
My name is someone and anyone.
I walk slowly, like one who comes from so far away he doesn’t
expect to arrive.

From Moon Across the Way by Jorge Luis Borge, (c)1925

Illustration: Walking Meditation III by Jenny Waelti-Walters ~used with permission

Queering Ecology: One Goose At A Time

If you’re an amateur naturalist, like me, you’ve probably spent some time in the library or online looking for sexual ambiguity in nature- after all, one of the biggest arguments against the biodiversity of sexual orientation is this: Natural Law.

The argument basically says nature dictates what is (and what isn’t) natural. The basic premise for years had been that animals and plants have clearly established sexual roles and are completely hetero-oriented. And that was a basic premise of my high school science and biology classes.

Because my own experience doesn’t bear this out, I’ve always known that science would soon catch up- destroying the faulty premise of hetero-only natural law. My friend Alex Johnson- a bona fide environmental scientist, also had the itch to find the versatility of nature.

In his fascinating piece for Orion Magazine, Alex writes:

Where is the line between what is Nature and what is Human? Do I spend equal times in the parking lot and the forest? Can I really say the parking lot is separate from the forest? What if I end up staying in the parking lot the whole time? What if it has been a long drive and I really have to pee?

The problem is, the Nature/Human split is not a split. It is a dualism. It is false.

I propose messing it up. I propose queering Nature.

As it would happen, I’m queer. What I mean is this: A) I am a man attracted to men. B) Popular culture has told me that men who are attracted to men are unnatural, and so C) if my culture is right, then I am unnatural. But D) I don’t feel unnatural at all. In fact, the love I share with another man is one of the most comfortable, honest, real feelings I have ever felt. And so E) I can’t help but believe that Nature, and the corresponding definition of “natural,” betray reality. From my end of the rainbow, this thing we call Nature is in need of a good queering.

Like I said- fascinating.  Read the full piece here.
Then forward it to your high school science teacher.

Displaced Anger And Civility

Yesterday’s post ended rather snarkily on my part.

I dismissed the abuse suffered by Rep Kris Hansen (R) Havre with:

That’s nothing- we LGBT people have been putting up with this all our lives.  Wimp.

I admit, I was angered by her lack of understanding of the abuse this bill attempts to codify into law and her whining about some answering machine obscenities and impassioned people in public. That kind of stuff seems to be a part of a controversial person living a public life, and the deep reality of the anger that this bill provokes.

However, I don’t ever want to convey the impression that I believe that this kind of incivility is something that I condone. No human being should ever be subjected to threats because of a political position- even when that position infringes on the rights of other human beings to pursue safety, happiness and well-being.

Having said that, the anger and other strong emotions  elicited by this legislation should not be suppressed. That’s part of the process, too. But those strong emotions should never be used to intimidate, coerce and threaten. That’s fascism.

And we’re better than that.

HB 516 “Probably” Dead

The Associated Press:

A Republican senator says a measure to overturn a Missoula city ordinance that protects gay people from discrimination lacks support from GOP leadership.

The Senate Local Government Committee passed House Bill 516 last week. But the bill was returned to the committee Tuesday and chairman Sen. Jon Sonju says it is doubtful the measure will go to the Senate floor.

Sonju says he moved the measure back to committee because it doesn’t have the support of Senate leaders.

The proposal, carried by Republican Rep. Kristin Hansen, drew lengthy testimony during its hearings in the House and Senate.

Supporters said the bill would overturn an unconstitutional ordinance that infringes on the state’s authority.

Opponents said the measure is targeted against the gay community and interferes with local governments’ ability to govern.

And from the Billings Gazette, the travails of poor Rep Kris Hansen:

Hansen told reporters Wednesday that she intends to ask that the bill be brought back to the full Senate for a debate.

Also on Wednesday, at a meeting of House Republicans, Hansen played a threatening voice mail she had received regarding HB516. She said she turned it over to the Helena Police Department, which is subpoenaing the phone records. If they find who left the message, the lawmaker said she would ask that charges be brought against the caller.

The voice mail, from what appeared to be a male caller, said:

“Here are some of my thoughts for you. If I were you, I would stop spreading hate and intolerance and bigotry against people and their loved ones. The Bible says you reap what you sow, and you and your loved ones are going to get that hate back and then who knows what might happen to you.”

It ended with an insult against her that contained with some obscenities.

“That’s not isolated,” Hansen said. “I get regularly, sometimes daily. I’ve also been accosted twice in Helena by members in opposition to 516 in my face, shaking their fingers in public places, in restaurants, calling me all of these names and more.”

That’s nothing- we LGBT people have been putting up with this all our lives. Wimp.

HB 516 Returned To Committee

HB 516, the legislation written to overturn the rights of local governments to enact protection ordinances, has been returned to the Local Governance Committee. Mike Wessler:

Throughout the session, we have been following Rep. Hansen’s pro-discrimination bill. This bill seeks to nullify Missoula’s non-discrimination ordinance that expands protections in the state’s human rights act to include gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Hansen’s bill would also prohibit any other city from passing similar measures.

Last Friday, supporters of equality and dignity in our state were dealt a blow when the bill received approval from its Senate committee. With this decision by the committee, the bill was headed for it’s final debate–a full debate on the Senate floor…or so we thought.

Today, shortly before the full Senate was slated to debate the measure, Republicans–out of nowhere–asked that the bill be sent back to committee. They cited the revelation of new information as their reason for this action. The bill was quickly returned to the committee.

While at this point, we cannot say anything definitive about the reason …, however, if history teaches us anything, it is that when bills are sent back to committee, it is not a good sign for the ultimate fate of the bill. One can’t help but wonder if today’s polling on the actions of the GOP scared a few of them out of supporting such a discriminatory measure.

And maybe my last post about the miserable treatment LGBT persons have received at the hands of this legislature had something to do with it.

Nah.
They’re not that smart.

Update: The Associated Press reports:

A Republican senator says a measure to overturn a Missoula city ordinance that protects gay people from discrimination lacks support from GOP leadership.

The Senate Local Government Committee passed House Bill 516 last week. But the bill was returned to the committee Tuesday and chairman Sen. Jon Sonju says it is doubtful the measure will go to the Senate floor.

Sonju says he moved the measure back to committee because it doesn’t have the support of Senate leaders.

The proposal, carried by Republican Rep. Kristin Hansen, drew lengthy testimony during its hearings in the House and Senate.

Supporters said the bill would overturn an unconstitutional ordinance that infringes on the state’s authority.

Opponents said the measure is targeted against the gay community and interferes with local governments’ ability to govern.

Kill The Gays

No, it’s not the Montana GOP- yet.
It’s Uganda.

From my friend Kathy Baldock:

 

 

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill, the “Kill the Gays Bill” is in the final stages of review in the Ugandan Parliament. There is one final chance to stop this bill from coming to the vote–applying pressure on Hon. Stephen Tashobya, the Chair of the Legal & Parliamentary Affairs. Behind the scene maneuvering has been revealed by a brave insider. It is critical to give input to Tashobya NOW.

Please read her post here.