Daily Archives: February 18, 2009

>Bayard Rustin

>

Bayard Rustin was one of the most important, impassioned leaders of the civil rights movement, from it’s earliest incarnations in the 1950s until well into the 1980s. Yet his is a name that is rarely, if ever, mentioned.
Bayard Rustin’s involvement was a behind-the-scenes involvement, though no less important than any of the other names usually associated with the fight for civil rights. In addition, the fact that Bayard Rustin was also a gay man, and had been a member of the American Communist party probably insured his name would seldom be mentioned.
He was born in West Chester, Pennsylvania in 1912, to Florence Rustin, one of eight children of Julia and Janifer Rustin. Florence’s child had been born out of wedlock; the father was Archie Hopkins. Julia and Janifer decided to raise young Bayard as their son–he did not know that his ‘sister’ Florence was his mother until he was in his early teens.
Julia Rustin was a member of the Society of Friends–the Quakers–and even though she attended the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the denomination of her husband, she raised her children on the tenets of the Quaker faith: the equality of all human beings before God, the necessity for nonviolence, the importance of dealing with everyone with love and respect.
After attending Wilberforce University and Cheyney State Teachers College, Bayard moved to New York City in 1937, where he would live the rest of his life. He enrolled in City College of New York, though he never received a degree. It was at City College that Rustin began to organize for the Young Communist League of City College; the communists’ progressive stance on the issue of racial injustice appealed to him. with the Party’s about-face in the issue of segregation in the American military, he became disillusioned with communism and broke with the Young Communist League.
He soon found himself following the words of A. Philip Randolph, head of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and, at that time, heavily involved in the civil rights of African Americans. Bayard Rustin soon found himself heading the youth wing of a march on Washington that Randolph envisioned, but the march was cancelled when FDR issued Executive Order No. 8802, forbidding racial discrimination in the employment of workers in defense industries.
Rustin was angered by Randolph’s decision to cancel the projected march, and he transferred his efforts at organization to the peace movement, first in the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and then in the American Friends Service Committee, the Socialist Party, and the War Resisters League.
As a member of a government-recognized peace church–Rustin belonged to the Fifteenth Street Friends Meeting– he was entitled to do alternative service rather than serve in the military. But Rustin was unable to accept what he considered the ‘easy way out,’ given that many young men who did not belong to any recognized peace church were given harsh sentences for refusing to serve in the armed forces.
In 1944, Rustin was found guilty of violating the Selective Service Act and was sentenced to three years in a federal prison. He was sent to the federal penitentiary in Ashland, Kentucky, where he set about to resist the pervasive segregation that was the norm in US prisons at that time. Faced with vicious racism from some of the white guards and prisoners, Rustin faced frequent cruelty with courage and completely nonviolent resistance.
After his release from prison, Rustin once more joined the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), which staged a journey through four Southern and border states in 1947 to test the application of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling that discrimination in seating in interstate transportation was illegal.
Rustin’s resistance to North Carolina’s Jim Crow law against integration in transportation earned him twenty-eight days’ hard labor on a chain gang, where he met with the usual racist taunts and tortures from his fellow white prisoners, as well as the guards.
From 1947 to 1952, Rustin traveled to India and then to Africa under the aegis of FOR to explore and understand more fully the concept of nonviolent demonstration, working within the Indian and Ghanaian independence movements.
In 1953, back in the US and lecturing for the American Association of University Women in Pasadena, Rustin was arrested for public indecency. It was the first time that Rustin’s homosexuality had come into public attention, and at that time homosexual behavior in all states was a criminal offense.
Although the gay rights movement in the United States was still many years away, Rustin’s conviction and his relatively open attitude about his homosexuality set the stage for him to become an elder gay icon, as well as an African American icon, in the years to come. Civil Right and gay rights became of a piece with his belief in the inherent dignity of Afro-Americans and other oppressed people.
A consequence of his arrest, was that Rustin was released from his position at the FOR.
During this time, what he considered the lowest point of his life, Bayard Rustin began a twelve-year stint as executive secretary of the War Resisters League. He contributed greatly to a compilation of pacifist strategy–entitled Speak Truth To Power–published in The Progressive in 1959.
In 1956 Rustin was asked to provide Dr. Martin Luther King with some practical advice on how to apply Gandhian principles of nonviolence to the boycott of public transportation then taking shape in Montgomery, Alabama. On leave from the War Resisters League, Rustin spent time in Montgomery and Birmingham advising King, who had not yet completely embraced principles of nonviolence in his struggle.
By 1957, Rustin was playing a large role in the birth of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and in the Prayer Pilgrimage to Washington that took place in May of 1957 to urge President Eisenhower to enforce the Supreme Court’s 1954 ruling that US schools be desegregated.
The high point of Bayard Rustin’s political career, obviously, was the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom which took place on August 28, 1963; where Martin Luther King gave his “I Have A Dream” speech. By all accounts Bayard Rustin was the March’s chief architect.
With small inroads in desegregation, baby steps actually, finally being made, Rustin came to believe that the time for militant action was over. Now that the legal foundation for segregation had been irrevocably shattered, came the larger, more difficult task of forging an alliance of dispossessed groups in American society into a progressive force.
Rustin saw this coalition encompassing African Americans and other minorities, trade unions, liberals, and religious groups. Rustin’s plan of action did not go further was due to, in the opinion of several political analysts, the war in Vietnam. The enormous monetary, psychological, and spiritual cost of war had eroded any chance of further progressive movement.
Rustin’s opposition to ‘identity politics’ also came under criticism by exponents of the Black Power movement. His criticism of affirmative action programs and black studies departments in American universities was not a popular viewpoint among his fellow African Americans. Rustin found himself isolated from the movement for a time.
Another viewpoint which did not endear Bayard Rustin to leftists or radical Black Power adherents was his consistent support of Israel. In the wake of the Holocaust, Rustin believed very strongly that the Jews needed their own state.
In the late 1970s and 1980s, Rustin worked as a delegate for Freedom house, monitoring elections and human rights abuses in places like Chile, El Salvador, Grenada, Haiti, Poland, and Zimbabwe. In all his efforts Rustin evinced a lifelong, unwavering conviction in behalf of the value of democratic principles.
It was Rustin’s human rights expedition to Haiti in 1987 that drew the final curtain on his remarkable life. After his visit, under the aegis of Freedom House, to study prospects for democratic elections in Haiti, Rustin began to feel ill. His symptoms were initially misdiagnosed as intestinal parasites, but on August 21, 1987, Rustin was admitted to Lenox Hill Hospital and diagnosed with a perforated appendix.
He died of cardiac arrest on August 24.
Although Bayard Rustin lived in the shadow of more charismatic civil rights leaders, like Martin Luther King, Malcom X, Thurgood Marshall, Rosa Parks, he can lay claim to having been an indispensable, although mostly unsung, force behind the movement toward equality for America’s black citizens, and more largely for the rights of human beings around the world.
Throughout his life, Bayard Rustin’s Quakerism was a unifying force, and a strong plank in his personal philosophy, incorporating beliefs that were of central importance to him: that there is God in every person, that all are entitled to a decent life, and that a life of service to others is the way to happiness and true fulfillment.
Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under MLK

>Carlos. Sick. Bob. Sickened.

>
Carlos decided on Sunday, after we cleaned house top to bottom, wall-to-wall, side-to-side, to take a shower. But then, fresh from the shower, he decides to take Ozzo The Pocket Dog for a walk.

It’s cold out. Carlos doesn’t dry his hair.

The next morning he complains he doesn’t feel well. But, like a good soldier, he goes off to work. Then he calls home at around 2 PM to say that he’s coming home because he’s sick.

Me, the ever-loving spouse, says, No, stay at work until 5.

He asks, Why?

Because I want the house to myself.

Okay, so I am not really Mr. Insensitive. And he says he’s on his way home. He says he wants to sleep. He says he wants soup.

I got the stuff out to make a pizza, I say.

No soupy for me?

Sigh. He comes home. I make him got to bed. He hacks. He sneezes. He coughs. The guilt sets in, and I put all the pizza fixin’s away, and get out some chicken to make him the soup. I dice and saute and spice and simmer all kinds of garlic and chicken and carrots/celery/onions/poblanos and curry and ginger and turmeric and curry for a nice hot spicy soup. I make rice to add to the soup. I tiptoe down the hall to the bedroom, and I see he’s awake.

Soup is almost ready.

I wanted pizza.

Why God Why!!

Side note: after dinner he heads back to bed. i go check on him, and tell him that there’s NyQuil in the bathroom. He says he has some Robby Two-sin.

Robby? Oooooooooooooh! Robitussin.

Luuuuuuuuuucy!

5 Comments

Filed under Bob, Carlos, Dogs, Funny, Ozzo, Sick

>Off The Top Of My Head.

>

Okay, so I don’t like Tom Cruise. I’d use the word ‘hate,’ but Grandma always told me it was wrong to say that you hate anyone or anything.
But……I loathe Tom Cruise……..intensely.
He’s a miniature man, literally, and figuratively, and a marginally talented actor who has made a career of playing a one-note character: the good guy who’s dealt a bad hand and fights to do the right thing.
Blah blah blah.
The Firm is Jerry Maguire is Rainman is Top Gun is Mission Impossible is A Few Good Men is Bad Tom Cruise Movie.
Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, i will say I haven’t seen any Tom Cruise movies except for Risky Business which set the tone for the Tom Cruise Method Of Picking Roles Based On Whatever Makes Me Look Good, and Interview With The Vampire, not because of Cruise, but because of three other things: vampires, Brad Pitt, and Antonio Banderas.
And Tiny Tom is also quite homophobic. Mention he’s gay, insinuate he’s gay, tell people you and Tom have done the deed, and he slaps with a $100 million law suit on your ass.
Me thinks Miss Cruise doth protest too much.
But then, he was asked in an interview with Barbara Walters (rants about Grandma Walters to follow) about the rumors of him being a, gasp, homo-sek-shul. Tommy replied that the idea was disgusting; he was a father after all.
So in Little Tommy’s mind being gay is disgusting, and you can’t be gay because you’re a father.
Tiny Tom, Tiny Talent. Tiny Mind.
So, all this brings me to my daily giggle.
Tommy wanted desperately to star in a movie called Salt–some kind of action adventure thingy where I presume he plays a good guy trying to do the right thing.
Now, Tommy’s career in the US of A is not what it once was, and Tommy can’t just stomp his size six pumps and demand to star in any movie he wants.
The director and producers of Salt decided against casting little Tommy and went for someone they saw as a better candidate for successful box-office, and a better actor to play the role of action hero:
They hired Angelina Jolie.
Sorry Tommy, girlfriend’s a lot tougher than you.
___________________________________________
Barbara Walters needs to retire. Now.
I was watching The View because I loves me some Whoopi-Joy dialogue, and because they were having on the truly funny Bonnie Hunt.
So Bonnie’s parked on the sofa between Grandma Walters and Joy, and answering questions and being funny and so on. Joy asks Bonnie if it’s true her producer wants her to get a more exciting life so she can have something more to talk about on her show, The Bonnie Hunt Show, check your local listings.
Bonnie turned to look at Grandma, and says, “He’d like me to get a fabulous life like yours.”
Grandma snarls, “You don’t know anything about my life. I don’t talk about my personal life on this show.”
Huh? What? Huh?
Bonnie, “I know, I’ve never seen this show.”
Grandma, “Well, I’ve never seen your show either.”
Even Whoopi cringed and looked for a way off the sofa.
Pack it in Grandma Walters. You’ve been on TV since Jesus invented it, so it’s time to move on.
Maybe to a local cable access show, The Senile View or The Bitter Old Grandma View or The Shut The Fuck Up Already View.
UPDATE:
Here’s the video of Barbara being a beyotch to my girl Bonnie:

4 Comments

Filed under ABC, Barbara Walters, Bonnie Hunt, Joy Behar, The View, Tom Cruise, Whoopi Goldberg

>Free Speech. Denied.

>

Call me crazy, call me a bad gay, but this is wrong.

A student, one Jonathan Lopez at Los Angeles City College says his professor called him a “fascist bastard” and wouldn’t let him finish giving his speech in a public speaking class. This all happened last November after the Yes on H8 vote.

When Lopez tried to find out what his grade was for his speech, his professor John Matteson, supposedly said, “Ask God what your grade is.” Lopez also says the professor threatened to expel him if Lopez complained to the administration.

Coupla things wrong here, and I’ll take the easy one first:
I don’t think the professor could expel him. That’s an administrative position.

But more troublesome is that in a public speaking class in America a student is not allowed to speak his mind. He’s taking a class on speaking, you see, but he isn’t allowed his opinion.So, why are people up in arms? We know that a lot of folks don’t want/approve/accept gay marriage, but they do have a right to their opinion.’

Yes, even Jonathan Lopez has a right to his opinion. No matter how much I think he’s a religious wingnut, he is allowed to speak.

‘Cuz you know, if we lived in a world where people with different opinions weren’t allowed to speak, it would get awful quiet, awful fast.

And more importantly, how can we as people, as gay people, demand what we believe, what we know, are our rights and then turn around and wish to deny Jonathan Lopez his rights to free speech?

Don’t make no sense.

full story HERE

9 Comments

Filed under Free Speech, Homophobia, John Matteson, Jonathan Lopez, Prop H8, Religion

>Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter

>

Rubin Carter grew up in Paterson, New Jersey, and was arrested and sent to the Jamesburg State Home for Boys at age 12 after he attacked a man with a Boy Scout knife. Carter claimed the man was a pedophile who had attempted to molest one of his friends, but he was found guilty. The alleged pedophile was white, Carter is not.
He escaped from Jamesburg before his six-year term was up and in 1954 joined the Army, where he served in a segregated corps and began training as a boxer. He won two European light-welterweight championships and in 1956 returned to Paterson with the intention of becoming a professional boxer. Almost immediately upon his return, police arrested Carter and forced him to serve the remaining 10 months of his sentence in a state reformatory.
In 1957, Carter was once again arrested, this time for purse snatching. He was tried, convicted, and spent four years in Trenton State, a maximum-security prison, for that crime…purse snatching. But he was a black man and the alleged purse probably belonged to a white woman.
After his release, Rubin decided to channel his considerable anger–towards his situation, racism, an unjust legal system, and the mistreatment by the police of Paterson’s African-American community–into his boxing. He turned pro in 1961, and immediately had a four fight winning streak–including two knockouts.
It was because of his lightning-fast fists that Carter earned the nickname “Hurricane,” and became one of the top contenders for the world middleweight crown. In December 1963, in a non-title bout, he beat then-welterweight world champion Emile Griffith in a first round KO, but subsequently lost his one shot at the title, in a 15-round split decision to reigning champion Joey Giardello in December 1964. Still, he was widely regarded as a good bet to win his next title bout.
As one of the most famous citizens of Paterson, Carter made no friends with the police, especially during the summer of 1964, when he was quoted in The Saturday Evening Post as expressing anger towards the occupations by police of black neighborhoods. His flamboyant lifestyle–Carter loved the city’s nightclubs and bars–and juvenile record rankled the police, as did the vehement statements he had allegedly made advocating violence in the pursuit of racial justice. In those days, in those kinds of places, Black men did not speak out–especially Black men with a criminal record, no matter how flimsy, and lightening fast fists.
While training for his next shot at the world middleweight title in October 1966, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter was arrested for the June 17th triple murder of three patrons at the Lafayette Bar & Grill in Paterson. Carter and John Artis had been arrested on the night of the crime because they fit an eyewitness description of the killers; the eyewitness saw “two Negroes in a white car.” However, the grand jury cleared them of any wrongdoing when the lone surviving victim failed to identify them as the gunmen.
In October, though, the state suddenly produced two new eyewitnesses, Alfred Bello and Arthur D. Bradley, who made positive identifications. During the trial, the prosecution produced little to no evidence linking Carter and Artis to the crime, a shaky motive–racially-motivated retaliation for the murder of a black tavern owner by a white man in Paterson hours before–and the only two eyewitnesses were petty criminals involved in a burglary.
It was later revealed that Bello and Bradley had received money and reduced sentences in exchange for their testimony. Nevertheless, on June 29, 1967, Carter and Artis were convicted of triple murder and sentenced to three life prison terms.
While incarcerated at Trenton State and Rahway State prisons, Carter continued to maintain his innocence by defying the authority of the prison guards, refusing to wear an inmate’s uniform, and becoming a recluse in his cell. He read and studied extensively, and in 1974 published his autobiography, The 16th Round: From Number 1 Contender to Number 45472. The story of his plight attracted the attention and support of many luminaries; Bob Dylan visited Carter in prison and wrote “Hurricane” in Carter’s honor. Even Muhammad Ali joined the fight to free Rubin Carter.
In late 1974, Alfred Bello and Arthur D. Bradley both, separately, recanted their testimony, saying they had lied in order to receive sympathetic treatment from the police. Two years later, after an incriminating tape of a police interview with Bello and Bradley surfaced and the New York Times ran an exposé about the case, the New Jersey State Supreme Court ruled 7-0 to overturn Carter’s and Artis’s convictions. The two men were released on bail, but remained free for only six months—they were convicted once more at a second trial in the fall of 1976, during which Bello again reversed his testimony.
A model prisoner, John Artis, who refused a 1974 offer by police to release him if he identified Carter as the gunman, was released on parole in 1981. Although lawyers for Carter continued the struggle, the New Jersey State Supreme Court rejected their appeal for a third trial in the fall of 1982, affirming the convictions by a 4-3 decision. Carter resigned himself to the reality of his situation, and spent his time reading and studying; he had little contact with others. During his first 10 years in prison, his wife, Mae Thelma, stopped coming to see him at his own insistence, and they divorced in 1984.
In 1980, Carter met Lesra Martin, a teenager from Brooklyn who had read Carter’s autobiography and initiated a correspondence. Martin was living with a group of Canadians who had formed an entrepreneurial commune and had taken on the responsibilities for his education. Before long, Martin’s benefactors–Sam Chaiton, Terry Swinton, and Lisa Peters–met and developed a strong bond with Carter.
The trio, along with Lesra Martin, started working for Carter’s release. In the summer of 1983, they began working with Carter’s legal defense team–Myron Beldock, Lewis Steel and Leon Friedman–in New York City to seek a writ of habeas corpus from U.S. District Court Judge H. Lee Sarokin.
On November 7, 1985, Sarokin handed down his decision to free Carter, stating that:
“The extensive record clearly demonstrates that [the] petitioners’ convictions were predicated upon an appeal to racism rather than reason, and concealment rather than disclosure. “
The state, however, continued to appeal Sarokin’s decision—all the way to the United States Supreme Court—until February 1988, when a Passaic County New jersey state judge formally dismissed the 1966 indictments of Carter and Artis and finally ended the 22-year long saga.
Upon his release, Carter moved to Toronto, into the home of the group that had worked to free him. He worked with Chaiton and Swinton on a book, Lazarus and the Hurricane: The Untold Story of the Freeing of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, which was published in 1991.
Rubin “Hurricane” Carter was given an honorary championship title belt in 1993 by the World Boxing Council and now serves as director of the Association in Defense of the Wrongfully Convicted. He also serves as a member of the board of directors of the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta and the Alliance for Prison Justice in Boston.
Twenty-two years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. He lost his career as a fighter. He lost his family. All because of his skin color, and a few police officers who used hate rather than the legal system to find a murderer.

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

>Hot For FireDaddies

>

So, there are these four firefighters in San Diego–John Ghiotto, Jason Hewitt, Alex Kane and Chad Allison–who claim they were sexually harassed after being ordered to participate as San Diego Firefighters in a gay pride parade in 2007.
They didn’t go as gay firefighters, but just as part of the ‘team’ of city firefighters
And they were sexually harassed during the parade.
Sexually harassed?
You mean like someone in the crowd yelled: I bet you have a big hose.
That kinda harassment?
Or maybe a little Ooooooh I’m on fire for you baby.
Like that.
Build a bridge and get over it, fools.
How about smiling back at those people yellin’ hot stuff at you.
How about taking it as a compliment.
How about admitting you felt dirty because it was men getting all hot’n’bothered for you?
If it was women going all crazy, I can imagine you’d’ all be up there sportin’ big old woodies for the gals. But it was men. And that’s wrong. And it’s worth 4-million.
That’s right, these four fools sued for a million bucks apiece for the trauma and turmoil of being forced to ride in the parade and having cute boys talk to them.
Pffffft.
Due the San Diego’s dire economic situation, though, the four Not-hotties were awarded a measly $34,000 to split. Four ways.
Good.
By the time they pay their lawyer fees they should have just enough money to go down to the local strip club and sexually harass a dancer or two between brewskis.
The story is HERE

2 Comments

Filed under California, Firefighters, Homophobia, San Diego, Sexual Harassment

>Stupid Is As…..Yada Yada Yada

>

Yesterday stupid was Christian Siriano…..well, he was stupid the day before that, and he’ll be stupid tomorrow. And today DavidDust showed us stupid HERE.
Now Keith Olbermann gives us Rush “I-don’t-know-how-this-works-so-give-me-another-pill” Limbaugh.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bob, Christian Siriano, Idiotic, Ignorant People, Keith Olbermann, Rush Limbaugh, YouTube