Category Archives: first amendment

Gay Rights: Not a Partisan Issue

Andrew Sullivan once wrote, in a heated blog post, (and I paraphrase) that equality for LGBT Americans is not a partisan issue. It is a human rights issue. His fervor gave me clarity and his observation stuck with me. So today, I’ll take it a step further because we are facing a symbolic moment in the journey towards equality.

Congress will be voting on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in the next 48 hours. I’m asking my friends and family to call Capitol Hill and let their Representative know they SUPPORT LEGISLATIVE REPEAL in 2010. The phone number is (202) 225-3121. If you’re not sure what to say, you can take suggestions from the Servicemembers Legal Defense Fund here. You can also find out if your Member supports the legislation here.

Why do it? Too often do homophobic policies find their ways into national politics, making it difficult for people of all ages living in small towns, big cities and rural areas of America to live their lives fully and openly. They are paralyzed by fear of political and social retribution for being who they are. I know because it happened to me.

Learn more from the Servicemembers Legal Defense Fund and keep up with the latest news from the Advocate’s Washington, DC correspondent, Kerry Eleveld. Read her analysis of how we got to DADT here.

Finally, I thank you for doing your part. With integrity and compassion for others, I’m ready to take a stand. Are you?

Who is the "Tea Party?" – My Tax Day Video

Who is the “Tea Party?”

A college student. A coal miner.

Check this out video from Tax Day, where I shadowed supporters of the “Tea Party,” (which was initiated by Freedom Works), and were out engaging the government about what’s going on in their lives.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhaD1g9-Dp8[/youtube]

As a side note, finally! I am back. As a video journalist, that is. It was a long journey to transition and upgrade all my gear. I’m happy to report that I have officially gone from a Panasonic Mini DV cam (MTV vids), to a Flip Cam (CNN iReport vids) to a Canon Vixia and a Kodak Zi8 Pocket, which are both HD quality. In this video, you’ll notice some imperfections, in part due to experimenting with different file formats. That’s OK though. No one is expecting technical perfection – I think we all get at this point, it’s all about creating content that is raw, unfiltered and authentic…and in some way makes you feel like by watching it you are closer to a truth you had not considered.

As for my editing gear, I also transitioned to a MacBook Pro and Final Cut Express. I won’t bore you with the details, but it was a dramatic, drawn out process getting the Canon Vixia HD filed (AVCHD .MTS) ready to go into Final Cut. In fact there’s no easy way, it requires tons of conversion and compression. That’s what video editing is all about. Tedious, challenging problems that require solutions. Over and over. Thanks to @AnthonyFears, who suggested I use HandBrake, an excellent converter that made my life so much easier and got these old clips ready to produce.

LIVE on CNN

I got a call on my way into work this morning from a producer at CNN who was reviewing my iReports that I submitted last night. We had a conversation about the amount of time I spent at the National Equality March and the range of people I interviewed – and then that was that. At about 3:00PM another producer then reached out to me and asked me if I was up for a live interview with CNN Reporter, Nicole Lapin. Can you guess what my answer was?

Here is a link to the official CNN video. The embed is below.

Equal Rights: More Than a March

I just got back from the National Equality March that is taking place right now in Washington. Thousands of GLBT equality advocates have descended on Northwest D.C. and are in full force as they march from McPherson Square to the steps of the Capitol.

The march has been met with some skepticism, especially by openly gay Member of Congress, Barney Frank (D-MA), who told Associated Press: “The only thing they’re going to be putting pressure on is the grass.” He went on to allude to more effective ways the GLBT community could push their equality agenda – constituent lobby days and grassroots efforts in the states, such as Maine, where gay marriage will soon be voted on. But even with that valid point, the thousands of marchers in Washington had ample reason to be here.

Over the last two decades, our government has actually established legislation that prohibits equality. First there is Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT), a ban of openly gay people in the military, which reduces military effectiveness. Then there is the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which conflicts the Constitution by connecting church and state with a legal definition of marriage: between a man and a women.

On the other hand, you have the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (EDNA), a piece of legislation that protects people from wrongful termination – except GLBT people. In fact, in 29 states, employers can fire or not hire someone based on their sexuality. And the list of policies that dictate civil rights for a minority group in America goes on.

In sum, our government is actively producing policy that makes some U.S. citizens less than equals. We all know that no matter what, it is not right. But somehow that message has not reached all of America. Here are some people who want to change that.

Helen Thomas to the President: Go Down In Flames for the Public Option

Just Released – Unedited, unfiltered interview with Helen Thomas about the health care debate. With more than 60 years of White House experience, Thomas dissects the interests against a “public option” in the health care debate: “Profiteering,” “Misinformation” and an “atmosphere of hate.”

This interview was recorded on Wednesday, August 19, 2009.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRaKNyn3v0M[/youtube]

The First Amendment TEA Party

Nine months ago millions descended on the national mall to inaugurate the first black President.  Little did I know on that cold January day that this demonstration would be the start of America’s awakening to Washington and the right to peacefully assemble.

Last week for better and for worse, millions of Americans descended on Washington. Yet the scene was much different from the Inauguration.

An estimated 700,000 Americans were bussed in from across the country to send such constructive messages (sarcasm) as “You Aren’t Really a citizen,” “You are more dangerous than Osama “and told cameras that Obama “intends on doing what Hitler never could do…destroy America” from the inside.

The Taxed Enough Already (TEA) party was organized by the Freedom Works Foundation.

I’m sorry I couldn’t be at the tea party, due to other freelance commitments, but I’m so glad Max Blumenthal was. Check out this excellent citizen journalism report.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UASS1qFAIQ8[/youtube]