Domestic Partnerships Fail in NM – because of the Pope

pope_350 A Senate version of a New Mexico domestic partnership bill was struck down in a 17-25 vote yesterday.

Some of those in support of the domestic-partnership bill, including New Mexico senators, said Thursday’s defeat of a bill to was due to the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops coming out in strong opposition to the bill.  Many New Mexicans are Catholic and it didn’t take much for the Bishops to influence members of the Legislature via their parishioners.

While the Catholic Church remained silent on domestic partnerships in New Mexico in past debates, some are saying this change in position came on direction straight from the Vatican and The Pope himself.

Supporters of the bill said they had tried to hammer out a compromise during the 24 hours leading up to the vote and changed some of the original language and taking out words like spouse, marriage and references to either word in an effort to placate the bishops and Republican opposition. But those changes weren’t enough to do the trick because they didn’t do enough to satisfy the concerns of the bishops and the Pope.

Sounds like the Catholic Church tasted a bit of victory with “Yes on Proposition 8″ and like a shark, the taste of blood is making them a bit more hungry (and bold).

The first video, from a local news channel in Albuquerque, features a legislator saying the decision was “God given” and “If they want rights, there are places they can go…” referring to gays and lesbians in New Mexico.  Again, I’m horrified that elected officials feel the need to have “god” driving legislation and ignore the separation of church and state.  Horrified, but not surprised.

The second video below is of New Mexico Lobbyist Linda Siegel announcing the loss to DP supporters.  Linda is a powerhouse and I worked with her personally when I was served on boards in Santa Fe.  The blonde woman next to her is Patti Bushee, a member of the Santa Fe City Council (and a lesbian) and my former Santa Fe landlord.  It’s great to see them even if its via YouTube and under less than pleasurable circumstances.

2.26.09 – 7:20 pm – Millbrae, CA

photo-1On my way home from work, contemplating WHY THE FUCK CAPITAL ONE IS INCREASING MY INTEREST RATE FROM 14% TO 29%?

Due to extraordinary changes in the economic environment, we’re reviewing our existing credit card accounts.  Having considered these economic conditions, our account’s current Purchase rate, and the length of time you’ve had this rate and account, we will be changing your Purchase and Balance Transfer Rate.

A variable rate equal to 29.4% as of 1/28/2009 will be applied to your account.

Shit!  Anyone know any good credit card deals out there? And, yes, I know I should pay this off.

Found on Flickr

Shirtless boys like to photograph themselves driving. Or, at least standing beside the car if they are hairy. And then they post the pics to Flickr for me to find and post at DanNation.  Happy Humpday!

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Naked News from Maine: Topless Coffee Shop Opens in Vassalboro

080701 WeTV 00503 A topless coffee shop has opened in near my hometown in Maine.  I would to have loved to have seen the prudes protesting the opening of this place! I wonder if they’ll check it out now that it is open.

I wonder if they accept nipple clamps as a tip?

With rampant obesity in rural Maine, though, I don’t think the staff look anything like the twinks to the right.

Topless coffee shop opens

BY SCOTT MONROE
Staff Writer
2.25.09

VASSALBORO — On Tuesday morning, a small sign hung in front of the log cabin-style building, listing the hours: 6 a.m.-6 p.m.

The outside windows were covered with promotional posters for New England Coffee. Up the entrance ramp to the front door, another sign: “Over 18 only” — and another at the door: “No cameras, no touching, cash only.” A man in a white dress shirt kept watch at the front door.

Inside, two men sipped coffee at their booth; the rest of the tables were empty. There are 15 tables, with room enough for 58 people.

On Tuesday, inside were three topless women, one topless man and owner Donald Crabtree in a dress shirt and tie. Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper” was playing.

Brothers Dick and Rene Brochu of Augusta, ages 60 and 59, said they decided to stop by the Grand View Topless Coffee Shop after hearing about it from friends. Both men are retired.

“I really hope it works,” Dick Brochu said of the business. “It’s different. I kind of like it. If you don’t like it, I say don’t come in, stay away.”

Implying that criticism of the coffee shop has been overblown, Rene Brochu said, “The evil is in your head.”

To the chagrin of some residents, the shop on Belfast Avenue opened its doors Monday. More than 50 opponents turned out for Planning Board hearings in January, but despite complaints, town officials said there was nothing they could do to stop Crabtree from opening the business.

The coffee shop is in a former motel, which has been the site of many businesses in the last several years, and is located on a sparse stretch of Route 3 just over the Augusta line. It was most recently Mac Daddy’s Pub at the Fat Cat Grille, which closed several years ago.

Eight customers — all men — stopped by the coffee shop between 10 and 11:15 a.m. Tuesday. Staff members estimated they had between 50 and 60 customers on Monday, despite a snowstorm; of those customers, about eight were women, they said.

Aside from the Brochu brothers, the other customers in the shop Tuesday morning declined to give their names or comment.

Topless waitress Susie Wiley, 23, of Farmingdale, said she went for the job because it’s “something different” and said she’s worked in coffee shops since she was a teenager.

Asked whether the shop is degrading to women, Wiley said, “No, I love it. I find it very empowering, not degrading.”

For now, the menu at the shop is slim: Just cups of New England Coffee ($3 each) and donuts made from Chase Farm Bakery in Whitefield ($2 each). Crabtree said he may offer more food if business picks up.

Elvis Thompson, 32, of Brunswick, was the lone male waiter at the coffee shop Tuesday morning, though he said there are two other male waiters.

Thompson, topless and wearing black boots and black shorts, said he was laid off from another job two weeks ago and then saw an advertisement for the coffee shop.

During the first day, Monday, Thompson said he waited on two ladies, one of whom told him she had been opposed to the business but now she thinks it’s great.

Topless waitress Kris Kelley, 43, of Windham, said her previous restaurant experience was managing a pizzeria in Hawaii.

Kelley said criticism of the shop is “ridiculous.”

“It’s just a body part,” she said. “There are more serious issues to worry about in this country than something like this.”

Kelley said she gets along with all her co-workers and customers: “We’re one big happy family.”

Contacted on Tuesday, resident Paula Furbush, who was critical of the coffee shop when it was proposed to the Planning Board, said she had not realized the business had opened.

“I definitely think it’s not a good idea. I’ve lived in town my whole life and we’ve never had anything like this,” Furbush said.

Lisa Breton, a resident for 23 years, said she was surprised the coffee shop opened up.

“I don’t believe it’s going to pan out, not in a small community like this,” Breton said. “People move to these small towns because they don’t want to deal with bars and adult video stores and a topless coffee shop. It’s important for towns to have an ordinance written so things like this can’t happen.”

Crabtree said he does not pay his staff a regular wage; all their earnings come from customer tips, mostly ranging from $5 to $20.

On Tuesday morning, Kelley brought coffee to a male customer, who gulped down about half of the cup during a couple minutes, handed Kelley a $100 bill and left without saying a word.

Topless waitress Ginni Labree, 34, of Palermo, wore fluorescent electric pink nail polish and has a tattoo of a rose on her arm. Labree said she has previous experience as a store manager and used to work in dance clubs.

Although “most people have been respectful,” Labree said she did encounter inappropriate behavior on Monday when an intoxicated couple came in. The male attempted to touch her, but she backed away. “I told them, ‘Hey, we can’t touch.’” Labree said she doesn’t mind hugging customers or shaking hands.

Labree said she enjoys chatting with people and she has received many compliments from customers, such as “you’re pretty, nice body, nice tattoos and you’re very colorful.”

“I haven’t had anybody leave without a smile yet,” she said.

Crabtree said he interviewed 150 people for the positions and narrowed the field to 10. Crabtree said he selected people who were the friendliest and comfortable being topless.

“We want to keep the girls respectable, not trashy,” said Crabtree, who lives in the motel attached to the shop. “The biggest thing is keeping people happy.”

Lovin’ the new Safari

Imagine that your browser works like iTunes – the new Safari 4.0 Public Beta is cool and fast.  Here’s the shot of my recent history.  You can also flip through all past pages like you do album art.  This is how an Apple browser should work!

The only oddity are the tabs on top of the browser bar (as opposed to just below as in the previous Safari and Firefox).

Download the new Safari.  You won’t be sorry!

Young. Gay. Proud. Murdered: the hairdresser battered to death

I am as baffled as everyone else at the verdict in this murder case.  While it is difficult to make the call as an armchair quarterback (when the actual jury sees all the evidence and hears all the sides), the evidence in this case seems pretty clear to me.

Shocking.

Michael Causer had never even considered concealing his sexuality: he was proud to be gay. He grew up in a tight-knit family in a working-class suburb of Liverpool, and friends would describe the trainee hairdresser as a “little sweetheart”. He was a gentle young man on the cusp of adulthood who “wouldn’t hurt a fly”; someone who loved his many friends and adored life.

But last July, as the 18-year-old lay in an upstairs bedroom at an after-pub party, sleeping off the effects of a night’s drinking, he was viciously assaulted and his bleeding body dumped outside in the street. The attack took place at the home of a friend’s grandmother, in the Liverpool suburb of Huyton.

Nine days later, his family took the heart-breaking decision to turn off his life-support system but vowed that whoever had assaulted him would be brought to justice. “We won’t let Micky be pushed aside because he was gay, never in a million years,” they vowed.

Read more here.

Same Old Bullshit

Think Progress » When Asked Whether He Would ‘Consider’ Gay Civil Unions, Steele Replies, ‘What Are You, Crazy?’.

It looks like the new leader of the Republican Party, Michael Steele, is about as innovative as a Detroit auto maker.  While the party should re-create itself and its strategy to win over the middle of the electorate, it continues to focus on culture wars and issues that will maintain the already large chasms within it.

Gallagher asked guest Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican Party, if he thought the party “ought to consider” something like civil unions. Steele replied immediately, “No, no, no,” adding, “What are you, crazy?” He made it clear that the party would not budge on gay rights:

GALLAGHER: Is this a time when Republicans ought to consider some sort of alternative to redefining marriage and maybe in the road, down the road to civil unions. Do you favor civil unions?

STEELE: No, no no. What would we do that for? What are you, crazy? No. Why would we backslide on a core, founding value of this country? I mean this isn’t something that you just kind of like, “Oh well, today I feel, you know, loosey-goosey on marriage.” […]

GALLAGHER: So no room even for a conversation about civil unions in your mind?

STEELE: What’s the difference?

Same old rhetoric.  Same old bullshit.  The Republican party has become anachronistic — like an old 8-track tape that continually replays Track 3 over and over and over.

While the rest of us celebrate iTunes, the Republican Party continues to talk about the introduction of Hi-Fi.