Senate Bill 16 (AKA the "Sunday Sales" Bill)

As I posted on Facebook:

Below is a note I sent to each member of the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities in regards to Senate Bill 16. Feel free to copy and paste and send along.

I suggest putting in a call or fax since Wednesday is around the corner. Let’s blitz the Senators with emails, calls, and faxes within the 24 hours before they meet!

On Wednesday, February 25, you have a Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee meeting. When the discussion turns to Senate Bill 16, I hope you will show your support for the bill.

I hope each Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee member realizes that support of Senate Bill 16 is not pledging support to Sunday alcohol sales. In actuality, it is allowing the people of Georgia a chance to voice their opinions through the voting process.

COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
David Shafer (Chairman): david.shafer@senate.ga.gov, (404) 656-0048
Eric Johnson (Vice Chairman): eric.johnson@senate.ga.gov, (404) 656-5109
Ed Harbison (Secretary): ed.harbison@senate.ga.gov, (404) 656-0074
Gloria Butler: gloria.butler@senate.ga.gov, (404) 656-0075
Steve Hensen: steve.henson@senate.ga.gov, (404) 656-0085
Jack Hill: jack.hill@senate.ga.gov, (404) 656-5038
Dan Moody: dan.moody@senate.ga.gov, (404) 463-8055
Jack Murphy: jack.murphy@senate.ga.gov, (404) 656-7127
Mitch Seabaugh: mail@mitchseabaugh.com, (404) 656-6446
Doug Stoner: doug.stoner@senate.ga.gov, (404) 463-2518
Ross Tolleson: ross.tolleson@senate.ga.gov, (404) 656-0081
Renee Unterman: renee.unterman@senate.ga.gov, (404) 463-1368
Tommie Williams: tommie.williams@senate.ga.gov, (404) 656-0089

WHY DO I WRITE ~ Ellen Steinbaum

WHY DO I WRITE ~ Ellen Steinbaum

Why do I write? Dustin has posed such an interesting question, one I was surprised not to have an immediate answer for. The title poem of my book, Container Gardening, has these lines: “apply attention/plainest form of love.” I realize that this is my answer, written into some of my poems:
I write to pay attention.

When I am writing, everything around me seems to call out, “write about me!” “think about me!” “look at me!” I experience the world in a different way then–more thoughtfully and also more vividly. Instead of mindlessly walking through my day, I’m more aware of the things that interest me, please me, anger me, terrify me. Would I notice them as intensely if I weren’t writing? I don’t know.

I do know that the writing–even just the intent to write–gives me this gift, an extra dimension for taking it all in. It feels as if there is a kind of sacredness in this, an honoring of the time I have been given. Another one of my poems ends, “what is holy in this life/is noticing.” All we have, finally, is our time and how we choose to use it, what we think about, what we notice. Writing is how I notice.

Dustin Lance Black ~ MILK: Best Original Screenplay

Here is Dustin Lance Black’s acceptance speech for winning the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for MILK:

Oh my God. This was, um, this was not an easy film to make. First off, I have to thank Cleve Jones and Anne Kronenberg and all the real-life people who shared their stories with me. And, um, Gus Van Sant, Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, James Franco and our entire cast, my producers Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, everyone at Groundswell and Focus for taking on the challenge of telling this life-saving story. When I was 13 years old, my beautiful mother and my father moved me from a conservative Mormon home in San Antonio, Texas to California, and I heard the story of Harvey Milk. And it gave me hope. It gave me the hope to live my life. It gave me the hope one day I could live my life openly as who I am and then maybe even I could even fall in love and one day get married.

I wanna? I wanna thank my mom, who has always loved me for who I am even when there was pressure not to. But most of all, if Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he’d want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than by their churches, by the government or by their families, that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you and that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights federally, across this great nation of ours. Thank you. Thank you. And thank you, God, for giving us Harvey Milk.

"The Invisible Intruder" by Katie Chaple

THE INVISIBLE INTRUDER

I always did want to be Nancy Drew—
think, to be that perfect girl with perfect titian hair,
the perfect powder-blue convertible,
to have two trust-worthy (yet not-quite-as-pretty) friends.
But then, to have the cute boyfriend, the daddy lawyer
and still to continually, with no true hesitation,
seek out the mysterious, the dangerous?
She did have everything, didn’t she? Smart, pretty.
She belonged in the best college, the best sorority,
not skulking in a moss-covered mansion or an old attic.
I think there is something dark in Drew.
I mean, a girl who, if tied, knows how to clasp her hands together
so she can free them, is a girl who has more
than a nodding acquaintance with bondage,
who knows more than she lets on.
But maybe Nancy needed a reckless man,
one with a motorcycle—not that androgynous, blonde Ned,
all chaste pecks and letterman’s jacket.
Maybe, though, Nancy really wanted to fill up the abandoned
and decaying, where she would wind up, alone,
again and again—in the caves, the towers,
or maybe, really it was all about her dead mother,
and she was trying to pull the emptiness in—
the swirl of air, dankness—by learning it,
by throwing herself into what, in actuality, terrified her.
But whatever it is, tell me
that a girl who’s always using her beautiful, slender fingers
to creak open doors, carry heavy flashlights
all to illuminate cob-webbed corners, abandoned passageways,
tell me she is happy with her life.

~ Katie Chaple

Originally published in The Antioch Review, Vol. 62, Issue 2.
Also published in the Java Monkey Speaks anthology.

A Letter to Margaret Atwood

Dear Margaret Atwood,

My love for you runs deep.

Alias Grace. The Handmaid’s Tale. Morning in the Burned House.

I didn’t think I could love you anymore; however, today, I found out I was wrong. You decided not to attend to the Emirates Airline International Festival of Literature in Dubai because of the banning of The Gulf Between Us, which was banned because of a storyline involving a gay character. Not only did you decide not to attend, but you shared your reasons via your website. Ms. Atwood, I love it.

On a personal note, not that you have time for me to make it personal—but if this is your assistant reading keep reading there is time. I must say, very simply, censorship sucks! I, myself, have been the victim of censorship. Last year I was recorded reading my poem “Missing Names.” While the word whore was broadcast freely, the recording station bleeped out cocksucker. Ms. Atwood (or Ms. Atwood’s assistant), it hurt me as well as the poetic sting that is delivered with the line containing cocksucker. I feel I must add that the use of cocksucker is not even vulgar. Cocksucker is part of the name of a shot referenced in the poem, a Cowboy Cocksucker to be exact.

I digress.

Margaret Atwood, I love you. Thank you for saying in your utmost professional and brilliant way that censorship sucks and by proxy sending a message of acceptance/tolerance/etc. toward the LGBT community.

Your fan,
Dustin Brookshire

P.S.
The Festival still has your picture on their website. If you have to open a can of Atwood-Whoop-Ass, please let me know as I’d like to bear witness.

Updates:
Atwood now hoping to attend Dubai festival ‘virtually’ as part of censorship panel

Dubai Festival Update: The Gulf Between Us, from English PEN

"This Poem Wants To Be Censored"

Tonight, I used my iPhone to record “I Should Write Soap Operas” for qarrtsiluni. Now, I’m sort of addicted to recording stuff and transferring it to my computer. I recorded another poem just for my blog because it makes me feel more professional over giving into an addiction. So yeah! For a limited time, here is “This Poem Wants To Be Censored.”

"Sex experts speak out at Capitol"

Rep Hill to the left. Rep Byrd to the right.

A couple of weeks ago I pointed my finder at State Representative Calvin Hill because he was pointing his finger at some distinguished professors at Georgia State University.

Here is a 2/10/09 update from the AJC

Legislators back off, praise GSU experts on sex issues

Instructors testify that they have done research on HIV, teen sex attitudes
By AARON GOULD SHEININ

An expected showdown over sex experts at Georgia State University failed to materialize Tuesday after the school’s professors wowed the House Higher Education Committee and a leading legislative critic backed off.

The minor controversy had flared last week after Rep. Calvin Hill (R-Canton) e-mailed supporters lambasting the University System of Georgia for offering classes in oral sex, male prostitution and “queer theory,” which is a field of of gender studies. He later learned the document he saw was not a course listing, but rather a copy of GSU’s experts guide, which provides journalists and policy researchers access to faculty with different expertise.

But Hill also learned several other universities in the state offer classes with the word “queer” in the title. He was joined by Rep. Charlice Byrd (R-Woodstock) who took the House floor to criticize universities for paying for experts in oral sex and male prostitution.

Two of those experts spoke to the House committee Tuesday. Kirk Elifson is listed as an expert in male prostitution. He said he became an expert while serving as a captain in the Army in Vietnam and later became a professor. The Centers for Disease Control, he said, sought out his expertise to help with the growing AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.

“We’ve done some cutting-edge research in HIV,” he said. “I’m proud of the work I’ve done.”

….Click here for the rest of the article……

ALSO…

Here is an AJC article from 2/11/09:

Sex experts speak out at Capitol

Legislator blames media for distorting his criticism
By Aaron Gould Sheinin

An expected showdown over sex experts at Georgia State University failed to materialize Tuesday after the school’s professors wowed the House Higher Education Committee and a leading legislative critic backed off.

The minor controversy had flared last week after Rep. Calvin Hill (R-Canton) e-mailed supporters lambasting the University System of Georgia for offering classes in oral sex, male prostitution and “queer theory,” which is a field of gender studies. He later learned the document he saw was not a course listing, but rather a copy of GSU’s experts guide, which provides journalists and policy researchers access to faculty with different expertise.

But Hill also learned several other universities in the state offer classes with the word “queer” in the title. He was joined by Rep. Charlice Byrd (R-Woodstock), who took the House floor to criticize universities for paying for experts in oral sex and male prostitution.

…..Click here for the rest of the article…..

"Fourteen" by C. Dale Young

I’m in love with C. Dale Young’s “Fourteen.”

You can find it in OCHO #22: Dear America, Don’t Be My Valentine!

FOURTEEN

Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It has been
six days since my last confession. I let a guy
cheat off of my science test because it made me
feel smarter. And I ignored my Mother telling me

to be home by 9:00 pm. I don’t really even know
why she asks such things. And I continue to have
impure thoughts, sometimes every hour. I let a
girl kiss me, a boy, too, but we all had our clothes on.

And this may not be a sin, but I knocked Mike down
on the basketball court just as he was making a jump,
just to be able to help him up, help him back
to the locker room. His knee got twisted. It swelled

until it looked like a softball. It was so swollen.
He let me hold ice to it until his folks came.
I liked holding the ice to it. But I found myself
having impure thoughts, Father, strange thoughts.

I sat there holding the ice and staring at his knee
and up the legs of his shorts. I could see
the white edge of his jockey shorts and more.
I had to look, Father. I had to look.

Forgive me, I couldn’t help it, the staring.
It was like the time last week, after the game,
when I couldn’t help but watch the soap suds
under your chin just before you washed off.

I sat on a bench in my towel and watched you, the
shape of your back, your arms, your chest. I know
this is wrong, Father, watching you in the shower.
But I only watched the soap. I only watched the water.

PROJECT VERSE: there’s only room for good poetry

Project Verse update time:

(1) There are a couple of additions to the prize package for the contest winner.

(2) The deadline has been extended!

(3) Poets who have published no more than one full length collection of poetry are eligible for the contest. I received a handful of emails from people who’ve published one book and wanted to enter but couldn’t because of the original rules. Yes, I’m a softy at heart.

Click here to review the updated contest guidelines and prize package.