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Archive | June, 2012

Senator Campfield Say What???

29 Jun

Tennessee state senator Stacey Campfield (R, Knoxville) may want to ask for a time machine for his next birthday. He blatantly laid the AIDS virus on gays and gays alone during a recent Huffington Post satellite radio interview. According to Campfield, heterosexuals simply don’t get AIDS as long as they don’t have anal sex. Oh, I see. I wonder what the parents of the 20 month old child who died from AIDS in 1982 after having a number of blood transfusions have to say about that. Certainly, their child wasn’t having anal sex, and he’s only the first confirmed non-sexual AIDS death out of many. The senator did state that blood transfusions do pass along the disease, but the transfusion discussion was more of a passing, “I think I know what I’m talking about” comment. He clearly expressed his belief that gay people have AIDS.  The Huffington Post interview was reminiscent of the early 80’s, when no one knew what was going on and everyone was afraid. Now, with the education and validated research available, the fear is unfounded. Sadly, the dumb remarks are still strong. Campfield caused issues across the nation with his remarks, including at his high school alma mater, Vestal High.

Vestal is a small city in central New York. It’s near Binghamton, and is considered part of Greater Binghamton. As Campfield moved through his career, the Vestal High School was rightfully proud. The school board added Campfield’s picture to its Hall of Fame in the entrance way to the high school.

After Campfield’s public statements, some Vestal residents demanded that the picture be removed from the wall of the high school. Many parents, teachers and students believed that the picture depicted hatred. People wanted the picture removed in the spirit of anti-bullying and “It Will Get Better” campaigns. Sadly, the Vestal School Board disagreed, and thus far, has elected to leave the picture on the wall.

While I am dissatisfied with this decision, I cannot state the disappointment as well as my contemporary, Joshua Ludzki. He is an up-and-coming member of the community, website host and designer (bingspot.com), student, radio DJ, and my friend. This is his letter regarding the incident:

LETTER TO THE EDITOR – Regarding Senator Campfield’s Photo at Vestal HS

I like people that stand on principle, I really do. And I take the Vestal School Board at its word when it says that it’s keeping Tennessee State Senator Stacey Campfield on its Wall of Fame because of an unwavering commitment to free speech. But that which seems obvious to the scores of protesters who showed up on Tuesday night still seems to allude the board itself: A right to free speech does not guarantee the right to be honored for that speech. Just because a man’s got an opinion, doesn’t mean he gets a round of applause.

The Board has made it quite clear that they find the Senator’s statements disgusting, and I believe their distaste is genuine.

So why not this: If Campfield feels so strongly about the gays and how they’re ruining everything, why not let him fly to Vestal, stand on a soapbox in front of the high school, and spew his bigotry through a megaphone. Or how about this: let him go on satellite radio or do a local call-in show or write a blog on the Internet. Oh wait: he’s done those last three, and nobody stopped him. Yay for free speech! Vestal High School students can even tune in and hear him if they so choose. Good news is, they’ve all got Internet: it’s like a giant free-speech accelerator. Free speech, it would seem to me, is doing just fine–without Vestal’s wall of honor giving it a helpful boost.

The School Board also points out that he’s not being honored for his recent statements but for his previous accomplishments. They compare him to OJ Simpson, who remained in the NFL Hall of Fame despite his ‘heinous actions’.

But OJ Simpson is an athlete–and was honored by the NFL, a sports organization, because of what he did on the field. The Vestal Board of Ed doesn’t run a national sports organization; it runs a school system. Personally, I’d rather the NFL could look to our schools for model behavior than the other way around, wouldn’t you? And I don’t think our schools should honor a man for his superficial accomplishments–simply getting elected–while turning a blind eye to the harm he’s done. And yes, that even means those schools can and should withdraw an honor after the man’s done wrong.

Senator Campfield has made statements which are, in the Board of Ed’s words, ‘archaic, disrespectful and reprehensible’. That’s only half the point. What’s more important: they’re actually wrong. Being gay isn’t ‘deadly and dangerous’–and no, that isn’t my opinion, there’s actual science and stuff. For the record, Mr. Campfield, unprotected sex is deadly and dangerous, not being gay. And to use your bully pulpit to imply otherwise is the public health risk.

The Board of Ed tells us that Senator Campfield ‘WAS’ honored in 2008 but that he is no longer being honored–he’s just hanging around on the wall. It’s an interesting argument, but it would work better if they could also put a disclaimer on the wall: “Objects in this display case may be more disgraced than they appear”. To a kid that walks in the door on the first day of school, I bet they think, “My principal thinks this guy’s pretty great”. That’s the message I’d get.

And while the the School Board says they find it difficult to believe that a kid might see the picture of Campfield and think, ‘I want to be just like him,’ I promise you, I’ve met a bunch of kids just like him. They’re coming from somewhere. And they weren’t born that way.

But I’m not even worried about those kids right now.

Look, everybody gets bullied as a kid. Everybody gets pushed around. You’re too short, you’re too tall, you’re too fat, you’re too smart. It stinks, but most of us get through it. Or maybe it’s even worse; maybe somebody calls you a name because of the color of your skin or because of the place you pray. That’s terrible too, but here’s the thing: there are laws protecting you and your parents are at home to tell you it’s all gonna be OK. Why’s it different to be gay? I promise you, there’s a Freshman in Vestal High School right now who’s terrified to come out to his dad because he thinks he’ll get kicked out of the house, has been told by somebody at church that he’s going to go to hell, and then reads on the news that he’s kinda got civil rights, but not really, cause a bunch of people think he doesn’t deserve them. And to top it all off, there’s a picture of a man who says he’s probably going to get AIDS hanging on the wall of his High School.

That’s the kid I’m worried about right now.

Hang on, though, that’s not even what bugs me most. Here’s what bugs me the most: I’d like to see the Vestal School Board stand in front of a room of kids and defend the rights of a racist to have his picture hang in a place of honor. I’d like to see them hand an award to an anti-Semite or stand in front of the press and defend their right to keep that award because nobody knew how he felt at the time. I’d like to see them protect an anti-Muslim or misogynist or any other kind of bigot we all find so reprehensible. Maybe they would, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

I like people that stand on principle. But here’s what I like even more: consistency. Stop telling our children that hating gays is less bad than hating other kinds of people. Hate is hate. And your kids are listening.

Joshua B Ludzki

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Look What I Found!

29 Jun

I came home for my lunch break yesterday and found this:

Can you see them???? Little – purple – FLOWERS!!!!!! The morning glories opened!!!!!

Additionally, the tomato plant that I thought was going to die, or at least bear no fruit, now has THREE tomatoes!!!!

I am one proud momma! Vertical gardening definitely works.

How to Make the Perfect Hard Boiled Egg

28 Jun

Making hard boiled eggs consists of a little science and a lot of wife’s tales. How do you know when they are done? I’ve come up with a foolproof plan to get the perfect egg every time.

Cover the bottom of a pan with eggs. Don’t layer them on top of each other. Fill the pan until the water is approximately an inch above the top of the eggs; that is, the eggs will be fully submersed with an inch to spare. Place the pot on the heat and set the timer right away! This is the important part – many people wait til the water boils. Don’t. Set it for twenty minutes right away. Remove from heat when the timer stops, drain, cool and enjoy!

Homemade Chocolate Coffee

28 Jun

Chocolate coffee – oh yum! With that being said, here’s how to do it at home:

8 oz coffee

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon Hershey’s Cocoa

Dash milk

Oh holy heaven! I drink this stuff in the garden every morning.

Happy Fourth!

28 Jun

The Road Home

28 Jun

Borax!

28 Jun

Borax is pretty amazing. I use it for all sorts of cleaning. I put a tablespoon into a five ounce spray bottle then fill the bottle with hot water. I shake the bottle to dissolve the powder and use it for an all-purpose cleaner. It has a very light odor, which works well for the allergies around here. I also use it in the laundry soap. It helps remove the hard water stains from our clothing. It’s great stuff because it’s organic. My mother says that it deters cockroaches as well! While I don’t A. have cockroaches or B. know if this is actual fact, I don’t care! I hate “critters” in the house and I spray the garbage can with my homemade cleaner, just in case there’s an ounce of truth to it! Besides, I have no idea just how many critters are hanging out in the yard, just waiting for me to leave the door open long enough for an invasion…. yes, I clean the door frame with Borax to keep the critters out. You could tell me to dance on the table with a dreamcatcher while chanting Nicholas Cage movie lines to keep critters out, and I just might do it.

Here’s a link to the 20 Mule Borax website:

http://www.20muleteamlaundry.com/

and here’s a link to some cool information on the mineral itself:

http://www.minerals.net/mineral/borax.aspx

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