When you have a cold as bad as mine, the best thing to do is to get plenty of bed rest. I think I’d feel much better though if I were snuggled up next to him.
Monthly Archives: November 2013
Workplace discrimination is alive and well. If the fact that I was gay became common knowledge at the school where I teach, then it is likely that I would lose my job. I believe that I would have the support of my headmaster, a good portion of the faculty, and several people on the schools board of directors. However, even that might not save my job, but the U.S. Senate passage of S.285, the Employee Nondiscrimination Act of 2013 (ENDA) yesterday could give me the protection I would need if it also passed the House and was signed by President Obama. If passed, ENDA would prohibit discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity by civilian, nonreligious employers with at least 15 employees. Though my school may consider itself Christian-oriented, we are not affiliated with any religious organization and we have more than 15 employees. Therefore, they could not be exempt from ENDA.
I am not the only teacher in America who works extremely hard to educate America’s children who risk losing their job each day because of their sexual orientation. Besides, it does not just pertain to teachers, but all professions. The American people have, over the past two decades, become much more amenable to LGBT Americans, and LGBT rights in general, yet there are still parts of the country which need a push further in the right direction (i.e. the South). According to the Williams Institute at UCLA Law, between 15 and 43 percent of LGB people have experienced workplace discrimination or harassment, and between 8 and 17 percent have been hired or fired due to their sexual orientation. Just as startlingly, up to 41 percent of LGB employees have experienced anti-gay harassment or abuse in the workplace. That number soars up to 90 percent for trans people. Meanwhile, gay people can still be fired for their sexuality in 29 states. (For trans people, it’s 34.)
The first time the full U.S. Senate had an opportunity to vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act was on Sept. 5, 1996, after the legislation had already died twice in what was then known as the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources. When all of the votes had been cast, ENDA lost by just one, 50-49. Flash-forward to today, and ENDA has now passed the Senate by a 64-32 margin. The Senate roll call vote tells the tale: of the 50 seats from which a “Nay” vote was cast in 1996, 20 are now occupied by “Yea” voting senators, while only four “Yea” voting seats have flipped back. In Alaska, Colorado, and New Hampshire, there have been complete makeovers — two “Nays” swapped out for a pair of “Yeas” in each state.
One of the most commonly observed features in the growing support for LGBT people across the country is the fact that younger Americans tend to be leading the shift in opinion. Interestingly enough, there were some examples of this in the Senate vote. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) voted for the bill Thursday, 17 years after her father, then-Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska), voted against it. And Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) voted in favor, while back in 1996, his father, then-Sen. David Pryor (D-Ark.), did not vote.
Republicans should support these protections, and I hope the GOP leadership in the House schedules the bill for a vote. It’s the morally right thing to do. No one should lose their job, or not get hired, because of their sexual orientation. Allowing people to be successful in their workplaces is an essential piece of individual opportunity and liberty. Working for a living is one of America’s freedoms. It’s a virtue to be encouraged — and supporting it is important to the future of the Republican Party. In an era in which the government often punishes hard work and individual success, this bill encourages it.
At its core, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is about individual liberty. All employees should be treated the same and be judged on their job performance. No one should receive special treatment, and no one should be fired because of their sexual orientation. Since the 1960s, Congress has passed laws ensuring that employers can’t discriminate on the basis of race, religion or gender — personal characteristics that have nothing to do with how well someone does his or her job. These laws are widely accepted throughout our society. Who among us today would say an employer should have the right to fire someone because of their faith or the color of their skin? The same sense of fairness and respect should apply to the hundreds of thousands of qualified, hardworking Americans covered by ENDA.
Many in the business community, recognizing the importance of a qualified, skilled workforce, are well ahead of the federal government. Now is time for the government to catch up so that nondiscrimination laws protect workers at all companies, not just some. The reason there is Republican and business support for ENDA is simple: It’s reasonable. The bill respects many different viewpoints, allowing exemptions for religious organizations, for example.
Senator John McCain put out a statement Thursday before the vote, indicating that he planned to support the bill:
I have always believed that workplace discrimination – whether based on religion, gender, race, national origin or sexual orientation – is inconsistent with the basic values that America holds dear. With the addition of an amendment I co-sponsored with Senators Rob Portman and Kelly Ayotte strengthening protections for religious institutions, I am pleased to support this legislation.
Republicans in the House claim that the bill would encourage frivolous lawsuits that have more to do with enriching attorneys and less to do with fighting discrimination. But there is no evidence to suggest that would not be the case, based on the experience of the states and municipalities that have already adopted ENDA-like policies and the growing number of businesses that have done the same. If Fortune 500 companies were concerned about lawsuits, they wouldn’t be tackling discrimination on their own.
I hope the House Republicans do the right thing by bringing ENDA up for a vote and voting for its passage.
- Heller on ENDA: ‘Right thing to do’ (politico.com)
- ENDA & America’s Journey Towards Justice (bilerico.com)
- ENDA, explained (washingtonpost.com)
- An open letter to Speaker Boehner: ENDA (justjoel59.wordpress.com)
TMI QUESTIONS: LOST AND FOUND
Only occasionally do I answer the TMI questions from Just a Jeep Guy. Most of the time, I can only answer a few of them, but when I can answer most of them, these posts are generally fun to write. So here is my TMI: LOST AND FOUND?
1. Do you tend to lose things only to find them later?
Yes, I do. If you saw my desk at school, you would understand. I constantly lose things on my desk, only to find them later. However, it’s not just my desk. I constantly lose things and then find whatever I lost when I least expect it. The bad thing is, I usually don’t need it when I find, but then need it a few days later, only to forget where I found it.
2. Have you ever gone “shopping” in the Lost and Found?
Only for props and costumes for my Drama Club.
3. Has a dog or other pet “followed” you home?
No. I have an aunt who has had a lot of pets “follow” her home, but HRH was chosen on purpose and has made a wonderful companion.
4. How are you at finding a bargain?
I am pretty good at finding bargains. Being a poor grad student and now a teacher, I have to search for the bargains.
5. How many times have you lost your wallet?
Only twice, that I can remember. Once was in the basement of a gay bar in Florence, Italy. I was a bit to busy with “other things” to notice that it had fallen out of my pocket. Luckily, the bartender went down there with a flashlight and found it. Even more lucky, everything was still in my wallet. The other time, I didn’t actually lose it, it was stolen.
6. How do you find the time?
I just do. Sometimes, it has a lot to do with a lack of sleep. Plus, I have the philosophy, “Don’t freak out; it will all get done…eventually.”
7. Have you found your soul mate? Do you think you ever will?
I have not found my soul mate, at least as far as I know. Will I ever find him? It looks less and less likely as the years go on. I hope I will find him someday, but I will just have to wait and see. I will keep searching, nonetheless.
8. Do you have a lost love?
No, I don’t. I thought I had once, but I realized that it was just the idea that I was in love with.
9. When did you loose your innocence?
I lost my innocence the day that my best friend told me she had had sex with numerous guys. We had always said that we would save ourselves for marriage, yet she had not. I didn’t know this because she had moved away for a few years. Back before emails and cell phones (and when long distance was too expensive), we used to write each other letters. When she moved back, we were friends as if she had never left. Year, there was lots of things about her years away that she didn’t tell me until later. So when the truth came out, my innocence was lost from that point on. I did always enjoy hearing “all” the details about her various boyfriends. I think I knew the dick size of half the guys of south Alabama, LOL.
When did you loose your virginity? How many times have you helped someone loose their’s?
When I lost my virginity to a girl, it was to the only girl I ever thought I loves. She was a bit of a tomboy and I met her when I was attending the University of Alabama for an honors program during the summer between my junior and senior year of high school. I remember we were sitting on a bench behind the business library and telling her that I wanted to ask her something. For the life of me, I do not remember what I was going to ask, but I do remember that she said, “I know what you’re going to ask.” She said that I was going to ask her to have sex. It wasn’t my intent, but I thought what the hell. It took a week or so to finally convince her, and I lost my virginity in Parker-Adams Hall at the University of Alabama.
My first time with a man was when I was 23. It was not a particularly pleasant experience, and it is not a story I want to relate. It was consensual, but a bad experience. It was the only bad sex that I have ever had though, so I think I have been pretty fortunate since.
As far as helping someone loose theirs. For sure I know that I have only twice, but there could have been a few more times. Once was with the aforementioned girl I lost my virginity too, and the other was a guy who I hooked up with.
Eclecticism: a conceptual approach that does not hold rigidly to a single paradigm or set of assumptions, but instead draws upon multiple theories, styles, or ideas to gain complementary insights into a subject, or applies different theories in particular cases.
I realize that my posts can be a bit eclectic at times. I post a Bible study each Sunday, a poem each Tuesday, and a “moment of zen” picture each Saturday. The rest of my posts can be about anything. I used to post more historically oriented posts, yet there is just so much that I can write about LGBT history without spending way too much time on this blog. After all, I do teach during the day, try to spend time working on my dissertation (maybe one day soon it will be finished), and I have, though limited as it is, a social life. So I wanted to do a post on who I am. At least, who I am intellectually.
I’m a simple history teacher, who also teaches government and English. I received my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history (the M.A. was in American military history, believe it or not) and am currently working on my PhD in US History. I had minor fields in jurisprudence (undergrad) and gender and American literature for my graduate degrees. I have a wide range of interests. Some of them are things that I love, others are things that I wanted to understand more about myself, which leads me to the main point of this post. Some people mistake me for an English teacher, and others mistake me for a religious scholar. I’m neither. As I said, I’m simply an historian who teaches.
My posts are generally things that interest me, and I am always gratified when it interests others as well. I think that what makes a great teacher is someone who is intellectually curious and wants to share that knowledge. That might sound like I called myself a “great teacher,” I’m not. I constantly work hard to become a better teacher, but I enjoy sharing the knowledge that I have. So why do I write my posts on religion and poetry?
My posts on religion are for my study of the Bible and for those who want to go on that journey with me. I am by no means a religious scholar. I study the Bible to help me be a better person. I share these studies hoping that I will make a difference in this world, however small it may be. I know that some of my readers are not big fans of my religious posts, but I enjoy writing them. Those posts help me to deal with life. Just as hearing a sermon on Sunday morning generates warmth in my heart, so does writing my posts on religion.
As for my poetry posts, I happen to have a personal passion for poetry. I love the melodic structure of poetry and how a poem can resonate a special meaning to different people. For me, poetry is not about the literary analysis that so many people want to associate with poetry. Yes some of it does take a deeper look, just look at the poetry of Ezra Pound, some of which have so few words that each word must be dissected for its meaning. When I read poetry, I look at what it says to me, not necessarily what I am told that it is supposed to mean. Because of my love of poetry, my English students always get more poetry than they ever wanted to learn about. I often even use poetry when teaching history.
I am an eclectic person. I have always believed that a good historian has as much working knowledge of as many subjects as he or she can. Therefore, I always find it hard to find anyone to play a trivia game with me. It’s not that I am incredibly smart, but it’s that I have a wide range of trivia knowledge. It helps me make my lectures interesting, and to be able to answer questions that I get from students by using what I consider informed bullshit. I can generally come up with an answer to most question, but that does not make me an expert. There are really only two things that I would consider myself an expert on. Those two things have to do with topics of my master’s thesis and my PhD dissertation. Other than that, I am constantly adding to my repertoire of knowledge.
Anyway, that’s me, at least, the intellectual side. I don’t want to give anyone the impression that I am an expert on anything I post. I think that I am credible because I do my research on my posts, but I hate for anyone to think that I provide “the” answer for anything.
Oh, and I didn’t address my other regular feature, my “moments of zen.” Those posts are eye candy to wind down the week. Thank you all for reading my blog. I will continue to endeavor to provide you with quality posts each day.
P.S. I hope that this is not just a totally narcissistic post.
by William Cullen Bryant
Yet one smile more, departing, distant sun!
One mellow smile through the soft vapory air,
Ere, o’er the frozen earth, the loud winds run,
Or snows are sifted o’er the meadows bare.
One smile on the brown hills and naked trees,
And the dark rocks whose summer wreaths are cast,
And the blue gentian flower, that, in the breeze,
Nods lonely, of her beauteous race the last.
Yet a few sunny days, in which the bee
Shall murmur by the hedge that skirts the way,
The cricket chirp upon the russet lea,
And man delight to linger in thy ray.
Yet one rich smile, and we will try to bear
The piercing winter frost, and winds, and darkened air.
About William Cullen Bryant
William Cullen Bryant’s poetry is affiliated with the Romantics, often reflecting an obsession with nature and a thoughtful desire for silence and solitude. Bryant was born on November 3, 1794. An American nature poet and journalist, Bryant wrote poems, essays, and articles that championed the rights of workers and immigrants. In 1829, Bryant became editor in chief of the New York Evening Post, a position he held until his death in 1878. His influence helped establish important New York civic institutions such as Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 1884, New York City’s Reservoir Square, at the intersection of 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue, was renamed Bryant Park in his honor.
Times Have Changed
Actually, it’s just the time that has changed, and it drives me crazy. I enjoyed having the extra hour of sleep yesterday, but I still woke up at the normal time to get ready for church. Last night my body was not used to the time change and it felt like it was so late, but it was only 9pm. I’m hoping I will get used to going to bed a bit early and thus get a better night’s sleep, but I know once I get used to the time change, then I will be back to my old schedule again. I just hope that for a few mornings that my body will think I’m sleeping late.
Maybe I will be in a better mood this week. I really wasn’t in a bad mood last week, but my students thought I was. I was a raving bitch to my students, but most of that had to do with me not wanting to deal with their attitudes anymore. This year I have more students who talk back or just refuse to stop talking and interrupting class, so I’m taking care of it once and for all. They can either learn to act like students with manners who know how to behave like a proper student, or they can spend more and more time with our headmaster. Hopefully, my students have learned their lesson, and it won’t have to be a bitch this weeks too.
Here’s hoping that we all have a wonderful week, and that the time change doesn’t mess us up too much.
Eating from the Tree
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
Most of us probably think we know this story. God says, “Don’t eat the apple.” Adam and Eve disobey god and eat the apple — and sin comes into the world. The story has depicted in so many paintings and children’s books that it has become part of our subconscious. We know this story even if we weren’t raised in a church or never opened a Bible in our lives. However, I’d like for us to take a fresh perspective on this passage.
Before I go any further, I should probably say something about myth, which is the type of story this is. Being a myth doesn’t tell us anything about a story’s factuality, but it does mean that people who first told it thought it was true of every human. This is a story that happened, that happens, and that will always happen. As a myth, this passage says as much about us today as it does about Adam and Eve. Just like those earliest humans, each of us has eaten of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Reading the story carefully, what are the consequences of eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? God says if we eat of it, then we will surely die. The serpent says we will be like God, knowing good from evil. I believe both God and the serpent told the truth.
Unlike the rest of God’s creations, humans have the ability to know moral good from moral bad. We usually begin to gain this knowledge around the age of four. So eating from the Tree of Knowledge means that each of us is like God in that we know good from evil, but it also means that we will die. This causes profound problems for us.
The first problem is that, while we know good from evil, we don’t always do good. Although we are “like God” in our ability to differentiate between good and evil, we don’t have God’s perspective, so even when we think we are doing good, we make mistakes. This can paralyze us when we need to make decisions about what to do.
The second problem is that we fear death. The fear is not always strong, but the fact of our mortality is always with us, just under the surface. Sometimes the realization that we are mortal can paralyze us. We are afraid to things we know we should, because we don’t want to risk death.
I believe Jesus helps us to overcome these two problems. In the next week or so, we will look at how Jesus counteracts the effects from eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.