Towse: views from the hill

July 23, 2012

A Self-Made Man Looks At How He Made It

Filed under: causes,commentary,writers — Towse @ 3:16 pm

John Scalzi posted today about the people/community/society/world that helped make him the self-made success that he is.

“There is a flip side to this as well. I have helped others too. I am financially successful now; I pay a lot of taxes. I don’t mind because I know how taxes helped me to get to the fortunate position I am in today. I hope the taxes I pay will help some military wife give birth, a mother who needs help feed her child, help another child learn and fall in love with the written word, and help still another get through college. Likewise, I am in a socially advantageous position now, where I can help promote the work of others here and in other places. I do it because I can, because I think I should and because I remember those who helped me. It honors them and it sets the example for those I help to help those who follow them.

I know what I have been given and what I have taken. I know to whom I owe. I know that what work I have done and what I have achieved doesn’t exist in a vacuum or outside of a larger context, or without the work and investment of other people, both within the immediate scope of my life and outside of it. I like the idea that I pay it forward, both with the people I can help personally and with those who will never know that some small portion of their own hopefully good fortune is made possible by me.”

September 22, 2010

Dan Savage to gay kids: ‘It gets better’

Filed under: causes,life,video — Towse @ 6:08 pm

A new project on YouTube. Dan Savage and his husband, Terry Miller, post the kickoff video.
Dan Savage to gay kids: ‘It gets better’

Billy Lucas, 15 and different in Greensburg, Indiana, killed himself this month after other kids taunted him for seeming gay.

This is not a new kind of story, but it’s getting a new kind of response. Sex columnist Dan Savage says what everyone who grew up different, in whatever way, knows is true: Life gets better. Savage and his husband tell their story in the video above. They invite other gay couples to record theirs and send them in for the new It Gets Better project.

[via the Rachel Maddow Show]

February 26, 2009

The Tenderloin National Forest

Filed under: art,causes,life,people,San Francisco — Towse @ 5:53 pm

The Tenderloin National Forest

We were at a North Beach Neighbors dinner at Lichee Garden on Powell last night. (Terrific dinner. $28, including tax and tip, for a ten-course dinner. No-host beer and wine, if desired. Fun time was had by all. Interesting conversations. Good food.)

Rigo was with a group at our table at dinner that included Fernando [last name?], from Portugal. Fernando was sitting between Rigo and me and only spoke Portuguese. Although I know Brazilian Portuguese is a far cry from Portuguese, I wished it had been less than fifty years since I last had a conversation in Portuguese. There are not many words I remember.

Talked with Rigo about ONE TREE and TRUTH, two of my favorite Rigo public works, and about what he’s up to. Turns out he and Fernando are currently working on a mosaic for the Tenderloin National Forest on Cohen Alley, off Ellis.

(photos of the Tenderloin National Forest from Dave Schumaker on flickr)

I plan to wander by some day soon and see how it’s coming along.

February 2, 2009

Mormons donated more to California’s Prop. 8 campaign than they’d previously copped to

Filed under: California,causes,election2008,legal,politics — Towse @ 5:52 pm

Mormon church reports $190,000 Prop. 8 expenses.

Mormon church officials, facing an ongoing investigation by the state Fair Political Practices Commission, Friday reported nearly $190,000 in previously unlisted assistance to the successful campaign for Prop. 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California.

Now there’s a huge surprise.

Up until Friday, the Mormon church had denied any direct financial support for the campaign beyond a reported $2,078 spent for bringing church Elder L. Whitney Clayton to California.

Church officials complained that Karger’s complaint was full of errors and that the church had “fully complied” with California law.

The report filed Friday contained few details about how the money was spent.


While the deadline for the report, which covers the period from July 1 to Dec. 31, is Monday, many campaign contributions by major donors and independent committees must be reported within days after they’re made.

The final reports are due today, because U.S. District Judge Morrison England late last week refused to exempt the yes-on-8 campaign from making their filings today.

If the Prop. 8 campaign was exempted from disclosure because of reports of harassments of individual donors, said Deputy Attorney General Zackery Morazzini, the same case could be made for any controversial initiative. Courts would have to “keep the entire California electorate in the dark as to who was funding these ballot measures,” he said.

England agreed.

He noted that some of the reprisals reported by the Prop. 8 committee involve legal activities such as boycotts and picketing. Other alleged actions, such as death threats, mailings of white powder and vandalism, may constitute “repugnant and despicable acts” but can be reported to law enforcement, the judge said.

Even if there have been illegal reprisals, that would be insufficient reason to grant a wholesale exemption for a multimillion-dollar initiative campaign, England said. He also rejected the Prop. 8 campaign’s argument that the $100 disclosure limit established in 1974 should be increased for inflation, saying some states require reports of contributions as low as $25 and the Supreme Court has never invalidated them.

[ref:Prop. 8 campaign can’t hide donors’ names]

Interesting to see what comes out today that the yes-on-8 campaign was so anxious not to have come out.

December 23, 2008

Melissa Etheridge: The Choice Is Ours Now

Filed under: causes,commentary,culture,election2008,life — Towse @ 2:55 am

Melissa Etheridge: The Choice Is Ours Now

Melissa Etheridge on the Rev. Rick Warren.


On the day of the conference I received a call from Pastor Rick, and before I could say anything, he told me what a fan he was. He had most of my albums from the very first one. What? This didn’t sound like a gay hater, much less a preacher. He explained in very thoughtful words that as a Christian he believed in equal rights for everyone. He believed every loving relationship should have equal protection.


She tells everyone to chill.


Maybe if they get to know us, they wont fear us.

I know, call me a dreamer, but I feel a new era is upon us.

I will be attending the inauguration with my family, and with hope in my heart. I know we are headed in the direction of marriage equality and equal protection for all families.

Happy Holidays my friends and a Happy New Year to you.

Peace on earth, goodwill toward all men and women… and everyone in-between.

August 2, 2008

Garbage (and recycling and more!) redux

Filed under: causes,environment — Tags: , — Towse @ 7:42 pm

The trash police: Gavin Newsom is proposing the nation’s first-ever mandatory recycling and composting law. Be prepared to pay hefty fines if you toss coffee grounds in with the newspapers.

Read the article.

Read the comments.

People can be such whiners. Gestapo! It’s so hard to recycle. &c. and so on.

Yes, proposing outrageous fines if people don’t sort their garbage (and maybe cutting off their garbage service … that’ll teach them!) is nonsense, but the City pays a fortune to truck garbage to the dump over by Altamont and with gas prices rising not only is the dump filling (and where will we put trash then?) but costs are rising too.

Our field trip to the dump — AKA “Norcal Waste System, Inc’s Solid Waste Transfer and Recycling Center” — last October was enlightening.

Read the trip report with piccies to see why getting people to separate out their recyclable stuff AND ESPECIALLY THEIR GREEN CYCLE is a must if we’re going to control the garbage stream (and the fuel costs and the personnel costs and …)

That said, my comment on the Chron article:

Dear Mayor Newsom.

Come visit. I’ll invite some neighbors over. We’ll explain how difficult it is to recycle at all when you live off the Filbert Steps.

(1) NorCal won’t pick up blue bins here. Paying extra isn’t even an option. We FINALLY got a locked bin — locked so tourists won’t throw trash in — that the immediate neighbors share up at Montgomery and Filbert, but neighbors who live at Filbert and Montgomery bitch and complain about us parking our recycling bin anywhere near their buildings. Add a green bin? As if.

(2) I have a dish on the counter for green-bin scraps. From there, the scraps go to a covered compostable-bag-lined re-purposed menudo pot over by the ‘frig. Every 4 days or so — MAX … any more than that and the bag will disintegrate and maggots and crud grow — we tie up the bag, put it in ANOTHER bag, walk it three-plus blocks to our car and DRIVE to drop it off in a large green bin we have access to.

We try, Mr. Mayor. ’tain’t easy. Make it easier for us.

His nibs said, why didn’t you write about people putting non-greencycle stuff in bins left out for pickup and the greencycle people refusing to pick up the bins? Why didn’t you write about neighbors getting upset about people picking through blue bins for cash-refund recyclables and the bratty neighbors kicking the full bin and contents down the stairs, spreading recyclables down the steps to the next landing? Why didn’t you write about …

I told him that the SFChron allows you 1000char for comments and I was down to my last ten or so. …

July 30, 2008

Prop 8 update

Filed under: California,causes,culture,life,politics — Towse @ 6:42 pm

Prop. 8 backers sue to change ballot wording

Seems Jerry Brown (formerly Governor Moonbeam, currently State Attorney General perhaps Governor again after the next election, who knows …) has authorized the following ballot language for Proposition 8: “eliminates the right of same-sex couples to marry.”

Says he, since the time the petition signatures were collected, the court confirmed the right of same-sex couples to marry. Therefore, Prop 8, which reads “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” would disenfranchise those who just May 15th got the right to marry and his wording is fine and good and valid.

Prop 8 proponents claim Brown’s verbiage is “inherently argumentative and highly likely to create prejudice” and they aren’t eliminating anyone’s rights. They’re simply trying to reinstate the definition of marriage that existed in California before the judicial decision in May.

Ya. Right.

Yay! hooray! for Jerry Brown. You go, guy!

May 15, 2008

California Supreme Court overturns gay marriage ban

Filed under: California,causes,legal,life,politics — Towse @ 5:25 pm

California Supreme Court overturns gay marriage ban

Yay! Hooray! Equality!

Now onward to November when the California Protection of Marriage Act (a constitutional amendment) will probably be on the ballot to read:

SECTION 2. Article I. Section 7.5 is added to the California Constitution. to read:
Sec. 7.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.


Today’s California Supreme Court decision [PDF]

April 16, 2008

This Is How We Lost to the White Man

Filed under: causes,life,people — Towse @ 8:45 pm

‘This Is How We Lost to the White Man’

Article in the May Atlantic about Bill Cosby’s activism and his path from I Spy and the Huxtables to his Pound Cake speech and on.

The Web article includes a link to a vid interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates, who wrote the article. Both the article and the Coates interview are time well-spent.

Link: The Pound Cake Speech – Bill Cosby, speaking 17 May 2004 in Washington, DC, at the NAACP’s 50th anniversary of Brown v Board of Education (text and audio)

November 18, 2007

Cypresses redux

Filed under: causes,life,politics — Tags: , , — Towse @ 5:50 pm

Another shot of the post-pruning cypresses.


Posted by Picasa

Click on the picture to get a better look. Some of the parrots were back yesterday to check out the pruned trees. They stayed longer than they usually do before heading off.

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