Limp Wrist Launch Party!

Last night was the Limp Wrist launch party at Outwrite, and it was fantastic event. We started off with a minute silence in memory of Lawrence King. If you haven’t heard of Lawrence King read the NY TIMES article that I’ve linked; then take a moment and Google his name. His story is tragic and needs to be shared.

Laure-Anne Bosselaar was the guest of honor and started off the night. Then I read followed by Collin Kelley and Stacie Boschma. Lisa Allender and Genevieve Lyons rounded out the night– these talented poets graciously read in place of two other poets. Lisa read for Beth Gylys and Genevieve for Denise Duhamel.

There was such good energy in the bookstore for which I am glad and thankful. The evening went off without a hitch. A dear friend of mine, Greg, took tons of pictures of the event. I’m going to meet in a week or so for a drink and to receive the CD with the pictures. (can’t wait!)

I have to give a shout out to Cousin’s Bakery for donating cookies for the event as well as Jenny Allen for donating some her tasty Jenny J’s Cheese Dip. Please contact me if you’d like more information on Cousin’s or Jenny J’s.

I give a hearty THANK YOU to Phillip Rafshoon, Outwrite owner. When I contacted Phillip about wanting to do the launch party at Outwrite, there was never a hesitation about making it happen. Phillip is unbelievably supportive to the GLTB community in Atlanta, so stop by Outwrite when you’re in the city!

"Bill to increase parental control on Internet"

Bill to increase parental control on Internet

By ANDREA JONES
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 02/26/08

Georgia could take the lead soon on some of the strictest legislation in the nation aimed at Internet predators.

This week, a bill is expected to reach the floor of the state Senate that would force sex offenders to submit their e-mail addresses to authorities and require Internet service providers to offer parents the ability to block certain Web sites.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Cecil Staton (R-Macon), also would require schools to offer an annual course on online safety to students in grades three and higher.

“This is the first comprehensive legislation of its kind in the country,” Staton said.
It is the second bill Staton has introduced aimed at tightening parental controls and curbing access to cyberspace for sexual predators.

Last session, he proposed legislation that would make it illegal for social networking Web sites Myspace and Facebook to allow minors to create or update online profiles without parental permission. That bill did not make it to the floor and industry officials said it would be nearly impossible to enforce.

The new bill is a good compromise, Staton said.

Georgia is not the only state taking aim at social networking sites after a spate of high-profile sexual attacks by those who met their prey online.

“With 50 state legislatures, the sites are sort of facing an onslaught,” Staton said. “We have been working with various representatives over the last months to create a bill that was more comprehensive.”

Last year, Myspace began offering free parental notification software, the latest step in a series of efforts to try to protect young users from online predators. That software enables parents to know the name, age and location their children are using on the Web site but prevents them from reading their children’s e-mail or see their profile page.

In October, Facebook officials reached a settlement with New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in which they agreed to respond and begin addressing complaints about nudity or pornography or unwelcome contact within 24 hours of receiving them. The site also agreed to tell the complainant within 72 hours what steps it had taken.

"Save the Buckhead Library"

A friend on the APC Committee sent me the email below, so I wanted to share it:

Friends,
I know this is not Midtown; and whether you “like” Deconstructivist Architecture or not, the point is that many do not understand nor do they appreciate the Buckhead Library’s place in Atlanta architectural history. We all know that Atlanta has very few unique buildings. Why does everything in Atlanta have to be brand new, “developed” and made of EIFS?

If interested, please follow the four steps below, if you feel so inclined.

1. READ: By the book: Buckhead library may be razed

2. SIGN: Click here for the petition

3. ATTEND: Save the Buckhead Library Forum, February 21, 2008, from6:00 PM – 8:00 PM at the Architecture Auditorium, East Architecture Building.

4. PASS THIS INFORMATION ON!

William H. Herbig
Director of Urban Design . Midtown Alliance


Also, there has been a blog created for the cause– Save the Library

"Why Do I Write" ~ Kurt Brown

Why Do I Write ~ Kurt Brown


The question, for me, is unanswerable and surely almost everything in my life and experience argues against it. If I could help myself, I wouldn’t write at all.

I read somewhere that John Keats said if everything he’d ever written was destroyed overnight, he’d get up the next morning and start writing again. I’m only paraphrasing, but something like that applies to me when it comes to writing. Not being John Keats, of course, but the insane urge to keep writing words and arranging sentences into lines looking for that one good poem that someone else might find moving and important and crucial to their life. One good poem. A person could spend his whole life pursuing that, and never achieve it. And as soon as one poem is finished, which he might think is good and strong—a real poem, that is—he discards it as a failure, and begins working on another poem, hoping this time for success.

The process usually goes something like this: some phrase or subject or idea piques my interest, and at one point or another I begin to write; then I become captivated by the idea, and the writing, and I work hard until I think the poem is finished; then I experience a sense of euphoria, because I am still in the halo of intensity it took to write the poem, and I think “This is a good one, this is a real poem”; then, over the next few days, as I read the poem over and over again, I begin to see it is rather ordinary, flawed, a failure in fact. It has been robbed of its initial glory by a more sober approach, by the time it takes to as assess it with an objective eye. Which is the eye of a reader, not the writer. Then I vow never to write again. Then, slowly, after a few days or weeks, I begin another poem. This is what I meant by the word “insane” above.

Maybe, like Keats, everything I’ve ever written is destroyed—over and over and over again. I write in hopes of writing one good poem. I live for it.

NOTE: This may seem melodramatic to some, and I understand why. Some of the best poets I’ve ever known have a much cooler, more skeptical view of writing. Perhaps they only backed into it, initially dreaming about becoming something else. Not every artist is passionate about his art. If, as Edward Hirsch claims, being drawn to poetry—and to write—is something like falling in love with a real person, then I fell in love a long time ago and I’ve never gotten over it. Perhaps it’s the Muse I love, and she disdains me. Isn’t that the plot of a thousand novels and television shows? A little less passion might help my writing. I live for that, too.

Laure-Anne Bosselaar at Java Monkey

Laure-Anne read at Java Monkey last night, and she was spectacular. Every single poem she read is fabulous. I could worship the paper she writes on.

I’m thrilled and honored that Laure-Anne is attending and reading at the Limp Wrist launch party at Outwrite on 2/28/08. The first issue will contatin an interview with the lovely Laure-Anne. Besides reading some of her work, Laure-Anne will do a Q&A session. If you have a question you’d like to ask Laure-Anne please send it in an email to dustinvbrookshire@gmail.com prior to Feb. 27 with the subject reading “question for Laure-Anne.”

Key West Lit Seminar Open Mic

While at the Key West Literary Seminar, I participated in an open mic. uVu Channel 2 taped a number of the seminar participants and put us online. Click here to see me read a poem by Denise Duhamel and two of my own– “HIV Barbie” and “Missing Names.”

Besides this being my first time having a public recording of me reading, this was my first time being censored. In “Missing Names” the work cocksucker is muted out. What’s that about? I say slut and whore……. but cocksucker is muted. Twisted!

If you watch, I hope you enjoy.

Legislature 2008: Lawmakers chomping to bite Gators over tags

Seriously? We have an elected official worrying about car tags in Florida? Oh wait… he’s running for Congress this summer….. so waste time and money that should be going to benefit his district to benefit his own personal goals— that makes total sense.

Legislature 2008: Lawmakers chomping to bite Gators over tags

By Jim Galloway
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 02/12/08

Apparently, only one thing can unite fractious Republican lawmakers at the state Capitol.

And it’s not Hillary Clinton.

It’s the University of Florida.

On Monday, GOP lawmakers announced a rare, united House-Senate effort to force the state of Florida to lower its barriers to specialty car tags that honor University of Georgia alumni. Otherwise, the Georgia legislators said, they will discontinue the Gator-oriented tags just won from the state Department of Revenue by an Atlanta group of University of Florida grads.

Pitching the bill is House Minority Whip Barry Fleming (R-Harlem), who just happens to be running for Congress this summer and will require support from Athens, where he just happened to earn undergraduate and law degrees. And despite the Georgia-Florida jokes that clog offices and sports bars throughout the state, the lawmaker says he is dead serious.

“Just like we have reciprocity for bar exams, just as we have reciprocity on tuition and all kinds of licensing and whatnot, it would make sense to have reciprocity in this area, too,” Fleming said.

Creating a new specialty car tag in Georgia requires a petition signed by 1,000 people who declare themselves willing to pony up the extra $25 for the privilege. The state revenue commissioner must approve the design.

Members of the Atlanta Gator Club just completed the process.

But in Florida, those who want a new specialty tag must pay the state government a $60,000 processing fee. An independent firm must conduct a random survey of the Florida population to determine that at least 30,000 residents intend to purchase the plates. At least 1,000 specialty tags must be sold every year. And the design must be approved by the Legislature, according to the Florida state department of motor vehicles Web site.

Georgia Senate President Pro Tem Eric Johnson (R-Savannah) said those requirements amount to a ban when it comes to UGA alumni in Florida. “If this bill passes and you can’t get a University of Georgia alumni tag in Florida, then they would not be able to renew [their] tag,” Johnson said.

Bill Piercy, an Atlanta business lawyer and a ’94 graduate of the University of Florida, didn’t like what he heard.

“Obviously, we’re disappointed. We’re willing to pay the fee just like the wildlife people,” Piercy said.

Seems Speaker Richardson Arranges Special Treatment

Quick and quiet: Speaker Richardson gets divorced
By ALAN JUDD
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 02/11/08

House Speaker Glenn Richardson and his wife filed for divorce, completed the dissolution of their marriage and got court records of the proceedings sealed — all in a single afternoon last week.

The Richardsons appeared privately on Wednesday before a Paulding County Superior Court judge who was not even assigned to their case. The judge, James Osborne, is a former partner in Richardson’s law firm.

Susan Richardson held the Bible when husband Glenn took the oath as Speaker of the state House in January 2007.

The judge to whom the case was assigned, Tommy Beavers, said Friday he does not know why the case ended up in Osborne’s court. Beavers said Osborne told him he had received the divorce documents before they were officially filed.

The fast-track divorce defied normal procedures as it sped through the Paulding County Courthouse in Dallas, allowing Richardson to keep most details private, including any that might reflect on his performance as a public official.

The divorce followed more than a year of speculation about the status of Glenn and Susan Richardson’s marriage. Georgia Democrats last year filed an ethics complaint against the speaker, a Republican, claiming he had had an “inappropriate relationship” with a lobbyist while cosponsoring legislation that would benefit her employer. A legislative panel dismissed the complaint.

A spokeswoman for Richardson did not respond to requests for comment. Richardson was absent from the General Assembly two full days and part of another last week as he attended the funerals of three friends killed in an airplane crash Feb. 1. One service took place Wednesday, a few hours before Richardson and his wife appeared at the courthouse.

Their marriage ended without delay.

State law requires a 30-day waiting period before uncontested divorces become final. A judge may grant an immediate divorce only after finding circumstances such as cruel treatment of one spouse by the other, incurable mental illness or adultery.

Osborne didn’t disclose why he did not wait before entering what appears to be a final order. All documents related to the case were simultaneously filed in the court clerk’s office at
4:21 p.m.

Susan Richardson, 42, appeared without an attorney, a court docket shows. Her 48-year-old husband, a lawyer, represented himself.

Osborne conducted a private hearing with the couple in his chambers, according to his order sealing the case file. It is the only document available to the public.

Hollie Manheimer, executive director of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, which advocates for open government, said both the First Amendment and common law contain “a strong presumption of public access to court records.”

The rules that govern Georgia’s Superior Courts require judges to conduct a hearing before closing files from civil cases and to specify which documents will be sealed and for how long.

Osborne’s order indefinitely restricts access to every document in the file.

In the order, Osborne said potential harm to the Richardsons and their three children “outweighs any public interest” to inspect the documents.

Osborne has been a Superior Court judge since February 2005. A former district attorney for the Tallapoosa Judicial Circuit, Osborne was a partner, from 1978 to 1994, in Richardson’s law firm, then known as Vinson, Osborne, Richardson and Cable.

Under the Paulding Superior Court’s rules, the court clerk’s office assigns civil cases, including divorces, to the circuit’s three judges by rotation. Beavers was the next judge in line to receive a new case. But Osborne took charge of the Richardsons’ divorce before Beavers received the case file.

“I was told it was filed,” Beavers said in a brief interview Friday. “I have not seen it.”
He added, “I don’t recognize an instance” in which another Paulding County case has been resolved in a similar manner.

Through his secretary, Osborne declined to comment.

Legislature wants lottery to crack down on bonuses

Legislature wants lottery to crack down on bonuses
By JAMES SALZER

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 02/08/08

Lawmakers are moving to increase legislative oversight of the Georgia Lottery Corp. because of anger about the $3 million in employee bonuses the organization handed out last year.

The House Higher Education Committee on Thursday passed a bill giving legislative leaders the authority to appoint two-thirds of the Lottery Corp. board.

Currently, the governor appoints the board, which oversees the corporation and approves its budget.

The legislation, which would require the new board to approve all employee bonuses, also aims to increase General Assembly oversight of the lottery.

The corporation would have to report details of employee bonuses to legislative leaders each year.

Senate leaders are pushing similar legislation.

Sales from lottery tickets pay for HOPE college scholarships and pre-kindergarten programs.

“We want to bring accountability to the spending of the Georgia Lottery Corp. because they have freedom to do things that affect HOPE scholarships,” Senate Minority Whip Mitch Seabaugh (R-Sharpsburg) said.

The bills were filed after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on the bonuses, including $236,500 received by Lottery President Margaret DeFrancisco.

The House committee also passed a resolution Thursday urging the lottery to “take a more conservative approach with the distribution of bonuses and incentives.”

Lottery officials say the bonuses are necessary to keep employees focused and motivated, and
they say other corporations offer similar incentives.

House Higher Education Chairman Bill Hembree (R-Winston) filed several lottery measures because he was outraged by the size of the bonuses given, he said.

“In the future, the bonuses are going to be looked at closely,” Hembree said. “The bonus issue is the most important issue we are trying to address here. This is a message to them.”

Legislators often file bills to send messages. The bills might not pass, but the message — in this case, to reduce bonuses — is sent.

However, lawmakers expressed similar outrage in 2004 after the Journal-Constitution wrote about lottery bonuses. Still, the amount paid out last year was greater than in 2004.

DeFrancisco’s check of $236,500, combined with her $286,000 salary, allowed her to make about four times what Gov. Sonny Perdue earns. However, Perdue could veto anything that wins legislative approval, because he would be giving up the exclusive power to appoint the lottery board.

Over the years, lawmakers have made frequent changes to the HOPE program.

But they generally have left the Lottery Corp., which raises the money, alone.

Since inception of the games in 1993, lottery ticket sales have increased all but one year, and the corporation has transferred more than $9.7 billion into state education programs.

In addition to the bills passed Thursday, Hembree has filed a measure that would mandate that at least 35 percent of lottery ticket sales go to HOPE and pre-kindergarten, up from 27 percent last year. That could mean tens of millions of dollars more for the school programs.

However, lottery officials say the more they pour into prizes, the more tickets they sell, which increases the overall take for education.

When the last fiscal year ended June 30, the state had $879 million in lottery reserves for HOPE and pre-kindergarten.

House Minority Leader DuBose Porter (D-Dublin) sponsored the bill setting up the lottery corporation in the early 1990s for then-Gov. Zell Miller. He said Miller wanted to make sure politicians stayed out of running the lottery.

“We have one of the most successful, if not the most successful, lotteries in the country,” Porter said. “We should not interfere with how it operates when it hasn’t been shown that anything is wrong.”