Sandra Mikush, a candidate running un-affiliated for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education has finally received enough signatures to certify her name’s place on the ballot in November’s general election.

The Forsyth County Board of Elections must still certify some signatures and will officially certify her place on the ballot in mid-July.

Mrs. Mikush has proven herself to be a very articulate advocate for children and youth in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. She is also fair-minded and knows well the extremely indispensible value of protecting all children and youth while they receive an education.

For more information about Mrs. Mikush’s campaign visit: http://www.mikushforschoolboard.com

Also… let me apoligize to all my readers for my lack of posts and updates. I’m in New York doing training for Soulforce’s next youth action on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”: The Right to Serve Campaign. I’ll be sure to sit down sometime later today, tonight or tomorrow and give you all some updates on the training.

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I’m leaving on a jet plane…

… And I’ll talk to you all when I get to New York.

For news and more, just visit the Washington Blade, 365gay.com News, Pam’s House Blend, BlueNC.com or Greensboro101.

Unfortunately, I won’t be blogging much until I can get to the hotel.

Be sure to check out these stories:

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Ousting the NC GOP

Here is Amy Kingsley’s awesome article on the NC Democratic Convention… by the way, the group of UNCG students, that was us… and the gay comment, that was both me and my friend, lol:

Democratic Convention attempts to oust GOP
Amy Kingsley
YES Weekly, June 28, 2006

Staff writerOutside the High Point Theater on Saturday a group of UNCG students dressed like throwbacks from a half-century ago — jackets, ties and loafers — assessed the recently adjourned NC Democratic Convention.

“Boring,” said one.

“I wish they had talked more about gay and lesbian issues,” another chimed.

They were not words one usually associates with revolution. But this year a counterrevolution to end 12 years of Republican congressional control is exactly what convention organizers have planned. The High Point Theater on Saturday was a sea of giddy delegates, several of whom dressed for the occasion in red, white and blue. Almost all of them advertised their dissatisfaction with the current administration in shiny buttons, stickers or T-shirts.

North Carolina Democrats, like their brethren across the country, have approached President Bush’s record-low approval ratings as an opportunity to gain seats in the US Congress and strengthen control of the NC General Assembly. But instead of flogging weariness with the Iraq war and increasing distrust of the executive branch, the party is dusting off an old playbook.

Click here to read the full article at YES Weekly.

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A working resolution

Over on one of my blogs, the UNCG Campus Watch, I have posted a working resolution I have drafted and I am thinking of submitting to UNCG’s Student Senate, where I am currently Chairman of the Legislative Committee. The resolution deals with the situation regarding counting out of state student as in state students. It is a move that will eventually cost the People of North Carolina more that $20 million annually, once the provision is fully implemented. I blogged on this on Sunday: “Turning our backs on the People of the State.”

I’m perfectly aware that many people don’t see Student Government as something that can actually create change, but it is one small way in which to make the voice of students known to the University, the Board of Governors, the General Assembly and others.

If you can, please take the time to go over to the UNCG Campus Watch and read the draft resolution, comment on it, revise it or help me out with it in any way that you can.

Click here to see the post and resolution

UNCG alumnus Jason Crawford, long the thorn in the side of UNCG’s LGBT and straight allied student community, has written a letter to the editor of UNCG’s campus newspaper, The Carolinian.

In the letter Crawford takes the time to not only attack UNCG’s LGBT students, but also our straight allies, the entire LGBT community and the columnist who wrote a very entertaining, satirical piece on Fred Phelps’ recent “protest” at the Southern Baptist Convention in Greensboro.

At one point in the letter, Crawford calls out the columnist for being fair-minded and inclusive of the LGBT community. In the process, he makes a horribly anti-gay statement that I assume he picked up from church (either that or it has come from his own internal homophobia):

Luke’s past columns show he makes no effort to hide that he sees as harmless the most brazen forms of perversity, i.e. homosexuality (emphasis mine).

Many people remember Jason Crawford as nothing more than a loud-mouth, anti-gay bigot who did everything in his power to make sure everyone he come in contact with knew, number 1, that he wasn’t gay and, number 2, gay people are the scum of the earth.

During one Student Government meeting, Crawford had the audicity to push for the removal of school funding for UNCG PRIDE!, the campus LGBT and straight ally student group. Crawford can also be thanked for the creation of the College Republicans’ “Morals Week,” something which was first established as an anti-gay alternative to PRIDE! Week, although it has now become more of a week to showcase Republican ethics (cough, cough) and beliefs.

It is astonishing that this guy still thinks he has some sort of influence on the UNCG campus. Unless he is donating thousands of dollars to the University, he really doesn’t have much to say about anything. He just needs to let go and move on.

I’m sure there are plenty of gay folk to hate and harass where ever he is living now. We don’t need him or want him at UNCG. Tolerance of other’s opinions can only go so far and intolerance, discrimination and prejudice are not values on my list of topics to tolerate.

The Myrtle Beach Sun News has an Associated Press article on North Carolina state Senator Julia Boseman (D-New Hanover), our state’s only openly gay or lesbian member of the General Assembly.

It is a great article, detailing Senator Boseman’s “normal” activity within the General Assembly… something which has gone against her opponents expectations.

Back when she ran for office in 2004, her Republican challenger said she would push a far-left agenda and fight for LGBT equality and marriage rights. Although the Senator has co-sponsored numerous bills which would help LGBT North Carolinians, she hasn’t introduced any (at least that I am aware of).

To the shock of many anti-gay, right-wing Republicans (and even Democrats, sad to say), Senator Boseman is just like any regular, ole’ legislator. I guess this might go to prove that LGBT people want the same things as everyone else, and gosh darnitt… we really are like ya’ll, too!

Here’s a little bit of the article:

Lesbian N.C. senator goes against opponents’ expectations
Associated Press, June 27, 2006

Raleigh, NC In 2004, the Republican Party predicted Democratic Sen. Julia Boseman’s sexual orientation would lead her to promote a left-wing agenda at the General Assembly.

Instead, GOP senators have complained that a bill she filed was too much like one filed by a Republican that would require school districts to set policies for students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance daily at school.

Other bills Boseman has filed would let former drug addicts sue drug dealers and ban sales of violent video games.

“She’s been given a lot of bills – and the important word is given – for a freshman,” said Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, the Senate’s deputy Republican leader. “I haven’t seen many of them signed into law.”

Boseman, D-New Hanover, is the first openly homosexual member of the North Carolina Legislature. But she says she’s representing the citizens of New Hanover County and Wilmington, and is not on a personal crusade.

“This is not about representing me or representing some special cause,” Boseman said.

Her legislative efforts to pump state funds for the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and expand tax credits for film making in the state apparently helped her to a 20th place ranking in effectiveness among the chamber’s 50 members, according to the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research. The ranking is the highest that a female freshman has ever received and the second highest for any freshman.

Click here to read the full article

Ahhh… the life of me. (Life… what life? I don’t see much fun or free-time, lol).

I’ve got a busy day today, as well as for the next week or so. I’m heading over to UNCG this afternoon to man the UNCG PRIDE! information table at the school’s summer orientation’s organization fair. I’ll be doing that until about 4 or so, then I have to come back to pack.

I’m leaving tomorrow morning to head up to New York (not the City, but I’ll be near it and have to travel through it). I’ll be up there for some activist/organizing/media training for an upcoming Soulforce Youth action regarding Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

It is going to be a busy week and the organizers say that we probably won’t be having much free time. But I’m committed to what I do and I love it, so I don’t see me having a bad time or anything.

I’ve managed to get about four or five folks who have committed to helping out with the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell action. We’ll be doing it in Greensboro (mid-to-late August or ealry September) while about 30 or more other city organizers will be doing it in other locations around the country. According to the Soulforce Youth organizers, more than 1000 LGBT and allied youth are expected to be involved in the action. Although I don’t have time to give out too much detail right now, I am planning on putting up some information on my blog’s Soulforce Youth Action page (right now it just has info on the recent Equality Ride).

If you feel strongly that the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy is wrong, misguided, government-sanctioned discrimination, then I strongly urge you to email me at matt ‘at’ matthillnc ‘dot’ com to get more info on how you might be able to help out in the Greensboro area.

Even though I’ll be out of town, I’m hoping I’ll be able to find time to update my blog and keep you all informed of not only what I’m doing, but the normal ranting and raving that is my life on the ‘Net.

All-in-all, I’ll be out of North Carolina from June 28th to July 3rd.

I don’t know about how you all feel, but it seems a bit strange and wrong to me when citizens can no longer organize in order to speak out against government policies with which they do not agree. After all, don’t we all have freedom of speech? Isn’t questioning the government’s actions and challenging your leaders to do better the patriotic thing to do? I was always under the impression that questioning and challenging the government was a good thing, when done tastefully, respectfully and civilly. Isn’t that how our country made its way toward being independent from Britain?

The US Government, especially under the leadership of our current administration, has taken some serious wrong turns in relation to civil liberties and freedom, as well as the over-reach of Presidential power. Some would go as far to say that the President’s aggressive decision-making activities are unconstitutional and abuses of power.

With all of the information floating around regarding secret spying on citizens by the government, I have to wonder how much “spying” really is going on in the government. We’ve got the NSA wire-tapping stuffs, the newly disclosed (thanks to the NY Times) information regarding spying of bank records, the spying of LGBT and allied student groups and God knows what else.

Why aren’t Americans pissed off? Tyrannical governments just don’t spring out of no where… the tyranny usually starts off small and increases only gradually (so it is harder to notice) until the People have no more rights at all.

For more than a year now I’ve taken my more moderate side to combat my liberal Democratic buddies who like to bash Bush and his neo-conservative buddies. My friends say that Bush and his cronies want nothing more than world domination. I’ve always said that wasn’t true… that there are other, more logical reasons for some of the things the Republicans are doing. After all this spying non-sense, I’m not too sure anymore.

Just check out this story….

Via information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and continuing efforts by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) to track government spying on LGBT groups, the Military has admitted to spying on LGBT student groups participating in actions protesting the Military’s anti-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

According to an article from 365gay.com News, the new information make sit clear that the Military spied more heavily on these groups than they had previously reported.

The information details how the Military intercepted numerous email messages from and within student organizations doing nothing more than using the Constitutional guaranteed and protected freedom of speech to voice their opposition to a government policy.

The Military spied on groups at the State University of New York at Albany, William Paterson University in New Jersey, Southern Connecticut State University and the University of California at Berkeley.

Some of the groups and demonstrations also included anti-way protests, as well as protests to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

C Dixson Osburn, the executive director of SLDN, said this about the new information:

“Federal government agencies have no business peeping through the keyholes of Americans who choose to exercise their first amendment rights… Americans are guaranteed a fundamental right to free speech and free expression, and our country’s leaders should never be allowed to undermine those freedoms. Surveillance of private citizens must stop. It is the suppression of our constitutional rights, and not the practice of them, that undermines our national security. It is patently absurd that this administration has linked sexual orientation with terrorism.”

Last December the Military had admitted to spying on three LGBT student groups: OUTlaw at New York University law school and groups at the State University of New York at Albany and William Patterson College in New Jersey (see related post, December 2005).

For more: Blog search for “military spying”

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New from DailyKos: Brad Miller speaks

Representative Brad Miller (D-NC) has a new post up over at DailyKos.

The Congressman’s post, entitled “Put your money where your keyboard is,” reminds everyone of this Friday’s 2nd quarter campaign finance reporting deadline and how important it will be for many Democrats currently hoping to win office (I know how it important it is, too. I’ve been doing paperwork for the NC Advocacy Coalition all day, lol).

Trot on over to DailyKos and check it out (and don’t get upset with Representative Miller’s self-advertisement… he needs every bit of help he can get to squelch the hateful, over the top messages of Vernon Robinson, lol).

Oh… and another thing: Why don’t you take a second to thank Representative Miller for all of the wonderful support he has offered to the LGBT community (preferably in the form of a campaign contribution, but he’ll take a nice thank you note too, lol). He really has done a lot and it wouldn’t hurt to give him his “props” (or so my straight guy friends would say, lol).

Hat Tip: BlueNC.com

The anti-gay, right-wing gropu Called2Action has put out enough pressure on Wake County school officials to ban books in the schools. Earlier, I posted on how Called2Action, which is based in Raleigh, is exerting pressure on North Carolina legislators.

According to an article from the Guardian (UK), a dictionary of slang words, as well as five other books have been formally challenged in Wake County, at the bequest of Called2Action.

The author of what has been described as the definitive dictionary of slang is gobsmacked, gutted, throwing up bunches, honked, hipped, and jacked like a cock-maggot in a sink-hole. A North Carolina school district has banned the dictionary under pressure from one of a growing number of conservative Christian groups using the internet to encourage school book bans across the US.

Jonathon Green, who compiled the 87,000 entries in the Cassell Dictionary of Slang, which was published last year, said that North Carolina is the only place he knows of where the book cannot be used in schools.

A Wake County school official told ABC News that five books, including the dictionary, were formally challenged. The others were listed as The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier, Junie B Jones and Some Sneaky, Peaky Spying by Barbara Park, Reluctantly Alice by Phyllis Reynolds and In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak. School officials acted after pressure from Called2Action, a local Christian activist group.

Some parents were also reportedly upset that their children were required to read books such as The Colour Purple by Alice Walker and Beloved by Toni Morrison, on the grounds that the books contain “vulgar and sexually explicit language”.

See… a large part of how the right-wing, anti-gay, fundie groups of America plan on keeping gay people at the bottom is by limiting what everyone else can see, hear, or know about gay people. After all, if a person’s only source of information about gay people comes from anti-gay groups, well… then more people will think like them. It is a good strategy, I’ll hand them that, but it won’t work. There are too many people who are too smart for that B.S.

Hat Tip: Pam’s House Blend