Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I recently read a post by Arianna Huffington that prompted me to respond with an honest plea and post:

One of the ironies of the credit card crisis is that the financial industry laid the foundation for much of the trouble we are seeing with its full-throated -- and deep-pocketed -- support of the cynically named Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, a truly loathsome piece of legislation that opened the door to many of the banking abuses we are witnessing. It made it much tougher for Americans to file for bankruptcy -- even the millions of hardworking Americans whose bankruptcy is the result of a serious illness (fully half of all bankruptcies are the result of crushing medical expenses). It also did nothing to rein in the kinds of lending abuses that frequently turn manageable debt into unmanageable personal financial catastrophes.

The financial industry spent $100 million lobbying to get the bill passed -- and millions more in campaign contributions. The result was a sweetheart law for the financial industry -- with 18 Senate Democrats voting for it.

And the banking lobbyists are at it again.

There are currently several bills in Congress designed to roll back some of the worst provisions of the 2005 legislation. In the Senate, Chris Dodd has introduced The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act ("the Credit CARD Act"). In the House, there is Rep. Carolyn Maloney's Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights.

The banking industry is pushing back hard. But wait, you might ask, aren't the banks broke? So where'd they get the money to lobby against credit card reform?

From us. There may not be much transparency about the hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars doled out through the TARP program, but we know where at least some of the money has gone: into making sure that none of the Bankers Gone Wild behavior that led to the current disaster is curtailed.

Thank you, Thank you Arianna for saying what NONE of the major media outlets will NOT say what is really happening.

I have been working since I was 14 years old struggling and living on public assistance and rent-controlled housing until I decided to go back to school, obtain my GED and pursue furhter education in order to better my living.

I have gone to college twice with two associate degrees. One degree for advanced automotive technology, the other for computer and networking technology. I am unemployed, being in and out of work for the past 10 years, nearly $30,000 in debt and have been struggling like hell in trying to find a stable, long-term job either within the government or government contractor work with very little luck.

Part of my hatred towards WALL STREET and these banks being bailed out while the rest of us Americans are losing their homes and being hounded by credit collection agencies is that people like me in similar situations are NOT being helped.

I HATE these banks, the Bush administration, and the corporations that have conspired to benefit themselves while undermining the average man, woman, and child.

All I want is a stable job where I can learn, grow, advance, prosper, live in a decent neighborhood with my debts paid off. I am not asking for the world nor to be rich or famous.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Thank You Sean Penn for your bravery in playing the role of another brave man that would not be silenced and his memory lives on 30 years later. WE SHALL OVERCOME.

Harvey would have been very proud. I still find that the documentary produced in 1984 "The Life And Times Of Harvey Milk" is the best in accurately telling of his life.

The first time I arrived to San Francisco you would think that the city that this man fought so hard to have our voices heard and as the staging ground and a face for our civil rights would have dedicated more towards him and his memory right?
I was disappointed when my friend Dom took me to the Castro to where there was only a plaque at the entrance/exit of the Muni subway under the city.

Harvey deserved so much more than that. Hopefully this film will remind this selfish, self-serving, cowardly generation of why we must continue to fight on.

It's not about "ME ME ME" or "getting what I need".

It's about all of us.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Ahmet Yildiz is my Family (Was Ahmet the victim of a gay honor killing?)

I came across the story of Ahmet Yildiz on Facebook from a guy that knew him and is spreading the word. Ahmet's story touched me deeply. He was the victim of an honor killing. His family killed him because he came out to them. Every time I hear a story like this, I just want to cry.
Ahmet Yildiz, 26, a physics student who represented his country at an international gay gathering in San Francisco last year, was shot leaving a cafe near the Bosphorus strait this week. Fatally wounded, the student tried to flee the attackers in his car, but lost control, crashed at the side of the road and died shortly afterwards in hospital. His friends believe Mr Yildiz was the victim of the country's first gay honor killing. Ahmet Yildiz's crime, his friends say, was to admit openly to his family that he was gay.
"From the day I met him, I never heard Ahmet have a friendly conversation with his parents," one close friend and near neighbour recounted. "They would argue constantly, mostly about where he was, who he was with, what he was doing."
The family pressure increased, the friend explained. "They wanted him to go back home, see a doctor who could cure him, and get married." Shortly after coming out this year, Mr Yildiz went to a prosecutor to complain that he was receiving death threats. The case was dropped. Five months later, he was dead.
His blank refusal to hide who he was in any way may have been too much for his family. "He could have hidden who he was, but he wanted to live honestly," the neighbour said. "When the death threats started, his boyfriend tried to persuade him to get out of Turkey. But he stayed. He was too brave. He was too open."
I am Joe Villanova, I live in San Francisco California and Ahmet Yildiz is my family.

Was Ahmet Yildiz the victim of honour killing? 01 Feb 2009 

Şermin TERZİ - Hürriyet

Ahmet Yildiz (26 years old), was a young turkish, hairy bear. He was shot dead in front of his house on 15th July 2008. Nine months previously he gave a statement to the prosecuter in Üsküdar-Istanbul complaining that he was receiving death threats from his own family.

was this a victim of honour killing?

Before he was  murdered, Ahmet wrote an article for Turkey’s bear magazine “Beargi” about how he came out to his family and the reaction he received from them. After his murder, his boyfriend who is a turkish born german citizen, Ibrahim C. started working hard to get the world’s attention  to the case. The british newspaper “The Independent” was the first to announce his killing to the world with the headline “Was Ahmet Yildiz the victim of honour killing in Turkey?”

A campaign was started on the internet for Ahmet and received good support from the gay and hetero community around the world. His friends organised demonstrations for him in Turkey to get the answer to the question: “What kind of shame is bigger the shame of being a murderer or to be born gay?”
Ahmet’s murderer has not been caught yet. However the homicide detectives have stil not found the murderer.

Ahmet Yildiz was a final year student of Marmara University’s Department of Physics and he earned his living by teaching. If he hadn’t been  killed on the 15 th of July, the next day would have been his final exam for graduation.

He spent his last day, studying for the final exam. Ibrahim C., his boyfriend who resides in Germany was also with Ahmet that day. At 11 pm, Ahmet went out saying “ I need to get some fresh air and I’ll get some ice-cream as well” and as he got into his car the shootings started. As Ibrahim C. heard the sounds he rushed to the window and saw Ahmet’s car going backwards crashing into the wall of a pharmacy. Ibrahim immediately called Ahmet’s mobile but he got no answer. He ran downstairs to the car but Ahmet was already  fatally wounded and he died shortly afterwards.

After being questioned, Ibrahim gave Ahmet’s computer, his 2 mobiles and keys to the police. Later he went to the morgue to try to collect the body but he couldn’t, as he had no legal rights becouse he wasn´t family

he never considered the threats as serious

Ahmet had no problems with anybody but his family. When he went to the prosecution office, Ibrahim signed Ahmet’s statement as the witness.
Ibrahim explained Ahmet’s relationship with his family as: “The family started suspecting him when he was 20 years old..They tried monitoring his phone calls. His mom even hired a hacker to crack his computer password. Ahmet’s family lives in Adana. They first sent his sister to live at Ahmets. Then his mother came as well…”
Everything came to such a point that, one day Ahmet confessed and came out to his dad in a phone call. As Ibrahim says, the threats started after that conversation.
“He didn’t have any contact with his family  the following eight months . However he always had hope they would accept him one day. He always used to say that he was the adored son of the family and sooner or later, one day they will accept him. He never thought that the threats would go beyond efforts to scare him. And if  the prosecution office had taken his statement seriously, Ahmet would still be alive.”

the only eye witness is a lecturer of religion

The whole neighbourhood describes Ahmet as “a kind and nice person”.
He was not the only casualty on the night of his death. Mrs. Ummuhan Darama a neighbour who owns a cafe was also shot by a reverberated bullet. As the only eye witness of the case, Mrs. Ummuhan Darama detailed what happened that night as:

“I knew Ahmet from the neighbourhood. He was a kind and respectful person. A restaurant owner from our street told me that two days prior to his killing he has been trapped and beaten by two guys. In the night of his killing I was sitting in front of the cafe. Suddenly the continious shootings started and I hardly could get into the cafe. As I looked outside the window, I saw some people shooting both from a black Mercedes and from another yellow car. They just continued shooting after I ran away and I realized inside the cafe that I’ve also been shoot in the foot.”

“I’m a lecturer of religion and I think nobody’s sexual life is anybody´s business. I knew him as a respectfull person without knowing his sexual preference. I don’t believe that he deserved a death in this way. According to our religion, nothing else is more sinful than killing another.”

As Mrs.Ummuhan Darama testified, she told to the police; “Whoever the target was, I won’t let this case remain unsolved.” The police officers replied to her as :“You should thank god that you haven’t received the bullet into your head, you would be better not get involved in this.”
Then they asked her if she wants to take her case to court. “Certainly I want ! Even this question made me go mad. This case must be cleared up.”

the eye witness” cafe was shot upon for the second time."

After Mrs.Ummuhan Darama’s ten days treatment in the hospital, she went to the prosecution office to say that she will testify in the court.Three days later her cafe was once again peppered with bullets.

Ahmet Yildiz’s file is still pending as “secret” in the prosecution office. The lawyer for Ahmet Yildiz who has been hired by his friends and who also represents Mrs.Ummuhan Darama says they keep the file as “secret” since many lawyers want to get involved in the case. “Even I could hardly get to read the file..”

the gay community opened a blog on internet for him: Ahmet Is My Family http://www.ahmetyildizismyfamily.blogspot.com/

Ahmet’s boyfriend Ibrahim C. has started a blog, his friends are trying hard for justice to be served.
Sixteen members of the german senate asked the german government to contact turkish government to bring closure to this case. Amnesty International also got involved into the case. British and german newspapers wrote about it. The blog on the internet “Ahmet is my family” received big support throughout the world. Ibrahim C.,who leads  this campaign says we’ll do everything to get this murder solved. Whatever the reason for this murder be, we’ll fight till the very end.
“Why should we experience double-standards due to our sexual identity? We will do whatever it takes to raise  the issue of killings committed becouse of sexual genetics.

the last article which Ahmet wrote before being murdered

I always ask a lot of questions. I explore the facts of any event. That’s why my friends used to call me “Why Ahmet” during my time at high school.
My questions to older gay friends were mostly about their experiences about their coming out to their families and the reactions they received.

I listened to most of my friends experiences with their families. I can say that I’m theoretically experienced. And my experiences tell me that my family was not the kind to come out to. Both my father and mother are from kurdish origin from eastern Turkey. Besides, they have a conservative (Islamic) way of living. They don’t like men with earrings or consider women in mini skirts as faithless.
As I was just a child, I was caught by my family as having activities of discovering my sexual identity. My family always wanted to know more about me. Asking questions, putting pressure and exploring anything about me. Things came to such a point that I felt that I had to come out.

I told everything to dad. Even now, remembering that conversation makes my heart beat faster. My dad always used to tell my sister that he’d punish me.
We didn’t call each other for a couple of days. So started our first phase in our relationship. They started trying to find a way out of this situation thinking that they had to change their son immediately.

I haven’t seen my family for almost the last eight months. I expected them to accept the situation during this time. However it didn’t happen. Their beliefs, perception of honour and traditions created fears which prevented them discussing my case even in their thoughts.

They say that there’s a doctor here in İstanbul. Dad would come and we’d go visit him together. So I’d be cured. They think homosexuality is an illness ! I told them that it’s not. Being gay is like having hazel eyes which is inherited.

I want to get my family back. I wanted them in my life as my friends. However I suppose denial will be better. I think better to believe that time would heal all. Yes, sure time will… I’ll have to be without a family for a bit more. Yes, I’m proud I dont have to lie anymore. However I suggest if your family is homophobic, or extremely religious, or extremely traditional dont come out to them.

from his article on the magazine “Beargi” under the nickname “Blackbeary”.

Friday, February 20, 2009


"Our moral and economic system is based on individual responsibility. It’s based on the idea that people have to live with the consequences of their decisions. This makes them more careful deciders. This means that society tends toward justice — people get what they deserve as much as possible."

But what if this system was flawed or deliberately designed to punish those less fortunate while allowing those in power to continue to benefit themselves at the expense of the losing majority?

Its very interesting that this man has the audacity to attack the majority class which are poor while ignoring the wealthy minority that are responsible for our fragile economic failure. The United States is in a recession because of a housing bubble blown up by the shady practices of an elite class of Wall Street and governmental players. Our economy tanked because of the acts of a group of liars that should be imprisoned for corporate treason, who are now placing the blame on the shoulders of the most vulnerable people in our society: the poor.

Mr Brooks,
How dare you spend eight years defending the indefensible Bush regime and all it represented and now you have the temerity, the arrogance, the absolute unmitigated gall to pontificate about "idiots"?! Exactly who are the idiots? The working class homeowners who bought more than they could afford because the didn't understand how susceptible they were to shocks in the system and fluctuations in rates and housing markets? Brokers who mystified the system, the worst of which engaged in terrible tactics? Government intervention to encourage widespread home ownership as an admirable but ultimately foolish social agenda?

Rick Santelli has done more damage to America than all defaulted Americans combined. His participation in the professional market cheerleading of CNBC was as irresponsible as any of the rating agencies that stamped AAA on trash derivatives.

It was not Obama who went to the Congress for three Quarters of a Trillion dollars, no strings attached. That was a GOP “Market Savvy” Secretary of the Treasury with a Bush Chairman of the Fed. That money was not meant for “losers” as Mr. Santelli calls them. It was to bail out the scumbag crooks of Wall Street that CNBC has their lips super-glued on their ass.

I'm sorry Mr. Brooks. The wealthy in this country rarely have to "live with the consequences of their decisions." They have loopholes and safety nets under the illusion that they have little to fear as they are very well protected by private mercenary armies like the former "BLACKWATER" guard now renamed "XE Corporation".
Some of them, after DWIs and failed businesses and cocaine addictions and mediocre school performance can even become president.

No, David, this tired conservative rhetoric is growing old, largely because it's propagated by exactly the people who don't have to risk anything to make the grade that includes you I'm afraid.
How about you live below 25K in this country again for a while with no one there to bail you out, and a lot of very unscrupulous folks out to prey on your desire to just have a piece of what everyone else seems to have. Just try it for week even, and you may just decide to drop the beltway "bootstrap" song.

But not to worry. Sooner or later a revolution will come. It's unavoidable. The French revolted against the elite class in their country by the guillotine. The free ride is almost over. I may not live to see it but mark my word it is coming.


In my normal everyday reading of the news and blogs, I came across a long awaited post of a blogger I grew to respect when he was incarcerated in federal prison for standing up against the government's intimidation tactics of trying to undermine his journalism rights. His name is Josh Wolf.

As he writes:

I’m not the kind of guy who likes to call the cops. In fact, I’ll do everything I can to settle my disputes without involving the police. You could even say I was sent to prison to avoid getting involved — we’ll get to that later.

But when I was mugged by Terrell Tramell, 28, Feb. 4, just after 1 a.m., in the Lower Haight neighborhood of San Francisco, I felt like the only choice I had was to call the police.

I first met Trammell in 2006 while I was inmate number 98005-011 at the Dublin Federal Detention Center. He was number 92544-011, but everyone called him “Rail,” or “Rell.”

I would’ve liked to have just walked away, bruised and beaten, but ready to write it off as a very bad day.

I’m not in the game. But our worlds had collided, and simply hoping he’d leave me alone didn’t seem like a smart idea.

There’s a reason you don’t mug people that know you. Especially ones that live in your neighborhood. It makes things complicated.

And leaves me without out a whole lot of options.

I’m not the kind of guy who likes to call the cops.

But after hearing from a mutual acquaintance that Rail was unwilling to offer his assurances that I wouldn’t have any more problems, I felt I had no choice but to point to his photo when the detective showed me the line-up.

Terrell Trammell has since been charged with robbery and is being held at 850 Bryant Street. He is not eligible for bail because he is on federal probation.

I always swore that if ANYONE ever threatened me, the people that I love, or try taking my shit that I worked so hard to earn, I would kill or be killed fighting to the bitter end. You fuck with me? I will hunt you down and you won't have a place to hide. You will wish that you didn't cross paths with me.

I admire this guy Josh, but I hate to say it, once you deal with a repeat criminal, like it or not, you have to trust the cops. That's their job. There's a reason WHY people Terrell Trammell have been jailed repeatedly. The man that attacked you is an idiot that can't see beyond his small pee brain. He is an animal and as such you can't reason with people like him.

I'm hoping that once things get settled over I am thinking about buying a gun.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Growing up as a kid I was always told by my mother that
"if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all".
Unfortunately that rule did not include what she often said to both me and my sister as children when she was either disciplining us or just stressed with work or life in general. The end result affected us deeply and throughout most of our lives. I was always up front of who I am no matter what but just recently I had an incident earlier this week that caught me off guard in way that made me re-think.

I was in the city heading to the SF LG Center at 1800 Market to get help and advice in trying to find more work and help because the government is taking their sweet time in hiring me at the DHS and I'm really pissed off. I realize that the economy has tanked, we are in a recession, and in California alone 3 million jobs have been lost since the Wall Street collapse. I get it. But the frustration of being in and out of work has taken its toll on me and my partner.

So I go in to see David and give him a copy of my resume and for the next 90 minutes I explain to him what I've been doing in trying to find work and where I've concentrated my efforts. The next 50 minutes I was hit broadside by a good lecturing, brutal honesty at being told what I was doing wrong and where I need to concentrate my efforts more.

At first, I honestly wanted to jump across the table and knock this guy's teeth out for what he said to me. I did not like it all. It pissed me off but for some reason I listened and heard and he went and gave me a list of the things I need to write down to aid myself in my search for work and to open my eyes further in the possibilities. WOW. I walked out of that office in a bit of a shock but I realized that he's right.

So I drove to meet my friend Peter who was eating at Orphan Andy's with a friend of his. Pete's another guy whom I consider one of the good ones. A good person with a heart o' gold who would take his shirt off the back for you and has struggled unbelievably hard even now trying to get his DJ career off the ground. The 3 of us sat at the table talking about image and how people in the "business" told him what he needs to do to make it. These guys were NOT kind.
After OA's, Pete said goodbye to his friend and then we proceeded to head to Starbucks or as the bears refer to it "Starbears" in the Castro just to catch up.

It was interesting to say the least of the heated debate that Pete & I engaged. There was a woman that sat next to us and she jumped into the conversation.
Pete is clearly angry at OBAMA and the Prop 8 people. He sees that he betrayed us and in some case even though I did my best to defend our president, he's right. Obama catered to gay people when he wanted our vote only to turn his back to us when Prop 8 passed. But as I said to him, "We shall overcome. This is only a setback."
The conversation was amazing. Pete's amazing. Such an incredibly gifted, warm, honest, and loving human being. What would he ever want anything to do with me I still wonder.

I dropped him off as he had a flight back to Utah at 6:00pm.

As I headed home, I wondered to myself about being true and brutally honest....

I've been with my partner now almost 16 years. I love this man for better and for worse. He's the one person in the world that I know without a doubt tells it like it is and is so honest you have to respect him.
If anything, Vic has been instrumental in so many ways in me and my thinking. I was never this brutal until I met him and I could never imagine myself any other way.

When we were out in the city during IBR at a bar called TRUCK on a Saturday night, there was a guy that has been wanting to meet Vic ever since they began talking on the internet and has been egging him on for the longest time. He was striking up a conversation with him outside, but was quickly shot down because my partner called his bluff. It was funny to watch that my partner actually intimidated this guy.

The past year however I've wondered if my brutal honesty has been too harsh and has hurt people that didn't deserve to be hurt, or was I not honest enough when I should have been?

I knew somebody in the city that had just recently gotten new glasses and to be honest I hated them. They didn't fit his face and took away from his good looks. They made him look like an overgrown goofball or just plain goofy as hell. Wearing any kind of hat on his head didn't help. Yet I told him that he looked good when it fact it was a lie.

What the fuck was I thinking? I should have told him the truth that day.

Another guy that was friendly to Vic & I the second time around we met him even though he was in a drunken stupor wore baseball caps and on some days he'd wear these 1970's sunglasses that would make him look like the 7th member of the Village People. And this guy turned out to be very attractive without either one. First time I met the guy I didn't find him attractive. The second time I was actually surprised that he warmed up to me quickly. They say when you're drunk the real "you" comes out. He was himself and that's what appealed to me, LOL.

He like Vic, is naturally good-looking.

What do you think?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Celtic Woman - Orinoco Flow

I always thought that the Enya version was ok, but these women along with the strings and background vocalists did a MUCH better job.

Friday, February 6, 2009


I had a discussion today with a FaceBook user about an articleon CAMO that a lesbian writer named Diane silver wrote called, "What Gays Owe Black America". It was a very interesting read, but I didn't agree with everything this woman said.

Anyhow, a discussion began with me and a FB friend about the article and here's what was said:

FB friend: This woman is batshit.

Nobody is suggesting for one second that the struggles of African-Americans have allowed all other minority groups to profit in some way. But let's not forget that they didn't do it for gays, latinos or whoever else, they did it for themselves. And hats off to them for protecting their interests.

I am a big fan of Dr. King, Rosa Parks, and even Malcolm X for their contributions to civil rights. But it's in the past and being a vicarious beneficiary will never make up for my anger at people who know what oppression feels like, yet couldn't find it in themselves to do the right thing.

Also, gays have been reaching out to other minority groups for decades and it is met with a fast refusal due to the perceived subversive nature of GLBT people. Her assertion on that point is baseless.

ME: Hold on bud. Listen to what she's saying: "White LGBT leaders have compounded these problems by too often failing to work with heterosexual African Americans, or by only seeking self-serving alliances. Why should we expect black America to support us in our time of need if we don’t return the favor."

Hate to tell you this bud, but as a mixed interracial person myself I see the gay rights leaders fighting are mostly white gay men. I don't see many lesbians nor minorities.
Gay society is also very divided between the older generation that are against gay marriage (and trust me I know plenty of older generation gay men that vote conservative/Republican) and the younger generation 40 and younger that are for it. We also have the smoochers that take everything from gay society and give absolutely NOTHING back.

FB friend: I listened to what she's saying and rejected it because she provided no evidence to support her argument. Ones observations of those around him do not constitute universality. What you see is largely dependent on where you are. In my world, white gay men don't do shit. Lesbians did most the work for marriage equality in MA.

I would say most GLBT people (the portion that give a crap) are on the side of justice. Consider the queer Californians who worked on Obama's get out and vote campaign who, in doing so, had to choose between their own civil liberties and the greater good of the nation? The outcome of "good for Obama, bad for gays" had been predicted long before it went down. And I respect the cultural problems associated with it, but it doesn't quell my annoyance. My attitude is "you don't want to help...that's fine, but don't stand in the way." They stood in the way.

So, I still think she's batshit. And don't get me started on the gay republicans.

I continued on:

ME: The lack of respect, loyalty, honesty, maturity, combined with pretentiousness convoluted with over-the-top sexual indulgence and promiscuity is not a good combination. Then of course there's the problem of the many group "types" that if you don't fit in, you're not welcome and have ostracized many gay men in the process.

These are some of the examples of just how our society is fragmented with a lot of deep-seeded problems we need to address.

But if you want to discuss ignorance, blacks in the U.S. still feel "I was born black and I can't change that" thinking. They still believe that homosexuality is a choice. Many Latinos are deeply religious and see homosexuality as against "god".
The ultra rich, white, neo-conservative, religious zealots that make up the top 10% of the most wealthy and control 90% of what is going on in this country do not want equal rights for everyone. All they care about is keeping minorities pitted against each other, keeping them repressed, trying to undo the many equality strides that have happened in the last 45 years. And what's worse? They are hypocrites. Remember that.

Education is the only way to combat ignorance. We still have a long way to go in reaching out but we need to look at our own backyard first before we start pointing the finger elsewhere.
As far as gay republicans go? Barney Frank had an interesting comment which I quote, "why the hell would you as gay people want to support a party that demonizes you?'

The old queen is right.
What do you think?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Jupiter sounds (so strange!) NASA-Voyager recording

In watching/listening to this video I can't help but be reminded of Arthur C. Clarke's/Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A space Odyssey. The creepiness of the last 30 minutes of the film and what we now know today (from what we didn't back in 1968 when the film was released).
I can't help but wonder what the main character David Bowman as to what he was really seeing or going through the last moments of his life.