Posted by: Ken R | May 29, 2014

Painful Memories – The Normal Heart

Ken R:

A nice write up about the HBO special The Normal Heart.

Originally posted on JerBear's Queer World News, Views & More From The City Different - Santa Fe, NM:

imageI got around to watching The Normal Heart which I had recorded on my DVR. I had been putting it off because the AIDS crisis was traumatic for me as it was to almost any gay man who lived through the 1980s and ’90s. As I feared, the scenes of people with later stages of the disease really brought memories flooding back. I had already started a longer post on some of the friends I lost and the experiences I had during the time I was involved – this made me determined to finish it. Expect it in a week or so. In the meanwhile I want to recommend The Normal Heart for those that haven’t seen it.

It was written by Larry Kramer and was quite autobiographical. You can clearly see Larry’s famous righteous indignation on display by the lead character, Ned Weeks played brilliantly by Mark Ruffalo. It…

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Posted by: Ken R | May 24, 2014

Help My Friend Tati Out!

Ken R:

Tati’s story. Help Tati pay for their surgery.

Originally posted on In the Eyes of Mika:


This is my friend Tati.

My friend Tati Urzedowski suffers from gender dysphoria. For him, this means he feels a strong disconnect and sometimes an outright rejection of his body. I have empathy for him because I am genderqueer and understand the hardships of feeling that your body does not fit your gender identity.

About four years ago, Tati realized that he did not quite fit in the gender he was assigned. A year later, he came out as transgender or genderqueer. From that, point on he went through a change in his self-perception and self-worth. He began to live openly among friends as transgender. This year, he expanded his openness about his gender identity/expression and the response from his friends and family has been supportive and accepting.

Realizing I was transgender was by and large a liberating experience for me – Tati

Even with the support and acceptance…

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Posted by: Ken R | May 5, 2014

Nebraska, The Not Open For Business State.

OMAHA, NE – Welcome to Nebraska! The state where The Good Life withered and died, along with civil rights, access to healthcare, and the ability to pay your bills among a long list of things. Oddly enough, Omaha and Nebraska end up on a number of top lists, but it seems to me those only apply to those who rich, white, and Christian, the holders of the so called “Good Life”. This article, in particular,  Omits a lot of things you need to know if you are moving to Omaha. I’d like to point some out: The Public Transportation is horrible here. You better have a car, or you might not make it to work or school. According to WalletHub, Nebraska is the third worst taxpayer state, right after California and New York. Omahans would like to think their city is a progressive city, but this is hampered by being located in such a backwards state. Nebraska RightWing NutJobs killed Medicaid Expansion. Hope you have healthcare access, Nebraska doesn’t care about you. Nebraska conservatives also killed a  Minimum Wage increase, a bill covering LGBT Non-Discrimination, second parent adoption and foster parenting legislation.  Nebraska is one of the least LGBT friendliest places in the USA, topping it off with one of the nations toughest anti-Marriage Equality SuperDOMA.  Are you African-American? Nebraska’s largest city, Omaha, was recently recorded as the most dangerous city for African-Americans. Don’t feel safe here, Out-of-Stater, minorities don’t.

  The negative list is endless, these just came to mind first. So, don’t be poor, and certainly don’t be a minority of any class if you want to have an easy time here. Future Top Lists that try to put Omaha or Nebraska in a positive light, BEWARE! The truth is out there. Here is the breakdown.

Nebraska Rejects Medicaid Expansion

The Nebraska Unicameral voted down the Medicaid Expansion. The state legislature rejected an expansion bill for the second year in a row. The bill was defeated in a cloture vote 27-21, 33 were needed to advance. This bill was special because it included compromises meant to attract the votes of the typical Nebraska conservative. The bill included programs recently approved for use in Iowa and Arkansas. For more info:

Nebraska Rejects Minimum Wage Increase

That same one house legislative body voted down a Minimum Wage increase to $9.00.  Seattle approved a $15 minimum wage, Omaha and the rest of Nebraska are stuck at $7.25, less than half of Seattle’s $15 per hour. How’s that for perspective? Nebraska would do well with some perspective outside its little RedState bubble. For more info:

Nebraska, 3rd Worst TaxPayer state

According to WalletHub, Nebraska is the third worst taxpayer state. From the information on the chart below, the average Nebraskan pays $9,450 annually in just state and local taxes. That is the THIRD highest figure on the chart.  Now, where does all that money go?  To fund the broken promises of Nebraska richest CEOs and richest corporations? I can see why California and New York is so high, they have well developed programs for their residents.  Nebraska does not. Want to live in a BLUEr state, close by, with lower taxes?  Hint: its not Iowa, its not Minnesota. It is called Colorado at #10 best for taxes, and with the advent of marijuana legalization there, taxes could get a little lower.

Republican Mess Called Nebraska!

Nebraska, Third worst taxpayer state.

Nebraska, 2nd Highest Rich-Poor Gap in the Nation

A recent study by AFL-CIO shows Nebraska to be the state with the second biggest rich-poor gap. According to the Lincoln Journal Star, “CEO of a publicly traded company based in Nebraska made an average of $6,342,786, 170 times more than the $37,204 average paid to the Nebraska worker. When compared to the earnings of minimum wage workers who make $7.25 per hour in Nebraska, the gap between CEO and worker pay jumps up to a 421:1 ratio, the data showed.”  That’s ridiculous, especially when you consider Nebraska also turned down a minimum wage increase. For more info:

Nebraska Kills Equality Legislation

Civil rights legislation filibustered or held up in committee. This session there were 3 bills introduced that would have affected Nebraska’s LGBT community. The most publicized was LB485, the workplace nondiscrimination bill.  A cloture vote did not attain enough votes to stop a filibuster, and it died.  The Second parent adoption didn’t even get out of committee, which of course, the Coalition didn’t exactly help either. For more info:

Omaha and Nebraska ranked as the most dangerous places for African-Americans

Omaha and Nebraska have been recently ranked as the most dangerous places our nation’s African-American community. From, “According to the Violence Policy Center, a Washington, D.C.-based research and advocacy center, it’s Omaha, Nebraska. Thirty black people were murdered in Nebraska in 2011 (the latest year for which data is available), 27 of them in Omaha. That means the state had a black homicide rate of 34.4 per 100,000 people, or twice the national average.” See more info:

Omaha rated low in Public Transportation.

Omaha is actually a major regional transportation hub, but respect for that distinction is low when you have to suffer on Omaha’s Public Bus System. Visitors to Omaha should plan ahead for getting around Omaha. Don’t expect to get too far at night, and don’t expect to get too far West. See Reviews:

As you can see, Nebraska rejects all kinds of ways of moving forward.  Good Sense is an endangered species on the Plains. Checkout the FaceBook Page: Nebraska: Not Open For Business.


OMAHA, NE – Elizabeth Warren, who has emerged as a strong voice for true Progressives in America, has done it again by introducing legislation that would ban credit checks on job applicants. It is about damn time! The legislation is called the Equal Employment For All Act and was co-authored with 6 other Senators; Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).  And why not?  Why should an unemployed American, who is deep in debt, be rejected for a job that would clean up the very credit that is preventing them from getting that job? Especially when Wall Street gets away with destroying a global economy, why punish the American worker and consumer for something that isn’t entirely in their control?  Senator Warren states in her press release, “A bad credit rating is far more often the result of unexpected medical costs, unemployment, economic downturns, or other bad breaks than it is a reflection on an individual’s character or abilities.” Warren 12/17/2013

Research in the past has shown credit reports to be increasingly inaccurate, why should your employment be dependent on something with a high potential to be erroneous?  The press release from Warren’s office mentioned a Federal Trade Commission study that revealed many Americans, 1 in 5, had errors in their credit reports. They were errors significant enough that they affect the amount a consumer will pay for a car loan, insurance and even affect jobs they could qualify for, “Overall, the congressionally mandated study on credit report accuracy found that one in five consumers had an error on at least one of their three credit reports.” FTC 02/11/2013

The FTC report also found: “One in four consumers identified errors on their credit reports that might affect their credit scores. One in five consumers had an error that was corrected by a credit reporting agency (CRA) after it was disputed, on at least one of their three credit reports. Four out of five consumers who filed disputes experienced some modification to their credit report. Slightly more than one in 10 consumers saw a change in their credit score after the CRAs modified errors on their credit report. Approximately one in 20 consumers had a maximum score change of more than 25 points and only one in 250 consumers had a maximum score change of more than 100 points.” FTC 02/11/2013

According to Senator Warren’s Senate press release, over 40 organizations have already endorsed the new legislation. Here is the list from Warren’s Senate Press Release: “9to5, AFGE Women’s and Fair Practices Departments, American Association for Affirmative Action (AAAA), American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Relations (AFL-CIO), American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Americans for Financial Reform, Asian American Justice Center, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Black Women’s Roundtable, Campaign for Community Change, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Consumer Action, Dēmos, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), Disability Rights Legal Center, Job Opportunities Task Force, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Legal Action Center, MFY Legal Services, NAACP, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, National Association of Consumer Advocates, National Black Justice Coalition, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients), National Council of La Raza, National Council on Independent Living, National Employment Law Project, National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA), National Fair Housing Alliance, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, National Network to End Domestic Violence, National Organization for Women, National Partnership for Women and Families, National Women’s Law Center, National Workrights Institute, Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project (NEDAP), New York Legal Assistance Group, PolicyLink, Poverty and Race Research Action Council, Public Citizen, Public Justice Center, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and U.S. PIRG.”

Progressive Oasis will keep you updated on the journey of this new and very important bill.

Warren Introduces Legislation Prohibiting Job Applicant Credit Checks

Warren Senate Press Release Equal Employment For All Act

FTC reveals errors in credit reports of consumers

OMAHA,NE – The ratio of executive pay to minimum wage pay has become ridiculously astronomical in the US during the last three decades. Executive pay has skyrocketed and middle income earners and minimum wage earners have suffered with pay stagnating or decreasing. According to a slideshow posted after a Huffpost article on 11/24/2013 Walmart has a CEO to employee pay ratio of 717:1.  Only one company in the US has a greater CEO to employee ratio, United Health Group with a CEO to employee ratio of 1737:1.  Information at puts WalMart’s Executive Pay ratio even higher, at 1034:1.  Why does this need to happen in a country once known as the land of opportunity?

Executive Pay Ratio Chart

Look at these ridiculous executive pay ratios. From Economic Policy Institute

Raising the minimum in the US won’t do businesses the harm they as conservatives claim as Business week points out, “America’s minimum wage is 27 percent of the U.S. average pay, a lower ratio than that of any other member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development except Mexico. That doesn’t prove that the U.S. floor is too low—only that it can be higher without the sky falling. In Denmark, among the leading countries in income equality and national happiness, the minimum pay set by negotiations between employer groups and unions is the equivalent of about $20 an hour. Despite that, the World Bank has ranked Denmark as the easiest place in Europe to do business for three years running.” BusnessWeek 11/27/2013

Recently, the Swiss had a public vote on a referendum to cap executive pay at 12 times the wage of the lowest employee.  The proposal was rejected by two-thirds of voters, but the discussion highlighted the issue of executive pay, a discussion that needs to come to the US along with raising minimum wage.  I agree with the Swiss proposal to cap executive pay at a ratio of 12:1. Executive pay has risen in the past decade while middle class and poor incomes have stagnated or decreased.  American wages and hours are being cut to pay CEOs astronomical amounts of money. If you can’t understand that, then there’s the ignorance you speak of. A capitalist economy needs consumers who can afford to live in it. Sociopathic CEOs are an affront to that truth.  According to WalMart CEO, Michael Duke gets $23,150,000 a year. That adds up to 1000 jobs at $23,150 a year to pay his outrageous and astronomical salary. Time to reign in Executive Pay in this country!


Swiss Executive Pay Referendum –

SEC and Executive Pay ratios.

Minimum Wage

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