Wednesday, September 28, 2005


No Nonsense In November announces Coordinated Statewide Bar Outreach

"Come Out and Be Counted" will strengthen and expand Texas GLBT voting base

(Austin TX) – On Saturday, October 8, bars across the state have agreed to open their doors to No Nonsense in November, the campaign against Constitutional Amendment #2 that would embed discrimination against gays and lesbians into the Texas Constitution. The campaign is coordinating with bars in cities and towns from Lubbock to the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso to the Texas coast for a night of voter registration, voter education and fun.

October 8 is the last Saturday before National Coming Out Day, October 11, which is also the deadline to be eligible to vote this November, and so No Nonsense In November is encouraging folks to "Come Out and Be Counted." It will be a night for GLBT Texans and their friends to go out for a night of fun and get prepared to have their voices heard and their votes counted on November 8.

"Voting is the most important tool GLBT Texans have to defeat Constitutional Amendment #2 and this attack on our families," said former State Representative and Campaign Director Glen Maxey. "By informing our community about how this amendment directly affects us, we are driving home the point that this is not an election to sit out."

To strengthen and expand the GLBT voting base, the campaign will have volunteers and staffers working in bars registering people to vote and collecting pledges to vote against the amendment.

"On November 8th, we have a real opportunity to not only to make a difference but to make history. It is all about the numbers, and if we can turn out the numbers we can stop this hateful and divisive amendment," said Maxey.

Hundreds of volunteers will be participating and staffing tables at the bars. To sign up to volunteer, or to get more information about your bar participating in "Come Out and Be Counted," email

For more information about No Nonsense In November, please visit Soon, bars participating in "Come Out and Be Counted" will be found on the site as well.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Health Care for the katrina folks

I spent some time looking for prenatal care for Michele and Kaycie yesterday. GRRRR!!!

Here's what I found out (such as it is). They're not taking any Katrina folks for Medicaid right now b/c they haven't heard from the state how this is going to be paid for.

I think raising hell with the state legislators might be useful.

List of Texas House members

List of Texas Senate members

Also, I got this email from Keep Austin Blue - meeting Wed., Sept. 28, 2005
6:30 – 8:00 pm (tomorrow as I post this)
In the wake of the City’s Gulf Coast relief efforts, the City of Austin recently approved the 2005-2006 City budget and is crossing its fingers for relief reimbursement. To help us understand the City’s $2.1 billion budget, rising public safety costs, and service budget cuts, our featured speakers this month are Brewster McCracken, City Council Member Place 5 and Jennifer Kim, City Council Member Place 3.

I can't go because I'm in class Wed nights, but since McCracken and Kim are two of my favorite city council members (snark intended). I hope someone will be there to get some answers on the health care needs of our Katrina survivors - and not let them off the hook easily.

What I would say if I could be there, "Why the hell are folks who have moved here from NO being denied health care just because they have already been through hell, - when if they had moved here under any other circumstances or from anywhere else they would be allowed to apply for assistance with their health care needs, prenatal care, etc. Many (most?) are adamant that they don't want to go back to NO and have apts here - that makes them now "Austin residents" in my book.

So why are we telling these new Austin residents, "Screw you." How will Austin be better off when they start showing up at the emergency rooms in labor or with a health crisis, because they got no access to clinics now? Pay me now or pay me later . . . ."

If any of you have better info on how to get medicaid, clinic cards, MAP, etc for our "sponsees" let me know .

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Help our Katrina "sponsees" with specific needs

All of these families need help with rides. Making arrangements to provide a particular family with regular trips to the grocery store would be very helpful. Donations of small items can be dropped off at roses' house. To arrange for help with rides, jobs, or special needs or to make furniture donations, please contact Othniel. (If you don't have contact info for roses or Othniel, please leave a comment here so that we can respond.)

[Update: Some of the lists below have been updated to include additional items, even if not specifically noted. Also, Myrtle's needs have been added at the end.]

[Update 2: A gumbo pot is a really big soup pot!]

Ruffin (49)

Job: in restaurant or grocery, hard worker
Special need: dentures
Other needs:
Iron and ironing board
TV table
Gumbo pot
DVDs with Halle Berry

Angela (38) and family
Michelle, 19, daughter
Lawrence, 18, 12th grade, son
Kaycie, 22, daughter
Willie, 22, son-in-law
Michael, 2, grandson
Kayshelle, 1, granddaughter

Jobs: Angela (security officer); Michelle (unskilled); Kaycie (cook); Willie (custodian)

Special needs:
  • Rides to grocery store and back would be very helpful (family is taking the bus to the grocery but a cab back at 15$ per trip).
  • Family needs help working the bus lines.
  • Angela needs help getting her replacement SS card and IDs; she had been unable to open a bank account or cash her FEMA check. She is holding the family together, needs support; she is cooking for many now.
  • Michelle and Kaycie need prenatal care.
Lawrence: Pants 48 waist, 32 length; 3X shirts; 11-1/2 shoes; 46 to 48 underwear
Angela: Size 22 women’s pants; XL tops; 10-1/2 women’s shoes [Update: A purse has been donated--thanks!]
Michelle: XL tops; 16 pants; 7-1/2 women’s shoes or 6-1/2 boy's shoes

1 queen bed, 1 twin bed / sheets, pillows, bedding [Update: A crib has been found!]
Cleaning supplies, mop, broom, vacuum
Cooking spoons, large knives, mixing bowls, cookie sheets, skillets, cutting board, glasses
Bath towels, 2 shower curtains; laundry detergent; iron and ironing board
Hair clippers for the men
Table and chairs; TV stand or table
(Small kids have plenty of toys)
[Update: Plus the following:]

School supplies for Lawrence, folders and spiral notebooks, calculator
African American hair care products for the women
Shoe polish kit for Willie and Lawrence
Angela likes to sew, so material and sewing stuff might be helpful.

Coretta (32) and family
Nellshon, 12th grade, daughter (17)
Coreinel, 9th grade, daughter (14)
Mercedez, 7th grade, daughter (11)
Roderick, 4th grade, son (9)
Rashad, 9th grade, nephew (14)

Job: Coretta is looking for work as a health care aid.

Special need: This family could use help with a car. (Coretta had a car but no car insurance.)

Coretta: women’s size 12 pants, large shirts, 7-1/2 women’s shoes
Roderick: size 4-1/2 shoes, 8-10 boys shorts, socks, small tee shirts

1 more bed is needed / sheets, pillows, bedding, for all beds
Kitchen table; microwave
Dishes; silverware; glasses and cups; pots and pans, cookie sheets, kitchen utensils
Bath towels and washcloths; 2 shower curtains
2 lamps; alarm clock
Cleaning supplies, mop, broom, rubber gloves; iron and ironing board
TV, possibly with DVD; Spiderman on DVD, teenage girls movies; Playstation 2, San Andreas
School supplies; football
Roderick is left-handed; he needs a pair of left-handed scissors and a left-handed baseball glove.

Edwima (57; mother of Coretta, Karyn, Tina, and Angela)

Special need: Someone to talk to, another grandmother
A plant for her balcony
Cookware, microwave, coffeemaker
TV table to eat on; a chair to sit in; a chair for her balcony
Cleaning supplies, mop, broom; toilet paper; shower curtain

Karyn (35) and family
Orlando, 12th grade, 17, son
Avi, 11th grade, 16, daughter
(Jasmerelda is at Nichols State, 18, sophomore, nursing school)
Tina (34), sister
Antoinetta, 12th grade, 17, Tina's daughter
[Update:] Eugene, 6th grade, 12, Tina's son (in transit)
Tina and her children will be getting their own apartment in the same complex around October 8.

Job: Karyn, preschool or daycare, would love to be a nanny, has computer skills; was working on getting her preschool teaching credentials, may need educational help toward that goal here.

Special needs: Orlando needs a physical for high school sports.

Clothes: [Clothing is a new addition to this list.]
Nightgowns/pajamas for the girls and women, plus:
Karyn: 14 bottom, large top, 8 ladies' shoes; needs jeans, belt, job interview clothes
: 32 waist, 32 length, XL shirts, 9 shoes
Avi: 16 bottom, M or L top, 8 ladies' shoes; needs school clothes
Tina has hardly any clothes: 10/12 bottom, M/L top, 9 or 9-1/2 ladies' shoes
Antoinetta: 5/6 bottom, top small, 6 ladies' shoes
Eugene: boy's 14/16 tops and jeans, size 5 shoes

Queen or double bed for Karyn and Avi to share; beds for Tina and Antoinetta / sheets, pillows, bedding
Kitchen table and chairs; living room chairs
Gumbo pot, cutlery, mugs, kitchen canisters, colander
Mop, broom, vacuum, cleaning supplies, laundry detergent
2 shower curtains; bath towels and washcloths; caot hangers
African American hair care products
Computer for Karyn (Othniel is working with IBM and Dell, but doesn’t think they will help)
2 PS2 memory cards; PS 2 Juiced
A plant would be nice
[Update: Twin bed for Orlando found! The following additional items are requested:]
For Orlando: a wallet; any Will Smith movies on DVD
For Avi: CD player, Drumline on DVD

Troy (36) and Ari
(Two sons: one in Atlanta, one fled Houston)
Arianna (23), girlfriend

Special needs:
  • Needs help with insurance and FEMA questions; have not received FEMA support and out of Red Cross funds.
  • Troy had car insurance and has a rental car for about 20 more days.
  • Medical support, possibly neurologist; arm injured in evacuation.
is an electrician; has a part-time job for 3 months but needs full-time work.
Ari is a waitress looking for work.

2 beds (1 queen and 1 other) / sheets, pillows, bedding
TV stand or table; small bookshelf; kitchen table with chairs; 2 dressers; chair for living room
Pots, pans, mixing bowls, etc.; toaster or toaster oven; dish towels
2 shower curtains; bath towels
Mop, broom, vacuum; cleaning supplies
Iron and ironing board; laundry detergent; washer/dryer (has connections in apt.)
Alarm clock; DVD or VHS player
Phone card minutes for a track phone
Computer (Othniel is working with IBM and Dell, but doesn’t think they will help)

Veronica (68)
Needs info to come


Miss Myrtle will be moving into her own place on Tuesday (9/27).

Job: Worked with the USPS in New Orleans and is hoping to get part-time work here (she is partially disabled).

Queen size bed / linens, bedding
Chair, small bookshelf
Telephone, lamp, TV, microwave, coffeemaker
Pots, pans, canister set, mugs, breadbox, cookie jar, kitchen spoons and cutlery, colander, chopping board
Kitchen towels and dishcloths, Ivory liquid, Cascade
Washer/dryer (electric)
Cleaning supplies, Charmin
Coat hangers
Plant for her patio
Joyce Meyers books or other spiritual books

Friday, September 23, 2005

The 23rd Qualm

I recieved this in an email today and had to share it. I hope it is not a repeat.

Bush is my shepherd; I dwell in want.
He maketh logs to be cut down in national forests.
He leadeth trucks into the still wilderness.
He restoreth my fears.
He leadeth me in the paths of international disgrace for his ego's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of pollution and war, I will find
no exit, for thou art in office.
Thy tax cuts for the rich and thy media control, they discomfort me.
Thou preparest an agenda of deception in the presence of thy religion.
Thou annointest my head with foreign oil.
My health insurance runneth out.
Surely megalomania and false patriotism shall follow me all the days of
Thy term,
And my jobless child shall dwell in my basement forever.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

As We Struggle for Equal Rights and Protection Under the Law

Texas is in the midst of a struggle as we fight to stop Constitutional Amendment 2 on November 8th, 2005. What the proponents of the Amendment fail to see if that thier actions release hate, ignorance and even rage in people who's fear they play upon.

I recieved this message when I got home and I am heart sick.

We regret to inform you that our good friends, Paul Dodd and his housemate Jeff Hersch, were severely attacked Thursday early morning in Paul's home. They want you to know they are comfortable and recovering at this time. We are forwarding Paul's own words with this email to update you below.

It is important to note that people close to the investigation, including Paul and Jeff, believe that while pointed in its homophobia, this attack was opportunistic and not related to their activism.

Many prayers and positive thoughts are already buoying them and we hope you'll add yours to the raft of support they're receiving. If you want to send well wishes, he has asked to do so through MCC at 8601 S. First, Austin, 78746. We encourage you to send them prayers and your healing thoughts and wishes to both Paul and Jeff (who hadn't even settled into Austin after his Philadelphia move - what a Texas intro).

We know this is scary stuff and, horrifically, we are reminded why we are fighting government-endorsed discrimination in this constitutional amendment battle. It is our fervent hope that all of our spines are stiffened, not bowed, in response to this and other attacks.

Courage, hope & healing,Sue & Tanya

My Dear Friends,

...In short, I was released from this hospital this afternoon, as was Jeff Hersh, my roommate. I'm not a pretty sight to see, and have some ugly stitches in my forehead, lots of scratches and bruises, and a swollen kisser and jaw. But, thankfully, no broken bones, and no injuries that won't mend in time. The emotional and spiritual wounds, no doubt, will take longer to heal. I truly thought they were going to kill us....

We have no idea what motivated the perpetrators of this senseless act of violence. There was a forced and violent entry into my apartment about 4:00 this Wednesday morning, a horrific beating, but only Jeff's car keys and $50-60 stolen... There were anti-gay and hateful epithets from the perpetrators, and the police are following up on this as a possible hate crime. But, for now, we are in the waiting and recovery stages.

Jane and my older daughter, Christi, arrived tonight. I am blessed with the most wonderful family in the world, and with friends like you, I hope to fall asleep sometime tonight counting my blessings rather than fraught with fear. We are staying with friends in Austin, and may not return to the apartment until I complete the purchase of a new home.

I will copy and paste a news release from Soulforce which might help you to better understand what happened this morning. In any case, your prayers, expressions of love and concern, and your steadfast encouragement are blessings far exceeding my ability to say an adequate thanks. I love you all, and we'll be talking again soon. Blessings!


Soulforce Prayer Alert
- September 21, 2005

Dear Soulforce Friends,

Soulforce board member Paul Dodd was attacked in his apartment in Austin, Texas, Tuesday night, September 20, by two men who beat him severly. Though evidence points to this being a hate-crime, police are continuing to investigate.

Paul is currently hospitalized. Though his physicians say his injuries are not life threatening, stitches were needed to close deep gashes in his face.

Soulforce staff member Jeff Lutes is with Paul in the hospital and will report as he hears directly from Paul's doctors.

Besides being a Soulforce board member and a front lines activist in our attempt to Stop Spiritual Violence against GLBT people, Paul, a former Army Chaplain, is also an active member of the Service Members Legal Defense Network's Honorary Board.

We ask all our Soulforce and SLDN friends to pray for Paul's speedy recovery.

I have met Paul and had the pleasure of hearing him speak on many occasions as we fight the good fight. He is a wonderful man and a true treasure for Texas GLBT community.

The blame for this hate crime lies squarely with the GOP's campaign of lies and prejudice. They use ignorance and fear to provoke people to rage against something they do not understand. The rage releases violence. Hate Crimes are up across the globe and espcially in the United States.

Do I fear more attacks against other activist including myself? YES! Will I stop my vital work for Equal Rights for All Americans? HELL NO!!!

Please keep the activist world wide in your thoughts. I am afraid we will need them.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Rep. Chisum and his Campaign of Lies and Prejudice

I am so mad I could spit nails and put up siding!!! I wanted to share the letter I sent Rep Chisum and also sent to the Statesman and Chronicle as a letter to the editor. See the article at the bottom that has Chisum spreading more lies and hate.

Dear Representative Chisum,
You have sunk to a new low even for you. This lie you are spreading saying that the No Nonsense in November campaign plans to bus in hundreds of gays to spike the voter rolls is beyond belief. You prove yet again that this is nothing but a hate bill and you are willing to use fear, hate and lies to try and deceive the good people of Texas to spread your prejudice and bigotry. You should be ashamed of yourself.

I think you owe Glen Maxey, the staff and volunteers of No Nonsense in November and every GLBT Texan an apology. Actually, the best thing you could do for the great state of Texas is resign from office. Texas does not need Representatives who will lie to further their own personal agendas of hate and prejudice.

Steve Whichard

Rumors fan flames in hot battle over amendment
Foes dispute prospect of busing in voters from other states.
By W. Gardner Selby
Monday, September 19, 2005

Advocates for a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage say they fear that foes plan to illegally bus in residents of other states to vote against the proposal.

"That (prospect) is the most ridiculous thing on the planet," said Glen Maxey, who directs No Nonsense in Texas, an Austin-based coalition working against Texas becoming the 17th state to put a same-sex marriage ban into its constitution.

Those who talk of busing in voters are "smoking crack," Maxey said, calling such recruitment immoral and illegal.

Amendment supporters have come up with no proof. Yet simply floating such a specter suggests that campaigns on Proposition 2 — already pitting social conservatives against Texans who back gay rights — could be subject to spells of high anxiety before the Nov. 8 election. In tussling otherwise fueled by Internet pleas, church sermons and voter-by-voter outreach, such vitriol could set a hard-edged tone for the next seven weeks.

Kelly Shackelford, president of the conservative Plano-based Free Market Foundation, said he's aired his concern to Secretary of State Roger Williams, the state's chief elections officer.

"If the election is small turnout, this could have a big impact," Shackelford said.

Williams said through a spokesman that the possibility of out-of-state residents registering "has been brought to our office's attention," and officials plan to watch for spikes in registration. The registration deadline is Oct. 11.

"It is a situation we can monitor and handle," spokesman Scott Haywood said.

Shackelford and state Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, who wrote the proposal last spring, each said they have heard talk that anti-amendment forces intend to bus in voters.

The allegation also surfaced last week in a one-page handout that Maxey said was passed out in downtown Austin and near the University of Texas. There is no indication of who printed or distributed it.

Chisum, who mentioned his concern to the 35-member Austin Area Pastor Council last month, said last week: "Maxey's going to do that; he's going to reach out to them and explain to them what they can do. All they have to do is get down here and register to vote. And I suspect they're going to furnish addresses for them. That wouldn't be hard to do. . . . (You could) stuff ballot boxes with people who are not legitimate Texans."

John Colyandro, an Austin consultant to the Texas Marriage Alliance, which urges approval of Proposition 2, called the concern "preposterous."
"I can't imagine that taking place at all," he said.

Maxey, a former Democratic House member from Austin, suggested the charge reflects vitriol headed his way.

"I know they're going to come after us with a fine-tooth comb and try to find whatever. They're going to find nothing on this campaign," he said.

Proponents mobilize

The busing allegation sparked combustion in a campaign otherwise premised, in all camps, on identifying like-minded voters and getting them to vote without costly radio and TV advertising or much leafleting by mail.

"This is not a money issue," said conservative consultant Allen Blakemore of Houston. "You don't have big business weighing in on this. So there's not a lot of money in either side. Therefore, there are very grass-roots-oriented campaigns."

Amendment supporters say sealing the ban in the constitution, in addition to a 2003 law forbidding same-sex marriage, will prevent judges from imitating others in Massachusetts and California who have recognized same-sex marriage. Opponents say the ban would unnecessarily reinforce the 2003 law and possibly restrict practices including common-law marriage — a claim proponents dispute.Proponents expect resounding approval of the measure, many wondering only what their margin of victory will be. Opponents are angling for a landmark upset.

Amendment supporters have launched a Web-based effort to shore up conservative groups and churches.

The marriage alliance, headed by three Republican legislators, touts video endorsements from GOP elected officials including Gov. Rick Perry. Shackelford launched the Texans FOR Marriage Political Action Committee last month. They also are counting on the Texas Restoration Project, a group supported by the governor seeking up to 300,000 voter registrations through churchesfocused on conservative values.

Opponents also act

Anti-amendment forces have gathered under the umbrella of No Nonsense in November, which is rooted in gay, social liberal and civil rights communities. Its Web site offers scripts for walking neighborhoods, giving speeches and advocating rejection of the amendment by telephone or in visits to bars, coffeehouses and outdoor events, where younger people congregate.

Maxey suggested both sides must weigh historically light turnout in constitutional elections; the state hopes for a turnout of more than 12 percent this year.

Both sides could lean on e-mail communication. Cathie Adams, president of the Texas Eagle Forum, said she encourages pro-amendment activism in frequent messages sent to about 2,000 correspondents; she hopes each of them contacts another 100 people.Kyleen Wright, president of the Texans for Life Coalition, said she encouraged her board to join the pro-amendment campaign partly because she's mother to four sons, ages 10 to 15. Wright said she fears any encouragement of gay marriage could lead to other changes such as legalized polygamy.

Outside a debate on the amendment at Austin Community College's Rio Grande campus last week, No Nonsense activists reported collecting voter registration applications from 25 individuals.

"It's about my life and who I get to marry," said Jessie Beal, president of the 20-member ACC Gay Straight Alliance. "It's about me believing in my government and my constitution. I should be protected by that."; 445-3644

Everyone should contact Chisum and let him know this type of campaign is unaccetable.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Jeb's Boy Follows in Family Foot Steps

Seems Jeb's youngest boy wants to follow in his sister's and uncle's foot steps and be a party boy.

Jeb Bush's Son Arrested

I know anyone can get in trouble but it just seems to funny that the Shrub clan has no idea how to handle their infamy but only make it worse all the time. Seems like their best line of work is getting in trouble and getting bailed out of it by others. But when the current President of the United States is your role model, what else would you expect?

A Room to Call My Own

Just stopped off for Ruffin to heat up some Gumbo on the way to move into his apartment. Ruffin is exited to be leaving the Convention Center, and to have a place of his own in Austin for now. We located a couple of place settings of dishes and some silverware. Some salt and some Ivory Liquid. And a spare mixing bowl. Ruffin is taking his cot and bedding from the Convention Center for now. Austex54 is bringing him a mattress tonight.

Ruffin says, "Hello, and God Bless all of you. Please join me in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. I appreciate everything you have done for me in Austin. It feels Good to have my own place for now, and I think I can work the bus lines, and find a job or two."

Veronica is moving into her place tonight, along with many of the senior citizens from New Orleans. We are getting her a plant for her balcony tomorrow.

Janet Strange is taking Liz to the Humane Shelter to pick up her dogs, while Troy and Ari move their things into their new apartment near Oltorf and I-35. Troy and I took a short trip to San Antonio last evening, and he plans to drive to Houston tomorrow to visit his two year old son for the first time since the strom - though it will be a while before he can get to Atlanta to visit his 11 year old son, Troy Junior.

Karyn, Orlando, Edwima, Lawrence, Michelle and most of their family are locating near Northcross Mall, although Roderick, his three siblings and his mother Coretta will be a few blocks away.

Karry left today for Kentucky to join his brother. I told him goodbye for all of us, thanks for the Gumbo, and that we are proud to have known him. He peromised to call me with his new contact information.

Relaxing a moment while Ruffin heats his Gumbo and makes some rice. And smoking my brand new pipe Ruffin got for me from Wal-Mart last evening. I have never had one which meant as much to me. I will treasure this gift of friendship for years.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Great Debate or The One Sided Slam Dunk

All I can say is if Rep Chisum is the best they have, then we will win hands down in Texas and defeat this stupidity.

Did you know that marriage has only been around for 500 years? Did you also know that 17 states have passed constitutional amendments instead of the 12 mentioned in all news stories? This of course according to the wisdom or lack of from Rep. Chisum.

Also, unless you are raised by a man and a woman, you have not been raised in a healthy household. I have a feeling that my 70 year old mother might have a few choice words for Rep Chisum. She raised two boys on her own after her dead beat husband abandoned her for the 3rd time while she was pregnant. One is gay and one is straight but we are both good citizens and damn lucky to have been raised by a wonderful woman on her own.

Chisum thanked the crowed even though we were a hostile audience. There was some hissing( especially when he tried to compare us to Mississippi) and a few comments but no one screamed out or booed him even though he deserved it.

Anne spoke of love, family and children. Anything that strengthens the bonds of family is a good thing for Texas. She even said that the laws on the books outlawing gay marriage are wrong and should be repealed. When asked why shouldn't we fall in line with the other 12 not 17 states, Anne said " Cause we are Texas!" She then went on to explain Texans love of freedom and how times have changed and restricting the rights of one group is legal discrimination and wrong.

The best Chisum could come up with is that same sex marriage degrades marriage. He did apologize if he offend anyone or if we thought he was discriminating against us since he wasn't. Guess the old fool didn't even read his own bill.

To help defeat this proposition, check out the campaign website at

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Round Rock Mayor proves he is a REDNECK!!!!!

Round Rock drag show prompts fire inspection Mayor says some residents concerned about gay activity
By Camille Wheeler
American Statesman

ROUND ROCK -- Williamson County's first known drag show generated more controversy Tuesday, as city officials ordered the first fire code inspection of the decade old coffee shop that hosted it and Round Rock May or Nyle Maxwell visited the shop's owner to air residents' concerns.

City officials said they were responding to numerous complaints about Friday's show, which attracted an estimated crowd of more than 150 people to Saradora's Coffeehouse & Cafe in downtown Round Rock. The comments centered on the size of the crowd and the nature of the show, Maxwell said.

"The constituents we've heard from are concerned about the immorality of it, that it's promoting homosexuality," said Maxwell, who spoke with coffee shop owner Sarah Roberts on Tuesday morning.
City Fire Inspector Paul Ward did a full inspection of the coffee shop Tuesday and found the event violated code because the shop can seat only 84 people.

City Manager Jim Nuse, who said he requested the inspection after hearing from residents, said Roberts won't be fined because she didn't know about the occupancy limit.

The show attracted straight and gay people.
Maxwell said he told Roberts, "Sarah, you've got to look out after your business. You've hit a lot of people's radar screens."
Roberts said that she and Maxwell had a friendly visit but that she defended herself.

"I told him there's not anybody with more morals and with more integrity,"Roberts said. "I said, 'What's the big deal? This is . . . a talent performance. These guys were impersonating famous performers, and one of them was an acrobat.'"

Drag shows are a form of burlesque entertainment in which men dress as women and typically portray famous female singers. No performer used foul language during the show, and the only moment that approached risqué was when a performance artist named Glampyre partially unzipped his shirt to accept a $1 tip.

Roberts said she reminded Maxwell about the annual junior high and highschool tradition of dressing football players in cheerleading uniforms.

"Everybody thinks it's funny and cute," she said.

Roberts said most of the feedback she's received has been positive.
As for the overflow crowd, Roberts said she's drawn that many people to other events, including for Christian band shows, CD release parties and a 25th wedding anniversary.

"I've never had anybody question the occupancy of this place," she said."They've never called and told me, this was the code, this was the ordinance. Now I know, and I'm glad."

Ward said the fire safety inspection revealed a few discrepancies, but nothing major.

Maxwell said Roberts should pay attention to public perceptions if she's going to stay successful as a business owner.

"A single event like this will not affect the viability of business downtown or the overall environment or the family-first environment," he said. "We have too many strong, conservative values, and this is a single event. There may or not be more. That's up to how Sarah conducts her business."

Roberts said she'll book more drag shows if there is a demand.

Maxwell said although he wouldn't personally condone drag shows, "it is not my position to stand in judgment of how she runs a business as long as it's legal and it is not endangering the health of her employees or customers. This is not Sixth Street, Austin, Texas; this is Round Rock, and it's a world of difference."

I saw this this evening when I got home and immediately fired off an email to the Mayor and City Manager. See below for content also for email addresses so you can email your comments also. I took a copy down to Saradora's and met the owner and some of her evening staff. Sara is a wonderful women who is open minded and trying to run a small coffeehouse and grow with the times. I say support her and let the Mayor know he has overstepped his bounds.

Dear Mayor,
Your visit, complaint and seeming warning to the owner of Saradora's about hosting a drag show is nothing short of prejudice. We all know Round Rock is not Austin, but it is also not stuck in the 1950's either. The area is growing and changing and you need to wake up to the new decade. I applaud Sarah Roberts for opening her doors to all and not restricting bookings to only "Christian" groups. I am also disturbed that the City Manager ordered a fire inspection just because of the type of show but was not fearful or concerned when the same number of people have been seen there for "Christian" groups, cd release parties or other special events. You as Mayor should be protecting everyone's rights not condemning a business owner for being innovative.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Great Debate

Anne S. Wynne, Founder of the Atticus Circle , and steering committee member of the Austin Alliance for Social Justice, has agreed to represent No Nonsense in November and debate Warren Chisum.
For those of you unfamiliar with the State Representative from Pampa, Chisum sponsored HJR 6, setting the stage for Constitutional Amendment #2 banning civil marriages and civil unions for same-sex couples to be put on the November 8 ballot, thus giving us all the reason to rally against it.
Anne is a fabulous spokesperson for our cause. Anne is the Founder of The Atticus Circle, a group focused on education, policy development and legal advocacy to achieve equality for all parents and partners, regardless of sexual orientation. Atticus Circle is one of the more than 125 organizations and businesses and thousands of individuals that are working together to mobilize fair-minded Texans to vote against Proposition 2 on November 8.
Anne is an Austin lawyer and married mother of three, who testified against HJR 6 this spring.
We need supporters to attend the debate. It’s at an odd time of day – 1 o’clock on a Thursday afternoon - but your presence will be important. The debate is sponsored by Austin Community College’s Student Life program in an effort to engage students in “Gender and Sexuality” issues.
Hope to see you there and again, many thanks to Anne for delivering our message so powerfully and all those supporting this event.

WHEN: Thursday, September 15, 2005
1:00 to 2:00 p.m. (GET THERE BY NOON TO GET A SEAT!)

WHERE: ACC Rio Grande Campus
Main Auditorium, Room 201
1212 Rio Grande Street
Austin, TX 78701
This was sent to me from the Austin Alliance for Justice. Check out their web site for other great ideas and events.

I have even switched my day off this week so I can attend. Hope to see a lot of you there.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Doing My Part for the Left

I have started an online store for bumper stickers and shirts that have witty(or at least I think so LOL) comments about political issues and current events. Some are blunt and to the point about Texas Politics and some say what we would love to say to national figures if we could talk to them. I will be donating any proceeds to the fight for civil rights and also to help the Katrina survivors here in Austin.


No Nonsense Campaign against Prop 2

I would like to invite all members and readers to get involved now, today, in the fight against the Prop 2, the constitutional amendment which purports to ban same-sex marriage (which is already illegal in the state of Texas).

Please visit the campaign website and download the talking points. You can also print flyers to distribute to your friends and neighbors, co-workers, fellow church members, whoever is in your sphere of influence. You can register for the calendar and register to attend events on the calendar. If you don't live in Texas, send money.

I am personally working to coordinate faith communities in Houston and UU communities state-wide to work against this constitutional amendment. To that end, I have developed an inventory list of helpful material for each individual to carry around and use while talking to people. Each person who is a member of a church or temple should consider working with me or with your regional faith coordinator to organize interested members to fight this amendment. In like fashion, if you are a member of a Humanist group, political club, neighborhood group, please consider doing the same. Contact me if you are interested using some of the resources I have developed or want to serve as a liaison from the campaign to your church, club, or group. Contact me if you are interested in getting involved with the campaign in any capacity, I don't care where you live, I will find the right person to set you to work.

This amendment is the latest in a long run of erosions of our civil liberties and freedoms that we have come to take for granted in the US. This is not solely a gay issue. This affects us all. We are on the verge of writing discrimination against an identifiable minority of our society into our constitution. Are you horrified by the precedent this would be? I certainly am.

What's more, the discrimation against this identifiable minority is already part of the legal system. So what was the point of this amendment again? Seems like a blatant attempt to demonize that identifiable minority to me. So, at the risk of being trite, if we don't stand together, exactly who will stand with you if and when you are an identifiable minority that is the target of discrimination and demonization?

It's time to push back. Yes, there are a lot of terrible things going on right now. I am here to tell you that we can do something about this particular terrible thing. And guess what, we can build a network that we can mobilize when other terrible things are proposed, because there is more like this coming down the pike.

Senfronia Thompson noted regarding this amendment, "I want you to know that this amendment [is] blowing smoke to fuel the hell-fire flames of bigotry". Read her full remarks here.

58 days till election day (November 8).

30 days till the voter registration deadline (October 11).

What have you done to fight this bill today?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Links for locating animals belonging to Katrina survivors [Updated]

Austin Partnership
The ASPCA is working with the Austin Humane Society to establish a hotline for hurricane evacuees from Louisiana and Mississippi who need help in locating their animals. The number there is 512-646-PETS (512-646-7387). As of September 6, the Austin Humane Society has taken in over 75 animals and reunited 15 pets with their people.

Houston Partnership
The Houston SPCA is now receiving animals from Louisiana at two intake centers. They have set up a network of agencies around the country to provide long-term care for the animals. Contact them at 713-802-0555.

ASPCA / 212-876-7700 ext. 4700 / /
See special message from the ASPCA below.

Trapped Pets (within Louisiana)
To report a pet missing within Louisiana, go to The database is actively reviewed and being given to the rescuers in the field.

More Links

United Animal Nations 916-429-2457/

Houston SPCA 713-802-0555

Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine 225-925-3980 / /

Best Friends Animal Society

American Humane www.american

Humane Society of the United States

North Shore Animal League

[UPDATE 9/10/05:] More links:
IFAW Scroll down for links to register your missing pet and for animal rescue groups to request supplies.

Noah's Wish
Rescues and shelters animals during disasters. Includes how to help and
volunteer opportunities. Has set up disaster animal shelter in Slidell, La.

From the ASPCA

To be separated from your pet in a disaster is very upsetting. The hardest part may be not knowing the fate of your beloved animal. Some people want to hold on to the hope that their pet has found a way to survive; others can take some comfort in the realization that their pet may now be at peace. We all feel guilty when we can't protect the lives of innocent creatures who depended on us.

If your pet has died in this disaster, please remind yourself that you provided a very good life for your pet before this awful event. Now your main goal has to be your own recovery and eventual well-being. You know that is what your pet would want for you.

If you need help with grieving the death of a pet, or need comfort and support if you have been separated from your pet, please call our Pet Loss Hotline. Call 1-800-946-4646, and enter pin #140-7211 and then your own phone number. Dr. LaFarge will call you back as soon as she can.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

News from Camp Casey III in Covington, La.

Via Margaret:

"A total of four truckloads of Camp Casey donations from the Crawford Peace house have been distributed either to Covington or to the "enchanted forest" peace camp here [in Austin] for hurricane survivors. Debbie Russel is managing that project. Combined with Camp Casey donations and donations from Camp Casey alumni here in Austin we have filled a total of six trucks TO THE BRIM AND STUFF FALLING OUT AND LASHED ON TOP of various sizes with donations for hurricane relief here in Austin and in Covington. Not too bad!!! Thank you all peace lovers near and far. And thanks to Jessica, owner of Cafe Mundi, our donation site which hopped with activity all weekend. Stop by for some coffee and tell her thanks."

A few photos from Covington are here, under the "Veterans for Peace Covington" link.

A post on from the Camp Casey Alumni forum:

"While the total number of U.S. soldier killed in Iraq while Bush was on vacation is fixed at 78, his despicable negligence in continuing his holiday while people were dying from a lack of help after Katrina has given a whole new meaning to the concept. has been updated according and in the immediate future will focus on the disaster relief work being done Camp Casey III."

One white backpack needed--& chapstick! [Updated]

The backpack is a long shot, I know, but Othniel asked me to post this request. He met a survivor who is blind and has some mental health issues, and his white backpack, now lost, was very important to him. He really needs another one for peace of mind. If anyone has one or locates one for him, please post in the comments here, so we'll know that's one thing we can check off.
[UPDATE ON BACKPACK:] Check the backpack off the list. Thanks!

[UPDATE:] Also, lots and lots of requests for Chapstick!

[UPDATE 2:] Whoever left all the donations on my porch this afternoon, thanks! It looked like it was Christmas!

[UPDATE 3:] For important information when working directly with hurricane survivors, read the comments to this post.

Heads up: watch for survivors with a rash / take your laptop [Updated]

[UPDATE:] From LA Times: "Authorities said Monday that some of Hurricane Katrina's evacuees have contracted a bacterial disease that is considered a more benign cousin of cholera, but is potentially fatal in people whose immune systems have been compromised." Full story here.

[UDPATE 2, 9/7/05] Anyone working with hurricane survivors, please scroll down for more-detailed info about this very serious, potentially fatal type of infection.

From someone in another Austin group:

"This is a heads-up to those volunteering at the convention center and other locations, working directly with the evacuees.... One woman I talked to said her husband ... and his fellow power company workers [in N.O.] had developed a mysterious rash and didn't know what to do about it, but it was itchy and irritating. I went home later and sifted through Katrina stories on the net and found a reference on the LA Times website about skin eruptions on New Orleans evacuees. Turns out, it's a strain of cholera contracted by having open lesions on the skin come in contact with diseased water or items that had been in the water. It can be fatal if not treated promptly with antibiotics.... The article says the disease is NOT readily communicated person to person, but those who have it should be identified and given treatment asap.

"BTW, I took my laptop down [to survivors in a motel] and was able to access the motel's broadband. The evacuees there were extremely grateful to be able to access email, leave messages online, look up the satellite pics of their area and get info on how to go about getting copies of important documents like driver's licenses. One fellow was supposed to get married...but the storm prevented it. He was marrying someone tomorrow, and needed an ID to get the license. One woman needed info on contacting the local school, to see if she could get workbooks so that her kids could keep up with school work. It's mind-boggling how many details one has to attend to to keep one's life going in the event of a disaster."

[UPDATE 2 info:]

From another list:

I don't wish to belabor the point about what it is called, but I do think in this case, whether one can can say it is strictly cholera or not, the importance of treatment cannot be minimized, including by terminology used..(The L.A.Times article said several times it was "related to cholera/in the cholera family of diseases). People tend to treat 'bacterial infection' as an ordinary thing that can wait. This infection should NOT be brushed aside or minimised in any way, from what I've read, and the below. And the people we are talking about are under severe stress, mild or severe shock, and their immune systems are compromised to some or a great degree. This is from Pub Med:

1. Name of the Organism: Vibrio vulnificus
Vibrio vulnificus, a lactose-fermenting, halophilic, gram-negative, opportunistic pathogen, is found in estuarine environments and associated with various marine species such as plankton, shellfish (oysters, clams, and crabs), and finfish. It is found in all of the coastal waters of the United States. [Cases of illness have also been associated with brackish lakes in New Mexico and Oklahoma.] Environmental factors responsible for controlling members of V. vulnificus in seafood and in the environment include temperature, pH, salinity, and increased dissolved organics.

2. Nature of Acute Disease:
This organism causes wound infections, gastroenteritis, or a syndrome known as "primary septicemia."

3. Nature of Disease:
Wound infections result either from contaminating an open wound with sea water harboring the organism, or by lacerating part of the body on coral, fish, etc., followed by contamination with the organism. The ingestion of V. vulnificus by healthy individuals can result in gastroenteritis. The "primary septicemia" form of the disease follows consumption of raw seafood containing the organism by individuals with underlying chronic disease, particularly liver disease (see below). In these individuals, the microorganism enters the blood stream, resulting in septic shock, rapidly followed by death in many cases (about 50%). Over 70% of infected individuals have distinctive bulbous skin lesions.

Infective dose -- The infective dose for gastrointestinal symptoms in healthy individuals is unknown but for predisposed persons, septicemia can presumably occur with doses of less than 100 total organisms.

Monday, September 05, 2005

More on survivor needs at Convention Center

The following is from someone who volunteered at the Convention Center today. I am hoping that if FEMA really takes over at the Convention Center, it does a better job than it has so far elsewhere.

Be sure to read the comment by sandia blanca, which addresses some of the points brought up below.

This is related to clothes, kids and office supplies from what I saw.

They are in need of shorts for boys 2T on up. They also need LOTS MORE of mens clothes, shoes (desperately!), underwear and socks. I had men coming over looking at the boys clothes to see if anything fit. I can't tell you how many men I saw walking around with shoes too small for them or some ready to take underwear 2 sizes too small because that's all there was.

I say boys and mens because I saw a lot of girls and baby stuff. And don't get me wrong... there are mounds and mounds of clothes and shoes, but it became pretty apparent what was lacking when someone would come over asking for help finding a size or something.

And I wanted to emphasize... summer clothes only. All the others are being tossed aside for now. There have been some people (mostly women and men) asking for something a little nicer to go to church or perhaps job hunting.

In the kids area they could use some very basic stuff, like stickers and easy games for 5 year olds. Some of the little girls would have loved to do some kind of craft or jewelry-making. And please... don't send toys that don't work or need batteries (unless you supply those too). I almost cried when a little boy pulled out 2 remote controlled cars and asked for my help getting them working. Both were broken.

I noticed that volunteers are in need of some office supplies, like name tag stickers (they need LOTS of these because they are using for kids too), tape, etc.

If you get to the convention center and they tell you to go somewhere else to drop things off, tell them you have specific items for the kids area or office supplies and I bet they won't turn you away. Or if you walk in and see someone with a wrist band, let them know.

FEMA was about to take over as I was leaving. They are halting new volunteers for the time being because they are setting up shop. The people in charge said to call the Red Cross number to find out what you can still do.

And now I need to have a good cry... I saw people who received news of a friend or loved one who had died. I saw kids who kept asking for their mommy and we didn't know where she was. I saw a 7 year old boy who was trying to be brave for his younger brother and sister, but as soon as they went down for nap, he quietly sobbed to me that he also wanted his mommy. It's too much to take in.

[UPDATE:] I wanted to follow-up by saying that you shouldn't stay away and just wait for a call from the Red Cross. I'm guessing you won't get one.

On Sunday night, we signed up for shifts today. We never got a call and no one else I talked to did either. And even as the Red Cross woman was turning people away, the people volunteering on the inside were desperately seeking help. In fact the woman running the kids area came running out asking for volunteers and was told that they couldn't let anyone else in. The problem is that they won't be giving out more wrist-bands... so if you have one already from volunteering, keep it on. When I finished my time today, I cut my wrist band off and we taped it onto my husband's wrist so he could get in. Ridiculous? Hell yes.

[UPDATE 2:] And from another person:

I worked 10 hours today at the convention center with women evacuees to get clothing. It's astounding how many clothes have been donated. There's an overabundance of women's blouses and shirts available. And there's a total lack of sleepwear available. Second in unfulfilled demand is very large women's sizes, especially in pants and shorts. If you're still wanting to donate something, you might want to consider this.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

The Train They Call the City of New Orleans

[UPDATED: See below and see comments.]
[UPDATE 2: Additional items requested: dominoes, playing cards, chapstick, and musical instruments].

I have just completed my second day as a volunteer chaplain at the Austin Convention Center. I have met the most incredible people with indomitable spirits.

I can add to the items which are needed the following:

1. Reading Material, especially large print and other senior adult reading material. Even old magazines are appreciated, especially national geographic, music industry publications, Austin or Texas Magazines, and general fiction. The adults need diversion, and all that is available are large screen TV's which are tuned to news channels. Religious services and child care provide some diversion, and many are beginning to get their bearings and walk around downtown, but reading material is a plus.

2. Underwear.

3. Children's books and simple toys. There are far more children than I expected. Four huge rooms in the convention center are filled with people. There are also an extraordinary number of single men, who fill one large room. Many of these men remained behind while getting their families to safety and are anxious to hear from families.

4. Large Size Women's clothing. Many people have donated clothing but women who need larger sizes have been underserved. I am thinking of one woman in particular who still remains in the clothes on which she camped on the remnants of I-10. I am taking her some men's tshirt's in the morning, but she is only one of several.

5. Fun. We need some outdoor downtown concerts or some such thing soon.

6. Jobs are a critical issue for many people. Most of the men and women whom I have met are proud to be workers, and anxious over accepting government unemployment benefits. There will be a critical need for creative employment counseling soon.

Most of the people who are in Austin were in the Convention Center in New Orleans. Many others were sleeping on the concrete on I 10. Most came here by commercial airliner, some by military aircraft.

The Austin Police and Firefighters have been awesome.

Saw Mark Strama with Will Wynn and Lee Leffingwell as I was leaving. Mark immediately set about arranging a concert.

Here are a few stories:

A most amazing day. The situation in Austin is nothing like it is in Houston, I am sure, but the need for the people with whom I interacted simply to have their basic human dignity returned to them is intense. Everyone is missing someone close to him or her and has no idea how to find the person or if he or she can indeed be found. The loss is staggering, but the spark of human spirit is impressive. I am overwhelmed by a 19 year old pastry chef who waded through water to insure his wheelchair bound grandmother could have transport and that she could live. 7 family members are here, but his own mother, father, brother and sister are missing. His smile is still strong and his spirit unbroken as he talks of finding work, shuffling through his backpack to show me the two books he managed to save from the flood. We talked of my time as a cook during college and law school and what it means to grill a steak Pittsburgh rare for a picky customer on a busy Saturday night. He had saved the tools of his trade, but had to surrender them when transport was arranged by commercial airliner and he could not board with his grandmother and maintain his culinary knives. His grandmother spoke of her church, her pastor, and how she served food to so many in the Church. I affirmed her years of ministry and told her it was time to rest and let others return to her the ministry she had provided to so many for years. The family had survived five days living on the remnants of I-10.

Another woman who managed to hold thirteen family members together in the New Orleans Convention Center, and somehow get them all together to Austin, watching her nine year old grandson play and return to childhood.

A man who operated machinery to fill soft drink bottles, waiting on his first shower in six days and watching his wife sleep and rest at last on the adjacent cot. Wondering when he will work again, when he will again be a provider, but holding his head high.

So many kind words for the people of Austin, who lined the streets and waved as buses brought these folk from the airport.

UPDATE: More Stories from Day 2.

Harry, the New Orleans pastor who stayed with his flock in the New Orleans Convention Center, slowly letting go of his shock and grief as we drove from the Austin Convention Center to a local Austin Church Sunday Morning so he could repair his spirit and return to ministering to those with whom was staying at the Austin shelter. This extraordinary man was overwhelmed but refusing to give in, caring for the sick, the elderly, the dying, the dead, the children - staring death and collapse in the face and somehow finding his humor and his song, greeting members of other New Orleans churches as we walk back through the Convention Center, affirming life, offering a prayer, a connection to a way of life gone for good, by sharing Stories of the New Orleans that was while he ministers to the Diaspora. A modern Ezekiel, encouraging all his people to Stand in the full honor and dignity of their personhood, connecting the Banks of the Colorado and the Mississippi to the Tigris and Euphrates, uniting the Diasporas, teaching and maintaining civilization.

Troy, the former marine, who never got the name of the 16 year old boy who swam 8 blocks to bring a flat-bottom boat back to the rooftop where he sat watch with three elderly New Orleans folk and his girlfriend. Troy tells me how the young of New Orleans helped the elderly, how they retained the lessons of civilization itself by passing the elderly and the infirm forward in the lines for the exodus. His smile when he realized he and his girl could stroll down Sixth Street and breathe and let in some life. The smile on his girlfriend's face when I gave her a copy of the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, which she clutched to her heart as she held hands with the elderly woman, unknown to her and Troy before the flood, with whom they they survived and who now is their family. She knows she belongs to America, and yearns to reclaim her inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Shirley, keeping a silent vigil in her wheelchair, awaiting word from her daughter, describing the okra gumbo she left in her freezer and wondering when and where she will cook again, but knowing she will.

Karen, who arrived with 7 family members from Baton Rouge to join the family of 13 which had made it to Austin the night before. She is a preschool teacher and accepts a copy of the Wizard of Oz, which she will read to the children gathered about her. Where will she teach? Wherever she is, she will teach, she will contribute, she will move the human race forward. She smiles as she realizes her son may be able to play sports in a Texas school this fall. She encourages her mother to rest, she chats with her sister. She holds her head high and embraces life.

The worshippers at the impromptu service, singing again, connecting with their God, with each other, and with Austin at a service led by an Austin Police Chaplain, who reminds of the Covenant of the Rainbow, the symbol of hope after the flood.

The children of New Orleans, playing again at last, laughing, going about the business of childhood, coloring and playing childhood games, tossing toy footballs, running in the aisles and getting in the way, laughing, connecting, socializing, providing the connection among the families, and the assurance of a future and a hope.

Photos from Adastra: "Austin is awesome!"

Photos taken by Rick Holcomb, aka Adastra, today.

UPDATE: sandia blanca reports: "I was out at the Freescale parking garage yesterday and today. Yesterday-- steady stream of cars, large piles of clothing, bedding, etc. Today-- miles of cars lined up, four unloading areas running nonstop, 40 cars every 2-3 minutes, ALL DAY FROM 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m....Costco is all sold out of bottled water, peanut butter, and Vienna sausages-- everyone has been buying things to donate."

And Jackie says that the line of cars was 2-1/2 miles long!

These cars are lined up at Austin Freescale to donate goods for Katrina evacuees.
Image hosted by

Image hosted by

A small bit of the donated supplies.

Image hosted by

"What's Going RIGHT"

Beautiful, detailed diary on Daily Kos--recommend it!

"What's Going RIGHT: the Texas situation, via Barbara Radnofsky"

Sunday update on Camp Casey at Covington

Margaret will be at Cafe Mundi today from about 1 pm on to accept donations of supplies and cash. A truck filled with supplies did leave for Covington yesterday (actually I think more than one did). In fact, she thinks that there will be enough supplies to fill two trucks by the end of today, so if you know of anyone who would be willing to drive their truck to Covington, that would be great. But it sounds like they will find a way to get all donated supplies to Covington.

Margaret estimates that with about $200 more, a badly needed generator could be rented for the Covington camp, and all cash donations will be used to buy supplies as needed in Baton Rouge (she says the people in Covington make a supply trip to Baton Rouge about once a day). You can donate by check at Cafe Mundi (see details in post below).

On the other end of the spectrum, if you don't have money to donate or to buy supplies with, Margaret says water is more valuable than anything. If you have empty plastic jugs, you can fill them with tap water--that water can be used for dishwashing and other cleaning, rather than using drinking water for that. Purchased drinking water does not need to be fancy; cheap gallon jugs of drinking water are just as needed.

Please see other posts below for information about supplies that are still needed.


First Austin truck has arrived in Covington!

From: Gordon Soderberg
Date: Sun, 04 Sep 2005 09:52:58 -0700

Bring them on!

We can use everything, trucks are arriving all the time. The Austin truck is being unloaded now!

Yahoo group for Camp Casey "alumni"

Here's the link: "This is the meeting place for people that have been and are involved with the Camp Casey (Crawford, Texas) movement started by Cindy Sheehan." Includes some posts regarding the Covington camp.

No one-diary per day limit here. ;)

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Update on Austin donations to Covington

Please see both the diary below this one here on Austin Kos, plus Update on Camp Casey III at Daily Kos.

From the above update, if you are planning to contribute on Sunday:

The most recent list of need from Camp Casey - Covington:

* Diesel fuel [From roses: Do not take diesel fuel to Cafe Mundi, but if you can find new, empty fuel containers, no doubt those could be used.]
* Baby Supplies, Wipes, diapers, lotions, Not MREs
* Water, Water, Water, and Ice maker, purification tablets.
* A big generator! Rent one and put in to a rented trailer. [From roses: This sounds like a big commitment, but perhaps if we can donate enough cash, this could happen.]
* Solar powered Lights! get them at Lowe's or Cosco.
* Hard Candy like lolly pops for the kids.

Act locally to help Katrina victims via Veterans for Peace

Austin Kos and other progressives, here's our chance to help out Katrina victims in a very direct way, through the Veterans for Peace Impeachment tour. These are the same fine people who transported Cindy Sheehan in and out of Crawford and were in Austin last week, when they announced that they would travel to Louisiana to deliver 10,000 pounds of leftover supplies that had been donated to Camp Casey in Crawford.

The VFP has opened a soup kitchen in Covington, La. As of last night, the report from Covington was There is no government here! The Louisiana National Guard is not here. Only we are here and the people of this community are in distress” (“VFP Soup Kitchen Now Open in Covington, LA!”).

Before you read any further, please note the following NEEDS TODAY IN AUSTIN FOR YOUR VOLUNTEER TIME:

Cafe Mundi, 1704 E. 5th St., is the drop-off site. Margaret Hayes is the volunteer who is coordinating there. Here are her specific needs:

  • A ride at 4 pm today (Saturday) from Cafe Mundi to a nearby house where someone has promised to give her some cash in hand.
  • Someone to sit at Cafe Mundi today (Saturday) to accept donations from 3:45 to 4:45.
  • People to sign up for shifts at Cafe Mundi. Just stop by to sign up.

Margaret does not have a cell phone or a laptop, so to contact her, just go by Cafe Mundi. She will be there by noon today and is looking forward to visiting with people who stop by.

Now for more details.

A generous volunteer will be driving a pickup truck of supplies from Austin to Covington, leaving Austin on Monday. He estimates that his expenses will be $100. (I think it could easily be more.)


The most recent communication I have is that the following are needed:

  • ice chests with ice [From roses: Obviously, hold off on the ice for now, but I’m sure ice chests would be great.]
  • low-fat powdered milk
  • canned foods
  • fresh fruit
  • gasoline [From roses: Do not take gasoline to Cafe Mundi! But perhaps empty gas containers would be helpful. I will try to find out more on this.]
  • additional generators
  • shelter [From roses: I think this means tents.]
  • flashlights [From roses: And batteries!!]
  • “Some potatoes and onions would be nice.”

Note that they want to fill 3/4 of the truckload with bottled water. Any extra stuff that can't fit in the truck will either be sent in another trip to Covington or given to Katrina evacuees here.


Donations for gas or supplies for the delivery to Covington can be made in cash or by check to “Crawford Peace House” (write "hurricane relief" in the “for” line). Take your donations to Cafe Mundi.


I’ll update here as I get more info. And please, if you get new information when you go to Cafe Mundi, post it here.

Thanks in advance for your contributions. Let’s fill up that truck!