Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year From Mike + Mike!

As 2016 closes, with all its challenges and rewards for Mike and I, we take a moment to thank you for being part of our lives.

Best and sincere wishes to all for a fabulous 2017, full of wellness and accomplishments.

We just watched Shirley MacLaine and Meryl Streep, as the fictionalized Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, in a scene from "Postcards From the Edge" in which MacLaine performs a modified version of Sondheim's classic torch song "I'm Still Here".

Cheered us up and gave this two queer boys a bit of joy, as MacLaine hops on the piano, shows off her gams and flashes her red underwear.

Perfect way to end the year!

Friday, December 30, 2016

This week, Mike and I were blessed with a visit from my brother John and sister Diane. They flew in from New Jersey and Miami, stayed at the St. Francis Hotel and a relaxed, fun time was had by all.

A few highlights included eating a fabulous meal at the Mission Street Oyster Bar on their first night in town and attending a sing-a-long show of "The Sound of Music" at the Castro theater.

Thanks, John and Dee, for gifting Mike and I with your presence here in San Francisco between Christmas and New Year's Eve!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

BAR: Russia, UN's Retiring Ban & SF's LGBT Protest

Back in August of 2007, there was no online proof that any Secretary General of the United Nations had ever spoken in public about the human rights of gay people.

That led Veronika Fimbres, George Duvoisin, the late and great Hank Wilson and myself to make sure Ban Ki-Moon addressed our issues when he visited San Francisco. Hank and I zapped his speech at the Fairmont Hotel, and longtime community documenatarian Rick Gerharter snapped a fab photo of us holding signs reading "Gay Rights are UNiversal!"

Very happy to live to see the UN come to the point of creating a queer envoy to keep tabs on the human rights violations against our brothers and sisters around the globe.

Last week, Heather Cassell of the Bay Area Reporter reminded readers of the zap and some of the homo history involving Ban. Thanks, Heather and the BAR, for your excellent global coverage:

"During the recent ceremony honoring departing U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Russian leaders successfully blocked the 15-member U.N. Security Council from mentioning his work protecting LGBT people around the world. 

"The Associated Press reported that the original statement by the Security Council read that it was thanks to Ban, 72, 'that women, young people, and the LGBT community have been heard and assisted, and today their voices sound louder and stronger in the U.N. headquarters and around the world.'

"Instead, members of the Security Council focused on Ban's work protecting vulnerable populations, the environment, taking the U.N. into the future, and working toward peace in an ever-changing world during his decade-long tenure. 

"Ban, who steps down December 31, also didn't mention his work advocating for LGBT people at the event . . .

"African, Arab and Muslim countries, as well as Russia and China, harshly criticized and opposed Ban's work promoting LGBT rights. Ban's work promoting LGBT rights globally sparked many debates among U.N. member states, especially within the last five years.

"Ban's stance changed from unawareness, such as when San Francisco gay activists Michael Petrelis and the late Hank Wilson disrupted his visit to the city in 2007. Since then he has stood up for LGBT rights.

"He passed multiple policies internally and globally advocating for laws protecting LGBT people, established the Free and Equal campaign, and supported the U.N. Human Rights Council and the Security Council's inquiries into discrimination and violence against LGBT people."

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

GMHC Uses Roy Cohn's HIV Status to Fundraise

Why is an HIV and gay nonprofit services organization exploiting the name of a dead notorious conservative closeted homosexual and person with AIDS who sent people to the electric chair, ruined the lives of leftist enemies and mentored Donald Trump?

Roy Cohn is listed as a person who was diagnosed with AIDS, which he never admitted while alive, on a fundraising appeal from the Gay Men's Health Crisis of New York City.

Troubling as it is to see Cohn's name on the GMHC materials, I have to question if the agency got anyone's permission to use their name and HIV status.

It's creepy that anyone receiving this pitch for money would write a check to GMHC based on the inclusion of Cohn's name.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Media Matters & David Brock's $305K Salary

He's a leech upon the body politic and knows how to rake in the dough.

Openly gay and once conservative but now a flaming liberal in love with Hillary Clinton, before he hated her, David Brock is a nightmare of an operative.

One of his outfits is Media Matters for America. According to their 2014 IRS 990 filing, it had $10 million in total revenue, overall assets worth $6.2 million and net assets of $3.1 million.

Here's the salary breakdown for the top executives, two years ago:

David Brock, Chairman: $305,266
Bradley Beychok, President: $233,907
Pilar Martinez, CFO: $207,408
Angelo Carusone, Vice President: $176,275
Eric Boehlert, Senior Fellow: $151,590

Brock is also the founder and head of the pro-Hillary Super PAC Correct the Record. The site reports it spent $9.6 million on her behalf for the 2016 election cycle.

Sleaziness pays handsomely for Brock. He's a major reason why Hillary and the Democratic Party suck and lost in November.

There can never be enough scrutiny of the media, right and left, and the nonprofits that monitor the press.

Holiday Greeting & Pic From Poz Inmate Michael Johnson

Let's all rejoice in hearing from Tracy Johnson. She's Michael Johnson's mother and has shared a wishes from her son, hoping everyone has a merry Christmas. She also posted this great photo of Michael. Here's hoping Michael's holiday was as cheerful as could be in his Missouri prison. May 2017 be the year he's released from custody.

Monday, December 26, 2016

60th SF Intl Film Festival Dates & Venues Announced

What's the good news on the 2017 cinephilia front for the Bay Area?

Our cherished spring celebration of the latest local, American and global movies has been moved up on the calendar, and the San Francisco Film Society has added two new San Francisco venues for screenings.

It's never too early to plan for this cornucopia of cinema! Do like me and mark the festival's dates on your calendar.

Here's all the fantastic news from the festival:

"The San Francisco Film Society today announced the dates and the list of primary venues for the upcoming 60th San Francisco International Film Festival.

"The 2017 Festival will run April 5 - 19, two weeks earlier than its traditional position in the worldwide film festival calendar, and will feature several new screening and event venues for its landmark anniversary program.

"'We are delighted to welcome Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and SFMOMA as new presentation venues for this year's 60th anniversary San Francisco International Film Festival,' said SF Film Society Executive Director Noah Cowan. 'These exciting additions put us at the very center of San Francisco cultural life with dates that position us very well for new industry initiatives and large-scale special presentations.'

"The Festival's first program announcements will be made in early February, with the launch of the complete Festival lineup on Monday, March 13."

All of the venues from 2016 will be used again and they are the Alamo Drafthouse New Mission, the Castro, the Roxie, the Victoria and the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Season's Greetings to All!

Big happy holiday wishes, whatever you may celebrate, at this joyous and reflective time of year from the House of Mikes.

We're having a low-key Christmas, enjoying each other's company and sharing the gift of being alive and pretty good health, strengthening our commitment to life together.

After my camera was stolen a few days ago, I found an old pocket one that produces only fuzzy pics. We donned some gay apparel, run the self-timer and snapped this photo.

Stay warm and dry everyone and let us know you're spending this weekend. Peace on Earth, please!

Pelosi at 'Fences' Premiere'; Avoiding Town Halls

A key architect of the Democratic Party's abysmal losses, in terms of offices and races not to mention legislation at the national level, simply has no time for community-based engagement with her constituents. She's too busy raising money to maintain power in Washington or enjoying high society life in San Francisco.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi and her husband Paul found the time to appear on December 15 at the reopening of the just-refurbished Curran Theater and the premiere of "Fences" as it generates Oscar buzz.

Acting and writing Hollywood powerhouse Denzel Washington brought his film of the late August Wilson's play to the town where he got his start in the entertainment industry.

The San Francisco Chronicle dutifully covered the red-carpet entrances and poses of the political industrial complex players Mr. and Mrs. Pelosi and former Mayor and Chronicle columnist Willie Brown, as they schmoozed with the cast of "Fences."

It's been ages since Pelosi held a town hall with the voters. Heck, I can't recall even her top staffers deigning to publicly engage with constituents in recent years. Not a peep from her office about this lack of engagement changing.

Don't expect fundamental changes from Pelosi locally or as Democratic leader in the House. There are some things the election of Donald Trump won't change.

Friday, December 23, 2016

2nd Wiener Theft Suspect Jailed 1-Yr Awaiting Trial

The public defender's office today informed me that Damian Wells is in custody on charges of robbery, extortion, grand theft and receiving stolen property. 

He was arrested in January for allegedly assisting his mother Lasonya Wells steal the smartphone of powerful fag pol Scott Wiener in December last year. Damian Wells's bail is $130,000 and his mother's is set at $135,000.

It's estimated San Francisco spends about $150 a day to house an inmate in the county lockup. 

That means about $55,000 has been spent keeping Damian Wells in jail and maybe $58,000 to house his mother, who's been incarcerated longer, as they both await either trial or get an acceptable plea bargain from corrupt DA George Gascon.

In my view, Gascon has treated this alleged robbery and related charges with a heavier-than-normal prosecutorial hand because of the victim, the ambitious Wiener who was on the Board of Supervisors at the time of the theft. He's now a state senator.

All around this stinks. Taxpayers are footing the bill for the police investigation, the DA's prosecution and a combined $133,00 to house the two Wells's in jail.

They've not been able to pay bail and without any convictions, have already spent a goodly amount of time incarcerated. 

Maybe the only bright spots in this sordid criminal case are that the Wells's have been provided with three meals daily, a dry and warm place to sleep, and other spartan amenities unavailable to them as homeless persons living on the streets.

Damian Wells and Lasonya Wells both have hearings before a judge on January 6. Let's see if the DA and attorneys defending the accused can bring this matter to a resolution that leads the Wells's to lives out of homelessness and crime.

Not sure what to do about the over-charging by Gascon and the special treatment he provides to Wiener when he's the victim of petty crimes and foolishness.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

#BlackDeathsMatter: No FBI Repository of Lynching Files

Chalk it up to my naivete; thinking there was a federal archive containing records about America's shameful lynching of black Americans.

The FBI responded via snail mail to my recent FOIA request for any lynching files from 1900 through, saying I needed to provide specific names, locations and other vital info before they could commence a search. A copy of their letter is shared below.

Using names, dates and locations gleaned from the America's Black Holocaust Museum's archive of known and documented lynchings, a new FOIA request was submitted. As expected, the FBI can't begin the search unless acceptable proof of death for said person is provided.

Through emails with the black holocaust museum's director of their web site, Fran Kaplan, she shared facts about their list of victims names:

"I am so sorry that I don’t know how to help you on your quest to get FBI files, because I simply do not know if such files existed. If so, I haven’t heard of that.

"In fact, I’d doubt that the FBI ever kept track of lynchings, since these killings were essentially state-sanctioned, excused if not actually abetted by local and state law enforcement. The Federal government did nothing to prevent such illegal executions; no law criminalizing lynching was ever enacted.

"Tuskeegee University (then Institute) maintained records of lynchings (mostly in the South) that they became aware of.

"Our Memorial has names that appear in Ralph Ginzberg’s '100 Years of Lynching' book; he retrieved them from contemporary newspaper accounts. Those reported in newspapers were only a fraction of those lynching actually committed. Now the Equal Justice Commission in Alabama is compiling further records of lynchings; they’ve found evidence of many unreported ones."

My next move will be to submit "100 Years of Lynching" to the FBI and request they search their archive for materials related to every victim named in the book.

Longer term, I'm considering lobbying the FBI to create a lynching crimes unit to extensively scour their records for all and any pertinent files. The agency needs to clean house about what it didn't and may have done over the past century-plus of white people lynching black persons.

Just as #BlackLivesMatters, let's also remember that #BlackDeathsMatter too.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Wiener Phone Robbery: 
Woman Jailed 1-Year Awaiting Trial

For the past year, a destitute and homeless black woman and her son were arrested after they robbed political powerhouse Scott Wiener. When Lasonya Wells and her son Damian Wells grabbed his phone and tried to rob him of money also near the 16th Street BART Plaza, their extraordinary harsh treatment by corrupt DA George Gascon began.

According to the page one August 15 SF Chronicle story Gascon brought a kidnapping for ransom charge against Wells, which could have sent her to prison for life.

Her public defender Yali Corea-Levy successfully had that charge dropped by Lasonya still faces felonious and misdemeanor robbery, extortion and grand theft charges that could send her to prison for a long time.

The public defender's office informed me today that Lasonya is still in custody and her next court date is January 6. No word if her son is also in jail or the status of charges against him.

This is the second time Wiener has put someone through the criminal justice system over what are quite small potato incidents hardly worth clogging and the courts and jail for. Recall my experience after snapping his photo in a City Hall men's room.

Law-and-order fag Wiener, who's Trump-lite in many ways, enjoys the privilege of having the DA use his resources for a minor robbery.

How many phone thefts lead to two arrests, major charges and a full year in jail, with no end in sight, for one possibly two poor black folks? What is the cost for housing and feeding and tending to the medical needs of Wells and is she really a flight risk, if released?

As with Trump, whose supporters' views I don't have much time for, the same goes for Wiener voters.

The plight of Lasonya Wells and Damian Wells is a travesty of the rigged San Francisco criminal justice industrial complex, due to the power-flexing of Wiener over Gascon.

I'll be at the courthouse on January 6 to demand the freedom of Lasonya Wells and Damian Wells.

Happy Solstice Wednesday to You!

Over the weekend, Mike and I caught the Berkeley Rep production of "946: The Amazing Story of  Adolphus Tips" and found it mildly entertaining.

During intermission, I stopped to take advantage of their photo booth in the lobby. Mike was already back in our seats, so he's not in the picture wearing a goofy hat like me.

We both had a good night of sleep, processed the bike-and-camera theft, and reminded ourselves of the importance of letting anger go when bad things happen to us.

I'm wishing you a wonderful solstice Wednesday and hope my photo gives you reason to laff and put a grin on your face!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Bike & Camera Stolen; Got Used Replacements to Share?

The day started so well. Receiving the good news about Michael Johnson's legal victory in Missouri cheered me and many others. Got much done on a few political and household projects.

But the workday closed with my bike, which had my great new backpack in the basket that contained my old reliable video & photo camera, getting ripped off right in front of our apartment.

No, I didn't call the police department. Been through that fruitless experience from previous robberies. Don't need a police report to make a renter's insurance claim since we don't have it.

If you have a used European style bike, with a 17-inch frame, or a simple camera that shoots vids and pics (don't they all these days?), that you no longer need, lemme know.

The robbery aside, lemme express my gratitude again to my hubby Mike for being the big shoulder for me to metaphorically cry on. And thanks to all my friends I've seen since my property was stolen, for their sympathy and gently reminding me of the importance of people over property.

Photo shows me with my now-stolen bike on a happier day. Was that bicycle beautiful or what?

Court Overturns Black Poz Inmate Michael Johnson's Conviction 

There's fantastic news from Missouri today on behalf of Michael Johnson. He's the young black, gay and HIV poz wrestler who was sentenced to 30-years incarceration for violating the state's outdated, dangerous and draconian transmission law.

The Missouri Court of Appeals, in a order signed by Judge James M. Dowd, has thrown out Michael's conviction and new trial for him remanded. The state has 15 days to refile charges. Ugh. Let's hope that doesn't happen.

These are excerpts from the ruling, the full order can be read here:

"We hold, therefore, that the State's blatant discovery violation here is inexcusable, should not be repeated . . . and supports finding of fundamental unfairness in this case . . . We note that in a similar sort of violation of Rule 25.03--the late endorsement of a witness--the Missouri Supreme Court has held on numerous occasions . . . that in determining whether the trial court abused its discretion . . .

"Here, the State admitted that by failing to timely disclose Johnson's jail phone recordings, it intended to keep defense counsel from learning of them and preparing for their introduction at trial. The State's bad-faith strategy was successful, and its withholding of the recordings clearly was intended to disadvantage Johnson.

"Accordingly, we find that the trial court abused its discretion by admitting the excerpted recording of the phone calls Johnson made while in jail. Johnson's first point is granted, and we reverse and remand for a new trial. In light of this holding, we do not consider Johnson's second point on appeal, which relates solely to the constitutionality of Johnson's punishment for an offense for which he must now be retried."

Monday, December 19, 2016

The San Francisco Film Society and the Sloan Foundation co-hosted a thrilling advance screening of "Hidden Figures" on Saturday afternoon, December 17 at the Castro Theater.

A full house heard from director Theodore Melfi, left, and star Octavia Spencer, at the mike, who was nominated for a best supporting actress Golden Globe last week.

"Hidden Figures" is a rousing, based-on-a-true story about three of the black female mathematicians who provided unheralded brain-power to NASA in the 1950s and 1960s.

It's got terrific acting, great set and costume designs and an entertaining tale about racism and sexism back then, with a nods and echoes of today's situations for blacks and women.

Go see it in a theater with an audience!
NPR: Some Foreign Govts Require Local Bank Accounts 

Following the nonprofit media establishment's money and bringing transparency to individual outlets' IRS 990 filings is on my radar lately.

The public editor for National Public Radio, Elizabeth Jensen, today answered my questions from last week regarding NPR listing bank accounts in Germany, Iraq and Russia on their tax reports. Here's what Jensen had to say on the NPR Ombudsman's Facebook page:

"Media relations got back to me; I hope this helps: 'This is standard operating procedure for news organizations with international bureaus. Some countries require us to have a local bank account to do transactions there. These bank accounts are to support our newsgathering operations in those countries— to pay rent, local staff and other locally-incurred expenses.'"

This has been a useful exercise as a news consumer and watchdog, in reading a nonprofit news service's IRS 990 and posing queries to their ombudsman, then receiving an answer.

We need more such engagement between those who produce the news and folks who read, watch or listen to the mainstream press. Question authority, and the media too.

Friday, December 16, 2016

SF's Pink Triangle Hillside = Green Triangle

Have you noticed the location of the annual display of an enormous symbol of gay liberation over June's Pride Weekend, above the Castro district, lately?

Probably not so direct your eyes to the photos to see why you need to look up at Twin Peaks today.

On the left you'll see the enormous pink triangle laid out across a huge swath of the Twin Peaks hillside in the summer, all pretty and easy to see from many vantage points.

The right side shows the area of the display today, thanks to all the recent wet weather soaking San Francisco this week, a jagged triangular green triangle.

What LGBTQ magic beans were spread under the pink fabric that now sprout verdant and visible?

Hat tip, to hubby Mike for bringing the greenery to my queer attention.

BAMPFA Screens Kieslowksi's Three Colors This Weekend

World cinema lovers have a rare opportunity this Saturday and Sunday to see Krzysztof Kieslowski's "Red," "White" and "Blue" trilogy.

Using the colors of the French flag, Kieslowski explores the themes equality, liberty and fraternity in France and his native Poland. Among the stars are Juliette Binoche, Julie Delpy and Jean-Louis Trintignant, all delivering knockout performances.

Each film stands alone as a terrific experience and together they add up to a skeptical yet hopeful look at modern life and human relationships.

I saw the films when first released in the 1990s and welcome this opportunity to see them all over a weekend on the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive's big screen.

Click here for program notes, showtimes and to purchase advance tickets.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Trump's Votes in Berkeley & Oakland vs SF?

Many thanks to campaign services worker Catherine at the Alameda County Registrar of Voters, for guiding me to this info in their Statement of the Vote for November's election.

You can read the nearly 1,000-page statement here. City breakdowns are on page 40.

In ultra liberal Berkeley, total number of votes cast was 65,430 and the Trump/Pence ticket received 2,031 ballots. That's 3.10% of the vote.

For the city of Oakland, 182,940 ballots were cast and Trump got 8,470 votes which comes to 4.07% of ballots counted.

Compare Berkeley's 3.10% and Oakland's 4.07% with San Francisco's 9.34% of votes cast for Trump and Pence.

Quite sorry to see my hometown leads in this category among the Bay Area's three more liberal-to-progressive cities.

NPR Has Bank Accounts in Russia, Iraq & Germany: Why?

There's probably a fine reason why National Public Radio has three bank accounts in foreign countries. 

According to NPR's IRS 990 filings, the nonprofit news outlet has accounts in Germany, Iraq and Russia.

I submitted questions to their ombudsman asking why they have these three off-shore accounts and here are excerpts from the initial response. Hope to receive a substantive reply to my query. From NPR:

"This message was sent to in reference to Case #489654.
NPR | Dec 15, 2016 04:20PM EST 
Re: Hello, I see on the IRS 990 filings for NPR that you maintain bank accounts in three foreign

"Dear Michael, Thank you for contacting the Office of the Ombudsman at NPR. This is an automated response . . .

"Due to the high volume of emails, we cannot respond to every inquiry. However, every message is read by Ombudsman Elizabeth Jensen or her staff . . .

"We often quote audience letters on the Ombudsman blog . . . We encourage you to join the conversation about those posts on Facebook and Twitter . . .

"Social Media:
Twitter: @ejensenNYC

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Fighting for American democracy, resisting Trump. Castro and Market Streets. San Francisco. Wednesday, December 14, 2016. Around 4:30 pm.

Media Ignores SFPD's Two Slain Cop Memorial Walls

The Board of Supervisors yesterday, December 13, voted 9-1 to create a memorial on public property for Alex Nieto.

He was the young Latino killed in a hail of bullets fired by San Francisco Police Department officers in Bernal Heights in 2014. Corrupt District Attorney George Gascon refuses to press charges against the cops who slaughtered Nieto.

The lone supervisor voting against his memorial was Mark Farrell, who, according to, said creating it "was the wrong message: He argued that the city hasn’t created memorials for police officers who died."

The Examiner reported: '[Farrell] called the incident 'horrific,' but said he opposed the memorial 'because of the message that it is sending to the men and women of our Police Department who put their lives on the line for us every single day.” Farrell said that the board has focused on victims of police violence but “in turn, we do not recognize the police officers that have been killed or injured in the line of duty.”

This is from and it's via our local wire service:

“We don’t recognize the police officers killed or injured protecting residents,” Farrell said to Bay City News. “Somehow we’ve forgotten the debt we owe these men and women and someone needs to stand up for them.”

Finally, here's who the Chronicle quoted:

"In response to the approval of the park memorial, union President Martin Halloran said, 'We believe that we as a city should instead be honoring real heroes, the first responders who made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting our community from harm.'"

What none of the media noted is that there are two publicly-funded marble walls on public property, of names of SFPD officers who've died in service to the City.

Known facts clearly ignored, especially by Farrell, that the Hall of Justice and the new SFPD headquarters each have a version of a wall honoring officers shot while on duty.

I have no idea, as I'm sure is the same for Farrell, how many names are on those two taxpayer-funded walls.

It's about time San Francisco's municipal space and public dollars were equally spent on honoring and remembering the names and lives of civilians fatally shot by a member of the SFPD. Thanks to the Supervisors who voted for the Nieto memorial.

And for the local media, please, get wise to the SFPD's duo of marble slabs serving as memorials that Farrell doesn't know exist. Tell us the news!

Mother Jones's $200K Salaries; Boring Liberal Lecturing

Fighting like heck is profitable for a few folks in the world of liberal nonprofit media.

Clara Jeffrey, editor-in-chief of Mother Jones, whose total compensation last year was $195,000 according to their latest IRS 990 filing, has a predictable and boring call to arms against the coming Trump presidency.

The new Mother Jones urgently exhorts the masses to "Rise Up!" and resist Trump, as Jeffrey lavishes praise on her publication:

"This is a time when we're called on to do things we may not have done before. To face down bigotry and hate, and to reach beyond our Facebook feeds in trying to do so. To fight disinformation instead of meeting it with the same. To listen to the anxieties of Trump supporters and the critiques of allies and to learn.

As for those of us at Mother Jones, we will continue to do what we always strive to do: shine light into dark corners, expose abuses of power, call out cronyism and corruption, and, in the words of our namesake, fight like hell for the living. We've got our work cut out for us. All of us.

Such pablum could run pretty much as is after any election or political turmoil. I don't want such lecturing when it completely ignores the fuckup shit show that is the Democratic Party and their operatives.

Jeffrey doesn't tell me anything I don't already know.

As part of my media accountability campaign, I'm sharing the compensation of Mother Jones's top executives to bring more transparency to this outlet.

Monica Bauerlein, CEO: $195,359
Clara Jeffrey, Editor in Chief: $195,145
Steve Katz, Publisher: $204,549
Madeleine Buckingham, CFO: $200,105
David Corn, DC Bureau Chief: $175,021
Khary Brown, Advertising Director: $174,440

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Today is my cherished and late cousin Mary Weingart Slattery's birthday. She was taken from us way too early. Mary is alive and loved in my heart.

She is missed terribly and when I think of her, memories of our many happy times together come to mind. Dear Mary, we dearly adore you!

In the photo on the left, Mary is in the white shirt and my sister Angela is next to her. The right side image shows Mary in pink hugging her good friend Lisa.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Memo to self: Put two hearing aid batteries in my backpack. Ran outta power while at the YMCA working out tonight. Heard only 60 percent of people's voices and other sounds. Not fun. I love my hearing aids!
Fighting Fascism, ACT Uppers Silence a Queer Adversary

Oh, the irony and hypocrisy abound in this episode.

Anonymous members of the coordinating committee of the Bay Area Queer Anti Fascist Network, a body that has not disclosed its membership, without any advance notification or attempt at dialogue, recently silenced my voice and participation on the network's supposedly leaderless "we're all equal here" Facebook page.

I contacted the highest profile organizer of BAQAFN, Anne-christine D'Adesky, asking what was up and she informed me that I was banned by two committee members.

There were strong antagonisms over 15 years ago between myself and the folks I believe are behind the banning, so I wasn't banned for anything I've said or done now. My adversaries were in the ACT UP/Golden Gate chapter.

The network says its guiding model is ACT UP and its open brand of democratic participation. Banning me equals silencing me on the floor of Monday night general meetings and show hypocrisy at play.

Without any transparency, the committee met amongst themselves a few times, created and approved banning rules that the read of the network had no input in, according to Anne-christine in a phone chat on Sunday.

Turns out, she said, I'm the third person blocked from posting on the queer anti fascist FB page and not one word about the rules, who created and enforces them, info about who's been banned and why has been shared on the page.

Anne-christine and I go back to the AIDS plague years in New York and were involved together with ACT UP. We have a general mutual admiration for each other and we heard each other's concerns.

She's promised to follow up with transparency about the coordinating committee's membership, rules about posting and banning, and something getting posted to the network about my banning.

Yes, I understand the network needs rules but what troubles me, especially since the goal is fighting fascism, is the opaque way decisions were made for the group and the heavy-handed treatment I've received for absolutely nothing to do with the network.

This is the second anti-Trump/pro-democracy Bay Area group, the first being San Francisco Vision, to ban me from their Facebook page. Is this the best way for progressives and liberals to resist Trump and do organizing that is better and sustainable?

Sunday, December 11, 2016

DA's New Delay Avoiding Indicting SFPD Killer-Cops

On George Gascon's watch, twenty civilians have had fatal encounters with cops in San Francisco and not one of the officers responsible has been indicted by the district attorney.

No slap on the wrist, no interviews with the cops, no nothing.

But Gascon has skillfully manipulated the situation to plead for, and get, private funding for a bullshit blue ribbon panel he ran from start to finish that generated much gushing media attention.

And more than $1.5 million in City money was allocated for Gascon's new Independent Investigations Bureau in September, so he gained dozens of new staffers to do what his already bloated existing staff supposedly couldn't do: look at officer-involved-shootings.

My recent public records request for emails related to the killing of Mario Woods produced a letter from Gascon which offered this explanation for new delays in potentially indicting the cops who gunned down Woods, as video cameras recorded the murder:

"I understand the need to explore these investigations and have created the Independent Investigations Bureau (IIB) to handle these types of [officer involved shooting] cases.

"Funding for the IIB was approved in October and I hope to have the unit functioning in the next couple of months."

First of all, the DA wouldn't need a panel and new funding if 20 civilians were killed by other civilians or if a police officer were shot in the line of duty.

Second, if the DA wasn't prepared to hit the ground running on receiving the one and a half million dollars in new funding, and he can't offer a guesstimate of when the IBB will be functioning, do you truly expect Gascon to ever deliver an indictment against a cop?

Please read his full recent letter regarding cop accountability.

NY Review: Was Rasputin Horse-Hung or Mouse-Dick?

You can learn of interesting historical questions by reading the New York Review of Books. Check out this final paragraph from the essay about "Rasputin: Faith, Power, and the Twilight of the Romanovs" by Douglas Smith in the December edition:

"As for his penis, a big part of the Rasputin myth, rumor had it that, apart from being fourteen inches long, his member had three warts strategically placed along its shaft that enhanced its potency.

"In 2009 a large penis floating in a jar of formaldehyde was the main exhibit at the newly opened Museum of Erotica in St. Petersburg. According to the museum, the grotesque object had been found detached from Rasputin’s body at the scene of his murder, sold to a group of Russian women emigrĂ©es, who had worshiped it as a relic, and was purchased by its director for $8,000 from an antiquarian dealer in Paris.

"But other facts cast doubt on its provenance.

"In 1914, Rasputin was examined after being stabbed in an earlier attempt on his life: according to the medical report, his genitals were so small and shriveled that the doctor doubted whether he was capable of the sexual act at all."

Since everything about this controversial historical is open to question, let's remain skeptical about the medical report and who wrote it. We have no idea if the doctor(s) were political enemies of Rasputin or jealous of his endowment, if he indeed was hung like a horse.

Trump & Pence Got 15% of Liberal Marin County's Vote

Color me surprised the GOP presidential ticket did so well in the ultra-liberal enclave of Marin County, just north of San Francisco.

Donald Trump and Mike Pence received a percentage in the solid double digits, 15.48 percent of votes cast, and their vote total was 21,771 in Marin County.

Compare that with Trump and Pence coming in with 9.23% and 37,688 in San Francisco.

There's a smidgen of solace knowing my hometown kept the Trump percentage from reaching the double digits.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

SF Vision Explains Banning: No Criticism Allowed

After I was blocked on the San Francisco Vision group's Facebook page for my criticism over the organizers not reporting back to the progressive and LGBT community about their Nov. 30 town hall, I emailed comedian Yayne Abeba. She facilitated the meeting and is in charge of the page. In response to my inquiry over being blocked, Abeba replied:

"I will not allow you to create disruption as we try to move forward in a positive way. I banned you based on previous interaction from you and your aggressive tone in your post and this email proves that your only intention is to harass and disrupt."

This is no way to resist Trump. Not issuing a report back is Bad Organizing 101, having only one person in charge of a FB page and that individual deciding by herself what constitutes disruption and who tosses around charges of harassment and aggression, without any specifics.

Since the San Francisco Vision's late November town hall that attracted over 350 people, their FB page hasn't been active with any followup organizing or original essays. Just a bunch of reposts from news or nonprofit sources.

Platitudes such as these from Abeba ring hollow. You can't claim to be resisting fascism and all the other wonderful-sounding Kumbaya phrases, then blocking folks for merely asking accountability questions. Don't expect much from San Francisco Vision. Abeba posted this on her group's page:

"We now have to figure out what is next. How do we channel our fear and anger into fighting fascism, restoring progressive values, creating a diverse community of progressives and get results? How do we organize for success? We are ready to take on these questions but we can't do it alone, we need you."

Photo is from the Nov. 30 meeting and was taken by Rick Hauptman.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Isabelle Huppert Refuses HIV PEP in 'Elle'

They're minor mentions, but stood out for this queer and poz cineaste.

In Paul Verhoeven's new French film "Elle" starring the amazing Isabelle Huppert delivering a monumental career-capping performance, two references to HIV crop up.

First, after she's gone through the trauma of being raped by an unknown assailant, she's seen getting blood drawn for STD tests and is offered PEP, post exposure prophylaxis, to avert acquiring HIV.

She declines PEP, citing the relatively minor side effects of taking well-studied HIV drugs for two-weeks.

Later on, in a scene with her mother enjoying the erotic attentions of her very hunky and handsomely paid boy-toy, Huppert who disapproves of their relationship, she interrupts them sharing a kiss

Huppert asks if he knows her mother is HIV poz, which she isn't, and everyone wanly smiles and sighs.

The HIV mentions aside, "Elle" is a terrific film on many levels and Huppert is receiving widening and well-deserved accolades from critics and groups that bestow awards, for her work. Check it out.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Political Organizing Without Electeds & Nonprofits

This essay was written yesterday before the Bay Area Reporter published Liz Highleyman's story about the meeting last Saturday. It is in response to a post from longtime queer feminist writer Anne-christine D'Adesky that she posted to the Bay Area Queer Anti-Fascist Network's Facebook page.

That page has been unavailable today, so I've not been able to share this with the network yet. Reading how Liz gave a lot of space in her story to the electeds and nonprofits, I feel doubly justified in putting forward this response:

Many thanks for the dense fact filled report back, Anne-christine D'Adesky. In my queer book, it's sign of mature organizing when reports are written up on meetings and actions by those who organized the events. My feedback follows, as someone who wasn't present and has been around a number of decades queerly agitating.

You cite ACT UP as your primary organizing model and I come outta that school, and one reason ACT UP succeeded was because of egalitarian ways. We didn't carve out time for electeds and non profit leaders. They were certainly free to speak like everyone else and participate.

I'm uncomfortable, not the best word but it will do, that two elected were given mike time in the big group meeting, as were four or five folks from nonprofits.

As you may know, I have allergies with politicians and nonprofits, generally speaking. What I'd like to suggest is that at future big group meetings that no time be alloted to electeds or nonprofits. Let them wait like everyone else to speak during public comment time.

There is a need for queer and progressive organizing free of domination by electeds.

Last week, in addition to the Bay Area Queer Anti Fascist Network, which doesn't roll off my lisping tongue so easily btw, the San Francisco Vision political network or whatever the hell it is, held a "What the Hell Just Happened?" town hall at the Women's Building in San Francisco.

Over 350 people showed up to hear a current and former member of the Board of Supes, and aide to another current supe, and a paid political consultant, and to have about 40 minutes of public comment time. So I am told by those who were present, which doesn't include me.

Let's talk ineffective organizing. The organizers didn't, um, organize themselves to take notes and maybe a foto or two so they could issue a report back to those who weren't in attendance.

Seriously, if you gonna gather that many folks to prep for further resistance to Trump and his policies, take some damn notes and tell us what the hell was discussed and decided. Otherwise, it's just political masturbation.

We must create space that is community driven and free from colonizing by the electeds and nonprofits. They don't allow us to attend their strategy meetings at the Board of Supes or City Council or the board meetings of nonprofits - two privileges I want.

I am advocating for keeping the electeds and nonprofits on a tight leash, to better develop activist leadership or strenghen what exists, and a network that can sustain itself for the coming battles with the Trump Administration.

A bit of history. Eight years ago, I saw Prop 8 have great polling before the election and we lost on the measure. Folks had dreams dashed at the voting booth, we took to the streets, community meetings were organized to fight back and Join the Impact and Courage Campaign mobilized.

Two presidential elections later, we've not heard from either of those groups, if they're still around, and all the post election 2008 agitation seemed to produce two major victories for LGBTs: gay marriage and gays in the military.

What I'm asking of this new network is a conversation that takes into account these concerns so that this current wave of anger and organizing doesn't crash with little to show for our efforts.
My prison pen-pal Michael Johnson celebrates his birthday this Sunday, December 11th. I've mailed him a birthday card, which I hope cheers him up. If you wish to send Michael a card, email me for his address.

Donald Trump & ACT UP Shared the Same Publicist

History, like life, is strange.

If I knew this factoid from back in the AIDS plague years when I was in the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, it faded from my memory.

According to David France's new book "How to Survive a Plague," there's a connection between the activist group and president-elect Donald Trump:

"As the group entered its second year, the pace it set was numbing. Each week brought expanding reports from Staley, whose efforts succeeded in making ACT UP-branded clothing among the city's most popular fashionwear.

"An intense man with a large voice named Bob Rafsky headed up the Media Committee, as good a match as Staley was to fund-raising. By day, Rafsky was spokesman for the real estate developer Donald Trump. He knew assignment producers and editors at the highest levels."

Of course, no one knew back in 1988 that Trump would run for and win the White House. Who would have thought there was a connection between an ACT UP leader and Trump?

You may recall that Rafsky gained national attention for HIV matters and people living with AIDS when he famously confronted Bill Clinton, during the New York primary in 1992. Here's a photo from that zap, next to the pertinent passage from the "Plague" book:

Monday, December 05, 2016

BART Vote Total = 10,500 and Big Thanks!

The semi-final vote count from the Department of Elections last week shows I received 10,499 votes in my race for the BART board. 

I've rounded the figure up by one for headline purposes and because it's easier to tell folks 10,500. That's 6.91% of votes cast. What fine numbers, especially considering I spent less than $100 for the entire campaign.

The department has no more ballots to count and Gregory P. Slocum, their campaign services director, says there's no chance a single stray vote will be found for me. 

A big shoutout and thanks to all who cast ballots for me or in any way supported my BART campaign, with special gratitude to my loving hubby Mike, who was willing to don a goofy hat to help me get votes!

Sunday, December 04, 2016

SF Vision: 350 At Meeting, No Report Back & Banishment

Some things about progressives in San Francisco never change. After suffering losses at the ballot box, the usual Democratic clubs and electeds host town halls about what just happened.

The panelists are never held to account for their lousy organizing and failures with various ballot props and attempts to win seats on the Board of Supervisors or in Sacramento. We also rarely get a report back about what transpired at the town hall. If you weren't there, you're shit outta luck.

The latest installment in this saga was organized by soon-to-be SF Chronicle columnist and writer David Talbot's group/political party known as San Francisco Vision.

Their "What the Hell Just Happened?" meeting took place on Wednesday, November 30 at the Women's Building and about 350 people attendance. A great turnout.

The panelists included Sup. David Campos, former supervisor Christina Olague, Sup. Aaron Peskin's aide Sunny Angulo, political strategist Jim Stearns and Talbot, and comedian Yayne Abeba was the facilitator.

As I expected, neither SF Vision's nor the event's Facebook page has shared a followup report with the community. Just more of the same poor organizing from San Francisco progressives.

This is so in keeping with these folks never stopping to think they may lose elections, preparing for a loss, and after suffering at the ballot box, hosting crisis town halls that lead to not much but the usual political leaders sucking up activist oxygen.

Here's the closest SF Vision came to a report back: "Thank you to everyone who attended Wednesday night's event. We really appreciated every one's feedback and questions. The one thing that we heard over and over was fear. People are afraid. People are also angry. Wednesday night was not a solution it was the beginning. We now have to figure out what is next."

Last night, I posted a request at the SF Vision Facebook page for a report back and shared the full report from Anne-christine d'Adesky, excerpted below, from the Bay Area Queer Anti Fascist Network's meeting on Saturday, December 2 in Oakland.

My note was deleted and I'm now banned from posting at the SF Vision page. So much for diverse voices in that group. Additionally, I tweeted to Yayne Abeba asking why she deleted my post and banned me. Her response was to block me on Twitter. Guess we can't question SF Vision leaders.

I strongly suggest the SF Vision folks look at d'Adesky's report and learn how to inform folks who aren't meetings about what was said and planned:

THANK YOU and Shout Out to the 150+ activists and members of our network who participated in our first Bay Area Queer Town Hall on Strategic Responses to Trump. We had a full house, packed, active, reflective, forward looking, and spirited.
WHAT FOLLOWS IS A LONG, DETAILED POST of the HIGHLIGHTS of the TOWN HALL. We will soon make available the Videotape of the main presentations . . . 
We welcomed LGBTQ officials including Oakland City Council member Rebecca Kaplan and our Emeryville City Council representative . . .
We heard from Tara Shannon, just back from Standing Rock, who is the newly designated Two Spirit representative for the camp/ # No DAPL resistance . . .
Thanks to Vicki Castro at La Raza Centro Legal (LRCL), Carolina Morales of Harvey Milk Democratic Club for sharing updates about the attacks on Latinx folks and immigrants.... from them we learned that, even before Trump inauguration, the ICE (Immigration) has NEWLY carried out raids of undocumented students/ immigrant families in several SF schools (concern Oakland is next)... and we MUST STOP THEM . . .
TAKE NOTE: A important action is taking place this TUES at UNION SQUARE at NOON to demand Sanctuary City protection from deportation for DACA cases . . .
An additional note: I shared a message, a plea for help, from Subhi Nahas, representing Syrian queer asylee group SPECTRA -- he is in SF now -- who said, as of Dec. 3, his network learned ISIS was shooting anyone who tested positive for HIV . . .
SMALL GROUP STRATEGY DISCUSSION: We had three (not) very small groups (about 30-50 ppl) strategic discussions on these priority topics:
1) immigration,
2) healthcare/health/disability justice
3) intersectional community organizing/ anti-white supremacy work (covering climate change, covering NO DAPLS, covering police brutality (Black Lives Matter) etc.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Renoir & Magnani's 'The Golden Coach'

There just aren't enough hours in the queer day for this culture vulture to indulge in great artistic pleasures.

At 4 pm today, the Pacific Film Archive is showing the delightful and gorgeous-looking "The Golden Coach" directed by Jean Renoir and starring the force-of-nature actress Anna Magnani. Wish I could be there for it.

I was lucky to see this film at the Castro Theater, and a newly-restored 35mm print no less, a few years back and one day will catch it again on the big screen.

Magnani plays a forceful leader and actress with an 18th century acting troupe in Peru, having a high time arguing, singing and dancing her way into hearts of the audiences in the film and those of us watching it all unfold in glorious colorful sets and costumes.

Check out this fabulous video of Magnani entertaining her fans on YouTube.

Friday, December 02, 2016

FOIA for FBI Files on Lynchings of Blacks & the KKK

Does the Federal Bureau of Investigation have a central file on the lynchings of African Americans, since 1990? What about records on the Ku Klux Klan since 2000?

These questions have been on mind for a year and there's no time like the present to file a FOIA and see what the agency has to say, and what, if any responsive public records are released.

My mantra and default mode of activism under the Trump Administration is the same as it's been for decades: Follow the money. File a FOIA.

Do democracy a huge favor and make a public records request with a government agency. Do it today, please.

Here are the replies from the FBI regarding my requests made this week. More FOIAs to come.

SF Symphony to Perform Rodgers & Hammerstein Classics

Let's hope I control my urges to sing-along tomorrow night, December 3, at Davies Symphony Hall. Same goes for my hubby Mike.

The San Francisco Symphony is presenting a selection of clips from the film versions of Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, as the orchestra plays the scores live.

Co-hosting the evening is conductor Todd Sperling, who'll be joined by singer Laura Osnes. In addition to the Saturday concert, there's also one tonight, December 2, to enjoy.

On the program are selections from "The King and I," "South Pacific," "The Sound of Music" and "Oklahoma!"

In anticipation of what will be a divine night, I'm listening to the great works of Rodgers and Hammerstein on YouTube today. Always a pleasure hearing the fantastic voice of the late Marni Nixon dubbing for Deborah Kerr for the "Getting to Know You" number.

The symphony promises we'll be humming along - and without a doubt - yes, we will!

Thursday, December 01, 2016

SF Weekly: Poz Inmate Michael Johnson & HIV PrEP Costs

The practice among some HIV negative gay men willfully seeking to become infected, bug chasing, is getting renewed attention on this World AIDS Day.

Over at the SF Weekly, the relatively new managing editor Channing Joseph, who's black and gay, has a cover story about this queer sexual subculture.

He requested my thoughts related to my prison pen-pal Michael Johnson and separate from that, he quoted me criticizing HIV prevention advocates especially at AIDS Inc group failing to campaign for lower Truvada pricing from Gilead.

I'm pleased to see Michael receiving a bit of mainstream media attention today. I'll be mailing him a copy of the article so he read it and know that he is remembered. An excerpt from the article:

"San Francisco has not made a practice of criminalizing HIV infection, as has occurred in some other places. For instance, Missouri is at the other end of the spectrum.

"Last year, the state sentenced a former college wrestler, Michael Johnson, 23 at the time, to 30 years in prison for infecting one of his sexual partners and putting four others at risk.

"Michael Petrelis, a longtime San Francisco AIDS activist and advocate for the repeal of HIV criminalization laws, has been corresponding with Johnson in prison.

"Petrelis tells SF Weekly that he applauds the city’s efforts to promote awareness of PrEP but says the effort falls short when it comes to making the drug affordable.

"'PrEP is one vital tool of prevention but advocates … do not address the pricing of Truvada …' he says. 'Yes, let’s applaud the effective prevention capability of PrEP, but we can’t overlook how much all HIV … drugs cost.' (PrEP can run to between $1,300 and $2,000 a month without insurance.)"

Monday, November 28, 2016

Did the NY Times Hold Taped Meetings With Clinton?

The Gray Lady's lips are sealed. Read this exchange between the spokeswoman for the New York Times and myself.

Here's some unsolicited advice for the paper, especially for new deputy directors AG Sulzberger and his cousins Sam Dolnick and David Perpich.

Get transparent with your political endorsement meetings.

Assuming the paper's editorial board and reporters met with Hillary Clinton, at least once and perhaps twice, before endorsing her in the primaries and general election, inform us of what conditions were requested by the candidate.

We also need to learn what ground rules the paper agreed to. Shedding light on how the Gray Lady came to endorse Clinton would show a new less-opaque way of engaging with readers.

And if there were no sitdowns, just say so. Do you agree?

-----Original Message-----
From: Eileen Murphy
To: mpetrelis
Sent: Mon, Nov 28, 2016 3:27 pm
Subject: Re: NYT and any editorial interviews with Clinton: My questions

When editorial board meetings are conducted off the record, and most are, we don't discuss them at all.

Sent from my iPhone

On Nov 28, 2016, at 6:16 PM, "" <> wrote:
Hi Eileen,

Thanks for this reply with general info. All of these details give me and my social media followers more clarity about the workings of The Times and why we trust it so much.

Some specific followup questions I ask you to address so I can write a comprehensive report for my blog.

Did The Times hold one or more editorial board meetings with Hillary Clinton?

If so, did the candidate request the sit-down be off the record and if she did ask this of The Times, was it agreed to by the editorial board?

Lemme know, please.


-----Original Message-----
From: Murphy, Eileen <>
To: Michael Petrelis <>
Sent: Mon, Nov 28, 2016 12:45 pm
Subject: Re: NYT and any editorial interviews with Clinton: My questions

As you will have read, this meeting with the President Elect was conducted as an on-the-record session with our reporters and editorial columnists, which is why there was a transcript and an audio recording. 

This differs greatly from our editorial board meetings, whether with Presidential candidates, or otherwise. In the case of candidates for office, these meetings are often done on an off-the-record basis, at the candidates’ request. Editorial Board meetings are not for the purpose of writing news articles. They are intended as informational sessions for the board that help inform editorials - or endorsements. 

Eileen M. Murphy
SVP, Communications
The New York Times
t. 212-556-1982 /
Twitter: @NYTeileen

-----Original Message-----
From: mpetrelis <>
To: eileen.murphy <>
Sent: Sat, Nov 26, 2016 1:26 pm
Subject: NYT and any editorial interviews with Clinton: My questions

Dear Eileen,

While reading the many tweets from your reporters at Donald Trump's extraordinary, and well-documented, recent meeting with The Times, which proved again the vital role the paper plays in American democracy, I wondered about any similar sit-downs with Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election.

Did The Times conduct interviews with Clinton before she was twice endorsed this year by the paper - during the primary and then general fall elections?

If so, what can be disclosed to me about what transpired? I'd also like to know what the ground rules were and if you advocated for an on-the-record conversation, one that could be shared in its entirety now.

In the interests of fairness, I'm asking The Times to be as transparent as possible about any editorial endorsement meetings with Clinton and hopefully readers will be given the chance to read a full transcript or listen to an audio recording of them.

Would appreciate a substantive response at your earliest convenience. Thanks.

Michael Petrelis