Some news from the mailbag…

* Anti-Gay NOM Considered for Chase Bank Charity. Politely tell Chase to find some LGBT organizations that deserve funding:

Chase Bank is running a contest called 'Community Giving' for users to select charities worthy of receiving a chunk of a 5 million dollar donation by the bank. Among the non-profits listed are the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage. NOM being on the list is a direct violation of Chase's own non-discrimination policy.

* Lansing, MI: School Bus Driver Accused of Anti-Gay Harassment. This is unbelievable.

A Lansing 10th grader says she was harassed and discriminated against on a school bus, but not by her fellow students. They're words you don't expect to hear from your bus driver, words you don't expect to hear at all, but Chinea Larkin heard them loud and clear.

Chinea Larkin, harassed on bus: “When I got off the bus, I stood up and was about to get off the bus, she was like, now you can get your gay self off my bus. Well, she said get your gay tail off my bus.”

Chinea and her parents filed a complaint with the district. They allege the driver of bus 33 harassed the girl because of her sexual orientation. Witnesses say that's exactly what happened. Charles Williams taped the scene with his phone and the family fears, without it, there'd be a lot of doubt.

* Southern Voice to be revived as GA Voice. The late Washington Blade's staff transitioned to its web launch of DC Agenda a couple of weeks ago, and now the staff of a sister publication have given a moniker to the independent launch of GA Voice, which will exist in print and online. The search for financial footing is ongoing. (Creative Loafing):

The movement to start a new LGBT news outlet began Nov. 16, the day that SoVo and David magazine shut down. Former SoVo editor Laura Douglas-Brown and [Southern Voice founder Chris] Cash immediately got to work on a new publication, and just four days later issued a statement announcing the creation of a website that would address the latest news on where the publication was headed.

Donations poured in, most importantly a $12,000 matching grant from the Lloyd E. Russell Foundation, and the details of tonight’s community meeting at First Existentialist Congregation were announced. Cash said that pre-launch expenses alone would cost between $20,000 and $24,000. Donations are being accepted at the Save SoVo website. A database guru and web designer are also needed.

Homo-Hating Buju Banton Nominated for a Grammy. Michael Petrelis reports that he's only managed to find one article about the anti-gay “artist's” history and his Grammy nomination.

I wonder how long it will take for GLAAD to get out a statement on the nomination and Buju's history of bashing gays. Would be great to see gay entertainment and music orgs create some attention about Buju's nomination, use the opportunity to educate the music industry on all Jamaican singers preaching violence against gays.

More below the fold, including my contamination.

* Michelangelo Signorile had two notable interviews recently — today. Dr. Jillian Weiss was on to discuss the repeated delays moving ENDA — arguably the single most important piece of pro-LGBT legislation in terms of those affected by its passage. She called for activists and citizens to turn their attention to contacting Congress. With marriage battles taking up all the ink, ENDA is being crowded out and running out of time. Mike's other interview is up in its entirety on his blog. It's regarding the case that has the Obama admin in a twist over real or perceived impact on DOMA.

It appears that John Berry, the highest ranking openly gay person in the Obama administration, head of the Office of Personnel Management, was not yet in his post when the OPM defied a court order and directed the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts to deny a California lesbian federal appeals court employee of federal marriage benefits, including health insurance for her wife. But John Berry most certainly is there now. And the OPM now has been given 30 days by the chief judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (the deadline is December 21, so now it is actually less than 20 days) to follow his earlier order which the White House, through OPM, defied.

Yesterday the lead attorney in the case that came to light in TIME last week came on my radio program. James McQuire, a partner at the law firm Morrison & Foerster, along with Lambda Legal, is representing Karen Golinksi in a case that I wrote about over the holiday weekend, described as a “bombshell” by one legal expert, in which Judge Kozinski wrote a stern decree demanding the White House and OPM follow his order.

…Now, however, Judge Kozonski's decree from the week before last for the OPM to stop interfering is in Berry's lap. McGuire said the White House has three options: It could give Karen Golinski her rights and let this be; it could choose to appeal to a panel of the court; or it could do nothing, keep defying the order, and Karen Golinski would appeal to the same panel. Obviously two of those options will further inflame tensions with the LGBT community.

* Contamination News. Sorry for being MIA from the coffeehouse today; I've been offline feeling crappy trying to figure out what the flip is going on – is it stomach virus, onset of a cold, the seasonal flu, H1N1? I'm still frustrated by the fact that both times I went to the doctor there was no available vaccine of either version (my luck they just run out when I was there). My nephew was under the weather, running a fever while I was in Delaware during Thanksgiving, so I figured that despite an apple a day and lots of hand-washing, I was exposed to whatever he had and the germs of numerous people barking and wheezing on the plane.

No fever yet, but have the sore throat, sore muscles, tired, headachy with my eyes hurting, tummy ache. I stayed home so as not to pollute my colleagues, but if I'm mobile tomorrow, I'll head in at 6:30 AM, stay in my office and do some work before people get there and work from home.

Anyway, I'm sure I'll know what contamination I have soon enough. At least I (and most of my staff) can do a lot of work from home in a pinch, which is essential if there is an H1N1 outbreak in the office. Unfortunately you still have to deal with the paper that arrives the old school way — mail, how quaint
— that always throws a wrench into the works from time to time.

Oh, the oddity is that my pit bull Casey is under the weather as well; she went to the vet and she may have kennel cough or the flu, so she can't go to day care for several days. She's had bordatella vaccine, but if there is some other strain, it means a milder set of symptoms. I didn't know dogs could take Robutussin (DM), but they can. And no, she didn't like the taste of it either.

* BTW, tomorrow Air America will announce the top 5 bloggers making the cut in round 1 of the Cruise Contest. I think I may have squeaked by– we'll see. Karl Frisch of Media Matters and I were tied at #1 a few days ago.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding