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Hope On the Edge
Aug 22, 2006

I'm a sucker for serendipity:

Davina Kotulski (Executive Director for MARRIAGE EQUALITY) is reviewing my book and emailed me this:

You'll never believe this. Last weekend we were up in Redding California, close to the Oregon border, to speak about marriage equality. Molly has been reading your book to me while we drive. We stop to do our event and meet Phil Dynan, he's running for Assemblymember for the Peace and Justice Party. He runs across Northern California talking to people about politics and was totally drawn to your book, so much so that he asked if he could take it and return it to us when he was done. I was hesitant at first. It's not often that an author sends me a signed copy of their masterpiece, but I didn't want to be selfish and I figured that your spirit is in that book and the book wanted to travel, so I let it go. You will probably hear from Phil and when I get the book back and can finish reading it I will send you that review. In the meantime, I am enjoying your page a day.

So I look up Phil's Website and email him a note. And he writes back.

Lars- Funny, I just mentioned you and your unicycle project at a Regional meeting of the Peace Alliance (www.thePeaceAlliance.org) - had a great response from the mixed crowd in Berkeley! In fact, I was mentioning the few people I know of that have done this sort of "campaign" for various causes - and I saved your "unicycle tour" for last - I mentioned your distance and cause first, then the mode - a couple of people actually gasped when I added that your tour was on an unicycle!

So, anyway, I was thinking of you. Enjoying the book when I take breaks from my running campaign. I'm up to Weed in Northern Cal. now - only 119 miles left to go! But I'm gonna miss it. Am now thinking of a second run - devoted exclusively to promoting the Campaign for a US Dept. of Peace. 

Wow.  A Department of Peace.  There's an idea that makes sense. Maybe the most important change we could enact for our nation. Maybe something that could change the world in a generation or two.  Check it out at The Peace Alliance.

My elder friend Loren Halvorsen tells how he can feel pretty discouraged at the state of the world, but when he looks at what's bubbling up at the grass roots level, he can hardly contain his joy.

Grass roots actually won a big one last week:  The Pension Protection Act finally passed into law.  Read what it does and you realize that only marriage is going to solve the equality issue. Otherwise every single law is going to have to be changed to specifically include same-gender partners

The first provision, called "Non-Spousal Rollover"

  • Allows the transfer of an individual's retirement plan benefits, like a 401(k), to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) for a non-spouse beneficiary like a domestic partner, sibling, parent, cousin or anyone else when the individual dies.

  • In the past, unless you were the legally recognized spouse of the deceased, you were forced to withdraw the amount as a lump sum and you faced immediate tax penalties which would eat away at the savings amount intended for retirement.    
     

The second provision, known as "Hardship Distribution":

  • Allows individuals who list their same-sex partner or other non-spouse beneficiary under a 401(k) plan the ability to tap into their retirement funds in the case of certain medical or financial emergencies of the beneficiary.

  • In the past, the federal law only permitted such withdrawals for employees' legally recognized spouses or dependents.  

Coming to Town: If you've been following Dotti and Roby on the Gay Into Straight America travels, you know they're almost at a full year on their journey to create authentic connections about LGBT equality.  And on their way home to Bellingham, Washington, we here in Chelan get to host their last evening on the road!  Wednesday.  September 20. Riverwalk Books in downtown Chelan at 7 p.m.  Perfect time for a vacation to beautiful Lake Chelan???

Blessings. May hope bubble up,

Lars

 


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