Sunday, July 26, 2009
Gov. Rick 'Great Hair' Perry Says Texas Will Secede from Government Health Care. Meanwhile, 1 in 4 Texans Lack Coverage.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
NAACP refuses to take a position on gay marriage; discounts connection between black civil rights and gay civil rights
BILL MOYERS: And there was a political strategy. "Position Sicko as a threat to Democrats' larger agenda." What does that mean?WENDELL POTTER: That means that part of the effort to discredit this film was to use lobbyists and their own staff to go onto Capitol Hill and say, "Look, you don't want to believe this movie. You don't want to talk about it. You don't want to endorse it. And if you do, we can make things tough for you."BILL MOYERS: How?WENDELL POTTER: By running ads, commercials in your home district when you're running for reelection, not contributing to your campaigns again, or contributing to your competitor.BILL MOYERS: This is fascinating. You know, "Build awareness among centrist Democratic policy organizations--"WENDELL POTTER: Right.BILL MOYERS: "--including the Democratic Leadership Council."WENDELL POTTER: Absolutely.BILL MOYERS: Then it says, "Message to Democratic insiders. Embracing Moore is one-way ticket back to minority party status."WENDELL POTTER: Yeah.BILL MOYERS: Now, that's exactly what they did, didn't they? They--WENDELL POTTER: Absolutely.BILL MOYERS: --radicalized Moore, so that his message was discredited because the messenger was seen to be radical.WENDELL POTTER: Absolutely. In memos that would go back within the industry — he was never, by the way, mentioned by name in any memos, because we didn't want to inadvertently write something that would wind up in his hands. So the memos would usually-- the subject line would be-- the emails would be, "Hollywood." And as we would do the media training, we would always have someone refer to him as Hollywood entertainer or Hollywood moviemaker Michael Moore.BILL MOYERS: Why?WENDELL POTTER: Well, just to-- Hollywood, I think people think that's entertainment, that's movie-making. That's not real documentary. They don't want you to think that it was a documentary that had some truth. They would want you to see this as just some fantasy that a Hollywood filmmaker had come up with. That's part of the strategy.BILL MOYERS: So you would actually hear politicians mouth the talking points that had been circulated by the industry to discredit Michael Moore.WENDELL POTTER: Absolutely.
In April, Mr. Lee attended a board meeting of the civil rights organization in Kansas City, Mo., and found himself once again in the minority position among his colleagues on the issue of same-sex marriage, but was told, he said, by the interim president of the civil rights organization, Byron Clay, that the group publicly had a neutral position on the issue.Explaining that he was unable to come to Atlanta on such short notice, Mr. Lee then received two letters from the organization’s lawyer, Dexter M. Wimbish, threatening him with suspension or removal as president of the Los Angeles chapter if he did not come soon to explain himself.
A sailor remained the top suspect in the June 30 murder of a fellow sailor with Assault Craft Unit 5 at Camp Pendleton, Calif....Navy officials said they don’t believe the shooting was gang- or terror-related. They also continued to dispute rumors that Provost was killed because he was gay, despite contentions raised by several relatives and gay advocacy groups who claim the sailor had been harassed at the unit because he was open about his homosexuality.While Navy officials have denied that the shooting was a hate crime, Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., has asked Navy and Marine Corps officials for additional investigations into Provost’s death. Provost “made the selfless and courageous decision to serve his country, regardless of his sexual orientation; he should be treated with honor and respect,” Filner wrote in letters to Defense Secretary Robert Gates; Marine Commandant Gen. James Conway; Col. Nicholas F. Marano, who is Camp Pendleton’s base commander; and Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., who chairs the House Armed Services Committee.Filner said he was frustrated with a lack of information from the Navy and the Marine Corps, particularly over the suspicion that Provost’s sexuality might be connected to his death, which would raise questions about consequences of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.“They don’t want that discussion to take place,” he said.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Naming Someone Who Hates Public Schools to Head the State Ed Board? Gov. Perry, You Can't Be Serious!
...Just like the fire departments, school boards seem to attract a significant unhinged minority of firebugs -- people who just want to destroy public education and laugh while it burns.
AUSTIN — Critics who engineered the recent ouster of State Board of Education Chairman Don McLeroy, in part because of his strong religious beliefs, could end up with someone even more outspoken in her faith.
Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, who advocated more Christianity in the public square last year with the publication of her book, One Nation Under God, is among those that Gov. Rick Perry is considering to lead the State Board of Education, some of her colleagues say.Critics are gasping and allies are cheering over speculation that Dunbar, a lawyer, could win a promotion to the leadership spot.“It would certainly cause angst among the same members of the pagan left that rejected Don McLeroy because he was a man of faith,” said David Bradley, R-Beaumont, one of the seven socially conservative members on the 15-person board.
Perry’s office declined to comment until “a final decision is made.”[...] In a book published last year, Dunbar argued the country’s founding fathers created “an emphatically Christian government” and that government should be guided by a “biblical litmus test.” She endorses a belief system that requires “any person desiring to govern have a sincere knowledge and appreciation for the Word of God in order to rightly govern.”Also in the book, she calls public education a “subtly deceptive tool of perversion.”The establishment of public schools is unconstitutional and even “tyrannical,” she wrote, because it threatens the authority of families, granted by God through Scripture, to direct the instruction of their children.Perry’s appointment of Dunbar would send a statement “that
the governor shares her shocking hostility toward public education,” said Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, an organization that monitors the State Board of Education.“Just as bad, he would be siding with a faction of self-righteous politicians on the board who have made it crystal clear that they believe the only real Christians are the ones who agree with them,” Miller said. “If the governor really decides that selling out our kids like this is a good re-election strategy, then this state has an even bigger problem than we thought.”
If the chatter from some board members proves correct, and Gov. Rick Perry is indeed considering appointing member Cynthia Dunbar as the board’s new leader, we may find ourselves reminiscing fondly about the good ol’ days when Chairman McLeroy simply disregarded experts, sidelined teachers and insisted on inserting his religious beliefs into public policy-making.Dunbar’s shortcomings go far beyond ideology and poor leadership skills to beliefs promoting paranoia and bigotry.This is the same Richmond Republican who penned an online essay shortly before the presidential election warning Barack Obama was plotting with terrorists to attack the country. She refused to retract her claim, even under pressure from Republicans.
UPDATE: Gov. Rick Perry Friday named Gail Lowe of Lampasas to chair the Texas State Board of Education. Ms. Lowe, a graduate of Louisiana State University, is a co-publisher of the Lampasas Dispatch Record but is not a teacher. Deeply distrustful of public education, she home-schooled her children. Ms. Lowe’s elevation helps Gov. Perry move Texas toward a true Christian government. She refers to herself a creationist and said the study of evolution, while important to the teaching of biology, also believes “Kids ought to be able to hold religious beliefs and still study science without any conflict.” Gail Lowe also embraces a conspiracy theory heard in the rightwing echo chamber that says President Obama is ineligible to be president because he was born in Indonesia (he was born in Honolulu, HI), and like many other far-right loons, Lowe refuses to believe his Hawaii-issued birth certificate is a valid document.
Thursday, July 09, 2009
John Hart, a Coburn spokesman, released a statement yesterday saying Ensign should have ended the affair.
At about 12:30 a.m. on the morning of June 29, the five men were placing their order at the Chico's Tacos on Montwood when the two men made their public display of affection, sparking the ire of two contracted security guards at the restaurant, police and witnesses said. After the group sat down, the security guards told them "they didn't allow that faggot stuff to go on there," and made them leave, de Leon said. An officer arrived at the restaurant about an hour later, after police received five calls, including from the security guards and de Leon. The men were told to leave the restaurant and had anti-gay slurs directed at them while they waited for the police.The ACLU and a local civil rights group point out that if lewd behavior was the restaurant's complaint, that standard must apply equally to straight and gay patrons by El Paso law. Clearly the El Paso police are not up to speed and the gay men have grounds for a lawsuit.
"I went up to the police officer to tell him what was going on and he didn't want to hear my side," de Leon said. "He wanted to hear the security guard's side first." The officer informed the group it was illegal for two men or two women to kiss in public, de Leon said. The five were told they could be cited for homosexual conduct - a charge the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional in 2003 in Lawrence v. Texas. That same year, the city of El Paso passed an ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation by employees of the city and by businesses open to the public. El Paso Police Detective Carlos Carrillo said a more appropriate charge would probably be criminal trespass. "The security guard received a complaint from some of the customers there," Carrillo said. "Every business has the right to refuse service. They have the right to refuse service to whoever they don't want there. That's their prerogative."
LSB: This is the second time in the past two weeks that the homophobes in Texas have been put into the national spotlight for their Neanderthal ways. While this story is disheartening and we do have more than our fair share of troglodytes in this state, these assholes do not represent the overwhelming number of fair-minded (albeit gun-toting) citizens. It does, however, demonstrate the work still to be done in this state and others. I hope de Leon and his friends sue the bejeebus out of the EPPD and Chico's; this is the only response that will get their full attention and the only thing that will cause them to change their ways.
"Our president, President Barack Obama, has stated that If Congress can get a bill to his desk repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell, he will sign it into law. It is now our job, and my job specifically, to quarterback this through the Congress of the United States to do just that. I can not tell you today how long it's gonna take. All I can tell ya is that paratroopers don't quit, and paratroopers get the job done. To remove Eric Alva honorable, talented and committed Americans from serving in our military is contrary to the values that our military holds dear."
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Additionally, Forth Worth had 26 counts of murder, 141 counts of forcible rape, 4,061 counts of robbery, 943 counts of aggravated assault, and 2,678 stolen cars from January through May of this year.
Let us illustrate. Here's what was happening in Forth Worth on the day of the Rainbow Lounge raid:
MaxMarginal, Crooks and Liars: We hear a lot about the reasons to get rid of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. The fact that having openly gay servicemembers in the armed forces will do absolutely nothing to undermine the effectiveness of the military, whereas discharging gay Arabic translators like Lt. Dan Choi does plenty. There's the exorbitant costs of replacing discharged servicemembers.
Here's something to add to that list: the near-inhuman treatment the partners of gay military members face.
Silent Partners, the new episode of Brave New Foundation's In Their Boots shows loved ones of our armed forces confined to a world far from the tearful reunions on military base tarmacs, let alone the spousal support networks, base access, family assistance centers, and other amenities available to members of "typical" military families.
Under DADT, Ben Cartwright, the longtime partner of a deployed servicemember, must strip the "I love you" from his phone conversations, censor his written correspondence, meet his partner at a gas station rather than on base, and "de-gay" their home when his partner is picked up by his military buddies.
From his new post at HuffPo:
While my partner serves our country during these wars, I receive no benefits (medical benefits, family separation allowance, etc); I cannot access the family and spousal resources on the military base out of which he serves, or take part in military family events. I have no access to "military spouse" support groups and networks. When my partner graduated from military training and when he left for Iraq I had to stand on the sidelines- to vanish, disappear from his life and pretend I did not know him. I was proud to see him off, but heartbroken that I could not give him a hug and what could have been a final kiss goodbye.
Michelle Obama, speaking to military families in March, said, "See, military families have done their duty, and we as a grateful nation must do ours. We must do everything in our power to honor them by supporting them; not just by word but by deed."
An executive order scrapping Don't Ask, Don't Tell sounds like just the deed.
Sign VoteVets.org's petition to overturn Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
Monday, July 06, 2009
To be sure, the only inkling Palin gave about her new "higher calling" was that it will doubtless continue to feature her now trademark proclamations of victimization by the political media. In her statement, she labeled the press reaction to her cutting and running "predictable," adding:
"How sad that Washington and the media will never understand; it's about country. And though it's honorable for countless others to leave their positions for a higher calling and without finishing a term, of course we know by now, for some reason a different standard applies for the decisions I make."
During a Women and Leadership event back in March 2008, Governor Palin was asked about Senator Clinton's response to media scrutiny - and criticism - she received on the campaign trail during the Democratic primaries. Palin made it clear to moderator Karen Breslau of Newsweek that she considered Clinton's conduct unbecoming. Hillary, she insisted, needed to just "plow through":
"Fair or unfair, I think she does herself a disservice to even mention it...When I hear a statement like that coming from a woman candidate with any kind of perceived whine about that excess criticism or, you know, maybe a sharper microscope put on her, I think, man, that doesn't do us any good. Women in politics, women in general wanting to progress this country. I don't think it's, it bodes well for her -- a statement like that...It bothers me a little bit hearing her bring that attention to herself on that level."
Here's the full Newsweek video of Palin complete response. For more on Palin's post-election take on the media "stinkers" who caused "disappointment in my heart about the world of journalism today," visit Perrspectives.
Sunday, July 05, 2009
Mullen's comments are offensive and insulting. It's shocking that the civilian leadership allows him to talk about a group of Americans as if we were second class citizens.
How can you advocate a measured approach to equality? Deliberate is what I'm looking for. Deliberate is what we were promised.
And his comments about "the impact [of a policy change] on our people and their families" is outrageous. What about the impact of the current policy on gay servicemenbers? Are they not "his people." Not to mention the chilling effect official, government sanctioned discrimination has on all of us as Americans.
This is one of the most senior leaders of our government talking about us as if we were second class citizens. It has got to stop.
Sixteen years ago Sam Nunn and Colin Powell did this to us and no one called them on it. And we ended up with this policy. Now we must speak up. These are not legitimate opposing views. He, Mullen, is not expressing an American view of equality. And, shockingly, one of his main jobs is to articulate the policy views of his boss, the president.