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136 posts from March 2010

March 30, 2010

Gen. Sheehan Apologizes for Blaming Srebrenica Genocide on Gay Service Members

How nice.

Legalized Gay – A Dialogue on Race, Faith, and Marriage Equality

Here are two events of interest, happening this evening and tomorrow evening:

Campus Progress, Freedom to Marry, Georgetown University Pride, the Coalition of Activist Students Celebrating the Acceptance of Diversity and Inclusion at Howard University, and the Human Rights Campaign HBCU Outreach Program invite you to join us for:

Legalized Gay – A Dialogue on Race, Faith, and Marriage Equality

Howard University
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Music Listening Room
Blackburn Student Center
2400 6th Street NW
Featured Speaker Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

More details on the Howard Event

Georgetown University
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
12:15 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
McShain Lounge, McCarthy Hall
Southwest Quadrangle
Featured Speaker DC Councilmember David Catania

More details on the Georgetown Event

People of color and people of faith are often charged with blocking lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights. But DC’s recent marriage equality victory showed that organizing people of color and people of faith was crucial. These panels will examine the role race and faith played in securing marriage equality in Washington, D.C.

Speakers include Michael Crawford, New Media Director at Freedom to Marry; Cathy Renna, managing director of Renna Communications; Professor Joseph Palacios, assistant professor in Latin American Studies at Georgetown University; Joseph Gaskins, HBCU outreach coordinator at the Human Rights Campaign; Rev. Candy Holmes, an affirming minister at the Metropolitan Community Church and a DC newlywed; and Richard Sincere, co-founder and president of Gays and Lesbians for Liberty.

These events are free and open to the public. Food and refreshments will be served.

For more information, please email joseph.gaskins@hrc.org or speakers@campusprogress.org.

Leboon, rhymes with loon

Norman_Leboon Metro Weekly reports:

On Monday, March 29, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia announced that Norman Leboon was being charged with two counts of threatening to kill Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and his family. Comments left at the Queerty and Huffington Post websites in December 2008 and videos posted at YouTube as recently as this month, which evidence suggests are from Leboon, suggest that he identifies as gay and has a partner and two children....

On Dec. 25, 2008 ... a person posting at Queerty as Norman Leboon Sr., commented in response to a post titled, "Rick Warren's Web Site Ditches Gay Damnation," the following:

"We gays and Lesbians WILL NOT lay down anymore! To all in our family we MUST continue to speak out and NEVER have the Rick Warren’s [sic] take our rights away!

"Also, thank you, Mr. President Obama elect, if Mr. Rick Warren spoke out against woman, blacks or Jews as he does with us (gays) would he be making the Prayers for you at the White House???" ...

A few days before the Queerty comment, on December 19, 2008, a person posting from the account NLEBOON1653 at The Huffington Post wrote, "As a GAY-MUSLIM with two children, and a partner for 15 years this Obama is another BS crap that I fell for! I gave him $$$over a thousand dollars and worked door to to [sic] door with my disability (MS) for Obama, and Rick Warren gets to have dinner at the White house... And, yet Rick Warren will be on the ticket for 2012 as Obama never learns with his Pasters [sic]! 'Warren is wants power'... Again, gays are 2nd class!!!"

How much do you want to bet that this news will be used by some on the right as an excuse to blame all gay people, Muslims, and Ariana Huffington for this nutbag's rantings? I will be happy to accept blame for the actions of this person I never heard of as long as all straight people, Christians, and National Review readers take responsibility for every wrong committed by any member of those groups. For the record, I deplore all violent threats against public officials, whatever their party or platform. But suggestions of equivalence between fanatics on the left and the right are not factual, as WaPo columnist Eugene Robinson writes:

[F]or the most part, far-left violence in this country has gone the way of the leisure suit and the AMC Gremlin. An anti-globalization movement, including a few window-smashing anarchists, was gaining traction at one point, but it quickly diminished after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. An environmental group and an animal-rights group have been linked with incidents of arson. Beyond those particulars, it is hard to identify any kind of leftist threat.

By contrast, there has been explosive growth among far-right, militia-type groups that identify themselves as white supremacists, "constitutionalists," tax protesters and religious soldiers determined to kill people to uphold "Christian" values. Most of the groups that posed a real danger, as the Hutaree allegedly did, have been infiltrated and dismantled by authorities before they could do any damage. But we should never forget that the worst act of domestic terrorism ever committed in this country was authored by a member of the government-hating right wing: Timothy McVeigh's bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City.

It is dishonest for right-wing commentators to insist on an equivalence that does not exist. The danger of political violence in this country comes overwhelmingly from one direction -- the right, not the left. The vitriolic, anti-government hate speech that is spewed on talk radio every day -- and, quite regularly, at Tea Party rallies -- is calibrated not to inform but to incite.

Demagogues scream at people that their government is illegitimate, that their country has been "taken away," that their elected officials are "traitors" and that their freedom is at risk. They have a right to free speech, which I will always defend. But they shouldn't be surprised if some listeners take them literally.

Jonathan Capehart comments here.

There are certainly some crazy people on the far left. But the far left has nothing remotely resembling the power and influence in the Democratic Party that the far right has in the Republican Party.

Canadian Doctor Arrested for Sexual Abuse of Male Patient

Dr Aubrey Levin, a Canadian psychiatrist, has been arrest for sexual assault of a male patient.  Doctor Levin worked at the University of Calgary's medical school.  Psychiatric patients can be particularly vulnerable to abuse since they can be dismissed as crazy or delusional.  The accuser in this case filmed the incident.  Following the arrest dozens of other victims have come forward alleging abuse.

Dr. Levin, 71, emigrated from South Africa where he was known for his extreme rightwing views and was a member of the ruling National party during apartheid.  He got the title Dr. Shock there for using electric shocks to "cure" gay white conscripts.  Following the end of apartheid Dr. Levin was investigated through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission where it was alleged he had been guilty of gross human rights abuses. 

The arrest has raised questions about how Levin was allowed to settle in Canada. Canada admitted other South African medical practitioners accused of human rights abuses, including two who worked with Wouter Basson, known as Dr Death for his oversight of chemical and biological warfare experiments that included the murder of captured Namibian guerrillas.
The use of aversion therapy to "cure" homosexuality has also been practiced in the US.  This can include shock therapy or chemical therapy.  It has been shown that gay men can be conditioned to feel nauseous when looking a pictures of naked men.  Another form of treatment was to inject scoline to produce temporary paralysis including an inability to breathe. The patient was told they would be allowed to die because they were homosexual.  Patients were often induced to consent to treatment as an alternative to imprisonment.

March 29, 2010

Ricky Martin comes out

Ricky+Martin Singer Ricky Martin makes it official:

For many years, there has been only one place where I am in touch with my emotions fearlessly and that's the stage. Being on stage fills my soul in many ways, almost completely. It's my vice. The music, the lights and the roar of the audience are elements that make me feel capable of anything. This rush of adrenaline is incredibly addictive. I don't ever want to stop feeling these emotions. But it is serenity that brings me to where I'm at right now. An amazing emotional place of comprehension, reflection and enlightenment. At this moment I'm feeling the same freedom I usually feel only on stage, without a doubt, I need to share.

Many people told me: "Ricky it's not important", "it's not worth it", "all the years you've worked and everything you've built will collapse", "many people in the world are not ready to accept your truth, your reality, your nature". Because all this advice came from people who I love dearly, I decided to move on with my life not sharing with the world my entire truth. Allowing myself to be seduced by fear and insecurity became a self-fulfilling prophecy of sabotage. Today I take full responsibility for my decisions and my actions.

If someone asked me today, "Ricky, what are you afraid of?" I would answer "the blood that runs through the streets of countries at war ... child slavery, terrorism ... the cynicism of some people in positions of power, the misinterpretation of faith." But fear of my truth? Not at all! On the contrary, It fills me with strength and courage. This is just what I need especially now that I am the father of two beautiful boys that are so full of light and who with their outlook teach me new things every day. To keep living as I did up until today would be to indirectly diminish the glow that my kids where born with. Enough is enough. This has to change. This was not supposed to happen 5 or 10 years ago, it is supposed to happen now. Today is my day, this is my time, and this is my moment.

These years in silence and reflection made me stronger and reminded me that acceptance has to come from within and that this kind of truth gives me the power to conquer emotions I didn't even know existed.

What will happen from now on? It doesn't matter. I can only focus on what's happening to me in this moment. The word "happiness" takes on a new meaning for me as of today. It has been a very intense process. Every word that I write in this letter is born out of love, acceptance, detachment and real contentment. Writing this is a solid step towards my inner peace and vital part of my evolution.

I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am.

RM

This is about as surprising as Rosie O'Donnell coming out, but it is a positive step. Here's wishing him well.

(Hat tip: Michael Crawford)

RNC spending includes $2,000 in "meal expenses" at Voyeur West Hollywood

Voyeur-hollywood-bar-with-waitress
(Voyeur West Hollywood bar with waitress)

Dan Eggen of WaPo's 44 blog reports:

The Republican National Committee gave nearly $2,000 to a Southern California GOP contributor for meal expenses at Voyeur West Hollywood, a lesbian-themed California nightclub that features topless dancers wearing horse-bits and other bondage gear, according to newly filed disclosure records.

The RNC said Monday it is investigating the disbursement of the money to Erik Brown of Orange, Calif., who has donated about $10,000 to GOP candidates and is listed in public records as the CEO of Dynamic Marketing Inc., with offices in California and Washington. Brown did not immediately respond Monday to messages left by telephone and e-mail.

RNC spokesman Doug Heye said "I can't comment on him" when asked about Brown and his connection to the party committee. But Heye said Brown is "not on committee staff" and that the visit to the Voyeur nightclub "was not an RNC event." He said the RNC is investigating the expenditure and is requesting that the money be returned....

The Feb. 4 nightclub disbursement was included as part of the RNC's monthly expense reports filed with the Federal Election Commission last week. The reports also included tens of thousands of dollars in expenditures for luxury jets, limousines and posh hotels, prompting further criticism from Democrats and some Republicans over the spending habits of RNC Chairman Michael Steele....

Steele has come under steady fire for his financial stewardship of the organization. The RNC had more than $22 million on hand when Steele arrived last year, but is down to under $10 million now despite raising $96 million during that time, records show. The Daily Caller website, which first noted the new FEC filings, also reported that Steele had suggested that the RNC should purchase a private jet for his travels after he first took over the job in January 2009.

So Michael Steele has blown more than $108 million since he became RNC chair. This is excellent news.

Health and Aging in the LGBT Community

SAGE and the Movement Advancement Project have released "Improving the Lives of LGBT Older Adults" [PDF].  The South Florida Gay News reports on many of the ways in which LGBT suffer, including:
  •  Despite paying into Social Security, LGBT elders don’t get the same benefits that their heterosexual peers get, with the biggest difference being that same-sex couples are denied spousal and survivor benefits routinely provided to married heterosexual couples.
  •  Similar disparities occur in Medicaid and long-term care programs. Medicaid does not require a healthy partner to impoverish himself or herself to qualify a spouse for long-term care. But spousal impoverishment protections do not exist for same-sex couples and families of choice.
  •  LGBT elders’ IRAs and other retirement plans have benefits that are unequal to those enjoyed by heterosexual couples.
  •  Employer policies regarding pensions do not provide surviving partners of same-sex couples with the same financial protections that are accorded heterosexual couples, the report said.
  •  Under federal tax law, employers can provide health insurance to the heterosexual spouse of a current or retired employee tax-free, but insurance benefits for partners in same-sex couples are taxable.
  •  A surviving heterosexual spouse can inherit the couple’s assets without incurring a tax penalty, but federal and state law requires same-sex partners to pay inheritance taxes in some cases.
  •  Heterosexual spouses of military veterans get federal benefits, including pensions for spouses of service members killed in combat, medical care and home-loan guarantees, none of which is available to same-sex partners of veterans.
  •  It is typically more complex and expensive for same-sex couples to navigate inheritance laws than it is for heterosexual couples.
  • A newly released report by the Department of Health finds that older MSMs (men who have sex with men) are more likely to be HIV infected and less likely to practice safe sex.

    Continue reading "Health and Aging in the LGBT Community" »

    The HRC-bashing diversion

    Capitol_from_freedom_plaza
    (The U.S. Capitol from Freedom Plaza. Photo by DC_Jeff/Flickr)

    My column this week concerns the latest spate of HRC-bashing:

    Thousand-dollar-a-plate dinners are like abortions or same-sex marriages: if you don’t approve of them, don’t have one. We all make choices based on our views, our means and our priorities. The Human Rights Campaign has a loyal constituency. If that doesn’t include you, pick another organization or start your own. We should not reserve our worst bile for our allies.

    HRC is a convenient bogeyman for many people’s frustration with the slow pace of change. This is understandable, given the group’s prominence and the size of its budget, but the vitriolic tone of much of the criticism is at best unproductive. Those who loudly demand immediate total equality, as if the only reason we haven’t achieved it was that HRC forgot to say the magic words, insist that many different approaches are legitimate. I agree, but then why is HRC’s approach not legitimate also?

    The latest round of attacks against HRC came in reaction to an HRC rally for repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" featuring comedian Kathy Griffin. It was held at noon on March 18 at Freedom Plaza on Pennsylvania Avenue. This location has been faulted, but the stage was set up so that, when facing it from the news camera platform, the U.S. Capitol was in the background.

    Several hundred people had gathered. I stood near the stairs leading to the stage. As the rally got underway, openly-gay servicemember Lt. Dan Choi and GetEQUAL co-founder Robin McGehee walked up to an HRC staffer. Choi asked to speak, and was told no, that Griffin was the featured speaker. McGehee said Griffin was good at telling jokes but DADT was not a laughing matter, and if Choi was not allowed to speak, they would disrupt the rally. What resolved the impasse, though, was when Choi spoke to Griffin, who greeted him warmly and agreed to introduce him.

    Read the rest here.

    HRC updates on DADT repeal efforts can be found here, here, here and here.

    Census officials worry low response rate is a form of protest

    Bachmanncomicart-thumb-200x127 The Houston Chronicle reports:

    Texas is counting on the 2010 Census to deliver four new congressional districts, four new Electoral College votes in presidential elections, and millions of dollars in additional federal aid. But, as some elected officials are starting to worry, Uncle Sam can't deliver anything to the rapidly growing Sun Belt state unless Texas residents deliver their forms back to the government.

    As of Friday afternoon, only 27 percent of Texas households had filled in and returned their census forms — well below the national average of 34 percent — according to computer data from the U.S. Census Bureau. In Harris County, the response rate is 23 percent. Houston's returns are running at 21 percent.

    Contrary to historical trends, some of the toughest challenges facing the agency responsible for measuring the nation's population are not from counting the traditionally undercounted groups such as African-Americans and Latinos. Instead, a new and growing threat to an accurate national head count is coming from anti-government conservatives who may not fill out their forms to protest against “Big Brother” in Washington.

    I'm still hoping this phenomenon will cause a sufficient undercount in Minnesota that Michele Bachmann's seat is abolished and she's forced to run in another representative's district. Remember, redistricting is how we got rid of Bob Barr.

    (Cartoon of Michele Bachmann is from City Pages, Minneapolis/St. Paul)

    Clergy torn over church, civil loyalties over same-sex marriage

    Dean_Snyder Daniel Burke of Religion News Service reports:

    A new D.C. law means the Rev. Mary Kay Totty can now marry same-sex couples. But in the United Methodist Church, the denomination that ordained Totty two decades ago, the act could get her defrocked.

    Totty, 46, said she's willing to take the risk.

    "The institutional church has for so many years oppressed and excluded and harmed our [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] sisters and brothers," Totty said. "We have to say: 'Enough already. These are people's lives and loves that we continue to exclude from the fullness of life in the church.' "

    Nineteen other current and former United Methodist clergy in the District have signed a statement supporting Totty and Dumbarton UMC, the small, liberal congregation that she has pastored since July. Many others campaigned to legalize same-sex marriage in the city. But only Totty has been willing to put her job on the line.

    "It's very hard," said the Rev. Dean Snyder, who supports Totty and leads Foundry United Methodist Church, one of the city's largest Methodist congregations, where one in four members is gay or lesbian. "We have no desire to defy the larger denomination; at the same time we want to minister to all members of our congregation."

    As gay rights spread through civil society, an increasing number of clergy are, like Snyder, caught by conflicting loyalties, forced to choose between church law and civil law in pastoring to their gay and lesbian congregants.

    Rev. Snyder [whose photo appears above] is a wonderful man who has been quite supportive of Washington's GLBT community. He has provided meeting space to the Foundation for All D.C. Families; spoken at vigils for slain GLBT people; and is a signatory to the Declaration of Religious Support for Marriage Equality prepared by the group DC Clergy United for Marriage Equality. But I confess our viewpoints diverge when he says, "We have no desire to defy the larger denomination." Why not, if the denomination's policy violates your conscience? Oh, I understand that defiance could leave a person without a job; and I understand the trade-offs that would be involved in such a decision, since the unjust policy doesn't mean that one's church does not do a great many worthy things. But I sense that the principal reference here is to institutional loyalty. I respect the decision to work within an institution for change; but the struggle for gay equality within the United Methodist church has been going on for a long time. At some point, after going above and beyond the call of duty (or loyalty) in working for reform from the inside, it seems to me that the de facto reality of schism should be recognized, and one's conscience honored.

    To give credit where due to Rev. Snyder, Foundry's website says this about DC Marriage Equality:

    Foundry’s congregation and its leadership are in a discernment process to determine our pastoral response to the legalization of same gender marriages within the District of Columbia. We are conscious of positions that The United Methodist Church has taken that are opposed to same-gender marriage, but those aspects of church discipline are in conflict with the deeper emphasis of the church's Book of Discipline upon the gospel of grace and pastoral care for all of God's children.

    While we are in this process of discernment, Foundry will continue its policy of providing services that will honor the committed relationships of our gay and lesbian members, constituents and friends. At these services, the vows and / or other statement of commitment previously made by the couple will be shared with and reported to the gathered congregation.

    For the pastoral letters and other documents related to this issue and these services, please click here. To request a service or for further information, please contact Bob McDonald at rmcdonald@foundryumc.org.

    Heritage Foundation exploits poor D.C. kids

    Rob Boston reports for Americans United for Separation of Church and State about a set of large posters on the walls of the Metro station at Union Station:

    They depict pictures of smiling (mostly minority) children demanding to know why Congress won’t give them “scholarships” to attend private schools.

    The posters plug a Web site called voicesofschoolchoice.org. At first glance, you would assume this was a project of African-American parents in the District of Columbia who want to see the city’s federally funded voucher plan reauthorized. (The plan was authorized for five years in 2004. Recently, the Senate voted against extending it.)

    If you go to the site and scroll down to the very bottom, however, in barely legible, tiny type, you learn the truth: Voices of School Choice is a project of the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think tank that works to abolish as many government programs as possible.

    Two of Heritage’s biggest targets are teachers’ unions and public education. Promoting vouchers and other school privatization schemes gives Heritage an opportunity to take a shot at both at once. So this new campaign isn’t really about helping poor, minority families at all – it’s about promoting Heritage’s right-wing ideology. What a surprise!

    Heritage isn’t interested in helping people in need and has consistently taken stands against social programs that lend a hand to the poor, the unemployed, the working class and the elderly....

    Here are some other things the Heritage Foundation would like to do away with: Head Start, the minimum wage, Medicaid and Social Security. As a general rule, if it’s a social program, and the government is paying for it, Heritage doesn’t like it....

    Ninety percent of America’s school children attend public schools – including lots of low-income kids. Federal funds should go toward improving those schools, not subsidizing religious and other private schools.

    Dialogue on Race, Faith, and Marriage Equality at GU

    A discussion titled "Legalized Gay: A Dialogue on Race, Faith, and Marriage Equality at Georgetown University"  will be held on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 from 12:15 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
    McShain Lounge, McCarthy Hall
    Southwest Quadrangle
    Georgetown University
    Washington, DC 20007

    People of color and people of faith are often charged with blocking lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights. But DC's recent marriage equality victory showed that organizing people of color and people of faith was crucial. This panel, featuring DC Councilmember David Catania, will examine the role race and faith played in securing marriage equality in Washington, D.C.

    Other speakers include Cathy Renna, managing director of Renna Communications; Professor Joseph Palacios, assistant professor in Latin American Studies at Georgetown University; and Richard Sincere, co-founder and president of Gays and Lesbians for Liberty. The event will be moderated by Michael Crawford, new media director at Freedom to Marry.

    This event is free and open to the public. Food and refreshments will be served.

    Update:  There will also be a forum on Tuesday, March 30 7pm at Howard University Music Listening Room, Blackburn Student Center

    The Howard panel features Rev. Candy Holmes, a minister at MCC Church who is part of one of the first couples to marry in DC, Freedom to Marry's Michael Crawford, Genesis Nunlee, a Howard University student, and will be moderated by Joey Gaskin, HBCU outreach coordinator at the Human Rights Campaign.

    via WCP

    Vienna Boys’ Choir caught up in sex abuse scandals

    Georg_Ratzinger The Times Online reports:

    The most famous choir in the world has been caught up in the wave of paedophile scandals sweeping Germany and Austria, with eight former choristers denouncing their teachers in the past few days.

    An open letter from the management of the Vienna Boys’ Choir to parents expressed regret at the incidents, which were recounted by former singers now aged between 40 and 70.

    Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, called yesterday for truth and clarity in investigating paedophile abuse not only in church institutions but everywhere within the educational system. “We all agree that sexual abuse against children is a despicable crime,” she told parliament.

    So far about 300 claims of sexual abuse have been made by former pupils of German church schools and of non-denominational boarding schools.

    The Government is considering extending the statute of limitations on sexual abuse.

    One wonders how His So-Called Holiness expects to survive the flood of revelations.

    (Photo of Georg Ratzinger, former director of the Regensburg choir, by Alberto Pellaschiar/AP)

    The Father Maciel coverup

    The following is a synopsis of the film Vows of Silence by Jason Berry:

    Vows of Silence is an anatomy of the Vatican justice system, following the haunting saga of Father Marcial Maciel, who won the favor of Pope John Paul II despite years of pedophilia accusations. The greatest fundraiser of the modern church, Maciel founded the Legionaries of Christ, a religious order with a $650 million budget and history of controversial tactics.The film tracks 1998 abuse charges against Maciel filed with Cardinal Ratzinger. The Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, tries to abort the case. In 2004, with Pope John Paul II dying, Ratzinger takes action.

    The film follows a secret investigator as witnesses testify about Maciel’s sexual abuse, psychological tyranny, and the secret vows he imposed to secure Legionaries’ silence.

    With location shoots in Rome, Mexico City, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Milwaukee and New Orleans, the film tracks Maciel’s rise from war-torn Mexico, gaining the support of the Spanish dictator, Franco, and cementing ties with Vatican officials. A former Vatican official breaks his silence in an interview criticizing the Legion’s cult-like atmosphere. As the evidence mounts, Ratzinger, as Pope Benedict XVI, must decide the price of justice.

    (Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan)

    CBS report: Don't Ask, Don't Tell Hits Home


    Watch CBS News Videos Online

    In the words of Mohammed Gandhi....

    This George W. Bush impersonator, courtesy Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), is rather lame, but I liked his attempted quote of "Mohammed Gandhi." I was a bit surprised, though, that Huffington Post ran this Grayson campaign ad like an ordinary column.

    March 28, 2010

    Chai Feldblum given recess appointment to EEOC

    Chai_feldblum Dr. Chai Feldblum was nominated as the first openly gay commissioner to the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission in September 2009, and appointment that is potentially a BFD.  As her partner explains
    And yes, probably the most important effect of this will be when ENDA passes. The EEOC will be the agency responsible for issuing regulations for its enforcement. Having Chai there to set the framework for the initial regulatory response to ENDA is important beyond words.
    Though the nomination has not been without controversy, it cleared it's Senate hearing in December.  Since then an anonymous Republican Senator has placed a hold on the appointment.  President Obama has  now made a recess appointment which will allow her to serve in the position through the end of the current legislative session.  In making the appointment (and 14 additional one) the unprecedented level of Republican obstructionism was cited.
    Many of these fifteen individuals have enjoyed broad bipartisan support, but have found their confirmation votes delayed for reasons that have nothing to do with their qualifications. It has more to do with an obstruction-at-all-costs mentality that we’ve been faced with since the President came into office. Because of political posturing, these fifteen appointees have waited an average of 214 days for Senate confirmation.

    March 26, 2010

    Summersgill corrects the record on D.C. marriage equality victory

    Our colleague Bob Summersgill offers feedback in DC Agenda:

    Re: “The guiding hand in winning marriage equality” (viewpoint by Lane Hudson, March 5)

    I appreciate the accolades from Lane Hudson in the DC Agenda. I’m extremely pleased with our success in achieving marriage equality. There were quite a large number of people who contributed to our win and we can all take some credit.

    I do have a different recollection of how our effort progressed. At the founding meeting of DC for Marriage, I presented the on-going incremental plan that I had been working on for several years, at first while representing the Gay & Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA) and later in concert with them, especially Rick Rosendall, who was critical to the success of marriage equality in the District.

    The assembled group seemed very pleased with my legislative plan and the criteria that I outlined for when the Congress would not interfere with us and how we could deal with an initiative. They also agreed that the time to move a bill hadn’t arrived, but we could do a lot to prepare for that day.

    DC for Marriage’s embrace of my general strategy was quite a relief. I had worried that they were going to push for a marriage bill right away, or pull some other stunt that would delay or harm our efforts. Under Michael Crawford’s direction, DC for Marriage worked to create the public support we needed for our win. Michael created a social media and traditional media campaign, a direct contact and pledge effort, and other outreach that resulted in thousands and thousands of supporters. Countless other people found ways to make a difference and grow support for marriage equality.

    A legislative, judicial or ballot loss could have set us back a decade or more. Going too soon would mean that we would be delayed in getting marriage equality. There would be a time when all the pieces came together and we would need to be prepared.

    GLAA, the Gertrude Stein Club, and DC for Marriage leaders all agreed in January 2009 that the time for a marriage equality bill was not right. By April, we all agreed that the time had come for the marriage recognition bill and by summer we all agreed that it was time for the final bill, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Equality Act.

    The careful incremental strategy didn’t rush us forward, but it moved us forward with deliberate steps. Each legislative victory carefully changed the laws that could have been used against us while increasing the rights of couples. In the end, everyone was on board and recognized that the moment had arrived and we were ready for it. — Bob Summersgill

    Thank you, Bob. Lane Hudson, while praising Bob, wrote as if GLAA and I actually hampered the cause of marriage equality — whereas in fact we and Bob had exactly the same strategy. If Hudson is determined to disrespect GLAA, he could at least come up with a more plausible narrative. Last evening, at a campaign fundraiser for which Hudson was on the host committee, D.C. Councilmember David Catania graciously singled me out for praise. Indeed, most of those who actually worked for marriage equality, including GLAA, have been appropriately generous with their praise. There are many people and groups deserving recognition, as reflected in the list of honorees for GLAA's Distinguished Service Awards that we will present at our 39th anniversary reception on April 20. But Hudson can take comfort in knowing that former Blade editor Chris Crain — a perfect exemplar of the know-it-all who doesn't — agrees with him. Crain writes in Letters from CAMP Rehoboth:

    Continue reading "Summersgill corrects the record on D.C. marriage equality victory" »

    March 25, 2010

    Whitman-Walker calls for community-wide action on HIV/AIDS among gay and bisexual men

    Wwc1 This just in from Whitman-Walker Clinic:

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Contact: Chip Lewis

    March 25, 2010
    (202) 797-3514, (202) 213-8939 (c)

    WHITMAN-WALKER CLINIC CALLS FOR COMMUNITY-WIDE ACTION ON HIV/AIDS AMONG GAY AND BISEXUAL MEN

    Clinic Encourages More Open and Honest Communication Between Doctors and Patients

    WASHINGTON - Whitman-Walker Clinic today called for new action in the wake of the DC government's newly released study on HIV/AIDS among men who have sex with men (MSM) in the District of Columbia. The Clinic will also join in a partnership with the Crew Club to provide HIV and STD screening every Tuesday night at the Club.

    "The survey results for MSM confirm what we see every day at Whitman-Walker in caring for the LGBT community," said Don Blanchon, executive director of Whitman-Walker Clinic. "Approximately one in every seven MSM is HIV-positive and one in every five MSM of color is HIV-positive. These are numbers that should and must galvanize the entire community to respond. With this knowledge there must be action."

    "We are very pleased to partner with the Crew Club to provide HIV and STD screening," said Blanchon. "This partnership is a prime example of how different parts of the community can work together to achieve the common goal of fighting HIV/AIDS. We look forward to working with the Crew Club and other community organizations in the future."

    While the overall HIV rates were not a surprise to Whitman-Walker, some findings of the survey were unexpected.

    Continue reading "Whitman-Walker calls for community-wide action on HIV/AIDS among gay and bisexual men" »

    Conservatives shoot the messenger

    S-FRUM-large Former Bush speechwriter David Frum abruptly resigned today from the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. Here is Frum's resignation letter to AEI President Arthur Brooks:

    Dear Arthur,

    This will memorialize our conversation at lunch today. Effective immediately, my position as a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute is terminated. I appreciate the consideration that delays my emptying of my office until after my return from travel next week. Premises will be vacated no later than April 9.

    I have had many fruitful years at the American Enterprise Institute, and I do regret this abrupt and unexpected conclusion of our relationship.

    Very truly yours,

    David Frum

    This is clearly fallout from the criticism Frum has been leveling this week at the Republican handling of the health care reform bill. He had written, "Conservatives and Republicans today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s. ... [I]t’s Waterloo all right: ours." He decried "the harm that our overheated talk is doing to us."

    By doubling down on their obstructionism, jaw-dropping mischaracterizations and incitement of rage among their base, conservatives are raising the stakes for the midterm elections and badly miscalculating the size of that base. By mobilizing the Palin/Beck wing of the GOP, they risk alienating everyone else, including independent voters. No campaign runs itself, and nothing is guaranteed, but this gives Democrats an enormous opportunity.

    D.C. marriage amendment defeated in Senate

    DC Agenda reports that Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah) failed by a vote of 59 to 36 early this morning to amend the health care reconciliation bill to force a D.C. ballot initiative on same-sex marriage:

    Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), both supporters of LGBT rights, were the only two Republicans to break ranks with their party and join Democrats to vote against the waiver....

    The defeat of the Bennett amendment followed an e-mail alert issued Wednesday by the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage informing its members and supporters that Bennett planned to introduce the amendment Wednesday or Thursday....

    Bennett’s amendment was entitled, “To protect the democratic process and the right of the people of the District of Columbia to define marriage.” ...

    “It was good to see a super-majority of the Senate reject a hypocritical effort to undermine D.C.’s marriage law as well as health care reform,” said Evan Wolfson, executive director of the national same-sex marraige advocacy group Freedom to Marry.

    “The D.C. City Council and mayor duly enacted a law ending exclusion from marriage, and Congress chose not to interfere during the oversight review period before the law took effect,” Wolfson said. “Couples have now married, families have celebrated, and the sun still rose. Members of Congress should focus on ending discrimination, not trying to reinstate it.”

    But Bob Summersgill, a gay D.C. activist, predicted that anti-gay groups like NOM would continue relentlessly to attempt to kill the city’s same-sex marraige law.

    “I am hopeful that the Congress will not force a ballot measure on marriage equality, but it may happen,” he said. “We must prepare for it. We must continue to talk to our families, friends, neighbors, and coworkers about our families and why marriage equality is important for all of us. We must show that politicians will not lose their seats because they voted for marriage equality, but rather they will gain votes.”

    It was significant that Senator Reid cited the Bennett amendment as an example of the ridiculous lengths to which the Republican obstructionism has gone. Our opponents cry "Let the people vote!" as if our overwhelmingly pro-gay city legislature got that way by accident. The proponents of discrimination would have Congress overturn the considered decision by our duly elected representatives; that is no more democratic than majority rule is totalitarian.

    The D.C. marriage equality victory is the result of years of dogged preparation by many people, but we are also benefiting from the Republicans' overreach and complete abandonment of civility. It is becoming increasingly clear to American voters who the true radicals are, and it isn't the many longstanding couples who this month were finally able to seal their mutual commitment in civil marriage.

    "The arc of my love is longer, and bends toward you"

    Reggie Rocky Malena Zoe
    Rocky Galloway and Reggie Stanley with daughters Malena and Zoe
    after exchanging vows (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

    Then and now:

    "How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."

    Martin Luther King
    Voting rights rally
    State capitol steps
    Montgomery, Alabama
    March 25, 1965

    "The arc of the moral universe is long and bends toward justice. But today, and every day, the arc of my love is longer, and bends toward you."

    Reggie Stanley
    Wedding vows to Rocky Galloway (at 0:54)
    Human Rights Campaign headquarters
    Washington, D.C.
    March 9, 2010

    Ratzinger implicated in Wisconsin sex-abuse coverup

    S-POPE-RATZINGER-SEX-ABUSE-large The Pope formerly known as Joseph Ratzinger has been implicated in the coverup of yet another serial sexual abuse case, this one involving as many as 200 boys at the St. John's School For The Deaf in St. Francis, Wisconsin. Once again, the stories are revolting. Once again, the culprit went unpunished; this one was Father Lawrence Murphy, who died in 1998.

    If the Roman Catholic Church had any kind of accountability, whether to man or God, His So-Called Holiness would resign. But the fox is running the henhouse, so the stream of squalid revelations will doubtless continue with nothing but a few token purgings and empty expressions of remorse. And the Vatican will portray this pope who led the coverup as a victim. Pardon this former Catholic while I throw up. My mother, whose devout faith was leavened by a clear-eyed pragmatism, would be 92 now. I wonder what she would have said had she lived to see this.

    March 24, 2010

    Dubya's latest classy moment

    Former president George W. Bush, on a joint visit to Haiti with former president Bill Clinton, wipes his hand on Clinton's shirt after shaking hands with people in the crowd.

    Barney Frank, nearing his 70th birthday, looks at how far we've come

    Barney-frank-2009-2-11-16-3-50-251x300 Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA), who will turn 70 on March 31, is interviewed by Windy City Times and discusses the state of the GLBT movement and the progress of pro-GLBT legislation:

    "The fact that the American people now know who we are, and that we are relatives and friends, customers and teammates, students and teachers, barbers, lawyers and policemen, etc. Coming out has helped us, so [non-LGBT] people realize we are them, too." ...

    "The last time we had a Democratic President and Congress was 1993-1994, and things got better then, but we still were not in a situation where the majority opposed discrimination," Frank said. "I do believe we have public opinion with us on almost everything else, including [allowing] gays in the military.

    "If you go back to 1976, [former presidents] Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford were sort of equally moving forward on gay rights. [They were] not yet there, but moving forward. Since then, the Democrats have gotten a lot better; the Republicans have gotten a lot worse. Take a look at John McCain, [for instance.] He used to be better [in support of LGBT rights], but now because he's gotten national Republican politics and a primary in Arizona has become one of our leading opponents in Congress." ...

    "Marriage is still a tough issue. I can't predict when we'd have a majority for that," said Frank, whose partner is Jim Ready.

    "I think we have a very good chance of passing [the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, commonly known as ENDA] and repealing gays in the military. Public opinion is clearly moving in our direction, especially [among the younger generation]. The younger people, [they are] the key to [repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"]. Younger people today are much less prejudiced."

    Passing ENDA and repealing DADT could both happen this year, Frank said.

    Barney's pragmatism and frankness often draw criticism from activists who want everything right now and don't want to focus on the work needed to make policy advances happen. They would do better to heed his advice. Full disclosure: I am a longtime supporter of Barney, and sent his campaign a small check earlier this week in response to his latest fundraising appeal.

    Senate Republicans get revenge by shutting down committee hearings

    As HuffPo reports, Senate Republicans have forced the shutdown of hearings by the Judiciary and Armed Services committees in retaliation for passage of the health care reform:

    Making good on Sen. John McCain's threat to withhold all Republican cooperation from Democrats in the Senate in retribution for the majority party using reconciliation to pass health care reform, the GOP used an obscure rule that states committees can only meet when the chamber is in session with the unanimous consent of all members. That consent has almost never been withheld -- until now....

    Jim Manley, a spokesperson for Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) addressed the matter on Wednesday: "For a second straight day, Republicans are using tricks to shut down several key Senate committees. So let me get this straight: in retaliation for our efforts to have an up-or-down vote to improve health care reform, Republicans are blocking an Armed Services committee hearing to discuss critical national security issues among other committee meetings? These political games and obstruction have to stop - the American people expect and deserve better."

    Committee meetings were also canceled on Tuesday, including one on transparency in government. The Executive Director of the Sunlight Foundation, Ellen Miller was cut off during a House hearing.

    Anyone who has watched Senate hearings over the years is familiar with chairman calling breaks so that committee members could go to the floor for a vote. This sort of thing is routine. Forcing the shutdown of committees while the Senate chamber is in session prevents a large portion of the Senate's work from getting done. I don't see why we should pay the Republican senators' salaries if they are going to behave like this. Their obstructionism needs to be a prime focus of the midterm election campaign.

    The GOP's big lie about "the American people"

    James Zogby, President of the Arab American Institute, writes about the Big Lie we have heard repeatedly from the Republicans:

    A Republican talking point repeated ad nauseam during [Sunday's] debate pounded on the theme that they, and they alone, had the right to speak for "the will of the American people." This took different forms: "the American people have spoken," or "you (Democrats) are ignoring/imposing your views on the American people" or "the American people have sent a message," etc. All making the same point -- that the GOP speaks for the American people.

    Of course, the American people have spoken, and in November 2008 elected a Democratic White House and Senate and House of Representatives. But, elections and the workings of our democracy including the idea that the losing party respect the outcome of elections appear to be alien concepts to today's GOP.

    The idea that the minority party represents the "will of the people" (not some of the people, but "the people") is the seedling of a totalitarian mindset. In this mindset -- democracy doesn't matter, ideas are not to be discussed, and opposing views are not to respected. What matters is that they alone have truth, they alone are metaphysically connected to the "mind of the people" can interpret their will, and because they have truth and speak for the people, others represent a threat and must be silenced and stopped.

    This was a major concern last summer as violent demonstrators disrupted "town meetings" -- with angry chanting mobs claiming to represent the "will of the people" arrayed against the elected Congresspeople and their constituents who had freely assembled to discuss issues. The mobs didn't come to discuss or even debate. They were mobilized to disrupt discussion and silence debate.

    I agree with Zogby, and would be more concerned about this if it had succeeded in killing health care reform. But Democrats stood up to the lies and vilification and threats, President Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi have been vindicated, and money is pouring into Democratic campaign coffers. The far right's mob tactics are indeed disturbing, but the crucial thing is to counter them and not relent in our reform efforts. And we mustn't succumb to the notion that we are victims or under siege. Remember, we just beat them despite all their hysteria-mongering and viciousness.

    March 23, 2010

    Somewhere a mother is beaming

    472marcelasowensbiden
    (Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

    11-year-old Marcelas Owens, who drew Republican attacks after lobbying for health care reform in memory of his late mother, looks on as President Obama signs the landmark legislation into law. In his remarks before signing the bill, the President remembered his own mother's struggles with her insurance company in her final days.

    Open CRS: Federal Employee Benefits and Same-Sex Partnerships

    The Congressional Research Service has release a report on "Federal Employee Benefits and Same-Sex Partnerships"  to clarify issues regarding S. 1102 Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2009 and it's companion House bill.  While DOMA restricts the Federal government this bill would extend certain benefits to the same-sex partners of federal employees.
    This report examines the current policies on the application of benefits to same-sex partners, analyzes the bills currently pending in the 111th Congress, and reviews the policy debate on extending benefits to same-sex partners. This report is about federal benefits for same-sex partners and not about same-sex relationships in general.
    The OPM estimates that extending health insurance and survivor benefits to the same-sex domestic partners of current federal employees as well as annuitants will cost $56 million in 2010.  The bill has been favorably reported out by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs as well as the House House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

    EQUALICON! EAA Regional LGBTQI Activist Conference

    FENDClogo On April 17th Full Equality NOW! DC will be hosting EQUALICON! at All Souls Church in Washington DC.  Activists from throughout the Mid-Atlantic region are invited:
    to strengthen and grow our movement by debating and discussing strategies to win civil rights, learning about LGBTQI history and struggle, and planning future actions together, including the National Day of Action on Harvey Milk Day.
    A series of workshops will be offered on topics such as: Why We Need a National Grassroots Movement, Movement Strategy and Tactics, LGBTQI Rights around the World, Snapshot of U.S. Policies (ENDA, DADT, marriage equality etc.), The ‘T’ is not Silent: Transgender History and Politics, Students Fight Back, Lessons From the Black Civil Rights Struggle, Take Action on Harvey Milk Day and more.  Registration is free.

    March 22, 2010

    Still marching, 45 years later

    Hoyer Lewis Pelosi March 21 2010

    Rep. John Lewis of Atlanta, who was savagely beaten 45 years ago during the first attempted voting-rights march from Selma to Montgomery, marched on March 21, 2010 across Independence Avenue toward the U.S. Capitol between House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. They chose to walk through the angry, foul-mouthed Tea Party mob on their way to the final debate and vote on health care reform in order to demonstrate their refusal to be intimidated.

    (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

    MLK in Montgomery: "How long? Not long!"

    Forty-five years ago as I write this, hundreds and then thousands of voting rights marchers were on the road from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, the state capital. Here we see the climax of Martin Luther King's speech from the steps of the Alabama state capitol in Montgomery on March 25, 1965. This concluded a march that began on March 21; it was the third attempt, the first having been on March 7, now known as Bloody Sunday. Included here is King's famous line, "How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." Most of this video is in close-up, and the charismatic 36-year-old minister casts quite a spell.

    As a reminder of the risks that the marchers were taking, there is this paragraph from the Wikipedia page on the Selma to Montgomery marches:

    Later that night, Viola Liuzzo, a white mother of five from Detroit who had come to Alabama to support voting rights for blacks, was assassinated by Ku Klux Klan members while she was ferrying marchers back to Selma from Montgomery. Among the Klansmen in the car from which the shots were fired was FBI informant Gary Rowe. Afterward, the FBI's COINTELPRO operation spread false rumors that Liuzzo was a member of the Communist Party and abandoned her children to have sexual relationships with African Americans involved in the civil rights movement.

    "a shepherd's pie peppered with actual shepherd on top"

    [Stephen Sondheim 80th birthday celebration — cont'd] Sweeney Todd, which lots of people including me consider Sondheim's greatest work, debuted on Broadway in 1979 and won Angela Lansbury the fourth of her five Tony Awards. In this clip, she and co-star Len Cariou perform "A Little Priest," concerning how to dispose of a blackmailer whom Sweeney has just dispatched. This displays the show's dark humor. I reviewed the 2007 Tim Burton movie here. The show is now playing at Arlington's Signature Theatre through April 4.

    A swirl of dots

    [Stephen Sondheim 80th birthday celebration — cont'd] I first posted this clip last July. Today, with the angry epithets of the Tea Party mob still echoing on Capitol Hill, it is good to pause for this gorgeous performance of one of Sondheim's finest compositions. Sunday In the Park with George debuted on Broadway in 1984. After seeing the work-in-progress, Sondheim's old friend Leonard Bernstein called it "brilliant, deeply conceived, canny, magisterial and by far the most personal statement I've heard from you thus far. Bravo." The innovative, pointillistic musical about painter Georges Seurat won Sondheim and his collaborator James Lapine the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. This choral finale about the creation of a work of art — "Order. Design. Balance. Composition. Harmony" — is surprisingly moving. Prior to this, Sondheim had considered abandoning theater composition after the critical and commercial failure of Merrily We Roll Along.

    "Loving you is not a choice, it's who I am"

    [Stephen Sondheim 80th birthday celebration — cont'd] Happy 80th birthday to composer Stephen Sondheim. This clip from his 1994 show Passion features Donna Murphy in the role of Fosca. In this show, love is a form of obsession and torment. Don't watch this if you have a stalker. I saw Murphy's performance at the Plymouth Theatre when I was in NYC for Stonewall 25. As it happened, another Sondheim leading lady, Bernadette Peters (Sunday In the Park With George, Into the Woods), was seated right in front of me; I suppressed an urge to run my fingers through her cascading ringlets of hair.

    "Baby Killer!" shouter revealed: Rep. Randy Neugebauer

    Randy_Neugebauer The identity of the Republican congressman who shouted "Baby Killer!" during Rep. Bart Stupak's speech last night in the House of Representatives has been revealed as Texas Congressman Randy Neugebauer. Here's his apology:

    Last night was the climax of weeks and months of debate on a health care bill that my constituents fear and do not support. In the heat and emotion of the debate, I exclaimed the phrase 'it's a baby killer' in reference to the agreement reached by the Democratic leadership. While I remain heartbroken over the passage of this bill and the tragic consequences it will have for the unborn, I deeply regret that my actions were mistakenly interpreted as a direct reference to Congressman Stupak himself.

    I have apologized to Mr. Stupak and also apologize to my colleagues for the manner in which I expressed my disappointment about the bill. The House Chamber is a place of decorum and respect. The timing and tone of my comment last night was inappropriate.

    I am sorry, but someone who was eager to block health care for 30 million people may be many things, but "pro life" he is not. I wonder how many stillbirths occur each year because of inadequate or nonexistent prenatal care. The worst thing about these ideologues is that they are so phony.

    Gingrich to Dems: you'll be sorry now!

    Gingrich-newt Right Wing Pundit Watch: Newt Gingrich warns the Democrats that their passage of health care reform will be as big a disaster as historic civil rights legislation:

    former Republican House speaker Newt Gingrich said Obama and the Democrats will regret their decision to push for comprehensive reform. Calling the bill "the most radical social experiment ... in modern times," Gingrich said: "They will have destroyed their party much as Lyndon Johnson shattered the Democratic Party for 40 years" with the enactment of civil rights legislation in the 1960s.

    Newt's half sister, lesbian activist Candace Gingrich-Jones, wrote on Facebook, "Um, yeah, bring it bro — love that you consider civil rights a radical social experiment..." While LBJ's comment after signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, "We have lost the South for a generation," is legendary, Newt's prediction of 40 years in the wilderness for the Dems over health care reform is about as plausible as Reagan's dire 1961 warning that if what became Medicare were not stopped, "one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it once was like in America when men were free." Medicare, of course, is now so popular that the teabaggers were crying, "Don't touch our Medicare!" even as they denounced government-run health care as Communist.

    It's a wonder of nature that a single womb could produce both Newt and Candace. I shared a taxi with Newt about 18 years ago, before he was Speaker, and he was quite nice but only because the conversation was about federal computer contracts. Which suggests that if we just give him enough toys to distract him, he might stay out of trouble.

    (Hat tip: Candace Gingrich-Jones)

    This just in: McCain says cooperation is over!

    John_McCain The Hill reports this breathtaking news:

    Democrats shouldn't expect much cooperation from Republicans the rest of this year, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) warned Monday....

    "There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year," McCain said during an interview Monday on an Arizona radio affiliate. "They have poisoned the well in what they've done and how they've done it."

    As the first comment below the story put it, "Like this is a change?" McCain's smug, nasty cluelessness is now officially a self-caricature. Give him a cartoon show on Fox. But first, send him into well-deserved retirement.

    (Hat tip: Jane Lincoln)

    Frum: Obama victory is Republicans' Waterloo

    Conservative operative David Frum brings music to my liberal ears:

    Conservatives and Republicans today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s.

    It’s hard to exaggerate the magnitude of the disaster....

    A huge part of the blame for today’s disaster attaches to conservatives and Republicans ourselves....

    We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.

    There were leaders who knew better, who would have liked to deal. But they were trapped. Conservative talkers on Fox and talk radio had whipped the Republican voting base into such a frenzy that deal-making was rendered impossible. How do you negotiate with somebody who wants to murder your grandmother? Or – more exactly – with somebody whom your voters have been persuaded to believe wants to murder their grandmother?

    I’ve been on a soapbox for months now about the harm that our overheated talk is doing to us. Yes it mobilizes supporters – but by mobilizing them with hysterical accusations and pseudo-information, overheated talk has made it impossible for representatives to represent and elected leaders to lead....

    [I]t's Waterloo all right: ours.

    Karma's a bitch, ain't it?

    Vote tally: Republicans missed the boat

    House vote pic March 21

    (Hat tip: Miguel Tuason)