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64 posts from January 2017

January 20, 2017

Kellyanne's fashion flub

Kellyanne_inaugural_wear

And I thought Thomas Jefferson's purple coat in Hamilton was loud. But hey, props to Kellyanne for taking a fashion risk with her expensive Gucci outfit, which was created as a tribute to London. Kind of a revolutionary cheerleader uniform.

Peaceful inaugural protests are turned violent by anarchists

Anarchists intermixed with peaceful protesters on Inauguration Day, effectively sabotaging those protests and giving #NotMyPresident apparent visual proof to claim his absurd and bigoted claims about "inner cities" (a racist code phrase) being crime-ridden, burning hellholes was true.

The #Resistance begins

January 19, 2017

Trump meets with SCOTUS candidate who likened gay sex to pedophilia

A long national nightmare will soon be upon us.

Mnuchin failed to disclose $100 million in assets

I cannot say it better than Brian Klaas, author of The Despot's Accomplice: How the West is Aiding & Abetting the Decline of Democracy, said in a tweet today.

Trump team prepares dramatic cuts

A sample:

At the Department of Justice, the blueprint calls for eliminating the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, Violence Against Women Grants and the Legal Services Corporation and for reducing funding for its Civil Rights and its Environment and Natural Resources divisions.

Obama discusses his LGBT legacy at his final news conference

The next president may well make me cry, though outrage and disgust are likelier reactions; but I doubt he will ever make me cry the way President Obama did at his final news conference on Wednesday in discussing the progress for LGBT people during his White House years. He rightfully gave the principal credit to the activists who pushed for it, both loudly and quietly, and who helped change minds and hearts. But he played an indispensable part, from his public remarks to his personal example to his support for the Justice Department's role in historic court cases and the State Department's role around the world. God bless you, Mr. President, and keep you and your family safe and well.

Congrats, BTW, to Washington Blade reporter Chris Johnson, who asked the question.

Obama also defended his commutation of the sentence of Chelsea Manning, saying she had already served a tough sentence and that her original 35-year sentence was far greater than other convicted leakers of classified documents.

LGBT dance party held outside Pence's DC-area home

January 17, 2017

Patrice Lumumba, assassinated with American help 56 years ago today

Under orders from outgoing President Eisenhower, the United States helped Belgium and the forces of Mobutu in the assassination of Congolese prime minister and anti-colonial leader Patrice Lumumba on this day in 1961. It is but one of many shameful crimes committed by the United States during the Cold War. American assistance in this murderous coup was entirely at odds with our own avowed principles.

President Obama commutes sentence of Chelsea Manning

President Obama today shaved 28 years off the sentence of Chelsea Manning. Below are items by Lawfare Blog and Jacobin Magazine supporting this decision. My comments follow.

Until the past week I had opposed freeing Manning due to the seriousness of her crime, though I defended her right to appropriate healthcare and criticized the apparent denial of care as a form of punishment. I was persuaded by the Lawfare piece, which makes a good point about the difference between pardon and commutation, and about mitigating circumstances. I agree with the distinction between Manning and Edward Snowden. That Manning's jailers have been at best indifferent to her health, and appear to have gone to considerable lengths to harm her health as an extra-judicial punishment, was perhaps the best argument for clemency.

Further, the disgraceful handling of her incarceration makes a strong case for demanding better training and health-related protocols moving forward. It is no more acceptable to treat trans prisoners this way than to condone prison rape. If the latter is truly what we want, then we should advertise our barbarity by explicitly including it in formal sentencing. Otherwise we should damn well stop it.

Betsy DeVos wants to 'advance God's kingdom'

Women’s March to include LGBT presence

Parents in India seek ‘corrective rape’ for son after finding out he is gay

No matter how bad things get, never say it couldn't get any worse.

Trump Aide Claims GOP Never Questioned Obama's Legitimacy

At this point it would be just as informative to interview wax figures.

Gay Man Has Skull Fractured by Masked Men in Target Parking Lot in Dallas

January 16, 2017

A child's witness to terror

MLK_and_son_with_burnt_cross

MLK III has just met at the Trump Tower with Herr Twitler. However that went (and in his exit remarks to the press he bent over backwards to be diplomatic), it cannot dislodge from my mind the photo of him at age two, standing with his father beside a burnt cross on the front lawn of their home in Atlanta. #Remember #Resist

Krugman: Calling Trump illegitimate is positively patriotic.

Paul Krugman gets it exactly right.

"But Mr. Trump — who has never sacrificed anything or taken a risk to help others — seems to have a special animus toward genuine heroes. Maybe he prefers demonstrators who don’t get beaten?

"It would be one thing if the incoming commander in chief showed any hint of humility.... Instead, he’s lashing out at and threatening anyone and everyone who criticizes him, while refusing even to admit that he lost the popular vote. And he’s surrounding himself with people who share his contempt for everything that is best in America."

Defending America against Trump

John_Lewis_beaten_in_Selma

This photo, surprisingly enough, is not an advertisement for Haisten's Mattress & Awning Company. It is a news photo of nonviolent protesters being savagely beaten by Alabama state troopers for exercising their constitutional right to peaceable assembly. The young man on his knees in the right foreground holding the back of his head is the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, who at that moment thought he was about to die. We know this because he survived to tell us, including in his autobiography which just sold out at Amazon thanks to a slander against him by the president-elect of the United States.

The young man is now seventy-six and a U.S. congressman whose Atlanta district is not at all the hellhole described by the compulsive liar who is four days away from being sworn in as the most unfit person ever to attain our nation's highest office. John Lewis has done more to serve our country in the past week than the man slandering him has done in his entire life. We must follow the lead of Rep. Lewis and defend our country against Trump and his entire nefarious crew. Either that, or take a crash course in Russian.

January 15, 2017

In a Small Texas Town, a New Private Detention Center for Transgender Migrants Brings Jobs — and Concerns

Sen. Baldwin to vote against Sessions for attorney general

Jan. 20 - Gays Against Guns D.C. hosts GAG Ball at Cobalt

Don't take the acronym too seriously. This is not a quiet bunch.

For the fallen

Martin-Luther-King-Jr.-Parsonage-house10-e1362448708757

I wish he could have grown old as we who were left grew old (to borrow a WWI text). His widow and orphans suffered most directly from his death at 39. But he had a calling, and answered the call. We can be forever grateful, however, for the gifts he shared in his brief time here. [image from: http://nation.time.com/2013/01/21/rare-photos-of-martin-luther-king-at-home/]

January 14, 2017

Ben Carson: LGBTQ Americans will not be given 'extra rights' for public housing

If you can think of an "extra right," I'd love to know what it is.

Jennifer Holliday backs away from performing at Trump inaugural

A letter from one president to another

My fantasy letter from #44 to #45, left on the Resolute desk in the Oval Office:

"Dear Mr. President,

Congratulations. The rubes bought what you were selling. Isn't it a gas that your supporters thought you were only killing "Obamacare" and they were safe with their ACA coverage? I only hope our republic survives your presidency. I have stocked the fridge upstairs with lots of high-cholesterol junk food so you can stuff yourself. I have also installed plastic mattress covers in the presidential bedroom. Just don't get too carried away; the walls have ears.

Best wishes,
Barack"

Atlantans say Trump is wrong about their city and John Lewis

Another thing Trump just made up. He simply assumes cities where African Americans live are hellholes by definition, with no actual facts needed. Truly despicable.

Marlon James on non-racist vs. anti-racist

Jamaican-born gay author Marlon James, whose novel A Brief History of Seven Killings won Britain's Man Booker prize in 2015, discusses the difference between not being a racist and doing something about racism.

(Hat tip: Ayo Magwood)

John Lewis stands his ground

John_Lewis_facing_police_in_Selma
(Spider Martin/Courtesy Steven Kasher Gallery, New York)

In this photo from Sunday, March 7, 1965, the young man in the trenchcoat on the right is leading a group of 600 people, marching two by two. He is unarmed, having nothing but his faith and the heart of a lion, plus an apple and a Bible in his knapsack. A few moments later he is nearly beaten to death by the gentlemen on the left. He experienced something similar four years earlier during the Freedom Rides. Contrary to the current president-elect, this is not a picture of someone who is "all talk," but a picture of immense courage.

Imagine facing that armed phalanx and standing your ground while feeling responsible for those behind you. After suffering severe head trauma, he refused to go to the hospital until he had checked on his brutalized comrades. This is young John Lewis, fighting for the right to vote. Anyone who refuses to respect such a hero is beneath contempt. Mr. Trump, you are not legitimate for the reason given by the gentleman from Georgia, and you will not be my president. Thank you, Congressman Lewis.

January 13, 2017

Norton slams anti-democratic congressional effort to block D.C. Death with Dignity Act

EHN news release banner

Contact: Benjamin Fritsch – o: 202-225-8050, c: 202-225-8143
January 12, 2017

Norton Blasts Lankford and Wenstrup for Introducing Bills to Block D.C.’s ‘Death with Dignity Act,’ Violating Local Control Principles by Trampling on D.C. Home Rule

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said she plans to mount a vigorous defense of the District of Columbia’s medical aid-in-dying bill, the Death with Dignity Act, from congressional attacks after Senator James Lankford (R-OK) and Representative Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) today introduced resolutions of disapproval to block the District’s local legislation from taking effect.

“Senator Lankford and Representative Wenstrup claim to carry the mantle for a small, limited federal government, yet they have introduced bills that abuse the federal government’s power over the District in order to interfere with our purely local affairs,” Norton said. “It is particularly disappointing that Senator Lankford has chosen to abuse congressional authority over D.C., as I have worked successfully with him on federal matters affecting the District, including reforms and improvement to the D.C. courts. The District held hearings and heard vigorous and thoughtful debate from both sides of this controversial issue. Ultimately, the local officials who represent the 680,000 American citizens living in the District of Columbia deliberated and passed the Death with Dignity Act. Unaccountable Members of Congress have no business legislating on the local affairs of our jurisdiction. Since they believe medical aid-in dying is bad policy, Senator Lankford and Representative Wenstrup should advocate their positions on the national stage, where Congress has clear jurisdiction, and introduce bills to prohibit physicians nationwide from prescribing lethal doses of medication, instead of singling the District out for different treatment. The House and Senate have more than enough on their plates trying to solve the many issues facing our country. While Congress tackles the country’s issues, we ask that Congress let the District handle its own local issues, a right enjoyed by every other jurisdiction. I am ready to fight these naked attacks on the District’s local democracy until the day D.C.’s Death with Dignity Act becomes law.”

Under the Home Rule Act of 1973, all D.C. legislation must be transmitted to Congress for a review period before they can take effect. A bill takes effect at the expiration of the review period unless a resolution of disapproval is enacted into law during that period. Norton has prevented a disapproval resolution from being enacted into law since 1991.

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C-SPAN broadcast interrupted by state-owned Russian TV

Move along, folks. Nothing to see here.

Obama surprised Biden with Presidential Medal of Freedom

What a lovely thing for the president to do, and well deserved.

Bowser and Mendelson slam undemocratic congressional effort to block Death with Dignity Act

Thanks to Mayor Bowser and D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson for their strong statements against the undemocratic resolution introduced in Congress to block the District's Death with Dignity Act. The District does not need people we did not elect imposing their views on our local public policy over those of our elected reps. The struggle continues.

Keisling: "A Fight for #Obamacare Is a Fight for #LGBT Lives"

Thanks, Mara!

January 11, 2017

Even after today's Nuremberg rally/News Conf., Russia will still destroy Trump because: He. Cannot. Leave It. Alone.

The inimitable Keith Olbermann has another fine rant against Trump.

Marlon James writing fantasy trilogy inspired by Lord of the Rings and African mythology

The Jamaican-born gay writer who won Britain's 2015 Man Booker Prize has more magic up his sleeve.

Rep. Chaffetz plans to block D.C. Death with Dignity Act

Our usual congressional bully threatens another GLAA-supported measure. Time to fight!

Rep. John Lewis testifies against Sen. Jeff Sessions

A national hero and longtime pro-LGBT ally who risked his life fighting for voting rights a half century ago steps up to oppose the nomination of a man with a record of opposing voting rights, LGBT rights, and women's rights. Thank you, Congressman.

Sen. Cory Booker Testifies Against Sen. Jeff Sessions

Superb testimony by Sen. Cory Booker. Tom Cotton is unhappy that Cory Booker is testifying against a fellow senator. It's a violation of custom, he says. Well so is drafting a letter from 47 senators to leaders of Iran to undermine POTUS. Such a move might even be called treasonous. So take a seat, Tom. Go Cory!

President Obama's farewell address

A strong, wise, eloquent and moving speech. A friend today said she had never so wanted a speech to continue.

The Grownup Is Leaving the Building