1349 posts categorized "Current Affairs"

May 01, 2015

Mosby is on the case

Maryland State Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who comes from a family of police officers, has had to deal with a lot of dishonesty and diversion coming from the Baltimore Police Department. This is one example.

Onziema speaks at National Endowment for Democracy, Ugandan ambassador attends

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On Thursday I attended an interview with Ugandan activist Pepe-Julian Onziema at the National Endowment for Democracy. Rick Sincere reports. The presence of the Ugandan ambassador was a bit of a surprise, and showed the respect that Pepe has earned. Congratulations to him.

April 30, 2015

Really, Fox? 'Black guerrilla families'?

Raw Story reports:

On Tuesday’s airing of the Nightly Show, host Larry Wilmore laid into Fox News for its racist coverage of police brutality protests in Baltimore.

Hillary Clinton addresses Baltimore crisis

Excellent speech by Mrs. Clinton, appearing at Columbia University.

April 29, 2015

Virginia Foxx disses EHN

Oh no she didn't.

Stewart to media: Maybe we should have cared about #Baltimore before it was on fire

NCLR: We stand with #Baltimore

Brava and bravo to our friends at the National Center for Lesbian Rights for this powerful statement.

And a child shall lead them

You have to be taught to hate.

No peanuts, no cracker jack, no fans

A Camden Yards empty of fans provided an eerie backdrop for today's Orioles game against the White Sox.

Norton condemns Republican leadership for bringing disapproval resolution to Rules Committee

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Contact: Benjamin Fritsch – o: 202-225-8050, c: 202-225-8143
April 29, 2015

Norton Condemns Republican Leadership for Bringing Bill Allowing Reproductive Health Discrimination Against D.C. Employees to Rules Committee Today, Final Step Before Floor Vote

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today blasted the House Republican leadership for sending to the Rule Committee, at the request of the House’s most conservative Members, a disapproval resolution to overturn the District of Columbia Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act (RHNDA), which would prohibit employers from discriminating against employees, their spouses, and their dependents because of their private reproductive health decisions. Norton will testify against the disapproval resolution at today’s Rules Committee markup, scheduled for 3:00 p.m. in H-313. In her prepared testimony, Norton said, “For the first time ever, the House would affirmatively authorize employers, in this case, in the District of Columbia, to use religion to discriminate against employees for their private, constitutionally protected reproductive health decisions.” If RHNDA is overturned, employees in D.C. could be fired for having an abortion after being raped, for using condoms, or for buying birth control for their daughters. The Rule Committee is the final stage before a bill goes to the House floor for a final vote.

“Although their bill so grossly violates the privacy and the reproductive rights of employees in the District of Columbia that it should be inconceivable that they would bring it to the floor of the House of Representatives, House Republicans are set on continuing their war on women, especially the women of the District of Columbia,” Norton said. “The Republican leadership decision to send the disapproval resolution to the Rules Committee was made after a new House caucus, the House Freedom Caucus, the most extreme and conservative House caucus, demanded it. Not only does this disapproval resolution violate the private health decisions of employees in D.C., it violates the local democratic rights of 650,000 District residents by overturning a local law that matches our citizens’ local interests. I will vigorously defend the District’s local anti-discrimination bill from being trampled on at today’s Rules Committee hearing.”

Norton’s testimony, as prepared for delivery, follows:

Continue reading "Norton condemns Republican leadership for bringing disapproval resolution to Rules Committee" »

April 28, 2015

Legal analysis of oral arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges

Ari Ezra Waldman's legal analysis of the oral arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges are at Towleroad here:

  1. Part 1 of oral argument
  2. Debunking states' "procreation-centered" defense of bans
  3. Solicitor General’s argument

(Hat tip: Craig Howell)

Orioles COO John Angelos speaks out on racial and economic injustice

The Chief Operating Officer of the Baltimore Orioles, John Angelos, made an eloquent statement on racial and economic injustices in his city. Keith Olbermann explains.

DeRay Mckesson won't follow Blitzer's script

Activist DeRay Mckesson refuses to let CNN's Wolf Blitzer move him from his focus on police violence. McKesson is right. He himself practices and advocates nonviolent protest, but that is not enough for the establishment media. I would love to see the tape of Blitzer asking police officials if they renounce police violence against black men.

Ta-Nehisi Coates in The Atlantic gets at the racist double standard at the heart of the failure of policing in his native city:

When nonviolence is preached as an attempt to evade the repercussions of political brutality, it betrays itself. When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse. When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con. And none of this can mean that rioting or violence is "correct" or "wise," any more than a forest fire can be "correct" or "wise." Wisdom isn't the point tonight. Disrespect is. In this case, disrespect for the hollow law and failed order that so regularly disrespects the community.

Ghosts in the Courtroom

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On this momentous day at SCOTUS, I reprise my look at the superb results of the Mattachine Society's archive activism, embodied in its amicus brief on the government's history of anti-gay animus. Kudos to Charles Francis for his indefatigable efforts, and to McDermott Will & Emery for their invaluable help.

April 27, 2015

April 28 - Text LoveRules to 27722 for @LambdaLegal updates from #SCOTUS

G.W. Bush decries peacemaking in the Middle East

Until now, I could at least give George W. Bush credit for keeping his mouth decently shut about his successor. That is now over. Like Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and others from his administration, he appears to have learned nothing from his destabilizing and financially ruinous military adventures.

Jeb Bush: not the moderate one

If you judge a man by the company he keeps, there is reason for concern regarding Jeb Bush.

April 25, 2015

Surreal juxtaposition on Twitter: correspondents' dinner and Baltimore unrest

Amazing. (H/T @radleybalko)

Congrats, Bruce. Now let's stop anti-trans bills

Bruce Jenner's interview with Diane Sawyer is receiving glowing notices. Let's use this moment to fight the anti-trans panic that fuels discriminatory legislation.

Bruce Jenner: 'We're gonna change the world'

Bruce Jenner comes out as a transgender woman. The reaction I have seen on Twitter has been extremely positive. Garry Shandling's response is typical.

April 24, 2015

Pope rejects gay French ambassador

Does this mean that the Vatican only accepts the credentials of foreign ambassadors who are observant Roman Catholics? I very much doubt it. For shame, @Pontifex.

Sign of the times: straight student asks his gay best friend to prom

News like this is more gratifying than words can express.

It's civil marriage, Mike. Civil.

Mike Huckabee lies:

If the courts rule that people have a civil right not only to be a homosexual but a civil right to have a homosexual marriage, then a homosexual couple coming to a pastor who believes in biblical marriage who says ‘I can’t perform that wedding’ will now be breaking the law. It’s not just saying, ‘I’m sorry you have a preference.’ No, you will be breaking the law subject to civil for sure and possible criminal penalties for violating the law. If you do practice biblical convictions and you carry them out and you do what you’ve been led by the spirit of God to do, your behavior will be criminal. God help us all.

No. The First Amendment to the Unites States Constitution protects any religious organization's right to grant or withhold its sacraments according to its own faith doctrines. At issue before SCOTUS in Obergefell v. Hodges and the other cases due for oral arguments on April 28 is civil marriage, not religious marriage. Stop lying, Huck. It's a sin, you know.

Gay hosts of Ted Cruz, explain yourselves to this young man

On the surface, two different stories. But the excuses some make for tolerating hatemongers make it easier for bullies to assault gay youth while adults who should know better look on and shrug. If we would protect our youth, we must repudiate those who demonize a core part of who they are.

Cordileone cancels NOM hate rally appearance

PFLAG Canada: Nobody's Memories

Beautiful.

(Hat tip: John Becker)

April 23, 2015

Amendment to protect LGBT homeless youth fails in Senate

I am glad this measure got some Republican votes. That the rest of that caucus could not be minimally humane is very disturbing but sadly not surprising. When you say there is no difference between the political parties, and when you don't bother voting, or abandon an imperfect Democrat in favor of a third-party candidate you know cannot win, you should not be surprised when you get legislative results like this.

Family Research Council, spreading Christ's love, or something

This exemplifies a point that Mike Signorile made last evening at his book chat at Politics and Prose: It is time to make it clear to the media that it is no more acceptable to bring on religious bigots like Tony Perkins and Peter Sprigg of FRC to present "the other side" than it is to bring on white supremacists. They are entitled to their free speech, but they are not entitled to be given a media platform.

Dan Savage: homophobia is gay

April 22, 2015

Fun at Politics and Prose book chat for @ItsNotOverBook

I ran into a bunch of other activists in Politics and Prose this evening at Michelangelo Signorile's book chat for his new book It's Not Over: Mike Rogers, Joe Sudbay, John Becker, Dana Beyer, Ian Thompson, and Kathleen Perrin (of Equality Case Files). I recommend the book, which I read on Kindle.

Hillary's Left Flank

April 21, 2015

At the center of the marriage equality case: Jim Obergefell

Here are a couple of pieces on the lead plaintiff in the lead marriage equality case being argued before SCOTUS on April 28.

The pitfalls of Civil Asset Forfeiture

Thanks to the ACLU for this. Walter Olson at Cato has written a good deal on the outrage that is Civil Asset Forfeiture. Here is a sample.

April 20, 2015

House Republicans take issue with another D.C. law

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(Rep. Jason Chaffetz. Photo by J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

WaPo reports that House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) called a committee vote for Tuesday (4/21) to mark up a resolution of disapproval against the D.C. Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act. GLAA's Craig Howell posted the following comment as a correction:

Contrary to this report, nothing in the Human Rights Amendment Act requires religious colleges and universities to officially recognize or fund LGBT student organizations. They would have to provide equal facilities to such groups. A court decision laid down this common-sense principle in the 1980s, only to have it capriciously overturned when Congress adopted the notorious Armstrong Amendment. Georgetown University has led the way to show how Catholic educational institutions can support their LGBT students without compromising either secular anti-discrimination laws or their own religious principle. Unfortunately, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Catholic University and their nuttyfundamentalist allies on the Hill are more interested in playing the victim card and scapegoating the LGBT community than in promoting workable accommodations.

Roll Call reports.

Right-wing brief: legalizing gay marriage will cause 900,000 abortions

Another crackpot making stuff up. This anti-gay lawyer, who lost the Utah marriage case, admits to Dana Milbank that he has no proof: "It is still too new to do a rigorous causation analysis using statistical methods." In short: fraud!

April 16, 2015

Gay police unit may be barred from most LGBT events

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(Photo of Lt. Cheryl Crawley courtesy of MPD)

Lou Chibbaro at the Blade reports:

Officers assigned to the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit may no longer be allowed to attend “fundraising or alcohol served events” held by LGBT community organizations, according to an April 3 email memo issued by the unit’s commander.

The email issued by Lt. Cheryl Crawley, commander of the MPD’s Special Liaison Division, which oversees the GLLU, also was sent to several LGBT organizations through a police list serv.

At least two activists who saw the email have raised questions about why GLLU officers should suddenly be barred from attending community events that they have routinely attended in the past.

As Earl Fowlkes of the Center for Black Equity says, this makes no sense.

In my April 11 email to Chief Lanier about this, I raised the following questions regarding Lt. Crawley's directive:

  1. What does “support” mean in the context of, say, GLAA’s annual awards reception, which scheduled for 6:30 pm at Policy Restaurant and Lounge at 14th and T NW on Thursday, April 23? I was about to send a note to you and GLLU folk inviting you to join us as our guests when Lou Chibbaro shared Lt. Crawley’s message. Community outreach does not signify “support” to me.
  2. What conflict of interest would occur from GLLU officials, or you yourself, attending our reception, which is a fundraiser for our nonpartisan advocacy and at which there is bar service?
  3. What precipitated this?
  4. What is the problem for which this prohibition is the solution? Is the sobriety of your officers so fragile as to be endangered by a friendly visit to a political reception?
  5. Is there a concern that our awards reception, which traditionally features leading LGBT advocates mingling with top District officials and celebrating the non-controversial cause of equality, would become a drunken orgy? I recall something like that happening at the Hyatt Regency some years ago during Police Week, with naked officers sliding down handrails, but that was not an LGBT event, I was not present, and as you might suggest, those may have been officers from other jurisdictions.
  6. Is this rule MPD-wide?
  7. Will you please rescind it, or clarify it to allow MPD officers to attend in their outreach capacity as they have done previously over the years?

I noted that Lanier's predecessor, now Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, attended our 2007 reception where he received our Distinguished Service Award from Frank Kameny. What is the problem now that was not a problem then? Chief Lanier has informed me that her chief counsel is looking into the matter and expects a ruling on Friday.

Tony Perkins: gay marriage violates church-state separation

Right Wing Watch reports:

The Family Research Council announced today that it has partnered with Rick Santorum’s film company, EchoLight Studios, to produce a short film for churches to air during the April 26 event “Stand for Marriage Sunday: Religious Freedom at Risk.”

In the film, which features appearances by Santorum and Mike Huckabee, the FRC warns that a Supreme Court ruling striking down bans on same-sex marriage would jeopardize religious freedom and undermine the separation of church and state. The film mentions cases in Oregon and Washington state where a baker and florist, respectively, were sued for violating their states’ non-discrimination laws — not marriage laws — for refusing service to gay customers. (The baker and florist both lost their cases).

Once again, FRC and its allies insist that their religious freedom entitles them to discriminate against other people. In other words, they demand the right to impose their beliefs on others in the public marketplace. Given that we live in a religiously diverse society, how is that going to work?

FRC President Tony Perkins lies in the above clip, stating that a majority of Americans agrees with him. In fact, 59 percent support marriage equality. If he embraces biblical truth, why doesn't he stop violating the commandment against bearing false witness?

April 15, 2015

Norton criticizes Reps. Black and Hartzler for violating local control principles

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Norton Wonders Why Representatives Black and Hartlzer Would Introduce Disapproval Resolutions Permitting Discrimination Against Women and LGBT Students in Violation of Their Own Local Control Principles

Apr 15, 2015 - Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Not long after a disapproval resolution was introduced on Monday that would license discrimination against District of Columbia women in the workplace, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) pledged to fight yet another disapproval resolution introduced yesterday that would permit discrimination against LGBT students by their own universities. She said she plans to mount a vigorous defense of home rule and workplace equality at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s (OGR) markup of the workplace discrimination bill scheduled for Tuesday, April 21. In total this week, Representatives Diane Black (R-TN) and Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) have introduced anti-local-control resolutions to block two D.C.-passed anti-discrimination bills, the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act (RHNDA) and the Human Rights Amendment Act (HRAA), from taking effect, though only Black’s RHNDA disapproval resolution is scheduled to be marked up by OGR on Tuesday. RHNDA would prohibit employers from discriminating against an employee, spouse or dependent based on personal reproductive health decisions. Under RHNDA, a woman could not be fired for having an abortion after being raped, a man for using condoms, or parents for buying birth control for their daughters. HRAA would repeal a congressionally imposed rider that permits schools in D.C. to deny LGBT students equal access to school facilities and services.

“Representatives Black and Hartzler both assure their constituents in Tennessee and Missouri of their adherence to limited government on their websites,” Norton said. “Yet, in violation of their professed principles, they have introduced bills that would misuse the power of the federal government to block the local laws of a local jurisdiction from taking effect. I suspect the constituents of Representative Black in Tennessee and Representative Hartzler in Missouri would be surprised to learn that their Members, have taken time away from the vital issues of their own districts and national matters to focus time and energy on entirely local D.C. matters. Mind you, neither Representative Black nor Representative Hartzler represents the American citizens residing the nation’s capital, and my constituents cannot respond to their action. OGR will markup RHNDA, a local matter on which members have almost no background, without so much as a hearing on the bill, where D.C. officials would have had the opportunity to explain the importance of RHNDA to women and workplace equality.”

Congress passed the Home Rule Act in 1973 to give D.C. authority over its local laws, but all D.C. bills must be transmitted to Congress for a review period before they can take effect. Members almost always respect the D.C. Home Rule Act. RHNDA and HRAA were transmitted for a 30-legislative-day review period on March 6, 2015. 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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RSC calls on Congress to block D.C. anti-discrimination bills

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(Rep. Diane Black. Photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) has introduced a disapproval resolution (H.J. Res. 44) in the House to block D.C.'s Human Rights Amendment Act, which among other things repeals the anti-gay, congressionally imposed Armstrong Amendment that dates from the late 1980s. This is on the heels of Monday's introduction by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) of a disapproval resolution (H.J. Res. 43) against D.C.'s Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act.

The House Oversight and Government Reform will hold a markup this Thursday, April 16, at 11:30 am. In the event Hartzler's resolution is moved at the markup, it would be subject to a point of order for violating the three-day rule for markups; such a point of order could only be waved through unanimous consent.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton yesterday denounced the first disapproval resolution (on reproductive health) in no uncertain terms:

If Congress wants to try and strike down our local law, the very least the District of Columbia is entitled to is an open hearing. Instead, with little notice and no hearing, the disapproval resolution seeks not only to undermine the democratic will of D.C. voters, but also the constitutional rights of men and women to privacy concerning their most personal matters. An individual's decisions concerning reproductive choices are personal health care decisions, and are perhaps the most private of decisions protected by the Constitution. Personal reproductive matters certainly are not work related, and are no business of an employer.

The largest House Caucus, the Republican Study Committee, has called on Congress to pass the disapproval resolutions or attach riders to the D.C. Appropriations Bill to block implementation of the D.C. anti-discrimination bills. GLAA is working with a wide array of local and national allies to defend both bills.

Roll Call reports.

(Hat tip: Bradley Truding)

Update: The OGR markup has been rescheduled for 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21, 2015.

O'Reilly: 'Open season on Christians and white men' in U.S.

Really, Mr. O'Reilly?

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