Lou Chibbaro at the Blade reports that Earl Fowlkes has been elected president of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club.
Earl received GLAA's Distinguished Service Award this past April. Here is his citation. Congrats to him and the other Stein officers for 2015.
My post-election column is now up at the Blade. If you're dreading the holidays and could use a booster shot of snark, this could be just the thing. Here's an excerpt:
With Republicans winning the Senate and Obamacare on the run, a new Era of Good Feeling is surely around the corner. Vote suppression, gerrymandering, and truckloads of secret cash are just another way of saying, "The people have spoken!" Someone please turn this into lyrics for a new Christmas carol.
The best hope for Democrats is Republican overreach. By that I do not mean your right-wing uncle getting gravy on his sweater as he reaches across the table at Thanksgiving. I mean unhinged recklessness driven by hubris and Obama hatred. Profits are up, unemployment and deficits are down -- get that Muslim socialist out of the White House before he ruins us!
Republicans are furious at the President's unrepentant attitude, despite their own intransigence after past losses. Elections must have consequences when Republicans win. Talk of government shutdowns and impeachment is rising. But President Obama has little to lose by picking fights (by which I mean being president, black, and doing anything). If you abuse someone no matter what he does, he might as well stand his ground. That is what our 44th president, at long last, appears to be doing.
Check out the blind privilege, arrogance, and partisan obtuseness in this op-ed. One brief quote cannot do it justice, so just have a look.
My comment to David Brooks: A bipartisan immigration bill from the Senate is on Boehner's desk, but he refuses to allow a vote. The GOP's wall-to-wall obstruction and willingness to harm the country in pursuit of power entirely escape your notice, but Obama's a failure? You are contemptible.
Luke Brinker at Salon gives Brooks a drubbing.
My column this week looks at the President and the Republicans. I will post here as soon as it goes online at the Blade.
A blogger at Addicting Info looks at the challenge the obstructionist GOP will face as it takes over the U.S. Senate:
Shooting spitballs from the back of the class at the smart kids doesn’t require much effort. Standing at the front of the class and solving problems requires both brains and discipline....
The writer doesn't think the Republicans in Congress have the brains and discipline. I don't like to underestimate my adversaries. We shall see what they are capable of. But come January, it will be time for them to stand and deliver.
In January, the District will swear in a new Mayor and three new D.C. Council members — with a fourth new Council member to be chosen in a special election in the spring. Council committee chairs will also be reshuffled, and there will be new agency heads.
Change is the order of the day! GLAA's focus is on policy, and our success has relied upon building relationships with D.C.'s legislative and executive branches. The rest of this year and the early part of 2015 will thus be an important time to get acquainted with the District's new leaders and public servants, as well as the new staffers they will bring on board. It is a time to touch base with our coalition partners among other advocacy groups to discuss LGBT priorities for Council Session 21 and to offer our help and input to the incoming Bowser administration. It is in everyone's interest for the Council and Mayor to be successful.
We are eager to get your input as we prepare for another year of advancing public policy on behalf of the LGBT community. Feel free to join us at this evening's meeting (7 pm, John A. Wilson Building, 1350 PA Ave. NW, Room 120). If you cannot attend, feel free to share your ideas by email (equal at glaa dot org) or phone. At GLAA we are all volunteers, and we are here to defend the rights of all in the LGBT community, as we have for 43 years.
Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch reports on five conspiracy theories touted by incoming Republican members of Congress, concerning a sustainable development project, ISIS, blood moons, gay recruitment of children, and Hillary Clinton as the Antichrist:
It turns out that by branding themselves as members of a party that has returned to its mainstream, center-right roots after successfully stamping out a Tea Party rebellion, even “establishment” Republican candidates are able to hold all sorts of extreme views without any consequences.
Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that a party that regularly endorses candidates who deny climate science and denounce evolution has moved the political center so far to the right that even candidates with radical views can still be treated as moderates. These days, Republicans win kudos simply for stating that they don’t want to ban birth control or destroy the economy by refusing to raise the debt ceiling.
This dynamic has allowed any number of conspiracy theories to flourish in the GOP.
Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch catalogs the top ten unhinged statements by an anti-gay loon who is now a member-elect of the Colorado state House of Representatives. What's this we're hearing about the GOP having exorcized its Tea Party demons? Establishment media types have invented that blatantly false new bit of conventional wisdom out of thin air. Klingenschmitt, by the way, is an exorcist. (I was going to say "a real exorcist," but only someone whose mother eats kitty litter would say such a thing.)
Because they're all about governing.
(Hat tip: Right Wing Watch)
The cover art for the latest issue of The Economist appears to put our President more in the role of Gary Cooper in High Noon than in that of the lynching victims in The Ox-Bow Incident. It is, however, a bit of an eyebrow-raising choice.
But going with their Wild West metaphor, it's time for him to reach for his six-shooters (or at least get his veto pen ready). First up, dear POTUS, is the executive order on immigration. If war is what they want, as William Tecumseh Sherman once said, let them have as much of it as they can stomach.
The U.S. Senator-elect from Iowa, Joni Ernst, in her victory speech, appeared to channel the rape scene from the movie Deliverance, Raw Story reports. Her speech is above, the movie scene (NSFW) is below. Ernst will be the malign gift that keeps giving.
Rebecca Leber at The New Republic writes:
In handing Republicans control of the Senate on Tuesday, Americans effectively voted for the party's hostile plans against President Barack Obama’s environmental legacy. Their votes also put the Senate's environment and climate policy into the hands of the worst science-denier in national politics: Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, who is almost certainly the next chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Rory Carroll reports for The Guardian on Iowa Republican senatorial candidate Joni Ernst, who is poised to win the Senate seat being vacated by Tom Harkin:
The Tea Party rhetoric of her primary campaign has softened. Ernst no longer calls Obama a “dictator” or calls for his impeachment, or accuses the UN of plotting against Iowa farmers. She says privatising social security should merely be “an option” for young people. She still supports a “personhood” amendment for fetuses but urges “consensus” on reproductive rights, hinting at flexibility.
You can hope Democratic candidate Bruce Braley wins, but if not, buckle up.
On this day when many elections may be swayed by aggressive voter suppression laws, it is worth re-watching this powerful speech by Rep. John Lewis, who put his life on the line five decades ago for civil rights and voting rights.
Jed Lewison writes at Daily Kos:
If you haven't already seen it, late last week the Kentucky GOP sent a mailer on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's behalf warning voters that they could be involved with election fraud allegedly perpetrated by McConnell's Democratic opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes. The fine print revealed the mail piece to be little more than an attack mailer, but the envelope was designed to look like official government correspondence with "ELECTION VIOLATION NOTICE" in large type and a stern instruction that the contents of the mailer were to "BE READ SOLELY BY THE CITIZEN NAMED BELOW." (Their caps.)
Whether the mailer was trying to accuse Grimes alone or both Grimes and her supporters of election fraud, the best thing you could possibly say about it is that it was a deeply dishonest scare tactic intended to discourage voters from voting for Grimes by making them believe that doing so would be involving themselves in an illegal election scheme.
Mitch McConnell, who has a moral faculty reminiscent of Richard Nixon, is favored to become Senate Majority Leader. Some friends who share my low view of him think that is great because it will backfire and help Hillary in 2016. I say, be careful what you wish for.
The top-polling contender in the District's first election for an attorney general is Karl Racine, who is the first African American to have been named managing partner at a top 100 law firm. I met with him earlier this fall and was impressed. Many friends in the legal profession are supporting him.
While the only AG candidate to send a statement to GLAA is Lorie Masters (GLAA is not rating candidates in the AG race, but invited them to send us statements), Racine is interviewed today by Metro Weekly. Here is an excerpt of his comments:
I have always been deeply concerned with making sure that the same opportunities are available to others regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or any other trait.
As Managing Partner at Venable, I was responsible for hiring, promoting, and training our attorneys, and emphasized the importance of ensuring diversity in doing so. I drafted, implemented, and enforced clear policies regarding equal treatment and equal opportunity. I specifically hired a diverse team, including women, minorities, and LGBT individuals, and promoted many of these individuals to positions of prominence within the firm. Furthermore, I strongly believe in the power of proactive diversity training. Intolerance is based on ignorance, but can be addressed through creative programs such as our firm-wide book clubs dedicated to educating employees on issues of diversity.
On a personal level, I am a long-time volunteer with the Whitman-Walker Clinic, the primary community-based provider of HIV/AIDS services in the city. I have taken numerous pro bono cases representing people living with HIV/AIDS and helped them obtain social security benefits. I also took on pro bono work representing the Clinic itself. To further support Whitman-Walker’s work, I encouraged my Venable colleagues and other friends to take on additional projects, earning Venable the Clinic’s “Going the Extra Mile Law Firm Award” in 2004, among other honors.
In addition to my work with Whitman-Walker, I have volunteered with the D.C. Bar’s Pro Bono Legal Advice Program at Bread for the City, which provides vulnerable residents with comprehensive services such as housing, food, legal assistance, and medical care. I am also a member of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, an organization dedicated to creating a truly diverse legal profession.
As Attorney General I will treat each and every resident of the District with dignity, respect and with equality before the law.
While GLAA is not rating AG candidates, I personally have concluded that Masters and Racine are the most qualified based on their experience, and I am supporting Racine. The District has seen several public officials taken down by scandal. Choosing as our first elected attorney general a man who has played a pioneering role as an African American among top law firms would be a feather in our cap and a reminder of the talent, accomplishment, and leadership available in our city.
GLAA endorses Initiative 71, the "Legalization of Possession of Minimal Amounts of Marijuana for Personal Use Act of 2014," and urges you to vote for it.
We have included it in our ratings ad, discussed it in our policy brief, Building on Victory, and discussed it in our testimony this week before the D.C. Council Judiciary Committee decrying racial disparities in police stops:
[W]e appreciate the work of our friends at ACLU of the Nation's Capital, which reported in 2013 on the dramatic racial disparity in marijuana arrests in the District:
"Officers from fifteen different police forces … made marijuana arrests in 2010, however MPD officers made 4,996 of the 5,393 total arrests, or almost 93%.... PSA 602, located in Anacostia, had a 2010 marijuana arrest rate of 2,488 per 100,000. By contrast, PSA 204, located in Woodley Park, had a marijuana arrest rate of just 33 per 100,000."
Given the roughly equal rates of self-reported marijuana use by white and black citizens, the disparity in enforcement must be confronted by this committee. In the meantime, the people are changing the law. GLAA endorses Initiative 71, the "Legalization of Possession of Minimal Amounts of Marijuana for Personal Use Act of 2014." This will not end all problems associated with the disastrously counterproductive war on drugs, but it is a start.
Unfortunately, Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander, who leans conservative on many issues, is not quite with the program, judging by her comments on Twitter:
Legalize Marijuana for increased justice, opportunity, public safety and reducing racial injustice! Give me a break! That's a bit much.— Yvette M Alexander (@CMYMA) October 31, 2014
@dougsfresh All I'm saying is don't make up reasons to do it which are misleading. It won't lower incarceration rates for Black males! Smh— Yvette M Alexander (@CMYMA) October 31, 2014
I replied to her this morning:
@CMYMA Yvette, please. There's a big racial disparity in marijuana arrests. Ward 7 residents much more likely to be nabbed than west siders.— Richard Rosendall (@RickRosendall) October 31, 2014
Do not think for a moment that your vote doesn't matter. Please vote on or before November 4, and make sure to vote for Initiative 71. It will be a vote for fairness and justice.
Pharrell Williams, known for a silly hat and an overplayed song, has endorsed Muriel Bowser. But wait, Streisand says vote for Catania. No, wait, it's Brad Pitt supporting Schwartz. No, it's Ann Coulter endorsing Bruce Majors. No, it's the head nurse from St. E's endorsing Faith. No, wait! What's a star fucker to do???
Amanda Terkel at HuffPost reports:
GOP House candidate Nan Hayworth released a new ad Wednesday featuring her son, who is gay, assuring voters that his mother is not an "extremist."
"As a gay man, coming to terms with who I am wasn't easy, but my parents love me for who I am and for whom I love," says her son, Will, in the ad. "So when I hear vicious negative attacks against Nan Hayworth, I have to speak out. Nan Hayworth is no extremist. She's my mom. She's kind. She's compassionate. She's always been there for me. And she'll always be there for you."
Hayworth is attempting to defeat Rep. Sean Maloney (D-N.Y.) in New York's 18th District. Maloney, who is gay, ousted Hayworth from the seat in 2012.
The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest organization advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, was unimpressed with Hayworth's new ad. In a statement, the group criticized Hayworth for her policy positions, saying that just because she has a gay son doesn't mean she's a champion of LGBT rights.
HRC notes that while in office, Hayworth did not support same-sex marriage, did not support DOMA repeal, and did not support the Uniting American Families Act (to keep binational couples from being separated).
I agree with HRC on this one.
Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch reports:
Rick Santorum thinks that young people would have come around to his anti-gay political stances if only the “statists” in the gay community hadn’t “silenced” him and other Religious Right figures.
The former senator and likely presidential candidate made the claim yesterday in an interview with Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, where they discussed the case in Houston where pastors sued the city for rejecting their petitions to repeal a non-discrimination ordinance. The city in turn subpoenaed several pastors, which Santorum and Perkins considered an affront to pastors’ rights.
“I really believe in this subject matter at hand with the gay community that a Judeo-Christian worldview cannot survive with a worldview that is as rabidly secular as this movement is,” Santorum said.
Pardon me, but if we silenced the church, why is the church still talking?
Here is a link to my column in this week's Blade. As the election season winds down, I look at how voters are caught between scary movie and farce. Here is an excerpt:
The real problem the right has with our judiciary is that it interferes with their efforts to stampede the public. A stampede helps you enact your agenda as rapidly and with as little scrutiny as possible. James Madison worried that minorities could be tyrannized by the majority as much as by a king. The federal judiciary is part of the checks and balances he and others designed to prevent tyranny from below as well as above.
In this election, the Republican Party is winning the sweepstakes for stampeding voters to avoid examination of its record. Panic and outrage are the best ways to provoke a stampede. In the late 17th century, an accusation of witchcraft could eliminate a rival. In the early 20th century, the alleged rape of a white woman could set off destruction of an entire black community with nary a whisper of due process. Today, the favored goblins are Islamist head-choppers and sick Africans.
None of this could withstand critical inquiry; but politicians exploit our herd instinct. A beloved Psalm, after all, portrays us as sheep needing a shepherd. The faithful are called a flock. Using the brains that God gave us to think for ourselves is condemned as vanity. One of the strongest social forces is ostracism of anyone who rocks the boat. We picture ourselves as a nation of rugged frontiersmen, yet react to each new threat like a victim in a horror movie.
It is as implausible that we are helpless against ISIS attacks as it is that we are less able to stop Ebola than Senegal.
"Early Voting for the 2014 General Election begins on October 20th at One Judiciary Square. On Saturday, October 25th, all 9 early voting locations will be open across the District of Columbia. All locations remain open until Saturday, November 1st (except Sundays). Early Voting Center hours are from 8:30am to 7:00pm."
The following elected offices and ballot measures will be on the ballot this year:
Delegate to the US House of Representatives
Mayor of the District of Columbia
Chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia
At-Large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia
Ward 1, 3, 5 and 6 Members of the Council of the District of Columbia
Attorney General for the District of Columbia
United States ("Shadow") Representative
United States ("Shadow") Senator
Ward 1, 3, 5 and 6 Members of the State Board of Education
Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Offices
Initiative 71 - "Legalization of Possession of Minimal Amounts of Marijuana for Personal Use Act of 2014"
GLAA is non-partisan and does not endorse candidates but does rate candidates for Mayor and the City Council on their support for issues of importance to the LGBT community. You can find this years ratings on the front of the GLAA website. There you will also find responses to the GLAA questionnaire and an explanation of how these rating were arrived at. GLAA strives to be impartial in its ratings. Candidates can (and do) submit additional information to raise their rating.
Early Voting Locations
Chevy Chase Community Center
5601 Connecticut Ave NW Ward 3
Columbia Heights Community Center
1480 Girard St, NW Ward 1
Dorothy I Height-Benning Library
3935 Benning Rd, NE Ward 7
King Greenleaf Recreation Center
201 N St, SW Ward 6
Malcolm X Elementary School
1351 Alabama Ave SE Ward 8
One Judiciary Square
441 4th St, NW Ward 2
Old City Council Chambers (1st floor, right side of building)
Sherwood Recreation Center
640 10th St, NE Ward 6
Takoma Park Recreation Center
300 Van Buren St, NW Ward 4
Turkey Thicket Recreation Center
1100 Michigan Ave, NE Ward 5
The Florida gubernatorial race has come down to a debate over whether an electrical appliance (specifically, a small fan) counts as prohibited "electronics" in a televised debate. If your house were on fire and someone said, "Grab the electronics!" I bet you would grab the laptop computer before a household fan. Just saying. In any case, the tagline of the day goes to the meme below.
CNN reports. I confess I never thought that masturbation would come up in this campaign.
Houston Chronicle reports on the brief that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican nominee for governor, filed with the Fifth Circuit on Friday in that state's fight against marriage equality:
Writing in a brief filed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday, Abbott said the state was not obligated to prove why gay marriage might be detrimental to the economic or social well-being of Texans. It was only required to show how opposite-sex marriage would be more beneficial for its citizens.
“The State is not required to show that recognizing same-sex marriage will undermine heterosexual marriage,” the brief read. “It is enough if one could rationally speculate that opposite-sex marriages will advance some state interest to a greater extent than same-sex marriages will.”
Abbott may not be charged with contempt of court, but the contempt he shows for the court, the truth, and real families in his preposterous brief could hardly be more clear. It must at last be recognized: we are no longer talking about disagreements, but about lies. Desperate, insulting, cynical lies. Stopping me from marrying the man I love does nothing to advance any state interest. The notion that straight people's marriages are somehow devalued by allowed gay couples to wed should leave any decent and honest person's mouth agape. The final resolution of this nonsense cannot come soon enough.
Friday, October 10, 2014
Contact: Rick Rosendall
The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance has considered new information provided by several D.C. Council candidates in the November 4 general election, and adjusted the rating of each, as shown below. GLAA has a longstanding policy of reserving the right to re-rate candidates based on new information received during the campaign. GLAA ratings are on a scale of -10 to +10. GLAA does not make endorsements in partisan races.
Anita Bonds (Democratic At-Large incumbent, original rating +6, revised rating +7.5) added substance to her questionnaire and provided additional record information. Her recent LGBT-related record includes supporting Council member Cheh's successful effort to obtain nearly $1 million in additional funding for homeless LGBT youth; working with the Dept. of Corrections to institute a program offering voluntary HIV/AIDS/STD testing upon release from DC Jail; supporting legislation that expands the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana; working with Health Committee Chair Alexander to give authority to the Dept. of Health to administer $1.5 million in grants for HIV prevention and intervention programs in FY15; and supporting repeal of Prostitution Free Zones in the Judiciary Committee.
Kishan Putta (Independent At-Large candidate, original rating 0, revised rating +6) agrees with GLAA on nearly all the issues, and offered some substance. His record includes working in planning and executing DC Health Link outreach and enrollment; working to lift the outdated liquor license moratorium on 17th Street, NW; and testifying for the Repeal of Prostitution Free Zones Amendment Act.
My Blade column this week looks at the right wing's political exploitation of Ebola. Here's a portion:
Obama Derangement Syndrome spiked again last week over Ebola, after a man from Liberia was diagnosed with the viral disease in Dallas, Texas.
Radio talk show host Laura Ingraham asked, "Why did Obama let the Ebola virus into the U.S.?" Another radio demagogue, Michael Savage, said Obama "wants to infect the nation with Ebola" as part of a war on white people. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) said that the American troops being sent to West Africa to help fight the Ebola outbreak are really being sent "to go catch Ebola and die." Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX) managed to connect the Dallas Ebola case with ISIS, the IRS, and Benghazi. Fox News host Steve Doocy asked Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Tim Frieden, "Why should we believe you when you're telling us this stuff?" since Frieden works for Obama.
It is difficult enough to confront resurgent diseases without an explosion of unhinged conspiracy mongering.
Update: I note with sorrow that the Dallas patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, has died. May he rest in peace.
As with all Christianist bullies, Mike Huckabee thinks that his religious freedom is being infringed if he cannot impose his beliefs on his fellow citizens.
GLAA, while not rating candidates in the race for D.C. Attorney General, invited candidates to submit statements on LGBT issues. The first to respond is Lorie Masters.
We will post statements by the other AG candidates, both here and at GLAA's main website at glaa.org, as we receive them.
When Sarah Palin spoke Friday afternoon at the Values Voter Summit, she referred to the address of the White House as 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue. I suppose she could have been referring to the Commerce Department, which is on that block, though its address is 1401 Constitution Avenue. On the other hand, there is plenty of space there, and I am sure special arrangements can be made if she is determined to move to 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Of course, there is also 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, just steps from the Metro, as the realtors say. And she can see the Capitol from the roof.
Will Sommer at City Paper gives GLAA our props (see article) as he looks at the dilemma faced by the 57 percent of voters who are undecided in the upcoming election for D.C. Attorney General:
After nearly a year of legal and legislative wrangling, residents will get what they asked for in a 2010 ballot measure—they’ll vote for the District’s first elected attorney general in November. Next up: figuring out what the District’s first elected attorney general will actually do.
Kris Hammond, Republican candidate for D.C. Council Chairman, posted comments below both stories. Here's his comment to City Paper:
In fairness to the many candidates who "didn't return the questionnaires at all," most of us never received the questionnaire. Many of the independent candidates and all of the major party candidates who were appointed after the April 1 primary never had an opportunity. My understanding is that GLAA is giving such candidates an opportunity to contribute after the fact, but this news cycle will be past.
As an aside, Democrat Phil Mendelson and I agree on LGBTQ issues-- I wish this bipartisan consensus existed at the national level.
Here is my reply:
Kris Hammond is incorrect in saying that “many of the independent candidates” never received a GLAA questionnaire. We sent questionnaires to all independent candidates listed by the Board of Elections. Most responded to us. In our ratings meeting for the general election cycle, we focused on independent candidates, having dealt with the major party candidates (Democratic, Libertarian, Statehood-Green, Republican) in the primary. Muriel Bowser, as the Democratic nominee for Mayor, chose to submit a new response, so we evaluated that as well.
The fact that some party candidates were recruited after the primary was something we initially overlooked. We have since reached out to everyone on the ballot that we haven’t heard from for whatever reason and invited them to respond. As to the news cycle being over, there are plenty more news cycles. We will announce our new ratings to the same member list and the same press list, as well as post the ratings on our website and include them in our planned ratings ad (which is still a month away). The handful of candidates being rated late have a better chance of receiving bloggers’ attention than had they gotten lost in the crowd of the first story. And I will tweet a link to each new questionnaire as we receive it. Surely this is more than fair on the part of volunteer activists.
Regarding At-Large Republican candidate Marc Morgan, I tried more than once to reach him during the primary season, and sent him the same email I sent other primary candidates. He recently told me that he intentionally waited for the general election. We await his submission. As for Independent At-Large candidates Khalid Pitts and Kishan Putta, we sent them the same invitation we sent other independent candidates. We have since received a response from Pitts, which we are evaluating. We would welcome a response from Putta as well, which we have communicated by (another) email.
GLAA is non-partisan and does not make endorsements in partisan races. We rate candidates based on their records and answers on our issues. Our questions are drawn from our policy brief, which was published in two formats on our website at glaa dot org on January 3, and which was provided to candidates along with the questionnaire–thus making the questionnaire an open-book test. We go through this process for the purpose of educating both candidates and the public, as well as being a resource for reporters, legislative staff, opinion makers, and other activists on LGBT issues. We appreciate the interest.
Raw Story reports.
In other words, the past 60 years mean nothing. This nitwit needs a pie in the face daily until she gets off the air.