2258 posts categorized "Elections"

January 24, 2015

Jack Jacobson elected president of D.C. State Board of Education

Jack_Jacobson

Jack Jacobson, Ward 2 representative to the D.C. State Board of Education, has been elected by his colleagues as the body's president. A State Board news release states:

Mr. Jacobson’s focus has been on raising educational achievement in the District’s traditional public and public charter schools, constituent services, public safety, and cooperation between District agencies. Most recently, Mr. Jacobson served as the Chair of the State Board’s Implementation Committee, where he oversaw the review and subsequent adoption of the District’s ESEA Flexibility Waiver....

After taking office, Mr. Jacobson shared, “I look forward to working with all of my colleagues, as well as the community, our students, teachers, principals, and other stakeholders, to ensure that our education system is exemplary and that all students have the opportunity to receive an excellent education. I also look forward to strengthening the relationship between the State Board and the State Superintendent of Education, the Deputy Mayor for Education, the Chancellor, the Public Charter School Board, the DC Council’s Committee on Education, and all of our school leaders.”

Congrats to Jack, who is my own State Board rep and is the highest-ranking openly gay elected official in the District, following the departures of David Catania and Jim Graham from the D.C. Council. Best of luck to him in his new post.

January 22, 2015

The Supreme Court won't end the gay marriage debate for Republicans

Linda Greenhouse at NYT explains why.

January 20, 2015

President Obama's #SOTU Comeback: 'I know because I won both of them'

Instant reaction is calling this the "best burn in SOTU history."

Entire address is below. I thought it was a strong speech. It didn't have the laundry list lots of people wanted, but it challenged the Republicans and showed his confidence. Bisexual and transgender people were recognized for the first time in a State of the Union address. And he celebrated the advance of marriage equality. Overall I was very pleased.

Jon Stewart takes on Mike Huckabee over culture-clash hypocrisy

Score one for Jon Stewart. Notice that Huckabee manages to put his anti-elitism in the nicest possible light, though Stewart isn't having it. Huckabee is a lot more likeable than the other whackjobs.

January 16, 2015

Obama on another Romney run: no words necessary

January 08, 2015

ICYMI: Putting It Together in 2015

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My column looking at the year ahead appears in this week's Blade, revised a bit. Here's an excerpt:

2015 promises continued fights against right-wing aggressions that include vagina policing and other gender-based discrimination; attacks on church-state separation; xenophobia; quackery disguised as science; biased profiling and excessive force by police; and criminalization of healthcare issues.

None of these will be resolved by the likely nationwide victory for marriage equality in the U.S. Supreme Court. Thus, in the words of Ella Baker, "We who believe in freedom cannot rest." Here are some thoughts for the work ahead.

Curb the language cops. We will win the marriage fight even if some use the misleading phrase "gay marriage." If people who are not belligerent use the wrong pronouns or otherwise display their ignorance, be like my amazingly patient transgender friends and politely clue them in. Creating change requires the politics of addition; we must always seek new ways to connect with people.

Read the whole thing here.

January 02, 2015

Karl Racine takes office as D.C.'s first elected AG

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Congratulations to the District's new attorney general, Karl Racine, who was sworn in this morning. The Office of the Attorney General can be found here.

Meet the new D.C. Council members - 2

New Councilmembers Charles Allen (Ward 6) and Brianne Nadeau (Ward 1) on the dais during this morning's organizing meeting. Best wishes for success!

Meet the new D.C. Council members - 1

New At-Large Councilmember Elissa Silverman on the dais during this morning's organizing meeting. Best wishes for success!

The Bowser era begins

Congratulations and best of luck to the District's new mayor, Muriel Bowser, for a successful and productive term.

Mayor Bowser's inaugural remarks can be found here.

December 31, 2014

2014 year in review: Athletes and Ambassadors

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My year-in-review is now up at the Washington Blade. Here is an excerpt:

Military and international. The transition to openly gay military service has gone so smoothly it has generated little news. The fight to end discrimination against transgender service members continues; two dozen have been discharged in the past two years. The First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a lawsuit by Sexual Minorities Uganda against Scott Lively for crimes against humanity can proceed. In diplomatic news, Ted Osius III joined a growing list of openly gay envoys when he was sworn in as ambassador to Vietnam.

Health. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) led 80 senators and House members in urging an end to the lifetime ban on blood donations by men who have had sex with men, calling for science to replace stereotypes. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called for wider use of Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention, despite strong opposition by Michael Weinstein of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. There have been no new HIV infections among more than 500 Kaiser Permanente customers using PrEP. New York and the District of Columbia adopted rules forbidding health insurers from denying medically necessary treatment to transgender people. D.C. joined California and New Jersey in passing legislation banning "ex-gay" conversion therapy for minors.

Media. Schadenfreude was rampant after Sean Eldridge failed in his bid to buy a congressional seat and husband Chris Hughes provoked a mass walkout at The New Republic by sacking top editors. Hughes was faulted for wrecking a century-old magazine in his effort to create a "vertically integrated digital media company," that is, a word salad. Former TNR writer Jamie Kirchick at The Daily Beast dubbed them "America's worst gay power couple," but their youthful hubris and confusion of wealth for wisdom transcend sexual orientation.

Read the whole thing here.

December 18, 2014

Bachmann: I outsmarted the Left

Crazy Eyes offers a content-free riff on how she took on the left with "evidence-based argument," none of which she bothers to demonstrate in this clip courtesy Right Wing Watch.

December 11, 2014

Chris Rock explains it all for you

Or this

December 10, 2014

Goodbye, Crazy Eyes

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Bedlam) says farewell.

"America's worst gay power couple"

Jamie Kirchick in The Daily Beast lays into Chris Hughes and Sean Eldridge. Hughes has just wrecked the century-old brand of The New Republic, while his husband just blew a big wad in a failed effort to buy a congressional seat. Money can buy you a lot, but not good judgment or credibility.

November 28, 2014

Corporate liberal Hillary rakes it in

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(Photo: AP / Nick Ut)

Rosalind S. Helderman and Philip Rucker at WaPo report:

When officials at the University of California at Los Angeles began negotiating a $300,000 speech appearance by Hillary Rodham Clinton, the school had one request: Could we get a reduced rate for public universities?

The answer from Clinton’s representatives: $300,000 is the “special university rate.”

Maybe Hillary's new populist slogan will be, "Time to Get Yours." She could model herself after Prosperity Gospel televangelists. That would make me want to hurl, but it would at least be coherent. I do not see how this naked greed helps her politically. Oh, I can think up excuses, and the hacks will dutifully toss them out on command. But who will buy them?

By the way, in the above photo, doesn't she look a bit like Thomas Jefferson?

November 27, 2014

Republicans want to ban Obama from delivering State of the Union

Oh please, please, please. Go ahead, you reckless, treasonous fanatics. You are on a hellhound train and you cannot stop and cannot get off.

November 23, 2014

Marion Barry dies at 78

The Mayor for Life is dead. May he rest in peace.

November 19, 2014

Earl Fowlkes elected Stein Club president

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(Earl Fowlkes, right, in Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

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.

Slackers at the Chalkboard

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(Washington Blade photo by Lee Whitman)

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.

Read the whole thing here.

November 18, 2014

David Brooks on 'Obama in Winter'

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(Photo courtesy NBC)

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.

November 14, 2014

Obama’s Unexpectedly Good Week

An interesting look at how the President has responded to the midterm defeat: by continuing to do his job, and doing rather well.

Republicans and the burden of power

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.

November 11, 2014

Nov. 11 - GLAA monthly meeting: planning for a busy 2015

Greetings from the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance
www.glaa.org

Friends,

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.

Tonight's meeting agenda is here.

Best,
Rick Rosendall
GLAA President
202-328-6278 (mobile)

November 08, 2014

Five crazy conspiracy theories the freshman GOP class will bring to Congress

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.

November 07, 2014

Gordon Klingenschmitt elected to Colorado legislature

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.)

Richard Land Calls For 'A Two Year Moratorium On Any Confirmation Of Federal Judges'

Because they're all about governing.

(Hat tip: Right Wing Watch)

#‎Pointergate

Possibly the most racist news story of 2014.

She's taking your calls

I predict she won't.

The Economist: America after the midterms

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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.

November 06, 2014

Joni Ernst channels rape scene from Deliverance

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.

Voters just made James Inhofe chairman of the Environment Committee

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(Photo by Mandel Ngan / AFP via Getty Image)

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.

The American people have spoken

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Pretty much.

(Hat tip: Boing Boing)

November 04, 2014

Meet Joni Ernst of Iowa, who may help the GOP take the Senate

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.

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(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Thumbs down

Just a guess, but I don't think the gentleman in the background of this photo voted the same way as the one in the foreground.

(Hat tip: Miss Laura)

'Your vote is precious, almost sacred. It is the most powerful non-violent tool we have….'

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.

McConnell stands by dirty-tricks 'fraud' mailer

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.

October 31, 2014

AG candidate Karl Racine talks to LGBT community

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(Photo by Darrow Montgomery, Washington City Paper)

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.

See other candidate responses to Metro Weekly. In other coverage, the Blade reported on the candidates' pro-LGBT positions; and candidate Smitty Smith essentially bought the Stein Club endorsement.

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.

Vote for Initiative 71

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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:

I replied to her this morning:

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.

October 30, 2014

Stars misaligned

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???