Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch reports. The right wing is losing it.
Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch reports. The right wing is losing it.
President Obama gave one of his finest speeches last night in announcing his executive action on immigration. Here is my favorite passage:
Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger -- we were strangers once, too. My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too.
My friend Walter Dellinger, who was head of the Office of Legal Counsel from 1993 to 1996, explains in Slate that the President is on solid legal ground:
The idea that the immigration plan just announced by President Obama is a lawless power grab is absurd. As the Justice Department legal analysis that was just released amply demonstrates, much of the advance criticism of the president’s action has been uninformed and unwarranted. The opinion is well-reasoned and at times even conservative. The president is not acting unilaterally, but pursuant to his statutory authority. Wide discretion over deportation priorities has long been conferred on the executive branch by Congress, and it is being exercised in this case consistent with policies such as family unification that have been endorsed by Congress.
Dellinger's whole piece bears reading. Thank you and bravo, Mr. President.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance is being observed today around the world, as we can see in the photo above tweeted by Pepe Julian Onziema in Uganda. The observance in Washington, D.C. is at the Metropolitan Community Church at 474 Ridge St NW. Here's the description from the Facebook event page:
Doors Open at 6:00 PM - Program will start closer to 7:00 PM
The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice.
According to The Transgender Day of Remembrance Website:
"The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, an action that current media doesn't perform. Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred. Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgender people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who've died by anti-transgender violence."
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.
The New Civil Rights Movement provides a long list of anti-gay obsessives who attended the Vatican conference on traditional marriage, and quotes this:
"We know that today marriage and the family are in crisis," the Pope told his very-willing audience. "This revolution in manners and morals has often flown the flag of freedom, but in fact it has brought spiritual and material devastation to countless human beings, especially the poorest and most vulnerable."
"We now live in a culture of the temporary, in which more and more people are simply giving up on marriage as a public commitment."
"Do not fall into the trap of being swayed by political notion. Family is an anthropological fact – a socially and culturally related fact."
Temporary? I have remained committed to my foreign partner for 13 years despite many barriers to our happiness. The complementarity nonsense was refuted centuries before Christ by Plato. In pastoral terms, this conference with so many anti-gay fanatics is I think the first wrong step #Pontifex has made in his public ministry. As someone observed, he is talking about us when he should be talking with us.
The Independent also reports.
I have previously counseled caution. The Pope's pastoral instincts are admirable, but he has shown no sign of intending to change Catholic doctrine regarding gay people, women's vocations to the priesthood, or contraception.
Miranda Blue at Right Wing Watch reports.
Reuters reports some good news from Botswana:
A Botswana judge overturned a government ban on a gay rights lobbying group on Friday, a rare victory for African gay rights campaigners on a continent where homosexuality remains highly contentious.
Justice Terrence Rannoane ruled that the Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) would be allowed to register and campaign for changes to anti-gay legislation but reiterated that it was still illegal to engage in homosexual acts.
"In a democratic society such as ours, freedom of expression, assembly and association are important values duly protected by our constitution," Rannoane said.
Congrats to our friend Pepe Julian Onziema on his Hero of the Year award from Stonewall UK. A well-deserved honor for an extraordinary man.
Rev. Dr. Kapya Kaoma, a pro-gay ally in Uganda who was featured in the 2013 documentary film God Loves Uganda, writes at Political Research Associates:
Reports of the new anti-gay bill—“Prohibition of the Promotion of Unnatural Sexual Practices Bill of 2014” being considered in Uganda have caught the world unaware. Supporters of Uganda’s LGBTQ community had hoped that the Uganda court’s striking down of the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA, formerly known as the “Kill the Gays Bill”), as well as president Yoweri Museveni’s subsequent meetings with President Obama at the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit, had buried the tide of anti-LGBTQ persecution in Uganda. But, then the news came—the new bill is in the pipeline. Unlike the “Kill the Gays” proposal, this new potential law is a virtual copy of the recently-passed anti-gay laws in Russia and Nigeria banning recruiting into, or “promotion” of homosexuality—all guided by U.S. exporters of homophobia and sexism.
The new proposed law is a response to international outrage to both the death penalty and life imprisonment for homosexuality previously proposed by the country’s parliament. By tailoring down the punishment for being an LGBTQ person to 5-7 years imprisonment, the authors hope to appear more moderate and assuage some of the international outrage of their treatment of sexual minorities.
But while this new proposal is sure to draw continued (and deserved) international headlines, the Western world’s near-exclusive focus on Uganda, while ignoring identical legislation in countries like Nigeria, have left the African social justice community vulnerable to anti-gay activists....
Local LGBTQ organizations that are on the ground and working day and night to educate and change hearts throughout Africa are fully capable of turning this trend around, if only the spigot of U.S.-based anti-LGBTQ and anti-women money, resources, and talking points were turned off.
Pope Francis has made official what we've known for weeks, Think Progress reports:
Pope Francis has officially demoted Cardinal Raymond Burke, a prominent American Cardinal who has been highly critical of the pontiff’s increasingly progressive tone when discussing issues such as homosexuality and abortion.
Burke, who made waves in 2004 for saying that voting for a pro-choice candidate is “a serious sin,” has been an unusually outspoken detractor of Pope Francis since he ascended to the papacy in 2013. When the pontiff declared last year that the Catholic church was too “obsessed” with culture war issues such as abortion, for instance, Burke responded by saying that the church “can never talk enough” about the “massacre of the unborn.” And while Francis answered a question about gay priests by saying “who am I to judge?” last July, Burke told LifeSiteNews in October that homosexual acts are “always and everywhere wrong, evil.”
But on Saturday, the Vatican announced that Burke, who was elevated to Cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI, has been removed from his influential position as head of the Apostolic Signatura — the Vatican’s highest court — and reassigned to a largely ceremonial role as the Patron of the Order of the Knights of Malta.
Do I hear singing?
"Glitter and be gay,
That's the part I play,
Trying on a Maltese Cross.
Forced to bend my soul
To a lesser role,
Gold embroidered vestments
Turned at once to dross."
(Apologies to Richard Wilbur.)
A national park ranger in the Democratic Republic of Congo struggles to protect gorillas from a brutal civil war.
How anyone could bear to harm such wonderful creatures I do not understand. But then the same applies to the children that are seen in the film. Unending war in this beautiful land harms both. Those who protect them are heroes.
Awful news today. D.C. Attorney Van Teasley, seen above in testimony from 2008 on the bias-related murder of Tony Randolph Hunter, was found bound, gagged, and strangled in his vacation home in the Dominican Republic.
GLOV Chair Paul Tupper writes:
It is with sadness that I share with you that a member of the GLOV family, Van Teasley, was found slain in his vacation apartment in the Dominican Republic on Friday. Rather than detail the circumstances of his death, which you can find online, I’m going to try to honor him by focusing on this contributions to GLOV and DC’s LGBT community.
In 2008, Van, a longtime Washington defense attorney, helped coordinate a candlelight vigil for Tony Randolph Hunter, a hate crime victim who eventually died from injuries suffered during his attack. Many of you may remember that the case sparked outrage in DC’s LGBT community because of how the case was investigated by the police and how it was handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The assailant was eventually offered a chance to plead guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge, for which he served the maximum sentence of six months in jail. During this time Van also joined GLOV leadership in testifying before the City Council at a Judiciary Public Hearing on Hate Crimes, articulating how such crimes and how they are often mishandled have long-lasting impacts on our community.
In full disclosure, I never met Van. But as I research him and his work with GLOV, it’s clear to me that his contributions continue to be the blueprint for which we advocate for DC’s vulnerable citizens. I understand he was much loved by many and won’t be soon forgotten. He will forever hold an important place in GLOV’s history. Please keep him and his loved ones in your thoughts during this very difficult time.
If you knew Van and would like to share stories about him, I invite you to do so on GLOV’s Facebook page.
We can take inspiration from Van's eloquent cry for justice on behalf of Tony Hunter. Whether justice can be obtained in his case remains to be seen. In the meantime, our hearts go out to his family and friends. That such hatred continues to kill us is a sobering reminder of the work that remains. Let us channel our outrage into conquering the hate, even if the lives we save are people we never know.
From Adam Taylor at WaPo, to clear things up for those who are unclear about just how small a part of Africa is having a problem with Ebola.
Chris Caesar at Boston.com reports:
The deputy chief of staff for Senator Ted Cruz thinks he knows how Ebola got into America.
Nick Muzin quickly deleted the tweet after receiving a flood of critical comments.
This provoked plenty of responses on Twitter. For example:
(Hat tip: Joe Jervis)
Check out these headlines on the failure of the Catholic Church's extraordinary synod to achieve the supermajority needed to adopt even watered-down language reaching out to gays:
All three are accurate, but the Times avoids the wrong emphasis. The real story here is that a Catholic synod voted 118-62 in favor of any slightest move away from its monolithically anti-gay position, not that there was strong opposition to it, not that it fell short this time. The effort Francis has started will not soon be completed, but his sacking of Cardinal Raymond Burke as prefect of the Apostolic Signatura shows he means business.
I left the Church long ago, but I respect those who, having chosen to stay and fight, are sticking with it. We don't all have to make the same choices (unlike in pre-Reformation Christendom). People like the folks at New Ways Ministry deserve our respect for their perseverance. As it happens, they now have a sympathetic pope. But the College of Cardinals is packed with appointees of JPII and Benedict, and the conservatives have a lot of power. It is going to be a long struggle.
Pope Francis has removed the virulently anti-gay Cardinal Raymond Burke (interviewed above prior to this development) as prefect of the Holy See's Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican's supreme court. Excellent news. Timmian Massie reports at NCRM:
American Cardinal Raymond Burke, a darling of conservative Catholics who is virulently anti-gay, has confirmed to BuzzFeed what rumors from Rome have said for weeks. He will be demoted by Pope Francis from the head of the Roman Catholic Church's version of the Supreme Court to a figurehead role as the Patron of the Knights of Malta, a chivalrous order known for its work among the sick....
Burke recently told an interviewer that legally-married gay and lesbian family members should be shunned from family celebrations during the upcoming holidays, asking “what would it mean to grandchildren to have present at a family gathering a family member who is living [in] a disordered relationship with another person?”
Burke's strong criticism of a preliminary document that included more inclusive welcoming of LGBT community members in the life of the Church and his challenge to Francis, who is seen to have had a hand in the drafting of the document, were apparently the last straw for the Pope.
I am not a praying person, but if you are, please pray for the health and longevity of this pope. The cleanup job he faces rivals the Augean Stables.
@Pontifex - Bravo for your action on Cardinal Burke, a strong signal that you mean business in your pastoral outreach to gays. Stay healthy!— Richard Rosendall (@RickRosendall) October 18, 2014
Bi-curious whales do it, quails do it,
New hermaphroditic snails do it.
Let's do it, let's fall in love.
Below, though sadly without benefit of my special lyrics, Billie Holiday gives her rendition. Use your imagination.
Azeen Ghorayshi of the Guardian reports:
Researchers in Taiwan have taken the unusual step of naming a newly identified species of snail in recognition of same-sex marriage rights. Dubbed Aegista diversifamilia, the hermaphroditic species was so named to reflect the “diversity of sexual orientation in the animal kingdom”, said Dr Yen-Chang Lee, who co-authored the study published on Monday in the journal ZooKeys.
Today GLAA received the following media inquiry:
My name is Manon Verchot, I am a journalist working at TreeHugger.com. I'm writing a piece about a new species of snail being named in celebration of same sex-marriage (http://bit.ly/1tZE2Jk) and I would love to get a statement from your organisation addressing what your thoughts are on this and what you think it means (if anything).
I will be publishing this piece Thursday morning, I would really appreciate it if you could get back to me before then.
I look forward to hearing from you.
I like to be helpful to members of the press, so I replied:
It seems like a lovely tribute, though I am somewhat reticent because inevitably some confused social conservative will complain that the next thing you know, someone will want to marry his pet snail. As it happens, I have no pet snail, and do not wish to marry one. Thus what began so pleasantly ends up with my having to deny amorous feelings toward gastropods.
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C.
On a more serious note, those interested in the extensive examples of homosexuality that scientists have observed among animals should take a look at Biological Exuberance by Bruce Bagemihl.
Here are the relevant paragraphs from the bulletin issued today by the Synod of Catholic Bishops, which, as you will see, strike a more positive tone without being everything a self-affirming gay Catholic might have hoped:
Welcoming homosexual persons
50. Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?
51. The question of homosexuality leads to a serious reflection on how to elaborate realistic paths of affective growth and human and evangelical maturity integrating the sexual dimension: it appears therefore as an important educative challenge. The Church furthermore affirms that unions between people of the same sex cannot be considered on the same footing as matrimony between man and woman. Nor is it acceptable that pressure be brought to bear on pastors or that international bodies make financial aid dependent on the introduction of regulations inspired by gender ideology.
52. Without denying the moral problems connected to homosexual unions it has to be noted that there are cases in which mutual aid to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners. Furthermore, the Church pays special attention to the children who live with couples of the same sex, emphasizing that the needs and rights of the little ones must always be given priority.
Read the bulletin here. New Ways Ministry welcomes the news. Thomas Reese at National Catholic Reporter writes, "Synod document offers new style of being church." (Hat tip for NCR article: Jonathan Rauch)
Reaching across gulfs of age, gender, faith, nationality and even international celebrity, the Norwegian Nobel Committee on Friday awarded the 2014 peace prize to Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi of India, joining a teenage Pakistani known around the world with an Indian veteran of campaigns on behalf of children.
At age 17, Ms. Yousafzai is the youngest recipient of the $1.1 million prize since it was created in 1901. Mr. Satyarthi is 60.
A fine bit of news.
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 Mark Joseph Stern at Slate writes, this Cheerios commercial for Canada, featuring Quebecois parents André and Jonathan and their daughter Raphaëlle, "hits all the right notes." For a major commercial brand to embrace gay families as part of its diverse customer base, in such contrast to Chick-fil-A, is a big deal, as Stern suggests.
(Hat tip: Bob Witeck)
It just doesn't quit. The hate, I mean.
(Hat tip: Right Wing Watch)
American drones are not frightening only if you are not living under them. John Oliver of HBO's Last Week Tonight makes it real.
BBC News reports from Hong Kong:
The BBC's Carrie Gracie reports from the heart of the protest. Hong Kong police have used tear gas to disperse thousands of pro-democracy protesters near the government complex, after a week of escalating tensions. Dozens of demonstrators were arrested, with hundreds remaining in the city centre late on Sunday.
A friend on Facebook posted this story from a conservative blog and commented, "What you don't want to know, but need to..." Follow the link if you want to see the photo, as I will not.
Speaking of what we don't want to hear but need to know, shall we keep track of the number of Christian babies crushed by ISIS as well as the number of babies and children of all faiths killed by American bombs? There are many horrors in the world. Are we obligated to go to war over each one? The fact is American warfare has made the Mideast less stable, not more. We must not allow ourselves to be stampeded. That is not just my opinion; it is what every damn one of you knows to be true. The neocons refuse to learn any lessons from the past decade. For God's sake, let us not emulate them.
Media Matters shares this. Here's the transcript:
BOLLING: A personal comment before we go to break. Earlier this week I made a comment that was wholly inappropriate, and I apologize for it. The comment became during K. G.'s One More Thing honoring UAE bomber pilot Major Miriam al-Mansouri, who bombed ISIS. My remark was not intended to be disparaging of her, but that's how it was taken. I should have known better and used better judgment.
Yesterday I made an apology on this show, but it was inadequate. Fox News has received letters from viewers including from women in the military, and I have taken them to heart. Therefore, let me speak clearly and sincerely. I'm sorry for what I said, I believe that Major al-Mansouri is a hero, she's courageous, brave, and she deserves our praise, not inappropriate jokes. I appreciate that she is fighting the extreme radicals that threaten all of us. She has my admiration and my very, very sincere gratitude.
He didn't mean to offend. Pardon me, but fuck you, Mr. Bolling. Some men will die before they honestly confront their male privilege and disrespect of women.
President Obama, in demolishing a Fox News reporter's loaded question on his allegedly weak foreign policy, shows that he agrees with me on the unwisdom of launching another ground war in the Middle East. As he notes, his critics say they don't want a ground war either. So what DO they want? Other than wanting him to fail, that is.
(Hat tip: Ronald King)
Hunted: The War Against Gays in Russia premieres Monday, October 6 at 9PM, only on HBO.
It's baseball playoff season, and what could be cuter than an armful of bats?
Missed this a few days ago. Ishaan Tharoor of WaPo reports from Cape Town.
My first column in my new perch at the Washington Blade is on America's latest Mideast war: How often do we have to respond to distant problems by charging in and making things worse before we bloody well stop doing it?
Also, Blade editor Kevin Naff graciously welcomes me to the Blade's list of opinion writers. As I start this new professional relationship, I want to thank Metro Weekly and editor Randy Shulman for giving my work a home for so many years.