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Gay man backed for Navy secretary

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Keep in mind that this "article" is from the Washington Times.  So read with a healthy dose of skeptism.
By Stephen Dinan
The Washington Times

Some top retired military leaders and some Democrats in Congress are backing William White, chief operating officer of the Intrepid Museum Foundation, to be the next secretary of the Navy - a move that would put the first openly gay person at the top of one of the services.

The secretary's job is a civilian position, so it would not run afoul of the ban on gays serving in the military, but it would renew focus on the "don't ask, don't tell" policy as President-elect Barack Obama prepares to take office.

"He would be phenomenal," said retired Gen. Hugh Shelton, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1997 to 2001, pointing to Mr. White's extensive background as a fundraiser for veterans' and military causes.

Retired members of the Joint Chiefs have contacted Mr. Obama's transition team to urge them to pick Mr. White, and members of Congress said he would be a good choice for a service secretary.

"He's very capable," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat, whose district includes the Intrepid Museum, a retired aircraft carrier berthed on the Hudson River in New York City.

Mr. Nadler said Mr. White has become a friend of the military, and particularly the service members and their families, both through the Intrepid and through Fisher Houses, which offer a place to stay so families can be close to military members who are receiving medical care....(Click for remainder).


On Civil Rights, Obama Must Lead, Not Tinker

By Jeffrey Feldman
Huffington Post

News that Obama invited Rick Warren to say a prayer at the inauguration is a troubling sign for a president elected to be a new kind of leader. The decision suggests that on civil rights issues, Barack Obama might be more of a tinkerer than a leader.

So far, Obama has shown himself to be a bold leader on the economy. His proposal to spend a trillion dollars in public works projects is nothing less than visionary in the current environment. Not all policy experts will agree with the fine print of Obama's economic appointments or proposals, but the fact that he sees investment public works as a key to national recovery tips the Reagan era of trickle down economics over. In a time of economic upheaval that sends people back to The Grapes of Wrath to understand what comes next, Obama's public works proposal shows real leadership.

On civil rights, however, the same cannot be said. Rather than lead, he seems to be tinkering.

Marriage equality for gays and lesbians is not just some "social issue" akin to school uniforms, warning labels on music or smoking in restaurants. It is the current epicenter of the civil rights movement in America.

That has not always been the case. When Lincoln took office, the abolition of slavery was the epicenter. When Wilson took office, the women's suffrage movement was the epicenter. When FDR took office, poverty was the epicenter. When Kennedy took office, segregation was the epicenter....(Click for remainder).


CNN's Debate on Pastor Rick Warren Pick for Obama Inauguration

Anderson Cooper is the Referee for this fiery debate between Hilary Rosen, Roland Martin and Robert Zimmerman about Homophobe Pastor Rick Warren being picked for the Invocation at the Obama Inauguration.


How History Will View Bush

By Bob Fertik and David Swanson

As George Bush prepares to leave office, he and his aides are trying desperately to rewrite history, especially on Iraq. Nearly six years after invading Iraq on the basis of lies that were manufactured inside the White House, the Bush Administration adamantly insists the lies were all innocent mistakes. Were they?

Originally, the invasion of Iraq was justified primarily on grounds that Iraq had substantial quantities of chemical and biological weapons and had "reconstituted" its nuclear weapons development program, and that it could give terrorists "weapons of mass destruction."

But there was no actual evidence Iraq had such weapons, and the White House knew it.

In 1995, Saddam Hussein's son-in-law Hussein Kamel informed U.S. and British intelligence officers that all Iraqi biological, chemical, missile, and nuclear weapons had been destroyed under his direct supervision. After U.N. inspectors left Iraq in 1998, Scott Ritter wrote, "The chemical, biological, nuclear, and long-ranged missile programs that were a real threat in 1991, had by 1998 been destroyed or rendered harmless." Ritter's conclusion was confirmed by the DIA in September 2002: "A substantial amount of Iraq's chemical warfare agents, precursors, munitions and production equipment were destroyed between 1991 and 1998 … [T]here is no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons."

In September 2002, CIA Director George Tenet personally told President Bush that Iraq's Foreign Minister Naji Sabri - whom the CIA had recruited and persuaded to remain in place - said Iraq had no WMD. That fall, the CIA sent Iraqi-Americans to visit Iraqi weapons scientists, and they reported all weapons programs had ended. In January 2003, Iraq's intelligence chief Tahir Jalil Habbush told British intelligence the same thing.

Thus the evidence against Iraq's possession of WMD's was overwhelming. What was the evidence for WMD's?

The source for biological weapons was the German informant "Curveball," whose interrogators informed the Bush Administration that Curveball was not "psychologically stable," was a heavy drinker, had had a mental breakdown, was "crazy," and was "probably a fabricator."...(Click for remainder).


Rick Warren, Obama Invocation Choice, Causing First Real Rift With Progressives

By Sam Stein

Ever since Barack Obama was elected president, the media has been pining to write a story about liberal dissatisfaction with his transition efforts. By and large, the meme has been blown out of proportion, as the press overestimated how divisive Obama's cabinet choices were for progressives.

The press may now have its conflict moment. And it comes in the form of the spiritual leader chosen to launch Obama's inauguration.

On Wednesday, the transition team and Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies announced that Rick Warren, pastor of the powerful Saddleback Church, would give the invocation on January 20th. The selection may not have been incredibly surprising. Obama and Warren are reportedly close -- Obama praised the Megachurch leader in his second book "The Audacity of Hope." Warren, meanwhile, hosted a values forum between Obama and McCain during the general election. Nevertheless, the announcement is being greeted with deep skepticism in progressive religious and political circles.

"My blood pressure is really high right now," said Rev. Chuck Currie, minister at Parkrose Community United Church of Christ in Portland, Oregon. "Rick Warren does some really good stuff and there are some areas that I have admired his ability to build bridges between evangelicals and mainline religious and political figures... but he is also very established in the religious right and his position on social issues like gay rights, stem cell research and women's rights are all out of the mainstream and are very much opposed to the progressive agenda that Obama ran on. I think that he is very much the wrong person to put on the stage with the president that day."

Warren does have a rather peculiar relationship with the incoming president. The two share a general ethos that political differences should not serve as impediments to progress. On topics like AIDS and poverty relief, they see eye-to-eye. But Warren's domestic and social agendas are at odds with Obama's. And for the gay and lesbian community in particular, the choice is a bitter pill to swallow....(Click for remainder).


Battle to reverse Prop 8 begins


(San Francisco) LGBT groups have begun efforts to put a repeal of Proposition 8 on the 2010 ballot.

Prop 8, passed by voters in November, bars same-sex marriage in California. The constitutionality of the measure will be taken up by the state Supreme Court in 2009, but LGBT groups say they are taking no chances on how the court will rule and have begun making plans for a ballot measure that would reverse the ban.
One group announced Wednesday that it will air five 30-second commercials to run throughout Inauguration Week in January. 

The group,, said the spots will run in both urban and rural markets throughout California. They are currently being previewed on the group’s Web site.

“It’s important that our fellow Californians see the faces of the real families that are directly affected by the passage of Proposition 8,” said John Ireland, the group’s organizer.

One of the spots in the campaign will feature Sonia and Gina, a couple who are raising a son and daughter, ages 6 and 3. 

“Don’t take my family’s rights away. Get to know me first,” Sonia says in the ad. “Our families may look different from yours, but we’re not. We need the same things… like marriage… so we can protect and provide for our kids.”

Another spot will feature Robin Tyler and Diane Olson, two of the original plaintiffs in the marriage lawsuit that led the California Supreme Court to legalize marriage for same-sex couples in May 2008. That ruling was overturned by the passage of Proposition 8 in November....(Click for remainder).



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