Do you fear that once they ratify the Lisbon Treaty, the big nations will get along well amongst themselves and discount the small ones? That under their baton Europe will be reduced to a “concert of great powers”? Today we remember Prince Metternich, the man who demonstrated the strengths and weaknesses of such a policy.
It is quite astonishing that we do not celebrate a Metternich year, although 2009 was proclaimed the Year of Darwin. We celebrate Darwin for two reasons: he was born in 1809 and published its magnum opus, On the Origin of Species, in 1859. Those two years were watersheds in Metternich’s career: he became Austria’s Foreign Minister in 1809 (de facto, executive head, and later State Chancellor), and he died on June 11, 1859. He was lain to rest in the family tomb at Plasy, in western Bohemia.
Prince Metternich is remembered as the father of the post-Napoleonic Europe that emerged from the Congress of Vienna, the inspiration behind the idea of the “Concert of Great Powers”, the founder of Realpolitik that puts the balance of interests and the stability of power above morality. Even if, when they hear the term “Realpolitik”, modern-day Europeans “stop up their noses and close their ears”, there is no denying that Metternich’s Europe worked for nearly 100 years running, from the Napoleonic Wars to World War I. And even if its author died 150 years ago, Metternich’s political thought survives to this day today and, in many cases, remains avant-garde.
Last September, when ex-Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek launched the campaign for the Czech presidency of the European Council, he drew an apt comparison: “In varietate concordia – unity in diversity. This is the motto of the European Union, but also my vision of the Czech Republic’s action in Europe. The United States has roughly the same motto: E pluribus unum – out of many, one.” This motto was also de facto that of Metternich, who rejected the centrifugal ambitions of nations for the sake of supranational balance and stability. So why not pay tribute to that inspiration, why not honour its author by name?
150 years after his death, Metternich remains the symbol of reactionary thought and obscurantism. It is true that Metternich abhorred change, revolutionaries and liberals. But we should not attribute this aversion to an unconditional attachment to all things relating to the past. Quite simply, Metternich was afraid – and history was to prove him right – that modernism would be accompanied by other “isms”: nationalism, socialism etc....(Click for remainder.)
BRUSSELS - Like chocolate and mustard, or orange juice and toothpaste, the various flavours of far right in the new European Parliament just don't seem to go together and are already having trouble cooking up a united bloc in the chamber, despite the gains the extremists made in the European elections on the weekend.
The ‘softer' far-right parties so far seem more interested in jumping aboard the UK Tories' proposed European Conservatives grouping than cobbling together a nationalist bloc, but it is an open question whether the attraction will be requited.
The European elections on the weekend delivered a moderate advance of eight seats on the number of MEPs in the last parliament, eliciting fears that they might club together in a political grouping in the parliament, a move that would open a tap to thousands of euros in EU funds.
However, while it is still too early to make any definitive predictions, there seems to be an unbreachable antagonism between the more moderate parties and their cousins further to the right.
Some of the new MEPs from the likes of Dutchman Geert Wilders' Freedom Party (PVV) or the Danish People's Party may well be opposed to migrants, Muslims and minorities, but they are reluctant to embrace the militant nationalism of the more classically ‘fascistic' parties such as the British National Party, France's Front National or newcomer Jobbik from Hungary, with its paramilitary Hungarian Guard straight out of the 1930s.
At the same time, even such a division - the far-right ‘classic' and far-right ‘lite' as Glyn Ford, centre-left MEP and longtime monitor of parties to the right of the conservative mainstream, describes the two rough wings of European extremism - simplifies a situation that is further complicated by personal rivalries, competing nationalist narratives and in some cases just an inability to play together nicely....(Click for remainder.)
On the June 3 edition of Fox News' Hannity, host Sean Hannity falsely claimed that President Obama acted to "fundamentally... take over Fannie, take over Freddie." In fact, it was the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) under the Bush administration, with the financial support of the Bush Treasury Department, that made the decision to "take over" Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
On September 7, 2008, at a joint news conference with then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, FHFA Director James B. Lockhart announced that he had placed the companies into conservatorship, a legal process in which a person or entity -- in this case, the FHFA -- is appointed to establish control and oversight of a company to put that company in a sound and solvent condition. As the FHFA noted in a fact sheet released at the time of the announcement:
The Conservator controls and directs the operations of the Company. The Conservator may (1) take over the assets of and operate the Company with all the powers of the shareholders, the directors, and the officers of the Company and conduct all business of the Company; (2) collect all obligations and money due to the Company; (3) perform all functions of the Company which are consistent with the Conservator's appointment; (4) preserve and conserve the assets and property of the Company; and (5) contract for assistance in fulfilling any function, activity, action or duty of the Conservator.Following Lockhart's announcement, Paulson stated: "I support the Director's decision as necessary and appropriate and had advised him that conservatorship was the only form in which I would commit taxpayer money to the GSEs." He also laid out a series of "additional steps" the Treasury Department was taking "to complement FHFA's decision to place both enterprises in conservatorship," including the purchase of preferred stock in the two companies....(Click for remainder.)
Americans United for Separation of Church and State has asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate a Richmond church that endorsed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran during June 7 services.
Moran visited and spoke at the Fifth Street Baptist Church, where he was endorsed by its pastor, the Rev. F. Todd Gray. Gray advised his flock that he plans to vote for Moran, reported The Washington Post.
Gray told the congregation, “Brian is right on guns. He’s right on affirmative action. He’s right on taxes. He’s right on jobs. I’m not telling you who to vote for. I’m just telling you who I’m voting for. I’m voting for Brian Moran.”
Under federal tax law, 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, including houses of worship, may not endorse or oppose candidates for public office. The IRS says candidates may appear in houses of worship during election season under certain conditions but makes it clear that church endorsements are not permitted.
“A church service is not a political rally, and church officials should not act as though it is,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “This church appears to have stepped over the line, and the IRS should investigate immediately.”...(Click for remainder.)
In a June 9 editorial, The Washington Times falsely asserted that comments by two of President Obama's top advisers were contradictory. The Times wrote: "White House economic adviser Austan Goolsbee promised on 'Fox News Sunday': 'It's going to take more than a few months to turn it around.' That contradicts White House economic adviser Lawrence H. Summers' promise in January that the economy would start improving 'within weeks' so long as the president's $787 billion stimulus was passed." But the Times misrepresented what Summers said. He did not say the economy as a whole would start improving "within weeks." Rather, on the January 25 edition of Meet the Press, Summers mentioned specific changes that he said would occur "within weeks": "[T]he tax measures [in the recovery act] are going to change withholding checks within weeks after they're enacted," and "Cities across the country are going to see help so they don't have to lay off teachers or cops within weeks." Indeed, Summers went on to state that "there is something else we have to recognize, which is these problems weren't made in a day or a week or a month or even a year, and they're not going to get solved that fast." (A Media Matters for America search of the Nexis database did not turn up any other instances of Summers using the phrase "within weeks" when discussing the stimulus package in January.)
Moreover, Goolsbee did not say, "It's going to take more than a few months to turn it around" on Fox News Sunday. White House senior adviser David Axelrod made that statement on Face the Nation.
From the January 25 edition of NBC's Meet the Press:
DAVID GREGORY (host): Let's talk about what can be achieved this year, this calendar year. It's a big concern, you want that up-front stimulus to jump-start the economy. The CBO, the Congressional Budget Office, issued a report this week, and it was also echoed by a research report done by the investment bank Goldman Sachs. And we'll put a portion of that Goldman Sachs report on the screen: "Preliminary estimates imply that of the $825 billion Congress is considering, only $250 billion will make it into the economy in the current calendar year. This could still change as the package works its way through Congress, but these estimates highlight the political and practical challenges in enacting an effective fiscal package, particularly in 2009." Only $250 billion worth of impact this year. Don't you want more of a jump-start?(Click for remainder.)
SUMMERS: This is something we've been very focused on. There's certain adjustments that are taking place in the legislation. The president has committed, through a letter from his OMB director, Peter Orszag, that three-quarters of this $825 billion program will be spent out within the first 18 months. And we're doing everything we can. But, frankly, we're not going to rush things to the point of being wasteful. But the tax measures are going to change withholding checks within weeks after they're enacted. Cities across the country are going to see help so they don't have to lay off teachers or cops within weeks after this -- after the program is passed. So yes, speed is a crucial concern. But you know, David, there is something else we have to recognize, which is these problems weren't made in a day or a week or a month or even a year, and they're not going to get solved that fast. So even as we move to be as rapid as we can in jolting the economy and giving it the push forward it needs, we also have to be mindful of having the right kind of plan that will carry us forward over time. That's why the productive aspects of the investments the president's making -- doubling renewable energy, for example, modernizing 10,000 schools -- are so essential.
The Colorado Independent
The longstanding feud between hard-line abortion foes American Right to Life Action and Focus on the Family founder James Dobson came to a head in a Colorado Springs courtroom Thursday.
Rev. Bob Enyart, a pastor at Denver Bible Church who proudly refers to himself as “America’s most popular self-proclaimed right-wing, religious fanatic, homophobic, anti-choice talk show host” was sentenced to nine days in the city pokey after refusing to pay a $400 fine for trespassing on the Focus campus.
Enyart, his brother Brian and fellow Denver Bible Church pastor Kenneth Scott were convicted May 8 in a one-day trial after the trio staged a Sept. 4 protest in the reception area of the multi-million dollar Christian ministry and publishing empire.
The Enyarts and Scott are longtime fixtures on the national antiabortion protest scene and are loosely connected to violent militia groups. Focus spokeswoman Lisa Anderson asked the judge to consider the safety of ministry employees and visitors when handing down the sentences.
The group’s ongoing beef with Dobson is that he’s not antiabortion enough. After attempting to deliver a letter to Focus president James Daly deploring Dobson’s endorsement of 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain, American Right to Life Action members staged an hour long standoff with ministry security, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.
The trio, who served as their own lawyers throughout the proceedings, complained they were not able to expound on their antiabortion views in their own defense....(Click for remainder.)
Since President Obama announced a proposal to accelerate economic recovery efforts and create or save 600,000 jobs in the next 100 days, several media figures have advanced the attack that because the current unemployment rate is higher than initial administration predictions, in the words of Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich, Obama's "policies are failing." But supporters of a stimulus package, including the administration, had warned before the stimulus bill was passed that while they expected the bill to speed economic recovery and lessen the impact of the recession, unemployment would continue to rise in the short term.
Moreover, the claim that higher-than-expected unemployment rates mean that the stimulus plan is failing is undermined by the fact that administration projections in January were made without fourth-quarter 2008 GDP results, which were not yet available. In a June 8 press briefing, White House economic adviser Jared Bernstein stated: "[W]hen we made our initial estimates, that was before we had fourth-quarter results on GDP, which we later found out was contracting on an annual rate of 6 percent, far worse than we expected at that time." Bernstein also said at the briefing that the unemployment rate will still be lower than it would have been had the bill not passed.
Both the administration and economists asserted before the stimulus bill passed that, even with the bill, conditions would likely worsen before they improved. In a February 13 press briefing, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said: "The president's confident that this is a plan that will save or create those jobs, but obviously I don't think there's any doubt that with the simple passage of this plan, the bad news isn't going to be over. I think there will -- there are going to be continued hard times and it's going to take a while to get out of this mess, because it took us a while regrettably to get into it." The New York Times reported on January 9:
Economists fell over themselves in describing the dire nature of the jobs report, which they said was alarming confirmation that the economy was in the midst of a sharp contraction in which consumer spending and business investment bordered on free fall. Many say that the economy contracted in the fourth quarter at a 5 or 6 percent annual rate and that steep contraction will continue at least through the first quarter, letting up only if Congress approves a sizable stimulus, one that kicks in soon and is at least as big as the $775 billion that the Obama camp has proposed....(Click for remainder.)
The Box Turtle Bulletin
Televangelist Pat Robertson advised a mother of a gay son that she needs to understand what causes homosexuality before she can begin to understand how do deal with the “problem.” Robertson is convinced that most people are gay because they were abused by “a coach or guidance counselor or some other male figure.” Here’s the video and transcript:
TERRY MEEUWSEN (co-host): This is Theresa. This is difficult. She says, “How should we, as parents of a homosexual son, handle the ongoing challenges facing us, such as staying true to our faith and following the commandment to ‘love your neighbor as yourself’? This is very difficult for us.”(Click for remainder.)
ROBERTSON: Well first of all, he’s not your neighbor, he’s your son. That’s a different thing. You owe him, you know, advice and counsel and guidance. You’re his parent.
First of all, you didn’t say how old he is. Secondly, I am not at all persuaded that so-called homosexuals are homosexuals because of biological problems. There may be a very few, but there are so many that have been made homosexuals because of a coach or a guidance counselor or some other male figure who has abused them and they think there’s something wrong with their sexuality.
So you need to get deep into why he is what he is, instead of just saying, “Well, he’s a homosexual so how do I handle him, and how do I be Christian?” Well, I think you ought to tell him, “Listen, son, you know, here’s what the Bible says about this, and it’s called an abomination before God, so I’ve got to tell you the truth because I love you.”
That’s what I think. All right, what else?
MEEUWSEN: And then you do that — you love him.
ROBERTSON: You love him, of course you love him and you accept him. You love him, but at the same time, you can’t let him just go, you know, he’ll wind up…
MEEUWSEN: Without knowing truth, yeah.
ROBERTSON: Well I mean, if somebody’s on their way to hell, they’ll… I mean you’ve got to love them to rescue them.
The Bilerico Project
In April, guest blogger Michael Jones reported on Rockstar energy drink's connections with well-known homophobic radio host Michael Savage (real name: Michael Weiner). rockstar.jpgAbout a week ago, Rockstar's lawyers came calling and threatened legal action if we didn't immediately remove the offending post for "factual inaccuracies." The beverage company took issue with two sentences from our guest blogger's post. It claims they are untrue and should cause the post to be removed from the archives.
Rockstar threatened several other bloggers and Facebook users with legal action - including Michael for his crosspost on change.org. The company's legal team also contacted alternet.com, wiqaable.com, gaywired.com, gaysocialites.com, and So Cal Voice.
Facebook closed the groups Rockstar complained about and, in some cases, deleted the user's account entirely. Change.org and other bloggers have removed their posts to avoid litigation. Our Terms of Service gives us the copyright for the version of Michael's post we published. We have offered Rockstar's lawyers a correction to the post, but we've refused to remove it. The guest post is currently the most popular article on the site.
Details on the company's legal threats and the truth about Rockstar after the jump....(Click for remainder.)
The Huffington Post
A heavily criticized Department of Homeland Security Report on right-wing extremism that was released in April warned precisely of the type of violent anti-Semitic activity that occurred at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. on Wednesday.
Early this afternoon, a man in his late-80s with ties to white supremacist organizations opened fire inside the museum, reportedly hitting two people, including a security guard, in the process.
James W. Von Brunn, according to reports, has a history of anti-Semitism and may have been driven by such feelings when he committed his violent act. Indeed, Von Brunn even had anti-Semitic writings on his web site, and had made pejorative remarks about Jewish control of the Justice system.
In light of these biographical revelations, it is worth revisiting the DHS report that was deemed by conservatives to be so controversial.
In April, the Department of Homeland Security issued a draft memorandum warning that the current economic and political landscape created dangerously ripe conditions for a resurgence in radicalization and extremist recruitment. In it, federal officials warned specifically about an upswing of anti-Semitic behavior.
"Anti-Semitic extremists attribute these losses to a deliberate conspiracy conducted by a cabal of Jewish 'financial elites,'" the report read. "These 'accusatory' tactics are employed to draw new recruits into right-wing extremist groups and further radicalize those already subscribing to extremist beliefs."...(Click for remainder.)
By Seth Michael Donsky
Edge New England
Part One of this series investigated the purported death squads that were targeting gay or effeminate men.
Now, in Part Two, we take a look at claims that neither the occupying army of the United States and its allies, nor the new Iraqi government, is doing enough to stop the killings. In fact, human rights groups are claiming that these street gangs often with the tacit consent, collusion or encouragement of official Iraqi police, judiciary and ministries.
Scott Long, director of Human Rights Watch’s LGBT Rights Program, substantiates the claim that Iraqi government is tacitly encouraging the violence by ignoring the victims and overlooking the perpetuators. "It’s true," he says, " that the government has been unable to restrain violence in the past, particularly during the virtual civil war of 2004-2007--but it has a vested interest in denying widespread violence directed at any group is returning in the supposedly ’stabilized’ Iraq."
In early April, the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior, in response to questions from the Western media and from Western embassies in Baghdad, acknowledged that gays were being killed, but claimed that is was all the consequence of familial, or tribal, violence.
"It was a pro forma acknowledgement," says Long. Long believes the acknowledgment was primarily meant to distract attention from the organized nature of the killings and the involvement of the militias.
As recently as two weeks ago ABC news reported, in conjunction with the murder of the two young, gay men in Baghdad’s Sadr City slum, that an unnamed Iraqi military source linked the killings to tribal violence and not militias. They quoted their source as saying that the men who were killed were "sexual deviants," saying that their tribes killed them to restore "family honor."
"Unfortunately," says Long, "much of the Western press, as well as LGBT activists in the US and Europe, have bought the Ministry’s version and have stopped asking systematic questions about the militia’s involvement or even the government’s own role."...(Click for remainder.)
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Formidable Opponent - Don't Ask, Don't Tell|
LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Carrie Prejean has been dethroned as Miss California USA for "contract violations," including missing scheduled pageant events, according to a state pageant official.
Prejean, 22, retained her title last month despite a controversy over topless photos, missed appearances and her statements against same-sex marriage.
Miss USA pageant owner Donald Trump decided to fire Prejean a month after he gave her a second chance.
"Carrie is a beautiful young woman, and I wish her well as she pursues her other interests," Trump said.
Runner-up Tami Farrell, who was Miss Malibu, will immediately assume the Miss California USA title, state pageant Executive Director Keith Lewis said.
"This was a decision based solely on contract violations, including Ms. Prejean's unwillingness to make appearances on behalf of the Miss California USA organization," he said.
Lewis told CNN's Larry King on Wednesday that it wasn't one thing Prejean did, but "many, many, many things."
"She came to us and said I'm not interested in your input; I'll make my own decision what I'm going to do," Lewis said. "You know, when you have a contract, when you're working for someone you have a responsibility to follow through on what that requirement is."
Lewis told King it was clear "she was not interesting in upholding the title or the responsibilities."...(Click for remainder.)
On the eve of President Barack Obama's address to the Muslim world from Cairo, Egypt, I stepped out onto the streets of Jerusalem with my friend Joseph Dana to interview young Israelis and American Jews about their reaction to the speech. We encountered rowdy groups of beer sodden twenty-somethings, many from the United States, and all eager to vent their visceral, even violent hatred of Barack Obama and his policies towards Israel. Usually I offer a brief commentary on my video reports, but this one requires no comment at all. Quite simply, it contains some of the most shocking footage I have ever filmed. Watch it and see if you agree. (This video was removed from the Huffington Post on the grounds that it had "no news value" and "did not move the conversation forward.")
(Click for remainder.)
Closeted Mary, Sen. Lindsey Graham, and His Butt-Boy, LIEberman, Threaten to Shut Down Senate Over Torture
On Monday leading evangelical Rev. Rob Schenck crept into the U.S. Senate's darkened Hart Building to "anoint with oil" the door of the room where the SCOTUS confirmation hearing for Sonia Sotomayor is expected to take place, in order that Congress be struck by the holy spirit and refuse to confirm her.
"As I prayed, I touched the doors in three spots, making the sign of the cross. I prayed for God to superintend over the entire confirmation process and mark them with truth because Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life," and He prayed to His Father, saying, "Thy Word is Truth." Of course, in the end, we always pray that God's will be done. There is so much we can do as part of this enormously consequential exercise, including letting our senators know how we feel about this nomination. Nothing, though, is as important as prayer. I invite you to join me in praying as often as you can during the entire hearing process beginning:"
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By Michael Jones
The Bilerico Project
A few facts about Rockstar Energy Drink. It was co-founded by conservative radio host Michael Savage. It's current CEO is Russell Weiner, Michael Savage's son and a co-founder of the "Paul Revere Society" here in the States.
A few facts about Michael Savage. Better yet, here are a few comments directly from the mouth of Michael Savage:
Disgusting, right? Michael Savage is reaping profits from the selling of Rockstar Energy Drink.
- "You want me to tell you what makes me sick? When I see two puffy white males kissing each other, I want to puke. When I see two women kissing each other, on the lips, as lovers, I want to vomit."
- "When you hear "human rights," think only one thing: someone who wants to rape your son. And you'll get it just right. OK, you got it, right? When you hear "human rights," think only someone who wants to molest your son, and send you to jail if you defend him. Write that down, make a note of it."
- "...children's minds are being raped by the homosexual mafia, that's my position. They're raping our children's minds."
- "You know what autism is? I'll tell you what autism is. In 99 percent of the cases, it's a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out. That's what autism is."
How about some facts about Savage's son, Russell Weiner?
(Click for remainder.)
- Fact #1: At a Rockstar-sponsored concert at Concord Pavillion in 2004, Russell Weiner warmed up the crowd by chanting "Who's heterosexual and proud? If you're not, hopefully you will be soon."
- Fact #2: Russell Weiner co-founded the conservative Paul Revere Society (with his father). In 2006, the organization had its tax-exempt status revoked.
- Fact #3: Among the positions championed by the Paul Revere Society, and presumably by Russell Weiner? (1) Support for traditional marriage only; (2) deportation of all illegal immigrants; (3) eliminating bilingual education in all states; (4) requiring health tests for all foreign born people; (5) ending affirmative action; (6) closing off the borders; and (7) make tax cuts permanent and end class action lawsuits.
Associated Press via Chicago Tribune
DETROIT - When reporter and anchor Charles Pugh told viewers of Detroit's Fox television affiliate about his gay lifestyle, he gambled that people in his working-class hometown still would accept him as a journalist.
That was about five years ago, and over that time Pugh's popularity grew to where he became one of the more recognizable faces on local news broadcasts. He is banking on that translating into enough votes to make him the city's first openly gay city council member.
"I didn't know what would happen, but at that point it didn't matter to me because I knew it was the right thing to do," Pugh told The Associated Press.
"I think there will be people who grumble about it and some people who may stray away from voting for me because of that, but I think Detroiters already know me. I believe Detroiters are open-minded, hardworking people who really do accept people who are different.
"I'm focused on bringing a level of class and dignity and respect for the job that Detroiters want."
Pugh seriously began thinking about running for council several years ago. Recent shenanigans by some on the board convinced him now was the time. He resigned earlier this year from WJBK-TV and WJLB-FM, where he hosted and co-hosted urban radio talk shows.
Getting the council job, which pays about $85,000 per year, would be just one more hurdle....(Click for remainder.)
Box Turtle Bulletin
Today’s shooting at the American Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., coupled with last week’s murder of Dr. Tiller in Wichita, Kansas — both by right wing extremists — has not gone unnoticed by other groups who are also potential targets, including members of the LGBT community. Many LGBT advocacy groups and community organizations are now on high alert. Darrel Cummings, chief of staff at the LA Gay & Lesbian Center said this to reporter Karen Ocamb:
“Our security is fully staffed and on high alert. We, like other groups targeted for right wing hate rhetoric and violence, are always in the mix. When the hate and attacks and rhetoric on the right increases, so does the danger to our own community. We might have been spared a death, but we haven’t been spared harassment and hate speech and other form of physical assaults around the marriage issue.”Dan Savage has this succinct rundown on the Holocaust Memorial shooter:
James Von Brunn is a “revered elder statesman” to right-wing extremists, a Neo-Nazi, a “birther,” a white supremacist, a contributer to right-wing-rant-site FreeRepublic.com, and… a painter.The term “birther” refers to right wing extremists’ allegations of a conspiracy to conceal President Barack Obama’s “true” birthplace. They allege that he wasn’t born in the United States and therefore is not eligible to be president. (Factcheck.org has the truth about Obama’s birth certificate. See also PolitiFact.) Fox News hasn’t done much to squelch those allegations. It’s sister site, Fox Nation, continued to raise the question again just a few weeks ago. But with these two shootings in just the past two weeks, even Fox News reporters are pulling back from the brink — and expressing alarm at the emails they get from their own viewers....(Click for remainder.)
MSNBC host Joe Scarborough doesn't mind marriage equality in Vermont, as long as it doesn't hit "a little bit closer to home." Scarborough and fellow MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews sparred over same-sex marriage during a segment of Hardball on Tuesday.
The two broached the marriage-equality topic as part of a discussion on federalism, during which Scarborough blasted conservatives for wanting to eliminate federal involvement in banks and Wall Street even as they turn to it to govern social issues.
"If we conservatives say we don't want the federal government involved in General Motors...how do we turn around and say, 'Hey, let's ban abortion nationwide. Hey, why don't we ban gay marriage nationwide?'"
As Scarborough went on to advocate for Vermont's right to approve same-sex marriage, Matthews asked about his home state of Florida. He uncomfortably answered, "well, that's a little bit closer to home." Here's the exchange:
SCARBOROUGH: This will sound shocking to a lot of conservatives, but, in Washington, D.C., on the federal level, guess what? I think we should be agnostic on those social issues. You read the story in the book. I'm still trying to figure out what two gay guys in Vermont have to do with my marriage in Florida. And I said at a town hall meeting...
MATTHEWS: What about two gay guys in Florida?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, that's a little bit closer to home.
Scarborough served as a Republican member of Congress for seven years before becoming an MSNBC commentator. He is currently the host of his own show, Morning Joe, on the network. Watch the video below:
(Click for original.)
By Michelle Garcia
The gay conservative organization GOProud is asking the U.S. Senate to attach a gun rights provision to a bill that would expand the federal hate-crimes law to include protections against LGBT bias crimes.
"If the Senate is really interested in preventing violent hate crimes, then they should empower individuals to protect themselves," said Jimmy LaSalvia, the executive director of GOProud.
In arguing for a "concealed carry reciprocity" provision, which would allow people with concealed-carry permits in one state to carry concealed weapons in all states so long as applicable gun laws are observed across borders, GOProud chairman Christopher Barron wrote on The Huffington Post on Wednesday about a couple who said that they were nearly bashed but their legally registered gun had fended off the perps.
"There is…a way to stop hate crimes before they happen: Help law-abiding Americans at risk of hate crimes defend themselves from predators," he wrote.
Barron added that his organization does not take a stance on the hate-crimes legislation itself -- their only stance is that the bill can be enhanced with more legal access to guns.
The Senate sponsors of the concealed carry reciprocity provision are Republicans John Thune of South Dakota and David Vitter of Louisiana....(Click for original.)
Associated Press via Google News
SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) — The mayor of this West Texas sheep ranching town offered a stunning explanation when he suddenly resigned: He was in love with a man who was an illegal immigrant and had gone to Mexico.
They had to move, he said, because there was no legal way for them to remain together in the United States.
"It wasn't a decision that any U.S. citizen should have to make," former Mayor J.W. Lown said in an interview from Mexico. "I left a home. I left a ranch. I left a promising political career."
His local prominence and his run for the border on the day he was supposed to be sworn in for a fourth term caused jaws to drop, but it also became a high-profile example of the thousands of Americans who face a similar choice — separate or move abroad — because they can't secure green cards for their partners like heterosexual spouses can.
An estimated 36,000 Americans are in this situation, said U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-NY, citing information from the advocacy group Immigration Equality.
Bills have been introduced in Congress to treat same-sex partners like heterosexual spouses for the purposes of immigration but are likely to face a strong fight, both from gay marriage opponents and anti-immigration groups. The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act prevents immigration officials from recognizing gay marriages, even from states where they are now legal.
Proponents see the issue as a basic rights question, and Steve Ralls, a spokesman for Immigration Equality, said he believes the best chance for the legislation is as part of a larger immigration bill....(Click for remainder.)