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Pentagon Deploys Experimental Missile Shield to Hawaii

Friday, June 19, 2009



By David Axe
Danger Room


When North Korea threatened to launch a ballistic missile in March, the Pentagon responded cooly. No effort would be made to shoot down the test missile, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said. The experimental, floating SBX missile-defense radar, would stay in dry-dock. This was a test, not an imminent attack, after all; and it would’ve cost as much as $100 million to move the thing into place.

How times have changed. First came the attempted launch in April. Then, last month, Pyongyang detonated a test nuclear device, which may or may not have worked as planned. Now the Norks are threatening to launch another Taepodong-2 missile, with a 4,000-mile range, towards Hawaii — and Gates is pulling out all the stops, to prepare for an intercept.

That means sending Army Terminal High-Altitude Air Defense missile systems, still in development, to the islands, and deploying the SBX radar. Joint Chiefs vice chairman General James Cartwright said he was “90-plus percent” sure the U.S. could intercept a Nork missile, in the unlikely event it overflew U.S. territory.

THAAD, you might recall, had a weak start in the 1990s, when it failed to hit targets in six test intercepts, in a row. A redesign improved the system considerably: a second round of test intercepts since 2005 scored five for five. For all its apparent success, THAAD is still unproven, in combat. Critics say that a real warhead would be faster, and surrounded by sensor-confusing debris, unlike the relatively slow, and clean, test targets....(Remainder.)

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WaPo Fires Liberal Columnist, Hires Bush Crime Family War Criminal

By John Byrne

On Thursday, the Washington Post confirmed it had fired liberal online columnist Dan Froomkin. On Friday, they gave a guest column to Bush war architect Paul Wolfowitz.

To be fair, Wolfowitz isn’t being paid, and his column is a guest editorial. But the paper’s promotion of a man who was a key architect of President George W. Bush’s policy on Iraq — and one of its most ardent hawks — is sure to raise eyebrows among the liberals and those critical of the Post’s coverage in the run-up to the Iraq war.

Wolfowitz’s column? How Obama needs to take a harder line on Iran. It’s titled, “No Comment is Not an Option.

“Like the rest of the world, President Obama must have been surprised by the magnitude of the protests in Iran,” Wolfowitz writes. “Iranians are protesting not just election fraud but also the growing abuses of the Iranian people by a dictatorial regime. Now is not the time for the president to dig in to a neutral posture. It is time to change course.”

The former deputy secretary of defense under Donald Rumsfeld was dispatched to lead the World Bank in 2005. He departed under a cloud after it emerged he’d had a relationship with a highly paid member of the communications staff.

Dan Froomkin, meanwhile, was a paid freelance columnist for the Post who wrote critical columns about the Bush Administration — and, more lately, about Obama Administration policies that seemed to run counter to his progressive values. In a statement Thursday, he said he was “terribly disappointed” the Post had decided to end his column....(Remainder.)

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At Fundraiser, Obama Laughs at Critics

By Sam Youngman

As he looks to expand Democratic majorities in Congress, President Obama on Thursday night also used a fundraiser for his congressional allies to target his critics.

The president, speaking at a joint fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), blasted Republicans who have criticized his administration's efforts on healthcare reform, stimulus spending and financial regulatory reform.

The event was expected to raise about $3 million for the campaign committees.

After listing the legislation Congress has passed and he has signed, Obama took on GOPers who have come after his administration for three of his next big and costly initiatives.

In doing so, the president appeared to be warning Democratic fundraisers that Republicans were sharpening their attack lines for the midterm elections, a subtle prod to "dig deep" lest they lose control of Congress.

Obama noted that many of the actions he has taken are "not necessarily popular," and he warned that the criticisms of his administration will only get worse as he takes on more issues.

"But that's the nature of things," Obama said. "This is when the criticism gets louder. This is when the pundits get impatient. This is when the cynicism mounts."

The president dismissed those who say he is not changing the way Washington works, laughing at critics who question whether or not change is possible.

"Can't do it. System overload. Circuits breaking down," Obama said, mimicking a robot. "It's so predictable.

"So this is exactly the moment when we need to fight the hardest. This is the moment when we need to band together."...(Remainder.)

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S.F. City Attorney Files First Amicus Brief in Support of Federal Challenge to Prop 8

City argues that California's Prop 8 was based on moral disapproval of gays and lesbians, similar to Colorado amendment that U.S. Supreme Court struck down in 1996

By The City Attorney of San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (June 18, 2009) -- City Attorney Dennis Herrera today filed a friend of the court brief on behalf of the City and County of San Francisco in support of a federal lawsuit brought by two California couples challenging the validity of Proposition 8, the state constitutional amendment that eliminated the fundamental right of marriage for gay and lesbian citizens in California.
 
The City's amicus curiae brief filed with the U.S. District Court in San Francisco this evening argues that the controversial initiative amendment narrowly approved by California voters in Nov. 2008 violates the equal protection guarantee of the U.S. Constitution because it deprives a single class of citizens of constitutional rights for no purpose other than animus and moral disapproval.  In doing so, Herrera argues, California's Proposition 8 is directly analogous to a 1992 state constitutional amendment in Colorado, which similarly identified gays and lesbians for disparate treatment, and which was later invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court.  Writing for a 6-to-3 majority in the high court's landmark 1996 ruling in Romer v. Evans, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy held that Colorado's Amendment 2 was unconstitutional because it "seems inexplicable by anything but animus toward the class that it affects; it lacks a rational relationship to legitimate state interests."

"The constitutional challenge to Proposition 8 in federal court persuasively argues that the measure's only conceivable purpose was to withhold honor and respect from the relationships of same-sex couples, and to do so to them alone," Herrera said.  "This kind of discrimination against lesbians and gay men as a class has been remedied before in our federal jurisprudence -- in Romer v. Evans, in Lawrence v. Texas, and in other cases.  The plaintiffs here make a compelling case for the federal courts to ensure that justice is done in California, and I am pleased to offer San Francisco's expertise to support their efforts."...(Remainder.)

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Where Is My Martin Luther Queen?

By Max Mutchnick

It was Gay Pride this past weekend in Los Angeles. Traffic was terrible. My husband and I sat in gridlock on Sunset Boulevard. We were bringing our daughters to music class just like we do every Sunday. It's a class designed to teach the girls how to appreciate musical sounds, play crude instruments and sing simple songs with other little people. When I say little people I don't want you to get the impression that they're taking a music class with Peter Dinklage and Linda Hunt. I mean, little people in the old-fashioned way... you know, babies. Can you imagine, they're nine months old and we take them to a music class. They still think my eyeball is a toy. So music class is really a place where you watch your kids shove plastic clackers in their mouths, lick the carpet and shit in their diaper if the songs with drum beats have to much bass in them. It's more of a mucus class than anything -- but we go because that's what you do, right?

Stuck in our car, with our sweet babies sleeping, we watched hundreds of gay men migrate towards the hub of the Pride parade. It's at the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and San Vincente in West Hollywood. I was surprised by how few lesbians we saw, but I think they arrive earlier so they can deal with parking and possible crowd issues.

From the car, I noticed gay men are working a new look this season. It's the Adam Lambert. Some really go for it with the blue hair tint and the black nail polish. But overall, most gays stick to the look that has always served them well. You know it:

--Be young (even if you're not).

--Be a size 2.

--Messy hair (that takes an hour to do).

--An over-washed thermal shirt that shows belly skin when you wave.

--Incorporate leather string somewhere:
a. around the neck with a bead
b. wrapped a dozen times around the wrist
c. a simple anklet...also with a bead
d. all of the above

-- Work a good butt in good jeans you stole from your sister.

This look is called the Kris Allen....(Remainder.)

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Michelangelo Signorile Discusses Gay Anger at Pres. Obama on MSNBC

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Fox Noise Caught Lying Over ABC Attacks

As Think Progress noted, despite Fox’s whining about ABC’s upcoming special on health care reform which will include a town hall conducted in the White House, it turns out that when George W. Bush was President, Fox did exactly what they are accusing ABC of.

Here’s a video mashup of what Fox is saying now — and what it reported then, including footage from its fawning specials on both Bush and Cheney.



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Being Gay: It's Who I Am

By Stuart Appelbaum

The most common criticism of the gay movement by straight people has been that it makes a public issue out of something that ought to remain private. "I don't have any problem with gays," the refrain goes, "but why do they have to be so, well, in your face about it?"

Of course, in an ideal world, sexuality would be a private matter. But it can't be so long as any of us are denied our rights because of our sexual orientation. That's what led me, a middle-aged, Jewish labor leader to decide to come out.

Coming to grips with my sexuality has been a difficult journey. Like anyone else born in the years before Stonewall, I grew up at a time when being gay was regarded as a sickness, a deviance, an aberration, and even a crime -- something of which to be ashamed. I was convinced, like others, that if I wanted to get ahead in my professional life, I felt I couldn't afford to acknowledge my sexuality.

It's a choice I made as a young lawyer in a large Hartford, Connecticut firm in the 1970s. I was convinced that the firm's partners would tell me that they didn't have a problem with my orientation, but that they didn't think their clients would feel comfortable with my being gay -- "not that there's anything wrong with it." Like millions of other gay men and lesbians, I learned to compartmentalize my life and built a firewall separating who I was at work from who I was. It came at a staggering cost, not only to me, but also to others.

Because I didn't let many in on the secret that I'm gay, there are people I've known all my life who have never really gotten to know me. More than that, though, it also robbed them of the opportunity to discover what I already knew: that gay people are everywhere, including the labor movement....(Remainder.)

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Will Gays Divorce the Democrats?

By Karen Ocamb

There's a fierce debate in the LGBT community over Barack Obama's signing the Presidential Memorandum on Federal Benefits and Non-Discrimination Wednesday. Some think the signing was "historic" and a sincere symbol of Obama's true commitment to equal rights for lesbian and gay Americans.

Others think that's bull and are angrier than ever at the man they believed in, worked hard to elect and now feel betrayed by. Once again, the fundamental equality promised as a birthright to all American citizens -- except those who happen to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender -- has been kicked down the road for some promised future consideration.

Even Obama -- a constitutional scholar and former community organizer -- noted at the end of the four-minute signing ceremony that LGBT Americans are official second- class citizens:
"It's a day that marks a historic step towards the changes we seek, but I think we all have to acknowledge this is only one step. Among the steps we have not yet taken is to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. I believe it's discriminatory, I think it interferes with states' rights, and we will work with Congress to overturn it.

We've got more work to do to ensure that government treats all its citizens equally; to fight injustice and intolerance in all its forms; and to bring about that more perfect union. I'm committed to these efforts, and I pledge to work tirelessly on behalf of these issues in the months and years to come."

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GOP Twit Hoekstra is the New Ted Stevens



By Stephen C. Webster


A Republican Congressman is learning today that all it takes to make an Internet meme is stupidity.

Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) sent an early Thursday Twitter declaring that "Iranian twitter activity similar to what we did in the Hosue last year when Republicans were shut down in the House."

This, coming from the same guy who accidentally revealed his "secret" trip to Iraq via Twitter.

For his analogy setting his experience as a GOP Congressman to the Iranian uprising, facing down armed riot police in the streets of Iran, Rep. Hoekstra will become essentially immortal ... Thanks to hoekstraisameme.com.

Based on the torrent of sarcastic replies to Hoekstra's lame remark, the meme comes in where sarcasm meets the road.

"A breeze messed up my hair this morning. Now I know what Hurricane Andrew felt like," one reads.

“A gnat hit me in the face while I was riding my bike today. Now I know how it feels to go hunting with Dick Cheney," says another, illustrating the clearly endless string of absurd analogies that can be made under the Hoekstra banner....(Remainder.)

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Right-Wing Neo-Nazi Von Brunn Was Also a Child Pornography Pervert, Bill O'Reilly is Jealous

By Stephen C. Webster

An awful, awful story just got worse.

Investigators who searched an apartment registered to James von Brunn, suspected of murdering a security guard at the Washington, D.C. holocaust museum, claim to have found child pornography on his computer.

The Washington Post reports:

FBI agents said they recovered the desktop computer during a search of the Annapolis apartment where von Brunn had lived for the past two years. The pornography was disclosed in a search warrant affidavit seeking to make a more thorough inspection of the computer. Authorities did not disclose the type or extent of the child pornography they found on the computer during their first search.

Agents also recovered from the apartment a 30-30 rifle, other computers, floppy discs, memory cards, cellphones, a handwritten will and what appeared to be a painting of Hitler and Jesus, they wrote in court papers.

Meanwhile, agents disclosed in other court filings that they had recovered 35 rounds of ammunition, a disabled parking permit and a salt shaker in a search of the car von Brunn allegedly double-parked outside the museum just before the shooting June 10.

Von Brunn, who is on life support after being shot in the face, was recently ruled to be unfit to stand trial. A hearing is expected pending his recovery. For now, the investigation is ongoing....(Original.)

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Out of the Shadows

By Paul Krugman

Would the Obama administration’s plan for financial reform do what has to be done? Yes and no.

Yes, the plan would plug some big holes in regulation. But as described, it wouldn’t end the skewed incentives that made the current crisis inevitable.

Let’s start with the good news.

Our current system of financial regulation dates back to a time when everything that functioned as a bank looked like a bank. As long as you regulated big marble buildings with rows of tellers, you pretty much had things nailed down.

But today you don’t have to look like a bank to be a bank. As Tim Geithner, the Treasury secretary, put it in a widely cited speech last summer, banking is anything that involves financing “long-term risky and relatively illiquid assets” with “very short-term liabilities.” Cases in point: Bear Stearns and Lehman, both of which financed large investments in risky securities primarily with short-term borrowing.

And as Mr. Geithner pointed out, by 2007 more than half of America’s banking, in this sense, was being handled by a “parallel financial system” — others call it “shadow banking” — of largely unregulated institutions. These non-bank banks, he ruefully noted, were “vulnerable to a classic type of run, but without the protections such as deposit insurance that the banking system has in place to reduce such risks.”...(Remainder.)

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Sam Seder Interviews Caribou Barbie Whack-Jobs Protesting David Letterman

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Tancredo Linked to Minuteman Group Accused of Arizona Double Murder

Littleton Republican sent presidential campaign staff, impassioned letter of thanks to anti-immigrant rally organized by alleged vigilante group but denies connection.

By Wendy Norris
The Colorado Independent

GOP presidential contender and U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo. (Image/TeamTancredo.com)
Shawna Forde and members of Minuteman American Defense — an anti-illegal immigration vigilante group charged in the double homicide of an Arizona man and his 9-year-old daughter and the attempted murder of the man’s wife — shared a stage, if not their vigilante streak, with former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo.
Authorities in Arizona’s Pima County allege Forde, 41, and MAD members Jason Eugene Bush, 34, and Albert Robert Gaxiola, 42, intended to rob and murder the Flores family in order to fund the group’s anti-immigration vigilante activities. Raul Flores, 29, had a history of drug dealing and the trio believed that there would be a large amount of cash at the victims’ trailer home near the border town of Arivaca, according to CBS News. Sheriff Clarence Dupnik fingered Forde as the ringleader.

Forde’s zealous involvement in extremist anti-immigration groups belies the fluidity with which the Everett, Wash., woman traveled within so-called mainstream organizations, which helped further her local and national political aims as well as the goals of those who shared her beliefs.

Her most recent link to Tancredo, the former Republican congressman from Colorado, occurred at a sparsely attended 2007 Everett rally organized by The Reagan Wing and MAD, a splinter group Forde led that was an offshoot of the more widely known Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. The event featured representatives of Tancredo’s dark-horse presidential campaign and a letter of support from the candidate himself....(Remainder.)

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Spox: Polis Got an RBI but Didn't Boycott Gay Benefits Signing Ceremony

By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Independent


While U.S. Rep. Jared Polis was less than thrilled with the memorandum President Barack Obama signed Wednesday extending some benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees, the openly gay Boulder Democrat emphatically did not boycott the Oval Office signing ceremony, a Polis spokeswoman tells The Colorado Independent.

Prominent blogger John Aravosis initially made the claim Thursday afternoon that Polis boycotted the event “because he felt the signing of the memo was just not good enough,” but Polis spokeswoman Lara Cottingham says that’s simply not true.

“Jared absolutely did not boycott it,” Cottingham said.

Polis, in fact, was swinging the bat at Washington’s National Stadium at an annual congressional baseball game sponsored by Roll Call magazine during the signing ceremony and couldn’t be two places at one time.

“The congressman was invited,” Cottingham said. “He did not boycott the event, he had a previous engagement. Votes ran very late that day and he went straight to the baseball game.”

Aravosis blasts openly gay U.S. Reps. Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin for attending the signing ceremony and for their defense of an Obama brief supporting the federal ban on gay marriage. After calling Frank “the old former leader of our movement in Congress,” the blogger says the lawmaker “suddenly discovered that he loved Big Brother,” linking to a blistering critique of Frank’s assessment of the Obama court brief. As for Baldwin: “[W]e’ve all been wishing for a while that the day will come when Tammy visits the Wizard and he gives her a spine and a conscience,” Aravosis writes.
And finally, there’s Jared Polis. Jared is the new guy on the block. He had an initial stumble early on when he misspoke about the status of gay rights legislation on the Hill. People were a bit ticked at him. But Jared made up for it yesterday. First he issued a blistering statement about the DOJ brief. Then today, his staff informed one of our readers that Jared boycotted the Oval Office benefits signing ceremony yesterday because he felt the signing of the memo was just not good enough.
“Perhaps we’ve finally found a leader in Congress after all,” Aravosis concludes....(Remainder.)

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CNN Challenges Right-Wing Liar Rick Scott's Health Care Claims

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Pudgy Moron, Hannity, & Fox News Go All Apoplectic Over Obama/ABC Health Care Special

By Media Matters

Since news broke that ABC News plans to broadcast a June 24 prime-time special, "Questions for the President: Prescription for America," from the White House, Fox News guests and hosts have repeatedly ignored Fox's own history and blasted ABC News over its planned broadcast by claiming, among other things, that ABC News is excluding opposition voices both from appearing in and advertising during the special. Some Fox News hosts and guests have also suggested a "conflict of interest," pointing to the fact that former ABC News correspondent Linda Douglass is now communications director of the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Health Reform. Fox News' concern over the ABC News special is noteworthy given Fox's history.

As Media Matters for America noted, the network enjoyed "unprecedented access" during the Bush administration. But further reinforcing the hypocrisy of Fox's reaction to the ABC News broadcast are two other facts: Fox News itself has refused to air advertisements critical of Bush administration policies and appointees, and in 2006, Tony Snow, then-Fox News anchor and radio host, left Fox to serve as President Bush's White House press secretary.

On the June 17 edition of his show, Fox News' Sean Hannity described the ABC special as a "Mickey Mouse-sponsored infomercial," and said: "Now, it's bad enough that the White House is taking over a broadcast network for a full hour, but we were also reminded today that the White House director of communications for health care spin is none other than former ABC correspondent Linda Douglass." He added: "Now that cannot be a coincidence. We also learned that ABC has declined a request by a conservative health care group to buy ad time during the infomercial. Now, the group says that, at the very least, they had hoped that ABC would let the other side pay for airtime. But, no, apparently Mickey was not interested." Hannity hosted Karl Rove, former Bush adviser and current Fox News contributor, to discuss the issue....(Remainder.)

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Morning Joe mocks O'Reilly for showing "porn" in order "to show what shouldn't be on the air"

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Michael "Savage" Weiner Thinks That White Men Are the Epitome of What's Right With America

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Brewer Ends Interview With Palin Defender Ziegler After Insults: Cut His Mic Off Please

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Can Glenn Beck Back-Up His Claims About Frank Rich and Keith Olbermann?

By Eric Boehlert
Media Matters


Specifically, that they ranted against members of the U.S. military. That Olbermann demonized Army recruiters and that Rich talked down U.S. soldiers during the Iraq War.

That's the claim Beck has benn [sic] pushing when confronted with questions about the right-wing hate that's been flooding the airwaves and what connection it has with the rise in fright, domestic attack from the right. According to Beck, his hands are clean and that it's not fair to blame a pundit when somebody does something nutty and violent.

And to prove his point he insists it would be unfair to blame Olbermann or Rich for the recent murder of an Army recruiter in Arkansas. It wouldn't be fair, says Beck, even though Olbermann and Rich have attacked members of the U.S. military. Even though they have created a dangerous environment for soldiers.

Or so Beck claimed:
Keith Olbermann has railed against recruiters. Keith Olbermann has railed against the baby killers that our U.S. soldiers are.
But has he? And has Times columnist Frank Rich "talked about how bad our soldiers are" as Beck now insists? Note, not the war planners, commanders or politicians who launched the war. Beck clearly claims that Rich has bad-mouthed our soldiers. A lot....(Remainder.)


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A Clear Scientific Consensus that the Death Penalty Does NOT Deter

By Brian Evans
Human Rights Now at Amnesty International


Scientists agree, by an overwhelming majority, that the death penalty has no deterrent effect.  They felt the same way over ten years ago, and nothing has changed since then.  States without the death penalty continue to have significantly lower murder rates than those that retain capital punishment.  And the few recent studies purporting to prove a deterrent effect, though getting heavy play in the media, have failed to impress the larger scientific community, which has exposed them as flawed and inconsistent.

The latest issue of the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology contains a study by a Sociology professor and a graduate student at the University of Colorado-Boulder (Michael Radelet and Traci Lacock), examining the opinions of leading criminology experts on the deterrence effects of the death penalty.

The results reveal that most experts do not believe that the death penalty or the carrying out of executions serve as deterrents to murder, nor do they believe that existing empirical research supports the deterrence theory.  In fact, the authors report that 88.2% of respondents do not think that the death penalty deters murdera level of consensus comparable to the agreement among scientists regarding global climate change. At the same time, only 9.2% of surveyed experts indicated that they believed the death penalty results in a significant drop in murder cases (56.6% completely disagreed with that statement, while 32.9% thought the correlation between capital punishment and lower homicide numbers to be “largely inaccurate”; 1.3% were uncertain).

The study builds upon previous research, published in 1996, in which the opinions of 67 leading experts in the field of criminology were surveyed.  The most recent study sent the same questions to a new group of experts (a total of 73), among whom were fellows from the American Society of Criminology, as well as award-winning criminology scholars....(Remainder.)

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The Eavesdropping Continues

By The New York Times

Once again, the country is learning about how the federal government has been exceeding its legal authority and violating Americans’ most basic rights in the name of fighting terrorism.

In a disturbing article in The Times on Wednesday, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau said that Congressional investigations suggest that the National Security Agency continues to routinely collect Americans’ telephone calls and e-mail messages — perhaps by the millions.

These sweeps seem unconnected to specific terrorism investigations, and the communications are entirely domestic. The law does not allow fishing trips through Americans’ communications and only permits the government to read e-mails or listen to phone calls in which one party is “reasonably believed” to be outside the United States.

The government offered its usual response: Oops. A spokesman for the intelligence community said any “overcollection” was inadvertent and “when such errors are identified,” they are quickly corrected.

That excuse wore thin long ago. We heard it when the F.B.I. was caught abusing its power to issue “national security letters” to short-circuit constitutional protections. We heard it in April, when the Obama administration first acknowledged that the N.S.A. was exceeding even the expanded authority it was given last year to monitor international calls and e-mail traffic.

Representative Rush Holt of New Jersey, who leads the House panel that oversees intelligence agencies’ operations, was right when he said that “some actions are so flagrant that they can’t be accidental.”...(Remainder.)

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Schwarzenegger Decides Against Defending Prop. 8 in Federal Court

Case 'presents important constitutional questions,' governor says in legal filing. His decision means no statewide official will be defending the anti-gay marriage measure.

By Maura Dolan
Los Angeles Times


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has declined to defend the constitutionality of Proposition 8, telling a San Francisco judge that the legality of the anti-gay marriage measure is for the courts to decide.

The governor's decision to remain neutral in a federal challenge to Proposition 8 means no statewide official will be defending the measure in federal court.

Proposition 8 resurrected a ban on same-sex marriage, receiving 52% of the vote in the November election. The California Supreme Court ruled 6-1 last month that the measure did not violate the state constitution.

Supporters of the measure said Wednesday they were disappointed but not surprised by the governor's stance.

Ron Prentice, chairman of the ProtectMarriage.com Coalition, said the group was "fairly consistently disappointed with the governor's response to the will of the people in the case of marriage."

In declining to take sides in the suit, Schwarzenegger said the case "presents important constitutional questions that require and warrant judicial determination."

"In a constitutional democracy, it is the role of the courts to determine and resolve such questions. . . . ," the governor said late Tuesday in his legal reply to the suit. "The Administration encourages the Court to resolve the merits of this action expeditiously."...(Remainder.)

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Cut Off the DNC's Money!



By Andrew Sullivan

The Daily Dish at The Atlantic


One way to get the Obama administration's attention on civil rights is for gay people to stop funding the Democrats. That's all these people care about anyway when it comes to gays: our money. If the Democrats refuse to support us, refuse to support them. This is a start. But we need to get more creative. We need actions to highlight the administration's betrayals, postponements and boilerplate. We need to start confronting the president at his events. We need civil disobedience. We need to tell him we do not want another fricking speech where he tells us he is a fierce advocate for our rights, when that is quite plainly at this point not true. We will not tolerate another Clinton. No invites to these people for dinners or fundraisers. No cheering him at events while he does nothing to follow up on his explicit promises. Of course these things can be done. If anyone high up in the Obama administration or the Pelosi-Reid Congress gave a damn, much would have been done.

We need to swamp Pelosi with phone-calls.

We need to target Reid for his inaction. We have to pressure Barney Frank and Tammy Baldwin not to excuse the disdain that the Obama administration is showing toward gay equality, and their cynical use of our votes, money and passion to enforce real and potent discrimination against us and our families. And we have to refuse to attend White House signing ceremonies like yesterday's farce. Really: until they are serious, we should not be coopted and placated with pathetic sops. I am not a Clintonite. I worked my ass off to get this man to power. On many issues, I support him and will continue to do so.

But I am a proud, self-respecting gay man with HIV. And I am not going to take this crap for much longer on civil rights. Fight back. Act Up....(Original.)

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I Stand With Lt. Dan Choi, It's Time to Repeal DADT

By Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
The Huffington Post


Last week, I had the honor of meeting a proud graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point, NY - Lt. Dan Choi. Lt. Choi came to my office to meet me and discuss how we right the wrong that has occurred in his life and ensure others do not experience the same injustice.

In 2003, Lt. Dan Choi graduated from West Point with a degree in Arabic. Since graduating, Lt. Choi has served honorably in the 1st Bn., 69th Infantry of the New York Army National Guard, including a deployment in Iraq. Now, it appears his service may come to an end simply because he has publicly said these three words: "I am gay."

Lt. Dan Choi is not alone. Since 1994 when the law was implemented, approximately 13,000 able, knowledgeable, well-trained soldiers have been discharged from the US military for being gay. 800 of those discharged soldiers were -- like Lt. Choi -- experts in mission critical disciplines.

Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) comes with a severe financial burden as well. Estimates of the cost of implementing Don't Ask Don't Tell from 1994-2003 -- including recruitment, re-training and separation travel costs -- have ranged from almost $200 million to $363 million. This is millions of dollars that could have been...and should have been...spent on crucial personnel and equipment for our military.

In the discharge letter sent to Lt. Choi, authorities claimed that soldiers, such as Choi, "negatively affect good order and discipline" within their units by being openly gay. This is directly contradicted by opinion polls of servicemembers, which say that the more they are aware of their fellow soldiers' homosexuality, the less they feel it's a factor in their service....(Remainder.)

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Chinese Gays Step Quietly Toward Progress

(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
By Tini Tran
Associated Press via Google News


BEIJING (AP) — The first time director and movie buff Cui Zi'en tried to hold a gay and lesbian film festival in 2001, it was shut down by police before it even opened. When he tried to organize a gay cultural festival in 2005, five dozen police officers swarmed the venue, closing it.

But this Wednesday, Cui and other organizers managed to pull off the opening to the five-day Beijing Queer Film Festival with no police and no disruptions — drawing only an appreciative and low-key crowd to the Songzhuang Art District on the city's outskirts.

For China's gay community, this week's film festival and an art exhibition on sexual diversity in Beijing, along with last week's first gay pride festival in Shanghai, are quiet steps forward after years of slow but unmistakable progress.

Cui, a professor at the Beijing Film Academy, said the events mark a significant moment for China's fledgling gay movement.
"The biggest change is that I'm not the only one doing this," he said. "There's more support from the gay community. Society has become more relaxed and open-minded in its thinking."

But he sounded a note of caution that progress is often accompanied by setbacks, saying organizers would not consider the events a success unless they make it to their closing ceremony Sunday unscathed.

"In China, we were the first to put on queer events. In those events, we've had interference and that had lasting influences," Cui said.

"(Now) we've had a successful opening and if we can also achieve a successful closing to the event, it will have another kind of impact," he said.

China has indeed eased its control over some aspects of gay life. In 1997, sodomy was removed from the country's list of crimes, although homosexuality was not taken off the list of mental disorders until 2001....(Remainder.)

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