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We Win!! Rockstar Energy Drink to Donate $100K+ to LGBT Orgs & Bloggers

Thursday, July 09, 2009

By Bil Browning
The Bilerico


I'm pleased to post a joint press release from Rockstar Energy Drink, change.org, and Bilerico Project today. The beverage company will not be suing Bilerico Project or change.org and they have expanded or started many new LGBT positive corporate policies - including non-discrimination clauses and domestic partner benefits. Rockstar will be donating $100k to three LGBT organizations and has agreed to make a significant donation to the LGBT Bloggers Initiative as well.
ROCKSTAR Energy Drink CEO Russell Weiner announced today that the beverage company will expand its LGBT corporate policies and make $100,000 in donations, shared among several prominent LGBT organizations. The donations represent a significant contribution given ROCKSTAR's relatively small staff of 120 employees.

The contribution will be shared among the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), and The Trevor Project, and ROCKSTAR Energy Drink will also financially sponsor the National LGBT Bloggers Initiative. The donations and affirmation of LGBT-friendly corporate policies mark steps by ROCKSTAR to demonstrate support for the LGBT community.

"It has recently come to ROCKSTAR's attention that there might be a misconception about our company's policy and my personal support for LGBT rights," said Weiner. "We apologize for that misunderstanding, and want to make clear today that our company fully supports our LGBT employees and our LGBT customers."

"Some have erroneously associated our company with offensive language directed at LGBT people, specifically statements coming from Michael Savage, who is not and has never been a shareholder or officer of ROCKSTAR Energy Drink. On behalf of our company and directors, including myself and CFO Janet Weiner, I would like to take this opportunity to disavow any offensive statements directed toward LGBT people, including statements from Michael Savage. ROCKSTAR assures our customers and the general public that our brand will never be associated with any language that does not affirm the essential dignity of every person in our diverse national community."...

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25 Latino Groups Hit Sessions for Racial Attacks

By Ian Millhiser
Think Progress


Last week, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) claimed that Judge Sotomayor may not be fit for the Supreme Court because she served on the board of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (now known as “LatinoJustice PRLDEF”), a highly regarded civil rights organization. On Monday, a group of 25 leading Latino organizations, including the Hispanic National Bar Association, the National Council of La Raza, and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, sent a letter to Sessions slamming his questionable attacks on LatinoJustice PRLDEF:
LatinoJustice PRLDEF is a strong and vibrant institution and its work serves not only the Latino community, but the nation as a whole because it advances the basic American principles of equal opportunity and equal access to justice for all in our society. While we each have the right to disagree on specific issues, LatinoJustice PRLDEF’s body of work deserves our respect and yours. Attacks on Latino advocacy and civil rights organizations are not new – we have seen figures in the media mischaracterize and slander our good works, using provocative terms that fan the flames of ethnic animosity. We expect and are entitled to better from a sitting member of the United States Senate.
Sadly, however, Sessions has a long history of these kinds of attacks. Indeed, his own nomination to the federal bench was rejected by the Senate in 1986 because of Sessions’ record of bringing racially-motivated prosecutions, belittling African-American attorneys, and describing the NAACP as an “un-American” and “Communist-inspired” organization that “forced civil rights down the throats of people.” Twenty-three years later, Sessions hasn’t changed one bit....(Original.)

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Pete Hoekstra: CIA Scandal "Very, Very Bizarre"

By Pamela Hess
Associated Press via The Huffington Post


WASHINGTON — Democrats are accusing senior CIA officials of repeatedly misleading Congress, but Republicans say the allegations are just political maneuvering to protect House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The accusations come as lawmakers prepare to debate intelligence legislation _ a bill President Barack Obama has threatened to veto.

Letters by the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and other members of the panel say CIA Director Leon Panetta told Congress last month that senior CIA officials have concealed significant actions and misled lawmakers repeatedly since 2001.

Exactly what actions Panetta disclosed to the House Intelligence Committee on June 24 is unclear, but committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, said the CIA outright lied in one case.

"These notifications have led me to conclude that this committee has been misled, has not been provided full and complete notifications, and (in at least one case) was affirmatively lied to," Reyes wrote to Michigan Rep. Peter Hoekstra, the committee's senior Republican. A copy of his letter was obtained by The Associated Press.

Reyes said in the letter that he is considering opening a full investigation.

Hoekstra on Thursday called Reyes' letter "one of the most bizarre episodes in politics that I've seen in my time here in Washington."

"It looks like they're working on the political equation," Hoekstra said on CBS' "The Early Show." "They're not trying to foster a bipartisan consensus on national security."...(Remainder.)

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The White House Trots Out a Veto Threat

By Charles Lemos
MyDD


Officials at the Office of Management and Budget raised concerns about language in the annual intelligence authorization bill that the House of Representatives is to take up beginning today. The Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal 2010 contains a provision that would require the president to inform more than 40 members of Congress - rather than just the so-called "Gang of Eight" under current practice- about covert actions taken overseas to influence events in other countries. The provision is an effort to wrest back Congressional oversight power that was ceded during the George W. Bush years when US intelligence agencies expanded their surveillance authority and engaged in questionable practices.

More from The Hill:
The White House said Thursday that if the intelligence authorization bill contains language broadening who the president must inform on covert activities, President Obama would be advised to veto the bill.

Currently, the White House is required by law to inform the "Gang of Eight," the leadership of both Houses and intelligence committees, of covert actions deemed too sensitive to disclose to full committees or legislative bodies.

Officials at the Office of Management and Budget, which distributed the statement of administration policy, also raised concerns about language in the bill that would require "the disclosure of internal executive branch legal advice and deliberations" on covert actions. OMB argues that provision would run afoul of the Constitution.

"Administrations of both political parties have long recognized the importance of protecting the confidentiality of the executive Branch's legal advice and deliberations," the statement said.

In defending the current "Gang of Eight" set-up, OMB noted that "there is a long tradition spanning decades of comity between the branches regarding intelligence matters, and the administration has emphasized the importance of providing timely and complete congressional notification, and using 'Gang of Eight' limitations only to meet extraordinary circumstances affecting the vital interests of the United States."

The language in the bill "undermines this fundamental compact between the Congress and the president," OMB said, calling the current agreement "an arrangement that for decades has balanced congressional oversight responsibilities with the President's responsibility to protect sensitive national security information."

The statement noted other areas of concern the administration has, which is not unusual in such statements, but warned that these two provisions would result in a recommended veto from the president's advisers. The OMB statement expresses optimism that administration officials will be able to reach an agreement to avoid the veto.

Earlier this evening, Marc Ambinder tweeted that Congressional sources had told him that the threat of the veto was sufficient to get the "offending" provision removed from the bill. Undoing Bush is proving harder in practice than in theory....(Remainder.)

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Steve King's Lone Voice in the Madness

By Steve Benen
Washington Monthly


The U.S. House voted on a measure this week to instruct the Capitol Visitors Center to honor the role slaves played in building the U.S. Capitol. It seemed pretty uncontroversial -- the Visitor Center will now feature a plaque acknowledging the work of those who constructed the building against their will. The vote was 399 to 1.

The lone voice of dissent came from Rep. Steve King (R). And why, pray tell, did the right-wing Iowan stand alone in opposition, knowing full well it would pass anyway? Because he wants the Capitol Visitors Center to feature the phrase "In God We Trust," and didn't like the idea of Democrats honoring the work of slaves while he's trying to mix church and state.

His statement on this read, in part:
"Last night I opposed yet another bill to erect another monument to slavery because it was used as a bargaining chip to allow for the actual depiction of 'In God We Trust' in the CVC. The Architect of the Capitol and liberal activists opposed every reference to America's Christian heritage, even to the extent of scrubbing 'In God We Trust' from the depiction of the actual Speaker's chair in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"This is just the latest example of a several year effort by liberals in Congress to scrub references to America's Christian heritage from our nation's Capitol. Liberals want to amend our country's history to eradicate the role of Christianity in America and chisel references to God or faith from our historical buildings.

"Our Judeo-Christian heritage is an essential foundation stone of our great nation and should not be held hostage to yet another effort to place guilt on future Americans for the sins of some of their ancestors."
Notice phrases like "yet another" and "place guilt," which suggest a degree of annoyance on King's part about acknowledging slavery at all.

This from a clownish, far-right Republican whose record on race is a genuine disgrace....(Original.)

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Hannity Makes a Habit of Distorting Quotes to Smear Progressives

By Media Matters

Over the past few years, Fox News host Sean Hannity has repeatedly smeared progressives and Democrats by cropping their comments in a way that misrepresented them. Most recently, during the July 8 edition of his Fox News show, Hannity spliced President Obama's answer to a Fox News reporter's question about the Cold War to suggest that Obama did not acknowledge the actions of past U.S. presidents in freeing Eastern Europe. As Media Matters for America documented, Hannity edited out the part of Obama's answer in which he said, "I'm very proud of the traditions of Democratic and Republican presidents to lift the Iron Curtain."

Media Matters has documented numerous instances in which Hannity has cropped quotes or clips to misrepresent what actually was said. Some of the most egregious examples include:
  • During the June 4 edition of his Fox News show, Hannity deceptively edited a clip of Obama's June 4 speech in Cairo to claim that Obama "decided to give 9-11 sympathizers a voice on the world stage," when Obama was in fact specifically condemning the attacks. Hannity played Obama's comment that "I am aware that there's still some who would question or even justify the events of 9-11." Hannity left out what Obama said next: that Al Qaeda "chose to ruthlessly murder" 9-11 victims, who "had done nothing to harm anybody," and that "these are not opinions to be debated; these are facts to be dealt with."

  • On April 3, Hannity played a clip of Obama saying in an April 3 speech in Strasbourg, France: "In America, there's a failure to appreciate Europe's leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America's shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive." Hannity then said: "And the liberal tradition of blame America first, well, that's still alive." He later asked: "Why is there this anti-Americanism in Europe?" In fact, immediately after the part of the speech Hannity played, Obama criticized anti-Americanism in Europe and Europeans who "choose to blame America for much of what's bad."
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Fox's Resident Journalistic Whore, Brit Hume, Claims Tax Cuts Are "Republican Ideas"

By Media Matters

During the July 8 edition of Fox News' Special Report, senior political analyst Brit Hume asserted that the Obama administration and congressional Democrats "could turn [the stimulus] into business-friendly tax cuts or personal income tax rate cuts," but that "those are Republican ideas. And this Congress and this president, they don't seem to do Republican ideas." In fact, the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act included tax incentives for businesses that the nonpartisan Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimated total $75.9 billion in 2009 and 2010.

Hume's claim follows the assertion, made on Fox News the previous day by Wall Street Journal senior economics writer Stephen Moore, that "[t]he one thing this administration won't do is cut taxes." But the recovery act included $288 billion in tax relief, including the Making Work Pay tax credit, an annual credit of $400 per individual or $800 for families, in addition to a temporary increase in the earned income tax credit, a temporary increase in the refundable portion of the child tax credit, and an increase in the first-time homebuyer tax credit, as well as the business tax incentives.

Furthermore, the Fiscal Year 2010 budget Obama submitted to Congress has several tax cuts for individuals and businesses, including a proposal to "eliminate capital gains taxation on small businesses."

From the July 8 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:
HUME: If you listen carefully to the talk about a second stimulus package, what you will hear is the sound of chickens coming home to roost. Defenders of the $787 billion spending colossus Congress passed back in February say only a small fraction of the money has gone out and it's not fair to call the whole thing a failure because unemployment is still going up. Fair enough.

But that's the age-old problem with government stimulus. It always takes a while for the money to get out the door, get spent, get into the hands of consumers, who it is hoped will then spend it again to get things moving....
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Senator Franken Making Us Proud Already

By DesMoinesDem
MyDD

The first bill Senator Al Franken co-sponsored after being sworn in yesterday was the Employee Free Choice Act. It's a cause Paul Wellstone would have supported strongly. (Click here for background on the EFCA.)

The Hill reported yesterday,
As expected, Franken has been assigned to the Judiciary Committee, Indian Affairs Committee and Aging Committee. He will also sit on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee once the panel finishes marking up the healthcare reform legislation.
I don't understand the logic of making Franken wait until after the health care bill markup before joining the HELP Committee, but at least he will be there when the Employee Free Choice Act is debated.

Getting to 60 votes on the EFCA will be a challenge, but Senator Tom Harkin has been working on a compromise since March. He told Bloomberg News in May that the "card check" provision may have to be dropped from the EFCA in order to get the bill through the Senate. "Card check" means that workers could form a union if a majority sign a document stating that they would like to join a union. Harkin suggested that a compromise bill might incorporate other changes to the election process and procedures for forming a labor union.

In that interview, Harkin did not mention whether binding arbitration would be a part of a workable compromise. Some people consider binding arbitration provisions to be as important a part of the EFCA as card check.

Whatever compromise Harkin crafts, I'm glad to know that Franken will be a voice for strong labor reform on the HELP Committee. Incidentally, Harkin announced last week that Franken will be the keynote speaker at his annual steak fry in September. I can't wait....(Original.)

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The Retarded Baby Jesus, Hannity, Superglued to Health Care Lies

By Media Matters

On the July 8 edition of his Fox News show, describing what he called "[a]nother story of universal health care gone awry," Sean Hannity stated that "a 55-year-old man in the U.K. ... ran into trouble when he couldn't find a dentist OKed by the government. So he superglued his tooth together for a period of three years." Hannity concluded: "The Democrats have their way, get your superglue ready." However, according to media reports, a woman in the United States has also glued in her teeth because of the costs of dental care. An ABCNews.com article also reported that low-income people are resorting to pulling their own teeth.

As Media Matters for America has documented, Hannity and guests on his Fox News show have repeatedly fear-mongered and misinformed on the issue of heath-care reform.

From the March 12 ABCNews.com article:
It's 2009, not 1909, but more people are willing to do their own health care and dentistry these days.

"It's one of my front teeth, I had just been supergluing it in," said September Williamson of Grand Junction, Colo.

The mortgage is due, the kids have needs, and the dental insurance doesn't cover a ninth of the cost of your dental work. At that point, applying superglue to your crowns didn't seem too unreasonable for Williams.

But, the superglue was just one of a whole set of tooth troubles. Unable to pay for more expensive treatments, Williamson said she's resorted to just pulling out the problem teeth.

"I've had five teeth total pulled, one of them was a wisdom tooth," said Williamson. "A couple of months ago, I was just frustrated with the whole thing -- I'm not the only person out there."

Emergency room physicians, social workers and advocates for the uninsured or underinsured agree....
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Rep. Patrick Murphy, Our ACTUAL Fierce Advocate, Discusses DADT with Dr. Maddow

Could we please have more members of congress like this guy?  What an amazing person!  The people of Pennsylvania's 8th District are indeed lucky to have such a moral and ethical Member of Congress.

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow & Iraq War Veteran Pennsylvania Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy Discuss Don't Ask Don't Tell Repeal.



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NARTH Author Admits Newly Touted "Study" Contains 'No New Science'

Actually it doesn't contain any science what-so-ever.  It's nothing more than a bunch of homophobic Christianist bullshit.

By Dave Rattigan
Ex-Gay Watch


NARTH’s new peer-reviewed study is not new, is not peer-reviewed and is not a study – flaws even one of its authors admitted to Ex-Gay Watch.

CitizenLink, the news arm of Focus on the Family, made much of the paper’s appearance earlier this week, faithfully reproducing the immodest claims of NARTH’s press release:
A new report in this month’s edition of the peer-reviewed Journal of Human Sexuality finds that sexual orientation is not immutable and that psychological care for individuals with unwanted homosexual attractions is beneficial and poses no significant risk of harm.

This study is … a significant milestone when it comes to the scientific debate over the issue of homosexuality.
The report itself is even bolder, announcing that its results prove the following “singular conclusion”:
Homosexuality is not innate, immutable or without significant risk to medical, psychological, and relational health.
Exodus Vice President Randy Thomas was quick to champion the claims. Other conservatives, such as the ex-gay supportive Dr Warren Throckmorton, were not convinced. UK “post-gay” Peter Ould found it positively embarrassing.

And they are right to be embarrassed, for this supposedly new, peer-reviewed study is nothing of the sort.

First, it is far from new. By NARTH’s own admission, it is merely a survey of 100 years of literature.

That it is a survey means that, second, it is not a study. Jones-Yarhouse, for all its flaws, was a scientific study. NARTH’s paper, written by James Phelan, Neil Whitehead, and Philip Sutton, simply collates a century’s worth of material that (they think) supports the pro-reparative therapy position. It contains no new or original research whatsoever....(Remainder.)

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Is Obama Improving America's Global Image?

By Tom Schaller
FiveThirtyEight


In 2008, Barack Obama presented himself as a fresh face on the scene not only to Americans but to citizens of the world. Given his racial identity and name, he certainly wasn't the kind of president people around the world expected to win the presidency. Traveling in four very different countries on behalf of the State Department last year to talk about the presidential election--Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and South Africa--most people I met expressed two sentiments: one, that they wanted Obama to win; and two, they were convinced Americans would never elect him.

Now that we have, has global opinion about Obama and the United States changed accordingly? According to a new poll of citizens from 20 countries (including the United States) by World Public Opinion.org, the respective answers are "yes" and "no": Obama is viewed mostly positively, but attitudes toward America generally are not improving much, if at all, in most countries.

Not surprisingly, views about the role the United States plays in the world are generally more favorable in the African and western European countries surveyed. Equally unsurprising is the fact that citizens in Muslim nations view us warily. Among non-Muslim countries in Asia, citizens in South Korean, Taiwan and India view America's role quite favorably, with the Chinese slightly unfavorable overall....(Remainder.)

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Camille Paglia May Be A Horrible Person, By Which I Mean She Is

By Jesse Taylor
Pandagon.net


Today’s Camille Paglia column has been roundly vilified for its idiotic take on Palin’s decision to drop out; I think it deserves vilification for an entirely different reason.

A conservative reader writes in to Camille, presumably because he doesn’t want to be challenged or provoked in any way:
I am conservative politically, yet I see the profound weaknesses in the movement. One thing from the liberal side of thinking that I struggle with is the concept of a “hate crime.” If I am murdered, is that less heinous than a member of a protected class being murdered?

Matthew Shepard’s case is often singled out as the reason we need hate crime legislation. The question is: What more would those who propose hate crime legislation like to be done to the perpetrators? They are serving consecutive life sentences. I believe they should be executed for their crime, but it seems that most liberals oppose the death penalty. So what would be different in his case if this legislation were enacted?
The proper answer, of course, is that like any number of exacerbating factors in sentencing, a hate crime designation may not actually result in a higher sentence for someone who’s already committed an atrocious crime. Hate crime legislation is designed to target those who commit crimes that, even though only a single person or group was harmed, demonstrate an intent to either intimidate members of a larger group or a likelihood to inflict actual harm on other members of that group. Basically, it’s a recognition that someone is a greater threat to society, and is reflected in pretty much every form of sentencing we do. It’s why the person who kills in the middle of a heated argument receives a relatively lighter sentence than someone who rigs a shotgun to shoot their spouse when they walk through the front door - the latter shows a far greater intent to harm the person, and a greater likelihood of harming others in the future....(Remainder.)

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Tom Coburn and "the Family" Tried to Buy Off Ensign’s Mistress

By Marcy Wheeler
emptywheel


Tom Coburn, the Senate's resident morality shrill, has a weird idea of how to enforce "Family" values. He and other members of the cultish "Family" apparently tried to help Ensign buy off his mistress.
Hampton and Ensign were bonded by their conservative evangelical faith. Hampton said he reached out to intermediaries involved in a Christian fellowship home in Washington, D.C., where Ensign and several other powerful Washington figures live.

The group, including Coburn, a well-known conservative, confronted Ensign and suggested that the Hamptons needed to be given financial assistance -- in the millions of dollars -- to pay off their $1 million-plus mortgage and move them to a new life away from Ensign.

During the confrontation, Ensign agreed to write a letter to Cynthia Hampton expressing remorse, Hampton said.

The letter, which was authenticated by Ralston's executive producer Dana Gentry, is filled with contrition: "I was completely self-centered and only thinking of myself. I used you for my own pleasure not letting thoughts of you, Doug, Brandon, Blake or Brittany come into my mind," he wrote, referring to the Hampton children.

But after sending the letter, which bears the date "Feb. 2008," Hampton said Ensign quickly disavowed it in a conversation with Cynthia Hampton and continued to pursue her.

Hampton said that on that same February weekend, Ensign told him, "I'm in love with your wife."

Here's the letter, which is even more juvenile than Sanford's love emails to his mistress.

So I wonder. Is this a formal policy of "the Family," to buy off members' mistresses? Did they try to buy off Sanford's mistress (remember, Sanford was getting martial counseling from "the Family" just like Ensign). Was there an implicit understanding that after their mortgage got paid off by Ensign, they would have to be silent about it, even during Ensign's potential 2012 Presidential run?

And who else's mistresses has "the Family" bought off?...(Original.)

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Fox Nation Continues its Attack on "Stuart Smalley"

By Priscilla
News Hounds


Al Franken is now the junior senator from the state of Minnesota; but Fox Nation, the website that touts “mutual respect,” is still smearing him and still using the name of a one time character that Franken played on Saturday Night Live. Senator Franken, a Harvard graduate, is still being referred to as “Stuart Smalley” in a seemingly juvenile attempt to denigrate him with the rabid Fox Nation citizens who hate Senator Franken and who certainly don’t show him any respect in their blog comments. Today, there are two articles; both of which are “straight up” smears of Minnesota’s newest senator. While both are negative; the first is really vile – but what else is new from the place which is promoted as a place for tolerant debate; but which in reality is a cesspool of rabid right wing hatred.

The first headline is “The Price Of Stuart Smalley” and links to a video which shows unfocused and manic shots of Franken while the subtitles note that with “60” votes, the power of the Democrats will be unchecked. (not always true – it depends on the issue and who is present in the Senate at a the time of the vote) According to the video, it’s the end of the world as we know it (wasteful spending and government take over of health care, yadda, yadda.) But then it took it up a notch with this “question” superimposed on a dimly lit shot of Al Franken – “negotiating with terrorists?” The video concludes with the statement that the National Republican Senatorial Committee is responsible for the ad. “Fair and Balanced” – don’t think so.

Note: The footage of Franken was taken at the Paul Wellstone Memorial by Wellstone's son. The NRSC has already used the footage for an earlier attack ad. Brian Walsh, spokesperson for the NRSC has no problem with the ad and says that they could have used worse photos....(Remainder.)





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Is Randal Terry's Anti-Sotomayor Tour Language a Violation of Law?

By Christy Hardin Smith
Firedoglake


You decide:  horror movie poster or dog whistle call to action from Randall Terry to every nutball with access to God only knows what.

Just take a look at the poster to the left of Terry's "Anti-Sotomayor Tour" and tell me there isn't an irresponsible undercurrent of violent thought running through it.

I want to amplify what Kyle at Right Wing Watch said about this:  the right has gotten no traction on Sotomayor thus far.  Which means what to them?  Paltry fundraising numbers.

As Kyle points out, that doesn't stop Randall Terry. No siree. For he of the "promote myself at any cost" mentality goes all out with this:
Randall Terry, for one, isn't going to let this slow him down and so he is taking his "Defeat Sotomayor" effort on the road for a twelve city tour which is scheduled to culminate in Washington DC just as the hearings are getting under way (the photo below comes from this accompanying flyer [PDF and graphic content] proclaiming "To refuse to filibuster is to bow in abject obedience to the Angel of Death"). . .
I bring this to the public's attention not to give Terry more publicity but because, frankly, I think the US Marshall's Service ought to have a long talk with him.

As a sitting federal judge on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Sotomayor is entitled to protection from the US Marshalls, who take threats to judge security very, very seriously.

Especially since threats against judges have been mushrooming exponentially since the right wing decided to make judges targets of ire in so much of their public political discourse. And worse....(Remainder.)

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Dems Go On Offense Against John "Bonehead" Boehner

By Steve Benen
Washington Monthly


Over the weekend, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) told Fox News that the stimulus package hasn't delivered for his state. "In Ohio, the infrastructure dollars that were sent there months ago, there hasn't been a contract let, to my knowledge," he said, as part of his criticism of the recovery efforts.

The comments became problematic when they were easily proven false -- dozens of infrastructure projects have been launched through the stimulus, at a cost of nearly $84 million. Complicating matters, Boehner doesn't think infrastructure dollars can help the economy in Ohio anyway, though he's had some trouble sticking to his talking points.




Dems are going on the offensive. The DNC unveiled this video this morning, going after Boehner for being confused about the economy in his own state. What's more, Vice President Biden will be Cincinnati tomorrow to talk up the stimulus effort -- in an area right next door to Boehner's district. Biden will appear at an event that will be held at a factory that had been shut down, but is now operating with recovery funds.*

Sam Stein noted the larger political dynamic: "What's noteworthy here is ... the willingness, indeed eagerness, on the part of the DNC to engage Boehner in a debate over the stimulus. If there is a particular vulnerability for the White House, it is the scope of president's stimulus spending. And among the places where the recovery package's shortcomings are most obvious, Boehner's home state of Ohio is one of them.... But, at least at this juncture, it seems clear Democrats feel comfortable defending the White House record when it comes to its job creations policies, in part because it's easy to localize the importance of the stimulus."...(Remainder.)

*edited for clarity

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Is Murdoch Running a Criminal Enterprise?

Murdoch Papers Paid £1m to Gag Phone-Hacking Victims

  • News of the World bugging led to £700,000 payout to PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor
  • Sun editor Rebekah Wade and Conservative communications chief Andy Coulson – both ex-NoW editors – involved
  • News International chairman Les Hinton told MPs reporter jailed for phone-hacking was one-off case


By Nick Davies
The Guardian


Rupert Murdoch's News Group News­papers has paid out more than £1m to settle legal cases that threatened to reveal evidence of his journalists' repeated involvement in the use of criminal methods to get stories.

The payments secured secrecy over out-of-court settlements in three cases that threatened to expose evidence of Murdoch journalists using private investigators who illegally hacked into the mobile phone messages of numerous public ­figures to gain unlawful access to confidential personal data, including tax records, social security files, bank statements and itemised phone bills. Cabinet ministers, MPs, actors and sports stars were all targets of the private investigators.

Today, the Guardian reveals details of the suppressed evidence, which may open the door to hundreds more legal actions by victims of News Group, the Murdoch company that publishes the News of the World and the Sun, as well as provoking police inquiries into reporters who were involved and the senior executives responsible for them. The evidence also poses difficult questions for:

• Conservative leader David Cameron's director of communications, Andy Coulson, who was deputy editor and then editor of the News of the World when, the suppressed evidence shows, journalists for whom he was responsible were engaging in hundreds of apparently illegal acts.

• Murdoch executives who, albeit in good faith, misled a parliamentary select committee, the Press Complaints Commission and the public.

• The Metropolitan police, which did not alert all those whose phones were targeted, and the Crown Prosecution Service, which did not pursue all possible charges against News Group personnel....(Remainder.)

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King of All Liars Boehner Calls Biden a Liar

By John Aravosis
AMERICAblog


This should get interesting. Boehner is, of course, simply trying to get attention. But the manner in which he's doing it is potentially hazardous to Biden.
"I found it ... interesting over the last couple of days to hear Vice President Biden and the president mention the fact that they didn’t realize how difficult an economic circumstance we were in,” Boehner said. “Now this is the greatest fabrication I have seen since I’ve been in Congress.”

“I’ve sat in meetings in the White House with the vice president and the president. There’s not one person that sat in those rooms that didn’t understand how serious our economic crisis was,” Boehner said.

Boehner also took a shot at the idea of a second stimulus – something Biden said he was open to last week.

“All of this talk of a second stimulus bill, I think, is an admission on the part of the administration that their stimulus plan is not working,” Boehner said.
First off, Biden and the entire administration are on tricky ice when it comes to asking for a second stimulus bill. It begs the question as to whether the first one isn't working, or at least isn't enough, and why the administration didn't know any of this when they were pushing for the first bill. (Thus, the Krugman problem we've been writing about - namely, the administration chose to ignore the warnings of Krugman and Stiglitz, that the first stimulus wasn't large enough, so now they're going to have to answer the hard questions in order to get the second much-needed package)....(Remainder.)

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Hannity Reiterates Fox's False Smears Against Ron Reagan

By Ellen
News Hounds


Sean Hannity reiterated what I previously showed was a bogus attack on Ron Reagan by Fox Nation. The supposedly “fair and balanced” website falsely accused Reagan of saying that Rush Limbaugh committed domestic violence. In fact, Reagan never said such a thing but had been mocking Limbaugh’s comments about the White House appointing a domestic violence advisor. Last night (070609), Hannity repeated the phony charge and, just as Fox Nation did, left out the Limbaugh clip Reagan had mocked which gave his comments context. With video.

At the beginning of the “Hannity’s America,” segment, Hannity said, “The son of former President Ronald Reagan has sunk to a new low in order to call attention to his failing radio show. Now, Ron Reagan Jr. recently slammed Rush Limbaugh on Air America after Rush questioned if the White House’s new czar for domestic violence was really necessary. During this tirade, Reagan even suggested that Rush has committed domestic violence – unbelievable – listen to this.”

Hannity then proceeded to play the clip of Reagan, truncated so that listeners did not hear how he had imitated Limbaugh. "Limbaugh also has an issue with the White House's new advisor on domestic violence." Then, without telling the audience they had skipped a (crucial) part, the audio continued, "I'm guessing that the White House advisor on domestic violence will never say that beating your wife is OK. Which may be a disappointment to Rush Limbaugh. And you wonder why this guy can't stay married." Even so, Reagan never suggested Limbaugh, himself, had committed domestic violence.

In front of a graphic that read, “Gutter Politics,” Hannity said, “Hey, Ron. You have to wonder – You know what’s worse than that? Is that no one’s listening to you and, by the way, no one cares what you say. Sorry!”...(Remainder.)


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Wingnut Congressman Brian Bilbray's Ignorance about the Constitution and Citizenship Is Shocking

On immigration law, and his 'anchor baby' nonsense, Bibray makes Ron Paul look like a constitutional scholar.

By Joshua Holland
AlterNet


While my worldview differs fundamentally from that of Ron Paul, I grudgingly respect the iconoclastic rep's consistency. He says he loves the Constitution, and he does adhere to its limits.

Paul thinks that the the provision of the 14th Amendment that grants citizenship to all persons born in the United States (and whose parents are "subject to the jurisdiction thereof") is a mistake. So, every year he trots out a proposal to amend the United States Constitution in order to do away with "birthright citizenship" once and for all.

To pass an amendment you need a 2/3 super-majority in both chambers of the Congress and then it needs to be ratified by 3/4 of the states. That is to say, Paul's scheme to re-write the 14th has as much chance of passage as I have of singing La traviata at the Met.

But even if Paul is tilting at windmills, he accepts the language of the law, and is trying to change it. Good for him. It keeps him from having to engage in wild intellectual contortions in order to argue that the law says something which it clearly does not.

Brian Bilbray, a GOP Rep from California and ardent anti-immigrant hardliner, could take a page from Paul's book. Bilbray is helping push a ballot initiative in California that would limit various benefits for the children of undocumented immigrants. In doing so, Bilbray is trying to harness some right-populism to take on the very foundation of citizenship in this country....(Remainder.)

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Howard Dean: Private Health Care is Breaking Our Economy

And the Republicans are all a bunch of liars. And Washington is as scared of change as a cult. And other things you'd expect Howard Dean to say in a hot-button debate. Except, when it comes to this particular hot-button debate, Howard Dean really knows what he's talking about. And so should you.

By John H. Richardson
Esquire


As Congress debates health-care reform, the arguments against a "public option" are coming fast and furious. The best I've read recently is from Greg Manikow, the distinguished Harvard economist and former Bush advisor who insists that the public option will inevitably crowd out private insurance companies, resulting in less competition and poorer health care. Manikow reminded me of how quickly the efficiencies of private military contractors like Blackwater crushed the socialists in the United States Army, how the option of great public beaches in New York drove all Connecticut elite from their Buffy-and-Muffy-only private beach clubs to the boardwalks of Coney Island, and how the wealthy rushed from their Park Avenue penthouses to take advantage of the great deals in Section 8 housing.

For an alternate point of view, however, I consulted the former governor of Vermont. As a doctor married to a doctor, Howard Dean made health care a priority of his administration, putting strict regulations on health insurance profiteering and figuring out a way to extend insurance to every child in the state. In a new book called Howard Dean's Prescription for Real Health Care Reform, he makes a persuasive case for reform.

ESQUIRE: Your book really lays everything out in a very simple, clear way. It's obvious this is something you've been thinking about for a long time.

HOWARD DEAN: It was one of the reasons I ran for president.

ESQ: One thing I've never seen before is when you say, "Much is made of the 47 million without insurance, but nothing of the 25 million who have insurance but don't go and see the doctor." I've got one of those high-deductible catastrophic plans myself, so I don't go to the doctor unless I'm bleeding. Why have I never seen this argument before?

HD: Because 99 percent of the discussions among reporters, policy wonks, and politicians focus on the uninsured — which is, frankly, why nothing is passed. They don't focus on the majority of Americans who have health insurance that doesn't work....(Remainder.)


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War By Other Means

By Robert C. Koehler
Tribune Media Services via After Downing Street

While peace, which is infinitely complex, and war, which is complex only in its unintended results, are not parallel concepts, I invite all peace-minded people to think about the gap between our capacity to destroy and our capacity to heal, and then imagine, as a socio-spiritual exercise, what it would take to bridge that gap.
We live in a world where arrogance and power are concentrated to an unbelievably fine point, while responsibility is diffused into a global mist. A few fanatics can plot and wage a war, stirring up consequences infinitely beyond what they are capable of imagining, then retire, when things go bad, into a luxury tinged with disgrace.

Meanwhile, the consequences keep reverberating, as we are witnessing in Iraq right now, amid the charade of troop withdrawal and power transfer. The threat of cataclysmic civil war looms, promising to add immeasurably to the legacy of suffering and environmental damage this multi-trillion-dollar fiasco has already produced.

Allow me to make a point I don’t think anyone has yet articulated, maybe because it’s too obvious. What we lack as a species is a moral-spiritual force for healing that is the equivalent – or even one one-millionth the equivalent – of shock and awe bombing, let us say, or any of the great mechanisms of destruction we have developed over the millennia in our obsession with dominance. Indeed, warmongers in their delusion imagine that destruction is healing, that a few thousand civilian dead (who swell to a million before they’re done) are a small price to pay for the gift of democracy.

While peace, which is infinitely complex, and war, which is complex only in its unintended results, are not parallel concepts, I invite all peace-minded people to think about the gap between our capacity to destroy and our capacity to heal, and then imagine, as a socio-spiritual exercise, what it would take to bridge that gap.

What brings all this to mind is the ongoing news of the fumbling nuances of withdrawal: of the false claims and damage-control reportage, where “winning” is now presented as nothing more than the happy return of the country we destroyed to some competent governing force – as though that were the point all along. Mission accomplished! In other words, while we are allegedly in the process of ending this hellish war, we have no idea how to create peace, and can only talk, or even think, about it in terms that justify the war that preceded it. Such “peace” is no more than war by other means, with truth still the first casualty....(Remainder.)

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SNL Faceoff: Victoria Jackson vs. Al Franken

By Mark
News Corpse


Andrew Breitbart’s Big Hollywood is providing us with an intimate look into what has become of a couple of former Saturday Night Live cast members and how their paths have diverged.

First we have Al Franken who holds a degree from Harvard in political science. And while he ended up pursuing a career in comedy, he often featured political content in his work, hosted a radio show on Air America, and authored several books. In short, he was never too far from his academic focus or from the public debate over important issues that faced our nation.

Then there is Victoria Jackson. Jackson is a graduate of Palm Beach Atlantic University, a faith-based institution, where she received a degree in theater. She achieved star status by reciting poetry while doing handstands and portraying an array of ditzy blonds.

Franken went on to become a United States senator. Jackson went on to appearances on Pat Robertson’s 700 Club and a reality TV show for overweight celebrities (Celebrity Fit Club).

Now we can see an example of Jackson’s unique insight into public affairs and political discourse in an article written for Breitbart’s Big Hollywood. Amongst her revelations are accusations that “Obama legally kills babies and now he can legally kill Grandmas!” She continues…
“Hitler did this. He killed the weak, the sick, the old, and babies and races/religions he didn’t like. Hitler also controlled the media. (Where’s the public debate between scientists on ‘Climate Change/Global Warming?’) Hitler had the VW bug invented as the state car. What will O’s nationalized car be? So… kill off the weak. That’s the plan. Tax the workers to death. Erase the middle class. Sounds like the evil governments we studied in high school long ago. The evil governments were : kings, oligarchies, facist, socialist, and communist. Now it’s called the Obama Administration. Sounds like candy or a rock band.”
Jackson is just another in the lengthening list of Tea Baggers who compare Obama to Hitler. But she does so in a distinctly demented tone that disparages Volkswagons, puts climate change deniers on equal footing with peer-reviewed scientists, and seems to think that the Democrats’ proposals to rollback tax cuts for the rich is somehow going to harm workers and the middle class....(Remainder.)



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Seeing Obama as Norwegians See Him

By George Lakey
Common Dreams


I just returned from a research trip to Norway where the people I interviewed often brought up the topic of our new President. The first was Kristin Clemet, the director of a conservative think tank. "This spring on a delegation to Washington I was struck again," she said, "by how different the political spectrum is in Norway from your country. Here, Obama would be on the right wing." I checked her view with others -- academics, politicians, activists all over the Norwegian spectrum -- and all but one agreed. In Norwegian terms, our President's positions are very conservative.

When Norway hit a major financial crisis in the early '90s (from a real estate bubble and speculating banks), the Norwegians decided against bail-outs. Three of the biggest banks were simply taken by the government, their senior management fired, their stockholders sent packing. The government nursed the seized banks back to health over time while the economy made a quick recovery. The other troubled banks were left to declare bankruptcy or find new capital. Norway's action sent a clear message to the banks: mismanagement and greed don't pay. The result is that today its own financial sector is clean and only needs to deal with the impact of other countries' disasters. Norway's strategy was very far from Obama's bank-friendly game plan.

When Norwegian oil was discovered, the country decided not to risk putting their new treasure in private ownership. Norwegians were therefore able to lead the world in environmental responsibility and to avoid boom/bust impact on their seacoast cities. Most important, Norway has been stashing the oil profits in a public, socially responsible "Pension Fund" that will support the Norwegians' famously high living standard for many generations to come....(Remainder.)

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Belgium "Has No Money for Economic Stimulus"

This is really only of interest to me as I'm currently living in Belgium.

By Expatica.com

The OECD, the organisation of the world's richest countries, has said that Belgium has no financial leeway to take any additional measures to stimulate the economy and tackle the effects of the global recession.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development says a number of other measures are urgently needed.

Government finances need to be made sound once again. The OECD notes that Belgium's regions have a role to play in this.

It suggests that the regions could take responsibility for funding the pensions of civil servants.

It also argues that labour and businesses are taxed too heavily.

The OECD proposes that any tax shortfall could be made good by higher taxes on real estate, goods and services and increasing the price of diesel.

(Original.)

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Gas-Fracturing Data Favored by Energy Industry Refutes Industry Claims

Rep. DeGette, sponsor of federal regulations bill, seeks time for closer look at research.

By Abraham Lustgarten
ProPublica via The Colorado Independent


Williams' natural gas facilities in the Piceance Basin. (Energy Tomorrow, Flickr)
The two key arguments that the oil and gas industry is using to fight federal regulation of the natural gas drilling process called hydraulic fracturing — that the costs would cripple their business and that state regulations are already strong — are challenged by the same data and reports the industry is using to bolster its position.

One widely-referenced study (PDF) estimated that complying with regulations would cost the oil and gas industry more than $100,000 per gas well. But the figures are based on 10-year-old estimates and list expensive procedures that aren’t mentioned in the proposed regulations.

Another report (PDF) concluded that state regulations for drilling, including fracturing, “are adequately designed to directly protect water.” But the report reveals that only four states require regulatory approval before hydraulic fracturing begins. It also outlines how requirements for encasing wells in cement — a practice the author has said is critical to containing hydraulic fracturing fluids and protecting water — varies from state to state.

One recommendation in that report flies in face of industry’s assertion that its processes are safe: hydraulic fracturing needs more study and should be banned in certain cases near sensitive water supplies.

Hydraulic fracturing — where water and sand laced with chemicals is injected underground to break up rock — is considered essential to harvesting deeply buried gas reserves that some predict could meet U.S. demand for 116 years....(Remainder.)

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Rep. Chaffetz: A Shining Illustration of Anti-Gay Intellect

By Timothy Kincaid
Box Turtle Bulleting


Representative Jason Chaffetz, a California Jewish Democrat turned Utah Mormon Republican, is now auditioning for the position of Congress’ Biggest Homophobe. As lead Congressional opponent to D.C.’s out-of-state marriage recognition bill he was strikingly inept, but he did manage to get some press by announcing:
“It’s not something I think we can just let go lightly into the night.”
Chaffetz got into BYU on a soccer scholarship so perhaps he can be forgiven for mangling Dylan Thomas’ poetry. But his other comments suggest that his approach to legislation is not particularly nuanced (ABC4):
“Marriage should be defined as a union between a man and a woman. I don’t see much other wiggle room for it.”

This stance comes in a week where America’s fifth state legalized same sex marriages.

So, we asked the congressman whether he is going against a trend towards gay unions.

He said simply, “The trend is still 45 states don’t.”
Sorry, Jason, but a trend would be… oh, well… nevermind.

But now Jason has now found his cause. He has discovered that he can get the media’s attention by saying some rather, ummm, interesting things about gay folk. So he was quick to state his mind when he found that Rep. Tammy Baldwin wants to pass legislation that would give benefits to the domestic partners of federal employees. Baldwin thinks its a matter of equal compensation for equal work.
But Chaffetz called the legislation “directly discriminatory” against heterosexual couples that choose not to marry.
(Remainder.)

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Anti-Prop 8 Legal Time to Pro-Gay Groups: Back Off

By Jim Burroway
Box Turtle Bulletin


The American Foundation for Equal Rights has released a letter they wrote to the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, and the ACLU of Southern California, asking the three groups not to intervene in the Boies and Olson challenge to California’s Prop 8 in federal court.  They recounted the many ways in which the three groups had previously opposed the lawsuit and raise a very legitimate concern now that those groups want to enter the lawsuit on the side of the plaintiffs:
In public and private, you have made it unmistakably clear that you strongly disagree with our legal strategy to challenge Prop. 8 as a violation of the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the United States Constitution…. Having gone to such great lengths to dissuade us from filing suit and to tar this case in the press, it seems likely that your misgivings about our strategy will be reflected—either subtly or overtly—in your actions in court.
The letter provides an interesting detail surrounding the amicus briefs filed in the case calling for Prop 8 to be declared unconstitutional. According to the letter:
Even after you filed an amicus curiae brief urging the district court to grant our motion for a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of Prop. 8, you refused to characterize your position as one of “support.” Indeed, Jennifer Pizer of Lambda Legal went so far as to insist that we alter a press release that described your amicus curiae brief as “supporting” our suit. In response, we issued a second release addressing her concerns.
(Remainder.)

The Letter from AFER to NCLR, Lambda Legal, and the ACLU

July 8, 2009

Kate Kendell
National Center for Lesbian Rights
870 Market Street, Suite 370
San Francisco, CA 94102

Jennifer Pizer
Lambda Legal
Western Regional Office
3325 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1300
Los Angeles, CA 90010

Mark Rosenbaum
ACLU of Southern California
1313 W. 8th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Dear Kate, Jennifer and Mark:

On behalf of the plaintiffs and our board, donors and supporters, I am writing to ask that you not intervene in Perry v. Schwarzenegger.

Given our willingness to collaborate with you, and your efforts to undercut this case, we were surprised and disappointed when we became aware of your desire to intervene.

You have unrelentingly and unequivocally acted to undermine this case even before it was filed. In light of this, it is inconceivable that you would zealously and effectively litigate this case if you were successful in intervening. Therefore, we will vigorously oppose any motion to intervene.

In public and private, you have made it unmistakably clear that you strongly disagree with our legal strategy to challenge Prop. 8 as a violation of the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the United States Constitution. Your strident criticism of our suit has been constant:
  • May 27, Joint Statement from ACLU, Lambda, NCLR and Other Organizations
    “Now that the California Supreme Court has refused to strike down Proposition 8, we need to go back to the voters. Since we lost Proposition 8 just six months ago, and since a ballot initiative to repeal is likely to require a huge investment in time and money, it is tempting to at least try a federal lawsuit first. But it’s a temptation we should resist.”

  • May 27, The Advocate
    “‘This is an attempt to short-circuit the process, to go all the way to the end….To us, that seems like a lot of risk for a long shot when we know that if we worked to establish more of the predicates, we could do this and not be taking such a big risk.’” (Matt Coles, ACLU)

  • May 27, New York Times
    “‘We think it’s risky and premature,’ said Jennifer C. Pizer, marriage project director for Lambda Legal in Los Angeles.”

  • May 27, New York Times
    “‘Federal court. Wow. Never thought of that.’” (Matt Coles, ACLU)

  • June 26, Associated Press
    (Within a story on the filing of the ACLU, Lambda and NCLR amicus briefs): “ACLU attorney Matt Coles said the groups filed their arguments reluctantly because they still believe federal court is the wrong forum for their fight.”

Even after you filed an amicus curiae brief urging the district court to grant our motion for a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of Prop. 8, you refused to characterize your position as one of “support.” Indeed, Jennifer Pizer of Lambda Legal went so far as to insist that we alter a press release that described your amicus curiae brief as “supporting” our suit. In response, we issued a second release addressing her concerns.

Having gone to such great lengths to dissuade us from filing suit and to tar this case in the press, it seems likely that your misgivings about our strategy will be reflected—either subtly or overtly—in your actions in court.

Despite your well-publicized hostility toward filing suit in federal court, we actively sought out your advice and counsel, and have incorporated it on many occasions. We value your leadership, experience and expertise on the issue of marriage equality. Thus, from the outset, we have sought to stand together with you, shoulder to shoulder, in this battle. Some examples:
  • In the fall of 2008, a representative from what would become AFER spoke to Paul Smith, cochair of Lambda Legal’s board of directors, and asked him to play a role in the case. He declined.

  • In May 2009, an AFER board member discussed the case in New York with Jon Davidson of Lambda Legal, asking for Lambda’s involvement. Several days later, AFER board members had a conference call with Lambda in which we again asked for Lambda’s involvement.

  • On May 14, 2009, a meeting was held in the home of an AFER board member with Ramona Ripston and Mark Rosenbaum of ACLU, and Jennifer Pizer and Jon Davidson of Lambda. Both groups declined to participate in the case and urged AFER to cease its efforts.

  • On June 2, 2009, Theodore Olson and other members of the legal team spoke with and solicited the input of Kate Kendell and Shannon Minter (NCLR) via conference call.

  • On June 8, 2009, Kate Kendell and Shannon Minter actively participated in a lengthy strategy meeting with our legal team at the Los Angeles offices of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.

  • On June 9, 2009, members of the legal team solicited the input of Jennifer Pizer and Jon Davidson of Lambda Legal via conference call.

  • Representatives from Lambda Legal, ACLU and NCLR were invited to participate in a moot court exercise scheduled to take place in San Francisco on July 1, 2009 in advance of the first court hearing in this case.

  • When the moot court was delayed due to an order by the Judge, representatives of Lambda Legal, ACLU and NCLR participated in a conference call where we discussed the order and potential next steps.

  • That call was followed by two subsequent calls that afternoon to discuss how to further integrate Lambda, NCLR and ACLU.
Regrettably, you embarked on a public and private campaign to undermine our efforts to vindicate the federal constitutional rights of California’s gay and lesbian residents. We nevertheless remain willing to work closely with you at all stages of this case and welcome your continued participation in the district court proceedings as an amicus curiae.

But we cannot and will not support your motion to intervene. Your intervention would create a complex, multi-party proceeding that would inevitably be hampered by procedural inefficiencies that are directly at odds with our goal—and the goal of Chief Judge Walker—of securing an expeditious, efficient, and inexpensive resolution to the district court proceedings. As a result of your intervention, we could be mired in procedurally convoluted pre-trial maneuvering for years—while gay and lesbian individuals in California continue to suffer the daily indignity of being denied their federal constitutional right to marry the person of their choosing. Such potentially interminable delay is antithetical to the values on which your organization was founded and for which you and your supporters have fought so tirelessly.

Delaying equal marriage rights in California serves none of our interests.

Again, we continue to welcome your input and advice as we move forward in this case. We look forward to working with you to resolve this issue and bring the focus back to the constitutional issues at hand.

Sincerely,
Chad H. Griffin
Board President

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Homophobic OK Rep, Sally Kern, Heckled by Protesters as She Launches Morality Campaign

By The Associated Press
Via 365 Gay


(Oklahoma City) A state lawmaker who made national headlines by claiming homosexuality is a greater threat to the United States than terrorism was heckled by protesters as she launched a campaign for a morality proclamation that opponents said promotes an atmosphere of hate.

Rep. Sally Kern said the U.S. is drifting from traditional Christian values as she sought signatures for her petition at a state Capitol rally attended by about 250 people including ministers and their followers, four other state lawmakers, and protesters who shouted “shame on you” and “hypocrite.”

“You are seeing a wonderful demonstration of intolerance,” the conservative Republican from Oklahoma City said of the hecklers.

Among other things, the proclamation says, “This nation has become a world leader in promoting abortion, pornography, same-sex marriage, sex trafficking, divorce, illegitimate births, child abuse and many other forms of debauchery.”

The proclamation declares the federal government “is forsaking the rich Christian heritage upon which this nation was built.”

Last year, gay and lesbian groups demanded Kern apologize after she told a political group that “the homosexual agenda is just destroying this nation” and poses a bigger threat to the United States than terrorism....(Remainder.)

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Mass. is 1st State to Sue Feds Over Marriage Law

Massachusetts State Attorney General Martha Coakley speaks to members of the media, Wednesday, July 8, 2009 in Boston about a lawsuit filed Wednesday that says that the federal Defense of Marriage Act interferes with the right of Massachusetts to define marriage as it sees fit. (AP Photo/Lisa Poole)
By Denise Lavoie
Associated Press via Google News


BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts, the first state to legalize gay marriage, sued the U.S. government Wednesday over a federal law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

The federal Defense of Marriage Act interferes with the right of Massachusetts to define and regulate marriage as it sees fit, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said. The 1996 law denies federal recognition of gay marriage and gives states the right to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

Massachusetts is the first state to challenge the federal law. Its lawsuit, filed in federal court in Boston, argues the act "constitutes an overreaching and discriminatory federal law." It says the approximately 16,000 same-sex couples who have married in Massachusetts since the state began performing gay marriages in 2004 are being unfairly denied federal benefits given to heterosexual couples.

"They are entitled to equal treatment under the laws regardless of whether they are gay or straight," Coakley said at a news conference.

Besides Massachusetts, five other states — Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Iowa — have legalized gay marriage. Gay marriage opponents in Maine said Wednesday that they had collected enough signatures to put the state's pending law on the November ballot for a possible override.

The lawsuit focuses on the section of the law that creates a federal definition of marriage as "a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife."

Before the law was passed, Coakley said, the federal government recognized that defining marital status was the "exclusive prerogative of the states." Now, because of the U.S. law's definition of marriage, same-sex couples are denied access to benefits given to heterosexual married couples, including federal income tax credits, employment benefits, retirement benefits, health insurance coverage and Social Security payments, the lawsuit says....(Remainder.)

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Anti-Gay Marriage Merchants of Hate Reach Signature Goal in Maine

By The Associated Press
Via The Boston Herald


PORTLAND, Maine - Gay marriage foes in Maine say they’ve collected enough signatures to stop the new law from going into effect and to force a statewide vote in November.

Mark Mutty from the Stand for Marriage Maine coalition says it took only four weeks to gather the more than 55,087 signatures necessary to put gay marriage to a vote. But he says signature gathering will continue to ensure there’s more than enough petitions.

The law that’s scheduled to go into effect on Sept. 12 will be put on hold after the signatures are submitted and certified by the secretary of state’s office.

Six states allow gay marriage. Maine became the fifth state to allow gay marriage in May, and New Hampshire later followed suit....(Original.)

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The Real Punchline

By Clay Bennett
Chattanooga Times Free Press



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Fox's Bloviating Baboon, Bret Baier: "Several Scientists Have Detailed Recent Global Cooling"

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Lying Sack of Dog Mess's Fill-In, Thompson, Equates Hate Crimes Legislation to Fascism and Socialism

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Sarah Palin's Not Just a Quitter—She's a Professional Quitter at Taxpayers Expense


By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars


Sarah Palin quit as Alaska's governor because, she claimed, she needed to "do the right thing for Alaska".

But has anyone sat down and figured out how much this stunt is actually going to cost Alaska's taxpayers?

One of our wise Alaska friends e-mailed the other day, pointing out that Palin's resignation is likely going to wind up costing in the vicinity of $200,000 or more, because a special session is going to be required to name a successor to the lieutenant governor's post.

Indeed, Greg Sargent is reporting that one of the reasons Palin repeatedly gave for resigning -- that defending her on the ethics complaints was costing taxpayers a bundle -- was fundamentally false.

All this for the sake of someone who already has a history of quitting on the state when she hit rough sledding -- but using the splash she made from doing so as a stepping-stone to higher office.

John Ziegler, Palin's Biggest Fan, dropped that point in passing the other night on The O'Reilly Factor -- as though it were an admirable thing to do, of course.

Crisitunity at Swing State Project explored this in a bit further detail:
One other thought about Alaska that just about everyone in the tradmed seems to be missing. Sarah Palin did have a job in between being mayor of Wasilla and Alaska Governor: she was chair of Frank Murkowski's Oil and Gas Commission. How long was she on this Commission? Less than a year... until she quit in January 2004 with a big public huff (leaving the Commission in the lurch with only one member), saying "the experience was taking the 'oomph' out of her passion for government service and she decided to quit rather than becoming bitter." She publicly cited her frustration with being unable to be all straight-talky and mavericky about the corruption and backbiting on the Commission, but the resignation also came at a very convenient time for switching over to lay the groundwork for her successful 2006 gubernatorial run.
(Remainder.)

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