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American Apparel Stands Up to Homobigots

Monday, July 27, 2009

By Max P.
The Progressive Puppy

Kristallnacht in Maryland?

Anti-gay bigots in Silver Spring, Maryland are resorting to Nazi tactics to express outrage over LGBT-affirming tee-shirts at an American Apparel outlet.  When shop manager Kassandra Powell showed up for work a few days ago, she discovered that vandals had smashed the front window and destroyed her elaborate display.  Police at the scene informed her that the store's security alarm had gone off at 5:15am.  Powell says the wreckage wasn't the result of a typical retail break-in since nothing was stolen and there had been phone threats directed at another location, in nearby Georgetown.  Amanda Hess provides details on The Sexist:
This morning, the Georgetown American Apparel location experienced its own attack from an upset window shopper - this time, over the telephone. Around 10:30am, visual merchandiser Walter Reed fielded a call from a male who was "enraged for no reason."

"He was like, is this the Silver Spring location? And I said, ‘No, this is the Georgetown location, '" says Reed. "He said, 'You have some Legalize Gay shirts in the window there.'’  He said that he and his friends found it offensive, and that if we didn’t take them down, they were going to break it - the window," said Reed. "I said, 'Is that a threat, Sir?' And then he hung up."  When Reed called the Silver Spring store to inform them of the threat, he was told that the location had already received the more forceful warning about its window display over 24 hours earlier.  Then, Reed informed the police of the telephonic follow-up.
("Telephonic follow up."  Heh heh.  I like that.)

A spokesperson for American Apparel insists that the clothing chain will not be bullied by this hate-motivated vandalism.  From their website
Our Georgetown location and others in the areas have received similar threats.  We just wanted to use this forum here to announce that not only are they not going to prevent us from speaking out on an issue that is important to this company and our employees, but we'll continue to run Legalize Gay advertisements in papers across the DC-Metro area.  We'll also send Legalize Gay t-shirts to any group in Washington DC that is fighting for gay rights and will help support any protest or rally for the cause.  We don't find this kind of thing funny and we definitely don't find it intimidating....


U.S. Rep. Rick Steves?

By Goldy

Everybody knows that Democratic U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee (WA-01) has long had his eye on the governor’s mansion, and is widely expected to give up his House seat to run for our state’s top office in 2012. But who of note has his eye on Rep. Inslee’s coveted House seat, once it becomes vacant?

Word is that noted travel writer and TV and radio personality Rick Steves is seriously considering giving up his globetrotting ways for an extended stay in the other Washington, and is already working the local Democratic circuit in preparation for a potential run. The latest evidence? Steves jumped at the offer to be the keynote speaker at the Snohomish County Dems’ Annual Gala fundraiser on Sept. 12.

Yes, I know, 2012 is quite a ways off, but it wasn’t so long ago that Inslee was a top candidate for the number one or two position in President Obama’s Department of Energy, giving Steves a more immediate opportunity to explore his own political ambitions. And it was during this time, with a potential special election looming, that Steves reportedly firmed up his intention to run.

Through his popular guidebooks, website, radio and TV shows, the ever likable and seemingly unflappable Steves has expanded his Edmunds WA based tour business into a low-key, travel empire, making himself a nationally known public figure in the process. And in recent years, Steves has increasingly leveraged his national audience and stature to insert his own unique experiences into the public debate.

While his website is still largely devoted to his tour business and travel guides, it now contains an entire section devoted to “Social Activism,” including commentary arguing for a “European perspective” on drug control policy (he urges America not to be “hard” or “soft,” but rather, “smart on drugs”), and a link to his controversial ACLU-sponsored video urging the end of our nation’s failed “prohibition on marijuana.” Steves has also recently earned himself the unbridled hatred of many on the knee-jerk right for his thoughtful documentary on traveling through Iran, in which he shows the Iranian people as anything but an axis of evil....(Remainder.)


“Live Desk” Allows Platform For Anti Abortion Catholic Priest As Part Of Lobbying Effort Against Health Care Reform?

By Priscilla
News Hounds

The anti-choice lobby is in full, fighting mode against health care reform because a public option for health care might include funding for abortions. Their argument is that they don't want their tax dollars going to a medical procedure that they feel is murder. (Course they had no problem with the carnage of the Iraq war and support the death penalty; but details, details). As the mouthpiece for the Christian right, Fox News, does seem to provide a voice for the anti choice crowd with little or no counterpoint representing the majority of Americans who believe in a women's right to an abortion. The proposed public health option of health care reform has galvanized the anti choice lobby and Fox News is certainly providing a non fair and balanced platform for them. Last week, *Megyn Kelly interviewed an anti abortion congressman about his view of proposals (only that nothing more) about abortion vis-à-vis the health care debate. On Friday, Roman Catholic priest Frank Pavone was given a softball interview in which he presented the views of the anti choice lobby. "Fair and balanced" – don't think so.

Pavone, who endorsed Bush in 2004, is head of an order specifically created to work to make abortion illegal in the USA. Priests for Life includes the anti abortion Denver bishop Charles Chaput and is linked to the extreme right wing anti choice "Concerned Women for America." Pavone has appeared, at anti abortion protests, with domestic terrorist Randall Terry. And it's ironic, given the GOP's desire for stronger protection against frivolous lawsuits against doctors, Pavone advocates putting abortion doctors out of business using malpractice litigation. So obviously this priest has a very political agenda – something that wasn't detailed by Trace Gallagher on Fox's "The Live Desk."

Gallagher's first question was revealing in the way it was framed, "a lot of people would ask why abortion is even part of this bill. Shouldn't it be excluded altogether?" If Gallagher was a real "journalist" he would have asked why abortion wouldn't be covered in this bill seeing that women have access to abortion with private plans. But no, he needed to toss the ball back to Pavone for more anti choice talking points as in "abortion isn't health care." Pavone ( a celibate male) said that there "is not disease that abortion cures" and that there is "no medical benefit" to the procedure. (Memo to the padre – a pregnant woman with a medical condition that could kill her if an abortion isn't performed might disagree) Pavone, a primo member of the anti abortion lobby said "let's not let the abortion lobby hijack" the bill. Gallagher asked Pavone about "the phrasing" of those (President Obama, Hillary Clinton) who use the terms reproductive health care when describing abortion. As if on cue, Pavone said "there's no secret about the fact that" abortion is being described by this phrase. As if on cue, Gallagher said that it should be noted that the "vast majority of Americans are opposed to federally funded abortions." Pavone said that "we can see that from the public reactions, the circles I travel." (Yeah, fellow radical anti abortion types). He claimed that people "are outraged" (I guess the padre isn't aware of the outrage in pro-choice circles about how the anti choicers are, once again, trying to limit a woman's right to an abortion.) He made the specious point that "Americans don't want" the "legitimate" debate about health care to include abortion. (Memo to Pavone: You speak for yourself and co-religionists. You don't speak for the rest of us!) He added that the American public wants "more reasonable restrictions on abortions."...(Remainder.)


DeMint Throws a Hissy-Fit, Demands Censorship of DNC Ad

By Jed Lewison
Daily Kos

Jim DeMint thinks this ad shouldn't be allowed on the air:

DeMint calls the ad "both false and misleading" because it says that he doesn't have a health care plan, when he has in fact advanced one.
DeMint's "plan" is to give uninsured Americans vouchers of $2,000 per year (or $5,000 per family) to buy health care insurance. How would he pay for this? By requiring all TARP loans be repayed within five years, and using the repayments to pay for the vouchers.

Problem is, once the TARP loans are repayed, DeMint has no plan to pay for the vouchers. So not only would his plan be woefully inadequate and do nothing to control costs, it wouldn't even last more than a few years.

As the DNC said, that's "no plan at all."
"We don't concede at all that he does have a plan," said DNC communications director Brad Woodhouse, saying Demint's plan would "do nothing to address the questions of access and cost. That's not really a plan in our view."


The Truth About Canadian Healthcare

Universal healthcare is a source of pride here. Opponents of US healthcare reform are wrong to demonise our system.

By Colin Horgan
The Guardian

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the debate over a public healthcare option in the US is that in some ways, it's turning into a debate over the efficacy of the healthcare system in Canada. Canadians have taken a keen interest in the discussion in the US, not simply because it's familiar territory (we debate the efficiency of our healthcare system endlessly), but because our name keeps getting dragged through the mud.

The most shocking of these disdainful remarks on the Canadian system has come from a Canadian. Shona Holmes, from Waterdown, Ontario is currently featured in US ads run by the Americans For Prosperity Foundation (through a group called Patients United Now), warning of the dangers of Canadian-style healthcare. Holmes was told she would have to wait to be treated for a "rare type of cyst at the base of the brain", so she went to the US to pay for the treatment. She now warns Americans: "If I had relied on my government for healthcare, I'd be dead."

These ads began running only days after Fox host Glenn Beck flew into a rage on his radio show at a caller who suggested that the US adopt universal healthcare. During his rant (before he called his listener a "pinhead" and told her to "get off my phone!") Beck mentioned Canada's healthcare system. He said sarcastically:
Canada has a great healthcare. That's why people are suing. That's why, in Canada, they have a lottery. They have a lottery system. Who gets to go see a doctor this month in Canada?
Are they right? In a way, yes. Canada's system isn't perfect, and Canadians will – evidently – be the first to admit it. But there is a problem with the way it is being portrayed – namely that both Beck and Patients United Now (PUN) are leaving out the details. It's easier to scare people that way....(Remainder.)


‘Family Guy’ Abortion Episode Unlikely to Air on Fox

By Steven Zeitchik and James Hibberd
The Live Feed

News Corp. paid Seth MacFarlane the ultimate compliment when it made him 20th Century Fox TV's $100 million crown jewel. But the "Family Guy" creator wasn't exactly returning the favor at Comic-Con.

At the series' panel Saturday, MacFarlane continued his show's tradition of jibing its studio and network.

MacFarlane revealed he's producing a controversial episode about abortion for the upcoming season. But he and others on the panel said that Fox was unlikely to air the episode.

"20th Century Fox, as always, allowed us to produce the episode and then said, 'You know what? We're scared to f--king death of this,'" MacFarlane said.

The episode will probably be available on DVD, he added.

A Fox spokesperson said that no decision has yet been made on the matter.

There were few details offered about the content of the episode, but given the show's penchant for political incorrectness -- it has in the past featured a character wearing a McCain/Palin button on an SS uniform, among other flourishes -- it's unlikely Planned Parenthood would use the episode in a PSA anytime soon.

When asked for further comment, MacFarlane e-mailed a statement: "Clearly my sarcasm doesn't come across in print. I completely support whatever decision Fox makes. We were allowed to take a crack at this controversial story and that's enough for me."

If Fox chooses not to air the episode, it would be the second time in "Family Guy" history the network opted not to telecast the show. In 2000, the episode "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein" was rejected by the network, though the show later aired in syndication and was on the show's DVD set....(Remainder.)


An Incoherent Truth

By Paul Krugman
The New York Times

Right now the fate of health care reform seems to rest in the hands of relatively conservative Democrats — mainly members of the Blue Dog Coalition, created in 1995. And you might be tempted to say that President Obama needs to give those Democrats what they want.

But he can’t — because the Blue Dogs aren’t making sense.

To grasp the problem, you need to understand the outline of the proposed reform (all of the Democratic plans on the table agree on the essentials.)

Reform, if it happens, will rest on four main pillars: regulation, mandates, subsidies and competition.

By regulation I mean the nationwide imposition of rules that would prevent insurance companies from denying coverage based on your medical history, or dropping your coverage when you get sick. This would stop insurers from gaming the system by covering only healthy people.

On the other side, individuals would also be prevented from gaming the system: Americans would be required to buy insurance even if they’re currently healthy, rather than signing up only when they need care. And all but the smallest businesses would be required either to provide their employees with insurance, or to pay fees that help cover the cost of subsidies — subsidies that would make insurance affordable for lower-income American families.

Finally, there would be a public option: a government-run insurance plan competing with private insurers, which would help hold down costs.

The subsidy portion of health reform would cost around a trillion dollars over the next decade. In all the plans currently on the table, this expense would be offset with a combination of cost savings elsewhere and additional taxes, so that there would be no overall effect on the federal deficit....(Remainder.)


Obstructionists, Always. But Now Republicans are Barmy.

Beyond shutting off all of Obama's initiatives, the party harbours deniers of everything from climate change to his citizenship.

By Michael Tomasky
The Guardian

Last Friday, Orrin Hatch, the veteran Republican senator from Utah, announced that he would vote against the confirmation to our supreme court of judge Sonia Sotomayor. Hatch is a devout conservative, and Sotomayor seems pretty liberal, so on the face of it, you might say, so what? Here's what.

Hatch has been in the Senate for 32 years and has never voted against any president's high court nominee. True, most of the nominations in that time have been made by Republican presidents. But even so, Hatch's history means he has voted for two nominees who were obviously liberal, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. Sotomayor's record does not mark her out as appreciably to their left, and in terms of years of service on the bench, she towers over them. So what's changed?

Hatch's decision reflects the degree to which, during the Obama era, American conservatism – already fiercely ideological and obstructionist, operating according to sets of "facts" produced and paid for by oil companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers and other corporate interests – has contrived to go completely barmy.

In most countries, you have two major political parties or broad factions. They disagree on many things. But both begin by accepting certain suppositions. I would imagine that in Britain, for instance, both Labour and the Tories think healthcare for all or at least most people is a good idea. They have different notions about how to do it, but the goal is agreed upon. I gather also that the Tories accept the basic idea that global warming exists and that man's actions have contributed to it....(Remainder.)


Behind the Great Mormon-Gay Divide

By Roger Brigham
EDGE Magazine
Photo:  Sandy Huffaker (AP)

For most of us, a kiss is an expression of affection or a prelude to passion. For Judas, it was the signal of the end for Jesus on the mortal coil. For the Mafia, it signals time to get ready for swimming with the fishes.

For the queer political consciousness, it has become a symbol of protest and hope for resolution.

Three "kiss-ins" have been held in July, the most recent being a peaceful one outside a Mormon temple in La Jolla, Calif., near San Diego, Wednesday evening that drew about 40 lip-locking participants. A. Latham Staples, executive director of Empowering Spirits Foundation, said the group wanted to organize the protest earlier to show support for a gay couple in Salt Lake City. They didn’t do so because of the just-completed San Diego Pride.

Matt Aune and Derek Jones, who had been arrested July 9 in the Utah capital city on trespassing charges brought by Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints security personnel, who had wanted them not to kiss on a public-use plaza owned by the church.

"We felt this was the perfect opportunity to support those two guys and also to engage in dialogue with the church," Staples said. "We just couldn’t get this one off the ground fast enough."

There will be another, even bigger, kiss-in, one held nationwide. It’s planned for Aug. 15. The Great Nationwide Kiss-In will take place in seven cities, from Boston and New York to three California cities....(Remainder.)


Finally, Action on Gay Soldiers

The Daily Beast has learned that the Senate, prompted by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, will hold hearings on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"—a first since 1993, despite Obama's campaign promises.

By Jason Bellini
The Daily Beast
Photo: Tim Roske (AP)

After determining she didn’t have enough votes in support of a temporary suspension of the ban on gays in the military, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand tells The Daily Beast she has secured the commitment of Senate Armed Services Committee to hold hearings on “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” this fall. It would be the first formal re-assessment of the policy since Congress passed it into law in 1993.

A statement from the Gillibrand’s office, shared exclusively with The Daily Beast, notes that “265 men and women have been unfairly dismissed from the Armed Forces since President Barack Obama took office.”

Gillibrand’s fast-track proposal for halting DADT, an amendment to the Military Reauthorization Act that would have ordered the Defense secretary to stop investigating gay service members, was never introduced. Even with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid expressing his support, Gillibrand couldn’t gather the 60 votes needed to avoid a filibuster, according to a spokesperson.

“I thought it was a long shot from the very beginning,” says Aubrey Sarvis, executive director the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, an organization fighting for the end of DADT.

“Clearly one of the positive things that came out of the Gillibrand amendment was that it served as a catalyst for hearings,” he added.

Gay-rights leaders expressed high hopes that Senate hearings could bring reluctant legislators around. According to a recent Gallup poll, 69 percent Americans think gays should be allowed to serve....(Remainder.)


Hoping Obama Fails

By The Progress Report
Cherry Creek News

Days before President Obama took office, hate radio talker Rush Limbaugh, the de-facto leader of the Republican Party, summed up his desired outcome for the Obama presidency in four words: "I hope Obama fails." Just days after he uttered that statement, Limbaugh told his audience, "There's one thing we gotta stop is health care. I'm serious, now. If they get that, then that's the tipping point." Nearly eight month's later, the right wing's approach to health care reform remains guided by Limbaugh's vision -- they simply hope it fails. And so the conservative movement is increasingly banking on a political strategy of opposing health care in the hopes that it will help resurrect the political fortunes of the struggling Republican Party. During a recent appearance on right-wing radio show, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) bluntly stated that defeating Obama's health care agenda is "going to be a huge gain for those of us who want to turn this thing over in the 2010 election." In a separate radio appearance, Inhofe -- speaking for the right wing -- explained, "We are plotting the demise on a week by week basis of where Bill Clinton was in 1993 and where Obama is today and his demise ratio is greater than Clinton's was in 1993."

BATTLE OF WATERLOO: Speaking on a conference call with "tea party" activists, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) let slip why he hopes that health reform fails: "If we're able to stop Obama on this it will be his Waterloo. It will break him." Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) half- admitted the truth about conservative opposition to health reform, telling CNBC that the balance between opponents' desire to express disagreement with the President and their desire to exploit a failed bill for political gain is "probably 50-50." Yet even as conservatives plot to leave tens of millions of Americans without health care in order to score political points on Obama, they refuse to release a single new idea to address the health care crisis. Rep. Roy Blunt (R- MO), head of the "House GOP Health Care Solutions Group," at first announced that his group would not be releasing a health care plan because they believe doing so would be a waste of time, only to have Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) follow up that statement by saying that Republicans will have an alternative healthcare reform bill to offer, "but [he] did not say when it would be ready." For his part, DeMint introduced a bill which appears to be plagiarized from the McCain-Palin health plan that voters soundly rejected last November....(Remainder.)


UK Miles Ahead of US on Gays in the Military—Gay Soldier on the Cover of “Soldier” Magazine

Pride, Not Prejudice

By Joe Clapson
Soldier Magazine (UK)

JUST ten years ago it was illegal to be gay in the UK Armed Forces.  But since 2000, following a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights, homosexual men and woman have been able to proudly serve – without hiding their sexuality.  In an interview with Soldier, Tpr James Wharton (The Household Cavalry Regiment) explained that instead of being oppressed, gay and lesbian Army personnel are now given full support.

"I came out to the Army before I told my parents, so that says a lot for the Armed Forces," said the 22-year-old.  "I told the Army in March 2003, after all my initial training was over – I was 18. I have always known I was gay but it wasn't until then that I told anyone."

The decision to lift the ban on gays in the Army came after two landmark cases heard at the European Court of Human Rights, which found that the MoD's policy was not sustainable.  Despite the change, the other half of the UK's "special relationship" – the United States – has not relaxed its attitude towards homosexuals in
the Forces.

"I still can't get my head round the US' 'don't ask, don't tell' policy," said Tpr Wharton, who has served Queen and country for six years.

"Luckily I don't have to deal with it, but clearly there will be gay soldiers in the US Army who are not being themselves – they aren't allowed to be."

Tpr Wharton was deployed to Iraq on OpTelic 10 in 2007 on long-range desert patrols and he says the idea of a "pansy" serving in a conflict zone is a flawed one.

"I would say whoever goes on a tour to a place like Iraq can't really be described as a pansy – so the gay stereotype doesn't really apply," he said.

The Liverpool FC fan, who met his boyfriend Ryan during last year's London Gay Pride march – the first time members of the Armed Forces were allowed to march in uniform – went on to say that although he can find himself on the wrong end of "banter", it is not a problem....(Remainder.)


Backers of Gay Marriage Rethink California Push

By Jesse McKinley
The New York Times
Photo: Heidi Schumann (NYT)

LOS ANGELES — Discouraged by stubborn poll numbers and pessimistic political consultants, major financial backers of same-sex marriage are cautioning gay rights groups to delay a campaign to overturn California’s ban on such unions until at least 2012.

Earlier this year, many supporters of same-sex marriage seemed eager to mount a 2010 campaign to overturn Proposition 8, which was passed by California voters in November and defined marriage as “between a man and a woman.”

But the timing of another campaign has since been questioned by several of the movement’s big donors, including David Bohnett, a millionaire philanthropist and technology entrepreneur who gave more than $1 million to the unsuccessful campaign to defeat Proposition 8.

“In conversations with a number of my fellow major No on 8 donors,” Mr. Bohnett said in an e-mail message, “I find that they share my sentiment: namely, that we will step up to the plate — with resources and talent — when the time is right.”

“The only thing worse than losing in 2008,” he added, “would be to lose again in 2010.”

The issue of when to go back to the polls was also the central topic at a contentious “leadership summit” held Saturday at a church in San Bernardino, east of Los Angeles, where about 200 gay rights advocates gathered to discuss their next step. It was the second large meeting of gay leaders since late May when the California Supreme Court ruled against a legal challenge to Proposition 8, which passed with 52 percent of the vote....(Remainder.)


TV Station Nixes Anti-Gay Infomercial After Outrage

By 365gay News Staff
365 Gay

(Grand Rapids, Michigan) A Grand Rapids television station that found itself in the middle of the battle between gays and the conservative American Family Association has dropped plans to air a one-hour paid commercial on the “radical homosexual agenda.”

The AFA, which regularly fights LGBT civil rights legislation, originally bought time to broadcast the infomercial on Monday at 7 p.m. but the station moved it when President Obama announced an 8 p.m. news conference.

“We didn’t feel that it was the appropriate place, leading into the presidential event,” WOOD-TV program director Craig Cole said.

The station then slated the infomercial to run on Wednesday.  But as opposition mounted and hundreds of e-mails began flooding the station, Cole suggested to the AFA that it run on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Late Wednesday, station manager Diane Kniowski said the AFA had not responded to the offer to run the paid program on Saturday and that it was pulling the show.

“We made a gesture of the 2-3 p.m. Saturday time period. It’s been 24 hours and we had no response,” Kniowski said in a statement.

“Our station is being bombarded with calls and messages, and we find ourselves in the middle of someone else’s fight. Ours was a fair offer and we are removing ourselves from this matter.”

It is believed the AFA is attempting to negotiate with other stations across the country to carry the hour-long program.

The infomercial, “Speechless: Silencing Christians,” is hosted by conservative talk show host Janet Parshall. In a 2006 appearance on the Larry King show on CNN, Parshall suggested Matthew Shepard’s “lifestyle” was responsible for his murder and called gay adoption “state-sanctioned child abuse.”...(Remainder.)


Corporate Media Whores Whine About Having to Cover President Obama Too Much

By Media Matters

In covering President Obama's promotion of health care reform and his July 22 press conference, several media figures have suggested that Obama has "overexposed" himself by holding too many press conferences and granting too many interviews. On the July 26 broadcast of ABC's This Week, host George Stephanopoulos stated to his panel that "spending a lot of time with journalists, on television, giving interviews over the last couple of weeks ... has led to this discussion ... about whether the president is overexposed." Similarly, on the July 26 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources, host Howard Kurtz said that the number of interviews Obama has done "raises the question of whether he does too much of that and is overexposed." However, others have disagreed. For example, New York Times columnist David Brooks told Stephanopoulos: "I actually don't think he is overexposed," while Politico columnist Roger Simon had previously told Kurtz, "[P]olitics is personality-driven. And the president, when he dominates the stage, as he does in every one of these interviews, helps not only get his message across, but he fills the airwaves with him instead of his opponents."

Examples of media figures suggesting Obama is "overexposed" include:
  • During the July 26 broadcast of CNN's Reliable Sources, Kurtz also asked Simon: "[D]oes the president get much out of doing all these network interviews? Did he get one inch closer to health care, as supposed to sitting down with [CBS Evening News anchor] Katie [Couric], et al?"

  • During the "All Star Panel" on the July 24 edition of Fox News' Special Report, host Bret Baier asked: "Is the president overexposed? Is he out there too much? He had 11 health care events in many as many days pushing the health care reform legislation." In response, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer stated: "He's overexposed. He's a great rock star, but even rock stars can outstay their welcome. He should only go out there on his own when he has something new to say and dramatic. He didn't. I think it's -- the faith he has in his own eloquence, it's larger than the reality of his own influence." Weekly Standard editor William Kristol responded, "President Obama's exposure, if he had something substantive to say, if you're willing to make a serious case for the health care bill and address the objections, I think it might be fine. Go out and do it a lot." He continued: "But he's not saying anything substantive. Except that he's attacking unnamed Republican strategists for asking that the bill be killed and that we start over."


Howard Kurtz Finally Slams Dobbs' Birther Coverage "Ludicrous"


Bill "Hippopotamus-Diarrhea-for-Brains" Kristol Wants Arrogant Obama to Apologize to HIM Over Gates

By David Edwards
The Raw Story

President Barack Obama’s comment at a press conference Wednesday that Cambridge police “acted stupidly” in arresting Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates is something the president should apologize for, Fox News pundits said Sunday morning. But the president won’t, the pundits agreed, because he is “too arrogant.”

“The president could have said ‘that was a stupid thing for me to say,’ but he can’t say that for some reason. That would be too self-deprecating and he is an arrogant man and he feels entitled to pass judgment on Cambridge cops,” said Bill Kristol.

“This president who travels the world apologizing for his country couldn’t quite apologize for himself, he spoke of not calibrating his words properly,” said Brit Hume.

Hume seems to think that the Gates arrest will be an issue that will concern the next president. “I fear we will have to await the arrival of the next president who can apologize for Barack Obama on this as he so repeatedly does about previous presidents,” said Hume.

This video is from Fox’s Fox News Sunday, broadcast July 26, 2009....(Original.)


Baptist Publication Fakes Signatures on Kern's ‘Morality Proclamation’

By Ed Brayton
Dispatches from the Culture Wars

The circus sideshow led by Sally Kern in Oklahoma gets more ridiculous by the day. Now a Baptist publication was caught red handed printing a copy of Kern's morality proclamation along with faked signatures from other government officials as though they were endorsing that proclamation.
Now, a new controversy has taken center stage involving The Baptist Messenger, a weekly paper with about 68,000 subscribers put out by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. The publication reprinted the proclamation in its July 16 edition, complete with state seal and a signature by Governor Brad Henry and Secretary of State Susan Savage.

"It is not anything that the state is sponsoring, so to see it on such an official document that we filed is really surprising," Savage said.
But given the situation in Oklahoma, these elected officials are soft-peddling what happened here:
Savage's office has to verify the governor's signature on all proclamations and affix the seal. Savage believes the paper took another proclamation signed on July 2 and merged the bottom half with the Kern proclamation.

"I think it's unfortunate especially when it's something that's potentially controversial to have there be any misrepresentation of the state's official position on it," Savage said.

The paper issued a statement saying, "the artwork used was from previous editions of the paper and was used without the consent of the governor and secretary of state."...



Baptist Publication Fakes Signatures on Kern's ‘Morality Proclamation’

By Ed Brayton
Dispatches from the Culture Wars

The circus sideshow led by Sally Kern in Oklahoma gets more ridiculous by the day. Now a Baptist publication was caught red handed printing a copy of Kern's morality proclamation along with faked signatures from other government officials as though they were endorsing that proclamation.
Now, a new controversy has taken center stage involving The Baptist Messenger, a weekly paper with about 68,000 subscribers put out by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. The publication reprinted the proclamation in its July 16 edition, complete with state seal and a signature by Governor Brad Henry and Secretary of State Susan Savage.

"It is not anything that the state is sponsoring, so to see it on such an official document that we filed is really surprising," Savage said.
But given the situation in Oklahoma, these elected officials are soft-peddling what happened here:
Savage's office has to verify the governor's signature on all proclamations and affix the seal. Savage believes the paper took another proclamation signed on July 2 and merged the bottom half with the Kern proclamation.

"I think it's unfortunate especially when it's something that's potentially controversial to have there be any misrepresentation of the state's official position on it," Savage said.

The paper issued a statement saying, "the artwork used was from previous editions of the paper and was used without the consent of the governor and secretary of state."...



Right-Wing Discrimination: A Constitutional “Right”

By James Hipps

Those on the Right are always talking about how affording equality to LGBT citizens is threatening the moral fabric of the nation, and I suppose that is exactly why so many from the Right have made it their patriotic duty to change their state's constitution to ban the recognition of same-sex couples in committed relationships.

I ran across a post on Fon Du Lac Reporter (Wisconsin) about how the new Domestic Partner Registry violates the constitution and how angry Wisconsin residents should be at lawmakers for violating their constitutional right to discriminate against LGBT citizens.

Here is an excerpt:
Thanks to false stereotypes about social conservatives peddled by so-called agents of "tolerance," I'm sure many liberals expect us to explode into flames over the insertion of same-sex domestic partnerships into the state budget, as if bigotry were our motivation.

Sadly, they'll have to settle for reasoned argument and serious concerns instead.

With its requirement that participants live together for a scant 30 days to qualify, the measure is begging to be scammed by any two people sharing a residence, not just gay couples. But that's not why Wisconsin should be offended.

Many of the so-called rights gay couples are allegedly denied, such as hospital visitation and power-of-attorney related issues, are either already available to gays, easily achievable without creating new government relationship statuses, or were created to aid couples raising children on just one parent's income, and are thus irrelevant to gay couples (as well as to dual-income straight couples). But that's not why Wisconsin should be offended, either.

Wisconsin should be offended because this action was unconstitutional, and the Democratic lawmakers and the governor who enacted it, knew it. It violates the democratically enacted 2006 Marriage Protection Amendment, which prohibits the state from recognizing "a legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals" (the Wisconsin Constitution has no "Unless we really, really want to" clause).



New Marc Jacobs Tees Demand Gays' Right to Wed

By Lauren Murrow

New York Magazine

Two new political T-shirts arrived in the Marc by Marc Jacobs Accessories store on Wednesday, both scrawled with the words, "I pay my taxes, I want my RIGHTS!" Our favorite of the two depicts a chic, presumably lesbian couple clad in stiletos and little black dresses, their arms draped around each other and a baby (who, adorably, also sports her own mini-LBD). The other version has a dollar sign and an American flag floating around the text. Both are $24 at 385 Bleecker Street, where assistant store manager Bret Paterson says they've been selling. The response has been positive as they've been unpacking them over the past couple of days — mainly a mix of "well, they deserve it," remarks and delighted laughter, he says. According to a rep from the showroom, both are available in limited runs of around 200....(Original.)


The Completely Bizarre Retirement Speech of Sarah Palin


Anti-Gay Signature Fraud Caught on Tape

By Chris Mason
Daily Kos

There is a push by the anti-gay forces in the state of Washington to repeal the Domestic Partnership legislation recently passed by the legislature. Anti-gay organizations are trying to collect enough signatures to bring Referendum 71 to the ballot. This referendum seeks to repeal the Domestic Partnership Expansion Law of 2009, passed by the legislature, that gives registered domestic partners wherever they live in Washington many of the rights and protections already enjoyed by legally married couples.

If the backers of Referendum 71 collect enough signatures to get it on the November ballot, then the question on the ballot will be: Should this bill be approve or rejected?

The anti-gay organizations are using paid signature gatherers in attempt to collect the required number of signatures needed to put the referendum on the ballot. The signatures are due this Saturday.

While in Port Angeles, Washington, I stopped at WalMart for a quick minute. As I was walking into WalMart, I was stopped by a signature gatherer who asked my opinion on same-sex marriage. I told him that I am gay and we had a long conversation about equal rights.

After I bought some medicine at the pharmacy, I came back out to the van and grabbed my camera. I filmed the man collecting signatures for a bit, then I went over to talk with him. He was friendly and let me film him for a while.

We talked about his personal beliefs about same-sex marriage. He is in favor of equal marriage rights and would vote against the referendum if it gets on the ballot. He went on for a while about how gays deserve the same rights and that the church is wrong for trying to take those rights away. It was an interesting conversation.

Then it got even more interesting. He approached a woman and asked her if she supports same-sex marriage. When she said yes, he handed her the clipboard to sign the referendum. She though she was signing in favor of equal marriage. He tricked her, right in front of me, on camera. I called him out on it.

He said to her:
"Did you get a chance to sign our petition? We're giving you an opportunity to decided whether or not you are in favor of giving homosexual couples legal marriage licenses. Not just the same rights as married people, but a marriage license too. Do you have an opinion on that? Yes? No? Or don't Care?"


A Sanctuary from Hate

Pastor, D.C. Church Offer Gay African Americans A Message of Acceptance and Responsibility

By Darryl Fears
The Washington Post

In the middle of a sermon, Bishop Rainey Cheeks felt his medicine bottle bulging in his pocket and realized he hadn't taken his pills. He paused in the pulpit and faced the congregation in his tiny storefront church.

"Excuse me," Cheeks remembers telling his parishioners last year as he poured three pills into his hand. "This is my HIV medicine. I'm going to take it now."

As he washed down the pills with water, Cheeks saw some members staring with wide eyes. Everybody knew that their pastor, an imposing man with flowing dreadlocks who once competed in taekwondo championships, is gay. But not everyone knew that he is HIV-positive.

"Go ahead, Rev," a few congregants urged. But most shrugged and waited for the bishop to swallow and get on with delivering the good word.

Inner Light Ministries in the District's H Street corridor might seem like a traditional black church, with fiery sermons, electric gospel music, a soulful choir and a congregation that sways and claps in rhythm. But it is hardly that.

For 16 years, it has served as a sanctuary for a small community of black gays and lesbians who say they feel shunned from all directions -- by black men and women who give them cutting looks of disapproval, by mainstream black ministers who condemn homosexuality, and by white gays who make them feel unwelcome in subtle ways, such as switching from hip-hop to country music in a club when too many black men hit the dance floor....(Remainder.)



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