Fierce photo-op, Christian Siriano at the Galleria

Christian SirianoReality TV is full of shows promising to produce the next top model, hot new designer, or big deal arborist (OK, I made that one up), but rare is the reality show winner who actually sticks around to have a high profile career once the cameras power down. Project runway season 5 winner, Christian Siriano, is that rare talent that makes for good TV and real world success.

Siriano’s coming to the Galleria Payless Shoe store this Thursday, Nov 3,  to show off his expanded Payless collection, including an assortment of shoes and handbags.  Siriano will be available for photos with his “fierce” -ly loyal fans. The posing and pouting kick off at 5 pm at the Galleria, 5061 Westheimer Road.

—  admin

(Take Action) Tell President Obama: We need fierce advocacy on DADT now

This morning, President Obama is meeting with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Hopefully, they’ll be discussing a strategy to secure passage of the Defense bill, which includes the DADT language.

If you had a chance to watch the video of the panel on DADT in the post below, you know that one of our biggest obstacles to success is the calendar. Time is running out. The President needs to step up if we’re going to pass the DADT language this year, as promised. Today, we’ve launched a sign on letter urging President Obama to fully engage in this process — we’ll be delivering the letter to the White House on your behalf. We’ve sent this email to our AMERICAblog list, and hope you’ll join us in signing it:

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs recently told reporters that President Obama hasn’t made any calls to wavering senators in support of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — which will soon be voted on in the Senate. What’s he waiting for?

At a recent meeting between President Obama and progressive bloggers, Joe Sudbay personally told the president about our widespread disappointment over his failure to fulfill his campaign promises, including repeal of DADT.

Today, we’re asking you to help us show that this sentiment is real by joining our open letter that we’ll personally deliver to the White House.

Click here to join us in telling President Obama to put some skin in the game and call senators in support of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — now.

In September, when John McCain was leading the filibuster against the Defense Authorization bill, which includes the DADT language, President Obama didn’t make one phone call to Capitol Hill. But he did find time that day to call the WNBA champs.

With the Defense bill being brought up again in the next few weeks, we need President Obama’s leadership once again — this is not the time for him to be MIA. He promised to be our fierce advocate. Let’s tell him: We need his fierce advocacy now on this issue.

If we don’t repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell now, we all lose. It would be a “political disaster” for President Obama, according to The Hill newspaper. LGBT voters know that it could be years before we get another chance at passing anything pro-gay at the federal level. And Democrats learned this past November what happens when they leave their base disillusioned. None of us can afford to miss this window of opportunity.

So please join us in telling President Obama to start calling senators now in support of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Click here — then, share with friends.

The stakes are high. Thanks for joining us in this fight.

We want to help prevent this political disaster, which will be a loss for our servicemembers, our national security, the President and our country.

Add your voice to the letter. Sign here.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Why the fierce advocacy on START but not the DOD bill or DADT?

An informed friend writes:

If passage of the annual defense bill — and DADT — is a such a big priority for the White House, then why isn’t the White House mounting a strategy to make the Senate pass it? As we know, DADT repeal MUST occur this year, or we will lose the opportunity for years to come. Instead, the White House has mounted a full-scale offensive to get the Senate to pass the New START nuclear weapons treaty. The White House has even gotten foreign governments speaking up to pressure the Senate to act this year on the treaty. But WHY? There is really no imperative reason that the Senate must pass the new START treaty this year. It would be nice to pass it this year — sure — but not essential, unlike the defense bill. We have passed a defense bill 48 years in a row, for the safety and welfare of our troops. This defense bill even includes a pay raise for those troops. But now, a manufactured tight Senate schedule and misplaced presidential priorities threaten to derail the defense bill and DADT repeal.

Once again, note the difference between saying you’re for something and actually doing something to make it happen. The White House wants to pass the START treaty because they think it’s cool. Because they think it would make the President look successful. Mind you, it won’t change YOUR lives one bit in the near-term, but that’s apparently not what presidenting is all about – it’s not about actually helping millions of Americans during an economic crisis.  (And spare me the “START is saving us from nuclear war” talk – I seriously doubt we’re at risk of having a nuclear war some time in the  next two weeks.)  So the White House pulls out all the stops to get START passed now, even though it can wait until next year.

On the DOD bill, and DADT, not much more than words so far.

Let me explain this clearly: Getting a pay raise for 1.5m active duty personnel and another 1.5m reservists, both of which are in the DOD bill along with DADT, just isn’t on the presidential radar during one of the worst economic crises in American history.  The political tone-deafness of this White House is actually more astounding by the day.  I wonder how many of those 3m votes, who now won’t see a pay raise, are going to vote for Obama because he traded their raises away for the START treaty.  I say none.

But political smarts isn’t what we voted for – correction, it’s what we voted for, it’s not what we got.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

‘Fierce advocate’ fetes ‘moral titan’

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

_________________________________________________________________________

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 7, 2010

Statement by the President on the Retirement of Archbishop Desmond Tutu

It is with deep appreciation that I note Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s retirement from public life today on the occasion of his 79th birthday. This event invites us to celebrate his many accomplishments from which we have all benefited. For decades he has been a moral titan—a voice of principle, an unrelenting champion of justice, and a dedicated peacemaker. He played a pivotal role in his country’s struggle against apartheid and extraordinary example of pursuing a path to forgiveness and reconciliation in the new South Africa. He has also been an outspoken voice for freedom and justice in countries across the globe; a staunch defender of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons; and an advocate for treatment and prevention programs to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. We will miss his insight and his activism, but will continue to learn from his example. We wish the Archbishop and his family happiness in the years ahead.

###

Ooh, you know what would be a great retirement gift, White House? Your full and unqualified support for marriage equality, to bookend the support that ArchBishop Tutu has offered up for some time now!




Good As You

—  John Wright

Fierce advocate on DADT and elections: ‘Let’s repeal in an orderly way’; voter apathy ‘inexcusable’

Update (by Autumn) below the fold.


Thanks to Rolling Stone, which, unlike the LGBT press, got to interview the President about LGBT rights (specifically DADT), we have yet another sterling example of fierce advocacy.

We’re just impatient; it’s too much to ask to have repealed DADT within two years. Well, crap, he hasn’t done any of the big ticket items HE promised.

Now he’s making it clear the only way the discharges will stop is the slow-walk through Congress — and he’s likely about to lose control of the House, so progress will come to a screeching halt thanks to his lack of pressure on The Hill this year, a Congress without a spine, and Robert Gates running the decision making process. (The Wonk Room):

The DADT remark came as Obama was stressing his administration’s accomplishments in its first two years in office and showing frustration over the lack of credit he has received. “I’ve been here two years, guys. And one of the things that I just try to remember is that if we have accomplished 70 percent of what we committed to in the campaign, historic legislation, and we’ve got 30 percent of it undone – well, that’s what the next two years is for, or maybe the next six,” Obama said. He did not directly say how he would meet his administration’s promise to end DADT before the end of the year, but signaled that it should be done in an “orderly” way:
OBAMA: Understandably, everybody has a great sense of urgency about these issues. But one of the things that I constantly want to counsel my friends is to keep the long view in mind. On social issues, something like “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Here, I’ve got the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff both committed to changing the policy. That’s a big deal.

ROLLING STONE: You get credit for that.

OBAMA: Now, I am also the commander in chief of an armed forces that is in the midst of one war and wrapping up another one. So I don’t think it’s too much to ask, to say “Let’s do this in an orderly way” – to ensure, by the way, that gays and lesbians who are serving honorably in our armed forces aren’t subject to harassment and bullying and a whole bunch of other stuff once we implement the policy. I use that as an example because on each of these areas, even those where we did not get some grand legislative victory, we have made progress. We have moved in the right direction.

All I can say is Obama’s doing an incredible job of motivating his base to go to the polls, don’t you think?

We’re just the messengers, peeps. Anyone out there that is going to blame the media or blogs for people staying home needs to look at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

A must-read if you want to catch up on DADT news (the good and the bad) – hop over to The Progress Report.

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And if the above wasn’t bad enough, take a look at what else President Obama said about his base. Incredible political strategy – lecture and admonish it for being unenthusiastic and unhappy with his administration and Congress. Gee why would the Base think this way?

Obama: Democratic voter apathy ‘inexcusable’

The president has been telling Democrats to “wake up” and recognize that he and the Democratic-run Congress have delivered on promises, from a new health care law to tougher rules for Wall Street to more aid for college students. Obama wants disenchanted supporters to see that Republican wins in November would undermine the ability of Democrats to get the unfinished business done, from climate change legislation to allowing gays to serve openly in the military.

What emerges in the magazine story is a stern, lecturing tone from Obama.

It comes mainly at the end of the interview. Obama had wrapped the lengthy Q-and-A session, according to the magazine, but then returned unprompted to make one more impassioned point and unleash on the enthusiasm gap. He portrayed a clear choice between an administration that despite some warts has helped advance its agenda, and a Republican Party that would offer disastrous policies for the economy and civil liberties.

“The idea that we’ve got a lack of enthusiasm in the Democratic base, that people are sitting on their hands complaining, is just irresponsible,” he said in the interview. He said Democrats should be thinking about what’s at stake this election “if they want to move forward over the next two years or six years or 10 years.”

The frustrating and pathetic thing about this whining is that, at least here at the Blend, there has never been a call to stay at home, it’s been the opposite — give as generously as possible to pro-equality candidates, donate your time to canvass for them or promote them (as we do with liveblogs and interviews), and to show up to vote for them.

What we have said is no money to the Dem machine that turns around and funds the election of Blue Dogs that end up “No” votes on our issues.  That gAyTM is closed.

And that does not mean zero criticism if we’re looking at performance and promises. I think a person on Twitter yesterday put it quite succinctly, if tartly:

@mystic23 another thing, Dems – just cause I’m angry @ Dems doesn’t mean I won’t vote for Dems in Nov. FU for telling me not to be angry.

Update and commentary by Autumn:

Visce President Biden joins in on “motivating” the Democratic base. From MSNBC‘s Biden tells Obama’s core supporters to “buck up”:

Vice President Joe Biden told disaffected liberals within his own Democratic Party on Monday to “buck up” and “stop whining” ahead of November 2 congressional elections in which Republicans are trying to regain control of Congress.

…During a political appearance in New Hampshire, Biden directed comments at members of his own party’s base constituency who feel that Obama has not delivered on promises since coming to power in January 2009.

According to Politico, Biden said they should “stop whining and get out there and look at the alternatives” — referring to Republican candidates trying to take control of the House of Representatives and Senate from the Democrats.

“So those who … didn’t get everything they wanted, it’s time to just buck up here, understand that we can make things better, continue to move forward, but not yield the playing field to those folks who are against everything that we stand for in terms of the initiatives we put forward,” Biden said later on Monday during an interview on the MSNBC cable TV channel…

The MSNBC video of Vice President Biden telling Democrats to “buck up” (via the YouTubes):

Damn skippy. With statements from President Obama telling us progressives that our alleged “apathetic” feelings about voting are “inexcusable,” and Vice President Biden telling us progressives that we need to “stop whining” and “buck up” — Is it any wonder many progressives like me aren’t very enthused to vote this November?

I didn’t vote against the other guys in 2008; I voted for candidates that I thought were going to boldly follow though with their campaign promises. I voted for President Obama and Vice President Biden in part because Presidential Candidate Obama said he was going to be a “fierce advocate” for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. If the best the cowardly Democrats in the House, Senate, and White House can offer us is “we’re better than the other guys,” I know my motivation level is going to be low. If they’re going to insult my intelligence by telling me I should be more motivated to vote — even though the Democrats didn’t live up to their campaign promises — I’m even less motivated. I’m sharply angry at beltway Democrats, not apathetic in the slightest.

Oh, I’ll vote this coming November as I was already planning to do, but I’m not excited at all to vote like I was in 2008 — not by a long shot.


Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

We have a fierce advocate. It’s Lady Gaga, not Barack Obama

Kerry Eleveld’s latest column provides an update on the impending Senate vote to end the GOP filibuster of the Defense bill, which contains the DADT language. It’s not good. There’s a standoff between the Democrats and Republicans. And, there’s no sign that the White House is lobbying on behalf of DADT. Think about that. If this is such a priority for the White House, why haven’t we heard a peep from Obama. The Republicans are filibustering a defense bill while we’re fighting two wars. And, nothing.

But, there is one voice out there speaking out. And, she’s speaking to many of those young people who elected Obama. It’s Lady Gaga:

One would think the White House has a stake in making sure this legislative effort doesn’t die since they seem committed to defending the constitutionality of every antigay law on the books. Even more to the point, if the bill’s defeated, President Obama is facing a 2012 election scenario in which his only legislative accomplishment for the LGBT community would be passing hate crimes. I wonder how many LGBT Americans would call that fierce.

Meanwhile, Lady Gaga has been a more visible force for DADT repeal than almost every politician in Washington combined. Trust me when I say that this reporter – who suffers from severe pop culture deficit – initially discounted her. But after having discharged soldiers escort her to the Video Music Awards, exchanging tweets with Reid’s office about the vote, tweeting an explanation of a filibuster and instructing her “little monsters” to call their senators, Lady Gaga penetrated my Beltway myopia.

The YouTube video she posted Thursday advocating for repeal already has nearly a million views [NOTE: it's well over 1.2 million as of 8:00 a.m.], and yet not a single statement urging passage of the legislation from the White House.

At last year’s Human Rights Campaign dinner, which featured appearances by both President Obama and Lady Gaga, the president joked, “It is a privilege to be here tonight to open for Lady Gaga.”

While Obama’s performance may have given Gaga a run for her money that night, he is clearly being upstaged by her now.

Last night, Lady Gaga tweeted a message about all the responses to her videos and tweets from the “lil Monsters”:

To @SenJohnMcCain and everyone on Twitter I received an overwhelming amount of videos responding to DADT, please watch:http://bit.ly/cWAITv




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Andy Towle on Fierce Advocacy and marriage

TowleRoad:

The White House’s statement on the Prop 8 victory, as I noted yesterday in the “reactions” post, delivered by spokesman Ben LaBolt:
“The President has spoken out in opposition to Proposition 8 because it is divisive and discriminatory. He will continue to promote equality for LGBT Americans.”

An odd statement from a President whose official position on marriage is not equality, and whose Justice Department continues to aggressively defend DOMA in the courts.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright