Majority Leader Reid explains how the Senate is going to move forward

I used C-SPAN’s video tool to embed this video of Majority Leader Reid announcing plans for moving forward. C-SPAN let’s one clip only the relevant video one wants.

The Senate wants to adjourn on December 17th. That’s less than two weeks from now. And, they’ve got a lot to do. He addressed the Defense bill after prompting from Senator Levin. Transcript of those remarks is below. Bottom line is that time is still our enemy and we’ll need to see a lot of cooperation if the DADT language is going to pass this year.

You have to click on the start button (black triangle) to begin the video.

Here’s the language, from the transcipt on Defense Authorization:

AND THE OTHER THING THAT I’VE INDICATED — IN FACT I HAD A NUMBER OF CONVERSATIONS, BIPARTISAN IN NATURE, YESTERDAY — WE’RE ALSO TRYING TO FIGURE OUT A TIME TO MOVE FORWARD ON THE DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION BILL. THE ISSUE ON THAT, MADAM PRESIDENT, IS WHAT WE DO WITH AMENDMENTS. AND WITHOUT BELABORING THE POINT HERE, I WOULD BE HAPPY TO CONSIDER DOING A NUMBER OF AMENDMENTS, IF WE HAVE TIME AGREEMENTS ON THOSE AMENDMENTS. BUT JUST TO HAVE AN OPEN PROCESS, AT THIS STAGE, I DON’T SEE HOW WE CAN DO THAT. BUT I WILL CONTINUE TO WORK WITH MY FRIEND, THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE, AND OTHERS INTERESTED, BOTH REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS, RECOGNIZING HOW IMPORTANT THAT LEGISLATION IS.
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Sen. Mark Udall: ‘best move forward’ for DADT is in Def. Bill — and he hasn’t spoken to White House

Kerry Eleveld interviewed Senator Mark Udall, who actually has been a fierce advocate for us on Capitol Hill. Udall sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee and has been one of the leaders on DADT repeal. The interview is worth a read. But, several questions stuck out for me. This one:

There is this talk of potentially stripping the repeal measure from the bill and passing the NDAA without it. In your opinion, is there any scenario under which you could get “don’t ask, don’t tell” through if it’s not attached to the Defense bill?

I don’t think there is, but I always believe hope springs eternal. I do think the best way to move this forward is in the NDAA and I do worry that if we don’t formalize the repeal process in statute now that we may not have this opportunity for a number of years in the future. If you listen to Sec. [Robert] Gates and Adm. [Mike] Mullen, they want the repeal in law, they want the Congress to have the final say. This is the most appropriate way to repeal an outdated policy that undercuts our national security.

That should help shut down the inane, counter-productive strategy concocted by the Palm Center, which no one can makes sense of.

And these two:

Do you get the sense that the White House is actively involved here? Have you spoken with them, and do you get the sense that they are having conversations with other senators?

I believe that a number of senators who are on the fence would benefit greatly from hearing directly from the president, the Secretary of Defense, and the from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs on the importance of passing the Defense bill and, included in that, the repeal provision.

That would be helpful. I don’t know whether they are doing that, but I’ve been weighing in on a series of letters and comments and outreach efforts to the White House, to other senators, and to the general public. So that would be helpful.

But you haven’t spoken with the White House directly?

I have not specifically spoken to the White House.

Still waiting for that promised White House strategy. Not seeing it.




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SU explains the path forward on Defense Authorization and DADT

Alex Nicholson explains the process and the players if the DADT language is going to pass “this year”:




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HRC Volunteers Keep Equality Moving Forward in the Keystone State

The following post comes from Regional Field Director Sultan Shakir. Sultan is just one of 30 HRC staff that will be on the ground in 16 states by Election Day, working with HRC-endorsed candidates and engaging our membership about the upcoming elections:

This week, HRC members in the greater Philadelphia area joined in on another phone bank to help turn out HRC members in this critical election.  Across the state, HRC members are being plugged into key races, working hard to ensure that pro-equality are elected to represent us.  With just under two weeks left, the energy is high and we’re working harder than ever to make sure our people get out to vote.

Thank you to everyone who has helped out all across the state, and thanks those who will do so between now and Election Day. Together we will continue to drive equality forward in the Keystone State this fall.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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Moving Forward on Marriage and Safe Schools in Minnesota

All across the country, progressives are gearing up for a tough election. Our friends and allies will need our help this year; perhaps more than ever. Here in Minnesota, we are in marathon mode. The prize at the end of this race is the possibility of finally passing a safe schools bill and the chance at securing full marriage equality for Minnesota families. We know what is at stake, and Minnesotans are stepping up to the plate.

If this week was any indication, we are going to spend November 3rd celebrating. Our recent phonebank was packed with supporters and allies calling across Minneapolis to spread the good word about Mark Dayton and other pro-equality candidates to let people know about their support for LGBT rights. We made thousands of calls and had hundreds of conversations to remind them about the importance of voting for pro-equality candidates this November.

I also recently had the pleasure of running into Senator Al Franken. Senator Franken has been a solid ally in Congress and he stopped by a Get Out The Vote training to thank and support us staffers. He promised us that together we will keep Minnesota moving forward. If we elect Mark Dayton this November, we will truly make history.

If you have not already signed up to volunteer or help out, shoot me an email to get plugged in – terry.mcguire@hrc.org

See you on the campaign trail!

Paid for by the Human Rights Campaign Minnesota PAC and authorized by Mark Dayton for a Better Minnesota and the Minnesota DFL


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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Virginia Beach GOP chairman agrees to resign after hitting ‘forward’ and ‘send’ on a racist e-mail

When will they ever learn? I’m not just talking about moronic Republican bigoted politicians like this Virginia Beach Republican chairman (remember NC State Rep. Larry “Fruit Loops” Brown?), but people who think that somehow your randy/racist/homophobic emails to your “friends” may lead to forwards to “friends of friends” and then eventually to the MSM?

But back to this brain-dead pol — David Bartholomew, now the former chairman of Virginia Beach’s Republican Party resigned after sending this out to friends:

MY DOG

I went down this morning to sign up my Dog for welfare.

At first the lady said, “Dogs are not eligible to draw welfare”.

So I explained to her that my Dog is black, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and has no frigging clue who his Daddy is.

So she looked in her policy book to see what it takes to qualify…

My Dog gets his first check Friday.

Is this is a great country or what?

Yes, the mask comes off easily these days for the GOP politicians. As Monica Roberts said on my Facebook wall…

VA has a GOP governor and a GOP AG, so the bigots feel comfortable enough to KKKome out and play.

But wait, it does get better (as these stories often do). Look at the statement in the Virginia Pilot.

The city’s Republican chairman agreed to resign late Monday night, just hours after a racist joke sent from his e-mail address surfaced.

David Bartholomew is not a racist and agreed to resign because the e-mail had become a distraction to the Nov. 2 election, said Gary Byler, the 2nd Congressional District GOP chairman, after meeting with Bartholomew.

The e-mail was dated March 15 and sent from the address that Bartholomew uses as party chairman. Bartholomew forwarded it without reading the contents when “he was first getting familiar with the Internet,” Byler said.

Oh. My. F*cking. Dog. Is that not the most ridiculous excuse you’ve heard? OK, first, any disclaimer that starts off with “he’s not a racist” should just go into the circular file pronto. But “getting familiar with the Internet” makes the guy look like a moron. Perhaps Bartholomew’s “forward” and “send” buttons in his email client must be inordinately larger than the rest of the commands, and his hands uncontrollably moved to hit them on that one missive.

Come on, go with the simplest explanation, since Republican bigots are a dime a dozen. Bartholomew just wanted to share his tasteless humor with people he thought were his friends. Now who’s going to fess up to sending to the media? I’m sure he wants to know.

The Maddow blog has more, with the hat tips going to Daily Kos diarist @lowkell and Blue Virginia.
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And the walls tumble down for Pastor Eddie Long: 3rd young man comes forward with sex charge

CNN has more on homobigot pastor Eddie Long’s alleged secret same-sex predatory behavior. Long has not returned CNN’s calls regarding this third suit; he plans to hold a news conference tomorrow. And you won’t be surprised that his church is still behind him.

Another civil suit has been filed against Atlanta-based megachurch pastor Eddie Long, alleging coercion, negligence and fraud that involved a sexual relationship with a third young male, CNN has learned.

Through a spokesman, Long on Tuesday denied similar allegations in two other lawsuits by two men.

Long will hold a news conference Thursday morning, spokesman Art Franklin said.

Allegations that Long coerced two young male church members and employees into sex are “a case of retaliation and a shakedown for money by men with some serious credibility issues,” the pastor’s spokesman told CNN on Wednesday.

Pastor Eddie Long “categorically and adamantly denies these allegations,” spokesman Art Franklin said. “There’s been a lot of chatter since yesterday, but these complaints that have been filed are definitely without merit.”

…On the reaction from Long’s congregation, Franklin said, “Last night, it was a very spirit-filled worship service from a church family that loves its spiritual leader very much.” He said Long is drawing strength from his family, the New Birth family and other supporters.

“Before rushing to any judgment on Bishop Long and this court of public opinion taking place right now, I really do hope you will look at these guys that are throwing the mud and consider the source,” he said.

Asked how she can prove that sexual contact took place, Bernstein said, “I am ready to put them under oath. Bishop Long can spend money on the best attorneys in this world, and they can question those young men, and then I’ll get to question the bishop, and then we’ll really see what’s going on.” She said she will subpoena records of an “excessive number of phone calls” between Long and the young men, along with e-mails, credit card receipts and other items. Bernstein said she had alerted federal authorities about the situation

.

Long frequently denounces homosexual behavior. A 2007 article in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s magazine called him “one of the most virulently homophobic black leaders in the religiously based anti-gay movement.”

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Sheridan v. Cherry Moves Forward

NICOLETTE SHERIDAN MARC CHERRY X390A Los Angeles superior court judge is allowing Nicollette Sheridan’s million wrongful-termination lawsuit against ABC and Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry to move forward.
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CNN interview: Florida fundie pastor going forward with September 11 Quran burning

He certainly has the right to do this, but Terry Jones, the pastor of Dove World Outreach Church in Gainesville, Florida, is going to burn the holy book of Islam on the anniversary of the September 11th attacks.

This is in spite of a plea by General Petraeus for Jones to think twice about the political impact of the visuals of the burning in Moslem countries. (CNN):

“It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort in Afghanistan,” Petraeus said in a statement issued Monday.

With about 120,000 U.S. and NATO-led troops still battling al Qaeda and its allies in the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban movement, Petraeus warned that burning Qurans “is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems — not just here, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community.”

Petraeus said he was concerned by the political repercussions of the church’s plan.

“Even the rumor that it might take place has sparked demonstrations such as the one that took place in Kabul yesterday,” he said. “Were the actual burning to take place, the safety of our soldiers and civilians would be put in jeopardy and accomplishment of the mission would be made more difficult.”

In the clip below the fold, CNN’s Kiren Chetry almost goes apoplectic in frustration over the nonsense Jones bleats.
Jones has no plans to call the burning off; he claims this event should not offend moderate Muslims.


We realize that this action would indeed offend people, offend the Muslims. I am offended when they burn the flag. I am offended when they burn the Bible. But we feel that the message that we are tyring to send is much more important than people being offended.”

Jones said Muslims are welcomed in the United States, if they observe the Constitution and don’t try to impose Sharia law, or Muslim law. The message, he said, is directed toward the “radical element of Islam.”

“Our message is very clear,” he said. “It is not to the moderate Muslim. Our message is not a message of hate. Our message is a message of warning to the radical element of Islam, and I think what we see right now around the globe provides exactly what we’re talking about,” he said.

…”We need to speak up against sin and call the people to repentance. Abortion is murder. Homosexuality is sin. We need to call these things what they are and bring the world the true message: that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life,” it says on the church’s website.

 
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One Step Forward And One Step Backward On State Identification Cards For Trans People

Back in the seventies, California passed legislation regarding identification cards that was truly progressive; I personally benefitted from the activism of Californian transsexual women that did work long before I was out of the closet. Transsexual Californians have relatively simple and accomplishable procedures for changing one’s gender marker on California state identification cards (which include drivers licenses), and sometimes I find it too easy to take for granted.

Thumbnail Link: Equality Pennsylvania's Press Release 'Equality Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Reach Breakthrough Agreement on Gender Marker Policy'Well, Pennsylvania has just changed their policy on gender markers for their state identification cards. From the Equality Pennsylvania press release Equality Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Reach Breakthrough Agreement on Gender Marker Policy:

Harrisburg:  After several months of positive and thoughtful discussion, Equality Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today announced that they have successfully reached agreement on a change in gender marker policy.  ”Gender Markers” refer to those ways in which individuals present themselves mostly on official documentation.  For example, on a driver’s license your “gender marker” would refer to your name and photograph.

“I want to applaud the Department of Transportation for the careful and intelligent way they have handled this discussion,” remarked Equality Pennsylvania Executive Director, Ted Martin.  ”From the very beginning, they recognized what the American Psychological Association, over 25 other states and the U. S. Department of State has been realizing all along; that this just makes sense and is the right thing to do. This simple and cost-free change in policy will make lives better and that’s really the most important point in all this.”

Under previous policy, transgender individuals looking to be represented on their driver’s license as their presenting gender were forced to prove that sexual reassignment surgery had occurred.  With the newly adopted policy, transgender citizens of Pennsylvania will be permitted to change the designated gender on their driver’s license when they are living full-time in their new gender and it can be verified by a licensed medical or psychological caregiver.

One step forward in Pennsylvania…

…and a step backward is occurring in Michigan’s race for Secretary of State. Now two Republican primary candidates for the office have made rolling back transsexual/transgender gender marker policies to one similar to Pennsylvania’s recently changed policy. In other words, as we’re watching many Republicans on the national stage making a wedge issue of Muslims, at least two Republicans in Michigan have made a wedge issue of transsexual and transgender people. Apparently, we don’t have enough minorities in the United States to express despite towards.

Thumbnail Link: Republican Candidate Paul Scott for Michigan Secretary of StateI already wrote about Republican Candidate Paul Scott, who in his letter announcing he was running for Secretary of State, he only had four campaign issue talking points — and trans discrimination was point number three:

There are also policies that I will work to change:

• I will stand strong against illegal immigration by verifying a valid social security number before issuing anyone a driver’s license, an issue Representative Dave Agema has been pushing for 3 years.

• I will actively push to encrypt the traceable RFID chip in the enhanced driver’s license.

I will make it a priority to ensure transgender individuals will not be allowed to change the sex on their driver’s license in any circumstance.

• I will work tirelessly to repeal the over 0 million dollar tax increase on drivers in the form of driver responsibility fees.

After traveling around the State the past few months, I have not heard any of the other candidates for Secretary of State addressing the serious issues mentioned above.

Thumbnail Link: Republican Candidate Ruth Johnson For Michigan Secretary Of StateNot to be outdone, Republican Candidate for Michigan Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson, has announced that she too is embracing changing policy for transsexual Michiganites. From the Michigan Messenger‘s Johnson Takes Hard Right Turn On LGBT Issues In GOP Primary:

Republican candidate for Secretary of State Ruth Johnson has issued a statement denying support for lesbian, gays, bisexuals and transgender people and disavowing her 2002 endorsement by the statewide gay rights group Triangle PAC.

In a move meant to match the political stance of opponent Rep. Paul Scott of Genesee County, Johnson also issued a statement saying, “No I do not support allowing people to change their gender on their license as a result of surgery or lifestyle.”

Scott entered the race in February with a great deal of attention on his announcement that he would not allow transgender residents to change their gender markers on their state ID cards.

Julie Nemecek made a comment in the Michigan Messenger article that sums up why this reversal of policy, apparently endorsed by Scott and Johnson, isn’t sound policy:

To not allow a transgender person to change their gender marker on a driver’s license is to ignore the advice of the AMA [American Medical Association], APA [American Psychological Association], WPATH [World Professional Association for Transgender Health], and other healthcare organizations that understand this medical condition. The U.S. State Department allows changes on a passport even without surgery.

One step backward in Michigan to go with our one step forward in Pennsylvania.

On the state level, we have one state take a step forward regarding gender markers on atate identification cards, and in another state we one step backward in the use of trans people as a wedge issue…specifically regarding gender markers on state identification cards.

It’s certainly an interesting time to live as a transgender and/or transsexual person in the United States.

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Further reading:

* TransGriot: Pennsylvania Changes Trans DL Rules and Another Michigan GOP Candidate Plays The Transphobia Card

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Related:

* Running On An Antitrans Hate Platform In Michigan
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