Robert Gibbs shows little improvement in the ability to give a straight answer to a DADT question

And to think this man’s name was floated as a contender to head up the DNC? Can you even imagine Mr. I Hate the Professional Left in that role? I’d tell him “don’t quit your day job,” but as we’ve seen, Robert Gibbs still can’t answer a straightforward DADT question that The Advocate’s Kerry Eleveld tosses him at today’s presser.

From the WH transcript:

KERRY ELEVELD: It looks like the defense authorization bill and, with it, “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal is sort of barreling toward a dead end. Sixty-nine House members and now 16 senators have signed on to a letter urging the President to instruct his Justice Department not to appeal a recent decision that ruled “don’t ask, don’t tell” unconstitutional. Is that something that’s even being discussed within the walls of the White House right now, not appealing that decision?

MR. GIBBS: I would point you over to the — I think the Department of Justice, the last I heard, was reviewing the case. Obviously the President has a deeply held view that this is a law that can and should be changed. We worked to make sure that that happened in the House, and we, regrettably, were unsuccessful in the Senate. That is not going to stop the President from trying. And I know that — without being totally aware of all the discussions in here, I know the Justice Department is weighing a series of arguments as they make those decisions.

KERRY ELEVELD: Right, but ultimately that power resides with the President. I mean, he can instruct his Justice Department not to appeal.

MR. GIBBS: I don’t — I’ll be honest with you, I don’t have an update on whether that’s something that’s happened in here or not.

KERRY ELEVELD: Any contingency plans at all? I mean, I’ve listened to you talk about the priorities for lame duck. You’ve rattled through them on Thursday, Friday and today, and not once has defense authorization been mentioned.

MR. GIBBS: I will say, and I think I’ve said on a couple of occasions, that off the top of my head — I wouldn’t necessarily say which list is completely exhausted. But let me see if I can get better guidance on that — understanding, again, the President’s deeply held belief that we have to get this changed.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Safe School Improvement Act Introduced in Senate for First Time

Today, Senator Robert Casey (D-PA) introduced the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA) in the U.S. Senate.  The SSIA would amend the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (part of the No Child Left Behind Act) to require schools and districts receiving federal funds to adopt codes of conduct specifically prohibiting bullying and harassment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and religion.  It would also require that states report data on bullying and harassment to the Department of Education.  This is the first time the SSIA has been introduced in the U.S. Senate.  However, earlier this Congress, Representative Linda Sanchez (D-CA) introduced the SSIA in the House (H.R. 2262).

“Too many kids have dropped out of school, hurt themselves, or even taken their own lives because they were bullied or harassed at school,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “We place our children in grave danger when we fail to adequately help school administrators and teachers create safe learning environments for all students, including those who are actually or perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or  transgender.”

Bullying and harassment of students who are actually or perceived to be LGBT is widespread. While current federal law provides important support to promote school safety, it does not comprehensively and expressly focus on issues of bullying or harassment, and in no way addresses the challenges faced by LGBT youth in our nation’s schools.

According to a 2007 School Climate Survey by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT youth reported being verbally harassed at school because of their sexual orientation; more than 60 percent of LGBT students said they felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and more than a third of LGBT students felt unsafe because of their gender expression; nearly 45 percent of LGBT students reported being physically harassed in school because of their sexual orientation; and nearly one-third of LGBT students nationwide said they had missed a day of school in the past month because of feeling unsafe.  Numerous education, health, law enforcement and youth development organizations support this federal legislation to combat bullying and harassment, including the American Federation of Teachers, American School Health Association, National Association of School Psychologists, National Education Association, National Parent Teacher Association, American Association of University Women, Asian American Justice Center, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, and the National Council of La Raza.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright