News: iPad, Joe Miller, Louisville, The Moon, Valerie Jarrett

Road Much more water on the moon than anyone thought: "The presence of water doesn't make it more likely that there ever was life on the moon, as the location studied is among the coldest in the solar system. But the large quantity boosts the case for a manned lunar base from which to launch other interplanetary adventures."

Ipad RoadObama meets with Steve Jobs, is likely the first President to have signed an iPad.

RoadHoly Halloween: Avatar dog.

RoadCub Scouts don't like Mormons either.

RoadSt. Vincent's Hospital in New York's West Village to become rental apartments and retail complex

RoadMadonna's new boy toy.

RoadUnfortunately, this will probably be a best seller.

RoadDouble burglary in Louisville, Kentucky may be based on the homeowners' sexual orientation: "Members of the Fairness Campaign are questioning two burglaries that happened less than a mile from each other. Chris Hartman, director of the Fairness Campaign, believes the homeowners may have been targeted because they are gay."

Road SF's Castro evacuated over gas leak.

RoadMichelangelo Signorile goes after Valerie Jarrett: "Jarrett, who I met back at Netroots Nation in Pittsburgh, is someone I thought was a voice on our side in the White House, but I'm really coming to dislike her and realize she's another smug hack, a complete phony. She outright lied several times on CNN yesterday, claiming the president has called DADT unconstitutional — he has not — and also claiming the administration must appeal Judge Virgina Phillips injunction."

RoadDavid Beckham pimps out his wife's sunglasses.

Nasa RoadNASA astronaut checks into Foursquare from space, gets special badge.

RoadMama Cass: 'It's Getting Better'.

RoadCrocodile loose on plane in Congo causes crash, kills 19.

RoadFrench eBay changes rules on contest, will allow gay couples to enter.

RoadEx-priest found guilty of abusing boys.

RoadThe Arctic as we knew it is gone: "It is increasingly unlikely, at least in the foreseeable future, that we will return to previous Arctic conditions. It is very likely warming will continue in the Arctic, [and] planning is urgent to adapt to the changes coming."

Road Holland, Michigan's Human Relations Commission votes unanimously in favor of adding sexual orientation to the town's anti-discrimination ordinance.

Pinehardy RoadChris Pine and Tom Hardy: War buds.

RoadProsecutor: Two slayings in Maplewood, NJ may have been related to sexual orientation. "John Staten, 30, of Orange, was arrested Tuesday and charged with the March beating death of Arthur Downey. At the same time, Laurino said a 'manhunt' is under way for two suspects wanted in the shooting death of Victoria Carmen White — a 28-year-old transgender woman from Newark."

Road78% of Australians want conscience vote on allowing same-sex couples to marry.

RoadAlaska GOP teabagger candidate Joe Miller has an extremist anti-gay adviser, Terry Moffitt: "Moffitt's Family Policy Network runs a project called 'Hope for Homosexuals' that encourages 'practicing homosexuals to 'come out' of that destructive lifestyle, and to 'come home' to the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ…While the homosexuals celebrate their perversions, they are confronted with the truth that there is hope for deliverance in Jesus Christ.' In June, the group hired an airplane to fly a banner near Disney World…"


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Valerie Jarrett Vs. Dan Choi

I think it’s time for a cage match!

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Valerie ‘Lifestyle Choice’ Jarrett falsely claims DOJ required to defend all laws; says critics don’t ‘actually understand’ process

Senior  Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett also appears to take a swipe at those of you aren’t happy with the President’s less-than-fierce advocacy on this issue. Apparently, you just don’t understand the way things work.  (Oh trust me, I think we’re beginning to.)  From Igor Volsky in The Wonk Room.

JARRETT: Until Congress repeals it, the Justice Department is doing what it is required to do, and that is to defend the laws of the land. But I want to be very clear, the President thinks that it is time for the policy to end and that is what he intends to ask Congress to do.

You know what, c. Believe me, we wish that it were another way because the President has been so clear. And I think there are many members of the gay community who actually understand this, and who are working with us to try to put pressure on Congress to repeal it. It’s clear that vast majority of American people think that it should not be the law. And we are determined to have Congress revoke it. But we have to go through that orderly process.

I think it’s time someone got Valerie Jarrett a new set of misinformation talking points, because the current ones have already been debunked, embarrassingly so.

No, Valerie, DOJ is not required to defend, or appeal, or enforce every law.  That’s a lie.  Newsweek did the best summation of the options the President has here, but to quote from their story, “Most experts in constitutional and military law say [President Obama] has other options” than simply appealing, defending and enforcing the law.

Don’t believe me?  How about Ted Olsen, George W. Bush’s solicitor general:

As Ted Olson — former Solicitor General under President George W. Bush — explains, “it happens every once in awhile at the federal level when the solicitor general, on behalf of the U.S., will confess error or decline to defend a law.”

“I don’t know what is going through the [Obama] administration’s thought process on ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’” Olson said. “It would be appropriate for them to say ‘the law has been deemed unconstitutional, we are not going to seek further review of that.’”

Guess you’re wrong, Valerie.

Not to mention, if Valerie Jarrett is so sure that “the Justice Department is required to defend the law of the land,” then why has the Obama administration refused to enforce lots of other laws since they came into office?  We’ve enumerated them before.  Let me share with you a bit of that post:

A) Last October the Obama administration outright ignored federal law regarding marijuana because it was at odd’s with the administration’s policy preferences with regards to medical marijuana.

B) Then there is President Obama’s use of signing statements to simply ignore laws passed by Congress.

C) Then there’s this from the NYT just two months ago:

T]he approach will make it harder to keep track of which statutes the White House believes it can disregard….

[T]he administration will consider itself free to disregard new laws it considers unconstitutional….

Mr. Obama nevertheless challenged dozens of provisions early last year. The last time was in June, when his claim that he could disobey a new law requiring officials to push the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to adopt certain policies angered Congress….

Last year the Obama administration disregarded a statute that forbid State Department officials to attend United Nations meetings led by nations deemed state sponsors of terrorism. Congress has included that restriction in several recent bills.

D) Then there was the time that the Obama administration refused to enforce immigration laws because they didn’t comport with the administration’s policy preferences.

Need I go on?

I’d like to think that a senior White House official, who just spoke at the HRC dinner, isn’t lying to our community about the state of play with regards to DOJ and the law.  I’d like to think that she’s simply seriously ignorant of how all of this works.  But this isn’t the first time the Obama administration has tried to mislead the gay community on this issue.  They do it a lot.  And it’s always the same false talking points about how they have no other option than to defend the law.

And it’s a lie.

Finally, with all due respect to Valerie Jarrett, why is the White House using someone who thinks being gay is a “lifestyle choice” to be their top spokesperson on gay issues?  Regardless of whether it was a simple slip of the tongue for Jarrett’s to use the phrase to recently describe a now-dead gay bullying victim, her use of the anachronistic and supremely offensive language shows that she is not intimately familiar with our community and our issues.  No gay spokesperson would use that phrase, ever.  But it seems there aren’t any senior White House advisers who are openly gay (or Cabinet secretaries, or Supreme Court nominees), and the only gay spokespeople they have are unfortunately relatively low level.  So we have to rely – the President has to rely when getting advice on our issues – on someone who thinks the state of play in the gay community is offensive religious right talking points from twenty years ago.

The Obama administration has done this much damage to the gay community’s decades-long relationship with the Democrat party in only 19 months.  Imagine how bad it’s going to be at the end of four years.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

WH adviser Valerie Jarrett refers to gay bullying suicide victim’s ‘lifestyle choices’

Oy.

This post isn’t about playing an “I gotcha!” with Valerie Jarrett, who ironically just spoke at HRC’s “No Excuses” dinner. The poor woman, for better or worse, is being used by the White House to show how pro-gay Obama really is. And that’s the problem. The closest voice to the President on gay issues is a straight woman who uses language to describe gays that is not only outdated by nearly 20 years, but it’s also supremely offensive.

If there were any senior advisers to the President who were gay, and to our knowledge there aren’t, they would know not to use phrases like “lifestyle choice,” especially when talking about a kid who killed himself after being bullied – he wasn’t killed because he made a choice (it’s not a choice, thank you) and he didn’t have a lifestyle, he had a life, past tense. (Her use of the phrase is about 4:30 into the video I link to above.)

Again, the point here is not to play “I gotcha” with Valerie Jarrett. It’s to point out the simple fact that the people advising the President are political novices when it comes to gay civil rights (though I have to say, we’d better be hearing something from the White House pronto about how it’s not a choice). And the people he has on staff as unofficial gay liaisons (since they have other non-gay jobs too), aren’t senior enough advisers to make a difference.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

So when does ‘it get better,’ Valerie Jarrett?

There was something somewhat distasteful about Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett co-opting Dan Savage’s anti-bullying message by taking its name and using it as the title of her speech at the Human Rights Campaign’s annual “No Excuses” dinner last night.

And it’s even more distasteful that she mentioned Dan’s slogan “it gets better” in her speech, but didn’t even bother mentioning the anti-bullying campaign it represented, or the fact that Dan was spearheading it.  Better to plagiarize than give credit to a real fierce advocate.

But putting aside that little bit of chutzpah, there’s the larger gall of anyone in the Obama administration daring to tell gay people that things are going to get better when things in Obama-land keep getting decidedly worse.

The President blew off DADT, ENDA and DOMA in his first year. He finally decided to get to DADT in his second year, but was so afraid to stand up to his own Secretary of Defense that he cut a deal that pretty much guaranteed repeal would never happen under his watch. As for ENDA, it’s gone. And DOMA, well, no one in the Democratic party wants to touch it with a ten foot pole.

And now with the upcoming November elections expected to be a disaster for Democrats, even if we keep the House (which pundits consider unlikely at the moment), Democrats will be so shell-shocked they won’t touch anything smacking of “liberalism” or “controversy” for years to come.

The President who repeatedly promised to be our “fierce advocate” has been pretty much business as usual. He pays lip service to our civil rights, but doesn’t seem terribly interested in spending any political capital to help make them a reality. And the effort he did make, on DADT, was so botched, so amateur, that it’s pretty much dead in the water, as many of us predicted it would be.

Promise after promise from this administration, to the LGBT community, to people who care about the environment, to Latinos, to women, to Americans concerned about civil liberties, have been broken time and again. It’s come to the point where very few people believe that the President’s word means anything at all. And Valerie Jarrett shows up on the scene to tell us that she feels our pain, and that things will get better?

When exactly is it going to get better, Valerie? 2017?

Joe had dinner with Jarrett at the Netroots Nation conference last year, and from all accounts, she’s a very nice woman. But the situation has moved beyond nice. We didn’t vote for nice. We voted for change. We voted for someone who promised he would be fierce, he would be our advocate. When in fact, he’s been quite mediocre at best.

Yes, he signed the hate crimes bill, while lifting nary a finger to get it past. He issued a memo on hospital visitations that will get thrown out by the next Republican administration. And he gave federal workers a bunch of benefits that they already had, even though he pretended that they were new. And don’t forget the Easter Egg roll – if you can’t get married or keep your job, there’s always the Easter Egg roll. Can’t you feel the change?

When does it get better, Valerie?

When will the President ever start actually fighting for the things he’s promised? When does he start making phone calls to Senators on DADT the same way he makes phone calls to women’s basketball teams? When does he stop defending DOMA and DADT in court, undercutting our entire civil rights legal strategy? And when is the President finally going to agree to do an interview with a gay publication – he hasn’t done any as President. Does Kerry Eleveld have the cooties, or is the President just too busy with that women’s basketball team?

It’s all well and good for you to come the HRC dinner and try to co-opt Dan Savage’s anti-bullying campaign to give your boss cover for the abominable job he’s done on his promises to our community. But no one’s buying it, Valerie. How can you claim to be against bullying gay youth when your own administration politically bullies them each and every day? How is it not bullying to tell a gay kid that God doesn’t think he deserves to marry the person he loves? How is it not bullying to go to court and invoke incest and pedophilia while defending the hideous Defense of Marriage Act? How is it not bullying to tell those same kids that their civil rights just aren’t as important as getting chummy with a bunch of basketball players?

And how is it not bullying to accuse people of sowing discord when they are simply asking you to keep your promise?

So I ask you again, Valerie, on behalf of every single gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender person who voted for Barack Obama, donated money to Barack Obama, and worked their ass off to put Barack Obama in the White House: When does he get better?




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

HRC kisses WH posterior, attacks SU’s Nicholson for DADT challenge to Valerie Jarrett

As you know, Servicemembers United released a statement asking HRC National Dinner keynoter White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett to meet with DADT repeal proponents.

HRC has already issued its air kiss to the Obama administration as the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy organization’s National Dinner is tonight. The Obama administration, which to date has done everything to retard DADT repeal, and has accomplished zero of the promised equality gains to the LGBT community, clearly has the organization in its pocket. (The Advocate):

HRC president Joe Solmonese in a Friday release called Jarrett’s attendance “a tremendous addition to the event. … She and President Obama both care deeply about equality and are strong supporters of those of us fighting for LGBT rights.”

I’d love to see what efforts would come out of this WH if it didn’t “care deeply.”

In response, Alex Nicholson of Servicemembers United said:

“We certainly do not feel like the White House is a ‘strong supporter’ of gay and lesbian troops and veterans right now. To ignore the reality of the administration’s choices, a reality manifested in our daily lives, while appearing at a party hosted by an organization that has given cover to this administration would be incredibly insulting.”

And in what can only be described as a statement of an organization in internal political freefall, HRC’s vice president of communications Fred Sainz said this today, as the organization’s national “No Excuses” dinner is about to get under way:

These latest hijinks by Nicholson are part of a troubling pattern of irrational, unprofessional, and unproductive behavior,” Sainz said. “[Nicholson's] rant is also without substance. The Administration helped to craft the legislation that was successfully voted on by the House and the Senate Armed Services Committee. Never before has a Defense Secretary or a Joint Chiefs chairman publicly supported repeal. This president got them there, and for that, he deserves our gratitude.”

Who’s classy now? I thought it was the blogging set that had no couth, devolved discourse into personal attacks and was politically unsophisticated. What makes this doubly disgusting is that HRC has been on the inside of the DADT policy “planning” (for what that’s worth), and knows full well that this adminstration played the community.

It’s clear HRC doesn’t want to take responsibility for what has gone wrong under its watch, that it has no juice with an administration that took the money and ran (but threw a few cocktail parties for the insiders), and tossed the community Cinderella Crumbs to tout at the dinner (crumbs can be rolled back by a future anti-gay president).

I contacted Alex Nicholson for a response to Sainz’s outlandish attack. He said:

When the spokesperson for the largest gay organization stoops to vicious personal attacks against committed, unpaid staff of the smallest gay organization, you know there’s a problem with the former. While I have more professionalism, rationality, and class than to return the favor and attack Sainz personally, I think this official ‘response’ from the Human Rights Campaign speaks volumes as to who is truly holding the administration’s feet to the fire on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’”

What else will it take for the HRC apologists to see that under its current leadership, has failed miserably, and has developed a circle-the-wagons attitude rather than admit fault. It would rather publicly try to shame SU or anyone not willing to shut up and fall in line behind HRC as the voice of the community. When you brand yourself as “the community”, you can’t pretend you’re the outsider and had no role in letting this administration and Congress crap on “the community.”

We need better leadership if HRC is supposed to be working on our behalf. Someone please stop this embarrassing madness.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Video and transcript: WH’s Valerie Jarrett at HRC’s National Dinner

Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett keynoted at the HRC National Dinner last night and, in recognition of the string of recent high-profile tragic suicides of gay young people,  recognized Tammy Aaberg, mother of Justin Aaberg, who ended his life back in July.

On the WH blog, Brian Bond, Deputy Director of the Office of Public Engagement (aka the WH LGBT liaison) posted Jarrett’s speech, under the audacious title “It Gets Better” — in an attempt to relate it to Dan Savage’s video campaign of inspiriing messages by people to LGBT youth.

Honest to god, it’s hard to read these lofty empathetic words without thinking about how, on the ground level of policy, this WH has done much more by action to telegraph how it doesn’t get better unless it’s politically safe for the WH and Congress to do so. And fierce advocacy means taking more risk and effort than we’ve seen in the last two years.

Slow-walking a feeble DADT repeal, the disappearance of ENDA as a priority, the disheartening language and arguments to defend DOMA and DADT — that doesn’t look like an Obama White House and DOJ telling LGBT youth that they will grow up to be equal in the eyes of the law.

In fact, this President doesn’t believe they are — otherwise he wouldn’t say to these young people that when they come of age they will not have the right to marry as their straight counterparts will.

These kids have eyes and ears, and, more importantly, the bullies those who tormented them (as well as their parents) do as well. To create lasting change, these kids need to see adults acting fully on their behalf to create a world where they are truly seen as equal.

Here you go folks – reconcile the reality with this. (Video courtesy of MetroWeekly)


Thank you, Joe, for your kind introduction and your leadership of the Human Rights Campaign.  Before I begin, I would like to acknowledge the attendance of a friend of the President’s and an HRC trailblazer.  Terry Bean.  And I understand that my friends – Governor Tim Kaine, Chair of the Democratic National Committee, and Andy Tobias, the DNC’s Treasurer – are here tonight as well.

There are also several members of our administration with us.  I won’t be able to name them all.  But I do want to acknowledge OPM Director John Berry.  John is transforming our personnel operations to be more professional, inclusive, and to mirror the best practices found in any workplace.  And I want to thank Brian Bond from my team at the White House.  Brian is a tireless advocate for the LGBT community.  Please show Brian a little love.  I’m also told there is a strong delegation of fellow Chicagoans in the house.

Finally, I want to thank the staff and many supporters of the Human Rights Campaign. HRC has been a formidable force in the fight for equality.  And you’ve been a great partner to President Obama over the past two years during some very tough battles.  Together, we’re fighting to build a fairer and freer nation. Together, we’re working toward the day no one in this country is treated like a second class citizen – not by our laws, and not in any community.

That’s why the President asked me to come here tonight, to carry a message on his behalf.  Recently, we’ve all been shocked and heartbroken by the deaths of several young people who had been harassed and bullied for being openly gay – or because people thought they were gay.  It’s a terrible tragedy.  And it has turned a harsh spotlight on an issue that often doesn’t get the public attention it deserves.  The struggles of LGBT youth.  The enormous pain that too many experience as a result of bullying.  And the desperate, tragic decision by some young people who feel that their only recourse is to take their own lives.

I say this not only as an advisor to the President.  I say this from my heart, as a mother.  I cannot begin to fathom the pain – the terrible grief – of losing a child.  There is no greater loss – and we have lost too many in just the past few months.  Asher, Billy, Seth, Tyler, Justin.  I want to express my deepest condolences to Tammy Aaberg, Justin’s mom, who is here tonight and who I just met backstage.  Please join me in recognizing her for the courage she has shown in sharing her son’s story, and honoring his memory – in the hope that no other mothers or fathers will have to know her pain.

We all want to protect our children.  We want to be there for our children.  And the idea that a young man or woman, in some cases barely teenagers – just at the start of life – would feel so hopeless and tormented as to want to end their lives, it saddens all of us.  Young people are our future. They need guidance.  They need our support.  And this responsibility is far too great to be shouldered by parents alone.  Our whole society has to step up and reaffirm our collective obligation to all of our children.  This includes the responsibility to instill in young people respect for one another. And we adults should set an example of mutual regard and civility ourselves.

More below the fold.

No young person should have to endure a life of relentless taunts and harassment, just because they’re gay.  On behalf of President Obama, I want to make clear that this administration is firmly committed to working with you and other advocates.  For we all have to ensure that we are creating an environment in our schools, our communities, and our country, that is safe for every person, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Under Secretary Duncan’s leadership, the Department of Education is fundamentally changing the way we look at bullying.  And they’re working on how we can do a better job of protecting vulnerable young people.

That’s why, last year, we created a new federal task force on bullying.  And just this August they held the first National Bullying Summit, bringing in experts and advocates – including folks from HRC and GLSEN – to begin mapping out a plan to tackle this issue.  We are working to replicate proven programs that have helped schools cut down on bullying.  We must disprove the myth that bullying is an unavoidable fact of life for young people.

The Department of Education has reinvigorated the Office for Civil Rights to help stop harassment in our schools based on race, disability, sex – and bullying of LGBT young people who may not conform to gender norms.

The Department of Health and Human Services has announced an unprecedented National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.  This alliance brings together a wide range of public and private partners. And it’s going to make sure people have access to help, and to resources when they are in crisis.  One of its specific goals is preventing suicide in at-risk groups, including LGBT youth.

We must also recognize that creating a safe environment for LGBT youth also means doing more for young people who are forced to leave their homes.  For the first time, we have a national strategy to fight homelessness.  It specifically addresses the needs of LGBT youth who are living on the streets because they have been ostracized by their families, friends, and community.  This includes figuring out whether it’s possible for these children to go home, and if they can’t, that we have safe and nurturing alternatives.

So when it comes to putting a stop to the bullying and harassment of LGBT youth, we are not going to let up.  We are going to stand with you.  We are going to stand with every single young person in this country who deserves the chance to grow up, learn, have fun, and live their lives without the constant threat of violence, or ridicule.  Because although many turn a blind eye, and think that bullying is a harmless rite of passage – words matter.  Bullying is simply cruel, abusive, and needs to be stopped.  Now.  And the work done on the ground by HRC, GLSEN, P-FLAG, the National Youth Advocacy Coalition, the Matthew Shepard Foundation, the Trevor Project and countless others, are crucial to this fight.

The tragic loss of Seth, and Tyler, and Asher, and Billy, and Justin, and countless others whose names we don’t know – strikes at the heart of our values as Americans, and our sense of humanity.  We all have an obligation to engage in the broader struggle to build a more perfect union – a nation where each of us is free to pursue our own version of happiness.

And building that more perfect union means fighting discrimination in all its forms – whether in our schools, or in the workplace, on our streets, or in our moments of greatest need.   I was so proud when the President signed a directive to make sure that hospitals participating in Medicare or Medicaid – most hospitals – allow gay and lesbian partners the same visitation rights as straight partners.  And we’ve made clear that, under the Family and Medical Leave Act, LGBT families are entitled to the same rights as anyone else to take leave in order to care for children.

Building a more perfect union means making sure no one ever is afraid to walk down the street holding the hand of the person he or she loves.  And after a long and tough fight, with Judy Shepard at his side, President Obama marked the passage of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act.  It’s good to see Judy here this evening, and I want to acknowledge her for the incredible perseverance she’s shown on behalf of Matthew and his legacy.

Building a more perfect union means standing against anyone trying to write inequality into our laws and our Constitution – and repealing divisive and discriminatory laws like DOMA.  And it means ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell once and for all.  This is a promise the President has made in no uncertain terms.  For the first time in history, the Secretary of Defense has testified in favor of ending this policy.  For the first time in history, we have a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who has argued forcefully for allowing gay men and women to serve their country without having to subvert their integrity.  And for the first time in history, the House of Representatives has passed repeal.  Now we’ve got to keep pushing the Senate to do the right thing and get this done.

But, as you know, building a more perfect union is not just about our laws.  It’s about engendering a society where we embrace one another’s differences.  And while we have made progress, we all know that these tragedies brought on by bullying do not reflect who we are as a nation. They are a painful reminder of the work we still have to do.  That we must feel the fierce urgency to step up now.

We have to keep fighting together.  We must not lose hope.  We cannot allow people to sow division among us – not when the stakes are so high for our country.

After all, as President Obama said when he spoke here last year, the people in this room are a testament to the progress we have already made as a nation.  You are a testament to the capacity of our American ideals to help us overcome old prejudices.  To allow us to see in each other, our common humanity.  In short, you are living proof of what has become a powerful message in recent days.  Simply put: “It gets better.”

And what is clear is that this depends on all of us.  It depends on changing laws, and changing hearts.  It depends on creating an environment in which our children feel safe to be themselves.  And it depends on reaching all of our young people, and letting them know that we care about them, and that want them to thrive and reach for their dreams, without fear.

That’s exactly what President Obama said when he spoke to children across this country at the start of this school year.

“[L]ife is precious, and part of its beauty lies in its diversity,” he said.  ”We shouldn’t be embarrassed by the things that make us different.  We should be proud of them.  Because it’s the things that make us different, that make us who we are.  And the strength and character of this country have always come from our ability to recognize ourselves in one another.”

It is this character of our country that drives the Human Rights Campaign.  It’s what drives President Obama.  And it is this strength and character that gives us hope.  That we will build that more perfect union.  That there is a brighter future ahead for us all, and especially for our children.

Thank you.

Breathtaking, isn’t it?  
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Who is Valerie Jarrett accusing of trying to sow division amongst the gays?

From her speech at the HRC “No Excuses” dinner tonight:

We cannot allow people to sow division among us – not when the stakes are so high for our country.

Oh, I think the Democratic party in general, and this White House in particular, have done more to sow division in the gay community, and damage our community’s historic relations with the Democratic party, than anyone I can think of.

Show of hands: Who promised to be our fierce advocate and hasn’t done jack on ENDA, DOMA, and pretty much pissed away any chance at repealing DADT?  Come on, don’t be shy.

Clearly Jarrett was talking about her boss.  Or maybe her hosts.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

If Jarrett cares about LGBT kids killing themselves, her boss should stop saying gays aren’t equal

Here’s an excerpt of White House adviser Valerie Jarrett’s remarks tonight at the HRC annual “No Excuses” dinner.

I cry bullshit. From Politico:

–From Jarrett’s prepared remarks: “Recently, we’ve all been shocked and heartbroken by the deaths of several young people who had been harassed and bullied for being openly gay – or because people thought they were gay. It’s a terrible tragedy. And it has turned a harsh spotlight onto an issue that often doesn’t get the public attention it deserves: the struggles of LGBT youth, the enormous pain that too many experience as a result of bullying, and the desperate, tragic decision by some young people who feel that their only recourse is to take their own lives. …

“No young person should have to endure a life of relentless taunts and harassment, just because they’re gay. On behalf of President Obama, I want to make clear that this administration is firmly committed to working with you and other advocates. For we all have to ensure that we are creating an environment in our schools, our communities, and our country, that is safe for every person, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

If you care so much about gay kids being bullied and committing suicide, then start being our fierce advocate. Stop defending DADT and DOMA in court. Stop the DADT discharges now. Start doing something, anything, on getting ENDA passed and DOMA repealed, like you promised. And, if the President isn’t too busy calling more female basketball stars, maybe he could be bothered to make even one phone call to even one Senator on DADT repeal.

Oh yeah, and the next time you claim to be shocked and saddened by all these gay kids killing themselves, ask yourself what message you’re sending when you tell those same kids that they don’t deserve to be married, they don’t deserve to love and be loved, because God wouldn’t like it. (Of course, Barack Obama was for marriage equality before he decided to be President, but then again, he was for a lot of things before he became President.)

Words, words, words, Valerie. We’ve heard it before. And we’re over it. Words mean nothing from this President. When you and your boss finally decide to actually support full equality, when you decide to actually become our fierce advocate on DADT, DOMA and ENDA, then get back to us.  Our kids are killing themselves.  And you’ve got more important things to worry about.  Come 2012, so will we.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Servicemembers United: Valerie Jarrett Has Some Explaining to Do

So apparently White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett will be a guest speaker at the HRC gala fundraiser tomorrow night (see Pam's diary here). I have some questions for her, as I'm sure do you all. I, for one, would love to know if Jarrett can explain why her boss found time to personally call the WNBA champions to congratulate them, but he couldn't manage to have a staffer call the offices of Blanche Lincoln, Mark Pryor, or either of the Maine twins on the day of the failed Senate vote on DADT repeal. Servicemembers United also has some questions for Jarrett, and issued the following statement today:

Gay, Lesbian Veterans Call on White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett to Meet, Discuss DADT Repeal Before Gay Fundraiser Appearance

Jarrett’s Appearance at Gay Fundraising Gala Called “Insulting” in Light of Administration Inaction on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

10/08/2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Servicemembers United, the nation’s largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans, today called on White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett to meet with gay and lesbian veterans to talk about the administration’s inaction on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” before appearing at a black-tie fundraising gala for the Human Rights Campaign tomorrow in Washington, DC. Jarrett’s appearance at the gala fundraiser was announced today by the Human Rights Campaign, which also called both Jarrett and the president “strong supporters of those of those of us fighting for LGBT rights.”

“We certainly do not feel like the White House is a ‘strong supporter’ of gay and lesbian troops and veterans right now,” said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United and a former U.S. Army human intelligence collector who was also discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” “Before she appears at a black-tie fundraiser to tout the administration’s ‘strong support,’ Jarrett should meet and talk with those who have actually been impacted by this discriminatory law and who continue to fight this uphill battle for the lives and livelihoods of gay and lesbian troops. To ignore the reality of the administration’s choices, a reality manifested in our daily lives, while appearing at a party hosted by an organization that has given cover to this administration would be incredibly insulting.”

Nicholson added that a top-notch group of recent gay and lesbian veterans who are also involved in the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal movement are ready to meet with Jarrett for a respectful dialogue on Friday or Saturday.

For more information about Servicemembers United and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” please visit www.ServicemembersUnited.org.

I dare Valerie Jarrett to meet with SU's team, to look LGBT veterans in the eye, and try to explain her boss's “fierce advocacy.” I'm willing to meet with her personally and explain exactly how “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” has trashed my life. There are 14,000+ stories like mine, and Valerie Jarrett should be willing to take the time to hear at least one before going off to give political cover to our “fierce advocate” at HRC's self-congratulating salon tomorrow night.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright