Metro offers free bus rides on New Years Eve

Maybe there is such a thing as a free ride. Houston Metro is offering free bus and train fares starting at 6 pm New Years Eve and continuing through 6 am on New Years Day. Metro explains via press release that it “wants to help individuals celebrating the arrival of the New Year a safe option to get home rather than getting behind the wheel.”

As a bonus, the light rail is free on Sunday since it’s a game day, so if you are downtown and need to go to Reliant stadium, or at Reliant and need to go downtown, you’re set.

So when midnight rolls around on the 31st and it’s time to head home remember you have options. A DWI is a horrible way to start the new year.

—  admin

WASHINGTON: Rally For Sanity Smashes All-Time Metro Ridership Record

Yesterday’s Rally For Sanity broke Washington’s all-time record for Metro ridership on a Saturday.

By preliminary estimates, Metro recorded 825,437 Metrorail trips on Saturday. Whether it served any of those riders very well is different question. The demand for public transit to attend the Rally To Restore Sanity and/or Fear — hosted by Comedy Central duo Stewart and Colbert — exceeded supply. Metro customers suffered long waits at various Metro stations throughout the city. Several even suffered injuries. Nevertheless, the new record fairly shattered the old record, set on June 8, 1991, when Washington played host to a victory celebration for U.S. troops who served in the First Gulf War. That day Metro recorded 786,358 trips. A 1997 Promise Keepers rally in the District has the third-place record, with 735,909 trips.

Of course, we’ll never know how many more people were turned away from using the subway (as was my group) because the cops were freaking out about how crowded the platforms were. We ended up walking the hour or so from our hotel to the Mall and it was amazing to look down the side streets and see tens of thousands of people streaming up from all directions.

RELATED: Despite the ridership count and all the other attendance reports, the Freepers are, of course, declaring that the lamestream media are conspiring to cook the head count so that Glenn Beck’s rally looks smaller in comparison.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

BREAKING: Pentagon revises procedure for discharges under ‘don’t ask don’t tell’

In a change that one expert said could “dramatically reduce” discharges, the defense department issued new guidelines Thursday for enforcement of “don’t ask don’t tell.”

The new guidelines came in the wake of Wednesday’s decision by a federal appeals court to grant a temporary stay of a district judge’s order halting enforcement of the policy.

From Chris Geidner at Metro Weekly:

Until further notice, pursuant to a memorandum from Defense Secretary Robert Gates and a follow-up memorandum from Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Clifford Stanley, no service member can be discharged under DADT without the ”personal approval of the secretary of the military department concerned, and only in coordination with me and the General Counsel of the Department of Defense.”

Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, said while the change could “dramatically reduce DADT discharges,” it doesn’t mean that gays in the military should come out.

“The Pentagon appears to be saying  to the court and to service members that it will provide all service members the protections already afforded officers, but with no delegation of that authority: All proposed DADT discharges, regardless of grade and rank, will be reviewed at the highest civilian levels. This can be a major constructive development for gay and lesbian service members,” Sarvis said.

“This important change could dramatically reduce DADT discharges, if DoD applies the Witt legal standard throughout the military, which requires the Pentagon to find that gay service members would harm military readiness, unit cohesion and good order, before they are discharged. But this Pentagon guidance memo does not end DADT. It is still in place, and service members should not come out.

“The fact that DADT remains law further underscores the urgent need for the full Senate to vote for repeal when it returns to lame-duck session next month.”

—  John Wright

BREAKING: Appeals court grants stay of DADT ruling, making policy enforceable again

John Wright  |  Online Editor
wright@dallasvoice.com

“Don’t ask don’t tell” likely will soon go back into effect, after a federal appeals court granted a temporary stay Wednesday of a district judge’s previous order halting enforcement of the policy.

The U.S. Department of Justice requested an emergency stay of the order from District Judge Virginia Phillips, who ruled in September that the policy is unconstitutional, in a lawsuit brought by Log Cabin Republicans. Phillips issued an order halting enforcement of the policy last week, and denied the government’s request for an emergency stay on Tuesday. However, the DOJ then requested an emergency stay from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which will hear the government’s appeal of Phillips’ ruling.

Wednesday’s temporary stay, issued by a three-judge panel of the appeals court, means the ban on open service is legally enforceable again. The temporary stay will remain in effect until sometime after Oct. 25, when the Ninth Circuit court decides whether to leave it in place pending the appeal.

“This interim temporary stay means that ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is once again on the books, and is likely to be enforced by the Defense Department,” said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. “Gay and lesbian service members deserve better treatment than they are getting with this ruling. We now must look to the Senate next month in the lame duck session to bring about the swift certainty needed here and to repeal this unjust law that serves no useful purpose.”

It’s unclear how Wednesday’s stay will affect gays and lesbians who may have enlisted during the eight days since Phillips’ injunction when the policy was unenforceable.

“The revival of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law is a sad day for all Americans who want the best and brightest service members defending our country,” said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “Today’s decision only furthers our resolve to send this law to the dustbin of history and also draws a spotlight on the administration to make good on their pledge to end these discharges that damage our national security.”

Alex Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United, said he hopes the appeals court will opt not to extend the stay during the appeal, which will take at least several months.

“While we are obviously disappointed that the injunction was temporarily stayed, we hope that the Ninth Circuit will recognize the inherent contradiction in the government’s arguments for a longer stay in light of eight full days of non-enforcement with no ‘enormous consequences,” Nicholson said. “An objective look at the evidence before the court clearly indicates that ending ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ would not harm military readiness, but would rather enhance it.”

GetEQUAL announced that it will be protesting Thursday when President Barack Obama visits Seattle.

“This temporary stay, sought by President Obama’s Department of Justice, bring the military’s discriminatory ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law back from the dead,” said Robin McGehee, co-founder and director of GetEQUAL. “It is a travesty that after numerous attempts, President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder will go down in history as the Administration that breathed life back into ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ The lives and careers of openly gay and lesbian servicemembers are now back in the crosshairs of our government and a renewed commitment to discrimination falls squarely in the hands of this White House.”

—  John Wright

Is D.C. Rag Metro Weekly Facing Closure Over a $1 Million Fraud Lawsuit?

It's not just the advertising downturn in print that's hurting gay print publications large and small. A lawsuit slapped against Metro Weekly owner Jansi LLC is asking for over million — almost certainly more than they've got on hand.

CONTINUED »


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—  John Wright