The View from DC: Sirens outside my window

Remember when I mentioned the sirens earlier?

Here’s a video of what’s outside my window. It’s been like this all day.

—  Tammye Nash

The view from D.C.: More photos of Friday afternoon

—  Tammye Nash

The view from D.C.: Protests, riots clog streets in Capitol

The apartment where I am staying in D.C. is less than a mile from the White House. I just took  a walk with Karen and Kellye and the situation here in the nation’s Capitol is getting very tense.

There are peaceful protests. There are not-so-peaceful protests. There are riots.

Here’s the first batch of photos from this afternoon:

 

—  Tammye Nash

The view from D.C. (Friday afternoon)

Protesters coming for a gathering

So, I got up stupid early this morning (Friday, Jan. 20, 2017) to catch a flight to Washington, D.C., to cover the Women’s March tomorrow. I’m not a morning person, so being at Dallas Love Field by 5:40 a.m. was not a pleasant ordeal.

But then ….

I was the first one sitting at the gate for the 7:40 a.m. Southwestern flight. But not for long. A group of about five women showed up before too long. I knew they were headed to D.C. for the march by the pink “pussy” cat hats they were wearing. Then more and more women started showing up. Almost every person waiting on the flight was female.

There were “pussy” hats. There were buttons. There were “Women’s March” t-shirts. Most of them knew at least one or two others, but from the atmosphere, it seemed as if everyone had known everyone forever.

People who had extras of the knitted (crocheted?) hats were sharing them with people they had just met. They were sharing the buttons. One woman — not sure if she was traveling for the march or just traveling — had her elderly yorkie — Stewart — with her. She took him out of his carrier and held him up for everyone to see, and Stewart barked as the women gave him a round of applause.

Another woman, there with two friends she grew up with in Oak Cliff, had brought her 14-year-old daughter along. She said her daughter’s classmates look at the girl in awe, sometimes, asking her, “Are you a feminist?” (The pink-and-blonde-haired girl confirms this with a nod and a grin). “She just tells them, ‘It’s not like we’re some kind of cult, you know.'”

Then people started taking photos of the crowd with their phones. “Who all’s going to the march?” yelled one woman, snapping photos quickly with her phone as the crowd cheered and raised their hands. Another, her face beaming as she took photos, declared: “Just think! All this in Dallas! It gives me hope!”

The plane landed in Washington around 11:30 a.m., EST. As I walked off the plane and started looking for the signs to direct me to the Metro, I saw crowds of people stopped, luggage in hand, watching the big screens showing the scene from the inauguration. No one was cheering.

I’ve made it to the apartment where I am staying now — Thank you Karen McCrocklin for being my travel agent and my landlady for this trip — and I am sitting here alone with the balcony door open. Listening to the sounds of the traffic.

There’s a U.S. Park Police helicopter circling over the area (it’s less than a mile from here to the White House). A guy’s sitting in the open doorway on the side of the chopper, feet hanging over the edge, and I think he’s taking photos. Hard to tell from this distance, even with my zoom lens on.

And the sirens! Every few seconds a different police car (or motorcycle) zooms past. They aren’t all going in the same direction, so it’s not like there’s been some incident they are all rushing toward. I don’t know if this is a normal amount of police traffic for an inauguration day or not. Probably so.

And then, there were the bangs just now — like gunshots — just down 13th St. There was a lot of smoke, and since there weren’t people running and screaming and no myriad of police vehicles, sirens screaming, heading that way, I’m gonna go with fireworks, planned and intended fireworks. Maybe part of Trump’s parade? I don’t think so.

There have also been plenty of protestors. Karen has video she took this morning, out the same window I am shooting photos from, of at least two different groups of protestors. And I keep seeing them, in pairs or small groups, even one larger group of about 20 or so, walking down the sidewalks near this building, signs in hand, most of them dressed in black as a sign of mourning.

There have been numerous other groups, she said, protesting yesterday, today — all of them determined to stand up, speak up, fight back, resist what has every indication of being an oppressive regime, a wealth-based aristocracy rather than a meritocracy, where cronyism will get you a seat at the table even when you have no idea what you are doing.

Tomorrow, my temporary roommates and I will join those protesters/mourners in the streets for the Women’s March. And I will be there to record the whole thing with my camera.

—  Tammye Nash

LGBT advocates take to the streets as Italian Senate prepares to debate civil union-type bill

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 12.49.31 PM

Photo of protest in Rome from The Daily Beast

Just days before the Italian Senate is set to begin debate over legislation that would grant legal recognition to same-sex couples, LGBT advocates took to the streets across the country to call on lawmakers to approve the bill.

Italy is the only major Western European country that doesn’t already have some sort of legal protections in place for same-sex couples, and last June, the European Court of Human Rights determined Italy to be in “breach of human rights” because of that. The court specifically cited adoption, shared pension benefits, and tax breaks as key rights that are missing, as The Daily Beast notes.

Thursday, Jan. 28, the Senate will begin examining The Cirinna Law — called that because it was introduced by Sen. Monica Cirinna — which is the first bill offering protections for same-sex couples.

The bill would give same-sex couples to option commit themselves to one another before a state official, to take each other’s names and, in certain circumstances, adopt each other’s children and inherit each other’s residual pension rights.

The Cirinna bill carefully avoids talk of “marriage,” which the Italian constitutional court has ruled may exist only between “natural” heterosexual couples. Instead it allows same-sex couples the right to be recognized the same way non-married straight couples are, as a “social formation” or life-long partnership that isn’t bound by a marriage certificate, the way France has done with its civil solidarity pacts for more than 15 years

On Saturday, Jan. 23, advocates marched in support of the legislation. Protests were planned for 90 towns and cities across the country under the slogan, “Wake up Italy! It’s time to be civil,” according to The Local.com.

According to Italian media, there were at least 7,000 demonstrators in Turin, 5,000 in Milan, thousands in Rome and Bologna, a thousand in Bari in the south, and hundreds in Naples and Venice among others.

Considering that Italy — and Rome, especially — is the heart of the Roman Catholic Church, opposition is, of course, strong. Opponents of the Cirinna bill are planning a demonstration on Jan. 30 at the Circus Maximus. Hundreds of thousands are expected to attend the “Family Day” gathering under the rallying cry of “Defend of children.”

Angelo Bagnasco, the chair of the Italian conference of bishops, has denounced the whole debate as a “grave and irresponsible distraction from the real problems of the country.” And in what many saw as papal intervention in the debate, Pope Francis on Friday, Jan. 22, ruled out any form of union except Catholic marriage.

—  Tammye Nash

National news briefs • 09.02.11

Judge puts trial on hold in case against Dan Choi

WASHINGTON — Dan Choi may be closer to having charges against him dropped after the judge in his case put the trial on hold this week.

Choi, a gay former Army lieutenant, was arrested for handcuffing himself to the White House fence in November 2010 to protest “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Choi was dismissed from the Army under the policy.

Choi was arrested two other times earlier in 2010 for similar White House protests. However, charges in those instances were brought against him in local court.

This case is being tried in federal court and he faces six months in jail and a fine. Choi’s attorney claims he is being treated differently and harshly prosecuted because is outspoken and gay.

In putting the trial on hold, the judge said that he believes Choi has shown — at least preliminarily — that he is being treated differently.

The government prosecutor, Angela George, said that she plans to have the judge’s actions reviewed by a higher court. She said that Choi is being treated no differently than the other protesters. Choi attorney Robert Feldman said that he believes the judge’s actions mean that his client has “effectively won the case” and charges will eventually be dismissed.
The trial is on hold for 10 days.

Others arrested in the case accepted a plea deal of no jail time in exchange for pleading guilty with the condition of no further arrest for four months. Choi rejected that deal.

…………………………

Death penalty recommended in case of man who murdered family

LYNDON, Kan. — A jury recommended the death penalty for James Kraig Kahler who was on trial in Kansas for killing four family members in November 2009. Final sentencing by the judge is set for Oct. 11.

Kahler is the former city utilities director in Weatherford.

After 23 years of marriage, his wife filed for divorce. She was a fitness trainer at a Weatherford gym and had been seeing another woman she worked with after Kahler tried to initiate a three-way sexual relationship with his wife and the other woman.

Kahler moved to his parent’s home outside Topeka weeks before the murder.

His son Sean, now 12, testified that he saw his father shoot his mother.

In addition to his wife, Kahler killed her grandmother and their two daughters, ages 18 and 16. Sean testified that he was not threatened during the shooting rampage.

The defense argued that the affair affected Kahler’s state of mind. They argued for life in prison because, they said, he was out of control emotionally and suffering deep depression when he committed the murders.

Under Kansas law, mental illness is only a defense if it prevents the defendant from forming the intent to kill or acting with premeditation.

………………………….

Jury unable to reach verdict in trial of teen accused of killing classmate

LOS ANGELES — A jury was unable to reach a verdict in deliberations that began on Monday, Aug. 29 in the murder case of Brandon McInerney, who is accused of shooting his gay classmate, Lawrence King, in their computer class in Oxnard, Calif., in February 2008. The judge declared a mistrial.

In closing arguments, the prosecution said that McInerney, whose attorneys claimed shot King in a panic after King repeatedly flirted with him, was lying in wait and planned the killing ahead of time. They claimed the defense was using gay panic as an excuse.

The defense said McInerney was in a dissociative state when he killed King. They claim he was not completely aware of what he was doing and said he grew up in a violent household and was sexually harassed by King.

One of the jurors is a college student who started classes this week. Ventura County Judge Charles Campbell is allowing the jury to deliberate around her schedule.
The trial was moved to Los Angeles because of pre-trial publicity.

The murder took place when McInerney was 14, but he is being tried as an adult. Now 17, he faces up to a 50-year prison term, although jurors may consider a conviction of voluntary manslaughter with a 14 to 21 year sentence.

………………………….

Prosecutors: Man filmed with Clementi should stay anonymous

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Prosecutors say the identity of a man recorded on a webcam in a gay intimate encounter with a New Jersey university student who killed himself should remain a secret.

The Middlesex County prosecutor’s office filed a motion Monday, Aug. 29, asking a judge to withhold the name of the man, identified only as M.B.

The Star-Ledger newspaper of Newark reports the request came in response to a motion filed by lawyers for Dharun Ravi, who is accused of spying on Rutgers University roommate Tyler Clementi and is charged with bias intimidation and invasion of privacy.

Clementi killed himself last September after his encounter with M.B. was transmitted online. His suicide sparked national discussion about bullying.

Ravi’s lawyers say they believe M.B. has information that could help their client’s case but they don’t know his name.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 31, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Lesbian activist protests bank profits

Local activist Dawn Meifert said her group, Dallas Uncut, will protest outside Bank of America at 6300 Mockingbird Lane on Saturday, Feb. 26, at 8:30 a.m.

U.S. Uncut, begun in Jackson, Miss., protests businesses that have paid no income taxes but have reaped large financial gains for executives and stockholders. Their slogan is, “You Caused This Crisis. Now YOU Pay.”

Meifert said she formed the Dallas chapter this week and will be participating in protests against the bank along with groups in more than 30 cities across the country, from Boston and New York to Los Angeles and Honolulu.

Meifert said she expects to be out at the protest location for about two hours, handing out information about how the bank received $45 billion in bailout money while funneling money through accounts in 115 offshore tax havens and offering below rate loans to politicians while refusing to use the bailout money for loans.

For more information, visit USUncut.org.

—  John Wright

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Jim Schutze

“It’s why we can’t have protest movements in Dallas. People here are too obedient. Gay rights, black activism, Tea Party — doesn’t matter. There’s something in the water. If the mob in Tahrir Square had been made up entirely of members of the Dallas Tea Party, all Mubarek would have had to do to shut the thing down was tell them all to go sit in time-out.”

— Dallas Observer columnist Jim Schutze,
in a blog post bemoaning the timidness of Tuesday’s protests
at the Dallas County Commissioners Court meeting

—  John Wright

Watch: Jon Stewart Mocks Media Coverage of Wisconsin Protests

Stewart

Naive news media outlets are comparing the Wisconsin labor protests to the uprising against oppressive regimes in the Middle East, and right-wing news outlets are turning them into the "Bizarro Tea Party".

Jon Stewart looks at Wisconsin's 'Revenge of the Curds', AFTER  THE JUMP

 


Towleroad News #gay

—  David Taffet

What’s Brewing: Westboro Baptist edition

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. A group of hackers known as Anonymous threatens to destroy websites belonging to the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church if the church doesn’t end its protests in 2011.

2. The church responds by telling the “anonymous crybaby hackers” to “Bring It.”(Flier above.)

3. It turns out the church actually made up the whole thing as a publicity stunt. (Press release below.)

—  John Wright