Message from the DADT Rally to the Senate: Don’t Go Home

This afternoon, I went over to Capitol Hill for SLDN’s rally on DADT repeal. I was surprised that there was a actually a pretty good crowd considering it was freezing (even for me and I’m a Mainer) and in the middle of the work day. (DC rallies aren’t known for turnout.) There was an impressive turnout from the traditional media. Lots of cameras. I understand CNN covered part of the rally live. Most importantly, there was an amazing array of speakers comprised of discharged vets and straight military allies.

As I mentioned earlier today, last year, SLDN protested in front of the White House. Today, the backdrop was the U.S. Capitol. The way things are going, we may end up getting equality at the Supreme Court. But, we still have a chance to pass the DADT bill — and the message to Senators was pretty clear: Don’t go home until the job is done.

Air Force Major Mike Almy delivered a strong message to his home state Senator, George Voinovich:

Discharged Marine Danny Hernandez also gave a powerful speech about his strong desire to serve his country. I got goosebumps when I heard him say, “I am ready to die for my country.” I talked to Danny after the event concluded.


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WATCH: DADT rally on Cedar Springs

Dozens gathered on the Cedar Springs strip Thursday night for a hastily organized rally in response to a vote in the U.S. Senate blocking the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell.” More images after the jump. Read our full story on the Senate vote here.

—  John Wright

Join HRC and Other DADT Repeal Advocates for a DC Rally on Friday

HRC is proud to join SLDN and other “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal advocates on Friday as we call upon the Senate and the President to remain in session and in Washington until the National Defense Authorization Act is passed – which includes the repeal of DADT. The Senate is scheduled to break for holiday vacation; we can’t let them leave. 

If you support repeal, please join us outside the Senate this Friday. As Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said, ‘If not now, when?’

While the clock is ticking for action on repeal of DADT this year, time remains for the Senate to act. The U.S. Senate owes it to the military to bring up and pass the National Defense Authorization Act along with repeal before year’s end.  Let’s take a stand. Let’s demand that senators not go home until their work is done.

WHEN: Friday, December 10th at 12 p.m.

WHERE: Constitution Ave. & Delaware Ave. at Upper Senate Park (Near U.S. Capitol), Washington, DC
Closest Metro: Union Station (Red Line). Nearby: Capitol South (Blue/Orange), Judiciary Square (Red).
Click here for a map.

Can’t join us at the rally? Take action by calling your senators and spread the word to your friends!

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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WATCH: Gov. Rick Perry is totally unable to defend Texas’ denial of civil rights to gays

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive – Rick Perry Extended Interview

We finally got around to watching Texas Gov. Rick Perry on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart last night. And it turns out the interview contains an interesting discussion related to same-sex marriage. As if he’s reading directly from this blog, Stewart brings up Perry’s statement in his new book that if you don’t like medicinal marijuana or gay marriage, you shouldn’t move to California.

“Even within Texas, it’s not a monolith,” Stewart tells Perry. “You got 55 percent of the vote, and that’s a big victory, but 45 percent of the people in Texas didn’t vote for you. Thirty percent of those might want medicinal weed or gay marriage. Are there certain basic rights that all Americans should have no matter where they live, even if the majority would suggest otherwise? Are you with me on that? And can’t freedom also be protected by government?”

“Absolutely, I get that,” Perry says, before doing some sort of ape-like gesture with his hands on Stewart’s desk and saying that he thinks the federal government should only perform certain basic functions like delivering the mail.

Gee, that’s very fuckin’ enlightening, governor.

—  John Wright

Watch: Obama Heckled By AIDS Activists At Rally

Remember this? And this? Well it happened again yesterday, this time in Bridgeport, Connecticut where President Obama was in town to deliver a speech at the Democratic National Committee "Moving America Forward" rally. The group of  protesters erupted in a chant of “Fund global AIDS! Fund global AIDS!”

Obama countered them:

“Let me just say this — these folks have been — you’ve been appearing at every rally we’ve been doing,” Obama said. “And we’re funding global AIDS. And the other side is not. So I don't know why you think this is a useful strategy to take.” “I think it would make a lot more sense for you guys to go to the folks who aren’t interested in funding global AIDS and chant at that rally, because we’re trying to focus on figuring out how to finance the things that you want financed, all right?

After a few minutes, the protesters were escorted out of the rally by police. Watch video of the incident, wherein Obama seems to get more than just a little annoyed by the interruption, AFTER THE JUMP.

Towleroad News #gay

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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.

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The Blend’s Twitter coverage of The Rally To Restore Sanity

Not attending the Rally to Restore Sanity? The Village Voice’s Steven Thrasher dropped me a note to say is Tweeting it from the time he hops on the HuffPo bus to The Daily Show event, until…I guess his cell phone dies, or he gets back home, whichever comes first.

Anyway, take a look in the left PHB column and you’ll see a widget following his (@steven_thrasher) as well as the official Tweets from The Daily Show (@rally4sanity).

More about the rally:

“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

Who among us has not wanted to open their window and shout that at the top of their lungs?

Seriously, who?

Because we’re looking for those people. We’re looking for the people who think shouting is annoying, counterproductive, and terrible for your throat; who feel that the loudest voices shouldn’t be the only ones that get heard; and who believe that the only time it’s appropriate to draw a Hitler mustache on someone is when that person is actually Hitler. Or Charlie Chaplin in certain roles.

Are you one of those people? Excellent. Then we’d like you to join us in Washington, DC on October 30 – a date of no significance whatsoever – at the Daily Show’s “Rally to Restore Sanity.”

Ours is a rally for the people who’ve been too busy to go to rallies, who actually have lives and families and jobs (or are looking for jobs) – not so much the Silent Majority as the Busy Majority. If we had to sum up the political view of our participants in a single sentence… we couldn’t. That’s sort of the point.

Think of our event as Woodstock, but with the nudity and drugs replaced by respectful disagreement; the Million Man March, only a lot smaller, and a bit less of a sausage fest; or the Gathering of the Juggalos, but instead of throwing our feces at Tila Tequila, we’ll be actively not throwing our feces at Tila Tequila. Join us in the shadow of the Washington Monument. And bring your indoor voice. Or don’t. If you’d rather stay home, go to work, or drive your kids to soccer practice… Actually, please come anyway. Ask the sitter if she can stay a few extra hours, just this once. We’ll make it worth your while.

UPDATE: Some video from the bus from Steven:

Photos just in from Steven. Arianna Huffington, and one is behind the stage where Ozzy Osbourne is playing.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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Thousands Show Rally In DC To Help ‘Restore Sanity’

Earlier today, exactly two months after Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin held their "Restore Honor" rally on the Mall in Washington DC, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert held a counter rally of sorts calling for a resotoration of sanity.

The New York Times reports on the event:

It was a Democratic rally without a Democratic politician, featuring instead two political satirists, Mr. Stewart and Mr. Colbert, who used the stage to rib national journalists and fear-mongering politicians, and to fake-fight each other over dueling songs about trains.

Though at no point during the show did either man plug a political candidate, a strong current of political engagement coursed through the enormous crowd, which stretched from the Capitol almost to the Washington Monument, an overwhelming response to a call by Mr. Stewart on his show on the Comedy Central network. The turnout clogged traffic, and filled subways and buses to the point of overflow.

The New York Times's Brian Stelter CTV puts the crowd estimate at 250,000. The Huffington Post helped bus 10,000 of those people from NYC to DC. Colbert himself tweeted his own crowd estimate: 6 billion.

What exactly was this rally about? At the end of the event, Stewart asked the massive crowd that exact same question. His response:

Rally This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith or people of activism or to look down our noses at the heartland or passionate argument or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear. They are and we do. But we live now in hard times — not end times. And we can have animus and not be enemies.

But unfortunately, one of our main tools in delineating the two broke.

The country’s 24-hour political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator did not cause our problems, but its existence makes solving them that much harder. The press can hold its magnifying up to our problems, bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen — or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected dangerous flaming ant epidemic.

If we amplify everything we hear nothing.

Watch Stewart's sane speech, AFTER THE JUMP

Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

RECAP: Rally For Sanity

Today’s Rally For Sanity in DC was an astounding success by most measures, except, ahem, for those of us who only arrived two hours early and still couldn’t get within miles of the stage or Jumbotrons. In fact, most of the time we were too far away to even hear the public address system. On top of that, the Metro was insanely overloaded, prompting DC police to close the entrance to some stations for safety reasons. Hello, walking for miles. I’ll recap the day further in a later post, meanwhile below is a slideshow, a brief clip from Stephen Colbert’s entrance, and Jon Stewart’s main speech. Full-screen versions of the below photos can be found here.

[Top Photo: New York Times]

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Join HRC at the Rally to Restore Sanity This Saturday

We hope that many of you will be spending this last weekend before the critical elections volunteering for pro-equality candidates. By election day, HRC will have more than thirty staff working on elections in 18 states, supplementing the efforts of thousands of HRC members who are actively volunteering for pro-equality candidates.

However, if you’re planning to be in Washington, D.C. on October 30 for the Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert rallies, please join us that Saturday from 8-11 at HRC headquarters. Grab some coffee and refreshments while you help us make calls to get out the vote for priority candidates.  At the HRC Building, we’ll also provide the opportunity for you to make signs for the rally and meet other progressive and equality-minded folks before heading down to the Mall.

SPECIAL SECTION TICKETS:  HRC has been offered a limited number of reserved section tickets by the rally organizers. These tickets are for a reserved section that is closer to the stage.  Please RSVP at and we can provide you with information on how to pick up your tickets at our pre-rally event at the HRC building this Saturday.

Event details are below:
Saturday, Oct. 30 2010
8am-11am at HRC Headquarters
1640 Rhode Island Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20036

The rallies will be held from 12 p.m.-3 p.m on the National Mall. Visit the website for  more information on the rallies.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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