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

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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.

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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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HRC Joins Yepsen and Others in Upstate New York Rally for Equality

The following post comes from Field Staff memberJessica Jensen. Jessica is just one of 30 HRC staff that will be on the ground in 16 states by Election Day, working with HRC-endorsed candidates and engaging our membership about the upcoming elections:

This past Monday, I was welcomed to the charming city of Troy in upstate New York with one of my favorite things in the world: a big pro-equality rally.  The rally was sponsored by pro-equality state Senate candidate Joanne Yepsen, and was held to denounce the recent discriminatory remarks of New York Governor hopeful Carl Paladino.  Yepsen was joined by several others, including openly gay Troy City Councilman Ken Zalewski and HRC’s National Field Director Marty Rouse, in promoting a message of tolerance for everyone.  It was a great introduction to Yepsen’s terrific campaign and I’m excited to get to work up here in the 43rd district of New York fighting for equality throughout the state!

If you live near New York’s Capital District area and are interested in volunteering for a pro-equality state Senate candidate, please contact Field Staff Jessica Jensen at 202-716-1658.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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Openarms Youth Project holds It Gets Better Rally

The Openarms Youth Project featured in the New York Times and located in Tulsa, Oklahoma had a “It Gets Better” rally to show support for the area’s LGBT youth in response to the epidemic of teen suicides in response to being bullied for their actual or perceived sexual orientation.

I personally attended the event and the stories that were shared and program was incredibly moving. A friend of mine, Professor Laura Belmont, was interrupted by a group who loudly drove their truck parallel to the rally and screamed unintelligible gibberish while she tried to speak. I heard something to the effect of “Lesbians… blah! blah! blah!” Laura responded gracefully and humorously, and continued on but it was a fine example of why those teens need our support. The teen years are hard enough without being isolated as some kind of pariah, and even assaulted, for your actual or perceived sexual orientation.

Please read the comments at the end of the article as another example of just how necessary it is to work for changing the climate of hate, willful ignorance and intolerance that exists here at ground zero that is ripe for needed change.


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WATCH: MTV News on Joel Burns, Andy Moreno

MTV News came to North Texas last week to interview Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns about his “It Gets Better” speech, but they ended up sticking around for Thursday’s rally in support of Andy Moreno outside North Dallas High School. Actually it looks like they missed most of the rally itself. But anyhow, the best thing about these two clips is that you can watch ’em both in about 2 ½ minutes.

—  John Wright

HRC Supporters Rally with Obama in Ohio

Terry Penrod, member of HRC's Board of Directors, attends the rally at Ohio State

On Sunday evening, HRC supporters joined 35,000 other progressive voters to rally with the president and first lady at Ohio State University in Columbus.

President Obama reminded us that change does not often come quickly, and that the stakes in this election are huge.  We have a choice to keep moving America forward with policies that will move us into a clean energy economy with clean energy jobs, that will maintain higher education affordability, continue tax cuts for middle-class Americans and advance our civil rights.  Or, we will go back to the failed policies of the Bush years.  It’s a pretty simple and a pretty stark choice.

I felt the excitement of 2008 all over again, and President Obama’s message is just what we needed to hear—in clear terms—how we must all get out to vote for fair-minded legislators at the local, state and federal levels so the policies that we all care so much about—like the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and the Employment Non-discrimination Act—have a chance to pass.

It’s now or never, and I urge all Ohioans to get involved with our HRC election efforts in Ohio by emailing me:

Paid for by Human Rights Campaign PAC and authorized by the Ohio Democratic Party.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

Youth First Texas leader Sam Wilkes speaks from experience about the struggles of gay teens

Sam Wilkes speaks during the safe schools rally in Lake Cliff Park on Friday.

Sam Wilkes is development director and the only paid staff member at Youth First Texas.

On Sunday he appeared on Lambda Weekly to talk about bullying and how groups like YFT can help.

Wilkes said an estimated one-third to on- half of teen suicide attempts are by LGBTQ youth.

The Centers for Disease Control lists suicide as the third leading cause of death of people ages 15 to 24, just behind accidents and homicide. More than 4,000 young people commit suicide every year — that’s one every two hours.

According to estimates, 100 to 200 attempts are made for every actual suicide.

On Friday, at a rally in Lake Cliff Park in Oak Cliff to support safe schools, Wilkes spoke about the youth who attend YFT.

“These are youth who are marginalized and have no other place to turn,” he said. “In fact many of them are homeless because they feel they are safer on the streets than they are in their own homes.”

On Lambda Weekly, Wilkes told his own story and talked about why he’s so passionate about helping other young people.

When he was 18, Wilkes’ mother asked him whether he was gay. Although Wilkes knew he was different from the time he was 12, he wasn’t ready to come out. So he gave his mother an answer that was ambiguous and non-committal.

The next day, his mother handed him a letter that said he was no longer welcome in the house.

Wilkes was fortunate because he already had a job working at a restaurant. He had friends who let him crash on their sofa for several months until he could save enough for an apartment. On his own, he managed to finish school. To this day, he said, his relationship with his parents is nonexistent.

But not all youth are even as fortunate as he was, he said. He called his job at Youth First Texas the best opportunity anyone could have.

Wilkes said more than half of youth at YFT have contemplated or attempted suicide before coming to the center. But after they become involved at YFT and meet other LGBTQ youth, depression and risky behavior decreases tremendously.

—  David Taffet

Rally for trans girl barred from running for homecoming queen

Dallas Voice:

Hundreds of students at North Dallas High School chanting “Whose queen? Our queen!” and carrying “Team Andy” signs surround Queer LiberAction member Elizabeth Pax, holding megaphone, and transgender student Andy Moreno, standing behind Pax, during a rally in support of Moreno, who was denied the opportunity to run for homecoming queen even though students had nominated her. NDHS Principal Dinah Escanilla said Moreno couldn’t be homecoming queen because she is “a boy” and refused to allow votes for Moreno to be counted.


—  John Wright