Breaking: NYTimes reports on capture of Bronx Group who trapped and tortured gay men

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This is one of  the most heinous crimes i have ever heard about. Andrew mentioned it in his earlier news round up, but these details are going to be the news, especially i the context of increased awareness of crimes against gay people. Be warned, the NYTimes reporters share a great deal of graphic detail in this piece from tomorrow's paper, online now.   From the piece:

“These suspects deployed terrible, wolf-pack odds of nine against one, which revealed them as predators whose crimes were as cowardly as they were despicable,” Police Commissioner said as he described the attacks in grim detail at a news conference at Police Headquarters.,

In the piece it sounds as though police did a good and professional job of investigating but that the  perpetrators might still be at large were it not for the single neighbor who slipped a note to one of the officers at the scene and shared enough information for them to track and arrest these guys today and yesterday. The victims were hesitant to come forward immediately beccuase of the serious threats mad about what would happen if they did speak to authorities.

Though stories that hit on Friday nights typically  disappear by Monday. It's clear to me that i won't forget this for a long time, nor will many others. You need to read about it, but again, i warn of the graphic description.


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Rewriting recent history, NY Times now reports Mehlman ‘tended to avoid social issues’

This deification of Ken Mehlman over his recently discovered homosexuality is already getting absurd.

Tonight, Michael Luo from the New York Times absolved Ken Mehlman from any involvement in George Bush’s fiercely homophobic campaign back in 2004:

Mr. Mehlman was in Mr. Bush’s inner circle in both presidential campaigns, and ran his campaign in 2004. But Mr. Mehlman, in his work as chairman of the Republican National Committee and as head of Mr. Bush’s campaign, tended to avoid social issues, arguing that they would undercut the Republican Party’s efforts to expand its appeal.

I’m not sure how Mr. Luo determined the Mehlman “tended to avoid social issues.” Maybe Luo took Mr. Mehlman at his word (just like reporters took Mehlman at his word when he said he wasn’t gay.)

But, perhaps Luo should have at least checked the archives of his own newspaper. For example, there’s this story from James Dao from November 4, 2004:

Proposed state constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage increased the turnout of socially conservative voters in many of the 11 states where the measures appeared on the ballot on Tuesday, political analysts say, providing crucial assistance to Republican candidates including President Bush in Ohio and Senator Jim Bunning in Kentucky….the ballot measures also appear to have acted like magnets for thousands of socially conservative voters in rural and suburban communities who might not otherwise have voted, even in this heated campaign, political analysts said. And in tight races, those voters – who historically have leaned heavily Republican – may have tipped the balance.

Hmmm. Who came up with that strategy. Well, maybe if Luo googled something like “mehlman” “gay marriage” 2004, he would have found this:

According to religious leaders, the conference calls with White House officials started early in the Bush administration and became a weekly ritual as the campaign heated up. Usually, the participants were Rove or Tim Goeglein, head of the White House Office of Public Liaison. Later, Bush campaign chairman Ken Mehlman and Ralph Reed, former executive director of the Christian Coalition and the campaign’s southeast regional coordinator, were often on the line.

Yes, Mehlman was in the thick of it. I don’t think that strategy decided the election, but Mehlman and his colleagues used it.

Luo might have found this, too, from 2006:

“I think the issue was injected when a liberal court in Massachusetts said they were going to redefine a 200 year old institution in this country by judicial fiat,” said Mehlman, who also endorses a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage — political catnip for the Christian Right.

See, we gays tend to see using those strategies and that kind of language as engaging in social issues, specifically anti-gay engagement.

So, let’s not rewrite history. Many of us remember vividly how the Bush campaign, managed by Ken Mehlman, used gay baiting and gay bashing as a core part of its strategy. It was ugly. And, it happened.

I get that Mehlman is now trying to make amends. After what he did to the gay community in 2004, he has a long way to go.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

In Fehrenbach’s case, SLDN reports ‘negotiations’ are continuing with DOJ and Air Force

On Wednesday, Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach went to federal court seeking a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to prevent his imminent discharge from the Air Force. The decision to discharge Fehrenbach had reached the desk of the Secretary of the Air Force. In addition to the TRO, Victor is seeking a permanent injunction to prevent his discharge. This news created a huge stir in the blogs and traditional media. People seem mystified that President Obama would allow the military to discharge a war hero Fehrenbach.

Well, there’s been no decision by the judge — yet. Just got this from SLDN:

“Negotiations between the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Air Force and the legal team representing Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach are expected to continue through at least Monday,” said Trevor Thomas, spokesperson for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

Interesting.

That DOJ is even negotiating reinforces my view that the decision to move ahead on the TRO was great work by Fehrenbach’s legal team of SLDN and Morrison & Foerster (seriously, the url for the law firm is mofo.com. You wanna mess with them?)

If the Obama administration’s DOJ actually thinks that DADT will be repealed by Congress (which was argued to the Judge in the Log Cabin case as a reason to postpone the trial), this should be a no-brainer. There should be no need for “negotiations.” But, we’ve seen time and time again that the Obama administration continues to defend DADT even as it discharges servicemembers using that discriminatory policy. Actions here don’t match the President’s words or promises. This has got to end.

SLND has a website dedicated to this proceeding here, which includes this key point:

The discharge of Lt. Col. Fehrenbach would dramatically underscore that ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is still the law and all gay and lesbian service members should be on notice.

A couple weeks ago, Dan Choi was discharged. Absent this legal action, the same thing could happened to Fehrenbach. This has to end.

I hope someone at the White House — maybe the two people we were told by Melody Barnes are the tip of the spear for LGBT issues, Tina Tchen and Brian Bond — are paying attention. If Victor gets kicked out, it’s going to reflect badly on the President. After all, on June 29, 2009, Obama looked Victor “right in the eye and he said, ‘We‘re going to get this done.’” Still waiting.

Enough already, Mr. President. As Rachel Maddow said on Wednesday night:

If Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is going to end, the President could stop enforcement of the policy pending that change. Why isn’t he?”

When Robert Gibbs wonders why progressives are upset, this is one shining example.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright