Karger remains in the race but focused on NH

Fred Karger

The Iowa caucus is tonight and one name that has been mentioned in very few news reports is openly gay candidate Fred Karger.

Karger is mostly sitting out Iowa but has spent more time campaigning in New Hampshire than any other candidate. Two recent polls have him tied with Michele Bachman and Rick Santorum in that state.

The New Hampshire primary takes place Tuesday, Jan. 10.

While his bid was always considered a long shot, he is one of just eight Republicans still left in the race. Herman Cain suspended his campaign. Buddy Roemer is seeking the nomination of Americans Elect. One candidate who is not anti-gay, Gary Johnson, announced last week that he will seek the nomination of the Libertarian Party, rather than the Republican Party. Thaddeus McCotter, another candidate who has been excluded from all of the debates, also left the race.

So while Karger is a long shot, he also remains in the narrowing field along with Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, John Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Santorum.

Karger has been excluded from the debates to keep him from embarrassing the other Republicans over their homophobia.

To keep him from participating in the debates, rules were changed to refuse him a place on stage with other candidates. Those rules included raising the percentage candidates had to poll to qualify and increasing the number of polls in which a candidate had to score that higher percentage. Then polls where he scored the required 2 percent were discounted.

Still, Karger continues in the Republican race, but don’t look for him until next Tuesday.

While other candidates who don’t finish in the top three may be considered big losers in the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary, Karger will be considered a big winner if he finishes with more than 1 percent of the vote in New Hampshire or with more votes than any of the other better-known candidates.

—  David Taffet

Ken Mehlman inspiring? Not to me

Hardy Haberman
Flagging Left

Why honor a man who spent years not just hiding in the closet, but working with those who oppressed his LGBT brothers and sisters?

In a move that has stunned a lot of folks, Out Magazine has named Ken Mehlman one of its 100 most inspiring people of the year. I was stunned not just by Mehlman’s inclusion in the Out 100 list, but the use of the word “inspiring” to describe him.

Let me explain.

Ken Mehlman was campaign manager for the 2004 re-election of George W. Bush. You remember him?

He was the president who threatened to veto the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act, which added sexual orientation to the list of protected classes in existing hate crimes laws. And he was the president who supported the federal Marriage Protection Amendment, a heinous law that — luckily — failed to pass.

Then, from 2005 to 2007, Mr. Mehlman served as the chairman of the Republican National Committee. During that time, he supported the Republican Platform, which included opposition to same-sex marriage.

Well, maybe that’s water under the bridge. But I have to say, I do not find Mr. Mehlman in any way inspiring.

What is inspirational about a man hiding in the closet, actively working against LGBT rights on perhaps the largest scale imaginable?

What is inspirational about a man who served as the guiding force of a Republican Party that stepped up its use of anti-gay rhetoric and propaganda to motivate the most conservative of its members?

What is inspirational about a man who, when he finally decided to come out at 43, assembled a team of strategists to make his coming out as painless as possible?

Now to be fair, since he has opened his closet door, Mehlman has gone on record as supporting many LGBT causes. He even lent his support to the American Foundation for Equal Rights.
Good for him. But Out Magazine’s criteria for their selection is “the extraordinary power of the individual to inspire and motivate by example.”

What kind of example has Mehlman set?

From what I can tell, his example is this:

• Stay in the closet as long as you can, and do anything necessary, even if it means supporting people who actively work to discriminate and inflict suffering on the LGBT community.
• Do anything necessary to gain power and wealth and influence for your own gain, then once you are well situated, carefully come out while offering support to the same people you helped oppress.

• Come out once there is little danger of your actions hurting your own personal wealth or celebrity status.

• Lastly, make a grand show of your compassion and support for LGBT causes with sufficient effort and cash to buy your way into prominence as a gay icon.
Harsh words? You betcha.

Here is the deal: I understand just how difficult it is to come out, every LGBT person does. We have not reached a time when coming out is simple and non-traumatic.

I also understand how everyone comes out at their own pace. For me it was a process that took several years, starting when I was 18 and continuing until I was 20.

During that time I was conflicted and confused and sometimes hid my orientation. But I never actively tried to oppress my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.

Still, giving Ken the benefit of the doubt, maybe he didn’t realize he was gay until 2010. Whatever his story, I have sympathy for him in his personal struggle, but absolutely no sympathy for his active participation in the oppression of LGBT people and the encouragement of homophobic smear campaigns which stepped up the level of hatred and discrimination in our country.

Maybe I need to take a page from the fundamentalists’ creed, and “love the sinner, hate the sin?” The problem with that is I would still be “hating,” and that’s not going to help anyone.
I don’t hate Ken Mehlman; I just find him a very sad person who may or may not be trying to atone for his past behaviors. That is a very human struggle and one we all face at one time or another. To do that with grace and humility might be something truly inspiring.

For that, I will wait and see.

Hardy Haberman is a longtime local LGBT activist and a board member of the Woodhull Freedom Alliance. His blog is at DungeonDiary.blogspot.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November, 11, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Mississippi embryo law is so dumb, it could be brilliant

I’m actually pretty excited about this Mississippi legislative bill that would declare every everyone, including a fertilized embryo, a “person” in order to essentially turn abortion into murder, because these morons obviously know nothing about the law of unintended consequences. Here are the arguments I wanna see made in Mississippi if the law passes:

• If I were an illegal aliens, I would get knocked up and stay knocked up. Any child conceived in Mississippi, under that law, would be entitled to all the protections of law, including citizenship. Their mothers can’t be deported because that would deny the rights of the unborn (but legal) child. The embryo would also be entitled to state benefits from the moment conceived. In fact, you could just claim it with a home pregnancy test.

• If an embryo is a human and frozen as part of in vitro, I would open a huge embryo storage warehouse in a remote area of the state. I would then declare all of these embryos, as “people,” entitled to be counted in the census and for purposes of congressional representation. Same with all the pregnant women. Suddenly, maybe a few hundred voting-aged folks will be entitled to several congressmen … maybe even in minority districts. (Wouldn’t it be funny if all the embryos were of white babies, but all the adults voters were minorities? The district would be technically not minority, but the practical political effect would be that it was.)

• If you can prove that a Mississippi resident was pregnant and went to another state to have an abortion, then returned to Mississippi, I don’t see why you couldn’t prosecute that woman for murder.

• Since the embryo is a person, those exceptions pro-lifers are always willing to concede — health/life of the mother, rape, incest — cannot be used. I can’t wait until the daughter of  head of the Republican party has an ectopic pregnancy, or a serious condition that makes carrying a baby life-threatening. She can go to jail for saving her own life and see how Daddy feels about it. Or she can die. Her choice.

Welcome to the world of your narrow-minded bigotry, folks.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

What’s Shakin’ – ‘Our Time in Eden’ at EVO Lounge, voter turnout still weak

Our Time in Eden

It's Ava and Eve, not Adam and Eve.

1. Say “Garden of Eden” and most people will conjure an image of a naked (white) man and woman frolicking in a surprisingly well-tended arboretum,  but the people at Ultraviolet Productions envision an Eden where the strict binary of Adam and Eve is smeared across a blazing tableau of gender, sexuality and race. “Our Time in Eden,” a variety/drag show exploring what paradise means in a world free of labels, struts the stage tonight at 8 pm at EVO Lounge, 2707 Milam.  For a $5 cover you can check out the best drag kings, queens and gender performance artists Houston has to offer.

2. Early voting in Harris County continues through Nov 3 at all early voting locations. Voter turnout continues to be low. On Tuesday, 2,599 people voted in person, versus 4,206 who voted on the second day of early voting during the last municipal election in 2009.  Overall, there’s been a 24% decrease in voter turnout from 2009.  The upshot of which is that each vote is 24% more powerful. So grab three friends and get to the polls, together the four of you almost get an extra vote.

3. Rev. Pat “God-sends-hurricanes-to-punish-gay-people” Robinson, founder of the Christian Coalition and former Republican Presidential hopeful, warned his 700 Club audience that pushing the current crop of GOP frontrunners too far to the extreme right will hurt their chances in the 2012 general election. When the man who said that the Haiti earthquake was caused because the nation made a pact with the devil thinks you’ve gotten too extreme that’s saying something!  Right Wing Watch has more.

—  admin

‘Traditional values’ take a hit in the polls

HIGH AND LOW | Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, right, had the highest favorability ratings of possible Republican presidential candidates in a recent CNN poll. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, left, had the highest ‘unfavorability’ rating.

Percentage of people saying government should ‘promote traditional values’ drops below 50 percent for the 1st time

LISA KEEN | Keen News Service
lisakeen@mac.com

“Traditional values” didn’t do too well in the latest CNN poll of American adults.

For the first time in the 18 years since the question was first asked, the percentage of adults thinking that the government should “promote traditional values” has dropped below 50 percent.

Of the 1,015 adults surveyed between June 3 and 7, 46 percent said the government should promote traditional values, but 50 percent said government should “not favor any set of values.” Four percent had no opinion.

The survey results, which were released Sunday, June 12, had a margin of error of plus or minus three points.

Just last year, 53 percent of respondents said government should promote “traditional values” and, according to CNN, past polls have shown support as high as 59 percent (in October 2001 and January 1996).

But since the question was first asked, in 1993, responses have fluctuated dramatically.

In 2001, for instance, the question was asked in September and again in October. In September 2001, 53 percent said government should promote “traditional values”; in October, 59 percent said so.

The previous low point for traditional values came in September 2005, when only 50 percent of adults said government should promote them.

CNN did not explain what it meant by “traditional values,” but in political discourse, the phrase has emerged as code for “anti-gay.”

The right-wing Traditional Values Coalition defines traditional values as including the view that homosexuality is an abomination, but also includes views that are anti-abortion, pro-death penalty and pro-religion.

Some polls have asked questions concerning “traditional marriages,” usually seeking respondents’ views on allowing same-sex couples to marry.

Two years ago, Fox News asked, “Do you think straight people in your community who have traditional religious values are tolerant of gays and lesbians and their beliefs?”

Sixty-seven percent said they think straight people in their communities are “very tolerant” or “somewhat tolerant.”

CNN’s question was asked this year along with questions concerning Republican candidates for president, in a preview of CNN’s debate Monday night with seven GOP contenders.

CNN asked survey participants to express their opinions on 10 potential candidates. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has suggested he might run, had the highest favorability ranking.

Fifty-five percent of adults surveyed said they had a favorable opinion of Giuliani. He was followed by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 39 percent, and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas with 34 percent.

Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin earned the highest “unfavorability” rating: 52 percent of respondents said they had an unfavorable opinion of the former Alaska governor.

Palin was followed by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, of whom 44 percent of respondents said they had an unfavorable opinion.

Interestingly, the respondents also identified Palin as the Republican who represents values of Republicans.

The Democratic Party fared better than the Republican Party in the poll. While 55 percent of those surveyed said they had a favorable view of the Democratic Party; only 49 percent had a favorable view of the GOP.

© 2011 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.

—  John Wright

Novelty item of the day

When I was out of town last weekend, a guy I met offered me a tin of breath mints with an amusing name and image on front. He said he got them in D.C.

In light of how the Republican Party has been imploding for the last week, I thought it was a reminder of who some people consider a GOP frontrunner … and what she really is.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

The gay Facebook drama behind Rob Schlein’s endorsement of Wade Emmert for GOP chair

Log Cabin Dallas President Rob Schlein
Rob Schlein

Dallas County Republican precinct chairs will meet tonight to choose a successor to Jonathan Neerman, who’s arguably been the most LGBT-inclusive leader in the local GOP’s history. The two candidates to replace Neerman are civil attorney and former county judge candidate Wade Emmert, and the tea party-affiliated former president of the Park Cities Republican Women, Debbie Georgatos.

As chair, Neerman publicly advocated for including groups like Log Cabin Republicans in the local party, in an effort to grow the base and try to stem the Democratic tide of the last five years. Naturally, this led to criticism of Neerman by social conservatives, and now the race to replace him has become the subject of some major gay Facebook drama. LCR President Rob Schlein is accusing Georgatos’ supporters gay-baiting in the campaign against Emmert, whom Schlein is now publicly endorsing.

It all started when Dallas County Commissioner Maurine Dickey canceled her scheduled appearance at next week’s monthly meeting of the gay GOP group. To replace Dickey, Schlein invited both Emmert and Georgatos to speak at the meeting — win or lose tonight’s election. “Both spoke about broadening the party so another ‘test’ was to see which candidate would have the courage to commit to openly speak to Log Cabin before a vote. I wanted to see whose actions would meet their words,” Schlein writes.

Schlein said he was impressed that Emmert immediately accepted the invitation. As for Georgatos, she replied to Schlein as follows: “I am sorry–that date is not possible on my caliber [sic]–and my life is crazy–let’s talk after the 17th (after i get a good night’s sleep). I am telling all the different clubs asking that i need to sort out my calendar after the 17th.”

—  John Wright

WATCH: Hope for the future as young Republican testifies against gay marriage ban in Minnesota

Madeline Koch

Many of us in the LGBT community — perhaps most of us — are dead set in our belief that trying to make progress on LGBT rights within the Republican Party is a waste of time. And we show little tolerance, much less respect, for those LGBT people who are Republican and who continue to persist in their efforts to support the GOP while at the same time making it more welcoming to LGBT people and LGBT equality.

I admit that, at least when it comes to the Republican Party as it stands today under its current leadership, especially here in Texas, I see little hope for progress. But the fact is, the folks currently in power in the GOP won’t always be in power. There is a new generation moving up through the Republican ranks, and it is, I think, in that generation that our hope lies.

Poll after poll shows that younger people, even younger Republicans, believe in equal rights for LGBT people in far greater numbers than their parents and grandparents. Take, for example, Meghan McCain, daughter of current senator and former presidential candidate John McCain. Despite her father’s anti-LGBT stances, Meghan McCain has come out time after time in support of our community and our efforts toward equality.

And she’s not the only one.

—  admin

Sheriff Lupe Valdez, a Democrat, on why she’s going to the Log Cabin Republicans Convention

Sheriff Lupe Valdez

The Log Cabin Republicans will hold their National Convention in Dallas this coming weekend, and we’ll have a full story in Friday’s print edition. But because the convention actually begins Thursday, we figured we’d go ahead and post the full program sent out by the group earlier this week.

Perhaps the biggest surprise on the program is a scheduled appearance by gay Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, who is of course a Democrat.

Valdez, who’ll be one of the featured speakers at a Saturday luncheon, contacted us this week to explain her decision to accept the invitation from Log Cabin (not that we necessarily felt it warranted an explanation). Here’s what she said: 

“We have more things in common than we have differences, but it seems like in politics we constantly dwell on our differences,” Valdez said. “If we continue to dwell on our differences, all we’re going to do is fight. If we try to work on our common issues, we’ll be able to accomplish some things.”

On that note, below is the full program. For more information or to register, go here.

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Pentagon to unveil DADT plan; Ugandan gay activist David Kato laid to rest

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. The Pentagon will roll out its plan today for the training and rules changes needed to implement a repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell.” The training is expected to take three months, meaning full implementation of repeal could come sometime this summer. No word on whether the Pentagon plan includes ending attempts to collect money from people like Army Lt. Dan Choi, who was discharged under DADT and recently received a bill saying he owed $2,500 for unfinished service. Needless to say, Choi told the Pentagon to suck it.

2. Murdered gay rights activist David Kato was laid to rest in Uganda. Sadly, a pastor preaching at the service at one point told homosexuals to repent, before being cut off by mourners and replaced. And unbelievably, Ugandan police say they don’t believe Kato’s status as a gay rights activist had anything to do with his murder. Police say they believe theft was the motive despite witness accounts that someone came into Kato’s house and beat him to death with a hammer before leaving. Above is a report from CNN on Kato’s murder.

3. The Washington Post claims the Republican Party is moving to the left on gay rights. While we don’t dispute this assertion entirely, we’d like to point out that two of their five examples involve Texas GOP lawmakers pandering for votes and money, then promptly remaining as anti-gay ever by voting against the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

—  John Wright