Who the hell voted against MLK Day in 1983?

Sen. John McCain changed his tuneAfter a long Congressional battle, Martin Luther King. Jr. Day became a federal holiday on Nov. 2, 1983, when a reluctant President Ronald Reagan signed it into law, surrounded by the King family.

But a bunch of members of Congress voted against it.

And according to the Washington Post, six of them still serve in Congress.

One even ran for president.

Among the 90 nay votes in the House were two representatives, one a Democrat and the other a Republican, who would eventually become senators. Republican John McCain of Arizona was the 2008 GOP presidential nominee who later said he regretted voting against it. He was joined by then-Democrat Richard Shelby of Alabama, who became a Republican in 1994. They joined 22 other Republican dissenters, including Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Chuck Grassley of Iowa.

Two members still serve in the House, both Republicans: House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers of Kentucky and Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin.

—  James Russell

PHOTOS: Gov. Rick Perry must not like being called ‘Al Gore’s Texas cheerleader’

Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Congressman Ron Paul, R-Texas, traded barbs on camera during Wednesday night’s GOP presidential debate in California. But Perry also reportedly lit into Paul off-camera during a commercial break. Above is one of several photos that have emerged of the exchange. The Guardian reports:

Before Wednesday night’s debate, Paul’s campaign launched a series of attacks on Perry’s political career, including a hard-hitting TV ad, and followed with some snippy comments by Paul during the debate itself.

Several photographers captured the scene on stage at the Ronald Reagan Library – and of course there’s no way of knowing what was being discussed. But given Paul’s recent attacks, I’m guessing it wasn’t about the chances of the Texas A&M football team this season.

The Guardian has more photos. Paul’s ad accusing Perry of being Al Gore’s Texas cheerleader in 1988 is below:

—  John Wright

The summer (not-so-)blockbuster Palin doc

Sara Palin

There’s a new documentary out about Sarah Palin. Who knew?

Well, apparently, some folks knew about the film — called The Undefeated — because the film’s distributor, ARC Entertainment, told CNN that the documentary averaged $5,000 per screen on Friday and Saturday nights of its opening weekend (July 15-16), and that screenings at several locations were sold out. ARC also suggested that the film will go into wider release sometime later this month.

(It opened in 10 cities last weekend. Perhaps if that hadn’t also been opening weekend for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, more people would have gone to see the Palin doc. Maybe, but I doubt it. I don’t think the audiences for the two films have much overlap.)

The Hollywood Reporter says the film earned $60,000 to $75,000 in its opening weekend. Just in comparison Harry Potter raked in $168.5 million in its opening weekend.

—  admin

Court allows military to continue enforcing DADT pending appeal

LISA LEFF  |  Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court on Monday, Nov. 1 indefinitely extended its freeze on a judge’s order halting enforcement of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, heightening pressure on the Obama administration to persuade the U.S. Senate to repeal the law before a new Congress is sworn in.

A divided three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted the U.S. government’s request for a stay while it challenges the trial court’s ruling that the ban on openly gay service members is unconstitutional.

The same panel, composed of two judges appointed by President Ronald Reagan and one appointed by President Bill Clinton, on Oct. 20 imposed a temporary hold keeping “don’t ask, don’t tell” in place.

Monday’s decision means gay Americans who disclose their sexual orientations still can’t enlist in the armed forces and can be investigated and ultimately discharged if they already are serving.

“We continue to warn service members that it is unsafe to come out as long as this law remains on the books,” said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

In an eight-page order, two judges said they were persuaded by the Department of Justice’s argument that U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips’ worldwide injunction against the policy “will seriously disrupt ongoing and determined efforts by the Administration to devise an orderly change.”

“The public interest in enduring orderly change of this magnitude in the military — if that is what is to happen — strongly militates in favor of a stay,” Judges Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain and Stephen S. Trott wrote in their majority order. “Furthermore, if the administration is successful in persuading Congress to eliminate (the policy), this case and controversy will become moot.”

Another reason they gave for imposing the freeze was decisions by four other federal appeals courts that cast doubt on whether Phillips exceeded her authority and ignored existing legal precedents when she concluded gays could not serve in the military without having their First Amendment rights breached.

Judge William Fletcher entered a partial dissent, saying he would have preferred the panel had heard oral arguments before granting the stay. Fletcher said he thinks “don’t tell, don’t tell” should not be used to discharge any existing service members while the case was on appeal.

“Defendants would not be required during the pendency of the appeal to change their recruiting practices, to change their personnel manuals, or, subject only to the requirement that they not actually discharge anyone, otherwise to change their practices,” Fletcher said.

President Barack Obama repeatedly has said he opposes “don’t ask, don’t tell” but favors ending it legislatively instead of through the courts. Over the summer, he worked with Democrats to write a bill that would have lifted the ban, pending completion of a Defense Department review due Dec. 1. The legislation passed the House but was blocked in the Senate.

The president has pledged to push for another vote during Congress’ lame duck session after Tuesday’s elections.

“The president claims to want to see ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ ended. It is time that he stop talking and start working to make a real difference for gay and lesbian Americans by pushing for repeal when Congress returns,” said R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, the gay rights group that sued to overturn “don’t ask, don’t tell” in Phillips’ court,

The court ordered the government to submit its brief in its broader appeal by Jan. 24 and gave Log Cabin Republicans until Feb. 22 to reply. It did not schedule oral arguments in the case.

“For the reasons stated in the government’s submission to the appellate court, we believe the stay is appropriate,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.

—  John Wright