Mardi Gras Oak Cliff parade today

Bead dazzling

Don’t let yesterday’s rain get you down. The sun is out for today’s Mardi Gras Oak Cliff celebration with its fourth annual parade. But it starts off with a crawfish boil and street party in the Bishop Arts District. Live music, food and beer will get you revved up for the parade. From Davis and Montclair to the Bishop Arts District, the parade rolls on through featuring floats, live bands, bicycle rides and more. And kinda makes us jealous of Oak Cliff.

DEETS: N. Bishop Ave at Davis St., 2 p.m., parade at 4 p.m. MardiGrasOakCliff.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Sing along at Show Tunes Night at Woody’s

You know the words

Woody’s goes from macho to musical on Tuesdays with its long running Show Tunes Night. Sing along because you know will to all the classics from MGM up to today’s Broadway shows and likely a few surprises in between. It’s best with a group because then you can prove who the biggest theater queen is of the night.

DEETS: Woody’s, 4011 Cedar Springs Road. 9 p.m. DallasWoodys.com.

—  Rich Lopez

City Council early voting results in

The early voting results from today’s election are in:

District A
Helena Brown: 56%
Brenda Stardig: 44%

District B
Alvin Byrd: 52%
Jerry Davis: 48%

Place 2:
Kristi Thibaut 64%
Andrew Burks 36%

Place 5
Jack Christie  52%
Jo Jones  48%

Historically right-wing voters tend to vote early and the left-wing tends to vote on the day of the elections. Expect Christie’s lead in place 5 to decrease as the night goes on.

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East coast victories for LGBT candidates

While we’re waiting here in Houston for the results of today’s municipal elections the Victory Fund reports of victories for LGBT candidates on the East coast where polls closed an hour earlier than Texas.

State Del. Adam Ebbin (D-District 30) was elected to Virginia’s state Senate today, making him the Commonwealth’s first openly gay senator.

“I am honored by the trust the voters have showed in me,”  Ebbin said in a statement. “During the campaign, I listened to the voters’ concerns and will work on behalf of the values we all share: improving our public schools, expanding our transit system and cleaning up Virginia’s environment. I will make sure their voices are heard…”

“Alex Morse, a 22-year-old graduate of Brown University, has just been elected mayor of Holyoke, Mass., a city of nearly 40,000 residents near Springfield…”

“Zach Adamson has won his race for city council in Indianapolis, giving the city its first openly LGBT city council member.”

“An incumbent on the Largo, Fla., City Commission who attacked her openly gay opponent over his sexual orientation has lost her reelection bid to him tonight. Michael Smith defeated Mary Gray Black, who has a history of anti-gay and anti-trans activism on the commission.”

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Cazwell headlines a full day of Razzle Dazzle today

Bedazzled

Once you recover from last night’s MetroBall, then you have a full day of Razzle Dazzle with today’s street festival. The day starts with the Sidewalk Sale and Fair where merchants once again offer discounts on your shopping excursions. The cool part will be the vintage auto show.About 50 autos from Classic Chassis Car Club will be parked along Cedar Springs Road until 4 p.m.

The night picks up when the Street Festival gets underway featuring live performances by Cheer Dallas, The Bright, Uptown Players, Chaz Marie, the Gary Floyd Trio and more. DJs Mickey Briggs and Tim Pfleuger provide dance music all night. All that will be highlighted by the return of Cazwell on the mainstage. And there is still all the goings-on in the bars and Midway of carnival games, a mechanical bull and an obstacle course. This could be like gay Wipeout.

DEETS: Cedar Springs Road and Throckmorton Streets. Sidewalk sale 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Street Festival 7 p.m.–1 a.m. Free. RazzleDazzleDallas.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Photos from today’s DADT bill signing

No, it’s not a scene from the Sopranos, it’s Jonathan Lewis, Servicemembers United’s Alex Nicholson and Jarrod Chlapowski, and Paul Yandura. Jonathan has been a big supporter of GetEqual. As for Paul… John McCain would accuse him of running a “Georgetown Salon” (not the haircutting one, but the “gather smart people together and make a lot of trouble” kind of one). Though, knowing McCain, maybe he did mean the haircutting one.

Katie Miller, a West Point cadet who recently quit rather than lie about her sexual orientation.

Robin McGehee and Heather Cronk of GetEqual, Robin’s son, Sebastian, and Keori who writes at Pam’s House Blend.

The ever-dashing, and even better spoken (as if it were possible), David Mixner, who was arrested protesting President Clinton over DADT at the White House fence back in 1993. David was a big FOB at the time, so it was a big deal that he publicly broke with the President.

Justin Elzie, first Marine discharged under DADT, and Joe Sudbay.

The Advocate’s Kerry Eleveld, soon moving over to Equality Matters.

Miriam Ben-Shalom, Robin McGehee and Rob Smith. Miriam and Rob are vets. Last time these three were together, they were getting arrested on the White House fence (11/15). Miriam has been fighting DADT since the beginning.

Trevor Thomas of SLDN.

Joe Sudbay and Joseph Rocha. Joseph is a discharged vet who was put in dog cages. He wrote a letter to Obama for SLDN.

Congressman Barney Frank.




AMERICAblog Gay

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Take Action: Please join us in thanking the troops who made today’s DADT victory possible

UPDATE @ 3:02 PM: Watch the Senate vote on final passage:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

UPDATE: The final Senate vote on DADT is expected at 3pm Eastern. We should easily win that. Then the bill goes straight to the White House for the President’s signature, from what I understand.

And here’s the vote count. We got all the Ds, exception Manchin, who chickened out and didn’t vote at all (history repeats itself and West Virginia takes a proud stand against the major civil rights bill of the day, again). And we got the following Rs: Snowe; Collins; Murkowski; Voinovich; Brown; Kirk.

There’s a lot of thanks to go around for today’s incredible and somewhat surprising, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” victory. Please join us in thanking the troops, from Leonard Maltovich to Dan Choi, who made today possible. You can add your name to our open letter of thanks to all of them, and we’ll deliver it to our friends at SLDN and Servicemembers United.

Now, it’s true that this isn’t over. The Senate still has two more votes on DADT before this bill passes the Senate (but those are simple majority votes, so we expect no problem). Then the bill goes to the President for his signature. But even then it’s not over. The President will need to work with the Pentagon to come up with the new regulations lifting the ban, and even then Republicans in Congress may try to stop implementation of the repeal. We’ll need to watch this like a hawk every step of the way, and we will, but today we celebrate.

Join us in thanking the troops, but really in thanking everyone who had a hand in this. Here a few who really led the way:

Everyone at Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and Servicemembers United. Especially their leaders, Aubrey Sarvis and Alex Nicholson, both proud vets. Then there are the vets. Leonard Matlovich, Perry Watkins, Tracy Thorne, Zoe Dunning, Justin Elzie, Michelle Beneke (and Dixon Osborn, who isn’t a vet, but set up SLDN 17 years ago with Michelle), Grethe Cammermeyer, Joe Steffan, Keith Meinhold, Eric Alva, Victor Fehrenbach, and Dan Choi… and so many more.

And let’s not forget the activists who weren’t willing to take no for an answer. Robin McGehee at GetEqual and the entire gay Netroots. Our friends in the White House who have been pushing this for two years, in the face of some serious internal challenges. Our friends on the Hill, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid – who both got this done. Senator Udall of Colorado. Senator Gillibrand. Senator Lieberman (yes, he actually busted his butt for us). Senators Snowe and Collins, and every other Republican and Democrat who finally came our way. And Congressman Patrick Murphy, who went the extra mile for us. And even the President, who finally got into gear (albeit a tad late) and made the calls necessary to make this happen.

I’m sure I’m forgetting far too many people, all the way back to my friends at the Campaign for Military Service back in 1993, and Michael in Senator Kennedy’s office who spent far too much time with me figuring out how to responds to the evil Sam Nunn.

So thank you all. It’s not over. But it’s a hell of a start, and a hell of a Christmas gift.

Please sign our thank you letter to the troops, and consider it a thank you to everyone, including all of you.

Not a bad day.

PS Okay, more folks coming to mind who helped out immensely. Kerry Eleveld at the Advocate who held Robert Gibbs’ feet to the fire, Richard Socarides who singlehandedly became one of our community’s top spokesmen on CNN and MSNBC. Trevor at SLDN and Brad Luna, the best PR folks you can find. And then there’s Paul Yandura and Jonathan Lewis, who went the extra mile, and then some, to make sure we all got equal. And the blogswarmers, from Pam Spaulding to Mike Signorile, Dan “It gets better” Savage, Andy Towle, Bill Browning, Joe Jervis, Adam Bink,and Jeremy Hooper.

It’s beginning to feel like the Oscars :-)

Then there are the straight blogs, as we affectionately call them. Markos, a vet who earned his “honorary gay” medal years ago, Jane Hamsher who is about as dangerous a weapon on TV as any soldier in the field, and really everyone – Joe and I have remarked to ourselves numerous times how supportive the straight blogs have been to us and our issues over the years, so thank you, all of you. And not a blogger, but still a member of the Netroots, Jon Soltz at VoteVets, another vet who earned his honorary gay medal years ago, tirelessly fighting for us on TV far better than most of our groups.

And even OFA, while not yet quite earning their honorary gay medal, came through in the end and did some real work phone-banking and visiting Senate offices, so thank you.




AMERICAblog Gay

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Today’s DADT Hearing: Top Military Leaders Split 3-3 On When To Repeal

The Human Rights Campaign recaps today’s hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, where all of the Joint Chiefs of Staff spoke at length about the repeal of DADT.

Speaking today before a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Chiefs of the military services all expressed that they would successfully implement “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal should Congress change the law. Testifying were General James Cartwright, General George Casey, Admiral Gary Roughead, General James Amos, General Norton Schwartz and Admiral Robert Papp.

Among the six testifying, three expressed that the law should be repealed and three gave a mixed reaction, expressing some opposition to repeal at this time. Only one – Marine Commandant General James Amos – expressed his opinion that there could be strong disruption. In contrast his fellow Marine, General Cartwright, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, made clear that not only could Marines carry out successful repeal but also there was “benefit derived from being a force identified by honesty & inclusivity.”

General Amos did however express that he and his Marines would “faithfully support the law.” “Not only do a majority of senior military leaders support repeal, they are unanimous that they will faithfully carry out any repeal passed by Congress,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “The vast majority of the American people are looking for action as are the thousands of men and women currently serving in silence.”

Joe. My. God.

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President at today’s presser – DADT legislative action ‘potentially during the lame duck session’

Don’t hold your breath on that one. Haven’t we been led down paths that lead to a steep drop off of a cliff for the last two years? Today the President held a news conference, mostly to address questions in the aftermath of the Dem disaster at the polls last night.

There was one question asked by CNN’s Ed Henry about DADT repeal that generated more smoke and mirrors from President Obama — and notice he didn’t address the loaded issue in the last sentence of Henry’s question.

Ed Henry: Just on a policy front, “don’t ask, don’t tell” is something that you promised to end. And when you had 60 votes and 59 votes in the Senate — it’s a tough issue — you haven’t been able to do it. Do you now have to tell your liberal base that with maybe 52 or 53 votes in the Senate, you’re just not going to be able to get it done in the next two years?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, let me take the second issue first. I’ve been a strong believer in the notion that if somebody is willing to serve in our military, in uniform, putting their lives on the line for our security, that they should not be prevented from doing so because of their sexual orientation. And since there’s been a lot of discussion about polls over the last 48 hours, I think it’s worth noting that the overwhelming majority of Americans feel the same way. It’s the right thing to do.

Now, as Commander-in-Chief, I’ve said that making this change needs to be done in an orderly fashion. I’ve worked with the Pentagon, worked with Secretary Gates, worked with Admiral Mullen to make sure that we are looking at this in a systemic way that maintains good order and discipline, but that we need to change this policy.

There’s going to be a review that comes out at the beginning of the month that will have surveyed attitudes and opinions within the armed forces. I will expect that Secretary of Defense Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen will have something to say about that review. I will look at it very carefully. But that will give us time to act in — potentially during the lame duck session to change this policy.

Keep in mind we’ve got a bunch of court cases that are out there as well. And something that would be very disruptive to good order and discipline and unit cohesion is if we’ve got this issue bouncing around in the courts, as it already has over the last several weeks, where the Pentagon and the chain of command doesn’t know at any given time what rules they’re working under.

We need to provide certainty and it’s time for us to move this policy forward. And this should not be a partisan issue. This is an issue, as I said, where you’ve got a sizable portion of the American people squarely behind the notion that folks who are willing to serve on our behalf should be treated fairly and equally.

Yes, well potentially, I could win the lottery, but the above statement is practically meaningless. It would have been enlightening to hear President Obama address the demoralized base, particularly those LGBTs who advocated for action in the first two years, knowing that midterms would suck all the air out of “change.” But of course, those who “knew better” kept telling us that…

It’s only been ____ months since he’s been in office; he has a lot on his plate.

It was the excuse to give him a pass. And when it dragged on and the warning signs were there that nothing would be done in 2010 because of WH fear about its political miscalculations, and worse, that it relied on HRC (which was banking on a Hillary win, for good or ill) as the main representative of “the LGBT community.” And this administration’s fumbling communications style (as in none, or dodging), has made it clear it was getting bad advice.

Anyway, today’s presser just sounds like more of the same. I don’t think the ass-kicking last night has changed things one iota for the relationship between the LGBT community and this administration. It remains to be seen whether the WH feels it has any justification for coming to the LGBT community for $upport for 2012.

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Reaction from SLDN:

Statement from Army veteran and SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis:

“When asked about ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ today,  the President was right to focus on the lame duck session in the Senate as the best place to get repeal this year. If the President, Senator Majority Leader Reid, and Secretary Gates are aligned and determined to see the defense bill move this year the chances are good repeal can still happen, but they will need several Republican senators to join them. Clearly a bipartisan vote will be needed to take up the bill in the Senate and to ensure final passage this year.”

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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