Sunday, September 27, 2009

Memphis Gay Community Bill Board Vandalized

One of five billboards sponsored by the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center to celebrate National Coming Out Day has been vandalized. The billboard displayed a Memphis gay marine stating "I'm Gay and I Protected Your Freedom."

Triangle Journal News:
On Friday evening September 25, passersby and community members began reporting to Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center (MGLCC) that one of the billboards erected by MGLCC honoring National Coming Out Day had been destroyed.

The billboard, which contained a picture of community member Tim Smith dressed in his marine uniform proclaiming “I’m gay, and I defended your freedom,” was completely torn from the Clear Channel Billboard frame, exposing remnants of prior postings. No identifiable portions of the MGLCC billboard remained.

The MGLCC billboard campaign honoring National Coming Out Day on October 11 has been underway for one week and will continue for three more weeks. The initiative aims to clarify to the Mid-South that our community is not afraid of being out and that we are unashamed of being who we are. The billboard that was defaced is one of five erected throughout the city as part of the initiative. MGLCC Executive Director Will Batts, who is in Philadelphia attending a national conference for LGBT community centers, was contacted by phone by Triangle Journal and informed of the defacement. He stated, “Some people choose tactics of violence and intimidation in an attempt to silence minority voices. What will happen, though, is that our voices will become louder and stronger and we will become even more relentless in our fight for full equality.”

WREG: Billboard Featuring Gary Marine Vandalized

Memphis Flyer: Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center Unveils "Coming Out" Billboards

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Republican: Gay Marriage is SOCIALISM!

GOP Congressman: Gay Marriage is "Socialism"

Speaking to a conservative radio show, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said socialists are pushing gay marriage because they have "to plow through marriage in order to get to their goal" of undermining the "foundations of individual rights and liberties."

Not only is it a radical social idea, it is a purely socialist concept in the final analysis," King said, according to The Hill.

If there's a push for a socialist society where the foundations of individual rights and liberties are undermined and everybody is thrown together living collectively off one pot of resources earned by everyone, this is one of the goals they have to go to, same sex marriage, because it has to plow through marriage in order to get to their goal. They want public affirmation, they want access to public funds and resources."

Guess someone needs to alert the Log Cabin Republicans!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Values Voters Summit Highlight: "All Pornography is Homosexual Pornography"

Think Progress had someone videotaping at the Family Research Council's "Values Voters Summit" and they caught Michael Schwartz, the chief of staff for Republican Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma), saying some bizarre things about homosexuality and pornography. During a panel discussion on "The New Masculinity", Schwartz denounced pornography as a "blight" and a "silent disease" before stating that it causes young boys to become homosexuals.
Homosexuality is inflicted on people... But all pornography is homosexual pornography because all pornography turns your sexual drive inwards. And that in fact is what it does. I know couples now who are struggling with the husband's addiction to pornography. It's a terrible thing. And that's what happens. And, you know, if it doesn't turn you homosexual, it at least renders you less capable of loving your wife. And it's something you need to be healed of."
From Huffington Post

What is it about Oklahoma and anti-gay homophobic religious bigots? I was born there, but now I wish the Cherokee had killed off all the White People in that territory!

Read more about Schwartz's homophobic history at Think Progress

See also: The Washington Independent

Republican candidate for Virginia governor, Bob McDonnell cites Michael Schwartz in his 1989 thesis!

Will the Christian Right take down the Republican Party?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Right-Wing Hate

The election of Barack Obama, the first African-American U.S. President, has brought out the worst instincts of the radical right in the United States. Even the Republican Party across the south have promoted racist attacks against Obama. It's hard to pin down the exact source of the hatred of Obama on the right, but racism is one of several factors, including right-wing fundamentalist Christianity.

Bill Moyers: Conservative Radicals and the Politics of Vengeance

Right-Wing Hate Mongering Fueled by Christianity?

10 Horrifying Racist Attacks on Obama

The Last Time Right-Wing Hatred Ran This Wild A President Was Killed

Sunday, September 20, 2009

In Defense of ACORN

ACORN (Association of Communities Organized for Reform Now) has been under attack from the right for some time, but because of some recent slip ups, is really under the gun from the corporate right who oppose the organizations opposition to corporate power and defense of the working poor. Republicans have distorted or fabricated scandals surrounding a few ACORN workers and tried to tie Barack Obama to the progressive group.

ACORN is a 40 year old organization of low-income, poor and working class families and communities who have organized against "red-lining" by insurance companies in poor, minority neighborhoods, pushed for raising the minimum wage, stop foreclosures, etc. It is largely run by low income people, and the "organizers" are usually part-time, seasonal, and paid very little.

I worked as an organizer for ACORN in Little Rock while in graduate school one summer. It was tough work, I couldn't take it and quit after only a few weeks. But I saw a dedicated group of low-income people fighting to improve their lives and their communities.

The first attacks against ACORN were fabricated by the Republicans to attack Obama during the election. They falsely claimed that ACORN was guilty of "voter fraud." It was not. A few ACORN workers engaged in "voter registration fraud" by filling in false names on voter registration forms. ACORN found discovered these cases in their own investigations and turned the information over to the FBI and the election commission. ACORN never engaged in "voter fraud"--since none of these cases involved votes cast in an election.

For more see: The Real ACORN

Now ACORN is under attack because a couple of its workers were caught on tape advising undercover conservative activists trying to entrap them on how to avoid taxes on illegal activity. ACORN has responded to this problem by making some changes in its oversight of its operations.

It appears that the conservative film makers were also engaged in falsifying information about the actual exchange with the ACORN workers: Attack Videographer Caught in Manipulation and Lies

ACORN is under attack because of its anti-corporate, pro-labor, anti-poverty history of activism and organizing. The right-wing media has manipulated the story and the "mainstream media" in an effort to take the focus of public attention off of the corporate crimes and Wall Street scandals, and focus it on the poor and racial minorities, part of the larger right-wing racist attacks on Obama. ACORN is being used by the racist RIGHT to stir up racist anger against Obama and progressive policies.

John Conason, In Defense of ACORN

The GOP's Blame-ACORN Game

The Real Reason the Right Attacks ACORN

Brave New Films (2008): The Real Truth About ACORN

Friday, September 18, 2009

Rep. Tammy Baldwin on LGBT Health Care Reform

Representative Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) addresses National Stonewall Democrats members on the need for comprehensive, progressive, and LGBT-inclusive health care reform.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Nashville Passes Non-Discrimination Ordinance

Nashville Passes Non-Discrimination Ordinance
An ordinance prohibiting discrimination against LGBT municipal employees in Nashville passed the city council on Tuesday.

The bill passed by the Nashville metro council bans discrimination against city employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

In the final vote for the hard-fought ordinance, the tally was 24 council members in favor, 15 opposed, and one absent member, according to The Tennessean.

Tennessee is starting to catch up to most of the rest of the country on LGBT civil rights. Earlier this year the Shelby County (Memphis) commissioners passed a watered down resolution against discrimination against anyone based on any non-job related criteria including sexual orientation, gender identity, etc.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bill to Overturn DOMA Introduced

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) introduced on Tuesday the Respect for Marriage Act, which would overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, a law Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed in 1996 that prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.

At a Capitol Hill press conference, Nadler called the Respect for Marriage Act “the first step to overturning the Defense of Marriage Act and sending that ugly law into the history books where it belongs.”

David Mixner: The Tea-Baggers and the LGBT Community

Cleve Jones: Repealing DOMA The First Step
National Equality March Oct. 10-11

Monday, September 14, 2009

Economic Crisis: It's Worse than Before

Nobel-Prize Winning Economist Joseph Stiglitz: Post-Lehman Things are Worse than Ever

"In the U.S. and many other countries, the too-big-to-fail banks have become even bigger," Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said in an interview today in Paris.
Stiglitz leveled his criticism directly at the Obama administration for not placing stricter limits on the largest institutions or requiring them to simplify their structure.
"The problems are worse than they were in 2007 before the crisis." The statements come on the anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
"We aren’t doing anything significant so far, and the banks are pushing back," he said.

Stiglitz: The Financial System Isn't Fixed

The Big Plunge Is Just Ahead

How the Federal Reserve Bought the Economics Profession

Arianna Huffington: Why Obama Won't Be Able to Reform Wall Street

Robert Reich: The Continuing Disaster of Wall Street, One Year Later

Financial Crisis (On Huffington Post)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Angry White Moron March on Washington

Thousands of right-wing Morons are Marching on Washington today.

Following the marching orders of their coprorate masters and Glenn Beck, the "thousands" of anti-American morons calling for the overthrow of the U.S. government.

For more on Glenn Beck and the 9/11 sponsors see ThinkProgress

Guess Who is Pulling the Strings of the Tea-Baggers?

Pictures speak a thousand words...

The Right's Fringe Festival

Here's What Fox News Didn't Broadcast:

Friday, September 11, 2009

Gay Killings--Iraq's New Surge

Iraq's New Surge: Gay Killings

As the world hails Iraq's supposed return to normality, the country's militias -- the same ones that spent years waging a sectarian civil war -- have found a new, less apparent target: men suspected of being gay. The systematic killings, which began earlier this year, reveal the cracks behind Iraq's fragile calm. Iraq's leaders may talk of security and democracy from behind barbed wire in the Green Zone, but the surge of murders against gay men is a stark sign of how far Iraqi society still has to go.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

US Poverty Rate Hits 11-Year High

Census: US Poverty Rate Hits 11-Year High
The U.S. poverty rate hit its highest level in 11 years in 2008 as the worst recession since the Great Depression threw millions of Americans out of work, a government report showed on Thursday.

Food aid is unloaded by the Care and Share food bank as local residents await their share in August 2009 in the rural town of Hugo, in eastern Colorado. Nearly 40 million people lived in poverty in the United States last year as the recession forced the first significant rise in the US poverty rate in five years, the US Census Bureau said in a report Thursday. (AFP/Getty Images/File/John Moore)The Census Bureau said the poverty rate rose to 13.2 percent in 2008, the highest level since 1997, from 12.5 percent in 2007. About 39.8 million Americans were living in poverty, up from 37.3 million in 2007.

The government defines poverty as an annual income of $22,025 for a family of four, $17,163 for a family of three and $14,051 for a family of two.

Real median household income fell 3.6 percent, the biggest annual drop since 1991, to $50,303 in 2008.
The Census Bureau also said 46.3 million Americans were without health insurance last year compared to 45.7 million in 2007. The numbers could feature in arguments over President Barack Obama's plans to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system and dramatically expand medical insurance coverage.

The family poverty rate rose to 10.3 percent last year and 8.1 million families were in poverty, the Bureau said. This compares to 9.8 percent and 7.6 million respectively in 2007.

Poverty was higher among blacks and Hispanics, the report showed. About 14.1 million children under the age of 18 lived in poverty last year, up from 13.3 million in 2007.

Obama's Comeback?

Obama to Congresss: "The Time for Bickering is Over"

Obama took off the kid gloves and came out swinging in his address to Congress Wed. He laid out a progressive vision on healthcare, though fell short of demanding a public healthcare program as most progressives had hoped.

Alternet: This Was the Obama We've Been Waiting For

Perhaps the most telling point in the address was when Rep. Joe Wilson (S.C.) interrupted Obama's speech when he rebuked the lie that the healthcare plan would cover "illegal" immigrants. Wilson yelled "You Lie," to the astonishment of the whole country. Turns out Joe Wilson is a LIAR

Reactions to the Speech

Rachel Maddow: President Offered Full, Formal Defense of Liberalism

Monday, September 07, 2009

A Not So Happy Labor Day

It's a not-so-happy Labor Day

Labor Day By the Numbers


• New jobs needed per month to keep up with population growth: 127,000
• Jobs lost in August 2009: 216,000
• Jobs needed to regain pre-recession unemployment levels: 9.4 million
• Manufacturing jobs lost since the start of the recession: 2.0 million (14.6% of sector’s jobs)
• Construction jobs lost in the recession: 1.4 million (19%, nearly one in five construction jobs)
• Mass layoffs (50 or more people by a single employer) in July 2009: 2,157; jobs lost: 206,791


• Number unemployed: 14.9 million (up from 7.5 million in December 2007)
• Underemployment rate: 16.8%; Share of workers un- or underemployed: roughly 1 in 6
• Under- and unemployed, marginally attached and involuntary part-time workers: 26.4 million
• Unemployment rate, ages 16 to 24: 18.2%
• Male unemployment: 10.9%; female unemployment: 8.2%
• White unemployment: 8.9%; black unemployment: 15.1%; Hispanic unemployment: 13%
• Unemployment rate, young college graduates: 5.9% (2nd worst on record); Worst recorded unemployment rate for young college graduates: 6.2% (1983)
• Traditional ratio of young college grads’ unemployment to overall rate: 50%; Current ratio: 70%
• Portion of unemployed who have been jobless more than six months: one third

Workers Have Less to Celebrate This Labor Day
Robert Kuttner: Hard Labor
Robert Reich: The Real News About Jobs and Wages--An Ode to Labor Day
DSA: Talking Union

UPDATE: Obama Speaks at AFL-CIO Labor Day Picnic

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Democrats and The Sick Health Care Debate

Obama and the Democrats continue to loose the public war over health care by failing to use all of their political power to fight the Republicans and the insurance companies. Instead, Obama has been turning every cheek, and kissing a few as well, to get Republican support for "insurance reform"-- never mind UNIVERSAL PUBLIC INSURANCE to cover every citizen!

Here's essential reading by Matt Taibbi in the Rolling Stone explaining how the Democrats have screwed up again:
Sick and Wrong: How Washington is Screwing Up Health Care Reform

Bill Moyers exposed the Democratic Party's ties to corporate lobbyists and the insurance industry on HBO's Bill Mahers:

Bill Moyer's on Democrats and Healthcare Debate:

MOYERS: I don’t think the problem is the Republicans . . . .The problem is the Democratic Party. This is a party that has told its progressives -- who are the most outspoken champions of health care reform -- to sit down and shut up. That’s what Rahm Emanuel, the Chief of Staff at the White House, in effect told progressives who stood up as a unit in Congress and said: "no public insurance option, no health care reform."

And I think the reason for that is -- in the time since I was there, 40 years ago, the Democratic Part has become like the Republican Party, deeply influenced by corporate money. I think Rahm Emanuel, who is a clever politician, understands that the money for Obama’s re-election will come from the health care industry, from the drug industry, from Wall Street. And so he’s a corporate Democrat who is determined that there won’t be something in this legislation that will turn off these interests. . . .

Money in politics -- you’ve had in the last 30 years, money has flooded politics . .. the Supreme Court saying "money is free speech." It goes back to the efforts in the 19th Century to give corporations the right of personhood -- so if you as a citizen have the right to donate to campaigns, then so do corporations. Money has flowed in such a flood into both parties that the Democratic Party gets a lot of its support from the very interests that -- when the Republicans are in power -- financially support the Republicans.

You really have essentially -- except for the progressives on the left of the Democratic Party – you really have two corporate parties who in their own way and their own time are serving the interests of basically a narrow set of economic interests in the country -- who, as Glenn Greenwald, who is a great analyst and journalist, wrote just this week: these narrow interests seem to win, determine the outcomes, no matter how many Democrats are elected, no matter who has their hands on the levers of powers, these narrow interests determine the outcomes in Washington, even when they have to run roughshod over the interests of ordinary Americans. I’m sad to say that has happened to the Democratic Party.

I’d rather see Barack Obama go down fighting for vigorous strong principled public insurance, than to lose with a [corporate-dominated] bill . . . . the insurers are winning. Everyone already knows the White House has made a deal with the drug industry -- promising not to import cheaper drugs from Canada and Europe – promising not to use the government to negotiate for better prices -- that deal has been cut . . .

There’s this fear that Barack Obama will become the Grover Cleveland of this era – Grover Cleveland was a good man, but he became a conservative Democratic President because he didn’t fight the powerful interests – people say Obama should be FDR – I’d much rather see him be Theodore Roosevelt --– Teddy Roosevelt loved to fight – … I think if Obama fought instead of really finessed it so much . . . I think it would change the atmosphere."


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Americans Flee to Mexico for Health Care!

Americans are Migrating to Mexico for Health Care

USA Today: Mexico's Health Care Lures Americans

I thought people were coming to the United States for "the best health care in the world" ?? Instead, seniors are going to Canada for cheap drugs and Mexico for cheap "government" health care they can't get in the U.S.!!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Gay Marriage in Vermont

Same-Sex Marriage Begins in Vermont

(Reuters) - Vermont legalized gay marriage on Tuesday after lawmakers overrode a veto from the governor by a wafer-thin margin, making the New England state the fourth in the United States where gays can wed.

The vote, nine years after Vermont was first in the United States to adopt a same-sex civil-union law, also makes the tiny state of 624,000 people the first in the nation to introduce gay marriage through legislative action instead of the courts.