Posts Tagged ‘gay



30
Aug
13

Rise and Shine

@petesouza: President Obama in the Oval Office, talking on phone to German Chancellor Merkel

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Today:

2:15 EDT: The President meets with President Toomas Hendrik Ilves of Estonia, Dalia Grybauskaitė of Lithuania, and President Andris Bērziņš of Latvia; the Vice President also attends

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CBS: Obama administration set to release Syria intel report

The administration will release on Friday a declassified version of its intelligence report on last week’s purported Syria chemical weapons attack, a senior administration official told CBS News late Thursday.

The official also said the administration would go public with its legal justification for taking military action against the Syrian regime if and when President Obama orders a strike.

More here

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Steve Benen: The prospect of going alone in Syria

A few days ago, it was largely seen as a fait accompli – British Prime Minister David Cameron would get approval from the British Parliament for the use of force in Syria, and a coalition would move forward apace.

With these expectations in mind, last night’s developments were as stunning as they were dramatic. For the first time in generations, a British prime minister’s appeal for military authorization was rejected by members of Parliament, even after Cameron watered down the scope of his original request.

It’s safe to assume the White House, which appears eager to intervene in Syria and assumed the UK’s support was in hand, was rattled by Parliament’s decision. Indeed, it left President Obama in an unsettling global dynamic….

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Jonathan Cohn: Another Story of Obamacare Rate Shock That Isn’t

Another Obamascare article is making the rounds. This one, from National Journal, is about what people buying their own insurance will pay on the new Obamacare exchanges — and how those prices compare to what people pay when they get coverage from their employers.

“For the vast majority of Americans,” reporter Clara Ritger writes, “premium prices will be higher in the individual exchange than what they’re currently paying for employer-sponsored benefits, according to a National Journal analysis of new coverage and cost data. … Whether the quality of care in the new market is comparable to private offerings remains to be seen. But one thing is clear: The cost of care in the new market doesn’t stack up.”

…. this analysis doesn’t really tell us what the Obamacare critics think it does. In fact, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t really tell us what Ritger thinks it does….

More here

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Jonathan Bernstein: Here comes more Obamacare misinformation

Wow. National Journal really booted one today on the Affordable Care Act …..it should be tossed in the garbage…

….. National Journal only has initial estimates of what plans in the exchanges will look like; over time, we don’t know how they’ll change. And, yes, there is surely a fair amount of uncertainty about how employers will react over time.

What we do know, however, suggests that this National Journal analysis doesn’t get it right, at all.

More here

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Steve Benen: Eric Holder steps up, digs in, and breaks out

…. Eric Holder appears to have quietly positioned himself not only as a progressive champion, but as one of the more accomplished attorneys general in recent memory.

Think about some of the recent policies Holder has chosen to tackle: voting rights; sentencing reforms; condemnations of “Stand Your Ground” laws, and of course the drug policy announced yesterday. These are critically important law-enforcement policies, some of which have been neglected and ignored by officials in both parties for years, long in need of leadership – which Holder is now providing…..

Full post here

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FACT SHEET: New Executive Actions to Reduce Gun Violence

The Obama administration announced two new common-sense executive actions to keep the most dangerous firearms out of the wrong hands and ban almost all re-imports of military surplus firearms to private entities. These executive actions build on the 23 executive actions that the Vice President recommended as part of the comprehensive gun violence reduction plan and the President unveiled on January 16, 2013.

Even as Congress fails to act on common-sense proposals, like expanding criminal background checks and making gun trafficking a federal crime, the President and Vice President remain committed to using all the tools in their power to make progress toward reducing gun violence.

More here

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Treasury: All Legal Same-Sex Marriages Will Be Recognized for Federal Tax Purposes

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) today ruled that same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes. The ruling applies regardless of whether the couple lives in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage or a jurisdiction that does not recognize same-sex marriage.

The ruling implements federal tax aspects of the June 26th Supreme Court decision invalidating a key provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.

“Today’s ruling provides certainty and clear, coherent tax filing guidance for all legally married same-sex couples nationwide. It provides access to benefits, responsibilities and protections under federal tax law that all Americans deserve,” said Secretary Jacob J. Lew. “This ruling also assures legally married same-sex couples that they can move freely throughout the country knowing that their federal filing status will not change.”

More here

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David Frum is hardly in a position to comment, but he’s right on this:

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TPM: Is This The Beginning Of The End Of The War On Drugs?

It’s America’s 40-year war. From Nixon through Nancy — “Just Say No!” — to Clinton not inhaling. From coke to crack to meth.

Throughout the War on Drugs, the drive has been for more law enforcement, stiffer sentences and less tolerance. The limitations of interdiction and incarceration are well-documented. But the push for harsher penalties rarely abated, and the emphasis remained on drugs as a criminal matter for law enforcement. Until Thursday, when the first real retreat of any kind was made official.

The Justice Department’s announcement that it would not block Colorado and Washington from implementing state laws legalizing marijuana marked a sea change.

More here

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Seamus Heaney, the Irish Nobel Prize-winning poet, died today.

This poem, which I used in an abysmally made YouTube video back in 2008, was, I always thought, perfect for the campaign – and still is:

“History says, don’t hope
On this side of the grave,
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up
And hope and history rhyme.”

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Morning everyone.

14
Aug
13

News Of The Day

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BBC News: Benefits Extended To US Gay Military Spouses

US military same-sex spouses will gain all benefits open to opposite-sex spouses by 3 September, Pentagon officials have said. It includes healthcare and housing and will be open to any military member with a valid marriage certificate.  The Pentagon had already extended certain privileges to same-sex couples after a ban on openly gay troops – known as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – was repealed in September 2011. But most benefits had been off-limits until the Supreme Court ruling.

“It is now the department’s policy to treat all married military personnel equally,” Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a memo on Wednesday to senior Pentagon officials. The Pentagon also stated it would allow leave for military personnel, who are stationed in a state that does not permit same-sex marriage, to travel to a jurisdiction where they can marry legally. The change will mean that homosexual troops and their spouses will also have the right to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington DC.

More here

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TPM: Peggy Noonan: Obama Should Defend Missouri Rodeo Clown (Yes Peggy, you are a RACIST)

Peggy Noonan offered a “classy” suggestion to President Barack Obama on Tuesday: go to bat for that rodeo clown in Missouri. Let me suggest a classy Obama move that might go over well. From his Vineyard vacation spot he should have the press office issue a release saying his reaction to finding out a rodeo clown was rudely spoofing him, was, “So what?” Say he loves free speech, including inevitably derision directed at him, and he does not wish for the Missouri state fair to fire the guy, and hopes those politicians (unctuously, excessively, embarrassingly) damning the clown and the crowd would pipe down and relax. This would be graceful and nice, wouldn’t it? He would never do it. He gives every sign of being a person who really believes he shouldn’t be made fun of, and if he is it’s probably racially toned, because why else would you make fun of him?

More here

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Julian Pecquet: Kerry Slams Crackdown In Egypt As ‘Deplorable’

Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday denounced the violent crackdown by the Egyptian military as a “deplorable” and unnecessary escalation that represents a “serious blow” to peace and democracy.

Kerry said Egypt faced a “pivotal moment” and warned the military-appointed interim government that the “world is closely watching” how it responds. More than 100 people were killed Wednesday when the army raided camps where supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi have been protesting for the past month.

“Today’s events are deplorable, and they run counter to Egyptian aspirations for peace, inclusion and genuine democracy,” Kerry said during a 5-minute surprise appearance at the State Department’s daily press briefing. “It’s a serious blow to reconciliation and the Egyptian people’s hopes for a transition towards democracy and inclusion.” “Violence will not create a roadmap to Egypt’s future,” he said.

More here

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Please Proceed, GOP

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Jamelle Bouie: North Carolina’s Attack On Voting Rights

North Carolina Republicans passed a sweeping set of changes to the state’s election law. These measures were proposed just one week after the Court’s ruling, and were rushed through the state legislature. GOP Gov. Pat McCrory calls them “common sense” measures, designed to “ensure the integrity” of the ballot box and “provide greater equality in access to voting to North Carolinians.” And that’s true, if you rob those words of their actual meaning. The centerpiece of the law is a strict new mandate for voter identification, that’s more notable for what it bans than what it permits. Of the various forms of state-issued ID, only four are valid for voting: driver’s licenses, passports, veteran’s IDs, and tribal cards. Everything else is unacceptable. This includes college IDs, public or municipal employee IDs, ID from public-assistance agencies, and out-of-state driver’s licenses.

It’s no accident that those are the excluded categories. As with similar laws in other states, the restrictions target Democratic voters, from students and young people—who are more likely to rely on university-issued identification—to public employees and the poor. And of course, a large share of these voters are black and Latino. Overall, the state estimates that as many as 318,000 voters could lack (PDF) appropriate identification. Echoing many supporters of voter identification, Governor McCrory points to other activities that require photo ID: “Common practices like boarding an airplane and purchasing Sudafed require photo ID, and we should expect nothing less for the protection of our right to vote.” But voting is just that, a right, and restricting particular kinds of ID—used by particular kinds of people—without expanding access to other forms of identification is an obvious attempt to make voting hard for some and not others.

Indeed, the other provisions of the law make it plain that this was the intent. Governor McCrory’s “common sense” initiative bans paid voter-registration drives, removes a week from the early voting period (which was a popular option for black voters in 2008 and 2012), eliminates straight-ticket voting, repeals out-of-precinct voting, repeals a mandate for high-school voter-registration drives (again, because Republicans don’t want young people participating), eliminates flexibility in early-voting hours, and makes it more difficult for precincts to designate additional voting sites for the elderly or voters with disabilities. We’re only 50 years removed from Jim Crow, and history has a strong grasp. Yes, we have an African-American president. But we also have deep-seated racial inequality. To think we’ve overcome this—to think it no longer matters for the present—is worse than ignorant, it’s naive.

More here

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Once again, the White House is winning at social media

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Here’s the hilarious backstory

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29
Jul
13

Rise and Shine

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President Barack Obama reacts to a picture presented to him of a younger Robert Gibbs, who played soccer at North Carolina State, following a town hall meeting at Broughton High School in Raleigh, N.C. on July 29, 2009.
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Presidential Daily Schedule (All Times Eastern)

10:15AM: Pres. Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

11:00AM: Pres. Obama meets with senior advisors

12:00PM: Pres. Obama and Hillary Clinton have lunch

2:05PM: Pres. Obama welcomes the San Francisco Giants to the White House to honor the team and their 2012 World Series Championship

2:45PM: Pres. Obama meets with Civil Rights leader and local elected officials

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Tom Kludt: Obama, Hillary Clinton To Have Lunch At The White House Today

President Barack Obama will welcome a fixture from his first term cabinet back to the White House on Monday when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joins him for lunch. According to Obama’s schedule, the two will meet at noon ET.

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Nicole Winfield: Pope Francis Says He Will Not Judge Gay Priests

Pope Francis reached out to gays on Monday, saying he wouldn’t judge priests for their sexual orientation in a remarkably open and wide-ranging news conference as he returned from his first foreign trip.

“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Francis asked.

More here

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Donna Cassata: Sen. Gillibrand Fights To Remove Commanders From Military Sex Assault Cases

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who helped force the military to allow gays in its ranks, is determined to upend laws governing how the armed services handle an epidemic of sexual assaults.

She is slowly and steadily building support for a proposal to strip commanders of their authority to prosecute cases of sexual assault, instead handing responsibility to seasoned military lawyers. She now has 44 backers, including Sens. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., who signed on last week, as well as conservative Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

Gillibrand’s measure would remove commanders from the process of deciding whether serious crimes, including sexual misconduct cases, go to trial. That judgment would rest instead with seasoned trial lawyers who have prosecutorial experience and hold the rank of colonel or above.

More here

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Catherine Thompson: Slim Majority Of Americans Support Legalizing Gay Marriage In All 50 States

A slim majority of Americans would vote in favor of legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states, according to a Gallup poll released Monday.

While 52 percent of Americans would vote in favor of legalizing gay marriage across the country, 43 percent said they would vote against such a federal law, the poll found.

A number of groups posted more than 60 percent support for national legalization of same-sex marriage in the Gallup poll, including self-identifying liberals, those who said they subscribed to “no religion” or “rarely/never attend church,” Democrats, 18- to 34-year-olds, moderates, Easterners, and Catholics.

More here

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President Barack Obama speaks at a town hall meeting in a Kroger’s Supermarket in Bristol, Va. on July 29, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Nicole Flatow: Governor Admits He ‘Does Not Know Enough’ About The Voter Suppression Bill He’s About To Sign

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) said Friday he would sign a bill passed by the North Carolina legislature that would become the most suppressive voting law in the nation. But when asked to speak about a provision in the bill that would prohibit 17-year-olds from registering in advance of their 18th birthday, McCroryadmitted he “did not know enough” and had not read that portion of the bill.

The bill, passed just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act and paved the way for new suppressive state laws, imposes a laundry list of new restrictions on access to the ballot, including eliminating same-day registration, cutting early voting, easing campaign contribution limits, and expanding the mechanisms for alleging voter fraud. In remarks saying he would sign the bill, McCrory focused on his support for the bill’s voter ID requirement — a particularly suppressive and discriminatory policy that McCrory has long supported. But when asked by an Associated Press reporter about another provision in the bill to limit new voter registration opportunities, McCrory said, “I don’t know enough. I’m sorry. I haven’t read that portion of the bill.”

More here

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President Barack Obama listens to a question at a town hall meeting at Broughton High School in Raleigh, N.C. on July 29, 2009.

(Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

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Sandhya Somashekhar: Exclusive: Kathleen Sebelius On ObamaCare’s ‘Very Tight’ Deadlines

Sec. Kathleen Sebelius: Well, we are testing all of the data systems like crazy to try and make sure that information can flow easily through the system. I’m sure there will be operational challenges in the opening of the markets, but I think we’re trying to build in redundancies and be able to respond very rapidly. And really we see Oct. 1 as the beginning of the campaign that really lasts for six months.

KS: It is very tight…Ideally what you would do if you were building a data hub that needs this kind of information, you’d put a piece together and test that. You test it, if you will, sequentially. We have to build and test simultaneously…it’s a big operational issue but all systems are a go for the first of October.

More here

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President Barack Obama listens to a question during a town hall meeting at Broughton High School in Raleigh, N.C. on July 29, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Caitlin McDevitt: Kevin Spacey On Obama, Congress

“House of Cards” star Kevin Spacey thinks President Barack Obama deserves more credit for what he’s accomplished.

“President Obama will go down as having passed some of the most historic bills in the history of this country,” Spacey told Hot Press magazine in a recent interview. “That despite constant knee-jerk opposition from the Republicans. A lot of people don’t realize how much he’s done in the most difficult of circumstances.”

As for Congress, Spacey is less impressed.

“It’s maybe interesting for an American audience that’s sat through the most non-productive Congress in the history of the United States, in terms of bills passed, to watch a fictional show [“House of Cards”] where some bills actually get passed,” he said.

More here

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A picture of President Barack Obama rests on the ground during a town hall meeting held at Broughton High School in Raleigh, N.C on July 29, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

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 Reuters: Amazon Unveils New Hiring Spree Ahead Of Obama Visit

Amazon.com Inc unveiled a new hiring spree on Monday ahead of a visit by President Barack Obama to one of the Internet retailer’s giant distribution warehouses this week.

Amazon said it is looking to fill more than 5,000 new full-time jobs at 17 of its fulfillment centers across the United States. That’s roughly a 25 percent increase in full-time fulfillment center staff, which currently number more than 20,000 in the country.

Amazon has been building lots of new fulfillment centers closer to customers in recent years as the company tries to speed up delivery of online orders and reduce shipping costs.

Amazon needs a lot of workers to pick, pack and ship orders alongside high tech robots that whiz around its warehouses. The company’s demand for employees is so strong that it has created special programs to woo candidates.

More here

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First Lady Michelle Obama hugs LeBron James following the USA vs. France men’s basketball game at Olympic Park during the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England, July 29, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

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President Barack Obama eats a peach following a town hall meeting at Kroger’s Supermarket in Bristol, Va. on July 29, 2009. Seconds later, the President handed a dollar bill to the CEO of Kroger’s, who attended the event. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Have An Obamariffic Day! :D

11
Jul
13

The end of DOMA & Prop 8

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Continue reading ‘The end of DOMA & Prop 8′

02
Jul
13

A Toon or Two

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28
Jun
13

News Of The Day

HERO

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Oh Happy Day for Prop 8 Plaintiffs Kristin Perry and Sandy Stier as they tied the knot

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Annie-Rose Strasser: On Friday afternoon, the ninth circuit court lifted its stay on same-sex marriages in the state of California, acknowledging the Supreme Court’s opinion in Hollingsworth v Perry that supporters of anti-gay Proposition 8 did not have standing to appeal a lower court judge’s ruling that the ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. The move, which came earlier than expected, allows gay and lesbian couples to begin getting married immediately.

As soon as the news came down from the ninth circuit on Friday, California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris began marrying couples — starting with Proposition 8 plaintiffs Kristin Perry and Sandra Stier

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Filling out the marriage license

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