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Great, great news: Pelosi might stay on as House minority leader

Tweet Terrific. You didn’t think the thirst for power would fade overnight, did you? Why, she reminds me of Lisa Murkowski, except - I was going to say, “except more obnoxious.” But you know, at this point, I’m really not sure. High-level Democratic sources in the House...

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Reporters say anti-gay bill has been shelved – Ugandan politicians disagree

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 10-01-2011

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Yesterday, the author of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, David Bahati, told me via email that he remains confident that his bill will be considered by Parliament before May. I asked him about a report in the Observer which implied the bill would not be passed. Bahati said in response:

My comment is the same as I gave you before. We are committed to ensuring that this legislation passes.

Wondering if Bahati’s optimism was misplaced, I today called Stephen Tashobya, the chair of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee. This committee must act on the bill if it is to see action in Parliament. I first spoke with Mr. Tashobya in December, 2010. Today, Mr. Tashobya told me that nothing had changed regarding the time table for considering the bill. He said the Parliament will reconvene very soon after the February 18 elections and consider the remaining bills, including the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. I asked him specifically about his reaction to press reports that the bill had been shelved. He answered,

No. I think I can say with some authority that this is not true, because I would be one of the first to know this because it is before my committee.

Just last week the AP said the bill had been “shelved” and the Christian Science Monitor said the bill had “fizzled.” Note that these reports do not cite sources; the statement is made without attribution. As far as I can recollect, none of the reports saying the AHB has been withdrawn provide any sourcing. On the other hand, those who report that the bill is alive provide sources and interview those who are closest to the bill, as I have today.

Here is an example from the Christian Science Monitor writing about the recent court ruling barring the Rolling Stone from outing gays. Reporter Ioannis Gatsiounis said this about the AHB:

Homosexuality emerged as a hot-button issue in Uganda this year after a draft bill called for the death penalty for some homosexual offenders.

That bill fizzled amid significant pressure from the international community, but critics of the new antipornography bill say it, too, could be used as a pretext to target homosexuals.

Note that the reporter gives no source for the claim.

On the other hand, Jeff Sharlet reported a conversation with Bahati on the matter. CNN interviewed David Bahati who said clearly that the bill would be considered. In November, Bahati told me that the bill would be considered before the Parliament ended in May. He confirmed that again to Rachel Maddow in December when he was in the US. Finally, Stephen Tashobya, the chair of the Ugandan committee which has jurisdiction over the bill, told me that the Anti-Homosexuality would be considered after the nation holds elections in February. Today, he said nothing has changed.

Back in January, 2010, President Yoweri Museveni told his party members that the supporters of the bill needed to work with the Europeans and Americans on the issue; he did not say to shelve it - at least in public. Some sources have told me on the condition of anonymity that Museveni has assured the US that the bill will be vetoed. However, he has not to my knowledge said that publicly. Mr. Tashobya told me that the President has not indicated any position on the situation to him. Tashobya also told me he has no reason to think that the President will not allow the bill to become law, with possible amendments.

At least one prediction about the bill has not come true. In May, the New York Times reported that a government minister, Adolf Mwesige believed the bill would be voted down within weeks. Perhaps, this report has been taken as the end of the matter. However, the bill was not voted down, it remains before committee with the chair saying he intends to consider all bills before May.

The picture is complicated with some evidence that the bill might not pass. However, writing that the AHB has been shelved or not in play is not accurate reporting.

See also: 
Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill: A status report (May, 2010)


Warren Throckmorton

VIRGINIA: Leader Of Anti-Gay Episcopal Sect Fired In Pornography Scandal

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 07-01-2011

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Episcopal Rev. Marshall Brown, who helped 14 Virginia parishes leave the main church in protest of the elevation of openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson, has been fired by his Fairfax, Virginia parish for viewing pornography on church computers. It was Brown’s Truro Church that spearheaded the continuing schism in the American Anglican Church over the ordination of gays.

Truro’s rejection of what its congregants saw as a non-biblical liberal tilt in the denomination made international news. Dozens of Episcopal churches have since joined an umbrella group of religious conservatives who oppose the acceptance of same-sex relationships and the idea that non-Christian religions have equal access to God. In 2005, Truro arranged for Brown, now 57, to get treatment for an Internet addiction after he reported having a problem, according to Bishop Martyn Minns, who was Truro’s rector at the time and is now bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, the umbrella group of breakaway churches.

The Anglican Church is currently suing Truro Church over the ownership of its properties, which are valued in the tens of millions of dollars. Nice work, Rev. Busyfingers! So which was it? Manhunt? Sean Cody?

Joe. My. God.

Chick-Fil-A Has Deep Anti-Gay Affiliations

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 07-01-2011

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Yesterday Chick-Fil-A finally addressed the news that it was sponsoring an anti-gay marriage seminar hosted by the Pennsylvania Family Institute.

“To our Facebook community: First and foremost, thanks for your patience as we made sure we gathered the facts in regards to recent postings. We have determined that one of our independent Restaurant Operators in Pennsylvania was asked to provide sandwiches to two Art of Marriage video seminars,” said the restaurant. “As our fans, you know we do our best to serve our local communities, and one of the ways we do that is by providing food to schools, colleges, civic groups, businesses, places of worship, not-for-profit groups, etc. At his discretion, the local Operator agreed to simply provide a limited amount of food. Our Chick-fil-A Operators and their employees try very hard every day to go the extra mile in serving ALL of our customers with honor, dignity and respect.”

That seems to be a reasonable response, right? Oh, but hang on. Good As You’s dogged Jeremy Hooper has uncovered extensive ties between Chick-Fil-A’s charitable arm, the WinShape Foundation, and virtually all of the major organizations fighting marriage equality, including NOM’s Ruth Institute, which famously demanded that gays return the “Christian rainbow.” So much for “honor, dignity and respect.” Chick-Fil-A’s press release is nothing by lying bullshittery. Hit the link for the evidence.

Joe. My. God.

Chick-Fil-A Vanishes From Anti-Gay Event

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 04-01-2011

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Sharp-eyed JMG reader Steven notes that Chick-Fil-A has mysteriously vanished from the site that only hours ago trumpeted their sponsorship of next month’s event by the anti-gay Pennsylvania Family Institute. This change comes less than 24 hours after Good As You alerted the gay blogosphere that the famously “traditional values” oriented company was aligning with another hate group. The company, whose mission statement says they “exist to glorify God,” has been a major contributor to Focus On The Family for many years.

UPDATE: The company has issued the below tweet.

Joe. My. God.

VIRGINIA: Navy Makes Raunchy Anti-Gay Videos For Crew Of U.S.S. Enterprise

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 02-01-2011

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The U.S. Navy is investigating a series of raunchy anti-gay videos made for the entertainment of the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise, an aircraft carrier based out of Norfolk, Virginia.

The Virginian-Pilot newspaper reports that Capt. Owen Honors of the Norfolk-based USS Enterprise broadcast to his crew a series of profanity-laced comedy sketches in which he uses gay slurs, mimics masturbation and opens the shower curtain on women pretending to bathe together. The newspaper says Honors appeared in the videos in 2006 and 2007 while he was the Enterprise’s second-ranking officer, and he showed them across the ship on closed-circuit television. He took over as the ship’s commander in May. The navy says the videos are “clearly inappropriate” and it is investigating the circumstances surrounding the production of the videos.

The videos were reportedly made onboard with government equipment. But remember, it’s the gays that are going to bring rampant disgusting sexuality to the armed forces.

UPDATE: Here’s some screenshots from the clip.

Joe. My. God.

Anti-Gay Activist Phyllis Schlafly: How Dare Those Gay People Ask Us To Respect Them

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 29-12-2010

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This qualifies as the most irrational, hateful thing I’ve heard come out of Phyllis Schalfly’s mouth, and that’s saying something:

Many social conservatives, such as Eagle Forum President Phyllis Schlafly of Ladue, refuse to believe that a majority of Americans would support gay marriage. Obama’s shifting position, she said, “is the story of politics: An aggressive well-funded pressure group can achieve goals contrary to what the majority of people want. I think same-sex marriage would be a terrible mistake. I don’t think there are any good arguments for it.”

Gays, she said, are already free to live together. “Nobody’s stopping them from shacking up,” she said. “The problem is they are trying to make us respect them, and that’s an interference with what we believe.”

Yes, how dare we treat human beings as human beings.

A thought. People like this need to stop calling themselves Christian, because there’s nothing Christ like about them.




Outside the Beltway

In Israel, Non-Violent Solidarity Activist Goes to Prison, Anti-Gay Terrorist Gets Community Service

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 28-12-2010

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Jonathan Pollak, bearing a Steve Biko t-shirt, awaits his sentence in a Tel Aviv court

Jonathan Pollak, bearing a Steve Biko t-shirt, awaits his sentence in a Tel Aviv court

On December 27, Anarchists Against the Wall co-founder Jonathan Pollak was slapped with a three month prison sentence for illegal assembly. He was convicted by an Israeli magistrate judge for his participation in a January 2008 Critical Mass bike ride through the streets of Tel Aviv in protest of Israel’s brutal military assault on the Gaza Strip. Though Pollak was offered community service, he accepted prison time because he was convinced that he had done nothing wrong.

The day before Pollak was sentenced, an Israeli judge handed down a sentence of six months of community service to Michael Naky. Naky’s crime? He helped devise and detonate a pipe bomb in order to kill as many homosexuals as possible at the 2007 Jerusalem gay pride parade.

In a single day in Israel’s kangaroo courts, a right-wing terrorist was sentenced to a few months of street cleaning while a non-violent activist dedicated to stopping the occupation was jailed under the most specious charges. And while Pollak’s sentencing was reported with great fanfare in Israel’s major papers, Naky’s passed below the radar (Yedioth devoted just six lines). The contrast in punishments represented just another symptom of a sick society unwilling to face the Mollock in the mirror.

The state has made little effort to disguise the political nature of Pollak’s prosecution. He was not a ringleader of the Critical Mass protest, nor did he behave in an unusual manner. He simply rode his bike slowly, disrupting the normal flow of traffic along with dozens of demonstrators. However, the police recognized him as a prominent organizer of unarmed protests against the Israeli military repression in the West Bank, singled him out and arrested him.

I have documented Pollak’s actions at protests across the West Bank, where he spends most of his weekends, and I witnessed the respect he has earned from the residents of besieged Palestinian villages who count on him as their liaison to the outside world — a realm that the state of Israel has largely forbidden them from interacting with. Last summer, Pollak helped me gain entry into Ofer Military Prison to witness the show trials of Palestinian popular committee members who organize the unarmed protests against the Israeli segregation wall. He has done the same for numerous European diplomats, including British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who declared after a harrowing tour of the Israeli Occupation that Pollak helped arrange: “Popular resistance to the Occupation is the sole remaining possible alternative for the Palestinians to achieve their rights and avoid armed struggle.”

It is clear why the Israeli justice system acted in such a draconian fashion against Pollak: His activism is making an impact against the Occupation.

Association for Civil Rights in Israel chief legal counsel Dan Yakir described the political nature of Pollak’s prosecution succinctly when he said, “The fact that Pollak was the only one arrested, even though he behaved just like the rest of the protesters, and the fact that bicycle demonstrations are usually held without police involvement raises a strong suspicion regarding personal persecution and a severe blow for freedom of expression, just because of his opinions. A prison sentence in the wake of a protest is an extreme and exaggerated punishment.”

Naky’s lenient sentencing appeared to have been influenced by politics as well, especially when viewed in light of the state’s treatment of other right-wing terrorists. Chaim Pearlman, a fanatical settler suspected of stabbing to death three Palestinians in cold blood, was set free after a month in Shin Bet custody. And Jack Teitel, another Jewish settler convicted of randomly murdering several Palestinians and attempting to kill the Israeli left-wing intellectual Zeev Sternhell (Teitel also planned to attack the 2006 Jerusalem gay pride parade), was allowed to plead insanity and ruled unfit to stand trial.

The Israeli justice system has extended no such privileges to Palestinians like Ibrahim Amireh or Abdullah Abu Rahmeh, who rot in Israeli military prisons for resisting their dispossession through unarmed protest. And the state is leveling every legal weapon at its disposal against activists like Pollak, who declared at his sentencing hearing: “I will go to prison wholeheartedly and with my head held high. It will be the justice system itself, I believe, that ought to lower its eyes in the face of the suffering inflicted on Gaza’s inhabitants, just like it lowers its eyes and averts its vision each and every day when faced with the realities of the occupation.”

Max Blumenthal

Despite Apology, Target Maintained Political Donations To Anti-Gay Candidates

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 24-12-2010

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Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel

This past summer, Target became embroiled in a fierce political controversy when it was revealed that the retail giant was using corporate funds to support anti-gay gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer. Target gave $ 150,000 to a Republican political group that ran ads in support of Emmer’s candidacy.

Because Target had earned a reputation of being a progressive leader among its corporate competitors — for instance, the company extends domestic-partner benefits to gay and lesbian employees — the revelation of the company’s political giving came as a surprise and spurred calls for a boycott. In a few short days, Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel apologized in a letter to his employees:

While I firmly believe that a business climate conducive to growth is critical to our future, I realize our decision affected many of you in a way I did not anticipate, and for that I am genuinely sorry. [...]

Going forward, we will soon begin a strategic review and analysis of our decision-making process for financial contributions in the public policy arena. And later this fall, Target will take a leadership role in bringing together a group of companies and partner organizations for a dialogue focused on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, including GLBT issues.

But as new FEC records indicate that, despite Steinhafel’s apology, Target maintained its corporate contributions to right-wing, anti-gay candidates. After Steinhafel’s written apology, Target’s Political Action Committee “recorded $ 41,200 in federal election activity. Of that total, $ 31,200 went to anti-gay rights politicians or PACs supporting those candidates.”

One of the biggest recipients of Target’s cash was Republican lawmaker John Kline, who has voted against prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation, against treated anti-gay violence as a hate crime, and in favor of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. The Human Rights Campaign has given him a zero rating in terms of support for GLBT issues.”

Target also supported Erik Paulsen, “a consistent opponent of gay marriage. He voted against repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ and against workplace anti-discrimination laws based on sexual orientation.”

Target also gave support to a range of other anti-gay candidates, including Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Dave Camp (R-MI), Dave Reichert (D-WA), David Dreier (R-CA), Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), and Sen.-elect Rob Portman (R-OH). The Awl’s Abe Sauer reports, “We asked Target to explain these donations. They chose not to provide any answers.”

While Target’s PAC also gave small amounts to pro-gay politicians, including Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), it’s clear that even after the political controversy erupted Target’s behavior did not change.

ThinkProgress

NPR’s Quantico Qualms: Marine Corps Full of ‘Country Boys’ Who are Racist, Sexist, and Anti-Gay

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 21-12-2010

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On Monday night's All Things Considered newscast, National Public Radio sent reporters to three different military bases looking for reaction to the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell." Art Silverman came last at the Marine Base in Quantico, Virginia:

SILVERMAN:  Then I march into Number Two Military barbershop and find only one customer to ask about the repeal. How will this affect people in the field doing their job?

Turn off the recorder, he says. He wants to talk frankly. He wants me to know that most Marines come from parts of the country where tolerance toward homosexuality doesn't exist. This means problems ahead. He says, "These are country boys, and they even have problems accepting blacks and women in the Corps." For him, repeal of “don't ask, don't tell” means hostility and harassment ahead for Marines who let people know they are gay or lesbian.  

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NewsBusters.org blogs

NPR’s Quantico Qualms: Marine Corps Full of ‘Country Boys’ Who are Racist, Sexist, and Anti-Gay

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 21-12-2010

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On Monday night's All Things Considered newscast, National Public Radio sent reporters to three different military bases looking for reaction to the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell." Art Silverman came last at the Marine Base in Quantico, Virginia:

SILVERMAN:  Then I march into Number Two Military barbershop and find only one customer to ask about the repeal. How will this affect people in the field doing their job?

Turn off the recorder, he says. He wants to talk frankly. He wants me to know that most Marines come from parts of the country where tolerance toward homosexuality doesn't exist. This means problems ahead. He says, "These are country boys, and they even have problems accepting blacks and women in the Corps." For him, repeal of “don't ask, don't tell” means hostility and harassment ahead for Marines who let people know they are gay or lesbian.  

read more

NewsBusters.org - Exposing Liberal Media Bias

NPR’s Quantico Qualms: Marine Corps Full of ‘Country Boys’ Who are Racist, Sexist, and Anti-Gay

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 21-12-2010

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On Monday night's All Things Considered newscast, National Public Radio sent reporters to three different military bases looking for reaction to the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell." Art Silverman came last at the Marine Base in Quantico, Virginia:

SILVERMAN:  Then I march into Number Two Military barbershop and find only one customer to ask about the repeal. How will this affect people in the field doing their job?

Turn off the recorder, he says. He wants to talk frankly. He wants me to know that most Marines come from parts of the country where tolerance toward homosexuality doesn't exist. This means problems ahead. He says, "These are country boys, and they even have problems accepting blacks and women in the Corps." For him, repeal of “don't ask, don't tell” means hostility and harassment ahead for Marines who let people know they are gay or lesbian.  

read more

NewsBusters.org - Exposing Liberal Media Bias

Anti-Gay Iowa Republicans Will Try To Impeach Supreme Court Justices

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 20-12-2010

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For conservatives angry over the Iowa Supreme Court’s unanimous decision last year to legalize gay marriage, getting three of the seven justices booted from the bench just isn’t enough. Now, a handful of Republican lawmakers are now trying to impeach the remaining four.

The Iowa Independent reports that three freshmen members of the Iowa House are writing legislation to impeach those four justices. They’re joined by a freshman state senator, Kent Sorenson, who will sit on the judiciary committee and who has called the fight against same sex marriage “my generation’s defining moment.”

Such a move would require a majority vote in the House, followed by a two-thirds majority in the Senate. It’s unclear how much support there is for impeachment — a punishment generally reserved for judges who’ve committed a crime or other serious misconduct.

But the incoming House speaker, Rep. Kraig Paulsen (R), told a radio station there that if impeachment is what the people want, impeachment is what the people will get.

Paulsen did tell the Des Moines Register, however, that he’s not sure that’s what the people want.

“I do not think one of the takeaways from the election is that Iowans, because they chose to fire three people, sent a message to the Iowa House that they want us to go in and fire the remaining four,” he said.

This fall, a conservative coalition funded by the country’s biggest anti-gay groups spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads and a bus tour to convince Iowans to vote against keeping the three Supreme Court justices who were up for retention. They were successful.

In Iowa, judges go up for retention every term. If voters vote “no,” the judges leave office and new judges are appointed.

The fight over the state’s supreme court is likely to continue being an issue through 2012. Bob Vander Plaats, who led the anti-retention campaign, has started a new Iowa-based group called The Family Leader, which aims to bring same sex marriage back to the national conversation. Likely presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has already spoken at a fundraiser for the new group.









TPMMuckraker

Anti-Gay Christianist Groups Vow To Force Congress To Reverse Repeal Of DADT

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 19-12-2010

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Joe. My. God.

Anti-Gay Activist: Gay Rights Groups Stole The Rainbow From Us!

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 16-12-2010

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An activist for a sub-group of the anti-gay group the National Organization for Marriage is speaking out against the use of the rainbow as a symbol for gay rights. “We are the real rainbow coalition. The gay lobby does not own the rainbow,” she said.






TPMMuckraker

Author of Uganda anti-gay bill on his way home

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 15-12-2010

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I am trying to confirm these facts but this article from the Uganda Observer says David Bahati is on his way home, with a little help from the US State Dept. He is not answering his phone and has not returned emails. I suspect he is indeed in transit.
Warren Throckmorton