Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Washington Times amuses us with speculations about gays in special forces

Last week, the Washington Times offered a commentary rant after the vote to lift "don't ask don't tell" (see previous post). Here goes The Washington Times again (TWT), with it’s “happening now” story “Special forces wary of ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ repeal”, in a special by Rowan Scarborough.

I recall that Carl Levin, in the testimony, talked about a particular soldier who was “big, mean and gay” (I don’t know whether he has shown up at Town or Cobalt, but it seems as though on any given night there is a statistically greater than average sample of men over 6’6” tall – and I had once thought that this happened only in Minneapolis, at the Saloon).

The story has Rear Adm Worthington speculating that not so many will sign up for Navy Seals (remember though the1997 movie ”G.I. Jane” had Demi Moore train as a female Seal [don't confuse the movie with George Segal's "Navy Seals" in 1990], although they say this is Disney movies, not permissible in real life). There is silly speculation about how many gays are in medical or clerical.

In fact, the most intimate environment in the military may be submarines, where sailors speak of “bunk mates” and tend to gain weight on cruises.

The Discovery Channel, however, has a series on the extreme training environments for elite rescue units in all the services (my TV blog, Aug 25, 2010).

Friday, December 24, 2010

Gates throws a little cold water on the DADT-repeal Christmas party

Defense Secretary Robert Gates threw a little cold water on “our” Christmas party by reminding everyone that officially the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy is still in effect, and the process of lifting it can’t start for 60 days, and until he can certify that the military has new policies in place. His comment got mentioned by Dr. Sanjay Gupta on AC360 last night.

But the ice water jug belongs to Robert Knight of “Coral Ridge Ministries” for his Washington Times commentary-rant on Wednesday “A new meaning for ‘brothers in arms’; Repealing ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ can’t undo human nature”, where he speaks of America’s “moral insanity”. (He speaks of "the primacy of sex between husbands and wives" as taught by "all major religions.") The article says he has a new book “The Truth About Marriage: Defending God’s Plan for the Family” and I can well imagine what it argues. (We’ve seen it with Maggie Gallagher and Jennifer Roback Morse, but I bet this take things even further. After all, there’s a “Noah’s Ark” park getting built in Kentucky.)

My bet is, since DADT discharges have to go through the Secretary of Defense and reportedly stopped in October, they’ll remain stopped, forever.

Also, early Friday morning Vice President Joseph Biden told ABC News that he thought that in time America would accept same-sex marriage everywhere.

Picture: I call that "getting it".  Sorry, almost an R Rating (it's fake, and not a wardrobe malfunction).

Thursday, December 23, 2010

PFC Manning still the subject of controversy; what were his real motives?

Alternet is reporting a UN investigation of the conditions of PFC Bradley Manning, held in a brig at Quantico for his alleged part in the WikiLeaks “scandal”, particularly the release of 40 minutes of film concerning deaths of Iraqi civilians from American “friendly fire”. The story today is here. It's interesting that he is not allowed to see news broadcasts.

The media has been discussing Manning’s “sexuality” elliptically, with conservatives complaining of “political correctness”, to the point that it is difficult to pinpoint real facts. However Manning’s Facebook (website url) profile is still up, and is interesting.   Even during DADT, the attitude of commands toward social media postings was variable; in the Pentagon, I'm told, it was "hands off" (meaning the Pentagon did not concern itself with "telling" on Facebook in practice).

Fortunately, the case did not come up during the reintroduction and passage of the standalone bill repealing DADT. But it does illustrate the kind of circular “reasoning” about homosexuality and security clearances that I had to deal with during my own coming of age in the 60s.

The Army has actually defended its conduct in the Iraq incident, and my general impression is that, while treason is a huge crime, most of the leaked material discussed in reliable journalistic sources (The New York Times, etc) is stuff that should not have been classified and that does not hurt American security interests when the public knows about it. It’s hard to say that it is wrong for, say, a government employee to look at the material on his own computer when much of it is available second hand in major newspapers.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Obama signs DADT repeal into law

President Obama has signed the standalone repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” into law.

Quoting JCS chief Mike Mullen, Obama said, “Our people sacrifice a lot for their country, including their lives. None of them should have to sacrifice their integrity as well."

William Branigin, Debbi Wilogren and Perry Bacon Jr. have a detailed story and another video at The Washington Post “Obama signs DADT repeal before big, emotional crowd”, link here.

Obama reminded everyone that the repeal has to be certified with new administrative conduct codes, and that legally the DADT policy is still in place right now (although discharges would have to go through the Secretary of Defense.)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Is repeal of DADT the "turning point"? Or was the wedge crossed in 1993?

The repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell” should mark a milestone in public attitudes toward LGBT people. The public recognition of the capacity to take part in defending the country should guide some people to understand that the rights (and autonomy) of LGBT people are to be respected in personal matters, and not to be looked at a matter of family subservience or expropriation.

I can remember that back in 1993, for the government and military to say it wouldn’t “ask” was perevied as an “advance.” (Actually, as Andrew Sullivan once wrote, it was more like “ask, if necessary”.) In a way, on paper, DADT might have been perceived as a step in “respecting autonomy.” But the Internet and associated cultural changes have completely wiped away the credibility of “double lives” as we had accepted the idea a few decades ago. George Stephanopoulos had said back around 1994, "social changes and advances always come gradually."  But maybe not.

Both the DADT problem and gay marriage seem to invoke arguments that suppose that if there are equal rights, then non-gay people will not be able to do what they are supposed to do. A weird way to argue.

David S. Fahrenhold has a long article in the Washington Post (front page) Dec. 20, “For gay rights, is the end of the “don’t ask” military ban the end or the beginning?” link here. ABC’s The View on Monday morning expressed similar sentiments.

Note that SLDN (Servicemembers Legal Defense Network) warns LGBT servicemembers to behave very carefully now, during the "certification" period, with the "risk" Legal Guide link here. At the moment, DADT is still in effect!

Elisabeth Bumiller has an article in the New York Times today, "A How-to Guide for a New Miltiary", link here. Will there be a "DADT Repeal for Dummies" book?

On Monday, The Washington Times ran a story by Seth McLaughlin about GOP Virginia delegate Robert G. Marshall and a planned bill to implement the military ban in the Virginia National Guard (link here. -- or pardon me, is that "don't ask don't tell"?)  He says states control their own militia and would never have ratified the Constitution without it.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

"Don't Ask Don't Tell" Repealed in 65-31 final vote (cloture occurred earlier today)

The Senate has voted on the DADT Repeal Act by a vote of 65-31. That's almost five touchdowns of spread!  Eight Republicans voted for the repeal.  I understand that the cloture vote had taken place a little while before, around noon.

Here is the AP story on MSNBC, link.

Earlier today, John McCain (R-AZ) had given a somewhat distasteful speech, saying that while he was confident the military would follow orders of civilian leadership, that he had seen Marines at Naval Hospital “without legs” and implying that a supposed weakening of unit cohesion would lead to more casualties, a rather shocking analogy. Yet most of the pro speeches this morning talked in terms of eliminating discrimination. McCain did say he understood “the social issue arguments”. He was talking about the sharing of "sacrifice" which, however, turns out to be a reasont to repeal DADT.

The Secretary of Defense must certify that he can lift the law as it stands and replace it with administrative conduct codes (based on “common sense”) that maintain good order and discipline. Nothing in the bill guarantees benefits to same-sex partners of miltiary members. 

I played the role of delinquent activist today. I signed off listening to more conservative GOP senators make more McCain-like statements and went to see “Tron: Legacy”. When I came back, the final vote had just started (apparently the procedural cloture had occurred while I was playing hookey). For some reason, C-Span wasn’t working but MSNBC carried the vote, that took less than an hour.

Here is a CNN  video on the "History of 'Don't Ask Don't Tell'"

Friday, December 17, 2010

Iowa GOP legislators want to impeach state supreme court justices over gay marriage ruling!

Jason Hancock has a shocking story in the Iowa Independent, “GOP legislators drafting legislation to remove Supreme Court justices: Speaker-elect Paulsen says he won’t stand in the way”, link here.  This refers to the four remaining state supreme court justices in Iowa.

It’s shocking, though, that state legislators would believe the judiciary should be impeached for “political” reasons.

The story also links to the April 3, 2009 story about the unanimous decision by the Iowa Supreme Court to overturn the ban on same-sex marriage.

Note: On Saturday, Dec 19, C-span is likely to cover the Senate cloture vote on lifting “don’t ask don’t tell”, and perhaps the simple vote later. Check it even if I haven’t yet made a posting.

Wikipedia attribution link for picture of Iowa state capitol in Des Moines, link here.  I visited Des Moines many times while living in Minneapolis, 1997-2003. I remember walking by the capitol and seeing this view in Nov. 2001.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Reid schedules cloture vote on standalone DADT repeal for Saturday Dec 18

Daily KOS has breaking news Thursday night (Dec 16) that Harry Reid will bring up a cloture vote on standalone “don’t ask don’t tell” repeal vote on Saturday, along with Dream Act. DADT will be first. It takes 60 votes to pass cloture, then a simple majority to pass the bill.

On AC360, commentators still feared that the GOP could still play partisan politics, and force Obama to play multiple choice on what he gets, giving up DADT repeal.

The link for KOS is here.

Kerry Eleveld has a story in the Advocate here.

And here is the text of Reid’s actions from the Wonk Room, link.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

House passes standalone "don't ask don't tell" repeal, Senate may have enough votes now

The House of Representatives has passed the standalone repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell”. Here is the SLDN press release, link, a joint statement from Center for American Progress Action Fund, Human Rights Campaign, Log Cabin Republicans, Stonewall Democrats, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, Servicemembers United, and Third Way.  The House vote was 250-175.

In the House, Rep Patrick Murphy had introduced the bill as HR 6520, “Don’t Ask Don’ Tell Act of 2010”, very prosaic, govtrack link (website url) here.

The text of the bill is about two pages; the link is at govtrack. The bill is based on the language embedded originally in the Defense Reauthorization Act back in May 2010.

The Huffington Post ("Hot Air") was reporting Wednesday evening that the Senate has enough votes for the repeal, link here,  according to Majority Leader Steny Hoyer D-MD. It would require 60 votes to pass.  On AC360, Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) said there were 62 votes. Anderson noted that the Senate has had 87 filibusters this year, but Democrats have participated in them.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Obama supports standalone DADT-repeal; getting it passed "on time" in 2010 is still a challenge; Gays in Africa in great peril (new report)

The Washington Blade is reporting now that President Obama supports pushing through a standalone “don’t ask don’t tell” repeal bill. Supporters in the House and Senate say they have the procedural authority to push it through, but the Senate particularly is overwhelmed with other controversial bills.

If the bill does not pass this lame duck session, passage (after reintroductiona gain) in 2011 by the 112th Congress sounds uncertain because of partisanship. It is shameful to see a bill based on moral concerns (and ultimately affection national security) fail to filibusters and partisan bickering.

Obama, however, might be able to issue a “stop-loss” order making enforcement almost impossible. Right now, all discharges have to be reviewed by OSD, eliminating most pursuits since the start of October.

Overturning in court is problematic. The Ninth Circuit may uphold the lower court in the Log Cabin Republicans case, but the Supreme Court is less likely to. But even so, Pentagon and administration policy might stop most DADT discharges indefinitely, although reinstatement of this discharged already (Witt) would be less likely.

What happens if Obama loses in 2012? An independent president like Bloomberg or social “progressive” Republican like Trump would probably keep Obama’s policy of no DADT discharges. (Oh, Bloomberg said he wasn’t running; too bad, because I would have supported him.)

It appears that Lieberman’s S4034 has been introduced. Lieberman has been a great friend on DADT repeal, but not on Internet censorship (he seems to have been trying to cut off support of Wikileaks – the government panic over this matter seems way out of line to me, as I’ve covered on my main blog).

Lou Chibbaro’s Blade story from Dec. 10 is here.

I wanted to give the link to a big story in the Sunday Dec. 12 Washington Post by Sudarsan Raghavan, “Gays in Africa face growing persecution, human rights activists say,” here. The story follows on with the previous reporting of a horrific anti-gay bill in Uganda, which has been reported for about a year, but the sentiment is there in several other countries. Curiously, the most progressive is now South Africa. The cultural view of much of Sub Saharan Africa is that procreation is a moral obligation, and not to do so is to “kill” one’s family.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Rally to reintroduce bill to repeal DADT held near Capitol; Senator Lieberman to post S 4023

Senator Joseph Lieberman will introduce a bill, S 4023, a standalone repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”. It would also have to pass the House separately during the lame duck session.

I attended the rally today on Delaware Ave. north of the Capitol. All networks were present, and the mantra was “Don’t Go Home” and “Mission Incomplete”.

There were about ten speakers, including USMC PFC Danny Hernandez, link.
Former SLDN head Michelle Benecke spoke.

Anderson Cooper’s video:

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Maryland may be poised to approve same-sex marriage in 2011

John Wagner has a Metro story in the Washington Post Dec. 9, “With Democratic gains in state Senate, Maryland poised to approve same sex marriage”, link here. Maryland bucked the trend of the 2010 midterms and went "blue" (although it still has a law-and-order law enforcement culture, it seems, as with its recent aggression with traffic cameras).  

The story says that a majority of state senators favor same-sex marriage, which would poise Maryland to become the sixth state (besides the District of Columbia) to recognize it. Senate president Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. says he opposes gay marriage but would work to break any filibuster and allow a vote.

However if the legislature passes it, the measure could face a referendum in 2012. In Maryland, a slight plurality favors recognizing same-sex marriage.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Lieberman tweets that Senate is ready for cloture on DADT; then Reid postpones until at least Thursday Dec. 9; VOTE FAILS THURS.

The Washington Blade is reporting late Wednesday, in a story by Chris Johnson, that lame-duck Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is holding off on the cloture and defense authorization bill (and repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell”) until Thursday Dec. 9, link here.

Early this afternoon, I got a tweet from Senator Joe Lieberman, retweeted from “Freedom to Serve”, saying “We have 60+ votes in support of repealing #DADT - it is vitally important to reach agreement on the right process to move forward.”

It looks like it’s getting critical, but we may have a deal.

It seems as if Senator Lieberman’s appearance on Anderson Cooper’s AC360 last night might have pushed this along, although curiously he said then that the Senate should work until Christmas Eve if necessary to repeal DADT and pass defense authorization.

Anderson Cooper made this blog posting about 4:30 PM EST today, indicating a postponement on the showdown vote, here.

This is sounding like a labor union and a city transit agency approaching a strike date, with the cooling-off periods already expired.

Late Dec. 8

Anderson Cooper says that the overturning of DADT may come down to winning the vote of Maine GOP Senator Susan Collins, who said in Sept. that DADT should be repealed carefully. However, she has expressed concern over "deliberative procedure", and that the tax cut legislation could get stalled.

Update: Dec. 9

The Cloture vote failed today. SLDN has a rally Friday Dec. 10 at the north end of the Capitol. The weather will be just cool (about 40 F) and not too much wind, so attend it: directions.

CNN has a breaking news story saying that the issue is dead for this Lame Duck session; I'm not sure that's true, here.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Senate procedures still threaten passing repeal of DADT in time

A complicated procedural logjam in the Senate is holding up the consideration of the 2011 Defense Authorization Bill, even thought three GOP Senators now say they will vote for the bill and “conditionally” repeal “don’t ask don’t tell”. However, supporters of repeal of DADT are painfully short by just one vote of what it would take to block a GOP or McCain filibuster.

It is shameful to see such tactics used to play with a bill so vital to both ethical standards in our military and ultimately national security.

There are some potential complications with military pay raises (not part of the president’s proposed freeze) in the holdup.

The Air Force Times has the story (by Rick Maze) here.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Ninth Circuit hears Proposition 8 oral arguments today,

C-Span is now covering Oral Arguments on the Challenge to Proposition 8 in California before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, link (website url) here.  Chris Cooper is the attorney for Supporters of Proposition 8 arguing against same-sex marriage.

According to a Los Angeles Times blog entry early Monday, both sides were vocal in demonstration outside the Court House in San Francisco.

Southern California Public Radio has an effective live blog covering the arguments here  Prop 8 supporter is quotes as saying, with some meanness, “You better get used to being discriminated against.” Sounds like a typical bully.

A justice asked Cooper if the people of California could constitutionally reinstitute anti-miscegenation laws (Loving v. Virginia, 1967) by a constitutional referendum.  Then Cooper started talking about the "special characteristics of opposite-sex marriage". It was important to him that the relationship can "naturally produce children."  Cooper went on to get into the area of single mother parents, and a justice said he had made a good argument for "prohibiting divorce."

Later there was a comparison to the logic of Romer v. Evans, Colorado Amendment 2 in 1996.

The Ninth Circuit has its hands full.  It is also hearing the Obama administratiom's formal appeal of a lower court rulings striking down "don't ask don't tell" in the Log Cabin Republicans case.

Update: Dec 12

Check the New York Times editorial "Civil Rights in California", link here, with some discussion of the "standing" issue, whether "Protect Marriage" had standing to bring the appeal. Their best shot seemed to be claiming "sexual relationships between men and women naturally produce children".

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Lame Duck session will run out of time for DADT (maybe); can the combat chief's objections be overcome?

Philip Rucker and Ed O’Keefe have a long story on p A7 of the Sunday Washington Post, “Repeal of ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ is far from certain: Competing priorities are consuming time left in Congress”, link here.

The story reports that the Obama administration has worked with gay activists, and some commentators still hint that the president could issue a Truman-style executive order, an idea considered and shot down before.

Gates insists that an appeals court (9th Circuit) ruling striking down DADT would be disruptive if Congress doesn’t act. The Ninth Circuit may well strike the policy down, but it is rather unlikely that the Supreme Court actually would. That hasn’t changes much since I argued such in my long “Chapter 4” of my 1997 book; it’s likely it would be a 5-4 vote, like a one-run baseball game or a football game decided by a field goal. It could go into extra innings or overtime, and Gate fears this would be disruptive, with no walk-off win in sight.

What’s so telling, an yet predictable, is that the combat chiefs – particularly the Marine Corps and some of the Army forces – are so much more skeptical; and social conservatives argue that lifting the ban would discourage religious families from sending their kids into the military. To me, so much of this comes down to a battle over the limits of individualism or personal autonomy itself, and the centering of that debate on DADT (as I have done) creates a bit of a paradox. GOP Senator John McCain kept pleading that this is an issue for the military only (almost as if speaking specifically to my own writings, and knowing that most of my life I have been “conservative”), and not to be conflated with broader social issues; but that is impossible. Those who cannot step up to share sacrifice and risk will indeed encounter second class citizenship and expropriation in “civilian life”. Those of us who grew up with a male-only draft know that.

Chris Matthews took this up Sunday morning with Andrew Sullivan, who pointed out that the objection among combat troops melts away among troops who know gay servicemembers personally. Sullivan said it is about the “right to come out”, not about the desire to, which in Britain did not happen.

Also, in the hearing, the acceptance of gays in quasi-military organizations like the CIA since the early 1990s (and Clinton’s 1995 XO on security clearances) was mentioned.

Selling anything, even in politics, seems to be about "overcoming objections."

Friday, December 03, 2010

Senate ASC continues DADT hearings, queries service chiefs

On Friday December 3, the Senate Armed Services Committee hearings on repealing “don’t ask don’t tell” continue at 9 AM, with the following speakers.

To continue to receive testimony on the report of the Department of Defense Working Group that conducted a comprehensive review of the issues associated with a repeal of section 654 of title 10, United States Code, “Policy Concerning Homosexuality in the Armed Forces.”

The speakers are as follows:

General James E. Cartwright, USMC, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

General George W. Casey, Jr., USA, Chief of Staff of the Army

Admiral Gary Roughead, USN, Chief of Naval Operations

General James F. Amos, USMC , Commandant of the Marine Corps

General Norton A. Schwartz, USAF, Chief of Staff of the Air Force

Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr., USCG, Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard

The link for watching the broadcast is the same as yesterday.

The general concern was that in combat, social values are different, and that it is more problematic to make a change during the middle of war. The Marine Corps Commandant Amos expressed the strongest concerns (particularly with respect to small combat units), but even he admitted that the policy would probably be changed eventually, but suggested that adjustment should take place during a historical period of less combat. (At one point Amos made a gaffe, saying that this session was about “homosexuality in the Armed Forces”, the way we used to talk in the barracks at Fort Eustis in 1969 with all the “OGAB” Tiny Tim gestures!) The Air Force Chief said that the expectation of physical combat is less generally in the Air Force (except when being shot down), but that repeal would be more orderly if delayed until 2012.

At the end, the service chiefs were asked if they would be able to help Secretary Gates certify that the service chiefs would be able to implement the change in policy.  But Amos characterized the "risk" as "moderate".

The chiefs did say that most separatiosn were "statement based".  There was a question as to how many discharges might have been requested to avoid completing military service, but the law actually probibits discharges solely to avoid completing service.

Toward the end, Mr. Levin reiterated the study, saying that even in combat forces, the report showed that the presence of gay soldiers didn't disrupt unit cohesion. The service chiefs seemed to agree that the infamous "123 words" from Randy Shilts's book no longer apply ("Homosexuality is incompatible with military service...").  Levin quote as respondent from a special operatios group. "He's big, he's mean, he kills a lot of bad guys. But he's gay."  Levin seemed focused on thay one anecdote. 

Back on Sept. 14, 2001, Levin had warned (on CNN) that we might have to go back to the draft!

On Wednesday December 1, the Washington Post had an op-ed by Patrice B. Pexton, p A17, “What makes a warrior? It’s something that both straight and gay soldiers value?” and titled online “What gays and straights both seem to affirm in the military: their masculinity” (what about female soldiers?), link here.

He talks about warrior culture, and also throws around the concept of “sacrifice”, and treats sexual orientation as an immutable property of a person. Yet, the “culture war” and social conflict impute sexual orientation in complex ways whether Sen. McCain wants to admit it or not. The battle over the capacity to serve in the military presents a bit of a paradox in an individualistic society, reminding us that sometimes it’s the shared vision of “the group” that has to take the day.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Senate Armed Services Committee holds hearings on CRWG Report to repeal "don't ask don't tell"

Senator Levin opened the Hearings by noting that the report says that lifting “don’t ask don’t tell” is no big deal for most troops. He said that a matter like this should not be offered for referendum, Justas it should not have been with African Americans in 1948. He noted that the repeal would go into effect 60 days after passage, giving Congress one more opportunity for review.

The hearings are carried online on C-SPAN-3; the complete video of the testimonry (over 3 hours) is here.

You can also watch it at the Senate Armed Services Committee website here. You will need Adobe Flash Player 10, which may have to be specifically installed; it worked fine on both XP and Vista.

The definitive document from the CRWG is on the Defense.gov site as a PDF document here.

The speakers today are to be Honorable Robert M. Gates Secretary of Defense Honorable Jeh C. Johnson General Counsel, Department of Defense Co-Chair, Comprehensive Review Working Group Admiral Michael G. Mullen, USN , Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff General Carter F. Ham, USA Commander, United States Army Europe Co-Chair, Comprehensive Review Working Group.

John McCain spoke next and said that he is troubled by the act that “only” 28% of troops responded, largely non-combat (e.g. “combat service support”) troops. He admitted that it would be possible to lift the ban eventually. He said we should be wary of attempts to “civilianize” the debate by mixing it with other social issues (as I have done!)

Robert Gates said that we would hear from the combat arms chiefs tomorrow and he respected the unusual demands of unit cohesion of those in combat. But he insisted it was manageable to lift the ban. He said it would be more disruptive to do so by the courts, and expressed a hidden view that the Log Cabin Republicans might eventually prevail at the appellate and Supreme Court level. (Gates is a Republican himself.)

McCain later asked Gates if anyone had been held responsible within the military for PFC Bradley Manning's leak, without specifically saying that the soldier is gay. The Wikileaks issue came up again right at the end of the hearing.

Ben Nelson asked about "squaring the circle" and the double moral standard of honesty and hiding at the same time.

Gates said that servicemembers discharged honorably with DADT spin codes would eventually be able to return to active duty, but that would take some time. Gates also said he would have to "certify" the end of the policy.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Blanchon from Whitman Walker ambushed on CSPAN by anti-gay callers

Donald Blanchon (profile), Executive Director of the Whitman Walker Clinic, appeared on CSPAN in Washington DC today for World AIDS Day, December 1.

While I watched, four out of five callers were very hostile and voiced arguments often heard in the 1980s from the “Religious Right”. It seemed to be a coordinated ambush. One caller praised Uganda, known for a horrific anti-gay bill, for controlling AIDS.

Blanchon had to sidestep the questions and get away from the “obvious” questions about “chain letters”.

One caller, however, was a 68 year old man who was positive in 1989 but who had remained antigen free for twenty years now with medications.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

McCain says Pentagon report will beg the question; text due today; also another spat about TSA screeners; (later: CRWG text on Scribd)

As Congress expects to learn the details of the Pentagon report on repealing DADT today, John McCain and some other Senators remain skeptical, claim that the study “begs the question” by assuming that the ban or “don’t ask don’t tell” law (passed in 1993) must be repealed. Obviously, it would be much harder to pass a repeal in 2011 with the GOP stronger in Congress (outside the influence of Log Cabin Republicans, who may seem caught in the middle now) if the repeal fails during the lame duck session.

CNN has a new story today by Chris Lawrence, “Source: most servicemembers surveyed don’t care about DADT repeal”, link here. The response rate was 28%.

The best link to the entire Comprehensive Review Working Group CRWG Report document  ("Support Plan for Implementation") seems to be on Scribd, here. The Dallas Voice seems to have the most comprehensive summary list of its findings, here. SLDN's very extensive statement is here.  It would take about a year to complete the "repeal".  The survey did show resistance among some combat troops (especially the Marine Corps, which generally "takes" territory that the Army holds) and particularly chaplains.  Search engines have placed the FRC (Family Research Council) objections to the report high on the list of returned hits from "CRWG Report" searches. 

One of the biggest issues with me has been how DADT can affect civilians outside the military, from seeming to justify anti-gay bullying to setting a precedent for other jobs where “forced intimacy” happens, the latest being TSA screeners. WUSA9 reports that Loudoun County VA supervisor Eugene Delgaudio made an inappropriate remark on a separate “conservative” website that he works for (and apparently gets paid 6 figures for), with the details here.  The website is “Public Advocate of the United States” with its daily “pro-family headlines” link here.  It talks about “porno scan machines” and a threat by a California DA to prosecute overdone pat-downs. Doesn’t this public official have a “conflict of interest”?

Here's another story about "gay patdowns" from "Dead Serious News" that sounds like something from The Onion,  link.

Picture: Fort Lee, near Petersburg, VA (Quartermaster Corps)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ohio town will be focus on gay rights referendum in a "reddish" state

Th AP is carrying an important story by David Crary on an upcoming referendum on extending extensive anti-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation in Bowling Green, Ohio, in the northwest part of the state. The town went for Bush in 2004 but Obama in 2008.

The article notes that in Ohio, as in much of the country, younger people are more supportive of equal rights, as an abstract idea, than older generations. One resident said that his kids will deal with much more diversity of choice than he did. There is a suggestion that some of the problem has to do with the sharing of risks and sacrifices in family life.

A GOP-lead House might make it harder to make progress on ENDA, but maybe not as difficult as observers think. The same for “don’t ask don’t tell” if it is not repealed this year. After all, the litigation currently before the Ninth Circuit originated in the Party of Lincoln.

Sometimes what looks red is actually a bit pink.

Picture: Old grain elevators in Kipton, OH; a bicycle path replaces an old NY Central line.

Friday, November 26, 2010

No discharges this past month under DADT; Major Witt might get reinstated during appeal

No servicemembers have been discharged under “don’t ask don’t tell” since the Pentagon adopted procedural rules requiring top-level approval of discharges, according to a story by Lisa Leff, link here. No discharges have been approved since Oct. 21, even for enlisted. It sounds as if, as an administrative matter, “don’t ask don’t tell” could be practically dead even if the Senate does not vote on it or the 9th Circuit (and Supreme Court) don’t turn it down eventually.

Sandhya Somashekhar has a story (The Washington Post, p A2, Nov. 25) about Air Force flight nurse Major Margaret Witt, “U.S. appeals ruling on gay Air Force officer but does not seek to bar reinstatement”, link here.  But the administration did not ask that the judge’s reinstatement order be stayed, which clears the way for her temporary return to active duty. However the Air Force said she had to pass some medical and other evaluations to return to active duty.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pope reiterates pronatal stand against homosexuality; Southern Poverty Law Center issues intelligence report on religious right and hate

The Catholic News Service has a story that Pope Benedict XVI, in a new book “Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and Signs of the Times”, published Nov. 23, maintains his position that homosexual acts are “disordered” and homosexuality is incompatible with the priesthood.

His arguments sound existential in nature. He says that God gave sexuality a single, universal meaning. “The meaning and direction of sexuality is to bring about the union of man and woman and, in this way, to give humanity posterity, children, a future.” He said it would be “extremely dangerous if celibacy became a sort of pretext for bringing people into the priesthood who don't want to get married anyway” and that homosexual orientation contradicts “the proper sense of paternity” that goes with the priesthood.

The story link is here.

In 1986 Ratzinger had written “Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is more or less a tendency toward an intrinsic moral evil and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder” (the last two words of which drew a lot of fire, particularly from Andrew Sullivan), and there was a 2005 “Pastoral Letter” from the Vatican, as follows here.

The Pope also made a statement recently accepting the idea that value of condoms in preventing HIV spread may outweigh the Church’s opposition to preventing procreation. I’m covering that today on the International Issues blog.

Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, on Nov.22 released a scathing report, “Gays remain minority most targeted by hate crimes,” link here.  The report goes into the apparent “intellectual intransigence” of some “pro-family” organizations with long standing ties to the religious right (back to the days of the “Moral Majority” early during the Reagan years). Generally, the religious right has been able to maintain the idea that there are “two sides” to gay issues, in a manner analogous to the days (through the 1950s) when racial segregation could be “justified” intellectually. That needs to change. However, religious teachings (as with the Catholic clips above) often take on the idea that everyone “owes” certain duties to other generations or to family, and does not see things in terms of individual rights and equality, as is common in today’s political debate. Potok notes that perpetrators of hate crimes have sometimes been older males, often displaced by economic difficulties as well as social change. That fits the pattern of history, where in hard times political leaders look for scapegoats.

Author Dan Savage’s recent finding (for the “It Gets Better Project”) of “Gays most targeted minority” is presented by the SPLC and discussed by CNN and President Obama here.

Back in the 1980s, Perry Deane Young had authored a book titled "God's Bullies"!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Senate will hold hearings on DADT repeal starting Dec. 2

Hearings on “don’t ask don’t tell” will take place with the Senate Armed Services Committee starting Dec. 2, according to a “Caucus blog” entry at the New York Times, by Bernie Becker, with link here

Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) has said that there are enough votes in the Senate for repeal if there is debate first.  The repeal is part of the Defense Authorization Bill, and will probably include deleting the 1993 Enclosure that had implemented DADT.

The latest scuttlebutt is that repeal could cause “short term problems” in a few areas, particularly the Marine Corps (which, as we already know, has no problem with openly gay civilian journalists joining them to report combat).

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New anti-HIV drug may work as a "pseudo-vaccine"

A study of an anti-HIV drug called Truvada (a combination of tenofovir and emtricitabine) may be effective in preventing HIV infection if in HIV-negative men if the MSM take it as prevention. Taken daily, it may reduce risk of infection by 73%. It would cost over $8000 a year right now. This does not mean that other forms of prophylaxis and condoms can safely be stopped.

The findings were reported by David Paltiel at Yale University.

The news story by Steve Sternberg appeared in USA Today on Nov 23, at this link

ABC’s Richard Besser says that there are about 50000 new infections in the US every year.

Here is a link on Truvada side effects (link). Nausea is reported in some users, as is mild skin discoloration.

NJ legislature passes tough anti-bullying law for schools and colleges; gay issues not specifically mentioned

Both houses of the New Jersey legislature have passed the toughest anti-bullying law in the nation, after the Tyler Clementi tragedy. The bill is A 3466, and is available online here 

The Newark Star-Ledger has a brief story by Matt Friedmann here . The law requires vigorous reporting of incidents, even off campus, in public school systems and a code of conduct at universities. Gov. Chris Christie has indicate that he has some concerns over constitutionality. The law does not seem to single out sexual orientation issues for different treatment, but would require age-appropriate training of students. It is called an “Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights”.

Maya Rao and Chelsea Conaboy have a longer story in the Philadelphia Inquirer, here.

However, the perpetrators of the Clementi webcam incident have been charged with felony invasion of privacy. It's unlikely that they will be prosecuted for hate crimes.

Generally, conservatives have not approved of the idea of making the penalty for crimes different because of the identity of the victim, but rather focusing on the crime itself.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Could "don't ask don't tell" logic over "privacy" spread to TSA screeners?

Well, the spate over the TSA last week is already coming into the “debate” on employment in at least one area outside the military. The Metro Weekly on Nov. 18, 2010 (which I picked up leaving the Town DC last night) has a note on page 82 about an article by “Americans for Truth” (“about Homosexuality”) here.

It’s a curious concept of the application of “truth” to take arguments to their ultimate logical consequences. But, yes, there are areas outside of the military where forced intimacy is possible. The article says “most traveling men would not want Barney Frank to pat them down at the airport security checkpoint”. Would he mind if Barney looked at the body scan image in another room? (Remember Dick Armey’s tongue slip about “Barney f..” and I think Barney was George W.’s dog. Okay, would men mind if a more attractive celebrity like Allen Lambert did it? (I could name many others.) Would the TSA have to enforce a formal “don’t ask don’t tell” policy for screeners? Hopefully, if DADT is finally repealed, the precedence for some areas of civilian life goes away.

I briefly considered becoming a screener in August 2002 while still in Minnesota, and I remember wondering about this possible "extension" of DADT into a civilian job then. But fire deparments have gotten over it (but back in the 1970s it was debated when cities started debating bans in employment on sexual orientation, even in the New York Post and Daily News).  Maybe taking this story seriously adds fuel to the fire, but Metro Times already did!

Last night, the Town DC held an “underwear party”, bringing back some beach in November. My camera didn’t work right under the lighting of the “reviewing stand”.

Also, I tried to get the pictures of the nearby (unrelated) DC9 club that was in the news. Not sure which one is right.

(or this one);

One more thing: I told a church group this morning that there was a real opportunity to end DADT during the lame duck session, and that ending it would help deal with school bullying (anti-gay and other).

Thursday, November 18, 2010

ACLU charges military cutting separation pay of those discharged under "don't ask don' tell"

Chris Johnson has a story (in the Washington Blade, Nov. 17) about a little-known complication of “don’t ask don’t tell” for servicemembers discharged under the policy.

The military normally pays separation “severance” pay for those forced to leave the service honorably with at least six years service. The ACLU recently filed suit challenging the common practice of cutting “severance” in half when discharges occur under “don’t ask don’t tell” or for “homosexual conduct”. The case involves former Air Force Staff Sergeant Richard Collins.

The link is here.

Workers Independent News has another account of the story here. This story was reproduced by the Democratic Underground, involved in controversial litigation with Righthaven (see my main "Bill Boushka" blog today). 

Another similar issue in the past has been recoupment of tuition from soldiers when they had attended college under ROTC scholarships or service academies and are separated for gay issues. That was the subject of the book by Jim Holobaugh, "Torn Allegiances: The Story of a Gay Cadet" (Alyson, 1993) under the “old” ban before 1993.

Also, Ed O'Keefe has a "Federal Eye" story on p A10 of the Nov. 18 Washington Post, "'Don't ask, don't tell' repeal will return to Senate floor, Reid says", link here. The vote (as part of the the Defense Authorization Bill") will not occur until after the Dec. 1 official "reading of the will" and some GOP senators (most notably McCain) say they will try to defer until 2011 for another survey, when the GOP will control the House. The original DADT law was passed on Nov. 30, 1993 as part of a Defense Authorization Law then.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Michigan teacher suspended for disciplining student for remark about homosexuality and his religion in class

A Michigan teacher Jay McDowell was suspended for mildly disciplining a student for saying homosexuality conflicted with his religious belief, after a logical debate following the question as tow whether it was inconsistent to disallow confederate displays when purple t-shirts (to support gay students) was allowed. A student from another school, Graeme Taylor, spoke up for the teacher at a community meeting, in a bit of irony.

Tom Henderson has a story on ParentDish, “Was Michigan teacher wrong to eject students for anti-gay remarks?” and questions who was the bully. The link, with an MSN video, is here.

The bullying and teasng that I experienced back in the 1950s was more about being "non competitive" as a boy.  But that turned me against the "values" of the whole "heterosexual world" which I perceived as humiliating.  Yet, I applied society's competitive values in my own way, rather in retrograde.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Washington Post gets blunt on lifting "don't ask don't tell" during lame duck session

Thanks to the Washington Post Monday morning (Nov. 15) for its editorial saying that the lame duck Congress session re-opening today should immediately act to pass the legislation (embedded in Defense Reauthorization) ending “don’t ask don’t tell”. It’s the lead editorial., just titled “Gays in the military”, link here.

The Post refers to the “last rationale” for keeping "don’t ask don’t tell' (or for “asking” overtly) as the attitude of the troops. More specifically, it’s the lowest common denominator, the issues in the most intimate sections of the military: the Marine Corps, and perhaps Navy submarines, as well as specialized combat groups like special forces and rangers. The problem from my end that ideas about equality move up from these regions into all ideas of society: if a gay person is less equal, his or her interests are vulnerable to expropriation to meet the “needs” of “families”.

The Post talks about Harry M. Reid (D-NV) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as in control. In fact, it seems that Senator John McCain, generally reasonable on most issues, seems determined to hold it up. I hope someone can convince him not to interfere with passage this time (as with a filibuster – remember, some Senators will say “we don’t have ‘time’ for this now”). His own party, Log Cabin Republicans, has work to do.

I supppose I'm only fueling the Washington Times by citing its "opposing view" today, a Commentary Page op-ed called "Lame-duck quackery; epudiated pols shouldn't impose homosexuality on the military" by Robert Knight, link here.  It seems as though the "repudiation" comes from "The Men" of the Marine Corps. But the Marine Corps had no problem with the presence of openly gay journalist Jason Bellini living with them and reporting for CNN during Iraqi Freedom in 2003.

I suppose if you look on the floor of any gay disco, you'd see a lot of men fit enough to join the Marine Corps, but most would say "no thank you."

Picture: Fort McNair, Washington DC, where President Clinton gave his July 19, 1993 speech proposing “don’t ask don’t tell”.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Georgia megachurch pastor says he is gay, in response to bullying crisis

Pastor James Swilley told his megachurch congregation of the Church in the Now (in Conyers, GA, east of Atlanta) (link) that he is gay recently, as a personal response to bullying-related teen suicides, especially Tyler Clementi at Rutgers. He has been married with several children for 21 years and remains so. A typical news story is (website url) here.

ABC News with George Stephanopoulos presented the story Nov. 8, and included Dan Savage with the “It Gets Better” campaign, and Fort Worth TX city councilman Joel Burns with a similar speech, reported in the Dallas Voice here. Again, I have some reservatiosn about the "It gets better" slogan as a principle.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Supreme Court rules that DADT stays until 9th Circuit reviews; McCains split on issue

The Supreme Court has allowed the military “don’t ask don’t tell” policy to stay in effect for now, while the Ninth Circuit reconsiders the appeal. The Court did not comment, and its temporary stay does not really give much of a clue as to how it would rule if it heard the case. AOL News has a headline here.

MSNBC also has an article noting the split between Arizona Senator and former GOP presidential candidate John McCain and his daughter Cindy on ending “don’t ask don’t tell”. McCain wants the DADT removal stripped from the defense reauthorization bill, and led a filibuster (I still think a silly and unethical device) in the Senate to prevent a vote in September. The link is here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Should parents prod their kids to gender conformity? Will Marine Corps scuttle DADT repeal?

Jeneba Ghatt has a piece in The Washington Times online, “Can parents steer their children’s sexual orientation?” link here. The article really doesn’t address that so much, as to whether parents should encourage kids to be themselves (especially when it comes to gender conformity and dressing at events), or to conform to expectations of society (it seems sometimes to keep from being bullied). For this newspaper, the tone of the piece was surprisingly gentle.

Demands for gender conformity seem to come from a "moral" belief that everyone must be able to carry out prescribed social responsibilities (related to gender), regardless of personal choices.  That is definitely the impression that iI got growing up in the 1950s. It's the "if I have to do it, you have to do it" style of thinking.

One of the problems that let me to the debate on gays in the military, is the idea that you can’t be fully equal or fully free unless you can step up and take the same risks and responsibilities as everyone else. In that respect, the recent survey results specifically about the Marine Corps, with its unusual demands for cohesion, raises an existential question: do the sacrifices of bravest components of society set the tone for what should be expected of the rest of us? Is that what “fairness” means? Remember, totalitarian systems are usually concerned with the idea that no one should benefit from someone else’s unseen sacrifice.

I remember stirring things up on a bivuouac hike in Basic in 1968 by saying "The Marines are tougher than the Army".  I just blurted out what came into my head, even in the Army.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Washington Post reports: Pentagon survey shows minimal risk in lifting DADT during wartime; Marine Corps did show more oppostion to lifting ban

The Washington Post has broken a story by Ed O’Keefe and Greg Jaffe, “Sources: Pentagon group finds there is minimal risk to lifting gay ban during war”, link here.

This is a story on the 370 page survey report, due to the president December 1. About 40% in the Marine Corps, where conditions are said to be more intimate, expressed objection.

In May 1993 I actually boarded the USS Sunfish submarine (in Norfolk, VA, commissioned 1963) and saw the close living quarters myself.

Anderson Cooper covered the story Wednesday night on AC360. CNN analyst Begala suggested that President Obama could end the ban now with a stop-loss order, but Jeffrey Toobin disagreed. Toobin suggested that repeal in the Senate would be very difficult even in the lame duck session given the political climate within the GOP.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Dallas had a checkered gay history in the 1980s, driven sometimes by elections

Ah, elections! A week or so after the midterms, I remember that “Elections” were a bad word in Dallas around 1980.   Bar owners dreaded them. Before elections, police were more likely to troll the bars and make arrests for “public lewdness” until a particular computer operator was acquitted in 1981. One unfortunate chap was almost forced to “leave Dallas” by the DA because he got targeted twice. One other problem: judges are elected in Texas (I know, I was called to jury duty four times in nine years).

On the other hand, the Dallas Gay Alliance was indeed very active in those days, particularly in “getting out the vote.” In those days (even before AIDS) we didn’t look for political equality, we just tried to be left alone. In 1982, a local federal judge (Jerry Buchmeyer) would overturn the Texas sodomy law 21.06 (the case was Baker v. Wade (website) link ), but the decision would eventually be vacated by the Fifth Circuit, and of course Bowers v. Hardwick upheld sodomy laws (including hetero, Georgia) in 1986. But in 2003, Lawrence v. Texas finally overturned 21.06 (gay only).

In 1983, representative Bill Ceverha from Amarillo tried to introduce a bill 21.06A aka 21.38 that would strengthened the sodomy law and prohibited gays from working in many occupations. Ceverha claimed that AIDS represented a “public health emergency.” This was a year before the discovery of HTLV-III (aka HIV) would be announced. Fortunately it died in committee in May 1983, but the DGA certainly had a scare. I remember Bill Nelson and Terry Tebedo, owners of the Crossroads Market, from those days. Curiously, 1980 had started so optimistically with a party “The 80s are ours.”

History can move faster than we expect.

Wikipedia attribution link for EDS symphony hall

Monday, November 08, 2010

Marine Corps commandant opposes DADT repeal because Marine Corps is even more "intimate"

Anne Gearan has an AP story about comments by US Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos that it is still wrong to lift “don’t ask don’t tell” during the war in Afghanistan and a sensitive demilitarization of Iraq. But the interesting thing about his comments was the way he says Marine Corps experience is more intimate than that of the other services. Permanent party Marines never have private rooms. Typically, Marines take territory and the Army holds it. But his comments are exaggerated: certainly many Army soldiers experience primitive conditions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other deployments.

Mike Mullen, chairman of the JCS, said he was surprised and perhaps ambushed by Amos’s comments. He thought that the JCS had signed off on the survey to be released in December.

In 1993, Carl Mundy, then commandant, was particularly vocal against lifting the ban, when asking as mandatory. But the Marine Corps then also did not want married men to join either. They didn’t want gays, and they didn’t want straights, the press said.

In 1993, the Rand Corporation report also noted the extreme intimacy of Marine Corps quartering in Navy ships, compared to normal Army quarters.  Likewise, sailors on submarines are in cramped quarters and even experience "hot bunking" (the sharing of the same cot around ships) and refer to "bunkmates".

The link is here.

On November 9, the New York Times had a front page story is "Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Faces Struggle in Congress", link here. The writers are Elisabeth Busmiller and David M. Herzenhorn. There are concerns as to whether the lame duck session of Congress after Thanksgiving will have "time" for it, and whether a GOP House will support it, even given a favorable survey.  McCain has been hostile to repeal.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

"All Saints Saturday Night" at the clubs (with an extra hour)

I guess the first Sunday in November (rather than just November 1) is “All Saints Day” and the Saturday night before, when we get an extra hour, is All Saints Eve. So it was last night with the clubbing. In Washington, Town was moderately packed for the post-Halloween (or “whose body survived Halloween”) party.

In one conversation, I heard how gay military officers sometimes leave “quietly” (as Randy Shilts said in his 1993 book “Conduct Unbecoming”) and sometimes take related jobs with civilian contractors or even (in DC) civilian DOD or Pentagon jobs doing similar work (since they have the TS clearances and that has pretty much stopped being an issue for civilians since the early 90s. The “risk” is not worth it.

I’m struck by something else, as I think about why some people think that gays “destroy the family”. It seems on observation that in many families people see the decision to marry and have children as dependent on the “loyalty” of other family members, and their being able to count on the childless to step up and help them if something goes wrong; without that “family solidarity” [where immediate family is personal the safety net] so common in the soap operas, it’s harder to commit to the decision to even have one. People who don’t have their own children (until more recently, most LGBT people) would experience this unchosen personal family responsibility as as subservience and perhaps sacrifice. This doesn’t fit the norms of an individualistic society (where personal expressive efforts, as on the Web, are legally and morally supported by individualistic values); but in the past, particularly in rural or less well educated families (the “Red families”, as in the book by Cahn and Carbone, reviewed Aug. 2, 2010) this was expected, and it is certainly the norm in the developing world, where immigrants often send money back to relatives from jobs. In a world that embraces inheritance and “generational wealth” it seems that one can benefit from the marital sexuality of others, but one must also sometimes then submit to it, perhaps even “sacrificially”. The family solidarity problem seems to map to the “unit cohesion” problem for the military. How many people think about the big picture this way?

(By the way, I passed the DC9 club (across from Nellies) nearby, as recently in the local DC news; I guess it was open; no connection to the gay clubs.)

Update: Sept. 26, 2012

The DC9 club (straight), involved in news stories about an incident, is actually down 9th Street a couple of addresses from Nellie's. It has no connection to other clubs discussed here.   My "issues" blog has a label on zoning, where closure "for nuicance"  issues are discussed.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Outing celebrities: Ricky Martin, et al

Singer Ricky Martin, 38, announced that he is gay on The View recently, and that he had his two twin sons in 2008 by surrogate parenting. It would seems surprising that he had feared previously that announcing such would affect his career. He reportedly said that he came out for the sake of his two sons.

A typical story by Colleen Eagan is here. Popeater has a story ‘I am a fortunate homosexual man”, link here.

Here’s SRayon’s YouTube clip from “The View” in 2006 on outing celebrities.

Martin’s own website is here.

Martin was a popular singer in videos around 2000.  One of the most often played was "She Bangs".

Ricky Martin, looking much younger than his 38 years, appeared on Larry King Live on November 9.  Judge Judy appeared Nov. 10 and supported gay marriage, and later said "I never learned anything when i was talking!"

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Iowans vote out state supreme court justices who ruled for gay marriage; Obama repeats pledge to end DADT day after GOP "midterm exam" rout

Three Iowa state supreme court justices were voted out of office Tuesday, the Iowa Republican reports here. The Iowas Supreme Court had struck down the state ban on gay marriage, but voters may have been upset over other issues.

The affected state supreme court justices are Marsha Ternus, David Baker, and Michael Streit.

I’ve always wondered about allowing judges to be elected (inviting partisanship), although I recall that in Texas they are elected (when I lived in Dallas in the 1980s, I was called for jury duty four times.)

On Wednesday, in a press conference, President Obama reinterated that he intends to encourage Congress to end “don’t ask don’t tell” and that service in the military should be based on performance and conduct alone. He said it would be much better for Congress to end the policy in an orderly manner than have continual litigation in courts and uncertainty for DOD as to what the policy means.

Remember, the current litigation against DADT came from the GOP!

Monday, November 01, 2010

9th Circuit indefinitely stays injunction halting DADT

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has indefinitely stayed the lower court ruling of judge Virginia Phillops to stop DOD from enforcing “don’t ask don’t tell” according to news reports late Nov. 1. A typical story on MSN and the Kentucky News is here. This story is by Mark Seibel of McClatchy newspapers/

In general, the Circuit said that a sudden change in policy could be harmful to the Armed Forces, and that it could not interfere with previous rulings in appeals courts in circuits 1, 2, 4 and 8 without a full hearing on the merits of the Log Cabin case.

SLDN offered the following press release.