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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Mr President Keep Your Promise (SLDN)

There is a time and place for everything.

Now is the time and place for you -- and us -- to encourage President Obama to speak out on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Today, we would like our friends and supporters to help us kick off a campaign.

As a candidate, Barack Obama promised to get rid of the law. And the promise is right there on the White House website:
"President Obama agrees with former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili and other military experts that we need to repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. ...The president will work with military leaders to repeal the current policy and ensure it helps accomplish our national defense goals."
Now is the time, even with a full plate, for the president to act.

SLDN is launching a major offensive next week to urge the president to begin speaking out against "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

The logical place and time for presidential leadership on this issue is next month, when President Obama sends his defense budget to Congress. President Obama should cut "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" from his budget. It costs money to fire and replace discharged service members.

If the president passes up this opportunity, he will be effectively approving -- on his watch -- the firing of gays and lesbians from the military. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" will then become his law, his albatross.

Begin spreading the word this week by calling the White House switchboard at 202-456-1414. Tell the president to:
Uphold his campaign promise to kill "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
Stop the firing of service members because of sexual orientation
Speak up and tell Congress to repeal the law -- so our military can retain the best and brightest to fight and win this nation's wars
This president is receptive to what you have to say. The louder our voices, the more likely the administration will be to hear our message.

With your help today and tomorrow, combined with our campaign next week, we're sure everyone at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will hear us loud and clear by the end of next week.

Thank you,

Aubrey Sarvis
Executive Director
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Who Paid for the Porta Pottys?

Hat Tip: Spotty. MOB Parrot Mitch Berg dutifully parrots talking points.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Rick Warren Plays it Both Ways

US News and World Report:

Indeed, Warren has adopted causes important to the political right and the left. He toes the conservative evangelical line on gay marriage and abortion rights but has also decried global warming and taken a high-profile role battling AIDS in Africa, two traditionally liberal issues.

Lately, though, Warren has attracted more attention for his ability to rile both sides in the nation's smoldering culture wars. Months after his appearance at President Obama's inauguration enraged gay rights activists and abortion rights supporters, Warren has emerged from a self-imposed media exile only to outrage conservative Christians. That's because he appeared to dial back support for Proposition 8, California's recently adopted ban on gay marriage, in an interview last week with CNN's Larry King. "[I] never once even gave an endorsement in the two years Prop. 8 was going," Warren told King, even though he'd taped a video urging his Orange County congregation to support the gay marriage ban. Warren argued that encouraging parishioners to back Prop. 8 doesn't make him an activist against gay marriage.

When Warren canceled a scheduled appearance last Sunday on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, conservative evangelical activists grew even more suspicious. "He appears to be running away from the biblical truth on what marriage is," says Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America. "He does need to do a public interview to clear this up."

Warren's aides say he plans to do an interview to clarify his support for Proposition 8. And they insist that Warren pulled out of Sunday's interview because of exhaustion. But at a moment when Warren is expanding his role from megachurch pastor to national and international public figure, his increasing proclivity for sowing controversy is threatening his status as political peacemaker. "He would really like it if everyone would love Rick Warren, and when they don't, he's troubled," says Jeffery Sheler, author of the forthcoming Warren biography Prophet of Purpose. "The most damaging thing would be if the way he's perceived makes it more difficult to be a bridge builder."

The flap over his Larry King appearance speaks as much to Warren's struggle to adjust to a higher-profile role as to his unorthodox politics. Long accustomed to speaking to like-minded evangelicals, Warren has developed an informal style that eschews speechwriters and image consultants. But in discussing Proposition 8 off the cuff on CNN, a close associate says, Warren misspoke in appearing to disavow his support for the measure. And Sheler says, "He would have benefited from writing out talking points or allowing a staffer to help vet his thoughts."

He's going to lose repect among centrists when it is clearly exposed that he lies regularly. That was part of the problem with his Larry King appearance. He lied about his previous support of Prop 8. Why not defend his actions?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

NY Times on Ruben Diaz's Eruption

Ruben Diaz is New York's Democratic Michele Bachmann. Like Bachmann, he is willing to tie up all legislative business in order to stop same sex marriage.

Bronx Senator Organizing Protest of Marriage Bill

Patrick Andrade for The New York Times
State Senator Rubén Díaz Sr.
Only hours after Gov. David A. Paterson said he would introduce legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in New York, about 100 people attended a meeting on Thursday at the Christian Community Neighborhood Church in the Bronx, where State Senator Rubén Díaz Sr. is the pastor, to discuss plans to protest.

Mr. Díaz, a conservative Democrat and a Pentecostal minister, is one of the staunchest opponents of same-sex marriages in New York. Democrats took control of the State Senate in November, but they hold a slim majority, 32 to 30, and their leaders are fearful of alienating Mr. Díaz and others by holding a vote on same-sex marriage.

The church meeting, led by Mr. Diaz, was organized by the New York Hispanic Clergy Association. In attendance were Hispanic bishops and pastors from churches across the city, as well as some congregants.

Mr. Díaz told those in attendance that they were starting to plan a large rally to be held some time in May.

Will they be carrying the same sorts of signs that were carried at the 2004 Bachmann amendment rally?

From the comments:

April 16, 2009
3:01 pm
If State Senator Reverend Rubin Diaz Senior is opposed to gay marriage, then he personally shouldn’t marry a man!

But he shouldn’t cram his morality down the throats of others!

Not everybody is Pentecostal, Senator/Reverend!

Save your moralism for the pulpit - not the Senate floor!

— Gregory A. Butler
2. April 16, 2009
3:10 pm
Exactly if someone does not want to get married - don’t get married! But no one has the right to stop a consenting adult from getting married to the person they love!

“there will be no gay marriage,” Mr. Díaz said.”

Sorry Mr. Diaz but there already is gay marriage, today in this country, and it is coming to NY.

Religious conservatives do not represent the people of this city or country and their agenda to oppress will fail.

3. April 16, 2009
3:12 pm
So it’s ok to push the so-called ‘rights’ of illegal immigrants down people’s throats, but not the rights of US Citizens to marry?

— EJ
4. April 16, 2009
3:14 pm
This is the debate we must have. Let them speak. Their speach will make plain their bigotry and hate. And when we win this vote, let us next propose that clergy of all stripes be ineligible to hold public office, even those who “earned” the title through street-corner oratory.

— Michael
5. April 16, 2009
3:17 pm
Dear Rev. Lopez, when speaking of the “Hispanic community,” please note that gay marriage is legal in Spain. Please also accept that the so called “Hispanic community” is not a monolithic bloc that hase one singular ideology and that nobody has the right to be a self-proclaimed representative of that community.

— Sam
6. April 16, 2009
3:20 pm
I still don’t understand what a evangelical right-wing nutcase is doing in the Democratic party.

— Simon
7. April 16, 2009
3:22 pm
Please tell Rev. Michael Lopez to stop speaking on behalf of all Hispanics. I am one and a proud gay man too, who can’t understand why children of God hold on to hate.

— Eddy
8. April 16, 2009
3:23 pm
“As long as you need me, there will be no gay marriage,” Mr. Díaz said.

Well, pack your bags, sir. Your services are no longer needed. We require a government that serves ALL members of its constituency.

— Chris_EV
9. April 16, 2009
3:23 pm
Anything to add more paying customers to the congregation.

— Perley J. Thibodeau
10. April 16, 2009
3:24 pm
So because one religion (not my religion mind you) says that people can’t have their right to marry it should be done? What about those religions that do support it? Or even the fact I am not Xtian I should be denied rights as well?

Hey Gay and Lesbian people, our High Priestess and High Priests have no problem with your being married.

— Former Jew Now Wiccan
11. April 16, 2009
3:25 pm
Christians and particularly gay latino christians, need to speak out against this homophobia. The “Reverend” seems to think he speaks for all.

This is the same type of self-serving, moral rhetoric that was used to deny minorities equal rights! Does Diaz remember the days when blacks and latinos werent “equal?”

April 16, 2009
4:20 pm
Mr Diaz has to be removed from public office. He is not representing me and I live in his district. He ran as a Democrat but does not adhere to the Democratic Party platform and needs to be opposed.

If the Democratic party was really smart they would find him another appointed position that he could not refuse to accept and replace him with a real Democrat. I will cross party lines before I vote for someone who is opposed to my interests as Mr Diaz certainly is.

In this country people have the privilage of religious freedom but allowing Mr Diaz to use his position as a Democratic Senator to espouse a religious viewpoint is surely not what we expected or wanted when he ran on the Democratic line.

— Susan
27. April 16, 2009
4:23 pm
Guess this nut job wasn’t asked the right questions before getting elected. Run for office in your church, not the state government. Go ahead and deny gay men and women the right to marry in YOUR church, but NOT in this state. Take a mental trip back in time to the South in the 1960’s…and tell yourself how good you feel that the government says you pay taxes, but don’t have all the rights given to everyone else that pays taxes. Remember why they did that? Because you’re different!!! Hold a mirror up to your face and say out loud “I’m going to deny people rights because they are different than I am…and it’s my job to make sure they don’t have those rights.” And if that makes you feel good, then read out loud the 3rd and 4th word in the first sentence above.

— Joe

Anti-Gay New York Democrat Becoming a Michele Bachmann Wannabee

Pam Spaulding:

And as it's quite obvious, this isn't a New York problem. This is a Democratic party problem. It manifests itself in the whole "go slow" attitude on legislation that during the election year promises sounded like change was around the corner; it's the whole "uh, oh, we need to be re-elected in 2010" nonsense; it's the sudden "we can't multitask on civil rights while the economy is in the crapper" whining. All of this was so predictable, given the past spineless of Dems we've seen over the years. They had the cover of being in the minority, but now in the majority, nothing much has changed.

You see, if you're going to effect change, as Gov. Paterson is trying to do with this legislation, you have to be prepared as a party to address the larger schism of race, religion and homophobia head-on. In a vacuum of a counter-message, the evangelical anti-gays plant seeds and watch them grow in these religious communities of color. Any success is not due to the brilliance of the Religious Right, but its ability and willingness to capitalize on the Democratic party's self-imposed weakness and impotence regarding discipline on basic civil rights issues because of the race card.

We can win these issues in the courts (and legislatures where a socially conservative minority population is small), but we will not have a serious impact on changing minds country-wide if our side remains silent on this matter. As you can see, even in a Blue state, characters like State Senator Díaz have no fear that the party is going to come down on him.

In my opinion, Diaz should be taken down by a Republican in support of the gay marriage bill. That is the best way to teach New York Democrats - and Democrats around the country a much needed lesson. Is there such a character in his district?