News Corp Cashing In “Gay Marriage,” Porno Pete Melts Down

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Oh, delicious irony. It has come to my attention that News Corp, parent company to virulently homophobic Fox News and NY Post doesn’t apparently hate the gays enough to not make a buck off them, if the opportunity presents itself.

Seems Dan Avery over at Queerty got a hold of a pre-launch ad pitch sales kit that News Corp circulated for their new glossy magazine, WEDDING pride. The mag will feature, “editorial content that celebrates the Gay Community and its recent achievement.” Avery reports:

Launching in September, the mag (produced by News Corp’s Community Newspaper Group subsidiary) will have an initial distribution of 35,000 among “the traditional as well as the newer gay and gay friendly communities within the Tri-State area.” (Translation: Chelsea, Park Slope, Fire Island, Montclair, South Orange, Asbury Park.)

The rate card indicates a full page full-color ad is $2400, which seems about right for a upscale, niche publication. If that seems like a bargain to you, I hate to tell you, the closing date was 5 days ago. (As a veteran of the consumer magazine business, I can attest such dates are frequently flexible, if you are broken hearted, but have cash in hand.)

This is quite ironic when one considers how News Corp’s newspaper helped “celebrate” the gay community the day after marriage equality passed in the Empire State. Below, the two major daily tabloids of New York City. See if you can spot the one owned by News Corp:

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New York Post on the left, is owned by News Corp and decided to lead with a thrilling rescue tale, and put the LGBT “achievement” as a tiny, little footnote at the bottom (I’ve added the arrow and highlight so you don’t miss it). It’s unclear if the subliminal headline is a feature or a bug. The New York Daily News led with a different story.

And here’s the front page of the New York Times the same day:

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It seems that News Corp cable outlet likewise shared the same enthusiasm for “celebrating the Gay Community.” Think Progress took note of the sparse coverage that outlet gave the topic, relative to other outlets during the run-up to passage:

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And truth, I must confess, this is no more breaking news that the revelation that the powers that be at News Corp are big, fat, greedy hypocrites. Of course, they’ll totally ignore the gays, unless there is a buck to be made, then they’re all over it like a “Family Values” Conservative on a Rent Boy.

In fact, this news is old. Queerty reported it on Aug 5, Gay City News reported it on Aug 3. I apologize for my tardiness in bringing it to my reader’s attention.

You see, it escaped my notice until the far right wing started having meltdowns over it today. It appears gay sex obsessed pervert Peter LaBarbera is very upset. Known in gay activist circles as “porno Pete” or “the Peter” he is infamous for his tireless and unrelenting crashing of LGBT events documenting the debauchery that so shocks him he can hardly hold his still and video cameras steady. LaBarbera then holes himself in his basement for days to thoroughly “study” the depravity he’s captured, before climactically uploading it to the internet. LaBarbera is upset with the whole company and takes particular aim at Fox News. He tells religious right “news” source One News Now:

“Conservative and faith-based Americans do not look to Fox to promote sin. And yet, every time Fox promotes homosexuality, that’s exactly what they’re doing; they’re promoting bad morality,” LaBarbera contends.

LaBarbera tells One News Now he’s very concerned about the direction Fox News is going and blames it on the studio’s geography, being right in the middle of a “gay mecca” as it is. Sounds like it’s not safe for “good Christians” to watch Fox News anymore.

I find it thoughtful of the Peter to help out News Corp with their pre-launch publicity, so I can be sure to grab a copy. If you can’t beat ’em, reward ’em.

Senator Gillibrand: “No. They Will Fail.”

New York's Junior Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, made an appearance at an LGBT symposium held in New York City on the future of marriage equality in New York State (video and summary here). An attendee asked her about the right-wing's attempts to walk back LGBT progress made of late. Specifically mentioned was Representative and Presidential candidate Michele Bachman's promise to reinstate "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", a signature achievement for Gillibrand in her first term in the Senate.

The Senator’s answer was concise, resolute, and the picture of “no nonsense.” It was a mere four words in it's entirety:

"No. They will fail." 

My own state Senator, Daniel Squadron, himself a great ally on LGBT rights and host of the evening, said, “Let that be a lesson to us all on brevity and effectiveness.”

Indeed. I’ll stack up my Senator’s tough talk and impressive record of effectiveness against Michele Bachmann’s lunatic ramblings and record of failure any day.

Do treat yourself to the 46-second video. It’s clear from her tone, Senator Gilibrand is not playing around there. The Senator has also taken on the cause of recruiting more women into the field of politics. If they are cut from Gillibrand’s cloth, I say let a tsunami of estrogen hit DC in 2012. The boys have had their time.

Memo To Commander-In-Chief Wannabe Bachmann: We’ll Be Back

My dear friend Ian Finkenbinder has a question for Presidential Candidate Bachmann:

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Do you really want this on your doorstep?

The doorstep Ian is alluding to lies at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC. A hypothetical future scenario so awful it gives us all chills, I know, but bear with me past the fold and I'll explain.

Now, to understand what set my friend off you have to know Michele Bachmann said something crazy in her straw poll victory lap. Well, she said a lot of crazy things, but one thing in particular touched a nerve for dear Ian. Among the many crazy things Mrs. Bachmann said was she all but assured Candy Crowley on CNN's State of the Union President Bachmann would reinstate "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" if she were elected to serve as Commander-in-Chief.

Bachmann told Crowley:

CROWLEY: If you became president, would you reinstitute the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy in the military, which said that gays could not serve openly in the military.
BACHMANN: The Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy has worked very well. And I think…
CROWLEY: Would you reinstitute it then? Because it’s been set aside.
BACHMANN: It worked very well. And I would be in consultation with our commanders. But I think yes, I probably would.

The awful truth is according to the New York Times: "Turns out that it wouldn’t be hard to do, legal experts say."

Which is all the background you need to know to understand what set my friend off. See Ian has been fighting to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" for a long time. He was among more than a dozen Arabic translators discharged in 2005, and was happy to embarrass Commander-in-Chief Bush in the media in the aftermath. 

So when Ian says:

I would like Michele Bachmann, in all her political theater and insane grandstanding, to consider this: *If you reinstate DADT, I'll be back.* I don't care how many times I have to chain myself to that fence, I will be back, and you will be in for a long, pain-in-the-ass ordeal and media extravaganza. 

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Do you really want this on your doorstep?

When I took the fence with my comrades-in-arms, America paid attention. Do you want that level of scrutiny on your anti-gay politics? Your recent interviews, essentially refusing to address your anti-gay past, would indicate you don't. So don't screw this up for yourself, Michele.

Because we're watching you, and handcuffs really aren't that expensive.

Mrs. Bachman? You best be believing him. He has already brought the fight to the Bush Administration, and he brought the fight to the Obama Administration and he will relish bringing the fight to the Bachmann Administration. 

Yes, Mrs. Bachmann, you would be well-advised to listen to my friend Ian because he is One Angry Queer. 

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Let's look back on your last few months, shall we?

You swapped out your old favorite phrase ("teh gheys are of Satan!") for a new one:

"I am running for the President of the United States…"

You're a strict Constitutionalist, except the parts you don't like, those you promise you'll help rewrite.

I'd be careful, because if you follow through on the path you are currently running on now, you are looking at a very long and very messy Presidency. Really, if someone were prone to headaches it could well turn into four years of pure Hell (on Earth, you make your own fate after that). 

I'm not sure you fully comprehend there's a new post-Prop 8 attitude:

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It's very fashionable and it's sweeping the nation, even among High School kids in Iowa apparently. Who knew? And, Ian wasn't alone on that fence.

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And I promise you, Ian won't be alone next time either. Like he said, handcuffs are cheap.

So, try us. Ask your friend Rick Santorum how that's working out for him.

 


CC: Ed Rollins; Rick Perry; Mitt Romney; Newt Gingrich; Rick Santorum

 

WaPo: Obama Admin Should Halt Binational Spousal Deportations

PhotobucketToday the Washington Post weighs in on the dilemma of Bradford Wells and John Anthony Makk, calling it a illustration of the “profound injustices meted out by DOMA” in an editorial today. The Editorial Board’s opinion reads:

[Attorney General] Mr. Holder asked an immigration court to determine whether Mr. Dorman should be considered a “spouse” under New Jersey law and thus entitled to stay in the country. Mr. Makk’s deportation should also be put on hold, as should those involving anyone in legally recognized same-sex relationships whose only infraction involves immigration status.

It is not easy to win a reprieve from deportation based on marriage to a U.S. citizen. All who make such a claim must not only show proof of their lawful relationship but also that removal would cause an “extraordinary and extremely unusual hardship.” But the law at least allows heterosexual individuals to make their cases; that opportunity should be extended to those in same-sex relationships also. Immigration agents enjoy broad discretion and should make it a priority to remove foreign nationals who have committed serious crimes — not those, like Mr. Makk, who are otherwise law-abiding, contributing members of society. Common sense and common decency will go a long way toward avoiding indignities, but true justice will not be achieved until DOMA is wiped from the books.

This is at least the second time the Washington Post has called on the administration to perform this action. Back in May 2011 WaPo, in an editorial implored the administration, “Don’t penalize undocumented gay immigrants in civil unions with U.S. citizens,” saying:

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The attorney general has vacated the court decision and asked the Board of Immigration Appeals whether Mr. Dorman’s civil union makes him a “spouse” under New Jersey law and whether, absent DOMA, he would be considered a “spouse” under immigration law. Mr. Holder should erase any confusion by declaring a moratorium on removal of foreign nationals in state-recognized same-sex unions until federal courts determine DOMA’s constitutionality. He should ensure that the government is not focusing on breaking up otherwise law-abiding families.

If the administration were to heed the call of the Washington Post to deprioritize the expulsion of all non-citizens in same-sex marriages, it would reap benefits beyond Wells and Makk. Another couple, Sujey and Violeta Pando of Denver, Colorado, face a hearing this Friday that may determine the fate of their five year relationship.

Sujey and Violeta’s situation has received considerably less attention, but they face a more immediate threat of deportation than John Anthony Makk. A key hearing that may decide their fate is scheduled for Friday. There are only three days left to save Sujey and Violeta’s marriage. Their story after the fold.

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Sujey and Violeta Pando (l to r) on their wedding day, Iowa, November 15, 2010.

From Stop The Deportations:

My name is Violeta. I am a 27 year old American citizen. I live in Denver, Colorado where I was born. I hold a degree in Criminal Justice and work as a Correctional Case Manager. My wife, Sujey, and I, are one of the many same-sex couples who are threatened with being torn apart because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Because of DOMA, I cannot pursue the most obvious solution which would be to petition for her as my spouse; instead we are fighting for asylum due to her past experiences of extreme harm that she suffered in Mexico and her fear of returning there. All our hopes are on this asylum application–a long, difficult and painful struggle for Sujey, who has had to re-live traumatic incidents of physical and sexual assaults–but there is no guarantee that it will be granted. What is so obvious, is that we should never have had to fight in this way at all. We have been together for almost 5 years as a couple and we are married. No American citizen should have to beg for protection for her spouse; the right to sponsor my spouse for a “green card” should be automatic for me as it is for all other American citizens.

The couple moved in together in 2006, and share responsibility for their large brood of pets; 4 dogs, 2 cats, and a red tail Boa. Violeta talk about how grateful she was for the support of Sujey when she was working to get her college degree. Sujey would stay up late with her as she studied and read her term papers.

After a two year engagement, the couple wed in Iowa in November 15, 2010. (Heh, also a red-letter day for this author, coincidentally.)

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Sujey’s life in America is a respite from an awful childhood in Mexico. There she suffered abuse at the hands of her grandmother who raised her:

Sujey was the victim of extreme cruelty and abuse because she was a “tom boy.” One family member in particular was determined to show her “how to be a girl” and raped her repeatedly. No one could protect Sujey. Even the Mexican authorities refused to intervene.

As a little girl, Sujey loved sports. At school, however, she was often in too much pain from her abuse to play sports which would result in dismissal from class. At home, Sujey would get in trouble for being dismissed and would get beaten up by her uncle. Sujey has lasting physical injuries resulting from the physical and sexual abuse she suffered growing up in Mexico. Her history makes me want to cry when she talks about it, but I can’t cry in order to support her, I have to be strong and be as optimistic as possible. Some days it is very difficult to keep a positive attitude. I can see the fear in her eyes, sometimes she thinks that her tormentor will come to the United States to look for her. I have to calm her down and reassure that I am here for her and that she is safe.

A heartbreaking history of betrayal from Sujey’s family, she is one of many “throw-away kids” who was rejected by her family for being gay. In Sujey’s case, not once, but twice:

Once, when she was 16, Sujey was thrown out of her house in Mexico and was forced to hide at a neighbor’s house for a few days. Desperate, she decided to call her mother, who by then resided in the United States. Her mother was married, but had never told her husband that she had left a daughter behind in Mexico. On the phone, Sujey’s mother refused to help her, but her mother’s husband intervened, to his credit, and forced Sujey’s mother to go to Mexico to get her. And that is how Sujey was brought to the United States, where for the first time she met her three American-born brothers.

Things were not great in her new American home though. Sujey tells Outfront Colorado of life under her mother’s and stepfather’s roof:

While her brothers were enrolled in school, Sujey took on household duties. She was the proverbial maid. She was charged with cooking and cleaning.

“It was like living with strangers.”

In what little spare time she had, she took odd jobs for her neighbors. She had work, but no support system, no friends. As she learned English, one of the neighbors connected her with a job. There she met co-workers who were like her: lesbians.

They helped her get to and from work. Showed her around Denver. Worked on her English.

And just as Sujey, then 17, was becoming more accustomed to her new life in Denver, she returned home from work to find she was locked out.

From Stop The Deportations:

A few months after Sujey was brought to the U.S., her mother discovered that Sujey was gay and threw her out into the street. Even though her mother was a green card holder she refused to sponsor Sujey. Sujey was left to fend for herself and find a way to survive in the United States without any support.

Sujey’s undocumented status came to the attention of authorities during a routine traffic stop in 2008. The couple has been struggling ever since. If she is deported she will be barred from re-entering the US for ten years. Violeta says:

“There are no words to describe the anguish we feel as the days countdown to August 19th. We hope and pray for a miracle.”

The cruelty of splitting this couple up is compounded by the threat of returning Sujey to a country where she has not lived in since she was just 16, where she has no supportive family and likely no friends. Nothing good can be accomplished by this act.

This is the sort of situation that Representative Jerry Nadler (D-NY) was referring to when he introduced the Uniting American Families Act this year saying:

“It is this kind of injustice, this kind of gratuitous cruelty, that motivated me to introduce – and continue reintroducing – the Uniting American Families Act. Gay and lesbian Americans in loving, committed relationships deserve the same rights as everyone else.”

This is definitely not the sort of situation that President Obama was discussing when he assured supporters in El Paso, Texas this May what his administration’s deportation priorities were:

“But I want to emphasize we’re not doing it haphazardly. We’re focusing our limited resources and people on violent offenders and people convicted of crimes — not just families, not just folks who are just looking to scrape together an income. And as a result, we’ve increased the removal of criminals by 70 percent.” (Applause.)

The United States has fallen far behind the rest of the our allies in recognizing the moral imperative to extending immigration rights to LGBT families. Until Uniting American Families passes, or DOMA falls, there are administrative remedies that can be taken to ease these families’ burden. And they should be taken.



SAVE THE MARRIAGE OF VIOLETA & SUJEY PANDO:

CALL ON THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
TO STOP ALL DEPORTATIONS OF SPOUSES OF LESBIAN AND GAY AMERICANS


U.S. Representative Diana DeGette: (202) 225-4431 Denver (303) 844-4988 E-mail
U.S. Senator Michael Bennet: (202) 224-5852 Denver (303) 455-7600 E-mail
U.S. Senator Mark Udall: 202-224-5941 Denver (303) 650-7820 E-mail

Sign The Petition Here.

Remembering Christina Santiago

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At least four people were killed and dozens more injured yesterday at the Indiana State Fair when a storm caused a stage to collapse. CNN has more coverage and video here.

Among those lost was Christina Santiago, manager of programming for the Lesbian Community Care Project at Howard Brown Health Center in Chicago, IL. The Chicago Sun-Times has more coverage here.

She is survived by her partner Alisha, who was seriously injured in the same accident. Our thoughts are with all who mourn the loss of Christina. Their grief is personal, but the whole LGBT, Latino and progressive community will clearly be poorer for Ms. Santiago’s absence.

A statement from Howard Brown after the fold.
From Howard Brown Health Center:

CHICAGO (August 14, 2011) – On Saturday, Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC) lost a treasured colleague and a community champion for women’s health, Christina Santiago, manager of programming for the Lesbian Community Care Project (LCCP) at HBHC. Santiago died tragically with four others when a concert stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis.

“The sudden and devastating loss of Christina has left the entire community, including her Howard Brown Health Center family, heartbroken,” said Jamal M. Edwards, President and CEO of Howard Brown Health Center. “Christina was an amazing woman – one of our very brightest stars – who worked tirelessly to improve the lives of women, particularly lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer women. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Christina’s friends and family, and her beautiful partner Alisha Brennon, who is also a dear friend of HBHC and was severely injured, but not killed, in the accident.”

“Santiago was our manager of the Lesbian Community Care Project (LCCP) at Howard Brown Health Center, and worked at the health center for nearly six years. She has been a leading and driving force in the expansion of our women’s health services division and a powerful advocate for all LGBT women,” continued Edwards.

During her career at HBHC, Santiago was quickly recognized as a rising star. She recently received HBHC’s 2010 Spirit Award; the highest staff honor. With a list of honors from outstanding employee recognitions to being named to the Windy City Times’ “30 Under 30” list in 2007, Christina was an instrumental figure in the expansion of our women’s health services division as the manager of LCCP and a strong advocate for the LGBTQ women’s community.

Santiago was helping lead HBHC’s new women’s health initiative for LBTQ women through the LifeCycle Project, a healthcare initiative designed to meet the growing needs of the entire LGBTQ community throughout the entire lifecyle.

“Her passion and leadership for caring for others will be deeply missed by the Howard Brown family and the LGBTQ community. Her star is irreplaceable both at HBHC and in the community” added Edwards.

HBHC and Amigas Latinas are hosting a short vigil to mourn Christina and pray for her partner, Alisha, on Sunday at 5pm at HBHC’s Sheridan Road Clinic.

Rick Perry Announces, God Issues Statement Of Clarification

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) – Texas Governor Rick Perry's announcement Saturday that he would be seeking the presidency, spurred political insiders to wonder if the Heavenly Father had tipped His hand. The Governor had been on record that he would be consulting God on the decision. Heavenly Kingdom Press Secretary Simon Peter dashed speculation by releasing this statement quickly on the heels of the Governor's announcement:

"Despite rumors to the contrary and multiple candidates claiming otherwise, Our Heavenly Father has yet to endorse a specific candidate in the upcoming election. There are many fine candidates in the running and His Omnipotency looks forward to hearing what they all have to say before making any formal announcements of support."

The decision by Our Heavenly Father to make an explicit announcement to the press corps is unprecedented and has politicos wondering if even this older-than-time political kingmaker is maturing in His approach to American electoral politics.

Some insiders speculate the Kingdom’s announcement is a preemptive attempt to tamp down assumptions that Perry’s decision to run is confirmation of him having received a direct go-ahead from The Almighty Himself. Still others suspect it points to a delicate finessing in God’s relationship with key Perry rival Michele Bachmann. The two have been said to be very close. 

Perry’s campaign did not return repeated requests for comment by deadline. 

Spox Simon Peter denies the Kingdom is attempting damage control after the blockbuster, embarrassing exposé that broke in last month’s New York magazine: “God Caught Backing Multiple GOP Candidates for President.” The magazine cited conflicting reports coming out of the Bachmann, Santorum and even the Herman Cain camp as to who was really The Chosen Candidate. 

Peter downplayed there were concerns about the Heavenly Father’s credibility, saying, “Do people misinterpret His attention? Sure, He’s God. If they get Him on the line, they think they’re special. The Heavenly Father talks to a lot of people, and He’s infinitely supportive, but He doesn’t have any favorites.”

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Both Perry and God’s announcements are seen as setbacks to the Bachmann campaign. It was previously presumed Michele Bachmann was God’s sweetheart. The Minnesota House Rep. has claimed to be in close and constant contact with The Heavenly Father, saying, “Well, every decision that I make, I pray about, as does my husband, and I can tell you, yes, I’ve had that calling and that tugging on my heart that this is the right thing to do.” 

But lately doubts have begun to surface about her continued favored status. Thursday, noted God confidant and sometime spokesman for the Heavenly Kingdom Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association claimed God considered Bachmann merely a candidate of last resort. He said:

“Now then the question becomes what if God can’t find any men with the spine and with the testicular fortitude to provide the kind of leadership? Well, what he’ll do is He’ll send a woman to do a man’s job.”

Peter Simon denies God considers Bachmann a “last resort” calling Fischer’s comment, “Not an accurate assessment of His Holiness’s feelings on Rep. Bachmann, who he loves exactly the same as all his children.”

Bachmann spokesperson Alice Stewart denies the relationship between the candidate and God has chilled, calling such talk “pure nonsense.” But a senior level campaign staffer revealed a brewing frustration within the Bachmann camp. Speaking under condition of anonymity, the source said, “Of course she’s ticked. While she’s off on the campaign trail, Rick Perry throws together his little Prayer-A-Palooza and that turns God’s head? That stadium was not even half full! And now Rick’s the favorite?! For that?! For Chrissake! They didn’t even handle snakes! Or burn a witch! Michele has been speaking in tongues in every TV appearance for years! What kinda gratitude is that?!”

God’s opinion has long played a powerful role in American politics. But His Omnipotency has largely taken a behind-the-scenes approach, eschewing the public spotlight and quietly whispering in supporters, voters, candidates and electeds’ ears to shore up popular support for his initiatives and candidates. 

But contrary to conventional wisdom, political analysts are increasingly becoming divided on the net value in His Holiness’ overt endorsement. The omnipotent creator of all Heaven and Earth unquestionably has tremendous favorability ratings owing in large part to his longstanding promise of eternal life. But differences over administrative qualifiers for entrance into the “eternal life program” remain a contentious source of disagreement in America. 

Some critics say the buck stops with God himself, citing a bureaucratic tangle of outdated, confusing or even contradictory directives coming from on high. Even one enthusiastic God supporter concedes, “Leadership could be better, His organization’s priorities at times seem confused.” Still others maintain that His track record for actual delivery of eternal life remains in dispute by some. 

Still, God’s Q score remains in the high heavens, with most of those polled citing admiration for his “infinite love,” “unerring wisdom” and “divine forgiveness.” 

David Silverman from American Atheists isn’t so impressed. Noting God isn’t even an American citizen, Silverman is quick to point out The Almighty’s track record in backing political candidates and causes is not so good.

Photobucket“Let’s not forget it was God that told George W. Bush to run back in 2000. And it was God’s brilliant idea to invade Iraq. When it comes to his meddling in American politics, it certainly isn’t clear that God is good, God is great,” says Silverman. 

Indeed, some insiders speculate it was missteps the Heavenly Kingdom made during the Bush administration that prompted this unprecedented clarification. Is it possible that God is doing an image makeover after some problematic political alliances that have taken their toll?

Says an unnamed source in the Kingdom, also speaking under condition of anonymity, “Look, God is just looking to proceed cautiously here. In the past He’s, maybe, you know, been a little too vulnerable to flattery, and thrown His weight behind some of the wrong people. And where’s it gotten Him? The Vatican? He won’t even take the Pope’s calls anymore. Shit, don’t print that! Mormons? What a debacle that Prop 8 was. All that time and money spent over that? He totally wasn’t on board with that. The megachurches? Do not bring up Ted Haggart in His presence!

“Look, the thing is, he’s feeling burned. He’s not entirely sure all this has been good for his image, or that these people really share His core values. I mean, He sent His son down there to minister to the poor and the sick! Not to stop gays from getting married and bomb Planned Parenthood clinics! 

“For now, He just wants to keep his options open.” 

Asked if The Universal Force For All That Is Good And Holy was contemplating endorsing a Democrat in the General, the source only smiled and declined comment.

MTV’s “Jersey Shore” Outperforms GOP Debate

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There’s an old saying in politics, “Give the people a choice between a real Republican and a fake one and they’ll choose the real thing every time.”

After Thursday night, we can now update that to, “Give the people a choice between real hot messes and phony hot messes and they’ll choose the real ones every time.” From The Hollywood Reporter comes news that the second episode of MTV’s reality TV show Jersey Shore bested the GOP debate handily.

Airing its second episode on Thursday, Aug. 11, Jersey Shore pulled in 7.4 mil viewers. The program still remained the evening’s most watched cable broadcast, even besting the GOP debate with 5.053 mil total viewers on Fox News Channel.

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LezGetReal points out:

Only five million televisions were tuned to the debate? Only 5,000,000 of us gave a damn what these people had to say? We have approximately 260 million televisions in American homes. They only got 1.9% of the televisions in America? If you pull it as pure population numbers, 5 million out of 311 million people watched the debate. That’s only 1.6% of us.

Beyond the fold, if you didn’t watch either, here’s a sampling of photos and quotes of what you missed to catch you up! The cast of Jersey Shore has relocated to Florence, Italy for this series of episodes.

I clearly identified the quotes and pictures so you can tell them apart.

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GOP Debate: Mitt Romney at the debate:

“Look I’m not going to eat Barack Obama’s dog food, all right. What he served up is not what I would’ve done if I would’ve been President of the United States.”

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Jersey Shore: Deena (on floor above) says while grocery shopping in Italy.

“God, everything’s in another language. Oh my God, it’s so hard in a grocery store trying to figure out the hell what is what. You’re reading and it’s like different words. Like what the hell is this. Like, nothing’s in English.”

GOP Debate: Rick Santorum on his deeply felt commitment to a improving the lives of women and gays:

“I don’t apologize for the Iranian people being free for a long time and now they’re under a ‘mullahcracy’ that tramples the rights of women, tramples the rights of gays, tramples the rights of people all throughout their society…”

Jersey Shore: Ronnie (left), on getting uncomfortable after sharing the two-person jacuzzi with Vinny (right).

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“It’s like a love-cuzzi because it gravitates you towards each other.”

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GOP Debate: No love here, Pawlenty on Bachmann’s Congressional record:

“It is an undisputable fact that in Congress her record of accomplishment and results is nonexistent.”

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Jersey Shore: Mike “The Situation” watches Snooki fight with her boyfriend over the phone:

“If Jionni can’t make Snooki happy, then The Situation’s happy to step up to the plate and hit a homer.”

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GOP Debate: Newt Gingrich on his frustrations with the “gotcha” questions being asked.

“I’d love to see the rest of tonight’s debate asking us about what we would do to lead an America whose president has failed to lead instead of playing Mickey Mouse games.”

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Jersey Shore: Ronnie (above right) misidentifies the painter of the Sistine Chapel:

“Vatican, that’s the one that Leonardo DiVinci painted with his hand.”

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GOP Debate: Is abortion ok in cases of rape? Rick Santorum said:

“To put them through another trauma of an abortion, I think is too much to ask.”

How kind of you not to “ask” them and to “spare them the trauma” by denying it as an option. I’m sure the trauma of delivering their rapist’s child will be minimal, after all.

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Jersey Shore: Jennie “JWOWW” (third from left) is done urinating on the street:

“Where’s the closest bathroom? I’m trying not to piss in public…again”

If only the GOP would stop pissing on the American people.

There you have it, two reality shows, both shameful and embarrassing displays of American values and “intelligence,” intended to distract us. Only one is watched by the “serious people” however and presents a real danger to America’s future.

GOP’s Anti-Gay Debate Rhetoric, In 2 Minutes

I was not feeling so hot yesterday and opted for a Rescue Me episode on my DVR instead of subjecting myself to the GOP debate. Fortunately, Igor Volsky at Think Progress watched so I didn't have to. (Face it, almost none of these people will matter in six months anyway.) Volsky has helpfully compiled this two-minute condensation of the candidate's take on the question of marriage equality.

Thoughts, summary after the fold.

Volsky also sharply deconstructs Romney's dissonance on "Federalism" regarding marriage equality and health care. He simultaneously argues it's just awful that states should have their own policies on marriage equality, and there should be a Constitutional amendment to stop states going where his home state led.

But on healthcare, it's awful for the Federal Government to institute Federal standards. States should have the freedom to administer health care as they see fit. Which is of course why Romneycare was wonderful for Massachusetts but terrible for the country. Whatever, dude.

Though Ron Paul opposes marriage equality, he also thinks it's a question for states. I kinda liked how Ron Paul handled the polygamy aspect of question,

"It's sort of like asking the question 'what if states wanted to legalize slavery or something like that' that is so past reality that no state is going to do that."

Oh Noes Pictures, Images and PhotosA reality check that made Santorum look even sillier, when he the proceeded to concern troll that—"Oh noes! Sounds like Ron Paul supports polygamy!!"

I have tacked to telling people who present the polygamy slippery slope, "If you want to legalize polygamy, you're going to have to build your own movement and find a Senator to introduce the bills." That's not really going to happen is it?

PhotobucketSantorum also made some asinine critique of Iran for trampling “the rights of gays.” Yeah, I'm sure your heart just goes out to those gays swinging from the gallows in Iran's public square. I'm sure pressuring Iran to put an end to it will be a top priority for the Santorum administration.

Huntsman seems to have sidestepped the question by merely restating his support for civil unions. He also says—rather courageously in my opinion, given the audience—" I believe this nation can do a better job when it comes to equality." He doesn't apparently realize the GOP either thinks gay people are already equal, or that they have no righteous claim to the mantle of "unequal."

He sounded a little too nice and can pretty much kiss the Christian Fundamentalist vote goodbye. But, at least he may be strategizing from an actual reality base here, he didn't have much chance with Fundies with everyone else playing to the same crowd. Plus, he's not indulging in Romney's fantasy they'll overlook he's a Mormon aka, not a "real" Christian.

Bachmann was her usual self, banging the Federal Marriage Amendment drum. "Ratification campaigns! Rolling through your state in 2013!" At least she owned that she totally built her career on fighting the gays. Last month, the Concord Monitor reported:

Bachmann cut off an interview last week as she was being asked a question about gay marriage and emphasized that she is focused on rebuilding the economy and repealing federal health care reform. "I'm not involved in light, frivolous matters," she said. "I'm not involved in fringe or side issues. I'm involved in serious issues."

So in Michele's world, it will be incumbent for President to lead the charge to rewrite the Constitution over "light," "fringe" and "frivolous matters." Again, whatever, dude…

Locked out from the debate by Fox News was openly gay candidate Fred Karger. Horace Boothroyd III has more here. Over at LGBT POV, Karen Occamb also has a report. Karger added his two cents via Twitter (hey, it's a tactic that has kept Sarah Palin inexplicably relevant long past her expiration date).

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And there you have it. A two-minute summary that is probably two-minutes more than it warrants. The bullet: GOP President, bad news for gays, lesbians and trans. But we all knew that didn't we?

“I Want To Be With My Family, In My Country.”


Bradford Wells and Anthony John Makk spoke with guest host David Shuster on Countdown last night to discuss the immigration problem that plagues their family. After 19 years of lawfully residing together in this country, Anthony Makk has run out of options, and will face the choice of illegally overstaying his visa in 13 days or returning to Australia and leaving behind his husband of seven years, partner of 19. His husband Bradford suffers from AIDS and Anthony is his primary caregiver. Wells’ health problems preclude him joining his husband in Australia, though that might be an option legally.

Here, their options are running out, but still, Wells says he loves the country that is tearing his husband from him, and Makk remains hopeful a solution will still present itself.

Teddy Partridge has provided a transcript of the Countdown video here.

CNN interviews Anthony and Bradford as well, going into greater detail how Bradford’s medical condition affects their situation, and how he depends on Anthony to help him cope day to day.

While I certainly don’t envy the couple’s circumstances, I find it hard not to envy the very obvious love, affection and commitment these men have found in one another. This perpetual bachelor knows far too well how rare it is to find and maintain connections like this in life. There can be no Earthly reason to object to our government supporting these families, not destroying them.

Immigration Equality, the group representing Makk and Wells, has said they are taking the case to the White House. Steve Ralls, a spokesman for the group, told Countdown:

“I would think the White House would get political points. Do you want a dying American to be here with his caregiver or not?”

The organization has drafted a petition that reads, in part:

The government has the power to keep these families together. Your administration can — and should — allow lesbian and gay couples to remain together while the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act is challenged in the courts, and in Congress. You have acknowledged that DOMA is unconstitutional and indefensible. Why, then, are you letting it separate loving, married couples?

No American should have to choose between their beloved and their country.

We urge you to take action and instruct federal government agencies to halt the removal of LGBT spouses. There must be a moratorium on the separation of LGBT families while Congress, and the courts, review this injustice and end it once and for all.

We join the 60 Members of Congress who have asked the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to stop these separations. Loving families should not be forced to live under the threat of deportation, and American citizens should not have their families taken away.

Change.org has a similar petition on these couple’s behalf here. It garnered over 3,500 signatures in it’s first day.

How Would A Moratorium Work?


This is a perfectly lawful route. Nothing in DOMA prevents the administration from exercising this prosecutorial discretion, which in fact, they have exercised in the past.

  1. Allow legally married LGBT binational couples to apply for marital green cards, same as other couples.
  2. Hold the applications in abeyance. They will essentially go to the bottom of the pile. No residency decision will be made one way or another until DOMA’s Constitutionality is resolved. At such a time when that is determined, they will proceed accordingly.
    If the courts find it Constitutional, well, that’s bad news. But legislative opportunities may present themselves, like passage of the Respect For Marriage Act, Uniting American Families Act, or comprehensive immigration reform. Or the non-citizen may be asked to leave.
    If DOMA is found unconstitutional, then everyone’s happy. The administration can be glad they didn’t tear apart a family needlessly over an unconstitutional law. And the couples’ application can proceed forward through the application process like any other.

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This isn’t an idea that’s crazy or outside the mainstream. Attorney General Eric Holder and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano have already been lobbied by Senator John Kerry (D-MA) and other 12 senators to take exactly this action. Click on letter above to enlarge, text below:

Specifically, we ask the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to hold marriage-based immigration petitions in abeyance pending a legislative repeal or a final determination on DOMA litigation.  In addition, we ask DHS to exercise prosecutorial discretion in commencing and prosecuting removal proceedings against married noncitizens that would be otherwise eligible to adjust their status to lawful permanent resident but for DOMA.  

We also call upon the Department of Justice to institute a moratorium on orders of removal issued by the immigration courts to married foreign nationals who would be otherwise eligible to adjust their status to lawful permanent resident but for DOMA.

Signatories included Sens. John Kerry (D-MA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

18 House Representatives lead by Rush Holdt (D-NJ) urged the administration in March to take the same action.

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Lavi Soloway, a leading attorney in binational LGBT immigration cases told Metro Weekly in March:

“The best thing for the Department of Justice to be doing now is to be holding off on decisions. We’re arriving at a new day, and that means a lot of new opportunities.”

Saying, “It’s not exactly rocket science,” Soloway noted when speaking about these issues previously that the administration “has twice dealt in a very special way with groups of individuals facing deportation.”

He explained, “They put a moratorium on the widows of U.S. citizens in 2009, and, in 2010, the administration announced it would defer action on the deportation of individuals who are likely eligible under the DREAM Act. So, the administration has shown that it does use its executive branch muscle when it comes to discretion about who to deport.”

The administration has repeatedly assured supporters that its record numbers of deportations include only “violent offenders and people convicted of crimes—not just families, not just folks who are just looking to scrape together an income.” It strains credulity to see how law-abiding LGBT married couples can met this standard. How can Anthony Makk be a deportation priority?

DOMA No Longer Applies In Federal Bankruptcy Court


Oddly, DOMA seems to be an optional law in Federal bankruptcy court, but not immigration court. After initially objecting to a married same-sex couple filing for joint bankruptcy in California’s Ninth Circuit, in July the US Trustee withdrew their objection and is allowing the bankruptcy to proceed, as though the couple were married under Federal law.

Following consultation with the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), the U.S. Trustee asked to withdraw its appeal in its challenge to the attempted joint bankruptcy petition filed by Gene Douglas Balas and Carlos Morales, a married gay couple who live in California — a move a Department of Justice spokeswoman says represents the DOJ’s new policy on all such bankruptcy filings.

DOJ spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler wrote to Metro Weekly that the July 6 filing in the Balas and Morales case represents a new policy, writing, “The Department of Justice has informed bankruptcy courts that it will no longer seek dismissal of bankruptcy petitions filed jointly by same-sex debtors who are married under state law.”

Schmaler was quoted by Reuters as saying the policy change, “avoids generating costly and time-consuming constitutional litigation.” This is an odd thing to say as stopping same-sex couples from applying for joint bankruptcy would be enforcing, not litigating, litigation has been tasked to the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group. Maybe the DOJ is too busy brokering settlements for the big banks? In a follow-up report the next day Metro Weekly’s Chris Geidner concludes:

The move appears to be the first time that the federal government is, as a matter of policy, recognizing same-sex marriages for purposes of applying federal law. Before this week, married same-sex couples’ joint bankruptcy petitions were opposed by the government as impermissible under the Defense of Marriage Act.

Good to know that if Bradford and Anthony wanted to go to the Federal poor house together, that would be fine with the administration. Staying together on American soil? Not so much.

Contact Information


BARBARA BOXER
CALIFORNIA
202-224-3553
email
112 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510
415-403-0100  559-497-5109  213-894-500  619-239-3884
312 N. Spring St. Suite 1748, Los Angeles, CA 90012

DIANE FEINSTEIN
CALIFORNIA
202-224-3841
email
331 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510
415-393-0707  310-914-7300  619-231-9712  559-485-7430 
11111 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 915 Los Angeles, CA 90025 

NANCY PELOSI
CALIFORNIA
202-224-3841
email
90 7th Street, Suite 2-800, San Francisco, CA  94103
(415) 556-4862
235 Cannon HOB, Washington, D.C. 20515
(202) 225-4965

WHITE HOUSE
202-456-1111
email

WaPo Columnist: Rick Santorum Is Running Against Dan Savage

PhotobucketI recently discovered a humor columnist at the Washington Post, Alexandra Petri. She has some pretty brilliant humorous but insightful takes on Michele Bachmann’s Newsweek cover, Obama’s fireside chat and others. We could all use some help redirecting our tears to laughs these days, right?

Petri admits with chagrin that she’s enjoying following the Santorum trainwreck of a campaign and although tongue in cheek, her assessment of why the fail is so strong is pretty pretty spot-on. Petri recognizes Santorum faced a fork in the road in dealing with his “Google problem”:

But what can you do? At a certain point you either surrender, call off the dogs, and go sit somewhere wracked with the vague sense that Things Might Have Gone Differently But For Google, or you double down.

Santorum has picked the double down route. It’s profitable enough to keep his name in the news, but it’s not winning him the nomination or the respect of the GOP donor base.

The problem, Rick Santorum is not running against Barack Obama, he’s running against Dan Savage.

In fact there was a graceful way out for Santorum and Dan Savage opened the negotiations last year with this:

“If Rick Santorum wants to make a $5 million donation to [the gay marriage group] Freedom to Marry, I will take it down. Interest starts accruing now.”

Granted, $5 million is a lot of money, but it is opening negotiation point and smart negotiators start high. Dan likely might have settled for less, particularly if it included an agreement that Rick would clean up his potty mouth in public, and stop comparing marriage equality to man-on-dog sex. But Savage never heard from Santorum’s people at all.

Instead, Santorum has adopted a strategy of “doubling down,” thinking, delusionally, if he just fought the gays harder, he’d eventually prevail. Petri examines in WaPo what that strategy has wrought:

What’s worse than Santorum’s Google problem — his Savage problem

The strange irony of all this is that Santorum and Savage are forever bound by this feud, coupled together in the annals of history as arch-nemeses. Batman and Joker. Superman and Lex Luthor. Santorum and Savage. It’s an unbreakable bond, although the identity of the parties (who’s Lex?) varies depending on whom you ask.

This is a bigger problem for Santorum than for Savage, who appears to have other hobbies, including an MTV show in the works.

But for Santorum, it’s been the kiss of death. Santorum hasn’t been running against Barack Obama. He’s been running against Dan Savage, a syndicated sex columnist. It’s hard to blame him. His opposition to Obama is theoretical. But thanks to Dan Savage, his name is quite literally mud.

These days, as Savage grasped instinctively, there is nothing worse than having a Google problem. It’s one thing to embarrass yourself in real life. But people have far shorter attention spans than the Internet. It’s like an elephant with a strong preference for pornography.

And it’s true. Democrats might consider hiring Dan to run a 527, and teach them something about how one controls the conversation in politics to the Republicans’ disadvantage. Santorum continues to exist only because of Dan Savage. And he’s keeping the lights on thanks to Wingnut Welfare, and utilizing his martyrdom to attempt to fill his near-empty coffers.

But he’s not a Presidential player. Serious candidates can’t let themselves get bogged down in protracted feuds with loudmouth syndicated sex columnists. This strategy isn’t helping him break 3% in the GOP primary polling, or attract serious donors from the GOP base (he’s got $229,000 in the bank).

Poor Ricky. The good news is the Wingnut Welfare rolls are lousy with has-beens like Santorum.