You know, I just can’t get myself that excited to root for a bunch of uber-violent, rogue cops and an extralegal approach to law enforcement, no matter how many handsome men you have doing it, as in Gangster Squad:
This isn’t cool or admirable. And it’s a kind of approach that ends with innocent people brutalized and dead. Give me American Gangster any day, which glorified a straight-up approach to law enforcement and cast police corruption for the ugly thuggery it is.
Earlier today, the Department of Justice filed a formal legal complaint against Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) alleging widespread constitutional violations and lawless mistreatment of Latinos. According to the complaint, Arpaio and his staff engaged in widespread, violent and demeaning mistreatment of Latino residents of Maricopa County, often targeting individuals solely because of their race:
Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) is adding his voice to the growing chorus of lawmakers endorsing marriage equality following President Obama’s historic declaration that gay and lesbian couples should have the freedom to marry. ?I have believed that the phrase ?civil union? was an appropriate definition of a relationship that is both different and the same between two people of the same sex. And I have believed strongly that such couples must be treated equally under the law,” he says:
Because I believe that equal treatment is a central tenet of our nation, I believe that extending the definition of marriage to committed relationships between two people, irrespective of their sex, is the right thing to do and will not, in any way, undermine the institution of marriage so important to our society nor impose a threat to any individual marriage. It will, however, extend the respect due to every one of our fellow citizens that we would want for ourselves and our children.
Since Obama announced his support on Wednesday, Sens. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Harry Reid (D-NV) have also backed the LGBT community and the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee announced that it will take up the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) on June 12.
After shaving Baby Sarah's head, Mitt Romney handed her back to her horrified parents. (TBogg)
Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James (R) is wasting no time in applying North Carolina’s newly passed Amendment One to the laws in his community. Noting that the measure bans any form of same-sex union recognition, James fired off an email to County Manager Harry Jones yesterday inquiring when they could begin stripping couples’ domestic partner benefits:
Since Amendment One has passed when will we get a memo or something that outlines what changes we need to make to our health plan to be in compliance? I recall when the Democrats on the Commission forced the issue and added these benefits for homosexuals that a number of legal experts said it was illegal then ? including the City attorney. Now that Amendment one has passed it obviously is illegal to offer this benefit as there is now only one ?domestic legal union? recognized in the state.
James seems only to be concerned with the benefits for “homosexuals,” but Amendment One bans all domestic partnerships, so any benefits going to straight couples would have to be reevaluated as well. His email makes it clear, however, that his support for the measure was motivated entirely by his desire to discriminate against the gay community.
Jones responded that once the county’s legal and human resources staffs have completed their evaluation of the Amendment’s impact, they will brief James and the rest of the commissioners.
The U.S.’s top military officer today delivered an extraordinary repudiation of a class taught as the U.S. military’s Joint Forces Staff College. The course, ?Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism,” used apocalyptic rhetoric and cast Islam as a “barbaric ideology,” employing numerous anti-Muslim tropes. For example, the class taught the lessons of ?Hiroshima? to wipe out whole cities at once, targeting the ?civilian population wherever necessary? in a ?total war? against Muslims.
At a press conference today, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey explained how the materials taught in the class were brought to his attention and expressed a harsh criticism of them. He said:
DEMPSEY: As you know, I’ve made an inquiry into a particular course that was brought to my attention by one of the students because he was concerned that it was objectionable and that it was counter to our values — you know, our appreciation for religious freedom and cultural awareness. And the young man who brought it to my attention was absolutely right. It’s totally objectionable.
And so we are looking at how that course was approved, what motivated the individual to adopt that — it was an elective, but what motivated that elective for being part of the curriculum. And we are looking across the institutions that provide our professional military education to make sure there’s nothing like that out there.
It was just totally objectionable, against our values, and it wasn’t academically sound. This wasn’t about pushing back on liberal thought; this was objectionable, academically irresponsible.
Watch the video:
As Dempsey mentioned, he ordered an investigation of the class upon recognizing just how “objectionable” the material therein was. The examination of other teaching materials might find a good place to start by looking into Lt. Col. Matthew A. Dooley, who facilitated the class, remains, for the moment, in his position at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia.
This post originally said Lt. Col. Dooley created the slides and delivered the lectures in question. ThinkProgress has since learned Dooley only facilitated the class.
My tiny rural town has one huge drawback and one huge advantage.
The drawback is that we are outside the service areas of the surrounding towns' cable systems and thus have no access to highspeed broadband internet.
The huge advantage is that we still have a post office. A post office that could easily erase that drawback, if only Congress would let it.
But even this progress is threatened as the postal debate heads to the less friendly House. Under pressure to act by May 15, when a moratorium on closures ends, the House could enact a worse measure. And much could be lost in the reconciliation process.
So this is the time to turn up the volume in defense of the PO, pressuring not just Democratic Congressional leaders but farm-state Republicans. Those Republicans need to feel the heat before their small-town constituents face the devastation caused by closures, which will further cut rural communities off from the rest of the country. There's a large constituency for the USPS; more than 1 million Americans have signed "Save America's Postal Service" petitions, and have held rallies across the country to resist cuts and closures. Americans "get" that the cuts are as unnecessary as they are unwise.
The campaign message should not be one of mere defense, however. It must echo the call of Senator Patrick Leahy, who says, "The Postal Service needs a plan not only to survive but to thrive. To do that the Postal Service must listen to its customers, understand its market and play to its strengths." Along with easing the prefunding burden, that plan should erase onerous regulations that have prevented the USPS from raising revenue.
But the USPS must do more than just compete with private delivery services. It should embrace the digital age by using post offices to help communities tap into broadband wireless communication. It should turn post offices into help centers offering a broad array of public services. And it should consider re-establishing the postal banking system the United States maintained until 1967, bringing basic financial services to underserved communities.
The USPS can continue to be what the founders intended when they established it in the Constitution: a vital public service that connects Americans and links America to the world. This is not a budget or regulatory question; it is a political one. Even Republicans are beginning to realize that the PO is popular; embracing and enhancing that popularity by making the future of the service a 2012 campaign issue would create the political will needed to prevent this treasure from being squandered in the name of austerity and privatization.
How's this for college outreach by We Are Wisconsin? The recall election's June 5 date is after students will have left University of Wisconsin campuses for the summer, so now is the time to be reaching out to them.
These posters should be attention-grabbing, but they also take students' role in the chain of events leading to the recall seriously: "college students have a chance to finish what we started." College students—and high school ones, for that matter—pouring into the streets and into the Wisconsin Capitol were an important spark for last year's uprising against Scott Walker's union-busting policies, and students were among those who stuck it out over weeks of protest. Students are also among those who stand to be barred from voting by the war on voters being carried out by Walker and his Republican allies in the legislature.
You are no doubt familiar with songs about the old lamplighter and the old umbrella man and the old garbage collector and all these lovable old characters who go around spreading sweetness and light to their respective communities but, it's always seemed[...]
Read The Full Article:
After President Obama's historic announcement that he is in favor of marriage equality, many in the right-wing media are refusing to debate the substance of same-sex marriage. Instead, they are casting about for ways to attack Obama's position on marriage that ignore the actual debate.
On ABC, Obama Voiced Support For Marriage Equality. In an interview with ABC News correspondent Robin Roberts, Obama stated: "[A]t a certain point I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that same sex couples should be able to get married":
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or Marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married. [ABC News, 5/9/12]
Gay And Lesbian Couples Are Denied A Variety Of Basic Rights Because Of Their Inability To Marry Each Other. The Human Rights Campaign has compiled a list of federal rights that gay and lesbian couples are denied because their marriages are not recognized on a federal level. Those rights include:
Marriage Equality Would Create Benefits For Businesses And The Economy. An October 2006 study by UCLA School of Law's Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy titled "The Effect of Marriage Equality and Domestic Partnership on Business and the Economy" outlined the potential business benefits that would be derived from official recognition of same-sex couples:
We find several potential business benefits of equal treatment for same-sex couples:
- Current employees will be healthier, more satisfied, and less likely to leave their jobs if they get domestic partner benefits.
- Domestic partner or spousal benefits will increase the competitiveness of employers in recruiting and retaining talented and committed employees.
- New weddings or other ceremonies would be a $2 billion boon for wedding-related industries in the United States.
- Marriage equality would make it easier for multistate and multinational businesses to transfer employees and to create consistent benefit and salary policies. With a potential hodge-podge of growing jurisdictional requirements, business leaders are likely to crave uniformity and simplicity in responding to diverse family needs and sustaining fair treatment for all employees. [UCLA School of Law, October 2006]
Marriage Equality Has A Positive Impact On State Budgets. An October 2006 Williams Institute study titled "The Effect of Marriage Equality and Domestic Partnership on Business and the Economy" outlined the impact of marriage equality on state budgets:
States would spend less on public assistance, since family-level income thresholds associated with some means-tested social programs would reduce the eligibility of some same-sex couples and their children if they are treated as a family unit.
The increased spending on weddings noted earlier would also generate sales tax revenues. [UCLA School of Law, October 2006]
Marriage Equality Would Generate Economic Gains Due To Increased Spending On Weddings. A Williams Institute Study titled "Spending on Weddings of Same-Sex couples in the United States" showcased the increased economic expenditures derived from wedding spending that would follow as a result of Marriage Equality enactment.
The extension of marriage rights to same-sex couples in various jurisdictions will generate economic gains for the businesses in those jurisdictions due to increased spending on weddings. A 2004 Forbes magazine article projected that if same-sex marriage rights were granted nationwide, same-sex weddings would generate $16.8 billion dollars in expenditures, adding significantly to America's annual $70 billion wedding industry. For over twenty years, various other commentators have argued or found that the first state or states to offer marriage equality would experience a wave of increased tourism from out-of-state couples that would bring millions of additional dollars in revenue to state businesses.
Free Beacon Headline: "Gay For Pay." A May 9 post by The Washington Free Beacon suggested that Obama is caving to donors who were "threatening to withhold donations over the president's position on gay rights":
President Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage less than 48 hours after the Washington Post reported that prominent political donors were threatening to withhold donations over the president's position on gay rights.
"[A]t a certain point I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married," Obama told ABC News in an interview. [The Washington Free Beacon, 5/9/12]
FoxNews.com: "$AME-$EX PAYOFF?" A headline on FoxNews.com stated: "$AME-$EX PAYOFF." The headline led to an article on an Obama fundraiser that claimed he is "raising Hollywood cash on heels of gay marriage endorsement."
Fox's Carlson Asks If Obama Is "Demonizing Those Who Disagree" With Marriage Equality. From the May 10 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
GRETCHEN CARLSON: President Obama makes history announcing his support for same-sex marriage. But is there tolerance for both sides or is he demonizing those who disagree with him now? We're going to report and you can decide. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/10/12, via Media Matters]
Carlson Also Asks: Is Obama's Support For Same-Sex Marriage A "Political Ploy" To Distract From The Economy? From the May 10 edition of Fox & Friends:
CARLSON: So is this a distraction? Is this another political ploy because of November and the election coming up? I mean, let the voters decide that. But should we be now talking about this? Is this the most important issue of the day? Or should we be talking about the economy right now? [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/10/12, via Media Matters]
Cavuto Suggests The White House Came Out In Support Of Marriage Equality To Increase Progressive "Enthusiasm." From the May 9 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
NEIL CAVUTO (host): As you, I think, were mentioning earlier Ed, the White House is nothing else but brilliant political strategist and you don't get to the White House without toppling the Hillary Clinton campaign and doing all the rest. So they have calculated the potential fallout from this and the possibility of losing key states they've won before like North Carolina, Virginia, and Indiana and must have crunched the numbers and said "well we pick up -- maybe -- an enthusiasm or from our base, elsewhere, enough to swing states that we wouldn't have gotten otherwise.
Now maybe I'm making that political leap, and this is just by accident that this happened but is there that potential that they can make up for what could be loses in those key states.
ED HENRY (Fox White House correspondent): Yes, I mean senior officials insist in private that they haven't sat down with the polls to sort all of this out, but let's face it, this White House like the White House before it is acutely aware of where public opinion polls are on any big issue whether it's the economy or same-sex marriage. Bottom line is they do have concerns that there could be fallout from states like North Carolina, but yes, they also believe they can make up for that with young voters.
Let's note the president that kicked off those rallies last Saturday, officially kick off the campaign to college campuses where you look at the college Democrats and the college Republicans often opposing each other on economic issues but largely coming together on issues like same-sex marriage. [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 5/9/12]
CNN's Loesch Attacks Obama For Taking "A Federalist Stance" On Same-Sex Marriage. From a May 9 post on Brietbart.com by CNN contributor Dana Loesch titled "Is Obama's Federalist Stance On Same-Sex Marriage Racist?":
The President today said that he personally supports same-sex marriage, but took a federalist stance on it:
The president stressed that this is a personal position, and that he still supports the concept of states' deciding the issue on their own.
A states' rights stance? Remember when that was racist? A growing chorus of progressives said that states' rights were racist: people like Chris Matthews, Al Sharpton, and even newspapers. So what is their opinion now that the President has brought up states' rights as his explanation for his same-sex marriage stance? Racist, still? [Breitbart.com, 5/9/12]
HotAir's Allahpundit: Obama May Have Dropped "Cynical Charade" On Marriage To "Maximiz[e] Turnout" Among The Base. In a HotAir post titled "Breaking: Noted gay-marriage supporter finally drops cynical charade," pseudonymous blogger AllahPundit stated: "As for the politics, Karl notes in the Greenroom that Team Hopenchange may now be shifting from a campaign aimed at winning back disaffected working-class swing voters to a campaign aimed mainly at maximizing turnout among their base." [HotAir, 5/9/12]