Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Its my birthday...

Ok Folks –

Just a note to say I am going to spend my birthday flying to Brasil. The blog will change somewhat while abroad, it’s a little bit of a hassle to post stuff, and I find that I like to share things I see and do there… keep the faith, enjoy my vacation (via the blog).

Ate !


P.S. for the record the Ponderosa has a house sitter or two, the alarm system is functioning with in all acceptable parameters, and there neighbors be a watch’n… yo!

Quote of the Day

"Hope has never trickled down. It has always sprung up."

~~ Studs Terkel, from _Hope Dies Last_

Now it's time to empower and inspire Californians to win these rights back.

Courage Campaign
We would like to share this special message from Gavin Newsom as well as share some exciting news that we just got a few minutes ago.

Lt. Dan Choi, who is facing trial today under the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, is coming to Camp Courage Sacramento on July 11-12. Lt. Choi would like to meet some of the folks who added their name to our letter of support, signed by 158,118 people.

If you would like to meet Lt. Choi, please RSVP here now:


Rick Jacobs
Chair, Courage Campaign

Dear Daniel --

For many Californians, November's celebration of the election of Barack Obama as our next president was tempered by sadness and anger at the passage of Proposition 8.

That night, we became the first state in the nation to use our constitution to strip rights away from our fellow citizens. Our lesbian and gay friends, family members and neighbors woke up the morning after the election with fewer rights than they had enjoyed the night before.

Now it's time to empower and inspire Californians to win these rights back.

That's exactly what my friends at the Courage Campaign are doing. Since that historic setback eight months ago, the Courage Campaign has worked with groups and activists across the progressive political spectrum to help build a people-powered movement to restore marriage equality to California.

The heart of the Courage Campaign's commitment to equality is Camp Courage -- a transformative two-day training event for marriage equality activists of all kinds, experienced or new to the movement. Modeled after "Camp Obama," Camp Courage has received amazing reviews from participants -- most rating it a 9 (on a scale of 1 to 10) -- following recent trainings in Los Angeles, Fresno, San Diego and Oakland.

Now, on the weekend of July 11-12 in Sacramento, you have an opportunity to go to Camp Courage. If you want to experience this inspiring event, time is running out to register. Sign up now to reserve your spot:


I haven't seen this much energy in the marriage equality movement since the "Winter of Love" in 2004, when Del Martin, Phyllis Lyon and more than 4,000 other couples said "I Do" following our announcement that the City of San Francisco would begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

This country took a significant step toward securing equality for every American five years ago in San Francisco. While some feel that what we did was too much, too fast, too soon, we stand firm in the belief that our actions were not only just, but legal and constitutional.

Now we need to take a stand and secure these fundamental rights for all Californians. For good.

On July 11-12, "Camp Courage Sacramento" will be ground zero in the marriage equality movement. You don't want to miss it. Please register now before time runs out:


Thanks for helping the Courage Campaign bring full equality to California and our country.

Gavin Newsom
Mayor of San Francisco

Obama Speaks At WH Gay Cocktail Party

Pam Spaulding has the complete transcript of the president's remarks. At one point Obama was interrupted by somebody's cell phone. The offender's ringtone? A duck call. Hmm. The president quacked up.

thanks JMG for this...

Obama promises progress to gay community

Leading The News

Obama promises progress to gay community
Posted: 06/29/09 05:43 PM [ET]

President Obama worked to assuage tension between his administration and the gay community Monday, telling them that he remains committed to their most important issues.

Speaking to a group in the East Room of the White House representing the gay community, Obama reiterated his pledge to overturn both the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the military's Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell rule.

Monday's event was the administration's first event honoring Gay Pride Month for a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender audience and it came amid growing tension between Obama's White House and the gay community.

The president has come under intense fire from a loyal demographic that has accused his administration of dragging its feet on those two issues. Last week, some high-profile gay Democrats boycotted a fundraiser attended by Vice President Biden.

Obama said Monday he is aware that many in the gay community "don't believe progress has come fast enough," comparing their struggles to those of blacks during the civil-rights movement.

"It is not for me to tell you to be patient any more than it was for others to counsel patience to African-Americans who were petitioning for equal rights a half century ago," Obama said. "But I say this, we have made progress and we will make more."

The president said that he expects and hopes "to be judged not by words, not by promises I've made, but by the promises that my administration keeps."

"We've been in office six months now, and I suspect that by the time this administration is over I think you guys will have pretty good feelings about the Obama administration," the president said.

The rift between the administration and the gay community was exacerbated by a Department of Justice (DOJ) brief defending DOMA and comparing gay marriage to incest.

In defending the DOJ's brief, Obama also sought to clarify his goal of reversing DOMA.

"I've called on Congress to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act to help end discrimination against same-sex couples in this country," Obama said. "Now I want to add we have a duty to uphold existing law, but I believe we must do so in a way that does not exacerbate old divides. And fulfilling this duty in upholding the law in no way lessens my commitment to reversing this law. I've made that clear."

On Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell, the president said he believes "preventing patriotic Americans from serving their country weakens our national security."

"I know that every day that passes without a resolution is a deep disappointment to those men and women who continue to be discharged under this policy, patriots who often possess critical language skills and years of training and who've served this country well," Obama said.

The president said he has asked the joint chiefs and Congress to find what the White House has called an "enduring" solution to overturning the law.

The president also promised to push for an employee nondiscrimination law and a hate-crimes law named after Matthew Shepard, a gay college student who was tortured and murdered in Wyoming.

Leading The News

Obama tries to win back favor of gays
Posted: 06/29/09 07:32 AM [ET]
President Obama, under fire from some gay and lesbian groups for what they see as slow movement on two of their most important issues, is taking steps to keep that voting bloc in his column.

This week, the president will host an event at the White House "recognizing and celebrating the accomplishments" of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. The event comes just days after Vice President Biden was dispatched to extend an olive branch to the gay community.

Despite Biden's efforts at a fundraiser last week, the event was still boycotted by some over the administration's inaction in repealing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. Further fanning the flames of the gay community's ire, a Department of Justice memo came out earlier this month, defending DOMA and in one instance comparing gay marriage to incest.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said not to expect any announcements on the two controversial policies surrounding next week's event.

But Gibbs insisted that the event was planned in honor of Gay Pride Month and not as a result of political pressure.

This is not Obama's first entreaty to the gay community. Earlier this month, he signed a presidential memorandum extending some federal benefits to the same-sex partners of federal employees, but many in the community say the president hasn't gone far enough.

At Thursday night's fundraiser, several high-profile gay Democratic fundraisers boycotted the event, and protesters outside held signs that read "Gay Uncle Toms," "SHAME" and "No Money for DOMA."

The event still raised $1 million, about $250,000 more than it did last year, but Biden acknowledged the impatience many in the gay community feel.

"I am not unaware of the controversy swirling around this dinner and swirling around the speed or lack thereof that we are moving on issues that are of great importance to you," Biden said.

He promised though that the administration will "put some pace on the ball" on some major issues, and he stressed that Obama is committed to "keeping the nation focused on the unfinished business of true equality for all our people."

Biden added: "We're not there yet."

Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), one of three openly gay members of Congress, met with the protesters outside Thursday's event, and as she turned to go inside the crowd urged her to "boycott the bigots."

"We do feel an impatience and a frustration, and I think it's really important that that be expressed both outside and inside," Baldwin told one reporter at the event.

Biden, who told the crowd he doesn't blame them for their "impatience," listed what the administration has accomplished for the community so far, including 60 appointments of gays and lesbians with nine that require Senate confirmation.

Despite what they've accomplished, however, Biden promised that the gay community's key issues won't be "delayed, put off or not end on [Obama's] plate," receiving standing ovations when he repeated the administration's pledge to repeal both DOMA and Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

"I hope you don't doubt the president's commitment," Biden said.

Recommended Site

FROM the IGF Info Page: Forging a Gay Mainstream

The Independent Gay Forum has been created by a group of gay writers, academics, attorneys, and activists who feel dissatisfied with the current level of discussion of gay-related issues.

  • We support the full inclusion of gays and lesbians in civil society with legal equality and equal social respect. We argue that gays and lesbians, in turn, contribute to the creativity, robustness, and decency of our national life.
  • We share a belief in the fundamental virtues of the American system and its traditions of individual liberty, personal moral autonomy and responsibility, and equality before the law. We believe those traditions depend on the institutions of a market economy, free discussion, and limited government.
  • We deny "conservative" claims that gays and lesbians pose any threat to social morality or the political order.
  • We equally oppose "progressive" claims that gays should support radical social change or restructuring of society.
  • We share an approach, but we disagree on many particulars. We include libertarians, limited-government conservatives, moderates, and classical liberals. We hold differing views on the role of government, personal morality, religious faith, and personal relationships. We share these disagreements openly: we hope that readers will find them interesting and thought-provoking.

IGF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. It serves as a forum for debate and discussion and does not take positions on matters of politics or policy. The views expressed are those of the authors alone.

If you have an article that you think belongs here, they'd like to hear from you. But please bear in mind that, because they editorial and legal staff, articles must have been previously published in an edited journal, whether print or online. All articles published here are reprinted by permission, with copyright retained by author or original publisher.

The Editors