Tag Archives: Florida

Nancy Pelosi, Really?

3 Dec

As the Democrats prepare to take over the House in January, there is much ado about who should be the Speaker of the House. While I’m exceedingly grateful we are kicking Fascist Paul Ryan to the curb, should Nancy Pelosi resume her role as Speaker?

In a word, I offer an emphatic YES! I have been deeply troubled, disturbed, saddened, and pissed off at the manifestation yet again of misogyny. Again, it is painfully clear that the United States cannot tolerate a strong, smart, powerful, woman. While I agree with those who want a new guard ushered in, Pelosi has already demonstrated her commitment to succession planning and ensuring that women are being set up to succeed. I also applaud the mindfulness and strategic thinking of leaders like Maxine Waters, who said her efforts are best used as the Chair of the Financial Services Committee. I also applaud Marcia Fudge of Ohio who supported Pelosi and said where her efforts would be best used. Fudge was a name thrown into the bid for Speaker, and frankly, I would love to see her in that position, and again we see strategy and mindfulness at play, as Fudge will be the Chair of the House Administration sub-committee on Elections–fantastic! Please help Georgia and Florida. If we are to dismantle the autocratic/fascist government that 45 has laid the groundwork for, we must be strategic. But we must also resist buying into a misogynistic narrative.

Sadly, 32 Democrats voted against Pelosi (one should note that is 11 fewer than the number of Republicans that did not support Ayn Rand– oops, I mean Paul Ryan — for Speaker). Of course, one of those voices against Pelosi was Republican Kurt Schrader of Oregon–oops, I mean Democrat Kurt Schrader; it is exceedingly difficult to see where his loyalties lie. He reminds me of Zell Miller of Georgia, who purported to be a Democrat, but those of us paying attention were not fooled or surprised when he showed up as the keynote at the 2004 Republican National Convention throwing his support for George W. Bush–the good ole days when we thought there could be no one worse than Bush.

This mid-term election is sending the most diverse Democratic caucus ever to Washington, largely elected on a progressive, pro-health-care platform. As Speaker, Nancy Pelosi must recognize these facts and continue her commitment to progressive policies and new leadership opportunities for a broader spectrum of Democrats. In return, her caucus must recognize her strong, smart leadership; her clear focus and strong voice is one of the reasons that the Democrats flipped more seats than any time since Watergate. 45’s administration demands seasoned opposition leadership, which Pelosi can clearly supply. Over the next two years, let’s groom those who can move into leadership and help advance progressive causes that allow for greater equity for all people in the United States.

Hero of the Week Award: July 5, Tim Hardaway

5 Jul
Hero of the Week

Hero of the Week

This week it is a real pleasure to celebrate a man who has clearly demonstrated the ability to change. Former NBA star, Tim Hardaway was infamous for his homophobia. When recently retired player John Amaechi came out in 2007, Hardaway famously noted in an interview “I hate gay people.” When asked for clarification, he seemed to use the label “homophobic” proudly.  At that point, he certainly would have earned Bigot of the Week Award.  What an absolute delight to celebrate someone who demonstrates bell hooks’ transformative experience.

The NBA did the right thing and sanctioned Hardaway, imposing financial penalties and banning him from the NBA All-Star weekend. This gave him space to consider his words and actions. Not long after, he indicated that he wanted to change his ways, telling a reporter, “I’m going to do whatever I can to correct it.”

He has lived up to that promise. Earlier this year, when Jason Collins became the first active NBA player to come out, Hardaway was among his most vocal supporters. This week, Equal Marriage Florida opened its petition to create marriage equality in the Sunshine State. For the very public kickoff of the campaign, they found a willing celebrity to be the first signer of the petition — Tim Hardaway.

Many people have ugly beliefs, say hateful things, take hurtful actions. They should be called out for their behavior. Too seldom do we see even a real apology. Even rarer is someone who truly demonstrates that they have learned from their mistakes and want to be and do better and do the necessary repair work. Thank you, Tim Hardaway, for showing that our strongest allies can be forged from the lessons learned by our former opponents.  There is a lesson for us all here.  For those that commit trespass, we must try our best to create a space for people to make mistakes, be accountable, and allow for repair work.  If I, or our culture, simply dismisses a fellow human being as just a homophobe, or just a racist, we lose the opportunity for richer deeper conversations to be had and we also lose the opportunity for targeted, or marginalized people to gain allies.

It’s a delight to have two honorable mentions this week. First, a big thank you to the Department of Homeland Security. (I never thought I’d write that!) In one of the first executive branch actions since the overturn of DOMA Section 3, DHS began issuing green cards to legally married same-sex couples. This will end decades of discrimination and estrangement and banishes one of the most visibly cruel aspects of DOMA.

Honorable mention also goes to April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, a couple in Michigan who have been working to overturn that state’s ban on adoption by same-sex couples. They recently expanded their case to take on the Wolverine State’s marriage ban. Judge Bernard Friedman put a stay on the case in March, awaiting the Supreme Court’s DOMA and Prop 8 decisions. Citing the DOMA verdict, Friedman lifted his stay, noting that the language of the decision “has provided the requisite precedential fodder for both parties to this litigation.” It’s wonderful to see so many positive results emerge from that one decision so quickly. Thank you, April and Jayne, for your courage, and best of luck on your journey to end discrimination.

Hero of the Week: May 17, Pablo Pantoja

17 May
Hero of the Week

Hero of the Week

The Republican National Committee was very happy to have Pablo Pantoja on its payroll. Energetic, savvy, a decorated National Guardsman — what could be better? As a Latino in Florida, a state the GOP needs to win or steal to have a shot at the White House, he was well positioned to represent the hypothetical rebranding the party rolled out earlier this year. As the RNC Hispanic Outreach Director, his role was very important.

Sadly for the GOP, Pantoja also possesses a heart and a mind. Reflecting on the corrosive failure of the GOP’s fake embrace of minorities after their loss in November, he decided he’d had enough. In a powerful statement, he left his position and switched parties, becoming a vocal Democrat.

Yes, I have changed my political affiliation to the Democratic Party. It doesn’t take much to see the culture of intolerance surrounding the Republican Party today. I have wondered before about the seemingly harsh undertones about immigrants and others. Look no further […]

The complete disregard of those who are in disadvantage is also palpable. We are not looking at an isolated incident of rhetoric or research. … I think you get the idea. When the political discourse resorts to intolerance and hate, we all lose in what makes America great and the progress made in society.

It’s a scathing indictment of the othering done by the GOP as it attacks immigrants and minorities at every turn while callously courting their votes. Coming from an informed insider, it is particularly damning. As a nice parting shot, Pantoja also made a contribution to the ACLU for efforts to protect immigrant rights. Well done, sir, and welcome.

Regnerus Revisited: What’s hiding in his closet?

22 Apr

RegnerusRegular readers will remember Mark Regnerus, the ethically challenged researcher from the University of Texas at Austin. I need to thank my friends Scott Rose and LGBT ally Devon for their vigilance around this nefarious man and the far reaching impact of his lies (flawed research). His “New Family Structures Study” appeared in the journal Social Science Research and argued that children raised by LGBT parents suffered negative outcomes. His statistical methods were deeply flawed (at best) and his conclusions so tenuous that even he could provide only the flimsiest defenses when challenged. It is pretty clear that the Witherspoon Institute, the homophobic far-right think tank that underwrote his research had a very political agenda.

Now it looks like Regnerus and his funders will do everything they can to hide that agenda. Journalist John Becker is trying to get to the bottom of things and has so far been blocked at every turn. The editor of the journal, James Wright, is on the faculty of the University of Central Florida, making his communications subject to public records requests. When Becker filed such requests, the University denied them, maintaining that the communications belong to the publisher, Elsevier. Becker’s attorneys are filing suit, arguing that the article belongs to the publisher — which is more than happy to have it cited and quoted widely — but that any of Wright’s communications belong to the University.

Why all the secrecy? The study was rushed to publication in just six weeks; papers usually take months, often more than a year, to review before publication. An independent audit determined that the review process was so sloppy that the “paper should never have been published.” An investigation by the American Independent makes it clear the Witherspoon Institute wanted some damning data to include in their brief to the Supreme Court opposing marriage equality in the Prop 8 and DOMA hearings.

So there you have it. Two professors — a “researcher” and an editor — cooking a study to meet a foregone conclusion and rushing it to print to meet a well-funded political agenda. Two universities supporting that work and publication. Flawed and dangerous data spreading lies about the LGBT community to influence critical court cases. Most people have rejected the publication, but it is out there for bigots to wield however they like while Regnerus and Wright suffer nothing for their abuse of power–what strange bedfellows-producing and publishing lies for money.  I believe many might just call these two whores!

Hero of the Week Award: November 2, First Responders

2 Nov

Hero of the Week

Amidst the horrific devastation that Hurricane Sandy wrought in the Northeastern U.S., thousands of men and women are quiet heroes. “Just doing their jobs,” these first responders and supporting personnel help to make sense of the chaos. They work hard to minimize the impact of the storm on the lives of millions. Fire fighters, EMTs, police, and others band together, efficiently doing the work they have trained to do.

Natural disasters bring untold consequences. The wind damage and flooding that are obvious blend with fires, power outages, injuries, separated families, and a host of other problems. First responders rush into the bedlam, often risking their own health and safety, to make things better for everyone. They deserve our thanks and praise.

In light of the coming election, it is worth noting two things that should be evident but are often overlooked. Almost without exception, these are government jobs. They are paid for by our taxes and are a perfect example of why individual investment in systems that serve everyone are so important. Local governments alone cannot cope on this scale, so having well-funded, organized state and federal systems in place is also critical. Michael Brown, infamous failed FEMA director under George W. can whine all he wants about the “too speedy” response of the Obama administration. It was, in fact, a perfect example of how governments at all levels should work together to make the best of a bad situation.

It is also worth noting that most of these first responders have union organized workplaces. The fact that they are well trained, well equipped, provided with guidelines for work hours and safety, and paid something remotely close to the value of their work arises from that simple fact. The Scott Walkers of the world can complain all they want about the evils of public unions. All those served by these brave people should strenuously object, wondering what their fates might have been in an underfunded response model. Elections have consequences, and what Sandy could have done is a good illustration of where  some politicians want to take this country.

Thanks again to the heroes who serve quietly and powerfully. Your dedication, commitment, and service are shining examples of our nation at its finest.

Honorable mention this week goes to Bob Crowder, a long-time Florida Republican. Crowder, sick of the loony Tea-stained fringe that has taken over his party, mounted a primary challenge to Rep. Allen West, one of the worst of the bunch. (Now THAT takes some doing!) Crowder lost his bid to unseat West in the primaries. This week, he did something remarkable and powerful: he endorsed the Democrat, Patrick Murphy. Murphy would be a great Congressman, and taking down West would be icing on the cake. Crowder, who is the sheriff of Martin County, sums up his view nicely.

As a Republican for over 30 years, I’m embarrassed by the radical fringe that has taken over the party. Sadly, Allen West is their poster child, and the hateful, divisive comments he’s made throughout this campaign make it clear to me he’s the wrong choice for our district.

Thank you, Sheriff Crowder, for standing up for the best candidate and putting the needs of your fellow Floridians ahead of mere partisanship.

Mitt Romney: Exploiting Death For Political Gain

12 Sep

I’m Mitt Romney, and I approved this exploitative lie…for now.

I am disgusted and revolted by Romney’s behavior in the wake of the loss of four lives in Benghazi, Libya. U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed by a terrorist attack on the consulate in Benghazi. This attack, like a protest yesterday in Cairo, was apparently prompted by a YouTube video defaming the prophet Mohammed — a video made by infamous Quran burner and homophobic activist Terry Jones. State Department officials responded to the Cairo protests condemning violence and religious intolerance.

Romney, in typical form, dived in without the facts. Showing no presidential character whatsoever, he politicized the deaths of four Americans in a baseless attack on the President.

I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.

Bad form! Bad form Mr. Romney. Have you no decency? Have you no respect for the families of those that have died? Your pathological narcissism knows no bounds! Even John Boehner avoided making a political statement over these tragic deaths. What does that say about how vile your behavior is?

Of course, your statement is also blatantly false, but your allergy to the truth is by now legendary. As a candidate, you have held half a dozen positions on Libya, a near record even for your dissembling campaign. Oh, the famous Romney shuffle: jump the gun, avoid the facts, blame the President, change your position, hold a press conference, find a flunky to issue a rebuttal to yourself, avoid the facts, blame the President. Dancing like that every day, it’s amazing you can still find time to put your feet in your mouth.

I Hate Old People, Women, and Gays!

15 Aug

I can dream, can’t i?

Yes, you probably thought this was a story about Michelle Bachmann, but actually it is about her evil twin, Paul Ryan. I don’t think it came as a surprise that Ryan was told to steer clear of Florida.  Even rabidly right wing seniors disapprove of Ryan’s plans by a comfortable 20% margin.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain: Kevin Madden, Romney’s campaign manager.  Madden wants us to believe that sending Ryan to the Iowa State fair (Iowa was where Romney signed a pledge to discriminate against the LGBT community) rather than joining Romney in Florida had nothing to do with Ryan wanting to gut Medicare.  Sure, I believe that.  I also believe that it is safe to say the word Bain around Romney and that it is just a simple oversight that George W. was asked not to attend the Republican National Convention.

One might ask, why the heck did Romney pick this fascist as a running mate.  My greatest fear, given how homophobic both men are and how much they hate women, one conclusion one might draw is that they are secret lovers—-okay, ewwwww that even made me spit up.  The big question is, why on earth would any minority in the United States vote for such a duo of hate?

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