The incompetent Gov. Sarah Palin abused the powers of her office by pressuring subordinates to try to get her former brother-in-law, a state trooper, fired, an investigation by the Alaska Legislature has concluded. The inquiry found, however, that the national punchline running as VP was within her right to dismiss her public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, who was the trooper's boss.
A 263-page report released Friday by lawmakers in Alaska found that Ms. Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee, had herself exerted pressure to get Trooper Michael Wooten dismissed, as well as allowed her husband and subordinates to press for his firing, largely as a result of his temperament and past disciplinary problems.
"Such impermissible and repeated contacts," the report states, "create conflicts of interests for subordinate employees who must choose to either please a superior or run the risk of facing that superior's displeasure and the possible consequences of that displeasure." The report concludes that the action was a violation of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act.
The accusations undermined the campaign's absurd portrayal of Ms. Palin as a "maverick" and an ethics reformer who has taken on special interests and fought for average residents.The fact is, Palin is a corrupt phony who does not even read newspapers.
Not surprisingly, the McCain campaign tried to undermine the rule of law. It flew nasty operatives into Alaska to wage a public relations (propaganda) campaign to discredit the investigation and to help mount legal challenges to it. Leave it to the Republicans to create their own "facts" when reality is not on their side.
The Connecticut Supreme Court decided today that same-sex couples in the state are legally entitled to marriage.
Eight same-sex couples sued in 2004, saying their constitutional rights to equal protection and due process were violated when they were denied marriage licenses. The plaintiffs wanted the court to rule that the law discriminates against them because it applies only to heterosexual couples, therefore denying gay couples the financial, social and emotional benefits of marriage.
This is an amazing win that shows momentum for same-sex marriages. No matter what happens in California, Florida and Arizona - the push for full equality will move forward unimpeded. The main thing is, no heterosexual couples are hurt by allowing gay couples the freedom to marry. The right wing's "sky is falling" arguement came up flat. The only remaining argument is tradition: Bigotry and discrimination have gone on for a long time, so it must be perpetuated.
This line of reasoning is hardly the wave of the future and a sound long-term strategy.
Evergreen Also Whitewashes Suicide of Stuart Matis, Says TWO
Truth Wins Out (TWO) slammed "ex-gay" Mormon group Evergreen International today for gross violations of ethics and morality. The "pray away the gay" ministry listed convicted sexual predator therapist Christopher Austin as a resource and also covered up the suicide of Stuart Matis, a Mormon who took his own life because he could not change his sexual orientation.
"Evergreen should be ashamed and apologize for the unethical and immoral way it conducts business," said Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out. "Instead of admitting the group's failures, Evergreen has engaged in a series of omissions and cover-ups that whitewash reality at the expense of their victims."
The blog, Ex-Gay Watch, discovered that Evergreen listed Christopher Austin on its site. What Evergreen failed to mention was that Austin, a disgraced therapist in Irving, Texas, was convicted of sexually assaulting a male client in Sept. 2007. Austin was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but received seven years probation, had to register as a sex offender and was ordered to pay a $2,500 fine.
"Unfortunately, Evergreen continued to promote Austin's therapy and hold him up as an example of success," said Besen. "Under pressure, Evergreen finally scrubbed him from its website this week, but the appropriate action would have been to let people know the truth. Sadly, Evergreen's answer is to bury the facts in order to promote their fiction that one can change from gay to straight."
In an equally disturbing incident, Evergreen whitewashed the heartbreaking suicide of Stuart Matis. On its website, Evergreen lists Fred and Marilyn Matis as past speakers and blithely says, "Their oldest son, Stuart, had same-gender attraction."
This, of course, leads readers to believe that their son is now "ex-gay." What Evergreen fails to tell readers is that the dangerous "ex-gay" message led Stuart to end his life. In his suicide note, Stuart Matis wrote:
"The church has no idea that as I type this letter, there are surely boys and girls on their callused knees imploring God to free them from this pain. They hate themselves. They retire to bed with their fingers pointed to their heads in the form of a gun. I am now free. I am no longer in pain and I no longer hate myself. As it turns out, God never intended for me to be straight. Perhaps my death might be a catalyst for some good."
Gov. Palin has declined to issue a formal proclamation recognizing "National Coming Out Day," in Alaska. Heartened by the Gov. Palin's positive comments about gays and lesbians in the Vice Presidential Debate, Alaskans Together submitted a formal request to acknowledge the day, which is observed on Oct. 11 internationally by members of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered) communities and supporters.
"But I also want to clarify, if there's any kind of suggestion at all from my answer that I would be anything but tolerant of adults in America choosing their partners, choosing relationships that they deem best for themselves, you know...," said Gov. Palin during the debate.
"Governor Palin called for 'tolerance', and we hoped she'd show that type of leadership as Governor with this proclamation," said Alaskans Together President Marsha Buck. "Coming out is a difficult and deserves recognition."
So far in October 2008 Governor Palin has issued proclamations for: "Careers in Construction Week," "10th Annual Christian Heritage Week," "Biomedical Technician Week," "Alaska Taiwan Friendship Week," "World Farm Animals Day," "Breastfeeding Awareness Month," and "Grand Opening of Rilke Schule Day."
"We were asking for the Governor to acknowledge and recognize the dignity of openly-gay Alaskans. We weren't asking for a policy position, beyond simple acknowledgment." Buck said.
Please donate to Equality for All, the group running the campaign for our side in California. It is completely secure and safe, 100% of the money goes to the good guys in California, and you can give as MUCH as you want, there are no limits - thus the problem with the Mormons now throwing the election.
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, today released the most comprehensive report ever on the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students, The 2007 National School Climate Survey. The report is being released in conjunction with the announcement that GLSEN will partner with the Ad Council on a multiyear national public education campaign targeting anti-LGBT language among teenagers.
The survey of 6,209 middle and high school students found that nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT students (86.2%) experienced harassment at school in the past year, three-fifths (60.8%) felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and about a third (32.7%) skipped a day of school in the past month because of feeling unsafe.
"The 2007 National School Climate Survey reveals that, on a whole, the situation is still dire for many LGBT youth when it comes to school safety," GLSEN Executive Director Kevin Jennings said. "It's hard to believe that anyone who reads this report could continue to turn the other way as our nation's LGBT students are bullied and harassed at alarming rates. The good news is there’s hope. The 2007 National School Climate Survey also shows that when schools and educators take action, they can make a drastic difference."
The main reason not to vote for McCain is his obnoxious verbal tick of saying, "My Friends." every six seconds. Can you imagine having to hear this for 4 years? It's enough to drive anyone nuts!
As far as the debate - Obama won. McCain stalked around looking angry with a creepy, forced laugh. It was not a huge win for Obama, but once again he looked presidential, while McCain just looked bitter and desperate, with one attack after another. And that's the truth, "My friends."
Who can blame John McCain and Sarah Palin for saying that Barack Obama is "palling around with terrorists?" The GOP ticket is bombing so badly that they must blow up the race to have a shot at winning. Palin, about as subtle as a moose in an igloo, telegraphed the pugnacious plan of smearing Obama by sneering that they will "take the gloves off."
But, even in their attacks, the McCain campaign is a mumble jumble of mixed messages. On one hand, they tried to portray Obama as a closeted Muslim by having Lee County Florida Sheriff, Mike Scott, call the Democratic candidate "Barack Hussein Obama." However, Sarah Palin quickly reminded voters of Obama’s former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. This might leave voters who are just tuning into the race wondering why this supposed Muslim spent so much time in church.
The truth is, the McCain/Palin experiment is a dud. He's looking too old and she's looking too new. McCain has gone from a man of stature to just plain stodgy, while Palin has been reduced from fresh to freshman. She needs more seasoning, while he's stayed at least one season too many. He appears long in the tooth, while she can't help baring her fangs.
Palin's nasty one-liners aren't resonating at a time when peoples’ bank accounts are flat lining. Cutthroat politics don't work as well when people are cutting back on gas and groceries. In a time of grave economic harm, one needs more than folksy charm. Sure, Palin can wink, but people want to know if she can think.
With Barrack Obama and Joe Biden emerging as the adults in the race, they are beginning to pull away. The McCain campaign suspended its operations in Michigan, and a Washington Post/ABC-News poll has Obama/Biden up seven points in Ohio.
A month is forever in a campaign and things can go sour quickly. Still, unless, there is a game-changer, like a YouTube video of Obama having tea in a cave with Osama, it looks like the Democrats will take the White House. Leaders of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, have to begin thinking about what this will mean. What should our community's expectations be? Will this be a huge step forward or a series of disappointments?
What I fear is that the enormity of our nation's problems makes it easier for Congress and an Obama administration to put GLBT equality on the backburner. They can even complicate our efforts by portraying us as self-serving at a time of economic crisis and war.
Now, I'm not suggesting that the new president should make gay issues his top priority at the Inauguration. Of course, this would actually backfire and cause a great deal of resentment from people who are worried about feeding their families. However, shouldn't we expect Congress to pass a law prohibiting job discrimination in the first six months? Or, hate crime legislation to reach Obama's desk within the first year? Will Don't Ask/Don't Tell be overturned by Congress or will Democrats postpone action, afraid of consequences in the midterm elections?
As far as I'm concerned, the Democrats need to take action sooner, rather than later. Since Newt Gingrich came to power in 1994, the Democrats have credibly been able to blame the Republicans for thwarting pro-gay legislation. If they finally have a Congressional majority and the presidency, however, they can no longer hide behind the big, bad ogres of the GOP. If the Democratic leaders make excuses for ignoring our concerns for an extended period of time, widespread disillusionment of GLBT Democrats may occur.
I also worry that some of our best and brightest leaders are too close to the Obama campaign. On one hand, this may serve us well, as they will have voice in the administration. But, as we know, it is always more difficult to criticize friends. Those who end up serving Obama must not end up like democratic versions of the Log Cabin Republicans, essentially serving as party apologists. They should put the well being of the community ahead of their careers.
If the insiders do not have the willingness or the leverage to move the Democrats, I predict the growth of outsider political groups who will turn to direct action to push Congress and the Administration. Sometimes, it takes grassroots organizations that do not have conflicts of interest (such as friendships with the establishment) to propel the movement forward.
Even as we fight on towards Election Day, we should take a deep breath and imagine the possibilities, while managing our expectations. While Obama is not the Messiah and we should not count on miracles, we should expect at least a few campaign promises to come to fruition.
A new CBS 5 poll finds that California's Proposition 8 has picked up support in the wake of a television ad campaign that features footage of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom proclaiming same-sex marriage is here to stay "whether you like it or not."
The poll conducted for CBS 5 by SurveyUSA indicates that support for the measure to ban gay marriage has grown among voters in the state over an eleven day period -- most especially among young voters.
According to the poll, likely California voters overall now favor passage of Proposition 8 by a five-point margin, 47 percent to 42 percent. Ironically, a CBS 5 poll eleven days prior found a five-point margin in favor of the measure's opponents.
Folks, if you have not given to this campaign, please do. When I was in San Diego last week, I went by the No On 8 office and gave $100. Now, I'm an activist - so if I can give, so can you. The main reason we are falling behind is money. Don't let the right wing outspend us and virtually buy our inequality. If you can, please help out.