Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Sen. Sherrod Brown Proposes Senate Resolution Recognizing June As LGBTQ Pride Month

Ohio Senator Sharrod Brown shared the news today that, with no presidential proclamation acknowledging June as LGBT Pride Month, he has proposed the first-ever Senate Resolution for Pride Month.
Sen. Sherrod Brown
This year, the White House broke with an 8 year tradition and did not issue a presidential proclamation acknowledging June as Pride Month.

So I'm proud to lead the first-ever Senate Resolution recognizing June as LGBTQ Pride Month.

And today, I'm equally proud that so many of my colleagues heartily agreed to cosponsor. An outpouring of support for the LGBTQ community.

We must always stand with our LGBTQ friends and neighbors – not just during the month of June, but year round. -SB

You may recall that while the White House didn't find the time to issue an LGBTQ Pride Month proclamation, the folks there did name June as “National Homeownership Month”, “National Ocean Month”, “African-American Music Appreciation Month” and “Great Outdoors Month."

Brown tagged an impressive 23 U.S. Senators along with his message as co-sponsors for the proposal.

You can see the proposed resolution below.

News Round-Up: June 28, 2017

(via Instagram)

Some news stories you may have missed:

• I don't know about you, but I'm feeling the "dude and dog" days of summer. See what I did there...?

• Britney Spears is pissed off people don't think she sings live in her concerts. Honey, shush...

Washington Blade reporter Chris Johnson was ejected from a Department of Justice LGBT Pride event saying the event was closed to the media. Similar events were open to press throughout the Obama administration.

• Netflix is currently developing a 10-episode sequel of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City with original 1993 series stars Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis set to star.

• A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows 63% of Americans overwhelmingly disapprove of the Senate Republicans' healthcare bill, while only 16% approve.

• Check out this thrilling new trailer for the upcoming Hugh Jackman musical flick, The Greatest Showman, due in theaters this December 25. Also starring in the original musical are Michelle Williams, Zac Efron and Zendaya. The original score features songs by the Academy Award winning lyricists of La La Land.  I expect the featured song, "This Is Me," to take off as a new anthem for everyone who finds pride in who they are.

Being LGBT-Inclusive Is Good For Business

(graphic via Ogilvy)

A new survey from Ogilvy indicates that being LGBT-inclusive is very good for business.

According to the resulting data, 64% of folks who identify as LGBT allies, and 48% of Americans overall, say they are more likely to spend money with businesses and brands they see as LGBT inclusive.

When asked if "LGBT inclusive brands are good for the economy," 85% of LGBT allies say "yes," and 65% of all Americans agree.

Additionally, an antagonistic or non-supportive stance by a company toward the LGBT community could influence nearly half of Americans and a majority of allies to a spend their consumer dollars elsewhere.


Germany Schedules Vote On Marriage Equality For Friday

Chancellor Angela Merkel

Wow, this happened fast.

According to the AP, the German Parliament has scheduled a vote to legalize same-sex marriage this Friday.

In the wake of Chancellor Angela Merkel's recent comments indicating she could see legislators viewing the issue as a "decision of conscience," Parliament's legal committee has approved the vote.

Merkel has announced she will allow the vote to occur without any "party whip" and to vote their conscience.

Marriage equality is expected to pass easily according to sources.

Germany has allowed same-sex couples to enter into civil partnerships since 2001.

Donald "Fake News" Trump Displays Actual Fake TIME Magazine Covers At Golf Resorts

The man who yells "fake news" has been decorating his golf clubs with literal fake news.

At least five Trump golf clubs have fake TIME magazine covers displayed touting the success of Donald Trump's former reality show, The Apprentice.

Hilarious. And embarrassing.

Maybe this is why he cries "fake news" so often. He's been creating it for years.

The Washington Post reports:

The framed copy of Time magazine was hung up in at least five of President Trump’s clubs, from South Florida to Scotland. Filling the entire cover was a photo of Donald Trump.

“Donald Trump: The ‘Apprentice’ is a television smash!” the big headline said. Above the Time nameplate, there was another headline in all caps: “TRUMP IS HITTING ON ALL FRONTS . . . EVEN TV!”

This cover — dated March 1, 2009 — looks like an impressive memento from Trump’s pre-presidential career. To club members eating lunch, or golfers waiting for a pro-shop purchase, it seemed to be a signal that Trump had always been a man who mattered. Even when he was just a reality TV star, Trump was the kind of star who got a cover story in Time.

But that wasn’t true.

The Time cover is a fake.

There was no March 1, 2009, issue of Time magazine. And there was no issue at all in 2009 that had Trump on the cover.

In fact, the cover on display at Trump’s clubs, observed recently by a reporter visiting one of the properties, contains several small but telling mistakes. Its red border is skinnier than that of a genuine Time cover, and, unlike the real thing, there is no thin white border next to the red. The Trump cover’s secondary headlines are stacked on the right side — on a real Time cover, they would go across the top.

And it has two exclamation points. Time headlines don’t yell.

“I can confirm that this is not a real TIME cover,” Kerri Chyka, a spokeswoman for Time Inc., wrote in an email to The Washington Post.

You may recall that during a speech in January addressing CIA staff, Trump declared he had been on more Time covers than anyone else: “I think we have the all-time record in the history of Time magazine."

Actually, that's incorrect, and kind of ironic given Trump's current FBI investigation status.The record holder is President Richard Nixon.

Of course, the Trumpster had to deny and deflect via Twitter this morning:

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

White House Press Corp Slaps Back After WH Spokesperson Calls Reporter "Outrageous"

Sarah Huckabee Sanders

After White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders accused the media of nitpicking small missteps by the White House without holding themselves to the same standard, The Sentinel's Brian Karem could no longer hold in what many in the press corp have been thinking.

“You are inflaming everyone right here right now with those words. This administration has done that as well….Any one of us are replaceable, if we don’t get it right, the audience has the opportunity to turn the channel or not read us. You have been elected to serve for four years at least, there is no option other than that,” said Karem.

“We are here to ask you questions, you are here to provide answers. And what you just did is inflammatory to people all over the country who look at it and say, ‘See, once again, the president is right and everybody else is just fake media.’ Everybody in this room is only trying to do their job.”

I personally find Sanders the definition of deplorable. Look at her face above. So very condescending.

House Of Representatives Unanimously Passes Resolution Condemning Torture & Killing Of Gay Men In Chechnya

After months of news that gay and bisexual men of Chechnya were being rounded up, tortured and, in some cases killed, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution condemning the actions of the Chechen government.

Via press release:

The Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus commended the House of Representatives for passing H.Res.351, a bipartisan resolution condemning the detention, torture, and murders of gay and bisexual men in Chechnya. H.Res.351 was introduced by LGBT Caucus founding member and former House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27) on May 23rd and passed in the House Foreign Affairs Committee on May 25th by unanimous voice vote. H.Res.351 has 83 bipartisan cosponsors. H.Res.351 passed by voice vote.

“I’m proud that the House passed this strong resolution condemning the recent violence targeting gay men in Chechnya. Now, it’s critical that we do more to ensure those fleeing horrific violence can relocate somewhere safe,” said LGBT Caucus CoChair Rep. David Cicilline (RI-01). “This is an important step, but there is much more work left to be done.”

“We will continue to stand united with the LGBT community and shine a bright light on these atrocities, which are encouraged by the evil Putin regime in Russia, in order to help ensure that those who are responsible for these crimes are held to account for their despicable actions,” said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27)

“The People’s House has now made its collective and unanimous voice known: the situation in Chechnya cannot stand,” said LGBT Equality Caucus Vice Chair Rep. Alan Lowenthal (CA-47). “We as a nation must lead the world in acting. It is our duty and responsibility to be the beacon on the hill that leads the way. It is now up to President Trump, Secretary of State Tillerson, and our United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley to follow through on the consensus of the House and bring as much domestic and international political pressure as possible on the Russian government to rein in these deplorable human rights violations.”

Lacking Votes, Senate Republican Healthcare Bill Put On Hold

Per the Associated Press, the Senate Republican healthcare bill, lacking votes, is on hold until after the July 4th recess.

At last count, at least five Republicans Senators (Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Susan Collins, Dean Heller, Ron Johnson) have publicly stated they can't vote for the healthcare legislation put forward by a group of 13 GOP senators.

With a scant 52 member majority, the Republicans can only lose two votes and still pass their bill.

Years and years of grousing about Obamacare, promises of immediate "repeal and replace" thanks to the election of Donald Trump, and the Republican party controlling the House, Senate and White House - but these folks can't get their act together to do anything.


Jason Chaffetz Calls For $2,500 Housing Stipend For Congress

Rep. Jason Chaffetz

As Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) prepares to exit Congress at the end of this week, he told The Hill on Monday that U.S. Senators and House representatives, who are paid a minimum of $174K annually to serve in office, should receive a $2,500 per month housing allowance.

“I really do believe Congress would be much better served if there was a housing allowance for members of Congress,” Chaffetz told The Hill in an interview in his Capitol office, where he sleeps whenever he’s in Washington. “In today’s climate, nobody’s going to suggest or vote for a pay raise. But you shouldn’t have to be among the wealthiest of Americans to serve properly in Congress.”

“There are dozens upon dozens of members living in their offices, and I don’t know how healthy that is long term.”

While Chaffetz said $174,000 a year is a “handsome” congressional salary, he explained that subsidizing lawmakers’ housing costs in the pricey D.C. metro area could actually save taxpayer dollars. If he had a proper home in Washington rather than a cot in his office, Chaffetz said, he wouldn’t need to fly home every week on the taxpayers’ dime, and his wife, Julie, could visit more often.

A 2017 Kiplinger report ranked Washington as the sixth-most expensive city in the country to live.

A $2,500 monthly allowance would cost taxpayers about $30,000 a year per lawmaker, or roughly $16 million a year for all 535 members.

Chaffetz says with a mortgage back home in Utah, a son in law school, his oldest daughter in college and another daughter heading for college soon, he couldn't afford to rent a place in Washington, D.C.

Word is that Chaffetz has already inked a deal for a high-paying job as a political analyst for Fox News.

World Opinion Of U.S. President Drops Precipitously Under Donald Trump

Click image to enlarge

According to a new survey of 37 countries by Pew Research Center, the world's confidence that America's President will "do the right thing" has dropped precipitously.

From the survey:

Although he has only been in office a few months, Donald Trump’s presidency has had a major impact on how the world sees the United States.

Trump and many of his key policies are broadly unpopular around the globe, and ratings for the U.S. have declined steeply in many nations.

According to a new Pew Research Center survey spanning 37 nations, a median of just 22% has confidence in Trump to do the right thing when it comes to international affairs.

This stands in contrast to the final years of Barack Obama’s presidency, when a median of 64% expressed confidence in Trump’s predecessor to direct America’s role in the world.

Over 40,000 respondents were polled in the survey.

When asked to describe Donald Trump's character:

• 75% said “arrogant”
• 65% said “ignorant”
• 62% said “dangerous”

So. Much. Winning.

Click image to enlarge

Going Viral: NYC Police Officer's LGBT Pride Facebook Post Inspires Thousands

I commented somewhere recently that while I do sometimes post stories of what seems like bad judgement by a handful of police officers, I don't hate cops. One of my best friends was a police officer for two decades.

I know there are great cops in the world. And just to prove it, here's one now.

A New York City police officers' Facebook post from Sunday, wherein he shares the pic above and the message below, has gone viral.

Going only by "Big Fat Loser," (the officer chronicles his weight loss on the account), he writes:

I'll be out there working at Pridefest today wearing this shirt under my uniform for a lot of reasons.
For my step brother.
For my priest.
For my aunts who died before they could be legally married.
For my cousin.
For all of the cops I have worked with over the years, including one of the best partner's I've ever shared a sector car with.
For my classmate in High School who's parents made him sleep in a tent in his yard.
For the man who cried on my shoulder about losing his partner on 9/11.
For every call I went to where someone got kicked out of their house or who's family just didn't understand.
For anyone who's had to hide who they are.
I've got your back.
Love is Love.
#loveislove #pride #pride🌈 #prideparade #nypd #igotyou #freehugs

(h/t JoeMyGod)

Germany's Chancellor Merkel Signals Possible "Conscience Vote" On Same-Sex Marriage

Chancellor Angela Merkel
Via The Guardian:

Angela Merkel has signalled a change in her party’s opposition to gay marriage after stating MPs should be allowed a free vote in the German parliament.

Speaking at an event organised by the magazine Brigitte, the German chancellor said she felt aggrieved that debate was mainly carried out along party lines and that she hoped it would be “headed towards a conscience vote”.

It is widely believed the Bundestag would legalise gay marriage in a free vote on the issue.

Germany is one of a few western countries where same-sex marriage is still not legal. Civil partnerships have been allowed since 2001, but Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union has resisted calls to open up marriage to same-sex couples.

The centre-right CDU, which has been governing as senior partner in a coalition with the centre-left SPD since 2013, has said it prefers to amend legislation so couples in a civil partnership have the same tax status and adoption rights as married couples.

Coming less than three months before federal elections, Merkel’s comments could take the wind out of her critics’ sails and open her party up to the widest possible range of post-election coalitions.

UPDATE: Check out the tweet below from Martin Schulz, leader of the Social Democratic Party, the second largest party in parliament:

Monday, June 26, 2017

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Marches In Toronto Pride Parade And LGBTs Everywhere Go Wild

While President Trump may be ignoring Pride Month, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rocked the world as he marched in Toronto's Pride Parade this past weekend.

Let's check the boxes in this one pic (above):

1. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
2. At Pride
3. Wearing rainbow socks
4. High-fiving a little girl dressed as Wonder Woman
5. Rainbow flag Canadian maple leaf on his left cheek

And the crowd goes wild...

Congressional Budget Office: Senate Republican Healthcare Bill Would Increase Uninsured By 22 Million

The numbers are out from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office regarding the current Senate Republicans' healthcare bill:

CBO and JCT estimate that enacting this legislation would reduce the cumulative federal deficit over the 2017-2026 period by $321 billion. That amount is $202 billion more than the estimated net savings for the version of H.R. 1628 that was passed by the House of Representatives.

The Senate bill would increase the number of people who are uninsured by 22 million in 2026 relative to the number under current law, slightly fewer than the increase in the number of uninsured estimated for the House-passed legislation. By 2026, an estimated 49 million people would be uninsured, compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law.

Bolding is mine.

The bill also calls for cuts to Medicaid to the tune of $772 billion over the next ten years.

And premiums for a 64-year old with middle income go from $6,800 under current law to $20,500 under the Senate Republicans legislation.

Click image to enlarge

So, good news for those conservatives looking to see deficit reduction, but 22 million uninsured isn't much better than the 23 million uninsured predicted for the House Republican healthcare bill.

Happy Marriage Equality Day! Support Reaches All-Time High Approval Of 62%

Hubby Michael and I getting married a second time in Palm Springs in 2008

Today is the 2nd anniversary of the historic Obergefell v. Hodges ruling from the Supreme Court which brought marriage equality to all fifty states. I think it was one of the happiest and joyful days of my life.

And, according to a new Pew Research poll, support for same-sex marriage among U.S. adults has reached an all-time high of 62%.

Pew has been tracking the opinions of Americans on marriage equality for two decades and found the biggest jump in support came during this past year with a 7-point uptick in support.

Terrific to see these numbers today, but there's still work to do on LGBTQ rights.

We need to see The Equality Act passed into law. The legislation would ensure no one could lose their job, their home, or be denied services because of who they are or whom they love.

The bill has been introduced in Congress and enjoys bipartisan support, 242 members of Congress and more than 90 corporations now back the legislation. But sadly, it's not enough. It's highly doubtful the current Republican-controlled Congress will pass the bill.
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