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If there is one thing that may make Richard Blumenthal feel better about questions regarding his service during the Vietnam era, it may be that in Illinois, Representative Mark Kirk has much the same issues.
The Republican is under increased scrutiny because he is running for Barack Obama's old Senate seat in Illinois, and questions have emerged about an earlier claim that he was intelligence officer of the year. The Associated Press reported that the alleged award appeared on both his website and his official biography, both of which have been scrubbed.
Kirk is in a tight race with Democratic hopeful Alexi Giannoulias, the state treasurer.
During his State of the Union address, President Obama pledged to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Now, we have a chance to help make good on that promise.
The House of Representatives and the Senate Armed Services Committee have already voted in favor of repeal, and debate in the Senate will soon start. But some Republicans have already announced their plans to block the repeal.
We can defeat those who'd stand in the way of history. But we must show our senators that Americans -- in every state -- overwhelmingly support repeal.
Chuck Todd (MSNBC) Chris Cillizza (Washington Post) Andrea Mitchell (MSNBC)
Alex Witt (MSNBC) Nora O'Donnel (MSNBC) John King (CNN) Karl Rove (FOX)
|Today, the Senate Armed Services Committee could make history.|
Behind the leadership of Chairman Carl Levin, the Senate committee is on the verge of passing an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would remove "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" from federal statute and set the stage for eventual repeal.
That's the good news. The bad news is that this is far, far, far from over.
Roll Call is reporting that Sen. John McCain will "without a doubt" support an unprecedented filibuster of the entire defense budget to stop the repeal of DADT if the bill comes to the floor of the full Senate.
It gets worse. According to the New York Times, McCain also solicited letters from the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- the chiefs of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines -- that object to the repeal amendment supported by President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen.
McCain's shocking obstructionism is being amplified by the right-wing Family Research Council, which released a video on Wednesday attempting to drive a wedge between the Joint Chiefs and the President, claiming Obama is trying to "force open homosexuality on the military."
Call Your Senator and tell them to support repealing "Don't ask Don't Tell"
It was also the Miami New Times that broke the story originally on May 5, running a photo of Rekers, a stack of luggage, and a young man whose face was obscured. Rekers, the original story noted, has worked behind the scenes for decades to obstruct legal equality for GLBT individuals and their families.
In one instance, Rekers served as an "expert witness" in a court case over a ban on adoption by gay and lesbian prospective parents in Florida, for which he and a colleague were paid $87,000 by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum. His influence as co-founder, in 1983, of the anti-gay Family Research Council, together with James Dobson, another highly prominent anti-gay activist, has meant that Rekers has had an even broader impact on GLBT equality in American law and culture.
Moreover, Rekers is a board member for the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), a group that claims that gays can be "cured" and "converted" to heterosexuality, in contradiction to the findings of ethical mental health professionals, who confirm that sexual orientation is innate and warn that so-called "reparative therapies" may well do more harm than good.
"While he keeps a low public profile, his fingerprints are on almost every anti-gay effort to demean and dehumanize LGBT people," said Wayne Besen, the founder of Truth Wins Out, in a news release. "His work is ubiquitously cited by lobby groups that work to deny equality to LGBT Americans," Besen added. "Rekers has caused a great deal of harm to gay and lesbian individuals."
The Miami New Times dubbed Rekers’ travel companion "Lucien," and noted that Rekers claimed that due to recent surgery he needed an assistant to help him with his luggage during the trip. Unzipped.net claimed in a May 4 posting that "Lucien" and a 20-year-old RentBoy.com advertiser who goes on the site by the designation BoyNextDoor/Geo were one and the same.
A May 5 Advocate.com article said that "Lucien" is known at Facebook and MySpace as Jo-vanni Roman. When he was contacted by the Advocate, Roman would only say that he didn’t wish to discuss his trip to Europe with Rekers because he privacy had not been respected by the press.
Anti-gay bloggers at conservative chat site FreeRepublic.com, where GLBT news of all sorts is routinely discussed at length, were less circumspect, with some posts accusing the "liberals" of trying to set Rekers up for a smear campaign and others alleging that Rekers, as an "ex-gay," might be relapsing.
The comments also illustrated how successfully Rekers had stayed out of the limelight. Wrote one chat participant, "I’ve been a fundamentalist Christian for over 50 years (currently a Deacon in my church) and I’ve never heard of George Rekers. However, as you stated, this can’t be good. At best, it gives the appearance of impropriety. At worst, it’s an embarrassment for The Family Research Council and by association, Dr. James Dobson."
Continued the posting, "If Rekers really was ’renting’ a ’boy’ for homosexual sex, this will give the secular media and the Christian-haters an opportunity to point fingers and scream ’hypocrite!’ at the top of their lungs as they try to smear every Christian that follows scripture and opposes homosexual behavior as a ’closeted homosexual’."
Another posting made the bitter accusation that, "The dip-wads who were saddened to learn a Tea Partier wasn’t behind the Times Square bombing will be wetting themselves with delight to learn a Christian has a ’Rentboy’."
Another attempted to pass off closeted conservatives as not being "true" conservatives. "Whenever a homosexual gets caught masquerading as a Christian conservative," the posting read, "the leftists trumpet this as a lesson about Christian conservatives. What it really is is a lesson about homosexuals."
Rekers has said that he was attempting to follow the model established by Jesus by ministering to a "sinner." Rekers also said that he needed a travel assistant because surgery he had undergone left him unable to hoist his own luggage. Chat participants took note of these explanations, but opined that even if they were true, Rekers’ actions were ill considered.
"Maybe in some bizarre way he was trying to minister to the young man," wrote one chat participant, "but the more probable explanation is the most obvious one." Added the posting, "This is probably what it looks like and, if so, the guy is a hypocrite deserving of criticism."
Next: Right decries "Liberal Lies"
Source The Edge
Year-Long Project Tracking the Participation and Preference Among the Rising American Electorate
Democrats need to make substantial political progress in the next six months. The basic problem is math. Currently independent voters prefer Republicans over Democrats by two to one in congressional trial heats. Other groups, such as blue collar whites and white seniors are similarly lopsided in their preferences. More competitive margins are possible with these groups, but that could come too late, and there are more immediate places to make up the numbers.
Good places to start are among unmarried women, young people and people of color. Voters we call the Rising American Electorate (RAE), who make up the majority of the voting age population in the country and voters who drove progressive victories in 2006 and 2008. They remain supportive but not nearly in the same numbers. They can help rescue Democrats from a very forgettable electoral cycle in 2010. Unmarried women alone make up 25 percent of the population and can have the biggest impact.
This joint project by Women’s Voices. Women Vote Action Fund and Democracy Corps highlights distinct opportunities among these voters, but also core problems that need real attention and major political investments to make right.
Voters in the Rising American Electorate are less engaged than other voters. Historically, these voters typically drop out of off-year elections in greater than average numbers. This survey continues to show a turn out problem, which we have tracked all year among these voters.
Democratic margins are down among these voters relative to 2008 and even 2006, particularly among unmarried women and the young. Support among African–Americans remains strong, but some evidence emerges that Hispanic support is down.
The pay–off for attending to this problem is made plain in the margins among those voters in the Rising American Electorate who are least likely to vote. Among RAE likely voters, Democrats enjoy a 58 to 32 percent margin (26 points) in congressional balloting, a decent number, but down from prior cycles and not enough to compensate for losses elsewhere. Among 2008 voters who say they might not vote in 2010, however, this margin jumps to 39 points (63 to 24 percent), close to what Democrats saw in the last election cycle.
Source: Democracy Corps