I’m sure Bravo has the legal right to air episodes of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills that feature the late Russell Armstrong, who seems to have grown increasingly unhappy with his portrayal on the show and convinced that his participation in it had ruined his marriage before he killed himself earlier this week. Reality show legal departments are devilishly comprehensive that way. It seems that Bravo intends to delay the start of the second season of the show, and perhaps to edit it substantially.
Irrespective of what they can do, it seems at minimum what the network should do is edit out all appearances by Mr. Armstrong, acknowledge his death at the beginning of the season, and make a substantial donation to a well-vetted suicide prevention resource. Bravo’s always walked an extremely fine line between classiness and traditional reality-show tackiness, and the fact that it’s walked it so well has been of critical importance to maintaining the brand. This is the kind of thing that’s meant to happen to sloppier, sleazier networks like VH1, which cancelled an entire category of reality show programming when a former contestant on one of its shows killed his ex-wife. Bravo should think of its whole brand here, and be sober as a pack of judges.
Of all the candidates vying for the GOP presidential nomination, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) perhaps has the most colorfulrecord of flubbing historical facts. Just this week, she wished Elvis Presley a happy birthday…on the day he died. But today, on the right-wing Christian attorney Jay Sekulow’s radio show, the congresswoman evinced a far more disturbing lack of basic knowledge about world history. Specifically, Bachmann said the American people are worried about “the rise of the Soviet Union.”
Apparently no one’s told her that America’s one-time Cold War nemesis has not existed for 20 years:
BACHMANN: What people recognize is that there’s a fear that the United States is in an unstoppable decline. They see the rise of China, the rise of India, the rise of the Soviet Union and our loss militarily going forward. And especially with this very bad debt ceiling bill, what we have done is given a favor to President Obama and the first thing he’ll whack is five hundred billion out of the military defense at a time when we’re fighting three wars. People recognize that.
In December 1991, the Soviet Union disintegrated into 15 separate countries. It’s hard to believe Bachmann that the American people live in continued terror of an “evil empire” that no longer exists.
The Obama administration has announced a new process to review all 300,000 active deportation cases to ensure that they are consistent with the nation’s enforcement priorities. The Departments of Homeland Security and Justice will form a working group that will consider deportations on a case-by-case basis and focus its resources and efforts on high priority targets — individuals who pose a threat to public safety and national security or repeat immigration law violators. And while the review won’t explicitly offer categorical relief for any single group — like bi-national same-sex couples, children who were brought to America at a young age, pregnant women, military veterans — the process could provide greater protection for these populations. LGBT families and same-sex couples will be considered as families and could benefit from the discretion of the working group.
In a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) today, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano explains that the case-by-case approach was first detailed in March 2010 and recently reiterated in a memorandum from June, 2011. She argues that the process will enhance public safety and allow immigration judges “to more swiftly adjudicate high priority cases, such as those involving convicted felons.” “This process will also allow additional federal enforcement resources to be focused on border security and the removal of public safety threats,” she argues.
The new process is a result of a long-standing administration policy to ensure that the nation is “not clogging the system with folks who are not maximum priorities,” a senior administration official explained. Lower-priority deportation cases “are being set aside so we can focus more on our more serious cases of convicted criminals and other high priority categories.”
The senior administration official said that the process is designed “keep folks who are low priority cases out of the deportation process to begin with.” Those individuals in the existing caseload will also be eligible to apply for work authorization visas, but those determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis.
“No, I don’t… He’s a very bright man. But think about his life. And think about what he was exposed to and what he saw in America. He’s only relating what his experience in life was…
“His intent isn’t to destroy. It’s to create dependency because it worked so well for him. I don’t say that critically. Look at people for what they are. Don’t assume ulterior motives. I don’t think he doesn’t love our country. I think he does.
“As an African American male, coming through the progress of everything he experienced, he got tremendous benefit through a lot of these programs. So he believes in them. I just don’t believe they work overall and in the long run they don’t help our country. But he doesn’t know that because his life experience is something different. So it’s very important not to get mad at the man. And I understand, his philosophy — there’s nothing wrong with his philosophy other than it’s goofy and wrong [laughter] — but that doesn’t make him a bad person.”
The fight over a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Minnesota could cost up to $10 million before voters go to the ballot in November 2012. And while the measure only seeks to define civil marriage as “a union of one man and one woman,” proponents of the amendment have begun waging a campaign that blurs the line between civil and religious unions.
Even though marriage equality bills have never tried to dictate what any religion can believe or practice when it comes to sanctifying religious marriage, the Minnesota coalition, Minnesota for Marriage, and other so-called “traditional groups” are defining their campaign in religious terms. For instance, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is encouraging Facebook fans to “support marriage as God intended it to be,” while Minnesota Family Council (MFC) President John Helmberger has injected God into his rhetoric, predicting success if “people of faith [rise] up, speak, and participate in the campaign”:
Even though this campaign promises to be a great struggle, we are very confident of victory – if we receive your help and that of thousands of other Minnesotans who believe in God’s design for marriage. With your support, we will help the voters of our state see the timeless institution of one man-one woman marriage asthe foundation on which our society is built and the best environment for producing and raising children.
MFC is also organizing pastors, recruiting “Church Captains,” training people of faith through the “Minnesota Worldview Leadership Project,” and featuring various NOM leaders and religious right figures like Chuck Colson and Glenn Stanton of Focus on the Family. (Given that NOM spent $709,000 in 2010′s Minnesota gubernatorial campaign alone, their contributions to this fight cannot be underestimated.) Ralph Reed’s group, the Minnesota Faith and Freedom Coalition, will hold a “strategy session” in October in support of the amendment with former gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer and Michele Bachmann as a “Friend of the Family” award winner. Reed, a leading figure in the Jack Abramoff scandal, founded the Coalition specifically to “re-energize” the religious right.
But civil same-sex marriage — which is already outlawed in the state — poses no actual threat to religious freedom, which is preserved in the six states that allow for marriage equality. In May, 55 percent of Minnesotans opposed the amendment, but 15 months and $10 million could certainly change their minds.
Mark Foley On Rick Perry: ‘I’m Not Going To Hurt Him’ By Endorsing Him | Disgraced former GOP Congressman Mark Foley still dabbles in politics, hosting a radio talk show and making occasional media appearances, but he clearly seems aware that he can’t outrun his past. Foley was forced to resign after he was caught sending sexually explicit messages to male teenage congressional pages — and since has come out as gay. Speaking with Newsmax TV about the 2012 election, Foley said he likes Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), but said, “I’m not endorsing him, I’m not going to hurt him like that.” Watch it:
There’s been a lot of discussion about whether the planned Dirty Dancing remake will keep the abortion subplot from the original. But there’s been surprisingly little speculation about whether a planned Sex and the City prequel will include Carrie and Samantha’s abortions as plot points. The original show had a fairly nuanced perspective on abortion,* embodied most notably by the storyline in the fourth season where Miranda got pregnant accidentally and decided to keep the baby, as Carrie worried about telling Aiden that she’d had an abortion after careless, condomless sex at 22:
We also know that Samantha had one abortion while in college and one later. If the show is an origin story, showing us how the characters met when they were in their early 20s, it would include the years when Samantha and Carrie terminated their pregnancies. I don’t now whether the CW, which is apparently developing the prequel, has the bravery to do this, but it’s important to show heroines not just helping other women get abortions if they need them, but having abortions themselves and moving on to have healthy, fulfilled sexual and emotional lives.
*Relatedly, it drives me insane that Sex and the City is never really in conversations about the revival of television as a medium. I imagine that’s in part because its run mostly overlapped with The Sopranos, which laid down the anti-hero template that’s become so popular in the shows that followed, but I think it’s also because it’s a comedy aimed at women. But it is, for the most part, excellent, and a decent thing for guys to watch if they want to understand the ambitions and anxieties of smart women. Also, I am SO a Miranda despite the whole writer=Carrie thing.
Jim Burroway has a good post exploring the troubling connection between GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann and Peter E. Waldron, a campaign staffer “responsible for her faith-based organizing both in Iowa and South Carolina.” Yesterday, the Atlantic reported on Waldron’s “arrest in Uganda in 2006 on charges of running illegal guns and ammunition,” but Borroway explores his deeper ties to the country’s infamous “kill gays” legislation and radical Christian theology:
1) ATTENDED SERVICES OF OF KILL-GAYS BILL ADVOCATE: A deeply religious born-again Christian, Waldron traveled to Uganda in 2004 to sell HIV-monitoring computer software to the government and preach on the weekends. There, he attended and was featured in the Church services of Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa, “the prominent supporter of Uganda’s draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which calls for the death penalty for LGBT people under certain circumstances.”
2) NO ‘SECULAR-SPIRITUAL DIVISION’: This passage was lifted from a now-deleted document explaining the guiding theology of Waldron’s Cities of Faith Ministries. “For generations Christians have wrongly divided all the affairs of their lives into secular matters and spiritual matters. Many of those secular-spiritual divisions and classifications are artificial divisions and heretical in its origins based on humanist philosophy rather than the historic Biblical teachings of the Church.”
3) SOCIETY WILL COLLAPSE WITHOUT GOD: “A totalitarian form of governance arises when the Word of God is compromised, ignored or denied. A person will self-destruct from abuse of spirit, soul and body. A nation will collapse under a “hard” or “soft” form of dictatorship, abuse of public or elected office, and a general denial of human freedom – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – arises. The source of one’s belief system dictates the conduct whether it be personal or national. The same goes for the end result.”
4) CHRISTIAN DOMINATION: According to George Grant, a Christian Reconstructionist with whom Waldron co-wrote a book, “It is dominion we are after. World conquest. …If Jesus Christ is indeed Lord, as the Bible says, and if our commission is to bring the land into subjection to His Lordship, as the Bible says, then all our activities, all our witnessing, all our preaching, all our craftsmanship, all our stewardship, and all our political action will aim at nothing short of that sacred purpose.”
It’s impossible to know the degree to which Michele Bachmann agrees with these beliefs, but given her ongoing association with reactionary Christian thinkers and history of pandering to these groups in order to advance her political ambitions, it’s fairly possible and maybe even probable that she would associate herself with some of these statements.
Meanwhile, the the campaign is standing by Waldron. “Michele’s faith is an important part of her life and Peter did a tremendous job with our faith outreach in Iowa,” told Politico. “We are fortunate to have him on our team and look forward to having him expanding his efforts in several states.”
The FAMiLY LEADER’s been working the Iowa State fair, raising money through a “quarter poll.” Fair-goers can vote as many times as they want for whichever presidential candidate they want, but it costs them 25 cents per vote. Despite the fact that over 65 percent of the voters have been Republicans, President Obama has almost twice as many votes as the leading Republican, Michele Bachmann:
The President’s polling in Iowa may have dipped, but if it takes less than $100 to show how out of touch the FAMiLY LEADER is in this election, it seems like that’s a price Iowans are willing to pay. (HT: Jeremy Hooper.)
Welcome to The Morning Pride, ThinkProgress LGBT’s 8:45 AM round-up of the latest in LGBT policy, politics, and some culture too! Here’s what we’re reading this morning, but let us know what you’re checking out too. Follow us all day on Twitter at @TPEquality.
- PFAW’s Right Wing Watch points out that religious right talking points like to disregard mainstream medical organizations while trumpeting smaller Christian-specific organizations with anti-gay points of view.
- MSNBC also seems to think anti-gay zealots are the best people to turn to for feedback about Rick Perry, according to Equality Matters.
- Christine O’Donnell walked out on her interview with Piers Morgan last night because he was asking her about the religious anti-gay parts of her book and not the anti-Obama parts of her book:
- A new anti-marriage equality website in Maryland features resources for pastors about how to influence policy without compromising their churches’ tax-exempt status.
- Virginia’s Board of Social Services has unanimously decided to extend the time for public comment on whether state-licensed groups should be able to discriminate against same-sex couples in adoption and foster care services
- North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) was challenged on his support for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage at a townhall when a woman named Lauren Brannon asked, “Can you explain to us why you are squandering taxpayer resources on this hateful legislation?”
- The National Center for Lesbian Rights will be helping Jennifer Tobits fight against her late wife’s parents to be executor of her wife’s estate.
- A past “teacher of the year” in Lake County, Florida posted on his Facebook that New York’s passage of marriage equality made him “almost throw up.” Jerry Buell has been taken out of the classroom and assigned administrative work pending an ethical investigation of his comments.
- A one-night-only Broadway play based on the Proposition 8 trial, penned by Dustin Lance Black, will feature Anthony Edwards, Morgan Freeman, Cheyenne Jackson, Christine Lahti, Rob Reiner, Yeardley Smith, and Marisa Tomei.