Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) minced no words at a town hall over the weekend, telling constituents that the only reason President Obama was elected in 2008 was because “he’s our first African-American president.”
Speaking at a town hall in Wheeling, Illinois on Sunday, Walsh gave his view on how to win the upcoming presidential election before launching into his take on the previous one. The House Republican said the country only voted for Obama because “he was a historic figure… our first African-American president.” Walsh noted that other factors helped, including McCain’s age, but argued that Obama “never would have gotten there without his historic nature.”
WALSH: He was a historic figure. He’s our first African-American president. The country voted for him because of that. It made us feel good about [our]self. I’ve said it before, it helped that John McCain was about 142 years old. It helped that the economy was tanking. A lot of these things helped. But he never would have gotten there without his historic nature.
To say that a black man named Barack Hussein Obama benefited from latent prejudices is absurd.
Yet Walsh is using this view to undermine the president’s legitimacy and argue that he was elected not on his merits, but because of his race. Earlier in the town hall, Walsh criticized Obama for not being able to “understand this stuff” (speaking about government spending) because “he was an accidental president.”
Still, Walsh isn’t the only one to espouse this worldview. A recent survey found that “white Americans feel they are more discriminated against than blacks.”
Tennessee Abandons ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill |
Tennessee lawmakers have decided to drop the so-called Don’t Say Gay bill, meaning that SB49 “will die with the adjournment of the 107th General Assembly.” Under the measure, elementary and middle school teachers would have been prohibited from discussing sexual activity that is not related to “natural human reproduction science.” The bill’s sponsor Rep. Joey Hensley (R) “said the officials of the Department of Education and the state Board of Education have pledged to send a letter to all Tennessee schools ‘telling them they cannot teach this subject in grades kindergarten through eight.’” “With that assurance and the opposition of some people who didn’t want to vote on it, I’ve decided simply not to bring it up,” said Hensley. A similar measure is still being considered in Missouri, however.
Every1Against1 Campaign: Separate Is Not Equal | Every1Against1, a new campaign to oppose North Carolina’s Amendment 1 connects the discriminatory measure — which would ban same-sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships in the state — to the nation’s history of racial segregation. “If Amendment One becomes law — in effect writing discrimination, prejudice and injustice into our state’s constitution — what’s next,” the group asks and offers these startling images:
Were you planning on cutting the cord on your cable as soon as Hulu signed a few more content deals and let you watch your favorite shows the day after they aired? Think again. The New York Post reports that Fox is renegotiating its deal with Comcast in a way that would require Hulu to require users to prove that they already subscribe to cable in order to get access to its content. The authentication system would likely work the same way: users would log in to Hulu with their cable company logins, rather than with a Hulu ID. Fox is already somewhat more restrictive about its content than the other major networks (with the exception of CBS, which puts almost none of its content on Hulu and declines to stream many episodes at all). Currently, you have to have Hulu Plus to stream Fox shows the day after they air. Otherwise, you have to wait a full week to watch the shows supported only by ads.
It makes sense that now is the time Fox would strike. Hulu (and Netflix as well) are early in their efforts to create original content. And while those companies say publicly that their original shows are meeting their expectations, they haven’t been precisely clear about what those expectations were, or whether that means they’re even close to garnering network-level (or even cable-style) audiences for that programming. They’re nowhere near close to telling the television networks to shove it, so Fox is striking in what it sees as one of a few remaining moments of opportunity, especially because it wants to make sure it can retain the cash to pay its retransmission fees. The cable companies need to hang on to their subscribers both to ensure their own profits, and to meet their own outside demands. Until retransmission fees are out of the equation, it’s hard to imagine that this model is going to change dramatically.
Boy Scouts Board Member Quits To Protest Group’s Anti-Gay Policy |
A Board Member of the Ohio River Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America has resigned to protest the Council’s firing of Jen Tyrrell, a den leader who was asked to leave the organization because she is gay. “I understand that this action was taken as a result of a standing policy of the Boy Scouts of America and that said action is legal,” David J. Sims, writes in his letter. “However, Ms. Tyrrell’s removal goes against my fundamental beliefs of how we should treat our fellow human beings and is, in my opinion, wholly discriminatory.” Meanwhile, more than 259,000 people have signed a Change.org petition asking the organization to reinstate Tyrrell.
Rep. Huelskamp Accuses Obama Of Advancing ‘The Radical Homosexual Agenda’ |
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) accused President Obama of advancing “the radical homosexual agenda” and waging a “shocking violation of religious liberty” during an appearance on a conservative radio talk show last week. Huelskamp took to the program to promote his Military Religious Freedom Protection Act, a measure designed to protect servicemembers who express opposition to gay or lesbian people from discrimination. “I think you have this radical secularism and you put it together with the radical homosexual movement and say ‘hey, if you have those beliefs that’s fine but you can talk about it for an hour on Sunday, maybe, and after that just keep quiet for the other hundred and some hours a week,’ ” Huelskamp said. “The idea that chaplains would not be able to preach certain parts of the Gospel and say, ‘you know what this is the way we interpret it and this is what it means,’ and those are being shut down.” Interestingly, the military has yet to report a case of religious oppression or discrimination.
An anonymous group in Grand Rapids, Michigan is distributing flyers depicting President Obama as a white man with a black mask and a Nazi swastika. “The Holocaust is coming,” the flyers read, “Hitler’s Nazi Germany has been revived in the U.S. and the target is Americans.” Voters are referred “referred to a website to sign a petition that espouses tea party ideas and urges people to support Ron Paul”:
The flyer spouts the idea that there are military checkpoints throughout the country and that it “is legal to assassinate Americans.”
“Obama’s health care bill is not a health care bill, instead it’s a total government takeover of every area of life (read the fine print) like gun confiscation, euthanasia and so on (euthanizing the poor, the elderly, the ill, those who’ve maxed out their health insurance and so on) there are no jobs and everyone will eventually be poor,” the card states. [...]
The literature offers no clue on who authored and distributed it. The image of Obama on the front comes from the two-hour political documentary “The Obama Deception.” The film from Alex Jones claims Obama has been installed by powerful families to act against the interests of the people.
Tea Party activists have long depicted Obama as a Nazi, and a Catholic Bishop recently claimed that Obama is following in the footsteps of Adolf Hitler. The view is even echoed by mainstream Republicans like Newt Gingrich. In his 2010 book To Save America, Gingrich argued repeatedly that the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress are a “secular-socialist machine” that “represent as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union.”
Obama Warns GOP Could Bring Back Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell |
President Obama warned supporters during a fundraiser in McLean, Virginia on Sunday evening that Republicans would reinstate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell if they regain power in 2012. “You know something about that in Virginia; the kinds of nonsense that’s been going on,” Obama began. “But that’s all across the country. When you have folks who talk about — want to repeal ‘don’t ask’ — repeal the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ When you have folks who are talking about not just constraining women’s reproductive health, but questioning things like contraception as part of our preventive care.” Republicans in Congress — and former GOP presidential contenders — have indeed promised to bring back the policy, although Mitt Romney has said he would preserve the repeal.
Conservatives Urge Cameron To Abandon Marriage Equality Push |
Conservative lawmakers in Britain are speaking out against Prime Minister David Cameron’s push for a measure legalizing same-sex marriage, and reports indicate that “Chief Whip Patrick McLoughlin has privately assured anxious Tory backbenchers that the Prime Minister’s same-sex marriage plan will ‘not come to a vote’.” Lawmakers are also warning Cameron “that a Tory rebellion in the Commons would eclipse last year’s EU referendum revolt” and “are reporting an ‘avalanche’ of protests from Conservative supporters over the gay marriage initiative.” Cameron has previously said that “I support gay marriage because I am a conservative” and has tried to reassure religious groups that marriage equality can co-exist with Christianity.
The Los Angeles Times offers this review of Mitt Romney’s response to Massachusetts’ Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. Romney used the issue as an opportunity to build a national profile among conservative voters — and despite running on a platform of expanding equal rights for gays and lesbians, sought to defuse the Court’s decision and supported a federal constitutional constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
The tactic surprised some voters, who believed Romney’s campaign pledge to make domestic partner benefits a “hallmark of my leadership as governor,” as he himself seemed to indicate an early willingness to accept the pro-gay ruling:
Then came the Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling in November 2003 that same-sex couples had a constitutional right to marry. In its 4-3 decision, the court gave the Legislature 180 days “to take such action as it may deem appropriate.” Opponents of same-sex marriage — citing a quirk in the state’s colonial-era Constitution that gave the governor authority over matters related to marriage — argued that the court’s decision was not binding and urged Romney to ignore it.
But Romney did not want to trigger a constitutional crisis — seeking, his advisor Flaherty said, to be “respectful of the law and respectful of people at the same time.” Initially, he struck a balanced tone with his two-track move to find a legislative solution that would satisfy the court while corralling support for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. “We certainly have to follow the law, and the Supreme Court has laid down what we must do,” he said on NBC’s”Today” show the day after the ruling. “But in my view, the right action is to follow two courses at the same time.”
But the governor quickly dropped all talk about complying with the ruling. Behind the scenes, Romney advisors worked to come up with ways to head it off, according to those involved. They consulted conservative constitutional experts such as historian Matthew Spalding, who works closely with former Reagan Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese III at the Heritage Foundation.
It was soon clear that Romney could not push a gay marriage ban through the state’s liberal-leaning Legislature. So he helped persuade Republicans to support a compromise amendment that barred same-sex marriage but legalized civil unions.
Romney eventually seized on an obscure 1913 law (originally intended to limit interracial marriage) to keep out-of-state couples from marrying in Massachusetts and “endorsed a separate citizens’ petition for an amendment to ban gay marriage. Still, some conservative activists criticized Romney for opening the door to civil unions,” accusing him of being “everywhere on this issue” and even going so far as to claim that he personally issued marriage licenses to gay couples.
By 2005, however, Romney was appearing before conservative groups in South Carolina and declaring, “From Day One, I’ve opposed the move for same-sex marriage and its equivalent, civil unions.” Calling the ruling “a blow against the family,” he said that some gay couples “are actually having children born to them.”
Kerry Pens Letter In Defense Of Binational Gay Couple Threatened By DOMA |
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) has written a letter to the Department of Homeland Security on behalf of one woman facing deportation to Pakistan because the federal government does not recognize her same-sex marriage to an American citizen. The Massachusetts woman “lost her student visa because she could not afford to remain in college” and now her spouse has filed a petition to sponsor her for a marriage-based green card, but the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services cannot approve the petition because it uses the Defense of Marriage Act’s definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. In his letter, “Kerry asked that the couple’s petition be put on hold until the Defense of Marriage Act is repealed or the litigation challenging the law is settled. The delay would prevent the petition from being denied and would allow the Pakistani woman to stay in the United States until the legal battle is resolved.”
Christian conservative groups are condemning Dan Savage — the founder of the anti-bullying It Gets Better project — for “bullying” religious students who walked out of a recent lecture in which the popular sex columnist pointed out “the hypocrisy of people who justify anti-gay bigotry by pointing to the Bible and insisting that we must live by the code of Leviticus on this one issue and no other.”
Savage made the remarks at the National High School Journalism Conference, causing a group of students to walk out as he began discussing the moral problems contained within the religious document:
SAVAGE: We can learn to ignore the bullshit about gay people in the Bible the same way have learned to ignore the bullshit in the Bible about shellfish about slavery, about dinner about farming, about menstruation, about virginity, about masturbation. We ignore bullshit in the bible about all sorts of things. The Bible is a radically pro-slavery document. Slave owners waived Bibles over their heads during the civil war and justified it…We ignore what the Bible says about slavery because the Bible got slavery wrong. …If the Bible got the easiest moral question that humanity has ever faced wrong, slavery. What are the odds that the Bible got something as complicated as human sexuality wrong? 100 percent.
“You can tell the Bible guys in the hall, they can come back now because I’m done beating up the Bible,” Savage said before moving on to his next topic, “It’s funny as someone who is on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible, how pansy-ass some people react when you push back.” Watch it:
Savage has since apologized for describing his detractors as “pansy-ass.” “I wasn’t calling the handful of students who left pansies (2800+ students, most of them Christian, stayed and listened), just the walk-out itself,” he said. “But that’s a distinction without a difference—kinda like when religious conservatives tell their gay friends that they ‘love the sinner, hate the sin.’… Likewise, my use of ‘pansy-assed’ was insulting, it was name-calling, and it was wrong. And I apologize for saying it.”
Ironically, this story about Savage’s comments broke on the same day that Joel Osteen — the leader of the nation’s largest Christian Church — told Fox News’ Chris Wallace that he believes homosexuality is a “sin” because “my faith is based on what I believe the scripture says and that’s the way I read the scripture.”
Gay Jokes Abound At White House Correspondents’ Dinner |
President Obama and Jimmy Kimmel joked about gay issues during Saturday night’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington, D.C. Obama teased that he would replace Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell with a policy called It’s Raining Men in his second term, while Kimmel said of failed presidential candidate Rick Santorum, “It’s one thing to oppose gay marriage, it’s another altogether to do it in a sweater vest.” He then observed: “I don’t understand politicians who are against gay marriage. I do not understand anyone who is against gay marriage. When you really think about it, aren’t all marriages kind of gay? I mean, as a man when you get married, essentially what you are saying is, I will never touch another woman as long as I live. Now let’s put jewelry on each other and dance.” Watch a compilation:
Welcome to The Morning Pride, ThinkProgress LGBT’s daily round-up of the latest in LGBT policy, politics, and some culture too! Here’s what we’re reading this morning, but please let us know what stories you’re following as well. Follow us all day on Twitter at @TPEquality.
- A New Jersey transgender woman has reached a settlement with her insurance company after the provider refused to cover the costs of her mammogram.
- WRAL-TV in Raleigh put together a 21-minute documentary about North Carolina’s discriminatory Amendment One, but couldn’t find a CEO to go on record in favor of it.
- Protect All NC Families has released two new ads attacking Amendment One for how it could impact domestic violence protections.
- Two teens from Concord, NC organized a small rally against Amendment One this weekend.
- The President of The Gambia doubled down on his anti-gay comments last week, saying, “We will rather eat grass than accept this ungodly evil attitude that is anti-God, anti-human, and anti-creation.”
- Iowan Zach Wahls continued his media tour about his two moms with a recent appearance on the Piers Morgan Show:
Joel Osteen: ‘The Scripture Says That Being Gay Is A Sin’ |
Mega church leader Joel Osteen reiterated his belief that “the scripture says that being gay is a sin,” telling Fox News’ Chris Wallace Sunday morning, “my faith is based on what I believe the scripture says and that’s the way I read the scripture.” Asked if gay people are entitled to equal rights, Osteen insisted “I don’t think we should discriminate against anybody” before adding, “I am not for gay marriage.” Watch it:
Senate Introduces Health Equity Legislation |
Today, two U.S. senators introduced the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2012, which complements similar House legislation introduced last year. The bill is designed to ensure that all people have equal access to healthcare, including people of color, people with disabilities, non-citizens, people for whom English is not their first language, and the LGBT community. As ThinkProgress has reported, LGBT people face unique inequities when it comes to healthcare access that intersect with the unfair obstacles other groups face. Senators Daniel Akaka (D-HI) and Daniel Inouye (D-HI) intend for this bill to close those gaps.
Fox Contributor Apologizes For ‘Homophobic’ Tweet About Sandra Fluke |
Fox News contributor Monica Crowley has issued an apology to Sandra Fluke for a crass tweet that Crowley sent out from her account yesterday about the Georgetown Law student’s sexual orientation. “I certainly & unequivocally apologize to Sandra & anyone else I offended. Not my intention,” wrote Crowley on Twitter. Mediaite flagged Crowley’s apology, which came after a 24 hour maelstrom of criticism capped by a strong condemnation from the Georgetown Law student herself, who called Crowley’s initial tweet “hate speech” and “homophobic” on MSNBC last night.
Regret my tweeted question caused a stir. I certainly & unequivocally apologize to Sandra & anyone else I offended. Not my intention.
By Kellan Baker, Guest Blogger on Apr 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm
CAP is proudly taking part in the Health Equity Can’t Wait! blog carnival celebrating National Minority Health Month. Participating bloggers are health, consumer, civil rights, and provider advocates committed to promoting health equity. You can find all the posts for the carnival here.
In America today, an African-American baby is still twice as likely as a white baby to die before her first birthday. More than 30 percent of Latinos in the U.S. are uninsured, compared to 12 percent of non-Hispanic whites. Despite advances in HIV prevention and treatment, gay and bisexual men and transgender women of color are still disproportionately likely to become infected with HIV and to die from AIDS.
Clearly, race and ethnicity matter in health. So do gender, poverty, and ability. So too do sexual orientation, gender identity, and other characteristics linked to discrimination or exclusion.
And according to Senator Daniel Akaka, who introduced the Health Equity and Accountability Act yesterday in the Senate to build on the advances of the Affordable Care Act, “glaring health disparities based on racial and ethnic identity alone…are further exacerbated by factors such as socioeconomics, geography, and sexual orientation and [gender] identity.”
Areas of intersection between sexual orientation, gender identity, and other disparity factors include mental health concerns linked to minority stress, such as depression, anxiety, and suicide; higher rates of smoking and other substance use; and greater risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Fear of mistreatment from health care providers who are not familiar with culturally competent care for different minority populations also prevents many people from accessing vital health services and compounds the seriousness of conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Northern Utah Rocked By Gay Teen Suicide |
Communities in northern Utah are reeling from the suicide of a gay teen, the latest in a rash of suicides across the country. Earlier this week, Alex Smith, 18, was speaking at a community panel in Ogden, UT, about the harassment his boyfriend, Jack Reese, had experienced in school, not knowing that Jack had already taken his own life. Ogden OUTreach will be holding a community panel and discussion on May 1 where local educators, parents, and youth will speak out on behalf of LGBT teens, including members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A candlelight vigil in remembrance of Jack Reese will follow at the conclusion of the panel.
The issue of school bullying has garnered a lot of attention over the past few weeks, with a ratings controversy over the film “Bully” sparking renewed focus and support for victims. Bullying’s effects on mental health are well-known to anyone who faced it as a child, or still does. Now, however, researchers are claiming that its effects go far beyond that.
A new study released this week by Duke University researchers examined more than 200 children growing up in England and Wales. When looking at a type of DNA sequence called telomeres, the study found that exposure to violence during childhood, including bullying, correlated to a faster breakdown of that DNA in those children. That, in turn, can lead to faster aging, and more health problems later in life:
Telomeres are special DNA sequences found at the tips of our chromosomes; much like the plastic tips of shoelaces, they prevent our DNA from unraveling. Telomeres get shorter each time cells divide. That erosion places a limit on the length of time that a given cell can go on dividing. Emerging evidence suggests that telomeres are “master integrators,” connecting stress to biological age and associated diseases.
We showed, for the first time, that cumulative violence exposure is associated with accelerated telomere erosion, from age 5 to age 10 years, among children who experienced violence at a young age (e.g., domestic violence, frequent bullying or physical maltreatment by an adult). Children who were exposed to multiple forms of violence had the fastest telomere erosion rate.
As the researchers note, previous studies have linked increased stress to several health problems later in life. The reason for the link has been less clear, but the study authors hope that this will offer some insight into the mechanism behind it. At the very least, they write, this study “suggests new urgency for preventing harm to children.”