PABE


Dancing with the Republicans?
August 16, 2006, 4:40 pm
Filed under: gay and lesbian, politics

tucker_gone.jpg

Allaying any doubts that he is anything more than a media hooker, Tucker Carlson has agreed to appear on the next season of the ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.

Jerry Springer is also set to appear.



Wal-Mart’s Latest PR Move
July 10, 2006, 4:12 am
Filed under: Al Gore, gay and lesbian, politics

Say what you want about Wal-Mart, but the company is always one step ahead of the game. Though I disagree with Wal-Mart’s health care policies, I am amazed by its ability to generate positive press about its attempts to “do good.”

According to The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire, former Vice President and environmental activist Al Gore will be speaking to Wal-Mart executives next week at the company’s quarterly conference on sustainability.

Gore will speak on global warming, the subject of his hugely popular documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which recently surpassed Madonna’s “Truth or Dare” as the 4th most successful documentary in American history.

Asking Gore to speak at a Wal-Mart company meeting is just the latest in a full fledged PR campaign launched by Wal-Mart last November to make the company seem “green-er,” more liberal and “good for the common man.” Wal-Mart has even been floating around grant money to left-wing organizations that are facing intense ethical dilemmas as I write this.

Wal-Mart has also recently adopted strategies to reduce energy use, improve the fuel efficiency of its vehicles, and cut down on waste. It has also created 14 internal groups called the sustainable value network, to explore environmentally sound business practices, covering everything from logistics to greenhouse gases.

Which is great. I just wonder why Wal-Mart continues to ignore people’s biggest complaint with the company, that it underpays employees and doesn’t provide adequate health care for full-time workers?

If Wal-Mart really cares about its brand image with the public then it should start by improving its employer-employee relations, provide quality health care and stop
union busting from here to China.



Southern Paper Considers Quitting Ann Coulter
July 8, 2006, 2:22 pm
Filed under: gay and lesbian, politics

ann coulter

By E&P Staff

Published: July 03, 2006 10:20 AM ET
NEW YORK Craig Durrett, editorial page editor of the Shreveport (La.) Times, revealed in a column in his paper that he is considering dropping Ann Coulter as a columnist, and in fact, has “come close” before.

It’s a matter of style, not ideology, he explained, and if she got the boot he would replace her with another conservative columnist.

“My opinion: She is more about entertainment and self-promotion, understanding that shock and outrage translate into publicity that feeds into her quest for media airtime and column space,” he wrote. “Her comments about several women who were made widows on Sept. 11, 2001, is a prime example.”

He also cited the analysis of Republican B. Jay Cooper, former deputy press secretary to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush: “To me, Ann Coulter’s exercise of her right to free speech is the political equivalent of yelling fire in a crowded theater. She crosses the line of decency. To me, individuals who engage in name-calling and hate speech to get attention, sell books, increase speaking fees and feather their own nests, are speaking for themselves, not any political party. My problem is the popular presumption that she represents the Republican Party. We all get painted with her tainted brush.”

Among other things, Coulter has often wished or fantasized about a violent end for some of her perceived opponents on the left, including New York Times reporters.

Durrett also observed: “In this slash-and-burn, raw meat world of political discourse, unfortunately it seems more readers and viewers are entertained by Coulter one liners than impressed with George Will’s stylish pursuit of logic.” Yet he affirmed: “Coulter’s days may indeed be numbered, but it won’t be because of some liberal bias. Besides, she would be replaced by another conservative voice.”

Coulter is syndicated by Universal and has more than 100 newspaper clients. The Shreveport Times is a Gannett paper.

The National Society of Newspaper Columnists, meeting in Boston this past weekend, awarded Coulter its annual Sitting Duck Award for easiest column target. The NSNC noted that it gave the prize to the columnist/author “for cheapening political discourse in America.” The statement added: “We award the Lame Duck reluctantly, because we know Ms. Coulter is desperate for any kind of attention.”



Same-Sex Marriage is Good For the Economy
June 20, 2006, 8:26 pm
Filed under: gay and lesbian, politics

Our good friends at The Williams Institute have released a new study finding that Washington State will gain $4-6 million annually from same-sex marriage.

Ths finding echoes Forbes magazine’s estimate that if same-sex marriage were legalized across the U.S., gay and lesbian weddings would generate $16.8 billion in spending during the first several years.

Here’s the press release…

Same-sex marriage will boost the State of Washington’s budget by $3.9 million to $5.7 million annually, according to a study released today by the Williams Institute, a think tank at the UCLA School of Law. Savings in means-tested public benefits programs and an increase in tax revenue from same-sex weddings and wedding-related expenditures account for the windfall for Washington’s budget.

Policymakers sometimes worry that the state will take a budget hit if same-sex couples can marry,” noted Dr. M. V. Lee Badgett, study co-author and research director of the Williams Institute. “We found just the opposite—the state gains dramatically if same-sex couples have access to marriage. Any increases in state spending on state employee benefits or on tax breaks for married couples will have only a tiny impact.”

The study predicts that Washington’s wedding-related businesses will see a $63 million annual increase in demand. Almost 8,000 same-sex couples in Washington are likely to marry, and many other same-sex couples will travel to Washington to marry. Each year the state will see an extra $4 million in retail sales tax revenues from these new weddings.

The other major budgetary benefit for Washington will result from the State treating same-sex and different-sex married couples equally under public assistance programs such as Medicaid and TANF. Extending marriage to gay and lesbian couples will mean that the income of a person’s same-sex married partner will be included when determining eligibility for such programs. Even if only a small percentage of individuals living with partners marry and become ineligible for benefits, the State will save hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, noted Badgett.

This study comes to the same conclusion as at least ten other studies conducted over the last decade,” said Brad Sears, co-author of the study and executive director of UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute. In addition to a series of studies by the Williams Institute, similar analyses have been performed by the Congressional Budget Office, the Comptroller of New York, the Office of Legislative Research of the Connecticut General Assembly, and the Vermont Civil Union Review Commission. “All of these studies have shown that recognizing the rights of same-sex couples will have a positive impact on federal or state budgets,” said Sears.



Schwarzenegger Will Raise Money for Gay Republicans
June 20, 2006, 5:10 pm
Filed under: gay and lesbian, Log Cabin Republicans, politics

Leave it to the Log Cabin Republicans to support a politician who openly opposes gay rights.

The Log Cabin Republicans have invited Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to be the keynote speaker at their $250-a-plate June 29 fundraiser. “There is a better than 50-50 chance this man will be the governor of California for the next four years, and for the gay community to label somebody based on one veto is shortsighted,”said Log Cabin President Patrick Guerrero. “We thought allowing him to address these issues in a friendly setting as well as giving him a chance to get another look at who gay and lesbian families are was important both for him and for us.”

Meanwhile, the Gov. vetoed a gay marriage bill in September and openly opposes an up-and-coming bill that would require chapters from gay history to be added to public school text books in California.

This makes me physically ill. Once again, the Log Cabin Republicans – so pathetic in their desire to fit in with the boys – are blindly willing to help politicians use gay groups to soften their image with the public. As much as I understand the need for bipartisan participation in the struggle for civil rights, I don’t feel The Log Cabin Republicans have successfully leveraged their power to sway a single politician. Instead, what I see over and over again, is politicians using the Log Cabin boys to have their cake and eat it too – vote against gay rights to appease their conservate christian base while postering themselves as fiscal conservatives with groups like the Log Cabin Republicans so as to not offend socially moderate voters.

According to the Mercury News, Ron Prentice, executive director of the California Family Council, has already given Schwarzenegger the go ahead, saying he is not at risk of losing conservative voters by speaking to a gay group so long as he follows through on his promise to sink the textbook bill.

For The Log Cabin Republicans to be effective, not to mention respectable, they need to stop accepting lip service and demand the vote.



Pentagon Document Reveals Institutionalized Homophobia towards Gays and Lesbians in the Military
June 20, 2006, 4:18 pm
Filed under: gay and lesbian, politics

The Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military at the University of California at Santa Barbara recently uncovered a Pentagon document describing gays and lesbians as “mentally ill.” According to the NYTimes, the document “outlines retirement or other discharge policies for service members with physical disabilities, and in a section on defects lists homosexuality alongside mental retardation and personality disorders.”

Not only is this belief discriminatory, but it is also antiquated and contradictory with key medical professionals, members of Congress and the American Psychiatric Association, which 30 years ago stopped calling homosexuality a “mental disorder.”

What’s worse, the discovery of this discriminatory document comes on the heels of lagging recruitment numbers and depressed retention rates for all branches of the US military. According to the Government Accountability Office, 2 service members are discharged a day under DOMA, costing the government nearly $200 million to recruit and train replacements for the 9,488 troops discharged since “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was enacted in 1994.

And still, despite all of this ignorance, bigotry, fear and institutionalized discrimination, thousands of gays and lesbians continue to fight for this country in the military. Not for what this country is do they fight, for this country is openly hostile to gays and lesbians. But for what this country could be, what it is supposed to be, they fight. The dream of liberty and justice for ALL is their dream.

They are the real heros.



California: Same-Sex Couples Filing Jointly Would Not Hurt State Revenue
June 19, 2006, 8:47 pm
Filed under: gay and lesbian, politics

Professor Brad Sears, Executive Director of UCLA Law’s Williams Institute, testified before a California Assembly Committee today that allowing registered domestic partners to file state income taxes jointly would result in only a small reduction in tax revenues.

According to Sears, who testified before the Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation on SB 1827, allowing registered same-sex partners the same option to file jointly as married couples would “decrease income tax revenues by approximately $8 million per year, or less than .01% of the State’s $90 billion budget.”

In 2004, when the California legislature passed AB 205, California’s comprehensive domestic partnership legislation, it provided registered domestic partners with almost all of the rights of married couples under state law. One of the most significant exceptions was the exclusion of the right to file income taxes jointly.

Although the Williams Institute provided the legislature with an economic analysis that projected net savings for the State of tens of millions of dollars each year, then-Governor Gray Davis refused to sign AB 205 if any one item of the State’s budget would be negatively affected. Thus, the right to file jointly was specifically taken out of AB 205 during the final days of its consideration.

Today, that last-minute political compromise has become an issue in the California court case seeking marriage rights for same-sex couples. As a result of the exclusion, lawyers are arguing that providing domestic partnerships for same-sex couples is not only stigmatizing as a “separate but equal” institution, but is, in fact, separate and unequal, violating core principles of the State’s equal protection clause.

–from The Williams Institute, a national think tank dedicated to sexual orientation law and public policy.