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Congress Moves At Speed of Light on DADT Repeal

**UPDATE – 10:18PM – House passes DADT repeal amendment – 234-194.  Newest Congressman Djou (R-HI), endorsed by GOProud, voted in favor of repeal.  GOP votes in favor were Cao, Djou, Biggert, Ros-Lehtinen, Paul.  26 Democrats voted against repeal.  The roll call of the vote will (eventually) appear at THIS LINK. (h/t – AllahPundit)

Damn!  As I said on Twitter…..

 … if the Congress would only secure our borders as quick as they are moving on #DADT.

…  imagine if Obama found the ability not to lie as quickly as Congress is moving on #DADT !!!

Just sayin…

Anyway, I’m glad this Clinton-era, legislated discrimination is on the pathway to repeal.  Earlier this afternoon, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted 16-12 to move toward repeal of DADT.

Senators took the first step toward allowing gays to serve openly in the military Thursday evening, with a panel voting 16-12 to approve an amendment to the Defense authorization bill that would repeal the don’t ask don’t tell policy.

“Today’s action by the Senate Armed Services Committee is an important step to end this discriminatory policy,” said Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) the panel’s chairman, who described debate on the amendment as “lively.”

The amendment was the most-watched part of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s mark up of its annual defense bill, which also passed Thursday evening.

The bill was soundly opposed by the Republicans on the committee and Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), who explained in a statement that he didn’t want to repeal the ban while the Pentagon is in the midst of reviewing how it should implement the change.

The White House and the Pentagon both approved a compromise contained in the amendment that allowed Congress to act, while granting the President, the defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff the ultimate authority to implement repeal when they were satisfied that the military’s readiness, recruiting, retention and morale would not be adversely impacted by the shift in policy.

And now, suddenly Speaker Pelosi (who voted for the Clinton-signed DADT law originally) is hammering a vote through the House tonight with nearly no time for debate.  Tyranny rocks!  That Constitution is such an old, worn out thing — ain’t it, Nancy?

In all seriousness, I am pleased at this momentum — though there is much more to go before a repeal is complete.

But also in all seriousness — have you EVER seen Washington move this quickly on ANYTHING?  There must be a lot of Homolobbying going on behind closed doors!

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Why Don’t People Smile as Much in Our Nation’s Capital?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:08 pm - May 27, 2010.
Filed under: Dan's Cross Country Odyssey,Random Thoughts,Travel

The three things I have most noticed about DC since returning for only the third time since I lived here in the 1990s is how few people smile (compared to LA), how many more smokers there are and how oppressive is the humidity.

Perhaps, oppressive is a bit harsh, but it does take some getting used to when you’re walking around downtown, especially when wearing a jacket and tie and toting a laptop.

It is weird to be back, a stranger in a city which was once my home.  I remain familiar with many of the places I pass, but they all seem different in some way.  Not to mention the new construction.  

The oddest thing though is how easily I have been able to navigate the city’s streets.  I quickly remembered how things fit together.  When driving in, I didn’t need look at a map to find my way from I-95 South to central Arlington.

Why is it, I wonder, that people don’t smile as much as they do in LA.  Is it just the weather?  Was it like this when  I last lived here (in the Clinton era)?  Or does everyone now take themselves far more seriously now that a new man’s in charge.

Obama on My Metro Pass

Today, when I bought my Day Pass for the DC Metro, I was a little surprised to find a familiar face on the card:

So, what is the president doing on a ticket to the public transportation system in our nation’s capital.  It says it’s celebrating his presidential inauguration.  But, I don’t recall seeing the image of Bill Clinton on such tickets when I lived in DC during his inaugural in 1997.  Nor do my friends require such images during his first inaugural.  Or for either of W’s.

And anyway, the inauguration was 16 months ago.

This is not where Americans place the image of our president.  This is something they do in authoritarian countries.

Could California Gay Bar Be Required to Serve Man Wearing “I Hate Fags” T-shirt?

Telling his readers how much he hates “California Nazis“, Glenn Reynolds linked David Bernstein’s piece at Volokh on a troubling case coming from the (once-)Golden State on the abuse of the public accommodation provision of Civil Right laws.

You can read the whole story here.  The gist of it is this:  Four neo-Nazis went to a restaurant in Long Beach sporting lapel pins with swastikas on them.  

The management asked them to take off the lapel pins. They refused. The management asked them to leave. They refused. The management called the police, who arrested them.

Then, remarkably, the Southern California ACLU gets involved, and sues the restaurant for calling the police on the Nazis! This much I’ve confirmed from media accounts. According to the commenter who first alerted me to this story, “the defendants’ insurer eventually settled following unsuccessful pretrial challenges to the complaint, believing they could not prevail under California law!”

The lawsuit was brought under California’s Unruh Act, which provides that “all persons within the jurisdiction of this state are free and equal, and no matter what their sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, or medical condition are entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments of every kind whatsoever.”

So, since that law also includes sexual orientation, it seems the ACLU’s interpretation of the law would then prevent the proprietor of a gay bar from evicting someone sporting an “I Hate Fags” T-shirt.  Indeed, if the management asked him to remove it (or cover it up), the group would take the side of the anti-gay guy.

This guy could argue, as the Nazis apparently did, that that was his way of expressing his sexual orientation.

 I believe a gay bar owner should have the freedom to remove such a fellow.  But, current law apparently deprives him of that freedom.

Simply put, the more laws we have, the less freedom we have.  And it is left to government bureaucrats and judges to determine just what the meaning of those laws are.

The Long Beach restaurant owner should be allowed to tell neo-Nazis to cover up their pins. Indeed, he should be allowed to evict such folks from his restaurant if he so chooses.  But, relying on state law, the ACLU disagrees.  Indeed, by their very logic, they would demand that an anti-gay person be allowed to advertise his animosity in private establishments we seek out to be among “our own kind.”

NB:  bumped this post.

Maybe 2010 Won’t be 1994 Redux

Even before the Democratic victory in PA-12, I was beginning to wonder if this fall would be the banner year that some Republicans and pundits forecast.  While more people are inclined to support the GOP than were in the final days of the 2008 campaign and the early weeks of the Obama Administration, Republican party identification remains relatively stagnant.

They support the GOP because they’re not happy with the direction in which Obama’s Democrats are taking the nation.  They’re still not convinced that the opposition party will reverse that direction.  They could still move back into the Democratic column.

Perhaps, if we see a much stronger economy with real job growth, Democrats can help swing swing voters back to their side.  Or maybe just an effective campaign.  (Don’t think bashing Bush is going to do it.  People know he’s gone back to Texas where he maintains a low profile.)

They may not even need do that to prevent large Republican gains.  As Jim Geraghty observed yesterday  on Campaign Spot:

. . . Obama’s approval is still even with or slightly above his disapproval in most polls, the generic ballot is still bouncing around and averaging close to a tie, and there are still incumbent Democratsin economically depressed parts of the country who are polling pretty healthily. (I can’t believe Californians are taking Jerry Brown’s gubernatorial bid seriously.) Massachusetts voters really want to endure another four years of Deval Patrick? Ohio’s willing to hope that Ted Strickland does better in a second term?

Americans are clearly dissatisfied with where they are, and a chunk blame the (mostly Democrat) incumbent governing class. But not quite enough of them are ready to see the 1994-on-steroids scenarios some have discussed. Of course, there’s five months to go. But I think the wilder visions of GOP gains aren’t in the cards yet.

Looking at polls in individual races, Michael Barone is more optimistic about Republican prospects:

Back in 1994, I wrote a column for U.S. News arguing that Republicans had a serious chance to capture a majority of seats in the House of Representatives. The article appeared on the newsstands on July 11, and was the first article I’m aware of that suggested that Democrats might lose the majority they had held for 40 years. My argument was based on a number of polls showing Democratic incumbents trailing Republican challengers. Usually House incumbents don’t trail challengers in polls at any point in the campaign, because they almost always start off better known. For an incumbent to trail in a poll is a sign of serious danger.

Such signs abound for Democrats these days. (more…)

Will MSM give as much attention to gay participation in Tea Parties as they do to racist involvement?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 10:08 am - May 27, 2010.
Filed under: Media Bias,Tea Party

In the course of this cross country trip, I have met readers from a number of jurisdictions (Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Charlottesville) who have participated in Tea Parties, with most being quite open about their sexuality.  And, well, guess what?  None of them has had a problem.  They have all been welcomed.

Indeed, each of these participants has more evidence of a welcoming attitude toward homosexuals than he does of widespread racism among activists.  Yet, we have seen numerous articles in the MSM and posts on left-wing blogs about that supposed racism.  At the same time, in those media, I have uncovered no stories about gay participation in Tea Parties.  (If you have seen some, please let me know and I will update this post accordingly.)

Seems an interesting story that the most dynamic grassroots movement in America today — which happens to enjoy broad support among American conservatives — has been so welcoming of gay people.  Yet, the media ignore it  while focusing on a much, much, much smaller segment of the movement.

As I e-mailed a friend who has been active in the Charlottesville Tea Party, “If the Tea Parties are racist because of a handful of kooks, then they’re at the forefront of the gay movement because of a handful of homosexuals.”  And reports from our readers indicate that there have been more than a handful at Tea Parties across the nation.

Military effectiveness preserved in nations which allow gay people to serve openly

As Congress prepares to debate repeal of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell (DADT) today in Washington, our federal representatives should consider the experience of those nations which have allowed gay people to serve openly in their nation’s military.  In Politco yesterday, Maj. Peter Kees Hamstra of the Royal Dutch Army, Leif Ohlson of the Swedish Armed Forces and Lt. Com. Craig Jones, retired from the Royal Navy of Britain observe:

Moral opposition to homosexuality, while real, is just not allowed to undercut our militaries’ missions.

Nor do we think it will have any impact on yours after you repeal “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”

This is an important point because many Americans seem to believe that ending anti-gay discrimination in European and Israeli militaries faced no resistance because our cultures are more tolerant.

 In fact, our polls, rhetoric and even threats of mass resignations were quite similar to the continuing resistance in America. Yet none of the doomsday scenarios came true.

 According to research and assessments of our transitions, the new policies had no negative impact on military readiness.

Once again, the experience from nations which have allowed gay people to serve openly in the military shows that such service does not compromise military readiness or unit cohesion.

The plan before Congress appears to be a good compromise, repealing the Clinton-era legislation which prevents gays people from serving openly while giving the Administration the authority to work with the military to allow for a smooth implementation of the new policy.

Just how clueless are California’s Democratic State Legislators?

One thing I have noted since I arrived in DC in that there are fewer vacant store fronts per street block than there were in Los Angeles.  Probably has something to do with the need to provide services to the increased amount of people on the government payroll in this town.

And since tax dollars don’t flow to California cities like they do to a jurisdiction’s capital, higher taxes will only help improve the economic picture in one (once-)Golden State city–Sacramento, so it’s hard to see who the latest plan our state legislators are debating in that city will help entrepreneurs raise the capitol they need to fill those store fronts in Los Angeles:

The Democrats who control the Legislature have fired their opening salvo against Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s spending blueprint, which proposed eliminating California’s welfare program and cutting deeply into other state services, by proposing that the state rely instead on billions of dollars in new taxes to balance the budget.

Emphasis added.

Seems that Democratic legislators are more concerned about maintaining existing government programs than ascertaining the causes of our state’s economic malaise.

If they want to increase the state’s revenues, they’re going to have to improve the state’s business climate.  And raising taxes while delaying corporate tax breaks won’t do anything to improve that climate, instead will prevent entrepreneurs from expanding their operations and bringing on new talent.

By contrast, lowering taxes would most help small businesses, you know those enterprises which create the most new jobs.  And you’d think that in a state where one in eight people are out of work, our state legislators would want to do something which might make it easier for those looking for jobs to find one.

A bumper sticker to make my co-blogger smile

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:30 am - May 27, 2010.
Filed under: Dogs,Humor

Walking to Matthew Berry’s debate tonight, I passed a car sporting these bumper stickers in deepest blue Arlington.

Something tells me that one would have earned a large grin from my co-blogger.

Boxer Fundraiser Costs California Workers Paycheck

Coming to California to raise money for endangered Democratic Senator Barbara “Call me Ma’am” Boxer, President Obama stopping by at a plant receiving “stimulus” funds because it creates “green” jobs. Unfortunately, the federal government did not pay the company enough taxpayer dollars, er, dollars of the grandchildren of current taxpayers, to be able to pay the salaries of employees who have to take the day off because of the president’s visit:

Construction workers at the Solyndra Plant in Fremont will be spending the day at home Wednesday without pay as President Obama visits the company to praise its work on solar panels.

Union workers have been told not to come back until Thursday because of security concerns associated with the President’s visit.  Workers tell KRON 4’s Kate Thompson this day off means they won’t get paid.

“It’s with no pay and we have no choice,” construction worker Adam Bracamontes told Kate.  “We have to take a day off and come back Thursday.  We don’t get to meet the President.  We’re the workers and we don’t get to see him.”

Wonder what the president thinks about California’s current 12.6% unemployment rate.

And about all those dollars he’s raising for Mrs. Boxer, how many of them do you think will go into ads attacking soon-to-be Republican nominee Carly Fiorina?  

Some new kind of politics.