Alex Blaze

Update roundup: Larry Craig loves DADT, FRC's mad at rudeness, PEPFAR reauth passes the House

Filed By Alex Blaze | July 25, 2008 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Weekly Reader
Tags: Barack Obama, Brandon McIrnerney, California, Congress, Don't Ask Don't Tell, Elaine Donnelly, Family Research Council, George W. Bush, HIV/AIDS, HRC, John McCain, Larry Craig, Larry King, Mars, Oxnard, PEPFAR, school Shootings, Senate, Snickers, travel, William Quest

Here are a few updates to stories we've been following here at The Bilerico Project

Larry Craig supports Don't Ask Don't Tell:

Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) told, "Current policy has served us well. I think we ought to sustain it. I see no evidence that it should be repealed."

Really, Larry? You don't see why witch hunts to find gays working in public service to fire them is a bad idea? You don't see any evidence for the damage living under constant fear of having your sexuality discovered can cause someone's psyche and happiness? You don't see any reason why people would want to remove a policy that keeps good people in the stall closet and prevents them from living to their potential and keeps many other LGBT from even wanting to enter public service in the same way?


  • Hehehe, the Family Research Council is rushing out to defend their girl Elaine Donnelly at the DADT hearing yesterday. She was massacred for her own stupidity, and there's really no defending that, so FRC's trying the "Miss Manners" defense:

    Rude Congressmen Tell and Don't Ask at Hearing

    For the first time since Congress beat back Bill Clinton's effort to bring homosexuals into the military in 1993, there was a hearing on the topic yesterday on Capitol Hill, which FRC's Vice President for Policy Peter Sprigg and several Witherspoon Fellows attended. The Democrats in Congress are laying the groundwork for action next year, when they hope Barack Obama will be president, to overturn the law which codified the military's longstanding policy excluding homosexuals. Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, and Sgt. Major Brian Jones, a veteran of the Army's elite Delta Force, ably defended the law in the face of shockingly disrespectful and even abusive questioning by members of the House Military Personnel subcommittee. Particularly egregious was the behavior of Rep. Vic Snyder (D-Ark.), who said that Donnelly's concern about the impact of HIV-positive soldiers was "dumb" and that her testimony about behaviors common among homosexuals was "bonkers." Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.) used the silly line, "When did you decide to be heterosexual?" The false assumptions that people are "born gay" and can never change, and that homosexuality is equivalent to race, permeated the questioning. Yet no one explained how it would benefit the military to recruit service members who plan to commit acts which are criminal under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

    (That's not a knock at Miss Manners, the best columnist the Washington Post has and one of my favorite ever. But, seriously, "rude" was the best they could do?)

  • Larry King's killer, Brandon McIrnerney, is going to be tried as an adult, a judge has ruled. His attorney tried to say that it was cruel and unusual punishment to do so, but a ballot initiative in 2000 expanded California prosecutors' discretion when it comes to decided how someone is going to be tried. The attorney said:

    "The problem is their office, once they make a decision, it's hard for them to change course," said Quest.

    Pretty much. They need to get as big a punishment as they can in big-name cases so they go for the jugular, no matter the circumstances. But the voters of California gave them that discretion, so I guess that speaks to how democracy just plain doesn't work.

  • HRC's claiming a victory in the dust-up over the homophobic Snickers ad from earlier this week:

    Following conversations between the Human Rights Campaign and senior Mars representatives, the company has agreed to pull its most recent ad using stereotypes of gay men to sell its Snickers product line. HRC applauds Mars for taking swift and appropriate action.

    In 2007, another distasteful Snickers advertisement was aired during Super Bowl XLI. The company subsequently pulled the ad. Following that, HRC began a constructive dialogue with Mars on workplace inclusion for GLBT employees. We were of course surprised to see the company return to the same practice it had just recently rejected.

    These kinds of ads perpetuate the notion that the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community is a group of second class citizens and that violence against GLBT people is not only acceptable, but humorous.

    We are hopeful that Mars will make the necessary changes in their organization to ensure this does not happen yet again.

    Fat chance on the last hope, but at least this ad was pulled.

  • The House passed the Senate version of PEPFAR reauthorization today 303-115. This lifts the HIV travel ban and provides billions to fight malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV abroad:

    The 1993 immigration law and the HHS policy directive putting the HIV visitor and immigrant ban into place allow for some exceptions. But groups like Immigration Equality, which advocates for immigrants who are gay or who have HIV, have said the exceptions are limited and have helped only a small number of HIV-positive foreign nationals seeking access to the U.S.

    Under the 1993 law and the HHS policy, foreign nationals seeking to visit the U.S. can obtain a temporary waiver from the ban, which allows short-term visits for tourism or business purposes. Foreign nationals seeking a waiver must register their names and HIV status with U.S. consular offices in their home countries in a process that immigration activists say could violate privacy rights. Waivers also place certain limitations on HIV-positive visitors.

  • The HIV travel ban can stay in place if the president wants it:

    But the president and his Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Mike Leavitt, must approve one more administrative action to bring to an end the U.S. ban on HIV-positive visitors and immigrants, and the White House and Leavitt's office have yet to say whether they will take that action.

    In 1987, HHS used its existing legal authority to add HIV to a list of communicable diseases that disqualify foreign visitors from entering the country because persons afflicted with the diseases were considered a threat to the U.S. population. The 1987 HHS action also barred nearly all foreign nationals with HIV from applying for permanent U.S. resident status as immigrants.

    Some speculate that Bush does want it, Obama's said that he's against it, and McCain forgot how to use a phone:

    Some Capitol Hill insiders have speculated that the Bush administration might decide to leave the HHS policy in place, preferring to let the next president decide whether to repeal it. That would leave the ban in place until at least late January.

    A spokesperson for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said Obama opposes the ban and would take action to end if he's elected president.

    A spokesperson for the campaign of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, did not return a call seeking McCain's position on the issue.

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Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | July 25, 2008 2:50 PM

There you go again, Alex Blaze, making fun of Larry Craig, despite my own continuing efforts to redeem him from the "sin" of being a confused tourist passing through the Minneapolis airport, and wandering into a stall thinkig it was the baggage claim try and discuss with dispassion his qualifications to be John McCain's running mate.

I think you need to take a serious look at your motives here, young man. You have some serious anger issues with Larry. Didn't you pay any attention whatsoever to Donna Rose's admonitions on this site the other day? I've Googled in vain and can not find one instance where Larry Craig ever said anything in the least bit negative about Alex Blaze. Not one. Not even so much as shoe tap.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | July 25, 2008 10:05 PM

Alex, does this mean Mars is going to send Bil a box of free Snickers? Great informative post!

I wish Robert. See what happens? I get everyone all riled up and then HRC claims credit... *grins*

No, seriously, good for HRC. I'm shocked GLAAD wasn't involved.

And how did I know Larry Craig would bring Don out of the woodwork? :)