Archive for the ‘Don't ask’ Category

Your morning jolt: Barack Obama’s campaign manager says Georgia’s in play

At 6:52 a.m. today, President Barack Obama sent an e-mail to supporters announcing that he would run for re-election in 2012. Call it a soft roll-out.

A New York Times profile of Jim Messina, his former deputy chief of staff and now his Chicago-based campaign manager, included these paragraphs:

The headquarters space is bare. For now, there are no Obama signs or posters, only a paper bag filled with office supplies and a stack of maps from the American Automobile Association, which provide an early clue to the state-by-state battlegrounds.

“It’s too early to look at that stuff,” Mr. Messina said, taking a seat in an empty cubicle. “If you look at the new census numbers, you would think that Georgia would be in play. You would definitely think that Arizona would be in play — as I think it is. Those are states where we didn’t play in last time.”

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We speak of former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich’s efforts in Georgia to become the state’s favorite-son …

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Saxby Chambliss apologizes for staffer’s threatening slur

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss on Thursday apologized to the author of a gay-oriented blog for a threatening slur posted from his office, declaring, “All [gays] must die.”

In a prepared statement, Chambliss also spoke of the immediate “removal” of a staff member – who was not identified.

The wording is important. We’re picking up that the staffer was a military liaison assigned by the Pentagon — a fact that Chambliss’ office would not confirm.

A staffer under Chambliss’ direct employ would have been fired. A staffer under another entity’s supervision would be reassigned. Or removed. (My AJC colleague Bob Keefe pinned down the fact that the computer used was located in Chambliss’s Washington office.)

The blog comment at issue was left Sept. 21 on a discussion of whether gays and lesbians should be able to serve openly in the military on “Joe.My.Blog,” a site operated by Joe Jervis of New York City – perhaps an hour after the U.S. Senate turned away an attempt to repeal …

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Saxby Chambliss, the Internet and nameless speech

It is painful to admit, because no one likes to trash his own neighborhood.

But when it comes to political discussion, there are times when you have to wonder whether the Internet has become the world’s largest bathroom stall.

At 2:39 p.m. on an otherwise quiet Tuesday last week, Republicans in the Senate turned away an attempt to permit homosexuals to serve openly in the U.S. military.

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss/AP

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss/AP

Forty-six minutes and 50 seconds later, on a blog dedicated to gay and lesbian issues and bearing the odd name of “Joe.My.God,” an untoward comment popped up in the middle of a discussion of the vote on “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

“All [gays] must die,” wrote the author who called himself “Jimmy.”

The deleted word was a common vulgarity not permitted in most newspapers, but neither the word nor the sentiment was unusual. We have some very angry people sitting at keyboards. Joe Jervis, the New Yorker behind the blog, says he gets dozens of that …

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Did Saxby Chambliss aide leave threatening slur?

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss confirmed Tuesday that he investigating whether one of his staffers left a threatening slur on an Internet discussion of the right of gays and lesbians to serve openly in the U.S. military.

“We have seen the allegations and are moving quickly to understand the facts. This office has not and will not tolerate any activity of the sort alleged,” Chambliss spokeswoman Bronwyn Lance Chester said. “Once we have ascertained whether these claims are true, we will take the appropriate steps.”

The comment was posted on Joe.My.God., a blog dedicated to gay and lesbian issues.

“All [gays] must die,” wrote the commenter, identifying himself as “Jimmy,” shortly after a Democratic bid to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” faltered in the U.S. Senate.

Blog author Joseph Jervis of New York City used the Internet Protocol address attached to the comment to trace the slur to “the neighborhood” of Chambliss’ office in Atlanta. Readers quickly …

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Repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ falters in U.S. Senate

The window on an important promise by President Barack Obama may have just closed. From the Associated Press:

Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked legislation that would have repealed the law banning gays from serving openly in the military.

The partisan vote was a defeat for Senate Democrats and gay rights advocates, who saw the bill as their last chance before November’s elections to overturn the law known as “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

With the 56-43 vote, Democrats fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance the legislation. It also would have authorized $726 billion in defense spending including a pay raise for troops.

Senate Democrats attached the repeal provision to the defense bill in the hopes that Republicans would hesitate to vote against legislation that included popular defense programs. But GOP legislators opposed the bill anyway, thwarting a key part of the Democrats’ legislative agenda.

Now, gay rights advocates say they worry they have lost a crucial …

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Former RNC chairman and Bush campaign manager says he’s gay

From Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic:

Ken Mehlman, President Bush’s campaign manager in 2004 and a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, has told family and associates that he is gay.

Former RNC chairman Ken Mehlman. Associated Press

Former RNC chairman Ken Mehlman. Associated Press

Mehlman arrived at this conclusion about his identity fairly recently, he said in an interview. He agreed to answer a reporter’s questions, he said, because, now in private life, he wants to become an advocate for gay marriage and anticipated that questions would arise about his participation in a late-September fundraiser for the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), the group that supported the legal challenge to California’s ballot initiative against gay marriage, Proposition 8.

“It’s taken me 43 years to get comfortable with this part of my life,” said Mehlman, now an executive vice-president with the New York City-based private equity firm, KKR. “Everybody has their own path to travel, their own journey, and for me, over …

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Dick Cheney backs repeal of ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’

Lost in Sunday’s back-and-forth with Vice President Joe Biden over the prosecution of terrorists was this, captured by Politico.com:

Former Vice President Dick Cheney, who served as defense secretary under President George H.W. Bush, expressed support for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which President Barack Obama has asked Congress to work on this year.

Cheney told ABC’s “This Week” that 20 years ago when he was secretary of defense, the military was a strong advocate of the policy that bans gays from openly serving in the military, but that “things have changed significantly since then” and he anticipates that ultimately “the policy will be changed.”

“I think society has moved on,” Cheney said the policy shift is partly “a generational question.”

Cheney cited support for repeal from Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as reason that he believes it’s time to “reconsider” the policy, and he disagreed …

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End ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ says Colin Powell

This just posted by the New York Times:

Gen. Colin L. Powell, who as the nation’s top military officer in the 1990s opposed allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military, switched gears today and threw his support behind efforts to end the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law he helped shepherd in.

“In the almost 17 years since the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed,” General Powell said in a statement issued by his office. He added: “I fully support the new approach presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week by Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen.”

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Saxby Chambliss: Military should keep ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss this afternoon declared himself opposed to any change in the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that permits gays to serve in the military – but not openly.

The occasion was a testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chief of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen.

Mullen said it was his opinion that lifting the restriction would be “the right thing to do.”

Chambliss holds the U.S. Senate seat once occupied by Sam Nunn, who helped forge the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the 1990s under President Bill Clinton. In 2008, Nunn said he thought it was time the policy was reexamined.

The dichotomy of Chambliss’ position was on display. On one hand, Georgia’s senior senator acknowledged the service of gays and lesbians, and predicted that they would complete future service “valiantly.”

On the other hand, Chambliss said “the presence” in the military of those “who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in …

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Democratic chairman of House military affairs opposes any change to ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’

Another item on Barack Obama’s agenda is in doubt. This from the Army Times:

In a new complication for President Obama’s push to allow gays to serve openly in the military, the House Armed Services Committee chairman says he is “personally … against” any change in law.

The opposition from Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., is not unexpected; he played a key role in blocking the Clinton administration from lifting the military’s gay ban in 1993. What is surprising is that Skelton is ready to directly fight attempts to include a repeal of the gay ban in the 2011 defense authorization bill.

On the C-SPAN Newsmaker program, which aired Sunday, Skelton said his committee’s military personnel panel will hold one or more hearings on the issue, which would open the door for debate but would not necessarily lead to an amendment to the defense bill.

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