February 11, 2016

Despite The Supreme Court Ruling There still 11 States with anti Sodomy laws

 Florida (the Home of Gov.Jeb Bush and all Republican anti gay governors)

Despite there being a Supreme Court ruling that anti-sodomy laws are unconstitutional, 12 States still have anti-gay sex laws.

The states of Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah all have anti-gay sex laws on their books.

The laws most commonly know as anti-sodomy laws. It forbids both heterosexual and gay couples partaking in anal sex, regardless of consent.

Montana and Virginia repealed theirs after the Supreme Court ruling in 2003, which called the ban a violation of the 14th Amendment.

Before 1962 sodomy was illegal in every state and was punishable by hard labour or a long jail term.

The first State to remove criminal penalties for consensual anal sex was Illinois in 1962.

For further reading on America’s sodomy laws click here

No More Nice Guy Gay Character on TV ‘Where is Will and Grace?’

 “Will and Grace’ There was no other gay character show before  or after

Threats to gay men’s self-esteem come in many guises, from Grindr chats that end abruptly after sending a shirtless pic, to the 16% of Britons who think gay sex should be made illegal (thanks guys), to the five remaining countries that believe we should be put to death. Until now, I hadn’t factored in that we may all be silently agonising over whether or not we compare favourably to Will Truman from TV relic Will & Grace – but according to new research, that is precisely what has been knocking our confidence.

Psychologists from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge have found that the positive portrayal of gay men on TV “can be damaging”. Apparently, gay men may have been left depressed by movies and TV shows that promote an assumption that we all must be well-dressed, emotionally available and whip-smart. The project leader, Dr Daragh McDermott, argues: “On the face of it, stereotypes associated with gay men, such as being fashionable or witty, appear positive. However, by their very nature, these stereotypes pigeonhole what it means to be gay and lead to unrealistic expectations of how gay men are expected to behave. Gay men who don’t fit the common stereotype are often marginalised for not living up to these expectations, which can have an impact on their mental health.”

If gay men are being portrayed with unrealistic positivity – which I don’t believe – perhaps that would go some way to counteract the negative stereotypes that have existed in film and TV for years. A study published in 2014 by the US gay rights campaigning organisation Glaad found that the majority of LGBT characters featured in major studio releases are still offensive or defamatory portrayals (funny that, from an industry that bankrolled Lesbian Vampire Killers).

 The Jungle Book’s villain, Shere Khan, talks (with ‘gay’ voice) to the snake, Kaa.
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 The Jungle Book’s villain, Shere Khan, talks (with ‘gay’ voice) to the snake, Kaa. Photograph: Snap/Rex/Shutterstock
In his recent documentary, Do I Sound Gay?, film-maker David Thorpe explored how Disney villains, from Captain Hook to Shere Khan, often have stereotypically “gay” voices, meaning that generations of kids have been raised to associate being gay with being evil, if kind of fabulous.
Setting aside purely negative portrayals, the results of this latest study lead me to question whether the researchers can possibly have been watching the same programmes as I have – programmes where modern gay characters are often just as complex, damaged and infuriating as their straight counterparts. Apparently not. In fact, judging from the examples cited in the findings, their televisions have been operating on a time delay of 10-20 years. Alongside Will & Grace, they refer to characters from Sex and the City and My Best Friend’s Wedding. This last one was released in 1997, which, as a pop-cultural benchmark, was the same year the Spice Girls’ debut album was nominated for the Mercury prize.

While I agree that these examples promote an unhelpful stereotype of gay men as funny, sexless sidekicks, I’m unconvinced that these are qualities most gay men aspire to (most gay men I meet just want to be Russell Tovey, but that’s another story). If these shows have had a negative impact, it’s not because they have left swaths of gay men tremoring with insecurity that they’ll never measure up to Stanford Blatch.

Yes, series such as Will & Grace and Sex and the City reinforce a two-dimensional notion of what it is to be gay – basically, you’re kinda into Liza Minnelli – but things have moved on significantly since then. Take Looking, the HBO show about a group of gay friends living in San Francisco. Among their number are Eddie, a HIV-positive outreach worker for LGBT youth, and Dom, a struggling waiter in an open relationship with an older man. All in all, a slightly more complex take on modern gay life than Jack McFarland and his Cher doll.
Fox’s hip-hop melodrama Empire has been roundly celebrated for confronting the musical genre’s history of homophobia head-on. Jussie Smollett stars as Jamal, the black sheep middle child of a record executive, who is pushed out because of his sexuality. Jarring flashbacks to his abusive childhood sit alongside more – dare I say it? amusing – flashes of pernicious prejudice, such as his formidable mother Cookie’s insistence on referring to his boyfriend as “Dora”. Despite this, it’s clear that she loves him, which feels like a rounded take on a knotty subject.

On British screens, Russell T Davies’s Cucumber was similarly nuanced, exploring the life of a middle-aged gay man in all its messy, complicated glory. The protagonist, Henry, was a grumpy, selfish narcissist, entirely disillusioned with his own life. Most of the characters were gay, but were they in any way cute or aspirational? God, no. Or, at least, not from where I was sitting.

Although the new study relies on dated characterisations, the researchers and I can agree on the need for more multifaceted gay characters – not least to quiet the vocal minority. Perhaps as more gay characters reach our screens, both aspirational and abominable, less will hinge on the few that we do see. Because no TV show can be all things to all gay people – and shouldn’t be expected to try.

Luke McAvoy Ex Lineman Comes Out: “The relief on his face will stick with me the rest of my life”

Luke McAvoy told of fear over telling his Gophers teammates, then relief.
Luke McAvoy knew he was gay in 2010, when he committed to the Gophers before his senior year of high school in Bloomington, Ill. The 6-5, 280-pound lineman shared the secret with his mother that fall. She urged him to keep it hidden, lest he give up his dream of playing college football.

McAvoy was devastated, but he heeded this advice for three-plus years. He kept his secret until former Missouri football star Michael Sam came out as gay in February 2014.

McAvoy came out that week to his closest friends on the Gophers team. Wednesday, he shared his story publicly for the first time with Outsports.com, becoming the first known Gophers football player, past or present, to be openly gay.

“Even now, I couldn’t name you more than seven gay athletes,” McAvoy said in a telephone interview. “And to help someone else have that name to tie it to — so they can see they’re not the only ones — that’s kind of what really pushed me to tell my story more publicly.”

McAvoy, 23, was on the Gophers roster from 2011 to 2014 but played only sparingly. These days, he works as a middle school teacher in Milwaukee, where his cellphone was brimming with supportive messages Wednesday.

Former Gophers punter Peter Mortell said he could tell his close friend had something serious on his mind three years ago. When McAvoy told him he was gay, Mortell replied, “I know, Luke. I know.”

“To see the relief on his face, and to see the weight lift off his shoulders, that’ll stick with me for the rest of my life,” Mortell said.

Mortell said several of McAvoy’s former teammates were surprised by Wednesday’s news.

“I worked out at the complex, and four or five guys came up to me and said, ‘Did you hear about Luke?’ ” Mortell said. “They were happy for him. Everybody was very accepting and proud of what he said.”

McAvoy told Outsport that until Sam came out, before the 2014 NFL Draft, “I don’t think I could name a single gay athlete. … I was not ready to come out publicly at the time and I don’t think the game would have accepted it. The fear that we felt consumed my thoughts each day.”

Only a handful of collegiate or professional football players have come out as gay. The list includes former Vikings defensive lineman Esera Tuaolo, and former NFL lineman Kwame Harris.

Arizona State lineman Chip Sarafin came out as gay before his senior season in 2014. Princeton lineman Mason Darrow, a current junior, also came out in an article to Outsports last September.

Asked why he didn’t come out publicly while still playing, McAvoy said, “I wasn’t the face of the team. The attention shouldn’t be on me. It should be on the people who are out there performing and truly building the team.”

McAvoy told Outsports, “The relief of just two people knowing was incredible. I felt better than I ever had. … I won’t lie and say it was all perfect; some people did not take it well. However, the support, acceptance and love I felt outweighed all the negativity.

McAvoy added: “I have one regret from my time at Minnesota: I wish I came out sooner. The reality was so much better than I ever imagined. … I was surrounded by people who cared and supported me.”

Former Gophers coach Jerry Kill said he didn’t know McAvoy was gay until he read the article. Kill said what he remembers most about McAvoy’s time at the university was how well he represented the football team.

“Luke did a tremendous amount for our athletic department,” Kill said. “He was a great teammate. He’s a giving kid, and that’s why I think he’ll be a great teacher. I’m very proud of the success he’s having.”

While McAvoy played just six snaps for the Gophers, all against Iowa as a senior in 2014, he was an Academic All-Big Ten selection and was president of the Gophers student athlete advisory council.

“It didn’t surprise me one bit that Luke had the courage and the self-awareness to step out of the shadows and speak up,” said Matt Limegrover, the Gophers former offensive line coach. “He is honestly one of the most caring and giving young men I have ever coached.”

McAvoy said the support he’s received has been “phenomenal,” especially since his article was published.

“If I had one message to leave people, it’s that it does get better,” McAvoy said. “The fear, the angst you have, while you’re hiding it — that goes away. For me, I am so much happier now, at least in that aspect of my life, than I was three years ago.”

February 10, 2016

New Hampshire Primary by the Numbers [Interactive Graph]

Rubio’s Gaffe Brought Out What the GOP Knew Internally: His Stump is Hallow inside


One of the nagging questions of the Republican primary has been why the GOP establishment hasn't united behind Marco Rubio. The move seemed obvious — they feared Donald Trump, they loathed Ted Cruz, and Rubio seemed like a more serious threat to Hillary Clinton than Jeb Bush or Chris Christie.

But it didn't happen. And it kept not happening. Even as Bush tanked and Christie struggled, Rubio got a few endorsements, but never the flood that would have signaled GOP elites were closing ranks; he raised some money, but nothing that approached Bush's early haul.

The reason for the Republican Party's reticence to back its best prospect became sort of a guessing game in punditry. Some attributed it to rumors that Rubio had skeletons in his closet — perhaps the Romney team had uncovered some serious wrongdoing when they vetted him, or maybe it was the persistent (and completely unsubstantiated) whispers that Rubio had a second family hidden away somewhere (whispers that the Bush team apparently encouraged). Others suggested it was Rubio's tendency to knife his colleagues in the back, or to disown bills he had co-sponsored.

Operatives of rival campaigns, had said the case they were making was simpler. Rubio, they said, wasn't ready. He was a stump speech attached to a pretty face. He had no accomplishments and no executive experience, and he was going to fall apart under pressure. They argued that pundits who dipped in and out of the campaign thought Rubio was a good speaker, but if you watched him closely you learned he only had that one speech, and he delivered it the exact same way every single time.

I didn't take this critique very seriously. Presidential campaigns don't actually reward experience — if they did, John McCain would have wiped the floor with Barack Obama, and if he didn't, it would only have been because Hillary Clinton did it first. As for the criticism that Rubio was too reliant on his excellent stump speech, that seemed like sour grapes from campaigns that were desperately searching for even one speech that connected with voters.

And then Saturday's debate happened. What Christie did at the debate was take the case being made quietly against Rubio and shout it into a microphone. He said, aloud, that Rubio had no accomplishments, no executive experience, and nothing to fall back on except the robotic repetition of his stump speech. And then Rubio, disastrously, fell back on the robotic repetition of his stump speech. And then he did it again. And again. It was like his "repeat" button jammed.

There's a good case to be made that Rubio's glitch at the debate won't matter. As my colleague Andrew Prokop notes, Cruz was thought to have had a bad debate right before the Iowa caucuses, but he won anyway. And who knows? Maybe Republican voters agree with Rubio that it's of paramount important to establish that Obama is an evil genius rather than a bumbling fool.

It will matter! and the reason it will matter is that this is what the other campaigns have been privately saying about Marco Rubio all along — that he just isn't ready to be the nominee. Before Saturday, it was a convincing enough message that the Republican Party hadn't united around Rubio, despite the obvious benefits of doing so. After Saturday, the argument has a lot more force.

Gaffes matter when they confirm underlying doubts about a candidate. That's why Rick Perry's "oops" moment echoed so far and wide — it validated suspicions that Perry wasn't quite up to the rigors of the campaign. If the same thing had happened to Romney, it would've been a one-day story, because Romney was a PowerPoint presentation reincarnated as a human being — no one believed he couldn't remember a bullet-pointed list of three items.

Rubio's stumble on Saturday was an "oops" moment; it confirmed underlying doubts about his candidacy — doubts that the rival campaigns have been whispering in Republican ears for months now, with surprising success. If you're a Republican donor today, you're not looking to push Christie and Bush and Kasich out of the race so you can ensure Rubio gets to stand on a stage debating Hillary Clinton. Instead, you're less sure than ever whether you want Rubio on stage with Clinton at all.

The hope for Team Rubio was that they would build on their surprisingly strong third place in Iowa with a surprisingly strong second place in New Hampshire — and the dual displays of competence and momentum would help persuade the Republican Party to do the obvious thing and united behind Rubio's candidacy. But now Rubio has raised doubts inside the Republican Party and hopes inside the other campaigns, and the party is more worried about uniting behind him than ever.

This doesn't mean Rubio is finished, of course. He's hardly the first promising primary candidate to stumble amid the heat of the race, and this is hardly the worst crisis a promising candidate has ever faced. In 2008, Obama was caught on tape saying that rural voters get "bitter" and then "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them." In 1992, Bill Clinton had to admit to an extramarital affair with Gennifer Flowers on the eve of the New Hampshire primary.

If Rubio really is as good a candidate as he's seemed at certain times in this race, he has plenty of time to prove that Saturday night was an aberration and win the nomination. But insofar as he was hoping to unite the party around him after New Hampshire, that’s no longer going to happen.

"This situation also shows that age is no certification of when a candidate might be ready to be President. Depending on ones experiences and intellect one might be ready at 35 and other might not be ready until 65.” Says Adam Gonzalez Publisher of this blog. 

4) Faced with a genuinely new situation, Rubio could not figure out what to do …. and so stumbled into doing precisely the wrong thing
5) The big question about Rubio is: can this untested novice cope with the demands of the presidency?

The Philippines Gets hit by the HIV Bullet it had otherwise Dodged

Cebu City has been listed as one of the areas of the Philippines with the highest increase in HIV cases.
 (Veejay Villafranca / Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting)

Increasing HIV infection rates are raising fears that the Philippines will be faced with a public health crisis that it has long escaped.

Since the Philippines reported its first case of HIV in 1984, the island nation has had one of the lowest rates of infection in the world; less than 1% of its 100 million population has been infected with the virus that causes AIDS.

But that may be changing.

Globally, new HIV infections have fallen dramatically in recent years, according to UNAIDS, the United Nations’ program to combat the disease. But in the Philippines, more than 20,000 new HIV infections were reported from 2010 to 2015 — more than four times as many as had been recorded in the 26 years before that. 

Along with India and Pakistan, the Philippines is seeing new infections and AIDS-related deaths sharply rise among men who have sex with men and among transgender women, sex workers and people who inject drugs.

A nationwide study conducted by the Department of Health showed that in some areas, infection rates among these groups were higher than 5%.

“That 5% threshold is like a tipping point,” said Dr. Genesis Samonte, head of the department’s HIV/AIDS monitoring and tracking unit. “There is already a large base of people who have the virus, so the rate of infection will be exponentially faster.” 

“No one is saying ‘national emergency’ yet, but a lot of people are thinking it,” said HIV activist Tony Benfield.

Benfield, 53, vividly remembers the early days of AIDS, in the 1980s, when HIV had yet to be discovered as its cause and men were dying from what was called “gay cancer.”

“I lost many friends then. It offends and angers me that I continue to lose friends today,” Benfield said. “Back then, we called it for what it was. ‘He died of AIDS,’ we would say.”

 Rina and Gabby Cardinas, who have both been HIV positive for more than 10 years, live in a small town outside Cebu City, Philippines.
 (Veejay Villafranca / Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting)

But 30 years and many medical advancements later, HIV-related deaths are shrouded by attributing them to more socially acceptable diseases such as “hard-core pneumonia” or “brain tumor.”

In 2009, Benfield was working for a nongovernmental organization when he began offering free HIV screening and counseling to friends through home test kits. Covering the cost of the $2 test kit himself, he would go out in his spare time to parking lots of malls or coffee shops to meet people — anywhere but the homes, offices or schools where they could be recognized.

It was basic but utilitarian. And it was better than the other options available at the time: government-run testing centers where clients could wait most of a day to receive their test, or private hospitals that charged as much as $100.

Benfield’s testing service spread, initially through word of mouth, later through social media. But as it grew, so did the problem.

“Before, one out of five tested positive,” Benfield said. “Now, it’s more like four out of five. It’s depressing.” 

In 2012, Benfield and some friends opened Sustained Health Initiatives in the Philippines, a small private HIV testing clinic. Benfield considered it a memorial of sorts to a friend he had lost to HIV-related complications. He did not know the friend was HIV-positive until after he had died.

“It’s a train wreck coming. Can’t anybody else see that?” Benfield said.

The government did see it — as far back as 2009, when new HIV infections showed their first jump. Health officials noted that the virus, formerly transmitted primarily by female sex workers, now was being spread largely by men having sex with men. 

The increase hit some areas especially hard. Cebu City in the central Philippines saw one of the biggest explosions in infection rates.

More than 70% of the total HIV infections are now attributed to men having unprotected sex with other men. Most of them are in the 25-34 age group. 

The Health Department puts AIDS-related deaths since 1984 at 1,501. But health experts and activists alike say the number is grossly understated, with many deaths quietly passed off as pneumonia or meningitis.

From January to November 2015, there were 415 HIV-related deaths.

“That’s more than one death every day — of mostly young gay men. Ignoring this is like saying that the deaths of gay men don’t matter,” said Jonas Bagas, former executive director of the Library Foundation, one of the first HIV awareness and advocacy groups in the Philippines.

The Health Department forecasts total HIV infections will reach 133,000 by 2022 if the current trend continues.

“To reverse the increase in infections, we need to increase condom use and bring it up to the level of 80%. We need to get people tested and get them on treatment,” said Samonte. 

Increasing condom use among men who have sex with men from its current level of 44% will mean overcoming social, religious and legal obstacles. Condoms are only sold in convenience stores and drug stores — mostly behind the counter.

In the heavily Roman Catholic country, condom ads and public service campaigns on HIV/AIDS are muted by protests from religious groups, which see them as promoting promiscuity.

And existing laws bar minors from getting an HIV test or being offered condoms from public health clinics without parental consent.

“It no longer responds to the current HIV situation,” said Rom Dongeto, executive director of the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development. “Isn’t it baffling that the government has no massive and sustained information campaign about HIV and AIDS, given this dramatic increase in new infections? This is a public health issue that is exploding as we speak.” 

A commercial sex worker puts on her makeup while  waiting for customers in Cebu City, Philippines. (Veejay Villafranca / Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting)
The government is considering incorporating HIV education into public school curricula to catch risky behavior before it starts.

Bic Bic Chua, executive director of Catholics for Reproductive Health, decried a recent decision by Congress to eliminate the Health Department’s contraceptive budget.

“We are running a race against time — against increasing maternal deaths, increasing teen pregnancies and increasing HIV rates. Nobody wins. We will all lose,” said Chua.

Santos is a special correspondent. Reporting for this story was supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Ana Santos, Manila

February 9, 2016

Homophobes Don’t care if Gays were Born That Way


For decades activists have worked tirelessly to spread the message that sexual orientation is not a choice—a fight that Lady Gaga took to pulsing heights in 2011 with her hit anthem “Born This Way.” And over time, the message has begun to take hold. While in 1985 only about 20% of Americans believed that people are born gay, that figure more than doubled to around 47% in 2015, according to the Pew Research Center.

But what if teaching that gay people are “born that way” isn’t the most effective way to erase homophobia? A new study reveals that even those who believe sexual orientation is not a choice can be homophobic—just as those who know race is not a choice can be racist. Do activists, community leaders, and even parents need to tweak their message?

For the study, published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, researchers from the University of Tennessee and University of Missouri-Colombia recruited 645 college students to answer questions about their beliefs involving sexual orientation. Respondents were presented with statements such as “It is impossible to truly change one’s sexual orientation,” then asked to rate each statement’s validity on a scale of one to five, with one being “strongly disagree” and five being “strongly agree.” Others statements included:

“Sexual orientation is a category with distinct boundaries: A person is either gay/lesbian or heterosexual.”
“People who share the same sexual orientation pursue common goals.”
“It’s useful to group people according to their sexual orientation.”
Based on their answers, participants were given scores in the four categories below. The higher the score in a category, the more the person endorsed that particular belief:

Discreteness: Sexual orientation groups are clear and have and non-overlapping boundaries. Thus being gay makes you completely different than being bi or being straight.
Homogeneity: Believing that members of a certain sexual orientation are all similar to one another.
Naturalness: Belief that someone did not choose their sexual orientation, but rather they are born that way.

Informativeness: By knowing someone’s sexual orientation (SO) you can glean other information about them. In other words, their identity is tied to their SO.
The researchers discovered that many participants scored very high on the naturalness scale—meaning they endorsed the idea that being gay is not a choice. However, many simultaneously scored high in the other categories, which measured “homonegative” beliefs.

So what does this reveal? People may be fine saying, “sure, they’re born that way”—but they may also hold beliefs that suggest that being gay makes someone fundamentally different as a human, and thus opens the door for prejudice and discrimination.

“We found that most of respondents believe that sexual minorities are ‘born that way,’ and that sexual orientation is not changeable,” Patrick Grzanka, a professor of psychology at the University of Tennessee and the study’s co-author, told me over e-mail. However, he continued, “We found that people who are high in all four of these beliefs were more likely to be straight, and that people high in all four of these beliefs were more likely to be homophobic.”

In other words, homophobia is not always revealed by a person’s belief in naturalness, but in an endorsement of other beliefs as well.

If you think this sounds nuanced, you’re right—but it’s also vital information. In order for the LGBT community to gain equal rights across the board, we must find a way to combat homophobia at it’s source: how people think.

“The promotion of ‘born this way’ ideology is not likely to substantially reduce homophobia,” Grzanka argues. “We need to target these other beliefs, which are largely absent in conversations about the nature and origin of sexual orientation.”

Suzanna Walters, the director of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Northeastern University and the author of the book The Tolerance Trap: How God, Genes, and Good Intentions are Sabotaging Gay Equality, agrees—and believes our culture is at a tipping point, in which the “born this way” argument may even start to do more harm than good.

“Historically, biological arguments for identity are largely used in the service of quite heinous political movements like slavery, the Holocaust, and the history of racism,” she told me.

So it’s no shock that people who believe sexual orientation is biological may also harbor homophobic beliefs, she continued, because, on some level, they believe being gay is abnormal.

The “born this way” argument is problematic “because it presumes that there is something wrong there,” she said. “No one is looking for the straight gene. Why are straight people the way they are? We look for causes for things we already think are problems.”
Grzanka, the author of the study, made a point to clarify that the purpose of his research is not to determine why sexual orientation varies. “We are NOT interested in what makes people gay,” he told me, but rather in “better understanding what people believe sexual orientation is, and the implications of those beliefs for social attitudes.”

As Walters points out, “the idea that we can isolate some thing called sexuality and test it is a crazy way of thinking about sexuality. I mean, are we looking at sexual identity? Desire? Sexuality? Sexual acts?” she asked, adding, “How many acts constitute an identity?”

Her suggestion for the path forward is simple: “I think the answer is—however you experience your sexuality, you experience it, but it shouldn’t be a part of the public discourse on civil rights.”

Going forward we most emphasize our humanity and equality to any other person. Just like blacks did not emphasized that they were born black but that they were no smarter or less than anyone else. They could perform what the whites could wether it was to die for our country or be a Doctor saving lives. We are a community that has its bad apples but its got also its Diamonds. Wether in sports, politics, science or the arts we have people that excel. Being that so many of us have come out in different sections of the economic scale we can point out examples of great stars on Broadways or the movies. We have poor gays and rich gays. We need to emphasize not the uniqueness but what makes us as special as any human being, in other words our humanity and what makes just as human as anybody else. 
As we defend our humanity we most be careful not to trample on other people’s humanity. Either because they are immigrants or poor we can’t be doing to others what others do unto us. I have seen how many gays have been quickly to judge other people that are being rejected because the color of their skin not realizing that they are putting on the robes of homophobes to judge others. Having been rejected by many should instill a sense of compassion and understanding toward other minorities.

Gay Voter to Rubio “Why do You Want me Back in the Closet”

 Timothy Kierstead spoke to Senator Marco Rubio during a campaign stop in Manchester, N.H., on Monday.Credit Jewel Samad/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

N.H. – A middle-age gay man confronted Senator Marco Rubio here on Monday over his opposition to same-sex marriage, pointedly asking, “Why do you want to put me back in the closet?”

“I don’t,” Mr. Rubio replied. “You can live any way you want.”

The tense exchange inside the Puritan Backroom diner ended with Mr. Rubio walking away and the displeased voter calling him a “typical politician.”

Mr. Rubio, who is seeking to win over conservatives, is seldom asked about gay rights at his campaign stops. But courting voters in a crowded New Hampshire diner on the eve of the primary is an unpredictable business.

The voter, who identified himself as Timothy Kierstead, was seated at a table with his mother and his husband when Mr. Rubio walked up behind him, according to pool reports of the encounter. During a brief conversation, Mr. Kierstead, 50, told Mr. Rubio that he was married but complained that the senator’s position amounted to him declaring that “we don’t matter.”

Mr. Rubio, who was standing with his youngest son, Dominick, 8, by his side, gently disagreed. “No, I just believe marriage is between one man and one woman.”

“Well,” replied Mr. Kierstead, “that’s your belief.”

Mr. Rubio continued: “I think that’s what the law should be. And if you don’t agree you should have the law changed by a legislature.”

Mr. Kierstead said the law had already been changed, referring either to a Supreme Court ruling that has legalized same-sex marriage across the country or to state legislation in New Hampshire that did the same.

Mr. Rubio decided to conclude their conversation. “I respect your view,” he said, patting Mr. Kierstead on the shoulder and starting to walk away.

Mr. Kierstead was unsatisfied. “Typical politician,” he said loudly. “Walk away.”

In an interview afterward, Mr. Kierstead offered a portrait of his life: He owns a restaurant in Manchester, and he and his husband have three children. He is a registered independent and said he would cast his vote for a Democrat on Tuesday because Republicans did not support his right to marry.

“They want to take my rights away as a citizen of the United States,” said Kierstead said.

“Love is love,” he added. “People don’t choose who they are going to love.”

Mr. Kierstead said his mother and husband had approved of his confrontation with Mr. Rubio, for the most part. “He knew I wouldn’t shut up,” he said of his spouse.

Sexuality, it seems, was a recurring theme during Mr. Rubio’s visit to the diner. A different patron in the same restaurant, a 92-year-old woman, asked Mr. Rubio about the personal life of Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

“He’s a bachelor, right?” the woman asked.

“He is,” Mr. Rubio said.

Then she asked, “Is he gay?”

Mr. Rubio chuckled. “No,” he replied.

Bill Clinton Comes Out Fuming Against Sander’s Campaign Treatment of Hillary


Bill Clinton launched a sustained attack on Bernie Sanders at a New Hampshire campaign rally Sunday, tearing into the senator's rhetoric against Hillary Clinton and picking apart his spending plans.

The former president appeared angry as he poured scorn on his wife's opponent, portraying the Sanders campaign as dishonest and his healthcare proposals as unrealistic.

Bill Clinton said Sanders' message was "hermetically-sealed" from reality and ridiculed its implication that "anybody that doesn't agree... is a tool of the establishment.'"

The remarks late Sunday in New Hampshire marked a significant escalation in the language Bill Clinton has used on the campaign trail and came as polls suggest Sanders could be headed for a clear victory in the state's upcoming primary.

Bill Clinton appeared visibly frustrated at criticism over his wife's ties to Wall Street as he spoke to a crowd of about 300 at a middle school in Milford, New Hampshire.

"She's getting it from the right, she's getting it from the left," he said. "If she were really so weak on Wall Street, would there really be two hedge fund managers setting up two super PACs and spending millions of dollars to attack her? No, they'd be attacking her opponent.

"But they're not, they're attacking her. Because they know that she's got a stronger plan and they know that when she says she's going to do something, she's going to do it," Bill Clinton told the crowd.
He also called Sanders' healthcare plan unnecessary, saying that even progressive experts agree the costs "don't add up."

"You can't offer a healthcare program [if] you don't know what it costs," Bill Clinton said. "And we don't need to do it … just implement the law we've got, fix the payment systems and get the drug prices down."

The former president also hit out at the Sanders campaign for "looting information from our computers" — likening the episode to stealing a car with the keys in the ignition — and sent a message to young voters, who polls have suggested currently favor Sanders over Hillary Clinton by as much as two to one.

“Free college for everyone sounds better than what I said … [but] we can’t afford everything," Bill Clinton told the audience. 

He set out his wife's record of achievements, contrasting them with the rhetoric of the Sanders campaign.

"It makes you feel good to condemn but it makes more difference if you make something happen," he said.

In closing, Bill Clinton echoed a refrain his wife has been using while campaigning.

"All that matters is whether people are better off when you quit than when you started," he said. “We're going to turn anger into answers, transform resentment into empowerment.


George Bush Comes out for his Bro:
Associated Press
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — The Latest on the race for president in the window between the Republican and Democratic debates and the 2016 New Hampshire presidential primary on Tuesday: (all times local):
9:45 p.m.
Viewers watching the Super Bowl in New Hampshire and South Carolina have seen former President George W. Bush's first public appearance for his brother's presidential campaign.
The Right to Rise Super PAC supporting Jeb Bush ran the ads during the second half of Sunday's game on local television in New Hampshire and South Carolina.
With his recognizable Texas accent, the former president looks into the camera saying, "I know Jeb. I know his good heart and his strong backbone."
Images of the White House, airmen on the deck of an aircraft carrier and what appears to be a post-Sept. 11, 2001, candlelight vigil intermingle with the former president.
George W. Bush says that experience and judgment count and that his brother is a leader who will keep the country safe.”

February 8, 2016

Marco Rubio Might Have Glitch His own Campaign by Debate Performance


N.H. — Marco Rubio’s robotic debate performance Saturday night sparked an all-out offensive on the campaign trail here Sunday over his authenticity and experience, momentarily halting the momentum of the senator from Florida and further muddling the presidential nomination battle.

Just two days before the New Hampshire primary, Rubio drew mockery for repeating a rehearsed line four times during the Republican candidates’ debate, even after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had ridiculed him for being a talking-point machine.

Rubio received scathing reviews on the Sunday talk shows and was needled by some of his opponents. On Twitter, he earned the moniker “Rubio bot.” Clips of the debate played repeatedly on cable news and were watched hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube.
The episode interrupted Rubio’s week-long effort to build on his impressive third-place showing in the Iowa caucuses and consolidate donors and party officials behind him. It also appeared to give new life to the struggling candidacies of Christie, former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, while improving Donald Trump’s chances of winning the New Hampshire Republican primary.

The fallout for Rubio over the long term could be severe. His GOP rivals argued Sunday that the debate undercut the central case for Rubio’s candidacy — that his political agility and youthful, charismatic persona make him best positioned to challenge the Democratic nominee.

 New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during a town hall meeting Sunday in Hampton, N.H. (Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)
[Here’s what Rubio’s ‘glitch’ of an answer was supposed to mean]

And they claimed a renewed — and seemingly justifiable — rationale to soldier on past New Hampshire, which would mean that the mainstream Republican vote would probably continue to splinter among several candidates.

“The whole race changed last night,” Christie said Sunday on CNN. “There was a march amongst some in the chattering class to anoint Senator Rubio. I think after last night, that’s over. I think there could be four or five tickets now out of New Hampshire because the race is so unsettled now.”

Bush also sounded reinvigorated by the difficulties of the otherwise polished Rubio, his onetime Florida protege who has overshadowed him all year. “I envy the people that have, you know, message discipline, to say the same thing over and over again,” Bush told a standing-room-only crowd in Salem. “Sometimes it doesn’t work out.”

Kasich, buoyed by a solid debate performance, refused opportunities Sunday to go after others and instead asked New Hampshire voters to affirm on Tuesday his “unifying positive message.”

Rubio, for his part, came out swinging in a series of events. He was defiant as he defended his debate-night talking point that portrayed President Obama as a wily operator who has succeeded in enacting a liberal agenda.

“I’m going to say it again,” Rubio told a gathering in Londonderry. “The reason why these things are in trouble is because Barack Obama is the first president, at least in my lifetime, that wants to change the country.”

 Supporters reach out for photos and autographs from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump after a campaign rally Sunday in Holderness, N.H. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
[Marco Rubio doubles down on repetition in post-debate rally]

Nonetheless, the debate haunted Rubio on Sunday. In the parking lot at his campaign stop in Hudson, someone placed photocopies of the Boston Herald’s front page — which showed a picture of Rubio with the headline “Choke!” — under the windshield wipers of cars.
[Washington Post]

Sara Palin Might Have Endorse the Wrong Man with Opposing Politics

Sarah Palin's attempts for a quick exit after Trump lost in Iowa failed spectacularly yesterday after she got stuck at Des Moines airport with 'media jackals' and a group of inquisitive students on a political field trip.
The former governor of Alaska, who predicted The Donald would take the Republican vote, had little to say after his defeat, fleeing the rally and declining to speak to any of those in attendance, according to multiple sources on the scene.
But if Palin thought she could dodge questions about her candidate in the Iowa caucus, she was mistaken after her flight was delayed due to bad weather, leaving her stranded with political journalists and the group of sixth graders.

Sara Palin has a problem: She endorsed a candidate too early before the first primary or caucus. Thinking that Trump had been ahead and will continue the trend she endorsed him; The problem is her politics are closer to Cruz. Cruz is the Ultra conservative with ideas of what used to be called the tea party. She wanted the winning horse even if it had the wrong spots but now if her candidate continues to be right under Cruz what is a girl to do? Knowing that she can fired in any direction including to her own foot..Stay tuned!
Palin was confronted at Des Moines airport with a group of inquisitive students on a political field trip after Trump's defeat at the Iowa caucus  
Palin was confronted at Des Moines airport with a group of inquisitive students on a political field trip
 after Trump's defeat at the Iowa caucus
The Republican had tried to make a swift exit from Iowa after predicting Trump would win but found her flight was delayed
The Republican had tried to make a swift exit from Iowa after predicting Trump would win but found her flight was delayed

The Santa Monica class, who had traveled from California to the caucus on a field trip, quizzed Palin  while she waited for her flight as she stuck by her choice of Trump for president.
'Trump is my favorite candidate' she insisted, saying she had enjoyed the caucus despite the result.
'It's exciting when it's that close,' she told them.
The former Republican vice president candidate swiftly brought the interview to a close after her daughter Willow claimed a reporter had been rude, the Washington Street Journal reported. 

NY Preparing to Stop Therapists Trying to Change Sexual Orientation of Youth


New York is taking steps to stop therapists from trying to change young people's sexual orientation, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday, joining a number of states that have acted against what's known as gay conversion therapy.

The Democratic governor's move, announced Saturday, comes as gay rights advocates have campaigned state by state with mixed results to try to ban a practice that major mental health organizations have repudiated.

Using executive power in a state where legislative bids to ban the therapy have stalled, Cuomo announced planned regulations that would bar insurance coverage for the therapy for minors and prohibit mental health facilities under state Office of Mental Health jurisdiction from offering it to minors.

"Conversion therapy is a hateful and fundamentally flawed practice" that punishes people "for simply being who they are," Cuomo said in a statement.

It's unclear how prevalent the practice is in New York. Cuomo's office didn't immediately respond to inquiries Saturday; nor did a handful of New York mental health organizations. A spokeswoman for the New York Health Plan Association, an insurers' group, was unsure.

Insurers will wonder whether the new regulations will obligate them to investigate whether any given mental health visit was for conversion therapy, spokeswoman Leslie Moran said.

Nationwide, there are no firm figures on the extent of conversion therapy. But proponents and critics have said it is not rare for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths to undergo some sort of program aimed at changing their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

The American Psychological Association and other mental health groups say conversion therapy, sometimes called reparative therapy, wrongly treats being gay as a mental illness and may make young people feel ashamed, anxious and depressed. Democratic President Barack Obama's administration called last year for an end to the practice.

Chad Griffin, president of the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, commended Cuomo's action.

"No young person should be coerced or subjected to this dangerous so-called therapy," Griffin said in a statement.

Cuomo was presented with the group's National Equality Award on Saturday night and told an audience his action "rejected fundamentally the absurd notion that being gay is a psychiatric disorder."

But supporters of the therapy say prohibiting it limits treatment options and undermines religious liberty.

Minors "should have access to professionally based, ethically directed care that assesses, clarifies and aligns with their deeply-held values, faith and life goals," Carrie Gordon Earll, the public policy vice president of the conservative Christian ministry Focus on the Family, said by email Saturday. She said the group opposes efforts like New York's.

California, Oregon, Illinois, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., and Cincinnati have outlawed the practice. But efforts to ban it have fallen short in several other places, including Colorado, Nevada and Iowa.

In New York, a ban has passed the Democrat-controlled state Assembly twice. But it has gotten nowhere in the Republican-led Senate.

The new regulations wouldn’t apply to counseling that discusses but doesn’t try to change sexual orientation or gender identity. [AP]

February 6, 2016

Sanders and Trump Seem to be Ahead by a hair but ISIS Could Undo Both


Some might ask why Trump? (getting undone now)Trump has no particulars on how to address the ISIS problem. For voters that don’t know a single thing about ISIS and their strength you could fool them by saying you are going to “kick their asses” like trump has said. Reality tells most people you need to have a strategy. ISIS not being a nation like Iran which you can attack in a cohesive manner. As a matter of fact you can’t even say you are going to kick any nation butt’s with a lot of manpower. We saw it even in nations we attacked after the Spanish-American war. We could not beat Korea, Vietnam which were and are third world nations and even on WW2 we know how many men we lost and years it took to beat Japan (The Americans were the only strong power fighting Japan since Japan attacked the US and everyone else was busy with Germany) and only then we had to use the Atomic bomb.

Coming back to Trump, eventually he is going to have to set a coarse on how to deal with foreign policy which he knows nothing about.

On the Number one on Iowa is a Senator who is vastly disliked by his peers and people that get close to him. He also has not set fourth a comprehensive plan dealing with foreign problems. The politician down the line is Rubio. A Senator not known for his smart remarks or position on foreign policy but he is likable particularly with women. I am not sure that the GOP women would be looking at his hands when he shows on a map what he plans to do with ISIS. It will be foolish this early to make predictions, particularly when there is a lot of money waiting on the side lines, like the Bushes and others which could kinked the plans of the current running group. This is a strange season for the GOP in which they have a bunch of very unlikeable candidates, nationally that is. I don’t see a North Eastern rich dude with no manners and no political knowledge winning  many primaries by literally cursing out the opposition. Changes will happen as we go into the regular primary season. 

In the last Democratic debate before the New Hampshire primary, Hillary Clinton went on the attack against Bernie Sanders. The former secretary of state did so by focusing on the Vermont senator’s perceived weak spot: foreign policy.

Given that many voters seem to care a great deal about America’s role in the world, that could yet prove a fatal vulnerability.

Sanders, who polls predict will win easily in New Hampshire on Tuesday, appeared to be out of his depth when pressed about how his administration would handle foreign policy issues.

Two particular stumbles stood out. First, when asked about the presence of US ground troops in Afghanistan, Sanders replied: “We can’t continue to do it alone.” America isn’t alone in Afghanistan, where the Nato coalition is still present; Sanders’ answer was far more relevant to US troops in Iraq.

Live Sanders and Trump lead as New Hampshire vote looms – campaign live
Live coverage of another day on the primary election trail after Clinton puts Sanders on the defensive in heated Democrat debate
Second, when asked whether North Korea, Iran or Russia posed the greatest threat to the US, Sanders said Islamic State did. Pressed further, Sanders said North Korea, “because it is such an isolated country run by a handful of dictators, or maybe just one”.

Clinton’s vote for the Iraq war – when she was a senator from New York – could also leave her vulnerable but the former secretary of state was quick to shift the focus back to Sanders’ inexperience, saying: “When New Hampshire voters go on Tuesday to cast your vote, you are voting both for a president and a commander in chief.”

But does foreign policy even matter to those who were watching the debate and making up their minds?

In short, yes. It might even be fair to describe foreign policy as the defining issue of this election, if public polling from Pew Research Center is to be believed.

 Threat perception, according to the Pew Research Center. Photograph: Pew Research Center
In December 2011, US adults were asked about the most important issues facing the country on the eve of the 2012 election: 55% mentioned economic concerns and only 6% mentioned foreign affairs.

When Pew offered the same options to respondents in December 2015, only 23% chose economic concerns – and 32% said foreign affairs.

More specifically, terrorism is a growing issue. In December 2014, just 1% of respondents said terrorism was the most important issue facing the country. A year later, that had risen to 18%.

There are, however, clear partisan divides here. Republicans are much more likely than Democrats to say that Iran’s nuclear programme, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and China’s power are the top threats to national security. Democrats are almost as likely to consider global climate change a national threat as Isis.

Unless Sanders can build confidence in his ability to handle foreign policy (or convince Democrats that the economic issues which form the centerpiece of his electoral platform are the most pressing facing the country) his efforts to reach the White House may well be in trouble.

With the New Hampshire primary just three days away, a poll from CNN and WMUR published on Monday morning is particularly interesting.

The survey is based on interviews with 837 adults in New Hampshire before the Iowa caucuses and 556 adults after them. Not all the individuals questioned said they planned to vote in either party’s primary, and the margin of error on these numbers is over 5%. In other words, be cautious interpreting these numbers.
The poll suggests Sanders has not been harmed by his very narrow defeat in Iowa. The Senator could win 61% of support in New Hampshire; Clinton is backed by just 30% of possible voters.

Those numbers are largely consistent with the averages Real Clear Politics creates across dozens of polls, which also suggest that Sanders has a 31% lead.

Another poll, from NBC/WSJ/Marist and published on Thursday, tells a slightly different story. The 2,551 adults interviewed 2-3 February gave Sanders a 20% lead on Clinton.

Finally, a survey from the Lowell Center for Public Opinion suggests the race is even tighter, with just 15% between the two Democratic candidates.

Among Republicans, polls published since the Iowa caucus suggest a slight dip in support for Donald Trump, but not enough to make a dent in his considerable lead in the state. An average of all polls currently suggests Trump is 17% ahead of his closest rival in the state, Marco Rubio. The Florida senator overtook Ted Cruz two days ago – a trend that might yet be reversed.
The Guardian

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