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Open thread 9/28


This is an open thread. We’ll post any breaking news.


  • 1. ianbirmingham  |  September 28, 2020 at 7:07 pm

    Marriage Equality Is ‘in Danger,’ Says Supreme Court Victor Jim Obergefell

    Obergefell is far from alone in his concern, which is echoed by LGBTQ groups and campaigners. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has called Judge Barrett an “absolute threat to LGBTQ rights,” pointing to her questioning the role of the Supreme Court in ruling on marriage equality, and her opinion that the text of Title IX does not extend to explicitly protect transgender students. At a 2016 lecture Judge Barrett referred to transgender women as “physiological males.”

    Obergefell, who lives in Columbus, Ohio, said President Trump’s appointment of more than 200 judges in lower courts made marriage equality legislation even more vulnerable to challenge at the Supreme Court.

    To LGBTQ people feeling as alarmed by Judge Barrett’s likely appointment as he does, Obergefell said he also has felt “terrified and hopeless at times recently. But I would say: ‘Don’t lose hope. Don’t give up the fight.’ Even though at a federal level, things are looking scary, there’s still an awful lot we can do at the local, state, and city level.”

    Obergefell paused. “I would also say we owe it to Justice Ginsburg to keep fighting. She was our advocate. She was our ally. She was so important to our community and other marginalized communities that we can’t let her down. She worked long into her life, long past when others would retire. She did that for us. So no matter how disheartened, terrified, and afraid we are, we have to keep fighting because we owe it to Ruth.”

  • 2. VIRick  |  September 29, 2020 at 1:19 pm

    Eric Trump Loudly Trumpets That He Is LGBT

    Eric Trump probably should have warned his wife before making his grand announcement on Fox News (or alternatively, should have had someone explain to him precisely what "LGBT community" even means before declaring his gushing affinity to said community):

    In curious language that sounds during an initial listen as if one of Trump’s "illustrious" sons is coming out, Eric Trump said on Tuesday, 28 September 2020, that members of the LGBTQ community are behind his father in the presidential election, despite Trump’s anti-LGBTQ record, and the polling numbers suggesting the contrary.

    “The LGBT community, they are incredible,” Eric Trump said on Fox News. “And you should see how they come out in full force for my father every single day, ‘I’m part of that community, and we love the man, and thank you for protecting our neighborhoods, and thank you for protecting our cities.'”

  • 3. VIRick  |  September 30, 2020 at 7:04 am

    Last Night's "Presidential Debate" Was Neither Presidential Nor a Debate

    Whatever it was, it proved to be a non-stop 90-minute shit show on the part of a so-called sitting president. Not once was there any mention of any aspect of one of the concocted "big issues" from the 2016 election, neither as a continuing "threat," nor as an accomplished achievement that has been "remedied;" namely, there was absolutely no mention of anything whatsoever "Latino" in any shape or form. Apparently, all those murderers and rapists sneaking over the southern border simply evaporated. And the "wall?" What happened to it? It was never even mentioned, neither as having been constructed as some kind of ultimate "deterrent," nor as a work still in progress. And there was no mention of any other aspect pertaining to immigration or asylum, whatsoever, in any of its multiple ramifications and permutations.

    Instead, what happened last night was even more ominous, as it appeared to be an unbridled attack on the integrity of the upcoming election results. Last time, the Latinos were the bad guys. This time, all Democrats (in both senses) were the bad guys.

    Whatever else was planned for future "debates" should now be cancelled.

  • 4. VIRick  |  September 30, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    The Latest Polls: Georgia and South Carolina, 2 October 2020

    For President, the Quinnipiac poll for Georgia now shows Biden ahead by 50-47%.

    For the regular US Senate seat from Georgia, the Quinnipiac poll shows Ossoff (D) ahead 49-48% over the incumbent, Perdue (R).

    In the "jungle" primary for Isakson's unfinished term, Warnock (D) is now ahead 31-23-22-9% over Loeffler (R), Collins (R), and Lieberman (9).

    For President, in South Carolina, a state which had not previously been overly competitive, the Quinnipiac poll now shows Biden behind by only 1%, 47-48%.

    For the US Senate seat from South Carolina, according to Quinnipiac, Harrison (D) is now tied with the incumbent, Graham (R), 48-48%.

    Although ABC/FiveThirtyEight still shows South Carolina "leaning Republican," Georgia has been moved from that category to that of being a "toss-up."

  • 5. ianbirmingham  |  October 1, 2020 at 4:15 pm

    LGBTQ activists in Iraq will 'not hesitate' to keep on protesting despite threats

    Violence against LGBTQ people in Iraq has a long history. Under the government of former President Saddam Hussein, members of the Saddam Fedayeen loyalist militia – led by Hussein's notoriously violent son Uday – would torture and kill men believed to be gay.

    Following Hussein's overthrow by the US-led coalition in 2003, numerous armed groups sprung up across Iraq, some backed by Iran. Many have launched campaigns against homosexuality, and in at least one instance, in 2014, Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia released a wanted list with the names of men they claimed to be homosexual.

    Islamic State (IS), which seized control of much of Iraq in 2014, also became notorious for their public executions of allegedly gay men.

    Amir Ashour, executive director of gay rights group IraQueer, said the LGBTQ community in Iraq has been subjected to all kinds of verbal and physical violence, adding that local and international organisations have documented killing campaigns of LGBTQ people in every year since 2006, with more than 220 LGBTQ people killed in 2017.

    In May, a number of European embassies raised the rainbow LGBTQ flag to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, sparking an outcry from a number of Iraqi politicians and religious figures.

    [Iraqi cleric & political leader Muqtada al-Sadr] issued a warning to the European Union mission in Iraq, describing homosexuals as mentally ill and in need of treatment, while his office handed the European Union mission a letter of protest over the incident.

  • 6. ianbirmingham  |  October 1, 2020 at 6:48 pm

    GLAAD poll: 75% of LGBTQ voters support Biden & 17% back Trump

    According to GLAAD’s State of LGBTQ Voters report, released Thursday, just 17 percent of the respondents said they were pulling the lever for President Donald Trump. Five percent said they plan to back another candidate and 2 percent remain undecided. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percent.

    92 percent said they were “definitely or probably” voting in the presidential election — and over 80 percent said they felt more motivated to vote now than in any other recent election.

    According to data from UCLA’s Williams Institute released last November, 1 in 5 LGBTQ Americans were not registered. But GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis says there’s been a surge in voter registration this year.

    The results from the new report are similar to exit polls from the 2016 presidential election, which found 78 percent of LGBTQ voters backed Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate, compared to 14 percent who said they voted for Trump.

    Log Cabin Republicans, a national LGBTQ conservative organization, endorsed the president for re-election.

    In GLAAD’s poll, likely voters who identified as gay men favored Biden over Trump 80 percent to 18. Gay women backed Biden 83 to 11, while non-cisgender voters supported the former vice president 72 to 18.

    GLAAD released today the findings of its “State of LGBTQ Voters” poll, which found former Vice President Joe Biden holding a commanding lead in the race for President over incumbent Donald J. Trump among LGBTQ likely voters. The poll, conducted September 21 – 25 by Pathfinder Opinion Research, found that 76% of likely LGBTQ voters favor Biden over Trump, who received 17%. 5% of LGBTQ likely voters planned to vote for another candidate and 2% remain unsure.

    GLAAD’s Trump Accountability Project has tracked more than 175 attacks in policy and rhetoric against LGBTQ people, including fighting all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to deny protections against discrimination at work. The Trump Administration has also fought against LGBTQ people looking to become parents, a case the Court will hear on November 4th. It has systematically deployed multiple federal departments to roll back protections for LGBTQ people seeking health care, education and a safe place to sleep. President Trump has kept his ban on transgender military service in effect, even after the Supreme Court ruled to expand job protections for transgender people, a ruling the administration is reportedly refusing to enforce.

  • 7. VIRick  |  October 1, 2020 at 8:55 pm

    White House Aide, Hope Hicks, Is Positive and Ill from COVID-19

    Since sometime on Wednesday, 30 September 2020, top White House aide, Hope Hicks, has been positive and has shown serious signs of illness from COVID-19. About 24 hours later, due to a news leak, the news of her illness broke on Bloomberg News. Jared Kushner, Steven Miller, and Dan Scavino were all on the same flights on Marine One with Hicks, heading to/from Cleveland for the "debate" on Tuesday, and while going to and returning back to Washington from the Trump rally in Duluth, as was Trump throughout. No one was wearing masks.

    So, suddenly, tonight, once this news leak finally broke, Trump goes into quarantine. Chances are very high that he may also be positive. However, there is no official confirmation of what otherwise seems to be fairly obvious, as the White House itself has not been forthcoming.

    Note: Marine One is the helicopter utilized to fly between the White House and Joint Base Andrews where flights to further points continue on Air Force One.

  • 8. Fortguy  |  October 1, 2020 at 10:48 pm

    Dumbass Donald has indeed tweeted that he and Melania have tested positive for the virus in a self-inflicted October Surprise.

    The nightmare here is that much of the West Wing staff along with top echelons of the national security apparatus may have to quarantine for a couple of weeks making this a very dangerous time for the country.

    Mike Pence met personally with Trump on Tuesday which was also the day of the debate. Biden will undoubtedly be tested, but Trump and Biden did not shake hands and their podiums were far apart.

  • 9. guitaristbl  |  October 2, 2020 at 6:13 am

    At this point one has to wonder what else has to happen for him to lose the election.

  • 10. VIRick  |  October 2, 2020 at 8:37 am

    The entire Trump entourage went to the "debate" in Cleveland, travelling to/from on Air Force One, and despite the very limited live audience in attendance at the event and the social distancing restrictions that were to have been observed, they all sat together in the front two rows at the venue at the Cleveland Clinic. None of them were wearing masks, and all refused to wear masks when requested. That includes Melania, Ivanka, Jared, Uday and Qusay, the respective wife/girlfriend of each, even Tiffany. And now, well after the fact, it has come to light that no one in the Trump entourage was tested for COVID-19 at the Cleveland Clinic by members of said clinic prior to the "debate."

    From the Republican side, the only person so far known to have observed proper protocols surrounding this event was a female member of the RNC from Michigan who had been invited by Trump to attend the event in Cleveland, but who was already ill with COVID-19, and thus being too ill to travel, chose to remain at home in Michigan.

  • 11. ianbirmingham  |  October 2, 2020 at 4:52 pm

    For anyone who doesn't understand VIRick's reference to "Uday and Qusay", the following link accurately explains the situation:

  • 12. davepCA  |  October 2, 2020 at 11:59 am

    I'll just leave this here.

  • 13. VIRick  |  October 2, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    But this whole drama continues to become ever-more worse due primarily to the obstinacy of the idiot-in-charge. Yesterday evening, 1 October 2020, despite already knowing about Hope Hicks being ill with COVID-19, having first showed symptoms while returning from Duluth 24 hours prior, Trump, who likely already showed the same symptoms, along with an undisclosed entourage, then flew on Marine One to Bedminster NJ in order to attend a pre-planned fund-raiser, never notifying anyone there at the indoor event of Hicks being ill nor of his own likely illness.

    In fact, no one at the White House had any comment to make regarding Trump's health status until many hours later, and then, only did so after a press leak was passed to Bloomberg News. In any case, two people who attended that event at Bedminster have already tested positive.

    But then, going back in time, so has the President of Notre Dame and Sen Mike Lee (R-UT), both of whom had attended an outdoor reception at the Rose Garden, and two earlier closed receptions, announcing the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett on Saturday, 26 September 2020. Also, since that same Barrett event on Saturday, in what is beginning to appear to have been a super-spreader event, three members of the White House press corps who were present have also now tested positive for COVID-19, as has Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), and the national chairwoman of the RNC, Ronna McDaniel, Mitt Romney's niece.

    But all this drama was precisely as we reported to the documentary reporters for National Public Radio: For an elderly 74-year-old who is chronically obese and who has very high cholesterol levels, who refused to wear masks, refused to practice social distancing, refused to understand the science, refused to even listen to his own CDC, the resulting illness was inevitable. For a disease for which there is no known cure, the morbidity rate of COVID-19 for such an individual with all the above underlying health factors is 5-12%.

    In any case, he is now being carted off by Marine One and will be taken from the White House to Walter Reed National Medical Center in Bethesda (the former Bethesda Naval Hospital) in just a few minutes, after which the career White House staff need to change the locks.

    Note: The "in a few minutes" became an hour, as he apparently had to do his hair, daub on the orange-face make-up, put on pants, and adjust his neck tie numerous times before being seen in public for the day.

  • 14. Randolph_Finder  |  October 2, 2020 at 7:16 pm

    Small correction. It isn't "Walter Reed National Medical Center", it is "Walter Reed National Military Medical Center". And the relationship between the old Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center (at Bethesda) to form the current Center (under the Walter Reed name at the location for the Naval Center) was quite an interesting result of the 2005 BRAC.

    Fortunately, the subway station is simply named "Medical Center" for two reasons, first, the Bethesda subway stop is the next one south and secondly, the National Institutes of Health is just across the street.

  • 15. VIRick  |  October 4, 2020 at 8:05 pm

    Randolph, thank you for that information regarding the names of the Metro stops on the Red Line. I just rode that line from Judiciary Square to Woodley Park, and complained about the presumptuousness of the stand-alone name, "Medical Center," as it gives the false impression that the entire DC metro area only has one solitary medical center. So, now I know that it probably should read "Medical Center, Bethesda."

  • 16. Randolph_Finder  |  October 5, 2020 at 1:10 am

    You've got an uphill climb here to get it changed…

    The maps at the opening of the system in 1976 (when there were only 5 stops) have "Medical Center" on the map as the name of that stop. It had that name when it opened in 1984 and still has it today.

    *Maybe* half the stations in the system have kept the same name since 1976, but that's one of them. Other than the financial blackmail on the part of the Republican Congress to force the changing of the subway station at National Airport to Reagan National Airport, all name changes must be proposed by the entity (in this case Montgomery County, Maryland) that they exist in.

    So, in practice, a name change would probably have to go through the Montgomery County Council – Transportation and Environment Committee. I talked to the chair of this committee after the June Presidential Primary, I can give you his information if you want.

    Also, Metro really doesn't use commas in its names, (mostly dashes, but Prince George's Plaza gets an apostrophe), so Medical Center – Bethesda might be one possible option.

  • 17. VIRick  |  October 2, 2020 at 8:36 pm

    The Senate Judiciary Committee must first vote (positively) on Amy Coney Barrett's nomination before the matter is presented to the full Senate. Said committee is composed of 12 Rs and 10 Ds. According to Senate rules, Senators must be physically present in order to cast their vote in favor or against. However, two Rs on the committee, Mike Lee and Thom Tillis, have now tested positive for COVID-19, and under all health protocols, must quarantine for the next 2 weeks.

    With those two absent, a rushed 10-10 vote in committee in the interim is a negative vote on the nomination.

  • 18. JayJonson  |  October 3, 2020 at 7:04 am

    Too bad that the disgraceful Ron Johnson doesn't also serve on the Judiciary Committee. He has also tested positive for the Corona Virus and is quarantining.

    I wish I had more faith in Chuck Schumer's ability or willingness to use all the power he has as Minority Leader to take advantage of this development to stymie Barret's nomination.

  • 19. VIRick  |  October 3, 2020 at 8:35 am

    Another twist: With Tillis and Lee in quarantine, and with all Democrats boycotting, the Senate Judiciary Committee will not have the necessary quorum needed to proceed on any nomination for any position whatsoever.

    As for Ron Johnson (R-WI), this is the second time he has tested positive for COVID-19. He missed the Rose Garden event because of the first prognosis, but has now gone positive again. And so has Bill Stepien, Trump's campaign manager, someone who travelled to Cleveland with Trump for the "debate" last Tuesday.

  • 20. ianbirmingham  |  October 3, 2020 at 12:58 pm

    McConnell Plans Virtual Meetings For Senate Judiciary Committee

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Saturday that the full Senate will not return until Oct. 19 — two weeks later than planned — after three GOP senators tested positive for the coronavirus.

    But McConnell also vowed that the Senate would still move ahead with Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination, with the Senate Judiciary Committee set to begin confirmation hearings on Oct. 12.

    “Certainly all Republican members of the committee will participate in these important hearings,” added McConnell who noted the panel has already been allowing members to participate virtually.

    The Judiciary Committee is scheduled to begin four days of hearings for Barrett on Oct. 12, with Graham planning to hold a committee vote on Oct. 22.

    But while some portions of the hearings could be done remotely, senators would have to be present to approve the nomination under Senate rules.

  • 21. guitaristbl  |  October 3, 2020 at 2:48 pm

    McConnell is willing to even bring covid infected senators on the floor and endanger everyone if it means he gets their lunatic extremist on the bench. What an utterly disgusting man.

  • 22. VIRick  |  October 3, 2020 at 9:35 pm

    The ex-governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, now a Trump campaign "consultant" (i.e., grifter), and yet another individual who travelled to Cleveland as part of the Trump entourage, has tested positive for COVID-19.

    In 2016, Bill Stepien (now Trump's campaign manager) had been Christie's campaign manager. Both are now sucking Trump's cock, and all either got out of it was a deadly virus.

  • 23. Elihu_Bystander  |  October 2, 2020 at 6:16 am

    Spanish Priest Encourages, Blesses Gathering of Lesbian and Bisexual Women

    It's refreshing news in these turbulent times.

  • 24. VIRick  |  October 3, 2020 at 8:20 pm

    Sonora Congress Passes Gender Identity Law

    Per Enrique Torre Molina:

    La comunidad trans y el Congreso de Sonora hicieron historia. Hoy, el 1 de octubre 2020, aprobaron la iniciativa de identidad de género para Sonora que permitirá a personas transgénero cambiar (su nombre y género en) su acta de nacimiento.

    The trans community and the Sonora Congress have made history. Today, 1 October 2020, they approved the gender identity initiative for Sonora that will allow transgender individuals to change (their name and gender on) their birth certificates.

    This action makes Sonora jurisdiction #12 of 32 to allow transgender individuals the ability to legally change their name and gender marker on their birth certificates, the first Mexican state to do so in 2020, but behind Mexico City (CDMX)(2008), Michoacán (2017), Nayarit (2017), Coahuila (2018), Hidalgo (2019), San Luis Potosí (2019), Colima (2019), Baja California (2019), Oaxaca (2019), Tlaxcala (2019), and Chihuahua (2019).

  • 25. VIRick  |  October 3, 2020 at 9:58 pm

    Georgia and Iowa Shift to Biden

    As of 2 October 2020, the latest "no toss-ups" electoral college map from Real Clear Politics gives Biden 375 electoral votes to Trump's 163, as Georgia's 16 electoral votes and Iowa's 6 electoral votes have now been re-allocated to Biden.

    ABC/FiveThirtyEight currently shows Biden at 319 electoral votes and Trump at 169, with Georgia (16), North Carolina (15), Ohio (18), and Maine-2 (1) still marked as "toss-ups," and with Iowa still marked "leaning Republican."

    Behind Iowa, the next closest to a possible switch, according to ABC/FiveThirtyEight, and the only other state still in their "leaning Republican" category, would be Texas and its 38 electoral votes, the only populous state still leaning toward Trump. However, the latest polling also shows South Carolina to be very tight (only a 1% spread), tighter than Texas (with a 4% spread).

  • 26. VIRick  |  October 4, 2020 at 9:29 pm

    DC's Lafayette Park, Post-Apocalypse

    Lafayette Park in downtown DC occupies two city blocks, bounded by what was once Pennsylvania Avenue NW on the south and H Street NW on the north, and lying between the pedestrianized 15th and 17th Streets NW. It is one of the most historic green spaces in the entire city, given that it faces the north side of the White House, the original formal entrance.

    In one short sentence, the entire historic aesthetic of Lafayette Park has been ruined, utterly trashed, with much of it being done, post-apocalypse, in the name of "security." And it is painful to know where to begin in attempting to describe the present-day scene.

    As a brief re-cap, Lafayette Park is where Trump had the Black Lives Matter demonstrators tear-gassed so he could force his way through for his photo-op in front of St. John's Episcopal Church, the so-called "Chapel of the Presidents," which faces the White House from H Street, where he grandly held a bible up-side-down, and blathered on about something.

    A brand-new high metal fence has been erected separating H Street from Lafayette Park, with only two very narrow pedestrian entrances, while 15th and 17 Streets are completely blocked off, never mind the several rows of historic buildings lining both, like Dolly Madison's townhouse situated there. The same type of new fencing also surrounds the center-piece statuary of Andrew Jackson, the 7th President, but also a notorious enslaver, and the instigator of the "Trail of Tears."

    The once-pedestrianized Pennsylvania Avenue has been turned into a no-man's-land death zone. The brand-new extra-high fencing along its south side bordering the White House lawn is now complete. But do not even try to press close. A second and third boxed, interlinked crown-control fence now lies along the north side of what was once Pennsylvania Avenue. The death zone is that dead space in between, similar to the death zone that separated East and West Germany. Pedestrians must now walk around the death zone by passing through Lafayette Park, a park which has also been boxed in by its own fencing. The combination gives one the distinct impression of being caught in some sort of giant death trap, one waiting to be sprung upon the unsuspecting.

    And of course, the police and the Secret Service agents were everywhere. I enjoyed the "comfort" of observing the sharp-shooters on the White House roof attempting to look inconspicuous, as it was reminiscent of the Duvalier era in Haiti. The immediate cause for this hubbub of excess activity was due to the imminent transfer of the obese 74-year-old COVID-19 patient from the White House to Walter Reed Military Medical Center.

    St. John's Episcopal Church remains closed, with all its windows and doors boarded. But above and behind it, larger than any star-spangled banner, draping down about 10 stories or more from the AFL-CIO headquarters on I Street, and directly facing the White House, but just out of reach, their enormous white-on-black banner still reads, "The AFL-CIO Supports BLACK LIVES MATTER." And on closer inspection, all over DC, retail businesses have their own versions of the same message rather conspicuously displayed.

  • 27. ianbirmingham  |  October 4, 2020 at 9:54 pm

    Andrew Jackson is among the very worst racists in American history. This bigot should be immediately ousted from the $20 bill and all of his statues should be given the same treatment that Saddam Hussein's statue received in Baghdad.

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