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11/9 open thread and news


This is an open thread.

Over the weekend, the presidential race was called and Joe Biden won. Biden mentioned transgender and gay people in his victory speech.

A historic number of LGBT people won their elections.


  • 1. VIRick  |  November 9, 2020 at 3:13 pm

    As of mid-day on Monday, 9 November 2020, here are some up-dated vote totals for the 5 states with the slimmest margins for Biden, as election officials all over the USA are down to counting the provisional, overseas, and military votes:

    Georgia by 10,675 votes, or 49.49-49.27%
    Arizona by 17,131 votes, or 49.51-48-99%
    Nevada by 36,186 votes, or 50.22-47.51%
    Pennsylvania by 45,524 votes, or 49.76-49.09%
    Wisconsin by 20,557 votes, or 49.57-48.94% (unchanged)

    Biden's lead continues to increase in Georgia, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, while shrinking ever so slightly in Arizona. In total, Biden won those 5 states by only 130,073 votes out of a grand total of 146,920,075 votes cast nationwide. He has won the popular vote by 4,448,352 votes.

    Still, we should not dismiss North Carolina, which because of several delayed deadlines for receipt of ballots, has only been able to count an estimated 95% of its total vote. The remaining 5% are primarily late-received mail-in ballots which had been posted before election day and received by 12 November, a grouping which could likely favor the Democrats. At the moment, Biden is down by a small percentage (as is Cunningham for the US Senate), in a race that by percentage, has tightened closer than that in Nevada. Thus, vote totals and percentages in North Carolina continue to be subject change:

    North Carolina, Biden is down by 75,385 votes, or 48.70-50.08%
    Cunningham is down by 95,727 votes, or 46.95-48.72%
    And 5% of the state's vote total is equivalent to about 259,400 outstanding votes.….

    And having done all of that mathematical calculation, I see that as of late afternoon, with further up-dates, Biden's lead nationwide rests at 4,503,691.

    It should further be noted that in Pennsylvania, the late-received mail-in ballots, that is, those received on the three dates, 4-6 November, have been counted, but have been counted separately, and remain separate from the figures reported above.

  • 2. VIRick  |  November 9, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    Here Is Why Alaska Has Not Yet Been Called in the Presidential/Senate Races

    To date, Alaska has counted every Election Day vote and every early in-person vote which had been cast by 29 October. Trump leads in the count of these 182,594 ballots by 51,382 votes. However, by law, Alaska can not start to count the remaining 134,664 absentee/mail-in and late-cast early in-person votes until tomorrow, 10 November. Biden’s path to a win here is steep, but it’s not impossible, given that he should receive a very sizeable chunk of the absentee/mail-in votes. However, we won’t likely know who won until Wednesday, 11 November, at the earliest.

    As for the Senate race, with all Election Day votes and all early in-person votes through 29 October counted, Republican incumbent Dan Sullivan leads Democratic nominee Al Gross 63 percent to 32 percent, or by a margin of 53,733 votes. However, the same 134,664 ballots mentioned above still remain to be counted (absentee/mail-in and late-cast early in-person ballots), so it’s not over yet.

  • 3. VIRick  |  November 9, 2020 at 10:19 pm

    Pennsylvania: Trump's Useless "Hail Mary" to the US Supreme Court

    In Pennsylvania, with all but four of 67 counties reporting, state officials have only logged 7,800 such late-arriving mail-in ballots, that is, those arriving on 4-6 November, said Jacklin Rhoads, spokeswoman for Pennsylvania Attorney-General Josh Shapiro. Since Biden’s lead in Pennsylvania stood at more than 45,000 votes as of Monday afternoon, 9 November, not including these late-arriving ballots at issue, there aren't enough of them to make any difference in the outcome.

    “If those ballots couldn’t change the election to make any difference as to how Pennsylvania will be decided, then Trump doesn’t have a claim he can bring,” said Deborah Hellman, a University of Virginia law professor.

    Count-down: 71 days

  • 4. VIRick  |  November 10, 2020 at 4:23 pm

    As of early evening on Tuesday, 10 November, here are some up-dated vote totals for the 5 states with the slimmest margins for Biden, as election officials all over the USA are down to the finish in counting provisional, overseas, and military ballots:

    Georgia by 12,650 votes, or 49.51-49.26%
    Arizona by 14,468 votes, or 49.46-49.03%
    Nevada by 36,726 votes, or 50.24-47.49%
    Pennsylvania by 48,001 votes, or 49.78-49.07%
    Wisconsin by 20,557 votes, or 49.57-48.94% (unchanged)

    In the other direction, the latest vote figures still show Biden down in NC:

    North Carolina down by 73,306 votes, or 48.72-50.06%

    In the popular vote, Biden has garnered 4,855,408 more votes, or 51.6-48.4%

    Count-down: 70 days

  • 5. ianbirmingham  |  November 9, 2020 at 5:17 pm

    Adrian Tam defeats local Proud Boys leader, becomes 1st gay Asian American in Hawaii House

    Adrian Tam, a 28-year-old gay Asian American son of immigrants, defeated a leader of the Hawaii chapter of the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group, to become the only openly LGBTQ person in Hawaii’s Legislature. Tam, a first-time candidate, took 63 percent of the vote against Nicholas Ochs.

  • 6. ianbirmingham  |  November 9, 2020 at 5:20 pm

    Did you know? You can still register to vote in Georgia’s U.S. Senate runoffs

    Incumbent David Perdue is facing off against Jon Ossoff. Perdue had just under 50% of the vote in the general election, with Libertarian Shane Hazel’s 2.3% forcing the runoff between the two candidates.

    In Georgia’s special election for the seat of retired Sen. Johnny Isakson, Incumbent Kelly Loeffler will face off against Raphael Warnock.

    The deadline to register to vote for the runoffs is Dec. 7.

  • 7. ianbirmingham  |  November 10, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    Dems clinch House control, but majority likely to shrink

    The party has now nailed down at least 218 seats, according to The Associated Press, and could win a few others when more votes are counted. While that assures command of the 435-member chamber, blindsided Democrats were all but certain to lose seats after an unforeseen surge of Republican voters transformed expected gains of perhaps 15 seats into losses potentially approaching that amount.

  • 8. ianbirmingham  |  November 11, 2020 at 2:08 pm

    Biden’s popular vote lead over Trump grows to more than 5 million

    With 96 percent of the popular vote counted, Biden extended his lead to 5,071,218 votes, according to the Associated Press — far more than the 2.8 million that Hillary Clinton had in losing to Trump in 2016.

  • 9. ianbirmingham  |  November 11, 2020 at 3:26 pm

    Police ban annual Hong Kong Pride Parade, citing COVID-19 restrictions

    Police have barred the city’s annual pride parade, initially slated for this Saturday, from going ahead. Authorities issued a letter of objection to the event organizers on Tuesday, stating that current COVID-19 restrictions ban public gatherings larger than four people and that the parade does not fall under exempted activities.

    An online event, which will include sharings and music performances, will be held on Saturday instead. The organizing team invites the public to show up virtually in “a touch of rainbow.”

  • 10. VIRick  |  November 11, 2020 at 3:43 pm

    As of early evening, 11 November, here are more up-dated vote totals for the 5 states with the slimmest margins for Biden, as election officials all over the USA are down to the finish in counting provisional, overseas, and military ballots. The margin in Arizona narrowed a tiny amount, while that in Georgia and Pennsylvania expanded by a small percentage:

    Arizona by 13,027 votes, or 49.44-49.05%
    Georgia by 14,056 votes, or 49.52-49.24%
    Nevada by 36,726 votes, or 50.24-47.49% (unchanged)
    Pennsylvania by 50,427 votes, or 49.79-49.05%
    Wisconsin by 20,557 votes, or 49.57-48.94% (unchanged)

    In the other direction, the vote numbers still show Biden down in NC and AK, and in both, the remaining uncounted ballots are probably not of a sufficient number to flip either state:

    North Carolina down by 73,266 votes, or 48.72-50.06%
    Alaska down by 46,544 votes, or 39.11-56.95%

    In the nationwide popular vote, Biden garnered 5,175,160 more votes than Trump, or 51.73% to 48.27%, while ignoring the Libertarian candidate. However, viewed another way, Biden really only won by 134,793 votes, the combined margin of victory in those 5-closest states cited above. Still, in the final tally, the electoral college vote, the vote that actually counts, should show Biden with 306 votes to Trump's 232.

    Count-down: 69 days

  • 11. VIRick  |  November 11, 2020 at 7:48 pm

    It Is Now Official; Biden Wins Arizona

    President-elect Joe Biden has officially won Arizona, delivering yet another victory for Democrats who have been trying to flip the Republican stronghold for decades.

    Biden officially crossed the 270 vote count in the Electoral College on Saturday, 7 November, after Pennsylvania (for 273 votes) and Nevada (for 279 votes) were called for him and Kamala Harris, but the addition of Arizona’s 11 votes (for 290) to his victory column is historic. The state last voted for a Democrat in 1996 when Ross Perot’s third party bid helped Bill Clinton defeat Republican Bob Dole. Before that, Arizona had not voted for a Democrat for president since 1948.

    The Arizona result was called by Decision Desk HQ at 8:29 PM local time on 11 November with an estimated 24,738 ballots still left to be counted, according to the state's election tracker. The announcement comes days after the Associated Press and Fox News stated that Biden won Arizona, outraging the Trump campaign at what was perceived by them as an early call.

    Candidates cannot request recounts in Arizona, and the margin to trigger an automatic recount is a razor-thin 0.1% discrepancy between candidates. At last count, Biden's lead was 11,635 votes, or 49.41-49.07%, a narrow margin of only 0.34%, but by Arizona law, not within the 0.10% that would trigger an automatic recount, the only form of recount allowed under state law.

    As for the Electoral College vote, Biden now has 290 votes to Trump's 232. Only Georgia's 16 EVs remain to be called.

    Trump's continuing claim on the presidency just evaporated because even if by some miracle, and Trump's primary focus, the relatively large vote margin for Biden in Pennsylvania (50,624 more votes in favor for Biden) were to somehow be upended, the Nevada-Arizona combination still gives Biden the necessary 270 EVs.

  • 12. VIRick  |  November 11, 2020 at 8:35 pm

    Georgia: Presidential Recount Up-Date

    With almost all of the Georgia vote counted, Biden is up by 14,093 votes, or 0.28%. The state has announced that, as part of a routine audit of the results, it will take the unusual step of recounting the entire presidential race by hand before results are certified on 20 November. If at that point, Biden is still leading by less than 1 percentage point, Trump’s campaign can request (and pay for) another recount. However, given Biden’s relatively large lead, it would be nearly impossible for either recount to reverse the result. Georgia's EVs would give Biden 306 votes, leaving Trump with 232.

  • 13. VIRick  |  November 11, 2020 at 5:17 pm

    India: The High Courts Continue to Inch toward Marriage Equality

    In an article focused on India's Special Marriage Act (the one allowing civil marriage) and entitled, "How Constitutional Courts Can Recognize Same-Sex Marriage," the author, Dormaan Dalal, cites these court decisions, among others, to argue that current law is sufficient, if interpreted in a gender-neutral manner, to allow courts to recognize same-sex marriage throughout all of India:

    In a recent judgment, the Madras High Court directed the authorities to register a marriage solemnized between a man and a transgender woman under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

    In 3 other recent decisions, the High Court of Orissa, the High Court of Punjab and Haryana, and the High Court of Uttarakhand have all expressly recognized and enforced the rights of same-sex couples to live together.

  • 14. VIRick  |  November 11, 2020 at 6:08 pm

    Puebla: Marriage Equality Law Now in Effect, 11 November 2020

    Per MVS Noticias Puebla y Juan Carlos Valerio:

    Hoy, el 11 de noviembre 2020, fue publicada la legalización del matrimonio igualitario en el Periódico Oficial de Puebla, por lo que podrán celebrarlo en el registro civil sin restricciones, informó la Diputada Rocío García Olmedo.

    Today, 11 November 2020, the law legalizing marriage equality was published in the Official Newspaper of Puebla, so couples can now celebrate it in the civil registry without restrictions, reported Deputy Rocío García Olmedo.

  • 15. ianbirmingham  |  November 11, 2020 at 6:08 pm

    There are two reasons why most Senate Republicans refuse to acknowledge Joe Biden as president-elect: Georgia and Georgia.

    On Tuesday, most GOP senators continued to support Trump’s legal fights against his electoral losses, despite no evidence of the widespread voting malfeasance that Trump claims has swung tens of thousands of votes to Biden in multiple states. That’s because when the presidential election is finally certified, Republicans hope that Trump will put on his red jersey this winter and help deliver his conservative base for Georgia’s Republican senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.

    “We need his voters. And he has a tremendous following out there,” said Senate Majority Whip John Thune of South Dakota. “Right now, he’s trying to get through the final stages of his election and determine the outcome there. But when that’s all said and done, however it comes out, we want him helping in Georgia.”

    Vice President Mike Pence told Senate Republicans at a party lunch Tuesday he will head to Georgia to campaign for the GOP candidates on Nov. 20, and some Republicans believe Trump will eventually follow.

  • 16. JayJonson  |  November 12, 2020 at 6:16 am

    I think this Republican strategy may backfire. Trump may rally his base, but he will also rally the Democratic base, who came out in huge numbers to vote against Trump. I think Trump's superspreader rallies in Georgia will help Democrats more than Republicans. And there is also Obama and Harris who can come into Georgia to nullify the Trump effect.

  • 17. VIRick  |  November 11, 2020 at 6:55 pm

    Canada: Yukon Officially Bans LGBT "Conversion Therapy"

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Yukon has become the fourth Canadian province or territory to ban conversion therapy. In the legislature on Monday, 10 November 2020, the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Protection Act (Bill No. 9) received assent, and is now in force after a unanimous vote in support.

    The newly-passed act in Yukon bans the practice of "conversion therapy" for minors, and keeps substitute decision-makers from consenting to it on behalf of another person. It also ensures conversion therapy is not an insured health service in the territory.

    Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island have also enacted legislation banning health care professionals from providing said "treatment" to minors, while a similar bill in Quebec is pending, as is federal legislation.

  • 18. ianbirmingham  |  November 11, 2020 at 7:27 pm

    Michigan Supreme Court flips from GOP to Dems after Tuesday vote

  • 19. JayJonson  |  November 12, 2020 at 10:35 am

    California's Commission on Judicial Appointments has confirmed Martin Jenkins as an Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court. He becomes the first openly gay member of the Court.

    The biography published by the Commission on Judicial Nominees details Jenkins's illustrious judicial career. It also notes in passing he played briefly for the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL. Obviously, he was closeted then, but I hope the NFL takes notice that he is among a fairly long list of gay players in NFL history.

  • 20. Elihu_Bystander  |  November 13, 2020 at 5:26 am

    Thank you, we needed to hear that.

  • 21. VIRick  |  November 12, 2020 at 11:58 am

    West Virginia: Federal Suit Filed Challenging Ban on Transgender Healthcare Coverage

    Per Equality Case Files:

    A federal lawsuit, "Fain v. Crouch," No. 3:20-cv-00740, challenging West Virginia’s blanket exclusions of coverage for gender-confirming care in West Virginia’s Medicaid and state employee health insurance plans was filed today, 12 November 2020. The class-action suit was filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia (Huntington) on behalf of Christopher Fain, a Medicaid participant; and Zachary Martell and Brian McNemar, a dependent and a state employee, respectively. The suit was filed by Lambda Legal, Nichols Kaster, PLLP, and the Employment Law Center, PLLC. No judge has yet been assigned.

    The Complaint is here:

  • 22. VIRick  |  November 12, 2020 at 3:20 pm

    Veracruz: First Same-Sex Cohabitation (Concubinato) Arrangement Recognized

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    This is the first LGBT "concubinage" concluded in Veracruz state after gender-neutral cohabitation (concubinato) was included in this year's revamp of the state civil code:

    Veracruz: Certifican Concubinato Igualitario

    El viernes pasado, el 6 de noviembre 2020, se entregó la primera constancia de concubinato igualitario a una pareja en el municipio de Ixhuatlancillo, con lo que podrán iniciar un proceso legal, señaló Hugo Sánchez Badillo, presidente de la Organización No Gubernamental (ONG) “Todos Somos Positivos.” Destacó que con este documento, una de las personas podrá hacer el aseguramiento de su pareja en el Issste, pues era un requisito solicitado.

    Lo anterior, luego de que el pasado 28 de mayo se aprobara el concubinato igualitario, figura similar al matrimonio pero sin contrato y con posibilidad de adopción, quedando incluido en la reforma del Código Civil del Estado.

    Last Friday, 6 November 2020, the first proof of cohabitation equality was delivered to a couple in the municipality of Ixhuatlancillo, one with which they can now initiate a legal process, said Hugo Sánchez Badillo, president of the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) "Todos Somos Positivos." He stressed that with this document, one person will be able to insure their partner in the Issste (Social Security), as it is a requested requirement.

    The foregoing, after the approval of cohabitation equality on 28 May 2020, is similar to marriage but without a contract and with the possibility of adoption, its having been included in the reform of the State Civil Code.

    Basically put, the state has simply legally recognized the factual existence that this (same-sex) couple has been living together for X period of time prior to said legal recognition. In Mexico, such an arrangement is called "concubinato." In most other Latin nations, it is called "unión de hecho" (de facto union). Throughout Latin America, the majority of couples, hetero and same-sex, simply live together in informal unions which, if legally recognized by the governmental authorities in question, would then be called by one or the other of those two terms and gives the couple in question legal standing to pursue a number of government benefits, like social security, health insurance, adoption, and subsidized housing loans.

    Ixhuatlancillo, a fast-growing suburb of the city of Orizaba, is located in the mountainous rain forest region of west central Veracruz state. It has a climate which can best be described as being an "eternal spring."

  • 23. VIRick  |  November 12, 2020 at 5:39 pm

    Perú: Tribunal Constitucional Ruling in Ugarteche Case Published

    On 11 November 2020, the ruling by the Tribunal Constitucional in the Ugarteche case has been published. By a 4-3 vote, with 6 different written opinions, the court rejected the recognition of Ugarteche's Mexican marriage in Perú. Claudia Lovón has delved into each written opinion, but overall, she finds that the majority's lack of following the binding guidance of the CIDH in its OC17/24 ruling on marriage equality to be appalling:

    Per Claudia Lovón:

    Acaba de publicarse la sentencia del caso Ugarteche, un fallo de 75 páginas compuesto por 6 votos singulares: Ferrero, Miranda, Blume, Sardón, Ledesma junto con Ramos, y Espinosa-Saldaña.

    El link aquí:

    The judgment in the Ugarteche case has just been published, a 75-page ruling comprised of 6 individual votes: Ferrero, Miranda, Blume, Sardón, Ledesma together with Ramos, and Espinosa-Saldaña.

    The first 4 opinions were negative, and not worth reading, as each of the 4 found some excuse to rule "improcedente" (inadmissable). The remaining 2 were positive, with Ledesma and Ramos joining together. In particular, though, Espinosa-Saldaña demolished the weak, myopic majority opinions, one at a time.

    For more analysis, see also "La Ley:"

    At the same moment in time, President Martín Vizcarra has been impeached and replaced by Manuel Merino in a presidential coup. Needless to say, LGBT protesters, and thousands of others, are all out in the streets of Lima in protest over both events.

  • 24. VIRick  |  November 15, 2020 at 2:41 pm

    Perú: Interim President Merino Resigns after Non-Stop Protests

    The interim president of Perú, Manuel Merino, resigned on Sunday,15 November 2020, after being in office for only five days. His decision followed nearly a week of violent protests in the country following the impeachment of former President Martín Vizcarra. Perú has now had 3 presidents in less than 4 years.

    Merino was the President of Congress until being appointed interim president after Congress impeached former President Martin Vizcarra over corruption allegations on Monday, 9 November. Vizcarra has denied the allegations.

    Protesters, opposition parties, and civil society called Vizcarra's ouster a legislative coup and refused to recognize Merino as the new president. Among those who called for Merino's resignation were the mayor of Lima Jorge Muñoz, Nobel Prize winner and influential Peruvian figure Mario Vargas Llosa, and the Peruvian National Assembly of Regional Governors.

    In addition, at least eight Cabinet ministers were confirmed to have resigned within the last 24 hours, according to state press agency Andina. Regularly scheduled presidential elections are slated to occur in April 2021.

    In a nutshell, the surface problem in Perú is as follows: In the last regular election, President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and his vice-president (who then became president) Martín Vizcarra were from one political party, a more liberal, progressive, forward thinking, pro-LGBT, pro-marriage-equality party, whereas the congressional majority is the opposite. So, Congress, in a pique, has been busy impeaching them, with the view of finally ending up with a puppet president to their liking.

    Actually, Perú's problem runs much deeper than this in that the minority, Euro-oriented ruling class, complete with their endless in-fighting, have never come to terms with the fact that the majority Indigenous population are indeed the majority. They have never made the accommodation to this basic demographic fact, as has been done in neighboring Ecuador or Bolivia, nor has Perú yet undergone a violent class revolution like in Mexico, let alone as in Cuba. Thus, the myopic, negative TC ruling against marriage equality, in the midst of this chaos, is quite telling.

    There is no Peruvian "Hero of Independence," no Hidalgo or Morelos, no Bolívar or O'Higgins, no Juárez or Castro. Of all the ex-Spanish colonies on the mainland of the Americas, Perú was the very last one to become independent, a reluctant decision forced upon them by default, given their geographic location, while the oppressive colonial domination that had been emanating from Lima had already driven Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia to proclaim their separate independence.

  • 25. VIRick  |  November 12, 2020 at 7:05 pm

    European Union: New LGBT Rights Strategy Released

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    The European Union has launched an LGBT rights strategy to include freedom of movement, family recognition, and laws banning discrimination and hate speech in all member states; it expects push-back from some member states:

    Brussels is on course for a struggle with Hungary and Poland as it released its first-ever LGBTIQ strategy for achieving equality on Thursday, 12 November 2020, just days after Hungary unveiled plans to curb LGBTIQ rights.

    As part of its strategy, the Commission for Equality plans to extend the list of "EU crimes" to include hate crime and hate speech, including when targeted at LGBTIQ people. It also plans to bring forward a legislative initiative to protect the rights of rainbow families so that their parenthood and same-sex partnership is recognized throughout the union. The bloc's executive body also plans to strengthen the EU’s engagement on LGBTIQ issues in all of its external relations and to uphold the rights of LGBTIQ applicants for international protection.

  • 26. VIRick  |  November 12, 2020 at 8:57 pm

    As of late evening, 12 November, here are more up-dated vote totals for the 5 states with the slimmest margins for Biden, as election officials all over the USA are now down to the finish in counting provisional ballots. The margin in Arizona narrowed a tiny amount, while that in Nevada and Pennsylvania expanded by a small percentage:

    Arizona by 11,889 votes, or 49.42-49.06%
    Georgia by 14,056 votes, or 49.52-49.24% (unchanged)
    Nevada by 36,870 votes, or 50.25-47.49%
    Pennsylvania by 55,588 votes, or 49.83-49.01%
    Wisconsin by 20,557 votes, or 49.57-48.94% (unchanged)

    In the other direction, the vote numbers still show Biden down, but closer, in NC and AK, and in both, the remaining uncounted ballots are very likely not of a sufficient number to flip either state:

    North Carolina down by 73,175 votes, or 48.72-50.06%
    Alaska down by 35,163 votes, or 42.68-53.55%

    In the nationwide popular vote, Biden garnered 5,327,515 more votes than Trump, or 51.77% to 48.23%, while ignoring the Libertarian candidate (who actually obtained between 0.7-2.6% of the vote, depending on the state). However, viewed another way, even though Biden beat Trump by 3.54% in the nationwide popular vote, he really only won by 138,960 votes, the combined margin of victory in those 5-closest states cited above. Still, in the final tally, the electoral college vote, the vote that actually counts, should show Biden with 306 votes to Trump's 232. Every state has been called, except for Georgia, but Biden will prevail there, as well.

    Count-Down: 68 days

  • 27. ianbirmingham  |  November 12, 2020 at 10:01 pm

    Alito Delivers Grievance-Laden, Ultra-Partisan Speech to Federalist Society

    Alito abandoned any pretense of impartiality in his speech, a grievance-laden tirade against Democrats, the progressive movement, and the United States’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Alito’s targets included COVID-related restrictions, same-sex marriage, abortion, Plan B, the contraceptive mandate, LGBTQ non-discrimination laws, and five sitting Democratic senators.

  • 28. Elihu_Bystander  |  November 13, 2020 at 5:15 am

    This only shows how sad SCOTUS, as a collective group, has become.

  • 29. ianbirmingham  |  November 13, 2020 at 12:41 pm

    Deep Canvassing: A cutting-edge strategy to change the hearts and minds of voters

    Deep canvassing is when volunteers and organizers engage in extended, empathetic conversations, with the goal of combating prejudice and shifting beliefs. (The typical door-to-door canvasser, by contrast, gives a brief spiel, asks how you’re voting, and moves on.) A growing body of academic research finds that deep canvassing done in person and by phone can have a real, measurable effect on changing hearts and minds.

    The lofty idea of engaging voters in deep conversations over the phone emerged from a distinctly practical problem. The year was 2012. Steve Deline and Ella Barrett, who worked together at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, had moved to Minnesota and embedded with the statewide campaign to defeat Amendment 1, which would have written a ban on same-sex marriage into the state’s constitution.

    Deline and Barrett were early organizers of what would later be called deep canvassing, a concept that itself was born out of desperation. Four years earlier, on the same night that Barack Obama had won his first presidential election, the LGBTQ civil-rights movement had suffered a crushing loss with the passage of Proposition 8 in California, which outlawed same-sex marriage in one of the country’s most liberal states.

    At the Los Angeles LGBT Center, one of the largest health providers for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in the country, a small group of staffers hatched an idea that was both radical and simple: Let’s talk with people who had voted to ban same-sex marriage and try to understand them better. “People were open to saying, ‘Yeah, we do not know enough about our neighbors who voted against us, and the tools that we have to gain insight into them are woefully inadequate, so we better go to talk to them,'” David Fleischer, director of the Leadership LAB at the L.A. LGBT Center’s former director, recalls.

    It was radical because going door to door and meeting your opponents, the people who had just voted to deny you the right to marry, wasn’t something that people did in American politics. Think of it this way: When was the last time a losing candidate for governor or for Congress traveled the state and got to know the voters who had voted against her?

    The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s initial conversations with Proposition 8 supporters showed promise, hinting at a new method for countering prejudice and winning over critics. People like Deline and Barrett looked for opportunities to test deep canvassing in other fights. A few years later in Minnesota, they found an eagerness to use this new tactic.

    But Minnesotans United, the pro-marriage-equality campaign, had a different problem: Most of the volunteers who signed up to defeat the proposed same-sex-marriage ban were concentrated in the cities, and the universe of potential voters those volunteers hoped to reach were spread across the vast expanse of Minnesota. Logistically, it didn’t make sense to send canvassers out into the field. They decided to bridge the two groups by taking the canvassing work to the phones, knowing full well that the kinds of connections they preached might not happen by telephone. “We had skepticism at the beginning,” Barrett says. “There’s so much power with body language.”

    (Continued in next comment)

  • 30. ianbirmingham  |  November 13, 2020 at 12:41 pm

    (Continued from prior comment)

    By Election Day 2012, Minnesotans United had logged 222,693 extended conversations with voters. Of those conversations, Deline and Barrett say, 20,353 people who received a phone call said they had been persuaded or changed their mind about outlawing same-sex marriage in Minnesota. After 32 losses on ballot initiatives in the previous quarter-century, the marriage-equality movement notched a big win when it defeated Amendment 1.

    From there, activists such as Deline, Barrett, and Fleischer continued testing and refining deep canvassing to chip away at prejudice, using the tactic on not only marriage equality but also on acceptance of transgender people and undocumented immigrants. But they still didn’t have hard data on the power of deep canvassing, so they enlisted a pair of professors, David Broockman and Josh Kalla, to study whether there were measurable and lasting effects from the form of intensive, empathetic canvassing.

    Broockman and Kalla had studied at Yale University under the renowned political scientists Alan Gerber and Donald Green, who had pioneered the use of field experiments in politics to measure what actually works to persuade potential voters. In their own research, Broockman and Kalla ran experiments using the traditional tools of politics — short phone calls, brief door-to-door canvassing, and TV ads — and found that they typically had almost no lasting effect on changing the mind of a typical voter.

    But the experiments that Broockman, who now teaches at the University of California, Berkeley, and Kalla, who teaches at Yale, ran involving deep canvassing told a different story. They’ve now conducted half a dozen major studies and, each time, as the data come in, they find measurable effects on prejudice and certain public policies that last much longer than the TV ads and short-form canvassing.

    One of the key ingredients, they say, is stories — about a marginalized group of people, about a time you were treated differently, but really any personal story. Another was showing respect to the person on the other end of the conversation, no matter how much you disliked or disagreed with them. “We just kept finding in study after study these results,” Broockman says. “Every time we do this, we seem to find this again and again and again.”

    That conclusion applies to phone canvassing. In a paper published in January, they found that deep canvassing done by phone also succeeded at reducing prejudice — specifically, in this particular study, transphobia. Although the measurable effects on reducing prejudice were slightly less pronounced than those seen in studies that used in-person canvasses. Those effects persisted for at least a month after the initial deep-canvassing conversation. “The conversations over the phone lasted just as long, in terms of efficacy, as a conversation in person,” Kalla says.

  • 31. Fortguy  |  November 13, 2020 at 10:21 pm

    Fascinating article. Another group of researchers independently came to the same conclusion about deeply engaging people in their study of why Hispanics in Texas have such a poor turnout rate during elections.

    Cecilia Ballí, Texas Monthly: Don’t Call Texas’s Latino Voters the “Sleeping Giant”

    The Democrats must pay heed to engagement. While Hispanics helped carry Biden to victory in Arizona, the lack of voter outreach amounted to malpractice on the part of his campaign in Texas and Florida. The Biden campaign employed only five field organizers for the entire border region of Texas from El Paso to Brownsville where three million mostly Hispanic people live. Trump flipped several counties in this region and narrowed his losing margin in the rest.

    Biden stole a few suburban counties from Trump and made the margins closer in several others, but it's all for naught if the party from one election to the next continues to take Hispanics for granted leaving an ocean of votes on the table. If Democrats want to truly compete in Texas in 2022 and 2024, they need to send an army of people to engage potential voters not only in the South Texas and Trans-Pecos border regions, but also in the large swath from the Permian Basin to the Panhandle which also has many counties with Hispanic majorities with an even lower Dem turnout.

  • 32. VIRick  |  November 13, 2020 at 3:33 pm

    Angola: New Penal Code Decriminalizes Same-Sex Sexual Activity, Expands LGBT Rights

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    The first reading of the new Angola Penal Code was voted upon by the National Assembly in January 2019, although at the time, the full draft text was not released publicly. Still, many praised the reports that the new code was moving toward positive changes for gay, bisexual, and lesbian people.

    Since then, during the past year, the draft code has been finalized, and Angola’s National Assembly recently approved the newly-revised Penal Code in a final reading. The full text of the Penal Code was then published on 11 November 2020 in the Angola official publication, "Diário da República." The entire measure will now go into effect from 9 February 2021, 90 days after said publication. It will revoke and replace the old Portuguese Penal Code of 1886 in its entirety.

    The new Penal Code quietly removes the phrase “vices against nature” (vícios contra a natureza) which had previously been used to criminalize same-sex sexual activity. The code also greatly expands protections from discrimination so as to now include menacing and threats (as ameaças):

    As penas estabelecidas nos números anteriores são agravadas de metade nos seus limites, mínimo e máximo, se a ameaça for dirigida a uma pessoa por causa da sua raça, cor, etnia, local de nascimento, sexo, orientação sexual, doença ou deficiência física ou psíquica, crença ou religião, convicções políticas ou ideológicas, condição ou origem social, ou quaisquer outras formas de discriminação.

    The penalties established in the preceding paragraphs are increased by half their limits, minimum and maximum, if the threat be directed toward a person because of their race, color, ethnicity, place of birth, sex, sexual orientation, illness or physical/mental disability, belief or religion, political or ideological convictions, social condition or origin, or whatever other forms of discrimination.

    That final wording, "quaisquer outras formas de discriminação," is excellent phraseology because it thus covers any other form of discrimination, like gender identity, not otherwise enumerated.

    The full 176-page text (in Portuguese) of the new Penal Code can be found here:

  • 33. ianbirmingham  |  November 13, 2020 at 5:07 pm

    Gay Rep. Ryan Fecteau set to become new speaker of Maine House

    He will be the first out member of the LGBTQ+ community to be Maine speaker and one of about two dozen to have held such leadership positions nationwide. Also, at age 28, he will be the youngest speaker of the House in Maine history.

    Fecteau, who was just elected to a fourth term in the House, was the lead sponsor of Maine’s bill barring licensed professionals from subjecting minors to so-called conversion therapy, the discredited and harmful practice aimed at turning LGBTQ+ people straight or cisgender. The legislature passed it in 2019 and Gov. Janet Mills signed it into law.

    He is finishing a stint as assistant majority leader in the House, serving with Majority Leader Matt Moonen, also a gay man, making them “the first openly gay legislative leadership duo in U.S. history,” the Press Herald reports.

  • 34. ianbirmingham  |  November 13, 2020 at 5:10 pm

    Up to 23,000 new young voters could make a difference in Georgia runoff race, analysis says

    Up to 23,000 teenagers in Georgia who were too young to participate in the general election will turn 18 by the time the Senate runoff races take place on January 5, according to the youth nonprofit group, The Civics Center.

    That many new voters could help determine the outcome of the two U.S. senate seats that are up for grabs, a race that will ultimately decide whether or not the Senate is controlled by Republicans or Democrats.

    The cutoff date for new voters to register is Dec. 7, and under federal law, all 17-year-olds with a birthday before Jan. 5 are eligible to sign up.

    According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University, 20 percent of Georgia's votes were contributed from voters aged 18-29, compared to the national average of just 17 percent. That makes Georgia the best-performing youth voter state in the country.

    That same study showed the youth vote in Georgia swaying more heavily Democratic, with 57 percent of young voters supporting Biden, as opposed to just 39 percent voting for president Donald Trump.

    The boost in youth voters could attributed in large part to the efforts of Stacey Abrams, a Democrat and former gubernatorial candidate in Georgia who helped register 800,000 new voters across the state, including a number of youth and minority voters.

  • 35. VIRick  |  November 13, 2020 at 5:57 pm

    According to Rachel Maddow, if Stacy Abrams were to garner a double-win in the Senate run-offs in Georgia, Biden will likely appoint her to his Cabinet as Secretary of "Whatever-the-Hell-She-Wants." Of course, he may still do that, regardless.

    Also, expect Mayor Pete to be appointed to a cabinet-level position.

  • 36. JayJonson  |  November 14, 2020 at 6:57 am

    Mayor Pete has been listed as the favorite for the Veterans Affairs position, but he has also been touted as Ambassador to the United Nations. He would be excellent in whatever position, but I would love to see him as Ambassador to the UN. His command of languages and his eloquence would make him outstanding as our UN Ambassador. It is also a higher profile position.

  • 37. VIRick  |  November 13, 2020 at 5:40 pm

    Georgia Has Been Called for Biden; Biden Has 306 EVs to Trump's 232

    As of mid-afternoon on 13 November, Georgia, the last state to be determined, has been called for Biden. Needless to say, there are more up-dated vote totals for the 5 states with the slimmest margins for Biden, as election officials all over the USA are now down to the finish in counting provisional ballots. The margin in Arizona and Wisconsin narrowed a tiny amount, while that in Georgia and Pennsylvania expanded by a small percentage:

    Arizona by 10,988 votes, or 49.40-49.08%
    Georgia by 14,151 votes, or 49.52-49.24%
    Nevada by 36,866 votes, or 50.24-47.49%
    Pennsylvania by 60,636 votes, or 49.87-48.98%
    Wisconsin by 20,467, or 49.57-48.95%

    In the other direction, the vote numbers still show Biden down, but closer, in NC and AK, and in both, the remaining uncounted ballots are not of a sufficient number to flip either state:

    North Carolina down by 71,399 votes, or 48.73-50.03%
    Alaska down by 35,163 votes, or 42.68-53.55% (unchanged)

    In the nationwide popular vote, Biden garnered 5,401,921 more votes than Trump, or 51.79% to 48.21%, while ignoring the Libertarian candidate (who actually obtained between 0.7-2.6% of the vote, depending on the state). However, viewed another way, even though Biden beat Trump by 3.58% in the nationwide popular vote, he really only won by 143,108 votes, the combined margin of victory in those 5-closest states cited above. By comparison, even though considered "close," Biden won Michigan by 146,137 votes, 50.56-47.91%.

    Count-down: 67 days

  • 38. ianbirmingham  |  November 13, 2020 at 6:13 pm

    Are you a college student registered to vote in Georgia?

  • 39. ianbirmingham  |  November 14, 2020 at 11:57 am

    San Diego elects first openly gay mayor

    San Diego’s new mayor, Todd Gloria, represents many firsts for the city, reflecting its changing demographics and its increasingly liberal electorate. Gloria, who is Latino, Filipino and Native American, will be San Diego’s first mayor of color. He also will be the city’s first openly gay mayor.

    Gloria will be the first “strong mayor” except Filner to have a City Council controlled by his own party. And Democrats don’t enjoy just a small majority on the council. They increased the number of seats they control on the nine-member panel from six to eight in elections this week.

    Further increasing his power, Gloria will be the first mayor in modern history to simultaneously have strong backing from the business community and organized labor, two groups who are often at odds.

    Gloria also is expected to have more clout in Sacramento than previous mayors. A state Assemblyman since 2016, Gloria is the first San Diego mayor with statehouse experience since Assemblyman Pete Wilson was elected mayor in 1971.

  • 40. VIRick  |  November 15, 2020 at 8:31 pm

    Fowl Play: Officials Found 1,500 Fraudulent Votes . . . . in a New Zealand Bird Competition

    Officials have uncovered evidence of voter fraud tampering with an important national contest when more than 1,500 fraudulent votes were submitted as part of New Zealand's "Bird of the Year" poll. The deceit was discovered when a data science team noticed an unusual surge of votes overnight, all of which were for the little spotted kiwi, pushing that bird to the top of the pecking order in the contest.

    "Voter fraud is not the kiwi way," said a campaign manager for the competition, which aims to raise awareness and funds for native New Zealand bird, many of which are endangered.

    The competition ended on Sunday, 14 November, in a surprising upset, with the kākāpō, a species of flightless parrot, swooping in at the last minute to take the title.

  • 41. Fortguy  |  November 16, 2020 at 12:43 am

    Have Rudy Guliani, Bill Barr, Mike Pompeo, and the rest of the Coup Clutz Clan swept in to file suit and challenge the results yet?

  • 42. VIRick  |  November 16, 2020 at 7:45 am

    Undoubtedly, they are way too busy plotting their own useless coup to notice anything concerning the fowl "voter fraud" trauma in New Zealand.

    However, the appearance of such "newsworthy" voter fraud articles gives one the distinct impression that the rest of the world is openly mocking Trump's "woes," while simultaneously giving him the big "bird."

    Now, I am hunting for a similar "news" article from Italy, one where they joyfully give him the "full arm salute" up past the elbow, as only Italians can do with the correct amount of panache, while shouting, "Al cazzo in culo" (Fuck you in the ass), but which, literally, is a wholehearted salute "to the dick in your ass."

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