Drop Tennessee Sen Diane Black an Email about Staff Racism

44presidents11.thumbnail.jpgSherri  Goforth, a staffer in Tennessee GOP state senator Diane Black’s office sent out this racist image. Then she apologized

For sending it out to the wrong email list. ThinkProgress reports:

Nashville Is Talking asked Goforth about the email:

When I asked her if she understood the controversial nature of the photo, Goforth would only say she felt very bad about accidentally sending it to the wrong list. When I gave her a second chance to address the controversial nature of the email, she again repeated that she only felt bad about sending it to the wrong list of people.“I went on the wrong email and I inadvertently hit the wrong button,” Goforth told NIT. “I’m very sick about it, and it’s one of those things I can’t change or take back.”

Sen. Black’s staffer is still in place, so a Facebook group, BAD ELEPHANT has stepped up and is asking everyone to email a nice, respectful letter to Sen Diane Black (sen.diane.black@capitol.tn.gov) and maybe post on her facebook page.

Sample letter:

Dear Senator Black:

I am deeply concerned about your response to an email that was sent by one of your staffers depicting our President, Barack Obama, in a racist manner. Though I completely understand that you don’t want to lose a valued employee, I was wondering if you realize that you have alienated the 1.2 million African Americans who live in Tennessee? At issue is not that your staffer emailed someone a racist email. For me, the bigger issue is the response.

Just the thought that there could be a “right email list” on your computer for distribution of this type of email – as implied in the staffer’s response to the outcry over this offense, is frightening. If your morals allow you to have such disregard for another race, then how can we possibly trust your decision making on key issues that affect that race, or on any issue, for that matter?

I have a deep concern about the rising use of racist epithets by the Republican fringe and the fact that a seated State Senator is reinforcing this is unconscionable.

Thank you for your time, 

Have at it.

Late Night: Stonewall (and the Black Cat) — Happy Anniversary, Gay Rights Movement

This weekend marks the 40st anniversary of Stonewall, the Greenwich Village riots which sparked the gay rights/gay pride movement. Regular raids, sweltering heat, and Judy Garland’s death combined with a desire for civil rights, and the patrons of the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street and their friends let the cops who tried to arrest them for simply being gay, in a bar and having a good time know they were more than over the harassment, arrests and beatings.

The police shoved and pushed, knocking some people down, and the crowd which had finished a chorus of "We Shall Overcome" and a chorus line, got angry, Ten police officers—including two policewomen—barricaded themselves, Howard Smith (a writer for The Village Voice), and several handcuffed detainees inside the Stonewall Inn for their own safety as bottles, cans and whatever else was thrown.

By the end of evening 13 people had been arrested after the Tactical Police Force (TPF) of the New York City Police Department arrived to free the police trapped inside the Stonewall. More debris were thrown at them by the demonstrators.

The next night an even larger crowd gathered, more peaceful and celebratory, though fires were set in trash cans as on the previous night. The TPF showed up again and "street battles" resumed. Demonstrations continured for three more days. This was the official birth of the Gay Right Movement.

From ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives

A year and half earlier in Los Angeles, on New years Eve 1967 the Black Cat (now Le Barcito) on Sunset Blvd in Silver Lake east of Hollywood, was raided by the LAPD Vice Squad. From Gay L.A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians by Lillian Faderman and Stuart Timmons:

[U]niformed police, who had been alerted by the undercover officers, rushed in and began to swing billy clubs, tear down leftover Christmas ornaments, break furnishings, and beat several men brutally. Sixteen customers and employees were arrested and forced to lie face down on the sidewalk until squad cars came to take them away. Plainclothes officers chased two men across Sanborn Avenue to the New Faces bar. There, the officers knocked the woman owner down and beat her two bartenders unconscious. . . .Six men were charged with lewd conduct: They were seen kissing other men on the lips for up to ten seconds. A jury found them all guilty…

Outraged activists took to the street.

Hundreds of onlookers supported the parading picketers, and activists passed out 3,000 leaflets to motorists explaining why they were there.

le-bar.thumbnail.jpgThe month is Pride, celebrating Stonewall, full of parades and events–and even a DNC fundraiser. The LGBTQ community has made huge political strides and so has the straight community in accepting and embracing LGBTQ (it seems so natural to do, though Prop 8 proved otherwise even for those of us in California).

Sadly there are still uptight, theocratic morons who believe that allowing civil marriage equality, the repeal of DOMA and the repeal of DADT will cause the Mississippi to run backwards and God to get really mad. Not.

It’s time the religious right stop this and for politicians to move forward, because the Constitution does not allow for the institution of a state religion. By forcing their hateful religious doctrines on others, conservative theocrats are shoving instutionalized religion down the throats of those who have other faiths that support same-sex unions and same-sex benefits (and those who have no faith, but support civil rights).

So Happy Stonewall, LGBTQ+A! Keep up the fight and keep the love alive! We shall overcome!

RIP: Ed McMahon

Professional sidekick, Publishers Cleaning House spokesperson and host of Star Search Ed McMahon died this morning a little after midnight at UCLA Hospital, according to his spokesperson Howard Braggman. Best known as Johnny Carson’s straight man, McMahon would deliver the rousing " Heeeeeere’s Johnny!" at the beginning of each Tonight Show.  McMahon was 86 at the time of his death and suffering from bone cancer, reports the Los Angeles Times, citing unnamed sources. He had been hospitalized since February with what press reported as pnuemonia.

As Carson’s sidekick Ed McMahon was a legend and Star Search, which he hosted from 1983 to 1995, helped launch the careers of many celebrities (including Rosie O’Donnell, Ray Romano, Leanne Rimes, Destiny’s Child and even Sharon Stone who won in the "spokesmodel" category). But the new millenium was not kind to the co-host who suffered a series of contemporary woes.

In 2002 he sued his home insurance company for $20 million, claiming that it botched a simple repair on a broken pipe. McMahon’s suit alleged that the dampness caused toxic mold to spread through his house, making his family sick and killing his dog Muffin. Stachybotrus chartarum also known as black mold was already a hot news item/domestic nightmare when McMahon filed his suit. He settled against several plaintiffs a year later for $7 million.

But his troubles continued. The twice-divorced, thrice-married McMahon slipped and fell in 2007 and then sued Cedar-Sinai Medical Facility and his doctors for failing to diagnosed and properly treat his broken neck.

And it just got worse from there. In October 2008, foreclosure proceedings began on McMahon’s $4.8 million dollar home which had been on the market for two years. At one point Donald Trump allegedly offered to buy McMahon’s house and lease it back to him, but that never happened.  By June of this year, reports Radaronline.com, he house was about to be sold because McMahon–who by then had settled his lawsuit with Cedars-Sinai for an undisclosed sum–was $644,000 behind in mortgage payments.

On KTLA this morning McMahon’s spokesperson explained his deceased client’s financial problems by saying that he was a very generous man, though last year on Larry King Live, McMahon and his wife Pam had a more prosaic explanation:

KING: What did happen, Ed?

E. MCMAHON: It’s a combination, it’s like a perfect storm. Economy problems. Selling the house right now is a tremendous operation to sell a house. We’ve had this house on the market for two years. We’ve shown it, I don’t know how many, 50 organizations or people. Nobody has made an offer. I mean, it’s just a lovely home. I hate to leave it. I want to keep the home. I want this all to work out.

KING: And the payments, you can’t make — what’s the problem?

E. MCMAHON: Well, if you spend more money than you make, you know what happens. And it can happen. You know, a couple of divorces thrown in, a few things like that. And, you know, things happen. You want everything to be perfect, but that combination of the economy, I have a little injury, I have a situation. And it all came together…

KING: But, Pam, the assumption is that the McMahons are multimillionaires and multimillionaires — how much behind are you, $644,000, right? That’s what’s reported?


KING: You can’t pay — if you’re a millionaire, shouldn’t you be able to pay $644,000?

P. MCMAHON: Yes, I’d like to know, I don’t know where those — where are those millions, Ed?

P. MCMAHON: You know, I think it’s a combination — you know, people — I mean, people do assume that you’re — there’s hundreds of millions of dollars. And I think over the years, you know, it’s just a kind of a combination of maybe Ed working so hard and not kind of looking at proper management, which happens a lot. You know, I’m sure maybe Evander Holyfield — who knows — maybe has the same situation…

P. MCMAHON: Yes, I mean, in a perfect world, you don’t want to have to move from your house, let’s put it like that. But Ed hasn’t worked in a year and a half. And so, you know, but things happen in your life, so you have to move forward…

KING: OK. We have an e-mail question from Steve. "Reports say the McMahons have got a $7 million insurance settlement from the toxic mold situation. What happened to that money?"

E. MCMAHON: All right. That money went — they had a lawyer, so we had a lawyer. So we had nine lawyers, they had nine lawyers. And by the time that’s all over, and you rebuild the house from the outside in — we had to go and rebuild the house. We were out — you know, we saw you around at parties — we were out for two and a half years. We had to move out of our house and go to other places while we were waiting. And everything’s going to be over in a month. You know, and it’s six months later, and it doesn’t get done. And then the guy says, well, wait a minute… 

 McMahon and MC Hammer parodied their finicial troubles in an ad that ran during the Super Bowl this year.

Funeral services are pending for the pretty much broke McMahon, the man who once would knock on people’s doors and present them with huge checks for millions.

Lou Dobbs Sexy Time

The past few nights during Lou Dobbs this commercial aired. Makes one wonder about Lou’s demographics and how his viewers may be less  focused on conservative family values than they are worried about his hot button issues like immigration. I wonder though if  AshleyMadison.com might not be a secret weapon in the War on the Middle Class. No matter what, this spot reflects how news stories fuel advertising buys.

Hair Metal at the White House

Hair band prog-rock dinosaurs Styx dropped by the White House briefing room while in the DC area. Not only did they get a tour, but former Top 40 group posed for pictures behind the podium and snapped pics with some of their journalistic fan base.

The band however didn’t get a chance to meet with the man nicknamed Renegade (the title of the wretched Styx song  in the video above) by the Secret Service–POTUS was not on their schedule.

 But tomorrow, hair rock god Jon Bon Jovi joins Michelle Obama, Matthew McConaughey and some other famous people at White House when the First Lady delivers the keynote address for the the National Conference on Volunteering and Service via satellite to the conference headquaters in San Francisco. 

Battle of the Monster Homophobes: Huckabee vs Coulter

Just because it’s late and I’m awake.  And because it’s always instructional to watch conservatives spitting at each other, especially in such a creative remix.

Let’s Hear It for Same-Sex Families


Happy parenting, and may the ensuing years see more single parent and same-sex couple adoptions, as well as equal civil marriage rights.

images: hipstercards.com

Rightwing Media Criticizes Obama for Behaving Like a Good Dad

On Saturday, the day before Fathers Day, a guy took his two daughters out for frozen custard. The guy happens to be Barack Obama, so of course Fox News and other conservative media took him to task for–ZOMG!–leaving the White House for a 15 minute stop for ice cream. Total time away from his desk? Less than a hour. With a full entourage including Secret Service, cell phones, hotlines and the football.

While he was out, Obama didn’t give a mini-press conference about any issues, he just relaxed as the father of two cute girls, though arguably the most famous father in the world with a deskload of work. But you know, with all the international chaos and heavy issues here in the U.S., maybe he just needed to step out of the house and catch some fresh air, have  a change of scenery to put things into perspective and cause a synaptic shift. 

 According to the New York Times

The president had a small vanilla custard with hot fudge and almonds. Malia asked for vanilla custard in a waffle cone. And Sasha ordered a brownie sundae with vanilla custard. Bo, the presidential dog, was not along for the ride on this pre-Father’s Day outing, but the store employees sent a bag of “puppy pops” home with the girls.

What kind of group of grinches would criticize a guy for spending an hour with his kids?  The same group of grinches who scream for traditional American family values, like those values recently subverted by John Ensign….

[H/T: Today with President Barack Obama ]

Tehran Protests: Her Name Was Neda (Warning: Graphic Video)

The global community has been galvanized by the tweets, Facebook logins, cellphone pictures and reports from Iran. Now comes this video of a young a woman shot in Tehran by Basiji police force, which I came across after seeing  "neda" and  "#neda" on Twitter, where the words kept showing up in in the Tehran and Iran threads. "Neda" means "call" or "proclamation" in Farsi, an odd and chilling coincidence.

I clicked a couple links, and then a few more and found the details:

At 19:05 June 20th
Place: Karekar Ave., at the corner crossing Khosravi St. and Salehi st.

A young woman who was standing aside with her father watching the protests was shot by a basij member hiding on the rooftop of a civilian house. He had clear shot at the girl and could not miss her. However, he aimed straight her heart. I am a doctor, so I rushed to try to save her. But the impact of the gunshot was so fierce that the bullet had blasted inside the victim’s chest, and she died in less than 2 minutes.
The protests were going on about 1 kilometers away in the main street and some of the protesting crowd were running from tear gass used among them, towards Salehi St.
The film is shot by my friend who was standing beside me.
Please let the world know. 

The video is extremely graphic, It also keeps getting pulled from YouTube, so you may have to search for NEDA to find it if this version gets yanked.

Twitter hash "#neda" has become a new update site for the demonstrations in Tehran, with updates urging protester to not wear contact lenses, to wear green, and for everyone reading to change their Twitter and blog timezone to GMT + 3:30 (which is Tehran time) to baffle security forces searching for those reporting on the protests.

Thousand in Los Angeles Protest Iranian Election; Twitter, Bloggers Change Time Zones

A protest over the Iranian elections and the violence in Tehran began at 11am Saturday in Westwood at the Federal Building close to UCLA. A second protest at the same location began at 3pm and  is just now winding down. Singing, chanting and carrying signs, an estimated one thousand demonstrators showed solidarity with protesters in Iran. Another demonstration was held in Orange County.

Meanwhile, on Twitter and Facebook and in blogs, users are changing their timezone to GMT +3:30/Tehran.

Set your location to Tehran and time zone to GMT 3.30 to protect the protesters from Iranian security forces hunting bloggers – pass it on

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