Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Poll: Independents Increasingly Disapprove of Obama

Gallup reported on Tuesday, Nov. 29, that President Barack Obama's job approval rating averaged 43 percent during the Thanksgiving week.

This figure has remained the same since the end of October, but Obama's standing among independents has continued to drop since the beginning of the year. Forty percent of self-identified pure independents approved of Obama in January, compared with only 30 percent whom Gallup surveyed between Nov. 21-27. Eighty-four percent of liberal Democrats backed the president in the same period.

Obama's job approval rating averaged a historically low 41 percent between July 20 and Oct. 19.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Georgia Woman Alleges 13-Year Affair with Cain

Here we go again!

An Atlanta television station on Monday, Nov. 28, aired portions of an interview with a Georgia woman who claims she had a 13 year affair with Herman Cain.

“It was pretty simple,” Ginger White told WAGA reporter Dale Russell in an interview that the television station said took place over Thanksgiving weekend. “It wasn't complicated. I was aware that he was married. And I was also aware I was involved in a very inappropriate situation, relationship.”

White went public with her claim less than a month after several women alleged that Cain sexually harassed them while he was the head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. The former Godfathers Pizza CEO categorically denied the women's allegations, and lawyer Lin Wood issued a statement shortly after Cain himself told CNN that WAGA was about to broadcast its interview with White.

"This appears to be an accusation of private, alleged consensual conduct between adults - a subject matter which is not a proper subject of inquiry by the media or the public," said Wood. "No individual, whether a private citizen, a candidate for public office or a public official, should be questioned about his or her private sexual life. The public's right to know and the media's right to report has boundaries and most certainly those boundaries end outside of one's bedroom door."

Will this latest revelation mark the end of the Cain circus once and for all?

Barney Frank Will Not Seek Re-Election

Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank announced on Monday, Nov. 28, that he will not seek re-election once his term ends in 2013.

Frank, who has represented Massachusetts' Fourth Congressional District since 1981, told reporters at a press conference at Newton (Mass.) Town Hall that redistricting essentially forced his decision.

"I'm not retiring from advocacy for public policy," he said, noting he would like to write, teach and lecture once he leaves Congress. "I was pretty good at being a legislator. I think I was pretty good at working within that framework of government. I look forward to being able to help change the system."

Frank, 71, has represented Massachusetts' Fourth Congressional District since 1981. He publicly came out of the closet in a 1987 interview with the Boston Globe. The House Ethics Committee in 1990 formally reprimanded Frank for using his congressional office to pay 33 parking tickets that a male escort who he had hired as an aide and personal driver had accrued.He appeared in two "It Gets Better" videos earlier this year. He also spoke at a memorial service for Dr. Frank Kameny on Capitol Hill on Nov. 15.

"God knows he's earned the rest," said Democratic National Committee Treasurer Andrew Tobias. "But, boy, will the House ever be the poorer for the loss of its smartest, funniest, most passionately progressive and pragmatic member."

President Barack Obama described Frank as a "fierce advocate for the people of Massachusetts and Americans everywhere who needed a voice."

"He has worked tirelessly on behalf of families and businesses and helped make housing more affordable," said Obama in a statement. "He has stood up for the rights of LGBT Americans and fought to end discrimination against them. And it is only thanks to his leadership that we were able to pass the most sweeping financial reform in history designed to protect consumers and prevent the kind of excessive risk-taking that led to the financial crisis from ever happening again."

Sunday, November 27, 2011

New Hampshire's Largest Newspaper Endorses Gingrich

New Hampshire's largest newspaper on Sunday, Nov. 27, endorsed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

"We are in critical need of the innovative, forward-looking strategy and positive leadership that Gingrich has shown he is capable of providing," wrote Union Leader Publisher Joseph W. McQuaid in an editorial that appeared on the newspaper's front page.

A pre-Thanksgiving University of New Hampshire Survey Center poll found that 42 percent of likely Republican primary voters would vote for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, compared to only 15 percent who said they would back Gingrich. A USA Today/Gallup poll released on Nov. 21 showed that Gingrich was within two percentage points of Romney.

"We don't back candidates based on popularity polls or big-shot backers," stressed McQuaid, who conceded that Gingrich is "by no means a perfect candidate." "We look for conservatives of courage and conviction who are independent-minded, grounded in their core beliefs about this nation and its people, and best equipped for the job."

While anything can happen between now and the New Hampshire primary on Jan. 10, this endorsement is an obvious shot in the arm to the insurgent Gingrich campaign.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Poll: Romney Gains More Ground in N.H.

A new poll shows that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney continues to gain more ground against his challengers in New Hampshire.

The poll, conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, found that 42 percent of likely Republican primary voters would vote for Romney, compared to 15 percent who said they would back former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Texas Congressman Ron Paul received 12 percent, while 8 percent of likely Republican primary voters said they would vote for former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman. Only four percent of likely Republican primary voters said they would support Herman Cain.

With less than two months until the primary, the poll also found that nearly 60 percent of New Hampshire voters remain undecided.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Did Romney Stretch the Truth in First Television Campaign Ad?

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's first television ad proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that the primary season is in full swing.

As with anything, however, the truth is sometimes subjective -- and the fact that Romney used a clip of then-candidate Barack Obama mocking a quote from an adviser to Arizona Sen. John McCain on the economy during an Oct. 2008 campaign appearance in Londonderry, N.H. The Romney campaign defended the spot in a series of statements to WMUR, the Washington Post and other media outlets.

The Iowa caucuses are on Jan. 3 and the New Hampshire primary are on Jan. 10 for anyone who continues to keep track. This questionable ad, however, certainly proves that the former Massachusetts governor and his campaign can certainly grab people's attention.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Poll: Romney, Gingrich Lead Among Republicans

A new USA Today/Gallup poll shows that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney remains the frontrunner among the Republican presidential candidates, but former House Speaker Newt Gingrich continues to gain momentum over his rivals.

Twenty percent of Republicans who responded to the poll between Nov. 13-17 said Romney is their first choice, while 19 percent said that they would choose Gingrich. Sixteen percent of GOP voters said they would vote for Herman Cain, while only eight percent named Texas Gov. Rick Perry as their top choice.

Is Romney the Nominee-in-Waiting?

Romney's campaign received a boost over the weekend when New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte endorsed the former Massachusetts governor. New Hampshire Congressman Charlie Bass will officially endorse Romney later on Monday, Nov. 21. It appears increasingly likely that Romney will become the Republican presidential nominee at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa in August, but the voters of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and other early caucus states will soon have their say and anything can happen between now and then.

Stay tuned...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Puerto Vallarta

It's a typically balmy late night here in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, as I catch up on e-mails and listen to the surf below our suite's terrace.

I will post pictures of the trip in the coming days, but here is a video of our flight landing at Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport earlier on Wednesday, Nov. 16.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Video: HUD Secretary Speaks to Transgender Rights Group

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan on Tuesday, Nov. 15, became the first sitting cabinet member to attend a transgender-specific event when he delivered the keynote address at the National Center for Transgender Equality's annual awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Donovan highlighted HUD's work to ensure equal treatment of trans people in federally-funded housing and mortgage programs in his speech at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel. He also pointed out the Office of Personnel Management's ban on discrimination against trans federal employees, the addition of gender identity and expression to the federal hate crimes law and the directive that trans veterans receive equal access to health care as among the Obama administration's trans-specific accomplishments.

NCTE also honored Pride at Work Co-Chair Donna Cartwright and Brian Bond, former deputy director of the White House Office of the Public Liaison.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Congressional Job Approval Remains at Historic Low

A new Gallup poll shows that Congress' approval rating remains at a historic low.

Only 13 percent of respondents said they approve of the way Congress has handled its job, the same rating that Gallup reported last month and in August. Congress' approval rating has averaged only 17 percent so far this year. This figure would mark the lowest annual approval rating since 1974 if trends continue to hold through the end of 2011.

FBI: Nearly 20 Percent of Reported Hate Crimes in 2010 Motivated By Sexual Orientation

The Federal Bureau of Investigation on Monday, Nov. 14, noted that nearly a fifth of all reported hate crime incidents in 2010 were motivated by sexual orientation.

Of the 6,624 hate crime incidents that the FBI documented in 2010, 19.3 percent of them were motivated by sexual orientation bias. Of the 7,690 single-bias offenses documented in the aforementioned incidents, 19.1 percent of them were motivated by sexual orientation.

The FBI’s report further documents that of the 1,470 hate crime offenses motivated by sexual orientation—57.9 percent were classified as “anti-male homosexual bias” and 27.4 percent were reported as “anti-homosexual bias.” Another 11.4 percent were prompted by “an anti-female homosexual bias,” and 1.9 percent were classified as “anti-bisexual bias.” 1.4 percent were prompted by “anti-heterosexual bias.”

The FBI reported 6,598 hate crime incidents in 2009—18.5 percent of those were motivated by sexual orientation. Of the 7,775 single-bias offenses documented in the aforementioned incidents, 18.5 percent of them were motivated by sexual-orientation.

The 2009 report further notes that 55.6 percent of the reported 1,436 offenses motivated by sexual orientation were prompted by “anti-male homosexual bias,” while another 26.2 percent resulted from “anti-homosexual bias.” “Anti-female homosexual bias” prompted 15 percent of these incidents, while another 1.5 percent resulted from “anti-heterosexual bias” and “anti-bisexual bias” motivated 1.7 percent of these crimes.

While the FBI’s report shows only a slight increase in the number anti-gay hate crimes in 2010; hate violence motivated by sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and HIV status remains a serious problem. A National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs report documented 27 anti-LGBT murders in 2010—the second highest annual total that the coalition has recorded since 1996. Seventy percent of these victims were people of color and 44 percent of them were transgender women.

The NCAVP report further noted that trans people and people of color are twice as likely to experience violence or discrimination as non-trans white people. Trans people of color are nearly 2.5 times as likely to suffer discrimination as their white counterparts.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Has Anything Changed in Puerto Rico Since Jorge Steven's Murder?

Today marks the second anniversary of Puerto Rican gay teenager Jorge Steven López Mercado’s brutal murder.

Juan José Martínez Matos stabbed Jorge Steven López Mercado to death on Nov. 13, 2009, before he decapitated, dismembered and partially burned his body. López’s remains were found dumped along a remote roadside near Cayey the next day.

López’s gruesome murder sent shockwaves across Puerto Rico and beyond—singers Ricky Martin, Olga Tañon and René Péréz of Calle 13 and former Miss Universe Denise Quiñones were among those who publicly spoke out against anti-LGBT violence on the island. Human Rights Foundation President Ada Conde Vidal, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, New York City Councilmembers Melissa Mark-Viverito and Rosie Mendez and Illinois state Sen. Iris Martínez are among those who repeatedly blasted Gov. Luís Fortuño for his failure to follow suit.

Has anything changed in Puerto Rico since López’s death?

Martínez received a 99-year prison sentence in May 2010 after he pleaded guilty to López’s murder, but nearly two dozen LGBT Puerto Ricans have been killed since the gay teenager’s gruesome death. The Justice Department noted the Puerto Rico Police Department's inadequate response to hate crimes as among the agencies' numerous failures in a damning report it released in September. Fortuño and other officials have yet to publicly speak out against these incidents.

The situation for LGBT Puerto Ricans remains dire two years after López’s death stunned the world. On this grim anniversary, however, it is appropriate to remember a grieving mother’s words that sought to comfort a community during one of its darkest hours: Love conquers hate.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Shots Fired Near the White House

Shots were fired between two cars that were speeding near the White House late on Friday, Nov. 11.

WJLA reported that two U.S. Park Police officers heard gunshots and saw two vehicles speeding down Constitution Avenue near the Ellipse and the Washington Monument around 9:30 p.m. One of the vehicles abandoned on Constitution Avenue and 23rd Street near the Roosevelt, while WJLA reported that witnesses said they saw the driver flee towards Virginia.

WJLA is further reporting that officers recovered an AK-47 assault rifle.

Constitution Avenue between 15th and 17th Streets was closed for several hours.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Video: Kerry Praises Ugandan Gay Activist

Speaking at a Capitol Hill ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 10, U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) praised Frank Mugisha for his activism on behalf of LGBT Ugandans who continue to suffer systematic discrimination, violence and even death.

Kerry delivered his remarks after Ethel and Kerry Kennedy presented Mugisha with the 2011 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award.

Senate Judiciary Committee Advances DOMA Repeal Bill

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10-8 on Thursday, Nov. 10, to advance a bill that would repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

"President Obama applauds today’s vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee to approve the Respect for Marriage Act, which would provide a legislative repeal of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act.” said a White House spokesperson. "The president has long believed that DOMA is discriminatory and has called for its repeal. We should all work towards taking this law off the books. The federal government should not deny gay and lesbian couples the same rights and legal protections afforded to straight couples."

Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, also applauded the committee's vote.

“Today’s vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee puts us one step closer to ending federal marriage discrimination,” he said. “We thank the members of the Judiciary Committee who stood up for LGBT families and particularly thank Chairman Leahy and Senator Feinstein for their leadership in fighting this unjust law.”

Perry: We've All Had Our Human Moments

Texas Gov. Rick Perry would certainly like to push the reset button after he could not remember the name of the third federal agency he would cut during last night's Republican presidential candidate in Rochester, Mich.

Perry issued an early morning mea culpa of sorts to his supporters for his disastrous gaffe. The campaign asked them to donate $5 for "every agency you would like to forget." The only thing Perry should forget at this point is his presidential aspirations.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Gay Members of Congress Release "It Gets Better" Video

Gay and lesbian members of Congress discussed their coming out process and being out on Capitol Hill in an "It Gets Better" video they released on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

"Things are getting better because people are now being honest about who they are and they understand that sometimes comes with a price," said Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank, who first came to Washington, D.C., in 1971, to work as an aide to Congressman Michael Harrington.

Colorado Congressman Jared Polis, Wisconsin Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin and Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline also appeared in the video. Frank appeared in a separate "It Gets Better" video that the Massachusetts Congressional delegation released in late July. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) are among the U.S. senators who released a separate "It Gets Better" video in June.

"There's nothing wrong with you, you're not abnormal and I promise you you're not alone," said Cicilline.

Will Economic Recovery Trump Political Extremism in 2012?

Will economic recovery trump political extremism in 2012?

Mississippi voters on Tuesday, Nov. 8, rejected the so-called “Personhood Amendment” that would have declared that life in the Magnolia State begins at conception, while Ohio voters repealed a law that Republican Gov. John Kasich signed in March that severely curtailed collective bargaining rights for the state’s public workers by a 2-1 margin. Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, who spearheaded the passage of the state’s controversial Senate Bill 1070, is poised to lose his seat in a recall election.

The answer to the fore mentioned question is obviously in the eyes of the beholder—a social conservative could make the argument that President Barack Obama is an extremist because his administration no longer defends the Defense of Marriage Act in federal court, while a liberal feminist may conclude that Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain is an opportunistic misogynist because four women have accused him of sexual harassment while he headed the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. A Rasmussen poll last month showed that 84 percent of likely voters rank the economy as their top issue going into the 2012 election cycle, compared with only 52 percent who described immigration as a very important issue. The country’s unemployment rate remains at nine percent.

It’s the economy, stupid!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hillary Clinton: Repealing Anti-Gay Laws Curbs Spread of HIV/AIDS

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday, Nov. 8, that repealing anti-gay laws is among the ways to curb the spread of the global HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Clinton spoke at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., ahead of the U.S. Conference on AIDS that will take place in Chicago from Nov. 10-13 and World AIDS Day on Dec. 1. She used her NIH speech to announce that the White House has earmarked an additional $60 million to fight the epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa. The State Department has also appointed Ellen DeGeneres as a special envoy to raise global awareness of AIDS.

A Fourth Woman Accuses Cain of Sexual Harassment

A fourth woman has come forward to allege that Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain sexually harassed her.

Flanked by attorney Gloria Allred at a Manhattan press conference earlier on Monday, Nov. 7, Sharon Bialek alleges that Cain made an unwanted sexual advance against her after they had dinner in Washington, D.C., in July 1997. Bialek said she had contacted Cain, who was then head of the National Restaurant Association, in hopes that he could help her find a job.

"Instead of going into the offices he suddenly reached over and he put his hand on my leg, under my skirt toward my genitals," she said, as reported by the Associated Press. "He also pushed my head towards his crotch."

Three other women have accused Cain of sexual harassment and other inappropriate conduct while he headed the lobby group in the 1990s. Politico reported on Oct. 30 that two of the women accepted five-figure settlements from the lobbying group after they came forward with their allegations.

The former Godfather's Pizza CEO categorically denied Bialek's claims. Cain has also dismissed the three other women's allegations as fabricated.

Poll: Democrats Are More Liberal, Less White Than Republicans

A new Gallup analysis finds that Democrats tend to be more liberal and less white and religious than Republicans.

Thirty-seven percent of Democrats whom Gallup interviewed between June 1 and Aug. 30 described themselves as liberal, compared to only six percent of Republicans who were polled during the same period.

Thirty-six percent of Democrats were non-white—including 19 percent who were black and another 14 percent who were Latino. Twelve percent of Republicans were non-white—including 19 percent who were black and another 14 percent who were Latino. Another 52 percent of Democrats rarely or never go to church, compared to 40 percent of Republicans who attend religious services weekly.

These demographics are generally the same as those that Gallup found among prospective voters between Jan. 2 and March 31, 2008. The general election is slightly less than a year away, but Gallup predicts that it will show the same voting patterns that existed in the 2008 cycle.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Poll: Cuomo Remains Popular Among N.Y. Voters

A new NY1/YNN-Marist Poll finds that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo remains popular among New York voters a year after he was elected.

Fifty-five percent of respondents said they think Cuomo has done either a good or excellent job in Albany, while 70 percent have a favorable impression of the governor. Another 75 percent of voters who responded to the poll described Cuomo as a good leader for New York. And 65 percent of respondents said they believe the governor has fulfilled the promises he made on the campaign trail.

Cuomo signed the state’s marriage equality bill into law on June 24. The governor’s $132.5 billion state budget for 2011-2012 that lawmakers approved in late March contained the first spending reduction from the previous year since 1995. Cuomo also signed an ethics reform bill into law in August designed to curb corruption that has long-tarnished state politics.

Sixty-three percent of respondents said that Cuomo is having a positive impact in Albany.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Jill Biden Opens PFLAG National Convention

Doctor Jill Biden stressed the importance of family acceptance in a speech she delivered at the opening of the Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) National Convention in Alexandria, Va., on Friday, Nov. 4.

“Acceptance by those you love is the greatest acceptance of all,” she said, citing the mother who conceived PFLAG in 1972 after she marched with her gay son in the New York City Pride parade. “As a teacher and a mom, I know what Jeanne Manford knew—that there is a direct connection between acceptance and positive, healthy outcomes in every important area of life, including education, mental health, and physical health.”

Biden specifically referenced the spate of LGBT teenager suicides that have made headlines across the country since Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi jumped off New York City’s George Washington Bridge in Oct. 2010. She also cited the anti-bullying workshops that the White House and the Department of Education have hosted, the addition of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to the federal hate crimes law and the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell' as demonstrative examples of the Obama administration's ongoing commitment to LGBT Americans.

“This progress is important, but there is still more to do,” said Biden. “At this critical time for education in our country, we need to ensure that our schools are producing the next generation of American leaders and heroes. We must insure that our classrooms are safer for all students to learn, grow, and thrive.”

She spoke about anti-LGBT bullying in the classroom at a Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network event in New York City in June 2009.

Poll: Obama Faces Uphill Battle in Swing States

Is it time for the White House to worry?

A new USA Today/Gallup poll finds that President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney are statistically tied among registered voters nationally and in 12 key swing states. Forty-seven percent of registered voters across the country said they would vote for Obama if he faced Romney in the general election, compared to 47 percent of respondents who said they would vote for Romney. Forty-seven percent of registered voters in so-called swing states—including Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, said they would support Romney in general election, compared to 46 percent who said they would vote for Obama.

Obama appears slightly more competitive against other Republican presidential candidates. Forty-nine percent of voters in swing states said they would vote for Obama in the general election, compared with 44 percent who said they would vote for Perry if he were to become the Republican nominee. Forty-eight percent of swing state voters said they would vote for Obama, versus 45 percent who said they would back Cain if Republicans were to nominate him.

Obama’s job approval rating is 44 percent, while 49 percent of Americans said they disapprove of the president. The White House clearly has some work to do among recession weary Americans before Nov. 6, 2012.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Senate Committee Considers DOMA Repeal Bill

The Senate Judiciary Committee will consider a bill on Thursday, Nov. 3, that would repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler introduced the measure in the House in March; while Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced a companion DOMA repeal measure in the Senate.

“Marriage is the true foundation for strong families," said Gillibrand. "Every loving, committed couple deserves the basic human right to get married, start a family, and have access to all the same rights and privileges that my husband and I enjoy. No politician should stand in the way of this fact."

The White House announced earlier this year that it will no longer defend DOMA in federal court. The committee held a hearing on the Clinton-era law in July, but the mark-up comes a week after eight current and retired gay servicemembers filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of DOMA in a federal court in Boston.

“Today is another step toward restoration of the traditional practice of having the federal government respect marriages lawfully celebrated by the states – and eliminating the gay exception that unfairly denies that equal treatment to loving and committed couples who have gotten legally married,” said Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry. “As the Senate Judiciary Committee considers this bill, we urge members to take into account the real harms families face because of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, and the burdens this departure from the usual way the federal government honors marriages imposes on businesses, employers, and others dealing with married couples.”

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

N.H. Lawmaker Drops Anti-Marriage Equality Amendment

A New Hampshire lawmaker announced on Tuesday, Nov. 1, that he will not pursue a constitutional amendment that would ban marriage for same-sex couples.

State Rep. David Bates (R-Windham) told the Associated Press that he wants the Legislature to debate his bill that would repeal the state’s marriage equality law that took effect on Jan. 1, 2010. Three-fifths of both houses and two-thirds of voters would need to approve an amendment if it were to be adopted. Bates appeared to acknowledge this high threshold while stressing to the AP that he did not want to force his colleagues in Concord to choose between an amendment and the repeal measure.

"It would complicate the decision for legislators if there was another alternative out there," said Bates.

The House Judiciary Committee voted 11-6 on Oct. 25 to recommend repealing the state’s marriage equality statute that Gov. John Lynch signed into law in June 2009.

A recent University of New Hampshire Survey Center poll found that 62 percent of Granite State voters oppose efforts to repeal the state’s marriage equality law. Debate over the repeal measure could coincide with New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary that is expected to take place on Jan. 10.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry applauded efforts to repeal the marriage equality law during a speech he gave at Cornerstone Action’s annual banquet in Manchester on Oct. 28. Ray Buckley, chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, described Bates’ measure to Boy in Bushwick as “astonishing” after the House Judiciary Committee endorsed it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Occupy Movement and the Accountability Question

What does accountability look like?

This was one of the many complicated questions that came up at a panel discussion about the Occupy Wall Street movement that WNYC host Brian Lehrer moderated at the Jerome L. Greene Performance Space in lower Manhattan on Tuesday, Nov. 1. Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer; Crain’s New York Business contributor Greg David; Occupy Wall Street organizer Jesse LaGreca, who blogs at the Daily Kos and Kathryn Wylde of the Partnership for New York City, who is deputy chair of the New York Federal Reserve’s Board of Directors, certainly offered a variety of opinions and insights into the grassroots movement that has increasingly captivated the country in recent weeks. The panelists agreed that economic inequality in this country is unacceptable, and they suggested to varying degrees that the so-called 99 percent are justifiably angry at corporate America and their surrogates on Wall Street and on Capitol Hill.

Democracy is not an neatly packed form of government as a stroll through the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park near Ground Zero earlier today literally proved—corporate money in American politics, war, unemployment and even civil rights were among the topics to which Occupiers drew attention. One can certainly argue that dissent is the highest form of patriotism. The question remains, however, whether organizers within the Occupy movement are able to offer tangible solutions to the country’s social, economic and political inequalities that can effectively hold the powers that be accountable.

The answer is as complicated as the form of government under which the Occupy movement is able to expand.