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A Wonk catch-up on a Wednesday night (and Hillary Goes Purple)

Wednesday — Tori Amos

I wasn’t able to get my news junkie fix all day today, so this is just me catching up on a Wednesday night and sharing some quick thoughts on stories that caught my eye.

The Hill reports thatVoters are not worried about ‘extreme’ label on candidates.” According to the Hill’s polling (conducted by Mark Penn’s firm), only 15% of Democrats and 14% of Independents are voting to “ensure extreme right-wing candidates are not elected to Congress.” 37% of independent voters couldn’t even find a single compelling reason to vote for Democrats but only 24% say the same about finding a reason to vote for Republicans. Another interesting finding to note is that the “most effective motivator for the base of the Democratic Party is President Obama.” Considering that a lot of polling in general indicates that President Obama turns independent voters away in droves now while motivating the base of the Republican party to get out its vote, I’d say that’s a pretty toxic motivator for the Democratic party to have. That’s the same argument Democrats make about Sarah Palin after all, isn’t it? Polarizing?

In other polling news, Gallup has this bit out — Pelosi’s favorability slides down to its lowest yet, coming in at 29%. Pelosi told us Hillary holdouts that we were less than gracious when we wouldn’t bow to party unity. Remember that? Well, it’s pretty clear that the American electorate feels like she’s been a disgrace as Speaker.

Over at the Huffpo Newsdesk, Shahien Nasiripour and Arthur Delaney report that Obama the Flim Flam Nowhere Man and his White House are doing what they do best: “Obama Team Punts On Foreclosure Fraud: ‘For The Banks And Servicers To Fix’.” The Buck Stops with… everybody but Obama! Why won’t people just let him eat his waffle.

This next one I might have missed if I hadn’t seen it on memeorandum.com. It’s from Dan Froomkin via Nieman Watchdog, and it’s called “Nine stories the press is underreporting — fraud, fraud and more fraud.” I’m still going through it, but it looks like a must-read.

I see over on CNN’s Ticker that the Empty Mitten is up to his shenanigans as we get closer to the 2012 election cycle gearing up. From CNN Ticker’s Alexander Mooney — “2012 Watch: Romney launches ’10 for ’10’ initiative.” It seems like he’s copying Sarah Palin.

Last night BB covered the wildly inappropriate message that Virginia Thomas left on Anita Hill’s answering machine. My mother (who watches cable news to keep track of the atrocities, just like I do) tipped me off to another development on that story — apparently Megyn Kelly thinks its questionable of Anita Hill to have informed the police (link goes to tvsquad.com). WTF? I know Megyn wants to keep her Fox News audience well and fed, but she’s completely out of line on that one and needs to put herself in Kelly’s court for that.

Another link to the Hill, “Bush defends bailout of financial firms.” The great Decider informs us of the obvious, which is that he lost no sleep over any decision he made.

From the Gray Lady, a depressing though unsurprising headline — “Efforts to Prosecute Blackwater Collapse.”

There was breaking news on DADT while I was writing this post. From the Advocate, Appeals Court Grants DADT Stay“:

Less than 24 hours after a federal judge refused to block an injunction against “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the U.S. court of appeals for the ninth circuit has done so — at least temporarily.

I wanted to end this post on a more uplifting note, so I’ve saved the best for last. From stacyx, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Wore Purple Today, Spirit Day.” GLAAD organized Spirit Day today calling for people to wear purple to show LGBT youth they are not alone and to remember the young people who have been lost recently to suicide due to anti-gay bigotry and bullying.

Here is the official WH photo, where you can see Hillary going purple (h/t to stacyx):

I already posted today in the wee hours of the morning on Hillary’s message to LGBT youth. For whatever pathetic reason, the CDSers out there are reacting to Hillary’s speaking out (to support kids who are being bullied to DEATH) as another opportunity to bully and bash her. Yet, Hillary just keeps on doing her thing.

Hillary is a great role model to young people to let other people’s issues just slide off one’s own back and keep on going on and fighting the good fight. Go Hillary! Always leading by example. If young people learn anything from Hillary, the best thing they could learn is that the bullies don’t deserve to keep any of us down and we all can find our way if we just keep at it and don’t give up.

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The Nineties as viewed through the CDS looking-glass

Bill? Is that you?


From the comments over at Ian Welsh’s blog:


We paid for that “prosperity” later …

The “clinton” economy benefited from the initial stimulus of cheap goods imported into the US from the free trade agreements… the exported jobs would take more time, the explosion of consumer credit, greenspan’s irresponsibility in nourishing a huge stock market bubble, and wall street being set lose in a major way on the world’s markets. Workers fell further behind during those wonderful clinton years in wage inequality …. even behind what they were during the republican dominated 80s.

“Both the average wages for non-supervisory workers and the earnings of those in the lowest 10 percent of wage earners,” notes Robert Pollin, “not only remained well below those of the Nixon/Ford and Carter administrations, but were actually lower than that even than those of the Reagan/Bush years. Moreover, wage inequality — as measured by the ratio of the 90th to the 10th wage decile — increased sharply during Clinton’s tenure in office, even relative to the Republican heyday of the 1980s.”

http://dissidentvoice.org/Sept05/Street0929.htm

Yeah, clinton did a great job with his secretary of treasury deregulating everything in sight, carrying out polices that led to hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqi children, passing welfare reform, increasing the H1-B visa limits, relaxing the limits on media ownership, preventing college students with marijuana possession convictions from getting federal financial aid, and passing The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act which helped lead to this wonderful growing police state we live in and increased the amount of inmates by 50% during his reign.

The delusory “healthy” clinton economy was the results of easy credit, the technology boom, the initial benefits of cheap goods from the free trade agreements that he couldn’t do enough of, his abhorrent secretary of treasury, rubin, talking greenspan into exploding the money supply to reflect the “productivity miracle”, and the consequent stock market bubble. In the end, we all saw how real that was when many highly capitalized dotcom companies never developed viable business models and went bankrupt with wall street walking away rich. It was mainly based on bullshit and it started to fall apart even before the abominable bush came into office. And, also, that initial wave of corruption that finally surfaced from enron and worldcom and the like in 2002 or 2003 … that didn’t start the moment bush came into office, it started when clinton was president. It obviously got a lot worse under the worst president in our nation’s history, but the economy did not just start to fall apart in January 2001.



Here’s another
:


And the children in Iraq who were being slowly starved to death, or having cruise missiles lobbed at them might disagree as to the whole peacefulness of Clinton.

Clinton embellished his foreign policy with “humanitarian” aims and ideals, but in Iraq and beyond, he displayed the customary indifference of US presidents to human rights and the suffering of innocents. On his watch, military aid to Turkey, engaged in a scorched earth campaign against its Kurdish minority, and to Colombia, conducting a dirty war against left-wing insurgents, skyrocketed. The embargo on Cuba was tightened. Global efforts to block the militarisation of space were derailed while a stringent, self-serving neo-liberal economic regime was promoted through NAFTA and the WTO. Hundreds of thousands perished in Rwanda without Clinton lifting a finger, but he found time to bomb a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan that his officials falsely alleged was producing chemical weapons.


Wow. It’s a miracle the nation survived.
/snarkfont

What’s really weird is these lefty purity trolls HATE Bill and Hillary more than than they dislike Reagan, Bush, Bush II or Bush III.

I don’t know what they’re smoking but I don’t want any of it.


Run for your lives! Here comes peace and prosperity!

 



Dirty pool


From the Kansas City Star:

Three months ago in Kansas City, the NAACP first raised charges of racism within the tea party movement. Today a report is being released accusing tea party groups of providing platforms to anti-Semites and other bigots.

“These groups and individuals are out there, and we ignore them at our own peril,” said NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous in a statement announcing the report. “They are speaking at tea party events, recruiting at rallies, and in some cases remain in the tea party leadership itself.”

The 94-page report is being released by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in a teleconference today.

In July, NAACP delegates passed a resolution at their national convention in Kansas City condemning racism within the tea party movement, creating a national furor. The NAACP board of directors ratified the resolution last week.

Tea party leaders condemned the report on Tuesday.

This reeks. The NAACP came up with this report THREE MONTHS AGO but sat on it until less than two weeks before the election?

I haven’t had a chance to read the report (neither has the Tea Party) but I’m gonna go ahead an assume that some or all of the allegations made by the NAACP are true. What does that prove?

A couple years ago there was this totally new grassroots movement that appeared spontaneously in reaction to the DNC/RBC decision to take some of Hillary Clinton’s ‘s delegates and give them to Barack Obama.

There were some people who were outraged by the blatant cheating as well as all the other crappy things that had gone on during the previous six months. They declared they would not support Barack Obama and called themselves Party Unity My Ass, or P.U.M.A.

You may have heard of them.

I was here on Day One when PUMA started. It immediately went viral and was beyond the control of any one person. Unfortunately all the excitement and hoopla attracted some weirdos and nutballs like moths to a flame.

We wanted nothing to do with them of course. We banned them from TC when they started spouting racist ideas and right-wing nonsense. Riverdaughter physically ejected a guy from the Denver Headquartrers when he started raving about how it was all “the Joos” fault.

The problem is identifying the weirdos and nutballs before they start raving like lunatics. If you advertise a rally, do you check ID’s and do background checks before you allow anyone admission?

“Are you now or have you ever been a racist?”

If you’re a decentralized, grassroots organization, who is in charge of screening new members? Do you screen donors too? How do you screen them, and for what? Is there a racist database somewhere that anyone can log into and check names?

The real question is whether the Tea Party is a racist organization or whether it just has some unsavory members and associations that need to go.

But what the NAACP has done is a transparent attempt to gain partisan advantage for the Democrats by ambushing the entire Tea Party movement with charges of racism just before an election.

So much for “post-racial” America.



UPDATE:

From Crooks and Liars:

The heart of the report is the section titled “Racism, Anti-Semitism and the Militia Impulse, which includes some previously overlooked facets of the movement and revealing details:

— James von Brunn, the white supremacist who killed a Holocaust Museum guard last year, posted on Tea Partner Express partner websites.

— Mark Williams, former chairman of the Tea Party Express, not only wrote racist screeds, he made death threats against President Obama,

— Billy Joe Roper, a member of the ResistNet Tea Party who also happens to be the founder of the overtly racist White Revolution organization, indulging in “Nazi glamorization” with his eulogy for William Pierce, author of The Turner Diaries, the notorious race-war blueprint.

We also get “profiles of troubling Tea Partiers,” including Roan Garcia-Quintana, a South Carolina Tea Party member who the report says belongs to the largest white nationalist group in the country; Karen Pack, another Tea Party member the report says is linked to the Ku Klux Klan; and Clay Douglas, a Tea Party member from Arizona the report says has pushed “militia-style ‘New World Order’ conspiracies” and “hard core anti-Semitism.


The one guy who was in charge of anything (Mark Williams) has long-since been canned. The rest of the people named are listed as “members.”

I counted six names. How many people nationwide are listed as members of one of the Tea Party factions?

If somebody posted comments on Crook and Liars and then committed murder, would that make John Amato and Nicole Belle responsible?

If that is the best the NAACP has then they ain’t got shit.



Wednesday News

Good Morning Conflucians!!

We start off the morning with a real stunner. Virginia Thomas called up Anita Hill and left a message that it’d be just find and dandy if Anita would admit she’s a liar and apologize:

A spokesman for the university confirmed that Hill turned the message over Monday to the school’s Department of Public Safety.

“And they in turn informed the FBI,” said Andrew Gully, senior vice president of communications and external affairs. “They felt it was appropriate thing to do.”

At the university, Hill is a professor of social policy, law and women’s studies. Hill became a household name and the subject of a national conversation about sexual harassment after her explosive testimony at Thomas’ contentious confirmation hearings in 1991. On Tuesday, Hill said she had nothing to apologize for.

“I certainly thought the call was inappropriate,” Hill said in a statement. “I have no intention of apologizing because I testified truthfully about my experience and I stand by that testimony.”

Thomas’ message was first reported by ABC News, which obtained a transcript:

“Good morning, Anita Hill, it’s Ginni Thomas. I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband. So give it some thought and certainly pray about this and come to understand why you did what you did. OK, have a good day.”

Virginia Thomas confirmed the message.

“The offer still stands,” she told ABC News in a statement.

Apparently WTF week continues. What nerve. That sadly brings back all those memories of the intense sexism and misogyny surrounding that incident and how shocking it was that most in the media and government sided with the sex offender, now justice Thomas. I bet Harry Reid likes him too. Maybe he’s one of his pets as well.

As mentioned by myiq last night, the big story being pushed of late is O’Donnell’s disbelief that the separation of church and state can be found in the First Amendment. You could interpret that to mean she was asking if that particular phrase was in there, of course it’s not, or if the discussion were more broad. O’Donnell now is of course siding with just the particular phrase. Here’s more:

During Tuesday’s debate, O’Donnell and Coons were arguing over the teaching-of-Creationism thing when Coons said that one of the “indispensable principles” of the Founding Fathers was “separation of church of state.”

“Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?” said O’Donnell in reply, drawing gasps from a crowd composed largely of law students and professors.

A few minutes later, Coons returned to the subject, saying the First Amendment establishes the separation between church and state.

“The First Amendment does?” said O’Donnell. “You’re telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?”

After the debate, O’Donnell did not respond to reporters asking her to clarify her remarks. Her campaign manager, Matt Moran, later issued a statement saying that she was not questioning the concept of separation of church and state. “She simply made the point that the phrase appears nowhere in the Constitution,” Mr. Moran said.

We report, you decide. OK, couldn’t resist that. To me it looks like she didn’t mean that exact phrase but instead thinks the state can impose religion, hence being for teaching creationism. Here’s a bit more:

O’Donnell is not the only conservative Republican Senate candidate with “tea party” support who has raised the issue of what the First Amendment means. In Nevada, Sharron Angle has taken a point of view similar to that of her Delaware compatriot.

In an interview earlier this year, Ms. Angle said that Thomas Jefferson, the Founding Father credited with originating the phrase “separation of church and state,” has been misunderstood on this matter.

“Thomas Jefferson was actually addressing a church and telling them through his address that there had been a wall of separation put up between the church and the state precisely to protect the church from being taken over by a state religion,” said Angle to Las Vegas Sun columnist Jon Ralston. “That’s what they meant by that. They didn’t mean we couldn’t bring our values to the political forum.”

It sounds like some of the justifications that make their way around the circuit for teaching creationism and for pushing religion on us through the government.

Because of the recent ruling that DADT is unconstitutional, the military is now forced to consider openly gay recruits. Of course Obama is moving fast to stop this as we all know:

The military is accepting openly gay recruits for the first time in the nation’s history.

The historic move follows a series of decisions by US District Court Judge Virginia Phillips, who ruled last month that the “don’t ask, don’t tell’’ law targeting openly gay service members violates their equal protection and First Amendment rights. Yesterday, Phillips rejected the government’s effort to delay her order that halted enforcement of the 17-year policy.

Government lawyers are expected to appeal her decision to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco.

In the meantime, the Defense Department has said it will comply with Phillips’s order and had frozen discharge cases. Cynthia Smith, Pentagon spokeswoman, said recruiters had been given top-level guidance to accept applicants who say they are gay.

At least two service members discharged for being gay began the process to reenlist after the Pentagon’s announcement yesterday.

Recruiters also have been told to inform potential recruits that the moratorium on enforcement of the policy could be reversed at any time, if the ruling is appealed or the court grants a stay, she said.

Still, supporters of gay rights hailed the military’s decision.

“Gay people have been fighting for equality in the military since the 1960s,’’ said Aaron Belkin, executive director of the Palm Center, a think tank on gays and the military at the University of California Santa Barbara. “It took a lot to get to this day.’’

The White House has insisted its actions in court do not diminish President Obama’s efforts to repeal the ban. In their request for a stay, government lawyers argue Phillips’s order would be disruptive to troops serving at a time of war.

They say the military needs time to prepare new regulations and train and educate service members about the change.

Phillips has said her order does not prohibit the Pentagon from implementing those measures.

So on the one hand, it’s great that the judge ruled that way and for the most part it appears the military will comply. But it’s very sad that Obama is working to overturn the ruling. Of course it’s not at all surprising Obama would want to do this given the people he has surrounded himself with for many years, esp. religious leaders, but also senior staff and advisors who think it’s only a lifestyle choice.

It appears we have some interesting activity between the FED and the banks, and perhaps the recent stock market drop has to do with some of that:

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has joined a group of investors demanding that Bank of America buy back billions of dollars worth of mortgage securities that are plagued with shoddy documentation and lending standards, according to people familiar with the matter.

Some of the most powerful investment groups in the country as well as the New York arm of the central bank are accusing one of Bank of America’s major mortgage divisions of cutting corners when it was issuing mortgages during the housing boom and as it has been foreclosing on struggling borrowers during the bust.

If Bank of America refuses to comply, these investors could end up suing, a person familiar with the matter said.

The demand from the New York Fed and other investors sets up an unusual and high-stakes confrontation, pitting an arm of the federal government against the country’s biggest bank. It also illustrates conflicting policy priorities, because it could put the Fed at odds with a bank the Treasury Department has been helping through the financial crisis over the past two years.

With this new confrontation, the government finds itself in the awkward position of being an unhappy private investor pressing for its rights to be enforced. The New York Fed holds roughly $16 billion of mortgage securities that it acquired after it bailed out American International Group.

On Tuesday, Bank of America dismissed concerns that investors will drag the bank into court for years with costly lawsuits.

“We don’t see the issues that people [are] worried about, quite frankly,” chief executive Brian Moynihan said in a conference call Tuesday as the bank reported a $7.3 billion third-quarter loss.

Sure, nothing to worry about. Nothing to see here. Go about your business. These aren’t the droids you’re looking for. Business Week has some coverage of this as well:

The action follows a foreclosure freeze that drove bank stocks lower this month as shareholders reconsidered the risks of home loans sold before the housing crash. The New York Fed acquired mortgage debt through its 2008 rescues of Bear Stearns Cos. and American International Group Inc., and the Fed’s participation may raise the odds of prevailing against Bank of America, said Scott Buchta of Braver Stern Securities LLC.

“Individual investors have been trying for years to get these big banks to buy back loans at par, and haven’t had a lot of luck,” said Buchta, head of investment strategy for the New York-based securities firm. The New York Fed “in your corner, that adds weight and might give you a better chance for success.”

Buckle your seat belts, we’re in for a bumpy ride.

And speaking of a bumpy ride, the undeniable story about how much better for candidates Big Dawg is than Oprecious is still being told:

Former President Bill Clinton is more effective than President Obama at motivating both Democrats and Independents, a new Gallup Poll indicates.

Both President Obama and former President Clinton have been traveling the country campaigning to prevent a Republican landslide in November’s elections. Clinton has headlined more than 80 events for hard-pressed Democratic candidates, and some observers think he could complete 100 appearances by election day.

In a poll conducted October 14-17, Gallup asked registered voters whether having Clinton or Obama campaign for a candidate would be a plus, minus, or make no difference. From those responses, Gallup calculated a “net impact” by subtracting the percentage who said campaigning would make them less likely to vote for a candidate from the percentage who said it would make them more likely to vote for a candidate.

“Clinton does modestly better than Obama among Democrats,” writes Gallup editor in chief Frank Newport. The net positive impact of Clinton’s campaigning among Democrats is 48 percent, while for Obama it is 42 percent.

Where the former president dramatically outshines Obama is with independent voters. Among independents, “Clinton’s impact breaks about even,” Mr. Newport writes. Some 21 percent of independents are more likely to support a candidate if Mr. Clinton works for them, while 23 percent are less likely, leaving the net result at a negative 2 percent.

But independents in the poll react in a much more negative fashion to Obama. While 12 percent say they would be more likely to vote for a person Obama supports on the stump, a whopping 39 percent say they would be less likely. That produces a net impact from Obama campaign appearances of a negative 27 percent among independents. Since independent voters are often the key to winning elections, that negative impact is a major problem for Democrats.

Unfortunately for the world, the analysis then proceeded to give an opinion as to why this might be. And of course we hear the usual mythologies and Obama pampering:

Why the gap in campaign performance? Gallup’s Mr. Newport argues that it “almost certainly reflects the fact that Clinton has been out of office for 10 years, and thus has become a more benign figure to those who are independent or who identify with the Republican Party.” Obama, he argues, as sitting president is “more likely to generate strong feelings at this point in his career.”

Another likely factor in the poll results is that Bill Clinton is a gifted campaigner, whatever one thinks of his politics. Politico columnist Annie Groer aptly refers to the former president as a man “who never saw a rope line he didn’t want to work.” At an event in New Mexico, the former president said he planned to do “about one stop for everybody that helped Hillary run for president.”

Yes, we see yet again the myth that Clinton is only popular now because he’s been out of office for so long and we’ve forgotten how much we hated him when he just left office. Never mind the facts and what those numbers were. We can’t have facts getting in the way of our mythologies. Notice they also can’t help by pushing the “whatever one things of his politics” bit. Really, you guys are going there. I think most Americans quite like his politics, it’s inside DC that they don’t like it. Nothing changes. WaPo has a related story, but hold your nose, there’s some heavy spinning there as well. But even with their spin, what’s obvious in these contrasts comes through. (In the voice of Dana Carvey doing an impression of HW Bush) Clinton good, Obama bad.

Esquire has an interesting article pointing out that given that Obama is mostly an echo of MA Gov. Patrick, watching the governors race now might be a good indication of how Obama’s will be. And perhaps that’s it’s a bit of a referendum of Obama as well. I think there’s something to that. Definitely a race to watch for a number of reasons.

Let’s change gears here and look at a few things going on in the privacy world. The first item is about how the US Gov. is watching you on Facebook, and in some cases is pushing being “Friends” with some to even more closely monitor your activity:

According to documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the U.S. government is busily tracking social networks in a number of ways, including using sites like Facebook to monitor people who are applying for U.S. citizenship.

According to a May 2008 memo by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, “Narcissistic tendencies in many people fuels a need to have a large group of “friends” link to their pages and many of these people accept cyber-friends that they don’t even know. This provides an excellent vantage point for FDNS [Office of Fraud Detection and National Security] to observe the daily life of beneficiaries and petitioners who are suspected of fraudulent activities.”

In other words, social networking sites give the government an opportunity to reveal potential fraud by friending people who are applying for citizenship, then monitoring their activity to see if they are being deceptive about their relationships. “In essence,” says the memo, “using MySpace and other like sites is akin to doing an unannounced cyber “site-visit” on a petitioner and beneficiaries.”

The other item is about traffic and street cameras monitoring citizens. This story has a twist in that some of these cameras are being opened up to the public, so anyone can watch, and also monitor the police as well:

Back in 1996, writer and scientist David Brin wrote “The Transparent Society,” a tale of two fundamentally similar yet very different 21st-century cities. Both were littered with security cameras monitoring every inch of public space, but in one city the police did the watching, while in the other the citizens monitored the feeds to keep an eye on each other (and the police). These days, many UK police forces monitor their city streets with cameras mounted on every corner. Now, for a fee, a private company is crowdsourcing security surveillance to any citizen willing to watch, fulfilling Brin’s prophecy in a sense.

Devon-based Internet Eyes offers businesses a surveillance service in which private citizens eager to earn cash rewards can log on and view video streams remotely, keeping an eye out for suspicious activity. If a viewer spots a shoplifter, a text is sent to two mobile numbers of the owner’s choosing, alerting store personnel of the matter. The viewer can earn rewards of up to 1,000 British pounds if the tip turns out to be accurate (that’s roughly $1,600). The business pays 75 pounds per month for the service.

If it sounds a bit Orwellian, it is and it isn’t. After all, it’s not the actual government accessing the feeds but regular civilians with no law enforcement power. And steps are taken to keep things secure; the feeds swap every 20 minutes and are completely anonymous, so a viewer doesn’t know the location of the camera. If a viewer does report a crime, the feed switches immediately afterward. In short, any kind of voyeuristic fun you might want to have via the service is seriously limited.

And one last update as we’re going to press. The DADT Judge refuses to stay her decision:

The federal judge who declared “don’t ask, don’t tell” unconstitutional denied the Obama administration’s request Tuesday to let military authorities resume discharging openly gay and lesbian troops while the government appeals her ruling.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips of Riverside rejected Justice Department arguments that she should suspend her decision to prevent disruption to military operations during the appeal.

In fact, she said, courtroom testimony showed that halting the “don’t ask” policy would help the armed forces by retaining service members, including many with exceptional skills.

The trial showed that the law “harms military readiness and unit cohesion, and irreparably injures service members by violating their fundamental rights,” Phillips wrote.

The administration, which has appealed her ruling to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, has said it would immediately ask that court for a stay if Phillips refused to issue one.

A stay would remain in effect at least until a hearing, which might not be before next spring.

Phillips’ order “brings us one step closer toward ending once and for all this unconstitutional policy, which President Obama and Congress seem incapable or unwilling to end themselves,” said Dan Woods, lawyer for the Log Cabin Republicans, a 19,000-member gay rights group that sued to overturn the law in 2004.

And so it goes. Chime in with what you’re reading and seeing.

Hillary to LGBT Youth: “It gets better… take care of yourself.”

From Secretary Clinton:

Like millions of Americans, I was terribly saddened to learn of the recent suicides of several teenagers across our country after being bullied because they were gay or because people thought they were gay. Children are particularly vulnerable to the hurt caused by discrimination and prejudice and we have lost many young people over the years to suicide. These most recent deaths are a reminder that all Americans have to work harder to overcome bigotry and hatred.

I have a message for all the young people out there who are being bullied, or who feel alone and find it hard to imagine a better future: First of all, hang in there and ask for help. Your life is so important—to your family, your friends, and to your country. And there is so much waiting for you, both personally and professionally— there are so many opportunities for you to develop your talents and make your contributions.

And these opportunities will only increase. Because the story of America is the story of people coming together to tear down barriers, stand up for rights, and insist on equality, not only for themselves but for all people. And in the process, they create a community of support and solidarity that endures. Just think of the progress made by women just during my lifetime by women, or ethnic, racial and religious minorities over the course of our history —and by gays and lesbians, many of whom are now free to live their lives openly and proudly. Here at the State Department, I am grateful every day for the work of our LGBT employees who are serving the United States as foreign service officers and civil servants here and around the world. It wasn’t long ago that these men and women would not have been able to serve openly, but today they can—because it has gotten better. And it will get better for you.

So take heart, and have hope, and please remember that your life is valuable, and that you are not alone. Many people are standing with you and sending you their thoughts, their prayers and their strength. Count me among them.

Take care of yourself.

Melisssa Bell at WaPo’s BlogPost reports that “The campaign to tell teenagers ‘It Gets Better’ received huge political backing Tuesday when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took to YouTube to address teen bullying and tell them: ‘Hang in there.'”

From CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty — “Hillary Clinton tells bullied gay teens: ‘Hang in there and ask for help‘”:

Clinton has been in the forefront of the Obama administration’s efforts to expand rights for gay and lesbian government employees. She instituted equal benefits for same-sex partners of State Department employees, a move that encouraged President Barack Obama to authorize such benefits for gay men and lesbiasn throughout the federal government. The State Department also has made it easier for transgender people to change their passports and, for the first time, the agency’s “equal opportunity statement” includes gender identity and sexual preference.

From Tammye Nash at the Dallas Voice, “Secretary of State Clinton joins the ‘It Gets Better’ effort“:

Most of the celebrities joining the “It Gets Better” campaign and posting their videos online are openly LGBT people. But now, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has added her voice to the call for LGBT young people contemplating suicide to hang on because brighter days are ahead.

Here’s Secretary Clinton’s video, “Tomorrow Will Be Better.” Now I wonder when we will see a video from President Barack Obama, or perhaps from First Lady Michelle Obama? The president is our “fierce advocate,” after all.

That’s a good question, but I think the infamous “Nobody” who could have predicted the disasters of the last decade knows better than to sit around waiting for that Fierce Urgency of Maybe Someday from brand Obama.

What do y’all say? Will Hillary’s example EVER rub off on Obama? Or, will he just keep relying on Hillary’s public service to fill the void left by his inability to lead?

That arc of the moral universe that he’s so eager to walk all over on a rug keeps on bending toward justice, but Obama has yet to be fired up and ready to go when it comes to bending with it. Here’s the latest on that sad pattern from our supposedly Democratic White House… from USA Today, “Military to accept openly gay recruits“:

WASHINGTON — Openly gay recruits can now join the military as a result of a federal court ruling striking down the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law, but they are being warned that they can still be discharged if the ruling is overturned.

Cynthia Smith, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said the suspension of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is in response to the Sept. 9 decision of a central California federal judge that ruled the law implemented under President Clinton in 1993 was unconstitutional.

The judge, Virginia Phillips, on Tuesday denied a government request to delay her order, the Associated Press reported. The Justice Department said the Obama administration will appeal to the appellate court in San Francisco.

And, from the Advocate’s Kerry Eleveld:

Lopez later told The Advocate that the recruiters didn’t seem to know of the injunction.

“Any changes in policy hadn’t been disclosed to them, so they had to turn me away,” Lopez said, adding that they suggested he shouldn’t trust everything he reads in the media. “They said, you should wait for an actual order form the president saying the policy’s been lifted.”

Lopez’s case, first reported in The New York Times Thursday morning, prompted Log Cabin Republicans attorney Dan Woods to send a letter to the Department of Justice just before 2 p.m. Eastern time Thursday.

“Please let us know immediately what steps the government has taken to communicate the terms and requirements of the Court’s order to military personnel, including field commanders and military recruiting offices, who are in a position to violate the requirements of the injunction under the cover of ignorance of its terms of existence,” he wrote.

If the reports were true, Woods continued, “the Department of Defense would appear to be in violation of the Court’s injunction and subject to citation for contempt.”

Around 2:30 p.m., White House press secretary Robert Gibbs assured reporters at the briefing that the Pentagon would be addressing the matter of DOD compliance with the injunction shortly.

“The Department of Defense is working on the guidance for the entire chain of command that should be out soon,” he said.

Pentagon spokespeople informed the press just before 4 p.m. Eastern that the staff JAG had sent an e-mail to all service branches informing them that the military would “abide by the terms in the court’s ruling.”

Where is President Obama on any of this? Where is his Audacity to speak up on behalf of doors opening up for LGBT like never before? For all Obama’s talk of change, his silence is deafening when real change is actually happening in spite of him, with its genuine advocates having to fight his fierce resistance.

Since Obama is a Nowhere Flim Flam Man, we just get to hear some gobbledy gook through the buffer of his buffoon press secretary. And, yet our very moral president has the “audacity” to speak of being guided by some kind of a North Star? (link goes to his Rolling Stone interview from last month, although I recall he spoke of a North Star in his Nobel accepatance speech as well).

Sadly, for Obama it’s all about him, and it always has been. His audacity to hope, his audacity to run, his audacity to win. He has not paid any of that forward to the ordinary people and their audacity to survive. Since he won in 2008, President Obama’s north star has only ever pointed in the direction of his 2012 re-election prospects. It seems like aside from Hillary, there is no one in the room looking out for actually getting something done and governing.

I’d like to close with these words from my Hill-blogging pal stacyx, who says it well and speaks for me in a post called, “Secretary of State Clinton Speaks Directly to GLBT Youth: Tomorrow Will Be Better“:

This is really, really moving and I give her major props for doing this. The recent wave of suicides by gay youth/young adults is tragic, as is the hate speech issuing forth from conservatives who are trying to use this as a wedge issue.

It’s amazing that such a high-level government official would do this. It is INCREDIBLY important. I can’t think of any one else in this administration who would speak not only with this much feeling and honesty, but speak directly to kids. Anyone who is gay knows how tough it can be during youth and adolescence to feel isolated not only from friends, but in some cases, also from family.