Courtesy: Iheefz – Chicago
WASHINGTON – A marriage made in Toronto was at the heart Wednesday of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act on a historic day that also cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California, the most populous state in the union.
The ruling on the federal U.S. legislation known as DOMA gives spouses in same-sex unions a full array of tax, health and pension benefits.
The challenge to the legislation was spearheaded by 83-year-old Edith Windsor, a New Yorker, who married her longtime partner Thea Spyer six years ago in Canada, where same-sex marriage has been legal for almost a decade. The couple’s marriage was recognized by New York state, but not by the federal government.
When Spyer died in 2009, the federal government cited DOMA to force Windsor, who’s now ailing, to pay $363,000 in taxes on her late wife’s estate — taxes that wouldn’t have been levied against her if she’d been married to a man.
Windsor wasn’t at the Supreme Court on Wednesday, but watched from her lawyer’s apartment in New York, where she was reportedly jubilant upon word that DOMA had been struck down. The law had been in effect since 1996, when it was signed into law by a now-apologetic Bill Clinton.
“Children born today will grow up in a world without DOMA,” a beaming Windsor told a New York news conference.
“And those children who are gay will be free to grow up and love and be married .… If I had to survive Thea, what a glorious way to do it. And she would be so pleased.”
Also on Wednesday, the high court cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California by ruling that defenders of Proposition 8, a ban on same-sex marriage, had no constitutional standing. That means a lower court ruling in California that legalized same-sex marriage is again the law of the land.
The two historic rulings will likely transform the United States on same-sex marriage, an issue now widely considered a civil rights battle — and one that is dramatically winning the support of Americans.
U.S. President Barack Obama, the first commander-in-chief in American history to back same-sex marriage, praised the Supreme Court in a statement on Tuesday released after he personally called the plaintiffs involved in the two cases to congratulate them.
“This was discrimination enshrined in law,” he said.
“It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it. We are a people who declared that we are all created equal – and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”
As many legal experts predicted, it was Justice Anthony Kennedy, a libertarian conservative on the panel, who broke partisan ranks on the nine-member panel and voted in favour of striking down DOMA. Kennedy had already written two judgments for the court that upheld the rights of gays.
“DOMA instructs all federal officials, and indeed all persons with whom same-sex couples interact, including their own children, that their marriage is less worthy than the marriages of others,” Kennedy wrote in his decision.
“The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity.”
The latest polls suggest the majority of Americans now support same-sex marriage, compared with just 13 per cent 25 years ago.
It’s not just a generation gap that explains the profound shift, pollsters are discovering — even some older Americans are changing their minds about gay marriage, as are citizens in rural areas, from religious backgrounds and in traditionally conservative jurisdictions.
Amid that backdrop, the Supreme Court heard arguments in March against both laws. The arguments, made before the panel of five Republican appointees and four Democrats, were heard even as some high-profile Republicans, long consumed with winning over the social conservatives of their base, expressed support for same-sex marriage.
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman reversed his stance after his college-age son revealed he was gay. Jon Huntsman, a Mormon and a Republican presidential candidate in 2012, has also backed same-sex marriage and urged his fellow Republicans to do the same.
Even Karl Rove, the powerful Republican strategist who famously brought millions of Christian evangelicals into the party fold a decade ago, says he wouldn’t be surprised if the 2016 Republican presidential candidate — whoever that may be — backs same-sex marriage.
Obama has helped embolden fellow politicians on same-sex matrimony after he reversed his own stance on the issue last year. The White House had urged the high court to rule in favour of same-sex rights.
Hillary Clinton, eyeing a run for president in 2016, has also expressed her support.
Speaker John Boehner, meanwhile, said he was “disappointed” in the Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling and suggested states may rule differently in the future. Same-sex marriage is currently legal in 13 U.S. states.
“While I am obviously disappointed in the ruling, it is always critical that we protect our system of checks and balances,” Boehner said in a statement. “A robust national debate over marriage will continue in the public square, and it is my hope that states will define marriage as the union between one man and one woman.”
The religious right vowed a battle.
In a series of Tweets, the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer wrote: “Sodomy-based marriage is an egregious violation of the ‘Laws of Nature and Nature’s God.’ May God have mercy on us.”
He added: “In our battle to defend marriage as God has defined it, we will never give in. We will never, never, never, never give in.”
Mike Huckabee, a onetime Republican presidential candidate, also took to Twitter to express his dismay.
“My thoughts on the SCOTUS ruling that determined that same sex marriage is okay: ‘Jesus wept.'”
Courtesy: Heath (Iheefz) Chicago Photography
It rained … all . day . long …
Enough rain to warrant carrying an umbrella. And Lawd knows how I hate carrying my huge umbrella anywhere. But this morning it was necessary because we had to travel in . the . rain.
A few days ago, hubby mentioned his graduation ceremony was coming up but he wasn’t expecting me to attend because it was, in his words, “long and boring!” The topic came back up the other night and he once again intoned that he wasn’t expecting me to go … and I replied “Why Wouldn’t I??? “
Two years work. Watching him toil night and day pounding out his thesis and defense for his M.A. I went to his defense. We were all so proud of him. And so today was the culmination of all that work, a 15 second walk across a stage in front of his peers to get his M.A. Diploma.
The program opened with bagpipes, piping in the graduates, then the faculty.
And One very special man – LtGen. The Honorable Romeo A. Dallaire (Ret’d), O.C. ,CMM,GOQ, MSC,CD, B.ES., LLD , Senator.
He was presented with an Honorary Degree, Doctor of Letters.
And he gave a short speech for the graduates and encouraged them to step up and be change in Canada. Because in politics and government, he spoke, they have not risen to their ultimate abilities.
2017, is a special date and there are a confluence of dates and events, anniversaries and commemorations that will come during 2017, and Canada does not have a plan to mark the occasions.
Offering questions in the Senate and to the M.P’s in Parliament, what is the plan and what are we going to do ? the answer was – We Don’t Know !!!
This is our time to rise. To become active in the affairs of the nation be it in your community, your home, your job or your country, He encouraged us all to become change.
He spoke a bit about the children in Rwanda and the deaths and situations he witnessed. He spoke of a young boy, sitting in the road there in Rwanda distended, poor and in need (in a bad way), looked in those boys eyes, and the vision of his sons eyes came to mind.
He encouraged us to go abroad and work in developing countries. To see, witness, feel and participate in the lives of those who need more than they have today. They have very little, compared to the have’s and the have not’s in the developed world.
It was a tall request. But not out of reach. If you know where to look.
I know of people in Europe and the U.K. who actually go to Africa and other trouble spots in the developing world to work for charities helping those who need it most.
It is part of Gap Year work, Charity work, and just a great character building exercise to spend time in a place that will change the person you are, just by your presence.
We don’t often think about traveling so far away – it isn’t a North America thought, just because it is “over there” out of sight, out of mind.
But numbers of Canadians do great work in Africa and areas beyond.
If I could do it, I would. But the time needs to be right.
*** *** *** ***
Once hubby did his walk across the stage, he was in the first two rows of graduates, he texted me. I was sitting about ten rows behind him on the aisle so we could make a quick getaway. The ceremony started at 3 p.m. and I needed to be at the church at 5, so we made our way out shortly after the B.A.’s started their march to the stage.
We took some photos with his cape and gown and degree for his parents, turned in his robes, and we came home. We got back around 4:30. And I was back out the door at quarter to Five.
And . It . Rained …
I arrived at the church, a little damp and the hall was a bit damp and cold. I cranked out chairs and tables. My sponsor showed up a few minutes after I arrived to make coffee and help with set up.
Little gift …
At the roundup a couple of weeks ago, all the shares were taped for mass consumption and sold on site. For quite a chunk of money. So a few folks bought a master copy of all the shares. And now they have been duplicated and are being shared amongst us.
I had mentioned that I wanted a copy of them, and one of our sober women did the duplicates and brought them to the meeting tonight. But there were a few women who have not heard them, like we got to hear them live, so I told her to give them to someone who hasn’t heard them yet before I get them.
I was sitting in my chair waiting for folks to show up and one of my friends came up and handed me a cd, with all the shares and more on it. Just because !
Then I was standing near our literature table talking to some folks, and my sponsor walked up and had a gift for me. He was given a cache of Big Books and other texts we use regularly. And from a private collection, he has already given me a copy of the original manuscript of the Big Book. Tonight he had another book for me … A Second Edition of the Big Book.
Which has an extra large collection of stories in the back of the book.
There are four editions of the Big Book in circulation. First editions are rare and cost a pretty penny. Seconds and Thirds are in circulation. But for the most part, unless you need a 2 or 3, Inter-group sells Fourth Editions, solely.
The Book, Experience, Strength and Hope is a collection of stories from Editions 1 , 2 and 3. We read that book on Sunday Nights some time ago.
But now I get to read all the stories from the book in the Second Edition.
The meeting was packed. Which was good. Lots of newcomers. And great opportunities for our girls to get out there and pound the pavement.
We read from Living Sober, page 10 – Live and Let Live …
A good topic. Lots of good shares. Many people all over the place on the slogans.
Live and Let Live
Easy Does It
But for the Grace of God
Think, Think, Think
First things First
You see them posted at every meeting we go to in the city. Keeping our side of the street clean. Not getting into other folks drama. What people think of me is none of my business. I am powerless over people, places and things.
I can’t change you – I can only change me.
And people are struggling with this slogan. On a daily basis.
It was a good night. Fun was had. I walked home.
A good day over all Me thinks.
More to come, stay tuned…
It was not a good day today. And they say that “The best laid plans are just that, best laid plans…” They also talk about “Us making plans and God laughs…”
In the grand scheme of things, is university a pointless endeavor? I mean spending years, almost a decade in school moving from a bachelors, to an M.A. and beyond for some… Is it all a waste of time and money, if at the end, nothing comes of earning letters to add to your CV?
We wonder, at what point is the sky going to open up and opportunity present itself in a way that money will follow? Living on the “Find your passion, DO IT, Money will follow, doesn’t seem to be working.
We are on the verge of welfare, because hubby has not found gainful employment in his chosen field because of the greediness of his fellows, and not one hopeful job has presented itself to us so that we can survive.
Hubby filed for government assistance and after filing piles and piles of paper into a dossier covering his and my life, the call came today that our claim has been refused.
WHY you ask … because we were honest.
What good is the government when they fuck you over for a nickel???
Maybe it is time to consider moving out of Quebec.
It is a long and tedious story – but because of AIDS I bring in a modicum of monthly stipend that pays the rent and keeps a roof over our heads. And they asked us to disclose all of our assets and we did honestly, and we got fucked in the ass because of honesty.
And had we lied, or not disclosed, it would of ended up as fraud. And that is not what we wanted to do. It was a NO … The government does not calculate rent payments into the numbers when assessing financial need and so we are fucked royally.
Hubby sat here, earlier tonight and sobbed and there was not a single thing I could do for him, because I am powerless over people, places and things.
Sometimes honesty is a bitter pill.
But tonight I heard two good things.
One … Trust God, clean house, and serve others.
Two … There is a solution, but it just up around the bend, however we are not yet “up around the bend to see it” it will come.
AIDS is a tedious business. And what I had to do to survive when it had to be done were done. And because of that action, I am locked into a no win scenario. If I break from what I have and loose what I have, I will never get it back. Not now. Not ever. I lived. I should have died, long ago…
I took myself to a meeting. I set up tables and chairs, and I talked to another alchy. I sat in a meeting and listened. Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path …
I am not God, I am not in control. And all I can do is turn it over and trust God.
I don’t know if a soft landing will happen at this point. Hubby will follow through with his next decision and hopefully they won’t turn off the lights and we end up homeless.
God help us …
Pray for us.
Tomorrow I have a cardiac Stress test at noon. I need 11 minutes on a treadmill… Let us pray.
More to come, stay tuned …
Originally posted to Writing by David Harris Gershon on Tue May 22, 2012 at 06:40 PM PDT.
Also republished by Canadian Kossacks.
Massive crowds engulfed downtown Montreal this afternoon, marking the 100th day of student strikes and protests sparked (in part) by Quebec’s plan to raise tuition by 82 percent on May 22.
While estimates ranged wildly – from 100,000 to 500,000 in the streets – the number is less significant than the civil disobediencethat has thrust Montreal into the global revolution spotlight.
Authorities in Quebec, trying to counter the protests that have raged for over two months, passed “emergency” legislation last Friday that suspended the winter semester and effectively made protesting illegal. (The legislation, or Bill 78, stipulates that groups of 50 or more gathering must submit itineraries to the authorities in advance or be deemed illegal.)
Students and citizens in Montreal responded to the draconian legislation by streaming into the streets and defying Bill 78 in record numbers today. While the protests have been led by the significant student population in Montreal, the protests today contained cross-sections of the population.
Noting one of the more visible and noisy marches of the day, which was gatherings of both the young and old banging on pots and pans, Steve Faguy of The Gazette Tweeted the following:
I’ve covered quite a few protests. Never have I seen one that so resembled an actual popular uprising.
And writer Kris Holt had this to say regarding the emergent popular uprising:
Those on my street banging pots and pans are middle-aged or older. Much more than students now.
It seems that the legislature’s attempts to quell protesting in Montreal has had the opposite effect, as many today streamed into the streets specifically to defy the anti-protesting emergency legislation.
As one of the student leaders, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, stated today:
“We want to make the point that there are tens of thousands of citizens who are against this law who think that protesting without asking for a permit is a fundamental right,” he said, walking side-by-side with other protesters behind a large purple banner.“If the government wants to apply its law, it will have a lot of work to do. That is part of the objective of the protest today, to underline the fact that this law is absurd and inapplicable.”
Absurd indeed – and that absurdity seems to have awakened popular support for the students’ plight, support that has increased dramatically in recent weeks.
The global revolution has officially arrived in Canada. And with student strikes and protests set for the summer, and with more of Montreal’s citizenry falling behind the students, it’s a revolution that may not be ending anytime soon.
Iran, Tunisia, Egypt, Spain, Greece, Israel, New York City, Montreal…
…we are witnessing an historic global uprising, as peoples across the globe continue to rise up in numbers and demand their political rights, demand social justice, demand economic fairness.
It’s a struggle that is not just essential, but fundamentally human.
Courtesy: Flickr 21lau_z
What a bru-ha-ha it has been today.
Are you married or are you not? Does Canada acknowledge your marriage as legal and binding if you live elsewhere other than in Canada? Did the government nullify more than 15,000 gay marriages that have been performed in Canada since the law went into effect in 2004? The Government says it isn’t opening the marriage debate again, but what is it going to do with you all who want divorces???
This story is still evolving. From CTV News:
Sonja Puzic, CTVNews.ca
Date: Thu. Jan. 12 2012 11:30 PM ET
The federal government is considering changes to the law that will make it easier for foreign same-sex couples who married in Canada to obtain divorces, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said Thursday.
Nicholson also stressed the government has no intention of reopening the same-sex marriage debate after a day of confusion over the validity of marriage licences issued in Canada to same-sex couples from abroad.
Ottawa was pressed to clarify its position on gay marriage after an apparent about-face on the issue surfaced in a Toronto divorce case.
A lesbian couple who married in Canada seven years ago and recently filed for divorce was told by a Department of Justice lawyer that their marriage was not legal.
The stated reason was that because the partners live in Florida and England, where same-sex marriage remains illegal, their Canadian union was invalid too.
The case threw into question thousands of marriages non-residents entered into since 2004, when same-sex marriage became legal in Canada under a Liberal government.
In a statement, Nicholson said the issue centres on dissolution of marriages performed in Canada.
Non-resident couples who marry here must live in Canada for one year before they can legally divorce. The lesbian couple at the centre of the controversy has launched a constitutional challenge of that provision in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.
Nicholson said he will be “looking at options to clarify the law so that marriages performed in Canada can be undone in Canada.”
In an interview with CTV’s Power Play, Nicholson’s parliamentary secretary Kerry-Lynne Findlay said the Canadian marriages of non-resident same-sex couples are legal in Canada.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper had little to say Thursday other than relate his government’s reluctance to wade back into a same-sex marriage debate.
“We have no intention further of opening or reopening this issue,” Harper told reporters gathered for a shipbuilding agreement announcement in Halifax.
“This, I gather, is a case before the courts where Canadian lawyers have taken particular positions based on the law. But I will be asking officials to provide me more details with this particular case.”
Opposition parties and critics quickly weighed in on the issue, accusing the prime minister of trying to rewrite Canada’s same-sex marriage laws “in stealth.”
In a statement, Egale Canada, a human rights organization advocating equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, called the apparent flip-flop “a direct insult to gays and lesbians both in Canada and abroad.”
If the federal lawyer’s arguments in the Toronto divorce case are a misunderstanding, Harper should make that clear, NDP MP Olivia Chow said.
With files from Kieron Lang and The Canadian Press
We shall see where this story goes. It was all over the news tonight. All those people came to Canada to get married and have that joyous moment in their lives. And now I fear that we are beginning to see just how long those marriages lasted, as this is probably not the last divorce case we will see come from abroad.
I mused earlier that you came all this way to get married, and you spent all that money on that day. And now you want a divorce. What to do??? They say in gay circles that lesbians mate for life. I guess that’s not really true any more.
I guess you all got caught up in the woo hoo about being able to get married so you came here and cashed in your relationship chips for a marriage license.
Six state governments (along with the District of Columbia, the Coquille Indian Tribe, and the Suquamish tribe) have passed laws offering same-sex marriage: New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and New Hampshire. In all six states, same-sex marriage has been legalized through legislation or court ruling. Same-sex marriage has been legal in Massachusetts since May 17, 2004; in Connecticut since November 12, 2008; in Iowa since April 27, 2009; in Vermont since September 1, 2009; New Hampshire since January 1, 2010; and New York since July 24, 2011.In 2009, New England became the center of an organized push to legalize same-sex marriage, with four of the six states in that region granting same-sex couples the legal right to marry.
And now couples are starting to figure out that they really don’t want to be married any more. And we could speculate on just what the reasons are that a couple would want a dissolution of marriage.
As good gays and lesbians we are supposed to show up the heterosexuals and prove to them that we can marry and stay together longer and truer than our straight counterparts.
Marriage in celebrity circles has become a mockery and a joke. What have they done to the institution of marriage for all of us ???
This whole push to legalize gay marriage nationwide in the United States is going to come up eventually in the campaign race. They just haven’t gotten around to it yet, but rest assured those Christians who want to see us damned are going to make sure their chosen candidate does all he can to stop gay marriage from being passed across the rest of the 44 states.
Why did you come here and get married then gone home with that little piece of paper, that got all dusty and forsaken. And now you want a divorce. What a waste. It is very sad to see couples separate for any reason. I just hope it was a good reason and not something stupid like, “oh well, we thought we’d get in on the excitement and really when we came to think about it, we really did not want to abide by our wedding vows, till death do us part …”
So now we want a Canadian divorce because we got a made in Canada marriage.
I Don’t think Canada prepared for this contingency in hindsight.
*** *** *** ***
Ottawa will change law so same sex marriages are valid: Nicholson.
By The Canadian Press | The Canadian Press
13 January 2012
TORONTO – The federal justice minister says the government will change the law to ensure gay couples from abroad who marry in Canada will have their unions recognized here.
Rob Nicholson says it’s the government’s view that these marriages “should be valid.”
“We will change the Civil Marriage Act so that any marriages performed in Canada that aren’t recognized in the couple’s home jurisdiction will be recognized in Canada,” Nicholson said Friday during a speech to the Canadian Club of Toronto.
Doubts were raised about the validity of thousands of marriages conducted in Canada for same-sex couples from the United States and elsewhere following a federal twist in a Charter of Rights case launched in Ontario by two foreign women seeking a divorce.
A legal brief filed by federal lawyers denies the women are even legally married.
Critics accused Stephen Harper’s Conservative government of seeking to rewrite the rules on gay marriage to suit its right-wing agenda.
In announcing the government would change the law, Nicholson said Friday that “the confusion and pain resulting from this gap … is completely unfair to those affected.”
Liberal Leader Bob Rae, speaking to reporters at the party’s policy convention in Ottawa, responded to Nicholson by lamenting, “Oh please, give me a break.”
“These guys specialize in trying to turn the tables,” Rae said of the Harper Conservatives.
“The only gap is the gap between the heads of Conservative cabinet ministers who have failed to live up the best and finest traditions of Canada with respect to our positions of tolerance,” Rae added.
The couple seeking a divorce, identified in court records only by initials to protect their privacy, were married in Toronto in December 2005 and separated two years ago. One lives in Clearwater, Fla., the other in London, England.
Their marriage is not recognized either in Florida or the United Kingdom. As a result, they are unable to obtain a divorce in their home cities.
The couple also faced a barrier to divorce in Ontario — a requirement that at least one of them live in the province for a year or more. They have launched a constitutional challenge of that provision in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.
Israel, Hamas announce deal to trade captured Israeli soldier for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners …
“Netanyahu said the captured soldier, Sgt. Gilad Schalit, would return home within days. Mashaal, portraying the agreement as a victory, said the Palestinian prisoners would be freed in two stages over two months.”
I have been following this story for years since Gilad Schalit was captured. Finally this young man is coming home. Well done… It is about time he was returned to his family and country. This is fantastic news.
*** *** *** ***
Today October 11 – Is National Coming out Day
A big decision in any gay person’s life is the decision to come out. It marks the day that we come to terms with who we are and where we are in our lives to come out and openly declare what we are to the world. It doesn’t happen over night and is a process that takes a lifetime. Times have changed in the past 20 years for the LGBT community.
But teens and young people have been targets of concerted bullying and demeaning behavior by family, peers, conservative media and countless numerous Christian communities and their preachers and bullies.
This behavior must not go unpunished.
There should be definite consequences for bullying.
Today we celebrate all those who have decided to make a stand and share with the world that the LGBT community is expanding. Where ever you are and who ever you are, take your time, and do it on your own timetable. We are here for you every day and any day.
*** *** *** ***
Courtesy: Flickr Jamescg
We now we return to our regularly scheduled programming …
Good evening Peeps !!!
We are sitting at a cool 14c. One more day of clear skies and rain is to follow for later in the week. The trees are turning. Our neighborhood is covered in a fine layer of yellow leaves. Some of the maples by the church have begun to turn.
It was a beautiful day today. It was an early start out to the church. Have tunes will crank out chairs and tables. I was done by 5:45, and people started arriving soon after. We gained another member tonight rounding out the member count at ten. We had visitors from the U.S. at the meeting tonight. Our women take really good care of visitors. Our visitors go home with more than they came with which is a good thing.
So I make 40 cups of coffee every week in the big industrial coffee pot. There is a cup count of how much coffee I put in the hopper each week. And people rave about how good the coffee is. I had to step up the amount of coffee I make when the numbers spiked over the last month.
Tonight, I was sitting at table and a woman who rarely comes to the meeting, who never participates when it comes around to her, goes to get a cup of coffee and she says to anyone who was listening, “You need to put water in the coffee pot to weaken the mix because I can’t drink this strong coffee!”
What do you mean, put water in the pot? Everybody in the meeting already have their cups and I haven’t heard one person complain in all the years I have been making coffee that there is anything wrong with it. I grabbed the tea kettle and poured half the kettle into the top of the pot, sending coffee grinds all over the place. Like that was going to make a difference in HER cup of coffee.
I said to her … You know nobody ever complains about coffee, they are grateful that we even make coffee. You are the first person I’ve ever heard complain! If your coffee is too strong then put some water in your cup and water it down. Sheesh !!!
When it came time for her to share, she sat there silent and passed. God grant me serenity !!!
Our topic for the night:
“The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so called will power becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink.” Big Book, pg. 24
With some sober time under my belt, most of my own personal observations come in hindsight. When I was first sober, I got to a point that I was free falling. I did not have a sponsor and I made a fateful decision that took me out the door.
In hindsight, during my slip, I drank and drugged. First I put down the drugs and I left them by the side of the road, I walked away, and never picked up another drug again. The funny thing was that it was easy to put down the drugs. I changed geography, I moved away from those people and places. So even if I went looking for them again, I wouldn’t necessarily find them.
But it was very different with alcohol. I could have put down the drink. But I didn’t. I couldn’t. I don’t know that I needed the alcohol. But it was wired into my system. I don’t know why I needed that weekly binge. And it wasn’t until I hit the wall and my bottom, that I decided that I didn’t WANT the alcohol any more.
I walked away from alcohol. The club I drank in closed its doors shortly after I got sober. And I did not go looking for another drinking establishment, oh, they were out there, how could you miss the myriad of clubs on South Beach.
I had my meetings. I had new friends who went above and beyond the call of duty to help me. Over the last 10 years I have worked on that buffer zone that now exists in my field of vision, that keep me from ever having to take another “First Drink.” Because we all know that if I take one, more will follow…
We read, we go to meetings, we work with others, and we work on our spiritual condition. Because nothing guarantees me sobriety than working with another alcoholic. I do service every week. I follow the same routine every week, week in and week out. I’ve followed the same path for the last 10 years, and to date I have never had the compulsion to even contemplate a “first drink.”
And for that I am grateful.
Two more months and I hit double digits. One day at a time.
More to come, stay tuned …
Courtesy: Rachel Maddow Blog
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011. Please note: a classified document seen in this photograph has been obscured. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Today’s adventure is brought to you by the letter “M” for Money!!!
I’ve been playing a game of chicken with the Quebec government as of late and I dropped by financial aid yesterday and the room was mobbed. So I just went to the gym instead. Today, I decided on the way to the gym, to try my chances of getting in and not waiting for an hour in a queue.
I took a number, there were 15 people ahead of me. Thank god for people who take numbers and then leave before being served. The government tells me on their website that my check is going to be run tomorrow (the 3rd.) BUT since that check has to come to Montreal because I got a deferral for my Summer fees, it doesn’t go direct deposit as usual. I’ve been getting story after story about where the check will go and how long it will take to get where it needs to go.
I sat with an adviser and he did some checking with his supervisor and came back with an amenable offer. They would give me $650.00 of the $1861 that the government owes me in an advance… I maxed out as much as possible every penny I could negotiate. So now I have to pay my summer fees which are around $700.00 plus the advance when the check comes then I get the difference – when we calculated it all out, I will get another $511.00 in a couple of weeks.
WHO KNEW it would take up to ten days to send a god forsasken check from Quebec City to Montreal. Fuck you very much. I could drive there in 3 hours and get the check myself. Bastards… I know Canada Post, offers express mail to the every day joe on the street. It seems that the government cannot afford express mail envelopes… Who The Fuck Knew !!!
That took me almost an hour to take care of. Now I can pay my bills and afford food and books next week. Thank God for the kindness of the men and women who work at the University Financial Aid office… They are a godsend.
Then I went to the gym. It was frenetic… Lots of people and really I was pooped when I got on the treadmill but I toughed out a mile and a half, thanks to Madonna. Did you know that if you start the Confessions tour from the beginning – You’d have to collect all the MP3’s and put them in order – because they are all NOT on the cd, that you can walk at 3.1 for 45 minutes and not break a sweat. Our treadmills have fans on them.
I saw the boys. And lots more people that have not been around during the month of August. I dropped off the treadmill and went over to the weights and got on Atlantis and I pumped 90 kg for a hundred reps and decided that I did not feel like waiting for a bench because the weights were PACKED. I decided to come home instead of waiting. I did not want to bottom out. I needed some food. And I took a nap shortly after getting home.
Hubby is cooking dinner and Rachel is on tv.
More to come, stay tuned…
Today did not start as well as I wanted it to. I am at the mercy of the government of Quebec, who has no idea when my financial aide will be coming. I can’t get a straight answer from anyone, either in Quebec City or at school. My file tells me that the check will run on the 3rd which is Thursday, and the school tells me that the check won’t come to Montreal until the 10th… WTF !!! So tomorrow I have to go in and figure out what I am going to do.
Never Trust the Government !!!
I went to financial aide on the way to the Gym and there were 30 people waiting already so I did not stick around. I needed to clear my head of all this insanity so I headed down to the Gym. It was freakishly busy. There were lines of people buying their semester memberships which ran me $67.70 for the semester. I was glad to see that the entire boys club was in residence The 3 to 5 o’clock period was steady but there were no waits on the weights.
I got two miles in on the treadmill and the machine side was busy, a lot of people running. Then I headed over the the weight side and did my Atlantis and my lifting. I have upped my weight on all the lifting and added reps to my routine. They say you’re not supposed to weigh yourself everyday, but I did today and I am fluctuating around 3 pounds. I guess my foray into the ice cream this week has not served me well. I also ate some candy which is against the rules, I am not supposed to eat candy because it spikes my blood sugar.
My blood sugar levels are ranging from a 4.6 to a 9.4 it fluctuates throughout the day. I haven’t hit a 10 in some time. With all the pills I am popping every day now, I am hoping for a good payout at my next lab draw. There better be a huge payout with all this work I am doing to to my body. We shall see.
The weather has definitely cooled off – it has been in the teens at night and last night it was a bit brisk. We have sun, sun and more sun on tap for the rest of the week, and cooling temperatures at night which is a harbinger of things to come. The September cool off has started. If this trend continues we could see a very beautiful turning in a couple of months.
That has been my day …
More to come, stay tuned …
The United States is still the same country it was a year ago, give or take about 6 million jobs. But its international branding campaign, as led by the new President, Barack Obama, is so different that the rest of the world might be forgiven if it has to do a double take.
Most of the hallmarks of the foreign policy of George W. Bush are gone. The old conservative idea of “American exceptionalism,” which placed the U.S. on a plane above the rest of the world as a unique beacon of democracy and financial might, has been rejected. At almost every stop, Obama has made clear that the U.S. is but one actor in a global community. Talk of American economic supremacy has been replaced by a call from Obama for more growth in developing countries. Claims of American military supremacy have been replaced with heavy emphasis on cooperation and diplomatic hard labor. (Read “Obama in Europe: Facing Four Big Challenges.”)
The tone was set from Obama’s first public remarks in London on Wednesday, at a press conference with Prime Minister Gordon Brown, where the American President said he had come “to listen, not to lecture.” At a joint appearance with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Baden-Baden on Friday, a German reporter asked Obama about his “grand designs” for NATO. “I don’t come bearing grand designs,” Obama said, scrapping the leadership role the U.S. maintained through the Cold War. “I’m here to listen, to share ideas and to jointly, as one of many NATO allies, help shape our vision for the future.”
On Thursday night, after the G-20 summit ended, Obama took so many questions from the foreign press, including British, Indian and Chinese reporters, that a group of them applauded when he left the stage. Two American reporters asked Obama for his response to the claim by Brown that the “Washington consensus is over.” Obama all but agreed with Brown, noting that the phrase had its roots in a significant set of economic policies that had shown itself to be imperfect. He went on to talk about the benefits of increasing economic competition with the U.S. “That’s not a loss for America,” he said of the economic rise of other powers. “It’s an appreciation that Europe is now rebuilt and a powerhouse. Japan is rebuilt, is a powerhouse. China, India – these are all countries on the move. And that’s good.”
At a town hall in Strasbourg, France, Obama stood before an audience of mostly French and German youth and admitted that the U.S. should have a greater respect for Europe. “In America, there’s a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world,” he said before offering other European critical views of his country. “There have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.”
The contrast is striking. Only four years ago, George W. Bush, in his second Inaugural Address, described what he called America’s “considerable” influence, saying, “We will use it confidently in freedom’s cause.” Bush’s vision of American power was combative and aggressive. He said the U.S. would “seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture.” He continued, “We go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of freedom.”
Obama, by contrast, is looking for collaboration. He is looking to build a collective vision, not to impose an American one. And the response has been notable, from the endless flashbulbs that fired off at his town hall to the cheers of spectators who lined his motorcade routes and gathered outside his events in London. At the end of Obama’s Friday press conference, French President Nicolas Sarkozy addressed the issue directly, speaking through an interpreter. “It feels really good to be able to work with a U.S. President who wants to change the world and who understands that the world does not boil down to simply American frontiers and borders,” he said. “And that is a hell of a good piece of news for 2009.”
From the Associated Press:
PARIS –‘s election as America’s first black president unleashed a renewed love for the United States after years of dwindling goodwill, and many said Wednesday that U.S. voters had blazed a trail that minorities elsewhere could follow.
People across Africa stayed up all night or woke before dawn to watch U.S. history being made, while the president of Kenya — where Obama’s father was born — declared a public holiday.
In Indonesia, where Obama lived as child, hundreds of students at his former elementary school erupted in cheers when he was declared winner and poured into the courtyard where they hugged each other, danced in the rain and chanted “Obama! Obama!”
“Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place,” South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela, said in a letter of congratulations to Obama.
Many expressed amazement and satisfaction that the United States could overcome centuries of racial strife and elect an African-American as president.
“This is the fall of the Berlin Wall times ten,” Rama Yade, France‘s black junior minister for human rights, told French radio. “America is rebecoming a New World.
“On this morning, we all want to be American so we can take a bite of this dream unfolding before our eyes,” she said.
In Britain, The Sun newspaper borrowed from Neil Armstrong‘s 1969 moon landing in describing Obama’s election as “one giant leap for mankind.”
Yet celebrations were often tempered by sobering concerns that Obama faces global challenges as momentous as the hopes his campaign inspired — wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the nuclear ambitions of Iran, the elusive hunt for and a global economy in turmoil.
The huge weight of responsibilities on Obama’s shoulders was also a concern for some. French former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said Obama’s biggest challenge would be managing a punishing agenda of various crises in the United States and the world. “He will need to fight on every front,” he said.
Russia. Tensions have been driven to a post-Cold War high by Moscow’s war with U.S. ally Georgia.said he hoped the incoming administration will take steps to improve badly damaged U.S. ties with
“I stress that we have no problem with the American people, no inborn anti-Americanism. And we hope that our partners, the U.S. administration, will make a choice in favor of full-fledged relations with Russia,” Medvedev said.
Europe, where Obama is overwhelmingly popular, is one region that looked eagerly to an Obama administration for a revival in warm relations after the Bush government’s chilly rift with the continent over the Iraq war.
“At a time when we have to confront immense challenges together, your election raises great hopes in France, in Europe and in the rest of the world,” said in a congratulations letter to Obama.
Poland’s Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski spoke of “a new America with a new credit of trust in the world.”
Skepticism, however, was high in the Muslim world. The Bush administration alienated those in the Middle East by mistreating prisoners at its detention center for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and inmates at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison — human rights violations also condemned worldwide.
Some Iraqis, who have suffered through five years of a war ignited by the United States and its allies, said they would believe positive change when they saw it.
“Obama’s victory will do nothing for the Iraqi issue nor for the Palestinian issue,” said Muneer Jamal, a Baghdad resident. “I think all the promises Obama made during the campaign will remain mere promises.”
In al-Qaida terrorist network and neighbor to Afghanistan, many hoped Obama would bring some respite from rising militant violence that many blame on Bush., a country vital to the U.S.-led war on the
Still, Mohammed Arshad, a 28-year-old schoolteacher in the capital, Islamabad, doubted Obama’s ability to change U.S. foreign policy dramatically.
“It is true that Bush gave America a very bad name. He has become a symbol of hate. But I don’t think the change of face will suddenly make any big difference,” he said.
Obama’s victory was greeted with cheers across Latin America, a region that has shifted sharply to the left during the Bush years. From Mexico to Chile, leaders expressed hope for warmer relations based on mutual respect — a quality many felt has been missing from U.S. foreign policy.
Cuba.and Bolivia, which booted out the U.S. ambassadors after accusing the Bush administration of meddling in their internal politics, said they were ready to reestablish diplomatic relations, and Brazil’s president was among several leaders urging Obama to be more flexible toward
On the streets of Rio de Janeiro, people expressed a mixture of joy, disbelief, and hope for the future.
“It’s the beginning of a different era,” police officer Emmanuel Miranda said. “The United States is a country to dream about, and for us black Brazilians, it is even easier to do so now.”
Many around the world found Obama’s international roots — his father was Kenyan, and he lived four years in Indonesia as a child — compelling and attractive.
“What an inspiration. He is the first truly global U.S. president the world has ever had,” said Pracha Kanjananont, a 29-year-old Thai sitting at a Starbuck’s in Bangkok. “He had an Asian childhood, African parentage and has a Middle Eastern name. He is a truly global president.”
The Time has come
The Hour is almost upon us
WE the PEOPLE
Need to Get out
and VOTE !!!
It is time for CHANGE
It all comes down to YOU
SPEAK WITH ONE VOICE
Elect Barack Obama
AS the Next U.S. President
The first order of business
On Tuesday will be to VOTE!!!
NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) – The opening of “Milk,” California‘s first openly gay politician, is four weeks away. Yet you wouldn’t know it.‘s account of
Unlike the hoopla over Focus Features‘ previous gay-themed awards magnet, “ ,” which was drawing calls of agenda-pushing from right-wingers months before it opened in 2005, there’s been hardly a peep in editorial pages or on talk radio.
Admittedly, the election is a major distraction. But Focus also is doing something deliberate: It’s eschewing publicity for the Sean Penn vehicle, keeping it out of the high-profile fall film festivals and heavily restricting media screenings.
“The best way to help this film win over a mainstream audience is to avoid partisanship, and the best way to avoid partisanship is to let people find out about the film from the film itself,” said one person involved with the film.
Giving up word-of-mouth to avoid hot air is not a typical trade-off — notice how Lionsgate effectively flogged politically charged movies like Oliver Stone‘s George W. Bush biopic “W.” and the Bill Maher documentary “Religulous” — but it’s one Focus is willing to make.
Not that it will last. The political football will be kicked off when the movie premieres Tuesday night in San Francisco and then put in play after the November 4 election. And when that happens, the studio will face a marketing dilemma: how to accommodate the gay-rights angle the core audience expects while appealing to mainstream filmgoers who might not be immediately moved to see a movie about the subject.
One example of those filmgoers: At a recent Vegas test-screening for a middle-class, straight audience, several senior citizens tried to leave after a gay love scene in the early moments but couldn’t because they were trapped in the middle of a row (near Focus production chief John Lyons, in fact). The seniors eventually said they were happy that they stayed, but, like independent voters in an election contest, these are the viewers Focus must woo.
Like its initial phase of playing keep-away from cable news, the post-election phase will also involve staying above politics. Focus plans on selling “Milk” in part as a story of hope and change (love story., a member of San Francisco’s Board of Superviors until his assassination in 1978, won equal-rights battles against great odds), just as it sold “Brokeback” as a
The ploy was logical with “Brokeback.” It’s less so here.
Like “Brokeback,” “Milk” features a gay romance. But unlike “Brokeback,” “Milk” is made by gay filmmakers, features the polarizing Penn and puts itself squarely in a political context. Milk’s fight against California‘s anti-gay-rights Proposition 6 — a drama the movie deals with in great detail — spookily parallels the current California fight over Proposition 8, a measure that would ban gay marriage.
Neil Giuliano, president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, said that “since this movie is about a beloved politician who was killed, it won’t be easy for our adversaries to fight us on it.” Focus and its Oscar handlers should get the weaponry ready anyway.
Tomorrow – Tuesday October 14th, CANADA VOTES.
It is time to stop the Conservative Party from gaining another government.
Every Canadian MUST vote if they can.
Overheard on late night radio:
“I miss the old days, when bankers jumped out of windows…”
Damon Condemns Palin
News from: Echomouse
Okay, for the non-Canadians, here’s the situation. Canada has suffered a bad outbreak of rotten meat. The illness it created is called Listeriosis. 17 people have died because of this contamination. The origins of the contamination was traced to one company – Maple Leaf Foods. They make most of our deli meats, bacon, cripes … damn near every meat sold. There are other brand names but almost all are produced by one company – Maple Leaf Foods.
So how did Listeriosis happen? Well, our current Federal Government is ruled by the Conservative party (Republican for USA readers). This particular Conservative party is a retooling of the former Progressive Conservatives who imploded in the 1990’s. To save themselves, what was left of the party agreed to merge with a grassroots party called the Reform party. The Reform Party was headed by Stephen Harper. Interesting thing about Harper, he’s a fan of Stalin and believes Stalin was a brilliant man and great leader. Uh huh. Also, he belongs to some weird religion…..I can’t remember what it is but it’s not mainstream and it’s very controversial.
To save themselves and their historical record, the PC’s agreed to take on the Reform Party and both together would merge to recover and grow from there. They dropped the Progressive from their name and kept the Conservative title. But these are not the old Conservatives of years past throughout the history of Canada. This party is a nightmare. They are worse than Bush. Why? They’re educated. So, take an educated mind with a warped perspective and really dangerous ideas, and you have a massive nightmare.
Stephen Harper has been coached by Karl Rove. Many of the American campaign styles and tactics have been mirrored here by Stephen Harper. This is freaking many of us out. There is no transparency with government anymore. The finance minister, appointed by Harper, held that same position in Ontario in the 1990’s. He bankrupt the province pretty well. All of this is bad enough. But the campaign for a new Prime Minister and ruling party has been underway a week, two(?) now. The Conservatives have employed some really low tactics toward their opponents. Really high school, juvenile, disgusting things. The kicker happened on August 30th, and was recorded, but it didn’t get leaked to the news until yesterday. It seems the Minister in charge of the food inspections made a joke during a conference call in August. When told someone had died due to the tainted meat appearing everywhere, he said “It’s like death by a thousand cuts, or should I say cold cuts.” Then he said, “please tell me it was (his opponent and critic from another party) who died”. Classy huh? The entire Conservative party operates this way. Lies, hateful words, hateful attitudes, bullying, controlling, hidden agendas. They laugh at Canadians. Citizens of Canada voted them in (NOT ME!) to lead our destruction. They’re having a grand time with this. One of the people who voted for this Minister – the one who made the tasteless, hurtful, insensitive joke, was one of the first to die.
All of this blew up late yesterday. Today, every party is calling for Harper to fire that Minister. Harper has refused. HARPER HAS REFUSED.
The reason all of this matters is because of what the Conservative government has done in secret and what they plan to do if they win, even just a minority, in this election.
Stephen Harper, it has just recently been learned, killed the government meat controls standards and investigation and privatized it. He left the inspection of plants and manufacturers up to the individual corporations. So Maple Leaf Foods was to inspect their own machinery and cleaning practices. They didn’t entirely know the whole inspection process because the government pulled their services too quickly for any training. Additionally, the corporation only employed a few inspectors, whereas when the government was running it, there were 40 or more inspectors per plant usually.
So these inspectors at Maple Leaf Foods were overworked, not trained fully, and despite their best efforts, missed a crucial aspect of the inspection process – the machinery. As meats were cut, they left a meat residue beneath the blade inside the machine. The residue was not visible to the naked eye. The inspectors never checked it, never cleaned it, and that’s how Listeriosis happened. Weeks and months of decaying meat sat underneath the blade, cutting into fresh meat which was then sent out for sale to Canadians.
Everyone, all other political parties in Canada, and the public, is angry about this. First that the inspections were privatized without telling the public. Second that it was all done so quickly and irresponsibly. Third, and most important, 17 people have died and there may be more to come because Listeriosis has a latency period of up to 70 days. Because of a government hidden agenda and irresponsibility toward Canadians, people died. That’s freaking huge in Canada. We’ve never had a government so self-serving, so disgusting and unaccountable in their words and actions. There have been references to Harper as being like Hitler. Some are quick to say “noooo, that’s unfair”. Well, from what I’ve seen and read, and I’ve been following this closely – we’re making the same mistake Germany made. Harper is a fan of Stalin. Need I say more?
Stephen Harper has gone on record prior to his political career as saying he hates Canada and wants nothing more than to destroy it. He prefers the USA and the Republicans. He wants a firewall built around Alberta to keep the rest of the country out. He wants to annihilate the Liberal Party so that they can never recover (and he very nearly did two years ago) because the Liberals have had rulership over Canada for most of it’s years of existence. The Liberals are for all the people. The Conservatives are for the wealthy and consider the poor, unemployed, laid off, sick, to be worthless. This is not the Canadian way. This is not what our country was founded on nor has it ever been our attitude within our borders and out in the world.
Today, some astute Liberal bloggers have reported that the Stephen Harper Conservative government has already approved the same thing for Manitoba. They are privatizing meat inspections throughout Manitoba and washing their hands of anything to do with food safety requirements. Here is the news report, from one of the bloggers’ posts:-
Conservatives to kill meat inspection in Manitoba-Source: Canada NewsWire Sep 18, 2008 12:30 News release via Canada NewsWire, Toronto 416-863-9350 Attention News Editors WINNIPEG, Sept. 18 /CNW Telbec/ -
If elected, a federal Conservativegovernment plans to stop delivering provincial meat inspection programs in Manitoba leaving local consumers exposed to the risk of unsafe meat. The plan is revealed in a secret Treasury Board of Canada decision record, dated May 6, 2008, documenting the acceptance of a proposal concerning “Provincial Meat Slaughter Establishments (Manitoba,Saskatchewan, British Columbia)” which calls for the “elimination of federal delivery of provincial meat inspection programs.” “Meat produced in provincially registered facilities in Manitoba would not be inspected by anyone under this plan,” says Bob Kingston,President of the Agriculture Union.
The Treasury Board decision record says that following approval of a detailed implementation plan, “including risk mitigation and communications strategies,” the cuts will come into force. In Manitoba, the federal government delivers provincial meat inspection programs ensuring provincially registered slaughter facilities meet sanitation and other safety regulations. There are more than 30 provincially registered meat establishments in Manitoba that produce everything from beef to bison, ostrich to turkey and whose products cannot be shipped outside the province. “As we’ve seen during recent weeks, the federal government should be increasing food inspection, not cutting it,” Kingston says.
If you’re Canadian, please VOTE on October 14th.
If you’re Canadian, please DO NOT VOTE CONSERVATIVE. I don’t care how you vote. Well, that’s not true, I wish everyone would vote Liberal because they have a leader with integrity and honesty finally. And the Liberals are the only party who would win a majority government which is what we need to avoid having yet another election in a few months or a year. Also, it would get rid of the Conservatives as they exist now. NDP or Greens, fine, but this is really serious.
We can’t be fooling around with our votes. If the Liberals don’t win, then we’re in the same spot we were in already. This campaign and election will have been a waste of $220 million dollars (yes, we’ve paid this 3 times now for elections choosing minority governments!). We will be in the same place we were before this election. And Harper has said, even if he wins with just a minority again, he will do everything he wants to do and rule as if he has a majority. This is what he’s done all along. And he plans to continue.
Please help get rid of Harper and the Conservatives. Canada is at stake here. I’m not kidding. This country is on the verge of a major shift that we will never ever recover from if Harper and the Conservatives continue to have power. What should happen is that Harper gets turfed from his party, they cleanup their candidates by getting rid of those Harper brought in, and get the Conservatives back to the party they used to be. It will take time but they can do it. I never liked them, but after witnessing the horror that is Harper, I’ll take the old party any day over the current one.
Democrats made it official tonight in Denver, when party delegates formally nominated Barack Obama as their 2008 presidential candidate — the first African American ever nominated by a major party.
The traditional state by state roll call went on until about 6:40 pm eastern, just after the network newscasts went on the air on the east coast.
The roll call included several delegates cast to Sen. Hillary Clinton, whose name was formally put into nomination, even though she did not win the primary battle. By previous agreement by the Obama and Clinton camps, the roll call was halted and Obama was nominated by acclamation.
Midway through the alphabetical roll call, New Mexico yielded the floor back to Illinois, which had passed its turn previously, so that the candidate’s homestate could be the final state to cast its vote. Illinois, represented by Chicago Mayor Bill Daley, then yielded to the state of New York “home of Hillary Clinton.”
And finally, the junior Senator of New York representing her state, moved to declare Obama the party nominee by acclamation.
“I move that the convention suspend the procedural rules and suspend the further conduct of the roll call vote, all votes cast by teh delegates will be counted, and that I move Senator Barack Obama of Illinois be selected by this convention by acclamation as the nominee of the Democratic Party for President of the United States,” Clinton said.
Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives spoke next in accepting the motion to suspend the roll call and nominate by Acclimation Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee for the Presidency of the United States. And with that Barack Obama became the first African American Presidential Nominee. We saw it happen live on the East coast during the ABC World News – newscast.
It is a very good day … History was made today in Denver Colorado…
Courtesy: The Associated Press Link Here
I am honored to be here tonight. A proud mother. A proud Democrat. A proud American. And a proud supporter of.
My friends, it is time to take back the country we love.
Whether you voted for me, or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose. We are on the same team, and none of us can sit on the sidelines.
This is a fight for the future. And it’s a fight we must win.
I haven’t spent the past 35 years in the trenches advocating for children, campaigning for universal health care, helping parents balance work and family, and fighting for women’s rights at home and around the world … to see another Republican in the White House squander the promise of our country and the hopes of our people.
And you haven’t worked so hard over the last 18 months, or endured the last eight years, to suffer through more failed leadership.
No way. No how. No McCain.
Barack Obama is my candidate. And he must be our president.
Tonight we need to remember what a presidential election is really about. When the polls have closed, and the ads are finally off the air, it comes down to you — the American people, your lives, and your children’s futures.
For me, it’s been a privilege to meet you in your homes, your workplaces, and your communities. Your stories reminded me everyday that America’s greatness is bound up in the lives of the American people — your hard work, your devotion to duty, your love for your children, and your determination to keep going, often in the face of enormous obstacles.
You taught me so much, you made me laugh, and … you even made me cry. You allowed me to become part of your lives. And you became part of mine.
I will always remember the single mom who had adopted two kids with autism, didn’t have health insurance and discovered she had cancer. But she greeted me with her bald head painted with my name on it and asked me to fight for health care.
I will always remember the young man in a Marine Corps T-shirt who waited months for medical care and said to me: “Take care of my buddies; a lot of them are still over there … and then will you please help take care of me?”
I will always remember the boy who told me his mom worked for the minimum wage and that her employer had cut her hours. He said he just didn’t know what his family was going to do.
I will always be grateful to everyone from all fifty states, Puerto Rico and the territories, who joined our campaign on behalf of all those people left out and left behind by the Bush Administration.
To my supporters, my champions — my sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits — from the bottom of my heart: Thank you.
You never gave in. You never gave up. And together we made history.
Along the way, America lost two great Democratic champions who would have been here with us tonight. One of our finest young leaders, Arkansas Democratic Party Chair, Bill Gwatney, who believed with all his heart that America and the South could be and should be Democratic from top to bottom.
And Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, a dear friend to many of us, a loving mother and courageous leader who never gave up her quest to make America fairer and smarter, stronger and better. Steadfast in her beliefs, a fighter of uncommon grace, she was an inspiration to me and to us all.
Our heart goes out to Stephanie’s son, Mervyn, Jr., and Bill’s wife, Rebecca, who traveled to Denver to join us at our convention.
Bill and Stephanie knew that after eight years of George Bush, people are hurting at home, and our standing has eroded around the world. We have a lot of work ahead.
Jobs lost, houses gone, falling wages, rising prices. The Supreme Court in a right-wing headlock and our government in partisan gridlock. The biggest deficit in our nation’s history. Money borrowed from the Chinese to buy oil from the Saudis.
Putin and Georgia, Iraq and .
I ran for president to renew the promise of America. To rebuild the middle class and sustain the American Dream, to provide the opportunity to work hard and have that work rewarded, to save for college, a home and retirement, to afford the gas and groceries and still have a little left over each month.
To promote a clean energy economy that will create millions of green collar jobs.
To create a health care system that is universal, high quality, and affordable so that parents no longer have to choose between care for themselves or their children or be stuck in dead end jobs simply to keep their insurance.
To create a world class education system and make college affordable again.
To fight for an America defined by deep and meaningful equality — from civil rights to labor rights, from women’s rights to gay rights, from ending discrimination to promoting unionization to providing help for the most important job there is: caring for our families. To help every child live up to his or her God-given potential.
To make America once again a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws.
To bring fiscal sanity back to Washington and make our government an instrument of the public good, not of private plunder.
To restore America’s standing in the world, to end the war in Iraq, bring our troops home and honor their service by caring for our veterans.
And to join with our allies to confront our shared challenges, from poverty and genocide to terrorism and global warming.
Most of all, I ran to stand up for all those who have been invisible to their government for eight long years.
Those are the reasons I ran for president. Those are the reasons I support Barack Obama. And those are the reasons you should too.
I want you to ask yourselves: Were you in this campaign just for me? Or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him? Were you in it for that mom struggling with cancer while raising her kids? Were you in it for that boy and his mom surviving on the minimum wage? Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?
We need leaders once again who can tap into that special blend of American confidence and optimism that has enabled generations before us to meet our toughest challenges. Leaders who can help us show ourselves and the world that with our ingenuity, creativity, and innovative spirit, there are no limits to what is possible in America.
This won’t be easy. Progress never is. But it will be impossible if we don’t fight to put a Democrat in the White House.
We need to elect Barack Obama because we need a President who understands that America can’t compete in a global economy by padding the pockets of energy speculators, while ignoring the workers whose jobs have been shipped overseas. We need a president who understands that we can’t solve the problems of global warming by giving windfall profits to the oil companies while ignoring opportunities to invest in new technologies that will build a green economy.
We need a President who understands that the genius of America has always depended on the strength and vitality of the middle class.
Barack Obama began his career fighting for workers displaced by the global economy. He built his campaign on a fundamental belief that change in this country must start from the ground up, not the top down. He knows government must be about “We the people” not “We the favored few.”
And when Barack Obama is in the White House, he’ll revitalize our economy, defend the working people of America, and meet the global challenges of our time. Democrats know how to do this. As I recall, President Clinton and the Democrats did it before. And President Obama and the Democrats will do it again.
He’ll transform our energy agenda by creating millions of green jobs and building a new, clean energy future. He’ll make sure that middle class families get the tax relief they deserve. And I can’t wait to watch Barack Obama sign a health care plan into law that covers every single American.
Barack Obama will end the war in Iraq responsibly and bring our troops home _a first step to repairing our alliances around the world.
And he will have with him a terrific partner in. Anyone who saw Michelle’s speech last night knows she will be a great first lady for America.
Americans are also fortunate thatwill be at Barack Obama’s side. He is a strong leader and a good man. He understands both the economic stresses here at home and the strategic challenges abroad. He is pragmatic, tough, and wise. And, of course, Joe will be supported by his wonderful wife, Jill.
They will be a great team for our country.
Now,is my colleague and my friend.
He has served our country with honor and courage.
But we don’t need four more years … of the last eight years.
More economic stagnation … and less affordable health care.
More high gas prices … and less alternative energy.
More jobs getting shipped overseas … and fewer jobs created here.
More skyrocketing debt … home foreclosures … and mounting bills that are crushing our middle class families.
More war … less diplomacy.
More of a government where the privileged come first … and everyone else comes last.
John McCain says the economy is fundamentally sound. John McCain doesn’t think that 47 million people without health insurance is a crisis. John McCain wants to privatize Social Security. And in 2008, he still thinks it’s OK when women don’t earn equal pay for equal work.
With an agenda like that, it makes sense that George Bush and John McCain will be together next week in the Twin Cities. Because these days they’re awfully hard to tell apart.
America is still around after 232 years because we have risen to the challenge of every new time, changing to be faithful to our values of equal opportunity for all and the common good.
And I know what that can mean for every man, woman, and child in America. I’m a United States senator because in 1848 a group of courageous women and a few brave men gathered in Seneca Falls, New York, many traveling for days and nights, to participate in the first convention on women’s rights in our history.
And so dawned a struggle for the right to vote that would last 72 years, handed down by mother to daughter to granddaughter — and a few sons and grandsons along the way.
These women and men looked into their daughters’ eyes, imagined a fairer and freer world, and found the strength to fight. To rally and picket. To endure ridicule and harassment. To brave violence and jail.
And after so many decades — 88 years ago on this very day — theguaranteeing women the right to vote would be forever enshrined in our Constitution.
My mother was born before women could vote. But in this election my daughter got to vote for her mother for president.
This is the story of America. Of women and men who defy the odds and never give up.
How do we give this country back to them?
By following the example of a brave New Yorker, a woman who risked her life to shepherd slaves along the Underground Railroad.
And on that path to freedom, Harriet Tubman had one piece of advice.
If you hear the dogs, keep going.
If you see the torches in the woods, keep going.
If they’re shouting after you, keep going.
Don’t ever stop. Keep going.
If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.
Even in the darkest of moments, ordinary Americans have found the faith to keep going.
I’ve seen it in you. I’ve seen it in our teachers and firefighters, nurses and police officers, small business owners and union workers, the men and women of our military — you always keep going.
We are Americans. We’re not big on quitting.
But remember, before we can keep going, we have to get going by electing Barack Obama president.
We don’t have a moment to lose or a vote to spare.
Nothing less than the fate of our nation and the future of our children hang in the balance.
I want you to think about your children and grandchildren come election day. And think about the choices your parents and grandparents made that had such a big impact on your life and on the life of our nation.
We’ve got to ensure that the choice we make in this election honors the sacrifices of all who came before us, and will fill the lives of our children with possibility and hope.
That is our duty, to build that bright future, and to teach our children that in America there is no chasm too deep, no barrier too great — and no ceiling too high — for all who work hard, never back down, always keep going, have faith in God, in our country, and in each other.
Thank you so much. God bless America and Godspeed to you all.
Edward Kennedy: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Caroline.
My fellow Democrats, my fellow Americans, it is so wonderful to be here.
And nothing — nothing is going to keep me away from this special gathering tonight.
I have come here tonight to stand with you to change America, to restore its future, to rise to our best ideals, and to elect Barack Obama president of the United States.
As I look ahead, I am strengthened by family and friendship. So many of you have been with me in the happiest days and the hardest days. Together we have known success and seen setbacks, victory and defeat.
But we have never lost our belief that we are all called to a better country and a newer world. And I pledge to you — I pledge to you that I will be there next January on the floor of the United States Senate when we begin the great test.
Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you.
For me this is a season of hope — new hope for a justice and fair prosperity for the many, and not just for the few — new hope.
And this is the cause of my life — new hope that we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American — north, south, east, west, young, old — will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not a privilege.
We can meet these challenges with Barack Obama. Yes, we can, and finally, yes, we will.
Barack Obama will close the book on the old politics of race and gender and group against group and straight against gay.
And Barack Obama will be a commander-in-chief who understands that young Americans in uniform must never be committed to a mistake, but always for a mission worthy of their bravery.
We are told that Barack Obama believes too much in an America of high principle and bold endeavor, but when John Kennedy called of going to the moon, he didn’t say it’s too far to get there. We shouldn’t even try.
Our people answered his call and rose to the challenge, and today an American flag still marks the surface of the moon.
Yes, we are all Americans. This is what we do. We reach the moon. We scale the heights. I know it. I’ve seen it. I’ve lived it. And we can do it again.
There is a new wave of change all around us, and if we set our compass true, we will reach our destination — not merely victory for our Party, but renewal for our nation.
And this November the torch will be passed again to a new generation of Americans, so with Barack Obama and for you and for me, our country will be committed to his cause. The work begins anew. The hope rises again. And the dream lives on.
Courtesy: Associated Press
OBAMA: As you might imagine, for Barack, running for president is nothing compared to that first game of basketball with my brother Craig.
I can’t tell you how much it means to have Craig and my mom here tonight. Like Craig, I can feel my dad looking down on us, just as I’ve felt his presence in every grace-filled moment of my life.
At six-foot-six, I’ve often felt like Craig was looking down on me too — literally. But the truth is, both when we were kids and today, he wasn’t looking down on me — he was watching over me.
And he’s been there for me every step of the way since that clear February day 19 months ago, when — with little more than our faith in each other and a hunger for change — we joined my husband,, on the improbable journey that’s brought us to this moment.
But each of us also comes here tonight by way of our own improbable journey.
I come here tonight as a sister, blessed with a brother who is my mentor, my protector and my lifelong friend.
I come here as a wife who loves my husband and believes he will be an extraordinary president.
I come here as a Mom whose girls are the heart of my heart and the center of my world — they’re the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning, and the last thing I think about when I go to bed at night. Their future — and all our children’s future — is my stake in this election.
And I come here as a daughter — raised on the South Side of Chicago by a father who was a blue collar city worker, and a mother who stayed at home with my brother and me. My mother’s love has always been a sustaining force for our family, and one of my greatest joys is seeing her integrity, her compassion, and her intelligence reflected in my own daughters.
My dad was our rock. Although he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in his early thirties, he was our provider, our champion, our hero. As he got sicker, it got harder for him to walk, it took him longer to get dressed in the morning. But if he was in pain, he never let on. He never stopped smiling and laughing — even while struggling to button his shirt, even while using two canes to get himself across the room to give my Mom a kiss. He just woke up a little earlier, and worked a little harder.
He and my mom poured everything they had into me and Craig. It was the greatest gift a child can receive: never doubting for a single minute that you’re loved, and cherished, and have a place in this world. And thanks to their faith and hard work, we both were able to go on to college. So I know firsthand from their lives — and mine — that the American dream endures.
And you know, what struck me when I first met Barack was that even though he had this funny name, even though he’d grown up all the way across the continent in Hawaii, his family was so much like mine. He was raised by grandparents who were working class folks just like my parents, and by a single mother who struggled to pay the bills just like we did. Like my family, they scrimped and saved so that he could have opportunities they never had themselves. And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you’re going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don’t know them, and even if you don’t agree with them.
And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them on to the next generation. Because we want our children — and all children in this nation — to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.
And as our friendship grew, and I learned more about Barack, he introduced me to the work he’d done when he first moved to Chicago after college. Instead of heading to Wall Street, Barack had gone to work in neighborhoods devastated when steel plants shut down, and jobs dried up. And he’d been invited back to speak to people from those neighborhoods about how to rebuild their community.
The people gathered together that day were ordinary folks doing the best they could to build a good life. They were parents living paycheck to paycheck; grandparents trying to get by on a fixed income; men frustrated that they couldn’t support their families after their jobs disappeared. Those folks weren’t asking for a handout or a shortcut. They were ready to work — they wanted to contribute. They believed — like you and I believe — that America should be a place where you can make it if you try.
Barack stood up that day, and spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. He talked about “The world as it is” and “The world as it should be.” And he said that all too often, we accept the distance between the two, and settle for the world as it is — even when it doesn’t reflect our values and aspirations. But he reminded us that we know what our world should look like. We know what fairness and justice and opportunity look like. And he urged us to believe in ourselves — to find the strength within ourselves to strive for the world as it should be. And isn’t that the great American story?
It’s the story of men and women gathered in churches and union halls, in town squares and high school gyms — people who stood up and marched and risked everything they had — refusing to settle, determined to mold our future into the shape of our ideals.
It is because of their will and determination that this week, we celebrate two anniversaries: the 88th anniversary of women winning the right to vote, and the 45th anniversary of that hot summer day when Dr. King lifted our sights and our hearts with his dream for our nation.
I stand here today at the crosscurrents of that history — knowing that my piece of the American dream is a blessing hard won by those who came before me. All of them driven by the same conviction that drove my dad to get up an hour early each day to painstakingly dress himself for work. The same conviction that drives the men and women I’ve met all across this country:
People who work the day shift, kiss their kids goodnight, and head out for the night shift — without disappointment, without regret — that goodnight kiss a reminder of everything they’re working for.
The military families who say grace each night with an empty seat at the table. The servicemen and women who love this country so much, they leave those they love most to defend it.
The young people across America serving our communities — teaching children, cleaning up neighborhoods, caring for the least among us each and every day.
People like Hillary Clinton, who put those 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, so that our daughters — and sons — can dream a little bigger and aim a little higher.
People like Joe Biden, who’s never forgotten where he came from, and never stopped fighting for folks who work long hours and face long odds and need someone on their side again.
All of us driven by a simple belief that the world as it is just won’t do — that we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be.
That is the thread that connects our hearts. That is the thread that runs through my journey and Barack’s journey and so many other improbable journeys that have brought us here tonight, where the current of history meets this new tide of hope.
That is why I love this country.
And in my own life, in my own small way, I’ve tried to give back to this country that has given me so much. That’s why I left a job at a law firm for a career in public service, working to empower young people to volunteer in their communities. Because I believe that each of us — no matter what our age or background or walk of life — each of us has something to contribute to the life of this nation.
It’s a belief Barack shares — a belief at the heart of his life’s work.
It’s what he did all those years ago, on the streets of Chicago, setting up job training to get people back to work and afterschool programs to keep kids safe — working block by block to help people lift up their families.
It’s what he did in the, moving people from welfare to jobs, passing tax cuts for hard working families, and making sure women get equal pay for equal work.
It’s what he’s done in the United States Senate, fighting to ensure the men and women who serve this country are welcomed home not just with medals and parades, but with good jobs and benefits and health care — including mental health care.
That’s why he’s running — to end the war in Iraq responsibly, to build an economy that lifts every family, to make health care available for every American, and to make sure every child in this nation gets a world class education all the way from preschool to college. That’s what Barack Obama will do as President of the United States of America.
He’ll achieve these goals the same way he always has — by bringing us together and reminding us how much we share and how alike we really are. You see, Barack doesn’t care where you’re from, or what your background is, or what party — if any — you belong to. That’s not how he sees the world. He knows that thread that connects us — our belief in America’s promise, our commitment to our children’s future — is strong enough to hold us together as one nation even when we disagree.
It was strong enough to bring hope to those neighborhoods in Chicago.
It was strong enough to bring hope to the mother he met worried about her child in Iraq; hope to the man who’s unemployed, but can’t afford gas to find a job; hope to the student working nights to pay for her sister’s health care, sleeping just a few hours a day.
And it was strong enough to bring hope to people who came out on a cold Iowa night and became the first voices in this chorus for change that’s been echoed by millions of Americans from every corner of this nation.
Millions of Americans who know that Barack understands their dreams; that Barack will fight for people like them; and that Barack will finally bring the change we need.
And in the end, after all that’s happened these past 19 months, the Barack Obama I know today is the same man I fell in love with 19 years ago. He’s the same man who drove me and our new baby daughter home from the hospital ten years ago this summer, inching along at a snail’s pace, peering anxiously at us in the rearview mirror, feeling the whole weight of her future in his hands, determined to give her everything he’d struggled so hard for himself, determined to give her what he never had: the affirming embrace of a father’s love.
And as I tuck that little girl and her little sister into bed at night, I think about how one day, they’ll have families of their own. And one day, they — and your sons and daughters — will tell their own children about what we did together in this election. They’ll tell them how this time, we listened to our hopes, instead of our fears. How this time, we decided to stop doubting and to start dreaming. How this time, in this great country — where a girl from the South Side of Chicago can go to college and law school, and the son of a single mother from Hawaii can go all the way to the White House — we committed ourselves to building the world as it should be.
So tonight, in honor of my father’s memory and my daughters’ future — out of gratitude to those whose triumphs we mark this week, and those whose everyday sacrifices have brought us to this moment — let us devote ourselves to finishing their work; let us work together to fulfill their hopes; and let us stand together to elect Barack Obama President of the United States of America.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.
By LIZ SIDOTI and NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writers
WASHINGTON – Barack Obama selected of Delaware late Friday night to be his , according to a Democratic official, balancing his ticket with a seasoned congressional veteran well-versed in foreign policy and defense issues.
Biden, 65, has twice sought the White House, and is a Catholic with blue-collar roots, a generally liberal voting record and a reputation as a long-winded orator.
Across more than 30 years in the Senate, he has served at various times not only as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee but also as head of the Judiciary Committee, with its jurisdiction over anti-crime legislation, Supreme Court nominees and Constitutional issues.
In selecting Biden, Obama passed over several other first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, his tenacious rival in dozens of primaries and caucuses., none more prominent than former
The official who spoke did so on condition of anonymity, preferring not to pre-empt a text-message announcement the Obama campaign promised for Saturday morning.
Obama’s campaign arranged a debut for the newly minted ticket on Saturday outside the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Ill.
Hundreds of miles to the west, carpenters, electricians, sound stage gurus and others transformed the Pepsi Center in Denver into a made-for-television convention venue.
Tucked away in one corner were thousands of lightweight rolled cardboard tubes, ready-made handles for signs bearing the names of the Democratic ticket — once the identity of Obama’s running mate was known.
While Obama decided against adding Clinton to his ticket, he has gone to great lengths to gain the confidence of her primary voters, agreeing to allow her name to be placed in nomination at the convention and permitting a roll call vote that threatens to expose lingering divisions within the party.
Biden slowly emerged as Obama’s choice across a long day and night of political suspense as other contenders gradually fell away.
First Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine let it be known that he had been ruled out. Then came word that Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana had also been passed over.
Several aides to Clinton said the Obama campaign had never requested financial or other records from her.
Other finalists in the veep sweepstakes were Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and Texas Rep. Chet Edwards.
Among those on the short list, Biden brought the most experience in defense or foreign policy — areas in which Obama fares relatively poorly in the polls compared with Republican Sen. John McCain.
While the war in Iraq has been supplanted as the campaign’s top issues by the economy in recent months, the recent Russian invasion of Georgia has returned foreign policy to the forefront.
In addition to foreign policy experience, Biden, a native of Scranton, Pa., has working-class roots that could benefit Obama, who lost the blue-collar vote to Clinton during their competition for the presidential nomination.
Biden was elected to the Senate at the age of 29 in 1972, but personal tragedy struck before he could take office. His wife and their 13-month-old daughter, Naomi, were killed when a tractor-trailer broad-sided her station wagon.
Biden took his oath of office for his first term at the hospital bedside of one of his sons.
On Friday, he spent the day at his home in Delaware with friends and family. The normally loquacious lawmaker maintained a low profile as associates said they believed — but did not know — he would be tapped. They added they had been asked to stand by in case their help was needed.
No sooner had word spread of his selection than McCain’s campaign unleashed its first attack. Spokesman Ben Porritt said in a statement that Biden had “denounced‘s poor foreign policy judgment and has strongly argued in his own words what Americans are quickly realizing — that Barack Obama is not ready to be president.”
As evidence, Republicans cited an ABC interview from August 2007, in which Biden said he would stand by an earlier statement that Obama was not ready to serve as president.
Biden is seeking a new Senate term in the fall. there was no immediate word whether he intended to change plans as he reaches for national office.
Biden dropped out of the 2008 race for theafter a poor finish in the , but not before he talked dismissively of joining someone else’s ticket.
“I am not running for vice president,” he said in a Fox interview. “I would not accept it if anyone offered it to me. The fact of the matter is I’d rather stay as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee than be vice president.”
He had stumbled on his first day in the race, apologizing for having described Obama as “clean.” Months later, Obama spoke up on Biden’s defense, praising him during a campaign debate for having worked for racial equality.
It was BIden’s second try for the White House. The first ended badly in 1988 when he was caught lifting lines from a speech by British Labor Party leader Neil Kinnock.
In the decades since, he become a power in the Senate, presiding over confirmation proceedings for Supreme Court nominees as well as convening hearings to criticize President Bush’s handling of the Iraq War.
Biden voted to authorize the war, but long ago became one of the Senate’s surest critics of the conflict. Ironically, perhaps, his son, Beau, attorney general of Delaware, is due to spend a tour of duty in Iraq beginning this fall with his National Guard unit.
Obama worked to keep his choice secret, although he addressed the issue broadly during the day in an interview.
“Obviously, the most important question is: Is this person ready to be president?” Obama told “The Early Show” on CBS. Second, he said, was: “Can this person help me govern? Are they going to be an effective partner in creating the kind of economic opportunity here at home and guiding us through some dangerous waters internationally?”
And, he added: “I want somebody who is going to be able to challenge my thinking and not simply be a yes person when it comes to policymaking.
Originally found on: Joe My God
The European Union is pressuring the United States to end its ban on HIV positive travelers. Under US law, HIV+ people are restricted from entering the United States.
The European Commissioner for Justice has raised the issue of issue of people with HIV being banned from entry into the US visa waiver programme with Michael Chertoff, US Secretary of Homeland Security.
Jacques Barrot has asked for “information on the reasons why individuals carrying HIV are excluded from using the US Visa Waiver Programme.” MEPs have kept pressure on the Commission over the issue as the EU is in negotiations with the US authorities to secure visa-free travel (a visa waiver) for EU citizens from all 27 member states.
The United States is one of 13 countries in the world, including Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan, that bans visitors who are HIV-positive. London Liberal Democrat MEP Baroness Sarah Ludford has been at the forefront of a campaign to overturn the ban on HIV positive people travelling to America.
A repeal of the ban has been before Congress since March, but has been stalled and may not be voted on during the current session despite widespread bipartisan support. The repeal is attached to a controversial global AIDS relief bill, hence the roadblock.
In the U.S., a broad coalition of groups calling for repeal of the HIV visitors and immigration ban, including civil liberties and human rights advocates, were hopeful that attaching the repeal measure to the highly popular PEPFAR bill would greatly increase its chances of passing.
Their expectations were dampened, however, when Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and at least six other conservative GOP senators placed a hold on the PEPFAR bill, preventing it from coming up for a vote unless at least 60 senators vote to break the hold.
Coburn said his main concern was the decision by PEPFAR backers to drop from the existing 1993 PEPFAR law a requirement that at least 55 percent of AIDS relief funds be used for AIDS treatment, including the use of life-saving anti-retroviral drugs. The 1993 law expires in September.
The Bush administration, at the recommendation of U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Mark Dybul, a gay official appointed by Bush, supports the decision to drop the 55 percent treatment floor. A number of prominent Republican senators and nearly all Senate Democrats also support dropping the 55 percent floor for treatment.