Blog Posts by Liz Goodwin

  • Gay Iraq veteran Dan Choi, other activists seek to re-enlist

    98575924West Point grad Lt. Dan Choi--who famously outed himself on national TV, thereby initiating his ouster from the Army under its gay ban--marched to New York's Times Square Armed Forces Recruiting Station on Tuesday to re-enlist.

    A federal judge recently declared unconstitutional the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gay service, then rejected the Obama administration's plea to stay that decision this week. The military has announced that recruiting officers will accept enlistees who are openly gay.

    Choi was arrested in April for handcuffing himself to the White House gates in protest of the gay ban.

    [Photos: More of Iraq war veteran Dan Choi]

    He said Tuesday that the recruiters were processing his request. Watch him try to re-enlist in the video below:

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  • After uproar, Univision pulls ad discouraging Latinos from voting

    Latinos for Reform The  Spanish-language station Univision has announced it will no longer air ads telling Latinos to stay home on Election Day.

    "Don't vote this November," the English version of the ads says, while playing images of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other Democrats. "This is the only way to send them a clear message: 'You can no longer take us for granted.' Don't vote."

    A group called Latinos for Reform, led by Robert de Posada, a former Republican National Committee official, is behind the ads.

    The decision to pull the ads came after a wave of outrage from Latino leaders.

    "I think there's nothing more cynical than to encourage people to make themselves irrelevant," Arturo Vargas, director of the nonpartisan National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, told The Upshot. "I hope Univision makes the decision not to run the ads."

    Vargas joins a slew of Latino leaders in Nevada who asked the Univision network to refrain from running the ad. Fernando Romero, president of Hispanics in Politics, told KTNV-TV in Las Vegas that the message must be "denounced."

    Univision confirmed to The Upshot that it will no longer run the ads.

    "Univision will not be running any spots from Latinos for Reform related to voting," the statement said. "Univision prides itself on promoting civic engagement and our extensive national campaigns encourage Hispanics to vote."

    You can watch the ad below:

    Read More »from After uproar, Univision pulls ad discouraging Latinos from voting
  • Here is our roster of stories that managed to evade the full-on blog treatment:

    • A federal judge has found four New Yorkers guilty of plotting to bomb a synagogue. Their lawyer argued they were tricked into the plan by an FBI informant. (ABC News)

    • Rep. Barney Frank's boyfriend heckles Frank's Republican opponent on video. (Daily Intel)

    • German Chancellor Angela Merkel says multiculturalism has "failed" in Germany because immigrants are not assimilating into the country's "Christian" values. (AFP)

    • Flight delays cost air passengers $17 billion a year, according to a new report. (The Washington Post)

    Read More »from PARTING SHOTS: Entrapment defense fails in NYC terror case; Barney Frank’s boyfriend heckles opponent
  • Republican lawmakers who shunned stimulus lobbied for funds behind the scenes

    bachmannScores of Republican lawmakers--including tea party stars Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and  Ron Paul of Texas--privately sought out funds from the government's $787 billion stimulus program even while publicly denouncing it as a failure. The Center for Public Integrity has a comprehensive report on scores of politicians whom the watchdog group says it caught in stimulus "hypocrisy."

    Take, for example, Texas GOP Rep. Pete Sessions, who called the stimulus a "spending spree" that would fail to create jobs. The center's report says Sessions was among the lawmakers who wrote to the federal agencies to ask for the funds precisely to help create jobs back in their home districts.

    A few more GOP politicians who worked behind the scenes to secure stimulus money: Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Sen. John McCain of Arizona,  Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana.

    In all, the center reports, five members of the Republican congressional leadership lobbied for stimulus funds.

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  • Immigrant-rights activists criticize deportations of noncriminals

    AP100310032808Texas is now the first border state to implement the Department of Homeland Security's Secure Communities program, the mandatory system that uses fingerprints to scour local jails for illegal immigrants and then deport them.

    The point of the program is to remove serious offenders--rapists, murderers and kidnappers--from the country, the Wall Street Journal reports. But in practice, non-offenders are often caught and deported as well, contributing to the record total number of deportations this year.

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  • Commentator insults ex-girlfriend on CSPAN2

    53329110It's safe to say that most CSPAN viewers regard the public-affairs cable channel as an oasis from the combative, uncomfortably personal fare aired regularly on tabloid talk shows and reality TV. So it presumably came as something of a shock to the CSPAN faithful to see a conservative panelist publicly airing his past relationship troubles during a discussion recently aired on CSPAN2.

    Conservative commentator Todd Seavey lobbed some pointed insults at ex-girlfriend Helen Rittelmeyer, an associate editor at National Review, while discussing their political differences on the panel, the Daily Caller reports. They were there to discuss their entries in a new collection of essays edited by the National Review's Jonah Goldberg called "Proud to Be Right."

    "I probably should confess that Helen and I dated for two years, so we've sparred about many things," Seavey said. "It might come as a surprise to some of you that we dated for two years, not just because we have ideological differences, but because there are probably some people in this room who also dated Helen during those two years, given how tumultuous it got. It was sort of on again, off again."

    He then accused her of saying she wanted to set up a couple and then "seduce" the man away just for fun, at which point Rittelmeyer says, "Is all this going on CSPAN?"

    You can watch the video below:

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  • Sheriff, consulate official endorse mistaken-identity theory in border death


    On Thursday, Mexican officials temporarily called off their search for David Hartley, the American citizen believed shot dead by cartel members on the Mexican side of Falcon Lake, reports the Monitor newspaper of McAllen, Texas.   The lead investigator on the case was killed earlier this week, and his head was sent to the Mexican military in what was interpreted as a grisly message to stop searching for Hartley's body.

    Meanwhile, Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez and a U.S. consulate official have both endorsed a Texas-based security think tank's report surmising that Hartley's death was a case of mistaken identity. Scouts for the Zetas cartel saw Hartley's truck had Mexican license plates and then assumed the Hartleys were spies for a rival cartel when they killed him, the report suggests.

    (Photo of a Hartley relative on the edge of Falcon Lake: AP)

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  • Armed with new research, consultants warn ‘open season’ of sexist attacks in politics is over

    105225336New research that shows women candidates lose voters when they don't respond aggressively to sexist attacks is already changing the way women are running in this election cycle. The women behind the groundbreaking research say congressional candidate Krystal Ball in Virginia and California's Meg Whitman are using the findings to justify their desire to push back against sexist tactics they've faced in their races.

    As recently as just a year ago,  the researchers say, such candidates may have listened to conventional wisdom and stayed silent.

    "You're watching history being made, actually," says Women's Campaign Forum (WCF) President Sam Bennett. The nonpartisan group sponsored the research. "Up to now it's been open game season for bloggers, for reporters, for opponents to [make sexist attacks]. Now, it's going to boomerang on you."

    [Related: What happened to 'Year of the Woman'?]

    Political consultants have said for decades that responding to sexist attacks only magnifies them or makes a candidate seem whiny. This research, however, turns that conventional wisdom on its head. Even mild sexist attacks, like calling a woman candidate an "ice queen," causes that candidate to lose as much support with voters as more flagrant sexism like the use of the word "whore." Women candidates can regain voters' support simply by pointing out that the attacks are sexist and inappropriate. (You can read more about the research here.)

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  • ‘It Gets Better’ campaign leads to surprising videos

    burnsJoel Burns, a city councilman in Fort Worth, Texas, has released a moving message to gay teens that their lives will get better, in the latest viral video to join writer Dan Savage's "It Gets Better" project. The clip, which has netted nearly half a million views, features a speech Burns delivered before the Fort Worth City Council. After its adoption in the "It Gets Better" campaign, it has won wide plaudits, with the webzine, for instance, hailing it as a highlight of the "Year in Sanity," noting that "during a routine meeting, a Fort Worth public official gives an awesome, emotional speech to gay teens."

    In the video, Burns says he was moved to share his personal struggle growing up gay in a conservative town because of the recent stories of young gay teens who took their own lives after being taunted over their sexuality.

    [Video: Tim Gunn's emotional message]

    Burns describes his childhood growing up in the Fort Worth suburb of Crowley as an awkward "band dork" with a cowboy dad and then told a story he said he had never told anyone before.

    Read More »from ‘It Gets Better’ campaign leads to surprising videos
  • Here is our roster of stories from today that managed to evade the full-on blog treatment:

    • At a town hall today, President Obama said he does not think being gay is a choice, and again promised to end the military's ban on gay service. (Politico)

    • The U.S. is helping Afghan officials meet with the Taliban to broker peace. (New York Times)

    • McDonald's will start offering an all-inclusive wedding package for Hong Kong couples who want to get married in the fast-food restaurant. (The Daily Mail)

    • A federal judge has ruled a lawsuit by 20 states challenging the health care law as unconstitutional can go to trial. (AP/Yahoo! News)

    Read More »from PARTING SHOTS: CVS fined $75 million for selling meth ingredient, McDonald’s offers wedding packages


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