Daily archives: December 18th, 2009

Lambda Legal Blasts Feds for Again Denying Spousal Benefits to Federal Court Employee

Lambda Legal released the following statement today:

In response to a decision by the Federal Government to ignore a ruling by Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that one of its employees, Karen Golinski, is entitled to spousal health benefits, Lambda Legal Marriage Project Director Jennifer C. Pizer issued the following statement:

We are once again surprised and shocked that the Obama Administration is rejecting another chance to do the right and legal thing, disregarding both the order, and the substantive analysis, of the Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit about what federal law and the Ninth Circuit’s employment rules require in this case.

Chief Judge Kozinski has concluded that the Ninth Circuit MUST not discriminate against Karen Golinski with respect to the health insurance benefits portion of her compensation, and that the Separation of Powers doctrine of the U.S. Constitution authorizes the court to take appropriate steps to treat its workers fairly, and prevents employees of the Executive Branch from interfering with the functioning of the Judicial Branch in these circumstances.

Judge Kozinski, a Reagan appointee, is widely regarded as among the brightest judges on the federal bench, an expert in issues of judicial independence, and notable for his common sense approach.

Lambda Legal believes Judge Kozinski is clearly correct that employees of OPM and DOJ do not have superior authority to interpret federal law than federal judges. Lambda Legal also finds it troubling and very disappointing that the Obama Administration has chosen to express its views of these legal questions through Friday-afternoon press statements stating that it will not comply with Judge Kozinski’s direct orders, rather than by presenting its legal reasoning to Judge Kozinski in this proceeding so that we can respond on Ms. Golinski’s behalf in the duly-established administrative forum in which Ms. Golinski is required to present her discrimination claim.

OPM has never disputed that this administrative forum is the appropriate venue for this discrimination claim, and yet has refused to participate and present its views, and now, again, refuses to respect both Judge Kozinski’s duly-issued order and his direct and clear legal analysis. This is not the approach to issues of LGBT equality we had anticipated and deserve from the Obama Administration.

Lambda Legal is representing Karen Golinski in this matter with the Morrison & Foerster LLP law firm.

Help Defeat Joe Lieberman (Video)

Moveon.org launched a campaign a few days ago to raise $400,000 to defeat Joe Lieberman, vowing to strip him of his leadership post and fight his re-election. Thursday, they announced they’ve raised a million dollars. Check out puppet Joe asking for a pony and four more inches. The unending gall.

Tell President Obama and Congress not to let Joe Lieberman gut health care reform. We’re counting on them to fight for real reform. Call Congress at (202) 224-3121 and the White House at (202) 456-1111. Pass this video on.

Pittsburgh Steelers Sick of Losing

The Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers (6-7) aren’t quite feeling the Christmas spirit. Facing the Green Bay Packers (9-4) Sunday, the team has let in-fighting boil over into the press, and Ben Roethlisberger has exchanged barbs with former teammate Jerome Bettis.

It isn’t pretty.

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

The Steelers held their annual Christmas party last night, and they still did not receive the gift they most cherish.

One victory.

"It’s very important," receiver Hines Ward said. "I’m sick of losing. Losing’s not fun. My day does not go right when we don’t win. It’s hard to wake up and do anything."

Their previous victory came Nov. 9; their most recent victory at home came Oct. 25. Anyone who had seen only the Steelers’ past five games would think they were the Detroit Lions, St. Louis Rams or Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

If the Steelers lose to Green Bay at Heinz Field Sunday, it would tie their longest losing streak in 40 years. For many, it already is the longest skid they have ever experienced.

"Not in high school, not here and I don’t think so in college, no," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. "For me, you get upset, you get disappointed about it because I hate losing. I hate losing more than anything. The more I pout, the more I sulk, doesn’t mean we get to go back in time and win that game.

Oh, the pain.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com

The Muppets Perform Bohemian Rhapsody

Enjoy The Muppets performing Bohemian Rhapsody.

I used to love The Muppet Show.

Purchase this great song here: Bohemian Rhapsody.

Krugman: Pass the Health Insurance Reform Bill

First, do no harm.

That’s Hippocrates. Not Joe Lieberman.

So, to the United States Senate, I say, "Do no harm!" Pass the current bill before you.

From Paul Krugman at the NYTimes:

A message to progressives: By all means, hang Senator Joe Lieberman in effigy. Declare that you’re disappointed in and/or disgusted with President Obama. Demand a change in Senate rules that, combined with the Republican strategy of total obstructionism, are in the process of making America ungovernable.

But meanwhile, pass the health care bill.

Yes, the filibuster-imposed need to get votes from “centrist” senators has led to a bill that falls a long way short of ideal. Worse, some of those senators seem motivated largely by a desire to protect the interests of insurance companies — with the possible exception of Mr. Lieberman, who seems motivated by sheer spite.

But let’s all take a deep breath, and consider just how much good this bill would do, if passed — and how much better it would be than anything that seemed possible just a few years ago. With all its flaws, the Senate health bill would be the biggest expansion of the social safety net since Medicare, greatly improving the lives of millions. Getting this bill would be much, much better than watching health care reform fail.

Pass the bill. Make it so. Do it. Do it, now.

Pass the most monumental health insurance reform in the history of the United States of America. Make history.

Do it. Now.