Daily archives: January 16th, 2010

Uganda’s Catholic Bishops Come Out Against Proposed “Kill-The-Gays” Bill

From the Human Rights Campaign:

Uganda’s Catholic Bishops have come out against the anti-gay bill that could impose the death penalty for homosexuals in Uganda. Citing the Bible, Dr. Cyrian Kizito Lwanga, the Archbishop of Kampala said that the bill “Does not pass a test of a Christian caring approach to this issue.”

Thank God for good bishops.

The video above is the entire Equally Speaking for Friday, January 15, 2010. Enjoy.

Antigay Group Focus On The Family Buys Super Bowl Ad

From The Advocate:

The antigay group Focus on the Family will air a TV ad during the Super Bowl on Feb. 7, the Denver Post reports. The 30-second spot, which features University of Florida quarterback and 2007 Heisman Trophy-winner Tim Tebow and his mother, is supposed to be “life- and family-affirming,” a group spokesman said. In addition to his success on the football field, Tebow is known for his strong Christian beliefs and for wearing Bible verse citations inscribed on his game-day eye black.

From the Denver Post:

[Tim] Tebow and his mother will share one of their many positive personal stories, Schneeberger said, but he wouldn’t reveal which one. One contender is Pam Tebow’s decision to carry her son to term despite a life-threatening pregnancy in the Philippines, where she and her husband, Bob, were serving as Christian missionaries.

The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner, also known for being home-schooled, winning an NCAA championship and wearing Bible-verse citations inscribed on his game-day eye black, agreed to appear in the ad because the issue of life is one he and his family feel strongly about, Schneeberger said.

Schneeberger wouldn’t say how much it cost to make the ad or the price of air time. However, TNS Media Intelligence reported Monday that 30-second Super Bowl commercial slots, which will reach an estimated 100 million viewers, are selling for $2.5 million to $2.8 million, down from last year’s record price on NBC of $3 million.

Uganda ‘Phobe to Attend Prayer Breakfast

From The Advocate:

David Bahati, the author of Uganda’s so-called “kill the gays” bill, which proposes the death penalty for gay people, has announced that he will attend the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 4. President Obama is also expected to attend the event.

According to the article, the annual prayer breakfast is organized by The Family, a conservative Christian organization that counts several high-ranking politicians among its members and whose teachings are said to have inspired Bahati’s bill.

NPR: Justice Department Intervenes In Gay Rights Suit (Audio and Text)

From NPR:

For the first time in a decade, Justice Department lawyers have moved to intervene in a lawsuit on behalf of a gay high school student who was beaten up for being effeminate.

The case marks a novel interpretation of the Title IX statute, which prohibits discrimination against students on the basis of gender.

Gay and lesbian groups see it as a bold statement about the Obama administration’s priorities.

Brutal Harassment

The case centers around a 15-year-old named Jacob who lives in the town of Mohawk in upstate New York. His family requested that Jacob be identified only by his first name.

"He is one of the greatest, loving, timid kids you could meet," says Jacob’s father, Robbie Sullivan, who does not share his son’s last name. "I love him to death, and he doesn’t give me a bit of problem at all."

Long before Jacob came out of the closet at age 14, he was harassed for being effeminate. According to court papers, kids threw food at him and told him to get a sex change. One student pulled out a knife and threatened to string Jacob up the flagpole. A teacher allegedly told Jacob to "hate himself every day until he changed."

One day, Jacob came home from school limping. That evening, he called his father from a party and said he had sprained his ankle at the party.

Sullivan described taking his son to the hospital: "It was a really bad sprain. They put a cast on it, gave him crutches. And shortly after that, I found out that it didn’t happen at the party. It happened at the school, because somebody had pushed him down the stairs."

Over two years, Sullivan went to his son’s school three or four times a week to talk with the principal. According to court papers, officials did nothing. The harassment became so bad that Jacob changed school districts. With the help of the New York Civil Liberties Union, Sullivan eventually sued.

"A parent can only do so much against an entire school," he said. "I can’t go to the school and grab the students and investigate it myself. I have to rely on the school to hopefully do what they’re supposed to do."

School superintendent Joyce Caputo was at a conference Friday and was unavailable for comment. In August, she told the local newspaper, "Our district has not and will not knowingly tolerate discrimination or harassment of its students by anybody."

Sun-Times Endorses Robin Kelly For Treasurer

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Two strong Democratic candidates are vying to become the next Illinois treasurer.

But only one has the right experience, temperament and background for the job.

Robin Kelly, the chief of staff in the treasurer’s office, is the Chicago Sun-Times’ choice in the Feb. 2 primary.

Kelly, 53, served as a state representative from south suburban Matteson from 2003 to 2007. Previously, she was director of community affairs for the Village of Matteson.

In Springfield, Kelly, who has a Ph.D. in political science, is known for her smarts, honesty and ability to work with others. An effective legislator with a passion for economic development, she parlayed that into the chief of staff job. She and Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias have upgraded that office, whose main function is to invest the state’s money, and run it well, notwithstanding major losses with one account in the Bright Start college savings program.

Is Jack Bauer A Terrorist? ’24’ Returns To Fox (Video Preview)

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Here’s one reason to be proud to be an American: No matter how deep the recession, no matter how hopeless the situation, we can rest assured that there will always be enough money in the budget to blow things up for entertainment purposes.

Rare is the series that doesn’t have collateral damage. "Trauma," "Sons of Anarchy," "FlashForward" — they’re all upping the pyrotechnic ante. Even "Desperate Housewives" devastated Wisteria Lane with a plane crash.

Impressive, yes. But those are the kinds of situations Jack Bauer eats for breakfast.

"24" is back, and although Jack (Kiefer Sutherland) toys with the idea of settling down and enjoying the quiet life with his granddaughter, he is soon prevailed upon to save Western Civilization. Again.

He narrowly escaped death when he was exposed to a bioagent last season. But thanks to daughter Kim’s generous donation of stem cells, he’s all better, 18 months later.

A former informant tracks down Jack in New York and draws him into a plot to kill a Mideast leader. President Hassan ("Slumdog Millionaire’s" Anil Kapoor) is about to sign a groundbreaking anti-nuclear treaty with Madame President Alison Taylor (Cherry Jones) at the United Nations. Peace is at stake!

The new season of ’24’ debuts Sunday evening at 8:00 p.m. on WFLD, channel 12, in Chicago, Day 8: 7:00 AM to 8:00 AM. On Monday, two new episodes will air beginning at 7:00 PM.

Is Jack Bauer terrorist or savior? Just as long as he’s fictional, I love the show, and plan to tune in every week.

Weekly Address: Getting Our Money Back from Wall Street

Washington, D.C.–January 16, 2010.

Over the past two years, more than seven million Americans have lost their jobs. Countless businesses have been forced to shut their doors. Few families have escaped the pain of this terrible recession. Rarely does a day go by that I do not hear from folks who are hurting. That is why we have pushed so hard to rebuild this economy.

But even as we work tirelessly to dig our way out of this hole, it is important that we address what led us into such a deep mess in the first place. Much of the turmoil of this recession was caused by the irresponsibility of banks and financial institutions on Wall Street. These financial firms took huge, reckless risks in pursuit of short-term profits and soaring bonuses. They gambled with borrowed money, without enough oversight or regard for the consequences. And when they lost, they lost big. Little more than a year ago, many of the largest and oldest financial firms in the world teetered on the brink of collapse, overwhelmed by the consequences of their irresponsible decisions. This financial crisis nearly pulled the entire economy into a second Great Depression.

As a result, the American people – struggling in their own right – were placed in a deeply unfair and unsatisfying position. Even though these financial firms were largely facing a crisis of their own creation, their failure could have led to an even greater calamity for the country. That is why the previous administration started a program – the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP – to provide these financial institutions with funds to survive the turmoil they helped unleash. It was a distasteful but necessary thing to do.

Many originally feared that most of the $700 billion in TARP money would be lost. But when my administration came into office, we put in place rigorous rules for accountability and transparency, which cut the cost of the bailout dramatically. We have now recovered most of the money we provided to the banks. That’s good news, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s not good enough. We want the taxpayers’ money back, and we’re going to collect every dime.

That is why, this week, I proposed a new fee on major financial firms to compensate the American people for the extraordinary assistance they provided to the financial industry. And the fee would be in place until the American taxpayer is made whole. Only the largest financial firms with more than $50 billion in assets will be affected, not community banks. And the bigger the firm – and the more debt it holds – the larger the fee. Because we are not only going to recover our money and help close our deficits; we are going to attack some of the banking practices that led to the crisis.

That’s important. The fact is, financial firms play an essential role in our economy. They provide capital and credit to families purchasing homes, students attending college, businesses looking to start up or expand. This is critical to our recovery. That is why our goal with this fee – and with the common-sense financial reforms we seek – is not to punish the financial industry. Our goal is to prevent the abuse and excess that nearly led to its collapse. Our goal is to promote fair dealings while punishing those who game the system; to encourage sustained growth while discouraging the speculative bubbles that inevitably burst. Ultimately, that is in the shared interest of the financial industry and the American people.

Of course, I would like the banks to embrace this sense of mutual responsibility. So far, though, they have ferociously fought financial reform. The industry has even joined forces with the opposition party to launch a massive lobbying campaign against common-sense rules to protect consumers and prevent another crisis.

Now, like clockwork, the banks and politicians who curry their favor are already trying to stop this fee from going into effect. The very same firms reaping billions of dollars in profits, and reportedly handing out more money in bonuses and compensation than ever before in history, are now pleading poverty. It’s a sight to see.

Those who oppose this fee say the banks can’t afford to pay back the American people without passing on the costs to their shareholders and customers. But that’s hard to believe when there are reports that Wall Street is going to hand out more money in bonuses and compensation just this year than the cost of this fee over the next ten years. If the big financial firms can afford massive bonuses, they can afford to pay back the American people.

Those who oppose this fee have also had the audacity to suggest that it is somehow unfair. That because these firms have already returned what they borrowed directly, their obligation is fulfilled. But this willfully ignores the fact that the entire industry benefited not only from the bailout, but from the assistance extended to AIG and homeowners, and from the many unprecedented emergency actions taken by the Federal Reserve, the FDIC, and others to prevent a financial collapse. And it ignores a far greater unfairness: sticking the American taxpayer with the bill.

That is unacceptable to me, and to the American people. We’re not going to let Wall Street take the money and run. We’re going to pass this fee into law. And I’m going to continue to work with Congress on common-sense financial reforms to protect people and the economy from the kind of costly and painful crisis we’ve just been through. Because after a very tough two years, after a crisis that has caused so much havoc, if there is one lesson that we can learn, it’s this: we cannot return to business as usual.

Thank you very much.

Source: whitehouse.gov

Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush Unite for Haiti

From President’s Bill Clinton and George W. Bush:

Support the Earthquake Recovery Efforts in Haiti

On January 12, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti just outside the capital city of Port-au-Prince. The devastation – in lives lost, property destroyed, and families displaced – is immense.

At the request of President Obama, we are partnering to help the Haitian people reclaim their country and rebuild their lives.

Our immediate priority is to save lives. The critical needs in Haiti are great, but they are also simple: food, water, shelter, and first-aid supplies. The best way concerned citizens can help is to donate funds that will go directly to supplying these material needs.

Through the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, we will work to provide immediate relief and long-term support to earthquake survivors. We will channel the collective goodwill around the globe to help the people of Haiti rebuild their cities, their neighborhoods, and their families.

We ask each of you to give what you can to help ensure the people of Haiti can build back stronger and better than ever.

Both of us have personally witnessed the tremendous generosity and goodwill of the American people and of our friends around the world to help in times of great need. There is no greater rallying cry for our common humanity than witnessing our neighbors in distress. And, like any good neighbor, we have an obligation and desire to come to their aid.

Thank you for taking the time to visit, and we hope you will donate to this worthwhile cause. The people of Haiti now need our assistance more than ever.

President William J. Clinton 
President George W. Bush