Shutdown took $24 billion bite out of economy – Oct. 16, 2013

The United States may have dodged an economic catastrophe by raising the debt ceiling and opening the government, but it didn’t emerge from the political debacle unscathed.

The 16-day government shutdown took a $24 billion chunk out of the U.S. economy, according to an initial analysis from Standard & Poor’s.

As a result, the rating agency projects that the U.S. economy will grow 2.4% in the fourth quarter — as opposed to the roughly 3% growth rate predicted prior to the shutdown.

via Shutdown took $24 billion bite out of economy – Oct. 16, 2013.

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President Barack Obama endorses Employment Non-Discrimination Act at gay rights event – The Business Journals

President Barack Obama endorsed theEmployment Non-Discrimination Act,legislation that would bar employers from discriminating against workers based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The endorsement came late Thursday afternoon at a White House reception honoring LGBT Pride Month and was warmly received by the crowd. Gay rights groups have been waiting for Obama to throw his weight behind the legislation.

Federal legislation is needed, the president said, because in 34 states you can be fired “because of who you are.”

When the bill was re-introduced in the Senate in April, the White House was silent about the legislation.

Today, however, Obama called for prompt action by Congress.

“We need to get that passed,” he said. “I want to sign that bill. We need to get it done now.”

via President Barack Obama endorses Employment Non-Discrimination Act at gay rights event – The Business Journals.

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Weighing in on gay marriage ban? Obama may ask the Supreme Court to overturn California’s ban – The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is quietly considering urging the Supreme Court to overturn California’s ban on gay marriage, a step that would mark a political victory for advocates of same-sex unions and a deepening commitment by President Barack Obama to rights for gay couples.

Obama raised expectations among opponents of the Proposition 8 ban when he declared in last month’s inaugural address that gays and lesbians must be “treated like anyone else under the law.” The administration has until Feb. 28 to intervene in the case by filing a “friend of the court” brief.

The Proposition 8 ballot initiative was approved by California voters in 2008 and overturned a state Supreme Court decision allowing gay marriage. Twenty-nine other states have constitutional amendments banning gay marriage, while nine states and Washington, D.C., recognize same-sex marriage.

An administration brief alone is unlikely to sway the Justices but the federal government’s opinion does carry weight with the court.

via Weighing in on gay marriage ban? Obama may ask the Supreme Court to overturn California’s ban – The Washington Post.

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Letter from Gay Son to Romney-Supporting Dad: “My Dad Was Going to Vote for Romney, Until I Wrote Him This Letter” : politics

Dad,

I saw your recent post on Facebook “liking” Mitt Romney and had to write. (Admittedly, I’m still getting used to my 66 year-old father using Facebook, but given what I’m about to write, I assure you I’m quite supportive of it.)

Though your public support for Romney doesn’t surprise me, given how open you’ve been about your dislike of President Obama, it does bother me. Since coming out to you and mom nineteen years ago, I’ve watched you vote for the Republican candidates in every major race. Save for the occasional mealtime argument or sarcastic Fox News barb, I’ve held my tongue, despite the hurt and anger that came from watching you vote for a party that has made a sport out of demonizing gay and lesbian people, like me, for political gain. I did so because I never had a solid enough argument that the Democratic Party was wholly different. They often stopped short of institutionalizing discrimination of gays, but were sadly lax on standing on principle and advocating for its eradication. Until now.

For the first time in our nation’s history, a U.S. President and his party have publicly stated that gays and lesbians are equal citizens and should be such under the law. I know you’re aware that Obama believes gays and lesbians, like me, should have the rights and responsibilities of marriage and that the 2012 Democratic Party Platform will include marriage equality as one of its tenets. You will never know what it is to be gay in this world at this moment, but I’d bet at some point in your life you’ve known how it felt to have your essential worth validated by someone with authority. I can’t overstate the power of having my president and his party say to me, and the nation, that I am not less than, but equal to, and validate my inherent right to pursue my life with liberty and unimpeded happiness. Never before has this happened. So, never before have I made the argument that you should vote for the Democrat. But, today’s a new day.

Four months ago, I sat at my younger brother’s wedding and watched you well up, speaking publicly with pride for the man he’s become and the woman he chose. His life, though certain to have unexpected turns ahead, has a clear path, one available to him simply because of his sexual orientation at birth. Mine has never been so clear. Oftentimes, being gay feels like being a salmon swimming upstream. Our relationships aren’t supported by tradition or institution, any models we may have remain hidden, as openness invites derision, and the pressures to carve a life out with another person, minimally as equally affected by the ever-present fear, instilled in us from our earliest memories that we’re different and unlovable and bad, can often be too much to bear. And yet, not always. The resiliency of my community, in the face of such misunderstanding and hate, is astonishing and inspiring. They’ve taught me to think twice before underestimating the will of the human spirit in its slow march toward progress, whatever the circumstances.

I’m almost forty. Both of my younger brothers are married, enjoying all the rights and responsibilities of that government-issued status. Do you want that for me? Do you believe I should have someone beside me on life’s journey, legally recognized as my spouse, able to visit me in the hospital, able to make my end-of-life decisions, with whom I’m able to build a financially interdependent life? I have to believe you do. I have to believe you’re too good a man not to. Because if you don’t… If, like the candidate you’re supporting, you believe marriage should only be between one man and one woman, I feel sorry for us both: you, because it means you’re on the wrong side of history and your own son’s happiness and me, because it means my father does believe I’m “less than.”

In any other election, given any other choice, I’d stay quiet. If you, and others like you, wanted to believe the worst about Obama – a good man, trying to do good work – and vote against your interests (Romney’s tax and Medicare plans won’t help you), I’d shake my head in wonder and watch you do it anyway. But this isn’t any other election. This election presents a clear choice between two people whose policy beliefs directly affect the course of my life. Let me be clear: A vote for Mitt Romney is a vote against me. There is no argument to counter that fact.

You might want to argue that you’re not a single-issue voter, but when the single-issue is your own son’s equality under the law, I wouldn’t recommend that argument. You might want to argue that, because you live in New York State, your vote won’t ultimately matter since Obama will carry the state anyway. You’re correct. He will. In that way, I suppose, your vote won’t matter. But it matters to me. You might want to argue just because you don’t like the idea of your son telling you what you ought to do. But, whatever else, you know I’m a good man. It’s been said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing;” and I’m a good man who’s never been good at that.

Will I change your mind? I hope so. I’m sure Mom would tell me it’s a lost cause. And maybe she’s right. But that would be sad. Because it might be nice to one day have my father stand up at my wedding, realizing he helped make it happen.

Your Son

EDIT: My dad’s reply, in part: “I will honor your request because you are my son and I love you. I do support the democratic position on gay marriage…I hope this is a position that they really stand for and not just a political statement for votes.”

via Letter from Gay Son to Romney-Supporting Dad: “My Dad Was Going to Vote for Romney, Until I Wrote Him This Letter” : politics.

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Support For Marriage Equality Unchanged Since Obama Endorsement – Poliglot

Although gay-rights advocates greeted President Obama’s historic declaration of support for marriage equality with jubilation in May, a new poll suggests his support has had little affect on voters.

In a survey published by the Pew Research Center, support for same-sex marriage has increased by just a percentage point, from 47 percent in April to 48 percent in July. Opposition to same-sex marriage also increased from 43 percent to 44 percent. Accounting for margin of error, the increases on both sides are insignificant.

Most tellingly is opposition among Democrats. The poll comes after news that the Democratic Party is poised to support marriage equality as part of their national platform. Although support for same-sex marriage among Democrats has increased from 59 to 65 percent since April, 29 percent of Democrats remain opposed to allowing gay couples to wed. Those Democrats could create problems at the Democratic National Convention in September when the party considers a marriage-equality plank.

On the other side of the political spectrum, Republican opposition has remained largely unchanged, with 75 percent opposed to marriage equality before Obama’s announcement and 78 percent opposed today.

via Support For Marriage Equality Unchanged Since Obama Endorsement – Poliglot.

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Pressure builds on Democrats to include marriage equality in party platform – LGBTQ Nation

WASHINGTON — The Obama campaign released a statement Thursday reiterating the president’s support for marriage equality, but falling just short of endorsing a call for its inclusion in the official party platform.

“The President’s personal views on marriage equality are known. The President and the Party are committed to crafting a platform that reflects the President’s positions and the values of the Party,” an Obama campaign spokesperson said Thursday in an email to the Washington Blade.

In a follow-up email, the campaign spokesperson clarified that it’s not fair to characterize the remarks as an endorsement of including a same-sex marriage plank in the Democratic Party platform.

In an interview with ABC News in May, President Obama announced that he now supports same-sex marriage, saying he “just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.” But he hasn’t publicly endorsed the idea of including marriage equality in the platform despite support from many Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), U.S. Senate candidates Tammy Baldwin and Elizabeth Warren, four former Democratic National Committee chairs and 22 U.S. senators.

via Pressure builds on Democrats to include marriage equality in party platform – LGBTQ Nation.

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Caiden Cowger, Conservative Teen Radio Host, Slams President Obama For ‘Making Kids Gay’

A West Virginia-based teen radio host is making waves after proclaiming that President Obama “is making kids gay” in a recent episode.

Fourteen-year-old Caiden Cowger, who hosts the twice-weekly “Caiden Cowger Show,” made his anti-gay proclamations in a recent broadcast, video of which was uploaded to his YouTube channel on May 26. “Homosexuality is a belief,” Cowger, who has previously interviewed former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, declares. “The person is not born that way, no matter what Lady Gaga says…it is a decision.”

After confessing that he was once friends with some kids who have since come out as gay, he notes, “They were not homosexuals [then]…they just decided all of a sudden, ‘I think I’m going to be gay,'” before he eventually concludes, “I’m going to tell you this, guys: President Obama…Vice President Biden…is making kids gay!”

Cowger, who is identified by The New Civil Rights Movement as a Pentecostal Christian, slams homosexuality as “a perverted belief, it’s immoral and not natural” before noting, “I’m not for bullying homosexuals, I believe that it’s wrong. But when you’re trying to teach them the word of God and they consider that bullying…I find that a big problem, not being allowed to convert other people to my religion.”

via Caiden Cowger, Conservative Teen Radio Host, Slams President Obama For ‘Making Kids Gay’.

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Obama’s Pride Proclamation Includes Marriage Equality Support For First Time | ThinkProgress

On Friday, President Obama issued his annual proclamation recognizing June as LGBT Pride Month, but for the first time, his message included support for marriage equality among other accomplishments of his office. In an accompanying video, Obama spoke of celebrating unsung heroes who stand up for LGBT rights as part of their daily lives:

OBAMA: I’ve often said that the true genius of America is that America can change. We can pass laws to right wrongs. We can soften hardened attitudes. Our union can be made more perfect. But here’s the thing: change never happens on its own. Change happens because ordinary people, countless unsung heroes of our American story, stand up and demand it.

The story of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans is no different. As we celebrate LGBT Pride Month, we remember the activists and advocates who refused to be treated like second-class citizens — people like Jeanne Manford and Harvey Milk, who marched and protested and believed in a better future.

But we also remember the unsung heroes, the millions of LGBT Americans for whom everyday acts required extraordinary courage — the young people who came out as gay or transgender to their parents not knowing what to expect, the two moms or two dads who went to an open house or PTA meeting not knowing how they’d be received, the couple that got married even if their bosses or neighbors wouldn’t approve, at least not right away. Most of these heroes didn’t set out to make history, but that’s exactly what they did.

Obama’s Pride Proclamation Includes Marriage Equality Support For First Time | ThinkProgress.

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President Obama cashing in on gay marriage stance,  selling LGBT merchandise on BarackObama.com  – NY Daily News

President Obama is banking on his endorsement of gay marriage to fill his campaign coffers.

His team is selling a slew of LGBT merchandise on BarackObama.com, just days after his historic backing of same-sex couples tying the knot.

The items include “I’m out for Obama” T-shirts, beer koozies that read “LGBT for Obama” and even baby onesies with messages like “My two moms support Obama.” The items cost anywhere from $10 to $40.

It’s not clear how much the president has raised since making the announcement on Wednesday, but his re-election team brought in a cool $1 million in the first 90 minutes after Obama revealed his new stance.

His campaign staffers also have been sending out emails asking for donations and touting Obama’s “direct answer” to the question of same-sex marriage.

via President Obama cashing in on gay marriage stance,  selling LGBT merchandise on BarackObama.com  – NY Daily News.

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