Some military personnel who were discharged for being gay had their separation pay cut in half — even though it was an honorable discharge. But now, after a class action suit brought on by the ACLU, those service members who were honorably discharged for being gay will receive their full pay.
As a result of the settlement, all service members covered by the suit will be contacted and have the option of receiving 100% of what they would have earned if they had been honorably discharged for any reason other than being gay.
“There was absolutely no need to subject these service members to a double dose of discrimination by removing them from the armed forces in the first place, and then denying them this small benefit to ease the transition to civilian life,” said Laura Schauer Ives, managing attorney for the ACLU of New Mexico, in a press release. “This decision represents a long-delayed justice to these veterans.”
The pay reduction was a Defense Department policy and not part of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law, so it did not change when the law was repealed, ACLU officials noted.
The settlement covers personnel who were discharged on or after November 10, 2004, as far back as it could extend under the applicable statute of limitations. The total amount of pay owed to these service members is about $2.4 million, which “is small by military standards, but is hugely significant in acknowledging their service to their country,” said Joshua Block, staff attorney for the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Project.”
Really, this is the least we can do.
In case you haven’t been keeping a close eye on the Mali conflict, The Washington Post’s Max Fisher has an extremely useful guide to what’s going on.
“Mali, after all, has long been an obscure country to most Americans, little-known or -discussed even after its crisis began last year,” he explains. “But now that crisis is becoming more important. Some very bad people have taken over the entire northern half of a very big country. This weekend, the French military sent in troops and made bombing runs to halt the rebels’ advance. More countries are talking about getting involved.”
the Maafa continues. the U.S. will use Mali as training grounds for AFRICOM and an excuse to invade and colonize African countries.
Smh. Imperialism was not a period in time. It is the present.
Does this need repeating? Of course it does. Fox News and Rush Limbaugh are riling up their audiences (again) about how taxpayer money is going to pay for abortions, when in fact Congress barred any and all fed money from going toward abortions. It actually…
Although I think that federal money absolutely should go towards abortions, it’s important to note that it doesn’t.
NYPD’s controversial ‘Stop & Frisk’ policy ruled unconstitutional
January 8, 2013
A key part of the NYPD’s controversial “stop and frisk” tactic has been ruled unconstitutional.
Manhattan Federal Court Judge Shira Scheindlin ordered police to refrain from making trespass stops outside private residential buildings — even though the landlord has given officers permission to do so as part of the NYPD’s “Clean Halls” program.
“While it may be difficult to say when precisely to draw the line between constitutional and unconstitutional police encounters such a line exists, and the NYPD has systematically crossed it when making trespass stops outside buildings,” Scheindlin wrote in a 157-page ruling.
The New York Civil Liberties Union argued in an eight-day hearing in October that “Clean Halls,” which exists only in the Bronx, leads to people being hassled by cops and sometimes cuffed near their own abode for no legitimate reason.
The NYCLU’s legal challenge centers on the case of Jaenean Ligon.
In August 2011 the mother of three sent her 17-year-old son to buy ketchup for the family’s dinner.
Two plaintclothes cops stopped the teen outside the family’s building on E. 163rd St. in the Bronx. Two uniformed officers also arrived on the scene.
After frisking the youngster, one of the cops buzzed Ligon’s apartment and asked she come downstairs to identify her son. Ligon testified the request sent her into a panic because she feared the worst — that her son had been seriously hurt or killed.
NYCLU lawyers argued that Ligon’s experience was all too common in high-crime neighborhoods in the Bronx where the “Clean Halls” program is in place.
At least one Bronx prosecutor, Jeannette Rucker, expressed skepticism about the legality of the practice, as well.
Rucker notified the NYPD in July of last year that her office would no longer rubber-stamp trespassing arrests made outside Clean Halls buildings and public housing projects unless the arresting officer was interviewed.
In addition to immediately halting such trespass stops in the Bronx, Scheindlin ordered a Jan. 31 hearing to determine what other relief should be granted.
“For those of us who do not fear being stopped as we approach or leave our own homes or those of our friend and family, it is difficult to believe that residents of one of our boroughs live under such a threat,” she wrote.
Two other stop and frisk cases are pending.
By Glenn Greenwald
Prior to President Obama’s first inauguration in 2009, a controversy erupted over reports that he intended to appoint John Brennan as CIA director. That controversy, in which I participated, centered around the fact that Brennan, as a Bush-era CIA official, had expressly endorsed Bush’s programs of torture (other than waterboarding) and rendition and also was a vocal advocate of immunizing lawbreaking telecoms for their role in the illegal Bush NSA eavesdropping program. As a result, Brennan withdrew his name from consideration, issuing a bitter letter blaming “strong criticism in some quarters prompted by [his] previous service with the” CIA.
This “victory” of forcing Brennan’s withdrawal proved somewhat Pyrrhic, as Obama then appointed him as his top counter-terrorism adviser, where he exerted at least as much influence as he would have had as CIA Director, if not more. In that position, Brennan last year got caught outright lying when he claimed Obama’s drone program caused no civilian deaths in Pakistan over the prior year. He also spouted complete though highly influential falsehoods to the world in the immediate aftermath of the Osama bin Laden killing, including claiming that bin Laden “engaged in a firefight” with Navy SEALS and had “used his wife as a human shield”. Brennan has also been in charge of many of Obama’s most controversial and radical policies, including “signature strikes” in Yemen - targeting people without even knowing who they are - and generally seizing the power to determine who will be marked for execution without any due process, oversight or transparency.
As it typically does in the US National Security State, all of that deceit and radicalism is resulting not in recrimination or loss of credibility for Brennan, but in reward and promotion. At 1 pm EST today, Obama will announce that he has selected Brennan to replace Gen. David Petraeus as CIA chief: the same position for which, four short years ago, Brennan’s pro-torture-and-rendition past rendered him unfit and unconfirmable.
Although I actively opposed Brennan’s CIA nomination in 2008, I can’t quite muster the energy or commitment to do so now. Indeed, the very idea that someone should be disqualified from service in the Obama administration because of involvement in and support for extremist Bush terrorism polices seems quaint and obsolete, given the great continuity between Bush and Obama on these issues.
Tourists flocking to Guatemala for “end of the world” parties have damaged an ancient stone temple at Tikal, the largest archeological site and urban center of the Mayan civilization.
“Sadly, many tourists climbed Temple II and caused damage,” said Osvaldo Gomez, a technical adviser at the site, which is located some 550 kilometers (340 miles) north of Guatemala City.
“We are fine with the celebration, but (the tourists) should be more aware because this is a (UNESCO) World Heritage Site,” he told local media.
Gomez did not specify what was done, although he did say it was forbidden to climb the stairs at the site and indicated that the damage was irreparable.
Temple II, which is about 38 meters (125 feet) high and faces the central Tikal plaza, is one of the site’s best known structures.
Friday marked the end of an era that lasted 5,200 years, according to the Mayan “Long Count” calendar. Some believed the date also marked the end of the world as foretold by Mayan hieroglyphs.
More than 7,000 people visited Tikal on Friday to see native Mayan priests hold a colorful ceremony and light fires as the sun emerged to mark the new era.
Critics complained that the event was really for tourists and had little to do with the Mayans. About 42 percent of Guatemala’s 14.3 million residents are native Mayans, and most live in poverty and endure discrimination.
(The Nation) - Billionaire David Koch’s prime political organization, Americans for Prosperity (AFP), having failed in its $125 million quest to oust President Barack Obama, is now aiming at a slightly less sophisticated political target: victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Hurricane Sandy was the second most costly in American history, leaving 100 lives lost, over $50 billion in devastation and tens of thousands of damaged or destroyed homes. Legislative efforts to help those who survived Hurricane Sandy’s wrath will reach a major stumbling block.
Earlier this week, AFP, which is chaired by Koch and believed to be financed by several other plutocrats from the New York City region, released a letter warning members of Congress not to vote for the proposed federal aid package for victims of the storm that swept New Jersey, New York City and much of the surrounding area in October. An announcement on the group’s website says that the vote next week for the Sandy aid package will be a “key vote”—meaning senators who support sending money for reconstruction could face an avalanche of attack ads in their next election. Already, opposition to the bill is growing, although it passed one procedural hurdle last night.
There is some legitimate criticism with aspects of the legislation, including the fact that some of the money will go to non-Sandy related reconstruction efforts in disaster areas. For AFP, however, the whole bill must die and victims of the storm deserve no help from the government.
The Koch brothers are enemies of all that is good. See above.
BREAKING: Obama to nominate Sen. John Kerry as secretary of state
President Obama plans to nominate Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts as secretary of state, a senior administration official says.
The decision by Obama is expected to be announced early Friday afternoon, The New York Times reports.
The appointment of Mr. Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat and his party’s former presidential nominee in 2004, has been widely expected since last week, when Susan E. Rice, the ambassador to the United Nations, asked Mr. Obama to withdraw her candidacy for the post.
Photo: Sen. John Kerry waves at the end of his speech during the final session of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 6, 2012. (Jason Reed / Reuters)
YOU DOWN GRADED, MAN. FROM HILARY TO KERRY. LIKE A BMW TO A HONDA
As I anticipated, the majority of the victims were female. There’s also his mother, and still one other unidentified victim, from the sounds of it?
There is a clear root cause of all these male spree-killings. It isn’t mental illness nor gun violence (ultimately that’s a major problem which exacerbates an already bad situation, but it isn’t the reason). These men all display very similar characteristics of anxious masculinity and massive male entitlement; they just take it to the furthest end of the spectrum we see displayed by men throughout our society. We are raising these men; these men are part of our society. Whilst their acts are monstrous, they themselves are not monsters.
All the shooters in these spree-killings are male and almost all of them are white (in the US, anyway; it varies in other parts of the world dependent on ethnic makeup). They have similar personality types: men who have been taught since birth that they’re worth more than other people by virtue of gender, race, sexual orientation etc but have poor social skills. They don’t get the pussy they’re ‘owed’ the job they’re ‘owed’, the attention they’re ‘owed’. Sometimes, that intense sense of entitlement and anger are further displayed in their choice of victims. Some kill indiscriminately, but a lot specifically target women and girls. That’s not a coincidence. And yet the media either a) never notices or b) if they do notice, they don’t report on it. I watched several docos on the Amish school shooting and not a single one of them mentioned the very obvious fact that the shooter separated the boys and girls and then shot only the girls.
People fumble around asking “why? why?” and the answer is right in front of our faces and is thoroughly tied up in masculinity and the way we are raising our boys to see themselves as worth more than other people, and to deny the humanity of women and children in particular. This is a spectrum, and domestic abusers/killers are enacting the same exact thing, just in a different way. Family annihilators are a particularly obvious parallel; they take out their ex and kids in one fell swoop because he sees them as extensions of himself that he has a right to control and kill at will, rather than people in their own right. The whole thing is just disgusting, and I’m so tired of this happening repeatedly with a whole bunch of “Why?” questions raised, and then things like mental illness or video games get scapegoated. There are many pieces to the puzzle, of course. But the reason some men do this is not ‘because video games’, or ‘because mental illness’. It is ‘because toxic masculinity’ and ‘because male entitlement’.
Woman runs down husband because he failed to vote, letting Obama win
An Arizona woman, in despair at the re-election of Democratic President Barack Obama, ran down her husband with the family car in suburban Phoenix on Saturday because he failed to vote in the election, police said on Monday.
Police said Daniel Solomon told them his wife became angry over his “lack of voter participation” in last Tuesday’s presidential election and believed her family would face hardship as a result of Obama winning another term. (REUTERS/Maricopa Sheriff’s Department/Handout)