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04/19/2007


Obama To Nominate Chuck Hagel As Defense Secretary Tomorrow

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It's official. Or it will be soon. Democratic sources tell Politico that President Obama will hold a news conference tomorrow to formally nominate former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel as the next Defense Secretary. Obama will also reportedly name a successor for disgraced Gen. David Petraeus' CIA job.

Hagel will be the main event, though, mostly because of the controversy over his past comments on Iran, Israel and gay people, the latter of whom he said in 1998 couldn't represent the nation's values abroad.

But President Obama, who says Hagel's apology for those remarks shows a "positive change," seems confident in Hagel's abilities and experiences. Said a Democratic insider of the soon-to-be nominee, "Chuck Hagel is a decorated war hero who would be the first enlisted soldier and Vietnam veteran to go on to serve as Secretary of Defense. He had the courage to break with his party during the Iraq War, and would help bring the war in Afghanistan to an end while building the military we need for the future."

Hagel was also described as a "champion of the troops" whom President Obama trusts: "The President knows him well, has traveled with him to Iraq and Afghanistan, trusts him, and believes he represents the proud tradition of a strong, bipartisan foreign policy in the United States."

It's unclear how conservatives who question Hagel's commitment to Israel and liberals who worry about his discriminatory past will react to the nomination: will they launch a campaign to block his nomination? Even those in the Senate, the body that will ultimately confirm or reject Hagel's nomination, don't know for sure.

One Democratic Senate source told Politico, "I don't think Dems just fall in line. Ultimately, he may be confirmed. But at this stage, his fate is totally up in the air. He will really have to work hard to overcome some of his previous statements and positions."

But do Democrats really want to look like they're obstructing the president? Wouldn't they rather leave that to conservatives?


News: Lindsay Lohan, Mitt Romney, Mercury, Scorpio Sky

Senator-Elect Tammy Baldwin, US Rep-elect Mark Takano and Ambassador David Huebner, all of whom are openly gay, will speak at the Victory Fund’s LGBT Leaders 2012 Conference, which starts today.

RomneyWHMitt Romney stopped by the White House for a 70-minute lunch with President Obama. The campaign rivals had turkey chili and reportedly talked about "America’s leadership in the world and the importance of maintaining that leadership position in the future." The White House says the men "pledged to stay in touch, particularly if opportunities to work together on shared interests arise in the future." I have the same arrangement with summer camp friends from 1994.

According to Dr. Sylvia Rhue, her family history proves that Abraham Lincoln was gay and had an affair with William Herndon, his law partner.

David Petraeus wrote to a friend about his recent fall from grace, "I screwed up royally. I paid the price (appropriately) and I sought to do the right thing, at the end of the day... [But] Team Petraeus will survive though have obviously created enormous difficulty for us. Holly is however once again demonstrating how incredibly fortunate I was to marry her."

RebelDetailsRebel Wilson's on top of the world, and actually deserves to be there.

Low level pro-wrestler Scorpio Sky knows "faggot" is offensive, which is why he uses it early and often.

Sure, Jude Law, you're not as young as you used to be, but you still look pretty darn good.

NYU student Blake Pruitt talks to gay men about gay men.

Sigh. Lindsay Lohan, an actress I really wanted to see have a comeback, was arrested after getting into a bar brawl in New York City. That brawl was reportedly over Max from the band The Wanted.

Meanwhile, Lohan also faces charges for lying about a car accident in Los Angeles.

George Zimmerman is selling autographs to fund the team defending him for Trayvon Martin's murder.

Ellen DeGeneres shares road signs warning wheelchair-bound citizens of incline-assisted alligators and other out-of-the-ordinary public alerts.

Britney and Will.i.am, "Scream and Shout," the video.

Braison Cyrus, brother of Miley and son of Billy Ray, makes his modeling debut in the February edition of Troix magazine.

NASA's Messenger rover found enough ice at Mercury's poles to fill the Dead Sea.

SpierDemocratic Rep. Jackie Spier introduced a "Stop Harming Our Kids" resolution today that aims to stop "ex-gay therapy" for minors. "Any effort to change sexual orientation is not medicine, it’s quackery, and we should not be supporting it with taxpayer dollars," said Spier.

Terrible: 60% of youth infected with HIV in 2010 are African-American. "Nearly 29,000 new cases of HIV, the AIDS-causing virus, were attributed to gay and bisexual males in 2010, and 82 percent of those cases occurred in large cities," US News and World Report reports.

With marriage equality set to become the law of the land, Washington state is considering gender-neutral language for marriage and divorce certificates. "Our fight for marriage equality is in part a fight for gender equality, not just for the gay and lesbian community. It is a fight for equality of sexes and the idea that marriage does not in itself mean that women are subjugated to men," said State Rep. Jamie Pedersen.


FBI Agent Frederick W. Humphries' 'Shirtless Pic' Just A 'Joke'

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Some facts: Frederick W. Humphries is the FBI agent to whom Jill Kelley turned after Paula Broadwell, the biographer with whom David Petraeus has admitted an affair, sent her threatening letters. Humphries began the investigation but was dismissed after the bureau found out he sent the above picture to Kelley.

Many assumed this picture was indicative of yet another romantic twist in the case, but Humphries says he sent the picture to dozens of friends, and that it was simply a "tongue-in-cheek joke," the Seattle Times reports. The caption to the picture, which features Humphries between two SWAT training dummies, read "Which one's Fred?" Now we know.

Kelley was not and is not his mistress, says Humphries. She was just another name in his address book.

The paper has more on Kelley's involvement in the Patraeus scandal:

Humphries took Kelley's concerns to the FBI cybercrime division, but later was worried that the FBI was dragging its feet — possibly for political reasons — and took his worries to U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert.

...

Reichert, R-Auburn, took Humphries' concerns to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who took the message to FBI Director Robert Mueller. Congressional leaders have since complained that they weren't told about the probe until Petraeus resigned three days after the election.

The paper also noted, "Among his friends and associates, Humphries was known to send dumb-joke emails in which the punch line was provided by opening an attached photo."


David Petraeus Says He Didn't Give Broadwell Classified Info: VIDEO

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Speaking to the press for the first time since his affair with Paula Broadwell was revealed and he left his post as CIA director, retired Gen. David Petraeus told HLN's Kyra Phillips that he did something "dishonorable" and felt he had to step down, according to the journalist, who recounted their conversation on-air today.

Petraeus reportedly told Phillips that his resignation has nothing to do with the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, a topic on which he'll testify before the House Intelligence Committee this Friday, nor did he give Broadwell any classified information.

Here's a transcript of Phillips' conversation with colleague Robin Meade about her conversation with Petraeus:

RM: ...Did he talk about Paula Broadwell? Did she have access to information that other people did not, the public did not? Especially regarding Benghazi? I think some people feel she seemingly alluded to some information that she had in a speech recently.

KP: Correct. And I will say, Robin, he has insisted to me that he has never passed classified information to Paula Broadwell. As long as I have known him, he has never wavered on classified information, ever. And to the best of my knowledge, you know, that has always been sacrosanct. I have also never known him to tell me something that is not true, Robin.

RM: Did he say how this may relate to Behghazi? I know he has to testify this week about Benghazi and, you wonder, about the scandal too.

KP: Yes. He has said this has nothing to do with Benghazi and he wants to testify. He will testify. He has maintained to me all along this was a personal failing, Robin, which, as I said, to me was quite stunning and to many other people. He’s not the type of person that I’ve ever known to fail at anything, knowing [him] as long as I have over the years. And so he has made it very clear that this was about an extramarital affair and not over classified information or Benghazi.

Watch video of Meade and Hill's conversation AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "David Petraeus Says He Didn't Give Broadwell Classified Info: VIDEO" »


Pat Robertson Excuses David Petraeus Affair Because 'He's a Man': VIDEO

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On yesterday's The 700 Club, Pat Robertson brought up the Petraeus scandal, appearing to excuse Petraeus' extramarital affair because, well, he's a man, Right Wing Watch reports:

He described Broadwell as an “extremely good-looking woman” who is a “marathon runner, she’d run Iron Man triathlons and so she’s out running with him, and she's writing a biography,” and Petraeus simply couldn’t help himself: “The man’s off in a foreign land and he’s lonely and here’s a good-looking lady throwing herself at him. He’s a man.”

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Pat Robertson Excuses David Petraeus Affair Because 'He's a Man': VIDEO" »


The Real Scandal Behind the Petraeus Story?

It's the abuse of the U.S. surveillance state, writes Glenn Greenwald in The Guardian:

PetraeusWhat is most striking is how sweeping, probing and invasive the FBI's investigation then became, all without any evidence of any actual crime - or the need for any search warrant...

And how it has now eaten itself, leading to the deposition of the top official trusted with its implementation:

As is now widely reported, the FBI investigation began when Jill Kelley - a Tampa socialite friendly with Petraeus (and apparently very friendly with Gen. John Allen, the four-star U.S. commander of the war in Afghanistan) - received a half-dozen or so anonymous emails that she found vaguely threatening. She then informed a friend of hers who was an FBI agent, and a major FBI investigation was then launched that set out to determine the identity of the anonymous emailer.

That is the first disturbing fact: it appears that the FBI not only devoted substantial resources, but also engaged in highly invasive surveillance, for no reason other than to do a personal favor for a friend of one of its agents, to find out who was very mildly harassing her by email. The emails Kelley received were, as the Daily Beast reports, quite banal and clearly not an event that warranted an FBI investigation...


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