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04/19/2007


Allen West Demands Recount as Ballot Tally Shows He Lost

With 100 percent of the vote in, Florida Congressman and teabagger Allen West has lost to Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy by approximately 2,500 votes.

Allen_westSaid Murphy last night:

“I am humbled by the outpouring of support from the voters of the Treasure Coast and Palm Beaches. I pledge to be a representative who will work across the aisle, listen to all points of views, and work to end the divisiveness in Congress. Our country faces many challenges, and by working together we will continue to move our country forward.”

West is refusing to concede.

Writes his campaign manager Tim Edson:

"This race is far from decided and there is no rush to declare an outcome.  Ensuring a fair and accurate counting of all ballots is of the utmost importance.  This race is far from decided and there is no rush to declare an outcome.  Ensuring a fair and accurate counting of all ballots is of the utmost importance.  There are still tens of thousands of absentee ballots to be counted in Palm Beach County and potential provisional ballots across the district.

Late last night Congressman West maintained a district-wide lead of nearly 2000 votes until the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections "recounted" thousands of early ballots.  Following that "recount" Congressman West trailed by 2,400 votes.   In addition, there were numerous other disturbing irregularities reported at polls across St. Lucie County including the doors to polling places being locked when the polls closed, in direct violation of Florida law, thereby preventing the public from witnessing the procedures used to tabulate results.  The St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections office clearly ignored proper rules and procedures, and the scene at the Supervisor's office last night could only be described as complete chaos.   Given the hostility and demonstrated incompetence of the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections, we believe it is critical that a full hand recount of the ballots take place in St. Lucie County.   We will continue to fight to ensure every vote is counted properly and fairly,  and accordingly will pursue all legal means necessary."


Towleroad Guide to the Tube #1219

MOUNTAIN CLIMBING IN PAKISTAN: Incredible footage shot by a drone.

DISORDERLY INTOXICATION: Rep. Allen West's hideous attack ad on Patrick Murphy. Murphy campaign responds: “Allen West is shamelessly attacking Patrick Murphy for a mistake he made as a teenager, which he has discussed at length in the media as a mistake he learned from.  West then goes on to discuss his tenure in the military in 2003 while failing to acknowledge that he was criminally charged that year for assault and violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice," said Murphy for Congress communications director Erin Moffet.  "The only reason he was able to escape prosecution is because he cut a deal to retire.  Unfortunately, West's unstable behavior has continued in Congress, and he continues to diminish the office and the people to which he serves.”

ROSS WATSON: The Australian artist has an exhibition opening in London. Ian McKellen speaks.

CROCODILE TEARS: The Obama campaign previews the upcoming debate.

For recent Guides to the Tube, click HERE.


Patrick Murphy Celebrates One Year Anniversary Of DADT's Repeal

DADTOneFormer Congressman Patrick Murphy, the moderate Democrat instrumental in Don't Ask, Don't Tell's repeal, reflected on the one year anniversary of the discriminatory law's demise today at The Daily Beast.

"Today, we mark the first anniversary of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell," Murphy writes. "We recognize the thousands of troops who were unfairly targeted by the policy and thank them for their service to our nation. We take a moment to celebrate the fact that our military has made historic progress in the march toward full equality for all men and women."

DADT's end wasn't simply about the armed services; it was the beginning of a new era in America.

By relegating DADT to the history books, we paid tribute to principles of fairness and justice on which this nation was founded. True, there is much more that must be done to ensure that the rights of all Americans are recognized by our military and by our government. But this historic achievement is paving the way for progress.

It has fundamentally changed the political landscape as it relates to LGBT rights. Openly gay candidates like Sean Patrick Maloney, who is running for Congress in New York are changing the conversation. Sean and his husband have been together for 20 years and they have three wonderful children. His family is central to his campaign. Not just to promote LGBT equality—which he does—but to connect with average voters concerned about education and the economy.

Thanks to President Obama’s leadership, marriage equality was included in the Democratic Party platform—the first time this has ever happened. Since DADT was repealed, four states have passed legislation supporting gay marriage.

Murphy's optimistic that these developments, as well as shifting public opinion, particularly in states like Minnesota that will vote on equality in November, are the stepping stones to a more inclusive nation, but warns that citizens must not become complacent with regard to opponents to equality.

This election, on a national and state level, presents voters with a choice, he says; one that will either lead our country in the right direction or right back to a discriminatory sexual caste system. "On November 6th, our nation will decide what path we take—a path that leads us backward to a less just past, or the challenging but necessary path forward toward a more perfect union for our country’s future."

Towleroad legal guru Ari Ezra Waldman says Murphy is one of the people who really "gets it". "Don't Ask, Don't Tell was not only a discriminatory, odious law that violated our constitutional tradition," he says, "but its repeal and relegation to the dust bin of history was essential for the removal of every future vestige of discrimination: most notably, DOMA and state marriage bans."

"[Murphy] also understands that the best way to win greater political and legal success is to support candidates like Sean Patrick Maloney, who will not only be a great congressman, but who proudly bring their gay identities to Congress to help all Americans." And, I'm sure, inspire a whole new generation of fair-minded leaders.


The Anniversary of the End of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

BY ARI EZRA WALDMAN

IMG_0657Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend the Servicemembers' Legal Defense Network's (SLDN) party on the Intrepid to celebrate the first anniversary of the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT).

Many of the usual suspects were there: Admiral Mike Mullen (right, with his wife), the retired Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who championed open service; Major Margaret Witt and Colonel Victor Fehrenbach, the officers who successfully challenged DADT in federal court; Eric Alva, the first American injured in the latest war in Iraq; Captain Stephen Snyder-Hill, the openly gay soldier who was booed at a Republican debate months ago and has since gotten married; Joseph Rocha, the repeal activist and young sailor who suffered abuse at the hands of his commander and colleagues in his elite explosive detection unit; City Council Speaker Christine Quinn; MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts.

Admiral Mullen spoke at the VIP reception, reminding us that gay service members are just as honorable and brave as their heterosexual peers, and was honored during the official program. The former congressman and veteran Patrick Murphy, the author of the Repeal Act in the House, worked the room and expressed genuine humility and satisfaction that he had the honor to play a role in ending such odious discrimination.

I spent the evening with some friends, catching up with colleagues at my old law firm (I am proud that Winston & Strawn LLP was a supporting sponsor of the event), and asking random people the following question: How does the repeal of DADT impact progress on other gay rights issues like the marriage, employment discrimination, and DOMA?

My sample was too small and too biased to constitute a reliable study (many people declined to respond, the attendees were overwhelmingly white and male), but it gives us an indication of the personal and political meaning of the end of DADT's work.

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "The Anniversary of the End of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'" »


Watch: Behind the Scenes Of the Signing Of The DADT Repeal

Wh
The White House has just released this video of the signing of the repeal of DADT into law. Watch the clip, which features inetrviews with Representative Patrick Murphy and discharged Army Captain Jonathan Hopkins, AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "Watch: Behind the Scenes Of the Signing Of The DADT Repeal" »


Lawmakers: 'DADT' Repeal May Be Stripped from Defense Bill; Obama to Engage After Release of Pentagon Report

Senator Carl Levin acknowledges that the 'DADT' repeal amendment may have to be separated from the main Defense authorization bill:

Levin "I'm trying to get the bill through Congress. I'm the committee chairman for a 900 page bill. ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is two pages of 900 pages. My focus is different from the media focus. I'm just trying to get a bill passed," Levin told reporters at the Capitol building on Tuesday.

While no final decisions have been made, Levin said one option was to separate the language on repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" from the rest of the bill, and then making two separate efforts to pass the both pieces of legislation.

"I'm trying to get both done. And if I can't get both done, I want to get one of them done," Levin said.

He said no decisions will be made until Congress receives the military's survey on the effect of repealing the ban, details of which were leaked to the Washington Post.

Murphy And Rep. Patrick Murphy told the Washington Blade that Obama plans to get involved after the report comes out.

In an interview Tuesday with the Washington Blade, Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) said Obama has been engaged in moving Congress to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and that this effort will expand once the Pentagon working group report — due Dec. 1 — is complete.

“I think there are different levels of engagement and, I think, once the report comes out, I think we’ll see the full spectrum of that engagement,” Murphy said.

The first Iraq war veteran elected to Congress said he expects this “full spectrum of engagement” to come from not only the White House, but also the president’s “own Department of Defense.”

Murphy also commented on the possibility of stripping the repeal amendment:

Amid reports that talks are taking place to potentially strip the defense authorization bill of its repeal language, Murphy said Republicans have sought a bill without the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” provision.

“I think that’s what the Republicans would like to see,” Murphy said. ”But I think those of us in the House and 78 percent of the American people and those in the military currently serving want to see the Senate do what’s right and repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and put it on the president’s desk, so he can sign it into law.”

With limited time remaining this Congress, it’s possible lawmakers won’t repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” this year, leaving Obama to come up with another game plan — perhaps non-congressional action such as a stop-loss order — to put an end to the gay ban.

Full transcript of Murphy interview at the Blade.


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