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2012 Olympics: Who Are The LGBT Athletes? – Andy Schmitz

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As we celebrate the accomplishments of Olympic Athletes, too often the contribution of mentors and team leaders, and coaches, like Hope Powell and Pia Sundhage who were profiled earlier in this series, are ignored.

Originating in San Diego as a six-mile dash, five-mile bicycle race and 500-yard swim, the modern triathlon — a recent addition to the Olympics — debuted at the 2000 Sydney Olympic games. Two years later, Andy Schmitz won a silver medal in Triathlon at the 2002 Sydney Gay Games.

USA Triathlon High Performance General Manager Andy Schmitz is the Team Leader for the U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team and the women’s coach. As well as coaching the women’s team, Schmitz orchestrated all logistics for the team in London and  played a key role in planning for this event for the past four years. He was a member of the U.S. staff for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, and he served as team leader and head coach for the 2010 and 2011 International Triathlon Union World Championship Series Grand Final as well as the 2011 Pan American Games where the U.S. won gold and silver medals.

Named one of the alternate coaches for the 2007 Pan American Games, Schmitz never made it to those games. While riding his bicycle on a Southern California road he was brushed to the ground by an oncoming car. “I wasn’t in any shape to travel, but was named as being one of the four coaches selected for the [Beijing] Olympic job around the same time,” he told The Sun Newspapers. “A car went through a red light and went right into my path. I was going about 30 miles per hour.”

Schmitz experienced a 40-minute blackout and spent three days in the Intensive Care Unit. 30 broken bones and major injuries to his left pelvis and right wrist kept him hospitalized for two weeks.

“I was able to climb stairs and walk,” he recalled. “I couldn’t type for six weeks and could do nothing with my right arm for three months. I had to have someone open my computer and I used voice recognition software. I had access to an index finger and a thumb, so I could at least dial a phone. I was depending on others. I couldn’t pick up a glass for a long time.” But this didn’t stop Schmitz who left the
hospital a week before his doctors advised and was training at full strength 4 months later.

It is this determination to overcome all obstacles that makes Andy Schmitz such a great coach and that he passes on to team members like Sarah Groff  who finished fourth on August 4th in  women’s triathlon.

Andy can be followed on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Stuart WilberStuart Wilber is a Seattle activist who skipped classes in high school to watch the McCarthy– Army Hearings. Having seen it get better and worse and better again over the years, he continues to hope he will experience full federal equality in his lifetime. *Photo by Mathew Ryan Williams

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Watch: Democrat Delivers Fiery Rebuke to House Republicans Trying to Deprive Veterans of Abortion Rights

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U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, Democrat of Michigan, blasted congressional Republicans on the floor of the House of Representatives Wednesday, accusing them of turning a basic, bipartisan bill to help the nation’s veterans into “a cold heartless, violent” referendum on the right to abortion.

“In terms of making decisions on behalf of women, if you want to take a veterans’ bill and make it about abortion, then let’s do it,” Slotkin dared her Republican colleagues. “What you are saying – and you’re saying in front of the American people – is that you believe a veteran who has been raped, who was the victim of incest, or who is having a dangerous miscarriage, does not deserve access to abortion.”

Slotkin was referring to the Solid Start Act, her legislation designed to help veterans transition into civilian society. Republicans tried to block the bill after learning it includes a “requirement that the Department of Veterans Affairs provide female veterans with information ‘tailored to their specific health care’ needs, which would adhere to a new VA policy providing abortion access for women vets who are victims of rape, incest or whose life is jeopardized,” HuffPost reports.

READ MORE: ‘Yes’: GOP Nominee Mastriano Supports Charging Women With Murder if They Have an Abortion After a 6 Week Ban (Audio)

“If you can’t state it, then be clear you believe in no exceptions for women — a cold heartless, violent approach to women’s health,” said Slotkin, whose stepdaughter is a female Army officer. “You want to ban all abortions. That is your goal. Many of you have been open about that, and if you flip the House, we know that you will put forward a full ban on all abortion for all states.”

Slotkin, a military spouse and military step mother, is correct. House GOP Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s plan for Republicans to take back control of the House, his Newt Gingrich-endorsed “Commitment to America” says it very clearly. In the section called “Preserve Our Constitutional Freedoms,” he says Republicans will “protect the lives of unborn children and their mothers.”

But GOP opposition to the abortion provisions in the veterans’ bill is even more extreme than McCarthy’s message – and does not protect the life of the mother.

READ MORE: ‘Doesn’t Get to Tell the County What They Can Read’: Lawmaker Blasts Christian in Viral Video Attacking LGBTQ Library Books

“We are all, on this floor, elected officials and not medical professionals,” Slotkin added in her more-then two-minute rebuke. “If it was your wife, your daughter who was suffering through a miscarriage, are you going to tell her she can’t until her fever gets high enough and until she’s bleeding harder?”

“If that’s what you want for veterans, shame on you! Shame on you!”

Watch below or at this link.

 

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Ginni Thomas Testifies Today Before J6 Committee

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Far-right-wing activist and lobbyist Ginni Thomas, who held a months-long pressure campaign with Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to try to force him to somehow overturn the 2020 election, and sent numerous emails to GOP lawmakers in multiple states also trying convince them to overturn the election, will testify today before the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.

Were Thomas merely a far-right wing extremist, or even a wealthy and powerful lobbyist, her actions would have received less scrutiny, but given she is married to a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas, who was the sole vote opposing the release of January 6 documents to the House Select Committee investigating the insurrection, many see her actions as concerning and deserving of investigation.

Politico’s Kyle Cheney broke the news Thomas will testify before the Committee today. Her testimony will be virtual. The Guardian’s Hugo Lowell adds, it is “voluntary.”

READ MORE: Former GOP Congressman Has ‘Legitimate Concerns’ Clarence Thomas Was Involved in ‘Push to Overturn the Election’

Calling Thomas “one of the panel’s most high-profile outstanding witnesses,” Politico reports, “Lawmakers took interest in her connections to John Eastman, a legal architect of former President Donald Trump’s last-ditch plan to subvert the 2020 election. She’d invited Eastman to speak to an activist group in the aftermath of the election, though Eastman has denied ever discussing Supreme Court-related matters with Thomas.”

In a March opinion piece on MSNBC, Wayne Batchis, associate professor of political science at the University of Delaware, examined the Supreme Court’s “Clarence Thomas (and Ginni Thomas) problem.”

“It turns out that Thomas not only sat on the board of an organization that promoted the dangerous fiction that the 2020 election was ‘stolen’ from former President Donald Trump through fraud, she also attended the rally attempting to vindicate this paranoid propagandistic fantasy (and said she left before Trump took the stage),” Batchis wrote.

READ MORE: Trump Sarcastically Prayed for Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Health – Before Asking ‘How Much Longer’ She Had: New Book

” All the while, in what might resemble the coordinated efforts of synchronized swimmers, husband and wife seemingly sought to thwart the investigation into the democratically perilous events of Jan. 6. Ginni Thomas signed on to a letter seeking the expulsion of Republican Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger from the Republican conference for joining the House Jan. 6 investigation committee; Clarence Thomas was the sole dissenter — standing in opposition to the rest of the court, including its three Trump appointees — in a decision allowing for the release of Jan. 6-related documents to said committee.”

“Without trust in the courts,” he warns, “American democracy does not stand a chance.”

 

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News

Former GOP Congressman Has ‘Legitimate Concerns’ Clarence Thomas Was Involved in ‘Push to Overturn the Election’

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Questions surfaced after Justice Clarence Thomas was the only member of the U.S. Supreme Court to oppose the release of Mark Meadows’ texts and information to the Jan. 6 committee. It turned out that in those text messages that the justice didn’t want revealed were communications with his wife.

Former Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA), wrote in his new book that he thinks Justice Thomas is far more involved in his wife Ginni Thomas’ 2020 election overthrow attempts.

Riggleman, who left the committee in April, included many of the text messages that had previously been released from Ginni Thomas, along with the note that he had a difficult time trying to get the House Select Committee to sound the alarm on her actions.

“Supreme Court spouses are typically low profile. Ginni’s involvement with political groups had already led to questions about whether Clarence would need to recuse himself in cases with a political component,” wrote Riggleman. If Clarence had been in the logs, it would be a much bigger deal than all that. When I began to suspect Ginni and Clarence had texted with Meadows, I put together a technical brief outlining how we might be able to cement the identifications.”

IN OTHER NEWS: GOP lawmaker leaves people baffled with his opinion of drug seizures

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) called him to express concern that telling Americans that such an influential figure had gone full-Q. Cheney was worried it would turn the whole committee into a political sideshow and overshadow all of the other work the committee was doing. The release of Riggleman’s book has left the committee members furiousover possible leaks after spending a year with so few.

Riggleman persisted in pressing Cheney to tell Americans about the Thomases.

“The committee needed to show the American people that there was an organized, violent effort to reverse the election—and that there were indications it could have been directed by the White House,” he wrote. “Thanks to their prominence, Ginni and Clarence would make a lot of headlines, but those headlines might overwhelm the other important work we were doing.”

The conversation with Cheney didn’t go well, with the two “type A personalities” duking-out their arguments. Riggleman argued that data wasn’t political. It wasn’t right or wrong.

“I also thought that, given Clarence’s position and Ginni’s prominence in conservative circles, the American public had to know what she had been up to,” argued Riggleman. “Some of the messages went beyond simply cheering Meadows on. It was legitimate for me to have concerns as to whether a Supreme Court justice had been involved in the legally questionable push to overturn the election. Was it possible that one of the country’s nine top judges was on board with an authoritarian interpretation of the Constitution? The implications were overwhelming. Cheney found it all improbable. I think she still had more faith in the institutional GOP than I did at that point.”

Riggleman’s book, The Breach, is on sale now and Raw Story has complete coverage here.

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