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LGBT Update Letter From The White House

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Gautam Raghavan, the new Associate Director of the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, and White House LGBT liaison, just sent this email, “White House LGBT Update: Across the Ages.”

I can’t seem to find it on the White House site, so here’s a excerpt, sans some photos.

HUD Convenes First-Ever LGBT Elder Housing Summit

Demographic shifts across the country have highlighted issues and challenges for older Americans, and this is especially true for aging LGBT Americans – a population that is more likely to age without the benefits of family support, face discrimination in housing and health care, and rely on assisted living and long-term care.

With these issues in mind, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the National Center for Lesbian Rights convened the first-ever national summit for LGBT elders last Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at HUD’s headquarters in Washington, DC.

The day-long conference brought together advocates and practitioners from across the country to highlight existing barriers for LGBT elders, as well as explore future possibilities for building upon current efforts to support housing and long-term care for LGBT elders.  Speakers included Assistant Secretaries Raphael Bostic of HUD’s Policy and Research Development, and John Trasviña of HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, as well as a host of other leaders in the LGBT community.

For more information about the summit, please visit the LGBT Housing Summit website and read more about HUD’s ongoing efforts to prevent discrimination in housing.

HHS Participates in HRC’s “All Children-All Families” Initiative


ACF Commissioner Bryan Samuels speaks at HRC’s National Adoption Month event, November 30, 2011 (Photo by Robert Villaflor for HRC).

Today, more than 100,000 children are in foster care waiting for loving families.  In response to this need, child welfare agencies across the country are proactively increasing their pool of available adoptive families by reaching out to prospective LGBT parents.

Last month, Bryan Samuels, Commissioner of the Administration for Children, Youth and Families at HHS participated in an event hosted by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) to celebrate National Adoption Month and the progress made in opening more doors to qualified LGBT foster and adoptive parents.

Read a blog post by Commissioner Samuels describing the Obama Administration’s commitment to finding loving, supportive, and permanent homes for all children.

Dignity For All: Reactions from LGBT and Human Rights Organizations

Last week, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton articulated the first-ever U.S. Government strategy to promote and protect the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons through the work of federal agencies engaged abroad.

In response to these developments, a number of organizations that advocate for LGBT and human rights issued statements praising the strong leadership of the President and Secretary of State.  Read some of these statements here.

Tweet of the Week

 

This week, after nine years of sacrifice, the final troops stationed in Iraq will cross the border out of the country — marking the end of the war and fulfilling the promise President Obama made to the American people when he was a candidate for this office.

To see more milestones from the Iraq War, from President Obama’s very first day in office through the work his Administration has done to support our troops as they return home, check out our new timeline.

What You May Have Missed

 

Soldiers respond as President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the end of America’s war in Iraq at the 440th Squadron Maintenance Building at Pope Army Airfield, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Dec. 14, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson).

 

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Burn Bags and Use of Personal Email: Justices’ Security Practices Even Worse Than Leak Investigation Showed

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Supreme Court employees raised security concerns that were not made public when an internal investigation was completed following the leak of a draft opinion reversing abortion rights.

Multiple sources familiar with the court’s operations told CNN that justices often used personal email accounts for sensitive communications, employees used printers that didn’t produce logs and “burn bags” to collect sensitive materials for destruction were often left open and unattended in hallways.

“This has been going on for years,” one former employee said.

Some justices were slow to adopt email technology — they were “not masters of information security protocol,” according to one source — and court employees were afraid to confront them over the security risks.

Supreme Court marshal Gail Curley in her investigative report noted that printer logs intended to track document production were insufficient, but a former employee said employees who had VPN access could print documents from any computer, and remote work during COVID-19 shutdowns and otherwise meant draft opinions could have been taken from the building in violation of court guidelines.

Curley’s report noted that court methods for destroying sensitive documents should be improved, but three employees said striped burn bags supplied to chambers were often left sitting out unattended, and each justice had their own protocols for disposing of court documents.

A source familiar with court security practices said some colleagues stapled burn bags shut, while others filled them to capacity and left them near their desks, and others simply left them sitting in hallways where anyone with access to non-public areas could have taken sensitive materials.

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Ethics Complaint Against Sinema Urges Investigation Into Staffers’ Duties and Her Possible ‘Abuse of Taxpayer Dollars’

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If you are hired to work in Senator Kyrsten Sinema‘s office on Capitol Hill there is a 37-page memo you’ll want to read detailing all the responsibilities her staffers are required to perform, from getting her groceries, calling Verizon and going to her D.C. home to wait for a repair person if the internet goes out, scheduling massages, and ensuring her very detailed airplane requirements are met.

“It is your job to make her as comfortable as possible on each flight,” the memo says, as The Daily Beast first reported in December.

But now a group of 13 non-profit organizations have joined to file an ethics complaint against Senator Sinema (I-AZ), a new Daily Beast report reveals Friday, including details from that 37-page memo which the newly-independent lawmaker directed to be drawn up. Dated Thursday, the complaint is titled: “Letter to Senate Ethics Committee Regarding Reports of Sinema Abusing Taxpayer Dollars.”

“Senate Ethics guidelines stipulate that staff should not be asked to perform personal errands for members. This is an unambiguous ethical boundary,” the group’s complaint reads.

READ MORE: Santos May Owe Thousands in Unpaid Traffic Violation Fines and Fees Across Two States: Report

It also points to that 37-page memo, which it says, “indicates that staff are required, as a condition of their jobs, to carry out numerous tasks that are outside the scope of public employment, including doing personal errands for the Senator, carrying out household tasks at her private residence, and advancing their own funds for her personal purchases. It makes unreasonably precise scheduling demands, and former staff have confirmed some of the allegations.”

The allegations continue.

“And, most troubling, it calls on staff members, who are employed and paid by the public and explicitly barred from campaign activity, to schedule and facilitate political fundraisers and meetings with campaign donors, presumably during the workday while they are on the clock and physically on federal property.”

“Senate staff are prohibited under your guidelines from engaging in political activity ‘on Senate time, using Senate equipment or facilities.’ While you have not prohibited campaign activity outside work hours, the plain language of the memo clearly implies that Sen. Sinema expects her staff to carry out these scheduling tasks during the workday. And these tasks may separately violate Senate Rule 41.1, which explicitly prohibits Senate employees from ‘solicit[ing]’ campaign funds.”

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The complaint also alleges that “Sen. Sinema required her staff to schedule three physical therapy and massage sessions a week related to her training for athletic competitions, and to tightly manage her dietary schedule — while allotting only a 30-minute period on Wednesdays for meetings with the constituents she represents.”

The carefully-worded complaint adds, “the allegations paint a picture of a Senator who is not only unresponsive to her constituents, but also disrespectful and even abusive to her employees and wholly unconcerned about her obligations under the law.”

The Daily Beast has posted a copy of the complaint here.

You can read The Beast’s full report here.

 

 

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Santos May Owe Thousands in Unpaid Traffic Violation Fines and Fees Across Two States: Report

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When he left for Washington, D.C., U.S. Rep. George Santos also appears to have left a string of unpaid traffic violation fines and fees in two states, including red light, double parking, and overtime parking citations totaling thousands of dollars.

The embattled serial liar and freshman New York GOP lawmaker “may owe more than $3,400 in unpaid citations, according to records from New York City and Florida,” CBS News reports.

Included in that total is $1,299.10 from Florida for toll violations that “racked up late fees and were ultimately sent to collections agencies.”

READ MORE: George Santos Says Man Interviewed for Staff Position ‘Violated’ His Trust After Secretly Recording Conversation

It appears that in November of 2016, as soon as he got his New York driver’s license after having one in Florida, a car previously ticketed via a red light camera whose plates match one registered to Santos “began piling up citations in New York City — 29 in the next two and a half years, according to city government records, which do not identify the drivers of vehicles being ticketed.”

“More than $1,800 in payments were made for 17 citations, but another 12 remain unpaid, with $2,142.61 still due, according to city records.”

CBS News also points to a New York Post report from January revealing “a Nissan Rogue driven frequently by Santos in recent months had been issued speeding tickets at least five times since he was elected on Nov. 8, ‘including four times in school zones.'”

Santos is under numerous state and federal investigations that span the gamut from campaign finance to allegedly stolen charity funds donated to save the life of a veteran’s service dog. The dog died after the vet could not afford to pay for the operation.

READ MORE: ‘Bioweapons? FFS’: House Oversight Chairman Mocked for Pushing Unfounded Balloon Conspiracy Theories

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