San Antonio. El Paso. Salt Lake City. Three cities. Three same-sex couples. All harassed and detained or arrested – for kissing.
You’ve heard the stories. You’ve read the news. The lesbian couple arrested last December. The two men who kissed on gay pride day at a now infamous Chico’s Tacos restaurant in El Paso, threatened with arrest. And the gay Salt Lake City couple who kissed on the Mormon Church’s Main Street Plaza, handcuffed, detained, and subsequently arrested.
You must have asked yourself, when will it stop? When will I be able to walk down the street of my hometown, holding my same-sex partner’s hand? When will I be able to give my loved one a kiss – on the cheek or on the lips – without fear of intimidation or incarceration – because of our sexual orientation?
Three weeks ago, after these incidents, I called for a nationwide kiss-in, in the hope that we could reach all those people we keep talking about. People who know of gay people, but don’t know any gay people. And then I reached out to a few friends – Willow Witte, co-founder of the grassroots LGBT group Join The Impact, and David Mailloux, who writes DYM SUM. We took the idea of a nationwide kiss-in, and crafted it into The Great Nationwide Kiss-In.
Now, just three weeks after I penned, “It’s Time For A Nationwide Kiss-In!,” the Great Nationwide Kiss-In has events planned in 50 cities. Thousands of people have joined our movement. Gay people. Straight people. Bisexual people. Transgender people. Young and old alike. In big cities, in small towns. The stories are heartwarming.
We have a few cities where high school students, without fear of their conservative, southern neighbors whose beliefs might discourage those less-courageous, wrote to us and asked us if they could organize a kiss-in in their town. Just a few days ago, we received an email from a man in Saipan. Yes, Saipan, a U.S. Territory, north of Guam. He writes,
The local LGBT community is not as visible as I believe it should be. This would give us an opportunity to let our voices be heard, to highlight our presence in this community, and to give us a political edge which we did not have before. While there is increasing acceptance of lesbians and gays here, we remain a marginal part of the wider community, and a there remains a level of shame associated with being LGBT. Most important, I want my local LGBT sisters and brothers to engage with the national and international discourse about civil and human rights. I believe this event would show our determination to stand in solidarity with our LGBT sisters and brothers in the U.S., and indeed, around the world.
Literally all over America, and in a few cities in Canada, on Saturday, August 15, at 2 PM EDT, people of every orientation, gender, and race will gather with their partners, husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, better-halves and loved ones, and at the top of the hour, kiss.
What could be more powerful? What could send a stronger message? What would make a larger impact across this land of the free and this home of the brave, than these beautiful souls, standing up for their inalienable right to perform the most basic and beautiful of human acts – sharing a kiss?
A kiss that many straight couples often don’t even give a second thought to as they exchange that simple expression of affection – at a train station, doctor’s office, department store, restaurant, movie theater, or football game.
I think of the people in larger cities like Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, and L.A., and I’m grateful they are working so hard to make The Great Nationwide Kiss-In a success. But then I think about those kids about to enter their senior year of high school in the South, organizing a kiss-in, and that man in Saipan, and those straight couples who support us so fervently they’re donating their time to organize a kiss-in in their home towns. I think about them all and I realize, this isn’t about kissing. It’s not just about protecting the rights we already have. It’s not about fighting for what’s ours already.
It’s about fighting against homophobia, striving to be our own best selves, and showing everyone that what is truly important begins with the ones we love. And in order for us to be our best selves – in order for every person to reach their full potential – being who we are and being able to include those we love in our lives, is more than necessary. It is essential.
To those who say “gays want to make out in public and force their lifestyles on us!,” I say, bull. Many gays I know, even in big cities, still feel a bit self-conscious about giving their loved-one a kiss – or even holding hands – in public.
That simple act of giving our loved one a kiss in public is an act that, for a great many members of the LGBTQ community, especially those of us who grew up when sodomy laws were if full force, represents years of aggression against our own internalized homophobia, and years of fighting against decades of “don’t rock the boat, don’t embarrass anyone” training.
I spoke with one of our high school students who is organizing a Kiss-In in Atlanta. I asked him if he had concerns about organizing something that might upset some folks. His answer gave me great hope. He said, with tremendous conviction, “There are lots of things that upset some people. They’ll just have to get over it.” Another organizer told me she wanted to do this because she remembered not being able to hold her partner’s hand in public. Her partner was a school teacher and was afraid – and had every right to be – of losing her job, just for holding hands.
On Saturday, August 15, thousands will give their partners a kiss that has more meaning in it than any passerby, any onlooker – who supports us or not – could possibly realize.
And we’ll all be one step closer to the goal: Full equality – in perception, in name, and in reality, than we were just one minute, and one kiss, before.
It may be just a single, simple moment in time, yet it will be a giant leap, for all of us.
Do you know where you are going to be at 2 PM EDT on Saturday, August 15? Can you imagine doing anything more important than helping everyone see that gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or straight, we all deserve the right to kiss the one we love?
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Jobs Report Forces Fox News to Admit Biden Economy ‘A Lot Stronger Than Anybody Understands’
The monthly jobs report released Friday morning is being heralded as “robust,” “upbeat,” and “stronger than expected,” as unemployment again dropped to a near-50-year low (3.7%) while the economy added another 199,000 jobs.
“It’s the little engine that could, and this little locomotive keeps a chugging along…” declared professor of economics and public policy scholar Justin Wolfers.
“So the last three months have seen jobs growth at a very healthy average rate of +204k per month,” he added. “For context: Average monthly job growth from Jan 2000 to Dec 2019 was +87k.”
“If I had asked you a year ago to sketch what you thought a soft landing might look like,” he said, praising America’s post-COVID pandemic economy, “it’s likely you would have pretty much drawn the current economic data.”
On Thursday, Wolfers had discussed the incongruence between what economic data consistently shows about the strength of the U.S. economy, and what Americans are telling pollsters.
“There’s no question people are telling pollsters they’re miserable about the economy. But riddle me this,” he asked, “Why can’t we find evidence of this pessimism in anything other that public opinion polls? Every non-poll based indicator of confidence suggests folks are optimistic.”
Heather Long, The Washington Post economic columnist, offered this view in response to Friday’s jobs report.
“Step back for a minute and look at this US job market,” she wrote.
“4.7 million more jobs than pre-pandemic
Below 4% unemployment for two years
Wages growing faster than inflation
Women (ages 25 to 54) at an all-time high for labor force participation”
Even Fox News was forced to deliver positive comments while reporting on Friday’s monthly numbers.
“Overall you’ve got to look at this report as a big positive,” admitted pro-Trump Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo. “We’ve got more jobs created than expected.”
Speaking to the former chief economist of The White House National Economic Council under President Trump, Bartiromo said, “Joe LaVorgna, you’ve been saying this, the economy is a lot stronger than anybody understands.”
Watch below or at this link.
it’s time for my favorite Friday tradition — Maria Bartiromo having to cope with announcing another strong jobs report pic.twitter.com/bsOIQToEwe
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 8, 2023
Right Wing Evangelicals Are ‘Marinating’ in ‘Information Aimed at Making Them Fearful, Hostile’: Journalist
Rather, he argued, it is part of a deliberate campaign to radicalize and terrify them into loyalty — and part of what’s driving that is a “disproportionality crisis” of the information they are receiving.
““If you go to church on Sunday morning, you are going to be in the word with your pastor for, you know, 30 minutes, maybe 40, 45 minutes, and you sing some songs, and you say the prayers, and then you are out in the world for the rest of the week,” said Alberta. “And for most of these folks, as they’re out in the world, they are marinating in talk radio, in cable news, in social media—all of this information that is aimed at making them angry, fearful, hostile.”
Whereas they may hear Jesus’ message of tolerance, love, and forgiveness “on Sunday morning for 45 minutes, but then for 4, 5, 6, 10 hours during the week, you’re hearing the exact opposite. And it’s that ratio being so far out of whack that I think is really at the heart of the crisis here.”
And that’s assuming they’re at a church that will even give them messages of love and forgiveness in the first place — many pro-Trump pastors, like Greg Locke of Tennessee, have messages that are far angrier.
“[Trump] may not share their views, he may not sit in the pews with them, he may not read the good book like they do, but in some way, that’s his superpower,” Alberta explained. “He is free to fight in ways that are, you know, unrestrained, unmoored from biblical virtue. And that relationship with Trump has obviously evolved over the last eight years. What started as this very uneasy alliance for a lot of evangelicals with Trump has now morphed into this situation where, look, desperate times call for desperate measures. The barbarians are at the gates and we need a barbarian to keep them at bay.” This means that Trump’s increasingly dictatorial rhetoric is a natural outlet for the rage and frustration these evangelical voters are being fed.
None of this is to say that Trump has completely unified the evangelical world. Cracks have appeared in recent months, with prominent evangelical leaders like Bob Vander Plaats of Iowa endorsing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis out of concern about Trump’s electoral viability.
Editor’s note: Tim Alberta is an award-winning g journalist, a staff writer for The Atlantic, and author of “The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: American Evangelicals in an Age of Extremism,” and “American Carnage: On the Front Lines of the Republican Civil War and the Rise of President Trump.”
‘Straight Up Flout the Law’: Trump Declares Judge Chutkan No Longer Has Power Over His Case
Reacting to U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan’s ruling last week that Donald Trump is not immune from prosecution just because he was President during the time he attempted to subvert the U.S. Constitution and overthrow the government by overturning the results of the election, attorneys for the criminally-indicted ex-president on Thursday declared the judge no longer has any power over the case while they appeal her ruling.
Noting that the appeal “could take weeks or months,” Politico reports, “In the meantime, he says, Chutkan must postpone all deadlines and cede her authority over the matter.”
“Citing ‘political costs to President Trump and this country’ if the case were to move forward, Trump’s lawyers argued Thursday that he’s entitled to an ‘automatic stay’ while he appeals Chutkan’s ruling last week.”
Trump’s appeal to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is “asking that court to overturn Chutkan’s ruling and dismiss the indictment against him,” Forbes adds.
Trump had also argued that he is immune from prosecution because the Senate did not convict him after his second House impeachment, this one for “incitement of insurrection.” Judge Chutkan also denied that claim.
“’The filing of President Trump’s notice of appeal has deprived this Court of jurisdiction over this case in its entirety pending resolution of the appeal,’ Trump attorneys Todd Blanche and John Lauro wrote. ‘Therefore, a stay of all further proceedings is mandatory and automatic,'” Politico reports. “Trump’s attorneys indicated that even if Chutkan doesn’t grant the stay, they plan to ask the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to do so and intend to operate as if there is one in place.”
Trump lawyers say unless Chutkan reverses her ruling, they will ignore all deadlines and other court procedures, unless they are told otherwise.
The Trump lawyers’ motion says, “all current deadlines must be held in abeyance until, at minimum, this motion is resolved. President Trump will proceed based on that understanding and the authorities set forth herein absent further order of the Court.”
“Very much in character,” The Economist’s Supreme Court reporter Steven Mazie wrote of the move by attorneys for the ex-president. “Trump is purporting to straight up flout the law.”
Former U.S. DOJ official and FBI General Counsel Andrew Weissman, a professor of law, said Trump was acting “Impudently.”
Former federal prosecutor Dennis Aftergut, of counsel to Lawyers Defending American Democracy, on Monday at Slate wrote Judge Chutkan’s opinion ruling Trump cannot claim presidential immunity for trying to overturn the 2020 election, “is meticulously crafted with the Supreme Court in mind. The decision deploys every methodology of constitutional interpretation, including textualism, each variety of so-called originalism, attention to constitutional structure and underlying premises, functional considerations, and history.”
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