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Update On The Great Nationwide Kiss-In In NYC!



Battery Park

Hello, Friends!

With just eight days left, I wanted to update you on our plans for New York City’s Great Nationwide Kiss-In!

When I thought back to the idea of the Kiss-In, I remembered that this was created to be a celebration and an affirmation of everyone’s right to share a kiss with their loved-one, and I realized that Times Square just wasn’t the best venue for us.

After doing a great deal of thinking, and after working with the New York City Department of Parks – who have been very helpful and supportive, we decided to move The Great Nationwide Kiss-In to beautiful and historic Battery Park.

If you take a look at our updated page on Facebook, you’ll see that Battery Park is perfect. First, it’s home to the seeds of freedom George Washington and other founders of America planted. Washington himself was inaugurated just blocks away from Battery Park, and our Bill of Rights was adopted in the same place.

We’ll be gathering at 1:30 PM next Saturday, August 15, in between “Hope Garden,” a memorial to AIDS victims, and “Castle Clinton,” an historic national monument that served as New York’s “Emigrant Landing Depot” before Ellis Island. I can think of no place in New York City more appropriate to take a stand for equality.

And before you say, “It’s too far,” let me assure you not only is it just a short subway or taxi ride, but it is well worth the trip. There’s so much to do in Battery Park, I encourage you to bring your friends and family and make a day of it! Think there’s not much to do in lower Manhattan? Here’s a list of 84 beautiful buildings, just for starters!

After the Kiss-In, take a trip to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, have lunch at Battery Gardens Restaurant, or bring lunch and have a picnic in the park! You can also walk to one of my favorite parts of New York City, The South Street Seaport. You’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!

More importantly, you’ll be doing something important: Helping support your friends and neighbors, and people all over the world who agree that sharing a kiss with your same-sex partner is important enough to stand up for.

I know this message is a bit long, but I wanted to share with you some of the amazing news about the Kiss-In. Like, our 17 year old Kiss-In organizer in Atlanta, Alex Oxford, who is putting together a Kiss-In all by himself, and competing for attention with Paul McCartney, who is holding a concert in the same park just hours after the Kiss-In. Southern Voice wrote a great piece!

Or, the fact that The Great Nationwide Kiss-In is now an international event, taking place in over 50 cities, plus Canada, and we’re planning events as far away as Saipan, a U.S. Territory north of Guam.

I’m telling you all this, as I had the good fortune to tell Michelangelo Signorile Wednesday on his show, because, honestly, I want to make sure that you realize how important this Kiss-In is, and how proud of everyone I truly am, and how successful I know it will be, if you come. If there’s one thing I think we’ve all learned in the past year, it’s if we don’t push for our rights, or if we leave the work up to others, it won’t happen.

Prop 8 is perhaps the best example of this on the downside, but, on the upside, so are the extraordinary successes we’ve had this year – for example in Maine and New Hampshire. Be a part of The Great Nationwide Kiss-In on the 15th – don’t leave it up to someone else.

If you say, as some have, that you have no one to kiss, it doesn’t matter. Bring someone and share a hug. Or, just show up by yourself. Just showing up is, according to Woody Allen, 80% of success in life!

Please, make the commitment to yourself and your fellow New Yorkers: Make sure you join us next Saturday, at 1:30 PM, and bring your friends, neighbors, family, boyfriend or girlfriend, partner, husband or wife. Everyone, gay or straight, bisexual or transgender, is welcome and encouraged to join us in Battery Park for what will be a fun and important event that will make you feel good not only on that day, but every day you decide to show your loved-one how important they are to you, with a kiss.

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Tennessee Governor Slammed After ‘Praying’ for Nashville School Community Without Mentioning Mass Shooting



Governor Bill Lee quickly drew tremendous outrage in the wake of a school mass shooting where six people including three young children were shot to death. Social media users criticized the Tennessee Republican, who had signed a permit-less gun carry law, for declaring he was “praying for the school, congregation & Nashville community,” without posting any mention of the mass shooting.

Tweeting he was “closely monitoring the tragic situation at Covenant,” Gov. Lee said, “As we continue to respond, please join us in praying for the school, congregation & Nashville community.”

There was no mention of any loss of life, and, as Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts passionately noted, the “situation” was a mass shooting.

“If thoughts and prayers alone worked to stop gun violence, there wouldn’t have been a shooting at a Christian elementary school. It’s your actions – including weakening the state’s gun laws – that’s killing kids in Tennessee,” Watts also tweeted. “SHAME ON YOU.”

Gov. Lee signed a permit-less carry bill into law in 2021, at a Beretta gun manufacturing plant.

According to the CDC, as of 2020 – one year before the permit-less carry bill was signed into law – Tennessee ranked tenth in the nation in per-capita firearm mortality.

READ MORE: ‘Our Children Deserve Better’: First Lady Jill Biden Speaks Out After Six Die in Nashville School Mass Shooting

Meanwhile, others took notice of the gun culture Gov. Lee has fostered in “The Volunteer State.”

MSNBC analyst and Bulwark writer Tim Miller commented, “Tennessee governor Bill Lee issued a statement recently about how the drag ban in Tennessee ‘protects children.’ If only he would have instead focused on laws that might have prevented the mass murder of children in his state today.”

Historian Kevin Kruse pointed to an article from last year, after the Uvalde, Texas school shooting, titled: “Rep. Clemmons Seeks Renewed Gun Laws, Gov. Lee Requests Prayer.”

“You chose prayer over gun reforms last year after the Uvalde massacre,” Kruse wrote. “And now here we are.”

The progressive website Tennessee Holler pointed out that Gov. Lee, along with GOP lawmakers, “just appointed Jordan Mollenhour to the [state] board of education— whose company was sued for selling ammo to an underage mass killer (SANTA FE) and sold ammo to at least one more (AURORA) He has ZERO education experience.”

Let’s Give a Damn founder Nick Laparra tweeted, “We are 86 days into 2023. So far, 9859 people have died by gun violence and there have been 128 mass shootings. Meanwhile, @GovBillLee spends his days being outraged over drag queens and CRT and book bans. This is Bill Lee’s and the GOP’s fault.”

See the tweets and video above or at this link.

READ MORE: New WSJ Poll Is Devastating for DeSantis and His ‘Anti-Woke’ Policies




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Mystery Grand Jury Witness in Trump Hush Money Probe Is Former ‘Enquirer’ Publisher and Trump Ally



Avid followers of the Manhattan District Attorney’s moves noted the grand jury had been called into service for Monday, and soon news leaked that yet another witness would be testifying in the probe into Donald Trump’s alleged hush money payment to Stormy Daniels.

Monday afternoon, NBC News’ Garrett Haake reported live on MSNBC that the mystery witness was David Pecker, the former tabloid publisher of the “National Enquirer,” who reportedly had been looking for stories in 2016 to protect Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Haake notes Monday was Pecker’s second appearance before the grand jury in the hush money case.

The New York Times also reported David Pecker as the grand jury witness, calling Pecker “a key player in the hush-money matter. He and the tabloid’s top editor helped broker the deal between the porn star, Stormy Daniels, and Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s fixer at the time.”

READ MORE: ‘Our Children Deserve Better’: First Lady Jill Biden Speaks Out After Six Die in Nashville School Mass Shooting

“While the focus of Mr. Pecker’s testimony is unclear, he could provide valuable information for prosecutors. A longtime ally of Mr. Trump, he agreed to keep an eye out for potentially damaging stories about Mr. Trump during the 2016 campaign,” The Times reports. “For a brief time in October 2016, Ms. Daniels appeared to have just that kind of story. Her agent and lawyer discussed the possibility of selling exclusive rights to her story of a sexual encounter with Mr. Trump to The National Enquirer, which would then promise to never publish it, a practice known as ‘catch and kill.'”

Former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Harry Litman weighed in, noting, “nothing about that decision [to have Pecker testify] suggests any change of heart on Bragg’s part to indict Trump.”

Former Dept. of Defense Special Counsel Ryan Goodman, an NYU professor of law, notes that Pecker’s “testimony can show the [hush money] scheme was designed to affect outcome of election.”

“He reportedly communicated directly with Trump on payment,” Goodman adds.

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‘Our Children Deserve Better’: First Lady Jill Biden Speaks Out After Six Die in Nashville School Mass Shooting



First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, speaking Monday afternoon at a National League of Cities conference, told attendees, “Our children deserve better,” as she broke the news of the Nashville school mass shooting at Covenant Presbyterian School where three children and three adults were shot dead.

“You know,” Dr. Biden, herself an educator and clearly pained by the news, began her remarks by saying, “I hate to say what I’m gonna say next because you know you’re so enthusiastic and with so much energy and hope and I feel it.”

“But while you’ve been in this room, I don’t know whether you’ve been on your phones but we just learned about another shooting in Tennessee, a school shooting and I am truly without words and our children deserve better, and we stand – all of us – we stand with Nashville in prayer.”

READ MORE: New WSJ Poll Is Devastating for DeSantis and His ‘Anti-Woke’ Policies

The First Lady, a former public high school English teacher and currently a professor of English at a community college, was speaking at the organization’s Congressional City Conference.

Watch Dr. Biden below or at this link.

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