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White House Issues New LGBT Update

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The White House has just sent out a new LGBT update, via Gautam Raghavan, the White House’s head of the Office of Public Engagement. Much of it is news you may already know, but it’s good to see the administration actively engaging LGBT voters. (Now, about that marriage thing…)

Here’s the full text of the update:

Good Afternoon – and Happy New Year!

I’m pleased to share with you that we are kicking off 2012 with two important developments that impact the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people: first, a revision to the FBI’s definition of rape to lead to a more comprehensive reporting of rape nationwide, including male victims, and second, a major grant by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for high-impact HIV prevention.

Also, on Thursday, the Department of Health and Human Services released a summary update outlining specific actions that the agency has taken to address the health and well-being of LGBT Americans since the start of the Obama Administration.

These developments illustrate the Obama Administration’s ongoing commitment to safety, equality, and well-being for all Americans, including the LGBT community.

Best regards,

Gautam Raghavan
Office of Public Engagement
The White House

P.S. – January 22nd is the deadline to apply for the Summer 2012 White House Internship Program.  Know any young leaders or veterans interested in public service?  Please encourage them to apply here.

DOJ Announces Revisions to the FBI’s Definition of Rape

Last Friday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced revisions to the Uniform Crime Report’s definition of rape.  The revised definition includes rapes committed against men, and encompasses a broader range of sexual acts understood to be rape.  This revised definition will be used to collect data from local law enforcement about these crimes. This data is published in the Uniform Crime Report and is the nation’s main source of information about crime trends.

In announcing the changes, Vice President Biden said:

“Rape is a devastating crime and we can’t solve it unless we know the full extent of it.  This long-awaited change to the definition of rape is a victory for women and men across the country whose suffering has gone unaccounted for over 80 years.”

Read DOJ’s press release and listen to the FBI’s podcast. And also check out a blog post on these changes by Lynn Rosenthal, White House Advisor on Violence Against Women.

CDC Awards $339 Million for High-Impact HIV Prevention

Also last week, the CDC announced that it has begun awarding almost $339 million to state and local health departments across the United States to fund HIV prevention activities this year.  The awards are a component of CDC’s new approach to HIV prevention, designed to better align resources to reflect the geographic burden of the HIV epidemic and achieve a higher level of impact with every federal HIV prevention dollar spent.

Since taking office, President Obama has directed his Administration to take many positive steps to combat HIV/AIDS, including releasing the first ever comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy, reauthorizing the Ryan White CARE Act, and lifting the HIV entry ban.  Last month, on the occasion of World AIDS Day, President Obama announced additional new commitments to the fight against HIV/AIDS, including an additional $50 million in funding for the Ryan White program and state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs.

Read more about CDC’s new awards and see this fact sheet about the Obama Administration’s efforts to combat HIV/AIDS.

HHS Releases Update on LGBT Health

Today the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a summary update – “Better Health and Well-Being: Making Improvements for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender (LGBT) Americans” – as a follow-up to the LGBT listening sessions HHS recently held across the country.

The document summarizes specific actions that HHS has taken through 2011, at the direction of President Obama and Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, to promote equal treatment of LGBT Americans, provide enhanced resources for LGBT health issues, and develop better information regarding LGBT health needs. The update also summarizes how the Affordable Care Act is improving access to health coverage for LGBT Americans.

Read more here

What You May Have Missed

Jan 9: Super Duper Space Toolbox
Jan 6: The Employment Situation in December
Jan 5: President Obama Outlines a New Global Military Strategy
Jan 4: America’s Consumer Watchdog
Jan 3: 2011 Year in Photos
Dec 30: Intern Picks: Must-See White House Videos of 2011

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OPINION

‘By Design’: Johnson Falsely Claims Democrats Are Trying to Turn ‘Illegals’ Into Voters

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Embattled Republican Speaker of the House Mike Johnson traveled nearly 1000 miles on Friday afternoon to appear with Donald Trump in a live joint press conference at Mar-a-Lago to promote legislation banning non-U.S. citizens from voting, which has been a federal law, and a felony, since 1997.

But Johnson used the event to attack Democrats, falsely accusing them of a conspiracy to increase the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. for the direct and distinct purpose of pushing them to vote illegally in U.S. elections.

The Speaker offered no proof of the existence of this conspiracy.

“We only want U.S. citizens to vote in U.S. elections,” Johnson said, standing next to Trump (video below), “but there are some Democrats who don’t want to do that. We believe that one of their designs, one of the reasons for this open border, which everybody asked all around the country, why would they do this? Why would they allow all this chaos? Why the violence? Because they want to turn these people into voters.”

READ MORE: ‘Staged Photo Op’ of Trump With Black Chick-fil-A Patrons Was ‘True Retail Politics’ Says Fox News

Non-citizens voting in a U.S. election is punishable by deportation, massive fines, and/or numerous years in prison.

“Right now the administration is encouraging illegals to go to their local welfare office to sign up for benefits,” Johnson, one of the top election deniers in the country, claimed as he explained his conspiracy theory. He did not state how the Biden Administration is communicating with undocumented immigrants, nor did he offer proof of these communications.

He also did not state that the vast majority of undocumented immigrants are ineligible for any government welfare program.

“Well, guess what? When you go to a welfare office, they also ask you if you would like to register to vote, and so many people, we think are going to do that.”

Again, Johnson offered no proof of undocumented immigrants doing that, and in fact, as the Brennan Center for Justice reported just this week, that is not happening.

“States have multiple systems in place to deter noncitizen voting. Those who violate the law face prison time and deportation,” the Brennan Center reported.

If you were undocumented, the Brennan Center asked, “Would you risk everything — your freedom, your life in the United States, your ability to be near your family — just to cast a single ballot?”

Johnson went on to state, “there’s so many millions of illegals in the country, that if only one out of 100 voted, they would cast potentially hundreds of thousands of votes in the election. That could turn an election.”

It could, but it isn’t happening.

RELATED: Johnson Moves for Trump Protection Against Greene With Mar-a-Lago Joint Press Conference

“President Biden has created a catastrophe and he did it by design,” Johnson alleged. “Why invite everybody from around the world to come here, including hardened criminals and dangerous persons?”

Neither President Biden nor his administration invited “everybody from around the world to come here,” but what if he did? Why shouldn’t he, if America is the greatest country on earth, why shouldn’t the President invite, urge people from other countries to lawfully come to America, the land of opportunity, the land of the free, the home of the brave, where immigrants have been called the “backbone” of the nation.

Federal laws can help keep “hardened criminals and dangerous persons” out, and federal border agents could do a better job if Donald Trump had allowed a vote on the Senate bipartisan border bill.

Johnson also claimed that immigration “has all sorts of terrible effects on the American people. We know that fentanyl is the leading cause of death for Americans aged 18 to 49.”

Most of the fentanyl flooding the country is smuggled in by Americans, not “across the border” but through U.S. ports of entry. Nearly nine out of ten fentanyl smugglers are U.S. citizens, according to the right wing Cato Institute.

Watch a portion of Speaker Johnson’s remarks below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Bless Those Who Persecute You’: Johnson Invokes Bible Amid Greene’s Ouster Threat

 

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OPINION

‘Staged Photo Op’ of Trump With Black Chick-fil-A Patrons Was ‘True Retail Politics’ Says Fox News

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As Donald Trump continues to try to make inroads with Black voters, his allegedly spontaneous viral visit to an Atlanta Chick-fil-A on Wednesday came at just the right time for the indicted ex-president as the patrons and staff, mostly young Black women, appeared to gush over him.

Fox News went wild over the encounter, calling it a “surprise visit.

Video showed Trump casually declaring in the middle of the restaurant, with his arms opened wide, “Let me give you a hug,” and a young woman running over into his arms.

“Fox & Friends” co-host Lawrence Jones the next morning called it, “such an organic moment because you had all these people that obviously knew the president was there but were Trump supporters as well. Minorities.”

Jones then painted the stark “contrast” between President Joe Biden’s State Dinner with the Prime Minister of Japan on Wednesday evening, and the ex-president who just happened to walk into a Chick-fil-A and ordered 30 milkshakes. Jones appeared agitated by the Biden State Dinner, saying, “You got the current president, the ‘smoozing,’ State Dinner, you got the Clinton – why does another former president have to do a State Dinner with the current president? I think that’s strange.”

But it had not taken long for some to say it seemed staged.

READ MORE: ‘Extremely Concerned’: School Board’s ‘Christian Values’ Candidate Search Sparks Criticism

“The odds of Trump walking into a Chick-Fil-A in a big city like Atlanta, and every single customer in there just happening to be a supporter, are infinitesimally small. The whole thing was obviously staged to ensure that only his supporters were inside,” observed the social media account for The Palmer Report just hours after the Chick-fil-A visit took place.

MeidasTouch Network on Friday reports, “Trump’s Viral Hug At Chick-fil-A Was With a MAGA Operative,” and notes the woman Trump supposedly spontaneously hugged, Michaelah Montgomery “is a ‘political consultant’ and former Georgia GOP intern.”

Former CNN commentator Keith Boykin, the co-founder of the National Black Justice Coalition, wrote: “I knew it! Trump’s Chick-fil-A stop was a staged photo op with Black Republican supporters. Michaelah Montgomery, the Black woman who told Trump that ‘we support you,’ actually runs a conservative group and worked with Candace Owens’s Blexit Foundation.”

Ron Filipkowski, editor-in-chief of MeidasTouch, explained, “Just like his fake union rally & lie about calling Ruby Garcia’s family, the Trump excursion to Chick-fil-A was a staged op with a political consultant who has done work with the GOP, Charlie Kirk & Candace Owens’ orgs.” Linking to their report, Filipkowski, an attorney and former Republican calls it a “pattern of fraud.”

READ MORE: ‘Spoiler’ Questions Swirl as Trump Says He Would Vote for RFK Jr. ‘If I Were a Democrat’

The liberal PAC PatriotTakes reposted a Trump campaign video, added screenshots, and wrote, “These Trump photo ops are pre-staged with supporters prior to his arrival.”

Despite all this evidence, Friday afternoon Fox News continued to hype the two-day old “viral” event, with host John Roberts telling viewers, “That was a true retail politics moment there. Biden goes in to get ice cream, he grabs himself a double scoop and walks out. Trump goes in and buys everyone lunch.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: Trump-Johnson Mar-a-Lago Meet to Push Ban on ‘Non-Citizen’ Voting – Which Is Already a Felony

 

 

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‘Extremely Concerned’: School Board’s ‘Christian Values’ Candidate Search Sparks Criticism

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Wisconsin’s Cedar Grove-Belgium School District Board of Education postponed a scheduled public event to share with the community its narrowed-down list of candidates to become the next superintendent of schools after a former schools superintendent raised concerns about the process. The school board cited a “shift in the timeline” as the reason for the delay.

Retired St. Francis Superintendent Carol Topinka pointed out the Cedar Grove-Belgium School District’s job posting listed “Christian values” and “conservative politics” as desired characteristics for candidates to be considered by the board, as Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) reports.

“Help me understand how a public school district can legally limit its hiring to people who are Christians?” Topinka wrote in an email to the Illinois-based firm hired to conduct the search for the schools superintendent, WPR reported. A friend of Topinka who applied for the job pointed out the “desired characteristics.”

“My mentee is not a Christian and is frankly gobsmacked that a public school district can blatantly and prejudicially flout the law,” Topinka wrote.

“Thanks for your email,” responded Mike Richie of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates. “That was a comment made during the focus groups and you are correct that should not have been in the report. It will be removed. Thanks.”

School Board President Chad Hoopman “said as part of the process of hiring the superintendent focus groups met and ‘any characteristic mentioned by any participant in attendance is recorded and appears on the list of traits for that particular focus group for complete transparency to any potential candidates to review.'”

An undated post on the school district’s website announcing the search states, “base salary range expected to be $140,000-$180,000 (based on experience).”

It adds, “As the district looks ahead, it seeks a leader who aligns with its values and shares a commitment to preserving the traditional principles that have made Cedar Grove-Belgium a unique and cherished educational community.”

The ACLU is raising concerns.

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of religion, including in the recruitment phase,” Ryan Cox, legal director with ACLU of Wisconsin told WPR. “The ACLU of Wisconsin is extremely concerned that a public body might be attempting to apply a religious test as a condition of employment, or even as a preferred ‘qualification.’”

Wisconsin Democratic U.S. Congressman Mark Pocan called it, “a complete disregard for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. You can’t hire based on religion for a public position.”

Meanwhile, the chair of a Wisconsin chapter of Moms for Liberty, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled an anti-government extremist group, falsely claimed Christians are now being excluded from the search.

“In the era of woke ‘inclusive’ paganism, everyone is welcome… except for Christians,” Scarlett Johnson wrote on social media. Stating the ACLU “plans to investigate” the district “for their heresy,” Johnson added, “Imagine stating that ‘Christian Values’ in a superintendent might be good! How dare this community in Sheboygan, WI, stray from the qu-er gender-bending multicultural god to whom leftist wing radicals worship and sacrifice!”

Johnson also claimed ACLU attorneys “will investigate and deconstruct whiteness wherever they find it and look into past actions taken by the board as well.”

“Don’t worry, folks,” Johnson continued. “Christians will not have a voice in YOUR public school. The WPR and ACLU will be sure to take appropriate action. Rest easy and watch a drag show with someone else’s kids.”

 

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