This is what the courts are for. About time.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Dozens of gay and lesbian former military service members who were discharged due to their homosexuality will receive the rest of their severance pay under a settlement approved Monday by a federal court.
The American Civil Liberties Union said the $2.4 million settlement covers more than 180 veterans who received only half of their separation pay under a policy that went into effect in 1991, two years before "don't ask, don't tell" became law.
Laura Schauer Ives, the managing attorney for ACLU of New Mexico, called the settlement a "long-delayed justice."
"There was absolutely no need to subject these service members to a double dose of discrimination by removing them from the armed forces in the first place, and then denying them this small benefit to ease the transition to civilian life," she said.
My impassioned 72-year-old friend (Who today turns 75, but who’s counting? Happy Birthday!), who goes by the Twitter name @42bkdodgr, would like to share his feelings about the Republican party. I am more than happy to oblige.
But first, a personal note from 42bkdodgr:
Many of you may wonder why I chose to use the “ 72 year old friend” as the introduction to my Special Comments. I selected the moniker so readers could see that from my age and life experiences I give a different perspective to the issues of today.
FORWARD AND DRAWKCAB
In my 75 years, which I celebrate today, I've never seen any president receive the abuse that President Obama has. He has been accused of being born in Kenya, a Muslim, a communist, a socialist, a fascist, unAmerican, not one of us, in addition to other derogatory names and remarks.
When I see a story like this , "Kansas Goes Birther: State Board Considers Removing Obama From Ballot," it really ticks me off.
These birthers are never satisfied, even when documentation has been presented that clearly establishes President Obama was born in America. It seems like they have no other reason to exist other than to try to question whether President Obama is an American. What a shallow life these people must live.
No matter what evidence is presented, these people have demonstrated by their actions that they have no respect for President Obama or the office he holds.
President Obama has continued a democratic tradition of moving our nation forward and making lives better for Americans by enacting the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the Affordable Care Act, the Don't Ask, Don't Repeal Act of 2010, to name a few.
In my lifetime I have seen:
* Passage of the G.I. Bill in June 1944
* Jackie Robinson, breaking the color line in Major League Baseball in 1947. My nickname ID is in honor of my sports hero.
* In 1954 the Supreme Court of the United States declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students was unconstitutional.
* In the end of the 1940s and the decade of the 1950s, there was a vast economic expansion that led to the growth of the middle class.
* Passage of the Civil RightsAct of 1964
* Passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965
* Medicare established in 1965
Our country was moving forward in addressing its racial issues and medical care for the elderly.
* In 1973 The Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Roe v Wade the court ruled privacy under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment extended to a woman's decision to have an abortion.
Again another example our country was moving forward on its social issues.
But in the last 30 years we have the middle class being greatly reduced via lower wages, jobs outsourced, attacks on unions, and the loss of their bargaining rights.
And today we are seeing a radical Republican Party trying its best to take our country backward to a time before 1930.
* Republican state legislatures and governors have enacted voter ID laws and voter suppression procedures, that effect the old, poor and minorities that live in large urban areas. They are trying to take away, with their voter suppression laws, the constitutional rights of every American, making it harder for Americans to vote instead of easier.
* Republicans are trying to control the a woman's right to choose earned under Roe v Wade by adopting laws that require women to have unnecessary medical procedures and waiting periods before a woman may have an abortion.
* Republicans are also trying to re-define the definition of when life begins where such definitions could affect the use of contraceptives by women. The religious right of the Republican Party are trying to impose their religious values on the rest of the nation. As much as they try to deny it, their is a War on Women's rights, and it has been declared by the Republican Party.
* Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan are planning to repeal the Affordable Care Act, make Medicare into a voucher system, drastically reduce Medicaid funds, and turn Social Security contributions and retirement accounts over to Wall Street.
When I compare what has happened in my lifetime, I can only come to the conclusion that the American people are better off when the laws and policies of our country are ones that move our nation FORWARD, benefiting all Americans, rather than the policies of the Republican Party whose radical ideas are moving and will move our country DRAWKCAB for the benefit of a few.
Many thanks again for another thorough, relevant piece, @42bkdodgr. You often say what many of us are thinking and feeling, and we thank you for your unique perspective.
It's been one year since Don't Ask, Don't Tell was repealed. Did anyone notice the world ending? Did our military disintegrate into a rainbow-hued heap of mad man-on-dog sex and straight guys turning gay? Did our troops fail to protect us? Did straight military couples divorce? Are we all gonna die!?
Funny you should ask:
(AP) -- The Pentagon says repeal has gone smoothly, with no adverse effect on morale, recruitment or readiness. President Barack Obama cites it as a signature achievement of his first term, and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, says he would not push to reverse the change if elected in place of Obama. [...]
[T]he clear consensus is that repeal has produced far more joy and relief than dismay and indignation. [...] [H]arassment and bias had existed before repeal, and contended the problems had not worsened in the past year.
December 2011, in answer to, “How do you feel about gays serving openly in the military?” Romney said this:
“That’s already occurred. I’m not planning on reversing that at this stage.”
"At this stage." Check.
Given his Etch A Sketch track record and his clear disdain for gay rights, I'm don't have a whole lot of faith in his well-crafted statement:
"Later, the White House confirmed Woodward's account, but said there was a difference between planning and making a decision."
So no, I don't trust Mitt to begin with, nor his vacuous smile and carefully chosen words.
Remember the moaning and groaning about how this would destroy the military? In an extensive study in the year since DADT was repealed, they found:
Repealing DADT has had no overall negative impact on military readiness, including cohesion, recruitment, retention, assaults, harassment, or morale.
Greater openness and honesty post-repeal may have actually increased understanding, respect, and acceptance.
Recruitment has remained robust.
Retention was unaffected by repeal. Only two individuals’ departure can be tied to repeal, both military chaplains.
There has been no increase in violence within units; in fact, many harassment disputes can now be resolved in ways that were not possible when servicemembers could not disclose their sexual orientation.
Unit morale was not impacted, except on the individual level depending on a servicemember’s personal position on the issue of DADT.
LGB servicemembers did not come out en masse.
Gay Military can march openly, in uniform in a gay pride parade, but the Boy Scouts still don't even openly allow gay people in. What a country.
Best. Headline. Ever.
June is gay pride month, and this is something to be very proud of:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Officials said Thursday that they're planning the first-ever event to recognize gay and lesbian troops. They declined to give details about what the event will be, but officials said Defense Secretary Leon Panetta feels it's important to recognize the service of gays in the armed forces.
Anyone hear anything yet about how repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell turned all our troops into evil French gay socialists?
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Kuwaiti Citizen Detained at Guantanamo since 2002
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