The Senate is planning to vote Tuesday on whether to end debate on a $725.7 billion annual defense policy bill, a measure that includes a repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" law, which bans gays from serving openly in the armed forces.Look, this policy was a bad idea even when it was first put in place, in 1994. At least back then, there was a semi-plausible excuse, that the public wasn't ready to go any further. Well, that's not true today, not in the least bit. To the contrary, a recent CBS/New York Times poll found that 75% of Americans favor "permitting gay men and lesbians to serve in the military," with just 19% opposed to doing so. That's a huge, overwhelming majority of Americans for doing the morally correct, military smart, and progressive thing on this one. If you're one of those 75%, call Sen. Webb's office (202-224-4024 or 1-866-507-1570), tell him you want an end to this policy, and tell him you want it now! Thanks.
The vote is expected to be close but is almost certain to pass if Democrats can break a Republican-led filibuster...
...Attention is focused on a handful of moderate senators, including Susan Collins (R-Maine), George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio) and James Webb (D-Va.).
Unfortunately, in addition to people like John BONEr and Eric Can'tor "not being very intelligent" on the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy, I'd add that the GOP is also motivated by: 1) homophobia; and 2) the desire to defeat Obama and the Democrats on everything they want. Neither are good reasons to be against repealing this stupid, ineffective, obsolete, self-defeating, harmful, discriminatory, wildly unpopular policy. Enough talk about this, we know the answer. Just ditch it. Now.
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Moran Slams Brakes on Approaching Traffic Nightmare
Caps parking at 1,000 spaces at BRAC facility to mitigate gridlock
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Jim Moran, Virginia Democrat and senior member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, included language in the FY '11 Defense Authorization bill which would cap the amount of available parking at the Washington Headquarters Service facility currently being constructed at the Mark Center in Alexandria (map) at 1,000 spaces. VDOT has projected that even with the current transportation management plan, I-395 and local roadways and intersections will experience failing levels of service that will heavily increase traffic during morning and evening rush hour.
"If nothing is done and the relocation continues as scheduled, VDOT has stated there will be 'complete gridlock' on Seminary Road and Beauregard Street and 'severe' congestion between the King Street and Duke Street exits on I-395," said Moran.
Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen have laid out a specific and responsible plan to examine the current 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy in a manner that includes a comprehensive survey of those wearing the uniform. The White House and Secretary Gates both said today that, ideally, the Defense Department should complete this review before legislative action is taken. There is no question that a review of the policy is necessary and important. I see no reason for the political process to pre-empt it.Now, here's my response to Sen. Webb.
First, this policy has been an abject failure almost any way you want to look at it. In a military that's overstretched as it is, the concept that we would discharge highly-trained (at high cost to taxpayers), highly-qualified people, such as experts in the Arabic language, makes absolutely no sense.
Second, most other countries in the western world already allow gays to serve openly in the military, and they seem to be doing just fine. That includes the Israeli armed forces, not exactly known as a pushover as a military force.
Third, we don't need any more "study" about whether to end DADT; we already know it makes no sense and serves no useful purpose. The only question is exactly how to end it, which the military should figure out in the next few months. Other than that, there's zero reason to keep DADT on the books for another minute.
Fourth, not that we should base public policy on opinion polls, but according to a new CNN poll, the American people overwhelmingly (nearly 8 in 10) support ending DADT.
Finally, DADT should be repealed because it is deeply unjust and fundamentally unfair. Just as you opened more operational billets to women than any other Navy Secretary, today it's time for you to support opening the military to gays and lesbians who want to serve their country.
Today, Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) introduced a bill that would explicitly state in law that TRICARE and Department of Defense (DOD) nonappropriated fund (NAF) health plans meet the minimum essential coverage for individual health insurance required by the health care reform bill passed yesterday by the House of Representatives. While beneficiaries of these programs will already meet the minimum requirements for individual health insurance and will not be required to purchase additional coverage, the TRICARE Affirmation Act would provide clarification by changing the tax code to state it in law.