Rep Ackerman: Pentagon More Afraid of Gay People Than Terrorists

Rep. Gary Ackerman took on Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice yesterday during her testimony while discussing the State Department’s 2008 budget.

During the discussion, Rice claimed the State Department “repeatedly emphasized the importance of recruiting qualified language experts to work in the agency.” Ackerman in response brought up the 322+ language specialists with “‘some skills in an important foreign language such as Arabic, Farsi and Korean’ had been discharged from the military since the ban’s inception in 1993.”

Ackerman then said the Pentagon “’seems more afraid of gay people than they are [of] terrorists,’ and that if the terrorists were smart, ‘they’d get a platoon of lesbians to chase us out of Baghdad.’”

Ackerman is one of the first Congressmen to call the Administration and the Pentagon out on this appalling decision-making, and did so with great wit. We need more Congressmen like Ackerman! (H/T to ThinkProgress – who also has the video of the exchance)

Democrats Forcing Republicans to Go On Record Concerning Troop Surge

As we reported yesterday, only 36% of Americans support a troop surge in Iraq, while 61% are against it.

Now the Senate Democrats have a plan to make sure the American people know where their Representatives, particularly Republicans, stand on the issue too. From The New York Times:

“Democratic leaders said Tuesday that they intended to hold symbolic votes in the House and Senate on President Bush’s plan to send more troops to Baghdad, forcing Republicans to take a stand on the proposal and seeking to isolate the president politically over his handling of the war.”

The vote will be held early next week.

This is politics at its best. Finally, the Democrats have the opportunity to put Republicans on the spot and make voters understand just where their Representative stands on important issues. This same tactic was used during last night’s vote on the National Security bill (HR1) implementing 9/11 Commission recommendations. Imagine in 2008 Democrats being able to tell constituents that their Republican representative was against tighter screening at our ports.

The tables have turned, and thus far, Democrats are playing the game just right, while actually doing something that puts the American people first.

House of Representatives Passes Comprehensive Security Bill Implementing 9/11 Commission Recommendations

The House of Representatives has just passed a comprehensive national security bill implementing 9/11 Commission recommendations, by a vote of 299-128.

“Patterned on recommendations of the commission that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks, the far-reaching measure includes commitments for inspection of all cargo carried aboard passenger aircraft and on ships bound for the United States.”

68 Republicans crossed party lines and voted with Democrats to pass the bill, with 8 Representatives not voting. You can see how your Representative voted here.

Stupid People Say Stupid Things

Peter King on implementing the 9/11 Commission recommendations:

“To make it part of a 100-hour show shamefully trivializes an issue of life or death.”

And to ignore the “issue of life or death” for the past 5 years is really something to be proud of, huh?

Washington DC Set to Get Representation?

For over 200 years, the nation’s capital has faced “taxation without representation”, an ideal that spurred our founding fathers to seperate from England and create a nation where every citizen has a say in how their tax dollars are spent. DC residents have paid taxes, fought in wars, abided by national laws, and served as the seat of our federal government for over two centuries without having a say in how this government was run.

Finally, after 200+ years, the US House of Representatives might be expanding to include the voices of our capital’s residents.

“The turning point in this long battle for enfranchisement may be an unlikely partnership with the people of Utah.

The new Democratic majority is expected to take up a bill in the first months of the new Congress that would increase the voting membership of the House from 435 to 437, giving new vote each to Utah, a Republican stronghold, and the District of Columbia, dominated by Democrats.

The bill is backed by incoming Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Rep. John Conyers, the next chairman of the House Judiciary Committee that will be responsible for moving it.

Prospects are also good in the Senate. Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, who calls himself an independent Democrat, will chair the committee of jurisdiction there. Lieberman is a leading supporter of the measure, and Utah’s two Republican senators have endorsed it as well.”

It’s about damn time!

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