Why We Entered the ACLU’s ‘My Big, Gay, (Il)legal Wedding’ Contest

From the Huffington Post
Lindsey and I met three years ago through a mutual friend. While it wasn’t exactly love at first sight, there was an instant connection. We talked daily and saw each other several times a week, until one day it was like a light switch had flipped and I realized I was in love!

People say that we are polar opposites: Lindsey is reserved and organized and has a very Type-A personality, whereas I am outspoken, extroverted, and laid-back. Somehow the differences in our personalities complement each other to make us a well-balanced couple. We are that couple who complete each other’s sentences and who nobody wants to play Taboo with thanks to our uncanny ability to read each other’s minds.

Last September I gave Lindsey a fairytale proposal on the bridge where we had our first date. She was so excited that she said, “I do! I will! I mean, yes!” And then I reminded her that I hadn’t asked yet. Of course, I then got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. She gave me my ring a few days later, at our favorite overlook at sunset. Since then we have been planning our March wedding. Our theme is peacocks and pearls; we want it to be very classy and elegant but still fun.

Back in June we started a nonprofit organization called TN Marriage Equality to educate and advocate for the freedom to marry in our home state of Tennessee. We have spoken at rallies, petitioned to repeal Tennessee’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples, and applied and been rejected for a marriage license, and we are currently trying to get involved with the next round of lawsuits against our state.

Last month we noticed ACLU’s “My Big, Gay, (Il)legal Wedding” competition on Facebook. We thought it would be another great avenue to bring some attention to marriage equality in Tennessee, which is something that we are passionate about. This competition came at a perfect time to help us shine light on the issue of marriage equality across the nation.

For us, equality means not having to worry about not being allowed to see my future wife if she were to find herself in the hospital; it means being able to file our taxes together; it means someday being able to put both our names on our child’s birth certificate, and so much more. We fight for the rights and protections that millions of other “traditional” couples take for granted.

Winning this contest would grant us the opportunity to show our state why marriage equality matters. It would also be a personal blessing, because we are covering the costs of our entire wedding on our own. Lindsey just graduated from nursing school, and taking our entire family to a state that legally recognizes same-sex marriage would not be easy on us, financially. Even though our Tennessee ceremony will not be legally recognized, we want to fulfill the dream that every little girl has of a beautiful wedding with a big, white gown. Sadly, having Dad walk me down the aisle will not be a reality, because he will not be attending our wedding. He is a minister and is worried about what his church will think if he supports this.

This contest was a fantastic idea, as it has brought so much attention and support to marriage equality nationwide. In Tennessee alone, we have already received an overwhelming response from friends, family, strangers, and the media. By sponsoring a national contest like this, the ACLU has raised awareness around issues regarding the freedom to marry by showing how marriage equality has a very real impact on people like us. Now couples from all over the country are spreading the word and starting conversations about why marriage equality matters. Hearing the stories of all these wonderful couples will help break down stereotypes and hopefully lead to a broader cultural acceptance in states that do not have equal marriage rights.

Thanks for your support,
Megan and Lindsey

See Megan and Lindsey’s entry in the ACLU’s “My Big, Gay, (Il)legal Wedding” contest here.: https://weddings.aclu.org/entry/178776

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Cruz Puts Senate GOP Leader in a Jam Over Debt Ceiling

My take on this is simple,  Senator Cruz and the Tea Party are the best friends the Democratic Party could ever hope for.
By Kasie Hunt

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is taking another pound of flesh from his own party’s establishment — and in particular, the leader of the GOP in the Senate.

In a nail-biter of a vote Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was a surprise “yes” vote for a bill to raise the debt limit without any additional provisions attached.
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The Kentucky lawmaker’s vote is sure to fuel criticism from critics to his right, who say Republicans didn’t fight hard enough to attach spending reductions to the must-pass debt limit hike.

Worse yet for McConnell: he is facing a challenge from Tea Party-backed Matt Bevin, a millionaire businessman who’s attacking the minority leader as a creature of Washington.

So why did he vote for a bill that’s could be considered politically poisonous? Because Cruz had rebuffed attempts to pass the debt ceiling bill on a simple majority vote — a procedure that would have seen the chamber’s 55 Democrats lifting the ceiling without GOP support.

McConnell knew the filibuster was coming. On Tuesday, Cruz told McConnell in the Republican conference’s lunch meeting that he wanted to filibuster the debt ceiling bill — an encounter that aides familiar with the conversation described as particularly contentious.

But as the minutes ticked by Wednesday afternoon and only three Republicans had voted to break Cruz’s filibuster of a bill to lift the debt limit, McConnell and Minority Whip John Cornyn huddled together on the Senate floor, watching over the vote count.

    He knows that he’s the leader and it was up to him to cast the right vote

Cruz sat by himself, reading his smartphone, occasionally standing up to check the vote count list himself. An aide later said Cruz didn’t know the vote would be so close.
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Finally, after the vote had been held open for far longer than originally planned, McConnell and Cornyn stepped forward together and voted “yes.”

Over the next half an hour, Republicans continued hushed conversations on the floor. Eventually, a second group of senators emerged from the Republican cloakroom at the back of the chamber: Sens. John McCain, Jeff Flake, and John Thune. All walked forward and voted “yes.”

In the end — after the vote stood open for nearly an hour — 11 other Republicans joined McConnell in voting to lift the debt ceiling for a year without attaching any provisions to bring down the debt or deficit.

Afterward, GOP senators who voted with him described the move as courageous and necessary.

“He knows that he’s the leader and it was up to him to cast the right vote,” McCain said after the vote — and after joking that he had voted in favor of the bill “after my shoulder was dislocated.”

“To be a leader you have to do very hard things,” said Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., who identified himself as the first Republican to vote “yes.”

Of Cruz, Johanns said: “He’s new here.”
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Cruz, meanwhile, was defiant when he spoke to reporters after the vote.

“It should have been an easy vote,” he said, derisively calling the bill a victory for the “Washington establishment.”

Asked whether he thought McConnell should be replaced as the Republican leader in the Senate, Cruz said: “That is ultimately a decision, in the first instance, for the voters of Kentucky to make.”

First published February 12th 2014, 3:13 pm
Kasie Hunt

Kasie Hunt has covered politics for NBC News since January 2013. Hunt came to NBC News from The Associated Press, where she served as a national political reporter. As one of the organization’s lead campaign

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Gary Miller Not Seeking Reelection To Congress

Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.) announced Wednesday that he would not seek reelection to Congress at the end of his term.

“It has been a great honor to spend so many years in public service, striving to make a difference for Southern California families. While there is still a lot of work to be done, it is now time for me to pass the baton. I will not seek re-election to Congress at the end of this term,” he said in a statement. “While family circumstances dictate that I must leave this great institution at the end of this session of Congress, I am committed to serving out my term with the same energy and enthusiasm that I have always brought to the debate.”

Miller was first elected to Congress in 1998.

Democrats saw Miller as one of the most vulnerable House members in the 2014 election, representing a heavily Latino district won by President Barack Obama.
My take on this, the Republicans are facing both hey change in demographics and the polarization caused by the Tea Party.

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Amazing video shows what it’s like to fall thousands of feet to your death

BGR.com By Brad Reed 2/12/14

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to fall thousands of feet to your death but have been understandably too scared to try it yourself? Well thankfully some skydivers have decided to help us experience this particular sensation vicariously after they tossed a GoPro camera out of an airplane and actually found it still in one piece after it landed in a muddy pig pen. The person who owns the camera says that she actually thought it was gone for good until finding it eight months later on her own property. This is the second amazing GoPro-filmed video we’ve seen this year as last month we saw a similarly amazing video of a plane crash. The full video is posted below.
Amazing video shows what it’s like to fall thousands of feet to your death

BGR.com By Brad Reed 25 minutes ago

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to fall thousands of feet to your death but have been understandably too scared to try it yourself? Well thankfully some skydivers have decided to help us experience this particular sensation vicariously after they tossed a GoPro camera out of an airplane and actually found it still in one piece after it landed in a muddy pig pen. The person who owns the camera says that she actually thought it was gone for good until finding it eight months later on her own property. This is the second amazing GoPro-filmed video we’ve seen this year as last month we saw a similarly amazing video of a plane crash. The full video is posted below.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrxPuk0JefA

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

US uninsured goes down, as young people continue to enroll

The percentage of uninsured Americans dropped to 16.0% from 17.1% in the fourth quarter of 2013. The uninsured rate among 26- to 34-year-olds continues to decline faster than among any other age group.
Read more at GALLUP.com.
My take on this: this is very good sign that the Affordable Care Act will be a success. The ability to attract younger people into the pool of the insured was always questioned by its critics. This will make the program viable.

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Country is starting to become mature about something

After plummeting roughly a decade ago, Americans’ opinions of France are now strongly favorable. Seventy-eight percent of Americans view France favorably, compared with 34% in the lead-up to the French-opposed Iraq war.
Read more at GALLUP.com.

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

U.S. Shifting Afghanistan Exit Plans: Report

WASHINGTON, Feb 10 (Reuters) – Frustrated about prospects of getting Afghan President Hamid Karzai to sign a long-term security deal, the United States is considering waiting until he leaves office before completing the pact and deciding on a troop presence beyond 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
“If he’s not going to be part of the solution, we have to have a way to get past him,” the Journal quoted a senior U.S. official as saying. “It’s a pragmatic recognition that clearly Karzai may not sign the (deal) and that he doesn’t represent the voice of the Afghan people.”
The White House, asked about the report, said it was standing by its previous comments on the issue.
The United States would like to leave more than 10,000 troops in Afghanistan for counterterrorism and training of Afghan forces after U.S. forces formally withdraw at the end of this year following a 13-year mission in Afghanistan begun after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
But Karzai has refused so far to sign a bilateral security agreement that Washington insists must be approved before it will agree to leave the troop contingent behind.
The White House says that in the absence of a bilateral agreement, all U.S. forces will withdraw at the end of the year, and that a decision by Karzai is needed within weeks
Karzai has called that an empty threat and suggested any security deal could wait until after the April elections.
NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said earlier this month that Karzai was unlikely to sign a pact and would probably leave the choice for his successor.
The Journal said the revised schedule for drawing down troops was based on a plan presented by the Pentagon in January that involves keeping 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan after this year at a limited number of bases.
The plan would draw down those troops in two years and enable the removal of all U.S. troops by the end of President Barack Obama’s second term in early 2017, other than military personnel at the U.S. Embassy, the Journal said, citing officials.
According to the Journal, the revised plan would allow the U.S. military to accommodate having either 10,000 troops in Afghanistan after 2014 or an order to remove all the troops by the end of the year.
The top U.S. military officer, General Martin Dempsey, told reporters last December that the U.S. military could wait months for a political decision on whether troops remain in Afghanistan or leave, but that delaying a security pact would damage the confidence of Afghan forces and undermine NATO’s plans. (Reporting by Peter Cooney; Additional reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Eric Walsh)

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

3 accused of mailing meth to Hawaii in dummy heads

Associated Press By JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER 2/10/14

HONOLULU (AP) — There was something unusual about three mannequin heads found inside a UPS parcel being mailed from San Bernardino, Calif., to Hawaii: They each had two pounds of methamphetamine stuffed inside them, authorities said.

Now, three men in face drug charges in Hawaii. One of the men, Anthony Buzio Sanchez, pleaded guilty in federal court in Honolulu on Monday to a charge of attempted possession with intent to distribute.

Through a Spanish-speaking interpreter, Sanchez said he intended to sell the drugs to pay for his father’s cancer treatment. Sanchez, who said he was born in Mexico and is living in the United States illegally, faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison when he’s sentenced in June.

On May 6, a Riverside County Sheriff’s deputy intercepted a cardboard box being mailed from San Bernardino to Honolulu, according to a criminal complaint.

Once a deputy sheriff got a California search warrant, investigators found inside shirts, shorts, slippers, towels and three boxes individually wrapped in pink and gold paper. The wrapped boxes “each contained a mannequin head with about two pounds of methamphetamine inside, totaling 2,932 grams of methamphetamine,” the court document said.

After the drugs were discovered, the contents were mailed by FedEx to federal agents in Honolulu, where an undercover agent posing as a delivery man brought the parcel to the Honolulu address for which it was originally destined.

No one answered the door during two attempts to deliver the package. On the third attempt, a man identified in court papers as Carlos Gallego signed for the parcel.

On May 9, agents followed Gallego as he drove the box about 19 miles to a home in Waipahu, where the other men were arrested.

Sanchez, Gallego and Miguel Angel Rios Ruiz were indicted that month. They initially pleaded not guilty to the meth-distribution charge. Gallego was scheduled for a pretrial conference on Monday and his attorney didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Ruiz is scheduled to change his plea on Friday.

“He had nothing to do with this,” Sanchez said of Ruiz but didn’t elaborate.

Sanchez told the judge he paid Gallego $5,000 to receive the parcel and deliver it to the Waipahu home.

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Follow Jennifer Sinco Kelleher at http://www.twitter.com/JenHapa.

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

H&R Block ad

The H&R Block ad that has been all over TV lately and claim that a billion dollars left with IRS by taxpayers. Doing the calculations that would mean a whopping $5.71 from each taxpayer! And we have to listen to this until April 15.

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil