MT Federal Judge Admits Racist Obama Email

Richard Cebull, Chief U.S. District Judge for the State of Montana has admitted he sent racially charged emails about the President to “a few close buddies” from his chambers. From USA Today:

Image from Wikipedia

Cebull, of Billings, was nominated by former president George W. Bush and received his commission in 2001 and has served as chief judge for the District of Montana since 2008.

The subject line of the e-mail, which Cebull sent from his official courthouse e-mail address on Feb. 20 at 3:42 p.m., reads: “A MOM’S MEMORY.”

The forwarded text reads as follow:

“Normally I don’t send or forward a lot of these, but even by my standards, it was a bit touching. I want all of my friends to feel what I felt when I read this. Hope it touches your heart like it did mine.

“A little boy said to his mother; ‘Mommy, how come I’m black and you’re white?’ ” the e-mail joke reads. “His mother replied, ‘Don’t even go there Barack! From what I can remember about that party, you’re lucky you don’t bark!’ “

Cebull admitted Wednesday to sending the e-mail to seven recipients, including his personal e-mail address. The judge acknowledged that the content of the e-mail was racist, but said he does not consider himself racist. He said the e-mail was intended to be a private communication.

“It was not intended by me in any way to become public,” Cebull said. “I apologize to anybody who is offended by it and I can obviously understand why people would be offended.”

Cebull said his brother initially sent him the e-mail, which he forwarded to six of his “old buddies” and acquaintances.

“The only reason I can explain it to you is I am not a fan of our president, but this goes beyond not being a fan,” Cebull said. “I didn’t send it as racist, although that’s what it is. I sent it out because it’s anti-Obama.”

Travis McAdam, executive director for the Montana Human Rights Network, said the e-mail is highly racist rhetoric unbecoming of a federal judge.

“It’s one thing if the judge is not a fan of President Barack Obama, but you would think someone in his position would articulate that in a way that criticizes his policy decisions or his position on issues,” McAdam said. “We have a hard time believing that a legitimate criticism of the president involves distributing a joke that basically compares African Americans with animals.”

Cebull said he does not consider himself prejudiced against people of other races or ethnic backgrounds, and that his actions in his courtroom have demonstrated that.

“This is a private thing that was, to say the least, very poor judgment on my part,” Cebull said. “I did not forward it because of the racist nature of it. Although it is racist, I’m not that way, never have been.”

The White House declined to comment Wednesday on the incident.

My two cents: Cebull’s statements don’t seem to indicate any remorse or regret- it’s simply an expression of the depth of prejudice that can’t distinguish between racism and partisanship. I think this needs to be a big deal- and he needs to go.

It’s disgusting.

Update The Bozeman Chronicle’s lead-in: Montana’s chief federal judge said Wednesday that he forwarded an email that contained a joke involving bestiality and President Barack Obama’s mother, but he did so because he dislikes the president and not because he’s racist.

Pride Foundation Is Number One

From The Puget Sound Business Journal:

Seattle’s Pride Foundation has been ranked the nation’s No. 1 public and community foundation serving the gay community between 1970 and 2010, according to a report by Funders for LGBTQ Issues.

Pride Foundation awarded more than $22.5 million in the 40-year span the report covered in the report. The organization made more than 1,800 grants supporting LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer) issues and HIV/AIDS prevention.

Pride was ranked No. 7 in the more general category of top 10 grantmakers for the same period, although it should be noted that the category of “anonymous funders” – including many anonymous donors lumped together – ranked first with $90 million in spending.

The Seattle-based Pride Foundation has historically received support from prominent individuals in the business community.

The most notable contribution was from Ric Weiland in 2008. One of Microsoft    ’s first five employees, Weiland died in 2006, ultimately leaving $65 million to the Pride Foundation.

“Ric’s gift was a game changer for us,” said Philip Wong, a spokesman for the foundation. “It had a huge impact.”

In fact, it was the largest single gift ever given to an organization dedicated to gay rights. Weiland had been a Pride board member and longtime volunteer.

The Pride Foundation was ranked ninth for its support of LGBTQ youth, spending $4.5 million between 1970 and 2010.

Founded in 1985, the Pride Foundation serves Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.

Pride Foundation’s Executive Director Kris Hermanns told supporters today:

Thank you for being a part of the Pride Foundation family as we work together to envision a world where full equality reaches every corner of the Northwest. Your gifts of time, support, and money have created a legacy of LGBTQ philanthropy that will endure for generations to come. We share our number one title with you.
Pride Foundation’s origins are rooted in the community response to the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s. From our humble beginnings, donors and volunteers have guided Pride Foundation to support local nonprofit projects that are addressing existing and emerging issues that affect the health and well-being of our community. Pride Foundation’s scholarship program has grown into one of the largest LGBTQ-focused scholarship programs in the U.S. Our Shareholder Advocacy program was instrumental in encouraging companies like Wal-Mart and McDonald’s to add “sexual orientation” to company anti-discrimination policies—and we continue to work with companies to include “gender identity” to those policies.
These are all significant achievements that Pride Foundation could not have reached without your support. Though we may never be able to thank you enough, we will try.
 You know I love and support Pride Foundation (see below)- this is just the icing on the cake…

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Quote Of The Day- Maureen Dowd

From her column on the lackluster Republican Candidates:

In an interview with ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos, Santorum offended the Catholics he’s courting by saying that the J.F.K. speech ratifying the separation of church and state made him want “to throw up” because Kennedy had thrown “his faith under the bus.”

“I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state are absolute,” Sanctorum said.

If he is willing to cross that line, the only two possibilities are that he doesn’t understand the nature of the United States or that he wants to do damage to the United States. Neither is acceptable.

A Closer Look At Pro-Gay Republicans In An Anti-Gay Party

Video on msnbc.com: Frank Rich, writer-at-large for New York Magazine, talks with Rachel Maddow about the wild disconnect between Republican power players (both politicians and donors) who support gay rights and the Republican presidential field who are competing to pander to the most extreme right wing of the party.


Catholic Nuns File Amicus Brief Supporting Affordable Care Act

Some sisters have come out in favor of The Affordable Care Act, saying

(We) believe that a civilized society must ensure the provision of basic healthcare to its citizens regardless of their ability to pay for it. (We) further believe it is a moral imperative that all levels of government institute programs that ensure the poor receive such care. (We) believe Medicaid expansion under the Act is critical to the communities (we) serve.

Predictably, some “Catholic” websites are leading with headlines like “Liberal Nuns Support Obamacare”, and “Liberal Activist Nuns Want Socialized Medicine”.

Sigh. What’s wrong with these people? What do they think Jesus would charge for healthcare? And they’re theologically out of step with their church.

From ThinkProgress:

As further proof that conservative efforts to paint President Obama as the enemy of religion are a red herring, nearly two dozen leading Catholic nuns filed a brief in the Supreme Court last week supporting the president’s signature legislative accomplishment. The Catholic sisters who joined the brief include the leaders of many prominent religious orders providing health care and other services to the needy.

These nuns have unique stature to explain why their support for the Affordable Care Act flows from their faith, given that so many of them have devoted their lives to providing care to those most in need. Nevertheless, their views are hardly unique within their church’s hierarchy. Pope Benedict XVI called health care an “inalienable right,” and added that it is the “moral responsibility of nations to guarantee access to health care for all of their citizens.”

Duh. “Is the Pope Catholic?” may no longer be a rhetorical question- especially for catholic fanatics.

Oh- and Jesus healed for free….

Montana Gay-Friendly Health and Mental Health Providers

Looking for a doctor who isn’t freaked out by your sexuality? Or a dentist that will work with you if you have HIV? Or a therapist that has experience with gay couple’s therapy?

The Montana Gay Men’s Task Force has a list of gay-friendly healthcare providers for the State of Montana which they have compiled through a referral and questionnaire network. The providers listed have also given their assent to be on the list.

Check it out here.

Oh, and if you have a fabulous healthcare professional who isn’t listed- you can help them get on the list here.


Red Lodge Ski Event to Raise Money for Scholarship


Billings Group Hopes to Establish LGBTQ Scholarship for Montana

RED LODGE, MT — The Billings-based group TAP 365 will bring Slide 4 Pride to the Beartooth Recreational Nordic Center on Saturday, March 17, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  This family-friendly cross-country ski event aims to raise money to start a scholarship fund for a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or straight-allied Montana student, and will also accept donations for the Beartooth Recreational Trails Association.

“Gay students are more likely to lose family support and even face homelessness after they come out,” explained Suzie Eades, a volunteer with TAP 365 and Pride Foundation who is planning the ski event after two successful 4 Pride fundraisers earlier this year in Billings. “It’s important that our community step up and show these students that we believe in them and know they can succeed in college.”

TAP 365 is a new nonprofit aimed at raising awareness about LGBTQ issues east of the Continental Divide and to build bridges with heterosexual allies. TAP 365 hopes the 4 Pride events will raise enough money to endow a scholarship fund, which will be managed by Pride Foundation and perpetually support a Montana LGBTQ student who is pursuing a degree or post-secondary certification in Montana.

“We are thrilled to partner once again with TAP 365 and the 4 Pride Event Series,” said Caitlin Copple, Montana’s Regional Development Organizer for Pride Foundation.  “It’s great to see the energy and enthusiasm coming out of the Billings community for LGBTQ equality, thanks to the work of these volunteers.”

Slide 4 Pride is a free event featuring beginning cross-country ski instruction, food, and music under a heated tent. All donations are tax deductible, and sponsorships from the Pride Foundation, Jason Webinger of Farmers Insurance in Billings and Café Regis of Red Lodge helped underwrite event costs.

Pride Foundation provides grants and scholarships to strengthen the LGBTQ equality movement across the Northwest states of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana.  It is the single largest provider of scholarships for LGBTQ students in the nation, and will give away $380,000 in community scholarships this year.  To learn more, visit www.pridefoundation.org or email Caitlin@pridefoundation.org or call 406.546.7017.

“Kill every last gay person”‏

Citibank and Barclays could save the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Uganda.

The Ugandan legislature could vote any day on a so-called “Kill the Gays” bill that could result in legalizing the death penalty for any LGBT person in the country. But Citibank and Barclays together have hundreds of millions of dollars invested in Uganda and wield significant influence in the country, just as banking lobbyists wield influence with Congress in the US. If Citibank and Barclays speak out against the “Kill the Gays” bill, Ugandan legislators will take notice in a hurry.

Collin Burton is a Citibank customer — he’s also gay. Collin started a petition on Change.org asking Citibank and Barclays to speak out against the “Kill the Gays” bill. Click here to sign Collin’s petition right now.

Citibank and Barclays are both big supporters of LGBT rights for their own employees, yet they invest money with a government that is threatening to execute LGBT people. “I expect Citibank and Barclays to live up to the values of equality and fairness, not just list them on their websites,” Collin says.

If Citibank and Barclays speak out against the “Kill the Gays” bill, Ugandan legislators will see that they are risking the business relationships that keep their government afloat.

Click here to sign Collin’s petition asking Citibank and Barclays to issue strong statements condemning Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill. The bill could come up for a vote any day, so swift action is essential.

Dutch Outraged Over Santorum’s Euthanasia Claim

More Santorum leaking.

Check this out. From Buzzfeed:

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

Image via Wikipedia

Rick Santorum’s invocation of a nightmare of mass murder of the elderly in the Netherlands has provoked a storm of incredulity and criticism in the Western European country, where the local press say his statistics are wildly inflated.

“Rick Santorum Thinks He Knows the Netherlands: Murder of the Elderly on a Grand Scale” is Saturday’s headline in the daily newspaper NRC Handelsblad.

“Rick Santorum is an arch conservative. The most conservative of all candidates in the Republican primaries. He loathes abortion and euthanasia. So now he loathes the Netherlands. Because in the Netherlands we kill the elderly like there’s no tomorrow,” reads the story, according to a translation provided by BuzzFeed’s Low Country correspondent, and author of a Dutch blog on American politics, Bertine Moenaff. The story quotes Santorum, before concluding: “This man is really imaginative. It would be a laughing matter, if he weren’t in the race for the Republican nomination to take on Barack Obama in the race for the presidency of the most powerful country in the world.”

Santorum said in an interview with social conservative leader James Dobson earlier this month that euthanasia makes up “ten percent of all deaths, and half of those people are euthanized involuntarily, because they are old or sick. And so elderly people in the Netherlands don’t go into a hospital. They go to other country.”

The Dutch public broadcaster Radio 1 described Santorum’s remark as “fact-free politics,” and the comments have gotten wide play, leading this evening’s broadcast of the country’s popular current-event’s show De Wereld Draait Door and drawing reports all over the national media.

The Dutch sources estimate that legal euthanasia is the cause of what the Christian paper Nederlands Dagblad put at 3.2% fo deaths at the most liberal estimate, and others put around 2%. Public statistics, which have been reported since the practice was legalized in 2002, cite 3,136 reports of euthanasia out of a total of 136,000 in the Netherlands in 2011, a bit more than 2%.

The Dutch were also flummoxed by Santorum’s claim that Dutch elderly wear “Don’t Euthanize Me” bracelets.

Other reports label Santorum a “crazy extreme Catholic” with “a surreal view of the Netherlands.”