Friday, September 25, 2009


H.R. 3326 – Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2010
(Sen. Inouye, D-Hawaii)

The Administration strongly supports Senate passage of H.R. 3326, with the Senate Committee-reported text, making appropriations for the Department of Defense for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010.

The Administration is committed to keeping the United States military the strongest and most capable military in the world. The President’s strategy increases training, resources, and support for the U.S. Armed Forces. To keep the United States secure, the Armed Forces must have sufficient resources to prevail in current operations while maintaining and developing new capabilities to deter potential adversaries and prepare for other risks and contingencies. This legislation, as approved by the Senate Committee on Appropriations, advances many initiatives in line with the President’s goals.

The President and the Nation’s military leadership have put forward a strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan so that all elements of national power are engaged and integrated in an effort to defeat al Qaeda and prevent attacks on the homeland as well as on U.S. allies and partners. In Iraq, the United States is moving forward with a responsible drawdown of combat forces, having transferred security responsibilities to Iraq’s forces. The legislation, as approved by the Committee, provides critical resources to enable this to happen.

The Administration has recognized the importance of requesting a full year’s resources for these operations. Providing full-year funding will give troops carrying out operations overseas the ability to plan operations more effectively and will cause far less disruption in base programs. By providing a full year’s funding up front for these operations, the Committee follows through on the President’s request, and ends the disruptions caused by relying on supplemental funding. In addition, the Administration urges the Congress to clearly delineate war spending from base funding in both classified and unclassified programs, as presented in the President’s request.

Supporting servicemembers and their families is a top priority for the President and the Department of Defense (DOD). This includes increasing the size of the Army to reduce the strain on military families, and additional help to put an end to the practice of holding servicemembers past their initial commitment. It also includes easing the burdens on U.S. troops and their families with increased pay, quality child care, job training for spouses, and expanded counseling and outreach to families that have experienced the separation and stress of war. The legislation builds on the progress in the Fiscal Year 2009 Supplemental Appropriations Act with necessary resources to meet these commitments.

The President has also requested significant new resources for military medical care, with additional Army wounded-warrior complexes and increased resources to address traumatic brain injuries and mental health needs. The Committee legislation meets the President’s goals with funding that advances first-class medical care for servicemembers and their families.

The Administration believes that, while the Committee has made important investments in the Nation’s defense, there are significant ways in which the current bill can be strengthened and looks forward to working with the Congress on this effort.

The Administration would like to take this opportunity to share additional views regarding the Committee’s version of the bill.

Support for the President’s Priorities. The Administration appreciates the Committee’s support for the President’s initiatives proposed to reshape our military posture and get the most benefit from every Defense budget dollar. The Administration commends the Committee for its support for the termination of programs that are no longer needed or are not performing as intended. The Administration appreciates that the Committee does not include unrequested funding for three such programs that could result in a veto – unrequested advance procurement funding for the F-22 fighter aircraft, the continued development of the Joint Strike Fighter Alternate Engine, and additional funding for the VH-71 Presidential Helicopter Program. The Congress is urged to oppose funding these programs during floor action and in conference.

C-17 Transport Aircraft. The Administration strongly objects to the addition of $2.5 billion in funding for 10 unrequested C-17 airlift aircraft. Analyses by DOD have shown that the 205 C-17s in the force and on order, together with the existing fleet of C-5 aircraft, are sufficient to meet the Department’s future airlift needs, even under the most stressing situations.
Operation and Maintenance (O&M). The Administration strongly opposes the bill’s reductions totaling over $3 billion from O&M accounts (excluding Defense Health Program) – through direct cuts and cuts mandated in sections 8091 and 8100. These reductions would hurt force readiness and increase stress on military people and equipment.

Helicopter Training. The Administration appreciates the Committee’s realignment of $142 million in Army O&M funding as part of the Administration’s initiative to add $500 million to increase our military’s helicopter capacity. This initiative is especially key to sustaining progress in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan Security Forces Fund (ASFF). The Administration opposes the reduction of $900 million for ASFF sustainment. Accelerating the growth in size and capability of the Afghanistan National Security Forces is a key component of the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. The President’s full request reflects his commanders’ plan for Afghan forces to assume a greater share of responsibility for security as quickly as possible.

Security and Stabilization Assistance (Section 1207). The Administration urges that funding is provided as requested for section 1207 reconstruction stabilization assistance.

Alaska Territorial Guard. The Administration objects to a new General Provision that would count as “active duty” service the time Alaska Territorial Guard members served during World War II. This provision would establish a precedent of treating service performed by a State employee as active duty for purposes of the computation of retired pay.

Funding in Advance of Need. The Administration appreciates the Committee’s funding for the President’s $9.3 billion request for missile defense programs. However, the Administration opposes the addition of $41 million for long-lead procurement of the next TPY-2 radar because the funding is well in advance of need and would incrementally fund a capability that should be fully funded in future budgets.

Classified Programs. The Administration also appreciates the Committee’s strong support for classified activities, including cyber security. However, the Administration has significant concerns with some of the Committee’s reductions, particularly to certain compartmented programs, including the “Connect the Centers” cyber security initiative, and the Business Transformation Office. The details of these concerns will be provided under separate cover.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Respect for Marriage Act Gains Momentum


"A new piece of legislation announced last week could make the spotlight shining on our nation’s same-sex marriage debate a little brighter.

The Respect for Marriage Act, or RFMA, was crafted by three House Democrats and already has the support of more than 90 lawmakers. RFMA seeks to overturn a federal marriage law known as the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.

DOMA, which was signed into law in 1996, denies recognition of same-sex marriage and allows states the right to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages that were sanctioned in states where marriages of that sort are recognized as valid. RFMA would repeal DOMA, allowing those in same-sex unions to retain their rights across the country.

Since DOMA became a law, six states have legalized same-sex marriage and several other states are pushing referendums for its legalization in coming elections. Despite DOMA’s status as a law, same-sex marriage is making slow and steady progress in this country, whether people like it or not. But despite growing support for same-sex marriage among Americans, the RFMA might not become a law in the near future...." (for the full story from the source CLICK HERE)

It's high time we end the "deficit of decency" our society has fallen into and remind ourselves that the freedoms our forefathers fought for are still as valuable today as they were then. We do not need to be our brother's keeper, nor do we need to control what we do not agree with. What we need to do is work together to create a better world for ourselves and our loved ones. America needs to stop living in fear of what could happen, take a good look at what has happened, and go forward both bravely and cautiously, just like the heroes who once gave us this great gift swaddled in responsibility.

Monday, September 07, 2009

GLBT Equality March in DC with Join the Impact MA!

Ever wonder what it would have been like to be there for the march on Washington during the civil rights struggles in the 1960's? Here's your chance to be a part of history and to advance our goals of equality for all. Below is the quoted blurb from the JTIMA website, please visit them at this link to get started with your reservations:

Get on the Bus, Boston! On October 10-11, 2009, LGBT people and our allies from across the country will gather in Washington, DC to press a single demand: full equality in all matters governed by civil law. Join the Impact MA is organizing deluxe coach buses from Eastern Massachusetts and New England to the National Equality March. Buy a ticket below. If you have any questions, you can email David ( or Kate (

If you are under 18, you must be accompanied by an adult approved by your parents.

Tickets are not refundable and purchase implies approval of the terms of agreement listed on the bottom of this page.

I agree to the terms and conditions at the bottom of this page.

Roundtrip ticket+hotel, full weekend ($149)
This is your best option to enjoy all that the weekend offers. We will get you down to D.C. in time to attend all seminars and workshops being offered on Saturday as well as to participate in the March on Sunday. Details:

•Depart Boston: Friday, Oct. 9th @ 10pm
•Return By: Monday, Oct. 12th @ 7 am
•Lodging for Saturday night at the Best Western in Roslyn
•$149 includes one bed in a room with two beds. If you are sharing this bed, the second person should only purchase the $89 bus ticket below.
•If you want the room to yourself, the price is $209.
Roundtrip bus ticket, full weekend ($89)
We will get you down to D.C. in time to attend all seminars and workshops being offered on Saturday as well as to participate in the March on Sunday. Details:

•Depart Boston: Friday, Oct. 9th @ 10pm
•Return By: Monday, Oct. 12th @ 7 am
•Does not include lodging

Roundtrip bus ticket, one day ($89)
If scheduling conflicts prevent you from joining us for the whole weekend, come down just for the March on Sunday! Details:

•Depart Boston: Saturday, Oct. 10 @ 10pm
•Return By: Monday, Oct. 12th @ 7 am

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

A letter to John

Dear John,

For years those of us who have been troubled by the errors visited upon the GLBT community have struggled with the responsibility to share our views with others in a way that creates our same understanding in them. In order to do so we must first identify what those problems are, cite irrefutable examples of those errors, then share an actionable solution that best serves us all. I've taken a single step down that road by putting in my own inarticulate way what I think the core of the problem is, please allow me to share those thoughts with you.

Many of us in society today through passiveness, indifference and innocent ignorance have allowed ourselves to be duped by unscrupulous leaders and groups who misuse our trust for their own gain to harm our neighbors, often by our own hand. Sadly, sometimes those leaders and groups are not even genuinely devoted to what they preach, they are only using the subject as a vessel to promote their own gain. I am reminded of the example of Governor George Wallace who, of all people, was accused of being soft on racial issues and lost his 1958 gubernatorial bid to the more vocally segregationist candidate John Patterson. He was quoted after the election as having said:
"Seymore, you know why I lost that governor's race?... I was outniggered by John Patterson. And I'll tell you here and now, I will never be outniggered again."
The fact that he used race as a device solely for gain became even more apparent later in life when he recanted his position on segregation.

In realizing truths like this we are faced with the dilemma of either correcting the harm created, or continuing these same mistakes at our neighbor's cost. There are two paths before us now; the one less taken is that of the "rowdy citizen" who cares enough about his fellow man to make a difference through his own actions. Our actions or inaction speak for us of who we are. These are fundamental truths present throughout history and when they are correctly identified and acted upon have always transformed society for the better.

In Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s book "Strength to Love" he identifies this truth and finds it important enough to begin his lessons to us there:

"We do not need to look far to detect the dangers of soft-mindedness. Dictators capitalizing on soft-mindedness have led men to acts of barbarity and terror that are unthinkable in civilized society. Adolf Hitler realized that soft-mindedness was so prevalent among his followers that he said, 'I use emotion for the many and reserve reason for the few'."

King continues with this thought by quoting "Mein Kampf" where Hitler asserted:

"By means of shrewd lies, unremittingly repeated, it is possible to make people believe that heaven is hell--and hell heaven... The greater the lie the more readily it will be believed."

Now continues our struggle to cite verifiable examples of harms against GLBT people as irrefutable proof that we as both individuals and as a society must act to solve, and together find the courage to change what we should.

Allow me to take this opportunity to thank you for standing with me and the GLBT community unwaveringly through this struggle. Knowing that we are not alone in these efforts comforts me through the outrageousness we face. I have faith in the inherent goodness of mankind that there are more rowdy citizens out there like you who will eventually come forward to help correct the wrongs we've seen, but they will not be your peers. As a pioneer of justice in this struggle you are a hero in my eyes because you have the strength of character to stand up for others at your own cost. Whether we are right or wrong in our opinions regarding this important matter does not diminish the fact that you are a sterling example of The Good Samaritan, and few deserve to be called your equal.

Our shared dream is simply to live in a world where we are judged by the content of our character. That is a dream worth fighting for.


John Hosty-Grinnell

(John is a straight supporter of equal rights who decided to become involved in making a difference in the lives of his GLBT neighbors for no other reward than knowing it was the right thing to do. I give much thanks to his wife Miriam for her continued patience while we work together to help create a better world for all of us as best we know how.)