I Don't Care About Chicken. I Care About My Gay Friends.

The whole Chick-fil-A fiasco isn’t about one ignorant guy’s opinions. There’s more to it. They spent $2,000,000 in 2010 funding anti-gay organizations. More importantly, they are selectively misreading the Bible to couch their bigotry in faith.

There are Christians all over the world who don’t share these views. This isn’t about Christianity. This isn’t about chicken sandwiches. It’s about, well, watch – in the first video, at 3:40 she stands up for what’s right. At 4:19 she explains how you can help change the conversation. TODAY.

The original recipe:

Her followup:

You can RSVP for the protest, which is happening today, by clicking here. If you RSVP, your friends will see it and maybe RSVP too. You don’t have to go, you just ought to say you are, in solidarity so more people will RSVP. Just sayin’.

Read more: http://upworthy.com/i-dont-care-about-chicken-i-care-about-my-gay-friends

War Correspondent Gina Chon Defends Herself: “I’ve Never Felt So Vulnerable”

After enduring a devastating week of attacks against her professional reputation meant to derail her husband’s nomination to become the next ambassador to Iraq, former Wall Street Journal reporter Gina Chon sent an email to friends and supporters today defending their relationship.

The email, obtained by BuzzFeed, opens with the veteran war correspondent thanking her friends for their support in recent days.

Then she writes: “I also want to take a moment to correct what you may have heard or read about Brett and me, especially because you know us well – and that we are not who we are being misrepresented to be.”

Chon goes on to detail how McGurk never gave her classified information, and that some of the emails have been completely misinterpreted.

“In reality, he was joking about his ability to take me to the embassy cafeteria, where the ice cream sundae bar was one of the few treats for non-embassy employees in Baghdad,” she writes about one email that was reported as him taking her to a high level meeting.

Chon writes that she feels like “collateral damage” in the nomination process.

In the email, Chon defends her relationship with McGurk as well, saying they had fallen in love during what was one of the most violent periods of the war.

“But underneath the half-truths and outright lies is a fairly simple tale of two people who met in Baghdad, fell in love, got engaged and later married,” she writes. “In the process we formed a strong connection with Iraq, a place where we lost many friends.”

However, she also admits to making “mistakes” four years ago.

“I’m not trying to absolve myself of responsibility. People were hurt along the way and for that, I am truly sorry,” she writes. “I made stupid mistakes four years ago in Iraq while working for the Wall Street Journal and for that, I’m also sorry. I had to leave my job at a news organization I love and for that, I am heartbroken.”

McGurk, Obama’s nominee for ambassador to Iraq, has faced intense scrutiny in recent days over emails he exchanged with Chon while serving as a diplomat in Baghdad in 2008.

Chon, who covered Iraq at the time for the Wall Street Journal, agreed to resign from the Journal this week.

She covered Baghdad for the Wall Street Journal for over two years during some of the most dangerous and most deadly times in that conflict.

Chon is well respected and admired among the Baghdad press corp—a relatively small and tight knit group of journalists who were based in Iraq during the conflict.

Her colleagues who spent time with her in Baghdad have been horrified at the public criticism she’s been subjected to.

“I just feel so bad for her,” one correspondent at a rival newspaper tells BuzzFeed. “She does not deserve this.”

Although McGurk’s nomination appeared to be in jeopardy, the 39 year old received a much needed public endorsement from three former ambassadors to Baghdad this week, including from Ryan Crocker, the most highly respected diplomat currently serving in the State Department.

The full email is below:

from: Gina Chon
to: xxxxxxxxxx
date: Fri, Jun 15, 2012 at 1:02 PM
subject: Thank you

Dear friends,

Thank you for the many kind notes, emails and calls you have shared over these trying days. I appreciate the support. I also want to take a moment to correct what you may have heard or read about Brett and me, especially because you know us well – and that we are not who we are being misrepresented to be.

As many of you know, I’ve been shot at, survived rocket attacks, and lived through a truck bomb explosion that killed more than 150 Iraqis. In Haiti, there were a few times I thought I would be crushed under a pile of rubble.

But I’ve never felt so vulnerable, so targeted and so exposed as I have in the last two weeks.

On Tuesday, I resigned from the Wall Street Journal in the aftermath of leaked emails from 2008 between me and Brett, who as you know is the nominee to be the next U.S. ambassador to Iraq.

I feel like I have become collateral damage in this process. And, after witnessing all I have, I’m amazed that anyone would want to become a public official.

Many of Brett’s colleagues have already made the move to the private sector, using their connections from Iraq to make a lot of money as consultants to oil companies and other firms.

But Brett always turned to public service and went back to Iraq every time he was called. Even now when people are saying horrible things about me and him, he still wants to serve. We’ve both had to tell our crying moms not to look at the news.

I’ve seen the ugliness in human beings in war zones and natural disasters but I’ve never seen it up close and personal in the comfort of the U.S. The venom of Washington politics makes Wall Street, which I covered for the last two years, look like a playground.

But underneath the half-truths and outright lies is a fairly simple tale of two people who met in Baghdad, fell in love, got engaged and later married. In the process we formed a strong connection with Iraq, a place where we lost many friends.

I’m not trying to absolve myself of responsibility. People were hurt along the way and for that, I am truly sorry. I made stupid mistakes four years ago in Iraq while working for the Wall Street Journal and for that, I’m also sorry. I had to leave my job at a news organization I love and for that, I am heartbroken.

I want you to know, though, that while I worked in Iraq for the paper, Brett never gave me sensitive or classified information nor did he trade his knowledge for my affection. We were both dedicated professionals too committed to our jobs and had too much respect for each other to do anything like that. And as individuals, it’s simply not who we are or how we approach our work. Nor did he need to. He was authorized to speak on occasion on background with journalists and did so with me, the Washington Post, the New York Times and other news outlets.

Our emails, which were exposed just before Brett’s confirmation hearing, reflected flirtatious banter and nothing more. I have to wonder, do people really think I get my stories by asking sources if I can hide in their briefcase?

Brett talking about having “pull” to get me in somewhere has been magically reincarnated as him taking me to a high level meeting. In reality, he was joking about his ability to take me to the embassy cafeteria, where the ice cream sundae bar was one of the few treats for non-embassy employees in Baghdad.

I never thought those emails would come back to hurt us and become so twisted and perverted by others that they became unrecognizable even to me.

Fast forward to Tuesday, June 5, when a disgruntled State Department employee began pitching a flickr web site to some blogs and news outlets.

The image on that site showed a print out of emails between me and Brett – copies someone had kept all this time, waiting for the right moment to unleash them.

And that’s exactly what happened the day before Brett’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The emails didn’t really catch fire and the hearing came and went without any questions about them, even though Brett was prepared to address them. Later that day, I received an email from someone named “Brett McGurk.” It read “I am missing you so bad right now….how is your day going?” The real Brett was sitting next to me in a cab. I guess the impersonator wanted me to write them back so he or she could post those emails, too.

Since then, people have jumped to unfair and inaccurate conclusions using our own words against us. Yet, nobody knows what we meant, what was in our heads, or in our hearts, better than we do.

The question I continue to have is when will the conversation return to issues? Because when they do, I know Brett will become the next ambassador to Iraq. So I am getting up each day, hoping that my belief in the good and fairness in people is proven true. And I remain as hopeful that the man I love gets to serve the country he loves, as I do confident that he would do so with honor. And most of all, that our finding love with each other does not imperil his chance to serve.

Thanks again for all your support.

Hugs,
Gina

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/mhastings/war-correspondent-gina-chon-defends-herself-ive

Jeb Bush: Immigration Reform Bills Will Pass House Next Year

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Monday night he thinks the House will pass immigration reform next year, calling Speaker John Boehner “totally committed” to the effort.

“I think there will be bills passed,” Bush said at a talk at 92nd Street Y in New York City. “It won’t be one comprehensive bill. I think it will probably be in late spring, where there’s a little bit of a window before the election starts in earnest. I hope so, I hope that’s the case. I’ve talked to Speaker Boehner and he’s totally committed to this, but he needs to find a way to get enough of the support.”

Boehner said last week that he has no intention of going to conference on the Senate bill, effectively ending any chance that the House takes up immigration reform this year.

Bush said he thinks the major elements of the Senate’s immigration reform, which passed in June, could be passed by the House as separate bills. He added that the main disagreement comes over immigrants who have already come to the United States illegally.

The measures in the Senate bill are “a pretty big price to pay for coming into this country illegally,” Bush said. “I’m comfortable with that and I hope that the House gets comfortable with it as well.”

Bush, who was discussing his book, Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution, said that in general, he thinks immigration reform should be part of an economic strategy.

“I think a lot of people view immigration as, by supporting immigrants, you’re taking away from me. And I would argue the opposite is the case,” he said. “If we have this narrow perspective of ‘We’re not going to grow anymore and the pie is set and that’s it, so I’m going to fight for mine,’ we’re doomed. That’s it. Our country doesn’t work well in a static kind of environment. Our country works well when it’s dynamic and aspirational.” He added that immigrants “aren’t a drain on that, they’re actually a catalytic converter for sustained economic growth.”

Bush’s wide-ranging discussion with Fordham law professor Thane Rosenbaum, director of the Forum on Law, Culture & Society, also touched on education reform, today’s political climate, and the future of the Republican Party, among other topics. Bush, who has been mentioned as a potential 2016 presidential candidate recently, said the time is not right for him to make a decision on whether to make a bid for the White House.

That didn’t stop him from lobbing a slight jab at Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another oft-mentioned potential 2016 candidate, before praising the freshman senator’s father. Rosenbaum asked Bush, who speaks fluent Spanish, whether the country would be in a similar situation if members of the Tea Party also spoke the language. Rosenbaum mentioned that Cruz does speak some Spanish.

“Not much,” Bush replied, to laughs from the audience. “I’m not sure Ted speaks much Spanish. His dad speaks fluent Spanish — he’s a Cuban immigrant, has a wonderful story to tell and a very powerful one.”

Bush also praised Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, another 2016 hopeful, who he said “gets a lot of credit for kind of leading parts of the party towards” immigration reform.

Despite the talk of other potential 2016 contenders, Bush was coy with his own intentions. At the end of the discussion, Rosenbaum said Bush had “earned a lot of votes here tonight.”

“Votes for what?” Bush responded.

CORRECTION (12:07 a.m. ET): Former Gov. Bush said Monday he believes the House will pass immigration bills next year, but not one comprehensive bill. An earlier version of this item included the word comprehensive in one description of that effort.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/jamesarkin/jeb-bush-immigration-reform-bills-will-pass-house-next-year

White House Distances Itself From AP Phone Records Scandal

Win McNamee / Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The White House is trying to put some distance between the president and the latest story to rock Washington: revelations that the Department of Justicesecretly obtained phone records from Associated Press reporters.

Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said in a statement Monday evening that the phone records story was purely a DOJ affair. White House officials didn’t even know about it until they read press accounts Monday afternoon, Carney said.

“Other than press reports, we have no knowledge of any attempt by the Justice Department to seek phone records of the AP. We are not involved in decisions made in connection with criminal investigations, as those matters are handled independently by the Justice Department,” Carney said in a statement given to the press pool traveling along with President Obama on fundraising trips to New York Monday. “Any questions about an ongoing criminal investigation should be directed to the Department of Justice.”

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/evanmcsan/white-house-distances-itself-from-ap-phone-records-scandal

18 Horrifying Political Face Swaps

1. Barack and Michelle embracing.

2. Obama and shocked girl.

3. Mitt and Ann.

4. Obama Christie.

5. The President is not impressed.

6. Another Mitt/ Ann.

7. Off to an elegant dinner party.

8. Obama and Biden.

10. “Let us explain.”

11. Bieber and Harper.

12. Mitt and horrified school girl.

15. Just one more.

17. Old Paul Ryan, young Joe Biden.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/bennyjohnson/18-political-face-swaps-that-are-just-wrong

Nevada Senate Votes To Repeal Ban On Same-Sex Couples’ Marriages

WASHINGTON — Late Monday, the Nevada Senate became the first legislative chamber in the country to vote to overturn a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex couples from marrying.

After a little more than an hour of debate in which one senator publicly declared that he was gay for the first time, the Nevada Senate voted 12-9 to repeal the state’s 2002 amendment limiting marriage to one man and one woman and replace it with language requiring the recognition of all marriages between two people, “regardless of gender.”

In addition to out LGBT Sens. David Parks and Pat Spearman, Sen. Kelvin Atkinson declared on the floor during the debate, “I am a black, gay male.” Because he was speaking about his sexual orientation publicly for the first time Monday night, he said he had heard negative comments about the marriage amendment repeal from others prior to the vote. But, he said, “People should mind their business and allow people to do what they want to do.”

State Sen. Ben Kieckhefer was the sole Republican to vote for the marriage amendment’s repeal.

The bill will now go to the state Assembly. If it passes there, it will have to be passed by the next legislature, which meets in 2015, and then by the people the following year.

Nevada Sen. Kelvin Atkinson Via facebook.com

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/chrisgeidner/nevada-senate-votes-to-repeal-ban-on-same-sex-couples-marria

Pelosi Accuses Republicans Of Serial Dishonesty

Charlotte, NC – House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi hammered Republicans Monday, accusing Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan of “brazenly” misleading the public over their record and President Barack Obama’s accomplishments.

Speaking to reporters at the Huffington Post Oasis here in Charlotte, Pelosi quipped at one point “They don’t know when the factory closes, they don’t know how fast they run.”

Referring to efforts by Republicans to distance themselves from Rep. Todd Akin after his “legitimate rape” comments, Pelosi argued it was part of the GOP’s efforts to distort their own record.

“They’re separating themselves from Todd Akin. Oh isn’t that something, they’re like this in the Congress,” the Democratic leader said, crossing her fingers. “They’re hiding in plain sight. Who they are is very obvious,” Pelosi added.

Pelosi was clearly on message, repeatedly criticizing Republicans for serial dishonesty and pleading with the media to call them out for it – a talking point used more and more frequently post the RNC convention in Tampa.

Significantly, Pelosi sought to downplay the importance of Ryan in the election. Asked about her relationship with him, for instance, Pelosi said “I don’t have much of a relationship with him, I know he’s a courteous young gentleman in the Congress.”

“I think the focus should be on Mitt Romney. It’s a reflection of his judgment that he picked Paul Ryan but the focus should be on the top of the ticket,” she added.

Pelosi also had clear advice for President Barack Obama on how to fight back against Republicans, urging him to model his end run to the election on former President Harry Truman.

“Truman – he spelled it out. Do nothing. That is what they are. 77 democrats were elected in 48, saving his presidency,” she said.

As for the chances that Democrats will take back the House and she will resume the speakership, Pelosi sounded optimistic.

Pelosi said she feels confident that much of her existing conference will return in November, arguing that if they survived 2010, “the year from hell for Democrats, we feel they can win again, especially with president Obama on the top of the ticket.”

She also expressed confidence in the party’s ability to pick up seats in states like California, Illinois, New York and Texas. Those seat will “account for about half of what we need to win where we’ll be totally on our own” because Obama won’t be competing much.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/johnstanton/pelosi-accuses-republicans-of-serial-dishonesty

White House Responds To Jay-Z’s “Impeach Me” Lyric

“I guess nothing rhymes with Treasury.” — Jay Carney

Carney: “I guess nothing rhymes with ‘Treasury.’ Because Treasury offers and gives licenses for travel as you know, and the White House has nothing to do with it.”

Reporter: So, are you saying the President did not have a conversation with Jay-Z?

Carney: “I am absolutely saying that the White House, from the President on down, had nothing to do with anybody’s travel to Cuba. That is something the Treasury handles. OFAC, Treasury, these are tough words to rhyme.

Reporter: [not audible]

Carney: “It’s a song, Donovan, the president did not communicate with Jay-Z over this trip.”

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/dorsey/white-house-resopnds-to-jay-zs-impeach-me-lyric

Left Presses Andrew Cuomo On Campaign Finance

Mike Groll / AP

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has four weeks before the end of this year’s legislative session to deliver on a pledge to pass public financing of elections in his state — an issue that is the latest in a series of chances he and other possible presidential contenders have to woo or alienate progressives before the 2016 primary season begins in earnest.

Cuomo, who is widely thought to be considering a bid for the next Democratic nomination, has stressed the importance of campaign finance reform in all three of his State of the State addresses since becoming governor in 2009. In his speech earlier this year, Cuomo proposed a public-funding option for statewide elections based on the system now in place in New York City, which allocates matching funds and places spending caps on primary and run-off races. The governor has also vowed to overhaul disclosure rules and lower contribution limits for all offices.

Advocates say the proposed program would not only mitigate the longtime pattern of corruption in Albany — including the arrests this spring of two state senators — but would serve as the first sweeping campaign reform effort since a 2010 Supreme Court case, known as Citizens United, that made yet more space for the influence of corporate money in electoral politics.

“Governor Cuomo promised to clean up Albany, and now he’s got the opportunity to do it by passing public financing of elections,” said Ilya Sheyman, the campaigns director for MoveOn.org’s political action committee. “This is on him. Millions of progressives are watching to see if he’ll step up and deliver.”

MoveOn and other progressive groups — including the Communications Workers of America and CREDO Mobile — have tried to ramp up national pressure on Cuomo leading up to the end of the state legislative session on June 20.

Even an organization like Greenpeace, one of the largest environmental groups in the country, is citing public financing as a “top issue” this year. Executive director Phil Radford argued that as long as “the natural gas industry can buy elected officials,” Greenpeace won’t be able to advance its environmental causes.

“New York State was really the first out of the gate in significant reform in recent years,” said Radford, citing Cuomo’s push to pass same-sex marriage in 2011. “This could really be an incredible model for the rest of the country, and the governor could be a model for democracy and reform. He could really act in a bold way.”

Advocates also make the case that Cuomo’s focus on campaign finance could make him a progressive hero on the national stage ahead of a possible run for the presidency.

Martin O’Malley, the Democratic governor of Maryland, already signed an overhaul of his state’s campaign laws earlier this year, but if Cuomo’s ambitious package succeeds this spring, “he’ll be far and away the leader on this nationally,” said Radford.

“He’s a presidential contender in 2016 and what he does matters nationally,” said Becky Bond, the head of CREDO. “He might run for president as the man who cleaned up elections. That would be a huge momentum point in our organization.”

But progressives who have their hopes pinned on the campaign finance push also worry that Cuomo may be going soft on his commitment to sealing a full package of legislative reforms.

In the face of state Republican opposition, the governor has expressed some doubt that he would be able to check off all his initiatives this year, including an abortion rights bill also opposed by Dean Skelos, the New York Senate Republican Leader.

“Those issues, some may fall off. It may become an even smaller handful as we get closer,” Cuomo said late last month.

CREDO recently released a petition warning its some three million members — 200,000 of whom live in New York — that “even after two huge corruption scandals,” Cuomo appeared to be “stepping back rather than stepping up.”

“Rather than seizing the moment and leading the fight to pass public financing, Gov. Cuomo instead expressed pessimism that it would pass,” the petition reads.

Bond noted that Cuomo expressed his support last year for independent redistricting reform, but failed to follow through on legislation. “Politicians make a lot of promises,” she said. “Governor Cuomo said that he would support independent redistricting, and then he backed away from it. The ball is in his court here. If he doesn’t follow through it will send a strong message that what he says and does are not aligned.”

“There’s always worry with Andrew,” added Mike Lux, a former Clinton administration official and CEO of Progressive Strategies. “He is more than a bit slippery.”

If Cuomo does fall back on his commitment to full reform, said Radford, he’ll have to answer to the progressive community during a possible campaign, in which a contender like O’Malley could potentially out-flank him on the left.

“If he only does a half-measure or doesn’t come through, it would be very hard for him to have an excited base,” Radford said.

Inside New York, political observers say they’ll know when the famously aggressive Cuomo, a skilled inside-player, wants to get serious about ramming through the campaign finance deal.

“People know what it looks like when the governor wants to move something forward, and this isn’t it yet,” said a state Democratic operative involved in the reform movement. “He continues to say something good one day and then nothing for three days. We have seen what he’s like when he’s really focused — he’ll be banging heads together in private meetings.”

Skelos will “keep his thumb on it, and if the governor doesn’t make it clear that he has to lift it off, he’ll just keep it there,” the operative added. “There is a definite sense that the Republicans are going to say ‘no’ until the governor says ‘yes.’”

But if anything will motivate the legislation forward, the operative argued, it’s that Cuomo knows national Democrats are watching — and closely.

“This is part of what made Andrew interested in it. He’d be the first to do a post-Citizens United thing that was real. This would establish him as the leader on it nationally, and that would be a very big deal.”

Others working closely on the issue were optimistic, noting that four weeks is time enough to push through even the most ambitious legislation.

“There’s a lot of time left in the session even though it doesn’t look that way on the calendar,” said David Donnelly, executive director of the Public Campaign Action Fund. “And New York is notorious for getting deals made in the crucible of a tightening calendar.”

“We’re not concerned about it,” added Steve Pampinella, spokesman for FAIR Elections for New York, a coalition group supporting Cuomo’s reform push. “We know that the governor is going to come through. We’re confident that he’s going to push this, and that he’s reliable on this.”

Cuomo’s press office didn’t respond to an inquiry about the legislation.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/rubycramer/progressives-see-public-campaign-finance-fight-the-first-tes