News Round-Up: November 19, 2016

Sam Asghari

Some news stories you may have missed:

• Britney Spears’ “Slumber Party” video introduces the world to hottie Persian-American model Sam Asghari. You may want to check out his Instagram 🙂

• Openly gay Army Secretary Eric Fanning doesn’t think Donald Trump will roll back LGBT inclusion in the military. Mainly because it’s very hard to tell a soldier to “take off” his uniform.

• Trump supporters are “punishing” Starbucks by telling each other to buy more from the coffee giant. Put more money in Starbucks pocket – that’ll learn ’em!

• Newly named Attorney General Jeff Session received an absolute ZERO from the Human Rights Campaign scorecard. Now, what does that tell you about how he’ll serve as America’s top cop?

• Democrat Roy Cooper’s lead in the North Carolina governor’s race keeps growing even as anti-LGBT Gov. McCrory refuses to admit defeat. True sign of a loser – they can’t see they are a loser.

• There have been more than 700 reported incidents of hate harassment since Donald Trump became President-elect Trump.

• Good news on the HIV front – a newly discovered antibody neutralized 98% of HIV strains tested.

• And one more pic of the handsome Sam Asghari before we go…

A photo posted by Sam Asghari (@samasghari) on Oct 3, 2016 at 12:00pm PDT

Eric Fanning: “Incredible Honor” To Serve As First Openly Gay Secretary Of U.S. Army

From the Human Rights Campaign:

In an exclusive interview with The Today Show this morning, Eric Fanning reflected on becoming the first openly-gay leader of a U.S. military service and the highest-ranking, Senate-confirmed openly-LGBT appointed official.

“I’ve gotten used to the fact that this is going to be a part of any time I get a new job or do something,” he told host Matt Lauer. “And when it first happened I was more bothered by it because I didn’t quite have the track record that people know now. And I wanted the focus on qualifications. Now I embrace it. It’s so important to so many people, I realize. And something I didn’t have 25 years ago.”

Fanning was nominated by President Barack Obama in September and was finally confirmed last month.

“I feel a responsibility as secretary of the Army, not just because of the historical nature of the appointment because I’m gay,” Fanning said. “And I take that responsibility very seriously. I grew up in a military family. I have two uncles that went to West Point. And it was absolutely something that I considered, but wasn’t allowed to serve and so chose another route.”

Fanning’s nomination comes just five years after the historic end of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) law that prohibited qualified LGB Americans from serving in the U.S. armed forces. His confirmation comes as the military is preparing to move forward to lift the ban on transgender service in the military.

“It is the best job that I have ever had — and an incredible honor,” Fanning added.

First Openly Gay Secretary Of The Army Confirmed By U.S. Senate After Long Delay

Eric Fanning

After being delayed for almost 8 months, Eric Fanning has been confirmed as the first openly gay Army Secretary.

Fanning had previously served as undersecretary of the Air Force and acting secretary of the Air Force.

Via NBC News:

Fanning thus becomes the first openly gay leader of any U.S. military service — a milestone not lost on gay rights groups and coming five years after the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which had prohibited gay and lesbian service members from being open about their sexuality.

“Eric Fanning’s historic confirmation today as Secretary of the U.S. Army is a demonstration of the continued progress towards fairness and equality in our nation’s armed forces,” Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said in a statement.

Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., had held the nomination on hold over a dispute regarding Obama administration efforts to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and possibly transfer detainees to the United States.

Roberts dropped his opposition after receiving assurances that detainees would not be transferred to Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.

Prior to the vote today, Roberts said, “He will be a tremendous leader as Army secretary and will do great by our soldiers at Fort Leavenworth and Fort Riley.”

Politicians and advocacy groups alike celebrated the news:

Senate Armed Services Committee Approves Eric Fanning For Army Secretary

A U.S. Senate committee has advance Eric Fanning that much closer to becoming the first openly gay civilian to lead a U.S. military service by approving his nomination as Army secretary.

From The Washington Blade:

The Senate Armed Services Committee, which has jurisdiction over Fanning’s nomination, approved the nomination by voice vote nearly six months after President Obama announced his choice of Fanning as the next Army secretary.

The committee approves the nomination after it held a confirmation hearing for Fanning in January that went smoothly for the nominee. No member of the committee asked Fanning a question about his sexual orientation or objected to having an openly gay Army secretary.

Although the committee has approved the nomination, Fanning faces difficulties in obtaining confirmation by the full Senate. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) has placed a hold on the nomination, citing comments President Obama made about closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. A Roberts spokesperson told the Blade on Thursday the hold remains in place.

Openly Gay Eric Fanning Finally Has A Confirmation Hearing Date For Army Secretary

After months of waiting, openly gay Eric Fanning will finally get a confirmation hearing for his nomination as Army Secretary in the U.S. Senate.

Via The Hill:

Fanning was nominated in September, but was designated “acting” Army Secretary when then-Army Secretary John McHugh retired in October.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) told reporters last week he raised concerns with the administration that Fanning serving as “acting” secretary without being confirmed violated the Vacancies Act.

“I wasn’t going to have a hearing while they were in violation of the law, that’s you know sort of fundamental in the way I do business,” he told reporters on Monday.

Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) has threatened to block Fanning’s confirmation should the vote reach the full senate. Roberts plans to block the confirmation over President Obama’s intentions to close Guantanamo.

Fanning has previously served as Acting Army Secretary as well as chief of staff to the Secretary of Defense and Under Secretary of the Air Force.

Eric Fanning’s confirmation hearing is set for Thursday at 9:30 A.M.

Mike Huckabee Rants Over Openly Gay Eric Fanning”s Nomination To Secretary Of The Army

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee

On Friday, President Obama nominated Eric Fanning, currently serving as acting under secretary of the Army, to be the next secretary of the Army.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter called Fanning an “excellent choice” to lead the Army.

The appointment would make Fanning the first openly gay secretary of a U.S. military branch.

GOP White House hopeful and constant opponent of anyone/anything gay, threw a hissy fit on his Facebook page about the nomination:

“It’s clear President Obama is more interested in appeasing America’s homosexuals than honoring America’s heroes.

“Veterans suicide is out-of-control and military readiness is dangerously low, yet Obama is so obsessed with pandering to liberal interest groups he’s nominated an openly gay civilian to run the Army.

“Homosexuality is not a job qualification. The U.S. military is designed to keep Americans safe and complete combat missions, not conduct social experiments.”

What everyone else can see is this: Huckabee has it backwards – Fanning isn’t being appointed because he’s gay.  Fanning, who happens to be gay, has decades of experience at the Pentagon.

He has previously served as Chief of Staff of the Department of Defense, Acting Secretary of the Air Force, and Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy.

THAT’s why he’s being appointed to the position.

Huckabee’s animus to all things gay is getting more and more transparent.