|November 23, 2010||Fox "News" doesn't believe DADT repeal is news.....||no comments|
|November 23, 2010||Rachel Maddow has made it big on SNL.......||no comments|
|November 22, 2010||Ladies' Home Journal not accepting bullying...||no comments|
|November 19, 2010||One big, happy, straight family.......maaaybe not||no comments|
|November 19, 2010||Are Asain students too Asain for Canada??||no comments|
|November 19, 2010||Texas isn't completely bad after all......||no comments|
|November 18, 2010||UAFA may be voted on before the end of the year....here's hoping||no comments|
|November 16, 2010||John Stewart has his own views about the McCains.....||no comments|
|November 16, 2010||The White House 13....Standing up for what Washington won't...||no comments|
|November 16, 2010||A womans point of view about Sen. John McCain....||no comments|
Bill O'Reilly favors getting rid of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." So do Fox News contributors Margaret Hoover and Liz Cheney. Heck, even Glenn Beck noted a few months ago that there are bigger fish to fry than demonizing the LGBT community. Yet that's not stopping Fox News Channel from nixing a commercial from the Palm Center that calls for a repeal of the military's anti-gay policy.
First notes by Raw Story, Fox News has turned down a 30-second spot from Palm that features several military officials from other countries that allow openly gay soldiers to serve their country. In the spot, these military leaders say that allowing openly gay servicemembers into the military had absolutely no impact on unit cohesion or troop morale, and that it was the right thing to do.
"There is no negative impact of having men and women of any sexual orientation fighting together," says Major General (now Lieutenant General) Walter Semianiw, Chief of Military Personnel in the Canadian Forces, in the ad. "It was a non-event, and it continues to be a non-event." That non-event, however, is turning into quite the fracas for Fox News. They'll let their hosts compare Democrats to Nazis and socialists, and they'll call family members who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks cowards. Yet they won't allow an ad that says the military should open up its doors to gay and lesbian servicemembers?
Cathy Renna, who runs Renna Communications and works closely with the Palm Center, said that the ad will run on other networks. "The Center has submitted the ad to MSNBC and CNN and anticipates no problems," Renna said.
Ironically, as word comes that Fox News banned this ad, military officials themselves are starting to suggest that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has got to go. Just today, according to the Wonk Room, Air Force Chief of Staff Norton Schwartz said that the process of reviewing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was healthy for the military, and distanced himself from politicians like Sen. John McCain, who continue to call for discrimination in the military. This comes on top of Navy Chief Admiral Gary Roughead, who said earlier this week that the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" review was extraordinary, and that it did a thorough job of evaluating where current military members are at on the idea of serving with gay servicemembers. This review is slated to be released by the Pentagon on November 30, but reports have already leaked some information, indicating that most soldiers don't really have a problem with gay troops serving openly.
So what's the deal, Fox News? Why silence an ad like this, which is not only professionally done, but isn't controversial in the least?
SNL’s Rachel Maddow welcomed the shapeshifting new House of Representatives by moderating a three-way conversation with presumptive Speaker John Boehner, outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and loud speaker Charlie Rangel. A decidedly boyish Abby Elliott played the MSNBC host and discussed a range of topics with the guests, from Republican tax policies, Rangel’s ethics violations, and who stole Pelosi’s necklace. Guess which Representative it was!
Boehner was first up. He spoke on his party’s mandate, claiming that it existed, though he had no idea what exactly was in it. “True story,” he tells Maddow. “On election night, I was asleep when suddenly I heard voices.” It was the American people, literally keeping keeping Boehner up at night. They were asking asking in unison, like a “great big barbershop quartet,” for Congress to cut taxes. When he asked the citizens on his lawn which specific programs the Republican-led House should cut, they eerily disappeared into the night, leaving no trace of an answer.
Maddow then turned her attention to Pelosi, she who “always looks like she’s watching someone not use a coaster.” Aptly stone-faced, the current Speaker reacted coldly to the new GOP House. She characterized the opposition party as “a pack of feral dogs guarding a turned over trash can” and reminded voters that “it will take more than election” for her to go away. “If you want to get rid of Nacny Pelosi, you better be ready to cut off my head and bury it separately from my body.”
The beleaguered Rangel was the last one to talk. He assured Maddow not to take his recent troubles too seriously, because he certainly wasn’t going to. “I am not a criminal,” he declared, echoing a line popular with many criminals past. “I am just a person who can and should not be trusted.” To demonstrate, he sneakily robbed Pelosi of her jewelry.
Of all the magazines you might think would cover LGBT issues, Ladies’ Home Journal is probably not high on your list. This month, however, the magazine — one of the ten largest in America — has published a major article on anti-gay bullying, "Gay Teens Bulliedto the Point of Suicide”
Anti-gay bullying is a hot topic right now, and no surprise that many media outlets are jumping on the bandwagon. The venerable LHJ, launched in 1883, however, tries to appeal to middle-class family women across a wide range of beliefs and political persuasions. The sub-header to the article hints at this, asking, “It's a shocking trend. Isn't it time for all of us to encourage compassion and respect, no matter how we feel about homosexuality?”
Author Kenneth Miller has done a splendid job of gearing the piece to the audience. He leaves aside discussion of any moral questions about being gay. Instead, he focuses on the damage that anti-gay bullying does to gay youth and those perceived to be so. He cites a variety of experts who explain why all parents, not just those with gay children, should be concerned about anti-gay bullying. They include the director of the public school anti-violence program in Akron, Ohio, the principal of a high school in Omaha, Nebraska; and a Catholic priest in Bloomington, Minnesota — hardly liberal bastions.
Most strikingly, for those used to coverage of anti-LGBT bullying in more mainstream and liberal publication, he even cites Warren Throckmorton, an evangelical Christian and associate professor of psychology at Grove City College in Pennsylvania, who has encouraged counseling people to overcome same-sex attractions. At the same time, Throckmorton doesn’t advocate the extreme views of other evangelical leaders such as Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, who wants to confront gay youth directly with the message that being gay is a sin. Throckmorton instead has developed the “Golden Rule Pledge” program to help conservative churches stop such bullying, and encourages people to focus on treating others the way they want to be treated.
The most compelling academic research Miller brings to bear is from clinical social worker Caitlin Ryan, head of the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University. Ryan has shown that the more supportive the parents are, the better the kids do. The more they reject their child for being LGBT, the more likely the child will suffer from depression, take drugs, or attempt suicide. Acceptance, Ryan says, “doesn’t necessarily mean changing your deeply held beliefs. It means finding a way to balance those beliefs with the love you have for your child.”
Amen and pass the cranberry sauce. Ryan’s message is one that should resonate even with more conservative readers. Taken as a whole, Miller’s article is a stellar example of how to target a message to a broad audience and find a common point of contact — children’s safety — without getting caught up in the ideological issues that often hinder such communication. LGBT advocates and journalists everywhere — including those working to combat anti-equality legislation — should take careful note.
Regardless of Miller's balance, however, one may assume that some readers and advertisers will still be offended that LHJ has published a piece that shows support for gay youth. Please take a moment to sign the petition below and thank LHJ for tackling the topic.
Writing about race and immigration can be tricky. Just penning a piece about race relations can lead to accusations of racism: such is the case with Canadian magazine Maclean’s, which continues to generate public outcry over a Nov. 10 article called " Too Asain?" The piece essentially poses this question: is the rising number of Asian students at Canadian universities changing these institutions for the worse?
Now, it would be perfectly reasonable if the authors — Stephanie Findlay and Nicholas Kohler — covered how white students and admission officers at Canadian universities were making this argument. But the authors take things a step further and make the argument themselves. In a nutshell, they describe Asian students as “strivers, high achievers and single-minded in their approach to university.” In other words, Asian students generally perform well academically, but are duds socially.
Their white counterparts, on the other hand, are characterized as attending university for purposes beyond grades, such as finding themselves and developing relationships with others. The influx of Asian students on Canadian university campuses over the past 25 years threatens to change this dynamic, the article posits. Now, white students are choosing to go to universities that aren’t overflowing with Asians. Findlay and Kohler state that racial segregation on university campuses is the problem here. But again and again in the piece, Asians are blamed for creating ethnic divisions among students. If Asians weren’t so focused on studying, didn’t cling to their cultural heritage and were more willing to party, all would be right again. As things stand, Asian students “risk alienating their more fun-loving peers,” the authors write. Apparently, one can’t be both fun-loving and studious.
Sadly, when some of their sources call them out for making sweeping generalizations about Asians, the authors paint them as being in denial. They’re unwilling to consider that “Asian students are fully engaged in extracurricular activities,” as University of Toronto president David Naylor wrote them in an email. He rightfully called the concept behind the article “false.” I would also venture to say that the “Too Asian?” piece is racist for scapegoating Asian students in a way likely to make them the targets of even more resentment on Canadian campuses. The article says little about how Asian students better Canada’s academic institutions. In the same vein, it offers no criticism of the proclivities of white university students. Aside from its conclusion, the piece functions to justify white flight from Canadian universities now viewed as not white enough.
If the writers were truly interested in promoting dialogue about ethnic tensions at Canadian universities, it would have served them well not to traffic in the stereotype of the “Asian student who wants to major in math and science and plays the violin” and the sympathetic white students who feel at a disadvantage in their presence. The very title of the piece is offensive, even though it is derived from a panel discussion held by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, “Too Asian?” Imagine if a major magazine published an article called “Too Black?” or “Too Jewish?” The outcry would be tremendous. Now imagine a piece called “Too White?” It’s doubtful that such an article would run considering whiteness is viewed as the norm and, thus, not a problem.
Let Maclean’s magazine know that if large numbers of whites in one place isn’t cause for concern, then large numbers of Asians in one place shouldn’t be either.
The Dallas Independant School District (ISD) passed an anti-bullying policy Thursday night that includes specific protections for gay and lesbian students.
The first policy of its kind in the district, the Dallas ISD guidelines have been praised by local gay and lesbian groups for their language and inclusiveness. Six speakers -- including some students -- urged the board to adopt the new policy, which was later approved in a unanimous vote. "We have tried to be as inclusive as we can," says Lew Blackburn, a trustee who helped draft the policy. "Schools should be one of the places we call a safe haven for kids."
Going into effect immediately, the district's new definition of bullying is widespread and inclusive of a range of behaviors, from hitting to flashing gang signs to intimidation. The definition also includes making fun of students because of their national origin, family background, political beliefs and contains provisions about cyberbullying and cyberstalking.
"It is not only the right thing to do, it is visionary," says CeCe Cox, the executive director of Resource Center Dallas. According to Cox, the policy is the first in the state including specific provisions for gay, lesbian and transgender students. Parts of the policy will be printed in next year's student code of conduct and teachers will go through a training to learn how to identify and report bullying.
It's worth noting that, on top of providing protection on the basis of sexual orientation, the document also singles out gender identity and expression. In addition, the policy makes mention that a student need not actually hold one of these characteristics in order to be the victim of bullying. In other words, a heterosexual kid being called a "fag" because of his perceived sexual orientation is just as big a no-no as a gay student being labeled with the same slur.
I'm feeling these protections and hoping that they translate into more action against perpetrators of harassment and violence -- toward gay and lesbians and all other students. With Willow Palin's recent Facebook rant, maybe Alaska needs to get the memo. And 90 percent of the rest of the world, too.
Recent comments from the Senate sponsor of comprehensive immigration reform legislation could indicate an opportunity for passage of a measure to protect bi-national same-sex couples in the United States by the end of this year.
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) was quoted in USA Today on Monday as saying the White House is willing to consider comprehensive immigration reform legislation as part of the agenda for the lame duck session of Congress.
The legislation contains language similar to the Uniting American Families Act, which would enable LGBT Americans to sponsor their foreign same-sex partners for residency in the United States. An estimated 36,000 same-sex bi-national couples would be affected by the legislation.
“The White House is ready and willing, and we may be having another meeting with the White House very soon this week,” Menendez was quoted as saying.
Menendez reportedly said President Obama is willing to move forward “if there is bipartisan support” for comprehensive immigration reform.
Steve Ralls, spokesperson for Immigration Equality, said his organization plans to stand with Menendez to press for comprehensive immigration reform legislation before lawmakers adjourn at the end of the year.
“There’s a very short window of opportunity, but immigration reform is something that the White House has said would be a priority for them, that the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and other key leaders have said that they want to get done,” Ralls said.
Ralls noted that passage of the legislation would mark the first instance of recognition of LGBT families in federal law.
“This is an urgent issue for our community,” Ralls said. “Whether you’re in a bi-national family or not, this is also a real opportunity for Congress to provide federal recognition of LGBT families, which we’ve never had before.”
Last night on "The Daily Show," Jon Stewart expressed his frustration with John McCain, and recently Cindy McCain, for indefensible flip-flopping over the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT). Cindy McCain, who recently appeared in a PSA speaking out against DADT, reversed her position in a matter of days. But, as Stewart points out, this type of wishy-washy behavior is not new when it comes to her husband John McCain.
First, Stewart showed a clip of McCain in 2006 saying he would consider a repeal when the U.S. military leadership expresses interest. But last spring when military leaders Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen did exactly that, McCain said they also needed to do a year-long study on the effects of a repeal on the troops. Stewart understood exactly:
"It's the 'maverick' way. Spend a year studying whether or not soldiers deserve full civil rights, and a half-an-hour deciding who will be your presidential running mate."
Even when the study was completed and revealed that more than 70% of people in the military are OK with ending the policy, McCain wavered yet again. Stewart got visibly upset when he showed clips of McCain citing everything from needed a slew of hearings to the fact that the wrong kind of study was done, to stall his consideration of a repeal.
This obviously made Stewart upset, but the important thing is that by evaluating Cindy and John McCain's ever-evolving opinions on DADT, Stewart finally understood why they have so many houses:
"They need them to keep all their different beliefs in," he said.
For more, Stewart turned to a PSA made by his "Daily Show" correspondents for John McCain, assuring him that as long as he doesn't consider a repeal of DADT, "it gets worse."
Thirteen activists were arrested Monday afternoon for chaining themselves to the White House gates in protest over “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and what they perceived as President Obama’s lack of action in stopping the discharges of gay, lesbian and bisexual members of the U.S. armed forces.
The protesters were affiliated with GetEQUAL, a group that’s organized acts of civil disobedience throughout the country over LGBT issues. Among the protesters were Lt. Dan Choi, a gay Iraq war veteran who was discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and Robin McGehee, co-founder and director of GetEQUAL.
In a statement, GetEQUAL touted how three generations of LGBT activists were arrested as a result of the action. Others who were arrested include former U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Justin Elzie, who’s gay and the first Marine discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 1993, as well as Michael Bedwell, a long-time advocate of LGBT rights and open service in the U.S. military.
The protesters superglued their handcuff locks, and, despite repeated warnings from U.S. Park Police, didn’t remove themselves from the White House fence. As police forcibly removed the activists, they dragged their feet as they were hauled into a paddy wagon. It took five police officers to remove Choi from the fence, hand-cuff him and drag him to the van.
After their arrest, the protesters were taken to Anacostia Park Station. The charges and penalties they’re facing as a result of their arrest wasn’t immediately known.
Autumn Sandeen, a transgender activist and Navy veteran who was among the 13 people arrested, told the Blade prior to the protest that she participated to bring more attention to the issue of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and to show transgender solidarity with gay, lesbian and bisexual Americans.
“Repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ will not affect transgender people one bit,” she said. “Gay, lesbian and bisexual people will be able to serve openly, but transgender people will not. But I’m part of a broader community: the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.”
Sandeen said putting pressure on the White House could push President Obama to move forward with advancing an end to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” She recalled similar protests in the spring prompted the administration to endorse a repeal compromise passed by the U.S. House.
“What we hope to do is put pressure on the White House and the president, President Obama, to fulfill the promise to actually put pressure on the Senate to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’” she said.
Maybe it takes a real maverick to realize you are not a maverick. But as Rachel Maddow points out in 10 minutes of political pornography, Sen. John McCain has a whole wonderful history of disagreeing with himself depending on which way the wind is blowing, or which way cap is trading. "There is not a major issue on which John Mccain can be found now to have one identifiable positions," says Maddow. Maybe Jon Stewart was wrong about McCain writing his own legacy as a bigot. He's writing his own legacy as America's greatest flip-flopper.