1667 posts categorized "Current Affairs"

August 28, 2015

Don Lemon slams CNN for homophobic coverage of Virginia shooter

Pope Francis gives blessing to author of gay children's book

Another charming gesture by Pope Francis. That is fine as far as it goes; but I am a policy man, and pastoral gestures are not enough. He will be in D.C. three weeks from now as part of his visit to the United States. The closest I expect to get is when he visits St. Matthew's Cathedral, which is three blocks south of my apartment. I wish him well, and certainly consider him a vast improvement over his predecessor. But I am now 59. I was 23 when I first was in D.C. during a papal visit in 1979. I long ago stopped waiting for what my friend Craig calls Holy Mother the Church, Inc. to reform itself. I send my best wishes to those who made a different choice and continue to push for change from within the community of the faithful.

August 27, 2015

Rallying for the black trans women killed in America

#BlackTransLiberationTuesday

Why the Rentboy raid is about way more than just sex work

Keyshia Blige is the 19th transgender person killed in the US this year

Rand Paul's patronizing, self-parodying response to #BlackLivesMatter

An interactive guide to police killings and the system that excuses them

Jindal tells Obama not to talk about climate during Katrina anniversary visit

A friend writes on Facebook:

I would make sure I said "climate change" and pointed out how Republicans are doing absolute zilch to deal with it as many times as I could to spite the ignorant dumbshit.

Above the Keyboard Warriors’ Din

Keyboard_insert_by_Bigstock

In my Blade column this week, artists and activists overcome the background noise:

Hyenas would be better conversationalists, I sometimes think as I scan political arguments on social media. This is not unlike a Republican presidential debate, where a Bad Lip Reading parody is just as enlightening as the original.

When former president Jimmy Carter spoke candidly and with good humor last week about his cancer, millions were inspired by his serenity, humility, and grace. But the next day, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz attacked him. When I said on Facebook that I recently read Carter's 2006 book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid and found it fair and reasonable, I was met with scorn by someone who had not read it.

This reckless speed is all too common in public forums. So let us look at a few examples of activists and artists rising above the din of the keyboard warriors to propose useful reforms or tell their stories in ways that help us see differently.

After weeks of squabbles by various people over direct-action tactics in the Black Lives Matter movement, policy solutions were issued by activists DeRay Mckesson, Johnetta Elzie, Brittany Packnett, and Samuel Sinyangwe. The effort, called Campaign Zero, is described as a "comprehensive platform to create systems and structures to end police violence." Their detailed plans (see joincampaignzero.org) are informed proposals by practical public policy advocates, notwithstanding sniping and trivializing like that of a self-described anarchist I encountered on Twitter.

The #CampaignZero planning team writes, "Police in England, Germany, Australia, Japan, and even cities like Newark, NJ, and Richmond, CA, demonstrate that public safety can be ensured without killing civilians. By implementing the right policy changes, we can end police killings and other forms of police violence in the United States."

Read the whole thing here.

#CampaignZero #StraightOuttaCompton #BlackLivesMatter #HugoAwards

President Trump's first day in office

President Trump's first day in office (except he'll have a lot more than an AK-47 to play with).

Inspired by a comment by Los Angeles radio host Ricardo Sánchez.

Kentucky clerk vows to die fighting gay marriage

Well then he can just forget having Voices of Kentuckiana sing at his funeral.

Appeals court: Rowan County clerk can't keep denying marriage licenses during appeal

Watch: Janet Mock on murders of trans women

Gun violence and mental health

My initial reaction to Wednesday's horrific shooting death of a Roanoke television reporter and cameraman during a morning news broadcast, other than shock and sadness, was that we need fewer guns and better mental health care. But I like a friend's comments on Facebook:

There is a really offensive meme going around that says to "like & share if you blame [Vester Flanagan] for the Virginia shooting...not the gun." My response to the people who have posted it and it showed up in my feed:

"I blame every single person who prevents implementation of policies and procedures to keep people like him from having access to guns in the first place. I blame everyone who refuses to recognize the critical need and provide funding and help for people who suffer with mental health issues. Then I blame him. I don't blame the gun."

Mr. Flanagan was sufficiently responsible to know what he was doing...otherwise he would not have had the wherewithal to send a manifesto or liveblog his actions. He could and should have voluntarily walked into any hospital or police station and declared he was in crisis and the tragedy could have been averted.

He plainly was a troubled man. I hope his family tried to get him help. Even so, the system failed everyone in this case...same as it has before...same as it will again. Anyone who claims they are pro-life, pro-family, and a Christian, is anything but if they oppose fixing our laws and our society to prevent tragedies involving guns. It's just that simple. Stop playing along with them and they will lose their power.

Some on the right, I suppose inevitably, are blaming the shooting on #BlackLivesMatter activists, whose advocacy is nonviolent and in protest against state-sanctioned violence against black citizens. The fact that the shooter, who died from a self-inflicted gunshot, was also gay (according to a manifesto posted in his name, purportedly by him) only gives more red meat to the haters.

A few months ago, around LGBT Pride, I announced a policy of apologizing for every crime or calamity that anyone blames on gay people as a class. This of course is ridiculous, unless you are prepared to blame (say) Ted Bundy's serial murders of women on all straight guys. But reason has little to do with scapegoating of minorities, so I wish to apologize for these horrific killings. I am so sorry. What was I thinking. Please forgive me. And fuck you ignorant motherfuckers. Oh, sorry, I was temporarily channeling Samuel L. Jackson.

Seriously, we need to do something about the proliferation and glorification of guns in this country. Due to a second fatal shooting Wednesday, you couldn't bring up "the shooting" without clarifying which one you meant.

As another friend said last evening, in response to a colleague who snarkily suggested it is "peak assimilation" when a deranged shooter announces he's gay:

The fact he was gay, and his complaints around such, are irrelevant. He was severely mentally ill. If he'd been told they were out of his favorite cone at Dairy Queen, he'd have imagined some slight that was worthy of massacre.

Yes. Let's address the problem, not exploit it to score cheap points on social media.

August 25, 2015

On Ashley Madison hack: Can feds be fired for adultery?

Ashley_Madison_laptop

Lisa Rein at WaPo looks at the fallout for federal employees who turn up on the customer list:

Now that the Ashley Madison hack has outed as many as 15,000 federal employees and active duty military, government agencies say they’re combing through the e-mail addresses of possible adulterers to see if their extramarital activity on work time amounts to anything punishable.

The question for me is not whether government employees should be logging onto an adultery site on the job. The question is what kind of society we want, and how much further we are going to replace the walls and curtains of privacy with the electronic equivalent of glass and floodlights. It is easy to say "improve security," but there will always be a hacker somewhere with no compunction who can punch through the next layer you build.

It is easy to make light of social standards and boundaries when we are not the ones affected. With Ashley Madison, one boundary buster has its own boundaries busted. So we mock the religious hypocrites who turn up on the list. Then we find out that some people's lives are now in danger, such as gay men from anti-gay countries. And we are starting to hear about suicides. Most of us have done things that it would be mortifying to see splayed across TV screens. If we only respect the privacy of people whose behavior and beliefs and politics meets with our approval, we have already lost.

August 24, 2015

John Oliver: ‘Long Past Time’ to End LGBT Discrimination in America

Some Duke Freshmen Won't Read Graphic Novel 'Fun Home' Because of 'Moral Christian Beliefs'

Perhaps they thought they were at Liberty University.

Hollande presents train attack heroes with Legion of Honor

Vive la France!

August 23, 2015

Islamic State blows up ancient temple at Syria’s Palmyra ruins

These barbarians need to be exterminated before they destroy every intiquity in the Mideast. Astonishing that anyone is willing to embrace any faith or worship any God that demands of them such atrocities.

An old path through new rubble

Gay Rights and the Race Analogy

An essay by John Corvino.

RNC endorses 'Indiana on steroids' religious freedom bill

Thousands rally in Kentucky against anti-gay county clerks

Ellen Page confronts Ted Cruz: 'You’re discriminating against LGBT people'

Sen. Cruz simply turns the truth on its head and portrays discriminators as victims of persecution. That only makes sense if gay people are not human beings, or not rightful citizens, or if there is no secular public space. What Cruz and others call religious freedom is really religious supremacy for them over the rest of us. We have no choice but to fight back.

Giant panda at National Zoo gives birth to healthy twin cubs

There are now five giant pandas at the National Zoo. Panda Cams here.

Americans who stopped a train attack in Europe were boyhood friends

More here on the focus this attack puts on the vulnerability of U.S. rail.

August 21, 2015

The Ashley Madison Hack and the Cold and Permanent Danger of Online Privacy Invasions

Slugger’s journey to coming out

'We can end police violence in America' - #CampaignZero

#CampaignZero local policy agenda

DeRay McKesson and his colleagues release their local policy agenda to end police violence.

#CampaignZero state policy agenda

DeRay McKesson and his colleagues release their state policy agenda to end police violence.

#CampaignZero federal policy agenda

DeRay McKesson and his colleagues release their federal policy agenda to end police violence.

Illinois becomes fifth state protect youth from conversion therapy

Congrats to our colleagues in Illinois, and welcome to the club!

I may get stoned to death for gay sex, says Saudi man outed in Ashley Madison leak

Brewers would be ready to welcome openly gay teammate

Scott Walker, translated

Jeb and Jindal on dropping babies

In a long-ago Doonesbury cartoon, Joanie Caucus says to her dying friend after he and his doctor trade some gallows humor, "How can you joke about this?" He replies, "How can you not?"

Rep. Nadler supports Iran Nuclear accord, condemns troubling rhetoric

Thank you, Congressman.

August 20, 2015

Trump: Gay marriage is a dead issue

I'm sure we are all relieved to learn this.

Panti Bliss, Ireland's accidental activist