2555 posts categorized "Media"

January 02, 2015

Public Servant of the Year: St. Louis Alderman Antonio French


My choice for Public Servant of the Year is St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, who came to my attention in August 2014 as I looked on Twitter for firsthand accounts of the street protests in Ferguson, Missouri following the death of Michael Brown. His Twitter handle (@AntonioFrench) kept coming up. Lauren Williams at Vox described French in action:

Antonio French, a St. Louis alderman, has been a constant presence in Ferguson, Missouri, since Michael Brown was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson on August 9. On Twitter and Vine, French has fearlessly documented the nightly protests. Friday night, after days of largely nonviolent demonstrations, a handful of what he calls "troublemakers" changed the tone and began looting several stores in the area. Read French's description of how he, local activist Anthony Shahid, and others tried to stop them, and why it was best for police to keep their distance and let the events play out....

In the photo below by Robert Cohen (@kodacohen) of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, French is helping to hold back some youths for their safety. French routinely put himself at risk to help others, and maintained a steady and reliable voice for justice. Kudos to him.


Karl Racine takes office as D.C.'s first elected AG


Congratulations to the District's new attorney general, Karl Racine, who was sworn in this morning. The Office of the Attorney General can be found here.

Meet the new D.C. Council members - 2

New Councilmembers Charles Allen (Ward 6) and Brianne Nadeau (Ward 1) on the dais during this morning's organizing meeting. Best wishes for success!

Meet the new D.C. Council members - 1

New At-Large Councilmember Elissa Silverman on the dais during this morning's organizing meeting. Best wishes for success!

The Bowser era begins

Congratulations and best of luck to the District's new mayor, Muriel Bowser, for a successful and productive term.

Mayor Bowser's inaugural remarks can be found here.

Mario Cuomo dies at 82

Three-time New York governor Mario Cuomo died yesterday at age 82, hours after his son Andrew was inaugurated to another term as governor. Adam Nagourney has a fine obit at NYT. Above is his 1984 keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention.

May he rest in peace.

January 01, 2015

Putting It Together in 2015

(Photo by See-ming Lee, United Nations Africa Renewal)

My look at the year ahead in LGBT activism is now up at Bay Windows. Here's an excerpt:

From a liberal perspective, 2015 promises continued fights against right-wing aggressions that include vagina policing and other gender-based discrimination; attacks on church-state separation; xenophobia; quackery disguised as science; biased profiling and excessive force by police; and criminalization of healthcare issues.

None of these will be resolved by the likely nationwide victory for marriage equality in the U.S. Supreme Court. Thus, in the words of Ella Baker, "We who believe in freedom cannot rest." Here are some thoughts for the work ahead.

Read the whole thing here.

'Hispanic sounding name'

Dan Savage on Leelah Alcorn's parents

He doesn't mean that literally, of course. But their treatment of their transgender daughter was tantamount to throwing her in front of that tractor trailer. A child is not a parent's property, to be sculpted or abused at the parent's whim. We are talking about a human being with a mind and spirit and life and talents and dreams of her own. We have to protect our youth better than that.

December 31, 2014

Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga - The Lady is a Tramp

To help you get into a festive mood, here's a great duet between Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga. I have always loved this song, and they have fun with it.

Favorite sports moment of 2014

In August, during a preseason game between the St. Louis Rams and the Cleveland Browns, rookie Michael Sam sacked Johnny Manziel twice in the 4th quarter. Cyd Zeigler of OutSports reported. Sam showed in this and other preseason games that he has the stuff to play pro football. As Zeigler wrote:

Sam is in unique territory, the only player in years in his position who was not with a team at this point in the season. He isn't on an NFL roster right now because he came out as gay and because NFL team front offices don't want him there. It's a disgusting commentary on the true state of the decision makers on NFL teams that none of them have signed Sam this late in the season.

In orbit, 16 New Year celebrations

From the International Space Station.

Fox News hashtag #OverIt2014 backfires

Brendan James at TPM reports on the merriment.

Happy New Year from Sydney

Our Lives Matter PSA

Yesha Callahan at The Root reports on this PSA about black boys being profiled by the police.

Strong beat

One of White House photographer Pete Souza's most charming photos of 2014, from March 4.

Polar vortex, if you must come, bring a snow bunting

My memories of 2014 include this tweet by Philip Gourevitch of The New Yorker from last winter.

Leelah Alcorn: 'My death needs to mean something'

More ABC News Videos | ABC World News

Jo Barrow and Tom Namako at BuzzFeed report on this sad story that reminds us how much support our youth need. Below, the Trevor Project's Lifeline.

2014 year in review: Athletes and Ambassadors


My year-in-review is now up at the Washington Blade. Here is an excerpt:

Military and international. The transition to openly gay military service has gone so smoothly it has generated little news. The fight to end discrimination against transgender service members continues; two dozen have been discharged in the past two years. The First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a lawsuit by Sexual Minorities Uganda against Scott Lively for crimes against humanity can proceed. In diplomatic news, Ted Osius III joined a growing list of openly gay envoys when he was sworn in as ambassador to Vietnam.

Health. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) led 80 senators and House members in urging an end to the lifetime ban on blood donations by men who have had sex with men, calling for science to replace stereotypes. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called for wider use of Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention, despite strong opposition by Michael Weinstein of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. There have been no new HIV infections among more than 500 Kaiser Permanente customers using PrEP. New York and the District of Columbia adopted rules forbidding health insurers from denying medically necessary treatment to transgender people. D.C. joined California and New Jersey in passing legislation banning "ex-gay" conversion therapy for minors.

Media. Schadenfreude was rampant after Sean Eldridge failed in his bid to buy a congressional seat and husband Chris Hughes provoked a mass walkout at The New Republic by sacking top editors. Hughes was faulted for wrecking a century-old magazine in his effort to create a "vertically integrated digital media company," that is, a word salad. Former TNR writer Jamie Kirchick at The Daily Beast dubbed them "America's worst gay power couple," but their youthful hubris and confusion of wealth for wisdom transcend sexual orientation.

Read the whole thing here.

December 30, 2014

Klingenschmitt praises Fayetteville for voting 'against the Devil'

Right Wing Watch reports. He aggressively opposes non-discrimination protections for LGBT people, yet HE is the one being persecuted.

December 29, 2014

Marriage News Watch

Today's update on marriage equality by Matt Baume at AFER.

December 28, 2014

Jane Elliott, in your face on racism

Jane Elliott is interviewed on her approach to teaching about racism, and how white people are conditioned from before birth to believe in white superiority.

Someone this aggressive, who says she doesn't care what people think of her, is just the sort of in-your-face type that some people applaud who want to vent more than win people over. No. You are racist or not based on what you believe and say and do. If you don't know who I have worked with and what I have stood for, yet you "know" I am racist because of my appearance, then you don't know what you are talking about and you don't know the meaning of respect. Respect must be reciprocal in order to exist in any living sense. All must be prepared to listen and learn. This teacher evidently knows a lot about racial conditioning, yet she talks to a person of color as if she doesn't care what he thinks and has nothing to learn from him. What's wrong with this picture?

Some of us objected from an early age to being treated like sheep. We resisted the conditioning. If you say you want to fight racism but refuse to acknowledge that, it raises the question of whether you enjoy being brutally blunt more than changing minds.

The officer who did not turn his back

Kudos to the brave officer who resisted peer pressure and did not turn his back on Mayor de Blasio. He doubtless knows that having "the talk" with one's black son (see Springsteen, "41 Shots") is simply responsible parenting, not advocating violence against police.

December 27, 2014

Joe Califano whitesplains it all for you

(Photo by Yoichi R. Okamoto/LBJ Library)

Joseph Califano, who served as President Johnson's top domestic affairs assistant, slams the new Selma movie in WaPo. He actually claims that "Selma was LBJ’s idea."

Lauren Victoria Burke responds at Crew of 42:

What? In an interesting column in the Washington Post, former LBJ aid Joe Califano claims that it was LBJ who came up with the Selma march. What in the world Califano is talking about is anyone’s guess. Below is the Selma episode of Eyes on the Prize.

December 25, 2014

Addams Family Christmas


Thanks to Denise Van de Weigel for sharing this classic cartoon by Charles Addams for The New Yorker. Now it's time to head to the roof to greet the Christmas carolers.


Eminem kills in The Interview

Rapper Eminem has a cameo in the action comedy The Interview in which he is interviewed by James Franco's character and comes out as gay. This is very funny, enhanced by his deadpan delivery as mayhem erupts in the studio. Seth Rogen and his assistant dancing in gleeful celebration of their scoop is a nice touch.

The Queen's Christmas speech focuses on reconciliation

I do not have a fixation on the British royal family as do some Americans I know. But I have to give Her Majesty credit for delivering a very fine speech this Christmas.

And the tiara goes to....

(Photo by Pete Souza, The White House)

White House photographer Pete Souza writes on Instagram:

Still editing 2014 Year in Photos. I may include this one even though it's a posed photo. This is from the annual White House Science Fair. The kids from Girl Scout Troop 2612 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, convinced the President to wear a tiara with them for their group photo. The girls had exhibited a Lego flood proof bridge project.

Conservatives, of course, won't be able to resist jumping on this image to prove that the President is acting like a king. I suppose it will also be seized upon by conspiracy theorists like former comedian Dick Gregory who say (and I am not making this up) that the President is secretly homosexual. Mister Cool doesn't worry about that stuff. He just brushes it off and goes about his business.

December 24, 2014

Nuestra Terra

National Geographic explains:

Using footage from NASA's Johnson Space Center, filmmaker Fede Castro creates a captivating time-lapse video of Earth from space. In a little over four minutes, "Nuestra Tierra—Our Earth" takes us around the world, sighting major cities and even catching the breathtaking aurora borealis.

At the darkest time of year, it is good to see how magnificent our planet is despite all our efforts to wreck it. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all on the good Earth.

December 23, 2014

Marriage equality cases headed to 8th Circuit, SCOTUS conference

U.S. drops The Gambia from free trade agreement over human rights abuses

The Marquis of Hollywood visits Downton Abbey

It's Christmas at Downton Abbey, and Lord Grantham loses the family fortune again. He decides it would be better had he never been born. An angel appears and shows him an alternate reality in which the Marquis of Hollywood has taken his place. It's a spoof for a charity called Text Santa, and George Clooney makes the Dowager Countess swoon. Part 1 above, Part 2 below.

December 22, 2014

Unity in mourning lost fathers

In the saddest of moments, a glimmer of hope for understanding and reconciliation.

Marriage News Watch

Matt Baume of AFER gives an update on marriage equality fights across the country.

Obama schools GOP hawks and Putin

President Obama, in an interview with CNN's Candy Crowley, makes short work of Russia's Vladimir Putin and Republicans who call him weak on national security.

(Hat tip: Occupy Democrats)

Indict American war criminals, starting with Cheney

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

I agree with The New York Times.

For years I've thought that we cannot be like countries where leaders of the outgoing regime are jailed by the incoming one. The resulting political turmoil would not be worth it. But I am changing my mind. Dick Cheney's brazen, no-apologies trash talk has helped me reconsider. If he had the sense to choose a quiet retirement it might be one thing; but he continues his provocations and his aggressive contempt for international norms to which America is a signatory, and for simple decency. So we got the turmoil anyway. Meanwhile, the lack of justice looms larger. Indict him or give him a one-way ticket to The Hague.

December 21, 2014

Hobbitses on top

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies earned more than $90 million from Wednesday through Sunday.

TLC to Air ‘My Husband’s Not Gay’ Special in January

December 20, 2014

Two police officers killed by ambush in Brooklyn; suspect dead by his own hand

NYT reports the awful news.

I agree with Jeffrey Wright. Citizens and police must stand together against violence and for justice for all. Otherwise madmen, provocateurs, and sociopaths will rule the day. My heart goes out to the families of the slain officers, and all who are the victims of senseless violence.

December 19, 2014

Taliban's massacre of schoolchildren in Peshawar

The massacre by Taliban members at a school in Peshawar, Pakistan a few days ago is so shocking I hardly know what to say. I provide the video above of Malala Yousafzai, who received her Nobel Peace Prize only days earlier. Defeating fanatics who are proud of killing children will not be easy. I am glad at least that the atrocity has united Pakistanis against the Taliban. It will be a hard struggle. Below are related articles from Time.