This is a good thing. The disgraceful hate-mongering over it by Donald Trump shames our nation. America has done much to worsen the situation in the Middle East. Taking in families fleeing the devastation and chaos is the very least we can do. When people so vehemently object to this humanitarian action, it is clear that American exceptionalism means never facing the consequences of America's projection of power around the world. If that is what greatness is all about, we should have no part of it.
About that exoplanet orbiting Proxima Centauri, our sun's closest stellar neighbor: as @SciAm notes below, it may not be habitable.
Olympic silver medalist Feyisa Lilesa cannot safely return to Ethiopia because of his brave protest against his government's brutal oppression of the Oromo people. I have an Oromo friend who has been sending me firsthand reports of the government violence. It is sickening. If Lilesa wants to come to America, we should welcome him.
Our friend Ernest Hopkins comments:
Wow, as if his disingenuous speech to the 'African American' community wasn't enough, now we see his staff, priming the pump for the racists. It's pretty bad.
Gee, how can you resist a pitch like this: Your schools are crap, you live in squalor, you have no jobs and your kids are in prison! Let's be honest: this is not really aimed at black folks. No one with more dignity than Stepin Fetchit would buy that. Since he is so ignorant, someone should sit him down and tell him about Black Wall Street. About generations of struggle. About everyone from Nat Turner to Clementa Pinckney. About Madam C.J. Walker, Charles Drew, George Washington Carver, and Katherine Johnson. About the self-educated ex slave who became the most powerful speaker in our history. About the courage and discipline that sustained a bus boycott 60 years ago for more than a year despite threats and bombings. Tell him what Barack Obama has had to overcome to function as president. Tell him about Oak Bluffs. If he didn't treat African Americans like exotica, if he actually met with and listened to them, he might have picked up some of this stuff.
I do not believe in divine punishment, since I don't believe in a divinity. But Tony Perkins does believe in it, or so one conclude from what he says.
Looking dazed, 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh wiped the blood and debris on the seat. "He wasn’t crying at all." https://t.co/SBq6o2ErA5— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) August 18, 2016
The job of a photojournalist is not a comfortable desk job. By its nature it often puts a photog in harm's way, or close to suffering, to capture a story in one striking image. You and I can gaze at this remarkable photo at a safe remove, but not the photographer. The Syrian child covered in dust and blood is 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh, and the photographer is Mahmoud Raslan. Without such images, we would avoid confronting the horrors of war even more than we do.
It became official yesterday, August 15: Vincent Orange is gone from the D.C. Council. This City Paper article from 2010 shows some of the reasons why I consider this good news. In addition to having called his rival mayoral candidates in 2006 morally unfit for supporting marriage equality (he lost badly in that race), he falsely took credit for reforms at Pepco (and wrongly invoked my name while doing so).
Orange did some good things, though one bill he moved for us he only did after another Councilmember (I believe it was Jack Evans) held up one of his bills until Orange marked up the bill we wanted. Orange finally decided to support marriage equality after we had won. But he was the least trustworthy member of the Council, and his self-promotion was endless and exhausting. Democratic At-Large nominee Robert White, who is expected to be appointed to the vacant seat on an interim basis, will be a breath of fresh air on the Council.
Breaking: D.C. Police chief stepping down for NFL security post https://t.co/ifRPkYpt5s— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) August 16, 2016
D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier's departure comes after nearly ten years in the job. We have had our ups and downs, but a variety of LGBT community groups, including GLAA, have engaged with her and other MPD brass to address police-related concerns. Already today I and several other local advocates were contacted by the Mayor's Office of LGBTQ Affairs for input on the occasion of Chief Lanier's departure.
That outreach by Mayor Muriel Bowser's office is a welcome contrast with the lack of outreach by former Mayor Adrian Fenty ten years ago. Fenty had explicitly stated, in response to GLAA's 2006 candidate questionnaire, "I will include members of the GLBT community in the search process when I appoint a new Police Chief and new Fire/EMS Chief." But in the event, his entire process evidently consisted of inviting Cathy Lanier to breakfast and offering her the job. Mayor Bowser has already done better than that on the day Chief Lanier's departure was announced.
We hope that the new police chief will continue working with the LGBT activists and groups that have worked with Lanier. A key document in this regard, which deserves close study by the new chief, is the March 2015 "Report Card: Status of Metropolitan Police Department Implementation of Recommendations from the Hate Crimes Assessment Task Force and Community Response," which was issued by a coalition of groups including GLAA as well as Casa Ruby, The DC Center for the LGBT Community, DC Trans Coalition (DCTC), Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (now the DC Anti-Violence Project), HIPS, and Rainbow Response Coalition (RRC).
In May 2015, I discussed LGBT-related police issues at a press conference launching Communities Against Law Enforcement Misconduct (CALM).
If Mayor Bowser and her staff continue their consultations in the manner they began today, the selection process for a new police chief promises to be a productive one. In the meantime, we thank Chief Lanier for her service and wish her well in her new post.
BREAKING: Marion Christopher Barry, son of former mayor, has died from a drug overdose, according to family.https://t.co/Kd9bn2YwjU— NBCWashington (@nbcwashington) August 14, 2016
I learned this awful, shocking news early Sunday morning from my friend Ronald King, who recently worked with Christopher on community outreach in Ward 8. Like so many others, I was rooting for this young man's healing. I met him last year during the special election, and found him very affable, though I was concerned that those who pushed him to run were exploiting him and not helping him. May he rest in peace. Condolences to his family and friends, and to all who did try to help him, who will be especially hurting today. It is so hard to free others of their demons. As Ronald wrote, may we redouble our efforts against the scourge of drug addiction in our communities. What a sad day. There was so much life ahead for him.