The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

March 11, 2014
by terrance
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Digest for March 10th through March 11th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for March 10th through March 11th:

March 10, 2014
by terrance
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Digest for March 5th through March 10th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for March 5th through March 10th:

  • WATCH: One Gay Man’s Touching Plea for Equality in Utah – Gay Utah native Justin Utley shares his heartbreaking story of loss and workplace discrimination at a meeting with state lawmakers and officials.
  • New law drives Uganda’s embattled LGBT community deeper into the shadows – With a World Bank scholarship and top grades in the first year of her masters degree in agriculture, 27-year-old Cleo Kambugu should be well on the road to her goal of an academic career in Uganda.

    Instead, she’s working out how to leave after the passing of a law that toughens prison sentences for homosexuality and a tabloid campaign to “out” gays.

  • How a Gay Grandparent will Lovingly Raise Black Boys – Anthony Carter feels his biggest challenge will be protecting their innocence and encouraging others to believe that black children have innocence and it is worth protecting.
  • One Thing Christians Should Stop Saying – Is material fortune really a sign of God’s blessing? Scott Dannemiller thinks Christians should stop saying so.
  • How Aid to the Poor Is Also an Investment – Aid to the poor may seem like classic near-term consumption boosters, yet they have have impacts that last into adulthood for children whose families receive them, an economist writes.
  • Let Them Eat Dignity – Whenever conservatives start throwing around ideas like "dignity" and talking about the contents of people's souls, watch out. Because it almost always means that what they're proposing is to make the lives of the vulnerable a little tougher and a little more deprived. This'll hurt you more than it hurts them.
  • Black Twitter: An online force to be reckoned with – Black Twitter is not a special website or a smartphone app. The hashtag #blacktwitter itself won’t necessarily lead you to it. It doesn’t exactly stick out among the trending topics on Twitter, even though it’s been known to cause a topic or two to trend. It is not exclusively black — there are blacks who don’t participate in it, and people of other races who do.
  • Dalai Lama Opens Senate Session With Prayer – The Dalai Lama has opened the Senate with prayer.

    With nearly a dozen senators listening raptly, the Dalai Lama said that if you speak or act with a pure mind, happiness will follow. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid thanked the Dalai Lama for his prayers and words of encouragement.

  • Holy Crap – Pope Francis suggests he's open to civil unions for gay and lesbian couples.
  • One Good Reason Why Steve McQueen Did Not Cheer for Screenwriter John Ridley’s Oscar Win—and Nor Should You – '12 Years a Slave' screenwriter once wrote a screed blaming black people for their problems.

March 5, 2014
by terrance
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Digest for March 4th through March 5th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for March 4th through March 5th:

March 3, 2014
by terrance
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Somebodies, Nobodies & The Web As The Great Equalizer

I’m not sure I agree with this expert entirely, especially in this particular situation.

I think a lot of what Robert W. Fuller has written about “Somebodies and Nobodies,” and what he calls “rankism” applies here. In a sense, Kelly Blazek“pulled rank” on Diana Mekota. Blazek made it clear that she was a “somebody.” Mekota was a “nobody” who clearly “forgot her place,” and Blazek was too happy to put her back in it.

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March 3, 2014
by terrance
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Digest for February 26th through March 3rd

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for February 26th through March 3rd:

February 26, 2014
by terrance
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Digest for February 25th through February 26th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for February 25th through February 26th:

  • Survey: Tolerance for gays, lesbians rises rapidly – Support among Americans has jumped 21% in ten years.
  • U.S. hate groups declining – Far-right extremist groups had been on the rise, particularly in reaction to President Obama's election in 2008 and the financial crisis around the same time. But now, hate group prevalence is taking a downward turn, according to a report released Tuesday.
  • White House Meeting Turns Into a Lightning Round for Obama and Boehner – President Obama and Speaker John A. Boehner met to discuss a long list of issues, and aides to both men called the rare meeting constructive, but offered no evidence that gridlock is over.
  • Arizona Swims against the Tide of Growing Equality – Once again, Arizona is on the brink of taking a giant leap backward. This time it’s picking the wrong side in the fight for LGBT equality.
  • The Way Forward: Tax and Spend – President Barack Obama has signaled that he’s had it with all that talk about America being broke and the belt-tightening austerity measures that went along with it. His proposed budget for the 2015 fiscal year will reflect this reality.

    You know what he should try? A tax-and–spend strategy.

  • Texas Gay Marriage Ban Ruled Unconstitutional By Federal Judge – U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled Wednesday that Texas' ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, the Houston Chronicle and the Dallas Morning News report.
  • I’m embarrassed by Ted Nugent – When did conservatives become prisoners to idiotic vulgarity? I ask that question as someone who self-defines as conservative and who is sick and tired of being embarrassed by Ted Nugent.
  • Sorry haters, Jason Collins and Michael Sam coming out matters – Of all the irritating reactions to a public figure coming out, the most frustrating for me is, “If you wanna be gay, be gay, but stop telling us about it.”

    People often make the mistake of assuming their opinion on a given issue applies to the majority. This is a self-involved way to look at things and unless you’re Mariah Carey, you don’t get to live on your private planet.

  • Where Does the Tea Party Find These People? – Why is someone like Milton Wolf (tea partier and poster of photos of corpses) running for Senate in the first place?
  • Okay-to-discriminate laws rocket to the top of the Republican agenda – Allowing businesses to refuse to serve gay customers for religious reasons appears to be the latest Republican legislative craze, sweeping the states.

February 24, 2014
by terrance
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Digest for February 18th through February 24th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for February 18th through February 24th:

  • The GOP’s Real Ted Nugent Problem – If conservatives want to be media stars tomorrow, they’ve got to get to work today.
  • Leonard Pitts Jr.: More silliness from Kansas | Opinion | McClatchy DC – "Discrimination," he said, "is horrible. It's hurtful. It has no place in civilized society …"

    You would think that statement, delivered recently in the Kansas legislature, a noble sentiment no right-thinking person could argue with. But we are gathered here today to argue with it.

  • Black vs. white man breaking into car – Two friends decide to do a prank that show what happens when a white man and a black man break into a car.
  • 5 Myths About Introverts and Extraverts at Work – People increasingly recognize that being an introvert comes with strengths, not only vulnerabilities.
  • How Slavery Led To Modern Capitalism – The story we tell about slavery is almost always regional, rather than national. We remember it as a cruel institution of the southern states that would later secede from the Union. Slavery, in this telling, appears limited in scope, an unfortunate detour on the nation's march to modernity, and certainly not the engine of American economic prosperity.

    Yet to understand slavery's centrality to the rise of American capitalism, just consider the history of an antebellum Alabama dry-goods outfit called Lehman Brothers or a Rhode Island textile manufacturer that would become the antecedent firm of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

  • More Homophobia in Africa, This Week in Gambia – Gambia’s president calls gays “vermin” to be fought like malaria-carrying mosquitoes; demographics alone won’t beat the tea party, contrary to Democrats’ beliefs; meanwhile, journalist Glenn Greenwald laments the state of society and discusses his new media venture.
  • It is homophobia, not homosexuality, that is alien to traditional African culture – Gay rights are in crisis across Africa, yet diverse sexual practices and identities have always existed in these societies
  • What Indiana may tell us about the GOP’s marriage equality fatigue – Ted Cruz and Republicans in Utah and Oklahoma may be digging in on their opposition to marriage equality, but they may be (or may soon be) outliers on the issue.
  • Ten Quotes to Celebrate Audre Lorde’s Birthday – Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet Audre Lorde was born 80 years ago today. Here are 10 of Lorde's many quotes–feel free to add your favorite in the comments section!

February 21, 2014
by terrance
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Clarence Thomas, Jordan Davis, And America’s “Sensitivity” About Race, Pt. 2

Even before Michael Dunn encountered Jordan Davis and his friends, he was primed to see young black men as dangerous “thugs” to be eliminated, and empowered by right-wing culture to believe he had the absolute right to do so.

“You Are Not Going Talk To Me Like That”

What happened the night Michael Dunn killed Jordan Davis depends on whose story one believes. Dunn’s fiancé Rhonda Rouen went inside the gas station, while Dunn waited in the car. At some point, Dunn asked the young men in the Durango to turn their music down. Tevin Thompson complied, but turned it back up again when Davis objected

Dunn and Davis began arguing. At some point, Davis pointed his finger at Dunn and said, “Fuck you!” To which Dunn replied, “Are you talking to me?” Another person who walked out of the store heard Dunn say, “You are not going to talk to me like that,” before the shooting started.

The argument reached its climax when Dunn retrieved his gun from his glovebox, pointed it at where Davis was sitting, and started shooting. Tommie Stornes put the Durango in reverse, and sped away. Dunn exited his car and continued firing at the Durango. Stornes stopped in an adjacent parking lot, 100 yards from the gas station. The other three teens got out of the car and checked on Davis, and then returned to the gas station to call for help.

From there, the stories part ways. Witness and expert testimony, however, contradict Dunn’s version of events. There’s no doubt that Michael Dunn killed Jordan Davis. But why did Michael Dunn kill Jordan Davis?

Who is Michael Dunn?

Dunn’s comment to his fiancé that he hated the “thug” music coming out of the Durango hints that even before he encountered  with Davis, Dunn was primed to see young black men as dangerous “thugs,” whose mere presence was a threat. Dunn’s jailhouse letters and communications after his arrest cement the picture of Dunn as a man with a deep fear, loathing, and even hatred for young black men

Before the verdict, Dunn’s lawyer said at a press conference that the murder of Jordan Davis was “not about race,” but was instead about what his client would call a “a subculture-thug issue.” Yet, Dunn’s jailhouse letters revealed how much race and “culture” were inextricably linked in Dunn’s thinking.

In a letter from jail, Dunn attempts to draw a distinction between race and “culture.”

“I’m really not prejudiced against race, but I have no use for certain cultures. This gangster-rap, ghetto talking thug ‘culture’ that certain segments of society flock to is intolerable. They espouse violence and disrespect towards women. The black community here in Jacksonville is in an uproar against me — the 3 other thugs that were in the car are telling stories to cover up their true ‘colors.”

The ease with which he leapt from the “thug culture” to “the black community in Jacksonville,” suggests that race and “culture” are intertwined and interchangeable in Dunn’s thinking. How can it be otherwise? Culture comes from people, after all. Damning a culture as inferior is a short step from also damning the people from whom it originated.

Dunn was even more explicit in a letter to his grandmother.

The jail is full of blacks and they all act like thugs. This may sound a bit radical but if more people would arm themselves and kill these (expletive) idiots, when they’re threatening you, eventually they may take the hint and change their behavior.

In other letters, Dunn states that the jail population is “90 percent black,” as if to bolster his point about blacks and “thug culture.” He complains of being locked up with “these animals,” that the “liberal media” is painting him as the bad guy, and that the press is “ignoring black on black crime,” and persecuting him because he’s white. In a phone call with Rouen, Dunn even compared himself with a rape victim, complaining that the police were blaming him for the shooting when he was only defending himself.

In a letter to Rouen, Dunn worried about getting a mostly black jury.

The fear is that we may get a predominately black jury and therefore, unlikely to get a favorable verdict. Sad, but that’s where this country is still at. The good news is that the surrounding counties are predominately white and Republican and supporters of gun rights.”

Even without knowing Dunn’s politics, his thinking aligns with perfectly tea partiers who believe that whites are more persecuted than blacks.

During the trial, Dunn’s attorney called a handful of character witnesses who testified to Dunn’s “calm demeanor” and said they’d never known him to be violent. Dunn’s attorney said during a press conference that his client had never been enraged or accused of racism. In response, the Davis family’s attorney released a videotaped statement from Charles Hendrix, who was Dunn’s neighbor for eight years.

In the 35-minute interview, Hendrix describes Dunn’s violent behavior, insurance fraud, cocaine use, and bragging about putting a hit on someone. Hendrix said that some of Dunn’s former wives came to him with bruises and swollen lips, saying that Dunn had put guns to their heads and  threatened to kill them. Two of Dunn’s wives told Hendrix that Dunn threatened to get them deported, and said they would never see their children again.

But what’s most relevant to the murder of Jordan Davis is the portrait of Dunn as a man who could become enraged and violent when someone said, “No,” to him.

He had an air, where he was light and friendly and he laughed, but uh, if you disagreed with him he would get boisterous, and try to intimidate people with his size or his voice. Very arrogant. There wasn’t much he wouldn’t do to get his way.

Hendrix also portrayed Dunn as someone who was armed and spoiling for a fight.

Did I ever hear him say he wanted to shoot somebody? Not directly. But several times he did make comments like “I can’t wait for somebody to try something with me when I have my gun!” I’m the type of person that that’s the last thing that I would be contemplating. I don’t want to have a confrontation with anybody when I have a gun, anybody that does is predisposed, in my opinion, to kill somebody. If you’re looking for confrontations just because you have a gun? There’s no question in my mind that people that are looking for confrontations when they have a gun, Someday, they’re going to find it. When I heard about this situation with Michael Dunn I was like “There you go, I KNEW it. Sooner or later he was gonna kill somebody.”

“Thug” Culture and Racial Sensitivity

Dunn’s attorney is right and wrong. The murder of Jordan Davis, and  Michael Dunn’s trial for Davis’ murder are both about culture, but they’re also about race. Testimony about his “calm demeanor” aside, the level of murderous rage and violence Michael Dunn exhibited doesn’t come out of nowhere. Their seeds are planted and nurtured until they yield deadly fruit.

Michael Dunn arrived at the gas station already armed with a worldview formed and informed by two different right-wing cultures or subcultures. The first, as Paul Waldman writes, is an American gun culture where, “so many gun owners have in their heads a dangerous fantasy about what the world is like and what role they play in that world.” They are the one’s who believe it’s imperative that they can take their guns almost anywhere — churches, bars, coffee shops, etc. — because they believe violence is likely to happen anywhere, and they are the only ones who can stop it.

There’s also a subculture on the American right, that’s closely related to the gun culture, in which the fantasy of killing urban minorities in self defense is prevalent. It’s not secret or hidden, either. It manifested most recently in the conservative smear campaign against Trayvon Martin, designed to paint Martin as a drug dealer and violent “thug,” who probably got what he had coming to him. It slipped into the mainstream of conservative media in rants like this one from Neal Boortz (the same guy who said Katrina cleared New Orleans of human debris) about crime in Atlanta:

 This town is starting to look like a garbage heap. And we got too damn many urban thugs, yo, ruining the quality of life for everybody. And I’ll tell you what it’s gonna take. You people, you are – you need to have a gun. You need to have training. You need to know how to use that gun. You need to get a permit to carry that gun. And you do in fact need to carry that gun and we need to see some dead thugs littering the landscape in Atlanta. We need to see the next guy that tries to carjack you shot dead right where he stands. We need more dead thugs in this city. And let their — let their mommas — let their mommas say, “He was a good boy. He just fell in with the good crowd.” And then lock her ass up.

It’s no coincidence that in one of his jailhouse letters Michael Dunn almost echoes Boortz’s call for more “dead thugs” “littering the landscape.”

Clarence Thomas complained that Americans are too “sensitive” about race. Michael Dunn was sensitive about race and ready for a confrontation. He parked right next to the Durango, after complaining about the “thug” music pouring from it, instead of choosing a parking space further away. He didn’t move his car or join his fiancé inside, to escape the music or a potential confrontation. He made sure there would be one.

Davis defied Dunn’s request to turn the music down, and cursed him out as well. It was too much that this “thug,” in Dunn’s eyes, dared to say no to him, and then “dissed” him so loudly and publicly. This “thug,” this “animal,” was not going to talk to Michael Dunn that way.

If Michael Dunn felt threatened, it’s because he was primed to see “dangerous black kids” everywhere he looked. But fear wasn’t what drove Michael Dunn to shoot nine to ten bullets at a fleeing car full of unarmed teenagers.

The only thug at that Jacksonville gas station the night Jordan Davis was murdered was Michael Dunn — armed, and empowered by right-wing subcultures, and nurtured on deadly brand of racial “sensitivity.”

February 20, 2014
by terrance
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Clarence Thomas, Jordan Davis, And America’s “Sensitivity” About Race, Pt. 1

Clarence Thomas is renowned for his silence during proceedings in the Supreme Court. When he does speak, he reveals himself as utterly vacuous and oblivious to anything resembling reality. Thomas latest comments on race are a supreme example.

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During a recent appearance at Palm Beach Atlantic University, Clarence Thomas said that Americans are too “sensitive” about race. “My sadness is that we are probably today more race and difference-conscious than I was in the 1960s when I went to school,” Thomas said to students. Thomas said that race “rarely” came up while he was growing up in Savannah, GA, and challenged students to, “Name a day it doesn’t come up.”

Thomas either forgot or neglected to mention that the reason race “rarely came up,” was because southern blacks paid dearly for bringing it up. Booker Wright paid the price for talking about life in a racist society during a brief appearance in the 1966 documentary, Mississippi: A Self Portrait.

The only thing more astounding than what Thomas said is where he was when he said it. The murder of unarmed,17-year-old black youth Trayvon Martin and the  acquittal of his killer, George Zimmerman, made Florida the poster-child for the poisonous combination of racial profiling and “Stand Your Ground” laws.

Florida was thrust into the spotlight again this month, when Michael Dunn went on trial in the shooting death of Jordan Davis, another unarmed, 17-year-old, black youth, whose only offense was playing “loud music” and refusing to turn it down. This week, a jury found Dunn guilty of three counts of attempted second-degree murder for trying to kill the other young men who were with Davis, but not for actually killing Davis.

The murder of Jordan Davis, and a jury’s failure to convict his killer, speaks volumes about the true state of America’s racial sensitivity, and indifference to the lives of young black men.

Who Was Jordan Davis?

Jordan Davis would have turned 19-years-old last Sunday. As Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote after the verdict, Jordan Davis had a mother and father. Like any 17-year-old on the verge of adulthood, Jordan Davis had dreams and he had problems.

Davis first lived with his mother. He went to a private Christian school, and his mother home-schooled him from fourth grade to eight grade. He loved roller skating, was also an excellent swimmer, and studied tae kwon do for 4 and a half years. When he entered eight grade, Davis went to live with his father, because his parents felt he needed stronger discipline. Davis complained about the discipline, but by the 11th grade, Jordan’s grades picked up, and he became more popular at school.

Davis was just growing out of obstreperous adolescence and into manhood. He developed a love for basketball, and even though he wasn’t very good, Davis played as hard as anyone else. “He had that tenacity, that drive” said his best friend Lloyd Haynes. Davis also had plans. He joined the Air Force ROTC in high school, and excelled. He was leaning towards a career in the military, and talked of joining the Marines after being mentored by a cousin who was a Marine.

All of Jordan Davis’ dreams and plans came to an abrupt end on November 23, 2012.

“I Hate That ‘Thug’ Music”

On November 23, 2012, Jordan Davis and his friends — Tevin Thompson, Leland Brunson and Tommie Stornes — were preparing for a night out. After hanging out a mall in Jacksonville, the young men stopped at a gas station around 7:30 p.m., to buy cigarettes and gum. Stornes parked his red Dodge Durango, and went inside to make the purchases. Thompson, Brunson, and Davis waited in the car.

Davis, Thompson, and Brunson listened to music while they waited. The friends were engaged in the time-honored teenage pastime of driving around and listening to loud music that annoys older people, who inevitably shout “Turn that music down.” The genre was hip-hop, the song was “Beef” by Lil Reese, and the volume was  loud enough to shake the windows and mirrors of the Durango.

While Stornes was in the store, 45-year-old Michael Dunn and his fiancé, Rhonda Rouer, arrived at the gas station. As they pulled into the parking lot, Dunn used a racially charged word to complain about the music pouring from the Durango. Rouer testified that Dunn said to her, “I hate that thug music,” as they pulled into the parking lot and heard the music.

“Thug,” as Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said, is “an accepted way of calling somebody the N-word now.” Sherman should know. In 25 years, he rose from Compton to Stanford University to the NFL. But it took just 29 seconds for Sherman to become a “thug” in the eye of millions. After beating the San Francisco 49ers for the NFC championship, Sherman appeared to rant wildly during a post-game interview with Fox Sports Erin Andrews.

The reaction was instant, and Americans’ “sensitivity” to race was in full effect. Twitter was ablaze with comments. The following Monday, “thug” was used more than 600 times on American television — more than any other day in the past three years.

Sherman was vindicated, when it was revealed what took place before Sherman’s interview with Andrews. Sherman sealed the Seahawks victory when he intercepted a pass to San Francisco wide receiver Michael Crabtree, with just 22 seconds left in the game. Afterwards, Sherman ran up to Crabtree and said, “Hell of a game,” and extended his hand. Crabtree responded by pushing Sherman’s face mask. Erin Andrews approached Sherman for an interview just seconds later.

Just as so many were ready to label Sherman as a “thug,” without knowing anything about him, Michael Dunn was primed to see Jordan Davis and his friends as “thugs” long before their fatal meeting that night in November. In Dunn’s mind, the site of an SUV full of young black men, represented a threat that put him on high alert.

February 17, 2014
by terrance
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Digest for February 17th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for February 17th from 10:19 to 10:24:

  • Michael Sam Didn’t Get Here on His Own – Before Michael Sam was known to the world as an openly gay football player — before the sports pundits debated his upcoming NFL draft stock, before his future teammates and opponents publicly fretted over their locker room showers, before he became a hero of the nation's top gay rights organizations — there was the dinner party in Los Angeles.
  • How One Brown Student Shut Down The NRA – One morning last month, Rhode Islanders woke up to the news that the National Rifle Association had been charged with the second-largest campaign finance ethics violation in state history. In a settlement reached by the Rhode Island Board of Elections, the NRA admitted that it improperly funneled money from its national Political Action Committee (or "PAC") to the Rhode Island-specific PAC, illegal under state law. The PAC was fined a historic $63,000.

    What the stories didn’t reveal? That the NRA’s wrongdoing, the record fine, and the shuttering of the NRA’s Rhode Island PAC was the result of the initial hunch of one person: Brown University student Sam Bell.

  • Dear GOP: Top 5 Biblical Marriage Moments far worse than Gay Marriage – Ancient scripture can be a source of higher values and spiritual strength, but any time you in a literal-minded way impose specific legal behavior because of it, you’re committing anachronism. Since this is the case, fundamentalists are always highly selective, trying to impose parts of the scripture on us but conveniently ignoring the parts even they can’t stomach as modern persons.
  • No Pill’s Gonna Cure GOP ill – So far, Republicans have failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act. But 21 GOP-controlled states rejected the Act’s provision extending Medicaid to additional low-income people. They’ve refused to expand Medicaid coverage, even though this will cost their states tens of billions in federal aid and will cost untold numbers of their citizens their lives.
  • “Taking food out of people’s mouths”: How Norquist-style austerity slams HIV patients – When austerity proponents like Grover Norquist push for more and more cuts, there are real-world effects on some of our nation's most vulnerable populations. Following recent sequester cuts, 85 percent of AIDS organizations saw their budgets reduced even as 79 percent saw their clients increase, according to a fall survey from the AIDS Institute. Last month, Congress increased Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program funding to $70 million above sequestration levels — still $24 million below the Fiscal Year 2013 rate.
  • CNN Falsely Claims Stand Your Ground Played No Role In Trial For Jordan Davis’ Killer – The news network ignores the frequent comparisons to George Zimmerman's killing of Trayvon Martin.
  • Guns and the Thug Life – This case is, of course about race, which we'll get to in a moment. But it's also about—to use a word that crops up repeatedly in Michael Dunn's written comments—a culture. It's a culture where manhood must continually be proven, where every disagreement is a test of strength, and where in the end, your fellow human beings are only waiting to kill you, so you'd better draw first.

February 12, 2014
by terrance
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The First Openly Gay Eagle Scout May Soon Be Out Of Scouting

As of  Monday night, a Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly,courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty,brave, clean, reverent, gay, and can even achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. Unbeknownst to me, sometime last night Boy Scout Troop 52 announced that 17-year-old Pascal Tessier had earned the rank of Eagle Scout. With that, Tessier became one of the first, if not the first, openly gay scouts to achieve Scouting’s highest rank, since the Boy Scouts changed their policy on gay scouts.

Unfortunately, Tessier will turn 18 in August. That means he will soon be prohibited from participating in Scouting, based on that same policy.

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February 10, 2014
by terrance
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Digest for February 6th through February 10th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for February 6th through February 10th:

  • How I Wish Locker Room Conversations Would Go – Just one time I’d like to walk in on a group of guys having a conversation like this:

    “Hey, guess what? I was up late last night with Melanie. She was going through some family problems, and needed me to be there for her.”

    “Hell yea man! Emotional sensitivity with no ulterior motives, that’s what I’m talking about!”

  • Straight America’s gay baggage: Why Michael Sam matters – About four years before I came out as queer, a high school teacher asked our class how many of us would be comfortable changing in front of a gay person. I don’t think anyone raised their hand. I’m sure I didn’t.

    That squirmy high school moment came to mind when I saw ESPN analyst and ex-NFL player and coach Herm Edwards, in response to Michael Sam’s coming out, compare him to “a player that has some issues, off the field issues” who’s “bringing baggage into your locker room.”

  • The Vast Shredding of America’s Moral Fiber – The only silver lining for the extended debate over extended unemployment insurance is that we are getting a good clear look at the standard conservative mindset about wealth and poverty, and fortune and misfortune. Paul Krugman calls it "hard-hearted and soft-headed."
  • The NFL Will Never Be ‘Ready’ for an Openly Gay Player – Powerful interests are rarely "ready" for change, so much as they are assaulted by it. We refer to barriers being "broken" for a reason. The reason is not because great powers generally like to unbar the gates and hold a picnic in the honor of the previously excluded.
  • How Many More Tragedies Does It Take Before We Stop Turning Our Backs on Mental Illness? – Onset of serious mental illness in late teens and early twenties is very common and often shocking to the families that experience it. The medical community knows this; researchers know this; millions of families know this and yet we wait for the topic to find its time while millions try to cope. Surely we can do better.

February 6, 2014
by terrance
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Digest for February 3rd through February 6th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for February 3rd through February 6th:

February 5, 2014
by terrance
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Chris Christie’s Super Bowl Fumble

With the first ever “Mass Transit Super Bowl” happening in his state, New Jersey governor Chris Christie had two jobs: Make the trains run on time, and make sure New Jersey benefited. What actually happened is a classic example of conservative failure.

“Jersey Sucks!”

Chris Christie was certainly proud to host the Super Bowl. On Thursday, Christie made his first public appearance to talk about the Super Bowl — at a Boys & Girls Club that received a $1.2 million makeover, care of the National Football League and corporate donors. New York City may have hosted Super Bowl Week, but Christie reminded everyone where the game itself would be played.

Things went downhill from there. Christie woke up to damning headlines on Saturday morning.

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February 3, 2014
by terrance
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Digest for January 27th through February 3rd

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for January 27th through February 3rd: