Friday, October 29, 2010

My ultimate jacket

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted a WW II bomber jacket. Well, yesterday I got one!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Can’t Keep a Bad Idea Down -

I don’t often agree with Thomas Friedman but here is one where he’s clearly gotten things right.

A dysfunctional political system is one that knows the right answers but can’t even discuss them rationally, let alone act on them, and one that devotes vastly more attention to cable TV preachers than to recommendations by its best scientists and engineers. (Thomas Friedman)

Can’t Keep a Bad Idea Down -

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The fault is in ourselves

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

(William Shakespeare -- Julius Caesar)

                When I came out in the late 80’s/early 90’s and first encountered where Left-thought was headed due to the influence of post-modernism I was concerned but felt, at the time, that I lacked the intellectual chops to rail against it intelligently. Here I was, a high school graduate and former soldier, just starting my academic career and I was being taught by people who had imbibed fully the teachings of Foucalt and Baudrillard. I was trying to wade through post-modernist thinkers, struck by how truly awful much of their writing was and that which I could understand seemed to have very little to do with life on this planet with our species even though it was nominally a critique of how we build and enforce culture. So I picked up my keyboard and moved over to the world of the hard sciences where, at least, there was still an acknowledgement that such a thing as ‘facts’ existed in the world and one could be on some kind of firmer intellectual ground. That was two decades ago. My eyes have drank in countless words since then and they have percolated in my brain all this time. I have learned the art of intellectual discipline and no longer see myself as a hopeless rube with a mind that is still ‘colonized’ by the ‘hegemonic’. We on the Left screwed up. We blew it and we do so spectacularly. While I’m not going to let the Right-wing off the hook--this mess is as much theirs as it is ours--they are not my primary concern except that as a Liberal I need to ready and able to counter-balance Conservatives. As Liberals or Progressives or what-have-you, we have not been at all effective at doing so.

        We made two errors and they are entwined together. One is more philosophical although it has had a negative impact on our strategy and one is more strategic although its underpinnings are certainly philosophical. The former is epistemic relativism and the latter is identity politics. Before this post is finished I hope to demonstrate that these two memes form a double-helix which has served to direct the development of Left-leaning thought to its detriment. Epistemic relativism has given the Left moral blinders and caused us to turn away from most of what is noblest about Liberalism. What’s more, it has created a trap that Conservatives--who went to the same schools as Liberals until recently--have exploited; to wit, the idea that if you believe something to be true then it is True and so any reality that anyone believes must be ‘respected’. Identity politics has turned us into ideologically-driven blowfish, ready to puff up at a moment’s notice over even the most trivial of slights or slips. One result of this is that we are ready to call racism on a hair-trigger which has allowed racists to become immune to the accusation and, as the 2010 Republican primary showed, a badge of honor. Another is that in making being a woman, or a queer, or a person of color a matter of essence we have managed to meet racism and sexism coming the other way! Things in America specifically and the West generally have gotten serious. Deadly serious. More than at any time in the last half-century, America needs a strong and intellectually powerful Left to counter the forces of plutocracy, fascism and theocracy that are converging on the body politic. Political and intellectual movements cannot, by necessity, turn on a dime but if we are to be effective in countering what appears to be coming down the track we must try to change the memes we use--first in speaking to one another and, more importantly, speaking to the general public.

        I’ll take identity politics first. It is the more pernicious and the more ambiguous of the cases. I say that because while epistemic relativism has very little to recommend it, identity politics does make some sense. Identity actually matters. It would be entirely foolish of me to suggest that my experience of America, as a black, butch lesbian, is identical to the experience of my buddy, Ogre, who is a big bear of a straight, white man. The problem with identity politics was put very trenchantly by Nick Cohen in his book “What’s Left” when he wrote;

        To generalize, the idea that a homosexual black woman should have the same rights as a heterosexual white man was replaced by a relativism which took the original and hopeful challenge of the early feminist, gay and anti-racist movements and flipped it over. Homosexuality, blackness and womanhood became separate cultures that couldn’t be criticized or understood by outsiders applying universal criteria. Nor, by extension, could any other culture even if it was the culture of fascism, religious tyranny, wife burning or suicide bombing.

Later, Cohen states that the Left--in breaking with our Enlightenment ancestors--adopted the position of the Ancien Regime which was that ‘ men and women have the ability to transcend their circumstances and culture.’ Think about that for a moment. The position of conservatism, certainly in America, is that women are women and, as such, are constrained by gender from being proficient at certain kinds of tasks; blacks are blacks and, as such, have certain kinds of talents (sports, entertainment) while lacking certain other kinds of talents (logic, rationality, mathematics). While conservatism must give a nod to the idea of individualism, it views those of us who are black or women who defy the stereotype as the exception that proves the general rule. To the degree that conservatism concerns itself overly much with issues of equality, its concern is for the exceptions and not for the general population that fall under the same stereotype. It was once the case that part of what separated liberals from conservatives was that liberals had a belief that bordered on religious that one’s gender, race, or other circumstances of background did not define what one’s capacities were and that if society leveled the playing field, the talents of those considered inferior would be loosed to the benefit of all. No longer. Now I am supposed to bring certain talents and skills to the table as a black woman but they are constrained by those two adjectives. We might, for good measure, add that my being a butch lesbian brings two more sets of expectations but those four adjectives pretty much define the axis around which my talents and skills can be located. So when people find out that I’m a physical science (biomedical informatics) major they are genuinely surprised. When they find out that my worldview is entirely naturalistic they are shocked. My commitment to rationality and reason upset the apple cart of their expectations of what a black woman ‘should’ be. Keep in mind I am talking about liberals and other people ostensibly of the Left.

        If conservatives were less likely to be ruthlessly and gleefully Machiavellian in their approach to politics, then perhaps this wouldn’t be so bad. However, American conservatives have taken ruthless politics to whole (and wholly terrifying) new levels. At the very moment where the Left needs to be able to stand tall and say that “this will not happen, not on our watch” we have lost the language of moral outrage and lost the courage of our convictions. We can stand up and call Bush a Nazi, but we don’t really mean it because Bush wasn’t really a Nazi. We can say chant “2, 4, 6, 8, we say no to racist hate!” but we should not mistake this for actually standing up against racism. We can write, read and discuss articles about ‘unpacking the knapsack’ until the cows come home, but this does not actually move us back to the idea that each of us are individuals who should be judged upon our actions and not simply representative members of some sociologically significant group or another.

        I have talked to many a liberal or progressive who, when asked about how this kinder, gentler, softer, ‘everyone’s reality is true if they believe it’ stance works when confronted with a Fred Phelps stammer and then quickly change the subject. Why? Because they know, deep in their heart-of-hearts, that if the only thing that we can stand on is that we don’t like what Phelps says or represents instead of what he says being actually wrong then, the tender mercies of their hearts notwithstanding, there is no good reason for someone on the sidelines to pick a pro-gay rights stance over an anti-gay stance.

        One cannot effectively fight a ruthless opponent if one does not believe--with a surety--that one’s cause is a righteous one. I think that we have theorized ourselves into a place where we believe our cause is the one we should prefer, but not that it is actually a righteous cause.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A bit more about voting and bigotry

TPM (Talking points Memo) has obtained emailsthat were sent to a voter registration group in Texas. These emails lay bare how racially significant the voter intimidation tactics launched across the country are. This got me to thinking about voter apathy, staying home from the polls and why doing so plays into hands of the corporate plutocrats (in both parties), the GOP and the Tea Party. Before I explain, a little bit of history about why I think the vote is so important and why we, as citizens, should exercise the franchise.

My parents were born in 1922. On paper, both of my parents had the right to vote but, in reality, they had no such right that any official in their home states of Alabama and Louisiana were bound to respect. During WW II, my father served in the US Army, serving with distinction in Patton’s Third Army with the storied 761st Tank Battalion while my mother worked for Boeing building airplanes as a riveter. When the war ended, my father returned to the States and my mother returned to the Deep South. They would try to vote and each time be turned away either by a poll tax or a literacy test. In one quasi-humorous incident, some officials in Tuscaloosa, AL tried to administer a literacy test to my father. Of course, starting with something in English--not a problem at all. Then they handed him something in French--which he read, wrote and spoke fluently. Then they handed him something in German which he’d picked up just enough to muddle through. Finally, they got him on something written in Japanese which he could not read at all. One wonders if any of the men could read what was written on those pages. At any rate, the practical upshot of this is that a genuine war hero (Purple Heart and Bronze Star) did not cast a vote in the country of his birth until nearly a quarter century after he returned home from the War. A woman who had gone up north to work long days building bombers for her country was not considered citizen enough to exercise her right to vote until a quarter century later. The first national election my parents ever voted in was 1968--the first President they ever voted for was Humphrey. They were both 46 years old, three years older than I am now.

I vote because my parents could not vote for the same number of years that I have been voting. I vote because my grandparents could not vote. As a black woman I believe I owe it to the memory of my parents and grandparents to exercise the right they were, quite literally, willing to be (and were) beaten up over, threatened over, had a cross burnt on their lawn because of their civil rights activities and were eventually driven from the South because they refused to buy into the idea that they were neither human beings or citizens.

I understand the sentiment that “voting just encourages them” and, perhaps, in other times and in other nations that sentiment might be justified. However in this time and in this nation, given our history--and history that, remember, is not all that far removed from now--apathy is a luxury that we cannot afford. Regardless of our race, we cannot afford apathy but for black and brown people to indulge in apathy is to walk onto the freeway in the middle of the night, wearing black from head to toe and standing in the path of an oncoming truck. It might make you feel brave and empowered, right up to the point that tens of thousands of pounds slams into you at 60MPH. As I said in my earlier post, the GOP and the Tea Party want non-whites and queers to stay home from the ballot box. The dominant Washington narrative is that we will because we do not see any stake in this election for us. But we have a stake. If you are queer, your ability to marry, to keep your job if you are in the military (or a teacher in many states) are on the line. If you are black or brown, your stakes are too many to list but as a start look at who is fighting our wars--largely the enlisted people are black and brown and overwhelmingly poor.

Lastly, I hate to see bullies win and the Tea Party is chock full of bullies who celebrate ignorance. If you listen to the Beltway punditocracy, the Tea Party is “speaking for the American people” but are they? Are they speaking for you? Do you think that Sharon Angle, Christine O’Donnell, Carl Paladino, Joe Miller, Sarah Palin, Ken Buck, Marco Rubio or any other candidate with Tea Party blessing is speaking about YOUR concerns? They aren’t and you know they aren’t. They can win but only if we let them do so by staying away from the ballot box.

A Citizen's Plea

This blog post is going to go against the “Latinos for Reform” add and ask people TO vote. If you are black or Latina or queer--or if you know someone who is--please VOTE! The reason I ask--no, I beg--you to do so is quite simple: the Beltway media wants you to stay home. The GOP wants you to stay home. Why else would there already be voter suppression efforts underway in Texas and Illinois? Why would Latinos for Reform, run by a long-time GOP hack, put out an ad urging Latinos not to vote? (I’ll get to why queers should vote this time around in a bit.)

Look at the what has happened in just the last few months: In Virginia, a county GOP chair sent a racist emailshowing how is dog could get on welfare trading on every racist stereotype of blacks. In Illinois, operating under the cover of ‘voter integrity’ squads, GOP candidate Mark Kirk is sending lawyers into ‘vulnerable’ (read predominantly black or Hispanic) neighborhoods on Election Day to “insure the integrity of the vote”. In Nevada, Sharon Angle aired an ad showing three angry-faced Latinos sneaking through a hole in a fence. When challenged by some Latino students at a high school, she responded that they “looked Asian to her”. In Texas, the DOJ is investigating another organization for vote suppression. On Rachel Meadows’ show of 19 October, she detailed what is going on with race and how statements that should have ended people’s political careers now are not.

Now, what do all of these things have in common? The racism that has been deployed to fantastic electoral success by the GOP for forty years is once again on full display. What’s more, they’re not even trying to be subtle about it any longer. The things is, the GOP and the Beltway media think that people of color--particularly blacks and Hispanics--are stupid. They think that we can’t see racism when it’s clearly present. However, at the same time, they know something about black and brown people at the polls--more than any other group except rich whites--it is exceedingly difficult to trick us into voting against our own self-interest. While the GOP’s strategy of loving Jesus more than the next guy has worked wonders with whites across the economic spectrum, it has been far less effective with blacks and with Hispanics. The GOP and the Beltway punditocracy expect Latinos to stay away from the ballot this term--what’s more they want you to because that reinforces the dominant narrative that the Democrats have blown it irredeemably. These same people expect blacks to stay away from the polls because we just aren’t interested unless there is a high profile of one of ‘us’ running. I exhort you, I plead with you, I beg you, to upset their narrative. Go out and vote. Take someone with you. Asks your family and friends to vote and ask them to make sure that someone goes with them as well. Depending upon where you are, there may be people who try to intimidate you away from voting--don’t let them! The cops are not going to be arresting people who are going into or out of the polling place. If you have an overdue parking ticket, you won’t be hauled away by the police. The most radically right-wing group of candidates are running for office, the media has already counted the votes and decided that the Democrats deserve to lose and will do so horribly. We black and brown people can swing this election and upset the dominant cultural narrative--but we have to get out there and VOTE!

Now, on to my queer brothers and sisters. Has Obama followed through on his promises? NO! Am I disappointed and angry? YES! However, we know--because they’ve told us--what the Tea Partiers would do if they had their way. Three state GOP platforms (Texas, Maine and Montana) have as planks making homosexuality illegal. Needless to say, gay marriage would be still born and DADT, on its last legs, will be revived with a Republican/Tea Party controlled Congress. I know all the arguments in favor of not voting but our nation cannot afford us sitting this out. I am not given to wild hyperbole nor am I given to indulging conspiracy theories. I’m not one who pulls out ‘fascist’ whenever I see someone with whom I disagree with. However, this movement of hyper conservatives is deeply scary and if we sit this out, they will have themselves a Congress. If they get themselves a Congress they can get themselves a Presidency in 2012.

If that happens, the corporate donors behind the Tea Party will get what they want--more outsourcing and that will lead to more economic distress. How long do you think it takes before the GOP/Tea Party decides that there are three pillars to the problems of America--Latinos, Muslims and Queers and decide to pass laws to do something about it? You’re already seeing this happen to two of those three groups. As queers, can we really afford to presume that we aren’t next in line?

Please, for whatever it is that you love, VOTE!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Christine O'Donnell loves the Constitution so much...

...that she has no idea what’s actually in the document. It’s like ‘love at first sight’ on steroids. It’s ‘love without sight at all’. Last night in her debate with Chris Coons who is running against her for Senate, the subject of the First Amendment came up. Ms. O’Donnell apparently loves the Constitution and wants to preserve it so much that she doesn’t even feel the need to know what’s in it! It seems that she was unaware that the words “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...” wasn’t actually in the Constitution or, perhaps, was in some liberal bastardization of the document. Anyway, the video is just TOO perfect.

The good part starts at about 2:37 but the whole thing is worth watching for the train wreck.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Seven is larger than Zero

I was saddened and frustrated with your comments regarding people of faith and their perpetuation of bullying. As someone who loves the Lord and does not support gay marriage, I can honestly say I was heartbroken to hear about the young man who took his own life.
If your message is that we should not judge people based on their sexual preference, how do you justify judging entire groups of people for any other reason (including their faith)? There is no part of me that took any pleasure in what happened to that young man, and I know for a fact that is true of many other people who disagree with your viewpoint.

October 13, 2010 : Savage Love | The A.V. Club,46294/?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=feeds&utm_source=type_savage-love

The above quote was posted on the Savage Love blog. My partner brought this to my attention and I immediately asked “to your knowledge, how many Christians have committed suicide in the last, say, 30 days because some queer person said something harsh about Christians?” Her response was, “None that I can recall.” In the last month, however, seven queer young people have killed themselves because they were queer. They killed themselves because they live in a society where people think it is perfectly acceptable to put homosexuals in the same category as rapists, murderers, pedophiles or practitioners of bestiality. They killed themselves because either their churches or churches in their communities teach that homosexuals are less-than, less-worthy, that our relationships are not real relationships and that our love is not actually love. They killed themselves because they grew up in a society where the dominant religion teaches that God hates them. Seven to zero. Now, I’ll admit that I have not gotten better than a “B” in math since I was in elementary school but I’m reasonably certain that seven is larger than zero. Seven queer suicides because of the teachings of Christianity and the actions of Christians and zero Christian suicides because of the actions of queers.

Now, I understand that as a West Coast liberal, I’m supposed to be ‘nice’ about this. I’m supposed to either dance around the issue and pretend that it isn’t the teachings that these poor, dead kids heard in the church pew that contributed to their deaths or I’m supposed to chalk it up to an unnamed and ill-defined ‘worldview’. But I’m not going to do that. Of course, it should (but won’t) go without saying that I’m not submitting the butcher’s bill to every Christian on the planet. I’m not saying that all Christians hate gays and I’m certain that a lot of Christians believe that homosexuality is morally wrong but still have queer friends. I know that because I have friends who are Christians and who believe homosexuality is wrong.

However, it would be dishonest to pretend that religion had nothing to do with this or to pretend that I have no idea what these kids went through. I’m generally loath to talk about my deep personal experiences on this blog because I think that my thoughts on matters are more interesting to others than my emotional states. However, this situation demands an exception and for me to step out of my comfort zone.

Three times between the ages of 15 and 22, I walked right up to the door of suicide, knocked and for different reasons each time, turned back at the last minute. The first time, I was 15, and was on a medicine that contained belladonna to settle my stomach because I had stressed myself out so much that my stomach was overproducing acid--at fifteen. I did some research, found out what belladonna was, realized that the remaining fifteen pills would probably be enough to do me in, and so I laid my pills out in a row on my chest-of-drawers that also served as my nightstand with a glass of water, turned out the lights and, because I was fascinated by the code of bushido at the time, prepared myself to die. I fell asleep. It was the first time I could remember falling immediately asleep in years (normally it took me between one and three hours every night to fall asleep). The second time, I had just gotten divorced, at this point I was really wrestling with my sexuality. I went up on the roof of the office I worked at, got on the ledge, and then was staring down at this beautiful blue Mustang which was what I was going to impact when I jumped. One of the security guards passed underneath my shadow, he called his opposite number inside, who called the cops who came and took me to the hospital which let me go home. The last time it was near the end of the year, the first one since the divorce and the last one I had in the closet. I was alone in my apartment and I sat down in front of the oven with my Zippo lighter in one hand, the phone cradled against my shoulder and my other hand on the knob of the stove talking with this wonderful young man named Peter at suicide prevention. He asked me if I could think of a single reason NOT to turn the knob and blow myself to kingdom come. The only thing I could come up with was that Christmas had just happened and my little 8 unit apartment building was old and wood-framed. It would’ve gone up like a stack of tissue paper. I told Peter that none of my neighbors had done anything to deserve losing all their stuff and their Christmas presents and being thrown out on the street in the coldest winter in 20 years. Peter told me that if I could see how my actions would affect others even in the midst of pain so great I was willing to die to make it stop, I was a compassionate human being and that the world could use more compassion. That was enough. It caused me to turn around and walk away from death one more time.

I wanted to kill myself because I was queer and because my culture and my church told me that being queer was just about the worst thing one could be. It was a sin before God and a betrayal of the black community (because I wouldn’t be making strong, black babies). I wanted to kill myself because at school I was teased mercilessly for being different--even though I was not out to myself, I was sufficiently gender non-conforming to be targeted for the full treatment. I wanted to die because I thought it was the only way of preventing God from hating me for being queer.

Now, it’s been two decades since that last, long winter’s night but I recall the whys of my mental state with clarity. One does not spend a decade suicidal and not recall why. To say that religion had no part to do with what I endured would be to lie--religion had everything to do with it. I understand that some of you Gentle Readers may find this uncomfortable--so be it--it does not change the facts on the ground in any significant fashion. It was religion that drove me to the brink of suicide and rational thought that brought me to wholeness.

I understand that the really virulently anti-gay people don’t want to be labeled as bigots. I get that. However, the segregationists didn’t think they were bigots either and yet they were bigots.

This post is dedicated to the memory of Asher Brown, Justin Aaberg, Billy Lucas, Cody Barker, Seth Walsh, Raymond Chase, and Aiyisha Hassan. None of them lived to see 25.

Stay rational.

Emotions of mass distraction

When we believe for unworthy reasons, we weaken our powers of self-control, of doubting, and of fairly weighing the evidence. There is a great danger to society here, not just in believing the wrong things, but by losing the habit of testing things, and hence to sink back into savagery by becoming a credulous society.
 (John W. Loftus)

I begin with this epigraph because I think that it points directly at the syndrome I’m going to talk about. While normally this blog is more about science and American politics than it is about things that happen in community forums, in this instance there is enough cross-over that I think it deserves its own post. This has to do with an ongoing issue with where I am a moderator. The moderation team banned a user late last week because she had taken financial advantage of a couple of users. What is more, when it was clear that the jig was up for this person she fell back on what she has used time and time again--“I’m dying of cancer!” In fact, to bolster the story she posted a picture of herself hooked up to an IV drip in the hospital. When the picture was removed, she then reported a picture of another person who was using a vampire photo dripping blood as their avatar. She claimed that this was ‘triggering’ to her. When the hammer finally came down, she went on Facebook and began claiming that the moderation team at BFP--and two people in particular--had banned a woman with cancer for no apparent reason implying, in fact, that she was banned because she allegedly has cancer. It is this kind of emotional manipulation and the fact that it is sadly effective that I want to address in this post.

While Samuel Johnson said that ‘patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels’, I would submit to you, gentle reader (all three or four of you) that emotional manipulation and emotional hostage taking is a sanctuary for the scoundrel and that it will welcome her into its bosom and hold it close through the harsh nights as the wolves of fact howl outside the doors. It works because it forces any person who would not be clinically diagnosed as a sociopath to stop and question themselves to make sure that they are not being heartless or cruel. It is a fantastic way to get people to flock to one’s side, particularly if there is some clouds and fog swirling around the issue, making it hard to see the large picture. In such a gloom the emotionally manipulative statement is like a lighthouse to mariners except that when they get close to what they believe is safe harbor, they find--usually too late--that it is an illusion cast by sirens who sit upon the rocks waiting for the ship to ground. It is a fantastically effective strategy made even more so by certain dynamics holding sway in online queer spaces where we are encouraged and exhorted to be supportive at any and all costs. Supportive, in this connotation, means being unquestioning and putting one’s critical thinking facilities in neutral or, better yet, tossing them out the window entirely.

If one can invoke some disease--particularly one that can be played out for a while, then one is in the cat-bird seat. Cancer is fantastic for this kind of thing because there are so many different types of cancer, people are justifiably terrified of them and the disease can run so many different courses. For some, they are diagnosed and are dead a year later. For others, they are diagnosed and the cancer goes into remission only to spring back with a vengeance. You can milk sympathy for quite some time with this. Contrast this with, say, Hepatitis C which does not have the emotional cache of cancer. We view cancer has something that happens to people, we think of Hep C as something people bring on themselves. So if one wants to gain sympathy for one’s illness, and one has a disease that does not give one much in the way of emotional mojo, it is awfully tempting to invoke a disease that garners more sympathy.

However, whatever the disease it does not actually excuse behavior. The argument that the banned woman is attempting to make is that she should not have been banned because she has cancer regardless of what her actual behavior may or may not have been. But is that actually the case? Is it true that having a terminal condition excuses people’s behavior? We must answer, with conviction, that the answer is no because every human being alive was born with a terminal condition called life. You will die, I will die, and from the moment of your conception you are on a one-way journey toward the end of your life. Just because some people know that their end will come sooner rather than later does not and should not exempt them from behaving like a decent human being or facing the consequences if they choose not to do so. However, the emotionally manipulative tactic being deployed in this sorry little drama seems to be designed to short-circuit people’s intuitions about this. Somehow, for reasons left unexplained, we are supposed to suspend all critical thinking, all rationality and all the other mental tools we use in order to determine if someone is trying to pull the wool over our eyes the minute someone says that they have this or that terminal disease.

Now, some reading this might try to argue that I’m minimizing having a terminal illness--I’m not. I’m merely arguing that having a terminal illness is not a ‘get out of jail free’ card. The rest of us are not obliged to believe any given statement X that one might make just because one has, say, MS anymore than anyone is obliged to believe what I say just because I have hypertension.

Something I’ve learned in my twenty years online is this; when standing on the sidelines of an argument, attempting to determine which side might be correct, watch the behavior of partisans on each side. The side that can only resort to jerking your emotional chain is almost certainly the party that is in the wrong. One group of partisans has compared this sorry incident to what the Nazi’s did (it isn’t) and a lynching (it isn’t and as the niece of a man who WAS lynched I find that comparison insulting) and the other group of partisans has tried to be restrained in their descriptions and/or rebuttals and hewed as close to the facts as is possible. Putting aside that one of the partisans is (allegedly) terminally ill, which side sounds like it’s just trying to deal with the situation and which side sounds like it is trying to win by jerking people’s emotional chains?

The good news is that all of us have the ability to resist attacks on our common sense from emotions of mass distraction, we need only step back and look at the issues and at the behaviors with a critical eye.

Stay Rational

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Enforcement Must Be Halted, Federal Judge Rules

This is why conservatives hate the judiciary so much--when it comes down to it, the judiciary is obliged to treat citizens like, well, citizens and not merely political targets of opportunity. Today a federal judge blocked continuing enforcement of DADT! As a former soldier booted out of the military for being queer, this made me get misty-eyed. No matter what else happens, today is a good day.

SAN DIEGO — A federal judge issued a worldwide injunction Tuesday stopping enforcement of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, ending the military's 17-year-old ban on openly gay troops.
U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips' landmark ruling was widely cheered by gay rights organizations that credited her with getting accomplished what President Obama and Washington politics could not
"This order from Judge Phillips is another historic and courageous step in the right direction, a step that Congress has been noticeably slow in taking," said Alexander Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United, the nation's largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans.
He was the sole named veteran plaintiff in the case along with the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay rights organization that filed the lawsuit in 2004 to stop the ban's enforcement.
U.S. Department of Justice attorneys have 60 days to appeal. Legal experts say the department is under no legal obligation to do so and could let Phillips' ruling stand.

'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Enforcement Must Be Halted, Federal Judge Rules