James Dale, the gay former Boy Scout who took his case all the way to the Supreme Court in 2000 (Boy Scouts of America v. Dale) and lost by one vote, speaks out in a new video about his case and efforts to end the ban on gay scouts and leaders in the organization.r
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...rr
The Boy Scouts are currently meeting in Dallas and will take an internal vote on ending the ban.rr
When he came out in 2000 at age 19 , James Dale was expelled from the Boy Scouts of America, prompting him to challenge the BSA’s exclusionary policies. After 10 years, Dale’s case went all the way to the Supreme Court, but he lost by one vote.
“But I think that I pretty much continue to win in the court of public opinion, which is nice,” Dale says in this video by GLAAD, in which he urges people to speak out against the BSA’s ban on gay Scouts and leaders.
You can follow the progress of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Council as they meet in Dallas to decide whether to finally repeal the ban on GLAAD’s live blog.
“We have won as a community,” Dale says, “and we continue to win when we tell our own stories.”
A live acoustic version of song-of-the-moment "Hey Love" by Quadron after the jump...
Dr. Phil is joining GLAAD to call on the Boy Scouts of America to get rid of all restrictions on gay scouts. Does this mean I need to like him now?
Now that Anthony Weiner has officially jumped into NYC's mayoral race, get ready for plenty of headlines like this one. A lot of gay people and progressives in general seem disenchanted with Christine Quinn, who was once thought all but already elected, so he or Bill de Blasio might stand a chance.
Weiner's first ad is after the jump...
Loved this awkward exchange, when Wolf Blitzer rather mechanically tried to get an Oklahoma survivor to say she "thanked the Lord" for a split-second decision that averted death. Her giggly, gracious reply was goddamned hilarious...
Dominique Venner, 78, walked into Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris at 4pm on Tuesday and shot himself through the mouth after posting a rant against France’s recent legalization of gay marriage, which he called vile.
Venner, a far right activist and historian, left a letter before committing suicide, but its contents and his motives are still unknown. However, Marine Le Pen, head of the far-right Front National, said his death was an “eminently political” gesture.
Earlier that day, Venner had written on his blog that more radical action was needed to oppose same-sex marriage in France and had urged people to join a rally against it this Sunday.
Some students and a teacher from a private school witnessed Venner’s suicide and are being treated by psychologists. The rest of Notre Dame’s 1,500 visitors were quickly evacuated. Monsignor Patrick Jacquin, the Cathedral’s rector, told The Guardian this was the first suicide in decades at the 850-year-old cathedral, which is visited by some 13 million people each year.
Last month, France became the 14th nation to legalize gay marriage, though it has been a contentious and highly divisive issue involving demonstrations, protests and occasional violence. The first gay marriage is scheduled to take place in Montpellier on 29 May between Vincent Autin, 40, who works in the tourist office, and Bruno Boileau, 30, a public sector employee.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...r
The astonishing footage, taken immediately after Pentecostal mass on Sunday 19th May, shows the Pontiff approach the second of two wheelchair bound people, whose face is pixelled out.
After a priest leans across the boy or young man to tell Francis something, the Pope’s expression becomes more serious, the voice-over notes. He then grips the top of the subject’s head firmly and is seen pushing him down into his wheel chair. As this is happening the Pontiff recites an intense prayer, and the boy’s mouth drops wide open and he exhales sharply, Italian press reports added this morning.
Francis’s usual smile then returns and he continues with the traditional – and more gentle — Sunday greetings for sick or disabled visitors to St Peter’s.
Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, said it had merely been a normal prayer for a sick or disabled visitor. "Pope Francis did absolutely not intend to perform an exorcism on this occasion. As he frequently does with the sick and the suffering who come his way, he intended simply to pray for a suffering person who had been brought before him."
The allegation came from the director who had been filming Francis at the time. In his commentary he had said the boy's shouting as he was being blessed looked like an exorcism.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...rrr
On Friday, news emerged that uber-homophobe Toronto Mayor Rob Ford had been captured on a video smoking crack-cocaine. Jon Stewart thinks we should give Ford a break because perhaps it's just a plan by the mayor to clean up the city's crack problem by smoking all of it himself.
He also takes a look at two other videos of Ford that may be just as humiliating.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
And here are Samantha Bee and Jason Jones on Canada's two largest industries:
Saved by the polite survivor: “We are here and you know, I don’t blame anybody for thanking the lord.”r
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...rr
As an Illinois House vote on marriage equality approaches, former President Bill Clinton is speaking out in support of it.r
rSaid Clinton in a statement yesterday:r
"Our nation's permanent mission is to form a ‘more perfect union’ – deepening the meaning of freedom, broadening the reach of opportunity, strengthening the bonds of community. That mission has inspired and empowered us to extend rights to people previously denied them. Every time we have done that, it has strengthened our nation. Now we should do it again, in Illinois, with marriage equality. Since the days of Abraham Lincoln, Illinois has stood for the proposition that all citizens should be treated equally under the law. Lincoln himself came to Springfield in search of opportunity, and he dedicated his life to securing equal opportunity for all citizens. I believe that for Illinois and for our nation as a whole, in the 21st century that must include marriage equality.”r
"Were the president still in the Illinois State Legislature, he would support this measure that would treat all Illinois couples equally," spokesman Shin Inouye said in response to a question from POLITICO. Obama's support for the bill comes after former President Bill Clinton endorsed it earlier Tuesday.
"While the president does not weigh in on every measure being considered by state legislatures, he believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect," Inouye said. "As he has said, his personal view is that it’s wrong to prevent couples who are in loving, committed relationships, and want to marry, from doing so."
Earlier this week, lawmakers said that the votes to pass the bill are there. A vote has not yet been scheduled.
The machinations of the IRS went something like this: Sometime last year, several middle to low level workers at the Cleveland, Ohio office of the Internal Revenue Service started taking special interest in conservative political groups applying for tax exempt status. They looked for organizations with the words "Tea Party" or "Patriot" or "the Constitution" and, as the New York Times reported, sent them--and, it appears, them alone--detailed questionnaires to probe their political leanings, affiliations, and plans.r
At the same time, the DOJ was investigating national security leaks to reporters. As part of that investigation, it sent a subpoena (or subpoenas) to phone companies to seize the records of at least 20 phone lines used by the Associated Press and several others at FOX News. The AP called the actions "overzealous" and "unconstitutional;" others went further, calling the DOJ's behavior part of a "pattern of cover-ups."r
Republicans and conservatives are positively giddy at the apparent opportunity to tie the President to these "scandals," hoping to claim some skin in the game, or at least a political victory. But there is no evidence that the President knew. In fact, there is every evidence that these decisions were made at lower administrative levels and were kept out of the President's world.r
That means that these "scandals" -- not to mention the Benghazi tragedy -- don't have legs in the traditional sense, like Watergate or even the Monica Lewinsky affair. They are not about what the President knew and when. They don't involve the President, or anyone close to him, lying. Nor are they about some sinister Administration plot to target enemies.r
But they may damage the Administration, the Democratic Party, and modern progressivism in a more subtle way.r
To see how, continue AFTER THE JUMP...rrThe Obama Administration stands for many things. To the gay community and many other minority groups, it stands for equality and the realization of the American dream of inclusion. On a slightly broader scale, the President has been making one other major argument against his conservative Republican and Tea Party opponents: that the national government can be used to solve national problems. Government can be smaller, it need not be bloated, and it doesn't require a huge military-industrial complex. But government can solve problems, like immigration injustices, financial instability, health care, and so on.r
For that argument to work, government has to function properly. Consider, for example, the mechanisms set up by the Affordable Care Act, colloquially known as Obamacare. It sets up health care plan exchanges and hands out subsidies to low-income individuals and includes a system of oversight. The Dodd-Frank regulations of Wall Street, which are supposed to prevent another financial collapse, set out basic guidelines and requirements, but like Obamacare, leave much regulation-writing to the administrative agencies tasked with enforcing the laws.r
There's nothing inherently wrong with that; that's often how regulation works: Congress sets out the goals, administrative agencies dig into the details. But when those administrative agencies step out of bounds, we cannot help but question the "good" part of good government.r
For those of us who join the President and believe that good, efficient government can help solve large social problems, government failures, even when not part of some sinister plot, are dents in the armor. They remind us what can happen when we set up independently functioning and large bureaucracies that can run amok in a proto-Kafkaesque manner. They give anti-government libertarians goose bumps and challenge the theme that President Obama has been using since his election to the United States Senate from Illinois: that government works.r
Government can work. The IRS doing its job inartfully and the DOJ investigating leaks by going after journalists is not the beginning, middle, or end of Kafka's senseless bureaucracy taking control of our lives. Radical libertarians and politically opportunistic conservatives fall victim to paranoia, at worst, or the slippery slope fallacy, at best, when they state otherwise. The response to these "scandals" is not to give up on government, but to fix it.r
We can make government regulations simpler, which was one of the President's goals when he came into office in 2008.r
We can tighten up the tax exempt status provision that appears to allow highly politicized groups to enjoy benefits intended for non-political, social welfare organizations.r
We can reform the tax system in a so-called "grand bargain" that has seemed beyond the reach of an intractable Republican House.r
We can do a lot of things. What do you think we can do to solve this problem?r
Ari Ezra Waldman is the Associate Director of the Institute for Information Law and Policy and a professor at New York Law School and is concurrently getting his PhD at Columbia University in New York City. He is a 2002 graduate of Harvard College and a 2005 graduate of Harvard Law School. Ari writes weekly posts on law and various LGBT issues.
With thanks to Rick, who sent these along:
Snapped these pics of Tom Daley and Chris Mears at the Grand Prix diving event at the Ft. Lauderdale Aquatic Center. Thought you might be interested. Not sure who the two hotties in the red speedos are but I like.Indeed!