The Odd Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘gay’

DADT Officially Over

Posted by That Other Mike on 20/09/2011

With Tuesday’s repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, gays and lesbians are now free to serve openly in the U.S. armed services.

The U.S. military has spent months preparing for the repeal, updating regulations and training to reflect the impending change, and the Pentagon has already begun accepting applications from openly gay men and women.

The historic shift follows years of battle and debate over the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, also referred to as “DADT.” When it was signed by President Clinton in 1993, the policy was hailed by proponents for extending protection to gays and lesbians serving their country. Under the law, commanders were not allowed to ask about someone’s sexual orientation, and gays and lesbians were expected to keep their orientation under wraps.

But as gays and lesbians continued to fight for equal rights in other areas of society, the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy grew to become a painful reminder that those in the military still had to hide their sexual orientation. Moreover, gays and lesbians who were open about their sexual orientation — or who were outed — faced punishment and expulsion.

Such punishments and expulsions will now stop. And the repeal ends any pending investigations or inquiries.

The original drive to lift the ban, and later the DADT policy, pitted those fighting to recognize the service of gay servicemen and women against those who feared it would disrupt the service’s sense of order and undermine critical military relationships.

President Obama signed the law that repealed “don’t ask, don’t tell” and officially certified this summer that it would not diminish military readiness. But plenty of opposition still remains.”It’s a tragic day for America,” said Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council.

While gays and lesbians can now serve openly, there are still limits: All servicemen and women — regardless of sexual orientation — must continue to abide by strict standards of personal conduct, such as those pertaining to public displays of affection.

Navy Lt. Gary Ross celebrated the appeal by marrying his longtime partner in Vermont at midnight Monday — the exact moment of the repeal. Ross told the Associated Press that when he returns to work as a surface warfare officer at Ft. Huachuca in Arizona near the Mexican border, he does not plan to make a big deal about the marriage. But he no longer has to keep it a secret either.

The old system “requires you to lie several times a day,” he said.

LA Times

It’s about time, and I, for one, eagerly await our homosexual overlords.

In all seriousness, though, over the next couple of weeks, expect the following:

  1. Rightwing chicken littles will be pouncing on every opportunity to discredit gay and lesbian soldiers, whether it’s by the same generalised unpleasantness they always employ when it comes to GLBT rights, or by pointing out individuals who happen to be gay and who have done something wrong as how it was all a big mistake.
  2. Firebaggers will continue to act as if it just wasn’t enough, and will continue to try to paint Obama as a man unfriendly to the GLBT community

See also.

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You know why you don’t see a difference, Ann?

Posted by That Other Mike on 21/04/2011

Because you’re a fucking hack who’s only real function these days seems to be writing puff pieces for the extreme right while pretending to some kind of centrist creds.

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DADT to go?

Posted by That Other Mike on 29/05/2010

HuffPo: House Passes ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Repeal Amendment, Senate Bill Advances

WASHINGTON — The House on Thursday delivered a victory to President Barack Obama and gay rights groups by approving a proposal to repeal the law that allows gays to serve in the military only if they don’t disclose their sexual orientation.

The 234-194 vote to overturn the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy reflected a view among many in Congress that America was ready for a military in which gays and straights can stand side by side in the trenches.

Long overdue!

Predictably, the Republican caucus in general voted against, with five Rs voting for. The general response of the Republicans can be summed up as “We’re going to squeeze every last ounce of political juice out of the soldiers we claim to best represent”. The Demoratic caucus voted overwhelmingly in favour, although 26 voted against; while I make no comment on the culture surrounding them, of those 26, 14 are from Southern districts.

Top ironic moment from the article: Rep. Howard McKeon of California made the following statement:

Congress going first “is the equivalent to turning to our men and women in uniform and their families and saying, ‘Your opinion, your view, do not count,'” said Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon of California, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee.

which was followed by this statement by Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA), who, unlike “Buck” McKeon, actually served in the armed forces:

“[In Iraq] my teams did not care whether a fellow soldier was straight or gay if they could fire their assault rifle or run a convoy down ambush alley and do their job so everyone would come home safely.”

Hmmm. I wonder whose opinion might carry a little more weight here?

This is rather reflective of the Republicans’ whole attitude at the moment – one of total disconnection from reality, which in part stems from their obsessive desire to pander to the homophobic, socially-reactionary wing of the Republican Party, as so accurately exemplified by the Teabaggers. John McCain has, in a stunning burst of maverickiness, decided to side with the burgeoning lunatic Republican establishment. Go mavericks!

DADT promotes a culture of secrecy and blame, loses valuable personnel, and provides a means for the dishonest to get out of the military service they volunteered for. And more to the point, the rationale provided for it it, that open service of gay soldiers negatively affects morale, does not hold up: on the international stage, at least 30 countries allow openly gay soldiers to serve, some of them for only a short while, and some for decades, yet none of them report it as an issue; to add to that, two of the best trained fighting forces in the entire world, namely the British Army and the Israeli Defense Force, are on that list.

Closer to home, soldiers polled on the subject are either indifferent to or overwhelmingly in favour of allowing openly gay soldiers to serve; this view is shared by General John Shalikashvili, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and former Defense Secretary William Cohen, Colin Powell, and even the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has cautiously supported repeal.

What reason can there be for continuing with the law as it stands? It is discriminatory, unfair, and based in unsound reasoning; time for it to go.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

As if Mississippi didn’t have enough to be ashamed of…

Posted by That Other Mike on 10/04/2010

… it has now emerged that the town of Fulton staged a pro-forma fake prom because of legal pressure while parents of the remaining kids held their own private event.

For those not paying attention, recently Itawamba Agricultural High School recently denied one of its students, Constance McMillen, the change to dress in a tuxedo and bring her girlfriend to the senior prom. Constance, being a good American, said “Bullshee-it!” and sued the school district; the judge agreed that her rights had been violated and that school had to allow her to attend.

The school then cancelled the prom in a fit of pique; further legal pressure caused them to reinstate it. With me so far? When the date of the official prom rolled around, the only people attending were Constance, her date, and seven other kids.

Meanwhile, more or less the entire rest of the senior year were holding their own private prom elsewhere, with the blessings of their parents, and, presumably, the school district.

They have since been found out and are actually now blaming Constance for the fact that a large swathe of America is calling them a bunch of hateful douchebags – see here, here, hereAh, just google it.

This isn’t the first time Fulton county has been at the centre of this kind of thing – in January, they suspended Juin Baize, a transgendered student, after one day of school because, well, we don’t officially know – the school failed to properly fill out the suspension notice; the area of the form for the reason for suspension was left blank. But given the recent travesty involving Constance, is it unreasonable to assume that IAHS has a serious problem with LGBT students even existing?

At the moment, the ACLU is investigating the situation with Constance, although it says that as Baize has moved out of the area, it would be difficult to file on his behalf; frankly, I hope they manage to sue the pants off the school district, and that this follows the students around for at least a couple of years like a bad smell.

Update: NMissCommentor, who broke the story about the bait and switch involving the fake prom attended by 9(!) students while the real prom was going on elsewhere, confirms that little-known old media outlet MSNBC has come in on the story. Expect IAHS to get a media drubbing and for someone to get fired or reassigned while the students and administrators continue to be dicks.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Unconscienced?

Posted by That Other Mike on 27/03/2010

Shorter Evil Ned Flanders, Eternally Twatters
Unconscionable
The fact that all the supposedly celibate Catholic priests who attacked young choirboys are men means that all homos are pedos, and the fact that the world at large views this as an unconscionable slur on the millions of non-rapist homos is a sign of political correctness gone mad!

It is emphatically not a case of pedophiles preying on the nearest available child in a hierarchy arranged almost solely of men, no sir, no way, no how. I will admit, grudgingly, that the Pope was naughty not to fire the priests, but that’s about it. Anyway, the fact that they were men makes my flaming homophobia A-OK!

In my next post, watch as I explain how the existence of Black crack addicts make it OK for me to say “nigger!”

Even Shorter Neil Simpson, Ike Turner-ty Matters:
Unconscionable

Fuckin’ fags. Am I controversial and douchey enough to be Pat Robertson’s One True Heir yet?

Posted in Atheism, blogging, Odds and Sods, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Big Love, Small Love

Posted by That Other Mike on 12/10/2008

I’ve just recently been thinking about polygamy and gay marriage.

Big LoveThis has come from a number of different directions — I’ve been watching HBO’s Big Love via the On Demand service that comes with our cable TV.

The series is about a polygamist family of fundamentalist Mormons living secretly in a suburb of Salt Lake City, and the various troubles and difficulties it brings to them, both personally, professionally and in terms of their religion.

The series takes an even-handed look at the issues raised, not judging in favour of or against the practice. Of course, it also makes for good television; conflict is the root of all storytelling, and the conflicts between the public personas and private lives of the family create a lot of conflict.

Another source of inspiration has been the interwebs, as usual: in a recent comment to a post on my wife’s blog, for example, Truthwalker posited the following in regards to governmental influence and involvement in the subject of marriage:

I personally think that civil union should be the law. For everybody. Any two people, male, female, straight, gay, or sexually inactive, should be able to enter a legal relationship with the consenting person of their choosing where one person is the primary bread winner and the other does more non-monetary work.

Leaving aside the problematic assertion regarding one partner being the breadwinner and the other the housekeeper1, this also brings up another question: why should it only be two people involved?

The final source of inspiration, of course, has been the recent decision by the Supreme Court of Connecticut regarding the civil rights of gay couples. In a divided opinion given on the 10th October, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that the State’s Constitution required that the government extend marriage rights to gay couples, by virtue of the State Constitution’s equal protection clause in Article 1, Section 20.

One of the commonest tropes used against gay marriage is the assertion that it will lead to all kinds of horribleness, like polygamy, bestiality and even child marriage.

Leaving aside the fact that the slippery slope is a logical fallacy, let’s take a look at some of the countries which have created gay marriage rights in the past decade or so. The Netherlands enacted same-sex marriage rights into law in 2001, Belgium in 2003, followed by Canada and Spain in 2005, South Africa in 2006. Norway is due to follow in 2009, after 16 years of civil partnerships. The following countries have created civil partnerships: Andorra, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Uruguay. The status of civil partnerships in these countries varies somewhat, with some having only partial rights while others are identical in all but legal name to marriage, with entirely identical rights, such as the UK, where people routinely refer to civil partnerships as gay marriage, legal titles notwithstanding.

Opponents of gay marriage have, as we’ve said, predicted all kinds of social doom and gloom as a result of various court rulings and laws creating the appropriate rights in law; various groups are trying busily to reverse them, as in California Proposition 8, all of which efforts are happily meeting with fierce opposition.

No such terrible consequences have occurred in any of the countries which have enacted gay marriage or civil partnership laws. You still cannot marry your dog, three of your friends, or children; . It’s almost insulting, really, to think that opponents of gay marriage think that people will fall for this kind of stuff, and none of these mooted dire consequences are likely to occur; child marriage and bestiality both fall under the heading of cruelty and meaningful consent, to a degree that most people find the very idea respulsive.

Likelihood of its occurrence aside, how do we object to new concepts of marriage like polygamy while freely assenting to the concept of gay marriage? Isn’t that contradictory and even hypocritical?

I would argue that it is not. While the institution of marriage is by no means perfect and acts in some ways as discriminatory towards single people, it does perform a useful social function: it provides for at least minimally stable homes for children; allows for people to express a solemn commitment to one another socially with a formal commitment; allows for the pooling of financial resources and shared prosperity; allows for partners to make legally binding decisions on behalf of children and loved-ones in the event of need; allows for partners to provide for each other in the event that they die intestate, and so on.

The extension of marriage rights to gay people simply broadens the categories of people who may marry each other, in much the same way that extension of interracial and interreligious marriage did. It provides for more stable families and couples, and as such, carries benefits to both the individuals involved and the society in which they live.

Polygamy, however, does not do this. While gay marriage simplifies, polygamy complicates. All the benefits of marriage, such as stability, combined financial responsibility, power of attorney in difficult situations, simplified inheritance and so on, all of these are unneccesarily complicated by the addition of extra members. What if the wives2 disagree over who should have power of attorney when their husband is in hospital? Who decides who inherits what in the event of a death? While these are not insoluble problems, they represent a big enough sphere of difficulties to argue against enshrining officially recognised polygamy into law; they would create monstrous legal headaches, and the alleged benefits of polygamy would be far, far outweighed by the problems caused. That’s even leaving aside the issue, frequent enough in the past to remain a possible future concern, of young people entering polygamous marriages before the age of consent or even too soon afterwards.

While I’m concerned for the right of people to live as they wish, I can also see a valid point of distinction between leaving others alone to conduct their private affairs as they see fit and making them into legal entities. I cannot in all honesty see that the enshrinement of polygamy into law serves individuals or the society they reside in, practically or otherwise.


1This is troubling to me, I must admit; not only because it buys into the idea that there should be strictly defined roles within marriage, but also because it’s profoundly unrealistic. The “traditional” ideal of marriage which social conservatives most fervently posit as orthodox marriage fails to admit that this model was only true for a tiny minority of people across a short period of time, and it is even more irrelevant today, when two-income families are the norm.
2I say wives here because it seems that most advocates of polygamy seem really to be advocating polygyny rather than true polygamy per se.

Posted in Odds and Sods, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Fools, damned fools and Christians

Posted by That Other Mike on 27/07/2008

My wife is trying to kill me. She must be, because she keeps telling me to look at stuff which is so profoundly stupid that it makes my brain crinkle and go phutphut.

Like just the other day, when she was comment surfing and ended up at a blog called What I Really Think, which spectacularly fails to live up to the verb in its name, although the URL seems entirely appropriate. I swear, I keep expecting to look at the screen and see that it’s written in crayon.

Funnies, though – the writer doesn’t seem to realise that she has a pride flag in her header.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Atheism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Aaarrr, Jim Lad, and other pirate noises

Posted by That Other Mike on 29/05/2008

Over the weekend, I developed some pain in my lower back. I was rather mystified, as I hadn’t done anything to injure it that I knew of, and it seemed to go away on Monday.

Tuesday saw it come back and be quite painful, and yesterday I was off work all day. It wasn’t a constant pain, but it would twinge and be excruciating, and it seemed to have extended into my right hip, as well. I managed to get up and get dressed, but I couldn’t make it even to the end of the street before it got too bad for me to handle, and so I spent the day at home, saying “Ow…” every so often and feeling self-pitying.

Luckily as it happens, on Tuesday I’d made an appointment with the doctor for today, and I managed to hobble up there this morning to see him.

Apparently the problem is in the Sacroiliac joint, and it is called Sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Basically, it’s a problem of movement where the spine joins the pelvis; it’s very common, usually remedies itself through movement and often comes from simply sleeping in a funny position.

There’s not much to be done about it in the short term except to swallow painkillers and attempt to maintain a normal range of movement. If it remains a persistent problem, I can visit a chiropractor (I would only ever visit a McTimoney’s practitioner, of which there is a school locally). For now, I just have to wait and hope it’ll work itself out.

He also gave me a huge prescription for cocodamol; while I can usually buy it over the counter, it’s also relatively expensive to do so. This way, I get my 200(!) pills for just the cost of a prescription charge, which is cool.

So, nothing to worry too hard about. On the negative side, I did forget to ask about getting a refill on my sleeping pills, even though I don’t use them that often. Oh, well. I can manage without. I have a few left.

* * *

In other news, today is the last day for you to nominate douchebags and arseholes for the anti-carnival; I have a large number, which I will be whittling down to a small core of evil shitheadery for Friday.

Please feel free to nominate anyone who’s annoyed you lately.

* * *

On the opposite end of the spectrum, here are your weekly recommendations in honour of Thor.
Cosmodaddy has an interesting and well thought-out piece on his blog at the moment regarding the intersection of various conflicting rights and freedoms under the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation Regulations) Regulations 2007. Well worth a read.

Despite being a massive jerk most of the time, Robert over at Expat Yank has a legitimate criticism piece up about the rise of sensationalist public service messages by the UK government.

The ever-clever Greg Laden has a guest blogger doing a statistical experiment about the levels of science present in science blogs.

Lottie has A Question of Ethics, in which she discusses the ethics of blogging about personal issues and problems in a truthful manner while using a pseudonym.

Gary talks about Hollywood woo and stupidity, illustrating exactly why Sharon Stone’s opinion on anything besides acting should not be taken seriously.

Helen at Bird of Paradox wrote a little while ago about gender neutral pronouns and the attempt to bring in artificial GNPs.

That’s all for now, folks.

Edit: Ampersand has a good post about the minimum wage over at Alas, A Blog, relating to Krueger and Card’s well-known studies. Definitely worth reading.

Posted in news, Odds and Sods | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Dunar’s Day Round-Up

Posted by That Other Mike on 15/05/2008

I’ve decided to start using old-style Saxon god names for the days of the week now; Monday would be Mani‘s Day, Tuesday will become Tiw’s Day, Wednesday is Wodin’s day as we know, Dunar’s Day will stand in for Thursday, and Friday will be Frige‘s Day. Saturday will change to Sun’s Eve, and Sunday stays the same.

Well, I say I’ve decided. What I actually meant was that I won’t do that, I just wanted to have a rationale for using Dunar’s Day in the title.

Anyway, handpicked by the gods of my ancestors, here are your selected links.

Lottie has an excellent post over at Rambling On about online romantic involvements. As you may know, this is something which has particular relevance to us. It’s called Getting to Know You (if you’re like me, you’ll soon start humming bits of The King and I), and she starts with the biggest question that couples who have met online usually face: How can you fall in love with someone you don’t even know?

Gary has a post highlighting the ridiculous, moronic behaviour some right-wing Christians recently embarrassed themselves with. The object of their misguided idiocy? Petrol.

Caitlin May has a post positing the Wizard of Oz as an Atheist film, which is certainly an interesting and overlooked perspective.

PZ spears Michael Medved for a ludicrous jamming together of pseudoscience and right-wing politics. Eugh. It’s one step away from advocating forced eugenics…

Mother Jones has Alyssa Quart analysing the new trend for fertility movies coming out of Hollywood. I have to say I don’t 100% agree with every syllable, mainly because I liked Juno rather a lot. Other than that, good article.(HT – Feministing)

And finally, in some good news, the California Supreme Court has ruled that the State’s Constitution requires equal treatment for homosexual couples in regards to marriage laws. Well done, California (HT – Alas, A Blog).

Edit to fix link.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Wednesday Round-Up of Interestingness

Posted by That Other Mike on 16/04/2008

From around teh webz, I have some interestingness to showcase. The choice of day is entirely arbitary, like that for most round-ups. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Odds and Sods, Personal, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »