How the Rot Spreads
I think a lot of Americans were aghast when they learned about the Stand Your Ground laws across the country that made it legal to murder someone with impunity. No one had seen that coming until young Trayvon Martin was killed and his assailant went free.
And I think a lot of Americans laughed out loud the first time they heard anyone suggest that there should more guns in schools. The idea is absurd, idiotic, and malevolent. Who suggests these things?
There was a time when the word "torture" was a tee-hee thing that evoked a big-nosed cartoon character from the Inquisition with his whip in his hand and a poor, barefoot, bearded heathen chained to his dungeon wall. And then it became an actual topic for public discussion, should America torture people? And, actually, torture won the argument.
How do these things happen? How does somebody come to the conclusion that there is something sinister about women using birth control, about gay people falling in love, who decides what random tiny country we are going to declare war on next? Who is pro-pollution?
had an important article yesterday, following the paper trail connecting far-right conservative groups who are literally writing legislation and handing it to their puppets in state legislatures to be passed into law.
Conservative groups across the US are planning a co-ordinated assault against public sector rights and services in the key areas of education, healthcare, income tax, workers' compensation and the environment, documents obtained by the Guardian reveal.The Guardian
The strategy for the state-level organisations, which describe themselves as "free-market thinktanks", includes proposals from six different states for cuts in public sector pensions, campaigns to reduce the wages of government workers and eliminate income taxes, school voucher schemes to counter public education, opposition to Medicaid, and a campaign against regional efforts to combat greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.
The policy goals are contained in a set of funding proposals obtained by the Guardian. The proposals were co-ordinated by the State Policy Network, an alliance of groups that act as incubators of conservative strategy at state level.
The documents contain 40 funding proposals from 34 states, providing a blueprint for the conservative agenda in 2014. In partnership with the Texas Observer and the Portland Press Herald in Maine, the Guardian is publishing SPN's summary of all the proposals to give readers and news outlets full and fair access to state-by-state conservative plans that could have significant impact throughout the US, and to allow the public to reach its own conclusions about whether these activities comply with the spirit of non-profit tax-exempt charities. State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax
has documents you can link to and read. Many of these groups are trying to pass themselves off as nonpolitical nonprofit, tax-exempt charities but they commit a great proportion of their resources to lobbying.
Sure, they want lower taxes and free enterprise. And freedom. Don't forget to mention freedom. Here's what it comes down to:
The proposals in the grant bids contained in the Guardian documents go beyond a commitment to free enterprise, however. They include:
- "reforms" to public employee pensions raised by SPN thinktanks in Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania;
- tax elimination or reduction schemes in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Maryland, Nebraska and New York;
- an education voucher system to promote private and home schooling in Florida;
- campaigns against worker and union rights in Delaware and Nevada;
- opposition to Medicaid in Georgia, North Carolina and Utah.
They want the poor to get poorer and the rich to get richer. You might think it is an obvious fact that education is a good thing, a way for people to rise above a disadvantaged beginning, but not to these guys -- they want to keep the population uneducated, they want pliant workers who won't complain about their constantly decreasing share of the pie. They don't want more workers, they want cheaper workers. They don't want better medical care, they want medicine to be something you have to pay an arm and a leg for, so poor people won't get it.
There is no philosophy or science that says it is good to screw the little guy and give more, always more, to the people at the top. This is evil.
I am kind of shocked about CBS suspending Lara Logan, simply for presenting a fictional news report as fact. Guess I have become cynical.
Do you remember way back in May, when the mainstream press was full of stories about Obama's "scandals," without quotes? None of them turned out to be scandalous, but those who would like to malign the President keep looking for something. Some kind of shenanigans were alleged around the Benghazi attack, cover-ups and talking points and who knew what when, and it was all sound and fury that most of the world disregarded, but a hard anti-Obama core kept pounding the drums.
So it was strange on October 27th when Sixty Minutes
ran a story about the Benghazi incident. The story focused on the reports of a man who claimed he was there, he saw everything. Then the Washington Post
turned up his initial report of the incident, which said he had been nowhere near the attack. His publisher -- a rightwing imprint owned by CBS -- recalled his books. The man claimed he was "in danger" and went into hiding.
The reporter who had carried the story, Lara Logan, gave a speech last year about how the President is lying
about the Middle East. She is married to an operative who spent much of his career planting propaganda
in the Middle East, while hiding the source of the information.
CBS clammed up. They stood by their story. Then a couple of weeks ago Logan said she had made a mistake
Then yesterday, from CNN:
Lara Logan, the CBS correspondent at the center of a discredited October 27 report about the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, is taking a leave of absence from work, the network said Tuesday.
Logan's longtime producer, Max McClellan, is also taking time off. CBS suggested that the leaves of absence were punitive measures for the shortcomings in the Benghazi report, which has stung the reputations of both Logan and the program that televised her report, "60 Minutes."
With the staff announcements on Tuesday and the release of an internal review, CBS tried to demonstrate that it has figured out what went wrong with its Benghazi report and taken steps to stop similar mistakes in the future. "The '60 Minutes' journalistic review is concluded, and we are implementing ongoing changes based on its results," a CBS News spokeswoman said Tuesday. CBS' Lara Logan, producer on leave after discredited Benghazi report
CBS tried to explain that it had been a "mistake" to rely on Dylan Davies' interview for the story, but Frank Rich got it just right in the New York Magazine
: CBS’s Benghazi Report Was a Hoax, Not a Mistake
. You don't make that kind of mistake accidentally.
In my lifetime, the nadir of intellectual debate occurred in the run-up to the attack on Iraq, when you could not criticize GW Bush or the government (remember the Dixie Chicks?) without the most severe repercussions. Last week Andrew Sullivan published his regrets
for his support of the American decimation of Iraq, and it is hard reading -- I think a lot of Americans would like to forget just how gullibly wrong we were, how easily the public, even a smart guy like Sullivan, was manipulated by the press. It took a strong will to see clearly, to resist the urge to get even with somebody
after 9/11, and there weren't very many strong wills around.
That era set a precedent that has become the baseline for contemporary media. Nothing needs to be accurate, or true. Networks and web sites need to make money, they need content that will attract viewers, there is nothing more to it. The Lara Logan story shows though that the media can be held accountable if people will speak out.
ENDA Passes Senate
There was some important news on the LGBT front this past week, as the Senate easily passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). Let's take the story from the Christian Post
, just for fun.
In a move hailed by LGBT rights groups, the United States Senate has passed the 2013 version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
The Senate voted on Thursday 64 to 32 in favor of passing the legislation, which if enacted would bar workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Tico Almeida, founder and president of the pro-gay organization Freedom to Work, said in a statement that the vote was a "historic step."
"The Senate has taken a bi-partisan and historic step towards ensuring that gay and transgender Americans have the same workplace protections that give all Americans a fair shot to succeed on the job," said Almeida.
"Our fight now moves to the House of Representatives where Speaker Boehner and the Republican Conference will have to decide which side of history they want to stand on. We will work with our Republican allies to push Speaker Boehner to allow this vote for the good of the country and the good of his party."
Since the 1970s, lawmakers have introduced some version of ENDA on behalf of expanding anti-discrimination employment protections to include LGBT individuals.
Efforts have yet to be successful, with the proposed bills having either never been brought to a vote or, as was the case in 1996, was voted down.
For a time, ENDA also met resistance from LGBT activists who argued that the bill did little to protect all sexual minorities and gender expressions as opposed to just gays and lesbians.
Known as Senate Bill 815, ENDA was introduced by Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon in April and had 56 cosponsors. On Monday, the Senate voted 61 to 30 to bring ENDA to the floor for a vote. During the debate Thursday morning, Sen. Pat Toomey proposed an amendment to expand the religious exemptions offered in S. 815. However, the amendment was voted down with 43 ayes to 55 nays. Senate Passes Employment Non-Discrimination Act; Now Will Go to House
Most people already think that it is illegal to discriminate against someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It just makes sense. You can fire somebody for being gay? Why would you do that?
A few years ago this was a controversial idea, but that era is rapidly evaporating.
By the way, this was the "inclusive ENDA," with protection for gender identity as well as sexual orientation. There was a time when Congress would have supported a gay and lesbian nondiscrimination bill, as long as it did not include transgender people. If you're not following these things, sexual orientation and gender identity are two entirely different things, and members of one community do not necessarily feel a strong sense of responsibility to the other. It might not have seemed very "progressive" of them, but a lot of gay people would have been happy to pass a bill that covered them, and come back for gender identity later. Attitudes have changed fast, though, and the current bill protects LGB and T.
A little more, given that I am quoting the Christian Post
Opponents of ENDA maintain that the bill does not do enough to protect religious liberty, especially for employers who may hold moral objections to homosexuality and/or transgender identity.
Emily Hardman, spokesperson for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, provided The Christian Post with a statement earlier this week regarding what the organization believed about ENDA's religious exemption.
"The Becket Fund is concerned about any law that does not provide robust religious liberty protections where they are warranted," reads the official statement. "The limited exemptions for certain religious organizations that we have seen in the ENDA draft under consideration are manifestly inadequate."
ENDA will next go to the Republican-dominated U.S. House of Representatives, where House Speaker John Boehner has expressed opposition to S.815.
"The Speaker believes this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small business jobs," said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel in an earlier statement to Politico.
We put up with quite a lot of irrational and bizarre stuff from religious people, and most of us try to accommodate their weird beliefs when we can. But if their religion tells them they have to be jerks, I think the rest of us deserve to be protected from that.
Some religious people read their scriptures to say that you should not be gay. Whatever, we won't talk about the inconsistencies at this point. But the fact is, I have never heard anybody explain what part of the Bible says you can't hire a gay person, or work alongside them. You know, if they made a case where they showed chapter and verse saying, "The Lord shall smite thee if thou payest a homosexual person for working," then they might be able to persuade somebody to put in a religious exclusion. But, uh, I don't think so.
The vote in the Senate was like butter. Republicans joined Democrats in supporting rights for our gay and transgender neighbors. In the House it will be more political, Boehner is afraid of the Nutty Ones and it looks like he can be intimidated into blocking a vote on this. On the other hand, the recent election might have been a wake-up call for the GOP, and this could be a good opportunity for them to show the people that they can be decent. Okay, a little joke there, sorry.
Understanding the Republican Party
A rational person looks at American public life and wonders how it is that we can enact policies that are so unenlightened -- I don't mean just Democrats, but ordinary people around the world. How can America pay gazillion-dollar subsidies to corporations who are already making gazillion-dollar profits, while at the same time stripping survival benefits from poor people? How can anyone in their right mind stand up and say that we need more
guns in schools? Why is the US struggling to meet the lowest educational standards of the developed world? Why do American citizens go bankrupt trying to deal with ordinary health problems? What is the obsession in this country with suppressing women's rights?
The explanation is that we have a political party that believes in these things so strongly that no other legislation can be enacted until their priorities are met. The party is supported by a majority of voters in some regions of the country, it is powerful enough that it must be taken seriously The other party must make compromises with the Republican Party in order to get to more enlightened agenda items, and then these have to be watered down to the point of meaninglessness.
Democracy Corps, James Carville's group, is doing something really fascinating, called the Republican Party Project. They conducted a bunch of focus groups with people who report themselves to be Republicans, to find out what they believe and who they are. The cool thing about this report is that it is objective and dispassionate. You might think a bunch of Democrats would try to tar and feather the Republicans with their own words, but this report is different from that. You are stronger when you understand your enemy's motives and thought processes, and this report was created from that perspective. Of course the Democrats want to win elections, and Democracy Corps is supporting that by producing an accurate and unbiased analysis of the party they will have to beat.
Understand that the base thinks they are losing politically and losing control of the country – and their starting reaction is “worried,” “discouraged,” “scared,” and “concerned” about the direction of the country – and a little powerless to change course. They think Obama has imposed his agenda, while Republicans in DC have let him get away with it. Inside the GOP
The report finds that there are three components to the Republican Party, and they are not necessarily on the same page. The largest group is composed of evangelical Christians, for whom the most important topics are the social ones, homosexuality and abortion in particular (they're against it).
The evangelicals support the Tea Party because they are pushing ahead and getting things done, but they differ in their core beliefs: the Tea Party is concerned with reducing taxes and the size of government, and mostly doesn't really care if gay people marry, mostly thinks it is not the government's job to make women's medical decisions for them. And finally, there is the traditional moderate conservative Republican bloc: "They are centrally focused on market-based economics, small government, and eliminating waste and inefficiency. They are largely open to progressive social policies, including on gay marriage and immigration. They disdain the Tea Party and have a hard time taking Fox News seriously." This is the smallest of the three groups.
The traditional conservative view is a legitimate and even necessary part of the national conversation. A certain amount of money goes into the treasury and there can be different views about what it should be spent on. We may be threatened by foreign countries and groups, and there can be more than one opinion about how to deal with them, and so on. In the dialog between management and labor, the GOP represents management. Well somebody's got to.
I think the Founding Fathers saw the danger of something like the evangelical bloc and tried to prevent it by carefully wording an amendment to the Constitution regulating government's ability to promote a religion or to impede one. No matter how many times they deny it, there really is a legal separation of church and state. And the power of the evangelical component of the GOP lies in the weakening of the separation of religion and government; it is their right to believe the things they do, and to live according to their customs, but it is not their right to force the rest of us to obey their taboos, no matter how repugnant we pagans may be to them.
The Tea Party is a new thing, they are the hell-raisers of the party who come up with impossible demands and then filibuster and shout people down if they don't get what they want. They define themselves as "Washington outsiders" and really don't seem to understand that a democratic government really does require that people make concessions, including them. It really does mean you don't get everything you want every time. But because their blustering has so successfully gummed up the governmental machinery, the Tea Party is seen within the GOP as a kind of success, and the other groups are hoping to get some of what they want through the Tea Party's momentum.
There is a recurrent tacit theme, mentioned several times by the authors, for instance, "While few talk about Obama in racial terms, the base supporters are very conscious of being white in a country with growing minorities."
Though the Democracy Corps paper does not address the topic in depth, it is obvious that a core appeal of today's GOP flows from the evolving demographic face of our country. White people are not a majority in some regions, and the tide is moving that way nearly everywhere. It is okay to get goose-bumpy about the Constitution and your sense of patriotism, but if you actually believe in it you have to remember that the Constitution gives rights to everyone, not just you. The freedom of religion is easy to accept when it protects your religion, not so easy when it protects somebody else's, say Wicca or Islam. But that's the way it works.
Some white people are feeling backed into a corner these days. The Constitution used to be a prop for them, it gave them permission to say what they wanted and pass laws that were consistent with their way of life, and that was fine, But now they are tasting what it was like for the rest of the population during that time, when other groups had to accept white Christian domination. The Constitution is no longer a crutch for one group, now the process of democracy is requiring white Americans to tolerate people who are different from them. The Tea Party sounds a little frantic, they know it is best not to talk about race but this is a portrait of white people who want to keep their privilege, their entitlement, when they feel it slipping away from them.
This paper is a fascinating read, if you want to understand one side of American politics. Don't take my snarky word for it, click on the link and read the whole thing.
I don't usually do this, but it looks like the comment thread on the last post is too long to display, so I'll start an Open Thread. Lots to talk about -- more school shootings, NSA spying revelations, ACA web site problems, the World Series, post-shutdown observations, drones, drugs, polls ...
Have at it!
The Million Vet March Yesterday
Republican leaders joined the Million Vet March yesterday, as the group vandalized government property, waved Confederate flags, and listened to speeches calling President Obama a Muslim and demanding that he "come out with his hands up."
A crowd converged on the World War II Memorial on the National Mall on Sunday, pushing past barriers to protest the memorial’s closing under the government shutdown.
Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah were among the demonstrators, as were Texas Rep. Steve Stockman and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Cruz and Lee are among the tea party-backed lawmakers who refused to keep the government operating unless President Barack Obama agreed to defund the nation’s health care overhaul.
“Let me ask a simple question,” Cruz told the crowd of hundreds that gathered beginning at 9 a.m. “Why is the federal government spending money to erect barricades to keep veterans out of this memorial?”
Black metal barricades have lined the front of the memorial since the government closed Oct. 1. That’s when more than 300 National Park Service workers who staff and maintain the National Mall were furloughed. Ted Cruz, Mike Lee at D.C. memorial protest
According to the Washington Post
, "U.S. Park Police estimated there were 100 to 200 protesters and said there were no arrests."
The memorials are closed, of course, because the federal government is closed. Erecting barricades is routine work that probably doesn't cost much of anything -- federal workers were given a half day, October 1st, for "shutdown activities," and that probably included erecting barricades, besides completing time sheets, shutting down servers, and hanging out the Closed sign.
quotes a speech to the group:
"I call upon all of you to wage a second American nonviolent revolution, to use civil disobedience, and to demand that this president leave town, to get up, to put the Quran down, to get up off his knees, and to figuratively come out with his hands up," said Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch, a conservative political advocacy group. Rallier tells Obama to 'put the Quran down'
These stupid people are protesting the highly visible signs of the government shutdown because they do not realize all the things the federal government does. Hundreds of thousands of people are working without pay, and hundreds of thousands more government employees are out of work, medical research is stopped, aid to hungry children, NTSB investigations, thousands of programs -- the President and US Trade Representative are missing a major trade negotiation meeting
that could cost the country billions. The memorials and museums are a tiny part of it. By making a scene at the war memorial they may think they are "proving" that the President is disrespectful to veterans, but remember, only House Majority Leader Eric Cantor or someone designated by him can even introduce a bill into the House of Representatives to get the government open again: WATCH THIS
Govt Shutdown a Week Later
Washington Post: For Boehner, surrender may be only way out of shutdown and debt-ceiling mess
As the government shutdown and the threat of a federal debt default begin to merge into a singular Washington crisis, the only way out for House Speaker John A. Boehner may be something he disparaged earlier this week as “unconditional surrender.”
More than a week into the shutdown and just days before the government is set to exhaust its borrowing authority, Boehner (R-Ohio) and the White House remain at a standoff with no solution in sight.
President Obama has consistently said he will not negotiate until the government reopens and the debt limit is raised.
Most of the political pressure has been on Boehner and his fellow House Republicans to fix the problem, and none of their options are attractive.
See also Gallup Poll: Republican Party Favorability Sinks to Record Low
ACA Takes Off, GOP Crashes Govt
Grover Norquist said "I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub." Ninety-five percent of Republicans in Congress signed his pledge to reduce funding to the federal government, and they have been moving forward with the plan.
Today the halls of the federal agencies are dark and silent, the people's work is not getting done, as the Republican Party drowns the government.
Also today, the airwaves are brimming with talk about the new Affordable Care Act. The exchanges opened up today, you can now shop around and see what your options are. I have spoken to several people who are going to cut their health insurance costs in half. Last week I talked with an uninsured guy who was just going in to be tested for a debilitating nervous-system disorder -- he would have been uninsurable yesterday, today there is hope for him, even if the tests confirm his doctor's diagnosis. It is really going to be nice for a lot of people.
The Republicans disagree. They feel that affordable health care for Americans is so threatening, so heinous, that it is better to shut down the federal government than to provide access to it. As I write this, the House has passed four budgets, all of which de-fund affordable care, and sent them to the Senate, where there is no chance in hell it will pass. They know it will never pass the Senate, and they know the President will never sign it. This is irrational, expensive, time-wasting.
You might not feel it at first, unless you work for the government, and lots of our Washington-area readers do. A lot of government work happens behind the scenes, working with the economy, with regulations that protect the citizens, funding and conducting medical research, investigating fraud and white-collar crime, all kinds of things that you might not immediately miss.
The government does the things that private industry can't do, especially things that require impartiality and things that do not make a profit. Government success is not measured in stock dividends or profits, government is successful when people can live their lives in peace, prosperity, and safety. If Grover Norquist and the Tea Party and the NRA got their way, every American city would be like Mogadishu, controlled by armed gangs. Everybody complains about government but we're lucky to have it.
I don't see a way out of this. You know, don't you, that if they voted on the simple continuing resolution from the Senate it would pass. Even the majority of members of the House of Representatives would support it. This is a mess within the Republican Party, where pusillanimous whiners like John Boehner have to strike their tough-guy pose for the cameras because of challenges from the right in the upcoming primary elections. He won't allow a vote because a reasonable budget would pass, with Obamacare written into it. It's what the people want, it is even what Congress wants, it's what the President wants, but we're not going to get it.
The country is disgusted and the world is laughing at us. Our political process brings out the worst in people, it attracts those whose goal is self-aggrandizement, it invites corruption, and it is so complicated that nobody can really figure out what shell the pea is under. But it's as good as you can get. The populace is really in charge, we can only kick ourselves for electing these idiots in the first place.
Any bets on how long the government stays closed?
Oh, and in a couple of weeks the real fighting starts. Stay tuned.
Media Fail Chelsea Manning Transition
Last week the American media collapsed under the awesome burden of reporting on a person who had changed their name from Bradley to Chelsea, and publicly transitioned from a male to female gender identity. And one of the worst of them was that paragon of liberalism, NPR.
It's like when a woman marries, and Nancy Smith becomes Nancy Jones -- you don't insist on continuing to use her maiden name. You might slip, and you might even always think of her as a Smith, but if you are talking about her you say "Nancy Jones." Nothing political, it's just that that's her name now.
Tell me, what sense does this make: "Bradley Manning said today that he has changed his name to Chelsea and will now be addressed as female." That is exactly what the media were doing. Try this: "The Army private formerly known as Bradley Manning has changed her name to Chelsea and announced that she will now be addressed as a female." Because that's her name now. It used to be Bradley, now it's not. Now she's Chelsea.
Here's Bitch Magazine
talking about it -- good article.
In light of Chelsea Manning—formerly known as Bradley Manning—announcing her name change and preferred gender last week, news outlets were stumbling over themselves in stories reporting on the convicted Army private's transition. Only a handful, including NPR, have revised their policies to refer to Manning as a woman.
Although almost all of the news stories on the name change have included Manning's words, "I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun," most decided to interpret the statement in their own, unique way. Some outlets, like the initial interview with The Today Show, alternated awkwardly between masculine and feminine pronouns. Many media outlets decided to completely ignore the statement they quoted and just stick to "Bradley," "he," "him," and "his" as if nothing had ever happened.
The worst policy of all came from National Public Radio. On Friday, after major outcry from listeners, cultural critics, and activists, NPR announced "we have evolved" and NPR's Managing Editor for Standards and Practice Stu Seidel issued new guidance on referring to Manning. Apparently, NPR will rethink how its stations refer to transgender people in the future:
On the pronoun front, the best solution is the simplest: If we're going to use a new name for a transgender person, we should change pronouns as appropriate. In this case, we should refer to Manning as a "she." This is a matter of clarity and consistency. We just can't tie ourselves in knots trying to avoid pronouns every time we tell the Manning story.This policy makes a lot more sense than their previous system, which was explained thusly in The New York Times:
While we need to have clarity, we also have a responsibility to tell full and complete stories, whether we're reporting on an artist using a stage name or a prominent transgender person making a public request for a name change. If the person's earlier identity is relevant to a story, we have a responsibility to make that clear for our audience.
National Public Radio will continue for now to refer to Private Manning as "he," according to a spokeswoman, Anna Bross. "Until Bradley Manning's desire to have his gender changed actually physically happens, we will be using male-related pronouns to identify him."What does this statement even mean? How exactly would NPR want Manning to validate the worthiness of her preferred prounouns? Would NPR want periodic photographic evidence tracking Manning's physical transition from male to female? Would they be requesting exclusive access to her medical records so they can determine when she undergoes gender reassignment surgery? At what point will Manning's body be traditionally feminine enough to merit a feminine pronoun? NPR Changed its Horrible Policy Misgendering Chelsea Manning
I think the bottom line is this: gender identity is real
. Chelsea Manning is not a guy dressed like a girl. The person who was known as Bradley Manning was misnamed and mislabeled, and has corrected that.
You will sometimes hear it described as a person "having the wrong body" or "being the opposite of their biological gender," but I think it is easier to think of it as the doctor making a mistake. The baby comes out, they hold it up and take a look, the doctor checks a box on the birth certificate and there you go, paint the nursery pink or blue and pick a name that fits. Gender is most often correlated with observable genitalia, but sometimes it isn't. The doctor just got it wrong.
This article goes into some depth, I will skip down a little.
It's fantastic that NPR has "evolved" so quickly and come to recognize the error of its reporting on Manning.
But now it's strange that NPR is among only a handful of news organizations to change their policies and admit that they should improve their language. Will it be years before NBC, ABC, CBS, and CNN come around? CNN's policy is just as unfair as the one NPR scrapped: "CNN's policy is to reference Manning with masculine pronouns since he has not yet taken any steps toward gender transition through surgery or hormone replacement therapy."
It's understandable that media is scrambling over this issue. Manning's public change of gender identity is the first transition that has received this much attention. Therefore it makes sense that news organizations might have some trouble figuring out how to report this kind of story. But that's why GLAAD and the National Lesbian Gay Journalists Association have policies to help inform coverage of trans* folks.
Both GLAAD and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association issued statements instructing journalists on how to report on transgender individuals. Sources like MSNBC and Salon who previously misgendered Manning have admitted their mistake and tried to make amends by not only updating their stories but instructing fellow reporters on how to follow suit.
It's not that it's politically incorrect, it's just incorrect.
Don Dwyer, Pillar of Decency
The thing is, if you're going to dish it out you gotta be able to take it. Or to put it another way, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."
Anne Arundel Delegate Don Dwyer was definitely casting stones when we first met him at the Citizens for Responsible Citizens' 2005 Hate-Fest. He strode to the podium like a Southern preacher, shouting at the audience and TV cameras that he was "spreading the hate of homosexual activists ... and the fear of what is going to happen if we don't do something about it." His voice rattled through the rafters and the crowd loved it. You can listen to his talk and read the transcript HERE
Such a good man. Such high moral principles.
As The Sentinel
(behind a paywall) quoted leaders of the CRC at the time:
"The CRC does not endorse any of the speakers or support their topics per se," explained [CRC leader] Fisher. "... Several members of the CRC were uncomfortable with Del. Dwyer's talk and others felt that his and some of the other speakers' information needed to be out in the public for debate and awareness, even if it was controversial."
"As far as Mr. Dwyer goes, I thought we made it clear that the speakers should not have strong religious overtones," said Turner. "When he started his comments, I was a little taken aback. But a number of the members said they were glad he spoke the way he did." The Sentinel Reports
So you assemble the nuttiest collection of people Montgomery County can scrape together, and Don Dwyer is actually too nutty for them, even.
In 2006, Dwyer tried to remove Baltimore Circuit Court Judge M. Brooke Murdoch after she found Maryland’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. Dwyer has also tried to impeach Attorney General Doug Gansler, after he announced in 2010 that Maryland would recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other jurisdictions.
About a year ago he broke a five-year-old girl's skull and injured six other people while boating, drunk, on a Maryland river. At that time he claimed
that legislators who voted for the state’s same-sex marriage bill contributed to his alcohol abuse.
This week he got arrested for drunk driving. CBS Baltimore
Busted again. Anne Arundel County Police arrest an outspoken conservative lawmaker who just weeks ago pleaded guilty to operating a boat under the influence — this time for driving a car while intoxicated.
Anne Arundel County Police arrested him just after midnight in Pasadena. He was pulled over after an officer spotted his gray Cadillac eastbound along Route 100 near Edwin Raynor Boulevard.
“The officer was immediately concerned for the safety of everyone on the road,” said Justin Mulcahy, Anne Arundel County Police spokesman. “It was driving erratically to say the least. It crossed over several lanes of traffic multiple times, onto the shoulder several times as well, even getting in front of vehicles.” Del. Don Dwyer Arrested For DUI; Pleaded Guilty To Drunken Boating Earlier This Month
Obviously this guy is a mess.
I am not inclined to gloat over some idiot's fall to disgrace. He's got a problem and does not seem motivated to deal with it, well that is going to be hard on his family and he is going to hurt more people eventually if he keeps it up.
If he hadn't been so offensive in his denunciation of others I wouldn't have mentioned this.
The problem is that this contrasts so starkly with his moralistic statements about gay people. His behavior forces you to ask: what is worse, being gay or cracking kids' skulls and driving on the wrong side of the road, drunk out of your head?
This is a man who judges other people and throws his weight around like he's better than them, when maybe he should show some humility and allow peaceful people to live their lives happily.