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January 20, 2005

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Double post - just in case you've not spotted yet.

Double post - just in case you've not spotted yet.

Ok, so maybe there's just a drop of whiskey in my hot chocolate... ;-p

thanks for the head's up.

the New York Times had an editorial about it today...

Heck, The Daily Show had an editorial about it a few days ago. Get with the times, man!

Heck, The Daily Show had an editorial about it a few days ago. Get with the times, man!

Yeah, I was surprised the Times ran that editorial today as well...it does seem like old news. Although, the point has not been addressed by the powers that be, so the beatings will continue until attitudes improve...

even if someone's said it before, it bears repeating.

We don't need translators, Edward, doncha know torturing prisoners will magically make them spill the beans in English.

Did the NYT really just now report this story. I swear I've known about it since at least November 2001. And yes, the military's ban on homosexuals is stupid. I have quite a few friends in the military who are constantly worrying about being found out. It is sad.

Didn't see this get much play, either:

Despite a shortage of Arabic translators, the FBI turned down applications for linguist jobs from nearly 100 Arabic-speaking Jews in New York following the World Trade Center attacks, WorldNetDaily has learned.

Did the NYT really just now report this story. I swear I've known about it since at least November 2001.

The original story was that six linguists were fired for their sexuality. The FBI, I think it was, just came clean this past week and upped the number to twenty.

"The original story was that six linguists were fired for their sexuality. The FBI, I think it was, just came clean this past week and upped the number to twenty."

Wait, wait, wait. I'm confused. The article talks about the problems that the FBI has getting to translators and also talks about the military firing people because they are gay. Is the FBI firing people because they are gay? That would be news to me.

Assuming that they aren't, I know this isn't the ideal solution (which would be for people to wake the heck up and realize that there isn't anything wrong with being gay), but why doesn't the FBI hire those who were fired by the military?

Yeah, but aren't you worried that these translators might make their translations sound "all gay and stuff"?

The American military ban on gays looks particularly stupid now virtually no other Western nation feels that it's impossible to have out-of-the-closet gays serving in the military. (I actually can't think of a single one that does, but I'm willing to be corrected.)

What is the Pentagon waiting for - all the military homophobes to die off or otherwise quit being obstructionist?

This is an indescribably stupid policy.

An Administration that puts catering to anti-homosexual bigotry ahead of national security is supposed to make us safer?

Jeez, Bernard, where are your priorities? ;)

The American people are ahead of their leaders on this one, if those poll results are anywhere near right.

A new poll has found that 79 percent of all Americans believe that gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly in the military.

The CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, which was conducted December 5-7, 2003, surveyed 1,004 adults. Survey participants were asked, "Do you think people who are openly gay or homosexual should - or should not - be allowed to serve in the U.S. military?"

In the 18-29 year age range, 91 percent said that gays should be allowed to serve openly. Those aged 30-49, 50-64, and 65 and over were 81, 74, and 68 percent respectively.

Seventy-three percent of men, and 85 percent of women, responded affirmatively.

The numbers show a significant improvement over earlier polls.

An August, 2003 Fox News poll found that 64 percent of the public believed that gays should be allowed to serve openly in the military. Previously, a 2001 survey published by MIT Press found that 56 percent of civilian respondents believed that gays should be allowed to serve openly.

I'm also interested in the variance/trend of those polls. Some of it must be the phrasing of the question or sample selection, but it also looks like something else is going on. Part of it is generational, but generational change doesn't happen this quickly.

I maintain that the gay marriage push has actually led the public to become much, much more pro-gay rights in areas like employment discrimination, to say nothing of civil unions. It's swung the "I'm not homophobic but..."/ "I believe in equal rights but..." folks into support of more moderate improvements in gay rights.

Calling on the better angels of our nature could work for politicians--in this area, in the debate over torture too. We all want to feel good about ourselves. Like Digby said,

It's not that I believe that all Americans are horrified, or even a majority of Americans are horrified. Clearly, the dittoheads think it is just ducky. But that isn't the point. Just because they aren't horrified or even endorse it on some level doesn't mean that they don't know that it's wrong. They do. And it is very uncomfortable to be put in the position of defending yourself when you know you are wrong. Even good people find ways, but it cuts a little piece out of their self respect every time they do it.

You don't have to agree with what he said about "dittoheads" to see his point....Look at how many people were willing to argue against von. Exactly zero. Look at the success of a Barack Obama. Look at Russell Feingold beating John Kerry easily in a swing state. You can do the right thing and win, sometimes.

This isn't meant as a threadjack. The same principle applies to gays in the military. "Don't Ask Don't Tell" is stupid. It's contrary to national security--most glaringly so when it comes to Arabic-speaking linguists, but across the board at a time when we're calling up retired grandmothers from the national guard and sending them to Iraq for one more tour. It's wrong. At some level I think the President must know it's wrong. And it's not even popular anymore. Yet somehow, no one dares to touch it.

It's as if politicians have so internalized consultants' messages that they think that whenever you do something good you'll suffer politically--even when the polls show no evidence of this at all. They all praise the decency and good sense of the American people to the skies in their speeches, but they act like they don't trust us at all--not our intelligence, and not our decency.

I'm sick of seeing our leaders asssume the worst about us. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Here's the original Daily Show report on this, from way back in 2002(ish).

Well, Katherine, while I, for one, agree 110% with your comment

"At some level I think the President must know it's wrong. And it's not even popular anymore. Yet somehow, no one dares to touch it."

the pure political fact remains that this current President owes his election, in no non-trivial part, to the support of precisely that voting bloc who are all too willing to exploit homophobic bigotry (most usually wrapped in the mantle of religion) for political advantage. Whether or not this is in line with the majority of Americans is, of course, to the Bushophiles, irrelevant: after all, Dear Leader has already claimed his "mandate" from the last election as a blanket vindication of any and all policies past, present and, presumably, future.
While it is certainly a positive to learns that (even via Fox News)

"...64 percent of the public believed that gays should be allowed to serve openly in the military."

as long as obsessive creatures like James Dobson (see today's NY Times for an article on his latest homophobic fetish - you'll be surprised who he has "outed"!) have the overblown political leverage on the present Admistration that they do, it will be a long time (hopefully, just four more years) before gay Americans get anything more from the National government (which their taxes, too, go to support) than the sort of semi-tolerance, semi-obloquy which is the current status quo - and, of course, the wonderful and unique advantage of being the despised-minority-du-jour in a nominally tolerant democracy.

PS: Sorry about the lack of link re James Dobson's latest bashing: a helpful reminder re how to post links would be appreciated!

It's as if politicians have so internalized consultants' messages that they think that whenever you do something good you'll suffer politically--even when the polls show no evidence of this at all.

I think it's simplier than that. There are issues on which it doesn't pay to be out there by yourself.

Look at Social Security. Most of the Republican Congressfolk will tell you that they're not going to vote for changes unless the Dems do too. They know how easy it would be for their opponents to use that against them in the next elections. Does this mean they don't believe that changes/cuts/etc. are appropriate? No. They just don't believe it strongly enough to end their career over it.

helpful reminder re how to post links would be appreciated!

like this:
[a href="http://something/whatever.com"] whatever [/a]

except instead of [ ] use the greater than and lesser than symbols

Thank, vm: hopefully James Dobson's latest idiocy can be more easily spotted a href= "http//:www.nytimes.com/2005/01/20/politics/20sponge.html?adxnnl=199hpib=9oref=login&adxnnlx-110624771-FwRmlyCvxgv3rsmyEvqK/w here /a

Oops, guess not!

Jay: Type this...

<a href="http://something/whatever.com"> whatever </a>

Make sure that you close those quotation marks too, otherwise serious weirdness will ensue.

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