March 14th, 2009

What happens when you talk to elementary school children about being gay?

I came across this documentary which I had NEVER heard of before called "It's Elementary". It was released in 1996, and basically it chronicles a bunch of schools ranging from Elementary school to I think Middle school that brought up the topic of homosexuality in class to both get an understanding of what the students felt about it and to talk to them about how to deal with gay classmates or classmates who may have gay parents.

Somehow I'd never heard of it, but apparently it's been used to teach teachers how to comfortably bring up the topic in class, and surprisingly, despite what the kids said about their parents' views on the matter, they seemed to be relatively open-minded.

Of course, some of the questions/comments get a bit ridiculous when you get to the older kids ("I thought only white people were gay") but regardless it's good they're getting some sort of education about these issues. This of course, was over 10 years ago. I don't know how much of this sort of thing still goes on today.

They made another documentary called "It's Still Elementary" which is a look back at the impact of "It's Elementary", the challenges the filmmakers faced in getting it distributed, and the best part is you get to see some of the children 10 years later all grown up and see what great adults they've turned into. You can watch the full movie "It's Still Elementary" on the Logo website.

Anyway, for anyone that's interested, here's the original "It's Elementary" documentary in 4 parts (37 minutes). It's a really great watch imo.

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' glee!

My word, kids these days. What's next, sexual objectification of politicians?

Minutiae? In This White House, Call It News

It’s been another busy few days for the Obama administration, which the news media has faithfully cataloged.

The Politico broke the story that the president’s aides sang “Happy Birthday” to the assistant press secretary, Nick Shapiro, and surprised him with a chocolate cake!

The Wall Street Journal scooped the nugget that the White House Office of Management and Budget chief, Peter R. Orszag, likes Diet Coke!

The Washington Examiner reported that the White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, was spotted “getting money at the SunTrust Bank in the Safeway on the corner 17th St. and Corcoran St. NW.”

Are any of these items newsworthy? (It’s not as if the country is facing two wars and an economic crisis or anything.). Well, yes, they are — a lot of Web sites, bloggers and Twitterers have deemed these developments so. While there has always been a hearty appetite for stories — and trivia — about the people in a new administration, today’s White House press corps (competing for up-to-the-second news) has elevated the most banal doings to a coveted “get.”

“It started as sort of a joke to treat official Washington as a celebrity culture,” said Ana Marie Cox, who helped create the genre in starting the Web site Wonkette five years ago.

“Now it seems that a lot of the irony has been lost and the joke has turned real,” adds Ms. Cox, who now blogs and Twitters about the White House for Air America.

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I have mixed feelings b/c on the one hand shallow stuff is what we all love right? But on the other hand it's kind of weird when it's mainstream sources giving us the details on Jon Favreau's love life or Rahm Emanuel's eating habits. I'm just going to blame the Politico. That's what I do for everything wrong in this world.
Helena Cain and Gina Inviere
  • doop

Anti-gay adoption bill killed

Adoption, foster-care bill is dead for session

Some contend measure targeted gay couples

By Deborah Yetter

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- The sponsor of a controversial bill to ban unmarried couples from becoming foster or adoptive parents acknowledged yesterday that the bill is dead.

"It's too late," Sen. Gary Tapp, R-Shelbyville, said of Senate Bill 68, which was voted out of committee last week but still hasn't been called for a floor vote. "It didn't go anywhere this session."

Tapp said he didn't know why the Senate's Republican leadership didn't schedule a vote on SB 68.

"I quit asking," he said.

Neither Senate President David Williams nor Majority Leader Dan Kelly, the chamber's top leaders, could be reached for comment last night.

Even if the bill were to win Senate approval, it would still need to be passed by the House. And there is little chance of that happening with only three scheduled days for passing bills remaining in this year's session.

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This is a couple of  days old, but I didn't see it posted.

Tucker Carlson on Stewart: 'a partisan demagogue'

Carlson on Stewart: 'a partisan demagogue'

I have a piece up on the fallout from Jon Stewart's interview with Jim Cramer, and also looked at whether there's any similarities between a previous confrontation by "The Daily Show" host.

Still, viewers have at times grown weary of cable television's need for heated political debate shows—most notably, following Stewart's October 2004 appearance on CNN's "Crossfire." There, Stewart told hosts Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala that they should "stop hurting America."

"I'm here to confront you," Stewart said, "because we need help from the media and they're hurting us."

Stewart was declared the victor by many in the media after that appearance, and less than three months later CNN pulled the plug on the 22-year-old right-left shout-fest.

Upon "Crossfire's" cancelation, network president Jon Klein noted the Stewart critique, telling the Washington Post that "he made a good point about the noise level of these types of shows, which does nothing to illuminate the issues of the day."

Carlson, reached Friday, described Stewart as "a partisan demagogue."

"Jim Cramer may be sweaty and pathetic—he certainly was last night—but he's not responsible for the current recession," Carlson told POLITICO. "His real sin was attacking Obama's economic policies. If he hadn't done that, Stewart never would have gone after him. Stewart's doing Obama's bidding. It's that simple."

Begala said that "as an Overpaid TV Guy myself, I hate to see the Overpaid TV Community ripped apart in this time of crisis."

As to whether Stewart's takedown could again impact cable punditry, Begala said he had "no clue."

And simply because media pundits hyperventilate when Stewart wags his finger, it doesn't mean network executives will respond accordingly.
Drink up baby doll

After Change in Federal Policy, Some States Take Steps to Limit Stem Cell Research

ATLANTA — Three days after President Obama announced that he would lift restrictions on federal financing for embryonic stem cell research, the Georgia legislature began a push to limit such research within the state.

The bill, passed by the Republican-controlled Senate on Thursday, bans therapeutic cloning and the creation of embryos for any purpose other than procreation.

Anti-abortion groups that oppose the use of human embryos for stem cell research said similar efforts would be made in other states. This week, the Mississippi House passed a bill prohibiting the University of Mississippi from using state money “for research that kills or destroys an existing human embryo,” and some states are considering legislation that would define an embryo as a person.

“It’s nothing new, and it’s going to continue,” David Prentice, the senior fellow for life sciences at the Family Research Council, a conservative anti-abortion group, said of the push for restrictions.

“I don’t know that we’ll have a very big voice” on the federal level, as new guidelines are developed, Mr. Prentice said. “The states tend to be a little more fluid.”

Many other states have welcomed the reversal in federal policy, hoping for an infusion of research dollars.

Stem cells may hold the key to treating conditions including spinal cord injuries and Alzheimer’s disease. But harvesting the cells from human embryos destroys them.

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Who didn't see this coming?

UK Government to track movement out of the country

From The Telegraph.

All travel plans to be tracked by Government

The travel plans and personal details of every holidaymaker, business traveller and day-tripper who leaves Britain are to be tracked by the Government.

Anyone departing the UK by land, sea or air will have their trip recorded and stored on a database for a decade.

Passengers leaving every international sea port, station or airport will have to supply detailed personal information as well as their travel plans. So-called "booze crusiers" who cross the Channel for a couple of hours to stock up on wine, beer and cigarettes will be subject to the rules.

In addition, weekend sailors and sea fishermen will be caught by the system if they plan to travel to another country - or face the possibility of criminal prosecution.

The owners of light aircraft will also be brought under the system, known as e-borders, which will eventually track 250 million journeys annually.

Even swimmers attempting to cross the Channel and their support teams will be subject to the rules which will require the provision of travellers' personal information such as passport and credit card details, home and email addresses and exact travel plans.

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This really annoys me. I don't understand how tracking people leaving the country and holding the details for 10 years protects us against terrorism, nor do I think that Chris Grayling's "condemnation" is sounds anything like he's actually condemning the plans. This government is making me so annoyed with plans like this I barely know where to start. As soon as one lot are withdrawn, another lot comes up. I'm starting to feel quite worn down by it all.
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    Heston's Medieval Banquet

CNN On Don't Ask Don't Tell

Flaunting our sexuality. Dirty homos in the showers. Radical social agenda. CNN interviews the usual haters against repealing DADT as well as Friendly Fire author Nathaniel Frank. There's actually no shouting or cross-talking here. The Capitol Resource Institute's logic-impaired Karen England: "I hope our military doesn't make decisions based on polls of the American people." Two minutes later she cites a poll of military personnel in which 58% say they are opposed to repealing DADT. In other words, polls that favor HER position are fine. Moron.


Sex education debate: Obama considering a cut in absitnence-only funding

As soon word got out that Alaskan Govenor Sarah Palin had a pregnant 17-year-old daughter, harsh criticisms of sex education began. While right-wing Republicans like Palin completely support abstinence-only education in public schools, her daughter served as living proof that teen abstinence may not be a realistic expectation. In fact, Palin's daughter uttered the words herself.

After giving birth to her son Tripp, Bristol Palin agreed to an interview with FOX News, where she blatantly admitted that teen abstinence is "not realistic at all." Currently abstinence-only education supporters are holding on for dear life, as President Barack Obama is considering a cut in the program's funding. The National Abstinence Education Association has been lobbying Congress in hopes to stop Obama from cutting $42 million in funding compared to what former President George Bush asked for in the final months of his term. Obama's current stimulus package cuts the funding by $14.2 million.

You can read the rest of the article here:

(no subject)

Stimulus Money Will Revamp Amtrak

Another form of transportation is getting a boost from the economic stimulus plan.

Amtrak is set to receive $1.3 billion. The award was unveiled by Vice President Joe Biden Friday.

We spoke with a representative from Amtrak who says most of the money will go toward new rail cars and upgrading railways.

There are more than 28 million passengers on Amtrak trains each year.


The agenda of Chuck Schumer

It's worthwhile to review the actions of Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer with regard to some controversial appointments of the last few years, as it really reflects where the "center" is in Washington's political culture:

* Michael Hayden as Bush's CIA Director: Hayden implemented, oversaw and was the chief defender of Bush's illegal NSA spying program. Weeks before the Senate vote, his nomination was supposedly "complicated by the disclosure that the spy agency under Hayden's control collected phone records on millions of Americans." The new revelations of massive, secret spying on Americans under Hayden's watch prompted Dianne Feinstein to predict that the new surveillance scandal "is going to present a growing impediment to the confirmation of General Hayden and I think that is very regretted."

Two weeks later, Schumer voted to confirm Hayden.

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