Daily Archives: October 26, 2010

>A Lesson To Be Learned

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Stoke Newington School, a secondary school in north London, claims to have almost eradicated homophobic bullying.
What? Huh? How?
Elementary, my dear readers, they simply started teaching lessons on gay history.
Students learn about World War II code-breaker Alan Turing, who committed suicide after being prosecuted for being gay, and forced to choose between prison or taking female hormones.
The school also features studies on gay authors like Oscar Wilde and James Baldwin, and artist Andy Warhol.
Music teacher Elly Barnes developed the lessons with colleagues five years ago–FIVE YEARS AGO–after becoming concerned about students using the word “gay” as a derogatory term, and now Stoke Newington School plans to extend the program by teaching hundreds of teachers how to “educate and celebrate” being gay.
Elly Barnes: “Many schools haven’t even begun to deal with homophobia. Some still think being gay is illegal in parts of the country. By looking at famous LGBT people in history, we’ve changed opinions and we have had a number of pupils come out.
We have also changed the language used in the school. I used to hear the word gay used all the time as a derogatory term. Now we hardly hear it.”

And that kind of silence is surely golden.
Brava to Elly Barnes and the Stoke Newington School. Brava!

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>Christine O’Donnell Needs A Sassy Gay Friend

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Filed under Christine O'Donnell Is An Idiot, Funny, Sassy Gay Friend

>The State Endorses Vincent Sheheen

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Vision, Integrity, Record Make Sheheen Best Choice

The choice between Sen. Vincent Sheheen and Rep. Nikki Haley would be obvious under any circumstances. In the dysfunctional governmental system of South Carolina, it is even clearer that Mr. Sheheen should be our next governor.

A big reason our state trails in so many areas is that a legislature simply isn’t capable of presenting a vision and leading us forward; it takes a governor to do that. But governors have precious little power to translate their visions into action; their success depends upon their ability to sell their ideas to the Legislature. It’s a tricky balance that no one has gotten quite right since Carroll Campbell.
These past eight years have been particularly difficult, as a governor who at least began with a clear vision went out of his way time after time to antagonize the too-prickly Legislature.
Mr. Sheheen doesn’t offer unrealistic bumper-sticker sloganeering about lowering taxes (although he says he wouldn’t raise them) or making government transparent (although he actually believes this should apply to himself). He gives us something better: A solid record of working across political lines to engage our most daunting problems. A pledge to be honest with us and not embarrass us — and a decade in the public eye that gives us every reason to believe he will keep these promises. A focus on returning to the Campbell model of aggressive economic recruitment. A commitment to improving the public schools, which all candidates promise but which is nearly impossible when they carry water for groups that fight those improvements in order to advance their anti-government agendas.
Ms. Haley makes a wonderful first impression. But she has proven herself unable to work even with members of her own party. She has not tried seriously to govern, as a look at the meager list of bills she has introduced demonstrates. She has repeatedly failed to pay or even file her income taxes until many months after her extension expired — while claiming that an accounting degree proves she’s fiscally responsible to manage our state’s finances. She has campaigned against insider political dealing while using her office to enrich herself just like the old Democratic power brokers routinely used to do. She has repeatedly misled us about herself and her opponents, attributing to others the worst of her own characteristics.
Mr. Sheheen understands that our state won’t move forward until all children have the opportunity to receive a good education. But he also understands that while we need to reverse the teacher layoffs and pay the best teachers better, we can’t until our economy recovers — and that won’t happen until there are more jobs; hence his promise to use the tools our current governor rarely used, to encourage businesses to locate and expand in our state.
Mr. Sheheen and Ms. Haley both recognize that we must overhaul our loophole-riddled tax code and consolidate state agencies to give the governor more authority and reduce duplication. The difference is that Mr. Sheheen is a conciliator who builds alliances with the Republican legislators who will make those things happen or not. He and his GOP co-authors wrote the only detailed plan to overhaul the antiquated tax code. He devised the plan to simultaneously empower the governor and transform the Legislature so that it could provide the oversight of state agencies that our state never has had.
We can’t take four more years of political bickering, of a governor whose every claim has to be checked and double-checked, of fixating on the ideological firestorms of Washington. We need to solve our many practical problems at home. Vincent Sheheen has a realistic vision to move our state forward and a record of getting substantive legislation passed. He has done the hard work and played by the rules. He is a man of integrity and sincerity, whose word can be trusted. All of these virtues set him apart from his opponent. He is the clear choice for governor.

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>Just For Giggles

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>Hate Has A Name: Vicky Hartzler

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Vicky Hartzler is running in Missouri’s 4th Congressional District.
She opposes gay marriage; she opposes hate-crimes laws; she opposes the repeal of DADT.
Now, that doesn’t really make her much different than most Republicans running for office, so, why then, is Vicky Hartzler considered the most anti-gay political candidate in America?
Well Vicky Hartzler does much more than take the standard GOP position on gay rights, she has made a name for herself as an anti-gay crusader.
In 2004, Vicky Hartzler drew national and international attention for her part in the campaign for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Missouri; the amendment was the first of its kind, and passed by a huge margin in August of that year. Hartzler was subsequently quoted as celebrating her victory for “traditional marriage.”
Doug Gray, a political consultant from the other side of the Missouri amendment fight, says anti-gay bias is central to Hartzler’s identity:. “It’s a core issue for her. Vicky is biased. She has always been very motivated by this issue.”
Of course, a Vicky Hartzler spokesman says she’s “not prejudiced against anyone”: “She just thinks certain things are a traditional part of society–marriage being one of them.”
And Vicky Hartzler doesn’t want the LGBT community protected from crimes inflicted upon us for being gay, nor does she think we deserve the right to serve in the military like anyone else.
But, remember, she’s not prejudiced.
Still, to see how anti-gay Vicky Hartzler is, you have to understand that even before her fight to pass a gay marriage ban amendment in Missouri, it was already illegal for gays and lesbians to marry there.  In fact, Missouri is one of the most anti-gay states out there; you can be legally fired for being gay in Missouri; Missouri has no laws granting hospital-visitation rights for gay couples.
Vicky Hartzler wasn’t fighting to protect Missourians from gay marriage, because, even if her amendment failed, it would still be illegal for gay men and women to marry there. What she was doing, however, was inciting fear ion the state by pushing the marriage ban, so no one would notice that local LGBT advocates were working towards employment non-discrimination rules and hospital visitation rights.
Vicky Hartzler manipulated the populace with fear; a typical Republican strategy.
And now Vicky Hartzler is the poster child for anti- gay victories around the nation. When voters in California passed Prop H8 in 2008, a “glad” Hartzler told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that she doesn’t believe gay rights issues are civil rights issues. The “color of someone’s skin doesn’t change,” she said, because, as she believes, there is debate about whether homosexuality is a “lifestyle or they were born that way.”
Get over it, Vicky. You were born straight, I was born gay; you became a hateful bigot, I chose not to go that route.
And now, in her run for office against Democrat Ike Skelton, who was an architect of DADT back in the 90s, the campaign has turned into a Who’s More Anti-Gay race. While she acknowledges that she and Skelton are on the same page regarding DADT–she says repealing it “puts us at risk”–Vicky Hartzler is arguing Skelton “allowed” hate crimes legislation to be attached to a defense authorization bill in 2009 in order to advance “the extreme agenda items of the gay movement.”
Anti-gay Skelton was “catering to the desires of gay rights groups,” says Steve Walsh, a spokesman for Hartzler’s campaign.
And, as is usual, in addition to her anti-gay-anything campaign, Vicky Hartzler is pushing for more Christian right causes. In 1999, as a state representative, she backed a bill that would have allowed for prosecutors to charge women who obtained late-term abortions with murder. Her bill would also have permitted second-degree murder charges to be filed against the doctor who performed the procedure.

Luckily, the law was vetoed by a Democratic governor.
In 2000, Hartzler also lead the fight against Missouri ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment, a federal constitutional amendment that would have formally provided for equal rights for women.
In 2008, she wrote a book, Running God’s Way, outlining the “Christian” way to campaign for office.
Vicky Hartzler apparently knows nothing about the :separation of church ands state.”
Vicky Hartzler obviously knows nothing about human dignity.
Vicky Hartzler obviously knows nothing….but hate, masked as Christianity.

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