Former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) has a problem if his and the White House’s goal is to quell criticism for his anti-gay past. And that problem is only getting worse.
Openly gay outgoing Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) slammed Hagel on New Year’s Eve, saying he “strongly opposes” a Hagel nomination for secretary of defense. Other progressive LGBT critics have been speaking out in recent days, as well. Already under relentless attacks for weeks from neocons opposed to Hagel’s views on Israel and Iran and determined to stop President Obama from nominating him to the Defense Department post, Hagel will have only himself to blame if the gay issue helps sink him.
Hagel offered a pathetically weak apology two weeks ago for having opposed the nomination of openly gay James Hormel as ambassador to Luxembourg when President Clinton nominated him in 1998. At the time he’d called Hormel “openly aggressively gay” and therefore unfit to represent the country abroad, because being gay is “an inhibiting factor.” But all Hagel will say about it now, releasing a statement only after the Human Rights Campaign expressed concern over a possible nomination, is that those remarks were “insensitive.”
Insensitive? Come on, Senator. Surely you can do better than that. And if you can’t, you don’t deserve the job.
Hagel scored a zero on the Human Rights Campaign’s Senate scorecard between 2001 and 2006 (which is not that long ago), voting against pro-gay initiatives and for anti-gay ones, and was on record as opposing allowing gays to serve openly in the military (calling it a “social experiment”), let alone representing this country as ambassadors. And yet in his recent apology for the Hormel remarks, he seems surprised that LGBT Americans would question his “commitment to their civil rights,” says he supports open service and claims that the remarks about Hormel don’t represent “the totality of my record.”
I’m a gun owner and I go to the range to shoot on a fairly regular basis. I would go more often but it is expensive to do so.
I opted to not get a concealed hand gun permit. I’m not as fearsome as most of the men who seem to make up the majority of CHL folks. I’m old and I avoid dangerous places.
The mass shootings have shown the worst sides of both the NRA and those who will only be happy when there is no private gun ownership.
Sam Harris is an out spoken atheist. This is a group that has been subjected to the same sorts of threats of viloence and murder that out spoken LGBT people have. Some of us consider having a gun for self protection to be a matter of prudence.
From Sam Harris: http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-riddle-of-the-gun/
By Sam Harris
January 2, 2013
Fantasists and zealots can be found on both sides of the debate over guns in America. On the one hand, many gun-rights advocates reject even the most sensible restrictions on the sale of weapons to the public. On the other, proponents of stricter gun laws often seem unable to understand why a good person would ever want ready access to a loaded firearm. Between these two extremes we must find grounds for a rational discussion about the problem of gun violence.
Unlike most Americans, I stand on both sides of this debate. I understand the apprehension that many people feel toward “gun culture,” and I share their outrage over the political influence of the National Rifle Association. How is it that we live in a society in which one of the most compelling interests is gun ownership? Where is the science lobby? The safe food lobby? Where is the get-the-Chinese-lead-paint-out-of-our-kids’-toys lobby? When viewed from any other civilized society on earth, the primacy of guns in American life seems to be a symptom of collective psychosis.
Most of my friends do not own guns and never will. When asked to consider the possibility of keeping firearms for protection, they worry that the mere presence of them in their homes would put themselves and their families in danger. Can’t a gun go off by accident? Wouldn’t it be more likely to be used against them in an altercation with a criminal? I am surrounded by otherwise intelligent people who imagine that the ability to dial 911 is all the protection against violence a sane person ever needs.
But, unlike my friends, I own several guns and train with them regularly. Every month or two, I spend a full day shooting with a highly qualified instructor. This is an expensive and time-consuming habit, but I view it as part of my responsibility as a gun owner. It is true that my work as a writer has added to my security concerns somewhat, but my involvement with guns goes back decades. I have always wanted to be able to protect myself and my family, and I have never had any illusions about how quickly the police can respond when called. I have expressed my views on self-defense elsewhere. Suffice it to say, if a person enters your home for the purpose of harming you, you cannot reasonably expect the police to arrive in time to stop him. This is not the fault of the police—it is a problem of physics.
Continue reading at: http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-riddle-of-the-gun/
From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jacob-devaney/idle-no-more-the-beauty-o_b_2393053.html
What started as a murmur in early October from First Nations People in Canada in response to Bill C45 has become a movement that echoes the sentiments of people all over the world, a battle cry of love for the planet, “Idle No More.” At first glance it might appear that this movement is isolated and doesn’t effect you if you are not native or if you don’t live in Canada, yet it does. It may appear that this resistance is not related to The Occupy Movement, The Arab Spring, The Unify Movement, Anonymous, or any of the other popular uprisings sparked by social unrest, but it is.
At its very core, all of these movements have very common threads and are born from common issues facing people everywhere. Those who represent financial interests that value money over life itself, that are devoid of basic respect for human decency, and for nature have dictated the future for too long and people everywhere are standing up to say, “No more.” This non-violent social uprising is viral in the minds and hearts of everyone across the planet determined to bring healing to our troubled communities, our planet, and the corruption that is eroding the highest places of governments around the world.
Flashmobs with dancing and drumming at a malls in Olympia, Wash. Tempe, Ariz., Denver, Colo., a giant circle dance blocking a large intersection in Winnipeg, rail blockades in Quebec, this movement is using cultural expression combined with modern activism to get attention, and it is working. From their website, “Idle No More calls on all people to join in a revolution which honors and fulfills Indigenous sovereignty which protects the land and water. Colonization continues through attacks to Indigenous rights and damage to the land and water.”
Idle No More was started in October by four ladies; Nina Wilson, Sylvia McAdam, Jessica Gordon & Sheelah McLean who felt it was “urgent to act on current and upcoming legislation that not only affects First Nations people but the rest of Canada’s citizens, lands and waters.” On December 11 Attawapiskat Chief, Theresa Spence, launched a hunger strike requesting a face-to-face meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss broken treaties and protection of natural resources. Spence is staying in a tipi on the frozen Ottawa River facing Parliament Hill and has gained the support from many natives and non-natives who are in solidarity with this movement.
Chief Arvol Lookinghorse from South Dakota recently expressed his support in a letter posted on Facebook that states, “As Keeper of our Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe, I would like to send out support for the efforts of Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawapiskat First Nation, for giving of herself through fasting with prayers for the protection of Mother Earth.” He goes on to say:
Continue reading at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jacob-devaney/idle-no-more-the-beauty-o_b_2393053.html