news you should know about

newsmongering 05/20

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> I swear, all the best news happens when I don’t have time to look at it. So this’ll be a quickie, folks, and it’s mostly domestic. And depressing. Um. Sorry?

> First off, the “Don’t Say Gay” bill passed in the Tennessee Senate. The bill forbids schools from mentioning the existence of homosexuals in the classroom until high school. Which rather makes you wonder what kids with same-sex parents are supposed to talk about when discussing what they did on their summer vacations. Also:

Gay students struggling to come out will be unable to discuss their problems with trusted teachers, gay teachers will be legally prevented from talking about their spouse, and guidance counselors will be required by law not to dare speak up to help a suicidal gay teenager who is being abused and outcast at home.

On the one hand, from what I’m seeing, it’s unlikely to pass the House. On the other – is it not scary enough that the bill’s gotten this far?

> In more cheerful news, legislation in the Louisiana House requiring “…educators…to intervene when schoolchildren are bullied by their classmates because of race, color, sexual orientation or a litany of other characteristics” was derailed by a group called “The Louisiana Family Forum” on the grounds that the bill would promote gay lifestyles and “instruct in the normalcy of homosexual conduct.”

“This bill is presented to promote an agenda and to force teaching of alternative lifestyles to our elementary school kids in our public schools,” said state Rep. Alan Seabaugh, R-Shreveport.

Two points: a) if you’re the same-sex parents of a child in Louisiana, you evidently don’t constitute a family; and b) I suppose that if we extend the definitions of “promote” and “normalize” to include “not telling Johnny he’s a fag”…they might indeed have a point. Except that I’m pretty sure that having a teacher pull a kid aside and tell him that making Johnny cry every day is unacceptable doesn’t promote or normalize much of anything except basic civility.

> At a rally in Marshalltown, Iowa on Thursday, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich suggested to the audience that American citizens should have to pass a US history test before being allowed to vote. One wonders if this test would include the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which states that “no citizen shall be denied the right to vote in any Federal, State, or local election because of his failure to comply with any test or device in any State.” So…yeah.

> A Gallup poll shows that for the first time, a majority of Americans support gay marriage (53%)! Most of the increase has come from Democrats and Independents, but, well. Small steps. Slate notes:

…the poll is the third national survey in the past three months to show that the majority of the country now supports gay marriage. A CNN poll released in April found 51 percent of Americans support it and 47 percent in opposition. A Washington Post/ABC News poll from March found that 52 percent of Americans support the policy.

> Via 1/2 of The Roommates: The National Maritime Museum is putting on what looks like a truly stunning exhibit on the Arctic (please do read the whole article):

The piece — called High Arctic — was inspired by a visit to the Arctic by UVA’s co-founder Matt Clark, after venturing with the arts and climate science foundation Cape Farewell. Cape Farewell’s aim is to inspire a cultural response to the climate challenge and engage artists as catalysts to provoke cultural shift towards a more sustainable society.

There he spent three weeks sailing aboard The Noorderlicht, a 100-year old Dutch Schooner alongside scientists, poets, musicians and polar bears. Climate scientists measured the likes of sea temperature, salinity and acidity of the water, while artists were there to be inspired by magnificent landscape.

Clark told Wired.couk: “Walking across these glaciers was the most magical moment for me. When I was standing on one of them, one of the scientists said: ‘In 50 years’ time, these won’t be here’. It is this beauty, scale and fragility and a sense of loss which we are trying to embody in this exhibition.”


Written by whackanarwhal

May 20, 2011 at 11:55 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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