Published on Monday, 28 April 2014 23:52
Written by Mikester
At the American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation's Capital's 2014 Bill of Rights Awards Dinner renowned political journalist, lawyer, columnist, blogger, and author Glenn Greenwald accepts the Henry W. Edgerton Civil Liberties Award for bringing Edward Snowden's disclosures of NSA surveillance to the world's attention.
Greenwald was the first journalist to report that the NSA was collecting the telephone records of millions of U.S. customers. Further, he is the journalist most associated with the coverage of Edward Snowden's leak of phone and internet surveillance by the NSA. He is co-founder of the Intercept, an online publication intended to "produce fearless, adversarial journalism."
Published on Saturday, 19 April 2014 01:25
Written by Outright Louisiana
I was adopted through Volunteers of America in New Orleans. As I was adopted, I understand the need for more volunteers in fostering and adopting in Louisiana. I am glad that adoptions were made easier and that Christians are encouraging adoptions. That was not so, years ago. To help 100 families adopt 100 children is a good goal and raising money to cover adoption costs is great as well. However, I find it definitely unethical for a state agency to add agency incentives for participation and fundraising by government employees for this lobby.
In May, DCFS will celebrate National Foster Care Awareness Month. It will be a time not only to bring attention to our foster care program and the need for foster parents, but also a time for us to recognize and thank those DCFS team members who work every day with the youth in our care, as well as those who work with families to help prevent more children entering the system.
In a partnership with DCFS to raise awareness for the need of foster and adoptive families, the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF) will again host “Over the Edge" on May 8th and 9th. Celebrities, lawmakers and others, including Duck Dynasty’s Korie Robertson and First Lady Supriya Jindal, will rappel off the side of one of the tallest buildings in downtown Baton Rouge – 26 stories! To find out more about Over the Edge, visit http://www.lafamilyforum.org/over-the-edge-rappel/.
As many of you remember, last year you raised enough money to send Livingston Child Welfare Specialist Kelly Dedon “Over the Edge.” Our goal this year is to send a former foster child over the edge, along with MULTIPLE DCFS employees! If each staff member donated just $1, we could send four people rappelling down 26-stories. I would love to see someone from each region representing DCFS at this year’s Over the Edge.
DCFS employees are invited to participate in Over the Edge in two ways. First, donate to send one of your co-workers or supervisors Over the Edge. As a thank you for your donation, you may wear jeans one day for each dollar you donate, up to five days, during the month of May. Although the jean days are limited to five, please feel free to donate more than $5. The fundraising deadline is Friday, May 2nd.
Each office should collect the donations and turn them in to your Regional Administrator. Let’s see which region raises the most, and has the greatest percent of staff participate! Always note if you have scheduled court appearances, or meetings, where professional attire is required, please adhere to the dress code.
After all, what more is LFF beyond a well-connected lobby? Louisiana Family Forum's stated mission is to persuasively present biblical principles in the centers of influence on issues affecting the family through research, communication and networking.
Under their core values is listed the sacredness of human sexuality: "We believe that human sexuality is a very wonderful and powerful treasure shared between a man and woman. It finds its proper place within the protective confines of life-long marriage."
They are a lobby for the religious right. In an article from Times Picayune they were called one of the state's most powerful lobbying groups.
For example, a bill was in the state's House of Representatives to remove the now defunct anti-sodomy statute (due to the Supreme Court decision in the Lawrence v. Texas case of 2003). The group sent out a letter to every legislator urging them to vote against the proposal, claiming that teenagers would be less protected from sexual predators if they went through with the repeal. They also said the bill would put the public health at risk.
"Louisiana's anti-sodomy statute is consistent with the values of Louisiana residents who consider this behavior to be dangerous, unhealthy and immoral," stated the letter to lawmakers from the Louisiana Family Forum. http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/04/post_558.html
Why did this statute have to continue? It is unenforceable and has resulted in arrests with questionable justification, which is just harassment to LGBT citizens who are first and foremost Americans and Louisianans. In 2013, the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Department used this statute to stake out a park and entrap a 65 year old gay man there. The deputy said that he was not police and propositioned the man for some drinks and some fun. The deputy later asked if he had any condoms. It was about meeting someone in the park for a date and going back to his place.
"There had been no sex-for-money deal between the two. The men did not agree to have sex in the park, a public place. And the count against the man was based on a part of Louisiana’s anti-sodomy law struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court a decade ago."
"The July 18 arrest is among at least a dozen cases since 2011 in which a Sheriff’s Office task force used the unenforceable law to ensnare men who merely discussed or agreed to have consensual sex with an undercover agent, an investigation by The Advocate has found." http://theadvocate.com/news/police/6580728-123/gays-in-baton-rouge-arrested
I'm sure that if an LGBT adoption bill was brought to the legislature, LFF would not be encouraging LGBT families even though children adopted by LGBT parents have been proven to have an equally strong, stable home life as those with opposite-sex parents. It is clear that with the LFF's past history of the rejection of the basic human dignity of LGBT citizens that they would rather see a child have no home than be placed with loving same-sex parents.
Volunteers of America Adoptions and Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption do not push lobbying the state for other agenda, but work on getting permanent homes for children. Dave Thomas Foundation even has written support for LGBT adoptions. https://www.davethomasfoundation.org/about-foster-care-adoption/myths-and-misconceptions/
The state of Louisiana owes its citizens better. Surely there are better ways to advance the adoption rate in the state without relying on groups whose mission is to exclude and marginalize their equals. Supporting bigotry in the 21st century isn't just over the edge, it's beyond the pale.
Published on Friday, 11 April 2014 22:23
Written by Mikester
Published on Wednesday, 09 April 2014 00:40
Written by Mikester
An article over at KillCelebritarians.org caught my eye today, and in writing a comment to reply I realized I'd created a full-blown blog. It's rare my concentration levels sustain this type of focus, so I figured I better develop it for OutrightUSA.org while my caffeine buzz is peaking. Therefore I present to you, the unofficial thoughts of our Secretary on the debate currently raging in Libertarian circles.
I've been aware of the brutalist, thin/thick, etc... conversation and even podcasted on the subject before, but what I find interesting about the debate is not so much seeing one side or the other quote "win", but the opportunity for reaching a synthesis that incorporates the best of all viewpoints. Somewhere at the intersection of right- and left-libertarianism is a place we can find a resolution of the status quo left/right dichotomy both rhetorically and ideologically, and that's a position of strength in regards to winning converts from any quadrant of the Nolan Chart over to ours.
For me, "privilege checking" and more importantly, the concepts related to the way privilege impacts individuals, are one of those things I choose to internalize the useful parts of (i.e. awareness, NOT blame, shame or guilt) and then go on with my life. It is not the only weapon in my arsenal of self-empowerment, or even the most important one, but it IS a useful one. This awareness isn't just about how I behave, but how I react to the way others behave.
Like most individuals, the layers of privilege I navigate are complex and intersectional. I am a cis white kinky queer non-conformist male survivor of violence living with HIV who has experienced and recovered from homelessness, drug addiction, and mental illness. Recognizing unchecked privilege in others signals to me how I should move forward within each specific interaction, and it also provides me a more sophisticated framework for dealing with it rationally and either confronting it with compassion or ignoring it strategically.
Read more: Homobrutalism: Masturbation for Queer Sapiosexuals, or Useful New Ideological Concept?