Politics: April 2004 Archives

Remember when I wrote about how Jay Blotcher can't be a stringer for the NY Times because he did media relations with ACT UP over ten years ago?

One would hope that the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association would be concerned about such things. You would be wrong, at least in terms of them being on the right side of the issue. As Jay tells us:

The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association has barred me from appearing at their Plenary on Journalistic Objectivity, scheduled at the June Convention in NYC.

The plenary session was created and organized by CNN journalist Rose Arce.

A month ago, Rose invited me to sit on this panel. She felt my case strongly reflected the current debate over journalistic objectivity. She plans to have the two SF Chronicle lesbian journalists on the panel, who were reassigned from the gay marriage beat after becoming hitched.

However, when Rose gave her list of panelists to NLGJA's Executive Committee, she was told I could not sit on the panel.

Why? NLGJA felt my problem with the NY Times was a "personnel matter" between employer and employee ... and NOT an issue of journalistic ethics. This was the same reasoning they gave me in March, when they refused to support my case.

Note that the NLGJA thinks it was wrong for the San Francisco Chronicle to prevent two lesbian reporters from covering gay marriage after they got married.

I guess it's only things related to AIDS that the NLGJA considers mere "personnel matters."


Let's have a holy war!

If churches want to engage in politics, they need to be taxed just like everyone else. In Michigan, Catholics think doctors should have the right to refuse treatment to gay people if they don't approve of their "lifestyle."

Can you believe the Bush administration is actually talking about giving these people more tax dollars than they already receive? Where is my "I'm gay" checkoff box on my tax return to object?

Doctors or other health care providers could not be disciplined or sued if they refuse to treat gay patients under legislation passed Wednesday by the Michigan House.

The bill allows health care workers to refuse service to anyone on moral, ethical or religious grounds.

The Republican dominated House passed the measure as dozens of Catholics looked on from the gallery. The Michigan Catholic Conference, which pushed for the bills, hosted a legislative day for Catholics on Wednesday at the state Capitol.


Paul A. Long, vice president for public policy for the Michigan Catholic Conference, said the bills promote the constitutional right to religious freedom.

"Individual and institutional health care providers can and should maintain their mission and their services without compromising faith-based teaching," he said in a written statement.

And people wonder why I won't set foot in a Catholic church for a wedding or funeral?!

At ease: Hou Bo's portrait of Mao and family at the seaside

When Mao Zedong proclaimed his new Socialist China in October 1949 from the great gate of Tiananmen, he walked to the balcony's edge, looked over to the cheering crowds, and called out: "Long live the people!" Moments later, he was captured by the photographer Hou Bo, in that now-famous image, as he declared into the microphone: "The Chinese people have stood up."

In the photograph, we don't see the Chinese people themselves, listening in the square below. Mention of them - and even the greeting Mao had used - would soon become subversive. The next time Tiananmen Square would hear "Long live the people!" was 40 years later, when it was shouted by students calling for democracy, shortly before the tanks moved in.

The photograph of Mao on the balcony can now be seen in a fascinating and disturbing exhibition at the Photographers' Gallery, London, that is largely devoted to the work of Hou Bo and Xu Xiaobing, the husband-and-wife team who became Mao's official photographers.

- Monster at the Beach, The Guardian, April 10, 2004

From CNN/AP:

HATTIESBURG, Mississippi (AP) -- Two reporters were ordered Wednesday to erase their tape recordings of a speech by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at a Mississippi high school.

Scalia has long barred television cameras from his speeches, but does not always forbid newspaper photographers and tape recorders. On Wednesday, he did not warn the audience at the high school that recording devices would be forbidden.

During the speech, a woman identifying herself as a deputy federal marshal demanded that a reporter for The Associated Press erase a tape recording of the justice's comments. She said the justice had asked that his appearance not be recorded.

The reporter initially resisted, but later showed the deputy how to erase the digital recording after the officer took the device from her hands. The exchange occurred in the front row of the auditorium while Scalia delivered his speech about the Constitution.

The deputy, who identified herself as Melanie Rube, also made a reporter for The Hattiesburg American erase her tape.


Last year, Scalia was criticized for refusing to allow television and radio coverage of an event in Ohio in which he received an award for supporting free speech.

Scalia, who was appointed to the bench by President Reagan in 1986, told students that the Constitution's true meaning must always be protected.

"The Constitution of the United States is extraordinary and amazing. People just don't revere it like they used to," Scalia told a full auditorium of high school students, officials, religious leaders.

He said he spends most of his time thinking about the Constitution, calling it "a brilliant piece of work."

Keith Cylar, co-founder of Housing Works, has died. I have never known of an organization that started out as a grass-roots activist organization and grew into something serving so many people while keeping its activist credentials. They have always helped the people -- drug users, people with AIDS -- that the other service and homeless organizations didn't want to deal with.

James has a post about him.

I stopped my subscription to The Economist last year because I felt they were being intellectually dishonest with their unquestioning backing of Bush and the attack on Iraq. I always knew they were a relatively conservative news magazine, but I thought of them as principled, and a good source of non-USA news. I felt betrayed by their attitude towards the Bush administration.

Things seem to be looking up on that front.



Updated: OK, once I actually read the article I decided to keep my money.

As regular readers will know, The Economist endorsed Mr Bush in the 2000 election once he had beaten our preferred candidate, John McCain. That still looks the right choice for that election. Indeed, Al Gore served a handy reminder of his unsuitability and poor judgment by endorsing Howard Dean. This newspaper also supported Mr Bush's most controversial action, the Iraq war—and despite the continuing instability in that country we do not regret that, either.

In this helpful New York Times article, we learn what really matters to the Catholic Church.

The senator is aligned with his church on many social justice issues, including immigration, poverty, health care and the death penalty. But he diverges on the litmus issues, like abortion and stem cell research, that animate church conservatives and many in the hierarchy.

Save those unborn babies, but they're on their own after that.

This page is an archive of entries in the Politics category from April 2004.

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