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Straight Eagle Scout returns medal over Boy Scouts of America’s anti-gay policies
07.20.2012
04:52 pm

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Heroes
Queer

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Martin Cizmar, you deserved that Eagle Scout medal, too!

July 19, 2012

Boy Scouts of America
1325 Walnut Hill Lane
P.O. Box 152079
Irving Texas 75015-2079

To Bob Mazzuca, Wayne Brock and the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America,

My name is Martin Cizmar and I am returning my Eagle Scout badge to protest the Boy Scouts of America’s policy of discriminating against gay scouts and scouters.

I earned the rank of Eagle Scout in 1998 as a member of Troop 361 in Tallmadge, Ohio. I was also given the Vigil Honor in 1997. I was an extremely active scout, serving as Lodge Chief of Marnoc Lodge 151, trekking at Philmont and visiting three National Jamborees.

I am not gay. However, I cannot in good conscious hold this badge as long as the BSA continues a policy of bigotry. Though I did not know at the time, I was acquainted with a number of gay scouts and scouters. They were all great men, loyal to the scout oath and motto and helpful to movement.  There is no fair reason they should not be allowed to participate in scouting, I suspect you know this, too. As an adult, I also understand that such a policy changes are fraught with complications, possibly including the defection of members affiliated with certain religious groups with dire financial implications. It’s a tough position, but a scout is brave.

It’s not easy to part with a badge that represented my young life’s biggest accomplishment when it was pinned onto me by my mother with handshakes from my father and the Scoutmaster I respected more than any other adult I knew. But I know this is the right thing to do.

Scouting is a remarkable movement which bettered me in more ways than I can count. I have always been loyal to the ideals and the organization that shared them with me. Though I am not giving up hope, along with this badge I am surrendering my personal loyalties. A national policy on sexuality forces good, principled people from scouting. I can only hope that someone inside the BSA has the courage to fix this policy before the organization withers into irrelevance.

I don’t want to be an Eagle Scout if a young man who is gay can’t be one, too. Gentlemen, please do the right thing.

Martin Cizmar
 

 
Via Towleroad

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘The Pink Jack’ : AC/DC vs David Lynch vs. Dead Can Dance (NSFW)
07.20.2012
04:30 pm

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Movies
Music

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This mash-up is from 2008, but I just discovered it and dig its sexy spookiness. It was produced by Wax Audio and Reborn Identity, the guys behind the Mashed In Plastic project.

David Lynch/Angelo Badalamenti: “The Pink Room” (from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me)
AC/DC: “The Jack”
Dead Can Dance: “Dawn of the Iconoclast”
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
‘Die-hard conservative Republican’: How I Lost My Fear of Universal Health Care
07.20.2012
03:52 pm

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Class War
Politics
The wrong side of history

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American Vyckie Garrison, a self-described “die-hard conservative Republican,” moved to Canada in 2008 and was “disgusted” at the prospect of universal health care. Garrison was so far right, she writes at RH Reality Check, that “I believed based on my politics that government mandated health care was a violation of my freedom.”

Until she actually used universal health care, then she dramatically changed her tune:

I started to feel differently about Universal government mandated and regulated Health care. I realized how many times my family had avoided hospital care because of our lack of coverage. When I mentioned to Canadians that I had been in a car accident as a teen and hadn’t gone into the hospital, they were shocked! Here, you always went to the hospital, just in case. And the back issue I had since the accident would have been helped by prescribed chiropractic care which would have been at no cost to me. When I asked for prayers for my little brother who had been burned in a camping accident, they were all puzzled why the story did not include immediately rushing him to the hospital. When they asked me to clarify and I explained that many people in the States are not insured and they try to put off medical care unless absolutely needed, they literally could not comprehend such a thing.

I started to wonder why I had been so opposed to government mandated Universal Health care. Here in Canada, everyone was covered. If they worked full-time, if they worked part-time, or if they were homeless and lived on the street, they were all entitled to the same level of care if they had a medical need. People actually went in for routine check-ups and caught many of their illnesses early, before they were too advanced to treat. People were free to quit a job they hated, or even start their own business without fear of losing their medical coverage. In fact, the only real complaint I heard about the universal health care from the Canadians themselves, was that sometimes there could be a wait time before a particular medical service could be provided. But even that didn’t seem to be that bad to me, in the States most people had to wait for medical care, or even be denied based on their coverage. The only people guaranteed immediate and full service in the USA, were those with the best (and most expensive) health coverage or wads of cash they could blow. In Canada, the wait times were usually short, and applied to everyone regardless of wealth. If you were discontent with the wait time (and had the money to cover it) you could always travel out of the country to someplace where you could demand a particular service for a price. Personally, I never experienced excessive wait times, I was accepted for maternity care within a few days or weeks, I was able to find a family care provider nearby easily and quickly, and when a child needed to be brought in for a health concern I was always able to get an appointment within that week.

—snip—

I also discovered that the Canadian government looked out for its families in other ways. The country mandates one year of paid maternity leave, meaning a woman having a baby gets an entire year after the birth of her baby to recover and parent her new baby full-time, while still receiving 55% of her salary and their job back at the end of that year. Either parent can use the leave, so some split it, with one parent staying at home for 6 months and the other staying at home for 6 months. I could hardly believe my ears when I first heard it. In America, women routinely had to return to work after 6 weeks leave, many times unpaid. Many American women lost their jobs when becoming pregnant or having a baby. I knew people who had to go back to work 2 weeks after giving birth just to hang onto their job and continue making enough money to pay the bills. Also every child in Canada gets a monthly cash tax benefit. The wealthier families can put theirs into a savings account to pay for college someday (which also costs far less money in Canada by the way), the not so wealthy can use theirs to buy that car seat or even groceries. In the province we lived in, we also received a monthly day care supplement check for every child under school age. I made more money being a stay at home mom in Canada than I do in the States working a close to a minimum wage job. And none of the things I listed here are considered “welfare” they are available to every Canadian regardless of income. For those with lower incomes than we had there are other supports in place as well.

If a woman gets pregnant unexpectedly in America, she has to worry about how she will get her own prenatal care, medical care for her child, whether or not she will be able to keep her job and how she will pay for daycare for her child so she can continue to support her family. In Canada those problems are eliminated or at least reduced. Where do you think a woman is more likely to feel supported in her decision to keep her baby, and therefore reduce abortions?

I should probably mention here that one of Vyckie Garrison’s main problems with universal healthcare (edited out by me, it’s information less relevant to DM readers) was that it would make getting abortions easier. She’s a former adherent to the Quiverfull philosophy of patriarchal Christianity. Re-read the last two paragraphs, with this in mind. She’s not whistling “Dixie” here: She’s a conservative, Bible-believing American who, when confronted with FACTS about socialized medicine and the evidence right in front of her own eyes, came to some very logical conclusions.

Since all of these benefits are available to everyone, I never heard Canadians talking about capping their incomes to remain lower income and not lose their government provided health coverage. Older people in Canada don’t have to clean out their assets to qualify for some Medicare or Social Security programs, I heard of inheritances being left even amongst the middle classes. Something I had only heard about in wealthy families in the USA.

And lest you think that the Canada system is draining the government resources, their budget is very close to balanced every year. They’ve had these programs for decades. Last year Canada’s national debt was 586 billion dollars, the USA has 15.5 trillion dollars in national debt. Canada has about one 10th the population of the US, so even accounting for size, the USA is almost 3 times more indebted. And lest you think that taxes are astronomical, our median income taxes each year were only slightly higher than they had been in the States, and we still got a large chunk of it back each year at tax time.

Canadians are also, on average, now WEALTHIER than Americans are, but if you watch Fox News, you might never be exposed to THAT salient lil’ factoid!

Here’s to open minds! Thank you kindly, Vyckie Garrison!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Choose your own adventure as Can’s Damo Suzuki
07.20.2012
01:57 pm

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Amusing
Books
Music

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Hilarious ‘shopped image of You Are Damo Suzuki book, appropriately “penned” by Mark E. Smith.

Below, The Fall performing “I am Damo Suzuki” live at The Hacienda in 1985:
 

 
Via Post Punk Tumblr

 

 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Mitt Gets Worse: It’s hard to imagine even George Bush saying something this dumb!

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Julie Goodridge, who was one of the two lead plaintiffs in Goodridge v. Dept of Public Health—the lawsuit that brought same-sex marriage to Massachusetts—describes her personal meeting with then governor Mitt Romney and the shockingly cold thing he said to her about her child.

Goodridge (powerfully) describes her encounter with Thurston Howell III Mitt Romney as “the most frustrating experience in the entire marriage case.”

More at the Mitt Gets Worse Project.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
A 6-year-old judges classic novels based on their covers, hilarity ensues!
07.20.2012
01:11 pm

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Amusing
Books

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Sunny Chanel over at Babble hands over the blogging mic to her 6-year-old daughter and lets her judge classic novels by their covers.

Atlas Shrugged:

This is about Daydis (her spelling it’s actually – Daedalus). He is an ancient god guy who prays a lot. This book is about him crying. He is crying because he doesn’t like himself at all, because he hates himself. It looks like a saddy, saddy, saddy bookie.”

Note: she loves Greek Mythology at bedtime hence the Daedalus reference. And really, who doesn’t?

 

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Animal Farm:

It looks like a book for kids. I think it’s about a donkey and a pig that do not like each other and they both live on a farm for animals. The same farm. It looks like it would be a funny book with a good really nice ending.

 

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On the Road:

I think it’s about a car. A car that goes to Mexico, Indonesia and other places. It’s about a car that goes on all sorts of adventures. The guy on the cover is a teen, he likes to drive people places a lot. And he’s French.

 

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Fahrenheit 451:

I think this is about a gigantic robot who goes on fire and he doesn’t like himself. It has a sad ending. It looks like a book for teens. The title means fire, a really really really big fire since the number is 451, that would mean it was really hot. So the robot must get really hot. Maybe that is why he is so sad.

 

Read more of Judging a Book by Its Cover: A 6-year-old Guesses What Classic Novels Are All About

Via Nerdcore

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
One of SNL’s best and brightest: Tom Davis has died
07.19.2012
06:57 pm

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Television

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Jane Curtin, Al Franken, Tom Davis and Gilda Radner.
 
Comedian and writer Tom Davis of Saturday Night Live fame has died of throat and neck cancer at the age of 59.

Davis, along with his partner Al Franken, was responsible for some of the funniest and weirdest routines during SNL’s glory days, including the hugely popular running skit The Coneheads, which Davis said was inspired by one of the many LSD trips he took as a teenager in the late-1960s and early ‘70s. It should come as no surprise that Davis was into psychedelics. His humor was often laced with the kind of down-the-rabbit hole surrealism that arises from seeing things through a lysergic lens. Having Jerry Garcia as a friend also provided him with access to all kinds of cool shit, including an introduction to Stanley Owsley.

Davis retired from being a performer in the mid-1990s - although he briefly returned to SNL as a writer in 2003 - and focused on the writing of his memoirs, Thirty-Nine Years of Short-Term Memory Loss: The Early Days of SNL From Someone Who Was There, and a book he was co-authoring on Owsley. Davis, an unrepentant psychonaut to the end, continued to embrace life even as he was leaving it. I hope his last trip was/is a good one.

I wake up in the morning, delighted to be waking up, read, write, feed the birds, watch sports on TV, accepting the fact that in the foreseeable future I will be a dead person. I want to remind you that dead people are people too.”

Here’s a fun clip of Davis as Keith Richards and Franken as Mick Jagger doing “Under My Thumb” at Stockton State College in New Jersey, 1983.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Pennie Smith’s historic Clash photo: The greatest rock ‘n’ roll image of all time?
07.19.2012
05:32 pm

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Art
Music
Pop Culture

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Working in striking black and white, British photographer Pennie Smith has captured some great moments in rock ‘n’ roll history. Among her subjects are The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Jam, The Smiths, to name a few. But she is probably best known for the iconic photo of Paul Simonon smashing his guitar to The Palladium stage during a show in New York City in 1979. The shot distills the power, energy, fury and excitement of rock ‘n’ roll in one image captured at the speed of light.

I could argue that this is the greatest rock ‘n’ roll photo of all time and I’m sure it would be a very lively discussion. These things are highly subjective. I remember first seeing this photo on the cover of London Calling the day the record came out. And I, like many folks back then and now, found the image as exhilarating as the album itself and a perfect example of form being an extension of content. Simonon is stamping out the flames of a city on fire with the only weapon he has: his guitar.

Like Bob Gruen, Smith is less concerned with technique than capturing a moment that communicates something essential about what is being photographed. In this case, Smith was also so close to the action she was in jeopardy of becoming a part of it:

“I remember thinking something was wrong, realising Paul was going to crack - and waited. The shot is out of focus because I ducked - he was closer than it looks”

Here’s a short but sweet film on Pennie Smith. (I have no idea from what larger documentary this clip has been excerpted from and would appreciate feedback from our readers who might know.)

The narration in the video begins in French but the rest is in English.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Flea releases solo EP ‘Helen Burns’: Featuring Patti Smith
07.19.2012
05:30 pm

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Music

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Over the past couple of days, Flea has caused a major tremor of excitement as he announced news of his first solo EP Helen Burns.

Described as unlike anything he has created with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Flea tweeted that:

i recorded most of the ep when we finished our tour for stadium arcadium. it is not rhcp music or even close to it. it is a trippy freakout.

on helen burns, i play trumpet, bass, synthesizers, drum machine, piano, and a bunch of other shit

all proceeds from my helen burns ep will go towards the silverlake conservatory of music

it will be available for down load at any price you want to pay, it will be a donation to the silverlake conservatory of music

Patti Smith also sings on the EP, along with the Conservatory Choir, and a vinyl copy is also available which “is autographed and contains a piece of a bass string” which Flea has played live.

Over at the download page, Flea added:

Hi people who like The Red Hot Chili Peppers! I love you a lot! Mucho! Just wanted to give you a heads up about this little record “Helen Burns” I am putting out on the Silverlake Conservatory website.

Warning! It is not a Chili Peppers record. It does not have songs that are like the Chili Peppers at all. It is a mostly instrumental, weird and arty record, the music is mostly just me creating soundscapes that are very emotional for me, but certainly not for everyone! Just me tripping out at home. I am putting it out to raise money for The Silverlake Conservatory of Music a community based non profit music school that i am an integral part of. There you have it. See you all soon i hope! and all proceeds from the Helen Burns will go to the Silverlake Conservatory of Music.

I reckon most of our DM readers will love Flea’s excellent Helen Burns EP, which you can Download here, and follow the great man on twitter here.
 
Now, as a bonus here’s an early RHCP interview with Flea and Anthony Kiedis from 1986.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Harpo Marx and Amelia Earhart, 1932
07.19.2012
04:43 pm

Topics:
History
Movies

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Two lovely photographs of Harpo Marx and Amelia Earhart on the set of the 1932 Marx Brothers film Horse Feathers.
 
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With thanks to Brian Tibbetts!

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
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