News & Views …

Our first story today comes from Madisonville, Tennessee. We’ve talked about bullying before, most recently in this post and this one. A lot of bullying happens in school, of course, and people often suggest that students being bullied look to their teachers and school administrators for help. But what do you do when the bully is the school principal?

To me, the facts reported in that press release are almost unbelievable. If what happened here is true, the principal involved should be removed from his job promptly. I’m not holding my breath waiting for that to happen, of course. This is Tennessee, after all, the place where the Scopes trial took place; and while there may be two sides to every story, it appears the school system is afraid to tell its side of the story. It’s also pretty clear that the school is resisting efforts to allow a Gay Straight Alliance at the school and is unwilling to take disciplinary action against those who abuse their position of authority.

This latest incident only goes to show just how much institutionalized hostility and hatred gay students and their straight friends who support them face in many parts of the United States.

Bullying is a big problem, of course. An even bigger problem in some countries is the use of child soldiers, children under the age of fifteen who are recruited (and I use that term loosely) to serve in the military and to fight wars. Believing this practice to be horrific, Congress passed legislation in 2008 designed to stop the United States from giving military aid to countries that permit this. As with a lot of things it does, Congress also included a provision that permits the President to waive the prohibition if it is in our national interest to do so. Why did Congress do this? It did it because it often likes to be on both sides of the same issue. Still, the law did represent a step forward in the effort to end a truly savage practice.

As a senator, Barack Obama supported this legislation. But in 2010 he decided to waive the prohibition on military aid for four countries (Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and Yemen). “In each of these countries we are working with the governments to stop the recruitment of child soldiers or [to] demobilize those who may already be in the ranks,” then State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said at the time of the decision. (By the way, this is the same P.J. Crowley who later had to resign his position after calling the military’s treatment of Bradley Manning, the soldier suspected of providing WikiLeaks with classified diplomatic cables, “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.”

Apparently we are not working all that hard to get those countries to change their child soldier policies, however, because news reports indicate that the President plans to issue a second round of waivers for the four countries involved. Apparently the President still thinks it’s in our “national interest” to give away your tax dollars to governments that do things like this.

Some people were pleased when the President indicated that Americans shouldn’t boo a gay soldier for asking a perfectly reasonable question. But his decision to undercut a good law deserves to be heartily booed, at least in my opinion. Sadly, most Americans will never even know that U.S. law prohibits military aid to countries that use child soldiers or that Obama has used the discretion provided by the law to undercut an otherwise excellent policy.

Are you an unemployed gay male living in Texas, Florida, and Ohio? You may want to think about moving to California, Nevada, Pennsylvania, or New York according to a new study out of Harvard University. Either that or turn straight if you can pull that off. It turns out that resumes that reveal an applicant is gay are 40 percent less likely to secure a job interview than those that don’t, and that “employers in the South and Midwest were much less likely to offer an interview if an applicant’s resume indicates that he is openly gay.” Personally, this doesn’t come as a huge surprise. But it’s interesting nonetheless. You can read more about this here.

Finally, for the hockey fans among you, the New York Rangers have released Sean Avery, one of the hockey players I discussed in this post. He cleared waivers earlier today and it looks like his future in hockey is uncertain at best. You can read more about it here.

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