Archives – October, 2010
Cross-posted at Waking Up Now.
by Rob Tisinai
Alan Turing was a brilliant English mathematician who helped the Allies win World War II.
Working as a cryptographer at the now famous Bletchley Park complex he used his incredible focus and intelligence to crack the seemingly impossible codes of the German Enigma Machine. By locking himself in his room for days at a time he managed to reverse engineer the Enigma Machine — a stroke of pure genius that allowed the British and their allies to anticipate attacks and other vital information, changing the course of the war.
He’s also known as the father of computer science. Time named him one of the 100 most important people of the 20th century.
[E]veryone who taps at a keyboard, opening a spreadsheet or a word-processing program, is working on an incarnation of a Turing machine.
Alan Turing was gay. He killed himself on June 8, 1952, by eating a bite of an apple laced with cyanide. But why? We’ve seen a lot of theories from the right on why gay kids are killing themselves. Could any of them apply?
Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association might say it’s because society was pushing too hard for people to be gay:
It must be pointed out that homosexual activists are not wholly innocent in these tragedies either. Homosexuals cannot reproduce so they must recruit. Part of the agenda of groups like GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) is to urge students at younger and younger ages to come out and declare a disordered sexual preference. Sexually confused youth are pressured into locking into a sexual identity far before they are mature enough to do so.
Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council might argue that society was too accepting of homosexuality:
Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., said the rash September suicides by gays might be linked to the students believing they were born gay. “That creates hopelessness,” he said. “It is more loving and compassionate to say you don’t have to be gay for the rest of your lives.”
His colleague Tony Perkins might back him up:
Some homosexuals may recognize intuitively that their same-sex attractions are abnormal–yet they have been told by the homosexual movement, and their allies in the media and the educational establishment, that they are “born gay” and can never change. This–and not society’s disapproval–may create a sense of despair that can lead to suicide.
Could Turing have killed himself because homosexuality was illegal in Britain?
Could he have done it because police discovered his sexual orientation while investigating a burglary of his home, and he was convicted of gross indecency?
Could it have been because in order to avoid a prison term he submitted to chemical castration by the government via female hormones?
No, of course not. As Tony Perkins makes clear, society’s disapproval does not cause suicide. Alan Turing must have killed himself because Britain was just too damn accepting.
by Robert Cruickshank
We recently heard from a Californian deployed to Iraq that the Courage Campaign’s Progressive Voter Guide – and in fact, our entire website – is being blocked by Department of Defense computers in Iraq, whereas right-wing sites remained available. Today a reporter for The Hill confirmed the story:
Courage Campaign, a 700,000-member grassroots organization, has demanded in a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates that access to its site be provided before the Nov. 2 Election Day….
In contrast, the group said a number of web sites that espouse conservative views can be accessed on Defense Department computers.
The Hill independently confirmed that the Tea Party Express site can be accessed on Defense Department computers while the Courage Campaign site cannot be accessed. Courage campaign said it has received information that web sites affiliated with the Traditional Values Coalition, California Election Forum and Christian Voter Guide through the Defense Department computers in Iraq.
Courage Campaign acted on a tip from a prospective Californian voter deployed to Iraq.
“It is an enormous problem because the election on California is extremely important,” Rick Jacobs, the founder of Courage Campaign, said in an interview.
Earlier this week Jacobs wrote to Defense Secretary Robert Gates demanding that access to our website be restored. Courage Campaign has not received a response. The letter was cc’d to President Obama, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, and key members of the California Congressional delegation. Here’s the letter:
The Hill posits a possible explanation for the blockage:
However, there could be other possible explanations for the blocked site, such as an automatic filter that sifts through specific words. The Courage Campaign site uses multiple references to “sex” (as in same-sex marriages) and “gay” (as in anti-gay, or gay rights). The site also contains information and action items on the repeal of the military’s ban on openly gay service members.
However, other sites that also use the words “sex” and “gay” – including the right-wing sites listed above – are not blocked. Hell, if you are going to merely block a site because it has multiple references to “gay” and “sex” you’d be blocking the New York Times, CNN, and Wikipedia, to name just a few.
We at Courage Campaign have been given no explanation for what is going on here. Needless to say, it is extremely troubling. Voters have a right to access our guide, and soldiers and other support personnel in Iraq (or anywhere else, for that matter) have a right to access our site and others like it. If this is a matter of political censorship, it has no place in our armed forces.
With Tuesday’s election looming and our troops filling out ballots in Iraq, we are going to stop at nothing to make the site – and our voter guide – accessible to American soldiers who want to vote.
All you have to remember is this…
… to be even more shocked and appalled by this news out of California, cross-posted from Karen Ocamb’s LGBTPOV. — Eden
By Karen Ocamb
“The officer said “what it is, is a string on a door.” My vision got blurry, I was embarrased and felt stupid for making the call. I took a deep breath and said “Do you see any correlation between the fact that this is a gay office and there was a noose left on our door in the wake of all of these teen suicides?” The officer said, “Sometimes you just have to live with being a victim,” and proceeded to mention that his car had been broken into before. As if that’s the same. As if having your stereo stolen is anything like the message “You should kill yourself.” As if random theft is anything like an act meant to convey hate and stir up fear in the heart of a minority group.”
EQCA Executive Director Geoff Kors is outraged and intends to file a complaint with the Santa Ana Police for how their officers handled this matter. Kors said in a press release:
“[T]he dismissive and deeply offensive conduct of the police officer who responded to this incident is nothing short of appalling and sends the message that LGBT community members cannot rely on the police for protection against the kind of hatred and prejudice that can lead to violence.
We urge all Orange County residents to join us in demanding that Santa Ana Chief of Police Paul Walters conduct a thorough investigation into what appears to be an atrocious hate crime, to investigate and discipline the officer in question and to ensure that all officers are properly trained on how to appropriately handle all bias-motivated crimes against LGBT community members moving forward.”
Here’s how Mel described what happened on EQCA’s Facebook page:
What Happened Tonight: Hanging a Noose on Someone’s Door is Not a Crime
by Mel Distel on Thursday, October 28, 2010 at 10:36pm
I’m still shaking as I write this. I feel confused.
Click into the extended entry to read Mel’s full description of what happened: