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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Judge does good for gay rights, stops DADT

  As many of my readers know, I've been following the DADT (Don't Ask, Don't Tell) issue in the United States with great interest.  I'm a strong supporter of gay rights, and transexual rights.  Many brave men and women have been wrongfully dismissed from the American military due to this policy.

  Lady Gaga and the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network have done much to bring attention to this matter.  Here's some of the coverage I've done so far:

  Well, there was some excellent news yesterday.  It turns out a judge could do what President Obama, Lady Gaga, and the SLDN couldn't.  Or perhaps, Lady Gaga and the SLDN's activism helped convince the judge?  Either way, a judge has decided that DADT is unconstitutional and shouldn't be enforced.  Right-wingers in both the US and Canada often talk shit about 'activist judges', but the truth is, a lot of the best laws and policies come from a fair court ruling.  At the tender age of 26, I've already been harmed by a court ruling about me, but I still know that courts often do a lot of good.  One such ruling recently happened in my great nation of Canada.  Ontario (my province) courts decided to repeal most of Canada's anti-prostitution laws.  Of course, our 'Bush-light' Prime Minister Stephen Harper is appealing the decision, but I think the rights of sex workers will prevail in the end.  See my article about that here: The Best Little Whorehouse in Toronto.

  Anyway, back to yesterday's anti-DADT ruling.  From Gawker:

The federal judge who deemed "don't ask don't tell" unconstitutionalruled today that the military "immediately suspend and discontinue any investigation, discharge, [or] separation" of gay soldiers. See, it took just one judge to do whatObama couldn't.

  From the Servicemember's Legal Defense Network:

 Statement by SLDN Legal Director Aaron Tax:

“We applaud Judge Phillips for putting an immediate stop to all investigations and discharges under this unconstitutional law. As explained by the judge, this order applies across the military. This order bars the Department of Defense from enforcing or applying the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law against any person under its command. We have clients under investigation and facing discharge right now. We’ll be monitoring each case over the coming days. This order will likely be appealed by the Justice Department and brought to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit where her decision may well be reversed. The law still has a chance of being repealed in the lame duck session of Congress. Service members must proceed safely and should not come out at this time. Anyone in the armed forces with questions or concerns should call our hotline.”

  From Associated Press:

 SAN DIEGO (AP) — A federal judge issued a worldwide injunction Tuesday immediately stopping enforcement of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, suspending the 17-year-old ban on openly gay U.S. troops.
 U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips' landmark ruling also ordered the government to suspend and discontinue all pending discharge proceedings and investigations under the policy.

U.S. Department of Justice attorneys have 60 days to appeal. Pentagon and Department of Justice officials said they are reviewing the case and had no immediate comment.

The injunction goes into effect immediately, said Dan Woods, the attorney who represented the Log Cabin Republicans, the gay rights group that filed the lawsuit in 2004 to stop the ban's enforcement.

"Don't ask, don't tell, as of today at least, is done, and the government is going to have to do something now to resurrect it," Woods said. "This is an extremely significant, historic decision. Once and for all, this failed policy is stopped. Fortunately now we hope all Americans who wish to serve their country can."

Legal experts say the Obama administration is under no legal obligation to appeal and could let Phillips' ruling stand.

Phillips' decision was widely cheered by gay rights organizations that credited her with getting accomplished what President Obama and Washington politics could not.

"This order from Judge Phillips is another historic and courageous step in the right direction, a step that Congress has been noticeably slow in taking," said Alexander Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United, the nation's largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans.

  Let's hope that, as with Canada's prostitution ruling, the appeal of this decision fails.

  In the Canadian military, I'm sure there are plenty of homophobes and transphobes.  But, if anyone in the military was caught behaving homophobicly  or transphobicly, the bigot would be reprimanded, at the very least.

  Gay soldiers and gay marriage are both legal here.  Our neighbor to the south is now playing catch up.

  Now, onto another issue that has garnered a lot of interest, the Chilean miner rescue.

  Those guys in Chile have been through a living hell.  It's remarkable how they've survived for 69 days.  As of this writing, they are being rescued.

  From Gawker:

The BBC is live-streaming video from the site of the rescue operations—and apparently, the Chilean embassy in Washington, D.C. is broadcasting the rescue on screens set up outside. Here's the order of they'll come up in:
Florencio Avalos, Mario Sepulveda, Juan Illanes, Carlos Mamani, Jimmy Sanchez, Osman Araya, Jose Ojeda, Claudio Yanez, Mario Gomez, Alex Vega, Jorge Galleguillos, Edison Pena, Carlos Barrios, Victor Zamora, Víctor Segovia, Daniel Herrera, Omar Reygadas, Esteban Rojas, Pablo Rojas, Dario Segovia, Yonni Barrios, Samuel Avalos, Carlos Bugueno, Jose Henriquez, Renan Avalos, Claudio Acuna, Franklin Lobos, Richard Villarroel, Juan Aguilar, Raul Bustos, Pedro Cortez, Ariel Ticona, Luis Urzua.

   From Associated Press:

  SAN JOSE MINE, Chile — One by one, the miners trapped for 69 days in a dungeon that could have been their tomb climbed into a rescue capsule and made a smooth ascent to the surface Wednesday, greeted by the embraces of loved ones, cheered by joyous Chileans and watched by a captivated world.

 The anxiety that had accompanied the careful final days of preparation broke at 12:11 a.m., when the stoutest of the men, Florencio Avalos, emerged from the missile-like chamber and smiled broadly after his half-mile journey to fresh air.

 By late morning, 14 men had been pulled from the mine in roughly 11 hours, including the oldest and youngest among the trapped. The effort was methodical and free of any significant problems, and on track to finish before sunrise Thursday.

  Amid an explosion of cheers, Avalos hugged his sobbing 7-year-old son and wife and then President Sebastian Pinera, who has been deeply involved in an effort that had become a matter of national pride.

 Avalos was followed an hour later by the most ebullient of the group, Mario Sepulveda, whose shouts were heard even before the capsule peeked above the surface. He hugged his wife, handed out souvenir rocks from the mine to laughing rescuers, bounded out and thrust a fist upward like a prizefighter.

 "I think I had extraordinary luck. I was with God and with the devil. And I reached out for God," Sepulveda said as he awaited the air force helicopter ride to a nearby hospital where all the miners were to spend 48 hours under medical observation.

 No one in recorded history has survived as long trapped underground as the 33 men. For the first 17 days after 700,000 tons of rock collapsed around them Aug. 5, no one even knew whether they were alive. In the weeks that followed, the world was transfixed by their endurance and unity.

 What an amazing story of human survival!

  Now, some news about me.  My first article for Blogcritics is now online.  It has been retweeted 29 times since it went up about ten hours ago.  Incredible!  See

  As I've said previously, I have three reviews on their way for Blogcritics, one for a book, one for a video game, and one for a DVD that kids will salivate over.   That's a lot of reading, playing, and watching for me to do!  You can look forward to them in the next couple of weeks.

  I've also made contact with a fascinating and notable person I'd love to interview for Blogcritics.  That's still up in the air, so I won't say any more about that for now.

  I may do another article or two for Blogcritics, in the meantime.  Bookmark my profile on Blogcritics: to keep on top of all the exciting content that'll be published soon.

  As for this blog, I'll be continuing my A Brief History of the Web series with part three, either Thursday evening or Friday morning.  I'll keep this blog updated as frequently as I have been, so make sure to return here often, in addition to Blogcritics.

  To all my readers, I thank you for my recent success!


  1. Good stuff Kim. Tell me how I comment in general, and where I can contact you within the blogsite, okay? I have an idea . . .

  2. Why don't you e-mail me, Madeline? . I'm really enjoying the book your friends wrote.