aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Happy Birthday Harvey Fierstein
In honor of Harvey’s birthday yesterday, an encore reminiscence...
Our office was in the turreted northwest tower of the municipal building and we came out of WNYC (TV, sold off by Rudy Giuliani in 1997). It was great fun. I so wanted a gay network then, and confidently foresaw the day that it would come about.
Alas, now that it’s here (and it is here on my rural Georgia cable system, though I don’t subscribe) I’ve stopped wanting it.
In fact, in 1983 I talked with one of Torch Song’s producers, John Glines, about starting the gay network I envisioned (he wasn’t interested, theater was his thing). And today we’ve got two and I still don’t want one. And still don’t subscribe. But with word of Harvey’s new show I went digging up in the attic. And this is what I came down with:
- Thanks for the link Kenneth!
Hillary was right
Jonathan Cohn, a senior editor at The New Republic and the author of Sick: The untold story of America’s health care crisis--and the people who pay the price, writing in the very magazine in which Elizabeth McCaughey wrote her piece picking apart Hillarycare that was a significant moment in its demise, says that, looking back, Hillary was right on health care:
[T]oday some 45 million Americans have no health insurance--or nearly 16 percent of the population, which is about one point higher than the figure was when Hillary and her task force got to work. You can say a lot of things about the plan that process produced: that it was complicated to explain, that it was botched politically, and that, above all, it was hardly perfect. (Some of us still think a true single-payer system would work better.) But, if Hillarycare accomplished absolutely nothing else, it would have made certain every American had access to affordable health care--sparing millions of people physical harm, financial calamity, and countless indignities. For a plan that was supposedly such a debacle, that would have been an awfully mighty accomplishment.
Homophobe Surgeon General & science rejected
President Bush’s nominee for surgeon general, Dr. James W. Holsinger Jr., wrote a paper in 1991 that purported to make the medical argument that homosexuality is unnatural and unhealthy. Doctors who reviewed the paper derided it as prioritizing political ideology over science, and Democratic aides on Capitol Hill say the paper will make his confirmation hearings problematic.
Holsinger, 68, presented “The Pathophysiology of Male Homosexuality” in January 1991 to a United Methodist Church’s committee to study homosexuality. (Read the paper here.) The church was then considering changing its view that homosexuality violates Christian teaching, though it ultimately did not do so. Relying on footnotes from mainstream medical publications, Holsinger argued that homosexuality isn’t natural or healthy.
Via Michael J.W. Stickings, “It purports to be a purely scientific argument for what he calls ‘the complementarity of the human sexes,’ with respect to both intercourse and procreation, but what it really is is an attack on homosexual activity and hence on homosexuality itself. And remember, it was written in 1991, not 1891!...What is clear from all this is that Bush has nominated yet another theocratic ideologue for a key position in government.”
In other Republican Scientism news, If you caught Senator Sam Brownback’s op-ed screed last week in New York Times in opposition to evolution, don’t miss Jerry Coyne’s analysis of it:
Whether he knows it or not, Brownback’s forthright declarations, denying any possibility that empirical matters of fact might differ from those assumed by his creed, amount to nothing less than a rejection of the whole institution of science. Who is “we”, and where did “our” conviction and certainty come from? Would Brownback believe these “spiritual truths” if he hadn’t been taught them as a child, or brought up in the United States instead of China?
According to Brownback, we should reject scientific findings if they conflict with our faith, but accept them if they’re compatible. But the scientific evidence says that humans are big-brained, highly conscious apes that began evolving on the African savannah four million years ago. Are we supposed to reject this as “atheistic theology” (an oxymoron if there ever was one)?
Via Boing Boing.
Congressional support for Study Abroad
I went with a group of students to the Czech Republic last year; Doug is in Germany now with a group from Georgia and Ohio (their blog is here). These programs offer students incredible learning opportunities that they’ll recall for a lifetime.
Congress passed a bipartisan bill on Tuesday aimed at increasing study abroad opportunities. From The Chronicle (subscription only):
The legislation approved by the House, known as the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act (HR 1469), would create a foundation whose goal would be to send one million American students abroad each year within the next 10 years. Only 206,000 students studied abroad during the 2004 academic year, the latest for which figures are available. That number represents about 1 percent of all university students.
The bill authorizes Congress to appropriate $80-million annually for the foundation, which would distribute the money largely in the form of grants to students through universities and other study-abroad providers.
One of the bill’s key goals is to bring more diversity to study abroad, both in terms of where students travel and who goes overseas. For example, it seeks to raise the number of community-college, low-income and minority students who study abroad, as well as increase the number of students studying in developing countries.
They’re hoping for senate action within the next couple of weeks.