David Stern Does the Right Thing

This is a little off the topic of electoral politics, but I think it deserves mention -- particularly given the very real possibility that those on the right are going to be squawking about this for some time.

Former NBA star guard Tim Hardaway, creator of the "killer crossover", was interviewed on the radio earlier this week when he had the following to say: "You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known. I don't like gay people and I don't like to be around gay people. I am homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world or in the United States." The commissioner of the NBA, David Stern, quickly reprimanded Hardaway by banning the retired player from this weekend's All-Star game festivities, a move that could, one imagine, draw the ire of some on the right.

For those unfamiliar with Stern, he is a strong supporter of Democratic politics, giving somewhere just shy of $500,000 to Democratic candidates and committees over the last three cycles, plus another $100,000 to American Coming Together in 2004 and $38,000 to the League of Conservation Voters since 2002. These numbers don't reflect donations from previous cycles, which were quite robust as well, nor do they include donations made by his wife (with the exception of one of the donations to the LCV). What's more, and perhaps more importantly, Stern did not, as best I can tell, give one cent to any Republican candidates or committee. (These numbers were garnered through perusing records on Political Money Line.)

Anyway, these donations are somewhat beside the point. Stern deserves kudos for his correct move and I think we should give it to him.

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Teammates in hate: Basketball's Bill Donohue

From debates over marriage to adoption, the shameful bigotry of homophobia takes many forms. One of the last fully undiscovered frontiers of the issue is athletics. Last week, former NBA center John Amaechi came out as a gay man, a brave move in the world of sports. Reactions, as you would expect, have been varied. Some league athletes - from Shavlik Randolph to Steven Hunter to LeBron James - reacted to the news at arm's length. Others - Charles Barkley, Grant Hill, Shaquille O'Neal and coach Doc Rivers - were very supportive. Said Randolph, "As long as you don't bring your gayness on me, I'm fine." Hunter, in taking a similar tack, said, "As long as he don't make any advances toward me I'm fine with it. As long as he came to play basketball like a man and conducted himself as a good person, I'd be fine with it." James's statement, meanwhile, reveals that the superstar still has some growing to do: "With teammates you have to be trustworthy, and if you're gay and you're not admitting that you are, then you are not trustworthy. So that's like the number one thing as teammates ... we all trust each other. You've heard of the in-room locker room code. What happens in the locker room stays there. It's a trust factor." Others in the basketball community stood with Amaechi.

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Second Davis California Student Harassed for being "Perceived" as Gay

In a statement released by Attorney Bruce Nickerson who is also representing the Fischers:

   "It's a case of anti-gay harassment. It's not based on parental orientation, but on the young man's perceived orientation."

The student is reportedly small and therefore perceived to be gay.

One of the students involved in the harassment of other junior high school student was involved in this incident. In fact, he was the student who harassed the student in the first incident and then upon his return to school which prompted the father to finally pull him out of school.

The school district was informed about this incident after the eighth-grader was attacked by four students who threw him to the ground and robbed him of personal items. They beat him up badly enough that paramedics were called and medical attention was required.

The district supposedly then conducted an investigation but found no witnesses to the event. One must question how hard the district investigated because it turns out Zach Fischer witnessed the event and saw most of the incident. Yet he was never contacted by the district during the course of their investigation.

For background information and videoclips please see:

Background information

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Email AAirlines (link given) re warning to gay couple. Request more info.

I would like to gloss MikeBaseball's diary over on dKos with a "call to action"-related link. I urge readers to contact American Airlines and its spokesperson Tim Wagner to express concern over what the apparently bigoted attitude of member of an American Airlines crew towards two passengers who happened to 1) be of the same sex and 2) show affection.

The threat from the crew to land the plane--citing security concerns--if the two men didn't stop "arguing" with a flight attendant seems highly exploitive and abusive, as well as condescendingly expressed, provided that events were accurately reported in this week's The New Yorker. At the very least, Mr. Wagner's insinuation that the two men were making passengers uncomfortable demands a clarification of American Airlines' relevant policies.

Please read the rest of the diary after the flip; it may inform your e-mail to AA.

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Is Jay Leno in Bed With Pat Robertson & Fred Phelps?

My pal Danny sent me a copy of an open letter that his friend, Jeff Whitty, sent to Jay Leno. Jay Leno is a Republican but he is no Jerry Falwell or Karl Rove. So why does he act like them?

(Below the fold you'll find out how gay people feel [and perhaps generalize to other minorties] when they wind up on national TV as the butt of stereotyping jokes that may drive some people to gales of laughter and others to murder and mayhem).

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