Tag Archives: HU Chronicle

Here We Go Again

Gay groups denied permission to march in St. Patrick’s Day parade in South Boston Wait a minute, that sounds eerily familiar…

Oh yeah, deja vu all over again!

Last year, I found out about a group of LGBT Irish who sought to march in the NYC parade and were turned down. I was upset, thinking that those people wanted to celebrate the fact they were Irish and were refused because they also happened to be gay. They would have to choose whether to celebrate a part of their heritage that basically rejected them simply because of who they were. So I wrote a column for the Chronicle and cited a similar case in Boston that actually was the precedent that the NYC parade organizers used to exclude the group of LGBT Irish.

In the column I mentioned how hard it was to find the policy online. Turns out I didn’t know where to look. Perhaps the rule cited by the parade council is unwritten and barely spoken about, but the court case ruling that favored the parade council in Boston over 15 years ago was easily found once I got the case name, thanks to the Boston.com article.

The decision, to quote Wikipedia

Justice Souter delivered the unanimous opinion of the court on June 19, 1995. The Court reasoned that, even though the Council did not have a narrow, set message that it was intending to convey, the parade nevertheless constituted a message that the Council had a right to protect. Noting that, while the Council had been fairly lenient in its guidelines for who they chose to allow in their parade, the Court said this did not necessarily mean that the Council waived its right to present its message in a way it saw fit. The right to speak, the Court reasoned, includes the right to determine “what not to say.”  Of primary concern to the Court was the fact that anyone observing the parade (which regularly gained a large number of spectators) could rationally believe that those involved in the parade were all part of an overriding message the Council was seeking to provide.  In this vein, the unanimous Court said that the Council could not statutorily be prohibited from excluding the messages of groups it did not agree with. Effectively, the Council could not be forced to endorse a message against its will.

Like with most supreme court rulings, it takes a couple read-throughs to comprehend it. But at least it does have a sense of logic, even if that logic was used to come to a decision that I disagree with.

I just hate the idea of this accepted practice of exclusion. It won’t change anytime soon, as the court ruling basically said it was up to the parade councils to determine what kind of “message” they wanted to say with the units in their parades. Have the parade organizers not heard of the axiom that actions speak louder than words? By not including Gay and Irish groups for many years in a row, they are telling the public that they are old fashioned and narrow-minded, maybe even bigoted.

They are also sending a message to gays: that are gay first and foremost and that makes them less Irish than their straight counterparts.

The only solution I can see is a game of patience. The Gay Irish groups must sadly wait for the last of the old guard who wish to exclude them to die off. Then they can approach the parade’s councils again and hopefully march openly.

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Editorial Archieve

This post is more for my personal use than anything else. I am going through the Hofstra Chronicle website, and tracking down all of my columns. So I can quickly access them, if I ever need too.

Qu’ran Burning – 9/16/10

Adjusting the Political Parties – 9/30/10

On the spate of LGBT youth suicdes – 10/14/10

“School Pride” Extreme Makeover School Edition – 10/28/10

Keith OlbermannSuspension – 11/11/10 

“Christmas Column” 12/9/10

~Semester Break~

Obamacare in the Courts – 2/10/11

South Dakota’s law on justifiable murder – 2/24/11

Libya and Sheen’s destructions – 3/9/11

News Story: Catholic Students Push for New Chapel – 3/16/11

Homophobia at the NYC St. Patrick’s Parade – 3/24/11

Presidential Campaign Speculation Already – 4/7/11

I’m pretty sure that’s all of them. I know I missed out on an column right after Spring Break when I came back swamped with work and a deadline that I missed.

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Chapel on Campus?

Should there be a Chapel on Campus? I think so. At first I was indifferent, but when I heard that my Catholic friends were pushing for one, I knew what I was going to write for my second Journalism story. And it was just a story for a while, but it seemed that right after I submitted the piece for a grade, I realized that I would love to go to a prayer room on campus and just quiet my mind and heart for a few moments a day. It’s hard to do that in my room (tv, internet, music, etc) or really anywhere else on campus.

(When asked just to picture my thoughts and feelings, I immediately call up the fight in Deathly Hallows as Harry is trying to escape: everyone is hidden inside a thundercloud, but they’re flying so fast it’s even more chaotic than a thunderstorm.)

Anyway I got an A on my story. I revised it and sent it to the Chronicle which published it this week. You can read the (hard news) piece here.

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Their Revolutions will NOT be Televised

First play this game.  Try to guess if Sheen or Gaddafi said these crazy quotes. Then you can read my column, which was inspired by playing this game a couple times.

The idea that the news will only cover what the people want is nothing new but it just is really a sore spot right now as America would rather get a front row seat to Charlie Sheen’s self-destruction then be up to date on what’s happening in Libya. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but we were captivated when Egypt went on strike and Mubarak finally stepped down. I guess we didn’t have a celebrety crisis to distract us then.

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SD Shelving Their Abortion Law

I covered South Dakota’s adventure in trying to expand justifiable homicide to protect unborn children for my most recent column. I was glad they shelved it. You can read the whole piece here: but I included some meaty quotes

Somehow the bill passed the state’s judiciary committee last week. Its shaky rhetoric establishes justifiable homicide of an abortion worker as the lawful defense of one’s self, spouse, parent, child, master, mistress, servant, or an unborn child that belongs to that person. By the time the rest of the nation heard about this bill, it was branded as the bill that would allow the murder of abortion workers.

However, there are deeper consequences to such a bill being passed. The bill would not only affect abortion workers, but also the outcome of every murder trial in the state as well. Trials would become ten times more complicated as the defense would scramble to use the bill’s muddled diction and vague definitions as defense. Prosecutors would have to wade through every last detail of the case in order to prove not only that the defendant did commit homicide, but that it wasn’t justified in any sense of the bill. The burden of proof for the prosecution would become even heavier.

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Another Year Another Christmas

Time is hurtling by faster than ever.

Already I have to start thinking about Christmas. Last year I wrote how I was conflicted over the holiday.  And this year I think I still am, but not nearly to the extent I was last year. I’m more at peace celebrating the many different Christmases all on the same day than I was last year.

But I still wrote about the holiday in my last column for the Chronicle.

For one holiday it can be too materialistic (why else do we have Black Friday), too religious (How can Jesus be the reason for the season, he wasn’t born on 12/25) and yet too secular all at the same time (“okay if you’re putting up a nativity scene we want to see a Menorah and Santa and some Kwanzaa candles while you’re at it”, and saying Happy Holidays) . The holiday has been claimed by the Christians as theirs to own, yet many of the traditions, like the Christmas Tree, Yule log, and gift giving, come from Pre-Christian times or pagan societies. Even the idea of the birth of the savior was co-opted from many pagan’s worship of the rebirth of their sun god.

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MSNBC fail

By suspending and then un-suspending Keith Olbermann over last weekend, MSNBC committed an epic fail. They claim to be objective, but after this stunt, I don’t think any one will believe them.

Olbermann broke the rules by donating to political campaigns. He’s a broadcast journalist, reporting on the news (trying to be objective) and this is a slap in the face of  MSNBC’s perceived objectivity.  But what I din’t get a chance to ponder over in my Chronicle Column is whether there should be a distinction between Olbermann the average citizen and Olbermann who goes on air every night. The only problem is that political donations are public record. Anyone can request that info, so Olbermann’s donations would be easy found by his viewers. While he might be objective on air, his donations would say something different. However should he be denied a chance to donate just because of his job? I can see the argument going both ways.

This experience should at least teach MSNBC something about it’s ‘objectivity. Call me a cynic, but I think objectivity in journalism is a dying practice. It’s been dying a slow death ever since the rise of the 24 hour news cycle and the network news that went along with it. Whenever we are told information or news we need to carefully examine who is giving it to us and why or else we are too easily misled.

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School Pride(!)

So there’s a new reality, but good reality that tugs at your heart strings, TV on NBC called School Pride. It’s basically Extreme Makeover School Edition with lesser-known celebrities. Failing schools submit a video and the renovation is done in a week and is pro-bono. As I was watching the first episode on Hulu one day when I was avoiding work, I thought that it looked great on the surface but didn’t have any substance. That went for the theory too, that they were making things look pretty but not solving the real problems like sub-par teachers or uninvolved parents or just plain old not enough money.

And yet… there are studies out proving that when kids are invested in their learning environment, they perform better. So this show is trying to get kids across the nation invested in how their school looks. In the first episode, there was a post script saying test scores already improved in the six months since the renovation (done during spring break) but the other schools were renovated during the summer so there wasn’t enough time to see if test scores did improve or not.

I wrote my Chronicle Column on the show. Mainly because I couldn’t think of anything else to write about, and I was pressed for time too. Maybe I should stop avoiding my work!

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Gay Martyrs?

After our school held a Vigil for the recent LGBTQ suicides, I had a conversation with my roommate about who was a gay martyr. That conversation in part inspired my third column, which my editor titled Message of gay empowerment not to be confused with martyrdom of those who committed suicide.

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Questioning (LGBTQ) community’s talk of Tyler as a martyr isn’t accurate. Yes, Tyler did commit suicide, primarily because of the harassment he received, but at most it just adds him to the long and growing list of LGBT youth who have committed suicide. All martyrs are victims but not all victims are martyrs.

Tuesday, October 12th marks the 12th anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s death. Matthew Shepard was a 21-year-old college student from the University of Wyoming who was robbed, beaten and murdered because he was gay. You may be familiar with his story if you have read or seen The Laramie Project. Shepard’s two killers were tried and found guilty of felony murder and are serving two life sentences. They were not charged with a hate crime because there was no Wyoming statue allowed a hate crime charge.

Emphasis is my own.

What I didn’t include is a discussion of other famous Gay Martyrs. Perhaps Harvey Milk was a gay martyr, as he was the first openly gay man to be elected into public office. But he was assassinated by a fellow city councilor who was angry over losing his job, so there were political undertones to his assassination. (The mayor was also murdered at the same time)

Perhaps another gay martyr is Lawrence King, who was shoot while he was in school on February 12, 2008. His killer, also a fellow student has been charged with murder and a hate crime. But he has remained silent as to why he did it.It’s possible he hated Larry for a different reason.

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Fixing Congress

…this system is beginning to crack. Recent events have shown that the wedge between the Democrats and Republicans in Congress has drastically grown larger – not smaller as President Obama had hoped in the beginning of his term. One of the major signs that there was a problem was the long deliberation over the health care bill. Republicans had hoped – and some still do – to defeat it. Now the Republicans have defeated a repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell by filibustering. In fact, Obama has essentially given up on his campaign promise of bipartisanship as the Republicans refuse to work with him.

This two party system has got to change. Instead of a binary, either Democrat or Republican, we should consider a spectrum, with liberal, moderate, and conservative parties. Most members of Congress would fall into one of these categories. Of course there would be some who wouldn’t quite fit, such as moderates who lean liberal or conservative more often than their moderate colleagues.

Want to read more? Then head over to the Hofstra Chronicle site and read my second column. Also celebrating my byline changing from contributing writer to columnist. I’m moving up.

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