That Bull Dog Spirit
Thursday, January 27, 2005
Liveblogging the YPU

Admiral Steinman USCG and USPHS (US Pub Health Services), Ret.

Background, Don't Ask, Don't Tell Act
"He was very brave to come out in December of 2003, 5 years after Don't Ask, Don't Tell."-unanimous applause from all Parties.

Clinton thought his actions would help the gay community; he was naive. He should have done it by executive order.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue, Don't Harass

Don't Ask-no more "witchhunts" by DOD and Don't Pursue unless credible evidence you told. Credible is anything you want it to be, without penalty.

Don't Harass-The DOD wrote a very effective and quality antiharassment policy, which they failed to ever follow up on or enforce

Don't tell-anyone about your propensity

Discusses the concept of "openly gay"-indicates classic stereotype of gay man, like Jack on Will & Grace, or Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. He thinks that's what leads people to assuming that it's incompatible with the military aesthetic. But almost all servicemen don't ask like that.

No other law in the US authorizes you to fire someone for being GLB, but the DOD can, and does, 3 or 4 a day. Even if you talk to your chaplain or your physician, it's not a protected conversation and they can and will report you.

Nothing supports people's opinion that gays will detriment morale. The Rand Corp found in a study that there's no adverse impact, and the DOD threw the study out.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell says that GLB patriots have to be silent and celibate (Reminds me of the line "The soldier who won't F***, won't fight"-Ed) And, by the way, heterosexual sodomy is only prosecuted by the DOD as the icing on the cake. The sodomy statute was recently found unconstitutional by the UCMJ. If it's thrown out, then Don't Ask, Don't Tell goes out the window...

He gave instances where Don't Ask, Tell, Pursue, or Harass each were violated.

Ten years, 10,000 plus discharges. Cost $281.5 M to replace valuable personnel, including those defusing IEDs in Iraq. A disproportionate effect on lesbians. We're throwing out a LOT of people who are key to our warfighting and national security.

What does the public think? In 1992, 57% thought homosexuals should be allowed to serve openly (Gallup.) Now, it's 79%. 91% of young respondents think they should. And the average age of the USMC is 21. (but presumably the general staff knows what they're doing?-Ed That's not always historically true; consider the resistance to integrating the military early on by the general staff)

26 foreign militaries allow gays to serve openly, including 13 of our allies in Iraq. Including Great Britain. Our biggest ally. And the Israelis, who are TOUGH. (But there are Israeli social pressures that if you don't serve in the military, you're ostracized.--Ed)

But those are foreign countries. We're Americans. But the Secret Service, CIA, FBI, and more can have openly gay members. So gays can protect the president but not our country. Or, police and fire departments. And the US military in the Revolutionary War. In all previous wars, Stop-Loss orders were allowed to prevent homosexual discharges, but Congress now says they can't.

Using statistic of 5% gays in general population, 150k GLB in military. One-third of servicemembers know a GLB servicemember. Even Special Forces have some of them. And these guys are in close quarters and are. Anecdotally, one-third of one Seal team was gay, and he talked to one member, who supposedly the Navy found out he was gay and said "You're too valuable to us, so don't let anyone know." And let's not forget the Navy Seals are in close quarters often, rely upon each other intimately, and are some of our most valuable and deadly soldiers.

He may just have swayed me.

Question period:

Can this really be stopped in the military? A: "The military is extremely good in controlling behavior. The same arguments were used to oppose integration that oppose repeal. If the leaedership says it's unacceptable, the troops will follow."

Why not just fully enforce all four prongs? A: "That would be a step forward, but it's not enough. Why do these servicemen have to be silent and celibate because of a few thugs?"

Is this an insult to our religious heritage? A: "In America we have a heritage of separation of church and state. This policy is insulting to our servicemen, saying that they can't be tolerant. The idea of sex going on in a warzone is complete lunacy."

Doesn't that contradict our experience with heterosexual sex, and the number of pregnancies in a warzone? And more specifically about sexual encounters in general? A: "The military has strict rules. We're not saying it's appropriate for anyone straight or gay, so punish everyone who engages in sexual conduct in a warzone. Treat them exactly the same."

What about separate units for gays? A: "Well, it always comes down to the shower question. Why have gays and straight men together when we know that gays are eyeing the straight men lasciviously? Well, the only place you have group showers instead of individual stalls in boot camp and the soliders are too busy. That's the practical rejoinder. The emotional one is that straight guys have been in showers with gay guys in school, at the gym, at the YMCA, and they're already there under Don't Ask, Don't Tell! Where's the problem?"

Haven't gays grown up with a lot of self-control, learning how to control their sexual orientation? Isn't that strength a lot of straight people don't have A: (laughter in crowd) "Yes!"

After Don't Ask, Don't Tell, was there any difference you observed pro- or anti-gay? "I didn't observe any, since I didn't think many people were going to come out. Homosexual discharges wer way up, and it wasn't clear why."

Docketed speeches:



#1 goal of military is to protect US.

Gen. Schwartzpkoff and Gen. Colin Powell support Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Gen. Powell said that openly gay servicemen would disrupt social cohesion of our military.

Who does it benefit? Homosexuals. (hissing from the Left and Center) Ridiculous to think servicemen could serve in our homophobic military openly without trouble.

The Admiral focused on Don't Tell. I'm going to focus on Don't Ask. Supposed you could ask. It's unlikely openly gay people would advance in the homophobic culture of the military. Homosexuals who are out in that culture are at risk.

Homophobia is a shameful aspect of our military, but it comes from the homophobia of our society. I deplore it but I can't change it.

It's unfair to ask our military to settle the social disputes we can't settle in our society.
The Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy is all that allows gay servicemen to serve in our society

But wasn't Truman's integration in a time of and is considered by many scholars to have been a step forward in US integration, occurring 15 years before Civil Rights. You're Harry Truman. What do you do?-James Kirchik. A: You can't hide race, so I don't know what I would have done.

So if Harry Truman could have painted all African-Americans white, it would have been okay to do so?-Jason Blau (Applause) A: Stunned silence and an (unintelligible) response

But wait, all your arguments disagree with anecdotal evidence of members now?-Kid from my Latin 408 class A: Adm. Steinman cited authorities, I cited two, I look to the authorities with more leverage... (hissing from the crowd)

Colin Powell and Norman Schwartzpkoff, aren't they under political pressure not to say what they think?-Roger Low A: "Actually, I think they're homophobes." (Laughter)

The Secretary of the IP

So I was listening to the radio today, and it turns out that the military has added in a new chaplain to the chaplain corps to meet a new need: A Satanist chaplain.

And, hey, aren't Satanists offensive to most people? Yet there's no Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy for that. And Satanists can serve openly, no matter how uncomfortable it makes people.

Doesn't having women in the military disrupt us?

Aren't we already pressed for manpower? If we waited for everyone to be comfortable, the military would never be integrated in 1947! People were uncomfortable.

Just because soldiers were racist doesn't mean the military has to be or should be.


Keep women? A: Yeah

Is there any danger in making the military the forefront of social change, giving it this role in society? A: Not really. (Are we really going to have a pro-gay military coup? -Ed)

Jon Markman (fair disclosure, I went to high school with him)

Military correctly limits the freedom of its soldiers for the sake of defending us.

Military must restrict liberty of soldiers to defend us.

It's important to recognize that the Admiral (whom I respect) holds a different opinion than most military leaders.

Military stand isn't based on bigotry or hatred. Integration post-WWII wasn't for moral reasons but to increase fighting capability.

Now is not the time for social change.

Highlights from nondocketed
These people are treasonous by kicking servicemen out, and I ask the Admiral, who is no doubt skilled in ropes and knots, to aid me in hanging them.

Closing remarks by the Admiral:

Many serving officers, including Wesley Clark, are in favor of gay servicemen serving openly.

Everyone's ignored the evidence.

In all previous wars, the US Military has had gay soldiers serve openly. Despite the presence of openly gay members. So, if the question is cohesion and morale, we've answered it already.

I support the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Let's let the tens of thousands of patriotic GLB servicemen serve openly and honestly.
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
I'm finally off hiatus, just in time for the election news you all really want: The Yale report.

This will be incomplete, because I want to head off and watch election results.

Quick roundup of Yale/election news: The Yale polling scene is fierce, and very strongly pro-Kerry. The masters of the residential colleges have strongly encouraged students to register to vote here in Connecticut or at home if they prefer; a Connecticut voting registration was one of the first three pieces of paper given to me on move-in day.

Controversially,the vast majority of professorial opinion predicts a Bush win.

The Yale Debate Association (full disclosure: I'm a member) has gotten massive media attention because of the presidential debates, and the fact that both Bush and Kerry took the same class (in different years) on Oratory from the late, famous Professor Roland Osterweis.

Yale's in the news, but now here's some news about Yale (Cheesy!--The Ed)

A reminder by the fine freshmen of Jonathan Edwards College of what alumnus they love the most:

Today at the Commons dining hall (the main campus dining hall) two different candidate-themed meals were offered, involving such items as clam chowder and Texas BBQ. The unanimous opinion is that Bush won that ballot:

The message:

Why most people send that message:

But it's okay, for even in the midst of others Bush thrives:

Look for more reactions tomorrow.
Sunday, September 19, 2004

Which Pirates of the Caribbean character are you?

Saturday, September 11, 2004
Let us pray for peace. Let us pray that we can, at last, find some silence in the noise. Let us pray that our children, and our children’s children, will live in a world where men do not take up arms against their brothers, where prosperity and safety reign in all lands, and where a clear sky, is not a sign of fear.

We light candles of remembrance, to honor the memory of those who are gone. Everyone says that a candle is a symbol of light, of life, and that its brevity reminds us of the impermanence of all things. That a candle is a prayer for peace and a solace in our darkest hours. But that’s not it at all. It’s that we keep making the damn things. It’s that we pray for tomorow, so that a hundred years from now a man will be sitting somewhere, at the table with his children, watching a messy toddler’s goggly eyes at the dazzle coming from his birthday cake. It’s so that teenagers can lie on blankets in the middle of summer and watch fireworks go off overhead, and think of love. It’s so that men, women, whites, blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Indians, aborigines, Americans of all kinds can live their lives as they choose.

Our strife is still here, and it will always be. We will always disagree, we will always debate, will always quarrel with each other. But let us not forget that we can still disagree, and still be friends. That being a supporter of a President, or of a Senator, is not treachery, or evil. That we are all good-intentioned, that we all want to be safe.

In some sense, it’s still September 11th. Every time a news story breaks, there’s a little part of us that grabs for the arms of our chairs, afraid that This Is It, that this is the end of all things. We’re still hoping that this will somehow, somehow turn out to all be a horrible dream.

But you know what? There’s two ways to deal with nightmares. You can lie there, night after night, hoping it will finally end. Or you fight to wake up, to confront your fears, and by opposing, end them.

God bless America, and God bless you all.

Sunday, August 08, 2004
Okay, I give up:(Boston Herald)

Sen. John F. Kerry said Americans should form neighborhood watch groups to look out for potential terrorists and to learn how to respond in case of a terror attack.

``If you're going to be on the alert for terrorists, and these color codes are going to mean anything, then people ought to know what they're being called on to do,'' Kerry said. ``If we do that to protect ourselves against vandals or a burglary, why would we not do it to protect ourselves against a terrorist?''

Kerry's running mate, Sen. John Edwards, said the neighborhood groups would provide a way to disseminate information and provide training on what to do if a terrorist attack occurs.

``We need a neighborhood watch kind of system so that we have a way to notify people,'' Edwards said. ``We shouldn't have millions of Americans, or hundreds of thousands, trying to figure out at 3 o'clock in the morning what they are supposed to do. They ought to know what they're supposed to do.''

Kerry also said he would continue research on a national missile defense program that was conducted at a Colorado military base.

How, precisely, is this going to reduce the amount of divisiveness and fear in America? How is this going to unite us? How will this end the "Two Americas problem", or reassure us that "Help is on the way"?

Sen. Kerry claims to be an intellectual. If only http://www.pbs.org/childofcamp/history/ were some reason avoid inciting blind paranoia...

Now, don't get me wrong. The actions of ordinary Americans on September 11th prevented Flight 93 from hitting the White House or Congress. But even the best-intentioned people can, in dangerous times, prosecute the wrong people. There's a reason that Mr. Kerry has called for more oversight when we go to war: sometimes even the best-intentioned, principled, patriotic men can get things wrong. Neighborhood watch isn't the solution. Police, firefighters, EMTs, National Guard, and other first responders are who we still need to fund and train. Mr. Kerry's resorting to put ordinary citizens in the line of fire demonstrates clearly where he believes the battle against terror should be waged: on our own soil.

Saturday, July 31, 2004
From MSNBC.com

By Brian Braiker
Updated: 4:53 p.m. ET July 31, 2004

July 31 - Coming out of the Democratic National Convention in Boston, Sen. John Kerry now holds a seven-point lead over President George W. Bush (49 percent to 42 percent) in a three-way race with independent Ralph Nader (3 percent), according to the latest NEWSWEEK poll The poll was taken over two nights, both before and after Kerry's acceptance speech. Respondents who were queried after Kerry's Thursday night speech gave the Democrat a ten-point lead over Bush. Three weeks ago, Kerry’s lead was three points.


Kerry’s four-point “bounce” is the smallest in the history of the NEWSWEEK poll. There are several factors that may have contributed to the limited surge, including the timing of the poll. On Thursday, Kerry had just a two-point lead over Bush (47 percent to 45 percent), suggesting that his Friday night speech had a significant impact. Additionally, Kerry’s decision to announce his vice-presidential choice of John Edwards three weeks before the convention may have blunted the gathering’s impact. And limited coverage by the three major networks also may have hurt Kerry.

Still, Kerry and Edwards have gained ground on several key election issues. For the first time in the NEWSWEEK poll, as many voters strongly back Kerry as strongly back Bush (31 percent to 30 percent). In an election expected to be decided by a small number of unaffiliated voters, independents now lean toward Kerry by a margin of 45 percent to 39 percent, with Nader pulling 7 percent. And voters are becoming more likely to predict a Kerry victory in November: Forty-four percent say Kerry will win vs. 43 percent who predict Bush

Isn't this good news, though, for President Bush? Wasn't the conventional wisdom (a rotten pun, I know) that Sen. Kerry needed a 7 to 9 point boost post-convention to maintain parity with the President after the Republican National Convention?

Even if you take the Newsweek poll analyst's theory into account (that some of the "bounce" occurred pre-convention), Sen. Kerry still only has a 7-point bounce. Leaving him with no ground gained.

Thursday, July 29, 2004
Official dumbest media comment of the campaign:

Just now on the nightly news;
"I want to see the Kerry daughters debate the Bush daughters."-Dennis Eckert, Political Analyst for NBC-3 News, Cleveland, OH.

Oh, God, I wish he was joking.

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