Friday, July 01, 2016

NEWS: Bernie Sanders; Gun Laws; Trans in Military; Economic Toll of Mass Shooting; Growing Up Gay & Muslim; $200,000 Donation to LGBT Program

Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren
How Bernie Sanders Overplayed His Hand
On Monday, Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren campaigned together in Cincinnati. Their message was clear: Donald Trump is a “thin-skinned bully who is driven by greed and hate,” as Warren put it, and the Democratic Party can deliver the policies and investments to improve life for ordinary Americans. But more interesting than their rhetoric was the event’s tone and tenor. Warren was a compelling surrogate, giving Clinton the kind of strong and affirmative endorsement she needs to win over skeptical voters. And Clinton, in turn, was energized, touting her policies and platform—and indicting Trump for his attitudes and behavior. It was a grand display of party unity: Warren and Clinton, the left and the center-left, united against a common foe and cheered on by thousands of excited Democrats, all ready for the general election. Elizabeth Warren is the surrogate he was supposed to be. His supporters have become Clinton’s. Sanders overplayed his hand. READ MORE

Poll: Support Surges in America for Stricter Gun Laws
More than half of registered voters support stricter gun laws in the United States, according to the latest results of a nationwide Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday that also found strong levels of support for background checks and for preventing people on government watch lists from purchasing guns. Regardless of their opinions on specific proposals, 54 percent of registered voters surveyed said they would like tougher legislation when it comes to guns, the highest percentage of Americans expressing that view in the poll's history. Another 42 percent said they opposed stricter gun laws in the U.S., while 4 percent declined to respond. Among the various cleavages in the data for that question, 51 percent of men said they opposed tougher measures, while 45 percent supported; in contrast, more than six in 10 women, or 63 percent to 33 percent, said they would like to see increased measures. READ MORE

Before Enlisting Transgender People Required to Wait 18 Months For Doctor Certification Stating They Are Stable in New Gender
The details of the transgender policy change appeared to strike a compromise between some issues at play. Notably, transgender people who want to join the military will be required to wait 18 months after a doctor certifies that they are stable in their new gender before they can enlist. Defense officials familiar with the discussions have said that the Army and Marine Corps pressed to wait two years, while the Navy and Air Force thought 12 months were sufficient. “Our military readiness — and hence, our national security — is dependent on our troops being medically ready and deployable,” he said in a statement. “The Administration seems unwilling or unable to assure Congress and the American people that transgender individuals will meet these individual readiness requirements at a time when our Armed Forces are deployed around the world.” READ MORE

Commentary: 'I Could Have Been Omar Mateen' 
Like Omar Mateen, I grew up Afghan, American, Muslim, and (if he truly was gay) a repressed homosexual. Although I grew up in a household that didn’t support the Taliban, I was still socialized in the same cultural milieu that had a zero tolerance for gays. In my teens; while living in Irvine, Calif., I was cursed by my father, who repeatedly called me a kuni, a derogatory word equivalent to “fag,” because I loved to dance and acted effeminate. At the mosque, I heard sermons preach homosexuality as an illness and sin and justify the death penalty for gays and lesbians. My entire youth was tainted with fear, guilt, intimidation, shame and untold repression stemming from my same-gender attraction and the psychological violence I was subjected to because of my Afghan roots and Muslim faith. When I reached adulthood; I was pressured by my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and family acquaintances to act manly and marry a woman. I spent years dodging the issue and pursued higher education as a stalling tactic until I found myself on the fringes and realized there was no escape. Fretting that I drifted too far away from our tribe and traditions, my parents colluded with relatives to reign me in and forced me to marry a woman even after they knew I was gay. Thankfully, I refused. READ MORE

Man Generously Donates $200,000 to San Diego State University Pride Center, LGBT Studies Program
The Pride Center at San Diego State University has received a $100,000 gift from San Diego donor David Gubser. Gubser committed another $100,000 to the university’s LGBT studies program, the second of its kind in North America and the first in the California State University system. A staunch supporter of LGBT centers and organizations in Southern California, Gubser recently decided to extend his advocacy to college campuses. “At this time, given the terrible events in Orlando, people need to become more educated about the LGBT community,” Gubser said. “I couldn’t think of a better way to accomplish that goal than through a gift to SDSU.” Gubser’s gift will create an endowed scholarship for LGBT majors and will expand the Pride Center’s programming to include academic mentoring, guest speakers, health and safety training and possible queer leadership conferences. READ MORE

Orlando Nightclub Shooting: Nearby Businesses Are Starting To Assess Economic Toll
It’s too soon to place a dollar figure on the adverse economic impact of the shooting, but one thing is clear: The merchants around Pulse are a community, and have been since before the shooting. A four-block stretch of South Orange is like many other commerce-dotted avenues of a modestly sized U.S. city. Flanked by residential neighborhoods, this little strip of Orlando, Florida, two miles south of city hall hosts a tire shop adjacent to a produce store, which is next to a tattoo parlor that’s across the street from a foot and ankle clinic next door to a Dunkin’ Donuts. But this sample of modern Main Street America has been largely closed for business since the June 12 massacre at the nearby Pulse gay nightclub, where 49 people were killed and 53 injured by Omar Mateen. Roughly two dozen businesses saw their operations largely shuttered since the mass shooting by the throngs of media vans, police and forensics vehicles and street barricades. The economic toll has led at least one businesses to consider help from its insurer. The state of Florida and the U.S. Small Business Administration have stepped in, too, to offer the merchants short-term no-interest loans. Soon, these businesses might qualify also for low-interest long-term financing to cover any losses, according to a local business development group. READ MORE