Links: a Hockey Player 4 Gays; a Horrible Person is a Good Politician; a Racist Pilot is Racist; and a Dose of Honesty

Sean Avery may be insufferable on the ice, but his endorsement of gay marriage makes him a cool guy:

In a February Toronto Sun article, Avery also stated that if a young player "really loves the game and wants to keep playing but he's worried about coming out, I'd tell him to pick up the phone and call (NHLPA executive director) Donald Fehr and tell him to book me a (plane) ticket.

"I'll stand beside him in the dressing room while he tells his teammates he is gay. Maybe if Sean Avery is there, they would have less of a problem with it."

Gotta love that.  In a macho world like sports, many people fear the idea of homosexuality (they shower together!  D: ), so someone standing up for it is always worth noting (until it stops being an issue).


One of the best Sarah Palin articles you may read is the Atlantic's even-handed look at her career as governor.  One may be shocked to find that, as governor of Alaska, Palin worked with Democrats to raise taxes on big oil companies, a move that helped the state immensely (and is unfortunately being undone by the current governor, Sean Parnell, a "former oil lobbyist for ConocoPhillips" claiming this tax is harming the same companies that have been posting record profits*).  It's a stark contrast from her current  schtick.

So, what went wrong?  NPR helps explain what Joshua Green's article subtly paints: Palin is a great politician.  She may be a horrible, vindictive person that will "throw anyone under a bus" (Alaskan senator Hollis French), but, hey, that's what makes a great politician (but a bad person, but a great politician, but a bad person, but a great politician) - especially when she's focusing her irrational hate on a proper foe.

From being hired as a pro-taxes moderate by a mayor looking to build more roads, to taking on "Big Oil" with the help of Democrats, to lambasting Democrats and higher taxes for Fox, Palin is simply following the path of her career wherever it takes her, moulding herself accordingly at every turn.  Again, like a good politician (but a bad person).

* ExxonMobil (May 2011, up 69%); ConocoPhillips (April 2011, up 44%); BP (April 2011, up 16%)


In Memphis, Tennessee, a pilot refused to fly until two Muslim men were removed from the plane.  The men, Masudur Rahman, an Arabic-language instructor at the University of Memphis, and Mohamed Zaghloul, a religious leader in the Islamic Association of Greater Memphis, were dressed in "traditional Indian clothing" and "Arab garb, including traditional headgear", respectively.

My first thought was: so, what tipped off the pilot that they were the terrorists?  The fact that they were trying to conceal their Muslim identity by dressing in traditional clothing?  That's about the only joke I can take from this, because behaviour like this warrants a firing.  No one would tolerate this if the pilot was stopping women or blacks (not just African Americans or white Africans) from boarding the plane, so just because they're Muslim and the U.S. is at war with a whole load of Muslims, doesn't mean they don't have the right to fly as American citizens.

Rahman and Zaghloul ultimately did the right thing and got lawyers involved, so the result ought to be interesting.


In a piece that doesn't hold back, Gregor Peter Schmitz looks at what he calls "America's Lost Decade".  You can just hear the calls of, "Anti-American!"  But to be fair to the author, he makes several good points on the what has become the longest war in American history and how that has adversely affected the country economically and politically.

The U.S. is indeed very different now - we can't deny that.  In some good ways, yes, but with a regression in human rights (particularly women's rights),  backward welfare system, failing economy and huge amount of debt while over-spending on the military, worse education than much smaller countries with fewer resources, and a dangerous amount religious extremism and apparent hatred of science, the U.S. looks like it's still stuck in the old way of doing things even though the world has changed.

We should learn from the past that holding onto the "old way" and attempting to assert former dominance is always, always, the death knell of an empire.

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