The Daily Agenda for Sunday, May 20

Jim Burroway

May 20th, 2012

Today is Emancipation Day in Florida, an unofficial commemoration of the day in which Major General Edward McCook read the Emancipation Proclamation from the steps of the Knott House in downtown Tallahassee on May 20, 1865. The Knott House, which served as temporary Union headquarters after the Civil War,  is now a museum and hosts an annual re-enactment of the reading.

AIDS Candellight Memorials: Various locations. The third Sunday in May is set aside each year for the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, coordingated by the Global Network of People Living with HIV. The memorial has been taking place each year since 1993, and it now led by a coalition of some 1,200 community organizations in 115 countries.

In North American, there are observances listed for: Altoona, PA; Austin, TX; Baton, Rouge, LA; Boulder, CO; Canton, OH; Edmonton, AB; Evansville, IN; Kingston, ON; Las Vegas, NV; Martinsburg, WV; Oshawa, ON; Ottawa, CA; Owensboro, KY; Potsdam, NY; Providence, RI; St. John, NB; St. Petersburg, FL; San Antonio, TX; San Francisco, CA; Santiago, CA; Tucson, AZ; Vancouver, BC; Wilton Manors, FL.  Click here to information about a memorial event near you.

Pride Celebrations Today: Durban, South Africa; Eskilstuna, Sweden; Kiev, Ukraine; Long Beach, CANew Hope, PA and Oklahoma City, OK.

AIDS Walks Today: Ft. Lauderdale, FL; London, UK; Los Angeles, CAMinneapolis, MN and New York, NY.

Other Events Today: California Music Festival & AIDS Walk, Los Angeles, CA and Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival, Toronto, ON.

Family “Research” Council’s Values Voter Bus Tour: Kenosha WI. The Family “Research” Council, an SPLC-certified anti-gay hate group, will take its joint bus tour with the Heritage Foundation to Kenosha for a brief “Your Money, Your Values, Your Vote Rally” with the Wisconsin Tea Party Patriots. That meetup takes place at the parking lot of the Brat Stop (12304 75th St., Kenosha) from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.

L-R: Luc Montagnier and Robert Gallo

AIDS Virus Identified: 1983. In a paper published in the US journal Science, a team from France’s Pasteur Institute, led by Luc Montagnier, described a suspect virus which had been isolated in a patient who had died of AIDS. Montagnier’s groundbreaking work led to the determination by US researcher Robert Gallo in 1984 that the virus was indeed the cause of AIDS. Gallo named his virus HTLV-III, and promptly claimed credit for discovering the virus. But the rest of the world began calling it the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV. A three year acrimonious spat between Gallo and Montagnier ensued over who was the first to discover it. The dispute was finally settled after intensive negotiations resulting in both parties being awarded credit, and everyone lived happily ever after. As it were.

Romer v. Evans: 1996. On this date, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the landmark decision striking down Colorado’s Amendment 2 to the state constitution which would have disenfranchised that state’s LGBT citizens from the right to petition their state and local governments for laws banning discrimination. Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote:To the contrary, the amendment imposes a special disability upon those persons alone. Homosexuals are forbidden the safeguards that others enjoy or may seek without constraint.”

(Amendment 2) is at once too narrow and too broad. It identifies persons by a single trait and then denies them protection across the board. The resulting disqualification of a class of persons from the right to seek specific protection from the law is unprecedented in our jurisprudence.”

As for the argument that the constitutional ban on anti-discrimination laws was meant to deny LGBT people “special rights,” Kennedy wrote, “To the contrary, the amendment imposes a special disability upon those persons alone. Homosexuals are forbidden the safeguards that others enjoy or may seek without constraint.” Justices John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O’Connor, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer joined Kennedy in the majority opinion.

Dissenting justice Justice Antonin Scalia, joined by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justice Clarence Thomas, considered Colorado’s attempt to disenfranchise an entire class of people “unimpeachable under any constitutional doctrine hitherto pronounced.” Pointing to the Bowers v Hardwick, the 1986 Supreme Court Decision which declared that sodomy laws were constitutional, Scalia wrote, “If it is rational to criminalize the conduct, surely it is rational to deny special favor and protection to those with a self-avowed tendency or desire to engage in the conduct.” Seven years later, the Court would correct that contradiction in Lawrence v Texas, which finally struck down anti-sodomy laws in the 13 states where such laws were still in effect.

Cher: 1946. She started out as one-half of the husband-and-wife singing duo Sonny & Cher with their 1965 hit, “I Got You Babe.” After a string of hits and a popular television series, their marriage ended and Cher’s solo singing career took off. She also became an Academy Award winning actress, winning a Best Actress award for her role in 1987’s Moonstruck. In 2002, Cher began her Farewell Tour, after which she said she would retire from show business. The tour lasted three years, and at some point she re-named it the “Never Can  Say Goodbye” Tour. But in 2005, she finally retired the show and retired herself. Then she retired from retirement in February 2008 for a show at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas which lasted until February 2011. A year later, she announced via Twitter that should she would embark on another tour beginning in September 2012. A recent single from the Burlesque soundtrack is fitting: “You Haven’t Seen The Last Of Me.”

If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?


May 20th, 2012

This is NOT the first time the BratStop in Kenosha has hosted a Hate Group. I can’t recall which one it was but I remember calling them and objecting.

Regan DuCasse

May 21st, 2012

I think what would be an appropriate sentence, is a year in prison, followed by five years of community service, working closely with gay related causes. The problem is, he’s UNREPENTANT and uncaring.
I don’t think there is anything that will make him.
So my other suggestion would be to banish him from the US. He should be deported, never to return. There is always Canada, or Britain. Plenty of other Western countries to choose from. It’s not like he’s a poverty stricken person without the means to live a very successful life elsewhere.
Maybe exile from the US isn’t much of a punishment.
Meh, back to my first suggestion then.

Priya Lynn

May 21st, 2012

In a travesty of justice Ravi has been sentenced to 30 days in jail.

Timothy Kincaid

May 22nd, 2012


I’ve been thinking about the trend in our legal system to punish or reward “repentance” and “remorse”. It’s as though we care less about the behavior and actions than we do about the attitudes and beliefs.

On one level it makes sense. An unremorseful person may be more willing to commit a crime again. Thus they are more of a threat to society. I do understand this and can see where it matters in, say, a murder case or an assault.

And if one believes that the only purpose for incarceration is to reform someone, then sufficient remorse might even suggest that there’s no need for punishment. After all, if a murderer feels really bad about their crime and never ever wants to do it again, why even hold him for a day?

But that aside, there is another aspect to basing punishment on remorse that troubles me. There is a coercive element – political even – that rewards and punishes ideology. It demands submission to dominant beliefs, including worldview, perspective, and even concepts on freedom and liberty.

Let me give you two examples: 50 years ago in the US, there were a number of “crimes” for which we today would find it impossible to feel remorse. Could you feel repentant about not obeying Jim Crow laws? Could I feel repentant about not obeying sodomy laws?

And I am certain that punishment was far harsher for those who stared the judge in the face and said, “you have no right to punish me, what I did was not a crime”.

Today we look back and recognize that the “criminal” was right. That which is illegal – or that of which the majority disapproves – is not always objectively something for which remorse is appropriate.

And while I’m sure some readers are more than ready to decide what deserves remorse and what does not – based on their own opinions (“but Jim Crow laws were bad and hate crime laws are good so they can’t be compared”) – it is exactly that subjectivity and self-righteous certainty that makes me cautious about insisting that my views be upheld by law. I read other views and know them to be delusional and silly, so I hesitate to insist that someone like Ravi be punished for not sharing my views.

In this case we have informed Ravi that it is “criminal” of him to think of Tyler as inferior. It is “criminal” of him to treat gay people as lesser than heterosexuals.

And furthermore, he should feel remorse and be repentant. And if he doesn’t feel remorse, then he deserves more punishment – he deserves to be punished for believing the wrong things.

This thinking troubles me. I don’t like where that road leads.

Priya Lynn

May 22nd, 2012

And furthermore, he should feel remorse and be repentant. And if he doesn’t feel remorse, then he deserves more punishment – he deserves to be punished for believing the wrong things.

No, if he’s not repentant then he’s more likely to reoffend and he needs more punishment as a disincentive.

Chris McCoy

May 22nd, 2012

Remorse, or the lack thereof, is one of the defining characteristics of sociopathy. So yes, basing punishment on the presence or absence of remorse is not only logical, but also ethical.

From a religious perspective, a lack of remorse is one of the criteria for separating between ‘murder’ and simply ‘killing’ with respect to the Sixth Commandment (Thou shall not murder).

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