Oklahoma dads sue bigoted town leaders for endangering their lives

Randy Gamel-Medler, his husband, and their son moved to a small town in Oklahoma. Town leaders treated them abusively and threatened them on a number of occasions.

The threats were made good when Gamel-Medler's home was vandalized, set aflame, and then Fire department did not react. The home was located just a few blocks from the Station, but burnt to the ground.

Gamel-Medler is suing the lot of them in Federal court.

Randy Gamel-Medler, his husband and their 7-year-old adopted African-American son moved to Hitchcock, Oklahoma in August 2016. Roughly a month later, Gamel-Medler was threatened by a town trustee at a town council meeting after he learned that Gamel-Medler, a white man, had a son who is African-American, according to the complaint. “What’s going to happen when your house burns down and we don’t send out the fire trucks?” Meradith Norris, a defendant in the lawsuit, asked. Town officials ignored the police report Gamel-Medler filed.

In May, Gamel-Medler was assaulted by defendant Jonita Pauls Jacks, who called him a “fucking queer” and threatened his son, saying that she was going to grab his son and “rip his nigger head off and shit down his throat.” The town deputy sheriff refused to allow Gamel-Medler to file a police report and chalked up the incident to free speech.

On May 28, the complaint describes an incident in which Gamel-Medler called the sheriff’s office to report a burglary after he heard glass breaking in his garage. He then called the fire department to report a fire in his garage.

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'Hawaii Five-0' stars quit over racial inequity

Unable to secure equal pay, Hawaii Five-O stars Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park have quit the show.

Members of Hollywood’s small but vocal Asian-American community are speaking out in support of former Hawaii Five-0 stars Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park, who have left the series after failed contract negotiations with CBS and CBS Television Studios.

“Unfortunately, the racial hierarchy established in the original 1968-1980 series remained intact in the 2010 reboot: Two white stars on top, two Asian/Pacific Islander stars on bottom,” Guy Aoki, founding president of Media Action Network for Asian Americans, wrote in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.

News of Kim's and Park’s departures broke Friday before the Independence Day holiday, with sources confirming to THR that Kim and Park had requested and been denied pay equity alongside fellow original castmembers Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan. In a lengthy Facebook post Wednesday, Kim noted that he based his decision to leave on the inability to reach an agreement on a new contract, and added, “The path to equality is rarely easy.” Sources say that Kim and Park asked to be compensated on par with leads O’Loughlin and Caan, who also receive a cut of the series’ back-end profit.

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"One price to all" has been the default since 1840, but online retail is sneakily killing it off

Since the earliest days of ecommerce, analysts have predicted that retailers would use their estimations of their customers' willingness to pay to invisibly, instantaneously reprice their goods, offering different prices to each customer. Read the rest

Muslim-American woman kicked out of Family Dollar store for wearing hijab and niqab

Sarah Safi of Gary, Indiana was kicked out of a Family Dollar store by an assistant store manager who cited the woman's traditional Muslim dress, a niqab and hijab, as being threatening. Ms. Safi, 32, recorded part of the manager's tirade on video.

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2 Muslim women kicked off American Airlines flight in Miami

Two Muslim-American women were kicked off an American Airlines flight this week, basically for flying while Muslim.

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Britain warns LGBT travelers about visiting North Carolina, Mississippi

The Independent writes that the U.K. is warning travelers about new anti-LGBT laws in North Carolina and Mississippi.

Dr Felicity Daly, director of the LGBT Kaleidoscope Trust said: “It is heartening the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is becoming more LGBT responsive in their work, it’s a good sign as it is an important issue in the UK, but most people who identify as LGBT in the UK will already be aware of the nature of certain states.”

Matt Horwood of Stonewall charity said: “What’s happened in Mississippi and North Carolina proves that equality is never secure.

"It’s positive to see the UK government recognise this need and update its travel advice pages accordingly."

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Disney and Marvel threaten boycott over discriminatory Georgia law

Georgia has become very friendly to entertainment companies looking to create media there, however the state is far less friendly to folks not identifying as heteronormative. If Georgia's Governor Nathan Deal signs a new "religious liberty" bill into law, Disney and Marvel will boycott the state.

The bill allows faith-based businesses, and religion practitioners, to reject customers who violate their "sincerely held religious beliefs."

Via Variety:

The Walt Disney Co. and Marvel Studios indicated opposition to a Georgia religious liberty bill pending before Gov. Nathan Deal, saying that they will take their business elsewhere “should any legislation allowing discriminatory practices be signed into state law.”

With generous tax incentives, Georgia has become a production hub, with Marvel currently shooting “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” at Pinewood Studios outside Atlanta. “Captain America: Civil War” shot there last summer.

“Disney and Marvel are inclusive companies, and although we have had great experiences filming in Georgia, we will plan to take our business elsewhere should any legislation allowing discriminatory practices be signed into state law,” a Disney spokesman said on Wednesday.

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Courthouse closed due to "grenade" that was actually perfume

The Hamilton County Courthouse in Cincinnati, Ohio was shut down yesterday when an object suspected to be a World War II "pineapple" grenade was found in a suitcase. Turns out, it was a bottle of perfume belonging to a homeless woman who was carrying all her belongings in the bag. Read the rest

New York nears settlement with local Muslim leaders over spying lawsuit

The city is nearing a settlement with several Muslim clerics who filed a 2013 federal discrimination lawsuit alleging illegal NYPD spying.

Abercrombie and Fitch to be fined after firing headscarf-wearing Muslim

Islamic attire being against Abercrombie and Fitch's "look policy", it fired a Muslim employee. There's so much one might say about this, but it is the opinion of one person that matters: Federal Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.
Rogers ruled the firm violated anti-discrimination laws when it sacked Hani Khan from a Hollister brand store. Ms Khan was initially allowed to wear a scarf in the Hollister brand's colours at the San Mateo, California store, but was later fired. The retailer had argued deviation from its "look policy" would affect sales.
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Boy Scouts considering an end to discrimination

The Boy Scouts of America is telling several media outlets that they are seriously considering a new policy that would end discrimination based on sexual orientation — at least as a national organization policy. Individual troops would be able to set their own rules. This is incredibly good news and I am so proud of all of you who joined in the protest against this policy back in the Summer. Your decisions seem to have made a difference. Read the rest

3 things that keep poor kids out of the sciences

There is some truth to the American ideal of meritocracy. But there's a lot of myth, as well. Biologist Danielle Lee describes her experience coaching poor kids in St. Louis on science fair projects — an activity that often becomes a stepping stone to a career in the sciences. But, for the kids Lee met, intelligence and a good idea aren't enough to overcome the institutional barriers working against them. This is how discrimination happens. It's not simple and easy to fix and it isn't pretty to watch. Read the rest

Parody of anti-gay pamphlets offers detailed, behind-the-scenes view of how liars misuse real citations

The Box Turtle Bulletin has put together a great parody of anti-gay, fear-mongering pamphlets. Entitled, "The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing the Myths", it includes important revelations about the heterosexuals and their plans for your children and our country. Here's a quick excerpt from a section that documents some of the depraved behaviors that heterosexuals are known to engage in:

... unsafe behavior is often compounded by drug use, which is an integral part of the heterosexual lifestyle. College students who engage in heterosexuality are 30% more likely to use marijuana than gay students, and they are nearly 40% more likely to use other drugs. (71) Among Redbook readers, 90% of heterosexual women admitted to initiating sex while under the influence of alcohol, and 30% had sex after smoking marijuana. For women under twenty, marijuana use before sex skyrocketed to 63%, with 45% of them using it often. (72)

Those numbered citations are important. In fact, this slim booklet contains more than 100. And it's not just part of the parody. Instead, author Jim Burroway uses these ostensibly unbiased sources of information as a way showing how people can use real information to corroborate a lie. Follow up on his citations at the end of The Heterosexual Agenda, and you'll find a breakdown of how, exactly, he contorted the cited source to fit his own goals. Read the rest

Gay Boy Scout denied his Eagle Scout award

Back in the Summer, I told you about a movement among Eagle Scouts, some of whom have been sending back their awards — in effect, resigning — in protest of The Boys Scouts of America's discriminatory policy banning gay, bi, and trans scouts and troop leaders, as well as atheists.

Here's a great example of the people those men are trying to stick up for: Ryan Andresen is 17, he's been in Boy Scouts for over a decade and has completed all the Eagle Scout requirements, including working with younger kids on a tolerance/anti-bullying project for his community service requirement.

But Andresen isn't going to get to be an Eagle Scout, because he's openly gay.

The Boy Scouts of America sent a statement to several news organizations, including ABC, in which they say they didn't inquire about Ryan's sexual orientation.

"This scout proactively notified his unit leadership and Eagle Scout counselor that he does not agree to scouting's principle of 'Duty to God' and does not meet scouting's membership standard on sexual orientation," Deron Smith, a spokesman for the organization said in a statement. "Agreeing to do one's 'Duty to God' is a part of the scout Oath and Law and a requirement of achieving the Eagle Scout rank."

In an interview with Yahoo! News Ryan said that his scoutmaster knew he was gay.

"He had been telling me all along that we'd get by the gay thing," Ryan told Yahoo News. "It was by far the biggest goal of my life.

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You might be discriminating against women and not even realize it

Let's talk about the pay gap. Census data show shows that, in 2008, American women still earned .77 cents for every $1 earned by American men. And, while some of this has to do with women working different jobs then men, working less hours, or spending less of their lives moving up the corporate ladder, numerous studies have shown that the disparity still exists even after you've controlled for all those factors, and more. Even in the same job, at the same level of experience, the same education, same race, same hours worked, etc. ... women still earn less than men do.

There's been lots of research aimed at explaining the gap, and it's probably tied to more than one factor. But several studies have shown that unfair bias against women — whether intended or subconscious — is part of it. Last week, researchers at Princeton published a study that showed bias against women in hiring practices within the sciences and hit on some particularly interesting aspects of subconscious discrimination.

The researchers gave the same application materials and resume to two sets of scientists and told the scientists to evaluate the candidate for a position as laboratory manager. Half the scientists got the materials with a male name attached. Half saw a female name. The scientists gave the male name a higher rating on competency, hireability, and their own willingness to mentor "him". They also offered "him" a higher starting salary — $30,238, compared to $26,507 for the female name.

The catch: These trends held regardless of whether the scientist doing the hiring was male or female, and none of the scientists used sexist language or sexist arguments as justification for their decisions. Read the rest

Associated Press: As dozens of Eagle Scouts resign, Boy Scouts of America ignores them

I recently posted a couple of articles featuring heartfelt letters from people who had earned their Eagle Scout awards as boys, but no longer wanted to be associated with the Boy Scouts of America and its rule banning gay scouts and GBLT troop leaders. Instead, they were choosing to return their awards to the BSA, in hopes that scouting's national organization would recognize that this rule isn't something all scouts want. In fact, many wrote about their frustration with what they see as the BSA failing to live up to the values that scouting teaches.

As of August 4, more than 80 former Eagle Scouts have sent photos of their resignation letters to the Eagle Scouts Returning Our Badges Tumblr blog, where the letters and the protest they represent are being archived.

Reading the comments that have turned up here at BoingBoing, I get the sense that there are many more Eagle Scouts—and active Boy Scout troops—that also disagree with the BSA, but don't want to resign from local connections that don't reflect the national organization's bigotry. In fact, the Northern Star Council, which represents 75,000 scouts in Minnesota and Wisconsin, is openly bucking Boy Scouts of America policy, and has been for years.

The Associated Press ran a piece yesterday looking at this dissent and the effect—or, it seems, lack thereof—it is having on BSA policy.

Deron Smith, the Boy Scouts' national spokesman, said there was no official count at his office of how many medals had been returned.

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Eagle Scouts make a Tumblr for protest letters

Earlier this week, I posted a couple batches of letters from grown-up Eagle Scouts who chose to resign their hard-earned, elite awards in protest of the Boy Scouts of America's policy banning gay and atheist scouts and troop leaders.

I'm still getting letters in the mail. These things are coming in faster than I can update the posts. Which is why I'm very glad that several former Eagle Scouts have taken matters into their own hands, starting a Tumblr that can play host to all these letters, and all the ones going forward.

Burke Stansbury put the site together. In his own resignation letter, he wrote:

I am not proud to be affiliated with an organization that excludes people based on their sexuality. Many of my closest friends are gay, lesbian, or transgender and it pains me to think that I invested time in an organization that prohibits their membership. It's a shameful, bigoted policy. Plain and simple.

I'll be contacting people who have sent me letters recently about whether it's okay to forward their emails to Burke. And if you'd like your letter to be archived on the Tumblr, there's an easy-to-use submission form right on the site.

Eagle Scouts Returning Our Badges on Tumblr

PREVIOUSLY: Eagle Scouts Stand Up To the Boy Scouts of America More Men Join the Ranks of Former Eagle Scout Read the rest

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