Nancy Brinker Pens Op-Ed About LGBT Rights

Nancy Brinker

This month, Nancy Brinker penned an article about marriage equality for The Advocate. Image: via Susan G. Komen Foundation.

On March 19, The Advocate published an op-ed by Republican Nancy Brinker, who wrote about her decision to sign a historic amicus brief in favor of marriage equality. The amicus brief, signed by 303 Republicans with various political leanings, was created by Project Right Side and former Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman.

As the founder of Susan G. Komen, a nonprofit organization that raises money and awareness for breast cancer, Brinker expressed her desire to expand her work to fight against social stigma by associating herself with the pro-marriage equality movement.

“We are at a historical crossroads in America, when disparate political and ideological communities are committed to ensuring that discrimination on any level will not be tolerated,” Brinker wrote. “We want the court to know that we support traditional conservative values, including a belief in the importance of stable families, and that those conservative values are consistent with affording civil marriage rights to same-sex couples.”

Brinker’s involvement may be due in large part to her son, Eric, who is gay. “Just as it seems difficult to imagine a time when the phrase ‘breast cancer’ was taboo, it is almost impossible for me to fathom that in 26% of this nation, civil marriage is still unavailable for same-sex couples,” Brinker noted in her article, perhaps concerned about her own son’s matrimonial options, or lack thereof.

Ken Mehlman

Brinker recently signed an amicus brief for marriage equality created by political strategist Ken Mehlman.

The amicus brief is part of an amalgam of four cases in different states, which will be heard by the Supreme Court in April. The brief was signed by other influential Republicans, including Senator Susan Collins of Maine, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and billionaire GOP donor David Koch.

In addition to founding Susan G. Komen, which is named after her sister, who died of breast cancer in 1980, Brinker was United States Ambassador to Hungary from 2001 to 2003 and White House Chief of Protocol from 2007 to 2009 under President George W. Bush. President Barack Obama gave her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009, and she has been honored as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People.

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Tunisia Museum Attack by ISIS

Tunis Tunisia

Downtown Tunis, Tunisia was under the attack of ISIS earlier this month. Image: Dennis Jarvis via Flickr CC.

Gunmen in military uniforms on Wednesday killed 19 people in a midday attack on a museum in downtown Tunis, an area filled with many tourists. This is a new blow to the tourist industry that is vital to areas like Tunisia as it struggles to transition to Democracy. Prime Minister Habib Essid said in a news conference Wednesday that the security forces killed two gunmen inside the museum but that two to three gunmen might still be alive. The Minister also announced that 17 of those killed were foreign visitors including Polish, Italian, Spanish and German tourists as well as two Tunisians. At least 22 others were injured.

“Democracy will win and it will survive”, President Beji Caid Esebsi said Wednesday after the attacks. “We will show no compassion and no mercy in defending our country,” he said. Tunisia is the Arab world’s most successful democracy and recently held its first free presidential elections. However, its security forces have struggled to stop attacks by Islamist extremists, and the country has emerged as one of the biggest sources of foreign fighters.

There is no specific evidence by Wednesday night that linked the museum attack to the Islamic State but its supporters were circulating celebratory messages around social media. Some say that the Parliament which is located in the building adjacent to the museum in the historic Bardo district, has been debating legislation to combat terrorism as the attack began. Some officials are saying that the attackers may have originally targeted the Parliament itself then shifted to the museum which had less security.

More recent reports have revealed that ISIS has since claimed responsibility for the horrific attacks in Tunis. The attacks left 23 people dead, and many, many others wounded.

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Boing Boing Brings Back Video Games

boing boing off world Generally geeky Internet magazine boingboing.net is giving video games a home once again, by creating offworld.com as a “place for happy mutants who love to explore new worlds.” The new site is being run by Leigh Alexander and Laura Hudson, both of whom have pretty impressive credentials as journalists and critics of the video game industry.

Offworld isn’t just a space for boingboing to share articles about video games though. It was specifically constructed to be a safe space for women and others who don’t feel represented or, sometimes, welcome in the video gaming world. The last year has proven incredibly toxic for women in the video game industry or it’s peripheries, especially in the online sphere. The GamerGate “movement” has fought hard and fought dirty to silence women who criticize the overwhelmingly white male power fantasy narrative of mainstream video games. They’ve succeeded in driving some women from video game culture, and they’ve certainly dragged that culture through the mud and made it look foolish and even dangerous to outsiders.

But a lot of women and their allies have fought back. The core assumption of GamerGate is that video games shouldn’t represent diverse people or appeal to them, and Offworld rejects that stance with every fiber of it’s being. The bulk of the articles are, and will continue to be, written by women, people of color, differently abled gamers, and so on. And it will feature articles that speak to this diverse audience. Young, straight, white male gamers aren’t the majority of video gamers out there, and as the medium continues to grow and evolve, they will continue to shrink until they’re such a small group that appealing only to them become financial suicide, instead the status quo.

Offworld is going to help that process along, and it’s going to contribute a lot of really great stuff to the discussion of that evolution, and the evolution itself. It’s worth following, and it’s worth contributing to, if you have something to say.

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‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ Welcomes President Obama

President Barack Obama red “Mean Tweets” in a recent comedic segment on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! earlier this week. The tweets were not easy to read (or for viewers to listen to) but afterwards Obama told Kimmel, “You should see what the Senate says about me,” poking gentle fun at his political peers.

Kimmel introduced Obama as the “first Kenyan-born Muslim Socialist ever elected president.” The President joked about the perks and restrictions he faces as president. He isn’t allowed to use cellphones with recorders in them and has to visit the dentist in the White House basement. He doesn’t text either and isn’t allowed to drive. Kimmel proceeded to ask if that was because you need a birth certificate to get a driver’s license. Their banter was well-paced amusing, and it’s always funny to see such a high-profile, powerful figure poke fun at themselves.

The White House had committed to the Obama appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and the appearance came after he had postponed it last year. At one point in the segment, Obama reflected on Wednesday night’s shooting of two police officers in the very racially tense Ferguson, Missouri. The President said:

“Whoever fired those shots should not detract from the issue — they are criminals, they need to be arrested. And then what we need to do is make sure that like-minded, good-spirited people on both sides — law enforcement, who have a terrifically tough job, and people who understandably don’t want to be stopped and harassed just because of their race — that they are able to work together to come up with some good answers.”

Obama landed in Los Angeles late Thursday afternoon and after visiting Kimmel’s set, traveled to Santa Monica for a gathering with key fundraisers.

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Eater to Launch Drinks Section

drinks

Foodies everywhere can get excited about Eater’s newfound focus on beverages. Image: courtesy of www.berries.com, via Flickr CC.

If you’re a foodie, or someone who works in the hospitality industry, chances are you’re familiar with Eater. As a website that is dedicated to dining culture, Eater is “the source for people who care about dining and drinking in the nation’s most important food cities,” and has been reporting on restaurants, chefs, and shining stars of the hospitality industry for nearly ten years.

Earlier this year, Eater announced that it would soon be expanding to include a full beverage section, which is music to the ears of bartenders and lovers of craft libations nationwide. According to Poynter contributor Benjamin Mullin, “The new section, Eater Drinks, will debut on Eater’s main site in march and feature coverage of beer, wine, spirits and juices.”

In December 2014, Eater’s parent company Vox Media announced a strategic partnership with leading investment company General Atlantic, so the growth of its assets comes as little surprise to those familiar with the deal. According to a press release, “Supported by General Atlantic, Vox Media will focus on a number of strategic initiatives to continue to grow and enhance each of its seven media brands.”eater

Anton Levy, Managing Director of General Atlantic said, “We believe Vox Media represents one of the most attractive opportunities for capitalizing on a clear and important secular trend that is still in its early innings: the generational shift in news, entertainment, and content distribution and consumption driven by global connectivity and increasing smartphone penetration,” of how Vox and its many brands, such as Eater and Curbed, represent the kind of websites that consumers are drawn to.

According to Vox Media, “2014 was a big year for Eater – actually the biggest year in our nine-year history,” citing the re-launch of the site on Chorus, its new design, and new map format as reasons for its successful evolution. The media company’s partnership with General Atlantic also suggests that the future is bright for Vox, which will be able to focus on further improving sites like Eater.

Dedicated readers of Eater can look forward to even more features on the horizon. According to Vox, “We have some aggressive plans for […] 2015, including launching new series, partnering with YouTube personalities, and leaning on the strength of our staff of experts. […] And booze, lots and lots of booze (coverage).”

I for one can’t wait to see what Eater cooks up next.

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