Will the Scouts reverse their ban on gay members? A vote today will decide whether loyal Scouts like Pascal Tessier will stay or quit the organization. Winston Ross reports.
Since he was 7 years old, Pascal Tessier has been a Scout. Before he hit middle school. Before he realized he was gay.
Jennifer Tyrrell carries a petition to the Boy Scouts national offices for a meeting with representatives of the organization in 2012 in Irving, Texas. (LM Otero/AP)
He figured that out in the sixth or seventh grade, and he came out in the eighth, to his family and friends at school. He had no idea at the time that the Boy Scouts of America had a policy banning him from the organization he’d already spent six years in. By then he’d graduated from Cub Scout to Boy Scout, with an eye on Eagle. On Wednesday he finds out whether he’ll earn that rank or be forced to quit the most important extracurricular activity in his life, as some 1,400 local leaders vote on a proposal to reverse its 103-year-old policy banning openly gay boys at a national annual meeting at the Gaylord Texan Hotel in Grapevine, Texas. Banning Pascal Tessier.
Thirty-six tornado warnings rang out through Moore, Oklahoma. Within 16 minutes, the twister touched down. Within an hour, the town was destroyed.
THEY HAD heard the sirens before.
The sudden wail that silenced Moore, Oklahoma, at 2:40 p.m. local time on May 20, 2013, echoed the alarm that had rung out 14 years earlier, a few minutes before a historic tornado, formed of the fastest winds ever measured near the earth’s surface, touched down in nearby Amber, whipped northwest along I-44, and leveled parts of Moore, killing 36 people, decimating 8,000 homes, and causing $1.1 billion in damage.
The May 20 tornado was one of the most powerful on record. (Paul Hellstern/The Oklahoman/AP)
Beware: the clock is ticking.
IF YOU’RE in your 20s and you think you’ve got, like, a decade before you have to get serious about your future, you’d better think again. Meg Jay, a clinical psychologist at the University of Virginia, is reaching out to that drifting generation of young Americans who imagine they can take a sort of decade-long gap year. In her book The Defining Decade and in a recent TED Talk, Jay argues that 30 is definitely not the new 20. All sorts of clocks are ticking, and 20-somethings may wake up to discover they are 30-nothings if they haven’t built up decent foundations in work and relationships. Jay warns that people who “huddle together with like-minded peers limit who they know, what they know, how they think, how they speak, and where they work.” You’ve got to be open to strangers and strangeness, and paradoxically the online world can make that less likely, not more—something that’s the subject of another TED Talk by Maria Bezaitis of Intel. Jay says being in your 20s is like taking off in an airplane for a long-haul flight: just a little course correction in the beginning can make the difference between heading for Alaska or landing in Tahiti.
Mike Daisey is not apologizing: the whole fabrication scandal is the industry’s fault, or something. The fabulist seems to want only to rant in his new monologue. Winston Ross asks, Can anyone stop this man?
Mike Daisey confessed at the outset that he had little idea what he was going to say for the next two hours, in a first-ever monologue titled “Journalism” at the Tiffany Center on Tuesday night in downtown Portland. The question was whether anyone could believe him.
Stan Barouh/The Public Theater/AP
This, after all, was the guy who took on the Cult of Apple and in dramatic monologues across America appeared to expose its shoddy treatment of its underaged and overworked and malformed and poisoned workers, only to find himself the subject of exposure, for the embellishments and outright fabrications he repeated on This American Life, eventually forcing the radio program to issue an unprecedented retraction of an entire show.
Says job posting from PA ad agency.
Need a job? Hurry, hipster yourself. An ad agency in Pennsylvania called Pavone is getting up close and personal with its job posting: it wants hipsters. “We’re outside New York and DC so we don’t have Hipsters,” the company confesses. “All we have is an office with major clients, real opportunities and easy commutes.” While the job description neglects to include what the actual work entails, it makes sure to again clarify that the current employees are not “actual Hipsters” (yeah, we got it). The company is at least smart enough to admit that finding hipsters will be tough, considering that “Hipsters never admit they're Hipsters.” Ready, set, Catch-22.
Cites “morality clause” in divorce papers.
A north Texas judge has forbid a lesbian couple from living together, citing a “morality clause” in one of the women’s divorce papers. The clause—ubiquitous in divorce cases—is intended to stop a divorced parent from having a different love interest sleep over while children are in the home. If the lesbian couple was heterosexual instead, they could simply get married to make the clause null. But in Texas, where same-sex marriage isn’t recognized, they’re stuck. As a result of a judge’s ruling Tuesday, Carolyn Compton’s partner, Page Price, will be forced to move out of the home where they currently live with Compton’s two daughters.
The epic two-year Los Angeles mayor’s race is finally over—even though in the end, the voters didn’t really seem to care. Wendy Greuel has conceded the race to Eric Garcetti, sources told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday, making Garcetti the next mayor of America’s second-largest city. Garcetti will replace incumbent Antonio Villaraigosa, the city’s first Latino mayor. Despite the historic potential of both this year’s candidates—Garcetti will be the first Jewish mayor and Greuel would have been the first woman—officials estimate that three out of four L.A. residents did not vote.
For mayor of New York.
Looks like that post-scandal playbook paid off. Ending months of anticipation, New York politician Anthony Weiner made his candidacy for mayor official Tuesday. Despite being burned by his online activities before, Weiner posted a two-minute YouTube video Wednesday morning and updated AnthonyWeiner.com to proclaim “Weiner for Mayor.” In his video announcement, Weiner admits wrongdoing, but says he's “learned some tough lessons.” His campaign, which boasts $5 million in funds, will center on convincing the public that the guy who sent a crotch shot to a young female fan on Twitter is not the man he is today. If the latest poll showing a 49 percent disapproval rating is any indication, he's got a long way to go.
It’s too soon to tell whether climate change worsens tornadoes. But the real lesson, says 'Overheated' author Andrew T. Guzman, is that we ought to ignore the noise from zealots and listen to the scientists.
It seems that every major weather-related event becomes a skirmish in the climate-change wars. The terrible tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma is no exception. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, for example, suggested a connection between the tornado and climate change. Climate change deniers responded in the usual way, with accusations of fear-mongering.
Residents pass a destroyed car as they walk through a tornado-ravaged neighborhood in Moore, Oklahoma on May 21, 2013. (Charlie Riedel/AP)
With respect to the connection between climate and tornadoes, things seem to have already settled down and most media discussions seem to be getting the question about right. Given the current state of our scientific knowledge, we cannot say with any confidence that climate change makes tornadoes stronger or more common. Tornadoes require two things—energy and wind shear. Climate change increases the available energy, but reduces the wind shear, making the net result hard to predict.
Head injuries are responsible for the majority of tornado deaths. So why don’t more people have helmets handy? Caitlin Dickson reports on the campaign to make them a key component of every storm-readiness kit.
After one of the most severe tornadoes ever to hit the United States ravaged Moore, Oklahoma, on Monday, about 15 student football players were found alive, wearing football helmets in the interior locker room of a field house at Southmoore High School. Their regular practice having been canceled in anticipation of a severe storm, the students were watching a video of a previous practice as the tornado approached. Their coach’s instruction to cover their heads with helmets was a spur-of-the-moment suggestion to take advantage of the football equipment handy, but researchers, brain-injury experts, and meteorologists agree that helmets should be a key component in every family’s storm-safety kit.
Noah Stewart survived a 2011 tornado that leveled his family's Alabama home, thanks to a helmet, according to experts and news reports. (Joe Songer/AL.COM, via Landov)
Following April 2011’s historic spate of tornadoes that killed 338 people in Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, and, in particular, Alabama, a team of researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Injury Control Research Center set out to find a way to prevent such a death toll from future storms. They came up with what they call a “practical, inexpensive solution”: helmets. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 22 percent of the deaths during that four-day outbreak were caused by head injuries. What’s more, a review of research over the past 50 years found that head injuries are responsible for the majority of deaths from tornadoes. Therefore, the UAB researchers determined, the most basic piece of equipment used to prevent head injuries, from the baseball field to the back of a motorcycle, also should be used during a tornado. They began petitioning the CDC to update its tornado-preparation page to include helmets as a key component to every home tornado-preparedness plan.
The respected young journalist died Tuesday in a car accident at age 33. In his too-short but impressive career, Hastings was never shy about voicing his convictions or opinions. Here are some of his most incisive on-air moments.