After a contentious debate, the Boy Scouts of America has finally put an end to the policy that banned gay kids from participating. More than sixty percent of the volunteers who voted approved a measure that prevents any youth from being denied membership “on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.” The organization’s chief executive called the step “compassionate, caring and kind.” (And late). Though the vote is over, the debate will continue. And as of now, openly gay adults and leaders are still not welcome.
A State of Hunger
During difficult economic times, researchers expect to uncover significant numbers of people who find it difficult to afford the food that their families need. In developing countries, nearly half of those surveyed by Pew fell into this category. In emerging nations, the number drops to about 25%. In wealthier countries, the number (as you’d expect) drops dramatically. The United States is the outlier. It’s the richest country in Pew’s survey, yet 24% of Americans had trouble putting food on the table in the last year.
Sofia Coppola’s latest film, The Bling Ring, is based on the true story of a series of high-profile Hollywood burglaries carried out by a “bunch of club-hopping Valley kids, motivated by vanity and celebrity-worship.” Here’s a look back at one of the weirder Hollywood stories in recent memory. From Nancy Jo Sales in GQ: The Suspects Wore Louboutins.
Hold the Kegstands
Due in large part to the student debts they now owe, about a third of recently-surveyed millennials indicated that they would have been better off working rather than attending college (I assume the parents they’re living with back home hold similar views). Had they made that choice at the time, they may have found themselves in stiff competition for some pretty lousy jobs.
Winter is Coming
If you attend the 2014 Winter Olympics and you see people on skis shooting rifles, you’ll want to be extra sure you’re actually watching the Biathlon. According to Quartz, the Games are being held in just about the most unsafe place they could be: “The North Caucasus. Sochi, the host city, is a lovely resort town on Russia’s Black Sea coast. But the region around it is a cauldron of ethnic hatred and anti-Russian separatist movements. And then there is all of the organized crime, Islamist militancy and terrorism.” That said, the curling is expected to be excellent this year.
Scratching the Surface
“It was amazing to watch. Nothing happened. The mice wouldn’t scratch.” Scientists believe they’ve isolated a neurotransmitter called Nppb that may cause us to feel itchy. The finding could eventually lead to better treatments for people with chronic itching ailments.
Waze and Means
Facebook has been trying to buy an Israeli mobile GPS company called Waze. Now Google has reportedly joined the bidding war that could exceed $1 billion. Given their own recent map woes, you’d think Apple might get in on the action as well. So what’s so great about this map app? Its users. As Rebecca Greenfield explains: “Waze did something very smart from the perspective of companies trying to make money off our data: It normalized giving away our privacy.” You know, sort of like the Internet.
He’s Got a Way
“No, no, no, it’s not because of the effort. I got tired of it. I got bored with it.” That’s how Billy Joel describes writing pop songs in this NYT Magazine interview about not working and not giving up drinking.
+ For his 72nd birthday, Slate put together a map of every street, town, and city Bob Dylan has ever sung about. (That’s got to be worth at least half as much as Waze…)
Furious and Fast at the Box Office
The Atlantic’s Ian Buckwalter details the surprising things that happen when you watch 6 Fast and Furious films in a row (and his reflections are more positive than you might imagine). One we thing know that happens when a Fast and Furious movie comes out: people head to the theaters. The latest installment is expected to beat Hangover 3 at the box office.
+ With Before Midnight, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy celebrate “the lowest grossing trilogy ever.” And The Week’s Scott Meslow calls Before Midnight the most important cinematic love story of all time. (I assume he’s never seen the moment Judge Reinhold’s mind had with Phoebe Cates in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.)
The Bottom of the News
Remember when Martin Luther King Jr. said I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy? Well, he didn’t say it. It was posted to Facebook by a 24 year-old English teacher. Here are 50 misquotations from the always entertaining Mental Floss video series.
+ Speaking of misunderstandings, Morgan Freeman was widely reported to have fallen asleep during a live television interview. Thankfully, he’s now cleared things up: “I’m a beta tester for Google Eyelids. I was merely updating my Facebook page.” (Since he mentioned both brands, at least we know the joke wasn’t sponsored…)
+ At long last, is it finally time to get rid of the apostrophe?
This is far too late in coming and is a welcome first step. But the ban on gay leaders contuse, it seems to me, the perception that to be gay is to be a pedophile, no more true than an assumption that straight men are all pedophiles or rapists. The Boy Scouts have had more than its fair share of pedophilia, and I have always wondered why grown men - straight or gay - wanted to dress up in paramilitary uniforms and raise young men to confused God and Country. As for corn29's comment re: private organizations setting their own standards, it's true, of course. But the fact is that Boy Scout troops are sponsored, mostly by churches. The ELCA, UCC, and other national church bodies have taken clear stands against discrimination based on sexual orientation. "Why don't people get that?" Many of us do get it. The Boy Scouts of America is free to determine its own admission and operational policies, as are we. When the values and policies conflict, laissez-fair is off the table. We have to work it out.
BSA is a private organization. They weren't breaking any laws. As such, they, and organizations like them, can decide who to include and exclude.
And that does not make any organization discriminatory, racist, homophobic, or any other slur a very vocal minority wants to throw their way!!!
As a male should I go bang the doors down at Curves because of their admissions policies? As a tax payer, am I getting screwed when I don't get into the state college? No. Organizations get to set their admissions policies.
Why don't you people get that???
What's preventing gay members from starting their own club with their own admissions policies???
What's preventing gay members from starting their own club with their own admissions policies???sure, why not? how about gay youth for christ. you good with that?
@corn29 the only problem is it's a kind of club where membership and achievement such as earning eagle scout is a sort of networking system as are fraternal orders in the adult world and possibly a mention on college applications or resumes, but i might not be correct about that. if scouting is exclusionary it harms both those in and kept out. i think for a large number of kids it's a customary rite of passage same as going to school.