Monday, June 18, 2012


A SALUTE TO PRIDE: For those still unconvinced that America’s social mores are changing, be aware that the U.S. Department of Defense announced it will hold an event to honor gay men and women who are serving in the military.  Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the Pentagon is ready to salute gay troops as part of Gay Pride Month, according to a report in the Associated Press.

Although the move is encouraging, especially to those who fought so hard to repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” (which was struck down nine months ago), there are still challenges ahead. So far, the military does not afford health benefits to spouses or partners of gay service members. "The department is carefully and deliberately reviewing the benefits from a policy, fiscal, legal, and feasibility perspective," Eileen Lainez, a Pentagon spokeswoman said Thursday. One step at a time.

RECONSIDERING DEPORTATION:  The White House made the stunning announcement that many young illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as small children will be allowed to stay here. After the failure of Congress to pass the dream act, proposed legislation that would have allowed young immigrants to pursue citizenship, many were due for deportation. The Washington Post reports the criteria: They also must be 30 or younger and must have never been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

EDWARDS WALKS:  Just after turning 59 years old and just before his baby momma Rielle Hunter releases her tell-all memoir, John Edwards became a free man last week. The Department of Justice announced it will not retry Edwards on shady dealings with 2008 presidential campaign funds. The Edwards debacle ended in a mistrial last month, and this latest announcement is the last piece in a story that has been front page news for four years. While the conventional wisdom is simply that he got away with it, the judicial system has spoken. Up next? Edwards says he would like to go back in to practicing law with a focus on the underprivileged.  We wonder, however, if perhaps he will have to deal with that “life-threatening”illness" that caused his trial to be delayed earlier this year.

PONZI PUNISHMENT:  His name never quite became as widely known as Bernie Madoff, but Allen Stanford’s $7 billion Ponzi scheme ran a close second to Madoff’s $18 billion caper. Stanford’s story will make for a great movie someday, complete with his high-flying lifestyle, financed to the tune of $2 billion with the investment money of his clients. Those clients were under the impression that their money was safely and wisely invested in profit-making financial instruments. The inevitable movie will likely also show how Stanford became a national hero on the island of Antigua, where much of his financial operation was headquartered, how he was almost killed in a prison fight, and how to the end he declared he was “not a Ponzi schemer, but just a successful businessman." His protestations nothwithstanding, the New York Times reports this week Stanford, 62, was sentenced in Federal District Court to 110 years in prison. By the way…our choice to play Stanford in the movie? John Lithgow.

OLD MEDIA….MEET NEW MEDIA:  The New York Times announced it will partner with Buzzfeed for Democratic and Republican convention coverage.  Why does this matter? Because it clearly shows that old line journalism acknowledges there is a significant place for new media when it comes to the biggest stories.  Buzzfeed, an online entity known primarily for pop culture coverage, is nonetheless far more advanced in streaming media than the New York Times. Buzzfeed also “gets” social media, which is an area the Times is still learning. They can learn from each other, and hats off to the Times for reaching out to such a new player in the media industries. It shows the Times is willing to step up to the ever-increasing demands of an Internet-savvy consumer base.

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