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About MarkNoel

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  1. evmori: Yes, YiS, and it will continue to be so. I'm no longer a member of the BSA, but please remember two things: 1. The Scouting movement is bigger than just the BSA. 2. The BSA may have rejected me, but I haven't rejected the principles or values of Scouting. I realize that this will probably result in a flood of posts about exactly what the "values" of Scouting are, so let me go ahead and volunteer the opinion that we share more than you may think. The concentrated focus on a couple of divisive issues where reasonable people (and religions) disagree seems to cloud that fact sometimes... YiS, -Mark
  2. This guy in question here -- Matt Hill -- is a senior in high school, and just turned 18. He's also the founder of a gay-straight alliance at his high school and is pretty outspoken now about what he's been through. He has written a brief description of his case and we're in the process of collecting some more documents and news articles about it. They will be posted here: http://www.inclusivescouting.net/bsa/cases/hill If anyone is interested in talking with him directly, please let me know and I can put you in touch. YiS, -Mark
  3. Yes. You're wrong. I want to see BSA return to its roots, where local chartered organizations get to decide for themselves what kind of membership standards they want to set for their units. A lot of those chartered organizations (including the church up here where my troop used to meet) believe that it is immoral to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Which, by the way, I presume you're referring to when you talk about "perverts" -- another example of where you're wrong (not to mention unfriendly, discourteous, and unkind, among others). And Ed, I sign off with YiS because I spent two thirds of my life in the program and still believe in it. I'm sure that anyone with a search engine can find out as much as they could possibly want to know about my case -- it's an open book. (And one from three years ago -- I'm not sure if that qualifies as "many.") There's no intent to deceive here, no conspiracy to destroy Scouting, or anything else like that. Why is it so hard to believe that someone could disagree with you about this and still be a supporter of the Scouting program? YiS, -Mark
  4. Bob, perhaps you need to re-read my last two answers to that a bit more carefully. YiS, -Mark
  5. Um... this still IS a discussion forum for "Issues & Politics," is it not? I posted something that was on-topic and that I thought several folks here would be interested in discussing. It's hardly a secret that I disagree with the BSA's current discriminatory policies, but it's a tremendous and unjustified stretch to assume that simply by sharing the news, I was advocating the end of Scouting in our country. And I'll take it from your response that your statement WAS directed at me. But now that you know that it is not, and has never been, my intent to "end scouting," I trust that you'll refrain from making such misstatements about me in the future. YiS, -Mark
  6. Bob White writes: >Keepin mind that the goal of Merlyn, and Mark, and the ACLU is not to change scouting but to end scouting. I hope you're not referring to me in this statement, because if you are, you're dead wrong and totally misrepresenting my position. I believe that the current political and religious stance of the BSA's leadership needs to be changed precicely because the current policies are damaging the Scouting program in the United States, and have consistently expressed that opinion. I'm going to presume that you're either referring to some other "Mark" here, or that you've made a mistake. But please do not make it again. YiS, -Mark
  7. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, January 8, 2004 ACLU SECURES LANDMARK SETTLEMENT IN BOY SCOUT LEASE CASE SAN DIEGO TO END SUPPORT FOR SCOUTS (San Diego) The San Diego City Council has agreed to a settlement in the ACLU's 2000 lawsuit challenging the City's subsidy of the Desert Pacific Boy Scout Council through preferential leases for public land in Balboa Park and Fiesta Island Aquatic Park. In July 2003, Federal District Court Judge Napoleon Jones ruled that the Balboa Park lease violates First Amendment guarantees of separation of church and state. The City has agreed to request that Judge Jones enter a final judgment based on that ruling and then to give notice to the Scouts that the Balboa Park lease has terminated and that their interest in the property has expired. The City has also agreed to end its support of the Scouts in the lawsuit and not to oppose the ACLU as it pursues resolution of the remaining issues in the lawsuit, particularly those involving the Fiesta Island lease, which Jones put over for trial in his July ruling. "San Diego has finally taken itself out of the business of endorsing the exclusion of many of its residents from their own city parks. While, it is unfortunate that it has taken an adverse court ruling to get the City on the right side of this issue, the end result is a victory for every San Diegan who cares about tolerance and equality," says ACLU legal director, Jordan Budd. The City has given the Scouts nearly seventy years of exclusive use of 18 acres of prime park property in city-owned Balboa Park for $1 per year and free use of an aquatic facility on city-owned Fiesta Island in Mission Bay through preferential leases. The Balboa Park lease also contains a provision that terminates the lease if any court issues a final judgment finding the lease illegal. The City Attorney will ask Judge Jones for such a final judgment based on the court's finding that the lease is unconstitutional and will then notify the Scouts that the termination clause has been triggered, paving the way for the removal of the Boy Scouts from the park. "The Boy Scouts cannot have it both ways. Having gone to great lengths to establish that discrimination against gays and non-believers is essential to their mission, and therefore protected by the First Amendment, they cannot now turn around and ask the people of San Diego to foot the bill for that discrimination," says ACLU volunteer attorney M.E. Stephens of the law firm Stock, Stephens, LLP. "We applaud the City for finally doing the right thing," says co-counsel Mark Danis of the law firm of Morrison & Foerster. "While it may be legally acceptable for the Scouts to privately discriminate against so many boys and their families, it has never been acceptable for the City to bar those families from a public park. Government has a constitutional duty to treat everyone fairly and equally." The lawsuit was filed on behalf of two San Diego families, the Breens and the Barnes-Wallaces. The Breens are agnostics who are unsure of the existence of God and who do not participate in organized religion. They have a son, Maxwell, who is nine years old. The Barnes-Wallaces are a same sex couple with a ten-year-old son, Mitchell. Both families are avid users of Balboa Park, except the portion of the park under Boy Scout control. Their sons would like to be Scouts, but cannot join. Max Breen would be unable to take the Boy Scout oath, which avows a reverence for God. Mitchell Barnes-Wallace cannot join because his parents are lesbians, whom the Scouts do not consider "morally clean." Even if the boys were able to avoid taking the Scout oath or, in Mitchell's case, revealing his parents' sexual orientation, each time the boys participated in Scouting activities they would be reminded that their families are considered unfit by Boy Scout standards and, by extension, by the City of San Diego. The lawsuit challenges the City's financial subsidy of these policies. The lawsuit is Barnes-Wallace v. City of San Diego, case # 00cv1726J. # # #
  8. Looks like the Cradle of Liberty Council in Philadelphia is working towards a new non-discrimination policy based on the one currently in use by Greater New York Council: http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/local/7538923.htm Cradle of Liberty Council officials would not release a copy of the proposed policy, but they did say it was fashioned after one crafted by the Greater New York Councils in February 2002. That policy states, in part: "All of our members repeatedly pledge to respect all people and defend the rights of others. Prejudice, intolerance, and unlawful discrimination in any form are unacceptable within the ranks of the Greater New York Councils, Boy Scouts of America." "That's the model," said Cradle of Liberty executive director William T. Dwyer 3d. "Until the city is satisfied, we can't let anything out, until things are officially ironed out," he said. David H. Lipson Jr., board chairman of the local council, said he thought the new policy would be sustainable, unlike the first antidiscrimination policy that the group withdrew after pressure from the national group.
  9. Some of the earlier comments here reminded me of this editorial cartoon (Flash animation) on the death penalty: http://www.markfiore.com/animation/execution.html Disclaimer: This guy does work for the San Francisco Chronicle, just so you've got an idea where he stands politically... ;-) YiS, -Mark
  10. Also for what it's worth... Ronald Reagan didn't make the Jamboree in 1985, but Nancy Reagan came in his place to speak to us... I think it was a health issue that kept him away, but I don't remember exactly. And speaking as both a Democrat and as a former law enforcement officer, I'll have to agree with NJ that support for law enforcement is broadly non-partisan. The high-profile differences mainly seem to come up in arguments over constitutional issues such as racial profiling and due process for the accused, which might give ammunition for some bumper-sticker designers and talk show hosts, but doesn't really reflect a big split over "support" for law enforcement. Personally, I like to think that we hold our law enforcement officers to a higher, stricter standard, but I know that's probably inviting yet another flame war... ;-) YiS, -Mark
  11. evmore writes: > MarkNoel, > Where in my previous post did I mention religion. I refered to race. > > Once again twist till it fits! No twisting here -- at least, not on my part. I didn't say that you mentioned religion -- I acknowledged that you only mentioned race. My entire point was that you seemed to be arguing that discrimination against gays is justified because it was different from race -- that people "choose" their sexual orientation (untrue, but beside the point in this case), and that people do not choose their race. _I_ brought up religion, since it seems pretty obvious that people can "choose" their religion to at least the same degree as what you argue to be true for gays. If that's your argument, then could you please explain why it's not okay to discriminate against people on the basis of their religion, or if you believe that religious discrimination is okay? YiS, -Mark
  12. BW writes: > I watched the event televised live how exactly do you think the image was slanted > by the media. The place errupted in boos. The DNC leaders were on the stage and > did nothing to regain order or decorum in respect to the flag if not their invited > guests. Personally, I think that the image is slanted in your memory rather than in the media. As I recall, the place did not "erupt" in boos -- rather, there was a smattering coming from a small number of individuals in the crowd that was otherwise being very quiet and respectful -- as you would expect during a flag ceremony. DNC leaders didn't interrupt the flag ceremony because those few individuals who were booing stopped on their own, and probably as a result of elbows to the ribs. I can't speak to the issue of whether an apology was offered to the Scouts in question or not, but just because your friends at National didn't get one doesn't mean that one wasn't offered. Frankly, I think that you're simply looking to demonize the DNC. If this had happened at another venue, I imagine that you would be giving more benefit of the doubt to the organizers and participants rather than paint the entire group as "rude, unpatriotic, and cowardly" and then accuse them of engineering the whole thing in advance just to make some political statement at the expense of the boys in the color guard. At least admit that your own animus towards the DNC is coloring your perceptions and interpretations here. YiS, -Mark
  13. cjmiam writes: > So I write: Are you talking about a guy that had sex with interns and committed > perjury while in office? Yep, I wanted him fired. That would never be accepted in > the business world. Why is politics different? and then writes: > By the way, Id say the Republican Party is very strong and united with a leader that > knows what keeping his word means. Would that be the one who loudly proclaimed an immenent WMD threat from Iraq based on carefully selected evidence, or the one who claimed to abhor leaks and then didn't bother for two months to look into the leak from his own administration that burned the cover of a CIA operative (for spite, no less)? "In the business world," as you cite, I would imagine that deliberative falsifications on substantive policy issues and on national security issues where thousands of lives hang in the balance would be even less accepted than covering up an affair with your administrative assistant. So what's your justification for these two views? I'd like to hear this... YiS, -Mark
  14. TrailPounder writes: > Those speakers aren't running for any office or stumping for any candidates, where > does partisan politics come into this? I think it's pretty clear where it came in, when one of the speakers (Ann Coulter) addresses the group with the following: "The cowards and quislings of the Democratic Party have been exposed as the Neville Chamberlain of their day," Coulter said, setting the tone with her discussion of Iraq. "That will be the historic legacy of the Democratic Party." Speaking as a former Atlanta native and camp staffer for the Atlanta Area Council, I agree that that region leans Republican. But I still don't see that as an excuse for hosting an event that clearly demonizes at least a third of the local population, if not more. And if the BSA thought it had problems in court right now with its classification as a "religious organization," imagine what a few more cases like this is going to do to its legal classification (not to mention its public reputation)... YiS, -Mark
  15. Ed Mori writes: > You can't compare race discrimination with gay discrimination. People of different > races have no choice what race they are born to. Gay people do have a choice. It > fits about as well as a glove fits on a foot! LOL. Leaving aside the fact that most gay folks do NOT have a choice with respect to their orientation (no matter how stridently you want to climb on a soapbox and proclaim otherwise), this "choice" argument still doesn't work. You can "choose" your religious faith. So if we were to kick out all the Protestant Christians (unless they pretended to be something else or otherwise refused to "avow" their faith), this would be okay? YiS, -Mark
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