Opening thousands of front line positions, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has lifted the ban on women in combat, the AP reports:
"The groundbreaking move recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff overturns a 1994 rule banning women from being assigned to smaller ground combat units. Panetta’s decision gives the military services until January 2016 to seek special exceptions if they believe any positions must remain closed to women."
Country music singer Chely Wright and her wife Lauren-Blitzer Wright are expecting identical twins, she announced on Howard Bragman's chat show Gwissues today. Chely said she is carrying the twins: "They're due in July, but with identical twins they typically have to deliver a month early."
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
Our reader Scott Hester-Johnson sent us this clip of Jacob Rudolph, a high school senior in Parsippany, New Jersey, who came out to his entire class at their awards ceremony (Class Clown, Most Likely to Succeed, etc.) on January 18.
Says Jacob in the clip, as he accepted the award for Best Actor (my transcript):
"Sure I've been in a few plays and musicals, but more importantly, I've been acting every single day of my life. You see, I've been acting as someone I'm not. Most of you see me every day. You see me acting the part of 'straight' Jacob, when I am in fact LGBT. Unlike millions of other LGBT teens who have had to act every day to avoid verbal harassment and physical violence, I'm not going to do it anymore. It's time to end the hate in our society and accept the people for who they are regardless of their sex, race, orientation, or whatever else may be holding back love and friendship. So take me leave me or move me out of the way. Because I am what I am, and that's how I'm going to act from now on."
Writes Scott: "As I am a gay friend of his dad's, he sought out my advice before taking the plunge, but the decision was all his. The best part of the video is when he gets a standing ovation after he comes out. This is an amazingly courageous kid and I hope he gets the props he deserves."
Watch the amazing, AFTER THE JUMP...
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) laid into Hillary Clinton over the Benghazi attack, telling the Secretary of State that she would no longer have a job if he was in charge of her:
“Ultimately, I think with your leaving, you accept culpability for the greatest tragedy since 9/11...Had I been President at the time and I found out you had not read the cables...I would have relieved you of your post."
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In advance of a new show called Are You Tougher than a Boy Scout to be broadcast this spring, GLAAD is standing in solidarity with 20 year-old gay Eagle Scout Will Oliver, who launched a Change.org petition calling on the National Geographic Channel to denounce the BSA's anti-gay policies.
As an outdoorsman and an Eagle Scout, I'm urging National Geographic to speak out against the Boy Scouts of America's anti-gay policy and issue a disclaimer before airing the new TV series "Are You Tougher Than A Boy Scout?"
By airing "Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout?", National Geographic has stepped into a uniquely influential role as a strategic business partner of the BSA. The show is being used to market the Boy Scouts of America to young people, but fails to inform viewers about the organization's dangerous anti-gay policy. I urge the network to speak out now to protect gay youth and leaders like me.
NatGeo released a weak statement in the show's and its own defense:
"National Geographic Channel is an international media company that is an equal opportunity employer. We do not discriminate in any capacity. As it relates to our upcoming show with the Boy Scouts, we certainly appreciate all points of view on the topic, but when people see our show they will realize it has nothing to do with this debate, and is in fact a competition series between individual scouts and civilians."
Said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick: "That National Geographic would brush aside countless gay teens suffering at the hands of the BSA, shrugging off injustice as just another 'point of view,' is irresponsible. By airing this program, National Geographic is providing support and publicity to an organization that harms young people simply because of who they are. If the network is truly committed to standing by its non-discrimination practices, it should have no problem airing a disclaimer to that effect."
Hillary Clinton boiled over at a line of questioning from Republican Senator Ron Johnson during hearings about the Benghazi attack
Said Johnson: "Again, we were misled there was supposedly protests and something spraying out of that, assault spraying out of that. That was easily ascertained that was not the fact and the american people could have known that within days and didn’t know that."
Blasted Clinton: "With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans! Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided to go kill some Americans?! What difference at this point does it make?! It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again."
At another point in the hearing, Clinton got choked up talking about receiving the bodies of the four slain State Department employees:
"I stood next to President Obama as the Marines carried those flag-draped caskets off the plane at Andrews...I put my arms around the mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters."
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...