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04/19/2007


I'm Gay: The 50 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2012

2012

2012: GAYEST YEAR EVER

"The fact is, I'm gay." Anderson Cooper's long-awaited announcement sums what it meant to come out in 2012. Again and again we heard the same sentiment — from pop singer Mika's equally anticipated confirmation, "If you ask me am I gay, I say yeah," to actor Andrew Rannells casually remarking about relating to a gay character, "I am gay in real life, so I definitely get it." —  proving that coming out today is in many cases a non-event, and certainly secondary to other achievements.

Yes, a lot has changed in the 15 years since Time magazine ran that cover of Ellen DeGeneres declaring, "Yep, I'm Gay," and even in the six since Lance Bass told People, "I'm Gay." Entertainment Weekly published a cover story this summer called "The New Art Of Coming Out," concluding, "The current vibe for discussing one’s sexuality is almost defiantly mellow."

Yet most of this positive change has happened in familiar territory.

Former NFL star Wade Davis' coming out was a first, as was current professional boxer Orlando Cruz's. And Lee "Uncle Poodle" Thompson from Here Comes Honey Boo Boo helped broaden the overall discussion about LGBT people. But there are a few people on this list who were less valiant, like Republican Sheriff Paul Babeu, and still others who remained quiet about their sexuality to the day they died. The debate over balance between privacy and responsibility is still one worth having, and clearly there are more arenas where LGBT people need space to shine.

All in all, though, 2012 shows that gay people who break down that closet can have it all.

Who had the 50 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2012?

Find out (in alphabetical order), AFTER THE JUMP...

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Nate Silver: Pro-Gun Side Winning War Of Words

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In the wake of yesterday's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, a tragedy most of us are still trying to process, statistician Nate Silver decided to look at the use of the terms "gun control," "second amendment," "gun violence" and "gun rights" in news stories over the past three decades.

In 1993 and 1994, when Congress was debating a ban on assault weapons, the phrase “gun control” was used about three times per 1,000 news articles. Use of the term was even higher after the mass shootings in Columbine, Colo., peaking at 3.7 instances per 1,000 articles in 1999. It reached a low point in 2010, when the term “gun control” was used 0.3 times per 1,000 articles — less than one-tenth as often as in the year after the Columbine shootings.

Averaging the frequency of usage over a five-year period reduces the effect of these news-driven fluctuations and reveals a reasonably clear long-term trend. In recent years, the term “gun control” has been used only about half as often as it was in the 1980s and about one-quarter as often as in the 1990s and early 2000s. [See below]

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The term “Second Amendment” was rarely employed in the 1980s, but it has become much more commonplace since then. (Since 2008, the term “Second Amendment” has been used more often than “gun control.”) A related phrase, “gun rights,” has also come into more common usage.

He concludes that the language game has helped shape the debate: "The polling evidence suggests that the public has gone from tending to back stricter gun control policies to a more ambiguous position in recent years. There may be some voters who think that the Constitution provides broad latitude to own and carry guns – even if the consequences can sometimes be tragic."

Last April, after Trayvon Martin's shooting, Jill Lepore at The New Yorker looked at how the right-wing in the mid-late 20th Century successfully turned the "second amendment" into a political bargaining chip, forever altering the gun control debate in this country.

"The assertion that the Second Amendment protects a person’s right to own and carry a gun for self-defense, rather than the people’s right to form militias for the common defense, first became a feature of American political and legal discourse in the wake of the Gun Control Act of 1968, and only gained prominence in the nineteen-seventies," she wrote.

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Nate Silver Looks at Hillary Clinton's Ratings, and 2016

Nate Silver takes a look at Hillary Clinton's chances in 2016 with regard to a moving average of Mrs. Clinton’s favorable and unfavorable ratings dating back to 1992. Silver notes that Clinton is popular now, but boosted by the fact that her role as Secretary of State is for the most part non-partisan, and that at the times when she has become an "explicitly political figure" her favorability has also taken a hit:

HillaryThe surge in Mrs. Clinton’s favorability ratings late in the 2008 campaign, although perhaps partly testifying to her steadily improving skills as a campaigner and to her new role as an underdog in the Democratic primary race, may also have reflected the fact that Republicans had less incentive to criticize her. Instead, they were trying to woo her supporters — or bolster her chances to prolong the Democratic nomination process.

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A secretary of state is not necessarily above partisan criticism, but attacking a secretary of state can potentially backfire on the opposition party. As Mitt Romney discovered during the presidential campaign foreign affairs can present an unlevel playing field to the opposition party. The White House and the Department of State have a number of defenses that they can employ to shield themselves from criticism, from claiming that they are protecting the national interest, to accusing their opponents of being unpatriotic, to arguing that their opponents lack knowledge of the situation on the ground. The secretary of state, like the president, also enjoys the symbolic trappings of incumbency when she conducts diplomatic affairs.

Were Mrs. Clinton to run for president again, she would lose most of these advantages. Republicans would begin to criticize her, delicately at first, and then more expressly as the election drew nearer.

Silver's Clinton chart, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Nate Silver And Conan O'Brien Talk Serious Jibber Jabber: VIDEO

NateSilverConan

Conan O'Brien is more than just a funny face hosting a nighttime television show. He's also a person with a brain who likes to talk with other people who also have brains, which is why O'Brien hosts "serious jibber jabber" sessions with some of the world's most brain-having people.

The latest edition features Nate Silver, the gay statistician who has already called every election for the next 1,000 years. Yes, even the intergalactic races. (Kimara Cretak is a lock for Romulan Senator.) But don't worry, Silver still has plenty to talk about, like his new book, The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don't.

Watch O'Brien and Silver's entire 49:54 minute conversation AFTER THE JUMP, because being a brainiac is sexy.

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Obama Gives Shout-Out to Nate Silver at Turkey Pardon: VIDEO

Turkey

President Obama gave two turkeys a presidential pardon today. Cobbler and Gobbler will head to their future home at George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate. In his remarks, Obama gave a shout-out to NYT number-cruncher Nate Silver:

"For the first time in our history, the winners of the White House turkey pardon were chosen through a highly competitive online vote, and once again, Nate Silver completely nailed it. The guy's amazing. He predicted these guys would win."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Nate Silver Talks About Being Gay

Silver

From a profile in The Guardian:

It turns out that what he calls his "dorkiness" is actually the secret to his powers. "I've always felt like something of an outsider. I've always had friends, but I've always come from an outside point of view. I think that's important. If you grow up gay, or in a household that's agnostic, when most people are religious, then from the get-go, you are saying that there are things that the majority of society believes that I don't believe."


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