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MEDIA WATCH-When Kim Dine took over as the new chief of the U.S. Capitol Police in 2012, he knew he had a serious problem. 

Since 2001, hundreds of Black officers had sued the department for racial discrimination. They alleged that white officers called Black colleagues slurs like the N-word and that one officer found a hangman’s noose on his locker. White officers were called “huk lovers” or “FOGs” — short for “friends of gangsters” — if they were friendly with their Black colleagues. Black officers faced “unprovoked traffic stops” from fellow Capitol Police officers. One Black officer claimed he heard a colleague say, “Obama monkey, go back to Africa.” (Photo above: U.S. Capitol Police officers scuffle with insurrectionists after they breached security fencing on Jan. 6. (Graeme Sloan/Bloomberg via Getty Images) 

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MEDIA WATCH--On a weekday afternoon in July 2009, I showed up at City Hall for a scheduled interview with Tom LaBonge. A few minutes after taking a seat on a couch in his well-appointed office, he asked if I wanted to go for a ride. I said yes, having no idea what to expect. We took the elevator to the City Hall garage.

A few minutes later I was riding shotgun in LaBonge’s gray Ford Crown Victoria, rolling through the streets of downtown, one of his staffers in the back seat. He pulled to a stop under one of the Los Angeles River bridges and asked if I had seen Grease. When I told him yes, he bellowed “Thunder Road!” and suddenly steered the car into a dark tunnel. A moment later we drove out of the darkness and into the light—we were on the concrete flats of the river.

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MEDIA WATCH--As we approach January, 20 2021 inauguration day for president elect Joe Biden and vice president elect Kamala Harris, it’s the perfect time to consider what this means for the Indian diaspora across the U.S.

A drive for achievement and success is a quintessential Indian-American trait, implanted in our brains by parents who preach the benefits of education, the rewards of academic success. While traditionally this was largely in medicine, engineering, and related scientific and technical disciplines, it’s heartening to observe the next generation of Indian-American kids. They have broken loose and begun to make a name for themselves in the liberal arts and entertainment, and hopefully, are about to burst through in a big way on the political scene.

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MEDIA WATCH- Lately, I have been reflecting on what I have in common with extremists.  It turns out that the list is longer than one would think.  I hold their same passions for change, an ability to withstand discomfort–put more bluntly, tolerance for risk of pain that some term masochism–and I share a lack of tolerance for passivity and denial.  Extremists are people of action.  I am a person of action.  I empathize with their demand to be heard and seen.  They want us to feel their pain, even to the point of killing us to further their cause.  As a pacifist and humanist, where I differ radically is in the choice of tactics.

As recent events in Nashville so painfully point out to us all, we enter a time of real danger to society (and by extension to our democracy as a whole) as we make the transition of power to the incoming Biden Administration.  The Southern Poverty Law Center Hate Map shows that since the year 2000, hate groups have increased from 599 to 940 in 2019.  My own state, Oregon, boasts 15 groups and Portland finds itself surrounded by and infused with hate, in situ and imported.

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MEDIA WATCH--The LGBTQ community made a major impact on the outcomes of the 2020 election season. LGBTQ Nation analysis of data revealed that without LGBTQ voters in key states, Donald Trump likely would have won reelection as President, for example. Further reviews have also concluded that Trump could have won again, if not for the force of LGBTQ voters all over the country.

Billy Porter doesn’t want you to forget. He’s working with GLAAD to remind everyone that LGBTQ voters, organizers, and groups like GLAAD made the difference in what was considered the most pivotal election of our time.

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MEDIA WATCH--There once was a boy named Trey. Actually he was named Antonio, as were his father and grandfather. 

“Tu eres el tercer Antonio – el numero tres,” his grandmother said to him. “You are the third Antonio. Number three.”

So everyone called him Trey, regardless of whether they were speaking English or Spanish to him.

He was a quiet, soft-spoken child who loved to read, to listen to stories his grandmother and the women told when they met on Sundays, and to be with his mother who was young and beautiful but very sickly.

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MEDIA WATCH--A gay teen in Texas spoke at his local school board meeting about how he is being denied an education because he wore nail polish to school.

“This isn’t about me anymore,” said Clyde High School senior Trevor Wilkinson. “It’s about a discriminatory, sexist policy that needs to be changed.”

Wilkinson went to school after Thanksgiving this year with nail polish on and he was given an in-school suspension (ISS) because he violated the dress code, which bans male students from wearing nail polish and make-up. He was told he would stay in ISS until he removed the nail polish, but he’s not giving up without a fight.

“I got my education taken away from me for something as minor as painting my nails because it’s against the dress code,” he told the Clyde CISD school board, wearing nail polish.

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MEDIA WATCH--Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) has introduced legislation that would ban transgender girls and women from participating in sports as their gender. Gabbard ran in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary and faced criticism for her past as an anti-LGBTQ extremist, where she referred to pro-marriage equality advocates as “homosexual extremists.”

The bill, which the former presidential contender introduced alongside Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), would amend Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972 to make it illegal for sports programs “to permit a person whose biological sex is male to participate in an athletic program or activity that is designated for women or girls.”

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MEDIA WATCH-There’s a dangerous kind of stupidity rising in our societies, taking over some of them wholesale. And so the question needs to be asked: can democracy survive the Age of the Idiot?

This is an age where the sheer bottomlessness of human stupidity has been revealed, and it’s somewhere between jaw-dropping, ugly, and tragicomic. Covid’s like an electron microscope for it. Take the bizarre, unbelievable example of all those American Idiots who literally go to the hospital with Covid, end up in the Covid ICU, where they’re dying of Covid, and yet bitterly and angrily complain to nurses that Covid doesn’t exist.

What on earth?

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MEDIA WATCH-The Supreme Court has declined to take up a case brought by Oregon parents who want to exclude transgender students from school locker rooms and restrooms. The parents demanded that trans students only use facilities that correspond with their sex at birth and not the gender with which they identify. 

The court did not give a reason for turning away the appeal, but similar lawsuits have been dismissed by lower courts across the country. The decision to decline the case is a big win for transgender students.

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MEDIA WATCH--Oh God, the Who Gives A Fuck About Christmas Stuff Witch has done it again. Amidst the election incitement of her despicable husband and his homicidal mismanagement of a pandemic now at almost 14 million cases and 270,000 deaths and their defiant intention to throw over a dozen indoor parties because they really don't care they stole Christmas and much of normal life from America, Melania is blundering through another Christmas charade, from the arrival of the Who Gives A Fuck About Christmas tree to her unmasked hosting of kids for an ornament display to the video of a vacant-eyed, stiletto-heeled FLOTUS teetering around a White House crammed with blinding, sparkling, twinkling, garlanded, gazillion-dollar displays like a woman who got lost looking for the bathroom in a strange museum she didn't want to visit in the first place. (Photo above: Touring the urns of the COVID dead.) 

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MEDIA WATCH--President-elect Joe Biden will make LGBTQ rights a priority in his administration. Biden has repeatedly stressed to advocates that he would move swiftly to repeal several of Donald Trump’s executive orders. 

Biden specifically plans to reverse the Trump administration’s ban on transgender military members. Restoring nondiscrimination requirements for federal contractors and creating high-level LGBTQ-rights positions in federal agencies are also priorities.

The president-elect’s plan also calls for passage of an omnibus LGBTQ rights bill, the Equality Act, within his first 100 days in office. The proposed legislation has languished in Congress during the Trump administration.

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MEDIA WATCH-The Liberty Counsel, the self-proclaimed Christian defender of Christmas known for using the courts to try to overturn LGBTQ rights, has issued their annual holiday “Naughty or Nice” list

While the list is regularly what would technically be described as a “hot mess,” this year’s reckoning is particularly peculiar. When it comes to the War on Christmas, the Liberty Counsel can’t decide where to aim.

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MEDIA WATCH-Donald Trump’s efforts to litigate himself to a second term are effectively done. Hastening the end are two things. One, the reality that the voter fraud claims on which he stakes his litigation strategy are baseless. Two, something that every first-year law student knows, the ethical and legal obligations of (Trump’s) attorneys not to press arguments in court which are meritless or frivolous. This includes Rudy Giuliani as Trump’s legal manager. 

There was never much of a chance Trump would succeed in overturning the presidential election results in court. There was a fantasy that the legacy of Bush v. Gore that led to the Supreme Court handing Florida and the 2000 presidential race to George Bush would prevail again. Yet that case was about varying standards to ascertain voter intent in an election in one state where the margin between George Bush and Al Gore was simply a few hundred votes. Bush’s legal team raised legitimate constitutional questions about Equal Protection and treating different voters differently. Winning in court in that one state gave Bush the electoral votes he needed to win the presidency.

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MEDIA WATCH--Over the last number of years I have come across a number of people that seem to not only be ill-educated on what activism is, but they seem to think that it has nothing to do with change in our country. A typical response from them usually includes “just vote.” I remind them that if it hadn’t been for activists, women and people of color wouldn’t have the ability to vote. Activism has been at the basis of creating our country, beginning with the Tea Party and moving forward. Activism offers an up front, in your face visual that politics is very personal.

When we gather together to right a wrong, we can move mountains with our collective voice!

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MEDIA WATCH--It has become painfully obvious to everyone living in the United States that we have a dirty underbelly of citizens that had remained hidden. These people have a twisted idea that the only Americans that should have the right to live here are white and believe in their cherry-picked Christianity. To achieve those goals they are willing to support an authoritarian dictator, throw all but the 1st two Amendments of the Constitution out the door, and go so far as to enter into violence against all that don’t fall into lockstep with their beliefs. Trump was the one that spoke out loudly to let these losers, whiners, and constantly angry people out and there is no way that they will slither back into the slime from whence they came, without a fight.

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MEDIA WATCH--What a day. The triumphal streets filled with singular whooping, honking, dancing, weeping, hugging, pot-banging, flag-waving and soaring, curbside renditions of "America the Beautiful," which finally had something to celebrate.

In Philly, there were dancing mailboxes - or as one giddy enthusiast marveled, "dancing fucking mailboxes!" In Brooklyn, residents and passing USPS trucks exultantly cheered each other. In Atlanta, people paid poignant tribute to Martin Luther King and John Lewis, and assured powerhouse voting rights activist Stacey Abrams that she's earned the right to be "Secretary of Whateverdafukshewants."

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MEDIA WATCH--Dwayne Bryant is an internationally renowned speaker, best-selling author, educational consultant, trainer and Alumni of the FBI Citizen’s Academy. Known for his high-energy, unique ability to connect to an audience, keen intellect and wit, Bryant fuels audiences by sharing his credo of hard work, perseverance, integrity, and applied faith, which are the keys to his success. 

Here, Bryant discusses how the presidential race was influenced by POC and how the next president will impact POC, as well as:

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MEDIA WATCH--There’s a myth going around these days that’s particularly damaging. The myth of Trump’s demise — and, as they say, it’s greatly exaggerated. In comes in three forms. One, there’s going to be a blow-out, so there’s no need to worry about American democracy. Two, that Trump will concede politely and walk away gently into the good night. Three, that American institutions will force Trump out of power. None of these three things is true, and they are leading to a false sense of confidence just before a crucial election. (Photo above: Jim Watson)

The first myth — there’s going to be a blow-out — is easiest to dispense with. Somewhere between 40 to 50 percent of America still supports Trump — despite the horror freak show of the last four years. The polls register 40 percent, but that number should be taken with a grain of salt: there’s always a secret hate vote when it comes to fascist-authoritarian moments. The evidence is ample — 2016, Brexit, and so on. Some percentage of people always tell pollsters what they want to hear — and then in the heat and silence of the voting booth, choose hate and folly.

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MEDIA WATCH--Kamala Harris’s public record on trans rights began the moment she stepped into elected office in 2003 as San Francisco’s District Attorney. One of her first acts as DA was to establish an LGBTQ taskforce, establishing a hate crimes unit to fund the investigations and prosecution of anti-LGBTQ violence. Her office also set up a victim assistance program, creating a two-part approach of prosecution for the offenders and relief for the victims.

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MEDIA WATCH--President Donald Trump is losing to former Vice President Joe Biden by more than 10 percentage points in both the Real Clear Politics and FiveThirtyEight national polling averages. This historically large margin suggests that something amazing has happened: Even in our hyperpolarized political environment, a meaningful number of voters have changed their minds about Trump.

Equally amazing: The majority of 2016 Trump voters — despite a mismanaged pandemic, widespread economic fallout, a racial crisis exacerbated by divisive rhetoric, and a debate meltdown — plan to back Trump a second time.

What makes one voter who supported Trump in 2016 decide to support Biden? And what makes another voter — even one who thinks things are going badly — stick around?

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