Martin Luther King Day, 2011

Martin Luther King, August 28, 1963.

Chronic mental illness requires policy changes

Read this article, just out on the USA Today website for some insight into why the nation’s mental health policy is broken. As we have seen, such concerns are not solely health related but security related as well. Sadly, “pro-family” organizations opposed efforts, eventually successful, to require health insurance coverage to include rational benefits for mental health care. We need to do much more to secure a safe and reasonable national policy.

Martin Ssempa scolds Besigye on gays

The campaign in Uganda is heating up and Martin Ssempa is calling on all candidates to bash gays in advance of the elections on February 18. Watch Ssempa’s call for opposition candidate Dr. Kiiza Besigye to re-con-si-der his view that prosecuting homosexuals is a waste of state resources.

Bryan Fischer asks and Tim Pawlenty tells. Why?

It is all over that likely 2012 GOP presidential contender Tim Pawlenty supports the reinstatement of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. While this is interesting in itself, I want to echo Ron Hill, a columnist at the Frum Forum this morning who asks: “Why’s Pawlenty Courting the Anti-Gay Right?” Good question. More from Mr. Hill: Pawlenty made his statement on the radio program of Bryan Fischer from the American Family Association, a smart choice if you want to sell... Read more

Candidates defect to Uganda's ruling party; Bahati rival cites safety concerns

Sometimes, politicians in the US change party affiliation (e.g., Arlen Spector’s switch from the GOP to Dem), but this is not common. In Uganda, it seems to be happening more frequently as the elections approach. This report notes that three politicians associated with the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) have either dropped out or changed parties. President Museveni’s recent campaigns in parts of western Uganda herald doom for the opposition’s prospects of winning in an area that has previously overwhelmingly voted... Read more

Blood libel? Death panels?

Sarah Palin issued a statement which responds to critics who assigned various degrees of responsibility to her for the shootings in Arizona. Here is her video: The full statement is here. I want to focus on these words: If you don’t like their ideas, you’re free to propose better ideas. But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to... Read more

MassResistance links to Anti-Homosexuality Bill then misleads readers about it

Earlier today, anti-gay group MassResistance posted a link to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill and then misled their readers about what is in it. In a message to supporters, MassResistance said this about the Ugandan bill: * The proposed Ugandan law that has liberals here in America so incensed proposed harsh punishments for those who knowingly expose people to AIDS and adults who seduce children or people with mental disabilities into homosexual sex acts. It’s not far out of line with most people’s sensibilities. But... Read more

Some folks just shouldn't have guns

This Reuters’ analysis raises some excellent policy questions regarding gun posession and schizophrenia. There are complications of course in the implementation of any policy, but I would like to see public policy reflect public safety over individual rights to own a firearm.  Passage of that bill to strengthen the background check system was prompted when a deranged gunman killed himself and 32 others in April 2007 at Virginia Tech University — the deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history. It turned out... Read more

Reporters say anti-gay bill has been shelved – Ugandan politicians disagree

Yesterday, the author of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, David Bahati, told me via email that he remains confident that his bill will be considered by Parliament before May. I asked him about a report in the Observer which implied the bill would not be passed. Bahati said in response: My comment is the same as I gave you before. We are committed to ensuring that this legislation passes. Wondering if Bahati’s optimism was misplaced, I today called Stephen Tashobya, the chair of... Read more

Fallout from the Arizona shooting

Most people commenting on the Arizona shooting are speculating about motive, the role of public discourse on the shooter, and the shooter’s mental health.  I confess my bias from the start – from what I have read, the shooter Jared Loughner sounds like he is paranoid schizophrenic. Of course, I am not engaging in a formal diagnosis since I have no direct data. However, the signs are certainly suggestive. What is bound to happen for some time to come is the... Read more