I cover national politics and civil liberties issues for the Washington, DC bureau of Mother Jones. I have also written for The Economist, the Washington Monthly, the Atlantic, and Commonweal. Email me at nbaumann [at] motherjones [dot] com.
"That narrative, however, is what political scientists colloquially refer to as “fucking bullshit.” Contrary to what conservatives love to allege and big government-loving liberals would love to believe, the majority of what the state collects every April 15 goes not to poor, drug-addicted welfare mothers, but to blowing up poor mothers and their children on the other side of the globe with bombs purchased from very wealthy military contractors. While the bulk of state spending is indeed on Medicare and Social Security – the bread to go along with the circus of publicly financed stadiums – those programs are funded, as Balko acknowledges, by direct, regressive taxes that, yes, even poor people pay."
“That narrative” being the “it sucks that poor people don’t pay more federal income taxes” narrative.
I blogged this photo last week, noting that the veteran in question was a man named Leonard Matlovich. On Saturday, I received an email about it:
Dear Mr. Baumann,
The veteran buried in the plot with the stone illustrated a couple of days ago on your site is indeed that of my friend, Leonard Matlovich. He was the first to purposely out himself to fight the ban on gays in the military. That was in 1975. To find out more about him, including contemporaneous videos and why his stone does not bear his name, please see http://www.leonardmatlovich.com/.
Thank you, and may all your cups be full.
When I wrote back to ask if I could post the email, I got this response:
You’re very welcome. Please feel free to share in any way you’d like as I believe it is important to know how long the battle against the ban—not just its DADT form—has been going on. In fact, the very first gay demonstration in the US was against the ban, five years before Stonewall. There are some photos of it and other early ban protests on this page: http://leonardmatlovich.com/dadtbeforeafter.html
And, of course, the extended tragedy is that the ban needlessly continues despite the fact that yesterday was the four-month anniversary of the repeal bill’s signing by the man who was only 13 when Leonard outed himself.
"In a million years, I would never have the bravery to put myself in such a dire situation, and I have always felt a little ashamed that I don’t have the guts to do anything close to what Junger and Hetherington have done, even when I know these are stories that need to be told. Their bravery is our gain."
Sebastian Junger (left) with Tim Hetherington (right) at Outpost Restrepo in Afghanistan.Restrepo, the documentary Hetherington and Junger made about a year in the lives of the soldiers at the outpost, was nominated for an Oscar last year. Hetherington was killed today while working as a war photographer in Libya. This was his last tweet: “In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscriminate shelling by Qaddafi forces. No sign of NATO.” You can see some of his photos here. The very wise James Fallows has some sage advice on how best to honor a great journalist. Requiescat in pace.