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01/05/2009

Discharged: The high cost of powering bias

by Jeremy Hooper

This week's Time magazine features a cover story about why instead of building new power plants, we need to get more efficient about the way we handle our resources:

20090112 107
Wasting Our Watts [Time]

But wait a minute, what a coincidence -- this nation's other prominent newsmag, Newsweek, is also this week featuring a story about the outdated models that this country to waste energy, resources, and efficiency. 200901041729Here's a snippet from the latter mag's piece:

In the next year, [Admiral Mike Mullen] might have to ask troops to do something many will find even more uncomfortable: welcome openly gay men and women into their ranks. Such was the promise made by President-elect Obama in the 2008 campaign—gay-rights groups will hold him to it. To many civilians, the shift might seem natural. American attitudes toward homosexuality have evolved since 1993, the year Congress mandated that gays could serve so long as they hid their sexual orientation. The law, known as Don't Ask, Don't Tell, predates "Will & Grace," and for most Americans, even the Internet. A 2008 Washington Post–ABC News poll put public support for gays serving openly at 75 percent.

But the military has its own culture, more insular and more conservative than the broader population's. In a survey of active-duty service members released last week, 58 percent said they oppose any change in the military's policy toward gays. Up to 23 percent of troops might not re-enlist if the law is repealed, according to a Military Times poll. Mullen will have to act as kind of cultural mediator between his new boss and the old institution he has managed for more than a year. That will mean advising Obama on what changes the military can (and cannot) withstand and then obliging troops to accept them.

Keeping Quiet: The majority of active-duty service members oppose changing policies for gays [Newsweek]

So would a gay outage lead to a power outage, or are the more histrionic soldiers merely showing that even without open gays, open drama queens already exist within the military ranks? Well to us, that potential for meltdown is less nuclear and more unclear. We do, however, know that (a) the bias is wrong, and (b) the inclusion is both right and inevitable. And we also know that it's up to the military brass to get current and enlighten the troops, not up to the gay soldiers to dim their own colorful bulbs.

/electricity allusions]

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