Wednesday, November 12, 2003

He's here, he's queer, he can't get not-for-profit status. Harvey Silverglate passes along this absurd story from the New York Law Journal. It concerns one Christopher Barton Benecke, who considers himself to be "gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender" (all four?), and who wants to obtain not-for-profit status for a group that he founded called Queer Awareness.

It looks like it's not going to happen. Benecke ran afoul of the language police who work for the state of New York. They ruled that the word queer is indecent and degrading, and therefore is banned by a state law governing the names of not-for-profit corporations.

Thus, for Benecke, the price of being queer includes not being able to claim tax-exempt status.

Benecke is suing on First Amendment grounds. Needless to say, he should win.

Dark days for the Dark Lord. Newsweek has a tough cover story on Dick Cheney, and how his paranoid fear-mongering within the White House helped make possible the war in Iraq.

Even with all the weasel words, it's not a flattering picture:

[I]t appears that Cheney has been susceptible to "cherry-picking," embracing those snippets of intelligence that support his dark prognosis while discarding others that don't. He is widely regarded in the intelligence community as an outlier, as a man who always goes for the worst-case scenario and sometimes overlooks less alarming or at least ambiguous signs. Top intelligence officials reject the suggestion that Cheney has somehow bullied lower-level CIA or Defense Intelligence Agency analysts into telling him what he wants to hear. But they do describe the Office of the Vice President, with its large and assertive staff, as a kind of free-floating power base that at times brushes aside the normal policymaking machinery under national-security adviser Condoleezza Rice. On the road to war, Cheney in effect created a parallel government that became the real power center.

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