The Atlantic on “The Myth of Gay Affluence”

The Atlantic has an interesting look at the myth in the United States that gays and lesbians are, on average, wealthier than heterosexuals.

That myth apparently gained traction, according to the Atlantic, as part of efforts to de-stigmatize homosexuality. Market research performed to convince companies that gays and lesbians were worth their efforts to market to left the impression that homosexuals were more affluent than heterosexuals. But, as law professor Gary Gates tells The Atlantic,

The downside is that those marketing studies looked at the LGBT community as a consumer market, which is a very different perspective compared with how a social science researcher who does poverty research would look at those questions.

Gates recently wrote a report for the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law noting that, in fact, LGBT adults are more likely to find themselves experiencing poverty and food insecurity,

Rates of food insecurity are higher for LGBT adults when compared to non-LGBT adults across several national surveys, and across gender, age, racial/ethnic, and education level groups. After taking these factors into account:

  • LGBT adults are 1.7 times more likely than non-LGBT adults to not have had enough money to feed themselves or their family in the past year.
  • LGB adults aged 18-44 are 1.3 times more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to receive food stamps.
  • Same-sex couples are 1.7 times more likely than different-sex couples to receive food stamps.
  • LGB adults aged 18-44 raising children are 1.8 times more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to receive food stamps.
  • Same-sex couples raising children under age 18 are 2.1 times more likely than comparable different-sex couples to receive food stamps

The Atlantic article speculates that ongoing discrimination against gay, lesbian and bisexuals in the job market is a major contributing cause of this. The article cites a study demonstrating that adding membership in a college LGBT organization on a resume significantly reduced the odds of of male job applicants from getting a callback for a job interview.

Dianne Feinstein Statement on the Senate’s Review of the CIA’s Torture Program

Dianne Feinstein’s statement on the floor of the Senate earlier this month denouncing the CIA’s interference with the Senate Intelligence Committee’s efforts to investigate the CIA’s torture program was noteworthy mainly because Feinstein has been such a lapdog in service of the US intelligence community.

Mar 11 2014
Statement on Intel Committee’s CIA Detention, Interrogation Report

Washington—Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the committee’s study on the CIA Detention and Interrogation Program:

“Over the past week, there have been numerous press articles written about the Intelligence Committee’s oversight review of the Detention and Interrogation Program of the CIA, specifically press attention has focused on the CIA’s intrusion and search of the Senate Select Committee’s computers as well as the committee’s acquisition of a certain internal CIA document known as the Panetta Review.

I rise today to set the record straight and to provide a full accounting of the facts and history.
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911 Is A Joke … Hotel Edition

I’ve never had a need to call 911 from a hotel room and apparently that’s a good thing because in thousands of hotels in the United States don’t allow visitors to directly call 911.

This problem gained nationwide exposure after Karie Marie Hunt was murdered in a motel room where she was meeting her ex-husband. Hunt’s 9-year-old daughter tried to call 911 from the motel room, but the phone system was configured so that she would have had to dial “9″ and then “911.”

Karie Marie Hunt’s father, Hank Hunt, created a petition at Change.Org asking the government and hotels to fix this problem,

We pray the lawmakers in our Congress and Senate hear the cries of Kari and her children and enact a law requiring all hotel and motel chains, including all “Mom & Pop” locations have all phone systems updated to E911 systems. These systems allow the 911 call to automatically connect to a 911 operator without having to dial a “9″ in order to get an outside line and give emegency personnel the business name, floor and room or suite number. Total E911 fees/funds collected from the use of telephones in the United States was $2,322,983,616.36 in 2012. Total amount spent for E911 or 911 enhancements in the United States was $97,367,543.46 leaving $2,225,616,072.90 un spent. Where is this money? Some states such as Illinois, has diverted monies from the collection of E911 fees to it’s general fund therefore being spent on who knows what. The money is there, it’s being collected by who? THE GOVERNMENT! It’s being spent on very little E911 functionality or just sitting there. Why?

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai gave a speech at a conference on 911 this week in which he said that his is a widespread problem that is going to take time to solve completely,

The data we’ve gathered suggests that the MLTS (Multi-Line Telephone Systems) at tens of thousands of buildings across the United States may fail consumers during the most important moments of their lives. As in Kari’s case, systems at these properties will not perform one of the most important purposes of the nation’s communications network—connecting 911 callers to help.

Pai noted he had received positive feedback and a promise of quick action from the hotel chains he contacted, but most of those tens of thousands of buildings are not part of any national chain.

Pai’s full remarks are below:
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