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Behind Joe Biden’s Evolution on L.G.B.T.Q. Rights

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Joseph R. Biden Jr. voted for the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, blocking federal recognition of same-sex marriages. Two years earlier, he voted to cut off federal funds to schools that teach the acceptance of homosexuality. In 1973, Mr. Biden, in an off-handed response to a question, wondered if homosexuals in the military or government were potential security risks.

But today, Mr. Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, has so completely identified himself with positions embraced by L.G.B.T.Q. leaders that his history on gay rights has faded into the mist. If he is elected president, said Chad Griffin, a political consultant and longtime gay rights leader, Mr. Biden, the former vice president, will be the “most pro-equality president we have ever had.”

Mr. Biden’s evolution was on vivid display last week as he celebrated the Supreme Court decision protecting L.G.B.T.Q. workers from job discrimination. So were his differences with President Trump, who barely acknowledged the ruling, and the Republican National Committee, which is holding over the party platform from 2016 that still opposes same-sex marriage and supports so-called conversion therapy for L.G.B.T.Q. youth.

Mr. Biden’s shifting views over the course of his political career illustrate the extent to which the Democratic Party has changed as it sought to keep pace with Americans, especially younger ones, who have dismissed traditional stances on issues like same-sex marriage. Mr. Biden has managed to not only keep pace with these evolving views, but on same-sex marriage, he was a step ahead of many of his fellow Democrats.

This has been the case despite the nuances of his record over the past 50 years, his centrist politics in a party that is moving to the left and his age. Mr. Biden, 77, grew up in an era when homosexuality, the word routinely used at the time, was often viewed as a sin and even a crime.

He can slip into dated generalizations about gay and lesbian life, as he did in an interview with Anderson Cooper at an L.G.B.T.Q. town hall event on CNN last year. Talking about what San Francisco was like “15, 20 years ago,” he said that the city, with its large community of gay men and lesbians, was “all about, well, you know, gay bathhouses,” adding, “It’s all about round-the-clock sex.”

He has repeatedly told a story, recounted with variations on details of the moment, of seeing two men kiss when he was a teenager and his father saying: “Joey, it’s simple. They love each other.”

For all of the current unease with him on the left, Mr. Biden was the highest-ranking Democrat to initially endorse same-sex marriage — disclosing his position in a television interview in May 2012 that helped prod President Barack Obama to take the same position in an interview a few days later.

“There’s no political barometer that would have told him to get ahead of the White House on this,” said Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., who is gay and ran against Mr. Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination.

But in voting for the Defense of Marriage Act, a bill that was passed with overwhelming support from both parties and signed by President Bill Clinton, Mr. Biden, then a Delaware senator, lent his name to legislation that came to be known as one of the biggest legislative setbacks for the gay rights movement in its history. His musing about gay men and lesbians as security risks in 1973, and his support for a measure restricting how homosexuality was presented to schoolchildren, reflects the kind of attitudes that gay and lesbian activists had to battle during the early decades of the movement.

“Did Joe Biden evolve on the issue of marriage like most of the rest of the country?” said Sarah McBride, a longtime transgender activist who grew up in Delaware and was close to Mr. Biden’s late son, Beau Biden. “Yes. Frankly, we should want leaders with big minds and open hearts who are willing to evolve and, in the case of Joe Biden, bring the country along.”

Image
Credit…Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Evan Wolfson, who founded the advocacy group Freedom to Marry and was a leader in the campaign for same-sex marriage, said his organization had specifically sought Mr. Biden’s backing, saying that he had over the years shown a willingness to hear arguments and to change his thinking.

“When people criticize him as not being the most liberal, the most progressive, the candidate they might have first wanted and so on, he will find a principled center-left place and move toward it,” Mr. Wolfson said.

“He voted wrong on that in the ’90s,” Mr. Wolfson said of Mr. Biden’s support of the Defense of Marriage Act. “But he never spoke in discriminatory ways, and he kept his mind and heart open.”

Mr. Trump’s administration, by contrast, urged the Supreme Court, unsuccessfully, not to extend the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s protections against workplace discrimination to gay and transgender people. This month, the administration moved to roll back protections for transgender people against discrimination by doctors, hospitals and health insurance companies. And his administration has repeatedly nominated federal judges with records opposing L.G.B.T.Q. rights.

Still, Mr. Biden’s own history on gay rights — along with calling Mike Pence, the conservative vice president, a “decent guy” — made him vulnerable to criticism from the left as he sought the Democratic presidential nomination.

“As queer people, we abhor the way that Biden, in his eagerness to reach across the aisle, winds up being an apologist for homophobes like Mike Pence,” Cynthia Nixon, the actress and activist who challenged Andrew M. Cuomo in 2018 for the Democratic nomination for governor in New York, said in a statement. “But we also remember how powerful an ally he was as vice president, and how instrumental he was in pulling Obama to the right place in a way few people could have.”

During the Democratic presidential primary race, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont invoked Mr. Biden’s vote on the Defense of Marriage Act to paint him as out of touch with today’s Democratic Party.

“I cast a vote against the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which was a homophobic act brought by the right wing,” Mr. Sanders said on the ABC program “This Week” in March. “Back then, it was not an easy vote. Joe voted for it.”

Mr. Biden has suggested that his vote was a way of precluding a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage.

In 2006, Mr. Biden said “marriage is between a man and a woman,” and in his 2008 vice-presidential debate with Sarah Palin, he asserted that he opposed “redefining from a civil side what constitutes marriage.” But his later decision to jump out front on same-sex marriage erased, for the most part, concerns L.G.B.T.Q. leaders had about those statements and his vote on the Defense of Marriage Act, particularly given Mr. Trump’s record.

“If we established purity tests for elected officials, nobody would pass,” said Emily Hecht-McGowan, who served as director for L.G.B.T.Q. equality at the Biden Foundation, a nonprofit group, until it was disbanded in 2019 when he began his presidential run. “If we keep holding up our elected officials to these purity tests, we will never grow us a nation.”

Mr. Griffin, the political consultant, said he was not bothered by the Defense of Marriage Act vote that, he noted, was “25, 26 years ago, when I was 19 years old and still in the closet.”

“Joe Biden has had 25 years since then to establish his own record and legacy,” he said. “I do not think that anyone can define Joe Biden by a vote 25 years ago when he has literally spent more than a decade championing L.G.B.T.Q. rights.”

From the first weeks after the riots at the Stonewall Inn and the start of the modern-day gay rights movement, L.G.B.T.Q. leaders called for gay and lesbians to come out in the calculation that attitudes toward gays and lesbians would change as Americans realized how many were family members, work colleagues and friends. One of Mr. Biden’s grandchildren identifies as L.G.B.T.Q., an aide said.

Ms. McBride said that Mr. Biden grieved with her after her husband died at the age of 28; Mr. Biden had just lost his own son. He has officiated at two gay weddings, including in 2017 when Henry R. Muñoz III, who was then the Democratic National Committee’s finance chairman, married his husband at Mr. Biden’s home at the time in Northern Virginia.

“He let me work alongside of him to push people in the administration on marriage equality, and then he married me,” Mr. Muñoz said.

The moment that elevated Mr. Biden’s standing among gay and lesbian activists was his appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” as vice president in 2012 when, in response to a question, he said he supported same-sex marriage. His response, which aides said was not calculated or planned, blindsided the White House and Mr. Obama, who had not yet staked out that position.

Given that he was a moderate Democrat with strong ties to blue-collar workers, that response changed the contours of the discussion and, in the view of many activists, emboldened other elected officials to jump on as well. Ms. Hecht-McGowan said she was campaigning in a pitched, and ultimately successful, battle on an initiative permitting same-sex marriage in Maryland.

“He created this watershed moment for the movement,” Ms. Hecht-McGowan said. “I believe that moment was the tipping point for the movement on marriage. He did what he needed to do.”

It seems clear that whatever reservations L.G.B.T.Q. leaders have had over the years with Mr. Biden, they have largely abandoned them in this presidential race.

“He has been supporting L.G.B.T.Q. people for quite some time,” said Alphonso David, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, a civil rights organization. “And yes, we have votes that he’s taken that we wish he would have voted differently. But ultimately when we look at his entire record, he has a very strong record of supporting L.G.B.T.Q. equality.”

Kitty Bennett contributed research.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/21/us/politics/biden-gay-rights-lgbt.html

Cleantech

The Myth That EVs Aren’t Cost Competitive Is Highly Misleading, & Harmful

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The New York Times has published an article stating that EVs aren’t for everyone unless they get cheaper. I agree with this. However, the outlet seems to be missing the story. They are already much, much cheaper than they were five years ago, and they keep getting cheaper. The article neglected to mention this and […]
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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/08/10/the-myth-that-evs-arent-cost-competitive-is-highly-misleading-harmful/

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CNN

Ranked: America’s Most Searched and Visited News Sites by State

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America's Most Searched News Sites

Ranked: America’s Most Searched News Sites by State

America is known to have significant distinctions at the state-by-state level, and data suggests this trend extends to popular news sources. To learn more, this infographic from SEMRush ranks U.S. news websites by search volume and popularity across U.S. states.

Here’s how the top 15 news sites compare when ranked by monthly visitors, as well as the number of states the news source is most searched for in:

  News Site Monthly Visitors State Search Popularity Top Metro Area
1 Yahoo! News 175 million 12 Eureka, California (CA)
2 Google News 150 million 3 Eureka, California (CA)
3 Huff Post 110 million 1 Eureka, California (CA)
4 CNN 95 million 7 Bend, Oregon (OR)
5 The New York Times 70 million 1 Charlottesville, Virginia (VA)
6 Fox News 65 million 11 Glendive, Montana (MT)
7 NBC News 63 million 3 Charlottesville, Virginia (VA)
8 MailOnline 53 million 1 West Palm Beach and Fort Pierce, Florida (FL)
9 The Washington Post 47 million 1 Washington, DC and Hagerstown, Maryland (MD)
10 The Guardian 42 million 1 Juneau, Alaska (AK)
11 The Wall Street Journal 40 million 1 Charlottesville, Virginia (VA)
12 ABC News 36 million 5 Columbia and Jefferson City, Missouri (MO)
13 BBC News 35 million 2 Eureka, California (CA)
14 USA Today 34 million 10 Wausau and Rhinelander, Wisconsin (WI)
15 Los Angeles Times 32 million 1 Palm Springs, California (CA)

Political affiliation plays a large role in determining each state’s favored news sites. Blue states lean towards Google News and CNN, while red states overwhelmingly choose Fox News.

The Most Popular News Sites

Yahoo News is the most popular news website in America, bringing in a massive 175 million monthly visitors. In addition, they’re the most searched for news site in 12 states—the highest of any website. The company’s history has been a roller coaster ride and at different times Yahoo intended to acquire Google and Facebook. Both companies went on to be worth over $1 trillion each, while Yahoo shrank some 90% from when it was once worth $125 billion.

The New York Times has 60 million monthly visitors, but in recent years, has pivoted towards the coveted and trending paid subscription model. This decision is paying off well, as the site now has 6.1 million paid subscribers—more than any of its competitors. Consequently, the New York Times’ share price hit a record high in December 2020.

HuffPost, and their audience of 110 million, were bought by BuzzFeed from Verizon in November of 2020. The two organizations have some history together, as BuzzFeed co-founder Jonah Peretti was also one of the early founders of HuffPost.

CNN is seeing a fall in ratings ever since Donald Trump left office. By some measures has witnessed a 36% decline in primetime viewers in the new year.

Google News experiences 125 million visitors a month, ranking second overall. That said, they stand tall relative to their competitors by overall visits to their main site. Here, Google hits 92.5 billion monthly visits, while Yahoo experiences a more modest 3.8 billion. Unlike legacy media news companies, Google has managed to increase their market share of U.S. advertising revenues, due to more ads going digital.

The Modern News Landscape

Overall, the modern news industry has been a tough landscape to operate in. Here are some of the reasons why:

First, the internet has removed barriers to where people obtain information, and revenue streams have been disrupted in the process. The advertising business model of news organizations is cutthroat to compete in, and there has been plenty of consolidation and layoffs.

Lastly, trust in traditional news and media organizations has been declining amongst Americans, from nearly 60% to 46% since 2019.

Year A lot of Trust (%) Some Trust (%) Very Little/ No Trust (%)
1994 35 37 27
1996 36 39 24
1998 34 40 25
2000 36 40 23
2002 35 43 21
2004 30 40 29
2006 31 40 28
2008 24 43 31
2010 22 41 36
2012 21 39 38
2014 18 42 39
2016 21 38 40
2018 20 34 45
2020 18 33 49

To add to this, on a global basis, the U.S. ranks well below most major countries based on trust in news media.

Some organizations like The Washington Post and The New York Times have opted out of the advertising model, moving towards the direction of premium subscriptions. But only 20% of the Americans pay for their news, which could lead to stiff competition down the road.

The Future Of News

There are serious concerns about the future of news in the era of spreading misinformation. Up to 43% of Americans say the media are doing a very “poor/poor job” in supporting democracy. But despite this waning trust, 84% of Americans view news media as “critical” or “very important”.

What will the future of media look like throughout the 21st century and how will this impact the most popular news sites of today?

The post Ranked: America’s Most Searched and Visited News Sites by State appeared first on Visual Capitalist.

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Source: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/americas-most-searched-and-visited-news-sites-by-state/

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Blockchain

The New York Times just turned one of its columns into an NFT

The buyer will have the chance to be featured in the major newspaper and all proceeds of the sale will go to an NYT charity fund.

The post The New York Times just turned one of its columns into an NFT appeared first on The Block.

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The New York Times has turned one of its columns into a non-fungible token (NFT) and it’s up for grabs.

“Why can’t a journalist join the NFT party, too?” wrote NYT tech columnist Kevin Roose in a tweet thread explaining the initiative. 

According to the column, the proceeds of the 24-hour sale will go to the publication’s Neediest Cases Fund, which supports social causes in New York and elsewhere. In addition to this, the buyer will be featured in a follow-up article about the sale, along with their name, affiliation, and an image of their choosing. Buyers also have the option to remain anonymous. 

At press time, the NFT was bidding at 4.65 ETH (about $7,600) on NFT marketplace Foundation, which hosted the sale of the “Nyan Cat” graphic for $600,000. 

The Times is the latest publication to explore the use of NFTs, which are akin to digital certificates or tags connected to a piece of art or creative work. The data is held in the form of a token on a blockchain network, with the idea being that said tokens are unique and scarce.

TIME Magazine has minted and is in the process of selling three of its issue covers, currently bidding at 31 ETH (nearly $53,000). Quartz sold its first NFT news article for 1 ETH (about $1,800).

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Source: https://www.theblockcrypto.com/linked/99255/new-york-times-column-nft?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

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Blockchain

New York Times Writer Turns Latest Column Into NFT

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The information on or accessed through this website is obtained from independent sources we believe to be accurate and reliable, but Decentral Media, Inc. makes no representation or warranty as to the timeliness, completeness, or accuracy of any information on or accessed through this website. Decentral Media, Inc. is not an investment advisor. We do not give personalized investment advice or other financial advice. The information on this website is subject to change without notice. Some or all of the information on this website may become outdated, or it may be or become incomplete or inaccurate. We may, but are not obligated to, update any outdated, incomplete, or inaccurate information.

You should never make an investment decision on an ICO, IEO, or other investment based on the information on this website, and you should never interpret or otherwise rely on any of the information on this website as investment advice. We strongly recommend that you consult a licensed investment advisor or other qualified financial professional if you are seeking investment advice on an ICO, IEO, or other investment. We do not accept compensation in any form for analyzing or reporting on any ICO, IEO, cryptocurrency, currency, tokenized sales, securities, or commodities.

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Source: https://cryptobriefing.com/new-york-times-writer-turns-column-nft/

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