Putin's Gay Problem Won't Go Away: More than two hundred people assembled their gay (and gay-lovin') selves outside the Russian consular residence in Seattle yesterday at peak evening-news-hour to protest Russia's new law that criminalizes being gay. It was one of more than 20 around the world yesterday. Anna describes Seattle's protest here. A middle-aged woman standing by the fence asked me, will these demonstrations fizzle out soon? The answer is no. This is going to get bigger. This will blow up in Putin's face and become a ball and chain that stalks him at least through the Winter Olympics, and this is why: Horror stories of Russian gays being beaten and arrested will be nonstop news. Ordinary cases of gay bashings that used to go largely unnoticed will be mainstream international stories. Like this gay activist who was arrested. Or this story last month about a gay Russian teenager was kidnapped and beaten until he died from the injuries. It's miserable that gay people and their supporters are suffering like this—but their suffering will become the impetus to cast global attention on gay rights. Russia's new anti-gay law and the urgency of the Olympic spotlight give every horrible incident instant news value that puts President Putin on the losing side of a fire hose of coverage. That coverage—the nonstop outrage that it creates—will fuel more protests and diplomatic action. A man like Putin does not rise to the top of Russia's political heap without having an outsize ego, and Putin's ego is going to get beaten into hamburger.
Obama on the Global Imperative for a Strike on Syria: He says that “I didn’t set a red line” on chemical weapons, which were allegedly used by the government against civilians. “The world set a red line.”
The Law Always Bends to Public Opinion: "A 30-day rape sentence given to a teacher who admitted to raping his 14-year-old student may be illegal, according to the Montana judge who imposed it," CNN reports. "It appears the mandatory minimum is two years, not 30 days, the order said. The case drew widespread attention when District Judge G. Todd Baugh imposed the 30-day sentence on Stacey Dean Rambold and made controversial comments about the victim, saying she 'seemed older than her chronological age.'"
On the Other Side of the Door: Ariel Castro, who was convicted of capturing and abusing three young women for years, appears to have hanged himself in prison. In a statement, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty said, "This man couldn't take, for even a month, a small portion of what he had dished out for more than a decade," McGinty said in a statement."
What's Next—James Dobson Joining the Human Rights Campaign, Tim Burgess Joining the ACLU, the Seattle Times Editorial Board Joining Mensa International? Klansman gives $50 to join the NAACP.
Red Light, Green Light: A city report finds that Seattle's traffic signals are "trending toward failure," with many of the lights in poor condition, completely broken, and only re-timed every seven years (instead of the standard three years). The study funded by the Seattle City Council finds this may lead to a bloody victory for Mayor Mike McGinn's war on carsincreased congestion, delays, and accidents.
This Seattle Woman Is Missing: Can you help find her?
Russian Consule General Says Yesterday's Protest Was Based on Lies and Was a "Waste of Time": KUOW pinned down Andrey Yushmanov about the protest in front of his residence yesterday. He replied by e-mail:
As to the value of protests, I believe they can bring changes only if they’re honest and sincere and not misleading people. There is a flyer calling the people of Seattle to “make some noise and show … support for Russian queers” in front of our Consulate next week. Obviously based on wrong facts it seems to be just “some noise” and waste of time. Indeed there seems to be more sense in the calls to ban Vodka – reduction of alcohol consumption is anyway better.