The week at a glance ... United States
AnchorageReporter handcuffed by candidate’s staff: A journalist covering a public event was handcuffed and detained by private security guards for Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller this week. Tony Hopfinger, editor of the online Alaska Dispatch, was peppering Miller with questions about his tenure as a borough attorney when a scuffle broke out between Hopfinger and the guards. Miller called Hopfinger a “liberal blogger” trying to stage a “publicity stunt.” Hopfinger said, “I was just doing my job.” Later, Miller, who had vowed not to answer questions about his past, admitted he had been disciplined for using government computers for political purposes when he was borough attorney for Fairbanks North Star. Miller, who’s been endorsed by Sarah Palin, is running against Democrat Scott McAdams and incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski, whom Miller defeated in the GOP primary.
DallasCub Scouts dump gay dad: The openly gay father of a 9-year-old Cub Scout said this week that he had been removed from a leadership role in his son’s pack because of his sexual orientation. Jon Langbert, who has organized popcorn fundraisers for his son’s Pack 70 for the past two years, was told to relinquish his Scout leader uniform after another parent complained about him at a Scout meeting in September. “What message does that send to my son? It says I’m a second-class citizen,” Langbert said. Boy Scouts of America policy, upheld in 2000 by the U.S. Supreme Court, prohibits gay or atheist leaders. “Our mission is to take young people and prepare them for an exceptional adulthood,” said BSA spokesman Deron Smith. “That’s why our policy is the way it is.”
Raymore, Mo.Man survives sewer run: A Missouri construction worker survived a nearly fatal flush last week when he traveled a mile and a half through the city sewer system after a fall. Daniel Collins, 30, a contract worker with a local construction company, was examining a sewer drain in Raymore, a Kansas City suburb, when the safety line on his harness broke. Rushing water propelled him through a 27-inch-wide sewer pipe for some 90 minutes before rescue workers, who were frantically lifting manhole covers along the route, heard him call out, “Guys, I’m down here, can you help me?” Half-conscious and suffering from hypothermia, Collins was airlifted to a Kansas City hospital, where he was treated with antibiotics to counter the effects of ingesting sewage; he was in critical condition.
Washington, D.C. Pentagon accepts gay recruits: In a reversal of long-standing policy, the Pentagon told military recruiters last week that they could accept openly gay and lesbian applicants. The historic change follows this month’s ruling by a federal judge that halted enforcement of the Pentagon’s 17-year-old “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. The Justice Department is appealing the decision. A Pentagon memo stated that recruits who volunteer information about their sexuality should be warned that the ruling may still be reversed, in which case they could be subject to dismissal. Some gay service members who were discharged under DADT said they planned to re-enlist. Omar Lopez, an openly gay Texas college student who was discharged in 2006, said, “I wouldn’t go back as a gay man; I’d go back as a soldier.”
New Haven, Conn.Yale fraternity’s sexist chants: A Yale University fraternity that counts both Bush presidents among its alumni has apologized after a video surfaced on YouTube showing prospective fraternity members marching through campus chanting obscenities in what a campus women’s group called “an active call for sexual violence.” Pledges to Delta Kappa Epsilon, which boasts “the maintenance of gentlemanly dignity” as one of its founding objectives, chanted phrases including “No means yes, yes means anal” during the campus march. DKE later publicly apologized in a forum arranged by university officials. “It was a serious lapse in judgment by the fraternity and in very poor taste,” said fraternity President Jordan Forney.
Waltham, Mass. Thomas’ wife phones Anita Hill: Nearly two decades after Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during hearings to confirm his appointment to the Supreme Court, Thomas’ wife left a voice mail for Hill suggesting that Hill apologize. In the Oct. 9 message left on Hill’s office phone at Brandeis University, Virginia Thomas wished Hill a good morning, then continued: “I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband.” Thomas later issued a statement saying she’d intended the message as “an olive branch.” Hill responded: “She can’t ask for an apology without suggesting that I did something wrong, and that is offensive.”