Dr. Blackwell's BLOG

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Austin Police Department Reminds Us, It Gets Better

Filed under: American Life and Society — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 20:38


The Austin Police Department recorded one of the best “It Gets Better” campaign videos I’ve seen to date. The video really pulled at my heartstrings and brought some tears to my eyes. Started by Dan Savage, the It Gets Better campaign started in the aftermath of multiple gay youth suicides that occurred across the country about 2 years ago. Take a look at their touching video below:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Madonna to Perform for Super Bowl Half-Time Show

Filed under: American Life and Society,Popular Music,Sports and Athletics — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 01:35


The Queen of Pop, Madonna, will be the main performer for the Half-Time show for Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN on February 5th, 2012. Madonna confirmed the news yesterday, although many news outlets were reporting that she was finalizing negotiations to perform in the show late last week. Madonna is, of course, pulling out all the stops for her performance. She is partnering with Cirque Du Soleil, Jamie King, and multimedia artists from Movement Factory to make this the best Super Bowl performance ever. Be sure to watch Madonna’s performance, which will be televised worldwide on February 5th.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Research Study Shows High Level of Ignorance among Fox News Viewers

Filed under: American Life and Society,National and International News — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 01:10

  While there have been plenty of research studies assessing the bias of Fox (Faux) News Channel, a new study indicates that those who view Fox News are significantly more likely to be misinformed of factual truths in current events. The study, conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, found not only were Faux News viewers more likely to believe falsities about current events, but that the more exposure to the channel viewers had, the more likely they were to be ignorant of factual information. The study compared several national news companies including CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and PBS. Faux News viewers had statistically significant higher levels of ignorance and believed the following items to be actual truths, despite the fact they are all incorrect. The data speak for themselves:

  • Most economists estimate the stimulus caused job losses (12 points more likely)
  • Most economists have estimated the health care law will worsen the deficit (31 points)
  • The economy is getting worse (26 points)
  • Most scientists do not agree that climate change is occurring (30 points)
  • The stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts (14 points)
  • Their own income taxes have gone up (14 points)
  • The auto bailout only occurred under Obama (13 points)
  • When TARP came up for a vote most Republicans opposed it (12 points)
  • And that it is not clear that Obama was born in the United States (31 points)
  • Thursday, January 28, 2010

    President Obama Delivers a Knockout State of the Union Address

    Filed under: American Life and Society,Politics — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 02:28

    On Wednesday night, President Barack Obama “knocked one out of the park” in what many are calling a “home run” State of the Union Address. In his first Union Address, President Obama discussed some of this successes and setbacks of his administration in his first year as President. Perhaps more importantly, he also outlined some specific plans to stimulate America’s Bush/Republican-ravaged economy and lower the $3 trillion deficit he inherited from Bush when he took office. A salient point the President made was the need for bipartisanship to make forward-progress. He also promised to take action on the military’s discriminatory ban on allowing openly gay servicemen and women to serve in our nation’s armed forces.

    The nation agrees. Polling data released by CNN right after the State of the Union Address indicates a positive perception. 78% of participants indicated an overall “Very Positive” or “Positive” reaction to President Obama’s Address. 71% also reported they believed the policies being proposed by President Obama “will move the country in the right direction.” 66% indicated a level of confidence for President Obama’s abilities to carry-out his duties. And 67% believed President Obama’s plans will “improve the economy.”

    Personally, the two pieces of legislation I am most proud of President Obama signing into law thus far are the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act, which included sexual orientation and gender identity in federal intervention in the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes, and The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which provides $237 billion in individual tax cuts over the next few years where America needs it the most–the Middle Class . Congratulations to President Obama on his successful State of the Union Address. Let’s hope the Republicans and Democrats can somehow come together to bring America the progress it so desperately needs. With the addition of a Republican to the Senate, the mandate to work together has never been stronger. Below, watch President Obama pledge to repeal the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy:

    Saturday, November 7, 2009

    Republican Representative Threatening UAB Partner Benefits

    Filed under: American Life and Society,GLBT Social Issues and Civil Rights — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 02:48

     Alabama Representative DuWayne Bridges is garnering support from fellow Republicans to pass state legislation to take away domestic partner benefits from employees at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). UAB recently added domestic partner benefits, including health insurance, to its benefits package, citing their inability to attract top candidates to become Faculty in their College of Medicine because the top Universities in the United States offer such benefits. “I don’t think the univer­sity should waste money by making a liberal or politi­cally correct statement,” Bridges said. I wonder what kind of “conservative statement” will be made if the Republicans pass these laws, leaving hundreds of people without health insurance having to rely on taxpayers to foot the bill of their health expenses. Don’t you just love it? MORONISM at its best! Go Republicans–What a joke!!!

    Saturday, October 10, 2009

    President Barack Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize

    Filed under: American Life and Society,National and International News — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 00:00

    President Barack Obama by tehboypop.  President Barack Obama, who has been in the White House for little more than 9 months, was named the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 today. The White House was notified at 5:00a.m. this morning. President Obama joins a small and prestigious list of world leaders who have been honored with the reward. When Al Gore received the reward in 2007, I remember feeling so sad that we should have had a Nobel Peace Prize winner as President; but instead, we were handed a President who would eventually earn the lowest approval ratings of any President in American history and who was responsible for an endless number of social, economic, and military disasters. President Obama was humbled by his selection:

    “I am both surprised and deeply humbled by the decision of the Nobel Committee. Let me be clear: I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations. To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who’ve been honored by this prize — men and women who’ve inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace. But I also know that this prize reflects the kind of world that those men and women, and all Americans, want to build — a world that gives life to the promise of our founding documents. And I know that throughout history, the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it’s also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes. And that is why I will accept this award as a call to action — a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century.”

    CONGRATULATIONS President Obama…The United States of America is PROUD that you have been selected as the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient!

    Tuesday, June 23, 2009

    Outrage Hits Home

    Filed under: American Life and Society,Film and Entertainment — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 03:08

    The Girlfriend ExperienceI finally had the opportunity to see the documentary Outrage (directed by Academy Award nominee Kirby Dick) tonight at the Enzian Theater in Maitland. The movie highlights closeted gay politicians (which are 90% Republican according to the most prominently featured advocate in the film) who actively legislate against progressive laws which promote equality among gay and lesbian Americans. Mountains of evidence are brought to the surface against the common culprits (Florida Governor Charlie Crist, Idaho Senator Larry Craig, and shamed former Representative Mark Foley); but in addition, a large number of other politicians are outed in the film. In addition to the outing of the lawmakers’ sexual orientations is their voting records on gay rights issues–all of which are absolutely abysmal. Perhaps this film couldn’t have been released at a better time.

    GLBT rights organizations are up-in-arms against the Obama Administration for its slow response to addressing GLBT issues, particularly elimination of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policies. While I agree Obama needs to put some “pedal to the metal,” I am also willing to give him a little time given the massive amount of “mess” he inherited from our nation’s worst President ever. Still, action speaks louder than words and it’s time to start making some strides here.

    In the end, Outrage highlights something research has long supported as evidence–Being OUT brings equality. Even my own doctoral dissertation research showed just how powerful being out can be. The Registered Nurses in my study who personally knew an openly gay or lesbian person as a friend or family member were MUCH less likely to harbor homophobic attitudes, perceptions, and discrimination. In this day and time, there’s simply no acceptable excuse for remaining in the closet. Outrage is an excellent film but hurry! It closes Thursday night at Enzian. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit http://www.enzian.org or visit the movie’s official Site @ http://www.outragethemovie.com/

    Thursday, June 11, 2009

    Horror at United States Holocaust Museum

    Filed under: American Life and Society — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 01:30

    View ImageAn 88 year-old white supremacist entered the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Wednesday in Washington, DC and engaged in gunfire which resulted in the death of 39 year-old security guard Stephen Tyrone Johns. The suspect, identified by law enforcement sources as James W. von Brunn, of Annapolis, was said to be a longtime, “hard-core” supremacist whose Internet writings contain extensive, poisonous ravings against Jews and African Americans. The slain guard worked for the Wackenhut security company and had been employed at the museum for six years, the museum said. Funding for the building of The United States Holocaust Museum began under President Jimmy Carter in 1978 and was finally dedicated in 1993 by President William Jefferson Clinton.

    Just a little over a month ago, my best friend and I spent about 5 hours visiting this museum. The experience is definitely a somber one; the feeling you get walking through this museum can’t really be described in words. It is an experience that leaves a mark on your spirit and touches your soul. This is a sad and absolutely tragic occurrence. For something like this to ever happen in the first place is certainly alarming; but for it to occur in a place of peace and remembrance for one of the worst events to ever occur in world history, which cost millions of innocent lives, is unfathomable. My prayers go out to this man’s family and friends. May he rest in peace knowing he was protecting one of our nation’s most beloved and important treasures. Below, Holocaust scholar Dr. Deborah Lipstadt, who is currently in a visiting research position with the museum, discusses the horrific incident with the Washington Post:

    Wednesday, June 3, 2009

    A Sad DADT Discharge Example

    Filed under: American Life and Society,GLBT Social Issues and Civil Rights — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 20:52

    While movement from President Barack Obama on his promise to end the United State’s military ban on openly gay service personnel has been slow, discharges under the policy have not been. Here is a heartbreaking interview with Lt. Colonel Victor Feherenbach who, despite having numerous accolades for his over 18 years of experience in the United States Air Force, is being discharged under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and Don’t Pursue Policy. Let’s hope President Obama can begin work to reverse this dangerous and discriminatory policy very soon.

    Tuesday, April 21, 2009

    Research/Polling Shows Changing Beliefs

    Filed under: American Life and Society,GLBT Social Issues and Civil Rights,Politics — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 02:26

    hrclogo.jpgThere’s probably no better state in the nation to gauge the current barometer of social conservativism in a large populace than Texas. The state which brought us the worst president in the history of the United States is staunchly Republican and highly conservative in their political ideology and voting behaviors. This is exactly why recent polls, indicating an increasing acceptance towards equality for gays and lesbians is so important in a more national context. In 1985, Houston’s business establishment and some of its leading politicians led a successful campaign to overturn its city ordinance that would have protected gay city employees from job discrimination. But now, 24 years later, according to the latest Houston Area Survey, fewer than half of Harris County residents believe homosexuality is morally wrong, 61% believe it’s an innate characteristic rather than a lifestyle choice, and 43% believe gay marriages should have the same legal status as heterosexual ones — up from 32% just two years ago.

    Rice University Sociologist Dr. Stephen Klineberg conducts the annual survey. These data show that beliefs about homosexuality and gay and lesbian civil rights issues are changing, even in areas where social conservativism has long had a stronghold. Social science and even nursing-related research has long indicated gay peoples’ “coming out” and being open and honest with their friends, family, and coworkers as a main reason most are changing their viewpoints. The research in my Doctoral Dissertation showed a strong correlation between heterosexuals’ personal relationships with openly gay or lesbian persons and decreased levels of homophobia.  Perhaps summarized best by Houston gay rights activist Ray Hill, “It’s not about what they think about us, it’s about what we think about us. There is almost no reason in the world for anyone to be closeted any more.” (Source: chron.com)

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