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Oops! U.S. Military Recruits Gays

A wounded policeman is rushed to the hospital in Kirkuk, 290 kilometers (180 miles) north of Baghdad, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009. A roadside bomb struck a police patrol near the town of Daqouq, killing two policemen and wounding three others, Kirkuk police said. (AP Photo/Emad Matti)
AP Photo/Emad Matti
The Skinny is Keach Hagey's take on the top news of the day and the best of the Internet.


The military was just looking for a few good men.

Until USA Today pointed it out yesterday, the Army, Navy and Air Force were unwittingly advertising for recruits on a Web site for gays, those same gays who are barred from military service if they are open about their sexual orientation.

The minute the paper informed them that they were advertising on GLEE.com, a networking site for gay professionals, recuiters - no doubt turning several shades of mortified purple - yanked the ads.

"We didn't knowingly advertise on that particular Web site," said Maj. Michael Baptista, advertising branch chief for the Army National Guard. He said the site does not "meet the moral standards" of the military.

Most of the military jobs posted were for hard-to-fill position requiring advanced training, such as thousands of Navy openings for doctors, dentists, intelligence analysts and Arabic translators.

The ads were placed through GLEE.com's parent company, New York-based Community Connect, as part of an alliance with Monster.com. Betty Huang of Community Connect says the military services, through private ad agencies, bought Monster's "diversity and inclusion" package. It includes posts on her company's niche websites for minorities and gays.

Oops!

Steve Ralls of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a gay advocacy group, could not supress a snicker. He noted that gays "have been drummed out of the Armed Forces simply for using sites like GLEE."

FCC Chief Proposes Giving Deregulation Another Shot

You can bet Rupert Murdoch's coffee tasted extra-delicious this morning.

The New York Times leads with news that that the Federal Communications Commission's chairman has circulated an "ambitious plan to relax the decades-old media ownership rules, including repealing a rule that forbids a company to own both a newspaper and a television or radio station in the same city." (Like, say, running the New York Post and a local Fox TV outlet in New York, a longtime dream of Murdoch's).

This would be a major deregulatory move. The last time the FCC tried something similar, under former chief Michael Powell three years ago, it was hit with a tsunami of hate mail from groups on both sides of the political aisle. An appeals court overturned the rule change.

But media times have changed since then. The Internet has been slowly but surely sucking the life out of newspapers, and in so doing turning the companies that own them upside down. This wave of upheaval and consolidation, according to the Times, "has put new pressure on regulators to loosen ownership rules."

It's still up in the air whether Kevin Martin, the F.C.C. chairman, would really dare to push through such a thing with only the narrow majority among commissioners that currently support the plan. But one thing is clear: if he does, there will be a showdown.

"If the chairman intends to do something before the end of the year," said Senator Byron Dorgan, a Democrat from North Dakota, "then there will be a firestorm of protest and I'm going to be carrying the wood."

And how about some newspaper for kindling while your at it, senator? No one seems to be using them for much else these days. Maybe they can help save us from media consolidation after all.

Most Fake Bombs Missed By TSA's Screeners

USA Today provides something to ponder next time you're waiting in that snaking airport security line.

In more than 60 percent of tests last year, security screeners at two of the nation's busiest airports failed to find bombs carried by undercover agents posing as passengers, according to a classified report obtained by the paper.

Screeners at Los Angeles International Airport missed about 75 percent of simulated explosives and bomb parts that Transportation Security Administration testers hid under their clothes or in carry-on bags at checkpoints, a TSA report shows. At Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, screeners missed about 60 percent of hidden bomb materials that were packed in everyday carry-ons.

The failure rates "stunned" experts, the paper reports. Homeland Security Department's former inspector general, Clark Kent Erwin, called it a "huge cause for concern."

Nobody bothered to interview flyers, who might have offered responses ranging from "@#$%" to "@#$%^&*!%#@!."

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