Monday, July 19, 2010

The Queen & I

After much panicking (admittedly a bit unfounded), I have joined the ranks of the employed!!  In fact, I have joined the minority of folks who actually use their degree!  This is indeed rare across all degree fields, and I couldn't be happier. Every since I learned about what Public Diplomacy was, I've loved the field.  I became a PD believer from the start, learning all the different PD tools that could be used from international politics to international business. I would like to offer myself as proof of the value of the USC Master's in Public Diplomacy program, as it was my distinguished Director, Nick Cull who notified me of the position and the valuable classes which prepared me for the job.

As Communications Officer for the British Consulate-General in Los Angeles, I will be managing, among other things, the Digital Diplomacy strategy. This includes the Consulate website, Facebook and Twitter feed. I am pleasantly surprised to discover the social media savviness, or, at least, receptiveness of the Foreign and Common Wealth Office. But like many, I am scrambling to devour every piece of literature about using social media in public diplomacy. It's easy to end up spamming your audience and turn them away. There is truly an art to Digital Diplomacy, and I have been charged with mastering it. I look forward to my social media mandate for the Queen's government. I'll keep you posted on what I learn -- literally.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Twelve reasons gay marriage is wrong:

1) Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning. Also apparently those homosexual animals have picked up some unnatural behavior.

2) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

3) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

4) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

5) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britney Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

6) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.

7) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

8) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.

9) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

10) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

11) Gay marriage should be decided by the people, not the courts, because the majority-elected legislatures, not courts, have historically protected the rights of minorities.

12) Civil Unions, providing most of the same benefits as marriage with a different name are better, because a "separate but equal" institution is always constitutional. Separate schools for African-Americans worked just as well as separate marriages for gays and lesbians will.

From the Facebook Group,"Gay Marriage killed the Dinosaurs"

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Letter to Laura Schlesinger

At the risk of upsetting and offendmany, I had to repost this email I received:

In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, penned by a US resident, which was posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination ... End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I'm confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan,

James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus, Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education University of Virginia

(It would be a damn shame if we couldn't own a Canadian :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

PD and Human Rights

New Summer Issue of PD Magazine is out and it is a good one! PD and Human Rights:
"Public diplomacy serves as a force multiplier for nonstate actors seeking to affect change within global civil society.  To better understand the role of nonstate actors in promoting human rights in the international sphere, it is vital to first examine the theoretical frameworks within which these actors operate.
The authors in the lead section of Pursuing Human Rights Through Public Diplomacy provide us with an understanding of the positioning of nonstate actors in the diplomatic landscape and in international humanitarian law.  Professor Geoffrey Wiseman, a former program officer for the Ford Foundation and diplomat in the Australian Foreign Service, revisits his concept of polylateralism and the evolution of actors in the world of diplomacy. He creates avehicle for understanding how the respective contributors in this edition connect within the international system, reflecting on the specific challenges of tackling human rights issues from the state and nonstate level. Meanwhile, Dr. Dieter Fleck, former Director of International Agreements and Policy at the German Ministry of Defense, looks at the legal structures that define human rights and set boundaries for humanitarian aid, particularly during times of conflict. He examines the different interpretations of humanitarian legal principles by state and nonstate actors and their potential political consequences.
The rise of nonstate actors as agents of change marks an evolution of the international diplomatic and legal structures. Authors in this lead section tackle some of the most pressing structural questions that have appeared along with these new sets of actors.  Combined with the case studies and examples offered in the rest of this edition we hope to create a deeper understanding of the role nonstate human rights actors play and the various ways in which they can use public diplomacy to carry their messages further"
Check out the issue which has many important and interesting articles.