Two separate challenges to the military's ''don't ask, don't tell'' policy -- and we heard about both of them.
Lt. Dan Choi, West Point grad, Iraq combat veteran, Arabic translator, was discharged from the Army National Guard yesterday by a military board because he had chosen to come out about being gay, as a deliberate challenge to ''don't ask, don't tell.''
Today, he told us he's going to be appealing the ruling, and detailed what life in uniform was like before he revealed his sexuality. One example -- he had to remember to refer to his beau, Matt, as ''Martha,'' to try to keep his private life private.
He took call after call from all of you, some of them supportive -- like the retired Marine Corps Reserve colonel in Irvine -- and some of them questioning whether gays belong in the military. Choi pointed out that most of this country's Western European allies have openly gay men and women in their militaries -- the same militaries that have served alongside U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The second legal challenge on ''don't ask, don't tell'' comes from California's Log Cabin Republicans. Their spokesman, Charles Moran -- who's been on the program several times -- said a federal judge has just rejected the federal government's request to have the case thrown out, which he counts as a victory in round one.
These two cases and the ongoing court consideration of Proposition 8 will keep this story at a boil for a good long while.
If you heard or read about Birmingham High School in Van Nuys this week, it was probably because of some edgy photos in GQ [that's GQ, original name Gentlemen's Quarterly, not CQ, the Congressional Quarterly].
In the pictures, actor Sacha Baron Cohen, ''Borat'' and now ''Bruno'' in an upcoming film, struck a sporty beefcake pose with the school's football team. The team had parents' permission, and hey -- it got $500 for it.
That's what I object to about the shoot: it's a paltry amount of money in a town where anybody with a power hedge trimmer can shake a location manager down for that much money just to cut the hedges after the film crew has finished the shot. But LAUSD superintendent Ray Cortines was said to be livid about the whole thing, and disciplined the principal and the athletic director.
The substantive headlines about Birmingham, though, are about the LAUSD board vote on whether to make Birmingham a charter school. It's the biggest school in the LAUSD, and its ''flipping'' to charter status raises significant questions about whether reforms within the district system can keep up with the needs and demands of parents and teachers.
We spent the beginning of the program talking to school board member Tamar Galatzan about the LAUSD board vote is set for tonight, and its consequences. We'll let you know what happens. We'll let Bruno know, too.
-- Patt Morrison