After controversial Boy Scouts speech, Trump takes more traditional tone in remarks to young people

WASHINGTON – Two days after a controversial speech to a group of Boy Scouts, President Trump took a more traditional, inspirational tone Wednesday to another group of young people."I see the next generation of American leaders," Trump said in Rose Garden remarks to the American Legion Boys Nation and the American Legion Auxiliary Girls Nation.Still, Trump being Trump, he did inject a little bit of politics – namely, about his election win last year.“Just think of the amazing moments in history you will witness in your lifetime," he told the youngsters. "You saw one on November 8, right?”Trump drew criticism from many parents, and current and former scouts, for a Monday speech to Boy Scouts that at times sounded more like a political pep rally. Trump mixed life lessons, demanded a repeal of Obamacare, and attacked predecessor Barack Obama for never having attended the jamboree.  Related: After the speech, the Boy Scouts of America issued a statement clarifying, "the group "is wholly non-partisan and does not promote anyone position, product, service, political candidate or philosophy."Yet in the Rose Garden, Trump pretty much stuck to the script for presidents addressing young people, telling the Boys and Girls Nation delegates: “Never quit. Never give up. Take care of your family and your parents."The programs "play a critical role in educating the next generation of leaders on the importance of being engaged citizens and carrying on our Nation’s traditions," the White House said in a statement."As part of 'American Heroes Week,' this event focuses on fostering the heroes of the future, and the commitment the Trump Administration has toward providing a better future for all Americans." Continue Reading

George Takei outraged at Boy Scouts for dropping gay mom as a leader

George Takei will be in uniform on Sunday, but it won’t be to board the USS Enterprise. The iconic actor, best known as Lt. Hikaru Sulu on “Star Trek,” will be joined in the official Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation car by Ohio mom and former Boy Scout leader Jennifer Tyrrell at the 43rd Annual LGBT Pride March in New York City. The pair, who will each be accompanied by their respective spouses, will sport matching Boy Scout uniforms to protest Tyrrell’s ouster as a Scout leader for being gay. “I was a Boy Scout, and I have wonderful memories of my Boy Scout days and we had no issues like what has come up in recent times,” says the openly gay Takei. “I’m saddened and shocked by the policy the Boy Scouts have.” Tyrrell was a leader for her 7-year-old son’s Boy Scout troop in Bridgeport, Ohio, until April when the organization asked her to step down, noting that her sexual orientation “did not meet the high standards” of conduct set by the Boy Scouts of America. After she was forced to give up her post, her son, Cruz , was deactivated from his troop. Since then, the mother of four has started a petition that has got the attention — and signatures — of more than 300,000 Americans, including Julianne Moore , Ricky Martin , Benecio Del Toro . “The Hunger Games’” Josh Hutcherson and “Glee’s” Dianna Agron . On Sunday, Tyrrell, Takei and GLAAD will be joined by a number of current and former Scouts, both gay and straight, and their families, who will be sporting American Apparel shirts that read “GAY O.K.” “The Girl Scouts [of America] have no problem with it,” Takei, formerly a member of Troop 379, explains about the organization’s discrimination against gay scouts and LGBT leaders. After his time as a scout, the 75-year-old actor later served as a spokesperson for the group in a Continue Reading

Boy Scouts: Our ‘anti-gay’ policy stands

The Boy Scouts of America announced Tuesday that it will continue to enforce its policy of barring gay scouts and leaders after a confidential two-year review. The organization came to the conclusion after it quietly formed an 11-person committee, comprised of scout executives and adult volunteers, in 2010 to evaluate the 102-year-old policy, Boy Scouts' national spokesman, Deron Smith, told the AP. Smith said that the group unanimously agreed "that this policy is absolutely the best policy for the Boy Scouts." The members of the committee were not named, however a statement released by the organization said that the group "included a diversity of perspectives and opinions." "The review included forthright and candid conversation and extensive research and evaluations - both from within Scouting and from outside of the organization," the statement said. The Boy Scouts announced in June that it was considering a resolution proposed at the organization's annual meeting that demanded an end to the long-standing policy. The organization will no longer continue to review that resolution in light of the committee's decision, according to the AP. Bob Mazzuca, chief scout executive of Boy Scouts of America, said in a statement that he understands "no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society." "The vast majority of the parents of youth we serve value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within their family, with spiritual advisers, and at the appropriate time and in the right setting," Mazzuca added. MISSOURI EAGLE SCOUT ERIC JONES COMES OUT, LOSES BOY SCOUTS JOB The Scouts boasts nearly 2.7 million members and over 1 million adult volunteers - making it one of the country's largest youth organizations, according to ABC News. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the controversial policy in 2000, ruling 5-4 that the Boy Scouts was exempt from state laws that prohibit anti-gay discrimination. Continue Reading

President Obama joins Mitt Romney in opposing Boy Scouts ban on gay members

President Obama has joined his rival Mitt Romney in opposing the Boy Scouts’ policy of banning gay members, a White House spokesman told the Washington Blade. “The president believes the Boy Scouts is a valuable organization that has helped educate and build character in American boys for more than a century,” White House spokesperson Shin Inouye told the paper in a statement on Wednesday. “He also opposes discrimination in all forms, and as such opposes this policy that discriminates on basis of sexual orientation.” The White House statement came after Romney’s campaign told The Associated Press that the Republican supports opening the organization to all. Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul told the AP that Romney’s position has not changed since 1994, when he said, “I support the right of the Boy Scouts of America to decide what it wants to do on that issue. I feel that all people should be able to participate in the Boy Scouts regardless of their sexual orientation.” The Boy Scouts of America affirmed its controversial ban on openly gay scouts and leaders last month after a formal review of the policy. That affirmation increased pressure on both Romney and Obama to take a position on the issue. But Inouye told the Blade in a follow-up email that Obama won’t resign his position as honorary president of the Boy Scouts in protest. Since the Boy Scouts was founded in 1910, every U.S. president has served as honorary president during his term. [email protected] Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Boy Scout officials failed to stop admitted child molester and covered his tracks: report

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Confidential records show Boy Scout officials in the U.S. and Canada not only failed to stop an admitted child molester in its ranks, but sometimes helped cover his tracks. A Los Angeles Times and Canadian Broadcasting Corp. investigation finds scout leader Rick Turley molested at least 15 children, most of whom he met through American and Canadian Scouting beginning in the 1970s. Records show Boy Scouts of America officials didn't call police after he admitted molesting three boys. Turley then returned to his home country of Canada, where he signed on with Scouts Canada, and continued his abuses for at least a decade. Now 58, Turley says he is surprised at how often he got away with it. Turley is one of more than 5,000 suspected child molesters named in confidential files kept by the Boy Scouts of America. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Speaking to Boy Scouts, Trump attacks media and demands Obamacare repeal

President Trump first told a huge crowd of Boy Scouts at a national jamboree Monday that he didn't want to talk politics. "Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I'm front of the Boy Scouts?" he roared.But he couldn't help himself.As he extolled the life lessons offered by scouting, Trump also called for the repeal of Obamacare, praised the stock market — and mixed in familiar attacks on "fake news," inaccurate polls, and mocked his predecessor, Barack Obama."By the way, just a question: Did President Obama ever come to a jamboree?" he asked as the crowd of scouts, scoutmasters, and various other adults gathered in West Virginia yelled the word "no." "The answer is no," Trump continued. "But we'll be back." (Obama did address a 100th anniversary scouting event in 2010 by video.)Addressing the 2017 National Scout Jamboree at Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve, Trump complained about his political opponents and echoed one of his tweets earlier in the day by saying that he couldn't decide whether Washington is "a swamp," a "cesspool," or a "sewer."The president repeatedly bashed the news media for under-counting the size of his crowds and underestimating his election chances.He dwelt at length on his November victory, even giving a state-by-state by analysis of his Electoral College triumph over Democrat Hillary Clinton.Meanwhile, with the Senate planning a vote Tuesday on repealing Obamacare, Trump pointed to one of his traveling companions, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. "By the way, are you going to get the votes?" the former host of television's The Apprentice asked Price. "He better get 'em... otherwise I'll say, 'Tom, you're fired!'" It is still not clear what will be in the bill or whether it has enough votes to pass. The president also talked up the economy and the stock market, and said prosperity is "just the beginning." Trump did periodically work Continue Reading

NJ Boy Scouts evacuated as rain bursts dam near Grand Canyon

A trip to an area near the Grand Canyon is coming to an abrupt end for a group of Boy Scouts from Maplewood. A group spokesman says the six boys and three adult leaders were among dozens of people airlifted to safety after a Grand Canyon dam gave way yesterday, sending water into a tribal village. The boys were camping in a gorge near Supai, Ariz. They had spent the past year preparing for their trip by going through endurance training and raising money. Now their leaders and families are trying to get them home. Bridget Lai, whose son and husband are on the trip, says she's glad they're OK, but wants them to come home. Sunday's flooding came after days of heavy rain breached an earthen dam, but no injuries have been reported. Dozens of tourists and Hualapai Tribe members spent the night in Arizona shelters after being lifted out of a flood-devastated gorge off the side of the Grand Canyon by helicopters. Some people who were believed to be in the side canyon along Supai Creek were unaccounted for after the flood struck on Sunday. However, there were no reports of injuries. Rescuers planned to evaluate weather conditions and the level of flooding Monday morning before deciding when they could safely resume air evacuations, said Grand Canyon National Park spokeswoman Maureen Oltrogge. On Sunday, Cedar Hemmings and his small party returned from a hike to the spot where they had tied their rafts and discovered they were stranded by the flood. "We were basically stuck up the canyon without our rafts," he said. "We had no supplies, no food and very little water, we lost everything." The area of northern Arizona got 3 to 6 inches of rain Friday and Saturday and about 2 inches more on Sunday, said Daryl Onton, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Flagstaff. Early Monday, about 0.80 of an inch more fell on the area, the weather service said. "That's all it took — just a few days of very heavy thunderstorms," Onton said. About 6 a.m. Continue Reading

Trump’s Boy Scout speech may have set kids on the right path

Much of the media was shocked and horrified by President Trump’s Boy Scout Jamboree speech on Monday. Many commentators are talking as if Trump’s raucous, free-wheeling spiel exposed underage children to political pornography. Instead of railing against Hillary Clinton and boasting of his victory in last year’s election, Trump supposedly should have delivered the usual “our wonderful political system” speech.Some people will never forgive Trump for telling Scouts thatWashington is a “sewer.” Actually, that message could be an antidote to much of what Scouts hear. Trump’s speech, insofar as it spurs doubts about political authority, could be far more salutary than prior presidential Jamboree speeches.When I attended the 1969 Scout Jamboree in Idaho, President Richard Nixon sent us a message praising our idealism. But the type of idealism that Nixon and the Scouts often glorified was more likely to produce servility than liberty. Before being accepted into the Jamboree troop, I was interviewed by adult Scout leaders in a nearby town. The most memorable question was: “What do you think of the Vietnam situation?” Even 12-year-olds had to be screened for dissident tendencies.The Idaho Jamboree occurred one month before the Woodstock music festival. Instead of tens of thousands of people chanting antiwar slogans, the Jamboree exalted the military in all its forms. Instead of acres of half-naked hippies, the Scouts were protected by “uniform police” who assured that every boy wore a proper neckerchief at all times. Instead of Joan Baez belting out “We Shall Overcome,” the Scouts listened to “Up with People,” a 125-member singing group created as an antidote to “student unrest and complaining about America.”The motto for the 1969 Jamboree was “Building to Serve.” But I later wondered: Building to Serve whom? The Jamboree put one government official Continue Reading

New York branch of Boy Scouts of America hires gay adult employee — defying national leadership

The New York chapter of the Boy Scouts of America has made history by hiring an openly gay adult — and telling bigotry to take a hike. They have hired a gutsy 18-year-old Eagle Scout named Pascal Tessier to work as a camp counselor this summer at the Ten Mile River Scout Camp in upstate New York. And nobody is prouder than his mom. “I am,” said Tracie Felker, who lives in Hagerstown, Md., when asked about her boundary-breaking boy. “It’s not a brave thing he is doing,” she added. “It’s something necessary, something that needs to be done.” Legal eagle David Boies, best known for leading the fight against California’s anti-gay marriage law, said Tessier “embodies the best qualities of an Eagle Scout, and of America.” “Permitting him to continue his service to scouts and to scouting is the right decision for the Boy Scouts, and for our community,” said Boies, who is also a former scout. “In the past, barring boys and adults from being scouts and scout leaders solely based on their sexual orientation hurt them, hurt scouting, and hurt our communities. Ending that discrimination is an important step in putting an ugly chapter of American history behind us.” Zach Wahls of Scouts for Equality called the hiring of Tessier a "watershed moment." "For the first time in the history of the Boy Scouts, an openly gay adult will join their ranks as a camp counselor," he said. “Pascal Tessier was the first out gay scout, and now it appears that he will also be the first out gay leader.” New Yorkers interviewed said Tessier deserves a special merit badge. “It’s like the civil rights movement all over again,” said Kimathi McKay, a 20-year-old St. John’s University student and a former scout from Framingham, Mass. “I’m really happy the New York chapter is standing up against the national Continue Reading

Boy Scouts of America to meet in Times Square for the Pinewood Derby World Championship

This time, it’s personal. Two of the biggest names in small car racing are poised to face off once again at the Pinewood Derby World Championship on June 27 in Times Square. Brooklyn Cub Scout Lerrod (Roddy) Smalls II has lost two consecutive races to bitter rival Giancarlo Costa — but promises a different outcome this time. "I want to beat him!" says Roddy, 7. “I’ve gotten this far and I really don’t want to lose. I worked really hard.” In this model car version of the Thrilla in Manilla, 8-year-old Giancarlo is playing the Joe Frazier role, declining all interview requests as he, presumably, focuses on tweaking his design for the upcoming faceoff. His victories speak for themselves — but Roddy said he’ll avenge his losses at the “Showdown in Midtown” thanks to new aerodynamic features that will make his car fly. "We make the top straight so the wind can go over it," explains the member of Cub Scout Pack 1400 in Brownsville. And that’s the goal of Pinewood Derby, a time-honored American and Boy Scout tradition dating back to 1953. Each year, participating scouts receive kits containing four plastic wheels, four nails for axles, and a block of pinewood. With these materials, and not much else, they create model cars weighing five ounces or less that roll down an inclined track. "The event celebrates the process of working with your hands and seeing a project from start to finish," says Ethan Draddy, Scout Executive for the Boy Scouts of America's Greater New York Councils. "This is a project often done with son and father, giving kids hands-on experience working on a complex project. In 2015, that's more important than ever." The New York Councils of the Scouts has before hosted regional races, but the June 27 event is the first world championship in the Crossroads of the World. About 200 scouts from Continue Reading