Grapevine: A tale of two athletes

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine...

Unprecedented Announcement

Basketball player Jason Collins became a household name Monday when he announced he is gay making him the first major American professional team sport athlete to do so.

In the media, Collins was hailed as a hero. President Obama even called to congratulate him.

But another pro athlete who has been candid about his identity has not always been greeted with the same warm and welcoming spirit.

On the same day as Collins' announcement, Tim Tebow was cut by the New York Jets leading many on social media to draw contrasts to how Tebow was treated for being open about his Christian faith and pro-life views.

Twitter lit up with those contrasts of media coverage of the two sports stars.

In a  2011 column, for instance, called "Should Tim Tebow be so flamboyant about his faith?" Joel Mathis writes -– quote -- "Most of us have learned to live with boundaries -- to avoid thrusting our religion into arenas where it is unexpected or unwelcome."

On the Chopping Block...

When the sequester took effect March 1st, the Department of the Interior warned of quote -- "devastating" consequences to national parks -- including reduced hours, shorter seasons, and the possible closure of hiking trails and campgrounds.

Since then, the Park Service has announced the designation of 13 new national historic landmarks -- including a Kentucky whiskey distillery, an artists' retreat in upstate New York, and three new national monuments.

Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma wants the department to rethink its priorities – quote -- "It makes little sense to expand the number of sites at the same time the budget of every other state park is being cut and visitors are being turned away from visiting the White House."

A spokesman for the secretary says the department has taken aggressive steps to reduce spending but since the sequester requires across-the-board cuts -- it quote -- "does not allow the flexibility to rob Peter to pay Paul."

Bearly Work

And finally, a summer job that is nothing if not cool.

Norway has an opening for a polar bear spotter.

It entails warning researchers of approaching polar bears and yelling very loudly; yelling loud enough to scare off those animals.

The job requirements enjoyment of the outdoors, ability to identify polar bears, and competence with guns -- just in case --  but the loud voice seems to be the biggest qualification.

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