Global carbon emissions at record high: IEA

From Yahoo News: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110530/wl_uk_afp/warmingemissionsairpollutionclimate

Mon May 30, 8:40 am ET

PARIS (AFP) – Carbon-dioxide emissions hit a record high last year, the International Energy Agency said on Monday, dimming the prospects of limiting the global temperature increase to two degrees Celsius.

“Energy-related carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2010 were the highest in history, according to the latest estimates,” the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a statement.

After a dip in 2009 caused by the global financial crisis, emissions are estimated to have climbed to a record 30.6 gigatonnes (Gt), a five percent jump from the previous record year in 2008, when levels reached 29.3 Gt, the IEA said.

Moreover, the IEA estimated that 80 percent of projected emissions from the power sector in 2020 are already locked in, as they will come from power plants that are currently in place or under construction today.

“This significant increase in CO2 emissions and the locking in of future emissions due to infrastructure investments represent a serious setback to our hopes of limiting the global rise in temperature to no more than two degrees C,” said Fatih Birol, the IEA’s chief economist.

Continue reading at:  http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110530/wl_uk_afp/warmingemissionsairpollutionclimate

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Stop the Granny Bashing: Despite What You May Think, Our Seniors Are in Trouble

Note:  This story is about two women in a long term relationship, who do not enjoy the security of marriage not the extra income they would have if one of them had been male.

I am an old lesbian with an even older partner and this is why marriage equality and issues involving Social Security/Medicare have a far higher priority on my agenda than does a transgender inclusive ENDA.

From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/economy/151094/stop_the_granny_bashing%3A_despite_what_you_may_think%2C_our_seniors_are_in_trouble/

We must fight the deficit hysterics’ relentless granny-bashing. Most people don’t grasp that this group has already been hit hard by budget cuts and the recession.

By Joshua Holland
May 30, 2011

“We lived very well,” said Norma Hair, 71, over a shaky table at the small pizzeria she runs in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, with 68-year-old Carol Schmidt, her wife and partner of over 30 years. “In 1979, Carol was making $33,000 per year, which was a lot of money back then. Then I rose to the position of supervisor of accounting in a company. So, our combined income [in the early-1980s] was probably about $60,000.”

The two women are sharp, with bright, youthful eyes and a slightly wicked sense of humor. But their bodies betray their years. “The reason we have nothing,” says Hair, “is because we spent everything we could on medical to keep Carol alive when we were in the United States.” Both women suffer from chronic heart problems in addition to other ailments.

“Hospitals have to treat you for life-threatening illnesses,“ explains Hair. “[Carol] got two lifesaving surgeries for nothing. But it was getting harder and harder, so I decided that it was easier if we traveled to different cities.”

So they did. They sold their home, bought an RV and toured the nation’s emergency rooms. “We were on the road for three and a half years,” says Schmidt, “just so we could go to a new ER each time and they wouldn’t be suspicious — oh, you’re back again?”

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/economy/151094/stop_the_granny_bashing%3A_despite_what_you_may_think%2C_our_seniors_are_in_trouble/

Dr. George Richard Tiller August 8, 1941 – May 31, 2009

Murdered by a Christian terrorist while standing up for women’s right to control their own bodies.

The misogynistic patriarchs of the desert religions hate and oppress women.

Like the impotent cowards they are, they send forth terrorists and assassins to do the dirty work while ripping off their followers by preaching hatred of women’s equality.

Now there is no doctor in Wichita, Kansas.  Bloody Kansas lives up to is name of Bloody Kansas.

Women of this nation lost a true hero of the highest order when Dr. Tiller was murdered.

We need show these unholy hordes of religious fanatic we will not be cowed or give in to the terrorism committed by religious fanatics.  It doesn’t matter if they are Islamo-fascists or Christo-fascists.

 

 

Americans Arrested Violently at the Jefferson Memorial — for Dancing

From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/rights/151128/shocking_video%3A_americans_arrested_violently_at_the_jefferson_memorial_–_for_dancing_/

So now the Jefferson Memorial is a “protected area” per the Patriot Act?

May 29, 2011

The wonderfully courageous people of Code Pink were roughly abused and arrested during a peaceful demonstration Saturday at the Jefferson Memorial.

These police thugs who grew up in the Reagan and post-Reagan Era haven’t a clue as to what this country and freedom are are about.

Isolation of Tradeswomen Melts at Rare Conference

From Women’s E-News: http://www.womensenews.org/story/labor/110526/isolation-tradeswomen-melts-at-rare-conference

By Susan Eisenberg
WeNews correspondent
Friday, May 27, 2011

Carolyn Williams, chair of the National Building Trades Department’s Standing Committee on Women in the Trades and director of the Human Services Department for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, opens the conference.

(WOMENSENEWS)–For women who work in construction–an industry where women’s work force percentage has been stalled at 2.5 percent despite more than 30 years of enormous efforts to open those occupations–national conferences provide a vital lifeline.

Until the weekend of April 29-May 1, there hadn’t been one in a decade.

The long hiatus was broken by the national AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department, which agreed in January to co-sponsor California’s annual AFL-BCTD-sponsored statewide conference, and let it serve double duty as the 10th conference for women in the state’s building trades and the first “Women Build the Nation” conference.

For women isolated in their workplaces and unions, the opportunity to make face-to-face connections with their counterparts, gain practical skills, talk strategy and hear information and commitments directly from national leaders was not only invigorating but offered life support.

The most raw moment came at Saturday’s noon plenary, when pioneer electrician Molly Martin, co-founder of the Bay Area’s Tradeswomen, Inc., asked from the stage, “How many of you have been the only woman in your trade on a job?”

Virtually all the hands shot toward the ballroom ceiling.

Continue reading at:  http://www.womensenews.org/story/labor/110526/isolation-tradeswomen-melts-at-rare-conference

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Christo-Fascists Tony Perkins & James Robison: America Needs Godly Leaders

Contracts Against Americans

From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/05/31-8

by Ralph Nader
Published on Tuesday, May 31, 2011 by CommonDreams.org

It is time to shine the light on the big, affluent corporate lawyers who anonymously create those non-competitive fine print contracts we all have to sign to purchase goods and services.

It’s time for an open letter to these Darth Vaders of business law who have destroyed our freedom of contract and built a new road to serfdom made of corporate cement.

Dear Attorneys for Contract Incarceration:

Remember when you were at law school studying contracts? Your professor pressed you socratically to understand Hadley vs. Baxendale et al. You spent just one or two classes on what are called “contracts of adhesion”—those fine print one-sided contracts that only make up 99% of all the contracts we’ll ever sign.

There they are—page after page exuding the silent message of “take it or leave it.” If you “leave it”, then you must cross the street to a competitor—an insurance company, credit card firm, bank, auto dealer, hospital, realtor, airline, student loan company or cell phone company, awaiting you is the same fine-print contract designed to nail you to the mast. Then there are the shrink-wrap software contracts you can’t even see before you buy.

If your contracts professor bothered to explain why so little course time is spent on these standard form contracts involving trillions of dollars in annual sales, he/she might have used the French phrase—”fait accompli.” After all, the consumer signed or acquiesced in some way. That met the basic principle of a binding contract, say the courts (with a rare exception now and then) which is a meeting of the minds between the willing seller and the willing buyer.

Discussion over! As a shopper, prepare for the daily coercive harmony.

Imagine all the times you’ve “met the minds” of Bank of America, Metropolitan, Aetna, General Motors, Wal-Mart, American Express, AT&T, Sallie Mae, U.S. Air and your favorite time-sharing company for that vacation trip to Antigua. What a myth!

In this legal fiction land, the law presumes that you’ve read the fine print and understood it. Inscrutability is no defense. It doesn’t matter that law professors, Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts and your partners admit to not reading the dense legalese when they shop. Why waste their time? They can’t get out of contractual prison anymore than you can. But you make zillions figuring out how to lock millions of Americans into one-side anti-consumer contracts.

Continue reading at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/05/31-8

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The Transphobia of Self-Loathing Transgender People

I’ve gotten tired of being abused and called names by members of the Transgender Borg Cult.

I still support issues like a trans-inclusive ENDA, Marriage Equality, and inclusive Hate Crimes law,s mainly because I know the Transgender Inc and Transgender Borg Cult do not speak for all transgender people, but are more representative of a bunch of heterosexual cross dressing  abusive men.

Too bad I already gave out the award for the coining of a new abusive term for post-transsexual women.  The phrase, “Genitalia Surgery Essentialists”

That means “anti-trans trans people” misses out.

Now I know what the person, who hurled this insult meant, and who it was directed at, but, if a phrase ever merited unpacking and deconstructing for analysis, it is this one.

Obviously it was directed at post-SRS women (in all this most F to M folks are sacred and immune to the abuse by the Transgender Borg Collective), particularly those who have the audacity to say “We are not ‘transgender’, stop labeling us as being transgender.”

Because being post-SRS and wanting to be just an ordinary woman is heresy according to the dictum of the Transgender Borg Cult.

There is however one group that seems immune to all these abusive labels and I am not talking about our, ever useful to the Transgender Borg cult, F to M brothers.

No there is another completely different set of transgender people who think it is of much higher status to claim you are transsexual, albeit “non-op” or “no-op”, rather than transgender.  These folks come off as “status seekers” sort of the way we have to put up with transsexual people who aren’t really transsexual, in spite of changing their assigned at birth sex in middle age, but are rather “intersex”.

Both groups come off as rather sad.  I sort of want to tell both to take up the Serenity Prayer, even if you are an Atheist and accept yourself for what you are rather than seeking to improve your status by claiming membership in another nearly equally despised and discriminated against group.

Learn to deal with it.  I’ve watched too many people spend too many years claiming to be transsexual when they are actually transgender.

If the Transgender Borg Collective ever gave up that trying to attach a higher status to transsexual and just accepted transgender as an equally valid status then they could perhaps focus on their own internal issues.

Transsexual and transgender are not the same thing.  Each group has it’s own set of issues that are different issues.

Instead of pointing a finger at post-transsexual women and coming up with new and abusive phrases for us y’all might want to examine your own lives and ask why you can’t accept and love yourselves as transgender people instead of claiming you are something you are not.

Too often I hear transsexual wannabees with a ton of reasons why they can’t get surgery now or why they couldn’t do it when they were young.  Or the it’s too hard to get the money.

Yeah its hard, many of us were totally cut off from our families because we decided to do this.  (I last saw my birth family in October 1967).  Many of us have had to do things like sex work that we didn’t want to do in order to survive and to get surgery.

You dishonor those sacrifices and struggles by demanding to be considered the same as us without getting your sex reassignment surgery.

The transgender community would be a far more supportive place for many very needy people if the Transgender Borg Collective laid aside all the freaking word games and status seeking and focused on developing the self esteem and self acceptance of actual transgender people.

But that would be too easy and envy/jealousy are to tempting.  Word games and name calling is too exciting.

The real trans hating transgender people waste their energy coming up with new insults for post-transsexual women and nursing excuses as to why they too can’t get SRS.  At the same time many have enough money to buy home, cars and travel to conferences,  things I would have never given priority to over SRS.  Even though I did spend the money a couple of times to get friends out of a jam.

As inequality spreads, Middle America speaks out

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For Anarchist, Details of Life as F.B.I. Target

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/29/us/29surveillance.html?_r=1&hp

By and
Published: May 28, 2011

AUSTIN, Tex. — A fat sheaf of F.B.I. reports meticulously details the surveillance that counterterrorism agents directed at the one-story house in East Austin. For at least three years, they traced the license plates of cars parked out front, recorded the comings and goings of residents and guests and, in one case, speculated about a suspicious flat object spread out across the driveway.

“The content could not be determined from the street,” an agent observing from his car reported one day in 2005. “It had a large number of multi-colored blocks, with figures and/or lettering,” the report said, and “may be a sign that is to be used in an upcoming protest.”

Actually, the item in question was more mundane.

“It was a quilt,” said Scott Crow, marveling over the papers at the dining table of his ramshackle home, where he lives with his wife, a housemate and a backyard menagerie that includes two goats, a dozen chickens and a turkey. “For a kids’ after-school program.”

Mr. Crow, 44, a self-described anarchist and veteran organizer of anticorporate demonstrations, is among dozens of political activists across the country known to have come under scrutiny from the F.B.I.’s increased counterterrorism operations since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Other targets of bureau surveillance, which has been criticized by civil liberties groups and mildly faulted by the Justice Department’s inspector general, have included antiwar activists in Pittsburgh, animal rights advocates in Virginia and liberal Roman Catholics in Nebraska. When such investigations produce no criminal charges, their methods rarely come to light publicly.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/29/us/29surveillance.html?_r=1&hp

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US keeps bluefin tuna off endangered list

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/05/28/us-keeps-bluefin-tuna-off-endangered-list/

By Agence France-Presse
Saturday, May 28th, 2011

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States on Friday rejected calls to protect Atlantic bluefin tuna as an endangered species, saying that while it was worried about overfishing it did not fear imminent extinction.

Environmental groups have repeatedly voiced concern that the global fad for Japanese food was driving the world’s stocks of tuna to dangerously low levels and have sought strong safeguards to preserve the species’ survival.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said it was putting Atlantic bluefin tuna on a watchlist of species at risk but would not classify it under the Endangered Species Act, which would bring legal protections.

“Based on careful scientific review, we have decided the best way to ensure the long-term sustainability of bluefin tuna is through international cooperation and strong domestic fishery management,” said Eric Schwaab, a senior official at the agency.

He said that the United States would continue to advocate strict international quotas on the number of tuna that can be hunted to “ensure the long-term viability of this and other important fish stocks.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/05/28/us-keeps-bluefin-tuna-off-endangered-list/

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America’s Vanishing Middle Class: A Tale of Two Economies

From The Harvard Business Review: http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/05/americas_vanishing_middle_clas.html

by Jeff Stibel
May 27, 2011

The US economy today borders on schizophrenic. To be sure, we are seeing signs of positive momentum. The last three months have delivered almost 250,000 new jobs per month on average. Great news, but at the same time, unemployment is growing and now exceeds nine percent. Both consumer confidence and small business confidence is higher than where they were last year. But confidence has been falling rapidly for the past few months.

Were Charles Dickens to show up as a commentator on the evening news, he would have a ready vocabulary to describe our current economic situation: This recovery is very much A Tale of Two Cities. After years of record low interest rates, multiple stimulus packages, and the expansion of tax cuts and credits, we are in the midst of a very real recovery, but it is a recovery characterized by asymmetry. Banks and major corporations are flush with capital — large businesses are recording record profits — but job growth is tepid, unemployment remains high and small businesses are struggling.

At first glance, the combination of record corporate profits alongside anemic job growth seems contrary, but the two are directly connected. The primary reason corporate profits are at record highs is that large companies learned to be lean and highly productive during the worst years of the recession. The profits generated through a reduced but more productive headcount has induced many large companies to continue this lean approach even as we emerge from recession. The result: record profits despite weak revenue growth, which leads to a lack of hiring.

The job growth problem is even more nuanced than that. It turns out that the hiring we are seeing is at the extreme ends of the spectrum. To ensure strong profits, corporations are cutting out the middle layers of management — the middle-class. In their place, they are hiring at the very low end and promoting at the high end. Senior management compensation is up nearly 25% this year ($9M for the average S&P 500 CEO), to levels higher than in pre-recession days, according to executive compensation research firm Equilar.

Continue reading at:  http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/05/americas_vanishing_middle_clas.html

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Amnesty International marks 50 years of fighting for free speech

From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/29/amnesty-international-marks-50th-birthday

Amnesty International: campaigning organisation started by Peter Benenson to free prisoners of conscience celebrates evolution from first protest

Tracy McVeigh
The Observer, Sunday 29 May 2011

When she was young, Manya Benenson’s dad told her a story of two frogs that fall into a bucket of cream and swim around and around. The first one gives up and drowns, the second keeps going until he finds his struggles have churned the cream to butter, and he climbs out. As a fable, she said, it could sum up the movement that the late Peter Benenson began in the Observer 50 years ago this weekend.

It was a day for sentiment and inspirational stories yesterday, as Amnesty International celebrated its birthday with an event at St Martins in the Fields in central London. The celebration was held at the same Trafalgar Square church where Benenson, a bowler-hatted barrister, slipped away from work in 1961 and sat alone to dream up what has become the world’s most renowned human rights organisation.

He had been enraged by reading a newspaper account of the arrest in Portugal of two students, whose crime had been to raise a toast to freedom. Benenson died in 2005 and yesterday his daughter Manya, 35, lit the Amnesty candle, symbolically ringed by barbed wire, in his memory, along with Wai Hnin Pwint Thon, a Burmese refugee whose father is serving a 65-year jail sentence for organising peaceful protests against the military junta in 2007.

“I don’t think I will see my dad again,” Wai Hnin Pwint Thon said after the ceremony. “But he always told me that as long as this regime is there, there is no happy ending for my family. My ten-year-old sister is still in Burma with my mother and I hope that one day she will have the chance of a better life and not have to leave. That hope is what Amnesty means to me.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/29/amnesty-international-marks-50th-birthday

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Why do so many right-wingers object to protecting gay kids?

From Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/notes/wipeout-homophobia-on-facebook/why-do-so-many-right-wingers-object-to-protecting-gay-kids-by-johann-hari/229929000355336

Johann Hari
May 29, 2011

Why do so many right-wingers object to protecting gay kids?

I am exhausted. I have spent all week trying to brainwash small children into being gay, by relentlessly inserting homosexuality into their maths, geography and science lessons. Their little eyes widened when the gay algebra lesson started, but it worked: their concept of “normal sexual behaviour” has been successfully destroyed. It’s all part of the program brilliantly co-ordinated by the Homintern to imposed The Gay Agenda on Every Aspect of British Life.

That, at least, is what you would believe if you had read some of Britain’s best-selling newspapers this week, or listened to some prominent Tory politicians. The headlines were filled with fury. The Conservative MP Richard Drax said gays were trying to impose “questionable sexual standards” on kids, while the Daily Mail said we were mounting a massive “abuse of childhood.”

Here’s what is actually happening. A detailed study by the Schools Health Education Unit found that in Britain today, 70 percent of gay children get bullied, 41 percent get beaten up, and 17 percent get told at some point in their childhood that they are going to be killed.

I’ll tell you the story of just one of them. Jonathan Reynolds was a 15-year old boy from Bridgend in South Wales who was accused – accurately or not, we’ll never know – of being gay. He was yelled at for being a “faggot” and a “poof”. So one day, he sat a GSCE exam – later graded as an A – and went to the train tracks near his school and lay on them. He texted his sister: “Tell everyone that this is for anybody who eva said anything bad about me, see I do have feelings too. Blame the people who were horrible and injust to me, see I do have feeling too. Blame the people who were horrible and injust to me. This is because of them, I am human just like them. None of you blame yourself, mum, dad, Sam and the rest of the family. This is not because of you.” And then the train killed him.

I guess nobody told Jonathan Reynolds that, as the columnist Melanie Phillips put it, “just about everything in Britain is now run according to the gay agenda.” The great Gay Conquest didn’t make it from her imagination to his playground, or any playground in Britain. Gay kids are six times more likely to commit suicide than their straight siblings. Every week, I get emails from despairing gay kids who describe being thrown against lockers, scorned by their teachers if they complain, and – in some faith schools – told they will burn in Hell. Every day they have to brave playgrounds where the worst insult you can apply is to call something “gay”. They feel totally lost. This could have been your child, or my child, or Melanie Phillips’ child.

Is it “political correctness” and “McCarthyism” to try to ensure these kids can feel safe in their own schools – or is it basic decency? A few very mild proposals were made this week for how to change the attitudes behind this. They came from an excellent organization called Schools Out, which is run with a small grant from the tax-payer. They gave out a voluntary information pack in which they suggested that, to mark LGBT History Month, teachers acknowledge the existence of gay people in their lessons. They could teach in history about how Alan Turing played a vital role in saving the world from the Nazis and paved the way for the invention of the computer, only to be hounded to death for being gay. They could learn in science that homosexuality occurs in hundreds of species of animals. They could – yes! – maybe even look in maths lessons at the census data, figuring out how prevalent gay people are.

We know that these lessons work in making gay kids much safer. The Schools Health Education Unit found that homophobic violence was dramatically lower in schools that taught about homosexuality. Good schools like Stoke Newington Secondary that followed this program were assessed to have “virtually eliminated homophobic bullying.” That has a very powerful educational purpose: when gay kids feel safe, they can learn.

Yet these pragmatic policies to make kids safe were presented as a wicked plot to endanger children. We can’t stop the endemic intimidation and violence if every time there is a policy to do it, it is grossly distorted and demonized in this way. The critics even whispered that gays want to “impose” sexuality on kids – with hints of the ugliest and oldest lie about gay men, that they are paedophiles.

Yet in one strange way, the current backlash is reassuring. When I was a kid in the 1980s, these sentiments were so widespread that a law – Section 28 – was passed to resolve them, and the cowed critics were derided as “the loony left.” Today, the opinion polls show 80 percent of the British people support gay marriage, and the people offering these views are regarded as the loons. It’s worth pausing and saying to all the people who have been open to persuasion and have changed their minds on this question: thank you. It’s incredibly moving to see how many heterosexual people have rallied to the defence of gay people, and it’s a reminder that we will never go back now.

But this anti-equality shouting still has an effect. It stops many schools from pursuing sensible policies that would save kids like Jonathan Reynolds, for fear of being accused of “political correctness gone mad” – so it’s important to answer the arguments now.

These critics don’t appear to understand what homosexuality actually is. In every human society that has ever existed, and ever will, some 3 to 10 percent of the population has wanted to have sex with their own gender. This is a fixed and unchangeable reality. The only choice is whether you are pointlessly cruel to them, or accept their harmless difference. Homosexuality is “normal sexual behaviour”: it occurs wherever human societies exist. It is not engaged in by a majority, but using that logic, Jews and Muslims are “abnormal” in Britain too – an ugly and foolish claim.

Informing children about these facts can’t make them gay. Nothing can. You can no more teach a child homosexuality than you can teach them left-handedness. Oddly, the homophobes seem to understand this about their own sexuality, but not about other people’s. I once asked Michael Howard, the architect of Section 28, if he would be gay now if he had been taught to be as a child. He moved very anxiously in his seat and mumbled something incoherent.

In order to justify their desire to discriminate against gay people, the few remaining homophobes have concocted a scenario where they are The Real Victims. They can say what they want, set up churches or mosques that preach what they want, and turn away gay people from their homes every day of the week if they so desire – and I would defend every one of those rights to the last ditch. There is only one thing they can’t do. They can’t choose to offer a service to the general public, and then turn people away on the basis of race or sexuality. They can’t put up de facto signs saying ‘No blacks, no Irish, no gays’ at their B&B.

This isn’t a form of prejudice – it is a way of preventing prejudice. Nobody will ever force you to work in a registry office or open a B&B, but if you choose to, you can’t reject the gay couples and expect to remain in post. (In one case where this happened, they offered her a job in the office instead, but she chose to be a bizarre cause célèbre of prejudice instead.) Services for the general public have to be available without contamination by bigotry. It’s a simple principle. Don’t demand the right to spit in the face of gay people, and claim you’re being picked on when you’re asked to stop.

Yes, I know your religious texts mandate bigotry against gay people. They also mandate slavery and stoning adulterers, and they laud a God who feeds small children to bears (see 2 Kings 2:23-24). As secular morality has evolved, you have managed to overcome those beliefs. Here’s another that has to catch up. If you were to defend Biblical literalism, you’ll end up as Stephen Green, head of the tiny Christian Voice sect, who argues for the execution of gay people and the legalization of rape by husbands. He supported the death penalty for homosexuality in Uganda – where the incredibly brave campaigner for gay equality David Kato was just lynched as part of the hate-wave.

When people say that a “deeply held religious conviction” should enable you to break anti-discrimination laws and treat gay people as second class citizens, I reply – what about the Mormons? Until 1975, they believed black people did not have souls. (They only changed their minds when the Supreme Court ruled it illegal, and God conveniently appeared to say they did have souls after all.) Should they have been allowed to run adoption agencies that refused to give babies to black people, because of their “deeply held religious conviction”?

But there is an even lower point in the homophobes’ rhetorical arsenal. Being subjected to bullying and violence as children and teenagers makes gay people unusually vulnerable to depression and despair. The homophobes then use that depression and despair to claim that homosexuality is inherently a miserable state – and we shouldn’t do anything that might “encourage” it. They create misery, and then use it as a pretext to create even more misery.

Yet Melanie Phillips, Richard Drax and the last raging band of homophobes are right about one thing. There is a “Gay Agenda.” They are only wrong about its contents. It has one item on the list, and one item only: to ensure that gay people are treated exactly the same as everybody else. That’s it. That’s all. That’s the sum total of our ambitions. To get there we may – yes – have to mention the existence of gay people in schools. It is the only way to save kids like Jonathan Reynolds, and make sure everyone knows – as he said in his final text, before the train hit – “I am human just like them.”

~Johann Hari

Thank you for taking the time to read this, please feel free to pass it on and share it with anyone you think it may help.

Saturday Night Flashback 1980s Edition

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US Politics of Fear

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Europe Sowing the Seeds of Hunger

From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2011/05/26-3

by Stephen Leahy
Published on Thursday, May 26, 2011 by Inter Press Service

LEIPZIG, Germany – Europe is facing a hungry future unless it changes agricultural policies and makes farmers the main participants in agriculture research, a new report has found. And there is little hope of meeting Europe’s recently announced goal of reducing the loss of biodiversity in ten years without making those changes.

France is suffering a severe drought but Europe’s seed laws prevent farmers from using a wider variety of seeds that could help them cope, says Michel Pimbert of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), non-profit research institute based in London.

“Our seed laws enforce uniformity. France can only plant approved seeds and those new varieties need a lot of water,” Pimbert, the author of the report told IPS.

“Farmers’ freedom to choose the seeds they plant and to use them to develop improved crop varieties and biodiversity-rich farming will be key to Europe’s response to climate change,” says Pimbert.

“Europe’s agriculture policies are preventing us from adapting to climate change. They are also bad for biodiversity since they force farmers to use an increasingly narrow range of seeds and animal breeds,” he says.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2011/05/26-3

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Sex-selective abortions on the rise in India

From Feministing: http://feministing.com/2011/05/25/sex-selective-abortions-on-the-rise-in-india/#more-33971

By Chloe
Published: May 25, 2011

According to new study published this week in the medical journal The Lancet, the number of sex-selective abortions being performed in India has been rising and continues to rise. The researchers estimate that between 4 million and 12 million sex-selective abortions have been performed in India in the last three decades. And in the past decade, the study found, the problem has worsened.

Despite legal restrictions making it illegal to use ultrasounds to determine the sex of a fetus, the practice has continued; it seems that these laws are rarely enforced and that private medical practices are largely unregulated. The result is that there are now 914 girls for every 1000 boys under the age of six. In 1961, the ratio was 976:1000. The New York Times reports:

Dr. Prabhat Jha, a lead author of the study, noted that the use of sex-selective abortions expanded throughout the country as the use of ultrasound equipment became more widespread. Typically, women from wealthier, better-educated families are more likely to undergo an ultrasound, Mr. Jha said, and researchers found that these families are far more likely to abort a girl if the firstborn is a daughter.

This is a story about abortion, of course, but it’s also about a much larger problem: the worth of a woman’s life. In a culture where, as the Times notes, sons inherit property and carry on the family name but daughters do not, girls are also more vulnerable to infanticide, abuse and neglect. In this context, it is understandable why some families would prefer female babies over male ones. This preference results not just in the abortion of female fetuses, but in the brutal mistreatment of women who fail to give birth to baby boys.

Continue reading at:  http://feministing.com/2011/05/25/sex-selective-abortions-on-the-rise-in-india/#more-33971

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When You Say “Drug Rehab,” We Say “Ex-Gay Therapy”

From Lezgetreal: http://lezgetreal.com/2011/05/when-you-say-drug-rehab-we-say-ex-gay-therapy/

by Cynthia S. Wright
05/28/2011

Leave it to the ole state of Georgia to use drug addiction as the perfect time to take someone to “ex-gay therapy.” Nice to see that our tax dollars are being used for the proper, effective channels of restoring someone’s perceived sexual malfunction, instead of treating a horrible illness, such as drug addiction.

A lesbian in Bartow County is suing the local Sheriff’s department, due to being taken to an “ex-gay therapy” center located in an evangelical’s couple’s home, instead of being taken to drug rehabilitation – which she was originally led to believe.

Sometime in April 2010, Amanda Booker’s family called the Bartow Sheriff’s department to arrest Booker for her drug addiction. Instead of taking Booker to the local psychiatric hospital, the deputies ignored the judges’ ruling and took her to another place, when they started harassing Booker about her sexuality after she began convulsing in the police car. Booker was later taken to the “evangelist” home of Chris and Donna McDowell, where they were given $600 in county funds to convert Booker back to a heterosexual (her drug addiction was not an issue, apparently).

In the lawsuit, Amanda Booker lists off Bartow County, but Commissioner Clarence Brown, Sheriff Clark Milsap and department employees, Mary Mayton, Nathan Gibbs, Pam Ploof and Amanda Pedifer and three other defendants.

The GA Voice reported that the lawsuit alleges that “At all times relevant to action, it was normal procedure, practice and custom of defendants Bartow County, Brown, and Milsap to punish homosexuals and persons holding different religious beliefs.”

Continue reading at:  http://lezgetreal.com/2011/05/when-you-say-drug-rehab-we-say-ex-gay-therapy/

Rick Scott, the Republican Governor of Florida Removes “Liberal Looking” Seniors from Townhall

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