Friday Night Fun and Culture: Sylvia Robinson RIP

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/30/arts/music/sylvia-robinson-pioneering-producer-of-hip-hop-dies-at-75.html?ref=obituaries

By
Published: September 30, 2011

Sylvia Robinson, a singer, songwriter and record producer who formed the pioneering hip-hop group Sugarhill Gang and made the first commercially successful rap recording with them, died on Thursday in Edison, N.J. She was 75.

She had been in a coma at the New Jersey Institute of Neuroscience and died there of congestive heart failure, a family spokeswoman said. Ms. Robinson lived in Englewood, N.J.

Ms. Robinson had a successful career as a rhythm and blues singer long before she and her husband, Joe Robinson, formed Sugar Hill Records in the 1970s and went on to serve as the midwives for a musical genre that came to dominate pop music.

She sang with Mickey Baker as part of the duo Mickey & Sylvia in the 1950s and had several hits, including “Love Is Strange,” a No. 1 R&B song in 1957. She also had a solo hit, under the name Sylvia, in the spring of 1973 with her sultry and sexually charged song “Pillow Talk.

In the late 1960s, Ms. Robinson became one of the few women to produce records in any genre when she and her husband founded All Platinum Records. She played an important role in the career of The Moments, producing their 1970 hit single “Love on a Two-Way Street.”

Continue reading at: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/30/arts/music/sylvia-robinson-pioneering-producer-of-hip-hop-dies-at-75.html?ref=obituaries

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I’m Tired of Being Bullied by the Lesbian Klan Who Represent a Small Minority of Feminists and Lesbians

Transsexual and Transgender Folks try to damned hard to be accepted by a bunch of irrelevant bigots.

Since I started exploring this topic of “radical feminism” aka “cultural feminism” aka “gender feminism” I’ve discovered a couple of things.  First:  Some women, who rightly fall in the conservative right wing camp were right in their criticisms of some of the things proposed by the “radical feminists”.  (Daphne Patai: Heterophobia: Sexual Harassment and the Future of Feminism and Christina Hoff Sommers: Who Stole Feminism?: How Women Have Betrayed Women)

I want to make it clear that I endorse neither Patai nor Sommers, however Sommers did lay out how cultural feminism, which she labeled as “gender feminism” became the post- 1970s face of Feminism.

Radical Feminism has nothing to do with NOW.  It has nothing to do with left wing revolutionary feminism.

It is more like a small cult of fanatical bigots.  The interesting thing is how most of them wear hoods (hide behind aliases) I give Bev Jo Von Dohre, Julie Bindel, and Sheila Jefferys credit for at least being open bigots rather than hiding behind aliases like GallusMag.

Yet when you scope out just who the spreaders of anti-trans hate and disinformation are on sites like Gender Trender you discover the same handful of aliases cropping up again and again.  I have to give them this many have the same level of tenacity as Zoe Brain shows on the Transgender side of the aisle.

These people should not be considered representatives of the LGBT/T  community nor should they be considered representative of the feminist community.  Although those communities act like the main line religions who refuse to denounce the religious fanatics among their midst.  Allowing this handful people to intimidate them into silence regarding the hate this tiny minority of “radical feminists” spew gives tacit approval to their message.

To cite an old cliche regarding the banality of evil, “All evil and hate needs to succeed is for good people to say nothing.

I am not one to remain silent in the face of evil.  Years ago, much to my regret I said nothing when these same bigots were trashing people I knew were good people.  I was afraid of losing the acceptance I had gained.  I overly valued a place and an acceptance that was all too fragile and conditioned upon my either remaining silent or joining in the bullying.

Eventually I realized my feminism was based on my personal values and not upon my being part of a group that allowed the bigotry of people like Jan Raymond to go unchallenged.

I realized that most lesbians didn’t give a shit about the politics, but were instead simply women who loved and had sex with other women.  I found many of them thought the games played by the cultural feminists and political lesbians (Explaining political lesbian is another column completely) were completely absurd.

I discovered that lots of lesbian couples were more interested in their careers, and other causes.  Many were part of the local Democratic Party organizations, the food movement, the Eco-movements. Not to mention the sit around and drink beer and smoke dope while screwing around playing music movement.

But digging into what makes these people tick was perversely interesting, as I have discovered that their filthy bigoted shit could have been scripted by Porno Pete LaBarbera, or Charlie Prince.  Or for that matter by anyone of thousands of homophobic, misogynistic religious bigots out there who have made life harder for women as well as LGBT/T folks.

Change the noun used in the rants of these people and you have the message of the racist or the anti-Semite.

Examining their material for more than an instant should make its contradictory hateful nature obvious to all but the most willfully blind.

The hateful shit put up on Gender Trender exposing the WBTs who went to the Michigan Wimmin’s Hate Fest, the maliciousness of their lies and abuse shows the real nature of these self-appointed “radical feminists”.

I would urge any post-transsexual women and transgender women too (who might want to extend their activism beyond the Borg) to look at what is happening with the folks who are with Occupy Wallstreet.  Or protesting the oil sands pipeline.

The women involved in those movements are real feminists unlike the self appointed “radical feminist wankers”.

Hell, Medea Benjamin of Code Pink and Robin McGee of Get Equal are leading movements that really are movements where feminism is a core value.

When I was a little transkid getting the shit abused out of me by the same sort of bullies as these “radical feminists” I learned I had a variety of options.  I could wage war against them or I could ignore them.  Or do a combination of both.

What I couldn’t do was accept that the bullies had a point, not when their point was that I was worthless as a human being.

I recently had an exchange with a douche bag named BevJo, who has stalked my friend Beth Elliott for some 40 years.

When she He’ed me and started trying to put me down, I engaged in verbal Aikido.

I stated that what she thought of me was meaningless and irrelevant.  Indeed she can think what ever she wishes regarding me.  I think she is full of shit and that what ever bile spews forth from her poisoned mouth is filth that I can ignore as having zero value.

I consider this person a bigot and anything she thinks or says has less value than a truck load of dioxin laced soil from a toxic waste clean up site.

My self esteem comes for inside.  It comes from those who know and like me.  It comes from the things I do and accomplish.

I don’t even need to stand in front of a mirror in the morning and recite positive affirmations, the way I did on the recommendations of a therapist back in the 1970s. Back then I made the mistake of internalizing some of the hateful shit spewed by these bigots and wound up in therapy.

No more.

Life has been hard and like the quote from Nietzsche, “That which does not kill us, only makes us stronger.”  I’ve turned into a resilient, tough old hippie woman and I don’t take shit from bullies.

A Massive Union Just Voted To Side With The Wall Street Protesters

From The Business Insider: http://www.businessinsider.com/a-massive-union-just-voted-to-side-with-the-wall-street-protesters-2011-9

Linette Lopez
Sep. 29, 2011

According to Daily Kos, The New York Transit Workers Union (TWU) voted to supportthe Wall Street Protestors at their meeting last night.

A member of TWU Local 100 told a reporter that they would join the protest Friday at 4PM.

Here’s more about them from their website:

The TWU has four main divisions: Railroad; Gaming; Airline; Transit; and Utility, University and Service. The Union has 114 autonomous locals representing over 200,000 members and retirees in 22 states around the country.

Occupy Wall Street has been picking up some decent support from unions in the past few days. Yesterday we reported that the Teamsters Union declared their support for protestors, and we also found out that the United Pilots Union had members at the protest demonstrating in uniform.

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Reality Struck: BBC’s ‘Goldman Sachs Rules’ eye opener

Romney to Share Stage with Bryan Fischer; PFAW Urges Candidates to Denounce Bigotry

Romney is a freaking pathetic ass kisser who is sucking up to people who hate him because he is Mormon and he just doesn’t get it.

He would probably have been better treated if he had been a moderate Democrat.

At least he wouldn’t have to kiss the ass of Christo-Nazi Bryan Fischer, who is pissing on him.

Plus he could have stood by some of the decent things he did as governor, like the Massachusetts Health Care Program he helped pass.

From People for the American Way:  http://www.pfaw.org/press-releases/2011/09/romney-to-share-stage-with-bryan-fischer

Press Release:  Sep 29, 2011

At next week’s Values Voter Summit, Mitt Romney is scheduled to take the stage immediately before Bryan Fischer, an American Family Association (AFA) spokesman with a long and shocking record of bigotry against gays and lesbians, American Muslims, Native Americans and other minority groups. Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain and Rick Santorum are also scheduled to speak at the event, which is sponsored by the anti-gay Family Research Council, the AFA, and other Religious Right groups. PFAW is urging these candidates for our nation’s highest office to condemn bigotry.

At next week’s Values Voter Summit, Mitt Romney is scheduled to take the stage immediately before Bryan Fischer, an American Family Association spokesman with a long and shocking record of bigotry against gays and lesbians, American Muslims, Native Americans and other minority groups. Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain and Rick Santorum are also scheduled to speak at the event, which is sponsored by the anti-gay Family Research Council, the AFA, and other Religious Right groups.

Last year, People For the American Way called on Romney and other prominent GOP leaders to denounce Fischer’s bigotry before appearing with him at the Values Voter Summit. This year, the event’s organizers kept Fischer off the list of “confirmed speakers,” but listed his Oct. 8 speech on an event schedule posted yesterday, PFAW’s Right Wing Watch reports.

  • He has written that African American welfare recipients “ rut like rabbits.”
  • Last year, Fischer insulted Medal of Honor winner Sal Giunta, who saved the lives of two fellow soldiers under heavy fire in Afghanistan, saying “we have feminized the Medal of Honor” because “we now award it only for preventing casualties, not for inflicting them.”

People For the American Way president Michael Keegan urged Romney and his fellow presidential candidates to denounce Fischer’s bigotry before appearing with him at the event.

“Bryan Fischer’s stunning record of public bigotry would make him a pariah in any sane political movement,” Keegan said. “But his long record of hate speech doesn’t seem to bother the supposed ‘mainstream’ GOP politicians like Mitt Romney and Rick Perry who are sharing the stage with him at an event sponsored by his employer. Candidates don’t have to agree with the views of everyone they appear with – but they should be wary of lending legitimacy to those who peddle hate and fear of their fellow Americans.

“If Mitt Romney wants to appeal to mainstream audiences, he should publicly disassociate himself from Fischer’s bigotry before handing him the podium.”

For more information on Bryan Fischer, see PFAW’s report, The GOP’s Favorite Hate-Monger: How the Republican Party Came to Embrace Bryan Fischer and the video Four Minutes of Hate: The Naked Bigory of the AFA’s Bryan Fischer .

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Class Warfare: Bring It On!

From Truth Dig: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/class_warfare_bring_it_on_20110928/

By Richard Reeves
Posted on Sep 28, 2011

LOS ANGELES—President Obama came out here last Tuesday to proclaim himself a “warrior for the middle class.” Would that it were true.

In a similar situation to what we have today—that is the rich get richer and the poor (and middle class) get poorer—President Franklin Roosevelt said of what used to be called plutocrats: “I welcome their hatred.”

I’m not sure that Obama, the rationalist beloved, is capable of talking that way or acting that way. Evidence be damned, he has acted as if we are in a time of rational discourse about class, job creation, incentives, and all the rest of modern populism. He seems to accept Republican and conservative blather about “job creators.” Where the hell have the job creators—rich investors and their banks—been these last few years of heartbreaking struggle for the middle and lower classes?

Well, they have been “creating wealth,” piled up in banks, profits and their own accounts. The “investing class,” as President George H.W. Bush called them, has been creating jobs—in China and other points east maybe, but not here.

In The Guardian in England, economist Richard Wolff has written:

“The charge of class war is particularly obtuse. Consider simply these two facts. First, at the end of the Second World War, for every dollar Washington raised in taxes on individuals, it raised $1.50 in taxes on business profits. Today, that ratio is very different: For every dollar Washington gets in taxes on individuals, it takes 25 cents in taxes on business. In short, the last half-century has seen a massive shift of the burden of federal taxation off business and onto individuals.

“Second, across those 50 years, the actual shift that occurred was the opposite of the much more modest reversal proposed this week by President Obama; over the same period, the federal income tax rate on the richest individuals fell from 91 percent to the current 35 percent. Yet, Republicans and conservatives use the term ‘class war’ for what Obama proposes—and never for what the last five decades have accomplished in shifting the tax burden from the rich and corporations to the working class.

Continue reading at:  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/class_warfare_bring_it_on_20110928/

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How Conservative Politicians Wait for God to Fix the Economy, With Frightening Results

From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/belief/152538/how_conservative_politicians_wait_for_god_to_fix_the_economy%2C_with_frightening_results/

The theology embraced by American religious conservatives may render them immune to evidence and reason when it comes to economic management.

By Joshua Holland
September 26, 2011

Is it merely partisan politics and the misguided ideology of “austerity” that leads conservatives to reject commonsense fixes for this miserable economy? Or is something else going on?

It may well be the latter. A study released last fall suggests that the theology embraced by American religious conservatives may render them immune to evidence and reason when it comes to economic management. The study found that a sizable minority share a uniquely faith-based view of how the economy functions, believing that both good and bad outcomes are an expression of God’s will, and are therefore beyond the reach of mere mortals.

This may help explain the disconnect between the gravity of our economic crisis and lawmakers’ – especially conservative lawmakers’ — decided lack of a sense of urgency in addressing it. Consider for a moment three related facts that, taken together, cast what appears to be the sheer madness of our nation’s economic stewardship in sharp relief.

First, we have an “infrastructure gap” of over $2 trillion. According to a report by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the nation’s “deteriorating surface transportation infrastructure,” if not upgraded, “will cost the American economy more than 876,000 jobs, and suppress the growth of the country’s Gross Domestic Product by $897 billion by 2020.” That doesn’t speak to energy or communications infrastructure – just roads and bridges and the like.

Second, the construction industry was absolutely devastated by the bursting housing bubble. While the overall unemployment rate hovers around 9 percent, it’s still at 13.5 percent for construction workers. The Architechtural Record estimated that 20-30 percent of the nation’s architects were jobless as of last fall.

Finally, in effect, investors are now willing to pay the United States government to lend it money. That’s right, after factoring in inflation, the real interest the government must pay on five- and seven-year bonds is currently in negative territory.

So we face a huge gap between our potential and actual output. People and equipment are standing idle, we have deteriorating infrastructure which, if left unrepared, the civil engineers tell us will cost the average American household $1,600 per year in higher prices and lower incomes, and the government has access to what is essentially free money to repair it — a move that would get a lot of unemployed people back to work in the process.

Within the reality-based community, this situation represents a true no-brainer. As economist Dean Baker writes, “We know how to get out of this mess, we have known how for 70 years. We just need the government to generate demand. That means spending money.”

But, according to the study — commissioned by Baylor University, the National Science Foundation and the John Templeton Foundation — only about one in five Americans adhere to a purely secular view of the economy. Almost three in four say, “I know God has a plan for me,” and within that group, about half believe the government is “trying to do too many things” that should be left to the private sector, eight in 10 believe “able-bodied people who are out of work shouldn’t receive unemployment checks” and more than 90 percent believe in the myth that the American economy represents a pure meritocracy in which people are limited only by their innate talents and appettite for hard work.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/belief/152538/how_conservative_politicians_wait_for_god_to_fix_the_economy%2C_with_frightening_results/

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Thom Hartmann: If Obama Doesn’t Want to Lead the Revolution – Young People Will

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The Keystone Pipeline Revolt: Why Mass Arrests are Just the Beginning

From The Rolling Stone:  http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-keystone-pipeline-revolt-why-mass-arrests-are-just-the-beginning-20110928

Inside the growing movement to shut down the environmentally devastating tar-sands project

By Bill McKibben
September 28, 2011
Let’s get the jail part out of the way right at the start. Central Cell Block in Washington, D.C., is exactly as much fun as it sounds like. In fact, the entire process of being jailed unfolded more or less as any observer of, say, the 84,000 episodes of Law & Order might imagine.

When we were hauled away from the gates of the White House on the morning of Saturday, August 20th, where 65 of us had been peacefully sitting in for an hour to urge the president to veto the proposed Keystone XL pipeline – a 1,700-mile fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the continent – we were taken, hands cuffed behind our backs, in paddy wagons to the Park Police headquarters across the river Anacostia. There we sat – hands still cuffed – on a lawn for a couple of hours, until one by one we were called inside, uncuffed and stripped of all but our clothes. (I mean all – they took away my wedding ring, which hadn’t been off in 23 years, saying, “Where you’re going, they’ll cut off your finger for that.”) An officer with a ballpoint pen filled out every form in triplicate. (The Park Police still seem to be deciding if the whole digital thing is going to work out – there were three IBM Wheelwriter typewriters circa 1974 on a desk, but Bic apparently remains the technology of choice.) We stood 15 men to a five-by-seven cell for five or six hours (until need finally overcame squeamish reticence and we used the toilet in the center of the cell). Eventually, they recuffed us and put us back in the wagon for the ride to Central Cell Block, still with no idea of our prospects.

There the District police fingerprinted us and locked us up, two apiece, in four-by-seven cells. No beds, just two stainless-steel slabs without mattress, sheet or pillow. (Shoes make decent pillows, but it’s harder than it sounds to sleep on bare steel – my hips were still bruised two weeks later.) We stayed there all night, all the next day and all the next night; baloney sandwiches and a Styrofoam cup of water arrived at 3 a.m. and 3 p.m. The lights never went off, the din was constant and the heat stifling. (We counted ourselves lucky, however, when we found out that the 20 women under arrest had been left in a single cell without beds of any kind, huddled together to keep warm as guards blasted an air conditioner at them.) The hours passed with incredible slowness, especially since the guards, who had taken our watches, kept lying about the time. But on Monday morning at 5 a.m. (we walked past a clock), they shackled us again, this time by the feet – you really do have to put your hand on the next guy’s shoulder, and shuffle down the hall, just like in the movies – and took us to the holding cell at the courthouse, where the 45 of us stood, feet cuffed together, in a giant cage with the rest of the District’s weekend criminals for about 10 hours. No food, no water – until finally, all of a sudden, they simply called us out and let us go. The judge, apparently, had dismissed all charges, and we were free.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-keystone-pipeline-revolt-why-mass-arrests-are-just-the-beginning-20110928

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Food and climate change: The forgotten link

From Grain:  http://www.grain.org/article/entries/4357-food-and-climate-change-the-forgotten-link

GRAIN
28 September 2011

Food is a key driver of climate change. How our food gets produced and how it ends up on our tables accounts for around half of all human-generated greenhouse gas emissions. Chemical fertilizers, heavy machinery and other petroleum-dependant farm technologies contribute significantly. The impact of the food industry as a whole is even greater: destroying forests and savannahs to produce animal feed and generating climate-damaging waste through excess packaging, processing, refrigeration and the transport of food over long distances, despite leaving millions of people hungry.

A new food system could be a key driver of solutions to climate change. People around the world are involved in struggles to defend or create ways of growing and sharing food that are healthier for their communities and for the planet. If measures are taken to restructure agriculture and the larger food system around food sovereignty, small scale farming, agro-ecology and local markets, we could cut global emissions in half within a few decades. We don’t need carbon markets or techno-fixes. We need the right policies and programmes to dump the current industrial food system and create a sustainable, equitable and truly productive one instead.

Food and climate: piecing the puzzle together

Most studies put the contribution of agricultural emissions – the emissions produced on the farm – at somewhere between 11 and 15% of all global emissions.[1] What often goes unsaid, however, is that most of these emissions are generated by industrial farming practices that rely on chemical (nitrogen) fertilizers, heavy machinery run on petrol, and highly concentrated industrial livestock operations that pump out methane waste.

The figures for agriculture’s contribution also often do not account for its role in land use changes and deforestation, which are responsible for nearly a fifth of global GHG emissions.[2] Worldwide, agriculture is pushing into savannas, wetlands, cerrados and forests, plowing under huge amounts of land. The expansion of the agricultural frontier is the dominant contributor to deforestation, accounting for between 70-90% of global deforestation.[3] This means that some 15-18% of global GHG emissions are produced by land-use change and deforestation caused by agriculture. And here too, the global food system and its industrial model of agriculture are the chief culprits. The main driver of this deforestation is the expansion of industrial plantations for the production of commodities such as soy, sugarcane, oilpalm, maize and rapeseed.

Continue reading at:  http://www.grain.org/article/entries/4357-food-and-climate-change-the-forgotten-link

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Listeria outbreak expected to cause more deaths across US in coming weeks

Getting away from Industrial mono-crop farming would help avoid these out breaks as would having an FDA that was well enough funded to have more food inspectors out there.

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/29/listeria-outbreak-us-cantaloupe-melons

Outbreak of listeria in cantaloupe melons from Colorado farm has caused at least 72 illnesses and up to 16 deaths so far

Associated Press in Washington
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 29 September 2011

An outbreak of listeria in cantaloupe melons in the US may cause more illness and deaths in coming weeks, say health officials.

So far, the outbreak has caused at least 72 illnesses and up to 16 deaths, in 18 states, making it the deadliest food outbreak in the country in more than a decade.

The Colorado farm where the potentially deadly cantaloupes were traced to, Jensen Farms in Holly, says it shipped fruit to 25 states, and people with illnesses have been discovered in several states that were not on the shipping list.

A spokeswoman for Jensen Farms said the company’s product is often sold and resold, so they do not always know where it ends up.

“If it’s not Jensen Farms, it’s OK to eat,” said Thomas Frieden, director of the US Centres for Disease Control. “But if you can’t confirm it’s not Jensen Farms, then it’s best to throw it out.”

The recalled cantaloupes may be labelled “Colorado Grown,” “Distributed by Frontera Produce,” “Jensenfarms.com” or “Sweet Rocky Fords” but not every recalled cantaloupe is labelled with a sticker, the US Food and Drug Administration said. The company said it shipped out more than 300,000 cases of cantaloupes that contained five to 15 melons each, meaning the recall involved 1.5m to 4.5m pieces of fruit.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/29/listeria-outbreak-us-cantaloupe-melons

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European Parliament: World Health Organization must stop treating transgender people as mentally ill

From the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights:  http://www.lgbt-ep.eu/press-releases/who-must-stop-treating-transgender-people-as-mentally-ill/

Press Release:

September 29th, 2011

In a resolution adopted yesterday, the European Parliament has called on the World Health Organization to stop considering transgender people as mentally ill. Gender dysphoria is currently classified as a ‘mental and behavioural disorder’ in the WHO’s International Classification of Diseases.

The text adopted yesterday “calls on the Commission and the World Health Organization to withdraw gender identity disorders from the list of mental and behavioural disorders, and ensure a non-pathologising reclassification in the negotiations on the 11th version of the International Classification of Diseases.”

The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) serves as a global reference on physical and mental troubles. Until 1990, the ICD also classified homosexuality as a mental illness. The list is currently under review; the next version should be finalised in 2015, after lengthy consultations.

Emine Bozkurt MEP, Member of the LGBT Intergroup and author of the amendment, explained: “Transgender identities are still considered a mental disorder by the World Health Organization. This must be changed urgently, and certainly by the time the next version comes into effect in 2015. Transgender people wishing to live in a body that matches their identity are of course entitled to medical treatment and its benefits, but the negative stigma surrounding them must stop.”

Vice-President of the LGBT Intergroup Raül Romeva i Rueda MEP continued: “Considering transgender people mentally ill means they are not free to decide for themselves, and are often disrespected by the medical profession, their employers and their families. This call sends one clear message to the Commission and the WHO: the pathologisation of gender identity must stop, as the pathologisation of homosexuality ended in 1990.”

The European Commission takes part in ongoing negotiations for the next version of the International Classification of Diseases. Members of the European Parliament expect the Commission to take account of the Parliament’s call, adopted across political parties.

Country music brings home US economic woes

Country Music and its relatives,  American folk music and the blues were common working folks music long before they were discovered by and popularized by college kids and corporations.

One of the joys of moving to Texas was connecting with Texas country, which has a rawness and authenticity that died in Nashville many years ago.  Nashville country runs to safe Corporate Pap errrr Pop.  The country music I like tends to be labeled alt-country or outlaw country and be represented by folks like Willie Nelson and the late Townes Van Zant.

I’m glad that BBC picked up on country music that is usually found a bit left on the dial down below 100 on the FM where one finds the listener supported and college stations instead of the Clear Channel crap.

I’m also glad some mainstream country folks have discovered their fan base is hurting.

From BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15069653

By Paul Adams: BBC News, Connecticut
September 26, 2011

It’s known for tackling some of life’s grittier issues, among them loss, poverty and nostalgia. But today’s country music lyrics are turning to the effects of economic hardship.

Country music and hard times. A cliche perhaps, but try telling that to legions of fans across the United States, many of whom are on the frontlines of economic struggles, seeking solace in the music.

Fans like 53-year-old Jim Yocius, from Windsor, Connecticut.

“For the first time in my life, I feel very vulnerable,” he says outside the Comcast Theatre in Hartford, before a concert by Country star Toby Keith.

Barbecue smoke drifts over serried ranks of pickup trucks as fans enjoy pre-concert tailgate parties.

“I feel like that older white male who did everything right, and now I feel like the next generation really wants me gone,” he says.

Continue reading at:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15069653

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An act of conscience — going over the fence against the XL pipeline

From Rabble Ca: http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/fwilson/2011/09/act-conscience-going-over-fence-against-xl-pipeline

By Fred Wilson
September 27, 2011

Holding hands with Maude Barlow and marching with Dave Coles, Tony Clarke, Graham Saul, George Poitras and a group of Aboriginal leaders, we marched slowly towards a metal fence. Media blocked our way and it was difficult to see past them to the police awaiting us, but it seemed to me that they were standing back rather than moving forward to confront us. That was comforting and a small sign that this would more or less go as planned. We were supposed to spread out at arms length to give each of us room to step up onto the lower bar of the fence and swing the other leg over. But the media funnelled us into a narrow space and that just wasn’t going to happen. Coles was first over, the rest of us one or two at a time after. An RCMP approached and told me that I was in a restricted zone and if I did not go back over the fence he would arrest me. He asked again to make sure I understood. Plastic cuffs bound my hands behind me and that was it — my first arrest in a lifetime of political and labour activism.

This was an act of conscience against the Keystone XL pipeline which in spite of Canadian regulatory approval a year and a half ago has not yet received U.S. approval and has not commenced construction in Canada.

Dave Coles, President of CEP, and I were representing our members who have stood opposed to the pipeline and the model of development it represents from its inception. CEP opposed XL at the National Energy Board, appealed their decision to cabinet and then sought leave in federal court to force a judicial appeal.

Continue reading at:  http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/fwilson/2011/09/act-conscience-going-over-fence-against-xl-pipeline

 

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Bolivians march against Evo Morales over jungle highway crackdown

From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/29/bolivians-march-against-evo-morales

President halted construction in wake of police violence but remains accused of betraying native peoples

Associated Press
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 28 September 2011

Tens of thousands of Bolivians have taken to the streets to reproach President Evo Morales over a police crackdown on indigenous protesters.

The marchers decried the perceived betrayal by Bolivia‘s first Indian president of his prime constituencies: native groups and environmentalists.

“Evo was a very strong symbol for many people. He embodied principles of justice, of human rights. But now these people are disenchanted,” said Jim Shultz, an analyst with thinktank the Democracy Centre, which works on Bolivian issues.

Some Bolivians, such as 44-year-old schoolteacher Juana Pinto, said Morales had proved a disappointment. “This government is the worst and it should go because it attacked human beings, the indigenous compatriots who had given it their support, and now it’s turned its back on them,” said Pinto, who took part in a march that brought central La Paz to a standstill.

The president issued a statement saying the protests had been a “profound wake-up call” for his government following weekend police action that broke up a march by Indians protesting against a proposed highway through their protected Amazon reserve.

“I could never order such violence as has been seen by the Bolivian people,” Morales said in a statement released to news media. He asked for forgiveness from the families of the protesters and urged indigenous groups to hold talks with the government.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/29/bolivians-march-against-evo-morales

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Study Finds Students’ Knowledge of Civil Rights History Has Deteriorated

Really?

Who would have thought that possible what with all the trashing of everything that came out of the 1960s and all the Hippie punching.

I lost any delusions I might of had about Obama being any sort of progressive the minute he said how much he respected Reagan and how essential Reagan was in ending the “excesses of the 1960s and 1970s.”

They have erased the history of every people’s movement this country has had for the last hundred years.

I have people who weren’t there and are clueless  argue with me about events I was a part of.  This is why Howard Zinn and James Loewen are such important historians.

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/28/education/28civil.html?scp=1&sq=history%20civil%20rights%20movement&st=cse

By
Published: September 28, 2011

When Julian Bond, the former Georgia lawmaker and civil rights activist, turned to teaching two decades ago, he often quizzed his college students to gauge their awareness of the civil rights movement. He did not want to underestimate their grasp of the topic or talk down to them, he said.

“My fears were misplaced,” Mr. Bond said. No student had heard of George Wallace, the segregationist governor of Alabama, he said. One student guessed that Mr. Wallace might have been a CBS newsman.

That ignorance by American students of the basic history of the civil rights movement has not changed — in fact, it has worsened, according to a new report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, on whose board Mr. Bond sits. The report says that states’ academic standards for public schools are one major cause of the problem.

“Across the country, state educational standards virtually ignore our civil rights history,” concludes the report, which is to be released on Wednesday.

The report assigns letter grades to each state based on how extensively its academic standards address the civil rights movement. Thirty-five states got an F because their standards require little or no mention of the movement, it says.

Eight of the 12 states earning A, B or C grades for their treatment of civil rights history are Southern states where there were major protests, boycotts or violence during the movement’s peak years in the 1950s and ’60s.

“Generally speaking, the farther away from the South — and the smaller the African-American population — the less attention paid to the civil rights movement,” the report says.

Alabama, Florida and New York were given A grades. Those states require relatively detailed teaching about the decade and a half of historic events, roughly bookended by the Supreme Court’s 1954 school desegregation ruling and the April 1968 assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the enactment of the federal Civil Rights Act a week later.

Many states have turned Dr. King’s life into a fable, said Mr. Bond, who now teaches at American University and the University of Virginia. He said his students knew that “there used to be segregation until Martin Luther King came along, that he marched and protested, that he was killed, and that then everything was all right.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/28/education/28civil.html?scp=1&sq=history%20civil%20rights%20movement&st=cse

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Obama must face meaningful Democratic primaries

From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/sep/27/obama-democratic-primary-ralph-nader

Only a slate of serious candidates can oblige the president to listen to his loyal Democratic base as he runs for re-election

guardian.co.uk,
Tuesday 27 September 2011

America’s two-party dictatorship – a model unknown in any other western country – keeps reinventing the ways it closes doors not just on third party candidates but on any challenges to their incumbent presidents within the party’s primaries.

Now, it is the turn of the Democrats to make a mockery out of the first amendment rights of others to speak, assemble and petition their government by running inside the upcoming presidential primary season that runs from January to June 2012. After President Obama took his liberal/progressive base for so many one-sided corporatist rides in his administration, he and his allies are very determined to give him a free ride by having him campaign around the country on Air Force One as an unchallenged, one-man primary.

This tedious scenario would have his supporters watch President Obama repeatedly respond, on his omnipresent teleprompter, to the crazed Republicans and their issues – instead of offering a ringing affirmation for his second term of the neglected majoritarian liberal/progressive agendas.

Clearly, the Republicans are not going to initiate any attention to getting out of the quagmire wars in Iraq, Afghanistan/Pakistan and the mini-wars elsewhere. Republicans are not going to ask why Obama did not press forward for full Medicare for all, instead of his limited, incomplete, corporate-subsidised Obamacare. Nor are the Republicans going to demand that he explain why he has turned his back on labor and the impoverished, whose hopes for change he raised so high with specific promises in 2008.

But with one in three workers receiving Walmart-level wages, with 45,000 of the 50 million people without health insurance dying each year for lack of coverage, with pensions for millions of Americans being looted or drained by their corporate masters, with tax systems skewed for the wealthy during high unemployment, and with the White House routinely engaged in constitutional violations in its foreign/military adventures, the “no debate” mantra deepens autocracy.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/sep/27/obama-democratic-primary-ralph-nader

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‘Occupy Wall Street’ Fighting Bankster Greed and the Surveillance State

Along with Mainstream Media making a concerted effort to deny left wing protest by people being injured in the Class War that is being waged by the rich upon the poor we have started to hear all sorts of un-American, anti-constitutional proposals such as limiting the right of the poor to vote.

We are subjected to the PATRIOT ACT which helped legitimatize a police state. Can we expect another attempt at shoving sedition laws down our throats that will criminalize our making disparaging comments about the Fed and other corporations?

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/story/152554/%27occupy_wall_street%27_fighting_bankster_greed_and_the_surveillance_state/

Over a week in, and despite mass arrests, the protesters are still camped out around the corner from Wall Street, and the Internet is watching.

By Sarah Jaffe
September 27, 2011

The crackdown on the Wall Street protesters this weekend seems to have backfired. The campsite-cum-experiment in radical democracy is still there, holding general assemblies just shouting distance from Goldman Sachs and the Wall Street bull. It even appears to be growing.

The complaints that the media has ignored the sustained protest seem to be resonating—the park has cameras aplenty today, and food trucks line one side of the plaza. (Local eateries have been taking out-of-town orders for protesters.) Tourists seem to be catching on that this is something, as they snap pictures of protest signs.

While even theoretically like-minded folks had been a bit dismissive of the Wall Street occupation before Saturday, the heavy-handed moves by police to control a small march have brought worldwide attention to Zuccotti Park, formerly Liberty Plaza. The Guardian has broken stories ahead of the New York media, outing the police officer caught on tape pepper-spraying penned-up protesters as the same officer named in a wrongful arrest lawsuit from 2004′s Republican National Convention protests.

Techniques honed from the “Battle in Seattle” in 1999, including penning up protesters with temporary fences or an orange mesh net, were deployed in 2004 and then exported to the UK in the past year, as student activists fighting their government’s attempt to impose fee hikes on university attendees found out when they were trapped outside in so-called “kettles” for hours in the cold, unable to leave.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/story/152554/%27occupy_wall_street%27_fighting_bankster_greed_and_the_surveillance_state/

The Federal Reserve Plans To Identify “Key Bloggers” And Monitor Billions Of Conversations About The Fed On Facebook, Twitter, Forums And Blogs

From The Economic Collapse:  http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/the-federal-reserve-plans-to-identify-key-bloggers-and-monitor-billions-of-conversations-about-the-fed-on-facebook-twitter-forums-and-blogs

September 25, 2011

The Federal Reserve wants to know what you are saying about it.  In fact, the Federal Reserve has announced plans to identify “key bloggers” and to monitor “billions of conversations” about the Fed on Facebook, Twitter, forums and blogs.  This is yet another sign that the alternative media is having a dramatic impact.  As first reported on Zero Hedge, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has issued a “Request for Proposal” to suppliers who may be interested in participating in the development of a “Sentiment Analysis And Social Media Monitoring Solution”.  In other words, the Federal Reserve wants to develop a highly sophisticated system that will gather everything that you and I say about the Federal Reserve on the Internet and that will analyze what our feelings about the Fed are.  Obviously, any “positive” feelings about the Fed would not be a problem.  What they really want to do is to gather information on everyone that views the Federal Reserve negatively.  It is unclear how they plan to use this information once they have it, but considering how many alternative media sources have been shut down lately, this is obviously a very troubling sign.

You can read this “Request for Proposal” right here.  Posted below are some of the key quotes from the document (in bold) with some of my own commentary in between the quotes….

“The intent is to establish a fair and equitable partnership with a market leader who will who gather data from various social media outlets and news sources and provide applicable reporting to FRBNY. This Request for Proposal (“RFP”) was created in an effort to support FRBNY’s Social Media Listening Platforms initiative.”

A system like this is not cheap.  Apparently the Federal Reserve Bank of New York believes that gathering all of this information is very important.  In recent years, criticism of the Federal Reserve has become very intense, and most of this criticism has been coming from the Internet.  It has gotten to the point where the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has decided that it had better listen to what is being said and find out who is saying it.

“Social media listening platforms are solutions that gather data from various social media outlets and news sources.  They monitor billions of conversations and generate text analytics based on predefined criteria.  They can also determine the sentiment of a speaker or writer with respect to some topic or document.”

Continue reading at:  http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/the-federal-reserve-plans-to-identify-key-bloggers-and-monitor-billions-of-conversations-about-the-fed-on-facebook-twitter-forums-and-blogs

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Thom Hartmann: European Market Predicted to Melt Down Within Next 12 Months

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The new sparks of labor resistance

From Socialist Worker: http://socialistworker.org/2011/09/28/sparks-of-labor-resistance

There’s a new surge of labor struggles in the U.S.–and what unites them is the activism and solidarity on display, despite a hostile media and aggressive employers.

Editorial
September 28, 2011

PICKET LINES are popping up with greater frequency across the U.S.–and strikers are displaying a new, fighting mood that exists among growing numbers of working people fed up with being forced to pay for an economic crisis caused by Wall Street and Corporate America.

These struggles represent a challenge and an opportunity for working-class activists and socialists to put forward a strategy for taking on Corporate America and the business-backed attack on public-sector workers.

The struggles are varied. They include teachers who defied a judge’s order to win a strike in Tacoma, Wash.; hospital workers who struck the Kaiser health care system in California for two days, with nurses honoring the walkout; professors on the picket line at Long Island University in New York; Hyatt hotel workers carrying out a weeklong strike at six hotels in four cities; members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) blocking trains filled with scab cargo at the port of Longview, Wash.; a strike at the Central Park Boathouse restaurant in New York City against a notorious union-buster; and the beginnings of a campaign by postal workers’ unions against the assault on their members at the U.S. Postal Service.

All this follows the two-week strike at Verizon in August, where roving pickets and demonstrations at the company’s wireless stores caught management by surprise–and, earlier this year, the uprising in Wisconsin against Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s union-busting attack on public-sector workers.

Workers haven’t yet prevailed in all of these struggles, nor will all of them win in the future. But what unites these fights is the activism and solidarity on display, despite a hostile corporate media and aggressive employers.

Continue reading at:  http://socialistworker.org/2011/09/28/sparks-of-labor-resistance

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