Friday Night Fun and Culture: Judy Collins

Music always has room for many male stars.  For female stars there is usually room for only a few, and then they are placed in competition with each other.  In the 1960s there were all sorts of incredible women performing what was loosely termed folk music.  While Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell immediately come to mind there was also Judy Collins, Sweet Judy Blue Eyes, which by the way is the title of her recent memoir.

Weather Extremes Hint At Public Health Impacts Of Climate Change

From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/08/weather-extremes-climate-change_n_1137587.html


Posted: 12/ 8/11

After a year of unprecedented destruction attributed to weather extremes, federal officials and environmental advocates are focusing increased attention on the potential health impacts of global warming, which most scientists expect to spur not just more frequent instances of extreme heat, but also increases in rainfall, drought, snow, floods and violent storms.

“Climate change poses a serious threat to public health,” Dr. George Luber, the associate director for climate change at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Thursday. Luber was speaking to reporters as part of the launch of an online, extreme-weather mapping tool developed by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“We have to really understand the local context of these extreme events and how they impact our communities by looking at them in what we call a spatially specific way, or in a way that really gets down to the geography of risk,” Luber said, “by addressing those particular aspects of our communities, our cities and our populations that make people more susceptible to the negative health consequences of climate change.”

Rising temperatures are expected to have an impact on all aspects of the public health infrastructure — from air and water quality to food safety, Luber noted. A warmer atmosphere, for example, retains more water, increasing the likelihood of historically heavy rains, which can subsequently overwhelm treatment facilities and spread disease. Rising temperatures can also exacerbate smog, causing increased instances of respiratory illness, or alter the ecology of insect-borne diseases like Lyme, West Nile virus and others.

“Recall that the largest waterborne disease outbreak in the United States — in Milwaukee in 1993 I believe — was preceded by the heaviest rainfall in 50 years,” Luber said. That event — an outbreak of the microscopic parasite cryptosporidium — resulted in 403,000 cases of intestinal illness, 54 deaths, and nearly $100 million in heath-related costs.

Continue reading at:   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/08/weather-extremes-climate-change_n_1137587.html

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off

Germany and France seek to control the Eurozone?

Constitutional foundation laid for trans equality

From The Washington Blade:  http://www.washingtonblade.com/2011/12/08/constitutional-foundation-laid-for-trans-equality/

By Dana Beyer
December 8, 2011

Reposted with permission

Co-authored by Jonathan Shurberg

On Dec. 6, 2011, a three-judge panel of the Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals issued a decision in the case of Glenn v. Brumby, a case involving a transgender woman who was fired from her Georgia state government job after disclosing her intention to transition from male to female. Her boss justified the firing by stating, “It’s unsettling to think of someone dressed in women’s clothing with male sex organs inside that clothing” and further concluded that a male in women’s clothing is “unnatural.” The trial court granted relief to Glenn on the basis of sex discrimination under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

There was no reason to think, prior to the opinion being issued, that this decision would be a favorable one. The 11th Circuit is arguably the most conservative in the nation, and one of the three judges on the panel hearing the Glenn case was William H. Pryor, Jr., formerly the attorney general of Alabama. While in that position, Pryor had submitted an amicus brief in support of the State of Texas in Lawrence v. Texas, in which the Supreme Court eventually outlawed anti-sodomy and other anti-gay laws. So Judge Pryor was certainly no friend to the LGBT community.

The Dec. 6 opinion, written by Judge Rosemary Barkett, a 1993 Clinton appointee, not only affirmed the trial judge’s ruling in favor of Glenn, but did so in broad and sweeping fashion. The court began by noting that, “[a] person is defined as transgender precisely because of the perception that his or her behavior transgresses gender stereotypes. There is thus a congruence between discriminating against transgender and transsexual individuals and discrimination on the basis of gender-based behavioral norms.” After surveying a series of other federal court decisions that support this proposition, the Court in Glenn reached its conclusion:

“An individual cannot be punished because of his or her perceived gender non-conformity. Because these protections are afforded to everyone, they cannot be denied to a transgender individual. The nature of the discrimination is the same; it may differ in degree but not in kind, and discrimination on this basis is a form of sex-based discrimination that is subject to heightened scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause. Ever since the Supreme Court began to apply heightened scrutiny to sex-based classifications, its consistent purpose has been to eliminate discrimination on the basis of gender stereotypes.”

These are sweeping words, clearly and concisely bringing the transgender community under the umbrella of basic equal protection principles.

In addition, the decision effectively undermines the “bathroom panic” argument of the opposition, stating that such fears “hypothesized or invented post hoc in response to litigation” are not genuine justifications.

Although the decision is clearly a positive and welcome one, it’s critical to recognize its limitations. As it is not a ruling based on Title 7 of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, it only applies in cases against government action — equal protection applies against the government, not against private actors such as businesses. However, Title 7 is frequently referenced in the opinion, which should ease the way forward on the next Title 7 case. There have also already been suggestions that state and local transgender protection laws are now either unnecessary or even illegal. We’re scratching our heads about that last one.

The fact is that, as welcome as the Glenn decision is, it sets a floor for basic equal protection coverage, not a ceiling, and even then, it only applies against government discrimination. In order to protect against private acts of discrimination, state and federal statutes banning such acts are necessary, and such statutes certainly may provide more protections than does the constitutional principle of equal protection, “filling in the details,” so to speak. In Maryland, we are poised to pursue such a statute at the state level, and the ringing endorsement of transgender equality under the Constitution set forth in the Glenn decision can only help speed the process of passing a fully inclusive law to protect transgender individuals from discrimination.

Dana Beyer, a retired physician and surgeon, is a trans advocate and executive director of Gender Rights Maryland. Jonathan Shurberg, a board member of Gender Rights Maryland and chair of its legislative committee, is a lawyer in private practice in Silver Spring. Reach them via genderrightsmaryland.org.

US attempts to shutdown OWS online

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off

Abortion is Legal: So Why is Self-Abortion Care a Crime?

From RH Reality Check: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2011/12/06/abortion-is-legal-so-why-is-self-abortion-care-crime

by Susan Yanow and Steph Herold
December 6, 2011

Last week, a 20-year-old woman in New York City was arrested on charges of “self-induced abortion” and faces first-degree misdemeanor charges.  Initial news reports indicate that she intentionally caused the miscarriage/abortion of her 24-week fetus.  The woman disposed of the fetus in what was probably the only way she could think of: wrapped in plastic bags and placed in the trash receptacle of her apartment building.

The prosecution of this woman echoes similar cases in Idaho, Massachusetts and South Carolina.  In spite of ever-increasing restrictions, abortion is legal through the second-trimester throughout the United States, although it is inaccessible to many women.  Yet if women safely end their pregnancies without medical supervision, they face criminal penalties.

The key word here is “safely.” There are many misconceptions about what happens during a non-surgical abortion.  In fact, abortion with medications (such as misoprostol alone or in combination with mifepristone) causes a miscarriage.  The symptoms of abortion with medicines in the first trimester are exactly the same as a miscarriage, and as safe.  Rarely do women who have a miscarriage need medical attention; the same is true for women having a medication abortion.

In the second trimester, the risks of a complication after a miscarriage, whether occurring spontaneously or provoked by medicines, is somewhat higher.  However, it is notable that the woman in New York City, like the women prosecuted in three other states, was in the second trimester and did not require any kind of medical intervention after her abortion.  We have to ask then – is the outcry when women choose to self-induce truly driven by the need to protect the health and safety of the woman?  Or is this another example of over-regulation because of the politics of abortion?

Continue reading at:  http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2011/12/06/abortion-is-legal-so-why-is-self-abortion-care-crime

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off

Newt Gingrich: Gov. Should Allow Terror Attacks To Remind People How Much We Need Them

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 159 other followers