Deval Patrick, Massachusetts Governor, Signs Transgender Equal Rights Bill Into Effect

I’m fucking sick and tired of hearing Taliban Christians and Radical Feminist pissing and moaning about how  transsexual and transgender people having employment and accommodation rights is is going to infringe upon rights of Taliban Christians and Radical Feminists to freely exercise their bigotry.

From Huffington Post:

First Posted: 1/20/12

Massachusetts officially became the 16th state to treat transgender citizens as a protected class today as Governor Deval Patrick hosted a ceremonial signing of the groundbreaking rights bill.

As Colorlines is reporting, the law legally protects transgender individuals from discrimination in housing, education, employment and credit, in addition to providing additional civil rights and protections from hate crimes.

“I sign this bill as a matter of conscience; people should be able to come before their government as equals,” Patrick is quoted as having said as he signed “An Act Relative to Gender Identity” into law. Though Patrick had actually signed the bill in his office in late November, Thursday’s event was a ceremonial start-of-the-year one that drew an overflowing crowd from the local transgender community, local network WWLP is reporting.

“This law is about affirming rights,” Gunner Scott, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC), is quoted by Bay Windows as saying. “This law is for people who think they can deny us those rights… This piece of paper is not magic, but for many of us it is the result of hard work that will change our lives.”

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Shit New Ager People Say

Former President says Newt Gingrich “appeals” to racist groups

From The Orlando Liberal Examiner:

Orlando Liberal Examiner January 19, 2012

If you have been paying attention to any of the Republican debates you will notice a recurring theme, race. Whether it’s subtle or not so subtle comments, every Republican candidate has had an obsession with the African-American community as well as other minorities. One of the biggest statements that has brought attention to the Republican field is former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich’s comments about young children and janitorial work. Newt Gingrich claims that children around the age of 10, in low-income areas should be given the job of janitors while firing the current adults who hold the position. While Newt Gingrich claims that janitors in New York make an “obscene” amount of money, acrroding to the average salary of a janitor is around $22,000 a year. Head janitors, those who run the school and are in charge of all the people below them, can crack the $100,000 a year markwith massive overtime and years put in at the job.

By what Newt Gingrich has said, he wants to roll back child labor laws, putting dangerous chemicals and heavy equipment in the hands of young children, all at the same time firing hardworking adults who have a family to feed and bills to pay. Newt Gingrich, along with many other Republicans, direct these comments towards low-income families and minorities, in particular the African-American community. Newt Gingrich has even stated that food stamps are an African-American problem, despite more white Americans receiving them. Republicans will always cry “reverse racism” and blame the “liberal left,” but the truth is easy to see.
Former President Jimmy Carter is one who has noticed what has gone on and hasn’t been shy about making a comment towards the Republican party and Newt Gingrich.
President Carter: “I wouldn’t say he is racist, but he knows the subtle words to use to appeal to a racist group….When you emphasize, over and over, welfare, food stamps, and ‘why don’t the black people get jobs,’ and if I’m president, I’ll make sure they turn toward a work ethic, rather than an ethic of welfare and food stamps, that’s appealing to the wrong element in South Carolina.”
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Catholic leaders tell Gingrich, Santorum ‘to stop perpetuating ugly racial stereotypes’

From The Floridian Independent:


Catholic leaders issued a letter Friday to GOP presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, themselves Catholics, urging them “to stop perpetuating ugly racial stereotypes on the campaign trail.”

The letter, signed by 45 Catholic leaders says:

Mr. Gingrich has frequently attacked President Obama as a “food stamp president” and claimed that African Americans are content to collect welfare benefits rather than pursue employment. Campaigning in Iowa, Mr. Santorum remarked: “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.”

“At a time when nearly 1 in 6 Americans live in poverty, charities and the free market alone can’t address the urgent needs of our most vulnerable neighbors. And while jobseekers outnumber job openings 4-to-1, suggesting that the unemployed would rather collect benefits than work is misleading and insulting,” the letter adds.

“This statement is urging prominent Catholics in the race to go back and look at church teaching,” John Gehring, the Catholic outreach coordinator at Faith in Public Life, tells The Florida Independent, adding “that the letter is also about poverty.”

“The Catholic bishops have been incredibly important in raising a prophetic voice that really challenges those who think that the free market alone can sort of solve our economic problems,” Gehring says.

“You have Catholic conservative leaders, like John Boener, Paul Ryan, Rick Santourm, Newt Gingrich and they’ve all been looking to dismantle vital social safety nets,” Gehring says.

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Republican Racism is an Air Raid Siren, Not a Dog Whistle

From Alternet:

Republican candidates are overtly signaling that whiteness and American identity are intertwined.

By Chauncey DeVega
January 19, 2012

On his MSNBC show Hardball, Chris Matthews called out Newt Gingrich and other Republicans for what he described as their “dog whistle” appeals to white racism during the South Carolina debate on Monday night.

He was correct in identifying the work that racism does for the Tea Party GOP and its candidates in their efforts to win over white conservative voters. However, Chris Matthews was too generous and kind. Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and other Republican candidates are not engaging in subtle dog whistles to their faithful, where racism and white racial anxiety hides in the background, masked and hidden by other language.

Definitions matter: dog whistle politics are based on a signal or cue to the in-group, and one so subtle that those not in the know will overlook it as no more than quixotic background noise, a blip, a comment without context or meaning.

For example, during the 2004 election, President Bush’s mention of the infamous Dredd Scott Supreme Court decision had nothing to do with African Americans and slavery. Rather, it was a wink to a rabidly anti-choice conservative Right-wing audience that Roe vs. Wade would be overturned by his administration.

In 2008, McCain-Palin featured a negative campaign ad which borrowed from the movie The Ten Commandments and suggested that Barack Obama was the Anti-Christ. If one was not part of the Left Behind Jesus Camp Christian Nationalist Dominionist crowd, the visuals and narrative of the commercial were odd, bizarre, utterly strange, and devoid of context. The ugliness of these symbols and metaphors were so covert, that they made sense for those outside of the targeted audience only after Time magazine thoroughly deconstructed the campaign adand its malicious intent.

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Santorum Staffer Says Women Shouldn’t Be President Because It’s Against God’s Will

From Think Progress:

By Marie Diamond
on Jan 17, 2012

n an article about the reasons Rep. Michele Bachmann’s campaign fizzled, the Des Moines Register points to “sexism among conservatives,” singling out an offensive email written by a staffer to Rick Santorum:

Rival presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s Iowa coalitions director, Jamie Johnson, sent out an email saying that children’s lives would be harmed if the nation had a female president. [...]

The question then comes, ‘Is it God’s highest desire, that is, his biblically expressed will, … to have a woman rule the institutions of the family, the church, and the state?’ ” Johnson’s email said.

Johnson, who remains on Santorum’s staff, complained that the email was “blown out of proportion” and should not be held against him because it was sent from a personal email account.

But he refused to back away from the substance of the email, saying “I was sharing my personal reflections with a friend…[T]hey were reflections on over 25 years of formal, theological study [based in] classical Christian doctrine.”

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‘Enemy is on Wall Street, not in Iran’

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This Week in Poverty: An American Commitment to Children?

From The Nation:

Greg Kaufmann
on January 20, 2012

his week, at a forum on poverty and the 2012 election, Republican pollster Jim McLaughlin said 88 percent of voters view a candidate’s position on equal opportunity for children of all races as important in deciding their vote for president. Washington Postcolumnist Michael Gerson commented that it was “most encouraging” that “Americans of every ideological background believe in opportunity for children. It’s a common ground commitment.”

I wish I shared his confidence. I think if that commitment were truly a strong one, we would be doing much more to help the 22 percent of American children and their families—disproportionately people of color—get out of poverty.

Yet too many politicians and citizens still seize on President Reagan’s old line—“We fought a war against poverty, and poverty won”—as a reason not to make substantial investments in children and families. The data, however, suggest that this take on anti-poverty legislation is a myth.

From 1964 to 1973 we reduced poverty by 43 percent. More recently, six initiatives in the Recovery Act kept nearly 7 million Americans from falling into poverty. Saying we failed simply because there is still poverty is like saying clean air and clean water laws failed because there is still pollution.

The truth is, we do know many of the things that need to be done to reduce poverty, and our failure to act means we are choosing to accept a brutal status quo. Here’s a look back at how we could have reduced poverty by 25 percent if we had possessed the will. These programs and others still offer us opportunities to prove our commitment to children and their families today.

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Non-Union Retail Workers Bear Costs of Bias

From Women’s News:

By Samantha Kimmey
WeNews correspondent
Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Female retail workers in the New York area experience hardships common in a sector plagued by low pay, little health insurance, scheduling instability and an abuse of part-time job status, a Retail Action Project report finds today.

NEW YORK (WOMENSENEWS)–Female retail workers in New York are less likely than men to have health coverage and paid time off, as well as less likely to receive a promotion, a report issued today by the Retail Action Projectfinds.

The advocacy group also finds a gender-pay gap among the respondents, all of whom worked in non-unionized large stores or national chains.

While the outlook for all non-unionized retail workers is poor–often with a high turnover rate, low wages and lack of health benefits–women and minorities in particular face difficult obstacles.

In its survey of 436 workers–59 percent of whom were women–the New York-based group found that women report earning a median $9 per hour versus $10.13 for men. These disparities are amplified for female women of color: The data gathered indicates that 77 percent of Latinas and 42 percent of black women earn less than $10 per hour, while 39 percent of white women were paid at that rate.

Retail employs approximately 7.8 million women, almost 12 percent of working women in the United States and more than any other sector, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The report finds deterioration in the conditions for most of its surveyed pool, male and female, and points to unionized stores as a model for improving fairness in wages, scheduling and benefits.

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Couple Finally Reveals Child’s Gender, Five Years After Birth

Like not indoctrinating your child in religion or gender stereotyping is such a horrible thing.

From Yahoo Shine:

By Piper Weiss,
January 20, 2012

It’s a boy! And he’s five. Beck Laxton, 46, and partner Kieran Cooper, 44, have spent half the decade concealing the gender of their son, Sasha.

“I wanted to avoid all that stereotyping,” Laxton said in an interview with the Cambridge News. “Stereotypes seem fundamentally stupid. Why would you want to slot people into boxes?”

Laxton, a UK-based web editor, and her partner, Cooper, decided to keep Sasha’s sex a secret when he was still in the womb. The birth announcement stated the name of the gender-neutral name of their child, but skipped the big reveal. Up until recently, the couple only told a few close friends and family members that Sasha was a boy and managed to keep the rest of the world in the dark. But now that he’s starting school the secret’s out.

For years, Becks has been referring to her child, the youngest of three, as “the infant” on her personal blog. But guarding the public from her son’s gender was only part of her quest to let her kid just be a kid.

Sasha dresses in clothes he likes — be it a hand-me-downs from his sister or his brother. The big no-no’s are hyper-masculine outfits like skull-print shirts. In one photo, sent to friends and family, Sasha’s dressed in a shiny pink girl’s swimsuit. “Children like sparkly things,” says Beck. “And if someone thought Sasha was a girl because he was wearing a pink swimming costume, then what effect would that have? “

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We must stop this corporate takeover of American democracy

From Guardian UK:

Unless we can reverse the supreme court’s dreadful Citizens United decision, US politics will become a plutocrats’ plaything, Friday 20 January 2012

The corporate barbarians are through the gate of American democracy. Not satisfied with their all-pervasive influence on our culture, economy and legislative processes, they want more. They want it all.

Two years ago, the United States supreme court betrayed our Constitution and those who fought to ensure that its protections are enjoyed equally by all persons regardless of religion, race or gender by engaging in an unabashed power-grab on behalf of corporate America. In its now infamous decision in the Citizens United case, five justices declared that corporations must be treated as if they are actual people under the Constitution when it comes to spending money to influence our elections, allowing them for the first time to draw on the corporate checkbook – in any amount and at any time – to run ads explicitly for or against specific candidates.

What’s next … a corporate right to vote?

Don’t laugh. Just this month, the Republican National Committee filed an amicus brief in a US appeals court contending that the natural extension of the Citizens United rationale is that the century-old ban on corporate contributions directly to candidates and political parties is similarly unconstitutional. They want corporations to be able to sponsor candidates and parties directly while claiming with a straight face this would not result in any sort of corruption. And while, this month, they take no issue with corporations being subject to the existing contribution limits, anyone paying attention knows that eliminating such caps will be corporate America’s next prize in its brazen ambition for absolute control over our elections.

The US Constitution has served us very well, but when the supreme court says, for purposes of the first amendment, that corporations are people, that writing checks from the company’s bank account is constitutionally-protected speech and that attempts by the federal government and states to impose reasonable restrictions on campaign ads are unconstitutional, our democracy is in grave danger.

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Megaupload Op: Anonymous downs FBI, DoJ, music sites in biggest attack ever

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On US Education: It’s the Socioeconomic Segregation, Stupid

From Common Dreams:

by Jim Horn
Published on Friday, January 20, 2012 by Common Dreams

In a piece for The Nation last week, Linda Darling-Hammond demolished most of the remaining chunks of any size within the crumbling structure of corporate education’’s most ironically-titled reform ever –No Child Left Behind. NCLB is now rubble, even though many unseen victims continue to be buried beneath its mammoth pile.

Darling-Hammond, who was recruited to get Team Obama up to speed on education issues following the 2008 election, entitled her piece, “Why Is Congress Redlining Our Schools?”. It should be noted that as soon as Team Obama got a lay of the edu-land in early 2009, they dismissed Darling-Hammond and brought in corporate lackey, Arne Duncan, to serve as titular head of the Education Department while the corporate foundations run the show.

Now that I think about it, she might have more appropriately named her piece “Why are the White House and Congress Redlining Our Schools?”.

 Just as red-lining was used for many years by the FHA to maintain racial purity and avoid ethnic mixing in housing, red-lining is a good description of what is going on today in urban public education to contain and isolate children of the poor in the new chain gang charter schools.  Thanks to requirements of NCLB, residents of urban areas who send their children to public schools with their sub-par testing results must contend with the federal label of failure and high risk, with public monies often withheld because the poor children in these schools cannot pass tests whose pass rates are directly correlated to family income. And as the teachers and principals in these schools have been blamed, then, for the student failure that poverty has assured, these red-lined schools are labeled, shut down, or reconstituted per the NCLB plan.
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Fact Checking Big Oil

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Trumka Voices ‘Dissent’ From Obama’s Corporate-Backed Jobs Council Report

From In These Times:

Strong criticism comes as labor federation withholds re-election endorsement

By Mike Elk
Thursday Jan 19, 2012

WASHINGTON D.C.—In a sign of what could be growing political independence from the White House, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Tuesday strongly criticized the latest report issued by the President’s Council on Jobs and Competiveness. The Council’s “Roadmap to Renewal” report, released that day, recommended corporate tax cuts, deregulation and government budgets cuts.

“[R]eforming our regulatory system and reducing the statutory corporate tax rate are not not crucial elements of “competitiveness” for the United States going forward, nor does empirical evidence support the claim that significant net new job creation would result from such “reforms,” Trumka said in what he called “constructive dissent.”

He didn’t attend the Council’s Tuesday meeting at the White House because he was sick, according to the AFL-CIO. The other labor leader on the 25-member Council, United Food and Commercial Workers President Joe Hansen, did attend the meeting. But on this video of the meeting, Hansen appeared to be the only Council who abstained from approving the report, saying, “I certainly think there’s been an awful lot of good work in the report, but I choose to abstain at this time. … My concern is with the tax reform.”

President Obama issued a laudatory statement, saying “I’m proud that we’ve taken action on a majority of the Council’s recommendations on issues ranging from insourcing to permitting to clean energy.”

Trumka also criticized the composition of Obama’s Job Council, which is made up of 23 corporate executives and two labor leaders, saying, “I believe strongly that the Jobs Council’s membership is simply too narrowly representative of our country to provide a balanced set of recommendations to the President in these critical areas…. As a result, the report addresses regulatory issues as if we were not in the midst of a prolonged economic crisis whose proximate causes clearly included inadequate regulation of business, and in particular financial markets and institutions.”

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Super PACs Super-Size Campaign Corruption

From Truth Dig:

By Bill Boyarsky
Posted on Jan 20, 2012

Given time and enough money, the super PACs and other secretive political campaign funds are capable of causing corruptive influence that could reach from the presidency down to the lowest ranked members of the House.

So far, most attention in the campaign has been centered on the opaque nature of these funds, their size and their impact—particularly on former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, targeted by the super PAC affiliated with Mitt Romney’s campaign. Thanks to Stephen Colbert, the subject of campaign finance, usually too arcane for public instruction, has been elevated at least to cocktail party conversation.

The media have also been focused on how the money is being used—in television commercials and other advertising, most of it negative.

But not enough notice has been paid to the possibility—or even likelihood—of corruption. Corruption, of course, has always been part of politics. What’s new is the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United case. In one of the worst misjudgments of this court, the justices by a 5-4 vote killed as unconstitutional the law banning corporations and unions from paying for political advertising with unlimited contributions from their own treasuries.

The majority said the ban was unconstitutional, violating First Amendment rights of free speech. Corporations and unions, the justices said, are entitled to the same First Amendment protections as individuals.

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How Will Egg-as-Person Legislation Fare in Kansas?

From RH Reality Check:

by Kari Ann Rinker, National Organization for Women (NOW), Kansas
January 19, 2012

While the normal and expected initial reaction to hearing about any attempt at personhood legislation should be met with a certain amount of alarm by women and reproductive rights supporters, those of us on the ground fighting such attempts must push past the initial alarm, stop and partake in some careful analysis.  This is especially important in Kansas, where the assaults are numerous and resources are thin.  Best practice is to stop, breathe, take stock and prioritize.  This step of course follows the part where I’ve packed my tornado shelter full with tampons, maxi pads, oral contraception, condoms and whatever other items associated with women’s reproductive capacities that I believe might be legislatively stripped from me next.

When the news of Kansas personhood broke on Friday and I was scrambling around in tornado shelter mode, answering press calls and cursing a lot, I knew that this was to be taken seriously.  This is Kansas and in sessions past, especially since last session, under the leadership of Governor Brownback, the anti-choice crowd has pretty much gotten anything and everything on their legislative plate that they could possibly want.  They have gone back for seconds, even thirds… their gluttonous appetite for eliminating reproductive choice and access simply cannot be suppressed.

Even when the top dogs in leadership have attempted to restrain them, they have found a way to be fed by their respective legislative abortion kitchen compatriots.  Last session, the abortion insurance ban was pushed through in conference committee in violation of the joint rules stating that language must have passed at least one chamber.  Neither chamber had a hearing on the insurance ban of abortion.

Senator David Haley had this to say about the rules violation:

MR. PRESIDENT: I vote “NO” on the conference committee report to HB 2075,
time-honored rules of the Kansas Legislature; specifically Joint Rule 3, Section F, of the Joint Rules of the House and Senate to, in this instance, insert new language (on abortion based insurance policy riders) which has never passed either chamber is foul…..and cheats our honor. Sure, twenty-one of us can make a new rule here as we go along. But the eyes and ears of all law-abiding Kansans are watching and listening. Perverting the rules of the Senate to subsidize any political agenda or issue cheapens the respect that each of us should demand of this body and this process. A “YES” vote on this measure dims the light in the chamber; tarnishes the gild.

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