Banksy on Public Advertising

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Medical Coverage

Today a friend of mine told me that the University where she works is going to provide a health care policy for her that covers SRS.

This is common decency and has been something transsexual folks have fought for years to get covered.

Sex Reassignment Surgery isn’t implants and it isn’t facial surgery, things that can honestly be classified as cosmetic.  (Although the cosmetic nature of reconstructive surgery shouldn’t automatically preclude coverage.) It is about changing one’s sex based on the one universal standard used in determining if one is male or female, the visible genitalia that are between a person’s legs.

That thing the Transgender Borg claim is really trivial.

Be that as it may.  The fact that more and more corporations as well as state and local governments are finally adding coverage of SRS to their health plans after years of denying coverage based on the the idea of SRS being experimental or a pre-existing condition.

Thanks To President Obama’s Health Care Reform the pre-existing condition clause goes away.

That right there should be reason enough for all TS people to support the Democrats.

But there is a real shit storm looming.

This whole objection to abortion, contraception and women’s health care coverage is a huge bomb sitting in the room.

We know the Republican and the pseudo-Christian Dominionists hate women.  Look at the lengths they are going to to totally fuck women over.

They think women should be subservient, paid less for equal work, and denied opportunities.  They are using their pseudo-Christianity and self-righteousness like a club, depending on liberals to be nice and polite, to not really fight back and certainly not to put an end to the ultra right wing “Christian” bullshit.

Look around.  How many hospitals have the name of a saint in your city, how many actually have the name of a church or religious organization?

They get money from the government, your tax dollars and my tax dollars yet they get to decide which service they will provide and to whom.  They get to discriminate based on the “sacredness of their religion”.

It is time to demand America start acting like it claims to be in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Pledge.  I want to see my country live up to its ideals of liberty and justice.  I want equal treatment for all and equal opportunity.

Equality is a birthright it shouldn’t require wealth to have.  Health care should be guaranteed and not a privilege reserved for rich white men.

Get the government out of the business of controlling our sex parts and back to preventing corporate criminals from destroying the nation and its people.

Oh yeah… If religious organizations do not want to provide health care and health insurance coverage to all their employees and include stuff like birth control perhaps it is time to have the government take control of those businesses and provide the treatments the churches find repugnant.

 

 

Flat Lady – Michelle Glavan

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You Are Not Ugly, So Don’t Make Those ‘Am I Ugly?’ Videos

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/margaret-cho/am-i-ugly-videos_b_1300411.html

02/27/2012

You’re not ugly.

Not in the least, so don’t make those videos. Take them down if they are up. You don’t need people to tell you how beautiful you are on there. You don’t need to put yourself in the position to be judged that way. You are better than that, and you deserve the very best in life. If I could come through this screen and tell you and show you and bolster you and buoy you up and raise you high above all the bad sh*t you are going through, so that your spirit is free and you feel like you are flying, I would. I’d give anything if I could find a way to show you how lovely and perfect you are. If you’d believe me when I say that you are amazing, that you are the only you in the world, and that that makes you special and precious and holy, truly one of a kind, it would make me the happiest.

I thought I was so ugly for so long, and I wasted so much of my life on this dumb notion. I punished myself and avoided my reflection in mirrors and any windows. I would see myself reflected back, and I would look away, trying to pretend I didn’t exist, because I hated myself so much. I hated the way I looked, and it started early on. My father found a school project from first grade where I had written on a photo of myself that I looked like a flat-faced mummy. Firstly, how does a kid that young know what a flat-faced mummy is? Secondly, I cry at my own self-judgement, and thirdly, I was such a cute kid. Imagine my face, and then miniaturize it in your mind until the age of 6. I know, f***ing adorable.

One day I looked at myself and thought: Sh*t, this is it. This is what I look like. No amount of self-hatred is going to change my appearance. I am who I am. I am stuck with this, and I have to love it, or else I am going to die early from my own suffering and idea that I got shortchanged in the looks department.

Why go through life feeling cheated? It does nothing but make you bitter. I don’t want to be bitter. I want to be better. I want you to be better. I don’t want you to waste all those years like I did. I didn’t get to the point of feeling really good about myself until my 40s. That was pretty much 40 years of uninterrupted self-loathing that I had no need for. I never got to enjoy my youth; I was a gorgeous kid, and I missed it because I hated myself for no reason. I am kicking myself because I missed out on so much happiness because I had this idea that I was ugly that I couldn’t shake, partly because others — people who had their own issues with self-hatred and took it out on me — supported it. I don’t want you to miss out on a minute of your fantastic lives.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/margaret-cho/am-i-ugly-videos_b_1300411.html

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Ralph Nader: Raise the Minimum Wage

From Truth Dig:  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/nader_to_occupy_help_raise_the_minimum_wage_20120227/

By Chris Hedges
Posted on Feb 27, 2012

The Occupy movemenhttp://www.truthdig.com/report/item/nader_to_occupy_help_raise_the_minimum_wage_20120227/t may be able to forge a powerful alliance with millions of working men and women around a national call to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour. The drive to establish new encampments, while important, is going to be long and difficult. The ongoing efforts to stand up to the foreclosure and mortgage crisis, the marches to hold Wall Street accountable, the protests against stop-and-frisk policies in New York City or police brutality in Oakland, while vital, do not draw the numbers into the streets across the country needed to loosen the grip of the corporate state.

Some 70 percent of the public supports raising the minimum wage. This is an issue that resonates across political, ethnic, religious and cultural lines. It exposes the vast disparities in wealth and the gross inequalities imposed by our corporate oligarchy. The political elite during this election year, which needs to toss a few scraps to the voting public, might be pressured to respond. The two leading Republican candidates, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, say they support the minimum wage (although only Romney has called for indexing the minimum wage). Barack Obama promised during his 2008 election campaign to press to raise the minimum wage to $9.50 by 2011, a promise that, like many others, he has ignored. But the ground is fertile.

“The 24-hour encampments, largely on public property, broke through,” Ralph Nader told me when we spoke of the Occupy movement a few days ago. “These encampments jolted the consciousness of the nation. But people began asking after a number of weeks what’s next. Once the movement lost the encampments, it did not have a second-strike readiness, which should be the raising of the minimum wage to $10 an hour.”

The federal minimum wage of $7.25, adjusted for inflation, is $2.75 lower than it was in 1968 when worker productivity was about half of what it is today. There has been a steady decline in real wages for low-income workers. Meanwhile, corporations such as Wal-Mart and McDonald’s, whose workforce earns the minimum wage or slightly above it, have enjoyed massive profits. Executive salaries, along with prices, have soared even as worker salaries have stagnated or declined. But the call to raise the minimum wage is not only a matter of economic justice. The infusion of tens of billions of dollars into the hands of the working class would increase tax revenue, open up new jobs and lift consumer spending.

Continue reading at:  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/nader_to_occupy_help_raise_the_minimum_wage_20120227/

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Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe, ENDA Co-Sponsor, Is Not Seeking Re-Election

From Metro Weekly:  http://www.metroweekly.com/poliglot/2012/02/breaking-republican-sen-olympi.html

Posted by Chris Geidner
February 28, 2012

Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe (R) will not be seeking re-election, confirm Maine news outlets, meaning the loss of one of the most pro-LGBT equality members of the Senate Republican caucus — and a possible pick-up for the Democrats.

According to The Portland Press Herald, Snowe said in a statement that “this was not an easy decision. My husband and I are in good health… I have no doubt I would have won re-election.”

But, according to her statement, Snowe says she’s frustrated “that atmosphere of polarization and ‘my way or the highway’ ideologies has become pervasive.

“Unfortunately, I do not realistically expect the partisanship of recent years in the Senate to change over the short term. So at this stage of my tenure in public service, I have concluded that I am not prepared to commit myself to an additional six years in the Senate, which is what a fourth term would entail.”

Complete article at:  http://www.metroweekly.com/poliglot/2012/02/breaking-republican-sen-olympi.html

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Tell Harris Publications: Fire Vanessa Satten

From Color of Change:  http://act.colorofchange.org/sign/protectgirls/?source=coc_website

Please go Here and Sign the Petition:

XXL Magazine has published a video of a 45-year-old rapper encouraging teenage boys to force themselves on underage girls. The graphic monologue is disturbing. So is the willingness of Harris Publications, which owns XXL, to give this kind of dangerous rhetoric a platform.

Join us in calling on Harris Publications to fire XXL Editor-in-Chief Vanessa Satten, who presides over the workplace culture that allowed such a grave misstep. When we do, we’ll send a message to the entertainment media industry that we won’t be silent when it broadcasts commentary that promotes sexual violence against girls and women.

—–

Here’s the letter we’ll send to Harris Publications President and CEO Stanley R. Harris on your behalf. You can add a personal comment using the box to the right.

Dear Harris Publications President and CEO Stanley R. Harris,

I am writing to ask that you fire XXL Editor-in-Chief Vanessa Satten for providing a platform for dangerous rhetoric that dehumanizes and demeans girls and young women. Under Satten’s leadership, XXL has become a place that promotes violent fantasies involving aggressive, hypersexual boys and preteen girls. I ask that you intervene now.

As you know, the XXL website posted a video interview with rapper Too $hort, who encouraged teenage boys to “turn girls out” by pushing “her up against the wall.” The 45-year-old rapper continued, graphically urging his audience to put their hands inside the underwear of middle school aged girls in order to achieve what he called “mind manipulation.” Your company, XXL, packaged the disturbing monologue under the headline, “Fatherly Advice From Too $hort.”

Rhetoric like this has real effects on girls in our communities. Three out of five Black girls have experienced sexual assault by the time they turn 18. Nearly a third of sexual assault and rape victims are between the ages of 12-17.

I am aware that the magazine has issued a vague apology, but that does not go far enough to hold Satten, the staff’s leader, accountable. It also does nothing to explain what you will do to make sure that sexual violence directed at girls and women is no longer promoted by XXL, King or any of your media companies.

Please act now to remove Satten from her post at XXL and explain what Harris Publications plans to do to make sure your audience isn’t again subjected to rhetoric that characterizes girls and women as playthings who can be fondled and otherwise abused whenever a boy or man pleases.

Sincerely,

[Your name]

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Corporate Immunity Looks Likely: Supreme Court Seems Ready To Side With Shell In Human Rights Suit

From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/28/corporate-immunity-supreme-court-shell-kiobel-human-rights_n_1306825.html


Supreme Court Correspondent, Huffington Post
02/28/12

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday morning appeared divided along party lines, with a conservative majority ready to hold that corporations cannot be held accountable in federal courts for international human rights violations.

The Court was hearing oral argument in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, which was brought under a founding-era law, commonly called the Alien Tort Statute, that allows foreign nationals to bring civil lawsuits in U.S. federal courts “for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.” The 12 Nigerian plaintiffs contend that Shell Oil’s parent company aided and abetted the Nigerian government in its torture and extrajudicial killing of environmental and human rights protesters resisting Shell’s operations in Nigeria in the 1990s.

The Alien Tort Statute says nothing about what types of defendants — corporate, individual, state — may be sued. In the past year, the four appeals courts to take on the issue of corporate liability have divided 3-to-1 in favor of those bringing the lawsuits. But Tuesday’s oral argument reinforced the relevancy of another aspect of all these decisions: their partisan nature. Save one defection from each side, every Democrat-appointed judge held for corporate liability, and every Republican appointee found for corporate immunity.

At the very start of the Supreme Court’s argument, Justice Anthony Kennedy said that “the case turns in large part” on Royal Dutch Petroleum’s argument in its brief that “international law does not recognize corporate liability.” He then pulled a quote from Chevron’s brief in support of its fellow multinational oil company, which said, “No other nation in the world permits its court to exercise universal civil jurisdiction over alleged extraterritorial human rights abuses to which the nation has no connection.”

“I was trying to find the best authority you have to refute that proposition,” Kennedy told the Nigerians’ lawyer, Paul Hoffman.

Continue reading at:   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/28/corporate-immunity-supreme-court-shell-kiobel-human-rights_n_1306825.html

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Newt’s Last Prayer: Christian Dominionists Go Gingrich

From The Nation:  http://www.thenation.com/article/166481/newts-last-prayer-christian-dominionists-go-gingrich

February 27, 2012

Four days after Newt Gingrich scrambled the Republican primary race with his surprise South Carolina win, a man named Dutch Sheets came forward to endorse the former House speaker, saying he was the only candidate with the “heart, experience, backbone, Constitutional brilliance and intellectual strength to defeat Obama and lead America back to greatness.” It was the kind of embrace that tends to make politicians skittish. After all, Sheets is a self-proclaimed apostle and a leading figure in a radical Christian movement, known as the New Apostolic Reformation, which teaches that Christians must infiltrate and take control of government and other worldly institutions to pave the way for Jesus’ return. And that’s just the beginning. Sheets also believes, among other things, that his prayers led directly to Saddam Hussein’s capture and that Washington is controlled by “antichrist” forces. As for Barack Obama, Sheets insists that he is Muslim and that his presence in the Oval Office is a sign that God has “turned us over to our enemies” as part of his “judgment on America.” His ultimate goal is to “raise up” an army of “kingdom warriors that are ready to do whatever it takes to bring forth [God’s] kingdom rule in the earth.”

During the last presidential race, both Obama and John McCain struggled to tamp down furor over their links to pastors with inflammatory teachings, so you might expect that Gingrich would be scrambling to distance himself from Sheets. In fact, the opposite is true. Gingrich has appointed Sheets co-chair of his Faith Leaders Coalition, the group charged with rallying the faithful behind his candidacy, and has been appearing with Sheets’s fellow apostles at events across the country—part of wide-ranging effort to forge ties with Dominionist leaders who believe America was founded as a Christian nation and that our government should be rooted in biblical law.

Gingrich didn’t always ally himself so closely with spiritual warriors. While he made common cause with religious conservatives during his reign as Speaker of the House, he was better known for his small-government, anti-tax policies and his bare-knuckle political wrangling. But as he has laid the groundwork for his presidential campaign, Gingrich—a onetime Southern Baptist turned devoted Catholic—has forged deep inroads with conservative Christians, particularly those who want our government to be infused with Biblical principles. In his 2006 book, Rediscovering God In America: Reflections on the Role of Faith in Our Nation’s History and Future, Gingrich made the case that our founders never intended church to be separated from state and that “the secular left has been inventing law and grotesquely distorting the Constitution” to push faith from government and the public square.

Continue reading at:  http://www.thenation.com/article/166481/newts-last-prayer-christian-dominionists-go-gingrich

 
 
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1950s Education On “Women”

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America’s Top Magazines: Still Not Hiring Women

From Think Progress:   http://thinkprogress.org/alyssa/2012/02/28/433972/americas-top-magazines-still-not-hiring-women/

By Alyssa Rosenberg
Feb 28, 2012

Vida, an organization devoted to examination and discussion of the roles women play in literature, has released its latest survey of the articles and reviews published by women in major magazines in 2011, and the results aren’t encouraging.

Of articles published by The Atlantic in 2011, 64 were by women and 184 were by men. In the Boston Review, the ratio was 60 to 131; in Harper’s, 13 to 65; in the London Review of Books 30 to 186; in The New Republic, 50 to 118; in the New York Review of Books a truly embarrassing 19 to 133; the New Yorker published 165 stories by women to 459 by men; and the New York Times Book Review printed 273 articles by women to 520 by men. The Nation, ostensibly a progressive publication, published 118 articles by women and 293 by men. Granta’s the only publication that’s close to parity—in fact, it published slightly more pieces by women than by men, 34 to 30. Perhaps some of these other publications should ask how Granta finds women, a task that appears so phenomenally daunting to the rest of the publishing world that it suggests that women, rather than man, are the most dangerous game.

Complete article at:  http://thinkprogress.org/alyssa/2012/02/28/433972/americas-top-magazines-still-not-hiring-women/

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New Mountaintop Removal Campaign Kicks Off in Washington, DC

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/02/28-8

by Jeff Biggers
Published on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 by Common Dreams

Besieged residents living amid the fallout of the mountaintop removal crisis in the central Appalachian coalfields are descending on Washington, DC today, as part of a new emergency health campaign calling for an immediate moratorium on “the toxic coal acquisition process that has been shown to be associated with heart-breaking birth defects, cardiac problems, lung problems and systemic failures in other human organs.”

Carting along reams of shocking peer-reviewed scientific studies that have been ignored by their own elected officials, the Appalachian Community Health Emergency (ACHE) marks the launch of a weekly frontline citizens initiative in Washington, DC with national human rights and health organizations to prod the Obama administration to enact a moratorium on mountaintop removal operations until a federal study and long-awaited Congressional hearings are carried out on the spiraling mountaintop removal mining health care crisis.

One of the most unnecessary environmental and human rights violations in the nation, mountaintop removal mining provides less than 5-7 percent of national coal production, while detonating millions of pounds of daily explosives that have ruined historic communities and watersheds in West Virginia, Kentucky, southwest Virginia and eastern Tennessee.

On the heels of a major new study by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy on the “stalled out” environmental movement, which urged major funders and foundations to support similar community-based groups most impacted by environmental injustice, the ACHE campaign is also a breakthrough effort of frontline coalfield groups to “kick start” environmental and civil rights groups and ramp up the movement to abolish devastating mountaintop removal mining operations.

“My generation deserves a healthy life,” said Ferg Kincaid, a 16-year-old from Fayette County, West Virginia who was joined by former coal mining families and afflicted community members with the Christians for the Mountains, Coal River Mountain Watch, and Mountain Health & Heritage Association, among other groups. “As long as Mountaintop Removal is going on, we don’t even have a chance.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/02/28-8

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What Will Happen to the Republican Party? Michael Brooks

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Monsanto Pays 93 Million to Victims In Settlement

From Natural Society:   http://naturalsociety.com/monsanto-pays-93-million-to-victims-in-settlement/

Cassandra Anderson
February 27, 2012

Monsanto tentatively agreed to a $93 million settlement with some residents of Nitro, West Virginia. Nitro is a small town that got its name from manufacturing explosives during WWI.  It was also the site of a Monsanto chemical plant that manufactured 2,4,5-T herbicide that was half of the Agent Orange recipe. Herbicide 2,4,5-T was contaminated with the caustic by-product dioxin. This settlement may open the floodgates to successfully suing Monsanto for its poison.

Nitro Settlement

Herbicide 2,4,5-T was phased out in the late 1970′s. Dioxin is the most dangerous chemical known and has a 100 year half-life when leached into soil or embedded in water systems. The Veteran’s Administration recognizes and pays out on Agent Orange injury claims that include cancer, birth defects in children of exposed victims, leukemia, liver disease, heart disease, Parkinson’s Disease, diabetes and chloracne.

Despite an explosion in the Nitro plant in 1949, not a single penny has been paid to residents of Nitro for dioxin injuries, per an attorney that worked on a previous dioxin case. After 7 years of litigation, and on the heels of the EPA releasing part of its dioxin assessment report,  Monsanto has made a tentative agreement to settle a class action suit with some Nitro residents for a total of $93 million.  Here are the proposed settlement figures:

  • Medical Testing:  $21 Million
  • Additional Screening:  $63 Million
  • Cleanup of 4500 homes:  $9 Million

Bloomberg reports that this settlement will reduce Monsanto’s 2012 net income by 5 cents per share, but Monsanto may face additional lawsuits and fines. There are potentially 80,000 property damage claims alone that could cost Monsanto $3.9 billion in cleanup costs. Dioxin has contaminated soil and has been found in dust in residents’ homes at very high levels.

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Why is Rick Santorum Pining for the Pilgrim/Theocrat days?

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Texas TBagger Doctor Indicted In Largest Medicare Fraud In History

From Daily Kos:  http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/02/28/1069138/-TBagger-Doctor-Indicted-In-Largest-Medicare-Fraud-In-History

By Stu Hunter
Tue Feb 28, 2012

A Texas doctor was accused Tuesday in the largest Medicare fraud case in US history, with federal prosecutors charging him with scamming the government with $375 million in phony billings.

Justice Department officials announced that Dr. Jacques Roy was arrested in Texas and faces life in prison as well as fines of more than $250,000 if convicted.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Doctor Roy and his assistant, who was also charged, sent “recruiters” door-to-door in the Dallas area to get people to sign bogus medical forms that were then used in the alleged scam. The pair even went as far as to pay homeless people $50 each to sign the forms, according to the DOJ accusations.

Washington— Federal law enforcement officials announced what they called the largest healthcare fraud case in the nation’s history, indicting a Dallas area physician for allegedly bilking Medicare for nearly $375 million in billings for nonexistent home healthcare services.

 

Top Justice Department officials, working for several years to stem a rampant rise in healthcare fraud around the country, also revealed Tuesday that 78 home health agencies that were working with the physician, Dr. Jacques Roy, will be suspended from the Medicare program for up to 18 months.

FBI agents in Texas arrested Roy, of Rockwall, Texas, a physician for 28 years, and asked a federal judge in Dallas to keep him in custody until trial, citing his vast “bank accounts, a sailboat, vehicles and multiple pieces of property” as indications he may attempt to flee.

Facing life in prison and a $250,000 fine, as well as restitution of the vast sum of money he allegedly cost the federal government, Roy is to appear in court in Dallas later Tuesday.

Continue reading at:  http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/02/28/1069138/-TBagger-Doctor-Indicted-In-Largest-Medicare-Fraud-In-History

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