The Cesspool of “Radical Feminist” Transsexual/Transgender Hating Blogs

Yesterday, I followed a couple of links that branched out from some “radical feminist” blogs that have said some pretty nasty things about me since I defriended Cathy Brennan.  Especially since I’ve started commenting on the sociopathic/psychopathic nature of a number of the self proclaimed “radical feminists”.

I feel I have to put quote marks around “radical feminist” since they seem to have commandeered a term that used to be associated with Socialist and Communist oriented feminism.

I first encountered these vile bigots in the 1970s, when it seemed their main purpose in life was to drive left wing hippie type TS/TG women from feminism, from being considered legitimate members of the lesbian community or even from the left itself.

I always thought them to be a strange sort, more interested in pushing their hatred of TS/TG people, than pushing for rights for women or even for lesbians.  Denying a minority group their rights based on the idea that their having equality somehow impinges upon your own rights has always been a right wing thing, not something reflective of the progressive left or even liberal spectrum of politics.

One big advantage of having come out as long ago as I did noticing the mechanics these nasty thugs use. It’s like an updated more techno rerun of the shit they pulled years ago.  It’s like deja vu all over again when you find some of the thugs are from the same cast of characters who ran this shit the first time around.

The big difference is that back in the 1970s a few transsexuals wrote their own memoirs.  Now many of us do.  Back then everything else that was written about us as a people was written by Nons (Non TS/TG). It was like we couldn’t write about or offer an analysis about something that was central to our being.  The “Professionals” said we lacked distance, never acknowledging they were clueless s to what we actually felt.

The Nons got to control the discourse back then. Our trying to tell what we were about was dismissed.

Mostly we cried, drank, got stoned, while internalizing the abuse, while trying to purge ourselves of anything the “radical feminists” could accuse us of. We became such good feminists and so fucking pure we denied ourselves the pleasure of wearing filmy Stevie Nicks sort of hippie dresses or skintight Lycra disco jeans because that might be buying into some sort of corporate mandated oppressive fashion.
But it didn’t fucking matter because we could be indistinguishable from the most androgynous anti-fashion militant dyke imaginable and we still were  held in contempt.

You see, Jan Raymond decided and her band of bizarre harpies agreed, that our being indistinguishable from the most militant lesbian feminists didn’t make us militant lesbian feminists.  Oh no…. It meant we were more evil than our sisters who embraced the media driven sort of femininity.  We were trying to infiltrate the sacred sisterhood, to make transsexualism and by extension transgenderism socially acceptable and in sync with feminism.

The odd thing was there were all these decent mainstream feminists who sort of went along with this.  Including Ms Magazine and Gloria Steinem at one point.  The late Adrienne Rich endorsed Janice Raymond’s anti-transsexual version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

I don’t much care what people think of Riki Wilchins or Kate Bornstein or for that matter Leslie Feinberg.  I don’t care what you think of their books.  Hell I disagree with  most of what they wrote, but they showed us a couple of things that are far too important to be forgotten.  One of those is we have a right and a duty to speak for ourselves.  Some in the Transgender Borg faction get pissy with me when I say it isn’t my role in life to speak for our brothers.  They don’t understand that brothers are articulate, educated and speaking for themselves.  Which is how it should be.

We are thinking human beings.  Why the fuck do we need a Non like Bailey or Blanchard to think for us or interpret our lives and the meaning of our lives.

While I blow off the writings of Kate and Riki now, I remember how important they were in 1994. How powerful and empowering some of Riki’s writings were.

Since then I’ve read the writings of brothers like Jay Prosser and Max Valerio, sisters like Julia Serano, Kelly Winters and Viviane Namaste.

Powerful voices all articulating who we are, what we are about.

I’ve watched some transgender activists as well as post-transsexual activists move beyond just trans-politics to integrating trans-issues with feminism, Occupy and a hundred other causes.

I watched Julia Serano make the connection between misogyny and transphobia.  When Drew DeVeaux, Sable and Natalie Reed opened the discussion of the “cotton ceiling” I thought, “About fucking time.”

The reaction of the “radical feminists” was so fucking predictable.  I knew their slime machine would go into overdrive churning out filth and hate, lies and smears.

Now there are some TS/TG folks who act like useful idiots to the radical feminists.  I realize that on some levels I was a useful idiot for the Lesbian Tide.  In my defense, I never attacked my sisters to curry favor.

I actually feel that being slimed along with the following of my Facebook friends: Julia Serano, Drew DeVeaux, Sable, Natalie Reed, Katrina Rose, Joann Prinzivalli and others I haven’t sent electronic hugs and messages of support to is a mark of honor.

It must mean we are saying something important to be slimed by a bunch of hate rhetoric spouting thugs, of the same ilk that slimed people like Beth and Sandy in the 1970s.

I actually look upon this as an honor.  Sort of like the song “You ain’t done Nothing if you ain’t been called a Red.”

If you are or were transsexual or if you are transgender and these right wing rhetoric spouting “radical feminists” haven’t slimed you yet you need to try a little harder.  Stand up for what you are, who you are or why you did what you did.

This time around there are a lot of mainstream feminists and lesbians who are our allies and who are starting to take a stand against this sort of bullying.

Dick Clark, 1929-2012

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/19/arts/television/dick-clark-tv-host-and-icon-of-new-years-eve-is-dead-at-82.html

TV Host and Icon of New Year’s Eve

By
Published: April 18, 2012

Dick Clark, the perpetually youthful-looking television host whose long-running daytime song-and-dance fest, “American Bandstand,” did as much as anyone or anything to advance the influence of teenagers and rock ’n’ roll on American culture, died Wednesday. He was 82.

The cause was a heart attack, a spokesman, Paul Shefrin, said in a statement.

Mr. Clark had a well-publicized stroke in December 2004, shortly before he was to appear on the annual televised New Year’s Eve party he had produced and hosted every year since 1973. He subsequently returned for brief appearances on the show, most recently this past New Year’s Eve.

With the boyish good looks of a bound-for-success junior executive and a ubiquitous on-camera presence, Mr. Clark was among the most recognizable faces in the world, even if what he was most famous for — spinning records and jabbering with teeny-boppers — was on the insubstantial side. In addition to “American Bandstand” and “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” Mr. Clark hosted innumerable awards shows, comedy specials, series based on TV outtakes and the game show $10,000 Pyramid” (which lasted long enough to see the stakes ratcheted up to $100,000). He also made guest appearances on dramatic and comedy series, usually playing himself.

But he fancied himself a businessman even more than a television personality — “I get enormous pleasure and excitement sitting in on conferences with accountants, tax experts and lawyers,” he said in an interview with The New York Times in 1961 — and he was especially deft at packaging entertainment products for the small screen.

Continue reading at:    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/19/arts/television/dick-clark-tv-host-and-icon-of-new-years-eve-is-dead-at-82.html

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Transgender woman found murdered in Chicago

From The Windy City Times:  http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Transgender-woman-found-murdered-in-Chicago/37284.html

by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times
2012-04-17

A transgender woman has been found apparently murdered in West Garfield Park, Chicago, according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs.

Paige Clay, 23, was found in an alley was found in an alley on the 4500 block of West Jackson on Monday at 3:52 a.m.

Police did not identify Clay. Rather, several community members confirmed her identity to Windy City Times. According to reports, Clay received services at local LGBT agencies and was known in Chicago’s ball scene.

According to police, Clay suffered a gunshot wound to the head. No one is custody. Area North Detectives are investigating.

Community members are organizing a remembrance of Clay, the details of which have yet to be announced.

Windy City Times will continue to update as details become available. Those who would like to contribute to a remembrance of clay can email editor@windycitymediagroup.com .

Center on Halsted responds to Transgender Woman Murdered in Chicago

Continue reading at:  http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Transgender-woman-found-murdered-in-Chicago/37284.html


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UT-Austin to allow transgender students to use preferred name on all university documents

From The Dallas Voice: http://www.dallasvoice.com/ut-launch-policy-summer-trans-students-preferred-official-documents-10106878.html

Posted on 17 Apr 2012

Transgender students at the University of Texas at Austin will be able to use a preferred name on university and medical records under a new policy this summer.

Students were able to request to use a preferred name on university documents beginning last fall, but the new policy includes medical records in addition to class rosters and ID cards,  The Daily Texan reports.

The policy was the result of the LGBT presidential task force that uses the input of faculty and students to advance LGBT rights on campus.

UT administrators had to address the concern of identifying students off campus in the event that a student became involved with the police and the university was asked to verify a student’s name. In order to verify the name on record, the student’s legal name is on the back of the student ID, and the preferred name is on the front.

However, a legal name change is required for a different name on diplomas or transcripts.

From The Daily Texan:

Continue reading at:  http://www.dallasvoice.com/ut-launch-policy-summer-trans-students-preferred-official-documents-10106878.html

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Stand Your Ground Marissa Alexander

From Justice For Marissa:  http://justiceformarissa.blogspot.com/2012/04/lincoln-b.html

Saturday, April 14, 2012

In The State Of Florida – Marissa Alexander Had A Gun Permit, Stood Her Ground, Did Not Shoot Or Kill Anyone and Faces 20 Years In Prison

Lincoln B. Alexander Jr on behalf of Marissa Alexander
Case No: 2010-CF-8579
Division: CR-G

April 3, 2012

Dear Supporters:

On August 1 2010, my premature baby girl, born nine days earlier, was in the Baptist South N.I.C.U. fighting for her life and I would too be fighting for my life in my own home against an attack from my husband.

My name is Marissa Alexander, I am a mother of three children, but at the present time, I am not able to be with them due to the following circumstances.  I am currently sitting in the Pretrial Detention Facility in Jacksonville FL, Duval County awaiting a sentence for three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon with no intent to harm.  Before my life changed drastically on that August afternoon, I was in the perilous position of leaving an abusive relationship with my husband who has history of violence and documented domestic abuse towards women.  Our history included one which required me to place an injunction for protection against violence and was active during the month of August 2010.

In an unprovoked jealous rage, my husband violently confronted me while using the restroom.  He assaulted me, shoving, strangling and holding me against my will, preventing me from fleeing all while I begged for him to leave.  After a minute or two of trying to escape, I was able to make it to the garage where my truck was parked, but in my haste to leave I realized my keys were missing.  I tried to open the garage but there was a mechanical failure. I was unable to leave, trapped in the dark with no way out.  For protection against further assault I retrieved my weapon; which is registered and I have a concealed weapon permit.  Trapped, no phone, I entered back into my home to either leave through another exit or obtain my cell phone.

He and my two stepsons were supposed to be exiting the house thru the front door, but he didn’t leave.  Instead he came into the kitchen that leads to the garage and realized I was unable to leave.  Instead of leaving thru the front door where his vehicle was parked outside of the garage, he came into the kitchen by himself.  I was terrified from the first encounter and feared he came to do as he had threatened.  The weapon was in my right hand down by my side and he yelled, “Bitch I will kill you!”, and charged toward me.  In fear and desperate attempt, I lifted my weapon up, turned away and discharged a single shot in the wall up in the ceiling.  As I stood my ground it prevented him from doing what he threatened and he ran out of the home.  Outside of the home, he contacted the police and falsely reported that I shot at him and his sons.  The police arrived and I was taken into custody.

I was devastated and would continue to be for months following the incident.  I had to appear in court all the way up until trial as I plead not guilty and know that I acted in self-defense.  I believe my actions saved my life or prevented further harm, but preserved that of my husband who was completely irrational, extremely violent, and unpredictable that day.

Florida has a self-defense law and it includes the right to stand your ground.  Below are the facts of my concern with the incorrect way the law was applied and ultimately the injustice in my case.

Continue reading at:   http://justiceformarissa.blogspot.com/2012/04/lincoln-b.html

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The Communist Party smacks down Allen West

If I were forced to choose between voting for an atheistic Communist or a Born Again Christian Republican, the Communist would get my vote.

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News Analysis: Four Reasons Why Enacting LGBT Workplace Protections Is Different Than Ending DADT

From Metro Weekly:  http://www.metroweekly.com/poliglot/2012/04/news-analysis-why-enacting-lgbt-workplace-protecti.html

Posted by Chris Geidner
April 17, 2012

Questions over why President Obama chose last week not to pursue an executive order to ban federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity continued to be posed in the White House briefing room today, with White House press secretary Jay Carney today pulling back comments made by White House spokesman Shin Inouye less than 24 hours earlier that “the Administration hasn’t taken any options off the table.”

Today, Carney said, “Our position hasn’t changed since we started talking about this last week. At this time, we believe that the right approach is to build support for passage of [Employment Non-Discrimination Act] legislation. And I think an example of why this approach can be most effective is the way that we approached the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ So, there is no change.”

Although Carney has pointed repeatedly to DADT repeal as the path for workplace protections, the White House has not responded to any of the multiple distinctions between the two goals of LGBT equality supporters.

Asked if today’s answer contradicted Inouye’s comment, Carney said, “What I just heard you say does not represent anything different from what I’ve said in the past, which is that at this time we are not pursuing an executive order. I’m not going to speculate about executive orders that may or may not be pursued in the future. What I’m saying is: Right now, we’re not.”

Today’s questioning marks the second time Carney has been asked about the executive order in the briefing in the six days since the White House decision not to issue such an executive order at this time.

Continue reading at:  http://www.metroweekly.com/poliglot/2012/04/news-analysis-why-enacting-lgbt-workplace-protecti.html

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What about single-payer?

From The Baltimore Sun:   http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-single-payer-20120416,0,1914385.story

The Supreme Court may have divined the solution to America’s health care woes that Congress refused to consider

By James F. Burdick
April 16, 2012

President Barack Obama’s vision for health-care reform could have resulted in a much better law had it not been for congressional decrees at the start that a single-payer system was “off the table.” But guess what has appeared back on the table during the thoughtful pondering of the problem by the Supreme Court?

Justice Anthony Kennedy said on March 27: “Let’s assume that it could use the tax power to raise revenue and to just have a national health service, single payer. How does that factor into our analysis? In one sense, it can be argued that this is what the government is doing. It ought to be honest about the power that it’s using and use the correct power.”

As a doctor viewing the Supreme Court drama unfolding over the Affordable Care Act, I have high hopes that patients will emerge with much more access to the wonders that modern medicine can provide. Being able to treat and perhaps cure patients is essential to the freedoms and entitlements protected by the Constitution and its Bill of Rights. But the constitutional question has been framed as one of interstate commerce — not rights.

Commercial interests dominated during the formulation of the Affordable Care Act. An average of eight lobbyists were at work for each member of Congress, and the insurance companies were delighted when they saw the initial draft.

Continue reading at:  http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-single-payer-20120416,0,1914385.story

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Just One of Monsanto’s Crimes, or Why We Can’t Trust the EPA

From Nation Of Change:   http://www.nationofchange.org/just-one-monsanto-s-crimes-or-why-we-can-t-trust-epa-1334496958

By Alexis Baden-Mayer
April 15, 2012

2,4-D and the dioxin pollution it creates are too dangerous to allow, period, but in the hands of bad actors like Monsanto and Dow Chemical the dangers increase exponentially. What’s the Environmental Protection Agency doing? Helping cover-up the chemical companies’ crimes!
In February, Monsanto agreed to pay up to $93 million in a class-action lawsuit brought by the residents of Nitro, West Virginia, for dioxin exposure from accidents and pollution at an herbicide plant that operated in their town from 1929 to 2004.

That may seem like justice, but it is actually the result of Monsanto’s extraordinary efforts to hide the truth, evade criminal prosecution and avoid legal responsibility.

A brief criminal fraud investigation conducted (and quickly aborted) by the EPA revealed that Monsanto used a disaster at their Nitro, WV, plant to manufacture “evidence” that dioxin exposure produced a skin condition called chloracne, but was not responsible for neurological health effects or cancers such as Non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

These conclusions were repeatedly utilized by EPA and the Veterans Administration to deny help to citizens exposed to dioxin, if these persons did not exhibit chloracne.

The EPA knew the truth about Monsanto’s dioxin crimes, but it decided to hide it. Why? It would have affected us all. EPA’s brief criminal investigation of Monsanto included evidence that Monsanto knowingly contaminated Lysol with dioxin, even as the product was being marketed for cleaning babies’ toys.

Here are the details of this jaw-dropping and heart-breaking case of corporate criminality and EPA collusion.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nationofchange.org/just-one-monsanto-s-crimes-or-why-we-can-t-trust-epa-1334496958

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The ED Show – Republican vote against Buffett rule a vote against fairness?

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The Boss Man Cometh: Through State Tax Breaks, Employers Pilfer Workers’ Earnings

From In These Times:   http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/13049/through_state_tax_breaks_bosses_pilfer_workers_earnings/

By Michelle Chen
Monday Apr 16, 2012

As you file your taxes this week, before complaining about how much you’re forking over to Uncle Sam, bear in mind that the tax man might not be the only one you’re writing a check to: Your boss might be getting a big cut, too.

Thanks to arcane state tax subsidies, thousands of companies have fattened their profit margins by poaching from workers’ paychecks. According to a report by the watchdog group Good Jobs First, nearly $700 million in taxpayer money is being siphoned off by corporations annually through clever deals with state governments that are supposedly aimed at “job creation.”

According to the report, the tax breaks allow companies to effectively skim money from workers’ state income tax withholdings “to provide lavish subsidies to corporations rather than paying for vital public services.” The beneficiaries include “more than 2,700 companies, including major firms such as Sears, Goldman Sachs and General Electric.”

These programs feature glowingly euphemistic names: Indiana’s Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) Tax Credit, the Mississippi Advantage Jobs Incentive Program, and, to emphasize that these aren’t just any old jobs we’re talking about, New Mexico’s High Wage Jobs Tax Credit.

A more fitting title, according to Good Jobs First, would be “job blackmail.” Tax breaks are the trophy state lawmakers offer while trying to pull businesses into their states, or keep businesses from moving out. But while tax breaks are often painted as a mechanism for attracting jobs, they’re actually more aimed at attracting bosses. The researchers explain that in this interstate “economic war,” shuffling businesses geographically does not amount to genuine development:

Continue reading at:  http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/13049/through_state_tax_breaks_bosses_pilfer_workers_earnings/

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Anti-Gay Tea Party Speaker Screams At LGBT Protesters: ‘We Will Not Be Silenced By Faggots!’

From Addicting Info:  http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/04/16/anti-gay-tea-party-speaker-screams-at-lgbt-protesters-we-will-not-be-silenced-by-faggots/

By
April 16, 2012

Scott Lively is an anti-gay hate merchant who is known as a “professional worldwide hunter of homosexuals and top proponent of ‘gay cure’” as well as a supporter of Uganda’s ‘kill gays’ legislation. So it wasn’t very surprising that Lively was allowed to be a speaker at a Tea Party Tax Day rally in Boston, Massachusetts on Sunday. It also wasn’t a surprise that LGBT protesters would hold a counter rally against the hatred.

But during the rally, some LGBT protesters and Tea Partiers confronted each other and out of the loud speakers came a disgusting slur. According to Scott Wooledge of Daily Kos, as police were on the way to break up the LGBT protesters,

“Reports from attendees were that in response to disturbances by protestors, one of the speakers said from the podium, broadcast across the loud speakers at the Commons, “We will not be silenced by faggots.”

Police then arrived and forcibly broke up the LGBT demonstrators and left the Tea Party alone. The Boston Police Department is now investigating reports that officers used excessive force while breaking up the LGBT counter rally.

Continue reading at:  http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/04/16/anti-gay-tea-party-speaker-screams-at-lgbt-protesters-we-will-not-be-silenced-by-faggots/

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Freedom from a Dead-End Life: True Liberty Means Defeating the Right-Wing’s Nightmare Vision for America

From Alternet:   http://www.alternet.org/economy/155013/freedom_from_a_dead-end_life%3A_true_liberty_means_defeating_the_right-wing%27s_nightmare_vision_for_america/

The Right likes the parts of “big government” that limit our freedoms and attacks those that expand them.

By Joshua Holland
April 16, 2012

Last week, Mitt Romney summed up the Right’s rhetorical fluff as well as anyone when he told the National Rifle Association that “freedom is the victim of unbounded government appetite.” It was an unremarkable comment, so accustomed are we to hearing the Right – a movement that historically opposed women’s sufferage and black civil rights and still seeks to quash workers’ right to organize and gay and lesbian Americans’ right to marry– claim to be defenders of our liberties.

One has to acknowledge the conservative messaging machine for branding its ideological preferences with the rhetoric of “freedom.” But it’s nothing new. During the 2009 healthcare debate, Steve Benen noted that in 1961, when John F. Kennedy introduced the Medicare bill, Ronald Reagan “warned that if Medicare became law, there was a real possibility that the federal government would control where Americans go and what they do for a living.” Reagan told the nation, “If you don’t [stop Medicare] . . . one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in America when men were free.”

Dig a little deeper, and it becomes clear that “freedom” for the Right offers most of us anything but. It’s the freedom for companies to screw their workers, pollute, and otherwise operate free of any meaningful regulations to protect the public interest. It’s about the wealthiest among us being free from the burden of paying a fair share of the taxes that help finance a smoothly functioning society.

The flip side is that programs that assure working Americans a decent existence are painted as a form of tyranny approaching fascism. The reality is that they impinge only on our God-given right to live without a secure social safety net. It’s the freedom to go bankrupt if you can’t afford to treat an illness; the liberty to spend your golden years eating cat food if you couldn’t sock away enough for a decent retirement.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/economy/155013/freedom_from_a_dead-end_life%3A_true_liberty_means_defeating_the_right-wing%27s_nightmare_vision_for_america/

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How to Close the Gender Wage Gap in Just Seven Easy* Steps

From The Nation:  http://www.thenation.com/blog/167423/how-close-gender-wage-gap-just-seven-easy-steps

Bryce Covert
on April 17, 2012

Congrats, ladies! By today you’ve earned the same as men did in 2011. That gap means that the typical woman working full-time, year round, makes about seventy-seven cents for every dollar a typical man does, and those missing twenty-three cents can really add up. In a year a woman loses $10,784 to a man—enough to buy about 2,700 gallons of gas. It can add up toa loss of $431,000 in pay for the typical woman over a forty-year career. No small chunk of pocket change.

This issue hasn’t gone unnoticed. The first thing President Obama did after settling into the West Wing was to sign the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law, which expanded the statute of limitations on lawsuits over equal pay. Yet Ledbetter did little to actually change the gap: it stood at seventy-seven cents when the bill was passed at 2009, where it stands today.

But this high holiday of gender inequality is not the day to get dragged down in pessimism! After all, it can’t be totally out of reach to change this thing that’s barely budged in fifty years, amiright? In the spirit of moving forward and focusing on real solutions, here are some quick steps we can all take to make the gap disappear:

1. End salary secrecy. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, about half of all workers are either prohibited or strongly discouraged from talking about how much they make with their colleagues. And it’s pretty hard to sue an employer for pay discrimination without first figuring out what everyone else rakes in. So, easy task: just force all employers, public and private, to let anyone talk freely about how much they make. Americans should quickly get over their queasiness about discussing money, and employers shouldn’t care if their lower paid employees start salivating over six-figure salaries.

2. Raise the minimum wage. While we’re making companies do things they have no interest in doing, we should also raise the minimum wage. According to the National Women’s Law Center, about two-thirds of all workers making the minimum wage are women, and they’re also about two-thirds of those in tipped occupations that often pay a base rate far below that. Making the federal floor of $7.25 an hour nets a woman just $14,500 working full-time for a year, which adds up to more than $3,000 less than the poverty line for a family of three. Raising that wage could mean a raise for 28 million workers. Congress has only raised that wage three times in the past thirty years—so what could go wrong?

Continue reading at:  http://www.thenation.com/blog/167423/how-close-gender-wage-gap-just-seven-easy-steps

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How Wealth Reduces Compassion

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/04/17-1

As riches grow, empathy for others seems to decline

by Daisy Grewal
Published on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 by Scientific America
Who is more likely to lie, cheat, and steal—the poor person or the rich one? It’s temping to think that the wealthier you are, the more likely you are to act fairly. After all, if you already have enough for yourself, it’s easier to think about what others may need. But research suggests the opposite is true: as people climb the social ladder, their compassionate feelings towards other people decline.

Berkeley psychologists Paul Piff and Dacher Keltner ran several studies looking at whether social class (as measured by wealth, occupational prestige, and education) influences how much we care about the feelings of others. In one study, Piff and his colleagues discreetly observed the behavior of drivers at a busy four-way intersection. They found that luxury car drivers were more likely to cut off other motorists instead of waiting for their turn at the intersection. This was true for both men and women upper-class drivers, regardless of the time of day or the amount of traffic at the intersection. In a different study they found that luxury car drivers were also more likely to speed past a pedestrian trying to use a crosswalk, even after making eye contact with the pedestrian.

In order to figure out whether selfishness leads to wealth (rather than vice versa), Piff and his colleagues ran a study where they manipulated people’s class feelings. The researchers asked participants to spend a few minutes comparing themselves either to people better off or worse off than themselves financially. Afterwards, participants were shown a jar of candy and told that they could take home as much as they wanted. They were also told that the leftover candy would be given to children in a nearby laboratory. Those participants who had spent time thinking about how much better off they were compared to others ended up taking significantly more candy for themselves–leaving less behind for the children.

A related set of studies published by Keltner and his colleagues last year looked at how social class influences feelings of compassion towards people who are suffering. In one study, they found that less affluent individuals are more likely to report feeling compassion towards others on a regular basis. For example, they are more likely to agree with statements such as, “I often notice people who need help,” and “It’s important to take care of people who are vulnerable.” This was true even after controlling for other factors that we know affect compassionate feelings, such as gender, ethnicity, and spiritual beliefs.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/04/17-1

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Does Fracking Cause Earthquakes?

From Mother Jones: http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2012/04/does-fracking-cause-earthquakes

By Alyssa Battistoni
Mon Apr. 16, 2012

There are plenty of reasons to worry about fracking—groundwater contamination, methane leaks, that flaming tap water thing. But can it really cause earthquakes? That’s the question the US Geological Survey set out to answer after a spate of tremors in the Midwest—an area not usually known for earthquakes—alerted scientists to the possibility that some of them might be man-made.

Seismic activity in the Midwest started increasing around 12 years ago but picked up significantly in the past few years, says seismologist Bill Ellsworth, the lead author of a new USGS study examining potential links between fracking and earthquakes in the region. Since 1970, the baseline for earthquakes in the Midwest measuring above a 3.0 hovered at around 21 per year, but beginning in 2001, that number began to rise. There’s been a “remarkable increase” in the past few years: The number of 3.0-plus earthquakes rose from 29 in 2008 to 50 in 2009, then to 87 in 2010, and in 2011 to a staggering 134. Something unusual was going on, but what? As Ellsworth and his colleagues at USGS ask in the study, “Is this increase natural or manmade?” And if it’s man-made, is fracking—which has ramped up in the region in the past several years—to blame?

According to the study, the answer to the first question is “almost certainly.” But the second one is a little more complicated. Though fracking does cause tiny tremors, the USGS scientists found no links between the process of fracking itself and the larger earthquakes that have been occurring more frequently. They did, however, notice that earthquakes have clustered around wastewater wells in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and neighboring states. Disposing of wastewater by pumping it deep into the ground is standard practice in many industries, including mining, chemical manufacturing, and oil and gas extraction, and the oil and gas industry alone operates tens of thousands of wastewater disposal wells. But the recent surge of fracking activity, which uses millions of gallons of water to crack rock deep in the ground and release natural gas, has boosted the volume of wastewater being injected into the ground.

Continue reading at:  http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2012/04/does-fracking-cause-earthquakes

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New ISP will defend users from government spying

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IMF: Global economic recovery fragile and risk of relapse high

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/apr/17/global-economic-recovery-fragile-imf

Disorderly default and exit by eurozone member could spark market panic and cause bigger crisis than after Lehman collapse, IMF says in World Economic Outlook report

in Washington
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 17 April 2012

The International Monetary Fund warned today that the European debt crisis could flare up again at any time and send the global economy back into deep recession.

Olivier Blanchard, the Fund’s chief economist, said there was currently “an uneasy calm” following the tensions in financial markets at the end of 2011, with hopes of a gradual recovery dependent on keeping the single currency in one piece.

The IMF also gave the Bank of England the all-clear to add to its £325bn programme of quantitative easing if the UK economy struggles to recover from its longest and deepest recession of the post-war era. The Fund said that there was a risk of a 1930′s style slump. “In the current environment of limited policy room, there is also the possibility that several adverse shocks could interact to produce a major slump reminiscent of the 1930s.”

Asked about the risks that a country would leave the euro, Blanchard said: “We are doing everything possible so that this does not happen.”

The IMF’s chief economist said membership of the single currency made it harder for countries to become more competitive, but added: “For the moment there is no plan B. The costs of one country leaving the euro unilaterally would be very big and would lead to a very large drop in output.”

Blanchard said there would be contagion risks if one country departed from the single currency, and said this would be one of the circumstances in which the firewalls would be needed. There would be knock-on pressure on the sovereign bonds of other nations, he said.

At a press conference to mark the publication of the IMF’s flagship World Economic Outlook, Blanchard, said: “In the fall, a simmering European crisis became acute, threatening another Lehman size event, and the end of the recovery.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/apr/17/global-economic-recovery-fragile-imf

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