From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/aug/17/pussy-riot-sentenced-two-years
Three members of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot have been found guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred and sentenced to two years in a prison colony.
Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, were handed the sentence by a judge in Moscow amid a wave of protests around the world.
The three stared ahead defiantly from inside a glass cage, their wrists shackled in handcuffs, as the verdict was read. Supporters and opposition activists blamed the case against the women – and the tough sentence – on Vladimir Putin.
“Whatever Putin wants, Putin gets. That is the only thing to say,” Tolokonnikova’s husband, Pyotr Verzilov, said on leaving the court.
Hundreds of people, many wearing Pussy Riot T-shirts, gathered outside the court to protest against the verdict. “We’re trying to remain peaceful,” said Maya Trapeznikova, 25. “But many are reaching their limits and waiting for the order to fight,” she said of the growing movement against Putin.
The judge said in the verdict that the three band members “committed hooliganism driven by religious hatred” and offended religious believers.
Continue reading at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/aug/17/pussy-riot-sentenced-two-years
By Natalya Krainova
17 August 2012
As a Moscow court is set to deliver a highly anticipated verdict Friday in the trial against members of female punk band Pussy Riot, street protests in support of the group are planned in at least 54 cities worldwide.
On Thursday, the judge who is set to deliver the verdict in the case, Marina Syrova, asked Moscow City Court chairwoman Olga Yegorova to provide her with bodyguards due to the “incessant threats” she has been receiving, court spokeswoman Anna Usachyova told Interfax.
Meanwhile, former Beatles singer Paul McCartney voiced hope that authorities will pardon the defendants — Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22; Maria Alyokhina, 24; and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30 — who have been detained since March and face up to seven years in prison on charges of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.
The charges stem from their alleged participation in a February performance at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral that denounced President Vladimir Putin and Russian Orthodox Church head Patriarch Kirill using obscene language.
McCartney, who joins such prominent musicians as Madonna and Bjork in voicing support for the women, posted a short open letter addressed to the defendants on his website Thursday.
From The Advocate: http://www.advocate.com/crime/2012/08/16/trans-teen-murdered-chicago
One 19-year-old’s life ends just blocks from the April’s trans murder.
BY Diane Anderson-Minshall
August 16 2012
A gender variant teen has been murdered in Chicago a mere three blocks from where Paige Clay, another trans women, was found murdered in April.
Tiffany Gooden, 19, was found in an abandoned building on the city’s West Side, according to Windy City Times. Reporter Kate Sosin says that Gooden had sufferered multiple stab wounds and incised wounds and the death has been ruled a homicide.
Brian Turner, an outreach coordinator at Taskforce Prevention and Community Services on the West Side, told Sosin that he wasn’t sure if Gooden identified as transgender or used a female name and pronouns exclusively.
Complete article at: http://www.advocate.com/crime/2012/08/16/trans-teen-murdered-chicago
BY Daniel Reynolds
August 16 2012
A group of men launched several “flaming projectiles” into the patio area of a Salt Lake City gay bar Wednesday night, according to ABC 4 News, before fleeing the scene. There were no injuries, and police are currently investigating.
The incident occurred at approximately 12:30 a.m. during the nightclub JAM’s popular karaoke night. Witness Fernando Noriega estimated that between 30-40 people filled the outdoor space when the flares were thrown, and stated that it was “a miracle” no one was injured.
“At first I assumed someone on the patio was setting off fireworks for some reason and thought who would be crazy enough to do that in such a crowded area?” stated Noriega to local news blog thegayhotspot.com. “Then as soon as I realized it wasn’t and I could see them falling from above us, I knew what was happening.”
Reagan Mower, a neighbor whose apartment faces the bar, stated to police that he observed a group of men loitering by the parking lot prior to the incident. “Two or three of them then walked back behind a dumpster in the alley and that’s when I saw them throw the flares,” he said.
From Metro Weekly: http://www.metroweekly.com/news/?ak=7664
By Justin Snow
Published on August 16, 2012
At a press conference today, the Family Research Council laid blame for yesterday’s shooting of a security guard directly with the rhetoric of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
According to FRC President Tony Perkins, suspected shooter Floyd Lee Corkins II was given a ”license” to fire by the charged rhetoric of the SPLC, which has labeled the FRC a ”hate group” for their opposition to gay rights.
It was a dramatic declaration from Perkins, who had been relatively silent about the shooting that occurred in the lobby of the FRC on Wednesday morning, Aug. 15. The FRC security guard was struck in the arm before subduing the suspect, but is in stable condition.
Although Perkins thanked LGBT organizations that have condemned the act of violence, including the more that 25 group leaders who signed a statement on Wednesday, he asked them to go a step further and condemn the SPLC.
Speaking outside FRC headquarters in downtown Washington with the words ”Faith, Family, Freedom” etched into the wall of the building behind him, Perkins said the Southern Poverty Law Center should be held accountable for its ”reckless use of terminology.”
Continue reading at: http://www.metroweekly.com/news/?ak=7664
August 16, 2012
The state’s campaign watchdog agency gave final approval Thursday to $49,000 in fines against the campaign committee for Proposition 8, a 2008 ballot measure banning gay marriage in California.
The state Fair Political Practices Commission determined that the campaign committee ProtectMarriage.com—Yes on 8 failed to properly file public reports disclosing late contributions and political checks over $5,000, as well as failing to properly dispose of an anonymous $10,000 contribution. An investigation concluded that more than $1 million in contributions was not properly reported.
The campaign committee admitted to the violations and agreed to pay the fines.
What I remember most from 12 years of Catholic school, is that everything having to do with boys is a sin. And we had better believe it. One day a classmate at Marymount raised her hand in religion class and asked, “Is French kissing a mortal sin?” The nun answered without hesitation: “Yes.” We all knew that if you died with a mortal sin on your soul, you went straight to Hell — so if we were even considering this French kissing thing, we were taking eternity into our own hands.
French kissing and murder — all the same in God’s book.
Imagine the thrill that sprang through all of us — we who grew up wearing those navy blue jumpers and white blouses — when, years later, we breathlessly leafed through the pages of Helen Gurley Brown’s explosive 1962 book, Sex And The Single Girl, which described in unblushing detail a step-by-step strategy by which women could embrace their most secret sexual urges. Three weeks after its publication, the book had sold 3,000,000 copies.
By then my Marymount classmates and I had left our blue jumpers far behind, along with the nun’s fiery lessons. But some part of those flames still burned.
Before there was Erica Jong or Fifty Shades of Grey, there was Helen Gurley Brown, the pioneering publishing icon who passed away on Monday at the age of 90. A secretary-turned-copywriter-turned author, Helen rocked the culture with her revolutionary ideas about women and sexuality — and she did so without fear or apology.
I know, I know, there is plenty to debate about Brown’s brand of feminism — her signature Cosmopolitan magazine referred to women as “girls,” and its covers regularly featured models with puffed-up cleavage and headlines that promised man-snaring advice.
Have you tried to get through to your insurance company or bank recently?
by David Morris
August 16, 2012
In 2012 we accept as received wisdom that government is unresponsive while a competitive marketplace forces private business to offer quality customer service. So when Representative Henry Cuellar (D-TX) introduced his warmly received bill, The Government Customer Service Improvement Act, most people accepted his premise, “When taxpayers interact with a government agency, they deserve the same timely, reliable assistance they would expect from a private sector business,”
Ironically, just as we achieve a bipartisan consensus that to improve customer service government should act like a private business, the evidence—both the empirical and anecdotal—is telling us it should be the other way around.
Consider the results of a new study by the Commonwealth Fund that compares private health insurance companies to government Medicare. Government was the hands down winner. People covered by private health plans were much more likely than Medicare beneficiaries to forego needed care, experience access problems, encounter medical bill problems, and be less satisfied with their coverage. Is anyone who’s had a conversation, or tried to have a conversation, with his or her private insurance carrier surprised?
Indeed, the evidence that government is far better than private business at delivering health insurance is so compelling that anti-government Americans have adopted an ingenious strategy to avoid conceding the point. They have simply decided that Medicare is a private insurance program. Recall the protest signs and talk show host warnings that President Obama better “keep the government out of Medicare!” during the health care reform debate.
We no longer even expect personal customer service in the fastest growing part of the economy and the one with which we interact the most—internet based services. “Twitter’s phone system hangs up after providing Web or e-mail addresses three times,” the New York Times recently reported .
From Addicting Info: http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/08/14/romney-new-middle-east-war/
By John Viall
August 14, 2012
ON THE DOMESTIC FRONT IT’S LOOKING like the Romney-Ryan ticket and the Tea Party base are planning like it’s 1928. The outlines of their approach seem clear. Kill off the last unions and get the working stiff in an ever tighter economic noose. Collect multi-million dollar campaign donations from the super rich and repay them with Paul Ryan-inspired tax breaks so that they get their money back, and more, once you take office. Cut Social Security to the bone; bleed Medicare and Medicaid white.
Don’t just unplug granny. Blow up the electric company with granny inside.
It’s might be hard to imagine, but the trend in foreign affairs is even more ominous. Because, when it comes to foreign policy, it’s de ja vu all over again, with Mitt Romney leaning hard on the same geniuses who plunged us into Iraq War. As Bill Keller noted in the New York Times yesterday, Romney has fallen head over heels for neoconservatives like John Bolton, Dan Senor and William Kristol.
If you’re lucky, you’ve been able to purge the memory of these men from your consciousness in recent years. But we need to remember that nine weeks after 9-11, Bolton was assuring the media that Saddam Hussein had vast stockpiles of biological weapons: “The existence of Iraq’s program is beyond dispute.”
Old news, of course. But now Bolton is whispering in the right ear of Mitt Romney, himself. Bolton! The man who insisted Saddam had all kinds of WMD’s hidden under his bed. The man who claimed it was imperative, in 2009, that Israel launch a nuclear strike on Iran at once.
A nuclear strike!!!
“Negotiations have failed,” Bolton told a bug-eyed Chicago audience, “and so too have sanctions…So we’re at a very unhappy point–a very unhappy point–where unless Israel is prepared to use nuclear weapons against Iran’s program, Iran will have nuclear weapons in the very near future.”
Continue reading at: http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/08/14/romney-new-middle-east-war/
From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-abrams/romney-tax-amnesty_b_1737204.html
President Andrew Shepherd: This is not the business of the American people!
A. J. MacInerney: With all due respect, sir, the American people have a funny way of deciding on their own what is and what is not their business. (The American President, 1995).
Lawrence O’Donnell scored a TV-journalist coup last night by raising the issue of amnesty with regard to former Governor Mitt Romney’s (R-MA) refusal to reveal his tax returns prior to 2010.
Amnesty is, for many reasons, the most critical and potentially damaging issue in the entire Romney tax shenanigans saga.
If it is revealed, for example, that Romney indeed paid little or no taxes in the last 10 years, as alleged by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), that is largely baked into the cake by now, so that the surprise would be if he actually paid more on his income for a number of those years.
Romney’s lying about it all these weeks might be a small problem, but that too is generally assumed — Romney has demonstrated his willingness to say anything to anybody to get what he wants. Absent from the Romney’s life is anytime he risked anything or sacrificed for anyone.
Consider this: if Romney did hide income at his Swiss UBS account and did not pay his required taxes on it until 2009 when he could get amnesty, he could correctly say, now, that he has paid 100 percent of the taxes he owed. Moreover, should he release his returns, the years since 2003 will have been amended to show the taxes he owed and paid, along with a 25 percent penalty for the year with the largest illegally hidden income.
Continue reading at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-abrams/romney-tax-amnesty_b_1737204.html
By Stephen Lacey
Aug 15, 2012
If you want to understand just how extreme and conspiratorial many in the “mainstream” Republican party have become, look no further than a resolution on Agenda 21 passed quietly in January.
Agenda 21 is a completely non-binding international framework for sustainability passed in 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit. The framework, which sets out very loose aspirational goals for making communities more efficient and less carbon-intensive, was signed by then President George H.W. Bush and later upheld by Presidents Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush.
Since the framework was adopted, right-wing conspiracy theorists have pushed bizarre theories about Agenda 21 being a central tool for the United Nations to create a one-world government and take away the rights of local property owners. In recent years, elevated by the megaphone of extreme pundits like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, these conspiracies made their way into mainstream politics. Today, Agenda 21ers — many affiliated with the Tea Party and the John Birch Society — are peddling fears about Agenda 21 in order to stop basic efficiency and renewable energy programs on the state level.
Conspiracy theorists active in politics have called Agenda 21 “socialism on steroids” that would cause Americans to be “herded into centers like the UN wants.”
And in an April presentation on Agenda 21, activist Victoria Baer had this to say about John McCain’s support of ethanol, which she also claimed was part of a UN plot: “We should have left him in Hanoi with Jane Fonda…he is a traitor, a pure traitor.”
By David Edwards
Thursday, August 16, 2012
A woman in Chester Township, Pennsylvania has been warned that she could be fined as much as $600 a day if she continues to feed needy children in her community.
Angela Prattis has been feeding lunch to as many as 60 children a day under a program funded by the state’s Department of Education and administered by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. But because Prattis allowing the children to come to her home, Chester Township has threatened fines of $600 a day if she continues to hand out the lunches, which consist of a sandwich, fruit and milk.
Prattis told KPLC that the town sent her a letter stating she needed a variance to use her personal residence.
“It’s a letter stating, ‘shut it down or face a $600 fine,’” she explained.
“We’re talking about children,” Prattis added. “Children. It’s unbelievable. They’ve never once said anything to me in reference to what to do to be in the right standing with the township.”
From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/08/14-6
Common Dreams staff
Published on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 by Common Dreams
Big names in corporate agriculture and biotechnology firms are spending big — to the tune of $12 million — in their fight to prevent Californians from knowing whether their food contains genetically engineered ingredients.
Contributions on file with the California Secretary of State’s office show that the Coalition Against the Deceptive Food Labeling Scheme, the group with a loaded name fighting the labeling, has raised nearly $11.9 million in funds to fight the labeling.
The fight is over Proposition 37, which noted food writer Michael Pollan called “easily the most important food battle of the fall,” and is set for the ballot in California in November. If the “yes” votes win, genetically engineered foods would have to be labeled; if the “no” votes win, the status quo will remain — a scenario in which consumers don’t know if the food they’re consuming contains genetically engineered ingredients or not.
The top donors to this anti-labeling campaign include some of the most well-known names in biotechnology and industrial food: DuPont Pioneer (over $2.4 million), Bayer Cropscience (over $1 million), BASF Plant Science (nearly $1 million). PepsiCo, Nestle USA, General Mills, Conagra Foods, Coca Cola and Syngenta each gave $500,000.
“Why are these giant corporations spending so much money to hide the truth about what’s in their food?” asks Stacy Malkan, a spokesperson for the Yes on 37 Right to Know Campaign, who muses that the big funds will be used in deceptive ads in the lead-up to the vote.
Continue reading at: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/08/14-6