Eine Kleine Samstag Nachtmusik


Fort Worth City Council member Joel Burns’ message to gay teens is heartfelt, resonating

Jacquielynn Floyd in the Dallas Morning News is one of my favorite local columnists.

The other day she wrote the following about Joel Burns, a Fort Worth City Council member.

From the Dallas Morning News:  http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/localnews/columnists/jfloyd/stories/101510dnmetfloyd.18d5a4bfb.html

09:10 AM CDT on Friday, October 15, 2010

If the now-viral video of Fort Worth City Council member Joel Burns’ extraordinary address during an otherwise routine meeting Tuesday does not move you to tears, you surely have a tough, leathery little peanut for a heart. I can’t watch it without crying.

Burns, who is gay, spoke directly to young victims of anti-gay bullying (none of whom, it’s a safe bet, were at a sparsely attended City Council meeting on a Tuesday night, but who are presumably being reached through the irrepressible tom-toms of the Internet).

He shared his own teenage experience of ugly, mindless victimization, and he made the promise to kids enduring similar torment: “It gets better.”

Technically speaking, that’s “It Gets Better” – with caps – since it’s the name for an informal online video project of adults sharing their coming-out stories to teens who are struggling with their sexual orientation and especially vulnerable to harassment.

Continue reading at:  http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/localnews/columnists/jfloyd/stories/101510dnmetfloyd.18d5a4bfb.html

Councilman Burn’s Website:  http://www.joelburns.com/

Obama: End tax breaks to stop overseas hiring

From Yahoo News: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_obama_taxes

By JULIE PACE, Associated Press Writer Julie Pace, Associated Press Writer Sat Oct 16, 1:37 pm ET

WASHINGTON – End tax breaks that reward some U.S. companies with overseas subsidiaries and encourage those businesses to create jobs in other countries, President Barack Obama is telling Congress.

Yet it’s an idea that has raised concerns even among some lawmakers in the president’s own party.

At issue is a bill, now stalled in the Senate, that would do away with some tax credits and deferrals for U.S. companies for operations abroad.

“There is no reason why our tax code should actively reward them for creating jobs overseas,” Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday. “Instead, we should be using our tax dollars to reward companies that create jobs and businesses within our borders.”

Continue reading at:  http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_obama_taxes

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Stop the Internet Blacklist

From The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-segal/stop-the-internet-blackli_b_739836.html

David Segal

RI State Representative

Posted: September 27, 2010 09:40 AM

By David Segal and Aaron Swartz

When it really matters to them, Congressmembers can come together — with a panache and wry wit you didn’t know they had. As banned books week gets underway, and President Obama admonishes oppressive regimes for their censorship of the Internet, a group of powerful Senators — Republicans and Democrats alike — have signed onto a bill that would vastly expand the government’s power to censor the Internet.

The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) was introduced just one week ago, but it’s greased and ready to move, with a hearing in front of the Judiciary Committee this Thursday. If people don’t speak out, US citizens could soon find themselves joining Iranians and Chinese in being blocked from accessing broad chunks of the public Internet.

Help us stop this bill in its tracks! Click here to sign our petition.

COICA creates two blacklists of Internet domain names. Courts could add sites to the first list; the Attorney General would have control over the second. Internet service providers and others (everyone from Comcast to PayPal to Google AdSense) would be required to block any domains on the first list. They would also receive immunity (and presumably the good favor of the government) if they block domains on the second list.

The lists are for sites “dedicated to infringing activity,” but that’s defined very broadly — any domain name where counterfeit goods or copyrighted material are “central to the activity of the Internet site” could be blocked.

One example of what this means in practice: sites like YouTube could be censored in the US. Copyright holders like Viacom often argue copyrighted material is central to the activity of YouTube, but under current US law, YouTube is perfectly legal as long as they take down copyrighted material when they’re informed about it — which is why Viacom lost to YouTube in court.

But if COICA passes, Viacom wouldn’t even need to prove YouTube is doing anything illegal to get it shut down — as long as they can persuade the courts that enough other people are using it for copyright infringement, the whole site could be censored.

Perhaps even more disturbing: Even if Viacom couldn’t get a court to compel censorship of a YouTube or a similar site, the DOJ could put it on the second blacklist and encourage ISPs to block it even without a court order. (ISPs have ample reason to abide the will of the powerful DOJ, even if the law doesn’t formally require them to do so.)

COICA’s passage would be a tremendous blow to free speech on the Internet — and likely a first step towards much broader online censorship. Please help us fight back: The first step is signing our petition. We’ll give you the tools to share it with your friends and call your Senator.

Blahnik house mother murdered

Yet another sister murdered. And as was all too often ignored in the early years of Days of Remembrance she was a woman of color.  The victims of these crime all to often share common factors besides having one trans-prefixed label or another attached to them.  They are most often people of color and/or poor and unemployed.

From The Philadelphia Gay News: http://epgn.com/view/full_story/9910652/article-Blahnik-house-mother-murdered

A well-known local transgender woman who was a fixture in the ballroom community was murdered in her home this week in South Philadelphia.

The body of Stacey Blahnik, 31, was discovered shortly after 9:30 p.m. Oct. 11 by a man reported to be her partner in a second-story bedroom of her rowhome. Police were called to the house, 1805 Manton St., and pronounced her dead at 9:43 p.m.

Police spokesperson Sgt. Ray Evers said Blahnik, whose birth name is Michael Lee, was strangled with a pillowcase.

The Medical Examiner’s Office classified the death a homicide Wednesday morning, with the cause of death listed as ligature strangulation.

Evers said investigators have not yet determined a motive or suspects in the killing.

“The homicide squad is working on it, so hopefully they will be able to shed some light on this once they go through the evidence and the interviews,” Evers said.

Blahnik served as the Overall House Mother for House of Blahnik.

Local trans activist Jaci Adams said rumors about Blahnik’s death began swirling shortly after her body was found, but urged the community to be patient until more facts are uncovered.

“The girls need to be safe, but we don’t know the details yet,” Adams said.

Adams said Blahnik did not have any makeup on at the time of her death, which she said could be a telling sign.

“She was found without any makeup on, which to us implies that this could have been personal or somebody she was already comfortable with,” Adams suggested. “If I had someone over my house and I wasn’t made up, it would be someone who knew me and someone that I felt comfortable with.”

Read more: PGN-The Philadelphia Gay News. Phila gay news. philly news – Blahnik house mother murdered


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New report reveals rampant discrimination against transgender people by health providers, high HIV rates, and widespread lack of access to necessary care

“My experiences in dealing with police and hospital personnel after my rape was not pleasant and lacked a lot of sensitivity to trans issues.” – Survey Respondent

“Finding doctors who will treat, will prescribe, and will even look at you like a human being rather than a thing has been problematic. Have been denied care by doctors and major hospitals so much that I now use only urgent care physician assistants, and I never reveal my gender history.” – Survey Respondent

“I have also had several bouts with depression and anxiety disorders and once ended up in the emergency room for depression. I still bounce in and out of depression due to not being able to get the appropriate surgical procedures.” – Survey Respondent


WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 – Transgender and gender non-conforming people face rampant discrimination in health care settings, are regularly denied needed care, and experience a range of health risks because they are transgender or gender non-conforming, according to a report of over 6,450 transgender and gender non-conforming people. The National Transgender Discrimination Survey: Report on Health and Health Care was released nationally today by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality.

Key findings include:

  • Nearly 1 in 5, 19%, reported being refused care outright, because they were transgender or gender non-conforming;
  • Survey participants reported very high levels of postponing medical care when sick or injured due to discrimination and disrespect (28%);
  • Harassment: 28% of respondents were subjected to harassment in medical settings;
  • Significant lack of provider knowledge: 50% of the sample reported having to teach their medical providers about transgender care;
  • Despite barriers, the majority have accessed some form of transition-related medical care; but only a minority has had any surgery, despite the fact that a strong majority stated wanting to have it someday;
  • Respondents reported over four times the national average of HIV infection, 2.64% in our sample compared to 0.6% in the general population, with rates for transgender women at 3.76%, and with those who are unemployed (4.67%) or who have engaged in sex work (15.32%) even higher;
  • Over a quarter of the respondents misused drugs or alcohol specifically to cope with the discrimination they faced due to their gender identity or expression;
  • A staggering 41% of respondents reported attempting suicide compared to 1.6% of the general population.

The report also includes critical public policy recommendations, including the urgent need to train medical professionals about how to effectively and respectfully treat transgender and gender-nonconforming patients; an end to the discriminatory practice of transgender exclusion from health care coverage; the development transgender specific programs to address suicide, the spread of HIV, and other health risks; and increased research that focuses specifically on health needs of the transgender population.

“It is outrageous that basic health care is being denied to transgender and gender non-conforming people and that so much additional trauma is being caused by doctors instead of being resolved by doctors. The medical profession must take these data seriously and ensure that everyone in the medical care system knows how to provide transgender-sensitive medical care,” said Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

“Health care is a fundamental human right. This study clearly documents that it is regularly being denied to transgender and gender non-conforming people,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “The study also provides information about the serious health impact of the discrimination that transgender people face. The health risks are many times higher for people of color, for those who have lost a job due to bias, and those who were bullied in school.”

The National Transgender Discrimination Survey, a joint partnership of the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, is the most extensive survey of transgender discrimination ever undertaken. The survey included 6,450 respon­dents from all 50 states and several territories, with a geograph­ic and racial distribution approximating that of the general U.S. population.
Preliminary Findings on Employment and Economic Insecurity, which provides an overview of statistics from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey on the pervasive employment discrimination transgender and gender non-conforming people face, unemployment rates, poverty levels, and housing instability, is also available.

Statistics related to suicide, and the relationship to bullying and harassment in school, were released last week, and are available here.

The National Transgender Discrimination Survey is the most extensive survey of transgender discrimination ever done. It includes responses from more than 6,400 people from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


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The Great Climate Sell-Out

From The Progressive: http://www.progressive.org/rc101310.html

By Ruth Conniff, October 13, 2010

The unseasonably warm fall weather here in the Upper Midwest is spectacularly beautiful. Sunny and clear, it’s in the 60s and 70s, with humidity so low you can see the tiniest details of the shoreline across the lake near my house.

Sitting around this past weekend, enjoying the steady shower of golden leaves in the afternoon sunlight, I struck up a conversation with the mother of my three-year-old daughter’s best friend.

And that’s where the whole pleasant afternoon idyll ended. You see, the friend’s mom is a climate scientist, and not the least charmed by our warm, golden autumn weather.

The lake near our house, for example, used to freeze solid for four months on average, she told me. Now, the average time is two months.

Continue reading at:  http://www.progressive.org/rc101310.html

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From Some Assembly Required: There is no Plan B.

Some Assembly Required is a Blog Tina turned me onto that has joined a bunch of other sites I visit daily.  It is one of those places people should check out regularly.

Today the following was posted:  http://ckm3.blogspot.com/2010/10/sar-10289.html

There is no Plan B. – Chris Martenson

First Principals: In the US, housing is central to the economy, to the financial system, and to the society. It has failed. And with it the consumer economy has lost its main support, so, too, have employment, taxation, the social contract and governance. The replacement, in each case, is fear. And not far behind the fear is the gathering recognition that doom, that collapse is just off stage, waiting.
There is no rational way to discuss one aspect or another of the hydra facing us. Yes, fraudulent affidavits were used to keep foreclosure mills running. Why not? The mortgages were frauds at inception – deceitful loans made to deceitful buyers. The fraudulent mortgages were quickly passed on to the slice and dice middle-men who knew what they were cutting up was fraudulent but didn’t care as long as they could pass it on – nudge, nudge, wink, wink – as MBS given fraudulently high ratings by firms that were no better than houses of prostitution. A “service” industry grew up that was designed to keep all the players fat, dumb and happy until they were starved, very unhappy, but still greedy, still dumb.

The housing market has disappeared into the hated federal government – no one else would lend money into such a market, nor offer MBS stuffed with fraudulent documents and backed by no-loss covenants. All the banks do is collect fees and distribute bonuses.
The rule of law disappeared along with the magic of deregulation – what are laws except inconvenient constraints on profits? Common sense left town years ago. Readers ask why I’ve not written about the ‘foreclosure fraud’, this is why: It is too big to grasp. We are living in a world made by fraud and it cannot but all fall down. Anyone who thinks this is all trivial technicalities is wrong.
I truly thought our doom would flow from the increasing decline in petroleum production, years from now. I was wrong.

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