2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season Will Be Active, Have More U.S. Landfalls

From Scientific American:   http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=atlantic-hurricane-season-active-more-us-landfall&WT.mc_id=SA_DD_20110330

By Gina Cherundolo and AccuWeather
March 30, 2011

AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center meteorologists, led by Meteorologist and Hurricane Forecaster Paul Pastelok, are predicting an active season for 2011 with more impact on the U.S. coastline than last year.

The team is forecasting a total of 15 named tropical storms, eight of which will attain hurricane status and three of which will attain major hurricane status (Category 3 or higher).

In a normal year, there are 10 tropical storms, six of which become hurricanes and two of which become major hurricanes, or attain winds that exceed 110 mph.

2010’s historic season had a total of 19 named storms and ranks as the third most active season on record, but there was little impact on the United States coastline. Twelve of these storms became hurricanes, five of which were major hurricanes. Two names from the 2010 season were retired on March 16.

“It looks like we’re going to have more impact on the mainland of the U.S. coming up this year compared to last year,” Pastelok said. “We had a lot of storms last year, but not a lot of impact [on the U.S.].”

Continue reading at:  http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=atlantic-hurricane-season-active-more-us-landfall&WT.mc_id=SA_DD_20110330

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Transsexual urges Texas House committee to outlaw employment discrimination

From The Dallas Morning News: http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2011/03/transsexual-urges-house-commit.html

By Wayne Slater/Reporter Dallas Morning News
6:38 PM on Wed., Mar. 30, 2011

San Antonio Democrat Mike Villarreal told a House committee Wednesday that discrimination against gays and transsexuals in Texas is bad for business. He was joined by a transsexual who reinforced the message in testimony to lawmakers. Villarreal is sponsoring a bill that would add sexual orientation and “gender identity or expression” to protected classes when it comes to employment. Villarreal acknowledged to a House committee that getting the bill passed won’t be easy. He appealed to conservative lawmakers by emphasizing economic development. He said companies are more likely to locate in places where they can recruit good employees. And he said many talented, creative gay and transgender people want to work where they’re treated fairly in the workplace.

“Sexual orientation has nothing to do with getting a job done,” he told the committee. “Ultimately, we need to be focused, when it comes to the workplace, on the stuff that really matters – who’s being productive, who’s being efficient, who’s getting their work done.”

Meghan Stabler, a high-tech executive from Round Rock who is a transsexual, told the committee she underwent a sex-change operation several years ago. And while she kept her job, she said many people who have changed their sex face the likelihood of being fired. “We as adults, just because of who we love, just because of who we are, are discriminated against in the workplace,” she said. “We look to see what states embrace us. You don’t have to love us, you just have to embrace us.”

The committee did not act immediately on the bill.

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Nebraska Denies Prenatal Care to Undocumented Women

More  proof that Republicans aren’t pro-life but are really just woman hating misogynistic racist scum.

From Mother Jones: http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2011/03/babies-die-nebraska-due-lack-prenatal-care

By Jen Phillips
Wed Mar. 30, 2011

So much for being pro-life. Nebraska, the state that outlawed nearly all abortions past 20 weeks, eliminated prenatal care for about 1600 Medicaid patients last March. A year later, the results are stark: at least five babies have died and more women are foregoing prenatal care, with sometimes tragic consequences. As the Lincoln Journal Star reports:

At least five babies have died. Women are traveling 155 miles to get prenatal care. Babies have been delivered at clinics, in ambulances and hospital emergency rooms… About half of the women dropped from the program are undocumented. Those babies are U.S. citizens as soon as they are born and will automatically qualify for Medicaid health services upon delivery.

At the Good Neighbor Community Health Center in Columbus, the number of female patients has doubled, and the income for the prenatal program has dropped drastically, said Rebecca Rayman, executive director. Women are coming to the center from 22 counties. Even with shifting money from other programs, the clinic finished 2010 losing $167,530. Four infants died in utero at the Columbus health center, she said. In the previous seven years, the clinic had never had an in utero death.

Continue reading at:  http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2011/03/babies-die-nebraska-due-lack-prenatal-care


Maine GOP Legislators Looking To Loosen Child Labor Laws

More proof that Republicans are elitist scum who hate working people.

Amanda Terkel

WASHINGTON — Far from places like Ohio and Wisconsin, Maine has become a new battleground in the labor fight. Gov. Paul LePage (R) recently sparked the anger of the union community by ordering a mural depicting workers throughout the state’s history removed from the Department of Labor. Now, Republican members of the state legislature are attempting to loosen child labor laws that the community fought hard to put into place.

The minimum wage in Maine is $7.50 an hour, and there is no training or subminimum wage for students. But under a new piece of legislation introduced in the state’s House of Representatives, employers would be able to pay anyone under the age of 20 as little as $5.25 an hour for their first 180 days on the job.

The bill, LD 1346, also eliminates the maximum number of hours a minor 16 years of age or older can work on a school day and allows a minor under the age of 16 to work up to four hours on a school day during hours when school is not in session.

With Maine’s unemployment above 7 percent, state Rep. Paul Gilbert (D) wonders why Republicans are pushing to create a pool of cheap labor when so many people are begging for jobs.

“If we had a shortage of job applicants or potential workers, then you could look at other populations to ease that strain on the workforce,” Gilbert told The Huffington Post. “But we don’t have that right now. We have an excess of job applicants here in Maine, as well across the country.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/30/maine-gop-legislators-loo_n_842563.html

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Republicans Conjuring Up the Spirit of Joe McCarthy

Now you just know the neo-Nazis of the Republican Party love everything about the professional scumbag Joe McCarthy, so why should their eagerness to engage in the same sort of Witch Hunting come as any surprise.

Perhaps they can have all of their Christo-Fascist closet cases buddies engage in some  buggery in a bus station Tea room in honor of Roy Cohn.

From Talking Points Memo: http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/03/in-michigan-conservative-think-tank-seeks-labor-prof-emails.php?ref=fpa

Conservative Think Tank Seeks Michigan Profs’ Emails About Wisconsin Union Battle … And Maddow

Evan McMorris-Santoro
March 29, 2011

A free enterprise think tank in Michigan — backed by some of the biggest names in national conservative donor circles — has made a broad public records request to at least three in-state universities with departments that specialize in the study of labor relations, seeking all their emails regarding the union battle in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, TPM has learned.

According to professors subject to the request, filed under Michigan’s version of the Freedom Of Information Act, the request is extremely rare in academic circles. An employee at the think tank requesting the emails tells TPM they’re part of an investigation into what labor studies professors at state schools in Michigan are saying about the situation in Madison, Wisc., the epicenter of the clashes between unions and Republican-run state governments across the Midwest.

One professor subject to the FOIA described it as anti-union advocates “going after folks they don’t agree with.”

The Mackinac Center For Public Policy, based in Midland, Mich., submitted the FOIA requests last Friday and Monday to the Labor Studies Center at the University of Michigan and the Douglas A. Fraser Center for Workplace Issues at Wayne State University. A third FOIA was directed to Michigan State University, which has a School of Human Resources & Labor Relations.

The requests specifically seek emails from all labor studies faculty at each school.

The Mackinac Center For Public Policy describes itself as a “nonpartisan research and educational institute” focused on providing free market “solutions to state and local policy questions” in Michigan. The center does not disclose its donors but  according to recent reporting by Mother Jones, Mackinac “is part of a network of state-based groups associated with the Heritage Foundation.”

Continue reading at:  http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/03/in-michigan-conservative-think-tank-seeks-labor-prof-emails.php?ref=fpa

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/28/opinion/28krugman.html?_r=2&hp

American Thought Police

Published: March 27, 2011

Recently William Cronon, a historian who teaches at the University of Wisconsin, decided to weigh in on his state’s political turmoil. He started a blog, “Scholar as Citizen,” devoting his first post to the role of the shadowy American Legislative Exchange Council in pushing hard-line conservative legislation at the state level. Then he published an opinion piece in The Times, suggesting that Wisconsin’s Republican governor has turned his back on the state’s long tradition of “neighborliness, decency and mutual respect.”

So what was the G.O.P.’s response? A demand for copies of all e-mails sent to or from Mr. Cronon’s university mail account containing any of a wide range of terms, including the word “Republican” and the names of a number of Republican politicians.

If this action strikes you as no big deal, you’re missing the point. The hard right — which these days is more or less synonymous with the Republican Party — has a modus operandi when it comes to scholars expressing views it dislikes: never mind the substance, go for the smear. And that demand for copies of e-mails is obviously motivated by no more than a hope that it will provide something, anything, that can be used to subject Mr. Cronon to the usual treatment.

The Cronon affair, then, is one more indicator of just how reflexively vindictive, how un-American, one of our two great political parties has become.

The demand for Mr. Cronon’s correspondence has obvious parallels with the ongoing smear campaign against climate science and climate scientists, which has lately relied heavily on supposedly damaging quotations found in e-mail records.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/28/opinion/28krugman.html?_r=2&hp

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The GOP’s Absurd Plan for the Economy: Lowering YOUR Wages

From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/news/150400/the_gop%27s_absurd_plan_for_the_economy%3A_lowering_your_wages/

The GOP is embracing some very dangerous voodoo economics.

By Joshua Holland
March 28, 2011

Earlier this month, House Republicans laid out a perverse plan to lower working Americans’ wages, supposedly in a bid to get employers to hire more of them (PDF). One would be hard-pressed to find a better example of the “race to the bottom.”

Republican staffers on the Joint Economic Committee released the study in response to widespread criticism that the deep public sector cuts they’ve advocated threaten to derail an already anemic “recovery” — economist Mark Zandi estimated last month that if enacted, the spending cuts would cost the U.S. economy 700,000 jobs through 2012.

So, as Tim Fernholz and Jim Tankersley wrote in the National Journal, the GOP report “makes the party’s … case that fiscal consolidation (read: spending cuts) can spur immediate economic growth and reduce unemployment.”

The paper calls for cuts that are “large, credible, and politically difficult to reverse once made,” and offers a typical conservative fantasy about shuttering entire federal agencies. But topping the list of what should be on the Republicans’ chopping block is “decreasing the number and compensation of government workers,” which the staffers say will spur job creation because “a smaller government workforce increases the available supply of educated, skilled workers for private firms, thus lowering labor costs.”

“Labor costs,” of course mean “wages” – Americans’ paychecks. So, a central plank in the GOP’s economic recovery plan is to flood the market with yet more unemployed people in order to drive wages (which have stagnated for an extended period) further down.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/news/150400/the_gop%27s_absurd_plan_for_the_economy%3A_lowering_your_wages/

With same-sex marriage on hold, elderly and ailing couples face a lengthy appeals process

As I have stated before Marriage Equality has a higher personal priority for me than a Transgender-Inclusive ENDA.  This is because I am old and in an unprotected partnership.

Marriage equality is crucially important for many of us who are aging members of the LGBT/T communities.

While there is a stereotype of all post-SRS women of a transsexual history being straight it often seems as though at least half of us are lesbian.

We can’t play some sort of heterosexual privilege Birth Certificates game that allows us to marry since we are both WBT.  some of the dismissal of marriage equality has struck me as heterosexist and some of the language used on the part of certain transgender activist reminds me how much of a late comer to the Gay and Lesbian Community the Transgender Community actually is.  Even though many would like to include those post-transsexual sisters who assimilated into the lesbian communities under the transgender umbrella many of us did our part in the lesbian community not as transsexual or transgender women but simply as lesbian women, therefore many of us do not view our activities  counting as being “transgender participation in gay and lesbian history.

But the principle of walking and chewing gum at the same time comes into play here.  Getting beyond the narrow focus of identity politics and working on many issues with many different people at the same time comes into play.

In other words, “Grow up!  Everything isn’t just about you.  If you want others to work with you on your issues, you have to work with them on theirs.”  The oppression Olympics are part of the problem not part of the solution.

From The Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-adv-gay-marriage-stay-20110328,0,3793066.story

Judges last week extended a stay on same-sex marriage until higher courts rule on Prop. 8. Derence Kernek and Ed Watson hope that process will move faster than the advance of Watson’s Alzheimer’s disease.

By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times
March 27, 2011

Reporting from Palm Springs—

Derence Kernek and Ed Watson live together each day in fear that they won’t be able to pledge “till death do us part” before it’s too late.

Watson, 78, is in rapidly failing health, afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, diabetes and hypertension.

A federal appeals court ruled last week that same-sex marriage will remain on hold in California until a judge’s ruling striking down Proposition 8 as unconstitutional makes its way through the higher courts — reviews expected to take a year or more.

“We don’t have the money to travel to a state where it’s legal,” said Kernek, 80, observing dejectedly that the travel would probably be too grueling for his partner of 40 years. “Besides, we wanted to do it in California, where our friends are, where we live. Now I don’t think we’ll be able to, not while Ed can still remember.”

The ticking clock on Watson’s awareness was one of a chronicle of arguments presented to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in an unsuccessful bid to convey the urgency of letting same-sex marriage resume during the protracted appeals process.

A 9th Circuit panel made up of Judges Stephen Reinhardt, Michael Daly Hawkins and N. Randy Smith denied the request Wednesday without explanation.

Continue reading at:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-adv-gay-marriage-stay-20110328,0,3793066.story

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