Sluts Don’t Cause Rape, Rapists Do: Why “Slutwalks” Are Sweeping the World

From Alternet:   http://www.alternet.org/story/150906/sluts_don%27t_cause_rape%2C_rapists_do%3A_why_%22slutwalks%22_are_sweeping_the_world/

The idea behind the Slutwalks is simple, yet so often fails to get through: rape is rape, no matter what the victim wears, says or does.

By Sarah Seltzer
May 11, 2011

One Toronto policeman, Michael Sanguinetti, made the mistake of telling women on a college campus “not to dress like sluts” if they didn’t want to get raped.

It was a stupid and wrong thing to say, obviously. But if it had really been one guy’s mistake, hundreds of women wouldn’t be participating in “Slutwalks” that have spread across the continent, and now the globe, and are garnering quite a bit of attention from the media.

According to the Guardian, Slutwalks have already taken place in Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Argentina and Sweden and major events are planned in London, LA, and more this summer. It’s a phenomenon that has gone viral, sporting creative homemade signs, costumes and chants that channel the clever and theatrical elements of feminist protest.

The point of these mass marches? Comments like that misguided police officer’s are all too common, reflecting beliefs ingrained in nearly all of us as part of a culture that jumps to blaming the victim, blaming alcohol, blaming loose morals, blaming anyone and anything but the actual rapist. And such a culture isn’t just demeaning, it’s dangerous, because it focuses on the outfits and behavior of victims rather than the criminal behavior of perpetrators.

The idea behind the Slutwalks is simple, yet so often fails to get through: rape is rape, no matter what the victim is wearing. The Slutwalks–after the original one in Toronto was successful and showed up on YouTube and on Internet pictures–have sprung up organically. They tend not to have a vastly unifying principle beyond this: if the law, and society, treat women who are raped as sluts who deserved it, than we are all sluts, because we can all be raped at any time, no matter what we are wearing.

To simplify it even further, a Boston marcher carried a sign reading, “Sluts Don’t Cause Rape. Rapists Do.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/story/150906/sluts_don%27t_cause_rape%2C_rapists_do%3A_why_%22slutwalks%22_are_sweeping_the_world/

Mayor: City Should Start Paying for Surgeries and Other Treatments for Transgender Employees

From The Stranger SLOG Seattle: http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2011/05/09/mayor-city-should-start-paying-for-surgeries-and-other-treatments-for-transgender-employees

By Dominic Holden
Mon, May 9, 2011

When most of the city’s approximately 10,000 employees seek mental health care, steroid treatments, or a variety of other services, they don’t need to prove medical necessity to be covered under the city’s employee benefits plan. But once an employee has been classified by the city’s insurance carrier as transgender, those services are “universally denied,” says the Seattle LGBT Commission in a letter to city officials. “First and foremost, transgender medical treatment is not cosmetic. It is necessary medical treatment. Psychological care, hormonal treatments, and surgical procedures are all medically necessary for transgender-identified individuals.”

The discrimination is, in fact, quite explicit for the city’s trans employees: The benefit plan for city workers says insurance won’t cover “Any treatment, drug, service or supply related to changing sex or sexual characteristics, including: Surgical procedures to alter the appearance or function of the body; Hormones and hormone therapy; Prosthetic devices; and Medical or psychological counseling.” The commission, which advices the mayor and city council, says these exclusions should be removed when the city writes the new employee contracts in 2013.

Mayor Mike McGinn agrees.

“This is something we should be working to improve,” says McGinn, who only learned about the exclusions last Thursday. “This is not frivolous issue. It’s a fundamental issue about the effect on a person’s physical and emotional well-being, and this exclusion means that you are denying appropriate health services to people when they are in need.”

In response to the letter, which was first reported by Seattle Gay News, Seattle City Council member Sally Clark tells The Stranger she didn’t know about the exclusion, either, until the letter. Clark says, “I’ll be looking at how we can change what we should cover.”

The commission will be meeting tomorrow with Council Member Bruce Harrell, chair of the council’s civil rights and technology committee.

The commission says officials should modify those contracts by both removing exclusions for transgender employees and explicitly covering care relating to and including transitional surgeries. “This fact of medical necessity is no longer open to debate,” writes the commission, citing opinions of the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, and other authorities. Employees who are denied coverage can have “debilitating secondary medical conditions, have substantially higher risk for suicide, and experience increased psychological distress.”

Continue reading at:   http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2011/05/09/mayor-city-should-start-paying-for-surgeries-and-other-treatments-for-transgender-employees

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ConocoPhillips CEO Refuses To Apologize For Saying It Is ‘Un-American’ To End Oil Subsidies

From Think Progress: http://thinkprogress.org/2011/05/12/oil-ceos-un-american/

By Marie Diamond
May 12, 2011

On Wednesday, ConocoPhillips CEO Jim Mulva outraged many on Capitol Hill when he released a statement calling it “un-American” to end subsidies to the Big 5 oil companies — ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips. A press release referencing the subsidies posted on the company’s website was headlined: “ConocoPhillips Highlights Solid Results and Raises Concerns Over Un-American Tax Proposals at Annual Meeting of Shareholders.”

This position is a stark reversal from what Mulva said just a few years ago. In 2005, he testified that he agreed with President Bush’s assessment that with “$55 oil, we do not need incentives to oil and gas companies to explore.” Mulva testified, “With respect to oil and gas exploration and production, we do not need incentives.” But with oil prices now hovering around $100 per barrel, Mulva has inexplicably changed his tune.

Yesterday Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) called Mulva’s “un-American” statement “truly outrageous” and said he expected Mulva to apologize. At today’s Senate Finance Committee hearing with the oil CEOs, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) repeatedly pressed Mulva for an apology, but the ConocoPhillips CEO refused to give one, claiming “nothing was intended personally” by his press release. Schumer then pressed the other oil CEOs to state their views:

Continue reading at: http://thinkprogress.org/2011/05/12/oil-ceos-un-american/

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Kerry introduces bill to combat LGBT youth homelessness

From The Washington Blade: http://www.washingtonblade.com/2011/05/12/kerry-introduces-bill-to-combat-lgbt-youth-homelessness/

By Chris Johnson
May 12, 2011

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) introduced legislation on Thursday aimed at mitigating homelessness among America’s youth — particularly those who may be forced from their homes because they identify as LGBT.

The legislation, known as the Reconnecting Youth to Prevent Homelessness Act, broadly addresses the issue of young people living on the street in addition to having provisions specifically related to the problem of LGBT homelessness.

“As a father, it’s a punch in the gut to imagine children living on the streets, but this year alone, one in fifty American kids will be homeless,” Kerry said. “There are common sense reforms we can implement to help make things better for LGBT youth.”

The LGBT-specific provision of the legislation directs the Department of Health & Human Services to develop programs to improve family relationships for LGBT youth and decrease their rate of homelessness. HHS is directed to conduct the programs for five years.

The programs include “behavioral interventions” designed to decrease rejecting behaviors for families with LGBT youth and assessment tools to identify LGBT youths at risk for ejection. In addition, HHS would also be directed to create family education resources to help families learn about behavior that could place LGBT youth at risk as well as alternative behavior to promote positive development.

Continue reading at:   http://www.washingtonblade.com/2011/05/12/kerry-introduces-bill-to-combat-lgbt-youth-homelessness/

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Transgender Employee Files Charges of Discriminaiton Against Hobby Lobby

File this under:  No shit…  What were you expecting from a Taliban Christer owned Corporation?

Hobby Lobby is a Fundie Christer Company that I refuse to shop at.  It is forever on my shit list, right next to Coors, Domino’s Pizza, Carl’s Jr and Monsanto as companies I will boycott forever and there is nothing they could do to change that position.

From Now In Gay Chicago:   http://www.nowingaychicago.com/2011/05/transgender-employee-files-charges-of.html

Thursday, May 12, 2011

CHICAGO – Meggan Sommerville, a transgender employee who has worked for Hobby Lobby in Aurora for a number of years has filed two charges of discrimination alleging Hobby Lobby discriminated against her when it denied her use of the women’s restroom and then wrote her up for using the men’s restroom.  Betty Tsamis of Tsamis Law Firm PC in Chicago represents Meggan.

Meggan began to transition from male to female in July 2010. That same month, Ms. Sommerville legally changed her name from Mark Thomas Sommerville and additionally had her Illinois Driver’s License gender marker changed from male to female. Hobby Lobby management has prohibited Meggan from using the women’s restroom in the store where she works. Meggan has been forced to use the men’s restroom. However, this is very distressing to Meggan, who presents a female. Additionally, using the men’s restroom is not reasonable. If forced to use the men’s restroom, Meggan waits until there are no men using the facility.  On February 23, 2011, Meggan, who couldn’t wait for the men’s room to be vacant, used the women’s restroom was written up for using it. Meggan has modified her workplace intake of fluids to minimize being forced to use the men’s restroom and she waits for her lunch break to walk to a nearby business to use its women’s restroom.

“Transgender employees in Illinois are protected against discrimination in the terms and conditions of employment. We believe having access to an appropriate restroom facility is a term and condition of employment. Denying someone such access because of their gender identity violates the Illinois Human Rights Act,” said Meggan’s attorney, Betty Tsamis. “Since the restrooms are available to the general public, we believe Hobby Lobby’s actions violate the public accommodations protections of the IHRA,” Tsamis additionally said.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nowingaychicago.com/2011/05/transgender-employee-files-charges-of.html

Audre Lorde – An Open Letter to Mary Daly

The Rad Fem Vs. The Trans Activist

Antifa Alert: Neo-Nazi family Research Council Plans Rally in Raleigh, NC on May 17, 2011 at 10:30 AM

Maybe these Nazis need to have a bunch of angry Anarcho-Queers engage them in a meet and greet. 

Perhaps a serious dialogue is in order to explain to these Christo-Fascists that this in America and our Constitution protects us all equally.

What part of equality do they just not get?

After all unlike LGBT/T which is innate, religion is a lifestyle choice.

What right do Christo-Fascists have to impose their lifestyle choices on others?

From The Fascist Research Council:  http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=WM11E05

North Carolina is the only southeastern state that does not have a constitutional amendment that protects marriage as the Bible defines it: only between one man and one woman. Hopefully, that will change soon. Leadership in the legislature has promised to bring up the Marriage Amendment for a floor vote during this session with the expectation of placing it on the 2012 ballot. However, we must show our support to those in the state legislature who are willing to move the Marriage Amendment forward.

Consequently, we are asking all pastors and church leaders from across the state to bring as many people as possible to Raleigh, NC on May 17, 2011 at 10:30 AM. The Marriage Rally will be held at Halifax Mall located directly behind the Legislative Building. In addition to hearing from me, you will also hear from challenging speakers such as:

For more information or updates, visit www.returnamerica.org. For a printable poster to help announce the event to your church, click here. For directions, click here.

No gods, No masters!

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Online Creationist Textbook Proposed In Texas

From Mother Jones: http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2011/05/online-creationist-textbook-proposed-texas

— By Josh Harkinson
Wed May. 11, 2011

An online biology textbook up for approval by the Texas State Board of Education is drawing fire from scientific and education groups for tacitly pushing creationism. Created by the obscure, New Mexico-based International Databases LLC, the textbook seeks to justify the existence of a higher being while avoiding direct mention of God or the Bible. The Texas Freedom Network, which monitors the religious right in Texas, said in a press release that its adoption by the SBOE would be “a shocking leap backward.”

The textbook’s “Origin of Life” chapter details lab experiments that have failed to create life from inorganic materials, concluding that there is a huge gap between “life” and “non-life” (as crudely illustrated in the photo at right). But from there it makes the considerable leap that biological explanations for the origin of life are discredited. “[T]he legitimate scientific hypothesis,” it argues, is that “life on Earth is the result of intelligent causes.”

The notes to teachers accompanying the chapter leave little doubt that pushing a belief in God is the ultimate goal:

[A]t the end of the instructional unit on the Origin of Life students should go home with the understanding that a new paradigm of explaining life’s origins is emerging from the failed attempts of naturalistic scenarios. This new way of thinking is predicated on the hypothesis that intelligent input is necessary for life’s origins.

Of course, this is far from the first attempt to insert creationism into Texas classrooms; the issue has often been a cause célèbre for right-wing members of the State Board of Education, as well as Republican state legislators. The SBOE will vote on adopting the new science curriculum materials in July.

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Anti-gay neo-Nazi groups plan increased spending, activity through 2012

From The American Independent: http://www.americanindependent.com/182334/anti-gay-groups-plan-increased-spending-activity-through-2012

By Andy Birkey
05.05.11

Anti-gay rights groups around the country will see a cash infusion over the next two years through a plan called “Ignite an Enduring Cultural Transformation.” And the groups are remaining mum about who is responsible.

The campaign, which largely targets states where Republicans won control of legislatures or governorships, has garnered the support of Republican political superstars such as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.), Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Jon Kyl (Ariz.), and Rep. Trent Franks (Ariz.). The groups intend to pass anti-gay marriage amendments, curtail abortion rights and, in at least one case, ban “transgender bathrooms.”

Family policy councils — a creation of Focus on the Family in the 1980s — have launched the Ignite plan in 15 states. Each family policy council has a three-prong plan to achieve their legislative goals over the next two years: lobbying for legislation, mobilizing pastors and social conservatives and supporting candidates that have backed their initiatives. Each group has used a stock brochure containing nearly identical wording to explain their plan and to solicit funds. In many cases, an Ignite plan was launched with an anonymous matching-grant donor.

Requests for information from many of the policy councils were denied, and Focus on the Family told The American Independent that they have no involvement, declining to offer information on any organization that might back the plan.

Focus on the Family says that while the groups are “fully associated” with FoF, they “are independent entities with no corporate or financial relationship to each other or to Focus on the Family.”

While Form 990s — revenue and expense documents that nonprofits file with the IRS — don’t provide detailed information on political organizing expenditures, The American Independent has provided each group’s average yearly revenues for comparison to their two-year spending under the Ignite plan.

Continue reading at:  http://www.americanindependent.com/182334/anti-gay-groups-plan-increased-spending-activity-through-2012

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Scholastic Inc. Pushing Coal Propaganda to Kids

From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/05/12-5

A 4th-grade curriculum lies through omission

by Bill Bigelow
Published on Thursday, May 12, 2011 by Rethinking Schools

When I was in grade school in California, every once in a while a bunch of paperback books from Scholastic would arrive in our classroom. Our teacher let us take a break from our lessons and we could look through the books and put a check on an order form next to ones we liked, books like The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln. Each cost 35 or 50 cents. We’d take the order forms home and get our parents to purchase the books, which would arrive a month or so later. I grew up thinking that Scholastic was the most trusted name in children’s books—endorsed by the holy trinity of school, teacher, and parents.

These days, among other enterprises, Scholastic produces propaganda for the coal industry and passes it off as curriculum. Scholastic has partnered with the American Coal Foundation (ACF, www.teachcoal.org), the nonprofit arm of the coal industry, to publish a slick, full-color packet of elementary teaching materials designed to paste a smiley face on the dirtiest form of energy in the world.

Why would the coal industry want to partner with Scholastic? In a November 2010 blog, Alma Hale Paty, executive director of the ACF, celebrates the coal-Scholastic connection: “Over 90 percent of America’s K-12 classrooms use Scholastic products. Four out of five parents know and trust the Scholastic brand.” Paty writes that Scholastic mailed its 4th-grade coal/energy curriculum to 50,000 teachers in nine states, another 16,000 copies to classroom subscribers to Scholastic News magazine for grade 4, and sent an email with a link to the curriculum to 82,000 teachers. In recent phone messages to me, Paty says that she hopes the curriculum can be expanded to 5th grade. Simply put, the coal industry is renting Scholastic’s credibility and recognition.

Of course, the most effective propaganda is that which seems fair and neutral—and, at a glance, that’s the feel of Scholastic Inc.’s The United States of Energy. The cover features photos of windmills and solar panels, as well as oil wells and shimmering piles of coal. Inside, the guide promises “alignment with national standards for grade 4” and features a large U.S. map with icons for coal, nuclear, hydroelectric, oil, wind, natural gas, and solar energy. The three lesson plans, “Bonus Worksheet,” and family “Energy Challenge” activity all seem factual and straightforward.

However, the lessons in the curriculum fail to alert children that there might be any problems with the mining, washing, transport, and burning of coal.

Interestingly, in the grid showing how the lessons align with national standards, the very first standard states that children should learn “that different types of energy (e.g., solar, fossil fuels) have different advantages and disadvantages.” Sure enough, the lessons are full of “advantages,” but there is not the slightest hint—none—that coal might have any problems. Nothing about the mountains being scraped away throughout Appalachia, or the resulting flooding that has destroyed people’s homes, or how communities’ water supplies have been poisoned. Nothing about the busting of unions or the exploitation of nonunion miners. Nothing about the billions of gallons of toxic waste created by washing coal and, of course, by burning it. Nothing about the poisonous coal dust that blows off trains and barges as the coal travels from mine to coal-fired plant. Nothing about the toxins released when coal is burned—like sulfur dioxide, mercury, and arsenic—which kill many thousands of people a year, according to the American Lung Association.

Continue reading at:   http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/05/12-5

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Kentucky Republican/Tea Bagger Senator Rand Paul: ‘Right to health care’ is slavery

Recall or Impeach Rand Paul

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/05/11/kentucky-senator-rand-paul-right-to-health-care-is-slavery/

By Eric W. Dolan
Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul said during a Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing Wednesday that those who believe in a right to healthcare actually believe in slavery.

“With regard to the idea of whether you have a right to health care, you have realize what that implies,” the senator said. “It’s not an abstraction. I’m a physician. That means you have a right to come to my house and conscript me.”

“It means you believe in slavery,” Paul added. “It means that you’re going to enslave not only me, but the janitor at my hospital, the person who cleans my office, the assistants who work in my office, the nurses.”

His father, Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul, announced his third presidential bid in April. Both congressmen have strong libertarian views and are popular among the tea party movement.

“Basically, once you imply a belief in a right to someone’s services — do you have a right to plumbing? Do you have a right to water? Do you have right to food? — you’re basically saying you believe in slavery.”

“I’m a physician in your community and you say you have a right to health care,” Paul continued. “You have a right to beat down my door with the police, escort me away and force me to take care of you? That’s ultimately what the right to free health care would be.”

Continue reading at: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/05/11/kentucky-senator-rand-paul-right-to-health-care-is-slavery/

Nazi Liberty Institute issues action alert in support of transgender marriage ban

One of the major problems in the US is that we have all sorts of neo-Nazi Organizations hiding behind the label of religion.

I say that it is time to end the privileging of religion.  Tax them the same way we tax every other business.  Regulate them to assure the validity of the claims they are selling.  Let people sue when prayers go unanswered.

Screw the selling point of “It’s a matter of ‘faith’.”

Why do we have anti-discrimination laws based on religious lifestyles.  No one is born religious, it isn’t innate like race, sex or sexuality.  It’s a freaking lifestyle choice they expect the rest of us to pay for.

Tax them out of existence.  Investigate the hell out of their ties to the terrorists who murder doctors and terrorize women’s clinics.

Stop their propagandizing of our children in schools.  Since no one is born religious they have to convert and pervert children into their twisted fantasy world.

Give a nice big fuck you to the Nazi Liberty Institute and require them to change their name to reflect truth in advertising.

From The Dallas Voice:  http://www.dallasvoice.com/senate-adjourns-trans-marriage-ban-liberty-institute-issues-alert-1076016.html

May 11, 2011

Daniel Williams at Legislative Queery reports that the Texas Senate has again adjourned for the day without taking up a bill that would bar transgender people from marrying people of the opposite sex. However, The Woodlands Republican Tommy Williams’ SB 723 remains on the Senate’s calendar for Thursday. The bill, a response to the Nikki Araguz case, would remove a court order of sex change from the list of documents that can be used to obtain marriage licenses in Texas.

Daniel Williams also notes that today, the right-wing, Plano-based Liberty Institute issued an action alert calling on people to urge senators to support the anti-LGBT bill. Here’s an excerpt:

Some Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender advocates, want to thwart a Texas appeals court decision and force the state to recognize their gender (for marriage purposes) as something other than what was assigned at birth, to change their gender later on in life and force county clerks to recognize the changed gender. Such an outcome will create confusion for county clerks, for the courts and no doubt will be used by the GLBT community to undermine our marriage laws, which affirm traditional marriage, between one man and one woman.

Protect traditional marriage, support SB 723.

Complete article at:  http://www.dallasvoice.com/senate-adjourns-trans-marriage-ban-liberty-institute-issues-alert-1076016.html

When did liberty become a code word for the enforcement of inequality and faith based bigotry.

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