NY State Senate passes marriage equality 33 to 29!

New York State Senate Passes Marriage Equality Bill 33-29

NORML PSA: Willie Nelson for Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition

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What’s Your Retirement Plan? Social Security Benefits Should Expand — And Here’s How to Do It

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/economy/151373/what%27s_your_retirement_plan_social_security_benefits_should_expand_–_and_here%27s_how_to_do_it/

Under the current system, we have elderly people living on less than $10,000 a year. Is that what Democrats want to “save”? Let’s grow Social Security.

By Thomas Geoghegan
June 21, 2011

As a labor lawyer I cringe when Democrats talk of “saving” Social Security. We should not “save” it but raise it. Right now Social Security pays out 39 percent of the average worker’s preretirement earnings. While jaws may drop inside the Beltway, we could raise that to 50 percent. We’d still be near the bottom of the league of the world’s richest countries — but at least it would be a basement with some food and air. We have elderly people living on less than $10,000 a year. Is that what Democrats want to “save”?

“But we can’t afford it!” Oh, come on: We have a federal tax rate equal to nearly 15 percent of our G.D.P. — far below the take in most wealthy countries. Let’s wake up: the biggest crisis we face is that most of us have nothing meaningful saved for retirement. I know. I started my career wanting to be a pension lawyer. In the 1970s, lawyers like me expected there to be big pots of private pensions for hourly workers. By the 1980s, as factories closed, I was filing hopeless lawsuits to claw back bits and pieces of benefits. Now there are even fewer bits and pieces to get.

A recent Harris poll found that 34 percent of Americans have nothing saved for retirement — not even a hundred bucks. In this lost decade, that percentage is sure to go up. At retirement the lucky few with a 401(k) typically have $98,000. As an annuity that’s about $600 a month — not exactly an upper-middle-class lifestyle. It’s too late for Congress to come up with some new savings plan — a new I.R.A. that grows hair, or something. There’s no time. We have to improve the one public pension program in place. Should we means-test it? No. I don’t care if they go out and buy bottles of Jim Beam: let our elderly have an occasional night out at a restaurant.

The most paralyzing half-truth in this country is that people hate taxes. People are willing to pay taxes that they spend on themselves. Two-thirds of those surveyed in a CBS/New York Times poll in January were willing to pay more taxes to save Social Security at its modest level. To “save” it, most of us don’t need to pay. We could lift the cap on high earners, the 6 percent of workers who make over $106,800 a year. If earnings above the cap were subject to the payroll tax with no increase in benefits to high earners, there would be no deficit in the Social Security trust fund in 2037, as projected.

If people are willing to pay more just to “save” Social Security, they should be glad to pay more to raise it.

What does it take to get Social Security up to half the average worker’s earnings? According to the National Academy of Social Insurance, to close the deficit and raise benefits to nearly half of average worker earnings, we would need to find an additional 5 percent of taxable payroll, or find the money elsewhere. If we lift the cap on the payroll tax without paying more benefits to those above it, that gets us 2.32 percent (or a bit less if we slightly increase benefits to the rich). Dedicating revenues from the estate tax at its 2009 levels to Social Security gets another half percent. A few other tweaks, like covering new public employees, add another 0.42 percent. The remainder can be found by raising the payroll tax by roughly 1 percentage point for both employees and employers.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/economy/151373/what%27s_your_retirement_plan_social_security_benefits_should_expand_–_and_here%27s_how_to_do_it/

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Friday Night Fun and Culture: Namoli Brenett

New CD Video Blog

Reporters arrested for filming public meeting

From RT USA:  http://rt.com/usa/news/meeting-dc-commission-tucker/

Published: 24 June, 2011

Two journalists were led out of a public meeting in handcuffs in Washington DC this week after using their cell phones to report on the hearing of the DC Taxicab Commission.

Peter Tucker of TheFightBack.org says two US Park Police officers cuffed him and dragged him away after he used his phone to take photos at the Commission meeting. Tucker has long been an advocate of independent taxi drivers and Washington Post columnist John Kelly reports that one taxi driver yelled, “We need the reporter here!” while the journalist was hauled off.

“You can’t arrest me for reporting,” demands Tucker.

“I can arrest you for not obeying an order,” replies an officer.

As he was led out of the room, the packed house of drivers quickly emptied the room in protest.

Complete story at:  http://rt.com/usa/news/meeting-dc-commission-tucker/

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Gay rumors complicate Rick Perry’s presidential prospects

Next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please pay attention.

Molly Ivins

Homophobia is just so gay…

In 1997, Arthur Dong, a documentary film maker released “Licensed to Kill which found that a number of men who attack and sometime murder other gay men and then use the “homosexual panic defense” are often gay themselves.

Some where along the line as a teenage transkid growing up in the sticks I learned the best retort to someone calling me a queer was, “It takes one to know one…”

There was more truth to that one than I ever dreamed.

So much so that I think most of the serious homophobes are battling their own homosexuality.

George Rekers, Eddie Long, Ted Haggard and Wide Stance Larry Craig spring to mind.

Kinsey said that ten percent of men were predominately gay.  Lately it has become popular, particularly from the right to argue, “Oh no, four or five percent at the most.”

So where are all the missing gays.

Well for one thing they are not hanging out at the rest room next to the Marina on Route 30 and Lake Ray Hubbard any more.  We used to go to the Marina to go fishing and watch the guys pull up in their cars for the 15-20 minute quickies.

But I digress.  I think there are an awful lot of closet case religious fanatics and right wing politicians.

Now Texas lefties joke about Governor Good-hair Perry.  One of the jokes is, “Just like George but without the deep sense of ethics, compassion, wit and intelligence.”

Corrupt, stupid, evil and heartless are all words that spring to mind when I listen to this latest Republican Spawn of Satan.

There is another thought that crosses my mind and that is how he trips my gaydar.

What’s behind some of my gay male acquaintances referring to him as “Hair Fairy Perry”?

The persistent rumors regarding Perry’s sexuality and his often ridiculous attempts to appear macho and homophobic have surfaced once again.

I doubt he is trying to win over Log Cabin Republican support by floating these long standing rumors.

Exaggerated religiosity such as this Houston Stadium Day of Prayer and Bigotry Day that Perry is planning on holding  and his mean homophobic gestures make him appear to be uncomfortable with his sexuality, like he is trying to hide something.

Ironically straight men who are comfortable with their own sexuality do not have to prove it by abusing LGBT/T people or denying them rights.

So I was not surprised that the questions about Perry’s sexuality resurfaced in several places.  All it takes is Google and “Rick Perry + gay”.

From Politico: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0611/57381.html

Rick Perry aides prepped for rumor rehash

By MAGGIE HABERMAN
6/20/11

If Texas Gov. Rick Perry decides to run for president, his team is more than prepared for a re-airing of unsubstantiated rumors, circulated on and off for years in the Lone Star State, about his personal life.

The crusted-over rumors were in the ether among some attendees at a dinner hosted last week by the Manhattan County GOP, where Perry gave the keynote speech. The rumors, which have never been proven despite repeated review by media outlets, were addressed by the governor himself in a lengthy 2004 American-Statesman story that is sure to see new life if he runs.

The claims, which had made the rounds for months by the time the story was written, included rumors that Perry and his wife Anita had split, and that the governor was gay.

The state Democratic Party in Texas seized on the rumors seven years ago, the American-Statesman reported, prompting the governor to finally address them himself as an “obvious, orchestrated effort” launched by political foes. They spread for two months, were posted on various websites and were vetted by many national outlets, all of which turned up nothing.

Continue Reading at: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0611/57381.html

From RT USA: http://rt.com/usa/news/gay-rick-perry-campaign/

Gay rumors complicate Rick Perry’s presidential prospects

June 22, 2011

Texas Governor Rick Perry thinks he has enough support to win the Republican nomination for the 2012 election, but rumors about his sexuality might cost him his chance, his camp says.

Politico is reporting that Perry’s team is preparing to take on rumors that the politician is a homosexual. Stories that began circulating years ago about his sexual orientation became so widespread that Perry had to issue a public denial in 2004.

Speaking then, the governor said the rumors were “not correct in any shape, form or fashion,” and called them “irresponsible” and “salacious.”

“They’re hurtful to my family,” he added.

Continue reading at:   http://rt.com/usa/news/gay-rick-perry-campaign/

From Think Progress:  http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2011/06/22/251310/rick-perry-cornerstone-action-anti-gay/

Rick Perry To Headline Fundraising Dinner For A Group That Promotes Ex-Gay Therapy

By Igor Volsky
Jun 22, 2011

USA Today reports that Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is headlining Cornerstone Action’s annual dinneron Oct. 28 in New Hampshire, a sign that he may be strengthening his ties with extremist conservative groups ahead of a possible bid for the White House.

Cornerstone — which has been instrumental to opposing same-sex marriage in New Hampshire and leading the charge to repeal it — is closely linked to anti-gay groups like The Alliance Defense Fund, the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, and the National Organization for Marriage and has “endorsed the discredited ‘ex-gay’ therapy groups such as Exodus International, Love Won Out, PFOX, and the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH).” In fact, as Good As You’s Jeremy Hooper has reported, Cornerstone still links to these groups from its website:

Complete article at:  http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2011/06/22/251310/rick-perry-cornerstone-action-anti-gay/

From The Austin Chronicle:  http://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2004-02-27/198958/

Naked City

The Real Sins of Gov. Perry

By Michael King
Fri. Feb. 27, 2004
On Tuesday morning, a small group of protesters (almost outnumbered by reporters and photographers) gathered at the Governor’s Mansion for what was disingenuously billed as a “support rally” for Gov. Rick Perry, under the theme, “It’s OK to Be Gay.” As any Austinite with access to e-mail or a cell phone knows by now, for a couple of months rumors concerning the governor’s personal life have been flying furiously around the Capitol, the capital city, the state, and indeed most of the Western Hemisphere. The variations are multiple and quite inventive – we won’t recount them here – but at their core is the tale that the governor’s marriage is in trouble, that his wife Anita has/will/may decide to divorce him, and that the issue is Rick’s alleged infidelity, with one or another member of his administration of undetermined gender. (Rumors of this sort, about multitudinous politicians, circulate all the time, but the current Perry rumors are indeed extraordinary in their baroque detail and remarkable persistence.)

Hence the dubious demonstration – which just happened to coincide with President George W. Bush’s declaration of war against same-sex marriage, which poses a threat to “the sanctity of marriage” so terrible it requires a constitutional ban. Last spring, readers will recall, Perry endorsed and signed the odious “Defense of Marriage Act,” the Lege’s latest gratuitous demonstration that it believes gay and lesbian Texans deserve fewer rights than other citizens.

For the record, Naked City looked into the Perry rumors when they first surfaced some weeks ago – inevitably accompanied by the warning, “The divorce papers are being filed today!” – and found no evidence of any truth to any of them, whatsoever. Amid much finger-pointing about who was the original source (and which political party he or she belongs to), nobody will go on the record. The governor’s office (perhaps understandably) refuses any and all comment beyond a one-sentence statement from Perry spokesperson Kathy Walt: “These are false, malicious, and hurtful rumors, and the Chronicle‘s own investigation acknowledges that fact.”

We also know that numerous other reporters, from here to New York, have looked into the rumors, with, as far as we know, an identical lack of results. Nor do we expect anything we say here to have any effect on the rumors, which have become entirely self-replicating as they echo through the blogosphere.

Continue reading at:  http://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2004-02-27/198958/

Message From Gaia

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