Friday Night Fun and Culture Lesbian Feminist Music Edition

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The American People Are Angry

From Reader Supported News: http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/267-33/6799-the-american-people-are-angry

By Sen. Bernie Sanders, Reader Supported News
28 July 11

s House and Senate leaders fine-tuned rival deficit reduction plans on Wednesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke on the Senate floor about the public’s strong belief that additional revenue from the wealthy should be part of any package to reduce red ink. He cited a new Washington Post poll that found 72 percent favor raising taxes on those who make more than $250,000 year. Despite those overwhelming numbers, he said, “We are marching down a path which will do exactly opposite of what the American people want.” He called Republican opposition to more revenue “fanatical.” He also faulted President Obama for a bargaining strategy that sugars down to this: “Retreat after retreat after retreat.” Of the competing House and Senate proposals Sanders bluntly concluded that one is bad and the other is much worse. He shared his assessment with radio host Ed Schultz.

The senator also summarized his analysis in this statement:

“The rich are getting richer, and their effective tax rate is the lowest in modern history. Many corporations are enjoying huge profits and, because of outrageous loopholes, pay nothing in taxes. Among many other absurdities, we lose about $100 billion every year from companies and individuals who stash their wealth in tax havens in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and other locations.

“And yet, the Republicans have been fanatically determined to protect the interests of billionaires and large multi-national corporations so that they do not contribute one penny toward deficit reduction. The Republicans want the entire burden of deficit reduction sacrifice to be placed on the elderly, the sick, children, and working families. That is morally wrong and, in terms of getting us out of this recession, bad economic policy.

“Sadly, the Democrats have yielded far, far too much. In December, with the Democrats controlling the White House, the House of Representatives and the Senate they extended Bush’s tax breaks for the rich and lowered the tax rates on estates for the very rich. In April, they allowed tens of billions of dollars in cuts to vitally important programs for low- and moderate-income Americans.

“And now, we find ourselves debating two plans. The Reid plan, which calls for $2.2 trillion in cuts over a 10-year period, includes $900 billion in cuts (which will be determined later by committees) in education, health care, nutrition, affordable housing, child care and many other programs desperately needed by working families. Appropriately, it calls for meaningful cuts in military spending and ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Reid plan does not require the wealthiest people in this country and the largest corporations to pay one nickel in deficit reduction.

“The Reid plan is bad. The Boehner plan is much worse. It calls for large cuts in discretionary spending now and demands that this debt-ceiling discussion be revisited next year – which is totally absurd and which will likely keep the Congress paralyzed.

“Lastly, both plans call for a congressional committee to determine future efforts toward deficit reduction. Based on recent committees – Bowles-Simpson, the Gang of Six, etc. – I have little doubt that that new committee will call for major cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and will ask very little of the wealthy and multi-national corporations.

“Meanwhile, while all of this is occurring in Washington the American people have consistently stated, in poll after poll, that they want the wealthy and large corporations to pay their fair share of taxes and they want to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. For example, a recent Washington Post poll found that 72 percent of the American people believe that Americans earning over $250,000 a year should pay more in taxes.

“Given that reality, is there any reason to wonder why the American people are so angry and frustrated with what’s going on in Washington?”

Reproductive rights: the new activists

From The Rochester City Newspaper: http://www.rochestercitynewspaper.com/news/articles/2011/07/FEATURE-Reproductive-rights-the-new-activists/

By Jeremy Moule
July 27, 2011

The generations born after Roe v. Wade have never known a country without legal abortion. The Supreme Court’s 1973 landmark decision declared the due-process clause of the 14th Amendment covers “a woman’s qualified right to terminate her pregnancy.”

The decision didn’t end the controversy, of course. Abortion and reproductive rights as a whole have always been among the most polarizing topics the nation faces. And citizens and elected officials have sought to impose restrictions, whether on abortion itself or access to it, right from the beginning.

The abortion battle has intensified over the past year and is spilling over into other areas of reproductive health. That’s put new generations – some Gen-Xers and Millennials – in the position where it’s up to them to fight for their reproductive rights if they want to keep them.

“The fact that abortion has been legal throughout most young people’s lives makes it more common to them,” says Tara Sweeney, a spokesperson for NARAL Pro-Choice New York.

But do they take that right for granted? Does a generation that grew up post-Roe v. Wade, that didn’t live through a time of unsafe, illegal abortions, realize what’s at stake? And are they prepared to push back when legislators attack reproductive rights?

The short answer is yes, young people are engaged and in significant numbers, says Angela Clark-Taylor, a reproductive rights activist and former chair of Planned Parenthood of the Rochester-Syracuse Region’s young professionals group. The group hosts events, does advocacy work, and helps with Planned Parenthood events.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rochestercitynewspaper.com/news/articles/2011/07/FEATURE-Reproductive-rights-the-new-activists/

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The Progressive Magazine: Tim DeChristopher Is Not the One Who Should Be in Prison

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Gay Weddings: Is There a New Etiquette?

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marlo-thomas/gay-weddings-marlo-thomas_b_912573.html

Award-winning actress, author and activist
Posted: 7/28/11

You know that moment we all look forward to at a wedding — when the bride comes down the aisle and, for the first time, we get to see that beautiful white dress? How magical that moment always is.

Well, it’s even more magical when there are two white dresses.

I experienced this for the first time when my niece, Tracy, married the love of her life, a woman also named Tracey (only hers has an “e”). At that moment, as I looked at their radiant faces, I remembered seeing Tracy, age 8, singing along to the record of Free to Be…You and Me. And I couldn’t help but think, at last, Tracy is truly free.

For all of us who have long supported same-sex marriage, the depth of the justice of it all has never hit home for me as it did when I saw the these two dear, young women exchange their vows.

And everything was the same: the little kids giggling and running underfoot; the proud moms and dads wiping away a tear; the distant uncle sitting by himself, happily having one drink too many; and, as always, someone sneaking an early piece of the cake.

Now in New York, this historic ritual is being celebrated with a new and liberating joy. And while the ceremony at the heart of these weddings is no different from any other we’ve ever witnessed, many people have asked if there’s any special etiquette that guests attending a gay wedding need to know — such as “Will I insult the couple if I ask what they’re going to call themselves — like husband and husband or wife and wife?”

According to Steven Petrow of GayManners.com and author of Steven Petrow’s Complete Gay and Lesbian Manners, “Not at all! Intention is a big part of manners, so you don’t have to worry so much about making a faux pas. If you don’t know how to refer to a couple, just ask.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marlo-thomas/gay-weddings-marlo-thomas_b_912573.html

Rebuild the Dream Rally

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Investors: The $1 Billion Armageddon Trade Placed Against The United States

Gee I smell something totally corrupt and rotten.  The level of corrupt and rotten that would call for prison or in some countries , execution.

From Exchange Traded Funds: http://etfdailynews.com/2011/07/25/investors-the-1-billion-armageddon-trade-placed-against-the-united-states/

July 25, 2011

Jack Barnes:  Someone dropped a bomb on the bond market Thursday – a $1 billion Armageddon trade betting the United States will lose its AAA credit rating.

In one moment, an invisible trader placed a single trade that moved the most liquid debt market in the world.

The massive trade wasn’t placed in bonds themselves; it was placed in the futures market.

The trade was for block trades of 5,370 10-year Treasury futures executed at 124-03 and 3,100 Treasury bond futures executed at 125-01.

The value of the trade was about $850 million dollars. In simple terms, if that was a direct bond buy, no one would be talking about it.

However, with the use of futures, you have to have margin capacity behind the trade. That means with a single push of a button someone was willing to commit more than $1 billion of real capital to this trade with expectations of a 10-to-1 return ratio.

You only do this if you see an edge.

This means someone is confident that the United States is either going to default or is going to lose its AAA rating. That someone is willing to bet the proverbial farm that U.S. interest rates will be going up.
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Goldman’s New Money Machine: Stockpiling Aluminum

From Money News: http://www.moneynews.com/Markets/Goldman-Stockpiling-Aluminum-warehouses/2011/07/28/id/405166

Thursday, 28 Jul 2011

In a rundown patch of Detroit, enclosed by a cyclone fence and barbed wire, stands an unremarkable warehouse that investment bank Goldman Sachs has transformed into a money-making machine.

The derelict neighborhood off Michigan Avenue is a sharp contrast to Goldman’s bustling skyscraper headquarters near Wall Street, but the two operations share one important element: management by the bank’s savvy financial professionals.

A string of warehouses in Detroit, most of them operated by Goldman, has stockpiled more than a million tonnes of the industrial metal aluminum, about a quarter of global reported inventories.

Simply storing all that metal generates tens of millions of dollars in rental revenues for Goldman every year.

There’s just one problem: much less aluminum is leaving the depots than arriving, creating a supply pinch for manufacturers of everything from soft drink cans to aircraft.

The resulting spike in prices has sparked a clash between companies forced to pay more for their aluminum and wait months for it to be delivered, Goldman, which is keen to keep its cash machines humming and the London Metal Exchange (LME), the world’s benchmark industrial metals market, which critics accuse of lax oversight.

Analysts question why London’s metals market allows big financial players like Goldman to own the warehouses which store huge quantities of metal even as they trade the commodity. Robin Bhar, a veteran metals analyst at Credit Agricole in London says the conflict of interest is so acute he wants U.S. and European anti-trust regulators to weigh in.

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Do Women Have What it Takes?

This is why I am leery about replacing the classification of sex based on the physical with gender which is based on a social construct of masculinity and femininity.

From Northwestern University: http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2011/07/women-leadership-eagly.html

Of course! But stereotypes about leadership still pose barriers to women’s advancement
By Hilary Hurd Anyaso
July 13, 2011

EVANSTON, Ill. — So much has changed since 1963, when Betty Friedan’s influential “The Feminine Mystique” provoked a national discussion about the deep dissatisfaction women were feeling about the limitations of their lives. Many women came to believe that discrimination limited their opportunities, especially in relation to leadership roles.

But a new Northwestern University meta-analysis (an integration of a large number of studies addressing the same question) shows that even today leadership continues to be viewed as culturally masculine. Thus, women suffer from two primary forms of prejudice.

Women are viewed as less qualified or natural in most leadership roles, the research shows, and secondly, when women adopt culturally masculine behaviors often required by these roles, they may be viewed as inappropriate or presumptuous.

These reactions to women leaders reflect gender stereotypes. Previous research found that predominantly “communal” qualities, such as being nice or compassionate, are associated with women, and predominantly “agentic” qualities, such as being assertive or competitive, are associated with men.

It is these agentic qualities that are believed to be essential to successful leadership. Because men fit the cultural stereotype of leadership better than women, they have better access to leadership roles and face fewer challenges in becoming successful in them.

The good news for women is that the project’s analyses indicate that this masculine construal of leadership is weaker now than it was in earlier years. Despite this shift toward more androgynous beliefs about leadership, it remains culturally masculine — just not as extremely so as in the past. However, this masculinity lessens somewhat for lower-level leadership positions and in educational organizations.

The implications of the meta-analysis are straightforward, said Alice Eagly, professor of psychology and faculty fellow in the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern and a co-author of the study.

“Cultural stereotypes can make it seem that women do not have what it takes for important leadership roles, thereby adding to the barriers that women encounter in attaining roles that yield substantial power and authority,” she said.

Continue reading at:  http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2011/07/women-leadership-eagly.html

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IMF chief: Dollar status in doubt if debt crisis persists

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/07/28/imf-chief-dollar-status-in-doubt-if-debt-crisis-persists/

By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, July 28th, 2011

WASHINGTON — IMF chief Christine Lagarde warned Thursday that failure to resolve the US debt crisis would likely raise “doubts” about the dollar’s status as the world’s prime reserve currency.

“It would probably entail a decline of the dollar relative to other currencies, and probably doubts in the mind of those people who reserve currencies as to whether the dollar is effectively the ultimate and prime currency of reserve,” she told PBS television in an interview.

Her comments, excerpts of which were released by the broadcaster, came as Republicans and Democrats remained locked in a showdown over rival plans to raise the US debt ceiling and stave off a looming default.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/07/28/imf-chief-dollar-status-in-doubt-if-debt-crisis-persists/

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Fracking Operations Cause Thousands of Earthquakes in Arkansas

From Truth Out: http://www.truth-out.org/fracking-operations-cause-thousands-earthquakes-arkansas/1311877041

by: Mike Ludwig, Truthout | Report
Thursday 28 July 2011

Geologists say fracking wastewater disposal wells in central Arkansas caused an outbreak of thousands of minor earthquakes.

The Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission placed a ban on fracking wastewater wells in the area yesterday. A moratorium on well activity had been in place for months as geologists investigated a possible link between fracking activity and the outbreak of more than 1,200 earthquakes that measured lower than 4.7 in magnitude.

Fracking is a common term for hydraulic fracturing, a controversial gas drilling method that involves pumping water and chemicals deep underground to break up rock and free natural gas.

Fracking produces millions of gallons of wastewater, and the gas industry has been experimenting with different ways to dispose of it.

At least three gas companies were injecting fracking wastewater in the area of the earthquake outbreak, including BHP Billiton Petroleum, Clarita Operating LLC and Chesapeake Operating. The companies were injecting fracking wastewater near an active fault.

Steve Horton, an earthquake expert from the University of Memphis, told Truthout that continued fracking activity near the fault could have caused an earthquake strong enough to cause property damage.

At least one resident in the area is suing the gas companies over damage an earthquake caused to his home.

Continue reading at: http://www.truth-out.org/fracking-operations-cause-thousands-earthquakes-arkansas/1311877041

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Debt Madness Was Always About Killing Social Security

From Truth Dig: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/debt_madness_was_always_about_killing_social_security_20110727/

By Robert Scheer
Posted on Jul 27, 2011

This phony debt crisis has now passed through the looking glass into the realm where madness reigns. What should have been an uneventful moment in which lawmakers make good on the nation’s contractual obligations has instead been seized upon by Republican hypocrites as a moment to settle ideological scores that have nothing to do with the debt.

Hypocrites, because their radical free market ideology, and the resulting total deregulation of the financial markets, is what caused the debt to spiral out of control this last decade. That and the wars George W. Bush launched but didn’t have the integrity to responsibly finance. The consequence was a banking bubble and crash leading to a 50 percent run-up of the debt that has nothing to do with the “entitlements” that those same Republicans have always wanted to destroy.

Even Barack Obama has put cuts in those programs into play, warning ominously that a failure to lift the debt ceiling could cause the government to stop sending out Social Security checks. Why, when the Social Security trust fund is fully funded for the next quarter-century and is owed money by the U.S. Treasury rather than the other way around? Why would we pay foreign creditors before American seniors? The answer, offered as conventional wisdom by leaders of both parties, is that we cannot endanger our credit by failing to back our bonds, even though the Republicans have aroused the alarm of the main U.S. credit rating agencies by their brinkmanship on the debt.

What a topsy-turvy world when the same credit rating agencies that gave the thumbs up to the bankers’ toxic mortgage-backed securities and credit default swaps now threaten the AAA rating of U.S. Treasury bonds. According to them, it will not be enough to merely lift the debt ceiling—what had been assumed by both Republican and Democratic presidents to be a routine act. In addition to that, as the credit agency Standard & Poor’s has insisted, more than $4 trillion has to be cut from programs that mostly benefit the victims of the banking meltdown. Otherwise the agencies will downgrade the U.S. credit rating, leading to higher interest rates that will destroy what remains of the U.S. housing market, dim the prospect for any improvement in employment and further enrich the Chinese government and other holders of U.S. debt.

Continue reading at:  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/debt_madness_was_always_about_killing_social_security_20110727/

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Glenn Greenwald: Norway Attacks Expose U.S. Media’s Double Standard On “Terrorism”

From Democracy Now:

July 26, 2011

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