APEC summit in Hawaii set to kick off

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Senate panel approves DOMA repeal legislation

From The Washington Blade:  http://www.washingtonblade.com/2011/11/10/breaking-senate-panel-approves-doma-repeal-legislation/

By Chris Johnson
November 10, 2011

A Senate committee took historic action on Thursday against the Defense of Marriage Act by approving legislation that would lift the anti-gay law from the books.

The Senate Judiciary Committee reported the legislation to the floor by a vote of 10-8 along a party-line basis. Each of the 10 Democrats on the panel voted in favor of the legislation, while all 8 Republicans present opposed it.

The committee vote marks the first-time ever that any component of Congress has voted to repeal DOMA, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage, since it was first enacted in 1996.

Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) in his opening statement said legislation to repeal DOMA, which is known as the Respect for Marriage Act, is necessary because “thousands of American families are now being treated unfairly by their federal government.”

“They are shunted aside — singled out from all other marriages recognized by their states,” Leahy said. “This unfairness must end. The Respect for Marriage Act would provide for the equal treatment of all lawful treatment of all lawful marriages in this country by repealing DOMA.”

Whether the bill will come to a vote before the full Senate remains to be seen. In addition to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the bill’s sponsor, the bill only has 30 co-sponsors — far short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a Senate filibuster.

Continue reading at:  http://www.washingtonblade.com/2011/11/10/breaking-senate-panel-approves-doma-repeal-legislation/

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West Hollywood endorses first fur ban in the U.S.

I used to have a fur jacket. Many years ago.

That was before Animal Planet and all those National Geographic shows helped raise my consciousness regarding how beautiful animals are and how their lives and emotions may not be the same as ours but are just as real.

When I see how farm animals are treated in the meat factories I think I should give up meat.

I remain an omnivore and I don’t have a problem with leather that is part of the animals we eat.

Outside of rabbits we don’t tend to consume fur bearing critters.

So my standard has become one of:  If you don’t eat the body of the animal then you don’t wear the skin of that animal.

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/11/10/west-hollywood-endorses-first-fur-ban-in-the-u-s/

By Reuters
Thursday, November 10, 2011

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Putting animal rights over fashion and its own vibrant shopping scene, West Hollywood’s leaders voted to approve on Tuesday a first-in-the-nation ban on the sale of fur clothing within city limits.

The five-member City Council of the tiny, tony municipality wedged between Beverly Hills and Hollywood voted 3-to-1 with one abstention to endorse the ordinance, which would take effect in 2013, said City Councilman John Heilman, who voted “no.”

The ban was tentatively adopted by the council on September 20 and had been expected to win easy enactment two weeks later. But it ran into stiff opposition from the local Chamber of Commerce and the fur industry, whose main trade group, the Fur Information Council of America, is based in West Hollywood.

Ultimately, the city’s famously left-leaning political establishment embraced the ban, won over by supporters’ arguments that furs are produced from animals that are inhumanely killed for their pelts.

The latest vote came shortly before 1 a.m., capping a contentious, hours-long debate.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/11/10/west-hollywood-endorses-first-fur-ban-in-the-u-s/

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Penn State Thugs Riot in Support of Coach Who Hid Child Rape Scandal

Where were the Riot Squad Police with the body armor?

Where was the massive tear gas application?

Why weren’t these criminal thugs fired upon with Rubber Bullets and Bean Bags?

Oh I forgot those sorts of things and language only applies to left wing demonstrators.  Describing them as violent thugs only applies to left wing demonstrators who smash corporate windows and not to those who support athletic programs and privileged jocks.

From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/10/penn-state-students-protest-paterno?INTCMP=SRCH

Penn State students subdued by police during unruly protest

Police in riot gear use pepper spray on students protested the firing of football coach Joe Paterno

Associated Press
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 10 November 2011

Thousands of Penn State University students took to the streets around campus overnight on Thursday to protest the sacking of their beloved football coach, Joe Paterno, in the fallout from a child abuse scandal and cover-up.

Chanting “Hell no, Joe won’t go” and “We want Joe back,” students overturned a television van during the protest in the university town of State College.

Scores of police and state troopers, some in riot gear, tried to clear the streets, and some officers used pepper spray to disperse the demonstrators.

Authorities were not immediately available to say whether there had been any arrests.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/10/penn-state-students-protest-paterno?INTCMP=SRCH

Penn State Scandal: Jerry Sandusky Rumored To Have ‘Pimped’ Boys To Donors: REPORT

From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/10/penn-state-scandal-rumors-sandusky-pimping_n_1086099.html

First Posted: 11/10/11

In the frenzied hours after the Penn State Board of Trustees announced that Joe Paterno was being relieved of his duties as football coach effective immediately, students in State College took to the streets in support of the former coach while college football analysts around the country sought to place his fall from grace in perspective.

Several hours earlier, Paterno had issued an independent statement, revealing his own intention to retire after the season. Clearly, the Board of Trustees felt Paterno needed to go sooner for his complicity in — or, at least, his indifference toward — the heinous sexual assaults allegedly committed by former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

With Paterno’s career having come to a sudden, inglorious conclusion and Beaver Canyon overrun with students, some whom flipped two television news trucks, it seemed that Penn State had reached its nadir.

Perhaps not.

Shockingly, there are reports that even more depraved details about the sexual crimes allegedly committed by Sandusky will be revealed in the coming days. As the quasi-riots shook the Penn State campus late Wednesday evening and early Thursday morning, SportsByBrooks began tweeting ominous messages about allegations that have yet to become public.

Continue reading at:   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/10/penn-state-scandal-rumors-sandusky-pimping_n_1086099.html

Trans sex workers still most vulnerable

From Xtra-Canada’s Gay and Lesbian News: http://www.xtra.ca/public/National/Trans_sex_workers_still_most_vulnerable-11058.aspx

Andrea Houston
Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Republished with permission

Morgan M Page sometimes wishes she could reach back and hug her 12-year-old self: a lost and confused drug addicted trans sex worker on the streets of Hamilton.

Page, 24, now leads trans programming at Toronto’s 519 Church Street Community Centre, including the annual Trans Day of Remembrance on Nov 18.  The event commemorates trans people who have been murdered.

“If you look at the list of names that we read on Trans Day of Remembrance almost all of them are trans sex workers of colour,” Page points out.

However, violence against trans people, at least in Canada, seems to be decreasing. In 2010, police in Winnipeg arrested a Saskatchewan man in connection with the murder of a trans sex-trade worker six years before. The number is low in Canada, she says.

This is not the case elsewhere. According to Trans Murder Monitoring numbers released in 2010, there have been more than 420 reported murders of trans people since 2008, which means a trans person is killed every three days.

“A key factor in all those murders is whether or not they were sex workers,” she says. “The discrimination and stigma faced by sex workers is likely a major contributing factor towards the murder of trans people. That’s why we should push for the decriminalization of sex work in Canada and other countries.”

Page worked as a sex worker, on and off, between the ages of 12 and 18.

Morgan Page looks out the window of Fabarnak, the in-house cafe at the 519 Church Street.
(Andrea Houston)

When she first started, she says she saw dollar signs and an easy way to pay for the party drugs she was taking. She didn’t yet publicly identify as trans. “I lived in a glass closet,” she says now.

“I was underage, street sex work tends to be much more dangerous . . . It was quite a scary experience.

“I was pretty frightened most of the time that I was doing it . . . I was worried there would be violence, worried about my sexual health and whether my parents or friends would find out. It was an anxiety-causing experience. But I just kept going back and doing it. Money and excitement.”

Page was lucky. She experienced minimal violence from her clients. “There were a lot of pushy clients and grabby clients, who probably wouldn’t have taken no for an answer if I said no.”

Page says many street-based sex workers are moving off the streets and onto the Internet, except for trans sex workers who, for the most part, have stayed on the streets.

There are several reasons for this, Page says, including poverty, addiction, HIV status, isolation and homelessness. There is also a sense of family, she says. “Trans sex workers are more likely to find community on the streets or in clubs, like street mothers. That’s powerful and helpful, like an informal support network.”

Page says as a teenager, she identified as gender queer before coming out as trans at 16.

“At some point through the transition process I dropped the drugs I was addicted to,” she says. “As a result I didn’t have any motivation to continue in sex work. For me, sex work was a way to get money for drugs and validation.”

That validation is intoxicating, she says. “Especially for trans women, we find our validation in doing sex work, which is not necessarily true for other sex workers. People who interpreted me as trans were valuing me in a sexual way, valuing me at all.”

Page remembers being viciously bullied in school. She eventually dropped out. “So, it was powerful to have people want you around.”

When Page turned 18 her mother died, at which point a friend’s mother started taking care of her and got her involved in sex worker activism in Hamilton.

Page arrived in Toronto in 2007 with an eighth-grade education. Then, in 2008, she helped organize protests to fight the Homewood-Maitland Safety Association, which was attempting to push trans sex workers out of their neighbourhood in downtown Toronto.

Page says she is actively following the ongoing debate around the Homewood stroll.

In 2010, she launched T-GUAVA (Trans Girls and Guys United Against Violent Assault), a series of workshops for trans youth about intimate partner abuse.

Not long after the 2008 protests on Homewood St, Page landed a youth placement at the 519, which eventually led to her current job.

In June, Page won the award for Outstanding Contribution to Community Empowerment at the LGBT Youth Line awards.

She is looking forward to this year’s Trans Day of Remembrance. The 519 will honour trans people who have been murdered around the world, and their names will be read aloud at the solemn event.

The Toronto event will also feature speeches and performances by several members of the trans community, such as dancers Ill Nana. “This is the only event all year that centres directly around trans people. Most queer events ignore us, and as a result, ignore the continued violence that continues to marginalize trans people, especially trans sex workers.”

Page is thankful for Toronto’s trans services, like those provided at the 519, but she reminds that the situation is very different outside Toronto.

“We have to do more to help trans youth in rural areas because there’s nothing right now . . . Coming out in Hamilton sucked, so bad. We have to reach out to youth.”

Trans Day of Remembrance was started to commemorate the life of Rita Hester, an African-American trans woman murdered in 1998. It is celebrated in Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver and other cities across Canada and the US.

Trans Day of Remembrance events, vigils and services across Canada:

Toronto, Ontario
Nov 18, 7pm to 9pm
At the 519 Church Street Community Centre
For more information, email Page at mpage@the519.org
Toronto, Ontario
November 28 from 6:30pm to 8:30 pm
At the William Doo Auditorium, 45 Willcocks St
Contact: tig.action.toronto@gmail.com

Hamilton, Ontario
Nov 20 at 7pm
At the Skydragon Centre at 27 King William St
Page is speaking at the event. Email her mpage@the519.org

Ottawa, Ontario
Ottawa marks Trans Weekend Nov 18 to 20
Flag-raising at Ottawa Police Headquarters Nov 18 at 6pm
A political meet and greet on Nov 19 from 2pm to 4pm at the City Hall council lounge
Trans Day of Remembrance dance celebration from 10pm to 2am at legion at 330 Kent St (all ages)
Trans Vigil from 7pm to 8pm at the human rights monument at the corner of Elgin and Lissar streets
For more information, email Page at mpage@the519.org

Guelph, Ontario
Nov 15 from 7:30pm to 9:30pm
The event includes a Trans film screening
At the AIDS Committee of Guelph
Located in the Guelph Medical Place 2, unit 15, at 89 Dawson Rd

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Nov 20 from 7pm to 9pm. doors open at 6.30pm.
At Veith House (3115 Veith St)
For more information, email tdor.hlfx@gmail.com

Sackville, New Brunswick

Nov 19 at 7pm
At the Mount Allison University Chapel (15 Salem Street)
For more information, email Amelia at catalyst@mta.ca
Calgary, Alberta
Nov 20, 2011 from 1:30pm to 4:30pm
At The Old Y 223 at 12 Avenue SW
For a full list of International Trans Day of Remembrance events, click here. 
93 murdered trans persons (Jan to June 2010) 93 Murdered Trans Persons by Country (Jan to June 2010)

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The Tide Is Turning (Re: Occupy)

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The Fire Next Time is Now: On Planetary Patriotism

From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/11/08-1

by Robert Jensen
Published on Tuesday, November 8, 2011 by CommonDreams.org

Angus Wright has a way of saying things we may not want to hear in a way that’s hard to ignore.

An example: During a meeting of environmentalists about shaping the public conversation on our most pressing ecological crises, folks were wrestling with how to present an honest analysis in accessible language — how to talk about the bad news and the need for radical responses, without turning people off. During the discussion about the effects of climate change, Wright offered a simple suggestion for a slogan: “No more water, the fire next time.”

Those words from a black spiritual, made famous by James Baldwin’s borrowing for his 1963 book “The Fire Next Time,” are usually invoked metaphorically. Wright was suggesting that we might want to consider the phrase literally. After a summer of drought and forest fires in Texas where I live, Wright’s comment reminded me that climate disruption isn’t part of some science-fiction future, but is unfolding around us in ways that are both complex and hard to predict, but devastating simple: We’re in deep trouble, ecologically and culturally, as we try to face up to unprecedented planetary problems in a society in denial.

Wright is one of our most astute observers of these troubles. His willingness to face these issues, and his ability to grasp the interplay of complex systems, is no surprise to readers of his book The Death of Ramon Gonzalez: The Modern Agricultural Dilemma, first published in 1990 and revised for a 2005 edition. Looking at one region in Mexico, Wright explains how political and economic power, combined with the arrogance of experts who believe they have all the answers, have radically changed people, communities, and land — mostly for the worse.

Though Wright speaks bluntly about these grim realities, he hasn’t given up trying to change the trajectory of a society that so often denies or minimizes the threat. A retired professor of environmental studies at California State University, Sacramento, Wright is the chair of the board of The Land Institute, which is committed to the research and organizing necessary for a truly sustainable agriculture. His writing also focuses on those issues — he is co-author of To Inherit the Earth: The Landless Movement in the Struggle for a New Brazil (with Wendy Wolford) and Nature’s Matrix: Linking Agriculture, Conservation, and Food Sovereignty (with Ivette Perfecto and John Vandermeer).

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/11/08-1

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