Friday Night Fun and Culture: David Rovics

Saturday June 2, 2012 6:00pm

5910 Cedar Springs Rd, Dallas, TX

David Rovics has been called the “peace poet and troubadour for our time.”

Join us for an evening of fun, food, friends, and fantastic music as David performs “Songs of Social Significance” in the beautiful Interfaith Peace Chapel at the Cathedral of Hope.

$10 suggested donation at the door benefiting the North Texas peace, justice, and environmental community. No one turned away.

Hosted by the Dallas Peace Center, CODEPINK Greater Dallas, Hope 4 Peace and Justice, Pax Christi Dallas, Jobs With Justice, North Texas Veterans for Peace, Dallas MoveOn, Occupy Dallas, and the Dallas Sierra Club.

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A sea change in transgender rights

It is important to remember even as this minority group which describes itself as “Radical Feminist” is attacking us; they do not represent feminism or the majority of lesbians.  They are a small band of bigots.

From Feministing:

By Jos
May 30, 2012

The past month or so has been incredible for transgender rights victories, and I want to acknowledge this moment. We’re seeing the kind of movement on trans issues that I’ve dreamed of – our community is finally winning the protections we need. I think this has a lot to do with the ways trans folks have shared our stories and organized for our rights, including at online spaces like Feministing.

On Sunday, Nok Yonlada, who is trans, won a provincial election in Thailand. This means a lot in terms of visibility, to have an out trans woman representing constituents as an elected official. Argentina made trans health care a human right and gave folks the right to legally change their genders without the approval of a judge or doctor. In the US, the The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced they will hear claims of gender identity-based employment discrimination, meaning trans and gender non-conforming folks have employment protections at the national level for the first time. The Department of Justice released national standards to prevent prison rape that include specific provisions to protect trans and gender non-conforming folks. These standards were developed with community input and are an important step in addressing the high rates of sexual violence experienced by incarcerated trans folks.

These victories in the political arena are huge. The trans community is at square one when it comes to winning the rights we need to be able to participate in society without facing massive amounts of discrimination. Winning protections from workplace discrimination means we can actually get jobs. We obviously need to address the high rates of incarceration faced by trans folks, but protections for those behind bars could make a big difference in people’s lived realities. These are the first steps towards being full human beings under the law, whose experience of discrimination is valid and who deserve just as much access as everybody else.

The US isn’t close to Argentina yet, where they’ve got this wild idea that health care should be a human right. We need to continue fighting for basic protections, including from discrimination in housing and public accommodations. But ideally this moves us towards the point where we win positive rights, like the right to determine our own genders without having to go through gatekeepers.

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NCTE Releases Trans Job Discrimination “Know Your Rights” Guide

From The National Center for Transgender Equality:

Press release
May 30, 2012

Following the groundbreaking U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruling protecting transgender people under the Title VII sex discrimination law, we now know that the EEOC will take seriously and work to resolve claims of anti-trans discrimination. To help individuals understand and assert their rights in the workplace, the National Center for Transgender Equality is releasing Know Your Rights: Employment Discrimination and Transgender People, a new resource outlining the laws protecting trans people in the workplace and steps for reporting job discrimination. The resource details how individuals can file a complaint with the EEOC, as well as through a state or local civil rights agency or their union.

The EEOC’s ruling is a tremendous victory but despite its broad coverage it does not eliminate the need for clear workplace laws that explicitly include gender identity and expression. Harper Jean Tobin, NCTE Policy Counsel, said “Our friends at the Transgender Law Center did incredible work to facilitate the EEOC ruling, which provides real protections, right now. But we’ll continue to work with TLC and other advocates to advance laws that send a definitive message to businesses and workers that transgender and gender nonconforming people are protected on the job.”

Mara Keisling, NCTE Executive Director, said the ruling was “a major step forward that we need to build on,” and added, “Nine in every ten transgender people still face harassment at work, which only emphasizes the need for laws like the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to make sure our rights aren’t left up to interpretation.”

We’ve already gotten lot of questions about the EEOC ruling and what it means for transgender people and for our advocacy work. For answers to questions not covered in NCTE’s resource, we recommend the Transgender Law Center’s: Frequently Asked Questions: What the EEOC’s Decision in Macy v. Holder Means for You.

In addition, we want to remind everyone of our other “Know Your Rights” resources that outline existing protections and how to file discrimination complaints in the following areas:

Download the resource here.

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Advertisers Think Women are Stupid

From World Wide Hippies:

By Diana May Waldman
2012 May 29

I had a nightmare last night. I was walking down the street in my tight, white pants and this big red ball was chasing me. Not only was it chasing me, it wanted to land on my crotch. You know–white pants, big red splotch on my crotch. Nothing screams louder than a big red splotch on your pants to let the world know that you are bleeding like a dead pig. And we all know that this could have been prevented if we had used Tampax brand tampons instead of Playtex brand tampons.

Just like the grocery store, we can have our choice of paper or plastic…as in applicators. Okay–so admit it, those plastic applicators pinch sometimes with that pretty, little pink claw on the end and they are bad for the environment.

Anyway-I am digressing. My point is–THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A HAPPY PERIOD!

Nothing like sitting on the couch in your sweatpants, bag of chips in one hand and a candy bar in the other, trying not to think about the huge zit on your chin, all while chugging a beer in hopes of calming your cramps.

Then comes those commercials for stretch mark cream, hair color, mascara that will give you thicker lashes–and Holy Shit, there is that big red ball and the chick in the white pants–I want to bitch slap that smile off her face–and why is she running the beach acting all happy and secure and pretending she doesn’t want to rip someone’s head off? Yeah, because she really isn’t on her period and we all know it!

Just as I am sucking the piece of lime out of my bottle of beer–Jamie Lee Curtis comes on and is basically telling middle aged women that if we don’t eat two or three containers of yogurt a day, then we can’t shit. Look–it’s the not the chocolate that is constipating me…I don’t have time to shit, okay? And quit putting my business out there.

And really Jamie, how come there is never a constipated guy sucking down that stuff? What are you trying to say, that only women are full of shit? How about barging into the marketing board room, where the real tight asses are?

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Maryland Pastor Dennis Leatherman: ‘My Flesh Kind Of Likes The Idea’ Of Killing Gays

From Huffington Post:


A number of right-wing authorities have come forward with anti-gay pleas in recent weeks, but one Maryland-based pastor has gone one step further, saying he “kind of likes” the idea of killing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

As Good As You blogger Jeremy Hooper reports, a pastor identified as Dennis Leatherman of the Mountain Lake Independent Baptist Church in Oakland, Md., spoke at length on the subject in a 50-minute sermon titled “Homosexuality and the Bible.”

“To be…have a tendency to be effeminate or homosexual is just as wicked as to have a tendency to be a womanizer,” Leatherman proclaims in a short audio clip from the sermon, the full text of which can be read here.

He continues: “Sinful nature does not justify sinful behavior. Now what is our take? What is our response?”

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How the Koch’s make millions if Republicans crash the Gov?

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Rabbi Jonathan Romain chastises religious opponents of equal marriage

From Pink News:

31 May 2012

A leading Rabbi has said that those who oppose marriage equality on religious grounds are taking a ‘pick and mix’ approach to the scriptures, and might as well support stoning children or slavery.

Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, the minister of Maidenhead Synagogue and known for his pro-gay stance, said that Judaeo-Christian opposition to same-sex relationships, based on the Old Testament, constitutes double-standards, if applied only for equal marriage.

He made his comments during an open debate in London, co-hosted by the anti-equality group Catholic Voices, and the pro-equality British Humanist Association.

Those who adhere to Old Testament’s apparent description of homosexuality as an ‘abomination’ cannot read it literally unless they were prepared to adhere to some of its obscurer traditions concerning food, say, or circumcision. “No Christian or secularist can quote those passages – or certainly not with any credibility,” he said.

“For if they do suddenly start getting pious about verses in the Bible,” he continued, ‘by which I mean the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament, then they can only do so if they adhere to other verses in it such as circumcising all your male children, as it also commands; abstaining from pork or prawns, as it also commands; not wearing garments in which wool and linen is mixed, as it also commands.”

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Republican Congresswoman’s spokesman: Hurl some acid at female Democratic Senators

But there is no right wing Republican War on women…

From Raw Story:

By Eric W. Dolan
Thursday, May 31, 2012

Democratic candidate Richard Becker on Thursday blasted comments made by Rep. Nan Hayworth’s (R-NY) official campaign spokesman.

On a Facebook discussion board maintained by local Democratic activists, Jay Townsend mockingly suggested throwing acid on female Senators who supported the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act but paid their male staffers more than their female staffers.

“Listen to Tom,” he wrote Saturday, in reply to another Facebook user who had criticized Republicans. “What a little bee he has in his bonnet. Buzz Buzz. My question today…when is Tommy boy going to weigh in on all the Lilly Ledbetter hypocrites who claim to be fighting the War on Women? Let’s hurl some acid at those female democratic Senators who won’t abide the mandates they want to impose on the private sector.”

Acid attacks have notoriously been used against women who violate social traditions in Syria, Afghanistan and other countries.

Becker campaign spokesman Barry Caro told Politicker that he would be immediately fired for writing something of that nature.

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FISA: US under total surveillance

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Conservatives Decry ‘Bizarre’ Ruling Finding DOMA Unconstitutional, Lament ‘East Coast Liberal Freak Show’

From Right Wing Watch:

by Brian Tashman
Thu, 05/31/2012

Today, yet another court ruled that the Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, this time finding that Section 3 of the law, which prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages in states where they are legal, fails the “rational basis test” as applied to laws that deny equal protection and harm a group long subject to discrimination. The unanimous ruling by the three judge panel of the First Circuit Court of Appeals, including two Republican nominees, found no “connection between DOMA’s treatment of same-sex couples and its asserted goal of strengthening the bonds and benefits to society of heterosexual marriage.”

Bruce Hausknecht of Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink criticized the court’s “unfortunate exercise of judicial tampering with the rules by which constitutional cases are decided,” and the Alliance Defense Fund’s Dale Schowengerdt said the decision permits states to “hold the federal government, and potentially other states, hostage to redefine marriage.”

Remarkably, Massachusetts Family Institute president Kris Mineau claimed that the First Circuit Court of Appeals shouldn’t have any federal power to rule on the case as “a Massachusetts-based court “…seemingly unaware that it is a federal court!

Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, argued Thursday that the ruling is “bizarre” for requiring the federal government to accept Massachusetts’ definition of marriage, and violates the federal government’s right to determine the application of federal benefits.

“For a Massachusetts-based court to just audaciously proclaim that the federal government is wrong and has to recognize a unique social experiment in Massachusetts for the purpose of providing benefits is bizarre and a violation of the principles of our federalist system,” Mineau said, according to Reuters.

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BREAKING: DOMA’s Federal Definition of Marriage Unconstitutional, Federal Appeals Court Rules

From Metro Weekly:

Posted by Chris Geidner
May 31, 2012

Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act — the federal definition of “marriage” and “spouse” — is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court in Boston ruled today. The decision by a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and Massachusetts v. United States, is the first instance of a federal appellate court striking down any portion of the 1996 law.

Writing that “Supreme Court review of DOMA is highly likely,” the appeals court has stayed, or put on hold, the implementation of its decision pending any appeal.

Judge Michael Boudin, appointed to the bench by President George H.W. Bush, wrote for the court: “[M]any Americans believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, and most Americans live in states where that is the law today. One virtue of federalism is that it permits this diversity of governance based on local choice, but this applies as well to the states that have chosen to legalize same-sex marriage. Under current Supreme Court authority, Congress’ denial of federal benefits to same-sex couples lawfully married in Massachusetts has not been adequately supported by any permissible federal interest.”

The decision follows oral arguments that were held in the cases on April 4. Today’s decision upholds U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Tauro’s July 8, 2010, decision finding the federal law defining marriage as consisting of only one man and one woman to be unconstitutional.

In these cases, the appeal of which were heard together on April 4, the lawyer for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Mary Bonauto, was joined in opposing the law by two government lawyers: Department of Justice Civil Division Chief Stuart Delery and Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office Civil Rights section chief Maura Healey.

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#Occupy Movement Being Labeled As “A Domestic Terror Organization” By FBI

Talks suspended with Quebec students; no solution in sight to unrest

From Global News:

Thursday, May 31, 2012

MONTREAL – An attempt to find a solution to the Quebec student crisis has fallen apart — with the potential ramifications unknown.

After four days of negotiation, the provincial government and student groups announced Thursday that their talks had gone nowhere.

There has been speculation that if these latest negotiations failed the government might call a provincial election and ask Quebec voters to help settle a dispute that has made international news.

Early in the day, students had issued a mild threat to walk away from the negotiating table. But surprisingly, later Thursday, it was Education Minister Michelle Courchesne who announced talks had been suspended.

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Head of Catholic Bishops Paid Pedophiles to Disappear

From Truth Out:

By Valerie Tarico
Thursday, 31 May 2012

Timothy Dolan, cardinal of New York and head of the Catholic Conference of Bishops, had his prime-time career launched by the pedophile priest scandal. Now, despite efforts to distance himself, his role in pedophile protection may come back to bite him. Wednesday, the Archdiocese of Minneapolis admittedthat, during Dolan’s tenure, pedophiles were paid to simply disappear.

In June of 2002, Dolan was appointed archbishop of Milwaukee after his predecessor, Rembert G. Weakland, admitted a confidential settlement of $450,000 to a man who accused Weakland of sexually assaulting him in 1979. In contrast to Weakland, Dolan was a known theological conservative with the trust of the Vatican and, despite questionable management of sexual abuse scandals in his previous position in Saint Louis, he was tasked with cleaning up the mess.

From the start, Dolan positioned himself as a victim’s advocate: “… [i]t is impossible to exaggerate the gravity of the situation, and the suffering that victims feel, because I’ve spent the last four months being with them, crying with them, having them express their anger to me.” His response to those tears and anger, however, foreshadowed events of this winter, when Dolan had consistently argued that the church is above the law.

In the case of the pedophile priests, Dolan almost immediately set about exploring financial incentives that would encourage them to step down and fade away into the community. He emphatically denied in 2006 that this was the case. But during subsequent bankruptcy proceedings for the Milwaukee archdiocese, public documents showed that Dolan had discussed payout options with his finance committee as early as 2003. Now email from Julie Wolf, communications director for the archdiocese, confirms that pedophiles were paid up to $20,000 apiece in exchange for quietly relinquishing their positions in the church.

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Government Should Kill Gays – Pastor Curtis Knapp

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Finally: Gay Bullying Gets Recognized as a Civil Rights Issue

From The LA Weekly:

By Jessica Lussenhop
Thursday, May 31 2012

Bottle-blond bangs swept over one eye — this, the other boys whispered, was not a man’s haircut. One of them — a popular, handsome specimen — grew particularly incensed at his classmate’s new look. He formed a posse and found a pair of scissors. After locating the blond boy, the gang tackled him. The boy screamed for help, but none came. Lock by lock, his hair was lopped off.

Soon after, the boy disappeared from school. Eventually he returned, his hair clipped short and back to its natural brown color.

There was no disciplinary action, but the incident would forever haunt everyone involved, save for the lead attacker, Mitt Romney. He forgot about it, married a pretty girl, produced five handsome sons and made hundreds of millions of dollars. Now he wants to be president of the United States.

Gay kids have long been a target of bullying. Until recently, incidents could be laughed off as “pranks,” and no one suffered any consequences, save for the gay kid. But in the last few years, that has begun to change.

Some say it started the night Tyler Clementi leapt from the George Washington Bridge. He’d just discovered that his roommate at Rutgers University had used a webcam to spy on a kiss Clementi shared with another man. Police found Clementi’s body seven days later.

Clementi wasn’t the only gay kid to commit suicide in September 2010 — there were at least 10 instances reported in the media. Asher Brown, a 13-year-old boy from Cypress, Texas, shot himself in the head with his stepfather’s Beretta. Seth Walsh, 13, hanged himself in his rural Tehachapi backyard just a half-hour after his mother had rescued him from a gang of bullies.

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