Pursuit of Happiness and the Various Trans-Communities, Especially a Couple of Less Popular Ones

I’m an old Hippie.  I almost wrote “Chick” but that word was banded by correct thinking feminists at some point in the distant past.  Gone from usage but still a mental reference.

Hippies were cool.  We believed in love and peace.

We also believe you were never to old to have a happy childhood and do things that others might think foolish because they weren’t productive and didn’t make you rich or even earn you anything.

One of our ethical points was “Do your own thing but don’t harm other people.”

While Sex Reassignment Surgery is a big decision and not one that should be entered into lightly one shouldn’t have to justify it with scientific proof beyond any shadow of doubt of innateness. There is enough evidence as to its being innate just in the cultural diversity and multitude of people expressing the same need.

Look at the terms the doctors have used to describe this deep seated discomfort within one’s own skin coupled with the ability so many transsexuals have shown to survive the extremely adverse treatment hurled at transsexuals. Our getting SRS to feel comfortable within our own skins falls under the pursuit of happiness. It may seem trivializing to describe SRS as something done in the pursuit of happiness but compare the alternative; living a life time of misery and unhappiness.

Radfems, Christo-Fascists and rabid right wingers have been telling LGBT/T people they should lead lives filled with misery and denial ever since I first came out.

Why?  Why the fuck shouldn’t transsexuals have the same rights as other human including the right to change sex for no other reason than the pursuit of happiness?

The same is true of transgender people.  If a person is miserable living as the gender they were assigned based on their birth genitals and is happier living as a member of the other gender it shouldn’t be anyone’s business but theirs.

The same is true of gender queers, transvestites, and drag queens.  If wearing the clothes of the opposite sex is part of what someone does as play because that is something that makes them happy, who are you or anyone else to judge them.

Especially since I can tell you the main source of your bigotry.  Here’s a hint you can  blither all the radfem crap you want but your real source is: Deuteronomy 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

Talk about your hard core enforcing of gender stereotypes.  This puppy puts radfems who wear pants in the same category as the “men in dresses” they love to carry on about.

Now I think anyone who looks at a book of mythology mostly written about the same time as the Iliad and the Odyssey and see it as a guide for living in the modern world is a slight bit off in the head. Especially since they are most likely overlooking verse 22:11, the one about the mixing of fibers in cloth.

Mostly though the tsk-tsking about transvestites, drag queens and gender queers is because they don’t obey strict gender binary customs regarding clothes and gender behavior.

It isn’t even about the act of dressing up and playing at a role they don’t live.  How many people who dress in costumes for any one of a number of events or past times including (comic conventions, Renaissance Faires, Society of Creative Anachronism, Civil War Reenactments, Cowboy Action Shooting) and many more play activities done in the pursuit of happiness are subject to the level of abuse that transvestites etc are subjected to?

I don’t have an axe to grind with transvestites, gender queers or drag queens as long as my personal boundaries are respected. Carolyn-Ann who has said harsh things about me in the past actually expressed concern for my well being  after Tina and I had our car totaled. Carolyn pointed out the foolishness of thinking (I’m paraphrasing as the line caught my eye and cause me to think) that some bearded guy wearing a pink tutu and riding a motorcycle through town is harming anyone.

One of the things Hippies had to cope with was people enforcing conformity.

Eventually we were forced to outwardly conform in order to hold a job and rent an apartment.  It takes a lot of courage to not conform the way drag queens and gender queer folks do.  It limits their worlds but fortunately there are various ghettos where one can live and even find work without having to cave into the forces of conformity.

Expecting people to devote their lives to corporations, to conform to a corporate image in exchange for the ability to buy lots of stuff is a form of enslavement.

When people are old do they really wish they had been able to work harder, devote more of their time and their lives to making money for corporations or do they look back and wish they had been able to devote more of their life to the pursuit of their happiness, whether or not they use the word happiness or something more abstract like dreams.

The radfems are basically fascists who think they have the right to demand people obey their dictates.

They also demand on to themselves not only the right to abuse various groups of people described by trans-prefixed words but seem to think the people they are abusing don’t have the right to fight back.

One of the real taboos Hippies had was the idea that no one had the right to stop others from doing there own thing as long as they weren’t harming others or interfering in the rights of others to do their own thing.

It’s sort of an extension of the golden rule.

Lady Day (Billie Holiday) used to sing a song, “Ain’t nobody’s business if I do…”

Nobody likes dictators and radfems are dictators.  They are the reason so many women said screw feminism.

Cyndi Lauper sang, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.”

And whole lots more women wanted to have fun when their working day was done than practice the grim joyless religion of radical feminism.

The freedom to play and pursue happiness is what separates free people from slaves.

I mean when we think of the lack of freedom in places like the former communist East European bloc we don’t particularly think about not having the freedom to exploit workers for personal gain.  We think about the secret police busting punk bands and people not being able to be free to be odd balls, punks hippies and even nerds.

Swedish Judge Rules Man Not Guilty of Attempted Rape of Trans Woman Because She Has No Vagina

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/courtney-odonnell/sweden-transgender-rape_b_1647981.html


Reposted with permission

At first glance this appears to be something right out the tabloids, but Örebro District Court Judge Dan Sjöstedt ruled that the planned rape by the attacker would have been impossible to carry out in the absence of a vagina. The attacker was instead charged with a considerably lesser crime.

According to a Swedish news report translated into English, the attacker brutally beat the victim and ripped off her pants in an attempt to rape her. A witness rushed to the scene and intervened. The police came and arrested the attacker.

While the Örebro District Court is convinced that the man was actually trying to rape the woman, they ruled that it was in fact a (cisgender) woman the man wanted to rape, not a “physical man,” and although the court considered the fact that the victim had undergone hormone therapy to change gender, it still ruled that there was no completed rape.

With the help of readers of my earlier report on the matter and comments elsewhere in the blogosphere, much of the translation to this point appears to be factually correct.

Swedish readers say the rapist was instead charged with battery and sentenced to four months in jail. He was also fined 15,000 Swedish kronor, which goes to the victim. There is also a chance he may face further charges.

To no surprise, reaction to this decision from the trans community has mostly been one of disgust and outrage: A rape is a rape, vagina or no vagina, most seem to be saying. Some have wondered if the interruption factored into the decision; others say the ruling renders trans people subhuman if only vagina-seeking rapists can be charged with rape.

Complicating the matter is the Swedish judicial system: It’s not thoroughly understood by many of us; however, some say that a better outcome for the victim may surface down the road. In short, in the Swedish system, lower-level judges are often likely to just follow the letter of the law and then pass it along to a higher court to handle the intent of Swedish law.

While this is not a good precedent for trans people, obviously, I am hoping that international transgender organizations look into this incident. I also look for a more detailed news report into this incident, hopefully one in English, as well, as half the time spent on this matter involves correctly interpreting the translation.

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Swedish Judge Rules Man Not Guilty of Attempted Rape of Trans Woman Because She Has No Vagina

Publication Of Invalid Anti-Gay Regnerus Study Referred To Committee On Publication Ethics

From The New Civil Rights Movement:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/publication-of-invalid-anti-gay-regnerus-study-referred-to-committee-on-publication-ethics/politics/2012/07/05/42789

by Scott Rose
on July 5, 2012

Reposted with Permission

In recent weeks, the publication of a study by Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas, Austin in the Elsevier scientific publishing company’s journal Social Science Research has been fueling unjustified political contempt for gay people.

Though Regnerus’s study is not sociologically valid, he, his funders, and other enablers have been misleading the public about the scientific merits, and/or lack thereof, of his study.

This article is the story of how Elsevier decided on July 4, 2012 to refer the publication of Regnerus’s study to the Committee on Publication Ethics.


Mark Regnerus’s scientifically invalid parenting study appears to violate the published ethics guidelines of Elsevier, the company that owns and operates the journal Social Science Research, in which Regnerus’s offending article appeared on June 11, 2012.

Regnerus alleges that his study shows that children raised by homosexuals are faring dramatically worse, as young adults, than those raised by heterosexuals. Yet, as is easily verifiable, Regnerus made no valid comparison between children of heterosexual and homosexual parents or guardians. His work has been definitively rejected by respected sociologists and professionals in relevant additional fields, and championed only by religious right-wing figures with established histories of opposition to LGBT equality.

Regnerus’s study currently is being used as a political weapon by anti-gay-rights forces all across the United States, where a prominent Republican, Rick Santorum recently disgraced himself by asserting that a child is better off with a heterosexual father in prison than with two loving gay fathers in the home. Regnerus has frequently implied opposition to marriage equality, for example, in his editorial One Man, One Woman, One Marriage. His editorial title there is precisely the political position of his study’s funders. Regnerus furthermore appears never to have expressed support for the rights of gay parents. That would not be of consequence, were his science sound, but it is not. It appears beyond doubt that Regnerus is politically in cahoots with his study’s funders. If he wants to adjust that appearance, he should immediately express personal support for marriage equality, on grounds that marriage equality supports family stability for those gay and lesbian couples raising children. Do not hold your breath, expecting Regnerus to make such a public declaration; he is beholden to his study’s anti-gay-rights funders. Disingenuous, duplicitous declarations about Regnerus’s supposed scientific independence from his study’s funders —  coming from the University of Texas, Austin, or any other source — must unwaveringly be countered with the mountainous evidence that Regnerus appears not to be independent from his study’s funders.


The reason Regnerus’s study is scientifically invalid, is that he made no valid sociological comparisons. For an introduction to the scientific concept of validity, go here.


1) Regnerus’s heterosexual control group was comprised of the married heterosexual parents of his young adult survey subjects, the;

2) young adults he surveyed who had been raised either by men who have sex with men (MSM), or women who have sex with women (WSW) mainly were;

3) the offspring of failed marriages in which one spouse was heterosexual and the other homosexual.

As Regnerus himself reported in his study, for those of his survey subjects who were raised by MSM or WSW — (whom Regnerus misleadingly labels as “Gay Father” and/or “Lesbian mother”, about which, see more below) — “a failed heterosexual union is clearly the modal method.”

Thus, Regnerus is not even attempting to deny that he did not make a valid comparison.


Regnerus compared people raised by stable heterosexual couples, to those raised by unstable mixed-orientation couples, and then declared that “gay” parents have significantly worse child outcomes than do heterosexual parents, though his data does not support that conclusion.

For Regnerus’s comparison even to have begun to be valid, he would either have had to compare 1) stable same-sex-headed households to i) stable heterosexual-headed households, or 2) unstable heterosexual households to ii) unstable mixed-orientation-headed households.

There is no need for any further discussion as to whether Regnerus made a sociologically valid comparison; he did not. This issue alone is the beginning and the end of whether his published study is valid.

Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Dr. Nathaniel Frank said that Regnerus: “fails the most basic requirement of social science research — assessing causation by holding all other variables constant.”

To illustrate what Dr. Frank means, if 1) Regnerus wanted to determine through sociological research how child outcomes differ between heterosexual and homosexual parents, then 2) instead of doing what he did, comparing children of stable heterosexual couples with children of unstable mixed-orientation couples, he either would have had to compare 3) children of stable heterosexual couples with i) children of stable gay couples, or 4) children of unstable heterosexual couples with ii) children of unstable gay couples.

In the 21st century, it is severely exasperating that one must keep repeating the A,B,C’s of Sociology, in the face of Regnerus’s absurdist, disingenuous misrepresentations of his own supposed field.  In his written study, Regnerus says that his sampling method — (the strategy used for reaching suitable survey subjects) — is superior to many methods used for previous studies of gay parenting. He specifically notes that although researchers commonly note the limitation of their sampling methods, “it is often entirely lost in the translation and transmission of findings by the media to the public.”

It therefore is dismaying, nay, flabbergasting, that Regnerus appears on ABC-TV, and elsewhere, bragging about his sampling methods, falsely alleging that he found that child outcomes for heterosexual parents are better than those for homosexual parents, and yet, he does not explain 1) what constitutes a valid comparison in sociology and 2)  that he did not make one.

Talk about things getting “entirely lost in the translation and transmissions of findings to the public.” Regnerus verifiably is a hypocrite, with hypocrisy being defined as “the practice of professing virtues that one does not possess; falseness.”

Additionally it must be said, that using a convenience or a snowball sample, rather than a probability sample as Regnerus did, does not in itself invalidate a sociological analysis, but using an invalid comparison in an analysis does. Regnerus knows that, but has been propagandizing with his study anyway. There is some appearance that Regnerus has deliberately been attempting to muddy the waters of public understanding of the basics of Sociology as a discipline, the better to promote his invalid study. He has talked and talked and talked to the public about the marvels of probability sampling, and how his sampling method was superior to that used for studies showing good results for gay parents, but he never explains to the public what constitutes a valid sociological comparison.


A word is in order regarding Regnerus’s continual references to his study subjects’ parents as “LM” and “GF” for lesbian mother and gay father; those are the designations he erroneously uses throughout his study.

Regnerus did not research whether his study subject parents were gay or lesbian. He admits as much in an article in Slate, where he wrote apropos of his survey question in which respondents were asked whether their parent had ever had a same-sex romantic relationship. Regnerus says:  ”I realize that one same-sex relationship does not a lesbian make, necessarily. But our research team was less concerned with the complicated politics of sexual identity than with same-sex behavior.”

The correct professional sociological designations for the parents whose children Regnerus studied are MSM (men who have sex with men) and WSW (women who have sex with women). As UC Irvine Professor Tom Boellstorff puts it in explaining the reasons for using MSM and WSW instead of “gay” or “lesbian;”

“the term MSM   . . . ostensibly separates behavior from identity and is thereby more inclusive than the term “gay.”

This particular issue could not be any plainer. Regnerus admits he was less concerned with sexual identity than with same-sex behavior. Sociologists concerned with same-sex behavior and not sexual identity use MSM rather than gay because the designation separates behavior from identity.

We should be mindful that when Regnerus emphasizes “homosexual behavior” over identity, he sounds to be echoing the common anti-gay bigot taunt that homosexuality is “a behavior.”

When Regnerus refers to his study subject parents as “Lesbian mother” or “Gay father,” he is being inaccurate and misleading. Without any reference to the anti-gay-rights crusaders who funded Regnerus’s study, one absolutely can demonstrate that Regnerus’s study is invalid and unprofessional, yet it should not go ignored that Regnerus is making distorted uses of sociological terms, which distortions happen to fit well with his funders’ political demonization of homosexuals.

Peer reviewers and editors, competent and of good faith, would not have allowed such glaring errors through into publication.

Incredibly, though Regnerus could not be bothered properly to pose questions concerning the “complicated politics of sexual identity” to ascertain whether his study subjects actually had been raised by gay parents, his Survey Instrument asks the young adult respondents when they last masturbated, and whether they have ever had anal intercourse. Regnerus gives the following definition for anal intercourse: “By anal intercourse, we mean when a man inserts his penis into his partner’s anus or butt hole.”

What that has legitimately to do with measuring child outcomes is anybody’s guess.

Whether a young adult has ever  had anal intercourse or not — and that is all Regnerus asked; whether these young adults had ever had anal sex — is no measure of the quality of parenting the person received when growing up. That Regnerus posed that question in his survey is a marker of his not acting in good faith.  Regnerus takes his Catholic faith very seriously; the Catechism of the Catholic Church calls masturbation “an intrinsically and gravely disordered action.”  We do not know whether that can help us to formulate any idea of why Regnerus asked survey respondents when they last masturbated,  but Elsevier’s executives above the level of Social Science Research editor-in-chief James Wright should not continue to permit their company’s publication to defame gay and lesbian parents through a study that 1) did not measure child outcomes for gay parents; 2)  misleadingly labels as “Lesbian mothers” and “Gay fathers,” persons whom sociologists accurately instead label as MSM and WSW; and 3) ridiculously asked study subjects when they last masturbated and if they have ever had anal sex.

Elsevier CEO Youngsuk Chi’s History of Enabling Vicious Anti-Gay Political Bigots

Elsevier is the Amsterdam-based scientific and medical publisher that owns Social Science Research. Youngsuk Chi is Elsevier’s CEO. He additionally holds various official positions at Princeton University, such as Trustee of the Princeton University Press, which may in part explain how Robert George has gotten certain known falsehoods about gays published with the Princeton name attached to them.  Princeton Professor Robert George, head of the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage, had a hand in getting Regnerus his $55,000 “planning grant,” and in getting Regnerus his study funding, once Regnerus’s study plan was approved. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s 2012 Intelligence Report on Robert George’s National Organization for Marriage is titled National Organization for Marriage Continues to Spread Lies About Gays.  Regnerus’s planning grant of $55,000 — a hefty sum for a planning grant in Sociology — and later the remainder of his known $785,000 in study funding, came from the Witherspoon Institute. Robert George is a Witherspoon Senior Fellow; Witherspoon President Luis Tellez is a NOM board member.

The question of whether Chi, with his authority over some publishing at Princeton, has ever enabled NOM’s Robert George to publish anti-gay lies, has yet to be fully researched. Read the article Princeton Complicit in Prof. Robert George’s Hate Speech here.

Elsevier CEO Youngsuk Chi has made political donations to Senator Tom Inhofe of Oklahoma, one of the most virulent political gay-bashers in the United States. NOM’s Robert George drafted a federal constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage throughout the country; Inhofe supports that. He has voted against prohibiting job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and has a policy of not hiring gay or lesbian staffers. He has said that he is “very proud” that there has never been a homosexual relationship in the recorded history of his family.  Inhofe is notorious for running campaigns on the basis of “God, guns, and gays” in which he inflames anti-gay sentiments in voters in order to attract votes for himself.

In 2008, Chi donated to Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who fiercely opposed DADT repeal, opposes extending federal rights and benefits to same-sex couples, and is adamantly against marriage equality and civil unions for gay people.

Elsevier presently is boycotted by over twelve thousand researchers, including Sir William Timothy Gowers, FRS, a Royal Society Research Professor at the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics at Cambridge University. Speaking about the boycott to the New York Times, Dr. Ingrid Daubechies, president of the International Mathematical Union said “We feel that the social compact is broken at present by some publishing houses, of which we feel Elsevier is the most extreme.” For 2010, Elsevier had revenues of $3.2 billion.

Go here to read the article NOM-Regnerus ‘Gay Parenting’ Study; A One-Percenter Dirty Campaign Trick.

As I previously reported, 200+ Ph.D.s and M.D.s have sent a Letter of Complaint to Social Science Research about its publication of Regnerus’s study.


Dr. James Wright is editor-in-chief of Social Science Research, the journal in which Regnerus’s paper appeared on June 11, 2012. He is the Provost’s Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Central Florida.

Wright is a co-author of the paper Attitudes Toward Gay Marriage in States Undergoing Marriage Law Transformation.

Therefore, one would expect him as a sociologist to be able to recognize an invalid comparison in a paper submitted to Social Science Research.  One also would expect him, as a sociologist who has studied attitudes towards marriage equality for gay couples, to understand the distinctions between “MSM” and “gay” and “WSW” and “lesbian.”

I asked Wright his reactions to the Letter of Complaint about his publication of the Regnerus study.

Wright said that as the letter was calling for a public accounting of the internal processes by which the Regnerus paper was vetted, reviewed and accepted for publication, he was asking Editorial Board member Darrne Sherkat to undertake that audit.  He said Sherkat’s findings would be published in the journal in November. That step alone plainly does not address the particulars and the urgency of the matter. For one, as Wright appears to have committed the infraction of publishing an invalid sociological study, we can not rely on anybody over whom he has power to investigate him. Additionally, as the paper, with its invalid comparison and invalid assigning of the terms “Lesbian mother” and “Gay father” to parents not really known to be homosexual, must not be left benefiting from an unwarranted imprimatur of scientific respectability throughout the 2012 election season in the United States.

Wright additionally told me this: “I think the findings speak less to the parenting skills of same-sex parents than to the extraordinarily challenging social environment in which these parents tried (and are trying) to raise their children.” He added:  ”Given that social environment, the surprise to me is not that the reported differences could be found in the data, but rather that they were not larger and more pervasive.”

Williams Institute Distinguished Scholar Dr. Gary J. Gates says that Wright’s assertion about social stigma is “just not relevant, since the Regnerus paper didn’t address the core question supposedly motivation the research; do children with LG parents differ from children with non-LG parents.” Gates also says: “The Regnerus paper did not provide any evidence that children with lesbian and gay parents are different from children with non-gay or non-lesbian parents. To assess that, he would have had to compare children with heterosexual parents to children with homosexual parents, regardless of whether their heterosexual parents were single, divorced or married. He simply did not do that.”

To elaborate on Gates’s remarks, it would be sociologically valid to compare single heterosexual adoptive parents with single gay adoptive parents, but not to compare single heterosexual adoptive parents with married gay adoptive parents, if one aimed to study the difference between homosexual and heterosexual parents.

Repeating for emphasis and for reinforced understanding, in the Los Angeles Times, Dr. Nathaniel Frank said that Regnerus: “fails the most basic requirement of social science research — assessing causation by holding all other variables constant.”

Notice Wright’s carelessness in his remarks. He said that he thinks Regnerus’s findings speak to the social situation in which “these parents tried (and are trying) to raise their children,” as if any of the parents of the young adults Regnerus surveyed were still “raising” the young adults Regnerus surveyed. Wright was talking about Regnerus’s findings, so his reference to “these parents” logically has to be to the parents of the young adults Regnerus surveyed, and not to any actual gay parents raising children now, as Regnerus did not study them so can not possibly have made any findings about them or their social situation. Whereas Regnerus himself has admitted that most of his study subjects were products of failed heterosexual marriages, Wright is talking about “these parents” as though the parents in a failed heterosexual marriage in the 1970s were the same as gay parents raising children now.

Wright’s competence to think professionally as required about Regnerus’s study is in question. One could get the impression that some force steered Regnerus towards Social Science Research knowing certain things about Dr. Wright, including that he was going to publish the anti-gay Loren Marks’s study simultaneously. When civil rights leader Julian Bond learned of NOM’s internal strategy documents talking about plans to “drive a wedge” and to “fan hostility” between African-Americans and gays, he said: “It confirmed a suspicion that some evil hand was behind this.”


I wrote to Elsevier, asking for comment from company CEO Youngsuk Chi. I wanted to know if he believed Regnerus’s study was scientifically sound, and how Elsevier planned to respond to the ever-widening scandal surrounding Wright’s publication of Regnerus’s invalid study. An Elsevier spokesperson responded, saying they were leaving to Wright, as editor-in-chief of Social Science Research, the responsibility of overseeing a review of how the Regnerus paper came to be published. I sent back a response ending thusly: “Is Elsevier going to acknowledge that this scandal requires review from an impartial expert from outside Social Science Research with no conflict of interests with the journal’s staff, or is Elsevier going to continue acting with dangerous complacency?”

Elsevier’s Harald Boersma, Senior Manager for Corporate Relations, replied by saying “in order to establish beyond reasonable doubt whether Wright followed due process in the handling of this material, we will be submitting this case to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) which is a forum for editors of peer-reviewed journals to discuss issues related to the integrity of the scientific record.” Boersma further said; “We take our professional responsibility very seriously and we therefore use the established escalation procedures for cases like this.”

COPE’s Code of Conduct for Journal Editors is here. A record of past Complaint resolutions may be viewed here.

The Code of Conduct says, among many other things, that all editors are expected to maintain the integrity of the academic record, and that errors, inaccurate or misleading statements must be corrected promptly and with due prominence.

The Singapore Statement on Research Integrity notes that there are “principles and professional responsibilities that are fundamental to the integrity of research wherever it is undertaken.” One of the Statement’s Principles is; “Honesty in all aspects of research.”

When Mark Regnerus says that his sampling method was better than that used for studies showing good child outcomes for gay parents, without saying that his study’s comparison is invalid, he is not being honest in all aspects of research.

Here’s hoping that no monkey business plays a role in the Committee on Publication Ethics’ review of the publication of Regnerus’s study.

New York City-based novelist and freelance writer Scott Rose’s LGBT-interest by-line has appeared on Advocate.com, PoliticusUSA.com, The New York Blade, Queerty.com, Girlfriends and in numerous additional venues. Among his other interests are the arts, boating and yachting, wine and food, travel, poker and dogs. His “Mr. David Cooper’s Happy Suicide” is about a New York City advertising executive assigned to a condom account.

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Publication Of Invalid Anti-Gay Regnerus Study Referred To Committee On Publication Ethics

Evangelicals Fight Over Therapy To ‘Cure’ Gays

From NPR:  http://www.npr.org/2012/07/06/156367287/evangelicals-fight-over-therapy-to-cure-gays?sc=fb&cc=fmp

July 6, 2012

Supporters call it “conversion therapy.” Critics call it “praying away the gay.” Whatever name you use, it’s creating a ruckus in Christian circles about whether a person can change his or her sexual orientation. And now the largest “ex-gay ministry” is rejecting the approach.

John Smid was 25 when he came out as gay. Three years later, he found religion — specifically, evangelical Christianity. He says the message was clear: You can’t be a Christian and engage in homosexual behavior. So he joined Exodus International, the largest ministry that tried to “cure” people of same-sex attractions.

“I followed everything they told me to follow,” Smid says. “I became one of the best ex-gays anyone could become.”

Smid married and eventually became the executive director of Love in Action, another ex-gay ministry. For years, Smid underwent conversion or reparative therapy, in which he analyzed his childhood wounds and learned to forgive, heal and move on.

“That was a good thing for me to do,” he says. “But it was taught that those kinds of things would heal the roots of the homosexuality, that it would change the homosexuality.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.npr.org/2012/07/06/156367287/evangelicals-fight-over-therapy-to-cure-gays?sc=fb&cc=fmp

War What Is It Good For?

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on War What Is It Good For?

The Future as a Commons: Capitalism and an Ecologic Tragedy in Time

From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/07/06-0

by John Atcheson
Published on Friday, July 6, 2012 by Common Dreams

n 1968 Garret Hardin published his now famous essay, The Tragedy of the Commons, in which he demonstrated that the inevitable result of unconstrained growth on a commonly held pasture was a “tragedy” of consumption.

Hardin used a metaphor of a common pasture open to all to illustrate how each herdsman, acting in his own rational self-interest, would seek to maximize his personal benefit by putting as many cattle as possible on the pasture, even though it would reduce the quality of the pasture over time.

He employed the term “tragedy” in the sense that philosopher and mathematician Alfred Whitehead used it, “The essence of dramatic tragedy is not unhappiness. It resides in the solemnity of the remorseless working of things.”

The remorseless working of things.  In the wake of the complete failure of the Rio+20 Conference those words have sobering weight.

With full knowledge that the world is perched on the edge of an ecological abyss, our leaders punted.

Their justification?  The economy, specifically economic growth.

Yet Hardin showed that a growth maximizing economy in a world with finite resources would simply annihilate the natural stocks on which it depended for growth, even while each individual was acting in a rational manner.  It gives lie to the perversion of Adman Smith’s Invisible Hand that conservatives use to justify unconstrained capitalism.

The Tragedy of the Commons is a tragedy of this time and this place.  Pastures, resources, clean air, a living climate – each is consumed by our current actions, and the consequences take place in the near term.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/07/06-0

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on The Future as a Commons: Capitalism and an Ecologic Tragedy in Time

Glenn Greenwald: Civil Liberties Under Obama

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Glenn Greenwald: Civil Liberties Under Obama

Duke Energy CEO To Receive $44 Million Payout Despite Resigning On His First Day

From Think Progress:  http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/07/06/512293/duke-energy-ceo-one-da/

By Rebecca Leber
on Jul 6, 2012

Hours after new Duke Energy CEO Bill Johnson assumed his new position following the Duke/Progress Energy merger this week, he resigned his post. But Johnson can still qualify for up to $44.4 millionfor his time and effort:

Despite his short-lived tenure, Mr. Johnson will receive exit payments worth as much as $44.4 million, according to Duke. That includes $7.4 million in severance, a nearly $1.4 million cash bonus, a special lump-sum payment worth up to $1.5 million and accelerated vesting of his stock awards, according to a Duke regulatory filing Tuesday night. Mr. Johnson gets the lump-sum payment as long as he cooperates with Duke and doesn’t disparage his former employer, the filing said.

Under his exit package, Mr. Johnson also will receive approximately $30,000 to reimburse him for relocation expenses.

The Duke board voted for Johnson’s resignation, and since Johnson was eligible for severance if he quit for “good reason,” he is able to collect his $44 million. Grist calculates that Johnson’s pay package comes out to $5.5 million per hour, if he actually put in a full 8-hour day.

Continue reading:  http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/07/06/512293/duke-energy-ceo-one-da/

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Duke Energy CEO To Receive $44 Million Payout Despite Resigning On His First Day

The Occupy National Gathering’s Independence Day March

From The Dissenter at Fire Dog Lake:  http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2012/07/06/the-occupy-national-gatherings-independence-day-march/

Friday July 6, 2012

On the night of the Fourth of July, occupiers gathered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for the Occupy National Gathering planned for ending their five-day event with a march to the Philadelphia Art Museum, where they could hear a concert put on by the musical group The Roots and watch fireworks. A march of at least five hundred people left Franklin Square in Philadelphia and headed toward where residents of the city were gathered for the holiday’s festivities.

The police let people march down the middle of a street that ran parallel to Market Street, a main thoroughfare through the city that runs right through the city’s Independence Mall. The police and occupiers were being cool with one another. Then, a white-shirted officer and a lead organizer for the National Gathering, Larry, went back and forth with one another at the front of the march. The air quickly became tense as the officer communicated that there was a situation unfolding in Love Park, which the occupiers would have to pass on their way to the concert. Dynamite was thrown – an M-80 or some other kind of firework. Or, a shooting had taken place. Two shootings had taken place. It was all confusing, but something had happened and the white-shirted officer issued an ominous and cautionary warning to Larry that he might want to consider not taking the march to where they planned to end it because women, children and elderly people were in the march. Someone could get hurt.

Larry said this needs to be taken to the group. The occupiers need to be informed. One person, who may have been a livestreamer, said after the white-shirted officer made the warning that this would be on the news. Whatever happened would be seen by many. Few were willing to take the police seriously and thought they were making something up about fireworks or shootings so they could divert the march and not let occupiers go where they wanted.

Chaos erupted. Apparently, an ambulance was coming through to get to the scene of the shooting. Organizers started shouting to the entire march to move out of the street. The police were making gestures to move as well but no force was being used. A number of people would not get out of the street. They thought this might be some trick to divide the march up, get it out of the street. They remembered previous marches with the New York Police Department or other police departments, where they had been denied the ability to proceed with a march for bogus reasons.

Paranoia and distrust now filled the air. The march continued onward and ended up on Market Street. It proceeded toward Broad St to John F. Kennedy Boulevard. Right by the entrance to Love Park, at 15th & JFK, a line of bike police had formed a barricade. The occupiers were not going to be proceeding any further. Arrests were also increasingly possible.

Continue reading at:  http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2012/07/06/the-occupy-national-gatherings-independence-day-march/

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on The Occupy National Gathering’s Independence Day March

Eliot Spitzer – LIBOR Mega scandal

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Eliot Spitzer – LIBOR Mega scandal

Libor’s Dirty Laundry

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/07/opinion/libors-dirty-laundry.html

By Joe Nocera
Published: July 6, 2012

Here in the early stages of the Libor scandal — and, yes, this thing is far from over — there are two big surprises.

The first is that the bankers, traders, executives and others involved would so openly and, in some cases, gleefully collude to manipulate this key interest rate for their own benefit. With all the seedy bank behavior that has been exposed since the financial crisis, it’s stunning that there’s still dirty laundry left to be aired. We’ve had predatory subprime lending, fraudulent ratings, excessive risk-taking and even clients being taken advantage of in order to unload toxic mortgages.

Yet even with these precedents, the Libor scandal still manages to shock. Libor — that’s the London interbank offered rate — represents a series of interest rates at which banks make unsecured loans to each other. More important, it is a benchmark that many financial instruments are pegged to. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which doggedly pursued the wrongdoing and brought the scandal to light, estimates that some $350 trillion worth of derivatives and $10 trillion worth of loans are based on Libor.

With so much depending on this one critical interest rate, there shouldn’t ever be a question about its reliability. Yet beginning in 2005, according to the C.F.T.C. and the Justice Department, derivative traders at Barclays, the too-big-to-fail British bank, with the active involvement of traders at other yet-unnamed banks, persuaded their fellow bank employees to submit Libor numbers that were shaded in ways that would help ensure their trades were profitable. Even Robert Diamond Jr., the former Barclays chief executive who lost his job over the scandal, said that reading the traders’ e-mails made him “physically ill.”

In 2007, as the financial crisis was gathering steam, banks also began submitting false Libor rates for a different reason. Libor, you may recall, was a measure that gave the outside world a sense of how much trouble the banks were in; the higher the rate required to borrow, the worse shape they were assumed to be in. So Barclays — with what appears to be the complicity of British bank regulators — started submitting rates that were lower than the reality. Its executives said the purpose was to keep Barclays from “sticking its head above the parapet.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/07/opinion/libors-dirty-laundry.html

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Libor’s Dirty Laundry

Melinda Gates hits ‘war on women’ on eve of family planning summit

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/07/melinda-gates-family-planning-summit

Religious groups attack London family planning conference as ‘blatant attack on morality’

, social affairs editor
guardian.co.uk, Saturday 7 July 2012

Campaigners have attacked a “war on women” being waged by religious organisations before an international summit on family planning to be held in London this week.

The conference, co-hosted by the Department for International Development (Dfid) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, plans to raise money and awareness to bring contraception to millions of women and girls in the developing world.

This weekend Melinda French Gates, the wife of the Microsoft founder and one of the world’s richest women, tried to deflect controversy around the summit. In an interview to be broadcast on CNN on Sunday, she said giving women better access to contraception had become her lifetime’s work.

Gates, who is a practising Catholic, has been targeted by religious groups, which have described her mission as a “blatant attack on morality” and an elitist effort at population control.

In response Gates said the lack of family planning available to 210 million women was “a crime”. She added: “We made birth control and contraceptives way too political in the US. I think if people understood that 200 million women want this around the world they would start to say, ‘OK that makes sense.'”

Her view is backed by Andrew Mitchell, the minister for international development, who told the Observer that no attention should be paid to “noises off” in setting a new agenda. “We have to focus on what we know there is widespread support for,” he said. “It may be an edgy agenda, but we are very clear that what we are seeking to do is to reduce by half the number of poor women who want contraception but can’t get it. We’re trying to ensure that women have the opportunity to decide for themselves.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/07/melinda-gates-family-planning-summit

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Melinda Gates hits ‘war on women’ on eve of family planning summit

“Holy Shit!” From the Ashes, a Call to Heed Climate Change

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on “Holy Shit!” From the Ashes, a Call to Heed Climate Change

The ‘Monsanto Rider’: Are Biotech Companies About to Gain Immunity from Federal Law?

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/food/156195/the_%27monsanto_rider%27%3A_are_biotech_companies_about_to_gain_immunity_from_federal_law/

The Secretary of Agriculture would be required to grant a permit for the planting or cultivation of a genetically engineered crop, regardless of environmental impact.

By Alexis Baden-Mayer and Ronnie Cummins
July 6, 2012

While many Americans were firing up barbecues and breaking out the sparklers to celebrate Independence Day, biotech industry executives were more likely chilling champagne to celebrate another kind of independence: immunity from federal law.

A so-called “Monsanto rider,” quietly slipped into the multi-billion dollar FY 2013 Agricultural Appropriations bill, would require – not just allow, but require – the Secretary of Agriculture to grant a temporary permit for the planting or cultivation of a genetically engineered crop, even if a federal court has ordered the planting be halted until an Environmental Impact Statement is completed. All the farmer or the biotech producer has to do is ask, and the questionable crops could be released into the environment where they could potentially contaminate conventional or organic crops and, ultimately, the nation’s food supply.

Unless the Senate or a citizen’s army of farmers and consumers can stop them, the House of Representatives is likely to ram this dangerous rider through any day now.

In a statement issued last month, the Center For Food Safety had this to say about the biotech industry’s latest attempt to circumvent legal and regulatory safeguards:

Ceding broad and unprecedented powers to industry, the rider poses a direct threat to the authority of U.S. courts, jettisons the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) established oversight powers on key agriculture issues and puts the nation’s farmers and food supply at risk.

In other words, if this single line in the 90-page Agricultural Appropriations bill slips through, it’s Independence Day for the biotech industry.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/food/156195/the_%27monsanto_rider%27%3A_are_biotech_companies_about_to_gain_immunity_from_federal_law/

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on The ‘Monsanto Rider’: Are Biotech Companies About to Gain Immunity from Federal Law?

The Healthy, The Wealthy, The Poor

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/07/07-1

by Christopher Brauchli
Published on Saturday, July 7, 2012 by Common Dreams

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. — John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address

Not all of the states’ reactions to the recent health care decision by the U.S. Supreme Court are an embarrassment. Only a select few. Some States, like Oregon, welcomed it.

In 2008 Oregon embarked on a program to provide health care to some of its residents who live in poverty. It did not have enough money to cover all its impoverished residents so it set up a lottery system and folks who entered it got a chance to win health insurance coverage. Unlike lotteries at charity events, this lottery didn’t cost a thing to enter. The only requirement to participate in the lottery was that the entrant be poor and not have health insurance. The lottery was an instant success.

In 2008, 89,284 people entered the lottery and the lucky winners received that which those who live in other wealthy, industrialized nations get without entering a lottery-health insurance. Once the lottery had taken place its effects on those won was studied to determine the costs and benefits of the coverage. The study disclosed that 25 per cent of the winners were less likely to be burdened by unpaid medical bills and 40% per cent less likely to find that paying medical bills forced them to skip paying other significant obligations. Those who won were more likely to have a family doctor they visited regularly and enjoyed better overall health than those who did not have insurance.

Notwithstanding the success of the lottery many residents remained uninsured and Oregon is happy to abandon the lottery in favor of having all its residents obtain insurance. Bruce Goldberg, the Oregon Health Authority director, is not worried about the additional cost to the state. He said the Supreme Court decision is “very good news for the 600,000 Oregonians who do not have health care coverage. . . . Under the Affordable Care Act, the health care lottery for low-income Oregonians goes away and everyone wins. That is good for them, good for their families, and good for Oregon. They will have better health care and more financial security. . . .” If governors of some of the other states cared about the health of their citizens they would study the results of the lottery and might even decide to permit their Medicaid rolls to expand. They haven’t and they don’t.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/07/07-1

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on The Healthy, The Wealthy, The Poor

Obama for America TV Ad: “The Problem”

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Obama for America TV Ad: “The Problem”