The Regnerus Gay-Parenting Study: More Red Flags

From Huffington Post:


By now almost everyone has had a whack at the recent Mark Regnerus (University of Texas) study claiming that young adults who report having a gay parent score worse on a range of life-success indicators than children from intact biological families. According to the study, these kids as young adults have lower educational attainment, are arrested more often, and have more trouble in their own relationships, among other problems. Critics have pointed out that the story is mostly one of collapsed heterosexual families, not “same-sex parenting”: The great majority of the kids were born to male-female couples, most of the presumedly gay dads and many of the moms didn’t get custody of their kids after their relationships dissolved, and few of the kids were actually raised through long periods by gay couples. LGBT advocates point out that sociologist Mark Regnerus accepted $695,000 from the anti-gay Witherspoon Institute to carry out the study.

But many critics have missed one of Regnerus’ most unexpected findings, one that may illuminate his study’s shortcomings. Specifically, and feeding into pretty much all the other problems, the study diagnoses children of gay parents as having a huge problem with poverty. Here’s Regnerus:

Sixty-nine (69) percent of LMs [respondents with lesbian mothers] and 57% of GFs [those with gay fathers] reported that their family received public assistance at some point while growing up, compared with 17% of IBFs [those with intact two-parent biological families]; 38% of LMs said they are currently receiving some form of public assistance, compared with 10% of IBFs. Just under half of all IBFs reported being employed full-time at present, compared with 26% of LMs.

Those are big gaps. And of course they’re much at odds with the affluent image of gay families presented in both pro- and anti-gay-parenting literature as well as Modern Family-style popular entertainment. What do they signify?

Probably the biggest single reason is the one cited at the outset: This is mostly a survey of what happens when heterosexual families crack up. (Interestingly, if a married couple stayed together, they were counted as an “IBF,” no matter whether one or both partners pursued same-sex liaisons.) Decades of data indicate that children of family breakup do worse than children whose parents stay together, on many variables related to adult success. One reason, though not the only reason, is that they grow up significantly poorer.

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Across the Gonad Divide

From Common Dreams:

by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez
Published on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 by Common Dreams

I’m getting tired of seeing the gender card being played as a veiled excuse for ideological dominance.

Conservative critic David Brooks predictably pines for the good ol’ days when boys were boys and men were men, and schools catered exclusively to the values and needs of these scions of masculinity.

The problem, as Brooks sees it, is that our schools have become feminized and namby-pamby, with anyone who isn’t able to play by the rules liable to be rushed to the school nurse’s office for ADD drugs.

In a recent column, he calls for teachers to celebrate and honor “competition” and  “military virtues” in a “boot camp” type of school environment.

Feminist pundit Caryl Rivers retorts that schools are appropriately training kids—both male and female—to “succeed in the new workplace in which communication, focus, determination and teamwork are key ingredients.”

I would hope that “communication, focus, determination and teamwork are key ingredients” of military training as well as ordinary schooling.

So what’s the real difference here?

There have always been men who communicated well, who enjoyed sitting in classrooms and paying attention to the teacher without the need for psychotropic medications, just as there have always been women who enjoyed competitive sports and the top-down hierarchical approach of the military.

The problem comes when we view gender difference as a black-and-white either/or issue, rather than more properly as a spectrum of behaviors and characteristics.

Rivers is right that the past decade of funded research on brain physiology and neuroscience has largely come up with nothing: “The alleged great differences between the brains of boys and girls are a myth.”

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House Republican proposes ‘unprecedented’ cuts to women’s health

How come “RadFems” spend so much time and energy attacking TS/TG people and so little time and energy attacking right wing Republicans who are waging a war on women’s reproductive rights?

From Raw Story:

By Kay Steiger
Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT), chairman of the House Labor, Health and Human Service and Education Committee, has proposed a far-reaching anti-choice bill that boasts $6.2 billion in spending cuts, many of which are achieved through attacks on services for women’s reproductive health.

Rehberg’s bill (PDF), which has yet to undergo a committee vote, proposes cuts to various women’s health services, including cutting funding for Planned Parenthood. It also allows employers to opt out of insuring women employees’ contraception coverage for ‘moral reasons’ and authorizes spending on abstinence-only education, which is widely deemed ineffective at reducing teen pregnancy, STIs or the onset of sexual activity.

Planned Parenthood issued a statement objecting to the cuts, calling the bill an “unprecedented suite of attacks on women’s health.”

“This budget proposal is badly out of touch with the needs of American women and families. Chairman Denny Rehberg and the House Republican leadership clearly don’t think that their constituents care about their access to health care. They could not be more wrong,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Eliminating vital preventive programs like the national family planning program and attacking women’s health providers will mean that millions of women would lose access to basic, preventive health services, and those are economic issues for millions of families.”

The bill blocks Medicaid funds for any women’s health services provided by Planned Parenthood. This tactic has been tried in many states, including Arizona, which passed a law in May prohibiting state Medicaid funding for clinics that offer abortions, even though the Hyde Amendment already bans federal funding from being used for abortion services and only about 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s funds go to abortion care.

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Monsanto to get immunity from federal laws?

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Voter ID laws a burden on poor, black Americans, research shows

From The Guardian UK:

Brennan Center study finds that voters without photo ID in 10 states are being hit with hidden costs and long car journeys

in New York, Wednesday 18 July 2012

The cornerstone of the Declaration of Independence – that all men are created equal – is being undermined by a rash of restrictive laws that force US citizens to endure long journeys, eccentric opening hours and hidden costs before they can vote, a new study finds.

The research, by the Brennan Center for Justice within New York University, finds that almost 500,000 eligible voters are being required to travel more than 10 miles to a government office – even though they have no car. More than 1 million eligible voters below the federal poverty line are now expected to pay costs of up to $25 before they can vote.

Thereport looks at the impact of voter ID laws that have been introduced since 2011 in 10 states that require US citizens to obtain a government-issued photo identification card before they can cast their ballot.

Proponents of the new laws claim they are needed to combat fraud and that they impose no burden on citizens because ID cards can easily be obtained free of charge.

But the Brennan Center report gives the lie to that claim, exposing the many different ways in which hundreds of thousands of Americans will find it harder to vote. The burden falls particularly harshly on poor and black communities where transport and public services are limited.

One in 10 eligible voters lack the government-issued photo ID cards they now need within the 10 states before they can cast their ballot. Yet the Brennan Center found that of those, more than 10 million people live more than 10 miles away from the nearest public office where they can obtain such cards.

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Massive Iceberg ‘Twice the Size of Manhattan’ Breaks Off Greenland

From Common Dreams:

Warming climate causing vast glacial melting in north

– Common Dreams staff
Published on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 by Common Dreams

A massive iceberg twice the size of Manhattan has broken off one of Greenland’s major glaciers — a development which scientists say is due to alarming warming in the region.

The iceberg, measuring 46 square miles, is the second of its nature to break from Greenland in just two years. In 2010 an iceberg twice its size, one of the largest ever recorded in Greenland, broke free.

“It’s dramatic. It’s disturbing,” said University of Delaware professor Andreas Muenchow, one of the first researchers to notice the break. “We have data for 150 years and we see changes that we have not seen before. It’s one of the manifestations that Greenland is changing very fast.”

“This is not part of natural variations anymore,” said NASA glaciologist Eric Rignot, referring to the vast changes the glacier has seen in the past three years.

Scientists are concerned about rising sea levels due to melting ice in the north. The Arctic had the largest sea ice loss on record for June, scientists reported this week, and Northern Greenland and Canada are warming five times faster than the average global temperature.

“The Greenland ice sheet as a whole is shrinking, melting and reducing in size as the result of globally changing air and ocean temperatures and associated changes in circulation patterns in both the ocean and atmosphere,” stated Muenchow.

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Ayn Randroids & Libertarians Join Forces

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A Long Hot Summer

From Huffington Post:


It’s turning into a hot climate summer in two ways, only one of which you can measure with a thermometer.

Amidst the deepening drought, the summer’s fourth heat wave, and the continued western fires, there’s something else breaking out: a siege of citizen uprisings at key points around the country all designed to keep coal in the hole, oil in the soil, gas… underground.

Ever since the mass arrests protesting the Keystone pipeline last summer (the largest civil disobedience action in the U.S. in 30 years) there’s been renewed interest in confronting the fossil fuel industry and its political enablers. Some have been following this path for years, of course — late next week, beginning July 25, opponents of mountain-top removal coal-mining will resume their long-standing (and increasingly successful fight), with a week-long Mountain Mobilization that will likely include civil disobedience.

A few days later, activists from around the country will descend on D.C. for a rally against fracking — perhaps the fastest-growing wing of the environmental movement. That gathering won’t lead to arrests — but others will.

Earlier this week, for instance, Ohio protesters chained themselves to the gates outside a so-called injection well, not far from where earlier this year disposal of fracking water had helped trigger a swarm of earthquakes. And just yesterday Josh Fox and Mark Ruffalo announced plans for an August 25 gathering designed to keep fracking at bay in New York State.

From August 10-20, Montana protesters will hold a multi-day sit-in designed to stop opening up of massive new coal mines — and across the Pacific Northwest others are joining in to fight the proposed ports that would send that coal to Asia for burning.

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How America Became a Country That Lets Little Kids Go Homeless

From Alternet:

Family homelessness essentially did not exist until the 1980s. And the financial crisis has made the problem massively worse.

By Tana Ganeva
July 16, 2012

It’s a searing hot Sunday in the Bronx, and young women and couples with small children sweatily make their way up the ramp to the PATH building, New York City’s shiny new intake center, where homeless families with children must go to get placed in shelters. That’s the hope at least. A couple that went in right around the time I showed up exits the building about half an hour later, and the man is pissed; it doesn’t look like they had any luck today. Everyone looks anxious as they walk up the ramp; clearly this is a situation where there had better be a Plan B if getting themselves and their kids into a shelter is not in the cards.

A young couple with the cutest twin toddlers I’ve ever seen walks up and sits on the curb. I point this out to their parents and for a second they beam, but then they go back to looking very worried. This is their 3rd trip to PATH this week. The first two times they were turned away, when their caseworkers decided they should stay with Amanda’s mom instead. Her mom disagreed. Now, the couple has come prepared, bearing a letter in which her mom assures the Department of Homeless Services just how unwelcome her daughter and grandchildren are. “Hopefully this time it’ll work, and we’ll have a place to stay,” says Amanda, 18, who took her first trip to PATH at 17, when her mother kicked her out of the house for the first time. “We’re hoping to get placed in Brooklyn, where I’m from, but even the Bronx would be fine, as long as we have a place.”

The twins are crying the whole time. The man picks up one kid and their heavy luggage flips the stroller on its back, upending the other twin, who starts screaming as the dad frantically tries to right the fallen stroller; no one who comes here is having a very good day.  It’s tough with the twins inside the building too, because they can’t bring in food or water, according to Amanda. “We have to pour out our water bottles before we go inside.”

To keep out more dangerous things, the building has a full-on security apparatus with metal detectors in the entry way and harried security guards rushing families through. Hanging from each of their belts is an extendable baton, in case any trouble gets past the metal detectors. Outside, a new family walks up the ramp every five to 10 minutes. One woman’s baby is only a week and a half old; she’s draped a piece of cloth over his stroller to protect him from the heat.

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