“Silicone” Pumping ‘Black Madam’ charged with murder

Why TS/TG women tolerate monsters like this maiming, murdering and damaging our sisters is beyond me.  Where is the out cry?  Where is the demand for harsh punishment for this sort of behavior?

From The Philadelphia Gay News:  http://www.epgn.com/view/full_story/19585153/article-%E2%80%98Black-Madam%E2%80%99-charged-with-murder

by Jen CollettaJuly 26, 2012
The transgender woman accused of giving illegal silicone injections was this week charged with murder in connection with the death of a British tourist last year.

Padge Victoria Windslowe, who calls herself the “Black Madam,” was charged with third-degree murder Monday night. She was arraigned Tuesday and will face a preliminary hearing Aug. 8.

Windslowe, 42, is accused of performing an illegal buttocks-enhancement procedure that led to Claudia Aderotimi’s death in February 2011.

In addition to the murder charge, she faces additional counts of conspiracy, reckless endangerment, possessing an instrument of crime and the unauthorized practice of medicine.

Windslowe, who describes herself as a gothic hip-hop artist, has been in prison since March on a number of charges related to another injection case, in which the victim survived.

Investigators identified Windslowe as a suspect shortly after Aderotimi’s death but couldn’t charge her in that case until the medical examiner ruled the death a homicide, which it did this week.

BOMBSHELL: Editor Darren Sherkat Admits Peer Review Failure Of Invalid, Anti-Gay Regnerus Study

From The New Civil Rights Movement:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/opinion-regnerus-study-official-misconduct-allegations/news/2012/07/26/44553

by Scott Rose
July 26, 2012

Reposted with permission

We have been reporting on an invalid sociological study on gay parenting carried out by researcher Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas, Austin.

Regnerus’s known total of $785,000 for the study was arranged by The Witherspoon Institute and The Bradley Foundation, where Robert P. George, head of the anti-gay-rights, scientifically disreputable National Organization for Marriage holds positions of authority. Witherspoon president Luis Tellez is a NOM board member.

The Regnerus study currently is being used as an anti-gay-rights political weapon in the 2012 elections.

The Regnerus study was published in the Elsevier journal Social Science Research.

After over 200 Ph.D.s and M.D.s sent Social Science Research a letter complaining about the Regnerus study’s lack of intellectual integrity, and the suspect rush process through which the study got published, SSR editor-in-chief James Wright assigned Sherkat to conduct an “audit” of the publication process for the Regnerus study.

Darren Sherkat, an Editorial Board member of Social Science Research admitted in an e-mail exchange with this reporter that “The peer review process failed here.”

Sherkat went on to say in a subsequent e-mail: “How did this study get through peer review? The peers are right wing Christianists!

Sherkat further says that Social Science Research editor-in-chief James Wright is the authority who picks the reviewers for submitted papers.

Sherkat also said: “Regnerus produced some exceptionally distorted and inferior research that should not have been published in a major general interest journal.”

Sherkat said:  ”There are other ethical issues related to this paper which I am continuing to investigate, and I have filed a FOIA to the University of Texas regarding those issues.” UT has asked Texas Attorney General Republican Greg Abbott for Freedom of Information Act exemptions for all of the requested documentation of the Regnerus study. The Witherspoon Institute is on record, not wishing to release any of the requested documentation.

Sherkat completed his audit without seeing any of the Regnerus-study-related documentation that he allegedly requested from the University of Texas, Austin under the Freedom of Information Act.

There was nothing ethical or acceptable about Wright assigning Sherkat to an “audit” of the publication of the Regnerus study. Wright earlier wrote to me in an e-mail that he had asked Sherkat to conduct the audit; in that e-mail, Wright noted that Sherkat was already a vocal and public critic of the Regnerus study. Sherkat’s position on the editorial board of Social Science Research, on top of his public condemnations of the study, mark him as an entirely inappropriate figure to carry out an audit, regardless of one’s opinion of gay rights. And, there certainly was no possibility of Sherkat carrying out an independent audit, which is what is desperately needed in this case, as a CYA farce audit is worse than useless, and unethical. Moreover, although Sherkat promised this reporter a copy of his written audit as soon as it was ready, Sherkat failed to follow through on that promise, instead discussing his full, completed audit with The Chronicle for Higher Education.

CHE reports that Sherkat found conflicts of interest with two of the study’s peer reviewers; Sherkat can not even get his facts straight; he previously told me that he had completed his audit and found “only” one conflict of interest among the peer reviewers.  Additionally, as you can see in the CHE interview with Sherkat, Sherkat 1) condemns the study as invalid, but then says that despite its invalidity, and 2) despite the conflicts of interest he found — in which conflicts of interest, 3) persons paid with NOM-linked money to consult on the study design, which appears to be an inappropriate and inadequate study design, went on to 4) approve for publication the study with their apparently inappropriate and inadequate study design; 5) despite all of the foregoing, Sherkat says that he may well have made Wright’s same decision to publish the Regnerus study.

A further red flag in Sherkat’s public statements about his audit to the CHE, is that he admits that three of the six peer reviewers are on record as being against same-sex marriage. What — if it is not too much to ask — might be the other three peer reviewers’ opinions of gay people and same-sex marriage? Are they maybe neutral? Without a genuine investigation of the publication process, there is no way to know whether Wright hand-picked all of the peer reviewers with a mind to giving the Regnerus study an unwarranted peer review “free pass” towards publication.  Let us not forget; NOM officials are on record saying that homosexuals are not human. NOM’s Maggie Gallagher has said that she is “unwilling” to live in a nation that gives homosexuals anti-discrimination protections. For Sherkat to audit the publication of the invalid, Regnerus study defamatory of gays, and to report in his audit that three out of six of the study’s peer reviewers are on record as being against same-sex marriage, leaving the public to imagine that the other three peer reviewers are neutral on same-sex marriage — (as if!) — highlights that the “audit” appears to be a CYA sham.

In addition to the Regnerus study peer reviewers having had conflicts of interest because of their paid involvement with the study design, Wright also chose persons paid to consult on the study to write commentary on it, which commentaries were published alongside the study. The letter from over 200 Ph.D.’s and M.D.s notes that none of the Regnerus study commentators have experience in the sociological specialty of gay parenting. In regard to that, Sherkat said: ”Wright erred in picking who commented, and he did this to rush the papers to publication in order to jack up journal publicity.” One of Sherkat’s alibis for Wright is, “he’s an older scholar.”

Furthermore, Sherkat is falling all over himself , praising Social Science Research editor-in-chief James Wright for his handling of the publication of the Regnerus study. Sherkat told CHE that he “may well have made the same” publication decisions as Wright. Wright meanwhile is described as having made his decisions to publish the paper because of the attention it would attract to his journal, (for political rather than for purely scientific reasons). Ergo, Sherkat “may well have made the same” publication decisions as Wright for business-and-reader-attention reasons rather than for scientific reasons.  However that may be, that Wright assigned Sherkat to conduct an audit, the upshot of which is that Sherkat is falling all over himself praising Wright, is on its face a towering ethics fail. Moreover, Sherkat told a source that he did not want to inspect the e-mails of those involved in the Regnerus matter, because he did not want others to be able to see his own e-mails as part of any eventual inquiry or investigation. That is to say, apparently by his own admission, Sherkat seemingly had conflicts of interest in conducting the audit. Some independent entity should now further investigate the circumstances of the publication of the Regnerus study, if the community’s trust in the journal Social Science Research‘s integrity is not to continue in its sadly undermined condition. Social Science Research‘s integrity is every bit as trashed as that of anybody else connected with the public perpetration of the unscientific travesty known as the Regnerus study. My official allegations of scientific and scholarly misconduct against Regnerus, now presented to the University of Texas, Austin, express grave concerns about the process through which the Regnerus study was published.

Meanwhile additionally, an amicus brief filed in the Golinski-DOMA case by eight major professional associations including the American Medical Association criticized the Regnerus study for improperly labeling as “lesbian mothers” and “gay fathers” persons not actually known to be that, and logically by extension, for not making a scientifically valid comparison between its test group and its control group. Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Dr. Nathaniel Frank said of the Regnerus study: Regnerus  ”fails the most basic requirement of social science research — assessing causation by holding all other variables constant.”

In view of the blatant scientific invalidity of the study, I sent SSR editor-in-chief Wright an e-mail, asking whether he defends Regnerus’s invalid comparison between his test group and his control group. I specifically asked: “Can you cite ten additional studies with test and control groups mismatched to at least an equal degree as those in the Regnerus study, which ten studies are widely acknowledged as valid and cited as important contributions to the field of sociology?”

Sherkat, answering for Wright, said that it is “not up to the editor to answer” that question, or any other question posed about the publication of the Regnerus study. Thus, Social Science Research‘s editor-in-chief James Wright takes on a likeness to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who, absurdly, was at Bain after he was not at Bain and then resigned from Bain retroactively even though he had not really been at Bain. Though James Wright is editor-in-chief of Social Science Research, he will not answer any questions about how the invalid Regnerus study came to be published on his watch. He will not answer as to whether any sociological studies exhibiting failings as glaring as those found in the Regnerus study enjoy any respect whatsoever in the community of scholars. Wright through Sherkat is admitting that the journal Social Science Research published the Regnerus paper even though it does not make a valid comparison between its test group and its control group — “The peer review process failed here” – but Wright as editor-in-chief is refusing to explain how so fatal a flaw in a study got published on his watch as editor-in-chief. Wright is hiding behind Sherkat, refusing to explain his unacceptable publication decisions. For Sherkat to say that 1) the Regnerus study never should have been published, but that 2) he may well have made the same decisions as Wright to publish it, shows that Sherkat is confused about how to present his audit and his opinions to the public coherently, and without coming off as a danged, double-talking fool, which he now has succeeded perfectly in doing.

Dr. Gary Gates of the Williams Institute gave this reporter the following statement about this matter. His commentary, while somewhat lengthy, is worth reading in its entirety. Gates provides insight into the publication process at a mid-tier scientific journal such as Social Science Research, and he also gives a direct assessment of questions that SSR editor-in-chief James Wright should already have answered, but has not yet answered.

Gates writes:

“Sound and compelling social science is not the only driving force behind research and publication.  The truth is that there are a wide variety of incentives associated with why social scientists do research and why journals publish it.  The top academic journals are all quite established and have little trouble getting good submissions of research from scholars. One way for smaller and less prestigious journals to delineate themselves and get better submissions is to get their citation index and impact scores higher.  Scholars know that the tenure process often includes a review of the relative impact of journals in which a scholar publishes, so younger scholars are very motivated to try to submit to journals with higher citation and impact scores. One way for smaller and less prestigious journals to bump up their impact is to publish research that will get attention.  They have a clear incentive to publish more provocative papers, even if they have flaws.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, since it offers an outlet to scholars doing work that is perhaps a bit out the mainstream and that top tier journals are still leery about.  Top ranked journals can at times be somewhat conservative and focus on fairly canonical science.  Less prestigious journals play in important role in disseminating scholarship that the mainstream academy may be reluctant to embrace.  So I don’t necessarily find it problematic that an editor is motivated to find provocative, attention-getting research.

“However, in the case of the Regnerus paper, there are still too many unanswered questions about why this editor seemed to have such a sense of urgency not just to publish a provocative paper, but to publish it now.  There was a clear rush here that goes beyond just a motivation to get the journal attention.  That urgency led to very bad decisions about the selection of commentators and perhaps peer reviewers.  The editor has still not answered this key question about what motivated such urgency.”

Elsevier, which owns the Social Science Review journal, previously alleged that it had referred SSR’s publication of the Regnerus study to the Committee On Publication Ethics (COPE) for review. However, in an e-mail, COPE Chair Virginia Barbour then said she had yet to receive that referral from Elsevier. Barbour said that if Elsevier said they were going to refer the matter to COPE, she was sure that Elsevier would do that. In a subsequent official e-mail from Elsevier, however, a company spokesperson said that Elsevier could not refer this matter to COPE, that somebody outside the company, as a matter of company policy, would have to take that action. In other words, Elsevier is not communicating its policies coherently to the public. Meanwhile, Elsevier’s 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. Asked whether he supports LGBT equality, CEO Chi, through an Elsevier spokesperson, refused to answer, in an age when Apple, Microsoft, Starbucks, General Mills, J.C. Penney and many additional top-ranked companies have come out for LGBT equality.

Whereas Regnerus first submitted his study to SSR before he had completed his data collection, and whereas the letter to SSR from over 200 Ph.D.s and M.D.s expresses concern that the Regnerus study was accepted for publication on an unusually hasty schedule of just five weeks, Sherkat asks that everybody be patient until November, when SSR intends to publish the professionals’ letter, though it has been available right here on our TNCRM site since June 29, 2012.

SSR’s foot-dragging in publishing the letter from 200+ Ph.D.s and M.D.s questioning the Regnerus study’s intellectual integrity is unforgivable, given that Elsevier has the technical capacity to publish that letter online alongside the Regnerus study immediately.

Regnerus’s NOM-linked funders had a political stake in the outcome of his study, and are juicing his study constantly and nationally for political gain. Section 3(c) of the American Sociological Association’s Code of Ethics says:  ”Because sociologists’ scientific and professional judgments and actions may affect the lives of others, they are alert to and guard against personal, financial, social, organizational, or political factors that might lead to misuse of their knowledge, expertise, or influence.”

Wright’s and Sherkat’s “professional judgments and actions” in publishing — and now in auditing their own publication of — the invalid Regnerus study are negatively affecting the lives of others.

There  is an appearance that — less a valid investigation — many of the transparency scandals in the publication of the Regnerus study will never be sufficiently set aside. According to the journal’s peer review policy, Regnerus was able to recommend people to “referee” (i.e., to peer review) his own paper. Although a researcher is not guaranteed that his recommended peer reviewers will be used, in the event that a researcher’s recommendations are accepted by the editor, the public has no way of knowing whether that happened. For all we know, Regnerus recommended all six of his study’s peer reviewers, and Wright accepted all six of Regnerus’s recommendations.

However that may be, it would appear very telling that Sherkat said: ”How did this study get through peer review? The peers are right wing Christianists!”  He also said: “You are not on the editorial board of SSR, and I am the only board member who knows who the reviewers were. I will not be informing the rest of the Board about who the reviewers were, much less the public. You are not privileged to know who the reviewers were on a blind reviewed article. Indeed, it is irregular that know that information. No, you cannot “fact check” that, or whatever.”

Summing up what we know, then; 1) Sherkat admits that he knows the identities of those who peer-reviewed the Regnerus study, and he says: 2)  ”How did this study get through peer review? The peers are right wing Christianists!3) Notice very carefully that in that remark, Sherkat did not say that only three of the peer reviewers are “right wing Christianists.” He did not say that “some” of the peer reviewers are “right wing Christianists.” He clearly implied that all of the peer reviewers are “right wing Christianists.”

I asked Sherkat if he was investigating whether any of the Regnerus’s paper’s peer reviewers are being investigated for possible conflicts of interest  (i.e., were any of the Regnerus study’s peer reviewers paid consultants on the study) —  and whether he would release those reviewers’ names to the public, if he found they had had conflicts of interest.

“Yes, I am,” he said. “I don’t report to the public. However, I would advise the editor and the editorial board that the paper should be retracted and resubmitted for a full review (that is normal procedure in all sciences). Sherkat also said: “I am almost finished with my audit response, and I will send it to you very soon. I hope it will answer some questions, but I know it will never be satisfying. It can’t be. The fuckers played this one perfect, and now we’re all just on the defense.”

(Journalist’s note: Where Sherkat says “now we’re all just on the defense,” he appears to mean that the journal’s editors are “all just on the defense.” The question of exactly how the Regnerus study got peer-reviewed by “right wing Christianists” and then published, leaving “all” the editors of the journal Social Science Research “on the defense” has yet to be answered.) 

In one particularly angry e-mail, Sherkat alleged that I am “not a journalist.”  That is a rogue’s attack, which this journalist has heard many times before from people in positions similar to Sherkat’s, when people like Sherkat do not want the public to have a full and complete understanding of their behavior.

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.

Why Chick-fil-A Matters

From Lambda Legal:   http://www.lambdalegal.org/blog/why-chick-fil-a-matters

by Kevin M. Cathcart, Executive Director
July 27, 2012

The furor is about much more than just a chicken sandwich.

When Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy declared his opposition to marriage for same-sex couples, reaction was swift. Some LGBT groups called for a boycott, the Jim Henson Company pulled out of a merchandising deal, and politicians in Boston and Chicago said their cities would not tolerate such discrimination. But the backlash points to a bigger shift in the national conversation about the freedom to marry. We have been saying for some time now that the tide is no longer turning—it’s already turned.

A few weeks ago, more than three dozen companies signed on to a brief in support of Lambda Legal’s challenge to DOMA, the so-called Defense of Marriage Act—Microsoft, Google, Viacom, Starbucks, Xerox, CBS, eBay, the Gap and other corporations much larger than a fast-food chain. All of them agree on one thing: Discrimination is bad for business.

Last week, Jen Cast, a former Lambda Legal board member and one of Amazon.com’s first employees, emailed the company’s founder, Jeff Bezos, asking for his support in the fight for marriage equality in Washington State. Lambda Legal and the Northwest Women’s Law Center sued in 2004 for the freedom to marry in the Evergreen State, but we did not prevail in court. In February of this year, Gov. Christine Gregoire signed a marriage equality bill into law, but opponents collected enough signatures for a referendum in November.

Jen is now finance co-chair of Washington United for Marriage. She asked Bezos for $100,000 or $200,000 to help defeat the antigay initiative. Instead, she got this email from Bezos and his wife: “Jen, this is right for so many reasons. We’re in for $2.5 million. Jeff & MacKenzie.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.lambdalegal.org/blog/why-chick-fil-a-matters

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New Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow claims Labour MP David Cairns died because he was gay/Chick-fil-A chief spokesman Don Perry dies unexpectedly

Why is that when ever a disaster wrecks a Bible Belt city it is always because people weren’t harsh enough on the people of the queer alphabet?

Especially when something similar but in reverse could be said when a homophobic bigot croaks.

From The New Humanist:  http://blog.newhumanist.org.uk/2012/07/new-catholic-archbishop-of-glasgow.html

When it comes to making homophobic statements, the Catholic Church in Scotland has often led the way in Britain in recent years. Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, and Britain’s most senior Catholic, has a track record of extreme pronouncements on gay-rights-related-issues, and earlier prompted outrage by comparing the legalisation of gay marriage with the legalisation of slavery.

Considering O’Brien’s record, it should perhaps come as little surprise that Philip Tartaglia, the newly-appointed Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow, has stepped into a row over homophobia before he has even officially taken up his new post.

A report in the Scotsman reveals that, in a speech delivered at a conference in Oxford in April, Tartaglia suggested that the tragic death of a 44-year-old Labour MP may have been linked to the fact that he was gay. David Cairns died last year from Pancreatitis but, in remarks reminiscent of the Daily Mail columnist Jan Moir’s controversial take on the death of Boyzone singer Stephen Gately, Tartaglia asked his audience to consider whether there is a connection between early deaths and sexual orientation:

Continue reading at:   http://blog.newhumanist.org.uk/2012/07/new-catholic-archbishop-of-glasgow.html

From The LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-chickfila-perry-20120727,0,7787369.story

By Tiffany Hsu
July 27, 2012

Don Perry, head spokesman for Chick-fil-A, has died.

The Atlanta-based company said Perry died “suddenly” Friday morning. Perry, who most recently was vice president of public relations, had worked with the chain for nearly 29 years, according to Chick-fil-A.

“He was a well-respected and well-liked media executive in the Atlanta and University of Georgia communities, and we will all miss him,” the company said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Local news outlets reported that Perry suffered a heart attack.

A spokesman with a third-party public relations company working with Chick-fil-A said he could not confirm the heart attack reports.

Last week, Perry helmed the company’s official response to the controversy that erupted after Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy spoke out against gay marriage.

Continue reading at:  http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-chickfila-perry-20120727,0,7787369.story

I wonder if the totally insane Phelps Klan will picket his funeral?

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Former Hitler Youth, Pope Benedict XVI, Names Viciously Anti-Gay Priest As Archbishop Of San Francisco

From Think Progress:  http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012/07/27/599541/pope-benedict-xvi-names-viciously-anti-gay-priest-as-archbishop-of-san-francisco/

Ben Sherman
Jul 27, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed a new Archbishop of San Francisco: Salvatore Cordileone. Though his name is not yet widespread, Cordileone, currently the Bishop of Oakland, has already had massive success pushing an anti-equality agenda: he was the heart of the Catholic Church’s strategy to pass Proposition 8 in California, which eliminated marriage equality for millions of Americans.

In 2008, Cordileone and a select cadre of Catholic leaders decided that their best chance to end marriage equality was to pass an amendment to the state constitution. Cordileone found the first major donor and built a lasting fundraising network for the group. He brought in an organization to lead the petition. He activated a network of California’s Catholic churches, and helped craft the Prop 8 messaging campaign, even using focus groups. The campaign was successful in passing Prop 8, making Cordileone a primary reason Californians are currently denied marriage equality. After the amendment passed, Cordileone bragged to a Catholic radio show that gay Americans never saw him coming, and called gay marriage a Satanic plot by “the Evil One” to annihilate morality.

Cordileone has continued to be one of America’s most prominent anti-gay Catholic officials. In January 2011, Cordileone was named the chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage, a group dedicated to using religious influence to deny marriage equality. Cordileone is one of only 18 American bishops who have signed the Manhattan Declaration, a pledge to protect “the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, and religious liberty,” even if doing so means violating the law.

Complete article at:  http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012/07/27/599541/pope-benedict-xvi-names-viciously-anti-gay-priest-as-archbishop-of-san-francisco/

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London Olympics- Queen Elizabeth Meets James Bond And Jumps Out of Helicopter

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Most Incoherent Tom Friedman Column Ever

From Rolling Stone:  http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/no-kidding-the-most-incoherent-tom-friedman-column-ever-20120725

By Matt Taibbi
July 25, 2012

I realize this is not a statement anyone can make lightly, but: this morning’s column by Thomas Friedman, “Syria is Iraq,” is the single most incoherent thing he has ever written. It’s… well, breathtaking is the only word.

Others, like Glenn Greenwald, have already pointed out the column’s most obvious contradictions. But for those who missed it, here are two passages that were written, not as a joke, by the same human being in the same opinion column. Start with passage #1:

And, for me, the lesson of Iraq is quite simple: You can’t go from Saddam to Switzerland without getting stuck in Hobbes — a war of all against all — unless you have a well-armed external midwife, whom everyone on the ground both fears and trusts to manage the transition. In Iraq, that was America.

Got that? Here’s the second passage:

Because of both U.S. incompetence and the nature of Iraq, this U.S. intervention triggered a civil war in which all the parties in Iraq – Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds – tested the new balance of power, inflicting enormous casualties on each other and leading, tragically, to ethnic cleansing that rearranged the country into more homogeneous blocks of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds.

This pair of passages can be summed up in a Friedman-syllogism:

1. Syria will not become Switzerland unless it has the kind of help America gave to Iraq.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/no-kidding-the-most-incoherent-tom-friedman-column-ever-20120725

See also: Glenn Greenwald’s The value of Tom Friedman

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Sarah Palin with a Penis: Mitt Romney: Arab Spring Could’ve Been Avoided By Bush’s ‘Freedom Agenda’

From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/27/mitt-romney-arab-spring_n_1710038.html

Posted: 07/27/2012

In an interview with the right-wing Israeli daily newspaper Israel Hayom, Mitt Romney said that the Arab Spring might never have happened had Bush’s “freedom agenda” not been prematurely halted by President Barack Obama.

“President [George W.] Bush urged [deposed Egyptian President] Hosni Mubarak to move toward a more democratic posture, but President Obama abandoned the freedom agenda and we are seeing today a whirlwind of tumult in the Middle East in part because these nations did not embrace the reforms that could have changed the course of their history, in a more peaceful manner,” Romney said.

Romney argued that with the rise of democratically elected Islamist governments in some of the countries undergoing revolutions — Egypt and Tunisia in particular — the Arab Spring has turned out to be less of a boon for Western interests than it initially appeared.

“Clearly we’re disappointed in seeing Tunisia and Morocco elect Islamist governments. We’re very concerned in seeing the new leader in Egypt as an Islamist leader. It is our hope to move these nations toward a more modern view of the world and to not present a threat to their neighbors and to the other nations of the world,” he said.

The interview, which comes in the lead-up to Romney’s arrival in Israel on Saturday, was conducted earlier in the week in Reno, Nev., in keeping with his intention to avoid criticizing a sitting president while traveling overseas. Israel Hayom is owned by the Sheldon Adelson, an American citizen who is one of the leading financiers of the Republican Party and a major donor to Romney’s campaign.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/27/mitt-romney-arab-spring_n_1710038.html

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The Poverty Epidemic Hits the Suburbs

From Truth Dig:  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_poverty_epidemic_hits_the_suburbs_20120726/

By Bill Boyarsky
Posted on Jul 26, 2012

Why is this presidential campaign so centered on the middle class? What about the poor people? Their numbers are growing, but their fate hasn’t made it into the debate between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

Of course, the Democratic candidate and his Republican opponent don’t have the same vision of where America should go. The president favors an activist government. He bet his political future on an Affordable Care Act that makes a big start toward assuring the availability of health care. Romney favors the crimped vision of the Republican economic leader Rep. Paul Ryan, and his plan to reduce taxes for the rich, eventually privatize Medicare and dismantle Medicaid for the poor.

But little, if anything, is said about the disastrous phenomenon of rising poverty, which, as Hope Yen of The Associated Press reported this week, is “on track to climb to levels unseen in nearly half a century. … Poverty is spreading at record levels across many groups, from underemployed workers and suburban families to the poorest poor.” Census figures that will be released in the fall, she wrote, are expected to show that poverty has exceeded the level it was at in 1965, when President Lyndon B. Johnson’s launched his War on Poverty.

These truly are the forgotten Americans. They are invisible to candidates, strategists, pundits and even journalists, except for those dedicated few who stick with the poverty beat.

What’s new is the accelerated move of poverty to the suburbs, a result of the Great Recession. This has complicated even today’s anemic efforts to help the poor as joblessness and foreclosures have hit once-prosperous areas unequipped or unwilling to serve poor residents in the past.

Continue reading at:  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_poverty_epidemic_hits_the_suburbs_20120726/

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Walmart accused of firing union organizers in bid to intimidate workers

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/jul/26/walmart-accused-firing-union-organizers

Retail giant denies it planned illegal campaign to stamp out union activity but workers say firings point to emerging strategy

Spencer Woodman
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 26 July 2012

Walmart is facing accusations that the company is engaged in a bold and illegal campaign to stamp out union activity after firing five employees in recent months who were involved in a group organizing the company’s workers.

Although the company says that the terminations are unrelated to any employees’ organizing activity, OUR Walmart – which receives funding and support from the United Food and Commercial Workers Union – argues that the pattern points to an emerging strategy to break the organization’s command structure and intimidate workers.

One terminated worker, Angela Williamson, a mother of three, was fired in late May because, the company says, of unexcused absences. An active organizer at her store in Florida – and at the national level – Williamson says she was unable to pay the rent on her apartment after losing her job. She believes that her role in the labor organization led to her termination.

In Los Angeles, where local opposition has been mounting over a proposed Walmart in Chinatown, Girshreila Green was fired from her job earlier this month, just five days after she addressed a crowd at the largest ever anti-Walmart rally. Green, who is seven months pregnant, has been an outspoken critic of Walmart and a leading national organizer at OUR Walmart.

“In the case of these specific employees, there are specific reasons that they’re no longer employed that has absolutely nothing to do with their affiliation with the union,” said Dan Fogleman, a Walmart spokesperson. “To suggest otherwise is simply not true.”

In response to queries about the reason for Green’s termination, Fogleman said Green had been out on medical leave for over a year.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/jul/26/walmart-accused-firing-union-organizers

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Bigger hurdles, than dismal job growth for unemployed

From PBS:  http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/opinion/bigger-hurdles-than-dismal-job-growth-for-unemployed/14301/

Rebecca Dixon
July 25, 2012

Across the nation, unemployed Americans suited up and headed to hundreds of job fairs in June, promoted by the U.S. Labor Department as “American Job Fair Month.”

Imagine that you, an unemployed worker, have waited in a long line for hours to get into a job fair, but when you finally reach the door, you’re turned away. Your rejection has nothing to do with your qualifications or even your attire. The attendant takes one look at your resume and points to a sign on the door that reads “Unemployed need not apply.”

Sounds crazy, right? But a version of this scenario is playing out for a nation of job hunters, online and elsewhere, every day. Numerous job ads posted on some of the nation’s premiere job search websites state that only people who are currently employed will be considered.

“No unemployed candidates will be considered at all,” said a marketing job posting from a global phone manufacturer in Georgia. We will “not consider/review anyone NOT currently employed regardless of the reason,” read an ad by a Texas electronics firm seeking an engineer. And a California job ad for an experienced travel agent posted this March on Craigslist, explicitly states “only those currently employed need apply.”

Out of work job seekers began speaking up about this problem last year, describing these kinds of restricted job postings. One study that sampled online job posts for a few weeks unearthed more than 150 “unemployed-need-not-apply” job ads across a wide range of industries, in what may be only the tip of the iceberg. With 12.7 million Americans currently unemployed, this practice has far-reaching consequences for our nation’s unemployed and their families.

Continue reading at:  http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/opinion/bigger-hurdles-than-dismal-job-growth-for-unemployed/14301/

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Storms Threaten Ozone Layer Over U.S., Study Says

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/27/science/earth/strong-storms-threaten-ozone-layer-over-us-study-says.html

Published: July 26, 2012

Strong summer thunderstorms that pump water high into the upper atmosphere pose a threat to the protective ozone layer over the United States, researchers said on Thursday, drawing one of the first links between climate changeand ozone loss over populated areas.

In a study published online by the journal Science, Harvard University scientists reported that some storms send water vapor miles into the stratosphere — which is normally drier than a desert — and showed how such events could rapidly set off ozone-destroying reactions with chemicals that remain in the atmosphere from CFCs, refrigerant gases that are now banned.

The risk of ozone damage, scientists said, could increase if global warming leads to more such storms.

“It’s the union between ozone loss and climate change that is really at the heart of this,” said James G. Anderson, an atmospheric scientist and the lead author of the study.

For years, Dr. Anderson said, he and other atmospheric scientists were careful to keep the two concepts separate. “Now, they’re intimately connected,” he said.

Ozone helps shield people, animals and crops from damaging ultraviolet rays from the sun. Much of the concern about the ozone layer has focused on Antarctica, where a seasonal hole, or thinning, has been seen for two decades, and the Arctic, where a hole was observed last year. But those regions have almost no population.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/27/science/earth/strong-storms-threaten-ozone-layer-over-us-study-says.html

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Why is Romney Making Out with Foreign Banksters

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Feel the Burn: Making the 2012 Heat Wave Matter

From The Nation:  http://www.thenation.com/article/169089/feel-burn-making-2012-heat-wave-matter#

Mark Hertsgaard
July 25, 2012

There have been two, maybe three, landmark heat waves in the history of man-made global warming. The first was in 1988. Then as now, the eastern two-thirds of the United States was broiling while relentless drought parched soil and withered crops across the Midwest. But in Washington, the underlying problem was being named for the first time. On June 23, NASA scientist James Hansen testified to the Senate that man-made global warming had begun. The New York Times reported his remarks on Page 1, and the rest of the media at home and abroad followed suit. By year’s end, “global warming” had become a common phrase in news bureaus, government ministries and living rooms around the world.

The second landmark heat wave occurred in 2003. It escaped many Americans’ notice because it took place in Europe, which suffered the hottest summer on record. By August, corpses were piling up outside morgues in Paris. Initial estimates suggested a death toll of 15,000. But a comprehensive study by the European Union later concluded that, in fact, there had been 71,449 excess deaths.

As 1988 had done in the United States, the 2003 heat wave transformed the conversation about climate change in Europe. David King, the science adviser to the British government, called climate change “the most severe problem we are facing today, more serious even than the threat of terrorism.” King cited the finding, reported in Nature, that global warming had been responsible for about half of the excessive temperatures of 2003. It was a historic breakthrough—the first time scientists were able to attribute a carbon fingerprint to a specific weather event. King’s advocacy led Prime Minister Tony Blair and other European leaders to endorse stronger action and to press the Bush administration to do the same.And the third landmark heat wave? It’s very possible we’re living through it right now. Summer 2012 has broken thousands of records, bringing misery and worse to millions of Americans. By mid-July the death toll was nearing 100, said Wunderground.com. That is certain to rise—not just because the forecast is for hot weather to persist but because, as in 2003, many heat wave deaths are epidemiologically traceable only well after the fact. Meanwhile, the United States is suffering the worst drought in fifty years, leading the Department of Agriculture to declare more than 1,000 counties—about one of every three in the nation—natural disaster zones. The reverberations will be global and may include violence. “Corn and soyabean prices surged to record highs [on July 19], surpassing the peaks of the 2007–08 crisis that sparked food riots in more than 30 countries,” said the Financial Times.

Continue reading at:  http://www.thenation.com/article/169089/feel-burn-making-2012-heat-wave-matter#

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Former FL GOP chair says ‘right-wing crazies’ want to suppress black vote

From Raw Story:   http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/07/27/former-fl-gop-chair-says-right-wing-crazies-want-to-suppress-black-vote/

By Kay Steiger
Friday, July 27, 2012

Former Florida Republican Party Chair Jim Greer testified in a lawsuit filed against his former party that “whack-a-do, right-wing crazies” wanted to suppress the black vote through Voter ID and tactics like current state Gov. Rick Scott’s efforts to purge voter rolls, according to reporting in the the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday.

“I was upset because the political consultants and staff were talking about voter suppression and keeping blacks from voting. It had been one of those days,” he testified in the 630-page affidavit that spans two days of deposition about a fundraising meeting with party general counsel Jason Gonzalez, political consultant Jim Rimes and Eric Eikenberg, Crist’s chief of staff. Rimes denies the discussion concerned voter suppression to the Times, and Eikenberg did nto return the paper’s phone calls.

Greer claimed that the 2010 criminal fraud charges filed against him and other Republicans were part of internal party power scheming designed to push out him and former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, among others.

Crist now classifies himself as a moderate, and criticized Gov. Rick Scott’s “shameless” tactics that suppress voting rights, including requiring photo IDs, preventing felons from voting and purging voter rolls “unconscionable” on Wednesday.

Greer also testified that the party’s budget committee was made up of “whack-a-do, right-wing crazies” who wanted to push Crist and Greer out over political disagreements. including outrage over Crist’s appointment of an African-American judge and anger at Crist hugging President Barack Obama in 2009. “My phone lit up with people wanting me to censure the governor,” Greer testified, according to the Times. “Legislative leaders were using their party credit cards like drunken sailors and they made it clear to me I was not to interfere with their spending.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/07/27/former-fl-gop-chair-says-right-wing-crazies-want-to-suppress-black-vote/

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