Sikh temple shooting: at least six worshippers killed in Wisconsin

I’m getting tired of the Domestic Terrorism of berserk gunmen killing large numbers of people in public settings.

This one appears to have been racially motivated.

From The Guardian UK:   http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/05/gunman-sikh-temple-wisconsin

Suspected gunman shot dead by police officer who was critically wounded amid initial fears of a second gunman

in New York
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 5 August 2012

At least six people were killed and more wounded when a gunman opened fire on worshippers at a Sikh temple in the US.

The shooting took place shortly before 10.30am local time at a place of worship in Oak Creek, south of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Police said the gunman was shot by an officer who engaged him in fire immediately after arriving on the scene. The officer was hit several times, but was able to return fire. The suspect is believed to have died, and the officer was taken to hospital, where he is critically ill.

Emergency teams found the bodies of four victims inside the temple. Three more corpses lay outside the building, apparently including that of the suspect. A police spokesman said the officer who arrived on the scene was able to “put down” the gunman.

The officer was taken to hospital and was admitted for surgery. It is thought he is one of three people said to have been left in a critical condition as a result of gunshot wounds. There were no confirmed reports of the total number of people injured, but early reports put the figure between four and up to 30.

Police said Sunday afternoon that the situation was contained. There had earlier been fears that a second gunman remained at large and was holding worshippers hostage. A cordon was placed around the temple on Sunday afternoon – leading to conflicting initial reports as to how many people remained inside, and the extent of their injuries.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/05/gunman-sikh-temple-wisconsin

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Self-important Cis-Moron Sez: ENDA first, restrooms last

Gaia, I love it when Normies think trans-lives can be treated like bargaining chips.  When a Normie thinks our dignity and safety is a trivial matter.

I hope this one’s partner realizes how little this person thinks of her and her dignity.  I only hope the sex with this woman is worth it because she is one nasty piece of bigoted work.

Note how this person shares the common radfem trait of hiding behind an alias.

I also think she is lying about having a trans-girlfriend.  But maybe not because I’ve had a couple of abusive cis-girlfriends.

From Daily Kos:  http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/08/03/1116575/-ENDA-first-restrooms-last

Cordgrass
Aug. 3, 2012

The right for a transgendered person to use a gender-appropriate restroom is an important right, but freedom from job discrimination is a more important right, and fighting for restroom rights will slow down the fight for ENDA.  It will also slow down the fight for other basic rights:  being able to enter restaurants, clubs and shops without discrimination, stronger hate crime legislation, better treatment within the judicial system, and the right to have medical procedures covered under health insurance.

It is my opinion that putting the matter of restroom rights first delays the progress on the other rights.  Trans women using women’s restrooms is a hot button issue that many people have a visceral reaction to.  I acknowledge and agree that it’s unfair, but I think this reaction will change over time as the other rights are gained and more transsexuals, crossdressers, queer folk and other people on the transgendered spectrum are out in society.  In the case of equal rights, familiarity is what has helped the progress in gay rights, and I have high hopes that it will do the same for transgendered rights.  Putting the main focus on restroom rights causes a strong reaction, a line in the sand for many people who would think rights against job discrimination and protecting the transgendered from hate crimes are perfectly reasonable.

From a personal point of view, I’m cranky.  I am especially invested in seeing ENDA passing, and more general tolerance of transgendered people being out in society.  I know I don’t have a right to complain.  Transsexuals must face discrimination every day, 24×7.  Crossdressers have a choice.  But I’m tired of the ones in my life always making the same choice, from fear of society’s disapproval and fear of job recriminations.  I want to go out to a dinner and a movie with my girlfriend, goddamnit, without it being such a big fricking ordeal!

I don’t see the problem with both trans men and trans women using men’s restrooms.  I am a cis woman and I use men’s restrooms when the line has been too long in the women’s room and I’ve never had a problem.  The answer always is that trans women are in danger of being beaten, raped or murdered simply from using a men’s restroom, and my thought there is if the men’s room is really that unsafe, the entire venue is unsafe and not fit for mixed company, or for that matter, anyone at all.

I know my view is politically incorrect and while I wanted to explain myself further in another diary’s comments, I didn’t want to be a dick.  So I’m being a dick here in my own diary.  Feel free to bring it to me hammer and tongs in the comments.  Convince me I’m wrong.

Continue reading at:  http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/08/03/1116575/-ENDA-first-restrooms-last

Go there to give her a piece of your mind.

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Late Saturday Night Cabaret: Calpernia Addams

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Jenna Talackova dishes on posing nude for PETA and role model duties

I’m not a fan of PETA.  I don’t like their sexism and I don’t think they do much to benefit animals.

From Metro News Canada:    http://metronews.ca/news/vancouver/322323/jenna-talackova-dishes-on-posing-nude-for-peta-and-role-model-duties/

By Phylicia Torrevillas
August 2, 2012

From “wild child” to equality rights poster girl, Jenna Talackova is taking on her new responsibility with pride.

The transgender beauty queen made international headlines after she was booted out of the Miss Universe Canada pageant earlier this year for not being “naturally born female.”

The 23-year-old Vancouverite successfully fought the decision with the help of famed American civil rights attorney Gloria Allred. The Donald Trump-owned Miss Universe Organization not only re-instated Talackova, but also allowed all transgender women to compete in its worldwide competition.

The leggy blond — who began taking hormone therapy at 14 and had sex re-assignment surgery at 19 — said she never expected to be hailed a hero by the transgender community, but she’s proud to have sparked a debate worldwide and inspired others to embrace their sexuality.

“I’ve received weekly mail from people in South America and Asia telling me that they’ve finally came out to their families because of my story so it has made an impact,” said Talackova, who is one of three grand marshals for Sunday’s Vancouver Pride Parade.

Continue reading at:   http://metronews.ca/news/vancouver/322323/jenna-talackova-dishes-on-posing-nude-for-peta-and-role-model-duties/

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“Crazy Trannies” Invade Ladies Room! MTPC Dispels Common Myths

Gee thanks a fuck of a lot Edge, for calling us “Crazy Trannies”

Who wrote that headline for you?  Focus on the Family or perhaps the RadFems?

From The Edge: http://www.edgeboston.com/news/local/features/135657/crazy_trannies_invade_ladies_room!_mtpc_dispels_common_myths_#discussion

by Antoinette Weil
Friday Aug 3, 2012

As part of a move to dispel the myths and stereotypes around the transgender community, the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) introduces the addition of four new video stories to its public education campaign, I AM: Trans People Speak.

The new videos, featuring staff members of The Theater Offensive (TTO), aim to promote public awareness and understanding of the transgender community, and to dispel commonly held misconceptions surrounding the trans community.

“One is that all transgender people access medical surgery, and if you don’t you’re not trans. The second is that transgender women will invade women’s spaces (restrooms, for example) and harm women. And the third is that we are all mentally ill,” said MTPC Executive Director Gunner Scott, about the top three stereotypes faced by transgender people.

Scott, who led the concept development of this video project, said that in truth, transgender women are using women’s restrooms already and more often they are the ones experiencing violence, discrimination and harassment.

The Trans People Speak campaign shoots to break down these stereotypes by exposing the public not only to transgender individuals and their unique stories, but also to their friends, allies and family members, who help to make this subject universally relatable.

“It’s hard to argue with someone’s mom,” noted Scott. Right he is. It is also hard to argue against a peer undergoing the same pressures and struggles as you are.

Continue reading at:  http://www.edgeboston.com/news/local/features/135657/crazy_trannies_invade_ladies_room!_mtpc_dispels_common_myths_#discussion

Petition: Social Science Research journal: RETRACT ANTI-GAY REGNERUS STUDY, PUT IT THROUGH PROFESSIONAL PEER REVIEW

From Change.Org:  http://www.change.org/petitions/social-science-research-journal-retract-anti-gay-regnerus-study-put-it-through-professional-peer-review

Elsevier’s journal Social Science Research published Mark Regnerus’s deceptive submission allegedly — (but not actually) — on “same-sex parents” child outcomes, WITHOUT having put Regnerus’s submission through ethical and appropriate professional peer review.WE REPEAT — the Regnerus submission was published WITHOUT having gone through ETHICAL AND APPROPRIATE professional-level peer review.THEREFORE, we, the undersigned, DEMAND that the Editorial Board of the Elsevier journal Social Science Research immediately retract Mark Regnerus’s invalid, defamatory, anti-gay submission titled “Findings from the New Family Structures Study.”

If the submission is to be published at a later date following retraction, it MUST first go through ethical and appropriate, professional peer review and revisions, which were glaringly and appallingly ABSENT before the first publication.

Furthermore, we express a TOTAL lack of trust and confidence that SSR editor-in-chief James Wright would act in good faith, were he charged with overseeing any future, eventual, ethical and appropriate professional peer review of the Regnerus submission.

The obvious scientific failings of the defamatory, anti-gay Regnerus submission are widely recognized by experts, including some SSR-linked sociologists and EIGHT MAJOR PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS including the American Medical Association. Also widely known, is that the Social Science Research editor VIOLATED scientific publishing ethics in publishing the invalid, defamatory, anti-gay Regnerus submission.

SSR Editorial Board Member Darren Sherkat’s audit of the publication process revealed that 1) the peer review process FAILED; 2) editor-in-chief James Wright violated SSR’s own editorial procedures, in order to rush the defamatory Regnerus submission into publication; 3) the peer reviewers were NOT EXPERTS in LGBT matters generally, still less in gay parenting, the purported topic of Regnerus’s submission 4) some of the peer reviewers are anti-gay-rights BIGOTS; 5) some of the peer reviewers had CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, including that i) they were paid consultants on the Regnerus submission, and that ii) they have long-standing personal connections to Regnerus.

At the same time that Sherkat reports mountainous editorial failings, he says that he may well have made all of the same editorial decisions as James Wright. That HARDLY builds public confidence or trust in the journal Social Science Research.

A look at SSR’s “PEER REVIEW POLICY” page on the SSR website shows that the journal’s own PUBLICLY PUBLISHED POLICIES were shockingly VIOLATED in order to rush the invalid, defamatory Regnerus submission into publication.

Whereas James Wright DID NOT BOTHER to find peer reviewers 1) without conflicts of interest who also were 2) experts in the field of gay parenting studies, the SSR “PEER REVIEW POLICY” page says that wait times between submission and review can be “SUBSTANTIALLY LONGER” than 2 – 3 months —

“ESPECIALLY FOR PAPERS ON ****ESOTERIC TOPICS*** WHERE FINDING QUALIFIED REFEREES CAN ITSELF TAKE MONTHS.”

By contrast to that OPENLY PUBLISHED SSR SCHEDULE for SSR’s peer review for submissions on esoteric topics — (AND GAY PARENTING IS AN ESOTERIC TOPIC) — Regnerus’s invalid, defamatory submission was submitted on February 1, 2012 and accepted on March 12, 2012.

We will NOT roll over and play dead in the face of this OUTRAGEOUS transgression against scientific publishing ethics that has resulted in an invalid, defamatory submission being wielded against us as a social and political weapon. History is full of similarly depraved, shameful acts of irresponsible distortions of science being used against minorities, including Jews, African-Americans, Native Americans, Japanese-Americans and others.

We could go into literally hundreds of reasons why retraction of the invalid, defamatory Regnerus submission is imperative. Yet, it suffices — ALONE — that SSR’s “PEER REVIEW POLICY” tells prospective authors that they should expect to wait months – MONTHS — just for expert peer reviewers EVEN TO BE FOUND for esoteric topics – (and again, gay parenting is an esoteric topic) – yet SSR editor-in-chief James Wright approved Regnerus’s invalid, defamatory anti-gay submission for publication in only 5 ½ weeks — WITHOUT having assigned topic experts — with NO conflicts of interest — to the peer review of Regnerus’s submission.

Wright told the Chronicle of Higher Education that he was “EXCITED” about the “ENORMOUS INTEREST” (that the inappropriate, non-expert, anti-gay-rights bigoted peer reviewers with conflicts of interest reportedly told Wright the submission would arouse if published).

Wright said that his excitement may have caused him to be “inattentive” to things he “should have kept a keener eye on.” That is documentably an understatement. SSR’s James Wright abjectly abdicated his responsibility to follow scientific publishing ethics.

He manifestly violated the PEER REVIEW POLICY published ***RIGHT ON*** SSR’s own website.

SSR’s PEER REVIEW POLICY SAYS:

“REFEREES ARE MATCHED TO PAPERS ACCORDING TO THEIR EXPERTISE.”

Wright did NOT use topic experts with no conflicts of interest for the peer review; the peer review FAILED. SSR editor-in-chief James Wright did NOT make a good faith effort to assign the peer review of Regnerus’s study to appropriate topic experts, experts without conflicts of interest. The Regnerus submission absolutely CANNOT accurately be said to have passed through ethical and appropriate, professional-level peer review.

Manwhile though, the malicious, lying anti-gay-rights funders of Regnerus study — who have DOCUMENTED HISTORIES of distorting the scientific record to demonize gay people — are alleging, erroneously — that Regnerus’s submission went through professional scientific peer review.

IT DID NOT.

WE REPEAT OUR DEMAND: immediately retract the invalid, defamatory anti-gay Regnerus submission from publication. Apologize, profusely, to the entire LGBT community for having published the defamatory submission through a reckless, irresponsible and unprofessional peer review process that CANNOT correctly be referred to as ethical and appropriate, professional peer review.

This is a human rights outrage, and a scientific publishing SCANDAL.

If the submission is to be published later, it MUST go through truely professional, ethical and appropriate peer review — (and revisions) — by GAY PARENTING TOPIC EXPERTS who have NO conflicts of interest. And, we reiterate that we have less than no trust in SSR’s editor-in-chief James Wright to oversee eventual future peer review of the currently invalid, defamatory Regnerus “study.”

Click Here To Sign Petition

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Pussy Riot and the Two Russias

From The Nation:  http://www.thenation.com/blog/169211/pussy-riot-and-two-russias#

Katrina vanden Heuvel
on August 2, 2012

Pussy Riot is here to stay. International attention has mounted over the months since three members of the punk rock/protest group were imprisoned for a fifty-one-second stunt. All the more so this week, as their trial—on “hooliganism” charges—finally began.

As I’ve described before, members of the group seized the stage of Russia’s iconic Christ the Savior Cathedral just before the country’s March elections, performing (and recording) a musical plea to the Virgin Mary to oust Vladimir Putin. The cadre of Russian artists and activists descended from the performance artists Voina (“War”), who were influenced by the US punk movement Riot grrrl. Its story might have ended there, if not for a truly authoritarian response from the Russian government. Three alleged participants were arrested, threatened with seven years of imprisonment, and placed in a pre-trial detention that’s been extended for months. Now, Pussy Riot is world famous—as is its stunt. The longer they’re in prison, the more attention they get.

It’s been gratifying to see the outpouring of support for these women. It’s come from insiders and outsiders alike, in Russia and abroad. Key Putin backers have broken with him on Pussy Riot. More than 400,000 Russians have signed an online petition protesting their arrest and detention. The Washington Post editorialized in defense of the activists. Punk artists around the world have voiced their solidarity. British writer Stephen Fry has called on his more than 4.6 million Twitter followers “to do everything to help Pussy Riot” and “pressure Putin” in connection with the trial. Amnesty International named Pussy Riot prisoners of conscience; its US activists have planned a guerilla art exhibit and a solidarity concert at the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC.

The crackdown on Pussy Riot is part of a broader attack on dissent in Russia. In recent weeks, we’ve seen the introduction and rapid passage of a quartet of laws that undermine Russia’s democratic ambitions: (Re-)criminalization of “defamation”; a blacklist of “harmful” websites; punitive fines on participants in “unsanctioned” protests; and a mandate that nonprofits declare foreign funding and brand themselves “foreign agents.” Russia, alas, is not the only country cracking down on political freedom. But these broadly worded, swiftly passed laws represent another wave in Russia’s de-democratization, a process started under Boris Yeltsin and continued under Putin.

Continue reading at:   http://www.thenation.com/blog/169211/pussy-riot-and-two-russias#

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Catholic church continues marching backwards — Archbishop calls for blasphemy law in Germany

From I Acknowledge Class Warfare Exists:  http://www.classwarfareexists.com/catholic-church-continues-marching-backwards-archbishop-calls-for-blasphemy-law-in-germany/#axzz22RENXmBT

by Eideard
on 04 Aug 2012

Sharia law has no credibility in a modern educated society. I don’t care whether the theocrats are Catholic or Southern Baptist, Orthodox Jews or Muslims – justice provided by religious ideology should remain catalogued in history books as an aberration leftover from the Dark Ages.

A Catholic bishop has called for a blasphemy law in Germany, saying all religions deserved legal protection from attack in order to preserve human dignity…

“Those who injure the souls of believers with scorn and derision must be put in their place and in some cases also punished,” said Bamberg Archbishop Ludwig Schick…

He said there should be a “Law against the derision of religious values and feelings,” the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.

Satire magazine Titanic raised the topic of blasphemy and respect for religion last month after publishing an image of Pope Benedict with a yellow stain on his cassock in reference to the Vatican leaks scandal.

The Pope took legal action which succeeded in banning further printing of the image, although copies of the magazine already published were not removed from sale. Yet his legal argument was based on his personal rights rather than any protection of religion…

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The Great Chick-fil-A Snake Oil “Faith” Hustle

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-rowe/the-great-chickfila-snake_b_1739428.html


08/03/2012

Notably absent from the conservative Christian Sturm und Drang over Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy’s recent collision with LGBT America (and their increasingly vocal, and visible, straight allies) over his “free speech” to voice his “opinion” is a discussion of the degree to which — from a faith perspective — this Emperor is not only without clothes, but is actually frying his chicken in the nude.

As has been pointed out already in countless enlightened editorials and blog postings elsewhere, this was never about “free speech.” No one was proposing a law to censor Mr. Cathy’s right to his “opinions,” as his followers call funneling millions of dollars to anti-gay organizations whose sole purpose is to maintain LGBT Americans in a second-class social, political, and legal status in the United States, organizations that contribute to consigning gays and lesbians to an even deadlier fate abroad — to wit, funds to the Family Research Council, which lobbied Congress not to oppose the infamous Ugandan “kill the gays” bill that proposed death sentences for gays and lesbians in that country.

The concept of “free speech,” which was designed to keep governments from throwing dissenters into prison to silence them, is never more degraded than it is in cases like these. To people like Mr. Cathy’s followers, the First Amendment is a sort of shapeless, elasticized polyester pant suit that will stretch to accommodate any amount of ugliness, all the while allowing the wearer to claim that he or she is dressed in something at least technically decent.

It seems unlikely that Mr. Cathy’s “free speech” would be something Michele Bachmann, or Sarah Palin, or Rick Santorum, or Mike Huckabee would have cared to weigh in on if Chick-fil-A had an overtly racist message, or contributed to anti-Semitic causes. Surely those would theoretically also have been cases of “free speech,” but not popular cases, not ones that would curry political favor with their base voters.

But since LGBT Americans are always expendable to these people, any attacks on their legal or social dignity is fodder for “free speech” posturing.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-rowe/the-great-chickfila-snake_b_1739428.html

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“Important”

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Climate change is here — and worse than we thought

From The Washington Post:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/climate-change-is-here–and-worse-than-we-thought/2012/08/03/6ae604c2-dd90-11e1-8e43-4a3c4375504a_story.html

By James E. Hansen
August 3, 2012

When I testified before the Senate in the hot summer of 1988, I warned of the kind of future that climate change would bring to us and our planet. I painted a grim picture of the consequences of steadily increasing temperatures, driven by mankind’s use of fossil fuels.

But I have a confession to make: I was too optimistic.

My projections about increasing global temperature have been proved true. But I failed to fully explore how quickly that average rise would drive an increase in extreme weather.

In a new analysis of the past six decades of global temperatures, which will be published Monday, my colleagues and I have revealed a stunning increase in the frequency of extremely hot summers, with deeply troubling ramifications for not only our future but also for our present.

This is not a climate model or a prediction but actual observations of weather events and temperatures that have happened. Our analysis shows that it is no longer enough to say that global warming will increase the likelihood of extreme weather and to repeat the caveat that no individual weather event can be directly linked to climate change. To the contrary, our analysis shows that, for the extreme hot weather of the recent past, there is virtually no explanation other than climate change.

Continue reading at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/climate-change-is-here–and-worse-than-we-thought/2012/08/03/6ae604c2-dd90-11e1-8e43-4a3c4375504a_story.html

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Greetings from the New Economy

From Dollars and Sense:  http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2012/0712scher.html

By ABBY SCHER
This article is from the July/August 2012 issue of Dollars & Sense magazin

“Are you ready for a new economy? Are you ready for a new politics?” The challenge at the podium came from Gus Speth, the courtly co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council, now a professor at Vermont Law School, who is on the board of the newly created New Economics Institute (NEI). The occasion was the founding conference of NEI, held at Bard College in early June, and Speth was making a call for “an economy whose very purpose is not to grow profit…but sustain people and the planet.”

NEI is the remade E.F. Schumacher Society, the group based in Massachusetts’ Berkshire mountains that promoted the wisdom of the author of Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered for over 30 years. In honor of this early champion of a sustainable, just economy and the idea that big is not necessarily better, the Society nurtured economic innovations that support community building—community supported agriculture, local currencies, local land trusts.

With the help of the London-based New Economics Foundation, the Schumacher Society rethought what kind of “think and do” tank is needed to transform our fossil fuel-powered, finance-bloated, inegalitarian economy into one that is resilient, just, and sustainable in the environmental and economic transition given true urgency by climate change. And with the help of some deep pockets, it re-launched as NEI and pulled together, all in one place on Bard’s rural campus on the Hudson, some of the thinkers and organizers who might have a piece of the puzzle.

People reimagining ownership and work on the job or in the academy, ex-Wall Streeters revealing the secrets of how to curb the power of big finance, community people reclaiming the commons—taking air, water, and land out of the market—and rebuilding local economies from the bottom up, advocates struggling with government to make it responsive, and social scientists who are remaking our economic indicators—they may never have talked with one another before the Strategies for a New Economy conference. But as Bob Massie, the new executive director of NEI said, together they created “raw energy.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2012/0712scher.html

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Wouldn’t It Be Crazy If We Had Footage Of Romney Denouncing His Own Pro-Life Agenda?

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Whether San Francisco eventually will cede claim to a reservoir in Yosemite is subject of vote

From The Washington Post:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/travel/whether-san-francisco-eventually-will-cede-claim-to-a-reservoir-in-yosemite-is-subject-of-vote/2012/08/04/ab2b47ae-de49-11e1-8ad1-909913931f71_story.html

Associated Press
Saturday, August 4, 2012

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. — This fall San Franciscans will vote on a local measure with national implications: It could return to the American people a flooded gorge described as the twin of breathtaking Yosemite Valley.

Voters will decide whether they want a plan for draining the 117-billion-gallon Hetch Hetchy reservoir in Yosemite National Park, exposing for the first time in 80 years a glacially carved, granite-ringed valley of towering waterfalls 17 miles north of its more famous geologic sibling.

The November ballot measure asks: Should city officials devise a modern water plan that incorporates recycling and study expansion of other storage reservoirs to make up the loss?

The measure could eventually undo a controversial century-old decision by Congress that created the only reservoir in a national park and slaked the thirst of a city 190 miles away.

The battle over Hetch Hetchy, first waged unsuccessfully by naturalist John Muir, had turned the Sierra Club from an outdoors group into an environmental powerhouse. The fight gained momentum in recent years when unlikely allies joined forces.

On one side are Republican lawmakers and environmentalists, including Ronald Reagan’s former interior secretary, who want the dam removed and valley restored. On the other are Democratic San Franciscans, led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, fighting to hold onto the city’s famously pure drinking water in a drought-prone state.

Continue reading at:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/travel/whether-san-francisco-eventually-will-cede-claim-to-a-reservoir-in-yosemite-is-subject-of-vote/2012/08/04/ab2b47ae-de49-11e1-8ad1-909913931f71_story.html

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Mexico: Reclaiming the Forests and the Right to Feel Safe

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/03/world/americas/in-mexico-reclaiming-the-forests-and-the-right-to-feel-safe.html

By KARLA ZABLUDOVSKY
Published: August 2, 2012

CHERÁN, Mexico — The woman’s exhausted eyes reflected the flames dancing in front of her. A 38-year-old grandmother, she is also a leader of the civilian insurgency that has taken over this mountain town in the state of Michoacán, 310 miles west of Mexico City. Sixteen months of cold and sleepless nights at Bonfire No. 17, one of a number of permanent burning barricades set up here, have taken their toll.

But like the rest of the residents, she cannot afford to let her guard down.

On the morning of April 15, 2011, using rocks and fireworks, a group of women attacked a busload of AK-47-armed illegal loggers as they drove through Cherán, residents said. The loggers, who local residents say are protected by one of Mexico’s most powerful criminal organizations and given a virtual free pass by the country’s authorities, had terrorized the community at will for years.

Cherán’s residents said they had been subjected to multiple episodes of rape, kidnapping, extortion and murder by the paramilitary loggers, who have devastated an estimated 70 percent of the surrounding oak forests that sustained the town’s economy and indigenous culture for centuries.

What happened next was extraordinary, especially in a country where the rule of law is often absent and isolated communities are frequently forced to accept the status quo. Organized criminal syndicates, like the drug cartel La Familia, created in Michoacán, act like a state within a state, making their own rules and meting out grisly punishments to those who do not obey.

But here in Cherán, a group of townspeople took loggers hostage, expelled the town’s entire police force and representatives of established political parties, and forcibly closed the roads.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/03/world/americas/in-mexico-reclaiming-the-forests-and-the-right-to-feel-safe.html

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GOP Rep. Jeff Flake: Protecting Insurers More Important Than Providing Coverage To The Sick

From Think Progress:  http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/08/02/628981/flake-insurance-pre-existing-conditions/

Steven Perlberg
Aug. 2, 2012

Rep. Jeff Flake (R), a sixth-term GOP congressman and current Arizona senate candidate, has confirmed he is not among the 82 percent of Americans who think insurance companies should be banned from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

In fact, during a recent debate on an Arizona NBC affiliate, Flake explained that doing so would end the industry as we know it:

If individuals are allowed to access health care services only when they are sick or injured, there is no reason for anyone to have insurance. If insurance companies are required to accept all pre-existing conditions, insurance is no longer insurance.

Since the Affordable Care Act requires everyone to purchase coverage and prevents people from gaming the system by buying insurance only when they fall ill, insurers can (and have themselves proposed) providing coverage to everyone who applies. As many as 129 million Americans currently suffer from pre-existing health conditions.

Complete article at:  http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/08/02/628981/flake-insurance-pre-existing-conditions/

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on GOP Rep. Jeff Flake: Protecting Insurers More Important Than Providing Coverage To The Sick