Friday Night Fun and Culture: Pete Seeger

Let’s Honor the Music and Spirit of Pete Seeger with the Nobel Peace Prize

From Common Dreams:

by Peter Dreier
Published on Tuesday, August 7, 2012 by Common Dreams


On Monday, he had Stephen Colbert’s studio audience singing “Quite Early Morning,” a song he wrote in 1969, in the midst of the Vietnam War, to inspire people to keep the faith that a better world is possible, even in the midst of suffering, tragedy, and setbacks.

Pete chatted with Colbert about his life, his politics, and his new book, Pete Seeger In His Own Words, played the banjo, and sang “Quite Early Morning.

While Pete was singing, the camera focused briefly on his banjo head, where he’d written the words, “This Machine Surrounds Hate and Forces it to Surrender.”

Despite his age, Pete’s recognizable voice and innovative banjo-playing were on display on the Colbert show, as was his tried-and-true technique of pausing between stanzas to provide the words so people in studio, and viewers at home, could sing along. And Pete kept his cool while Colbert tried to throw him off-balance with questions about his politics and his influence on American culture. It was clear, though, that Colbert held Seeger in high regard for his lifetime of political activism, conscience, and principle.

A few years ago some of Pete’s fans launched a campaign to nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize. The effort faltered because its activists, despite their sincerity, lacked the media and organizing savvy to mount a vibrant campaign to build on the global public’s widespread admiration for Pete Seeger.

It is time to resurrect that crusade. But this time, perhaps Stephen Colbert could lead that campaign, now that Pete has graced his show with his presence. Colbert’s show — including his faux campaign for president, his Super PAC, and his nightly send-up of Bill O’Reilly’s right-wing buffoonery — brilliantly satirizes the absurdities of America’s corporate-dominated political culture. By heading a campaign to get Pete Seeger the Nobel Peace Prize, Colbert would actually demonstrate that the forces of social conscience can triumph, against the odds.

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NOM, Regnerus And Robert Oscar Lopez

From The New Civil Rights Movement:

by Scott Rose
on August 9, 2012

Reposted with permission

We have been reporting on an invalid sociological study –allegedly, but not actually, about gay parents’ child outcomes — 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 (NOM) — holds positions of authority. Witherspoon president Luis Tellez is a NOM board member.

A preponderance of evidence appears to suggest that Regnerus is politically in collusion with his lying, anti-gay-rights funders. This report adds to the weight of evidence.

Many of Regnerus’s past public statements are arrogantly oblivious to the very existence of gay human beings. For example, in April, 2012, the New York Times published a group of essays from different writers on the theme: Are ‘Family Values’ Outdated? 

Regnerus’s contribution was a NOM-like slogan: One Man, One Woman, One Marriage.

Not only has Regnerus never once voiced support for gay rights; he has been haughtily dismissive of some of his gay victims’ calls for him to clarify his positions in the toxic wake of his Witherspoon/NOM-funded “study.”

Take, for example, Dr. Eric Anderson, a sociologist at the University of Winchester, England.

Along with over 200 other Ph.D.s and M.D.s, Dr. Anderson signed a letter expressing concern over the Regnerus study’s lack of intellectual integrity, as well as over the very suspicious circumstances through which the study got published.

This reporter copied the 200+ signers of that letter on an e-mail to Regnerus, asking Regnerus questions pertaining to the baseline methodological failings of his study.

Regnerus ignored the e-mail. Yet, Dr. Anderson copied everybody on an e-mail which he  in turn sent to Regnerus, asking him to respond to my questions about his study methodology, as well as to some additional questions. Regnerus apparently ignored Dr. Anderson’s e-mail, which read as follows:

I’ve also asked you whether or not you maintain personal animus toward sexual minorities. Do you believe in equal marriage? Do you believe sexual minorities should be able to adopt? Because many of us on this list have been working hard to undo the damage you have caused. It would therefore be appreciated if you could answer these questions. My right (or not) to marriage and family (as a gay man) is more important than your academic dignity. So please do answer our questions.”

Whereas Regnerus utterly ignores his gay victims, and refuses even to acknowledge that they have posed questions to him, it seems there are few if any forms of collusion with his anti-gay-rights funders that Regnerus would refuse.

For example, on August 6, 2012, The Witherspoon Institute published a gay-bashing essay by Robert Oscar Lopez. In his gay-bashing essay, Lopez reports that Regnerus contacted him, on July 17, 2012, to thank him for sharing “his perspective on LGBT issues.” Lopez states that he and Regnerus conducted “an e-mail correspondence.”

There are several red flags on fire in Regnerus having contacted and conducted e-mail correspondence with the gay-bashing Lopez about his “study,” and with Lopez’s gay-bashing essay about Regnerus’s “study” then getting published on Regnerus’s study funders’ website.

Shortly after the Regnerus study was published on June 10, 2012, Lopez began appearing in umpteen online forums, cheerleading the Regnerus study, alleging he was raised by a lesbian mother, and venting mind-boggling contempt for “liberals” and for LGBTers. Lopez’s accounts of his biography are so full of contradictions and inconsistencies that it would be impossible to compile them into a coherent narrative. In commenting about the Regnerus study online, Lopez very frequently misrepresented what the study — invalid as it is — actually says. Indeed, in his Regnerus-funders’-site essay, Lopez alleges that the Regnerus study is about bi-sexual parents, a verifiable falsehood.

Lopez’s additional blather along those lines is of little importance, in comparison to how unethical Regnerus’s correspondence with Lopez was and remains. Regnerus in and throughout his study refers to his respondents’ parents as “lesbian mothers” and “gay fathers.” Regnerus in his study did not at all attempt to distinguish between gay and bi-sexual parents. Yet, Lopez accuses Regnerus’s critics of ignoring bi-sexual people — (Lopez alleges that he is one, while congratulating himself for marrying a woman) — while extravagantly thanking Regnerus for his study, because of the “voice” it gives to children of bi-sexual parents.

If Regnerus’s “study” is actually about children of bi-sexual parents, then Regnerus should immediately revise his written study so it does not have parents pinned as “lesbian mothers” and “gay fathers.” Read the Lopez essay through, and you will see, he is extremely insistent that Regnerus’s study is mainly about children of bi-sexual parents, not about children of “lesbian mothers” or “gay fathers.” If Lopez is wrong, and Regnerus continues to maintain that his study surveyed children of “lesbian mothers” and “gay fathers,” then he should immediately correct Lopez — being as Regnerus was in correspondence with Lopez about his study, and Lopez’s essay about Regnerus’s study then got published on Regnerus’s funder’s website.

A clear and unaltering pattern has developed, of Regnerus on the one hand whining in response to any criticism of his study methodology and funding, while on the other hand, Regnerus allows gay bashers to use his “study” as justification for all manner of gay bashing, without ever complaining that they are using his study to gay bash, and without Regnerus ever correcting the falsehoods about his “study” that the gay bashers are communicating to the public.

There is some appearance that Lopez could be a NOM plant. The same NOM strategy documents released through court order in March 2012 — (describing NOM’s evil plots to “drive a wedge” and to “fan hostility” between African-Americans and gays) — also described an evil plot to lure children of gay parents into denouncing their parents to the public. Lopez coincidentally fits that role.

The following facts; 1) that top Witherspoon authorities also are top authorities at NOM; 2) that Regnerus apparently cultivated Lopez, along with Lopez’s misunderstandings of what the Regnerus study says; and 3) that Regnerus’s NOM-linked funders then published Lopez’s gay-bashing essay, inclusive of misrepresentations of what Regnerus’s study says, certainly 4) justify skepticism apropos of Regnerus’s and his NOM-linked study funders’ motivations vis-a-vis Lopez, particularly in light of the NOM strategy documents.

Regnerus’s relationship with Lopez appears to violate the American Sociological Association’s Code of Ethics. For example, the preamble to Section 10 of the Code of Ethics says this: “Sociologists adhere to the highest professional standards in public communications about their professional services, credentials and expertise, work products, or publications, whether these communications are from themselves or from others.” (Bolding added).

Regnerus certainly has good enough ongoing relationships with his NOM-linked funders at Witherspoon and with Lopez that he could insist on an accurate representation being made of his “study” in Lopez’s essay, which is rife with inaccuracies about the Regnerus “study.”

Do not hold your breath, waiting for Regnerus to behave honorably and/or within the American Sociological Association’s Code of Ethics.

Lopez in his gay-bashing confusion can not even keep details of his life straight within this one essay, still less from 1) one of his gay-bashing online comments about the Regnerus “study” to 2) the next.  For example, in his essay, Lopez alleges that among his siblings, he was the only one not to have the presence of a father through to maturity. Yet, Lopez says that he was born when his mother was 34 — and that she died when he was 19 — meaning that all of his brothers and sisters — in order to have grown up with their father around — would have had to be fully grown by the time the mother was 34.  Lopez also reports that, in his opinion, because he did not have a father present, he exhibited cartoonish stereotypes of gay males, including “girlish mannerisms” and a lisp.  He tries to pin his alleged gay male lisp on his mother and his mother’s female lover, as though a male child would learn a cartoonish, stereotypical “gay” lisp from a lesbian mother. Moreover, although for about one dozen years, Lopez’s mother and her girlfriend lived in separate houses and only got together on weekends, Lopez alleges that he experienced “‘gay parenting’ as that term is understood today.”

Well, no, genius. Today’s gay parents overwhelmingly live together in a single dwelling with the children they are raising. Meanwhile, Regnerus in his published study — scientifically invalid though it is — says that his study “may best capture what might be called an ‘earlier generation’ of children of same-sex parents.”

If Lopez now is Regnerus’s mouthpiece for telling the world that Regnerus’s own understanding of his “study” has changed — such that Regnerus no longer thinks that the “study” captures an “earlier generation” — but rather, that Regnerus now thinks that his “study” represents “‘gay parenting’ as that term is understood today” — then maybe Regnerus should make that statement on his own, instead of implicitly approving its appearance in Lopez’s gay-bashing essay, as a representation of what his “study” is about.

The mess is, after all, right there on Regnerus’s NOM-linked study funders’ website. Regnerus conducted correspondence about his study and “LGBT issues” with Lopez, the author of that essay on Regnerus’s study funder’s website. And, the American Sociological Association says that sociologists “adhere to the highest professional standards in public communications about their professional . . . .  work products, or publications . . .  whether these communications are from themselves or from others.”

So which is it, Mr. Regnerus?  Does your study measure an “‘earlier generation’ of same-sex parents,” or — as your correspondent Robert Lopez says in an essay published on your study funder’s website — or does your study measure “gay parenting as that term is understood today”?

It is obvious why Regnerus’s NOM-linked funders want the public to believe that the Regnerus study is about “gay parenting as the term is understood today.” They want the negativity of the “study” to stick to today’s gay parents, and for voters then to vote against today’s gay parents’ — and their children’s — rights.

Regnerus is despicable for enabling this, and for not making any corrective public comment about it.

Remember; 1) Regnerus contacted Lopez first, having seen his gay-bashing online commentary, and then Regnerus conducted a correspondence with Lopez, about his study in relation to LGBT “issues;” 2) Lopez’s essay contains numerous and substantial misrepresentations of what the Regnerus study says; and 3)  Section 10 of the American Sociological Association’s Code of Ethics says this: “Sociologists adhere to the highest professional standards in public communications about their professional services, credentials and expertise, work products, or publications, whether these communications are from themselves or from others.” (Bolding added).

The University of Texas at Austin — (which is conducting a scientific misconduct Inquiry to determine if a full Investigation of Regnerus is warranted) — should take special note of Regnerus’s relationship with Lopez.

NOM’s shameless lying anti-gay bigot Maggie Gallagher very promptly cross-posted Lopez’s essay to the National Review, to which she regularly contributes, adding to the post her just absolutely preposterous and outlandish allegation that children of gay parents have not been permitted to tell their stories in the media. There are hardly words to do justice to the cesspool depths of Gallagher’s gay-bashing bigot depravity. Just when you thought Gallagher could not possibly stoop any lower, she stoops, to allege a non-existent media blackout of stories told by children raised by gay parents.  Of course, Gallagher would only be interested in negative stories about gay parents from children they raised.  Gallagher would sneer at and not acknowledge the validity of the professional baseball player Joe Valentine’s statements about his parents: “It’s no different than having a mother and father,” Valentine has said: “These are the two women who raised me, and they are wonderful people. It’s just not a big deal to me. Why should it be?”

Notice how Gallagher’s cunning, sleazebag bigot falsehood — that the media blocks children of gay parents from talking about their stories — fits in to the documented evil NOM plot to get children of gay parents to denounce their parents to the public. Lopez’s gay-bashing essay of course also was immediately cross-posted to the NOM blog, with heaps of gay-bashing bigotry voiced in the comments. The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer has used the Regnerus “study” as grounds for stating that gay parents should not have custody of their own children. AFA and NOM are known to have partnered in the past for political gay-bashing projects.

Not only does Mark Regnerus not have the decency to answer questions posed him by this reporter about  his “study” methodology — and/or by his victims — victims such as Dr. Eric Anderson — Regnerus is so iniquitous that he seeks out pathetic, disturbed gay-bashers on the internet and cultivates relationships with them, at least in part towards getting gay-bashing misrepresentations of his “study” published on his NOM-linked funders’ websites, with his correspondent Lopez’s gay-bashing essay — misrepresenting his “study” —  then getting gleefully reposted hither and yon by Regnerus’s NOM-linked accomplices in political gay bashing, as Regnerus remains silent about their misrepresentations of his “study.”

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Natalie Reed has a must read commentary about the corrosive effects  of being publicly degraded by people telling us we are disgusting.

From Natalie Reed:

Natalie Reed
August 9, 2012

Dear Sir,

You probably don’t remember me. There’s a reason for that, and it’s basically about power. Not, like, “oh, dude, you’re so powerful!”, but just the sort of basic, day to day power-differentials that exist, between all of us, in accordance with things completely beyond our control, that have nothing whatsoever really to do with us. Despite the extreme reaction you had to my momentary presence (or would you think “intrusion”?) in your day, and the fact that without this reaction I likely wouldn’t have noticed you at all, you had a lot more power to affect me than I ever had to affect you, no matter how expressive your response.

I was walking down West Broadway earlier this week, I think near the corner of Blenheim, on my way back home from running some errand or other. Although given who and what I am I never quite have the luxury of feeling unguarded, I wasn’t really feeling especially apprehensive about my surroundings, this being mid-afternoon in Kits on a sunny day, and there’s only so much attention a person can maintain in being prepared for harassment. You were walking towards me in the typical lazily-confident stride of entitled young men like yourself that seems precisely calibrated to say “I don’t give a fuck” but mostly just says “I really desperately give a fuck about giving the impression that I don’t give a fuck”, and were dressed in the typical shapeless t-shirt-and-cargo-shorts uniform that suggests exactly the same.

We were passing on the sidewalk, and you presumably read me for trans. You sneered, spat at me in contempt, and then after passing by and not having to deal with anything uncomfortable like “eye contact” or whatever, shouted a single word, twice, with increased volume and emphasis the second time.

That word was “disgusting”.

I wish I could shrug it off. I really, really wish I could. I wish I could laugh at you, or go for the easy reversal and just say “yeah, your casual bigotry is disgusting”. But that wouldn’t even be using the same meaning of the word, would it?

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Voter Suppression and the Transgender Community

From Huffington Post:


One of the first things I did when I turned 18 was register to vote. Growing up in Mobile, Ala., I was raised by a single black mom who grew up in the segregated South. I was made very aware of the fact that my ancestors literally died so that I could have the right to vote. Voting is one of my most fundamental duties as a citizen. Whenever I vote, I think about all those who have come before me, who fought and died so that I might stand in that voting booth and cast my ballot.

Voting is sacred for me. I remember the day I voted for Barack Obama for president, I did so rather cynically. I didn’t believe that our country would elect a black man as president in my lifetime. But even through my cynicism I thought, “Oh my god, this could happen.” I voted that day feeling connected, in a way I had never felt before, to those who had come before me. I’ll never forget sitting up in my bed on election night as I watched Obama be declared president and then immediately getting a call from my mother, who still lives in Alabama, where so many civil rights struggles were fought. We were both in tears.

So when I see that one of our most sacred rights — the right to vote — is being tampered with, it gives me pause. Twenty states have attempted to pass laws designed to limit the number of folks who will be able to cast votes in November; the requirement of government-issued photo IDs is but one. Other efforts, like ending early voting and same-day registration and restricting voter-registration drives, aim to disenfranchise folks who tend to vote Democratic. Voter suppression could very well be the determining factor in the election this November. Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, a Republican, indicated as much when he stated, “Voter ID, which is going to allow Gov. Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done!”

A population that could be uniquely affected by the new voter ID laws that is not being talked about enough is the transgender community. According to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, as many as 25,000 transgender people could lose their right to vote. Vincent Paolo Villano, from the National Center for Transgender Equality, tells me that their “biggest concern is that trans people, many of whom have never experienced problems voting before, won’t take this issue seriously. The reality is that we won’t know the true impact of these laws until election day, just the moment when it’s too late.” That’s why they are launching a nonpartisan public education campaign around the new voter suppression laws, called “Voting While Trans.” Starting Aug. 13, NCTE will have resources available that will tell trans folks what identification they need to vote in their state.

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Transgender man Educates, Inspires, Gives back to LGBTQ community

From The Rainbow Times:

By: Emily Scagel
Aug. 1, 2012

Some transgender people transition quietly, some transition in a grand way but keep some personal details to themselves and yet others transition and tell their stories in hopes of educating, inspiring and supporting the LGBTQ community. That is the case of a young man who has been reaching out across the country, from Seattle to Florida to New England, to give one voice to the, as he said, “often times silent T within the LGBTQ acronym.”

Beck Lewis, 33, is a transgender male whom, after struggling with his identity for years, discovered the transgender community on YouTube, where he would watch videos of FtMs (Female-to-Male) share their transition stories and relay how happy they were since beginning their transition. At first, Lewis said, he did not understand what that meant, what transitioning was. After educating himself, he realized that he, too, could be happy. Lewis stated that he then could “use the proper terminology that confirmed” his “identity,” and “transition from one gender to another.”

From the beginning stages of his transition, Lewis realized that there was an entire community of transgender individuals like himself that wanted to interact and learn from one another. Lewis has built upon this found community by creating a Facebook group and YouTube channel to document his transition and reach out to others, “I love the T community, as most of those in it have helped me out so much … the love and dedication that most within the community display toward one another is amazing.” His YouTube videos garner thousands of hits, and so he is able to reach out in the same way that helped him at the start.

“As for right now … I feel blessed and am experiencing pure bliss. I am currently living my life openly and freely. I feel like I do not need to hide who I am anymore,” explained Lewis, who wants to give back some of this happiness to others who are less fortunate.

Each month, Lewis orchestrates contests for pre-op transgender men. He has partnered up with FTM Underworks, an online store, to provide new binder compression shirts to the winner of these contests. This program, named “Binder Boys,” is especially great for those who may not be able to afford a binder.

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‘NOM paid black minister $20,000 to oppose marriage equality’ and other Thursday midday news briefs

From Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters:

By Alvin McEwin
Aug. 9, 2012

Reposted with permission

“You Can’t Equate Your Sin With My Skin” Will the National Organization for Marriage’s plan to pit blacks versus gays work? – Awesome article by Mother Jones magazine on NOM’s attempt to play the black and gay communities against one another. It includes an explosive revelation about the relationship between NOM and Harry Jackson, a pastor whom People for the American Way called the point man for the religious right’s attempt to exploit the black community:

 Jackson is exactly the kind of African American spokesperson the NOM memo envisions. “There’s been a hijacking of the civil rights movement by the radical gay movement,” he said on CNN after backing California’s Proposition 8 in 2008. “You can’t equate your sin with my skin.” He has received $20,000 from NOM’s education fund and has rallied support for same-sex marriage bans in Florida and Washington, DC, where he joined Councilmember Marion Barry to oppose a marriage equality bill in 2009.

Don’t be nonchalant about this, folks because it fills a missing piece of the puzzle. I have long suspected black ministers who are teaming up with NOM aren’t doing it solely for their religious beliefs. This revelation about Jackson begs the question just what other black ministers does NOM have on it’s payroll. And I would also be remiss if I didn’t state the obvious – these ministers are betraying their own people.

And in just in case you need another reminder about Jackson, he is the same man who recently claimed that gays are trying to recruit children and conservative Christians need to “steal back the rainbow:”

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ACTION ALERT: The Anti-Gay Regnerus Study, And The American Sociological Association

From The New Civil Rights Movement:

By Scott Rose
August 9, 2012

Reposted with permission




A study allegedly — but not actually — on gay parents’ child outcomes — with funding linked to NOM, the National Organization For Marriage, of at least $785,000 — was carried out by the University of Texas at Austin’s Mark Regnerus.

The study falsely alleges that there is a correlation between gay parents and bad child outcomes.

In an especially dirty trick with NOM’s fingerprints all over it, the study falsely alleges a correlation between lesbian mothers, and children suffering sexual victimization at shockingly high rates. NOM is notorious for conflating homosexuals with pedophiles, a known falsehood.

NOM is linked to the Witherspoon Foundation through, among others; 1) NOM head Robert George, a Witherspoon senior fellow; and 2) Witherspoon president Luis Tellez, a NOM board member.

Both Witherspoon and NOM have been using the invalid Regnerus study as a weapon against gay human beings, both in politics and the courts.

Mark Regnerus is a member of the American Sociological Association (ASA), which has not yet taken any actions against him, despite his manifest multiple violations of the ASA’s Code of Ethics.

The ASA need make no ethics determinations about Regnerus, in order to file appropriate, science-based amicus briefs in response to the Regnerus “study” having been used as an anti-gay weapon in multiple venues.

Notably in the Golinski-DOMA case, now headed for the Supreme Court, the gay-bashing enemy has relied on the invalid Regnerus ‘study’ in its filings, yet the ASA is sitting on folded hands, as though the Regnerus study were a good faith scientific effort rather than commissioned anti-gay hate speech.

The Regnerus study makes an invalid comparison between its test group and its control group. For this reason alone, the study is invalid.

Regnerus cherry-picked a control group of young adult children of continuously married heterosexual couples, and compared them in his study analysis and conclusions to young adult children from a hodgepodge of domestic situations, principally divorced opposite sex couples, whom Regnerus improperly labeled as “lesbian mothers” and/or “gay fathers.”

If you have not been following this story, and need further analysis of what makes the Regnerus study invalid, go here. Understand, additionally, that this reporter interviewed sociologists from top universities including Harvard, Yale and Princeton. I asked “Are there any well-regarded sociological studies that use a test-group, control-group comparison equally inappropriate as that seen in the Regnerus study?” All of the experts I interviewed told me that a study with such a test-group, control-group comparison would not be considered valid, still less well-regarded.

Over 200 Ph.D.s and M.D.s sent a letter to the journal that published Regnerus — Social Science Research — complaining of the study’s lack of intellectual integrity and of the suspicious circumstances under which it was published. Their letter included this: “there are substantial concerns about the merits of this paper, and these concerns should have been identified through a thorough and rigorous peer review process.”

It now has been documented that there was no thorough and rigorous peer review process prior to publication of the Regnerus study.

Social Science Research‘s own published Peer Review Policy says that submissions will be given to peer reviewers with expertise in the topic of the submission, and that when authors submit papers about esoteric topics — such as gay parenting — they can expect to wait “substantially” more than the usual 2 to 3 months for the SSR editor just to locate topic-expert peer reviewers.

By contrast, the Regnerus study was submitted on February 1, 2012 and accepted just 5 1/2 weeks later on March 12; no topic experts had been used in the peer review, and some of the peer reviewers had conflicts of interest, including that some were paid consultants on the Regnerus study. Others have longstanding professional and personal associations with Regnerus. The “audit” of the publication process was not undertaken by an independent outside investigator. Rather, SSR editor-in-chief James Wright had SSR editorial board member Darren Sherkat conduct an “audit” — which found ethically compromised,  peer review failure, yet held Wright accountable for exactly nothing. Even though Wright did not seek and then use topic expert peer reviewers, Sherkat says that in Wright’s shoes, he may well have made all the same decisions.

Whatever else may be said about Wright and Sherkat, the proper action now is for the Regnerus study to be retracted from publication. Corrupt peer review is no peer review at all, and certainly not anything that can be called scientifically and ethically appropriate peer review. If the Regnerus study is to be re-published later, it must first be put through ethical and appropriate professional peer review. You may sign a petition demanding for the Regnerus study to be retracted, here.


Ethics complaints have been presented to the American Sociological Association against Regnerus, Wright, Sherkat and Paul Amato, who as a paid study consultant dubiously but very enthusiastically endorsed Regnerus’s inappropriate and inadequate study design, in a commentary published alongside the Regnerus study.

NOM leaders rely on Amato’s questionable stamp-of-approval when they use the Regnerus study as a weapon against gays.

Though the ASA’s Dr. Sally Hillsman reports that the ethics complaints are in process, she will not provide even an estimated timetable for the processing of the complaints.

Meanwhile, the American Sociological Association need not reach any ethical judgments concerning Regnerus, before filing science based briefs rebutting the fraudulent claims made about, and/or in the Regnerus study, where the Regnerus study is being used as a defamatory weapon against gay people in the courts.

Eric Olin Wright is current president of the American Sociological Association.

Approached this summer about producing American Sociological Association amicus briefs in the Regnerus matter, Wright first said words to the effect that he could not be bothered.

Pressured, he said that if section heads under him in the ASA were to express some interest in producing ASA Regnerus-related briefs, perhaps he could begin to think about organizing for the production of such briefs. Since that time, there is no direct evidence that the American Sociological Association has lifted a finger to counter the scientific illegitimacy of its member Mark Regnerus’s NOM-linked funded “study” on “gay parenting.”


Wright must now be pressured, promptly to produce appropriate American Sociological Association amicus briefs where Regnerus has been used in the courts as a defamatory weapon against gay people, including in the Golinski case, and in Jackson v. Hawaii.

Wright’s e-mail address is

Below is a suggested message to him. If you compose your own message, please consider making it firm, direct and businesslike.

Before proceeding to the sample message to Wright, though, you should be aware that along with the American Medical Association,  a total of eight professional associations filed a Golinski amicus brief, detailing how a previous Golinski case brief from the American College of Pediatricians — a far right religious splinter group — had misrepresented what the Regnerus study says, and then going beyond that, to analyze the Regnerus study as invalid. The AMA brief says:

“The Regnerus study placed participants (individuals between the age of 18 and 39) into one of eight categories, six of which were defined by the family structure in which they grew up — e.g., married biological parents, divorced parent, divorced but remarried parent, etc. There was no category for “same-sex couple.” Instead, the final two categories included all participants, regardless of family structure, who believed that at some time between birth and their 18th birthday their mother or their father “ever ha[d] a romantic relationship with someone of the same sex.” Hence the data does not show whether the perceived romantic relationship ever in fact occurred; nor whether the parent self-identified as gay or lesbian; nor whether the same sex relationship was continuous, episodic, or one-time only; nor whether the individual in these categories was actually raised by a homosexual parent (children of gay fathers are often raised by their heterosexual mothers following divorce), much less a parent in a long-term relationship with a same-sex partner. Indeed, most of the participants in these groups spent very little, if any, time being raised by a “same-sex couple.” Hence the Regnerus study sheds no light on the parenting of stable, committed same-sex couples.”

While it is admirable that the American Medical Association filed that brief, it is now essential for the American Sociological Association to file amicus briefs.

Regnerus — an ASA member — alleges that his study — (now being very aggressively used as an anti-gay-rights weapon by his NOM-linked funders) — is the best that sociology has to offer and to say about gay parents’ child outcomes.

However, given our knowledge that 1) the Regnerus study was published through corrupt peer review; and that 2) no sociologist without conflicts of interest with Regnerus will vouch for the validity of the Regnerus study’s test-group/control-group comparison; and that 3) Regnerus appears to be in collusion with his funders and with third parties hostile to gay people — in the communication to the public of multiple, documentable untruths about what his study says, in contexts of expression hostile to gay people, and in violation of the American Sociological Association’s Code of Ethics;

There is just no excuse for the American Sociological Association not to treat this situation as a red hot emergency, and to promptly produce appropriate amicus briefs related to the Regnerus study.

Here then, is a suggested message for you to e-mail to ASA President Erik Olin Wright: (

You can copy the message right from this post, and then paste it into an e-mail to Dr. Wright.

Be certain to get as many of your friends as possible to e-mail Wright also.

Dear American Sociological Association President Wright:

With this message, I am requesting that you immediately mobilize the American Sociological Association to produce appropriate amicus briefs to counter the falsehoods and anti-gay defamation promulgated in a study by ASA member Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas at Austin.

As you know, distortions of scientific records all too often have been used as social and political weapons against minorities.

Regnerus produced a profoundly dubious study, that is allegedly, but not actually on gay parents’ child outcomes. Regnerus’s work, published June 10, 2012 in the Elsevier journal Social Science Research, is titled How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study.

I believe that you are already acquainted with the widely-disseminated, strictly science-based analyses of Regnerus’s study. I understand that top sociologists without conflicts of interest with Regnerus are in agreement that the inappropriate comparison Regnerus makes between his test-group and his control-group renders his study invalid. To express my concerns in the form of a Socratic question, can you — as President of the American Sociological Association — name ten well-regarded sociological studies whose test-group/control-group comparisons are equal in their inappropriateness to that seen in the Regnerus study?

Regnerus very strongly appears to be in collusion with his study’s funders and with third parties to demonize gay people both with his study, and with gross misrepresentations of what his study says.

For example, Regnerus contacted Robert Oscar Lopez after seeing Lopez’s anti-gay-rights comments in support of the Regnerus study online.

Regnerus then engaged in correspondence with Lopez. Shortly thereafter, Regnerus’s National Organization for Marriage-linked funders at The Witherspoon Institute published an essay by Lopez. Lopez grossly misrepresents what the Regnerus study says, even as he mentions within his essay that Regnerus contacted him first to engage in correspondence about the study and “LGBT issues.” Immediately after The Witherspoon Institute published Lopez’s essay, the essay was cross-posted to the NOM blog, and to The National Review website by NOM official Maggie Gallagher.

In that, Regnerus appears to be in violation of the American Sociological Association’s Code of Ethics.

Though Regnerus contacted Lopez first, conducted correspondence about his study with him, and Regnerus’s funders then widely disseminated the Lopez essay — with its multiple gross inaccuracies about the Regnerus study — Regnerus has done nothing whatsoever to correct the gross inaccuracies about his study being publicized by his study’s funders.

Here is what the ASA’s Code of Ethics, Section 10, on Public Communications says in its preamble:

“Sociologists adhere to the highest professional standards in public communications about their professional services, credentials and expertise, work products, or publications, whether these communications are from themselves or from others.

I want to share a story with you, Dr. Wright, about victims of Regnerus’s “study.”

A family comprised of two lesbian mothers and their three adopted children live in a suburban area. They previously had very friendly relationships with all of their neighbors. Two neighbor families, however, heard on the news that Regnerus had “proven” that children of lesbian mothers suffer dramatically higher rates of sexual victimization. Now, those two family neighbors do not permit their children to play with the lesbian mothers’ kids, nor will they even talk with any member of the family under any circumstances.

Dr. Wright; as president of the American Sociological Association, you have a moral duty immediately to organize the effort to produce appropriate Regnerus-related amicus briefs.

Many advanced thanks for your attention to this matter.

New York City-based novelist and freelance writer Scott Rose’s LGBT-interest by-line has appeared on,, The New York Blade,, 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.

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Pussy Riot trial: closing statement denounces Putin’s ‘totalitarian system’

From The Guardian UK:

Punk band’s members claim they are freer than those carrying out their prosecution as judge sets 17 August for verdict

in Moscow, Wednesday 8 August 2012

Three members of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot said Vladimir Putin’s Russia was the one on trial as they delivered closing arguments on Wednesday in a case seen as a key test of the powerful president’s desire to crackdown on dissent.

“This is a trial of the whole government system of Russia, which so likes to show its harshness toward the individual, its indifference to his honour and dignity,” Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, one of the trio on trial said in an impassioned statement. “If this political system throws itself against three girls … it shows this political system is afraid of truth.”

The judge set 17 August as the day she would deliver a verdict against the women, charged with hooliganism motivated by religious hatred following an anti-Putin performance in a Moscow cathedral.

Prosecutors have asked for a three-year sentence, arguing that the women sought to insult all of Russian Orthodoxy and denying they were carrying out a political protest.

Tolokonnikova called the charges against them a “political order for repression” and denounced Putin’s “totalitarian-authoritarian system”, insisting Pussy Riot were an example of “opposition art”.

“Even though we are behind bars, we are freer than those people,” she said, looking at the prosecution from inside the glass cage where she and her two bandmates, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich, have spent the nine-day trial. “We can say what we want, while they can only say what political censorship allows.

“Maybe they think it wouldn’t be wrong to try us for speaking against Putin and his system, but they can’t say that because it’s been forbidden,” she said, wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the revolutionary words “No Pasaran”.

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Komen President Will Leave, and Founder Will Shift Roles

From The New York Times:

Published: August 8, 2012

DALLAS (AP) — The president and the founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure are both stepping down from their roles, the nation’s largest breast cancer foundation said in announcing a major leadership shakeup Wednesday. The high-profile departures come in the wake of continuing fallout from Komen’s decision earlier this year to briefly end funding for Planned Parenthood.

President Liz Thompson will leave Komen next month and founder Nancy Brinker, who has long been the public face of the charity, will relinquish her chief executive’s role for a position focused on fundraising and strategic planning, according to a statement from the Dallas-based organization.

It’s the latest shakeup since news emerged in January that Komen had decided to eliminate its funding for Planned Parenthood for breast-cancer screening. Komen said it made the decision because Planned Parenthood was the focus of a congressional investigation, which was launched at the urging of anti-abortion activists.

Komen restored the funding after a three-day firestorm, but it didn’t quell the criticism. At least five other high-ranking executives also have resigned, and organizers of many Race for the Cure events saw their participation numbers drop.

Brinker founded the organization in 1982, two years after her sister, Susan G. Komen, died of breast cancer. Thompson joined the group in 2008 to head research and scientific programs, and she was promoted to president in 2010.

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The Same Second Class

From Truth Dig:

By Mark O’Connell
Posted on Aug 7, 2012

Is 2012 the political year of “the woman” or “the gay”? Let’s cut to the chase: The answer is both. As Gloria Steinem said not too long ago, LGBT rights and women’s rights “are completely the same thing.” The “wars” on each of these groups that we keep hearing about are in fact the same war, and really just an irritated symptom of a neglected illness—heterosexual men’s unwillingness to share power.

Women and LGBT people, as a sole group, share precarious affirmation by the Declaration of Independence. The statement “All men are created equal,” which our leaders quote with eager regularity, arguably implies that men who sleep with women are equal to men who sleep with men, as are men who identify with women, men who want to be women and men who in fact become women. We can then interpret Thomas Jefferson’s language to mean “All men and women are created equal.” However, this last statement—which was documented in “The Declaration of Sentiments” in 1847 by a group of women led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton in Seneca Falls, N.Y.—is never used by our political leaders including President Obama, who referred to the Seneca Falls event during his Barnard commencement speech this year and has been an ardent supporter of women’s rights.

Why not? Because though our laws have evolved (at a snail’s pace) to provide more freedoms for women and LGBT people, social and political power still overwhelmingly belong to heterosexual men, and to quote Stanton instead of Jefferson would symbolize a desperately undesired relinquishment of that primal stronghold.

Acknowledging this simple truth evokes a gag reflex in many, much like talking in public about what happens on the toilet—it’s commonly understood, but groupthink renders it too foul to discuss. However, when we’re consistently bombarded with news about “special interest groups” competing for political fresh air—the war on women vs. the war on same-sex marriage—it seems farcical not to point out that they’re fighting against the same suffocating odor.

The Republicans have lately been marvelously thorough in surfacing this conflict between straight men and everyone else. Their current platform clearly emphasizes a desire to constrain the freedoms of all those who are not straight men, including their staunch position against same-sex marriage, voting to cut federal funding from Planned Parenthood health centers, introducing the “Let Women Die” bill, voting against equal pay, removing the protections of gay and lesbian people from the Violence Against Women Act and adopting the GOP’s position from 1956 supporting the right to legally discriminate against LGBT people, to name just a few.

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The Hunger Wars in Our Future

From Tom Dispatch:

Heat, Drought, Rising Food Costs, and Global Unrest

By Michael T. Klare
Aug. 7, 2012

The Great Drought of 2012 has yet to come to an end, but we already know that its consequences will be severe. With more than one-half of America’s counties designated as drought disaster areas, the 2012 harvest of corn, soybeans, and other food staples is guaranteed to fall far short of predictions. This, in turn, will boost food prices domestically and abroad, causing increased misery for farmers and low-income Americans and far greater hardship for poor people in countries that rely on imported U.S. grains.

This, however, is just the beginning of the likely consequences: if history is any guide, rising food prices of this sort will also lead to widespread social unrest and violent conflict.

Food — affordable food — is essential to human survival and well-being. Take that away, and people become anxious, desperate, and angry. In the United States, food represents only about 13% of the average household budget, a relatively small share, so a boost in food prices in 2013 will probably not prove overly taxing for most middle- and upper-income families.  It could, however, produce considerable hardship for poor and unemployed Americans with limited resources. “You are talking about a real bite out of family budgets,” commented Ernie Gross, an agricultural economist at Omaha’s Creighton University. This could add to the discontent already evident in depressed and high-unemployment areas, perhaps prompting an intensified backlash against incumbent politicians and other forms of dissent and unrest.

It is in the international arena, however, that the Great Drought is likely to have its most devastating effects. Because so many nations depend on grain imports from the U.S. to supplement their own harvests, and because intense drought and floods are damaging crops elsewhere as well, food supplies are expected to shrink and prices to rise across the planet. “What happens to the U.S. supply has immense impact around the world,” says Robert Thompson, a food expert at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. As the crops most affected by the drought, corn and soybeans, disappear from world markets, he noted, the price of all grains, including wheat, is likely to soar, causing immense hardship to those who already have trouble affording enough food to feed their families.

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Can Whole Foods Coexist with the Homegrown Food Movement?

From Alternet:

Some worry a new Whole Foods might damage the gains of Detroit’s burgeoning food movement.

By Adrienne Maree Brown
August 7, 2012

A new Whole Foods recently broke ground in Detroit, but not everyone is excited.

Over the years my relationship with Whole Foods has evolved, along with my understanding of food justice and community. I shopped at Whole Foods seven years ago when I lived in Brooklyn, and when I lived in Oakland three years ago. It has often been a beacon of healthy food options when I am on the road in an unknown place.

Yes, it’s too expensive for me, but it was always such a pleasurable experience to walk in, and have all this bright natural food there. I thought everything in the store was automatically healthier than anything I could get outside of the store.

Mind you, I wasn’t into food justice or even personal food health then. I didn’t have a dedication to small local health food stores, farmers markets and growers. I didn’t have an intimate relationship with fruits and vegetables. I was so impressed with myself for shopping there, getting overpriced salads and frozen quiche and veggie entrees, sliced salami at the deli, looking tenderly at the produce area on my way to check out.

I learn through relationships, and I didn’t have regular relationships with a lot of urban gardening folks, at least not with the young white folks who appeared to be the main folks in it.

But that all changed. My food justice analysis developed through political work with Common Fire , Movement Generation and the Ruckus Society , and on a personal level, from knowing Bryant Terry , and watching my sister Autumn get into growing and canning foods and facilitating food justice work. Through relationship with people from a lot of backgrounds, including white folks, I came into awareness around key pieces of food justice.

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A Critical Mass for Real Food

From Yes Magazine:

The old logic of the slave plantation is still the logic of our industrial food system, 500 years in the making. There’s a new way of thinking, and it’s taking off.
posted Aug 06, 2012

Imagine that you are in room.  It’s about 30 by 30 feet. The floor is stone, and the walls and ceiling are a mix of stone and cement. They are a little damp, which you can smell but you can’t quite see. It’s pitch black except for the light that comes in from a low, arched doorway in whose frame is silhouetted an iron gate. When your eyes adjust to the darkness, you can see a narrow stretch of beach and the blue and gray of the ocean beyond.

This, a doorway in West Africa’s Elmina Fort, is a Door of No Return. It is the last part of Africa you would touch if you were a slave being led from the dungeon to a waiting ship.

I stood in front of this door a few years ago while visiting my family in Ghana. It is a place of sorrow and suffering. Countless human beings passed by this spot on their way to either a wretched death at sea or a life of bondage in the New World. They had been snatched up near their villages in slave raids; ripped from their families and everything they knew; shackled to others by the neck for a long march to coast; and thrown in a crowded, reeking dungeon for what might have been months until the next ship arrived. That was just the start of the journey.

This door represents many things. As human beings, it represents our capacity for cruelty—as well as resilience. Many of the descendants of those who went through it not only survived, but went on to build the “New World” itself. They paved the way for every opportunity I have had in the United States, and I believe their story makes us all stronger.

But this door also represents a beginning—the beginning of our modern food system.

If, back in the 18th century, you could see all the way across the Atlantic, you would find an unbroken line of plantations that stretched from Buenos Aires to Baltimore. Down this entire line, slaves harvested sugar for British tea, rice for the West Indian consumption, and cotton for the textile mills of New England. These were vast monocrops that broke the body and ruined the soil—but made money for planters and big companies that traded the goods.

Here, you see the logic of the modern industrial food system in its rawest form—a logic of prioritizing profit over human and environmental welfare.  A lot has changed in the 400 years since the Elmina Fort was built, but this principle has not gone away. The logic of the plantation is the logic of today’s industrial food system.

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“Son of Boss” – Obama for America

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S.E.C. and Justice Dept. End Mortgage Investigations Into Goldman

From The New York Times:

August 9, 2012

Federal authorities ended two investigations into the actions of Goldman Sachs during the financial crisis, handing a quiet victory to the bank after years of public scrutiny.

In a statement late Thursday, the Justice Department said there was “not a viable basis to bring a criminal prosecution” against Goldman or its employees after a Congressional committee asked prosecutors to examine if the bank had been involved with any illegal acts related to several mortgage deals.

The Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations had examined troubled mortgage securities that Goldman sold to investors, who later sustained steep losses during the crisis. The subcommittee also suggested prosecutors investigate whether the chief executive of the bank, Lloyd Blankfein, had misled lawmakers during public testimony.

Separately, Goldman Sachs announced early Thursday that the Securities and Exchange Commission had ended an investigation into a $1.3 billion subprime mortgage deal, taking no action. The move was an about-face for the commission, which notified the bank in February that it planned to pursue a civil action.

“We are pleased that this matter is behind us,” a bank spokesman said Thursday.

The moves closed a difficult chapter for the bank, whose missteps became emblematic of Wall Street’s excess. But for all the public criticism of the bank, the only law enforcement case to have surfaced against Goldman was a civil case that the bank settled for $550 million in 2010 over a mortgage investment that investigators said had been intended to collapse.

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Raise the Minimum Wage: The Democratic Party Sleeps on FDR’s Legacy

From Common Dreams:

by Ralph Nader
Published on Thursday, August 9, 2012 by Common Dreams

Calling Obama, Pelosi, Reid and the rest of the Democratic Party, elected officials, political operatives and labor’s leader Richard Trumka. Thirty million American workers want and need a federal minimum wage of $10 per hour which is slightly less than their predecessors got in 1968 – yes 1968 – adjusted for inflation. What will it take for you to make this a priority?

Of course you all would like to see these desperate workers get an additional $2,000 – $4,500 a year for the barest necessities of life for themselves and their children. Sure, it is easy to be on the record and not on the ramparts for a higher minimum wage. What about the trust that your voters and your rank and file invested in you?

Imagine mobilizing Congress to have workers catch up with 1968 when worker productivity was about half of what it is today.

What would President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who signed the first minimum wage law in 1938, say about today’s pathetic Democrats (with few exceptions like the more than twenty Representatives who signed on to Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s H.R. 5901 bill to raise the minimum wage to $10 per hour)? Remember how FDR pushed his Democrats in the 1930s? He would not have tolerated today’s Democratic Party of caution, cash and cowardliness.

Were the Democrats from the White House, to Congress, to Richard Trumka and the major labor unions to immediately make the $10 minimum wage a national, frontline issue, which they certainly could if they want, here are the arguments they can make:

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