Hal David songwriter 1921-2012

Hal David and Bert Bacharach wrote gentle easy pop songs my girlfriends and I loved in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

They weren’t hard rock and our boyfriends sometimes sneered at them, by they were ear worms that we just couldn’t get out of our heads.


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Truly Trans? A Call for Unity

Predictably the HBS trolls show up to leave comments asserting how they were real and no one else is.

Pretty weak considering they had the same basic surgery other post-transsexual women had.

From Out Serve:  http://outservemag.com/2012/08/no-true-transsexuals-a-call-for-unity-and-sanity/

Brynn Tannehill
30 August 2012
A few years back, when I was just starting the transition process, an older trans woman was trying to convince me what path I should take. Get this surgery. You don’t need that one. Your sexual orientation will change anyway once you’ve had Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS).I described this odd and frustrating online exchange with a friend of mine who transitioned years ago. She laughed and rolled her eyes. “Yeah, that’s the trannier-than-thou crowd. Don’t pay any attention to them.” She was right. Too bad that one cannot seem to escape some level of the “trannier-than-thou” mentality no matter where you go in the trans community.

It seems counter-intuitive that a group, which seeks nothing but acceptance for its diversity from greater society, and even within the LGB community, can be so divisive because of its diversity. Other LGB people should be familiar with the phenomena, which is not unique to the trans community. Similar tropes permeate the entire LGBTQ population. Gay men versus lesbians. Bears scare the twinks. Bisexuals are just a step to gayville. Log Cabin Republicans are self-haters. All of these statements are judgemental and unhelpful. But the variations within the trans community have incredible subtleties that can create the greatest divides.

Examples of how the “real transsexual” mentality undercuts the community are everywhere. The blog article I wrote for OutServe Magazine on the Affordable Health Care Act attracted the attention of some members of the Harry Benjamin Syndrome (HBS is the original, 1960’s vintage name for gender dysphoria), ts-si.org crowd. The comments section was one sided and long. The article ended up with more comments than any other OutServe Magazine blog before or since. I was attacked in other venues as part of this discussion. One person angrily fired away at me with, “A castration and a new face doesn’t make you a woman or qualified to discuss issues for real transsexuals.” Their perspective was that one is only really a woman if one has had SRS and is heterosexual. Whether one is perceived as a woman by other people is irrelevant, only the SRS matters.

Continue reading at:  http://outservemag.com/2012/08/no-true-transsexuals-a-call-for-unity-and-sanity/

Elementary Schools, Transgender Kids, and Educator Freak-outs

From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elizabethe-c-payne/elementary-schools-transgender-kids-and-educator-freak-outs_b_1847451.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices


For seasoned education professionals who have “seen it all,” the new school year usually brings little cause for alarm. But for the past few years, we at QuERI have had an increasing number of elementary schools contact us in the beginning of the school year with reports that their teachers and school staff were “freaking out.” The cause for alarm? The new enrollment of a transgender child or the gender transition of an already-enrolled student. Administrators, faculty, and staff expressed high levels of fear and anxiety over trans kids in their elementary schools and have wanted us to come in and “fix” the situation for them.

When this first began to happen several years ago, we weren’t sure how to respond and were a little taken aback by the volume and force of fearful reaction to these young students. As researchers we wanted to better understand their reported “panic,” and we began to study the experiences of elementary educators with transgender students in an effort to better respond to their reactions and help these schools support transgender kids. For most of the school professionals we interviewed, the initial reaction to finding out a transgender elementary student would be in their school was fear. The words they most frequently used to talk about it were “freak out,” “panic,” “crisis,” “fear,” and “unprepared.” So we wanted to know what exactly they were so afraid of. Here’s how their fears broke down:

  • First, because this was a new experience, the lack of education and institutional protocol intensified one type of fear: literally not knowing what to “do.”
  • Another fear was of community backlash: that the school or staff would be seen as supporting or “endorsing” “homosexuality” or transgender identity, which might be unacceptable to the community.
  • Other fears had to do with how to actually teach a transgender child, to make meaning of student experience, and make educational decisions in the best interest of the child. Over the course of the study, it became clear that teachers’ determination of what is right or wrong for an individual child is often deeply entrenched in what they “know” about teaching boys or girls and what they believe to be “natural” about gender. A transgender child disrupted this frame of reference.

Continue reading at:   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elizabethe-c-payne/elementary-schools-transgender-kids-and-educator-freak-outs_b_1847451.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices


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Opinion: National Review’s VerBruggen Repeats NOM’s Anti-Gay Smears

Scott connects the dots.  And they lead to Northwestern and the door of anti-trans bigot,  hate monger and reputed liar, Michael Bailey.

From The New Civil Rights Movement:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/opinion-national-reviews-verbruggen-repeats-noms-anti-gay-smears/discrimination/2012/07/20/44061

by Scott Rose
on July 20, 2012

Reposted with permission

The National Review as an Organ of Arrogant Bigotry

Robert VerBruggen writes for The National Review, which was founded by the white supremacist William F. Buckley, Jr.

National Review writers ofttimes still defend the publication’s apartheid roots.

VerBruggen, for his part, is a heterosupremacist who thinks that because anti-gay bigots do not want gay couples to get married, gay couples must not be allowed to marry. That echoes the National Review’s history of saying that because a privileged white majority wanted segregation, whites deserved to see racial apartheid continue. See here for more of VerBruggen’s gay-bashing bigotry.

One of VerBruggen’s co-contributors is the arch-anti-gay-bigot Maggie Gallagher of the so-called National Organization for Marriage, an anti-gay-rights group that sponsors hate rallies where NOM speakers yell through megaphones that homosexuals are “worthy to death.”

On July 12 in The National Review, Gallagher attacked me by lying that I have written that she has blood on her hands because she opposes “gay marriage.”

Gallagher’s NOM is behind the funding of a fraudulent study carried out by the University of Texas, Austin’s Mark Regnerus. Gallagher has been militantly active in smearing gay people in political contexts on the basis of Regnerus’s fraudulent study.

Understanding what makes Regnerus’s study a fraud is not complicated.

Regnerus alleged he wanted to study child outcomes for gay parents. Regnerus’s “test” group in his “test-and-control-group” study, however, was not actually comprised of known gay parents, as the American Medical Association — along with seven other major professional associations — explained in a Golinski-DOMA amicus brief. The one thing Regnerus’s test group respondents almost all had in common, was that they were products of broken heterosexual homes. Without so much as asking his respondents “Is your mother lesbian?” Regnerus went ahead and labeled the parents of his “broken homes” test group as either “lesbian mothers” or “gay fathers.”

His control group, by contrast, was comprised of young adult children of continuously married heterosexual couples.

Regnerus compared the people from broken homes, to the people from continuously married parents, and declared that he had “revealed” that “children raised by same-sex parents” fare worse.

The invalid comparison invalidates the entire study, but does not stop gay-bashing bigots from wielding it as a political weapon.

The heterosupremacists’ motto is: “When all else fails, defame the sexual minorities you hate.”

Robert VerBruggen Sets Up a NOM-like, Anti-Gay Smear

On July 18, VerBruggen asked to interview me apropos of my Complaint against Regnerus, filed with the University of Texas. That Complaint now is the basis of an on-going inquiry.

I responded to VerBruggen’s e-mailed questions. In my responses, I specified that the Regnerus study is not valid, because it is a “test-group/control-group” study, yet makes no valid comparison between its test group and its control group. I also specified to VerBruggen that I allege that Regnerus and NOM officials are in seeming collusion, that they seem to have produced the study intending it to have a ‘”fixed” outcome defamatory of gays, and that they seem to continue in collusion, promoting the invalid study as a gay-bashing political weapon.

I have requested full documentation of all communications about the Regnerus study between 1) Regnerus and his study team; 2) UT; and 3) Regnerus’s NOM-linked funders at The Witherspoon Institute and elsewhere.  Those parties have refused to release the documents. UT petitioned Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot, a Republican, for exemptions, allowing the parties to keep their documentation related to the fraudulent Regnerus study secret.  The American Independent, too, wants this documentation, yet UT is seeking exemptions to their Freedom of Information Act document requests as well.

If there is no political collusion between the parties on the fraudulent Regnerus study — which is being used politically to gay-bash around the country and beyond — then what could there possibly be to hide in that documentation?

In his July 19, National Review article, VerBruggen tried to manipulate his readers into believing that my allegations are baseless.

He says “Rose does not allege serious ethical misconduct, such as plagiarism or falsifying data.”  Actually, I do. Not making any effort even to determine whether a survey respondent’s parent is gay or lesbian — as is the case with Regnerus — but then going ahead to label them as “lesbian mother” or “gay father” in a study that is said to measure how young adults “raised by same-sex parents fare” is falsifying evidence. Falsifying evidence is very rarely accidental and is usually done to support a hypothesis, i.e., in the case of the Regnerus study, the NOM hypothesis that homosexuals are dangerous to children.

For emphasis: “Data falsification” occurs when research is manipulated in any way that changes or omits data. Regnerus changed his data, by not determining whether a respondent’s parent was gay or lesbian, but then going on to label respondents’ parents as “gay fathers” or “lesbian mothers” in his published study. UT’s Population Research Center’s site for Regnerus’s “New Family Structures Study” falsely claims that the study measured how young adults “raised by same-sex parents” fare. That same University of Texas, NFSS site claims that Regnerus’s is the first large-scale study of “young adults who have spent time in households with two parents of the same sex.”

Regnerus’s study did not do that. Of his respondents whose parents got misleadingly labeled as “lesbian mothers” or “gay fathers,” almost all were products of broken heterosexual marriages. The study subjects’ “parents” therefore, were their mother and father pairs. If a 15-year-old’s heterosexual parents divorce, and then when the adolescent is 17, he is living with his mother, and she invites a woman to live in the home with them for four weeks, that second woman is not the 17-year-old’s “parent” in any sense. Yet that is exactly the ridiculous thing which Regnerus is presenting as a “fact” about his data.

Falsifying evidence is an ultimate form of scientific misconduct.

One thing VerBruggen’s did in his article — after not addressing Regnerus’s falsification of data — especially sticks in my craw.

Conflating homosexuals with pedophiles, a known falsehood, is a NOM anti-gay-bigotry specialty.

As irrefutably described in the AMA brief, Regnerus did not do anything to determine whether his young adult survey respondents from broken heterosexual marriages had lesbian mothers or gay fathers. He nonetheless went ahead and labeled the parents of these offspring of broken marriages lesbian or gay, on the basis of having asked them whether either of their parents had ever had a “romantic relationship with someone of the same sex.” That means of classifying somebody as gay or lesbian is as ludicrous as would be calling them Catholic because they had ever been inside a Catholic cathedral.

Surprise, surprise; Regnerus, in seeming collusion with his NOM-linked funders, found that children of — (falsely-labeled) —  ”lesbian mothers” and “gay fathers” suffered more childhood sex abuse than children of “intact biological families.”

That Regnerus study “finding,” not supported by Regnerus’s data, is especially heinous, by virtue of it being an established, favorite NOM anti-gay smear, effectively, “Let children anywhere near homosexuals, and you increase the likelihood that they will be sexually abused.” Regnerus repeated that smear when he talked about his invalid study on ABC-TV.

In his published article, VerBruggen repeated the lie that children of gay parents are “more likely to experience sexual victimization,” and then he went on wrongly to allege the smear to be  ”a statement that is consistent with Regnerus’s data.”

Well, no, it is not, but what do you expect from a heterosupremacist?

VerBruggen’s History of Enabling Those Bigoted Against Sexual Minorities

At Northwestern University, VerBruggen was editor-in-chief of the reactionary Northwestern Chronicle.  On Verbruggen’s editorial watch, J. Michael Bailey, an anti-trans bigot was allowed to trans-bash, and an individual was unjustifiably smeared.

Significantly, in an article – Robert Verbruggen and J. Michael Bailey – VerBruggen is said to have allowed Bailey “to post a rambling defense of his questionable research and ethics.” At the time, VerBruggen wrote, “To my knowledge, it is the first professor-written article we’ve ever run. There are of course conflicts with this setup, especially in that he is both a source and a writer.”

The summary continues: “Bailey’s work  described gender variance in metaphors of disease and impairment, said to be an extension of Bailey’s belief that homosexuality is an evolutionary mistake and a developmental error. Bailey’s writing on homosexual eugenics and his belief that male bisexuals are liars echo his thinking on trans issues as well.” The summary of the Bailey scandal, partially enabled by VerBruggen, notes that Bailey’s work was “tainted with charges of academic misconduct, practicing without a licensefabricating data, and sex with a research subject.”

In 2004, the Southern Poverty Law Center published a history of Bailey’s connections to hate groups. Bailey eventually resigned from Northwestern University in disgrace.

Though VerBruggen intended an ethical defense of Regnerus, he inadvertently gave his article a title that describes the Regnerus study to a “T”: The Gay Parenting Witch Hunt.

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.

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Only the Good Get Rich

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/01/opinion/collins-only-the-good-get-rich.html

By Gail Collins
August 31, 2012

As the Republican convention fades into oblivion, the one thing everybody is still talking about is, of course, the party platform.

Honest. You should see the tweets.

The convention was so full of opportunities to catch a glimpse of celebrities like John Sununu and Rudy Giuliani that I didn’t get around to the platform until the flight back from Tampa. But it was so worth the wait. Really, I could hardly take my eyes away from it long enough to watch the flight attendant demonstrate how to use a seat buckle.

As you’d expect, there were paeans to things Republicans like (phonics, Israel, coal, English, defense spending, transparency for everything except political donations) and denunciations of the stuff they hate (Obamacare, mass transit, the Law of the Sea Treaty, Venezuela, teachers’ unions, Obamacare). But you may be interested to know that the proven methods of improving school performance are high standards, accountability and “renewed focus on the Constitution and the writings of the Founding Fathers.”

Some of the recommendations are stunning. Besides the inevitable tribute to the Second Amendment, the platform goes to the trouble of specifically mentioning that Republicans are against limiting the sale of those extra-bullet magazines for guns that maximized the victim count in the mass shootings in Tucson, Colorado and Wisconsin.

Please, keep that in mind. Wherever there’s a gun capable of spraying 100 bullets, there’s a Republican platform behind it.

But the most startling sentence is in the preamble, where the Republicans announce they are the party with “a positive, optimistic view of an opportunity society where any American who works hard, dreams big and follows the rules can achieve anything he or she wants.”

People, do you think the Republican hierarchy really believes that working hard and playing by the rules is a guarantee of big-dream fulfillment? This is a worldview you usually only hear before the first elimination round on “American Idol.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/01/opinion/collins-only-the-good-get-rich.html

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On Mitt Romney, Bain Capital and Private Equity

From Rolling Stone:  http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/on-mitt-romney-bain-capital-and-private-equity-20120829

Matt Taibbi
August 29, 2012

So our new magazine piece, Greed and Debt, about Mitt Romney’s past with Bain and the use of debt to finance takeovers, is online, and already I’m getting some questions that I am anxious to answer. There’s a subtle point about the private equity business that I may not have made clear enough in the piece.

One emailer writes: “You’ve completely misunderstood what private equity does and ignored the many success stories in the industry. There is a reason why many of PE’s biggest investors are unions and pension funds . . . who have benefitted more than once from private equity deals.”

This is a valid point. It is true, many of the biggest investors in private equity deals are pension funds and workers’ unions. I think this is unfortunate, and I know for a fact that many union leaders discourage unions from investing in private equity takeovers. But it’s an undeniable fact that unions and pension funds do sometimes make money on private equity deals.

But what people need to understand about private equity firms like Bain is that they are not in the business of turning around companies and creating jobs. The unions and pension funds that invested in those deals did not do so to rescue companies.

If you invest in a Bain or a Carlyle or a KKR takeover deal, you’re not betting on the future success of whatever company they took over. You’re betting on the ability of those firms to make money on the deal, which may – or, just as importantly, may not – involve turning the target company around.

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President Obama on the GOP Convention: “It was a rerun, we’ve seen it before” – Des Moines, Iowa

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In South Carolina, Shockingly Candid Talk About Voter Discrimination By Andrew Cohen

From The Atlantic:  http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/08/in-south-carolina-shockingly-candid-talk-about-voter-discrimination/261760/

The state’s chief election official — a bureaucrat, not a politician — patiently and professionally proves how the new law could be used to not only keep residents from voting but systematically discard their votes.

Andrew Cohen
Aug 30 2012

You know who is having a bad week? South Carolina Election Commission Executive Director Marci Andino. And it’s not even her fault. She is not responsible for the restrictive voter identification law Republicans enacted in 2011, a discriminatory measure the Justice Department promptly blocked under the Voting Rights Act. She’s not responsible for the policy behind the law, which is to burden poor people, minorities, and students in the name of halting voter fraud no one in the state can identify or prove.

Andino is not responsible for the lack of training for local officials who are supposed to oversee the new rules, because there are few such rules — not yet, not even with just two months to go before the election. (South Carolina officials seem to have frozen the process of preparing for the new rules once the Feds interceded last December, the idea evidently being that it makes no sense to spend money preparing to implement a new law that may never see the light of day.)

And she’s not responsible for the lack of resources available to re-register voters with new IDs — there is today only one bus, in the whole state, devoted to traveling around to re-register voters. It’s not her fault. None of it. And yet she had to testify this week, in federal court in Washington, in defense of the law. Her testimony on Tuesday and Wednesday bordered on the absurd at times. Not because Andino is a poor witness, not because she’s a zealot, but for precisely the opposite reason.

Relentlessly, professionally, candidly, she has revealed to the world the utter lack of sense behind the new law — the lack of foresight on the part of the legislators, the Tea Partyers, and the conservative radicals, who scrambled to enact the odious measure in the face of reasonable, bipartisan, biracial alternatives. Under cross-examination by Garrard Beeney, Andino has delivered a river of evidence proving that the state’s minorities — and its poor, and its ill — will effectively be disenfranchised by the new law.

Here, for example, is the transcript from Wednesday morning’s session of the federal court trial now underway before three (largely baffled) judges. Take a few moments to read for yourself how unprepared South Carolina is to ensure, come November, that registered voters — men and women who have voted without incident before — will have their votes counted this election season. Below is my favorite passage from the morning session — but first here is a little bit of background for it.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/08/in-south-carolina-shockingly-candid-talk-about-voter-discrimination/261760/

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Texas loses latest voter ID battle after judges strike down ‘retrogressive’ law

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/30/texas-battle-voter-id-law

Judges find that law requiring voters to present photo ID at the ballot box placed ‘unforgiving burdens on the poor’

guardian.co.uk, Thursday 30 August 2012

A federal court has struck down a Texas law requiring voters to present photo identification at the ballot box in the second ruling this week to effectively accuse the state of racial discrimination and attempting to manipulate elections.

In an escalating legal battle between mostly Republican-controlled states and the Obama administration over voter ID and other election laws, a panel of three judges in Washington DC found that the Texas legislation imposed “strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor” because of the cost and process involved in obtaining identification.

The US justice department told the court that voters would have to pay for birth certificates and travel up to 250 miles to obtain ID cards. The court said this imposed a “heavy burden” on any voter and would be “especially daunting for the working poor” who are more likely to be racial minorities.

The court concluded that if the law was implemented it “will likely have a retrogressive effect” by limiting access to the ballot box. It said that evidence submitted by Texas in support of its claim that the law was not discriminatory – and was necessary to combat voter fraud – was “unpersuasive, invalid, or both”.

The US justice department told the court there are 600,000 people registered to vote in Texas whose names are not on driving licence or state identification databases. It said the voter ID laws in Texas and other states is a blatant attempt to disenfranchise African American and Hispanic voters.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/30/texas-battle-voter-id-law

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Outside of Convention Walls, Poverty in Tampa Runs Rampant

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Mr. Romney Reinvents History

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/31/opinion/the-hidden-subject-in-tampa.html

Published: August 30, 2012

Mitt Romney wrapped the most important speech of his life, for Thursday night’s session of his convention, around an extraordinary reinvention of history — that his party rallied behind President Obama when he won in 2008, hoping that he would succeed. “That president was not the choice of our party,” he said. “We are a good and generous people who are united by so much more than divides us.”

The truth, rarely heard this week in Tampa, Fla., is that the Republicans charted a course of denial and obstruction from the day Mr. Obama was inaugurated, determined to deny him a second term by denying him any achievement, no matter the cost to the economy or American security — even if it meant holding the nation’s credit rating hostage to a narrow partisan agenda.

Mr. Romney’s big speech, delivered in a treacly tone with a strange misty smile on his face suggesting he was always about to burst into tears, was of a piece with the rest of the convention. Republicans have offered precious little of substance but a lot of bromides (“A free world is a more peaceful world!”) meant to convey profundity and take passive-aggressive digs at President Obama. But no subjects have received less attention, or been treated with less honesty, than foreign affairs and national security — and Mr. Romney’s banal speech was no exception.

It’s easy to understand why the Republicans have steered clear of these areas. While President Obama is vulnerable on some domestic issues, the Republicans have no purchase on foreign and security policy. In a television interview on Wednesday, Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state, could not name an area in which Mr. Obama had failed on foreign policy.

For decades, the Republicans were able to present themselves as the tougher party on foreign and military policy. Mr. Obama has robbed them of that by being aggressive on counterterrorism and by flexing military and diplomatic muscle repeatedly and effectively.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/31/opinion/the-hidden-subject-in-tampa.html

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South Carolina Voter ID Law Takes Hits in Court

From Truth Out:  http://truth-out.org/news/item/11275-south-carolina-voter-id-law-takes-hits-in-court

By James Rosen, McClatchy Newspapers
Saturday, 01 September 2012

Washington – Inside and outside a federal courtroom a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol, it appeared to be a rough week for South Carolina’s bid to protect its elections against fraud.

During five days of often dramatic testimony on a disputed voter ID law, a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia repeatedly upheld objections that the state’s lawyers were asking leading questions of their witnesses or prodding them to recount third-party conversations the judges struck down as hearsay.

In a case that, under the Voting Rights Act, hinges partly on whether the voter ID law was motivated by discriminatory intent, the law’s chief architect, state Rep. Alan Clemmons, was compelled to admit he’d responded sympathetically to a racist email sent to him about the measure as he was crafting it.

And Marci Andino, executive director of the State Election Commission, testified that her agency lacked the legal authority to impose on county election boards and poll workers a uniform standard on how to implement some of the disputed law’s key provisions.

Her testimony troubled the judges, who noted that it was at odds with what she and other South Carolina officials had said earlier in documents and depositions for the trial about how the law would be handled.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson signaled another potential shift by the state on Friday when he said voters without required photo IDs should not have to pay for completing “reasonable impediment” affidavits required by the law. Separate state law requires affidavits to be notarized, which normally carries a fee.

Continue reading at:  http://truth-out.org/news/item/11275-south-carolina-voter-id-law-takes-hits-in-court

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Rain comes too late for Iowa’s corn crop as drought weighs on midwest minds

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/aug/30/iowa-corn-crop-drought-farmers-prices

Farmers hope for better next year after summer of record drought leads to rising prices and brings tensions to the surface

in Des Moines
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 30 August 2012

Flying into Des Moines, the corn fields look surprisingly green. America’s midwest produces half the world’s corn and Iowa its largest harvest, yet amid the worst drought in living memory all the untrained eye can see is the occasional brown mark, like a cigarette burn on the baize of a pool table.

But appearances can be deceptive.

In Boone, Iowa, 30 miles away from the state capital, traffic backs up for miles bringing 200,000 people to Farm Progress, the US’s largest agricultural show one. Here, all the talk is of the drought.

Pam Johnson, first vice-president of the National Corn Growers Association, says she can’t remember one as bad as this in her 40 years of farming. “My parents say you have to go back to the 1930s for anything comparable,” she says. In June, her farm in northern Iowa got an inch and a half of rain. “We usually get that a week. In July we got seven-tenths of an inch, for the month.” Rain may be coming soon, thanks to hurricane Isaac, but it’s too late for America’s corn crop.

The US planted 97m acres of corn for this year’s crop – the most since 1937. If everything had gone according to plan, this year’s harvest would have produced a new record, at close to 15bn bushels of corn (one metric tonne of corn is equal to 39.37 bushels). It’s too early to say what the final tally will be, but the US department of agriculture has slashed its forecast to 10.8bn. Dan Basse, president of AgResources, an independent agriculture analyst, says that figure is likely to come down. “We’ve lost 4bn bushels of corn. That’s the largest loss in history, and we could lose another,” he says. The USDA has declared counties in 38 states to be “disaster areas”. About 72% of cattle areas are experiencing drought.

Corn prices are at record highs, suggesting corn producers might be among the few winners in this situation. But many sold their crop before the drought swept the country, and those with corn to sell now have less of it.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/aug/30/iowa-corn-crop-drought-farmers-prices

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