Martin Bashir – Rep. Welch: ‘Ryan is becoming the fibber-in-chief in this election’

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Responding to Incorrect Transgender Pronoun and/or Gender Identity Usage in the Media

From Huffington Post:


Reposted with permission

With incorrect, offensive, or downright transphobic phrases like “man in a dress,” “male-to-female transsexual,” “he calls himself Brandi,” or, likely the most offensive of them all, “he-she,” mainstream media simply cannot get it right. Sometimes it’s deliberate, especially in tabloids and other media that use exploitation to generate revenue. In other instances ignorance prevails in the media by those who ought to know better.

In addition, even if one is aware of proper transgender terms or pronoun use, writers make gaffes, anchors misspeak, copy editors get confused, and proofreaders change previously fixed errors back into mistakes again.

Should it be this way? Of course not. But until awareness of all things transgender becomes the norm in this world, I suggest we not blow gaskets but simply correct, educate, and move on.

Indeed, in my writings on transgender topics, I’ve lost track of a person’s correct gender more than once. In instances of research, contradicting sources left me choosing to use gender-neutral terms like “person” instead. Often, there is very little truly factual in the media to work from.

Recently I wrote about a trans person killed in a shooting. The only credible piece of evidence that suggested the victim was a trans person was an undated photo released by the police. There were no comments from friends or relatives or other clues indicating which gender the victim usually presented as. Rather than speculate, I choose to use gender-neutral terms. After the article was published, I faced harsh criticism from one set of people for not using female pronouns (as the police photo suggested I should have), and at the same time I literally was blasted by another set of people for “insulting” trans people with gender-neutral terms. I didn’t bother to read the hate comments from people who insisted that the victim was “obviously” male.

Not too long ago a prominent LGBT organization was discredited by a transgender blogger for getting a supposed trans victim’s gender wrong, causing a bit of a ruckus, but another blogger uncovered evidence that the LGBT organization’s report was correct all along. Meanwhile, I ended up changing the gender ID of the victim I was writing about three times, trying to stay factually correct.

In addition to the frequent lack of facts, know this: There are very few of us writing almost exclusively on trans issues, and most of us are likely unpaid and don’t have a second set of eyes looking over the material. In reporting, paramount are the four “w”s: who, what, where, and when. On trans topics, correct gender and pronouns are added to that mix. And with the source material likely loaded with incorrect or purely speculated gender IDs, we have our hands full.

If any one of us trans writers, or our allies, should make a gender or pronoun error, know that we’re likely doing the best we can, and it is often a no-win game. If you must disagree, just make your case and be nice. We’re here to learn, too.

Please note, however, that there is no excuse for any media to deliberately misinform or launch a hate piece.

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Chicago Police Department adopts a respectful treatment of transgender people policy

From Windy City Media Group:

by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times

After more than two years of pushing by transgender-rights advocates, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) has quietly adopted a general order that mandates the respectful treatment of transgender detainees.

The policy has been a major goal of more than 30 community groups, which pushed for the order both within CPD and through a proposed city ordinance.

According to the CPD website, the policy went into effect Aug. 22.

“This general order is a huge step forward in a couple of ways,” said Jennifer Ritter, executive director or Lakeview Action Coalition (LAC), which began work on the order in 2010.

The order mandates that police not search transgender people in an attempt to determine their gender, that officers respect preferred names and pronouns for transgender detainees and that they not use someone’s gender identity as assumed cause for a crime. It further bans derogatory language against trans people.

The policy comes after years of complaints from transgender women who report that police stop them for walking at night on the assumption that they are engaged in sex work.

The order, which Superintendent Garry McCarthy signed, will result in trainings for CPD officers.

LAC began working on the order under the Daley administration after a transgender woman was allegedly harassed by police and charged with solicitation on her way home from a Lakeview grocery store in February 2010. But turnover within CPD brought by the change in mayoral administrations slowed talks.

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Regnerus Anti-Gay Scandal — Elsevier Corporate Greed Drove Publication?

I think there is an even bigger scandal brewing.

Are Universities receiving money to product studies that are marketing campaigns or propaganda bought and paid for by special interest groups?

From The New Civil Rights Movement:

by Scott Rose
on September 4, 2012

Reposted with permission


As previously reported, Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas at Austin took $785,000 — (through his long-time personal friend W. Bradford Wilcox of the anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute) — and produced a fraudulent anti-gay “study” that is being used as a political weapon to inflict harm on innocent gay people.

Counter to all science publishing ethics, the study was published without benefit of valid peer review. Indeed, the peer review of the Regnerus study, and of a study by Loren Marks propagandistically paired to it, was marked by corruption and improper insider influence. Wilcox is an editorial board member of the Elsevier company’s journal Social Science Research, which published Regnerus. Wilcox, furthermore, is a paid Regnerus study consultant. It appears he also did some peer review of the paired Regnerus and Marks studies.

Whereas the peer reviewers allowed the Regnerus study’s glaring methodological failures through to publication, a mass of experts in the academy expressed concern that the scientifically invalid study had been published, and at that, on a suspicious rush schedule.

According to Dr. Gary Gates of the Williams Institute, the mere fact that peer reviewers had conflicts of interest means that the Regnerus study did not have valid peer review. Gates is seconded in that opinion by Vanderbilt University Sociologist Tony N. Brown, Editor of the American Sociological Association’s American Sociological Review, who has said: “journal editors should always seek knowledgeable reviewers who do not have any conflict of interest regarding the submitted author or the study’s funder.” (Bolding added).

Gates further says: “We need to get answered the question about why the Regnerus study was published in a rush, with no valid peer review. Other issues surrounding the Regnerus and Marks studies may be interesting, but the core question relates to the fact that the study was published in a suspicious rush without valid peer review. What caused Social Science Research‘s editor-in-chief James Wright to publish this study in a rush, without valid peer review? We need that question answered.”


In the response to the letter from over 200 Ph.D.s and M.D.s, Social Science Research‘s editor-in-chief James Wright assigned SSR editorial board member Darren Sherkat to an “audit” of the publication process of the Regnerus and Marks studies.

In his audit, Sherkat admits that the Regnerus study is not scientifically valid, and that the peer review failed, yet he exonerates Wright and the peer reviewers from all accountability for their gross dereliction of duty. He says that the unethical process through which the Regnerus study was published is just “business as usual” at Social Science Research.

Sherkat actually analyzes how the publication of the scientifically invalid Regnerus study has harmed Social Science Research‘s scientific reputation, in context of explaining how corporate greed drove the publication of the Regnerus submission. Yet, very disturbingly, Sherkat said that had he been in Wright’s shoes, he may well have made all of the same publishing decisions. In other words, Sherkat is more devoted to his boss James Wright and to his greedy corporate Reed Elsevier bosses than he is to ethical science publishing.

Apparently, other anti-gay-rights organizations such as Regnerus’s personal friends at the Witherspoon Institute could fund an endless series of fraudulent studies booby-trapped against gays or against other minorities, and Social Science Research would publish all of them without benefit of valid peer review.

In his audit, Sherkat explains the role that parent company Reed Elsevier played in pushing greed to predominate over ethical science publishing in the Regnerus scandal.

The Regnerus publishing scandal actually is much broader than just the Regnerus and Marks papers. Three Regnerus study commentaries published alongside the Regnerus and Marks papers were done by three persons without same-sex-parenting science expertise, and with conflicts of interest in commenting on the study. Those three are 1) UT’s Dr. Cynthia Osborne, Regnerus’s co-researcher on the “study;” 2) Dr. Paul Amato, a paid Regnerus study consultant; and 3) David Eggebeen, a Witherspoon bigot crony who supports the continuation of sexual orientation apartheid.

Here is part of Sherkat’s explanation of how Reed Elsevier greed is driving the publication and promotions of the wide-scaled anti-gay Regnerus scandal:

“Controversy over sexuality sells and in only a week after publication these papers have already skyrocketed to the most downloaded papers published in Social Science Research.” (Bolding added). “But neither paper should have been published, in my opinion. Undoubtedly, any researcher doing work on same-sex parenting will now have to address the Regnerus paper, and these citations will inflate the all-important “impact factor” of the journal. It is easy to get caught up in the empirical measures of journal success, and I believe this overcame Wright in driving his decision to rush these into print. The fetishism of the journal impact factors comes from the top down, and all major publishers prod editors about the current state of their impact factor. Elsevier is particularly attentive to this and frequently inquires about what Wright is doing to improve the already admirable impact factor of Social Science Research. As social scientists, popularity should not be the end we seek, and rigorous independent evaluation of these manuscripts would have made Social Science Research a less popular but better journal.” (Bolding added).

In his CYA “audit,” Sherkat further wrote:

“once they were accepted there was an unseemly rush to publication.” He continues: “that was justified based on the attention that these studies would generate. The published responses were milquetoast critiques by scholars with ties to Regnerus and/or the Witherspoon Institute, and Elsevier assisted with the politicization by helping to publicize the study and by placing these papers in front of the pay wall.” (Bolding added).


The Social Science Research editors contrived an “audit” of the publication of Regnerus’s pseudoscience to create an appearance that they had behaved responsibly when they manifestly did not behave responsibly.

In interviews that Wright and Sherkat gave to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the upshot is that all of the gross dereliction of duty that SSR people committed in relation to the Regnerus pseudoscience scandal can be explained away and shrugged off because people are just so darned busy these days.

Additionally, Sherkat did write in his audit: “scholars who should have known better failed to recuse themselves from the review process.

That is where the community must demand that Reed Elsevier and Wright do the right thing by retracting the Regnerus study from publication. The study could then be put through valid peer review prior to any future eventual re-publication. It simply must not be allowed to stand, that Reed Elsevier, Wright, Sherkat and Wilcox continue to abet fraudulent attacks against innocent gay people. These malefactors’ admixture of corporate greed and/or indifference to harm their actions are unjustly inflicting on innocent human beings is appalling.

Here is an example — from the Chronicle article — of Sherkat’s cavalier article about the editors’ and the peer reviewers’ gross dereliction of their professional duties. The following quote is in relation to the peer reviewers’ having allowed the Regnerus study through to publication, even though Regnerus made no scientifically adequate determination of whether he study respondents actually had “same sex parents,” as Regnerus claims in his study conclusion.

“At the same time, he,” — meaning SSR’s Sherkat – ”sympathizes with the task of the overburdened reviewer inclined to skim. Because of how the paper was written, Sherkat said, it would have been easy to miss Regnerus’s explanation of who qualified as “lesbian mothers” and “gay fathers.”

That is exactly why only gay parenting topic experts can be used to peer review a scientific journal submission on gay parenting.  You do not ask a therapist to peer review a submission about the latest techniques in brain surgery. Here is how Sherkat continues with his duplicitous, self-serving alibis for the peer reviewers’ gross dereliction of professional duty:

If a reviewer were to skip ahead to the statistics in the table, it would be understandable, he said, to assume that the children described there were, in fact, raised by a gay or lesbian couple for a significant portion of their childhoods. In reality, only two respondents lived with a lesbian couple for their entire childhoods, and most did not live with lesbian or gay parents for long periods, if at all.”

In the Chronicle interview, SSR’s editor-in-chief James Wright uses a euphemism to describe how corporate greed led him to publish the Regnerus submission without benefit of valid peer review:

“In his audit, Sherkat reveals that all the reviewers declared that the paper would generate “enormous interest.” Enormous interest leads to citations and downloads, which is how a journal’s relevance is judged. The higher the impact of its papers, the greater its prestige. Wright acknowledges that he was excited about the interest the paper would no doubt inspire, and he wonders in retrospect if “perhaps this prospect caused me to be inattentive to things I should have kept a keener eye on.”


The anti-gay-rights Witherspoon Institute funded Regnerus’s pseudoscience out of contempt for gay human beings and their rights.

The Regnerus “study,” 1) propagandistically paired with the Marks study, and 2) unethically pumped up further through Regnerus-and-Marks-studies-related propaganda pumped out by 3) the three non-topic-expert commentary writers with conflicts of interest, was 4) illicitly helped through to publication by the presence of Witherspoon’s Brad Wilcox on the Social Science Research editorial board.

The community now must — with unwavering determination — demand that the Regnerus study be retracted from publication and put through valid peer review prior to any eventual future re-publication.

The Regnerus pseudoscience scandal undermines the trust on which science is based.

This was hardly the first time that narrow-minded bigots ever commissioned a “study” for use as a political weapon against a minority.

We must now step up to the plate and demand that scientific standards be upheld, so that no other minority is similarly victimized through a combination of bigots’ spite and corporate greed in the future.

In 2010, Elsevier reported a profit margin of 36% on revenues of $3.2 billion. Elsevier accounts for 28% of the revenues of the Reed Elsevier group (₤1.5b of 5.4 billions in 2006).

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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Michelle Obama DNC Speech Democratic National Convention

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BREAKING: Democrats Approve Marriage Equality Platform

From The Advocate:

Democrats became the first major American political party to approve a platform endorsing marriage equality.

BY Julie Bolcer
September 04 2012

The Democratic Party made history at its national convention Tuesday when it became the first major American political party to endorse marriage equality in its platform, drawing a sharp contrast with the Republican Party’s official stance on the issue.

Delegates approved the platform with its explicit mention of “marriage equality” by voice vote on the floor of the Charlotte Convention Center in North Carolina shortly after 6 p.m. The move was preceded by a rousing speech from platform committee chair Newark Mayor Cory Booker that brought the crowd to its feet.

Advocates who pressed for the inclusion of the plank praised the final vote. The voice affirmation marked the culmination of a process that turned high profile earlier this year when Freedom to Marry launched the Democrats: Say I Do campaign in February. The advocacy also included two rounds of testimony from groups at the draft platform and platform committee meetings this summer.

“Today the Democratic Party stood up for family values and the value of all families by including a freedom to marry plank in its official platform,” said Freedom to Marry founder and president Evan Wolfson in a statement. “The party’s embrace of the freedom to marry matches the sentiment of the American people. They know that that marriage matters, that gay and non-gay loving and committed couples deserve respect, and that strengthening families is part of how we build a stronger country for all.”

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It Gets Better: The Day I Ran Away From Home

From Common Dreams:

by Robert Naiman
Published on Tuesday, September 4, 2012 by Common Dreams

Some time ago, following press reports of suicides of gay teens who had been subjected to bullying, the sex advice columnist Dan Savage organized a series of videos addressed to gay teens on the theme of “it gets better.” It gets better, so don’t give up. Hang on, persevere, because it gets better. Famous people participated; President Obama did one. Obama’s was quite moving, I thought; I guess a million people on YouTube agreed.

Good on you, Dan Savage, I thought at the time. At the same time, I felt a twinge of guilt. These people are speaking up, I thought. I could speak up too. I’m not famous, but I do have venues in which to write. I have never been gay, but I have been a teenager. Given my life experiences, I cannot help but see the situation as “a corollary of a deeper theorem,” as a mathematician might say. I know something about bullying in school. I also know something about bullying at home.

There’s a scene in the anti-Vietnam war documentary Hearts and Minds where Daniel Ellsberg describes being in the office of Defense Secretary Robert McNamara – his boss at the time – during a demonstration at the Pentagon against the Vietnam War. McNamara and Ellsberg go to the office window and look out on the demonstrators, and Ellsberg thinks to himself, “Those people are following their consciences. What would happen if I followed mine?” Which Ellsberg then proceeded to do, leaking the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times, revealing that U.S. officials knew the war was unwinnable, even as they sent more U.S. troops to die. (Do you think that might be happening today in Afghanistan?)

When Dan Savage organized “It Gets Better,” I had a kind of Dan Ellsberg moment: these people are speaking up, I could speak up too. But everything I want to say about this involves my mother in some way, especially the present story; and she was still alive, and I was not yet ready to tell the story in public. I didn’t want to embarrass my mother.

My mother passed away in March.

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Lily Ledbetter: Without Equal Pay, ‘We Lose What Cannot be Measure by Dollars’

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In 2012 Campaign Season, Anti-Choicers Show Their True Colors

From RH Reality Check:

by Amanda Marcotte, RH Reality Check
September 4, 2012

Anti-choicers know that their official line is that they’re not in this because they have backwards views on gender or that they’re afraid of female sexuality. Sure, they do have these beliefs, but we are expected to pretend that there’s no connection between their “traditional” views on women generally and their opposition to abortion rights. People who fail to play along with these expectations and insist on pointing out connections get paid in screaming, yelling, and playing-the-victim antics from anti-choicers. Considering how much knowledge anti-choicers have that their backwards views on gender hurt their cause, you’d think they wouldn’t be messing it up and letting the cat out of the bag as often as they do lately.

Indeed, showing their true colors has been a theme of anti-choicers this campaign season, from Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comment to Mike Huckabee’s extolling the virtues of rape as a baby delivery system to Paul Ryan minimizing rape by calling it a “method of conception.” But even beyond making comments indicating that they don’t really think rape is a big deal—it’s not like raping uterus vessels is the same as violating people, right?—it just seems generally like anti-choicers are getting weary of play-acting like this is about “life.” The urge to say what they actually mean, to shame women for being sexual and for being independent, is just becoming too great. Decades of pretending has worn thin. Now the seams are showing, and the misogynist comments are coming out.

The most prominent example is, of course, the viciousness towards the 99 percent of women who will use contraception at some point in their lives and who, as a result of the birth control benefit under health reform will now gain access to affordable contraceptive care. Most of the hatred was dumped on Sandra Fluke, who appears to most of us to be a normal law student, but who represents everything the anti-choice movement hates: A woman who unapologetically wants equality with men and who is unafraid to advocate for reproductive autonomy as a tool to get it. Hardly a week goes by anymore that some right wing pundit on the radio or Fox News doesn’t take a swipe at Fluke, implying that she’s some kind of emasculating, sex-crazed monster for no other reason than she’s a woman with ambition who thinks that it’s one’s basic human right to prevent unwanted pregnancy.

Now that anti-choicers have shown their hand, they just can’t stop doing it more and more. Erin Gloria Ryan, covered the RNC and attended an anti-choice women’s meeting. The expected nonsense was trotted out: Lies claiming that women are so stupid/lazy they wait until 8 months to have an abortion, war-mongerers who want to cut off health care access pretending they care about “life,” misrepresentations of 19th century feminist beliefs. But beyond that, the pretense that gender politics have nothing to do with this appears to have been dropped:

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Julian Castro Speech at DNC Democratic National Convention

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GOP Targets African-American Women in Voter Suppression Efforts

From Alternet:

Ever since 1980, African American women have been decisive in creating a gender gap that has helped elect Democratic Presidents.

By Ruth Rosen
August 31, 2012

How will the American Presidential election be won in November 2012? By the Republicans buying the election? Perhaps. But money cannot always buy an election. That is why Republicans have spent the last 4-6 years passing a spate of voter suppression laws in “swing states” that will make it more difficult and costly for the young, the elderly, minorities, union members and single and elderly women to cast a vote for Barack Obama.

Although the Republican effort is not exactly a secret, few Americans are discussing it with the urgency it deserves. The nonpartisan  Brennan Center for Justice  at the New York University School of Law says that since the start of 2011, 16 states—which account for 214 electoral votes—have  passed restrictive voting laws. Each law is different: some curb voter registration drives; others require new and costly forms of identification; and still others insist that voters produce government-issued photo IDs at the polls. The Brennan Center also points out that:

“[T]he scope of the suppression movement and its potential impact are  staggering … as many as 11 percent of eligible voters—roughly 21 million Americans—lack current, unexpired government-issued photo IDs. The percentages are even higher among seniors, African-Americans and other minorities, the working poor, the disabled and students—constituencies that traditionally skew Democratic and whose disenfranchisement could prove decisive in any close election.”

The American Civil Liberties Union  and other civil rights groups have been trying to gain injunctions against laws passed by Republican-dominated state legislatures, but with mixed success.

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Voter Suppression: The Confederacy Rises Again

From The Nation:

Ari Berman
on September 4, 2012

Charlotte—On Sunday I attended a fascinating panel of Southern politics experts convened by UNC–Chapel Hill. One of the major takeaways from the session was how diverse the South has become. For instance, Charlotte, the host city of the DNC, is now 45 percent white, 35 percent African-American and 13 percent Hispanic.

Among baby boomers aged 55–64, the South is 72 percent white. Among kids 15 or under, the South is 51 percent white, 22 percent Hispanic, 21 percent African-American and 6 percent other (which includes Asian-Americans and Native-Americans). In North Carolina, people of color accounted for 61 percent of the 1.5 million new residents the state gained over the past decade. Since 2008, the black and Hispanic share of eligible voters in North Carolina has grown by 2.5 percent, while the percentage of the white vote has decreased by a similar margin. This increasing diversity allowed Obama to win the Southern states of Florida, North Carolina and Virginia in 2008—all of which are competitive again in 2012.

The region’s changing demographics are a “ticking time bomb for Republicans,” said Scott Keeter, director of survey research at the Pew Research Center. The Southern GOP is 88 percent white. The Southern Democratic Party is 50 percent white, 36 percent African-American, 9 percent Hispanic and 5 percent other. The GOP’s dominance among white voters—who favor Romney over Obama by 26 points in the region—has allowed Republicans to control most of the region politically. But that will only be the case for so long if demographic trends continue to accelerate. Yet instead of courting the growing minority vote, Republicans across the South are actively limiting political representation for minority voters and making it harder for them to vote.

Eight of eleven states in the former Confederacy have passed restrictive voting laws since the 2010 election, as part of a broader war on voting undertaken by the GOP. Some of these changes have been mitigated by recent federal and state court rulings against the GOP, yet it’s still breathtaking to consider the different ways Republicans have sought to suppress the minority vote in the region.

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Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland: President Obama ‘Betting on the American Worker’

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Cruel Conservatives Throw a Masquerade Ball

From The New York Times:

Published: September 1, 2012


MESSAGE: They care.

Republicans care deeply. They really do.

They care deeply about making us think that they care deeply.

That’s why they knocked themselves out producing a convention that was a colossal hoax.

They did that for us. Because they care. With exquisite timing, they started caring last Tuesday at 7 p.m., when suddenly the party was chockablock with tender souls in rainbow colors, with strong-minded women and softhearted men, with sentimental rags-to-riches immigrant sagas.

We all know Republicans prefer riches-to-riches sagas and rounding up immigrants, if the parasitic scofflaws aren’t sensitive enough to self-deport.

That’s why my heart swells to think of the herculean effort the G.O.P. put into pretending its heart bleeds.

Even if it’s been bleeding for only five days. Better never than late.

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Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital Bailout: GOP Candidate’s Firm Profited From Company That Required $44 Million Federal Bailout

So the company of Mr. Ayn Rand Romney sucks really hard on the tit of Uncle Sam.  Seems to be par for the course handouts for the rich and hard work with bottom of the barrel pay for the hard working American People.

After Bain stole the pension of the company Romney and crew sucked the life out of Uncle Sam was expected to replace it.

From Huffington Post:


(Reuters) – It was funny at first.

The young men in business suits, gingerly picking their way among the millwrights, machinists and pipefitters at Kansas City’s Worldwide Grinding Systems steel mill. Gaping up at the cranes that swung 10-foot cast iron buckets through the air. Jumping at the thunder from the melt shop’s electric-arc furnace as it turned scrap metal into lava.

“They looked like a bunch of high school kids to me. A bunch of Wall Street preppies,” says Jim Linson, an electronics repairman who worked at the plant for 40 years. “They came in, they were in awe.”

Apparently they liked what they saw. Soon after, in October 1993, Bain Capital, co-founded by Mitt Romney, became majority shareholder in a steel mill that had been operating since 1888.

It was a gamble. The old mill, renamed GS Technologies, needed expensive updating, and demand for its products was susceptible to cycles in the mining industry and commodities markets.

Less than a decade later, the mill was padlocked and some 750 people lost their jobs. Workers were denied the severance pay and health insurance they’d been promised, and their pension benefits were cut by as much as $400 (258 pounds) a month.

What’s more, a federal government insurance agency had to pony up $44 million to bail out the company’s underfunded pension plan. Nevertheless, Bain profited on the deal, receiving $12 million on its $8 million initial investment and at least $4.5 million in consulting fees.

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Weathergirl goes rogue