University Under Attack for Transgender Exhibition

From The Advocate:

Loren Cameron’s photos documenting trans bodies has gotten some Minnesota students up in arms.

BY Diane Anderson-Minshall
September 19 2012

Transgender photographer Loren Cameron began documenting his own journey to manhood in the early 1990s, photographing his gender affirmation from female-to-male. He also began taking images of other transgender and transsexual people in the San Francisco Bay Area and within a few years his exhibitions were nationally renown. That led to Lambda-winning books (includng Body Alchemy: Transsexual Portraits, which put him on the proverbial map) and photo projects (including work that focuses on the sexuality of gay trans men) and extensive lectures and exhibitions around the globe. Now the University of Minnesota at Duluth is under attack for giving Cameron a $4,000 honorarium for his appearance and presentation of transgender images, according to

A conservative student group affiliated with the Arlington, Va.-based Leadership Institute is objecting to the exhibition because it has explicit images of trans men. According to, Campus Reform‘s Oliver Darcy complained that “A public university plans to host an event in which a self-described man displays sexually explicit images of his transition from a female to male physique. University officials also refused to comment on how the presentation is educational to the student body or provide further details on the event.”

Darcy complained that this is another example of UMD funding suspicious presentations, pointing out Queer History Month, a National Coming Out day lunch, and what the writer called a speech by “anti-white author Tim Wise” on race relations. Later on Fox News, Campus Reform’s Josiah Ryan argued that “UMD’s administration has spent thousands of dollars in public resources this year to support a radical and divisive agenda. While [UMD] President Lendley Black’s administration’s sponsorship of this sexually explicit presentation may satisfy a small minority on campus, it will surely offend many more students, alumni, and donors.”

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Brazil trans woman brutally murdered

From Gay Star UK:

A trans woman became the latest victim in a spate of trans murders in state of state of São Paulo, Brazil

By Dan Littauer
19 September 2012

A 20 year-old trans woman was murdered in the early hours of Sunday (16 September) in the city of Votuporanga, state of São Paulo, Brazil.

The body was found near a dumpster in a rural region of the city. The victim’s genitals and one ear were found to have been cut off.

The Brazilian military police, who are investigating the case, suspect that the trans woman, who was a sex worker, was possibly taken to the remote location and murdered by a client.

The police still has no clues as to the identity of the murderer.

The victim was said to be a resident of the town of Tanabi, in the state of São Paulo and her funeral service was held on Monday (17 September).

Crimes against trans people shocked the state São Paulo. Last month, a 23 year-old trans woman was brutally murdered in the city center of Clementina.

Two people were arrested in connection with the murder.

In mid-August four trans women were shot in the city of São José do Rio Preto, São Paulo state. Two died from their wounds while the two others were taken for intensive care in local hospitals.

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Same-sex marriages on the rise in Canada: census

From Raw Story:

By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, September 19, 2012

OTTAWA — The number of same-sex marriages in Canada nearly tripled from 2006, according to a 2011 census released Wednesday that revealed a dramatic shift in the makeup of Canadian families.

The data showed that married couples overall declined as a proportion of all families during the period, but still formed the predominant family structure, accounting for two-thirds of all families.

In contrast, the number of declared same-sex couples has skyrocketed since same-sex marriage was legalized in Canada in July 2005.

The census counted 64,575 same-sex couples in 2011, up 42.4 percent from 2006. Of these, 21,015 were same-sex married couples (up 181.5 percent) and 43,560 were same-sex common-law couples (up 15 percent).

Gay and lesbian couples, however, still accounted for only 0.8 percent of all couples in Canada.

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UK: Equalities minister: no reason to delay gay marriage

From The Independent UK:

In a move that dashes the hopes of the Tory right, Conservative equalities minister Maria Miller says “a change is needed” in marriage law.

Oliver Wright
Tuesday 18 September 2012

The Conservative cabinet minister who was handed responsibility for gay marriage legislation in the reshuffle today dashes the hopes of religious groups and the Tory right that the Government is preparing to delay or shelve its proposals.

Writing about her views on the subject for the first time on Independent Voices the Culture Secretary Maria Miller says she believes gay marriage must be legalised to preserve Britain’s “proud history of freedom and fairness” and ensure that the institution remains relevant in the 21st century.

Giving the move her unequivocal backing she insists that safeguards are in place to respect religious freedoms but adds that that state must not stand in the way of opening up civil marriage to all.

Her intervention will be a blow to large numbers of Conservative MPs and peers who vehemently oppose the change and hoped that her appointment in the reshuffle as equalities minister in place of the Liberal Democrat Lynne Featherstone was a signal that the Government was preparing to change its mind and delay the plan.

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Gay Marriage Likely To Go Before Supreme Court Within The Next Year

From Huffington Post:


BOULDER, Colo. — Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Wednesday that she believes the Defense of Marriage Act will likely go to the U.S. Supreme Court within the next year.

Ginsburg spoke at the University of Colorado in Boulder. She was asked a student-submitted question about the equal-protection clause and whether the nation’s high court would consider it applying to sexual orientation.

Ginsburg said with a smile that she couldn’t answer the question. She said she could not talk about matters that would come to the court, and that the Defense of Marriage Act would probably be up soon.

“I think it’s most likely that we will have that issue before the court toward the end of the current term,” she said.

The 1996 law has been declared unconstitutional by a federal judge in New York and is awaiting arguments before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Those oral arguments are scheduled for Sept. 27.

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Pastors Saying ‘Stay Home On Election Day’ Dishonor Civil Rights Pioneer John Lewis

From The New Civil Rights Movement:

by David Badash
on September 17, 2012

Some Black pastors are telling their congregations to stay home on election day, because of President Obama’s support for same-sex marriage, and because they don’t trust Mitt Romney’s Mormon religion, according to news reports today. But those who counsel their congregants to do so are risking repeal of Obamacare and the voting rights act, just for starters. And those who do so also  snub their noses at civil rights pioneer and Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, who earlier this month said, “your vote is precious, almost sacred.”

Brothers and sisters, do you want to go back? Or do you want to keep America moving forward? My dear friends, your vote is precious, almost sacred. It is the most powerful, nonviolent tool we have to create a more perfect union. Not too long ago, people stood in unmovable lines. They had to pass a so-called literacy test, pay a poll tax. On one occasion, a man was asked to count the number of bubbles in a bar of soap. On another occasion, one was asked to count the jelly beans in a jar-all to keep them from casting their ballots.  Today it is unbelievable that there are Republican officials still trying to stop some people from voting. They are changing the rules, cutting polling hours and imposing requirements intended to suppress the vote. The Republican leader in the Pennsylvania House even bragged that his state’s new voter ID law is “gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state.” That’s not right. That’s not fair. That’s not just. And similar efforts have been made in Texas, Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, Arizona, Georgia and South Carolina. I’ve seen this before. I’ve lived this before. Too many people struggled, suffered and died to make it possible for every American to exercise their right to vote.

Who would intentionally give that away?

Pastors who tell congregants to not vote, to stay home, also do so at the very peril of their Church’s tax exempt status, and thus, their future.

Churches that file as 501(c)(3) organizations are required to follow decades-old rules the IRS conveniently makes very, very clear, including on this page and in this handbook:

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Let Them Eat Crab Cake

From The New York Times:

Published: September 18, 2012


Oh, for the days when we thought Mitt Romney didn’t stand for anything.

As a secret video from a Boca Raton fund-raiser with high rollers in May shows, Romney in private stands for so many bizarre things that it’s hard to tell what’s crazier — his domestic policy or his foreign policy.

Less than 50 days before the election, we learn that Romney may have given up on half of America and on Mideast peace.

In a reply to a fat cat at the $50,000-a-plate dinner, he wrote off 47 percent of the country as deadbeats, freeloaders and “victims” who feel they’re entitled to stuff — stuff like basic sustenance.

“Well, there are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what,” he said. “All right? There are 47 percent who are with him. Who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they’re entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.”

The candidate, who pays so little in taxes relative to his income that he has to hide tax returns and money in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands, then added, condescendingly: “These are people who pay no income tax.”

“So my job is not to worry about those people,” he blithely concluded. “I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” What kind of presidential candidate shrugs off wooing whole groups — we’re talking many seniors and white-working-class voters in battleground states who are, if he actually knew what he was talking about, his own natural constituencies?

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Proof Romney & Ryan are Consumed by the Libertarian Utopian “Me Society”

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Tea Party Leaders Beg Grassroots GOP To Keep The Faith

From Talking Points Memo:

Evan McMorris-Santoro
September 19, 2012

The conservative ennui over Mitt Romney’s campaign extends from the ivory towers in New York and Washington all the way down to the Republican grassroots.

In increasingly desperate emails to their supporters this week, tea party leaders are begging their coalition — responsible for much of the GOP’s momentum since 2009 — to hold it together despite the dark clouds swirling over Romney-Ryan campaign.

Political emails often cast election prospects in the darkest possible terms, hoping to wring the most dollars and time out of supporters. But the tone of the tea party dispatches this week goes deeper, responding to what the authors describe as a real sense of disillusionment.

“Several people mentioned to us that the media seems to be trying to make them believe we have no hope,” Kay and Ron Rivoli, performers on the Tea Party Express bus tour, wrote in an email sent to supporters Tuesday. “Folks, the liberal media is lying. They are trying to make you feel defeated so you won’t bother going to the polls to vote. But there is hope and that hope is in Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.”

The central message of the email: Don’t give up. The tea party is still on board with the GOP ticket, if only because it wants to stop a Democratic win.

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Infomercial God Peddler Jim Bakker: ‘America is Under Curse’ and Ripe for Divine Punishment

There is a reason why all progressive people should turn out this election and throw their support behind the Democrats, even though we have often been disappointed in them. 

To do other wise would be utter stupidity and would run the risk of the insane right wing religious fanatics taking over.

From Right Wing Watch:

by Brian Tashman
on Wed, 09/19/2012

During an interview with self-proclaimed prophet Cindy Jacobs, televangelist Jim Bakker warned that “America is under curse” and God let his protective hand of protection down to allow the September 11 attacks to occur in order “to get your and my attention.” Bakker tearfully decried legal abortion and limits on organized school prayer and the public placement of religious items like the Ten Commandments, telling viewers that now “God is weeping in Heaven.”

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Karl Rove: Assembling the Death Star to American Democracy

From Truth Out:

By Dr Brian Moench
Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Karl Rove’s obsession with permanent Republican control of all three branches of government was evident when he and the author were both just high school students. Now Rove is closer than ever to fulfilling his lifelong dream of a Republican Empire.

Liberals have much to be depressed about in 2012. The radicalization of the Republican Party has dragged the country’s political center of gravity sharply to the right, with only weak resistance mounted by the Democrats. The Citizens United ruling is playing out exactly as they had feared, unleashing a carpet bombing of the electoral process with “money of mass destruction” launched by a handful of billionaires whose lives and worldviews seem like even more of a caricature of callousness and greed than Gordon Gekko. Even if Obama survives the money blitzkrieg, it will undoubtedly drive the outcome in countless Congressional and state races.

In addition to historically liberal causes such as minority rights, middle-class jobs and environmental protection, today’s liberals are beside themselves over our likely reaching the point of no return on the climate crisis. Meanwhile, the Republican Party holds the country hostage, doubles down on the same energy formula that has brought us to the brink in the first place, and mocks the majority of the population that believes in, well, science.

While there are multiple villains in the Republican Empire, the one person who has done more damage to American democracy in the last 30 years, and has the greatest potential to do further long-term damage, continues to fly largely under the radar.  The closest thing America has had in modern times to a real life Darth Vader was not Dick Cheney, but Karl Rove, his marshmallow physicality and lack of helmet notwithstanding.

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Perry tells ‘Christian Taliban’ to ‘stand our ground’ against Obama

From Raw Story:

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, September 19, 2012

During a conference call with evangelicals on Tuesday, Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) called upon “Christian warriors” and “Christian soldiers” to “stand our ground” against President Barack Obama, who he said is trying to ”remove any trace of religion from American life,” a message inspired by “Satan” himself.

Perry made the comments during a conference call with pastors and evangelicals nationwide, as first cited by Right Wing Watch. He was taking part in an ongoing religious campaign called “40 Days to Save America.” Other participants in the calls this week include Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), and even former Jack Abramoff co-conspirator Ralph Reed.

Introducing his guest, pastor Rick Scarborough, one of the “40 Days” organizers, credited the governor’s spirituality with ending the Texas drought. (Update: The Texas drought is actually still going on.) But it was Perry himself who did the real preaching.

In audio published to the campaign’s website (embedded below), Perry claims that the constitutional provision which guarantees the right to religious freedom actually drives faithful Christians out of the public sphere. “This iron curtain or whatever you want to call it between the church and people of faith and this separation of church and state is just false on its face,” he said.

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Finding heart in the melting Arctic

From Green Peace:

by Sara Ayeck
September 19, 2012

The record has already been broken – but it is about to be shattered.

This isn’t the kind of record you wish to remember and tell your grandchildren about. This is no tale of great sporting achievement like Usain Bolt smashing his way into the Olympic record books. No, this is something entirely more somber.

I’m in the Arctic as part of a Greenpeace crew to bear witness to this year’s sea ice minimum – the moment of the year when the extent of Arctic sea ice is at its lowest. And very soon we expect to hear news of a new record, breaking the one set in 2007 – the lowest ever recorded sea ice minimum.

If current trends continue, the Arctic Ocean – which research suggests has not been ice free for many thousands of years – is likely to see ice free summers within the next decade.

The melting is happening much faster than previously predicted by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, whose models estimate ice free summers by the end of the century.

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Get used to ‘extreme’ weather, it’s the new normal

From The Guardian UK:

Scientists have been warning us for years that a warmer planet would lead to more extreme weather, and now it’s arrived, Wednesday 19 September 2012

It has been a summer full of reports of extreme weather, of unparalleled scope and severity. Among the highlights: one of the warmest years on record in the US, record-high temperatures in central and eastern Europe, the wettest summer in the UK, the heaviest rainfalls in northern India and the Philippines and the most severe droughts in the US and east Africa.

In short, climate change and weather extremes are not about a distant future. Formerly one-off extreme weather episodes seem to be becoming the new normal. Weather extremes are not that extreme any more. Heatwaves, floods, droughts and wildfires are the new reality of an ever warming world.

And this should not come as a surprise. Scientists have been warning for years that as the planet heats up, we will have to deal with more severe, more changeable, more unpredictable weather. The evidence is mounting that human-caused warming is pushing normal warming effects to extremes. Heatwaves have increased in duration and frequency. Some parts of Europe are now gripped by severe water shortages while other parts have suffered extreme precipitations causing floods and increased crop losses.

And although not every extreme weather event can be attributed to climate change, scientists are now much more confident about linking individual weather events to climate change. Take 2011’s record warm November in the UK, the second hottest on record. Researchers say that it was at least 60 times more likely to happen because of climate change than because of natural variations in the earth’s weather systems.

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