New York City: Transgender Patron Slashed in W. 3rd St. McDonald’s Hate Crime Attack

From DNA Info:  http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20120921/west-village/nypd-seeks-suspect-slashing-west-3rd-street-mcdonalds

By Dan Rivoli, Murray Weiss
September 21, 2012

MANHATTAN — Cops are on the hunt for a knife-wielding suspect who allegedly slashed a 22-year-old transgender patron after hurling an anti-gay slur at her for trying to use the women’s bathroom at the West 3rd Street McDonald’s, police and sources said.

The problems began shortly after 7 p.m. when two transgender women at the crime-plagued West Village eatery were accosted at the entrance to the women’s bathroom by a male patron who allegedly hurled anti-gay slurs at them.

“You’re going to the wrong bathroom,” the suspect said, according to sources. The man then threatened to “f— them up”

The women walked outside the West 3rd Street and Sixth Avenue location to escape the attacker, who police described as 5-foot 10-inches and weighing between 300 and 350 pounds, only to have him follow them out and try to take a swing at one of them, sources said.

One of the victims returned the punch, then kneed the assailant in the groin, sending him down to the ground, sources said.

The suspect pulled out a razor blade and repeatedly slashed the victim in the elbow, face, back and neck, police said.

The suspect fled and is now wanted for assault as a hate crime, cops said.

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One Year After Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal, Transgender Military Members Still Forced To Serve Secretly

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/22/dont-ask-dont-tell-transgender-dadt_n_1904157.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices


09/22/2012

Thursday marked the one year anniversary of the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and to honor the occasion, President Obama tweeted “All Americans can now serve their country without hiding who they are.” However, there are still service members who can be discharged for coming out of the closet. Transgender men and women are not allowed to serve in the military, and some gay-rights advocates are saying that the time has come to change this.

“The gay community has thrown the transgender community under the bus,” said Aaron Belkin, the author of “How We Won: Progressive Lessons From the Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.'” Belkin allowed that not much is known about the issue apart from the fact that these troops exist, but he called the fight for transgender inclusion in the military the “next big struggle.”

Kate, a transgender naval officer who was born male and asked that her name be changed to conceal her identity, said part of the reason she was drawn to the military was because she thought of it as a “hyper-masculine entity.” She believed that if she served in the military it would make “this whole transition thing not an option.”

Research suggests that she isn’t unique in this regard. According to a recent follow-up to a 1998 study called “The Flight Into Hypermasculinity,” men in the military are twice as likely to identify themselves as transgender women than their civilian counterparts. George Brown, the author of the study, wrote, “They joined the service, in their words, ‘to become a real man.'”

But studies on the military and transgender men and women are rare, and in general, the lives of transgender service members are very much out of the public eye. Whereas the years-long controversy over DADT served to educate the public about the realities of life for gays and lesbians and their ability to serve in the military, the debate over transgender members has barely begun.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/22/dont-ask-dont-tell-transgender-dadt_n_1904157.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

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Man wearing red frock: UK: Cardinal Keith O’Brien nominated for ‘bigot’ of the year, by Stonewall

From The Pink News:  http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2012/09/21/uk-cardinal-keith-obrien-nominated-for-bigot-of-the-year-by-stonewall/

by
September 21, 2012

Stonewall, Britain’s largest gay rights charity, has nominated the UK’s most senior Catholic, Cardinal Keith O’ Brien for the title of “Bigot of the Year” as part of its annual awards ceremony.

On its website, Stonewall wrote: “Keith O’Brien has been a prominent opponent of marriage equality and made headlines with deeply offensive comments about same-sex couples. He’s stated that same-sex relationships are ‘harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing’ and compared equal marriage to slavery and child abuse.

Stonewall added: “Under his leadership the Catholic Church in Scotland has pledged to ‘declare war’ on marriage equality and has committed an additional £100,000 for the fight”.

Continue reading at:  http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2012/09/21/uk-cardinal-keith-obrien-nominated-for-bigot-of-the-year-by-stonewall/

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Man wearing black dress: Gay Marriage Ban ‘Not Intended To Be Hurtful’ Says Archbishop Leading Charge

From The New Civil Rights Movement:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/gay-marriage-ban-not-intended-to-be-hurtful-says-archbishop-leading-charge/politics/2012/09/20/49321

by David Badash
on September 20, 2012

John Nienstedt, the Archbishop who gained infamy for mass-mailing hundreds of thousands of anti-gay marriage DVDs to Minnesota families without their asking or approval, now says the anti-gay marriage ballot initiative for which he’s been leading the charge is “not intended to be hurtful.”

“This is a positive affirmation, not intended to be hurtful or discriminatory to anyone,” Nienstedt, the Catholic Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, said Tuesday, flanked by clergy members on the state capitol’s steps. “Our understanding of marriage between a man and a woman predates any government, or in fact, any religious denomination.”

Of course, then, it makes perfect sense to use the law as a weapon against same-sex couples and their children, right?

Minnesota already has a law that bans same-sex marriage, but that’s insufficient for this anti-gay man of God, who is following Pope Benedict XVI’s war on gay marriage edicts. Nienstedt’s war will write discrimination directly into Minnesota’s constitution, banning permanently same-sex marriage equality. Also, it is the antithesis of religious liberty, as it bans clergy who wish to marry same-sex couples from fulfilling the call of their own faith.

Archbishop Nienstedt displays one of the prime reasons those opposed to the Pope and the Catholic leadership are so outraged: they are selfish, they consider neither the rights nor lives of those who do not choose to follow their faith. Only their version of Catholicism, or Christianity, may survive — all others be damned.

Continue reading at:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/gay-marriage-ban-not-intended-to-be-hurtful-says-archbishop-leading-charge/politics/2012/09/20/49321

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Mitt Romney: The Worst Week in Washington

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Tea Party Threatens Revenge Against Pennsylvania Justices For Not Upholding Voter ID Law

From Think Progress:   http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/09/21/887711/tea-party-threatens-revenge-against-pennsylvania-justices-for-not-upholding-voter-id-law/

By Ian Millhiser
on Sep 21, 2012

Earlier this week, every single sitting Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice rejected a lower court decision allowing that state’s voter ID law to take effect. Four justices joined a majority opinion requiring the lower court judge to look at the case again due to concerns that voters were unable to obtain the IDs they were supposed to have easy access to as a matter of law, and two more justices joined a dissent arguing that the law should simply be suspended right away. Three of the justices in the majority were Republicans.

Nevertheless, a Tea Party group is now threatening to exact revenge upon the state supreme court for refusing to uphold a law that prevents many low-income, student and minority voters from casting a ballot:

A Philadelphia-area tea party group says it will work to defeat two state Supreme Court justices next year if the state’s new voter identification law isn’t in effect for the Nov. 6 election.

The Independence Hall Tea Party on Thursday also criticized the court’s decision to send a legal challenge to the law back for a lower court review.

It called the decision “a cowardly move” to “punt the ball.”

Chief Justice Ronald Castille, a Republican, and Justice Max Baer, a Democrat, are each finishing a 10-year term in January 2014.

Continue reading at:  http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/09/21/887711/tea-party-threatens-revenge-against-pennsylvania-justices-for-not-upholding-voter-id-law/

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Republican party on wrong side of history over female equality

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/22/republican-party-wrong-side-history-female-equality

From Rush Limbaugh’s ‘slut’ comment to Todd Akin’s ‘legitimate rape’ remark, is it any wonder women are deserting the GOP?


guardian.co.uk, Saturday 22 September 2012

The furor over Todd Akin‘s “legitimate rape” comments had finally settled down when a Republican governor appeared at a Romney rally to praise Republican wives.

“It’s not easy to be a spouse of an elected official. You know, they’re at home, doing the laundry and doing so many things while we’re up here on the stage getting a little bit of applause, right?”

What is the matter with Republicans? With foot-in-mouth disease reaching epidemic levels, it’s time to say it: the GOP has a woman problem. It goes much deeper than partisan differences over birth control coverage and abortion. These off-the-cuff comments about selfless spouses and virtuous virgins reveal that too many Republicans do not believe that women are equal to men.

The GOP and Mitt Romney, of course, vigorously deny they are waging a “war on women”. After all, just look at the women paraded across the Republican national convention stage, many of them elected in 2010 as Sarah Palin-branded “Mama Grizzlies”. The problem, however, is that the GOP’s XX politicians don’t seem to be looking out for their less powerful sisters. The 24 Republican women in the US House of Representatives cast all of two votes for equal pay, two against domestic violence, and three to let women make their own birth control decisions.

The GOP platform includes no exceptions for rape in its anti-abortion plank; Republican Governor Jan Brewer has already signed that policy into law. Only seven Republican congressmen and women voted for the landmark Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, even though women still earn on average 23% less than men. One hundred and forty-three US servicewomen have been killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, yet the Republican party platform opposes women in combat roles. Oh, and did you know that the vaunted Year of the Republican Woman left the GOP with fewer women in Congress than the Democrats had in 1992?

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/22/republican-party-wrong-side-history-female-equality

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Mitt Romney: Outside the Circle

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What Mitt Romney Really Represents

From Robert Reich: http://robertreich.org/post/31998690766

Robert Reich
Sept. 21, 2012

It’s not just his giant income or the low tax rates he pays on it. And it’s not just the videotape of him berating almost half of America, or his endless gaffes, or his regressive budget policies.

It’s something that unites all of this, and connects it to the biggest underlying problem America faces — the unprecedented concentration of wealth and power at the very top that’s undermining our economy and destroying our democracy.

Romney just released his 2011 tax returns, showing he paid $1.9 million in taxes on more than $13 million of income last year — for an effective tax rate of 14.1 percent. (He released his 2010 return in January, showing he paid an effective tax rate of 13.9 percent.)

American has had hugely wealthy presidents before — think of Teddy Roosevelt and his distant cousin, Franklin D. Roosevelt; or John F. Kennedy, beneficiary of father Joe’s fortune.

But here’s the difference. These men were champions of the working class and the poor, and were considered traitors to their own class. Teddy Roosevelt railed against the “malefactors of great wealth,” and he busted up the oil and railroad trusts.

Continue reading at:  http://robertreich.org/post/31998690766

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Immigrant Detention and the Private Prison Industry

From LA Progressive: http://www.laprogressive.com/private-prison-industry/

By
Friday, 21 September 2012

The latest data on immigration enforcement show that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detained a record high of 429,247 noncitizens in the 2011 fiscal year, an increase of 18 percent over 2010. Immigration detention has been steadily increasing over the last two decades.  A new report by Justice Strategies suggests this increase is largely due to the efforts of private prison companies.

The report, titled, “Privately Operated Federal Prisons for Immigrants: Expensive. Unsafe. Unnecessary,” documents the history of prison privatization in the U.S.  Political initiatives and legislative reforms aimed at getting tough on crime led to an explosion in the prison population.  Between 1980 and 2010, the federal prison population increased by 761 percent.  Private prison corporations took advantage of the situation to contract out their services to the federal government, particularly the Immigration and Naturalization Service (now part of the Department of Homeland Security).

They were also able to capitalize on the terrorist attacks of 9/11.  In October 2001, Wall Street investors were told about the favorable post-9/11 business conditions:

It’s clear that since September 11 there’s a heightened focus on detention, both on the borders and in the U.S… The federal business is the best business for us.  It’s the most consistent business for us – and the events of September 11 is [sic] increasing that level of business.

These federal contracts are controlled by two corporations.  The Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) incarcerates more than 80,000 people in more than 60 facilities with 90,000 beds, and the GEO group operates 109 facilities with approximately 75,000 beds.  These companies charge ICE approximately $90 per day for each detainee, extracting a huge profit.

Continue reading at:  http://www.laprogressive.com/private-prison-industry/

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Drug War Failure, Progressive Liberty, Death Penalty

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Bill McKibben: Go After the “Outlaw” Fossil Fuel Companies

From The Progressive:  http://www.progressive.org/bill-mckibben-go-after-outlaw-fossil-fuel-companies

By Matthew Rothschild
September 20, 2012

When I read in The New York Times this morning that a record low amount of ice — only 24 percent — covered the Arctic Ocean, I thought immediately of a speech I heard Bill McKibben give at Fighting Bob Fest in Madison, Wisconsin, last Saturday.

“Reality intrudes,” he said. Amid all the focus on the political campaigns, he continued, “the most important thing that happened this year was that half the Arctic ice cap melted. One of the biggest physical features of our planet got broken.”

He talked about the “summer like no other” that we’ve just lived through, noting that it started in March when it was 94 degrees in South Dakota. While it may have felt welcome, he said, it was “weird and scary and not how the world is supposed to work.”

He noted the forest fires in New Mexico and Colorado, and then the drought that’s been covering 68 percent of the country and the record heat we’ve had in Wisconsin.

“Some people here may have predicted that if you elected Scott Walker governor, Wisconsin would go to hell in a handbasket, but I doubt you meant that so literally,” he joked.

Then he got serious.

“Unless we act really quickly,” he said, “it’s going to get much, much, much, much, much, much worse.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.progressive.org/bill-mckibben-go-after-outlaw-fossil-fuel-companies

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Nancy C. Unger: Fifty years after ‘Silent Spring,’ let’s not roll back environmental protections

From The Capitol Times:  http://host.madison.com/ct/news/opinion/column/nancy-c-unger-fifty-years-after-silent-spring-let-s/article_6b9dac30-0347-11e2-a703-0019bb2963f4.html

NANCY UNGER
September 21, 2012

Mitt Romney wants to open up more federal lands and waters to drilling for oil and natural gas. His party is pushing, in the name of freedom and economic opportunity, to roll back a variety of environmental protections. Republicans, including U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, are seeking to ease pesticide regulations; some are even questioning the Environmental Protection Agency’s ban on DDT, reopening a controversy that stretches back half a century.

Fifty years ago this month, Rachel Carson published “Silent Spring.” This critique of the America’s dependence on chemical pesticides is widely hailed as one of the most influential books of the 20th century.

At the time of its publication, however, both the message and the messenger were roundly denounced. During a period of unprecedented prosperity and technological advances, Carson — a woman! — had the temerity to tell Americans that they were stunningly oblivious to the environmental dangers they were creating. She charged public officials with being far too trusting of the chemical industry and its false assurances of safety. In particular, Carson denounced this nation’s vast reliance upon pesticides, especially DDT.

“Silent Spring” pointed out long-term consequences of chemical use that far outweighed the immediate benefits. The book’s title came from the opening chapter, “A Fable for Tomorrow.” This vignette described an American town in which all life, from songbirds to children, had been silenced by killer chemicals unwittingly unleashed by the scientific community. “Future historians may well be amazed by our distorted sense of proportion,” Carson warned. “How could intelligent beings seek to control a few unwanted species by a method that contaminated the entire environment and brought the threat of disease and death even to their own kind?”

“Silent Spring” was denounced in the popular press. In a scathing review, Time magazine dismissed it as “hysterically overemphatic.” When the New Yorker serialized “Silent Spring,” a California reader complained to the magazine’s editor that “Miss Rachel Carson’s reference to the selfishness of insecticide manufacturers probably reflects her communist sympathies,” adding, “As for insects, isn’t it just like a woman to be scared to death of a few little bugs!”

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Romney and the Neocons Court Nuclear Disaster

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/09/22-2

by Eric Margolis
Published on Saturday, September 22, 2012

Chinese and Japanese vessels prowl menacingly in the sea around the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands as Beijing and Tokyo exchange threats.

A few wrong moves could spark a clash between China and Japan that would likely draw in Tokyo’s ally, the United States, which, under a 1960 defense treaty, is bound to defend Japan if it is attacked.

Half way around the globe, powerful US naval forces are cruising the Gulf and Arabian Sea to intimidate Iran. A clash between US and Iranian naval units or aircraft in the Gulf seems increasingly likely as heated rhetoric on both sides increases.

Meanwhile, Israel’s rightist prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, keeps threatening to attack Iran, with or without US assistance.

No one can accuse him of being a flip-flopper like his ally and admirer, Mitt Romney.

Twenty years ago, in 1992, Netanyahu declared Iran would deploy nuclear weapons in 3-5 years. In 1995, Israeli officials warned Iran would have nuclear arms by 2000. In 1998, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warned that Iran would have intercontinental ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads by 2003 that could strike the United States. Netanyahu now insists Iran will have nukes within a year. US intelligence denies this claim. Even biased UN nuclear inspectors say Iran has no nukes.

Continue reading at:   http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/09/22-2

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