From The New Civil Rights Movement: http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/bombshell-regnerus-anti-gay-scandal-clear-evidence-of-misconduct/politics/2012/09/28/49886
by Scott Rose
on September 28, 2012
Reposted with permission
We have been reporting on a politically-motivated hoax “study” of supposedly gay and lesbian parents, funded through the National Organization For Marriage (NOM) linked Witherspoon Institute and carried out by Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas at Austin (UT).
Regnerus and Witherspoon repeatedly have alleged that Witherspoon had no involvement in the design, conduct or analyses of the study.
Regnerus makes that false claim in his published study.
Witherspoon makes it in the stand-alone site created to promote the study:
One element of evidence we already had, proving that the claim is false, is a Regnerus study consulting contract — for data analysis — issued by UT and signed by Witherspoon’s Brad Wilcox; Wilcox’s contract is the second one viewable at this link.
As a follow-up to the discovery of Wilcox’s Regnerus study consulting contract for data analysis, this reporter sent an Open Records Act (OPA) request to UT for all Regnerus study-related communications between Regnerus and Wilcox.
In response to that request, UT sent a letter to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, asking for OPA exceptions to get out of having to comply with the document request.
In that letter, UT revealed that Regnerus’s funding agency representative — Witherspoon’s Wilcox — collaborated with Regnerus not only on study data analysis but also on data collection.
The first two pages at this link are UT’s letter to Attorney General Abbott, with the description of Wilcox’s involvement in Regnerus study data collection and analysis highlighted on the second page; the third page shows Regnerus’s shameless lies about his funders not being involved in data collection and analysis for his study.
Wilcox is Director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, and Regnerus in his published study says that a “leading family researcher” from the University of Virginia was on his study design team.
Regnerus’s deliberate lie — written into his published study — wherein his funders were said not to be involved with the conduct of his study, irrefutably constitutes misconduct.
Be sure to note that the UT letter to the Texas AG states that the Open Records Act request should not be fulfilled because the data of the Regnerus study “can be used to validate the original survey instrumentation,” in other words, it can be used to determine whether Regnerus and Wilcox committed fabrication and/or falsification.
To sign a petition telling Elsevier to retract the Regnerus study from publication in that company’s journal Social Science Research, go here.
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.
From The Center for Inquiry: http://www.centerforinquiry.net/blogs/entry/atheist_giving_more_compassion-driven_than_giving_by_the_religious/
By Tom Flynn
September 27, 2012
Don’t know how I missed this before, but a study appearing in the July 2012 issue of Social Psychological and Personality Science finds that atheists are more motivated by compassion than givers with strong religious beliefs. This was not a study of whether atheists give more or less than churchgoers — that’s a whole other controversy — but rather a study of why religious and nonreligious givers give.
A May 1 MSNBC story reported the key point in these words:
Overall, we find that for less religious people, the strength of their emotional connection to another person is critical to whether they will help that person or not,” study co-author and University of California, Berkeley social psychologist Robb Willer said in a statement. “The more religious, on the other hand, may ground their generosity less in emotion, and more in other factors such as doctrine, a communal identity, or reputational concerns.
That would seem to support a suggestion I made in my op-ed “Are Secularists Less Generous?” in the August / September 2010 FREE INQUIRY:
Remember, Christianity strongly encourages charity-sometimes past the point of good sense. Prosperity preachers urge the poor to send in their rent money and hope God will provide. Granted, many Christians look down their noses at prosperity preachers. But I have yet to meet a Christian who doesn’t think highly of Jesus, and he praised the widow for giving the temple her last money in the world (Mark 12:42–44; Luke 21:1–4). Beyond doubt, Christianity demands and praises charity. Close-knit congregations can be hotbeds of social pressure to contribute, the pressure coming from clergy and fellow congregants alike.
In light of that, suppose for the sake of argument that churchgoers do give more generously than seculars. Far from demonstrating that they are more virtuous or caring, it may instead show that, driven by expectation and community pressure, they give too much. Some may be giving more than is compatible with their families’ financial well-being. And if churchgoers are giving too much, it might be us seculars, free from slick-talking ministers and prodding, prying pewmates, who are making more rational giving decisions and contributing at sustainable levels.
by Audrey Bilger
September 24, 2012
Are you or someone you love in a committed same-sex relationship, hoping to get married?
The national debate over marriage equality is about to enter a new phase, as multiple cases make their way to the United States Supreme Court. SCOTUS begins a new session next Monday, and today, in private conference, the Court will decide which new cases to review. The Proposition 8 case and several cases involving the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) are among those the Court may decide to take up, and their choices today—which could be announced as early as tomorrow but certainly by the start of the session on October 1—will have wide-reaching effects.
Take the Proposition 8 appeal. So far, California’s ban on same-sex marriage has not fared well in court and has been ruled unconstitutional, first by Judge Vaughn Walker, and then by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld his ruling. Proponents of marriage equality successfully argued that rights shouldn’t be put up to a vote, and that the marriage ban treats lesbians and gays as second-class citizens. Supporters of Prop 8 want the Supreme Court to re-affirm it, and in doing so keep marriage bans around the country intact. If the Court does decide to take the case, the decision could be quite narrow—only concerning California and, perhaps, only concerning situations in which marriage rights were granted prior to a public vote, or it could be a sweeping decision in one direction or the other.
What if the Court decides NOT to hear the Prop 8 case? That would be a disappointment to those on both sides who want to see the case set precedent, but the immediate effect would be hugely positive for same-sex couples eager to marry. Proposition 8 would be removed from the books, and marriage equality would then be legal in the most populous state in the union. Here come the bride-brides and the groom-grooms!
Continue reading at: http://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2012/09/24/marriage-at-the-supreme-court/
By Nicole Flatow
Sep 26, 2012
An Illinois appeals court upheld a ruling Fridaythat exempted pharmacists with religious objections from prescribing emergency contraceptives, finding that the medical professionals were protected by state law. The plaintiffs, both individual pharmacists and corporations that own pharmacies, had challenged an order by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich requiring that pharmacists sell “Plan B,” a brand of the contraceptive also known as the “morning-after pill.”
The court rejected the ACLU’s argument that prescribing emergency contraceptives fell under an exception in the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience for “emergency medical care,” even though doctors testified that the contraceptive was most effective when taken immediately after unprotected intercourse.
The three-justice panel did narrow the scope of the lower court’s ruling, which had entirely blocked the governor’s requirement to provide contraceptives. The appeals court held instead that the state law merely prohibits enforcement of the order against plaintiffs who claim a religious exemption.
The court’s decision to allow individual pharmacists to claim the protection of the law is not particularly surprising, given the Illinois statute’s broad wording: “No physician or health care personnel shall be civilly or criminally liable to any person, estate, public or private entity or public official by reason of his or her refusal to perform, assist, counsel, suggest, recommend, refer or participate in any way in any particular form of health care service which is contrary to the conscience of such physician or health care personnel.”
From Talking Points Memo: http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/todd-akin-suggests-employers-should-be-able-to
Friday September 28, 2012
Todd Akin appeared to endorse allowing employers to pay women less than men at a town hall on Thursday.
Gender discrimination in compensation has been illegal in the United States since the passage of the 1963 Equal Pay Act. But in video provided by Sen. Claire McCaskill’s campaign, Akin responded to a question about the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act — which made it easier for workers to sue over unequal pay — by suggesting that employers shouldn’t even be barred from paying women less in the first place.
September 25, 2012
The press everywhere is buzzing this week with premature obituaries of the Romney campaign. New polls are out suggesting that Mitt Romney’s electoral path to the presidency is all but blocked. Unless someone snags an iPhone video of Obama taking a leak on Ohio State mascot Brutus Buckeye, or stealing pain meds from a Tampa retiree and sharing them with a bunch of Japanese carmakers, the game looks pretty much up – Obama’s widening leads in three battleground states, Virginia, Ohio and Florida, seem to have sealed the deal.
That’s left the media to speculate, with a palpable air of sadness, over where the system went wrong. Whatever you believe, many of these articles say, wherever you rest on the ideological spectrum, you should be disappointed that Obama ultimately had to run against such an incompetent challenger. Weirdly, there seems to be an expectation that presidential races should be closer, and that if one doesn’t come down to the wire in an exciting photo finish, we’ve all missed out somehow.
Frank Bruni of The New York Times wrote a thoughtful, insightful editorial today that blames the painful, repetitive and vacuous campaign process for thinning the electoral herd and leaving us with only automatons and demented narcissists willing to climb the mountain:
Romney’s bleeding has plenty to do with his intrinsic shortcomings and his shortsightedness: how does a man who has harbored presidential ambitions almost since he was a zygote create a paper trail of offshore accounts and tax returns like his?
But I wonder if we’re not seeing the worst possible version of him, and if it isn’t the ugly flower of the process itself. I wonder, too, what the politicians mulling 2016 make of it, and whether, God help us, we’ll be looking at an even worse crop of candidates then.
By Peter Z. Scheer
Sep 27, 2012
A new Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times poll has the voting women of Ohio giving Barack Obama 25 points over Mitt Romney. In Pennsylvania, women prefer Obama by 21 points and in Florida the president has a 19-point advantage, according to the same poll. That might have something to do with the war on women Republicans have been accidentally waging this summer. Well, the war is not accidental—it’s quite intentional—it just wasn’t meant to be this public.
Let’s talk about women.
My grandmother didn’t think her daughter needed to go to college. Mom could find a husband to provide for her. She went anyway and worked her way through school until she got herself a “copyboy” job at the Los Angeles Times at a time when women, if they were hired to write at all, wrote about clothes and food.
My mom became a reporter, an editor, a bureau chief, an edition chief, an associate editor in charge of 10 sections and a vice president of a company that, when she got there, thought she might be an aspiring secretary.
Let’s get back to my grandmother, the one who didn’t care if her daughter went to college. Obviously she turned out to be wrong. But Grams was, herself, an extraordinary woman, the first person in her family to graduate from high school.
Everyone agrees my grandfather was one of the most decent people ever, but the least decent thing he did was to leave my grandmother to raise the youngest of three children by herself. So she was a single mom. She was also a United States Marine who fought Hitler, Hirohito and pretty much anyone who didn’t chew his food properly. A Polish-Ukrainian, she was initially treated like livestock in the home of her Italian in-laws, but it was preferable to the home she had left behind.
Some types of spin are more dangerous than others.
By Joshua Holland
September 25, 2012
In a somewhat desperate attempt to maintain morale among a Republican base that disdains its standard-bearer, a number of conservative media outlets are pushing an alternate reality in which Mitt Romney is leading in the polls by wide margins and American voters have a decidedly negative view not of the challenger, but of Barack Obama.
It’s an exceptionally dangerous game that the right-wing media are playing. If Obama wins – and according to polling guru Nate Silver, he’d have a 95 percent chance of doing so if the vote were held today – there’s a very real danger that this spin — combined with other campaign narratives that are popular among the far-right — could create a post-election environment so toxic that it yields an outburst of politically motivated violence.
A strategy that began with a series of rather silly columns comparing 2012 with 1980, and assuring jittery conservatives that a huge mass of independents was sure to break for Romney late and deliver Obama the crushing defeat he so richly deserves, entered new territory with the bizarre belief that all the polls are wrong. And not only wrong, but intentionally rigged by “biased pollsters” – including those at Fox News – in the tank for Obama. (See Alex Pareene’s piece for more on the right’s new theory that the polls are being systematically “skewed.”)
Consider how a loosely-hinged member of the right-wing fringe – an unstable individual among the third of conservative Republicans who believe Obama’s a Muslim or the almost two-thirds who think he was born in another country – expecting a landslide victory for the Republican might process an Obama victory. This is a group that has also been told, again and again, that Democrats engage in widespread voter fraud – that there are legions of undocumented immigrants, dead people and ineligible felons voting in this election ( with the help of zombie ACORN ). They’ve been told that Democrats are buying the election with promises of “free stuff” offered to the slothful and unproductive half of the population that pays no federal income taxes and refuses to “take responsibility for their lives” – Romney’s 47 percent.
They’ve also been told – by everyone from NRA president Wayne LaPierre to Mitt Romney himself – that Obama plans to ban gun ownership in his second term. (Two elaborate conspiracy theories have blossomed around this point. One holds that Fast and Furious – which, in reality, is much ado about very little – was designed to elevate gun violence to a point where seizing Americans’ firearms would become politically popular. The second holds that a United Nations treaty on small arms transfers (from which the United States has withdrawn) is in fact a stealthy workaround for the Second Amendment.)
By Linda McQuaig
Monday September 24, 2012
Ironically, in the now-famous video that seems likely to end his political career, it could be said that Mitt Romney was speaking truth to power.
Of course, “speaking truth to power” is a phrase normally used to describe courageous souls who risk their own hides to take a principled stand challenging those in power — not exactly what Mitt was doing.
Rather, assuming he was speaking privately to like-minded multi-millionaires, the Republican presidential candidate told the $50,000-a-platers what they wanted to hear: that he hasn’t any intention of helping the 47 per cent of Americans too poor to pay income tax. “My job is not to worry about those people.”
With this truthfulness caught on tape, Romney has probably done more than incinerate his own presidential bid. He has so vividly exposed the cynicism and greed that lies at the heart of what is now called “conservatism” that he may have inadvertently begun its undoing.
Once upon a time, “conservative” could be used to describe people — Winston Churchill, Dwight Eisenhower, Robert Stanfield, Joe Clark — who had a vision of society in which a privileged elite dominated but also had a responsibility to less fortunate citizens and to the broader “public good.”
But about 30 years ago, a new breed of “conservative” slithered onto the political scene. Stealing the moniker of conservatism, this new breed embraced the inequality of traditional conservatism (driving it skyward) while unburdening itself of the responsibility for others and the public good.
This new breed has proved itself to be self-centred, greedy and indifferent to the public good.
Every study of taxes and taxation has been virtually unanimous that GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney got it dead wrong that millions of poor and working people pay no taxes and in essence leech off the system. The taxes that the 47 percent that Romney blew off as tax losers pay are for Medicare, Social Security, payroll taxes, and excise taxes. They pay a far higher percentage of the state taxes than the top 1 percent of income earners in nearly very state, as well as sales taxes, Even the number that supposedly pay not a dime in federal tax is badly overstated. T he Urban Institute-Brookings Tax Policy Center whittled the number down to 14 percent of households that paid neither federal income tax nor payroll tax in 2009. Even this is misleading. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities found that between 1989 and 2006 more than half of the tax filers who received the Earned Income Tax Credit received it for no more than a year or two at a time and generally paid substantial amounts of federal income tax in other years.
It’s not solely a matter of splitting hairs over dollars and cents and percentages that pay and don’t pay to. The poor and lower income workers pay more than Romney for several well calculated reasons. There are too few rich people, who pay too little taxes, and while the government bills still have to be paid and they continue to rise. This is more than simply a case of armies of corporate shilling tax lobbyists that rig the tax system to insure that the rich duck and dodge their fair share. The poor have always been viewed as a ready, easy, and accessible piggy bank for state and federal governments to pay their always increasing bills.
The prevailing thinking is that workers consume while the rich and corporations (their employers) produce. In other words they produce the capital that fuels the engine of commerce and that in turn fuels the engine of government, so therefore the tax burden for every type of consumption fee from food to gasoline, must be borne by the poor and workers. Romney may have been “inelegant” as he put it in stating this, but he has hit on that theme repeatedly on the campaign trail. That government is a major impediment to private industry revival and expansion. His answer is even less taxes on the rich and corporations and though unstated since it would be the political kiss of death in an election year to openly say it, that the poor and workers must bear even more of the tax burden to make up for the shortfall.
This is what happened when Reagan slashed taxes (prematurely it turned out and had to increase them later). Bush Sr. despite his disastrous campaign promise that there would be no tax hike on his watch then promptly turned around and reneged on that promise once in the White House did the same. They shifted upward the tax burden even more to the workers. The two Bush tax cuts had the same effect. The rich paid even less and the tax burden shifted upward again to the poor and workers In 2008 nearly 1 in every 200 high-income taxpayers paid no federal income tax, up from about 1 in 1,500 in 1998.
From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/09/28
Here is an open letter that Barack Obama should write to Mitt Romney – pronto!
Dear Mr. Romney:
Not a day goes by without you blaming me for every slumping or stagnant economic indicator. Unemployment, increases in the number of food stamp recipients, government borrowing, and spending, home foreclosures, economic uncertainty for businesses, trade deficits – you name it. Only for droughts and hurricanes have you absolved me from responsibility.
I won’t go into what was inherited from your Republican party’s years in office. Deregulation, non-enforcement, non-disclosure by the financial industry, and subsidies and bailouts were that period’s hallmarks. But if I were to be held responsible for the state of the American economy, there would have to be a “command and control” economy enforced by the White House. You know full well that is not the case for several reasons.
First, our economy is dominated by corporations that make their own investment and hiring decisions. Two-thirds of the tens of millions of low-wage workers are employed by fifty large corporations, such as Walmart and McDonald’s. Thirty million American workers are laboring between the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and what the minimum wage, adjusted for inflation from 1968, should be now – about $10 per hour. These companies are successfully opposing in Congress any increase in the minimum wage to such catch up with 1968. By the way, you favored an inflation-adjusted minimum wage for years. During the Republican primaries earlier this year, you changed your long-standing position and now oppose raising the minimum wage.
Moreover, many companies are sitting on more than $2 trillion in inactive cash reserves. I have no power to get more of that capital invested, other than to appeal to their USA corporate patriotism. I could also use that patriotic appeal to urge them to increase their dividends to shareholders which would pump tens of billions of dollars into our consumer economy to encourage much-needed spending. Some of these successful companies like Google, EMC and others offer no dividends at all to their owners. Those exhortations are just exhortations. CEOs can do what they want.
Continue reading at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/09/28