Friday Night Fun and Culture: Janis Joplin (January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970)

Yesterday was the forty-second anniversary of the death of Janis Joplin.

Big Brother and the Holding Company, the Jefferson Airplane and Grateful  Dead were the rock royalty of the Haight Ashbury in 1967.

They were the main pillars of the San Francisco sound that year. Between Bill Graham’s Carousel Ball Room and the Family dog’s Avalon Ballroom I was fortunate enough to see all three groups, more than once.

Janis lived fast and hard.  She died  trying to keep her demons at bay.




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Tanning Beds And Cancer: Study Finds Equipment Causes Over 170,000 Skin Cancer Cases In U.S. Every Year

From The Huffington Post:

Posted: 10/04/2012

Indoor tanning beds cause over 170,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer in the United States every year, according to a new study conducted by researchers at UC San Francisco.

“The numbers are striking–hundreds of thousands of cancers each year are attributed to tanning beds,” Dr. Eleni Linos, assistant professor of dermatology at UCSF and senior author of the study, said in a statement. “This creates a huge opportunity for cancer prevention.”

The study analyzed more than 80,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer stretching back to 1977, finding that people who used tanning beds are 67 percent more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and 29 percent more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma than those who don’t. Drawing from a trio of prior reports that also examined the ages of tanners, the study noted an even larger cancer risk for people who used the beds while under the age of 25.

While non-malignant on their own, U.S. Health News explains that both basal cell skin cancer and squamous cell carcinomas can spread to other parts of the body, such as bones or lymph nodes, where they can become fatal.

A 2007 study out of the University of Iowa’s Department of Dermatology found that exposure to tanning beds also significantly increases the risk of developing malignant melanoma, especially in women over age 45.

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Voting While Trans: Kit’s Story

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Witherspoon Scholar Was ‘Paid Consultant’ On Parenting Study

From The New Civil Rights Movement:

by Sofia Resnick At The American Independent
on October 4, 2012

Mark Regnerus said the conservative organization that funded his study played ‘no role’ in the research. New evidence calls that claim into question.

When University of Texas professor Mark Regnerus released a study this summer portraying gay parents in a negative light, he insisted that the conservative funders who backed the research had no involvement in how it was designed, implemented, or interpreted.

But recently emerging evidence shows that a scholar affiliated at the time with the Witherspoon Institute — the socially conservative think tank that supplied the bulk of Regnerus’ funding — did indeed play a role carrying out and analyzing the study.

In his peer-reviewed article, Regnerus said his research revealed different — and often unfavorable — outcomes for children of gay parents when compared to children raised by a mother and father in biologically intact families. Opponents of gay marriage immediately seized Regnerus’ initial findings from the ongoing “New Family Structures Study,” published in the July issue of Social Science Research. The study has been cited in court briefs to defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act and by a federal judge in a decision upholding Hawaii’s ban on same-sex marriage. Opponents of marriage equality have also used it in state-level ballot-measure campaigns.

Right away, Regnerus’ findings sparked a backlash, as critics said his study was methodologically flawed. Many have argued that Regnerus’ actual comparisons — children raised in households with two biological parents compared to children raised in families where one parent had a same-sex relationship at some point, regardless of whether the child lived with that parent — did not correspond with his conclusions.

The research has also provoked questions, especially from gay-rights advocates, about whether the Witherspoon Institute – some of whose leaders have ties to the National Organization for Marriage and other groups that advocate against gay marriage – influenced the study’s design. Both Regnerus and Witherspoon have denied this charge.

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Mitt’s Money Shows Where His Heart Is

From HRC:

by Dan Rafter
October 4, 2012

Mitt Romney made one statement in last night’s debate that actually does make sense. While attacking President Obama for his investments in green energy – during a question that was actually about education – Romney stated: “…the place you put your money just makes a pretty clear indication of where your heart is.”

We couldn’t agree more. How individuals and organizations invest their money is a direct reflection of the beliefs those people and groups hold, and the agendas they want to pursue.

With that in mind, here’s a refresher on what Mitt Romney does with some of his money:

National Organization for Marriage

Mitt’s donated at least $10,000 that we know of to the National Organization for Marriage. Romney made that donation in 2008, the exact time internal documents reveal the anti-LGBT organization plotted to use racial division and unfounded scare tactics to attack LGBT equality during the Proposition 8 battle in California.

NOM’s divisive strategy couldn’t be clearer. The strategy of the organization Romney donated $10,000 to, in their own words:

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Mitt Romney’s Debate Performance: “Mostly Fiction”

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Healthy Masculinity: The Idea That Men Can Control Themselves

From Huffington Post:


Men and women are different. What isn’t so obvious is that men and women are similar. But we go out of our way to highlight the differences and generally, culturally, balk at suggestions of essential sameness. This is nowhere so true as in our understanding of violence.

The world over men are aware that they can always, potentially, be frightening to women and children. Men are, on average, physically stronger humans. They can do two things with their physical strength: hurt others or help them. In most places, masculinity is inextricably bound to violence. And that violence is inextricably bound to female vulnerability. And that vulnerability, with the ever-present threat and exercise of physical harm, keeps women subordinate to varying degrees — physically insecure in developed countries and virtually property on entire continents. Boys will be boys.

It takes a lot of courage to take this on and suggest that the relationship between violence and masculinity can be changed. For the world to be male-dominated, men must have a clear monopoly on violence and culture has to show that they are willing to use it. Our media, proliferating stories of male violence, assumes that monopoly as an incontrovertible truth, “the way things are.” Just as women have to have a monopoly on tempting sexuality that controls men who cannot control themselves. Because in all this sea of physical strength is the idea that men are actually fundamentally weak. A good example, as Hugo Schywzer just put it in a Role/Reboot piece, is that “Too many of us do accept a similarly indefensible argument: that short skirts can drive men to rape.”

That’s why the real question isn’t if men are more or less violent. The real question is whether or not men have control over themselves.

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Does the 21st Century Mark the ‘End of Men’? Not Quite — But Women Are on the Rise

From Alternet:

Hanna Rosin’s new book targets the huge cultural and gender shifts in American life.

By Heather Boushey
October 2, 2012

The age of Men is over. The time of the Orc has come!

—Gothmog, in Lord of the Rings:  The Return of the King

Just as men were about to win the penultimate battle in their quest to retake Middle Earth, in J.R.R. Tolkien’s final volume of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, the forces of evil declared that the “age of men is over.” Yet, in the end, it was a lady, Éowyn, who made the decisive blow in that fictional battle, securing the rise of men to their rightful place as leaders of Middle Earth.

There are some disturbing parallels between the world of contemporary American men and women that Hanna Rosin depicts in her new book,  The End of Men,  and this fantasy scenario. The idea that men are in trouble isn’t necessarily new—we started hearing that boys were in “crisis” about 10 years ago, for example—but Rosin takes the argument one step further. The title of the book aside, her thesis is not so much about the end of men as it is about the rise of women.

But before we sign onto this simplistic and oddly appealing storyline, we might do well to take a closer look. It’s true that economic forces are creating serious challenges for U.S. workers and their families, and that men are having a hard time. But women’s ascension—measured by the share of women getting professional degrees or being a family breadwinner—does not necessarily signal the end of men. Indeed, it may be just as fair to argue that with all their overachieving, multitasking efforts, women are actually letting men off the hook, to women’s own detriment.

Yes, there are fewer men employed in the United States now than at any time since 1948 when the Bureau of Labor Statistics began keeping this data. And, yes, there has been only a slight increase in the share of men finishing college relative to 30 years ago. And, yes, male wages have stagnated since the end of the 1970s, with only a brief uptick during the booming 1990s.

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Moscow Court Postpones Pussy Riot Hearing

From The New York Times:

Published: October 1, 2012

MOSCOW – A Moscow appellate court postponed a hearing on Monday in the case of the punk protest band Pussy Riot after one of three defendants said that she wanted to fire her lawyers because of disagreements.

The three women, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, and Maria Alyokhina, 24, were convicted in August of hooliganism and sentenced to two years in a prison colony for staging a “punk prayer” in Moscow’s main Russian Orthodox cathedral last February. They said the stunt was intended to protest against Vladimir V. Putin, who was running for president at the time, and to criticize support for Mr. Putin by the church patriarch, Kirill I.

The prosecution of the three women, two of them mothers of young children, became an international sensation, and prompted wide criticism of Russia over the suppression of political speech. The women received support from a number of major music stars, including Sting and Madonna, as well as many governments. On the day of their conviction and sentencing, supporters rallied in dozens of cities around the world, many wearing colorful balaclavas – Pussy Riot’s trademark head gear.

But the judge who convicted the women, Marina Syrova, said that political comments were spliced into a video of the stunt later and that her verdict was based on the infiltration of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and the women’s behavior in front of the altar, which she said amounted to “the insult and humiliation of the Christian faith and inciting religious hatred.”

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Trust – Obama for America

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If you make a living sitting on your butt, waiting for your dividend check – don’t watch!

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Actress Daryl Hannah, 78-year-old landowner arrested while protesting oil pipeline in Texas

From The Vancouver Sun:

By Ramit Plushnick-Masti, The Associated Press
October 4, 2012

HOUSTON – Actress Daryl Hannah of “Splash” fame was arrested in northeast Texas on Thursday, along with a 78-year-old landowner as the pair protested an oil pipeline designed to bring crude from Canada to the Gulf Coast.

“They’ve arrested Daryl Hannah and a rural Texas great-grandmother,” said Paul Bassis, Hannah’s attorney.

Hannah and landowner Eleanor Fairchild were standing in front of heavy equipment in an attempt to halt construction of the Keystone XL pipeline on Fairchild’s farm in Winnsboro, a town about 100 miles east of Dallas. They were arrested for criminal trespassing and taken to the Wood County Jail, Bassis said.

Hannah has long opposed TransCanada’s construction of the $7 billion pipeline, which is designed to transport heavy tar-sands crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to Texas’ Gulf Coast refineries.

“It is unfortunate Ms. Hannah and other out-of-state activists have chosen to break the law by illegally trespassing on private property,” David Dodson, a spokesman for TransCanada, said in an email statement. He also said protesters were “putting their own safety and the safety of others at risk.”

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Extreme Energy Means an Extreme Planet

From Tom Dispatch:

Posted by Michael Klare
October 4, 2012

Last winter, fossil-fuel enthusiasts began trumpeting the dawn of a new “golden age of oil” that would kick-start the American economy, generate millions of new jobs, and free this country from its dependence on imported petroleum.  Ed Morse, head commodities analyst at Citibank, was typical.  In the Wall Street Journal he crowed, “The United States has become the fastest-growing oil and gas producer in the world, and is likely to remain so for the rest of this decade and into the 2020s.”

Once this surge in U.S. energy production was linked to a predicted boom in energy from Canada’s tar sands reserves, the results seemed obvious and uncontestable.  “North America,” he announced, “is becoming the new Middle East.”  Many other analysts have elaborated similarly on this rosy scenario, which now provides the foundation for Mitt Romney’s plan to achieve “energy independence” by 2020.

By employing impressive new technologies — notably deepwater drilling and hydraulic fracturing (or hydro-fracking) — energy companies were said to be on the verge of unlocking vast new stores of oil in Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico, and shale formations across the United States.  “A ‘Great Revival’ in U.S. oil production is taking shape — a major break from the near 40-year trend of falling output,” James Burkhard of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) told the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in January 2012.

Increased output was also predicted elsewhere in the Western Hemisphere, especially Canada and Brazil.  “The outline of a new world oil map is emerging, and it is centered not on the Middle East but on the Western Hemisphere,” Daniel Yergin, chairman of CERA, wrote in the Washington Post.  “The new energy axis runs from Alberta, Canada, down through North Dakota and South Texas… to huge offshore oil deposits found near Brazil.”

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Costa Rica set to ban hunting, a first in the Americas

From France 24:

03 October 2012

AFP – Costa Rica is set to be the first country in the American continent to ban recreational hunting after the country’s legislature approved the popular measure by a wide margin.

The bill, which bans hunting for sport but still allows culling and subsistence hunting, was approved late Tuesday by a 41-5 vote. Congress will revisit the issue on Thursday, but the second round is seen as just a formality.

President Laura Chinchilla, who supports the measure, is expected to sign it into law in the next days.

The ban, which does not affect fishing for sport, does allow researchers to hunt for scientific purposes.

Hunters violating the ban would have to pay a fine of up to $3,000.

Costa Rica supports an enormous variety of fauna, and is one of the countries with the highest density of biodiversity in the world.

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New Findings on Methane Highlight Urgency of Climate Action

From Common Dreams:

New report “shows the urgency of controlling greenhouse gas emissions,” says scientist

– Common Dreams staff
Published on Wednesday, October 3, 2012 by Common Dreams

Emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane began well before the Industrial Age, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, raising questions over the benchmark used to calculate global warming and adding urgency to addressing climate change.

New report on methane highlights the urgent need to address climate change. (photo: AZRainman) The group of researchers studied Greenland’s ice over the past two millennia to measure  changes in methane in the atmosphere. Celia Sapart of Utrecht University, lead author of the study, said that people “were already emitting quite a lot in the Roman Empire and Han Dynasty.”

The study cites methane-releasing human activities from before the Industrial Age, including deforestation and the use of charcoal as fuel.

“The pre-industrial time was not a natural time for the climate — it was already influenced by human activity,” Sapart told Reuters. “When we do future climate predictions we have to think about what is natural and what did we add. We have to define what is really natural,” she said.

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Lack of State and Federal Oversight of Offshore Fracking Could Imperil the Santa Barbara Coastline

From Truth Out:

By Zach Swim and Dina Rasor
Wednesday, 03 October 2012

While a drilling company with an erratic history and cavalier leadership leverages expansion of its onshore operations with ocean drilling by the risky and increasingly notorious method of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, regulators are looking the other way.

The environmental movement went national in 1969 when an oil rig blew up in the Santa Barbara channel and coated the lovely Santa Barbara coastline and the Channel Islands with thick, goopy oil. As the nation watched desperate, oil-soaked birds and sea lions struggling for breath, attitudes began to change toward what we were doing to our national beauty and resources, and Earth Day began. Ironically, while the nation is waking up to the risks of onshore hydraulic fracturing – otherwise known as fracking – for gas and oil on the East coast and in the Midwest, indeterminate fracking is occurring on at least one oil platform in the same picturesque Santa Barbara channel, right next to the Channel Island Marine Reserve and in an area festooned with earthquake faults.

This map – which is a combination of oil company Venesco’s offshore oil fields (named Sockeye and South Ellwood), the delicate federal marine reserves of the Channel Islands, and the web of earthquake faults – shows the fragility of the area that, in at least one or more cases, is being fracked to enhance old oil fields.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a long-used method of extracting natural gas and oil out of spent or difficult gas and oil deposits or out of current wells. It has recently had a resurgence because of new technology and the market push for more US natural gas and oil. Truthout readers are familiar with our work on fracking in the East and Midwest, our coverage of concerns of leaking injection wells where the fracking wastewater is stored and even the problems of injection wells causing rare, moderate earthquakes in areas like Ohio.

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