Obama To Romney: Don’t Scare Americans Into Voting For You

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Friday Night Fun and Culture: Warren Zevon

From 1974-1980 I lived at the Villa Rosa apartments on Sunset Blvd a block east of Fairfax.  I hung out at the Whiskey, the Roxy, and Starwood.  For a while I hung out at Rodney Bingenheimer’s, which was just down the street.

I got to go upstairs to the private club, Over the Rainbow.  Partied with bands at the Continental Riot House, had my share of lead guitars and movie stars.

Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles were like house bands and Warren Zevon wrote some of the most incredible songs.  He was  LA’s Townes Van Zant.

And sometimes late at night, I can still hear  somebody singing sweet and soulful, On the radio, Mohammed’s Radio…

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RuPaul Sticks His Foot In His Mouth Once Again

RuPaul stuck his foot in his mouth once again as reported at planetransgender:

Transsexuals Are The Same As Drag Queens Before $25,000 Surgery: RuPaul

Well the short answer is: No.

Transsexuals aren’t the same as drag queens, nor are they sort of the same as heterosexual transvestites, aka cross-dressers aka heterosexual drag queens.

Further if you get past the homogenizing idea of transgender as umbrella neither are transgender people.

I don’t have a problem with drag queens.  I lost a number of friends to AIDS who were drag queens in the sense they were performers at clubs in LA or involved in the Imperial Courts and the pageants.  Many were actual transgender and a few were transsexual.

Unlike RuPaul they were committed to living their lives as women even though they earned their livings performing as drag queens in shows that stereotyped our lives for the amusement of both trans and non-trans audience members.

RuPaul on the other hand shares a rarefied position in the entertainment world with Tyler Perry.  Drag Queen for the straight folks.

I have long had a problem with the idea of there being “One Trans-Community” singing Kumbaya under the happy “Transgender Umbrella” all speaking perfectly identical lines from Purple Book of Transgender Ideology.

I’ve known way too many smart mouth TS/TG boys and girls/men and women over the years to think that one would ever fucking fly.

Our office was in the Tenderloin of SF circa 1971-1973.

We didn’t deal in fancy post-modern doctoral level euphemisms we used the same street language our other sisters used.

Drag queens, TG/TS sisters honed reading each other to a fine art.  With “Paris is Burning” I learned about “throwing shade” a refinement of reading someone.

A lot of people in the “Transgender Community” get really upset when a drag queen says something rather insulting to transsexual women.

But they rarely get all pissy when a heterosexual cross-dresser says the same thing.

Or for that matter when a noted TG blogger launches into an attack on all post-op TS women with their inverted penises and vanilla scented man made coochies.

We’ve wasted nearly forty years on the idea of “community”.

There isn’t a “Transgender Community” or even a “Trans-Community.”

We don’t even have one thing in common much less the many things that actually make “A Community.”

I grew up in the “Once Upon A Time, world that was long ago and far away.  Small rural mill town America.  It was a time and place where we actual had something that was an organic community.

It was a diverse community even though it had so few people of color as to be a white community.  It was half second and third generation immigrant Americans, many of whom were East European.

We shared schools even if we went to different churches.

Went to the parades and high school football and basketball games.

We were tied together by location.

Now people rarely speak with their neighbors, rarely go to collective events.

We are all “rugged individualists.”

Instead of communities of neighbors we have “identity based communities”.

Except identity means an adherence to an ideology, something that is next too impossible to obtain within a diverse group.

Now I’m not about to argue for drag queens being considered part of a stigmatized minority group that shares similar political needs.

I will go so far as to say that many of the people involved in both the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot and Stonewall were actually drag queens and not TS or TG.

In addition many of the people who are memorialized each November with the Day of Remembrance are probably drag queen sex workers.

Mostly though I have noticed how the so called community is actual divided into a number of cliques, all of whom seem to think their experiences and their sared experiences with other members in their particular trans-clique gives them the knowledge and the right to speak for everyone else in this diverse collective.

It doesn’t.

It just leads to constant in-group fighting that keeps us from uniting and achieving anything.

RuPaul should shut the fuck up about transsexuals.  RuPaul is as clueless as to what makes us tick as a straight man.

In the mean time I can treat RuPaul with respect including using the pronoun appropriate for presentation at the moment.  I’ve used he in this piece because the picture accompaning the article shows RuPaul in male drag.

I do not expect deep political analysis from RuPaul.  RuPaul is a performer not a political activist.

By the same token RuPaul doesn’t represent the drag queens who are so marginalized they do sex work and wind up martyred.

We don’t have to all be of one mind to form political coalitions that work for shared goals.  Hell we don’t have to even have dinner together or much like people of the other groups.

All we have to do is respect others even if we don’t feel the same as they do or have any clue as to why they do what they do.

All we have to do is realize we are an accidental political interest bloc, a minority group that exists because the dominant culture lumps us all together.

We aren’t going to achieve the goals of rights and respect by stepping on each other.  But we might if we stop tearing other groups down.

End of lecture.

Do your part and go vote.  For a Democrat.

Brazil picks first transsexual beauty queen

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The Cross-Dressing Straw Man

From Out Serve:  http://outservemag.com/2012/10/the-cross-dressing-straw-man/

By Brynn Tannehill
On 30, Oct 2012

A few weeks ago, late one Saturday night, long after the kids were in bed, my cell phone rang.  The caller ID said it was someone I knew from OutServe, so I picked it up. “Hello?” I queried.  No one answered back. I did hear loud music, and people talking.  Sounded like a club of some sort.  After a few more attempts to get an answer back, I hung up, figuring my friend’s cell phone accidentally dialed me.

Come Monday morning my friend e-mails me with a sheepish, “I am so embarrassed, I butt dialed you that late on a Saturday.  I was at a drag show with some friends.”  Now, this friend of mine is gay, not trans, and the incident highlights the next point in my series of articles on trans service.

When the issue of transgender service comes up, those opposed to it often jump straight to the practice of cross-dressing or drag (which are often conflated).  Drag queens are usually gay men who wear heavy makeup and outrageous costumes for the performance purposes, and are generally trying to be “campy.”  Cross-dressers are usually heterosexual men who do it for reasons of personal expression.  Transsexuals wear clothing appropriate to the gender they live in day to day.

The people who raise this flag automatically assume that people who cross-dress or do drag will insist on wearing whatever they want on base or on duty.  Other accusations include the idea that people will switch between men’s uniforms and women’s uniforms indiscriminately.  One blogger, the wife of a Marine, laid out the standard assertion:

“We need the best and the brightest, the strongest fighters and the fiercest warriors. (And by fierce, I don’t mean Tyra Banks “that outfit is fierce!” fierce.) Conformity and discipline rule in the military. Individuality is not promoted or encouraged. And it is that way for a reason… There is a reason that service members can only have certain haircuts, can’t have visible tattoos and earrings and have to wear uniforms.

Explain to me how that works with cross-dressers and trannies, hmm? How does that uniformity and conformity work out when you’ve got a cross-dresser standing in formation?”

 The assumption is that if transgender individuals are allowed to serve openly, you will end up with drag queens flouncing around at morning formation like a pancake-makeup coated Monty Python sketch comedy routine. People assume individuals will exploit the situation to show up for duty wearing whatever they want.  The belief is they will make a mockery of good order and discipline.

Continue reading at:  http://outservemag.com/2012/10/the-cross-dressing-straw-man/

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LGBT Unity and Trans Solidarity Part 1: Why We Belong Together

From Rainbow Times:  http://www.therainbowtimesmass.com/2012/10/31/lgbt-unity-and-trans-solidarity-part-1-why-we-belong-together/

By: Lorelei Erisis
Oct 31, 2012

Q. Why are Trans People included in the LGBT acronym? What does our struggle have to do with a person’s sexuality? Shouldn’t we be separate from that?

A. These are questions I have heard a lot, from both outside and within the LGBT(+QIKA&GQ) community. The question makes a certain amount of sense, at least it does until you stop and think it through. And that is what I’m here to do. I hope you will come along with me.

It is my very strong belief that we do belong as an integral part of the LGBT community. But I also believe quite strongly that we must stand together ourselves as Trans People under the Transgender Umbrella. I will get to that in the second part of this two-part column.
First though, let me present to you why not only do we belong as part of the LGBT community, but why we _should_ be part of that community.

I’ll take it one letter at a time.

L – Lesbian. For this we must consider the journey that trans people travel. From male-to-female and female-to-male. So many of us find ourselves as part of this community at some point in our transition. Some by strong preference, others simply by the vagaries of our society’s perceptions of gender and attraction. This could be applied equally to the gay community, but in reality, I find many more (though certainly not all) trans people find themselves passing through the lesbian community at some point in their transition.
Be it transmen, who often seem to come out as lesbians before accepting themselves as trans, finding support and comfort in that community, or transwomen, who though their attractions may not necessarily change, the social perception of it most certainly does. Transwomen who like other women go from being perceived as “straight men” to “gay women.”

Understandably, a lot of lesbians I have known find this enormously frustrating. When their partners announce their intention to transition it can play havoc with their own identities. Many fear the loss of “all the good butches.” Still others find themselves trying to be comfortable around women who have alternate genitalia and the strong issues that can trigger for them.
All in all though, I have found the bulk of the lesbian community to be quite accepting of us, if sometimes imperfectly so, and I love them for it.

G – Gay. This is a big one, and the one that makes the most people question our inclusion. Beyond referring simply to gay men, this is often a catchall for anyone who is attracted to members of the same sex. “But we’re not homosexual!” some trans folks will cry. To them I say that matters not one bit.

We may have a fairly decent grasp within our communities of the differences between sexuality and gender, but until the outside world stops beating us up because we are different, committing hate crimes against gay and trans people because we violate their inflexible ideas of the gender norm, we belong. Until people stop refusing to hire us and see gay men and transsexual women separately instead of painting us together as effeminate men, we belong.

Continue reading at:  http://www.therainbowtimesmass.com/2012/10/31/lgbt-unity-and-trans-solidarity-part-1-why-we-belong-together/

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Witherspoon’s Matthew Franck Lies About The Anti-Gay Regnerus Study

From The New Civil Rights Movement:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/witherspoons-matthew-franck-lies-about-the-anti-gay-regnerus-study/news/2012/11/01/52690

by Scott Rose
on November 1, 2012

Reposted with Permission

Given that the NOM-linked Witherspoon Institute has already engaged in a ton of lying related to the anti-gay “study” it paid Mark Regnerus to carry out, there is little surprise that Witherspoon’s Matthew Franck now promotes the booby-trapped study by lying about it in a series of articles on Witherspoon’s’ Public Discourse.

Still, noting that Franck is lying, so that we highlight the overall lack of integrity of this “study” is a necessary exercise.

Franck is Director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution at the Witherspoon Institute on the Princeton University campus.

That title of Witherspoon Director is one that Brad Wilcox held in 2010 when he organized the so-called New Family Structures Study.

Wilcox was, in fact, Director of Witherspoon’s Program for Marriage, Family and Democracy.

Wilcox recruited Regnerus for the study, and Witherspoon then gave Regnerus a $55,000 planning grant. Subsequently, while a Witherspoon Program Director, Wilcox collaborated with Regnerus on study design.

Nobody at Witherspoon voluntarily disclosed these facts about Wilcox’s involvement with the study. Rather, the facts were dragged out into the light of day through investigative reporting efforts.

Nonetheless, both Regnerus and Witherspoon continue attempting to mislead the public, with use of such phrases as “No funding agency representatives were consulted about research design, survey contents, analyses, or conclusions.”

Clearly, with Wilcox as a Witherspoon Program Director collaborating with Regnerus on study design, it is a lie to say that no funding agency representatives were consulted about research design.

Despite the documentation of Wilcox’s involvement with the study, Franck in one of his series of articles says:

“Regnerus . . .  told his readers that neither Witherspoon nor Bradley had any role in shaping the conduct or the conclusions of his research,” and then, Franck goes on, untruthfully;

No one has ever gainsaid this avowal on his part.”

Not only have authorities “gainsaid” Regnerus’s false claim; sociologists have actually called Regnerus out for lying about his relationship with Witherspoon.

Wilcox additionally is known to have collaborated with Regnerus on data collection, data analysis and interpretation. He is an old crony to Regnerus and to James Wright, editor of Elsevier’s “Social Science Research,” which published Regnerus. Wilcox, moreover, is on the editorial board of that journal. And, Wilcox’s conflicts of interest with Regnerus’s funders do not stop with The Witherspoon Institute. Regnerus received $90,000 for the study from the Bradley Foundation, which contributes money to The Ridge Foundation, whose chief officer is Brad Wilcox. (On page 3 at this link, you may see the Bradley Foundation’s $20,000 grant to Wilcox’s Ridge Foundation).

Mr. Franck did not reply to this reporter’s e-mail, asking if he acknowledges that Wilcox, as a Witherspoon Program Director, collaborated with Regnerus on study design.

The second of Franck’s mendacious articles promoting the scientifically invalid study his Witherspoon Institute commissioned is titled The Vindication of Mark Regnerus.

The case Franck tries to make involves a number of articles — including Regnerus’s Additional Analyses – that were published in the November issue of Social Science Research, the Elsevier journal that published Regnerus in June without benefit of valid peer review.

Whereas the June issue featured corrupt peer review, the Regnerus-related articles in the November issue were not peer reviewed at all.

One of these new articles, by Walter Schumm, does not disclose that Witherspoon paid Schumm for initial consulting on the Regnerus study.

How is that for integrity in science publishing?

Franck’s fellow anti-gay bigots will lap up his propaganda — undermining the trust on which science is based — but serious-minded sociologists do not consider that the Regnerus study received valid peer review.

Because Franck’s articles contain only anti-gay propaganda, and no serious considerations of sociology, his arguments are not legitimate grounds for any scientific debate, yet exposing just one of his lies is worthwhile by way of illustration.

Franck wrongly claims that Regnerus “proved” that virtually no gay or lesbian couples stay together long enough to raise a child from birth to 18.

After saying that the study included just two young adults raised from birth to 18 by “lesbian mothers,” Franck writes: “This, out of an initial population of 15,000.”

Screening 15,000 people of a general population is not adequate to doing a study of young adults  aged 18 – 39 raised from birth to 18 by one or two gay parents.

Franck is attempting to mislead people about social science when he implies that screening 15,000 of a general population should be adequate.

Additionally, the Knowledge Network panel from which Regnerus screened for study participants does not include a representative number of employed adults.

A son raised by a lesbian couple, now 31 and working as a surgeon, is not sitting around taking Knowledge Network surveys every week for a $5 incentive.

Neither is a daughter raised by a lesbian couple, now 26 and working two jobs to help to support her household.

Dr. Michael Rosenfeld’s study based on the 2000 census included 3,502 children of same-sex couples who had been together at least five years. Rosenfeld found that those children of same-sex couples did as well in school as children of heterosexual parents.

Franck’s claim that Regnerus has been “vindicated” through non-peer-reviewed papers is ridiculous.

The President of the American Sociological Association, Dr. Erik Olin Wright, has co-signed a letter with over 200 Ph.D.s and M.D.s calling Regnerus’s groupings “absurd” and expressing concerns about the invalid peer review process through which the study was published.

Eight major professional associations including the American Medical Association filed an amicus brief analyzing Regnerus’s methodology as scientifically unsound.

In the face of that massive expression of professional opinion that the Regnerus study is scientifically invalid, a few non-peer-reviewed articles, including one by Regnerus himself, can not “vindicate” Regnerus or his study.

What Franck has written is nothing other than an advertorial for the Regnerus study, published by the anti-gay-rights group that commissioned it and of which he is a part.

That Franck lies outright in saying the funders were not involved in study design demonstrates that he has no integrity.

Franck’s behavior demonstrates once again why it is so contemptible for Princeton University to continue with its intimate, incestuous relationship with The Witherspoon Institute.

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.

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Religious Right Rabbi Blames Hurricane Sandy on Gays, Marriage Equality

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How Christian Fundamentalism Feeds the Toxic Partisanship of US Politics

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/how-christian-fundamentalism-feeds-toxic-partisanship-us-politics

When evangelicals attack ‘the gay agenda’ of an anti-bullying event in schools, something is sick in America’s religious culture

By Katherine Stewart
October 29, 2012

Mix It Up at Lunch Day is one of those programs that just seems like a nice thing to do.

The idea is that on one day of the school year, kids are invited to have lunch with the kind of kids they don’t usually hang out with: the jocks mix with the nerds, lunch tables are racially integrated, et cetera. Sponsored by the Southern Poverty Law Center as part of their Teaching Tolerance division, it arose out of a broad effort to tackle the problems of bullying in the schools and bigotry in society – and it appears to have been effective in breaking down stereotypes and reducing prejudice. Over 2,000 schools nationwide now participate in the program, which is set to take place this year on 30 October.

You can argue about how permanent its effects are, or whether other approaches might be better, but the idea of making new friends in the lunchroom seems utterly benign. Right?

Wrong, as it turns out – at least, according to the American Family Association, a radical rightwing evangelical policy group. Mix It Up at Lunch Day is, in fact, part of “a nationwide push to promote the homosexual lifestyle in public schools,” according to the AFA literature . The program “is an entry-level ‘diversity’ program designed specifically by SPCL (sic) to establish the acceptance of homosexuality into public schools, including elementary and junior high schools,” warns the AFA website. “See if your child’s school is on the list.”

The AFA has urged parents to keep their kids home on 30 October, and claims that at least 200 schools have responded to its charge by canceling the program.

There’s a backstory here. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which has fought for civil rights causes since its founding in 1971, conceived and promoted Mix It Up at Lunch as part of their Teaching Tolerance program. The SPLC also, as it happens, named the AFA, along with a dozen other “pro-family” groups, as a “hate group” in 2010, citing, among other factors, AFA’s expressed views on same-sex relationships. The “homosexual agenda” is not the only factor in the SPLC’s decision to include AFA on the list. AFA’s director of issues analysis, Bryan Fischer , has appeared to suggest that what is biblically deemed “sexual immorality” merits punishment by death . He evidently hates Muslims, too, having recently opined that “allowing a mosque to be built in town is fundamentally no different than granting a building permit to a KKK cultural center.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/how-christian-fundamentalism-feeds-toxic-partisanship-us-politics

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Catholic Bishop Who Compared Obama To Hitler Orders Anti-Obama Letter Read From Pulpit

Man who wears dresses wants to dictate women’s reproductive rights.

From Think Progress:  http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/11/01/1120731/catholic-bishop-who-compared-obama-to-hitler-orders-anti-obama-letter-read-from-pulpit/

By Ian Millhiser
on Nov 1, 2012

Last April, Bishop Daniel Jenky, a Catholic bishop from Illinois, delivered a homily claiming that President Obama “now seems intent on following a similar path” to Adolf Hitler because of his “radical, pro abortion and extreme secularist agenda.” On Wednesday, he came within a hair of ordering every priest under his supervision to campaign for Mitt Romney.

In a letter, Jenky told the priests in his diocese “[b]y virtue of your vow of obedience to me as your Bishop, I require that this letter be personally read by each celebrating priest at each Weekend Mass, November 3/4.” The letter leaves little doubt that Jenky wants Obama out of the White House:

Neither the president of the United States nor the current majority of the Federal Senate have been willing to even consider the Catholic community’s grave objections to those HHS mandates that would require all Catholic institutions, exempting only our church buildings, to fund abortion, sterilization, and artificial contraception. . . . Nearly two thousand years ago, after our Savior had been bound, beaten, scourged, mocked, and crowned with thorns, a pagan Roman Procurator displayed Jesus to a hostile crowd by sarcastically declaring: Behold your King. The mob roared back: We have no king but Caesar. Today, Catholic politicians, bureaucrats, and their electoral supporters who callously enable the destruction of innocent human life in the womb also thereby reject Jesus as their Lord. They are objectively guilty of grave sin.

For those who hope for salvation, no political loyalty can ever take precedence over loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ and to his Gospel of Life. God is not mocked, and as the Bible clearly teaches, after this passing instant of life on earth, God’s great mercy in time will give way to God’s perfect judgment in eternity.

I therefore call upon every practicing Catholic in this Diocese to vote. Be faithful to Christ and to your Catholic Faith.

Continue reading at:  http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/11/01/1120731/catholic-bishop-who-compared-obama-to-hitler-orders-anti-obama-letter-read-from-pulpit/

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More Pressure on Catholic Voters: Priests and Bishops Tell Parishoners Their Souls Are in Danger

The Con men are at it again using superstition and fear to control the masses in service of the rich ruling class elites.

There is no god.  We do not have souls that live forever.  Our “souls” die with our bodies. There is no after life, no reincarnation, no heaven or hell.

Open your eyes, stop believing the lies of con artists who molest your children.

Tax The Churches and Their Profits

From RH Reality Check:  http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/11/01/more-catholic-voting-pressure-politicians-rejecting-jesus-they-believe-in-choice

by Robin Marty, Senior Political Reporter, RH Reality Check
November 1, 2012

We’ve already seen Catholic bishops put extreme pressure on their congregants, telling them that their souls are in danger if they vote for anyone who isn’t completely opposed to abortion. They are continuing to escalate their rhetoric as the last days of the election season pass, now telling parishioners that politicians who believe in reproductive rights, including the birth control mandate, are “rejecting Jesus.”

Via the Chicago Tribune:

Joining the chorus of Roman Catholic clergy in Illinois criticizing President Barack Obama before next week’s election, Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky ordered priests to read a letter to parishioners on Sunday before the presidential election, explaining that politicians who support abortion rights also reject Jesus.

“By virtue of your vow of obedience to me as your Bishop, I require that this letter be personally read by each celebrating priest at each Weekend Mass,” Jenky wrote in a letter circulated to clergy in the Catholic Diocese of Peoria.

In the letter, Jenky cautions parishioners that Obama and a majority of U.S. senators will not reconsider the mandate that would require employers, including religious groups, to provide free birth control coverage in their health care plans. “This assault upon our religious freedom is simply without precedent in the American political and legal system,” Jenky wrote.

“Today, Catholic politicians, bureaucrats, and their electoral supporters who callously enable the destruction of innocent human life in the womb also thereby reject Jesus as their Lord,” Jenky added. “They are objectively guilty of grave sin.”

Bishop Jenky is just one of many Catholic bishops exerting influence on their parishioners decisions on election day. In New York, Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio is telling his own flock that “it stretches the imagination” to believe that a Catholic could in good conscience vote for President Barack Obama, if “there is another option.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/11/01/more-catholic-voting-pressure-politicians-rejecting-jesus-they-believe-in-choice

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Video of Todd Akin’s Extortionist Friend Threatening a Doctor, Months before Akin Contributed to Him

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Top Bank of England director admits Occupy movement had a point

From The Independent UK:  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/top-bank-of-england-director-admits-occupy-movement-had-a-point-8231521.html

Andrew Haldane praises ‘loud and persuasive’ protesters who succeeded because ‘they are right’

Richard Hall
Monday 29 October 2012

The Occupy movement received vindication from unlikely source tonight, as a senior executive at the Bank of England credited it with stirring a “reformation of finance”.

In a glowing appraisal of the movement’s achievements, Andrew Haldane, executive director of financial stability, said Occupy protesters had been “both loud and persuasive”, and had attracted public support because “they are right”.

“Some have suggested … that Occupy’s voice has been loud but vague, long on problems, short on solutions. Others have argued that the fault-lines in the global financial system, which chasmed during the crisis, are essentially unaltered, that reform has failed,” Mr Haldane said in a speech tonight.

“I wish to argue that both are wrong – that Occupy’s voice has been both loud and persuasive and that policymakers have listened and are acting in ways which will close those fault-lines. In fact, I want to argue that we are in the early stages of a reformation of finance, a reformation which Occupy has helped stir.”

Speaking at an Occupy Economics event in central London, Mr Haldane said that Occupy had been “successful in its efforts to popularise the problems of the global financial system for one very simple reason: they are right.” He added that protesters who camped out near St Paul’s Catherdal in London and dozens of other cities including New York,“touched a moral nerve in pointing to growing inequities in the allocation of wealth”.

Mr Haldane ended with a direct appeal to activists to continue putting pressure on governments and regulators. He said: “You have put the arguments. You have helped win the debate. And policymakers, like me, will need your continuing support in delivering that radical change.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/top-bank-of-england-director-admits-occupy-movement-had-a-point-8231521.html

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A Part-Time Life, as Hours Shrink and Shift

From The New York Times:   http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/28/business/a-part-time-life-as-hours-shrink-and-shift-for-american-workers.html

By
Published: October 27, 2012

SPRING VALLEY, Calif. — Since the Fresh & Easy grocery chain was founded five years ago, it has opened 150 stores in California and positioned itself as a hip, socially responsible company.

A cross between Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, the company brags that its house brands have no artificial colors or trans fats, that two-thirds of its produce is grown locally and that its main distribution center is powered by a $13 million solar installation.

But in one crucial respect, Fresh & Easy is just like the vast majority of large American retailers: most employees work part-time, with its stores changing many of their workers’ schedules week to week.

At its store here, just east of San Diego, Shannon Hardin oversees seven self-checkout stations, usually by herself. Typically working shifts of five or six hours, she hops between stations — bagging groceries, approving alcohol purchases, explaining the checkout system to shoppers and urging customers to join the retailer’s loyalty program, all while watching for shoplifters.

“I like it. I’m a people person,” said Ms. Hardin, 50, who used to work as an office assistant at a construction company until times went bad.

But after nearly five years at Fresh & Easy, she remains a part-time worker despite her desire to work full-time. In fact, all 22 employees at her store are part-time except for the five managers.

She earns $10.90 an hour, and with workweeks averaging 28 hours, her yearly pay equals $16,500. “I can’t live on this,” said Ms. Hardin, who is single. “It’s almost impossible.”

While there have always been part-time workers, especially at restaurants and retailers, employers today rely on them far more than before as they seek to cut costs and align staffing to customer traffic. This trend has frustrated millions of Americans who want to work full-time, reducing their pay and benefits.

“Over the past two decades, many major retailers went from a quotient of 70 to 80 percent full-time to at least 70 percent part-time across the industry,” said Burt P. Flickinger III, managing director of the Strategic Resource Group, a retail consulting firm.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/28/business/a-part-time-life-as-hours-shrink-and-shift-for-american-workers.html

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Major Retailer Urges Workers To Take ‘Civics Course’ With Anti-Obama Content

From Alternethttp://www.alternet.org/election-2012/major-retailer-urges-workers-take-civics-course-anti-obama-content

AlterNet uncovers an anti-Obama program linked to the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity, spoon-fed to employees of a major home-improvement chain.

By Adele M. Stan
October 31, 2012

If you live in the Midwest and you’re working on a home-improvement project, you’re as likely to do your shopping at a Menards store as at a Lowe’s or Home Depot. With 270 stores and 40,000 employees , Menards is the third-largest home-improvement chain in the U.S., and one of the largest privately held corporations in the country. But Menards stores sell more than just lumber and building supplies; their employees are sold a bill of goods in the form of right-wing ideology.

This January, as the Iowa Caucuses were underway, Menards began encouraging employees to take an at-home online “civics” course that characterizes the economic policies of President Barack Obama as a threat to the success of businesses such as Menards, and by extension, to the employees’ own well-being.

FBI Investigation

The course, titled “Civics 101: The National Self Governing Will In-Home Training,” incorporates much of the material comprising the Prosperity 101 program that AlterNet, working in partnership with the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute,  exposed last year — a program concocted by Koch-linked political operatives Mark Block and Linda Hansen, late of the now-defunct Herman Cain presidential campaign. In March, Daniel Bice of the  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel  reported that the FBI is investigating possible financial improprieties involving two non-profit organizations founded by Block that are linked to Prosperity 101, which is a for-profit venture.

Menards employees who sign up for the course are graded on their knowledge via a multiple choice pass-fail test, and those who pass the test are acknowledged in company publications and bulletins. While workers are not required to take the course, those who hope for promotions may feel pressure to do so, since it is clear that management is paying attention to who is or isn’t taking the at-home classes, which are conducted on the employees’ own time. The civics course is offered as part of a battery of courses, most of which pertain to products sold by the company, or other aspects of working at Menards.

AlterNet has obtained the online textbook for the Menards civics course. The third part of the textbok, subtitled ” American Job Security ,” imparts a message similar to the letter sent by Koch Industries CEO Dave Robertson to retirees and employees of the company’s Georgia Pacific subsidiary, as well as the e-mail sent to employees of Rite-Hite, a Milwaukee equipment manufacturer, by company owner Mark White, urging them to vote for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. While the Menards course doesn’t offer an explicit candidate endorsement, it describes Obama policies in threatening terms, while policies that echo Romney’s proposals are portrayed in a positive and uplifting light.

Continue reading at:   http://www.alternet.org/election-2012/major-retailer-urges-workers-take-civics-course-anti-obama-content

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President Obama: We Know What Real Change Looks Like & We Can’t Give Up Now

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Will Climate Get Some Respect Now?

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/01/opinion/kristof-will-climate-get-some-respect-now.html

By
Published: October 31, 2012

President Obama and Mitt Romney seemed determined not to discuss climate change in this campaign. So thanks to Hurricane Sandy for forcing the issue: Isn’t it time to talk not only about weather, but also about climate?

It’s true, of course, that no single storm or drought can be attributed to climate change. Atlantic hurricanes in the Northeast go way back, as the catastrophic “snow hurricane” of 1804 attests. But many scientists believe that rising carbon emissions could make extreme weather — like Sandy — more likely.

“You can’t say any one single event is reflective of climate change,” William Solecki, the co-chairman of the New York City Panel on Climate Change, told me. “But it’s illustrative of the conditions and events and scenarios that we expect with climate change.”

In that sense, whatever its causes, Sandy offers a window into the way ahead.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York says he told President Obama the other day that it seems “we have a 100-year flood every two years now.” Indeed, The Times has reported that three of the 10 biggest floods in Lower Manhattan since 1900 have occurred in the last three years.

So brace yourself, for several reasons:

• Hurricanes form when the ocean is warm, and that warmth is their fuel. The Atlantic waters off the East Coast set a record high temperature this summer. Presumably most of that is natural variation, and some is human-induced climate change.

• Computer models suggest that hurricanes won’t necessarily become more frequent, but they may become stronger. As the United States Global Change Research Program, a collaboration of federal agencies, puts it, “The intensity of these storms is likely to increase in this century.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/01/opinion/kristof-will-climate-get-some-respect-now.html

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The battle against Big Energy’s rush to ruin our planet

From The Guardian UK:   http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/31/battle-big-oil-rush-ruin-darylhannah

The energy industry tries to sell us ‘ethical oil’, ‘clean coal’ and ‘natural gas’, but this extreme weather is mobilising people to act


guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 31 October 2012

Extreme killer superstorms, historic drought, vanishing sea ice, an increase in ocean acidity by 30%, the hottest decade on record and mega forest fires have increasingly become our new reality.

“That’s all happened when you raise the temperature of the earth one degree,” says author Bill McKibben, “[t]he temperature will go up four degrees, maybe five, unless we get off coal and gas and oil very quickly.” Additional temperature rises could compromise our safety and cause incalculable damage from a large number of billion-dollar disasters in coming years – if we don’t address our emissions, insist upon an appropriate climate policy and curtail the rogue fossil fuel industry.

How are we in the US and Canada addressing these crises?

Not through the co-opted political system, but with heroic acts by the ordinary citizens of North America. People have been putting their bodies on the line and risking arrest in order to protect our future, to acknowledge climate change disasters and to protect access to basic necessities such as uncontaminated water, soil and food. We are seeing an exponentially growing number of nationwide rallies, protests and acts of civil disobedience just to protect these fundamental life support systems.

The threats are exacerbated by the looming death throes of an outdated and finite fossil fuel industry struggling to stay relevant in the 21st century, despite its current economic might. It’s hard to reconcile the fact that the fossil fuel industry is struggling when their unprecedented profits make them the wealthiest of corporations in the history of mankind, even in this devastated global economy – but the times, they are-a-changing.

As we have evidently exhausted the easier-to-access “conventional” fuels, Big Oil is now resorting to “unconventional” sources, and the industry must rely on more and more extreme extraction measures to obtain fossil fuel resources. These extreme forms of extraction come with a dangerous cost, and often a high economic cost as well. In a New York Times article on the grim economics of the natural gas boom, even the chief executive of Exxon Mobil, Rex Tillerson, stated, “We’re making no money. It’s all in the red.” Texas billionaire oilman T Boone Pickens said, “shut her down”, “quit drilling” and “we are stupid to drill these wells.”

Continue reading at:    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/31/battle-big-oil-rush-ruin-darylhannah

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Fatalities in the GOP War on Regulation

From Truth Out:  http://truth-out.org/news/item/12463-fatalities-in-the-gop-war-on-regulation

By Dr Brian Moench
Thursday, 01 November 2012

More Americans than died in the attacks on the World Trade Center die every year from contaminated medicine, food, air and water. Yet the GOP argues we cannot afford the promulgation and enforcement of the regulations that would save these lives.

I doubt Lilian Cary, 67, would be voting for Mitt Romney or any Republican this year. Actually, Lilian won’t be voting for anyone next week, because she died of meningitis, weeks after being injected with steroids for back pain. She is one of 25 people so far to have died from contaminated vials of epidural steroids. Her husband was also given those injections at the same clinic and could be facing a similar fate. As of late October, 338 people have been stricken by infection. In all, over 14,000 people have been injected with these contaminated steroids. There will undoubtedly be more illnesses and deaths before this mass tragedy is over.

The tainted vials were made by a pharmacy, New England Compounding Center (NECC). A deadly black fungus, Exserohilum, found in the vials was also found throughout the facility. “The entire pharmacy was an incubator of bacteria and fungus. The pharmacy knew this through monitoring results, and chose to do nothing,” said former FDA officer Sarah Sellers who left the agency in 2008 after unsuccessfully pushing it to increase regulation of compounding pharmacies. Employees knew about the unsterile conditions and violated established protocols, but the pharmacy chose to do nothing about it. Inspectors found multiple breaks in sterile techniques, including that employees had turned off the air conditioning at night to save the company money, undermining the conditions needed to prevent growth of contaminating organisms. Every drug the company made is now suspect.

Drug manufacturing companies such as NECC, prepare medications for clinics and doctors largely outside federal control. The FDA says that the law does not give it adequate authority to establish oversight, leaving regulation largely to the states. In my state, there is exactly zero oversight of this kind of product.

In my speciality, anesthesiology, it isn’t just contaminated drugs; there’s also a shortage of critical drugs. For the last several years, anesthesiologists have had to resort to suboptimal drug selection because some of our most important drugs have simply been unavailable. It seems that the free market doesn’t compel drug companies to make drugs if they don’t want to, or don’t find it profitable, or they can create artificial shortages to drive up prices.

Welcome to a glimpse of Mitt Romney’s and the Republican’s Party’s Holy Grail for economic revival – a free market on steroids, and a war on regulation. Virtually all government regulatory functions are under attack. Drug manufacturing, food safety, environmental protections, health care, banking and financial regulations, work place safety, and non-discrimination protection have all been placed on the altar of the free market under the cloak of “freedom, job creation” or the discipline and joy of “personal responsibility.”

Continue reading at:  http://truth-out.org/news/item/12463-fatalities-in-the-gop-war-on-regulation

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