Friday Night Fun and Culture: Grateful Dead

I was never really a Deadhead, at least not like some of my friends.  Over the years I saw the Dead about eight or ten times, mostly in the 1960s or early 1970s.  That’s about the same number of times I have seen the Rolling Stones in concert.  Over the years both bands delivered some outrageous concerts and some that failed to come together.

When they were on and locked in the Dead were totally mind blowing fucking incredible.

Last night I read an article in The New Yorker that reminded me of the treasure trove of live performances Dead archivists have preserved.

Instead of individual songs tonight’s You Tube videos are concerts.

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Readers’ Top 12 Transgender Stories of 2012

From Huffington Post:


Reposted with permission

During 2012 I wrote approximately 400 articles for The Guerrilla Angel Report, the vast majority of them transgender-related. The following are the 12 most read stories of the year:

12. Miss Universe Pageant Generates Loads of Positive PR for Trans People: Trans beauty contestant Jenna Talackova brought more positive public attention and good will for trans people than any other individual. I wrote about half a dozen stories related to this topic during the year, and the most recent one is still being shared and may end up as #7 or #8 overall.

11. Transgender Student Banned, Then Later Unbanned After Showing Headmaster UK’s Equality Act: Trans student Ashlyn Parram is only 16 years old, but she surpasses her teachers at the Giles Academy in Boston, Lincolnshire, when it comes to knowing the UK’s law on sex discrimination.

10. Catholic School Tells Trans Student His Name Will Not Be Recognized: The Archdiocese of Indianapolis told a transgender student at Cathedral High School that they would not use his new male name.

9. ESPN Radio Hosts Unleash Horrifying Anti-Transgender Rant On Player: Hosts Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin were suspended following their transphobic remarks on the air about transgender college basketball player Gabrielle Ludwig.

8. Brooklyn Trans Woman Dies in Suspicious Apartment Fire: Well-known NYC performer Lorena Escalera was the only person who failed to escape a burning building.

7. Mexican Transgender Leader Agnes Torres Tortured, Killed: Arrests have been made in Torres’ brutal death in Mexico.

6. Artist Who Drew Covers for ‘The Phantom’ Comic Books Is Now Openly Transgender: The comic book phenomenon is nothing to sneeze at, and Lindsay Walker is a role model for trans artists everywhere.

5. Trans? Boys? Girls? Andrej Pejic Is Not Telling. Good for Andrej I Say!: Andrej Pejic is a highly popular, androgynous, high-fashion model, posing as either female or male, depending on the needs of the client.

4. Don’t Donate to Anti-Transgender Salvation Army This Holiday Season: There are other trans-friendly charities more deserving of your dollars.

3. Judge Tells Trans Person’s Neighbor to Pay Up for Years of Harassment and Hate Comments: South African magistrate M J Thobela told Wilna van Staden that her behavior toward her trans neighbor amounted to unfair discrimination and hate speech.

2. Rapist Acquitted in Sweden Because Intended Female Victim Turned Out to Be Transgender: A higher court in Sweden eventually overruled this lower court ruling, and the rapist was fined and sent to prison.

1. First Openly Transgender Mayor in the U.S., Stu Rasmussen, Re-elected to Fifth Term: Silverton, Ore., voters reelected Mayor Rasmussen for a fifth term. Rasmussen previously gained national attention in 2008 as the U.S.’s first trans mayor.

Thanks for reading, and your comments are always welcome!

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Art Saved My Life – Indiegogo Campaign Video

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Catholic Priest says: Women bring violence on themselves

From The Age: Australia:

December 28, 2012

A Catholic priest has sparked outrage in Italy by claiming women bring domestic violence on themselves by dressing provocatively and neglecting housework, Italian media report.

“How often do we see girls and mature women going around scantily dressed and in provocative clothes?” Piero Corsi said in a Christmas message posted on the door of his church in the small town of San Terenzio in northwest Italy.

“They provoke the worst instincts, which end in violence or sexual abuse. They should search their consciences and ask: did we bring this on ourselves?” it read.

The leaflet, a copy of which was posted online sparking a wave of outrage across the country, said the 118 women killed in acts of domestic violence in Italy in 2012 had pushed men to their limits.

“Is it possible that all of a sudden men have gone mad? We don’t believe it,” Corsi wrote.

“The fact is that women are increasingly provocative, they become arrogant, they believe themselves to be self-sufficient and end up exacerbating the situation,” he said.

“Children are abandoned to their own devices, homes are dirty, meals are cold or fast food, clothes are filthy,” he added.

The region’s bishop, Luigi Ernesto Palletti, stepped in as the story went viral and said Corsi’s words were “unacceptable and go against the church’s common feeling on the matter”.

Amid protests from women’s rights and anti-violence campaigners, Corsi was widely reported by Italian media to have apologised to his congregation and handed in his resignation.

He later denied the reports, saying a resignation letter sent to news agencies was “probably a fake”, adding that he was going to “take a rest” but had no intention of stepping down.

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Thousands of Dutch Catholics look to leave the church after Pope’s anti-gay comments

From Pink News:

28 December 2012

According to the founder of a Dutch website which aims to offer information to those looking to leave the Catholic church, thousands of Catholics have been researching how to do so.

Tom Roes, who operates a website containing the documents required for members of the Catholic church to “deregister” themselves, said the number of visitors to the site went from around 10 a day to over 10,000, reported the Irish Times.

“Of course it’s not possible to be ‘de-baptised’ because a baptism is an event, but this way people can unsubscribe or deregister themselves as Catholics,” Mr Roes said.

He went on to say that he had no way of knowing how many people actually went on to leave the church after visiting his site, 

Out of the population of the Netherlands, around 28% is Catholic, while roughly 44% is not religious. Reports suggest that 18% of the population is Protestant.

In his ‘World Day of Peace’ remarks last week, the Pope said: “There is also a need to acknowledge and promote the natural structure of marriage as the union of a man and a woman in the face of attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different types of union.
“Such attempts actually harm and help to destabilise marriage, obscuring its specific nature and its indispensable role in society”, the Pope told worshipers.

Pope Benedict XVI was also pictured giving a blessing to Rebecca Kadaga, the Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, who has promised to pass the country’s notorious Anti-Homosexuality Bill as a “Christmas gift”.

On 26 December, a petition started to push Barack Obama to label to the Roman Catholic Church a “hate group”, following a similar petition to label the Westboro Baptist Church the same. 

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Pope’s Attack on Marriage Equality Will Backfire

From Huffington Post:


Instead of using his annual Christmas address to call for unity and peace on Earth, Pope Benedict XVI squandered his big moment to declare war on the gay community. In a mean-spirited and hyperbolic speech, the pontiff tried to whip up fear about the unfounded threat caused by marriage equality. He demanded that the world’s major religions join forces — like a twisted version of the old Super Friends cartoon — to defeat gay marriage initiatives worldwide.

According to the Reuters report:

The Vatican has gone on the offensive in response to gains for gay marriage in the United States and Europe, using every possible opportunity to denounce it through papal speeches or editorials in its newspaper or on its radio station.

In some countries, the Catholic Church has already joined forces with Jews, Muslims and members of other religions to oppose the legalization of gay marriage.

While the ranting from Rome sounds scary, this campaign offers more pitfalls than positive outcomes for the Vatican. The 2012 elections in America were the equivalent of winning the Kentucky Derby for the LGBT community, yet this most unsympathetic and unpopular pope thinks he can put the champion racehorse back in the barn. The Vatican is a bit late to the track, it seems, and if Benedict thinks this miracle is going to happen, his handlers should stop him from inhaling more incense.

Urging American Catholics to vote against marriage equality is a losing strategy already tested this year by Derek McCoy, Executive Director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance. At the Values Voter Summit, which took place in Washington, D.C., in September, McCoy warned, “If we lose in Maryland specifically the headlines will read the next day … ‘Catholic Governor of Maryland Switches the Catholic Vote.'”

And, indeed, McCoy’s tactic backfired when it hit the brick wall of the very Catholic governor he referenced in his speech, Martin O’Malley. This is the same dynamic that will haunt the pope in campaign after campaign. American and European Catholics trust their gay children and friends significantly more than a distant figurehead who presided over a stomach-turning pedophile priest scandal that has already cost Rome more than $2.5 billion in legal fees, prevention programs and settlements.

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There Is No American Left

From Truth Out:

By Salvatore Babones
Thursday, 27 December 2012

In September 2012 Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel attempted to break the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) with a bid to privatize Chicago’s public schools. The mayor’s proposal was based on a plan to subject teachers (and schools) to performance measurement based on students’ standardized test scores.

Teachers whose students scored poorly would be fired. Schools whose students scored poorly would be closed. The students would then be farmed out to so-called “charter schools” – for the most part, for-profit institutions run by corporations like Edison Schools, Rocketship, Victory Schools, and Educational Services of America.

The CTU went out on strike with the goal of maintaining public education in Chicago, America’s third largest city. Schools in Philadelphia, America’s fifth largest city, have already been largely privatized, and the state of Texas is currently in the process of privatizing its local public school systems.

Under threat of a court injunction that might force them to return to work without a contract, the CTU ended its strike after just six business days. The negotiated settlement terms included a longer working day (for the same pay), teacher evaluations based 30% on student test scores, and complete mayoral discretion over teacher hiring and firing.

As Reuters reported on September 18, “those were major goals for Emanuel and positive outcomes for any Emanuel financial backers associated with the national education reform movement.” The outcome, however, was widely viewed in the United States as a victory for the teachers, since (amazingly, to most Americans) they retained their pre-strike jobs, salaries, and health insurance benefits.

Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago, is a Democrat.

The Obama administration: Center-right Democrats

Rahm Emanuel is not just any Democrat. He was Barack Obama’s first chief of staff, responsible for hiring many of the Obama administration’s key personnel. One of Obama’s appointees, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, is a former “Chief Executive Officer” of the Chicago public school system. In Chicago he had promoted the expansion of for-profit charter schools.

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