Parkland Memorial Hospital expands equal employment opportunities to transgender employees

From The Dallas Morning News:

22 January 2013

Parkland Memorial Hospital joined other public employers Tuesday in expanding equal employment opportunities to transgender employees or job applicants.

The hospital’s board of managers also approved a policy that prohibited harassment or retaliation against workers who may be affected by “gender identity” and “gender expression.”

Other governmental entities offering the same employee protections include the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, Dallas County, Dallas Area Rapid Transit and the North Texas Tollway Authority.

According to the American Psychological Association, “transgender is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression or behavior does not conform to what typically is associated with the sex they were assigned at birth.”

Gender identity refers to a person’s “internal sense of being male, female or something else,” the psychologist group said, “while gender expression refers to the way a person communicates gender identity to others through behavior, clothing, hairstyles, voice or body characteristics.”

Rafael McDonnell, advocacy manager for Resource Center Dallas, praised the Parkland board for extending job protections to these workers. His group has lobbied local governmental agencies to protect such employees, since there are no statewide laws to protect them.

“If you work for a smaller business in this state, you can still be fired for being gay,” he said. “It’s perfectly legal.”

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See also:  Dallas Voice:  Parkland adds trans protections

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I Was Attacked for Being Gay

From Huffington Post:


I don’t have a car, so I was walking to the store to get some groceries for my mother, whom I help take care of. She has a bad heart condition and is in hospice care. I had to walk by a gas station on my way. When I was walking by, a man yelled something at me; I believe he didn’t realize at first that I was a guy. When I turned and spoke back to him, he apparently realized I was a guy and said something like, “Oh, my God, you’re a faggot!”

I usually ignore people when they say things like that to me, but he caught me in an uncharacteristically bad mood that day, so I decided to defend myself. I said, “Damn right I’m a fag. What of it?” and kept going. I never stopped or even made eye contact. It’s my habit to ignore the fact that the offending person even exists when I’m in a situation like that. I feel that if you make eye contact with a person bullying you, acknowledging that you are being receptive to their taunts, it can make things worse. So I kept on moving and didn’t look back.

When I had left the parking lot and was about to turn the corner, I heard him yell from right behind me, “Hey, faggot!” Not really even thinking about it, I turned around, and he punched me in the stomach and knocked the wind out of me. When I doubled over, all of a sudden my vision went black, and I was seeing stars. He had punched me directly in the nose. I fell to the ground and felt him kick me before I passed out. I don’t think I was unconscious for very long; I think I just fainted. But it was long enough for him to take the $20 from my pocket and get back to the parking lot to leave. It all happened very fast; it was over in just a couple of minutes.

I was gushing blood, and I sat there for a good couple of minutes before I realized what had happened: A man had punched me in the face, and that’s why I was bleeding. I’d never been hit before. It was very scary and startling. At that point I put my scarf up to my nose and went back home, where I cleaned the blood off. My mom told me that I needed stitches and probably had a broken nose. I knew I needed to report it, but I felt that getting to the ER took precedence at the time. I called the hospital, and they said they’d call a police officer to file a report when I arrived at the ER.

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If Right-Wing Violence is Up 400%, Why is the FBI Targeting Environmentalists?

From Truth Out:

By Will Potter, Green Is the New Red
Monday, 21 January 2013

Violent attacks by right-wing groups and individuals have increased by 400% since 1990, and dramatically in the last five years, according to a new report by West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center.

When examined side-by-side with FBI reports on domestic terrorism, the data from this study shows that the FBI has been either grossly miscalculating, or intentionally downplaying, murders and violent attacks by right-wing extremists while exaggerating the threat posed by animal rights activists and environmentalists, who have only destroyed property.


Between 2007 and 2011, there was a sharp increase in the number of victims of right wing violence, according to the study, to the highest levels documented so far. On a broader timeline, the increase is even more dramatic.

There was a spike in both from injuries and fatalities in 2007, and those levels have remained constant through 2012. That’s approximately 190 injuries a year, and 30 deaths, due to right-wing violence.

The victims of this violence are not surprising. Approximately 65% of the attacks were directed against ethnic and religious minorities. And 14% of violent attacks were against people because of their sexual orientation.

As the author notes, this only includes crimes that were reported and could be directly tied to right-wing politics.

It’s possible that these numbers are actually much higher.


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Ted Nugent claims his ‘buddies’ are willing to start an armed revolt

From Raw Story:

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Detroit-born southern rockabilly Ted Nugent isn’t known for moderation, but from the sound of his latest comments, the re-election of President Barack Obama (D) has made him ever more extreme.

Speaking to fans during an NBC-sponsored gun show, Nugent said that Obama “is attempting to re-implement the tyranny of King George that we escaped from in 1776,” adding: “If you want another Concord bridge, I’ve got some buddies.”

The comment was a reference to the Battle of Concord, in which a British soldier broke a standoff and fired upon assembled American militiamen, in what later became known as “the shot heard around the world” that helped launch the Revolutionary War.

He added that Obama “hires, appoints and associates with communists,” and that he’s “an evil, dangerous man who hates America and hates freedom. And we need to fix this as soon as possible.”

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Right-wing terrorism is real

From Salon:

Backlash to a new West Point study on domestic extremism exposes the depths of conservatives’ denial

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013

There are four revealing stories to be gleaned from the Aggrieved Conservative Backlash™ to an exhaustive and sober new West Point Combating Terrorism Center report on “Understanding America’s Violent Far-Right.” (For a more grass roots-y look at how hysterical and viral that backlash is, see some choice tweets here.)

First, there is the obvious lesson about double standards. When the government accuses a Muslim group of being a national security threat, conservatives are quick to applaud and demand immediate (often violent) action, without regard for the whole “innocent until proven guilty” stuff. By contrast, when the government accuses an ideologically right-wing group of being a similarly dangerous threat, many of the same conservatives suddenly play the victim card, insisting that the Big Bad Government is wrongly demonizing them.

Second, the backlash tells the story of how priorities abruptly change when the context shifts. Again, when the government accuses a Muslim group of posing a threat, the substance of the accusations (how much of a threat? what is the operational capacity of the threat? etc.) are typically received by conservatives as serious national security issues. But when far right groups are labeled a threat, many conservatives’ first reflex is to defend the accused and wholly ignore the substance of the accusations no matter how well documented those accusations are (and say what you will about the West Point report’s conclusions, its supporting evidence is most certainly well-documented).

This spotlights the third story line: that of the double standard that governs what is, and is not, considered an acceptable rhetorical response to a purported national security threat. In the reaction to the West Point report, many conservatives seem to be arguing that the government is unduly targeting the anti-government/allegedly pro-freedom agenda that they share with far-right extremist groups. This move to first and foremost defend the common ideology is apparently seen as A-OK. But ask yourself: How would liberals be received if, upon publication of a report about Islamic terrorism, their reaction was first and foremost to publicly defend, say, the anti-imperialist sentiment of the accused terrorists? Such a reaction probably would get those liberals accused of “giving aid and comfort” to said terrorists and therefore being traitors to country.

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VAWA Reintroduced Yesterday- Take Action Today by Contacting Your Senators!

From National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women:
Wed, Jan 23, 2013

Yesterday, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Michael Crapo (R-ID) introduced S. 47, a strong, bipartisan bill that would reauthorize the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)! This bill closely mirrors the bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Leahy and Crapo last Congress and would improve VAWA programs and strengthen protections for all victims of violence (see description of legislation below).

In order to continue our incredible momentum from last Congress, we need you to take action TODAY by contacting your Senators to co-sponsor S. 47.

Our goal is to get 60 co-sponsors by January 31st  so that VAWA can get to the Senate floor for a bipartisan victory. We need to keep the phones ringing starting right now!

So far, the bill has the following co-sponsors in addition to its chief sponsor, Senator Leahy (D-VT): Senators Ayotte (R-NH),  Bennet (D-CO), Cantwell (D-WA), Casey (D-PA), Collins (R-ME), Coons (D-DE), Crapo (R-ID), Durbin (D-IL), Hagan (D-NC), Kirk (R-IL), Klobuchar (D-MN), McCaskill (D-MO), Mikulski (D-MD), Murkowski (R-AK), Murray (D-WA), Shaheen (D-NH), Tester (D-MT), Udall (D-CO), and Whitehouse (D-RI).

Also yesterday, Representatives Gwen Moore (D-WI) and John Conyers (D-MI) introduced H.R. 11, a House companion identical to the bipartisan Senate bill. The National Task Force calls on the House of Representatives to work together in a bipartisan effort to build on the momentum from the last Congress in order to reauthorize VAWA as a matter of priority.

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The Message and the Meaning: Is ‘Pro-choice’ Passé?

From The Nation:

Katha Pollitt
January 16, 2013
Forty years after Roe v. Wade, do you have a problem calling yourself pro-choice? Apparently a lot of people do. In 2009, abortion opponents broke out the champagne and the media went wild when for the first time since polling began on this issue, more people told Gallup they were pro-life than said they were pro-choice. Despite annual fluctuations since, 50 percent of those polled last year described themselves as pro-life, and 41 percent as pro-choice—a record low. Less noted were Quinnipiac findings that nearly two-thirds of registered voters agree with the Roe v. Wade decision, a number that has actually increased a bit in recent years. Surprisingly, other research has found that support for Roe includes 35 percent of those who call themselves pro-life.Planned Parenthood is betting there are a lot of people out there who support abortion rights but are turned off by the word “pro-choice.” “The labels have become irrelevant,” PP president Cecile Richards said in a press briefing. People don’t want to see Roe overturned, but they feel “abortion is a complex, deeply personal issue.” Executive vice president Dawn Laguens suggested that when Roe was decided, women had far fewer choices, but today we are so bombarded with choices the word sounds “frivolous”—“like choosing your cellphone plan.”PP is not completely abandoning “pro-choice”—the word has a history, and Richards acknowledged with a smile that the new message won’t exactly fit on a bumper sticker. But expect to hear more often that “we’re not in her shoes” when it comes to a woman’s “personal decision.” Indeed, a National Women’s Law Center Tumblr, Not In Her Shoes, invites women to “Submit a picture of your own shoes—tell us why no one can walk in them but you, and why no one knows your personal situation.”

In PP focus groups, people in the “middle ground” called for a more nuanced conversation. Typical quotes: “It’s not just black or white, there’s gray.” “We define it so many times by the extreme of the viewpoints rather than the moderation.” “Labels don’t matter.” In a follow-up e-mail, Laguens told me, “It was clear from the research that, for most of them, their struggle was with what their own decision would be and under what circumstances.”

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Roe at Forty: Today in Texas, it is Yesterday

From RH Reality Check:

by Andrea Grimes
January 23, 2013

Tuesday was the much-celebrated 40th anniversary of the seminal Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in America. But today, Texans are waiting 24 hours for mandatory, forced trans-vaginal sonograms. Today, Texans are being turned away from clinics they’ve relied on for years for contraceptive care. Today, Texans are crossing the border into Mexico in hopes of ending unintended pregnancies. Today, Texans are choosing between the possibility of losing their jobs and the possibility of raising a family they can’t support.

Today in Texas, it is yesterday.

Texas is the future of the past; it is a place where regressive politics and backwards thinking have resulted not in strong families and healthy kids but in 6.3 million uninsured people—the highest percentage of any state—and a consistently rising poverty rate.

Our governor, Rick Perry, makes no bones about the fact that he’d like to make abortion a thing of the past, not by increasing access to contraceptives and thereby reducing the number of unintended pregnancies, but by increasing funding to religious, ideologically- driven crisis pregnancy centers, forcing women to get mandatory trans-vaginal ultrasounds and listen to or read about medically-unfounded claims linking abortion to breast cancer and infertility.

“In Texas, we’ve worked hard to strengthen our abortion laws to the greatest extent possible under Roe v. Wade,” the governor said in a statement released on Tuesday. This is precisely the tactic, and an effective one, that conservative lawmakers and their religious-right backers have taken in Texas: if abortion can’t be made illegal, it can at least be made so difficult to get that only a very few people have access to it.

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Girl Rising: 2013 and the New Power of the World’s Young Women: From Demure to Defiant

From Huffington Post:


This is the first in a series of blogs by Gordon Brown written from WEF in Davos, looking at the growing global empowerment of young women. Stay up to date by signing up at

The rights of girls is becoming the hot topic of the 2013, as a new movement of empowered young women discovers that it has the momentum to force big issues — girls’ health, girls’ education and the protection of girls against violence — to the centre of the global agenda.

The pressure that has come from anti-rape marches, which have dominated the early days of the year in India and have spread to other countries, will not dissipate in the next few weeks. Indeed it will be stepped up, with Valentine’s Day demonstrations around the world on February 14, when the online campaign group One Billion Rising plans what it calls a mixture of ‘a global strike, an invitation to dance, an act of solidarity with women and a refusal to accept violence against women and girls as a given’.

Girls’ rights will be the focus of the 10×10 Initiative when, on International Women’s Day (March 8), award-winning journalists and film-makers will expose in the new documentary ‘Girl Rising’ just how unfair the distribution of educational opportunities is for so many millions of girls around the world. The new film will give added impetus to long-running campaigns such as Plan International’s Because I Am A Girl, whose aim is to give four million girls around the world the chance to gain the education that can help them to break out of the cycle of poverty.

In the wake of the shooting last year of Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, discrimination against girls — 32 million of whom are denied the chance to go to school — will be the theme of a special event during the United Nations General Assembly in September. Ahead of that, getting girls to school in targeted countries will be a top agenda item in a summit on April 18-19 in Washington, to be attended by the UN Secretary-General and the President of the World Bank, in advance of the IMF/World Bank spring meetings. During that week, we will also focus on ways to ban child marriage and child labour, and outlaw the prejudice that prevents girls going to school.

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Politics Rumble – Is mankind could be facing extinction?

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Ethical Enbridge? The real story of Line 9 and the tar sands giga-project

From Rabble Ca:

Enbridge’s Line 9 reversal project has become a hot button issue in Ontario as Big Oil seeks to expand tar sands markets in the 401 corridor, the U.S. and potentially Europe. Line 9 runs from Sarnia, Ontario to Montreal, Quebec, passing within 50 km of an estimated 9.1 million people, including 18 First Nation communities, and directly through 99 towns and cities. In true Orwellian language, the reversal is being sold to the public as a jobs-creating, low impact, and ‘ethical’ project. It is none of these things.

Early in the application process, Enbridge misled the public by promoting the Line 9 reversal as part of its $3.2 billion “Light Oil Market Access” initiative. Pressure by environmental groups clarified Enbridge’s intent to pump tar sands dilbit through Line 9. The early mistrust established by Enbridge foreshadows the ethical doublespeak the public is expected to embrace with the Line 9 reversal. Indeed, the tar sands giga-project is one of the most violent projects on Earth and the extraction of dirty fuel represents at once a blatant case of environmental racismclimate chaos, and ecological catastrophe.

Line 9 was built in 1976 and was designed to carry light crude oil. In July 2012, the National Energy Board (NEB) approved Enbridge’s application to reverse the flow of the pipeline from Sarnia to Westover, Ontario, and is currently reviewing Enbridge’s application to reverse the rest of the pipeline to Montreal. Crucially, the reversal isn’t about the direction of the pipeline flow, but its contents: Enbridge is now openly seeking approval to transport tar sands dilbit from Alberta through Line 9. This raises multiple flags.

First, Line 9 is a 37 years old pipeline and the risks of a spill are higher for dilbit pipelines (particularly old ones) as tar sands crude is more corrosive, and transported under higher heat and pressure. Moreover, if a spill occurs the impact of dilbit is more severe for health, water and land, as dilbit contains higher levels of toxic carcinogens, including naptha and benzene. In 2010, these risks were brought into sharp relief when Enbridge’s Line 6B (originally constructed to transport light crude in 1969) ruptured spilling 20,000 barrels of dilbit into the Kalamzoo River in Michigan, a disaster that continues to have devastating impacts on surrounding communities and ecosystems. Most importantly however is the question of ‘ethics’ and how the Canadian state is responding to the apparent human rights and environmental crisis created by tar sands expansion.

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Mackerel struck off sustainable fish list

From Raw Story:

By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mackerel has been struck off a list of sustainable fish as conversationists warn that overfishing is leading to depleting stocks.

The oily fish once championed by celebrity chefs as a healthy and ethical option should now only be eaten occasionally and where possible from local sources, according to The Marine Conservation Society (MCS).

The conservation group has removed mackerel from its “fish to eat” list, recommending herring and sardine as alternatives.

Mackerel populations in the Atlantic have shifted northwest towards Iceland and the Faroe Islands, where they are being heavily fished, experts explained.

“The stock has moved into Icelandic and Faroese waters, probably following their prey of small fish, crustaceans and squid,” said Bernadette Clarke, fisheries officer at the MCS.

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Global Warming Is a Domestic Crisis

From Truth Dig:

By Juan Cole
Jan 22, 2013

As President Obama made clear in his inaugural address Monday, failing to confront the threat of climate change in his second term would be a betrayal of future generations. “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science,” Obama said, “but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought and more powerful storms.” Actually, there are some who can avoid fires, drought and storms, but most of them voted for Mitt Romney.

At a time of continued unemployment and Republican assaults on workers’ rights, the climate crisis may not seem like a pressing bread and butter concern. However it is vital for the president and his allies in Congress to remember that those Americans most defenseless against extreme weather and natural disasters form the backbone of the Democratic Party.

That is the only conclusion one can draw from the draft of a new federal study on global warming’s growing impact on the United States. Those who stand for workers and the middle class, and for the rights of minorities, women and the underprivileged in our increasingly unequal society, are facing yet another epochal struggle. The carbon dioxide being spewed into the atmosphere by the coal, oil and gas corporations threatens the well-being of the 99 percent on a whole range of new fronts.

Climate change is provoking more and more drastic weather events. Residents along coastal regions are at risk both from more violent storms and from a projected 3- to 4-foot sea level rise over the next eight decades. The enormous storm surge caused by Hurricane Sandy is an example of these new threats. Hurricanes require warm water to remain active, and Sandy fed off of high Atlantic temperatures in waters that have historically been much colder.

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Andean glaciers melting at ‘unprecedented’ rates

From The Guardian UK:

Andean glaciers are retreating at their fastest rates in more than 300 years, according to a new study

Reuters, Wednesday 23 January 2013

Climate change has shrunk Andean glaciers between 30 and 50% since the 1970s and could melt many of them away altogether in coming years, according to a study published on Tuesday in the journal Cryosphere.

Andean glaciers, a vital source of fresh water for tens of millions of South Americans, are retreating at their fastest rates in more than 300 years, according to the most comprehensive review of Andean ice loss so far.

The study included data on about half of all Andean glaciers in South America, and blamed the ice loss on an average temperature rise of 0.7 degree Celsius over the past 70 years.

“Glacier retreat in the tropical Andes over the last three decades is unprecedented,” said Antoine Rabatel, the lead author of the study and a scientist with the Laboratory for Glaciology and Environmental Geophysics in Grenoble, France.

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