Transsexual could be new deputy speaker in Poland

From The Global Post:

February 1, 2013

She made history as Poland’s first transsexual lawmaker in 2011 and now Anna Grodzka could become a deputy speaker of parliament in this deeply Roman Catholic nation.

Born as a man, Grodzka, 58, was nominated Thursday for the position by party colleagues in the left-wing, anti-clerical Palikot Movement, which advocates legalising marijuana and civil unions for gay couples.

Grodzka is believed to be the world’s only current transsexual member of parliament, but she is not the first. Transsexual Georgina Beyer served in New Zealand’s parliament between 1999-2007.

Each of the six largest political parties sitting in the Polish parliament is entitled to a deputy speaker. An opposition party, the Palikot Movement commands 43 seats in Poland’s 460-seat lower house of parliament.

Grodzka needs to muster a simple majority in order to be voted into office, but lawmakers from the Catholic and nationalist Law and Justice party — which commands 138 seats — have already said they will not vote for Grodzka.

“If my candidature is seen as a provocation, that’s just fine. My mission has always been to make sure everyone is treated equally,” she told reporters in parliament Thursday.

It was unclear how many legislators would turn up for the vote from other parties, including the governing Civic Platform (PO), which has 206 seats, or the smaller Polish Peasant party, which has 29.

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Michigan Civil Rights Report Says Anti-Gay Discrimination Bad For State’s Economy

From Huffington Post:

Posted: 02/01/2013

Anti-gay discrimination is having a negative impact on Michigan’s economy, a new report has found.

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights‘ yearlong research project, which was sponsored by the TIDES Foundation, comprised public hearings in multiple cities throughout the state and anonymous testimonies about discrimination submitted online.

MDCR officials stressed that they didn’t conduct the research to change local views on same-sex relationships or to address moral and religious issues. Given the state’s tumultuous economic environment, MDCR authorities said they simply wanted to review whether public policy makers should consider how lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) legislation and policies affect the economy.

“The purpose of this report is not to take sides on or even address the moral and religious issues related to homosexuality. Similarly, we did not intend to, and we have not endeavored to, create a document with the purpose of changing views on homosexuality. The Department recognizes and respects the rights of individuals to hold their own opinions, especially where moral, spiritual or religious beliefs are involved,” was written on the Michigan Department of Civil Rights website.

The 124-page report heavily focuses on laws such as the Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA), which prohibits discrimination in the workplace, housing and public accommodation.

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Anti-Gay Homophobic Pastors and Politicians who turn out to be gay

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Catholic cardinal stripped of duties as LA diocese child abuse files released

From The Guardian UK:

Retired Roger Mahony is said to have shielded priests accused of child abuse in Catholic archdiocese of Los Angeles

Reuters in Los Angeles, Friday 1 February 2013

The Catholic archdiocese of Los Angeles has removed a top clergyman linked to efforts to conceal abuse as it released thousands on files of priests accused of molesting children.

Archbishop Jose Gomez said he had stripped his predecessor, the retired cardinal Roger Mahony, of all public and administrative duties. “I find these files to be brutal and painful reading. The behaviour described in these files is terribly sad and evil,” Gomez said in a statement released by the US’s largest Catholic archdiocese.

“There is no excuse, no explaining away what happened to these children. The priests involved had the duty to be their spiritual fathers and they failed,” he said.

Mahony’s former top aide, Thomas Curry, also stepped down as bishop of Santa Barbara.

The 12,000 pages of files were made public more than a week after church records relating to 14 priests were unsealed as part of a separate civil suit, showing that church officials plotted to conceal the abuse from law enforcement agencies as late as 1987.

The documents showed that Mahony, 76, and Curry, 70, both worked to send priests accused of abuse out of the state to shield them from scrutiny.

A spokesman for a victims’ support group said that the removal of Mahony and Curry was long overdue and a small step after the church spent years fighting to protect them.

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GOP Lawmaker Behind Abortion Ban: ‘We’re Not Going To Allow Minorities To Run Roughshod’

From Think Progress:

By Josh Israel
on Feb 1, 2013

On Wednesday, the Arkansas Senate approved an unconstitutional bill to ban abortion as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. As The Nation’s Lee Fang noted Friday, this is part of a larger strategy by chief sponsor Sen. Jason Rapert (R) to remake America as a arch-conservative country.

Rapert explained his long-term goals in a racist 2011 rant at a Tea Party rally, as he bashed President Obama for hosting a Ramadan celebration:

RAPERT: I hear you loud and clear, Barack Obama. You don’t represent the country that I grew up with. And your values is [sic] not going to save us. We’re going to take this country back for the Lord. We’re going to try to take this country back for conservatism. And we’re not going to allow minorities to run roughshod over what you people believe in!

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Your Take/My Take – Billionaires, Socialism and Permian Extinction

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Old, Female and Homeless

From The Nation

Rose Aguilar
January 23, 2013
This story was produced with support from the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.The doors of the Mission Neighborhood Health Center in San Francisco don’t open until 7 am, but on the Saturday morning I was there, a dozen or so people were already lined up by 5:30. The group included a middle-aged white man who had lost his job managing a high-end restaurant and a black man wearing a crisp security guard blazer because he had to be at work by noon. Each was there hoping for a bed for the night. The city assigns most slots in its homeless shelters on a first-come, first-served basis by computer. The people had shown up here so early because they know through experience that every last bed will be claimed by 7:10 am.A 56-year-old woman named Marcia, who has been homeless for six years, was one of the unlucky ones. She arrived while it was still dark, but not early enough to secure a bed. Because it was the weekend, her bad luck also meant two days of killing time. “Saturdays and Sundays are hell for those of us who are homeless, because most walk-in centers are closed,” she told me. “I especially hate Sundays. That’s when I ride BART.” For Marcia, riding the Bay Area’s commuter rail system is a relatively cheap way to get some rest during the day. She often falls asleep on the train, and it’s not uncommon for her to wake up and find herself an hour or more outside San Francisco.

When Marcia has no bed, she is left with precious few options, none of them good. She can ride the city bus, hoping for a kind driver who won’t boot her into the street. That’s what a 55-year-old woman I met named Dorothy used to do until she deemed that strategy too risky. “If you don’t get a nice driver, you have to get off every hour or so and wait for another one,” Dorothy said. “If you have to wait for a bus at three in the morning, you’ll be waiting a long time. Anything can happen.”

And then there were the plastic chairs at the Oshun Drop-In Center, a public facility run by the San Francisco Department of Public Health. Marcia usually chose the plastic chairs at Oshun. It was hardly ideal, but at least she felt safe there and could try to get some sleep. “You can’t lie down on the floor,” she said. “You try, but you’re not allowed.” After a night spent contorting herself into an uncomfortable chair, her back would be killing her. “But I try not to think about it,” she said. “After a while, you get used to it.”

It used to be that homeless women over 50 were blessedly rare. Marie O’Connor began helping seniors find housing in San Francisco’s Mission District in 1992. “To see homeless elders back then was shocking,” said O’Connor, a volunteer coordinator with the St. Anthony Foundation, a nonprofit providing the homeless with housing, meals and medical care. “Today, it’s the norm.”

How widespread is the problem? Every homeless advocate and shelter monitor I spoke with told me the older homeless population in San Francisco is exploding. The problem is bound to get worse as the price of housing reaches new heights. San Francisco is the most expensive city in the country for renters, according to a March 2012 report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Small studio apartments are going for as much as $2,000 a month, which requires a salary of at least $70,000 a year.

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