Friday Night Fun and Culture: Alison Moyet

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Baltimore: Police: Too early to call transgender woman’s death a hate crime

Yet another TS/TG woman of color murdered.  Yet more bullshit from the pigs.

From ABC News Baltimore:

By: Michael Quander
April 4, 2013

BALTIMORE (WMAR) – Police in Baltimore City are investigating the murder of a transgender woman.

“Kelly Young” was born “Rodney Little.”

Early Wednesday morning police were called to a home in the 2200 block of Barclay Street for a report of a shooting.

Rescue crews found Young inside of the home; she died at the hospital.

She grew up along Pennsylvania Avenue in West Baltimore.  On Thursday her family and friends came together to remember her life and call for the killer to be brought to justice.

“She was a fun person, that’s it.  She loved everybody, everybody loved her,” said her mother, Velda Moore.

Not too many of the boys from the neighborhood joined the “Baltimore Go-Getters marching band, but Rodney Little did.

“We marched up and down Baltimore streets and she showed out, yes she did,” said a friend, Tanya Eley.

Eventually Rodney Little began to identify herself as Kelly Young.

“The neighborhood embraced her — boys and girls, straight or gay she was embraced,” said her sister, Monique Mack.  “It wasn’t always a smooth road but I will say it was more smooth than not.”

“Everybody accepted her,” her mother added.  “That’s why everybody is here because everybody accepted her.  She kept it real.”

John Kavanagh, Arizona State Representative, Defends Transgender Bathroom Bill

From Huffington Post:


The Arizona state legislator who received national attention for promoting a harsh anti-transgender bill aimed at prosecuting transgender people for using a public restroom if their gender appearance didn’t match the gender on their identification said yesterday that his effort is indeed “targeting” transgender people, but “only with respect to public accommodations where there is an expectation of privacy” and is about “a balancing of rights.” (Listen to the full interview below)

After an uproar over what one TV news station dubbed the “Show Me Your Papers Before You Go Potty” bill, Rep. John Kavanagh softened the bill somewhat. It now seeks to protect businesses from civil or criminal liability if they ban transgender people from restrooms if their identification doesn’t match their gender appearance. But Kavanagh admitted in an interview on my SiriusXM OutQ radio program that the new version of the bill, which passed a Arizona House committee last week, still partly rescinds the newly enacted ordinance by the city of Phoenix banning discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. He also admitted that transgender people will still be subject to possible arrest.

“What the business could do is, they could have sex-specific bathrooms, locker rooms and public — and showers and if it’s specific to one gender they could restrict somebody from going in there,” Kavanagh said. “And if the person refused, I guess [the business] could always call the police. But if they wanted to allow transgender people in they could just to do that.”

Kavanagh said his concern is less about public rest rooms and more about locker rooms and gyms with shower facilities.

“First of all, the bathroom wasn’t the major issue,” he explained. “The real purpose of my bill was for showers. What Phoenix did was allow someone who is biologically male who thinks they’re female to go into a gym or a swimming pool shower or a locker room where people undress completely and this could be a woman or a girl or a young girl. I’ve had a number of parents say that they would be outraged if a man, a person who is biologically male, is in the locker room.”

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Will gay marriage split the Republican party?

From The Guardian UK:

The GOP shuns Senator Mark Kirk for supporting gay marriage, but embraces Mark Sanford, who cheated on his wife, Thursday 4 April 2013

A poll released on Monday found that Republicans‘ number one criticism of their own party was that it was “inflexible” and “unwilling to compromise”. These respondents should be heartened by two headline-grabbing examples of Republicans bending to accommodate human fallibility: GOP voters in South Carolina accepted wayward spouse and absentee governor Mark Sanford as their congressional nominee and Senator Mark Kirk, a Republican from Illinois, announced that he now supports marriage equality. I’d argue that only one of these anecdotes is about the redemption of a man who’s grown as person. If the Republican party wishes to remain relevant and redeem its own image, it would do well to give the cold shoulder to Sanford and embrace Kirk.

At the moment, Sanford is soaking up the party love. He was endorsed by the National Review, most of the top local Republican officials, and Red State’s Erick Erickson, who wrote a column pleading for South Carolinians to “show [Sanford] grace,” allowing of himself, “I am willing to forgive him. And I’m willing to be graceful.”

Sanford accrued that kind support at least in part due to political expediency – a big-name, well-connected veteran politician has better odds in the general election against the formidable opposition of Elizabeth Colbert-Busch. Erickson put the contest in terms of a general Republican malaise, arguing that Sanford “comes back as conservatives in Congress are fighting on all fronts, out numbered, depressed, and needing every man capable of manning the ramparts.” If there’s one thing Mark Sanford has proven, it’s that he’s a man capable of manning.

Sanford’s return to the fold is also part of a familiar narrative arc; his transgression and return may offend some people, but it doesn’t challenge them much. We’ve been forgiving politicians for cheating on their spouses pretty much sense there were spouses to cheat on. And for some reason, social conservatives don’t consider breaking a marriage vow as bad as seeking civic recognition for taking one.

Every one of the arguments Republicans made on behalf of Sanford in the primary race would fit – with not much tailoring – easily into a story about Kirk’s statement. Take the blunt assessment from a government spending hawk who mockingly scolded a voter for “caring more about Sanford’s pants than the precarious fiscal state of the Republic”. What a different kind of party it would be if the GOP could expand the not-caring-about-pants sphere beyond Mark Sanford! They might, in fact, get a chance to do something about the perceived “precarious fiscal state of the Republic”.

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Because of You – March for Equality in San Francisco

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A New Civil Rights Movement: Liberating Our Communities from Corporate Control

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A Better Road, By Rail

From Truth Out:

By Paul Krugman
Thursday, 04 April 2013

A new paper on the Vox Web site by the European economists Rafael Lalive, Simon Luechinger and Armin Schmutzler on the effects of increased rail service makes clever use of natural experiments created by changes in German ownership and regulation. The results aren’t that surprising — more frequent rail service sharply reduces pollution and other costs associated with driving — but it’s good to have this kind of solid work to back our intuitions.

And can I say that this is a subject that really deserves a lot more attention? Mea culpa: I haven’t written much for a while on these issues, focusing mainly on the economic crisis, which is on the front burner for the moment. But we know, as surely as we know anything in economics, that there are huge market failures here — that every time an individual chooses to drive during rush hour, he or she is imposing huge costs on other drivers, on people who breathe, and more.

Ideally, the answer is to get the incentives right and to charge large fees for driving in congested areas. Short of that, there are huge second-best payoffs to mass transit; if we did the accounting properly, taking all the benefits into account, Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor service (which makes money even without taking this into account) would be seen as a huge social boon, and projects like a proposed rail tunnel under the

Hudson River between New York and New Jersey would be total no-brainers.

And the thing is that these are externalities that everyone can see. You can deny global warming (and may you be punished in the afterlife for doing so — this kind of denial for petty personal or political reasons is an almost inconceivable sin), but can anyone deny that more drivers means more traffic congestion?

Well, maybe I’m understating the power of denial. But still, this is a totally obvious case for government intervention that’s staring us all in the face every time we hit the road.

Running the Government Like a Business or a Family

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to knock down the bad analogy between governments and individuals, and the line that the government should act like an individual family or business, and cut back on spending when times are tough.

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Why Are We All Ignoring Our Loneliness?

From Alternet:

We need to acknowledge our mutual human suffering.

By Salvatore Folisi
April 2, 2013

These days, when we pass a person on the street we usually don‘t say hello or even look them in the eye. In the city, we live in a world of strangers, the vast majority of whom we have very little to no personal relationship with whatsoever. Occasionally we may get into brief, interesting exchanges with the person behind the counter at the café or the grocery store, but these exchanges are predicated upon our purchase of something the shop is selling. This makes me wonder if such conversation is merely a byproduct of the capitalist machine in motion, a human byproduct of commerce whereby the exchange of cash sparks the expressive faculties while also providing an adequate social lubricant. While it is, of course, natural for human beings to talk and communicate with one another, unless we have a good excuse or reason to do so we seem to maintain our typical everyday stranger status with the entire general public surrounding us.

I don‘t think we can underestimate the impact that living in a world of strangers has upon our psychological state of being. At times, I find it to be painfully awkward to continually encounter other people with whom I have absolutely no personal relationship. At these times, I almost always feel a sense of uncertainty; Should I say hello? Or does it even matter? The everyday atmosphere of a general lack of interest or caring between modern citizens can be overwhelming. But how can we care about other people who we don‘t even know, when we live in a social context that supports a state of chronic alienation?

I know, I know … you‘re thinking, ―Well, but we‘re all supposed to develop our own group of friends, family, and acquaintances who meet our needs for human interaction, for fun, love, and affection.‖ However, I must retort—notice how in talking about alienation I’m imagining a relationship of dialogue?!?—it doesn‘t always work that way. Statistics on depression and suicide demonstrate that meeting our own needs is an insufficient and tragedy-inducing agenda for a significant portion of all of us—over one million people commit suicide around the world every year.

One million …

Perhaps the assumption of complete self-care is just a preposterous joke based on the Western ideal of the heroic ―rugged individual‖ who is ultimately responsible for meeting all of his own needs. As a citizen of the modern world, what does it mean, and what does it feel like, to be just one more human being lost in the crowd, in the midst of thousands of others?

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Is it time for a more radical solution – a minimum income?

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Data Leak Shakes Notion of Secret Offshore Havens and, Possibly, Nerves

From The New York Times:

Published: April 4, 2013

BRUSSELS — They are a large and diverse group that includes a Spanish heiress; the daughter of the former Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos; and Denise Rich, the former wife of the disgraced trader Marc Rich, who was pardoned by President Bill Clinton. But, according to a trove of secret financial information released Thursday, all have money and share a desire to hide it.

And, it seems safe to say, they — and thousands of others in Europe and far beyond, in places like Mongolia — are suddenly very anxious after the leak of 2.5 million files detailing the offshore bank accounts and shell companies of wealthy individuals and tax-averse companies.

“There will be people all over the world today who are now scared witless,” said Richard Murphy, research director for Tax Justice Network, a British-based organization that has long campaigned to end the secrecy that surrounds assets held in offshore havens. The leaked files include the names of 4,000 Americans, celebrities as well as more mundane doctors and dentists.

It is not the first time leaks have dented a thick carapace of confidentiality that usually protects the identities of those who stash money in the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Liechtenstein and other havens. Nor, in most cases, is keeping money in such places illegal.

But the enormous size of the data dump obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a Washington-based group that, along with affiliated news media organizations, announced its coup on Thursday, has punched a big hole in the secrecy that surrounds what the Tax Justice Network estimates are assets worth at least $21 trillion held in offshore havens. “This could be a game-changer,” said Mr. Murphy, the author of a book about offshore tax shelters. “Secrecy is the key product these places sell. Whether you are a criminal laundering money or just someone trying to evade or avoid taxes, secrecy is the one thing you want.” Once this is gone, he added, “it creates an enormous fear factor” and has a “massive deterrent effect.”

And lifting the curtain on the identities of those who keep their money offshore is likely to cause particular anger in austerity-blighted Europe, where governments have been telling people to tighten their belts but have mostly turned a blind eye to wealthier citizens who skirt taxes with help from so-called offshore financial centers.

The leaked records, mainly from the British Virgin Islands, the Cook Islands and Singapore, disclose proprietary information about more than 120,000 offshore companies and trusts and nearly 130,000 individuals and agents, including the wealthiest people in more than 170 countries. Not all of those named necessarily have secret bank accounts, and in some cases only conducted business through companies they control that are registered offshore.

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See Also:  The Guardian UK:  Leaks reveal secrets of the rich who hide cash offshore

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Fast-food workers go on strike

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Oh Beautiful…

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Why the Climate Movement is Historically Unique

From The Nation:

Chloe Maxmin and StudentNation
on April 4, 2013

The climate movement can’t  be compared to any other social movement in history. Here’s why it’s unprecedented and why we need new strategies to transition from the current climate movement of the few to a vibrant worldwide movement of the many.

First, the climate movement is historically unique in scope and urgency. Never before has an issue involved every single human being on this planet, and never before has the window for action been so short. (An International Energy Agency report states that we have until 2017 to start the transition away from fossil fuels before irreversible calamity.)

Second, the climate movement challenges human nature. Past social movements have focused on immediate and visible injustices. People fought against the here and now for a better tomorrow and beyond. That model of activism is consistent with human nature: we are creatures of immediate benefit and short-term thinking. But climate change is a completely different animal. Yes, global warming is having an undeniable and tangible effect on people’s lives. But by the time enough people–especially in the US–have experienced enough of the consequences of climate change to be compelled to action, it will be too late to mitigate the effects of rising planetary temperatures. Therefore, fighting climate change means fighting something that is abstract now but will be real later. This requirement defies the deep pull of human nature. It is antithetical to our normal ways of thinking and acting. This is one of the reasons why it is so difficult to mobilize a climate movement. This is new territory. There is no parallel in human experience.

Third, past social movements have largely relied on the active participation of those affected to push for change. But with the climate movement, we’re not talking about injustices against one age group, region, gender, sexual orientation, or race. Every single person on Planet Earth is or will be affected. A social movement cannot expect every individual–with their varying passions, interests, and capabilities–to join the cause. We can’t expect everyone to devote time and energy to organizing for climate efforts. This is where new strategies and tactics are vital. Climate activists must provide wide ranging opportunities for others to take action. Our passion is fighting climate change, but we have to recognize that not everyone is prepared to give the same amount of time and effort. We can structure our campaigns so that others can donate as much or as little time as they are able, while still having a significant impact. For example, we develop the networks, and then we call on people to come out for a one-hour rally. Or instead of exhorting people to put solar panels on every building, we can start non-profits that install solar panels and provide free solar energy educational curricula for schools.

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Exxon’s Unfriendly Skies: Why Does Exxon Control the No-Fly Zone Over Arkansas Tar Sands Spill?

From DeSmogBlog:

Steve Horn
Wed, 2013-04-03

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has had a “no fly zone” in place in Mayflower, Arkansas since April 1 at 2:12 PM and will be in place “until further notice,” according to the FAA website and it’s being overseen by ExxonMobil itself. In other words, any media or independent observers who want to witness the tar sands spill disaster have to ask Exxon’s permission.

Mayflower is the site of the recent major March 29 ExxonMobil Pegagus tar sands pipeline spill, which belched out an estimated 5,000 barrels of tar sands diluted bitumen (“dilbit”) into the small town’s neighborhoods, causing the evacuation of 22 homes.

The rules of engagement for the no fly zone dictate that no aircraft can fly within 1,000 feet of the ground in the five-mile radius surrounding the ExxonMobil Pegasus tar sands pipeline spill. The area located within this radius includes the nearby Pine Village Airport.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette revealed that the FAA site noted earlier today that “only relief aircraft operations under direction of Tom Suhrhoff” were allowed within the designated no fly zone.

Suhrhoff is not an FAA employee: he works for ExxonMobil as an “Aviation Advisor and formerly worked as a U.S. Army pilot for 24 years, according to his LinkedIn page.

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