Monday, April 8, 2013
LONDON – Amid all the accolades and tributes being paid to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died Monday at age 87, are voices from the LGBT community who remember the conservative leader for legislating the anti-gay law, Section 28.
Peter Tatchell, one of the leading human rights activists in the United Kingdom, criticized “The Iron Lady” for her anti-gay positions and for other reasons.
“Margaret Thatcher was an extraordinary woman but she was extraordinary for mostly the wrong reasons. So many of her policies were wrong and heartless,” he said.
“Nevertheless, I don’t rejoice in her death. I commiserate, as I do with the death of any person. In contrast, she showed no empathy for the victims of her harsh, ruthless policy decisions,” Tatchell said.
“In 1988, the Thatcher government legislated Britain’s first new anti-gay law in 100 years: Section 28. At the 1987 Conservative party conference she mocked people who defended the right to be gay, insinuating that there was no such right,” Tatchell said.
“During her rule, arrests and convictions for consenting same-sex behavior rocketed, as did queer bashing violence and murder. Gay men were widely demonized and scapegoated for the AIDS pandemic and Thatcher did nothing to challenge this vilification,” he said.
Hey I don’t like having to pay for the Department of Homeland Security, the Prison Industrial Complex, the War on Drugs or tax cuts for billionaires but I’m tough and suck it up. Maybe Georgia Rep. Paul Broun just needs to woman up and accept we all have to do a lot of things in life we don’t particularly want to do.Boy does he sound insecure and a wee tad closety. Why the panic? It’s like same sex marriage. Just because you don’t need this sort of operation doesn’t mean others should be deprive of surgery they need to function as whole human beings.
Georgia Rep. Paul Broun doesn’t want to have to pay for a sex-change operation. “I like being a boy,” he said last week.
From the Huffington Post:
“I don’t want to pay for a sex-change operation,” Broun told town hall attendees, presumably referring to a proposal, scrapped by the Obama administration late last month, that would have allowed gender reassignment surgeries to be covered under Medicare and Medicaid. “I’m not interested. I like being a boy.”
The comments, first reported by the Barrow County News, are somewhat comparable to those made recently by Sen. Saxby Chambliss, also a Republican from Georgia, who said that he doesn’t support gay marriage because ”I’m not gay. So I’m not going to marry one.”
Broun is running for Chambliss’ seat when he retires in 2014.
From Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders: http://www.glad.org/current/item/glad-files-complaint-on-behalf-of-ma-transgender-woman-denied-access-at-hom
April 4, 2013
In a case highlighting both the clear need for anti-discrimination protections for transgender people in public accommodations, and the critical issue of LGBT youth homelessness, GLAD filed a complaint March 22 with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) on behalf of a young transgender woman who was denied appropriate access to the women’s dormitory at a local homeless shelter.
Ms. Doe shared her experience at the area shelter with staff members at the Boston GLASS community center, who put her in touch with GLAD to explore legal options for addressing the mistreatment she faced.
Ms. Doe resided at the shelter between June and September of 2012. Upon her initial arrival, she asked for a bed in the women’s dormitory. When the staff learned that she is a transgender woman, they refused her access, and instead housed her in a segregated room designated for storage of donated clothing. There was no bed in the room, and Ms. Doe had to sleep on a mat on the floor. She also describes the room as being “unkempt and dirty,” and lacking air conditioning, which was available in the women’s dorm.
In addition to being segregated and subjected to substandard conditions, the discrimination Ms. Doe faced at the shelter also barred her from accessing additional services offered there, including a long-term housing and substance abuse recovery program.
Because current case law is split as to whether homeless shelters are housing accommodations or public accommodations, GLAD Attorney Allison Wright assisted Ms. Doe in filing a complaint against the shelter for both housing discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sex, and public accommodations discrimination on the basis of sex.
“Gender identity is currently not protected in public accommodations in Massachusetts,” says Wright. “But Ms. Doe’s experience of being denied both fair housing and access to critical services from which she could have benefited clearly points to the need for such protections for transgender people in Massachusetts. The high rate of homelessness among LGBT youth, and particularly LGBT youth of color, should encourage the Commonwealth to do everything in its power to protect and assist young people in Ms. Doe’s situation.”
The complaint seeks monetary damages for Ms. Doe and policy changes at the shelter.
One commentator described this conversation between a mother and daughter as a form of “child abuse.”
BY Lucas Grindley
April 06 2013
Conservatives are outraged by an MSNBC host who talked with her daughter in an online segment about whether it’s OK if gays and lesbians marry the people they love.
Krystal Ball is co-host of MSNBC’s The Cycle, and the conversation with her daughter stuck to the basics of who is legally allowed to marry who in their home state of New York. It could be similar to how parents in that state have explained life in New York state.
Glenn Beck’s website, The Blaze, labeled the moment “Cringe-Inducing.” The headline on conservative blog, “Liberty Unyielding,” claimed, “MSNBC’s Krystal Ball exploits own 5-year-old daughter on TV to promote gay marriage.”
Writing for conservative firebrand Michelle Malkin’s website, Doug Powers called Ball’s questions a form of child abuse. “Flip the subject being pushed on the little girl to something like pro-life values and MSNBC would be reporting it as child abuse,” Powers wrote. “I’ll say this much: At least in this example it’s her own kid instead of a room full of other people’s children.”
From Socialist Worker: http://socialistworker.org/2013/04/08/stop-and-terrorize
Wesley House and Gary Lapon
April 8, 2013
THE NEW York Police Department’s “stop-and-frisk” policy is nothing less than state-sponsored persecution, explicitly designed to “instill fear” in Black and Latino youth.
That’s the ugly picture emerging from the first weeks of testimony in Floyd v. City of New York, a federal class action lawsuit challenging the legality of the NYPD’s policy on these searches.
Witnesses have painted a picture of a police department driven by quotas for stops and racist contempt for youth of color, who are routinely and systematically targeted for harassment. The vast majority of the victims are innocent of any crime, and only a fraction of the searches turn up a weapon of any kind.
The trial has proven already that stop-and-frisk encourages New York cops to racially profile and abuse young Blacks and Latinos. After all, that’s what their bosses intend. According to the explosive testimony of a state senator and former officer, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly told him explicitly that the purpose of stop-and-frisk was to make youth of color fear an encounter with police whenever they step out the door.
Stop-and-frisk has been the focus of increasing opposition and protest by New Yorkers, including a dramatic silent march of tens of thousands in Manhattan last June. This energy has kept the issue in the media, especially in New York, and put pressure on politicians and the courts to allow the class-action lawsuit to move forward.
Now, with a hoped-for favorable ruling in the case, the movement may be poised to achieve a landmark victory against the largest and most prominent program of racial profiling in the U.S. today.
Continue reading at: http://socialistworker.org/2013/04/08/stop-and-terrorize
I did it over fifty years ago and found freedom from superstition and lies.
By David Edwards
Monday, April 8, 2013
The archbishop of Detroit told Catholics who support same sex marriage that they should effectively excommunicate themselves.
Archbishop Allen Vigneron on Sunday said that Catholics who support marriage equality and try to receive Communion would “logically bring shame for a double-dealing that is not unlike perjury,” according to the Detroit Free Press.
Vigneron’s comments come after Sacred Heart Major Seminary canon law professor Edward Peters made similar remarks in a blog posting last month.
“Catholics who promote ‘same-sex marriage’ act contrary to Canon 209 § 1 and should not approach for holy Communion per Canon 916,” Peters wrote. “Depending on the facts of the case, they also risk having holy Communion withheld from them under Canon 915, being rebuked under Canon 1339 § 2, and/or being sanctioned under Canon 1369 for gravely injuring good morals.”
“The Catholic Church would regard any attempt by persons of the same sex to marry, regardless of their religious affiliation or lack thereof, as null,” he insisted.
Katrina vanden Heuvel
April 8, 2013
Chalk another one up for the extremists. Three weeks after Arkansas’ legislature overrode a veto and prohibited most second trimester abortions, North Dakota’s Governor signed into law a ban that kicks in just six weeks after conception. As the Associated Press noted, both sides recognize the laws for what they are: “an unprecedented frontal assault” on the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade.
“The thing that’s incredible to me – North Dakota being case in point – is the thought that women’s rights in this country depend on their ZIP code,” the inimitable Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards told the Huffington Post late last month. “There are now states where it’s not safe to be a woman.”
This didn’t happen by accident. Rather, there’s a disturbing pattern of states pushing blatantly unconstitutional anti-abortion measures, creating a patchwork of places in the United States where women are treated as second-class citizens who can’t be trusted to make their own decisions. The extreme anti-equality activists are intentionally defying Roe v. Wade in hopes of triggering a constitutional showdown. They want to rewrite the constitution as they go, using it to their benefit when it fits their draconian worldview and disregarding it when it doesn’t. That’s a dangerous precedent to set.
Watching last Sunday’s Meet the Press panel, you’d think that America was an evenly divided, or even center-right country when it comes to the right to choose (“You look at abortion,” insisted Tom Davis, “and actually the country’s moved slightly right”). But that’s just not so. A January Wall Street Journal/ NBC News poll, pegged to the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, showed that a whopping 7 out of 10 Americans support the decision. The basic idea that women should have the right choose is mainstream in our culture. Alas, politics all too often takes far too long to catch up to where the culture is.
In polling, the best-tested language on abortion conveys the common sense concept that this is a decision no one can make for anyone else. People know this to be true: Every situation is different; that’s why the law allows latitude for women to make decisions about when and how they have children with their doctors and their families.
From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/08/margaret-thatcher-death-etiquette
News of Margaret Thatcher‘s death this morning instantly and predictably gave rise to righteous sermons on the evils of speaking ill of her. British Labour MP Tom Watson decreed: “I hope that people on the left of politics respect a family in grief today.” Following in the footsteps of Santa Claus, Steve Hynd quickly compiled a list of all the naughty boys and girls “on the left” who dared to express criticisms of the dearly departed Prime Minister, warning that he “will continue to add to this list throughout the day”. Former Tory MP Louise Mensch, with no apparent sense of irony, invoked precepts of propriety to announce: “Pygmies of the left so predictably embarrassing yourselves, know this: not a one of your leaders will ever be globally mourned like her.”
This demand for respectful silence in the wake of a public figure’s death is not just misguided but dangerous. That one should not speak ill of the dead is arguably appropriate when a private person dies, but it is wildly inappropriate for the death of a controversial public figure, particularly one who wielded significant influence and political power. “Respecting the grief” of Thatcher’s family members is appropriate if one is friends with them or attends a wake they organize, but the protocols are fundamentally different when it comes to public discourse about the person’s life and political acts. I made this argument at length last year when Christopher Hitchens died and a speak-no-ill rule about him was instantly imposed (a rule he, more than anyone, viciously violated), and I won’t repeat that argument today; those interested can read my reasoning here.
But the key point is this: those who admire the deceased public figure (and their politics) aren’t silent at all. They are aggressively exploiting the emotions generated by the person’s death to create hagiography. Typifying these highly dubious claims about Thatcher was this (appropriately diplomatic) statement from President Obama: “The world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty, and America has lost a true friend.” Those gushing depictions can be quite consequential, as it was for the week-long tidal wave of unbroken reverence that was heaped on Ronald Reagan upon his death, an episode that to this day shapes how Americans view him and the political ideas he symbolized. Demanding that no criticisms be voiced to counter that hagiography is to enable false history and a propagandistic whitewashing of bad acts, distortions that become quickly ossified and then endure by virtue of no opposition and the powerful emotions created by death. When a political leader dies, it is irresponsible in the extreme to demand that only praise be permitted but not criticisms.
Several hundred people gathered in south London on Monday evening to celebrate Margaret Thatcher‘s death with cans of beer, pints of milk and an impromptu street disco playing the soundtrack to her years in power.
Young and old descended on Brixton, a suburb which weathered two outbreaks of rioting during the Thatcher years. Many expressed jubilation that the leader they loved to hate was no more; others spoke of frustration that her legacy lived on.
To cheers of “Maggie Maggie Maggie, dead dead dead,” posters of Thatcher were held aloft as reggae basslines pounded.
Clive Barger, a 62-year-old adult education tutor, said he had turned out to mark the passing of “one of the vilest abominations of social and economic history”.
He said: “It is a moment to remember. She embodied everything that was so elitist in terms of repressing people who had nothing. She presided over a class war.”
Builder Phil Lewis, 47, a veteran of the 1990 poll tax riots, said he had turned out to recall the political struggles the Thatcher years had embroiled him in. “She ripped the arsehole out of this country and we are still suffering the consequences.”
Not all those attending were old enough to remember Thatcher’s time in power. Jed Miller, 21, clutching a bottle of cider, said: “She was a bit before my time, but family never had anything good to say about her.”
Not all were there to celebrate. Student Ray Thornton, 28, said he was there to commemorate “victims” of Thatcherism. “It is a solemn day. It is important to remember that Thatcherism isn’t dead and it is important that people get out on the street and not allow the government to whitewash what she did,” he said.
By Mary Elizabeth Williams
Monday, Apr 8, 2013
Of the many things for which Margaret Thatcher, who died Monday, will be remembered for, surely one of her most enduring and oddest legacies will be role as a pop culture muse. She was a woman who could coax songs out of Elvis Costello and films from Stephen Frears and Derek Jarman. She was a television series plot point and a music video star. And she inspired, in part, because that lock-jawed, big-haired former British prime minister possessed that irresistible combination of being both easily imitable and widely loathed. The result was an astonishingly rich 35 years worth of rich inspiration.
Sure, if it weren’t for Thatcher, we might not have had the miner’s Strike and the poll tax riots, but give a woman credit for launching a whole lot of artists and their works. Almost four years ago to the day, when the UK Guardian reflected on her artistic legacy, Billy Bragg observed, “Whenever I’m asked to name my greatest inspiration, I always answer ‘Margaret Thatcher.’”
He was far from alone. She was the Margaret of the English Beat’s peppy “Stand Down Margaret,” and the object of Sinead O’Connor’s “Black Boys on Mopeds.” “Margaret Thatcher on TV, shocked by the deaths that took place in Beijing,” O’Connor sang. “It seems strange that she should be offended; the same orders are given by her.”
Paul Weller’s Style Council, meanwhile, lamented in the late ’80s that “You know a third terms gonna cost the earth.” She was also a frequent object of dark fantasies during her time in office, and her death represents a moment many artists have long been singing for. Elvis Costello wrote the haunting “Tramp the Dirt Down” in her honor, saying that “When they finally put you in the ground they’ll stand there laughing.” Morrissey’s “Margaret On the Guillotine,” meanwhile, gave us the lullaby, “When will you die? When will you die? When will you die?”
A few years ago, Wah! Singer Pete Wylie released a song called “The Day That Margaret Thatcher Dies,” urging, “Let’s celebrate.” Sure enough, on Monday, he was on Twitter, expressing his only regret was that “I want her to die again.” And it’s a unique day in pop culture when you find yourself wondering if the Blow Monkeys, wherever they are right now, are indeed now celebrating that post-Thatcher “day after you” they dreamed of back in the ’80s.
Continue reading at: http://www.salon.com/2013/04/08/margaret_thatcher_grotesque_puppet/
How residents who can’t afford to buy in still get the benefits of co-op work and housing.
When Cecilia Pastor greeted us at the door of an empty unit at Spring Meadow Apartments in Springfield, Mass., she was surrounded by the harsh smell of paint and the cleaners she had used to scour the space to make it presentable for a new tenant. A petite 30-year-old woman, she was working for United for Hire, a worker-controlled landscaping, snow removal, and cleaning firm operated by the innovative nonprofit Alliance to Develop Power (ADP).
“One thing I have learned and really like in United for Hire is we work in a community economy, and the money circulates,” she said. “And we have good salaries where we can support our families.”
“Building a community economy.” That ethic, heard from ADP members and workers alike, defines the Springfield-based nonprofit. Deputy Director Keya Hicks, who was an active member before joining the staff, explains the power of the idea, loosely taken from the work of the late feminist scholar Julie Graham: “These are folks who live right in the community. They want their lawns to be mowed. They want their snow to be removed. They work for United for Hire; they pay rent from those checks to keep the property running, so the wealth circulates in the community.”
For a relatively poor city like Springfield and the surrounding area in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts, this is a powerful idea. For the 21-year-old ADP, it means that enriching the social ties and cooperative ethic among its members and within the community is just as important as economic development or political organizing (a recent campaign stopped a transit fare hike). It is that larger vision of building a web of solidarity that distinguishes ADP and United for Hire from other community development organizations that also aim to stabilize the local economy, create affordable housing, and nurture advocacy.
Hicks joined ADP while living at one of the four independent complexes of Section 8 housing that are the social and economic anchor for ADP’s work. ADP created these “cooperatives,” as it calls them, by buying out existing housing developments from private owners and creating freestanding 501(c)(3) nonprofits for each, as required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development at the time. The tenants control their housing through a democratically elected board.
While legally independent of ADP, the four developments are represented on ADP’s board, and their tenants are a core part of ADP’s membership base. The management company that operates the housing largely hires ADP members to run them—including using United for Hire to maintain the grounds and apartments.
By GINA KOLATA
Published: April 7, 2013
It was breakfast time and the people participating in a study of red meat and its consequences had hot, sizzling sirloin steaks plopped down in front of them. The researcher himself bought a George Foreman grill for the occasion, and the nurse assisting him did the cooking.
For the sake of science, these six men and women ate every last juicy bite of the 8-ounce steaks. Then they waited to have their blood drawn.
Dr. Stanley Hazen of the Cleveland Clinic, who led the study, and his colleagues had accumulated evidence for a surprising new explanation of why red meat may contribute to heart disease. And they were testing it with this early morning experiment.
The researchers had come to believe that what damaged hearts was not just the thick edge of fat on steaks, or the delectable marbling of their tender interiors. In fact, these scientists suspected that saturated fat and cholesterol made only a minor contribution to the increased amount of heart disease seen in red-meat eaters. The real culprit, they proposed, was a little-studied chemical that is burped out by bacteria in the intestines after people eat red meat. It is quickly converted by the liver into yet another little-studied chemical called TMAO that gets into the blood and increases the risk of heart disease.
That, at least, was the theory. So the question that morning was: Would a burst of TMAO show up in people’s blood after they ate steak? And would the same thing happen to a vegan who had not eaten meat for at least a year and who consumed the same meal?
The answers were: yes, there was a TMAO burst in the five meat eaters; and no, the vegan did not have it. And TMAO levels turned out to predict heart attack risk in humans, the researchers found. The researchers also found that TMAO actually caused heart disease in mice. Additional studies with 23 vegetarians and vegans and 51 meat eaters showed that meat eaters normally had more TMAO in their blood and that they, unlike those who spurned meat, readily made TMAO after swallowing pills with carnitine.
“It’s really a beautiful combination of mouse studies and human studies to tell a story I find quite plausible,” said Dr. Daniel J. Rader, a heart disease researcher at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, who was not involved in the research.
Researchers say the work could lead to new treatments for heart disease — perhaps even an antibiotic to specifically wipe out the bacterial culprit — and also to a new way to assess heart disease risk by looking for TMAO in the blood.
Of course, critical questions remain. Would people reduce their heart attack risk if they lowered their blood TMAO levels? An association between TMAO levels in the blood and heart disease risk does not necessarily mean that one causes the other. And which gut bacteria in particular are the culprits?