Indigo Girls Encourage Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival Protest Over Transgender Exclusion

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/08/indigo-girls-michigan-festival-boycott-_n_3036746.html

By
04/08/2013

Though they’ll be on hand to perform, the Indigo Girls are encouraging a protest against the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival for the event’s continued exclusion of transgender women.

On their website, the folk-rock duo vowed to donate proceeds from their performance during the festival, which is scheduled for August 6-11, to transgender activism.

“We have made it clear that this will be our last time at the Festival until MWMF shows visible and concrete signs of changing their intention,” Amy Ray and Emily Saliers wrote on their site. “We have no animosity towards anyone in this case but see the deep and fearless legacy that MWMF has had during its existence and we honor that. We also honor the prayerfulness that has been a part of this struggle on both sides.”

You can read the full statement here.

Since 1976, cisgender women have gathered at the festival to participate in hundreds of workshops, play sports and more at the festival, which was created “by and for womyn-born womyn, that is, womyn who were born as and have lived their entire life experience as womyn,” as festival founder and producer Lisa Vogel described in a 2006 press release.

The exclusion of transgender women has caused a stir within community and beyond.

There is currently a petition circulating online to boycott the MWMF until the organizers fully include transgender women.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/08/indigo-girls-michigan-festival-boycott-_n_3036746.html

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‘Anti-gay study author facing new allegations of misconduct’ and other Wednesday midday news briefs

From Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters:  http://holybulliesandheadlessmonsters.blogspot.com/2013/04/anti-gay-study-author-facing-new.html

Alvin McEwen
Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Reposted with permission

Mark Regnerus, University Of Texas Professor, Wades Further Into Gay Marriage Debate – Slowly but surely, the truth is coming back to haunt the creator of that descredited anti-gay parenting study. A lot of us lgbt bloggers knew that he was lying in regards to his “objectivity.” A big part of this story are the mysterious talking points given to Regenerus in order to bypass crucial questions regarding his study. No one will say where they came from:

As The American Independent reported last month, the Witherspoon Institute, the conservative think tank that funded the bulk of the New Family Structures Study, pushed to have the study’s results out before “major decisions of the Supreme Court,” according to documents obtained through a public records request. Among those documents – which are still being released in chunks – is a document titled “Mark Regnerus Media Training,” which encouraged the professor to focus on the fact that his study was a large, random, nationally representative study, unlike the majority of the existing research on gay parenting. He was told to avoid politics.

The origin of this training document, which is undated, is unknown. David Ochsner, director of public affairs at the University of Texas’ College of Liberal Arts, said he did not believe the guidelines were issued by UT, and he said Regnerus told him he could not remember where they came from. Witherspoon Institute President Luis Tellez said they were not issued by the Witherspoon Institute.

Regnerus’ “key points to make” included:

  • This study does not ascribe a cause to the effects, it simply reports the data.
  • For many years, gay advocates have claimed that there are no meaningful differences between children of same-sex couples and other children. This study shows this not to be true.
  • Young adults raised in a same-sex household are [list key findings such as more likely to have considered suicide, etc.].

See also:  Huffington Post:  Mark Regnerus, University Of Texas Professor, Wades Further Into Gay Marriage Debate

 

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We are Femen, the naked shock troops of feminism

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/10/femen-naked-shock-troops-of-feminism

Femen is at war with a patriarchy that sees women as sex objects. What weapons do we have? Our bare breasts


guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 10 April 2013

You can hear us shouting “Fuck off, dictator!”, “I’m not your sex toy!”, or “Religion is slavery!” You can see our half-naked bodies facing Berlusconi, Putin or the Pope. You can feel how deep our anger is by looking in our eyes. We are feminism’s shock troops, a spearhead unit of militants, a modern incarnation of the word fearless.

We are Femen. Our nakedness attacks the raw nerve of the historic conflict between women and “the system”. We are nothing less than its most visual and fitting embodiment. Our activists’ bodies represent undisguised hatred for the patriarchal order, and display the new aesthetics of a rejuvenated woman’s revolution.

Femen is our attempt at rethinking the history of feminism in its entirety. We believe that if women are left with little more than satisfying sexual desires as a life purpose, then our sexuality must become politicised. We are not denying our potential to be treated as sex objects. On the contrary, we are taking our sexuality into our own hands, turning it against our enemy. We are transforming female sexual subordination into aggression, and thereby starting the real war.

Make no mistake about it: we are at war. This is an ideological war, a war of traditionalism against modernity, oppression against freedom, dictatorship against the right to free expression. We are targeting the three principle manifestations of patriarchy: religion, the sex industry, and dictatorship.

“I didn’t have time to see if they looked good or not, whether they were blondes or not” – such were the words of Putin after our most recent act of diversion, when Femen activists confronted him in Hanover, shouting to his face, “Fuck you, dictator!” Putin was quick to smile, but a Kremlin official was already demanding that Germany punish our activists. Within half an hour, four criminal cases had been opened against the dictator’s assailants.

This is our reality. Femen activists are arrested, beaten up or even kidnapped, as happened to us in Belarus after our protest ridiculing president Alexander Lukashenko in Minsk.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/10/femen-naked-shock-troops-of-feminism

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Amy Goodman’s remarks at the 2013 National Conference for Media Reform

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New York City to Pay Occupy Wall Street Damages for Violent Eviction

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/04/10-6

Settlement covers destroyed property from People’s Library and more

Common Dreams staff
Published on Wednesday, April 10, 2013 by Common Dreams

In what some participants from Occupy Wall Street are calling a victory, the City of New York settled a lawsuit on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan with individuals whose property was destroyed by the NYPD when it raided the OWS Zuccotti Park encampment on Nov. 15, 2011.

The city will now have to pay over $365,000 in the settlement, which includes $47,000 for the destruction of the 5,500 books from “The People’s Library” and $75,000 for the destruction of property belonging to Global Revolutions TV, a live-streaming media group that was active in the park.

Most of the settlement will pay for the lawyers the group had to hire for the suit.

“Our clients are pleased,” the Village Voice reports Normal Siegel, who represented Occupy Wall Street in the suit, as saying. “We had asked for damages of $47,000 for the books and the computers, and we got $47,000. More important–we would not have settled without this–is the language in the settlement. This was not just about money, it was about constitutional rights and the destruction of books.”

“By targeting equipment used for media as well as literature in the peoples library, the city in effect not only tried to deny our movement a place to gather and organize, but also went after the tools we use to communicate in direct violation of our First Amendment rights” said Vlad Teichberg of Global Revolution TV.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/04/10-6

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Glenda Jackson launches tirade against Thatcher in tribute debate

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Singer Morrissey’s Scathing Letter to the Public About Margaret Thatcher: “A Terror Without an Atom of Humanity”

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/world/singer-morrisseys-scathing-letter-public-about-margaret-thatcher-terror-without-atom-humanity

Morrissey: “Thatcher will only be fondly remembered by sentimentalists who did not suffer under her leadership, but the majority of British working people have forgotten her already.”

By Morrissey
April 9, 2013

Thatcher is remembered as  The Iron Lady only because she possessed completely negative traits such as persistent stubbornness and a determined refusal to listen to others.

Every move she made was charged by negativity; she destroyed the British manufacturing industry, she hated the miners, she hated the arts, she hated the Irish Freedom Fighters and allowed them to die, she hated the English poor and did nothing at all to help them, she hated Greenpeace and environmental protectionists, she was the only European political leader who opposed a ban on the ivory trade, she had no wit and no warmth and even her own cabinet booted her out. She gave the order to blow up The Belgrano even though it was outside of the Malvinas Exclusion Zone—and was sailing AWAY from the islands! When the young Argentinean boys aboard The Belgrano had suffered a most appalling and unjust death, Thatcher gave the thumbs-up sign for the British press.

Iron? No. Barbaric? Yes. She hated feminists even though it was largely due to the progression of the women’s movement that the British people allowed themselves to accept that a prime minister could actually be female. But because of Thatcher, there will never again be another woman in power in British politics, and rather than opening that particular door for other women, she closed it

Thatcher will only be fondly remembered by sentimentalists who did not suffer under her leadership, but the majority of British working people have forgotten her already, and the people of Argentina will be celebrating her death. As a matter of recorded fact, Thatcher was a terror without an atom of humanity.

MORRISSEY.

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Mrs. Thatcher’s Mean Legacy

From Michael Hudson:  http://michael-hudson.com/2013/04/mrs-thatchers-mean-legacy/

The Queen Mother of Global Austerity and Financialization

Michael Hudson and Jeffrey Sommers
April 8, 2013

We typically honor the convention to refrain from speaking ill of the recently departed. But Margaret Thatcher probably would not object to an epitaph focusing on how her political legacy was to achieve her professed aim of “irreversibly” dismantling Britain’s public sector. Attacking central planning by government, she shifted it into much more centralized financial hands – the City of London, unopposed by any economic back bench of financial regulation and “free” of meaningful anti-monopoly price regulation.

Mrs. Thatcher transformed the character of British politics by heading a democratically elected Parliamentary government that permitted financial planners to carve up the public domain with popular consent. Like her actor contemporary Ronald Reagan, she narrated an appealing cover story that promised to help the economy recover. The reality, of course, was to raise Britain’s cost of living and doing business. But this zero-sum game turned the economy’s loss into a vast windfall for the Conservative Party’s constituency in Britain’s banking sector.

By underpricing her privatization of British Telephone and subsequent vast monopolies, she made it appear that customers would be the big gainers, rather than large financial institutions. And by giving underwriters a windfall 3% commission (formerly based on floating the stock of much smaller start-up companies), Mrs. Thatcher oversaw the start of Britain’s Great Polarization between the creditor 1% and the increasingly indebted 99%.

Attacking rent-seeking in government, she opened the floodgates to economic rent-seeking in its classical sense: land rent in real estate (with debt-inflated “capital” gains) to make British property so high-priced that employees who work in London must now live outside it, taking highly expensive privatized railroads to work. Privatization also created vast new opportunities for monopoly rent for privatized public utilities, along with predatory financial takings by increasingly predatory banking.

Continue reading at:  http://michael-hudson.com/2013/04/mrs-thatchers-mean-legacy/

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Why Would Anyone Celebrate the Death of Margaret Thatcher? Ask a Chilean

From The Nation:  http://www.thenation.com/blog/173731/why-would-anyone-celebrate-death-margaret-thatcher-ask-chilean#

Dave Zirin
on April 9, 2013

Never have I witnessed a gap between the mainstream media and the public quite like the last twenty-four hours since the death of Margaret Thatcher. While both the press and President Obama were uttering tearful remembrances, thousands took to the streets of the UK and beyond to celebrate. Immediately this drew strong condemnation of what were called “death parties,” described as “tasteless”, “horrible” and “beneath all human decency.” Yet if the same media praising Thatcher and appalled by the popular response would bother to ask one of the people celebrating, they might get a story that doesn’t fit into their narrative, which is probably why they aren’t asking at all.

I received a note this morning from a friend of a friend. She lives in the UK, although her family didn’t arrive there by choice. They had to flee Chile, like thousands of others, when it was under the thumb of General Augusto Pinochet. If you don’t know the details about Pinochet’s blood-soaked two-decade reign, you should read about them but take care not to eat beforehand. He was a merciless overseer of torture, rapes and thousands of political executions. He had the hands and wrists of the country’s greatest folk singer Victor Jara broken in front of a crowd of prisoners before killing him. He had democratically elected Socialist President Salvador Allende shot dead at his desk. His specialty was torturing people in front of their families.

As Naomi Klein has written so expertly, he then used this period of shock and slaughter to install a nationwide laboratory for neoliberal economics. If Pincohet’s friend Milton Friedman had a theory about cutting food subsidies, privatizing social security, slashing wages or outlawing unions, Pinochet would apply it. The results of these experiments became political ammunition for neoliberal economists throughout the world. Seeing Chile-applied economic theory in textbooks always boggles my mind. It would be like if the American Medical Association published a textbook on the results of Dr. Josef Mengele’s work in the concentration camps, without any moral judgment about how he accrued his patients.

Pinochet was the General in charge of this human rights catastrophe. He also was someone who Margaret Thatcher called a friend. She stood by the General even when he was in exile, attempting to escape justice for his crimes. As she said to Pinochet, “[Thank you] for bringing democracy to Chile.”

Therefore, if I want to know why someone would celebrate the death of Baroness Thatcher, I think asking a Chilean in exile would be a great place to start. My friend of a friend took to the streets of the UK when she heard that the Iron Lady had left her mortal coil. Here is why:

Continue reading at:  http://www.thenation.com/blog/173731/why-would-anyone-celebrate-death-margaret-thatcher-ask-chilean#

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America’s poor kids

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Bi-Partisanship We Don’t Need: The President Offers to Cut Social Security and Republicans Agree

From Robert Reich:  http://robertreich.org/post/47580510045

Robert Reich
Tuesday, April 9, 2013

John Boehner, Speaker of the House, revealed why it’s politically naive for the President to offer up cuts in Social Security in the hope of getting Republicans to close some tax loopholes for the rich. “If the President believes these modest entitlement savings are needed to help shore up these programs, there’s no reason they should be held hostage for more tax hikes,” Boehner said in a statement released Friday.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor agreed. He said on CNBC he didn’t understand “why we just don’t see the White House come forward and do the things that we agree on” such as cutting Social Security, without additional tax increases.

Get it? The Republican leadership is already salivating over the President’s proposed Social Security cut. They’ve been wanting to cut Social Security for years.

But they won’t agree to close tax loopholes for the rich.

They’re already characterizing the President’s plan as a way to “save” Social Security — even though the cuts would undermine it — and they’re embracing it as an act of “bi-partisanship.”

“I’m encouraged by any steps that President Obama is taking to save and preserve Social Security,” cooed Texas Republican firebrand Ted Cruz. “I think it should be a bipartisan priority to strengthen Social Security and Medicare to preserve the benefits for existing seniors.”

Continue reading at:  http://robertreich.org/post/47580510045

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Elizabeth Warren ‘Shocked’ At White House Plan To Cut Social Security With Chained CPI

From Huffington Post:   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/10/elizabeth-warren-social-security_n_3053355.html

04/10/2013

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) made it clear Wednesday in an email to supporters that not only would she oppose President Barack Obama’s plan to cut Social Security benefits through a cost-of-living adjustment known as chained CPI, but that she was “shocked to hear” it was included in the White House’s budget proposal at all.

Warren said her brother David lives on the $13,200 per year he receives in Social Security benefits. “I can almost guarantee that you know someone — a family member, friend, or neighbor — who counts on Social Security checks to get by,” she wrote. She continued:

That’s why I was shocked to hear that the President’s newest budget proposal would cut $100 billion in Social Security benefits. Our Social Security system is critical to protecting middle class families, and we cannot allow it to be dismantled inch by inch.The President’s policy proposal, known as “chained CPI,” would re-calculate the cost of living for Social Security beneficiaries. That new number won’t keep up with inflation on things like food and health care — the basics that we need to live.

In short, “chained CPI” is just a fancy way to say “cut benefits for seniors, the permanently disabled, and orphans.”

Two-thirds of seniors rely on Social Security for most of their income; one-third rely on it for at least 90% of their income. These people aren’t stashing their Social Security checks in the Cayman Islands and buying vacation homes in Aruba – they are hanging on by their fingernails to their place in the middle class.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/10/elizabeth-warren-social-security_n_3053355.html

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Obama Fully Embraces Austerity with Cuts to Social Security and Medicare

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Man Trying to Improve Worker Safety at Fish Plant ‘Intentionally’ Allowed to Die on Conveyer Belt, Lawsuit Alleges

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/man-trying-improve-worker-safety-fish-plant-intentionally-allowed-die-conveyer

A lawsuit filed in federal court alleges that a worker was intentionally left inside the machine that killed him.

By Alex Kane
April 9, 2013

Did a fish processing plant intentionally leave a worker inside the conveyor that killed him? That’s what the mother of a man who tried to unionize the plant is alleging in federal court, according to a report in Courthouse News Service.

The mother, Cynthia Hebert, is suing Omega Protein, the processing plant, and ACE American Insurance Co. and ESIS Inc over the death of her son, Christopher Hebert. Hebert, 24, was killed by a machine at the Omega plant, a workplace in Mississippi that Hebert had said was unsafe. The family is seeking damages for wrongful death, among other charges.

The mother is claiming that the fish plant “engaged in intentional conduct designed to bring about injury, or death, to Christopher.” Omega Protein produces fish oil. The other companies being sued provide workers’ compensation to Omega Protein; the lawsuit says the companies failed to inspect the plant’s safety.

Hebert, who worked for Omega Protein for three years, died on April 9. He was directed to “weld the seams of a newly installed hopper that released fish products into a single screw conveyor at its base,” according to the Courthouse News Service. But the man assigned to be his spotter was not the same person who normally worked with Hebert. While working, the “the single screw conveyor was energized and operational,” and the safety person assigned to watch Hebert left. After the safety watchperson left, another worker was told to turn on the conveyor, which eventually killed Hebert. He was dragged into the machine feet-first and began screaming for help. He died of massive blood loss.

The family says this was intentional. “Omega Protein intentionally chose not to have lockout equipment and safety rules for the single screw conveyor which killed Christopher,” the lawsuit alleges.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/man-trying-improve-worker-safety-fish-plant-intentionally-allowed-die-conveyer

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Obama’s Man in Frackademia

From In These Times:  http://inthesetimes.com/article/14839/ties_that_bind/

The president’s pick to head the Department of Energy has deep ties to the oil-and-gas industry.

BY Steve Horn
April 9, 2013

Reprinted with permission from desmogblog.com.

Congress will review the Obama Administration’s nomination of Ernest Moniz for Secretary of the Department of Energy (DOE) in hearings that began Tuesday, April 9.

Moniz has come under fire for his outspoken support of nuclear power, hydraulic fracturing (”fracking”) for shale gas and the overarching “all-of-the-above” energy policy advocated by both President Barack Obama and his Republican opponent in the last election, Mitt Romney.

Watchdogs have also discovered that Moniz has worked as a long-time corporate consultant for BP. He has also received the “frackademic” label for his time spent at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). At his MIT job, Moniz regularly accepted millions of dollars from the oil and gas industry to sponsor studies under the auspices of The MIT Energy Initiative, which has received over $145 million over its seven-year history from the oil and gas industry.

MIT’s “The Future of Natural Gas” report, covered by many mainstream media outlets without any effort to question who bankrolled it, was funded chiefly by the American Clean Skies Foundation, a front group for the shale gas industry’s number two domestic producer, Chesapeake Energy. That report concluded that gas is a “bridge fuel” for a renewable energy future and said that shale gas exports were in the best economic interests of the United States, which should “not erect barriers to natural gas imports and exports.”

As first revealed on DeSmogBlog, Moniz is also on the Board of Directors of ICF International, one of the three corporate consulting firms tasked to perform the Supplemental Environmental Impact Study (SEIS) for TransCanada’s Keystone XL (KXL) tar sands pipeline. KXL is slated to bring tar sands—also known as “diluted bitumen,” or “dilbit”—from Alberta to Port Arthur, TX, where it will be sold to the highest bidder on the global export market.

Continue reading at:  http://inthesetimes.com/article/14839/ties_that_bind/

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Study: Northern hemisphere summers now warmest of last 600 years

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/10/study-northern-hemisphere-summers-now-warmest-of-last-600-years/

By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Summers in the northern hemisphere are now warmer than at any period in six centuries, according to climate research published on Wednesday in the science journal Nature.

Harvard University researchers analysing evidence from Arctic tree rings, ice cores, lake sediments and thermometer records said recent warm temperature extremes in high northern latitudes “are unprecedented in the past 600 years” both for magnitude and frequency.

“The summers of 2005, 2007, 2010 and 2011 were warmer than those of all prior years back to 1400,” they reported.

“The summer of 2010 was the warmest in the previous 600 years in western Russia and probably the warmest in western Greenland and the Canadian Arctic as well,” they said.

“These and other recent extremes greatly exceed those expected from a stationary climate.”

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